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.

I’ll bet you don’t know what gleaning is

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You may not know what gleaning is, but you’ll want to participate in Maine gleaning day, just one of the many interesting and exciting projects in the new  fall edition of the Sustainable Maine quarterly newsletter, a project of the Natural Resources Council of Maine.

In the newsletter, which you can access here, you’ll read about the state’s effort to nip nips, and a foam and bagging initiative in Belfast. I was very impressed with the report on a group of 30 stakeholders working to reduce food waste.

New Group Tackles Native Brook Trout Issues

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 The first meeting of a new group focused on protection of our native brook trout was very encouraging. The group was organized by the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife in reaction to two legislative bills that I proposed.

One bill called for protecting tributaries to brook trout waters on the state’s Heritage List, and the other bill would have placed more brook trout waters on that list. Although DIF&W originally opposed both bills, they eventually stepped up and promised to achieve those goals and report back to the legislature’s IFW Committee in January on their progress. The agency’s written memo to the IFW Committee included a promise to establish a Heritage Brook Trout and Charr Working Group.

Although the promise was made in early May, the group’s first meeting was not scheduled until August 31, leaving little time to achieve the department’s promises.

I am honored to receive this award

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 I am very honored to be receiving an award at this year’s Evening for the Environment sponsored by the Maine Conservation Voters. The award is the 2017 Harrison L. Richardson Environmental Leadership Award for “writing, speaking, advocating, and inspiring all of us to care for the nature of Maine and her wild places.”


Can I Carry Your Luggage? By Shelley Lance-Fulk and Jacklyn Amtower

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 I don’t know how it is that I had never heard of Shelley Lance-Fulk and Jaclyn Amtower, who live in Beaver Cove, a small village just north of Greenville, and who have travelled to all 7 continents and more than 75 countries to experience and photograph wildlife.

Thankfully, I know about them now, after reading some of their amazing stories, and seeing some of their fantastic photographs, in their new book published by Maine Authors Publishing, Can I Carry Your Luggage? The title comes from a question often asked at their talks from folks who would love to travel with them and carry their luggage. Now, I’m also on that list!

Kill more bass and protect more brook trout

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 A lot of interesting issues were discussed at the most recent meeting of the Fish and Wildlife Advisory Council, the group that must approve all new rules governing hunting, fishing, and trapping.

One of the most interesting parts of the meeting occurred when council members had the opportunity to raise any issues and ask any questions they wished. They had quite a discussion about bass. One council member questioned new rules of no size or bag limit on bass in northern Maine waters.

Fisheries Division Director Francis Brautigam responded that IFW “does not want bass in those waters.” But he also said the agency’s goal “is not reduce the bass populations in those waters,” a statement that confused me.

Advisory Council member Jeff Lewis of Hancock County complained about the spread of bass, especially largemouth bass, and cited the loss of native brook trout in many waters in his region.

Nonresident moose permits won’t go to sporting camps

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Despite a unanimous endorsement from the legislature’s Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Committee, a bill to give Maine sporting camps and outfitters 20% of the moose hunting permits currently going to nonresidents in the annual drawing did not win the support of the full legislature.

House members voted for the measure, but the Senate voted to carry the bill over to next year’s legislative session, where it will once again be up for consideration by the IFW Committee.

The bill unanimously endorsed by the legislature’s Inland Fisheries and Wildlife would give 20 percent of the nonresident moose permits to outfitters and sporting camps licensed by Maine’s Department of Health and Human Resources in a chance drawing. Currently nonresidents get 10% of the permits. DIF&W would be paid $1500 for each sporting camp permit and the camp/outfitter would be able to resell the permit. New Brunswick, Canada has a similar system.

Door In Dark Water gives you an inspiring and frightening experience

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I was right out there in the open ocean, feeling the powerful wind, worried about the approaching storm, hauling in tons of fish, exhausted after being at sea for 36 hours without sleep.

P.D. Callahan’s book, Door In Dark Water, is a well-written account of his years of commercial fishing, and I was most impressed with the way he puts the reader right on the boat with him. I thought I knew what that experience is like, until I read this book.

Here’s how he got hooked.

“Now, here is the greatest moment in this drama… It is experiencing a wildness that is both a heart-rending moment and a peak instant of excitement all at once.

“As you pull (the mackerel) explode in front of you all at once, four or five thousand leaping bodies in a loud splashing, water flying high enough to rain back down. You are standing in a heavy downpour of seawater and tiny mackerel scales. We know we have them. But it is so loud, you have to shout over the cacophony.

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