DIF&W Biologist Predicts Mediocre Grouse/Woodcock Seasons

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I was going to write a preview of the upcoming grouse and woodcock season, but John Holyoke beat me to it.  His preview in this weekend’s Bangor Daily News tells you all you need to know.

 Read it and weep, as DIF&W bird biologist Kelsey Sullivan predicts a “so-so mediocre” season.

Naturally, just when I have more time to hunt!

Woodcock Hears Fishing Ideas in the Forks

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Maine guide Chris Russell probably didn’t think he’d be creating a controversy when he first scheduled a meeting in July for local folks in the Forks with DIF&W Commissioner Chandler Woodcock. He apparently forgot that Maine sportsmen thrive on rumors and controversy.

 How else to explain the uproar over Russell’s meeting – rescheduled to September - that Chandler attended last night at Northern Outdoors Resort in the Forks, with a diverse group of local guides, business people, and regular anglers. The meeting was all about fishing, and Chandler was very pleased with what he heard. Nearly everyone in the room spoke, and all agreed that the area’s fishery had deteriorated and needs attention. They differed, however, in the remedies.

Maine Hunting Laws Getting Reviewed

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SAM’s Pickering Commission will meet on September 23 to review Maine’s hunting laws, rules, and publications, and create recommendations to simplify and clarify those laws and rules and make hunting – for both novices and longtime hunters – easier and more enjoyable.

 If you have suggestions for the Commission’s consideration, please email them to me (georgesmithmaine@gmail.com) as soon as you can.

 History

SAM organized a Commission to Reduce and Clarify Maine’s Hunting, Fishing, and Trapping Laws and Rules in 1998 and selected Cape Elizabeth’s Chief of Police, David Pickering, to chair the commission.

Harraseeket Offers Maine's Most Elegant Brunch

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Freeport
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The dictionary defines brunch as, “a meal usually taken late in the morning that combines a late breakfast and an early lunch.”

Here’s our definition of brunch: a room full of fabulous food, with unique and diverse dishes, where gluttony is encouraged. Posted over the door would be this quote from Epictetus (55 AD – 135 AD), “Bear in mind that you should conduct yourself in life as in a feast.”

We got this quote from the top of the brunch section of the Harraseeket Inn’s website, where we also found an excellent description of what we look for in a great brunch, written by Harraseeket chef Elizabeth DiFranco.

Of Cottontails and Ducks

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Beth Quimby's story in today's Maine Sunday Telegram about the money being spent in Maine on cottontail rabbits is astonishing.

And Bob Humprhey's account of the difficulties of duck hunting, titled "When duck hunting, you might need an attorney," also in today's Sunday Telegram, is priceless.

Fishing a Hot Topic This Fall

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Although we're angling into fall hunting seasons, you need to pay attention to fishing issues now.

Many proposed changes in fishing rules are working their way through the process, and it's time to put in your two cents worth.

Department staff – particularly Commissioner Woodcock and Fisheries and Wildlife Director John Boland – have proposed many of the changes in fishing rules. The initial rule changes went to the Fish and Wildlife Advisory Council in September. They will also be on the Council’s agenda for October before being finally enacted – with the approval of the Council and the Commissioner – in November.

Proposed rule changes will be available soon on the department’s website.  Your comments and suggestions need to be submitted now  and can be directed to john.boland@maine.gov or andrea.erskine@maine.gov.

Top DIF&W Staff Retiring – Erskine May Be Next

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Changes to the state retirement system, along with $5000 incentive payments, have caused a significant exodus of key staff members at Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

 The legislature offered $5,000 incentives to state employees who are eligible to retire but have not yet done so. Legislators also changed the state retirement system, requiring those who retire before age 60 (beginning on January 1, 2012), to pay for their health insurance until they reach the age of 60.

 I’ve already reported on Sandy Ritchie’s retirement. But her exit is just the start of key staffers who will retire in the next few months.

 Here is a list of those I know for sure are retiring.

 Mark Stadler, Director of the Wildlife Division

George Matula, Supervisor of the Wildlife Resource Assessment Section in Bangor

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