George Smith's blog

Maine harvests as many deer as New Hampshire and Vermont combined

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Maine harvests about the same amount of deer as New Hampshire and Vermont combined. But those states do a better job of compiling and publishing their harvest information on a timely basis. As we near the end of February, we still don’t know what the deer harvest was last fall.

The delay is blamed on some registration station agents who have not submitted their tagging information yet. There was a time when game wardens picked up the tagging books at the registration stations and delivered them to Augusta, but apparently they don’t do that anymore.

A story about the 2014 deer harvest in New Hampshire and Vermont, published in the Northern Woodlands News, grabbed my attention. Here’s what I read:

Hunting with drones and remote live cameras– never in Maine!

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As New Hampshire debates the use of drones and live-action game cameras for hunting, Maine acted years ago to prohibit them. But there is one use of drones that may be legal here.

I remember clearly the time I saw a news report on the use of live-action game cameras to locate wildlife and kill them with the use of a computer and remote firearm. I think some guy in Texas had set up the camera and gun, and was inviting hunters to log on to his site, for a fee, and shoot a deer or hog. You sat at your computer until the animal you wanted came into view, then you hit a key to fire the gun.

Along with many others, I was appalled. It didn’t take long for us to make that illegal in Maine. Here’s the law, enacted in 2005:

Maine game wardens help nail serial killer in New Brunswick

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You’ll be very proud of the Maine Warden Service when you read Kate Flora’s true crime book, Death Dealer, published last year by New Horizon Press. You’ll also be proud of their dogs.

                Lieutenant Pat Dorian led the group of wardens, along with volunteers from the Maine Search and Rescue Dogs group that traveled to New Brunswick in 2012 and 2013, with their dogs, to search for the body of Maria Tanasichuk. In addition to Dorian, game wardens Roger Guay, Kevin Adam, Deb Palman, and Tom Jacobs searched the forests along the Miramichi River for Maria’s body.

Retired Chief Warden Parker Tripp spills his stories

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Game wardens everywhere have great stories to tell and many choose to tell them in book form.  John Ford’s books are a phenomenon – or perhaps I should say John is a phenomenon.

Now along comes Mainer Parker Tripp, retired Chief Warden, and I have to say, he’s got some wonderful stories to tell. Parker turned for help to Megan Price, an award-winning journalist and author of other books including Vermont Wild - Adventures of Fish & Game Wardens.

Maine Wild, Adventures of Fish and Game Wardens, was written by Price, but it reads as if Parker is sitting in your living room telling you his stories.

Merger of Agriculture, Forestry, Parks, and Lands questioned at legislature

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 “When the battle is over” is one of my favorite hymns. But it doesn’t apply at the Maine legislature. No battle is ever over.

Last session, over the objections of some environmental groups, the legislature merged the Department of Agriculture with the Department of Conservation, creating the Department of Agriculture, Forestry, and Conservation. And while many are unhappy about some aspects of the merger, including some who supported it, few want to re-examine the issue this year.

At least, that’s my prediction, even though two environmental groups made a pitch yesterday to review the merger. LD 39, sponsored by Representative Anthony Edgecomb, would create a task force that could, in the words of Eliza Donoghue of the Natural Resources Council of Maine, “determine whether the merged department has provided, at the same or better level, the protection and management of our natural resources and public lands formerly provided by the Department of Conservation.”

An amazing room, awesome dinner, and Maine’s best brunch

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                Five minutes after we entered the Thomas Moser room at the Harraseeket Inn, I told Linda I was ready to write this column. While a Saturday night dinner and Sunday brunch were ahead, I could easily have written the entire column about our room that featured 14 stunningly beautiful pieces of furniture from Maine’s own Thomas Moser.

                And every piece was available for purchase! Of course, we would have had to sell our house to afford it all, and then where would we have put it? But it sure was nice to luxuriate in this beautiful room for a weekend.

Maine Warden Service strangling fisheries and wildlife management.

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It’s a roadmap to the agency’s priorities and programs. And some of the things along that road will surprise you.

I just received a financial report on the revenues and expenditures of Maine’s Fish and Wildlife Department for Fiscal Year 2014, from July 1, 2013 to June 30, 2014.

The agency received $35,860,125 from 55 revenue sources and spent $37,360,309 in its 7 divisions. While it’s a bit of a mystery as to how they came to spend more than they raised, Commissioner Chandler Woodcock did disclose recently that the agency currently has a $3 million surplus.

If you don’t read any more of this report, please consider this:

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