PORTLAND PRESS HERALD DARKROOM
Turkey hunter Lou Haskell

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    Turkey hunter Lou Haskell - Staff photo by Gregory Rec | of | Share this photo

    Before dawn, Lou Haskell, 86, walks down a dirt road in Raymond toward his hunting blind.

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    Turkey hunter Lou Haskell - Staff photo by Gregory Red | of | Share this photo

    On Feb 14, Haskell had his right knee replaced, and then on March 7, the left knee. His motivation? He wanted to be ready and able to participate in turkey hunting season. Three days before the start of the season, he’s at physical therapy with Samantha Reid at Saco Bay Physical Therapy in Falmouth.

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    Turkey hunter Lou Haskell - Staff photo by Gregory Rec | of | Share this photo

    At 4:59 a.m. on April 30, Haskell parks his pickup truck on a rise and starts unloading his gear. Maine’s spring turkey hunting season opens with civil twilight, the half-hour before sunrise in Bangor. Which means technically Haskell, 86, could have been hunting two minutes ago.

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    Turkey hunter Lou Haskell - Staff photo by Gregory Rec | of | Share this photo

    Haskell has shot 26 turkeys since 2004 right in this area, and the rise where he has set up his blind proves to be a reliable spot.

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    Turkey hunter Lou Haskell - Staff photo by Gregory Rec | of | Share this photo

    It was 1945 when Haskell started hunting. He was 14, living on a 60-acre farm in Pownal. After retiring from his position as the director of the housing program at Brunswick Naval Air Station, where he worked for 29 years, 11 months and two weeks, Haskell became a volunteer with Maine’s Department of Inland Fish and Wildlife. He taught hunter safety classes and more until 2007. Then he retired again. But not from hunting.

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    Turkey hunter Lou Haskell - Staff photo by Gregory Rec | of | Share this photo

    Haskell examines the spur of the turkey after tying on his tag.

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    Turkey hunter Lou Haskell - Staff photo by Gregory Rec | of | Share this photo

    Anne Haskell is waiting with cookies and coffee, and a clear case of admiration when her husband arrives at their camp on Panther Pond with his turkey. Hunting together is a tradition. She has been hunting since her 20s, although she says, “I don’t hunt as vigorously as he does.”

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    Turkey hunter Lou Haskell - Staff photo by Gregory Rec | of | Share this photo

    Haskell cuts the wing off his turkey. The bird weighed just about 18 pounds.

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    Turkey hunter Lou Haskell - Staff photo by Gregory Rec | of | Share this photo

    After dunking the turkey in a big bucket of just boiled water, he pulls out the feathers with deft fingers.

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    Turkey hunter Lou Haskell - Staff photo by Gregory Rec | of | Share this photo

    In the kitchen, Haskell cleans the turkey. When he and Anne decided he’d go ahead with his knee surgeries, he asked the surgeon to schedule the replacements in time for hunting season.

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    Turkey hunter Lou Haskell - Staff photo by Gregory Rec | of | Share this photo

    Heading to the kitchen through a doorway at his camp, Haskell is going to pan fry some of the meat from the turkey he shot in the morning. “I like the challenge,” Haskell says of hunting. “Being able to figure out what animals are doing. To learn more about them. Part of it is just being out there and enjoying the anticipation of seeing animals, even though you might not actually want to take one that day.”

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