All posts by John Holyoke

John Holyoke

About John Holyoke

John Holyoke has been enjoying himself in Maine's great outdoors since he was a kid. Today, he's the Outdoors editor for the BDN, a job that allows him to meet up with Maine outdoors enthusiasts in their natural habitat. The stories he gathers provide fodder for his columns, and this blog.

Big buck stories draw thousands of readers. Why?

A few weeks back — as yet another “big buck” story ran wild on the Internet, generating thousands of page views an hour — my editor asked me a question that should have been quite simple. Why do so many people want to read about big dead animals? Unspoken: We can write touching, heart-warming stories […]

Tell us this: What fuels your fascination with big deer tales?

Several times each hunting season, the BDN runs photos and stories telling tales about hunters who have filled their tags by shooting monstrous deer, or deer with massive antlers. And each time, our readers gobble those tales up, clicking, sharing and commenting on the stories on our website. The other day, an editor asked me […]

Addition of baby bird dog making life more interesting

Teddy the Dog (AKA "Little Dog") scratches an itch the day he arrived at his new home. (BDN photo by John Holyoke)

Two dogs in one house. Plenty of people do it. Heck, I even have a colleague who owns nine or 10. (Disclosure: Those dogs pull a sled, so they’re likely tuckered out at the end of the day). Two dogs is doable. No sweat. What could possibly go wrong? Those were the thoughts that pinged […]

St. Albans teen earns family bragging rights with  254-pound buck

Zach Ramsdell shows off the 11-point, 254-pound deer he shot in St. Albans on Nov. 9. (Photo courtesy of Zach Ramsdell)

ST. ALBANS, Maine — Since he started deer hunting when he turned 10, Zach Ramsdell has enjoyed quite a bit of success. In fact, Ramsdell, who is now 19, says that over that span, he has filled his tag every year except three. He credits having access to some very productive land, and growing up […]

Trail camera gem: Four bull moose sparring in Rangeley

Four bull moose pair off to spar in Rangeley in 2012. (Photo courtesy of Samuel Morse)

Put motion-activated cameras in the woods, and you’re sure to get photos of all kinds of cool animal activity. (Remember, of course, that there are laws that govern use of those cameras … check the hunting and fishing rules before you  start strapping cameras on trees). Earlier this week, after sharing a photo of a […]

Is this fawn too old to be nursing?

A fawn nearly as large as its mother tries to nurse on a woodlot in Troy. (Photo courtesy of Leonard Crowe)

Ever since trail cameras became so popular a few years ago, readers have regularly sent along their own images. We’ve seen moose, mystery beasts and plenty of deer over the years. Over the weekend I received a message — and photos — from Leonard Crowe of Carmel. He’s got a camera set up on a […]

Brewer man’s first deer: 19-point ‘Millvale monster’

Ben Thibodeau poses with the deer he shot in Bucksport on the opening day of the hunting season in 2015. He said he did not hunti growing up and this is the first deer he shot since taking up the activity three years ago.  At left are Thibodeau older daughters Mirabel, 5, (left) and Zoe, 8. (BDN photo by Gabor Degre)

Ben Thibodeau of Brewer has been hunting in Maine for the past three years with his father-in-law, Byron Dill, and admits that until this year, he’d had exactly zero luck. “The last two years, I never saw a deer on that property [that I was hunting on opening day],” Thibodeau said. [Dill] would go out […]

‘He’s a monster!’ Palmyra man’s opening day treat: 282-pound deer on Halloween

Neal Page of Palmyra poses with the 10-point buck he shot on Oct. 31, 2015. The deer weighed 282 pounds, field dressed (including heart and liver). Photo courtesy of Neal Page)

Neal Page spent Saturday morning the way he’s spent many past opening days: He headed out the door onto the land behind his house and worked his way along a swamp, hoping for the best. There are big deer in those woods, Page knows. Back in the 1980s, he bagged a buck — his largest […]

Opening day of deer season is a tradition worth savoring

Deer season memories: Not an opening day buck, but Chris Lander, Pete Warner and John Holyoke pose with the midseason deer that Warner shot in 2012.

On Saturday morning, many Mainers will pack up their trucks before first light — double-checking to assure themselves that they’ve got all the essentials, of course — and set course for their favorite patch of woods. Others are more fortunate, and will simply amble out their back door and disappear into their own personal forest, […]