IFW Committee Acts on Moose Bills

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It was all about moose this afternoon when the legislature’s Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Committee met in work session to tackle two moose bills. One was mine, LD 177, sponsored at my request by Senator Tom Saviello. The other, LD 738, was sponsored by Senator Troy Jackson on behalf of a few sporting camp owners.

The committee had asked that Lee Kantar, DIF&W’s moose biologist, attend the work session to answer questions. For the work session, and in response to comments from committee members at earlier work sessions, I prepared an amendment to my bill that directed the department to increase the moose harvest to 10 percent of the total population over the next three years. I will attach my work session memo and amendment to this column.

Turkey hunting poised for major expansion

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A remarkable thing happened last week at the legislature. The Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Committee stepped up to direct a major expansion of turkey hunting opportunity. This particular committee is showing a lot more independence of thought and action than I’ve seen in the past, and its refreshing and encouraging.

Here’s how it happened. A flood of turkey bills were submitted, including one sponsored at my request by Senator Tom Saviello, calling for a variety of actions to recruit more turkey hunters and increase the turkey harvest. Three legislators who have suffered losses on their farms because of turkeys, spoke forcefully for their own bills: Representatives Jeff Timberlake, Russell Black, and Craig Hickman. I reported on these bills and their public hearings earlier in the session.

Moose hunt up for legislative action

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            The legislature’s Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Committee is showing a lot of interest in awarding more moose permits to stimulate a distressed hunting economy, maximize the opportunity for Mainers to hunt the state’s biggest game animal, and begin partnering with the hunting industry.

            Two concepts will be central to a work session discussion next Tuesday (May 14): substantially increasing permits, and providing a small number of those permits to licensed sporting camps and lodges that are currently hosting moose hunters. The committee has asked DIF&W’s moose biologist Lee Kantar to attend the work session to answer their questions.

New bear referendum coming in 2014

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Ten years after Maine voters defeated an attempt to ban bear hunting with bait and dogs, a new ballot measure on the same issues may be on the way for 2014. The Humane Society of United States has filed its intentions to initiate a new bear referendum with Maine’s Secretary of State. HSUS was the organization that placed these issues on the ballot in 2004 and spent millions trying to convince Maine voters to support them.

HSUS has also proposed a bear bill in this session of the legislature. Their bill, LD 1474, sponsored by Representative Denise Harlow of Portland, will be scheduled for a public hearing later this month. It would prohibit bear hunting with dogs and bear trapping, eliminate any chance of Maine restoring a spring bear hunt, prohibit the sale of bear galls, and substantially increase penalties for bear poaching.

Run of the Mill Pub is anything but ordinary

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Put the exceptional team at Hallowell’s Liberal Cup into an old Maine mill with beautiful huge spaces, and invite them to create fabulous brewed-on-the-premises beer and tasty food, and what do you get?

The Run of the Mill Public House and Brewery in Saco.

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Travel Advice for Retired Teachers

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The Traveling Maine(r) and the Traveling Teacher

This was the title of my speech today to retired teachers gathered in Augusta for their annual conference. They wanted to hear about travel in Maine, but I had to start by letting them know they are appreciated. Here's my speech, with lots of travel advice.

We’re going to talk travel today, but before we get to that, I need to say this. Thank you. Thank you for all that you did for me, my children, and now my grandchildren. You may not be feeling appreciated these days, but you are appreciated. So I start by applauding you.

Lafayette's Oceanfront Resort and Federal Jack's - a Great Combination!

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An off-season visit to a southern Maine coastal resort is a great value, and the stunning scenery, coastal conservation lands, beaches, and uncrowded shops and restaurants, are all there for you!

Of course, if you want to lay on the beach, July and August beckon.

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