Edited by V. Paul Reynolds
February. Not a bad month for outdoor types. If you look closely, you'll notice longer days. Cabin fever sufferers take heart. There are sportsman shows and ice fishing derbies that make a relatively short winter month go even faster. On late afternoons toward the end of February, when the sun's rays begin to hold promise and the wind stays down, it can be downright pleasant near those icefishing holes.
If you're shopping for winter diversions beyond the bunny hunts or tying bench, don't forget to check out the many sportsman shows, ice fishing derbies and bait dealers whose ads appear this month in the Sportin' Journal.
As we said in this space last year at this time, the best part of the month is the perennial promise that helps Mainers endure the abbreviated days and prolonged nights: the coming of March, then the April thing, and then spring!
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
Maine - Ice Fishing Report
Region A – Sebago Lakes Region
The early season cold has made for some excellent early season ice fishing opportunities in the southern part of the state.
“There are a lot of people out already, and there is more than a couple of inches of ice on the smaller ponds. A lot of the bigger lakes are still open in the middle, but the shoreline and coves have frozen over,” said IFW Fisheries biologist Jim Pellerin.
If you are looking for some good early season fishing for trout, try these ponds: The Otter Ponds in Standish, Littlefield Pond in Sanford, Barker Pond in Lyman, Knights Pond in Berwick, Hall Pond in Paris, Moose Pond in Acton, and Worthley Pond in Peru.
If you are looking to take the kids fishing, try Round Pond in Lyman and Lower Hinckley Pond in South Portland
“On some of these ponds, like the Otters, anglers are doing great already,” said Pellerin, who noted that these ponds were stocked with trout that range from 12-15” in length with a few bigger ones as well.
Pellerin advises that if you are looking to fish for brookies, remember to fish shallow, in water that is five feet deep or less. Use small bait, such as worms or small shiners, and don’t be afraid to use a small jig as well.
If you are looking to fish for some rainbows, head on over to Stanley Pond in Hiram, Norway Lake in Norway, Little Sebago in Gray, the Ranges in Poland, or Crystal Lake in Gray. Most of these ponds are a little larger but should have some good ice and fishing for rainbows by the first of the year.
Region B – Central and Midcoast Area
Anglers are having early season success for trout in many different waters in Region B.
“If you are looking for trout, you ought to try Levenseller Pond in Searsmont or Dutton Pond in Knox. They were stocked with brook trout that range in size from ten inches to nearly 20 inches,” said IFW Fisheries Biologist Jason Seiders.
With ice covering the pond now, many anglers might be tempted to try the deeper water at Levenseller, but Seiders says that if you are looking for brookies, stay close to shore in and in shallow water.
“Brook trout cruise the shoreline looking for food, usually nymphs or small minnows. Look for areas that have gravel or rocky bottoms,” said Seiders.
Once you’ve found a spot, make sure you use small bait or jigs.
“Fish shallow with small bait –use worms or small shiners. Don’t be afraid to jig. The key is to be where the trout are, and they are not out deep, they are cruising the shoreline, and they like small bait,” said Seiders.
If you’ve got kids and you want to give them a day catching trout, try Maces Pond and Rocky Pond in Rockport. “Both ponds are heavily stocked with trout,” says Seiders.
Heading away from the coast and towards the Belgrades, you may want to try Salmon and McGrath Ponds in Belgrade, which were recently stocked and also have some nice bass. If you are looking for panfish, East Pond in Smithfield has a popular white perch fishery.
Round Pond and Brettuns Pond in Turner has good access and good fishing. “They were both heavily stocked with brook trout and there are some nice holdovers of brown trout that are in the 20 inch range,” said Seiders.
There are also some nice salmon to be had in Region B. Fall trapnetting revealed a number of 20” salmon at waters such as Flying Pond in Vienna; and in Alford Lake, there were brown trout that tipped the scales at over seven pounds as well as a number of 20 inch salmon. Lake Wassokeag in Dexter also had some good number of large salmon.
Down in the southern coastal part of the region, check out Sewall Pond in Arrowsic for trout and a chance at some big bass, and in Georgetown, Charles Pond was also stocked and should offer some fine trout fishing.
