The Before and After Buck

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Well, in northeastern Maine, it’s been tough in recent years (decades).  The deer population had plummeted, and just seeing a deer is a good thing.  The days of doe permits are long gone, and any buck seen is a trophy.  That is the attitude that most hunters there take, including myself and my Uncle.  He has hunted the woods of northeastern Maine for his entire life, pushing close to half a century.  He has taken a 252 lb 8 point, and a few other really nice deer.  But for him, it’s about food and family. 
About an hour from his house, he has a nice hunting camp on a lake that he shares with many of his family members on my Aunt’s side.  I have been there for both hunting and fishing trips, and it’s always a fun time.  Last week, my Uncle spent the week at camp.  With the deer numbers what they are, their daily routine usually consists of what amounts to a nice nature walk.  None of us really will complain about that, as it’s still time in the woods, away from work and the stresses of everyday life.  The week was passing pretty uneventfully.  On this day, he headed out with a friend to go for a walk. 
Now, my uncle and his friend are also very into photography, so his friend was carrying some nice camera equipment with him.  This is a fun way to pass the time, taking some great photos of the outdoors.  I do not know how many times I have received an email with one of David’s photos.  Considering he delivers truck supplies all over the back woods of Maine, he is usually out at first light, and gets some great shots of deer, bears, moose, and whatever else comes his way.  They started out from the camp and down some old logging roads.  There had been some rain, and they were hoping to catch some deer out moving.  Walking old logging roads are a great way to look for deer there, as most of the woods are so thick, this offers the best opportunity to spot something.  In the days of clear cutting, you could find cut after cut loaded with browse, and deer out eating. 
After a little bit, they came around a bend in the road.  Up ahead of them, they came face to face with a deer, and it stood there looking at them.  My uncle immediately got his gun up, and through the scope, could see no horns.  There was a bunch of junk in the background, but he still could not see a thing.  So his friend took some photos of the deer, and it still just stood there.  Now, we have all seen photos of guys who shoot a deer that they had trail camera photos of, and they post before and after photos.  Well, my Uncle’s friend decided to look at the photo he just took, and zoomed in to make sure it was okay.  That’s when he looked, and said “David, that’s a buck!”  Sure enough, you could see the spikes on top of his head.  My Uncle said “Okay”, and up came the gun, and down went the deer.  That quickly, he had a nice 135 lb spikehorn, a “trophy” in anyone’s book, especially for that area.
As I think about it, and about all the advances in technology, I have to laugh.  How many deer have we seen that could have been perfectly legal bucks, but due to something in nature, we were unable to tell?  Sure, it probably would have gotten away if not for the camera, but it was perfectly legal.  I am not sure if it will start a new method of hunting, but it’s good for a laugh!!  On a side note, if you look closely at the live photo (1st), you can just make out the spikes.


ManOfTheFall's picture

Great story, I really enjoyed

Great story, I really enjoyed the read. That deer does look like a good one in my opinion as well. That must be pretty cool to have a picture from a camera right before he was shot then of course more afterwards. One thing about that area up there it must be pretty nice to go walking on those old logging roads and getting to see all that different wildlife up there. Thanks for sharing the story and congratulations to your uncle on the spike horn.

Ca_Vermonster's picture

Jim and CVC..... Southern

Jim and CVC.....

Southern Maine has TONS of deer.  There are guys that go in the woods and see 20 deer a day.  They always get their deer, and they still have doe seasons down there.  it's almost like 2 different states though, and it's all about habitat.  Southern Maine is very much filled with agricultural property.  Lots of farms, fields, etc.  However, N. Maine is almost entirely blanketed by pine forests.  Sure, there are lots of potatoe fields, but the deer don't seem to like potatoe greens to eat too much.

The pine and cedar forests do not provide very much foor for the deer.  They used to clear cut up there for the logging industry, which left alot of low browse for the deer when it grew in.  We'd spend hours driving around looking at deer in the clearcuts.  However, they put a stop to that 15 or 20 years ago, and slowly, the forest has crept back up.  Now, the moose population has exploded, since they can eat those conifers, plus bark from the trees, if times get tough.  However, deer cannot digest that stuff, so they suffer.  But, the moose will also eat the low browse that the deer like, leaving nothing for the deer.

CVC's picture

Before reading your story I

Before reading your story I would have thought Maine would have a healthy deer population and like the others before me, I wonder why it doesn't?  Any ideas?  Anyway, good story.

jim boyd's picture

Great story and photos! It is

Great story and photos!

It is a shame the deer population is so low - what is causing that?

In most states the populatons are stable or rising...

Many states have increased the bag limits just in an attempt to reduce deer collisions with vehicles

That is a very healthy looking deer - he looks very robust and strong

Great story - thanks for contributing!

When my grandpa came to IN a

When my grandpa came to IN a long time ago there wasn't many deer. He never shot a doe, even to this day with numbers shy high. But I remember him telling me. He would let the bigger bodied deer go in hopes the better genetics would be passed on and make for a better over all deer herd. Meat is meat.

Ca_Vermonster's picture

Well, I don't think it

Well, I don't think it matters which you kill.  Kill the spike or kill the 8 point, that still leaves one running around the woods with a thingy between his legs, and fully capable of breeding.  Actually, if you think about it, I'd rather have the 3 1/2 year old 8 point leftover doing the breeding, he would probably be more successful and more does would be bred.  The spike may have a hard time.

You can tell my opinion by my response :wink:  I believe a buck, is a buck, is a buck......

gatorfan's picture

Cool story. Quick question on

Cool story.

Quick question on your thoughts; If the deer population is so low, do you agree that someone should be able to take such a young deer?

You can probably guess my opinion based on the question.  Not judging anyone at all, just MY opinion.