Outdoor News

September 2014
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: Maine Audubon announced today the appointment of Charles F. Gauvin as its new Executive Director. Gauvin brings more than 25 years of experience in conservation leadership, much of it as the president and CEO of Trout Unlimited, the nation’s leading river and fish conservation organization, as well as a strong suite of management and fundraising skills.

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

Maine - Audubon Announces New Executive Director
(Pictured Above)

Maine Audubon announced today the appointment of Charles F. Gauvin as its new Executive Director. Gauvin brings more than 25 years of experience in conservation leadership, much of it as the president and CEO of Trout Unlimited, the nation’s leading river and fish conservation organization, as well as a strong suite of management and fundraising skills.

During his tenure at Trout Unlimited, Gauvin increased annual revenue from $2.5 million to $28 million. The organization’s staff grew from 20 to 165, as it developed best-in-class programs in water, public lands and fisheries policy and executed watershed and landscape-scale habitat restoration projects. His work at Trout Unlimited involved a number of projects in Maine, including hydropower relicensing and dam removal efforts on the Androscoggin, Kennebec and Penobscot rivers; strengthening federal and state protections for wild Atlantic salmon; and launching a multi-partner effort to protect Maine’s wild brook trout population, which now includes Maine Audubon as a lead partner through its Brook Trout Pond Survey.

In making the announcement, Andrew Beahm, President of Maine Audubon’s Board of Trustees, said “I am thrilled that Charles will serve as Maine Audubon’s next Executive Director. As the leading wildlife conservation organization in the state, Maine Audubon is a great match for Charles’ experience as a conservation program developer and fundraiser.”

Gauvin most recently served as Chief Development Officer at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington, DC, where he worked with Carnegie’s management group and board of trustees to raise the funds needed to implement the organization’s strategic plan. He collaborated with Carnegie scholars worldwide to develop program strategies and support in the United States, Europe, Russia, the Middle East, Asia and South Asia. He has also been a strategic adviser to France’s Ambassador to the United States in efforts to create and underwrite partnerships between U.S. and French research institutions. He began his career as an attorney in the Washington office of Beveridge & Diamond, PC, the nation’s premier environmental law firm.

“I am thrilled to be part of Maine Audubon,” said Gauvin. “I am passionate about Maine’s wildlife, and I want to make sure it is front and center in policy-making and in the process of educating the next generations of Maine people.” Gauvin is a magna cum laude graduate of Brown University and earned his JD at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, where he was an editor of the University of Pennsylvania Law Review. He and his wife, the painter Gina Sawin, live on a farm in New Gloucester, Maine. Gauvin will assume his new position in late August.and Rescue calls in northern and southern Maine on Wednesday, July 23.

Maine - Another Warden Search

Mark Nadeau, 46 of Gorham, ME, was camping near Deboullie Lake with his son Nathaniel Nadeau age 16, and a friend Garrick Brown age 15 also from Gorham. The two young men hiked to the Deboullie Mountain Fire Tower at about 1:30pm. A storm came in and the two headed down the mountain on the wrong trail ending up about 3.1 miles further west in the wrong direction. This put them on the west end of Gardner Pond, a very remote location. At about 8:15pm, three game wardens responded to the call and headed to Deboullie Township for the search. At about 1:00am voice contact was made, but it was on the other side of the lake. After a 2 ½ hour hike up over Gardner Mountain and down to the lake the two young men were found at about 3:30am in cool but good condition. Game Warden Pilot Jeff Spencer was called in at dawn, to taxi the party out of the rugged country with the plane across Gardner and Deboullie Lake. Red River Sporting Camps owner Jen Brophy spent the entire night in the woods assisting wardens with her knowledge of the trails and was a huge reason the search was successful.

New Hampshire - Tagged Bass

Anglers fishing the Squam Lakes are being asked to immediately release any largemouth and smallmouth bass they catch that were radio tagged as part of a New Hampshire Fish and Game Department study. All radio tagged bass will have a thin wire protruding from their underside and a yellow numbered tag near their dorsal fin (see what these look like at http://wildnh.com/Newsroom/2014/Q3/bass_tags_Squam.html).

