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.

We won some and lost some at the legislature

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 It was probably a bit ambitious for me to propose eleven bills at this year’s legislative session. It turned out to be a very tough year there, and not just for my bills. We’ll be lucky I guess if they can agree on a new budget. As usual, most of the 1800 or so bills that were introduced were killed.

I’m actually happy with the results for my bills, although most were not enacted. I often propose bills in order to provoke the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife into acting, and I had some very good luck with that this session.

Today I’ll give you a run-down on what happened to each of my bills. And if you want to know more about any of these bills, I’ve written columns about them earlier this year in this blog.

Brook Trout Protection, Sponsored by Rep. Russell Black

The River at Night by Erica Ferencik

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 I hope you never experience a rafting trip like this one. In her new novel, The River at Night, Erica Ferencik sends four ladies on a north Maine woods rafting trip that turns into a disaster – and that’s putting it mildly.

As the ladies raft turned upside down and dumped them into the cold and fast-moving remote river, I remembered a similar experience on the West Branch of the Penobscot River. In the last of a series of major bumps at the Crib Works, our raft overturned, trapping some of us under it while others floated in the foaming river. Fortunately, we were in the slow water very quickly and able to get out from under the raft and to shore, where we righted the raft and continued on.

The ladies continue on as well, but not the way we did. Death, murder, and mayhem lie ahead, in a spine-tingling series of events as they struggle to find their way out of the deep woods.

State schedules “Learn How to Surf Fish” events

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 You can learn how to catch fish in the surf this summer at one of a nine events hosted by Maine’s state parks.

The 2-hour surf fishing program is for beginners but all anglers are welcome to attend. The program includes a 30-minute talk about our marine fish, followed by 30 minutes about lures and other fishing equipment. And then you go fishing! You’ll hit the beach and fish for an hour.

You must bring your own equipment to the classes and fishing event. And the events are free, but you must pay the park’s admission fee.

For more information, check out the Maine State Parks website (www.parksandlands.com) which includes a calendar of all their yearly events. Or you can call Glenn Dochtermann, 207-384-5160.

The website of the Department of Marine Resources includes more information on recreational fishing including access points and maps.

Here’s the schedule of surf fishing events.

Changes coming in Maine’s moose lottery.

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 At the Maine legislature, two moose bills have been enacted, one is nearly there, one has been enacted and awaits action by the Appropriations Committee, and all the rest have been killed.

LD 553 was enacted without the Governor’s signature. It requires moose permits to be issued to any resident who is 65 years of age or older or will attain 65 years of age during the calendar year in which the resident is applying for the permit, who has accumulated at least 30 points in the moose lottery.

Wardens declare wild game dinners legal

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 In response to Senator Tom Saviello’s determined effort to straighten out confusion over the legality of wild game dinners, the Maine Warden Service has issued a written memo stating that “it is legal to host a wild game dinner” if four conditions are followed.

Senator Saviello sponsored a bill this session, at my request, to make wild game dinners legal. DIF&W opposed the bill, but some IFW Committee members kept the issue alive, and Senator Saviello even got it as far as a committee of conference, essentially a meeting between House and Senate members to work on language that both bodies could support.

The conference committee created an amendment to the bill that led to the memo issued this week by the Warden Service. Clearly, DIF&W preferred to clarify this issue without putting it in statute. And that is fine by me.

Here is the Warden Service Memo, issued on June 5 by Major Chris Cloutier, and provided to all game wardens.

Colorado paying for pike to get them out of lake

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 While Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife says there is nothing they can do to get illegally introduced species out of a water, Colorado is paying anglers to catch and kill northern pike.

Here’s the story.

Art Outdoors Explores All Our Emotions

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Ogunquit
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 Pamela Moulton has created a fascinating experience using her beautiful art to explore our beautiful – and not so beautiful – emotions.

After working on the art and presentation for a couple of years, Pam launched her project on May 17 at the Ogunquit Museum of Modern Art. Linda and I were in Ogunquit for a travel column visit to Meadowmere Resort, and spent a couple hours at the museum, which features a wonderful display of the art of Dahlov Ipcar, there until the end of June.

I’m sure you’ll agree that Pamela’s art is stunningly beautiful. But it’s the presentation that I believe she should take all over Maine, because many will benefit from it.

Look carefully and you will see five emotions in the center of the art: enjoyment, anger, sadness, fear, and disgust. Her goal is to help us explore our emotions, and she’s got a fun way to do that.

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