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Hunting, Fishing, and Camping

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L.L.Bean, Inc. has been a trusted source for quality apparel, reliable outdoor equipment and expert advice since 1912. To celebrate its hundredth anniversary, the Freeport-, Maine-based company has updated Hunting, Fishing and Camping, Leon Leonwood Bean’s no-nonsense guide to enjoying the great outdoors. Originally published in 1942, this Maine classic offers instruction on everything from packing a canoe to stalking a bear. The new edition pairs the original text and nostalgic photographs with twenty-first-century perspective from L.L's great-grandson and Outdoor Channel television host, Bill Gorman. This entertaining and instructive book is not only a commemorative celebration of L.L.Bean’s legacy and his commitment to conservation — it is a must-have manual for the modern sportsman.

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Chapter 1

ePub

CHAPTER 1

Deer Hunting on Bare Ground

The first thing to decide: Where shall I go? Second: How many do I want to make up the party?

Where to go is the most important question to settle. You will find your answer in Chapter 37.

Now for your party. A perfect trip may be ruined by one person who does not fit. I recommend small parties, not over four. Two makes a good party.

BILL GORMAN > Two made a good hunting party in the past when you depended on a partner to know where you were and to help drag animals out. Nowadays, with cell phones and better communication, you can more easily hunt solo.

The next thing after making up your party and where to go is to decide on your camp. Shall you use a tent, a lean-to, an old logging camp or go to a regular Sporting camp?

A Sporting camp is the most comfortable and the least trouble, but sometimes the hunting is not so good on account of too many hunters.

BILL GORMAN > If you want to hunt from a sporting camp, choose one whose operators are sensitive to scent. It’s nice to wake up to bacon and eggs, but you don’t want to smell like bacon and eggs during your hunt. Look for lodges whose facilities for preparing and serving meals are separate from those where you keep your clothes.

 

Chapter 2

ePub

Chapter 2

Deer Hunting on Snow

Strike out, taking your easy walking gait, until you hit a fresh track. Walk right along on it until it begins to zig-zag, then you must stop, look and listen. Mr. Deer is looking for a place to lie down. Now start hunting in earnest. Walk slowly and always be in a position to shoot. See that there is no snow in your sights or in your gun barrel.

The white spot on this deer indicates the best place for your first shot.

If you get a standing shot, take a very careful aim at the fore shoulder if possible.

Should you suddenly come on to running tracks you can walk as fast as you like until deer starts walking again. Then slow down and watch for zig-zag tracks. Always keep a sharp lookout on both sides of tracks as occasionally other deer come in from the side.

If a deer starts browsing note the direction of the wind. If the wind is not in your face, start circling so as to bring it in your face. Because you are wasting your time by following a deer that can scent you before you see him.

 

Chapter 3

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Chapter 3

How to Dress a Deer

First swing him around so that his head will hang over a small log or nubble with hind quarters down hill. Spread his hind legs well apart, make a careful incision in the belly right where it curves up from the legs, cutting through the skin and the very thin layer covering the paunch. Remembering that the hide and membrane is very thin here and that you do not want to cut into the paunch. Place the point of your knife between the first two fingers of your left hand, so that the back of the hand will press the paunch down and the point of the knife will cut the skin. Cut forward until you have an opening from twelve to fifteen inches long. Roll up both sleeves above the elbow, insert both hands, one on each side of the paunch, well forward and roll it out through the opening. Do not make this opening any larger than is necessary in order to do this. The bowels and liver will follow the paunch. Now reach way forward with your right hand and you will strike a membranous wall. Puncture this with your fingers and on the other side you will find his heart and lungs. Reach beyond this and cut windpipe with jackknife. Now pull out the heart and lungs and you have a deer that is known as “woods dressed.” It is not necessary to cut the throat to bleed him. In most cases all the blood will escape through the shot hole. If not, the dressing operation will bleed him thoroughly. It is a good idea to remove the end of the intestine at the rectum. By doing this you will make a drain. By drawing a small bough through this hole all the blood will drain out.

 

Chapter 4

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Chapter 4

How to Hang up a Deer

If a small one you will have no trouble as you can tie your drag line around his neck, throw the loose end over the limb of a tree and pull him clear of the ground.

If a big deer, find a sapling that can be pulled over, so that, you can hitch your line to it high enough, so that, when it springs back it will lift the carcass from the ground. In case the “spring back” is not enough, use a pole with crotch or fork at end to prop it back in place. In some cases two poles are much better than one. Now sign and detach a tag from your hunting license and fasten it to the deer.

Showing how one man can hang up a large deer.

