Muzzleloader Season – A Real Bonus for Whitetail Hunters!
Maine’s muzzleloader season is a real bonus for the serious hunter – the gear is different (round balls, sabots or bullets, percussion caps, ramrods, cleaning jags and pin-pullers); the woods are different (fewer hunters, colder weather and – especially this year – snow, with significant, unexpected early accumulations); even the smells are different (ignited Pyrodex and bore butter). Using firearms in .45, .50 and even .54 caliber, it’s a sport embraced by big-time hunting enthusiasts.
The December, 2018 issue of The Maine Sportsman serves as a primer for beginner muzzleloaders, and a reminder course for those with experience in this challenging sport. In his “Western Maine Mountains” offering, William Clunie focuses on the literal importance of “keeping your powder dry,” as many of us know who have allowed moisture to penetrate (or condensation to dampen) the powder or pellet charge.
In “The County,” Bill Graves offers blackpowder enthusiasts plenty of “where” information, extolling the virtues of Allagash Village and Escourt. And in Tom Seymour’s “Midcoast” column, he tells readers that he “finds special pleasure in prowling through silent, snow-covered woods lugging a muzzleloader rifle.”
If informative writing doesn’t whet your appetite to try black powder, perhaps the great cover photo of a massive Eagle Lake deer (“a monster,” according to photographer Stacy Belanger) will do the trick. The buck’s atypical drop-tine antlers practically leap off the page.
December’s low temperatures signal a return to ice fishing, first in smaller ponds and later in lakes. In his “Ice Fishing Preparation and Techniques” special section, Steve Vose presents a 15-step to-do list to get your gear ready for the season, then spells out proper baiting and fishing methods to help readers haul big ones through the ice.
On the motor-sports front, Shane Brown returns with coverage of an aspect of snowmobiling that does not receive its due attention – at least until something goes wrong – and that’s loading, transporting and unloading your sled. Shane knows of what he speaks, given his experience at a well-known Bangor-area motor sports dealership.
Meanwhile, in his “Off-Road Traveler” column, William Clunie introduces Sportsman readers to an interesting and innovative device – the “SnoDog,” a powered, lightweight, tracked machine that hauls you and a plastic sled along behind it – over ice, snow and even grassy fields.
The rest of the issue provides the excellent and innovative writing to which readers have become accustomed – moose-back riding in Bill Pierce’s “Snapshots in Time,” hare-hunting on snowshoes in Bill Sheldon’s “Katahdin Country,” a Warden Service’s fake grouse designed to catch unlicensed or paved-road hunters in “Jackman Region,” as well as letters, jokes, firearms, recipes, and camps for sale in the classified ad section, “Trading Post.”
We hope you enjoy reading this issue as much as our columnists and editorial staff enjoyed assembling it.
If you’ve got something to say, write us a short letter to the editor (providing photos, if you’ve got them), and email everything to Will@MaineSportsman.com.
And thanks once again this month to our informed readers, to our many distribution outlets and to our loyal advertisers.
Will Lund, editor