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.

The Phippsburg Sportsmen’s Association thrives by focusing on kids

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                While many Maine fish and game clubs are struggling, the Phippsburg Sportsmen’s Association is not one of them. The club’s January 2015 newsletter reminded me of just how much I have always appreciated the work, at the local, regional, and state level, of these folks.

                On February 8th, the club hosts its 16th annual Dickie LeMont “Take-A-Kid-Fishing” ice fishing derby. The derby committee meets every Wednesday night, planning this very popular event. “This is our biggest annual event,” reported the newsletter, “and we are getting excited to see what this year’s event will have in store.” Members and local businesses donated to help pay for the pack baskets, traps, services, and gift cards that are given to the kids as prizes.

The Historical Atlas of Maine is ambitious and fascinating

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             The Historical Atlas of Maine is a historic book, oversized and ambitious, covering Maine’s history from the Ice Age to 2000, in 203 pages crammed with maps, photographs, charts, and text.

            It’s so big it’s hard to pick up, but it’s even harder to put down. Editors Stephen Hornsby and Richard Judd spent ten years putting this fascinating book together, with financial assistance from a lengthy list of funding sources including foundations, the Maine legislature, and Ocean Properties. Many writers and historians contributed text, photographs, and art to the book.

A Snowy Owl Story for a Snowy Day

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                 Those staring eyes of a Snowy Owl on the cover will grab lots of readers for Melissa Kim’s new book, A Snowy Owl Story, published by Islandport Press in Yarmouth. The cover illustrations and others in the book were done by the obviously-very-talented Jada Fitch of Portland.

                This is a children’s board book, slated for release later this month, and the first in a series called “Wildlife on the Move.” The series is a partnership between Islandport Press and Maine Audubon.

Remembering the words and wisdom of Bill Clark

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                 Bill Clark described himself as “a country boy with country leanings.” He authored 8 books and wrote a weekly newspaper column for the Gannett newspapers for 30 years on patriotism, farms, forests, rural towns, local characters, and the hills of Maine.

                Bill was conservative. He disdained environmentalists, believing their drive to preserve land worked against logging, hunting, fishing, and other traditional activities. He detested bureaucrats, but used humor, rather than harshness, in his criticisms. And he inspired many of us to write letters to the editor, and more.

                I received a thank you card from Bill once, for a letter to the editor I’d written. “Most persons who enjoy (my column) write to me. Those who condemn write to editors. I appreciate your being the exception,” he said.

Maine Audubon lights up with solar energy

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                 Maine Audubon is leading and showing us the way to sustainable solar power, with help from Revision Energy and Moody’s Collision Centers. At its Gilsland Farm headquarters in Falmouth, Maine Audubon has constructed one of the largest solar panel arrays installed by a conservation organization in the state. The panels will provide roughly 84% of Gilsland Farm’s electricity.

                Revision Energy installed the system and Audubon partnered with Moody’s Collision Centers in a clever collaborative way to finance the solar system. It’s called a Power Purchase Agreement. Moody’s, as the investor, is able to take advantage of federal solar energy tax credits for which the nonprofit Maine Audubon cannot quality.

Bob, Bills, Bears, and Ice Fishing Bans

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If you care about hunting and fishing in Maine, you’ll want to listen to Bob Duchesne’s Wild Maine radio show on 92.9 this weekend. The show airs on Saturday (January 24) at 9 am and Sunday at 8 am.

Bob and I offer insight on the 67 bills going to the Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, speculating on the details based on the list of titles we’ve been provided so far. We also talk about the specifics of the seven bills I have proposed.

There are bills on ice and open water fishing, Sunday hunting, deer, moose, bear, and turkeys, landowner relations, marketing of hunting and fishing, and lots more.

You need to know this stuff!

If you can’t listen on Saturday or Sunday, you’ll be able to access the show a little later online at

Talking turkeys – viruses, harvests, season expansion, and more

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             Already eagerly anticipating the opening of the spring turkey season, two things jumped out at me last week. One was a national story about the tumor-causing virus found in wild turkeys. The other was an expansion of the turkey hunting opportunity into northern Maine.

            Let’s tackle the virus first. The national story reported that the tumor-causing virus was first diagnosed in this country five years ago, in Arkansas, and has now spread far and wide, including into Maine. The virus had, until that time, only been found in Europe and Israel.

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