The Maine Sportsman December 2022 Digital Edition

Page 1

Annual Muzzleloader Issue

Sportsman The Maine

December 2022 • $4.99

For Over 50 Years!

Tracking Your Buck in the Snow P. 20, 22, 23 Snowmobile Races in Northern New England P. 31 Ice Fishing in Maine & Minnesota P. 26, 29

Losing a Good Dog P. 40 Holiday Sporting Gift Ideas P. 5, 38 Trophy Photos from Readers Boats, Dogs, Firearms & More for Sale P. 79

2 • December 2022 • The Maine Sportsman —————————————————————————————————————————————

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4 • December 2022 • The Maine Sportsman —————————————————————————————————————————————


Our message to the state: “Good job, but don’t stop now.”

Protection of Deer Yards – a Work in Progress Maine’s DIFW and our friends at the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine have every reason to be proud of the results of their efforts to have the state purchase and exercise control over historic deer yard areas. In the space of about 18 months, progress has been made quickly: • In the spring of 2021, the Legislature enacted a statute authorizing the expenditure of $40 million over a 4-year period to purchase deer wintering areas. • On September 29, 2022, the Administration announced plans to use a portion of the funds to purchase land along Reed Deadwater, a 6,300acre parcel in southern Aroostook County that contains over 3,000 acres of historic deer wintering habitat. • Reportedly, DIFW is negotiating on six or seven additional land purchases that include deer wintering areas. And each $1 the state spends for land conservation could leverage as much as $3 in additional private and federal funds. That’s remarkable progress. However, no one should rest on their laurels quite yet, for at least three reasons. First, deer don’t always return to the same wintering areas. Simply put, deer move around, and purchasing an area that’s currently being used as a deer yard does not guarantee that whitetails will always have a place to go when the snow gets deep. A Nova Scotia study several years ago concluded that deer wintering areas are dynamic and should not be managed as if they were fixed in time and space. Deer change locations in response to cutting, development, temperature, precipitation and winter severity. And a study of historic wintering areas in the Adirondacks compared 16 areas favored by wintering deer in the 1960s, and found that nine of those areas do not hold wintering deer today. Second, government priorities change, and when lawmakers or administrations need funding to pay for their latest popular program, they may re-appropriate money already earmarked for deer wintering area purchases. If this were to happen, it would not be the first time dedicated state funds have been raided for unrelated purposes – or simply to balance the state’s budget. Third, important details need to be worked out. Anyone who has ever tried to purchase or sell real estate knows that the deal’s not complete until the deed is recorded in the Registry. And if these purchases take property off the tax rolls in a way that hits small towns in the pocketbook, their concerns will need to be addressed. We sincerely hope negotiations continue, and outright purchases follow soon thereafter. We are pleased that the plan calls for state biologists to oversee the purchased lands – voluntary programs without enforcement or penalties have not worked in the past. But like rust, residential development, utility expansion and timber-cutting never sleep, and the state needs to match that same unrelenting approach if it intends to identify, negotiate for, purchase and protect our state’s deer wintering areas.

On the Cover: Maine’s six-day statewide muzzleloader season opens Monday November 28, while those in WMDs 12, 13, 15-18, 20 - 26, 29 (generally, the southern half of the state, plus off-shore islands) get a second week, ending December 10. A separate muzzleloader permit is required, except for those holding a junior hunting license or a senior (age 70+) lifetime license. Good luck, and have a safe hunt. Photo by Stacy Belanger

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ISSN 0199-036 — Issue No. 601 • PUBLISHER: Jon Lund MANAGING EDITOR: Will Lund OFFICE MANAGER: Carol Lund CREATIVE DIRECTOR: Kristina Roderick ADVERTISING DIRECTOR: Nancy Carpenter DISTRIBUTION DIRECTOR: Lorry Plante Second class postage paid at Scarborough, ME 04074 and additional entry offices. All editorial inquiries should be emailed to Phone: 207-622-4242 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.................................................... 14 Aroostook - “The County” by Bill Graves..................... 35 Big Game Hunting by Joe Saltalamachia.................. 23 Big Woods World by Hal Blood..................................... 22 Cooking Wildly by Kate Krukowski Gooding............... 30 Downeast Region by Jim Lemieux............................... 53 Editorial.............................................................................. 4 Freshwater Fly Fishing by Lou Zambello....................... 58 Jackman Region by William Sheldon.......................... 43 Jottings by Jon Lund........................................................ 9 Katahdin Country by William Sheldon......................... 41 Letters to the Editor.......................................................... 6 Maine Sportswoman by Christi Holmes....................... 40 Maine Wildlife by Tom Seymour................................... 19 Maine Wildlife Quiz by Steve Vose............................... 39 Midcoast by Tom Seymour........................................... 54 Moosehead Region by Tom Seymour......................... 45 New Hampshire by Ethan Emerson.............................. 70 Nolan’s Outdoor World by Nolan Raymond............... 29 Off-Road Traveler by William Clunie............................ 47 Outdoors & Other Mistakes by Al Diamon.................. 75 Quotable Sportsman by Will Lund................................ 18 Rangeley Region by William Clunie............................. 64 Ranger on the Allagash by Tim Caverly...................... 61 Riding Shotgun by Robert Summers............................. 74 Saltwater Fishing by Barry Gibson................................ 55 Sebago to Auburn Region by Tom Roth..................... 60 Self-Propelled Sportsman by Jim Andrews.................. 51 Shooter’s Bench by Col. J.C. Allard............................. 38 Smilin’ Sportsman by Will Lund...................................... 74 Snapshots in Time by Bill Pierce.................................... 13 Southern Maine by Val Marquez................................. 62 Sporting Environment by David Van Wie.................... 50 Sportsman’s Journal by King Montgomery................. 11 Tales from the Warden Service by Ret. Lt. Doug Tibbetts 66 Tidewater Tales by Randy Randall............................... 63 Trapping The Silent Places by David Miller.................. 67 Trading Post (Classifieds)............................................... 77 Trout Fishing by Tom Seymour....................................... 57 Vermont by Matt Breton............................................... 72 Western Maine Mountains by William Clunie.............. 68


Deer Hunting by George N. Saliba.............................. 20 Ice Fishing by Todd Corayer......................................... 26 Snowmobiling by Steve Carpenteri............................. 31 Guest: Cellular Game Cameras by Staci Warren...... 25 Guest: Climate Change by E. Mayer & L. Irland........ 49

�������������������������������������������� The Maine Sportsman • December 2022 • 5

6 • December 2022 • The Maine Sportsman —————————————————————————————————————————————

Letters To The Editor

Horseshoe Crabs Interfered with Flounder Fishing

To the Editor: The information your magazine provided about horseshoe crabs in the October issue (see “Maine Wildlife” and “Wildlife Quiz”) brought back memories. When we were teens, we would take my friend’s small dirt bike out to Rigby Rail Yard and ride the Boston & Maine line out to the tide gate on the Scarborough Marsh. We’d dig our own seaworms to fish for flounder and stripers. We would use the old top/bottom rig with a 2-oz. pyramid sinker in the middle – J-hook on the top and striper hook on the bottom. At a certain point in the spring, the horseshoe crabs would show up. You could tell their bite by “tap, tap” and then nothing, then “tap, tap” again. After a while, we would realize what was going on. It was tricky letting them go because we were afraid of their tails.

I went into the Service in the mid1970s, and when I got out three years later, everything was gone except the green crabs. I miss the taste of flounder. Steve Clark – Dover-Foxcroft, ME —

ly-summer health issues, and fished whenever she could.

Report from Popham Beach To the Editor: Here’s an end-of-season striped bass fishing report from Popham. By the second week in October, we accepted the truth that the stripers were gone for good. The season started in early June with schoolies and mackerel for summer bait, then July brought excellent catches on every set-up. We fileted a few for suppers and released others of all sizes. With parking limited without the Percy lot, the beach was never crowded, and fishing space was pretty open. A large striper was 44 inches. We spotted a few tuna, one tiny sea turtle, a whale now and then, and gray seals devouring pogies. Walkers stopped, chatted and laughed, and then they went home to get their fishing gear so they could join the fun. They came from all over the world, and were in awe of the beauty of the Kennebec estuary. Mary Bryan, known as the Beach Lady (age 84) recovered from some ear-

“Mary the Beach Lady” landed this nice 32” striper on July 5, 2022 off Popham Beach. Mike Wing photo (Continued on next page)

�������������������������������������������� The Maine Sportsman • December 2022 • 7 (Continued from page 6)

After every outing, we gathered on Jim Gallo’s deck to share food and tall tales. Now the poles and reels are cleaned and stored, the extra bait is at the bottom of the freezer, and the pictures are memories on the fridge. Thank you, Popham. Mike Wing – West Gardiner, ME —

Poetry Corner: Hunting Deer from a Canoe

To the Editor: I enjoyed William Sheldon’s “Katahdin Region” column in the November issue of The Maine Sportsman about hunting deer from a canoe. Anyone who has ever been jump-shooting ducks from a canoe must have occasionally roused a deer bedded down next to the shoreline or in a slough, or getting a drink of water, so using a canoe to hunt deer can be productive and also provides a change of scenery. For many years, I had the privilege of hunting deer on Maryland’s beautiful Eastern Shore, on a farm that borders a wide tidal creek. One year I brought my canoe to camp, and the locals couldn’t figure out what that was all about – until I paddled in with an 8-pointer. One of our hunting crew even penned a poem about it:

Years ago, Jim Duncan went south to hunt deer in Maryland. There, he astounded the locals when he successfully “fished for deer” from his canoe. Barbara Duncan photo

New Hampshire Hunter Goes South or The Day Jim Duncan Went Fishing for Deer by L.D. Jones


Jim Duncan, a hunter of great renown, calls Tuftonboro, New Hampshire his home town. Down in Maryland the locals thought they’d be slick by showing Jim they knew a few tricks. But theirs were no match for Jim’s innovations. Fishing for deer was a barnyard sensation. Out on Woodland Creek he paddled his canoe. He’d be back, bye and bye, with a deer or two. (Continued on next page) Fitting Memorial David “Papa” Dupont and Chris Dupont of Berlin, NH wanted a special way to remember their faithful retriever Koby after the black Lab died last year at age 11. So they had this memorial plaque engraved, and paired it with this photo taken by Chris. Asked to describe the photo, Chris told the Sportsman that it shows his father, David, and Koby after a day of bird hunting on the eastern shores of Aziscohos Lake. David carried a 1980 Stevens Savage single shot 12 gauge called “Old Betsy.” According to Chris, over the years Old Betsy and Koby combined forces to successfully hunt more than 400 Western Maine birds.

