Discovering Maine’s Winter Wonderland: A Snowmobiling Adventure

Maine is known for its rugged coastlines, picturesque lighthouses, and vibrant fall foliage. However, what many people do not know is that this state is also a winter wonderland, with its vast and beautiful snow-covered landscapes. For those seeking a new and exciting adventure, snowmobiling in Maine is the perfect way to experience this winter wonderland.

Snowmobiling has become a popular winter activity for many people, and for good reason. It offers a unique way to explore and experience the winter wilderness, as well as a fun and thrilling adventure. In this essay, we will take a look at what makes snowmobiling in Maine so special and why it is a must-do experience for those looking to discover the beauty of the state in the winter.

Maine is a winter wonderland

Maine is a winter wonderland, and this is especially true in the northern and central regions of the state. Here, the snow covers the landscape, transforming it into a magical and pristine winter wonderland. From the rolling hills to the tall pine trees, the snow-covered scenery is breathtaking and awe-inspiring.

One of the most unique aspects of Maine’s winter wonderland is the way the snow sparkles in the sun. The sun shining on the snow creates a brilliant and sparkling light show that is truly unforgettable. It is a sight that must be seen to be appreciated, and one that is best viewed on a snowmobile.

The peaceful stillness of the winter wilderness is another highlight of Maine’s winter wonderland. The only sounds that can be heard are the soft crunching of snow underfoot and the hum of the snowmobile’s engine. It is a peaceful and serene environment that allows you to truly escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life and immerse yourself in the beauty of the winter landscape.

Snowmobiling: a unique and thrilling adventure

Snowmobiling in Maine

Snowmobiling is a unique and thrilling adventure that offers a different perspective on the winter landscape. Instead of walking, snowmobiling allows you to cover vast distances and see more of the winter wonderland in a shorter amount of time. It also allows you to go places that would otherwise be inaccessible, such as frozen lakes, deep forests, and rolling hills.

The speed and excitement of snowmobiling are also part of what makes it such a thrilling adventure. As you ride through the snow-covered wilderness, you will feel the wind in your face and the rush of adrenaline as you maneuver through the twists and turns of the terrain. The thrill of snowmobiling is an experience that is truly unforgettable and one that will have you coming back for more.

Fishing and camping in the winter wonderland

Snowmobiling in Maine’s winter wonderland not only offers the chance to explore and experience the beauty of the winter landscape, but it also offers the opportunity to engage in other winter activities, such as fishing and camping.

Fishing in the winter wonderland is a unique experience that offers a chance to catch fish in a serene and peaceful setting. The frozen lakes of Maine are perfect for ice fishing, and with the stillness of the winter wilderness, you will be able to hear the occasional plop of a fish jumping out of the water.

Camping in the winter wonderland is also a unique and exciting experience. The quiet and peaceful surroundings provide the perfect setting for a cozy and warm camping trip. With the snow-covered landscape and the bright starry sky, camping in Maine’s winter wonderland is an experience that is truly unforgettable.

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Safety tips

Snowmobile

Snowmobiling is a popular winter activity in Maine, but it’s important to take safety precautions to ensure a fun and safe experience. Here are some safety tips for snowmobiling in Maine:

  1. Wear proper clothing: Dress in layers and wear warm, waterproof clothing. Make sure your hands and feet are protected from the cold and wind.
  2. Wear a helmet: A helmet is essential for protecting your head in case of an accident. Make sure your helmet fits properly and meets safety standards.
  3. Take a snowmobile safety course: A snowmobile safety course can teach you important skills and safety tips to make the most of your snowmobiling experience.
  4. Check the weather conditions: Before setting off, check the weather conditions to ensure that it is safe to go snowmobiling. Avoid snowmobiling in severe weather conditions, such as heavy snowfall or high winds.
  5. Know the trails: Always follow marked trails and avoid going off-trail. Stick to trails that are appropriate for your skill level.
  6. Be aware of other snowmobilers: Always be aware of other snowmobilers and give them plenty of space. Keep a safe distance from other snowmobiles, especially when passing.
  7. Stay sober: Never snowmobile while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Snowmobiling while impaired is dangerous and illegal.
  8. Have a safety plan: Make sure you have a safety plan in case of an emergency. Have a map, compass, and cell phone with you, and make sure someone knows your route and expected return time.

By following these safety tips, you can ensure a fun and safe snowmobiling experience in Maine’s winter wonderland.

Hunting is Good for the Environment- Here’s 10 Reasons Why

Grouse hunting with dog
Hunting has long been a controversial topic, with some people viewing it as a necessary tool for conservation and others viewing it as a cruel and unnecessary practice. However, there are numerous benefits to hunting that should not be overlooked.

First, hunting can help to control animal populations. In many areas, certain species can become overpopulated, which can lead to problems such as habitat destruction, disease outbreaks, and conflicts with humans. By carefully regulating hunting seasons and limits, wildlife management agencies can help to keep animal populations at sustainable levels, which can help to protect the overall health of the ecosystem.

Second, hunting can provide economic benefits to local communities. In many areas, hunting is an important part of the local economy, with hunters paying for licenses, equipment, and other expenses. This can provide a significant source of revenue for local businesses, which can help to support the local economy and encourage conservation efforts.

Third, hunting can help to fund conservation efforts. Many hunting organizations, such as the Boone and Crockett Club and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, work to promote conservation and protect wildlife habitat. These organizations often rely on funding from hunting licenses and other fees, which can help to support their efforts to preserve and protect natural areas.

Fourth, hunting can help to educate people about the natural world and the importance of conservation. By participating in hunting, people can learn about the habits and behaviors of different species, as well as the importance of preserving natural habitats. This knowledge can help to increase appreciation and understanding of the natural world, which can in turn promote conservation efforts.

Fifth, hunting can provide important food for local communities. In some areas, hunting is a traditional way of obtaining food, and can provide an important source of nutrition for people who may not have access to other forms of protein.

Sixth, hunting can help to reduce the risk of human-wildlife conflicts. In some cases, animals such as bears and wolves can pose a threat to human safety, particularly if they become accustomed to living in close proximity to humans. By carefully managing hunting seasons and limits, wildlife management agencies can help to reduce the risk of these conflicts occurring.

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Seventh, hunting can help to preserve traditional cultural practices. In many cultures, hunting is an important part of the traditional way of life, and helps to preserve cultural traditions and practices that may otherwise be lost.

Eighth, hunting can provide important recreational opportunities. For many people, hunting is an important form of outdoor recreation, and can provide an opportunity to experience the beauty of the natural world and connect with nature in a meaningful way.

Ninth, hunting can help to promote ethical and responsible behavior. By requiring hunters to follow strict guidelines and regulations, hunting can help to promote responsible and ethical behavior, including the importance of respecting wildlife and the environment.

