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 love this 1901 article about Maine guides

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 Enjoying a notebook of historical stories at Attean Lake Lodge in Jackman, I came across this wonderful article about Maine guides. Wanting to share it with you, I asked Andrea Holden to copy it for me. I am sure you will find it as interesting and enjoyable as I did. The article, published in Outing magazine in 1901, was written by Herbert L. Jillson.

The Maine Guide and The Maine Camp

The Maine guide, in the mind of every sportsman who has “done” Maine properly, is closely associated with memories of pleasant and successful days with the rod on lake and stream, or long tramps through the woods with the rifle. It is his guide, not the sporting camp proprietor or the people he meets, that the sportsman, after return to civilization, remembers most of all.

George Smith and the Quest for a Most Favorite Fly

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 By Jim Hynson

I made my first trip to our camp at Camp Phoenix on Memorial Day weekend of 1991. George came for his first weekend the following week. That gave me one week’s head start in discovering what fly might work on the lake at that time.

George spent much time before his trip collecting what seemed to be every trout fly commercially available in the State of Maine. He reported having shopped at the Kittery Trading Post, LL Bean, the Maine Guide Fly Shop, Van Raymond Outfitters, and the North Woods Store, just to name a few. He accumulated a vast store of flies but also a much thinner wallet by several hundred dollars.

Great stories from a Maine bush pilot

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 Jake Morrell offers many great stories in his book, Hardscrabble Lodge. I got to visit with Jake at an authors’ event in Boothbay Harbor and eagerly grabbed a copy of his book.

Jake and his wife Beth lived an interesting and unusual life as the owners of Hardscrabble Lodge in the north woods. They purchased the abandoned and dilapidated remote camps and turned them into a popular destination.

Jake loved flying, and most of the stories feature his flying adventures and challenges. And yes, some were scary. Glad I wasn’t in the plane that time his engine quit – twice! His story of a trip to northern Quebec brought back my memories of fishing in that same region.

Not all stories are about planes. Wait ‘til you read about that time millions of blue insects surrounded the camps! There are also some great color photos in the book.

Shocking decline in northern Maine angling

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 I was astonished earlier this week to be on a northern Maine lake that once drew lots of anglers, and to see only a handful of anglers in two days.

I guess it should not have surprised me, because I recently read Jeremiah Wood’s report about a sharp decline in northern Maine angler use between 1996 and 2016. Wood is a fisheries biologist with Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

And his compelling and concerning report should be read by all of you. This is why many of our sporting camps are struggling. There are lots of great places to fish in North America, and Maine is no longer on many of those lists.

Wood’s Report

The Stan Grover Memorial Moose Hunt

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 My friend Jim Robbins recently shared this wonderful story of two moose hunts, with permission to share it with you. 


By Jim Robbins


This story is about an incredible set of circumstances about two moose hunts involving Stan Grover, his grandson and some friends.

Amazing stories from some of Maine’s best game wardens

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 Ludger Belanger, a young man who shot a big buck and hauled it out of the woods onto an old road, hopped into a car with two guys who offered to transport him and his buck out to his car. And then Ludger disappeared.

This is just one of the amazing stories in Daren Worcester’s new book, Open Season – True Stories of the Maine Warden Service, published by Down East Books. I especially enjoyed Daren’s book because I knew many of the dozen wardens featured in the stories, during my years of working for the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine.

Boa Constrictors slither freely in Maine

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 Imagine finding a 5-foot boa constrictor on your porch. That’s what happened to a Biddeford resident last week.

You might be surprised to know that anyone can possess a boa constrictor without a permit, nor do they have to let their neighbors or anyone else know when their snake escapes.

I tried to change that with a bill sponsored at my request by Senator Scott Cyrway, but DIF&W opposed the bill and it was reduced to a simple hike in fines for those who don’t get permits for exotic animals that require a permit or who fail to notify the Maine Warden Service if that animal gets loose.

Unfortunately, there are thousands of exotic animals that can be possessed without permits. And the owners of those animals don’t have to let anyone know when their animals get loose.

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