Outdoor News

August 2015
Edited by V. Paul Reynolds

September. Music to the senses. The cadence quickens. Time to bid summer farewell and make plans for Maine's finest hour and Mother Nature's supreme orchestration: the debut of Autumn and those magical October days. September's song includes a landscape of golds and rust-colored ferns. Windless days of apple picking, ripened Big Boys and dedicated anglers squeezing in a few more hours on the waters.

Hiking mountain trails and camping can be great this time of year. Cool nights for deep sleeping and bugless afternoons for lingering beside still waters. For hunters, there is bear season, special archery season for deer, an early goose season and much planning to be done.

There are dogs to be trained, guns to be sighted in, camp roofs to be fixed and woodlands to be scouted for deer and moose. And for those true hunter-gatherers, there are wild mushrooms aplenty and vine-ripened blackberries to be plucked and put up in jam jars and pie plates.

Maine in September. Next to October, who could ask for anything more.

CAPTION FOR PHOTO ABOVE: Randy Spencer of Holden, Maine, was recognized as an award recipient during the 2015 Outdoor Writers Association of America Excellence in Craft Contests. This annual awards program recognizes and honors the best work of outdoor communicators who are members of OWAA.

Club News

If your club or outdoor organization has news or photos that warrant publication in the Northwoods Sporting Journal, send them to: Club News, NWSJ, P.O. Box 195, W. Enfield, ME 04493, or e-mail news to: paul@sportingjournal.com

NWSJ Writer Spencer Places in OWAA Competition

Outdoor Writers Association of America is pleased to announce that Randy Spencer of Holden, Maine, was recognized as an award recipient during the 2015 OWAA Excellence in Craft Contests. This annual awards program recognizes and honors the best work of outdoor communicators who are members of OWAA. This year, 62 individuals took home a total of nearly $12,000 in cash prizes. For more info, visit http://owaa.org/eic.

His award:

First place in the general audience category of the Book contest for "Wide and Deep: Tales and Recollections from a Master Maine Fishing Guide," April 1, 2014. The general audience work must be a factual and informative book about outdoor recreation or conservation topic. Randy Spencer guides fishermen on the Canadian border waters of Downeast Maine. In his off-season, he writes books. His first, “Where Cool Waters Flow: Four Seasons with a Master Maine Guide,” won the New England Outdoors 2010 Book of the Year award. His second, “Wide and Deep: Tales and Recollections of a Master Maine Fishing Guide,” won the same award for 2015, as well as best contemporary nonfiction of 2015 from the New England Society in the City of New York. Spencer has been named one of the Ten Most Intriguing People in Maine by Portland Magazine, and Yankee Magazine included Spencer as one of the 25 people you need to meet most. He was been the subject of features on CBS Sunday Morning, Boston Channel 5’s Chronicle, The Wall Street Journal, and ESPN2.

The Outdoor Writers Association of America is the oldest and largest association of professional outdoor communicators in the United States. It was organized in 1927 by members of the Izaak Walton League of America and includes professional communicators dedicated to sharing the outdoor experience. OWAA’s professionals include writers, photographers, outdoors radio and television show hosts, book authors, videographers, lecturers and artists. The association is headquartered in Missoula, Montana. Visit www.owaa.org for more info.

Maine - Boats Crash

On Thursday, July 30th, at approximately 12:25 p.m., Maine Game Wardens responded to a crash involving two boats on Thompson Lake in Otisfield. Through the preliminary investigation it was determined that a 17’ Triumph motorboat, operated by Kenneth Bartow of Biddeford, Maine, and a 19’ Glastron motorboat, operated by Matthew Nolan of Potomac, Maryland, were involved in the incident. All of the occupants of Bartow’s boat were ejected and it then continued on unmanned before running ashore. Those ejected were then given a ride to shore so that they could receive medical treatment.

As a result of the crash, 8 of the 10 people involved went to the hospital for their injuries. This included 5 juveniles of which one of them was a 9 year old who had to be Lifeflighted. Otisfield Fire Department and Oxford Rescue also participated in the care of the injured. This incident is still under investigation.

