Bird Hunting in the North Maine Woods – Part II

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Nice campfire for night #2. (c) Staci Warren

We took each road we came to, and one of many came to a dead end, and it’s there where we found the remains of a very fat recently harvested bear, and about forty grouse carcasses. Well no wonder we weren’t seeing any birds–someone shot them all…as for the bear…pure envy that someone got a bear. However, the bear wasn’t field dressed; it was caped. It was left with no hind legs, no head and the front paws cut off at the wrists. This means, they didn’t take the front quarters or the tenderloins or neck meat. We were thinking what a waste to see such a prize not fully utilized. On our way back to camp the following day, we stopped into the locally owned store that is the only tagging station in the area. He was surprised when we told him about the bear. He hadn’t tagged a bear and because it wasn’t field dressed and legs were left, the store owner suspected that the bear was poached. Now I was mad. I was mad because of the bear. I was mad because the birds we saw were probably also poached. We reported our find to the game wardens but never heard whether or not they followed up. And that annoyed me.

It was cold and windy, but sunny…not the greatest for grouse hunting but we were still optimistic. When we FINALLY saw a bird, it was Ty’s turn to take a shot. He missed. Then he became the “Unhappy Hunter”. Loads of candy bars to keep us thinking about the lack of birds could only last for so long. Bird Utopia was looking sort of bleak.

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Ty with his bird. (c) Staci Warren

As luck seemed to be on our side, a few minutes later, we take another road, and Bam!…another bird! The bird is standing in the middle of the road. It’s a big one. My turn…I miss too! Seriously, I never miss!! I am bummed and not liking my new gun, because “I obviously know how to shoot.” A total blow to my ego. We spot another bird down another road. It’s John’s turn…I kid you not. The bird fly away before he can take a shot. In fact two birds take off. Things were not looking good. Things started to look up when Tyler scored on his next turn. Finally we had a bird for the hours of driving. “Unhappy Hunter” is now “Happy Hunter” telling Mom and Dad how to do it. Fun times for us all.

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Fossil of a shell. (c) S. Warren

Back at camp, we shot our guns and built a fire. I discover that my new gun shoots differently than John’s, which I had always used. I took a little time and scored another fossil for my collection. We spend the night having a great meal and conversation and head to bed…by a whopping 8:30. We were exhausted.

Sunday, we headed to Houlton to eat at the famous Grammy’s Country Inn…yummie and huge portions. John and I split a seafood platter…I would have loved to try one of the gigantic Whoopie pies, but I refrained. The amount of Halloween candy consumed on this trip was enough to tell me I had had enough. We did manage to buy some Maine potatoes that were being sold on the side of the road in Monticello. I also got to see the Mars Hill windmills…I don’t know what all the moaning is about; I find them interesting.

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First bird with my new shotgun. (c) S. Warren

Monday, the sun finally came out in full force with no clouds. We could only hunt half a day because of the long ride home. We hit the road early and in no time had two birds in the truck. Everyone had gotten a bird! Hooray!

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Crown coral mushroom (c) S. Warren

After packing up and heading out to leave, I manage to spot a beautiful Crown coral mushroom right next to the road. It’s edible and one of my friend’s favorites. I have yet to convince my family to try any of the mushrooms I’ve found.

So, this was our last trip to Bird Utopia. What we spent in gas and time to drive to get there, and the cost of camping, we could have had the same accommodations for $30 in Greenville…or for $0 at the Big Eddy….or the same amount of money for two nights at Tomhegan Camps. It was a great time, and I’m glad we did it, but time is too precious to be spending it in the truck when you could be hunting for the birds. I guess we didn’t find Bird Utopia, and this just proves that the hunting isn’t always better elsewhere…What does matter is that we had a great time as a family doing what we love, and after all…we all want Happy Hunting.

PS…We saw no bear. I don’t know what I was thinking. I really could have used the space that rifle took up in the truck.

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