Outdoor News

October 2018
Edited by V. Paul Reynolds

October! For most of us who hunt or fish or just enjoy the great outdoors this is it – the month of months. Enjoy!

CAPTION FOR PHOTO ABOVE: Photo courtesy of the Maine Warden Service. Today’s graduates from left to right with home town and new district assignments:
Wdn. Jake Voter from Cornville, ME – The Forks, Wdn. Michael Latti from Brunswick, ME – Gorham District, Wdn. Pilot Chris Hilton from Greenville, ME – Pilot Greenville, Wdn. Tyler Leach from Mechanic Falls, ME – Danforth, Wdn. James Gushee from Fort Kent, ME– Houlton, Wdn. Tennie Coleman from Dennistown, ME – Jackman, Wdn. Logan Pardilla – Penobscot Tribal Land, Wdn. Brandon Sperrey from Winterport, ME – Saco.

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 - New Wardens Graduated (Above)

The Maine Warden Service graduated eight new game wardens at the Maine Criminal Justice Academy in Vassalboro on Aug. 30. Seven of these game wardens work for the Maine Warden Service and one is a Penobscot Tribal Game Warden. They all recently completed an extensive 13-week advanced academy focused specifically on game warden work. The Advanced Warden Academy followed the 18-week Basic Law Enforcement Training Program (BLETP) required of all full-time Maine police officers. The past 13 weeks prepared the new game wardens by utilizing classroom, field and scenario based training components.

Critical aspects of game warden work, to include search and rescue, recreational vehicle crash investigation, snowmobiling, water survival, white water navigation, physical fitness, mechanics of arrest, public relations, and bureau policies and procedures are among the many topics of training covered.

Speaking before today’s class was Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Commissioner Chandler Woodcock, Maine Warden Service Colonel Joel Wilkinson, Warden Service Chaplain Kate Braestrup, Warden Service Captain Shon Theriault, class speaker Game Warden Tyler Leach and keynote speaker Retired Game Warden Supervisor John Crabtree. 

Vermont - Otter Creek Expands by 54 Acres

Otter Creek Wildlife Management Area, well known for its waterfowl and songbird habitat, has grown to nearly 1,200 permanently conserved acres through the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department’s purchase of 54 acres of land in Mt. Tabor. The Vermont Land Trust facilitated the transaction.

The new addition, known as Hallagan Woodlot, is a land-locked, forested parcel nestled between Otter Creek Wildlife Management Area (WMA) and the Green Mountain National Forest. The Vermont Land Trust bought the land at auction and transferred it to Fish & Wildlife when federal Pittman-Robertson funds (raised through an excise tax on shooting and sporting equipment) became available.

“We were excited to partner with Vermont Land Trust to conserve a critical piece that was privately held in our Otter Creek WMA,” said Jane Lazorchak, Vermont Fish & Wildlife’s land acquisition coordinator. “Partnerships like this are key to conservation in Vermont and what make it such a special place to work.”

Bordered by Otter Creek to the west and Green Mountain National Forest to the east, Otter Creek WMA contains a mixture of deciduous and evergreen forests, including deer wintering habitat, as well as wetlands and streams, and is known for its healthy population of deer, bears, otters, beaver, mink, raccoons, and muskrats. 

“By increasing a large connected area of conserved habitat along this biologically diverse waterway, this purchase will greatly benefit many fish and wildlife species,” said Commissioner Louis Porter.  “Keeping this land in a forested state will also help improve filter runoff and buffer against floods, naturally improving water quality in Otter Creek and Lake Champlain.”

In addition to its habitat benefits, the newly conserved land will be accessible to the public for recreation, including fishing, bird-watching, hunting, photography, and snowshoeing.

“Because this important land abuts an existing Wildlife Management Area and the land went up for sale at auction quickly, it was a perfect opportunity for the Department and the Vermont Land Trust to coordinate our efforts,” said Donald Campbell of the Vermont Land Trust. “The department’s staff was exceptionally efficient, making a rapid response possible.”

The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department owns and manages 94 wildlife management areas throughout the state, comprising nearly 140,000 acres, for fish and wildlife habitat and public access. 