The Squam Lakes (Big and Little Squam) are a popular destination for bass tournament and recreational bass anglers, with an average of 22 bass tournaments being held on Big Squam each year. Although Big and Little Squam are connected by a short channel, they are considered to be separate water bodies.

N.H. Fish and Game Department rules do not allow anglers to catch fish in one water body and release them into another water body. Because there is currently no available weigh-in location on Big Squam for larger bass tournaments, these tournaments typically weigh in on Little Squam. By law, bass are then required to be taken back to Big Squam for release. During hot weather conditions, bass survival could be compromised after a weigh-in on Little Squam, due to the extra time and handling it takes to bring these bass back to Big Squam for release. Additionally, boats must travel through the channel a total of four times in a given day in order to release fish back to Big Squam, providing the potential for additional boat congestion.

Therefore, allowing bass tournaments fishing on Big Squam and weighing-in on Little Squam to release bass into Little Squam may, in some cases, increase bass survival and decrease social conflicts. However, the potential exists for negative impacts on bass in Little Squam if bass caught in Big Squam and released into Little Squam do not return to Big Squam on their own accord.

"If most of these bass do not return to Big Squam, it could lead to increased competition for food and habitat, and potentially increased opportunities for bacterial or viral transmissions, such as Largemouth Bass Virus," said Gabe Gries, Warmwater Fisheries Project Leader for the Inland Fisheries Division of N.H. Fish and Game. "Additionally, bass must use energy to find appropriate habitat in their new area and extra usage of energy reserves may increase the probability of over-winter mortality."

The goal of this radio tagging study is to determine the percentage of bass returning to Big Squam after being caught in Big Squam and weighed in and released in Little Squam, and how long it takes fish to do so.

Bass caught in Big Squam during bass tournaments in 2014 and weighed-in on Little Squam will be tagged and released into Little Squam. A permanent antenna and receiver in the Squam Channel will record when tagged bass pass by on their way back to Big Squam. Bass will also be manually tracked via boat in Little Squam. It is expected that this study will last up to three years.

It is imperative that anglers immediately release any tagged bass they catch. Please contact Gabe Gries at 603-352-9669 to report the number on the yellow tag and location(s) if a tagged fish is accidentally transported or dies in your possession. Radio tag recovery will be made from any dead fish.

This study is being performed in cooperation with NH B.A.S.S. Nation and the Squam Lakes Association. Grant money obtained by NH B.A.S.S. Nation was used to purchase necessary equipment.

New Hampshire - Lead Kills Loons

The mood was unmistakably somber as a Loon Preservation Committee (LPC) biologist collected the third documented lead-poisoned loon from New Hampshire waters this year, this one discovered on July 18 on Lake Winnipesaukee. The loon was collected near the Lanes End Marina in Melvin Village after it beached itself. It was transported to Meadow Pond Animal Hospital in Moultonborough for a blood test and x-rays. Radiographs showed a lead-headed fishing jig (a lead weight molded around a hook), and blood lead levels were at toxic levels, so the loon was immediately euthanized.

The link between loon deaths and lead poisoning first emerged in the 1980s, when the discovery was made that loons were ingesting lead fishing tackle in the form of sinkers and jigs. Necropsies performed by the Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine on dead adult common loons in New Hampshire revealed that 49% had the remains of lead sinkers and jigs in their gizzards and had died from lead poisoning. A loon will die from lead poisoning approximately two to four weeks after ingesting lead tackle.

"It seems likely that loons are eating fish that have tackle in or on them. As the acidic juices in the bird's gizzard break down the food, the lead is also broken down and gets into the bloodstream of the bird," said Emily Preston, a wildlife biologist with the N.H. Fish and Game Department. "The good news is that using alternatives to lead tackle should provide immediate relief to the loon population."

