Should rat snakes and Golden poison frogs require permits? The Maine legislature will decide!

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                 Maine’s exotic animal laws and rules are an expensive mess. And the legislature is poised to sort it all out and fix the problems this session. At least I hope so!              

                An Act to Restructure the Permitting Process for Wildlife and Exotic Species in Captivity is the title of a bill proposed by Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.  While the title is a long one, the agency’s path to bring this to the legislature has been even longer.

Murder and mayhem in Belfry, Maine - plus lots of laughs

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Amidst the murder and mayhem, author Earl H. Smith, the retired Dean of the College at Colby College, offers lots of laugh-out-loud humor in his first novel, The Dam Committee. It’s a quick read, and as soon as I finish writing this review, I’ll crack open Earl’s second novel, More Dam Trouble. I can’t wait to see what happens next!

Published by North Country Press in Unity, Earl’s first novel is filled with small-town characters in Belfry, Maine. And yes, you can be forgiven if you see similarities between Earl’s hometown of Belgrade Lakes and his fictional town of Belfry. Living in Mount Vernon, next to Belgrade Lakes, I certainly recognize the issues that keep the dam committee busy. But the murder and that half million dollars in a buried suitcase, well, that’s all news to me!

Should 8-year-olds be allowed to hunt in Maine?

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                 Should 8-year-olds be allowed to hunt in Maine? Before you answer – and I will give you a chance to do that – consider this summary of research done by Representative Gary Hilliard (R-Belgrade) who has sponsored a bill to lower Maine’s legal hunting age from 10 to 8.

                Gary is my State Representative and an impressive guy, with extensive experience in the business world and lots of enthusiasm for hunting and fishing. We had lunch recently at Mount Vernon’s awesome Olde Post Office Café, and spent a lot of the time swapping hunting tales. I especially enjoyed his stories of hunting with his older grandchildren.

If you are cold today, Body Bark is the best!

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 Since Linda’s Body Bark turtleneck arrived, she’s rarely taken it off. When I saw the advertisement, I knew she would love this comfortable and warm piece of clothing that can be worn solo or under clothing. It is particularly great for outdoors people. I also like the fact it is made in the United States.

Linda is a first grade teacher, and has to go outside for recess with her kids a couple of times a day, unless the wind-chill temperature dips below 5 degrees. So she’s really appreciating the warmth of her Body Bark Turtleneck. I’d guess that every Maine teacher ought to have a couple of these! Especially considering the morning temps this week have ranged from 8 to 16 below zero!

Here’s what Linda has to say about this product.

Get ready for lively debates on 68 fish and wildlife bills

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 Interest in fish and wildlife issues at the legislature seems to be waning. While the Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Committee traditionally gets over 100 bills each session, only 68 are coming their way this year. A few more may arrive late, including from the LePage Administration which can submit bills anytime during the session, but the committee is unlikely to consider more than 75 bills.

Representative Steve Woods gets the prize for submitting the most bills, seven (10 percent), although seven of the committee’s bills were also proposed by me. And yes, I know I am not a committee member, although I always joked that I’d like to sit in the vacant seat at the far end of the IF&W Committee’s table. I wrote about my bills, including a list of sponsors, in an earlier outdoor news post this week, so I won’t repeat any of that information here.

Exceptional food and a beautiful tavern in Bridgton

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                When Cindi Hooper, the owner/host at Bridgton’s Noble House Inn, recommended The Black Horse Tavern for dinner, I didn’t expect much. Pub food, a good selection of beer, and I would have been satisfied.

                But I was blown away by the beautiful interior of the Tavern, the exceedingly friendly staff and customers, and the extraordinary meal we enjoyed there. But let’s begin at the beginning.

Legislature’s Environmental Agenda includes mining, lakes, LMF Bond

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                It’s mostly reruns of environmental issues this year at the Maine legislature, including another stab at two major issues that sharply divided the last session: mining and lake protection. Insiders expect another attempt on the part of the administration to increase wood harvests on public lands, a proposal that failed last session largely because of the size of the harvests and the fact the governor wanted to divert the money away from public lands.

                It’s the rumors that are always most interesting. I’ve heard from several good sources that Governor LePage will try to move state parks out of the Department of Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry, to the Tourism Commission in the Department of Economic and Community Development. Public lands would remain in the Ag Department.

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