Shooting bear cubs in their den, killing 100 trout in a day – these Old Tales of the Maine Woods will amaze and appall you

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I had been fishing for about two hours. On counting the catch, we had one hundred and thirty-seven trout.

This might be my dream fishing experience but it is not my story. Its Heber Bishop’s story, written in the Guide Book to the Megantic, Spider, and Upper Dead River Regions in 1887, and reprinted in Steve Pinkham’s amazing (and sometimes appalling) Old Tales of the Maine Woods published by Merrimak Media in 2012.

Bishop’s story continued: My heart smote me for taking so many, but we had carried them up to camp before counting them and it was too late to put any of them back then. So we did the best we could to prevent willful waste, by gutting them, building a smoke house, and giving what we did not eat that day a smoking all that afternoon, night and until noon the next day.

Time to catch Rangeley’s Famous Trout and Salmon – at the Outdoor Heritage Museum

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                Gigantic trout and salmon taken from Rangeley’s famous waters are every angler’s dream. I’ve caught five pound brookies and salmon there, but nothing approaching the mounts I’ve seen at the Oquossoc Angling Association.

                And that’s just one reason I’ll be visiting the Outdoor Sporting Heritage Museum in Oquossoc soon, where they are featuring a special exhibit: “Rangeley’s Famous Trout and Salmon.”

The best place in the world to fish for brook trout is…

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I’ve caught everything from giant King Salmon in Alaska to huge Brown Trout in Montana to 23 species of fish in Florida, but brook trout are my passion. It saddens me that we haven’t done more to protect, enhance, and cherish Maine’s native brookies.


SWOAM says landowner relations programs have floundered with few if any achievements

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 This is another in my ongoing series on landowner relations, the most important topic and challenge for Maine sportsmen and others who recreate on private land. Of particular importance in this column are the recommendations of Tom Doak for an effective landowner relations program.

A great suggestion about multi-species management is featured in one of the many interesting stories in the July 2014 issue of Maine Woodlands, the newsletter of the Small Woodland Owners Association of Maine.

SWOAM President Rich Merk, who has talked with me before about this idea, writes about the need for multi-species management information.

Mainers on the Titanic offers compelling and astonishing stories

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Until I read Mainers on the Titanic, I had no idea of the scope of that tragedy or how it impacted our state. Mac Smith of Stockton Springs brings it home, in a very compelling way. I was captivated – and astonished.

Published this year by Down East Books, this is no dull history. Mac gives us compelling personal stories of the many Titanic passengers from Maine and their families back home. He’s a great story teller. And oh my, what stories.

From the wealthy summer folks in Bar Harbor, to the far corners of our state, the maiden voyage of the Titanic attracted lots of Mainers and relatives of Mainers. Nearly all the men died, as well as some women and children. Of the 2224 passengers and crew, 1500 perished.

Go way Downeast for the best of Maine and Canada

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 If you can only visit one place in Maine this summer, make it Lubec and Campobello


A visit to Lubec and Campobello is special any time, but visiting just before school closed for the summer was a godsend for me. I had so many things to do before I closed my classroom for the year, and my gardens really needed attention before they went crazy. Sometimes things that seem insurmountable aren’t all that bad when you are refreshed. And Lubec always refreshes me.

Normally I am not ambitious on Friday night, but I was ready for a four hour drive after school just taking in the beautiful sights of this drive. A stop for a great meal in Ellsworth at Mainely Meats Barbeque broke up the trip nicely.

Sportsmen’s Survey May Stump Gubernatorial Candidates

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Maine’s three candidates for governor recently received their 2014 Questionnaire from the Sportsmen’s Alliance of Maine. SAM is the only statewide sportsman’s group that surveys the views of candidates for major offices and the legislature, issues grades, and makes endorsements. Traditionally, the group has been nonpartisan and very successful.

In the 2014 Questionnaire, the candidates for governor are given brief explanations of many of the issues, and then asked a question. In the past, candidates have often tripped on firearms questions that, if answered incorrectly, make it unlikely those candidates will get good grades or an endorsement. The most difficult question for candidates – especially at the legislative level – has been the question asking if they support trapping. Many know nothing about trapping and have a poor or no opinion about it.

Some of the more interesting – and possibly challenging questions – on this year’s survey are these.

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