George Smith's blog

A Morning on the Kennebec River

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In this photo, I am demonstrating my special catch-photo-and-release technique on a nice landlocked salmon. Notice the deep level of concentration as I coax the fish back into the river.

Linda and I enjoyed the last couple of days at Northern Outdoors in the Forks, highlighted by a rafting trip one day and a half-day of fishing with guide Chris Russell on the Kennebec River.

We fished downriver from the Forks, a gorgeous stretch thick with scenery but thin in fish. We had a great time with Chris, caught three species of fish, and introduced Linda to drift boat fishing. She loved it.

She also loved Chris’s 3 wt. Sage Flight rod and Ross Evolution Reel with sharkskin line. That may cost me a lot of money.

Hunters Losing Interest in Maine Moose

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Hunters are losing interest in Maine’s moose hunt. Since lottery applications peaked in 1984 at 94,532, applications from residents have declined 50 percent and from nonresidents 33 percent.

The number of applications in the last two years was the lowest in the 29 years of the state’s modern moose hunt. A total of 49,887 people entered the 2011 lottery, an increase of just 158 over last year. 36,527 of the 2011 applicants were residents and 13,360 were nonresidents.

The only good news in the 2011 lottery was a slight up tick in nonresident applications from 12,717 in 2010 to 13,360 this year.

This is important because DIF&W gets about half of it’s moose revenue from nonresidents even though they get only 10 percent of the permits.

Resident applications continued their long and steady decline this year, going from 37,012 in 2010 to 36,527 this year.

DIF&W Constitutional Amendment Wrap-up

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While we suffered the astonishing, destructive, and devastating end to our effort on behalf of a Constitutional amendment giving Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife a small percentage of the sales tax, the controversy continues.

I am anxiously awaiting news about what the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine intends to do in reaction to the broken promises of those five Senators who switched their yes votes to no and left us 2 votes short of the necessary two-thirds on the very last legislative vote (see my June 28 blog post on this).

DIF&W Constitutional Amendment Suffers Shocking Defeat

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Five Maine Senators switched their yes votes to no this afternoon (June 28) and blocked a Constitutional amendment that would have given the Departments of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife and Marine Resources 1.2 percent of Maine’s sales tax revenue.

The bill had won the necessary two-thirds vote in the House and Senate previously, been approved by the Appropriations Committee, and faced only this final Senate vote before proceeding to a referendum vote of the people this fall.

On June 8, 28 Senators voted for the bill, four more than we needed. Today, 22 Senators voted for the bill and 12 against. We needed 24 yes votes.

One Senator who voted yes on June 8, Troy Jackson, was absent. And five Senators who had voted for this bill on June 8 changed their vote to no today. That was all it took to derail a decade of work to win some modest amount of public funding for this beleaguered agency.

Turtle Escapes From Car Wreck

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As I head to the legislature this morning for the final Senate vote on DIF&W’s Constitutional amendment, this newspaper story made my day, from the Associated Press.

 “A woman was driving on a rural road in Levant is OK with only minor injuries after rolling her car over when she swerved to avoid a turtle.

 “State Police told the Bangor Daily News that Ashley Savoy, 21, of Levant saw the turtle on Horseback Road early Sunday morning. Police say she swerved, lost control of her car and rolled over.

 “Savoy got a scrape on her hand and did not require a trip to the hospital. The vehicle’s back window was smashed.

 “The turtle got away.”

 Good to know. Must have been a fast turtle.

Paul Doiron's New Novel Compelling and Real

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Some of my favorite mystery authors started out with a good book, then got better as they went along. Maine’s Gerry Boyle did that. I liked his initial books but his last two are terrific.

Paul Doiron wrote a great first novel, superb really. Not only did he start right out of the novelist’s box with an unusual three-book contract, but his first novel was nominated for an Edgar Award, heady territory for any mystery writer.

I enjoyed Paul’s first novel and wrote a favorable review. But his second book, Trespasser (Minotaur Books, 2011), is much better. It was a “kept-me-up-late” mystery, compelling, suspenseful, and very true-to-life.

Intense Lobbying Wins DIF&W Constitutional Amendment

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After an intense up-to-the-very-last-minute lobbying effort, the Maine House and Senate provided the necessary 2/3 vote in favor of a Constitutional amendment that would give the Departments of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife and Marine Resources 1.2 percent of sales tax revenue. DMR would get 10 percent of that money and DIF&W the rest.

The amendment now goes to the referendum ballot in the fall, for a decision by the people of Maine.

When I managed the 1992 campaign that placed Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife in the Constitution and protected its revenue, I never imagined that this important agency would receive no public funding for the next 30 years. That campaign was launched to prevent the governor and legislature from using DIF&W revenue for other state programs.

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