Landowner Relations Program may expand, thanks to legislature

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 With a couple of significant changes, legislation to expand the landowner relations program at Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife won a nearly unanimous vote of support from the legislature’s Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Committee on May 14.

Rep. Ellie Espling sponsored the bill at my request and worked closely with me throughout the process. Many major organizations testified in support of the bill including the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine, Maine Snowmobile Association, Small Woodland Owners of Maine, Maine Forest Products Council, Maine Conservation Voters, and Sarah Medina, Chair of DIF&W’s Landowner Sportsman Relations Advisory Board.

New owners bring excitement and great dining to the Village Inn and Tavern

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                The new owners of the Village Inn and Tavern in Belgrade Lakes are vivacious, ambitious, and eager to please their customers. Throughout our dinner there, they were both all over the dining room, visiting with customers and assisting the staff.

                Kate Beals and Heather Pena are determined to improve on what was already a good restaurant. They have renovated the upstairs dining room and downstairs tavern, brought in two experienced chefs, Dave Jordan and Sam Nutting, and added outstanding items to the menu that was already famous for its duck dishes.

Geese are pooping machines - but we still can't shoot them

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 An adult goose poops 8 times a day, depositing ½ to 1 pound of droppings, leaving a disgusting unhealthy mess. If you are plagued by a group of geese, you know what I’m saying. In a week, they can leave an astonishing amount of poop on your lawn.

As I read in a recent flyer titled Don’t Feed the Geese, “Goose droppings are slippery, unsanitary and unsightly. They harbor parasites that may cause human health problems, and they increase algae growth that, in turn, causes fish kills.” Yikes! Fish kills!

Geese may be Maine’s secret weapon to get homeowners to rip out their shoreside lawns to protect the quality of our lakes. Because ripping up your lawn is pretty much the first thing you will be required to do, if you want to get rid of the geese.

This is what bear hunting is all about

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 My name is Alyssa Sansoucy. I am 12 years old and I got my first bear last year. I also got a huge in 2012. My dad wanted to make sure we got the opportunity to hunt bear before bear hunting gets restricted. So, my dad called Shepard Hunting Co. and he said a hound hunt would probably be best for us.

All summer I was excited for fall to come and the hunt to begin. We started preparing a week or two prior and the night before we left I could hardly sleep, I was so excited. The next day we left around 11:00-11:30 am and we got there at about 3:30 pm. When we walked inside the lodge we were greeted by two very nice people. They showed us our room and made us feel at home. After that I went to see all of the dogs - they were very friendly.

Governor LePage needs your fisheries wish list

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It’s time to let Governor Paul LePage know what’s on your fisheries wish list. He’s well into his second and final term, and if he’s going to do anything remarkable for our state’s fisheries, it’ll need to be done soon. Change never comes quickly and many of the good suggestions I’ve heard would take years to achieve.

One wish list came to me recently from Dennis Smith of Otter Creek. I’ve known Dennis for a long time. He’s a member of the outstanding Fishing Initiative Committee at the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine, a life-long avid angler, and a longtime fisheries activist. Here’s his wish list (with my explanations in parentheses):

Reorganize fishery division (to match the way the wildlife division is organized)

Eliminate fishery regions (partly to bring consistency to stocking and other policies)

Deer harvest remains steady but permits getting slashed

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                Maine hunters harvested 22,490 deer in 2014, about the same number as the previous year, but any deer permits for 2015 will nevertheless be slashed by 23 percent.

                Kyle Ravana, the lead deer biologist for Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, said, “By decreasing the number of any deer permits available, we can offset some of the impact of the now two consecutive harsh winters.”

How much are Maine moose worth? A lot!

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             To Howard Ludington of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, a Maine moose is worth $13,000. Dustin Parent of Laconia, New Hampshire agrees.

                While Maine guides charge far less for a moose hunt, the annual moose auction always demonstrates the real value of a moose hunt – at least to some hunters. The auction, not to be confused with the lottery, offers ten moose hunting permits to the highest bidders. Bids are opened in early May and the winning bidders have 30 days to choose their hunting district, week, and permit type. You can assume all are after trophy bills, at that price.

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