Montana's Smith River a powerful package of scenery and fish

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Time to speak up – if you care about big game animal management

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 If you care about the way big game animals are managed in Maine, please make a special effort to get to one of these public meetings to express your opinions. Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife will host the meetings, an unprecedented effort to reach out to sportsmen, landowners, and the general public and give all of you a chance to be heard on these important issues and challenges.

This will only be valuable if you get to a meeting and share your opinions.

In two of my outdoor news column recently, I’ve reported on this process, including information about fascinating surveys conducted by Mark Duda of Resource Management, which you can now access on DIF&W’s website. If you haven’t read those two columns, please do so.

Sometime soon, I will report on presentations made to the Big Game Steering Committee by DIF&W’s wildlife biologists on current plans and issues with the four big game animals: deer, moose, bear, and turkeys.

I say hello, You say good pie

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Belgrade Lakes
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                We have known that Shari Hamilton is a talented baker for quite some time. With 35 years of experience, she has owned and helped manage restaurants in Norridgewock and Mount Vernon. The really exciting news is that she has opened Hello, Good Pie Bakery and Gourmet Kitchen in Belgrade Lakes.

                The bakery is open for breakfast and lunch.  If you check out Hello, Good Pie's Facebook page you'll find tempting pictures and menu items that will convince you that you need to visit... soon.

Fascinating opinions about Maine’s big game animals

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 The Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife has posted a survey on its website that you will want to spend some time reading. I posted a column about the survey last Friday. It was done by Mark Duda and Responsive Management, and I attended a presentation of the results that Duda made last week to DIF&W’s big game management steering committee. The agency is preparing new game management plans this year, and Duda’s research is an important part of the process.

The process includes public meetings throughout the state and an online forum where you can express your opinions on bear, moose, deer, and turkeys. I will alert you the meeting dates and times, as well as the process for participating in the forum, as soon as DIF&W provides that information.

But let’s start where the Steering Committee started, with Duda’s survey. You can read the entire 500 page report on the agency’s website, here.

Big news and big changes for Maine’s big game animals

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 It’s the most comprehensive and engaging process ever used to create big game animal management plans in Maine. And you are going to have good opportunities to participate, including an online “Town Hall” forum and a series of public meetings in all parts of the state. I’ll let you know when and how to participate, as soon as I receive that information.

Yesterday I attended an all-afternoon presentation of fascinating information about recent surveys of Maine sportsmen, landowners, and the general public, plus current big game management plans and challenges. The survey results were presented by Mark Duda of Responsive Management, which has done surveys and plans in all 50 states. The big game plans and challenges were presented by wildlife biologists in Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

Duda randomly sampled 933 residents, 956 hunters, and 304 landowners by telephone, mail, and email, and by region (north/east, central, south), in January and February.  

Nonresident landowners may get to hunt on opening day of the deer season

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                 In a nearly unanimous vote, the legislature’s Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Committee gave its stamp of approval today to legislation that would give nonresidents a chance to hunt on the opening day of the firearms season on deer. Those nonresidents would have to own 25 acres or more of land and allow others to hunt on their land – similar to the requirement for them to enter the any-deer permit lottery.

An elegant get-a-way awaits you at the Hartstone Inn

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                 From the mini cooking whip on your key chain to photos of stunning plates of food on a IPad on your dining table, it is clear that the Hartstone Inn attracts people who appreciate fine food. We had recommendations from several friends that a stay at the Hartstone is a must. And they were so right. The rooms are stunning and everyone is focused on making your stay here memorable.  

                The main inn is an historic building once owned by a Camden doctor. Owners Mary Jo Brink and Michael Salmon took over the inn in 1998 and later purchased two nearby buildings which now provide suites for their guests.

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