Twenty percent cut in Maine’s any-deer permits will give resident adult hunters only 12,395 permits

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 Maine’s any-deer permits will be slashed 20 percent this fall. The Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife reports “the winter of 2013-14 was of above average severity, which may have resulted in increased winter mortality rates for over-wintering deer.”

Focus on the word “may.” The sad fact is that the agency doesn’t know how many deer died this past winter, or how many deer we have in the state. Maine’s #1 game animal isn’t getting the attention and research needed to assure good decisions on harvest, habitat, and other critical issues. The Maine Game Plan for Deer has fallen far short of its goals. This year 17 of the 29 Wildlife Management Districts will get no any-deer permits, 4 more than last year.

Maine’s moose in trouble, hunting permits cut, guides cut out

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Maine’s moose permits will be reduced by 25 percent this year. The decision comes just 3 months after Lee Kantar, DIF&W’s moose biologist, reported that “Maine has a healthy and strong moose population and has the highest density of moose in the lower 48 states.”

That rosy statement was included in a January 22, 2014 press release from the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. I’ll bet Lee would like to take that one back!

Last year DIF&W awarded 4, 110 moose permits. This year hunters will get only 3,095. A “healthy and strong moose population?” I don’t think so!

Commissioner Chandler Woodcock called the drastic reduction in permits “prudent,” and “based upon the research of our biologists.” The reduction “will help lessen the impact of winter ticks on the state’s moose population.”

Ocean restaurant in Kennebunkport’s Cape Arundel Inn is a place to celebrate!

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You’d have to be on a ship to dine any closer than this to the ocean. So of course, this restaurant in the Cape Arundel Inn is called Ocean.

While the waves roll towards us, outside the huge picture windows at Ocean, my gaze is out a side window toward the nearby home of President George H.W. and Barbara Bush. They dine here too, but didn’t the night we were there. Linda suggests they probably walk to the restaurant. I doubt it!

Actually, the drive along Ocean Avenue, from the Grand Hotel where we are ensconced for the weekend, is stunning. And so is the food, served in a relatively-small, intimate setting, a place of white linens, beautiful art, and superb service.

Spruce Budworm threatens Maine deer yards and more

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While Maine has not achieved its goals for protecting deer yards, that might not matter if and when the spruce budworm gets here. The budworm could destroy the state’s deer yards on both private and public lands.

Doug Denico, Director of the Maine Forest Service, told a gathering of forest industry people recently, “If you look at the map that was put up there about Maine, you’ll see that we’ve got budworm all over Maine – moths I mean – and it’s coming back in the same places it came back in the 1950s.”

The good news is that private landowners and state agencies are working together to address this approaching problem. The latest newsletter of the Maine Forest Products Council provides an update and interesting information on this critical issue, including a bunch of reports and research. You can read it here.

This old Maine woman is a great storyteller.

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               This is a Maine you may remember. It is surely a Maine you will want to know.

                Glenna Johnson Smith’s book, Old Maine Woman, published in 2010 by Islandport Press, features “stories from the coast to the county.” And oh, what stories!

                Growing up in the 1920s and 30s in rural Hancock County. Living on the farm and teaching school in Aroostook County after that. Reveling in her old womanhood, with wisdom and humor.

                “I like the sound of the words old woman,” she writes. “They’re strong words – earthy, honest. I’m grateful I’ve survived long enough to be able to label myself by them.”

Experts report on Lyme disease and deer ticks

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Since posting two columns about Lyme disease and deer ticks recently, I have appreciated all the information that readers have shared with me.

These two places give you a ton of historical and current information. Check them out now and keep them handy.


Big Bend National Park in Southwest Texas is spectacular!

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Big Bend National Park is relentlessly stunning, high mountain desert alongside the Rio Grande, and a paradise for all who love the outdoors.


Big Bend is one of the most spectacular sights you will ever see. We’ve visited many national parks and this has become a favorite.

Picture hilly arid land with a backdrop of long mountain chains that take your breath away. Some formations create rounded sculpture shapes, while others are more angular. Rock variations color the hillsides in shades of taupe, red, and white. This is a geologist’s dream and many travel here for that reason. I tell George that this is the polar opposite of Mount Vernon. It feels like you can see forever, and it's hard to take all this vastness in.

After our interminable winter, I am soaking in the heat here. Boy it gets hot, even in April, where the average day time temperature this week was 90. Hot, sunny, and dry, but it cools down into the fifties at night with a lovely breeze.

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