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Sportsman The Maine

December 2019 • $4.99

Blackpowder Action Snowmobilng – What’s New for 2020 Two Hunters; TwoShots; One Deer – Whose Is It?

Gift Guide for Your Favorite Sportswoman

Bolduc’s 235-lb. Big Woods Buck

Depth Maps for Fast Ice-Fishing Action Maine Warden Ice Dive Team

2 • December 2019 • The Maine Sportsman ————————————————————————————————————————————————————

A True Maine Tradition...

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��������������������������������������������������� The Maine Sportsman • December 2019 • 3

Welcome to Matagamon Wilderness

Matagamon Wilderness is located 26 miles west of Patten, and 1-1/2 miles from the North Entrance of Baxter State Park. Nestled on the East Branch of the Penobscot River, and featuring a private boat launch on Grand Lake Matagamon, the cabins and campground are right off ITS 85, known for its scenic snowmobiling. For sportsmen, Matagamon specializes in guiding hunters as they pursue trophy black bear, moose, whitetail deer, coyote and partridge, in some of the best habitats in Maine. The region also offers native brook trout and landlocked salmon fishing on pristine waters. The camp is currently booking for 2019 spring and fall hunts. There are plenty of other outdoor activities available, for each season of the year: • Spring/Summer: Boating, canoeing, fishing, hiking, kayaking, mountain biking, swimming, relaxing, tubing in the river, and camping fun. • Fall: Hunting, fishing, leaf-peeping, and relaxation. • Winter: Ice fishing, snowmobiling, cross country skiing, snowshoeing and relaxing. The Cabins at Matagamon Wilderness are located on a quiet road across the river from the store. Two of the cabins, Deer Yard and

Bears Den, have new bathroom facilities. All the cabins are great four-season getaways. Cabins include the “Moose Shed,” the largest cabin, which offers an indoor full bath, running water and refrigerator. Its combination of double beds, twins, queens and bunks sleep 12 people. For those who prefer camping out to cabins, Matagamon Wilderness Campground is a nice quiet, family friendly campground, and the owners welcome all campers to come and enjoy the facilities. There are plenty of campground activities in which to participate all year long, including:

• Annual Lobster Bake: On the Saturday of the 4th of July weekend, they hold a huge lobster bake, with all sorts of food – lobster, hamburgers, hot dogs, potatoes, corn, eggs, onions, chips, soda, and blueberry cake. • Pot Luck Dinners: They hold a pot luck dinner at the picnic area in front of the store periodically throughout the camping season. • Bean-Hole Bean Dinners: They also periodically have bean-hole dinners, and provide the bean-hole beans, homemade bread or rolls, and water, lemonade or ice tea. Joe & Sue Christianson have owned Matagamon for 20 years. Joe is a Master Guide, and Sue is a Master Cook. It’s a family operation, including the assistance of their son, Allen, who is a Master Maine Guide and who works at the camps, as does his wife Brandi. Also on site is one of their daughters, Katie Gowell and her husband Sasha. Sasha has his Maine Guides License, and provides guiding services for guests at the camp. Katie is the Owner of “The Moose is Loose Ice Cream Shoppe,” and both Katie and Sasha tend Gowell’s Bait, where they sell night crawlers all year round. Call to book your stay at Matagamon, 207446-4635.

Sporting Camps – A Maine Tradition Since the Mid-1800s MSCA formed in 1987 to protect the tradition The Maine sporting camp tradition began a century-and-a-half ago, in the mid-1800s, long before Leon Leonwood Bean opened his first store in 1912. In the second half of the nineteenth century and the early part of the twentieth century, sporting camps were destinations for wealthy sportsmen and women from all over Maine, Boston, New England, and the world. Sporting camps have hosted presidents and dignitaries. Guests typically traveled by railroad, steamboat, horse-drawn wagon, canoe, or a combination of transportation methods, to reach sporting camps. Because the journey could take days or even weeks, once they arrived guests often put down roots at a camp for weeks or even months at a time. Sporting camp guests were quite refined, often wearing their finest clothes while staying at camps – the men opting for woolen trousers, vests, jackets, and caps, while the women chose flowing outdoor skirts, blouses, and fine Sunday hats. The fishing and hunting opportunities offered at Maine camps have not changed significantly over the years, although the circumstances surrounding them have. It

was not uncommon in the early years of sporting camps for an individual fisherman to catch and keep fifteen fish or more every day, or for a game pole to be strung with deer that outnumbered the hunters in camp. Nowadays, regulations prevent sportsmen from taking such high numbers of fish and game, and many sportsmen and women enjoy the practice of catch-and-release fishing. Younger sportsmen also stepping outside the bounds of “typical” sports to enjoy hiking, bird- and animal-watching, snowmobiling, four-wheeling, and a host of other outdoor activities. Although regulations have changed and we wear moisture-wicking, fast-dry fishing garments, and although we travel by fourwheel-drive truck rather than train to reach Maine sporting camps, the hospitality and variety of experience offered to the outdoor enthusiast remain world-class. Camps in Maine vary, from sites in very remote areas to locations just outside of town; from rustic log cabins without electricity to updated camps with all the amenities of home. The traditional American Plan still provides three hearty, home-cooked meals

served in an attractive and comfortable main lodge, and many camps also offer housekeeping plans for guests who want to do their own cooking. Nearly all camps still provide canoe and motor boat rentals, and many provide the services of knowledgeable Maine guides. Seeing the Maine sporting tradition getting caught up – and lost – in the hustle and bustle of modern day, a group of concerned camp owners founded the Maine Sporting Camp Association (MSCA) in 1987, with the vision of preserving that unique part of the state’s heritage. By working closely with allied groups from the tourism, hospitality and sporting industries, and by exchanging ideas and information both within and outside the MSCA, the association helps continue the tradition of providing the highest quality recreational experience to individuals and their families, a quality experience that visitors will remember long after they return home. To start your sporting tradition, visit

4 • December 2019 • The Maine Sportsman ————————————————————————————————————————————————————


ATV Task Force —

May the “Force” Be With You!

The state’s ATV task force has been meeting twice a month this fall and early winter, in different parts of the state (including Augusta, Bangor and Old Town), in order to achieve the Governor’s directive to provide her with recommendations on or before January 1. That’s a tall order. Democracies are messy, and the problem with accepting and encouraging public input into the process is that, well, you receive public input – lots of it. The task force has done a great deal of work already, including reviewing the most recent (2003) statewide ATV task force report; surveying more than 1,000 individuals, nearly a third of them landowners; and listening to presentations from DIF&W, the Bureau of Parks and Lands, Maine’s ATV coordinator, and New Hampshire trails division officials. They appear to be reaching a consensus on a couple of certain issues: 1) ATVs/UTVs should be limited to 65 inches in width and 2,000 pounds on state-supported trails; and 2) Regarding trail damage, it’s less the type of vehicle, and more the driver and the vehicle’s operation that causes problems; in other words, the few bad apples who run their machines through muddy trails or who open unauthorized trails are the ones landowners remember. But exactly how to educate riders or regulate safe, responsible ATV operation is an elusive question. Still to be resolved? Questions about 1) appropriate trail width and construction standards, and whether differences in those standards are warranted based on the type and usage of a trail (primary trails versus “feeder” trails); 2) when is it OK to allow access along or across public roads; and 3) defining different vehicles individually (ATVs, UTVs, trail bikes, snowmobiles), versus having a single, general OHRV (off highway recreational vehicle) category, as is done in New Hampshire. And most important, who will pay for any trail infrastructure, and how? There have been a few pleasant surprises, such as an idea based on precedent in New Hampshire, of establishing “sport riding areas” (such as abandoned gravel pits) where certain types of activities – including mud-running – would be permitted. Setting up these areas would help relieve pressure on riders when, for example, trails are closed because of weather, forestry cutting or hunting seasons. We hope the 14 members of the task force – selected because they represent specific constituencies of interested parties and groups – can find additional areas of consensus and can make some recommendations that will help the state prepare for the future. With current registrations of more than 70,000 machines, it’s clear that ATVs and UTVs are a really big deal, and their continued growth calls for careful planning and implementation. A tip of The Maine Sportsman’s hunter-orange cap to the volunteers on the task force, and best wishes for a productive final month of deliberations.

New England’s Largest Outdoor Publication

Sportsman The Maine

ISSN 0199-036 — Issue No. 567 • PUBLISHER: Jon Lund MANAGING EDITOR: Will Lund OFFICE MANAGER: Linda Lapointe CREATIVE DIRECTOR: Kristina Roderick ADVERTISING DIRECTOR: Nancy Carpenter Second class postage paid at Scarborough, ME 04074 and additional entry offices. All editorial inquiries should be emailed to Phone: 207-622-4242 Fax: 207-622-4255 Postmaster: Send address changes to: The Maine Sportsman, 183 State Street, Suite 101,­ Augusta, ME 04330 12-Month Subscription: $30 • 24-Month Subscription: $49


Almanac by Will Lund........................................................ 12 Aroostook - “The County” by Bill Graves......................... 37 A Warden’s Life by Warden Lt. Bill Allen (Ret.)................ 44 Big Game Hunting by Joe Saltalamachia...................... 21 Big Woods World by Timmy Bolduc.................................. 24 Bird of the Month, by Erika Zambello............................... 14 Central Maine by Steve Vose........................................... 57 Downeast by Jim Lemieux................................................ 60 Editorial.................................................................................. 4 Freshwater Fly Fishing by Lou Zambello........................... 42 Jackman by William Sheldon........................................... 53 Jottings by Jon Lund............................................................ 7 Katahdin Country by William Sheldon............................. 48 Kate’s Wild Kitchen by Kate Krukowski Gooding........... 47 Letters to the Editor.............................................................. 5 Maine Sportswoman by Christi Holmes........................... 45 Maine Wildlife by Tom Seymour....................................... 25 Maine Wildlife Quiz by Steve Vose................................... 52 Midcoast by Tom Seymour............................................... 62 Moosehead by Tom Seymour.......................................... 55 My Maine by George Smith.............................................. 17 New Hampshire by Ethan Emerson.................................. 73 Off-Road Traveler by William Clunie................................ 51 Outdoor Chronicle by Ed Pineau..................................... 50 Quotable Sportsman by George Smith........................... 17 Rangeley Region by William Clunie................................. 69 Riding Shotgun by Robert Summers................................. 75 Saltwater by Barry Gibson................................................. 46 Sebago to Auburn Region by Tom Roth......................... 67 Shooter’s Bench by Col. J.C. Allard................................. 58 Smilin’ Sportsman: Adults & Kids by Will Lund.................. 75 Sporting Environment by David Van Wie........................ 63 Sportsman’s Journal by King Montgomery....................... 9 Southern Maine by Val Marquez..................................... 68 Trapping The Silent Places by David Miller...................... 64 Trading Post (Classifieds)................................................... 76 Trout Fishing by Tom Seymour........................................... 65 Western Maine Mountains by William Clunie.................. 71 Young Maine Sportsman by Luke Giampetruzzi............ 41


The Boy Who Couldn’t Swim by Alan Haley................... 40 Canoe for Sale by Randy Randall................................... 43 The Cost of Dog Ownership by David Putnam............... 23 Deer Hunting in Maine by Anonymous........................... 19 Ice Fishing in Maine by Steve Carptenteri...................... 33 Ice Fishing in Maine by Nolan Raymond......................... 35 Snowmobiling in Maine by Steve Carptenteri................ 27 Snowmobiling in Maine by Steve Vose........................... 29 Youth Writing Contest Story by Derek Harding............... 32

On the Cover: It’s every muzzleloader’s dream -- spotting a bigracked buck like this Allagash trophy, standing at the top of a snowy rise. Good luck to all black-powder practitioners early this month! Stacy Belanger photo


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To The Editor

Finding that “Just Right” Spot for Fish Populations

To the Editor: Jim Andrews’ October “Self-Propelled” column, titled “Wildlife Numbers Game Can Have Unforeseen Consequences,” highlights how anglers and hunters alike need to strive for “The Goldilocks Zone.” Astronomers use this term to describe the optimal distance between a sun and a planet. Only within this zone can a planet support water and potential life. If a planet is too far from a sun, the planet is frozen. If it’s too close, the planet becomes a furnace. Similarly, anglers need to find the same sweet spot for salmon. If catch-and-release has created too many small, skinny fish, anglers need a new mantra. “Catch more, keep more” or a similar type of slogan. If the anglers made catch-and-release prevalent enough to cause this issue, surely, they’ll keep more salmon and trout once they realize that a smaller fish population leads to a superior, more robust catch. Only by changing their methods can anglers stop getting “damn small fish”—as Andrews wrote—and start feeling like Goldilocks where everything is just right. Dan Harrington – Augusta

How to Make your Fish Look Bigger, Part II: Take an Action Figure Fishing! To the Editor: With the November “Almanac” piece titled “Two Ways to Make Your Fish Look Bigger,” you have opened a can of worms (sardines?). However, now that the catfish is out of the bag, I guess I can tell you our secret for making Branch Lake fish look bigger – simply bring an action figure along! Max Hembley – Winkumpaugh Corners, ME

A Reason to Like Opossums To the Editor: Thanks for the piece on opossums eating ticks in the “Almanac” section of the November Maine Sportsman. I thought I was doing a good thing protecting the opossums on my property, and you confirmed it. Back in early spring, my dog was sniffing around the tarp I have covering my tractor’s cultivators. I pulled the tarp back to reveal

a plump female opossum that I assumed to be pregnant. I covered her back up and told my dog, “Mrs. Opossum is my friend, so you leave her alone.” My dog hates it when I declare any wildlife on my property my friend, because that means she has to protect it when she’d rather be chasing it. In the following months my dog would sniff around the tarp to make sure she was still there, but didn’t bother her. Only once in the summer did I see the opossum wondering around the yard in the early morning hours when I came home from work. In early September my dog was sniffing around my salt hay pile, which is also covered with a tarp. I noticed a small hole chewed in the bottom of the tarp (held down with cement blocks), and thought perhaps one or more of the young opossums had taken refuge there. In late September I had set a Havahart trap for another animal that was bothering my wife’s bird feeders, but what I caught was a young opossum. I took the trap back towards the barn and released the opossum about 15 yards from my salt hay pile, and that’s exactly where he ran to, and entered by way of that small hole! My wife was none too happy about an increasing opossum population, saying “I don’t like opossums, they’re dumb.” “That may be,” I replied, “but they aren’t hurting anything.” But since my wife hates ticks (and isn’t keen on me getting Guinea Hens to combat them), you now gave me information to help her warm up to our opossum friends. Bart Schairer – Hammonton, NJ (Continued on next page)

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6 • December 2019 • The Maine Sportsman ————————————————————————————————————————————————————

Letters to the Editor (Continued from page 5)

You Want Vintage Jigs? We Got Vintage Jigs!

To the Editor: In the October, 2019 issue of The Maine Sportsman, the Publisher, Jon Lund, wrote about Vintage J. T. Buel jigs. For those interested in vintage tackle, I have plenty of J. T. Buel jigs here at Allen-

brook Farm and Tackle Shop, on Sennebec Road in Appleton. I also have Wheeler, Thomas & Leonard rods, plus old reels. My passion is the old forms of fishing. I was an anthropology major in college. Joel C. Gushee – Appleton, ME Editor’s note: Mr. Gushee speaks the truth! A field trip by the publisher and editor into the picturesque Knox county area of Hope, Union and Appleton led us to the aforementioned tackle shop, which contains what must be one of the premier classic tackle collections in this state. (See accompanying photos of lures and reels.)

There’s More to the “Catch and Release” Story To the Editor: IFW’s recent assertion that catch-and-release is hurting Maine’s fisheries was chal(Continued on page 8)

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Power Outage? Get Out the Camping Gear! When the power line goes down, and the power shuts off, the equipment used for camping and other outdoor activities really comes in handy. That happened this fall. Illumination First, pick up the handy headlamp. As most outdoors people have noticed, headlamps have undergone transformation with the advent of light-emitting diodes (LEDs). A long-lasting headlamp used to require a large battery pack because old fashioned incandescent lightbulbs used a hot glowing wire to produce light, and heating by electricity consumes a lot of energy. A LED generates very little heat and is astoundingly efficient. My first LED headlamp was made by Petzl, and it worked well. By pushing the switch, the user had a choice of high, medium or low intensity, and blinking light. It worked well until I dropped it, hitting the edge of the car door open-

When the lights go out, the author heads for the storeroom to retrieve items that can provide illumination and hot food – and even a solar charger, if the sun’s out before power is restored.

Princeton Tec headlamp

The Coleman 502 -- a classic camping stove. Joan Sturmthal photo

The LUCI inflatable solar light packs flat. Joan Sturmthal photo

ing, whereupon it broke. In short, it was fragile. Also, the egg-shell thin components had to be pressed together carefully, with precision, to close it after changing the batteries. Too fussy. Second Generation – Tougher Princeton Tec sells a tougher headlamp it calls “Fuel.” Like the Petzl, it runs on three AAA bat-

teries and has a similar four-stage light switch, but it is much tougher. It features a sturdy cylindrical battery chamber. To change the batteries, you pry off the end cap of the battery chamber using a small projection on the headband buckle, and insert the three batteries, taking care to get the polarity right. Press on the battery cover until

it clicks in place. Simple and neat. It is well-designed and sturdily made. The maker claims 146 hours burn time. I doubt that, but perhaps on the “blinking” setting, which would drive the user crazy. The Princeton Tec Fuel headlamp is a fine light to tuck into your hunting or fishing kit, weighing less than three

ounces. It’s also handy during power outrages. The Fuel sells for less than $20, including shipping. It is an excellent Christmas gift for the person who has everything. He or she can’t have too many lightweight, reliable headlamps. Cook Stove When our lights went out the other day, I headed for the basement where I keep camping gear, and brought up the Coleman 502 gasoline stove. Also known by the name “Sportster,” it weighs three pounds fully fueled – too heavy to be a good backpacking stove. But for car camping or household use in event of a power outage, the 502 is an excellent choice. Solid and stable, with only three controls and instructions printed on the side of the tank, it is easy to light and keep going. When first lit, it produces yellow flames. Best not to put on a frying pan (Continued on next page)

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(Continued from page 7)

or cooking pot yet, unless you like black bottoms on your utensils. Wait until the blue flame appears, indicating that the generator is fully vaporizing the fuel, then open the valve and pump it. The 502 runs hot enough to fry a panful of trout, although if cooking spaghetti, you may need to stir the pot occasionally. If the 502 is taking a long time to get to the blue flame stage, the generator may be clogged. Not to worry. A ton of Coleman stoves are in use, and spare parts are often carried by local hardware stores, and are also available online. If the stove is run with a low flame, it should be checked occasionally, and pumped up if the pressure is low. Use Care in Refueling Refueling should be done outdoors, because it is easy to spill a bit when the tank is full. Best to hold the stove level when filling rather than tilting to get in the last bit of fuel, because some air cushion is helpful when pumping up the stove.

In camp, when any gasoline stove is shut off, we like to carry the stove outdoors to eliminate the stink of partly-vaporized fuel, which is probably unhealthy. During a power “outrage” if the chef wants to heat two dishes, a handy device is the regular two-burner Coleman stove. Their reliability is legendary. Some of the later models can run on either propane or liquid fuel. Propane offers the luxury of immediate blue flames. Any device that burns fossil fuel should be used only where there is adequate ventilation. Solar Charger The last power outage help is LUCI, a neat solar charger and LED combination. A friend of mine guided trips down the Grand Canyon. These were multi-day trips that included wet conditions. He wanted lights that would last the trip, and some suppliers offered solar chargers that would charge re-chargeable AA batteries. However, he could not find any charger that worked in wet conditions.

The LUCI appears to do that, because the lights and solar charger are inside an airtight plastic container. The seller claims the light to last 24 hours. I haven’t tested the burn life, but it does last a long time, and is lightweight.

May be a good choice for a back-packer, it comes in a variety of sizes and prices – the base model comes in at just under $20. A good Christmas gift for someone who backpacks or lives where the lights may go out. Available on the internet and at some

Letters to the Editor (Continued from page 6)

lenged on many fronts. Several outdoor writers refuted the claim, as did some fisheries activists. Anglers chimed in as well. In fact, while presenting to a diverse group of anglers a day or so after the story broke, I couldn’t find anyone who agreed with their position. A recent story in the Sportsman backed IFW’s position, stating that “this [catch-and-release] all worked fine, until it didn’t.” It went on to say that “so few anglers are keeping fish these days that the problem is too many fish competing for limited food,” and that this was causing stunting. Well, there’s more to the story – much more. Many Maine waters have one or more introduced gamefish, most of which were the result of state-sponsored introductions. For example, while landlocked salmon are native to just four lakes in Maine, according to IFW we now have 201 lakes and ponds with “principal” fisheries for landlocked salmon, and they are “present” in another 110 waters. That’s 311, from a baseline of just 4. We also have introduced lake trout in many waters, including two lakes that are home to rare Arctic charr. And there are 123 lakes and ponds with “principal” fisheries for brown trout, and 46 where brown trout are “present,” all of which are introduced. And while not as bad as browns, rainbow trout, another nonnative, are present in over 30 waters. Nonnative perch, smallmouth bass (over 500 waters), largemouth bass (over 450 waters), pike (35 or so waters), and muskies (4 waters) have

retailers. We keep a LUCI on a window ledge where it gets some sun. We turned it on during the recent power loss. It functioned well.

found their way into Maine’s lakes and ponds as well. Hybrid splake stocked by IFW can be found in another 70 or so waters. And this doesn’t include the countless nonnative minnows such as smelt that impact the food web to at least some degree. Per IFW, Sebago Lake, the impetus of the original story challenging catch-and-release and where the native landlocked salmon are suffering from size-quality issues, has introduced lake trout (principal), largemouth bass (principal), smallmouth bass (principal), pike (present), black crappie (present), and brown trout (present). When you consider the data presented above, it’s no wonder many of Maine’s lakes and ponds have too many mouths to feed. And in my opinion to blame this on anglers releasing fish is not fair or accurate. As for the idea that Maine had better fishing and bigger fish before anglers started practicing catch-and-release, while anecdotally correct, what we were actually seeing was abundance as the result of a lack of pressure and competition. If waters need harvest to grow large fish as implied by IFW, why did so many have fish measured in pounds not inches when we first discovered them? While Maine is admittedly suffering some fishing woes, it is not because of catch-and-release, at least at the big picture level. It is far more complicated than that, and it will not be solved by going back to a time when anglers exploited the resource. While you can, and we have, harvest your way into trouble, you can’t harvest your way out of it. Bob Mallard – Skowhegan

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��������������������������������������������������� The Maine Sportsman • December 2019 • 9

Autumn Woodies Along the River The milk chocolate-colored gundog swam sure and steady in the tannic waters of Sebasticook River’s East Branch near Pittsfield. The hardwoods along the banks wore their early October raiment, ranging from soft yellow to inyour-face, fire engine red, and many color shades in between. The contrast of autumn leaf color with the steady green of the evergreens was pleasing – and a bit distracting. Tag, Scott Davis’ sixyear old Chesapeake Bay Retriever, seemed a bit confused as to where the downed duck was – the river current was pulling the woodie downstream. The dog did not see the duck splash down, because the high sides of the boat had obscured his view. Tag had seen where my shotgun was pointed when it went off, and that’s the direction the Chessie took when he was released through the trap door on the side of the boat. However, under Scott’s direction, the duck soon was retrieved and brought to the bank where the boat was tied up. We were on an afternoon hunt and would remain until the end of

Wood ducks are like F-16 lightweight fighter aircraft – fast and maneuverable. For that reason, it’s best to shoot when the bird is flying toward you – as opposed to engaging it straight out from the boat or blind, or when it’s moving away.

Scott Davis is a fisheries biologist with the MDIF&W, and a Registered Maine Guide for fishing and hunting. His first outdoor love is duck hunting, and he’s very good at finding these wonderful waterfowl.

the legal shooting day near sunset. (The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife publishes a by-the-day Migratory Bird Hunter’s Time & Tide Table on their website. Don’t shoot before or after the appointed times.) Our quarry was wood ducks, and there were plenty of them zipping

Fins & Furs Adventures


Travel with Carroll & Lila on these



down or up the river at high speed, or coursing by out-of-range. It was warmish – a light camouflage jacket was plenty – and puffy white clouds highlighted the partly sunny day. “To some of us, the pheasants will seem smarter, the quail and grouse faster, the ducks a little higher than we re-

Fins & Furs Adventures — and —

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member. It is not important that we do especially well; it is important only that we went.” Gene Hill, 1972. The Duck “I never wrote a poem in my life, but if I ever do, it will be about ducks.” Gordon MacQuarrie, 1985. I am so glad I finally Start a Lifetime of Adventure at our





went duck hunting with my friend Scott Davis. He’s been after me for years to get out with him for early-season wood ducks, but that time of year usually found me in the uplands chasing woodcock and partridge in the forests and fields. Most of my waterfowling adventures were for Canada geese on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, where the birds show up in the tens of thousands, and readily fly to well-placed decoys in fallow fields, or on ponds, potholes, and creeks. These critters are like B-52s – big and somewhat lumbering in flight – but they are deceptively fast, and cut a pretty good corner. Wood ducks, tiny in comparison, are more like F-16s – fast and maneuverable. And both species really taste good. When ducks fly from one place to another, they don’t do it slowly; they move with a purpose, with no lollygagging in the process. And the wood duck streaking up the river from my left was no exception. He literally was honking just above the water at almost Mach 2! Earlier, Scott told me it’s best to shoot when the (Continued on next page)

Fins & Furs



DECEMBER 5–8 2019 Skowhegan Elk’s Lodge APRIL 9–12, 2020 Skowhegan Elk’s Lodge JUNE 4–7, 2020 Windham-Gorham Rod & Gun Club JUNE 11-14, 2020 Penobscot County Conservation Assoc. - Brewer

10 • December 2019 • The Maine Sportsman ———————————————————————————————————————————————————

Scott built his own boat, a 18-foot heavy-gauge aluminum model with an aluminum shell that clamps in place when fishing ends and duck season rolls around.

A string of Quack wood duck decoys is ready to toss overboard into the East Branch of the Sebasticook River.

Sportsman’s Journal (Continued from page 9)

bird is flying toward you – as opposed to engaging it straight out from the boat/blind, or when it’s moving away. But by the time I saw the dang thing, it was out from the boat and, by the time I got the gun up and fired, it was moving away. Through luck, or a skill I didn’t know I had, the duck crumpled and fell into the water. Tag brought the young drake to Scott. The bird, he thought, probably was hatched this past spring, and it was not yet showing the iconic, brilliant colors of a mature male wood duck. It was my first woodie, and one of three the daily bag limit allows. In Maine we don’t get much of a chance to shoot woodies, primarily because they are among the first of our ducks to move south, so their availability is limited to as little

as several weeks. After the first good frost or two, they’re gone faster than a Southern Maine Snowbird. Wood ducks are comfortable in creeks, streams and rivers, and in ponds, lakes, bottomland forests, and freshwater marshes. They like open water with nearby open vegetation where they can forage. They eat seeds, fruits, insects, duckweed, beetles, snails, and acorns. And this year – a true mast year – acorns are everywhere, and that makes ducks and many other creatures very happy. The Boat “Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing— absolutely nothing—half so much worth doing, as simply messing about in boats.” Kenneth Grahame, 1908. Scott Davis is a fish-

The Chesapeake Bay retriever was bred in America in the 19th century to provide waterfowlers and market-hunters with a steady, sturdy, hard-working dog that can tolerate the winter cold waters of the Chesapeake Bay. Tag, Scott’s 6-year old Chessie, is a superb retriever and good company in the boat blind.

eries biologist with the MDIF&W, and a Registered Maine Guide for fishing and hunting. When Lefty Kreh and I wanted to fish the Sebasticook River, we always called on Scott – and we were never were disappointed with the wonderful smallmouth bass fishing with a fly rod. Scott built his own boat – an 18-foot heavygauge aluminum model that has an aluminum shell that clamps in place when fishing ends and duck season rolls around. The shell is covered with sturdy camouflage netting, and the boat, when anchored or tied off to shore, is a duck blind like few others. Roomy and comfortable, it is a pleasure to mess around in. The boat is painted a fetching US Army olive drab, is powered by a 90-hp jet-drive outboard, and has a kicker outboard that looked to be an 8 or 9.9-hp, but was hidden by a camouflage cover. If

Guide Scott Davis tosses a Quack magnum decoy into the Sebasticook River. The largerthan-life decoys seem to entice distant ducks to at least take a look.

you’ve ever seen the Zumwalt-Class stealth guided missile destroyer at the Bath Iron Works on the Kennebec River, you know what Scott’s boat looks like – only it’s about 292 feet shorter than the Navy vessel, and not quite as well armed. We’re tied up along the east bank of the river, and ducks are flying upand down-stream at their leisure. My job is to look upriver, while Scott looks down. We announce approaching ducks, and in a split-second decide if and when to shoot. Between duck sightings, it’s just a pure joy to sit quietly and observe and hear the workings of the wild outside the thin metal walls of the boat blind. Occasionally Scott makes appropriate wood duck sounds with his call, but is very judicious in his quacking. He believes in not overdoing it. I was reminded what writer Nash Buckingham wrote in 1934: “A duck call in

Scott’s boat has a front opening that looks like the jaws of an alligator. Tag, the engaging Chesapeake Bay Retriever, surveys the river bank from the boat.

the hands of the unskilled is one of conservation’s greatest assets.” The light gently fades, and soon it will not be legal to shoot, so we clear and secure the shotguns, and head for the launch ramp a mile or so down the river. We have five woodies, and it has been a great couple of hours, and I’m glad I followed Gene Hill’s advice and “went.” The Dog “The best long-range shotgun load to have in one’s boat for mallards is a fine retriever.” Nash Buckingham, 1947. “Retrieving is what makes the difference between a good dog and a great one. It is the icing on the cake, the cherry atop the sundae, the lace on a bride’s pajamas.” Havilah Babcock, 1964. The Chesapeake Bay retriever was bred in America in the 19th century to provide waterfowlers and market-hunt(Continued on next page)

If you’ve ever seen the Zumwalt-Class stealth guided missile destroyer at the Bath Iron Works on the Kennebec River, you know what Scott’s boat looks like.

�������������������������������������������������� The Maine Sportsman • December 2019 • 11 (Continued from page 10)

ers with a steady, sturdy, hard-working dog that can tolerate the winter cold waters of the Chesapeake Bay, our largest estuary. Interestingly, all retrievers – and that includes Labrador, Golden, and Chesapeake Bay varieties – derive from a common ancestor: the St. John’s Water Dog of Newfoundland. Sadly, the breed went extinct in the 1980s, but the wonderful dogs we cherish today carry their genes. Chessies are known for their love of water for their keen ability to retrieve birds dropped over water or land. A medium to large gundog, Chesapeake’s have a wavy coat compared to the Labrador’s smooth coat. Tag is a wonderful representative of the breed, and good company in the boat/blind. One of his more-endearing qualities is that he shakes the water off of his wet coat on the river bank, not in the boat. “Long live the bleak bitterness of such a morning, of the churlish dawn … The duck hunter, probing the secrets of a new day, sees the night retreat, as nothing is so fine

as daylight coming and night departing while wings overhead whisper the old and unresolved mystery of migration.” Gordon MacQuarrie, 1985. Dawn of the second hunting day broke over the river, a pleasing “sea smoke” gently lifted from the water. Since it was not yet legal shooting time, we didn’t engage the early ducks that coursed by. A string of realistic Quack decoys bobbed in the steady current, and distant crows shouted their crow things at the awakening world. We had been in position almost an hour before sunup. A flight of seven or eight wood ducks screamed into view from our right, abruptly turned on the proverbial dime, and fluttered down toward the decoys. Scott and I rose as one, and ducks fell. There would be fresh duck for several dinners at home in Kennebunkport. “If in a single day we smell coffee, dawn, gun oil, powder, a wet dog, woodsmoke, bourbon, and the promise of a west wind for a fair tomorrow—and it’s possible for us to reek

Tag admires the woodies taken by Scott and me.