Hunting Works for Maine

Earlier this summer in Augusta, a small group of hunting advocates assembled in the Hall of Flags to launch a new group to extol the benefits of hunting on the economy.

The group, Hunting Works for Maine — modeled after similar “Hunting Works” groups in other states — is a coalition of groups and businesses associated with the outdoors economy, such as the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine, Cabela’s and businesses such as Van Raymond Outfitters in Brewer. The Maine Chamber of Commerce also backs the effort.

Speakers at the event said many Mainers — particularly those living in more densely populated and urban regions of the state — simply don’t understand the value hunting provides to Maine’s economy. Hunting Works for Maine will teach them, they said.

“For some reason, the story of hunting in Maine, of all places, doesn’t seem to get told,” said Paul Reynolds, editor and co-publisher of the Maine Northwoods Sporting Journal. and a co-founder of Hunting Works for Maine. “I get disappointed when I see some of the shallow, superficial portrayals of hunting in some of our outdoor television programs. There’s more to that story than the trophy buck or trophy bear.

”More than 180,000 people hunt in Maine every year, including roughly 40,000 who come from out-of-state to do so, the group said. All told, those hunters spend about $213 million every year in Maine, supporting nearly 4,000 jobs, the group says.

Last year, Maine voters rejected a proposed ban on the baiting, hounding and trapping of bears. The referendum was funded by the U.S. Humane Society, which found a sympathetic electorate in the more urban parts of the state.

The group cites campaigns such as the bear-baiting referendum as its raison d’etre. In a FAQ distributed to reporters, the group wrote: “Politically motivated anti-hunting groups are growing. Many would like to limit, make more expensive and even ban hunting. These actions are eroding our heritage and damaging state economies and local businesses that depend on hunters for their livelihoods.

”David Trahan, director of the Sportsmen’s Alliance of Maine, said that as more and more Mainers migrate from the state’s rural interior to its more densely populated urban centers, and presumably skip the hunting experience altogether, the group’s work will become even more important.

“As sportsmen, we have to continue to educate” people who don’t hunt, he said. “Understanding both sides is crucial.”

–Report by Mario Moretto, Bangor Daily News

Maine - Legislature Adjourns from a Successful 2015 Legislative Session

The Maine Legislature officially adjourned on Thursday, July 16th. The 2015 Legislative Session saw a number of victories for gun owners as several NRA-backed bills have become law in Maine:

Legislative Document 652 allows for a law-abiding citizen to carry a concealed handgun without obtaining a Concealed Handgun Permit (CHP), prohibits a person under 21 years of age to carry a concealed weapon without a permit and requires an individual carrying a concealed handgun who is stopped by law enforcement officers to immediately inform the officer of that concealed handgun. LD 652 was signed into law on July 8.

Legislative Document 942 legalizes ownership and possession of firearm sound suppressors and requires that a chief law enforcement officer (CLEO) sign an application for the transfer of any item regulated under the National Firearms Act (NFA) within 15 days, so long as the applicant is not prohibited by law from receiving it. LD 942 was signed into law on June 25.

Legislative Document 868 changes Maine law to grant reciprocity to concealed handgun permits issued to a person by that person's state of residence as long as that state of residence honors a permit to carry a concealed handgun issued by the State of Maine. LD 868 was signed into law on June 5.

Legislative Document 156 lowers the age for a junior hunting license from ten to eight years old. LD 156 was signed into law on June 2.

Legislative Document 176, “An Act to Amend the Law Governing the Gathering of Signatures for Direct Initiatives and People's Veto Referenda,” prevents non-Maine residents from collecting signatures or handling petitions in any manner. LD 176 became law on May 24 without the governor's signature.

All non-emergency legislation enacted this session will take effect on October 15, 2015.

The below anti-gun measure was also effectively defeated by the Maine Legislature:

Legislative Document 801 would have made it illegal to hunt bear with the use of dogs.

Thank you to NRA members and Second Amendment supporters in Maine who contacted their lawmakers to voice their strong opinions on these important issues. Your NRA-ILA will continue to fight for your Second Amendment rights in the state of Maine.

