Summer Dreaming 2014

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 We’ve scheduled some terrific trips this summer. How about you?

A birding adventure on Monhegan Island. Followed later in the summer by a Puffin Cruise with Monhegan Boat Line. Two visits to Lubec, giving us a healthy dose of fresh ocean air in the most beautiful place on earth. A weekend in Eastport.

A stay at a favorite Maine sporting camp with a tour of the spectacular Fly Fishing Museum in Oquossic. We’ll enjoy a presentation of the Joshua Chamberlain musical at the Maine Music Theater, with dinner at one of Brunswick’s fine restaurants.

And we’re excited about our first visit to Deer Isle, where the Pilgrim’s Inn and Whale’s Rib Tavern await. We’ll be doing that trip with our friends Rusty and Sue Atwood. An island adventure on Vinalhaven and our annual trip to the beautiful Blue Nose Inn in Bar Harbor will certainly highlight our summer.

Will Mainers ever hunt bears again in the spring? We already can on Tribal lands.

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 NOTE: after you read this column, please answer the "Spring Bear Hunting" question in the Sportsmen Say Survey section of this website. Thanks!

The Maine legislature banned spring bear hunting in 1982. It was a decision based on politics, not science.

I am looking at an article on spring bear hunting in the June 2014 Bowhunting World magazine, trumpeting “Travel to true adventure by bowhunting Western black bears this spring.”

The magazine favors spring hunts in Oregon, New Mexico, Alaska, Idaho, Utah, Wyoming, and many Canadian provinces. Baiting is allowed in Alaska, Idaho, Utah, and Wyoming and much of Canada.

Maine’s history

From 1770 to 1957, Maine paid bounties for dead bears and they were considered and treated as pests until 1931, when hunting seasons were introduced. From 1942 to 1965, bears were hunted year-round. Until 1969 we didn’t even monitor the harvest.

Your best defense against Lyme disease is a plastic spoon

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 My daughter Rebekah posted a warning on Facebook last week that she’d detected the first of the season ticks on my grandsons. I happened to be writing a piece on ticks that morning when I noticed her post.

You need to take ticks seriously. There are 14 different ticks in Maine. Dog and moose ticks are large. The other 12 are tiny and very similar. The deer tick that carries Lyme disease is now distributed statewide. Seventy percent of the deer ticks in southern Maine have Lyme, while that percentage diminishes as you go north. 

I have a lot of personal experience with ticks embedded in my skin and several friends suffering with Lyme disease. If you need to be scared into action, read my review of the book A Twist of Lyme at www.georgesmithmaine.com. Better yet, read the book.

Fuel Restaurant: Anchoring Lewiston's resurgent Lisbon Street

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Lewiston
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                Have you visited Lewiston lately? Lisbon Street has a new look and energy with great restaurants and shops up and down the street.

Eric Agren, owner of Fuel Restaurant, was the spark that lit the way seven years ago. He had a vision for downtown Lewiston, taking a leap of faith in buying an old building constructed in 1871. It was once a 1000 seat theater. Eric housed the restaurant on the ground floor and renovated the top two floors renovated into condos.

        Fuel has met with wide acclaim and rightly so. The urban decor is stunning, with the modern bar area at the front of the restaurant and white linens topping the remaining tables that fill the open room. The food here has been described as French comfort food.

 

Sportsmen Leading in Bear Referendum Poll

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 Patrick Murphy will deliver some great news tomorrow to the sportsmen of Maine. A survey of Maine voters conducted by Murphy’s company, Pan Atlantic SMS Group of Portland, found that 46.7 percent support a ban on hunting bears with bait and dogs and trapping bears, 48.1 percent oppose the ban, and 5.3 are undecided.

The yes vote was stronger in Maine’s First Congressional District, where 50.3 percent support the ban. In the Second Congressional District, only 43.1 percent support the ban.

This puts sportsmen far ahead of where they were in the 2004 bear referendum at this point in time.

Maine is not a target of the nation’s turkey hunters

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Bitten by the turkey bug? Here’s a cross-country tour of five favorite escapes ideal for adventurous longbeard fanatics.

That was the lead on a “Favorite Turkey Hunts” in the April edition of Bowhunting World magazine.

Despite the fact that Maine probably offers the best turkey hunt in the country, we’re on nobody’s radar, a stunning example of how much our lack of marketing and promotion is costing the state’s outdoor industry.

In January of 2012, a Task Force directed by the legislature to study the decline in the number of nonresident hunters coming to Maine, issued its report and recommendations. Among the Task Force’s findings were these:

Numbers of Maine nonresident hunters have dropped from a high in 2002 of 41,538 to 37,925 in 2005 to an all-time low of 27,898 in 2010.

Numbers of alien hunters have dropped from a high in 1995 of 1885 to 232 in 2010.

These coastal gems won’t be hidden much longer after you read The Hidden Coast of Maine

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This is your road map to Maine’s gems. The photos will inspire you to jump in the car and head there – and there’s a very helpful set of directions to each gem in the back of the book.  

What surprised me the most about The Hidden Coast of Maine, published by Tilbury House in Thomaston, is that I haven’t visited all of these places in my 65 years in Maine. Of the 83 gems in this wonderful book, I’ve been to 62. Now I’ve set my sights on the other 19. And of course, some of the gems are regulars for the weekly travel column that my wife Linda and I write.

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