Landowner Relations Conference Draws A Crowd

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 “I don’t think the relationship between landowners and land users has ever been better.”

That comment by Tom Doak, executive director of the Small Woodland Owners Association of Maine, provided a great opening for this year’s landowner relations conference cosponsored by SWOAM and the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine.

But Doak’s comment was tempered by SAM’s executive director Dave Trahan, who said, “There has never been a strong commitment to landowner relations,” as he welcomed the group to the LL Bean Room in SAM’s Augusta conference center.

Both men are right, but Trahan aptly summarized the problem. We’ve talked about good landowner relations for decades, with little follow-up, to the point that we have jeopardized Maine’s tradition of free public access to private land. We need a little less talk, and a lot more action.

Dining in Good Company is Always a Delight

City or Town: 
Rockland
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We’re the fast food nation, grabbing what we can at the drive-through and eating in the car. Even many sit-down restaurants count on getting us in and out in a mere 60 minutes.

 A leisurely dinner in a comfortable relaxing setting in good company is worth savoring. And that’s just what we did at Rockland’s aptly named Main Street restaurant, In Good Company, where chef/owner Melody Wolfhertz delivers a unique and flavorful dining experience to her hometown friends, fans and visitors.

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Maine Deer Game Plan Examined by Task Force

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After nearly 6 hours spent hearing a status report on the Maine Game Plan for Deer from staff of the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, comments from the members of the state’s Deer Task Force were remarkably modest, if not downbeat.

“Its pretty much status quo, where we were two years ago,” said Aroostook County’s veteran DIF&W Regional Wildlife Biologist Rich Hoppe.

“I’m cautiously optimistic,” said task force member Matt Libby, a sporting camp owner, who asked some of the most pointed questions about the lack of progress in protecting deer wintering area.

“It’s coming. They’re doing something. But I know I’m too old to see it happen,” reported Don Dudley of Mattagamon, a leader of the Maine Professional Guides Association.

Here's a Toast to Geaghan's Pub and the Fireside Inn

City or Town: 
Bangor
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Bangor is an impressive and vibrant city, with a gorgeous riverfront, many good restaurants, and lots to do. This year we expanded beyond our traditional “go-to” eatery, the Sea Dog Tavern, to try other restaurants, including Geaghan’s Pub.

And when we travel in Maine, we always look for lodging from Bangor’s Lafayette family. They offer a range of accommodations featuring great service, plenty of amenities, and real comfort.

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This perfect ice shack could be yours!

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Cianbro built the best ice shack in Maine. And you can buy it.

On November 18, The Maine Chapter of Associated Builders and Contractors hosted its first annual Maine Super Shack Build at the Augusta Civic Center. I was one of the judges, along with Harry Vanderweide, editor of The Maine Sportsman, Doug Denico, Director of the Maine Forest Service, Pat Sirois, Director of the Maine Sustainable Forestry Initiative, and State Senator Tom Martin, an ABC member.

ABC Maine President James Cote escorted us through four imaginative shacks constructed by competitors RJ Grondin & Sons, IRC Industrial Roofing Companies, Cianbro, and Storey Brothers Excavation.

The Amazing Life of a Maine Pioneer and Wildlife Writer

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Born in New Sharon, Maine, close to my Mount Vernon home, Joshua Rich experienced a life I can only envy.

Rich hunted, fished, trapped, guided, and farmed. At times he owned a hotel, general store, and what may have been Maine’s first sporting camp. He served as a trial justice, pension agent, humane officer, and newspaper columnist. Well, I have that in common with Rich!

William “Bill” Krohn, whose fascinating account of Manley Hardy remains among my all-time favorite biographies, has given us another interesting look at a Maine pioneer and sportsman who lived from 1820 to 1897. Joshua Cross Rich – The Life and Works of a Western Maine Pioneer and Wildlife Writer, was published in paperback by the Maine Folklife Center in 2010.

Deer Predation System Needs Fixing

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The system governing the killing of deer and other animals that are damaging property or crops is a mess, sloppily managed, and lacking many of the required reports.

I asked Colonel Joel Wilkins of Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife for a chance to look at all of the required permits and reports for 2010, waiting patiently for several months while the material was collected at the agency’s Augusta headquarters, and finally receiving copies of the documents a few weeks ago.

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