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.

From a tame fox to ice cutting and extraordinary fishing, Bradford Camps newsletter is entertaining and informative

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The newsletter from Bradford Camps arrived just before another snow storm and was just the ticket to while away another snowy day in Mount Vernon. This is probably the best sporting camp newsletter I’ve ever read.

From a tame fox to the annual ice cutting event, the newsletter is both entertaining and informative. And when I read, “September fishing was the best outlying pond fishing we have ever seen,” I thought, I need to get up there in September!

Owners Igor and Karen Sikorsky have done a great job with this historic and traditional sporting camp on Munsungan Lake. In the newsletter, which you can access here, you’ll read about the 5 Dads and 6 sons who spent time on the shooting range and fishing, the guest who hooked a huge dead lake trout, the extraordinary bear season, and a fall that brought the most grouse hunters they’ve ever had.

It’s all about animals for Mount Vernon’s 4th graders

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 Dahlov Ipcar’s book, Animal Hide & Seek, was a perfect choice for the 25 very active 4th graders at Mount Vernon Elementary School. I’ve been spending an afternoon each month teaching writing to these students and it’s been a lot of fun. The kids are enthusiastic and really enjoying our afternoons together.

So far they’ve written about their favorite old things (I told them this story could not be about their parents!), their favorite animals, their favorite after-school activity, and their favorite places outside of Mount Vernon. In the fall we went into the woods behind the school, took notes, and came back to write about what we saw there. It took quite an effort to get them out of the woods! I have tried to make writing fun for them.

Maine harvests as many deer as New Hampshire and Vermont combined

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Maine harvests about the same amount of deer as New Hampshire and Vermont combined. But those states do a better job of compiling and publishing their harvest information on a timely basis. As we near the end of February, we still don’t know what the deer harvest was last fall.

The delay is blamed on some registration station agents who have not submitted their tagging information yet. There was a time when game wardens picked up the tagging books at the registration stations and delivered them to Augusta, but apparently they don’t do that anymore.

A story about the 2014 deer harvest in New Hampshire and Vermont, published in the Northern Woodlands News, grabbed my attention. Here’s what I read:

Hunting with drones and remote live cameras– never in Maine!

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As New Hampshire debates the use of drones and live-action game cameras for hunting, Maine acted years ago to prohibit them. But there is one use of drones that may be legal here.

I remember clearly the time I saw a news report on the use of live-action game cameras to locate wildlife and kill them with the use of a computer and remote firearm. I think some guy in Texas had set up the camera and gun, and was inviting hunters to log on to his site, for a fee, and shoot a deer or hog. You sat at your computer until the animal you wanted came into view, then you hit a key to fire the gun.

Along with many others, I was appalled. It didn’t take long for us to make that illegal in Maine. Here’s the law, enacted in 2005:

Maine game wardens help nail serial killer in New Brunswick

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You’ll be very proud of the Maine Warden Service when you read Kate Flora’s true crime book, Death Dealer, published last year by New Horizon Press. You’ll also be proud of their dogs.

                Lieutenant Pat Dorian led the group of wardens, along with volunteers from the Maine Search and Rescue Dogs group that traveled to New Brunswick in 2012 and 2013, with their dogs, to search for the body of Maria Tanasichuk. In addition to Dorian, game wardens Roger Guay, Kevin Adam, Deb Palman, and Tom Jacobs searched the forests along the Miramichi River for Maria’s body.

Retired Chief Warden Parker Tripp spills his stories

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Game wardens everywhere have great stories to tell and many choose to tell them in book form.  John Ford’s books are a phenomenon – or perhaps I should say John is a phenomenon.

Now along comes Mainer Parker Tripp, retired Chief Warden, and I have to say, he’s got some wonderful stories to tell. Parker turned for help to Megan Price, an award-winning journalist and author of other books including Vermont Wild - Adventures of Fish & Game Wardens.

Maine Wild, Adventures of Fish and Game Wardens, was written by Price, but it reads as if Parker is sitting in your living room telling you his stories.

Merger of Agriculture, Forestry, Parks, and Lands questioned at legislature

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 “When the battle is over” is one of my favorite hymns. But it doesn’t apply at the Maine legislature. No battle is ever over.

Last session, over the objections of some environmental groups, the legislature merged the Department of Agriculture with the Department of Conservation, creating the Department of Agriculture, Forestry, and Conservation. And while many are unhappy about some aspects of the merger, including some who supported it, few want to re-examine the issue this year.

At least, that’s my prediction, even though two environmental groups made a pitch yesterday to review the merger. LD 39, sponsored by Representative Anthony Edgecomb, would create a task force that could, in the words of Eliza Donoghue of the Natural Resources Council of Maine, “determine whether the merged department has provided, at the same or better level, the protection and management of our natural resources and public lands formerly provided by the Department of Conservation.”

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