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BANGORDAILYNEWS.COM

FALL 2012

■ UPDATE

Publisher

Richard J. Warren BDN Maine Outdoors Editor

Aimee Thibodeau Graphics Editor

Eric Zelz Writers

John Holyoke Aislinn Sarnacki Photographers

Gabor Degre John Holyoke Aislinn Sarnacki Contributing Photographer

Mark Picard R.W. Estela BDN PHOTO BY GABOR DEGRE

BDN Maine Outdoors Extra Special Advertising Section Editor

Brian Swartz Advertising Director Towle Tompkins Advertising Sales Jeff Orcutt jorcutt@bangordailynews.com Creative Services Bridgit Cayer John Koladish Michele Prentice

Crews work to remove the Great Works Dam in Bradley.

Great Works dam removal reveals a ‘new’ old river BY JOHN HOLYOKE, OUTDOORS STAFF WRITER

To advertise in our next edition, please call Jeff Orcutt at 207-990-8036 Toll-free in Maine 1-800-432-7964 ext. 8036 or email jorcutt@bangordailynews.com ©2012 Bangor Daily News. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part is prohibited without express written consent. Requests for permission to copy, reprint, or duplicate any content should be directed to athibodeau@bangordailynews.com bangordailynews.com 491 Main Street, Bangor, Maine 04401 To subscribe call 207-990-8040 or toll-free in Maine 1-800-432-7964. bangordailynews.com/outdoors About the cover Surrounded by the stunning Autumn colors on a small Maine pond, this large dominant bull moose investigates a smaller and younger cow moose during the rut, or breeding season. PHOTO BY MARK PICARD

The site of the Great Works Dam in Old Town and Bradley on Aug. 12, 2012 PHOTO COURTESY OF R.W. ESTELA

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efore the Great Works Dam removal began on June 11, the Penobscot River upstream of the century-plus old obstruction was flat, murky and calm. According to Laura Rose Day, executive director of the Penobscot River Restoration Trust, that impoundment had none of the qualities that make rivers special, and also lacked the qualities that make lakes such vital parts of an ecosystem. As of mid-August, that stretch of the river has changed drastically as crews continue work to remove the dam from the Penobscot by the time winter rolls around. The Great Works Dam removal is the first to go as part of the landmark Penobscot River Restoration Project. In coming years the Veazie Dam will also be removed, and a dam in Howland will be bypassed, allowing searun fisheries access to more than 1,000 miles of upstream habitat that has been closed to their predecessors for more than 100 years. “The river right now looks like a river flowing through,” Rose Day said. “Before the restoration work started, if you walked to the shoreline above the dam, the water was basically flat, kind of this dark water that was uniform throughout.” Rose Day explained that impoundments above dams are typically not well oxygenated and do not have diverse habitat. That was the case above the Great Works Dam. “Now, if you go down there,

there’s more shoreline, of course, because the water level has dropped. We’re still in progress right now so it isn’t like it will be when we’re finished, but you can see the main channel of the river flowing through. You can see that there will be rapids. You can see where there are natural areas where there are rocks and boulders.” In addition, Rose Day said workers uncovered a “remnant dam” that runs parallel to the shoreline and was likely used to sort logs before the Great Works Dam existed, and boom islands that had been under water. “This area, of course, had scores of dams in it. Of course we think of the one big dam, but over the course of centuries, I’m not even sure we know how many dams there have been,” she said. Rose Day said that Veazie will take center stage in 2013, and the permits the Penobscot River Restoration Trust has secured allow the group to begin work on the Veazie Dam on July 15 of next year — after the typical peak of salmon returns on the river. As of mid-August, however, Rose Day was focusing her attention on the stretch of river above Great Works, where a lot of work, including relocating mussels, has been taking place. “I think over the last couple of weeks, it’s gone from looking like it has for the last more than a century, with a free-flowing river below and a flat slack-water above the dam, to looking like the river that used to flow through this site,” she said.


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INSIDE ■

IN THIS ISSUE 04 Moose Tales

Floating moose, wrecked trailers can foul up a perfectly good hunt

07 Paul Doiron Profile

Maine author gaining traction with wilderness mysteries

11 S.A.M. Newsletter

Hear what’s new at the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine

16 Maine Camp Traditions

10

For hunting, fishing or just relaxing, Maine’s sporting camps enjoy rich tradition

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19 Stuff It!

Taxidermist John Dykstra talks about his trade

20 Deer: By the Numbers A look at Maine’s annual deer season

22 Leaf Peepin’

Get off the roads to see some of the best foliage Maine has to offer

22 New Portland Lions 116275

W.S. Emerson 107973

North Country Powersports 116274 Katahdin Wilderness Camps 107983


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FALL 2012

■ COVER STORY

MOOSE TALES ABOUND in Maine Woods BY JOHN HOLYOKE, OUTDOORS STAFF WRITER

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oose hunters live (and sometimes suffer) by the same saying, which is shared at permit lotteries and hunting camps year after year: “Once you shoot the moose, the fun is over.” The reason: When you walk up to a freshly shot critter that might weigh as much as 1,200 pounds (800 is more typical), you’ll quickly learn that a few things aren’t going to happen. Like, for instance, you’re not going to muckle onto the moose’s antlers with your bare hands and haul it back to your truck, as you might a deer. And if your moose decided to take its last breath in, say, a lake, or a pond, or a mud hole, or (this is a good one) the ocean, it’s up to you — the hunter — or your faithful pack-mule pals,

to figure out what to do next. My brother-in-law is a perfect example of the moose-hunt Murphy’s Law that seems to exist for some people. Years ago, after heading out on his first moose hunt, he and his hunting buddy quickly dispatched a moose. They field-dressed it where it lay, and got it up onto their trailer in no time flat. Then, as they prepared to drive out of the woods, they lurched into a hole and the trailer’s tongue bent … severely … making a simple process into a much more complicated one. Some hours later, after hammering the trailer back into shape, they emerged from the woods with their moose. It was full dark. They were tired. And they had a hunting story they’ll never forget.

Here, then, are a few unconventional moose tales. Some came from readers. A couple are my own, from our BDN files. And all illustrate that there’s no telling what will happen when you head into the Maine woods in search of moose … or onto the ocean in search of lobsters. Since you’re probably confused by that last bit, let’s start with the lobsters.

Martha’s brine-soaked moose

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ack in 2002 (in my first piece as the BDN’s official outdoor columnist), I shared the story of Martha Jordan of Machiasport, a 48-year-old teacher and tour-boat operator who regularly took customers out on her 34-foot lobster boat during the summer

months. One day, Martha and her clients got a big surprise: They found a dead moose floating in the Atlantic. I know, I know. This isn’t your typical moose-hunting story. But Jordan was a hunter, and had always wanted to go on a moose hunt. She hadn’t, to that point, because she’d never had her named drawn in the state-run permit lottery. Then she got lucky, and the moose came to her. At first, she thought the floating moose was a seal. Then, when she realized what it was, she pulled alongside the carcass and began checking it for freshness by pulling at tufts of hair on its back. “When they start to decay, those hair follicles will start to loosen and you can pull out the hair,” she

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explained at the time. “But they were all tight. I said, ‘I bet this is a fresh, drowned moose!” It was. And with some help from her clients, she “tied her up short” to the boat and hauled it back to port, at 4½ knots. A game warden met Jordan at the dock and they field-dressed her prize right on the shore.

