Muzzleloader-Hunting for that Elusive Snowy Buck
The loud, dry autumn leaves are a thing of the past. Now, you’re walking almost silently through the woods, your boots making prints on the coating of fresh snow. Better yet – you’re on the track of a big-bodied white-tail buck, and the chase is on. You are on a Maine muzzleloader hunt, so you know you have but one shot to get the job done.
The muzzleloader season, which requires a separate license, runs November 27 through December 2 statewide, with hunters in selected WMDs in South-Central and Southwest Maine getting an extra week starting December 4 and ending December 9.
The December, 2023 issue of The Maine Sportsman celebrates this special annual event. Jim Andrews (p. 19) writes that he considers muzzleloader season to be an early holiday gift, while guide John LaMarca (p. 18) traces the recent history of the firearm, from the side-hammer models of a few decades ago, to the reliable in-line versions in use today. And for those who miss the good old days, Val Marquez (p. 59) describes his firearm of choice – a Hawken flintlock he assembled by hand, while Bill Sheldon (p. 44) displays a muzzleloader carried by his great great grandfather in the Civil War.
As readers will learn from Bill Graves’ “The County” column (starting on page 35), his friend Cory Bouchard (shown here) took full advantage of what Graves terms “Redemption Season,” since it benefits those hunters who did not catch up with a buck during the regular firearms season.
And with weather cold enough to put snow on the ground, what happens with Maine’s ponds and lakes? That’s right – ice forms, and as soon as it’s safe (or, where permitted in the North Zone, starting January 1), ice anglers head out with drills, traps and baitfish (and these days, their under-ice fish-finders).
Blaine Cardilli kicks off the excitement with his “Get Ready for Ice Fishing” special section (p. 29). And line up your favorite baitfish source with our phenomenal “Bait Dealers Directory,” listing retailers ready to provide smelts, shiners and suckers from Auburn and Bridgton to Pittston and Princeton.
Each month we present you with the work of skilled writers, presenting a wide range of subject matter. This month, for example, we cover an ethereal hunting experience (“I Never Go Hunting Alone,” by Everett Leland, p. 21); a Mainer in Viet Nam during the war, missing his home state (“Christmas Knife,” Tidewater Tales, Randy Randall, p. 56); and a thrilling cops (wardens) and robbers (poachers) story involving a fast getaway car, a faster chase car, and a flying tackle in a farm field (Tales from the Warden Service, by Ret. Lt. Doug Tibbetts, p. 55).
All this, plus erudite Letters to the Editor, an information-packed Almanac, as well as trophy photos, cartoons, and jokes that will make you laugh so loud in your tree stand, the deer will run in the other direction.
Questions? Contact the editor at Will@MaineSportsman.com or the office manager at Carol@MaineSportsman.com. And call (207) 622-4242 to ask about our special holiday gift subscription offer!
Good luck to all our muzzleloader-hunting readers!
Will Lund, Editor
The Maine Sportsman magazine