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Camping in Maine: What to bring?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by SASD209, Dec 3, 2008.

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  1. SASD209

    SASD209 Member

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    Gentlemen:

    Howdy, I'm new here and loving the site. :)

    My brother recently returned from a winter camping trip in Maine, and based on his recon, I intend to head up late spring/early summer. I'll be north of Rangeley, north of Moosehead and close to the Canadian border in the Seboomook Lake area. It will most likely be myself, my GF, and another couple. All 4 of us are well versed with firearms, I need to figure out what we're bringing up with us. Note we are not going to a "family" campground, we'll have 2 jeeps and all the needed gear to go into the bush and spend 3-4 days, hopefully within close range to the vehicles. I'm not looking on commentary about our camping, I'm looking for info about which of my stable of firearms (rifles) would be the most appropriate for self-defense against whatever threats may present themselves (most likely animal-type). Also, info about what types of animals I may encounter. I'm not hunting, I just want to make sure I'm not going to be an animals dinner. :)

    For the 2 males, I have the following choices: #4MKII .303 w/scope; K98 "sporterized" 8MM w/scope; WIN '94 .30-30 lever; Ruger Mini 30; Ruger Mini 14; Sagia .308; 1903A3; Mossberg 590 12GA; Bushmaster .223 w/EOTech; SKS X 2, with and without scope; Nagant M44.

    For the females: Beretta Storm in 9MM and one in .45 (carbines); Marlin .22lr w/scope and 15 rounds in the tube; Walther G22; and the Bushmaster .223 and/or Ruger Mini 14.

    None of us can CCW in ME, so I'm going without a sidearm. The women are only comfortable with the arms listed above; my GF is a competent shot with those listed but not with the larger calibers. Any help you or advice you fellas could give would be welcome. Thanks!!

    SASD209
     
  2. Kind of Blued

    Kind of Blued Member

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    First of all, what are your options legally-speaking? Can you openly carry a pistol? Sling a rifle or shotgun wherever you want?

    I understand you'll be in the bush, but this was the first thing that came to mind when you said you couldn't carry concealed.

    Anyway, I'd suggest something both rugged and substantial. The 590 and 30/30 for the boys and, of course, whatever the ladies want. :) I'd avoid the scoped rifles altogether. Too fragile and cumbersome. If you're going to be shooting an unfriendly animal in self-defense, it will be within 25 yards, it might happen suddenly requiring fast sight acquisition, and you'll have a short amount of time to do your work. For that reason, I might go with the unscoped SKS instead of the lever gun if you don't have a lot of practice running the lever quickly.

    The .22 rifle and a handgun would be good for the ladies simply for variety. If you find a fatally-injured animal, need to deal with varmints, or harvest a squirrel or rabbit in an emergency, the .22 is the only ideal choice. A 22 will also work great on curious, mentally-diseased Maine lobster who may make it far enough inland to do grievous bodily harm to your womenfolk. I'm sure there are other animals to worry about in Maine, but loster came to mind, and I really don't trust those things. ;)

    And stoke the 590 with slugs & buck, in any order that you see fit. :)

    Have fun!
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2008
  3. Speedo66

    Speedo66 Member

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    What should you bring?

    Lots of warm clothing!
     
  4. NCsmitty

    NCsmitty Member

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    Maybe snowshoes?

    NCsmitty
     
  5. franconialocal

    franconialocal Member

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    SASD

    Welcome to the great north woods!!!

    I've lived in northern NH my whole life and spent a TON of time in the area that you will be in. Generally, my answer would be a good shotgun with 00 buckshot or good slugs.

    The reality is, esp. with 3-4 of you hanging out, you should have NOTHING to worry about with animals. You would be better served by spending your energy on preparing your site the proper ways rather than worrying about a problem (the whole "proactive"/"reactive" thing.)

    If any, your biggest problem is going to be with black bears due to curiosity about food especially due to the fact that it will be springtime. They will be hungrier than normal, as they are going to be trying to replensish all the energy they lost during hibernation. So here is a couple hints.....

    --Moose: No problem in spring. The rut is in the fall, and that is when the bulls can be very argressive. Cows will understandably be very protective of young so just give them due space if you encounter one.

    --Bear: keep your cooking/eating area well away from your tentsite/cabin/etc. (are you tenting it??). Clean up after yourself. Don't wear the same clothes to bed as you cooked/ate in. Oddly enough.....take a piss around your area before you go to bed (MALES ONLY, esp. if the women are having "that time of month") to leave a human scent. HANG YOUR FOOD over a limb about 15-20 feet high so they can't get to it. This also keeps food scents up in the canopy more than closer to the ground. Discard food scraps well away from the area. DO NOT BURN UNUSED FOOD, as this will just spread the scent around even more.