“It’s the best thing I’ve ever eaten. It’s like a cow of the forest.” MARTHA JORDAN In the subsequent weeks, she enjoyed the tasty meat that she had salvaged.


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“It’s the best thing I’ve ever eaten. It tastes like Angus beef, except it doesn’t have the fat to it,” she said. “It’s like a cow of the forest.” Or, in that case, cow of the ocean. “It’s like surf and turf, all in the same meal,” Jordan said.

Have trouble? Call Gary

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ourteen years ago, Gary Cameron of Caribou realized that there was money to be made in bailing out unprepared or unlucky moose hunters. That’s why he started his business, Moose Retrieval Service, which specializes in extracting the burly critters from the worst of situations. “I don’t get the easy ones, and the ones I extricate from the woods

are usually because of hunter error or simply Murphy’s Law,” Cameron wrote in an email. “I’ve floated a few moose across beaver dams and farm ponds. I never claimed to be overly intelligent in finding a challenge in pullout out a 700-pound animal, but there’s some humor to be found in almost every one I’ve done.” Cameron started out with a diesel compact tractor with a front-loader bucket. Now, he uses a six-wheel amphibious Argo vehicle with a 3,000-pound winch, and travels all over the north country, helping moose hunters in need. “I’ve often thought about writing a book about some of my escapades and likely will still do it, given a stormy day in mid-winter with nothing else to do,” he wrote.

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‘Do rocks have hair?’

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BDN reader who offered her tale as simply “M.E.B. from Deer Isle,” ratted out her nephew, R.B., and his buddy, Scott, who had an eventful hunting trip that both still talk about. The pals, both lobster fisherman on the coast, headed north one September when the weather was unseasonably hot, and found their moose on the third day of the season. “They both fire at the same time, and the bull takes off down through the woods,” M.E.B. wrote in an email. “They follow the trail, plain as day, about 100 yards and into the river.” The moose was gone. It was getting dark. And they adjourned to camp, sure that they’d lost the moose. The next day, another 70-degree September scorcher, the pals headed back to the river. “R.B. was looking across the river through his scope. He says … “Hey, Scott. Do rocks have hair?’ The moose had made it up over the bank and dropped. R.B. could see its back sticking up above the bushes,” R.E.B. wrote. After some further misfortune — including launching the roped-up moose into the river while trying to haul it back across, and the two lobstermen paddling different directions in the same canoe after changing their plan — they successfully field-dressed the moose and took it to Ashland with minimal meat lost due to spoilage. “It sounds more like an African safari than a moose hunt,” M.E.B. concluded.

Ever troll a moose?

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n another tale from the archives, guide Dan LaPointe of Masardis and Beech-Nut Camps told a doozy back in 2002, after a couple of “sports” ended up in the soup. Well, let’s clarify: The moose ended up in the soup, after it ran 30 yards, down a steep embankment, and splashed into a pond. The simplest method of retrieval, LaPointe decided, was to “float” the critter across a 600-yard pond. Which is perfectly fine, if you’re sure that moose float. LaPointe wasn’t. “We weren’t really sure if the moose was going to float, because I’ve never floated a moose across a lake with a boat before,” LaPointe said at the time. Luckily for the guide and his clients, the moose trolled along just fine, and was safely hauled out of the water on the other side of the pond. And the sports? Well, they had a few more days to kill before they were expected back in Massachusetts. LaPointe had a boat. And they were going fishing.


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FEATURE STORY ■

Lightning strikes more than twice for

Paul Doiron

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BY JOHN HOLYOKE, OUTDOORS STAFF WRITER

hen Paul Doiron graduated from college, he looked to the west and saw a land of opportunity for a guy who knew his way around the written word (and who, by the way, had just earned an Ivy League degree from Yale). It didn’t take him long to discover how much he had left to learn. “After I graduated, I went to Hollywood. My goal was to become a screenwriter,” Doiron said. “I spent a really miserable year in Hollywood and came back with my tail between my legs, and sort of fell back in love with the state of Maine at that point.” Still, Doiron, who grew up in Scarborough and graduated from Cheverus High in Portland, wasn’t sure he was going to stay in his home state. “I think I thought I was going to leave, but a couple of things happened. One was, I was struck by lightning while I was camping with some friends Memorial Day weekend, 1988,” Doiron said. That episode was terrifying, Doiron said. He and two friends were camping (illegally, he admits) in western Maine’s Grafton Notch State Park. A tree was struck. Doiron was burned. And one of his pals was seriously injured. “But when I survived it, and my friend survived it, thank God, people told me, ‘Well, you want to be a writer. Finally you have something to write about.’” Doiron said. Doiron submitted a non-fiction piece to Down East magazine, his first published work. And he kept on writing. Now, more than 20 years later, Doiron is the editor and chief of Down East. And in recent years, he’s also been introduced as “author Paul Doiron,” since the 2010 release of his first novel, “The Poacher’s Son,” and subsequent novels called “Trespasser” and “Bad Little Falls.” All three novels are part of the Mike Bowditch series of mysteries, and all focus on the adventures of a Bowditch, a Maine game warden. The first, “The Poacher’s Son,” was nominated for an Edgar Award as best first novel, has sold more than 20,000 print copies, and has been

translated into nine languages. “Trespasser” sold even better and spent a week on the American Bookseller’s Association bestseller list. “Bad Little Falls” hit bookstores in August. Doiron said when he headed to Hollywood as a fresh college graduate, he figured things were going pretty well. He landed a few meetings, including a memorable one with a major player in the film industry. Then he learned how the game worked. “I had an interview with Disney and the moment that I sat down on the couch, it seemed like it was going to be great,” Doiron said. “They offered me 20 different kinds of bottled water out in the reception area, which was very posh and expensive.

“Finally one day I said to myself, ‘I’m going to sit down and write the book that I want to read.” PAUL DOIRON “And then you go and you sit down at a couch and you’re instantly being grilled about stuff that you’ve written and you realize that the people that are interviewing you … never even read the things you had submitted,” he said. “They’re just somebody in some chain.” In Hollywood, Doiron worked in a bookstore. He did temp jobs. He moved furniture. Then, humbled, he came home. “But I think living out of state was a good thing for me, because when I did come back to Maine — and I’ve lived in Boston as well — it helped remind me what it is about this place that’s so special. I don’t think I could do my current job at Down East if I didn’t really believe that Maine is one of the best places in the world to live.” And Doiron said running a magazine that serves as the state’s top cheerleader (as well as a chronicler of some of the seedier sides of Maine) fits in perfectly with

his new career. “I’m in love with Maine, and the interesting thing about my life is I get to celebrate the state in one regard with the magazine, and everything that I know about Maine that doesn’t really belong in Down East goes into my books,” Doiron said. Doiron admits that dreaming up “The Poacher’s Son” and the Mike Bowditch series wasn’t an easy process. For years, he spent too much time trying to cater his writing to an ideal that he thought readers would latch onto. That approach failed. “Like a lot of aspiring writers, you have your eye on the best-seller list and you dream of being — of course, any Mainer, any Maine kid growing up thinks of Stephen King, right? — but that wasn’t working for me,” Doiron said. “I wasn’t writing horror, but I was writing things that I thought would be commercial, and not getting anywhere with that.” Then Doiron decided to change his approach. “Finally one day I said to myself, ‘I’m going to sit down and write the book that I want to read, but I can’t find it anywhere else. And I don’t care if this book ever gets published. I’m just going to do it for myself,’” Doiron said. Armed with that new mindset, Doiron started working. An item that appeared in Down East — a rogue bear was eating midcoast pigs, until a game warden ended the bear’s reign of terror — served as a seed. Mornings and weekends, he wrote. And eventually, “The Poacher’s Son” had taken shape. “[The bear incident] got me sort of thinking about Maine game wardens and I became more and more interested in their work,” Doiron said. “I had this idea of sort of writing that incident from the perspective of a young warden. And that’s kind of how it started.” In his books, Doiron explores the various Maines — there are far more than two — and has set one novel in the western mountains, one along the midcoast, and one in Washington County. Each book takes place during a different month, which means that if Doiron keeps on churning out a book a year, he’ll finish the series after 12 books, in 2022.

