Sunday, December 27, 2009

Virtual Hunting

So Santa had some issues with me this year and I had no choice but to bust my hump to get on the nice list over these past few weeks. After doing some research for a video game system since I'm not a gamer, it became apparent that the most family friendly device was the Wii by Nintendo. We've been busy with the bowling and other games, but my heart belongs to the Cabelas Big Game Hunter 2010 with the Top Shot Peripheral gun. Here's a link that will send you straight to Cabela's to check it out- Cabela's Big Game Hunter.

I must say the game is quite impressive and has consumed my weekend pitting the Downeast Duck Hunter against all types of big game ranging from Brown Bear to Caribou to Red Stag. Even though it isn't a fair replacement for getting into the woods, I must say that the average outdoors fanatic must try this game.

It took time to work out the buttons, apparently my skills have diminished since 8th grade but within an hour or so the game became more natural to negotiate. Below is a quick video of my cousin who found himself in Argentina pursuing Red Stag. Thus far, I'd have to give it an A+ partially for it has held my attention for three days straight and the realistic opportunities from my perspective.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Bear Baiting with the DEDH!!!

My esteemed friend and colleague, The Maine Outdoorsman, has spent several years pursuing the elusive black bear with little avail. So this past fall, I thought I'd try my hand at this baiting thing but couldn't bring myself to pull the trigger. Rather, I chose to photograph this sophisticated creature who manages to elude even the most experienced of hunters. I hope that my photo doesn't alter the face of bear hunting, for there would be no bear left...

But then again, this could be a futile effort to spread a little Christmas joy amongst the world of hunting and fishing. Have a great season friends!!!

Note: This photo was sent to my wife through email and wasn't taken by me. The photographer at this point is unknown...

Friday, December 11, 2009

Once again to the Bird Band Lab...

The band from this drake eider has been sent to the Bird Band Laboratory in Laurel, MD to be etched in order to determine the numbers worn off the aluminum band over time. For those who don't know the process, the band is put into a chemical mixture and since the band is stamped one can still "see" the numbers after immersion. Included with the band was a letter stating all necessary information pertaining to the take of the eider including location, date, and how retrieved.

Off particular note, the last band I sent to the BBL returned with some incredible information. The hen eider was 13 years old and banded on the southeast border of Nova Scotia. I've posted the link to an earlier blog entry about the bands taken thus far, not including the ones taken this year. Have a great weekend.

Bands, Bling Bling Baby, Bands...

The Downeast Duck Hunter

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Too funny to hold back!!!

So my best man, code name Sniper, and Littlefield make the trek Downeast for some eider action and I can't help but believe these two are the next coming of Harry and Lloyd. First they decide to travel 12 hours all over Maine yesterday, get home at midnight and then get up at 3 a.m. in order to get to my neck of the woods before legal shooting. The only thing missing was they came in a truck, not a moped. I suppose they were men of priority, because there's no way I'd carouse around like they did especially when a promising hunt was is the forecast. But that's the least of their trials and tribulations...

Obviously they were a little overdosed on caffeine or suffering from insomnia for they were shooting faster than Tom Knapp. I'll be honest, the eiders looked superb but my concern was that they were fast approaching their prospective limits rather quickly. I didn't even have a chance to load my gun, get a cup of coffee, or even get the camera out. These quack addicts apparently needed a fix, but I needed to put them in detox. Yours truly needed a few shots and I got them, then the two machine gunners were able to finish out their limits with restraint. When the smoke cleared, twelve eiders lay in the floor of the boat and we elected to try another spot for some scoters and old squaws. But this isn't the best part of the story...

I had kept informing both men to keep track of which birds they shot for two reasons, one obviously was to keep track of duck limits and the other was to see if any possessed the prize band that adds to essence of the hunt. I've said many times that a banded eider is the 8 point buck of sea ducking, and getting one is always exciting. However, my boys either weren't listening or too bent on unleashing the cannons of pain and suffering. As Sniper was confirming the first two limits of the morning, he exclaimed that one drake had a band. I knew for a fact that I did not get it as every duck in my quarry had been throughly inspected. That put the band in the possession of my two hunting partners...

To know that one band existed between these two yahoos was an internal treat to which I held my satisfaction well. The best part was that neither could prove who had in fact, shot the duck. The only comparative element was that Sniper had taken all drakes while Littlefield had one hen in his bag...

We acheived our limit shortly thereafter and our day had been limited in roughly one hour and fifteen minutes. After a quick phone call to my wife, we moved to another spot without any success. By 11:00 a.m. we were back at the landing...

