Outdoor News

December 2018
Edited by V. Paul Reynolds

December. A good month in Maine to black powder 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 loyal readers and advertisers. And may your New Year be full of health, happiness and memorable hours in New England's Great Outdoors.

CAPTION FOR PHOTO ABOVE: Artwork above by V. Paul Reynolds.

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 Deer Season in Full Swing

October 27 marked the beginning of the firearm season for deer for residents, an eagerly anticipated event for tens of thousands of hunters across the state.

"With a growing deer population in central and southern Maine, we expect to see even more successful hunters this year," said Nathan Bieber, the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife deer biologist. "Last year was the most successful year in ten years, but this year has the potential to be even better for deer hunters.”

The Firearms Season for deer concludes on Saturday, November 24.

"With cool weather for the start of season, and even fresh snow up north for the big woods trackers, we expect to see many successful hunters this weekend," said Bieber. "Even if the rain materializes in the southern part of the state, it will remain cool and leave the woods quiet for hunting.”

Maine has over 215,000 licensed hunters, and hunting continues to be an economic catalyst in much of Maine, supporting over 3,400 jobs with an economic output of over $338 million.

Deer hunting in Maine provides many families with wild game meat that is high in nutrition, sustainable, free range, and organic. On average, a 150-pound field dressed deer will provide close to 70 pounds of meat. Last year’s deer kill provided over 1.5 million pounds of meat to hunters and their families.

This year’s deer season has the potential to be even better than 2017, when Deer hunters in Maine harvested 27,233 deer in 2017, the highest total in the last ten years and an increase of 15% from 2016.

For this coming deer season, a total 84,745 any-deer permits are proposed for 22 of the state’s 29 wildlife management districts, an increase of 28%. Last year, there were 66,050 permits available to hunters.  Hunters who do not receive an Any Deer permit are only allowed to shoot an antlered deer (with some exceptions during archery season and on youth day).

Permit numbers increased in nine southern and central wildlife management districts, decreased in 11 WMDs and stayed the same in nine WMDS. You can find the complete numbers at https://www.maine.gov/ifw/hunting-trapping/any-deer-permit.html. One reason for the permit increase is that the 2017-18 winter was more moderate in central and southern Maine, while up north the winter was a little more severe than years past. 

The department manages white-tailed deer through regulated hunting, and manages the deer population in parts of the state to limit vehicle crashes, reduce incidence of lyme disease and reduce property damage complaints. In other areas of the state, the department manages the deer population to increase opportunities for hunting and viewing.

Deer seasons begin the Saturday after Labor Day and continue into mid-December. These structured seasons, along with controlling the harvest of female deer in the 29 wildlife management districts across the state through the Any Deer permit system, allows biologists to manage population trends.

If you plan on hunting this year, experienced hunters are encouraged to introduce someone new to the sport. An apprentice license is available to both residents and non-residents, and sales of the license have increased by nearly 50% since they were first introduced in 2008. An apprentice license allows someone to hunt in the presence of an experienced hunter. For more information, please visit http://www.maine.gov/ifw/licenses_permits/apprenticeship.htm.

And remember; please seek landowner permission on the land you want to hunt. Asking for permission only takes a minute, and the time that it takes benefits both you and the future of hunting. Over 90% of Maine is privately owned, and the overwhelming majority of Maine’s outdoor recreational activities take place on private land, so please treat the land as if it were your own.

Vermont's 'Operation Game Thief' Helps Catch Poachers

Vermont State Game Wardens are asking Vermonters with information about fish and wildlife crimes to submit them through the Operation Game Thief program. 

Operation Game Thief (OGT) is a joint nonprofit program sponsored by the Vermont Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs and administered by the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department. The program provides a way for people to help protect the state’s fish and wildlife by reporting law violators at 1-800-75ALERT (1-800-752-5378).   The toll-free hotline is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year to repo

"Although Vermont is lucky enough to have more wardens patrolling our fields, forests and waterways than in many years, their numbers are still limited," said Col. Jason Batchelder.  "Operation Game Thief is a great way for Vermonters to assist in reducing fish and wildlife violations by providing tips and information.  We’re asking people to call with details such as names and descriptions of perpetrators, and descriptions and plate numbers of vehicles whenever possible.” 

