Autumn, many Mainers will tell you, is a special time of year. The humid summer evenings finally give way to cool, crisp “good sleeping” nights (or so they tell us), the leaves turn beautiful colors (if they don’t all blow away, like they’re doing as I write this) and outdoor opportunities abound.
Luckily, I don’t have anything snide to parenthetically add to that final piece. Yes, it’s fall. And yes, if you’re looking to get outdoors and spend some time in the woods, this is a perfect time to do so.
Heck, even the mosquitos and black flies have finally given up (we hope).
This week, nearly 1,000 moose hunters headed into the woods to try to fill their tags during the 40th year of Maine’s modern moose hunt. Ruffed grouse hunters hit their favorite coverts beginning Sept. 28, and woodcock hunters join them Oct. 1, when that season opens.
Avid bowhunters have been participating in the expanded archery season for deer since Sept. 12, and the regular archery and crossbow seasons kick off on Oct. 3.
All of which means that if you’re a hunter in Maine, chances are good that there’s a season to pique your interest taking place as we speak.
And with all of those seasons, there are plenty of opportunities for hunters to share their tales with other like-minded individuals.
Here at the Bangor Daily News, we’re proud to have shared many of those stories over the decades. My outdoor-writing predecessors made a habit of letting readers vicariously tag along on outdoor adventures, and I’ve followed suit. Sometimes, I’m in the field with those hunters. Other times, I meet them at tagging stations. And often, hunters just give me a call or send me an email to let me know how their hunts have been going.
Today, I’m reaching out to let you know that we’re eager for that tradition to continue, and that we’d love to hear from you.
Do you have to shoot the biggest moose in Maine history to qualify for a spot on our website or in our print pages? Of course not. Over the years, I’ve learned that every hunt has something about it that makes it special to the people who experienced it. And many of the resulting stories have a tidbit or two that will be of interest to fellow hunters and BDN readers.
Perhaps your teenager wants to write down their own account of the hunt, and explain why it was important to them? Send it along. Maybe their English teacher will even consider their submission for extra credit when it’s published here and enjoyed by thousands of readers.
Or maybe you’ve just returned from a hunt you’ve waited years to go on, or shot your first moose, or watched as your son or daughter proved that all of those lectures about hunting ethics hadn’t been in vain.
Hunting stories come in all kinds of forms, you see. Over the years, I hope I’ve demonstrated that even when a hunter doesn’t shoot anything, special memories can be made.
And as we roll through these hunting seasons and make more memories of our own, I hope you’ll consider sending a tale, photos and videos our way, so we can continue to celebrate Maine’s rich hunting heritage.
Or maybe your hunting photo doesn’t have anything to do with the hunt at all — we’re always on the lookout for cool trail camera stills and videos.
Have fun out there. Be safe. And I’ll be waiting to hear from you.
John Holyoke can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 207-990-8214. Follow him on Twitter: @JohnHolyoke. His first book, “Evergreens,” a collection of his favorite BDN columns and features, is published by Islandport Press and is available wherever books are sold.