Jay Wagner - Staff
50 something years old and still as spry as a young buck! *(Self Proclaimed!)* I started actually hunting at age 12. At the age of about 10 years old I started walking “up the tracks” and into the woods surrounding Babson reservoir. I took an immediate interest in hunting and fishing. My older brother took me fishing a few times and set me on my way chasing trout and stripers.
With no one in my family that hunted I was on my own. I got my start like most kids with a BB gun and bow and arrow. My dad was lost at sea when I was 7 but my mother understood my desire to hunt and for my 15th birthday she bought me a new 12 ga. shotgun and I was on my way to a lifetime of hunting and fishing.
As a young adult I started to hunt in Maine and bought a hunting camp in Bingham. I also started to travel to other states enjoying what those states had to offer. Moving to Maine in 1990 I now live and hunt around the York county area and travel when time and money allow. My daughter, Cheyenne, has now joined me on a number of local deer hunts and turkey hunts with our hunting buddy, Steve Beckwith. Cheyenne is the first female hunter on record to have accomplished harvesting a turkey all six years in Maine as a youth hunter, from age 10-15.
I have been fishing for stripers for about 40 plus years now and while I do enjoy going for trout and freshwater bass on occasion, I always go back to spending most of my fishing time looking for stripers.My small boat gets a workout with family and friends looking for stripers and bluefish when they are in.
I cut my teeth on small game such as pheasant and bunnies. I truly enjoy hunting with a good dog. A flushing spaniel or a hound singing an a hot track does my soul good. Jim White of Gloucester, Ma. Took me by the hand and showed me how to duck and goose hunt out of lay out boats and gunning over his hand made decoys. He also taught me how to live line for large stripers. A great sportsman for sure who shared his knowledge with a 15 year old looking for help.
I started deer hunting in Pa. and Maine about the same time. My most enjoyable deer hunt was my first trip to Pa. (1984) when I took a small spike. I felt like a king with that trophy. I remember the details like it was yesterday.
A trip to Wyoming where I took a 3x5 mule deer rates right up there for me, however a more recent trip to Pa. where I took a very nice 10 point was an outstanding time for sure. Both these trips were with my brother in law, John Mondello. I am still teaching him the ways of the woods.
I spent a number of years hunting with Marc Richards of Milan NH, chasing bears with hounds. These were some of the most memorable hunts I have ever been on. Marc is a super houndsman and a great hunting buddy. His hound Stevie, I swear they could talk to each other and fully understand what the other was saying. Hoss, another great hound was a pure delight to hunt with, and the list goes on. Marc set me up with Leo Dollins and we went on a mountain lion hunt in Idaho where I took a pope and young size cat with my bow. A once in a lifetime hunt I will always recall with a smile.Some of the very best years were hunting with these men and their hounds.
Hunting coyotes has offered me some great times and enjoyable company while I stood watch at club coyote. A heated and all set up coyote hunting blind with room to spare and a stove to warm the coffee.
In recent years I have taken up turkey hunting and I have found it to be very enjoyable and rewarding as anything I have done. Not only do I enjoy the actual hunt but being able to go along and be involved while others are trying to take a bird has been just as good in many cases. Of course being able to hunt with my daughter Cheyenne while she took turkeys for 6 years in a row was simply the best. My buddy Steve of these site’s fame was instrumental in Cheyenne and I getting into the turkey woods and making years of the most memorable hunts I have ever been on. Steve has never missed a hunt with Cheyenne and I and we would never want it to be any other way.
I hope to do a little bow hunting in the future. Other than the mountain lion I took on a bow hunt I have not returned to the bow although I still own it. I also hope to enjoy a number of hunts in the future such as an elk hunt in Wyoming and perhaps a moose hunt in Newfoundland for I know for sure I will never get pulled for a Maine tag. I hope to start the pursuit of the turkey grand slam by heading to Florida in a few years.This year will also mark a return to coyote hunting and I do enjoy coyote hunting.
I have been on many hunts where I am alone, great times that will live forever in my mind, very special indeed. However, with over 40 years of hunting under my belt, I can attest that the very best hunting memories I have were the hunts that I shared with some of the finest people I have known. Hunting is far more than just taking game and having game heads mounted, far more indeed!
I wasn't sure I wanted to become a MaineHunters.com Pro-Staff member until I saw those cool MaineHunters.com T-shirts and I knew Steve would not be my friend anymore if I didn't join the team! :)