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Hunting Memories

According to Deer Friendly, Maine deer biologists estimate the population this year to be about 240,000. As a result, the state has issued a record number of doe permits to reduce the population.  This is an increase from an estimated population of 225,000 in 2016. Populations have been supported by mild to moderate winters in previous years.

A combo hunting license for hunting and fishing in Maine is $20.00 or $10.00 if you just want one license. Disabled war veterans get both for free. An archery hunting license is the most expensive at $26.00.

Sunday hunting restrictions remain in 11 states and Maine is one of them. It has always been illegal and not many people fight for the right to hunt on Sundays because of the fact no one really wants that rule to change.

Maine residential land owners do not need a license to hunt on their own property. Children 16 and under must have a junior hunting license in order to hunt. Junior hunting license owners can only hunt with a firearm, bow and arrow and crossbow.

Many students at Thornton have been hunting since they were little kids and look forward to times in the forest with family and friends.

Senior Tyler Grenier has many fond memories, but his favorite was last October in Addison, Maine. Even though there were only 50 Antlerless Deer permits in the area, because it was a youth day, all deer shot could be tagged, antlerless or not.

Neither Tyler or his father slept a bit on the 4-5 hour drive up to Addison and shortly after they arrived at camp, they headed out to hunt. The tree stand was about a mile into the woods where the deer tend to cross a brush line. “Once we found the stand, my father and I both got up and sat into the chair, hoping to see some deer….I started getting really tired and dozed off. I was awoken by my dad, shoving my arm slightly while pointing at a clearing not far from our stand.”

They had been told by a couple locals from the area, that there was a ‘blotched’ deer, or a deer which large white spots on its fur, which is really rare. Tyler proceeded to grab the gun back from his dad and continued to look at an opening that the deer were going to cross 100-125 yards away.

“My heart was racing at this point due to the fact I could have an opportunity to fire at a rare deer. As I was sitting looking patiently at the opening, a normal whitetail doe (or so we thought) walked up into the opening. ‘Fire.’ my dad whispered. As I squeezed the trigger, I was instantly startled by the noise the .44 Magnum rifle made. My dad, watching the deer, noticed when it ran off, that the tail was standing straight up, a sign I had missed my shot. So my dad told me to wait, and prepare to fire again. This time, the doe with bright, bleached white, fur, strolled into the opening. I didn’t even need my father for this one. I squeezed the trigger and watched as the deer collapsed in place.”

Sadly, Tyler had hit it in the back area, and the deer no longer had the ability to use its back legs… “Its bleats were sharp and sudden as it tried to drag itself away from my father and I. I pulled my gun up to my shoulder and made a loud whistle noise to get it to stop squirming. As soon as I noticed a lack of movement, I pulled the trigger. Suddenly the entire woods got dead silent, as the deer took its final breath. It almost looked unreal as the deer tilted its head back and I could see the air from its lungs, passing out of three different holes. I looked at my dad, who was almost in tears by the sight, but he hugged me and told me that I had done a good deed.”

About 5 yards to the right of the opening Tyler and his dad discovered another deer — a 4-inch spike, barely 2 years old. It was the first deer Tyler had shot and thought he had missed. The problem was now they had two dead dear and only one tag.  They summed up the situation without words, both knew they could lose their hunting license unless they thought smart. Tyler’s uncle and cousins arrived on ATVs and they decided together that the best thing to do was call the game warden.

When the “Man in Green” arrived about an hour later, he was driving a brand new ATV provided by the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. When they explained that they had not thought the first bullet made contact, the game warden understood the situation. They spent a bit of time circling around the dear talking before Grenier and his family headed back to camp with the product of an exciting, emotional day.

When Tyler got home he contacted Cabela’s to see if they wanted the rare white deer body and they said they would taxidermy it and send it to Portland Jet port’s new “Wildlife Life” section.

Cody Agro With His Turkey 

Senior Cody Agro’s favorite hunting memory occurred back in 2013 when he got a moose while hunting with his dad and brother on a logging road. His brother had to go to the bathroom so they pulled off to the side of the road and while waiting for him to come back to the truck, his dad was doing some calling and heard a nice bull off in the woods.

They went back the next day and Cody remembers after they called the moose, “a bull stepped out and caught us all off guard. I couldn’t make a shot and he bolted into the woods.” The next day, they were just sitting there waiting when they looked up and about 400 yards up the hill Cody saw a bull appear and slowly made his way down to them. He was about 150  yards away when Agro took a shot and got him.

Hunting season is usually the end of October through the end of November but the firearm season goes from the end of October to November which is when Agro normally hunts. “If I’m unsuccessful during that season then sometimes I’ll hunt the muzzleloader season which runs two weeks into December. I have shot a couple turkeys, they were about 18 pounds apiece. Hunting turkeys is more fun for me because I love chasing them around the woods and calling for them.”

Sophomore Colby Giroux had plans with his dad to go hunting but they had to move it up earlier because his dad got ill and knew they wouldn’t have very much time together. 

On Saturday December 8, Colby and his dad woke up around 5:00 am to go hunting on a boat for sea ducks. 

“We followed Troy for about 15 minutes down to Biddeford Pool where we put the boat in. My dad and I got out, met Troy and started loading our guns into the boat. The boat was a 22 foot Duck Hunting Machine, fully camo with blinds on each side that came up. It had a 225 Evinrude E-tec on the back and she moved.”

He remembers it was just about sunrise and they had just put out all the decoys. They were looking for Male or female King eiders and Black Scoters. The boat was parked, and they were tied off to a buoy.  

Cody who doesn’t always lean towards poetry, describes what happens next in vivid detail that feels like art. “Troy turned the key off, now it’s game time. We waited for about 5 minutes before we started spotting them. Like little black missiles going through the air at 100 mph. All of a sudden, I heard Troy say ‘Get ready’ I kneeled down in the boat, just able to see over the blind. I watched for the black disturbances in the dark blue ocean water. There, I see it, it’s coming straight at me, the way the wind pushed the black shiny feathers back, like a dogs fur when it sticks its head out of the car window. In the blink of an eye, the duck goes from a barely visible spot, to blood in the snow. As it comes in for a landing, it opens its wings, the glare of the sun off of its wings almost blinds me. ‘Now’ Troy yells. I stand up, Aim, shoot once, shoot twice, ‘Got em’ said Troy.”

They untied from the buoy and drove over to the Duck. Troy grabbed it out of the water and handed Colby his first sea duck, a Black Scroter. He was so pumped, as the day went on, Colby and his  dad and  both shot their limits. 

“This was the first time I had ever gone Sea Duck hunting. I was very great full that I got to experience it with my father. We got 10 Ducks in total. And I nailed two King Eiders, a male and a female. (Fun fact, King Eiders are the biggest Duck in North America). This hunting trip was just one of many great hunting trips that I hope to enjoy with my father and to remember this trip I’m getting both Eiders mounted. Truly was a great trip and an awesome experience with my father.The smile on his face. I will never forget that. I will never forget all the other great times I’ve had with my father and the ones to come.”

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