For the past few weeks, I’ve been hearing exciting, if anecdotal, reports about just how good the bird hunting in the Maine woods is this year. “We headed out for a day of hunting, and three hours later, we had all filled our limits,” one acquaintance told me. From 20 Mile Gate of the North Maine Woods, another, similar report: “This one group came back through disappointed. I thought they hadn’t seen any birds,” the gate attendant said. “No. They were sad because they’d already filled their limits and couldn’t hunt longer.” Those kinds of reports, you might recognize, are enough to spur a bird hunter (or, in this case, a group of bird hunters) into action. And earlier this week, I joined a group of friends on what has become a traditional way-too-short trip into the woods in search of ruffed grouse to shoot at, and moose to talk to. Frequent visitors to this column may recognize this theme, which I’ve sometimes referred to as our “catch-and-release moose hunt.” The reason: My group of pals and I haven’t let the lack of a moose permit get in the way of our attempts to capture video and still photos of the magnificent critters.
Alas, this year, the moose didn’t participate. Over three days and hundreds of miles of driving, we saw plenty of tracks, and talked to some folks who’d offered up the familiar “You should have been here 10 minutes ago! He was the biggest moose we’ve ever seen” refrain. But photos? Video? Nope. We got nothing. [full article]