Maine - Some Bear Trapping Methods Limited in Maine

The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife has adopted an emergency rule that limits some methods used to trap bear which may accidentally capture the federally threatened Canada Lynx in Maine. This emergency rule adopts measures that would prevent further lynx fatalities as outlined in the Department’s “2014 Final Incidental Take Plan for Maine’s Trapping Program.” This emergency rule is effective for 90 days and will cover the 2018 bear trapping season only.

This 90 day emergency rule has been adopted to address only how a trap is set for bear. More specifically, a foot snare designed to capture a bear when it reaches into the snare or a device to obtain bait or lure is prohibited. The Department will develop a permanent rule proposal to be put in place before the 2019 bear trapping season that will address the issue long term.

Maine - Fall Fishing Waters

Roach River: We plan to release water starting September 4th. We will likely release around 200 cfs to start, then increase the flow again around the middle of the month. We will be operating the weir on the lower end of the river this year to monitor the run of wild brook trout and salmon. We welcome the public to check it out, but please do not touch any of the gear. The fish can get stressed, so we ask that you stay back away from the weir. We usually tend the weir on a M-W-F schedule and we get to the site around 9:30 am.

Moose River: Brookfield will release 1,200 cfs starting on 9/5/18. This should be a very good fishing flow. They may increase the flow toward the end of the month if there is enough storage in Brassua Lake.

Wilson Stream: We plan to begin the release at Wilson Pond on 9/5/18. It is important to put flow into stream early is September to help the wild salmon at Sebec Lake make their spawning journey over Earley’s Falls. It is spectacular to see these fish jumping at the falls in September. If you’re interested, you can see it for yourself by traveling to Willimantic and standing on the ledge outcrop where the stream drops into Sebec Lake. Here is a link to some video I shot a few years ago: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q8UJMotUZg8&t=41s

East Outlet: The flow will likely be a little lower for the remainder of August as Brookfield attempts to hold Moosehead Lake stable through Labor Day. Flows will increase after the holiday. I’m not sure of the exact flow, but with 1200 cfs coming in from the Moose River and the annual plan to get Moosehead Lake down to a low elevation before the end of October, the flows should be very good for fishing.

West Branch of the Penobscot below Seboomook (Foxhole area): We haven’t set the flow yet for the month of September, but based on preliminary comments, the flow will likely be around 750 cfs. This is lower than the optimum for fishing and boating. We like to have the flow closer to 1000 cfs, but it has been dry and Brookfield is limited by their license to maintain certain lake elevations. Pray for more rain!

It has been very dry lately. Last week, First Roach Pd dropped 3.5 inches while we maintained the minimum flow. So, when these dams start to release water, you can expect the impoundments to drop quickly unless there is rain. So please plan accordingly if you have docks or boats that need to come out of the water for the winter.

Submitted by:
Tim Obrey, Greenville Fisheries Biologist

Maine - ATV Fatality

A Westfield man died August 27 following an ATV crash in Mars Hill. At about 5:40, Gary Webber, 70, was traveling north on the 633 Boarder Trail (also East Ridge Road) when his Polaris ATV left the trail striking a steep ditch and trees. Webber was pronounced dead at the scene by EMS. Webber was riding with a second ATV operated by Patrick O’Leary-Plaud, also from Westfield. O’Leary-Plaud drove to the nearest residence and called 911. The cause of the crash remains under investigation by game wardens.

Maine - Lifetime Outdoor Achievement Award Winners

Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife announces the 2018 Lifetime Outdoor Achievement award winners: Dana Johnson from Wells, Maine and Roger Milligan from Princeton, Maine. 

These are the fourth-annual Lifetime Outdoor Achievement awards to be given by MDIFW, one of the highest honors to be given to someone outside the agency.  This award recognizes those who have spent a lifetime in the outdoors enjoying, preserving and sharing our natural resources and heritage of the State of Maine.

The criteria for this award are that an individual must 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 fished for 30 years and hunted for 10 years would be an ideal candidate. Candidates should have a documented history of mentoring, teaching or instructing outdoor activities.