Region C - Downeast
Anglers are enjoying the early season angling downeast, with some excellent early season angling opportunities.
“Lovejoy Pond in T 35, just south of the Studmill Road is a pond that freezes early and was stocked with fall fingerlings and fall yearling trout,” says IFW Fisheries Biologist Greg Burr. Anglers fishing there can expect to catch trout in the 12-14” range.
Over in Calais, you’ll want to try Keene’s Lake for brookies. In Whiting, Indian Lake has a range of sizes for brook trout, ranging from 8-10”, and even some in the 20” range.
Down on Mount Desert Island, there are some excellent opportunities for brook trout. Check out Round Pond in Mount Desert, and Lower Hadlock in Northeast harbor. Both were stocked this fall with 12-14 inch brook trout.
For the kids, try Foxhole in Deblois. It’s a kid’s only pond that’s stocked with brook trout. If you are fishing here, use small bait and worms, or small silver lures for jigging.
There’s also a few new fisheries you may want to try out downeast, including Phillips Lake in Dedham and Spring River Lake in T10SD, just north of Tunk lake.
“Phillips Lake gets quite a lot of use, and anglers wanted more opportunity. So after a thorough review, this fall we stocked it with brook trout to augment the togue and salmon fishery,” explained Burr. “We can’t enhance the togue or salmon population without impacting the smelt population, so a ‘put and take’ brook trout fishery will enhance the species diversity without putting a lot of pressure on the forage base.” 700 brook trout were stocked there this fall, and the stocking program will be evaluated over the coming years.
“We did the same thing at Spring River Lake,” said Burr. “We had been stocking the lake with brown trout, which tend to have slower catch rates. Anglers were catching browns and some salmon that dropped down, but again, anglers were looking for more opportunity. We think the addition of 400 fall yearling brook trout should really augment the fishery, and over the next few years, we will be evaluating the program.”
Region D – Rangeley Lakes
It’s been cold in Region D, and even before the sub-zero cold we had last week, anglers were already out fishing their favorite early season spots. Ice conditions continue to get better, and most of the small ponds now have 5-6” of ice.
“There are a number of popular early season ponds that received stockings of 12-14 inch brook trout this fall,” said IFW Fisheries Biologist Dave Howatt. “Anglers should check out Crowell and Norcross Ponds in Chesterville, Ellis Pond in Roxbury, and Fahi Pond in Embden.” Most of the ponds have very good access (Fahi requires a bit more effort), and along with the trout, there are also strong bass, pickerel and perch fisheries.
Howatt mentioned that a lot of other ponds will open on January 1, including Mount Blue Pond in Avon.
“Mount Blue Pond is an interesting place to try. It was opened to ice fishing for the first time last year. It saw moderate activity, and the fishing for splake was fair. This year, we upped the splake stocking from 200 up to 500.” Howatt said it will be interesting to see if this draws more anglers, and if anglers have more success at Mount Blue Pond. There is also a decent smallmouth bass and white perch fishery at Mount Blue.
Other waters that you may want to try after the New Year include Clearwater Pond in Industry, Porter Lake in Strong, and Wilson Pond in Wilton. All three of these waters are in Franklin County, have easy access, and offer decent winter angling for brook trout, salmon, and togue. If you are looking for more of an adventure this winter, you could try the Chain of Ponds in Chain of Ponds Twp for brookies and salmon or head to Spring Lake in T03 R04 BKP WKR for brookies, salmon and togue.
Region E – Moosehead Region
Anglers looking for early season action in the Moosehead Lake Region should target smaller, shallow waters that tend to freeze early.
“Ponds like Fitzgerald Pond, Prong Pond, and Shirley Pond are good early season choices in the Greenville area,” said IFW Fisheries Biologist Tim Obrey. “These ponds are all stocked with fallyearling brook trout in the fall that range from 12-14 inches.”
“Brann’s Mill Pond in Dover-Foxcroft is another good bet, and a great place to take the kids. The pond has white perch, bass, and pickerel to keep the action going all day in addition to the fall stocking of brook trout,” added Obrey. “Access is very easy as the main road runs very close to the pond.
