Time to make wild game dinners legal – and taking crops without permission on private land illegal

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While the Warden Service looks the other way and often participates in them, it is illegal in Maine to charge people for a wild game dinner. Sportsmen’s clubs, Unity College, and even some churches serve wild game dinners and charge for them, but generally report that they charge for the “social hour” before dinner and then provide the dinner for free.

I hate it when we have to do things like this to enjoy something that should be ok. So I’ve proposed legislation this session to make these dinners legal. Senator Tom Saviello will sponsor the bill.

Senator Saviello is also sponsoring my bill to require landowner permission to pick crops on private land, such as mushrooms and fiddleheads. This bill will go to the Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry Committee. That committee worked on similar legislation last year, focused on those who pick crops commercially on private land without permission, but failed to support that proposal.

Maine’s Remarkable Women by Kate Kennedy

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 Some of them you know: Margaret Chase Smith, Sarah Orne Jewett, Fly Rod Crosby. But I’ll bet you didn’t know as much about them as you’ll learn in Kate Kennedy’s wonderful book, Maine’s Remarkable Women, published by Down East Books.

And I’ll bet you’ve never heard of most of these other remarkable women, whose stories you will find interesting and inspiring.

As we begin another winter, you’ll enjoy Tante Blanche’s story. She strapped on snowshoes, loaded up her sled with food and supplies, and traipsed out into a huge blizzard in Madawaska to save her starving neighbors. She was an Acadian who was expelled from Nova Scotia by the English. Yes, she was an immigrant, as were fourteen of the other 15 remarkable women profiled in Kennedy’s book.

New deer plan sure to be controversial

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 Working for 18 years for the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine, I learned how difficult it is to bring us all together and keep  us there. We often have very diverse and different opinions. And when  you mix us in with the public, it gets even more difficult. So it’s going to be interesting to see what kind of support – and participation – DIF&W gets as it creates new big game management plans.

The current draft of the deer plan includes some very interesting – and sure to be controversial – goals, objectives, and strategies. Today we’ll take a look at some of these.

Goal: Maintain the deer population below biological carrying capacity while providing hunting and viewing opportunity.

We’ll talk turkeys at the legislature this session

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In 2014, the legislature enacted my proposal to reduce the turkey permit fee and expand the seasons and bag limits. In the 2017 legislative session, I’ll be back for more.        

The final bill in 2014 reduced the turkey hunting permit to $20 for both residents and nonresidents, with no additional fee for a second Tom in the spring, expanded the fall season to the entire month of October and added a second turkey of either sex to the fall bag limit, reduced the tagging fee from $5 to $2 for each turkey (with all of the fee going to the tagging agent), extended the spring season to all-day (1/2 hour before sunrise to ½ hour after sunset), and authorized all-day hunting for Youth Day.

Maine’s Favorite Birds by Jeffrey and Allison Wells

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 Do you know Maine’s favorite birds? Jeffrey and Allison Wells do! And they’ve shared that information in a book, Maine’s Favorite Birds, published by Tilbury House.

Linda and I became avid birders twelve years ago, and have found that it adds so much to our travel visits, as well as our time in the wilds of Maine (and even on our front lawn!). While I try not to obsess over it, I do keep a list of the birds we’ve seen, which now totals 504.

Melena’s Jubilee by Zetta Elliot

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Children’s books these days are amazing, with beautiful illustrations, great stories, and often, important messages for kids. All of those descriptions fit Melena’s Jubilee by Zetta Elliot, published by Tilbury House and illustrated by Aaron Boyd.

Young Melena’s been a bad girl. She didn’t make her bed. She didn’t put her toys away and a friend of her grandmother tripped over one and banged into a table, breaking her mother’s favorite vase. “It seemed like everyone was mad at me,” she said. No kidding!

But then, she’s redeemed. “I never let the sun go down on my anger,” her grandmother tells her at breakfast the next day. “Today’s a new day, Melena,” says her mother, “and that means you’ve got a fresh start.” Lucky girl!

Controversies and conflicts ahead for new big game management plans

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 The December 9th meeting of DIF&W’s Big Game Management Steering Committee was interesting, enlightening, and concerning. We’ll get to all of that in a minute.

First, let me say that we are fortunate to have an exceptional staff in the agency’s Wildlife Division, led by Judy Camuso.  As the staff presented the preliminary goals, objectives, and strategies for deer, moose, bear, and turkeys, I marveled at their professionalism, knowledge, and friendly approach to any and all questions and challenges.

The members of the Steering Committee are also an excellent group, representing key organizations throughout the state, from the Farm Bureau to the Sporting Camp Association. And of course, SAM and the MPGA are at the table.

Over the next couple of weeks, I’ll tell you about each plan and what I learned at the meeting. Today we’ll offer some general information.

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