Outdoor News

October 2014
Edited by V. Paul Reynolds

October. For most of us who hunt, fish or just enjoy the Maine outdoors this is it - the month of months. Enjoy!

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 - Fall Hunting Season Dates

Bow Season:
(1) Expanded Archery Season for deer: Sept. 6- Dec. 13 (In designated zones only). Special license required
(2) Regular archery season for deer: Oct. 2-Oct. 31( Bow license required).

Firearms for deer:
(1) Nov. 3-Nov. 29
(2) Maine residents only day: Nov. 1
(3) Statewide muzzleloader season: Dec.1-Dec. 6
(4) Extended muzzleloader season: Dec. 8- Dec. 13 in WMDs 12,13,15,16,17,18,20,21,22,23,24,25,26,,29

Moose Season:
(1) WMDs (Wildlife Management Districts) 1-6,11,19: Sept. 22- Sept. 27
(2) WMDs 1-14, 17-19 27,28, Oct. 13-Oct. 18
(3) WMDs 1-5,7,8, 19 Nov. 3 -- Nov. 8
(4) WMDs 15,16,22, 23,25,26 Nov. 3- Nov. 29
(5) Maine Residents Only Day WMDS 15,16,22,23,25,26 Nov. 1

Bear: General Season: Aug. 26-Nov. 30.

Grouse: Oct. 1-Dec. 31.

Woodcock: Oct. 1-Nov. 14 (Daily limit 3; possession limit 6).

Ducks: North, Sept. 29 -Dec.6; South, Oct. 1- Oct. 18; Coastal Zone, Oct. 1- Oct. 18. (Complete breakdowns of the goose and sea duck seasons are available at www.mefishwildlife. com).

Sea Ducks: Oct. 1- Jan. 31.

Goose: North, Oct. 1- Dec. 9; South, Oct. 1- Oct. 18; Coastal, Oct. 1- Oct. 18.

Early Goose: Sept. 1- Sept. 25.

Fall Wild Turkey: Oct. 2- Oct. 31
The following Wildlife Management Districts are open during the fall wild turkey hunting season with a two (2) of either sex, wild turkey bag limit: WMD's 15, 16, 17, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, and 28.
The following Wildlife Management Districts are open during the fall wild turkey hunting season with a one (1) of either sex, wild turkey bag limit: WMD's 12, 13, 18, 26, and 29.
The following Wildlife Management Districts are closed during the fall wild turkey hunting season: WMD's 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 14, 19, and 27.

As October nears, upland bird hunters start asking each other, "How does it look for birds this fall?" I put the question to Maine's upland bird biologist Brad Allen, himself an avid gundog man in his free time. Here's how Brad sees the bird season shaping up, grousewise.

"Observations from IFW colleagues indicate that partridge wintered well, particularly in central and southern Maine but perhaps not so well north of Moosehead Lake. Spring drumming surveys were initiated in central Maine this year and males were heard drumming along each route. Basically we haven’t been doing this long enough to know what average is. One bright spot was that grouse hatching and brood rearing conditions during the month of June were nearly ideal and production may be above average. Northern Maine grouse numbers have been rated “very good” the last three years but now are likely in a natural decline. Biologists with boots on the ground have not reported an abundant number of grouse broods and chicks so far this year. 2013 Prediction: Good up north in the big woods but fair in the rest of the state. Result: As predicted. 2014 Prediction: Average statewide but improved in eastern Maine."

Maine - New Trail Cam Law

Effective this year, anyone who places a trail camera on the property of another must get written permission and must label the trail camera with the owner's name and phone number.

Maine - ATV Clubs

Did you know how important your local ATV clubs are to your riding experience?

Unlike the western states most of the land in Maine is privately owned. And under state law, for you to ride on someone else's property, ou must have permission from the landowner. The local clubs have acquirerd the permission needed for the marked ATV trails in the area, creating the the trail system that people are now using. In the Lincoln area there is over 300 miles of trails that also connect to other club trails that allow people to ride down to the coast or up to the northern part of Maine. Without the clubs these trails would cease to exist, as we saw this spring with the dissolving of the Downeast Lakes ATV Club.