Necropsies of dead adult loons show that lead tackle accounts for more deaths than every other human factor combined. The loss of so many adults from this preventable cause of mortality has inhibited the recovery of loons in New Hampshire, according to the LPC. "Because loons do not breed until 6-7 years of age and have low reproductive success, it is important that adult loons survive for many years to produce surviving young," said Harry Vogel, Senior Biologist and Executive Director at LPC. "The loss of an adult loon may also result in the loss of that loon's nest or chick, further negatively impacting the population."

To help address this problem, Fish and Game convened a Lead and Loon Working Group in 2013. The idea was to provide a forum for diverse partners to work toward the common goal of motivating all anglers to change to lead-free tackle. Organizations currently participating include Fish and Game, The Loon Preservation Committee, N.H. Lakes Association, N.H. Fish and Game Commission, Squam Lakes Natural Science Center, N.H. Department of Environmental Services, N.H. Lakes Management Council, N.H. Audubon and US Fish and Wildlife Service. All are contributing to outreach efforts across the state.

"Lead is a known factor that we have the ability to address. It is something we can choose to change," said Laura Ryder, Education Programs Supervisor at Fish and Game. With that in mind, the Lead and Loon Working Group is reaching out to anglers from all walks of life and providing information to help them choose alternatives to lead fishing tackle.

Laws are being strengthened to encourage the switch. New Hampshire was the first state in the nation to restrict the sale and use of small lead fishing tackle to protect loons. In 2013, Governor Hassan signed a bill (SB 89) that increases protection for loons from lead fishing tackle by banning the sale and freshwater use of lead fishing sinkers and jigs (lead-weighted hooks) weighing one ounce or less. This bill will be implemented in June of 2016, but N.H. Fish and Game and The Loon Preservation Committee are urging everyone to remove lead tackle from their tackle boxes now. Safe alternatives to lead tackle, made of steel, tungsten, tin, bismuth, and many other materials, are effective and readily available. (See a list of suppliers on the LPC website, http://www.loon.org).

As word gets out, many anglers are changing their tackle over and choosing to fish lead free. "Switching to lead-alternative tackle is the right thing to do, not just for the common loon recovery, but also for any other wildlife with similar habits that may also be vulnerable to ingesting lead sinkers and jigs," said Jason Smith, Chief of Inland Fisheries at the Fish and Game Department. "We always have choices, and this choice can help the common loon to make a more solid recovery."

The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department (http://www.wildnh.com) works in partnership with the public to conserve, manage and protect the state's fish, wildlife and marine resources and their habitats; inform and educate the public about these resources; and provide the public with opportunities to use and appreciate these resources.

The Loon Preservation Committee (http://www.loon.org) monitors loons throughout the state as part of its mission to restore and maintain a healthy population of loons in New Hampshire; to monitor the health and productivity of loon populations as sentinels of environmental quality; and to promote a greater understanding of loons and the natural world.

New Hampshire - Doe Permits Selling Fast

Hunters who still want the chance to take additional antlerless deer in Wildlife Management Unit M in southeastern New Hampshire during the fall hunting seasons should act fast, as Unit M permits are selling out quickly. Again this year, a total of up to 4,000 permits are being sold. As of July 21, approximately 600 permits were left. If you are interested in purchasing a Unit M permit, you should act fast while they are still available.

Interested hunters can purchase Unit M permits in the following ways:

* Online at https://www.nhfishandgame.com
* Over the counter at Fish and Game headquarters in Concord; or
* By mail using the printable application at http://huntnh.com/Hunting/Unit_M_permits.htm (or call 603-271-3422 to request an application by mail).

Hunters should be aware that NEW this year, all Unit M permits come with 2 deer tags at a cost of $26 plus a transaction fee. These permits are no longer sold with a 1-tag option. This change was made in an attempt to increase harvest rates in WMU M without increasing hunter density in the area.

Archery, muzzleloader and firearms hunters may use these special permits on any day during those seasons for which they are legally licensed. Youth hunters are eligible to purchase the permits. Applicants also must hold a current New Hampshire hunting or archery license.

New Hampshire - Turtle Poacher Pleads

On July 11, 2014 Richard Decoste of Londonderry pled guilty in the Derry Circuit Court for illegal possession and sale of threatened and endangered turtles.

