Outdoor News

January 2019
Edited by V. Paul Reynolds

January. For ice fishermen, this is the best month to fish landlocked salmon. Early March is nicer, but the action is generally slower then. Liberalized togue limits on many waters make for extra opportunity. As you make your plans to fish, don't forget to check out the names and locations of the many statewide bait dealers listed this month in the Journal. Maine in January can be harsh, but for those willing to be bold with the cold there is much to do in the outdoors. Snowsledders and cross country skiers will be busy enjoying some of the best trails in the country. Our snowmobile trail system stretches from Kittery to Fort Kent and provides incomparable snowsled opportunities. The toughest among us will keep on hunting: rabbits, coyotes and sea ducks. Meanwhile, some of us will hunker down near a warm stove, dream of spring and tie up some dry flies with an eye to warmer days. However you get through Maine in January, all of us at the Northwoods Sporting Journal wish you a peaceful and prosperous New Year!

CAPTION FOR PHOTO ABOVE: Fly fishing class at the Penobscot County Conservation Association.

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 Hunters Had Best Year Since 2002

With the regular firearms season for deer concluding on Saturday, the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife’s new online registration system showed that deer hunters had a very good year in Maine, likely the best in over 15 years.

The numbers are still preliminary, but as of this Monday, November 26, hunters in Maine had taken 30,299 deer, the most since 2004 when the deer kill was 30,926. With the muzzleloading season beginning Monday throughout the state, it is likely the 2018 deer kill will surpass that 2004 total, but will fall short of the 38,153 deer taken in 2002.

“With rain the first two Saturdays, the deer harvest was lower than expected,” said MDIFW Deer Biologist Nathan Bieber. “However, better hunting conditions including tracking snow throughout the state for the last two weeks of the season compensated for the slow start.”

With the new online registration system, MDIFW biologists monitored the season and harvest. While the number of deer taken the first two Saturdays was close to 2,000 deer lower in 2018 compared to 2017, the last two Saturdays of the season showed the exact opposite, with hunters taking a little over 2,000 deer more than 2017. Weekday totals the last week and a half of the season were higher than last year as well.

MDIFW biologists expected to see a higher deer kill this season due to the increase in the number of any deer permits issued. A total of 84,745 any-deer permits were issued in 22 of the state’s 29 wildlife management districts, an increase of 28% from the previous year. 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. 

Deer hunting in Maine provides many Maine 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. It is estimated that this year’s deer kill will provide over 1.5 million pounds of meat to hunters and their families.

The department manages white-tailed deer through regulated hunting, and manages the deer population in parts of the state to limit vehicle crashes, reduce instances 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 began the Saturday after Labor Day and will continue until December 8. 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 deer population trends.

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.

Maine - Hunter Wounded

A Sabattus man was hospitalized after being shot Nov. 17 in a hunting related shooting incident in Topsham. Joshua Stark, 25, received a gunshot wound to the hip at around 7:30 am. Stark was walking a power line with three others off Cathance Road to begin hunting when Stark’s girlfriend slipped and fell on ice, discharging her shotgun.

Sasha Leslie, 21, from Sabattus, was walking behind Stark along with two other men in the hunting party. The two other men in the hunting party are in their mid-twenties and were not injured. Stark was taken to Maine Medical Center in Portland for treatment. He is expected to survive. Game wardens continue to investigate this incident.

Vermont Man Arrested for Deer Poaching

A West Burke man was arrested on October 25 in an alleged deer poaching incident. Timothy Roberts, 60, was charged with four counts, including taking big game out of season, possessing big game illegally, failure to tag, and trespass by motor vehicle. 

On October 14, the district game warden received a tip from a member of the public that a man was searching a field with a flashlight, after which he drove across the field and loaded a deer into the bed of a pickup truck.  The caller was able to give a detailed description of the vehicle, which helped lead to Roberts’ arrest. 

Roberts has multiple felony convictions dating back to 1995, including several instances of domestic and aggravated assault, fraud, and obstruction of justice.  He has served several years in prison and is currently on probation. 

If convicted of these latest charges, Roberts faces up to $2,424 in fines and up to 60 days in jail and may be ordered to pay restitution of up to $2,000. He also stands to lose his privilege to hunt, fish, and trap in Vermont and 46 other states for three years. The crossbow and deer were seized as evidence.

“We always appreciate tips from the public to help stop poaching activity in Vermont,” said Col. Jason Batchelder.  “The vast majority of hunters display respect for the law and for wildlife, and law-abiding hunters are one of our best sources for information leading to the arrest of poachers.”

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