Tenth, hunting can help to protect biodiversity. By carefully managing hunting seasons and limits, wildlife management agencies can help to protect the genetic diversity of different species, which is essential for the overall health and stability of ecosystems.

In conclusion, the benefits of hunting are numerous and diverse. From helping to control animal populations and providing economic benefits to local communities, to funding conservation efforts and promoting ethical behavior, hunting can play a valuable role in the conservation of our natural resources.

The 5 Basic Safety Rules of Ice Fishing

Ice fishing jig
Red bobber and fishing line in an ice fishing hole in a Minnesota lake

Ice fishing is an exciting sport and hobby that can yield great rewards in the form of a catch. Sadly, the cold, frozen conditions of ice fishing can be a dangerous affair if the proper safety rules are not followed. Experienced ice fishers follow a set of safety rules to ensure their safety and the safety of their companions. To help you get started, here are the five basic safety rules of ice fishing.

Always fish with a buddy. Ice fishing should never be done alone, as if an accident were to happen, a companion would be better able to help in an emergency situation. Not only will it help with safety, but having a companion will make the ice fishing outing that much more enjoyable.

Be prepared for the cold temperatures. Ice fishing is done in very cold temperatures, and thus it is very important that the right attire and protection is worn. Appropriate clothing includes warm clothes, boots with enough grip, a hat, and, of course, gloves. Additionally, prepare with a basic first aid kit and a cell phone in case of emergencies while you’re out on the ice.

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Avoid alcohol. Stay away from alcohol and drugs while ice fishing; this is not only dangerous but illegal. Alcohol and drugs can impede one’s ability to properly judge the situation and make rational decisions if an emergency were to arise.

Check the thickness of the ice. Ice fishing should not take place unless the thickness of the ice is at least four inches. Check for ridges, pressure cracks, and other signs that may indicate a change in the thickness of the ice.

Carry a spud bar. A spud bar is a long implement with a sharp tip, allowing the user to measure the thickness of the ice throughout a fishing body of water. Additionally, it can be used to chop away loose ice the clear the area around where you’ll be sitting, providing greater safety and easier access to the fish.

These five basic safety rules of ice fishing will help ensure you make the most of your time on the ice, while also helping keep you safe in the process. As long as you follow these rules, you will be sure to have an enjoyable and safe fishing experience.

5 Winter Survival Skills That Will Keep You Warm, Dry, And Alive

Every different climate delivers a unique set of challenges in a survival scenario, and winter is no exception. If you aren’t too careful, the frigid wind and cold can immobilize you with frostbite and then kill you off with hypothermia.

In this article, we are going to look at five specific skills that you absolutely must have in order to survive when you’re stuck outdoors during winter.

1. Getting a fire going … and keeping it going

Starting a fire

Knowing how to start a fire is an important skill to have in any survival scenario, but it’s extra important during winter. If you are ever wet and cold, a fire may be the only thing that gives you a chance of surviving. You also need a fire to dry out any damp clothing.

Unfortunately, it’s harder to build and maintain a fire during winter. The ground often is blanketed in snow or ice and the wood that is above the ground is saturated with moisture, too. On top of that, there could be high winds that put any spark you manage to create out in an instant. So how are you supposed to start a fire during winter?

Cotton Balls

The answer is to keep cotton balls that are coated in Vaseline with you at all times – especially during winter. These are highly flammable and will be a lifesaver in a winter survival situation. (They’re also inexpensive.) You’ll also need something to cause a spark, such as a ferro rod. But this is just the solution to getting a fire going. How can you keep that fire maintained?

Construct a pit into the snow that is approximately two feet deep. This is so that the walls of the pit will protect the flames from the wind. The bottom of this pit should then be covered with logs and sticks. Next, set some tinder and your Vaseline cotton balls on top of these logs.

If all of the wood that you find is already wet, then use a knife or a hatchet to cut into it and see if there’s any drier kindling that you can get from the inside. Then, set up your kindling in a pyramid. This will allow the wood to dry and then burn faster.

The technique above might save your life.

 

2. Building a warm-enough shelter

Winter camping
Green tent and tourist inside against the backdrop of snowy pine tree forest. Amazing winter landscape. Tourists camp in high mountains. Travel concept

This is another survival skill that is important in any situation — but arguably more so in a winter scenario. During winter – unlike other seasons — you have to keep yourself warm and dry. For these reasons, you would be wise to spend more time working on your winter shelter than, say, your summer shelter.

Your shelter should be constructed in a site that is flat and on higher ground, with plenty of trees for cover from falling snow and wind. The trees also provide the natural resources you’ll need to build your winter shelter.

One of the best winter shelters to make is one that has natural cover, such as the boughs of a tree. You can dig around the trunk of the tree underneath the lowest boughs, so that the branches spread above you protect you from the snow and wind. The snow walls would then provide additional protection, and you can even set up a little place for you to make a small fire.

 

3. Maintaining a proper body temperature

During winter, it’s easy to get too cold – but also too hot. Wear an outer shell layer that deflects the wind and the coldness, an insulation layer that keeps your body warm, and then a final layer that sticks right to your skin. When you’re traveling through the snow with all of this clothing on you, you can easily overexert yourself. The sweat will then freeze and make you at risk for both frostbite and hypothermia.

Keep close attention to your body temperature and add and remove layers as needed. If it is snowing or raining, wear all three layers so that your shell layer can keep your inner two layers dry. But when you’re traveling out in the sun or working on building a shelter, remove one or more layers so that your body can cool down and avoid perspiration.

4. Making snow goggles

While we most commonly use sunglasses during summer conditions, the ice and snow during winter can reflect the rays of the sun back to your eyes – essentially blinding you. If you don’t have snow goggles or sunglasses with you already, then you’ll need to know how to make them on your own, out of natural resources.

The easiest snow goggles to construct are made out of birch bark. Birch bark is best for snow goggles because it can be removed from the trunk of the tree in sheets. Cut out a sheet of bark and then cut small slits in it for your eyes.

Next, cut holes into the sides of it so that it can be tied around your face. These simple DIY goggles will provide your eyes with the protection they need when the sun is out.

19TH ANNUAL SMITHSONIAN MAGAZINE PHOTO CONTEST People preventing snow blindness with birch bark goggles

5. Building a pair of snowshoes

Snowshoes distribute your weight over a larger area so that your foot will not completely sink into the snow. If you’ve ever tried to walk through a winter forest without snowshoes, you know how exhausting and time-consuming it is. Snowshoes will save you a lot of time and energy.

If you don’t already have a pair of snowshoes with you, you’ll need to make some on your own.  The simplest form of DIY snowshoes are groups of boughs that are tied together and then lashed onto the feet. More traditional snowshoes will require some time and energy to build. You’ll need to find a long, flexible stick that you can bend and then tie at the end, followed by crisscrossing the insides of the snow with more sticks, vines, and/or rope.

