George's Outdoor News

George’s new outdoor issues blog. He goes all over the state. He listens. And he reports on issues of concern to sportsmen, conservationists, and environmentalists.

Poland Spring cited for being a great neighbor

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 I was reading Dad’s Lewiston Sun Journal the other day, in his room at the Togus VA Hospice Unit, when a full page ad grabbed my attention.

Sponsored by individual board members of the Poland Spring Preservation Society, the ad was a very big thank you to Poland Spring Bottling Company for “being a great neighbor.”

“The Poland Spring Preservation Society was formed in 1976,” noted the ad, “to maintain the Maine State Building and All Soul Chapel. Without the support of Poland Spring Bottling and other generous sponsors, these buildings would not be here today.

“We are very proud of our neighbor for their continued support of us and many other nonprofit organizations, food pantries, environmental organizations, fire departments across the state and so many more have been touched by their community awareness.”

Getting the lead out just got easier – and it’s the law

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 Free fishing sinkers and jigs were handed around the table at the annual meeting of the Minnehonk Lake Association a couple weeks ago. I didn’t take any because I’ve already swapped out my lead sinkers and jigs for those that don’t kill loons and other critters.

            If you haven’t gotten around to that yet, I’ve got good news. And you ought to be paying attention because larger lead sinkers and jigs will be illegal soon.

Shooting bear cubs in their den, killing 100 trout in a day – these Old Tales of the Maine Woods will amaze and appall you

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I had been fishing for about two hours. On counting the catch, we had one hundred and thirty-seven trout.

This might be my dream fishing experience but it is not my story. Its Heber Bishop’s story, written in the Guide Book to the Megantic, Spider, and Upper Dead River Regions in 1887, and reprinted in Steve Pinkham’s amazing (and sometimes appalling) Old Tales of the Maine Woods published by Merrimak Media in 2012.

Bishop’s story continued: My heart smote me for taking so many, but we had carried them up to camp before counting them and it was too late to put any of them back then. So we did the best we could to prevent willful waste, by gutting them, building a smoke house, and giving what we did not eat that day a smoking all that afternoon, night and until noon the next day.

Time to catch Rangeley’s Famous Trout and Salmon – at the Outdoor Heritage Museum

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                Gigantic trout and salmon taken from Rangeley’s famous waters are every angler’s dream. I’ve caught five pound brookies and salmon there, but nothing approaching the mounts I’ve seen at the Oquossoc Angling Association.

                And that’s just one reason I’ll be visiting the Outdoor Sporting Heritage Museum in Oquossoc soon, where they are featuring a special exhibit: “Rangeley’s Famous Trout and Salmon.”

The best place in the world to fish for brook trout is…

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I’ve caught everything from giant King Salmon in Alaska to huge Brown Trout in Montana to 23 species of fish in Florida, but brook trout are my passion. It saddens me that we haven’t done more to protect, enhance, and cherish Maine’s native brookies.

 

SWOAM says landowner relations programs have floundered with few if any achievements

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 This is another in my ongoing series on landowner relations, the most important topic and challenge for Maine sportsmen and others who recreate on private land. Of particular importance in this column are the recommendations of Tom Doak for an effective landowner relations program.

A great suggestion about multi-species management is featured in one of the many interesting stories in the July 2014 issue of Maine Woodlands, the newsletter of the Small Woodland Owners Association of Maine.

SWOAM President Rich Merk, who has talked with me before about this idea, writes about the need for multi-species management information.

Sportsmen’s Survey May Stump Gubernatorial Candidates

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Maine’s three candidates for governor recently received their 2014 Questionnaire from the Sportsmen’s Alliance of Maine. SAM is the only statewide sportsman’s group that surveys the views of candidates for major offices and the legislature, issues grades, and makes endorsements. Traditionally, the group has been nonpartisan and very successful.

In the 2014 Questionnaire, the candidates for governor are given brief explanations of many of the issues, and then asked a question. In the past, candidates have often tripped on firearms questions that, if answered incorrectly, make it unlikely those candidates will get good grades or an endorsement. The most difficult question for candidates – especially at the legislative level – has been the question asking if they support trapping. Many know nothing about trapping and have a poor or no opinion about it.

Some of the more interesting – and possibly challenging questions – on this year’s survey are these.

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