Joe Osgood Jr. of FBM Maine Outdoor Journal poses with the buck he shot in 2021. Osgood organized a gathering of top New England YouTube hunters for the FMB Maine Outdoor Journal Post Rut Film Party on Feb. 25 in Brewer. Credit: Courtesy of Joe Osgood Jr.

Taylor Elmer was graciously granting an interview on Sunday when a young boy approached. Liam Osgood, a 7-year-old from Springfield, was eager to tell Elmer the story of his successful raccoon hunt.

Elmer listened intently, engaging the youngster, until the boy excitedly walked away.

Elmer is the charismatic frontman for the social media arm of Mountain Deer, a taxidermy shop in Northfield, Vermont. Inspired by patriarch Rodney Elmer, the group’s passion for deer hunting, the values it teaches and the joy it brins are the focus of  its popular YouTube channel.

Those messages were shared with a group of 129 hunters during the FBM Maine Outdoor Journal Post Rut Party held at Jeff’s Catering in Brewer. Event host Joe Osgood Jr. brought together some of Maine and New England’s best hunters and popular YouTubers for an afternoon of videos, stories, food and fun.

“We had a great turnout for what I expected for the first year,” said Osgood, who films hunts and other activities on his FBM Maine Outdoor Journal channel. “I tried to pick groups that are fairly popular with the people in the area and also have a good cross section of the interests of people’s hunting styles and skills.”

Among those who presented videos were Mountain Deer and Big Woods Bucks, featuring Master Maine Guide and big woods hunter Hal Blood of Jackman and Neil Pendleton. There was also Ian McHendry of Beyond the Boundaries, Adam Lamson of Stagr and Izaak Young.

These YouTube hunters are going beyond just trying to establish a brand and generate some income in the world of social media. Their mission is to inspire, encourage and impart their knowledge.

“It’s unbelievable what you can do just by sharing your passion and being who you are,” Taylor Elmer said. “Everybody can see themselves in that success, and in your trials and tribulations.”

Big Woods Bucks was among the pioneers of Maine hunting videos. Blood was initially encouraged to let the cameras roll while guiding hunters.

“I always felt like I was going to teach people,” Blood said of the early efforts back in 2006, when the videos were preserved on DVDs.

It wasn’t until last year that Big Woods Bucks began offering its videos on YouTube. They now have more than 79,300 subscribers and boast nearly 28 million views.

Big Woods Bucks focuses on providing compelling videos that hunters can use to improve their own success in the woods.

“We want to take people along for the entertainment but you’ve got to teach them something,” Blood said.

Meanwhile, Mountain Deer patriarch Rodney Elmer started filming his hunting trips to Maine more than 25 years ago. He would return home and share those adventures with his sons, Casey, Rion and Taylor.

Rodney Elmer said it was Taylor Elmer who suggested several years ago that Mountain Deer take the next step by producing videos that they could publish on YouTube. He said the videos would preserve the fun times they spent together.

“We want to share that with people in a way that can impact them and that they can use, and that’s an unbelievable gift,” Taylor Elmer said.

The Mountain Deer crew has gained considerable fame among those who enjoy watching New England deer hunting.

“During COVID I had people picking me out at Hannaford, with a mask on,” Taylor Elmer said.

The Elmer brothers now live in Maine and work together operating Top Branch Tree Service, based in Biddeford.

“Maine, in the fall, we can’t go anywhere,” Taylor Elmer added. “But it’s fun. We like it.”

At first, Rodney Elmer wasn’t convinced initially that the videos of the Elmers, and friends including Jim “Coco Puff” Murphy, would resonate. He learned that they are relatable.

“It ain’t about the deer, it’s about you,” Rodney Elmer said. “Everybody goes out and searches for deer, but what you’re really searching for is the best version of yourself.”

Blood said that hunters, and those who film their exploits for public consumption on YouTube, need to support each other’s efforts.

“To me, it’s not a competition,” Blood said. “We’re all in the same game. We’re all on the same team.”

Rodney Elmer appreciates the opportunity to hunt in Maine and values the friends he has made along the way. That’s why he made the long trip for the FBM Maine Outdoor Journal Post Rut Party.

“I want to make sure that I’m giving a little something back to this place that’s meant so much to me,” he said. “I’ve gotten so much from so many other deer hunters in my life, that I want to give back to that a little bit.”

Correction: A previous version of this story misspelled the name of Mountain Deer hunter Rion Elmer.

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...