Celebrating the Success of Maine’s “Biggest Bucks” Hunters!
Among deer hunters in this state, few accomplishments are more coveted than earning a “Biggest Bucks in Maine” patch from The Maine Sportsman in recognition of having tagged a 200-lb. or larger (field dressed) whitetail. Each February, we list the names, hometowns, deer weights, and location and date of each kill, for all the newest members of the Biggest Bucks Club. This year, the list of 470 names takes up a full six pages of our publication. It includes men, women, boys and girls, all of whom will re-live and re-tell the tales of their successful hunts many times, after which the feats will live on in camp journals and in stories told around the woodstove for generations. Congratulations, one and all.
The very largest of the Big Bucks weighed in excess of 250 pounds, and columnist Christi Holmes interviewed two of the “Top 5” hunters – Gary Lind, who bagged a 255-pound 7-pointer in Rangeley, and Jason Harris, who tagged the largest deer recorded for the 2022 season – a massive 265-lb., 11-point buck. Christi’s column provides revealing portraits of two very different style hunts, in “The Stories Behind Two of Maine’s Biggest Bucks of 2022,” starting on page 42 of our oversized 88-page issue.
So what else are outdoor enthusiasts doing in Maine in February? How about ice angling? Bill Graves is up in The County, where they have less concern about slow-growing ice, and he weighs in with a Special Feature titled “Aroostook County Offers Ice Fishing of the Finest Kind.” That excellent piece is back-stopped by a full-page “Bait Dealers Directory,” which lists 23 locations from New Gloucester to Norridgewock, and from Winthrop to West Enfield, where ice-bound anglers can purchase smelts, shiners, suckers, tommy cods, and worms ranging from dillies and red wigglers to earthworms and nightcrawlers.
Steve Carpenteri contributes a piece this month unabashedly titled “The Joys of Snowmobiling,” His excellent column focuses on the basics – Maine’s ITS (Interconnected Trail System); the intricacies of our state’s registration process; and the upcoming March 3 – 5 “Free Weekend” during which our friends from other states and provinces can ride our trails without registering their machines. And Staci Warren, in her “Get Out There” column titled “Backcountry Snowmobiling,” provides great insights into the formal and informal rules that guide riders who want to get off the packed trails and explore ridges, peaks and powder.
Winter is also boat show time (including the boats we’ll be featuring at the upcoming March 31 – April 2 State of Maine Sportsman’s Show at the Augusta Civic Center), and in recognition, noted outdoor sports writer Bob Humphrey offers a Special Section titled “The Right Boat” – a guide to matching the best boat to each family’s needs and wants. Tracking his own boat ownership history, from a 14-foot open aluminum boat through a 20-foot, ocean-going center console, the author shares information to help prospective purchasers make their own correct choices.
All this, plus a bull chasing a warden (“A No-Bull Tale,” by Ret. Lt. Warden Doug Tibbetts), Col. Jim Allard on firearms suppressors (“The Sounds of Silence,” p. 40), Smoked Goose Pastrami, from our “Cooking Wildly” chef Kate Krukowski Gooding, as well as mice, togue, crappies, rabbits, and Northern pike.
Factor in some great letters to the editor, world-class cartoons, and the best jokes west of West Winterport and north of North Newry.
So when you need to relax and see photos of all the big deer that did not go by your tree stand last fall, take a break and enjoy the February issue of The Sportsman, cover to cover.
Will Lund, Editor
The Maine Sportsman magazine