    --Timber wolves, coyotes, fisher cats, etc. : A non point really, much more wary of humans than all the media hype gives credit too. Coyotes will adhere to the pack mentality of other dogs, but usually are vary wary of human interaction in that area.

    --Big cats:Some claim that they aren't even around, but I've seen some myself so my mind is pretty much made up. Also really a non-point. Very wary of human interaction.

    Honestly, you have more to worry about with the random HUMAN encounter in that area than any animal you will come in contact with.

    I hope this helps!!! Enjoy, and have a great time. Write back if you have any other questions.
     
  6. Grassman

    Grassman Member

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    A tent.
     
  7. WC145

    WC145 Member

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    You're biggest worries are going to be weather - late spring can still be cold and snowy up there - and moose and bears with calves and cubs. Obviously don't try and get close to any babies to take pictures or feed them or any other stupid thing because momma won't be far away and she'll put a hurt on you in hurry. In fact I'd be more worried about a moose than a bear. You might also run into deer, coyotes, bobcats, lynx, etc. Everything else is pretty benign. The only lobster you'll find where your going will be in restaurants or the grocery store.

    I'd take the 30-30, 12ga, or .308 and do my best to enjoy the wildlife from a distance. Of course if you've got a heavy caliber handgun that'll work too. You can open carry in the woods and no one's going to care.
     
  8. SASD209

    SASD209 Member

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    Thanks for the great replies, guys!

    Couple of things: Yes, we are tenting it and we have that side of things covered, although you guys did bring up a couple of side ideas I like (urine and hanging food as examples).

    As far as the handguns: I don't have a Maine CCW and as much as I'd like to bring my Smith 686 with me, I don't want to run afoul of local laws. I'm less clear on open carry, but am trying to get a firm answer from MSP. From what I can see, nothing in the Maine statutes prohibits slinging a rifle and walking about the back woods. Based upon advice above and the fact that we're not going to hunt, the scoped rifles will stay home. I have a good set of binoculars to see with anyway. :)
     
  9. nwilliams

    nwilliams Member

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    I was born and grew up in Maine and lived there up until 2005 when I moved out west.

    Bring warm clothes and enjoy yourself. There isn't a whole lot to worry about in the Maine woods during winter other than hypothermia and maybe getting lost in the middle of nowhere;)

    Maine is one of those oddball State. They are pretty gun friendly but a Maine CCW is the only way you can carry a concealed weapon in Maine.
     
  10. JeffDilla

    JeffDilla Member

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    +1 on what Franconialocal said.

    I live in central Maine and do a lot of backpacking and camping all over the state. A couple other critters to keep in mind are raccoons and mice, they can be relentless at times, but camp arrangement is more of a consideration for that than firearms. I usually hang my food in a bag made of tear-resistant material and make sure everything is cinched up very tight, the mice can find their way into almost anything.

    The only time I've ever had an encounter with a bear, (or what I presume to be a bear) while camping was on Katahdin at Chimney pond. A buddy and I were going to hang the "bear bag" late at night at the designated site with a wire to hang the food, and we were having a conversation about how unlikely it would be for a bear to come around the site and how we thought it was kind of foolish. Suddenly we spooked something that was maybe 10 ft. off the trail right in front of us and it grunted/growled and lumbered off into the dark with heavy footsteps. We couldn't see anything with our headlamp beams, so we hung the food then hightailed it back to camp and made the fire a bit bigger and stayed up most of the night, half joking, half nervous about what had happened. That was only one time out of many many years of camping.
     
  11. mejeepnut

    mejeepnut member

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    Late spring-early summer,the only guns you need are the ones that shoot pure DEET!

    May I suggest not carrying a firearm in the Maine woods unless you have a hunting license and/or CCW and never walk around in the woods with one on a Sunday unless you have a CCW!Be carefull when driving in Maine with firearms in your jeeps in the back woods!Resting a loaded rifle against your jeep or putting one on the hood is hunting from a vehical in these parts,just one example of what can ruin your trip besides black flies and skeeters!


    Here is a link for you http://www.maine.gov/ifw/ ,read through all the hunting and trapping laws,pay special attention to the parts that mention firearms and un-improved townships!!!!!If you have a question about anything call them,your questions will get straight forward to the point answers!
     
  12. RandyB

    RandyB Member

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    4 people 4 guns. I would pic the saiga .308 and the Moss 590. 3rd would be the 30-30. Multiple shots and no need for a scope for close range self-defense work.

    ladies. The Storm in .45 and the bushy in .223. Same reasons.
     
  13. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    Good grief!