“happy”—that’s just what we will do.” Gene Hill Writer’s notes: Contact Scott Davis, Fish ’N Fowl Guide Service

in Burnham at 207-4538501. And for waterfowl hunting information, see hunting-trapping/hunt-

ing-laws/, and click on “Migratory Game Birds.”

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12 • December 2019 • The Maine Sportsman ———————————————————————————————————————————————————

Compiled and Edited by — Will Lund —

“Snapshots in Time”

Excerpts from the Annals of Maine’s Sporting Past Submitted by Bill Pierce, of the Outdoor Sporting Heritage Museum in Oquossoc, Maine

What follows is an interesting 1902 article detailing a dramatic event, that requires one to have great good fortune to be able to witness. It is a rare sight to see, and some 117 years after this unique experience was shared, still paints a vivid picture of a truly titanic struggle with a not commonly known battle tactic more closely associated with cow moose. We all know how wildly competitive and violent bull moose can be prior to and during the rut. The wonderful locked-horns full mount taxidermy exhibit at the L.L. Bean store in Freeport, assembled in cooperation with IFW, fantastically illustrates the

incredible power of these encounters. So, this tale of a late December battle in deep snow with both bulls still retaining their antlers lends a unique angle to the tale. What were these two bruisers in such a dustup about? What a great State we get to enjoy where spectacles and experiences such as what is shared below are something that can still lay in store for us as we venture out into the Maine woods. However, it’ll never happen unless we put down the remote, snap on our snowshoes and get outside to make some great outdoor history of our own! Happy Holidays Everyone!

That bull moose engage in occasionally-mortal combat is made clear by these two moose, whose antlers locked while sparring, leading to their dual demise in the woods of New Sweden. This impressive taxidermy exhibit is displayed at L.L.Bean in Freeport. Photo courtesy Bill Pierce and L.L. Bean

Phillips, ME – March 21, 1902

Bull Moose Fight

Eyewitness Tells How They Tore Up Earth. A Knock-Out Blow That Didn’t Kill Opponent.

George E. Stewart, who has just returned to his home in Boston from a few weeks in the northern part of Maine, told a Commercial reporter an interesting story of a struggle to the death which he witnessed between two bull moose in the deep snow up near Mt. Katahdin. “I started out from camp early in the morning,” said Mr. Stewart, “and before I had gone three miles, I struck moose signs. Although I had no rifle with me, I decided to follow them, particularly as they were quite fresh. I paddled along on snowshoes for the greater part of two hours when I commenced to hear the noise of the encounter. Finally, I reached a point behind a big pine tree, where I could get a good view of the infuriated animals. “There was, I should say, some four feet of snow on the ground, and the ponderous weight of the animals brought them down through it to the solid ground as though it had simply been water. When I first saw

Governor Creates ATV Task Force ATV registrations now total over 70,000 each year in Maine, and Governor Janet Mills has created an ATV task force that will look at a variety of issues associated with the growth in ATV use in the state, including a focus on ATV use on private land.

them the two moose were struggling with locked horns, totally oblivious to all about them. “For the next two or three minutes, the moose swayed backward and forward without either of them apparently gaining the slightest advantage. Suddenly the one nearest me disengaged himself and broke away. My first thought was that the animal had had enough of the fight, and that he had decided discretion to be the better part of valor. “I was wrong, though, for no sooner had the moose gained a sufficient distance than he lowered his mighty head and, with a bellow of noise, charged his bulky antagonist. Well, talk about your knockout blows! That moose got one that made me open my eyes wide with astonishment. Instead of retreating or making a counter charge, the second moose remained perfectly still, seemed to me to be calmly waiting attack.

The task force is comprised of 14 members that represent landowners, farmers, government agencies, ATV owners and retailers, and snowmobile organizations. Maine has over 6,000 miles of trails, yet with the increasing interest in ATV riding, there are concerns regarding ATV size, riding on private land without permission, and environmental damage.

“Suddenly I saw him rear up on rear legs and, coming down, plant knife-like front hoofs directly on head of his enemy. The force was like that of a rifle, and the moose nearest me went down under the blow like a log of wood. It was then that the other bull commenced to get in his dirty work. His antagonist was at his mercy and he proposed to make the most of his advantage. I’m afraid he wasn’t a very chivalrous moose. “Time and time again he brought those terrible front hoofs down on the prostrate body before him. The other moose made desperate efforts to gain his feet, but his shoulder had been broken when he first fell, and the efforts came to naught. For a time, he struggled and then at last, he lay perfectly still. His murderer gave the body a last contemptuous blow and then disappeared through the undergrowth.”

The task force will also be looking at expanding the existing trail system, with consideration to private landowners. An additional topic is the growing size of ATVs. The task force has been charged by the legislature to submit its recommendations to the Governor on or before January 1, 2020. — (continued on next page)

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What’s a Snowmobile? The Governor’s ATV task force is hard at work and their deadline is approaching. To understand the complexity of some of the issues involved, we went back to testimony offered when two snowmobile/ATV bills were presented to a legislative committee last year. Bob Meyer of the Maine Snowmobile Association introduced the committee members to a recent development – track kits for ATVs. Meyers did not testify either for or against the bills. Instead, he brought up a separate but related issue when it comes to defining what exactly is an ATV; namely, the growing popularity of conversions of ATVs to snow machines. “With the expanding sizes of all-terrain vehicles,” he said in his written testimony, “another issue that should be considered as part of this discussion is the growing use of track kits on these vehicles that make their operation on snow possible. “Due to the ambiguous definition of a snowmobile, tracked vehicles of any width can be registered as snowmobiles and operated on snowmobile trails. “This can lead to safety issues on the snowmobile trails, and landowner problems in many areas …. The addition of a track kit to an ATV or UTV can expand its width to 60 inches or wider. Many of the snowmobile trails in Maine are 12 feet or less, so just normal operation of these units can cause them to encroach on the wrong side of the trail, creating a hazard for riders coming in the opposite direction.” —

Unintended Consequences of Plastic Straw Bans

Several large cities and town have enacted bans on plastic straws. This leads to a critical question: What are boaters going to use in a pinch to re-fasten their trailer’s license plate at a public launch? (The arrangement pictured here lasted more than two full seasons).

Do Heron “Spear” Fish with their Bills? The Answer is “No” Waterfowl observers may wonder just how herons catch their prey. Do they spear them with their bill? As the photo shows, they catch fish with a pincer movement.

Photo by Alfred Lund

Augusta Shooting Range Open The Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife’s state-of-the-art Summerhaven Shooting range, a $3.5 million facility, is complete and open to the public. The range is open under the supervision of certified range instructors during scheduled hours. Located in the Summerhaven area of Augusta, the new range is quieter, cleaner and safer than the old range, according to DIF&W. The range was constructed with funds from the Wildlife and Sportfish Restoration Act, and sporting license sales. —

Eel on a Fly

Submitted by Lou Zambello Over the last 20 years, anglers have demonstrated that almost any fish in the world can be caught with a fly rod and on a fly. But did you know that Maine’s American eel can also be caught by flyfishing? The accompanying photo shows Will Folsom, who was drifting a Prince Nymph in the tailwater below North Gorham Pond Dam in Windham, when he hooked, landed, and released this four-foot long eel (the length is estimated – he didn’t put a tape measure to him). While you don’t often hear about eels being caught on a fly, it does happen. Jared Robbins, who works at the Trident Fly Shop in Windham, says that he has also caught a freshwater eel on a fly. According to Will and Jared, even

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14 • December 2019 • The Maine Sportsman ———————————————————————————————————————————————————

Almanac (Continued from page 13) large eels don’t fight very hard; rather, they sort of spiral or twist towards the angler as they are brought in. It must be a bit freaky when you see this snakelike creature coming towards you. And yes, they are slimy and difficult to hold and unhook. The American eel is found on the eastern coast of North America, and some migrate from the ocean quite a distance up freshwater rivers into lakes and ponds. The American eel is a fish, but has a slender, snakelike body that is covered with a mucus layer, which makes the eel appear to be naked and slimy despite the presence of minute scales.

Will Folsom holding a large eel caught on a small nymph while fly fishing the Dundee Pond Inlet. Devon Fitzgerald photo Eels have a fascinating life history, and I encourage you to go online and read about them. —

Boating in Pennsylvania? Life Jacket Wearing is Mandatory Effective November 1, all boaters in Pennsylvania who are on the water during cold-weather months must wear a life jacket. Beginning on November 1 and lasting through April 30, boaters are required to wear a U.S Coast Guard approved life jacket at all times while underway or at anchor on boats less than 16 feet in length or on any canoe or kayak. The mandate applies to all Pennsylvania waters. The law was enacted following determinations that nearly 80% of all boating fatalities occurred because boaters were not wearing life jackets, and further that a disproportionate number of deaths happened between November and April. —

What Recent Bird Studies Mean for Maine Sportsmen by Nick Lund, Maine Audubon

Separate studies from environmental sci-

entists and conservation organizations have made headlines in recent months for their alarming revelations about the past and future of birds in North America. In September, a group of organizations including the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the American Bird Conservancy published a paper in the journal Science showing there are three billion fewer birds in the North America than there were in 1970. Maine sportsmen may have noticed the decline anecdotally from their time outdoors or from the birds at their feeders. Many different species have been impacted. There are fewer farm fields and grasslands in Maine than there were forty years ago, and so birds that nest or feed in fields, like the Eastern Meadowlark or the Tree Swallow, have experienced declines in the millions of individuals. Even common species, like the Dark-eyed Junco and White-throated Sparrows common in Maine backyards and feeders, have experienced sharp declines, due to a combination of factors including forest loss and habitat degradation. The report in Science found some bird populations have increased since the 1970s, most notably waterfowl. Because of the strong conservation efforts that have improved water quality and protected wetland habitats on both breeding and wintering grounds, sportsmen have more opportunities today than several decades ago to find ducks and geese. A report released in October from the National Audubon Society (a separate organization from Maine Audubon) focused on the habitat impacts of climate change. The authors considered how land cover will respond to different levels of increased average temperature, based on trends we’re already seeing. In short, things will move northward. Mainers know there are different forests in southern Maine and northern Maine. Over the next fifty years that boundary between Maine’s northern and southern forests is projected to creep northward, and the species that live in each will have to move as well. The National Audubon Society projects a range of outcomes for Maine’s game birds. Using a model which projects our current rate of change, the report indicates that several game birds will lose a majority of their breeding habitat in the state, including the Ruffed Grouse and the Wilson’s Snipe. Several of Maine’s sea ducks are expected to lose habitat, including the Common Eider, Long-tailed Duck, Black Scoter, and Surf Scoter, while the White-winged Scoter is expected to benefit from a changed climate. Inland waterfowl are forecasted to experience differing impacts. Canada Geese and Brant are expected to benefit or feel no effect from a changed climate in Maine. Many of our dabbling ducks may lose summer breeding habitat but gain wintering areas. The report projects a mixed bag for rails: Sora and Virginia Rail are projected to lose ground in Maine, while two southerly species, King and Clapper Rail, are projected to

expand into the state. The science is clear: Maine’s birds are undergoing some dramatic habitat changes. Mainers who have spent significant time outdoors over the past few decades may have noticed it already. If current trends continue, those outdoors over the coming decades will see these changes occur right before their eyes. —

Book Review – Getting your Big Fish Trolling Maine Waters by Tom Seymour, 115 pages; Just Write Books, Topsham Reviewed by Will Lund Everything you ever wanted to know about trolling for trophy brook trout, togue, brown trout and landlocked salmon, is found in Tom Seymour’s brand-new, richly illustrated book. Lures? Check. Rods and reels? Check. Downriggers, attractors and finding the right depths? Check, check and check. If Tom tells you that a certain technique is effective, it’s because he has tried it and it works. If he recommends a certain streamer fly or lure, it’s like money in the bank. Tom’s latest book (he has written 15 books already on topics ranging from foraging to fishing to hiking) is an invaluable compilation of his vast years of knowledge on the subject. Studying this book and following its suggestions will allow all of us to become more effective, efficient and productive anglers. —

Bird of the Month – Sanderling by Erika Zambello

Throughout the fall and into early winter, shorebirds of all shapes and sizes land on our Maine shorelines to take a rest and refuel be(Continued on next page)

�������������������������������������������������� The Maine Sportsman • December 2019 • 15 (Continued from page 14)

fore continuing their migration southward. Small, gray, and lively, Sanderlings remain a favorite annual sighting for many. Sanderlings are only the size of a robin, but they fly thousands of miles between their breeding territories in the Arctic and their wintering grounds along the Pacific, Atlantic, and Gulf Coasts, as well as South America. Though they sport mottled cinnamon and dark brown plumage in the summer, they fade to white and gray for the remainder of the year. Inky-black legs are always moving as they literally run along the waves on

beaches from coast to coast. This small shorebird will eat almost anything to satisfy its active lifestyle. With bills thrust into the wet sand, they look for crabs, bivalves, and tiny horseshoe eggs. None around? No problem. They are also known to try for flying insects like mosquitoes and midges, or even algae, seeds, or roots. Though Sanderlings remain common, their numbers are declining. According to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, 700,000 live across the globe, with about 300,000 in North and South America. Why? The same shoreline habitat the Sanderlings need to

feed and rest are those that are prized by people for development and recreation. Oil spills can further threaten their numbers. To spot Sanderlings during the fall migration or into early winter, check out Maine’s coastal beaches like Popham State Park, Reid State Park and Biddeford Pool. Sanderlings are easy to tell apart from other shorebirds by their lack of distinctive markings, their black legs, and their habit of running together in flocks.

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16 • December 2019 • The Maine Sportsman ———————————————————————————————————————————————————

December 2019 Sunrise/Sunset Portland, ME DATE 1 Sun 2 Mon 3 Tue 4 Wed 5 Thu 6 Fri 7 Sat 8 Sun 9 Mon 10 Tue 11 Wed 12 Thu 13 Fri 14 Sat 15 Sun 16 Mon

RISE 6:52 6:53 6:54 6:55 6:56 6:57 6:58 6:59 7:00 7:01 7:02 7:03 7:04 7:05 7:05 7:06

SET 4:07 4:06 4:06 4:06 4:06 4:05 4:05 4:05 4:05 4:05 4:05 4:05 4:05 4:06 4:06 4:06

DATE 17 Tue 18 Wed 19 Thu 20 Fri 21 Sat 22 Sun 23 Mon 24 Tue 25 Wed 26 Thu 27 Fri 28 Sat 29 Sun 30 Mon 31 Tue

RISE 7:07 7:07 7:08 7:08 7:09 7:09 7:10 7:10 7:11 7:11 7:11 7:12 7:12 7:12 7:12

SET 4:06 4:07 4:07 4:08 4:08 4:09 4:09 4:10 4:10 4:11 4:12 4:12 4:13 4:14 4:15

December 2019 Tides Portland, ME DATE 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun Mon Tue

HIGH AM PM 2:11 2:15 3:03 3:08 3:56 4:03 4:50 5:00 5:42 5:57 6:34 6:53 7:22 7:46 8:07 8:33 8:47 9:17 9:25 9:59 10:03 10:40 10:42 11:21 11:23 — 12:03 12:06 12:47 12:52 1:35 1:42 2:27 2:37 3:24 3:38 4:24 4:43 5:24 5:50 6:25 6:57 7:25 8:00 8:21 8:58 9:12 9:52 10:02 10:42 10:49 11:30 11:34 — 12:15 12:18 12:58 1:01 1:41 1:45 2:26 2:30

LOW AM PM 8:02 8:42 8:55 9:35 9:51 10:27 10:49 11:19 11:47 — 12:12 12:45 1:02 1:38 1:48 2:24 2:30 3:06 3:10 3:46 3:49 4:26 4:28 5:06 5:10 5:48 5:53 6:32 6:39 7:18 7:29 8:09 8:24 9:03 9:24 10:00 10:28 11:00 11:34 — 12:01 12:42 1:03 1:47 2:01 2:45 2:55 3:38 3:46 4:28 4:34 5:15 5:21 6:00 6:05 6:43 6:49 7:25 7:33 8:08 8:19 8:52

�������������������������������������������������� The Maine Sportsman • December 2019 • 17

George’s Deer Hunting Stories Today I want to share some of my deer hunting stories with you. While I can no longer hunt because of my illness, ALS, I sure have lots of great hunting memories. “Don’t Worry About my Blood All Over the Kitchen” Late one afternoon I was sitting in my tree stand on my woodlot, near Hopkins Stream, when I heard a deer. It was a big buck, and he sauntered up beside me. I shot him. He ran about 50 yards and dropped. By this time it was getting dark, and I was rushing to clean it out and get it home. As a result, I almost cut my thumb off with my knife. Blood spurted everywhere, and I couldn’t stop it. So I left the buck, got in the canoe, paddled back to my vehicle and drove home. Linda wasn’t home, but I rushed through the kitchen with blood spurting all over the place and into the bathroom. However, I still couldn’t stop the

The buck was dead, floating half-way across the pond. So I did what any avid hunter would do – stripped off most of my clothes and swam out to retrieve the deer. Then I realized the water was freezing – unsurvivably cold. What had I been thinking? blood from flowing. I left Linda a note that said, “Don’t worry about the blood – I’m headed to the Farmington hospital for stitches to my thumb.” I don’t think she’s ever forgotten that note! State Record Heaviest Deer? Moose Pond in Mt. Vernon is not far from my house. The shoreline is completely undeveloped, and the pond is surrounded by forests, which hold lots of deer. One day years ago I got a short glimpse of a nice buck without getting off a shot, but the next day I decided to take a seat near that spot, hoping to see the buck again. I was hiding behind a large boulder and, sure enough, I spotted the buck headed my way. I got off one good shot, which hit him.



by George Smith

The general public’s perception is we’ve got too many turkeys, and we have to do whatever we can to reduce the population and make hunting them easier. Brad Allen, the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife’s bird group leader. John Holyoke column, Bangor Daily News, September 12, 2019 —

I was able to track him as he ran up through the woods next to the pond, and after traveling about 200 years, the buck turned and swam out into the pond. When I got to that spot, I saw him floating about halfway across the pond. He was obviously dead, and I worried that he would sink. So I stripped off my clothes and started swimming out in his direction. It didn’t take me long to figure out if I kept swimming, I would die in the pond because the water was freezing. And to this day I don’t know why I thought I would be able to grab the buck and swim back with it to shore. I quickly dressed, hiked out to my vehicle and drove home where I grabbed my canoe and my son and drove back to the pond. We had to pad-

dle a long way to reach the buck and fortunately he was still floating. So we towed him to shore and dragged him up to my vehicle. However, the deer had absorbed so much water that he weighed a lot and, we really struggled to get him up to and into my vehicle. I thought later, if I’d had him weighed at the country store, I would have had a new state record for the heaviest deer! One Deer’s Enough Here’s a story about my son Joshua’s deer that he shot when he was 16 years old. Josh and I were sitting in a fir thicket overlooking a spot where deer would exit the bog and head up the hill behind us. Three does emerged in front of us, and Josh aimed and fired at the

A focus on hunter safety has made the woods safer for everyone, and rather than changing laws governing access to private land, [hunter safety is] where the focus should remain. Kennebec Journal editorial, October 2, 2019 — Maine was home to some 76,000 moose about seven years ago. The current size is commonly estimated at 60,000 to 70,000, but Lee Kantar, Maine’s moose biologist, said that number might be as low as 50,000. “Every day that is mild in October and November and we don’t get any snow, ticks are out getting on moose. Climate is a factor in the level

biggest doe. All three took off quickly, disappearing to our right. And before we could even stand up, three more does stepped out in front of us again. I whispered to Josh, “Shoot! Shoot!” But he didn’t even pick up his gun, and the three does walked to our right and disappeared in the woods. I asked Josh, “Why didn’t you shoot?” He replied, “Because I shot at the other deer, Dad.” And sure enough, 75 yards up the hill, we found Josh’s doe, dead. “Josh,” I said, “That was a great decision not to shoot. You’re already a better hunter than your dad. I would’ve ended up shooting two deer.” My Biggest Buck The story about the biggest buck I ever shot, 216 pounds, is one of my favorites. Dad and I were hunting behind the North Wayne farm where he grew up. I sat up in the woods behind a cemetery with a pretty good view, (Continued on next page)

of ticks we have out there.” Patrick Whittle, Associated Press story, September 29, 2019 — A study last year in the Canadian Journal of Zoology followed the fate of 179 moose calves in New Hampshire and western Maine during a three-year period beginning in 2014. It found that 70 percent of them died, typically in March and April, because so many winter ticks had attached themselves that the moose ran short of the protein and energy they needed to survive. Steve Collins story, Sun Journal, September 22, 2019

18 • December 2019 • The Maine Sportsman ———————————————————————————————————————————————————

My Maine

(Continued from page 17)

except there was a thick group of small firs to my right. Dad started in the woods down by the farm, quite a distance from me. After sitting there about an hour, I heard a deer coming my way. Unfortunately, it was just the other side of the firs. I had one small opening where I might have a chance to see the deer, so I aimed my rifle at that opening and when the deer – a huge buck – trotted through that opening, I shot at it and missed. I could hear it trotting away from me, and I was devastated. The very next day, Dad suggested we try the same area, but this time he put me in a better spot where I’d have a good look at deer coming up from the farm. And again, he started in the woods down by the farm.

I sat there quite a while, and then I heard a deer coming up over the hill. And oh my gosh – here came the big buck I had missed the day before. This time I hit it. The deer ran into a tree and flipped right upside down. Amazing! When Dad came along and saw my big buck, I could see he was very pleased. And so was I! When we took it to the Mount Vernon country store and had it weighed, I was so happy. It was the only buck I shot that was big enough to qualify for the Maine Sportsman’s “Biggest Bucks” club (although I did shoot two other bucks that weighed 192 and 196 pounds, just short of the 200 pounds needed for the club).

2020 Writing Contest for Young Maine Sportsmen and Sportswomen To encourage young writers in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont to share their outdoor experiences, the New England Outdoor Writers Association (NEOWA) is sponsoring a writing contest for youths in grades 6-12. Cash prizes will be awarded to winners in each state, and in a separate contest, the winning entries from each state will then be judged for additional prizes in a New England-wide contest. Entries must be no more than 500 words, non-fiction, and focus on outdoororiented stories. Topics may include: fishing, boating, archery, shooting, hunting, trapping, field trials, sporting dogs, camping, woodcraft, diving, snorkeling, hiking, rock climbing, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, wildlife watching and similar activities that relate to outdoor recreation, natural resources and nature. Any young person may submit an entry, including work that was part of an assignment within a school or youth program. Entries from writers in grades 6-8 will be judged in the Junior Division, and submissions from entrants in grades 9-12 will be judged in the Senior Division. Junior and Senior winners from each state will receive a $125 cash prize. The state-winning entries will then be judged for a New England Regional award. New England regional winners from the Junior and Senior levels will each receive an additional $150. Winning stories will be published on the NEOWA website, and may be reprinted in The Maine Sportsman, Northwoods Sporting Journal and other New England magazines. The deadline for submittal is February 15, 2020. Entries from Maine youths should be submitted to Will Lund at and Steve Carpenteri at Entries from young people living in other New England states must be sent to their respective state judges. Details and guidelines on the Youth Writing Contest can be found at www.

Central Maine Youth Day Success

14-year-old Carter Bragg of Sidney bagged this 167-pound 8-pointer while hunting with his cousin, Holly MacKenzie, on Youth Day 2019.

Siblings Tag Out Early on Youth Day 2019 Martina Bizier, 15, shot her 185-pound buck at 6:48AM while hunting with her mother, Shannon, in Oakland. Just one town over in Sidney, Martina’s brother, Cash Bizier, 13, shot his 156-pound buck at 7:02AM while hunting with his dad, Jeremiah.

Broden Eaton, age 12, proudly displays his first deer with his 6-year-old brother, Carson Foster. Broden’s 8-pointer was taken in Benton and weighed in at 198 pounds.

�������������������������������������������������� The Maine Sportsman • December 2019 • 19

Whose Deer Is It? An Anonymous Letter to the Editor To the Editor: I witnessed a situation on Opening Day 2019 that I wish to share with your readers. Around 7:45 on Saturday morning, I was in our family tree stand in Central Maine, and heard a shot not that far behind me. Our local hunting club has been given permission by the landowner to have a couple of stands on that woodlot, and I thought it might be one of those guys who shot. Sure enough, I received a text from a member of the club. He indicated that a younger member of the club had just shot a big buck on the other side of the bog from me. (When I say “younger,” everything is relative – I guess he is about 21 years old, but still looks like a high school kid to me.) The young hunter was in there alone and

On Opening Day, a young Central Maine hunter mortally wounded a 13-point trophy buck, but then watched as another hunter tagged the deer. What would you have done? was asking if I would be willing to give him a hand tracking and retrieving the deer. Since a couple of club members had come in to help me drag out the 8-point buck my son shot on Junior Day, I was happy to return the favor. A Liver Shot The hunter indicated that his shot was a little too far back and low, likely through the lower

liver, so he planned wait 45 minutes for the deer to lay down, and then we would try and find it. He texted me back about 45 minutes later to say that he had found good blood at first, but that he was starting to have a hard time following it in the thick brush and wet leaves and that he could use my help. I told him I would head over his way and give

him a hand. When I made it over to him, we picked up the blood trail and followed the tracks for about another 75 to 100 yards. The blood was getting spotty, but you could see from the tracks that the deer was beginning to stumble frequently. I told the other hunter to look low, since I believed the buck was not far off and was likely lying down.


Shots Just Ahead Just then, two gunshots when off, only 30 or 40 yards in front of us. They were about three seconds apart. They were so loud that the guy I was helping hit the ground, while I jumped down behind a nearby tree. After a few seconds, we got up. The shots had come right from the direction the blood and tracks were heading, so I had a bad feeling. The young hunter was also concerned, and said, “I hope that wasn’t my deer.” (Continued on next page)


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Deer Hunting in Maine (Continued from page 19)

We walked through a small patch of thick fir trees and saw a guy in an orange jacket, 30 yards from us. As we approached, we saw the deer on the ground, just behind a little mound. Two Wounds; Two Stories? There were only two wounds in the deer. One passed through the lower liver area with a significant exit wound, while the other was a high neck shot. The third hunter initially explained that he saw the buck standing just on the other side of the fir thicket. It did not move after the first shot,

he said, but it dropped on the second. After the younger hunter told him about shooting the deer an hour or so earlier and tracking it to that spot, the third hunter said “Oh, that must have been where the gut shot came from. I thought it was odd that it didn’t jump after my first shot.” He closed with, “Well, thanks for pushing it to me.” He was obviously claiming the deer, and the younger hunter was crushed. What Happened? Only One Person Knows We’ll never know if that deer was already

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down when the third hunter shot it. We’ll never know if the deer had been lying down and was trying to stand, but it was clear to me the deer was not going anywhere from that spot. It is also unlikely that anyone but a skilled marksman would be able to make a neck shot like that on a moving deer. However, the point is moot because we were not actually watching the deer when the final shots were fired, and I have always believed that it’s the person who puts the final kill shot into the deer who has the legal claim to it. I have never actually looked into the law to see how that would be defined. What’s the Right Thing to Do? Seeing that there was no way this guy was going to concede his claim to this “monster buck” and knowing that no deer is worth getting into a heated confrontation over in the middle of the woods, I took a photo of the deer and then walked the young hunter back towards his trail out. I let him know that he really did all he could have done in that situation, and that in the eyes of his hunting club that was a heck of a buck he’d shot. It was sad to see the expression on his face as he walked off. I am sure he will think about that experience for years. As I worked my way

The 13-point buck featured in this story, in a photo taken two minutes after the deer was shot – the second time.

back through the bog toward my stand, I could not help but think about this issue. What does the law really say, and what is the right thing to do in that situation? That was a buck of a lifetime, but thinking of my sons growing up as young hunters, I hope that I would have been able to see the bigger picture beyond the trophy rack and handled things differently. (Name withheld upon request) Editor’s note: This true story illustrates a controversy that has been around for centuries – if one hunter wounds a deer and another drops it, who gets the deer? In the oldest of English texts, the first person to take possession of an animal – regardless of who had shot it – had the strongest claim. That approach was later modified, in that the

hunter who administered the shot that dropped the animal was deemed to own the kill. Some modern court decisions have evolved to a third variation – if a hunter wounds the animal in a manner that will certainly and quickly lead to its death, then the first shooter is the proper claimant, not a subsequent hunter who shoots the already mortally-wounded animal. According to an article in Grand View Outdoors, a Wisconsin court ruled that “[t]he instant a wild animal is brought under control of a person so actual possession is practically inevitable, a vested property in it accrues to him which cannot be divested by another’s interfering and killing it.” So the question remains – What would you have done?

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�������������������������������������������������� The Maine Sportsman • December 2019 • 21

Joe Dreams About the Scouting Season That Didn’t Happen For the first time in my 40 years of deer hunting, I didn’t scout or hunt deer before my birthday, October 16th. Along with a friend, I launched a new business this past April. To say my life has changed, would be the understatement of the year. I literally had no time to dedicate to whitetails. The only deer I saw were along the roads in my travels or in my yard. I did get a few mornings of duck and goose hunting in. Those were productive and satisfying. They may be the only thing that kept me from going crazy. I’m a hunter, after all – not just a deer hunter. Thank goodness for the small game and waterfowl in my life. What Did I Actually Miss Out On? There was a brief bit of shed hunting done in April, but not as much as I would’ve normally done. I typically spend five to ten mornings or afternoons looking for shed antlers and scouting deer

Sometimes life gets in the way, and deer hunting takes a back seat. Unless your job is hunting, there are occasionally other priorities that require our full and undivided attention. sign in April. Finding a shed doesn’t necessarily mean I’ve found a big buck; however, it does make the endless walking and observing, a little more rewarding. In May, while turkey hunting, I continue my search for whitetails. I’ll watch deer feeding on new green growth for hours. My goal? Identify each deer’s sex and look for characteristics or markings that will help me identify them later in the year. This year I turkey hunted a few times and killed a couple of nice birds. Unfortunately, purposeful deer observation did not occur. Missing my May scouting wasn’t fun, but it’s something that can be overcome. May is still early.


Time Usually Spent Scouting, was Spent Tending the Fields In June, when antlers on adult bucks are beginning to develop quickly, I enjoy spot lighting green fields late at night. Bachelor groups are easy to locate this time of year. It’s likely they won’t be too far from these areas come deer season. Unfortunately, in June, we were harrowing fields on our farm, laying mulch and planting. On top of attending to fields, I also had to run a greenhouse. There was zero spotlighting done because I was getting very little sleep. (Excuses, excuses – yeah, I get it!) Missing out on any spotlighting opportunities during summer months is painful. Light-



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ing fields is a great way to take inventory of all the deer in the immediate area. Spotlighting is an especially good way to view adult bucks that have a habit of being nocturnal for much of the year. Just knowing those bucks are around gets me excited. It can help with decision-making when a marginal buck shows up and presents a shot. Knowing larger bucks lived on a farm I hunted has saved the life of many 120” class bucks in my hunting area. FYI, July was the same as June for me – too busy on the farm to scout.

ite and critical months to scout; however, most of this scouting is done from afar. There are few things better than watching a remote green field from a few hundred yards away on a warm August or September evening. Adult bucks mingle closely with each other in bachelor groups. It’s not uncommon to see groups of four or more large-racked, heavy-bodied bucks, feeding together on green fields in my area. By mid-August, antler growth slows or stops. Velvet is shed by older bucks first, usually in the first week of September. Early September is usually decision-making time for me. I would normally watch fields on at least three farms to determine if there’s a particular buck or bucks that’ll be worth signif-

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Big Game

(Continued from page 21)

icant effort during the season. Late August and early September is also the time when I’ll prep stands for bow season and study buck movements to learn their feeding patterns.

