George Smith's blog

Black and Tan is a great new pub in Augusta

City or Town: 
Augusta
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 George

            From the beautiful and historic booths, salvaged from a southern Maine church, to the wonderful Irish food, Augusta’s Black and Tan has fast become a very popular place since opening last June. Located just above Water Street, Stacey and Chris Shaw’s restaurant was recommended to us by our friends Rocko and Robin Graziano, who accompanied us to dinner there.

Sunday hunting bill shot down

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                 Another Sunday hunting bill was shot down yesterday at a public hearing by the Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Committee. LD 424, sponsored by Representative Jeff Pierce of Dresden, would have allowed hunting on five Sundays for bear, moose, deer and wild turkey in coastal wildlife management areas on public land and private land of 5 acres of more with the landowner’s permission.

                I was surprised when Deputy Commissioner Tim Peabody of the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife testified “neither-for-nor-against” the bill. He noted that “Sunday hunting could provide potential economic growth and additional opportunity for hunters,” but warned that the agency would have to reduce the season length and worried that this “would cause a significantly higher amount of hunting pressure.”

Mainers – and our birds - are lucky to have Avian Haven

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 Avian Haven in Freedom is a wonderful place, especially for birds. This nonprofit wild bird rehabilitation center works hard to help injured an orphaned birds and return to the wild. Co-directors Diane Winn and Marc Payne, with some dedicated employees and volunteers, can be considered a bird’s best friends.

Their latest newsletter is a treasure of information, both entertaining and inspiring. You can read it here.

I first became acquainted with Avian Haven when a loon, dying from lead poisoning, was discovered in the cove behind our Mount Vernon home years ago. I helped rescue the loon and deliver it to Avian Haven, but sadly, they were unable to save the loon’s life. That inspired me to help ban lead sinkers at the legislature the following year.

I was particularly disappointed to learn that another Mount Vernon loon died of lead poisoning in 2016. Here is that story from the newsletter.

You need to get-a-way to this wonderful place!

City or Town: 
Poland
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 George

            Reading through the guest book in our suite at Wolf Cove Inn, a wonderful Maine Bed & Breakfast, I find visitors from Texas to Tennessee, California to Colorado to Connecticut, Nevada to North Carolina, and even England, plus folks from our state. Yes, lots of people are finding their way to this very special place in Poland.

Great reads about hunting, fishing, and more

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 I probably overwhelmed Kristina Wheelock when she asked for book recommendations. I’ve got bookshelves full of books about hunting, fishing, birding, wildlife, and the great outdoors. Some are very old, some just published, and lots in between.

Kirstina is assistant librarian at Gardiner High School, and emailed me, “I am always on the lookout for hunting/outdoor books about Maine and beyond. Our students love this hunting/outdoor genre.

Lots of opinions shared in Sportsmen Say Surveys

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 The opinions expressed in my Sportsmen Say Surveys are always interesting. I dedicated the survey to Gene Letourneau, whose Sportsmen Say columns appeared every day for 50 years in the newspapers of central and southern Maine. Sadly, we don’t get coverage and reporting like that anymore.

Gene was an inspiration to many of us. He often featured comments from his readers in his column. Whenever my Dad was quoted in one of Gene’s columns, it was a big day at our house! After Dad died, I found a box of letters he’d received from Gene, in response to Dad’s letters to Gene. Apparently Gene responded to every single person who wrote to him.

I can remember sitting up back in the audience at work sessions of the legislature’s Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Committee, when they would call on Gene for his opinion. They sure don’t do that anymore!

Legislature fails to take the bait.

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                 A lively hearing on LD 62, An Act to Remove the Prohibition on Baiting Deer, drew lots of testimony on both sides of the issue. Senator Peter Lyford, a member of the legislature’s IFW Committee, sponsored the bill, and another committee member, Steve Wood, cosponsored it along with five other legislators.

                Among several opponents of the bill were Dave Trahan of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine and Don Kleiner of the Maine Professional Guides Association, along with the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

                Speaking for DIF&W, Jim Connolly, Resource Management Director, listed several reasons for the agency’s opposition.

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