To help get the word out about OGT, Vermont State Game Wardens have built an Operation Game Thief display trailer.  The display trailer was sponsored in part by International Wildlife Crimestoppers and the Cabela’s Outdoor Fund, and serves as an opportunity for wardens to do further education and outreach about Operation Game Thief.  The trailer can be seen at larger conferences and events such as Dead Creek Wildlife Day and the Yankee Sportsmen’s Classic. 

"Poachers steal the opportunity for others to legally hunt and fish and may create an unfairly negative impression of hunting and fishing with the general public,” said Col. Batchelder. "They may also target threatened, endangered, or nongame species, such as a recent case in which a poacher shot a bald eagle. We appreciate this partnership with the Vermont Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs to help us catch and prosecute poachers through Operation Game Thief.”

Maine - Penobscot Fly Fishers - 2019 Basic Fly Tying Class

The Penobscot Fly Fishers are pleased to be offering their annual fly-tying class. The six-week course will be held on Mondays from 6 to 8 PM at the Penobscot County Conservation Association, 570 North Main St., Brewer, ME. The first class takes place on Monday, January 7, 2019.

The course is designed to expose students to a variety of tying tools, techniques, and materials to give them a solid foundation in this aspect of the sport of fly fishing. Each class will start with a discussion of the pattern to be tied and the materials used for the pattern, followed by a tying demonstration of the pattern by one of our instructors.

Afterwards students will head to their vises to practice the pattern under the tutelage of our staff. There should be ample time for each student to complete a number of flies each night. As time allows, we will also show variations of the patterns tied in class, display different types of fly-tying vises, and provide information about the life cycle of the living forms the tied flies are intended to imitate.

The course fee is $50, which includes all necessary materials and the use of fly-tying tools during class time. Students who already have tying equipment are more than welcome to bring it. The class is limited to 30 students on a first-come, first-serve basis. All students under 17 years of age must be accompanied by an adult. Everyone participating in the class will be required to sign a waiver form.

Please make checks payable to Penobscot Fly Fishers. The mailing address is:
Penobscot Fly Fishers
PO Box 651
Brewer, Maine 04412

Payment can also be made via the PayPal link on the PFF website.

Questions? Please feel free to contact Rob Dunnett at email -- class@penobscotflyfishers.

Vermont - Sharing the Outdoors During Hunting Season

Hunters are common in the autumn woods of Vermont. But whether they're dressed in camo or blaze orange, with a hunting rifle or bow slung over their shoulders, hunters on the landscape may present an unfamiliar sight to some. Just because hunting seasons have started that doesn’t mean other recreationists need to avoid the woods. According to Nicole Meier with Vermont Fish & Wildlife’s hunter education program, with a little knowledge and a few common-sense preparations, people should feel perfectly comfortable heading out for a hike, a bike ride, or walking their dog in the fall. 

"People enjoy the outdoors in a variety of ways and as long as everyone treats each other with respect, there are rarely conflicts," said Meier. "Hunting is an extremely safe activity. Hunting-related incidents in Vermont are very rare and are almost always either minor, self-inflicted, or within hunting parties.”

Meier offers these suggestions to safely enjoy the woods in autumn:

Know when hunting takes place. Season dates are available in the free Vermont Hunting and Trapping Official Regulations Digest, available at gas stations and general stores, and at vtfishandwildlife.com

Most hunting in Vermont is concentrated during the two-week rifle season, the week before and the week of Thanksgiving

Youth deer rifle weekend occurs around the first weekend of November

Archery season is in October and muzzleloader season is the first week of December, though both activities see far fewer hunters than rifle season

Wear bright colors -- an orange vest is particularly helpful during rifle seasons

Plan outings closer to the middle of the day -- the lighting is better and fewer people are hunting then

Walk dogs on leash and consider getting a bright orange collar or vest for your dog

Favor high-use public areas or trails -- hunters tend to avoid areas where many other people are already hiking or walking their dog

"Most hunting in Vermont takes place during a brief window in the fall. With a little planning, hunters and other outdoor recreationists can both safely and courteously enjoy their pursuits and share the woods without any issues,” said Meier. "Everyone should feel welcome in the woods at any time of year,”

Maine - Fallen game Warden Tribute

Earlier this fall marked the Annual Fallen Game Warden Tribute Run, established to bring awareness to Maine's 15 game wardens that have died in the line of duty since the bureau was established in 1880. Braving temperatures just above freezing and wintry precipitation, nearly 30 runners began a Tribute Run at the Maine Criminal Justice Academy in Vassalboro and made the 14-mile trek to the Fallen Officer Memorial in Augusta.

