Hunting

Hunting Rules & Legal Hunting Hours for 2014/2015

This Saturday, November 1 marks the start of the 2014 whitetail deer rifle season. For all you last minute planners out there here are links to the hunting hours chart from Maine DIFW and the Hunting and Trapping rules and regulations for 2014/2015.  If you forgot your license you can log in and buy online with the link at the bottom of this post. Good luck and be safe.

Maine whitetail deer

2014 - 2015 Maine Hunting Rules & Regulations

Legal Hunting Hours

Get a license online from MOSES site

Maine Hunting Zones (WMD)

Investing in Maine Timberland

A friend asked me today if Maine timberland is a good investment. I think it is and invest in it myself.  For me, there are many reasons for doing so.

I became interested in timberland because it has been a proven investment for many of my clients and other family members. I have witnessed well managed land provide periodic returns of stumpage while the land remained well stocked with trees for future harvest. As an investment, one of the key features of timber is the ability for the owner to leave trees on the stump to grow and move up to a more valuable product class. Unlike other crops, if markets are not good, trees can be left for a later harvest when markets improve.  Additionally, with a number of other potential uses, land values over time usually continue to rise.

 

Managed Clear Cut

Managed Clear Cut

 

I would also credit forestland for helping to improve my mental health. Spending time in the forest I own has a relaxing effect on my mind.  Doing the physical work of timber stand improvement not only helps increase the value of my woodlot, I find it the perfect stress reliever as it lets me forget about the complications of our modern world.  Improving land of any kind gives me and most others I know a great feeling of accomplishment.

As a hunter, owning timberland gives me the ability to help our local game animals by managing areas for them. New growth from a harvest provides a desirable food source and cover for many of our favorite species like ruffed grouse, woodcock, rabbit, whitetail deer and moose. Areas left heavily wooded will provide good winter cover for those same animals.

The State of Maine gives a landowner a better chance at the any deer permit lottery. Any private landowner is eligible for the landowner permit drawing if the person owns a particular piece of land that is: 25 or more contiguous acres in size; is agricultural, forested or undeveloped land; and open to hunting, including hunting by permission. Any dependent living in the household of a qualifying landowner is eligible.

Maine has another benefit for timberland owners. The tree growth tax program is a special tax status available for owners who agree to manage their lands the commercial harvest of the forest. This reduction in property tax is the reward for the landowner to properly care for the forest and provide the raw materials that support our forest products industry. The requirement to have a Maine licensed forester provide a management plan also ads value to the ownership.

Timberland is a great asset that can provide you with cash returns, pride of ownership and recreational pastimes; it is also a potential legacy for your children and grandchildren. Properly managed forests have historically supplied generations of owners with all of the above.

If you are interested in learning more about timberland investing, United Country Real Estate's timberland specialty property group has an informative free E Book written by Eric J. Holzmueller PhD.  Eric is a forester and one of United Country's many licensed foresters who are also land brokers. You can download the free book at http://investintimberland.com/

Alissa Hunts For Bear in Maine

 

A few months ago my wife fielded a call from a young lady from Michigan who inquired about hunting bear with Mountain View Drifter Lodge & Outfitters. She asked a lot of questions, most of which my wife who works closely with me could answer. She also wanted a call back from me for guide specific questions. We had a very pleasant conversation where I talked about the hunt we provide and asked her a few questions as well. She indicated she and her hunting partner both were interested in hunting black bear with archery equipment. I described the stands I use, typical shot distance and spoke a bit about black bears. Alissa decided to book her hunt with us for the first week of the 2015 bear season.

Alissa and her friend drove through the night from Michigan and arrived in Millinocket, ME around 11 a.m. on Sunday. After they and our other guests settled in for the week we served a meal of Maine lobster. After lunch we went over bear behavior, shot placement, and everything a new bear hunter needs to know to possibly have a chance of filling their bear tag. Next we moved onto proficiency with their hunting weapon. Alissa was able to group her arrows pretty well into my 3-D target, even after riding all night from Michigan. She shot well from ground level and from the elevated stand that mimics a hunting situation.

 

Alissa's Archery Equipment

Alissa's Archery Equipment

 

The following day found Alissa shooting at the 3-D target prior to the hunt. It was obvious she is a very dedicated archer. After lunch everyone donned their hunting apparel and gathered their gear as we headed off to the Maine woods in search of black bear. It took a couple of hours to get everyone out to their stands, and Alissa had to endure the long bumpy road to the archery stand I had set up in a swampy area that had a lot of bear activity. We walked into the bait site and I indicated silently where her stand was located. She tied off her gear to the rope and scampered up the tree steps and secured her safety harness to the tree. I then baited the site and slipped away to allow Alissa to sit motionless for the next several hours.