Corn-Choppers Must Sound Like Dinner Bells to the Deer Sometimes stand locations are closer to feeding areas ... for the first few days of the season. Other times, stands end up 100-300 yards from a

main food source. Had I hunted this October, I would have set stands on apple and oak trees being visited by bucks on their way to fields in the evening. I would have looked for rubs near or leading to these “food islands,” and this year was textbook time to do this. I’m even more sad to

have missed this opportunity because corn was cut late this year. There’s nothing I love more than sitting in a stand while farmers are chopping corn fields nearby or right after they finish in the evening. Corn choppers must sound like a dinner bell to all deer trying to fatten up for the rut and winter. However, this August through October was harvest season on the farm, so unfortunately, I missed it all.

Please don’t take this column as a complaint. I don’t like missing any time in the woods, but it was necessary in this case. I want readers to get a feel for what my scouting year would normally look like. Harvesting big bucks regularly takes significant effort. For me, it’s a labor of love and something I am absolutely willing to work at. Unfortunately my “spare time” was nearly non-existent this year. (Continued on next page)




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— Guest Column —

The Cost of Dog Ownership by David Putnam I love my dog, Filbert. He’s a wiener dog. I wag when he wags. I scratch him and rub on him when I can, and we enjoy it when he burrows under the blankets on our master bed to stay warm at night. He’s not a guard dog or a duck retriever. His job is to be amusing, fun to own. So imagine how I felt when the vet raked a few fleas off onto the stainless steel table. How could I let my dog get like this, she seemed to be saying. Filbert’s flea collar had quit working. Earlier I had called the vet to say I wanted to buy a drug my friends recommended, Comfortis. Filbert would “need a medical exam for the prescription.” So, off to the office we went. (He’d left his testicles there a year before, but didn’t seem to remember.) Getting the Guilty-Dad Lecture He’d gained a few pounds since his last visit. “Dachshunds have a history of back problems,” the vet began, “The extra weight can increase the risk of injury.” We hadn’t even gotten to the meat of the exam—the tail-lift and

I took my elderly dachshund, Filbert, to the vet’s office for some flea medicine. However, the vet laid a guilt trip on me, suggesting that I implement a full-blown doggy senior wellness program, including x-rays, blood work and a flu vaccine. So Filbert and I had a talk.

Filbert: “Not a guard dog; not a retriever.”

thermometer insertion— and I was already getting the guilty-dad lecture. The vet did seem to like Filbert. “Good boy!” she said. “Needs a wellness program. Nails too long. Needs teeth cleaning, dental x-rays. Needs blood work to check for heart worms. Had a flu vaccine? Lepto?” I wasn’t about to ask what Lepto is. Filbert seemed happy, angling for a dog bone, eager to get down and hump something for show.

Big Game Hunting (Continued from page 22)

That brings me to my ultimate point. I surmise most deer hunters have ultra-busy schedules that keep them from scouting hard and prepping for the season the way I normally do. This is a big reason why harvesting a great buck every year is nearly impossible for most hunters. Harvesting a great buck often involves a lot of luck. Life gets in the way, and deer hunting takes a back seat, as it should for most. Unless your job is hunting, there are many other priorities in life that require our attention. This year’s priorities were an eye opener to the obvious for me. I have been blessed to dedicate so much time to deer hunting in the past. I hope the extra time will return next year.

Treatment Plan, or Fundraiser? The whole situation made me think of the time I took my teenage son to a boarding school for troubled kids in Maine. The school headmaster gave us parents a pitch in the auditorium, like a TV preacher. We had failed our kids, he told us. He then unveiled plans for the new building, a financial goal. Now we had a way to pay for our sins. Many parents cried. Similar deal at the

vet’s office. I left with a print-out of a treatment plan—a senior wellness program, CBC/S-Chem/ T4/HW Canine, and on and on for three pages. On the last page, I was supposed to “accept and agree to the terms of this estimate.” The total price was $605, not including the flea pills, which came to $17 each, another $105 for six months. “No, no and no,” I told the vet. “I’m not going to brush his teeth daily. I’ll wipe up vomit, pick up

poop and stick pills down his throat, but that’s as far as I go.” Man-to-Dog Talk Back in our truck, with Filbert hunting for cracker bits under the seat, we had a talk. “Filbs, ol’ boy,” I said, “we need to get home and find someone to hold you while I try to clip your nails. I’ll get you some of those cookie bones to help clean your teeth. We’re not doing all that other stuff. “I love you, as you know all through your body and wee mind, but you are a dog. There have been many wonderful dogs before you, and there will be others if I outlive you. “I know, it’s tough to hear. No, it’s not tough to hear? You don’t really care? Quit licking me! Get down! You love me anyway? Good boy.” Today the pest control people are coming to “treat” the house and yard for fleas, for $300. Filbert’s on the Comfortis. The rest of the senior wellness program is on hold for now, and Filbert’s OK with that.

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A Year’s Wait by Timmy Bolduc

My friend Jeff Paradis came across the tracks of the monster buck I’d been dreaming about since the previous season. But rather than chasing the trophy deer himself, he came back to camp and told me about it. Why? Because that’s what true friends do. My 2016 deer season ended with me locating the biggest buck that I found all year. I found his track on the last day of the Maine muzzleloader season. I cut his track from my truck as he walked out of an old winter road to go check on a group of does that lived a couple miles to the east. Though I followed him all that day, I was just too far behind him, and I could not catch up to him before darkness fell over the frozen woods. This buck was safe from hunters for another year, but I planned on looking for him next year. Hardest Part I believe – and I’m sure that I’m not alone

in my belief – that the hardest part of shooting a 220+ pound Maine buck is simply finding one. Let’s face it – they certainly aren’t living in every section of the vast Big Woods of the North Country. They can be few and far between, and there have been years where I have spent weeks looking for bucks of this caliber and not finding one. It’s for this reason I believe that hardest part of shooting a big one ... is finding a big one. Another Season Arrives Fast forward to 2017. Two buddies and I set up our remote camp and went home to wait for snow. As luck would have it,

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the area around our remote camp had picked up a few inches of snow before we made it back up there. I got up early that first morning and made the 20-mile drive up into the spot where I had followed the smasher buck the year before. I zigged, zagged, looped and circled all through those woods, and couldn’t find his track anywhere. I found other bucks, but none of them had the qualities that I was looking for – stride, width and size. Feeling disappointed, I drove back to camp that night. One of my best friends and fellow Big Woods Bucks Team Member – Jeff Paradis, who I’ve hunted with for years and who had seen the track of the big buck I was after – said to me; “Hey, I found your buck!” I replied, “Really?” Jeff had cut the buck’s track down on the same winter road the buck had walked out of last year. When I asked Jeff why he didn’t take his track, he told me some ex-

Timmy Bolduc located the deer he wanted on the last day of the 2016 season, but it took him until 2017 to tag the deer -- all 235 pounds of it.

cuse: “Ugh – it’s too damn thick down in there.” Jeff knew how badly I wanted to hunt that deer, and Jeff is one of those friends I hope you all have – a true friend. Game Day That night, the temperature dropped, making the snow noisy. In the morning, I walked down the winter road and picked up the buck’s track from the night. With very little frozen snow and no wind, I was required to change tracking tactics, adopting a much slower pace than I usually go. I followed the buck’s track for a little over a mile before he crossed a stream and then a small swale on the other side of it. Within 50 yards I came to a small pile of

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his hair where he stopped and scratched himself. I stopped and picked up some hair, before telling myself again, “Take it slow today.” Long Wait Over Just then, I heard a limb snap. I peeked around a tree, never moving my feet, but didn’t see anything. Luckily I never took a step, because about 45 seconds later I looked up and saw the buck walking toward me on his back track. I dropped to one knee, leveled my Remington 760, and picked an opening in the trees. When he walked into it, I put my bead on his shoulder and fired. The year-long wait was over. He dressed 235 pounds, and carried a 7-point rack. He wore some gnarly scars and new wounds from fighting. A true trophy. What lessons can be take from this hunt? This: Always pay attention to the conditions you’re hunting, and track accordingly. Take a minute to stop and listen ... and share camp with some great friends. (Continued on next page)

�������������������������������������������������� The Maine Sportsman • December 2019 • 25

Maine Wildlife:

Yellow Perch

by Tom Seymour

The bulk of yellow perch, Perca flavescens, caught in Maine are unceremoniously thrown back or left on the ice as eagle food. “Trash fish,” most of us call yellow perch. But is that moniker deserved? Perhaps it’s time to take a second look at these mistreated, misunderstood and may I add, delicious-tasting panfish. Two types of perch swim in Maine waters –white perch and yellow perch. Of the two, only yellow perch are true perch. White perch properly belong in the same family as striped bass. Still, when someone says they are going perch fishing, they mean white-perch fishing. Hardly anyone fishes for yellow perch, at least not on purpose. Nonetheless, a few anglers in the know enjoy catching and eating yellow perch. These folks target larger perch – those of 10 inches or more. Such fish give up boneless fillets that when rolled with flour or seasoned fish fry mix and fried to a crispy, golden brown, rank right up there with the finest of fish. School Fish We seldom if ever catch just one yellow perch, since these are schooling fish that tend to stay together in often-massive schools. The trick to taking lots of perch, upon locating a school, is to make haste in removing the hook and then getting back down to waiting fish as quickly as possible. That way, the school remains interested and will remain in the same area for a long time. While yellow perch feed year-round, the best time to connect with big schools is after ice-out in spring, and in winter through the ice. Springtime fishing for spawning yellow perch calls for light tackle in order to reap the most fun from the battle. Small spinners, and also bobbers-and-worms, make the best offerings. Yellow perch spawn around limbs and treetops that have fallen in the water, so look for these in springtime.

Big Woods World (Continued from page 24)

Hal Blood Adds His Thoughts A true whitetail deer tracker does more than just follow a buck’s track. A tracker has learned how to adjust their hunt to the weather and snow conditions, as well as to the buck they are following. The Big Woods Team members are all

Yellow perch are misunderstood but delicious. I suggest Maine anglers give them a try. Sometimes the simplest things are the most enjoyable. Ice fishing for yellow perch does not require the use of bait, since perch readily bite on artificial jigs. Any panfish jig will do, as will small, metal jigs such as Swedish Pimple. And while perch sometimes hang in only 10 – 15 feet of water, they more often congregate in 40 or more feet of water. Untapped Resource In waters where yellow perch are present, they compose a significant portion of the total biomass. Often, yellow perch inhabit the same lakes and ponds as white perch, chain pickerel, smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, white suckers, various baitfish species and pumpkinseed and/or redbreast sunfish. But of these, anglers only utilize a scant few species. And at the bottom, along with sunfish and baitfish, sit yellow perch. Sadly, yellow perch are tainted by food prejudices. People who haven’t tried yellow perch are often the first to condemn them. This mindset becomes reinforced when someone finally decides to check out some fillets, only to find little, yellow grubs embedded in the flesh. These are the larval stage of freshwater mussels. They are not harmful to fish or humans, and are easily removed with the point of a fillet knife. Even so, anglers seeking yellow perch concentrate upon lakes and ponds without mussel larvae infestations. For me at least, it makes little sense to go and buy fish when steady supplies of delicious yellow perch are so easily obtained. Of course the same may be said about other “trash fish.” Sunfish, pickerel and hornpout all inhabit our Maine waters in great numbers. Yet very few anglers appreciate their food value, to say nothing of their sporting qualities. Also, if we can get past our inherent dislike for them and view them with dispassionate eyes, yellow perch are a beautiful fish, with their yellow bodies, black bands and orange

great tracker, yet they all have a different style of tracking. Hunters new to tracking often try to do things exactly like someone else with experience. The problem with that approach is that you are limiting yourself. Don’t be afraid to try something different or think outside of the box. I have always said, just like the expression “There is more than one way to skin a cat,” there’s

fins. Were yellow perch to grow as large as bass, they would probably have long since become enshrined in anglers’ hearts. But since a 12-inch perch stands as cause for raised eyebrows, they remain relegated to the ranks of lesser species. Perch Fishing Some of the most fun I’ve had fishing was when, one spring with red maples in flower, yellow perch were spawning by the submerged top of a maple tree that had fallen into the water. This was many years ago, when most of us used either baitcasting outfits or fly rods. In my case it was a fly rod, with a long leader at the end of the woven fly line. This allowed for “strip casting,” where a length of line gets pulled off the reel and then when the bait is cast, its weight carries out all the loose line. Anyway, these were, as I recall, huge perch, and they bit the moment my wormand-bobber rig hit the water. In my mind’s eye I can still see that white-painted cork bobber plummeting to the depths each time a yellow perch bit. While I had already become something of a trout nut, hitting every stream within walking distance, this perch fishing had great appeal. When trout fishing, fish come singly, one here and one there. But with perch, the nonstop action was something new and different. Some things never change and even today, anglers looking for some easygoing fun, plus some good eating, have only to hit the nearest yellow perch pond in spring in order to enjoy the same action I had so many years ago. Angleworms (not night crawlers, since they are too large) remain a good bait choice. Shiners, though, are probably the best bait of all – especially for larger-size perch. Today, with the advent of ultralight spinning tackle, anglers can take perch on artificial lures, too. Any of the leadhead, plastic-body panfish jigs will work. The smallest versions of Rapalas and Rebel diving plugs work well too, since they effectively imitate minnows. So when other species aren’t biting, I suggest going out for yellow perch. Sometimes the simplest things are the most enjoyable.

also more than one way to kill a buck on the track. So like Timmy said, when you are out in the woods, give it your all, but don’t forget to enjoy the time in camp with friends and family. After all, the most important part of the hunt is sharing the memories with others and reveling in the comradery of the hunting camp.

26 • December 2019 • The Maine Sportsman ———————————————————————————————————————————————————

Snowmobile Trip Planning by Steve Carpenteri By December, Maine’s snowmobile enthusiasts are ready to hit the trail for some serious riding. The first decision to be made is, “Where are we going?” followed by, “How are we going to get there?” Currently, Maine has over 10,000 miles of groomed, mapped trails that lead to all points

The ITS (Interconnected Trail System) allows travel along state-supported routes. It also leads to trails developed and maintained by local clubs (for which you should obtain local trail maps), and even to crossings into Canada, which require a special trail pass and proof of insurance. north, south, east and west, some even extending west into New Hampshire and north into Canada. The options

are endless, and opportunities abound for safe, speedy travel with plenty of stops built in for rest, food, gas and supplies.



pect along the way.

All a rider has to do is decide when and how he wants to reach his destination, and select a map that tells him what to ex-

Trail Maps Available For starters, a Map of Maine’s Interconnected Trail System (ITS) is provided to snowmobilers through the joint effort of the Maine Snowmobile Association (MSA) and the Snowmobile Division of the Maine Bureau of (Continued on next page)

See state-of-the-art Fisher® Plows at these locations: ARUNDEL Weirs Motor Sales GMC 1513 Portland Road 207-985-3537

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AUBURN Morrison & Sylvester, Inc. 1175 Minot Avenue 207-783-8548

NEW GLOUCESTER Trafford Supply 531A Penney Road 207-576-4271 Like Us on Facebook

AUGUSTA Motor Supply Company 268 State Street 207-623-1971

SPRINGVALE Black Bear Automotive 251 Main Street 207-324-4538 Like Us on Facebook

AUGUSTA O’Connor GMC Chevrolet 187 Riverside Drive 800-452-1911

WEST BATH Bath Auto Parts 116 State Street 207-443-4274

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WISCASSET Wiscasset Auto Parts 693 Bath Road 207-882-6389

�������������������������������������������������� The Maine Sportsman • December 2019 • 27


PERFORM Maine’s snowmobile trail system includes 10,000 miles of interstate trails, plus another 10,000 miles of locally-maintained trails. There is definitely room to roam! Photo: Maine Travel and Tourism (Continued from page 26)

Parks and Lands, Department of Conservation, under the direction of the MSA Trails Committee. The trails are created and maintained through the efforts of the local snowmobile clubs, the Snowmobile Division, local municipalities, supporting businesses and the many landowners throughout the state of Maine who generously allow access to snowmobilers. According to the Maine Snowmobile Association, ITS trails are marked in red, while connector trails are marked in green. Green boxed markings (e.g., AK 37, PT 15) represent junctions denoted by the first and last letter of the county (for example, AK means Aroostook, while PT means Penobscot) in which the junction is located and the number assigned to the junction. An additional 10,000plus miles of locally-maintained trails crisscross this system all across the state. Local clubs and towns produce local and regional maps showing details of specific trail systems. Updated Each Year The ITS map is updated each year to reflect changes and additions to the trail system in anticipation of the upcoming season. New maps are usually available for distribution in late October.

ITS maps may be obtained from the MSA office at 7 Noyes Street Place in Augusta; at some Maine Tourism Association locations (information centers along Interstate Route 95); at the annual Maine Snowmobile Show; and at MSA-supporting business member locations, local chambers of commerce and from most local snowmobile clubs. Copies of the current ITS map can be ordered by mail for only $2 (to cover postage and handling) to: ITS Map, Maine Snowmobile Association, P.O. Box 80, Augusta, ME 04332. Regional and Local Maps Additional maps of regional and local snowmobile trail systems are produced and distributed by local snowmobile clubs, Chambers of Commerce and tourism groups throughout the state. These maps depict an additional 10,000 miles of trail not covered by the ITS map. These maps are generally more detailed than the statewide ITS map. A list of downloadable regional and local snowmobile maps is available via links on the MSA Web site ( The MSA cautions that snowmobile maps should not be used to determine travel routes for any vehicle other than a snowmobile. It is against the law in Maine to oper(Continued on next page)

The BOSS Snowplow. No one knows more about snow plowing equipment. No one! Contact your local BOSS Snowplow retailer at one of these locations: BOWDOIN J.L. Custom Fab, Inc. Rt. 201 (North of Topsham) 207-666-5800

ELLSWORTH E Skip Grindle & Sons 485 North St 207-667-5808 Find us on facebook

DOVER-FOXCROFT Rowell’s Garage 191 East Main Street 207-564-3434

EAST MACHIAS Johnson’s Town Line Auto 1060 Main Street, Rt. 1 207-255-4996


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— Visit Your Local Arctic Cat Dealer for Details — GORHAM White Rock Outboard 351 Sebago Lake Rd. 207-892-9606

SIDNEY Kramer’s Inc. 2400 West River Rd. 207-547-3345

JACKMAN Jackman Power Sports 549 Main St. 207-668-4442

BERLIN, NH Jericho Outdoors 232 Jericho Rd. 603-215-6002

Always wear a helmet and don’t drink and ride. © 2019 Textron Specialized Vehicles Inc.

28 • December 2019 • The Maine Sportsman ———————————————————————————————————————————————————

Snowmobile Trip Planning (Continued from page 27)

ate an ATV, dune buggy, 4-wheel drive vehicle, motorcycle or any motor vehicle other than a snow-

mobile on a snowmobile trail financed by Maine’s Snowmobile Trail Fund at any time of the year,

unless the landowner has given permission for the activity. If a club doesn’t specify a fee for its map, consider making a donation to the club trail fund.

Business Support Over 2,100 Maine businesses support the trail system by purchasing business memberships in their local clubs while catering to the needs of snowmobilers all winter. By connecting with these businesses, riders will find accommodations, dining, snowmobile rentals, gasoline, snowmobile sales, repairs and parts, guide services plus local knowledge of trails and current conditions. Connectivity As noted above, many of Maine’s snowmobile trails interconnect, allowing adventurous snowmobilers to travel beyond Maine’s borders into Canada and New Hampshire. This growing network of trails is the product of a cooperative program among snowmobile clubs, municipalities, private landowners and the Bureau of Parks and Lands. An additional 310 miles of multi-use rail trails



Get That


are managed by the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, Off-road Recreational Vehicle Office. Log onto parks for more information on additional snowmobile trails systems, maps and current regulations. While riding, it is a good idea to keep laminated copies of the ITS and local trail system maps on board to ensure a safe and timely trip. Canadian Travel When traveling into Canada, riders must stop at customs. The penalty for not stopping is $5,000, as well as confiscation of your snowmobile. Riders must also have a “Trail Pass” to ride Quebec and New Brunswick trails. In Quebec, passes are available from the Federation of Clubs for Snowmobiles at (514) 252-3076. In New Brunswick, passes are available from the first New (Continued on page 32)

Visit Your Local Ski-Doo Dealer for the Latest Promotions! AUBURN Wallingford Equipment 2527 Turner Road 207-782-4886

LEEDS Reggie’s Kawasaki Ski-doo 255 US Hwy 202 207-933-4976

AUGUSTA North Country Ski-doo 3099 N. Belfast Ave. 207-622-7994

LINCOLN Lincoln Power Sports 265 West Broadway 207-794-8100

DETROIT Huff Powersports 284 North Road 207-487-3338

WINDHAM Richardson’s Boatyard 850 Roosevelt Tr, Rt 302 207-892-9664

FORT KENT Fort Kent Powersports 377 Caribou Road 207-834-3659

COLEBROOK, NH Lemieux Garage Inc. 161 Main St 603-237-4377

JACKMAN Jackman Power Sports 549 Main Street 207-668-4442 ©2018 Bombardier Recreational Products Inc. (BRP). All rights reserved. ®, ™ and the BRP logo are trademarks of BRP or its affiliates. Products in the United States (US) are distributed by BRP US Inc. Always ride safely and responsibly. *Observed HP measured on internal Dyno test in optimal conditions for 2-stroke engines.

�������������������������������������������������� The Maine Sportsman • December 2019 • 29

— Snowmobiling in Maine —

2020 Snowmobile Review by Steve Vose The Farmer’s Almanac predicted this to be a cold, snowy winter. That’s bad news for those of us with long driveways and lacking strong young backs to shovel snow, but for the avid snowmobiler this could be a season to remember. For those new to the sport and looking to purchase a sled or those looking to upgrade, the 2020 line-up of snowmobiles is filled with impressive models from every manufacturer. Topping the list in 2020 is a wide variety of performance, backcountry, mountain, touring and cross-over models. With hundreds of sleds to choose from, the options available to the consumer are overwhelming. For purposes of this

article, I have reviewed four 2020 sleds from Polaris, Arctic Cat, Skidoo and Yamaha that I feel represent the best of the best. RMK EVO from Polaris

First up is the RMK EVO from Polaris (MSRP $5,799). This 2020 sled has been specially built for new riders, with compact ergonomics and performance scaled to individuals wanting to enter the sport. With a price point well below the list price for a performance-level

machine, this is a great sled for individuals looking to start riding safely. The sled’s size and controls accommodate a wide range of riders without the machine feeling too big or too small. From its comfortable seating position to its easy-to-reach throttle, the RMK is designed to build confidence in all new riders. The suspension is engineered for a stable yet easy ride. The adjustable-stance Independent Front Suspension (IFS) allows the sled to be modified as the rider gains experience. The sled’s speed is electronically limited to 50 mph to assist new riders in first gaining control before attempting higher speeds; however, an accessory kit is avail-

able to make additional power available as skills develop. The rider position on the sled is lower than on a full-size sled, thereby lowering the center of gravity and ensuring ride stability. This has the effect of providing new or shorter riders more comfort, confidence and control. The throttle control is designed to be comfortably operated by smaller hands, and the handlebar placement easily accommodates standing while riding. The 15 x 144 x 1.75 track, deep keel and wide design of the RMK provides significant “flotation” over deep, loose snow, while the new 144 fan engine brings an appropriate amount of pow-

Snowmobile Rental & Guided Tour Directory

er for new riders. The RMK is available with and without electric start. Though this sled is being advertised by Polaris as an “entry level” sled, don’t let that lull you into thinking that this sled is incapable of providing new riders with years of fun and enjoyment. M8000 Hardcore Alpha One from Arctic Cat

The M8000 Hardcore Alpha One (MSRP $15,695), unlike the RMK, is not an entry-level sled. The M8000 is, in the words of the Arctic (Continued on next page)

Rockwood, ME • (207) 534-2261 Open 7 Days Heated Snowmobile Storage Non-Ethanol Gas


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30 • December 2019 • The Maine Sportsman ———————————————————————————————————————————————————

Snowmobile Review (Continued from page 29)

Cat marketing department, a “powder-churning monster,” custom-designed for riding in specific conditions. Categorized as a “mountain” sled, the M8000 is built for competitive, big-air riders and those wishing to explore off trail wilderness, deep snow and country inaccessible to many other machines Boasting a powerful 8000 series C-TEC2

engine, the Hardcore is engineered for durability, responsiveness, quick acceleration and a high power-to-weight ratio. The engine is said to deliver a new level of clean Arctic Cat 2-stroke performance technology, and features an ECM-controlled electronic oil pump, battery-less EFI, “Engine Reverse Technology” and enhanced power in the 165-hp class of en-

gines, providing a powerful, lightweight design. The M8000’s AMS front suspension, Fox 1.5 coil-over-ski shocks, and the power claw track all are designed to work together to provide impressive deep-snow traction and performance. Updates for 2020 include the revised ARS II front suspension geometry for flatter cornering, plus enhancements to the CTEC2 engine – with re-designed cylinders, pistons, combustion

chamber and fuel rail. Grand Touring Sport, from Ski-doo

Year after year, Skidoo continues to design new sleds loaded with innovation and performance. These upgrades are on top of the many

“standard” features that have allowed Ski-doo to flourish in the snow-machine market. The Grand Touring Sport is a sled designed for those riders looking for a touring sled with style and reliability. With an MSRP of $9,999, the GTS provides a high level of comfort, style and performance at a price that won’t break the bank. The Grand Touring Sport is built on the REV Gen4 platform. Many rid(Continued on next page)

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�������������������������������������������������� The Maine Sportsman • December 2019 • 31 (Continued from page 30)

ers already understand that the REV Gen4 line up of snowmobiles delivers sufficient power and performance needed for aggressive trail and mountain riding, however, what may not be so obvious are the advantages the platform brings to the touring segment. Improved handling and engine performance are always a plus regardless of the consumer segment, and that was the goal or Ski-doo engineers – to bring the REV Gen4 platform to the Ski-doo Grand Touring line. Well-balanced, precise handling, rider-inspired ergonomic design, and strong engine performance are a good combination for any snowmobiler – including touring riders. Offering key features including the ROTAX 600 ACE engine, RAS 3 front suspension and a laundry list of other accessories, the 2020 Ski-doo Grand Touring Sport is sure to turn heads this snow season. Transporter 600 from Yamaha

(MSRP $12,399) In a bold move, Yamaha for 2020 has lessened its presence in the mountains by dropping the M-TX and the B-TX SE models. Instead, the company is focusing what the company describes as “high-end solo, two person cruising, and lake blasting.” The company believes there is, within market demands, a subset of loyal customers longing for the return of a two-stroke Yamaha snowmobile. Yamaha responded to this sentiment by unveiling the Transporter 600.

The Transporter combines performance and utility, allowing it to be a versatile sled designed for work but also packed with plenty of play. The sled features a 38-inch front ski stance with HPG shocks and a 15 by 153 by 2.25 inch Powerclaw track. It’s powered by Cat’s 599 C-TEC2 DSI engine, providing riders with good acceleration. Other amenities include a large rear rack, rear hitch, tall windshield, push-button starting and a reverse gear, plus the new controls and braking that Yamaha first introduced in 2019. Of course, it wouldn’t be a Yamaha without Yamaha’s exclusive styling, including a sharp-looking black and red design integrated into the sled’s bodywork, seat, windshield and skis. An Interview with the Experts I had a chance to follow-up with the sales staff at Jackman Power Sports ( w w w . j a c k m a n p o w e in Jackman, Maine. These guys carry Arctic Cat, Ski-doo and Polaris, and sell about 350 new sleds each season. In my opinion, that qualifies them as experts in all things snowmobile. I spoke with Dave, a member of the Jackman sales team. Dave explained that while buying a new sled can at first appear expensive, the 60-month low interest financing (5.9%) provided by the manufacturers, can make a sled affordable for many riders. Dave also noted that with proper maintenance and care, a new snowmobile is capable of providing decades of fun and enjoyment – an investment easy to justify when the purchase price is spread out over many years of use.

2019 Snowmobiles

2017/18 Snowmobiles

Get the latest 2019 model snowmobiles with financing as low as 0% for 12 months.

Get great deals on 2017 & 2018 model snowmobiles with financing as low as 0% for 12 months.

See Your Polaris Dealer for Details!

JACKMAN Jackman Power Sports 549 Main Street 207-668-4442

OQUOSSOC Oquossoc Marine Inc. 87 Carry Road 207-864-5477

TOPSHAM Woody’s Performance Ctr. 70 Topsham Fair Mall Road 207-729-1177 GORHAM, NH Absolute PowerSports 461 Main Street 603-466-5454

LEWISTON Central Maine Powersports 845 Main Street 207-689-2345

Offers vary by model. Offers valid on select new 2017 – 2020 Polaris snowmobiles purchased between November 1st 2019 – December 31st, 2019. Minimum Payments required. Offer may not be combined with certain other offers, is subject to change and may be extended or terminated without further notice. All rebates are paid to the dealer. The Promotional Limited Warranty consists of the standard 12-month factory warranty plus an additional 12, or 24 months of additional promotional limited warranty coverage for a total of 24 or 36 months of warranty coverage. See dealer for details. Any additional warranty coverage after the initial 12-month factory warranty is subject to a $50.00 deductible per visit. Valid at participating Polaris Snowmobile dealers only. Model & year exclusions apply. See your local dealer for details. Approval, and any rates and terms provided, are based on credit worthiness. Program minimum amount financed is $5,000 and 0% – 10% down payment required. Sales tax, registration fees, and dealer fees not included. Minimum Amounts Financed, Interest Charges, and penalties for accounts non-current, may apply. Promotional offer of 0% for 12 Months, then 9.99% for 60 months thereafter based on $10,000 financed would have monthly payments as follows: $138.89 per month for the introductory term and $177.02 post introductory period. Financing promotions void where prohibited. Valid at participating Polaris dealers only. Always wear an approved helmet and eye protection. Observe all state and local laws. Respect the rights of others. Ride within your capabilities. Allow extra time and plenty of distance for maneuvering. Do not perform stunts. ©2019 Yamaha Motor Corp, U.S.A. All rights reserved.




1.99% APR FOR 36 MONTHS*

Offer Valid through December 31st. See Your Local Yamaha Snowmobile Dealer for Details! JACKMAN Jackman Powersports 549 Main Street • 207-668-4442

SKOWHEGAN Whittemore & Sons 257 Waterville Road • 207-474-2591

RANGELEY Rev-It-Up Sports Shop Route 4 • 207-864-2452

TOPSHAM Woody’s Performance Ctr. 70 Topsham Fair Mall Road • 207-729-1177

*Offer available on approved purchases of new 2016-2020 Yamaha Motorcycles, Scooters, ATVs and Side-by-Sides made on the Yamaha Credit Card issued by WebBank, member FDIC. Subject to credit approval as determined by WebBank. Available to cardholders of the WebBank Yamaha Card. Account must be open and current to be eligible for this offer. Promotional 2.99%, 5.99%, 9.99% or 16.99% APR with Minimum Payments of 2.92%, 3.05%, 3.24% or 3.57% respectively of the purchase price balance, based on your creditworthiness, are effective until the purchase is paid in full. Minimum Interest Charge $2 per month. Standard APR 15.99%-23.99%. †Customer cash offer good on select models 9/1/2019 through 12/31/2019. See dealer for additional customer cash available on prior year models. Always wear an approved helmet and eye protection. Observe all state and local laws. Respect the rights of others. Ride within your capabilities. Allow extra time and plenty of distance for maneuvering. Do not perform stunts. ©2014 Yamaha Motor Corp, U.S.A. All rights reserved.© 2019 Yamaha Motor Corporation, U.S.A. All rights reserved.

