This is what bear hunting is all about

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 My name is Alyssa Sansoucy. I am 12 years old and I got my first bear last year. I also got a huge in 2012. My dad wanted to make sure we got the opportunity to hunt bear before bear hunting gets restricted. So, my dad called Shepard Hunting Co. and he said a hound hunt would probably be best for us.

All summer I was excited for fall to come and the hunt to begin. We started preparing a week or two prior and the night before we left I could hardly sleep, I was so excited. The next day we left around 11:00-11:30 am and we got there at about 3:30 pm. When we walked inside the lodge we were greeted by two very nice people. They showed us our room and made us feel at home. After that I went to see all of the dogs - they were very friendly.

Governor LePage needs your fisheries wish list

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It’s time to let Governor Paul LePage know what’s on your fisheries wish list. He’s well into his second and final term, and if he’s going to do anything remarkable for our state’s fisheries, it’ll need to be done soon. Change never comes quickly and many of the good suggestions I’ve heard would take years to achieve.

One wish list came to me recently from Dennis Smith of Otter Creek. I’ve known Dennis for a long time. He’s a member of the outstanding Fishing Initiative Committee at the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine, a life-long avid angler, and a longtime fisheries activist. Here’s his wish list (with my explanations in parentheses):

Reorganize fishery division (to match the way the wildlife division is organized)

Eliminate fishery regions (partly to bring consistency to stocking and other policies)

Deer harvest remains steady but permits getting slashed

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                Maine hunters harvested 22,490 deer in 2014, about the same number as the previous year, but any deer permits for 2015 will nevertheless be slashed by 23 percent.

                Kyle Ravana, the lead deer biologist for Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, said, “By decreasing the number of any deer permits available, we can offset some of the impact of the now two consecutive harsh winters.”

How much are Maine moose worth? A lot!

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             To Howard Ludington of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, a Maine moose is worth $13,000. Dustin Parent of Laconia, New Hampshire agrees.

                While Maine guides charge far less for a moose hunt, the annual moose auction always demonstrates the real value of a moose hunt – at least to some hunters. The auction, not to be confused with the lottery, offers ten moose hunting permits to the highest bidders. Bids are opened in early May and the winning bidders have 30 days to choose their hunting district, week, and permit type. You can assume all are after trophy bills, at that price.

Dining on the water in Kennebunkport

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                Because Portland Chef David Turin is famous, we expected his Kennebunkport restaurant, David’s KPT, to be a “fine dining” experience, a place where Linda and I might splurge once a year. But we were very pleasantly surprised to find that this place, in a scenic location alongside the Kennebunk River, is comfortable, casual, and affordable.

                In the summer, you are apt to see folks dining on the deck in bathing suits while some customers inside are in suits and dresses. And the menu reflects this, offering everything from burgers and pizza to very creative dishes featuring seafood.

National Guard called out on Land for Maine’s Future spot

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This story would be funny if the issue were not so serious. Ben Townsend of Chelsea emailed the story to me last week after I wrote a newspaper column criticizing Governor Paul LePage for withholding bonds needed to complete Land for Maine’s Future projects. I am certain I don’t have to tell you about that controversy!

But here’s one element of it you don’t know. Ben Townsend has been providing free legal services to the Clifton Climbers Alliance. Ben told me that the Alliance is “a Maine nonprofit that was formed in January of 2014 for the primary purpose of purchasing Eagle Bluff in Clifton, following the untimely death of its previous owner, who had generously permitted public access.”

Ben reports that Eagle Bluff is a 165-acre parcel that “hosts not only popular hiking trails but a rock climbing area that has been widely recognized as a premier recreational resource.” It’s important to note that the town of Clifton and its local officials enthusiastically supported the project.

Forest Director speaks out on forest harvesting and recreation issues

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Doug Denico is a long-time friend of mine. You need to know that before proceeding to read this outdoor news column. Doug, the Director of the Bureau of Forestry at Maine’s Department of Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry, has been under fire lately, mostly because of Governor Paul LePage’s decision to hold up funding for Land for Maine’s Future projects in order to win support for harvesting more timber on public lands and diverting some of the money to fund a program to provide heat for low-income Mainers.

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