George Smith's blog

Bait deer and you’ll never hunt again

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 Boy, did I get that wrong. On August 7, I reported that a new law required that the person who is convicted of hunting deer over bait during an open season on deer must lose his license for one year. A second offense would require revocation for two years.

That was the last amended version of the bill that I received during a work session of the legislature’s Fish and Wildlife Committee. But sometime between that day and enactment, the bill was substantially changed.

The new law requires that a second deer baiting offense results in the loss of hunting privileges – for a lifetime! I have to thank Representative Paul Stearns for calling this to my attention.

The original bill required a mandatory fine of $500 but that was removed, as committee members thought this should be left up to the Judge.

Sleeping turkey gets surprised by hunters

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 This turkey hunting story was shared with me by my friend Jim Robbins. It’s a good one and I want to share it with you. Here’s Jim’ story, in his own words.

 

            One day in mid May my grandson Eli had Friday off from school so we decided that we would go turkey hunting together.  Knowing that teen agers usually don’t like to get up at 3:30 am I told him I would pick him up at 5 am.  We went to four of my favorite haunts but with no luck. 

            At one of the spots we could hear some gobblers way off but couldn’t get them interested in our calling.  At about 7 am we drove over to an old farm where I had some luck in the past.  Out behind the farm house there is a junk yard, typical of many old Maine farms. 

A beautiful book about a beautiful butterfly

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           Monarch butterflies are in trouble, which makes Melissa Kim’s new book, A Monarch Butterfly Story, published by Islandport Press in Yarmouth, all the more important. Jada Fitch’s illustrations are beautiful, and Melissa gives us a wonderful story of a grandson in Maine who gets a special message from his grandfather in Texas, telling him that the Monarch Butterflies are “running out of food and places to live.”

Medawisla is a wonderful get-a-way

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Greenville
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 George

          History is brought up to date at Medawisla, a sporting camp with a beautiful new lodge and cabins on Second Roach Pond, and great opportunities to hike and bike, canoe and kayak, swim, fish, experience the north woods, and enjoy wonderful meals in the lodge.

          Linda and I called it our “books and birds” get-a-way as we spotted an astonishing array of birds, and relaxed on our cabin’s porch, reading. It is so peaceful here.

Legislature cracks down on deer baiters and bad guides

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 With encouragement from the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, the legislature cracked down on deer baiters and bad guides. Let’s start with deer baiters.

This bill was amended to provide that the person who is convicted of hunting over bait during an open season on deer must be revoked for one year. A second offense requires revocation for two years. The original bill required a mandatory fine of $500 but that was removed, as committee members thought this should be left up to the Judge.

Representative Will Tuell of Washington County sponsored the bill, and began his testimony by thanking the committee for rejecting a bill that would have made hunting deer over bait legal. “Doing so would have encouraged and emboldened those bad actors who flout our game laws to push the envelope, while threatening the overall health of our deer herd,” he said.

I got caught by Caught.

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 From Tony Small’s first photo and Glen Libby’s first quote, I was hooked by their wonderful book: Caught – Time. Place. Fish.

“Changing the world was not as simple as it seemed here in Port Clyde, but a remarkable thing happened…”

That’s the first thing I read, and it was so true: this is the story of a truly remarkable achievement in Port Clyde, Maine, one of my favorite places.

As Port Clyde’s fishing industry declined, due to the disappearance of shrimp and other species, Glen jumped up and organized the first Community Supported Fishery (CSF) in the nation.

The CSF was designed to process and sell the fish and allow fishermen to capture more of the profits. It was not an immediate success. Indeed, it’s been a long and often difficult road to profitability. But in the meantime, more than 100 other CSF’s have been organized in our country, and Glen has become a well-known leader in the industry.

Alter your fish and you’ll be in big trouble

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 A new law governing fisheries included language that “prohibits anglers from altering fish, including smelts, from their natural state until after they have conducted a wet measure.” That’s the way the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife described their proposal, sponsored for the agency by Senator Scott Cyrway, Senate chair of the IFW Committee.

Cyrway, in his testimony, explained that “fishermen are cleaning smelts and cutting the heads off at the stream, in order to allow an increased limit of fish, and this is negatively impacting the smelt population.”

The bill also replaces, in law, the term “alewives” with the term “river herring.” Cyrway explained that this is the “correct reference when referring to both alewives and blueback herring.”

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