32 • December 2019 • The Maine Sportsman ———————————————————————————————————————————————————

2019 Maine Sportsman Youth Writing Contest Honarable Mention: Maine Junior Category

Sighting In My Compound Bow by Derek Harding – Age 14 – Augusta, ME

I received a compound bow for Christmas in 2017. I sighted it in right away, but that was when it was at a lower draw weight. I sighted it last year at a little heavier draw weight. 20, 25 and 30 Yards I just sighted it in this year at an even heavier draw weight of about 44 lbs. I got my pins sighted in at 20, 25, and 30 yards. Once I had my 20yard pin sighted in, it wasn’t hard to sight my 25 and 30 yarders, because they were about half a centimeter below the top pin. I got the pins set up so that I was hitting the center circle of the target and being consistent.

First Pin Required Bow Adjustment When I was finished, I was proud at having accomplished the job without much help. My dad helped me with setting up the first pin, because it was fully at the top so we had to move the entire frame with the 3-pin sights up so that it brought the aim of the bow down. I did the second and third pins by myself, and got them sighted in correctly. It’s satisfying to have a compound bow that I was able to sight in so accurately, the first time. Derek Harding of Augusta does most of his bowhunting from a tree stand. He was an 8th grader at

Snowmobile Trip Planning (Continued from page 28)

Brunswick Federation of Snowmobile Clubs (NBFSC) checkpoint (on the trail), or riders may arrange to purchase a pass by calling


Derek Harding’s compound bow sight, showing the three pins set for 25, 30 and 35 yards. Sighting in on the lower pins has the effect of raising the bow, allowing for longer shots. Julie Harding photo

Cony Middle School in early 2019 when he wrote this piece. His parents are Ryan and Julie Harding, and his English teacher was Brenda Maines.

Derek Harding at full draw, utilizing a forearm guard and a wrist strap release. Julie Harding photo

(506) 325- 2625. The trail 89/75 (Jackman) and trail 85/19 (Fort Kent) crossings are open 24 hours, 7 days a week. In addition, other major Maine-to-New Brunswick crossings are also open 24 hours, 7 days a week. For local information, contact Ross Antworth, New Brunswick Federation of Snow-

mobile Clubs, at (506) 325-2625. In addition to the previously-mentioned trail pass, riders must show their state registration, and proof of personal liability insurance. Collision, theft and fire insurance coverage is recommended, but is not mandatory.

SAVE THE DATE ★ ★ ★ ★ for the 40th Annual

State of Maine Sportsman’s Show! Sportsman The Maine

March 27–29, 2020 Augusta Civic Center • Augusta, Maine Stay tuned to the State of Maine Sportsman’s Show Facebook page and website,, for updates!

Sportsman The Maine

�������������������������������������������������� The Maine Sportsman • December 2019 • 33

December Ice Strategies by Steve Carpenteri December can be a tricky month for Maine sportsmen. Most of the larger lakes and ponds may have open water, and those that are frozen over may have minimal, unsafe ice for most of the month. It’s impossible to predict how this winter will go but if recent seasons are any indication of a trend there won’t be serious, safe ice for productive fishing well into January. Small, Shallow Waters May Be OK Old-time anglers know there is always an exception to the rule, and ice-fishing is no different.

If you can find a small or shallow body of water this month with safe ice, then target warmwater species. The author explains what tactics produce the most – and the largest – fish.

Small communities of shacks and shelters build up quick when the bite is on. All photos: Steve Carpenteri

Granted, the majority of Maine’s winter waters won’t be safe to fish for several weeks, but intrepid anglers who focus

on small, shallow waters can wet a line as early as December 1, certainly by mid-month, and definitely by Christmas.

The farther north one goes, the better the odds of finding safe ice this month, but experts, old-timers and law-en-

forcers alike still recommend a careful check of shoreline ice thicknesses before cutting those first holes of the season. Warmwater Options In December, the focus is invariably on so-called warmwater species, including bass, pickerel, pike, muskies and the ubiquitous panfish – bluegills, yellow perch, crappies, white perch and whatever else takes a worm or minnow suspended just above the weedy bottom. After clearly and carefully establishing that there is indeed enough ice to allow safe fishing (Continued on next page)

— The Maine Sportsman —



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December Ice Strategies (Continued from page 33)

(3 inches of solid ice is the accepted minimum according to the Maine Warden Service), it’s time to get to work. Deep, or Shallow? The species of fish being targeted determines where and how deep to fish in winter. Big bass are found in the deepest water available, while muskies, pike and pickerel will be found cruising just above the weeds in 10 to 50 feet of water. Nearly all bluegills, perch and crappies will be found in less than 20 feet of water

Where to cut the next hole is always a big decision. Work from shallow to deep water till the flags start flying.

and just above (or in) the weeds. Fishermen who are familiar with a particular lake or pond will know from their open-water experiences where the best fishing is likely to be, but there is one caveat: If the

fishing is slow or non-existent, it makes perfect sense to move to a new spot. Give it an hour or two, and then pick up and head for deeper (or shallower) water, depending on the target species. One way old-timers

“What did you catch?” You never know what’s on the hook when fishing warmwater shallows.

cope with depth issues is to cut a series of holes perpendicular to shore, with the first hole in relatively shallow water and then consecutive holes 20 feet apart heading toward the middle of the lake. Set baits at varying

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depths until the fish begin to show interest, and then drop all baits to the most active depths. Another fish-finding technique is to set up at one hole (angler’s choice) with a jigging outfit, and work a flashy lure at various depths until fish are encountered. Because most panfish (especially ’gills and perch) tend to travel in schools, it’s a good bet that if one or two fish show up at a given depth, there will be many more suspended nearby. Using a more modern approach, try sonar fish-finding gear, which will give the angler a good look at the bottom contour and even reveal the locations of nearby schools of fish. In many cases, the larger, lone fish can be seen lurking nearby. In these situations it’s best to drop the majority of lines into the schooling fish, and target the big loners with flashy jigs, ice flies or cut bait. The Fish Decide When targeting warmwater species, don’t be surprised if the fish themselves decide what’s going to happen next. In most cases, the larger predatory species are also the most aggressive, particularly when using live shiners for bait. Bass, pickerel, pike and muskies are not only the most aggressive fish in a given water, but they also have a knack of driving lesser species away, at least until the majority of the bigger fish have been removed. (Continued on page 36)

�������������������������������������������������� The Maine Sportsman • December 2019 • 35

— Ice Fishing in Maine —

Why Travel to Northern Aroostook in the Middle of Winter? For the Long Lake Derby, of Course! by Nolan Raymond – 9th Grade – Hermon, ME Each winter there are many ice fishing derbies around the state of Maine, including a kids-only event (at Perley Pond in Sebago, just after Christmas), statewide contests with online entries (Wes Ashe’s “Maine Ice Fishing Derby”), fund-raising events for fish and game clubs (Dexter, Standish, York, Norway/Paris), rodand-gun clubs (Royal River, Black Bear), volunteer fire departments (Milo, Hartland), and snowmobile clubs (Pushaw Lake). The one I am most familiar with, however, is the Long Lake Ice Fishing Derby, held near St. Agatha. For those of you who don’t know where St. Agatha is, it’s at the very tip-top of Aroostook County, 15 miles south of Madawaska, and 5 miles southeast of Frenchville. The 2020 derby will run January 25 and 26, on Long Lake, Cross Lake, St. Froid Lake, Square Lake, Eagle Lake, Glazier Lake, Beau Lake, Portage Lake, Carr Pond and the St. John River. It’s among the “richest” derbies in Maine, with $18,500 in prizes

When the cusk nears the hole, it may turn sideways. Don’t try to force it up – just let it run and try again. Otherwise it could hook itself on the edge of the hole and come free.

The author’s uncle Wayne with his first place cusk from 2019.

last year. Family Tradition I’ve been attending the Long Lake derby since I was 12 years old. It’s something of a tradition for my dad’s side of the family – all of my uncles go, along with my grown cousins. We set up a “shanty village” on our little secret spot. We fish all day for salmonids, and all night for cusk. There are a lot of categories for fish in the derby, each with its own prize. The adult category

recognizes salmon, togue (lake trout), brook trout, muskie, perch, and of course, cusk. The youth category only awards for salmon, togue, and brook trout. With the exception of cusk, these species are best fished in the day. These salmonids are prevalent in water anywhere from 1 to 30 feet of water. Targeting Cusk At night, the cusk are mostly on the bottom. I set my large hook, with

the secret weapon, right on the bottom. I use my five handmade ice traps which I bought at the Fryeburg Fair for daytime fishing, with shiners, and my tougher Heritage ice traps for nighttime fishing. That way, when I switch my locations at dusk, my traps don’t freeze up before I can get them in the other holes.

I bring my day traps to the cabin to thaw out all night, and do the opposite in the morning. Traveling by Snowmobile; Setting up to Fish My fishing rig is a Ski Doo Expedition Sport, which is capable on the trail to the lake, but also very stable and confident in the deep snow we usually encounter. I haul a tote sled with all the gear, such as my traps, bait, pop up ice cabin, and everything else I need. Once we arrive at “our” spot, we shovel the three to four feet of snow down to the ice in a “V” shape to help break the wind around our cabins. Once we have shoveled a spot, we set them up to break the wind. This provides us a windfree area behind the cabins, which is especially helpful for cooking. Usually we arrive around 2:00 p.m., so we don’t bother putting out (Continued on next page)

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36 • December 2019 • The Maine Sportsman ———————————————————————————————————————————————————

Long Lake Derby (Continued from page 35)

daytime traps, but use the afternoon to set up camp and place our cusk traps. By the time this is done, cusk fishing is just starting to heat up. When we fish cusk, we put our traps in a straight line from the cabin, and place a light on the last one. That way, when we start out to check for flags, we just run straight from the cabin toward the light at the end with the

snowmobiles. Cusk On! When there’s a cusk on, you’ll know it. Your trap will be spooled (unless you put a stopper knot in it), it may be pulled to one side, and obviously, the flag will be up. The key to playing cusk is patience, which is tough in the cold. I usually orient the sled so the headlights are shining on

Ice Strategies (Continued from page 34)

Warmwater species are more abundant, prolific and aggressive than any of the salmonids, which means an angler can fill several buckets with fish (up to the daily bag limit for that water) in just a few hours.

the trap. This helps with visibility. I pull the trap, and if there is no immediate tension, I wait a minute to feel for a tug. If there is one, it’s game on. You must keep the line really tight to prevent the hook from slipping, so it works well to pull quickly hand over hand and throw the line across the hole. When the fish nears the hole, it may turn sideways. Don’t try to force it up, but instead let it run and try again. If you force

From left, the author’s father, the author and the author’s brother with cusk at derby headquarters.

it, it could hook itself on the edge of the hole and come free. The rest is luck!

For example, when fishing small, shallow waters such as Branns Mill Pond in Dover-Foxcroft, an angler might catch 50 or more pickerel before any other species gets a chance to trip a flag. On Wadleigh Pond in Lyman, the most abundant, aggressive winter species is the black crappie, which will dominate the bite at the rate of almost 10-to-one “other spe-

Good luck on the ice, wherever you compete in derbies this winter!

cies,” such as bass or pickerel. Approach December ice-fishing as a primer for the great trout, salmon and togue fishing to come in January, February and March. By then the ice will be thick, uniform and safe on most North-Country lakes, and anglers should have their techniques honed to perfection.

Successful 2019 Moose Hunts Around the State

Nick Archer of Westfield bagged this 911-lb. bull moose with a 58-inch rack in Zone 3 above Limestone in mid-October using a 30-.06. Archer, the subpermittee, was accompanied by Bill Brown, permittee of Mt.Vernon, Mike Mullen from Wayne and Derrill Cowing of Monmouth.

Jesse Cyr of Grand Isle is dwarfed by the huge antlers of the 1,011-lb. bull moose he shot during the final two hours of his hunt, on September 28 in Madawaska.

Josh Hall, with the assistance of Doug Brown of Langtown Outfitters & Guide Service, bagged this 763-lb. bull moose, which featured a 401/2” spread. Josh used a .308 from a distance of 150 yards.

Paula Moore of Orono harvested this bull moose in T9 R13 WELS on September 23, 2019. It was tagged at Katahdin General Store in Millinocket. “I’ve been applying for a moose permit for 40 years,” she told The Maine Sportsman, “and I finally got one. This bull (563 lbs.) is not a trophy, but it’s my trophy, and I worked hard to get it.”

Matthew Denver of Connecticut dropped this bull moose in October. Matt (shown here with his 22-year old son) wrote to the Sportsman, telling us “When I was in the Navy, I was stationed on board the USS Portland. After a Mediterranean cruise, our first stop in the United States was Portland, Maine -- great city, great state, great people. I’ve liked Maine ever since. Getting the moose tag was a chance in a lifetime.”

�������������������������������������������������� The Maine Sportsman • December 2019 • 37

Muzzleloader Hunting Highlights December Options December can be a very unpredictable month weather-wise in The Crown of Maine. The annually-altering snow and ice depths dictate on a year-to-year basis which outdoor ventures are available, safe and productive. For example, odds are slim that December waterfowling may be enjoyed. It does happen however, but for most years any goose or duck gunning venture after November 15th is a gift. Chances are 50-50 that a safe thickness of ice will form, allowing December smelt jigging on a handful of early-season Aroostook lakes. One sure bet, however, for those without a deer already in the freezer, is a last-ditch effort to bag a buck with a muzzleloader. Whitetail Black Powder The first full week in December this year offers some bonus days of deer hunting, and this short extra season comes with a few benefits: • There are far fewer hunters chasing the bucks, so they are a

There are many advantages to muzzleloader season – fewer hunters, lighter pressure on the deer, and plenty of tracking snow!

Aroostook usually boasts newly-fallen snow cover during the last-chance black powder season in December. Finding and following a fresh track could lead to an opportunity like this one.

bit less jumpy and wary; • Lighter pressure means more top-rate covers available to explore; • It’s likely that a bit of fresh snow cover might occur at some point during smokepole week – a great asset for tracking and trailing; and • If you cut a really fresh track, there’s only a slim chance of seeing another human set of footprints

A few Aroostook lakes boast enough safe ice for early-season smelt jigging. This father and son duo enjoy some action from the comfort of a portable shanty on a sunny December afternoon.

to interfere. … all late season benefits of white snow and black powder! Where to Go Deer stalkers who prefer thick forest for their still-hunting exploits would do well to visit the Spectacle Lake region of the North Maine Woods this month. I use 6-mile checkpoint beyond Ashland, and drive Pinkham Road to the Jack Mountain Road – all kept well plowed.

How many and how accessible the side roads and two-tracks are will all depend on recent storms; normally hunters with 4-wheel drive have no issue. Check DeLorme Atlas, Map 57, A-2 & A-3 for an overview of this last chance deer haven for muzzleloader enthusiasts. Give Spectacle Pond Tote Road and its offshoots due attention, and wander the woods along Weeks Brook South Road. Don’t overlook Spectacle

Smelt jigging is often at its best as soon as a safe layer of ice forms. Aroostook “hard water” anglers enjoy the action and tasty meals from Maine’s smallest gamefish.

Mountain (really more of a large ridge) – there have been some hefty bucks bagged there. On the southern end of Spectacle Lake is the Pinnacle, another moderate ridge with several excellent tote roads all around this high point. This area is well worth the drive for a last-chance whitetail. Howe Now For muzzleloader hunters in southern Aroostook I’d suggest stalking the tote roads and trails around Howe Brook and St. Croix Lake. A couple of good friends spent a few days moose hunting this region earlier this fall, and noted plenty of deer sign and saw several deer in the process of tagging their first bull moose. This is another territory with well plowed roads and access to many likely deer covers. Access can be had from Route 1 at Harvey’s Siding in Monticello or via Route 11 and the St. Croix Road. Check out the Camp Road around Nighthawk Mountain and Boom Branch Road, (Continued on next page)

Dave Ash of Ashland holds up one of dozens of smelt handlined during a December evening outing in a cozy smelt shanty on St. Froid Lake.

38 • December 2019 • The Maine Sportsman ———————————————————————————————————————————————————

Bill Graves tries for a double on eider from a rock ledge near Blue Hill on a chilly December morning while Mike Wallace looks on. The trip from Aroostook to the coast is well worth the effort, given the great gunning found there.

Bill Graves , Mike Wallace of Presque Isle and Buddy Horr of Dedham pose with a morning bag of sea ducks. Half a dozen waterfowling friends travel from Aroostook every weekend to enjoy the dependable December gunning.

The County (Continued from page 38)

which feature numerous two-tracks near swales and cedar swamps – top rate dark growth and food near an annual winter deer yard. Review Map 58, grids C &D, 4 & 5 for more info.

Early Ice It’s a bit difficult for me to comprehend that I’ve fished early ice smelt in Birch Point Cove on Pleasant Lake in Island Falls for over five decades.

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Jim Clark and ‘Doc” Skinner came all the way from South Carolina to join writer Bill Graves on their first ever sea duck hunt. Their premier visit to Maine was very rewarding.

The County has no rocky coastline, so to find December sea ducks we head south and east. My buddies and I get to Bangor late Friday, stay overnight, and often limit out off Naskeag Harbor near Blue Hill by noon Saturday. Meanwhile, our spouses have completed their holiday shopping at the mall! Pleasant Pond, as locals call it, is usually the first large waterway to boast a safe thickness of ice in lower Aroostook. While the large portion of the lake may be suspect, the cove is safe and ready for smelting. It’s been my experience that the first couple of weeks of fresh ice yield fast and fun hand-jigging that’s the best and most consistent of the winter. Members of the Edwards clan have run Birch Point Lodge and campground for at least three generations. There’s a snack bar, shanties and snowmobiles to lease by the hour, day, or week. A

quick phone call will inform you if the ice is safe and the smelt are biting! Every December yields varied weather, but it’s a rare year that won’t offer at least a week or so of early ice fishing. Often, a handful of days this month will yield mild enough conditions that anglers can drill jig holes, set up a chair and remain outside for a sunny afternoon of smelting. It’s always amazed me how frequently a hefty salmon or trout will grab a cut bait meant for smelt. And while they have to be released this month, the fun and fight on a handline can be enjoyed.

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Road Trip for Sea Ducks Although it makes me feel like a bit of a traitor, sometimes I just have to travel from my beloved Crown of Maine when winter hunting options diminish. Let me tell you about a late fall/early winter option that every bird hunter, especially waterfowlers, need to experience. A trip to the Maine coast to hunt sea ducks may just change your life, and will at least extend your scattergun season. I was introduced years ago to sea duck hunting when I went out with my cousin Steve Hitchcock, who lived near Scarborough marsh. Many eider outings later, I learned about closer hunting sites, like Naskeag Harbor near Blue Hill, and by then I was hooked. Every Friday after work, a couple of buddies and I would haul my boat to Bangor, get a hotel for the night, drive to the coast well before dawn and hunt Saturday. The shooting for eider, old squaw and scoter ducks

(Continued on next page)

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�������������������������������������������������� The Maine Sportsman • December 2019 • 39 (Continued from page 38)

was so good we often had a limit before noon, had lunch and drove back to The County. All through December and sometimes even January, we hunted weekends. Often, our wives would go along and do holiday shopping. We told our friends about those big, hearty sea ducks and the exciting shooting, and our entourage grew to two or

three boats and salt water gunning gear. So now I’m telling you – regardless of where you live in rural Maine, it’s worth the effort to try sea

duck hunting. It certainly has helped shorten my winters when snow curtails most shooting options. There are hundreds

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40 • December 2019 • The Maine Sportsman ———————————————————————————————————————————————————

— Guest Column —

The Boy Who Wouldn’t Swim by Alan Haley The old man sat on his front porch and memory-dreamed all day. He had long ago come to terms with dying, for he spent his life as a bateau man on the Kennebec River. He had seen plenty of death, for moving logs down the river was a dangerous job, even in a day when about every occupation had its hazards. He had seen men crushed, drowned, broken from falls and twisted to pieces in boom chains. These things he could accept, for doing so was expected. It was the not dying that he hadn’t prepared for – the anguish of slowly getting older; the longing for those days when he felt the powerful fullness of life; and the bitter realization that he would not find a storied death. His comrades were long gone, and the days of the great river drives were over. A Witness His house sat right next to the bridge on Route 201 and looked down upon the town’s ball field and beach. In 1976, we used to pull our rafts out of the river and load customers into the bus there. As the full-loaded ancient bus coughed blue smoke and dragged itself up the grade and onto Route 201, he watched from his front porch. He seemed like some sort of professional witness, determined not to show any preference, interest or surprise at the events seen. Wanted to be a River Man “Why, that’s Burt Morris, the oldest river driver around,” explained Gordon Berry, who grew up in The Forks and ran a store in the village. “He

The bateau struck a pile of underwater rocks near the falls, and the young river driver from Bingham toppled over the side. Burt Morris hollered at the crew, “Row, boys! Pull for what you’re worth – we gotta catch him quick!”

Logging on the Kennebec River was dangerous work, involving the use of bateaus that had to be navigated through rapids -- around and over ledges, boulders and sunken logs. Many river men never learned how to swim. Used with permission: Forest History Society;

worked on the Kennebec all his life, but he’s got the arthritis bad now and can’t move around much.” Young people measure themselves a lot. I wanted to be a river man whom people told stories about – someone who had a reputation for crack water skill and deadly nerve. I wanted to be measured up against other river men, but in 1976 there were none in the Kennebec Gorge except me. Mr. Morris had seen the great drives and had known every water man that ever picked, pushed or pulled wood down the river. He was someone I wanted to know.

movement on my part. Suddenly his housekeeper stepped onto the porch and asked my business. There was just enough edge in her voice to let me know that casual visitors were not welcome. I introduced myself and asked if I could talk to Mr. Morris about his river driving days. “Burt don’t do a lot a talkin’ these days, but I’ll ask him,” she responded. She faced Burt and loudly asked him if he wanted to speak to me. Burt must have agreed, for the housekeeper opened the door, but I still never saw any movement on his part.

Meeting Mr. Morris Later that week, I walked over to Morris’ house. His porch was enclosed with old storm windows nailed to the railing and eave. This created a barrier for visitors that I tried to overcome by waving as I approached and shouting “A’low!” I got to the door and politely knocked, even though he was sitting not 10 feet away. He never acknowledged a single

Burt Morris Recounts His Tale “Mr. Morris, I’ve been guiding those rafts down the river and understand that you used to be a river driver, too,” I began. “I was wondering if you could tell me anything you remember about the big drives.” “I never learned how to swim!” he responded. “I started my life picking wood on the river when I was 13 years old, and ended up a bateau

man 50 years later. I never got bad hurt and never learned how to swim. Waded out to my chin plenty of times but couldn’t figure out how to float. Some boys learned but I didn’t. I always figured that not knowing made you better at your job – more careful. No, I never learned how to swim, not a stroke!” “Who did you work for, Mr. Morris?” “I never got to wear one of them floaters, them orange things you all wear around your body to keep you a float in the water. The foremen didn’t like to buy them for everybody ’cause we was always losing them or leavin’ ’em on the shore. They had cork wood in them, and the cooks sometimes used them to start fires in a hard rain. They never let us use them until the very last, and then only when we worked out on the big lakes.” “How much did you get paid, Mr. Morris?” I asked. “I drove that river for fifty years! I drove it in the wind and rain and snow, I drove it the day my wife died and I drove

on the last day I worked. I never wanted to be a boss and I never wanted to tend a store counter or keep school – I just wanted to bring wood down that river.” “Do you remember the long log drives very well?” I persisted. “No one ever got hurt that rode with me and minded what I said. I always liked a four-man crew, and I took many a man and his rigging down that river. I’d tell them all what I wanted and how to behave in the boat, and they listened. They listened ’cause they knew there was none better then Burt Morris. I did crack a boat or two over the years, but I never put ’em down or left ’em up in the woods. At the end of every day I was always standing up in the bateau – my feet may a-been wet with some water sloshing around, but I was always afloat. Them Penobscot Injuns had a big reputation, but they weren’t any better than I was, I’ll tell you that much!” Just One Fella He continued: “I started picking when I was 13 years old and ended up a bateau man ... 50 years, and no one ever drowned that rode with me except for one fella. Just one fella who wouldn’t swim.” “What happened?” I asked. But the old man wasn’t listening to me. He had leaned slightly ahead in his chair, staring up that river just as I had seen him every day while pulling out of the ball field, but now he was seeing the river as it was in his memory-dreams. Over the Side “He was a kid from Bingham. His father worked the drive and got him the job when he grad(Continued on next page)

�������������������������������������������������� The Maine Sportsman • December 2019 • 41

Using Depth Maps to Increase Ice Fishing Success Before heading out for an ice-fishing trip, I always check a depth map for the water I’m fishing. That’s because certain fish congregate at certain depths, and sometimes all it takes is finding that drop-off, basin or hump. Simply put, you can’t catch any fish if you are in an area where there are no fish. It makes for a slow day. So Where Do Fish Hang Out? Now we all know there are some anglers who go ice fishing and couldn’t care less if they catch anything, so it doesn’t matter as much where they go. However, if you want to find that perch, crappie pike or lake trout hole that produces time after time, it pays to do a little research on the lake you plan to fish. So where do fish hang out? Simply put, they

hang out where food is found, and often that’s the place where there’s something different about the lake bottom. No one likes a boring, flat lake bottom – not even the fish. What are you looking for? Contours or structure. Make sure you identify any quick rises or steep drops. Identify Hot Spots by Jigging When you get to the lake or pond, pick a spot that looks good on the map. Drill a hole or two, and try a little jigging. If the spot is productive, then set up your traps. This approach makes all the difference between catching just a few fish, and catching a lot of fish. That’s because fish will “school up” on structure – especially panfish and lake trout. In my experience, a flasher fish finder is

The Boy Who Wouldn’t Swim (Continued from page 40)

uated 8th grade. I’d picked the boy’s crew up at the Z-turn and was taking them down to Carry Brook Landing. “We was coming up on the big falls just down river, when the kid said he had to piss real bad. I told him to wait till we warped the boat around the falls or do it in the bailer, but he was determined to stand up and stream ’er over the gunwale. “Trouble was, the side of the boat curves up and out, and he couldn’t get close. He tried to piss over the gunwale and into the river from two foot away, but ended up pissing on himself and his equipment. “I was watching the kid and laughing with everyone else when we bumped a pile of rocks just under the surface. I knew they was there – I just forgot for a moment. We was all laughing at the kid and I forgot about the rocks.

“Row, Boys!” “He went over the side into the current,

Using a depth map to locate bottom contours, drop-offs and structure will lead to productive results like this. Luke Giampetruzzi photo

a very easy way to find a good hole for jigging. And if you see fish on the flasher but can’t hook them, then maybe they just don’t like your jig – so try another. If you succeed in finding a good spot, you can come back to for many years. I know a “honey hole” – a place we know that there are gonna be white perch every single time. It never disappoints.

A Little Distance Can Make a Big Difference And even a small distance away makes all the difference in the world – we’ve noticed that sometimes it’s only a matter of ten to fifteen feet between where one guy will be jigging with the same exact jig line and jigging cadence and catching way more fish, compared to another guy only feet away. Some might call it luck, but I have seen it time and time again, especially with lake trout. If your spot is not productive, don’t be afraid to move, because if they aren’t where you are at, then you’ve got to find the school and stay on it. Don’t rule out a good-looking spot too soon; just try relocating – kinda like how when you’re out with a big bunch of people ice fishing with all kinds of traps, and there’s that

I jammed my pole into a rock crack and pushed the bateau out, but by that time the boy was ahead of us and gittin’ near the falls. “I hollered at the crew ‘Jesus Christ our Lord – row, boys! Pull for what you’re worth – we gotta catch him quick.’ “I hollered to the kid to swim to us, swim as hard as he could, but he just kept shouting for me to come and git him. “Frank Church grabbed a pick pole and tried to hook the kid’s shirt but he couldn’t quite get ’im, and without the extra man pulling, we were losing ground. Should’a Swimmed Harder “We were close to the falls, and the kid was out of reach and yellin’ for me to get him, but I couldn’t reach him and he wouldn’t swim to the boat. He was just too scared to think clear, I guess. “I couldn’t risk the crew. I couldn’t chase the kid any longer, or we might all be in the falls and drown. “A lot of them guys couldn’t swim, and would be dead if the boat went into that water. We had to leave the kid to his own. “He should’a swimmed harder and he

one that keeps producing way more than the rest. No Luck Deep? Try Shallow If all else fails, try shallow water, because fish that are actively feeding tend to run shallow looking for food. And sometimes just use your judgment for different species – warm water species such as bass, pike and crappie tend to be caught near weed beds, while brook trout tend to be caught in shallow rocky areas. They are not always gonna be out on the dropoffs and ledges; however, many fish – especially lake trout and white perch – like those basins and humps, and I have seen piles of fish caught there while anglers fishing featureless flat bottom parts of the lake go home empty-handed.

would have been all right. He should’a listened to me, and he would have made it. “You know what place I’m talking about? That place where the river drops so furious?” Tender Lie Needed Though he had not glanced my way through the whole story, he was now looking right at me. “You don’t run that, do you? It’s too damn dangerous, ain’t it? Too dangerous for anyone to get near, don’t cha think?” Such a fool we are in youth to not recognize that moment calling for a tender lie, to not sense how deep a half century of guilt can run, to not see how much he needed that costly decision, made so long ago, affirmed. “Sure we run it,” I replied. “It’s called Magic Falls. It’s no big deal; it’s one of the best parts of the whole river!” Burt Morris died in the winter of 1979. In 1986, the State tore down his house and porch to build a new bridge. The old span could not handle the increased traffic anymore.

