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.

Deer Wintering Areas – Going, Going, Gone

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                A new plan for dealing with an expected devastating outbreak of the Spruce Budworm insect gives deer hunters little to cheer about. The state’s effort to rebuild the deer herd in the north woods appears doomed.

                This is my second outdoor news report on a new risk assessment and plan, published on November 9, 2014, to deal with the expected arrival in Maine of the Spruce Budworm. The plan was created by a Spruce Budworm Task Force led by Robert Wagner, Director of the University of Maine’s Cooperative Forestry Unit, Patrick Strauch, Executive Director of the Maine Forest Products Council, and Doug Denico, Director of the Maine Forest Service.

Maine trappers get caught by Canada Lynx

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                 Two down, one to go. Barely three months after the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issued an incidental take permit (ITP) for Canada Lynx to Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, two of the three Lynx Maine trappers were allowed to kill in the next 15 years are already dead.

                And so is the ITP. Or at least, DIF&W has had to implement substantial new limits on trapping in the huge area governed by the federal permit. And one more dead lynx could result in the ITP being revoked.

ITP

Spruce Budworm threatens deer yards and other fish and wildlife habitat

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            A new risk assessment and plan for dealing with the expected arrival in Maine of the very damaging Spruce Budworm is sobering for all who love Maine’s fish and wildlife, especially for those of us who had hoped that the deer herd in the north woods might be rebuilt. Wild trout advocates should also be concerned.

            This column is the first of two that examines the report, recommendations, and plan. Today we’ll provide an overview and give you access to the entire 90 page report. Tomorrow I’ll report on the details of the plan’s assessment and plan for deer wintering areas.

Senator Saviello Tackles Turkeys - Again

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               We’re coming back for what we didn’t get last time, hoping for gobbling good success. Actually, the turkey bill I proposed and Senator Tom Saviello sponsored last session was remarkably successful. But there were a couple of key things we didn’t get, and we’ll be back for them this session.

                An Act to Simplify Turkey Hunting, sponsored by Senator Tom Saviello, would:

1)     

Authorize tagging of turkeys on the website of Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife or via telephone to the agency. – This was in last session’s bill.

It’s time for a comprehensive hunting license

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 It’s time for a comprehensive hunting license

This is the third in a series of columns about bills I have proposed for the 2015 legislative session.

                It’s titled An Act to Establish a Comprehensive Hunting License and is sponsored by Representative Mike Shaw of Standish.

                The bill would create a single comprehensive hunting license covering all hunting opportunities, and repeal all other hunting licenses and permits. This license will not include lottery applications or fishing licenses, except that a combination hunting and fishing license can be offered. Residents would pay $38 and nonresidents $144 for the comprehensive hunting license. A hunter safety course would also still be required to purchase this license.

The Theriaults have published the best snowshoe book ever!

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 Want to make your own snowshoes? Need to take better care of your snowshoes? Want to know more about snowshoes?

                Leaving Tracks – A Maine Tradition, by Brian Theriault and his Dad Edmond, will answer all your questions and lots of others you haven’t thought to ask.

                Part biography (Brian grew up in Fort Kent), part pep talk about the value of traditional snowshoes, and part instructional with detailed drawings explaining how to make your own snowshoes, this book will entertain and inform you, and maybe even inspire you to make a pair.

It’s time to simplify Maine’s hunting and fishing laws and rules

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 This is the second in a series of columns about the bills I have proposed for the 2015 legislative session.

                An Act to Simplify Hunting and Fishing Laws and Rules will be sponsored by Representative Matthew Pouliot of Augusta, a great young legislator and avid sportsman.

                Hunters and anglers (especially anglers) often complain about the complexity of the laws and rules governing our favorite sports. During my 18 years as Executive Director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine, I organized several Pickering Commissions that created lots of recommendations to simplify and clarify these laws and rules, and to get rid of those we didn’t need.

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