BDN PHOTO BY JOHN HOLYOKE

Paul Doiron, author of “Bad Little Falls” and two other Mike Bowditch thrillers, poses for a photo at the headquarters of Down East magazine in Rockport, where he is editor and chief.

“At least 12,” Doiron clarifies with a laugh. His readers have faith that the series will keep intriguing them, and his publishers have shown faith as well: He recently signed a new two-book deal with Minotaur, a division of MacMillan, and Doiron said Minotaur has expended a lot of money and effort selling him as an author, and his books. “[They] just promoted me to the ends of the earth. It was really fantastic,” he said. Doiron also said that he’s keeping an eye on the big screen, and is confident that “The Poacher’s Son” will eventually end up being made as a movie. He and his film agent are being cautious as they field offers, however. “We’ve gotten approached about movie offers, but we’re waiting for the right deal for that,” Doiron said. “We want to have a filmmaker, a producer, who has a commitment to making the movie, because a lot of books get optioned and then nothing ever happens to them. We really want to see this become an excellent movie. So I think that will eventually happen.” And of the character who has intrigued and exasperated readers (and, likely, the author himself): “Mike, when you meet him in the first book, he is very reckless, he’s self-destructive, he’s a loner, he’s very intelligent, but he’s a little arrogant and self-righteous as well,” Doirion explained. “I think he has a very big heart. I think that’s his redeeming quality, is that he wants to be a good man, and understands that he’s not, yet, and

that he’s troubled.” And does that remind the author of anyone? No. Not really. But it does remind the author’s wife of someone close to her. “I’ve always thought he represents aspects of my personality but is not in any way similar to me,” Doiron said. “However, once I was trying to describe the character — my wife was there — to some people over dinner. I was going on and saying, ‘he’s self-righteous and this sort of thing, and my wife got exasperated and said, ‘He’s like Paul, if [Paul] was 24 years old and a game warden.’” Doirion said he was shocked, because he never saw himself that way. But he admitted his wife had a point. Over the coming years, Doiron expects Mike Bowditch to continue to lurch forward toward becoming the man he can become. Sometimes he’ll make great leaps. Other times, he’ll struggle and step backward. And eventually, the author knows that somewhere in the Maine woods, lightning will strike again. That’s how he started this journey, you see. “I don’t think [Mike] will get struck by lightning, but I think sooner or later, I have to write about the experience of getting struck by lightning,” Doiron said. “Whether it’s a non-fiction book or somehow becomes part of this series, I don’t know. But it changed my life.”

Watch the video bangordailynews.com/outdoors


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■ SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION

Antique duck decoys sought by collectors BY DAVID M. FITZPATRICK, ADVERTISING STAFF WRITER

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efore mass-produced plastic ducks became a hunter’s standbys, decoys were carved from wood. But what were originally necessary tools have become more than that as works of art prized by collectors. “I think the reason they’re so widely collected is they’re a unique North American folk art,” said Zac Cote, assistant auction manager and gallery manager for Marylandbased decoy auctioneers Guyette, Schmidt & Deeter. “The majority of them were not made for the mantle; they were made as a tool to hunt with.” With antique decoys, condition is vital, but more so is identifying the carver. Guyette, Schmidt & Deeter holds the world record for an auctioned decoy: in 2007, a red-breasted merganser hen by renowned Massachusetts carver Lothrop Holmes, circa 1890, sold for $856,000 — not bad for a decoy that probably cost a dollar way back when. Holmes is widely considered a premier decoy carver, but he wasn’t prolific; as such, his carvings, mostly done between 1860 and his death in 1899, are very rare. A recent merganser hen/ drake pair sold in 2003 for $394,500, less than half the price of the nearmint hen. “This was one of the finest

examples,” Cote said of the carving. “It’s a beautiful piece of sculpture. It shows movement, and it’s a really good depiction of that species, both in the carving and the paint.” Decoys became commonplace in the 1860s, but their usage is ancient. In 1911, two miners hired to harvest bat guano from Lovelock Cave in Nevada uncovered Native American artifacts, including 11 decoys dating back 2,500 years. Decoys are used by hunters to lure ducks within shotgun range as those ducks look to flock up with others. In Maine, duck season takes place in the fall, and in some cases into early winter. Season dates are set after the establishment of a federal framework that state officials follow for the migratory birds. The heyday of wood-carved decoys ranged from the 1860s until the 1940s. Serious collecting began in the 1930s, but exploded in the early 1970s. Collectors were as interested in meeting and getting to know the carvers as they were owning the pieces. By the early 1970s, when one decoy sold at auction for $10,000, this niche became serious business. In New England, another big name in carving is A. Elmer Crowell of East Harwich, Mass. Crowell’s carvings, primarily of

shorebirds and waterfowl, are known for their intricate, detailed paint schemes. In the old days, hunters often repaired paint jobs on simpler decoys themselves — greatly devaluing them today — but Crowell’s work was so detailed that hunters often didn’t try. That’s good news for sellers. “We’ve sold five of his carvings for over half a million dollars each,” Cote said. For Maine carvers, you can’t beat the work of Gus Wilson, who Benjamin Gaylord called “Maine’s Elmer Crowell” in his book “North

American Decoys.” Wilson, formerly a lighthouse keeper on Monhegan Island, later transferred to South Portland before dying in 1950. Unlike Holmes, Wilson was very prolific, adjusting his style throughout his life. “He never used patterns, so each one is different,” said Cote. “He was a folk artist... each one was individually made, different than all the others. Nobody else from the state carved as many different head positions and different [types] showing movement.” So if you have old Grandpa’s old

duck decoys kicking around in the garage, they might be worth quite a bit of money. But the carvers never signed their work — they weren’t treating them like pieces of art, after all — so it takes an expert to identify them. Cote said auction houses like Guyette, Schmidt & Deeter, which specialize in decoys, are just the places to check. “Maine’s one of the places you can still find stuff,” he said. To learn more about carved decoys, visit www. GuyetteAndSchmidt.com.

PHOTO COURTESY OF GUYETTE, SCHMIDT & DEETER

A preening red-breasted merganser by Gus Wilson. It sold at auction for $150,200.

