Come hunting season, a few things are sure to happen: I’ll spend a lot of time in the woods, waiting for nonexistent deer to meander past my stand, for one. I’ll spend far too much money on assorted deer lures and scent-killing chemicals, for another.
And David Baker will e-mail me a story that makes my day.
For the past three years, the Glenburn man has kept me updated with stories of his hunting exploits.
OK. That’s not entirely true.
Baker has had some memorable experiences, including being treed by an angry bull and watching an albino deer, a skunk and bald eagles during his hunts last year.
The key component of his e-mails, however, has remained constant: His son, Josh, is now 14 and had bagged a pair of deer — each in less than a half-hour — and had earned bragging rights over his hard-hunting dad.
Regaining those bragging rights was important to David Baker, and he began planning for this year as soon as the 2008 season ended.
“Expanded zone archery season starts on Sept. 12, 2009,” Baker wrote at the time. “Only 270 more days to prepare.”
As it turns out, Baker’s preparation paid off. And as his e-mail — subject line: REDEMPTION — proves, he has reclaimed family bragging rights … for now.
Here’s some of what Baker had to say:
“I am happy to report that after two years of my son filling his deer tag on youth day that I have finally assumed the rightful position on the pedestal for bragging rights within the house,” Baker wrote.
The plot quickly thickened.
It seems that this year Josh didn’t have the chance to get out on Youth Deer Day. And it seems that his dad didn’t even wait until the traditional firearms opening day to put the pressure on his son.
“Unfortunately we didn’t get out on youth day this season due to the late Friday night John Bapst football game against Foxcroft Academy,” Baker wrote. “By the time Josh got home, out of his uniform and showered for bed, it was well after 1 a.m., and after having been drawn for a doe permit, he opted to sleep in. As the rain poured down in the afternoon, and with several school projects looming, he again decided to skip getting wet and spent the day working on his homework beside the toasty warm wood stove.”
A year ago, some alert readers may remember, Baker spent most of the fall battling bronchitis. This year, he’s breathing fine … but walking poorly.
“I didn’t have bronchitis keeping me away from my tree stand when archery season started,” he wrote. “Nope. I went and broke my leg instead. Nothing confines a guy to his recliner more than a full-length immobilizer and a pair of metal crutches. Luckily things healed up pretty quick and I was permitted to shed the crutches late last week. Although I am permitted to walk, I am still restricted to walking in an adjustable brace for knee support until late November, so getting to my favorite hot spot one-half mile deep off the road has not been possible.”
As you might expect, however, Baker adapted, and came up with another plan.
“Instead, I obtained permission to hunt in another location that I have been interested in hunting for a couple of years now,” Baker wrote. “I went in last Thursday afternoon during the light rain to look around and walked about 30 yards from my truck where I decided to sit in a nice, dry little pine grove to watch and hopefully pattern the deer’s movements so I could decide where best to set up a stand for future hunts.”
He quickly learned that the place he’d decided to hunker down would do just fine.
“Little did I know I had settled into the perfect location and a healthy doe walked up within 30 feet of me with another young deer the first hour or so I was there,” Baker wrote. “I returned to this same spot after work [Tuesday], leaving me with two hours of hunting until sunset.
“After photographing a partridge that was walking within a few feet of me as he was feeding under an apple tree, I checked my time and it was 5:21 p.m. … only 40 minutes of daylight remained.”
Then Baker heard a deer approaching, and realized he might not need 40 minutes to fill his tag.
Baker came to full draw when he saw antlers, and let the arrow fly. After surveying the situation, he picked up his BlackBerry and sent his brother-in-law (and designated deer-dragger) a simple text message: “BUCK DOWN.”
The four-pointer weighed 145 pounds, field-dressed, and Baker said he’s looking forward to sampling a year’s supply of steaks, stew meat and garlic sausage.
He’s also looking forward to getting back into the woods with his son.
“With my tag now filled, I can focus on helping Josh learn what it’s like to have to wait more than 20 minutes on stand to shoot his deer, as he has in youth hunts past,” Baker wrote. “I can only pray that if he is fortunate enough to fill his tag this season that it weighs a pound less and has smaller antlers than mine, or it’s going to be another long year of waiting for hunting season 2010.”
Hunter’s breakfasts trickling in
Many organizations target the residents-only opening day of deer season for their annual hunter’s breakfasts, but if you missed out on a feast on Saturday, don’t worry. You’ve got plenty of chances left to fuel up on upcoming weekends.
As expected, the notices have continued to trickle in here at 491 Main Street, and I’m happy to let you know about a couple of hunter’s meals that haven’t been included in any of the BDN’s earlier lists.
• In Pittsfield, the Sebasticook Valley Elks Club will hold a breakfast on Saturday at the clubhouse on Middle Street. The feed will run from 5-8 a.m. and the price is $5.
• In Monroe, the Monroe Lions Club will hold a hunter’s breakfast on Nov. 14 from 5 a.m. to 10 a.m. The meal will be served at the Monroe Church on Route 139 and the price is $7 for adults, $3 for children. Proceeds benefit a number of community youth activities, and as always, non-hunters are welcome.
• In Brewer, at Penobscot County Conservation Association, a hunter’s breakfast will be held from 4 a.m. until 9 a.m. on Nov. 21. The price is $6 for adults and $3 for children under 12.
And if you missed them the first time by, here are some other offerings for this weekend (which have been publicized in previous editions of the BDN): A breakfast in Dixmont at the Gold Crest Riders Snowmobile Club clubhouse on Cates Road from 4:30-8:30; a breakfast in Holden at the Eastern Maine Snowmobile Club on Levenseller Road from 4:30-8:30 a.m.; and the Arthur L. Hitchcock Wild Game Dinner at SeDoMoCha School in Dover-Foxcroft from 11:30 a.m. until 3 p.m. on Sunday.