If deer is hung in the open, arrange black growth boughs, so the sun will not shine on it. If in fly time use an inexpensive cotton deer bag with puckering string that closes bag tight around the neck. If weather is warm get it into cold storage as soon as possible. A lot of game is spoiled every year before it reaches the table.

 

Chapter 5

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Chapter 5

How to Hunt Black Bear

No game animal in Maine is more elusive, more difficult to stalk, or once having been started, more difficult to shoot than a black bear. A bear is seldom caught unawares, for he has an almost uncanny sense of smell and is faster than chain lightning in his mental and physical reactions.

In northern Maine the best month to hunt black bear is October, for it is the month that they are locating comfortable winter quarters and are intent on piling on surplus fat in anticipation of a long sleep to come.

If the beechnuts are plentiful, walk slowly along the hardwood ridges, not on top of the ridges, but where the black growth mingles with the hardwoods. Travel with wind in your face. Be on alert. Should the bear you are hunting smell or hear you, he certainly will head for parts unknown without any preliminary motions. He won’t stop to investigate, and once started, you might as well find a needle in a haystack as to attempt to locate him that day.

 

Chapter 6

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Chapter 6

How to Hunt Moose

The same safety rules, equipment and wearing apparel for deer hunting apply to moose hunting.

At this writing, moose are protected in the State of Maine and in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, Canada. The other eight provinces have open seasons.

BILL GORMAN > Maine now has a moose season with permits awarded through a lottery system, but I’ve only drawn a permit once. The first moose that my party encountered sounded ferocious, like he was terrorizing the woods. I drew my bow and then I suddenly realized I was alone. My party had taken off and run the other way.

There are several methods of hunting moose but if you have never been moose hunting I suggest that you employ a guide. It takes much practice to call a moose and the average man should not attempt without excellent assistance.

This is a very unusual picture of a Bull Moose charging, taken by Warden Supervisor Arthur Rogers, Waterville, Maine. Note hair standing up on back of neck. I do not want to give the impression that Moose or any other wild animals in Maine are dangerous.

 

Chapter 7

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Chapter 7

How to Hunt Ducks and Geese

Present restrictions make duck and goose hunting much more difficult than it was a few years ago when you could use live decoys.

For ducks I recommend a 3 shot 12 gauge Automatic Shot Gun. Use a long range load with number 4 shot.

I use about fourteen removable head decoys. Make your set about 100 yards off a point of land in an open spot with grass enough around so that you can scull quite close without ducks seeing you. When you see birds coming keep very still until they light in. Lay very low in your gunning float until you are within range. Don’t try to kill the whole flock. Pick out the nearest duck and stay with it until it drops before trying for a second bird. Go where wild rice is plentiful if possible and get your decoys out by daylight. The Federal law now allows shooting one-half hour before sunrise to one hour before sunset.

BILL GORMAN > The use of live decoys was outlawed in the forties. Hunters would trap a duck and strap a weight to its leg so it couldn’t take off. Its calls would attract other ducks. The modern-day version is the battery-operated decoy that flaps its wings or floats tail up, stirring up the water. The battery-operated decoy should be used with a spread of cork decoys.

 

Chapter 8

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Chapter 8

How to Hunt Ruffed Grouse

The ruffed grouse, more commonly known as “partridge,” is found in every section of the State of Maine. It is probably more abundant and more widely distributed here than anywhere else in the country. The bird is found deep in the big woods and in covers only a short distance from towns and cities.

There are two kinds of grouse in Maine—smart and foolish. The latter are so tame that they can be shot on the ground or on the limbs of trees with a pistol or rifle. These are the birds found in the big woods. They are identical in every way with those found in the settled areas except that they have no fear of humans.

This classic Maine Hunting Coat was passed down through three generations of hunters who hunted near Alligator Lake, Maine, before it was donated to the L.L.Bean archives.

The grouse of the inhabited sections are much smarter than their backwoods brethren. We don’t shoot them with rifles or pistols; we don’t always hit them with a shotgun. They have been well-termed “the smartest upland game bird that flies.”

 

Chapter 9

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Chapter 9

How to Hunt Woodcock

No state in the country offers better woodcock hunting than Maine. The birds are found in all of the coastal counties, in the central section and to some extent in the north. In addition to the thousands of woodcocks that breed and raise families in our birch and alder thickets all of the New Brunswick and Nova Scotia birds cross Maine on their Fall migration to the southern wintering grounds.

The heaviest concentrations of woodcock are undoubtedly in the expansive covers of Washington County in the eastern part of the state. In the early part of October native birds are found in almost every birch and alder stand. The coastal part of Hancock County also affords excellent shooting. There are many large covers in that section of the state; areas so large that a hunter can spend the better part of a day in one cover.