Maine State Wildlife Action Plan

The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, in conjunction with a broad spectrum of partner organizations, has created a draft state wildlife action plan that is now posted on the department’s website and open for public comment.

Maine’s 2015 Wildlife Action Plan identifies practical and voluntary opportunities to conserve Maine’s most vulnerable fish and wildlife, while emphasizing that landowner and public participation is essential for wildlife conservation. Yesterday, July 13 marked the beginning of a 30-day opportunity for Maine citizens to review the action plan and provide comment. You can view the document at www.maine.gov/ifw/wildlife/reports/MWAP2015.html.

The draft is a collaboration of IFW and 102 conservation partners -- representatives from federal, state, local, tribal, and public organizations – who over the past 18 months have identified species and habitats in the greatest need of conservation, the factors negatively impacting these species and their habitats, and potential conservation opportunities that citizens, partner organizations, and agencies could undertake to address these issues.

The partners completed their review in June, and based upon their feedback, IFW, with state agency partners prepared the first draft of the action plan, which will help guide the conservation of rare and vulnerable fish and wildlife from 2015 – 2025.

States must have an approved Wildlife Action Plan to be eligible to participate in the State Wildlife Grants (SWG) program, administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). The USFWS approved Maine’s initial Wildlife Action Plan in the summer of 2005. Since then, Maine has accomplished over 50 research, management, and conservation projects, benefitting brook trout, rare freshwater mussels, dragonflies, migrant birds such as Bicknell's Thrush and Black-throated blue Warbler, and globally rare species, such as the Tomah mayfly. Puffins, wood turtles, Atlantic sturgeon, little brown bats and bumble bees are also recognizable species that have benefitted from Maine’s Wildlife Action Plan. IFW must submit the updated action plan to the USFWS by October 2015 for Maine to remain eligible for SWG funds.

Maine’s 2015 Wildlife Action plan is not solely a plan for IFW; rather, it is a cooperative fish and wildlife conservation strategy for the entire state and all Maine’s citizens and visitors. IFW encourages the public to review the 2015 action plan. Comments and suggestions from citizens will ensure that it reflects the values and priorities of Maine’s people.

Maine - China Man Charged

A man from China is facing several charges after allegedly driving his vehicle on an ATV trail and destroying an ATV bridge. Just after midnight Sunday morning, Maine game wardens responded to a section of ATV trail between Pleasant View Ridge Road and Bog Brook Road in China. When game wardens arrived at about 2:30 AM, they found the operator and passenger still with the vehicle. The operator had attempted to drive his vehicle across an ATV bridge on an ATV trail and broke through, leaving his vehicle stranded.

The operator, Tyonek Thurlow, (26) from China, was issued three summonses to include Criminal Mischief (Class D), Attaching False Registration Plates (Class E), and Operating a Motor Vehicle on an ATV Trail (Civil violation). An ATV club representative stated they would be seeking restitution.

Massachusetts - New Hunting Regs

Posted by Wayne G. Barber

Changes have been made to the Massachusetts Black Bear hunting regulations which will apply to the upcoming 2015 bear hunting seasons.

Bears may now be hunted statewide and may be hunted during the Shotgun Deer Season.

If hunting bears during the Shotgun Deer Season, only the following implements may be used: - shotgun not larger than ten gauge, including shotguns with a rifled bore, slugs only
- muzzle-loading firearm, fired from the shoulder, .44 to .775 caliber
- bow and arrow

During the Shotgun Season, all Shotgun Deer Season regulations apply.

Hunters must be wearing 500 square inches of blaze orange on their chest, back, and head. No rifles or handguns are allowed.

Remember, bear harvest can be reported online during all bear seasons. Don’t forget your $5 bear permit!

If you purchased your bear permit before June 22, 2015, the expiration date on your permit does not reflect the new bear season end date. Be advised that your permit is valid for all 2015 bear seasons, including the new Shotgun Bear Season (Nov. 30- Dec. 12). Your bag limit is still 1 bear per year. You do not need to take any further action regarding your bear permit.

