Great reads about hunting, fishing, and more

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 I probably overwhelmed Kristina Wheelock when she asked for book recommendations. I’ve got bookshelves full of books about hunting, fishing, birding, wildlife, and the great outdoors. Some are very old, some just published, and lots in between.

Kirstina is assistant librarian at Gardiner High School, and emailed me, “I am always on the lookout for hunting/outdoor books about Maine and beyond. Our students love this hunting/outdoor genre.

Lots of opinions shared in Sportsmen Say Surveys

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 The opinions expressed in my Sportsmen Say Surveys are always interesting. I dedicated the survey to Gene Letourneau, whose Sportsmen Say columns appeared every day for 50 years in the newspapers of central and southern Maine. Sadly, we don’t get coverage and reporting like that anymore.

Gene was an inspiration to many of us. He often featured comments from his readers in his column. Whenever my Dad was quoted in one of Gene’s columns, it was a big day at our house! After Dad died, I found a box of letters he’d received from Gene, in response to Dad’s letters to Gene. Apparently Gene responded to every single person who wrote to him.

I can remember sitting up back in the audience at work sessions of the legislature’s Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Committee, when they would call on Gene for his opinion. They sure don’t do that anymore!

Legislature fails to take the bait.

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                 A lively hearing on LD 62, An Act to Remove the Prohibition on Baiting Deer, drew lots of testimony on both sides of the issue. Senator Peter Lyford, a member of the legislature’s IFW Committee, sponsored the bill, and another committee member, Steve Wood, cosponsored it along with five other legislators.

                Among several opponents of the bill were Dave Trahan of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine and Don Kleiner of the Maine Professional Guides Association, along with the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

                Speaking for DIF&W, Jim Connolly, Resource Management Director, listed several reasons for the agency’s opposition.

Legislature kills deer bills

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 Last Thursday was deer day at the legislature, where the IFW Committee hosted five hours of hearings on a whole herd of deer bills from any-deer permits to baiting to antler restrictions. The committee stayed on the trail, catching back up with all those bills yesterday, and killing them all. They didn’t need an any-bill permit to do that.

Technically, the bills are still alive. They’ll go to the House and Senate for action next, but almost always, negative votes on bills are the end of the trail. Here are some highlights of the hunt.

Antler Restrictions

Mike Look of Washington County has been advocating for antler restrictions for a long time, and his testimony on LD 341 was very good. That bill would limit deer hunters to harvesting deer with 3 or more tines of one inch or longer along the main beam of either or both antlers. Mike handed out detailed information about antler restrictions, and answered lots of questions from committee members.

Fish hatchery study wins support at legislature

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 Fish hatchery study wins support at legislature

“We could help DIF&W reduce their hatchery costs. I believe their technology is outdated.”

Those were the words of Sebastian Belle, testifying in favor of LD 471, my bill that would create a Hatchery Commission to study DIF&W’s fish production facilities and issue recommendations next year. Representative Jared Golden sponsored my bill and delivered excellent testimony for it.

Don Kleiner of the Maine Professional Guides Association liked the idea of a Hatchery Commission but opposed the bill, asking that the Commission be delayed until the department completes its new fishery management plans. It seems to me that a careful examination of our hatcheries would be beneficial before those new plans are completed.

Calzolaio is our favorite restaurant

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            Our favorite table at Wilton’s wonderful Calzolaio restaurant is in the far corner of the interior room, with stone walls on two sides of us. We’ve celebrated anniversaries and other special events at this table enjoying our favorite dishes.

Legislature debates if you need to notify neighbors when your python gets loose

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 “Cats are destructive little bastards.” That was a comment from Jason Perillo who was testifying against my proposal to require permits for all exotic animals and require the Warden Service and neighbors to be notified if that exotic animal gets loose.

Perillo has a business in Winthrop that includes 1400 exotic animals, none of which require a permit. He acknowledged that the Warden Service confiscated his boa constrictors, and that he has applied for permits to acquire other exotics, but had no luck in getting those permits.

Senator Scott Cyrway, Senate chair of the IFW Committee, sponsored my proposal and worked closely with me on it. IFW Committee member Catherine Nadeau cosponsored the bill.

The Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife opposed the bill, explaining the current situation with exotics in Maine, and updating the committee on their work to establish three lists: exotics that require permits, exotics that don’t require permits, and exotics that you cannot possess.

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