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.

Mike Michaud's Promises to Maine Sportsmen

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It’s not all about bears. Yes, Maine voters will decide the fate of bear baiting, hounding, and trapping on November 4, and we all have a stake in that decision. But we’re also electing a new legislature, governor, two members of Congress and one U.S. Senator, and deciding a few important bond issues, including one that is critical to all of us who spend time outside. I will be writing about all of these campaigns and issues between now and November 4, focusing on what is at stake for those of us who hunt, fish, and care about conservation and the environment.

Gubernatorial candidates Mike Michaud and Eliot Cutler have given me their 2014 candidate questionnaires of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine, the only major statewide organization of sportsmen that quizzes the candidates, gives them grades, and usually makes endorsements. So the SAM survey is very important, and the candidates put a lot of thought into their answers.

"A Life Lived Outdoors" is best read outdoors

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 My new book, A Life Lived Outdoors is best read outdoors: on your deer stand, enjoying a cold brew on the patio, sitting in that favorite wicker chair on the porch, waiting for the kids’ or grandkids’ soccer game to start, anywhere, anytime, as long as it is outdoors.

That's where many of us Mainers spend our lives, and that's what my book is all about.

You can purchase the book at my publisher’s website, islandportpress.com or most any bookstore. I've even found them in hardware stores!

In Part One you will read columns about home, camp, and Maine life. "Making Do in Maine" is one of my favorites - written initially for DownEast magazine. You might enjoy the column on yard sales - even if you have never had one (and you probably never will if you read about mine). Battling wildlife in the home has been a popular column at my book reads.

Maine Audubon Opposes Canadian Lynx Trapping Permit

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 Maine Audubon has taken an aggressive position against the federal Incidental Take Permit for lynx requested by Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. In an email alert on September 2, Audubon asked supporters to “Please help lynx from being trapped in Maine!”

Audubon encouraged its supporters to submit written comments to the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service in opposition to the permit request. Today is the last day those comments can be submitted. I believe USF&W has already received lots of comments on this issue, from both sides.

If you want to submit comments today, you can do so here.

I’ve also posted a question for you to answer in the Sportsmen’s Say Survey on my website. You can access that question here.

Road slobs drink Bud Light and smoke Marlboros

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I’d just put someone’s paper plate, tossed out of a vehicle onto my woodlot, into my trash bag, when I noticed an army of ants crawling out of the bag and up my arm. The ants had been finishing up the picnic lunch, I guess.

And that is the moment when I decided to post my woodlot. No trespassing for road slobs!

Yesterday was my second walk up the road to the woodlot to pick up trash. I own 150 acres with almost 2000 feet of road frontage. I’ve filled two big bags with trash so far and have several to go. And I can tell you this: road slobs drink Bud Light and smoke Marlboro cigarettes. They also eat a lot of fast food, which apparently runs out just when they get to my Mount Vernon woodlot.

But the variety of stuff I’ve collected is kind of amazing. Last year I found an empty package of condoms. The wording was in a foreign language but I knew right off what it was. The cover featured a photo of a couple, ahem, well you know.

HSUS blasts bear hunters with $1.2 million in TV ads

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 The Humane Society of the United States has reserved and paid for $1.2 million of TV ads for its referendum campaign to ban bear trapping and bear hunting with bait and hounds. This is nearly twice what HSUS spent on TV ads for its 2004 Maine campaign. And they did this in August!

It appears that HSUS intends to spend the $3 million on its campaign that the group announced earlier this year. There is no way the sportsmen’s campaign to defend bear hunting can match that level of spending. This may be a serious problem. In 2004 the sportsmen’s campaign outspent HSUS on TV and that was a critical factor in the defeat of the HSUS ballot measure.

But that doesn’t mean HSUS will win this campaign. I have been very impressed with the job that James Cote is doing for the sportsmen’s campaign. In 2004 I raised the money for the campaign that successfully defended bear hunting, and my sister Edie managed the campaign. This year James is doing both jobs, a very tough assignment.

Deer Tick News Is All Bad – “Ticked Off” Report should tick you off

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This morning my Kennebec Journal came with a deer tick. I start my day with a cup of coffee and the KJ, seated in a comfortable rocker with a view out the kitchen window to Linda’s beautiful flower gardens. Opening the paper to grab the section that includes the weekly travel column that Linda and I write, I spotted a tick on the edge of the paper. Ticks are everywhere these days! Perhaps the tick was just reading our column.

On August 19 I spoke at a press conference in the Baxter Woods conservation area in Portland on the National Wildlife Federation’s “Ticked Off” report. The conference was sponsored by the Natural Resources Council of Maine. You may have seen a news report in the newspapers, heard it on Maine Public Radio, or seen it on the TV news. The press conference got a lot of attention. If you missed the story, Jackie Farwell of the Bangor Daily News wrote an excellent account that is available on the BDN website.

Maine News Media Tells the Truth About Bear Hunting

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As we head into the last two months of what promises to be an expensive, bitter, ugly fall campaign over bear hunting and trapping, the issues are already getting lots of media attention.

Both Aislinn Sarnaki and John Holyoke of the Bangor Daily News have written recently about bear hunting, Sarnaki offered an excellent run down on current bear hunting practices, and Holyoke just wrote a preview of the hunting season that began yesterday (August 25).

Duchesne Radio Show

I’ve been very encouraged by recent news coverage of the bear situation in states that banned hunting with hounds and bait. Bob Duchesne, on his Saturday morning radio show on Bangor’s sports station, 92.9, is presenting on his radio show – over three Saturdays  – interviews with wildlife biologists in Washington, Oregon, and Colorado. The interviews are enlightening, interesting, and very important.

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