By Joe Ewing
The western mountains of Maine in autumn
The western mountains of Maine came alive again this past October with glorious and melodious hound music as three adventurous members from the Big Woods Hare Hunters of the Allegheny unleashed their beagles in search of the illusive snowshoe hare. The great hare hunting state of Maine came alive during the many enthusiastic pursuits of the magnificent lagomorph. The mountains rang with hound melodies for six glorious days as renowned hare hunters Andy Hoover, Jim “Kaz” Kazmarek along with myself hunted and explored the Mecca of snowshoe hare hunting.
Maine, located in the New England region of the northeastern U. S., is a land of jagged, rocky and rugged coastlines. Maine’s forests are vast and the state’s whitewater rivers and thousands of lakes and ponds are inviting and picturesque. Maine is the 12th smallest state and the 38th most densely populated of the 50 U. S. states. Maine is renowned for its seafood; however, to the legion of hunters who invade the state every fall, Maine is known for its outstanding hunting.
Hundreds of camps, lodges and bed and breakfasts provide housing during the states hunting seasons for deer and moose as well as for wild turkey, ruffed grouse, pheasant, waterfowl and upland game, which includes snowshoe hare. Hunters and dog trainers in Maine are required by state law to hold a license. A non-resident license for small game is only $75 and you will need a hunter safety certificate or an old license. A three-day small game permit is available for $50. Hare season runs for six months, starting October 1st, with a bag limit of four a day and like Pennsylvania and only two other states (Massachusetts and Delaware) no hunting is allowed on Sunday. Hunter orange is not required except when hunting during the big game seasons.
The Big Woods Hare Hunters of the Allegheny’s pilgrimage covered 1600 miles, round trip, with stops at Cabela’s, of course, Kittery Trading Post, L. L Bean, New Hampshire L. S., for social lubrication, and don’t forget Walmart on the way.
Our destination was Bingham and the Pine Grove Lodge. We headed north on I-95 to the Fairfield exit, northwest on route 201, through Skowhegan to Bingham. Bingham is located in the Kennebec and Moose River Valleys region, “the Heart of Maine”. The Pine Grove Lodge is located in the mountains of western Maine, one mile from Wyman Lake on the Kennebec River. Our hosts for the week were Andrea and Bob Howe whom the Big Woods Hare Hunters of the Allegheny have been visiting for the past 16 years, sometimes twice a year, which should be enough customer review in itself.
Located in Pleasant Ridge, Maine, the Pine Grove Lodge (PGL) offers clean, comfortable family-style accommodations in the lodge or in their private Maine cabins. The pristine mountainous setting is easily reached by macadam roadway. Along with lodging, which includes Wi-Fi and HDTV, they offer activities such as Maine fishing, fly fishing lessons, hunting, kayaking, canoeing, wildlife tours and pontoon boat lake cruises. The PGL offers top-quality Registered Maine Guide services as well as access to well-groomed snowmobile and ATV trails. Topping the list, for me anyway, are the delicious home-cooked meals and that “home away from home” feeling which makes me want to go back year after year. Bob and Andrea have always successfully produced that family atmosphere.
Don’t miss the rest of this article and beautiful pictures starting on page 24 of our January issue!