Other ponds that you may want to try for some early season action include Harlow in Sangerville and Manhanock Pond in Parkman. Both ponds are stocked with brook trout, and white perch are big and abundant. There are some monster bass in this pond but they must be released.
One other water, while not small or shallow but always freezes early is Big Wood Pond in the Jackman region
“Big Wood freezes earlier than most of our larger waters,” says Obrey. “This pond is stocked heavily with splake and brook trout in the fall. In fact, this year we had a few extra brook trout in the hatchery and Big Wood Pond anglers will reap the benefits. The fishing is always fast and furious in early January on this pond and this year should be even better.”
Even with the cold weather, early season ice conditions can be tricky, so take care. “We’ve had some pretty cold days over the last week which will help make ice but caution is the rule of the day. No fish is worth a dip in the water this time of year,” said Obrey.
Region F – Penobscot Region
Ponds and even some lakes are buttoning up in the Penobscot region, but even with the spell of cold weather we experienced, remember, there are no guarantees with ice, so be careful and check the ice before heading out.
“We have a number of lakes and ponds that tend to firm up early,” said IFW fisheries biologist Nels Kramer, “and we stock a number of them with both fall yearling and adult brook trout.” Fall yearlings average about 12-14 inches, and the retired brood stock adult brook trout are generally in the 17-20 inch range.
Some of the waters you may want to try early this season include: Middle Oxhead Pond (T40 MD), Perch Pond (Old Town), Wiley Pond (Patten), Silver Lake (Lee), Upper Pond (Lincoln), Trout Pond (Lowell), Smith Pond (Millinocket), Norton Pond (Brownville), Flatiron Pond (T3R9) and Falkner Pond (Weston).
You may also want to try Lower Shin and Upper Shin Ponds (Mount Chase), Hay Lake (T6R8 WELS), Cold Stream Pond (Enfield) and Upper Cold Stream Pond (Lincoln). Check the regulation book on these waters, as they have special S-Code regulations for the early part of the season.
Kramer and the Region F fisheries crew were out trapnetting this past fall, and were encouraged with the results
“We have high expectations for both salmon and togue fishing at a number of waters that will be opening on the 1st of January, including Schoodic Lake in Brownville, East Grand in Danforth and Cold Stream Pond in Enfield,” said Kramer. “Matagamon Lake should also have very good fishing for trout and salmon. Anglers should also do well at Scraggly and I expect to see excellent splake and salmon fishing at Nicatous Lake (T40 MD), Cedar Lake (T3R9 NWP) and Seboeis Lake (T4R9 NWP).”
The region also has some excellent “Kid’s Only” ponds that you may want to try with some young anglers.
“We always encourage any adults who enjoy ice fishing to consider taking a kid along. We have a number of “Kid’s Only” ponds that have been heavily stocked with big trout and we’d love to see young anglers experience the thrill of hooking and landing a 12” to 18” brookie,” said Kramer.
If you are looking for a “Kid’s Only” pond, try Jerry Pond (Millinocket), Pickerel Pond (T32MD), Edwards Family Fishing Pond (Lincoln), Harris Pond (Milo), Little Round Pond (Lincoln) and Rock Crusher Pond (Island Falls).
As always, anglers should check their fishing rule book and if any anglers would like more information, or need to have questions answered, please call the Regional Fisheries Office and ask. The Penobscot Regional Office number in Enfield is: 732-4131.
Region G – Aroostook Region
This year, the winter weather is cooperating for ice anglers and there are no shortages of places to fish.
“This is looking like a more normal year. By January 1st, we should have ice nearly everywhere,” said IFW Fisheries Biologist Frank Frost.
Many of the smaller lakes and ponds already have five to six inches of ice. “Even some of our bigger lakes are starting to close in,” said Frost, who noted that most of the larger lakes had ice around the shore.
Anglers looking to catch some trout or splake have a variety of ponds they may want to try early this year.
Arnold Brook Lake in Presque Isle and Scopan Lake in Mapleton should offer some good fishing early, and if you are a little further south in Region G, Drews Lake in Linneus and Nickerson Lake in New Limerick. All of these waters have good numbers of catchable trout. You also have the chance to catch some larger splake in Scopan and Drews.