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(Continued from page 7)

“Golly Day,” the farm boys said. All they could do was scratch their heads. Jim Duncan said, in a voice sincere, “In New Hampshire, we always fish for deer!” Jim Duncan – Tuftonboro, NH —

Generous Wife; Happy Life To the Editor: Thank you to the excellent office staff for confirming that they received and renewed my subscription renewal order! I give this to my husband every year now as one of his Christmas gifts. I make a copy of the mail-in, and put it in a card or small gift bag.

He’s hard to buy for, but this is easy. He loves the magazine and looks forward to reading each issue throughout the year. Laurel McGrath Marston Mills, MA —

Reader Photo of the Month To the Editor: Reading The Maine Sportsman got me through the darkest of times. Several other guys here anxiously await each new issue. Thank you for a great magazine. Ryan Benoit of Sanford, ME Currently in FCI McKean, Bradford PA; out for Christmas 2022 after seven years

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What We’ve Learned from Observing Loons A loon was spread-eagled on the sloping edge of the wetland behind our summer place on Lake Cobbossee, its bright white and black feather patterns contrasting against the green vegetation. My wife Joan and I often paddle our canoe through the swamp on an afternoon outing. We observe turtles, muskrats, and spawning largemouth bass on these canoe excursions, but the loon – high and dry on the shoreline – was a puzzle, and we moved on without disturbing the big bird. Afterwards, in hindsight, we concluded the loon probably had prepared a nest on the shore, and spread its wings in defense. We looked again on subsequent days, and didn’t see any signs of a nest. Turtles also come ashore on the sloping path to our camp and try to dig holes in the thin layer of dirt on top of the ledge, searching for a suitable spot to lay their eggs. Natural shorelines and easy places for turtles to come ashore are in short supply on Cobbossee, and have been largely replaced by riprap and other construction. We often see where the turtles’ nests have been dug up, and pieces of their shells are scattered about, most probably by hungry raccoons.

When a chick was unable to climb back onto the nest float, the author flipped it up with a stroke of his canoe paddle. When constructing subsequent years’ floats, he incorporated a “chick ramp” extending from the platform to the water.

A loon will flatten itself down when it feels threatened, especially if its nest is nearby.

Raccoons are fierce shoreline scavengers. Nesting Float for Loons The following spring, we put together a nesting float for loons, and moored it some distance from the shore – far enough to foil raccoons and other land-based predators. It worked. Loons nested on it successfully. For many years thereafter, we hosted loons each spring, giving us the opportunity to observe their courtship, mating and chick-rearing behavior. Yes, indeed, Virginia, a male loon can stand and walk if suf-

ficiently motivated. We also learned that loon pairs have a

varied repertory of soft talk that can only be heard close at hand.

More Observations We witnessed one loon attacking an intruding loon in a battle that probably would have proved fatal had we not separated the fighting birds. Their tactic was to grip the other’s bill in a billgrip and whack the other bird repeatedly with a solid-boned wing. We learned that loons have keen vision and can distinguish among bald eagles, ospreys and herons, judging from their alarm calls or lack of alarm. And they are confident birds – we saw a loon sitting on the egg hang tight when a clumsy bass angler snagged his plug on the loon float and had to come within reach of the nest to unhook his lure. (Continued on next page)

10 • December 2022 • The Maine Sportsman ————————————————————————————————————————————

Trophy Gallery

Jottings (Continued from page 9)

We watched as one chick got off the float and was unable to climb back on. It probably did not survive. The following year, when a chick was unable to climb back onto the nest float, I flipped it back on with a stroke of a canoe paddle. We incorporated a chick ramp in subsequent years’ floats. We watched as a loon parent started the chick feeding with a first meal of green vegetation. We watched as a parent held a small fish underwater so the chick would learn to dive and feed.

That’s a Big Turkey! Carl Briggs of Somersworth, NH shot this huge tom turkey in Lebanon, ME using a 12-ga. shotgun during the 2022 spring season. Photo by Jim Moore

“Where Are You?” Sometimes when the pair took turns sitting on their egg, and one of the pair was slow in showing up, we learned to recognize the “Where are you?” call, and a “Where the hell are you?” call when the mate was slow in returning. One year, I anchored a loon decoy nearby, and the adults used it to baby-sit

their chick while they were away fishing. We saw the remains of a juvenile loon that had evidently been hit by a highspeed craft. Other members of our family have watched in late summer as loons conducted flight training. We saw the remains of another loon that probably became frozen in the ice. Can We Rehabilitate Trout-Eating Loons? Angling on Pierce Pond more recently, I learned that some loons there have learned to hang around when an angler is bringing in a fish to the net, and to move in close in order to swallow the groggy fish that has just been released. As I noted in my column last month, some of the loons on Tim Pond will snag a trout before it has been released, and are willing to do battle with the angler to enforce their claim. The loon has a wonderful call both day

and night and is widely admired because both parents take part in warming the egg and feeding the chick. It is an iconic figure on Maine lakes, and is protected by Federal law, but we anglers need to take a stand – NO MORE CATCH AND RELEASE TO FEED THE LOONS. If a loon appears to be taking too much interest in my fishing efforts, I will let the loon know that it is not welcome. I will whack the water with a plastic paddle if the loon is underwater nearby. I will not release a fish in a way that a loon can catch it. I may gun the motor for a distance before releasing the fish. The loon probably can’t swallow the fish while I’m fighting it, so I’ll give it a fight. I’ll use a strong enough leader that it will hold. We need to re-train the opportunistic birds to leave anglers alone and teach them they will have to catch their own fish. Pass it on.

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������������������������������������������� The Maine Sportsman • December 2022 • 11

The Three Wise Men of Fly Fishing No, it’s not Larry, Moe and Curly Joe, though you can argue they were incredibly wise men for figuring a way to make a good living in slapstick comedy, and having their names endure in an almost cult-like fashion. Their shtick still is on television and streaming services. They made me laugh and/or cringe, often at the same time. But I don’t think they fly fished. In the latter part of the 20th century and into the 2000s as well, the world of the science and art of fly fishing gave us three very wise men who influenced most fly anglers on the water today. Lefty, Ed and Bob: three wise men of the gentle sport. Lefty Kreh has left us – he passed away in 2018 – but Ed Jaworowski and Bob Clouser are still around and remain engaged to some degree in fly fishing. The three gents are my friends, I’m proud to say. Let me tell you about them, using one

The Yoda, the Professor and the Affable Fly Tyer – three gentlemen who established, improved and chronicled the skills and art of fly fishing.

Fly fishing has given us three very wise men who have influenced most fly anglers on the water today. From left: Bob Clouser, Lefty Kreh, a friend, and Ed Jaworowski (2011). All photos by King Montgomery

of their books to illustrate what they’ve done for our sport. We’ll begin with Bernard Victor Kreh, known to the world of fly fishing for well over half a century as “Lefty.” Yoda of Fly Fishing Lefty’s fabled career includes tenure as the Director, Miami Metropolitan Fishing Tournament; as a columnist for The Miami Herald, The St. Petersburg Times, and

I tell people if they want a good book on fly fishing, get this gem by Lefty.

The Baltimore Sun; and as the author of outdoor articles and photographs found in every major fishing magazine in the world. He wrote 30 books, most of which are still in print, and his video recordings taught countless anglers how to cast, fish, and tie flies. He was a demonstration shooter for the Remington Arms Company, and served as a consultant for the National Wildlife

Federation, L.L. Bean, Bass Pro Shops, Sage, Scientific Anglers, and many other fine companies. In his later years, Lefty helped design, test and market fishing rods and accessories for Temple Fork Outfitters. Magazines and books taught me to fly cast and fly fish. Back then, we didn’t have the internet or videos or CDs or DVDs or not even paper towels, for Pete’s sake! And

Lefty Kreh demonstrates fly casting at the 2008 Virginia Fly fishing Festival. He was the best fly caster I ever have seen – anywhere.

most of us didn’t have mentors. I tell people if they want a good book on beginning fly fishing, get this gem by Lefty. (It might be difficult to find, but it’s out there): Lefty Kreh’s Ultimate Guide to Fly Fishing by Bernard “Lefty” Kreh, 2003, The Lyons Press, hardcover 8 x 11 1/2 , 406 pages, numerous photos and illustrations. Many folks who use conventional and spinning gear often ask me how they can learn more about fly fishing, and how to get started for everything from trout and bass to stripers and bluefish. I now tell them to get Lefty’s book. The book’s subtitle is: “Everything anglers need to know, by the world’s foremost fly-fishing expert.” The Professor of Fly Casting Ed Jaworowski is a disciple of Lefty Kreh’s method of fly casting, and the two were very good friends (Continued on next page)

Lefty helps disabled vet Josh Williams to cast better at a fly fishing show in Virginia. (2008)

12 • December 2022 • The Maine Sportsman ————————————————————————————————————————————

I tell people if they want a good book on fly fishing, get this gem by Lefty.

Ed Jaworowski is a disciple of Lefty Kreh’s method of fly casting, and the two were very good friends over many years.

Sportsman’s Journal (Continued from page 11)

over many years. They collaborated on several books on fly casting, and on a mega-video that came out several years before Lefty’s death. Lefty always said that Ed was the best fly caster he’d ever seen. Ed was a professor of classical studies at Villanova University, and is an expert in the field of Greek/Roman law back in the classical period. He’s also an excellent photographer and writer, with hundreds of magazine articles on fly casting and fishing to his credit. He has fished all over the world, and is much sought-after as a speaker and casting instructor at fly fishing shows. And if you want to learn about fly casting, here is the book for you: The Cast: Theories

Lefty Kreh says: “Bob Clouser is the best fly rod smallmouth man I have ever fished with.” And this is one of the best books on fishing for bronzebacks.

and Applications for More Effective Techniques, by Ed Jaworowski, Stackpole Books (1992). Foreword and photographs by Lefty Kreh. Available on Amazon and other internet vendors. When the first hardcover edition of The Cast came out in 1992, it quickly became the fly casting Bible, particularly for those anglers who chose to venture away from trout streams, and seek out new waters, both salt and freshwaters. Line presentations used for trout just couldn’t meet the demands for the range of casting needed to catch bonefish, permit, salmon and even billfish, around the world. The Affable Fly Tyer My old friend Bob

Clouser was a meat cutter in a grocery store, a smallmouth bass fishing guide on the Susquehanna River, and a fly tyer who sold flies out of his garage in Middletown, PA. It was a chance encounter on the river that began a 60plus year friendship between Clouser and Kreh, and that encounter began Bob’s adventures as a fly fisherman, since it was Lefty who taught him to become a master fly caster. In the mid-1980s, Bob came up with a streamer fly with bead chain/lead eyes that proved very effective on smallmouth bass in the Susquehanna. He called Lefty, they fished the streamer, Lefty wrote an article on the new fly in Fly Fisherman, and the rest is history. The Clouser Deep Minnow (named by Kreh) prob-

