George Smith's blog

Long Grain is still high on our favorites list

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                When we entered Long Grain’s tiny restaurant on Camden’s Main Street, a table of six glanced our way and I spotted our friend Priscilla, who told me they were eating here because they’d read our column about Long Grain published two years ago. That made us feel good, of course, knowing that we’d helped this small but amazing place, designated our favorite Thai restaurant in our travel book that will be published next spring by Islandport Press in Yarmouth.

Maine highways are moose-ly safe – until there’s a moose in the road

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                 “It was pitch black,” Frank Gatto told reporter Joe Lawler. “A split second before I hit it, I realized it was a moose. All I could see was its belly and legs. We went right underneath that moose, took out its legs.”

                Despite a successful effort by Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife to reduce collisions with moose by increasing hunting permits in some areas of the state, collisions still happen. And when those collisions involve a moose, injuries can be serious. From 2001 to 2014, 25 people were killed in moose crashes.

How to talk to the public about hunting

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                 Words Matter. That’s the headline in a special section of a report from Responsive Management titled, “How to Talk to the Public About Hunting.” In my last outdoor news column, I told you about some of Responsive Management’s interesting research about the public’s attitudes toward hunting. Today, I’ll share their recommendations for how hunters can use that research to improve their communications with the public and build more support for hunting. And yes, we must do that. Each of us.

Hunters need to know how to talk to the public about hunting

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                A photo of my friend Bob McKee of Wayne was in the local newspaper Friday morning, showing Bob hauling a wagon full of firewood to his home. The report featured this quote from Bob: “I have something to do in the middle of the day,” the deer hunter said.

                After three intense days of deer hunting with Deirdre Fleming, the outdoor writer for the Portland Press Herald and Sunday Telegram, I took Friday off to catch up with work. Thankfully, my winter’s supply of wood is already in the basement!

Aragosta’s Testing Menu is life changing!

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                 I certainly had been looking forward to a special meal at Aragosta in Stonington, but little did I realize that this would be the dining experience of my lifetime! This year Aragosta chef Devin Finigan created a Chef's Tasting Menu in lieu of a traditional menu. They book diners for specific times so that the restaurant can serve the many courses at similar times. Seven courses plus a couple of surprises requires an orchestrated plan!

If you haven’t gotcha deer yet, read this column!

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Successful deer hunters – those who “get their deer” nearly every year – don’t depend on luck. If opening day is the first day you step into the woods, you’ve got little more than luck going for you. If you are not lucky enough to bag a deer on opening day, your odds deteriorate every day as the season progresses.

There are a few very easy steps you can take, however, to improve your chances and turn you into a skillful hunter who is not dependent on blind luck each season. Many Maine deer hunters don’t see a deer the entire season, and only 10 to 12 percent get a deer each year. Those who are successful year after year comprise a very small percentage of all deer hunters. They use all of the techniques outlined in this column.

Women hunters taking over the Maine woods

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                 When we moved to Mount Vernon 38 years ago, many of the deer tagged on opening day were registered by women – but not women who hunted. These women tagged the deer killed by their husbands, so the husbands could continue to hunt. One day, a young boy at an elementary school gathering announced, “My Mom got a huge buck on opening day. But she didn’t shoot it.” Too much information!

                Today, that has changed dramatically, and some of the most successful hunters in our community and throughout the state are women. Deirdre Fleming, the outdoor writer for Maine Today Media, wrote a great column recently about the increase in Maine women hunters. She reported, “The percentage of hunting licenses sold to women has grown steadily over the past 10 years, rising from 8.1 percent in 2005 to 12.4 percent in 2014.” That translates into 24,000 women hunting today in Maine.

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