Should you successfully build a pair of snowshoes, it’s guaranteed you’ll be able to make it out alive much faster.

Closeup hiker in spring mountains snowshoeing

What winter survival skills would you add? Share your tips in the section below:

White tailed deer

HOW TO HAVE A SUCCESSFUL WHITE-TAILED DEER HUNT IN MAINE

While Maine may have a fairly low number of whitetail deer compared to other states like those in the Midwest, the seemingly never-ending forests give big bucks plenty of places to hide and grow to trophy sizes. This post will share tips and tricks to help you harvest a mature buck in Maine.

Whitetails and the State of Maine

White tailed deer

The state of Maine has an estimated whitetail herd population that number of around 300,000. Compared to other states like Wisconsin, which leads all states in the number of record whitetails booked and sports a population estimated at 1.5 million, you might be inclined to think that Maine doesn’t have the best whitetail hunting opportunities, but this is not the case.

Maine may have a smaller whitetail population than the agricultural breadbasket states. Still, the state of Maine is predominantly composed of forests, and the sheer number of forests allows deer to have countless safe havens to call home and hide from hunters.

The number of hunters actively pursuing whitetails in Maine is also lower than in the Midwest, with an average of 200,000 licenses issued yearly. The amount of deer harvested yearly is far less.

The deer population numbers in Maine took a pretty bad hit in the late 2000’s, but not to worry, as the numbers have been a slow and steady climb since that time, and the combination of mild winters and good mast crop growth from farmers has seen it continuing to improve.

The lower population of deer and hunters combined with the densely forested environment has given birth to a pretty good number of trophy bucks, and the number of bucks weighing in at 200 pounds might surprise you.

Where to Hunt in Maine

The best place to hunt in Maine is the northern counties, these counties provide the best chances at harvesting a trophy whitetail.

The counties of Hancock, Aroostook, Piscataquis, Waldo, Washington, and Penobscot all have a reputation for harboring giant bucks.

Maine is fairly unique compared to other states in that it has a unique tradition of open access to land, which leads to easy access for hunters, and accessing good private land has become increasingly difficult for hunters in other states.

Even with this open-access policy, you will still need to knock on someone’s door or make a phone call. It would still be a good idea to check in with the landowners from time to time, and in doing so, you might even get some golden nuggets of information on hunting spots, big buck sightings, and deer movement.

Know the Seasons and Regulations

The archery season in Maine runs from October 1st to the 28th with extended archery seasons running from September 10th to December 10th in designated areas.

Gun hunting runs from October 31st to November 26th, the Muzzleloader season from November 28th to December 3rd, and from December 5th to the 10th in designated areas only.

The Stand is King

Tree stand

Tree stands are nothing new to hunters and are used predominantly everywhere. Still, in places like the Midwest and the south, ground blind hunting has become increasingly popular as an option to harvest trophy bucks.

In Maine, the treestand is still your best bet, and due to the state being blanketed in forests, there aren’t any issues with finding a suitable tree to hang a stand within range of trails or food sources.

Due to the topography in many parts of the state, the wind can tend to swirl and become unpredictable, and getting high off of the ground in a tree stand can help mitigate the issue of your scent swirling through your hunting area by getting it up and above the noses of the deer.

Study Your Hunting Area

Studying aerial photos of the areas you intend to hunt can be key to finding the best locations to hang a stand, and it will give you a great idea of where a trophy buck might be bedding and feeding, along with likely travel corridors.

Studying your hunting area via a birds-eye view has never been easier with modern technology, and you might be surprised to see that you might be able to spot deer trails using something as simple as google maps.

Having a solid understanding of the area will help you in several ways, and is not studying topographic maps and satellite images are not something that a serious hunter should skip.

Hunters with hunting equipment going away through rural forest at sunrise during hunting season in countryside

Plan you Moves

Many hunters fail at correctly approaching their stands when hunting during the morning or afternoon.

How you approach your stand depends on a few factors, but the wind is the most important factor to consider. The wind might make a particular tree stand inaccessible on a given day, and while you can choose to ignore the wind, doing so risks spooking all the deer in the area.

Be sure when you are walking to or from your stand, that you do so in a direction where the wind is blowing away from crucial areas like bedding areas or food sources. How you enter the woods to sit might also need to be adjusted based on the time of day.

Avoid Tree Stand Burn Out

Hunting from the same stand too often will be detrimental to your trophy buck harvesting cause.

This is known as “burning out a stand” and happens when you hunt a tree stand several times a week. You can try as hard as you want to keep the evidence of your presence as low as possible, but deer have mind-boggling senses and will know if a human is repeatedly intruding into their backyard.

As hunters, we pattern deer, their behavior, and their daily movements as best we can, and if you constantly hunt from the same tree stand, the deer will be able to pattern you, and they will avoid the areas around your stand until they feel you are no longer visiting it regularly.

Put Your Time In

Hunting trophy whitetails is a serious challenge and takes due diligence and time no matter the location, but this is more so the case when hunting in the state of Maine.

It will take patience to harvest a trophy in the state due to the lower numbers and the vastness of the forests, but you know what they say, the harder you work for something, the sweeter the success is.

Be Safe

There’s a lot of nothing in Maine, particularly the northern half of the state, and if you are unfamiliar with the area that you will be hunting, you should have a game plan for safety reasons.

You could easily get lost on the many winding logging roads that appear as if they lead to nowhere, and before you leave to hunt, you should let someone know the exact areas you intend to hunt and when you are expected to be back.

Letting a family member or friend know where you will be is not only a good idea in the event you get lost but also if you were to injure yourself by twisting an ankle or having a mishap with your tree stand.

You should also have a minimal amount of survival gear with you, such as a first aid kit, thermal blanket, lighter, and other items that can help in the event that you get lost or injured.

In the modern age with smartphones and google maps, getting lost is less of an issue and something that we don’t worry about as much as we used to. Still, phone batteries have a tendency to run out, and they always seem to do so at the worst possible time, and this is why you shouldn’t rely solely on technology because it is prone to failure, and back up plans and gear is necessary.

More to Offer

Maine has more to offer than whitetails and is one of the best destinations in the United States to harvest a big moose.

Along with moose, black bear hunting can be very good do to the sheer amount of forested land that the bears have to roam around in.

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Due to being a far northern state, the ruffed grouse hunting is some of the best in the country and is right up there with other legendary grouse hunting states like those of the Great Lakes Region.

Final Thoughts

If you are moving to the state of Maine and want to know your options when it comes to whitetails, or if you are thinking of traveling to hunt in the state, be sure to do your research and due diligence on the regulations and on how to hunt in the state.

