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.

Fighting for Bluebacks and Brookies at Big Reed Pond

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Imagine this: an old log cabin, on the shore of a remote pond full of brook trout, surrounded by old growth forest and conservation lands owned and protected by The Nature Conservancy, and you have it - cabin, pond, woods, hills, and trout- all to yourself.

Well, you don’t need to use your imagination because this place exits at Big Reed Pond (T8 R10). The cabin is owned by Igor and Karen Sikorsky of Bradford Camps and is available to folks who are staying at Bradford on Munsungan Lake. Bradford Camps gives you the experience of an historic sporting camp with plenty of modern conveniences from bathrooms in every cabin to extraordinarily good food. They even provide meals for those staying in their cabin on Big Reed Pond.

Igor flew my friend Gary Corson, who guided here for many years, and me into Big Reed for a day of blissful fishing in early June. We cruised the shoreline, with Gary doing most of the paddling, while I cast to eager brookies. It was constant catching, a day I will never forget.

Forced to Fish Kodiak Island’s Karluk River for Five Extra Days

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                 Kodiac Island, Alaska, is a sportsman’s dream. Years ago, when I got stranded there for five days at the mouth of the Karluk River earlier, some people didn’t believe me. Stranded in Alaska? Right!

                Traveling with Les Priest of Readfield, who organized the trip through a company he owned at that time, Alaska Outdoors Adventures, we enjoyed a five-day adventurous raft trip down the Karluk River with outfitter Fishing Alaska Style, owned by Maine native Jeff Pyska who lived in Alaska.

                Our guide for the week, Augusta, Maine resident Bob Smith, did a superb job of putting us onto lots of King Salman and keeping the river’s huge brown bears out of our tent camps.

Comprehensive hunting license was a great idea but now its dead

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For the second session in a row, the legislature has killed a proposal to create a single comprehensive hunting license.  For the price of 13 gallons of gas, you would have been able to hunt in Maine for an entire year, all game animals, all seasons, all bag limits. Representative Mike Shaw sponsored the bill, at my request.

I understand that even the best of ideas can take years to get through the legislature, so while I am disappointed, I will not give up.

Five members of the legislature’s Inland Fisheries and Wildlife supported an amended version of the bill that would have created a package of permits covering the most popular hunts, but that was quickly killed in the House of Representatives.

Bradford Camps are a state treasure

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                David has hunted and fished all over the world, but Bradford Camps on Munsungan Lake is the only place he’s returned to, and he often comes here several times a year.

              The six hour drive from my home to the camps went quickly, with my friend, long-time now-retired guide Gary Corson, in the passenger seat. We shared stories and talked about fishing issues all the way, with one stop at Dysart’s for a great breakfast.

Sportsman’s Alliance tells Governor: Stop Playing Politics

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 “If Governor LePage does not release the 2010 voter-approved Land for Maine’s Future bonds this June, he will be intentionally and single-handedly undermining targeted investments in local economies across Maine.” That was the statement of Tim Glidden, President of Maine Coast Heritage Trust, in a June 11 press release from the Land for Maine’s Future Coalition.

More than 250 organizations including sportsmen, business leaders, health organizations, conservationists, environmentalists, and others called on the Governor to honor his word and the wishes of Maine voters by releasing the bonds. The press release took us back two years with a quote from the Governor: “As a measure of good faith, I am hereby directing the State Treasurer to begin to prepare those bonds for my signature on an expedited basis.”

Deer hunting is about a lot more than killing a deer

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I saw about 30 deer last season and chose not to shoot one. I need to tell Ralph Sabin this, because in response to my last column on deer hunting and any-deer permits, Ralph wrote, “Most people work for a living and don’t have time to bag their deer every year George… once again I shake my head.”

In that column, posted here on May 18, I noted that I “got my deer” nearly every year for the past 40 years. And that is true. But it set Ralph off, so I need to set the record straight. I enjoy everything about deer hunting, and look forward to spending a lot of time in the woods in November and December every year. I especially enjoy the muzzle-loading season, mostly because there are far fewer hunters in the woods.

An angling story for the ages

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 On the porch of Claybrook Mountain Lodge in Highland Plantation are two carved “Buck Boards” listing the bucks and does that guests and guides have shot since the lodge opened in 1984.  The name of Greg Drummond, who owns the lodge with his wife Pat (a phenomenal cook) is often on the list. But the Buck Boards tell the story better than I ever could.

Here are the harvest numbers for recent years: 2009 0, 2010 0, 2011 1, 2012 1, 2013 0. For many years, the November deer season was the busiest for the Drummonds. But things have changed. “The deer herd in our area has declined to such an extent that our (deer) season is the least profitable of the year,” Greg tells me.

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