Chad Ramsdell of Ellsworth shows off the 7-point buck he calls "reindeer" that he harvested on Monday, Nov. 21. Credit: Courtesy of Mark Dane

Chad Ramsdell was sitting against a big berm. It overlooked an opening where he knew deer traveled from their feeding grounds to their bedding area.

Less than an hour into his outing on Nov. 5, deer came into sight, but the second one to appear was unusual.

“I had to take a second look as I thought it was a goat! Ramsdell said. “So I look through my binoculars and see it’s a piebald doe.”

Less than 2 percent of deer in Maine are piebald — a genetic condition that can result in deformities or odd coat colorations, according to Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife.

incredible buck luck

Ramsdell picked up his rifle and got the deer’s front shoulder in his scope. It wasn’t even 100 yards away.

“I hear a loud boom from about 200 yards away,” Ramsdell said. “The doe takes off into a little thicket of woods and doesn’t come out.”

The Ellsworth hunter wasn’t fazed by the unexpected development.

“I set up in a pretty heavily hunted area, so I knew I wasn’t alone,” Ramsdell said.

He found the hunter who had taken the shot, which Ramsdell stressed was completely ethical and responsible. He helped the hunter find the doe, photographed it and went home for lunch.

A piebald doe shot by another hunter that Chad Ramsdell hoped to harvest. Ramsdell helped the other hunter locate the animal before photographing it and carrying on with his hunt. Credit: Courtesy of Chad Ramsdell

“I was discouraged, but I’m a hunter and that’s sometimes what hunting is,” he said. “It was a great experience nonetheless.”

Ramsdell enjoyed sharing the story and the photos with his brother, Troy Cronk. But he knew he had some unfinished business.

He headed back out to hunt the afternoon and positioned himself so he would be able to better monitor whether other hunters came into the vicinity.

Again, it was only a few minutes before Ramsdell had deer in front of him. It was more than 200 yards away, but he was confident that he could make the shot.

He hit the deer and it ran off, so Ramsdell called a friend to help him track it. They jumped it a few times, so decided to wait a while.

An hour later, they recovered the 130-pound doe, making it a successful day afterall.

Last week, Ramsdell went out in search of a buck, returning to an area close to home where he had been hunting a few days earlier with his father-in-law, Mark Dane.

Ramsdell set up in the same area where they had encountered two bucks along an oak ridge, about 75 yards from a scrape he had discovered.

He also invoked some special help, asking his late grandpa to send a buck his way.

Five minutes later, a doe came running into view, followed shortly by a buck, which stopped in one of Ramsdell’s shooting lanes.

“I raised up my trusty Savage .270 and placed it right behind his shoulder and fired,” he said. “He took off like nothing happened.”

Chad Ramsdell of Ellsworth shot this buck, which he called “reindeer” because of its tall antlers. Credit: Courtesy of Chad Ramsdell

Ramsdell sat and waited for a while, then went back to his truck to get a flashlight. At first, he was unable to retrace the deer’s steps.

Then, he came upon blood and followed it to the buck that he named “reindeer” because of its tall antlers. The 7-pointer — one tine had been broken off — weighed 160 pounds.

Dane helped Ramsdell drag the deer out and cut it up.

Looking back, losing out on the piebald doe wound up being only one moment from a memorable hunting season.

Pete Warner

Pete graduated from Bangor High School in 1980 and earned a B.S. in Journalism (Advertising) from the University of Maine in 1986. He grew up fishing at his family's camp on Sebago Lake but didn't take...