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.

“Just One More Thing, Doc” by Bradford B. Brown, DVM

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After reading Brad Brown’s first book, While You’re Here, Doc, I couldn’t wait to dive into his second, Just One More Thing, Doc.

And sure enough, just like his first book, once I began reading, I couldn’t stop, racing through the non-stop astonishing stories of Brown’s career as a veterinarian, focused on farm animals.

In his first book, Brown was trampled, dragged, mauled, and more by farm animals, especially horses. And the beatings continue in book two.

What were Maine sportsmen and women doing in 2007? A lot!

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 I’ve been going through my collection of issues of the SAM News, and was delighted to find the very first issue published in January, 1976, the year before I joined SAM. I left a collection in the SAM office when I ended my service as executive director, but also kept a collection for myself.

Believing it is always helpful to look back, especially given the challenges we face today, here’s what I learned from the SAM News published in the fall of 2007.

Time to make wild game dinners legal – and taking crops without permission on private land illegal

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While the Warden Service looks the other way and often participates in them, it is illegal in Maine to charge people for a wild game dinner. Sportsmen’s clubs, Unity College, and even some churches serve wild game dinners and charge for them, but generally report that they charge for the “social hour” before dinner and then provide the dinner for free.

I hate it when we have to do things like this to enjoy something that should be ok. So I’ve proposed legislation this session to make these dinners legal. Senator Tom Saviello will sponsor the bill.

Senator Saviello is also sponsoring my bill to require landowner permission to pick crops on private land, such as mushrooms and fiddleheads. This bill will go to the Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry Committee. That committee worked on similar legislation last year, focused on those who pick crops commercially on private land without permission, but failed to support that proposal.

New deer plan sure to be controversial

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 Working for 18 years for the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine, I learned how difficult it is to bring us all together and keep  us there. We often have very diverse and different opinions. And when  you mix us in with the public, it gets even more difficult. So it’s going to be interesting to see what kind of support – and participation – DIF&W gets as it creates new big game management plans.

The current draft of the deer plan includes some very interesting – and sure to be controversial – goals, objectives, and strategies. Today we’ll take a look at some of these.

Goal: Maintain the deer population below biological carrying capacity while providing hunting and viewing opportunity.

We’ll talk turkeys at the legislature this session

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In 2014, the legislature enacted my proposal to reduce the turkey permit fee and expand the seasons and bag limits. In the 2017 legislative session, I’ll be back for more.        

The final bill in 2014 reduced the turkey hunting permit to $20 for both residents and nonresidents, with no additional fee for a second Tom in the spring, expanded the fall season to the entire month of October and added a second turkey of either sex to the fall bag limit, reduced the tagging fee from $5 to $2 for each turkey (with all of the fee going to the tagging agent), extended the spring season to all-day (1/2 hour before sunrise to ½ hour after sunset), and authorized all-day hunting for Youth Day.

Maine’s Favorite Birds by Jeffrey and Allison Wells

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 Do you know Maine’s favorite birds? Jeffrey and Allison Wells do! And they’ve shared that information in a book, Maine’s Favorite Birds, published by Tilbury House.

Linda and I became avid birders twelve years ago, and have found that it adds so much to our travel visits, as well as our time in the wilds of Maine (and even on our front lawn!). While I try not to obsess over it, I do keep a list of the birds we’ve seen, which now totals 504.

Controversies and conflicts ahead for new big game management plans

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 The December 9th meeting of DIF&W’s Big Game Management Steering Committee was interesting, enlightening, and concerning. We’ll get to all of that in a minute.

First, let me say that we are fortunate to have an exceptional staff in the agency’s Wildlife Division, led by Judy Camuso.  As the staff presented the preliminary goals, objectives, and strategies for deer, moose, bear, and turkeys, I marveled at their professionalism, knowledge, and friendly approach to any and all questions and challenges.

The members of the Steering Committee are also an excellent group, representing key organizations throughout the state, from the Farm Bureau to the Sporting Camp Association. And of course, SAM and the MPGA are at the table.

Over the next couple of weeks, I’ll tell you about each plan and what I learned at the meeting. Today we’ll offer some general information.

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