Deer

A Look at Maine’s White-tailed Deer Population for 2022

Maine is home to one of the largest subspecies of White-tailed deer. The whitetail deer (Odocoileus virginianus) may be found across the United States. They are the most easily identified deer species in the United States. This species of deer is famous for its whitetail. Bucks mature at age five and may grow to record live weights of about 400 lbs. They are also known for their tan and brown coats.

Maine is close to the northern limit of the white-tailed deer’s range. White-tailed deer in Maine mostly inhabit forest areas, marshes, reverting farms, and active farms as sources of food and cover. The greatest and most abundant feed is found in wetlands, reverting and active agriculture, and forest areas with little or no canopy closure. Presently, 94% of Maine—excluding the state’s city areas regarded as a deer habitat. In fact, deer are already present in some of Maine’s developed areas. Wintering habitat is very restricted, accounting for approximately 2 to 25% of the land in various segments of the state. In Maine, deer’s summer home ranges typically range from 500 to 600 acres, but they may even be as large as 2,000 acres. Depending on the accessibility and quality of the winter range, deer can travel anywhere from less than a mile to more than 25 miles between their summer and winter ranges.

Deer in the winter
A wild deer in a national park on a cold winter’s day

White Tail Deer Population

In mid-2022, the authorities estimated 300,000 to 320,000 deer, saying that the state’s environment could accommodate more of them. According to Nathan Bieber (a biologist working for The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife), the deer population in Maine now is probably comparable to what it was in the 1990s.

In 2021, around 290,000 were estimated to be present in Maine. There was a considerable increase in the deer hunting licenses during the doe hunting season 2021-22. Regulated hunting harvests provide for a significant portion of deer management. The year 2021 turned out to be a record year for deer hunting, with one of the largest harvests in more than 50 years. A warm winter and few doe harvests led to a buck-to-doe ratio of roughly 2.5 to 1, which resulted in a state estimate of 300,000 deer in the spring of 2020.

White-tailed deer
A close up shot of a white tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) in the woods.

How population has changed over time?

The white-tailed deer population in Maine has experienced boom and bust cycles. According to anecdotes, the state’s deer population did not exist in significant numbers before the advent of European colonists in the early 16th century. Deer may only have been able to survive in isolated areas inland and along the southern coast due to hard winters, intact predator ecology, and probably a lack of sufficient early vegetative growth (Banasiak 1964). However, with European colonization, immigrants began to clean the area. Small-scale logging activities stimulated the growth of underbrush, providing white-tailed deer with an optimal balance of feed and cover. Deer ranges grew and became more widespread in central and northern Maine as a result of logging activities. Later, in the nineteenth century, the extinction of wolves and cougars in Maine allowed deer to grow and rise in population essentially unaffected by predation. Despite their greater presence, deer populations nonetheless fluctuated in response to harsh winters and widespread incidents  (like fires )that significantly altered their habitat.

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Let us have a look at the population changes in Maine in Figure 1. It shows the population of white-tailed deer population over several years. This is taken from the data provided by the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) in the 2017 Big Game Management Plan. MDIFW started estimating the abundance of White-tailed deer in the 1950s which is why exact estimates for the period before the 1950s are not available.

Figure 1: Population estimate of White-tailed deer in Maine

We can see that population of White-tailed deer has fluctuated throughout history.

 The state saw its lowest levels of deer abundance during the 1960s. The population decreased to around 141,000 as a result of harsh winters, coyote colonization, the loss of wintering habitat, and intensified hunting pressure.

Beginning in the 1970s, a spruce budworm outbreak disrupted deer overwintering habitat by causing landscape-level die-offs of mature softwood stands, followed by salvage harvests. Deer summer habitat expanded as a result of the increasing loss of mature softwood. However, the number of deer wintering sites reduced, especially in the state’s northern portion, where they are most important.

J.W. Sewell Company predicted in their 1983 Spruce-Fir Wood Availability-Demand Analysis that the supply of mature softwood will continue to fall until 2010 owing to insect mortality, salvage logging, and satisfying the commercial needs for spruce-fir products. That prediction has come true. These causes collectively have reduced the amount and quality of deer wintering sites, increasing the likelihood that deer would perish during hard winters. Deer populations drastically decreased, especially in northern Maine, as a direct result of the sharp fall of mature spruce-fir forest acres and multiple harsh winters.

It was discovered through several modifications of its deer management system that restricting the harvest of does was the best strategy to limit the expansion of Maine’s deer population. Since it was established in 1986, the Any-deer permit (ADP) system has given MDIFW a way to control doe harvests while also increasing hunting opportunities for sportsmen in Maine. Since the implementation of the ADP system, doe harvests have routinely fallen between 5% and 10%, or less, of the Department’s antlerless harvest targets.

In order to keep the population from outpacing the capacity of Maine’s deer wintering areas (DWAs), the state created population targets that called for managing the deer to 50%–60% of that capacity. The quantity of winter habitat would need to be raised to around 8% to 10% of Maine’s terrain in order to achieve the public’s population targets.

The deer population in Maine had gradual growth after the die-off in the 1970s and continued to do so into the late 1980s. Demand for the resource increased despite a modest recovery in the deer population.  This resulted in a slew of new management measures and policies aimed at accelerating the expansion of Maine’s deer population. The regulatory regime that restricted doe hunting, together with a string of warm winters, served as the driving forces behind Maine’s deer population’s rapid rise through the late 1980s and early 1990s. The number of deer in Maine reached an approximately all-time high of 331,000 during this period. The majority of the increase took place in the state’s southern tier.

A study was conducted by Dumont et al. 2000, about the effect of harsh winters on two adjacent populations of the deer in northeastern range of its occurrence. The study was conducted from 1994 to 1996. They found a decline in population by harsh winters which was further declined due to coyote predation as well. They found that older deer and fawns were more severely harmed by starvation and predation, although deaths due to collisions seemed to be nonselective. The majority of cases of famine happened after the beginning of March when bodily stores were depleted. They concluded that in the studied area deer abundance was controlled by winter forage competition.

Population Management

For the deer population, harvest, or hunter success rates, MDIFW did not establish any concrete targets or goals before 1975. The majority of regulation acts were brought about by the Legislature as a response to harsh winters or alleged regional reductions in deer abundance. Between 1975 and 1985, MDIFW started planning for deer, which included establishing goals and objectives with broad public support. In some locations, this included attempting to regulate deer populations to certain deer densities.

Since a new Big Game Management Plan was recently put into effect, the Department has given up trying to regulate deer populations to predetermined levels. That strategy failed to fully take into consideration a number of other crucial factors in managing the deer population, such as preserving animal health, ensuring that there are enough deer in society, minimizing the negative effects of an overabundance of deer, and so forth. In Maine, deer management is to keep deer populations at levels that are both sustainable with available habitat and socially acceptable. The Department uses a range of small-scale management strategies in locations where deer numbers are too high or where deer are seriously harming the habitat to seek and solve the issues.

