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.

Two million cats to be shot and poisoned

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I was researching the feral cat issue in Maine when a story appeared in the Washington Post announcing that the Australian government plans to kill up to 2 million feral cats by 2020, in a last desperate attempt to save dozens of native species that face extinction because these cats are killing them.

Throughout Australia, feral cats will be baited, shot, and poisoned in a program funded by the government which claims the killings will be carried out in as “humane and effective” a manner as possible. Since being introduced by Australia’s first white settlers, feral cats have grown in both number and size.

Perhaps this will be a wakeup call for Maine. Earlier this month, I read a news story on a central Maine animal shelter that noted the shelter caught feral cats, neutered them, and then “returned them to the wild.” The report said the program “has been successful.” Indeed. I wonder by whose standard that success is managed? Certainly not by our song birds!

Holbrook’s Lobster Wharf & Grill in Harpswell

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 If the stunning ocean-front location doesn’t draw you to Holbrook’s in Cundy’s Harbor, the food certainly will!


                My sister Edie and her son Ezra joined us for a terrific sea-side lunch here, allowing us to sample lots of different items on the extensive menu. Edie lives right across the street from Holbrook’s and eats here often. Now I know why!

Maine Hunting license fees going up – for a good cause

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                All hunting licenses issued by Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife will be increased by $1 in 2016 – and before you start complaining, consider how the money will be spent.

                This was a bill proposed by the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine, an unprecedented bill for the organization, as SAM’s Executive Director Dave Trahan testified at the public hearing, “This bill is a first for SAM in that we are asking for a fee increase.” Calling the bill, “one of the most important of the session,” Dave said, “It solves many chronic funding issues at the Department and reinforces DIF&W’s role in referendums.”

Upta Camp

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I wrote this for Down East magazine in 2002, and included it in my book, A Life Lived Outdoors, published last year by Islandport Press. Hope you enjoy it! 

               Every Mainer has a camp. It may be a place we own. It may be a place our friends own. It may be a place we rent every summer. It may even be a campground and simple tent. But it’s ours, even if only for a week or two each year.

Camp is a Maine tradition – anchored in our imaginations of the North Woods, yet often nearby on a lake or pond, the better to access it on hot summer days. I know one couple whose camp is 100 yards behind their house on a man-made pond.

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!

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