The captain of the ship took the band, it now is a treasure by committee. Plus I now have a wonderful fire starter for any future engagements where all of us will be in a crowd. Their blunder has and will become my pleasure...

In addition, I tricked them both into a photo op with the prize eider. It was a great day and I'm still smiling as I finish with these words...

Have a great one,

The Downeast Duckhunter

Was it Sniper???

Or Littlefield???

Guess we'll never know!!!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Are you ready???.

My best man...

He's the same person I created a Facebook group to make fun of until he joined, once he got an account I wouldn't let him join the group. And I'm excited to finally get him downeast for some gunning action.

Getting my best man down for a sea duck hunt might just be the hardest thing to accomplish. But since the deer count is down in Maine and he's downhearted and depressed, my right hand man has chosen to forfeit this upcoming Saturday to pursue the might eider. Weather looks good and I intend to videotape as much as possible, my intentions are to publicly flog him to the dire end. Until then, hope for his arrival and potential poor shooting!!!

The Downeast Duck Hunter

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Online Scouting

Due to some inclement weather over the past month, I thought I'd at least try to find some new spots for hunting and fishing. My focus centered on fresh water spots within a 30 mile range of my hometown. It would be wrong to say that this process was tedious and unproductive, but rather tedious and very productive. I found spot that I never knew existed, waterways that weren't on the topographical map, and roads that have been recently added.

In using Google Earth, a Maine Delorme Atlas, and my handheld GPS, I set out yesterday morning in search of a cool spot. I had to put my efforts forward and see what successes and failures would surface. However, reflective practice requires you set forth with a game plan, consider all the elements of the plan, and then redesign the strategy for next time.

I made mistakes, I tried ideas on the run, and I scanned the data once I got home. Although I missed the ideal spot to launch my canoe or kayak, I have been able to get there next time for sure. Trial and error is a wonderful thing, but the mistakes rendered only resulted in honing my talents to better utilize my scouting in the near future.

Below is a vlog (video blog) about my experience with online scouting and putting research into action. It's eight minutes long, but there is some interesting elements to the endeavor.

The Downeast Duck Hunter

Thursday, November 12, 2009

I've been Ambushed!!!

I did it and I'm so pumped!!!

I found an Old Town Ambush canoe/kayak hybrid only twenty miles away from me for the minimal price of $350. It had only been used once and the dealer was unloading the vessel. I can't write much now, but will soon. Until then, happy hunting!!!

The Downeast Duck Hunter

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

A Duck Hunting Day Off...

Due to a school closure, my father and I had the chance to sneak out this morning for an eider shoot. The video is mostly his shooting simply because he's not what you call "handy" with video cameras. This short video puts our morning into perspective. Enjoy!!!

The Downeast Duck Hunter

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Addicted to quack, and I'm the dealer...

The good work of my oldest who is home with the flu...

Finally, the weather made for favorable conditions for a chance to do some sea duck hunting. The plans had been put in motion earlier in the week and the extended forecast continually showed true promise. Although the swine flu had found its way into the homestead, my wife encouraged me to take advantage of the spectacular weather. She thought the children would still be sleeping even after my return home.

Diesel embracing the moment as Duck Power finally gets out

This story has another angle besides the fact that Diesel and I could finally attend a quality duck shoot. A newbie had been actively inquiring about this "sea ducking" that Diesel discussed ever so often. It was determined that this aspiring hunter would be joining us with the expectation rendered (Safety, Safety, & Safety) when introducing any new waterfowler to our craft. Armed with his apprentice license and a shiny duck stamp, Chris became a sponge of learning and his instant admiration of our practice was evident.

The lad had no idea what he was getting into...

After discovering his last time shooting a firearm was fifteen years ago, I informed him that this was heroin and I am the dealer. He grinned as Diesel supported my claim with the devious grin often seen when Duck Power took to the high seas. It is important to understand that I'm not joking here, there exists this amazing surge of interest and inquisition every time I say this to any new hunter of my boat. I then let the experience do the rest. Today would be no different.

Shortly after legal shooting, Diesel and I quickly downed three eiders. Chris needed to see this first hand to better understand the process before he could cut loose. His observations were in awe as the giant ducks fell and to the speed that this all transpired. We gradually inserted him into the process and guided his efforts with caution. It didn't take long for his shouldering to improve, awareness to hone in, and execution to develop. In all fairness, he respected our instruction and criticism with much grace. He was here to learn, experience, and participate while we were there to help him try something new under a correct application.