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Deer wintering habitat must be protected and expanded in order to boost deer populations in Maine’s northern and eastern forest areas. In the past, protecting deer wintering habitat required the cooperation of landowners, which wasn’t always available. To maintain manageable deer populations across Maine, authorities will have to enhance access to the property for hunting through effective landowner relations programs.

References

Dumont, A., Crête, M., Ouellet, J. P., Huot, J., & Lamoureux, J. (2000). Population dynamics of northern white-tailed deer during mild winters: evidence of regulation by food competition. Canadian Journal of Zoology78(5), 764-776.

Banasiak, C.F. (1964). Deer in Maine. Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Game, Game Division Bulletin 6, 163 pp

Irland, L. C. (1988). The spruce budworm outbreak in Maine in the 1970’s: assessments and directions for the future. Bulletin/Maine Agricultural Experiment Station, University of Maine: 1983 (USA).

Maine Dept. of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. 2017. 2017 Big Game Management Plan. Maine Dept. of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, Augusta, ME. 97pp.

Thinking about bird hunting!? Hunt Ruffed Grouse in Maine

While the state of Maine is most incredible for many reasons, many hunters regard it as one of the greatest places in the country to hunt for ruffed grouse. These little birds are one of the most sought-after upland bird species in the country, and many wing shooters will travel to the best hunting locations every year to find them. One of these includes the state of Maine! 

Rapala Knives_234x60

The Ruffed Grouse

Ruffed Grouse

Ruffed grouse are one of the most plentiful and widely distributed game birds on the continent. They are on the smaller size when it comes to most grouse species, and range in weight from 16 to 25 ounces. They are beautiful birds that have many markings and colors in their feathers that help them to better blend in with their preferred habitat. Unlike other bird species, ruffed grouse are monomorphic. This means that both genders, male and female that have lost their juvenile plumage and colors, look alike. 

Ruffed grouse eat a variety of different things, including leaves, fruits, and insects. During the winter when snow is on the ground, they will eat things such as flower buds and catkins. Ruffed grouse will live an average of 3 years, although some birds can live up to 7 years. During the spring, male ruffed grouse will become more territorial of their area and start to “drum.” This is a display that helps them to ward off other males and attract females. 

Habitat and Locations

Ruffed grouse can be found throughout almost all of the state of Maine, although in various densities. The highest densities tend to be found in transition areas where thick forests and developed fields and farmlands meet. Cleared land and fires can create excellent grouse habitat, as it provides mixed-age aspen (a favorite of ruffed grouse). These types of areas provide everything that the grouse need to live, including food, shelter, and enough space to drum. Because ruffed grouse have such a small home range, all of these requirements should be found within a small area of around 30 acres or less. This can provide key clues to finding grouse while out hunting. 

Equipment and Gear

Hunter aiming rifle while hunting birds with Irish Red Setter dog In woods

The great thing about hunting ruffed grouse is that you do not need a ton of new or expensive gear to have a successful day in the woods. In fact, a good day of grouse hunting should only require things like a blaze orange vest, extra food and water, a navigation device (GPS), a shotgun, tough pants, long sleeve shirt, and some waterproof boots. A jacket and thicker clothing might also be a good idea if the weather is cold. 

Almost any shotgun you already own is probably more than adequate for grouse hunting. The most popular 20 and 12-gauge shotguns are some of the most widely seen, but even the 28 gauge and 410 can be used. Pair this with an open or improved choke as grouse shots are usually at close range, and size #6 or #7 shells are a great option. 

Many ruffed grouse hunters will often choose to hunt with a dog. But, unlike other bird species such as pheasants, ruffed grouse hunting can be achieved very successfully without a dog if you don’t have one. While almost any breed of dog can be taught and trained to hunt for grouse, most any sporting breed or pointers make for the best grouse dogs and provide excellent companionship while out in the woods. 

Maine Ruffed Grouse Season and Limits

The ruffed grouse season generally runs from the third week of September until December 31st of every year. There is a bag limit of four birds per day, with the possession of eight birds at any time. You will need to purchase a hunting license before you are able to hunt ruffed grouse in Maine, and this can be done either at a hunting license dealer found around the state, the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife office, or online at their website (https://www.maine.gov/ifw/hunting-trapping/hunting/licenses-permits.html).

Tips and Tricks

In order to best hunt ruffed grouse, you will first need to locate the best cover and food sources that the birds are using. This will ensure that there are birds nearby to hunt. From there, your job is to now flush the birds out in order to get a clear shot at them. Here are a few simple tips to help to get you started when it comes to hunting ruffed grouse! 

Hunt early/late – Ruffed grouse tend to be very inactive during the middle of the day. The best time to hunt for them is the early morning and late into the afternoons. This is when they will move around to look for food, and when they are the most vulnerable. 

Cover more ground – Although ruffed grouse live in relatively small areas, you may still need to cover plenty of ground in order to find them. Lace-up a comfortable pair of boots and don’t be afraid of covering plenty of ground! 

Be ready and quick – When ruffed grouse get flushed, they are quick and explosive. Always have your gun at the ready and try to be as quick as possible when you see or hear them. You may not get another opportunity after you flush them so always be ready and move as quick as possible to get a shot. 

Final Thoughts

Young hunter boy sit with his father in a truck tailgate.

The ruffed grouse is a favorite animal to hunt in Maine for many people, and it’s easy to see why. Hopefully, you now have a better understanding of these amazing little birds and know where to find them and how to better hunt them. With the abundance of habitat and their excellent numbers, there are few things as enjoyable as a ruffed grouse hunt in this amazing state! 

HOW TO COOK RUFFED GROUSE

INTRODUCTION

Ruffed grouse have been known to excite hunters and foodies alike, so it’s not surprising that you may be wondering how to cook Ruffed grouse after your successful hunt this fall. With their delicious taste and firm texture, these birds are perfect for the winter holidays! From grilling to roasting, here are some delicious recipes you can use as inspiration when cooking Ruffed grouse. Be sure to share them with your friends and family members when they ask how to cook Ruffed grouse at home!

Ruffed grouse, also known as partridge, are one of the most popular game birds in North America, and many people who live on the east coast have at least tried one of these mouth-watering treats. However, cooking Ruffed grouse can be a tricky feat, and this article will teach you how to do it perfectly so that you can impress any guests with your culinary skills!

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What Is Grouse?

Grouse is a game bird that belongs to the pheasant family. It’s characterized by its small size, plump body, and dark feathers. The most popular type of grouse is the red grouse, which is found in Europe and Asia. The bird is considered a delicacy and is often served roasted or grilled.

If you’re lucky enough to come across a Ruffed grouse , you should know how to cook it properly! All too often people overcook their grouse, resulting in an unappetizing grey bird with a rubbery texture. To avoid this unfortunate fate, it’s important to cook your birds at the correct temperature for their size.