Supporters extend Moosehead Lake Region ATV trails BY BRIAN SWARTZ, ADVERTISING STAFF EDITOR Some day patient ATVers may finally “get there from here” anywhere in the Moosehead Lake Region. Meanwhile, they are enjoying an excellent trail system that already connects many regional destinations, including Seboomook, a location long denied to four-wheelers. Jennifer Mills remembers the first day that ATVers rumbled into the Pittston Farm yard: July 30, 2009. Their arrival on a new Seboomook trail represented a dream for Mills and her husband, Robert, who had purchased the 44acre wilderness farm in 2005. The ATVers “bridged a [business] gap for us, from June

through about the end of October, depending on the weather,” Jennifer Mills said. For ATVers, the Pittston Farm trail meant they were now so close — and yet so far from fulfilling the dream of an ATV trail encircling Moosehead Lake. State officials and local ATV clubs support the concept, said Scott Ramsay, director of the Off-Road Vehicle Unit, Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry. Obstacles exist to connecting Seboomook and Kokadjo, so for now state officials want “to lay out a year-round ATV and snowmobile trail connection”

between Greenville and Kokadjo, Ramsay said. “There’s quite a trail network there” in Kokadjo, from which ATV trails extend south to Prong Pond (more than halfway to Greenville), east to the Nahmakanta Public Reserved Unit, and west to Kineo, he said. “The next key component is connecting to the Greenville trails.” Many Greenville business owners “and the recreation people in the area” support the proposed trail, Ramsay noted. “We’re working with Plum Creek” and other landowners to find a suitable route from Prong Pond to

Greenville. “Hopefully in the near future they will figure out a route that works for everybody,” he said. Trails already connect Greenville with Shirley, The Forks, and Rockwood, from which other trails extend to Jackman and the 40,583-acre Seboomook Public Reserved Unit. “It’s a beautiful place to ride,” Ramsay said, referring to the Moosehead Lake Region. As with ATV trail creation elsewhere in the Moosehead Lake Region, building a trail to Seboomook involved negotiations with local landowners, including North Maine Woods Inc. Pittston

Farm lay north of the TwentyMile Gate operated by the North Maine Woods, a land-management company that bans ATVs from its extensive acreage and also bans trailers on its roads “because it’s a hazard” to log trucks, said Brian Bronson, the ATV program recreational, safety, and vehicle coordinator with the Off-Road Vehicle Unit. The ban also kept Seboomook campowners from towing boats to their property. “North Maine Woods was very understanding” about “the recreational opportunities

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◄ FROM PAGE 8 available in the Seboomook Unit, Bronson said. Under an agreement signed by the involved parties, North Maine Woods relocated its gate to “the old forestry building” just beyond the South Branch of the Penobscot River, he indicated. Drawing partially upon ATV program funding, the state spent $160,000 to move the NMW gate, build a new Maine Forest Service building nearby, and build the Seboomook trail. “Part of it was [on] existing roads,” including some abandoned logging roads, Bronson said. Crews “brushed out” some overgrown roads, replaced old culverts, and excavated the trail in places where no road existed. The trail construction took place on state and Plum Creek land, Bronson indicated. “It’s some tough terrain up there,” he said. State employees, volunteers from the Pittston Farm Recreation Club, and a road contractor worked on the trail. “The last seven miles is an intermediate trail, meaning it’s a little more difficult to maneuver,” Mills said. “The trail is 60 inches wide, the state-sanctioned width.”

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Bronson cautioned that “the entire [Seboomook] unit is not open to ATVs. They have to stay only on the designated trail system.” “Plum Creek” was “wonderful to work with,” Mills said. “We went directly from Plum Creek land to Maine Public Reserved land and then directly to our property.” Before the gate’s relocation, people traveling to Pittston Farm or Seboomook paid a NMW gate fee to reach either destination. “The gate fee was a problem for our business,” Mills said. “We knew we had to have the ATV business here because of the revenues.” She believes that while “ATVs are not as [big a business as] snowmobiling now … down the road, they’re going to be.” “One of the fastest-growing outdoor recreation markets is ATV riding,” Ramsay said. “Most of the [Moosehead Lake Region] communities and businesses have seen the benefits of snowmobiling. They are set up for tourism. “Now the ATVers are arriving. It extends the season for all these businesses. ATVers are spending

money in those towns,” he said. Effective July 30, 2009, recreationists started towing ATV trailers as far as Pittston Farm and boat trailers as far as Northwest Cove in the Seboomook Public Reserved Unit. Pittston Farm quickly geared up as a destination location for ATVers, who will not yet arriving “in droves,” are coming nonetheless, Mills said. “Depending on the economy and the price of gas, we’re probably seeing … 350-400 ATVers a year right now,” she estimated. “We sell them gas, we sell them food, [and] lodging as well.” An “ATV option” offered by Pittston Farm includes fishing opportunities involving a canoe or kayak provided by the Mills. Bronson rode an ATV to Pittston Farm “one day last year” and heard that “the numbers … were somewhere around 38 or 40 machines that had ridden in that day.” “We’re on the ATV map,” Jennifer Mills said, referring to the Maine ATV Trail Map. “It’s a 50-mile recreation trail that we have now” that is open to ATVers, horse riders, mountain bikers, hikers, and snowmobilers.


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SAM Legislative report: upcoming elections By David Trahan, Executive Director We have received and rated legislative candidates seeking national and state office. Candidates filled out questionnaires on a wide range of topics important to our membership, including gun control, Roxanne Quimby’s proposal to create a national park, and funding for the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. In light of the answers we received, I am particularly concerned there will be a major push for new gun control laws because of the sad and tragic shooting in Colorado. Many candidates are uniformed about of our existing gun regulations, particularly semi-automatic rifles. We have a lot of work to do educating the public and legislative candidates about the difference between automatic and semi-automatic firearms. In the coming weeks, we will send out the results and endorsements in a special mailer and also post them on our website.

legislative issues. This fund has been dormant, but we have decided to reactivate it. We are soliciting donations to defend our traditions of hunting and gun ownership. To contribute, please, make out checks in any amount to SAM PAC and mail it to 205 Church Hill Rd., Suite 1, Augusta, ME 04330. Land for Maine’s Future on the ballot in November On Election Day, Maine voters will consider a $5 million bond that would provide funds to the Land for Maine’s Future Board to make strategic investments in conserving Maine’s working forests, farms, waterfronts, and deer habitat. I urge you to vote in favor of this bond, Question 3, on your ballot. The Land for Maine’s Maine s Future program is one of the state’s most popular programs. Voters overwhelmingly passed bonds in 1987, 1999, 2005, 2007, and 2010 by two-to-one margins. For more than two

forests, waterfronts for commercial fishing opportunities, and key tourism and recreation sites all across Maine. Since its inception some 25 years ago, nearly 200 projects have been completed statewide, ensuring that more than 500,000 acres of land remains open to the public for hunting, fishing, hiking, and other outdoor recreation activities. The bond before voters in November addresses one of Maine’s most pressing conservation issue: the state’s struggling deer herd. The white-tailed deer has been an important driver of Maine’s rural economy for more than a century. Generations of Maine hunters and wildlife watchers, as well as thousands of nonresidents, have depended on Maine’s deer populations for outdoor-based recreation. Today, there are fewer hunters, far fewer deer to enjoy, and the northern half of Maine is struggling economically. If passed, this bond will — for the first time

countless other wildlife species in the northern half of Maine. This is a win for our rural economy, our wildlife resources and our sportsmen. Legislation for next session We have already introduced SAM legislation for next session. • Rep. Mike Shaw, D-Standish, has sponsored a bill to give the Commissioner of the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife the rule-making authority to change the date of open water fishing. Given the early ice out and warm springs of recent years, we think this is a move that could help rural economies and get fishermen on the water earlier. • Rep. Ellie Espling, R-New Gloucester, has introduced a bill banning municipalities from charging fees for hunting and fishing. Recently, several towns in the Manchester region began charging a fee and requiring a permit for archers to hunt in their town in the special


