Outdoor News

July 2018
Edited by V. Paul Reynolds

July. Let summer begin! Although fishing has begun to peak, there is much angling left. Togue (Lake Trout) will be found by those willing to go down deep with lead core line or downriggers. Fly fishers are keeping a vigil over the ever-popular Green Drake hatch on trout ponds. Stripers and mackerel runs keep it going for salt water anglers. Bass fishermen are enjoying Maine's incomparable bass fishery. And, believe it or not, bear hunters and bear guides have already begun laying plans for the annual bear season that begins the end of next month! Meanwhile, if you were lucky enough to boat a fat landlocked salmon, don't forget to poach it, apply an egg sauce and find some fresh garden peas to go along. Happy Fourth of July!

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 - Eagle Shooting Investigated

The Maine Warden Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are currently seeking information in the shooting of a bald eagle. The eagle was discovered on Chain Lake Boulevard, also known as Mill Road, in Day Block Township. Day Block Township is located near Wesley in Washington County. The caller discovered the eagle inside a bucket, discarded beside a travel way. The investigating game warden identified shot pellets at the scene and had the eagle X-rayed. The resulting X-ray highlighted dozens of shotgun pellets within its body. Due to the condition of the eagle, game wardens believe it was killed several weeks ago.

Under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is offering a reward of up to $2,500 for information leading to conviction. Maine Operation Game Thief is offering an additional $1,000 for any information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible. Anyone with information regarding this incident is encouraged to call either Operation Game Thief (800) 253-7887, USFWS Office of Law Enforcement at (207) 469-6842 or Game Warden Alan Curtis directly at (207) 215-7652.

Maine - Deputy Game Wardens Hired

Since 2008, the Maine Warden Service has been working in cooperation with the US Coast Guard (USCG) to secure funding for enhancement of recreational boating safety on inland waters. Utilizing a grant obtained within the USCG’s Office of Boating Safety, six new deputy game wardens will be put to work to help manage Maine’s busy inland recreational boating activity. Those hired are Marc D’Elia (20) from Troy, Morgan Jeane (21) from Windsor, Nicholas Johnson (20) from Unity, Keegan Nelligan (21) from Abington, MA, Will Reinsborough (21) Pownal, and Emily Tripp (21) from Frankfort. All six of these young men and women recently attended the Conservation Law Enforcement Program at Unity College in Unity, Maine.

The application process for becoming a deputy game warden begins in December of every year. Several months of hiring exams and interviews follow before final candidates are selected. The candidates must successfully pass all portions of each hiring phase which is not an easy task. Written exams, oral boards, swim tests, polygraph and psychological exams are all included since the process mirrors that needed for full-time candidates.

Those who successfully navigate the hiring process are then required to attend the Law Enforcement Pre-Service (LEPS) administered by the Maine Criminal Justice Academy (MCJA). In addition, the new deputies must pass training given by the Maine Warden Service which includes firearms, water survival, and mechanics of arrest to name a few. The deputies are paid an hourly wage of about $15.00 during their three-month positions that primarily encompass the months of June, July and August. It offers both the deputy and the Warden Service three months of career immersion to see if the path of being a Maine game warden suits both parties well. These part-time deputies might also have an opportunity at full time work if their summer proves successful in the eyes of the Maine Warden Service.

Maine - Lifetime Outdoor Achievement Award

The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife is now accepting nominations for the 2018 Annual Lifetime Outdoor Achievement Award.

This award, which is presented by the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, honors individuals who have been dedicated to the use of our natural resources and who are embedded in Maine's rich outdoor traditions. Hunting, fishing and trapping are an important part of the heritage of the State of Maine and this award celebrates the achievements of an individual while sharing their experiences for the future generations benefit.

This is the fourth year of this special award and the Department is now seeking nominations of individuals who have hunted, trapped and fished in Maine for a combined total of 40 years. For example, an individual who has fished for 20 years trapped for 10 years and hunted for 10 years or could have fished for 30 years and hunted for 10 years would be an ideal candidate. Candidates should have also demonstrated a form of mentoring, teaching or instructing outdoor activities.

Last year's award winners, Carole Dyer of Bowdoinham and Gabriel "Gabby" Giguere of Lewiston were recognized by Commissioner Chandler Woodcock at the Sportsman's Alliance of Maine banquet in September.