New Hampshire Fish and Game Commission Awards - Seven Honored

The New Hampshire Fish and Game Commission has honored seven individuals with Awards of Excellence for outstanding efforts in the conservation field in support of the N.H. Fish and Game Department’s mission.

"Those we are honoring have all made a significant contribution to the mission of New Hampshire’s wildlife agency, the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department," said Commissioner Vincent Greco.

The 2014 Commission Award of Excellence (presented in 2015):

George Embley of Webster received a Commission Volunteer Award of Excellence. Embley has been the president of the Basil W. Woods, Jr., Chapter of Trout Unlimited and has spent countless hours identifying and inventorying wild brook trout streams and the condition of aquatic habitat in the Warner River Watershed. Last summer and fall, he led the charge to assess stream crossings there. “George has served an invaluable role in support of the Fish and Game mission as a volunteer, volunteer coordinator and spokesman for wild trout and their habitats,” said Greco.

Paul Chartrain of Merrimack also earned a Volunteer Award of Excellence this year. Chartrain has volunteered for the “Let’s Go Fishing Program” for eight years. He puts in nearly 500 hours a year for Fish and Game, sharing his passion for fishing with kids and adults. As a lead instructor for Barry Conservation Camp’s fishing week, he spends the entire week at camp each year. Commissioner Greco referenced the letter nominating Chartrain, saying: “Paul puts his heart and soul into educating these children. They are the hope and future of conserving N.H. Fish and Game’s mission.” The Habitat Stewardship Award was presented to Gray Cornwell of Madbury. Gray and his wife have partnered with the US Department of Agriculture-Natural Resources Conservation Service since 2008 to improve wildlife habitat on their 126-acre farm. They have rooted out invasive plants on 30-plus acres of their land, and have found and “released” several dozen apple trees, as well as seeding old log landings. A growing number of turkey and deer love it there! In 2012, the Cornwells devoted six acres of the property to New England Cottontail habitat, and they actively promote conservation to their neighbors and friends. “ “Fish and Game could not accomplish all it does without the support and enthusiasm of habitat stewards like the Cornwells,” said Commissioner Greco.

Three young men from the Nashua area, Patrick McCarthy, Douglas Barker, and Jack Gould, earned a joint Youth Conservationist Award of Excellence. While they were students at Pennichuck Middle School in Nashua, these boys chose to support New Hampshire Fish and Game for their service-based learning project. They all love fishing, so they organized a fishing derby and raised over $200 for the Wildlife Heritage Foundation of New Hampshire, Fish and Game’s nonprofit partner. “These young men found a creative and fun way to be a part of preserving wildlife and helping research and development,” said Commissioner Greco. “It says a lot about our state that we have young people who value outdoor recreation and are willing to work together to improve the natural world. You are the future of this Department.”

Jerry Monkman of Portsmouth was honored with the Commission’s Communications Award of Excellence. As a photographer, film-maker and writer, Monkman is dedicated to raising awareness of the need for conservation. For over two decades, he has created photographs for organizations like the American Forest Foundation, the Appalachian Mountain Club, and the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests, as well as Fish and Game. He photographed piping plover nests in the early days of Fish and Game’s effort to help these endangered birds. Over the years, Monkman has photographed more than 120 conservation projects. In presenting the award, Greco applauded the impact of Monkman’s artistry, saying, “Jerry Monkman’s exceptional work communicates a powerful emotional connection between people and the outdoors, laying the foundation for public interest in conserving natural resources.”

WNTK Radio talk show host Janine Weins, formerly of Lyme, N.H., posthumously received a Commission Communication Award of Excellence. WNTK station manager Matt Cross accepted the award on her behalf. “Janine left a legacy of local broadcasting that served her community well,” said Greco. Over the past twenty years, Weins hosted thousands of hours of community service radio interviews. She frequently had Fish and Game commissioners and staff on her show, bringing discussions about fishing, hunting and eating wild game to a broader audience. “This well-loved local radio personality covered the issues in a comfortable, personal way, from wild game suppers to the politics of funding Fish and Game,” said Greco.