At each mile-marker, one fallen game warden was honored as a ribbon in their name was attached to a flag commemorating their sacrifice. The flag was carried the entire length of the run by alternating runners. Just after noon, runners arrived in Augusta greeted by surviving family members and friends of the fallen game wardens. Please visit our website for more details and our Fallen Warden Tribute Video located here. 

Maine’s Fallen Game Wardens:

Lyman O. Hill 1839 - 1886
Charles W. Niles - 1886
Arthur G. Deag 1901 - 1921
Leslie Robinson 1901 - 1921
David F. Brown 1870 - 1922
Mertley E. Johnson 1901 - 1922
Lee H. Parker 1877 - 1927
Jean Baptiste Jalbert 1886 - 1933
Robert Lee Moore 1889 - 1935
Randall E. Shelley 1902 - 1946
George E. Townsend 1919 - 1956
R. Lyle Frost Jr. 1926 - 1968
Richard E. Varney 1931 - 1972
William F. Hanrahan 1943 - 1992
Daryl R. Gordon 1950 - 2011

Maine ATV Fatality

A Massachusetts man died today following an ATV crash in Carthage, Maine. Taylor Curtin, 27, of Belchertown, Massachusetts, had been camping with friends at the Rocky Mountain Terrain Park located off Winter Hill Road where the crash occurred. Curtin had borrowed a friend’s 2007 Can AM 800 ATV and was returning to the campsite when the ATV went airborne and struck a tree at about 1:30 this afternoon. Curtin was not wearing a helmet and game wardens believe speed is a contributing factor in this crash.

Curtin was pronounced dead at the scene by EMS and was taken to Wiles Funeral Home in Farmington for examination by the Medical Examiner's Office. Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, Med-Care EMS, Carthage Fire Department and East Dixfield Fire Department assisted with this incident.

Vermont - Steam Mill Brook WMA Expands by 225 Acres

The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department has announced that one of the state's largest wildlife management areas, Steam Mill Brook WMA, in the towns of Walden, Stannard, Wheelock and Danville, has expanded by 225 acres as the result of a recent land acquisition. 

The WMA comprises roughly 11,000-acre tract of land in Caledonia County that is permanently conserved and is managed to enhance wildlife habitat as well as public access for wildlife-based recreation such as hunting, fishing, wildlife-watching, photography, or gathering wild edibles. 

Considered a high priority for conservation by the Department and Vermont Agency of Natural Resources, as evidenced by the recently completed Vermont Conservation Design project, the Steam Mill Brook area contains a large expanse of unbroken forests and provides an important corridor for wildlife moving between the Worcester Mountain Range and the Northeast Kingdom.

"Wildlife is increasingly under threat from climate change and forest fragmentation.  Intact forests that serve as movement and migration corridors are becoming ever-more important for wildlife such as songbirds, moose and black bears to continue to thrive,” said John Austin, lands and habitat program manager for Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department. "Our department is working with partners and willing landowners to achieve landscape-scale conservation in these high-priority areas.”

The newly conserved land area has been managed to create young forest habitat that is critical for many species of wildlife, from chestnut-sided warblers to American woodcock to moose.

"Every time a biologist has visited this property, they've seen an abundance of wildlife and wildlife sign," said Austin.  "Adding this property to Steam Mill Brook WMA offers outstanding opportunities for all people who appreciate Vermont’s wildlife, from hunters to bird-watchers.” 

This property is the second piece to be added to Steam Mill Brook WMA in recent months, with a donation of 47 acres being added to the property earlier in the year.  The land was donated by the Johnson Company, an engineering firm that works across the eastern United States with an office in Montpelier. 

The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department owns and manages 93 wildlife management areas throughout the state, comprising nearly 140,000 acres, for fish and wildlife habitat and public access. 

Click Here For Past Stories!!

Feature Story |  Current News |  Photo Gallery |  Advertising |  Subscribe Today |  Outdoor Resources |  Home