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.

Women hunters taking over the Maine woods

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                 When we moved to Mount Vernon 38 years ago, many of the deer tagged on opening day were registered by women – but not women who hunted. These women tagged the deer killed by their husbands, so the husbands could continue to hunt. One day, a young boy at an elementary school gathering announced, “My Mom got a huge buck on opening day. But she didn’t shoot it.” Too much information!

                Today, that has changed dramatically, and some of the most successful hunters in our community and throughout the state are women. Deirdre Fleming, the outdoor writer for Maine Today Media, wrote a great column recently about the increase in Maine women hunters. She reported, “The percentage of hunting licenses sold to women has grown steadily over the past 10 years, rising from 8.1 percent in 2005 to 12.4 percent in 2014.” That translates into 24,000 women hunting today in Maine.

To All the Deer I’ve Missed Before

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Another in my series of hunting stories, including missed shots and other mistakes.


“To all the deer I’ve missed before,

Who’ve traveled in the great outdoors,

I’m glad they came along,

I dedicate this song,

To all the deer I’ve missed before.”


Great stories about Vacationland - from a guy from away!

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 A special thank you goes to Down East Books for republishing David Morine’s book, Vacationland: A Half Century of Summering in Maine. I absolutely loved this book and have to say that David Morine has qualified himself as a real Mainer in these very entertaining stories. Most of the stories were published in an earlier edition, but David did write a few new ones for this edition.

David first arrived here in 1946, at the age of 3, when his parents rented a lakeside cabin in Fryeburg. He later purchased shore frontage and built camps on Horseshoe Pond and Kezar Lake, spending as much time here as he possibly could. David’s been recognized as an international conservationist and served for fifteen years as the head of land conservation for The Nature Conservancy in the 1970s and 1980s.

Four grandchildren in the same family get deer on Youth Day

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                 Jim Robbins of Searsmont and four of his grandchildren experienced an amazing – and unprecedented – day of deer hunting on October 24, Maine’s Youth Deer Hunting Day. Jim described it in an emailed message to me as “fabulous.” It was all of that and more.

                The adventure began at 8:30 am when Jim’s ten-year-old grandson Will shot his first deer, hunting close to the Robbins Lumber mill along the St. George River in Searsmont. The deer was about 200 yards away and young Will made a terrific shot.

Big changes coming for Maine’s big game plans

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                New big game management plans are in the works for Maine and you can expect major changes. All four big game animals will, for the first time, be included in a single plan: deer, moose, bear, and turkeys. And a new aggressive effort will be made to engage the public in the process, including surveys, focus groups, and an invitation to submit suggestions and ideas. Yes, you are going to get a chance to participate!

                A final plan has already been created for non-game animals, and later, plans will be created for furbearers and small game animals.

The Last Minute Moose

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 This is a terrific moose hunting story, written by my friend James Cote who managed the referendum campaign that successfully defended bear hunting, and who is now very active in a variety of sportsmen’s issues and projects. I was particularly pleased by the key role played by my friends Greg Drummond and Ron Joseph.

The Last Minute Moose, by James Cote, October 15, 2015


Some define the last minute of Maine’s annual moose hunt as those waning minutes before sundown on the last day of the hunt when those moose hunters not fortunate enough to harvest a moose feel their chances slipping away.


For the purposes of this story, we will define the last minute as the time when the moose permit holder’s hunting party is scheduled to head home and leave him alone to find his moose for the remainder of the week. 

Blue fishing like you’ve never experienced it!

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Rooting around in some old stories I wrote about deer hunting years ago, I discovered this October, 1988 story I wrote for The Maine Sportsman. There’s a version of this story in Chris Potholm’s wonderful book, “Tall Tales from the Tall Pines,” published in September by Down East Books. You may think Chris’ amazing tall tale about a blue fishing experience is fictional, but it’s the mostly truth. Here’s how I told it.

                He was sitting in the hot tub when his wife Sandy reported, “Bluefish are in the bay in front of the house.”

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