Ice Shacks May Be Freed from Fees

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The legislature’s Inland Fisheries and Wildlife worked on several bills this morning. Discussion covered a wide range of issues, from shooting shacks in the north woods to a requirement that Canadian hunters hire guides to fees for ice fishing shacks.

First up for the work session was LD 1327, a resolve calling for a study of DIF&W’s fisheries management activities.

It was reported that Dennis Smith of Otter Creek, who asked his Representative to submit the bill, was happy with the progress the department is making on fisheries, and was satisfied not to pursue the bill now. It was killed. Rep. Jane Eberle praised Smith for his longstanding effort to improve fisheries in Maine.

Ice Shack Fees

Feds Get 6500 Comments on Trapping Permit

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Yesterday I talked with Mark McCollough, a wildlife biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, about Maine’s application for an incidental take permit (ITP) for trappers who accidentally capture a Canadian lynx, an animal on the federal Endangered Species List. McCollough’s office is in Orono and he is the federal point man for Maine’s application.

Although the feds have never issued an ITP for trapping, McCollough is optimistic that Maine will get its permit. He cannot predict, however, what restrictions will be attached to that permit. I talked with Mark for about 30 minutes and learned a lot.

Of course, we began the conversation talking about our experiences in or near northern Quebec’s Leaf River. Mark successfully hunted Caribou in that area last year. And the Leaf is my favorite fishing spot in the world. Alas, we had to quickly get to the topic at hand.

Ice Shack Fees and Alien Hunters

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It was all about the economy this afternoon as the legislature’s Inland Fisheries and Wildlife hosted public hearings on two important issues: proposed new fees for ice shacks, and a requirement that Canadian deer and turkey hunters hire a guide.

Up first was LD 1747, An Act to Prohibit Municipalities from Imposing Fees on Ice Fishing Shacks, sponsored by Representative Mike Shaw. This bill resulted from an attempt by the town of Randolph to assess a fee for each ice shack placed on the Kennebec River, a popular place for commercial smelt shacks.

More Moose, Fewer Lottery Applicants

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His moose population estimate stunned even me and caused me to pull out stories I’ve written over the years about moose hunting and the moose lottery. Today I’ll give you a history of this controversial issue, along with the interesting – and sometimes surprising – information provided to the legislature’s Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Committee last week by Lee Kantar, DIF&W’s deer and moose biologist.

Based on his new sampling techniques, using Maine Forest Service helicopters and pilots and a “double counting” system, Kantar estimated the state’s moose population to be an astonishing 75,000. That’s 45,000 higher than the estimates Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife reported up until 2007, when the department’s longtime moose biologist, Karen Morris, suddenly upped her estimate to 60,000 as she approached retirement.

Ice Anglers Come Out To Play at the Legislature

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I don’t expect to see any Ice shacks at the legislature this week, but plenty of ice anglers will be there for a public hearing on LD 1747, a bill to prohibit municipalities from charging fees for the placement of ice shacks on rivers and water district lakes and ponds. The issue was brought forward after the town of Randolph announced it would charge a fee for each ice shack placed on the Kennebec River by smelters. 

The legislature’s Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Committee will hear both the ice shack bill and LD 1785 concerning the requirements to be a Maine guide at 1 pm on Wednesday (February 8). They will work those bills on Monday, February 13 (I don’t  yet know the time).

Heart of a Killer's a Real Thriller

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It’s always fun to find a new author of mystery and crime novels – my favorite genre. I’ve got a lot of favorite authors, including Maine’s own Gerry Boyle, and have been working my way through some of the older novelists like Ed McBain and John MacDonald.


My favorite modern-day (still living) novelists like Michael Connelly just don’t turn out enough books to keep me engaged, so I’m always looking for new authors. But I was puzzled when I received, unsolicited, David Rosenfelt’s new novel, Heart of a Killer, from the publisher, Minotaur Books.

Valentine's Day Calls for Pampering

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Augusta
Cape Elizabeth
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Your valentine deserves pampering and nothing defines the experience like a spa treatment. While Valentines Day occurs on a Tuesday this year, we recommend that you schedule a visit for your favorite person to a nearby spa the previous weekend. That will guarantee you a Terrific Tuesday on February 14!

Two of our favorite spas are located at the Inn by the Sea in Cape Elizabeth and the Senator Inn and Spa in Augusta. If you include an overnight and dinner at one of these Inns, well, you’ll give your valentine a gift that he or she will never forget.

And, perhaps best of all, you can join your valentine for a very special experience! Yes, our Valentine’s Day gift includes you!

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