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