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Going Large in Maine

FaustBy Val Faust

-- My first year to deer hunt in Maine was 2005. My brother-in-law Al Woodbury has hunted in Maine at Forth Generation Farm and Guide Service, which is owned and run by Mike Farrar. Al has had great success due to the fact he has taken two bucks that weighed over 200 pounds each.

Al asked me if I wanted to schedule a hunt for the following year. It took me all of a half second to answer him. Of course I would. Well, the first week of rifle season arrived and it was mild with a south wind, which was wrong for hunting behind the camp. So we spent Monday through Wednesday hunting in front of camp. We found good sign and saw some does but no bucks.

Wednesday afternoon the wind turned northwest. We decided to set up on them behind camp in hopes of catching the bucks when they walked onto the fields. I passed on a small buck and saw several very large does.

Thursday evening I sat in a double stand located in some pines. Nothing moved until after dark. Around 5:15, I heard a deer approaching. It walked within 15 yards and stopped. I was waiting to be picked up by someone one on an ATV. I just started to hear the ATV when the deer turned and walked away. As the buck turned, I heard the distinct clinking sound of antlers hitting against timber.

Friday morning I talked it over with another hunting buddy, Tim Wood. We thought I should move to a stand farther north to try and get a shot at the buck. Just then our guide Mike Farrar walked in and (after he thought about the buck all night) asked me if I wanted to know what he would do.

I started to explain what Tim and I discussed when Tim shouted from the back room, to listen to what Mike had to say. So I agreed. Mike went on to tell me about two areas where some does were bedding. He thought if I set up between the two beds I might get a shot at a buck.

So off Mike and I went to check this out. After seeing the spot and hearing the past history of does traveling through the area, I decided this was a good spot. On my way out, I left an A.P.I. climber and went back to camp, showered, packed a lunch and set out at 9:45 a.m. for the rest of the day's hunt.

Going back in, I had a standoff with a doe for about four minutes. Once I arrived at the tree, I set up 35 feet high in the tree so there would be little chance of a deer winding me.

Around 3 p.m., while using a Primos can call and rubberneck grunt, I called in a doe. It called back. So I kept using the can to keep the doe around. After 30-plus minutes of calling back and forth, she headed toward the north. It was about 4 p.m. when I heard a deer walking from out of the north. It sounded like a big deer dragging its hooves. The buck came in the same way the doe left. Still out of sight and not moving now, I looked at the can and wondered if I should give it a try. It worked on the doe so I went for it.

The buck started to move. Then I saw its large body and impressive headgear. Yes! I called again. The buck moved to the east toward a small hemlock and hooked it with its antlers. I called again. The buck stopped thrashing the tree and continued on an east track passing 45 yards in front of me through some thickets. I spotted an opening ahead of it and waited for the buck to enter.

I shot. The buck stopped. I shot again and the buck broke out of the thickets and ran toward me. I shot again. The buck ran to my right and under some hemlocks where I heard it crash and exhale. I gave it about 5 minutes before making a move.

Finally I got down and walked all of 25 yards to my buck. I was so in awe of the size of this magnificent Maine buck, the mass of the rack and heft of its body. It weighed 226 pounds and had a Maine Antler and Skull Trophy Club score of 141 5/8, which made the book.

This is and will probably be the most memorable hunt with two great hunting buds and one heck of a guide. Thanks Al, Tim, and guide, Mike Farrar.

Val Faust
Bow, New Hampshire

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