Outdoor News

March 2017
Edited by V. Paul Reynolds

Good news and bad news. Last month, if you recall, that legendary marmot in Pennsylvania – Punxsutawney Phil – did see his shadow. So winter is not over for least a fortnight. But spring will come to New England.That’s the good news..

We'll be smelting, picking fiddleheads, and scouting for turkey activity before you know it.. So....hang in there. Go to church. Tie some more flies. Check the fishing gear, again. Revisit the Bean catalog. Shoot a coyote. Take a vacation in the Florida Keys or get to as many state sportsman shows as you can. To find a sportsman show in your area, check this month's ads in the Journal

Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife.

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 - Moosehead Lake Togue Derby

Spencer Thompson of Harrington gets the bragging rights for the 10th Annual Moosehead Lake Togue Derby with Ricky Craven that wrapped up on Sunday afternoon. Spencer landed a 7.16 lb togue on Saturday and held on to take home the $1,500 prize money. Nicholas Ramsdell of Hartland took second place with a 5.63 lb togue and Brian Ellis of Winslow finished third with a 4.53 lb fish. The wind was harsh on Friday but the fish were cooperating. We saw a number of fish come into the weigh station on Friday afternoon that were in great shape, but, in the end, none were big enough to win prize money. The wind continued on Saturday and even though the fishing was a little slower, some prize winners were iced. On Sunday, the wind gave way to calm conditions and scattered snow squalls, but the fish seemed to be taking the day off. Weather and ice conditions always play a deciding role in ticket sales. We had very good ice and snow cover on the lake and despite the 15mph northwest wind, the Natural Resource Education Center at Moosehead (NREC) set a new record for participation with 724 tickets sold to this year’s event.

There were 185 names in the derby’s Youth Raffle this year. Nick Lemelin won the first prize which was a lifetime fishing license, however, his grandparents had already purchased both lifetime licenses for him, so NREC handed him a check for $250. Brooklyn Morse from Mt. Vernon won the new Trek bike donated by Northwoods Outfitters in Greenville, and Abbie Jacobson won a beautiful new bat, which she can get personally engraved, donated by Dove Tail Bats in Shirley.

Abe Hatch of Damariscotta won the Grand Prize and opted to take the $1,500 check. NREC also drew names for 2 firearms, an ice fishing package donated by Indian Hill Trading Post, and a $250 check. Over 60 ticket holders won door prizes at the Wild and Tame dinner held Saturday night and all winners are listed on the NRECmoosehead.org website. Thanks to all the folks at NREC, the sponsors, the donors, and participants in the derby. The derby has been a great success as a fisheries management tool for Moosehead Lake, as well as a fundraiser and community event. We’ll see you all again next year.

Submitted by: Tim Obrey, Regional Fisheries Biologist

Maine - Moose Permit Auction Raises Over $133,000 for Scholarships

Over $133,000 was raised for youth conservation education scholarships in Maine through the 2016 Maine Moose Permit Auction. Ten hunters bid a total of over $133,000 in an auction for the opportunity to hunt moose in Maine during the 2016 season.

The auction was created by the Legislature and began in 1995. It allows the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife to publicly auction ten moose permits each year. Applicants submit bids through a written bid process. Permits are awarded to the ten winning bidders each February. The average winning bid for 2016 was $13,516.50.

Proceeds from the auction fund partial scholarships that will help send over 600 Maine youngsters to several conservation camps within the state. These camps provide boys and girls ages 8 through 17 the opportunity to participate in a variety of outdoor and classroom activities. Students are taught by experienced instructors and counselors, as well as staff from the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife and other state and private conservation agencies.

“While the auction winners have the opportunity to partake in the hunt of a lifetime, their winning bids also ensure Maine children have the chance to learn outdoor skills that will give them a lifetime of appreciation of the Maine outdoors,” said Chandler Woodcock, Commissioner, Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

Conservation camp programs are designed to teach Maine boys and girls the importance of conservation, a respect for the environment and a working knowledge of a variety of outdoor skills. Subjects taught at camp include wildlife identification, fishing, boating safety, archery, firearms handling, hunter safety, forest conservation, map and compass work and much more.

Bids for the 2017 auction are now being accepted and must be received at the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, 284 State Street, Augusta, Maine 04333, no later than 5:00 p.m. (Eastern Time) on February 15, 2017. A non-refundable bid fee of $25.00 in U.S. funds must accompany each bid.

For more information on the Maine Moose Permit Auction or moose hunting in Maine, please visit our website at www.mefishwildlife.com

Maine - Hunting Economy Has a Banner Year!

As big of a deal as hunting is in Maine, many folks in the public have never really been told just how important it is to jobs, wages and the tax base. That has begun to change with the efforts of Hunting Works for Maine, a collation of businesses and organizations formed in 2015 to educate the public about the value of hunting.

Using a grassroots strategy to spread the word, Hunting Works for Maine has already grown to more than 100 members in just eighteen months! In addition to organizations like the Maine Professional Guides Association, Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine and the Maine Wildlife Conservation Council, members include business associations including the Maine State Chamber of Commerce, several local chambers of commerce, tourism associations and other businesses such as hotels, restaurants and many others.

