Outdoor News

December 2014
Edited by V. Paul Reynolds

December. A good month in Maine to blackpowder hunt for that elusive November buck, chase rabbits with hounds, or- for the most intrepid outdoorsman - a time to hunker down in coastal duck blinds with hot coffee and lovable old Labs.. Many outdoorsmen will get out the fly tying vices, or merely sit close to the fire with family and some good outdoor catalogs. From all of us at the Northwoods Sporting Journal, a very Merry Christmas to our readers and our advertisers. And may your New Year be full of health, happiness and memorable hours in New England's Great Outdoors.

CAPTION FOR PHOTO ABOVE: VTF&W photo by Steve Schaefer
Kevin Rice of South Pomfret, VT with his archery record 919 lb. bull moose he took on opening morning of Vermont’s archery moose hunt. (Article Below)

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 - 2015 Hunting Season Dates


Firearm Season: November 2 to November 28, 2015
Maine Resident Only Day: October 31, 2015
Youth Deer Day: October 24, 2015
Archery: October 1 to October 30, 2015
Muzzleloader (Statewide - all WMD's): November 30 to December 5, 2015
Muzzleloader (WMD's 12, 13, 15-18, 20-26, 29): December 7 to December 12, 2015
Expanded Archery: September 12 to December 12, 2015


General hunting season: August 31 to November 28, 2015
Hunting with dogs: September 14 to October 30, 2015
Hunting with bait: August 31 to September 26, 2015
Bait can be placed starting August 1, 2015


WMD's 1 through 6, 11, 19: September 28 to October 3, 2015
WMD's 1 through 14, 17 through 19, 27, 28: October 12 to October 17, 2015
WMD's 15, 16, 22, 23, 25, 26: November 2 to November 28 - Maine Residents Only: October 31, 2015
WMD's 1 through 4, 19: November 2 to November 7, 2015

Maine - Moosehead Lake Fishing Report

Frequent readers of our reports will recall the situation at Big Wadleigh Pond in T8 R15, just north of Allagash Lake. This small Maine pond was the home to arctic char and brook trout and was a popular fishing destination. An illegal introduction of rainbow smelt threatened the native char population so a chemical reclamation occurred in the fall of 2012. IFW took extraordinary steps to preserve the native strains of both fish prior to the reclamation. We implanted radio telemetry tags in 10 adult char in the spring then returned in the fall to locate these fish and hopefully many others as they prepared for fall spawning. We were able to capture around 100 char, which included 9 of the 10 radio tagged fish, and nearly 300 adult brook trout which were then moved to Mountain Springs Trout Farm in Frenchville. These fish were raised and successfully spawned by hatchery operator Gary Picard. Several generations were reared as we began the process to restore the native species to Big Wadleigh Pond. One of the IFW’s largest reclamations took place in early November 2012 in snow flurries and a “brisk” northwest wind. It was a Herculean effort by members of the Fishery Division with some much-appreciated help from the Engineering Division.

In the spring of 2013, the pond was deemed safe for restocking. Young char and brook trout were stocked into the pond in fall 2013 and 2014 along with all of the remaining brood fish. The native char from Big Wadleigh Pond were particularly challenging to raise in the hatchery setting. These fish could only be fed once a day or health issues would arise. They were also prone to sparring with each other, especially as spawning season approached which resulted in injuries and some mortality. Gary was able to overcome these issues and maintained a quality fish and had good success at rearing the young.

This past October we stocked the last remaining char into the pond. These fish were 3 years old and many were sexually mature and will attempt to spawn this fall. We stocked these fish in the area that we believe is the historical char spawning site in Big Wadleigh Pond. We have already observed brook trout fry in the pond so we are confident they will successfully reestablish. It is up to the char now to do their thing. The smelt have been eliminated and conditions are favorable for char to thrive once again. We will return in several years and attempt to verify successful reproduction of these unique coldwater gamefish. Funding for this massive project came from multiple sources and we especially want to acknowledge The Eastern Brook Trout Joint Venture, The Maine Outdoor Heritage Fund, Clayton Lake Woodlands Holdings, and the Natural Resource Education Center at Moosehead for their support.

Submitted by: Tim Obrey, Regional Fisheries Biologist

Vermont - Moose Hunters Had a Successful Season

(Picture of Moose Above)

Vermont moose hunters had a successful hunting season according to the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department. A record bull was taken in the October 1-7 archery moose hunt, and the regular moose hunting season was October 18-23.

“A preliminary count shows that by October 28 the department had received official reports of 22 moose being taken by 54 hunters in the archery season and 147 moose taken by 289 hunters in the regular season,” said Cedric Alexander, Vermont’s moose project leader. He said a few additional reports may still be sent in from other reporting agents.

“Vermont’s moose population is being managed scientifically, according to a plan developed on sound wildlife biology and input from the public,” said Alexander. “The overall regular season hunter success rate reported to date is 51 percent, down slightly from 54 percent last year.”

Hunters in northern Vermont enjoyed higher success rates, ranging from 68 to 72 percent in Wildlife Management Units in Lamoille, Orleans, Caledonia, and Essex Counties. Hunters in central and southern Vermont had lower success rates.

Of note, for the second year in a row, biologists who surveyed for winter tick larva on harvested moose found them much reduced. Tick loads were 41percent lower than last year, perhaps due to a late snowpack last April. These reduced loads should help moose come through this next winter in better shape than in previous years.

After applying for more than 22 years, Kevin Rice of South Pomfret, Vermont finally received a moose permit and maximized his rare opportunity to harvest a moose. Using his hunting knife and black spray paint, Rice fashioned a cardboard cow moose decoy from a refrigerator carton.

