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.

These six House Republicans changed their votes and killed the Land for Maine’s Future Projects

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Many readers asked for the names of the six House Republicans who changed their votes and killed Senator Roger Katz’s bill yesterday that would have allowed the Land for Maine’s Future bonds to be sold without the Governor’s approval. And now I’m going to give you those names.

These House members initially voted for LD 1378, but yesterday, they changed their votes and prevented the legislature from overriding the Governor’s veto of the bill. The vote to override was 91 in favor and 52 opposed, leaving us five votes short of the 2/3 necessary to override the veto. Yes, these six voted for it, before they voted against it. That may (should) be hard to explain.

If one of these legislators represents you, I hope you will ask for an explanation and share it with me. And if you need more information about this very important issue, read my Outdoor News blog posted yesterday.


52 House Republicans Kill the Land for Maine’s Future Program

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Today legislators had to decide which was most important: the will of the people, or the willfulness of the Governor. Twenty five Senators voted with the people, overriding the Governor’s veto of Senator Roger Katz’s bill to allow bonds for the Land for Maine’s Future program to be sold without the Governor’s approval. That was more than enough for the required 2/3 vote to override the Governor’s veto of Roger’s bill.

Sadly, 52 Republicans chose LePage over the Land for Maine’s Future, supporting the Governor’s broken promise rather than the LMF bonds. While 91 Representatives voted to over-ride the veto, those 52 no votes left us about a half dozen votes short of the necessary 2/3, killing the bill and the program. Many LMF supporters, legislators, lobbyists, and private citizens were shocked and dismayed.

It's eat or be eaten - in your backyard!

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 Dozens of snapping turtle eggs litter the roadside in front of our house, dug up and eaten by foxes. A few years ago a neighbor called, hysterical after a Fisher cornered her cat in their basement. An eagle sometimes sits in our pine tree, eyeing the birds in our feeders, eagerly anticipating a meal.

The single Loon chick on our lake disappeared quickly last month, most likely consumed by a snapping turtle. In Florida, I once saw a largemouth bass jump two feet out of the water to grab a songbird sitting on a water plant. Perhaps you know that deer are eaten alive by coyotes.

Yes, it’s eat or be eaten out there. I used to enjoy arguing with Baxter Park manager Buzz Caverly, who liked to talk about “nature at peace.” Believe me, it is not peaceful out there in the animal kingdom!

Shame on Second District Reps for shutting out their constituents from referendum process

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Twelve Democrats and one Independent in the House of Representatives representing districts in Maine’s Second Congressional District have some explaining to do to their constituents. They voted against the Constitutional amendment to require an equal percentage of signatures for citizen initiatives to come from each Congressional District.

The amendment would have been on the ballot this fall, for a decision by all the people of Maine. These fourteen House Democrats essentially said, “We don’t think our constituents need to be part of this process. Go ahead and get all your signatures in southern Maine. The people in our districts don’t need to be involved.” Good luck explaining that!

Unanimous legislature tells governor he’s wrong on landowner relations

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 The Maine legislature has unanimously agreed that Governor Paul LePage is wrong about a proposal to expand the state’s landowner relations program. Unanimous votes in the House and Senate over-rode LePage’s veto of LD 1321, a bill that expands the landowner relations program at the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

The Governor seems to have little regard for the importance of good relations between landowners and land users. His veto message noted that, “The department does not need another legislatively mandated program designed to appease some special interest group to take time and attention away from the department’s core mission.” He could not be more wrong.

Private landowners are certainly not “some special interest group.” Nor are the sportsmen of Maine and others who recreate on private land. Most of us believe landowner relations are a vitally important part of DIF&W’s core mission.

Fighting for Bluebacks and Brookies at Big Reed Pond

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Imagine this: an old log cabin, on the shore of a remote pond full of brook trout, surrounded by old growth forest and conservation lands owned and protected by The Nature Conservancy, and you have it - cabin, pond, woods, hills, and trout- all to yourself.

Well, you don’t need to use your imagination because this place exits at Big Reed Pond (T8 R10). The cabin is owned by Igor and Karen Sikorsky of Bradford Camps and is available to folks who are staying at Bradford on Munsungan Lake. Bradford Camps gives you the experience of an historic sporting camp with plenty of modern conveniences from bathrooms in every cabin to extraordinarily good food. They even provide meals for those staying in their cabin on Big Reed Pond.

Igor flew my friend Gary Corson, who guided here for many years, and me into Big Reed for a day of blissful fishing in early June. We cruised the shoreline, with Gary doing most of the paddling, while I cast to eager brookies. It was constant catching, a day I will never forget.

Forced to Fish Kodiak Island’s Karluk River for Five Extra Days

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                 Kodiac Island, Alaska, is a sportsman’s dream. Years ago, when I got stranded there for five days at the mouth of the Karluk River earlier, some people didn’t believe me. Stranded in Alaska? Right!

                Traveling with Les Priest of Readfield, who organized the trip through a company he owned at that time, Alaska Outdoors Adventures, we enjoyed a five-day adventurous raft trip down the Karluk River with outfitter Fishing Alaska Style, owned by Maine native Jeff Pyska who lived in Alaska.

                Our guide for the week, Augusta, Maine resident Bob Smith, did a superb job of putting us onto lots of King Salman and keeping the river’s huge brown bears out of our tent camps.

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