Bob Clouser & Ed Jaworowski at breakfast at the Speckled Trout B & B before a fly fishing show in Waynesboro, Virginia in 2011.

ably is the single most

At fly fishing shows, Ed gives fly casting lessons to small groups of anglers that register beforehand.

popular fly ever in both freshwater and saltwater. Fly Fishing for Smallmouth in Rivers and Streams, by Bob Clouser with Jay Nichols (2007), Stackpole Books, 8 1/2 X 11, hardcover, 240 pages, 260 color photos, 17 illustrations. Lefty Kreh stated, “Bob Clouser is the best fly rod smallmouth man I have ever fished with.” John Randolph, editor of Fly Fisherman magazine, sang Clouser’s praises, and wrote: “Incidentally, he is the nicest, most sharing guy you will ever meet on-stream.” I’ve known Bob for years, and I can attest that he knows more about smallmouth bass fishing than anyone I’m acquainted with. He’s also one of the nicest people you’ve ever seen. (I had the honor

10 photos to Bob’s 2007 work on smallmouth bass, and that fine book is still available.) **** The gentleman who ties all three of these very wise men together is Rick Pope, and that’s him in the photo accompanying this column, behind the rods and looking as if he’s in the lock-up. Rick, a fine person that Lefty called the most honorable man he ever knew, is founder and owner of Temple Fork Outfitters, a purveyor of practical and affordable fishing rods and other gear. All of the Three Amigos highlighted above work for TFO, not just by lending their well-known names, but by sharing and applying their practical knowledge gained over the years on the water. Rick is a wise, wise man.

Rick Pope, a fine person whom Lefty called the most honorable man he ever knew, is founder and owner of Temple Fork Outfitters (TFO). The Three Wise Men were consultants for TFO, and helped make it the very best reasonably-priced fishing rod company in the world.

of contributing around

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“Snapshots in Time”

Historical Glimpses from Maine’s Sporting Past Compiled by Bill Pierce, Former Executive Director, Outdoor Heritage Museum

Sea Serpents in Maine? The following was found in the September 5, 1895, edition of the RANGELEY LAKES newspaper. The article shares the story of sea serpent sighting on the coast of Maine. Surely another wild “fish story,” or was it the truth as presented by a credible and experienced captain willing to risk his reputation at the time? The article was reprinted from a much larger publication of the day, the PORTLAND ARGUS. The U.S. Navy has recently declassified footage of UFO encounters by their pilots, so who knows – maybe they will someday confirm sea serpents, as well. If so, hopefully the Department of Marine Resources will then not make lobstermen alter their gear again. Enjoy this 127-yearold “whopper,” and be sure keep a weather eye out, Me Maties, as you are out and about making some outdoor history of your own! —

The Sea Serpent

Captain Charles Deering of the steamer Tremont, a gentleman whose story can be accepted without reservation, gives the Portland Argus an account of a

Sea monsters have been present in our northern waters for nearly 300 years. In 1734, a sea serpent patiently posed for this engraving by Norwegian/Danish explorer Hans Egede.

close view he had of a sea serpent—for there is such a thing, whatever it may be. “When I was 15 years of age,” said Capt. Deering, “I was cook on a sailing packet on the coast of Maine. The vessel was at anchor one day in Penobscot Bay, about half a mile southwest from Cape Rozier. “The captain and I were dressing the fish, when we

heard a noise that sounded like the rushing of a brook over a fall. The captain shouted, ‘What’s that?’ and both of us looked up and saw a huge creature of the serpent kind passing at about 200 feet distant from the vessel on the port side. It was moving swiftly at the rate of between 15 and 20 miles an hour, and making a strong wake.

“Part of its head was above water and was that of a serpent; the body appeared to be about as big around as a hogshead [a large wooden barrel], and at least 100 feet long. Its movement through the water was the same as that of a water snake. “We were amazed at the sight. It kept on its course and tried to pass between two islands where the water was very shallow. This it seemed to find impossible, and in turning back—tacking ship, so to speak—the monster threw its forepart what seemed to us about 50 feet out of the water. Then we became satisfied beyond doubt that we had seen the long talked about sea-serpent. “Shortly afterwards in Eggemoggin Reach, this same serpent, or one exactly like it, was floating at rest on the surface of the water and was seen by the Castine Cutter which happened to come along. That same season Deacon Allen, who lived on Pond Island in Blue Hill Bay, while rowing between the island and the mainland, passed close by the same creature, and saw it distinctly.”

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14 • December 2022 • The Maine Sportsman ————————————————————————————————————————————

Three Minutes with a Maine Guide

Compiled and Edited by — Will Lund —

by Lisa DeHart

Canoeing with Kids Simple things to do to have fun and stay safe

#1 Life jackets on the kids, of course. And – wait for it; drumroll – lifejackets for the adults in the group, too. If kids are wearing life jackets and the adults are not, when that boat goes over, the children become flotation devices for the adults in the current. Not a proper plan. #2 Short distances. They’re kids – they never know where they are or how they got there; they’re just happy to be out. First trip out, take a small pond and circumnavigate it. If anything happens unexpectedly, make a beeline for the car. #3 Make it fun and give them helper jobs. Take pinwheels and attach to the side of the canoe so they can see it spin when they paddle “fast.” Washable

By following a few basic rules, adults can provide a fun, safe canoe trip for youngsters. Lisa DeHart photo

crayons to draw all over the bottom of the canoe. Make them the trip photographer with a bomb-proof kids camera. Easy to find, and about $35. Bring “magic flames” packs to color the fire at night (just don’t toast s’mores over the colored flames). Glo sticks in the dark at the wa-

ter’s edge brings minnows thinking it’s food. (Full disclosure – this is also how kids’ pajamas end up wet at night. Oh well.) #4 Easy kids’ jobs. Gathering firewood sticks. Finding marshmallow sticks. Washing dishes keeps hands clean. They love helping set up tents, and are actually really good at it. #5 Adult tips --- Be patient; it takes a long time to get good at camping. Remember that kids become dehydrated faster than you, get hungry faster than you, and easily get tired and bored. On the flip side, they can also stare at an ant pile for 45 minutes if you let them, and that’s OK. #6 Things to plan – Wear a life jacket, respect the wind and the water, build in plenty of time and don’t push the miles, bring rain gear and a layer of warm clothes, and a first aid kit with kid medications. Make sure you have a solid bailout plan if a kid gets a fever in the night. (Almanac continued on next page)


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������������������������������������������� The Maine Sportsman • December 2022 • 15 (Continued from page 14)

Rare Issue of The Maine Sportsman Discovered! We here at The Sportsman received a great gift recently – several back issues (way back) of our publication. The oldest in the small collection is from September, 1971 – making it the earliest issue currently in our possession.

Could this be Volume 1, Issue 2?

And since it contained references to a previous issue, we know this is not Volume 1, Issue 1, even though in those days we didn’t bother numbering each issue.

Among the articles and columns on the 24 pages inside is an editorial in which we urged support for a legislative proposal to combine Inland Fisheries, the Forest Service and the Mining Bureau into a new “Department of Natural Resources,” but we opposed the provision that would have taken Game Wardens out of the new department, because that move would “lump them with liquor inspectors.” And bargains! How about a camp and two acres near Lambert Lake for $2,250? Or rooms for hunters and anglers at The Forks for $4.50 a night, which increased to a whopping $10 per day if you wanted three home-cooked meals provided? So here’s “The Ask” – do you have vintage copies of The Maine Sportsman at home or at camp, in the attic or in the basement? If so, we want them, to help us continue our “rolling” 50th Anniversary celebration, and also to re-kick-start our project with the Maine State Library to digitize (and thereby make available to the public, free of charge) older back issues online. Imagine being able to search for Uncle Fred’s name in the Biggest Bucks in Maine listing from thirty years ago! So if you have old issues of The Sportsman, or if you know someone who does, give us a call at (207) 622-4242, or email the editor at And thank you!

What Color is a Wild Maine Turkey? Turns out, that’s not an easy question to answer. Long-time columnist Jim Lemieux and his friends have been viewing and photographing several unusual turkeys this late summer and fall, and they are a light smoky-gray in color.

In Penobscot, Maine, several lightcolored wild turkeys walk behind a normally-pigmented bird. Photo: Jason Gross/Jim Lemieux

According to National Audubon, wild turkeys come in what they describe as four limited-edition colors, or “morphs”: smoke, red, black and white. Of these, the Maine turkeys are exhibiting the most common of the unusual colors; namely, “smoke.” An Audubon article by Natalie Wallington provides an accurate description of the birds many have seen in Downeast Maine: “A smoke-morph bird looks like its name suggests, with a light wispy gray with graphite and black details along the (Continued on next page)

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16 • December 2022 • The Maine Sportsman ————————————————————————————————————————————

Almanac (Continued from page 15) body, wings, and tail.” For reasons not fully understood by biologists, this coloring, which in some areas of the country affects one in every 100 birds, is far more common among hens than toms. —

Dog Tracking Collars Have Potential to Interfere with Truckers’ Communications According to North Maine Woods, Inc. (, or NMW), GPS-enabled dog-tracking systems are creating a safety concern for log truck drivers. In the words of NMW, “If you are using a GPS-enabled dog tracking device such as the Garmin Astro or Garmin Alpha tracking system, be advised that the collars for these systems operate on the same MURS (Multi-Use Radio Service) frequencies used by logging trucks for monitoring road traffic. These collars create audible interference on truck radios that are within range of a collar operating on the same MURS frequency (i.e. channel).”

