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.

Mainers believe that mountain lions walk among us

Last week, I shared an email from a reader who was sure she’d seen a huge black cat lurking in the woods in the coastal village of Corea. The BDN reader had no photos to back her claim, so I put the question to a Maine wildlife biologist, who explained what the woman may have […]

Things you find in the woods, Part 400

A boat that has been left in the woods of Otis. (John Holyoke|BDN)

First off, let’s clear one thing up: I have not posted 400 photos of odd things I’ve found dumped in the woods. It only seems that way. Rare is a day, in fact, that I head into the (supposedly) pristine forests of Maine when I don’t find something that’s not supposed to be there. Like […]

A dog’s life: Pup learns the ways of the woods, and finds a bird

Pete Warner (left) of Bangor and Chris Lander of Orrington flank Teddy, an English cocker spaniel, on a day of bird hunting. (John Holyoke|BDN)

TAUNTON AND RAYNHAM ACADEMY GRANT, Maine — As he trotted through the leaf-littered forest floor, Teddy — an English cocker spaniel — put his nose to the ground, weaved around blowdowns, hopped over branches, and did exactly what we hoped he’d do. He hunted. The bell attached to his collar tracked his progress and provided […]

Fendler’s tale, and its message, never grew old

Captain Donn Fendler shows "Lost on a Mountain in Maine" to his son, Dennis , 8, during a visit to Palmyra in July 1962. BANGOR DAILY NEWS PHOTO BY DON BROUGH

Why did Donn Fendler spend the last 30 years of his life visiting Maine school children, reliving what may well have been the most embarrassing event of his life? “I did it because I owed Maine,” Fendler told me two years ago, as we sat outside his camp on Newport’s Sebasticook Lake. That’s one way […]

Hunters hit the woods for second week of moose season

The second moose to arrive at Gate Way Variety, the Ashland tagging station, in 2015 weighed in at 830 pounds. Shot by 16-year-old Jaxson Marston of Harrington, the bull had a 19-point rack with a 42.5-inch spread. Linda Coan O'Kresik | BDN

If you missed out on the tagging-station excitement at the end of September, don’t fret: You can still participate — vicariously, at least — in this year’s moose hunt over the coming days. After a week-long break during which bird hunters had the woods essentially to themselves, the second group of moose hunters headed afield […]

Listen: BDN outdoors editor talks moose, birds on ‘The Drive’ radio show


Every other Wednesday, I participate in “The Drive” radio show, which airs on 92.9 “The Ticket” FM, to talk about the outdoor issues of the week. Important addition: On alternating weeks, you can listen to my colleague Aislinn Sarnacki on the same show. Typically, our segment airs around 4:35 p.m. But you’re busy. You might […]

Thoughts from a Maine moose-tagging station

People look at a moose that was brought in to be tagged and weighed at the Gateway Varety store in Ashland Monday on the first day of moose hunting in 2016. This moose shot by Kenneth Hunt of Phippsburg weighed 965 pounds. Gabor Degre |BDN

On Monday, I headed to Ashland on what has become a yearly pilgrimage. Come the first week of moose-hunting season, the parking lot at Gateway Variety fills up and a steady parade of trucks and hunters return to town to tag their moose.   But the crowd didn’t consist entirely of those participating in this […]

The 5 Maine deer hunting stories readers have loved most

Lucas Clark, 15, of Northport poses with the 20-point deer he shot while hunting in Northport on Nov. 13, 2010. (Photo courtesy Lucas Clark)

Over the past several years, I’ve had the opportunity to tell all kinds of hunting stories, and to share the successes of Mainers who have enjoyed memorable days in the woods. At certain times of the year, the hunting stories have become so common — and our readers have been so helpful in passing along […]

No moose permit? You can still have moose season fun

The second moose to arrive at Gate Way Variety, the Ashland tagging station, in 2015 weighed in at 830 pounds. Shot by 16-year-old Jaxson Marston of Harrington, the bull had a 19-point rack with a 42.5-inch spread. Linda Coan O'Kresik | BDN

Bright and early Monday morning, 720 lucky moose hunters — along with assorted relatives and friends — will head into the woods of northern Maine to embark upon adventures that some have been looking forward to for years. You? Me? The rest of us unlucky folks? Well, our names didn’t pop out of the computer-hopper […]

Have a hunting tale to tell? Send us your photos and story

The deer shot by Ben Thibodeau in Bucksport on the opening day of the hunting season in 2015. He said he did not hunt growing up and this is the first deer he shot since taking up the activity three years ago. Gabor Degre | BDN

It’s that time of year again: Hunters are out and about. And when they return, some skilled or lucky hunters will have tales to tell … and photos to share. Photos like the one above, which shows the amazing rack on the deer Ben Thibodeau took in 2015. Thibodeau counted 19 points, but was calling […]