Chris with his first ever eider

Diesel scored the shot of the day as he dropped a beautiful banded hen. His smile showed a hint of elation under the guise of a more professional approach to success. The excitement of the moment was apparent, but he took it in stride. It's a great day to acquire a banded bird, this moment only cemented the success of our day.

Diesel with his banded hen eider

Within two hours, we had fulfilled our limit of twelve eiders and packed up our gear. A quick tour of the area to show some scenery, do some scouting, and run the new motor then followed. Then it was back home to help my wife with the kids who are several days into the H1N1 virus.

I'm fortunate to be able to introduce new hunters to this game, and even more fortunate that there exists an interest within the scope of the practice. There exists no question that today was a great day and I'm sure we'll be seeing Chris again.

The Downeast Duck Hunter

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Some ATV action!!!

In spite of the lousy weather we have been having, I did get out for a ride with my great buddy Tim on the new Rails to Trails project in Washington County, Maine. Still in the works, much of the project is complete and pristine with miles and miles of top quality trails for all the general public to use. So whether you enjoy hiking, running, trail riding, or any other activity, these trails offer a broad range of uses for our area.

I've been able to use these trails on several occasions and feel that as long as the ATV community treats this as a privilege and not a right of access, then I anticipate a lifetime of enjoyable use.

There are a couple of things I need to comment on concerning the video below. First and foremost, I did not wear a helmet today as state law does not require one to do so but I typically wear one if we are riding in difficult terrain or/and at higher speeds. Our travels today did not exceed 25-30 mph on top notch gravel roads, only two access roads that we used to get a snack were of lesser quality. Secondly, we use these trails with respect to others and those who have made it possible for us to enjoy. Without a community of caring, this project has provided a means for ATV usage while negating the issues of private land access. Even though there has been dissent about tearing up the historic and potentially usable railroad lines, I feel that this effort has been well received. Enjoy the video!!!

From the Maine Department of Transportation:
At the initial public scoping meetings in Washington County, a strong desire was expressed for ATV use on the Downeast Trail. In order to try to respond to that request, all terrain vehicle (ATV) use of the two dirt rail-with-trail segments in Washington County is proposed on an experimental basis. The experimental basis will be to insure that ATV use does not affect the safety of non-motorized users nor substantially deteriorate the trail surface such that non-motorized use becomes difficult. The existing ATV clubs in Washington County are seen as essential partners in assisting with the construction and maintenance of the dirt-trail segments and in responding to emergency situations on remote areas of the trail as well as promoting good trail etiquette among motorized users. The proposed reconciliation of motorized and non-motorized usage in select areas will open up the corridor to more user groups. The portions open to ATVs will serve as test sections for the concept of shared use. Transportation enhancement funds from the U.S. Department of Transportation can not be used to fund construction of these trail segments because of a prohibition on motorized vehicles (other than snowmobiles).

Feel free to check out this site concerning the Rails to Trails Program.
Press Release from Maine Department of Conservation

Thursday, October 29, 2009

My deer camera is about the only thing having some success...

Being limited to my hunting possibilities by choice is tough enough, but not being able to participate on the days you intend makes for one frustrated Downeast Duck Hunter...

I did manage to get out on October 2nd and 3rd with the Maine Outdoorsman for some freshwater action, but I'm not a freshwater duck hunter. The only chance I've had was Columbus Day weekend, Monday October 12th to be precise. And that day happened because a break in the weather opened up a mid-day opportunity (which usually doesn't result in many ducks)...

So here I sit stewing about the weather again as the National Weather Service has provided me with again such great news:

1002 AM EDT THU OCT 29 2009





Translation, this stinks...

It has seemed that every potential Saturday has had either a serious small craft advisory or gale warning affixed to it. So for the man who loves his sea ducking, I've got three eiders to my season total (2 drakes and one hen). The split for all other ducks started on Saturday and won't open back up until November 9th so I'm out of luck. It's been a bad October for sea duck hunting, I hope November and a few vacation days makes up for the withdrawals turning me inside out.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Game Time...

Upon the rouse to vigilance and action by the Duck Hammer, I felt horrible. The kind of awful when you wish your least favorite person in the world shared your symptoms. There would be no whining in front of the DuckPower Jester, nor would I even let out an inkling of my pain and suffering. But it's true, I had come down with a cold attacking my throat and sinuses. Fortunately, I had a few extra Zyrtec and some Afrin to hide my anguish. For somebody who doesn't get sick often, a few days sooner or later would have been a more pleasant demise. My day, however, would not be compromised on the account of illness.

The water level compared to last year was down quite a bit and I was able to shimmy across to the marsh point where the blind “Quack Head” hid in masterfully concealed coverture. Steve manned the boat and brought it around to give MoJo, the flying decoy, life before our witching hour could begin. Upon his return, we sorted out the little stuff and hunkered down for the first flight.