“All of these were stocked with fall yearling trout, but there are also some adult brood trout that are up to 20 inches,” says Frost. Frost added that the St. John River in Van Buren also holds good number of catchable trout. He cautions anglers to be careful when heading out onto any body of water, including the St. John.
Vermont - Conserved Lands in Northeast Kingdom
The Vermont departments of Fish & Wildlife, and Forests, Parks, & Recreation are holding an additional public meeting to discuss future management and use of a group of conserved lands in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom. The comment period has also been extended to provide the public with additional opportunities to comment.
The meeting will discuss the proposed long-range management plan for Victory Basin Wildlife Management Area, Victory State Forest, and Darling State Park. The meeting will take place on Tuesday, January 10 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Burke Mountain Room at Lyndon State College. This is a routine update of the management plan for these lands.
The draft plan calls for the continued management of these lands for a variety of recreational uses, habitat for plants and animals, and sustainable forest management. The plan calls for more intensive timber harvest in the wildlife management area to promote regeneration of spruce-fir forests for species such as deer, moose, gray jays, rusty blackbirds, and marten. There are no changes proposed to the lease agreement with Burke Mountain Resort.
“The Victory Basin region is a unique treasure in Vermont, with vast stretches of boreal forest and untamed lands that are reminiscent of areas usually found much farther north,” said Doug Morin, a biologist for the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department. “Large areas of interconnected conserved lands with healthy forests and waters such as these are essential in Vermont. They form the foundation of the state’s working landscape, providing areas for outdoor recreation, tourism, and sustainable forestry practices.”
The meeting will provide an opportunity for members of the public to review the highlights of the draft long-range management plan and ask questions. For more information about the meeting or the planning process, or to comment on the draft plan before February 1, please contact Doug Morin at email@example.com. The draft plan is available at vtfishandwildlife.com.
Vermont Initiates Moose Study
The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department is initiating a multi-year study to better understand the state’s moose herd.
Moose across the Northeast are increasingly under stress from a parasite known as winter ticks. The ticks are becoming more prolific as spring and fall weather has warmed in recent years, causing some moose to collapse from blood loss or die from hypothermia after rubbing their insulating hair off in an attempt to rid themselves of the parasite.
Beginning in January 2017, researchers with the Fish & Wildlife Department will start placing radio-collars on up to 60 wild moose to follow their movements and determine causes of mortality. Moose will be captured by expert wildlife capture contractors using nets from helicopters via well-established techniques that minimize stress and harm to the animal. Department staff will then track these moose for several years using the GPS points gathered by the collars, and by visiting moose directly in the field to record observations. Vermont is the fourth northeastern state to partake in such a study – state fish and wildlife agencies in New Hampshire, Maine, and New York are currently using the same methods to examine their moose herds.
Biologists hope to better understand whether Vermont’s moose calves are surviving to adulthood. They want to know what is causing the death of any moose that die during the study period, including those that are killed by predators such as coyotes or bears, and those that die from brainworm infections or stress caused by winter tick parasites. Biologists will also examine whether female moose are successfully reproducing and where their young go after they leave their mother’s side.
“Moose face a variety of potential threats in the northeast, from warmer temperatures to dramatically increased parasite loads and habitat fragmentation,” said Cedric Alexander, Vermont Fish & Wildlife’s lead moose biologist. “It is important that we understand how much these factors are affecting our moose population in Vermont. Our moose conservation efforts must be based on a strong foundation of science if we are to understand and address these threats in the long term.”
Vermont’s moose herd has decreased from an estimated high of over 5,000 individuals in the state in the early 2000s to roughly 2,200 today. The majority of the reduction in the number of moose was a deliberate effort by biologists to bring the herd into better balance with available habitat at a time they were considered overabundant. A single moose can eat over 25 pounds of food a day and their browsing was damaging forest ecosystems, harming not only their own habitat but habitats for many other animals.
