Maine’s new fishing rule book is complicated and confusing

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 “Our code of Fish and Game Laws is complicated, unfair and in some places contradictory. It really makes lawbreakers unknowingly owing to its uncertain phrasing and its complex rulings. What Maine needs is a simple code, easily understood and practically universal in scope. The law should treat all parts of the state with equality and must do away with sectional selfishness and spite legislation.”

This statement by Robert Maxcy, a well known sportsman and prominent Maine businessman, was published in 1928. My, how things have not changed!

Last year Representative Matt Pouliot of Augusta sponsored, at my request, legislation to create a Commission, organized by the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife and led by Maine’s nonprofit organizations, to constantly review hunting and fishing laws and rules and make recommendations to simplify, clarify, or eliminate them. Our proposal included annual surveys of anglers and hunters on key issues.

Holy Connoli! We Loved Ming Lee!

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                For years I have been stopping for terrific Chinese food at Ming Lee in Waterville.  My hairdresser Susan Martin first mentioned how unique their food is. Of course I followed up and I do agree, the food here is very special. Because I often brought home take-out food from Ming Lee, George thought it was a take-out place with little seating. He was shocked that it is a spacious, nice dining spot!

The Unstinking Pigs Were Running Loose

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 In 1985, my daily newspaper trumpeted a story about loose pigs in Mount Vernon. This was my response, in a letter-to-the-editor.

                Yes indeed, we’ve gone hog wild out here in Mount Vernon. It is always gratifying to know our daily newspaper is taking a real interest in local affairs out this way, and we’re glad you appreciated the serious nature of our problem, placing it on the front page of your January 18 edition.

                The headline, “Wild Hogs Cause Stink,” was somewhat incorrect, however, because pigs do not stink. They’re very neat and clean actually. But you city slickers wouldn’t be expected to know that.

What can you shoot and when can you shoot it?

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 This is the first in a series that will answer the questions: What can you shoot and when can you shoot it?

Are those greedy gray squirrels crowding the birds out of your bird feeders? Well, you’ve got just one day left in the squirrel hunting season to shoot them, unless you hunt them with a falcon – and I’m not talking about the Ford Falcon. For those hunting with a falcon, the squirrel season extends until February 28.

What? You say you don’t hunt but you’ve been shooting those darned squirrels off the bird feeders, and you certainly didn’t know there was a hunting season on them? Yes, indeed, and you can’t shoot them without a hunting license. But don’t worry, I won’t tell.

According to a survey by Responsive Management, the wildlife species causing the most problems in Maine are skunks and squirrels. Deer, raccoons, and woodchucks are not far behind.


Herring Nights - Remembering a Lost Fishery by Joe Upton

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 My grandmother Edith Johnson Searles packed sardines in Lubec at a time when that prosperous town hosted 23 sardine (herring) packing plants. My grandfather, Henry Searles, was a native of Canada’s nearby Campobello Island, who moved across the sound to marry my grandmother and live with her in South Lubec. For a while, Henry was a fish inspector in those sardine packing plants.

Neither would have ever imagined a time when Maine would pack no sardines, in Lubec or anywhere else in the state. The plant where my grandmother worked is now a museum.

So when I learned of Joe Upton’s memoir of the herring fishery, published initially in 1986 and republished in 2015 by Tilbury House in Thomaston, I grabbed a copy, eager to learn more about what happened to these fish and this industry.

Blown Apart by M.E. Brinton

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Linda and I had a great visit with Margaret Brinton-Collinson and her husband at the Mount Vernon Christmas Craft Fair, where they were selling products from their very popular “Beehive Bakery” in Farmington. You can check that out at The Collinson Family has two locations - the Bakery & Orchard in Farmington, Maine, run by Jonathan and Margaret Collinson, and the Farm with Veggies & Meat in Litchfield, Maine, run by Davyd, his wife Jenny, and daughter Guinevere Collinson.

I was drawn to two books Margaret has written. She worked for years as a feature/news writer for the Lewiston Sun Journal, Franklin Journal, and Daily Bulldog, and has taught creative writing to adult education and English composition classes at Central Maine Community College. She’s even studied abroad in Canada, Ireland, and Switzerland. So yes, she can write!

Fishing for a skunk in the back yard

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                 The skunk was in the garage when Judy Dutremble of Saco, my sister-in-law, returned home from work. She opened the door and there he was, rummaging in the garbage. Judy tipped over a garbage can, leaving some garbage in it, and stood outside.

                Sure enough, the skunk walked right into the can, and Judy rushed up to clamp the lid on it. A quick capture! She left the skunk in the can for husband Tony to dispose of when he got home from work.

                So far, not an untypical story. Skunk visits home. Skunk is captured. Skunk is removed from the premises. Well, it was in the removal that Tony established himself as a major league fisherman. Yes, that’s right, I said fisherman.

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