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.

A dangerous life-changing voyage through the Northwest Passage

Blog Showcase Image: 

  

            It seemed like a foolhardy, dangerous, ill-considered journey. Sprague Theobald risked it all, including the lives of his children, attempting to boat through the Northwest Passage.

            Lots of things went wrong on his 57-foot yacht, but the most annoying was the conflicts between Theobald, his children, and the rest of his crew. A lot of this story recounts these conflicts, sometimes in more detail than I cared to know. But in the end, the personal conflicts and crises were the story.

What I didn’t know about ticks and Lyme disease might kill you

Blog Showcase Image: 

My attempt to alert you to the dangers of ticks and Lyme disease apparently fell far short of the mark. I am thankful to all who added information, in posts and emails. The earlier column, titled “Your best defense against Lyme disease is a plastic spoon,” certainly drew a lot of interest, with more than 31,000 readers putting me at the top of the Bangor Daily News bloggers list that week.

A couple of things happened to me personally after that column was published. First, my daughter Rebekah called to say one of our grandsons had been bitten by a tick. She contacted her pediatrician, who told her not to worry, that they don’t test ticks or treat kids until symptoms of Lyme or other diseases appear. That advice was soooo wrong!

I put Rebekah in touch with Representative Jim Dill, a University professor, legislator, and one of the state’s top experts on insects, and he arranged to have the tick shipped to a Boston lab for testing. No results yet.

Reality show looking for perfect Maine woman

Blog Showcase Image: 

 A video company was at the State of Maine Sportsman’s Show in March, in a back room in the north wing of the Augusta Civic Center, conducting a casting call for a female host for a reality TV show about the outdoors. Here’s what we learned from the advertisement.

She must be “physically attractive,” be a “rugged-type woman,” and have a “big personality and a witty charm.”

She can’t be more than 40, must be “outdoorsy,” be “well spoken” and, oh yea, “sophisticated.”

But she also can’t “mind getting dirt under her fingernails.”

I especially loved this requirement: “She enjoys learning new things from her fellow outdoorsmen and exploring new places.”

One of those new places ought to be with her female outdoorswomen friends, don’t you think? Or perhaps the female reality show host needs to be a fellow and an outdoorsman, too.

Will Mainers ever hunt bears again in the spring? We already can on Tribal lands.

Blog Showcase Image: 

 NOTE: after you read this column, please answer the "Spring Bear Hunting" question in the Sportsmen Say Survey section of this website. Thanks!

The Maine legislature banned spring bear hunting in 1982. It was a decision based on politics, not science.

I am looking at an article on spring bear hunting in the June 2014 Bowhunting World magazine, trumpeting “Travel to true adventure by bowhunting Western black bears this spring.”

The magazine favors spring hunts in Oregon, New Mexico, Alaska, Idaho, Utah, Wyoming, and many Canadian provinces. Baiting is allowed in Alaska, Idaho, Utah, and Wyoming and much of Canada.

Maine’s history

From 1770 to 1957, Maine paid bounties for dead bears and they were considered and treated as pests until 1931, when hunting seasons were introduced. From 1942 to 1965, bears were hunted year-round. Until 1969 we didn’t even monitor the harvest.

Your best defense against Lyme disease is a plastic spoon

Blog Showcase Image: 

 My daughter Rebekah posted a warning on Facebook last week that she’d detected the first of the season ticks on my grandsons. I happened to be writing a piece on ticks that morning when I noticed her post.

You need to take ticks seriously. There are 14 different ticks in Maine. Dog and moose ticks are large. The other 12 are tiny and very similar. The deer tick that carries Lyme disease is now distributed statewide. Seventy percent of the deer ticks in southern Maine have Lyme, while that percentage diminishes as you go north. 

I have a lot of personal experience with ticks embedded in my skin and several friends suffering with Lyme disease. If you need to be scared into action, read my review of the book A Twist of Lyme at www.georgesmithmaine.com. Better yet, read the book.

Sportsmen Leading in Bear Referendum Poll

Blog Showcase Image: 

 Patrick Murphy will deliver some great news tomorrow to the sportsmen of Maine. A survey of Maine voters conducted by Murphy’s company, Pan Atlantic SMS Group of Portland, found that 46.7 percent support a ban on hunting bears with bait and dogs and trapping bears, 48.1 percent oppose the ban, and 5.3 are undecided.

The yes vote was stronger in Maine’s First Congressional District, where 50.3 percent support the ban. In the Second Congressional District, only 43.1 percent support the ban.

This puts sportsmen far ahead of where they were in the 2004 bear referendum at this point in time.

Maine is not a target of the nation’s turkey hunters

Blog Showcase Image: 

Bitten by the turkey bug? Here’s a cross-country tour of five favorite escapes ideal for adventurous longbeard fanatics.

That was the lead on a “Favorite Turkey Hunts” in the April edition of Bowhunting World magazine.

Despite the fact that Maine probably offers the best turkey hunt in the country, we’re on nobody’s radar, a stunning example of how much our lack of marketing and promotion is costing the state’s outdoor industry.

In January of 2012, a Task Force directed by the legislature to study the decline in the number of nonresident hunters coming to Maine, issued its report and recommendations. Among the Task Force’s findings were these:

Numbers of Maine nonresident hunters have dropped from a high in 2002 of 41,538 to 37,925 in 2005 to an all-time low of 27,898 in 2010.

Numbers of alien hunters have dropped from a high in 1995 of 1885 to 232 in 2010.

Site by Fieldstone Media