RUMFORD, Maine — Taking a break from deer hunting by sitting in the sun to warm up on Saturday was the right place at the right time for Rumford hunter “Cussy” Arsenault and his 10-year-old son, Damien.
The elder Arsenault, who bought his hunting license Friday night, bagged an 8-point, 193½-pound buck with a .44 Magnum rifle two hours into Maine’s regular firearms deer season.
“We were just sitting on a rock on the edge of a power line on a frosty morning,” Arsenault told Rumford firefighters as they lifted the deer from his pickup bed toward the weight scale at the department’s tagging station.
“It was getting cold, so we picked a spot to sit down and out he come,” Arsenault said. “We were just getting ready to head home, too.”
“Some people have all the luck,” a fellow hunter said.
Arsenault said he’d only been hunting a couple of years. Saturday’s buck was his first.
“I’d seen this one two years in a row and missed him,” he said.
A few minutes earlier, Curtis Steele, 13, of Rumford and his dad watched Deputy fire Chief Chris Bryant weigh Steele’s spike-horn buck at 113 pounds.
“I thought it was a doe when he come in,” Steele’s dad said.
They were hunting from a tree stand and didn’t have a doe permit.
“I told Curtis, ‘Don’t shoot it!’” he said.
It has spikes, Curtis told his father.
He said he fired two shots and dropped it. It was his second deer in four years. Last year, he bagged a 218-pound deer.
The youth said he enjoys hunting and spending time with his father.
Prior to Arsenault’s arrival, Maine Warden Josh Smith stopped by the Rumford tagging station at 11:05 a.m., just four hours into the season, to check how many deer had been registered.
He said he was surprised to find only three, the largest of which was a 230-pounder taken by Hillary Cayer of Rumford.
“The weather’s good for opening day, coming in with some cold weather and not a lot of wind, but boy, I don’t know, I haven’t encountered a lot of hunters,” Smith said. “It seems a little slow for the first day, but it will pick up.
“I’ve been listening to the radio and haven’t heard any complaint come in for a violation, so knock on wood,” he said.
He said wardens earlier had cited one hunter for baiting deer in Peru.
At 12:30 p.m. at Doug Webster’s Trading Post tagging station at the corner of Routes 2 and 26 in Newry, a hunter had yet to bring in a deer.
That, he said, was very unusual.
“I thought everything would be moving today, with the storm coming in,” he said.
This season, he said, he’s tagged 37 moose and bear for hunters and one deer on Youth Day.
“So maybe there’s no deer out there,” Webster said.
Down Route 26 in West Paris at the J & K Sporting Goods tagging station, Mark Neary said they’d only tagged six deer by 1 p.m. The largest was a 210-pound, 10-point buck taken by Alex MacDonald of Albany Township.
Pines Market on Route 27 in Eustis usually tags several deer on opening day.
However, by 4 p.m., they’d tagged only two, the largest of which was a 243-pound, 8-point buck taken by Willy Quinn of Eustis, clerk Stacey Scott said.
In Lewiston, a clerk at Burnie’s Gun Shop said he’d tagged seven deer by 4:10 p.m., the largest of which weighed 175 pounds.
“But the day ain’t over yet,” he said.
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