I know this time of year is difficult for the sportsmen who get their added energy from the sound of a deer busting branches on a frosty morning as it gets wind of your presence. Or for the hunter missing that rush of adrenaline felt as a pair of deer cross your path, clearing a twitch trail and fading into the shadows of the forest before you ever cocked the hammer on the Winchester.
This month can deliver relentless pain if every time you dig into the dusty corner of your wallet you confront a hunting license still gripping a deer tag. Yes, I agree that an 11-month wait can seem like eternity, especially if the VCR in your mind won’t stop replaying those taped highlights of that spike-horn buck you tripped over just a few days back.
If for some unknown reason you’re seeing full-color sketches of a 10-point buck you missed on opening day, my best advice to you is don’t share this story with anyone. Past experience has proved that other hunters are greatly energized by feeding off someone else’s misfortune. If this mishap should settle on the wrong ears, you could spend a lifetime trying to shed that skin. The last thing you want is to be carved up like a piece of pie at Thanksgiving by relatives who couldn’t hit a deer if it was chained to their porch.
I realize this month can be just as difficult for the fisherman staring at a rack of idle fishing rods, suffering from the lack of outboard fumes as the bow of his boat splits the water. Try not to dwell on the memory of that 5-pound salmon spitting your hook as your fishing buddy caught only a few scales on the rim of your net. I find many anglers are reminded enough. Usually every time they visit a mirror and see the faded scar on their earlobe that came from the rear hook of a Greyghost that an angry landlocked salmon released. Periodically the scar looks worse when jolted by the echo of that famous line from your coffee-logged fishing partner who’s sprawled across the front seat of your boat. “Whoa! That was one huge fish, make a swing back through there and I’ll pick him up for you.”
We could fill this void between seasons by spying packages beneath the Christmas tree looking for gifts preferably about 81/2 feet in length, with a disk-shaped device at one end. But this is no challenge, especially when the ivory handle of a Pflueger reel has pierced the wrapping paper. Believe me, you’re better served not dwelling on these odd-shaped gifts This way you can almost convince yourself you haven’t a clue what’s hidden beneath the paper. This makes for a more realistic expression on your face when your wife lays it across your lap and jumps back saying, “You’ll never guess this present.”
Instead, while the ice is still forming on the lakes and your snowshoes are waiting to come out of hibernation, put a few more miles on this season’s hunting license.
Untangle the abandoned decoys hanging in your garage and fire up the outboard before the lights are turned off and the door slams shut on Maine’s sea duck hunting season.
Avid hunter Steve Strout of Somesville reported the Frenchmen Bay area seems to be occupying a larger than usual number of birds this season. There has been a healthy abundance of eiders and white wing scoters occupying airspace, Strout said. One reason contributing to the heavy traffic of ducks in the area could be what seems to be a decline of hunting pressure this season, Strout said.
So before the Jan. 20 deadline expires, scoop a handful of steel-shot shells out of your gun cabinet, and make tracks for the coast.
The entire state received a setback in the snow and ice category this past weekend. Up until this unseasonable weather, lakes around the state were a couple weeks ahead of schedule. In The County, Long Lake lost as much as 6 inches of ice over the weekend, leaving it with open water on Monday.
Answer to last week’s question: What is the largest antlered mammal in North America after the moose? Elk.
Question: True or false: The grizzly bear is larger than the Alaskan brown bear.
– NEWS staffer Terry Farren, firstname.lastname@example.org.