Bucks: The Big Woods Mystique

By Hal Blood

September signals that fall has arrived in the north country. By the beginning of September, they have the red tinge that will soon be the spectacular foliage that adds to the beauty of the woods. Frost is eminent and I have seen it in late august as well. September the transition month from summer to winter. Bears will be eating as much as they can whether it’s nut, berries, .or at a hunter’s bait site. Deer and moose will shed the velvet covering from their antlers in preparation for the battles for breeding rights. All the animals are transitioning toward their winter coats of hair. The cool mornings create fog on the water that is still warm from the summer. I’m grateful to be able to live in an area where I can watch this transition on a daily basis. The transition happens so quickly that you can actually see it every day. By the end of the month the leaves will be in their full glory and within two weeks they will have fallen to the ground. I used to take all of it for granted, but not anymore. Now I take it all in, as my anticipation grows for upcoming deer season.

Deer Season

I just got back from attending a new outdoor show in Massachusetts called “Huntstock”. The show was geared around everything whitetail deer hunting. My Big Woods Bucks team were there to talk deer hunting with anyone that came to the show. The guys that hunt in more suburban or farm country were talking about scouting for deer already and getting their trail cameras out. Many of them asked me if I had been scouting for deer yet. My answer of course was no I wait until the week before deer season. Then it become a long conversation about how much different Big Woods deer are than any other. They main difference is that a buck’s territory is so big, and food is available to them no matter where there are. That means they could be anywhere at any particular time. They might spend most of the summer around some cuts and then move five miles to some other ones. Then then the leaves fall from the trees they will head for an area with cover more to their liking.

The Wary Buck

This seem to be a foreign concept and contrary to what most deer hunters are used to. That is why a Big Woods whitetail buck is the hardest animal to hunt. I tell people that you don’t hunt in the Big Woods because you need to fill your freezer, you hunt there for the challenge. When I tell people the success rate on bucks, some of them can’t believe it could be that low and wonder why anyone would want to hunt there. I just tell them that most hunters won’t hunt there because you either love it or hate it and most hate it for one reason or the other. When we do these shows, it’s all about educating hunters and passing along knowledge to new hunters as well as hunters willing to take up the challenge. I think that there is a certain mystique about the Big Woods. It’s like a fear or uncertainty of the unknown. I just try to encourage anyone to give it a try or you will never know what it is like.

Swapping Stories

I got to spend a little time with Lanny Benoit. We have always enjoyed swapping stories when we see each other at show. I hadn’t seen Lanny for 3 or four years, since the Covid had put the sportsman shows on hold. We had him on a live podcast that we recorded at the show. We reminisced a little about the first time we met back in the woods. It was 1989 and there has been a lot of water over both our dams since then, and it shows in number of gray hairs! I told him that I had just written a little tribute to his father Larry and had the last film footage of him before he passed. That will be coming soon on our Big Woods Bucks website and YouTube channel.

Enjoy September and all the changes that it brings to the woods.

Hal is a master Maine guide and author and lives in Moose River Maine with his wife Deb

Hal can be contacted at: [email protected]

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