FALL 2012

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SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION ■

The case for predation management for improving deer survival By Gerry Lavigne White-tailed deer populations in Maine crashed following two brutally hard winters in 2008 and 2009. The decline was particularly severe in the northern half of the state, where deer populations had already been dropping for three decades. To address the deer problem, the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife is implementing a comprehensive plan to improve deer survival that is intended to address all forms of deer mortality. The plan can be found at mefishwildlife.com — Maine’s Game Plan for Deer. The plan includes addressing the negative impacts of coyote predation on deer survival. The arrival of eastern coyotes in Maine since the 1960s has created an added mortality burden on deer. Statewide, coyotes annually remove about 10 percent of the deer population. By the early 1980s, DIF&W was already

During the past three decades, hunters have borne the brunt of offsetting higher natural losses among deer. On average, hunters in deer-friendly central and southern Maine have had their doe and fawn harvests cut by at least one-third, compared to pre-coyote times. In eastern and northern Maine, antlerless deer hunting is no longer allowed during most years. And at best, doe harvests are but a tiny fraction of what had formerly been sustainable. From a deer-management perspective, there really are two Maines. In central and southern Maine, overall deer mortality is lower, fawn survival is higher, and deer populations are more resilient to changes in mortality, as when the occasional severe winter occurs. In this region, deer populations consistently respond to deliberate changes in the hunter harvest of does and fawns. Deer populations vary greatly depending on hunting access, but range

square mile in many areas. During the pre-coyote, pre-spruce budworm era, deer density in the same region often exceeded 10 to 20 deer per square mile. Moving northern and eastern Maine deer populations to a positive trajectory will require a sharp reduction of nonhunting mortality. Clearly, predation management needs to be implemented, along with wintering habitat management and hunter management. The precipitous decline of Maine’s white-tailed deer population has been accompanied by a proportionate loss of hunting opportunity and the economic benefits that hunting and wildlife watching bring to the state’s rural economy. During the past three decades, deer harvests have been curtailed by several hundred thousand deer to offset higher natural losses. After decades of lost opportunity, hunters and non-hunters alike are wondering if deer losses can be lessened

by DIF&W and the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine. As the effort gets off the ground, it may prove to be an interesting experiment. For a long time, hunters have accommodated the coyote. Eastern coyotes are a valuable, but underutilized, renewable fur-bearing resource. Coyotes are challenging to hunt, and more hunters are pursuing them. Increased hunting and trapping pressure prior to winter may temporarily reduce coyote abundance. As a result, a diminished presence of coyotes on the winter landscape may allow deer populations in the northern half of the state to become sustainable and economically viable, for the benefit of the people who work and recreate there. Time will tell. Gerry Lavigne, SAM board member, is a retired deer biologist for the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife and is SAM’s consultant on deer-

Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine 205 Church Hill Road, Suite 1 Augusta, Maine 04330 Telephone: (207) 623-4589 EMAIL: members@sportsmansallianceofmaine.org

WEBSITE: www.sportsmansallianceofmaine.org

Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine

OFFICERS: President – Jim Gorman Vice President – Cheryl Timberlake Clerk– Jim Hilly Treasurer – Paul Davis

DIRECTORS: Nick Archer Jim Tobin Matt Dunlap Erik Hart Gerry Lavigne Amos Eno Thom Watson

STAFF:

Expanded shooting range opportunities The Maine Department Inland Fisheries and Wildlife will partner with the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine to expand opportunities for shooting sports across the state. The DIF&W plans to invest funds provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to offer more opportunity for the public to participate in shooting sports. “The days of using a local gravel pit to sight in a rifle or shotgun are over,” said John Boland, DIF&W director of resource management. “Suburban sprawl, safety concerns, and evolving landowner attitudes are limiting shooting sport opportunities. This partnership will provide more opportunities for the public.” Currently, DIF&W is compiling an inventory of Maine’s existing shooting ranges. The department and SAM will then develop a database of Maine’s ranges, which would include their locations, the

opportunities provided, costs, public accessibility and other pertinent information. This inventory will be used to determine how to best utilize funding to increase shooting opportunities. “SAM is excited to be a partner in this venture. Providing more opportunities for the public to get involved with Maine’s traditional outdoor sports helps both SAM and DIF&W,” said David Trahan, SAM executive director. A committee of yet-to-be-determined members will assess this information and make recommendations for improvements or additions to existing shooting ranges in Maine. John Boland is the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife director of resource management.

David Trahan – Executive Director Becky Morrell – Operations Manager

The Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine (SAM) is a non-profit corporation founded in 1975 to promote conservation of Maine’s wildlife resources and to be an advocate for hunters, anglers, trappers and gun owners throughout the state. SAM News is a publication of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine. It is published 6 times per year. Meetings of the SAM board of directors are held on the second Wednesday of the month at 5:00 PM at the SAM Conference Center in Augusta, Maine. All editorial inquiries should be directed to the address listed above.


14 BDN MAINE OUTDOORS

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FALL 2012

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16 BDN MAINE OUTDOORS

BANGORDAILYNEWS.COM

FALL 2012

■ SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION

PHOTO COURTESY OF LIBBY CAMPS

Late afternoon sunlight brightens the exterior of a cabin at Libby Camps in Ashland.

Maine camps share rich heritage with guests

PHOTO COURTESY OF SPENCER POND CAMPS

A little boy fishes from a float at a Moosehead Lake Region sporting camp.

BY DEBRA BELL, ADVERTISING STAFF WRITER ust ask Christine Howe about her favorite camping story, and the co-owner of Spencer Pond Camps in East Middlesex Township on Moosehead Lake will talk about Europe, a busy executive, and a family transformation.

J

That executive, Howe explained, came from Europe to Spencer Pond for 10 days with his wife and children. “[He] arrived tense and with a grim face,” she said. “The first three days ... they tried to do every possible activity within an hour radius, from whitewater rafting, to a trip up Moosehead on the [steamer] Katahdin, hiking, kayaking, moose watching, fishing, etc. “By the end of the week they were all preparing meals together, and days were spent relaxing, talking, swimming in the pond, watching the birds from the porch, or reading to one another and playing games,” Howe said. “When he left, he thanked us with tears in his eyes. He said he didn’t think his family had ever connected on that level in their day-to-day life, and this experience was one they would

always treasure and pull from in the future to keep their family together when daily pressures pulled them apart,” she said. Stories like that are not unusual to the families who run Maine’s wilderness camps. In fact, that’s part of the allure of the family business. The other part? The pure joy of introducing guests to Maine’s natural wonders. Howe and her husband, Dana Black, operate Spencer Pond Camps while balancing full-time careers at Bank of America and lobstering respectively. Previously, her grandparents, Anne and Chick Howe, owned the camps for 40 years and operated them for 25 years. Christine Howe and Dana Black are registered Maine Guides, following in the footsteps of camp founder Mose Duty and Anne Howe. Established in 1901, the camp has roots in the William Tell Hunting Club and the Maine Guide tradition. Howe’s grandparents assisted in writing the exam that must be passed in order to become a Registered Maine Guide. Today, Howe family tradition exposes children, parents, and others to “unplugged” Maine.