The Commission’s highest honor is the Ellis R. Hatch Junior Award of Excellence. Former Commissioner Ellis Hatch was the first recipient of this award, which now bears his name, and he was there to personally present the 2014 Ellis Hatch Award to State Representative Gene Chandler of Bartlett. Chandler is now in his thirteenth term in the New Hampshire House of Representatives, where he has been a steadfast supporter of the Fish and Game Department. When he was Speaker of the House, he was the prime sponsor of the bill to rename the Jones Pond Wildlife Area to its present name – the Ellis R. Hatch Wildlife Management Area. He also sponsored the bill that created the Hike Safe Card, which is bringing in much-needed revenue for search and rescue activities. Hatch applauded Chandler for looking out for the sportsmen and women of New Hampshire over the past 32 years. “He has been one of the Department’s true supporters, never looking for recognition; I am pleased to present him with this well-deserved award,” said Hatch.

- There are seven award categories for New Hampshire Fish and Game Commission Awards of Excellence. Nominations are accepted each year, and must be submitted by December 31. Please consider nominating a worthy individual or organization for this year's awards! For a description of the various award categories and a nomination form, visit http://www.wildlife.state.nh.us/about/commission-awards.html

Vermont - Two NEK Men Charged in Deer Poaching Case

Vermont state game wardens charged two Northeast Kingdom men recently for allegedly poaching several deer during March and April in the Stannard area.

On June 22, game wardens, assisted by officers from the Hardwick Police Department, executed a search warrant at the residence of Shawn Bell, 37, of Greensboro and based on evidence gathered during the investigation charged him with taking deer in closed season during the spring of this year. Arraignment for Bell will be on July 20 in Caledonia Superior Court.

On July 7, Kasey Ainsworth, 22, of Coventry was arrested and charged with possessing and transporting deer taken in closed season. Arraignment for Ainsworth will be held on August 4 in Orleans Superior Court.

Additional arrests are anticipated as a result of the investigation.

Each big game violation carries with it the potential for up to 60 days in jail, a minimum fine of $400 ($1000 maximum) and an additional $2000 restitution for each of the illegally killed animals. If convicted, the men will lose their rights to hunt, fish and trap in Vermont and 43 other states for a period of three years and would be required to pass a remedial outdoor ethics course prior to reinstatement. Citizens who have further information relating to these cases or who wish to report a wildlife crime may contact Operation Game Thief by calling 1-800-75ALERT (1-800-752-5378) or online at www.vtfishandwildlife.com. Users may choose to remain anonymous. Rewards are paid for information leading to an arrest.

Vermont Moose Hunting Permit Winners Are Drawn

The winners of Vermont’s 2015 moose hunting permits were determined Thursday, July 16, at a lottery drawing in Barre.

Governor Peter Shumlin, standing alongside Fish & Wildlife Commissioner Louis Porter, started the computer-generated selection process that randomly picked 265 winners from more than 9,500 lottery applicants.

The drawing is done by a random sort of applications that were submitted by a June 17, 2015 deadline.

As part of the regular lottery drawing, a “special priority drawing” was held for five permits to go to applicants who have received, or are eligible to receive, a Campaign Ribbon for Operation Iraqi Freedom or Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. The unsuccessful applicants from the Iraqi-Afghanistan drawing were included in the larger regular drawing that followed. All applicants for both drawings who did not receive a permit were awarded a bonus point to improve their chances in future moose permit lotteries.

The lottery was held for 40 moose permits to be used in the Vermont’s October 1-7 archery moose hunting season and 225 moose permits for the October 17-22 regular moose season.

“Today’s lottery drawing helps celebrate one of Vermont’s successes in science-based wildlife management,” said State Wildlife Biologist Cedric Alexander. “Vermont’s first moose hunt was in 1993, when 25 moose were taken with 30 permits issued. We expect close to 120 moose will be taken this fall in a carefully regulated hunt.”

Winners in this year’s moose hunting lottery are posted in a searchable database on the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department’s website (www.vtfishandwildlife.com).

Kevin Rice of South Pomfret, VT with the archery record 919 lb. bull moose he took last year during Vermont’s archery moose hunt. Winners of moose permits for this year are on Vermont Fish &Wildlife’s website.

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