Outdoor News

January 2017
Edited by V. Paul Reynolds

January. For ice fishermen, this is the best month to fish landlocked salmon. Early March is nicer, but the action is generally slower then. Liberalized the togue limits on many waters make for extra opportunity. As you make your plans to fish, don't forget to check out the names and locations of the many statewide bait dealers listed this month in the Journal. Maine in January can be harsh, but for those willing to be bold with the cold there is much to do in the outdoors. Snowsledders and cross country skiers will be busy enjoying some of the best trails in the country. Our snowmobile trail system stretches from Kittery to Fort Kent and provides incomparable snowsled opportunities. The toughest among us will keep on hunting: rabbits, coyotes and sea ducks. Meanwhile, some of us will hunker down near a warm stove, dream of spring and tie up some dry flies with an eye to warmer days. However you get through Maine in January, all of us at the Northwoods Sporting Journal wish you a peaceful and prosperous New Year! And on the occasion of our publication’s 25th anniversary thank you one and all, for your readership, your advertising business and your wonderful outdoor columns every month.

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 - Reward For Information:
Two Canada Lynx Found Dead

A reward of up to $5,500 is being offered in connection with the recent illegal killings of two Canada Lynx in Maine. The Maine Warden Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service investigators are seeking information regarding two separate Canada Lynx shootings in northern Oxford County and Aroostook County.

The Canada Lynx is listed as a threatened species under the Federal Endangered Species Act. Unlawfully killing a Canada Lynx carries a maximum fine of up to $100,000 and or imprisonment up to one year. Maine’s Operation Game Thief, the US Fish and Wildlife

Service and the Maine Trappers Association are all contributing considerable reward money.

The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife long term monitoring of lynx indicates that lynx are increasing in number and expanding their range in Maine. Vehicle accidents involving Canada Lynx, sightings of lynx, and verified lynx tracks are increasing in number and location. A record number of Canada Lynx, 11, have been killed by vehicles in 2016.

The Maine Warden Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Investigators are seeking information in the following incidents:

Case 1 [T14 R7 – NEAR Portage Lake, Maine] On November 17, 2016, a Canada Lynx was shot and found dead alongside a logging road that connects the Hewes Brook Road and the Wilderness Island Road, west of Portage Lake. This was reported to the Maine Warden Service after a concerned sportsman discovered the shot lynx in a legally-set foothold trap.

Case 2 [Near Aziscohos Lake – western Maine] U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Maine Warden Service are also investigating the recent shooting of a Canada Lynx that is believed to have occurred on or about November 15. This took place on a logging road that connects to the Parmachenee Road on the New Hampshire/Maine border near Aziscohos Lake, approximately seven miles north of the Parmachenee Road/Route 16 intersection.

It is believed that this Canada Lynx was shot and killed with a rifle. This adult male lynx was wearing a GPS radio collar that was affixed by IFW wildlife biologists in 2015 as part of an ongoing IFW lynx study.

Currently, Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife biologists are in the midst of a three-year Canada Lynx study that will provide an updated lynx population estimate. Early results support an increasing range and number of lynx in Maine. A 2006 Canada Lynx population survey by the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife estimated the population between 750 -1000 adult lynx in their core range of northern Maine.

Maine Operation Game Thief is offering a $2,500 reward for each case ($5,000 total) to anyone with information that leads to a conviction for the person(s) responsible for killing either of these Canada Lynx. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is offering an additional reward of up to $2,500 for each case ($5,000 total) to any person who furnishes information which leads to a conviction in either case. Additionally, the Maine Trappers Association will add a $500 reward for each case to any person ($1,000 total) who can provide information that leads to a conviction in either Canada Lynx case. Total reward dollars for these cases has now reached $11,000.

Anyone with information about either incident is urged to call Maine Thief at 1-800-ALERT-US (207-287-6057), you can remain anonymous. People may also call Public Safety Dispatch in Bangor at 1-800-432-7381 (207-973-3700).

Vermont - Changes to Hunting/Fishing Licenses Coming

The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department is reminding hunters and anglers of changes to permanent license laws that go into effect starting on January 1, 2017. A permanent hunting and fishing license is currently available to Vermont residents aged 65 and older for a one-time fee of $50. Starting January 1, the eligible age will be raised to 70 and the license will be free.

