Delicious Dining at Darby's

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You might call this review historic, given that Darby’s is in a Belfast building that has housed a restaurant for 140 years. Jerry and Gail Savits are relatively new at this, given the history here.

They purchased and restored Darby’s in 1985. So I guess you can say they’ve covered 20 percent of the restaurant’s history!

Read More.


Sportsmen take aim - at themselves

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 The question came from a good friend. “I have to ask: are you helping the Humane Society of the United States on the bear referendum?”

I should say I was stunned, but actually, the question didn’t surprise me. I’ve been hearing it occasionally since the 2013 legislative session when HSUS announced it would initiative a ballot measure to ban bear hunting with bait and dogs and bear trapping. Some poorly informed people are spreading this rumor.

The question is preposterous, given that I’ve spent my life advocating for hunters and anglers. But it is illuminating.

Sportsmen are their own worst enemies. We aim our guns at each other, wasting our ammunition, jeopardizing our cause. Bow hunters battle crossbow advocates. Guides criticize sporting camps for winning the chance to purchase a few moose permits. Fly fishermen fight ice anglers. Some hunters are protesting the legislature’s decision to give 25 percent of the any-deer permits this year to junior hunters.

Spruce budworm may wipe out remaining deer yards

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“This slow moving hurricane is on its way and will be here for a while.”

That’s the ominous prediction of Dan Wagner of the Cooperative Forestry Unit at the University of Maine, reported in the Bangor Daily News. The Unit was actually organized in 1975 during the last spruce budworm epidemic.

I monitored the massive spraying that tried to stop the spread and damage of the Spruce Budworm in the 1970s, on behalf of Congressman David Emery. In fact, I was in the north woods when one of the bombers, used to spray the forests, crashed into Eagle Lake. I flew over the plane to see it. They had to take it apart to get it out of the lake and forest.

The subsequent death of a lot of fir trees, and the massive cutting to harvest those trees before they died, and the roads that were built to accomplish that, all took a toll on the North Woods habitat and the critters that depend on it.

Less than 100,000 Mainers hunt or fish every year

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The report shocked me. As several of us looked it over, we agreed, the information couldn’t be right. So I asked Bill Swan, Director of Licensing for Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, to step out into the hall and go over it with me.

Turns out Bill’s report was correct. Less than 100,000 Maine residents buy a hunting or fishing license, or both, each year. That’s a pretty small base of sportsmen, especially considering there was a day when almost every Maine household held at least one hunter and angler.

The information came in a report Bill presented yesterday to the legislature’s Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Committee, on a professional study of a proposal to expand lifetime licenses. The study found that only 70,000 residents purchased a hunting license in each of the last five years, and only 60,000 residents purchased a fishing license in each of the last five years.

For beauty, hospitality, and food, the Waterford Inn is hard to beat

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I love traveling to Western Maine during any season, but the rolling hills covered in snow make a particularly impressive sight. I wasn’t sure where the town of Waterford was, but it turns out to be only about 15 minutes west of Norway.

        We turned onto Chadbourne Road and started the climb up the steep hill until we reached the Waterford Inn’s breathtakingly beautiful property. This 1800’s farmhouse which stayed in the Chadbourne family for generations has been lovingly turned into a Registry Select Inn by Barbara Vanderzanden.

Goals for Maine’s deer and deer hunters may be unrealistic

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NOTE: I’ve posted a question for you in this website's Sportsmen Say Survey section on this deer yard protection issue. The question is: Is it fair to expect private landowners to protect deer wintering areas – and give up the value of the timber in those areas – without compensation? Your responses will be shared with landowners, DIF&W, legislators, and the news media. Thanks!

Deer Series

We’ve lost 100,000 deer hunters and now harvest about half of the deer we did forty years ago. Sportsmen cast a wide net of blame for this, from coyotes and bears to private landowners. Perhaps our expectations have always been unrealistic.

This column is the first in a series on deer. When the series is completed, I hope we all have a more realistic understanding of what we can achieve – because I was born a Maine deer hunter and deer hunting remains my favorite outdoor activity. I even purchased two woodlots to assure that I would always have a place to hunt.

These animals may be lost, but they’re not forgotten thanks to Errol Fuller

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It’s heartbreaking and I stared at it a long time. It’s one of the only photos ever taken of the ‘O’u, a gorgeous little yellow-headed bird found in the Hawaiian islands.

As Erroll Fuller tells us in his exceptional book, Lost Animals, published by Princeton University Press, “During the 20th Century, ‘O’u populations plummeted. By the 1970s the species was almost extinct, with just a few surviving pockets. One of the last reasonably stable colonies lived on the slopes of the volcano, Mauna Loa. During 1984 a lava flow demolished the habitat.”

Lest you think extinctions are ancient history, we lost many of the animals in Fuller’s book on our watch.

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