According to Alexander, this deliberate reduction in the herd through hunting may have also helped Vermont’s moose stave off the worst effects of winter ticks as they have increasingly become a problem in recent years. “Winter ticks spread more rapidly when moose are overabundant,” said Alexander. “Although we decreased Vermont’s moose herd to reduce the impacts of moose on the landscape, it may have also contributed to the much lower rates of winter ticks on Vermont’s moose than biologists observe on moose in New Hampshire or Maine.”
The study will run through 2019. For more information, go to www.vtfishandwildlife.com.
Maine - Three Missing Sledders Found
An intense overnight search located three women who became separated a few weeks ago while snowmobiling in northern Maine. Dorothy Gould (62) from Glenburn, Alice Meadow (50’s) from Texas and Valerie Morrow (50’s) from Garland, Maine were staying together at a camp on Smith Pond located west of Millinocket in Township T3-Indian Purchase.
The three women went snowmobiling and were headed toward Kokadjo when they became stuck near Penobscot Pond in T1R11 between Millinocket and Kokadjo. Dorothy Gould left her two friends on snowmobile to find help when she became lost. Gould made her way to the north end of Baxter State Park where she ran out of gas near Nesowadnehunk Field Campground. None of the women had extra gas or emergency supplies with them. Game wardens were called and began an intensive search. With temperatures below zero and some thin ice in the area, game wardens were very concerned for the women’s safety.
Gould made her way to a cabin near Nesowadnehunk Field where she was able to enter and make a fire. Gould stayed the evening in the cabin and was met in trhe morning by snowmobilers travelling in the area. The snowmobiler’s provider her with gas and she followed them back towards Millinocket where she met with game wardens around noon. Meanwhile, Meadow and Morrow were found later by game wardens. She was stranded beside the snowmobile trail. The women were taken to Kokadjo as they were cold and hungry from spending a night outdoors.
Over a dozen Maine game wardens and two Warden Service aircraft were involved in this overnight search effort. The Maine Warden Service recognizes that this incident was very dangerous and could have turned out much worse. It is critical to be prepared for an unexpected stay in the woods and those who snowmobile are reminded to bring a communication device, area trail maps and a means to start a fire. The impending storm this evening coupled with some thin ice and open water condition s in this area was of high concern to game wardens. Please use good judgment and common sense and be prepared when snowmobiling, especially in remote areas of Maine.
Maine - IF& W Employees Honored
James Connolly, Bureau Director for Resource Management was awarded the William Twarog Manager of the Year award on Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2016, by Governor Paul R. LePage, at the Blaine House in Augusta. The annual William Twarog Awards were created to honor William “Bill” Twarog and his work by recognizing State employees who promote quality services, listen to consumer voices and provide a role model for excellence in management. Jim’s nomination read:
“Jim Connolly sets the standard for a leader and manager. His tenure with the Department, over 35 years, and the many different roles he has held give him excellent perspective and understanding. He is patient, even keeled, willing to listen and easy to approach. The morale of the entire fisheries and wildlife divisions has improved under his direction. Jim is passionate, dedicated and engaged and he inspires staff to be their best. Wildlife and fisheries staff are extremely fortunate to have him as our director.
