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by Craig Jacques

Craig Jaques 8 pointer scored 140 6/8, and dressed 216 LBs
Craig Jaques 8 pointer scored 140 6/8, and dressed 216 LBs

My partner Tim Mishkit and I started hunting in Maine in 1981. We are typical Vermonters with green jackets and all. At 38, I'm self-employed and married to a great girl, Denise. She's great because she lets me hunt a lot.

Tim and I have been hunting in Vermont since we were 12 years old, with a fair amount of success. But, neither of us had ever bagged a really big buck. Every, every, every, year we'd see them hanging on Larry Benoit's porch. The "Buck Tracking King" has always inspired us.

Finally we figured, if he could do it so could we. That made us pattern our buck hunting ways after him. We are now confirmed buck trackers' like so many other Vermonters. It's a rewarding and fun way to hunt, man against a beast with natural radar.

Our first deer hunt in Maine was spent in a truck camper. It was crowded, damp and miserable. There had to be a better way. After brainstorming, we designed a collapsible 12 foot x 16 foot portable, and has lots of room. This made hunting much more enjoyable and we set it up anywhere we hunt. That cut down on traveling time, maximized hunting time, and increased our resting time.

The 1989 Maine deer season found me at home in Vermont, while my hunting partners were off to Maine. They left on the 14th and I couldn't leave until the 17th. Tim had already bagged his buck. It was a nice 200 pound 8 point. Ron Glass and Dave Bressette hadn't been so lucky. It had rained mostly, with only one day of snow for tracking. I hunted that Friday afternoon and Saturday, on bare ground.

Sunday we were off to Greenville to visit friends and attend church. Driving back Sunday night we were met with white gold (snow)!! It was snowing. The excitement we felt could have been cut with a knife.

The next morning was snowy and quiet. Perfect tracking conditions! Tim asked if I wanted him to tag along to help drag out the buck he anticipated I was going to get. Talk about confidence! We decided he would track me through the woods. That way he'd be there shortly after I got my big buck.

"Follow this old track" Tim said. "It'll lead you to other deer". Thirty minutes later I was staring at a red hot buck track. It was the kind of track to follow and this area was known to contain trophy bucks. My plan was to track this buck, get close and then rattle him in. When Tim came along, he got excited too.

"Stay way, way behind", I said. "We don't need two moving bodies making noise and smelling up the area."

After tracking him an hour, I saw two deer bound to my right. They were yearlings. Maybe the buck's right here though. Suddenly a bigger deer bounded in the same direction. It was the yearling's mother. I thought maybe the buck spooked them. The wind was right for that. It was hissing snow, and I knew my noise hadn't scared them.

Rattling the antlers, I tried to call them back. Shortly, the two yearlings came back. Then another deer grunted. There he was! Forty yards away and not a clear shot. I rattled gently again. He grunted again then took a step that gave me a clear shot.

Bang! In a flash he was on a dead run directly at me. Another shot and he dropped less then ten yards from me. I'll never forget his big, bullish neck with head down, charging right at me. Then Tim hollered to find out what was going on.

"He's not very big", I hollered back. "But, he's got a big rack. Tim ran over and looked. "Whatta-ya mean he's not very big!" Look at the size of him! "What a buck! Praise the Lord!" We were both excited and together thanked God for this magnificent animal and our opportunity to hunt. It was great having my best friend to share in the joy of that moment.

We found my first shot had entered the buck's neck from the side and the second shot from the front. Boy, they can take a lot of lead.

We dragged him for about an hour before reaching a logging road. An hour later we were back at the truck. What a day! Everything went great. It worked out perfect and we can't wait till next season. Maine is a great state, and an awesome place to hunt for trophy whitetails.

At the weighing station that afternoon, my buck tipped the scales at 216 pounds dressed. As an 8 pointer, he had a 22 inch spread, 5 1/4 inch bases, and 26 inch main beams green. Mike Renaud, a great Vermont taxidermist, scored the antlers at 140 6/8. We were all real happy when we heard that he made MASTC.

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