George's Outdoor News Blog Archive 2010
You’d have to conclude that hunters are losing interest in Maine’s moose hunt, judging by the huge decline in applicants in the state’s once-popular moose lottery.
Since lottery applications peaked in 1994 at 94,532, applications from residents have declined by 50 percent and from nonresidents by 37 percent.
In the last two years alone, applications have decreased by a stunning 23 percent.
The state’s top expert on black bear and primary advocate for wildlife habitat will head south to Massachusetts on July 31. He won’t be on a summer vacation to the Cape. He’ll be taking a new job at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
When Dr. Ken Elowe leaves Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife on July 31, a huge knowledge gap will open up along with a number of great challenges at this hard-pressed agency.
The Future of Forest Conservation: Twenty years ago, my stump speech reported that the future of sportsmen on public land was challenged, due to many competing interests, but we were in good shape on private land where large landowners welcomed us with few restrictions.
Today it’s all changed.
We are blessed with lots of opportunities on public lands — including hunting on undeveloped lands in state parks. We’re in trouble on private lands.
I hope he didn’t decide to retire just because I’m retiring. Brownie Carson at the Natural Resources Council never did follow my path at the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine.
The June 3 announcement that Brownie was retiring after twenty-six years as NRCM’s executive director followed close on the heals of my own announced retirement as executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine. I only served for eighteen years, so Brownie’s got me beat.
I’m also envious of his 2005 environmental award from Down East magazine.
Sportsmen are a cantankerous lot, spending much of their time fighting amongst themselves.
Those who hunt only with primitive muzzleloaders fight those who prefer the modern in-line muzzleloaders. Compound bowhunters fiercely argue against allowing crossbows to be used in their special seasons.
Bait fishermen battle fly fishermen, bass anglers line up against brook trout aficionados, and saltwater anglers and inland anglers tangle over the introduction of alewives into Maine rivers.
Spotting a road-killed grouse while driving a few years ago on Mount Vernon’s North Road a mile from the elementary school, I hopped out and bagged it.
At least one teacher drove by while I was scooping up the bird, and as soon as she got to school, informed my first-grade teaching wife that she could expect grouse for dinner.
Too late. I ate it for lunch.
Just one more reason I am fascinated by Maine Audubon’s new Wildlife Road Watch.
Good fisheries management demands good science. But the two state agencies responsible for management of inland and coastal fisheries are both starved for the funding necessary to perform good science.
I am most familiar with the inland fisheries, where the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife mostly manages anglers, not fish. And after the bruising legislative battle over a proposed saltwater fishing license, I know that the Department of Marine Resources is woefully short of resources to manage saltwater species.
Crappie and bass are starting to collect in shallow water in the Belgrade Lakes watershed, making for great shore fishing, Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife biologist Scott Davis recently told reporter Deirdre Fleming of the Maine Sunday Telegram.
Both fish are illegally introduced species. And that makes the comments of Davis particularly interesting.
More interesting is this: Davis is trap netting walleye on Great Pond and Long Pond in the Belgrades – and killing them.
Maine’s leading environmental organizations have learned the art of compromise, and that’s the only way they could accomplish anything in the recently concluded legislative session.
With Maine’s economy still in the tank, and the state budget hundreds of millions of dollars short, the desire to enact new rules and regulations, or add any costs to either agency budgets or the cost of doing business, was slim to none, even amongst the most rabid environmental legislators.
Manly Hardy would not have understood what happened last week at the Maine legislature. A nineteenth-century businessman from Brewer, Hardy died in 1910 after spending much of his life hunting, trapping, fishing, exploring and observing nature in the North Woods.