42 • December 2019 • The Maine Sportsman ———————————————————————————————————————————————————

Lou’s Tips for the Older Angler — Part 2 While all exercise is helpful, walking along a paved, level road at home does not prepare your body for stream fishing – scrambling over downed trees, balancing on rocks, or wading against a thigh-high current. To get in proper fishing shape, some of your workouts need to be high-intensity. Two months ago, in October’s freshwater fly-fishing column, I discussed several fly-fishing tools (including wading sticks, threaders, and nymphing rigs) that can help older gents and ladies fish successfully and joyfully well into their later years. I promised a continuation of this topic, and this month’s column does just that. The most important “tool” at your disposal for being able to fly fish later in life is your own body. Granted, it isn’t the finely-honed, highly-functioning physique that it was when you were 25 years old. (Not counting those hangover mornings after a night of school partying.) But like a truck with many miles on the odometer, with the right preventative maintenance, your old bones can get you where you need to go and do what you need them to do. Granted, I am not a doctor or a physical ther-

apist, so take everything I write with a healthy dose of skepticism, and always consult with a qualified health professional before undertaking any lifestyle changes. Physical Endurance My observation from guiding older clients for decades is that the key to fun and productive fishing in your later years is having the physical stamina and endurance to withstand long, active days in a boat or on a stream. Unfortunately, I have guided many anglers in their 60s and 70s, and often their days were cut short by back pain, a stiff neck, shoulder problems, or a fall or a slip. Many of these physical limitations are not inevitable with old age. Preventative measures can make a big difference. Back Pain I would say the most common complaint I have heard over the years is lower-back pain and stiff-


ness, caused by standing in cold water, or sitting on a hard boat seat for long periods of time. Tall people seem to be more prone to this (at 6 feet 4 inches tall, so am I). Often, nagging back pain forces the angler off the water before the day ends. Two solutions for lower-back pain have often worked for me and my angling friends. The first is to make an appointment with a physical therapist. I did just that and told her I wanted to ameliorate my lower- back stiffness and tightness. After evaluating me, she prescribed to me a series of stretching and core-strengthening exercises that I could do on any flat surface in just half an hour. Completing these stretching exercises regularly has vastly reduced my back issues. If you suffer from back problems while fishing, visit a physical therapist, get evaluated, and follow his or her recommendations. Back Brace My second lower back solution is that I carry

The author’s treadmill is a key part of his fly-fishing room and his fishing season preparation.

an elastic-fabric back brace with me in my fishing-gear duffle bag. Buy the highest quality one that you can find. If you do tweak your back or get a back spasm, putting the brace on for added support allows you to continue fishing with some degree of comfort. Some anglers I know put it on at the beginning of the day if they anticipate a day on the water that might stress the back (like pivoting back and forth all day casting on a drift boat.) By the way, nothing is worse for one’s back, particularly if you are a bigger person, than flying on an airplane. Today’s shrinking seats mean inevitable back twisting as you try to maximize leg room. How often has my back felt great before I flew some distance for a fishing trip, and then shortly after arrival,

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threw my back out. Do your stretches, before, during, and after a plane flight. Core Strength Another complaint I hear from older anglers is general fatigue and soreness – strained joints, shaky muscles, or injuries caused by trips, slips, and falls. The root cause of these ailments is a loss of core strength. Diminished core strength leads to stress on extremities and a loss of balance. The best preventative solution is to begin regular core-strengthening activities. I have some older clients who practice Pilates, yoga, martial arts, or circuit resistance and weight training all winter. During fishing season, they traipse up and down rivers all day without incident or fatigue. Most anglers are active people and get regular exercise. But as we get older, our exercise becomes more low intensity – walking on level ground, slow pool laps, or a moderate workout at a gym. We don’t play on as many soccer teams, or run as many half-marathons. All exercise is helpful, (Continued on next page)

�������������������������������������������������� The Maine Sportsman • December 2019 • 43

— Guest Column —

Canoe for Sale by Randy Randall Craigslist is filled with all sorts of interesting stories, but it takes a little imagination to read them. All we see is the object for sale and a short description, but behind these simple ads there are hundreds of funny, poignant, sad and intriguing stories. Here’s one example. The ad has been running for a few months and pictured a well-used, well-preserved canvas and wood canoe. It’s a short boat with a wider-than-average beam. The brief description said it belonged to their grandfather and that he used the little canoe for hunting, fishing and trapping. Grandfather had passed on, and now there was no one who needed his canoe for hunting, fishing, trapping or even camping. We can’t know all the family dynamics, of course. Maybe the young people live far away and now that Grandpa is gone, they just want to clean out his house. Maybe the only family members left are not knowledgeable about canoes, or have no need for one. Maybe they would rather have a more modern plastic canoe versus Grandfather’s antique wooden one?

The ad for the wood and canvas canoe says it belonged to the seller’s grandfather. I gaze at the photo, and wonder, “Who was Grandfather? What kind of a life did he live? How many brook trout were lifted over the gunwale of that canoe?” For Craftsmen and Romantics Whatever the reason, the canoe has been for sale for quite a long time. I’ve been watching the ad. They’re asking quite a lot for the boat too. Maybe more than it’s worth. Only old guys like me who grew up with those boats – and a few dedicated craftsmen and hopeless romantics – are interested these days in wood and canvas. This particular one resembles a pack canoe suitable for one man. I stare at the pictures and I think, “Who was Grandfather? What kind of a life did he live? How old was he?” It appears he had owned this canoe for many years. Any man who appreciated a wood and canvas canoe and used it for what it was designed to do, I’d like to meet. Early in the last century, wood and canvas was the new technology taking the place of birch bark. Famous canoe builders such as Old Town, Chestnut, Kennebec, White, and Peterborough prospered, as

Freshwater Fly Fishing (Continued from page 42)

but walking up and down your road does not prepare your body for scrambling over downed trees, balancing on rocks, or wading against a thigh-high current. To get in proper fishing shape, some of your workouts need to be high intensity, which means step climbers, ellipticals, treadmills set at an angle, mountain climbs, or vigorous bike rides (just to name a few

Caption: Fletcher “Fancy” 14’ canoe. Source: Quetico Superior Wilderness News

demand for their sturdy utilitarian boats soared. Builders Imbue Life Energy Those who know, say there’s nothing like paddling a canvas and wood canoe. They say it’s like the boat is alive and responds to their paddle strokes almost like a horse responds to the tug of the reins. By comparison, aluminum or fiberglass and plastic seem dead, with no “life” in the hulls. It’s as if every builder who touched and worked on those old canoes imbued each one with a little bit of his own energy and life force. Truly you could say he put some of himself into his creation. When I inherited my father’s Kennebec, it was

in rough shape. The bow and stern were broken, the canvas was peeling off and the woven seats were torn. It hung from the rafters in my garage for years until, one summer I brought it down and rebuilt it. Then I began to fully appreciate all the knowhow and skill that went into bending the strakes, forming the stems, and filling the weave of the canvas with white lead, linseed oil and thickened paint. It seems there are always a few old wood canvas canoes for sale. Some are pristine and appear to have been in storage most of their lives. The owners are asking astronomical prices. They realize such boats will not be made again, so scarcity drives up the value. Others are merely piles of sticks held together with a few remaining tacks. Sometimes the owner admits he ran out of time or money, or that lifestyle changes necessitated he sell. But who will buy?

Wish I’d Known Grandfather I appreciate the qual-

examples). Check with your doctor before turbo-charging your exercise routine. Dehydration Risks If everything I have written so far seems beyond what you can do or want to do, I have one straightforward suggestion for everyone. When older anglers spend a day fishing that exceeds their usual activity level, they often become dehydrated and don’t realize it. One’s sense of thirst declines with age. Dehydration causes fatigue, muscle cramps, and loss of coordination. The solution is simple: drink plenty of water throughout the day (not coffee, alco-

ity and craftsmanship of the old canoes, but what I’m really intrigued by is who owned them? Who used them? How many deer have they packed out? How many brook trout were lifted over the gunwale? Did they run Chase Rapids on a spring flood, or go on the Machias in the fall? Who carried the canoe on his shoulders over the long portage? Where did they camp and pull that canoe up on the gravel shore? Did the loons call that night? If only those old wood and canvas canoes could talk. There’s hardly another woodsman’s tool as personal as his ax, his rifle, and his canoe. Yes, I wish I’d known the Grandfather they spoke of in the ad. I’ll bet he smoked a pipe, and the grip of his paddle was stained with years of sweat and mud and blood. His little canoe was stout and well built just as he was – I suppose. It’s as functional today as when he used it all those years ago to go hunting, fishing and trapping. Someone needs to buy that little canoe and keep the grandfather’s legacy alive.

hol, or soda), even if you don’t feel thirsty. You will be amazed at how much better you feel that day and the following evening and day as well. As we get older, fishing preparation time means more than just organizing flies, rigging rods, and mending leaky waders. It also means committing the time every month to keep your body as flexible, limber, strong, and cardiovascularly fit as it can be. An investment in your physical fitness will pay dividends and allow you to spend more quality time on the water.

44 • December 2019 • The Maine Sportsman ———————————————————————————————————————————————————

The Somber World of Warden Service Dive Team Winter Operations We cut a three-cornered hole in the ice as close as possible to the precise site where the victim went into the water. The shape of the hole makes it easier for the diver to enter and exit the water. I got up in the morning well before daylight. While the coffee was brewing, I looked at the thermometer. It read 26 degrees – not cold enough to make much ice. The previous day there had been only a couple of inches of ice on the beaver flowages, the lakes were barely skimmed over, and the smaller ponds had an inch in some places while other places were still open. To make matters worse, it had snowed a couple of inches overnight, and that morning was the start of Christmas vacation for the local schools. For the vast majority of people, these conditions do not set off mental alarms or make them uneasy, but for the divers of the Maine Warden Service, this weather pattern causes them to perform a mental inventory of their dive gear – Are all my tanks full? Is my ice harness packed? Are my ice screws packed? Are my ropes in good shape? When the Call Comes Unfortunately, every year the Maine Warden Service Dive Team is called upon to respond to drownings around the state, the result of a person or persons falling through thin ice. In recent years, snowmobiles have carried many of the victims out onto thin ice at high speeds. Before the victim

realizes they are on unsafe ice, it’s too late for them to return to thicker ice or the shore. Ice diving is one of the most hazardous and physically demanding types of diving a recovery diver does. Plans must be executed perfectly, and all the complex equipment must function flawlessly. When the call does come, and it comes every winter, the Maine Warden Service Dive Team responds. After arriving at the scene, several decisions need to be made. First of all, which is the safest way to do the dive? Second, who is going to be the recovery diver, and who is going to be safety diver? Line and Harness Generally, a three-cornered hole is cut in the ice as close to the precise site where the victim went into the water as possible. The shape of the hole makes it easier for the diver to enter and exit the water. The recovery diver is suited up, and their gear is checked by the dive master. An ice screw is inserted into solid ice, and the recovery diver’s rope is tied to it. The other end of the rope is attached to a harness worn by the diver. The harness is made of heavy nylon webbing. A person on the surface with ice dive experience will handle the rope, keeping light tension on

it to help guide the recovery diver, prevent entanglement and relay any rope signals sent up by the recovery diver. One Rescue Diver for Every Recovery Diver Today’s divers are also equipped with communications gear built into their masks enabling them to communicate with each other as well as the dive master on the surface. A rescue diver is suited up for each recovery diver that is going down. Their gear is also thoroughly checked by the dive master. The rescue diver is ready to go into the water instantly if something goes wrong for the recovery diver. He/ she is also roped, and can follow the rope of the diver in trouble, if necessary. One Hundred Things at Once For the diver who is down, time drags and yet it flies. Their senses are keener than ever. The water is so cold that any exposed skin aches and it is dark. Man, is it dark. The rope glows and then fades out as the diver descends. Breathing becomes more difficult because of the increased pressure of the water against the chest. Mentally, the diver is doing a hundred different things at once: • Inventorying their gear to assure themselves that everything is working as it should.

Diving to recover victims who went through the ice is a dangerous activity requiring meticulous planning, reliable gear, precise teamwork, and the ability to focus fully on the important job at hand. Photo source: PADI Technical Diving

• Checking the rope to make sure the person on the surface is maintaining just the right amount of tension. • Checking the direction of the rope to keep track of their bearings. • Working not to become entangled in the rope. • Checking their descent rate. • Taking a quick look at their gauges. Just going by fifty feet of depth. Still got 2600 lbs. of air. Deep Down At 63 feet below the surface, the diver hits the bottom with a silent thud. The silt boils up around them. All visibility is now gone. Time to go work. It is obvious that the only type of search pattern that is going be effective is a circular one. The diver starts circling slowly with an increase in the diameter with each new circle, feeling the bottom

as they go. Suddenly, they feel something with their right hand that doesn’t feel like a log. They move their hand left and then right. It is not a log. It is what they are looking for. The diver gets a good grip on the clothing and yanks twice on the rope – the signal for the surface personnel to pull him/her to the surface. All Over but the Grief The dive is over. Was it successful? The Warden Divers did their job again. No rescue personnel were injured. They found what they were looking for, but now another Maine family is left to deal with the grief of losing a loved one. A family has a void in it that will never be filled. The most successful dives are the ones that never happen. They never happen because people used caution on and around the ice.

�������������������������������������������������� The Maine Sportsman • December 2019 • 45

Holiday Gifts for the Sportswoman in Your Life If you’re lucky enough to have an outdoorswoman in your life, then you probably realize how much fun gift-giving is. Instead of buying her a purse or expensive jewelry, you get to shop for guns and fishing tackle! If this doesn’t sound like your relationship, but you would like your lady to spend more time with you in the woods and waters, here are some gift ideas for both beginners and seasoned sportswomen alike: 1. A Guided Trip – Let someone else do the work! Extra points if it’s both hunting and fishing. Stay at Libby Camps in the North Maine Woods (NMW) the last weekend of September – grouse hunt Saturday, and fish for brook trout Sunday. Or bear hunt over bait together with Maine Whitetail Adventures in Millinocket. They have top-notch accommodations – not your granddaddy’s camp. She will love it. 2. Pheasant Hunt – Shoot some clays and then hunt released pheasants at Setter’s Point in Albany, Maine. It’s great practice, you can hunt on a Sunday, and she doesn’t even need a hunting license. Perfect for beginners. $30/pheasant. 3. Handgun Course – I took the “Ladies Intro to Handgun” course at Howell’s Guns in Gray, and I can’t recommend it enough. All firearms and ammo are included in the $65 course fee, and the class is taught by NRA-certified female instructors.

Men: If you and your girlfriend or wife share a love of the outdoors, then you can give her sporting gifts that you both can use. However, make sure it’s an activity she enjoys. For example, if she hates ice fishing, don’t present her with a new auger. 4. Lessons – LL Bean offers many different types of lessons, including fly casting, archery and skeet shooting, starting at $25. Sometimes we learn better from a stranger than our partner, and even the experienced hunter/angler can benefit from a refresher.

5. Game Cameras – Cameras often motivate me to keep hunting when I would otherwise give up. Checking them is like opening Christmas presents, and you can never have too many cameras!

7. The Meateater Cookbook – Given its breathtaking photography, this is not only a cookbook but also a coffee table book. In addition to delicious recipes, the book contains sections on how to gut a deer and clean a squirrel. $20.99.

8. Taking Aim – An autobiography by Eva Shockey (daughter of Jim Shockey) about a dancer turned hunter; $11.

6. Toe Warmers – We ladies are always cold, so buy them in bulk so we don’t have to be stingy with them.

★ Subscriptions to ★ The Maine Sportsman Make Great Gifts! Send in the form on page 11 or call us at (207) 622-4242 for special gift subscription pricing!

9. Taxidermy – A gift certificate to a taxidermist is great motivation, and she will have that fish/animal on her wall to memorialize the experience. 10. Photos – If taxidermy isn’t her thing, enlarge and frame a nice photo of an outdoor experience you shared together. 11. Jewelry – Consider outdoor-inspired jewelry, such as fishing lure earrings, antler bracelets, or earrings made from your own bullet casings! Check out Hunt Fish Maine on Facebook and Etsy for locally-made jewelry.

12. Antler Chews – for the pup in her life. 13. H u n t i n g / f i s h i n g clothes made for women – Ladies still want to feel feminine. We don’t want to wear ill-fitting clothes that make us feel

like a man. 14. Fur Beanie Hat – Handmade, Maine-made, women-owned Woodboogah makes cashmere beanies with real fox, coyote or raccoon fur pom poms; $150.

15. Ice Fishing Traps – Customize her flag color/design when you order from Jack Traps, in Monson. If she has her own traps, get her her own pack basket. 16. A new gun or fishing rod – We can never have too many! ***** Final hint and note of warning: A major perk of having a shared love of the outdoors with your partner is that you can give gifts that you both can use. It can backfire, however, so make sure she’s really into the activity (for example, if she hates ice fishing, don’t gift her a new auger). But if she’s interested in deer hunting but scared of heights, a ground blind is a great gift you both can use.

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46 • December 2019 • The Maine Sportsman ———————————————————————————————————————————————————

A Half-Dozen Saltwater Angling Holiday Gifts for 2019 Every few years, in my December column, I make a few holiday gift recommendations for Maine saltwater anglers. The difference between my list and those you might find in other magazines is that all of these recommendations are items I have actually purchased myself and that I can personally vouch for. So here we go…. 1) Uniden MHS75 Hand-Held VHF This is a terrific little hand-held VHF radio for the money, but the thing I like most about it is that it has an old-fashioned rotary-knob squelch on top. With most other units on the market you have to push a button, then a separate up/down button to adjust the squelch. The rotary knob lets you frequently and easily adjust the squelch a tiny bit off static, so you know you will receive incoming calls and replies. The MHS75 is fully submersible, very compact, has a rechargeable 12-hour battery, and delivers 1, 2.5, or a full 5 watts. It sells for only $79.95, available at marine electronics stores or

Can’t you just picture the look of anticipation and joy when a saltwater angler spots a 300-h.p. outboard motor under the Christmas tree – topped with a big red-ribbon bow? at 2) Bass Pro Shops Power Plus Rod I don’t normally buy house-brand tackle products, but this spring I was browsing the rod section at Cabela’s and picked up a 6’, medium-action BPS “Power Plus” spin rod rated for 6- to 12-pound line. The one-piece, graphite-reinforced, fire-red rod was light as feather, and I immediately concluded it would be dandy for schoolie stripers – and for $19.99, how could I resist? I also picked up an Abu-Garcia Black Max 20 spin reel to go with it for $29.99, which I loaded with 8-pound line. The outfit turned out to be the perfect light-tackle weapon for the many 3- to 6-pound bass we caught this summer. Get both at Cabela’s in Scarborough or on line at 3) Garmin 64CV Fishfinder/GPS Plotter I bought one of these back in June as a backup for my boat, and it’s

the slickest little combo unit I’ve seen to date. Compact, it only has a 6” screen but is a full-featured GPS that comes loaded with Bluechart G3 charts for the coastal U.S. and Great Lakes. Hooked up to the 500watt transom-mounted transducer (included), its fishfinder capabilities provide multi-kHz readouts down to 1000 feet. The Chirp feature allows you see the bottom and fish in great detail, and its built-in Wi-Fi lets you create your own fishing maps. The screen is very bright, the controls are intuitive and easy to use, and it has a built-in antenna. I think it’s a heckuva unit for $549 – probably all anyone would need on a saltwater boat in the 18- to 30-foot range. It’s available from Garmin marine electronic dealers, including Hamilton Marine. 4) Shimano Sedona 4000XG Spin Reel If you’re looking for the perfect gift for a Maine striper angler, this is it. I bought two of these this summer to replace a couple of well-worn, 20-year-old Oklumas. The ultra-smooth 4000XG is ideal for 12-pound mono (holds about 180 yards), and coupled with any good 7’ medium-action

rod makes a perfect outfit for tossing topwater plugs, soft-plastics, or chunking bait. It has a fast 6.2:1 gear ratio, can take up to an astounding 24 pounds of drag (not that you’d ever want that much!) and weighs just 10.4 ounces. I particularly like the oversized handle grip, and it’s a very pretty reel to boot. It retails for $69.99 at most Maine tackle shops, or you can get it on-line from the major tackle retailers.

5) A Subscription to Angler’s Journal I’ve been subscribing to (and occasionally writing for) a terrific coffee-table-class fishing publication called Angler’s Journal from the beginning, and can’t say enough about it. Edited by my old friend Bill Sisson, AJ’s contributors have won over a dozen writing awards since the magazine’s inception in 2014. It comes out four times per year, and is loaded with freshwater and saltwater how-to articles, U.S and international fishing destination pieces, profiles, remem-

brances of places and people, and lots more, from trout to marlin. I love the stories, but am really blown away by the photographs, which in my opinion are the best in the business – absolutely gorgeous. A full year’s subscription (4 issues) is $29, and would be one of the best Christmas gifts for a fisherman I could recommend. For more info, visit

6) Evinrude E-TEC G2 300 HP Outboard Motor Hey, if Mercedes-Benz can run TV commercials suggesting that a new SL Roadster convertible would make a dandy present under the Christmas tree, than I should

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�������������������������������������������������� The Maine Sportsman • December 2019 • 47

Marinated Bear Blade Steaks

with Rum and Maple-Roasted Cayenne-Cumin Carrots Winter is really a great time to cook all those meats that are typically tough. I suggest cooking them in a crockpot all day, or marinating them overnight for braising. Know your meat cut and do right by it, and they will always come out delicious!

These bear blade steaks are no different. If you are going to leave the connective tissue in, then you will want to braise or cook the meat slowly to break down that connective tissue. This recipe will melt in your mouth. This

is a great recipe to bring with you ice fishing and finish it on the stove. And don’t forget water – it’s so important to stay hydrated! Bon Appétit, Merry Christmas and a Happy, Healthy New Year!

• • • •

Roast carrots until thoroughly tender and browned, about 45 minutes depending on how big they are. Roll them over after 25 minutes to brown evenly. If pan begins to dry, splash on ¼ cup water. Combine lemon, honey, and salt in small bowl. Heap carrots onto serving platter, drizzle with juices from pan, then scatter feta, cilantro, and honey mixture over top. Bon Appétit!

BEAR BLADE STEAKS Top Blade steaks have a line of connective tissue down the middle, so slow cooking or braising methods yield the best results. You can also dice or cut into strips for stir-fry – just remove the connective tissue. Ingredients: • • • • • • • • • • •

4 Bear Blade Steaks ½ cup olive oil ¼ cup soy sauce ¼ cup fresh lime juice 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce 2 tablespoons dried basil 2 tablespoons parsley flakes 1 tablespoon garlic, minced ½ teaspoon ground white pepper ¼ teaspoon hot dry mustard ¼ cup vegetable oil (for searing)

Whisk all ingredients together, except steaks, in a bowl. Poke holes in steak (to tenderize more) and place in glass dish. Add marinade to dish, turning steaks over a few times. Refrigerate 24 hours. Heat cast iron fry pan (with lid) on high, add oil and sear steaks on both sides long enough to brown the outside. Add marinade to meat, and cook until done; simmer low and slow, about 90 minutes. — CARROTS Ingredients: • • • • • • • •

15 carrots with green tops ¼ cup dark rum (Meyers or your favorite) ¼ cup Maine maple syrup ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil ½ teaspoon cayenne 1 teaspoon cumin, roasted and ground 1 teaspoon Smoked Sea Salt ½ cup feta cheese, crumbled

Saltwater Fishing (Continued from page 46)

be able to suggest a new outboard motor that costs about a quarter of what the car goes for. I put a new E-TEC 300 on my boat this

¼ cup cilantro, chopped 2 tablespoons lemon juice 2 tablespoons honey 1 teaspoon kosher salt

Preheat oven to 375°. Trim carrot greens to 2 inches, then scrub carrots and heap into rimmed baking sheet. Mix rum, maple syrup and oil, and pour over carrots. Mix cayenne, cumin, and salt; sprinkle over carrots; and turn with your hands for even distribution. spring, and it is one heckuva motor. Yes it’s a 2-stroke, but totally different than the old ones. The 300 is the most fuel-efficient in its class, has the lowest exhaust emissions of any 300, and has a number of really neat features such as automatic trim and push-button winterization – and will run

500 hours before any routine service by a dealer is needed! Check it out at I bought mine through Bamforth Marine in Brunswick, and can’t say enough about their top-shelf service and professionalism.

48 • December 2019 • The Maine Sportsman ———————————————————————————————————————————————————

Should Those Who are Lost be Billed for Their Rescue? Park Rule 2.2: “The Baxter State Park Authority may request reimbursement of search and rescue costs in case of reckless hikers.” The debate over who pays for search and rescue operations when outdoor wanderers fail to make it home seems to intensify with each lost-person scenario. A full-blown search and rescue operation can cost tens of thousands of dollars. Concerned taxpayers want to know why they must shoulder the burden for some instances they consider as reckless recreational practices. Should a lost hiker or hunter pay for his or her search efforts? Search and Rescue I’ve had two friends who required search and rescue operations. One

It’s easy to make a mistake when hiking or camping – especially in the wintertime. But when does a mistake become “reckless,” which would, in the case of Baxter State Park, allow park officials to assess the costs of the search and rescue efforts to the hiker or camper? went ice skating and never returned. A massive search, including helicopters, eventually spotted his orange hat under the ice. Scuba divers went down under the ice and recovered my buddy Pete’s lifeless body. The massive search effort had the feel of a military operation. Police, fire and volunteers mobilized to quickly engage. To my knowledge, the family never received a bill. My dear friend Pete didn’t do anything reckless – he simply hit a thin patch of ice. He grew up

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skating and swimming on that pond, and knew it like the back of his hand. Lost Creek Wilderness My friend Dave, on the other hand, spent a cold night in the woods at a state park called Lost Creek Wilderness in Colorado. Hiking solo, he left all his gear along the trail because the map showed a water source two contour lines from his location. He simply went to fill his two water bottles before setting up camp for the night. He never found the water source or his way back to his gear. The temperature dropped to below freezing. Now Dave had taken some steps to promote a safe, uneventful multiday hike. He had all the right gear. Before leaving

he purchased a “SPOT” GPS transmitter. With the unit Dave purchased he would send text messages to his wife twice a day to let her know everything was proceeding as expected. He also had an emergency SOS button that would activate a search should he get in immediate trouble. Search Activated However, along with his camping gear, he also left his SPOT back on the trail. When he couldn’t send a text that night his wife became alarmed. They had previously agreed that after two missed texts she would call search and rescue. With the next text not due until morning, she waited a few more hours and, sensing some-

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thing wasn’t right, made the call. Search and rescue mobilized during the night, planning to launch the effort at first light. Dave spent the night trying to keep warm. With his matches on the trail with the rest of his gear a fire was not in the cards. By daybreak he showed early signs of hypothermia. In the wee hours of the morning, he spotted a house in the distance and started walking a straight line towards it. Eventually he came to a road. To his relief, an ATV rider stopped and asked the question he wanted most to answer – “Are you that lost hiker who everyone’s looking for?” It sounds like the rescue people were minutes away from activating helicopters when the call came in that Dave was basically okay. Dave never received a bill for those efforts. Dave, a very experienced hiker, simply made one error. He separated himself from his gear – something he promises never to do again. When he went back for his backpack two weeks later, it was still sitting along the trail. He also realized he spent the night less than 2,000 feet from his wellstocked backpack. Reckless? In the case of the Baxter State park rules, notice the words “may” and “reckless.” It doesn’t say they “must” seek reimbursement but that they “may.” There also seems to be some wiggle room in determining “reckless.” Jensen Bissell, former Baxter State Park (Continued on next page)

�������������������������������������������������� The Maine Sportsman • December 2019 • 49 (Continued from page 48)

director, once said, “Most hikers take safety seriously, but those who don’t put others at risk.” In each of the described cases – one tragic; one near-tragic – additional precautionary steps “may” have prevented the need to launch full-blown search and rescue operations. I don’t consider myself reckless. Yet, I fully realize that things can go bad quickly. One poor decision can turn a funfilled day afield into tragedy. I’m a believer when it comes to “prepare for the worst, and hope for the best.” The BSP website has a section detailing the rules for using the park during the winter. They are clearly written and with good merit. Simply put, winter magnifies even the simplest mistake. If Pete and Dave had their episodes during the heat

of summer, it would not have even earned a mention. Cold weather puts a whole new spin on winter recreation. Many of the tips and warnings applicable to BSP should be heeded by all campers, whether camping inside the park or on private land. Hunters and snowmobilers can also gain valuable insight into outdoor winter survival. Go Prepared Those who engage in snow shoeing and cross-country skiing also bear some responsibility towards recreating safely in Maine’s sometime harsh winter playground. As winter cruises onward, snowmobiling fast becomes the premier winter sport in the region. Trail runners will take advantage of the Katahdin Region’s extensive groomed trail system. BSP allows slow (20MPH speed limit) navigation on the park Tote

Winter sports require careful planning and serious cold weather equipment. Every year, ill-prepared winter wanderers require search and rescue assistance, which they may be required to pay for. Quality gear and a warm fire allow cold-weather campers to recreate in safety and comfort year round. Shutterstock photo

Road. It’s easy to carry some extra safety gear along with your snow machine doing the heavy lifting. Just the ability to easily start a fire can save lives, or at the very least, prevent frostbite. With a few matches, Dave could have probably avoided hypothermia.

Aside from some basic survival items, good communication makes all the difference. Both SPOT and Garmin/Earthmate have GPS units that track and text through the satellites. Renting or buying a satellite phone has also gotten more affordable. I’m experimenting

with a portable solar panel to try keeping all these gadgets charged up. The best resource for staying safe during winter outings – one’s mind. Use it to plan, prepare and execute a safe, enjoyable outing.

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50 • December 2019 • The Maine Sportsman ———————————————————————————————————————————————————

Moose Hunt 2019: Unbelievable I get to go along on some pretty interesting hunts, including the moose hunt during the fall of 2019. However, some of the events and occurrences that I experience defy logic, and are difficult for the average reader to comprehend and find factual. Perhaps it would be best for all concerned if we just treated this as a work of fiction – less liability; fewer hard feelings. No names. So let’s just say the following account is untrue, and that any similarity to real people and actual events is purely coincidental. Fairy Tale Once upon a time, several hunting buddies – me, brother Bert, brother Ernie and an assorted cast of friends – embarked on a Maine Moose Hunt. “Great news!” oldest brother Bert had exclaimed. “Brother Ernie was picked in the moose lottery!” Well, that statement certainly got the ball rolling! The most important part of any moose hunt is the beginning – the part where you or a hunter in your circle is drawn for a moose permit. The second most important part is the planning stage. This stage typically starts minutes after completion of the moose lottery drawing, and ends sometime around Christmas. During this stage, rifles are lined up, radios for vehicle-to-vehicle contact are assembled, meals are decided on, and gear for bringing the downed beast to the butcher is

When Bert attempted to exit the truck, his rifle sling hung up in the charging cord of the radio I had given him. The subpermittee, Ernie, froze – he was intrigued, as he had never seen a guy twisted up in a charging cord trying to exit a vehicle while a bull moose watched the goings-on.

Island Boy, Paul, Norm, Butch and Ray pose in front of our elevated mobile spotting tower, The Maine Moose Ridah.

rounded up. A call goes out to friends and family asking who would like to join the hunt. This being a typical hunt, brother Ernie was to use my rifle – a rifle he has downed moose with on previous hunts. Brother Bert was to be his back-up. Both brothers are seasoned hunters. Friends, and Anonymous Moose Callers Joining the hunt were two of the state’s most prolific moose callers. Both men have called in multiple bulls. They wish to remain anonymous, as they are both shy and reserved individuals. Also answering the call to join the hunt was family friend Butch (Oops! I wasn’t going to identify anyone). A life-long hunter, he is a constant participant in Bert and Ernie’s hunting camp. Sunday prior to the start of the hunt, we mounted the “Moose Ridah” onto Bert’s truck.

The Ridah is a homemade tower that sits on the bed of a pick-up. The plan was to have Island Boy (oops again!) and Paul (oops a third time!) up in the Ridah, scouting and calling as Bert crept along with Ernie riding shotgun. Butch and I would follow in the “chase truck” with the moose-removal equipment. A Hunt to Remember Having faith in the 120 years of combined moose hunting in our party, coupled with the “callers extraordinaire,” and with shooters who never miss, I figured this would be a hunt to remember. It certainly was! Monday morning had our group of merry men on a gravel road up north, waiting for daybreak. The hunters were ready, the callers were in the Moose Ridah, and Butch and I were ready to do our part when called upon. Once legal shooting time arrived, Bert crept the truck forward. With-

From left: Ray, Paul, Norm

in the first 30 minutes of travel, as we rounded a corner, we saw a decent bull standing 30 yards off the road. When Bert attempted to exit the truck, his rifle sling hung up in the charging cord of the radio I had given him. Brother Ernie froze, as he had never seen a guy twisted up in a charging cord trying to exit a vehicle while a bull moose watched the goings-on. The moose then decided to take his leave. “Just as well – the hunt would have ended too quickly,” was Bert’s response. The teamed politely suggested he remove the sling from his rifle. Second Chance Several hours later, with “The Ridah” parked, Bert exited the truck and loaded up. Ernie decided to stay in the truck. The callers began their enticing sounds. Almost immediately, another bull stepped into view.

The problem was it was in view of the callers, but not the shooters. Ernie had closed his eyes “just for a minute” and had fallen fast asleep. Bert had wandered away from the vehicle, “to get a better view.” After sizing up the situation, this bull stepped back into the forest and disappeared. Once again, the team supported both hunters’ actions with love and support. Unchambered Rounds Equals Fair Chase Earlier in the fall, Island Boy and I had scouted an area we thought looked promising to call out a bull. Wednesday morning found us at that very spot. The shooters were out of the vehicle, supposedly loaded and ready. Mike called. Out from the edge of the cutting came a bull on the run! Ernie shouldered his rifle, set the crosshairs on the bull, and pulled the trigger. Click! No round chambered. Bert, not to be outdone, shouldered his rifle, aimed, and Click – no round chambered. “Unbelievable,” mumbled Paul (oops – there I go with the names again!). Mike called again, freezing the moose for the brothers to seat a round, and Bert felled the moose with one shot. Norm and Ray (oops and oops) explained to the rest of us the reason for the unchambered rounds; namely, they are simply true believers in “fair chase hunts”!