Here Is The Best Way Of Cooking Ruffed Grouse

Cut It Up

1. Start by cutting up your grouse into smaller pieces. This will help it cook evenly and prevent it from drying out.

2. Season the grouse with salt, pepper, and any other spices you like.

3. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

4. Place the grouse in a baking dish and cover it with foil or a lid.

5. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the grouse is cooked through.

6. Remove the bird from the oven and let it rest for a few minutes before carving and serving.

Salt It

The first step is to salt your grouse. This will help to tenderize the meat and also give it a little flavor. You can either use a dry rub or a wet brine. If you are using a dry rub, simply sprinkle the salt over the bird and massage it in. If you are using a wet brine, mix together 1 cup of salt with 1 gallon of water and submerge the grouse in it. Let it sit for at least 2 hours, up to 12 hours. Remove from the brine, rinse off any remaining residue. Prepare your cooking vessel: Your vessel needs to be deep enough that the grouse can lay flat without touching any part of it while cooking. A Dutch oven works well because there is an open top on one side so you can baste with butter or oil while cooking.

Pat It Dry

Ruffed grouse are a type of game bird that is popular in Europe and North America. The meat is dark and has a strong flavor, making it perfect for those who enjoy gamey meats. The best way to cook Ruffed grouse is to first pat it dry with a paper towel. This will help prevent the skin from becoming soggy during cooking. Then, season the bird with salt and pepper. Next, heat a pan over medium-high heat and add some oil. Once the pan is hot, place the grouse in the pan and cook for about 8 minutes per side, or until the skin is crispy and the meat is cooked through. Serve immediately with your favorite sides.

Rub It In Butter

Rubbing the grouse in butter before cooking helps to keep it moist and flavorful. First, preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Then, take a stick of butter and rub it all over the outside of the bird. Next, place the grouse in a baking dish and bake it for about 45 minutes. When it’s finished cooking, let it rest for a few minutes before carving and serving. Enjoy!

Don’t have time to make gravy? No problem! Carve up some potatoes and throw them into your turkey roaster with some liquid seasoning, then roast them for about an hour alongside your grouse. Voilà—gravy without having to make a fuss or worry about being burned by boiling hot drippings from your roast. Don’t have time to make gravy? No problem! Carve up some potatoes and throw them into your turkey roaster with some liquid seasoning, then roast them for about an hour alongside your grouse. Voilà—gravy without having to make a fuss or worry about being burned by boiling hot drippings from your roast.

Finish It Off

Ruffed grouse is a delicious and relatively easy bird to cook. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you get it right.

1. Start by trussing the bird. This will help it cook evenly.

2. Season the grouse inside and out with salt and pepper.

3. Place the grouse in a roasting pan breast side up.

4. Roast the grouse at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for about 20 minutes per pound, or until the internal temperature of the thigh meat reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

5. Remove the grouse from the oven and let it rest for 10 minutes before carving.

Cooked Grouse
Roasted Grouse
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Cooking With Fresh Vs Frozen Ingredients

If you’re lucky enough to have fresh grouse, the cooking process is simple. Just season the bird with salt and pepper, stuff it with some herbs, and roast it in a hot oven until the skin is crisp and the meat is cooked through. The challenge for most cooks will be to successfully prepare grouse that has been frozen. With this type of grouse, the cooking time will vary depending on whether or not it was first thawed in the refrigerator or in cold water. It’s important to remember that freezing does not kill any bacteria; if your frozen grouse has been thawed in water, then it must be refrigerated within two hours of preparation time or thrown away. When preparing the bird, start by patting it dry with paper towels before seasoning and roasting as described above. To determine if your grouse is done, use an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast without touching bone. Cooked grouse should reach at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit (74 degrees Celsius). A small amount of the breast may still appear pink when done, but that’s fine—the juices should run clear when pierced with a knife. Allow the bird to rest for 10 minutes before carving so all the delicious juices can stay inside! For a tasty gravy, mix pan drippings with beef broth and heavy cream over medium heat until thickened. Grouse also makes excellent sandwiches if thinly sliced and served on whole wheat bread with horseradish sauce or cranberry sauce.

Grouse
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The Importance Of The Right Equipment

If you want to cook a Ruffed grouse, you need the right equipment. Without the proper tools, you’ll be at a disadvantage from the start. Invest in a good quality skillet and cooking utensils, and make sure you have all the ingredients on hand before you begin. With the right tools and ingredients, you’ll be well on your way to impressing your dinner guests with your culinary skills. The next step is knowing how to prepare the bird. For that, we recommend starting by preheating your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Then, cut off both of the wings of the bird and remove any visible fat or connective tissue that might prevent it from browning properly in the pan (don’t worry about removing its legs – they will eventually fall off during cooking). Once you’ve done this, season it liberally with salt and pepper on both sides before adding 1 tablespoon of oil to a heated pan over medium-high heat. Place the grouse skin side down in the pan and allow it to cook for 2 minutes, or until golden brown. Flip it over so that the other side can cook for an additional 2 minutes. Add 3 tablespoons of butter to deglaze the pan, then add 4 chopped carrots, 6 thinly sliced shallots, 2 cups dry white wine, 1 teaspoon salt and 1⁄2 teaspoon black pepper. Bring everything to a boil before turning down the heat so that everything simmers for 15 minutes. Place some aluminum foil around the edges of the skillet so that moisture doesn’t seep out while you’re simmering and flip occasionally so both sides get cooked evenly. Remove from heat when done simmering; set aside until ready to serve!

Tips For Cooking In Large Quantities

  • If you’re cooking for a large group, make sure you have enough pots and pans to accommodate all the food you’ll be preparing.
  • Preheat your oven before beginning to cook, so that everything will be cooked evenly.
  • When cooking meat, make sure it is cooked all the way through before serving. Use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of the meat.
  • If you’re making a dish that requires chopped vegetables, consider using a food processor to save time.
  • When boiling pasta or potatoes, add salt to the water to help give them flavor.
  • When making a sauce, taste it as you go along and adjust the seasoning as necessary.

How Does Grouse Taste?

Grouse is a wild game bird with a white, lean meat. When cooked properly, it is both tender and juicy. Grouse has a unique flavor that some describe as similar to chicken or turkey. Others say it tastes more like venison. Either way, grouse is a flavorful and versatile game meat that can be used in a variety of recipes. You may also see grouse being called rock ptarmigan because the species is found across North America and Eurasia.

This delicious meat packs about six times more protein than the same amount of beef, three times more than pork, and two times more than lamb (source). But how does this translate into actual calories? A 3-ounce serving of cooked roast grouse contains 187 calories.

Cooking Techniques & Variations

If you want to cook a Ruffed grouse, there are a few things you should keep in mind.

