From mining to maple syrup, a busy day at the Maine legislature

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I got my exercise today. A hearing by the Environment and Natural Resources Committee on the DEP’s proposed mining rules kicked off on the second floor of the State Office Building at 9 am and lasted all day. At the same time, the Appropriations Committee, in the Capitol building, opened a hearing on the budget for the Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry Department. And upstairs on the fourth floor of the Capitol building, hearings on bills on the citizen initiative process began.

Trout, moose, slingshots, and pink hunting clothes debated at the legislature today

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 It was an interesting afternoon with the legislature’s Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Committee, hosting hearings on four issues highlighted by Representative Danny Martin’s bill, LD 134, calling for more research on moose mortality from ticks. That was the only bill I testified on, and I will provide my testimony at the end of this column.

After Rep. Martin presented his bill, Dave Trahan from SAM and I testified in favor of bill. I went first and was especially pleased when Dave, in his testimony, praised my testimony. It was good to have SAM’s support on this important issue.

Daryl DeJoy, Wildlife Alliance of Maine, also testified for the bill, explaining that it is rare that he testifies on the same side as Dave and me. He got that right!

Deer Plans Pile Up While Deer Population Goes Down

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Coming up in George’s Outdoor News this week:

Today, a look back at many of the deer plans and recommendations from task forces and working groups.

Tomorrow (February 24), a report from the legislature where the IFW Committee hosts public hearings on four interesting bills: one on the impact of winter ticks on moose, another to allow hunting small game with a slingshot, one to allow hunters to wear pink instead of orange, and a fourth to modify fishing rules for Webster Stream.

Wednesday (February 25), a report from the legislature where 3 different committees will hear important bills on mining, new restrictions on signature gathering for ballot initiatives, and a transfer of public lands to the forestry division of the Department of Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry. I’ll touch down at all three hearings and give you a report.

From a tame fox to ice cutting and extraordinary fishing, Bradford Camps newsletter is entertaining and informative

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The newsletter from Bradford Camps arrived just before another snow storm and was just the ticket to while away another snowy day in Mount Vernon. This is probably the best sporting camp newsletter I’ve ever read.

From a tame fox to the annual ice cutting event, the newsletter is both entertaining and informative. And when I read, “September fishing was the best outlying pond fishing we have ever seen,” I thought, I need to get up there in September!

Owners Igor and Karen Sikorsky have done a great job with this historic and traditional sporting camp on Munsungan Lake. In the newsletter, which you can access here, you’ll read about the 5 Dads and 6 sons who spent time on the shooting range and fishing, the guest who hooked a huge dead lake trout, the extraordinary bear season, and a fall that brought the most grouse hunters they’ve ever had.

Monhegan Dreamin'

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Monhegan
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Monhegan in the spring. Monhegan in the summer. Monhegan in the fall. We’re getting through another long winter by dreaming of the island!

George

                Our annual Mother’s Day birding adventure weekend on Monhegan was over, and on the Barstow’s ferry, the Monhegan Boat Line, taking us back to Port Clyde and the mainland on a beautiful Sunday afternoon, we struck up a conversation with Michael Brassard and Jayne Marency on the upper deck.

                Turns out they’d just purchased the Island Inn, and after a great talk while we enjoyed the day and the voyage, they invited us back to the island to stay at their inn. It didn’t take long for us to say yes!

It’s all about animals for Mount Vernon’s 4th graders

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 Dahlov Ipcar’s book, Animal Hide & Seek, was a perfect choice for the 25 very active 4th graders at Mount Vernon Elementary School. I’ve been spending an afternoon each month teaching writing to these students and it’s been a lot of fun. The kids are enthusiastic and really enjoying our afternoons together.

So far they’ve written about their favorite old things (I told them this story could not be about their parents!), their favorite animals, their favorite after-school activity, and their favorite places outside of Mount Vernon. In the fall we went into the woods behind the school, took notes, and came back to write about what we saw there. It took quite an effort to get them out of the woods! I have tried to make writing fun for them.

Maine harvests as many deer as New Hampshire and Vermont combined

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Maine harvests about the same amount of deer as New Hampshire and Vermont combined. But those states do a better job of compiling and publishing their harvest information on a timely basis. As we near the end of February, we still don’t know what the deer harvest was last fall.

The delay is blamed on some registration station agents who have not submitted their tagging information yet. There was a time when game wardens picked up the tagging books at the registration stations and delivered them to Augusta, but apparently they don’t do that anymore.

A story about the 2014 deer harvest in New Hampshire and Vermont, published in the Northern Woodlands News, grabbed my attention. Here’s what I read:

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