“The focus here is on families,” Howe said. “[We are] teaching children and adults how to connect with nature through self-guided experiences and are fostering an environment where all our welcome, from the

“People enjoy the seclusion and the chance to be together as a family without the ‘real’ world for a few days.” CHRISTINE HOWE avid sportsman to the extreme ecotourist.” Family is also a common focus at Libby Sporting Camp in Ashland. The camp, founded in 1890 by Charles Cushing Libby, is now in its fourth and fifth generation of ownership — with the sixth generation helping out. Guests may not come by train, canoe, or horse and wagon anymore, but the camp’s goal is the same: showcase Maine

PHOTO BY BRIDGET BESAW

A canoeist paddles toward the dock after a scenic sunset on Katahdin Lake.


FALL 2012

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BDN MAINE OUTDOORS 17

SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION ■ and the simple pleasures of the outdoors. In 2010, the Libby family was named the Maine Tourism Association’s Hall of Fame award winner. “We are maintaining the wilderness family-centered tradition,” said Ellen Libby. “We don’t claim to be a resort and don’t want to be. We want to know our guests by name and

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“Once you arrive, you truly feel you have stepped back to a different time.” HOLLY HAMILTON find out a little bit about them during their stay. “People enjoy the seclusion and the chance to be together as a family without the ‘real’ world for a few days to rejuvenate … in the great north woods, or as most folks call it: ‘God’s country,’” Ellen Libby said. From God’s country to Maine’s largest state park — Baxter State Park — another heritage camping experience is found at Katahdin Lake Wilderness Camps. Established in the mid1880s, the camp is still privately owned and only accessible by hiking or skiing to it or by float plane. The camp is owned by Charles Fitzgerald; camp operators Holly and Bryce Hamilton are registered Maine Guides. “Probably the most important thing about the heritage of the camps is that they are the last of their type,” Holly Hamilton said. “With no vehicular access, you have to work to get in here just as you would have with most camps years ago. “Once you arrive, you truly feel you have stepped back to a different time. Percival Baxter stayed here on his first trip to climb the mountain (Katahdin) in 1921. This was the trip when he decided to try and create the park,” she said. According to Hamilton, the land is owned by the state, and the camps lease the land from the Baxter State Park Authority. The park itself is a draw, but Hamilton noted that the ability “for families to spend time together” is a greater attraction. That’s the point, after all, Howe said. “Running the camps is a labor of love,” she explained. “We are fortunate to be here to share it with our children and other families.”

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18 BDN MAINE OUTDOORS

BANGORDAILYNEWS.COM

FALL 2012

■ FEATURE

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Poland Spring’s respect for the environment, our stewardship of water sources and the land around them, and our commitment to being a good employer and a good neighbor, are all part of our heritage as a Maine company. We’re proud to turn a rapidly renewable natural resource into nearly 800 full time and seasonal good jobs for Maine people.

Poland Spring • Hollis • Kingfield

www.PolandSpringWorksforMaine.com

NEXT EDITION: DECEMBER ADVERTISING DEADLINE: NOV. 7

CONTACT JEFF ORCUTT: 207-990-8036 jorcutt@bangordailynews.com

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FEATURE ■

‘If it means something, it’s worth putting on the wall’ A talk with John Dykstra of Northland Taxidermy BY AISLINN SARNACKI, OUTDOORS STAFF WRITER

N

orthland Taxidermy has provided hunters with lifelike game mounts for more than 30 years. In the woods of Alton, the shop’s owner John Dykstra stays busy with fish scales and bear hides year round, and he has passed on his knowledge to his son, Dan Dykstra (now an accomplished fish mount painter) and former apprentice Rachel Rounds, a licensed taxidermist and full-time employee at Northland Taxidermy as of last year. Mid-August, at the cusp of bear hunting season, Dykstra stepped away from his bait sites and worktable to answer a few questions about his business and the art of taxidermy in Maine.

BDN: How old were you when you

created your first mount and what was it?

John Dykstra: It was probably

a chipmunk or something – a chipmunk or a pigeon or something like that. I was probably 10, 12.

BDN: So what got you into taxidermy at such a young age?

Dykstra: When I got something

with the BB gun, I wanted to preserve it. My father had always hunted, and he had different mounts around, so knew about taxidermy but couldn’t do anything myself, as far as having somebody else do it. I always worked with my hands a lot, anyway. I’ve been told I’m fairly artistic, I guess. I dunno. I’ll leave it somebody else to judge that, but yeah. [My father] had old mailorder taxidermy lessons that I dug out and read through and [I] started out doing it the old school way.

BDN:

What is the range of animals you mount and do you have a specialty?

Dykstra: We do about anything

anybody wants to bring through the door that’s legal. There are some things that people would like to have done – hawks and owls – and we have the permits

to do those, if they have to have the permits to keep them. But the most common things are deer, bear, moose, the typical Maine game animals. But we do other things, too. We did a cape buffalo for a fella from Glenburn. He went over to Africa, a safari, and brought back a cape buffalo. It might be the only one we ever do. We’ve done mountain lions and caribou, elk, stuff that’s not native to Maine. As long as we’ve got good reference, we can do a good job for somebody.

BDN: So do you have any idea how

many animals you’ve mounted over the years?

Dykstra: Not for sure, but we do somewhere in the vicinity of 300400 pieces a year. We’ve had years when we’ve done over 100 deer heads, over 100 bears, but with the deer population being down and the economy tending to cut into the bear hunting – bear hunting is a really expensive proposition even if you do it yourself. It costs a lot of time and bait and the price of fuel. People can’t afford it like they could a couple of years ago. So we don’t have the volume right now that we had. And there’s been some competition, too. Some new guys have popped up, and the pie’s only so big. We get our share of it, but wouldn’t mind having some more. BDN: What has changed in the taxidermy world recently?

Dykstra: The biggest changes is more openness with the stuff that’s available. Back prior, say in the 70s or before that, taxidermists tended to keep all the secrets to themselves. If they had a good way of doing it, they weren’t going to tell anybody else. Now, some of the nationally-known taxidermists have been affiliated with some of the supply companies and they get paid to tell people how to do different things. And new materials and mannequins that come out, the supply companies want you to know how to use them, so provide a lot of how-to stuff. So it’s more open, the exchange of information. There’s forums online, too, if you have a problem with something,

you can get on taxidermy.net, I think it is, and talk to other taxidermists.

BDN: What are some old techniques in taxidermy that won’t change?

Dykstra: You’ve still got to skin them. You’ve still got to scrape the fat and meat and sew and turn the ears out. The preparation is no different now really than it was hundreds of years ago. The animal still has to be skinned, the ears, lips turned, the flesh salted or tanned, preserved in some fashion that way, the basics, the initial steps are the same. The whole goal all along is to re-create a critter that was actually living and breathing at one time. BDN: What has changed you think with all the conservation efforts and catch and release?

