Bow Hunting in Maine
Your shoulders are strong. Your broadheads are sharp. Stands are hung along the best trails. Crisp mornings and red hued evenings in quiet forests await. As you head out bow hunting in Maine this fall, here are a few outside-the-box suggestions that may increase your odds harvesting your way into the state’s Big Buck Club.
Rethink scent control
A deer’s sense of smell is something like a bajillion times better than ours. Okay, deer technically only have 59.4 times more scent receptors than we do, but that’s still a score of almost 300 million to five! Simply put, there’s no such thing as scent elimination as far as deer are concerned. We have to stop thinking in terms of scent elimination, and start thinking in terms of managing scent concentration.
Dilution is the solution
Think of a deer’s nose is a bit like a smoke detector. They’ll tolerate a certain amount of threatening scent before their brains trigger an alarm. You can further trick their alarm system by mixing or diluting your threatening scent with scents from their natural habitat.
Here’s how to make the most of this trick:
- Get a large plastic tote, rinse it with plain water and let it dry outside.
- Fill it about a third of the way with dry leaves, twigs, plant materials, and dirt from the area where you hunt.
- Store your outer layer of hunting clothes, including hats, gloves, facemask, and any item that touches the air while you’re in the stand in that tote with the lid on it.
- Just before you head to the stand (literally, like on the side of the road at the edge of the timber you’re hunting in) put on these outer layers and head straight out.
In your tote (for those travelling light, a strong garbage bag works fine too), it’s helpful to include strong smelling plant materials such as cedar, pine or other aromatic vegetation, as long as these plants are common to your hunting area as they’ll provide the highest concentrations of non-alarming scent.
Practice isn’t just for the archery range
It’s one thing to send a few hundred or, for more serious shooters, a few thousand arrows at a target on the shooting range prior to season. It’s something entirely different sending one arrow at a trophy buck from your favorite stand. So practice shooting from the stand.
Not a raised platform at the archery range (some ranges have those), but from the actual stands you hunt from. Arrows fly differently when shot at a downward angle. You need to know what that difference is from your actual stand.
Keep one or two practice arrows in your quiver tipped with old, dull broadheads specifically for this purpose. Shoot them from the stand when you arrive in the evening or just before you leave after a morning hunt. Pick an off-color leaf or something obvious to aim at near where you expect deer to travel.
When I do this in the evenings, I don’t even pick up my arrows until I leave. I’ve never had them spook deer, though I have had them stop deer at an opportune spot, giving me the shot I needed. These practice shots help me judge distances and increase my confidence, two critical components to making a good shot.
Consider the exit wound
When it finally comes time to making that critical shot, consider not just where you want your arrow to impact the deer, but where it will likely exit its body. Since many shots are not perfectly broadside, the path your arrow takes between entry and exit can make the difference between a clean kill and a lengthy, possibly futile tracking effort.
Imagine a line extending from the tip of your fully drawn arrow to the point of impact (your aim point) and extending past there to the point of exit and beyond. Then consider which vital organs intersect that line and adjust your point of aim to maximize those impacts.
So this archery season, cover your scent with forest smells, practice from the stand, and shoot for the far side. But above all, enjoy bow hunting in Maine this fall!
Camp Katahdin is a luxury hunting retreat in Northern Maine. Our 15 person Hunting Lodge is set in the most beautiful hunting grounds in the Katahdin area. Step out the door and walk, ATV, or snowmobile to prime hunting locations.
Then, come back and rest easy in our new lodge. We offer independent and guided hunts for all seasons, whitetail deer is one of our favorites. We are also commercially zoned for Pheasant hunting – that means, no license needed, 7 days a week hunts.
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