It didn't take long for us to unleash the cannons of dismay, but our first ordnance failed with great surprise. The small flock of teal continued on their way as if not one shot had been fired, however I did manage to snipe a low flyer moving right to left just after our trigger happy blunder. Steve was quite impressed with that shot, but it honestly was no different than the bulk of the sea ducks I take. Low flying without lift is immensely different than the actions of these inland birds. I still thanked Steve and eagerly watched as Onyx began the retrieve of my first ever teal.

As any duck hunter knows, much action took place between the timing of Onyx's retrieve. As an expert in arithmetic, I figure approximately 187 ducks must have flown directly over the decoys. That might have been a mild exaggeration, but it did seem a little “duck” wild. Quickly thereafter, Steve and I each scored a scaup duck, ring necks to be more precise. So for my earliest trigger pulls, I had two types of waterfowl that were brand new to my taking.

A few later mallards fell prey, and we quickly watched the morning dissipate. The lake would render no more birds and we opted to better amend base camp. Plus the Duck Hammer was suggesting he would head back home to get a few more amenities. It would seem that mid-day on the island would be only mine to share.

Monday, October 19, 2009

From the landing to the late evening...

The Rabid Outdoorsman Leads the Way
It didn't take long for my esteemed and pathological prankster friend to add insult to injury. The truck came to a screeching halt and a jubilant individual remembered the other part of his targeted plan. Since today was opening day and a Thursday, I had forgone this sacred opener to attend the weekend Duckpower conference in Central Maine. However, my buddy had in fact already hunted out of the same blind we would be attending for the next two days. He had to show me his quarry which consisted of two wood ducks (a duck that I have always wanted to take). As hurt as one may think I was, I just shook my head as the proud hunter put the mature drake into the freezer for taxidermy purposes while we were to enjoy the other as part of our fare that evening.

We reached the landing in no time and quickly put the foldable boat into the water. It was here that I got my first step in the super magnum ultra camo super cool waders (too cool for commas). To be brutally honest, it was a great feeling to go crotch deep and not get wet. Oh my god, that just sounded like a condom advertisement. I can see it now...

The Downeast Duck Hunter, “For full protection, I recommend the super magnum ultra camo super cool waders... Keeps the cold out and the heat in...”

Anyways, back to the story...

The sail out brought back so many memories of just one year ago, the foliage seemed identical in it's wondrous oranges, yellows, and reds. An absent wind left the still reflection of all colors in a kaleidoscope of intrigue. This was where I needed to be, for a moment in time I had forgotten the anxiousness that everyday life brings. As we motored towards our destination, several groups of our kind were hidden in the brush, grass, and trees along the shores of this paradise each in high hopes of harnessing one final shot before dusk beat the daylight.

Our race against light meant distributing the decoys in the proper avenue dictated by our most recent weather forecast, setting up the basic amenities of camp, and Steve making another trip back to the landing to acquire his four legged allergy machine. Stuffiness had already taken it's toll and even though I love water dogs, my body seems to tell me that one isn't in my future.

Once all was best prepared, the evening festivities begun. The meal would consist of a chili concoction of sharp cheddar cheese, added tabasco sauce, and other spices I would rather leave at the supermarket. But it did smell so good and the stomach was not happy that I had just invested in a three hour trip with no stops. The chili was devoured without hesitation and the wood duck was roasted over the open fire. Over the years, I have found that there exists no better substitute for cooking wild game than the efforts served by a generous flame. One difference between Steve and I is that he prefers his take a tad more raw while I enjoy a more medium prize with a charred exterior. But let me tell you this, I would have taken that duck over any top restaurant steak. Plus I had hoped the duck would have been a good buffering agent to the atomic agent Steve called chili. Actually, I would be more inclined to name it Chili Con Carnage...

As the clouds proceeded overhead and the darkness beat the light, we rested around the campfire chatting about anything and everything. This time spent with a great friend makes a good hunt great. We hammered out a few of the world's problems, reflected upon a few of our own, and provoked some potential aspirations out of each other as we continue our trek as experienced outdoorsman...

Even though my dear friend has and will constantly look for an avenue to shatter my personal well being through harassment and sinister actions, Steve and I share a friendship based on honesty, respect, and support. Our words on these hunts look for improvement, positive angles, and dreams. Although reality often acts as our ground, we never let the negativity of life dictate or negate the experience.

After some Youtube entertainment and browsing Facebook on the traditionalist's Blackberry, we elected to call it a night. Opening light would be five hours in time...