The department is urging hunters and anglers aged 65 to 68 who don’t yet have a permanent license to purchase one before midnight on December 31. Eligible current 2016 license holders can purchase a permanent license in person at a license agent or Fish & Wildlife Department district office. Those who have not purchased a 2016 license yet can either purchase a permanent license in person at a license agent or district office or go online at www.vtfishandwildlife.com. Hunters and anglers who already have a permanent license do not need to purchase another but should renew theirs in 2017.

Those without a permanent license who will turn 70 before the next hunting or fishing season should wait until their 70th birthday to pick up a 2017 permanent license, at which time it will be available to them for free.

The change in eligibility was made to bring Vermont’s permanent license structures in line with neighboring states. In New York and Massachusetts, hunters and anglers are eligible for a permanent license at age 70. New Hampshire does not offer a permanent license, but instead offers a discount on annual licenses starting at age 68.

A permanent license allows the holder to hunt and fish without purchasing additional licenses for the rest of their lifetime. Vermont’s permanent license includes all regular season tags, including archery, muzzleloader, and turkey tags. An additional tag for second archery, moose and antlerless lotteries, and waterfowl stamps must be purchased separately. Permanent licenses must be renewed every year, which is free of charge online or at any district office.

Permanent licenses are different from lifetime licenses, which can be purchased at any age and are generally purchased for young children.

Anyone with questions about the change should see the department website (www.vtfishandwildlife.com) or call the licensing office at 802-828-1190.

Vermont - Man Charged After Stealing Deer in Williamstown

Vermont State Game Wardens have charged a Williamstown man after he stole a legal buck hanging at another hunter’s home.

On November 14, Estey Manning, Jr. of Rood Pond Road reported the theft of his 145 lb. buck to State Police. He had checked it in two days earlier at the Farm and Country Store, a local big game reporting station.

Manning provided a photo of the buck, which had unique antlers, to a game warden.

On the same day Manning discovered his deer was stolen, wardens learned that Joshua B. Young, 26, of Williamstown had taken a similar deer to the same reporting station where Manning had checked in his deer.

Upon further investigation, Young was found in possession of the stolen deer, which he acknowledged he had stolen from Manning.

Young was charged with transporting a deer taken by another person without that person present, a violation of Fish & Wildlife law that carries a fine of $262 and the loss of Young’s hunting fishing and trapping privileges for one year. He is scheduled to appear at Orange Superior Court on December 28, 2016.

Maine - Downeast Sunrise Trail Extension Completed

The Downeast Sunrise Trail (DEST) has now been completed with addition of the final two miles from Hancock into Ellsworth, after a quarter century of work. Commissioners from two collaborating state agencies and community partners will be on hand December 2 for a ceremonial ribbon cutting commemorating the event. The ceremony, hosted by the Sunrise Trail Coalition, Inc. and the City of Ellsworth, will take place at the new High Street Trailhead in Ellsworth on Friday at 11:00 a.m.

The Downeast Sunrise Trail (aka Calais Branch Corridor Rehabilitation Project) was an interagency effort between MaineDOT and Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry’s (DACF) Bureau of Parks and Lands (BPL). MaineDOT owns the rail corridor and the BPL managed the construction, and will oversee continued maintenance of the multi-use recreation trail. The project has received support from several community partners and recreational groups.

“This is an example of Maine state government working with community partners to complete a project that will generate substantial economic activity and support Maine as a year-round destination,” said Governor Paul R. LePage. “The ATV and snowmobile industries alone bring in over $500 million dollars to the State each year. Add to that the revenues that flow from its multi-use design and you have a significant resource for Maine people, visitors and the businesses that cater to them.”

Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Commissioner Walt Whitcomb and MaineDOT Commissioner David Bernhardt stressed the economic, recreational and its connection to the countries transportation system.

