Are you getting “ticked” off by high populations of deer?

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 Lyme and other diseases caused by deer ticks provoked a lengthy discussion at the last meeting of the Big Game Steering Committee, a group that is working with the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife to create new 15-year management plans for deer, moose, bear, and turkeys.

Tom Doak, the director of the Maine Woodland Owners group, was the first to raise Lyme as a concern, noting, “We’ll make a mistake if we don’t address this in the plan.”

“This is a serious public health issue,” he said, “I don’t know how you are going to resolve the desire for more deer by hunters and the concerns by the public about Lyme disease.”

Don Kleiner of the Maine Professional Guides Association jumped in to add concerns about other illnesses caused by deer ticks.

Ardeana Hamlin’s novels are enjoyable reads

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                 I wasn’t sure I’d like these novels, given that they are set in 19th century Bangor and focused on lots of family problems and challenges, but from the very first page of Pink Chimneys, I was hooked. And after finishing that book, I moved quickly to Hamlin’s follow-up novel, Abbott’s Reach.

                My thanks to Islandport Press in Yarmouth for republishing these novels in paperback, making them easily accessible for all of us.

Ardeana Hamlin’s novels are enjoyable reads

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                 I wasn’t sure I’d like these novels, given that they are set in 19th century Bangor and focused on lots of family problems and challenges, but from the very first page of Pink Chimneys, I was hooked. And after finishing that book, I moved quickly to Hamlin’s follow-up novel, Abbott’s Reach.

                My thanks to Islandport Press in Yarmouth for republishing these novels in paperback, making them easily accessible for all of us.

Great information for grouse hunters

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 A 3 year study of Maine’s Ruffed Grouse is delivering a lot of interesting and helpful information. At the recent annual meeting of the Maine Woodland Owners (formerly the Small Woodland Owners Association of Maine), Eric Blomberg told us all about their project’s findings to date.

Blomberg is a University of Maine at Orono staffer who leads the grouse research project, working with wildlife biologists at the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. They are now 2 ½ years into the 3 year study, using tagged grouse in two areas including off the Stud Mill Road.

Eric said that only 13% of their tagged birds were harvested by hunters in 2015. This year they are focusing on research of predation. And no surprise, winter is tough on these birds. 32% of adult grouse and 47% of juvenile birds died last winter, and according to Blomberg, predation is “almost exclusively” the cause of death.

Turkeys and Fiddleheads are up for legislative hearings on January 31

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 The legislature has scheduled public hearings on two of my bills on Tuesday, January 31.

LD 98, my turkey bill, will be heard by the Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Committee at 1 pm in Room 206 of the Cross Building (next to the Capitol).

LD 128, my bill to require permission to pick wild crops on private land, will be heard by the Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry Committee, also at 1 pm on January 31, in Room 214 of the Cross Building. That bill is listed third on the afternoon’s public hearing schedule, so we’ll be able to get to both hearings.

LD 128 is sponsored by Senator Tom Saviello. I have spent much of my life advocating for more respect for private landowners, and better relationships between those of us who recreate on private land and the owners of that land. We’ve made a lot of progress, but still have constant complaints and problems.

Terlingua, Texas comes to Portland, Maine

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Portland
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 George

                Sitting in Portland’s small restaurant called Terlingua, I close my eyes and remember sitting on the deck outside the Starlight Theater restaurant in Terlingua, Texas, watching the light of the setting sun rise up and over the mountains in our favorite national park, Big Bend.

                And I say thanks to Pliny Reynolds and his wife Melanie Kratovil for bringing Terlingua to our state. Pliny is an architect who worked in Austin, Texas, and Melanie’s grandparents owned Alisson’s restaurant in Kennebunkport. Their restaurant brings that Tex-Mex southwest cooking that Linda and I love almost to our doorstep. Well, Portland is a lot closer than Texas!

My favorite fishing adventures

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I’ve been blessed with many great fishing adventures, primarily in Montana, Alaska, Quebec and Labrador. Of course, most of my fishing time is spent in Maine, where I began as a young boy hauling home buckets of white perch, eventually moving on to catch great brook trout and landlocked salmon in the rivers in the Rangeley region, and, after we purchased our camp on Sourdnahunk Lake, focusing on our native and wild trout in and around Baxter Park, while catching lots of smallmouth bass in waters around our home in Mount Vernon.

Montana

In this column, I’m going to tell you about my favorite fishing adventures, starting in Montana, where Maine native Joe Sowerby owns Montana Fly Fishing Connection. Joe is my favorite fishing guide, and anytime I could sign up for a conference in Montana, I did it, staying after the conference concluded to fish with Joe.

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