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.

First Five Sportsmen Say Survey Questions Deliver Interesting Results

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 Since launching the Sportsmen Say Survey on my website a few weeks ago, I’ve been pleased with the response and level of participation. We’re off to a great start!

Survey questions are generally linked with a column I’ve posted about a specific issue, and give you a chance to voice your opinion on those issues. I share the results of the surveys with reporters, bloggers, legislators, state agency staff, and the public.

Participation in the first four surveys ranged from a high of 289 to a low of 41. Here are the results.

Question: Should Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife do more to protect native and wild brook trout, including banning the use of live fish as bait on wild brook trout waters in order to reduce the chance of an introduction of new competing fish species in those waters?

Entertaining insulting astonishing remarks received about exotic animal column

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 “You are an idiot, George,” wrote one. “You are a freaking idiot,” parodied another. “You sir are an idiot,” wrote a third.

OK, we’ve established that I am an idiot.

“Open a book, dickhole,” suggested a woman who thought I needed to be educated. “It's people like you that make this country unlivable,” continued the woman who lives in Ohio.

“This is the most ignorant article that I have ever read,” wrote another. “This guy is a total nutbag,” suggested someone else. I was also called a moron and ignorant and sickening. Comments came from all over the country and throughout Maine.

Rat Snakes, African Knife Fish, and Golden Poison Frogs will remain uncontrolled in Maine

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 Maine won’t get control anytime soon of rat snakes, bearded dragons, African knife fish, Alligator lizards, Spiny-tailed monitors, Golden poison frog, Gargoyle geckos – or lots of other exotic animals that you can currently possess without permits.

And the confusing laws and rules governing the critters you do need permits to possess won’t get any legislative attention either, nor will the agency’s high costs of administering this program. 

While management of exotic animals in Maine is shared by the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry and the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, most of the job rests with DIF&W which receives no public funding for it, so sportsmen are paying all the bills. And now, they will continue to do so.

Sticker shock as milfoil fee increase wins legislative support

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 NOTE: You can make your voice heard on this issue by answering the milfoil sticker question in my Sportsmen Say Survey question on this website. I will alert legislators to your opinion!

Sticker Shock

On Tuesday afternoon the legislature’s Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Committee spent more than an hour questioning state officials about their work on invasive plants and fish. Much of that work is funded by a special fee added years ago to the boat registration, the so-called milfoil sticker fee.

John McPhedran of the Department of Environmental Protection, the very capable leader of that agency’s invasive plant program, and Warden Service Major Chris Currier, along with Bill Swan, Director of Licensing for the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, were peppered with questions from committee members. All three did a good job of explaining their programs, revenue, and expenditures.

Brook trout plan unites legislators, bait dealers, anglers, and fisheries biologists.

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Thanks to all who completed my first Sportsmen’s Say Survey, located on this website. The survey question was:

Should Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife do more to protect native and wild brook trout, including banning the use of live fish as bait on wild brook trout waters in order to reduce the chance of an introduction of new competing fish species in those waters?

Sixty three percent of respondents answered yes while 37 percent said no. It’s not too late to answer this question, if you would like to do that. The question will remain on the website for a while.

Legislature Gets Brook Trout Briefing

The long-running contentious battle over the management of wild brook trout waters may be over. This afternoon, members of the Legislature’s Inland Fisheries and Wildlife were briefed on a comprehensive new policy and plan – and they loved it.

Mysterious beast gets caught in Maine wildfire

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 Can you identify the mysterious beast above? He recently got caught in a wildfire.

Wildfire’s cohosts, Harry Vanderweide and George Smith, wrestled the beast into the guest chair and grilled him.

Judging the beast well-done, they turned their attention to Aislinn Sarnacki, whose outdoor columns in the Bangor Daily News are very popular. George and Harry acted out with Aislinn – ok, Acting Out is the name of her newspaper column.

They did not sign up for Aislinn’s “One Minute Hikes,” having figured out that the hikes were a lot longer than that!

Wildfire is produced by Maine Audubon and aired on Time Warner’s cable TV station (usually channel 9). It can be seen:

Wednesday at 7 pm

Friday at 7:30 m

Resident adult hunters will get fewer any-deer permits this year

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 NOTE: take the Sportsmen Say Survey questions about this issue, by clicking on the survey's link on this website, after you read this column! I will let the legislature know your opinions.

Many resident adult hunters who got 2013 any-deer permits won’t have one this year. A remarkable change in the deer lottery enacted last year by the Maine legislature allocated 25 percent of the any-deer permits to junior hunters, beginning with the 2014 lottery.

Twenty five percent of the any-deer permits currently go to landowners, 15 percent to nonresidents, and 2.5 percent to Superpack licensees. With the new requirement that 25 percent go to junior hunters, only a third of the permits will be available for resident adult hunters.

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