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.

Can hunting and fishing rebuild Greenville’s economy?

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The greater Greenville economy has launched a new branding initiative to float its sinking economy. And I was there for the birth.  

Roger Brooks, an internationally-known community branding expert, presented the Moosehead Lake Region Branding Initiative in an exciting speech to a packed auditorium at the Greenville Consolidated School on Friday. I am certain that every one of us left that auditorium excited about what we’d heard and committed to making this happen.

But there were some disappointments, at least for me. For a community that was a major destination for hunters and anglers in the past, neither seems to be part of the new plan. While the community gets to work creating and implementing an Action Plan and To Do list, it is heartbreaking for this lifelong sportsmen to realize that my favorite outdoor activities are no longer considered growth industries.

Hunting and Fishing

Maine conservation and education projects sustained by Poland Spring

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 A lot of important conservation work is funded by Maine’s business community. Today I’ll tell you about one company’s conservation work: Poland Spring Water, owned by Nestle Waters. Poland Spring was a strong supporter of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine during my tenure there, and has continued to support my writing as a sponsor of my website and outdoor news blog.

I’ve enjoyed working with Poland Spring’s Maine staff over the years, including the work we did to transfer use of a hatchery near Kingfield that was purchased by Poland Spring to Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. Poland Spring also paid the memberships of any employee that wanted to be a SAM member – and that turned out to be 58 workers!

Worried about Lyme disease? It’s time to speak up!

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Lots of Mainers are very worried about Lyme disease. And it’s my hope that some of them will show up next Thursday, April 16, at 1 pm, at a legislative hearing by the Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry Committee in Room 214 of the Cross Office Building (next to the Capitol), to support and testify in favor of a very important bill.

Sponsored by Representative Russell Black of Wilton, LD 1099 has a long title: An Act to Establish a Fund for the Operations and Outreach Activities of the University of Maine Cooperative Extension Animal and Plant Disease and Insect Control Laboratory. But the concept is really simple.

Never on Sunday for Maine Hunters

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Question: What is allowed in 46 other states, but never in Maine?


Answer: Hunting on Sunday.


Will the professionals or the people manage Maine’s wildlife?

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It’s a great question. Is it best to leave wildlife management up to the professionals at Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, or continue to let the people have a say through ballot initiatives? Despite a focus on the 2014 bear referendum, and the recent promise from the Humane Society of the United States to launch a new ballot measure that would ban bear trapping and hunting bear with hounds, the issue of prohibiting those ballot measures is not as simple as you might think.

And if you are anticipating a great ballot battle this year over these issues, you are going to be disappointed. Both sportsmen and HSUS are aiming their respective proposals at the 2016 general election ballot. In fact, sportsmen advocating for the Constitutional amendment have already asked the Veterans and Legal Affairs Committee to postpone action on their proposal until next year.

James Cote delivers exceptional testimony on Constitutional amendments

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 Testimony of James Cote on behalf of the Maine Trappers Association

in Support of a Constitutional Amendment to

Protect Scientific Wildlife Management in Maine


April 6, 2015


Gobbling up a turkey bill at the Maine Legislature

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Winning support for a bill at the Maine legislature is a lot like turkey hunting. You’ve got to call them in, convince them you are not dangerous, and get them while they are in close range. We did that with our turkey bill last week, although we didn’t get the biggest gobbler. More like a Jake.

LD 781, An Act to Eliminate Permits for Turkey Hunting and Expand Turkey Hunting, was sponsored by Senator Tom Saviello at my request. This bill was designed to increase the number of turkey hunters by eliminating turkey permits and fees, adding turkeys to the big and small game licenses, and allowing us to register turkeys by phone or on the department’s website. I did toss in one new idea: to require deer registration stations to also register turkeys. Many of them don’t, requiring turkey hunters to drive long distances to register their birds.

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