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

A Tradition Officially

First ever female blue winged teal...

The 2nd annual season opener in central Maine proved to be quite the trip, as it exceeded the success of year one and proved to be one great time. For a salty sea ducker like myself, I have found one great appreciation in the pursuit of different waterfowl.

Once again, my great friend Steve effectively illustrated his continued development of duck calling, mastery of training a house dog into a gem of a water dog, and his never ending pursuit of material that could be potentially damaging to my reputation as a beacon of greatness in the duck hunting world. With that said, let me begin the tale of how two men of different and similar directions maximum the opportunities while attempting to minimize the damage.

Part One: You are a DUCK WAD!!!

Duck Wad (n): a fellow duck hunter and friend who relishes the opportunity to mess with other members of his triad...

I should have known better, but I was sort of excited. After constantly checking the U.S. Post Office confirmation number from Cabelas, my voyage to central Maine included a brand new set of super waders with more gadgets than the Batman’s belt. They had been received at my post office at 8:38 and the box rested unopened in the passenger’s seat. They would be opened at Steve’s house, there would be no time to complete the official fitting for this technological weapon of duck warfare. Leak or no leak, I would be putting the test directly in the field, or lake if you will.

After 2:45 minutes of driving, I ripped into Steve’s driveway anticipating some sort of welcoming committee. Last year I was met with excitement from all family members as your truly had made a most impressive visit, however my hopes and dreams of appreciation were incinerated with a silent and lackluster reception. As I neared the basement door of my buddy’s abode completely decked out in some super cool waterfowling apparel, I thought maybe Steve was frantically working to finish some very important details to speed our departure to our campsite.

Having stood by the door for what seemed to be at least fifteen minutes, I finally noticed someone meander down the steps and approach the door in just a set of thermal underwear. It would seem as if someone was running a bit behind. Needless to say, the grandeur of my arrival was lackluster and desolate; there I stood with my package that beneath the plastic shipping wrap was a set of waders that would set me light years ahead of my clan in terms of duck hunting fashion. This moment didn't have the shine and bling of last year.

Steve took the box and invited me in, I told him to get started on opening the package as I had to find the restroom. After doing my business, aggravating his wife & kids, and shuttling down the steps, there stood Steve looking honestly stumped at a pair of waders that were a tad earthern and only 600 grams of insulation. His only comment was, “dude, I think they made a mistake or someone made a rip-off return”. My heart sunk seriously, all the excitement I had since my order on Monday to the official delivery on Thursday had deflated like a balloon pricked by a needle.

Then he smiled and handed me the unwrapped but unopen box of waders. I had been had, fallen prey to the self-righteous comic of pain and suffering. My response was bitter-sweet as I got a tickle out of Steve’s quick thinking but knew this was only the beginning of a camping trip full of predatory follies. The waders got a quick fitting and I walked out the door while the Maine Outdoorsman maintained a grin that reeked of bathroom demise.

We got the remainder of the gear into the back of the truck and rolled down the driveway to the landing just down the road... My good friend is a “duck wad”...

Next entry- Chili Con Carnage...

Saturday, October 3, 2009

The rebuttal of the Maine Outdoorsman's "Mr. President" post...

If any of you read both the Maine Outdoorsman and my blog, then you may know that these two birds are of the same feather. There are many reasons why we fly in the same flock, and our slight humor cast upon each other only adds to the trouble. Nevertheless, let me plagerize some of Rabid's quotes from one of his most recent posts. This was from his well tuned work, "Mr. President"...

Perhaps even more nerve wracking than my mental fatigue from my fitful evenings is the physical exhaustion I am suffering as I prepare the estate for a visit from the Honorable Potentate and Grand Puba . . . the most admirable and exalted President of Duck Power Incorporated. Yes folks, none other than the DuckMan will be joining me for the 2009/10 waterfowl opener.

Translation: I'm pretty cool...

As I await the arrival of Mr. President, I begin to go over the checklist to insure every detail no matter how small has been rightly accounted.

Reality Check: Rabid's gear was already packed and he shot two wood ducks on opening day out of the very same blind we shared for the last two days...

I drill the children with the proper sounds made by Mallards, Teal and Wood Ducks and insure they are holding their popguns with the “dangerous end” pointing in a safe direction.

Lots of laughs: His littlest one looked at me as if I was a serial killer and his oldest ran out of the room...

Hurriedly, I grab for the camouflage (Max 4 Adv.) carpet and unfurl it to the door of Mr. President’s transport. I take a deep breath and wait for the inspection to begin.

