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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-15-2019, 09:32 PM Thread Starter
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Maine grouse trip

Planning a trip to Maine in October. The week I was planning on going is the moose hunting week. Would you go this week or wait a week? It will be my wife and my English Setter. I am not going to road hunt, I want to beat the bush. Thanks
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-15-2019, 10:22 PM
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Go. With the amount of land up there to hunt you shouldn't have any trouble avoiding the moose hunters if that is your concern. I've never seen another deer hunter in the woods up there and there are way more people hunting deer than moose due to the limited permits.
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-16-2019, 08:07 AM
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Yes go, the concern is much overblown. I've grouse hunted Maine before, a great trip. I also deer hunted NH for several years and like Davy said, I rarely actually saw another hunter in the woods.

Giod lick and if you don't mind, what area are you going to? DIY or staying at a traditional Maine sporting lodge?

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Last edited by RyanR; 03-16-2019 at 08:09 AM.
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-16-2019, 09:35 AM Thread Starter
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Looking at the Jackman area. I talked with a lady at a lodge. This will be my first trip, so thinking of going the lodge route. She said they will point you in areas to hunt.
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-16-2019, 04:37 PM
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I've hunted right through the moose season up there a couple times and you shouldn't have a problem. The moose hunters never leave the roads and I can't blame them. Imagine trying to move a 800-1000 lb animal after you shoot it. They winch them into the back of a pick up or onto a small trailer to take them to check in. Nobody is going to try dragging one through the brush.
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-17-2019, 09:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Remi View Post
Looking at the Jackman area. I talked with a lady at a lodge. This will be my first trip, so thinking of going the lodge route. She said they will point you in areas to hunt.
Get yourself a Maine Atlas & Gazetteer, very helpful resource. I did Jackman on my own a few years ago. It was my first trip to Maine as well. I rented a cabin for the week at Sally Mountain Cabins and did my own meals. It was a fun trip. Lots of paper and timber company land up there all open to hunting. Watch for slash pile, a lot of the cover is decaying slash pile. A PIA to try to hunt for both you and a dog, every other step you fall thru, sometimes right up to your hip. After stumbling over it for 2 days (and moving birds, especially woodcock) I got a tip and wised up to hunt the older unused logging side trails and skidded trails. Easier walking and the dogs hunted and found birds mostly within 25-30 yards of either side of the trail. Basically I used the wider gravel logging roads, the main access road into each area, to get back in and then took the secondary roads off that and from there you will find the smaller now unused "roads" or trails. Park and start hunting, you can follow some of those old trails for miles, moving birds or snowshoe hare for most of it. Also, I never left the car without a first aid kit in my pack. Bishop's Store in town is s good source of information and a good stop for gas, coffee, etc.

Watch and enjoy them but don't mess with trying to get too close to the moose, they can be more of a threat than any bear. Especially a mom with a calf. Keep your dog away, moose do not like dogs. If you come upon one up close and you see its ears lay back flat and it rolls its eyes back to show the whites, that's a big warning sign you're too close. Back out and give it space. It's not something you really need to be worried over, 99% of the time you'll see one and just get to enjoy that sight. It's just something to be mindful of if you come upon one up close. If you're lucky enough to see a big, mature bull that's just a spectacular memory to cherish.
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-03-2019, 04:28 PM
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What RyanR said.

Wear PA-level orange and you will be in compliance with Maine's [lesser] orange requirements. Even during those parts of October when moose is closed and orange is therefore optional, it's a good idea to wear it.

If you get a recent edition of the Maine Atlas and Gazetteer, you'll note rumpled orange-brown coloring on some areas. Those are "recently disturbed", as in "recently logged". You can also use the Google Maps satellite imagery to get a good idea where the loggers were more recently. You want 10 or so year old regrowth, i.e., early successional habitat. Birches, jack firs, alders. Paths near trickle brooks are good because the birds stay there to get water. And it's thicker. Once you learn to recognize it from both the satellite and looking at it on the ground (i.e., connecting them), you'll have an easier time of finding good covers.

Also, be aware that not only is a lot of the cover in logged over areas slash (where you can easily get injured), but also there are usually skidder ruts (tire tracks 1-2 feet deep) where you can very easily get hurt.

It's an excellent idea to carry an extra spare tire and tire repair kits, as the logging roads eat tires. Some of them run over shale, which is known to slice the dickens out of tires, especially when they've been recently graded. I know a guy who wrecked 2 tires that way inside the first mile behind a North Maine Woods gate.

Also recognize that grouse will come out to get grit for their crops late in the afternoon, so keep an eye for places where finer gravel and sand are on the road surface.

Jackman is a nice little town, but they roll up the sidewalks there about 5-6 pm and the only places that remain open are the bars. Schedule your provisioning accordingly. Fill your tank at every opportunity.

If you run into someone dragging/loading a moose, an offer of help is a courtesy appreciated, even if they say "no thanks". It's heavy, hard work.
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Last edited by Dave in Maine; 04-03-2019 at 04:31 PM.
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-03-2019, 10:13 PM
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As others have said, moose hunters will not be a problem.
As Dave above has mentioned, if you plan on much driving on the North Maine Woods roads best go with 8 or 10 ply tires.
Those roads eat sidewalls.
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-04-2019, 09:34 AM
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Remi, while it's a smart idea to carry a couple cans of "fix-a-flat" (which I did) don't be deterred. I spent a week birdhunting in Jackman out of my Toyota Matrix which is a Corolla hatchback. I was on all kinds of logging roads and had little to no trouble. Just use common sense and drive at a safer, slower speed (what's the hurry anyway, you're in Maine.) I knew 4 other vehicles up there and we all did fine. Sure a puncture can happen but if you don't go too fast on those nice, graded logging "highways" you'll generally be just fine. Biggest thing I stayed aware of was where I pulled off to park. Make sure it's not a hidden ditch (I saw 2 vehicles that made that mistake.)

There is a small grocery store at the north end of town but Dave's right, much of the place closes by early evening. Bishop's Store, in the center of town is a hub of activity (gas, food, licenses) and information. I did my own meals in my cabin: oatmeal for breakfast, packed a sandwich & cookies (thanks mom) for lunch each day, and I pre-made several casseroles for the week that I cooked before the trip and bought up in a cooler. We had breakfast out one rainy morning. We also hit the two bars in town one night. Jackman is a working town, a logging town and the people there are tough but good, salt of the earth type folks. I enjoyed them and have a ton of respect for their way of life.

It's one of the best trips I've ever had! I loved every second of that rugged and beautiful place.
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-04-2019, 07:47 PM
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Been going up the month of Oct for a few years. The week of moose season sees increased road traffic but no problems running the hounds or kicking the brush for grouse. Need orange when big game is in season but we use it all the time anyway. We stop to congratulate all successful moose hunters and offer help. Almost all have a crew and don't need help but enjoy the pat on the back. We also stop at the moose check station in Kokadjo and get to chat with the wardens and biologist working the station. Great info they share and are just great people to be around.


Running hounds we have found that the second week of October there seems to be more grouse deeper off the road than there is after the moose season. By the end of the month it seems they are closer to the road by day. Road hunters will often say the grouse numbers are down early in the month and the tune changes later in the month. My group thinks the grouse were down for a few years but seem to be picking back up. Woodcock have been increasing where we hunt across the lake from Jackman. Friends hunted the Jackman area last year after Moose season and said they were kicking up plenty of grouse.

Hare in my area seem down the last few year but hunting is still good. Was better in Jackman area from what we heard.



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