Outdoor News

March 2018
Edited by V. Paul Reynolds

Last month, if you recall, that legendary marmot in Pennsylvania - Punxsutawney Phil - did see his shadow. So six more week of winter, right? Ughhh.

But spring will come to Maine, eventually.

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 Florida or get to as many state sportsmen shows as you can. To find a sportsman show in your area, check this month's ads in the Journal.

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 - Moose Lottery Open

The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife is now accepting applications online for the 2018 Maine moose permit lottery. Applications for the 2018 Maine moose permit lottery will be accepted online only. The online application process is fast and simple and you receive instant confirmation that you have successfully entered the lottery.

To apply online, go to mefishwildlife.com and fill out the online moose permit application. There, applicants will be able to indicate several preferences, including which wildlife management districts (WMD) they are willing to accept a permit in, and if they would accept a permit in another WMD if their name is drawn and all of their top choices are filled. They will also be able to select your preferred hunting season, whether or not they would accept an antlerless permit, and their choice of a sub-permittee.

If an applicant does not have access to a computer or the Internet at home, the Department has the following suggestions for applying online:

- Use a computer at work during lunch or a break
- Use a computer at your local library
- Ask a friend or relative with a computer for help in applying

The deadline to apply for the lottery is 11:59 p.m. on May 15, 2018.

Applicants are awarded bonus points for each consecutive year that they have applied for the lottery since 1998 without being selected and each bonus point gives the applicant an additional chance in the drawing.

Bonus points are earned at the rate of one per year for years one to five, two per year for years six to 10, three per year for years 11 to 15 and 10 per year for years 16 and beyond.

Since 2011, applicants can skip a year and not lose their bonus points. So if they applied in 2016 but not in 2017, they still have their points available if they apply in 2018.

Want to be there for the drawing? The 2018 moose lottery permit drawing will take place during the Skowhegan Moose Festival. The festival runs June 8-10, 2018 at the Skowhegan Fairgrounds and the drawing will take place on the afternoon of June 9. For more information, please visit skowheganmoosefest.com For more information about moose hunting in Maine and the moose permit lottery, please visit: http://www.maine.gov/ifw/hunting-trapping/moose-permit.html

Vermont's Rattlesnakes (pictured above)

Vermonters of all ages are invited to attend a presentation about Vermont's timber rattlesnakes on March 8 in Rutland. The presentation will be held at the Community College of Vermont, 60 West Street, Rutland from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m.

Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department biologist and rattlesnake researcher Doug Blodgett will discuss this reclusive and often misunderstood reptile. Blodgett has been employed as a wildlife biologist with the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department for 36 years, working on both game and nongame species, as well as public and private land management programs. He led Vermont's wild turkey project for twenty years and has also assisted with research efforts on a variety of other species, from bears and deer to moose and peregrine falcons. Most recently, his professional interest has focused on reptiles in Vermont, particularly the state's rare snakes.

"Timber rattlesnakes are some of the original Vermonters and they play a unique role among the state's native wildlife community," said Blodgett. "We'll talk about our recent research findings on this endangered species and discuss the tough challenges they face and what we're doing to ensure their continued survival in Vermont."

The talk is free and open to the public and is sponsored by Vermont Woodlands Association.

Maine - Three Snowsledders Narrowly Escape

This winter a Mount Desert Island man and two teenage girls narrowly escaped with their lives this evening after going into the water on Long Pond. Eli Strauss, 43, his 12-year-old daughter Julia and her friend Jolie Beal, also age 12 and from Mt. Desert Island, were rescued at the shoreline of Long Pond in Southwest Harbor. Early indications were that all three entered the water on one snowmobile operated by Eli Strauss. The three were able to swim to the pond's southeast shoreline. The two girls remained at shore while Eli Strauss began a trek through the woods for help.

Strauss and the two girls had been snowmobiling on Somes Pond near their home on Oak Hill Road. Eli Strauss was pulling the girls on a tube behind a snowmobile as indicated by his wife, Robin. Robin Strauss went to check on the three at about 4:30 that afternoon and observed only the tube and rope. When the three did not return home as expected, she called Bar Harbor Police Department just after 5:30 that evening. Responders were advised by his wife that Eli Strauss occasionally drove to nearby Long Pond on his snowmobile so initial search efforts began there.