One day’s bag limit of four Woodcock.

In the central and western parts of Maine the hunting, for the most part, will be in smaller sections. Lincoln, Knox, Waldo and parts of Kennebec County also afford excellent shooting, mainly in covers that hold from four to a dozen birds at the beginning of the season; more when the flight is underway. Many of these are large enough to accommodate a hunting party of four; others can best be hunted by two men.

 

Chapter 10

ePub

Chapter 10

How to Hunt Pheasants

Maine pheasant hunting is confined to the coastal counties, these birds being unable to withstand deep snow in the northern sections during the winter.

Like grouse, the pheasants are found in the farming sections and around the outskirts of villages. In many cases they frequent the same covers and it is not unusual to find pheasants in woodcock covers.

During the first part of the open season we look for them in fields and covers that contain seed plants or weeds. We also find them in gardens from which corn, beans and other foods have been harvested. They also feed on berries and apples but not to the extent that grouse do.

Later, after they have become wise to the ways of men, dogs and guns the birds are more likely to be found in thick cover and in softwoods. A cover so thickly grown with vines and bushes that it is nearly impenetrable will be a favorite hiding place for pheasants.

The State of Maine liberates four to five thousand mature pheasants every spring. These birds breed in the wild and produce flocks ranging from four to a dozen. In addition, the State liberates six to seven thousand nearly grown birds in the latter part of the summer. These supplement the wild stock and are available for hunting in the Fall. Although they are not so plentiful as grouse and woodcock there are enough pheasants in Maine to provide good sport. They are an added reason for late season grouse hunting since the open seasons run together the first two weeks in November.

 

Chapter 11

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Chapter 11

Hunting Equipment

All modern Rifles not smaller than .25 Calibre are O.K. for deer hunting. I personally use a .25 Calibre Automatic Remington, which carries six shots. Regardless of the kind of gun you buy, do not change too often. Once you get a gun you like, stick to it. You can do much better shooting with a gun with which you are accustomed.

BILL GORMAN > The L.L.Bean retail store didn’t formally sell firearms until 1984. But in the early days, L.L. would often purchase a gun, determine it didn't suit his purposes (for whatever reason), and he’d put it out on the floor to sell it.

Although I have used the same rifle for years, I continue to use up all my old shells practicing just before starting on my hunting trip. I want to be sure that the sights are O.K. and that the gun is in perfect working condition. I also buy new shells each season as I have known smokeless powder shells to misfire. Old shells are O.K. for signaling.

BILL GORMAN > L.L. was able to confidently stand behind everything he sold because he personally used all that gear. That philosophy still stands. All our hunting and fishing employees spend many days in the field and on the water. Personally, I’m in the woods thirty weeks a year.

 

Chapter 12

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Chapter 12

Wearing Apparel

As I have been quite a successful deer hunter for the past thirty-one years (shooting 32 deer) I am taking the liberty of recommending just what I wear.

Originally sold to customers in 1912, L.L. Bean came up with the idea for the Maine Hunting Shoe when he returned from a hunting trip with cold, wet feet.

Shoes: One pair 12" Leather Top Rubbers. I also take along a pair of 6 1/2" Moccasins to wear dry days on the ridges before snow comes.

Stockings: Two pairs knee-length heavy woolen and two pairs light woolen.

Underwear: Two union suits same as worn at home.

BILL GORMAN > L.L. Bean still sells union suits, but most people buy them for campwear. As a base layer, merino wool is superior to cotton in cold, damp weather.

Pants: One pair medium weight all wool with knit or zipper bottom. Also wear from home your heaviest business suit.

Coat: One medium weight, brilliant scarlet with game pocket in back.

 

Chapter 13

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Chapter 13

Safety Rules

During the 1953 hunting season there were 7 fatal and 25 nonfatal hunting accidents in Maine. Of the 32 persons shot, 12 were mistaken for game.

BILL GORMAN > Hunting is a far safer sport today, thanks to hunter safety courses and blaze orange apparel. In 2010, there were no hunting-related fatalities and only seven injuries in Maine.

Never have a loaded gun in camp. Load and unload your gun outside with muzzle pointing away from camp. Leave your rifle in camp with the chamber open.

Never point your gun, loaded or unloaded, in the general direction of another person.

Do not shoot anything until you are positive it is not a person. Always keep your safety on when in company with another hunter.

BILL GORMAN > Some states have minimum antler sizes for animals that can be harvested. I like minimums because they increase hunter safety. They force people to be more aware of what they’re shooting at and they promote larger animal growth.

