Monday, June 25, 2012

2012 Moose Lottery and Uncle Rene

Saturday was a very special day. You see, I was in Rhode Island for my wife's family gathering and took some time to go see my Uncle Rene. Uncle Rene and I have a long deep history of hunting and fly fishing together. He used to have a camp in Vermont where it was a ritual to be there on the opening day of deer season with the likes of Fred and Zeke. We have many fond memories together, like the time we had an early snow storm that dumped two feet of snow in the mountains. We were stranded in the cabin for two days before the snowmobiles came through and created a path to walk on. I was in my twenties then and cabin fever took over, I suited up grabbed my rifle and took off into the mountains. After an hour or so, I spotted three deer and as I trudged up the mountain in the deep snow chasing them when I ran across the hunter that jumped them from their beds. He was wore out from the deep snow and told me to give it a try. Well, three hours later, totally spent physically and with darkness setting in I began my long hike back. At times I would stumble over dead trees and tumble end over end in the snow. It was like I was watching a movie about a mountain man becoming stranded in the mountains in a major storm. Well, except for the mountain man part, it was early in my career, I was in a dangerous place. By the time I hit the snowmobile trail, I could hardly stand up. We didn't have Gortex in those days, only rubber rain gear, so I had sweat through all of my clothes. I persevered by putting one foot in front of the other until I could see the flood lights on our cabin. By the time I reached the bottom of the stairs, I collapsed, banging the butt of my rifle on the wooden stairs to alert Rene. He came out joking saying, "where's the deer?" He quickly realized I wasn't joking around and need help getting in the camp. He quickly undressed me and gave me some dry clothes, hydrated me with plenty of water and then poured a glass of bourbon, listening intently as I told him the whole story.

Then there was the time we went camping with a group of friends fly fishing in the Allagash Wilderness in Northern Maine, 50 miles north of Ripogenus Gorge. It rained for 5 days and the zipper on our tent broke preventing us from closing the fly. It rained so hard we joked the river was flowing through out sleeping bags. We never dried out the whole time there but we caught fish and enjoyed the camaraderie around the camp fire.

Rene's wife of 62 years is in a nursing home and she isn't doing very well. Rene faithfully drives there twice a day to visit her which consumes most of his day. When he isn't at the nursing home, he sits on top of an old tube 19 inch TV and watches TV until he falls asleep. So Saturday was going to be a special day, I took Uncle Rene out and bought him a new 32 inch flat screen TV only he thought I was buying it for myself. Not until I carried it in his house did he understand that it was a gift for him. He was so happy he cried, and so did I.

Now, you are probably asking yourself, what does all this have to do with the 2012 Maine Moose Lottery? Well the lottery was held on that same special day with Uncle Rene, Saturday in Oquossoc, a small town in Rangeley that is between Mooselookmuguntic lake and Rangely lake. 54,338 people applied for the permit opportunity in the lottery. 14,657 of them were from "away", in other words, from all over the world, and 39,681 were from Maine. I have been applying since they started the lottery in 1980 and have had the good fortune of being selected in 2004. I harvested a large bull that year with a 59 1/2 inch spread tip to tip on his antlers. He is hanging over our wood stove and Lynn fondly named him Henry.

Maine Fish and Game didn't post the results of the lottery until 8PM that evening, I was on the computer at my father-in law's at 8:01. I checked all my friends names first as I went through the alphabet, no one I know got lucky. Then came the W's....I couldn't believe my eyes, I was picked again and it was for a bull moose, zone 5, September hunt. What a perfect ending on a special day spent with my 85 year old hunting and fishing partner of so many years. I hope Uncle Rene can be there with us when I harvest another bull moose to make yet another special day.


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Floating the Androscogin River

Floating the Androscogin river in Kayaks in the summer is one of my favorite pastimes. This past Saturday was a perfect day with temperatures in the low seventies and a slight breeze to keep us cool, we were off. Our friends from Rhode Island, Bob, Linda, Jim and Nancy rented kayaks and joined Lynn and I for a 12 mile float from Gilead to Bethel. The river was still high and flowing faster than usual shaving approximately a half hour off of our trip. Along the way we met the Maine Warden for the area checking everyone for life preservers. It is rare to see a warden on the river as the water is usually too low to support a power boat. In any event, he told us we might see a small moose grazing on the banks if it didn't get spooked, unfortunately we had a group in front of us and by the time we floated by it was gone.

We stopped for lunch along the way on a rocky shore and took a break from the paddling.
All in all it was a perfect day on the river. But wait there is more. Upon arriving home, Nancy prepared appetizers for all and the entire crew took out an assortment of firearms and laid some lead in the backyard. The girls had a contest that was easily won by Lynn, however, Nancy is now hooked on shooting and suggested Jim buy her a rifle of her own. After our target practicing, Bob prepared a wonderful steak dinner to cap off the perfect day. Once again, it was another day in paradise.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Western Maine Rain

Rain rain go away and come back another God we are getting pounded with rain in the Western mountains of Maine. Since Saturday we have recorded in excess of 8 1/2 inches at Moose Look Lodge. Rivers and streams have over flowed their banks closing roads and creating havoc. Now our concern has become the effects on the turkey and partridge broods. Up until now it was going to be a good spring for the birds. The water levels are playing havoc with fishing as well, Today started out beautiful and by the time Daisy and I got home it was pouring, in fact, I had to pull over to the side of the road to take her out of the bed of the pickup and put her in the back seat to keep her dry. The weather man tells us this the weekend will bring us sunshine and fair weather. Just in time to get the lawn mower out and cut the grass before it becomes a hay field. 

The other big news here in the mountains is the new Oxford Casino has opened. This is a full gaming casino opened 24 hours a day seven days a week. For more information before coming up visit their site at

Joe and Liz have informed me that they have built a new laundry facility to accommodate their guest at Parlin Lake Lodge and Cabins. Please visit their site at Joe and Liz have transformed this facility into the nicest resort in Western Maine. The cabins and lodge are brand new and very well constructed, located only feet from the waters edge. If you are planing a family vacation to Maine, put them on your list, I promise, you will have the time of your life and will not want to leave. The fishing is fabulous and moose spotting's are common.

Well, I hope to report better weather on my next posting, and I will have some news on the new casino as we are going to visit there this weekend. Until then, stay dry where ever you are.