Raymond Bois (left) and his father, Ovide Bois, watch as an attendant offers refills of coffee at the annual Old Town Rotary Club's hunters breakfast in 2001. Credit: Jason Canniff

You’ve gathered up your gear, and formulated an opening day hunting plan that’s sure to result in a successful return trip to the tagging station with a big ol’ buck.

One question remains: Where are you going to eat breakfast before you head into the woods?

For many, a trip to a local hunters’ breakfast is the perfect way to kick of a Saturday that will be spent in the woods. And luckily for Maine hunters, there are plenty of civic organizations that plan those popular annual events, drawing large crowds year after year.

Deer season is nearly upon us — Youth Deer Day is Saturday, and the residents-only opener is Nov. 2 — and the organizers of those local hunters’ meals have begun their PR push.

Not too many years ago, my pals and I used to stop by a popular breakfast in Dedham, not only because the food was always great, but because the location was just about halfway between Bangor — where we all lived — and Otis, where we hunted.

A funny thing about traditions: Sometimes, you don’t really appreciate them until they’re gone. And that’s exactly what happened to our favorite hunters’ breakfast.

One year, famished and ready to wade into a couple of piles of bacon, we arrived at the school that always, always held a hunter’s breakfast on opening day. We found an empty parking lot.

Apparently students had decided to stage a different fundraiser for their class trip. My buddy and I went into the woods saddened. And hungry.

Here’s a list of breakfasts you might consider over the next couple of weeks. First, those that will take place on Saturday, Youth Deer Day:

— The Eddington Salmon Club will hold a youth hunters’ breakfast on Saturday, where club members will put on quite a feed beginning at 5 a.m. The menu includes eggs made to order, glazed ham, homemade beans, pancakes, blueberry pancakes and biscuits. The best parts: You don’t have to be a hunter to attend, and children under the age of 16 eat for free.

Mattawamkeag Fire & Rescue pancake breakfast, 4:30-8 a.m., 327 Main St.

Brewer Youth Hockey will hold a breakfast from 5 a.m. to 9 a.m. at the Brewer Auditorium.

— In Durham, a hunters’ breakfast 4-9 a.m. at 1049 Royalsboro Road. Meals cost $8 for adults, $4 for children under 12.

— In Ellsworth, Cub Scout Pack 86 will stage its Youth Hunting Day Pancake Breakfast, 4:30-8:30 a.m. at Ellsworth VFW Post 109, 419 Main St. Admission is $5 per person.

Monticello Fish and Game Club hunters’ breakfast, 5-9 a.m. at 82 Russell Rock Road, $7 fee includes a gun raffle.

Anah Shriners of Aroostook will hold a breakfast at 390 Houlton Road, 6-9 a.m. Cost is $10 per adult, $4 for kids under 12.

On residents-only opening day — Saturday, Nov. 2 — the following breakfasts are on tap:

— In Albion, a hunters’ breakfast will be held 5-9 a.m. at 22 Main St. The menu includes pancakes, bacon, scrambled eggs, coffee and juice. Adults $6, children $4. Proceeds support the Albion Field Day.

— Breakfast at the Dover-Foxcroft United Methodist Church 4:30-8 a.m. at 156 East Main St. Menu includes scrambled eggs, ham, sausage, bacon, French toast, homemade fried potatoes, cider, juice and coffee. $7 per person.

— The Hartland-St. Albans Lions Club will hold its annual community and hunters’ breakfast at the Chatterbox Club on Mason Corner Road in St. Albans. Breakfast costs $7 and will be served from 5 a.m. until 8 a.m. On the menu: scrambled eggs, hash browns, baked beans, bacon, sausage, sausage gravy, biscuits and toast.

Ellsworth Troop 86 and 86G will hold a breakfast at Ellsworth VFW Post 109, 109 Main St. There is no set price — meals are sold by donation. The menu includes scrambled eggs, pancakes, bacon, sausage, home fries, sausage gravy and biscuits.

— In Holden, the Eastern Maine Snowmobilers will hold a breakfast, 4:30-8:30 a.m., at the clubhouse on Levenseller Road.

East Millinocket Fire Department will hold its annual breakfast, 4-6 a.m., 125 Main St. The price is $8 for adults and $5 for those 15 and under.

Three Rivers Kiwanis will hold a breakfast 5-9 a.m. at 15 Harris Pond Road, Milo.

Old Town Rotary Club’s annual breakfast will be held from 5 a.m. until 9 a.m. at Riverfront Park.

— The Orrington Masonic Lodge will stage a breakfast beginning at 5 a.m. Prizes will be given out each half hour. Meals cost $8, with those younger than 12 eating for free.

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John Holyoke

John Holyoke has been enjoying himself in Maine's great outdoors since he was a kid. He spent 28 years working for the BDN, including 19 years as the paper's outdoors columnist or outdoors editor. While...