A Look at Legislature's Hunting Bills

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All of Maine’s big game animals will get attention during this legislative session. Although only bill titles have been published so far, in addition to the first 200 bills that are now available, we can tell you what the major and minor issues are going to be.

A battle over bears is brewing. Senator Ed Mazurek of Knox County has sponsored the bill proposed by the Humane Society of the United States to prohibit bear trapping and hounding, ban the sale of bear galls, make a second bear hunting offense a felony, and ban spring bear hunts. I have heard rumors that HSUS may have removed from their bill their proposal to prohibit spring bear hunts, reluctant to battle Maine’s Indian Tribes on that issue.

A Look at Legislative Bills Governing Fishing

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Among the more than 1700 legislative proposals, there are plenty of bills to keep sportsmen busy and entertained. From coyotes to crossbows and brook trout to bears, there are 107 bills governing hunting and fishing, by my count. Eight of those bills are mine, sponsored at my request.

Bill titles were posted today on the legislature’s website. If you want to check them all out, go to www.maine.gov/legis/ and click on Publications, followed by Legislative Information Publications. You can select a list of bill titles by sponsor or subject. But be forewarned! The list of bills by subject takes up 145 pages!

In this column, we’ll take a look at issues governing fish, fishing, and fishermen.

76 Pleasant Street Is More Than Pleasant!

City or Town: 
Norway
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We wondered if the hour-long drive on winding roads on the foggiest night of the year would be worth it. And yes, it sure was! Our dinner at 76 Pleasant Street will unquestionably be one of our best of the year.

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Maine Fish Hatcheries Falling Short of Goals

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A state Hatchery Commission, after meeting 15 times and spending $500,000 on engineering studies and plans, recommended in 2002 that Maine quadruple the pounds of fish grown in the hatcheries of the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife and stocked throughout the state.

The Commission, chaired by then-Senator Chandler Woodcock (I was also a member), found that “there is increasing evidence that the state’s recreational salmonid fisheries no longer meet the expectations of many anglers. In addition, other New England states and Canada are heavily competing for the attention of these anglers and may be drawing anglers away from the state.”

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.

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