Deer Driving Definition Needs Clarification

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When Captain Chris Cloutier informed the legislature’s Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Committee last week that even two hunters are prohibited from driving deer, he not only redefined the law, but he put many Maine hunters in jeopardy.

I wrote about that issue, along with information provided by the Warden service on how the tactic is utilized in other states (including the fact it has not proven to be unsafe), in my outdoor news blog on the website of the Bangor Daily News.  Thinking about this issue since then, I’ve realized we are talking about two different hunting techniques.

Deer driving conjures up an image of a dozen hunters lined up walking through the woods toward a half-dozen shooters straight ahead and ready to blast any deer than runs toward them.

Loons and Lead are a Deadly Mix

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I began my testimony at today’s public hearing with the cries of a loon - because the proposed ban on lead sinkers is all about loons.

LD 730, proposed by Maine Audubon and sponsored by Senator Anne Haskell, is titled “An Act to Protect Maine’s Loons by Banning Lead Sinkers and Jigs.”  The bill would make it illegal to sell or use lead sinkers and jigs weighing one ounce or less and measuring 2 ½ inches or less in length.

Before we got to LD 730, the committee hosted a public hearing on a bill to allow Sunday hunting for ducks during the second (late) season. No chance of that happening!

After the hearing on LD 730, testimony was heard on LD 775, a bill that would require all nonresident duck hunters to hire and hunt with a Maine guide. No chance of that happening either.

Experience Mexico with a Maine Flare at Zapoteca

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Zapotec was a pre-Columbian culture more than 2500 years ago.

Portland’s Zapoteca Restaurante Y Tequileria is a lot more modern but retains the strong connection to that region of Mexico from its decorations to its flavorful and creative Mexican food served with flare.

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Belfast Is Where It's At!

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The Main Street drops steeply into the sea, escorted by shops and restaurants that celebrate the best of Maine arts, books, food, fun, hospitality, and service.

Belfast is where it’s at!

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Debating Bait at the Legislature

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When Commissioner Chandler Woodcock and the Fish and Wildlife Advisory Council took the very modest step in December of 2012 of banning the use of fish as live bait on 9 waters in northern Maine, it set off a stream of protests that led directly to the legislature where Senator Troy Jackson, the bait industry, and others offered legislation to reverse that decision. Troy’s bill was heard today by the Inland Fisheries and Wildlife and the room was packed.

Five members of the IFW Committee cosponsored the bill, indicating a real problem on this issue for Commissioner Woodcock and his agency.

Supporters of the bill spoke for about an hour and a half, and then opponents took over, taking another hour and a half. Stalemate there. It was especially good to hear the testimony of Dave Trahan expressing SAM’s opposition to the bill.

Time to Reverse an Alewife Mistake

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We were packed like alewives into the small hearing room of the legislature’s Marine Resources Committee, hosting hearings this morning on a trio of contentious bills that would allow alewives to access a portion or the entire St. Croix River watershed.

I arrived almost an hour early and the room was already almost full. By the time I got to the sign up sheet for those who wished to testify, there were a couple dozen names ahead of me, most of them proponents of one of the three bills.

My testimony closely mirrored the column I posted on my outdoor news blog on the website of the Bangor Daily News on Friday. I encourage you to read that column if you have an interest in this issue.

Woodcock Reaches Out to Anglers

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Commissioner Chandler Woodcock has made an unprecedented effort to reach out to anglers of all interests as he tries to move forward with a fisheries agenda focused on his primary interest: native and wild brook trout.

I have fished with Chandler, consider him a friend, and know that this one means a lot to him. And while I – as well as others – are frustrated with the slow progress on recognizing this great resource and doing what is necessary to protect and enhance it – I have no doubt that the Commissioner and his top staff will continue to move in this direction. Not fast enough for me. But hey, I’m not a real patient guy.

On all fronts, we are dealing with a tide of rushing fisheries legislation, proposals, working groups, ideas, and initiatives.

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