�������������������������������������������������� The Maine Sportsman • December 2019 • 51

Useful Christmas Gifts for the Off-Road Traveler As Christmas approaches, some folks have a hard time finding the right gift for certain individuals. These particular individuals seem to have everything, especially when you try and get them a present that matches their favorite outdoor activities. In many cases, that person with the passion for those activities already seems to have all the gear they could ever desire to enjoy their passion. Nobody has everything, and some of these suggestions will take your gift-buying expertise to the next level. I

One gift idea for your favorite off-road fanatic is a special road service plan that covers towing and tire repair, with the extra mileage enhancement. My AAA Premium card is good for wrecker service out to 200 miles ... and I’ve had to use it! remember when I was a child, certain relatives who always picked out the best gifts. They had a real talent for choosing just the right present. Some of the best gifts, being especially mindful that Christmas shouldn’t be all about getting a gift of some sort, are those that the giver has crafted with their own hands. In this list, I’ve included a few ideas for those with a talent for making things

by hand. Off Road Presents I just purchased a seat belt for our dog ( that attaches to her harness. The harness goes around the dog’s chest, and the belt clips into the vehicle’s seat belt receiver. It keeps the dog from flying through the windshield upon impact, and silences the annoying seat belt alarm. Another gift idea for

the dog owning off-road traveler is a seat cover that attaches to the front and back seat head rests, forming a kind of hammock to keep a messy dog from trampling mud and water all over the back seat. Gear can be stored underneath the heavy fabric of the cover to avoid getting chewed up and stomped on by the dog. Purchase the seat cover online at any of the multitude of companies,

including, and chewy. com. I think one of the coolest presents I’ve seen lately is a portable jump starter for the auto, also purchased online. The one I got was only around $70, and would start my truck five or six times when fully charged. It also can charge phones and other electronic items – a real handy thing to have if you’re battery goes dead way back in the willy-whacks. Also consider giving an off-road fanatic a special insurance plan that (Continued on next page)

52 • December 2019 • The Maine Sportsman ———————————————————————————————————————————————————

Off-Road Traveler (Continued from page 51)

covers road service with extra mileage. My AAA Premium Road Service Card is good for wrecker service out to 200 miles ... and I’ve had to use it! Hand Made Ideas I recently bought an item on that allows a driver to easily break the glass on the window of your vehicle from the inside of the cab if needed. The tool also has an angled knife edge for cutting your way out of a seat belt. A friend of mine told me a story about how he took his mind off the road for a second and rolled his pickup into a ditch, landing upside down in a few inches of water. The ditch usually had several feet of water in it, but this year happened to be real dry. Neither he nor his passenger were able to exit the cab for at least fifteen minutes, which

would have drowned them both if the ditch had been filled to normal capacity. With this item, they could have broken the glass and been safely out of the cab within a minute or two. I’m going to take this window smashing mini-hammer and attach some 550 paracord. Then I’ll go to an auto junkyard and cut two seat belts apart and purchase the metal part that inserts into the seat belt receiver on the seat. I’ll tie these to the mini-hammer and wrap it as a gift for my family and friends who ride the back country. They can feel safe, knowing that they can easily extract themselves from a vehicle in a dicey situation, and also, they have handy seat belt alarm disablers to quiet the alarm while driving at very low speeds in the woods. An all-time favorite

present is a framed photo of the Christmas gift recipient doing what they love. I like to make sure it’s at least an 8”x10”... the bigger, the better. I’m working on making my own frames out of outdoorsy stuff like birch bark or alder branches. Off-road travelers probably like woodsy material. Last Thoughts An extra tool kit, dedicated just for the off-road vehicle, makes a great gift that could save the day at some point. Be sure it isn’t too large, and at the same time, be sure to have enough tools to take care of most routine road mishaps. A good canoe/kayak rack can’t be beat as a present. A brand new rack starts out at around $300, but I found a great rack locally that only cost me $100. It pays to look around. The toughest part will be trying to wrap the bulky present. Tire chains are anoth-

Looking for a gift for your favorite off-roader? The author believes tire chains are among those items that people don’t think about, until they are suddenly needed. He almost slid his truck off an icy cliff last winter, and said to himself, “I guess I need some chains!” Photo: Tire Chains R Us

er item that gets put on the back burner until they are suddenly needed. I almost slid my truck off an icy cliff last winter and realized, “Duh, I guess I need some chains.” Off-

road travelers will love the kind thought, especially when they find themselves miles deep into the Maine wild in an ice storm.

MAINE WILDLIFE QUIZ: Yellow Perch by Steve Vose

The yellow perch (Perca flavescens) belongs to the Percidae or perch family of fishes. Yellow perch are native to the North American continent, but dispersed widely from their original predominant range of the eastern United States and Canada due to their popularity as a sport and commercial game fish. Yellow perch have gold or yellow colored bodies, and possess unmistakable dark vertical stripes. This unusual color pattern has given them the nickname “tiger trout” by anglers. The dorsal fin contains several sharp spines that work to protect the fish from predators, as well as providing unsuspecting anglers with an unpleasant surprise. Yellow perch are a relatively diminutive species of game fish, averaging between 5 and 8 ounces. It is not uncommon in healthy yellow perch waters to occasionally catch

large adults reaching 10 inches and weighing 10 ounces. According to the Maine Sportsman’s online book of records (www.mainesportsman. com/hunting-fishing-records/), the largest yellow perch caught in Maine was a giant 1.88-pound behemoth taken by Daniel Baty out of Damariscotta Lake on March 26, 2017. Yellow perch often travel in large schools, making fishing for this delectable game fish exciting once anglers locate them. Rarely

Questions 1. To what family of fishes do yellow perch belong? 2. What is the primary defense weapon of the yellow perch? 3. What is the native range of the yellow perch? 4. What do male yellow perch release on the female yellow perch eggs to fertilize them?

taken from waters more than 30 feet deep, yellow perch prefer spending most of their lives eating and breeding in shallow waters. Perch are prolific breeders, with male yellow perch reaching sexual maturity at three years of age; females at four. Perch spawn in the spring, typically in April and June. Mating occurs with females first releasing a sticky, gelatinous mass of eggs that adheres to dense vegetation and fallen trees. During the spawning season, males release milt around the eggs to fertilize them. Eggs and sperm are randomly mixed, and soon after fertilization, the young hatch. Yellow perch typically live 9-10 years Body size determines the diets of yellow perch. Juvenile yellow perch eat small insects like mosquitoes, while the larger adult yellow perch dine on crayfish and on the eggs and fry of other fish. In turn, bass, walleye and northern pike all prey on perch.

5. What was the weight of the biggest yellow perch caught in Maine? 6. What is the average weight of an adult yellow perch? 7. When is the mating season for the yellow perch? 8. What is the average life span of a yellow perch? 9. What fish species prey on yellow perch? Answers on Page 61

�������������������������������������������������� The Maine Sportsman • December 2019 • 53

Smoke Poles, December Deer and Fast Hares! Back in the early 1980s, my shooting buddy Stephen Richards had amassed a small arsenal of black powder pistols and rifles. In fact, I recall him laboring for months building a “Brown Bess” flintlock reproduction. For a young guy like myself, with no extra cash to lay out, helping him keep those guns sighted in and sparkling clean filled up many a Saturday afternoon. Richards was not a hunter – strictly a target shooter. For me, shooting targets served as a means to improve my chances for success on subsequent hunts. That slight difference in attitude never amounted to much until years later when states started designating special seasons for smoke poles. And those special seasons really opened my eyes to new opportunities. Modern Smoke Poles Today’s muzzleload-

My friend Stephen had a muzzleloader. He was getting married, and the happy couple-to-be needed a hope chest. I am a woodworker, and I needed a muzzleloader. A deal was struck, and soon they had their hope chest and I was prowling the woods with a .58 caliber Zouave – a reproduction of an 1861 Civil War musket. ers have utilized technological advances, and as a result accuracy and reliability have increased dramatically. While some hunters prefer the “primitive hunt” aspect of harvesting a deer with period-correct firearms, others can legally enjoy “modern” smoke poles that look, feel and perform like, well, a modern


smokeless firearm. To own my first smoke-burner, a 58-caliber Zouave, required a bit of bartering. Stephen was getting married to a lovely girl named Mary, and they needed a hope chest. Having no money at the time didn’t stop me from quickly building the young couple a pine box designed to hold their

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memories. For payment, I received the all-too-familiar percussion cap Civil War reproduction Zouave. Special Muzzleloader Season The northern WMDs in the state offer a muzzleloader season that

starts December 2 and ends December 7, while southern Maine districts have an additional week, until December 14. Hunters bemoaning unused deer tags during the regular firearms season have a shot at redemption. Purist looking to harvest an animal using the same weapons as our forefathers can also have at it. Pragmatists wanting a freezer full of meat can also pull the trigger. Maine allows any (Continued on next page)

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Jackman Region (Continued from page 53)

type of sight. This wide range of sighting options allows hunters to set up their powder burners the same as their favorite deer rifle. Consistency breeds familiarity. It’s also possible to mount a particularly lucky scope on top of the gun. This is one important area where tradition meets modern technology. Check the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife website ( ifw/) for complete rules and regulations. December Tracking Snow It’s a solid bet the Jackman Region has at least trace amounts of tracking snow as muzzleloaders take to the woods early in December. That makes locating deer activity a bit easier. With food sources blanketed with snow,

deer will start rummaging around for mast crops, allowing astute hunters to interpret the torn-up acreage. By now, stands of beech or oak trees have dropped this much-anticipated meal. Hungry deer will nose through the snow to store up some calories for the long winter ahead. Deer tend to show up better against a snowy backdrop, giving December hunters another slight advantage. Wandering eyes can spot brown fur from greater distances, thanks to a white background. As the weather starts to really get cold, expect deer to feed as often and heavily as possible. They’ll need to do this before the snow gets too deep. The muzzleloader season rates as the perfect time to take advantage of this seasonal ritual.

I bartered a pine hope chest I made, for this Zouave muzzleloader. Both parties did well in the trade.

Snowshoe Hare Once the deer season subsides, snowshoe hare hunters take control of the woods. While this season remains open until the end of March, December rates as a prime time to pursue Lepus americanus. Nicknamed “snowshoe” hare because of their large rear feet, they also go by “varying hare” due to their fur changing from summer brown to winter white. Both of those characteristics work against hunters. Their winter white makes them extremely hard to spot. Those large feet allow them to speed along on the snow without sinking down. These advantages make them a

formidable foe. Hunting rabbits with a pack of sharp-nosed beagles on snow rates as the classic Maine hunt. The hunter’s heart races faster as the howling hounds get closer and closer. If the hunter’s luck holds, the crescendo of action is reached as the woods echo from the bark of a 20-gauge. Most of us don’t have the time or resources to keep a pack of beagles ready for chase. That’s why I hire a guide who specializes in rabbit hunts. It’s not uncommon for a guide to have 20-plus dogs to pick from. Many of the advertisers on the pages of The Maine Sportsman can arrange a first-class hare hunt. I’ve harvested a few

rabbits over the years without the assistance of the previously mentioned sharp-nosed beagles. But those episodes are mostly accidental. Every now and then, while bird hunting, my feather-finder would kick one up. During the day, snowshoe hare sit tight. Something needs to almost step on them in order to put them on the move. A couple of times I’ve done just that. With snow on the ground, it’s easier to find concentrations of bunny activity. In areas thick with rabbit sign, hunters can methodically stalk the easily-concealed bunnies, but it’s usually complicated by the dense conifers they like to snuggle up (Continued on page 56)

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�������������������������������������������������� The Maine Sportsman • December 2019 • 55

Making the Most of December December ranks as the quietist time of year in the Moosehead region. Most visitors have long since packed up and gone home, leaving the place to residents and the occasional traveler. Area guides get a well-deserved break now. Working as a full-time guide in the Moosehead region requires a high degree of commitment, since for many, May through October sees nonstop activity, from fishing in spring and summer to moose hunting, bird hunting and deer hunting in fall. I asked my friend and area guide Eric Holbrook what he did in his time off, and his answer wasn’t surprising at all. When he isn’t guiding others, he takes his bird dogs and goes hunting on his own. Open season on grouse goes through the month of December, and barring an unexpected blizzard, a hunter can squeeze in at least a couple of weeks of late-fall shooting. But there’s a caveat. Paper companies only plow the roads where there are active logging operations. Otherwise, folks driving on snowy roads are completely on their own. And if it begins snowing while you’re out in the field, it only makes sense to call it a day and head home as quickly as prudence permits. Nonetheless, the back country offers much to those willing to come in December. Year’s Recap I had fallen in love with the Moosehead region many years ago, and that infatuation continues unabated.

What a summer it was! Each week throughout the season, anglers landed 4- to 6-pound brookies, with the occasional 7-pounder thrown in for good measure. To catch wild trout of this size once required a trip to northern Canada. Now it’s here in our own backyard – Moosehead Lake.

Typical back country view of Moosehead Region in Autumn. Photo by Tom Seymour

And now, in my role as the Moosehead region columnist for The Maine Sportsman, I visit here as frequently as possible. It’s work, I tell people. But really, it’s a privilege to recreate in and write about this historic, storied part of Maine. My visits here begin in spring, usually May, when salmon and trout fill the Moose River. Fishing then comes fast and furious, and everyone catches fish. Later, beginning in June, Moosehead Lake heats up, and the fish that were in the river drop down into the lake. When fishing is at its best, dozens of boats circle the area in front of the river mouth. Then in summer, after fish disperse, trolling in the rest of the lake begins paying big dividends. In years past, anglers would take five togue for every one salmon. Now, that has done an about-face, and salmon outnumber togue. Also, fish have

Sheer cliffs on back side of Mt. Kineo. Photo by Tom Seymour

reached prime condition, fat and healthy. To make a good thing even better, giant brook trout in Moosehead Lake are showing up, and each week throughout the season, anglers land 4- to 6-pound brookies, with the occasional 7-pounder thrown in for good measure. To catch wild trout of this size once required a trip to northern Canada. Now it’s here in our own backyard – Moosehead Lake. Upland Game Come October, bird hunting trumps all. My annual grouse hunt out of Lawrence’s Lakeside Camps stands as the highlight of my year. Not only do owner Bob Lawrence and I have fun riding back roads and scouting for moose, we always stop and do a bit of bird hunting. Eric Holbrook and the other guides working out of Rockwood know each and every bird cover, and

they are able to put their clients on not only grouse, but also woodcock – lots of woodcock. Whereas native or “local” birds are in short supply in central and coastal Maine, the Moosehead region teems with them. Things only get better as cold weather to the north drives down flights. Then, it’s easy to take a day’s limit of timberdoodles. With a tip of the hat to Washington County, the Moosehead region ranks among the last, best places for woodcock in Maine. Trout Fishing continues throughout the fall, but not on Moosehead Lake. That opens to ice fishing on January 1. Until then, the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (DIF&W) stocks a number of waters with fall yearling brook trout, fish of 12 – 14 inches. For me, any trout fishing beats not trout fishing at all. For that reason, my path always

leads me to the West Outlet of the Kennebec River. There, brook trout and landlocked salmon fall to small lures fished near bottom. The no-kill salmon program at West Outlet is still in its infancy. Yet, a young man I met this fall reported taking a salmon weighing more than 4 pounds. Brook trout, stocked throughout the season, hang around the dam pool all year. Plus, larger, older trout from far downstream toward Indian Pond travel upstream, only to stop at the dam pool. The place has unlimited potential. Another brook trout hotspot, Mountain View, or Fitzgerald Pond, sees great numbers of brook trout being stocked throughout the season. And while boating in December comes as a cold proposition, local anglers often find early ice in late December and ice-fishing then sees often blistering action. Great Scenery Even those who don’t hunt and fish come to the region to take in the spectacular scenery. Driving on paper company roads opens up endless vistas, with distant mountain ranges touching the sky. It’s one of the best places to enjoy colorful, autumn leaves. Those with boats owe it to themselves to visit the back side of Mt. Kineo. The mountain was cleaved in twain by the last glacier, leaving stark cliffs of a flinty substance, Kineo rhyolite, from which Native Americans (Continued on next page)

56 • December 2019 • The Maine Sportsman ———————————————————————————————————————————————————

Mooshead Region (Continued from page 55)

made tools and arrow points. Peregrine falcons nest in the rocky crags here, and they are easily

viewed using a set of binoculars. People without boats can book a cruise on the

Jackman Region (Continued from page 54)

under. Serious bunny busters find a way to team up with a dog. Years ago, my good friend Gerry Gauvin told of walking through Johnson Bog with a few of his buddies and rousing up all kinds

Katahdin, a remnant of the steamboat fleet that once plied Moosehead Lake’s icy waters. Sometimes, the “Kate” goes all the way from Greenville to the

back side of Kineo – a memorable trip and one not to be missed. So now you see just some of the reasons I love this wild part of Maine and why I so enjoy

of white speed burners. They did this yearly for a few decades. It’s hard getting a group of hunters together for such an event nowadays. On another note, I’m trying to get a 32 caliper Traditions black powder gun bored out to .410. The plan, crazy as it sounds, revolves around shooting bird shot with the smoke pole. When I’m finished, I’d like

visiting and writing about it. Come and see for yourself, and hopefully, you, too, will share my enthusiasm.

to harvest a snowshoe hare with the black powder scatter gun. Stay tuned for results. Folks might wonder who got the best end of the Zouave for hope chest barter. Time has a way of providing answers. Stephen is still happily married to Mary. I still have that Zouave hanging on my wall. All parties did well.

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�������������������������������������������������� The Maine Sportsman • December 2019 • 57

On Thin Ice On December 7th, 2018 I was fishing with a friend on Togus Pond. A car drove by, and the driver asked us, “How much ice?” When I replied, “Three and a half inches,” the driver responded, “You guys are $%&* nuts!” Likely unknown to the driver was that we were fishing in water shallower than 2 feet, and that we ventured no farther than a dozen feet from shore. When ice fishing during the early season, there is no reason to risk life and limb, especially because brook trout are frequently found in shallow water only a few feet from shore. While nobody wants to take an icy plunge through the ice in December, if it happens in two feet of water, it’s an inconvenience and not a tragedy. Spud Light Thin early season ice means little effort is required to pop in holes. Typically this task can be easily accomplished without the use of an ice auger. Ice fishermen can instead use an ice chisel or a “spud” to punch the necessary hole in the ice. This means that it’s not necessary to lug around a heavy auger – a task that as I grow older has less and less appeal. Keep it Light When ice fishing brookies, it pays to modify fishing outfits to match the intended target species. Success often is easier won when heavier pike-, salmon- or togue-

For an inexpensive, foolproof and highly accurate depth sounder for shallow ponds, try a 25-foot tape measure that you extend straight down the hole. Once you determine depth, lay the tape on the ice and measure your line against it.

The author’s sons Wildman and Manimal caught their first trout out of Savade Pond during the 2019 ice fishing season. As you can see, they were enthusiastic in their pursuit of these tasty game fish. Steve Vose photo

sized fishing rigs are replaced with lightweight tackle such as 4-pound leaders, BB-sized split shot, and miniscule number 10 sized hooks. Also, using alternate baits can entice finicky brookies into tripping flags. Last season while fishing Savade Pond just east of Windsor (DeLorme’s Atlas Map 13, C-3), three of us caught our limit of trout using Northern Redbelly Dace, while our closest neighbors caught nothing using Common Shiners. When baitfish fail to do the job, try using a small piece of earthworm an inch long – it is sometimes the light snack trout are looking for. In freezing temperatures,

keep worms inside a jacket pocket to keep them from becoming unusable. Be sure to check lines frequently, keeping ice build-up to a minimum and ensuring that bait remains fresh and active. Often, the act of slowly lifting and lowering lines will “stir the bait” and elicit a strike. Tape Measure Works Great One handy tip I picked up this ice fishing season is using a 25 foot tape measure to determine water depth. In shallow water (less than 25 feet deep), this method is much faster and more accurate than the standard practice of tying a weight to the line. Addi-

tionally, by gently tapping the end of the ruler on bottom, anglers can quickly determine if the bottom is rocky, sandy or muddy. Using this method, I found that by taking along a notepad and paper, I was able to drill, measure hole depths, record the information and map the entire fishing area in minutes. If wishing to set lines at a specific depth, I lay the tape measure on the ice and stretch out the fishing line along its length – this allows me to be extremely accurate when I am dropping the lines to the correct depth. Deeper PRO Individuals prefer-

ring a more technical method of measuring ice hole depth would be impressed by the Deeper PRO Smart Sonar ($189) portable wireless fish finder. This cool hi-tech piece of equipment is a must for ever avid ice fisherman. The device wirelessly generates its own WiFi signal, syncing with smartphones and pairing with the company’s free “Deeper” app. The Deeper PRO dual beam sonar is capable of scanning down to 260 feet. A savvy angler can determine type of fish, their size, their suspended depth, underwater structure, vegetation, bottom contour, hardness, water depth and temperature. Stocking Reports Several lakes and pond in the central Maine area receive generous stockings of 10-inch brook trout. My favorite spots include Togus Pond in Augusta and Savade Pond in Windsor. Both these ponds historically receive hundreds of brook trout in October and November, ranging from 7 to 18 inches. Overcast Skies and Flags Will Fly! Brook trout do not bite exceptionally well for 48 hours after a low pressure system. However, fish do tend to feed aggressively 24 to 36 hours before a low pressure moves through. When the weatherman predicts temperatures in the 30s, overcast skies and flurries, it’s going to be a good day to fish!

58 • December 2019 • The Maine Sportsman ———————————————————————————————————————————————————

Holiday Shopping with Shooters in Mind On my secret wish list, you’ll find a set of nice screwdrivers designed just for firearms. Every would-be gunsmith needs hollow-ground screwdrivers, or as the English say, “turn screws.” I dream of a set of three British imports with buffalo horn handles, at about $150 for the set. Ho, ho, ho … Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays. Season’s Greetings. Only about 30 days – or perhaps even fewer than 30 – days remain for holiday shopping, as you are reading December issue of The Maine Sportsman. In the early years of The Shooter’s Bench, I often provided readers with an annual combination wish list/shopping list.

I’ve skipped a few years, so let’s renew that tradition this month! Starting the List Books always make good choices for shooting enthusiasts, and thousands of titles exist to choose from. The latest editions of The Blue Book of Gun Values, Cartridges of the World, and The Total Gun Manual by David E. Petzal and Phil

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Bourjaily form a firm foundation for any shooter’s book collection. Optics for the Hunter by John Barsness provides another encyclopedia of knowledge for expert or novice shooters. Subscriptions to fan-focused magazines are other good gifts for a shooter. Of course, The Maine Sportsman tops the list, but others like Sporting Classics or the Maine-based Shooting Sportsman for wellheeled shotgun enthusiasts offer hours of pleasant reading. For those who dream of global big game hunting, Sports Afield makes a good

Books and gear make great gifts for any shooters on your holiday shopping list. J.C. Allard photo

choice. Handheld range finders seem all the rage now. These compact technological marvels from companies such as Leupold, Nikon, Sig-Saur and others make brilliant gifts for shooters. Every bit as valuable in the field as a good spotting scope or pair of binoculars, a range finder takes much of the guesswork out of engaging a

target. The better ones even calculate the incline and make adjustments for windage – all within about 3/10 of a second. Priced between $200 and $800, range finders are not inexpensive, but they can be game-changers for any hunter. On the softer and more modestly priced side, consider a shooting shirt with an integral yet removable recoil pad. Such a shirt can make a long day on the range far more pleasant. The same is true for a good pair of quality shooting gloves. Many shooters now use gloves year round. They need insulated ones for cold conditions, and dexterous, non-insulated gloves for the warm months. Retailers including L.L. Bean, Orvis, Cabela’s and Kittery Trading Post offer a wide variety of gloves in a range of prices. Expanding the List Anyone just getting started into reloading rifle or pistol cartridges will appreciate Hornady’s Lock-N-Load Classic Reloading Kit. More experienced reloaders will go for the (Continued on next page)

�������������������������������������������������� The Maine Sportsman • December 2019 • 59

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60 • December 2019 • The Maine Sportsman ———————————————————————————————————————————————————

Blackpower Whitetails, Ducks and Fish Muzzle-loading season in the Downeast Region starts December 2 and ends December14, 2019. If I wasn’t fortunate enough to tag a deer in November, I will be sliding my Thompson/Center, 50-caliber black-powder rifle out of gun rack and continuing to hunt deer for two more weeks. This time of year often allows smoke-pole carriers the possibility of hunting on snow-covered terrain. The colder weather makes deer move more during the day and arouses bucks in the area to search for

A newly-formed Wildlife Management District, labeled “WMD 26a,” encompasses acres of cut hay fields in Penobscot and Castine. Within this region I’ve spotted four, five and even six deer per field. available does. So finding and following an adult deer track make the sport that much more thrilling. Top-hunting areas to pursue a December whitetail are found in Wildlife Management Districts (WMD) 26 and 27. WMD 26a, a newly-created district, partly encompasses acres of cut hay fields in Penobscot and Castine. In these fields I’ve seen two or three deer in past

years, but now I am seeing four, five and even six deer per field. Check DeLorme’s Atlas, Map 15, and a copy of Maine’s hunting regulations for more precise details on the towns comprising this district. Fortunately, a friend of mine has given me permission to hunt on his woodlot in Castine. I will be spending many hours searching for the 8-pointer I saw on his property last year. The coastal area of WMD 27 contains hundreds of acres of blueberry fields and cultivated farmlands, with an ample amount of prime cover to sustain an ever-increasing deer herd. Muz-

zle-loading season in this district is only one week, running from December 2- December 7, 2019. Top-hunting areas to pursue whitetails are found on the outskirts of Harrington or Addison. Cultivated farmlands and a suitable amount of cover here are able to sustain the modest numbers of deer. Another good hunting region to explore for deer are the numerous logging roads around First Lake (Map 35, E-4), and Second, Third, and Fourth Lake (Map 35, D-4).This area features high-quality deer habitat around each lake.

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ter lakes and ponds iceover early, then die-hard feather-seekers can continue their season by placing decoys on the coastal waters of Penobscot Bay. It’s a sure bet that the old squaws, eiders and coots will give hunters good shooting opportunities. Two of the most popular locations where hunters find ducks plentiful are Flye Point, Map 15, C-5, and Naskeag Point, Map 15, D-5. These are traditional sea-duck haunts; however, several more out-of-the-way locations feature fewer camouflaged hunters and equally high sea-duck populations. By checking Maps 15 and 23, duck hunters are also able to experience prime seaduck hunting. Farther Downeast, feather-busters turn to Washington County’s rocky coastline for late-season duck hunting. Two good prospects for finding fast-flying ducks include the mouth of the Machias River Map 26, C-4, and the Chandler River, Map 25, B-5. Either one of these waters can provide excellent opportunities to fire off a lot of shells, hopefully hitting a few ducks. (Continued on next page)

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�������������������������������������������������� The Maine Sportsman • December 2019 • 61 (Continued from page 60)

Hard-water Fishing I often begin my ice-fishing season in December by drilling a few holes on Silver Lake in Bucksport, Map 23, D-2. This lake offers some of the best and earliest winter-fishing prospects in the area. White perch and chain pickerel are the targeted species on this lake. On any given day, I usually catch and release a dozen or more pickerel. Many other coldweather anglers fish for largemouth bass, smallmouth bass or white perch. Access to this water can be gained all along the Silver Lake Road in Bucksport. Because of Silver Lake’s road-side location, it is easy to tend your ice traps from your pickup or car. The cove at the boat landing usually freezes first and produces the safest and the best early-fishing action. Baskahegan Lake One Washington County water that often

offers early ice fishing in December is Baskahegan Lake in Topsfield, Map 45, C-3. This 6,944-acre lake has a highly productive warm-water fishery. Baskahegan is open to ice fishing for all warm-water species in December, with a daily limit of 25 white perch. This is a generous daily limit designed to thin out the overabundance of perch on this water. In my family, perch were considered a poor man’s haddock. My mother would often make them into a mouth-watering chowder. The dawn and dusk hours are the best times to fish for perch. Small, colored perch jigs in red or yellow are my favorites. Even though live fish as bait can’t be used on this water, tip-ups with a dead shiner or cut-up bait approximately 2-to-4 feet of bottom just might do the trick. Perch often travel in schools, so if you are lucky enough to ice one, take as little time as possible getting your fish off

It’ll be there for Hancock County ice fishermen in January -- Jeremy Glick of Bangor caught and released this 15-inch brown trout in Hancock Pond in Bucksport on October 13, using a white rooster tail.

the hook and putting another bait back down the hole. There is also a very high smallmouth bass population in the lake. From October 1 through December 31, all trout, landlocked salmon and togue caught must be released alive at once. However, all species of

fish become fair game as of January 1, 2020. Refer to a current copy of Maine Fishing Laws for length restrictions and daily fish limits for all other species. There is a gravel ramp boat landing area about one mile from Route 1. Because Baskahegan is

so large, many anglers choose to ice-fish close to the landing. However, if you have a four-wheeler or snowmobile with you, there are thousands of acres on Baskahegan to explore and fish.

Wildlife Quiz Answers: Yellow Perch

1. Yellow perch belong to the Percidae or perch family of fishes. 2. The primary defense weapon of the yel low perch is a dorsal fin containing sev eral sharp spines that help protect the fish from predators. 3. The native range of the yellow perch runs

Shooter’s Bench (Continued from page 58)

Rock Chucker Supreme Master Reloading Kit from RCBS. These two kits, priced between $300 and $350, provide everything needed for successful reloading, except the expendable components. Every tinkerer with a firearm needs a set of hollow-ground screwdrivers, or as the English say, “turn screws.” I dream of a set of three British imports with buffalo horn handles, at about $150 for the set. I own a much larger set of six with wooden handles that were priced well under $100.

Final Additions to the List Ammunition is always appreciated. A

(Quiz on Page 52)

across the eastern United States and Canada. 4. The male yellow perch releases milt onto the female’s eggs to fertilize them. 5. The biggest yellow perch caught in Maine weighed 1.88 pounds. 6. The average weight of an adult yellow

perch is 5-8 ounces. 7. The mating season for the yellow perch runs from April to June. 8. The average life span of a yellow perch is 9-10 years. 9. Yellow perch are preyed upon by bass, walleye and northern pike.

case of shells for a trap or skeet shoot will be a hit. A membership to a local shooting club is ideal, especially for a young shooter without the funds to do it on their own. A lesson or two at Varney’s Clay Sports in Richmond, Maine would improve any shotgun shooter’s results. Many enjoy choosing the gift themselves, so gift cards make a suitable modern solution to gift-giving dilemmas. From boots, to hats, tools to a 2020 hunting license, the opportunities to surprise and please a shooter are boundless. Places such as Kittery Trading Post, Cabela’s in Scarborough, or L.L. Bean carry all manner of potential gifts. But so do the local gun shops and sporting goods stores. From

the Piscataqua to the St. John Valley, local vendors offer top-quality merchandise at reasonable prices. With the internet, searches for that special item expand globally. “Searching” the old fashioned way, through my well-thumbed catalog collection, I stumbled on a set of three buffalo horn turn screws priced at $99.95, so perhaps they are not quite so out of reach. Anyway, it’s Christmas and I can dream. To all my readers: Here’s wishing you a wonderful Holiday Season and good things in the New Year. Thanks for your letters and emails. Hearing from you is the best part of the job.

