Outdoor News

August 2018
Edited by V. Paul Reynolds

See below for past news and upcoming August 2018 events.

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 - Boaters Abandon Flaming Boat

Game wardens responded to a 4th of July boat fire on Morrill Pond in Hartland. Shortly before 3:00 p.m. eight people were rescued after a motorboat they were in caught fire. The boat’s owner, Christopher Gibson, 43, from Acworth, Georgia told game wardens that all eight of his passengers made it to shore safely. Members of Hartland Fire Department as well as boaters on the water assisted in getting all eight people safely to shore before game wardens arrived on scene. All eight-people escaped this incident without injury.

In the boat with Gibson were five passengers, all under age 16. Gibson was also towing his son and his son’s friend on a tube behind the boat when the fire began. The motorboat that caught fire was a 1997 Rinker that was 18-feet long. The cause of the fire has not been determined at the time of this article.

Maine - Appalachian Trail Rescues

In early July, Piscataquis County Sheriff’s Department received a call from a 21-year-old female hiking southbound on the Appalachian Trail (AT) complaining of nausea near Wilson Valley Lean-to. Four Maine game wardens from the Greenville area responded along with Greenville Fire Department, Monson Fire Department and C.A. Dean Hospital EMS personnel. The woman was provided medical treatment at the scene then carried out by litter to an awaiting ATV. She was then transported to C.A. Dean Hospital for evaluation.

During the same week, a 67-year-old man was assisted off the AT with heat exhaustion. The hiker activated a GPS locator which indicated he needed assistance, this gave responding units a good location to search for the man. Maine game wardens and other rescuers got to him using a nearby trail accessible by ATV. The hiker was then transported to the hospital for evaluation. Those who assisted were instrumental in this rescue and included members of the Maine Forest Service, Monson Fire Department and C.A. Dean Hospital personnel.

Game wardens have responded to several other incidents that week involving calls from concerned family members of hikers who are navigating Maine’s 100-Mile Wilderness. The Maine Warden Service asks that hikers be prepared for Maine’s rigorous AT. The following safety tips are good reminders for anyone looking to hike Maine’s remote trail hiking systems.

- Always have detailed hiking plans and leave them with someone who is trustworthy.
- Be sure to have several days of food, water, and basic survival equipment.
- Stay on marked trails and do not take shortcuts.
- Stay up to date on the weather. During extreme heat, hikers should allow themselves more time. Also, thunderstorms can raise stream and river levels in localized areas and can create delays for hikers.
- Hikers should invest in satellite based GPS communication devices, especially in remote areas. This technology allows family to track and communicate with those who are hiking.

Maine - Boating Safety

In the wake of the nationwide law enforcement campaign to curb drinking and boating, the results of Operation Dry Water in Maine are now in. Maine game wardens reported very heavy boating traffic, the hot weather surely playing a role in people’s affinity for water. Eighty game wardens participated in an effort encompassing a three-day boating safety focus. Those game wardens spent over 1,200 hours enforcing recreational boating activity, inspecting nearly 2,500 watercraft with 5,400 operators and passengers.

While most boaters adhere to the rules of safety on the water, those that were found in violation of Maine’s boating laws received either a warning, were summonsed to court or arrested. The most common violations encountered by game wardens generally relate to safety equipment, registration requirements, safe operation and boating while intoxicated. More than 100 summonses and 328 warnings were issued to boaters last weekend. Eight people were arrested for boating while intoxicated across Maine with the highest blood alcohol content (BAC) coming in at .22 BAC, Maine’s BAC limit being .08 for those 21 years old or more.

Game wardens encountered close to 50 non-boating related violations as well, two of which pertained to adults who provided a location for minors to consume alcohol. This focus for Maine’s game wardens will remain all summer; keeping waterways safe while removing operators from the water found drinking and boating. All boaters are reminded that boating laws exist to keep us all safe as we enjoy Maine’s 6,000 lakes, rivers, and ponds. Maine game wardens urge everyone to help keep this summer safe.

Vermont - Barnet Man Sentenced in Deer Poaching Incident

A Barnet man has been sentenced to two years in prison with all but 30 days suspended and ordered to pay $850 in fines after pleading no contest to five charges stemming from an October 2017 incident.

Carl Sanborn, 49, pled no contest to five charges, including taking big game by illegal means, hunting while under revocation, shooting from a roadway, failure to stop for a game warden, and contributing to juvenile delinquency.  Sanborn has previously been convicted of 24 fish and wildlife crimes dating back to 1993 and had been sentenced to 81 days and fined $6,800 because of these previous convictions.

