Outdoor News

December 2016
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: The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife is pleased to announce the recipients of this year’s Lifetime Outdoor Achievement Award. Oscar Cronk of Wiscasset, Maine, Gary Cobb of North New Portland, Maine, and Jim Martin of Bangor, Maine.

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 - Hunting Accidents

A Phippsburg man is recovering today from a self-inflicted rifle wound he sustained yesterday near Popham Beach. Thomas Gilliam, 48, was involved in a hunting incident at about 4:30 Wednesday afternoon. Gilliam had parked his truck along the side of route 209 in Phippsburg. He exited the vehicle and loaded his rifle, a Model 94 lever-action Winchester 32 Special.

Gilliam walked across the road to look for signs of deer activity. When doing so, he stumbled and dropped his rifle. The butt end of the rifle hit the pavement and the gun discharged. The bullet passed through several fingers on his right hand as well as his left forearm. Gilliam was assisted by citizens passing by until an ambulance arrived. Gilliam was transported to Maine Medical Center in Portland where he remains in stable condition today.

A twelve-year-old boy from Florida is in the hospital this afternoon after shooting himself in the foot while hunting in Penobscot County. At about noon today, Ashton Crowther of New Port Richey, Florida was hunting deer with his father John Crowther off the Old Winn Road in Springfield, Maine.

The two had stopped along a woods road as they were heading back to their ATVs to return to camp for lunch. Ashton placed the barrel of the Remington Model 742 Woodsmaster .308 caliber rifle against his left foot and inadvertently pulled the trigger. Ashton sustained a bullet wound to his left foot and was transported by his father and uncle to Penobscot Valley Hospital in Lincoln where he was examined and transferred to Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor.

Maine - Fall Fisheries Report

The fall offers fisheries biologists a unique opportunity to assess the status of cold water gamefish populations. Brook trout, salmon, and lake trout are preparing to spawn as the water temperatures cool and the days grow shorter. Biologists can set nets to intercept them on their journey to known spawning congregations, thus allowing us to gather important information about growth and survival.

For example, the best method we have to monitor the salmon population in Moosehead Lake is our late October trap netting at the Junction Wharf. Each spring, one year old hatchery landlocked salmon are stocked at the Junction. From here they spread out over the vast lake, but as they become sexually mature, they home back to this stocking site in the fall. We typically set a net in the Junction in mid- October and tend it for up to 2 weeks. Fish are measured, weighed, examined for fin clips and evidence of hooking wounds, and then released alive back into the lake.

We have been able to monitor the ups and downs in salmon growth by routinely netting this stocking site since the late 1960s. Long-time anglers on the lake will remember some of the best years on the big lake, in terms of salmon, were back in the late 1970s through the mid-1980s. These “good ole days” were the result of the elimination of the lake trout stocking program and a reduction in the salmon stocking that allowed the smelt population to expand and provide more food and better growth for our gamefish. Unfortunately, a burgeoning wild lake trout population in the early 1990s caused the smelt population to come crashing down and salmon growth suffered.

We’ve worked hard to reduce the lake trout population over the past 8 years in an effort to improve the smelt population and growing conditions for our gamefish. The no size or bag limit on smaller lake trout for several years, the creation of the winter togue derby, and the slight reduction in the salmon stocking have all contributed to some very good news from this year’s fall work! The salmon growth and “fatness” we recorded over the past few weeks at the Junction are among the best ever recorded on the lake. The fish are longer and heavier. There have only been a handful of years since the inception of the trapnetting operation at the Junction where the salmon were in better shape. We are very pleased with the progress to date, but we know there will be hills and valleys in the future. We are committed to keeping a close eye on this fishery so we can make adjustments to maintain these good conditions. Managing fish is not like a Ron Popeil oven where you can simply “Set it and forget it!” since Mother Nature can quickly send us a curve ball at any time.

Prepared by: Tim Obrey

Maine - MAINEiacs Charities Sportsmen’s Supper

The Maine Air National Guard will hold its 55th Annual Sportsmen’s Supper Friday, Dec 9th at the Anah Shrine Building on Broadway in Bangor. Guest speaker for the event will be Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Deputy Commissioner Tim Peabody. EmCee for the supper will be local comedian Adam Hatch.

Last year the supper was sold out. More than 400 sportsmen attended the supper and prize raffle, which netted in excess of $15,000. Proceeds were donated to assist Maine guard families and local area charities.

According to MSgt Chris LaBonte, who spearheads the annual supper, there will be prizes galore, great food and a fun evening. “As always, we will be selling advance tickets. Since we ran out of seats last year, it’s a good idea to get your tickets early,“ says LaBonte.

Tickets are $25.00, which covers meals and door prizes. They are available at TBA on Hammond Street and Dorsey Furniture in Holden, or from Chris LaBonte 754-7162 and Adam Morrow

Vermont’s Moose Hunt The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department says a preliminary count reveals hunters took 73 moose in this year’s regulated hunting seasons.

“A preliminary count on October 24 showed that hunters had reported 9 moose being taken by 27 hunters in the October 1-7 archery season and 64 moose taken by 141 hunters in the October 15-20 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.

