George Smith's blog

What were Maine sportsmen and women doing in 2007? A lot!

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 I’ve been going through my collection of issues of the SAM News, and was delighted to find the very first issue published in January, 1976, the year before I joined SAM. I left a collection in the SAM office when I ended my service as executive director, but also kept a collection for myself.

Believing it is always helpful to look back, especially given the challenges we face today, here’s what I learned from the SAM News published in the fall of 2007.

New chef offers fantastic food at the Sea Glass Restaurant

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Cape Elizabeth
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                The Sea Glass restaurant, located in the Inn by the Sea in Cape Elizabeth, is a very special place. The Sea Glass Art Collection had recently been changed and the walls showcased bright colors and a variety of artistic styles. You will find Maine artists as well as Matisse and Chagall.

                We’ve sent several friends here for special celebrations, and they’ve all raved about both the inn and the restaurant. If you haven’t yet experienced a dinner here, mark it down for a special treat.

“A Girl Called Vincent” by Krystyna Poray Goddu

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You probably know that Edna St. Vincent Millay was a famous Maine poet. Among her many national awards, she won a Pulitzer Prize, a Distinguished Lifetime Achievement award, and was declared one of the ten most famous women in America.

But do you know the rest of the story? Well, even if you do, you will enjoy A Girl Called Vincent by Krystyna Poray Goddu.

And please don’t let the book’s designation “Young Adult” discourage you. This book is for all ages, and I thoroughly enjoyed learning more about this amazing woman.

Millay was raised in poverty by a single Mom, and was responsible for raising her two sisters. Yet she found time to sing, play the piano, act, and write poetry. Her poems began attracting attention at a very young age.

Time to make wild game dinners legal – and taking crops without permission on private land illegal

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While the Warden Service looks the other way and often participates in them, it is illegal in Maine to charge people for a wild game dinner. Sportsmen’s clubs, Unity College, and even some churches serve wild game dinners and charge for them, but generally report that they charge for the “social hour” before dinner and then provide the dinner for free.

I hate it when we have to do things like this to enjoy something that should be ok. So I’ve proposed legislation this session to make these dinners legal. Senator Tom Saviello will sponsor the bill.

Senator Saviello is also sponsoring my bill to require landowner permission to pick crops on private land, such as mushrooms and fiddleheads. This bill will go to the Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry Committee. That committee worked on similar legislation last year, focused on those who pick crops commercially on private land without permission, but failed to support that proposal.

Maine’s Remarkable Women by Kate Kennedy

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 Some of them you know: Margaret Chase Smith, Sarah Orne Jewett, Fly Rod Crosby. But I’ll bet you didn’t know as much about them as you’ll learn in Kate Kennedy’s wonderful book, Maine’s Remarkable Women, published by Down East Books.

And I’ll bet you’ve never heard of most of these other remarkable women, whose stories you will find interesting and inspiring.

As we begin another winter, you’ll enjoy Tante Blanche’s story. She strapped on snowshoes, loaded up her sled with food and supplies, and traipsed out into a huge blizzard in Madawaska to save her starving neighbors. She was an Acadian who was expelled from Nova Scotia by the English. Yes, she was an immigrant, as were fourteen of the other 15 remarkable women profiled in Kennedy’s book.

New deer plan sure to be controversial

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 Working for 18 years for the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine, I learned how difficult it is to bring us all together and keep  us there. We often have very diverse and different opinions. And when  you mix us in with the public, it gets even more difficult. So it’s going to be interesting to see what kind of support – and participation – DIF&W gets as it creates new big game management plans.

The current draft of the deer plan includes some very interesting – and sure to be controversial – goals, objectives, and strategies. Today we’ll take a look at some of these.

Goal: Maintain the deer population below biological carrying capacity while providing hunting and viewing opportunity.

We’ll talk turkeys at the legislature this session

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In 2014, the legislature enacted my proposal to reduce the turkey permit fee and expand the seasons and bag limits. In the 2017 legislative session, I’ll be back for more.        

The final bill in 2014 reduced the turkey hunting permit to $20 for both residents and nonresidents, with no additional fee for a second Tom in the spring, expanded the fall season to the entire month of October and added a second turkey of either sex to the fall bag limit, reduced the tagging fee from $5 to $2 for each turkey (with all of the fee going to the tagging agent), extended the spring season to all-day (1/2 hour before sunrise to ½ hour after sunset), and authorized all-day hunting for Youth Day.

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