Elegance combined with great food makes 22 Broad Street a destination

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                I still remember the amazing dining experience we had four years ago when we first visited 22 Broad Street in Bethel. It was a perfect fall evening and we dined in their charming screened in porch. Tiny decorative white lights, intimate tables, a gentle breeze, and an extraordinary Italian meal remain in my mind.

How would you spend new revenue to benefit Maine’s fish and wildlife?

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If Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife received new revenue, how do you think it should be spent? That was the assignment that the legislature’s Appropriations Committee gave to the Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Committee last week. The request was focused on the possibility of giving DIF&W some tax revenue, something we’ve been trying to achieve for more than 20 years, without much luck.

Some members of the Appropriations Committee also asked me to submit suggestions. The rest of this column gives you the new initiatives I’ve suggested to the committee. I am also encouraging you to join in this important discussion by emailing me your suggestions (georgesmithmaine@gmail.com), or completing the survey question I have posted in the Sportsmen Say Survey section of my website (georgesmithmaine.com). In the survey, I am looking for your most important suggestion.  Now, here are mine!

March 31 Memo to the Appropriations Committee

Driving deer to distraction - a good hunting technique

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Another in my series of hunting and fishing stories, including “best bucks” and “game mistakes”. Both are in this story.

                Sometimes small changes in hunting laws bring big benefits. My big buck one year was the result of a small law change 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.

Talking turkey at the Maine legislature

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                We were talking turkeys at the legislature on Thursday, when the Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Committee hosted a hearing on LD 781, An Act to Eliminate Permits for Turkey Hunting and Expand Turkey Hunting, sponsored by Senator Tom Saviello at my request. My testimony, presented here, gives you a bit of history of these issues, along with justification for changes proposed in this bill.


                Maine has lost about one third of its turkey hunters over the last nine years. That’s astonishing, because spring turkey hunting is an exciting experience. I’ve been hooked since my first day when Harry Vanderweide accompanied me to a field near my house and called in a large gobbler. I shot the bird at about 5 yards.

Legislature hears lots of support for letting younger kids hunt

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 Hi. My name is Danielle Armiger. I want the law to change so that little girls that are 8 years old can hunt. I am ready to hunt because I’ve been hunting with my Mom and Dad since I was four years old. Also, I got a .22 Cricket for Christmas and I’ve been doing a good job learning how to shoot it safely.  I know how to use my .22 rifle safely. I know not to point it at anybody, to keep my finger off the trigger until I’m ready to shoot. I’m ready to hunt because I know a lot about animals. I’m a good aimer. And I’m a good shooter. I love the meat from the animal.

Huts and Trails features high adventure, comfort, and great food

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New Portland
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                Okay, I was clueless about the Maine Huts & Trails system before this adventure. When George explained to me that we would hike in, maybe in the dark, and sleep in a “hut”, I may have been a bit apprehensive. He sweetened the deal by saying that was the weekend Bob Duchesne was leading a winter bird watch. I hadn’t been birding in so long, a winter bird hike sounded awesome to me.

        Then George explained that all we needed to bring were sleeping bags, and that all the meals were prepared for the guests at the lodge. We could snowshoe in - no problem.

        As it turned out, the gorgeous snowshoe in was extremely easy, even carrying in our gear. Walking up the well groomed Service Road was only 1 mile. A more scenic trial in along Flagstaff Lake is 1.8 miles. We decided to explore more trails once we unloaded our gear.

Washington County Senator Takes Aim at Heater Hunters

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 There was a lot of talk about “heater hunters” at the legislature’s Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Committee yesterday. LD 848, An Act to Increase the Safety of Hunting, sponsored by Senator David Burns of Washington County, sparked quite a debate on both sides of the issue.

Actually, we’re all on the same side, but we are looking in different directions. Senator Burns kicked off the debate by noting, “Deer hunting is something I grew up with since I was 7 or 8 years old… hunting is very important to me personally, just as it is important to the rural parts of our state especially.”

His bill would:


Increase the minimum distance for discharging a firearm to 100 feet from the center of a paved road with a $500 fine for violations;

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