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.

It’s time for a comprehensive hunting license

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 It’s time for a comprehensive hunting license

This is the third in a series of columns about bills I have proposed for the 2015 legislative session.

                It’s titled An Act to Establish a Comprehensive Hunting License and is sponsored by Representative Mike Shaw of Standish.

                The bill would create a single comprehensive hunting license covering all hunting opportunities, and repeal all other hunting licenses and permits. This license will not include lottery applications or fishing licenses, except that a combination hunting and fishing license can be offered. Residents would pay $38 and nonresidents $144 for the comprehensive hunting license. A hunter safety course would also still be required to purchase this license.

The Theriaults have published the best snowshoe book ever!

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 Want to make your own snowshoes? Need to take better care of your snowshoes? Want to know more about snowshoes?

                Leaving Tracks – A Maine Tradition, by Brian Theriault and his Dad Edmond, will answer all your questions and lots of others you haven’t thought to ask.

                Part biography (Brian grew up in Fort Kent), part pep talk about the value of traditional snowshoes, and part instructional with detailed drawings explaining how to make your own snowshoes, this book will entertain and inform you, and maybe even inspire you to make a pair.

It’s time to simplify Maine’s hunting and fishing laws and rules

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 This is the second in a series of columns about the bills I have proposed for the 2015 legislative session.

                An Act to Simplify Hunting and Fishing Laws and Rules will be sponsored by Representative Matthew Pouliot of Augusta, a great young legislator and avid sportsman.

                Hunters and anglers (especially anglers) often complain about the complexity of the laws and rules governing our favorite sports. During my 18 years as Executive Director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine, I organized several Pickering Commissions that created lots of recommendations to simplify and clarify these laws and rules, and to get rid of those we didn’t need.

Buying a muzzleloading permit isn’t easy!

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 Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife doesn’t make it easy to enjoy the muzzleloading deer season which starts today. This opportunity is not included in the big game hunting license, so yesterday morning, I endured the lengthy process of purchasing my permit online.

On the first page of DIFW’s website, after I selected Hunting and Fishing Licenses, I got a long page with a list of licenses, permits and fees. I selected “Muzzleloading 16 years and older $13” and got another long page that included a one sentence explanation of who is required to buy the permit. And I noticed, at the very bottom of the page, a note that said that said, “Exceptions – see muzzleloading permit.” I clicked on that, and got… nothing. The same page kept coming up.

Not getting a chance to buy the permit, I started over, returning to the first page and trying the more general selection of hunting and fishing licenses. Hooray! That got me started.

Battle rages over Rangeley fishing between bait and fly fishermen

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                Here’s another fascinating lesson from the past, as related by Richard Judd in his book Common Lands, Common People, published by Harvard University Press in 1997. This one is about a debate over inland fishing.

                Typical was a dispute over Maine’s Rangeley Lakes. For generations local inhabitants had come down to the shores during the late summer to take fish, which provided an important food supplement during the busy harvest season. When branch railroads reached the lakes in the 1880s, city anglers began crowding these locals at the good fishing spots.

Fights over fish and game are not new!

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Common Lands, Common People, by Richard W. Judd, is a fascinating account of the origins of conservation in Northern New England. Published by Harvard University Press in 1997, Judd’s book has been an important reference for me for the last 15 years.

There are all kinds of lessons for us in this book, on contemporary issues from commercial fishing to tourism, and of course many impacting hunting and fishing. I will share these, along with passages from the book, with you from time to time over the next few months.

Let’s start with this, from a section titled “Farmers, Fish, and Tourism,” about “a sharp debate over game and fish management in the 1890s.”

A Life Lived Outdoors is a great Christmas gift

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 I’ve been getting lots of requests for signed copies of my book, A Life Lived Outdoors, to be given as Christmas gifts. The book was published this year by Islandport Press in Yarmouth. My pastor even purchased 6 of the books for presents to her family members in Idaho.

You don’t have to contact me to buy the book. It’s in most bookstores and available online at islandportpress.com and elsewhere. But if you want a signed copy, let me know and I’ll get one to you. Email your request to georgesmithmaine@gmail.com.

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