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.

Hunting in Italy is a lot different than in Maine

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 I heard him yelling, every few minutes, as he came up the hill through the grape vines. And then, there he was, in a field below our apartment in the small family winery, Il Santo, in Greve, Italy.

He was wearing camo clothing and carrying a very long gun, which I assumed was a rifle. Halfway across the field, he called someone on his phone, who I assumed were his hunting buddies. I also assumed they were hunting wild boar, because Tuscany is overrun with them, and expanded the hunt and bag limit to reduce the population of boars this year.

As an aside, I can tell you that pappardelle pasta with wild board sauce is my favorite Italian dish.

Oh, the hunting mistakes I’ve made!

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 When I started to build a list of all the mistakes I’ve made while hunting, well, it turns out I made a lot more mistakes than I remembered! I guess that’s the trail we take to become successful hunters. For me, the trail was long and sometimes frustrating.

I started off on the wrong foot, when, at the age of 9, I snuck up to a robin, perched on a tree in our front yard, and shot it with my BB gun. Dad explained, quickly, how wrong that was! Seems appropriate that today I am an avid birder! With binoculars, not a shotgun!

About a half century later, I was hunting woodcock with my friend Jimmy Robbins in Searsmont, when we moved into a grow-over apple orchard. Jimmy told me to stand near an old apple tree on a knoll, while he took the dog and hunted down through the thick brush off to our right. He pointed to the far end of that piece and said to watch that spot, because that’s where the woodcock would fly out.

Awesome mounted fish – and fishing stories – at Rangeley B&B

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                 I first met Rob Welch at the annual meeting of the Maine Woods Consortium, a group that works to improve the rural Maine economy. We hit it off immediately, because Rob is an avid angler in one of my favorite regions, Rangeley, where I’ve spent a lot of time fishing over the years.

                So Linda and I scheduled a travel column visit to the Pleasant Street Inn B&B owned by Rob and his wife Jan. The 5 room B&B is wonderful, as is the hospitality. Rob’s a retired school principal and Jan teaches fourth grade math at the Rangeley school.

What can we expect from the next legislature?

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Thanks to all who told us they enjoyed the lively discussion about the last legislative session’s accomplishments and disappointments, featured in last episode of our TV talk show with two outstanding state legislators: Senator Tom Saviello and Representative Bob Duchesne.

And I’ve got great news for you. Tom and Bob are featured in the new edition of Wildlife, airing for the first time tonight.

On this show, we focused on major outdoor and environmental issues in the 2017 legislative session. From solar and wind power to mining, hatcheries to stream and brook spawning habitat protection, exotic animals to problems in the Maine Warden Service, we covered a lot of ground in this half hour.

Poland Spring Supports Conservation and Community

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Poland Spring is about a lot more than bottled water. Yes, they have three bottling plants in Poland Spring, Hollis, and Kingfield and employ 800 Mainers full-time or seasonally in places where jobs are hard to come by, with a $42 million annual payroll. And they’ve invested over $500 million here since 2000. They also spend $60 million each year with other Maine companies.

But what I most admire – and appreciate – is the $6 million that Poland Spring has contributed since 2000 to conservation and community each year, supporting schools, fire and rescue services, environmental conservation and lots of causes from the local to the state level.

Threaded Journeys is not your typical book of hunting and fishing stories.

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 Threaded Journeys by Tom Johnson is an unusual book, with a subtitle that gives you a hint of what’s inside: “Fishing, Hunting, Conservation, Adventure… and America’s Future.” Yes, Tom covers it all.

You’ll get provocative opinion pieces on important issues from climate change to the endangered species act to fracking. And there are lots of great hunting and fishing stories, as Tom roams North America and beyond. I particularly enjoyed his stories of deer hunting in Maine and fishing some of my favorite rivers in Montana. And his favorite brook trout spot in Quebec sounds a lot like mine, although it’s not.

What can you keep and when can you keep it?

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                 You are breaking the law. I am sure of it. Somewhere in your house is a feather from a wild bird, maybe even a nest with eggs in it. You’ve got a skull from a wild animal, perhaps, that you found in the woods or along the road. Whatever it is, you most assuredly don’t have the required possession permit.

                I’d also bet that you are entirely unaware that it is illegal to possess wild birds or animals, or any part of a wild bird or animal, including feathers and bones, without a permit issued by Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

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