The impressive list of partners can be found at www.huntingworksforme.com. The purpose of the organization is to bring attention to hunting’s impact on everyday life in Maine, from jobs at the local diner, to salaries paid at a tire dealer. From local taxes from hotel stays to groceries near a local hunting lodge.

Led by four volunteer co-chairs, Hunting Works for Maine was launched in Augusta in July of 2015. It has held two annual meetings for members in Skowhegan, visited with media and businesses across Maine, and held regional meetings for businesses in Augusta, Millinocket, and Scarborough. Co-chairs included Subway Franchisee Representative Gary Hilliard, Scotts Turf Franchisee Representative Peter Lyford, Northwoods Sporting Journal publisher Paul Reynolds, and local grocer and retailer Clay Tranten.

Hunting is responsible for a total of $363 Million to Maine’s economy annually. This includes $120 million in salaries and wages and 4,000 jobs.

Hunting Works for Maine will continue to grow its grassroots base in 2017 to ensure the economic message is able to reach every region of the state so that all Mainers know how important hunting is to their communities, whether they hunt or not. More information can be found at www.huntingworksforme.com, or can be obtained by emailing info@huntingworksforme.com.

Sledder Dies at Maine Lake

A man died this winter in a snowmobile crash in Sidney. Jeffrey Fisher, 32, from Sidney, was found dead along the shoreline of Messalonskee Lake after he became separated from his friend while on a snowmobile ride. The Maine Warden Service determined that Fisher crashed his snowmobile and was ejected onto rocks at the shoreline. A responding paramedic unit from Delta Ambulance pronounced Fisher dead on scene.

Fisher was operating an Artic-Cat snowmobile and was wearing a helmet. Speed is likely a contributing factor in this crash based upon an initial witness statement and evidence at the scene. Members of the Warden Service Evidence Recovery and Forensic Mapping Units assisted in the investigation as well as Sidney Fire and Rescue. An autopsy will be performed by the Office of the Medical Examiner in Augusta. This case remains under investigation. This is Maine’s fourth snowmobile related fatality this season.

Rhode Island Man Dies in Maine's Third Sled Crash

A Rhode Island man was killed this winter in Maine’s third snowmobile related fatality this season. Edmond D. Imondi, 53, from Foster, Rhode Island was riding with two friends in T1 R9 WELS on a groomed ITS trail west of Millinocket Lake. Imondi failed to negotiate a right hand curve in the trail. Tracks in the snow indicated the machine went straight into a series of trees to the left of the trail. Imondi impacted the trees and was pronounced dead at the scene.

This crash is still being investigated but it appears that speed and unfamiliarity with trail conditions are possible contributing factors. Assisting at the scene were Millinocket EMS and a Ranger with Baxter State Park.

Maine - IFW Adds An Additional 73 Moose Calves To Moose Survival Study

Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife biologists just finished a week of capturing and collaring moose in two different geographic study areas in northern Maine as part of the department’s ongoing moose study. The study provides a greater understanding of the health of Maine’s moose population, particularly factors that affect their survival and reproductive rates.

A team of IFW biologists and a helicopter-based aerial capture team located, captured and collared 73 moose this past week. These were calf moose which were born last spring. There are now 162 moose equipped with GPS collars which will be monitored remotely by IFW biologists.

The GPS-enabled collars transmit twice per day, providing biologists the ability to track moose movements. The GPS collars are expected to transmit location signals for four years. If there is no movement for a certain period of time, the collar transmits a mortality signal, and biologists then travel overland to investigate the cause of death. This is the fourth year that Maine has captured and collared moose for research.

“Once we receive a mortality signal, we locate the dead moose within 24 hours,” said Kantar. Biologists conduct an extensive field necropsy on each moose, taking blood, tissue and fecal samples that will later be analyzed by the University of Maine-Animal Health Lab as well as other specialized diagnostic facilities.

The collared moose are in two study regions. One is located in northern Aroostook county, and the other is located between Jackman and Greenville in Northern Somerset county. New Hampshire and Vermont are also conducting similar studies. All three states are sharing information gathered through the study, which will provide biologists insights into moose survival in a variety of habitats, environmental conditions and moose densities.

“Once the moose is captured, the crew attaches a GPS collar and ear tags, collects a blood, hair and fecal sample, conducts a tick count and weighs the animal,” said Lee Kantar, “The entire process takes between 10 and 12 minutes, we don’t have to sedate the animal, and the moose is released unharmed.”

The radio collar study is just one component of the research that IFW conducts on moose.

IFW also utilizes aerial flights to assess population abundance and the composition of the moose herd. During the moose hunting season, biologists also examine teeth to determine a moose’s age, measure antler spread, monitor the number of ticks a moose carries, and examine cow ovaries in late fall to determine reproductive rates.

IFW contracted with Native Range Capture Services out of Elko, Nevada to capture and collar the moose. The crew specializes in capturing and collaring large animals by helicopter and using net guns to capture and collar female moose and calves. Funding for the study comes from a federal Pittman-Robertson grant (funded by the sale of hunting equipment) and the state’s dedicated moose fund (funded through sale of non-resident moose applications and permits).

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