Just an FYI: The only welcome I got was a scruffy old mat and a locked door...

Wish me luck!!

Stay tuned for our two day opener!!!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Will they be here in time???

I had to do it, so many times I've seen my buddies jumping into the water and come out as comfortable as can be. I've order the Cabelas 1600 gram waders on the very back of their waterfowl catalogue, and hope they arrive by tomorrow. I went with the bad boys simply because most of my hunting is in quite frigid weather and one of my buddies who guides said they are worth three times what they are asking. I had anticipated paying $200, but with a sale and a $20 off coupon, I scored them for $175 including tax and shipping. Here are some of the features:

1,600-gram Thinsulate™ Ultra Insulation
5mm neoprene with Armor-Flex™
quick detach shell pouch with 24 shell loops
fleece lined handwarmer pocket
top entry storage pouch
three front compartments
handwarmer pocket

Personally, I look forward to using these and honestly believe this purchase will pay dividends on both inland and coastal waters.

The Downeast Duck Hunter

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

It's on!!!

The new duckmobile... uh, the new family vehicle... I would have cropped the picture but wanted to show the eider decoys in the background!!!

Once again yours truly, the Downeast Duck Hunter, will travel downstate to hunt with my esteemed buddy, critic, and hunting partner, the Rabid Outdoorsman...

A comical but sincere effort had taken place last year as we both wrote articles from our own perspective in regards to our participation in opening day, from preparation to endgame. This year should be no different, but after 365 days of joking, teasing, harassment, and other ventures, I would also suggest that our literature could take on a whole new direction. We shall see...

Rather than focus on opening day like last year, we have decided to make our hunting efforts a weekend event that will consist of two full days of hunting bliss. Some may ask why not opening day and I would respond that day 2 and 3 consecutively works better than day 1, work, and then day 3.

On any account, get ready for some of the world's worst coffee, some jabbing, and most of all a great reflection from two great friends who enjoy the outdoors as much as anybody. Until our next article, take care!!!

The Downeast Duck Hunter

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Big Week, Big News...

I'm happy to announce that positive things are happening in my writing world aside of my super cool blog. Over the course of last week and early this week, I have had the opportunity to establish a wonderful dialogue with the owner and editor of one of Maine's most acclaimed and prestigious outdoor publications, the Northwoods Sporting Journal. After some submissions, reviews, and discussion, it looks as if my first article will run this December. Even though I'm not jumping through the door, I'm so excited to be joining a genre I so admire. If all goes well, I hope to be a monthly contributor in the near future.

I would personally like to thank my hunting partner and great friend, the Rabid Outdoorsman, who encouraged me to start my blog shortly after he began a most interesting and informative online resource. His continued practice there then led him to several full page spreads as a promising writer. His endeavors and our long friendship have greatly influenced my aspirations and I thank him for his continued support.

In addition, my wife deserves much credit to support each and every endeavor I pursue. Without her support, I'm not sure how well my efforts would pan out. Hopefully with this new career blossuming, maybe I'll get to hunt and fish a little more.

And finally, to each and every fellow blogger out there including Terry at Women's Hunting Journal, Tugboatdude, and Swamp Thing who have been regular responders to my articles, thanks for being part of my online community. I look forward to our continued dialogue.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Trouble is brewing...

I'm still laughing, and you may appreciate this one!!! I just happened to type in "Carry-Lite eider decoys" on Google after my official "repair the damage day" to my existing spread. To my surprise just under a couple of most excellent links to my blog was this add on Craigslist for five dozen 19 inch eider decoys in the mid-coast area of Maine. The list price was $240 for the entire bunch or $48 for a dozen. After some fast email exchanges, I've landed only SIX dozen for a total price of $300. What is most exciting is that my brother-in-law picked up the decoys for me and threw them on his credit card while my check to him is in the mail. However, he must hold them for a bit until we can best figure out how to transport them.

The most exciting thing for me is that the most comparable decoy as I believe Carry-Lite no longer makes the eider line is from Knutson's Decoy (be sure to scroll down). The price for a dozen there is $99.99 a dozen not including shipping, so I'd say i've made out.

It took my brother two trips to transport these, but his pain and suffering is well worth my investment!!!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Now you see it, now you don't...

Needless to say, I've gotten hit with the hunting bug this month and realized that all the hunting to do's didn't get done this summer. I've been trying to mesh several jobs, family time, and all other necessary aspects with much exasperation. Fortunately, I didn't have work tonight and my wife encouraged me to seize the few minutes before dusk to "finish that kayak"!!!