Sanborn was convicted of taking part in the shooting of a deer decoy on the night of Saturday, October 21.  The decoy was placed by Vermont State Game Wardens in an area in Danville with a long history of poaching activity. Sanborn’s son, Jonathan, 21, was also charged in the incident with six counts for allegedly firing the shot and faces more than two years in prison and $8,000 in fines if convicted.  His case is scheduled for trial in September.

After the shot was made a car registered to Carl Sanborn sped away from the scene and wardens engaged in a high-speed pursuit. During the pursuit, a bow and rangefinder were thrown from the vehicle and recovered by wardens. 

The 16-year-old driver of the vehicle was charged as a juvenile with eight counts and has completed juvenile diversion. Another juvenile, 13 years old, was also in the vehicle but was not charged.

The car, along with the bow, rangefinder, and light were all seized and ownership of some or all of them may be forfeit because of their use in a crime. All three who were charged also stand to lose their hunting, fishing and trapping privileges for three years. 

The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department is asking anyone with information about any poaching activity to call their local warden through their nearest state police dispatch, or they may leave an anonymous tip to Operation Game Thief at 1-800-75ALERT (1-800-752-5378).

Maine - Deer Kill Largest In Last Ten Years

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.

“An increasing deer herd in southern and central Maine, and favorable hunting conditions contributed to the best deer hunting season in ten years,” said Nathan Bieber, MDIFW Deer Biologist.

Maine’s deer hunt is broken down into several seasons for firearm hunters, muzzleloaders and bow hunters. This year the season framework stretched from September 9 to December 9. Most deer are harvested during the general firearms season (23,288), which started on October 28th and continued until November 25. Bowhunters took 2,099 deer, and hunters took 970 deer during the muzzleloading season. Maine’s junior hunters were also very successful on youth day, with 876 youth hunters taking a deer this year.

“Deer hunting is large part of Maine’s cultural heritage. Each year, over 200,000 hunters head into the woods of Maine,” said Bieber. “Hunting also provides many in Maine with a sustainable source of high quality, organic, free-range protein.”

The deer hunting season allows the department to manage the deer herd and provide wildlife watching and hunting opportunity in much of the state while decreasing the deer population in other areas in order to reduce deer/car collisions and property damage, and prevalence of lyme disease.

Adult bucks by far comprised the vast majority of the harvest, with hunters taking 18,255 antlered bucks. With 66,050 anterless permits issued, hunters harvested 8,978 antlerless deer.

According to Maine’s deer hunter surveys, on average deer hunters spent 37 hours hunting deer during the season, averaging 4.3 hours afield each trip.

For this coming deer season, a total 84,745 any-deer permits are proposed for 22 of the state’s 29 wildlife management districts across the state, 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). The proposed permit numbers await approval by the IFW advisory council. There will be a public hearing on the proposed permit numbers on Tuesday, June 26 at 6:00 p.m. at room 209A in the Augusta Armory.

“Last year’s winter was more moderate in central and southern Maine, while up north, winter was a little more severe on average than years past. The change in the number of any deer permits reflect that,” said Bieber.

Permit numbers are increasing in nine southern and central wildlife management districts, are decreasing in 11 WMDs and staying the same in nine WMDS. You can find the complete numbers at https://www.maine.gov/ifw/news-events/rulemaking-proposals.html.

The department uses the any-deer permit system to manage the white-tailed deer population in the state. The ability to adjust the state’s deer populations derives from the ability to increase, or decrease, the number of breeding does on the landscape. White-tailed deer are at the northern edge of their range in Maine, and winter severity is a limiting factor concerning population growth. By controlling the harvest of female deer in the 29 regional wildlife management districts throughout the state, biologists can manage population trends. Last year, MDIFW wildlife biologists examined over 20% of the state’s deer harvest, collecting biological data to monitor deer health throughout the state.  In addition to examining registered deer and gathering biological data, lymph nodes were collected in ongoing efforts to monitor for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in Maine.

CWD sampling efforts were targeted around towns with active captive cervid facilities, winter feeding operations, and/or high cervid densities. We collected samples from 476 deer, which were sent to the Colorado State University- Veterinary Diagnostics Laboratory for testing. All samples tested negative for CWD prion.

The deer harvest for the past ten years is as follows: 2007 -- 28,885; 2008 -- 21,062; 2009 --18,092; 2010 -- 20,063; 2011  -- 18,839; 2012 -- 21,365; 2013 -- 24,217; 2014 -- 22,490; 2015 -- 20,325; 2016 -- 23,512; 2017 -- 27,233. 

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