Dykstra: Most people still want their fish. They want the real head. They don’t want the fake head. We can use artificial heads, especially on salmon or cold-water fish, but most of the mounts we do are real skin mounts with the real head … I’ve had a few cases where people have caught something -- either they caught it and didn’t mount it when they had it or they caught a fish in a catch and release water -- then we can order a fiberglass reproduction. It’s not going to be that exact fish, but it’s going to be close.

BDN:

What is a frequent mistake people make when they bring in an animal?

Dykstra: Usually they make a mistake when they’re skinning them. Fish, if they gut it, that’s not usually a good thing because when we skin a fish, it’s usually going to go on the wall, so we’ll make the cut on the backside so the seam won’t show. If they gut it, then we’ve got to fix that … Animals, deer especially, when they’re skinning them for a shoulder mount, they cut them wrong … If they skin the critter, I usually recommend they bring in the whole hide so that if it’s cut wrong, at least we’ve got all the pieces.

BDN PHOTO BY AISLINN SARNACKI

John Dykstra, owner of Northland Taxidermy in Alton, mounts a small black bear for a client on Aug. 14, 2012, on the cusp of bear hunting season in Maine.

BDN: What’s the strangest creature you’ve mounted?

Dykstra: We’ll, I’ve done a few strange ones. I’ve done a gecko more than once. Done a few pets — cats and dogs. I’m not about to do my own cat and dog, but doing someone else’s dog that I don’t know personally, that’s alright. BDN: How often do you get

taxidermy requests for pets?

Dykstra: We get several calls a year about it. I don’t know the animal personally. I mean, the cat or dog has personal expressions that if you don’t know, you can’t create that. [The customers] have to have a good reference for me to even attempt to do it. [Pet mounts] are much more expensive than say a coyote or bobcat because they don’t make commercial mannequins for dogs and cats, pets. And no matter how good a job I do, it’s still not going to be alive. It’s just an empty shell and the rest of them is missing. But we can make them look quite well. BDN: What is about taxidermy that keeps you interested?

Dykstra: The variety. You’re not

doing exactly the same thing all the time. When you’re doing deer heads, you’re doing one after another and that can get tedious; but then, if you get tired of doing deer heads, you can work on some fish, a bear or something else. For me, I’ve always been fascinated with wildlife anyway. The original creator did the best job. I just try to recreate that so somebody can put on the wall so they have those memories to fall back on. That’s something – when somebody mounts something like a deer everybody thinks about mounting a big deer. Well, it doesn’t have to be big, it just has to mean something to you. A kid’s first deer might be a doe or a button horn or something like that, but it meant something to that kid, or adult, whoever it was. If it means something, it’s worth putting on the wall.

For information about Northland Taxidermy, visit northlandtaxidermyshop. com. To search an extensive, but incomplete, list of the many taxidermists in Maine, visit themainehuntingguide.com/taxidermy.html.

Watch the video bangordailynews.com/outdoors


20 BDN MAINE OUTDOORS

BANGORDAILYNEWS.COM

FALL 2012

■ FEATURE

DEER SEASON TIMELINE COMPILED BY JOHN HOLYOKE, OUTDOORS STAFF WRITER 1919: Maine residents required to purchase a hunting license for the first time. The cost for the lifetime license: 10 cents. 84,333 residents bought one. A total of 2,755 nonresident hunters bought licenses for $15 each.

2011: In response to two severe winters in a row, the number of any-deer permits is cut from 56,012 in 2010 to 26,390. 1971: Season shortened by a week on an emergency basis. 2009: Just 18,092 deer are tagged, the lowest total since 1934.

1947: Woods closed from Oct. 17 until Nov. 12 because of a fire ban.

1910: Record-setting “Hill Gould Buck” taken in Grand Lake Stream. 1959: A modern record 41,735 deer are tagged.

1900

1920

1940

1960

1986: Maine’s any-deer permit system goes into effect, with 13,860 permits issued.

1980

2000

SOURCE: Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, BDN archives

1986: Any-deer permit system implemented.

During the past 400 years, ever-changing patterns of man’s use of the land, predation, climate cycles, and disturbances such as fire, wind and flood have created conditions which either favored or precluded healthy populations of deer in Maine. When Europeans first colonized Maine, white-tails occurred only in the mid and south coastal part of the state; moose and caribou occupied the vast interior forests of the time. During the next two centuries, the climate moderated, forests were logged and/or cleared, and major predators such as the wolf were extirpated. By the late 1800’s, deer had colonized all Maine towns. During this time, deer abundance often followed cycles of extreme abundance to scarcity, depending on the amount of re-growth after logging, or after wildfire or insect defoliation opened the forest floor to sunlight. These events never occurred at the same time throughout the state. Hence deer abundance was always (and remains) patchy, depending on local conditions. Maine Dept. of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife on the Internet. 2012. Aug. 27, 2012. <http://www.maine.gov/ifw/wildlife/species/deer/index.htm>

1985: 100 percent of state restricted to antlered bucks only for all or part of season.

1984: Approximately 50 percent of state limited to antlered bucks only. 1983: Approximately 25 percent of state limited to antlered bucks only.

THINKSTOCKPHOTO


FALL 2012

BANGORDAILYNEWS.COM

BDN MAINE OUTDOORS 21

FEATURE ■

Maine deer population (estimate), by year

Any-deer permits issued, by year

Big game hunting licenses sold, by year

1986:

207,000

1986:

13,860

1986:

no data

1987:

199,000

1987:

35,861

1987:

no data

1988:

229,000

1988:

44,977

1988:

no data

1989:

226,000

1989:

56,241

1989:

no data

1990:

198,000

1990:

46,441

1990:

no data

1991:

220,000

1991:

42,252

1991:

no data

1992:

215,000

1992:

50,035

1992:

no data

1993:

217,000

1993:

44,906

1993:

no data

1994:

208,000

1994:

33,020

1994:

no data

1995:

234,000

1995:

29,886

1995:

209,254

1996:

256,000

1996:

34,492

1996:

207,236

1997:

255,000

1997:

41,976

1997:

203,495

1998:

292,000

1998:

43,826

1998:

203,284

1999:

331,000

1999:

53,231

1999:

204,202

2000:

292,000

2000:

69,715

2000:

205,190

2001:

241,000

2001:

54,406

2001:

203,609

2002:

259,000

2002:

76,989

2002:

205,926

2003:

230,000

2003:

72,600

2003:

208,857

2004:

226,000

2004:

75,800

2004:

206,021

2005:

194,000

2005:

70,725

2005:

203,717

2006:

219,000

2006:

67,725

2006:

204,236

2007:

247,000

2007:

66,275

2007:

204,129

2008:

199,000

2008:

51,850

2008:

202,493

2009:

no data

2009:

45,385

2009:

200,327

2010:

no data

2010:

48,825

2010:

no data

2011:

no data

2011:

26,390

2011:

no data

2012:

no data

2012:

34,160

2012:

no data

100,000 200,000 300,000 (population estimated after completion of hunting season)

200,000

10,000 20,000 30,000 40,000 50,000 60,000 70,000 80,000

210,000

220,000

SOURCE: Compiled from the most recent information available from Maine Dept. of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife

Deer tagged, by year

*1947: woods closed Oct. 17-Nov. 12, because of fire ban

*1971: last week of season statewide closed on emergency basis

*1983:

approximately 25 percent of state limited to antlered bucks only

A whitetail deer bounds across the Scarborough Marsh in Scarborough, Maine in June of 2012.