Nominations should include the nominee's name, address, phone number, photograph and a few paragraphs about the individual, their experience in the Maine outdoors, and an explanation of why they are a deserving candidate. Please keep in mind that we do not know these candidates so it is important that you tell us about the nominee with a few paragraphs. The nominator's contact information should also be included. Nominations, which are due by 5 p.m. on August 8, 2018 can be sent by email to Bonnie Holding at bonnie.holding@maine.gov or by mail to 284 State St, SHS 41, Augusta, Maine 04333. Please note if you nominated an individual last year and would like to nominate that person again this year, please contact Bonnie Holding. If preferred, a nomination form can be downloaded from http://www.maine.gov/ifw/docs/lifetime_outdoorachievement_award.pdf

The recipients(s) of this 4th annual Lifetime Outdoor Achievement Award will be selected by a committee of individuals from the Department and will be recognized at the Sportsman's Alliance

New Hampshire - Leave Wildlife Alone

Wildlife has begun giving birth around the state, with the majority of deer fawns in New Hampshire being born in May and June. Each spring, many New Hampshire residents see young wildlife by themselves and fear the worst. Has the mother died? Has she abandoned her baby? The answer in most cases is NO. The mother is likely not far off, waiting to return to feed her newborn.

Unfortunately, well-intentioned, but misguided, individuals see young alone, assume they are abandoned, and take them in to "help" them. Most of the time, they are removing the young from the care of its mother, who was waiting to return. The best chance a young wild animal has to survive is in its natural environment under the care of its mother.

If you see a fawn or any other young wildlife and suspect it has been abandoned or orphaned, do not move the animal. Contact NH Fish and Game Dispatch at (603) 271-3361, e-mail dispatch@wildlife@nh.gov, or our Wildlife Division at (603) 271-2461, e-mail wildlife@wildlife.nh.gov to make a report. Fish and Game staff can assess the situation and help determine the best course of action. In most cases, it is best to leave the young alone and allow time for the mother to return to move it to a different location.

Adult deer can be detected easily by predators due to their scent and large size. Because of this, does will spend long periods of time away from their fawns to disassociate their scent from the fawn and keep them safe from predators. For the first month of life, the doe will only visit the fawn a few times a day to nurse quickly before leaving again, although usually not going too far. Please remember that the best way to help young wildlife is by keeping them WILD. For more information, see www.wildnh.com/wildlife/fawns.html

Maine - MDIFW Conducting Eagle Survey

Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife biologists and Game Warden pilots are in the midst of the largest statewide survey of bald eagles since 2013.

Bald eagles were listed as endangered and nearly vanished from the state in the seventies when only 39 pairs remained when restoration efforts first started. Since then, the bald eagle is now the symbol of conservation success with over 634 nesting pairs of eagles counted in Maine in 2013.

Biologists began counting nesting eagle pairs from a plane this past March. Eagles were the focus of annual nesting surveys when listed as endangered, but since 2008 are monitored in five year checkups. Biologists hope to conclude aerial survey flights by the end of this month.

Eagles are loyal to nests. They relocate nearby only out of necessity. MDIFW is checking more than 1,800 sites over an eight-week period, checking nesting sites that were used as far back as the 1960s. Searches occur in other areas that offer potential eagle habitat not previously used by nesting eagles along lakes, rivers, and coastal waters.

Survey timing is staggered throughout the state to match periods in the breeding cycle when eagles are mostly at nests. Nesting dates can vary by six weeks among neighboring eagle pairs. The statewide range of egg-laying dates range from February 25 to May 7 statewide. An adult eagle must incubate its eggs nearly full time for a five-week period, and nestling eaglets remain in the nest for at least three months before they can fly.

Biologists are looking to determine the current eagle population; determine whether the eagle population has increased, slowed, or stabilized; evaluate changes in breeding abundance and occupancy rates and compare occupancy rates in traditional eagle nesting territories based on habitat protection.

Early surveys in March reflected the difficulty of nesting and maintaining nests during a Maine spring. Some eagles were incubating eggs while surrounded in snow, one nest was abandoned with an egg visible in the nest, and many nests were missing likely due to the March nor’easters Maine experienced this year.

Generations of bald eagles will use the same nesting territory sequentially over decades. In fact, the same nest is often reused if its ever enlarging size does not harm the tree. A Sagadahoc County nest found in 1963 measured 20 feet vertically; biologists conservatively estimated it had been in use for at least 60 years.

The findings of this study will also be used to re-evaluate the future needs for monitoring of Maine’s breeding eagle population or determine whether to modify the 5-year aerial survey census that has been ongoing since 2008.

Funds for this project come from the US Fish and Wildlife Service Wildlife Restoration Program, which are derived from an industry excise tax paid on hunting equipment. These funds support a wide variety of projects and programs including wildlife population management, research, surveys, habitat management, land acquisition, hunter safety programs, and construction and maintenance of shooting ranges.

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