Hunters in Maine generally are good people.
We all head afield to embrace the challenge of pursuing the state’s wealth of game birds and animals in the hope of putting delicious food on the table.
That said, conflicts and misunderstandings can sometimes arise when we encounter other hunters or outdoor enthusiasts.
In the hope of bringing Maine hunters together with an increased sense of unity and camaraderie, fostered by awareness and education, we have a question for you:
What is your biggest pet peeve when it comes to the things you have witnessed other hunters do?
Maine is a large state, one that is heavily forested and features thousands of square miles of land on which to hunt. Even so, it’s common for more than one hunter to show up at a certain place, or in a general vicinity, at the same time.
Often they’re competing for the same game, but other times they’re on separate quests when their paths cross.
A classic scenario for potential conflicts came during the past week, the first full week for upland bird hunting and the opening week of the annual moose hunt.
In many areas, moose hunters and bird hunters shared the roads and the woods. It will happen again during the week of Oct. 11-16, the second moose hunting week, with bird season in full swing.
With lots of vehicles on the roads, all manned by hunters trying to fill their tags, encounters are inevitable. Have you ever had an experience when that became a problem?
Bird hunters might be walking down the same tote road where moose hunters had planned to call. Or multiple hunters might be staking out the same cut or bog, but on opposite sides.
Maybe you scouted a great spot to set up to call in a moose, only to arrive and find another truck parked at the location. It can be frustrating, but it seems that we should all remain courteous and respectful of each other.
To get the ball rolling, I’ll share a couple of my personal pet peeves.
Improper vehicle placement is the first one. Hunters park their vehicle at the entrance to another road in a way that makes it impossible for anyone else to take that route.
While nobody wants a parade of vehicles rolling by as they hunt, that isn’t acceptable. In fact, since a lot of hunting is done on privately owned roads and land, it is illegal to block any such roads.
The other, one I have encountered only a couple of times, involves other hunters in the woods.
If someone walks in on a place where I’m sitting or standing, I immediately raise my blaze orange hat to indicate my presence. If it had been me in such a situation, I would have carefully backed out of the area as best I could.
Last year, while deer hunting in southern Maine, I was watching intently a couple of minutes after seeing two does nearby. Out of nowhere, I hear a walkie talkie squawking back over my left shoulder.
First, I’m unhappy about the noise, and then the woman begins having a normal conversation with the man on the other radio.
I gave her the “shush” finger to the lips, hoping that she would realize the error of her ways. Nope.
In an attempt to distance myself, I began moving away from the hunter, back in the direction I had seen the deer. Undaunted, she continued walking off to my left, within about 30 yards.
I stopped and watched as she made her way down the ridge, walked in front of me and disappeared into the dark growth. As I continued to move to my right, a few minutes later I saw two hunters (the aforementioned ones) standing and talking.
They finally headed away from me and shortly thereafter I heard two doors slam on a pickup truck, which drove off down the adjacent road.
I’m sure you have had similar experiences, and many others that have put a damper on a hunting outing. Now, it’s time to share your stories!
Remember, the idea here isn’t to vilify anyone, rather to help folks realize how we can better create a safe and happy hunting experience for all of us.
Send us an email at email@example.com explaining to us your biggest hunting pet peeve. Please provide at least a first name and the town or county where you experienced the situation and we’ll share your thoughts with our readers in an upcoming story.
A previous version of this story included an attached Associated Press file photo of a man hunting bear in 2014. The hunter is not known to be associated with any violations of Maine hunting laws and was not identified as such.