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I don't wanna sound like a toad, but I am having a heck of a time here.

Last season I missed a spike at 10 yards. He came out, scared me and I froze. I gunned up and he snorted and ran. I missed the snapshot (I shot and then tracked for 4 hours...not 1 drop of blood and 600 yards later through THICK Maine woods and swamp.

This year so far, I jumped a nice heavy 4-pointer at about 30 yards...I took 2 shots and missed both (no hair, no blood for 200 yards...he even stopped to look around after the 2 shots, the jetted when I positioned for a 3rd.)

I have yet to see a deer just wander out into my shooting lane while I'm sitting still. I have 2 ladder stands and a climbing stand...all set up. I live in mostly swamp and walk behind my house (60 acres) every morning at about 4am. I set up at least 1 1/2 hrs. before civil twilight (and at least 2 hrs. before sun-up.) I wash my clothes in scent free, I use scent free pit deodorant, I call at least every 20-30 minutes (rattle, bleat, grunt) when I think they are rutting and some days I just sit tight and don't call at all. I hunt the swamp, the fingers of tight pines in between the swamps and the hardwood clearings...I hunt everywhere that I see an abundance of deer crap and I rarely see a deer. I have seen 5 bucks this season (2 during bow, out of range....a rifle would have dropped 1 of these easily.) I have seen ALL bucks and not one doe....which isn't a bad thing except for the facts that does will most certainly point the way to commonly followed travel routes.....and I have a doe tag.

What the heck am I doing wrong? Maine deer are WAYYY fewer and far between than anywhere south of here as I have read....but J, unless you pull drives...it's tough around here.

Any advice? Any Mainers here?
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
By the way....I am an accomplished turkey hunter, duck hunter, grouse, partridge and any other bird that you can imagine (although there is always room for improvement.)

I have taken 8 years off of deer hunting ( I was a US Marine)....and I bought this house (a log cabin in York County, Maine) 2 years ago....so newer area to me.
 

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welcome to the club we ask that you dont cuus, take the lords name in vain. I understand your a marine but we got kids on the site
 

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Well good evening Mr. Mainer and welcome to the sight. I'm from Western NY and I love to hunt swamps. I'm not familiar with the woods of Maine at all. I could try to help you out a little bit. If possible do you know if there are beaver dams and small hidden islands full of thick pine and cattail, also dry strips running through the swamp. If you have any of these it usually makes for good pinches/funnels. I almost always find what I call a "swamp buck" within areas like this. An old, solid, mature, wise deer loves to use the swamp as his area because a predator will rarely venture into a swamp. I hope that this helped you out a little bit. It sounds like your approach (pre-light setup, scent control, etc.) is excellent. I tried through 3 different recruiters to be a Marine after high school but my 2 knee ops. denied me. Semper Fi. Check out the "Armed Forces Veterans" post.
 

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hey man and welcome to the site. it sounds like you have some tough hunting in your part of the wood. i like your scent control and earliness to the stand. so thats not hurting you. timberghost had a good idea about trying to find a funnel somwhere. is there any known food scources on your land? im also wondering how long you stay in the stand and how many days have you hunted this land? it is odd to me that with all the deer crap around that you havent at least seen some deer but the same thing has happened to me in the past. maybe you have a bunch of nocturnals on your hand. who really knows. it does not sound like your doing anything terribly wrong. deer hunting can be tough but if you stay at it the deer will eventually make a mistake.
 

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I also live in maine, and to help out with the description maine is full of trees with small clearings where storms seem to take a toll... its fairly hilly so sometimes that throws off how far something looks to you... its a great place to hunt though!
 

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Welcome Mainer,

I also live in Maine, Greenbush to be exact. I read your post, and Im at a loss, I live a couple hundred miles north of you, and the signs of the rut are just starting to appear up in my neck of the woods.

The weather is just starting to get things moving a bit. I would just hang in there, we know how tough the Maine woods are to hunt. It sounds like your early morning hunts are on schedule. Do you stay in your stand till at least 10 or 11:00?

I am finding more activity the last couple hours of the day. You might try the last few hours of the day, and hang in till the very last of legal shooting time, and you should get your sites on a doe at least.

The rut isn't in full swing yet, so that could be part of the problem.