62 • December 2019 • The Maine Sportsman ———————————————————————————————————————————————————

Open Water Fish Early, Ice Fish Late Never are anglers more at the mercy of the weather than in December. Sometimes the month seems more like fall than winter. Other times, December leaves no doubt that winter has settled in with a vengeance. For me, open-water fishing only ends when sub-freezing temperatures cause my line to freeze in the guides. And often, that doesn’t happen until well into December. Of course, most open-water fishing now is restricted to flowing water, since most ponds and lakes get at least a thin coating of ice by mid-month. But cold temperatures don’t stop trout from biting. And fortunately, several yearround rivers still hold plenty of fish in early winter. However the cold does have a chilling effect upon angler participation. This means that the hardy soul who does venture out will find the water bereft of anglers. Of all the months, December paints the starkest picture. The low angle of the sun inspires the longest shadows, and while ice rims streamsides and makes for slippery walking, traces of fall remain in the form of autumn leaves strewn along the banks. But even on warmer days, water temperatures are bitter cold. For that reason, wading becomes a dangerous practice. One misstep can fill a wader with ice water, effectively ending what might otherwise be an enjoyable day. This can come as a valuable learning experience, however, since for

No fish is worth breaking through the ice for, and as tempting as it may seem, I don’t go out until ice thickness reaches a solid 4 inches all around the pond. the most part our Midcoast rivers are small enough to fish without the need to wade. Try casting only short lengths at first, and then expand your distance. The lessons learned now can apply to springtime fishing as well. Too often, people wade out, spooking fish, when there is no practical reason for wading. Knee-high rubber boots are really all the boots anyone will need for fishing our Midcoast rivers and streams in December – or any other time of year. First Ice When small ponds develop a thin coating of ice, even diehard open-water fishermen are obliged to concede that winter has come. But for ice-fishermen, that signals the time they have long awaited –the early flush of hungry fish flocking to hit baits and lures. It’s a proven fact that the first several weeks of ice fishing see the fastest action. This good news comes with a caveat, though. Thin ice is unpredictable, and while parts of a pond may have safe conditions, areas over springs and around stream mouths remain unsafe for quite some time. No fish is worth breaking through the ice for, and as tempting as it may seem, I don’t go out until ice thickness reaches a solid 4 inches all around the pond. Then and only then does the ice become safe enough for walking. Some anglers hit the ice

Pickerel provide anglers with lots of hardwater action in December.

when it is only 2 inches thick, but that seems too risky for me. Here’s something else about early ice. Ice varies in quality and texture as the season progresses, and in many instances the “base” is the strongest component. And that base is the transparent ice formed early in the season. Now here’s the rub. In recent years, warm spells invariably arrive in the wake of cold spells. So consider that we have a solid 4 inches of good, hard ice, then warm spells and accompanying rains compromise ice quality. This can set the season back for some time, at least until cold temperatures return and add inches to the existing icepack. The thing we all hope for, then, is that enough good, early ice will form that a brief warm spell and even a rainstorm can’t appreciably affect it.

We can never anticipate quite when enough ice will form to permit safe walking, but very often, late December sees just enough ice for us to venture out in safety. Also, ice that forms after warm or rainy weather is often of poor quality, with lots of air pockets. Four inches of good, solid ice has more strength than 14 inches of ice that was formed from slush. So use discretion, and only go out on the ice if you are completely convinced that it is safe. First Fish Because the majority of ponds and lakes that hold trout and salmon are closed until January 1, most early season anglers choose to go for panfish. In years past, chain pickerel were the early-season choice, but pickerel numbers in the Midcoast region have diminished, in a large part due to introductions of largemouth bass. Pickerel don’t compete well with largemouths, and I have seen small ponds that once held large numbers of pickerel become bass ponds, with no trace of pickerel. Larger ponds and lakes are affected by largemouth bass introductions too, but not to the extent of smaller waters. And so now, early season ice fishermen have found a new fish species to pursue in December. Black crappies bite best in the early season, and more and more anglers

each year pursue crappies as an alternative to pickerel. Most anglers use small golden shiners as crappie bait, but more and more people are discovering that crappies also bite on artificial lures. Panfish jigs of all sorts take crappies through the ice. One highly effective crappie lure has a white marabou wing, white body and white head. A few people actively pursue yellow perch during the early season. Yellow perch, excoriated by most anglers and considered “trash fish,” get a bum rap. But yellow perch of 10 inches or more put up a respectable battle on a lightweight jig rod. Also, their fillets are flaky and sweet. I enjoy yellow perch fillets rolled in Cajun fish-seasoning mix and fried to a crispy, golden brown. And finally, there’s no better time to hit that favorite white-perch water than during the early season. As with the other warmwater species, white perch never bite better than during the first few weeks of ice fishing. Fresh Start December brings with it a fresh start to our outdoor pursuits. Open-water fishing reflects the cold, wintry conditions so often experienced in early April, while at the same time ushering in a new season and a new beginning for ice fishing. So whatever your preference, don’t rule out December, because it can prove one of the most exciting times of year on any fisherman’s calendar.

�������������������������������������������������� The Maine Sportsman • December 2019 • 63

We Can’t Afford to Backslide on Environmental Protections In my opinion, it makes no sense at all. The Trump Administration continues its allout assault on environmental protection. While proclaiming that the U.S. has “the world’s cleanest and safest air and water” (which isn’t true – New Zealand would win in that distinction), the President has directed the E.P.A. to roll back environmental regulations across the board. The result will be serious backsliding in clean water and clean air protections that affect virtually everyone in the U.S., both in urban and rural areas. This is bad news, because we are not in a good position to start with. Water Quality Suffers According to EPA’s own National Water Quality Inventory, 70 percent of lakes, reservoirs, and ponds, 78 percent of bays and estuaries, and 55 percent of rivers and streams assessed in the U.S. are impaired by pollution and do not meet minimum water quality standards. The Clean Water Act of 1972 established a goal of making all waters in the U.S. “fishable and swimmable.” That goal is still elusive. Despite this reality, the E.P.A. announced in September a final rule to repeal a 2015 regulation that protects wetlands and headwater streams, which have an enormous impact on water quality in all rivers, streams and lakes. The 2015 Clean Water rule was intended to reduce confusion about which waterbodies (“Wa-

Residential and industrial growth come with a cost to our environment – increased water and air pollution. To counteract that trend, we must make a commitment to continuous environmental improvement.

An intermittent tributary such as this won’t be protected under the federal Clean Water Act under the 2019 final rule.

ters of the U.S.”) fall under the protection of the federal Clean Water Act. The purpose wasn’t to expand protection, but simply to clarify when certain rules apply, to avoid continued uncertainty and litigation. But the Trump Administration rule rolls back protections on millions of acres of wetlands adjacent to navigable water bodies, and on intermittent streams that have a defined bank and mineral bottom, yet only flow part of the year. Protecting those wetlands and headwater streams will reduce the major sources of pollution: pathogens (bacteria), sediments from

erosion, temperature, and nutrients, including phosphorus and nitrogen that impair our rivers, lakes and coastal waters. Air Affects Water In Maine, 100% of our waterbodies are impacted by mercury pollution, which is deposited as tiny particles from the air, mostly as a result of coal combustion for electric power. Mercury levels in Maine fish, loons, and eagles are among the highest in North America. We have fish consumption advisories statewide. Meanwhile, the Trump administration is reducing air emissions standards for coal, and wants to increase use of coal for energy.

Trump’s EPA has also sought to roll back vehicle efficiency standards, despite broad opposition from automakers. Improving vehicle efficiency is very effective in reducing ozone and particulate emissions. Great Strides, But…. We have made great strides on restoring rivers and streams and cleaning up our air compared to the 1970s, when rivers would not support fish, and smog blanketed our cities. But as our population and economy grows, the effects of new development offset many of the gains we have made from new technology and by requiring pollution controls and treatment

plants. Red Queen Effect In Through the Looking Glass, Alice and the Red Queen run and run and run. When they stop to rest, Alice realizes they are still under the same tree. Responding to Alice, the Red Queen says: “Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere, you must run at least twice as fast as that!” Keeping up with environmental protection is a bit like running the Red Queen’s Race – it takes all we can do just to stay in the same place, and a significant effort is required to gain ground on our more stubborn environmental problems. A Maine Town Imagine a town in Maine. The local chamber of commerce wants to see existing businesses grow and prosper while attracting new businesses to broaden the tax base. The citizens of the town want more jobs, and they want to maintain the quality of life as they know it. Let’s work the numbers. Say that existing businesses grow by 5% per year, and the town successfully attracts new businesses that account for an additional 3% in economic growth. What town wouldn’t be thrilled with 8% growth in a year? The new and growing businesses create jobs. New people move to the area, build homes and shop locally, adding to the good economic times. (Continued on page 66)

64 • December 2019 • The Maine Sportsman ———————————————————————————————————————————————————

The FurMark Program The International Fur Federation (IFF) has developed the FurMark Program. A steering group has been assembled, made up of the key members of the IFF Board. This group includes the CEOs of the major auction houses, leading fur manufacturers, brands, retailors and brokers. The board will have oversight of the FurMark Program. What is the IFF FurMark Program? It is a global program overseeing fur trade traceability and certification. The goal is to ensure that the highest welfare and environmental standards are met. It is an assurance that the fur industry is committed to improving the sustainability of the sector. The program will provide a guarantee of quality of the product that a consumer may purchase. Key Principles The FurMark Program will be guided by three key principles: 1) Science: certification programs and their protocols that are science-based and approved by independent experts. 2) Independent Inspection: verification of the programs by third parties and made publicly available as part of audits of the FurMark Program. 3) Transparency: the certificate programs must meet recognized National Regulations and International Social and Environmental Standards Accreditation and Labelling Alliance (ISEAL’s) credibility principles.

The international fur industry has undertaken a major re-branding initiative. Much more than just a trademark, the FurMark certification program is intended to allow trappers, wholesalers, auction houses and garmentmakers to be assured the fur has been harvested in a sustainable, legal and traceable manner. All of the global industry’s quality assurance standards are part of the FurMark Program. Obtaining the programs certification means that a regional program has satisfied the programs global standards. All Five Auction Houses Participating This initiative is to make the fur industry more responsible and sustainable. When this program is formally launched in 2020, all the five major international auction houses (Fur Harvesters Auction, North American Fur Auctions, Saga Furs, Sojuzpushnina, and Kopenhagen Fur) have committed to selling only certified furs from that point forward. The pelts will then move through certified dressers and dyers before reaching garment manufacturers. Under this program, all stages of the supply line are subject to comprehensive, transparent and independently-verified traceability systems. The program is also subject to external audits. In sum, the FurMark Program enables retailers, brands and consumers to have complete assurance and confidence when buying natural fur. Industry Buy-In The FurMark Program at its startup in 2020 will include:

The FurMark logo is intended to certify that fur products are the result of sustainable, science-based harvesting. It’s the result of a massive cooperative effort among companies all around the world and at all levels of the fur business. Source: FurMark

• SAGA Certification by Finnish Standards • FurMark North America Farm-raised, covering US and Canadian Mink and Fox Certification Programs • FurMark North American Wild Fur, covering US and Canadian wild fur programs • Swakara (farm-raised South West African Karakul) • Russian Farm-raised and Wild Sable • WelFur European Certification Program for farm raised fox, mink, and Finnraccoon; and • The Dressers and Dyers Certification, covering the dressers and dyers of fur around the globe.

It should be noted that there has been a pilot traceability scheme in use since the fall of 2018 with the five main auction houses as well as some targeted manufacturers and dressers and dyers. The SAGA Auction house and several others already have well-established traceability systems in place. Our North American Wild Fur What does all this have to do with those of us who trap in North America? In today’s world, wild fur is subject to a comprehensive system of laws, regulations, checks and controls that emphasizes sustainability and welfare of all furbearers and protects endangered species. Our modern wildlife management programs ensure that furbearer populations and environmental sustainability is maintained. This is what controls our harvest of this wonderful renewable resource. The Agreement on International Humane Trapping Standards (AIHTS) is a trilateral agreement among Canada, the EU and Russia, along with parallel agreements with the EU and the US. This ensures that animal welfare is paramount in the wild fur harvest. Canada and the US both comply with the terms and international agree-

ments. Trapping in North American is necessarily complex, as it is regulated by different agencies, species, range, providences, states, environments and national borders. Those who manage and set regulations ensure that wildlife populations are maintained in numbers that the environment can support. This management becomes more complex due to threatened or endangered species (like our efforts to protect lynx) and repopulation programs. Wildlife management programs are also impacted by the requirement to protect humane health and safety along with all agriculture interest. Wildlife management is transparent, in that every piece of regulation is subject to public hearings. Everyone who wants to be heard will be given the opportunity. Strictly Regulated All wild furs harvested in North America are a part of various government management programs. The programs are controlled by government, whether by species, seasons, or by limits. These programs are managed under the supervision of biologist/scientist, and are subject to continued research, such as our current 2019 – 2029 Furbearer Management Plan. In 1989, Maine began using a formal public participation process to develop management goals and objectives for our wildlife. The last management plan for our big (Continued on page 66)

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Maine’s Hatchery System Good Investment for the Future Imagine trolling with streamer flies on a northern Maine lake and hooking a 5-pound salmon. For many, it would represent the fish of a lifetime. Next, imagine fishing that same lake, but with one significant difference – the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (DIF&W) had long since taken the lake off their stocking list. Any salmon remaining would be older adults, nearing the end of their lifespan. But sooner or later, time would take its toll and eventually there would be no more salmon in the lake. Legions of anglers flock to Maine’s lakes, ponds, rivers and streams each year in search of salmonids – brook trout, lake trout (togue), brown trout, rainbow trout, splake and landlocked salmon. And with the exception of far northern and western lakes that hold self-sustaining populations of wild brook trout and the countless small brooks and streams where wild trout have lived for millennia, the bulk of coldwater game fish found in waters throughout the rest of the state were born and reared in state-run fish hatcheries. That irrefutable fact, though, often gets lost on the majority of anglers. It’s easy to see how this could happen. Who would ever stop to consider that the 5-pound salmon in their net was once a 9-inch stocked fish, one of many released into the lake years ago? The disconnect stands as a very forgivable oversight.

The author interviews Maine’s Superintendent of Hatcheries, Todd Langevin, about the extent of fish stocking in Maine – especially for brook trout and landlocked salmon. The trend? Producing bigger fish in the hatcheries, which have better survival rates when stocked, and which quickly grow to trophy lengths.

These hatchery-raised brook trout were released in spring when they were 9 or 10 inches long; in the fall, they were caught as 12-inch fish.

Maintenance Stocking According to Maine’s Superintendent of Hatcheries, Todd Langevin, the bulk of DIF&W’s stocking comes in the form of “maintenance” stocking.” That is, routine, continuous stockings compensate for an insufficient amount of natural reproduction. In many cases, the stocking program serves as a

substitute in water bodies where there is no natural reproduction. Many of Maine’s lakes hold sufficient forage to sustain robust populations of salmonids, but few have any significant amount of suitable spawning habitat – thus the need for regular stocking. Maintenance stocking is sometimes

called “put-grow-andtake” stocking. That is, trout or other salmonids

are stocked in suitable waters with the specific intention of them growing to maturity before being harvested. Freshly stocked trout quickly acclimate themselves to the waters where they are released, and other than fin clips (DIF&W clips select fins on fish in order to better monitor them), the fish soon lose all appearances of being hatchery-raised. Note that an absence of fin clips does not necessarily denote that a fish wasn’t stocked, making it even more difficult to differentiate between stocked fish and wild fish. Also, colors become more pronounced in time, and even the flesh of stocked fish acquires an orange color and becomes firmer and sweeter-tasting. In other words, stocked fish, if left to grow to maturity, will have all the qualities of fish that were born in the water where they were released. (Continued on next page)

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66 • December 2019 • The Maine Sportsman ———————————————————————————————————————————————————

Trout Fishing (Continued from page 65)

The Products While our hatchery system raises and stocks brook trout, landlocked salmon, brown trout, lake trout, rainbow trout and splake, brook trout rank as the most popular and asked-for product of the hatchery system. Angler surveys rate brook trout as the most-requested fish for stocking, so a whopping 60% of hatchery output focuses on producing brook trout. The Maine hatchery system groups fish in three different categories based upon size and age. Fall fingerlings are 8 months old and measure between 6 and 8 inches. Spring yearlings, 15-month-old fish, run between 8 and 10 inches, and fall yearlings, 20-month-old fish, measure between 12 and 14 inches. These represent average measurements, and in any group of fish slated for stocking some individuals will run a bit

smaller and a bit larger. Brook trout only live for 3 – 4 years, and that doesn’t allow for much additional post-stocking growth. Therefore, angler success depends upon the stocking of legal-size fish. Most of these come as spring yearlings, but Todd Langevin says that demand has increased for fall yearlings. Stocking these larger trout allows for better open-water fishing in the fall, ice fishing in winter and open-water fishing the following spring. Additionally, fall yearlings have better survival rates in waters containing large, predatory fish, thus allowing for a better return on the investment of hatchery resources. Also, being larger at the outset, fall yearlings have a better chance of attaining larger sizes – the kind of trophy fish anglers prefer. Because of these factors, DIF&W has ramped up

Sporting Environment (Continued from page 63)

Sounds great! But the growth doesn’t come without an impact on the environment. The city finds that growth leads to new roads, and soon they need to expand the sewage treatment facility. More development around the town’s scenic lake adds sediments and nutrients that cause algae blooms and water quality problems. As the local economy grows, air pollution also grows – at about 8% per year! This scenario means that, unless something extra is done, air and water pollution will double every 9 years.

Trapping (Continued from page 64)

game was accomplished in 2017. This plan addressed bear, deer, moose and turkey. We have now commenced the Furbearer Management Plan, which is made up of a Steering Committee and Subcommittees. This two-year process includes convening public working groups.

IF&W to Survey the Public Instead of relying solely on the Public

production of fall yearlings. However, doing so requires more significant hatchery resources. Even so, fall yearling production has increased in recent years and will remain a priority in years to come, Langevin explained. Landlocked Salmon Salmon rank second to brook trout as the most sought-after salmonid in Maine. And while many lakes have self-sustaining populations, in some of these cases supplemental stocking is required to keep numbers at a desirable level because of insufficient spawning habitat and/or forage base of smelt. Because of this, hatchery stocking maintains fisheries in more than half of all salmon lakes, since those water bodies don’t feature sufficient spawning and nursery areas to produce wild fish. West Grand Lake, one of the original homes of wild landlocked salmon, stands as an exam-

This is a hatchery fish? Sure is. Our Maine hatchery system raises and releases many trout like this.

ple of this. West Grand is stocked annually with salmon from the Grand Lake Stream Hatchery, which collects adult salmon from the lake for spawning. Amazingly, West Grand Lake has only limited wild salmon production and survival – thus the need for supplemental stocking. Most landlocked salmon stocked fall in the spring yearling class. These stand as an example of put-grow-and-

take. Many trophy salmon hanging on den walls and enshrined in photo albums began life in a Maine State fish hatchery. Next Month Next month, Todd Langevin will explain how fish numbers are apportioned and how regional biologists submit their annual stocking requests for their individual regions.

What Can Be Done? We don’t have to stop economic growth, but neither do we have to accept a degraded environment. If our communities and our country want to meet their economic and environmental goals, we must make a commitment to continuous environmental improvement. Businesses and citizens must do their part to “make room” for economic growth. The good news is that pushing for continuous improvement drives innovation and efficiency. And innovation makes our economy more competitive. In the example above, the town must reduce waste and emissions by almost 10% per year – just to keep up; just to keep the

quality of life and the local environment the way it is today!

Working Groups as a source of what the public desires, Maine Department Of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (IF&W) will also conduct a formal scientific-based study of the public, hunters, landowners, and it will host regional public meetings. The Steering Committee will provide guidance and advice to IF&W during the plan’s development, and the different subcommittees for the various species will draft goals, objectives and management strategies based on the public survey information and the professional ex-

pertize of those within the subcommittee. The plan will guide IF&W in its efforts to manage the furbearers (beaver, otter, muskrat, mink, fisher, marten, bobcat, coyote, red fox, gray fox, skunk, opossum, red squirrel, raccoon, long tail weasel and short tail weasel) of Maine. (While bear are classified as a furbearer, its management is under the Big Game Management Plan, as it should be.)

We All Contribute Pollution is not someone else’s fault anymore. We all contribute. Environmental protection is everyone’s responsibility. We simply can’t afford to roll back our laws and regulations. It makes no sense at all. When it comes to protecting our environment, many people feel like Alice. It takes all we can do just to stay in the same place. If we want to improve the quality of our environment, we must work at least twice as hard as that.

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December Has Some Hunt Left in Her! Local sports need not worry that their year of hunting is coming to an end – there is still plenty of legal game to keep us busy before we usher in a new decade. Between muzzleloader hunting for deer, grouse hunting, small game and duck, and goose season, there’s no reason to put the guns away quite yet. Muzzleloader Season For diehard hunters who have yet to “get their deer,” the December muzzleloader season offers one last chance to fill the freezer. This year, the statewide muzzleloader season runs from December 2 through December 7. Hunters in the Sebago to Auburn region, which also includes Wildlife Management Districts (WMDs) 12, 13, 15 to 18, 20 to 26 and 29, get an additional week, from December 9 through December 14. This hunter is content to sit inside by the fire in December, but I know plenty of smokepole enthusiasts who enjoy hunting in the relative solitude this season offers. Where to Go While deer aren’t likely to yard in this part of the state as early as December, they do tend to stay in remote spots and thickets at the end of the rut period. They have escaped the November crowd by going into these tough spots, so hunters probing these often un-hunted pockets may do well with their lastditch hunts. One rugged hunting spot for deer is Streaked

There is still sport aplenty to be had this month. With black-power deer, grouse, squirrels, ducks and geese, it’s way too soon to put those long guns away!

If you can find open water, December is a great time to hunt ducks, like this one the author’s late Labrador is retrieving. Photo by Tom Roth

Mountain, between Buckfield and South Paris (DeLorme’s Atlas, Map 11, C-3). Streaked Mountain and neighboring peak Owl’s Head provide plenty of spots for deer to hide from hunters, and the high hills and valleys are a challenge to hunt if you are on the move. This is as close to mountain hunting as we get, but hunters out west work the peaks and valleys, so why can’t we? Start by walking the trails that lead to the top of the mountain, then peel off into a valley or gulley and work your way down the mountain. Keep a close eye on any thick evergreen growth. I shot a nice doe on Owl’s Head several years ago by watching a gully at sunset. A herd of deer came up the gully and I took the lead doe. This could be a good strategy for a December hunt – sitting on a well-worn trail up the mountain.

Small Game Hunters in this part of the state don’t have the grouse hunting they do up north, but that’s not to say you can’t scare up a bird or two. Hunters with a dog can find them and hope they hold tight for a shot. Dog-less hunters can try to walk-and-stalk a bird. This is a great time to do just that, with virtually no hunters afield, especially after muzzleloader season closes. Grouse hunters still have until December 31 chase birds. There may also be some left-over pheasants that were stocked in the Gorham and Windham area. Check the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife website to see where the birds were planted. A good dog will locate these tight-holding birds if they survived the October season. Long-Tailed Grays Want to have the kind

of fun you did when you were a kid? Grab a .22 or a small-bore shotgun and go on a good old-fashioned squirrel hunt. These pesky critters are open to hunting through the end of the month. With all the acorns we saw this fall, squirrels will still be scurrying around in the December woods filling their hiding places with these morsels. Concentrate on anywhere there are oak trees. Sit and listen, and you will hear them rustling the dry leaves. Put your best stalk on, as these are not park squirrels – they are wild and cagey. A .22 is the most challenging and hence rewarding way to put the makings of a Brunswick stew (a/k/a “Appalachian Squirrel Stew”). Duck Days If the month is mild, we will have open water enough to hunt ducks through December 25th

in the southern zone. If not, the wise hunters will have to seek out moving water, such as local rivers. I’ve managed to bag ducks in December on those mild winters, but typically things ice up soon. One good spot to try is the Androscoggin River. Hunters can access the river in Turner on the Center Bridge Road (Map 11, C-5) and in Durham at the launch on Route 136 at the Durham-Auburn town line (Map 5, A-5). Ambush spots along the river abound where a shore hunter can blend into the bank and wait for the fat northern birds to arrive. Geese are open, too. Hunters in the north zone can hunt Canada’s until December 9, while and hunters in the southern zone have until December 25. Goose hunting is typically limited to cornfields this time of year, so hunters working cornfields in the area have a good chance of at least seeing birds. Hunters can also chase hare this month, buts most beagle hunters don’t work their dogs until there is a good snow on the ground. Solo hunters can stalk around the thickets and look for the hare as they turn from brown to white before the snow flies. There is still sport aplenty to be had this month. From large to small game to winged quarry, it’s still too soon to put those long guns away!

68 • December 2019 • The Maine Sportsman ———————————————————————————————————————————————————

Will Mousam Lake Draw-Down Affect Fishing? I have a vested interest in Mousam Lake and the river as well. It’s not a monetary-type interest, but an emotional one. I’ve lived on these waters all my life, my family and ancestors also have lived here, too, Picture three skinny kids – Richard Guinard, Robert Guinard and I – back in the 1960s, swimming at the Emery Mills Dam. When the dam gates were fully open, we swam below the dam in the outlet, climbed up inside the dam behind the gates and jumped into the flume of white water. The force of water shot us out like cannons downstream – great fun! At times we received battle scars, scrapes and bruises – and yes, blood was drawn – but fun trumped pain at that age. And when the gates were closed and water flowed from the dam as a trickle, then we would fish. Notice of a Draw-Down So this fall when I saw

The original plan was to drop the lake 48 inches. However, concerns with water levels in local wells resulted in an adjustment to a 37-inch draw-down. The author believes even that modified plan may cause shallow-water fish in the coves to head for deeper water.

When water levels are normal and the gates at Emery Mills Dam are open, the current becomes fast and furious -- as the author and his friends learned as daredevil “skinny kids” in the 1960s. Photos by Val Maquez

a banner notifying camp owners that on October 1, Mousam was to be drawn down to repair the Emery Mills Dam, I was concerned. How would this

affect the excellent fisheries in the lake? What would happen to the cove I enjoy crappie ice fishing? So I called the town

Sanford Public Works has approached the project in a professional manner, so water levels after drawn-down shouldn’t have an undue effect on Mousam Lake ice fishing.

of Sanford Public Works and talked with Alex Hammerle in their Engineering Department about the project. I found Alex to be

very professional. He explained the project in detail – they had originally planned to lower levels down to 48 inches to drill holes in the dam and inject grout (concrete type filler) deep into the stone works and rock rubble inside. However, concerns with water levels in local wells stopped the draw down at 37 inches below summertime levels in the lake. Alex explained that the project was intended to repair leaks on the north side of the dam. First they need to remove weeds, dig out their roots in the dam, and then drill and grout the inside of the dam to seal leaks. I then asked Alex something I have always wondered about the dam – can fish swim back up through the dam while the gates are open? He thinks the force of water would prevent them swimming upstream. After my history swimming behind the dam, I feel (Continued on page 70)

This banner posted at Mousam Lake caused alarm for camp owners and sportsmen who enjoy the lake year round. However, the project is well engineered, and is designed to minimize the impact on the fisheries and recreation on the lake this winter.

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How to Stay Warm in the Coldest Weather With the month of December comes some of the coldest weather of the year. Even folks who ordinarily enjoy getting outdoors and off the couch may find themselves avoiding outdoor activities because of harsh weather conditions. Others struggle in the cold, fighting the heat-robbing weather, only to come in early and give up their enjoyable outdoor activity too soon. Cold wind and temperatures can cut short an outdoor outing or totally stop someone from even considering an outdoor activity. For me, any outdoor temperature near 20 degrees catches

my attention and makes me realize that I need to take extra care in my clothing options if I want to stay out comfortably and safely for an extended time. And if there is moisture or wind involved in the equation, it doesn’t even need to be that cold to bring discomfort. I’ve been completely chilled to the bone in 40-degree weather when I got a little wet and the wind was whipping ... and I’m ordinarily the kind of guy you see wearing shorts and a tee-shirt while scraping the frost off my truck windshield. I don’t really get bothered by cold weather.

This month, I’d like to show some tricks and gear that can make the coldest weather a little more hospitable. By gearing up with the proper items for cold weather, folks can stay out longer and truly enjoy the winter weather, rather than struggle at a semi-hypothermic level of survival. boots with a heavy load of insulation that carry me through the coldest weather, even if I’m standing on ice below zero all day long. I have also had great success

with Danner (danner. com) boots with the maximum available amount of insulation. A good base layer of merino wool can really (Continued on next page)

Good Gear For my own level of comfort, if I can’t keep my feet warm it’s all over. I get the warmest boots available for cold weather, and then make sure to wear sock liners and a good set of thick wool socks. I have pair of rubber LaCrosse (lacrosse-

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Rangeley Region (Continued from page 69)

save the day during cold weather. The wool keeps you warm even when it gets wet. My snowmobile went through the ice and I got completely drenched in 15-degree temperatures one winter, and I was still comfortably warm after driving another sled out 10 miles to a heated garage. I jumped on another sled and drove another 10 miles out to retrieve the semi-submerged sled, and then hauled it back to the garage – another 10 miles. No one could believe I wasn’t frozen, but the wool saved me that day, for sure. Those chemical heat packs really take the edge off from cold weather, too. I like slipping the big ones under the front of my shirt to keep my belly warm. For some reason the heated packs on my belly generate enough

heat to warm me for an entire day of sitting on stand or sitting on a lake ice fishing. Tricks and Treats I’m kind of a chowhound, so I know my stuff when it comes to tasty treats that keep you warm. A good breakfast can carry you through an all-day ice fishing adventure, a day-long hunt on a cold deer stand, or any other outdoor experience in cold weather. A good old bowl of oatmeal is one of my favorite cold-weather meals. I also enjoy any kind of eggs with plenty of bacon and home fries. An outdoor adventure in the cold burns up more calories that one expects, so fill up on a good breakfast before heading out. Although a thermos of hot tea or coffee can be bulky and heavy, I still take one with me if

Southern Maine (Continued from page 68)

he’s right. Why is Sanford Public Works involved with a lake located in Shapleigh and Acton? The town of Sanford controls water levels in Mousam; also, it owns and maintains the Emery Mills Dam. This goes back to when dams controlled water flow to generate energy for woolen mills located along the Mousam River in Sanford. Some of the lands along the Mousam River near my home also belong to Sanford. Ice Fishing on Mousam So the draw-down shouldn’t affect ice fishing this winter. It may affect where anglers choose to fish, however. Crappie fishing in Mousam is excellent; they seem to stage in coves and bays in the lake. These waters are generally shallow, so if water levels remain slightly lower than normal, fish may relocate to deeper water. No big deal, but anglers may need to move around because the hot spot that generally produces may become a dead zone. The other change could be in dawn and dusk feed time – a pattern that can be very disappointing to anglers. Some days, even weeks, crappie become nocturnal – they bite only at dawn and dusk. You fish all day and only get action

I know I’ll be out for an extended period of time in cold weather. A cup at lunch with my sandwich keeps me on stand longer, and soothes my chilly soul to the core. I normally don’t like any head gear when I’m hunting, preferring to have my ears out in the open so I can hear the woods. When it gets cold I can’t help but wear something, so I like a good hood that can flip out of the way if I want it off my head. I go from having it on to taking it off to regulate my level of warmth. Of course, I move as slowly as possible to avoid detection. Lastly, I have a kind of funny detail that might be personal to me. I like a quarter-zip long john shirt so I can regulate my core temperature by opening it or zipping it up. If your john shirt is not adjustable, you can regulate your temperature by planning ahead

The author’s bone-chilling coyote stand has provided a worthy proving ground for what works and what doesn’t. William Clunie photo

and leaving way early so you can slow down on the way to the stand. Don’t work up a sweat getting to your location – later, you will get chilled to the

just before dark – catch a few fish, and then you’re off the ice. On the flip side some day’s crappie feed all day long and you will catch a pail full. Hey, that’s fishing. Small Water Option Shapleigh Pond in North Shapleigh is small, with a terrific crappie population. The pond is shallow and weedy –perfect warm water fish habitat. Parking is an issue here, with very limited parking during the winter. On the downstream end of this water system is Lake Arrowhead. This is a premier lake for all warm-water species – in particular, crappie. It has a large parking area on the New Dam Road located at the dam site. Both of these waters generally will produce fish all day long, but as always, it’s fishing, and some days are duds. Downstream from Arrowhead, the river flows into the Saco River. The Saco is an overlooked ice fishing option. Ice fishing on rivers can be dangerous – ice thickness can vary because of inconsistent water flow. You must use caution – check ice thickness often, and carry emergency ice hand picks at all times. Rare Combination It’s only available for a few weeks each year – a chance to hunt deer and ice fish at the same time, weather permitting. If it’s

bone. Walk slowly, observe your surrounding with a clear vision, and stay dry and warm.

cold enough to freeze ice on ponds during the muzzleloading deer season, then you can deer hunt and ice fish the same day. In some locations, you can do both activities at the same time. Maine’s muzzleloader season in Southern Maine (zones 24, 20, 21 and 15) is open from December 2 to December 14, and ice fishing is also open in many waters at the same time. As an example, Mousam Lake is open to ice fishing from October 1 to December 31 under ALO (artificial lures only) and S-7 rules (all trout, land locked salmon and togue must be released alive at once). Anglers can keep crappie and other warm water fish. Mousam River from the Emery Mills Dam to the red marker located at Rodger’s Pond in Kennebunk is open to open and ice fishing year round – anglers can fish with all legal bait and artificial lures and flies. Lake Arrowhead, in Waterboro, is listed under general fishing laws, is open to ice fishing, too. These are just examples of areas to ice fish and hunt this month; there are many other options also. You must always read the laws pertaining to the waters you plan to fish, and it’s important that you use caution while ice fishing, as ice thickness can be an issue.

