La Bella Vita and Pies on Parade. Buon Appetitto!

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It was tough – enjoying a spectacular dinner at the Samoset’s La Bella Vita on Saturday night, and finding room to eat our way around Rockland the next afternoon at Pies on Parade.

But we did it!

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Police Collect and Sell Guns to Benefit Special Olympics

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While some police agencies collect guns and destroy them, a coalition of Maine police chiefs and the State Police have a better approach. On Saturday, in a new initiative called “Safe Communities Maine,” police departments in Yarmouth, Cumberland, and Falmouth, along with State Police officers at the Troop B Barracks in Gray, will accept guns from private citizens to sell them to Howell’s gun shop in Gray with the money going to the Maine Special Olympics.

Brilliant! Wonderful!

Think about it. Folks who have guns in their homes but feel uncomfortable about it, can give the guns to law enforcement officers, confident that they will be handled properly. Those guns will be sold to a gun shop, where those who buy them will have to pass the federal background check.

Rubber Worms, Senior Anglers, and Coyotes. A typical day for the IFW Committee!

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The room was packed, and I noticed a lot of professional lobbyists, unusual for the Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Committee. The ban on rubber worms has pumped some money into our political system!

The afternoon’s committee meeting began 2 hours late, due to the long debates in the House and Senate about the Governor’s proposal to temporarily keep the names and addresses of concealed weapons permit holders secret. That bill passed both bodies, but it took a while.

Rep. Robert Saucier of Presque Isle started the afternoon session by presenting his bill to direct DIF&W money to local conservation groups to support the work of those groups in rebuilding the state’s deer herd.

Lee Kantar on Moose and Deer

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Lee Kantar presented his annual reports on moose and deer to the legislature’s IFW Committee yesterday. Kantar is always on top of his subject matter, articulate, well informed, and passionate about his work. Here is some of what he had to say.

Kantar on Moose

“Northern Maine is a Mecca for moose.”

“Do we have more moose than in the 90s or before? I can’t tell you that. The important point is that today we have (science-based) data.”

He is focusing his work on 12 WMDs and feels moose have many problems in the southern and central districts. He has conducted his helicopter surveys in 9 out of the 12 WMDs so far to create his estimate of 75,000 moose statewide.

“The big unknown is mortality, and the causes of mortality. So we have to be cautious in the number of permits we issue.”

Doing Valentine's Day Right!

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Guys. Print this out for next year’s Valentine’s Day. Here’s how to do Valentine’s Day right.

You tell your wife that you’re cooking her dinner, and then surprise her with dinner at one of her favorite Italian restaurants, Gagliano’s in Augusta.

Earlier in the day, you visit the restaurant with a bag of items to be placed on your table before you arrive for dinner: a photo of your wife dining in Italy with the hills of Tuscany in the background; her favorite vase filled with some of her favorite fresh flowers; a beautifully wrapped gift of her favorite chocolates from Monica’s Chocolates in Lubec (and purchased in Hallowell at Scrummy Afters Candy Shoppe); and of course, a very nice Valentine card.

Turkey Bill Gets Great Hearing

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We talked turkey today at the legislature. Although there were six bills on the public hearing schedule for the Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Committee, my focus was on LD 84, An Act to Expand Turkey Hunting. And that is the bill that consumed most of the afternoon.

LD 84 is my proposal, sponsored on my behalf by Senator Tom Saviello. Here’s what it does:

1)      Focuses on reversing the decline in turkey hunters and serving farmers and private landowners by increasing the turkey harvest.

2)      Eliminates the turkey permit and fees so that turkey hunting may be included in DIF&W’s hunting licenses without additional payment.

Wildfire is Back!

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Suffering football withdrawal? I’ve got just the antidote. Watch Wildfire, Maine’s most popular TV show!

Well ok, Wildfire may not be the most popular show, but it is available on the Time Warner cable station in more than 300,000 shows and on the website of Maine Audubon.

The show airs on Wednesday nights at 7 pm, beginning on February 13. In most areas, the Time Warner channel is 9. It will also air on other days and times, as yet to be announced.

After 11 years on commercial and cable stations, this TV talk show, cohosted by Harry Vanderweide and me, went off the air at the end of 2010 when I retired from the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine to write full time.

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