Outdoor News

August 2016
Edited by V. Paul Reynolds

Late summer offers many options in the Maine outdoors. It is also a time to prepare for the coming season. What's available to us now, coupled with the anticipation of what follows in the fall, will keep us very busy if we're to be part of it.

The July Hex hatch is a fading memory. Dog days of August lull us into lazy reverie. We lounge on the porch, waiting until evening to go out on the lake for a bucketful of perch, or to fish past sunset for smallmouth bass. Tomorrow, maybe a daybreak troll for salmon and togue. Sure. There’s plenty of fishing left. But it’s not too early to sight in a deer rifle or spend some time on the skeet range to get the cobwebs out of our shooting skills.

The anticipation of fall is tinged with a growing sense of urgency. The first August night that you need another blanket snaps you to attention. You drew a moose permit this year? Have you started scouting where you'll hunt? Are you hunting bears? Is your bait supply rounded up? Are your stands in order? Still going to practice with the bow, before deer season, like you promised yourself last year?

When the September rains come, brookies and landlocks that have sulked in deep water will show up in feeder streams as they migrate to spawn. Then, like their fall spawning colors, they'll be gone. There are fall hatches of small olive mayflies to anticipate, and the woodcock often arrive when the autumn trout fishing is at its peak. How about a New England "Cast 'n Blast" with a partridge hunt in the morning and rising trout in the afternoon?.

You didn't fix that leak in your waders yet? Better get to it. The water's gonna get cold again! Time to oil the guns, maybe tie a few flies, too. But don't take out the hunting vest yet. The dog will go nuts!

CAPTION FOR PHOTO ABOVE: Maine IFW Biologists Seeking Bat Information (see 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: info@sportingjournal.com

Maine - Any-Deer Permit Applications Available

Applications for 2016 any-deer (antlerless) permit lottery are now available online from the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

Online applications are due by 11:59 P.M. on August 15, 2016. Paper applications may be submitted in person or by mail no later than 5 P.M. on July 29, 2016. To apply online, or print a paper application to mail, visit www.mefishwildlife.com.

This year, a total 45,755 any-deer permits are proposed for 18 of the state’s 29 wildlife management districts across the state, an increase of nearly 60%. Last year, there were 28,770 permits available to hunters. Hunters who do not receive an Any Deer permits are only allowed to shoot an antlered deer. The proposed permit numbers await approval by the IFW advisory council.

“Last year’s winter was more moderate in many areas of the state, and the increase in the number of any deer permits reflect that,” said IFW wildlife biologist Kyle Ravana. The proposed increase in permits are in 13 different wildlife management districts that comprise southern, central, and western Maine.

The department uses the any-deer permit system to manage the white-tailed deer population in the state. The ability to enact change in the state’s deer populations derives from the ability to increase, or decrease, the number of breeding does on the landscape. White-tailed deer are at the northern edge of their range in Maine, and winter severity is a limiting factor concerning population growth. By controlling the harvest of female deer in the 29 regional wildlife management districts throughout the state, biologists can manage population trends. With last year’s winter below average in severity, more permits can be issued.

This year, there are any deer permits proposed for WMDs 7, 12, and 13 after these districts saw no permits last year. Biological data collected as well as field observations by biologists suggest that these WMDs can withstand a light doe harvest. The mild winter provided deer with a lower than average over-winter mortality, as well as increased reproductivity.

Last year, Maine’s hunters harvested 20,325 deer. Hunters harvested 14,907 bucks, and 3,615 adult does. For the past 8 years, Maine hunters have been harvesting approximately 20,900 deer annually.

Maine hunters were most successful during the regular firearms season for deer, which accounted for 82% of the total deer kill. Bowhunters accounted for 10%, youth hunters just over 4.2% and muzzleloaders 3.7% of the total deer kill.

Up to half of all any deer permits in each WMD are allocated between Maine landowners who own 25 acres or more (25%) and youth hunters (25%). The remaining permits are then distributed to the remaining hunters who apply for any deer permits. The drawing will be held on September 9, 2016 and results will be posted on the Department’s website.

The 18 wildlife management districts where any-deer (antlerless) permits are proposed are 3, 6, 7, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26 and 29. Firearms hunting for deer begins with Youth Deer Hunting Day on Saturday, October 22, 2016. Youth may take a buck statewide or an antlerless deer only in the wildlife management districts where any-deer permits will be issued this fall.

