Summer of the Dead by Julia Keller

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When my wife Linda noticed the novel I was reading, at the Lubec, Maine ocean-side cottage we were renting for an August vacation, she laughed. Summer of the Dead didn’t sound like the kind of light summer reading you’d tackle here.

But I’ve been a longtime fan of crime novels, focused on favorite old authors like Ed McBain and John MacDonald, with a collection of their books on my shelves, and some newer writers, including Michael Connelly and two Mainers, Paul Doiron and Gerry Boyle. But I’m always open to new authors, so when I saw Michael Connelly’s quote on the cover of Julia Keller’s Summer of the Dead, I decided to give it a try. Connelly wrote this about Keller’s central character: “Bell Elkins is one of the most fully realized characters in fiction today.”

Dave O’Connor’s book will stimulate your own great hunting and fishing memories

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Checking out the newly published books recently at Islandport Press in Yarmouth, I was excited to see a book by Dave O’Connor. I’ve been enjoying Dave’s columns in the Northwoods Sporting Journal for more than 20 years. He’s an entertaining writer, for sure.

Islandport published my book, A Life Lived Outdoors, last year and I’ve been encouraging them to consider more hunting/fishing/outdoor adventure books, so it was great to see Dave’s new book on their shelves. Huntin’ and Fishin’ with the Ole Man is full of stories about Dave’s many adventures with his father, Edward “Steamer” O’Connor, and trust me, they had some funny, amazing, exciting hunting and fishing experiences.

A trip into the North Woods is relaxing and restorative

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                Macannamac Camps in the north woods is a relaxing and restorative place, the idealic Maine we talk about but rarely experience. Fifty miles northwest of Millinocket, Jack McPhee built most of his log cabins in the 1980s on Haymock, Spider, and Cliff Lakes. He was a warden pilot, knew every lake and pond in the north woods, and selected these for their remoteness and great hunting and fishing.

                Today, they are still busy in the spring and early summer with anglers, and in the fall when hunters flock here seeking deer, moose, and grouse. Open all winter long, Macannamac is also popular with ice anglers and snowmobilers. Ironically, they are least busy in July and August when we visited. If you are looking for a summer get-a-way in the real Maine, put these camps on your list!

Goodbye Salmon Hello Rainbow Trout

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“Once noted as one of the top salmon waters in Maine, it’s now rare for a salmon to survive for more than one year in Long Pond,” wrote Jason Seiders, DIF&W Regional Fisheries Biologist. I can only add, boy, did I enjoy catching big salmon at this beautiful pond, part of the Belgrade Lakes and just ten minutes from my house.

Then illegal and/or inadvertent stocking of other nonnative and invasive species, from pike to landlocked alewives, ruined the salmon fishery and crowded out other cold water species like brook trout. Today, smallmouth bass is the most popular fishery in Long Pond.

National Expert chosen to improve communications and marketing of fish and wildlife

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Mark Duda has worked on more than 1000 marketing, communications, and public relations research, plans, and projects involving fisheries and wildlife, for state agencies, universities, businesses, and all the major hunting and fishing national organizations. And now he’s coming to Maine.

Our Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife has launched a very-much-needed and very-exciting project to improve its communications with the public and, eventually, grow its market. In the Request for Proposals that the agency advertised, they noted, “In order to maintain and enhance current programs, mandates, and projects, MDIFW must continue to maintain support for its programs amongst its current constituents while generating new support from the general public who value wildlife and its associated recreational opportunities.”

My Naked Safari is not what you think!

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Peter Popieniuck is a lucky sportsman. Not just in the fish and wildlife he has harvested, but in the adventures he’s enjoyed from Maine to Africa. His autobiography is timely, given the recent unfortunate incidents with big game hunters who killed African lions. For the record, Peter killed no lions.

Peter’s book, My Naked Safari – from Maine to Africa – Adventures of an Amateur Sportsman, published by North Country Press, is a very good read.

Peter’s story is of special interest to Mainers because many of his adventures were with Maine guides, and his favorite place on earth seems to be his camp on Lower Richardson Pond, just west of Rangeley. His hunting trip to Africa is certainly an amazing story, but I most enjoyed his trips to places I’ve been myself, most especially the Leaf River in northern Quebec.

Schoodic Peninsula is Acadia’s Hidden Gem

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Winter Harbor
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                Hang a left in Ellsworth, instead of driving straight ahead to Mount Desert Island, if you want to see the best part of Acadia National Park. Schoodic Peninsula is the park’s hidden gem, a 2,000 acre peninsula just beyond Winter Harbor, and it doesn’t get the millions of visitors to Acadia’s park adjacent to Bar Harbor.

                The six-mile Schoodic park road offers stunning ocean views and many places where you can roam the shore, have a picnic, or take a short hike. The cobblestone beaches are a wonderful place to spend the day. It’s also a great place to bird watch.

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