George Smith's blog

Tear down a land posting sign and you’ll lose your hunting and fishing license

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 The landowner relations program at the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife got a major boost this year. LD 1391 nearly tripled the program’s funding, recognizing that this program is critically important to all of us who enjoy recreating on private land.

If you need to know why this is so important, please read farmer Clark Granger’s testimony below.

LD 1391 was sponsored by Rep. Ellie Espling at DIF&W’s request. Ellie sponsored a bill last session for me that added the Keep Maine Clean program to IFW’s landowner relations program. That program is designed to build an army of sportsmen and women who pick up trash to keep our woods and waters clean and accessible. Game Warden Rick Laflamme has been the landowner relations program’s director for nearly three years and does a great job.  I am hoping the new funding will allow Rick to launch the Keep Maine Clean program.

Law change enacted regarding shooting from a motor vehicle

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 The law prohibiting shooting a gun that’s resting on a motor vehicle – or even resting the gun up against a motor vehicle - has been changed. I remember a hunter who got a summons for leaning his loaded gun up against his truck while he had lunch.

So we owe Representative Joel Stetkis a thank you for successfully amending this law, and to DIF&W for supporting this law change which was enacted by the legislature and signed into law by the governor.

In his testimony, Rep. Stetkis said, “I would like to eliminate the possibility of someone mistakenly breaking the law by simply setting a loaded firearm on the tailgate of their truck, leaning their shotgun against the tire of their vehicle, or setting their hunting rifle in the back seat of their car so they can tie their boots, take off a jacket, or go check their targets.”

Maine wild boar hunt turns into disaster

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 Wild boars entered Maine from New Hampshire and game warden Mike Bowditch was sent into the woods of southern Maine to find and kill them. Mike’s girlfriend Stacey Stevens, a wildlife biologist, accompanied him and shot two sows that popped up in front of them trailed by a dozen baby pigs.

One of the sows had been digging into the ground, and when Stacey approached that spot, a massive boar burst out of the bushes and attacked her, knocking her down and injuring one of her legs. Mike quickly shot the boar and raced to his truck to get a first-aid-kit.

When he returned, Stacey was standing up, leaning on her gun, and looking at the spot where the sow had been digging. “Mike, what is this?” she asked.

Mike got down and used his gloved hand to brush aside the pile of dirt, when Stacey hissed, “Don’t touch it!” And that’s when Mike noticed the grimy pink cloth beneath the bones. It was a baby.

A great get-a-way in Rockland and Rockport

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            After reading articles about 18 Central in Zest and Down East magazines, we were eager to dine there. Chef Patrick Duffy and his wife Jessica have created a restaurant that is unique, with very creative dishes and an ever-changing menu that keeps both locals and summer visitors flocking to this place. Be sure to get a reservation.

We won some and lost some at the legislature

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 It was probably a bit ambitious for me to propose eleven bills at this year’s legislative session. It turned out to be a very tough year there, and not just for my bills. We’ll be lucky I guess if they can agree on a new budget. As usual, most of the 1800 or so bills that were introduced were killed.

I’m actually happy with the results for my bills, although most were not enacted. I often propose bills in order to provoke the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife into acting, and I had some very good luck with that this session.

Today I’ll give you a run-down on what happened to each of my bills. And if you want to know more about any of these bills, I’ve written columns about them earlier this year in this blog.

Brook Trout Protection, Sponsored by Rep. Russell Black

The River at Night by Erica Ferencik

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 I hope you never experience a rafting trip like this one. In her new novel, The River at Night, Erica Ferencik sends four ladies on a north Maine woods rafting trip that turns into a disaster – and that’s putting it mildly.

As the ladies raft turned upside down and dumped them into the cold and fast-moving remote river, I remembered a similar experience on the West Branch of the Penobscot River. In the last of a series of major bumps at the Crib Works, our raft overturned, trapping some of us under it while others floated in the foaming river. Fortunately, we were in the slow water very quickly and able to get out from under the raft and to shore, where we righted the raft and continued on.

The ladies continue on as well, but not the way we did. Death, murder, and mayhem lie ahead, in a spine-tingling series of events as they struggle to find their way out of the deep woods.

Awesome Maine Adventures Offered by Inns Along the Coast

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 Since Linda and I started our Travelin’ Maine(rs) weekly travel column 6 ½ years ago, we’ve been blessed to discover many hidden (and some not-so-hidden) gems. We’ve been particularly impressed by the historic inns in Rockland and Kennebunkport, and were pleased when they joined together in a new website, Inns Along the Coast, featuring lots of Maine adventures. Inns Along the Coast is Maine’s only coastal inn-to-inn association with inns in Kennebunkport, Freeport, Newcastle, Rockland, Camden and Bar Harbor

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