James Connolly, Bureau Director for Resource Management was awarded the William Twarog Manager of the Year award on Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2016, by Governor Paul R. LePage, at the Blaine House in Augusta. The annual William Twarog Awards were created to honor William “Bill” Twarog and his work by recognizing State employees who promote quality services, listen to consumer voices and provide a role model for excellence in management. Jim’s nomination read:“Jim Connolly sets the standard for a leader and manager. His tenure with the Department, over 35 years, and the many different roles he has held give him excellent perspective and understanding. He is patient, even keeled, willing to listen and easy to approach. The morale of the entire fisheries and wildlife divisions has improved under his direction. Jim is passionate, dedicated and engaged and he inspires staff to be their best. Wildlife and fisheries staff are extremely fortunate to have him as our director.”Jim has been a Biology Aide, Computer Services Supervisor, Regional Wildlife Biologist, Wildlife Division Director and currently Director of Resource Management for Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. Throughout his career he has demonstrated his passion and dedication to his work and the State of Maine. This is not his first honor. He has been honored with the Employee Service Award (1996), the Kenneth H. Anderson Award (1998), Silver Beaver Award from the Katahdin Area Boy Scout Council (2002), and was the recipient of the 2010 Employee of the Year for Wildlife.“The Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife is extremely grateful to Jim Connolly for his service to the people and resources of our state,” said Commissioner Chandler Woodcock. Tom Schaeffer, a regional wildlife biologist for the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife was honored Dec. 7, 2016 by Governor Paul R. LePage, at the Blaine House in Augusta, with the Department/Agency Employee Service Award. Tom’s nomination read:“Tom has been a wildlife biologist with IFW for over 40 years and his passion, dedication and enthusiasm for the job rival that of a brand new employee. Tom initiates new projects, provides detailed input to many existing programs and is a role model and mentor for many of the Department’s younger staff. His knowledge of wildlife management issues, Department history, and his customer service skills are unparalleled. Tom’s work ethic, attitude and commitment to our mission set an example that we all hope to achieve.”Commissioner Chandler Woodcock commented, “Tom Schaeffer’s exceptional career in the wildlife division has greatly enhanced our management of the resources of Maine.”
”Jim has been a Biology Aide, Computer Services Supervisor, Regional Wildlife Biologist, Wildlife Division Director and currently Director of Resource Management for Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. Throughout his career he has demonstrated his passion and dedication to his work and the State of Maine. This is not his first honor. He has been honored with the Employee Service Award (1996), the Kenneth H. Anderson Award (1998), Silver Beaver Award from the Katahdin Area Boy Scout Council (2002), and was the recipient of the 2010 Employee of the Year for Wildlife.
“The Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife is extremely grateful to Jim Connolly for his service to the people and resources of our state,” said Commissioner Chandler Woodcock.
Tom Schaeffer, a regional wildlife biologist for the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife was honored Dec. 7, 2016 by Governor Paul R. LePage, at the Blaine House in Augusta, with the Department/Agency Employee Service Award. Tom’s nomination read:
“Tom has been a wildlife biologist with IFW for over 40 years and his passion, dedication and enthusiasm for the job rival that of a brand new employee. Tom initiates new projects, provides detailed input to many existing programs and is a role model and mentor for many of the Department’s younger staff. His knowledge of wildlife management issues, Department history, and his customer service skills are unparalleled. Tom’s work ethic, attitude and commitment to our mission set an example that we all hope to achieve."
Commissioner Chandler Woodcock commented, “Tom Schaeffer’s exceptional career in the wildlife division has greatly enhanced our management of the resources of Maine.”
Maine - New Hampshire Hunting Season Results
NH Deer Hunt
The unofficial deer kill for New Hampshire’s 2016 hunting season was 10,702, down slightly (2%) from the 2015 final kill of 10,895. Based on this estimate, the 2016 total represents the 7th highest kill in the last 9 years and is very similar to the 20-year average of 10,912. Deer hunting seasons are now closed in the state.
"With nearly 11,000 deer taken by hunters, it has been another very good season overall in New Hampshire,” said Dan Bergeron, the N.H. Fish and Game Department’s deer biologist. He noted that the physical condition of deer was good again this year, and that quite a few very large bucks were harvested throughout the state, including a 266-lb. buck taken in Success which made the top 10 list of biggest bucks ever harvested in the state (for all hunting methods). Bergeron also noted that “this season’s estimated total harvest ranks among the top 25 total harvests going back 95 years to 1922. In fact, 21 of the top 25 years have taken place from 1995-2016 (during the last 22 years), and 9 of the top 10 years for adult buck harvests have taken place since 2000 (adult buck harvest numbers for 2016 have not yet been verified).
The unofficial deer kill for New Hampshire’s 2016 season by county, with comparisons to previous years, can be viewed at www.huntnh.com/hunting/deer-harvest.html. Official harvest numbers will be made available after all deer registration data are entered and verified.