 

Chapter 14

ePub

Chapter 14

Signals for Hunters

It is very important that you have a system of signals that every member of your party will recognize. I recommend the following: When you want to get in touch with another member fire two shots about five seconds apart. Anyone of your party hearing it will reply with two shots. You answer with one shot. He immediately starts looking for you. After traveling ten minutes he will fire one shot and you will answer with one. When he believes he is near you, he will “Hello.” Not receiving an answer he will fire one more shot which you will answer with one. Continue this one shot which you will answer with one. Continue this one shot conversation until you are within hailing distance. After calling for help and receiving a reply do not leave your position.

 

Chapter 15

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Chapter 15

How to Use a Compass

There is no excuse for getting lost if you carry a good compass and know how to use it.

Camping places are invariably located on trail, tote road, stream, lake, telephone wire, etc. We will say that your camp is on a good sized stream or well defined road running North and South. You cross the stream or road and hunt to the East for several hours. When you want to go to camp all you need to do is travel West. Hold compass so needle arrow points to “N” then pick out some object in a due West direction and go to it. Keep repeating this and you are sure to hit your road but it may be a mile or more below or above your camp. You are out of the woods anyway and if you have been over the road a few times you will soon see landmarks that will tell you which way to go.

L.L. Bean felt the dials of most compasses were too “cluttered up with figures, lines, and ornaments.” So he created this plain dial for ease of use “even on a very dark day.”

 

Chapter 16

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Chapter 16

How to Find a Lost Hunter

In case one of your party does not show up at camp when night falls as has previously been his custom, do not get excited and do not do a thing until 6:00 P.M. If you start signaling before 6:00 P.M. other hunters who have not gotten into camp are likely to butt in and make it very misleading.

Eat your supper and see that the lantern is full of oil. Then go outside with rifle, lantern and flashlight. At exactly 6:00 P.M. fire two shots. Listen a moment for a reply. Not hearing any, walk about one-quarter mile and repeat your signal. If you get a reply, see a fire or note any odor of smoke, continue the signals, always walking in the general direction that you believe your man is located.

In the meantime what is the “lost” hunter to do? If, in late afternoon, he realizes that he is lost or so far from camp that he can not get in, he selects a sheltered spot where dry wood is handy, starts a fire and collects a lot of wood before dark. At exactly 6:00 P.M. he listens for a signal. On hearing it, he answers and the signals continue the same as in the daytime. Hearing no signal he wastes none of his shells but pounds a signal at regular intervals with a club on a sound dead tree. If there is no dead tree available, select a live tree and peel off a spot of bark where he wants to pound.

 

Chapter 17

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Chapter 17

How to Fish for Salmon, Trout and Togue

Of all the fresh water game fishing, Salmon is my favorite. They hit hard, jump high and fight every inch of that way to the net.

Fishing party with Salmon and Trout caught at Moosehead Lake 1939. Over half of these fish were taken on Live Bait Fly as described in this chapter. Left to Dr. A.L. Gould, Willis Libby, Levi Patterson, and L.L. Bean.

During the first month after the ice goes out in the Spring I find trolling with bait the most successful. I use a sewed-on Smelt on one rod and Night Crawlers on the other. I recommend a 7 1/2 ounce 9 1/2 ft. Trolling Rod, level winding 100 yard Reel, 25 lb. test Nylon Line with markings at 50, 75 and 100 ft., a 15" Leader, two Swivels and a 12" Snelled 2/0 Hook. Row slowly and run from 50 to 100 feet of Line until you land your first fish. Note how much line you had out and continue using the same length.

For sewing on smelts and shiners I recommend the following method: Place a few gut hooks in a can of water or minnow bucket so snell will be pliable when ready to bait up.

 

Chapter 18

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Chapter 18

How to Care for Minnows and Worms

Minnows and worms for bait need to be kept fresh and lively. For minnows on short trips I recommend a puckering string, canvas bucket with an inside wire cage. On warm days place a piece of ice on top of cage under puckering string. On cool days or after ice has melted, dip bucket in water often enough to keep canvas damp. Water should be changed about every hour. When in camp remove cage and submerge in cold water.

On long trips I recommend a large bait pail with removable inside cage. Place a piece of ice on top of pail in such a way that the steady drip-drip-drip from it into the pail will supply an artificial means of injecting oxygen into the water and keeping it cool. On arrival at your destination remove cage and submerge in cold water.

The catalog copy for Bean’s Angle Worm Food explained that “fish will take a lively worm when they will not notice one that is half dead.”

Angle worms and night crawlers should be packed in moss in a good size container. Get an eight quart galvanized pail, put in a large piece of ice and place container of worms on top. Then cover pail with old piece of damp cloth. Renew ice as needed. When bait fishing, I see to it that my minnows and worms have very careful attention.

 

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