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.

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.

New fish hatchery draws interest but stocking problems continue

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 The legislature’s Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Committee grabbed quite a bit of my hatchery commission bill but some key issues, including problems with stocking policies, genetics of brook, brown, and rainbow trout, high costs and low catch rates, were ignored.

My bill, sponsored by Rep. Russell Black, would have created a Hatchery Commission to:


Examine the costs of production, the numbers and species of fish stocked, and the return on stocked fish, both in Maine and in other states;

Fighting Eagles Get Tangled – and Rescued

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 Here’s an amazing story, received this afternoon from Mark Latti at the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. I can’t write this any better than Mark did, so I’m giving you his report and photos just as I received them. Astonishing photos! And lots of praise to all involved, including the good folks at Avian Haven.

Mark Latti’s Report

While their jobs may be very different, many times IFW biologists and game wardens work together to help Maine’s wildlife. Quite often, they work with Maine citizens who also share an equal passion for wildlife as well.

Recently, a homeowner on the outskirts of Millinocket received a big surprise when two eagles crash landed in his front yard.

Game Wardens Nail the Bad Guys

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Game wardens are at their best when they catch the really bad guys, those who kill animals for the thrill of it, who care nothing about laws and rules, who delight in breaking them. A few years ago wardens rounded up a group of poachers in my area, utilizing a game warden from another state to infiltrate the poaching ring and collect incriminating information.

I was surprised, when it was all over, how little the leaders of the poaching ring paid in fines and how short was their stay in jail. But just this morning, I read in the news that a guy who shot and killed another hunter three years ago, and was later arrested for sexual assault, received a sentence of 15 years for the sexual assault (with all but seven years suspended), but just 2 ½ years for killing that other hunter (with that sentence served at the same time as the other). He was also ordered to pay more than $5000 to the family of the man he killed. And he lost his hunting license for 10 years, but of course, he’ll be in jail for seven of those years.

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