Alpha collars can operate on five different channels, and NMW says that channels 1 through 4 overlap with truckers’ frequencies, so hunters need to manually limit their dogs’ collars to the 5th channel. Astro collars have a different numbering system, and those collars must be limited to Dog ID Numbers 40 – 49. Questions? Consult your owner’s manual on setting collars manually, or contact the NMW office, (207) 435-6213 for assistance. —

Canadians Accidently Introduced Muskies Into the St. John River in 1970 Having naively brought along our lightweight trout gear on a late-summer trip to the upper stretches of the St. John downriver from Baker Lake, we were intrigued (and slightly disappointed) by the lack of trout in the river, and by the presence of large muskies. However, a review of information provided to campers by North Maine Woods reveals that muskies have been in the river for at least 38 years. So how did they get there? A now-re-

tired state fisheries biologist named David Basley prepared a fascinating report titled “A history of the introduction of Muskellunge in the St. John River Watershed,” which tells the sad story of mankind once again underestimating the ability of an invasive species to adapt, multiply and spread. In 1970, Quebec fisheries personnel introduced muskies into Lake Frontier, a 260-acre headwater lake of the NW Branch of the St. John River. In Basley’s words, the Canadians “assumed that the muskellunge were sedentary and territorial, bred in the lake, and [would] not migrate; therefore they would not endanger the St. John River system in Maine.” Even though the Canadian lake is only a half-mile from Maine, our state’s officials were not consulted – or even notified – regarding the stocking program. Canada stocked muskies in 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973 and 1979, with fish ranging in size from three to eight inches long. After several unconfirmed reports of muskies in the St. John, in 1984, Maine biologists confirmed two muskellunge from the St. John River. One was 25 inches long, taken from 7 Islands, which (Continued on next page)

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������������������������������������������� The Maine Sportsman • December 2022 • 17 (Continued from page 16)

is located 40 miles below Lake Frontier, and another was a 25-incher, taken from the NW Branch, 3-1/2 miles below Lake Frontier. Additional muskies were caught in the Maine river in 1984 and 1986. By 1987, anglers began regularly catching muskellunge in Baker Lake. And in the intervening years, the muskie population traveled hundreds of miles, as evidenced by fish being caught in traps in Fredericton, Glazier Lake (a 27-lb., 43.9-inch behemoth), the St. Francis River and the Allagash River. —

Wilderness First Aid by Stacey Warren, RN

Preventing and Treating Snow Blindness Getting outdoors in the winter months gives our bodies the chance to take in some much-needed Vitamin D and fresh, crisp air. There are plenty of bright sunny days for ice fishing, snowmobiling and other outdoor activities. One thing we often neglect on these days is protecting our eyes. Snow reflects light. When compounded with cold temperatures and dry winter air, overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) light can cause temporary snow blindness. Symptoms don’t always appear immediately, and may take several hours after the damage has occurred: • Headache • Blurred Vision • Pain and burning sensation • Watery eyes • Scratchy and irritated eyes • Red, swollen eyelids

The author – her skin protected by sunscreen, and her eyes shielded by quality sunglasses – ice fishes on Androscoggin Lake.

• •

Sensitivity to light Temporary loss of vision Fortunately, snow blindness tends to

treat itself within a day or two. To assure the quickest recovery, follow these steps: • Remove yourself from UV light • Rest the eyes • Do not rub your eyes • Remove contact lenses • Apply cold compresses • Use artificial tear drops to keep your eyes moisturized • Take over-the-counter pain relievers If symptoms do not resolve within 48 hours or get worse, contact your doctor to request a referral to an ophthalmologist. Prevention is key. Wear sunblock for the face, and sunglasses for the eyes. Wear a brimmed hat, and remember that it’s not just sunny days when you should use preventative measures, since cloudy days can produce harmful UV rays, as well. Keep those peepers protected so you can see to bait those ice fishing hooks.

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If you qualify for The Maine Sportsman’s Biggest Bucks in Maine Club for 2022, applications must be mailed by December 31, 2022 for your name to appear in our annual “Biggest Bucks” issue in February 2023! Applications can be found at For additional info, contact us at (207) 622-4242 or

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18 • December 2022 • The Maine Sportsman ————————————————————————————————————————————

December 2022 Sunrise/Sunset Portland, ME DATE 1 Thu 2 Fri 3 Sat 4 Sun 5 Mon 6 Tue 7 Wed 8 Thu 9 Fri 10 Sat 11 Sun 12 Mon 13 Tue 14 Wed 15 Thu 16 Fri

RISE 6:53 6:54 6:55 6:56 6:57 6:58 6:59 7:00 7:01 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 4:06 4:06 4:06 4:06

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

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

SET 4:07 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 2022 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

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 Wed Thu Fri Sat

HIGH AM PM 5:06 5:24 6:09 6:32 7:08 7:36 8:02 8:33 8:50 9:24 9:34 10:11 10:16 10:55 10:56 11:37 11:35 — 12:16 12:13 12:55 12:51 1:35 1:31 2:17 2:14 3:01 3:01 3:47 3:51 4:34 4:43 5:21 5:38 6:09 6:35 6:59 7:31 7:48 8:25 8:36 9:17 9:25 10:08 10:16 11:00 11:08 11:53 — 12:01 12:46 12:56 1:41 1:53 2:39 2:54 3:40 3:58 4:40 5:03 5:40 6:09

LOW AM PM 11:08 11:44 — 12:18 12:46 1:24 1:43 2:22 2:34 3:13 3:21 3:59 4:04 4:43 4:44 5:23 5:23 6:02 6:01 6:40 6:40 7:18 7:20 7:59 8:03 8:41 8:49 9:25 9:40 10:11 10:32 10:57 11:27 11:46 — 12:23 12:38 1:19 1:29 2:13 2:20 3:04 3:10 3:54 4:00 4:45 4:52 5:37 5:45 6:30 6:40 7:23 7:37 8:19 8:38 9:17 9:42 10:16 10:49 11:15 11:57 —



by Will Lund

“The man’s son told game wardens that his father heard the bell attached to Luna’s collar, then the black Lab suddenly appeared and started to lick him. That’s when he knew he was saved.” From Portland Press Herald staff writer Gilliam Graham’s November 2, 2022 article titled “Wardens Rescue Man Lost in Maine Woods for 30 Hours.” The 74-year old gentleman did not return home after checking his game cameras, and became hypothermic and dehydrated after spending a night in sub-freezing temperatures. He was found by K-9 Luna and Warden Michael Latti, and was later treated and released after a rapid recovery. — “Ice fishing dream machine.” Tag line for the SnoBear line of ice-fishing vehicles, made in Canada and used by South Dakota Glacial Lakes guides seeking walleyes for clients. The vehicles feature heaters, a latched opening door in the floor for each passenger so holes can

fly fisherman in the country, to see if he might actually catch a fish.” — “Now you can enjoy fishing without having to put your drink down while you cast.” Ad for the Chill-N-Reel,® a hard-shell, insulated drink holder featuring a handline fishing reel attached to the side that’s pre-wound with 50 feet of 8-lb test line. Not convinced? The company’s description continues: “It’s a koozie that you can literally catch fish with! Now you can ‘reel ’em in cold’ with your beverage in hand!”

An angler hard at work playing a fish while enjoying his favorite beverage. SnoBear: On-ice luxury. Photo credit: Waubay Guide Service

be drilled down into the ice without the driller or the angler going outside in the cold, and automatic suspension-lowering capability so the vehicle settles right down over the drilled holes. Outside are 18”-wide twin tracks and skis, and inside is a stereo system and LED lighting. — “I was thinking of quitting fly-fishing, the most insufferable kind of fishing, and certainly the least effective.” From an opinion piece by Billy Baker in the July 15, 2022 Boston Globe, titled “Fly-fishing Is Dumb – Change My Mind,” with the sub-caption, “On the verge of quitting, the author enlists the help of Tom Rosenbauer, the most famous

— “Punk Pink Disco Squids.” Gregory Greenleaf of Harpswell describing a striped bass lure that was sold to him by an area retailer. The salesman claimed the lure was “a popular choice for fishermen” that “we’re having trouble keeping up with the demand.” The result?

Credit: Gibbs Delta Squid in “Pink Minx” color

“Not once have I ever felt a tug” while fishing for stripers, reported the author. Undeterred, Greenleaf next tried fishing with the lures on a freshwater lake, with the same result. Source: “The Lure that Hooked the Intrepid Fisherman,” Portland Press Herald, October 20, 2022.

������������������������������������������� The Maine Sportsman • December 2022 • 19

Maine Wildlife:


by Tom Seymour

“I saw a fisher cat yesterday,” my buddy said. He was not alone in mis-labeling this member of the Mustelidae, or weasel family. In fact, most people I know think fishers are some sort of feline. They are not. They are not even remotely related to any kind of cat. Besides that, male fishers can weigh up to 20 pounds, and have a far longer, more slender body than cats. Despite this, if you tell someone that fishers are not cats, they likely will not believe you. That’s how deeply ingrained folklore has become in communal thinking, at least regarding fishers. A fisher’s only connection to cats is that they can and do pick off domestic cats that stray from home. A cat that wanders into a thick forest at night has a good chance of not showing up back home the next morning. Here’s something else that seems misdirected regarding fishers. They are wrongly named, since they do not actively hunt or pursue live fish. Fishers will, if opportunity allows, eat a dead fish from the shore. So why do we call them “fishers”? It’s just another oddity connected to these solitary denizens of mixed woodlands. Silent Hunters Unlike most other predators, fishers don’t vocalize. Not that they can’t. If a larger animal by some odd coincidence, happens to catch a fisher, it will scream. But other than that, fishers are silent. This enhances their prowess as stealthy hunters. Nonetheless, people sometimes believe they hear fishers screaming in the night. The culprit is never a fisher but, in most cases, is a red fox. Red foxes have an amazing vocabulary, and can let out with blood-curdling vocalizations. While fishers hunt at night, they are also active in the daytime. The only fishers I have seen were those I spied during the day. Time of year makes little difference to a fisher either. They are not averse to traveling on snow, and that is the best time to check out their tracks. Either buy a book on animal tracks, or contact the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife for their Maine Animal Track poster or card.

Speaking of seeing fishers, purposely going out in the woods to see a fisher would be an ill-conceived quest. The great majority of fisher sightings happen simply by chance. This reminds me of my buddy Dave Small, a wildlife photographer. The name on Dave’s business cards is “Photos by Chance.” And indeed, a great many of Dave’s excellent photos were the result of being in the right place at the right time, mostly by chance. And by chance is probably the only way most of us will ever lay eyes on a fisher. But if you would like to get a glimpse of a fisher, just keep them in mind every time you go out in the woods, and don’t forget to look up. Fishers are agile tree climbers. Porky Killer Roadkill can indicate fisher numbers. Specifically, the presence or lack of dead porcupines along roads and highways directly corresponds to the size of the local fisher population. Here’s how it works. Fishers rank among the few predators that can kill and eat porcupines without winding up with a face full of quills. This the fisher does by continually darting at the porcupine and slashing the only vulnerable spot unprotected by quills – its face. The fisher continues its slashing attacks until the porcupine becomes enfeebled by blood loss. Then the fisher quickly and deftly turns the porky on its back so it can rip

open its unprotected belly. Perhaps even more surprising, fishers don’t just kill and eat porcupines by default, as if there were nothing left to eat. Porcupines are among the favorite prey of fisher, and they purposely seek them out. This habit of specializing in eating porcupines translates to how many fisher are in the area. Porcupines are slow, waddling creatures and not terribly intelligent, making them vulnerable to being hit by motor vehicles when crossing roads. So when the roadsides seem utterly littered with porcupines, that indicates a lack of predators, namely fishers. Conversely, when road-killed porcupines become scarce, that shows a strong fisher presence. Of course no dead porcupines along the road means that the porcupine population is low or nonexistent, in which case fishers have lost their preferred forage species and so head out to where porcupines are plentiful. When porkies return to their former range, fishers are quick to relocate also. Fisher Habits As you might have guessed, fishers have extensive home ranges. One study back in 1977 showed an average range for fishers of 4,747 acres. Some fishers establish hunting circuits of up to 60 miles. Fishers are not felines and don’t harm humans. But they are magnificent, wild animals of the north woods.