 

Alissas View

Alissa's Tree Stand View

 

 

On this first day of the hunt I had no calls from anyone harvesting a bear. Once all the hunters were gathered up and we were heading back to the lodge I learned that everyone had seen black bears on their bait sites, but had not shot any. In Alissa's case the bear she saw, probably saw her too. It had started to come into the bait site, then turned and headed back the way it came. That's what bears do when they determine something is not quite right in their neighborhood.

 

Bear's View

Success!

 

 

Tuesday began much the same way as Monday. Alissa shot her practice arrows. We had lunch, and we headed back to the woods in search of bear. On the way in to Alissa's stand I reiterated that you need to sit still and allow the bear to fully commit to the bait. Alissa and I headed into the bait site, she climbed into her stand, I baited the bait and slipped away. Later that afternoon I received a text message; "Bear down! Dead 15 yards from tree".   Well that was good news. I responded; "who shot", since there was no name on the text. I received the following,"Me!". Well I sort of knew who shot, but I had to be certain, rather than accidently walk in on the wrong hunter. So I wrote,"name". To which I received,"Alissa". Well now I was off and running. I arrived at the site, Alissa pointed to the bear that had been perfectly shot laying dead just a few yards from her stand. She climbed down and we went to admire her trophy. After some photos Alissa assisted me in carrying the bear through the swamp to the truck. We met up with the other hunters and headed back to the lodge for some well deserved congratulations.

 

Alissa Stieler with guide Rick Theriault

 

 

If you want to be successful in hunting an animal you never hunted before, a qualified guide is a good place to start. But beyond that you need to dedicate yourself to practicing with your hunting weapon. Alissa's months of practice allowed her to even after sitting motionless for several hours to draw her bow, pick her spot on the bear and release her arrow, all undetected and executed perfectly. Congratulations Alissa on your first Maine black bear!

For those of you wondering what Alissa was using for equipment, this is what she shot her bear with:

2015 BowTech Icon (compound bow) 52 lb Draw Weight 25 1/2" Draw Length Approx. 238 FPS Easton Bloodline Arrows (carbon fiber) 100 Grain G5 Montechs (fixed blade) HHA Single Pin Sight QAD Drop Away Rest

You can follow Alissa on her other hunts on Instagram. Her address is IG: archerhuntress

Maine Deer Hunting Food Plots and Stand Placement

We had a successful hunting season in Maine for 2015.  Everyone in our hunting party saw deer, had some good naps on stand and just enjoyed being in the Maine woods in Hancock County.  In the post you will see a photo of my 10 year old nephew, Gavin, enjoying a nap on stand. Gavin bagged his first turkey in May and bear in October, but the whitetails were intolerant of the snoring sounds coming from his blind.

 

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Snoozing in the blind

 

Throughout this year we worked on clearing new hiking and ATV trails throughout the northwest section of our family woodlot.  Along these trails we installed two ladder stands on a ridge of mature maple and pine trees overlooking one of the small babbling brooks that meanders through our land.  From our stands we also have a view of Blue Hill Maine and Mount Desert Island and parts of Acadia National Park. Even on the days we don't see deer the views are nice.

The trail work paid off as my brother harvested a nice 8 point buck that dressed out just under 190 pounds.  To make the job of getting the deer out of the woods, our neighbor Nick and his 3 year old son Colby drove their ATV out our new trail and drug the deer out for us and even hoisted the animal onto our truck.  Thank you Nick!

We have found the deer like to use our new trails along with other game animals.  To smooth out some of these trails and remove stumps we plan to have Jeremy Guellette of Ground Perfection Specialists spend a day or two with his grinder cleaning things up for us.  The machines you see clearing the sides of I-95 north of Lincoln is Jeremy's company.

Once cleaned up we will seed down the trails and plant some small food plots.  Our forester also recommended cutting back the 7-10' poplar in areas.  This will cause the poplar to reshoot new seedlings and will be a "natural" food plot.

We enjoy working and improving our woodlot.   Owning land in Maine has many benefits but to me one of the tops is the therapy of doing physical labor and discovering new areas of your Maine land and how to best take advantage of the topography and other features.