Dana Johnson was nominated for his passion and dedication to trapping and trapper education.  He has been a longtime supporter and leader in trapper education, conservation and nuisance animal control.

Roger Milligan was nominated because he is a lifelong hunter, trapper, fisherman, guide, mentor and steward of Maine’s outdoor heritage. There have been many in the Maine outdoor community who have benefited from Roger’s knowledge.

The Department recognized Dana Johnson and Roger Milligan at the annual Sportsman Alliance of Maine Banquet on September 8 in Waterville.

Vermont - Fishing Instructors Sought

The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department is seeking volunteers to become ‘Let’s Go Fishing’ instructors to pass on Vermont’s fishing tradition to the next generation of Vermonters. The department will be hosting a one-day training workshop for new instructors on Saturday, September 22 at the ANR Annex Building, 190 Junction Rd., Berlin, Vermont.

 Instructors in the ‘Let’s Go Fishing’ program organize and instruct clinics in their communities for young people and their families. Participants in the training workshop will learn how to teach a basic fishing clinic, as well as learn about fishing ethics, aquatic ecology, fisheries management, habitat conservation and tackle craft. They will also be introduced to conducting specialized fishing clinics, including clinics on ice fishing and species-specific fishing. The class is informal, and it is not necessary to have a high level of fishing expertise to become an instructor.

 “Becoming an instructor will give you the opportunity to introduce Vermonters both young and old to the joys of fishing, while teaching them all they need to know to enjoy a day on the water,” said Corey Hart, Education Specialist with Vermont Fish & Wildlife.  

 There is no charge for the training, and all curriculum materials, as well as lunch, will be provided. The workshop runs from 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.  Pre-registration is required, and you must be 18 years of age to participate.  Those interested can register through September 16 by calling 802-265-2279 or emailing letsgofishing@vermont.gov.

Maine - Another ATV Crash

In August Maine Game Wardens, state troopers and members of Maine Marine Patrol responded to B&B Drive after reports of an ATV crash took place injuring both the driver and passenger. Eric Butters, 50, of Hancock sustained serious injuries and was taken from the scene by Lifeflight to Eastern Maine Medical Center (EMMC) in Bangor. Pamela Jordan, 60, of Lamoine was also injured and transported by ambulance to Maine Coast Memorial Hospital in Ellsworth. Jordan was then transferred to EMMC. It has been determined that both were thrown from the ATV as it rolled. The ATV is a maroon, 2018 Can-Am 650 Outlander 4-wheel ATV. The investigation is ongoing while game wardens determine contributing factors that lead to the crash

Maine - Game Warden Promoted

The Maine Warden Service promoted a 25-year-veteran of the service to the position of Lieutenant last month in Augusta. Lieutenant Dan Menard was selected to oversee one of five Warden Service divisions based in Sidney. Lt. Menard filled a vacancy created after Lieutenant Tim Place retired a short time ago after serving more than 31 distinguished years with the Maine Warden Service.

Lt. Menard has been with the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife since 1993 when he began his career as a district game warden in Biddeford. In 1999, Lt. Menard was promoted to the rank of sergeant and served the Greenville region and eventually transferred to Aroostook County where he currently lives. Lt. Menard has served in many specialized capacities during his career to include being a K-9 handler, Incident Management Team (IMT) member, Critical Incident Stress Debrief (CISD) team member, cadre for the Maine Criminal Justice Academy, cadre for the Advanced Warden School and has managed the process of hiring game wardens since 2008.

Lt. Menard is a graduate of Unity College where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Conservation Law Enforcement. Lt. Menard continued his education during his game warden career to earn a Masters Degree in Business Administration as well as a Masters Degree in Business Science. Lt. Menard is also a graduate of the 2014 National Association of Conservation Law Enforcement Chief’s Leadership Academy held in Shepherdstown, West Virginia held at the National Conservation Training Center.

Lt. Menard rose to the top of a highly competitive promotional process and has now assumed full duties of his newly acquired position. We are fortunate to have promoted such a great person and strong leader.!

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