Jim Harvey scrambles up some eggs for the Thompson Lake Hunting Club Hunter’s Breakfast on Saturday morning in Oxford before he took off to do some hunting himself. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

OTISFIELD — James Talbot has been hunting on opening day for 12 years. Most of those years, he hasn’t seen many bucks.

“I’ve always had the luck of just seeing does. This morning the same thing,” Talbot said, standing at Bolster Mills Country Store in Otisfield.

But his luck took a turn later Saturday, the opening day for hunting for Maine residents. Talbot managed to tag a 192.5-pound buck.

“Three does walked out before this guy. I had my sights on them. Doe, can’t. Another doe,” he said. “Then I heard a ‘mer’ out in the back. He came right out, stood right there, bang, he was down. First shot took him down.”

Talbot said he was out in the woods by 7 a.m., and shot his buck at around 9:30 a.m. For Talbot, nothing gets the blood pumping like the sounds of  opening day.

Evan Lucas, center, talks with Jim Harvey over breakfast at the Thompson Lake Hunting Club in Oxford on Saturday morning before heading out for the first day of deer hunting season. The club has seen some lean years in membership, but has been slowly gaining in popularity this year. The club decided to reintroduce the traditional hunters breakfast this year, with food service starting at 5 a.m. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal

“You hear gunshots, and you’re like, ‘People are getting ’em,'” he said.

Joel Brackett, of Oxford, came up short of the prize on Saturday. But he said he still had a great time out in the woods.

“My lucky wasn’t the greatest; I jumped a couple (of deer), but that’s about it. … I love being out in the woods, especially on a day like today. It wasn’t too hot, wasn’t too cold. Perfect for walking around in the woods,” said Brackett.

Brackett started hunting when he was 10, and has been hunting consistently for the past five or six years. For him, hunting is a delicious pastime.

“It’s a good time to get out there and get some meat in the freezer for the family. … My wife and kids love deer meat,” said Brackett. Hopefully, he said, he’ll have some delicious venison jerky by the end of the season.

Jon Schreiber, president of the Thompson Lake Hunting club of Oxford, said Saturday morning at the club was bustling as hunters wolfed down breakfast before heading out into the woods.

Joel Bracket contemplates the day of hunting ahead of him at the Thompson Lake Hunting Club in Oxford on Saturday morning for Maine Resident Only Day, first day of deer hunting season. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

“It was our first hunter’s breakfast we’ve had in a  few years. … It was a real good turnout,” said Schreiber.

Schreiber isn’t a hunter himself, but his club focuses on organizing monthly shoots and youth safety meetings. He said that during hunting season, the club spends a large amount of time helping hunters “sight” their guns; matching the line of the scope and the trajectory of the bullets.

And Schreiber said the club’s membership will climb during hunting season.

“Even our normal monthly shoots, they all started with a small group. … (But then) your buddy brings their buddy, and by the time you get through the year there’s 15 to 20 people there. … It’s the whole gun community,” he said.

And after the early morning breakfast Saturday morning, hunters headed out to search for antlers.

“People were ready. People had their spots all picked out. … Some ate and left, some chit-chatted, but they were ready,” said Schreiber.

The Thompson Lake Hunting Club in Oxford saw hunters heading out into the woods well before sunrise on Saturday morning, the first day of hunting season, on Maine Resident Only Day. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal Buy this Photo


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