Did you know the clubs use all volunteers to create, sign and maintain the trails. Hundreds of man-hours are executed every year by club members to keep the trails in a safe useable condition for all of the ATV riders who enjoy the trails. You will find these volunteers out signing the trails, or maybe working on trail bridges. Maybe they're out creating a new trail route that would open a new area for riding.

Did you know that while ATV and Snowsled clubs may share some of the same routes, they do not share all trails. There are trails that are only for ATV's or only for Sleds. The way to tell is to look for the ATV marker signs before you ride or get a trail map from your local club.

Did you know that only a marked ATV trail route is a legal route to ride. Not all dirt roads are ATV trails. Permission must be acquired prior to making them part of a trail system.

Did you know that the ATV recreational activity is increasing every year. More and more people are coming to ride and stay in the Lincoln area. Some stay for a weekend, some stay longer. Over this past year I have met people from New Brunswick and as far away as Florida, who come to vacation and ride the trails. This can only help the local economy.

Did you know that a landowner can close his property to ATV riding at anytime. The quickest way for this to happen is for riders to damage property, ride where they are not allowed, or be disrespectfull to the landowner. We use their property only because they allow us to. Please stay on the marked trails, ride safely and treat the property and landowners with the respect that is due.

Henry Carey

Maine - MPGA Raffle Winners

The Maine Professional Guides Association sponsored a super raffle to benefit the Maine Wildlife Conservation Council and the Save Maine’s Bear Hunt Campaign. Raffle sales began on April 1 and four winners were drawn on Sunday, August 24.

Despite the fact that the US Postal Service prohibits the solicitation and sale of raffle tickets in the mail, grassroots volunteers- including guides and sportsmen- sold over 11,600 tickets, resulting in an projected net gain of $116,000 for the Save Maine’s Bear Hunt Campaign.

Winners were drawn and given their choice (in order) of available prizes. They were contacted on Sunday, August 24 and Monday, August 25.


· First Prize (Katahdin Cedar Log Home Cabin)- Jason Legere, Steep Falls

· Second Prize (Catarosa Whitetail Hunt)- John Keister, Norridgewock, Maine

· Third Prize (Grand Laker Canoe Package)- Ethel Jones, Vinalhaven, Maine.

· Fourth Prize (Libby Camps Fly Fishing Trip)- Tony Battisa, Cairo, New York

*Note: We are still trying to contact Tony Battisa of the fourth place prize. We have been unable to do so to date.

Thanks to everyone who helped make this fundraiser such as great success! We also wish to thank the Maine Professional Guides Association and its members for administering this raffle and helping to sell thousands of tickets.

Don Kleiner, Executive Director, Maine Professional Guides Association (MPGA)

Maine - Wilson Lake Drowning

Earlier this summer, Wilton Fire & Rescue, and Wilton Police Department responded to a reported drowning on Wilson Lake in Wilton. Prior to arrival of Warden Service personnel, the victim had been pulled from the water by witnesses. Jeffrey Mitchell, age 63, from Farmington had been boating with a friend Martha Martin from Wilton with plans to go swimming.

Mitchell dove from his pontoon boat into the water and surfaced struggling. Martin attempted to help Mitchell to the boat without success. Martin was aided by two nearby kayakers and another boater and together removed Mitchell from the water. They transported Mitchell by watercraft to a nearby boat landing where they were met by medical personnel. Mitchell was pronounced dead at the scene. Proper personal floatation devices (PFD’s) were located in Mitchell’s pontoon boat however he was not wearing a PFD at the time of the incident. This incident remains under investigation..)

Maine - Hiker Rescued

In late August, Maine game wardens responded to Tumbledown Mountain in Byron to rescue a woman who had reportedly broken her leg. Maris Toland, age 28 from Portland, was rock climbing when she fell and suffered a compound fracture to her leg. In an exhaustive effort in very difficult terrain, Toland was carried down the mountain throughout the night and flown by LifeFlight to Maine Medical Center in Portland this morning.

The Maine Warden Service was assisted by Mahoosuc Search and Rescue and responding fire departments from Mexico, Roxbury, Weld, Rumford, Peru, Dixfield as well as personnel from Mt. Blue State Park. Thirty one volunteers also helped with this rescue effort and the Maine Warden Service wishes to thank everyone for their efforts.