  1. Make sure you clean the bird thoroughly before cooking.
  2. Decide what kind of flavor you want your grouse to have.
  3. Determine how you want to cook your grouse – grilled, roasted, or baked?
  4. Don’t forget to truss the bird before cooking to ensure even cooking.
  5. When grilling or baking your grouse, be sure to baste it regularly with its own juices or butter for extra flavor.
  6. Don’t overcook your grouse – it should be cooked through but still juicy. Finally, let the bird rest for a few minutes before carving and serving. Remember that meat continues to cook after being removed from heat, so don’t overdo it!
Curious grouse, tetrastes bonasia, watching attentively in green woodland.

How To Store Ruffed Grouse

To store your grouse, first make sure you pluck and clean the bird. Next, you’ll want to rinse the inside and outside of the bird with cold water. Once it’s clean, pat the grouse dry with paper towels. Place the grouse in a sealable bag and store it in the fridge for up to two days. When you’re ready to cook, remove the grouse from the bag and let it come to room temperature. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and roast the grouse for about 30 minutes.

How To Preserving Ruffed Grouse

Ruffed grouse are a type of game bird that can be found in North America. These birds are usually hunted for their meat, which is considered to be a delicacy. If you’re lucky enough to bag one of these birds, you’ll want to know how to properly preserve the meat. Here are six tips for preserving your Ruffed grouse

  1.  Use a dry rub or wet brine to flavor the meat before cooking it – both will help season and keep your food moist during cooking. Dry rubs are typically made from spices, herbs and other ingredients while wet brines include salt and sugar or honey as well as vinegar or soy sauce.
  2.  Cook at low temperatures for long periods of time; this will not only seal in all the juices but also provide you with more flavorful results than cooking at high temperatures.
  3. Remove any skin before cooking; this will make it easier to serve and eat without having to chew through tough skin.
  4. Sear each side of the bird on high heat before continuing with low-temperature cooking; this will give you an extra crispy outside layer.
  5.  Allow the bird to rest for 10 minutes after being removed from the oven; this helps keep all those tasty juices inside.
  6.  Don’t forget about vegetables! You don’t have to just roast potatoes every time you have a whole turkey, try roasting some root vegetables alongside your Ruffed grouse. Some ideas would be carrots, sweet potatoes, onions, turnips and celery.

The key to good roasting vegetables is getting them cut up into uniform sizes so they cook evenly. Place your vegetables around the edges of the pan and nestle the Ruffed grouse in the center. Add butter (or bacon fat), salt, pepper and garlic powder (or minced garlic) to the pan before placing it in a 400 degree oven for 40-50 minutes until done. Check periodically to ensure nothing burns too much or gets too dark!

Grouse breast

Benefit Of Eating Grouse Meat

If you’re looking for a delicious, healthy way to add some variety to your diet, look no further than grouse meat. This game bird is not only lean and nutritious, but it’s also versatile and easy to cook. Here are just a few of the benefits of eating grouse

  • Grouse meat is an excellent source of protein, containing all the essential amino acids needed by the human body.
  • It is also low in fat and cholesterol, making it a healthy option for those looking to improve their heart health.
  • Grouse meat is rich in iron, zinc, and phosphorus, all essential minerals for human health.
  • Eating grouse meat can help provide relief from fatigue and weakness caused by deficiencies in these vitamins.
  • It’s loaded with B vitamins like thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, and pantothenic acid which are important for energy production within cells as well as red blood cell formation.
  • A fun fact about grouse is that they produce twice as much natural omega-3 fatty acids as other game birds such as pheasant or quail do.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids are very important because they can reduce inflammation throughout the body which helps with arthritis pain and may even be beneficial against some cancers!
  • They contain vitamin A which contributes to eye health while helping maintain healthy skin tissue too! Grouse meat has more selenium than beef, chicken, pork, or turkey. Selenium plays a key role in the development of muscle tissues and strengthening the immune system.
  • -Grouse meat is high in protein and low in fat (only 2% fat)
  • -This game bird contains more vitamins A, B12, D, E, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin (B3), folate (B9), pantothenic acid (B5), pyridoxine hydrochloride (B6), biotin (B7) than other poultry sources
  • -The levels of these nutrients vary depending on how the animal was raised: those that are pasture-raised have higher levels because they eat more grasses and insects which contain these nutrients. Wild grouse will have lower levels because they eat bugs such as beetles or ants that don’t contain these nutrients.

Conclusion

There you have it! A simple guide on how to cook a Ruffed grouse. By following these steps, you’ll be sure to impress your friends and family with your culinary skills. And who knows, maybe this will be the start of a new hobby for you. So go out there, get yourself a grouse, and give it a try! You can always make some classic sides or desserts to accompany your main dish.

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Fly Fishing for Beginners in Maine

Fly fishing can seem a little confusing for beginners, as it is very different from other methods of traditional fishing. Luckily the state of Maine has plenty of great places to go in order to practice and catch a lot of fish. If you are just starting out or want to experience some of the best fly fishing waters in Maine, then you have come to the right place! 

Fly fishing in the river

One of the first things you will need to do is gather up all of the right equipment to get started on your fly fishing adventure. A good pair of waders, a fly rod, fly line, a catch net, a tool kit, and of course, some flies and lures. Once you have the basics covered, you can start to assemble your gear kit and start familiarizing yourself with everything. This will also give you a good opportunity to get some practice in before heading out! 

Learning to tie some basic knots will also go a long way to help you catch fish. Some popular knots that are important to know include the surgeon’s knot, clinch, and the improved clinch knot. You should also learn the difference between these knots and what each one works best for. 

Once you have assembled and prepared your gear, you are probably ready to hit the water! Maine is a beautiful state with many places to fish. There are excellent lakes, rivers, and streams in nearly every corner of the state that you could head to, but there are a few that seem to stand out when it comes to fly fishing. These are all great options, especially when it comes to beginners! 

The first is the Kennebec River. This river is a fly fishing hotspot thanks to its very consistent flows and the many dams across the state. You will find almost 170 miles of water along this river, but the upper portion tends to be the best for fly fishing. In this river, you can find some amazing brook trout fishing, as well as salmon, rainbow trout, and brown trout. For a real treat, head to the Moosehead Lake area. Not only is it beautiful and a great place for beginner fly anglers to fish, but you will find big landlocked salmon, brook trout, and lake trout. 

Another great area is the Penobscot River. This is Maine’s largest river and runs about 370 miles long. In these waters, fly anglers can expect to find brook trout, salmon, warm water species like bass, and even some stripers. While it can be a difficult river to wade in if you have a kayak or a boat you can be in some of the best fishing waters in the state. Finding the deeper pools and holes will lead you to bigger fish, and generally less competition from other anglers as well. 

