Roberta Scruggs gets caught in the Wildfire!

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 Getting our TV talk show Wildfire back on the air has been a great experience. Special thanks to all of you who let us know how much you missed the show.

My cohost James Cote and I feature a single guest on each show, and focus on critical outdoor issues. But sometimes we just like to have fun. That’s what we’ll be doing in a show that we’re taping next week with Kate Krukowski Gooding, a wild game cookbook author and very entertaining speaker. That show will be taped in a kitchen, and I won’t tell you now what Kate will be cooking for us, but it’s going to be fantastic!

59% increase in any-deer permits = Happy hunters!

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 Any-deer permits will increase by 59% this year, and that’s great news for Maine’s deer hunters. “The winter of 2015-16 was of below-average severity in most of the state,” DIF&W noted, “which resulted in higher survival rates for our over-wintering deer.”

The agency is recommending that 45,755 permits be issued this year, to meet their doe quota of 5,297 animals. Last year they issued 28,700 permits. I’ll give you the numbers for last year and this year at the end of this column.

I’m disappointed by the slight increase in my district, WMD 16, which had seen a decrease of 1000 permits over the past two seasons. This year we’ll get just 110 more permits. I thought the decrease here last year was unnecessary, as we were seeing lots of deer, especially young deer. While I chose not to kill a deer last year, I saw 38 of them while hunting. And there are lots and lots of deer here now.

DIF&W Analysis

Animals clubbed to death, 1000 doves killed illegally, and a starched linen band imperils women’s fair necks

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 Yesterday I published a column of hunting stories gathered from the Maine Woods, a newspaper published in the early 1900s. Historian Adam Fisher has left out a half dozen books loaded with copies of Maine Woods, at the State Library, for me to read and write about. If you missed it, my first column on this collection was published on March 14 and is still available in this blog.

Here is the third column in this series. On my second visit, I opened one of the books at random, to the November 20, 1903 edition of Maine Woods, where I found pages 6 and 7 loaded with outdoor stories, laws, and ads. Yesterday’s column includes some of the stories from those two pages. Here are a few more stories from that same issue.

Pleasant Island Camps

The present sportsmen at the camp are A.C. Holt, of Somerville, Mass., J.A. Gammons, Providence, R.I., Harry Tuttle, New York, H.B. Higginbotham, Philadelphia, and Dr. Chase of New York.

There was a chickadee sitting on Linda’s computer

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 Both Mainers and tourists love to see – and sometimes even interact – with wildlife. I’ve probably had more encounters with wildlife than many folks, given the time I spend outdoors, in the woods, and on the waters of our state. Here is the fourth in a series relating some of my more memorable encounters.

Birds in the House

                One morning Linda was getting ready for school when she spotted a chickadee on her computer, apparently brought into the house by the cat. Another time, the cat brought in a sparrow. Lin yelled at the cat and he dropped the bird. It promptly lifted off and flew into my office. Lin put on a pair of gloves and chased the bird around the room, finally catching it and setting it outside. Not all wildlife-in-the-home stories have a bad ending.

Arizona is amazing in April

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                 Our three-week spring birding adventure began with a week in the Tucson, Arizona area, surrounded by stunning mountains, amazing migrating birds, and awesome Mexican restaurants. Dr. Brint and Alice Darlington hosted us in Saddlebrooke, a town just northwest of Tucson. Dr. Darlington practiced in the Augusta area, and they purchased their Arizona home 16 years ago as a winter place and now live there fulltime. It’s easy to understand why, from the mountain views to the warm climate.

                We got birding advice from a half dozen Maine friends before we left and hit all the places they suggested. Don Mairs suggested Melody Kehl as a birding guide, and we spent one day traveling up Mt. Lemon in the Santa Catalina Mountains with Melody, having such a good time that we booked a trip with her the next day to Madera Canyon. We saw 100 species of birds in those two days, many for the first time ever.

Moxie Pond is mighty mysterious in this novel by Wayne Tanguay

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 If you get to enjoy deer camp you’ll really relate to Wayne Tanguay’s novel, Mysterious Moxie Pond. But his deer camp is a lot more adventurous than yours, for sure.

The story kicks off with the disappearance and death of a game warden. He’s gone but not forgotten by his daughter who eventually becomes a game warden herself, assigned to her Dad’s old area around the Forks and Moxie and Indian Ponds. And she becomes a central character in the story.

Having fished that area quite a few times, I know it well, and Tanguay does too, because he’s an avid angler and hunter who hunted for 30 years in the Etna area before moving on to Moxie Gore, the setting for his story.

Hallelujah, the TV Show Wildfire is back on the air!

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 Wildfire explored the most interesting, provocative, and pressing natural resource and outdoor issues and stirred things up, just one of the many reasons I’ve missed this TV talk show since it went off the air three years ago. When Harry Vanderweide and his business partner Andy Collar asked me to cohost the show in 2002, it didn’t take long to say yes.

                State Representative Paul Jacques was my cohost for year one, and Harry took on that role the next year. We started out on commercial television but that got to be very expensive, so we switched to Time Warner cable, putting us in more than 300,000 Maine homes and helping build a statewide audience.

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