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.

Predictions for grouse, woodcock, and turkey hunting

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 Grouse hunters may be frustrated this year, depending on where they hunt, but predictions for an increase in woodcock are exciting, and of course, turkey populations have exploded.

Kelsey Sullivan wrote an interesting and informative article about DIF&W’s grouse research, for the North Maine Woods magazine, and I’ll include that article at the end of this column.

I asked DIF&W’s Brad Allen for predictions for grouse hunters this fall, and here’s what Brad told me.

“My thoughts are that grouse hunting and success will be mixed or spotty this fall but at least average statewide…’s why….if turkey production is an indication of successful  grouse hatch we should be in great  shape….I predicted an excellent turkey hatch given the drought we experienced in May! 

Don't miss this exciting exhibit of taxidermy and guns!

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 You’ll have a hard time moving beyond the astonishing antlers of an Irish elk, an animal that has been extinct for 11,000 years. The huge antlers were found in a peat bog in Ireland and hung for 180 years in a huge old castle, even being featured in The Hobbitt. They were recently donated to the Maine State Museum by Bruce Bent.

Apparently the elk’s antlers were huge in order to impress the ladies. Well, they impressed me too!

As Drs. David and Paula Work took me through the museum’s fabulous collection of taxidermy, I was delighted to learn that some of the best items were donated by Drs. Bob Shelton and Paul Wade, old friends of mine.

Here’s a great chance to improve your wild game cooking skills

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                 Linda doesn’t let me anywhere near the kitchen to cook, unless it’s time to grill some wild game meat, so I’m looking forward to attending one of the wild game cooking workshops that Maine’s community colleges are offering in partnership with the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

                And you can be sure I’ll carry with me a couple of Kate Krukowski Gooding’s wild game cookbooks, as a reference. I love reading Kate’s books, but I’ve yet to master anything but grilling, so this should be interesting!

You’re the guest on the new edition of Wildfire!

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 Your opinions are the subject of the new edition of Wildfire, the TV talk show that I host with James Cote. While James and I discussed a lot of issues, including problems and opportunities at DIF&W’s fish hatcheries, and what the legislature achieved and didn’t achieve, we also spent a good deal of the time going through the results of our Sportsmen Say Survey questions.

And at the end of the show, we posed a new question for you to answer: Would you support a $3 million bond issue to fix problems and improve the state’s Casco and Grand Lake Stream hatcheries? You can access the question in the Sportsmen Say Survey section of this website. 

Each edition of Wildlife is aired on Time Warner cable station 9 on Tuesdays at 7 pm, Thursdays at 6:30 pm, and Sundays at 9:30 am. Each edition airs for two weeks. You can also access the show, including previous shows, online at

Here’s some background information on the hatchery issue.

The Pier at the end of the World by Paul Erickson

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 It’s no surprise that The Pier at the end of the World by Paul Erickson was cited as an Outstanding Science Trade Book by the Children’s Book Council of the National Science Teachers Association. If we’d had this book when I was in school, I might have liked science more!

With stunning photos by Andrew Martinez, this book gives us a fascinating look at the ocean creatures who live under an old rotting pier. One of several outstanding books in Tilbury House’s Nature Book series, I can’t wait to share it with my grandsons, who live near the coast.

As Tilbury notes, each of these wonderful books “aims for the highest standards of scientific accuracy and storytelling magic.” You get both in The Pier.

Summer to Fall by Dana Wilde

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                 If you love summer and fall as much as I do – and what Mainers don’t? – then you will enjoy Dana Wilde’s new book, Summer to Fall: Notes and Numina from the Maine Woods, published by North Country Press.

                As Dana explains, “It's a book about the quirks, denizens and stars as seen from Troy, Maine, and collected from the Backyard Naturalist and Amateur Naturalist newspaper columns, plus other writings.”

Will Mainers have to shoot bears in their homes?

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                 Let’s hope every Maine bear hunter this fall gets his or her bear. We’ve got way too many bears. It’s a very good thing that Maine voters defeated proposals to prohibit the use of traps, bait, and dogs for bear hunting. If that had happened, we’d probably be shooting bears in our homes, as recently happened in California. I’ll tell you more about that story at the end of this column

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