If you are looking for a river with a little more access and easier wading, then the Roach River is also a great choice. This river starts at First Roach Pond and flows into Spencer Bay on Moosehead Lake. The 6.5-mile stretch is fly fishing only, making it a great place for anglers of any skill level. You will find plenty of salmon and brook trout, and beginner fly anglers should have no problem increasing their skills in this river. 

Once you find where you want to go fishing, you must then find the right locations to start throwing your line. Specific locations on the river will be home to certain types and sizes of fish. Where and how you cast will determine your success while fly fishing, so some care must be taken to your approach. Walk slowly and quietly along the river while searching for potential areas, so as to not spook the fish.

Rear View Of Man Fly Fishing At River Against Rock Formations

Look for different riffles and rapids in the water. Fish will often be in groups in areas just below these sped-up sections of water as they lie in wait for the water to bring them food. You should also look for rocks, logs, and other obstructions in the water, especially if they are surrounded by fast-moving currents. Fish will hide behind these objects to stay out of the faster water and conserve their energy while still waiting for the currents to bring them food as it drifts down. Lastly, deep pools can also be productive, especially in warmer weather. 

Finding the right fishing spot is only half of the battle, however. Choosing the right fly or streamer can make or break your fishing trip. As a general rule of thumb, try to match your fly to whatever food sources you are seeing in the area. This method of “matching the hatch” will imitate the fish’s natural food and will increase your odds of getting a good strike. Cast these flies upstream of where you suspect the fish are hiding, and allow them to gently float down to the fish that are waiting. If you do not get a strike, try again at a slightly different angle. 

Caucasian Men in His 30s Fly Fishing in a River in Sunny Summer Day.

As you fish, remember to remain aware of your surroundings. It is easy to get lost in the amazing beauty of the outdoors or caught up in the excitement of catching a fish. Safety is always a priority when in the outdoors. The last thing that you want to do is slip and fall in slippery conditions or be caught in fluctuating water levels. Remain cautious of the river or water where you are fishing and remind yourself to stay aware of your surroundings. But, when all is said and done, just remember to have fun and be patient with yourself. 

Fly fishing can be a little challenging at first, but with enough practice and patience, anyone can become a pro. Maine is an amazing state with so many great opportunities to go fly fishing. Even as a beginner, you are sure to have some success and at the very least will enjoy your time while out in the outdoors! 

Rainbow trout
Turkeys feeding in the morning

Turkey Hunting: The Hidden Gem of Hunts

Turkeys feeding in the morning
Turkeys feeding the the morning

Many of us hunters try to get out into the woods as often as possible. Talk to any serious hunter and you will no doubt hear how much they enjoy deer or elk hunting. These are by far two of the most popular and widely hunting species on the continent, but there is one particular hunt that is often overlooked by most outdoorsmen. This hunt is most often underrated by many hunters and it doesn’t even conflict with the most popular hunts out there: turkey hunting.

Mostly done in the spring, turkey hunting is truly one of the most underrated hunts out there. Here are a few benefits and advantages to planning a spring turkey hunt this year, and why you need to make room for it on your calendar! 

Turkeys Are Everywhere

One of the first benefits of planning a turkey hunt is that they can be found just about anywhere. No matter where you live in the United States, you will either live in or near some quality turkey hunting areas. In fact, Alaska is the only state in the country that does not have any wild turkeys. Every other state (even Hawaii) has at least one of the many subspecies of wild turkeys that you can go out and hunt. 

Even if you do not have any turkeys near you, there are most likely some huntable populations just a short drive from you. Unlike elk and sometimes deer, turkeys do not require as much traveling in order to hunt and are generally very easy to find. Maybe this is another reason why many hunters will ignore turkey hunting, but although they are generally plentiful that does not mean, however, they are extremely easy to kill. You may see a lot of turkeys in one day, but it will still be a fun and exciting challenge to harvest one! 

Wild Turkey
Wild Turkey

Cost Benefits

Comparing turkeys to deer and elk again, you also get the benefits of saving a lot of money while hunting them. Not only are tags cheaper, but you most likely have less traveling and less equipment to purchase in order to go turkey hunting. In fact, the same bow you hunt deer with or the same shotgun you use for waterfowl can be used for turkey hunting! 

Turkey hunting does not take a whole lot of equipment to get started. First, you will need some basic camouflage. These birds have excellent eyesight so it pays to stay as hidden as possible. This includes camo pants, shirt, hat, face mask, and a good pair of hunting boots. In addition to the weapon, you will also need some turkey calls. These are very inexpensive and there are many different types out there. Lastly, some additional items that can help increase success (but are not vital) include things like decoys, ground blinds, and binoculars. With some very basic gear, many of which you probably already own, you can go out and successfully hunt turkeys. 

One of the biggest arguments that hunters have against turkey hunting is that turkeys are small and you do not get much meat when you kill one. While it is true that a deer or elk will give much more meat, turkeys are a great way to help supplement the freezer. Not only are they more cost-effective, but their main hunting season does not conflict with deer or elk season either! 

Turkey Hunting in Montana
Turkey Hunting Montana

Spring Time Hunting and Practice

One of the biggest advantages of turkey hunting is that the core turkey season takes place in the spring. This is when their breeding season is, and when they are the most vocal and easiest to hunt. During this time of year, you can utilize your turkey calls to lure the birds right to you. Luckily, there are not a whole lot of other hunts going on during this time period for it to conflict with anything either. So while many hunters pursue deer in the fall and winter, they can roll right into spring with some turkey tags in their pockets and keep on hunting. Many often will compare spring turkey hunting to fall elk hunting, as many of the same tactics are used for both species. 

This also means you get to keep hunting for longer and keep your hunting skills sharp. There is nothing worse than taking an extended period of time away from hunting, only to return to the woods a little rusty. Turkeys have exceptional eyesight and hearing, making them a very worthy adversary in the woods. By lengthening your hunting season, not only will you get to enjoy the outdoors more but you will continue to sharpen and hone all of your hunting skills for future hunts. 

This is also why turkey hunting is the perfect hunt for beginners or youth. Not only are turkeys plentiful and the action is sure to be exciting, but they are much smaller and less intimidating for a beginner hunter who is just learning the ins and outs of the outdoors. It can be done in much more controlled environments, the weather tends to be much better in the spring, and turkeys are relatively easy to kill (at least compared to giant bucks or bulls). This is the perfect recipe for a hunt that is great for teaching and introducing others to the hunting lifestyle. 

Final Thoughts

Although turkeys can be found in just about every state in the country, many hunters still do not take full advantage of the turkey hunting opportunities around them. From extending your hunting season to getting more practice in, turkey hunting can be a great way to enjoy some added benefits and even put a little more meat in the freezer. And when it comes to sharing the outdoors with others, there is truly no better hunt out there than the hidden gem of a springtime turkey hunt!