Bear Hunt Success
The 2016 New Hampshire bear season concluded at 898 bears, which was 34% above the preceding 5-year average of 668 bears. Additionally, this year’s harvest was 19% above the 2015 level. The harvest consisted of 481 males and 417 females, resulting in an overall harvest sex ratio of 1.2 males per female. Method-specific harvest sex ratios included 1.3 males to females for bait hunters, and 1.0 males to females for both still and hound hunters.
A breakdown of bear hunting results by region and method may be viewed at www.huntnh.com/hunting/bear-harvest.html.
The increased bear harvest during 2016 was the result of several factors including a strong bear population that has recently experienced slight growth in select regions, a continued shift by hunters toward using methods that yield higher success rates, concentrated fall food sources (acorns) and extended hunting opportunities in select regions in 2016. Additionally, most Wildlife Management Units have bear hunting seasons that overlap with a significant portion of deer seasons, including both muzzleloader and firearms. This provides opportunity for opportunistic deer hunters to take a bear.
“The fact that the majority (64%) of the statewide harvest came from the White Mountains and Central regions dovetailed well with current bear population management goals,” said Andrew Timmins, the N.H. Fish and Game Department’s bear biologist. He noted that that those two management regions require a reduction in bear density to meet recently revised population management goals. Bear densities in the remaining four management regions are generally consistent with respective regional goals.
Fall Turkey Season
Preliminary figures show that New Hampshire hunters took a total of 1,047 turkeys this fall, just a few more than the total of 1,043 taken in 2015. The harvest was comprised of 553 hens and 514 gobblers. The breakdown for the fall season was: 370 (35.3%) adult hens, 163 (15.6%) immature hens, 109 (10.4%) jakes, and 405 (38.7%) adult gobblers.
The fall shotgun turkey season was lengthened by the addition of a weekend in 2016. Participants in the seven-day shotgun season in October recorded 763 turkeys (73%) of the harvest, up 8.4% from the 2015 total of 704, when the season was just five days. During the fall shotgun season, 227 (29.8%) turkeys were taken on opening day and 230 (30.2%) turkeys on the closing weekend.Archery hunters took 284 turkeys, or 27% of the 2016 fall total.
Towns (WMU) with greatest fall turkey harvests were:27 Bath (D2), 18 Barnstead (J2), 18 Deerfield (L), 17 Belmont (J2), 17 Freedom (J1), 16 Cornish (H1), 15 Charlestown (H1), 15 Claremont (H1), 15 Loudon (J2), 15 Weare (K), 15 Winchester (H2), 12 Alton (J2), 12 Gilmanton (J2), 11 Canaan (G), 11 Haverhill (D2), 10 Brentwood (M), 10 Enfield (G), 10 Epsom (L), 10 Farmington (J2), 10 Goffstown (K), 10 Jaffrey (H2), 10 Lebanon (G), 10 Lisbon (D2), 10 Newport (I2), 10 Plainfield (H1) and 10 Walpole (H2).
Once again, WMU J2 in eastern New Hampshire had the greatest harvest of all 18 units, with 187 (17.9%) turkeys. The second largest harvest was WMU K, with 118 (11.3%) turkeys.
Moose Season Summary
Preliminary figures for New Hampshire's 2016 moose season showed that 52 hunters succeeded in taking their moose during the 9-day season. See a summary of the moose season at www.wildnh.com/newsroom/news.html?news=519. Regional moose hunt success rate data is available at www.wildnh.com/hunting/moose-harvest.html
Small Game Hunters are reminded to help monitor small game populations by taking part in two Fish and Game surveys: Small Game and Grouse Wing and Tail; one participant in each will be the lucky winner of a quality firearm. Find survey forms and more information at www.huntnh.com/hunting/small-game.html. And thanks! Snowshoe hare season continues through March 31 and the upcoming workshop (see below) provides a great opportunity to learn all about it then try your new skills.
Snowshoe Hare Hunting Workshop
A chance to learn about the exciting sport of snowshoe hare hunting is coming up this January at Fish and Game’s Owl Brook Hunter Education Center in Holderness. The free workshop will take place from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on January 28, 2017. To register, call the Owl Brook Hunter Education Center at (603) 536-3954.
