Blogs

Hounding and Trapping Threaten to End Maine’s Bear Hunt

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Few Mainers hunt bears with hounds and even fewer trap bears. But the decision by the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine and other sportsmen’s groups to reject an offer that would have avoided this year’s difficult referendum on bear hunting and trapping gambled our one and only effective means of keeping bear populations in check: hunting over bait.

The Humane Society of the United States made the offer last spring during the legislative session, telling the leaders of Maine’s sportsmen’s groups that they would not take bear hunting to referendum if their proposal to ban bear hounding and trapping was enacted. SAM and the other groups quickly rejected the offer, calling it extortion.

That rejection was a real gamble. Without question, if this referendum was just about baiting, our campaign would be a lot easier. In fact, there probably wouldn’t have been a referendum at all.

Paid outdoor recreation – including hunting - on farms brings promising profits to farmers

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Outdoor recreational opportunities on the Nation’s privately-owned farm, ranch and woodlands, which comprise nearly three-fourths of our land area, are virtually unlimited.

Many farmers and landowners have already found recreation to be a new and profitable crop. Land formerly in grain is now meeting the needs of fisherman, hunters, campers, hikers, and others who seek the out-of-doors.

The new farm enterprises range from a few acres for picnicking and camping to watershed lakes of several hundred acres. The crops harvested include fish, duck, mink, muskrat, pheasants and quail. The recreational areas established are ideal for swimming, camping, boating, hiking, and nature study.

75 Years of Fly Fishing, Family, and Friends

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The only thing better than reading Burt Anderson’s new book, My Life on the Fly, full of wonderful stories, is to hear those stories first hand, sitting in his living room overlooking Parker Pond in Mount Vernon. That’s what I was doing for three hours yesterday, and it was a real privilege.

I was astonished to hear that Burt wrote the book two years ago while in the hospital, using a pencil and yellow legal pad. That’s how I started my writing career, 30 years ago!

Dr. Burton C. “Burt” Anderson had a long and illustrious career at Dupont, publishing many scientific papers and registering lots of patents. He’s a very smart guy! And his wife Joan is charming, a church organist – who made my day by inviting me back for a hymn sing.

Maine high school student captures amazing stories of our neighborhood heroes

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 My expectations for a book about Maine veterans by a high school kid were low. Very low.

Sure, Morgan Reilly has “a passion for history and stories.” And certainly, Maine’s living World War II veterans have many compelling stories to tell. I didn’t doubt that.

But I did doubt Rielly’s interviewing and writing skills. And boy, was I wrong. Very wrong.

This is one terrific book. This high school senior is an extraordinary young man, with a real sense for a good story. His interest in history was sparked when he was just five years old and spotted his neighbor, John Malick, a World War II Veteran, walking down his street. Malick was missing an arm, and Rielly’s father explained that the arm had been lost in a World War II fight on the island of Guam. The precocious five-year-old then asked his Dad, “What was World War II?”

Lyme Disease Changes Maine’s Deer Discussion

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For more than a century, Maine deer have been managed for maximum populations that benefit deer hunters. But Lyme disease is changing the discussion, and is likely to force Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife to reduce deer populations in coastal, southern, and central Maine – even while they struggle to rebuild deer populations in western and northern Maine.

As Mainers, concerned about Lyme disease, demand a reduction – or even the elimination of deer in their neighborhoods – DIF&W will be challenged, partly because hunting with guns is unwelcome in many of the places with the highest populations of deer. And of course, lots of land throughout the state is now posted and unavailable to hunters.

In 1997, a sharpshooter was paid to kill 52 of the estimated 70 deer on Monhegan Island, and two years later, Peaks Island voted to hire a sharpshooter. He killed 172 deer in February, 2000, in just five days.

Thomaston's Slipway Restaurant known for its seafood and riverfront location

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Thomaston
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 The Slipway Restaurant in Thomaston is THE place where locals and visitors go for seafood, but we discovered lots of other menu choices there for those who don’t like to dine in the sea. Joining us for dinner here were our daughter Rebekah with her in-laws, Noreen and Randy, along with our youngest grandson Vishal.

                Chef/owner Scott Yakovenko, who grew up in this area and once had a very popular restaurant in Port Clyde, has a stellar reputation for seafood, so I chose the Grilled scallops ($9.50) appetizer with arugula, spinach, lemon, and EVOO, which Rebekah explained was extra virgin olive oil. Boy, I am learning a lot with these travel columns!

Eliot Cutler’s Promises to Maine Sportsmen

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Today we take a look at Eliot Cutler’s promises to sportsmen, made in his 2014 candidate questionnaire of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine. Cutler added an extensive amount of comments for nearly every SAM question, and I will give you some of those comments in this report.

DIF&W Funding

Probably the most important question involves public funding for Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, so let’s start there. SAM provided a bit of background on the issue – focusing on the fact that sportsmen pay all the bills while the public receives millions of dollars of services from the agency. Game wardens, for example, spend about half their time on police – not wildlife – work. The survey asked candidates if they would support a Constitutional amendment that allocated General Fund tax dollars to DIF&W, a straight General Fund appropriation, or something else.

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