Island Deer Hunts Use Bait

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Maine’s Fish and Wildlife Advisory Council is expected next week to approve a special two-week deer hunt in Eastport, and this Portland Press Herald story by Randy Billings may be of interest to the good folks in that Down East town.

I was surprised when the folks in Eastport, which is overrun with deer, removed from their proposal the opportunity to use bait to bring the deer into the stands designated by the town. Hunters must sit in those designated stands, without the opportunity to actually hunt through the town to find their deer. They are also limited to the use of bows. No guns.

In my mind, this is less an actual deer hunt and more a controlled deer kill, designed to reduce the number of deer in Eastport. And I am skeptical that it will significantly reduce those numbers, because the number of permits is low.

Perhaps over time, Eastport will look to Maine’s islands for guidance on how to effectively reduce deer populations. Randy’s story is a good place to start. And yes, these islanders use bait.

Driving deer to distraction

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                 Sometimes small changes in hunting laws bring big benefits. My big buck one year was the result of a small law change, proposed by the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine, that legalized deer driving by groups of no more than three hunters, as long as noise makers are not used.

                The deer driving statute was so strict that it prohibited even two hunters from planning and implementing a hunt in which one hunter tried to move deer toward a second hunter. Many Mainers hunt together this way, but technically they were violating the law.

A great place in Yarmouth to gather

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Yarmouth
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                 You can gather at home, or in this beautiful restaurant in an historic Masonic Hall, but wherever you choose, Gather’s food will impress and please you.

                Our friends Bill Seretta and Lyn Baird, who dine here often, recommended Gather and joined us for dinner there. I was intrigued with the huge space with lots of seating choices, their interesting decorations, and the open kitchen where you can watch the staff prepare your meal. You can sit at a long bar on one side, or booths on the other, or individual tables – including a large setting that accommodates a group of up to 18 diners.

Game Wardens spend less than half their time policing hunting and fishing

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Earlier this year I asked the Maine Warden Service for the latest data on how they spend their time. Unfortunately, the most recent report was issued in 2013. Nothing since then. So that’s the report I obtained from them. The 53 page report is interesting and includes information about where their money comes from, trends in registrations and license sales, calls for service, and summaries of the work in each district.

But it’s how they spend their time that was of most interest to me. Here is that information:

 28.5%   Enforcement of hunting, trapping, and wildlife laws and rules

19.5%    Enforcement of fishing laws and rules

14.9%    Administration/Reports

10.9%   Training

8.4%      Enforcement of watercraft laws and rules

Can a Wolf and a Pig Be Friends?

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Good question! And no, this is not about politics!

Kevin McShane’s new book, Can a Wolf and a Pig Be Friends?, is very entertaining for both kids and adults who will enjoy discovering the many ‘hidden’ references in the background of illustrator Kristina Z. Young’s wonderful artwork. I chuckled when I saw “Wolf Blitzer” and the CNN news truck.

A Fairy Godmother intervenes to try to save the pig but, realistically, she says “You can’t blame the wolf… He’s just doing what wolves do. Wolves chase pigs in stories.” Well, in real life too!

You’ll have to get the book to find out if the Godmother is successful. I will say the ending is probably very realistic.

Legislative proposals for the 2017 session

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Here's a list of ideas I have for legislation in the upcoming session, I'd appreciate your thoughts on these, which can be emailed to be at georgesmithmaine@gmail.com. Thanks!

Exotic Animals: Require permits for all non-native animals and require notification of the Maine Warden Service and any neighbors within range of an exotic animal that escapes.

Feral Cats: Forbid the release of feral cats into the wild.

Hatcheries: Organize a Hatchery Commission to study all issues and make recommendations, before spending more than $100,000 to upgrade, expand, or repair existing hatcheries. This bill will include a list of issues and questions for the Commission to tackle.

Fall Fishing: Expand catch-and-release fall fishing statewide to the month of October. Include a program like Montana’s that automatically closes waters when temperatures reach a certain high level.

Woman Who Speaks Tree by Linda Tatelbaum

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 Yes, Linda Tatelbaum loves trees. But the subtitle of her wonderful book, Woman Who Speaks Tree, “Confessions of a Tree Hugger,” tells you even more about her life.

I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Linda’s life could be described as a contradiction: she’s a college professor and a back-to-the-land hippie who, with her husband Kal, lives in midcoast Maine where they built their home in 1977 with solar heat and great gardens.

“I still answer to the name of hippie,” she writes in the preface, “though I’ve also spent a career in college teaching while living this hard-earned organic life on the homestead we built in Maine.”

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