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.

Wolves in Maine bring murder and mayhem

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 When wolves show up in Maine’s north woods, landowners and others launch a major, but secretive, effort to kill them.

And that’s just part of the complex plot in Sandra Neily’s novel, Deadly Trespass.   I first got to know Sandy many years ago when she worked for one of our state’s major environmental groups. She’s had a lifelong passion for conservation, environmental protection, and our native wildlife.

That passion – and her strong views about everything from clearcuts to devious politicians – comes through loud and clear in this novel. In fact, I often saw Sandy in the main character Cassandra, who early in the novel finds her best friend Shannon crushed under a tree.

Sandy has a real talent for developing her characters, and the dialogue keeps the story moving in a very entertaining way.

Good news! Fewer moose mean fewer car collisions

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 While many of us are sad and frustrated by the terrible toll that ticks are taking on Maine’s moose, there is one good side effect: fewer moose-motor vehicle collisions.

A Portland Press Herald news story by Deirdre Fleming recently reported that collisions with moose are down 55 percent in the last 10 years. And that led DIF&W this year to eliminate moose hunting permits in three coastal WMDs, where the agency was allowing some hunting to be done to reduce motor vehicle collisions. In Waldo, Lincoln, and Knox counties moose-vehicle collisions went from 16 in 2007 to just one last year.

Deirdre reported that moose-vehicle collisions dropped from 646 in 2007 to 289 last year, and fatalities went from 5 in 2007 to no more than one in each of the past four years.

I can remember fishing in the Rangeley region in the spring, when driving home I’d see as many as 40 moose alongside the road. These days the sighting of one moose is a cause for celebration.

Fabulous Father's Day Fishing Adventure

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When son Josh suggested a Father’s Day weekend fishing adventure, I was ecstatic. Josh lives in Massachusetts and doesn’t get much time off, so he doesn’t get much chance to fish – especially with his Dad.

Our north woods camp was too distant for a weekend trip to Maine, so I suggested the Rangeley region. Josh dipped into my book, Maine Sporting Camps, published last year by Down East Books, and chose Bald Mountain Camps in Oquossic, a very good choice.

Nelson Family Offers Great Sources of Lyme Disease Information

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 A Maine family, the Nelsons of Bath, have been impacted by Lyme disease and multiple co-infections, and have become strong advocates for themselves and others. They spent a lot of time searching for resources with up-to-date information.

Daughter Elizabeth researched, vetted, and compiled a lengthy list of websites, books, and educational opportunities that the family has made available to all of us. I obtained a bunch of their two-sided cards with lists of recommended and reliable sources of information, and put them in our local library for patrons to take home.

Deer feeding ban extended from June 1 to December 15.

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 The legislature extended the ban on deer feeding, while rejecting a bill to allow hunters to bait deer. And don’t worry, the deer won’t starve because of these actions.

 

LD 767, sponsored by Representative Lance Harvell of Farmington, extended the prohibition on deer feeding. The bill was enacted and signed into law by the governor.  

 

Hooray for arctic char restoration!

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The restoration of Arctic charr in Big Reed Pond is a very big story. After years of waiting to find out if the restoration worked, I feared failure. But on Saturday, DIF&W issued a press release announcing that their fisheries biologists have finally determined that the charr are naturally reproducing in the pond. Hooray!

Charr are now found in only 14 Maine waters and are challenged in many of those. And the Big Reed project was expensive, although the cost of the project was not included in the press release. I have asked for that information.

Amazing tales of a winter’s trapping north of Rangeley

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I owe Bill Pierce a big thank you. While visiting with Bill at the Outdoor Sporting Heritage Museum in Oquossic, he recommended a book that turned out to be fascinating.

It’s a detailed report on a winter wilderness adventure by Fred Barker, who spent the winter with a friend, J.S. Danforth, hunting and trapping in the region northwest of Rangeley, in 1882-83.

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