September can be a tough month for Maine sportsmen and women for several reasons.

Some have a long wait before their preferred season arrives while others have far too many choices. Many folks think the real action doesn’t begin until October or November but that’s hardly the case.

For starters, it’s much too early to put away the fishing rods. Out on the briny, hungry stripers are fattening up for their southward migration and the shark-tuna bite is peaking. Inland, cooler waters coax bass back up into the shallows, and brook trout are donning their resplendent red coats and heading toward feeder streams to spawn.

It can be frustrating for mainstream upland and waterfowl hunters who have a very long month’s wait before their time arrives, but the fringe element is already out on the wetlands since the rail and resident Canada goose seasons opened Sept. 1.

This early goose season gives waterfowlers a shot at local-born Canadas that have made a nuisance of themselves, despoiling drinking water reservoirs and soiling golf courses. Rails are far less obnoxious but most will be long gone before the October waterfowl opener so this provides the more esoteric wildfowlers their only chance at these diminutive marsh birds.

Statewide, bowhunters too have a month’s wait, and gun hunters must pine away the next two months before deer season. Meanwhile in the more densely populated areas of the state – in terms of both humans and deer – the expanded archery season is getting under way. Originally established as a provisional one-month season to reduce deer numbers where firearms hunting is unsafe or impractical, it has since become a permanent fixture on the hunting calendar, spanning over three months and accounting for more deer than the statewide archery season.

Out in the big woods, bear hunters still have another week to hunt over bait, and the hound hunting season is just getting under way. Both methods are a long-standing tradition in Maine, and represent the only practical way to keep Maine’s bear population at a level that the general public will tolerate while ensuring the resource remains sustainable.

If you were among the lucky few to draw one of Maine’s coveted moose permits, you may be hitting the woods in another week, likely sooner. Savvy hunters head up the weekend before the hunt begins to scout out the area they plan to hunt. This hunt also has seen some liberalization in terms of season length and permit numbers as the state tries to deal with burgeoning moose numbers in agricultural areas and along more well-traveled roads. Here again, some hunters get to start this month while others must wait until October.

Yes, another hunting season has arrived and with it a wealth of opportunities. It’s only September and we’re already faced with choices. What’s going to happen when October rolls around and the real action starts?

Bob Humphrey is a freelance writer and registered Maine guide who lives in Pownal. He can be reached at:

[email protected]


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