In May, New Hampshire Fish and Game Conservation Officers became aware of an individual advertising the sale of Spotted Turtles (state threatened) and Blanding's Turtles (state endangered). Further investigation, which included the purchase of a Spotted Turtle, resulted in Conservation Officer Geoffrey Pushee obtaining a search warrant for Mr. Decoste's residence and an arrest warrant for Mr. Decoste.

While executing the search warrant Conservation Officers seized an additional ten Spotted Turtles and two Blanding's Turtles from the residence. Mr. Decoste was ultimately charged with possessing a threatened species, a Class-B Misdemeanor, and the sale of a threatened species, also a Class-B Misdemeanor. Mr. Decoste pled guilty to both charges and paid just over $1,000 in fines. All of the turtles have since been returned to their native habitats.

This case is a good reminder for all people that enjoy nature and the outdoors to leave non-game animals where they belong, so that others may enjoy them in their natural state. Possession of most living wildlife in New Hampshire is illegal without obtaining a permit from the NH Fish and Game Department. Furthermore, the sale of any living native wildlife in the state is also prohibited.

New Hampshire - NH Deer Poachers Convicted

On July 16th, 2014 Dana Martin of Pittsfield and James Blaisdell of Barnstead attended their third and final court hearing for illegal night hunting at Candia Circuit Court.

On October 22, 2013, Conservation Officers Michael Matson and Ronald Arsenault had setup a deer decoy in the town of Northwood that was shot by James Blaisdell using a crossbow from a motor vehicle at approximately one o'clock in the morning. Once the crossbow bolt hit its intended target, Dana Martin, the driver of the vehicle sped off, leading the officers on a pursuit through four counties and disposing of evidence along the way. Conservation Officer Matson caught up with the duo in Pittsfield where both suspects were placed under arrest.

While at the Pittsfield Police Department, Conservation Officers Matson and Arsenault interviewed both suspects. The results of the interview revealed that Martin and Blaisdell had also been involved in at least one other night-hunting incident occurring on September 17, 2013.

For their illegal actions, Martin and Blaisdell were each found guilty of a Class-A misdemeanor, two Class-B misdemeanors, and a violation. The sentencing of the men resulted in each paying $6220.00 in fines, a 5-years loss of their hunting privileges, and 20 hours of community service.

The NH Fish and Game Department wishes to thank Deputy Merrimack County Attorney Catherine Ruffle and Assistant to the Rockingham County Attorney Ken Burlage for their assistance in the prosecution of the charges.

Vermont - Moose Hunting Permit Winners

The winners of Vermont’s 2014 moose hunting permits were determined Thursday, July 17, at a lottery drawing in Montpelier.

Governor Peter Shumlin, standing alongside Fish & Wildlife Commissioner Louis Porter, started the computer generated selection process that randomly picked 335 winners among more than 11,600 lottery applications.

The drawing is done by a random sort of applications that were submitted by a June 17, 2014 deadline. Lottery applications cost $10.00 for residents and $25.00 for nonresidents.

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 50 moose permits to be used in the Vermont’s October 1-7 archery moose hunting season and 285 moose permits for the October 18-23 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 150 moose will be taken this fall in a carefully regulated hunt.”

Lottery winners will purchase resident hunting permits for $100 and nonresident permits for $350. Ten percent of the permits go to nonresidents. Payments for the hunting permits must be by money order, bank check or credit card. Personal checks are not accepted.

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). Click on “Hunting and Trapping” and then on “Lottery Applications and Winners.”

If your name wasn’t drawn, you can still bid in Vermont’s auction for five moose hunting permits, which is open until August 14. Sealed bids must be received by Vermont Fish & Wildlife by 4:30 p.m. that day. Contact the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department to receive a moose permit bid kit. Telephone 802-828-1190 or email (cheri.waters@state.vt.us).

Vermont law prohibits anyone who has held a Vermont moose hunting permit within any of the previous three calendar years from applying for a moose hunting permit or a bonus point in the current year.

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