So here's the fruit of my labor, a bright orange kayak covered with eight marsh grass panels from Cabelas.

I bet you can't guess who was the supervisor of my project...

I did take some time this past weekend to spray paint my paddles as to conceal the bright yellow ends.

Now it's time to finish my new boat blind system to adjoin the new motor on the seaduck boat and finish repairing the Carry-Lite Eider Decoys for my friends can't tell the difference between a quality painted drake eider and the real thing!!!

More posts to come...

The Down East Duck Hunter

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Kayak...

Over the past year I decided that I must have three main items to fulfill my personal happiness. The first was an oil painting that was completed my one of my former students this past spring, now I've got to get a second one because my wife says I've got two girls and one nice painting! The second is a Super Redhawk and that will have to wait simply because a house needs to be finished and a new vehicle is in our near future.

The final item on my list was to get a new kayak, particularly the Old Town Ambush canoe/kayak. That didn't happen but I did fall into a pretty sweet deal. Let me share this gem of a story...

My wife calls me from her hometown as she and my children were staying her mother after the passing of my father-in-law. She had seen an advertisement for a kayak on the local cable channel and thought I would be interested in calling. I really wasn't for I figured it would be some old kayak that someone was trying to dump at a price no one wanted to pay, but with some encouragement I did call.

I spoke with a pleasant man who explained that his friend had bought an Old Town Adventure 13'9" several years ago and had a stroke the following year. They had hoped for a better recovery, but using the kayak seemed futile with each passing year. The orange kayak with paddle, lifevest, security lock, and gear was offered at $379 and my counter offer of $350 was accepted. I can honestly say that I'm not big on the orange, but I can easily make the kayak disappear with some marsh grass mats I had purchased from Cabelas. I'm quite pleased with the purchase and have found it's stability very impressive.

I intend to post shortly with the camouflaging with in itself has been a neat process. Sorry about the lack of posting, it hasn't been a great summer...

The Downeast Duck Hunter

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

A most special and amazing man...

A most talented musician primarily jazz music

The Downeast Duck Hunter Blog is all about friends, family, and a passion for duck hunting, and this post is no different. However, it isn't loaded with a limit of ducks or a six pound smallmouth bass. Rather it is to acknowledge the life and passing of one of my most cherished and loved friends. On the Fourth of July, my father-in-law passed after a brilliant and tedious battle with cancer. Even though it hurts to see him go, I am appreciative that he may suffer no longer. His participation in my life gave me a better understanding of what it means to live life like it's your last day.

When I first met Donnie, I had only been dating my lovely wife for about three weeks and was fairly nervous because for the first time in my life I had met a girl that I could see myself marrying. I couldn't afford to drop the ball on this one. Needless to say, I walked out of his house with a smile.

There I was sitting on the couch in the den as her dad arrived from making errands. He wasn't a large man in comparison to me, but he carried himself with a proud honor that wouldn't be compromised. I stood up to shake his hand and while he looked up, he put his hand forward and offered me a beer with these words, "Can I offer you a cold one?". Not once in my life had I been introduced to any girl's father and felt ever so relieved. I told him if he didn't mind, I would love to have one.

We chatted about everything, actually it was more of him in a unique way of assessing me. He asked me of my career plans, passions, and family. From the beginning, I enjoyed his company. It would be with this meeting, that my wife went from a casual dating relationship to something more. He won my favor for his daughter, I could then see an opportunity to move forward with a great relationship.

Following this short visit, my wife smiled and informed me that she felt great about the visit. After all, she's an only child and I was after his most prized possession. Needless to say, I wasn't about to let this family get away from me.

Over time, Donnie and I built a relationship that many son-in-laws would wish they had. We combed the lakes of downeast Maine chasing trout, bass, and salmon by avenue of ice or water. His passion for fishing was unlike anything I had ever seen, for me it was something I did as something to do but he loved casting lines and setting ice traps. He explained the process of fishing and the time tested tactics to help land more fish. One of my favorite quotes from Donnie centered around the timing of brook trout in Maine, "Every evening in the spring walk out into the woods, until you come home pestered with black flies don't you dare cast a worm". Over time and trial, he was right. He saved me many failures and allowed for greater success just through his experience.

A proud grandfather on the ice
Click the above link to this experience

It would be of most importance for me to share that he became a best friend, one who I would ask many questions and always get a level response. As my wife and I continued our courtship into engagement and marriage, her parents became my biggest supporters while I continued to build my career and business. Never was Donnie so proud when I launched my new lobster boat or when I attained my Master's degree, it seems that every achievement in life came with him patting my back and suggesting that I may want to go after something else. My staunchest ally and friend, Donnie became a father and I will never forget the gleam in his eye when I proudly displayed a wedding ring in front of him. The only criticism I got from him was "about time".

