Landowner Relations Program Gets Kicked Downstairs – Again

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The Fish and Wildlife Department’s landowner relations program is woefully inadequate – indeed, it is barely a program at all, and the rest of us, including the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine, have failed to step up with our own programs and initiatives.

This statement was part of my remarks to SAM’s 2003 Sportsman’s Congress. At that time, I was SAM’s executive director. Later that year the legislature responded to this problem by creating the Landowner and Sportsmen Relations Advisory Board. It took two years for Governor John Baldacci to appoint the Board’s members, and the Board has never been effective. I’ll bet you don’t even know this Board is still in existence.

Despite the rhetoric about the importance of maintaining Maine’s traditional recreational access to private lands, and the many ideas, task forces, committees, boards, legislative bills, projects, and programs we’ve launched, today we’re right back where we started.

Ladies Take Off the Gloves for Bear Referendum

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 Bob Duchesne’s Wild Maine tackles the controversial subjects of bear hunting and trapping – and he lets the ladies make their cases first – on two recent editions of his always-entertaining radio show.

Bob’s a term-limited legislator, the author of The Maine Birding Trail and the state’s top birding guide, a long-time retired radio personality, a member of Maine Audubon’s Board who is working with us our on TV talk show Wildlife – and oh yea, this year he started this new weekly radio show. A very busy guy.

Bob’s first bear show can be accessed here and his second bear show can be accessed here.

These shows are really good, a thorough exploration of the issues that will dominate the 2014 referendum initiated by the Humane Society of the United States.

Red Sox got live Maine bear

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 “For the second consecutive year, a live bear will be awarded the first Boston Red Sox player who hits a home run.

“Officials of the Maine Department of Development of Industry and Commerce, sponsors of the gift, say that the bear, Homer the Second, is housed at the Maine State Game Farm at Gray. He is three months old, one of quadruplets rescued by wardens after his mother died.

“Homer the First was won last year by Norm Zauchin, who hit two home runs. Zauchin donated his prize to the Birmingham, Alabama zoo.”

From the Maine Outdoorsman and Conservationist newspaper, September, 1956.

The home run had to be hit during State of Maine Day at Fenway Park.

Go Sox! Bear Up! 

North Haven Island's Nebo Lodge and Restaurant

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North Haven
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Maine islands have become favorite get-a-ways for us, and thanks to Nebo Lodge, North Haven just rose to the top of the list!

Read more.

 

Your last gift from Paul Fournier is ready to pick up.

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Paul Fournier’s last gift to us, completed just before he died last August, is ready for you. Paul’s cover photo for Birds of a Feather is just one of the astonishing things this wonderful man accomplished in his life – a life lived outdoors.

I am very grateful that he had time to finish this book, published by Islandport Press in Yarmouth, because it’s a testament to all he learned, loved, and lived. Paul’s previous book, Tales from Misery Ridge, was entertaining as well as award winning.

There are more tales in Birds of a Feather, but most importantly, he has also left us with a lot of wisdom – wisdom he gained as a guide, bush pilot, sporting camp owner, TV program producer, photographer, outdoor writer, and information officer for Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

Always, everywhere, he was outdoors, leading the life, capturing it in photos, videos, and words.

Sportsmen Raised Nearly $2 million to win the 2004 Bear Referendum

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A total of $1,727,751.25 was raised in 2004 to successfully defend Maine’s bear hunt against a ballot measure initiated by the Humane Society of the United States. As the executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine, with a ton of help and generosity of many supporters inside and outside of our state, I raised the money. The campaign’s steering committee, comprised of leaders from SAM, the Maine Professional Guides Association, and the Maine Trappers Association,  hired my sister, Edie Smith, to manage the campaign.

We trailed badly from the get-go, and were fortunate to squeak out a 53 to 47 percent victory. Honestly, we had to do everything right. And we did.

HSUS is back for another round, currently circulating petitions for a 2014 referendum on the same issues of bear trapping and bear hunting with hounds and bait. If this initiative gets on the ballot, we’ll encounter a divisive, ugly, and expensive campaign. Very expensive. Certainly more expensive than the 2004 campaign.

Jim Sterba's disturbing news about wildlife

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We’re overrun with wild animals and have no plan to solve the problem. Jim Sterba, author of Nature Wars, is our guest in the current episode of Wildfire. You don’t want to miss this.

From the sad to the sensational, Sterba tells us - in his book and on the show - how and why burgeoning wildlife populations have “turned backyards into battlegrounds.” The topic is very timely as Maine approaches its second referendum on bear hunting in a decade. In fact, Sterba presents an account on Maine’s 2004 bear referendum in his chapter on bears, appropriated titled “Teddies.”

I posted a column about the book earlier in the year. You can read that here.

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