Vermont - Bear Teeth from Hunters

Vermont bear hunting starts September 1, and the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department is reminding successful bear hunters to submit a bear tooth so that wildlife managers can collect information on Vermont’s bear population.

Teeth submitted by hunters are used to determine the age of the bear. Department staff use age and sex data to get an estimate of the number of bears in the state and to determine the status and health of the bear population. Envelopes for submitting the tooth are available at all big game check stations.

“The premolar tooth we’re asking hunters to extract is actually quite small and easy to loosen with a knife,” said Forrest Hammond, bear project leader for Vermont Fish & Wildlife. “Directions for removing the tooth are on the back of the envelope provided by the check station and are also on our website, including a short YouTube video.”

Hunters should find conditions good for hunting this year if they hunt in areas where bear foods are plentiful. According to Hammond, conditions are different from last year when berries were scarce and beechnuts were plentiful. Preliminary reports indicate blackberries and acorns are abundant this year, but apples are spotty in their occurrence, and there are few beechnuts in most areas. Early season bear hunters may do well in areas of recent patch cuts, along power line rights-of-way, and near corn fields. Previous years with few beechnuts have usually resulted in higher bear harvests during the early parts of the bear season.

Vermont now has two bear hunting seasons. The early bear hunting season, which requires a special bear tag, starts September 1 and continues through November 14. The late bear season begins November 15 and continues through November 23. The limit for bears remains one per calendar year.

The bear tag that comes with a hunting license is for use during this late season. For the second year, this season lasts four additional days during the November deer season. The change in seasons was instated in 2013 to help better manage Vermont’s bear population, which is now estimated at roughly 6,000 black bears.

“Carefully regulated hunting plays a very important role in wildlife management by helping to control the growth of the black bear population,” said Hammond. “Minor fluctuations in the bear population will always occur due to changes in food availability, winter severity, and hunter success. Despite these fluctuations, we look at the long-term trends to manage for a healthy, robust population.”

Vermont - Muskie Restoration Efforts

The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department continued its Lake Champlain muskellunge restoration efforts by stocking more than 7,000 fingerling muskies into the Missisquoi River and Missisquoi Bay last week.

This year, for the second time, muskellunge, or ‘muskie,’ were stocked above Swanton Dam up to the Highgate Falls Dam. This section of the Missisquoi River is the last location in Vermont that supported a naturally-reproducing native muskie population, before they disappeared in the late 1970s following a chemical spill.

Since 2008, the Fish & Wildlife Department has stocked more than 38,000 muskies into the Missisquoi River and Missisquoi Bay in an attempt to restore a viable population to Lake Champlain. Lake Champlain is the only lake in New England to which muskies are native.

“The muskie has a unique role as Lake Champlain’s apex aquatic predator,” said Shawn Good, the state fisheries biologist leading the muskie restoration effort. “On the Missisquoi River, muskies were historically important as a large mythical fish that was present but very difficult to catch. Successful anglers are members of a very small and fortunate club.”

The six-inch fish stocked in the river were donated by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, which also stocks the Great Chazy River on the New York side of the lake with the same strain of muskie.

Genetic assessment of a small number of muskie caught by anglers since 2005 in the Lake Champlain Basin reveals these fish were stocked by the New York DEC into the Great Chazy River. They were not from the original native strain.

“In recent years, anglers have reported catching and releasing an occasional muskie in the lower Missisquoi River and Missisquoi Bay, and we’ve wondered if these were remnant native fish, or strays from New York,” said Good. “We now know through the genetic assessment that some of the muskie stocked in New York’s Great Chazy river make their way out into Lake Champlain and into Missisquoi Bay and Missisquoi River.”

Vermont regulations allow fishing for muskies on a catch-and-release basis only with artificial lures or flies. All muskies caught must be immediately released where they are caught.

“I have high hopes for these little guys,” said Good. “With so much habitat and food available to them in Lake Champlain, I expect these fish to grow fast and to get big. It’s not unreasonable to think that in the next few years, anglers could be catching trophy muskies measuring 50 inches or more from Lake Champlain.”

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