Several years ago, our family discovered that Donnie had cancer. Even with this tragic news, he took it in stride. It amazed me with his courage and attitude, but he had fought setbacks his entire life. This would be no different, either choose to life or accept the alternative and he wasn't about to lose out on the earliest years of his grandchildren. We as a family fought, he as a beacon of strength fought. Never have I seen such a small man fight like a giant, he was a David against Goliath. There were better days, and not so memorable ones. But he seized the better ones and made memories.

Eventually the man who know almost everything about anything whether it be boat building, welding, construction, iron working, mechanics, electricity, music, and anything else would have to submit. Terminal is just that, and even when one choses to live with cancer as opposed to die with cancer, time is limited. He passed peacefully with his family by his side.

The skiff he started for me

The final product

Donnie was essential to the development of my being, he played a large role in my life long process to be the best father, husband, and man I aspire to become. Life without you Papa isn't going to easy and I've got a lot of weight on my shoulders but I promise you that your girls will be okay. My life has been enriched because of you, for that I thank you and I'll find you on the dock when my time comes. God bless you and rest in peace best friend, until then I will continue to make our family stronger, safer, and secure.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Eiders in Oil- God Love It!!!

So the work is complete and officially in my possession!!!

I intend to do a better write up soon about the experience and process, but wanted to get the photograph of this work up fast. Enjoy, I'm almost as excited looking at it as I would at early light in November!!!

The Downeast Duck Hunter

Monday, May 18, 2009

Picture Perfect...

So I had this student last year graduate and attend art school in southern Maine. I always told her that sportsmen, including us hunters, do enjoy art especially within the scope of outdoor scenery and game. After telling her that if I have money to buy a $1,400 shotgun or a $700 kayak, chances are that a nice oil painting of some eiders flying past a ledge over some decoys with a sunrise in the background would be an easy purchase.

I never thought she'd take my challenge on, but she's been at work for the past few weeks off and on in the evenings while back home for summer break.

This work, still in the early stages, shows her amazing talent and I'm proud to know that I'm getting the very first of her paintings in this outdoors genre. Keep checking in, this progress is being photographed in transit!!!

The Downeast Duck Hunter

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Turkey Tales...

I don't really have much time to write a solid post about my experience in central Maine with the Rabid Outdoorsman, but I thought I'd share some photos and some statistics about my first ever turkey.

The young jake was taken at 6:40 a.m. and weighed 12 pounds 10 ounces. It had 1/8 inch spurs and a 3.5 inch beard. Not nearly a state record, but I said I'd take the first shooter that presented itself. Fortunately as I listened to the gobblers meander away, it didn't take long for some jakes to come visiting our decoys as we continued with a hen call. Many thanks to my great buddy Steve for allowing me the opportunity to share in a new and mildly addictive avenue of hunting. I'll be back next year for sure!

The Downeast Duck Hunter

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Getting ready for turkey...

In one week, I will be attending my second ever turkey hunt and the first one with one of my truest hunting buddies, The Rabid Outdoorsman aka DuckHammer. This one has been on the radar since the opener of ducks last fall, and I'm as excited as can be to try my hand at a big gobbler once again. And to top it off, my other great hunting partner Matt Diesel will be driving down with me. All I need to do is pick him up on the way.

Okay with that said, I decided to bring out the Beretta Xtrema2 for some target practice (target practice???) just to see how the #5 shot Federal 3.5 inch in 2 oz load would treat my homemade targets. The munchkins took the time to color them in and were quite proud of their good work, and was pleasantly surprised when my oldest suggested that these decoys would definitely bring in those turkeys. I had to tell them that Daddy was going to use them for target practice and they were excited to see how well I would fare.

On the bigger bird, I counted 80 shots from the top of the head down to the base of the neck. For the smaller one, I scored 76 shots and put the wad through it's lower chest. This was attained with a modified choke and about 20 yards away. After some thought about installing a factory full choke, I chose to stick with the modified spread. Rabid also explained that my locale would max out at about 20+/- yards anyways. After some basic research, I'm thinking that the #5 shot has a little over 300 pellets so I'll consider that fairly decent patterning with the modified choke.

Here's the photos from my trials, we'll see how the hunt goes and if the Maine Outdoorsman can put me onto a big tom. No pressure buddy!!!

My oldest daughter's turkey with 80 shots...

Close up

With light in the background

My youngest daughter's turkey with 76 shots

Close up

With light in the background