20 • December 2022 • The Maine Sportsman ————————————————————————————————————————————

Three Reasons to Consider a Muzzleloader in Maine by George N. Saliba

Modern inline muzzleloaders—as well as those featuring traditional flintlock or caplock ignition systems—arguably offer unique mastery challenges, in part as a result of their reduced range (so get close), and the time it takes to reload them after firing a single shot (so don’t miss). And the

While Maine hunters can certainly take to the woods during muzzleloader season with a traditional side-hammer model like this, we also have the benefit of laws that are more liberal than those found in other states, meaning we can choose a scoped, modern in-line muzzleloader in which powder pellets – sparked by a 409 shotgun primer – propel a saboted slug.

challenges of choosing the best bullets, grains and primers, as well

as solvents and lubricants, could be separate and enjoyable

pastimes unto themselves. Can sometimes

needing to get nearer to an animal with a muzzleloader potentially improve one’s hunting abilities and afford a closer-to-nature experience? That’s a point of debate, but, either way, there are several practical advantages to hunting with a muzzleloader in Maine. (Continued on next page)

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������������������������������������������� The Maine Sportsman • December 2022 • 21 (Continued from page 20)

#1: A Longer Hunting Season. An obvious and widely-known benefit is worth emphasizing: While the 2022 Maine deer firearms season takes place from October 31 to November 26, the statewide muzzleloader season runs to December 3, and extends until December 10 in thirteen Wildlife Management Districts (WMDs). It can be enjoyable to hunt after Thanksgiving and closer to Christmas and the New Year, and muzzleloader hunting affords these possibilities. #2: Fewer Other Hunters. Another

muzzleloader upside is that there will likely be fewer hunters in Maine’s woods following the November 26 conclusion of the deer firearms season – an important consideration, given that in 2021 there were enough Maine hunters (153,910) to tag nearly 39,000 deer – the largest harvest since 1968. Encountering


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states. In fact, when examining Maine’s muzzleloader regulations overall, they appear lenient when compared to some other locales; for example, jacketed projectiles and #209 shotshell primers are legal in this state, but are restricted or prohibited in certain other jurisdictions.

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theless can be comforting knowing there are fewer hunters around later in the year, adding even more safety to an already safe sport. #3: Few Maine Muzzleloader Restrictions. Another Maine muzzleloader benefit is being able to experiment relatively freely with variables such as scopes, which are prohibited in some other

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fewer hunters in the Maine woods later in the year is a decided advantage for solitude-oriented, outdoors-loving sportsmen and -women. And while there annually have been only a handful of Maine hunting accidents in recent years due to an increased focus on safety that evolved over many decades, it none-

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22 • December 2022 • The Maine Sportsman ————————————————————————————————————————————

New Technology for Smoke-pole Season by Hal Blood

At first glance, the newest muzzle-loader models are distinguishable from cartridge rifles only by the presence of a ramrod fitted below the barrel. Photo: Woodman Arms, NH

I remember when Maine first started a regular muzzle loading season back in the 1980s. In those days, you had two choices for your smoke pole – a flintlock, or percussion-cap ignition. I opted for a percussion cap model, as I figured it would be easier to keep the powder dry. Thompson Arms I purchased a Thompson Arms Hawken rifle kit, and put it together myself. I had to sand the stock and polish the metal parts. It came with a cheekpiece, so I sanded it off, since I am a left-handed shooter and therefore the cheekpiece would not

help me. I thought it was state-of-the-art at the time. The first year, I tried it out rabbit hunting one rainy day, but I never fired at a rabbit. At the end of the day, I decided to fire it anyway, and the cap failed to go off. Pyrodex had not been invented yet, so black powder was what we used. After that episode, I decided to put a piece of plastic wrap over the nipple and cap, and hold it on with a rubber band. I never got a chance to use it deer hunting, as I always managed to get my buck during rifle season.

Gonic Arms In the early 1990s, one of my hunters showed up with a Gonic Arms muzzle loader. It was invented by a Thompson Arms employee who started his own company. I believe it was the first inline muzzle loader. It still used a percussion cap, but you could put a scope on it, and it was accurate out to 200 yards. I bought one, thinking it was stateof-the-art technology. Pyrodex powder was the new rage, and he told me to use it in the Gonic, so I did. That fall I had a chance to use my new muzzle loader, as in between guiding I had not had a chance to rifle-hunt that year. First Muzzle Loader Deer Hunt The first day, I picked up a fresh big track right off in the morning. He hadn’t gone far before he started following a doe. About then, it started snowing those big flakes, with not a breath of wind. The doe led him out into a spruce bog, and they were both feeding around the edge of it. It was fairly open with patches of spruce scattered about. I had a feeling

The author and his first muzzle-loader buck, in a photo taken in the 1990s.

that I was going to get a look at them any minute. I eased along slowly, scouring everywhere for any patch of brown. They finally turned and headed into a cedar thicket. I eased in, one step at a time. I could only see about 30 yards at most, so I took the time to look at everything. I hadn’t gone 20 yards into the cedars when I spotted a deer looking at me about 30 yards away. I could see the base of two antlers, so I put the crosshairs on his chest and fired, just as he turned to run. The smoke hung in the damp air as I hurried to reload. As I started ahead to look for the buck, the doe bounded away. She had been standing 20 yards from me the whole time, and I never saw her. I found the buck lying dead, two bounds from where he had stood. He was a fairly heavy-horned old

buck, but I could tell that he had lost a lot of weight, as is usual for that time of year. That first muzzle buck was a good feeling. I had done it, even though it always seemed like hunting with one arm tied behind your back. I gutted him out and dragged him a couple hundred yards to get out of the cedar bog. As I was dragging, I was thinking that I was close to an old tote road that I should be able to get my snowmobile down. I hiked back to my snowmobile and headed around to see how close I could make it. As luck would have it, I drove right to my buck, hitched him to the back rack, and headed out to tag him. The Beginning, but Not the End Since that day, muzzle loading technology has come a long way. Percussion caps did not fire very hot (Big Woods World continued on page 24)

������������������������������������������� The Maine Sportsman • December 2022 • 23

My Love/Hate Relationship with Muzzleloaders As a young, new deer hunter in the early 1980s, I was blessed to have a mentor who encouraged me to shoot as many deer as legally possible. All of my deer fell to my bow or my shotgun. The only experience I had with a muzzleloader, was my father’s home-built, caplock, smooth-bored antique. We’d load it up with birdshot and shoot at squirrels, but it was so inaccurate, we never hunted deer with it. Fast forward to the late 1990s – a friend purchased an in-line, rifled barrel muzzleloader and was accurate with it to 75-100 yards. I was impressed with the technology change, but still taking my deer with archery and firearms. I had no need to purchase a muzzleloader. Joining the Party However, as the saying goes, “I’d rather have something and not need it, than need something and not have it.” Well, my buddies started hunting the Connecticut muzzleloader season and having an end-ofseason antler party, where we’d show off our kills for the year. I needed a muzzleloader, and I didn’t have one. After some research, I purchased a TC Black Diamond-XR. The XR stands for extended range and initially, I loved this gun.

I quickly killed a few deer with it, and actually enjoyed shooting it. Still, most of my deer were killed in September and October with my bow and in November with my rifle. Often, the muzzleloader never got loaded and shot. I might have taken a doe with it in Maine, but only once did I have a chance at a good buck. Unfortunately, the gun didn’t fire, and a great chance at a huge buck was lost. I sold the gun. A New Addition to the Family Because I am frugal, I don’t like to buy more stuff, if I already have stuff that works. I look for deals and gently-used items before I purchase new. Well, last year I found myself ending firearms season with no buck. I wished I had a muzzleloader, but wasn’t sure what I wanted to buy. I happened to know someone with a muzzleloader, and he never used it. I convinced my father to give me his

A photo of the author’s 100-yard target. The three in the middle were the last of six shots taken at 100 yards, after some “dialing in” of the test load. A 240 grain, .44 caliber saboted hollow point was used with 42 grains of smokeless powder. The breach and the barrel were surprisingly clean after multiple shots at 50 and 100 yards. Joe Saltalamachia photo

muzzleloader. My new toy is a Savage ML10-II smokeless muzzleloader and so far, I really like it. One of the things I disliked about my TC black powder gun, was the mess. Black powder smells terrible and leaves a nasty residue when burned. Having to con-


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stantly clean my gun isn’t something I enjoyed. Taking the TC apart wasn’t easy or fun. For that reason alone, I almost purchased a speed breach gun, but when this opportunity came up, I took it. Clean burning and little residue mean more shots with less full takedowns and cleanings. The breech plug comes out with less hassle on this gun than my TC, and that means it’ll be easier to unload after every hunt. Hopefully this means no failed firings on huge bucks. I want my “primitive weapon” to be easier, not more complicated. Unfortunately, smokeless powder doesn’t come in pelleted form, so loading will be a bit more involved, but not horribly different. Measuring powder ahead of time and placing it in a “speed-loader” will make field loading easier. I’m curious as to how the smokeless will fare in my pockets while hunting, however. Time will tell.

Accuracy is Great Accuracy is very important to me. I’ve only fired this gun a few times so far, and it has not disappointed. Three shots nearly touching at 100 yards is a great start. I’m currently out of powder and trying to get my hands on a pound of SR4759. Other owners report excellent/consistent grouping with this propellant. Most owners talk of sub one-inch groups at 100 yards, and some reporting excellent groups to 250 yards. That’s exciting to me, considering the experiences I had as a youngster. My issue, once I have the powder, will be waiting until muzzleloader season to harvest my second antlerless deer of the year. I love bowhunting, and taking a second doe with the bow is appealing. “Sense of Well-Being” However, this new toy is so cool, and I feel obligated to use (Continued on next page)

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24 • December 2022 • The Maine Sportsman ————————————————————————————————————————————

Big Game

(Continued from page 23)

it this year, while my father is still around. I’m sure he’d like to see his gun being used and not just stored in a safe. Whether I take an-

other doe with my bow – or tag out on a good buck and doe – prior to this year’s muzzleloader season, is yet to be determined. What is certain, however, is

that I am once again prepared to kill a deer during the late season if given the opportunity. That’s provided a sense of well-being and relaxation. Thanks, Dad, for the new toy!