This year, Maine Residents Only Day is on Saturday, October 29, 2016, and regular firearms season for deer runs October 31 through November 26, 2016. Note: this year, a nonresident who owns 25 or more acres of land in Maine and leaves land open to hunting, holds a valid hunting license, and is not otherwise prohibited by law, may hunt deer on the Resident only day.

The regular archery season begins on September 29 and continues until October 28. The expanded archery season is from September 10- December 10 in specially designated areas. The muzzleloading season is November 28-December 3 in all areas of the state, and continues another week ( December 5-10) in southern and central Maine (WMDs 12, 13, 15-18, 20-26 and 29).

Maine - AT Hiker Rescued

A 59-year-old Georgia man survived after sustaining an injury while hiking a remote section of Maine’s Appalachian Trial during early July. Patrick Burnes from Buford, Georgia was hiking south with a small party today when he broke his ankle.

Maine Game Wardens received the call this morning at 10:45 and joined with New Hampshire conservation officers to begin the rescue. Burnes became injured near the Maine and New Hampshire border on a remote portion of the trail near Mt Carlo. Nearly a dozen Maine game wardens and two New Hampshire conservation officers responded to begin the two mile carry-out.

This afternoon, the Maine Forest Service also responded with a helicopter to asses a short haul helicopter rescue. That effort was successful and Burnes was removed from the mountain by a Maine Forest Service huey helicopter a short time ago at 6:10. Also assisting in today’s rescue efforts were Mahoosuc Search and Rescue, Androscoggin Valley Search and Rescue (NH), U.S. Forest Service and Berlin New Hampshire EMS. Burnes was transported to Androscoggin Valley Hospital in Berlin, New Hampshire.

Maine - IFW Biologists Seeking Bat Information

The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife is looking for more information concerning bat colonies around the State of Maine as biologists continue to research the impact of white-nose syndrome in Maine.

“Certain species of bats have been hit hard by white nose syndrome. This online survey tool will help us locate existing bat colonies and give us more insight into the health of Maine’s bat population,” said IFW wildlife biologist Cory Mosby.

The Maine Bat Colony Identification Program is asking for people to report bat colonies by filling out an online form at http://www.maine.gov/ifw/wildlife/species/mammals/report-bat-colony.html. Filling out the form is simple and quick, and the information goes directly to Maine’s biologists.

Maine is home to eight species of bats. The state has two bat species on the state’s endangered list, the little brown bat and the northern long-eared bat; and the eastern small-footed bat is on the state’s threated list. Little brown bats like to raise their young in barns and warm attic spaces during Maine’s summer.

In Maine, biologists have seen a drastic decline in the number of cave-dwelling bat species. Maine’s eight bat species are divided into cave dwelling species, and tree dwelling species. White-nose syndrome is a fungal disease that is estimated to have killed over 6 million bats in the eastern United States, with the cave dwelling species have been hit hardest by the disease.

In Maine, it is estimated that some bat species have declined by as much as 98%. Bats are an important part of Maine’s ecosystem, as they are a major predator of insects, including mosquitoes and agricultural insects.

Vermont - Muzzleloader Antlerless Deer Permit Applications Available

Vermont’s muzzleloader season antlerless deer hunting permit applications are on Vermont Fish & Wildlife’s website (www.vtfishandwildlife.com), and now printed applications are also available from license agents statewide.

A quick-link to the online applications is on the home page. Applying online automatically enters you to win one of ten $50 Cabela’s gift cards.

Hunting for antlerless deer will be statewide for the October 1-28 and December 3-11 archery season. Last year, hunters took 2,618 antlerless deer during the archery season.

One deer of either sex would be allowed for youths during the November 5-6 youth weekend hunt. Youths took 761 antlerless deer during the 2015 youth weekend hunt.

The December 3-11 muzzleloader season would have 18,950 antlerless permits distributed in 16 of Vermont’s 21 WMUs, which is estimated to result in 2,700 antlerless deer being taken.

Landowners who post their land may not apply for a muzzleloader landowner antlerless deer permit.

“The number of muzzleloader season antlerless deer permits was increased to account for the expected increase in the deer population following the exceptionally mild winter of 2016,” said Nick Fortin, deer project leader for the Fish & Wildlife Department. “The recommendation is intended to allow moderate population growth in most of the state while stabilizing or reducing deer densities in a few areas.”

“We expect the statewide deer population to be 140,000 to 145,000 prior to the start of the 2016 deer seasons,” said Fortin.

The deadline to apply for a muzzleloader antlerless deer permit is August 26.

