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.

You’ll enjoy these 60 years of bird hunting stories

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 I love it when people write their hunting and fishing stories, and not just because North Country Press published A Lifetime of Hunting and Fishing, my own book of hunting and fishing stories this year.

Often, as people tell me their stories, I’ll encourage them to write those stories. And many will say, “Oh, I can’t write.” To which I respond, “Of course you can. You just told me a wonderful story. Write it down!”

I am so pleased that Brad Varney has done just that, in his new book Maine-ly Bird Hunting. Brad’s 60 years of bird hunting adventures give us some awesome stories.

I’ve known Brad a long time, and benefitted from his shooting lessons at Varney’s Clay Sports in Richmond. He is a superb teacher, and took me from a pathetic wing shooter to a pretty good one.

If you are worried about Lyme disease, you must read this article

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Susan Shea has published a very informative and important article about deer ticks and Lyme disease in the latest Northern Woodlands newsletter.

I sure didn’t know that female ticks lay up to 3,000 eggs! Yikes!

Shea is a naturalist, conservationist, and freelance writer who lives in Brookfield, Vermont.

Culverts Matter – To Brook Trout – but the money has run out

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 A new $400,000 culvert has been installed on the Hampshire Road in Brownfield. Sebago Chapter of Trout Unlimited worked with the town to obtain a $95K grant from the Maine Water Bond Program and a $100K grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s New England Forests and Rivers Fund. Sebago TU also supplied an additional $10K grant to help pay to remove a small upstream remnant dam.

Frank Day, Public Works Director of the Town of Brownfield, offered: "The Town of Brownfield sees the grant money as a real blessing. This let us both replace the culvert and restore the stream for the fish and wildlife. Without it, we would have been eventually forced to close the road or go with a quick fix that did nothing to resolve the problems the old culvert created. We are grateful to TU, NFWF and the State for making the project possible."

Maine guide still finding plastic inside his fish

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 Last year Chris Leo of Mercer, a Maine guide for 34 years, sent me a plastic worm he found inside a large brook trout he’d caught in a water holding both trout and bass. It reminded me of photos an angler submitted to the legislature’s Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Committee a few years ago, of the bottom of a lake covered in fishing lures. That helped get a new law enacted banning the sale and use of lead sinkers.

A few weeks ago, Leo sent me another piece of plastic (seen in the photo with this column) with this note: “Last Sunday I caught a splake from Jamie’s Pond with another plastic inside it.  It is VERY scented. The artificial was doubled up in the emaciated fish’s innards.

White-tailed deer are a threat to millions of forest acres

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 “White-tailed deer overabundance is a threat to millions of acres of forest land in the Northeastern United States.” That first sentence in a report from the U.S. Forest Service really grabbed my attention. And as I read the report, I was even more astonished.

White-tailed Deer in Northeastern Forests: Understand and Assessing Impacts, was prepared by Thomas J. Rawinski and tells a tale of massive destruction by deer in the northeastern United States. Deer have been particularly devastating to forests in Pennsylvania. “Now, because of deer, many forests are disintegrating” notes the report.

White-tailed deer are a threat to millions of forest acres

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 “White-tailed deer overabundance is a threat to millions of acres of forest land in the Northeastern United States.” That first sentence in a report from the U.S. Forest Service really grabbed my attention. And as I read the report, I was even more astonished.

White-tailed Deer in Northeastern Forests: Understand and Assessing Impacts, was prepared by Thomas J. Rawinski and tells a tale of massive destruction by deer in the northeastern United States. Deer have been particularly devastating to forests in Pennsylvania. “Now, because of deer, many forests are disintegrating” notes the report.

Two Tents by Jim Haskell

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 I finished the Appalachian Trail at the top of Mt Katahdin. Of course, I started that hike at Katahdin Stream at the bottom of the mountain, so I didn’t hike the entire AT!

Thankfully, I don’t have to hike the entire trail because I experienced that in Jim Haskell’s great book, Two Tents, published by Maine Authors Publishing. The title references a mistake Jim made on one of his hikes, lugging two tents up into the mountains.

Jim, a Maine native, was not a “through hiker.” He completed the 2200 mile hike in sections over a 21 year period. And he was inspired to do that at the age of 9, when he and his Dad and older siblings climbed Mount Katahdin. Yes, Mount Katahdin can be inspiring!

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