Great wine, great beer, great food: Special dinners at Winterport Winery have it all!

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                It was a very special night for the owners, staff, friends, and customers of the Winterport Winery and Penobscot Bay Brewery. We didn’t know that, when we confirmed for one of their popular monthly wine and beer dinners, but we were very happy to participate in the celebration.

                Owners Michael and Joan Anderson had just received the 2014 Maine Food Producer of the Year award from the Maine Grocers and Food Producers Association, the first winery and brewery to win that prestigious recognition. And they were, along with the entire staff – very excited.

The truth about bear hunting in other states

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Thanks to Bob Duchesne, who’s Saturday morning “Wild Maine” 92.9 radio shows on the bear referendum featured outstanding interviews with wildlife biologists Oregon, Washington, and Colorado, we now know the truth. Those are the three states that banned hunting bears with hounds and bait. Here is an excellent summary of what happened as a result, in a summary Bob sent to me a short time ago.

Common threads from all three biologists:

All three states were forced to vastly expand hunting opportunities. All three states allow Sunday hunting (and always did). Oregon and Washington start hunting August 1st, which would be the middle of Maine’s busiest tourist season. Oregon was also forced to add a spring season that starts in early to mid-April and runs through May.

Those who recreate on someone else’s land should read this study.

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In response to my series columns about landowner relations, published here earlier this year, I got quite a few inquiries about the specifics of Maine’s private land access laws and traditions.

I heard a fascinating presentation by University of Maine Professor James Acheson on this topic at the annual meeting of the Small Woodland Owners Association of Maine in 2006, and subsequently wrote about Acheson’s study of public access to privately owned land, published in the Maine Policy Review in 2006.

Although the study is 7 years old, it is still pertinent and should be read by all who enjoy recreation on privately owned land.

You can access Acheson’s study here.

Twenty four veterans got their moose in the 2014 special Aroostook moose hunt

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 Twenty four of the 25 disabled veterans who got moose hunting permits for the special Aroostook County moose hunt, held in August, got their moose. Last year 50 permits were issued and 31 hunters were successful in bagging a moose.

Mark Latti, Outreach and Communications staffer for the Fisheries and Wildlife Department, provided this information in response to my questions.

Guides and landowners were cut out of the hunt this year by a new rule approved by DIF&W Commissioner Chandler Woodcock and the Fish and Wildlife Advisory Council.

Maine’s Department of Defense, Veterans Affairs and Emergency Management’s Bureau of Veterans Services assisted DIF&W in qualifying disabled veterans for the hunt.

Representative Stacey Guerin’s defense of Governor LePage was wildly inaccurate

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                 I published a column in this blog on August 4 that detailed the many promises to Maine sportsmen that  Governor Paul LePage broke over the past four years, including a major promise to provide public tax money to fund 20 percent of the budget of Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

                That column is still available here if you want to read it. In response to that column, Rep. Stacey Guerin published an editorial page column in the Bangor Daily News on August 18, titled “Paul LePage is the sportsman’s (and woman’s) governor.”

The Salt Water Farm Cafe is a lively, beautiful place with very creative food

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                The view from the Salt Water Farm Cafe looks quite different in the summer. The outside deck is bustling and boats are in the harbor, quite a different picture than when we visited back in January during a snow storm for Sunday Brunch.

        But inside, the restaurant it is still a cozy spot to enjoy amazing food. I love that they focus on serving local food that is very fresh. That point was well made this time when I quickly noticed three types of wild mushrooms featured on the menu. We too search for, and indulge in, chanterelles and black trumpet mushrooms during the summer. My preparations of these pale in comparison to theirs for sure. George has been asking me to replicate his incredible appetizer of black trumpet gravy over biscuits at home. Oh, that I could!

If the Maine public cared about wildlife, they would help fund the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

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Don’t hold your breath waiting for Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife to get funding from the public. This column is a long one, but not as long as the road to DIF&W public funding – a road that turned out to be a dead end.

The Humane Society of the United States has challenged the credibility of the wildlife biologists at Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, claiming they are biased toward sportsmen. I don’t think that’s true, but because the agency is entirely funded by sportsmen, they are open to that kind of challenge.

If in fact they always did what sportsmen wanted, my job at the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine for 18 years would have been a lot easier! In fact, I wouldn’t have had anything to do.

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