One of the great things about Maine it’s easy to find special places off the beaten path to enjoy outdoor pursuits.
And when the best-laid plans come together, you end up with memories that will last forever.
A couple weeks back, a group of hunting buddies embarked on just such an adventure, heading to the big woods in search of deer.
Bruce Crawford of Kittery reached out earlier this week to share the tale.
“The area we hunt is along the Allagash River, about halfway between Allagash Falls and Round Pond,” Crawford explained in an email. “The camp is named Half Way camp because it was the stopover point between the falls and Round Pond where the Jalbert brothers — Willard and Robert — had built their hunting and fishing outposts … way back in the 50s and 60s.”
Warm and rainy weather had hampered efforts a week earlier, and Crawford said it didn’t seem that the rut was in full swing. But on Nov. 19, hunting buddy Kip Paules of Bowdoinham cashed in.
“Around 3 p.m., Kip started to still hunt slowly back towards camp,” Crawford wrote. “He soon caught some movement out of the corner of his eye and looked over to see some antlers moving quickly through the brush up the ridge. He didn’t have a clear shot, so he blew his grunt tube and immediately the buck turned and ran towards the sound, looking for a fight.”
The deer stopped about 80 yards away, and Paules got off a shot while the deer was looking for the intruder it thought was in its territory.
“Kip pulled the trigger of his .280 Remington Model 70 and the buck ran off, but only made it about 20 yards before collapsing from a clean heart and lung shot,” Crawford wrote.
After that, the “drag team” was assembled, and that group — Paules, Crawford, Joe Keith of Somerville, Massachusetts, and Dave Norsworthy of Bangor labored to get the 9-point deer back to camp.
Five hours later, they finally arrived at their destination.
“When we got back to camp, we hoisted the buck onto our game pole and weighed it with our brass spring scales and recorded the weight at 267 pounds (with no heart or liver included),” Crawford wrote. “The head on this buck was the size of a small horse.”
Maine’s big woods bucks are legendary, and while rare, they’re out there. Crawford and his pals can vouch for that.
“This area does not hold many deer (mostly moose), but the bucks are some of the biggest in the state,” he wrote.
Unfortunately, the buck was not entered into the BDN Biggest Bucks contest, so the deer isn’t eligible for a prize.
But I knew many of our readers would want to get a look at the photos and hear the tale, so I’m happy to share both with you today.