George's Outdoor News

George’s new outdoor issues blog. He goes all over the state. He listens. And he reports on issues of concern to sportsmen, conservationists, and environmentalists.

Demon Spirit Devil Sea by Charlene D’Avanzo

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 Charlene D’Avanzo writes compelling novels that take you to wonderful ocean-side places where terrible things happen. And along the way, you’ll learn some things about climate change.

Charlene is a marine ecologist and award-winning environmental educator who lives in Yarmouth, Maine. Her first novel, Cold Blood, Hot Sea, was an intriguing who-done-it with plenty of tension and a compelling story that kept me glued to the book for two evenings.


And her new novel, Demon Spirit Devil Sea, is another great read. Again, I raced through it in two evenings. And boy, now I want to visit Haida Gwaii, the setting for this story.

Legislature kills lots of deer (bills)

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 Legislators had lots of ideas about how to improve deer hunting, from allowing baiting to letting kids shoot does anywhere anytime to protecting small bucks.

But the bills didn’t get much support from the legislature’s Fish and Wildlife Committee and they were all killed by the House and Senate, although some of them got a few votes of support from F&W Committee members.

Here are the bills that are now dead.

LD 1038 would have allowed junior hunters to take does in any WMD on youth hunting day. DIF&W pointed out that junior hunters already get 25% of the any-deer permits that are issued.

Moose referendum was hard-fought battle

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 The 1983 referendum initiated by a group trying to stop Maine’s new moose hunting season was contentious and hard-fought. Here’s a look back at it in a Sun Journal news story by reporter Joe O’Connor.

Moose-kill Issue Draws Foes Face to Face, October 6, 1983.

“Is the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife trying to balance its budget at the expense of the moose?” – Roger Curran.

“Is hunting a proper game-management tool in Maine, for moose or any other species?” – George Smith

Answering yes to their own questions, two men representing the pro and con sides of the Maine moose hunt squared off in a debate before the Androscoggin County Women’s Republican Club in Auburn Wednesday night.

Fish and Wildlife Department getting authority over turkey bag limits and seasons

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 If you are out there hunting turkeys, or you are suffering turkey problems, this will interest you.

Turkey bag limits and seasons are set in law, but that is changing. My turkey bill, LD 98, was amended by the legislature’s Inland Fisheries and Wildlife to give the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife full authority to set bag limits and seasons, including the opportunity to schedule special hunts where turkeys are causing problems.

Currently bag limits and seasons are set in law, giving the agency no opportunity to make any changes.

The three sections of my turkey bill were removed. One called for elimination of the turkey hunting permit and fee, to encourage more hunters to try turkey hunting. The department and several IFW Committee members were skeptical that this would actually attract a lot more turkey hunters, and the committee felt that DIF&W needed the money for turkey research and other purposes.

DIFW Promises More Protection for Native Brook Trout

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 In response to two bills that I proposed to expand protection of our native brook trout, Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife has responded with a pledge to do just that.

One of my bills would extend protection of brook trout in our Heritage Waters to the tributaries of those waters, and the other would speed up and improve the process of adding waters to that protected list. Both bills were opposed by DIF&W, but the members of the legislature’s IFW Committee were very supportive and the bills got lots of support at the public hearings. I have reported on all of that in previous outdoor news columns.

In response to that high level of interest and support, DIF&W met with some of the bills’ supporters and pledged to step up their processes and protection of our native brook trout. The agency submitted that pledge in writing to the IFW Committee, and the Committee accepted that pledge. But they also held over one of the bills to give them an opportunity to act if the department fails to achieve their promises.

Dangerous hedgehogs may be in your neighborhood

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 You will soon be able to fill your home with hedgehogs without a permit. Legislation to achieve this was sponsored by Senator Eric Brakey, and drew a full house of opponents and supporters at its public hearing. Currently you may possess hedgehogs in Maine with a permit from DIF&W.

Brakey testified that he submitted the bill for a Mechanic Falls sixth-grader. “Hedgehogs are an increasingly popular pet, both here in Maine and across the country,” said Brakey. “One zoologist I spoke with on this issue estimated there are 10,000 hedgehogs owned by Mainers here in our state. And it makes sense why hedgehogs are popular. Beyond being undeniably adorable, they are hypoallergenic, low maintenance and emit little odor compared to some other common pets.”

We need to kill more wild turkeys.

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 We may have made a mistake in reintroducing wild turkeys to Maine. For sure, we need to kill more of them.

My editorial page column today was about this issue.

You can read it here

 

 

 

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