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.

Deer feeding ban and baiting penalties increased

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The legislature’s Inland Fisheries and Wildlife disposed of more Sunday hunting bills quickly in a recent work session, and then spent a couple of hours working on deer and moose bills. We’ll report on the Sunday hunting and deer bills today.

LD 694, to allow Sunday hunting with deer rifles only, and LD 485 to allow Sunday hunting for migratory birds, got 8 to 2 ought-not-to-pass voted. Reps. Steve Wood and Tim Theriault voted in favor of the bills, as they have on all the Sunday hunting bills this session.

The committee voted unanimously against LD 1041 that would have extended the no-firearms-discharge distance from the road from the current 10 feet to 100 feet. Several of us joined DIF&W in opposing the bill, and Rep. Peter Lyford summed it up nicely, saying “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” And they didn’t.

Lots of support for more protection for native brook trout

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A group of outstanding anglers stepped up to encourage the legislature’s Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Committee to expand protection of our native brook trout last Thursday.


The public hearing on LD 1136 lasted until 7 pm last Thursday night, and with the exception of the testimony against the bill by DIF&W, all of the testimony encouraged the legislative committee to step up protection of our native brook trout.


El Rayo Taqueria is Fantastic

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            A wonderful family get-a-way planned by our kids found us in a huge home on the ocean at Pine Point in Scarborough. The group included daughter Rebekah, son-in-law Patrick, and grandsons Addison and Vishal (ages 10 and 13), son Joshua, daughter-in-law Kelly and granddaughters Ada and Esme (ages 3 and 5 months) who live in Massachusetts, and daughter Hilary who flew in from Washington  DC.

No more money needed to save Maine’s moose

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 The legislature’s Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Committee unanimously killed my proposed legislation, sponsored by Rep. Peter Lyford, to direct more money to initiatives to save Maine’s moose herd. And I can’t really blame them, because the Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Department told the committee it didn’t need more money for moose research and management.

Several things about this discussion at the legislature surprised me.

First, legislators were told that most of the money raised from the moose lottery and permits goes to other species and programs other than moose. So, in other words, moose hunters are funding lots of other programs while our moose population continues to be devastated by winter ticks.

The bear sausage balls were amazing

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 I loved the bear sausage balls. And the beaver salami. And the smoke lake trout. And the wild turkey salad on whole wheat crackers. The students circulating these great dishes often got asked to stick close to our group!

The annual Unity College Wild Game Dinner was awesome, and the dishes listed above were just some of the many appetizers offered to guests during the pre-dinner happy hour. And yes, it was a very happy hour, although the great beer brewed by a local guy ran out, thanks to the very large and thirsty crowd. I did get one glass of a very good brown ale so I guess I can’t complain.

This annual fundraiser selected Operation Game Thief for their charity this year, and the silent and live auctions and raffles, along with ticket sales, must have raised a lot of money.

My favorite chef, Kate Krukowski Gooding, was the guest chef at the event, and I quickly suggested that they sign her up for all future game dinners. Kate is not only an amazing cook, but her wild game cookbooks are the best.

Are food plots the same as baiting deer?

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 Three deer bills last week focused on deer feeding and deer baiting, opening up a lengthy discussion on both hot topics.

LD 1083 would increase the penalties for hunting deer over bait. It was sponsored by Rep. Tuell of Washington County at the request of Mike Look, a sportsman activist in that neck of the woods. The bill would establish a mandatory fine of $500 and loss of hunting license for one year for hunters convicted of baiting deer.

DIF&W’s Warden Colonel Joel Wilkinson testified in favor of the bill, reporting that the agency averages over 100 deer baiting cases per year. ”We believe that an increased mandatory fine combined with a mandatory one year license suspension will provide an adequate level of deterrent,” testified Joel.

Mike Look, as part of his testimony for the bill, handed out a very interesting report on baiting and deer feeding regulations in other states.

Deer Feeding

Deer feeding, baiting, antler restrictions, and more debated at legislature

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 It was Mike Look Day at the IFW Committee last Thursday. Mike’s a Washington County sportsman activist, known principally for his advocacy of antler restrictions on deer. Mike is President of the Downeast Branch of the Quality Deer Management Association.


And even though the committee had already heard one bill on antler restrictions, they hosted a hearing on Mike’s antler restriction bill on Thursday.

The bill was sponsored by Senator Joyce Maker of Washington County at Mike’s request. It would prohibit taking deer that do not have at least 3 tines of one inch or more along the main beam of one antler. The restrictions would only be applied in northern, eastern and western Maine.

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