Big Woods World (Continued from page 22)

and were susceptible to moisture. That problem got solved with guns using 209 shotgun primers. For that reason, I ditched the Gonic Arms for a Thompson Omega. That gun served me well for years and I shot quite a few bucks with it for Maine to Ontario. From then on, shooting distance increased greatly. Remington purchased the rights to what they called the Ultimate Muzzle loader about ten years ago. I tested one out to 300 yards, and it shot as good as a rifle did. It was a boon for the Mid-west and Western hunters. I talked to guys who were shooting elk out past 400 yards with them. The downfall of that gun was the weight of it. It was a burden to lug it all day in the Big Woods tracking. More recently, Mark Woodman of Woodman Arms invented a totally new style muzzle loader. He designed it around the shape and fit of the Remington 7600 carbine. It checks all the boxes, with a weight of 5-½ pounds, an internal hammer, and a cross-bolt safety. On top of that, it shoots long range better than any muzzle loader I’ve seen. So, today’s muzzle loaders are in effect just like rifles, except you still only have one shot, so make it count!

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— Guest Feature —

Cellular Game Camera Facts – Part 1 by Staci Warren, I admit it – I am a cellular game camera junkie. I used my first cellular game camera in 2018, and they’ve become an obsession. In the last year, I’ve read several articles concerning the ethics of fair chase and their use with the threat of banning them in the state of Maine. Frankly, I believe that initiative is based on misperceptions of how the cameras work – or, just as frequently, how they don’t work. Opponents of the cell game cameras want you to believe the scenario is like this: You are sitting in your recliner watching the game when the cellular game camera starts notifying you. When you open it, there is that big buck you’ve been watching, so you drop everything, race down to the tree stand and shoot yourself a buck. Sounds good, huh? Well, I hate to burst your bubble, but it most likely won’t work that way. Not an Automatic Trophy Cellular game cameras (CGC) are game-changers, but not for the reasons giv-

Opponents of cellular game cameras portray a scenario in which the hunter is on the couch watching a Saturday football game; their cell phone notifies them that a huge buck is standing around right in front of the game camera; the hunter jumps up, grabs a rifle, races into the woods and shoots the deer. “Most likely, it won’t work that way,” confides the author. en by those who think they should be banned. First of all, CGCs are great for the busy working person. I am in the woods somewhere every weekend, and every additional opportunity I can get, and yet despite owning 19 cellular game cameras, I still find it difficult to find time to scout for deer. Even after I put out cameras, I manage to see deer that never showed on my cameras. It is true that cellular game cameras allow you to check cameras from anywhere using a cell phone or computer. In theory, you set up the cameras and then don’t disturb the site again, which allows game to move freely as normal until the hunt starts. Practical Uses CGCs also are great for those who can’t get out into the

Despite having flocks of wild turkeys on camera, the author was unable to get them to come in when she was armed in her blind. All photos: Spypoint cell-cam photos by the author

woods but want to enjoy seeing the game. When I had my double knee replacements, I wouldn’t have been able to see bear on my game cameras if I’d had to hike up the mountain to pull the card. My elderly parents enjoy watching wildlife since they can no longer get out to hunt, and even my sister living in the southern United States has cameras set up to watch wildlife on her piece of property in Maine. Just like regular game cameras, CGCs are good at catching trespassers or strangers. Last November, in between my morning and afternoon hunts, I received notification that a hunter without an orange vest crossed in front of my camera. Images Not Always Crystal-Clear Of course, like any

game camera, CGCs help with scouting, but again, they are no more an advantage than any other game camera. You’ll see game on the camera if you’ve pointed it in the right direction, and if the camera catches it quick enough, and if it’s not too blurry, since images are 10-30 MP (mega-pixel). The most recent technology does take away the guesswork of whether you need a Verizon or AT&T model, with multi-SIM card capabilities and network driven firmware updates. Most of the cellular game cameras I own still require a manual firmware update by pulling the card and installing the update. Cameras that are not up-to-date can have issues and may simply stop transmitting – usually when it matters the most.

While the author never got to see this monster buck, her brother-in-law spotted the deer rutting on the other side of the property. The buck spotted the camera’s IR (infra-red) beam, and avoided it after that.

I use and rely on my cellular game cameras most often during bear season, particularly when I’m bear trapping. Although you have to check your traps physically once a day, most bear are caught during the night. The first bear I caught was with an Aldrich snare, and it was caught for nine hours before it wrestled itself free due to my error in leaving one tiny sapling in reach. After using a cellular game camera, the following year, I was able to promptly dispatch a bear after the camera sent notification. In that case, CGCs meant the bear wasn’t left caught in a cable any longer than necessary. The mountain where we hunt is ninety minutes away. I’ve also caught bear, and I received notification, but by the time we made it to the mountain, the bear had freed itself, so even with cell camera imaging, there’s still no guarantee of success. Next month: Reception, batteries and transmission plans.

According to the author, bobcat always show up after the trapping season ends.

26 • December 2022 • The Maine Sportsman ————————————————————————————————————————————

Walleyes Through More Than Three Feet of Minnesota Ice by Todd Corayer,

At daybreak, it was minus 32°. A rude northwest wind pushed it colder, to -42°. February on Minnesota’s Lake of the Woods (LOW), the Walleye Capital of the World, is no place for surprises or equipment fails, so we relied on propane-warmed ice houses from Riv-

Once we found our fish house among the thousands on the ice, we were told, “Every color works here as long as it’s gold,” so the pride of Eliot, Maine, Al’s Goldfish, with their 22 karat gold finish, and the 49ers with touches of neon and Helgy jigs, caught consistently. er Bend Resorts in Baudette, St. Croix ice rods, and Maine’s own Al’s Goldfish Lure

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(similar to walleye), sturgeon, tullibee (a large herring), and Northern pike. Beginning a ninemile ice road journey to our ice house, LOW Tourism Bureau director Joe Henry dropped his Toyota into fourwheel, looked right and said, “Please unhook your seatbelt.” I understood his concern for unplanned exits.

Serpentine and heaving, rough with jagged edges, clear here, drifted high there; the ice road is a twenty-mile privately maintained corridor to thousands of ice houses. Wise anglers drive patiently. Unannounced clefts easily snap reckless plow trucks, tossing them aside like awkward, whitewashed snow sculptures. Divided by the Canadian border, Rainy Lake feeds Rainy River, which drains into the 760,000-acre Lake of the Woods and her Northwest Angle, the northernmost point of (Continued on next page)

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Every time a minnow moves, the Al’s makes it shine. Photo by Todd Corayer (Continued from page 26)

the contiguous United Sates. More than ten million walleye feed just off its soft bottom, annually entering the river to spawn, leaving and then entering again to prey on shiners in her bait-rich ecosystem. Ice Fishing is a Culture 4,000 people live in Lake of the Woods County, yet on an average winter day, more than 4,000 an-

glers are on the ice, fishing a cumulative 2.7 million hours each year. “Fishing is not a pastime in Minnesota – it’s a culture,” Joe explained. Winters are severe, but fishing is world class. First orders of business were to turn heaters up to eleven, choose two holes – one for jigging, one for dead sticking – then slowly start shedding layers. Ice houses, like

people, will freeze tight if left unattended until spring unhinges winter or someone tugs back hard enough to tear off an entire side. Guides like Alex Peterson tow houses to follow fish, often every few days. Even when tightly secured, thresholds scheme with the elements to amass small glaciers, forcing doors open over time, preventing their closing until chippers are employed. “It’s a dry cold,” they say. That first porta john expedition shivers even the hardiest New Englander with thirty below storming across fifty miles of gelid white scape. We quickly learned to reconsider second expeditions. “All We Used” Were Al’s Goldfish Products Walleye have limited visibility in such naturally tannin-rich waters, so it’s a daytime bite. St. Croix’s Savannah Stenlund

equipped us with several models of ice rods, including a top secret model to be released before Christmas, 2022. By her side,

Brian Bashore of The Walleye Guys, fired up his Humminbird 197 to watch fish approach, consider attacking or (Continued on next page)

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Ice Fishing (Continued from page 27)

snubbing our offerings, then cheered as we hauled back. Since 90% of fish are caught one to two feet off the bottom, I set up a 3/16 ounce Al’s Goldfish Copper Glow ice jig tipped with a minnow, sus-

pended at 29’ with a St. Croix Custom Ice C132MLF. A Skandic Ice SKA328M was set up with a White Pink Glow Al’s 49er, also with a minnow, which I bounced off the bottom to attract attention through stained

waters. “Every color works here as long as it’s gold,” say the locals, so Al’s Goldfish, with their 22 karat gold finish, and 49ers with touches of neon and Helgy jigs, caught consistently. Based in Eliot, Maine, Al’s Goldfish makes jigs that are built to excel in

cold weather, whether motionless, on retrieve, or with steady jigging, and they were the only jigs used the entire trip. 49ers magically provide an attractive flutter on the drop, which seemed to be when solid hits bent rods. “Every time a minnow moves, the Al’s

makes it shine,” said Tom Peterson, recognizing the genius of their simple design. A deadsticked Northern Edition Goldfish tipped with a small minnow performed very well, even when unattended for an hour on a Tundra rod, (Ice Fishing continued on page 30)








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Why Are Many Trout Ponds Closed to Ice Fishing? It’s frustrating, says the author, when many trout ponds that are productive in warm weather are closed to ice fishing. Here, he explores the reasons for the current rules, and asks whether other approaches may allow some fishing access while still protecting trout populations. I’m the type of person who likes to have things planned out well in advance. During ice fishing season, that means the spots that I’ve researched months in advance are finally becoming fish-able, and plans are becoming a reality. I’ve always been frustrated by something when it comes to looking for productive new ice fishing spots: Many of my favorite open-water spots are listed in the law book with the code CI. This indicates that the body of water is closed to ice fishing. Most of these locations, in my experience, are brook trout ponds that are fairly remote, and usually small. They seem like they’d be a lot of fun to ice fish, and it’s a bummer to be prohibited from it. Why are Small Ponds Closed? So why are these ponds closed? In gen-

eral, such closures are used as fisheries management tools. Trout fishing is oftentimes easier and more productive through the ice, and so it’s easy for ponds with small numbers of trout to get wiped out. A lot of ponds that have native trout populations – especially ones that are easy to access and are likely to receive a lot of fishing pressure – sport the CI code. I guess it’s not such a bad thing. Agree not to fish it in the winter, and you’re rewarded with prime spring and fall brook trout fishing. Stocked Ponds and Lakes Offer Options However, fishing options remain for winter trout anglers. Most stocked trout ponds stay open, as their populations can be supplemented with the state’s stocking program. Many lakes and ponds are stocked in the late fall, for the

sole purpose of offering ice fishermen some exciting action. Beyond that, many larger ponds and lakes with native trout populations are also open to ice fishing, and can be a blast to fish. On these larger bodies of water, location really does matter, so consult a survey map or a local, seasoned fisherman for advice. Generally, rocky or sandy shorelines are the ticket. I’ve caught trout with less than a foot of water below the ice. Could Ponds be Open, with Protections In Place? It makes me wonder if there are alternate ways to allow ice fishing on many of these ponds. I’ve heard many opinions on low-impact ways to fish delicate ponds. Someone mentioned two-trap limits, while another mentioned catch and release only.

