Early October and hunting season looms. Actually, depending on what you’re after it’s always hunting season for something in Maine as long as it’s coyotes, woodchucks, porcupines or red squirrels. Apparently, the state doesn’t mind how many of these critters are shot or when.
Skunks, opossum, raccoon, fox, bobcat, gray squirrel, snowshoe hare each have their “open” season, generally through the winter. Upland and migratory birds such as grouse, quail, pheasant, woodcock, snipe, ducks and geese can be hunted in the fall months. Our most common game bird, the wild turkey, has made such a comeback they have two open seasons: the month of May and two months in the fall.
Did you know that hunters can take two bear a year, one by hunting and one by trapping? Their season is basically late August through November with special rules about hunting with dogs and with bait, i.e. doughnuts.
MONDAY, Oct. 7
Schoolhouse Museum Open, 1-4 p.m., 33 Beach Road
LCS Soccer at Camden-Rockport Middle School
Regular School Committee meeting has been re-scheduled to Oct. 17
TUESDAY, Oct. 8
Needlework group, 4-6 p.m., Library
WEDNESDAY, Oct. 9
Schoolhouse Museum Open, 1-4 p.m., 33 Beach Road
LCS Soccer vs Camden-Rockport, 3:45 p.m., LCS
LCS PTO meeting, 6 p.m., LCS
Planning Board, 7 p.m., Town Office
THURSDAY, Oct. 10
Soup Café, Noon-1p.m., Community Building
Conservation Commission, 4 p.m., Town Office
Cross Country Meet, 4:00-boys, 4:45-girlss, Troy Howard Middle School
FRIDAY, Oct. 11
Teacher Workshop Day, No School
Schoolhouse Museum Open, 1-4 p.m., 33 Beach Road
SATURDAY, Oct. 12
Intro to Pickleball and Open Play, 9-11 a.m., LCS Outdoor Courts, 523 Hope Road
AA meetings, Tuesdays & Fridays at 12:15 p.m., Wednesdays & Sundays at 6 p.m., United Christian Church
Lincolnville Community Library, open Tuesdays 4-7, Wednesdays, 2-7, Fridays and Saturdays, 9 a.m.-noon. For information call 706-3896.
Soup Café, every Thursday, noon—1p.m., Community Building, Sponsored by United Christian Church. Free, though donations to the Community Building are appreciated
Schoolhouse Museum open M-W-F, 1-4 p.m.
Bayshore Baptist Church, Sunday School for all ages, 9:30 a.m., Worship Service at 11 a.m., Atlantic Highway
United Christian Church, Worship Service 9:30 a.m., Children’s Church during service, 18 Searsmont Road
Then there’s the moose hunt, a category all its own involving permits and certain WMDs (Wildlife Management Districts). A specific number of permits are issued each year and doled out via lottery. Lincolnville, which doesn’t lie within one of those districts, has never had an official moose hunt, though I’ve heard a couple of stories about someone shooting a moose and then frantically trying to conceal the evidence.
That brings us to Deer Season, the month of November, this year Nov. 4-30. Back in the day, it was a season all to itself, with a certain excitement in the air as opening day approached. It was always kicked off with a pre-dawn Hunters’ Breakfast at the school or the Grange or the LIA building, complete with lots of bacon and sausage, eggs, biscuits, homefries, and gallons of hot coffee. The cooks – usually women, though the last one we went to was put on by the Masons of King David’s Lodge – have breakfast ready by 5 a.m. The hunters themselves have been out prowling the roads since 2.
Opening day is always Saturday, and we’d wake up to headlights and the sound of a pickup slowing cruising by, looking for deer crossing. No shooting until sunrise and just like clockwork, that first day, you’d hear a shot within minutes of daybreak.
November, deer season, had certain protocols: wear blaze orange – hat, vest, what have you – whenever you’re outdoors, hunter or not. Tie an orange kerchief onto the dog’s collar or your horse’s halter. Hikers and dog walkers should only venture into the woods on Sundays when hunting was forbidden.
Keep an eye out to spot who got their deer, usually seen hanging upside down from a prominent front yard tree. Check the list of successful hunters at the game tagging station, which was one of the stores in the Center – general store, Drake’s, or Dean and Eugley’s garage. Today Darrell Libby on Belfast Road does the tagging.
What tag? That’s a portion of the hunting license that has to be torn off and attached to the deer as soon as it’s shot. One tag per hunter means only one deer can be taken each year.
But it’s a different prey Wally went after in his later years, a stationary critter he was much more likely to bag than a deer: the mushroom called Hen of the Woods or Maitake. He found it while roaming Frohock, the mountain (I know, 454 feet doesn’t make it a mountain) right across from our house where he hunted. One day he brought home, not a deer, but a humungous mushroom which we easily identified as Hen of the Woods. This isn’t to be confused with Chicken of the Woods, a deep yellow bracket type mushroom that grows on trees, also edible and also delicious.
