George's Outdoor News
The Pine Tree Camp on North Pond in Rome hosted a fantastic SWOAM/Maine Tree Farm Forestry Field Day on September 10, and I was very glad I decided to attend. I thought I knew a lot about what’s going on in our forests, including the programs and projects currently underway, but boy, did I learn a lot at this great event, the 62nd annual forestry field day.
Special thanks to the Small Woodland Owners Association of Maine for alerting me to this event. As the owner of a 150 acre woodlot and a SWOAM member, I find their work and services to be very valuable.
I first met Rob Welch at the annual meeting of the Maine Woods Consortium, a group that works to improve the rural Maine economy. We hit it off immediately, because Rob is an avid angler in one of my favorite regions, Rangeley, where I’ve spent a lot of time fishing over the years.
So Linda and I scheduled a travel column visit to the Pleasant Street Inn B&B owned by Rob and his wife Jan. The 5 room B&B is wonderful, as is the hospitality. Rob’s a retired school principal and Jan teaches fourth grade math at the Rangeley school.
Grouse hunters may be frustrated this year, depending on where they hunt, but predictions for an increase in woodcock are exciting, and of course, turkey populations have exploded.
Kelsey Sullivan wrote an interesting and informative article about DIF&W’s grouse research, for the North Maine Woods magazine, and I’ll include that article at the end of this column.
I asked DIF&W’s Brad Allen for predictions for grouse hunters this fall, and here’s what Brad told me.
“My thoughts are that grouse hunting and success will be mixed or spotty this fall but at least average statewide…..here’s why….if turkey production is an indication of successful grouse hatch we should be in great shape….I predicted an excellent turkey hatch given the drought we experienced in May!
You’ll have a hard time moving beyond the astonishing antlers of an Irish elk, an animal that has been extinct for 11,000 years. The huge antlers were found in a peat bog in Ireland and hung for 180 years in a huge old castle, even being featured in The Hobbitt. They were recently donated to the Maine State Museum by Bruce Bent.
Apparently the elk’s antlers were huge in order to impress the ladies. Well, they impressed me too!
As Drs. David and Paula Work took me through the museum’s fabulous collection of taxidermy, I was delighted to learn that some of the best items were donated by Drs. Bob Shelton and Paul Wade, old friends of mine.
Linda doesn’t let me anywhere near the kitchen to cook, unless it’s time to grill some wild game meat, so I’m looking forward to attending one of the wild game cooking workshops that Maine’s community colleges are offering in partnership with the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.
And you can be sure I’ll carry with me a couple of Kate Krukowski Gooding’s wild game cookbooks, as a reference. I love reading Kate’s books, but I’ve yet to master anything but grilling, so this should be interesting!
Your opinions are the subject of the new edition of Wildfire, the TV talk show that I host with James Cote. While James and I discussed a lot of issues, including problems and opportunities at DIF&W’s fish hatcheries, and what the legislature achieved and didn’t achieve, we also spent a good deal of the time going through the results of our Sportsmen Say Survey questions.
And at the end of the show, we posed a new question for you to answer: Would you support a $3 million bond issue to fix problems and improve the state’s Casco and Grand Lake Stream hatcheries? You can access the question in the Sportsmen Say Survey section of this website.
Each edition of Wildlife is aired on Time Warner cable station 9 on Tuesdays at 7 pm, Thursdays at 6:30 pm, and Sundays at 9:30 am. Each edition airs for two weeks. You can also access the show, including previous shows, online at www.vstv.me.
Here’s some background information on the hatchery issue.