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.

Never on Sunday for Maine Hunters

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Question: What is allowed in 46 other states, but never in Maine?


Answer: Hunting on Sunday.


Will the professionals or the people manage Maine’s wildlife?

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It’s a great question. Is it best to leave wildlife management up to the professionals at Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, or continue to let the people have a say through ballot initiatives? Despite a focus on the 2014 bear referendum, and the recent promise from the Humane Society of the United States to launch a new ballot measure that would ban bear trapping and hunting bear with hounds, the issue of prohibiting those ballot measures is not as simple as you might think.

And if you are anticipating a great ballot battle this year over these issues, you are going to be disappointed. Both sportsmen and HSUS are aiming their respective proposals at the 2016 general election ballot. In fact, sportsmen advocating for the Constitutional amendment have already asked the Veterans and Legal Affairs Committee to postpone action on their proposal until next year.

James Cote delivers exceptional testimony on Constitutional amendments

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 Testimony of James Cote on behalf of the Maine Trappers Association

in Support of a Constitutional Amendment to

Protect Scientific Wildlife Management in Maine


April 6, 2015


Gobbling up a turkey bill at the Maine Legislature

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Winning support for a bill at the Maine legislature is a lot like turkey hunting. You’ve got to call them in, convince them you are not dangerous, and get them while they are in close range. We did that with our turkey bill last week, although we didn’t get the biggest gobbler. More like a Jake.

LD 781, An Act to Eliminate Permits for Turkey Hunting and Expand Turkey Hunting, was sponsored by Senator Tom Saviello at my request. This bill was designed to increase the number of turkey hunters by eliminating turkey permits and fees, adding turkeys to the big and small game licenses, and allowing us to register turkeys by phone or on the department’s website. I did toss in one new idea: to require deer registration stations to also register turkeys. Many of them don’t, requiring turkey hunters to drive long distances to register their birds.

These paintings by a young Maine artist will amaze you!

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 This is the first in a series on Maine outdoor artists, authors, and craftsmen. We are blessed with amazing talent here in our state.


                Wandering around the very interesting Fly Fishing Expo in Bethel on a Saturday morning a few weeks ago, I was amazed by huge paintings of fish. I spent a lot of time visiting with the young artist, Alex Poland of Oxford.

                Alex is a fourth generation artist who was inspired by the art of his great grandmother and encouraged by his mother to develop what he calls his “visual fascination.” He remembers his mother “covering an entire wall in my room with paper so I could draw and color a sea wall mural!”

Tourists aren't always welcomed to Maine.

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                 Western Maine, from Bethel to Greenville, has always drawn tourists with a good range of lodging, restaurants, and outdoor activities from hunting and fishing to skiing and snowmobiling. But from the get-go, we Mainers have had a love-hate relationship with people from away, whether they were here for the summer or just a week of hunting.

                 Leon Leonwood Bean offered the following advice for nonresident hunters in his book, Hunting-Fishing-Camping, republished in 2012 by Down East Books for Bean’s 100th anniversary. “When on your hunting trips do not try to belittle the back woods folk even though you are a college man and your home is in a big city,” wrote Bean.

It was a batty day at the State Capitol

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Bats and bugs took over the second floor of the Cross Building at the State Capitol today. In one room, the Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Committee tackled a bill to list the Northern long-eared bat and other species as endangered or threatened, while in another room, the Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry Committee debated responses to the expected infestation of the Spruce budworm in the northern forest. Both issues proved to be contentious.

Today we’ll take a look at the bat bill. Tomorrow I’ll post a report on the budworm issues.


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