Battle over bears focused on money – and sportsmen are holding their own

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In the end, the battle over bears will be decided by money. That’s just my opinion, but I believe it’s correct.


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.

Governor can’t stop gold dredging/brook trout protection bill

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The emailed message from Maine Audubon’s lobbyist, Jennifer Burns Gray, was very good news.

“LD 1671, the bill that protects certain waters (that are special for brook trout) from motorized gold prospecting, has been enacted by both the House and Senate.  The Governor vetoed the bill and the veto was overriden by an impressive vote.  Kudos to our friend Jeff Reardon at Trout Unlimited and to his legislative allies, Sen. Tom Saviello, Sen. Jim Boyle, and Rep. Russell Black, for their outstanding work,” wrote Jenn, who has lobbied for Maine Audubon for 17 years.

The Senate over-rode the Governor’s veto unanimously, while the House did so by an outstanding vote of 119 to 23.

As I reported earlier, a battle between brook trout advocates, led by Trout Unlimited and Maine Audubon, and gold diggers, led by the Maine Gold Prospectors, ended in a great collaborative compromise amended version of the LD 1671.

Mainely Brews and the Waterville Opera House - a great Irish celebration!

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We are not Irish but some Saint Patrick Day celebrations are too good to pass up. I associate holidays with food so it’s a given that I will crave corned beef and cabbage by mid-March. When we found out that the Waterville Opera House was featuring an instrumental group from Ireland on March 14th, we figured out a very special way to celebrate Saint Patrick Day this year: dinner at Mainely Brews followed by a performance by Lunosa at the Opera House.

The restaurant had already embraced the upcoming holiday with a menu featuring several Irish dishes. Corned Beef and Cabbage, Bangers and Mash, the Duclin Burger and a Reuben were front and center. We decided to start with an appetizer, giving me more time to decide on entrees.

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Maine’s recreational fishing rules are too darned complicated

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We studied the 300-page summary provided by Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, and were still confused. We think we could keep up to five brookies over six inches, from brooks and streams, except those which are part of the Allagash Wilderness Waterway, in which case the trout had to be over twelve inches and we could keep only two fish, of which one could be over fourteen inches, and each must have a notch in the dorsal fin, unless there were at least thirty-five orange sports on each side of the fish, except for fish in streams crossing the American Realty Road, which must have no more than twenty-five orange spots on each side.

We think we obeyed the laws. My friend Barney has hired a lawyer to review the regulations and get back to us prior to next year’s trip.

We had a great time, and I’m hopeful we didn’t inadvertently poach any brookies with too few orange sports. To be safe, we ate them before they could become evidence.

Maine sportsmen and women are very poorly informed

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I spoke a couple of week ago at a southern Maine sportsmen’s club, giving them a rundown on my current activities, focused on my outdoor news blog and new Sportsmen Say Survey. I began by asking them these questions.

“How many of you hunt grouse in the unorganized territories?” Many hands were raised. “Then you know about the new law, enacted last year that requires us to label each grouse with our name and the date we shot the bird.”

Heads shook. Nope. Didn’t know about it. I was astonished. My next question was going to be, “Did you know the grouse labeling law was repealed this year?” Of course, they didn’t know that either!

“Did you know that 25 percent of the any-deer permits will go to young hunters this year, leaving only 1/3 of the permits for resident adult hunters?” No, they didn’t. They seemed ok with it.

Senator Angus King defends Maine's bear management

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Statement by U.S. Senator Angus King

Received March 31, 2014

Maine Bear Referendum


The general debate in Maine over bear hunting, as well as the finer points of baiting, dogs, and traps, is

a state issue which does not—and should not–involve the federal government. These decisions have

always and should continue to be made by the Maine Legislature or Maine voters, through a


Rockland culinary tour started at the Samoset

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Five restaurants in 41 hours - my kind of weekend! While the Samoset Resort's spectacular ice bar drew us to the Rockland area in mid-January, our culinary tour of the area added flavor to the weekend.

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