GWPMANWV wrote:Anybody have experience hunting the northwoods in Maine. Got any advice? Is the hunting like they do in New Hampshire ? Meaning do the shoot out of the truck windows and such? Someone told me the Ross Lake area was good.
You can hunt in Maine like you would in NH, just not on Sunday. Ross Lake area is good.
I've had the best grouse hunting in the northwest part of the state (Wildlife Management Districts 1, 2, 4, & 5 -- see WMD map http://www.maine.gov/ifw/wildlife/ma...nt/wmd/map.htm
), which coincidentally tends to have the greatest numbers of grouse observed during the annual moose hunter survey (See the 2011 Wildlife Division Research and Management Report (Page 17, table 4): http://www.maine.gov/ifw/wildlife/su...ort
9-1-11.pdf). This area is contained within the North Maine Woods (North Maine Woods Association controls road access to 3.5 million acres in northern ME) http://www.northmainewoods.org/
. It takes a major effort to get in to the NW corner. Bring everything you'll need for your stay, as you can't just take a quick trip to the store for gas, food, etc -- it could be a couple hours' drive each way on gravel roads. When going in to the North Maine Woods it's a good idea to be as self-sufficient as you can. I recommend bringing 2 spare tires (I've had 2 flats in one day -- good idea to head out for repair after the first flat), extra batteries for your toys that need them, several full cans of gas (top off before you leave pavement -- e.g. in Ashland, Patten, Millinocket), rope, come-along, winch, hi-lift jack, chainsaw, ... however if you're staying at a lodge/outfitter ask their advice -- you may be able to buy gas from them. Cell phone coverage may be spotty.
You can also find very good grouse and woodcock hunting across the rest of the northern 2/3 of the state (WMDs 1-11, 13, 14, 17-19), and much of this area is more easily accessible (less of an expedition) and closer to motels, hotels, restaurants, etc. Commercial timberland that is accessible to the public is widespread in the north and less so in the south; that is also the trend in grouse habitat, with better habitat on actively managed commercial timberland, generally speaking. Downeast (WMDs 26-28, 19) tends to have very good woodcock hunting, but grouse numbers often are less dependable (generally speaking -- there are exceptions). As you go south into Midcoast areas (WMD 23, 25, 26), bird hunting still can be quite good but finding access to land is not as easy as in the north, and so a good guide can be valuable.
Licenses can be purchased on-line or over the counter at many sporting goods stores, town offices, hunting lodges, and corner stores. No Sunday hunting; grouse season Oct 1-Dec 30, woodcock season likely Oct 1 - Nov 15 (check the regulations). The Delorme Maine Atlas and Gazeteer is a must, as is a compass (gps helps). Spruce grouse are not legal game in Maine, but are not uncommon in areas w/ young spruce and fir or tamarack. Camps/lodges tend to have fewer occupancies during Moose season (October 8-13, 2012). Likely see moose in northern areas and maybe pick up a shed; good time for a lobster.
To find guide services and lodging see the Guides and Camping/Lodging links from the Maine DIFW website: http://www.maine.gov/ifw/links.htm
especially look at: Maine Campground Owners Association (campgrounds and cabin rentals) http://www.campmaine.com/home.php
Maine Professional Guides Association (searchable database): http://www.maineguides.org/
Note that 2 advertisers in the RGS spring 2012 magazine who operate in Maine are Foggy Mountain Guide Service (http://www.mainegrouse.com
) and Allagash Guide Service (http://www.allagashguideservice.com
North Maine Woods Association (controls road access to 3.5 million acres in northern ME) http://www.northmainewoods.org/
The upland game bird biologist for Maine DIFW is Kelsey Sullivan (207-941-4474); he can answer questions and also provide you w/ contact numbers for regional wildlife biologists in any regions of interest to you. Last year grouse numbers in much of the north were excellent; drummers are abundant this spring, and so far nesting conditions have been good. Good luck,