Vermont’s Migratory Bird Hunting Seasons

The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department has announced the syllabus of 2016-2017 migratory bird hunting seasons is now available.

A printable copy of the regulations can be downloaded from the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department website (www.vtfishandwildlife.com). A printed version also will be available from license agents and post offices by mid-July.

A statewide Vermont open hunting season for Canada geese will occur September 1-25. The daily bag limit is five Canada geese in the Connecticut River Zone and eight in the rest of the state during this September season. The purpose of the September season is to help control Vermont’s resident Canada goose population prior to the arrival of Canada geese migrating south from Canada.

A second Canada goose hunting season, for resident and migrant birds, will be held October 12-November 30 with a daily bag limit of three Canada geese in the Lake Champlain and Interior Vermont Zones.

In the Connecticut River Zone, the Canada goose season will be October 4-November 6, and November 22-December 27 with a daily bag limit of three Canada geese.

Duck season this fall opens on Wednesday, October 12 in the Lake Champlain and Interior Vermont Zones, and on October 4 in the Connecticut River Zone. The Lake Champlain Zone has a split season (October 12-16 and October 29-December 22). The Interior Vermont Zone is a straight season (October 12-December 10). The Connecticut River Zone is a split season (October 4-November 6 and November 22-December 17).

Vermont’s youth waterfowl hunting weekend will be September 24 and 25. Resident and nonresident hunters 17 years of age or younger may hunt ducks and geese within the Lake Champlain and Interior Vermont Zones during this weekend while accompanied by an adult 18 or older. In the Connecticut River Zone, youth must be 15 years of age or younger. Both adult and youth must have Vermont hunting licenses. The adult may not hunt or carry a firearm. Youth ages 16 and 17 must have state and federal duck stamps.

Woodcock hunting season is October 1- November 14 statewide with a three-bird bag limit.

In addition to a hunting license, a waterfowl hunter 16 or older must carry current federal and Vermont duck stamps in order to hunt waterfowl in Vermont. Federal stamps are sold at post offices. State duck stamps are available on Vermont Fish & Wildlife’s website (www.vtfishandwildlife.com) and from license agents. The hunter must sign the federal duck stamp.

All migratory game bird hunters must also be registered with the Harvest Information Program (H.I.P.) in each state they hunt. You can register on Vermont Fish & Wildlife’s website or call toll-free 1-877-306-7091. After providing some basic information, you will receive your annual H.I.P. registration number, which you then need to record on your hunting license.

The hunting season dates, bag limits and related regulations for all migratory birds are set annually within a framework established by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and in coordination with New York and New Hampshire.

Waterfowl season dates and bag limits are set in three zones: Lake Champlain, Interior Vermont, and Connecticut River. The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department sets the season dates and bag limits for the Connecticut River Zone.

Vermont - Felt-Soled Wader Ban is Repealed

Many anglers will be happy to learn that a five-year ban on the use of felt-soled waders in Vermont has been repealed, effective July 1, 2016.

Using felt-soled waders and boots was prohibited in 2011 out of concern about the spread of didymo, an algae also known as “rock snot,” which was appearing as nuisance blooms in trout rivers throughout North America, including some rivers here in Vermont. The porous felt on boot bottoms helps prevent slipping on rocks, but it was considered a potential means of transporting the algae spores from one body of water to another.

Didymo was once thought to be a recently introduced invasive algae species, but recent research has revealed that it is actually native to Vermont and other regions of North America. Scientists found that didymo spores are present in most Vermont rivers, and the spores can cause nuisance algae blooms under certain water conditions favoring growth of the algae.

Although felt-soled waders and boots can once again be used in state waters, the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department is asking anglers and other water recreationists to thoroughly clean and dry all of their equipment after leaving any water body before going to another.

“Preventing the spread of aquatic invasive species to new waters is critical to protecting the health of Vermont’s aquatic ecosystems,” said State Fisheries Biologist Shawn Good. “Boats, kayaks, trailers, fishing equipment, scuba gear and other items can spread aquatic invasive species unless properly cleaned, dried or disinfected after use.”

“While some invasives are easy to see such as Eurasian milfoil stuck on a boat trailer,” he added, “others are too small to be noticed, such as spiny waterflea, larval zebra mussels, or viruses and bacteria that cause fish diseases.”

