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.

Sportsman’s Alliance proposes hike in fishing license fees.

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             The Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine is proposing a hike in fees for fishing licenses to fund a new “Maine Outdoor Programs and Activities Fund.”

            SAM’s bill, LD 1179, has not yet been scheduled for a public hearing by the legislature’s Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Committee. If the bill is enacted, resident fishing licenses will cost $26 and nonresident licenses $66. That’s a $1 increase in the resident fee and $2 in the nonresident fee.

Divided report issued on bill to allow Amish hunters to wear red

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                 The legislature’s Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Committee issued a very divided report on LD 426 to allow Amish hunters to wear red instead of orange. With 7 committee members in favor and 5 opposed, the bill is far from certain of getting through the House and Senate and signed into law by the Governor.

                At the bill’s publi hearing, the Amish testified that their religion doesn’t allow them to wear orange (it’s too flashy) and asked for permission to wear red instead.

No need to study fish hatcheries, says legislature and DIF&W

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I didn’t catch much with my bill to create a Hatchery Commission. The legislature’s Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Committee gave the bill a unanimous ought-not-to-pass vote, although they did direct DIF&W to report back to them on what the agency has accomplished of the recommendations issued in 2004 by another Hatchery Commission.

I can tell you that will be a short report. I served on that Hatchery Commission which worked for nearly four years, utilized the services of a national consulting firm, and issued many recommendations in a lengthy report in 2002, many of which have been ignored.

Warden and other positions restored to DIF&W Budget

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             The legislature’s Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Committee, which has been sharply critical of cuts in the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife’s new budget, voted to restore some of those cuts earlier this week.

            I joined others in testifying against the cuts in DIF&W’s Budget at an Appropriations Committee hearing a few weeks ago. Now, the IFW Committee’s recommendations will go back to Appropriations for final action before the entire House and Senate vote on the state’s new budget.

Strong opposition to mining in Maine – but it still might be allowed

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                 “God does not come back and rebuild these mountains.” That was the testimony of a Maine tribal leader, in a 6-hour public hearing by the legislature’s Environment and Natural Resources Committee on mining bills. Many strong statements were delivered yesterday afternoon at the hearing.

                One of the strongest was this, delivered in a strong voice by a 14th generation Aroostook County lady farmer: “It’s like rape. No means no!”

                Mining issues have been debated – and left unresolved - for the last two legislative sessions, and a lot of that history was revisited yesterday. But a strong move by environmental groups, along with the possibility of simply enacting a law banning mining in our state, left the impression that we might finally resolve this very contentious issue.

Kids are all bumps, bruises, and smiles

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 On a recent weekend my nearly 3-year-old granddaughter Ada was visiting us, and enthusiastically sliding down a small hill behind our Mount Vernon home, when she fell off the sled and slid along the ground, scratching her face and wrist.

But she bounced right up and ran back up the hill, smiling and eager to slide again. That reminded me of how resilient kids are, and brought back a lot of memories of bumps and bruises during my childhood.

I was quite young when I jumped off the shed roof and drove a spike right through my foot. The spike was attached to a small board and I couldn’t get it out of my foot, so I stomped into the house, spike and board still attached. I’m sure my Mom could hear me coming: clomp, clomp, clomp. She rushed me to the local doctor’s office where he removed the spike, board and all, and treated my foot.

One time I fell out of the apple tree in our front yard, and followed my parents around for about an hour until they decided I had broken my wrist.

Sunday hunting bill shot down

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                 Another Sunday hunting bill was shot down yesterday at a public hearing by the Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Committee. LD 424, sponsored by Representative Jeff Pierce of Dresden, would have allowed hunting on five Sundays for bear, moose, deer and wild turkey in coastal wildlife management areas on public land and private land of 5 acres of more with the landowner’s permission.

                I was surprised when Deputy Commissioner Tim Peabody of the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife testified “neither-for-nor-against” the bill. He noted that “Sunday hunting could provide potential economic growth and additional opportunity for hunters,” but warned that the agency would have to reduce the season length and worried that this “would cause a significantly higher amount of hunting pressure.”

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