Permits were issued for bulls-only in most of the 16 Wildlife Management Units open to moose hunting with a goal of increasing population growth. Only in northern Vermont were hunters able to take moose of either sex.

The overall regular season hunter success rate reported to date is 45 percent, down slightly from 47 percent last year. Either-sex permit holders enjoyed a 60 percent success rate while hunters restricted to harvesting only bulls averaged a much lower success rate of 37 percent.

Maine - Outdoor Achievement Awards

The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife is pleased to announce the recipients of this year’s Lifetime Outdoor Achievement Award. Oscar Cronk of Wiscasset, Maine, Gary Cobb of North New Portland, Maine, and Jim Martin of Bangor, Maine.

These gentlemen were chosen from many wonderful nominations, heartfelt stories and great photos. They all have shown a great love of the traditional outdoor activities and a mentorship that will help to continue their passion for generations to come.

All three will be recognized at the Sportsman Alliance of Maine annual banquet September 10, 2016 at the Waterville Elks. Ticket information at www.sportsmanallianceofmaine.org.

Recipient Bios:

Oscar Cronk of Wiscasset, Maine has been hunting, fishing and trapping for over 60 years. His love of the outdoors has been chronicled in the many articles he has written. Oscar has also shared his experiences by giving instructions on trapping and hunting.

Gary Cobb of North New Portland, Maine learned to hunt with his grandfather at age 10 and brought his family up in a remote camp. Gary has made being a Maine sportsman his life’s work. Gary has shared his knowledge of the outdoors as a guide, a teacher and of course owning and running Pierce Pond Camps. He has also been instrumental in forming the Maine Wilderness Watershed Trust.

Jim Martin of Bangor, Maine is an avid angler, hunter and trapper using his skills for several decades. As an accomplished outdoorsman, he has dedicated many hours to the Maine Youth Fish and Game Association sharing his knowledge to help define the next generation of sportsmen and women.

“It is a pleasure to recognize all the men and women who were nominated for this award, and especially the three recipients. It is rewarding to note that through their experiences and mentorship, our outdoor heritage has been passed on and preserved,” Commissioner Chandler Woodcock commented.

New Hampshire - NH Hunt Update

Deer Hunt Update: Through October 17, a total of 1,690 deer were harvested by New Hampshire archers. This represents a decrease of 15% from last year at the same point in the season. For a breakdown by county of reported deer registrations at this point in the season for the past nine years, visit www.huntnh.com/hunting/deer-harvest.html.

Youth Deer Weekend -- October 22-23, 2016. Share your enthusiasm by taking a youngster hunting . This event gives young hunters age 15 or younger the opportunity to take a deer of either sex while accompanied by an experienced adult hunter. Youngsters get a chance to learn deer hunting techniques and traditions, as well as gaining other outdoor skills that can provide a lifetime of enjoyment. All youths must be accompanied by an adult mentor at least 18 years of age holding a valid NH hunting license. Learn more at www.huntnh.com/hunting/youth.html.

The 2016 muzzleloader season will begin on Saturday, October 29. Check the 2016-17 NH Hunting and Trapping Digest for Wildlife Management Unit-specific regulations.

Opening day for the regular firearms season is November 9.

NH Moose Hunt Off to a Good Start

New Hampshire’s moose hunters achieved a 37% success rate during the first three days of the nine-day season. The first three days saw a total of 27 moose taken by hunters statewide – 25 bulls and two cows. A total of 72 moose hunters are taking part this year. The largest fully field-dressed moose checked in during opening weekend was taken by Joe Rogerson of Smyrna, Delaware. Taken in Wildlife Management Unit (WMU) C-1, it had a dressed weight of 860 pounds and an antler spread of 51 inches.

Vermont - Wilmington Man Arrested for Allegedly Feeding Bears

Vermont Fish & Wildlife wardens have arrested a Wilmington man for allegedly intentionally feeding bears. James Burke, 60, was charged with three misdemeanor counts of illegally feeding bears and faces fines of more than $1,300.

On September 29, 2016, Vermont Game Wardens Richard Watkin and Lt. Greg Eckhardt, with assistance from the Wilmington Police Department, executed a search warrant at Burke’s Wilmington residence.

It is illegal in the state of Vermont to intentionally feed bears. The law was passed in 2013 in an attempt to reduce bear-human conflicts. Bears that have been fed by people will continue to seek out human sources of food, presenting a potential danger to human safety and property.

“A bear that has been fed no longer behaves like a wild bear,” said Forrest Hammond, bear biologist for the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department. “Too often, these instances end tragically for the bear. The bear ends up being hit by a car as they go from house to house foraging for food, or they lose their fear of people and become aggressive and need to be put down. Bears that have been fed can present a danger not just to the person feeding the bear, but also to their neighbors for many miles around.”

“The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department and our many conservation and sporting partners work hard to ensure that Vermont’s bear population remains healthy and wild,” added Hammond.

Burke is summoned to answer to these charges at Windham County Court on November 15, 2016.

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