    He's going camping, not on maneuvers with the Maine State Militia!

    rcmodel
     
  14. roger_witten

    roger_witten Member

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    For the 2 males, I have the following choices: #4MKII .303 w/scope; K98 "sporterized" 8MM w/scope; WIN '94 .30-30 lever; Ruger Mini 30; Ruger Mini 14; Sagia .308; 1903A3; Mossberg 590 12GA; Bushmaster .223 w/EOTech; SKS X 2, with and without scope; Nagant M44.

    For the females: Beretta Storm in 9MM and one in .45 (carbines); Marlin .22lr w/scope and 15 rounds in the tube; Walther G22; and the Bushmaster .223 and/or Ruger Mini 14.


    Clearly, you have access to some sufficient weapons for a safe 4 day trip. Unless you acquire something a little more serious than a .308, I wouldn't recommend staying beyond 3-4 days. Can you get a .338 Lapua or .300 WSM?

    Back your bolt-actions with an AR with a Beta drum. It holds 100 rounds. Use the green tip tungsten penetrator lake city ammo.

    Do you have any bayonets? Get one. A shot gun is always a plus. #00 buck, not more than 200 rounds really. You can find the police tradeins with a 14" barrell for a few hundred plus the NFA tax.

    The guns you have are fine for plinking, but Maine wildlife is known to be particuarly savage. Bring a few Smart Wool socks too. For your feet.
     
  15. SASD209

    SASD209 Member

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    Jeepnut:

    I've read that all firearms must be unloaded in vehicles, and we will do that. I didn't find any mention of a CCW needed to carry a rifle; the state laws are that no permit is needed. Also, I've read on the 5 round limit for hunting; but I've never hunted and we will not hunt at all, so does the 5 round rule apply to non-hunters? The law seems pretty clear, but I'm not a local. The weapons are for self-defense and plinking with the .22. We will not shoot any animals at all (hopefully) .

    BTW, we're taking my '00 XJ and my brothers '03 WJ. Both lifted and customized a little bit. :)
     
  16. ds92

    ds92 Member

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    +1

    a 30/06 was the first thing that came to mind when i read the word "maine" but a 30/30 or 12 gauge will do equally good.
     
  17. mejeepnut

    mejeepnut member

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    ccw would just be for hand guns.if you are walking through the woods of maine with a rifle you are hunting!If you have a maine hunting licenes then you can conceal carry without a ccw while hunting but only while hunting.
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2008
  18. JeffDilla

    JeffDilla Member

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    My thoughts exactly. I think you would have a hard time convincing any game wardens or LEO you might happen to encounter that you aren't hunting with all of that hardware. Game wardens are pretty abundant.
     
  19. aka108

    aka108 Member

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    No one mentioned money. Figure what it is going to cost then take twice as much.
     
  20. chad1043

    chad1043 Member

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    Seriously, all you need is a can filled with something that makes noise. Most of the animals you are gonna encounter are more afraid of you.

    I backpack a lot. If you make enough noise, less than you think, you won't have a problem.

    One big thing is this. Make sure you eat away from your sleeping area. Hang your food.

    Also, what animals are gonna be in season when you are there? Unless your life is threatened you better have a great reason to kill an animal.

    Chad
     
  21. SASD209

    SASD209 Member

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    Jeff:

    I guess I never thought about it that way. I figured 4 city folks from CT would not appear as "hunters" would. I mean, how do you prove you're not hunting? Lack of a dead animal? I suppose if any Warden looked at us and asked questions he'd figure out in a hurry I don't know anymore about hunting than I do about nuclear engineering, which is to say nothing at all.
     
  22. SigfanUSAF

    SigfanUSAF Member

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    I did a lot of camping/hiking in Maine when I lived there. You need nothing, 'cept gasoline to cover your body in when the black flies come out.

    No deet made will stop them buggers, and when you find a swarm, you;ll wish it was just a little black bear tearing you apart.
     
  23. chad1043

    chad1043 Member

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    ^^^ True Dat...
     
  24. SASD209

    SASD209 Member

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    Chad:
    "Also, what animals are gonna be in season when you are there? Unless your life is threatened you better have a great reason to kill an animal."

    I have no idea what animals I'm likely to encounter, hence my original question. Some of the guys above have filled me in a bit, which I appreciate.
    Also, I stated the firearm(s) were to be used in self-defense and have stated on at least 3 occasions I do not want to kill ANY animal at all unless I had no other choice, kinda like when I CCW in my home state. I do not see how my thoughts/actions would be different in this case.
     
  25. chad1043

    chad1043 Member

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    I think the most dangerous animal you would encounter would be a bull moose... But even then, if you make noise, you won't see them.
     
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