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.

Nelson Family Offers Great Sources of Lyme Disease Information

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 A Maine family, the Nelsons of Bath, have been impacted by Lyme disease and multiple co-infections, and have become strong advocates for themselves and others. They spent a lot of time searching for resources with up-to-date information.

Daughter Elizabeth researched, vetted, and compiled a lengthy list of websites, books, and educational opportunities that the family has made available to all of us. I obtained a bunch of their two-sided cards with lists of recommended and reliable sources of information, and put them in our local library for patrons to take home.

Deer feeding ban extended from June 1 to December 15.

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 The legislature extended the ban on deer feeding, while rejecting a bill to allow hunters to bait deer. And don’t worry, the deer won’t starve because of these actions.


LD 767, sponsored by Representative Lance Harvell of Farmington, extended the prohibition on deer feeding. The bill was enacted and signed into law by the governor.  


Hooray for arctic char restoration!

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The restoration of Arctic charr in Big Reed Pond is a very big story. After years of waiting to find out if the restoration worked, I feared failure. But on Saturday, DIF&W issued a press release announcing that their fisheries biologists have finally determined that the charr are naturally reproducing in the pond. Hooray!

Charr are now found in only 14 Maine waters and are challenged in many of those. And the Big Reed project was expensive, although the cost of the project was not included in the press release. I have asked for that information.

Amazing tales of a winter’s trapping north of Rangeley

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I owe Bill Pierce a big thank you. While visiting with Bill at the Outdoor Sporting Heritage Museum in Oquossic, he recommended a book that turned out to be fascinating.

It’s a detailed report on a winter wilderness adventure by Fred Barker, who spent the winter with a friend, J.S. Danforth, hunting and trapping in the region northwest of Rangeley, in 1882-83.

Tear down a land posting sign and you’ll lose your hunting and fishing license

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 The landowner relations program at the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife got a major boost this year. LD 1391 nearly tripled the program’s funding, recognizing that this program is critically important to all of us who enjoy recreating on private land.

If you need to know why this is so important, please read farmer Clark Granger’s testimony below.

LD 1391 was sponsored by Rep. Ellie Espling at DIF&W’s request. Ellie sponsored a bill last session for me that added the Keep Maine Clean program to IFW’s landowner relations program. That program is designed to build an army of sportsmen and women who pick up trash to keep our woods and waters clean and accessible. Game Warden Rick Laflamme has been the landowner relations program’s director for nearly three years and does a great job.  I am hoping the new funding will allow Rick to launch the Keep Maine Clean program.

Law change enacted regarding shooting from a motor vehicle

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 The law prohibiting shooting a gun that’s resting on a motor vehicle – or even resting the gun up against a motor vehicle - has been changed. I remember a hunter who got a summons for leaning his loaded gun up against his truck while he had lunch.

So we owe Representative Joel Stetkis a thank you for successfully amending this law, and to DIF&W for supporting this law change which was enacted by the legislature and signed into law by the governor.

In his testimony, Rep. Stetkis said, “I would like to eliminate the possibility of someone mistakenly breaking the law by simply setting a loaded firearm on the tailgate of their truck, leaning their shotgun against the tire of their vehicle, or setting their hunting rifle in the back seat of their car so they can tie their boots, take off a jacket, or go check their targets.”

Maine wild boar hunt turns into disaster

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 Wild boars entered Maine from New Hampshire and game warden Mike Bowditch was sent into the woods of southern Maine to find and kill them. Mike’s girlfriend Stacey Stevens, a wildlife biologist, accompanied him and shot two sows that popped up in front of them trailed by a dozen baby pigs.

One of the sows had been digging into the ground, and when Stacey approached that spot, a massive boar burst out of the bushes and attacked her, knocking her down and injuring one of her legs. Mike quickly shot the boar and raced to his truck to get a first-aid-kit.

When he returned, Stacey was standing up, leaning on her gun, and looking at the spot where the sow had been digging. “Mike, what is this?” she asked.

Mike got down and used his gloved hand to brush aside the pile of dirt, when Stacey hissed, “Don’t touch it!” And that’s when Mike noticed the grimy pink cloth beneath the bones. It was a baby.

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