Couldcatch-and-release be a way to allow ice fishing on certain ponds that are now closed all winter? Photo by Nolan Raymond

These are valid options, and would definitely reduce the impact on a fishery. I’d be interested to hear the logistics of management when it comes to these sorts of rules. Although a lot of these ponds would be really cool to fish in the winter, with their unique access trails and remote feel,

it makes sense that many are managed strictly. It preserves the fishery for years to come, and prevents ice fishing activity from eliminating native populations. Before you venture out this season, check the laws on the ponds you plan on fishing!

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Grilled Striper in Lemon-Tarragon Sauce I’ve never fished for striper, yet have good friends who do!! Thanks Dan! I wanted to complement the mild sweetness of this buttery fish, and this lemon-tarragon sauce is perfect. With the striper so firm and flaky, it’s perfect for grilling! Layers – many layers of flavors – result in a mouth “O” for this striper recipe. Stripers in December? Don’t judge – what’s in your freezer? To add to the recipe layers, I have paired this dish with a similar wine. Typically, I go for a complementary wine, rather than something similar. Yet, in this case I really enjoyed its vividness, with aromas of citrus fruits and flower blossoms, followed by lemon, lime, green apple finish and subtle mineral notes of the Picpoul de Pinet wine, or Picopul. And before you ask – Yes, yes, yes, you can also pair a light beer here. Enjoy, and Bon Appetit! ***** Ingredients: • 4 8-ounce boneless striper fillets, skin on • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil • 1 teaspoon fresh tarragon, chopped • 1 lemon, zested • 2 tablespoons lemon juice • 2 garlic cloves, minced • Salt, pepper • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided • 2 tablespoons shallot, minced • ¼ cup white wine (I used Picopul) • 1 egg • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice • 2 tablespoons fresh tarragon, finely chopped • Salt, pepper • Large-mouthed Ball jar

Ice Fishing (Continued from page 28)

which was sensitive enough to signal every tiny tap on the jig or minnow with enough backbone to pull an uncooperative walleye all the way. Fish On! Our first walleye came quickly and was a keeper. Several saugers were below legal size, but fish of all sizes

Directions: Preheat grill to medium-high. Spray grill with non-stick spray. Combine oil, tarragon, lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper. Rub into striper, thoroughly. Rest 15 minutes. Place fillets, skin side up, on grill for 3 minutes, turn over and grill 4-8 more minutes, depending on thickness. While striper is grilling, make sauce. Melt two tablespoons of butter in small saucepan. Add shallots, and sauté until

tender. Add remaining butter, stir just until melted and take off heat. Combine remaining ingredients in bowl and whisk until thickened. Add whisked ingredients into butter and shallots, and whisk more to thicken on low heat. Serve striper warm off the grill, topped with warm lemon-tarragon sauce.

were landed by the dozens. Some forty saugers, walleye and tullibee later, we drove for home with a hazy sun just above a distant horizon. Nine miles from land is no place to navigate an ice road in darkness or risk a night without supreme protection from elements which will heartlessly consume you. It takes time to acclimate to frozen everything at negative something you’ve never experienced, but clearly

Lake of the Woods is special. From that 5,000-pound Willie the Walleye statue on Route 11 to a warm cabin nap, a handsome green St. Croix rod, a memorable fish dinner after River Bend Resort cooks your catch and a glimmering 49er fluttering through three feet of naturally lit ice; all that makes waking up to -32° worth every layer.

������������������������������������������� The Maine Sportsman • December 2022 • 31

Off to the Races by Steve Carpenteri

Winter in northern New England means snowmobiling. A wide variety of shows, meets, races and other events are scheduled to be held in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont over the coming winter and even into next summer. Impatient riders can sign up for grass and water

drag racing as early as August, and serious racing riders can travel the region in search of first place wins in a wide spectrum of competitions and classes all winter. There are dozens of races on tap for 2022-23 throughout the region. Contact local or state snowmo-

bile clubs for details on destinations, registration and dates of racing. Riders should keep in mind that weather and snow conditions often dictate final scheduling. Maine In January, the Black Mountain Snowmobile Hill Climb will be held in Rumford

beginning at 6 p.m. There will be men’s and women’s, 500cc and Open classes. Course preview is at 5:30 p.m. Entry fee is $20 per class the day of the event or $15 prepaid. Participants must be 14 years or older. The Café and Last Run Lounge will be open.

For more information, log onto www. SkiBlackMountain. org. In February, snowmobile racing will be hosted by the Jefferson-Nobleboro Sno-Packers at Damariscotta Lake. Double elimination drag races will be held on Satur(Continued on next page)

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32 • December 2022 • The Maine Sportsman ————————————————————————————————————————————

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©2022 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 responsibly and safely and wear appropriate clothing, including a helmet. Please observe applicable laws and regulations. Remember that riding and alcohol/drugs don’t mix. See your authorized BRP dealer for details and visit

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������������������������������������������� The Maine Sportsman • December 2022 • 33 (Continued on next page)

day, with a Radar Run scheduled for Sunday. Trophies will be award for first, second and third place winners in each of 18 classes. Registration starts at 7:30 a.m. Rain date is the following weekend. For more information log onto site/snopackers. The King of the Mountain Hill Climb, billed as “the largest snowmobile hill climb in the East” returns to Saddleback in Rangeley on April 21 and 22, 2023. The 2022 race attracted more than 600 participants who competed in 24 classes. Also featured is a low-speed oval “kids’ fun track.” See details and a recap of the 2022 event on the Calendar page at Tame the Track ( has not yet released its 2022-2023 race schedule. In the past, races and hill climbs have been held in Lincoln, Littleton, Patten, Skowhegan, Island Falls, New Limerick, Caribou and Ft. Kent. Looking ahead to next summer, the Big Woods Grass Drags are held in Ashland in August. The Ashland and Portage snowmobile clubs joined forces to prepare a 500-foot snowmobile grass drag with a 100-foot clay start and 1,000-foot shutdown. The course offered two race lanes with a Christmas treestyle starting/timing system. The track is located at 133 Masardis Road, across from Trotting Park. New Hampshire One of New Hampshire’s best-loved events is the Vintage Snowmobile Show,

held in conjunction with the Crane Snowmobile Museum in Lancaster. This year’s show, swap meet and cookout is scheduled to take place February 4, 2023. Monitor CraneSnowmobileMuseum. com for developing details. Looking forward to next summer, the schedule already lists the October Grass Drags and Watercross, touted as the “Biggest, Baddest Snowmobile Event in the World” and considered to be the unofficial start of New England’s snowmobile season. Over 50,000 snowmobile and outdoor enthusiasts turned out in 2021 to watch some of the top snowmobile racers from the United States and Canada. The event traditionally starts on Friday afternoon and doesn’t end until Sunday evening. The event is held at Brookvale Pines Farm, 154 Martin Road in Fremont. Some of the fastest snowmobiles in the world compete at speeds topping 121 mph, racing side-byside along four lanes. Friday’s snowmobile Grass Drags feature the Amateur Class, which run into the evening under the lights. The big guns come out Saturday and Sunday, with 0-60 speeds that would annihilate most standard race cars. The weekend-long event also features watercross racing, also known as “snowmobile water skipping.” Indeed, the event features snowmobiles racing on water and includes straight line drag racing and unique oval-style racing on the pond at the center (Continued on next page)

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*Offer available on approved purchases of new 2020-2023 Yamaha Snowmobile made on the Yamaha Credit Card issued by WebBank. Offer valid 10/1/22 through 12/31/22. Account must be open and current to be eligible for this offer. Introductory 3.99% APR financing with minimum payments of 1.34%, 1.51%, 1.86%, 2.20% of the purchase price balance are effective for initial 36 months. After the 36-month introductory period, minimum monthly payments shall be due equal to the greater of 1% of existing balance plus standard interest charges based on creditworthiness, late fees and late payment amounts, or $25 until the purchase price is paid in full. Minimum interest charge $2 per month. Standard interest charges based on standard APR 15.99%-23.99%. 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. © 2022 Yamaha Motor Corporation, U.S.A. All rights reserved.

34 • December 2022 • The Maine Sportsman ————————————————————————————————————————————

Snowmobiling (Continued from page 34)

of the race facility. Hosted by the Eastern Watercross Association, race classes include 600, 800 and Amateur; Semi Pro and Pro. It’s fast, exciting and yes, some snowmobiles do sink! Off-track, more than 110 vendors display the latest in snowmobile technologies, clothing, accessories, travel opportunities and demos. There are also factory displays by the major snowmobile and

ATV manufacturers, including Arctic Cat, Polaris, BRP, Ski-Doo, Lynx and Yamaha, all promoting their latest models and hottest accessories. Also in the Granite State, New Hampshire Snowmobile Museum Association hosts several vintage snowmobile events annually. The facility is located at Bear Brook State Park, off Route 28 in Allenstown.

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February NH Ride-In Event The fundraising efforts of the New Hampshire Snowmobile Association affiliated clubs, along with support from local businesses, have raised over $3 million since the initiative started in 1972. The money is used to provide life-changing experiences for campers ages 11-21 with disabilities and special needs. Attendees participate in a wide variety of activities including water sports, team sports, hiking, archery, a ropes course and crafts. “Thousands of snowmobilers across New Hampshire demonstrate their commitment to the Easterseals campers year after year through their hard work and support,”

EXPLORE. DISCOVER. DOMINATE. — Visit Your Local Arctic Cat Dealer for Current Promotions — GORHAM LEBANON White Rock Outboard Northeast Motorsports 351 Sebago Lake Road 451 Carl Broggi Hwy. 207-892-9606 207-457-2225 JACKMAN Jackman Power Sports 549 Main Street 207-668-4442

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WARNING: Arctic Cat snowmobiles can be hazardous to operate. For your safety, all riders should read and understand their owner’s manual and safety instructions. Always wear an approved helmet and other safety apparel. Be aware of natural hazards you may encounter and don’t drink and ride. All scenes depicted or described were performed by professional riders under carefully controlled conditions. Never attempt to duplicate these maneuvers or encourage others to do so. Arctic Cat recommends that all operators take a safety training course. For safety and training information, please see your local dealer. ©2023 Arctic Cat Inc. All rights reserved.

