I’m volunteering to help reduce Italy’s out-of-control wild boar population

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 They’re calling my name, those beautiful hills of Tuscany, where wild boar and deer are chowing down on the grape vines and grapes and endangering my favorite wines.

A friend sent me the news story, written by Gaia Pianigiani and published in the New York Times on March 7, which started out this way:

GAIOLE IN CHIANTI, Italy — Fences are rising. There is talk of a brutal and destructive insurgency, invasions and a slaughter that could include hundreds of thousands in the years ahead. If that sounds something like a war, the battlefield is the prized vineyards of Chianti, Italy’s vaunted wine region in the heart of the rolling hills of Tuscany.

And the enemy? An exploding population of voracious wild boars and deer that savor the sugary grapes and the vines’ tender sprouts, but that are also part of the region’s famed landscape, hunting traditions and cuisine.

Another great dining adventure at Solo Bistro

City or Town: 
Bath
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 George

                Ever since we enjoyed a wonderful dinner at Solo Bistro three years ago, we’ve wanted to return. And finally, our recent stay at the Inn at Bath gave us that opportunity. We scheduled the visit for a Wednesday night, figuring they wouldn’t be very busy. Well, that was wrong!

                And I should have known that, because for years the restaurant has featured a Wednesday special for the bargain price of $17.99. The special is promoted in a weekly email from Will Neilson, who owns the restaurant with his wife Pia, the manager. Will’s weekly emails are always entertaining with a bit of philosophy mixed with food news.

The snows gone but the garbage remains

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 Road slobs had a busy winter. When I stopped my garbage walks, after snow piled along the roadsides and hid the garbage tossed out by road slobs, the side of the road from my house to the corner of the Blake Hill Road, and then up Route 41 past my woodlot, were clean.

So it was discouraging today to set out with two bags, one for bottles and cans and one for garbage, and fill both up on just one side of the road. Tomorrow I’ll tackle the other side.

On my last garbage walk of 2015, I found an anniversary card signed by Peg and Ray, and a receipt from the Waterville McDonald’s offering me an opportunity to buy one quarter pounder or egg mcmuffin and get one free. I couldn’t use that because I got so disgusted by all the garbage from fast food restaurants, especially McDonald’s and Dunkin Donuts, that I now refuse to eat at either place.

Legislature acts to strengthen hunting, fishing, and trapping

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 The legislature’s Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Committee voted unanimously yesterday to strengthen the language in the Fish and Wildlife’s mission statement. It’s been a long road getting here, especially considering that the amended version of LD 1593 contains only 19 words. But those 19 words are important.

This story begins with a proposal from the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine designed to discourage wildlife ballot initiatives like the 2014 bear referendum. As described in the summary, “This bill establishes contingent wildlife management provisions that become effective when an initiated ballot measure is approved that reduces wildlife management methods available to the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. The provisions of this bill only apply to the animals that are significantly effected either directly or indirectly by the approved ballot measure.”

It’s never been easier to express your opinions on big game management

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 For the first time, Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife is reaching out to all of us and inviting us to participate in the preparation of new management plans for our big game animals: deer, moose, bear, and turkeys. In public meetings and an online forum, you can be heard on all the issues that are important to you. I hope you will not miss this unprecedented opportunity.

Let’s start with the online forum. You’ll find it here, at www.metownhall.org. Since the forum opened on March 1, only 13 comments were posted on turkeys, 14 on deer, 2 on moose, and surprisingly, just one on bear. You can simply post your thoughts on one or all of these big game animals and management of them, or get into an online discussion of the issues that concern you.

DIF&W’s Questions

Maine anglers don’t care if they catch a big fish, or even a lot of fish.

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 Most Maine anglers don’t care if they catch a big fish, or even a lot of fish. According to a survey by Mark Duda of Responsive Management, 31% of Maine anglers fish primarily to spend time with family and friends. Another 31 percent fish for relaxation (that is not a fish species). Only 1 percent is out there trying to catch large fish. And 9 percent fish to be close to nature.

This reminded me of this statement, written by John Buchan:

The charm of fishing is that it is the pursuit of what is elusive but attainable, a perpetual series of occasions for hope.”

Apparently, we’re not all hoping for the same thing!

Survey finds Maine anglers very happy. Are you?

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 Good news! You are very happy with your fishing experiences in Maine. You think the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife does a superb job of managing fisheries. You have no problem understanding the fishing rules. And many of you don’t even care if you catch a fish – it’s all about the outdoor experience.

Unbelievable, you say? Well, those were some of the surprising survey results presented by Mark Duda of Responsive Management to DIF&W’s Fisheries Steering Committee, the group that is working with the agency to create new management plans for all fish species.

Steering Committee members were very skeptical of the survey results. “I think this satisfaction level is unbelievable,” said Committee member Fern Bosse, representing the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine. “Where are all those people who think the agency is doing great? I don’t see them.”

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