On opening morning of the archery season Rice and his hunting partner, Steve Schaefer, of Hartford, tried using a moose call with no luck. But later that morning a huge bull moose Rice had previously seen while scouting saw the decoy and came running straight in.

“He was swaying his antlers from side to side, grunting and drooling,” said Rice, who stood up and drew his bow when the moose was 15 yards away. “He kept coming, anyway,” Rice remembers. “My opportunity for a good shot came when he was just seven yards away.”

The dressed moose weighed 919 lbs. with an antler spread of 52 inches and was easily the largest bull moose ever taken in a Vermont archery season and the 15th biggest of all moose taken since moose hunting started in 1993.

“All the effort was worth it,” said Rice. “We have a freezer full of delicious moose meat, and it truly was a hunt of a lifetime.” A final report on Vermont’s moose hunting season will be available in January when all of the 2014 data have been received and reviewed.

Maine - Annual Sportman's Supper

The Maine Air National Guard's 53rd Annual Sportsman's Supper will be held December 6th at the Elks Lodge on the Odlin Road in Bangor. Over the years, the Guard supper, which is open to Guard personnel and the general public, has attracted sportsmen who enjoy the cameraderie and music, the guest speakers, door prizes, raffles and a great meal. Social hour and vendor fair is 4-6 p.m. The dinner and auction is 6 - 9 p.m.

Sgt. Chris Labonte, who helps coordinate the festive affair, says "Last year we filled the hall at the Elk's Club and everybody had a great time. Significant dollars were raised for MAINEiacs Charities. We expect this year's supper to be another full house with lots of fun and prizes. The buffet style meal is always a big hit with many choices, including round beef, stuffed chicken and much more."

Labonte says that they expect to have some impressive door prizes and many other donated outdoor items that will be given away as part of a raffle and silent auction.

V. Paul Reynolds, editor of the Northwoods Sporting Journal and host of the popular weekly radio program Maine Outdoors, will emcee the event and share some observations about doings in the Maine outdoors.

Jim Leighton's Maine blue grass band, Original Condition, will also perform. Tickets to the Sportman's Supper, which are $20 per person, must be purchased in advance. Proceeds from the annual event benefit MAINEiacs Charities, which supports needy Guard families and other worthy causes in the Bangor area. Tickets are available from Chris Labonte, 207-754-7162; Al Belanger, 207-852 5240; Jim Leighton, 207-944-3128; and V. Paul Reynolds, 207-745-3133.

New Hampshire - Keeping NH Fish and Game Solvent

The 2014 recommendations of the Legislative Commission to Study Opportunities and Options to Improve the Sustainability of the Fish and Game Department, tasked with finding future funding solutions for the Department, have been released today. Among the ideas are: considering financial support from users of non-motorized watercraft, authorizing the Executive Director and the Fish and Game Commission to set license fees, and making changes in the resident over-68 hunting and fishing license.

"We are looking for a serious, thoughtful consideration of the ideas the Legislature has put forward," said Fish and Game Executive Director Glenn Normandeau. "Without support for changes from a broad spectrum of the public, the Fish and Game Department you know and rely upon today will not be able to fulfill all of our obligations to the residents and visitors to N.H."

The Legislature has been searching for several years for ways to address the funding gap at Fish and Game. "In spite of significant reductions in personnel over the last three biennial budgets, rising costs are still outpacing revenue," said Normandeau. "This gap is a serious problem."

In 2013, the Legislature provided stopgap funding in Fish and Game's budget ($699,000 for FY 14 and $893,000 for FY 15) to keep the Department whole for the current biennium - the two-year period that runs through next June. Meanwhile, it tasked the Sustainability Commission to come up with ideas to help increase Fish and Game's revenue stream going forward.

The 2014 recommendations of the Legislative Sustainability Committee include the following (please note that no bills have been filed as yet): · Implementation of a program by which canoeists and kayakers contribute to the Department. The Department hopes to work with paddlers and others towards a consensus solution that works for all.

· Authorizing the Executive Director, with the consent of the Fish and Game Commission, to set all license fees. Currently, most Fish and Game license fees are set by the Legislature.

· Changing the free resident license for those age 68 and older to an annual fee of $10 for a hunting or fishing license, or $20 for a combo license (currently free; current over-68 license holders would be grandfathered in; would provide the Department with more accurate data on participation; could raise a potential of $60,000 annually.)

"These changes and more are needed," said Normandeau. "It will take about $3 million a year in additional revenue for us to be able to maintain the current level of services the public expects. These ideas would be a start. But keep in mind that even if legislation is filed and the bills pass in the 2015 session, they would not be implemented until calendar year 2016 (after the start of the 2016-17 biennium). Fish and Game is solvent through June of 2015, but we will be looking to the Legislature to help address the deficit to keep the Department operating until these proposals can be implemented."

What's at stake are the services people across the state count on the Fish and Game Department to provide, from managing wildlife populations to rescuing hikers, stocking fish, and building boat ramps.

"It takes financial resources for the Fish and Game Department to do its job properly," said Normandeau. "The citizens of New Hampshire care deeply about the state's fish and wildlife, land conservation, and access to public waters. Fish and Game is the agency that protects and maintains these valued resources, which not only have significant intrinsic value in their own right, but are a powerful economic engine for New Hampshire." He explained that hunting, fishing, and wildlife watching contribute $550 million annually to the state's economy.

"Given our mandate to conserve the state's fish, wildlife and marine resources and their habitats, as a public trust, we have a responsibility to support the initiatives the Legislature is presenting," said Normandeau. "I honestly believe that most people who enjoy New Hampshire's outdoors and value our quality of life are willing to do their part. Let's focus our energies on finding a solution together."

Learn more about Fish and Game's funding situation, and how you can help, at wildnh.com/funding.

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