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.

Comments due by January 25 on complete repeal and replacement of Maine’s boating rules

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 If you enjoy boating in Maine, you better check out proposed new boating rules – all 25 pages of them.

Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife is proposing “a complete repeal and replace of the current boating rules” to bring them into compliance with the Code of Federal Regulations regarding the safe operation of boats.

Perhaps you think you are already operating your boat safely. Maybe not!

DIF&W and the Department of Marine Resources are working together to adopt these new rules under the Federal Boating Safety Act administered by the U.S. Coast Guard. It is comforting to know that our federal officials are looking out for us.

Coyote Advocate claims coyotes are a “lot like us.”

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 Give Geri Vistein credit. She is a tireless advocate for the coyote. And with a masters degree in wildlife biology, she is articulate and focused on her mission – to be the voice for the coyote.

Ironically, at about the same time on Wednesday morning that I am speaking at the annual meeting of the Small Woodland Owners Association of Maine at the Augusta Civic Center, Vistein will be speaking about coyotes in a different room at the Civic Center. The annual Agricultural Trades Show is scheduled at the Civic Center on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. I speak at 10:20 am on Wednesday while Vistein’s talk is scheduled for 11 am.

I will be talking about my book, A Life Lived Outdoors, and the landowner relations legislation that I’ve proposed and Representative Ellie Espling has sponsored.

Vistein was profiled today in the Maine Sunday Telegram. Her remarks are stunning and provocative. Here’s a bit of what she told writer Mary Pols.

George and Harry debate moose – no, not literally!

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Wildlife biologists are flying over the north woods now, counting moose. Must be fun! Recently, Harry Vanderweide, former editor of The Maine Sportsman and my co-host on the TV talk show Wildfire, and I debated moose. Well, we didn’t actually debate moose, mostly because they can’t talk. We debated moose issues. Here’s how it went.


George: Moose populations are declining rapidly.

Harry: No they are not. That’s ridiculous.

George: Last winter Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife tagged 60 moose and half of them died of ticks, including 80 percent of the calves.

Will Governor LePage keep his promises to Maine sportsmen?

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 On Friday, Governor Paul LePage will present his new two-year budget. And the big question for Maine sportsmen is this: will he keep the promises he made to us more than 4 years ago?

                In his first campaign for governor, LePage promised the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine that he would fund 20 percent of the budget of Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife with General Fund money collected from all taxpayers. That would be a simple recognition that the agency does a lot of work for the general public.

Maine must expand landowner relations programs – and it’s up to you to git-er-done!

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                Representative Ellie Espling (R-New Gloucester) is sponsoring legislation that should be of interest to private landowners and everyone who recreates on private land – and I’m sure that includes you.  An Act to Expand the Landowner Relations Program at Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife will substantially expand the landowner relations program now housed in the Maine Warden Service.

                You will need to be active in this debate, including contacting your own legislators, if this bill is to be enacted.

Got a favorite Maine Sporting Camp? Tell me about it!

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                Down East Books has asked me to write a book about Maine sporting camps, to be published early next year. Our state once boasted more than 300 sporting camps, but now has less than 100, and many of those are not the traditional in-the-woods sporting camps, but new camps on lakes and on the coast.

                Linda and I own a camp at Camp Phoenix on Sourdnahunk Lake north of Millinocket. It was a sporting camp for 100 years. About 20 years ago it was turned into a condominium, where we own the camps individually and the property in common. It’s a magical place, with an abundant supply of wild trout, and on the edge of Baxter Park. Paradise.

Hear the ethics debate that should have happened during the bear referendum – but didn’t

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Thanks to Bob Duchesne and Matt Dunlap, you can now hear the discussion of hunting ethics that, in Bob’s words, “should have happened during the bear referendum – but didn’t.”

Secretary of State Matt Dunlap was the guest on Bob’s Saturday morning radio show recently, specifically to discuss hunting ethics. Matt is a former legislator who chaired the Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Committee, and is also an avid hunter and angler who is often joined in the field by his daughter Emily.

Bob was well known as a Bangor region radio host. When he retired from that job he got elected to the legislature. After four terms there, he got termed out and started his Saturday radio show. He is also the state’s leading birding guide and the author of The Maine Birding Trail, a terrific guide book that Linda and I use in our travels throughout the state. We often leave a copy as a gift at Inns where we’ve stayed.

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