Turkey populations are out of control

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 As I write this column, a dozen turkeys are poking around in the snow on our front lawn. And some people think we are harvesting too many turkeys! I think I should have been able to go out and shoot one of them for lunch.

Ok, I’m just kidding. But the last Big Game Steering Committee meeting was an eye-opener, with more than an hour devoted to turkeys. First of all, we don’t even know how many turkeys we have in Maine. The discussion led to an objective to “develop and implement a reliable system to estimate population.”

I am very skeptical they have the staff to do this, but as Nate Webb of DIF&W’s Wildlife Division said, there is good research available from other states to help them estimate Maine’s populations. Webb’s notes from the last meeting reported the Steering Committee’s questioning of whether it makes sense to have an objective of stabilizing the turkey population when we cannot accurately estimate that population.

“Just One More Thing, Doc” by Bradford B. Brown, DVM

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After reading Brad Brown’s first book, While You’re Here, Doc, I couldn’t wait to dive into his second, Just One More Thing, Doc.

And sure enough, just like his first book, once I began reading, I couldn’t stop, racing through the non-stop astonishing stories of Brown’s career as a veterinarian, focused on farm animals.

In his first book, Brown was trampled, dragged, mauled, and more by farm animals, especially horses. And the beatings continue in book two.

“The Boston Castrato” by Colin W. Sargent

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The Boston Castrato by Colin W. Sargent is an intriguing novel, original and compelling. It really surprised me.

When I heard that the founding editor of Portland Magazine had written a novel, I expected a Maine story. But the principle character, Raffi, starts out in Italy and ends up in Boston, working at the historic Parker House Hotel.

I’ve got to say that Sargent has a vivid imagination and has filled his book with astonishing priests, shipbuilders, politicians, poets, and really really bad people. There’s plenty of humor too.

As a young boy, Raffi is focused on singing, but his Priest castrates him and he is forbidden from ever singing again. He makes his way to Boston where he mingles with all sorts of mobsters and charlatans. Honestly, this is an amazing story.

What were Maine sportsmen and women doing in 2007? A lot!

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 I’ve been going through my collection of issues of the SAM News, and was delighted to find the very first issue published in January, 1976, the year before I joined SAM. I left a collection in the SAM office when I ended my service as executive director, but also kept a collection for myself.

Believing it is always helpful to look back, especially given the challenges we face today, here’s what I learned from the SAM News published in the fall of 2007.

New chef offers fantastic food at the Sea Glass Restaurant

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Cape Elizabeth
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 Linda

                The Sea Glass restaurant, located in the Inn by the Sea in Cape Elizabeth, is a very special place. The Sea Glass Art Collection had recently been changed and the walls showcased bright colors and a variety of artistic styles. You will find Maine artists as well as Matisse and Chagall.

                We’ve sent several friends here for special celebrations, and they’ve all raved about both the inn and the restaurant. If you haven’t yet experienced a dinner here, mark it down for a special treat.

“A Girl Called Vincent” by Krystyna Poray Goddu

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You probably know that Edna St. Vincent Millay was a famous Maine poet. Among her many national awards, she won a Pulitzer Prize, a Distinguished Lifetime Achievement award, and was declared one of the ten most famous women in America.

But do you know the rest of the story? Well, even if you do, you will enjoy A Girl Called Vincent by Krystyna Poray Goddu.

And please don’t let the book’s designation “Young Adult” discourage you. This book is for all ages, and I thoroughly enjoyed learning more about this amazing woman.

Millay was raised in poverty by a single Mom, and was responsible for raising her two sisters. Yet she found time to sing, play the piano, act, and write poetry. Her poems began attracting attention at a very young age.

Time to make wild game dinners legal – and taking crops without permission on private land illegal

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While the Warden Service looks the other way and often participates in them, it is illegal in Maine to charge people for a wild game dinner. Sportsmen’s clubs, Unity College, and even some churches serve wild game dinners and charge for them, but generally report that they charge for the “social hour” before dinner and then provide the dinner for free.

I hate it when we have to do things like this to enjoy something that should be ok. So I’ve proposed legislation this session to make these dinners legal. Senator Tom Saviello will sponsor the bill.

Senator Saviello is also sponsoring my bill to require landowner permission to pick crops on private land, such as mushrooms and fiddleheads. This bill will go to the Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry Committee. That committee worked on similar legislation last year, focused on those who pick crops commercially on private land without permission, but failed to support that proposal.

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