George's Outdoor Picks - The Warbler Guide

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Linda and I gave up trying to identify fall warblers in their drab or nonexistent colors. But not any longer, thanks to The Warbler Guide by Tom Stephenson and Scott Whittle. Wow! This is the best warbler book we’ve ever seen. Actually, we’ve never seen any bird book like this one, published this year by Princeton University Press.

Whittle’s photos – and there are thousands here – are stunning. Stephenson’s in-depth comprehensive information will – if we ever master it all – make us real experts on our favorite species of bird. The book’s 560 pages will entertain and inform you for the rest of your life.

There’s plenty of innovative and interesting information here for the birding expert, but, as amateurs and relative newcomers to the sport of birding, the “Visual Finder Guides” have been most beneficial so far.

It all came together in Boothbay Harbor

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Boothbay Harbor
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Sometimes our travel column visits take a lot of advance work. And sometimes they just come together beautifully, like this trip to Boothbay Harbor.

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Wildfire airs new hunting laws

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 It’s time to check out the many new laws governing hunting, before you get out there after turkeys, grouse, deer, and more this fall.

On the current edition of Wildfire, cohost Harry Vanderweide and I review the most important new laws. You’ll need permission to place your trail cameras on private land. You must label every grouse you shoot in the unorganized territories. You can now give your any-deer permit to any other hunter.

And the law governing deer driving was clarified. We cover all of this and more.

The second half of the show features a discussion with Ted Koffman, Maine Audubon’s executive director, about some important wildlife and environmental issues.

Wildfire can be seen on the Time Warner network throughout the state on Wednesdays at 7 pm, Fridays at 7:30 pm, Saturdays at 2:30 pm, and Sundays at 9 pm.

Turkey hunt expansion didn’t come easily

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                This is a great lesson in how a legislative bill becomes a law. It’s nothing like they tell you in the brochure. When Maine turkey hunters take the field on Thursday for their expanded fall hunt, few will know how they got this new opportunity.

                Here’s the story. During my 18 years as executive director and lobbyist for the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine, I learned that Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife manages fish and game very conservatively. While SAM often pushed for more opportunities, and was pleased to win things like fall fishing and more moose permits, I also appreciated the careful and cautious approach taken by DIF&W’s professional staff.

Commissioner backs away from blast at Land for Maine’s Future

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The newspaper headline was troubling: “Whitcomb Trying to Curb Favoritism, Pricey Sales in Land for Maine’s Future Program.”

On vacation in Lubec in late-August, I picked up a copy of The Downeast Coastal Press when that front-page headline caught my eye. Walt Whitcomb, the Commissioner of the Department of Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry, a guy I have known for decades to be very cautious in his public remarks, blasted the Land for Maine’s Future Program, using some shocking words and making even more shocking charges.

Honestly, I couldn’t believe it. Here’s a bit of the news story, with Whitcomb’s words in quotes:

Feasting at our favorite Mexican restaurant

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 It was a great combination: an excellent feast at our favorite Mexican restaurant, Waterville’s Buen Apetito, followed by a play at the Aqua City Actor’s Theater.

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AMC’s wilderness lodges offer great fishing and hunting

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I visited Little Lyford Camps this week to catch native brook trout. But I need to go back to shoot grouse.

John Boland, who retired this year as the Director of DIF&W’s Fisheries and Wildlife Divisions, joined me this week for an angling adventure at AMC’s Little Lyford Camps in the middle of AMC’s 66,000 acre wilderness east of Greenville. The small trout ponds that are spread all over AMC’s property are real treasures and well managed.

AMC has canoes stashed on all of them, and John and I picked out a pond at the foot of a mountain, hiked in, and enjoyed a memorable day of non-stop catching. Many of the trout bore their gorgeous fall spawning colors. Most were caught on or just under the surface, on floating line.

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