There’s still opportunity to get out and hunt ducks in the Coastal Zone until January 8 and Canada geese to January 18. Geese can also be taken in the Inland & Connecticut River Zone until December 27. If you’re up for a real challenge, try hunting sea ducks, as they are currently open in coastal waters (seaward from the first upstream bridge) until January 13. The daily bag limit for sea ducks is 5 birds, which shall not include more than 4 scoters, 4 eiders, or 4 long-tailed ducks. Falconry is open in the Northern Zone until January 26 and reopens for the second split in the Inland & Connecticut River Zone on December 28-January 26. Falconers in the Coastal Zone can work their birds starting on January 25 and ending on March 10. Learn more at www.huntnh.com/hunting/waterfowl.html.
Wildlife Harvest Summary
Final numbers from all the year's hunting seasons will be summarized in the 2016 New Hampshire Wildlife Harvest Summary, which will be issued in March of 2017.
Maine Graduates New Game Wardens
The Maine Criminal Justice Academy graduated 61 new police officers last fall from the 18-week Basic Law Enforcement Training Program (BLETP) in Vassalboro. Among the many topics the officers studied were crime scene processing, emergency vehicle operation, firearms proficiency, traffic and criminal law, domestic violence and sexual assault.
Of those 61 officers, five were Maine game wardens who will now be entering their next phase of training. A twelve-week Advanced Game Warden Academy, also based out of the Academy in Vassalboro, will begin in late January where skills more specific to game warden work will be taught. In addition, they will also participate in an intensive Warden Training Officer (WTO) program involving field work, team building and problem solving.
Graduating for the Maine Warden Service are Game Wardens Camden Akins, 23, from Winslow, Kayle Hamilton, 26, from Buxton, Megan Miller, 22, from Pittsfield, Lauren Roddy, 21, from Belgrade, and Taylor Valente, 24, from New Gloucester. Also shown in the attached photo is Game Warden Kyle Franklin, 24, from Durham. Due to limited BLETP class sizes, Franklin will be entering the Academy in August of 2017.
Maine’s newest game wardens have been assigned their patrol areas. Akins has been assigned to the Chamberlain Lake district, Hamilton is headed for the Clayton Lake district, Miller will be going to the Mars Hill district, Roddy will be covering the Jackman district, Valente has been assigned the Rockwood district, and Franklin will be going to Escort Station after completing the BLETP next year.
The class commencement address was given by Maine Attorney General Janet Mills. Maine’s Chief Game Warden, Colonel Joel Wilkinson stated today that “…We are very proud of our five game wardens and their successful completion of the 18-week BLETP. Their actions and performance through the training process demonstrate the success of our rigorous screening and hiring process of hiring the very best. “ The Maine Warden Service congratulates all those who graduated today and their families and wish them all a safe and fulfilling career in law enforcement.
Maine - Game Wardens Receive Map Software
Forest City Rod & Gun Club provides Maine game wardens with Delorme Earthmate mapping software. At the annual Game Warden Appreciation Night held December 14, the club provided enough Delorme Earthmate software programs for every Maine game warden. Earthmate is a GPS navigation app designed for mobile devices. It includes highly detailed GPS trip logging, location sharing and tracking.
This generous gift will prove very useful for game wardens during search and rescue and routine enforcement missions. “This is another great example of the Warden Service’s strong partnerships with outdoor fish and wildlife organizations. This gift clearly illustrates a strong commitment, one that helps enhance our natural resources and the safety of all those who enjoy Maine’s outdoors. This gift will assist game wardens during their unique off road law enforcement and search and rescue missions and could possibly help save lives...” stated Maine’s chief game warden, Colonel Joel Wilkinson.
The 100-member-strong Forest City Rod and Gun Club in Westbrook was established in 1948 and remains one of Maine’s oldest clubs of its kind. Club President James Bell stated they have held an appreciation night for game wardens for more than 25 years and look forward to it every year. The Maine Warden Service wants to thank the Forest City Rod & Gun Club for their continued support, their contribution to responsible hunting and fishing and commitment to Maine’s natural resource conservation.
Click Here For Past Stories!!
Feature Story |
Current News |
Photo Gallery |
Subscribe Today |
Outdoor Resources |