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Wrapping Up the Year with My Bird Dog This month I’ll be ending the bird season, hopefully with a bang. My bird dog, a female Vizsla named Ginger, has been hunting hard and doing great for her first year in the woods. After many months of training in preparation for her first hunt, Ginger works the woods like an old pro. One of the main things that really impresses me is that she obeys my commands; she immediately returns when I give her two whistles and the command “come”; she immediately changes course when I give her one whistle and command “hup-hup”; and if I tell her to heel, she patiently walks at my side and keeps her focus on me. All of the basic obedience training has come into play and makes it so much easier to continue her training in the woods chasing wild birds. With obedience issues out of the way, I can focus on her hunting technique completely – obedience commands take place naturally. Because we have worked on them for such a length of time, she responds immediately. First Hunt I took Ginger out the first day of the bird season, and found the foliage to be so full it made it extremely difficult to see through the forest. She wears a bell and orange vest so I can see and hear her, and when the bell stops I assume she’s on point and rush over to see what’s up. Ginger did as she was trained to do and held many points that first day, but I never connect-

Acclimating his young hunting dog to noise by banging pots and pans around the house, throwing tennis balls festooned with grouse features -- the author explains why he enjoys training his Vizsla, Ginger, almost as much as he loves hunting with her.

Author’s one-year-old Vizsla, Ginger, with her first grouse. William Clunie photo

ed on any of the flushed grouse. She did put up a woodcock that would have been an easy shot, but the season on that migratory bird didn’t open until October 1st, so I held off on the shot. Every time she pointed and a bird flushed, I gave her great praise. I wasn’t out there to kill birds that day – I just wanted her to get a feel for being in the woods with wild game. Several times I fired my shotgun, even though I couldn’t see a bird. I just pointed the muzzle to the sky and fired to see how she would react to the loud noise. I started her on a .22LR CB load that is fairly quiet – whenev-

er we took training walks this past summer I would let her get way out front and I’d fire the .22 and it never bothered her. When she was a little puppy, I banged pans in the living room while she ate her food in the kitchen. I had my wife watch her reaction, and Ginger never seemed bothered. Even the fireworks during the Fourth of July didn’t upset her in the least. First Bird After we’d hunted a few days through all of the thick foliage, Mother Nature provided a better view by dropping some leaves with frost, wind, and pelting rain. The drastic change allowed me to see the dog and

Some of the gorgeous scenery that awaits bird hunters in the Western Maine Mountains (WMM). William Clunie photo

also catch a glimpse of the fleeting game birds. Ginger pointed a few woodcock after the October 1st, and I missed every one of them. I still praised her for holding her point so staunchly ... lots of praise works better than anything to encourage a dog. On October 8, I spotted a partridge crossing the trail in front of us and quickly got Ginger heading in that direction. I could tell she scented the bird, and within a short time she locked up on a solid point. When the bird flushed, I touched off a load of number eights from my 20 gauge L.C. Smith double, and had a

strong feeling that I hit the bird. At the shot, I could tell the bird was hit and watched as it glided to a position ahead of us in the woods. Ginger and I proceeded in that direction, and she found the dead bird after an extensive search. I would have never found the dead bird without her ... one of the biggest reasons I wanted a dog from the get-go. Further Training One of the things I’ll be working on with Ginger is the actual retrieve. For some reason she won’t pick up a bird yet. I have spent numerous hours with her retrieving plastic bumpers and tennis balls – even taking the time to tie a bird wing to a bumper to get her used to retrieving something with feathers. She loves fetching tennis balls, launched from this thing called “Chuck-it,” so I drilled a hole right through a tennis ball and attached a grouse wing. I douse the wing with a few drops of grouse scent, and she goes wild for the contraption. I can’t throw this wing and ball as far as a regular tennis ball, but man – does she like chasing and retrieving the contraption! She gently picks up the ball by the wing and brings it right back to me with a great deal of enthusiasm. Now I’ll have to see if I can get her to gently bring a wild grouse back to my hand in the woods. I think I like this training stuff almost as much as hunting ... almost.

72 • December 2019 • The Maine Sportsman ———————————————————————————————————————————————————

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�������������������������������������������������� The Maine Sportsman • December 2019 • 73

Extend Your Deer Season in Other States With the onset of December, Maine’s regular firearms deer season is over. Perhaps you didn’t tag “the big one” you had trail cam pictures of. Perhaps you missed the shot. Perhaps you jumped him out of his bed and never got a look at him. Now you face four months of dark, cold, winter gloom— where you’re stuck inside, rehashing all the mistakes you made. Woe is you. It doesn’t have to be this way. Extended Deer Seasons There are multiple ways and states to extend your deer season far beyond November 30th this year. The obvious choice for Mainers is to participate in the statewide Maine muzzleloader season, which runs Dec. 2 - Dec. 7. (The season extends for another week in select southern zones.) If you find yourself in a northern zone, though, where you want to hunt the big woods, you only get the one week. Maybe that’s not enough to satisfy your hunger. Or, maybe you already tagged out during the Maine rifle season and can’t legally take part in the additional muzzleloader season. Good news: other states offer additional seasons and additional tags. New Hampshire New Hampshire, in this author’s humble opinion, has the most to offer snow-loving deer hunters. This year, we enjoy a treat, as the rifle season extends all the

Tag out in Maine, and not ready to put away the rubber boots yet? Consider hunting New Hampshire, Vermont, Western Massachusetts and even the high country of the Adirondacks – but know the laws, and prepare for cold weather!

New Hampshire’s either-sex archery season extends until December 15 (except for Zone A), allowing for increased success as deer migrate toward their winter yards.

way until December 8th (except Zone A, which ends on Dec. 1). This is exciting to those who hunt neighboring states and now don’t have to divide their time as much in November. A typical-weather year will see a good covering of snow in the high elevations in December. New Hampshire has no shortage of high elevation, either, if one is willing to hoof it. Everyone seems to flock to Pittsburg (where the season ends a week earlier) for deer season, but there is ample land, elevation and deer opportunities south of Route 26 (the Zone A/B divider). For real “big woods” hunting and high elevation snows, one should look towards the vast White Mountains National Forest. NH Archery Option

New Hampshire also offers a unique, incredibly-long archery deer season. Though it starts on September 15, it runs uninterrupted until December 15 (except for Zone A, where, again, it ends a week earlier). It is hard for this particular writer to get excited about the early archery season, but the last week—if there is a lot of snow—is another story. Heavy snow will drive the deer down from the mountains and toward their wintering yards. They use well-traveled migration paths toward those areas, as well as the initial network of winter yard trails and crossings. These paths make for good archery ambushes. Archers can also target winter food sources, such as apple orchards or cedar swamps, but may find it tough to catch deer

here during the daylight. Vermont I always joke about how many green license plates I see everywhere I go in November. From Pittsburg, NH to Jackman, Maine, it seems as if every Vermonter has taken the month of November off to invade our sacred hunting spots. In fact, I believe that if you want to avoid encountering green license plates during deer season, all you have to do is hunt Vermont! So, anyway, here is my chance to advertise that we should give them a little payback and invade their state. Vermont offers a popular muzzleloader season after its rifle season. It is popular for several reasons: 1) As mentioned before, everybody in VT hunts;

2) It is an additional separate tag from the state’s rifle season tag; and 3) It starts a week after the rifle season has ended, when things have settled down and the snow has deepened. Taking place Dec. 7 - Dec. 15, it typically has the same benefit as NH’s late archery season – deer that are migrating or condensing into their wintering yards. Having a week between the rifle and muzzleloader seasons allows both the deer and the hunters to get settled down. Deer can feel a little less on edge, and hunters can rest their aches and pains, or try their hand at New Hampshire’s rifle season. Either way, if the snows are deep and quiet, stalking deer with a muzzleloader can be exciting and of good success in Vermont’s late season. A great way to put more meat in the freezer! Adirondacks Those who like to hunt the big woods of northern New England, will also enjoy New York’s Adirondack Mountains. With plenty of public land and big woods (much bigger woods that most of northern New England, because of the lack of logging roads), the Adirondacks offer a tremendous wilderness deer hunting adventure. Since the extra long season runs all the way until December 8th, there is a high probability of having plenty of snow to track with. However, this hunt is (Continued on next page)

74 • December 2019 • The Maine Sportsman ———————————————————————————————————————————————————

New Hampshire (Continued from page 73)

not for the faint of heart. Depending on where you hunt, there are vast tracts of wild, rugged high-elevation terrain. There are many locations for tent camping, but bring a good heat source (by way of explanation, this writer froze his butt off there last year … in October … even with three propane heaters)! Farther South Western Massachu-

setts offers a fair amount of woods, as well as smaller mountainous areas. There is a shotgun season that runs Dec. 2 - Dec. 14. There is also a “primitive firearms” season running Dec. 16 - Dec. 31, which, from conversations I’ve overheard, seems to be gaining in popularity among northern New England hunters. New York, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia

all offer varying types of late-season deer hunting, including archery and flintlock. Some seasons even extend into January. Check the law book carefully for the different zones and regulations. These are just some of the ways to rid yourself of plaguing postseason blues and extend your hunt. It’s not time to put those rubber boots away just yet!

This really big-bodied NH 8-pointer never showed up on camera until the first week of December, proving that late-season hunting can offer opportunities at new deer, as they change their habits and territories.

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�������������������������������������������������� The Maine Sportsman • December 2019 • 75


Sportsman The wealthy self-made millionaire strode up to the front desk at a Greenville hotel known for its extended happy hours and wild pool parties. Grabbing the registration book, he signed his name with a big “X,” and then drew a circle around it. The clerk glanced at the unusual signature. “You know,” he said, “there are many businessmen who have very successful careers, but they never received a formal education. We’ve had guests sign their names with an X before, but never an X with a circle around it. Can you explain?” The guest looked around, leaned forward, and said in a low voice, “Well, Son -- checking into a place like this, you don’t expect me to use my real name, do you?”

Send your best hunting & fishing stories, and your favorite jokes, to the editor at

Ben Franklin’s wife watched as her husband flew a kite in a thunderstorm, conducting experiments with electricity. She noticed that his kite was extremely wobbly and unstable, darting back and forth in the wind. Opening the window, she yelled out some advice: “Ben! Ben! You need more tail!” “That’s what I said last night,” he hollered back, “but you told me to go fly a kite!” ••••••••••••••••••• Two signs you’re too old to trick-or-treat on Halloween: 1. People say, “Great Keith Richards mask!” and you’re not wearing a mask. 2. By the end of the night, your candy bag is full of restraining orders.


The Smilin' Sportsman Youth Edition Kids! Send your best hunting & fishing stories, and your favorite jokes, to the editor at Two pigeons sat on a roof, watching a jet streak across the sky leaving a big trail behind it. “Wow, he seems to be in a hurry,” observed one pigeon. “You’d be in a hurry too,” replied the other, “if your butt was on fire!” ••••••••••••••••••• Little Johnny came home and complained to his dad: “The teacher says I procrastinate!” “So what did you say?” “I said, ‘You just wait!’” •••••••••••••••••••

Did you hear about the ship that ran aground carrying a cargo of red paint and black paint? The whole crew was “marooned.” ••••••••••••••••••• Patient: “Oh, Doctor, I’m just so nervous – this is my first operation. Doctor: “Don’t worry – mine, too.” ••••••••••••••••••• Q: What’s the difference between a hunter and a fisherman? A: A hunter lies in wait; a fisherman waits and lies.

76 • December 2019 • The Maine Sportsman ———————————————————————————————————————————————————

— TRADING POST — • Subscribers may place one free 20-word line classified ad per month (two-month limit) • Items for sale must include a price • Real estate ads must include an address or location

• The regular rates are $15 for up to 20 words and 50¢ for each additional word • Check, money order, MasterCard or VISA (Credit or Debit) are accepted

• You may submit your ads by: Phone: 207-357-2702 E-mail: Mail: 183 State Street, Suite 101 Augusta ME 04330

SUBMIT AD AND PAYMENT BY THE 30TH OF EACH MONTH AND YOUR AD WILL APPEAR IN THE NEXT ISSUE. 609-377-4091 electricity, propane, full call : 207-284-3319 ter hookups and 4 sewer CAMPS sewer system, sleeps 8. hookups, Tax Incentives FOR RENT PARKMAN, MEBUCKS CROSSING WMD 17 RENTAL CABINS Turkey, deer, moose, upland game. All amenities included. Great ratesnightly, weekly, monthly. $75/night for two people. 207-277-3183 OTIS MAINE Hancock County, nNewly constructed cottage on Beech Hill Pond. Great fishing on the lake and plenty of Deer! $150/ night. Go to or call John at

GRAND LAKE STREAM, ME Newly renovated year round camp on West Grand Lake. Easy road and lake access with dock on site. Sleeps six. Great location for fishing, hunting and four wheeling. $55 per person, per night. Call 207-974-8778. ———————————

REAL ESTATE NORTH MAINE WOODS CEDAR CABIN Elm Pond Twp. T4R16, 20x24 Log Cabin For Sale. Fully Equipped,

30 acres privately owned land, private locked gate. Terms may be available. $122,00. 207-522-6793

NORTH MAINE WOODS T13R10 Great Moose hunting Zone 2, also bird, bear, deer. Furnished, sleeps 6, shower, propane fixtures, finished in Cedar, P&C lease, $39,900. 207-9440873 1.5 ACRE LOT ON SEBEC LAKE Small bunk house, power & water only. 200ft. of water front. $75,000.00

UNION, 9 ACRES Undeveloped fantastic hunting land for sale. This property is located next to 365 acres of undeveloped woodlands. $19,000 Call 207-5921092 ———————————

COMMERCIAL PROPERTY DEVELOPER’S DREAM 6.6 acres with 370 ft. road frontage on Whittier Rd. in Farmington, Maine, just off Routes 2 & 4. Electricity on site, 4 wa-

possible. 207-474-0778 ———————————

WANTED DEER/MOOSE ANTLERS BUYING any size deer & moose shed antlers/ racks or antlered skulls. All grades bought by the pound. 802-875-3206 SKI DOO, ELAN OR TUNDRA ANY CONDITION Have Cash. Will Travel. Call Or Text 207-5226940

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Upper Enchanted Township T3 R6 BKP WKR. 72 acres located high above Attean Pond. Off the Hardscrabble/ Spencer Road, at the end of Slim Haggle Road. Lot #5-2. End of road going up the hill. Property is on the right. Book 3346, Page 123. $69,000 OBO. (207) 313-9147

Nice Buck – Nice Jeep! Nick Bradley dropped this nice 203-lb. buck a few seasons ago in Roxbury, Maine with his 444 Marlin outfitter lever action. “We tied it to the hood of my Jeep, which is called the ‘Black Beast,’ and brought it to the Rumford fire station for tagging and weigh-in,” he told The Maine Sportsman.

Become a Member of The Maine Sportsman

PATCH CLUBS You’ve been successful at the hunt, now wear your pride by entering one of The Maine Sportsman’s exclusive patch clubs! To find a club and download an application, go to to download, print and mail your application with $10 to:The Maine Sportsman, 183 State Street, Suite 101, Augusta, ME 04330 Don’t have a computer or printer? No problem! Give us a call at (207) 622-4242 and we’ll mail you an application.

�������������������������������������������������� The Maine Sportsman • December 2019 • 77

North Maine Woods Camp For Sale Camp in the North Maine Woods T7R12 on Little Indian Pond. Camp is only 5 years old and has solar power and a septic system installed. Camp is on leased land. $150,000. Call for more info. (207) 568-3940.

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Route 27, New Vineyard, ME - 11.34 acres - Beautiful partially cleared lot with mountain views, spring fed pond perfect for hunting, hiking or relaxing. Conveniently located approximately 20 minutes from Sugarloaf and 10 minutes to Farmington. MLS# 1421392 - $149,900

247 Church Street, Brownsville, ME - 1 acre - Approximately one acre lot, located on a public road, close to hunting, fishing, snowmobiling and more. Remains of a hunting camp are onsite. Being Sold As Is. MLS#1423451 - $11,500

Melissa Morrill, Associate Broker (207) 233-2456 • Signature Homes Real Estate Group, LLC 383 US Rte 1, Suite 2D • Scarborough, ME

3,911 ACRES

Noyes Real Estate Agency 2388 Main Street • Rangeley, ME 207-864-9000 •


Dallas Plt - Timber, water, wildlife and views. Four miles of frontage on S. Branch of Dead River and four remote ponds. 1,700’ of elevation. Interior roads. Close to Rangeley. $2,750,000

192+/- ACRES

175+/- ACRES

Guilford - 192± acres w/ views from Oak Hill (920’ in elevation) & in the shadows of 1,326’ Guilford Mt. overlooking First Davis Pond. Wildlife galore with evidence of moose & deer. Cut in 2011. $129,000

Harrington - 175 +/- acres with 1,650’ of salt meadow frontage on Flat Bay. Numerous coves, sea grasses & changing tides create a unique experience. Westerly views & mature timber. $175,000

Bancroft Twp - Acreage on Mattawawkeag River. Camp just 200± feet from river w/exceptional frontage. Mature trees, easy access & special protection designated for Salmon & deer habitat. $125,000

Litchfield - Waterfront parcel with tons of diversity. Massive trees in park like setting. Mile plus frontage on Horseshoe pond feeding into Cobbossee stream. Extensive wildlife. $195,000.

#529 - MLS# 1416420 - Charming log home in Wilsons Mills, well maintained with finished basement. Walk to fly fishing in the Magalloway River. Launch your boat on Aziscohos Lake. NEW PRICE $189,000 #590 - MLS #1317532 - Camp in Dallas PLT. Easy access to ATV/snowmobile trails, includes bedroom and sleeping loft, nice open lot. $79,000 #429 - MLS #1438505 - Log cabin and 350 feet of frontage on the Sandy River in Avon. Great location for hunting and fishing. Well maintained, 2 acres. $94,000 Lot # Ammenities Acres Price 136.............. Easy road access, Industry .................................................10 ............... $16,000 117 .............. Oquossoc Village ................................................................0.28 ............ $24,000 168.............. Near large, acreage ............................................................0.92 ............ $27,000 167.............. Driveway, power, New Portland ..........................................18 ............... $27,500 610.............. Sled Trail and Dodge Pond access .....................................1.1 .............. $29,500 724.............. Dallas Plt., hunting nearby ..................................................1.04 ............ $30,000 103.............. Corner lot, near hunting, Rangeley .....................................1.19 ............ $35,000 192.............. Near Saddleback, Dallas PLT .............................................1.8 .............. $37,000 115 .............. Trail access, Rangeley ........................................................2.23 ............ $39,000 170 ............. Near hunting, well, Rangeley ..............................................0.9 .............. $39,000 768.............. Views of Dodge Pond, Rangeley ........................................1.96 ............ $39,000 137 ............. Near hunting, Rangeley PLT ...............................................0.98 ............ $39,500 138.............. Wooded, trails, Rangeley PLT. ............................................1.44 ............ $40,000 155 ............. Dallas PLT. abuts large acreage .........................................1.1 .............. $45,000 707.............. Saddleback views, Financing..............................................2 ................. $45,000 683.............. Sandy River PLT, trails ........................................................5 ................. $49,000 197.............. Long road front, Oquossoc .................................................5 ................. $49,500 557.............. Trailer-clean, sled-quad trail, Avon......................................20 ............... $49,000 711 .............. Views, driveway, septic tank,trails .......................................1.64 ............ $59,900 766.............. Views, roads, well marked, Jay...........................................58 ............... $62,500 611 .............. Driveway, Rangeley PLT .....................................................20 ............... $66,000 612.............. Red Moose Lane.................................................................40 ............... $67,500 130.............. Driveway, Dallas PLT, road frontage ...................................4.85 ............ $70,000 133.............. Dodge Pond Rd. potential views .........................................1.6 .............. $89,000 762.............. 2 wells, cabin ......................................................................4 ................. $90,000 105.............. Access to 1000s of acres, more lots! ..................................40 ............... $96,000 702.............. Power,Wheeler Hill Rd, Phillips...........................................151 ............. $99,900 168.............. Views, field, wooded, private ..............................................24.8 ............ $119,000 705.............. Views, privacy, sled Trails ...................................................10 ............... $120,000 904.............. Beaver Mtn Lake -200 Ft ....................................................2 ................. $135,000 715.............. Rangeley West, lake views .................................................2 ................. $149,000 900.............. Aziscohos Lakefront, Parkertown .......................................1.2 .............. $160,000 967.............. Beaver Mt Lake -292 ft. Sandy Riv. ....................................2.28 ............ $179,900 907.............. Rangeley Lake -190 Ft........................................................0.83 ............ $220,000

2,900+/- ACRES

Rumford & Mexico - Approx. 2,900 acres including Whitecap Mountain (2,000’), South Twin Mountain (2,156’) and Black Mountain (2,300’). Part of the land is an active Sugarbush. Impressive views. Land can be separated. $1,450,000 Greenwood - 283 ACRES - Views of the surrounding hills south and west from 1,300’ of elevation. Ledge outcrops, old stone walls and recreation opportunities. Gravel for access and internal roads. $215,000 Greenwood - 251 ACRES - Views of the surrounding hills, lakes and Mt. Washington. 32’x20’ log cabin shell. Good access & road system. Highest elevation is 1,620’. Recreation paradise. $229,000

Phillips - BROKER OR OWNER MUST ACCOMPANY BUYERS. Approx 1,800’ on Bean Brook which is known to support wild populations of brook trout. Stone walls, trails throughout, good topo and an old historic foundation. Approx. 21 cords per acre. $110,000 New Sharon - 678 +/- acres with abundant wildlife including deer & upland game birds. Diverse land with Bragdon Brook & Salt Marsh Creek running through the lot. Over 900’ of frontage on Weeks Mills Road. $299k or only $441 per acre.

Beauty runs deep. So does our land sales experience.

John Colannino – Broker & Forester American Forest Management, Inc. 40 Champion Lane | Milford, Maine | 04461 O: 207.817.9079 | C: 207.266.7355

For more information on available properties please visit:

78 • December 2019 • The Maine Sportsman ———————————————————————————————————————————————————

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RANGELEY - Neat as a pin Ranch style home offers comfortable floor plan all on one level! Featuring 2 bedrooms, open kitchen/living area with pellet stove insert in fireplace, finished attic for additional sleeping or living space. Extras include standing seam metal roof, freshly stained log siding, new covered car port, 12X20 storage shed, on-demand generator. Relax on the roomy farmers porch and enjoy the quiet country setting, close to public water access on no-motors Quimby Pond. MLS #1421963 - $239,000 RANGELEY - Classic North Woods log Chalet with 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, custom gas stone fireplace, master en-suite. Top quality materials throughout, wood/tile floors, granite counters, woodsy lighting. Create additional living space in unfinished walkout basement. Large screened porch overlooking lawn to gradual entry waterfront, open lake/westerly views. Minutes to area amenities, snowmobile from your door, plus year-round rental history. OWNER FINANCING TERMS. MLS #1437531 - $649,000 RANGELEY PLT - Enjoy the westerly views overlooking Rangeley Lake, Doctor’s Island and sunsets over Bald Mountain! Meticulously maintained, one-owner home offering 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, sunfilled rooms, living area with wood stove, spacious deck. Detached 2-car garage with storage above, snowmobile/ATV from your door, plus deeded access to HOLA waterfront park with marina, small boat launch, swimming area. Super location for your full time or get away home. MLS #1438039 - $319,000

Lakeville - Cabin with large deck only a few feet from the sandy shore. Generator, solar panels and running water. Enjoy fishing, hunting, atving, snowmobiling and more. Upper Syslabadobsis lakefront dream in low tax Lakeville. $99,000

Danforth - Only 25’ from the water’s edge, family camp is log sided with a beautiful knotty pine interior. Large, detached 2 car garage offers parking or storage. Lakeside of cottage is all glass providing great views on Upper Hot Brook Lake. $135,000

Lowell - Nice camp on Passadumkeag River and sits on a year round road. Camp has no water/ septic system, but has a composting toilet. ATV trails and recreational opportunities and ready to use camp. $39,900

BALD MOUNTAIN TWP - Have you ever dreamed of owning a private piece of paradise on Moxie Pond with your own boat launch and sandy beach? This one of a kind property sits on the bank of Moxie Pond where you look out your window and see large rock cliffs instead of neighbors. Swim and fish off the brand new dock including a bench and rack for the two kayaks included in the sale. There is also a boat that can be included. The camp was taken down to studs in 2018 with all new insulation, metal roof, siding, wiring and propane lines. The camp is being finished as we speak in tongue and groove pine.ATV/Snowmobile trails nearby, only a few miles back to white water rafting, and miles of paper company land around to hunt on. Take a look and you can enjoying Maine camp life by Summer. MLS #1412744 - $179,000

Pukakon - Lakefront paradise cabin on one of Maine’s most desirable lakes, Junior Lake. Fabulous fishing. Hunting, Snowmobiling and ATVing are just some activities out your door. Lake views through many windows. $345,000

Lincoln - Cozy little cabin could be your new home or getaway. ATV and snowmobile trails close by as well as access to Cold Stream Pond. Outdoorsman’s paradise on Millett Mallett Road. Priced to move so you should come look today!! $45,000

Chester - Small camp that need some finishing. The camp has electricity, pellet stove and a Incinolet toilet right on S. Chester Road. There is no septic system or water supply. There is a privy on site. This camp is priced to sell. $21,900

CLINTON - If you have been looking for the classic log cabin, set on 39+/- acres in the heart of central Maine, close to I-95... then this is it. White Cedar log home, open design with a loft, stone hearth and privacy, privacy, privacy. The home has a full bath, private septic and drilled well. The home is wired for electricity for a generator to supply the house. This home offers off the grid living, privacy, that is surrounded by abundant wildlife. Drive right to it, with a 4 wheel drive or SUV vehicle. Power could be possible, poles stop a ways back. MLS #1415865 - $129,999

Lakeville - Outstanding lot on Lower Sysladobsis Lake. Lots of recreational opportunities: fishing, boating, snowmobiling and ATVing are just a few. Brook Trout and Salmon are just a few. Great frontage. $79,000

SOLON - 2 Camps, 1 Awesome Price! Each camp has a separate deed. Snowmobile and ATV from both camps. Great deer hunting. Kennebec River Boat launch nearby. One camp is 1 mile deep into the woods on 25 acres with gas lights, generator and is pick-up truck accessible. Finish the second camp that is right off Route 201, which has new log siding, new doors, new windows and new roof. Electrical service ready. BOTH CAMPS FOR $95,000 or can be sold separately.

ANSON - If you are looking for privacy in a county setting look no further. This charming country home is nicely decorated and easy to heat. There is a one-car attached garage with 2nd floor living area. Watch the wildlife from your large deck or just sit and enjoy your morning coffee. Close to snowmobile trails and fantastic hunting. The could be your Sportsman’s Getaway or your year round home. Come take a look today at this well-built gem. MLS #1420913 - $79,000 SKOWHEGAN - Towering pine and hemlock trees surround this beautiful waterfront cape just minutes from downtown Skowhegan. Come and enjoy the solitude at the end of a private road with over 150 feet of prime frontage on Wesserunsett Stream. This charming home or vacation getaway features a great room, one downstairs bedroom and a spacious upstairs loft. Bring your canoe, kayak, snowmobile, or just sit by a warm fire. This property is one-of-a-kind. MLS #1435271 - $106,500 ATHENS - Year ‘round home/camp on 2 acres with many unique features. Kitchen with double bowl farmhouse sink, hand-made pine wood tile flooring, antique crystal chandelier, white pine butcher block countertop and built-in storage shelves. One full bathroom with antique slipper tub and slate flooring. Rarely found ship stairs with storage drawers to upper level loft area. Yard with raised gardens for the outdoor enthusiast. Two out buildings for storage. MLS #1414311 - $49,900 SOLON - Looking for the perfect piece of property? This could be it! Approximately 71 acres with about 900 feet frontage on the West Road. Tons of room to build a camp and then roam and hunt until your heart is content. Currently in tree growth for tax purposes. MLS #975096 - $62,000 SKOWHEGAN - Mostly wooded 8.35 surveyed acre parcel with frontage on the Oak Pond Road, just a few short minutes from Skowhegan or Canaan. MLS #1064957 - $22,000 CORNVILLE - Own a piece of Maine wilderness! 131 acres with road frontage off Beckwith Road (Route 150). Power is available at the road so you can build a camp or home. Close commute to trails and quick jaunt to Skowhegan! Currently in tree growth for tax purposes. MLS #1332525 - $104,900


Lakeville - Nice lot on Duck Lake with a driveway. This lot has Electricity on Pine Point Road. The roads are maintained by a lot owners association. Very peaceful area to enjoy all that this lake has to offer. $65,000 Lincoln - Lot sits on the edge of a dead water that is a crossroads for wildlife, is at the end of a dead-end road, has access to ATV/snowmobile trails and all outdoor recreation. Electricity available and on Boulder Lane! Come take a look! $24,500 Lincoln - One of the best lots in Lincoln’s most exclusive lakefront subdivision. Nice frontage, beautiful views, level lot with mature grown trees offering shade and privacy. Build your dream home here on Mattanawcook Pond. $70,000



5 LAKE STREET, P.O. BOX 66, LINCOLN 207-794-2460 E-mail:

1-800-675-2460 Call any of our brokers to work for you!

“Tate” Aylward ................ 794-2460 Peter Phinney.................. 794-5466 Kirk Ritchie...................... 290-1554


�������������������������������������������������� The Maine Sportsman • December 2019 • 79

80 • December 2019 • The Maine Sportsman ———————————————————————————————————————————————————

Profile for The Maine Sportsman - Digital Edition

The Maine Sportsman - December 2019 Digital Edition  

The Maine Sportsman - December 2019 Digital Edition