Maitake is gray-brown with leafy-like lobes; he found it growing at the base of an oak tree. According to one website I found “Maitake means dancing mushroom in Japanese. The mushroom is said to have gotten its name after people danced with happiness upon finding it in the wild, such are its incredible healing properties.” It’s also delicious.
Mushrooms grow from underground mycelium that send up fruiting bodies – the mushroom – every year when conditions are right. In a dry year there may be no mushrooms at all, but the next year with enough moisture they pop up everywhere. The maitake reliably grows back in the same spot year after year, though its size must depend on what rain we’ve had.
Much about mushroom hunting is akin to the deer (possum, bear, or grouse) hunt: it takes you deep into the forest, off the trails, and in the fall when the air has a bite and leaves are turning. The light has changed, too, perhaps because the sun is hitting us from a lower angle. As foliage dies there’s an earthy, moldy smell of rotting vegetation, perfect mushroom weather.
Wally’s maitake grows at the base of a now-dead oak tree, way off any trail or woods road up there. Only a hunter, a deer hunter, would have found it. He took me there once or twice, son Ed one time, and our friend Norm Walters several times, who later showed another friend, Liz Hand. On one of our first walks together, two years ago when we were just getting to know one another, I took Don.
We didn’t find it.
That was only one of the times I led him into the woods to see some of my favorite places and got us hopelessly lost. Only he had a clever app on his phone – Map My Walk – that showed us exactly the line we’d taken, zig zagging through underbrush, climbing over boulders and ledges, hopping little brooks. As long as we turned around and kept to that zig zaggy digital line on the map we’d eventually come out of whatever tangle I’d gotten us into.
So this past week when Liz suggested we go looking for the maitake I was surprised when Don agreed to go with us. We set off across from my house and up the old woods road, now a decent trail kept cleared by a couple of mountain bikers who’ve begun using it lately.
At a certain point that Liz determined was where Wally’d gone, we left the trail. I wasn’t sure, and actually neither was she, but since I’m hopeless at finding my way in the woods I didn’t disagree. Don was probably thinking “Oh great. Here we go again.”
There are few places up there where you can actually walk a few steps without watching your feet. Roots, brambly twiney growth, ubiquitous rocky outcrops, unexpected holes, fallen trees – everything threatens to trip you up.
“It’s on a little ridge,” Liz said and I agreed, so with difficulty we pulled ourselves up one likely looking spot after another, but no maitake. Coming back down was a chore. After a few more false leads we gave up. Don opened up Map My Walk and we began retracing our steps, eventually coming out onto Beach Road, right across from my house.
This past week-end Liz returned with Norm. Half an hour later they were back with nearly fifteen pounds of maitake. “He went right to it,” Liz told me. We divided it up, each taking about five pounds.
Navigating in the woods is an exercise in observation I’ve decided. It’s all in what you know to look for, recognizing specific trees for instance. But there’s also an instinct for knowing where you are. The other day when we came down from our bushwacking and back onto the trail I was sure we should turn left, but Liz and Don instinctively went right. I was wrong.
Wally knew every tree up there, every outcropping. He was never lost, though he’d get turned around driving in Camden. Finding the elusive maitake was a piece of cake for him; he’d walk right to it. After all, unlike a deer, the hen of the woods stays put.
This Saturday, October 12 is the 7th anniversary of the day we Moved It, pulled the old Center Schoolhouse across the road and onto its new concrete slab on the site of Dean and Eugley’s garage. If you were in town that day you might have stopped by and taken a spot on the rope line. Main Street was closed for over an hour so the crew, volunteers all, could quickly lay down the board track across the pavement. The building had been jacked up and onto short pieces of pipe. All we, the 150-200 townspeople who showed up that morning had to do was pull it across on those pipes. Here’s the video made by Tyler Dunham and friends.
Lincolnville Historical SocietyThe Schoolhouse Museum closes for the season this Friday. Come down this week, M-W-F, 1-4 p.m. and see the new displays and rearranged space. Even though we won’t have regular hours until next June, you can always call either Connie Parker, 505-5101, or me, 789-5987, and we’ll arrange to meet you there, show you around or help with any research you might want to do. More than just a museum with displays of old stuff, the LHS maintains a pretty extensive archive of photos – organized by family, documents, diaries, maps, etc. If you have ancestors who lived in Lincolnville or live in an old house chances are we have relevant material.
Gradually we’re scanning and adding material from this archive to our website. Check out our new and improved website here.