“Residents of Ellsworth and visitors will now have the opportunity to use a trail which directly links the City to the 87-mile recreational trail system,” said Commissioner Whitcomb. “This is an easily maneuverable trail with gentle grades and a smooth solid base, which will provide users with the opportunity to engage in exercise to improve cardio-vascular health and reduce obesity. This trail links to 800-miles of ATV and snowmobile trails including ITS 81 and 82.”

“This new trail, part of Maine’s transportation network, will encourage trail users to visit Ellsworth’s local restaurants, lodging facilities, fuel stations, merchandise sales and other services,” said Commissioner Bernhardt. “Having the trail head in the City of Ellsworth will entice tourists to visit this unique trail system. It is also is included in the East Coast Greenway which runs from Calais, Maine to Key West, Florida.”

Down East Sunrise Trail (Calais Branch Corridor Rehabilitation Project):

The project, begun in 1987, has been an interagency effort between MaineDOT and the DACF’s Bureau of Parks and Lands. It has been constructed in two phases.

Phase I – An 85- mile rail trail from Washington Junction, Hancock to Ayers Junction, Pembroke, opened in September 2010. This project preserved the rail corridor for future rail use, while in the interim providing a multi-use rail trail connecting multiple communities. The DACF was the lead agency in constructing this phase of the DEST. Construction of the trail was paid for with proceeds from the sale of the rail steel.

Phase II – “Rail with trail” extended the 85-miles of existing rail trail 2 miles into Ellsworth. This provides trail users direct access to food, fuel, lodging, shopping and amenities. Phase II was also funded with proceeds from rail steel from Phase I and cost 1.3 million dollars.

Plymouth Engineering designed both Phase I and Phase II. Lane Construction was the contractor for Phase II.

Community Support:

Numerous organizations and area clubs worked to make this project possible. These include:

The Sunrise Trail Coalition, Inc., which represents the interests of the Trail multi-users and through its membership dues, donations and grants sponsors annual community events and provides necessary accessory facilities like benches, picnic tables along the Trail.

The Acadia Area ATV Club, which owns property with plans for a clubhouse in Hancock near the parking lot, entered into a trail use agreement which allows the trail to be built on their property.

The Ellsworth Snowmobile Club will take care of grooming this section of the trail. The club will be working along with the Frenchmen’s Bay Snowmobile Club to assist with development of snowmobile access into and around Ellsworth area, with some trails already in place.

Future maintenance and upkeep is being done by these clubs and managed by the DACF Off-road Vehicle Office. Clubs involved in maintaining the DEST from Ellsworth to Ayers Junction:
· Downeast Trail Riders ATV & Snowmobile Club from East Machias
· Dennysville Snowmobile & ATV Club from Dennysville
· Narraguagus Snowmobile & ATV Club from Cherryfield
· Ridge Riders Trail Club from Machias

For more Downeast Sunrise Trail information go to: www.maine.gov/downeastsunrisetrail or www.sunrisetrail.org

Maine - Lincoln Hunter Found

On Friday, November 18, Ronald Freelove, 69 of Lincoln, Maine was reported lost by his son Keith Freelove of New Hampshire. Keith said his father left their camp on the Kingsbury Road in Bradley, at approximately 12:45 PM. He was going to walk through the woods and meet up with him by 4:00 PM back at camp. A search was started utilizing K-9 and ground searchers. At approximately 12:30 on Saturday, Ronald Freelove was located by Jake Letendre from MESARD and his K-9 Reese.

During the night, Mr. Freelove stayed mobile as his lighter to make a fire was not working. Mr. Freelove lost his hat, which had a compass pinned to it. A second compass was lost after the lanyard caught on a bush dragging the compass from his pocket along with a whistle and pair of gloves. Ronald used all his ammo trying to signal for help throughout the night. He was located approximately three quarters of a mile from where he started and was assisted out of the woods by searchers. Freelove was checked out by medical personnel from Milford Rescue and Old Town ambulance crew before going back to camp.

The Warden Service would like to thank *MESARD, MASAR, Milford Rescue, and Old Town Ambulance. The Maine Association for Search and Rescue (MASAR) is a non-profit organization that promotes and develops search and rescue resources for the state of Maine. MASAR provides training and certification for search and rescue volunteers using nationally-recognized standards. See mainesearchandrescue.org for more information.

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