I have hunted down in your neck of the woods. In Harrison, Bridgton area, to be precise, it is tuffer hunting down in that area. There are so many areas that are posted, and because of the hunting pressure in that area, deer seem to disappear.

I think they pretty much head to where they aren't bothered. But there is hope. Nasty weather is coming. You have been given some good advice above, so stick to it, and good luck to you.

AJHunter
 

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Just for your information.

Here is a few photos from my neck of the woods. Compliments of Maine Fish & Wildlife
Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife - Region F Photos

Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife - October 11, 2006 Weekly Outdoor Report by Regional Wildlife Biologists
Region F - Penobscot Valley Region
As the season progresses into the second and third weeks adult bucks will become more active and begin to make-up a larger percentage of the harvest. In my own hunting endeavors, at the tale end of this first week, I started noticing signs of the upcoming rut. A few small scrapes located at traditional locations signifies to me that the rut is just around the corner.
Have an enjoyable and productive hunting season and remember that the big boy IS out there!
-Allen Starr, Assistant Regional Wildlife Biologist

AJHunter
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks to all who replied with the good advice.

AJ I have also seen at least 8 scrapes in the past week which tells me that the rut is just about here. I guess I just have to be patient. I have been hunting since September 28th (bow season) and am getting really worn out. It's been a tough year for me. All of the beautiful bucks that I saw were during bow season and out of range. Now they just don't seem to come out.

Is it possible that I have over-hunted some of my area?

Maybe I'll quit my cryin' and just wait for the rut to kick in full swing.
 

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Mainer, it sounds like you are in a good area. It seems when the doe herd is up you find fewer scrapes, the bucks don't need to advertise. Also, the reverse is true when there are few does in a given area then the bucks have to advertise making more scrapes and scent checking them downwind. So the problem is do I hunt travel routes ie doe travels or scrape lines. The only way to figure it all out is stay in the woods and observe then plan your next move. Remember that bucks make primary and secondary scrapes, look for the largest and freshest ones. Look for a scrape line and stick with it. Good Luck
 

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Greetings from Vermont Mainer, You and I are hunting under similar conditions/situations, Vermont Bucks are fewer and further between as well.
It sounds to me like all you need to do is relax, leave the grunts, calls, bleats, rattling horns and everything else, other than your rifle and ammunition to home. Don't be a Marine be a hunter, Marine's are the take charge type of men just like the other soldiers in the other branchesof service.. BUT you're dealing with (IMO) the most elusive animal on the face of the earth, You're in the animals world now.
My Advice: You already said you're seeing Bucks not Doe's, So you know they are there, keep focused on the wind direction and scent control don't get in your stand too early the average hunter can only maintain a good hunting posture and mindset for so long after a certain time period most hunters become fidgety.. Deer are wel oiled machines that will catch your every movement if you move they see it, if you sniffle they hear it and as quickly as they slip in on you they slip right back out. you should plan on being in your stand no earlier than 40 minutes before sunrise and for the next 3 hours all you should be doing is listening and watching... move your eyes first then your head, if you see the slightest movement try and figure out what it is don't just brush it off as nothing, I can't tell you how many times I've seen a Deer twitch it's ear or flick it's tail or tilt it's head at 150 yards or better, It's always good to know a Buck is moving in LONG before it enters the zone. With that I'll say Good Luck and again just take your time and don't forget to post us some pics when you get one. :thumbup: ..
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I really appreciate that advice, man. I DO get fidgety. I move my head around a lot and I know that if a buck is checking the area from a tree line where I cannot yet see him....he surely sees me.

I also have to occasionally cough or sniffle, which typically I pull my hood from my sweatshirt over my mouth and press both hands against it to cough. It's very muffled but do you think that they hear that....did I just blow the whole day?
 

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By you telling us you were going in to your spot so soon I already knew you were moving too much during what I like to call "the magic hours" the first 3 legal shooting hours and the last 3 legal shooting hours.

Coughing could blow a days hunt but then again if the Deer are SO focusd on doe's during a heavy Rut you could almost get away with anything. just like chewing Tobacco, Yes that could bust you too but again if those Bucks are only interested in doe's it may not matter.. again slow movements, try to keep the wind in your face and try to spot them before they spot you...

Good Luck !!!
 
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