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.

Defending our hunting, fishing, and trapping heritage

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          Hunting, fishing, and trapping are key parts of Maine’s outdoor economy and an important part of our heritage. So it troubles me greatly when I hear or read ugly statements about these outdoor activities.

          In a column published here in August, Karen Coker of a new anti-hunting and anti-trapping group, WildWatch Maine, sharply criticized beaver trapping, claiming “Mainers are becoming increasingly intolerant of the brutal methods used to trap these charismatic animals.”

Hunting in Europe is amazingly different and challenging

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 Si Balch has traveled throughout Europe, mostly for forestry purposes, but he always comes home with amazing stories about hunting in these countries.

A while back I posted Si’s story about hunting in Italy. I also wrote a column about wild boar hunting in Italy, something I witnessed last fall when Linda and I were there.

Today, I’m going to share with you Si’s story about hunting in Germany and France. Here it is.

European Traditions Contrast with Maine

Audubon speech covers everything from moose to our outdoor heritage

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 In a recent speech at a Maine Audubon fundraiser, I talked about my hunting/fishing heritage, my career as an advocate for that heritage, and about my work at the legislature. I also spoke about some of the challenges we face, including saving our moose herd.

I want to share that speech with you today. Here it is.

Audubon Speech

When I took on the job of reviving the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine, which had fallen on hard times, in 1991, the first person who reached out to me at the legislature was Beth Ahearn, the longtime lobbyist for Maine Audubon. Many of you probably know that Beth is now the lobbyist for the Maine Conservation Voters.

You’ll enjoy these 60 years of bird hunting stories

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 I love it when people write their hunting and fishing stories, and not just because North Country Press published A Lifetime of Hunting and Fishing, my own book of hunting and fishing stories this year.

Often, as people tell me their stories, I’ll encourage them to write those stories. And many will say, “Oh, I can’t write.” To which I respond, “Of course you can. You just told me a wonderful story. Write it down!”

I am so pleased that Brad Varney has done just that, in his new book Maine-ly Bird Hunting. Brad’s 60 years of bird hunting adventures give us some awesome stories.

I’ve known Brad a long time, and benefitted from his shooting lessons at Varney’s Clay Sports in Richmond. He is a superb teacher, and took me from a pathetic wing shooter to a pretty good one.

If you are worried about Lyme disease, you must read this article

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Susan Shea has published a very informative and important article about deer ticks and Lyme disease in the latest Northern Woodlands newsletter.

I sure didn’t know that female ticks lay up to 3,000 eggs! Yikes!

Shea is a naturalist, conservationist, and freelance writer who lives in Brookfield, Vermont.

Culverts Matter – To Brook Trout – but the money has run out

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 A new $400,000 culvert has been installed on the Hampshire Road in Brownfield. Sebago Chapter of Trout Unlimited worked with the town to obtain a $95K grant from the Maine Water Bond Program and a $100K grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s New England Forests and Rivers Fund. Sebago TU also supplied an additional $10K grant to help pay to remove a small upstream remnant dam.

Frank Day, Public Works Director of the Town of Brownfield, offered: "The Town of Brownfield sees the grant money as a real blessing. This let us both replace the culvert and restore the stream for the fish and wildlife. Without it, we would have been eventually forced to close the road or go with a quick fix that did nothing to resolve the problems the old culvert created. We are grateful to TU, NFWF and the State for making the project possible."

Maine guide still finding plastic inside his fish

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 Last year Chris Leo of Mercer, a Maine guide for 34 years, sent me a plastic worm he found inside a large brook trout he’d caught in a water holding both trout and bass. It reminded me of photos an angler submitted to the legislature’s Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Committee a few years ago, of the bottom of a lake covered in fishing lures. That helped get a new law enacted banning the sale and use of lead sinkers.

A few weeks ago, Leo sent me another piece of plastic (seen in the photo with this column) with this note: “Last Sunday I caught a splake from Jamie’s Pond with another plastic inside it.  It is VERY scented. The artificial was doubled up in the emaciated fish’s innards.

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