Guide Review - Tenth Legion Guide Services, Southern Maine USA
Sometimes when chasing the hunting obsession, it's something that is made much easier by others of like mind. When we started learning about turkey hunting, we made sure to look for guides who were as passionate about the outdoors as we are. We found that and more at Tenth Legion Guide Services in Southern Maine, USA.
The return of the Wild Turkey to North America over the past several decades is a tremendous success story. Supported by the work of the National Wild Turkey Federation, passionate individuals worked both inside and outside state wildlife departments to help to see their habitat restored and reestablishing their population. The state of Maine was one of these successes, and they are now abounding in Eastern Wild Turkeys. Maine is also a very accommodating area for visiting Canadians, who must purchase a non-resident “alien” license but are not required to hire a guide. In spite of that fact, we wanted to hire a local guide anyways as we literally didn't know anything about turkey hunting except for what we had seen on television, and we were unfamiliar with the area.
As we began looking into a turkey hunt for the 2013 fall, there were a few different places recommended but by far the name we heard the most was Tenth Legion Guide Services. Tenth Legion was founded by Jim Wescott and Robb Cotiaux. Both love the outdoors, spending time hunting and fishing but their true passion is turkeys. They are centered out of the Sebago region of Maine, but they have hunting permission on lands in a wide area of the state.
My friend Jason, along with my father and myself headed on our very first hunt down to the Casco area of Maine on the second week of October, not quite sure what we were in for. We talked with the guides that first night on the phone and made plans to meet up the next morning at 5am for our first encounter with Eastern Wild Turkeys. To say we hit it off with the guides was an understatement. They are terrific people and great storytellers, with that warm East Coast way about them that makes it feel like you've been friends for years!
If you go down for a Fall hunt with Tenth Legion, you will find that they offer something that is really quite rare: a dog-assisted turkey hunt! Jim explained to us the strategy the first morning. We would try to locate some birds out feeding in a field. Then after spotting them we would get ready and sneak up toward them. As they caught a glimpse of us they would begin moving into the woods. At that point, Jim would let his trusty turkey-dog (Gunny) off, who would then proceed to chase and drive all the turkeys apart. The turkeys flew in every direction (an awesome sight), and Gunny would return to Jim, pleased as punch with himself. Then we would, under the direction of the guides, get set up in the exact area where the birds were flushed from. After some time to let the woods settle, they would begin to call to bring the turkeys back. Jim explained that in the fall, the group wants to get back together.
That first flush and hunt was unbelievable! What an experience. With the two guides calling the turkeys came back in from every direction. It literally sounded like they were all around us! We would start to see them in the distance, moving between trees and through cover. Finally, one came into range of one of us (Jason) and he had his first turkey! The amazing thing was, even after he did that and went to retrieve the bird... they kept calling and the turkeys continued to answer and come in. I had one pass to my right about 20 yards off, but I couldn't get turned that way because I shoot off my right shoulder (I guess I need to practice shooting off-hand). The turkey was also headed toward where my father was set up so I let him walk.
We were there for two days with the guides and the experience was fantastic and more of the same. I wasn't able to close the deal on my first turkey, but the guides gave us some fantastic chances and it certainly wasn't their fault! Jason filled his two-bird limit thanks to their work. They varied our experience very well, splitting up our group. No matter which one of them I was paired with it was an awesome experience. They are both terrific callers and know the area thoroughly. Jim is actually an accomplished state champion caller, and was instrumental in seeing wild turkeys replenished in Maine. He was so foundational, the state fish and wildlife department calls him to discuss the conditions and possible changes. I've heard it said that these guys have turkey blood running through their veins and I believe it!
The guides went above and beyond in all areas. Before the hunt they helped us to book lodging and gave us all the needed help to plan our trip. Throughout the times in the woods, they were always teaching us things, explaining why they were doing things, teaching us how to call, and even offering to let us try with them. They had equipment available for us including guns, provided us with the turkey shot, and even made us a wild turkey pot-pie to take back to the lodge and eat one night. An absolutely unforgettable experience!
I mentioned in another article that early on in the hunt, they asked me a question: “Do you want to shoot a turkey, or do you want to hunt one?” “There's a difference,” Jim said. “Anyone can shoot a turkey. They can jump out of a car or happen upon one and shoot a turkey. But hunting one is entirely different!” These guys are passionate about respecting the chase, respecting the birds, and respecting the wilderness. They respect landowner rights, have a good relationship with homeowners, they know their area and know the game well. And almost every time we ventured into the woods you would see one or both of them carrying trash out with them when we left, leaving the habitat a better place than when we entered it. They not only talk the talk, but they walk it as well.
The guides love teaching turkey so much that they give time and dedicate some of their hunting spots to annual “Hoot and Shoot” events for the youth of Maine and Canada. Every year children are chosen and sponsored by the NWTF or CWTF to come down to the Sebago region with their parents and both learn and experience turkey hunting for the very first time. There are courses about the birds, habitat, the region for the attendees. The kids all get a chance to go to the range and practice with their guns. Other professionals also are involved in the teaching, and dozens of volunteers come to mentor these youth and set up the event, led by this passionate duo. And of course they get a chance to go into the woods and hunt these elusive birds. You can see their love for the kids and the experience as their eyes twinkle listening to them recount their turkey hunting experience after each day! If you don't get misty listening to Robb Cotiaux having the kids tell and “relive” their hunting experiences at the end of the day, and seeing both his, and their excitement... you don't have a heart! (More will come on the “Hoot and Shoot” on our page)
Jim and Robb are both very personable and as knowledgeable as they are about turkeys, they are even better people. Both have an astounding knowledge of the turkey flocks in their area and a keen sense of where they will be. They do a tremendous amount of scouting to keep an eye on where they've located the birds, to give their clients the best chance at a harvest. Before we even finished with the hunt we were planning our next one with them. There's just something about “firsts” in life. Your first kiss, your first time in the woods, your first deer... there's never another first! Our first experience with turkeys was made more special through hunting with Jim and Robb. You will not be disappointed with the experience with these guides, who make it more than just a hunt! Because of them... it becomes an obsession!
Anyone interested in booking a hunt with them can contact them at the following coordinates:
Tenth Legion Guides: Maine's Premier Turkey Hunts
Jim Wescott – 207-310-8815
Robb Cotiaux – 207-926-5392
Contact us and let us know!