New Hampshire - Baiting Rule Changes

New Hampshire hunters should note that several changes were made to baiting regulations during the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department’s biennial rulemaking review, particularly regarding the application process for bait permits and submission deadlines. Baiting permits issued prior to June 1, 2016, when the new rules took effect, will be valid for the 2016 season. Highlights of the 2016-2017 Baiting Rule Changes include:

Baiting on State-owned and State-Managed Lands

One copy of the permit application is to be submitted to the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department, Law Enforcement Division, 11 Hazen Drive, Concord, NH 03301, and shall include a topographic map, or copy thereof, showing the specific location of the bait site.
· The application period will run from June 1 through the first Monday in August for deer and bear. There are no time limits on other species.
o Applications must be hand delivered or postmarked by the deadline, as specified above.
o Permits should no longer be given directly to Conservation Officers or Regional Offices.
· It has been clarified that only the permittee can place bait (as was already the case for baiting on private lands).
· A lottery will be established in 2017 to equitably distribute bait sites in the Connecticut Lakes Headwaters Forest. The lottery will be run out of Fish and Game’s Region 1 office in Lancaster, NH. More information will be posted at www.huntnh.com when available.

Baiting on Private Lands
· Two copies of the bait permit application are to be submitted to the NH Fish and Game Department, Wildlife Division, 11 Hazen Drive, Concord, NH 03301, and shall include a topographic map, or copy thereof, showing the specific location of the bait site.
· The application deadline is the first Monday in August for bear, and first Monday in October for all other species.
o Applications must be hand delivered or postmarked by the deadline.
o Permits should no longer be given directly to Conservation Officers or Regional Offices.
· Coyote baiting permits can be issued in December for use beginning January 1 of the following year.
· It is the hunter’s responsibility to leave a copy of the permit with the landowner.

Changes to General Baiting Regulations
· Guides will be allowed six commercial bait sites and one or two personal bait sites, given the following stipulations:
o Any bear taken off a commercial site must be tagged with a bear guide tag.
o A guide can only use his/her guide tags on bears taken off baits which are assigned to him/her via permit.
o No bear taken off a personal site can be tagged with a bear guide tag.
o Guides must indicate on the baiting permit application whether sites are for commercial or for personal use and cannot reallocate anytime thereafter.

Hunters are also reminded that permit applications must be filled out legibly and completely in order to be considered.

2016 NH Moose Permit Auction Now Open!

The Wildlife Heritage Foundation of New Hampshire announces the launch of the 2016 NH Moose Permit Auction, its primary fundraiser to support the programs of the N.H. Fish and Game Department. Official bid guidelines and documents can be downloaded from the Foundation's website at www.nhwildlifeheritage.org/moose-permit-auction or by calling (603) 496-2778. Sealed bids are due by August 5, 2016.

This year marks the eighth annual auction run by the Wildlife Heritage Foundation of New Hampshire. For the third year in a row, the Foundation is authorized to auction two permits, which is consistent with statewide moose population goals. The two highest bidders in the auction will receive free 2016 New Hampshire moose hunt permits, as well as 2016 New Hampshire general hunting licenses. Last year, the auction garnered bids from three states, with the highest bids tied at $14,001. The winners were from New Hampshire and Massachusetts.

Foundation Chairman Steve White states, "The youth of New Hampshire are the future stewards of our natural environment, and it is critical we find ways to sustain wildlife conservation, education and outreach programs. The moose permit auction provides the Foundation with funding to support these programs through N.H. Fish and Game."

Successful bidders in the 2016 auction will be able to harvest one moose of either sex in a Wildlife Management Unit of their choice. Individuals who receive a permit in the 2016 New Hampshire open moose hunt lottery are subject to the rules of the lottery, and will not be eligible to participate in the auction. Additional information on moose hunting in New Hampshire, including rules, permits, licenses and a gallery of photos from successful N.H. hunts, can be found at www.huntnh.com/hunting/moose.html.

Proceeds from the auction help support critical fish and wildlife conservation initiatives, along with education programs of the Department, such as Barry Conservation Camp, the Owl Brook Hunter Education Center, Freshwater Angler Survey, Great Bay Discovery Center, Operation Game Thief, Wildlife Recreation Access Program, aerial stocking of remote ponds, Wildlife Management Area signs and kiosks, and support of the Law Enforcement Division's Canine Unit. Since its establishment in 2006, the Wildlife Foundation of New Hampshire has supported over 71 Fish and Game projects through grants and donations, as well as sponsoring multiple years of Discover Wild NH Day and the NH Hunting & Fishing Expo.

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