Knowing there was open water near the south end of Long Pond, Lt. Mike Miller with Southwest Harbor Police drove to the boat launch located at the south end of Long Pond. As he stood at the shoreline, he heard hollering from the southeastern shore near ledges that entered into the water. Two members from Tremont Fire and Rescue walked the shoreline about one half mile to reach those hollering. It was quickly determined that Eli Strauss was not with the girls and had already begun a walk out of the woods for help. Voice contact was made with Eli Strauss a short time later. Due to hypothermic symptoms, Eli Strauss could no longer walk unassisted. Efforts to remove Strauss from the woods took time as terrain and conditions were challenging.

All three were treated for hypothermia at Mount Desert Island Hospital in Bar Harbor. The snowmobile remains in Long Pond, the areas water supply. Efforts to remove the machine will be arranged in the coming days. Assisting in tonight's rescue were police from Bar Harbor, Mount Desert, and Southwest Harbor. Fire and Rescue personnel from the towns of Tremont, Southwest Harbor and Mount Desert responded as did ambulance crews from Southwest Harbor and Northeast Harbor.

Maine - MDIFW Collars 83 Moose

Despite the subzero temperatures and a raging blizzard, MDIFW wildlife biologists and a helicopter-based aerial capture crew located, captured, and collared 83 moose this winter in northern and western Maine.

This is the fifth year of the Maine Moose Study which is providing important insight into factors impacting moose reproduction and survival. The research focuses on moose calves and adult female moose in a study area in northern Maine east of the Allagash River and another study area located between Jackman and Moosehead Lake.

"The crews had no problems locating moose to collar, in fact on one day in between Jackman and Moosehead, they captured and collared 21 moose," said Lee Kantar, MDIFW's moose biologist.

While it may be early to draw definitive conclusions concerning Maine's moose population, there are some preliminary results appearing in the study.

"There are trends that are emerging," said Kantar. "For instance, survival rates for moose calves and adults in northern Maine, and adult moose in western Maine are very high. However, calves in western Maine have a low survival rate."

In fact, survival rates for adult moose in both study areas average 86% and for calves in northern Maine, it is 64%. However, survival rates drop to 35% for calves in western Maine. The survival rates for the adults in both study areas and the calves in northern Maine are consistent with survival rates determined by research in other states.

"Over the past four years, we have captured over 375 moose," said Kantar, "It has given us unprecedented insight into moose survival and reproduction in the east." Currently there are 165 active collars on moose in Maine, including 51 adults and 35 calves in northern Maine, and 46 adults and 33 calves in the western study area.

"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."

Along with the field data that is collected concerning survival and reproduction, lab results gleaned from examinations and necropsies of dead moose have revealed clues about challenges impacting Maine's moose population.

"Anemia, due to blood loss caused by an excessive number of winter ticks, is the leading cause of mortality for moose calves," said Kantar.

The opportunity to gather this type of biological data is due to the GPS-enabled collars which transmit locations twice per day, providing biologists the ability to track moose movements. The GPS collars 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.

"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 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.

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.

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).

Maine - Snowsled Fatality

A Sangerville man died Feb. 9th as a result of a snowmobile crash in Corinna. Jeffrey Wiley Jr. (44) of Sangerville was travelling south along the rail-bed snowmobile trail when he struck a tree. Wiley was nearing the end of a 300-mile ride when the incident occurred. Wiley was the second of two sleds travelling together. When Wiley did not return, the second member of the party doubled back and found Wiley had crashed. Maine Game Wardens attribute excessive speed to the incident.

Wardens were assisted by members of Corinna Fire, Dexter Police Department and Mayo Regional Ambulance.

This was the second fatal snowmobile crash of the season. Game Warden Lt. Dan Scott reminds riders to always ride under control and adjust your speed to trail and weather conditions. He added, "Due to the heavy rains and freezing temperatures we have been experiencing this season, many trails have an icy base, requiring longer stopping distances. Riders should be careful to not overdrive their headlights and be conscious of hazards and other riders on the trails."

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