Cooking Wild – Maine Game At It’s Best!

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My favorite wild game cookbook is Cooking Wild by outdoor writer and editor Ken Allen of Belgrade. Guy Gannett Publishing Company, owner of the Portland Press Herald and other newspapers, published Ken’s cookbook in 1986.

When Gannett sold its newspapers, the publishing company was dissolved and the unsold copies of Ken’s book were donated to the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine, which sold them for $10 a copy until the supply was gone.

Ken began cooking at eight years old, in a family that depended on wild and seasonal foods. When he was 10, a visitor from Massachusetts asked him what his favorite food was, and was shocked when Ken answered, “Fried squirrel.” His cookbook contains six squirrel recipes.

I use Ken’s book often, and will in fact be using it this week when I prepare a couple of North Dakota pheasants for dinner.

The Smith Family Loves Hot Suppa!

City or Town: 
Portland
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Before putting daughter Hilary on a plane at the Portland Jetport for her ride back to Washington, D.C. following her Christmas visit home, we hit our favorite Portland restaurant, Hot Suppa, for a breakfast/lunch combo.

Our son Josh and daughter-in-law Kelly drove up from Brockton, Massachusetts to join us, and we convinced all of them to help write this column. As you will see, they are now big Hot Suppa fans too!

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IFW Committee Hears from Interest Groups

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The legislature’s Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Committee was briefed this afternoon on the role of the legislature’s Office of Fiscal and Program Review, heard a presentation on tribal issues, and was introduced to the representatives of the interest groups with issues before the committee.

John Banks, the highly respected Natural Resources Director for the Penobscot Tribe, surprised even me when he said he’d been serving in this position for 32 years. It was my pleasure to work with John over the years I worked for the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine.

Strangers on the (0ld Orchard) Beach

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Checking out the stacks of books in the basement at Islandport Press in Yarmouth, the stark black and white cover photo on one book grabbed my attention. Turns out it was taken by Dean Lunt, Islandport Press’s publisher.

Dean was giving me a tour of his offices after a meeting to discuss the publication of my own book – a collection of favorite newspaper columns that I’ve written over the past 23 years for central Maine’s daily newspapers.

Picking the book that grabbed my attention off the shelf, I was surprised to find out it was a novel. I didn’t know Islandport Press published novels. Immediately, I pitched my own novel to Dean!

Of course, my novel, a work-in-progress over the last 20 years, isn’t anywhere near finished!

More Broken Promises to DIF&W

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On Thursday, the legislature’s Joint Standing Committee on Inland Fisheries and Wildlife will get a briefing on Governor Paul LePage’s proposed budget for the next two-year period.

Scheduled for an appearance at 1 pm, Suzanne Voynik of the Office of Fiscal & Program Review will review the specific parts of the budget that apply to Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

What’s most telling is what she won’t be able to report. Prior to his election in 2010, Paul LePage promised, on his SAM PAC candidate survey, to submit a budget that funded at least 20 percent of DIF&W’s budget with General Fund tax money, and to oppose any budget that failed to do that.

He repeated this promise in a meeting with SAM’s Board of Directors, and in an appearance on the TV talk show Wildfire that I cohost with Harry Vanderweide.

An Act to Protect Maine’s Native and Wild Brook Trout

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It’s time to expand the successful initiative of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine to protect native brook trout in waters that have never been stocked (the so-called “A” list), by cleaning up DIF&W’s “B” list of brook trout waters that have not been stocked in at least 25 years and protecting trout in those waters.

An Act to Protect Maine’s Native and Wild Brook Trout, sponsored on my behalf by Rep. Jeff McCabe (a member of the Democratic leadership in the House, will require the agency to allocate the necessary staff and money to assure the accuracy of the “B” list, and apply the protective standards on the “A” waters to the “B” waters, including a ban on stocking and the use of live fish as bait.

Legislation to Fix DIF&W Licensing System

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This week I am posting information on the six bills I have proposed for this legislative session. Today I’ll tell you about two of those bills.

DIF&W’s system of licenses and permits is too complicated and needs reform and simplification. Currently DIF&W sells 240 license, permits, and registration, 1/3 of them to hunters.

An Act to Simplify and Encourage the Sale of Hunting and Fishing Licenses, sponsored at my request by Rep. Mike Shaw, the House Chair of the Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Committee, will create a task force to create a plan that reduces the number of licenses, permits, and registrations.

DIF&W’s online system (MOSES) is almost as old as its namesake and desperately needs to be updated and improved. This bill will require the agency to prepare a plan to do so, and submit it to the legislature with a request for an appropriation by April 1, 2013.

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