*1984: approximately 50 percent of state limited to antlered bucks only

*1985: 100 percent of state restricted to antlered bucks only for all or part of season

*1986: any-deer permit system implemented

BDN PHOTO BY ROBERT F. BUKATY


22 BDN MAINE OUTDOORS

BANGORDAILYNEWS.COM

FALL 2012

■ FEATURE

Mountains of

fun

foliage PHOTO COURTESY OF SUGARLOAF

Visitors enjoy a scenic chair lift ride on Sugarloaf Mountain in Carrabassett Valley, a fun way to see the Maine fall foliage.

“...some of the best foliage views in the state.”

ETHAN AUSTIN

BY JOHN HOLYOKE, OUTDOORS STAFF WRITER

S

Zipline tours at Sunday River, Maine.

PHOTO COURTESY OF SUNDAY RIVER

ome folks have the whole Maine leafpeeping game down to a science. Some drive to their favorite leafy spots — often near a hill or a hiking trail — dismount, and head to a scenic overlook to ooh and ahh over the scenery. Others drive a familiar route that’s sure to show off all the autumn hues that the Maine woods are famous for. If you’re looking for some not-so-traditional leaf-peeping options this fall, here are a few mountain-oriented options, courtesy of Sunday River and Sugarloaf resorts. Some of the suggestions will involve activities that may be new to you. Some may not. But one thing’s certain: The foliage in the Maine mountains is so spectacular, you’re sure to see plenty of it just getting to Newry or Carrabassett Valley. And then, the adventures can truly start. Ethan Austin, the communications manager at Sugarloaf in Carrabassett Valley, said there are several great ways to enjoy the foliage at the resort. One of the best — and one that many might not think of first — is to pick up your clubs and participate in a traditional summer activity in the fall. “Conditions are at their best at the Sugarloaf Golf Club and the views are simply spectacular (and the bugs have all gone away),” Austin said in an email. “This year our rates are reduced to just $59 for

18 holes due to some ongoing construction, so it’s a great opportunity to check out what the course is all about.” Golf not your thing? Well, you’re in luck: Sugarloaf also offers scenic lift rides every Saturday and Sunday throughout the fall. “[The lift rides] offer some of the best foliage views in the state, particularly on the ride down,” Austin wrote. Lift rides are just $12, or $10 for those who are season ski pass holders. Want something more active? Grab a bike. “Mountain biking has really taken off here over the past few summers, thanks to the Carrabassett [New England Mountain Bike Association] group, and with the cool temps and great views of fall, it’s an incredible time to come check it out,” Austin wrote. “Best of all, it’s completely free.” And if you’re up for some more intense adventure, Sugarloaf ’s got that covered, too. “Obviously, the Appalachian Trail is right in our backyard here, and fall is my absolute favorite time of year to hike — cooler temps, spectacular views, and great sleeping weather if you’re overnighting it,” Austin wrote. “And again, completely free.” Sunday River in Newry also offers plenty of great foliagewatching options. Darcy Morse, the director of communications at the resort, offered up five adventures that would be fun even if the foliage

wasn’t spectacular … which it will be. • Scenic lift rides are offered Friday through Sunday from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. By using the hybrid “Chondola” lift, guests can choose to ride to the top of North Peak in an open-air six-person chair, or inside an eight-person gondola cabin. Once atop the mountain, more than 12 miles of hiking and geocaching trails. Lift rides are $12 for adults, $8 for those age 6-12, and free for those 5 and younger or 80 and older. • Zipline tours are offered Thursdays through Sundays at 9 a.m., 10 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Reservations are encouraged (call 800-543-2754); the cost is $49 per person. • A nine-hole disc golf course was opened during the summer, and players are guaranteed a breathtaking course come fall. The course is open from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.; access to the course is $5 for a nine-hole round; disc rental is another 45. • Traditional golfers may want to hit Sunday River Golf Club, which is open seven days a week. • The Sunday River Bike Park can utilize the Chondola service to access the top of North Peak and some of the 30 trails that stretch over 20 miles. Bike rentals are $80, while park tickets cost $29 for those 13 and older and $18 for those age 12 and younger.


FALL 2012

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Colorful fall hikes • Ferry Beach State Park, 95 Bayview Rd., Saco Difficulty: Easy, wheelchair accessible. What you’ll see: This park is home to tupelo or black gum trees, which are uncommon in Maine and turn a bright crimson in the fall. All trails in the park are wheelchair accessible, including the wide boardwalk that winds through the marsh. Don’t forget to visit the beautiful white sand beach. A wheelchair that can travel on to the beach is available onsite for visitor use if needed. Best time: The black gum trees usually reach peak coloration in late September and early October. Fee: $4 for adult Maine residents; $6 for adult non-residents; $2 for seniors; $1 for children 5-11 years old; free for children younger than 5. Pets: Permitted on the trails with a leash; not permitted on the beach. Information: Call 283-0067. • Schoodic Mountain, Donnell Pond Management Unit, near Sullivan Difficulty: Moderate. 2.4 miles round trip. Directions: From U.S. Route 1 in Sullivan, turn onto ME Route 183 (Tunk Lake Road) and proceed about 4.5 miles. Take a left onto the gravel Schoodic Beach Road (it is marked by a Donnell Pond Public Lands sign). Follow the Schoodic Beach Road for 2.3 miles to the end, where there is a parking area. What you’ll see: The summit of Schoodic Mountain provides a breathtaking view of the surrounding woodland, lakes and Acadia National Park across Frenchman’s Bay. Best time: Typically, the peak of foliage in this area is experienced mid-October. Fee: Free. Pets: Permitted. Information: Call 941-4412. • Saint John Valley Heritage Trail, Fort Kent to Saint Francis Difficulty: Easy-Moderate, depending on how far you walk. This trail is 16.9 miles long. Directions: To reach the Saint Francis trailhead, take Route 161 to Sunset Drive. Parking is on the left, just past the church. The Fort Kent trailhead is behind the Citgo station on Market Street, while State Route 161 is lined with access points. In the town of Wheelock, the trail crosses to the north side of 161. This section offers the best views of villages and farms in New Brunswick. What you’ll see: The crushed-stone trail, which runs along the former Fish River Railroad and skirts the Saint John River, offers views of northern Maine and Canadian forests, farmlands and wetlands. This trail is also open to horses, ATVs and bicycles (as well as skis, dog sleds and snowmobiles in the winter). Best time: Last week in September. Fee: Free. Pets: Permitted. Information: Call 287-4957. For more ideas and foliage reports once the season begins, visit mainefoliage.com, Maine’s official fall foliage website.

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24 BDN MAINE OUTDOORS

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FALL 2012

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BDN Maine Outdoors: Fall 2012  

Fall is right around the corner and the BDN Maine Outdoors section is your go-to guide to Maine's outdoor wonders. From articles about camp...

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