Most winter racing competitions include several classes, including Men’s, Women’s and Youth divisions, with tracks and courses for all skill levels. Photo: New Hampshire Snowmobile Association

said Larry Gammon, Easterseals NH president and CEO. “We can always count on NHSA members to rally to the cause and continue to make a profound difference at Camp Sno-Mo.” Vermont The Vermont State Fair’s Annual Snowmobile Festival will be held at the Vermont State Fairgrounds at 175 South Main Street in Rutland on President’s Day in February 2023, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Over 120 vintage and new models will be on display, and organizers are expecting many more sleds to come form out of state. Entering sleds and admission is free. Judging is from 10 a.m. -11 a.m. A snowmobile parade will be held at noon, and awards are at 2 p.m. Snowmobiles will be able to ride around the historic oval racetrack throughout the day. Pre-entry of sleds must be done by February 15 at 7 p.m. in order to be judged. Sleds can still come that are not pre-entered, but they will not be eligible for judging and will be displayed separately. A basic food concession will be on

grounds. Pop’s Fresh Kettle Corn will be made and sold on-site by Lee and Deb Perry from The Barn at White Rocks. According to Andrea Hathaway-Miglorie, snow conditions can pose challenges to winter events, but anticipation is growing already. “Last year, we had a ton of snow ’til it rained and warmed up,” she said. “Sixteen inches of snow is perfect, and most years we have a lot of snow. This is a great family event, and Vermont State Fair organizers hope this show will continue to be a special day for the community.” Contact Andrea if you would like to be a part of the show, at (802) 345-9257, or e-mail with any questions for 2023. Because schedules change and new races are added throughout the winter, interested riders should keep in touch with local or state snowmobile clubs, chambers of commerce and other public information outlets to find out more about snowmobile racing venues in northern New England.

������������������������������������������� The Maine Sportsman • December 2022 • 35

Smokepole Deer and Early Ice Smelt Muzzleloader season offers fewer hunters and, often, fresh tracking snow. And if you’re venturing out on the early ice for smelt, consider following the author’s example by wearing a self-inflating life vest over your coat. Up here in God’s Country, deer hunters have received their “two-minute warning,” so to speak. Only six days of muzzleloader season, or what I often refer to as the Road to Redemption, are left to fill a whitetail tag – the last three days of November, and first three days of December. Despite the short season, there are a couple of advantages that increase the odds. Far fewer hunters in the woods mean that if you find a fresh track, there probably won’t be a human track already dogging it. More important, fresh tracking snow is always a possibility, and colder weather keeps deer moving to feed. Spectacle Pond For three decades

beginning in my teens, my Thanksgiving week family deer hunt took place either in Escourt, or near Spectacle Pond off the Pinkham Road in the North Maine Woods (NMW). The latter location remains a productive area for whitetail, as well as prolific partridge sightings. From Ashland, just drive to the 6-Mile Checkpoint, then take the Pinkham Road to the Jack Mountain Road. The logging roads and two-tracks abound throughout the Spectacle Pond and Mountain region, around the Pinnacle and north toward Jack Mountain. Check Delorme’s Atlas Map 57, grid A-3 for details. During rare years, heavy early snow hinders access to some of the lesser used old cut-

ting roads, but most black powder seasons offer easy access, especially with four-wheel drive trucks. Just a reminder to new visitors hunting NMW land – no ATVs are allowed beyond any checkpoint gate, so leave them home, or else you’ll have to find a place to park them during your stay. Campsites are available to rent if deer hunters prefer not to travel in and out daily, and there is a daily access permit fee and a camping fee. The two-tracks and trails between Spectacle and Center Mountains (in most states, they would actually be considered just large hills) wind through excellent mixed cover and food sources, and deserve some walkand-stalk attention.

When snow cover is light and temperatures frigid, deer come out of the urban edge forest to take advantage of cut grain and harvested potato fields for easy food -- good areas to hunt during this month’s black powder season. All photos by Bill Graves

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36 • December 2022 • The Maine Sportsman ————————————————————————————————————————————

The author had a doe permit and needed last minute redemption in The County to fill a tag, Up close, it turns out the”doe” he dropped was really a button buck.

The County (Continued from page 35)

Explore the trails along Chase Brook, as well as Center Pond Road and its many extensions to the south of Spectacle Pond. Two camp sites, 19 Mile Pinkham and S. Branch Machias River, offer close access to this annually productive whitetail region. Knowles Corner Smokepole enthusiasts farther to the south might want to investigate the timberland and trails west of Knowles Cor-

ner on Route 11. DeLorme’s Map 58, sectors E-1 and E-2 are likely deer cover, regardless whether it’s bow, rifle or muzzleloader season. Bugbee Road and Lane Brook Road run north toward Umcolcus Lake and Wadleigh Brook, offering multiple drivable side roads and walkable tote roads left from past logging operations. Traveling farther west along Lane Brook Road will connect

Allagash Lakes Region

Jerod Young took advantage of mild December temperatures and light snow cover for some December grouse gunning, Unusual weather, yes, but it’s becoming more common in The County.

hunters to Snowshoe Road and numerous branching two-tracks to Lane Brook Meadows and Roberts Mountain. A couple of cedar swales offer excellent whitetail cover, and the stepped hillocks forming Roberts Mountain abound with top rate browse areas. The forest thickness varies notably, so black powder shooters who prefer to sit and watch trails will find plenty of options, as will sneak-and-peek still-hunters. Birds and Bunnies Climate change

has crept into the Crown of Maine over the last decade, and once in awhile December snow falls, then melts or doesn’t accumulate to any amount until near Christmas. When this happens, sportsmen enjoy some really top rate feather and fur action, as partridge season dwindles away, and hare season revs up. While snowmobiles or snowshoes will transport sportsmen regardless of snow depth, 6 to 8 inches is about the limit for walk-and-stalk outings this month.

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Connor Cushman of Mars Hill headed out amid mild snow conditions to hunt partridge and rabbits with his dad, and managed to bag part of a fur-and-feather dinner option.

Like most cast-orblast options in Aroostook, you don’t need to travel far from home, but for visitors or even local folks who want to expand their horizons, I’d suggest the Square Lake region. I know the name of that waterway brings images of spring trolling for big brookies, but the surrounding woodlands and back roads also yield productive gunning for big and small game. Use the Blackstone Road and the Perrault Camp Road off Route 161 between Caribou and Fort Kent to reach a spiderweb of gravel backroads and twotracks at the southern end of Square Lake. DeLorme’s Map 68, E-3 offers an overview, and if Mother Nature cooperates with light snow cover, you may find yourself enjoying some excellent, action-filled partridge and rabbit hunting. (Continued on next page)

������������������������������������������� The Maine Sportsman • December 2022 • 37 (Continued from page 36)

Early Ice Smelting The amount of snow that comes and goes this month, or stays and accumulates, isn’t always relevant to the frigid temperatures needed to form ice on local lakes. Every waterway is different due to size, depths, currents and other individual features as to when a safe depth of ice to support fishermen will form. It’s never worth risking your life to venture on questionable ice, but early season smelt jigging can be fantastic, and Long Lake might just be an option. While most of this expansive waterway won’t be safe to fish

this month, the shallower, narrow end near St. Agatha has been the exception the last couple of years. My brother-in-law has a year-around camp on that shoreline and was able to fish on 5 to 6 inches of ice last year while the larger, southern section in Sinclair had only 1 to 2 inches and even a couple of open-water spots. Ice depth is not only a year-to-year temperature dependent variable, but even a week-to-week situation. It’s crucial that anxious, early season smelt handliners use a chisel or auger to sample ice thickness every few yards as they progress from shore to a fishing site.

Regardless of how fast and furious the smelting is, a December dip isn’t worth the chance. I’m not ashamed to admit that I don a set of CO2, self-inflating floatation suspenders on that premiere venture, until the ice thickness is ascertained! That said, the early fishing can be fabulous, with limits being filled in less than an hour many mornings. Everyone knows where Long Lake is located – the trick is to know someone who can check and verify ice thickness for you if you need to travel to fish. If you’re close, just keep checking the cove until its safe, then enjoy the best smelt jigging of the season.

Trophy Gallery

When Alex Larrabee, age 10 of Deer Isle, tagged a 663-lb. moose, in late October in Zone 6, T9 R4 WELS with his .308, he accomplished a rare feat -- a 2022 Maine Grand Slam. Shown here is Alex and his tom turkey, 18.2 lbs and taken in Brooklin with his 20 ga. during the spring season. Alex also tagged a bear at Silver Ridge Twp. on Youth Bear Day, and a 7-pt. buck in Deer Isle on the first day of crossbow season. Alex is among the youngestever to receive a Grand Slam patch.

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38 • December 2022 • The Maine Sportsman ————————————————————————————————————————————

What, It’s December Again Already? Here comes December, and time once again to consider the intersection of holiday shopping and the shooting sportsmen in your family. As the winter deepens and the year winds toward its end, most hunting seasons and shooting activities grow quiet. People everywhere turn their attention to holiday celebrations and the annual gift exchange. Except for a few die-hard upland bird hunters reinforced by a good dog and some small game hunters,

Colonel Allard puts on his “Gift Guide” hat, and presents a list of practical, reasonably-priced presents that will make every shooter smile when holiday packages are handed out and unwrapped. or perhaps a clique of devoted sporting clays shooters, the scene slackens about now. Some take to the reloading bench, working up some new or some old favorite cartridges for the next time out. Many wait in hopeful anticipation that the season of giving may bring them interesting, exciting, and useful additions to

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their sporting accumulation. Many times in the past two decades, “The Shooter’s Bench” has presented a December gift-giving guide. And the trend holds steady for this year, as well. Whether shopping for a gift to mark the Winter Solstice, Hanukah, Christmas, or Kwanza, the suggestions here offer numerous ways to add pleasure to any desired shooting sport. December makes us all into dreamers. Dreaming is as much a part of the season as evergreens and softly falling snow. Shoot-

ers may dream of that custom-built European shotgun, or opening some festive package to find a gift certificate for a trip to southern Africa in pursuit of plains game. Most of us will place under someone’s Christmas tree, or find under our own tree, something more practical and reachable. Whether for giving or receiving, opportunities abound to make a shooter very happy and content, even if the moose tag failed to come through again this year. And not everything need equal the cost of a year’s

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rent, or require filing federal documents in order to complete the sale. Think Small Not everyone needs to gift their loved ones with a new gun safe. Bulky, weighty, and expensive, a gun safe is an impractical gift for placing under the tree. We want to think a bit smaller this holiday season – more in the grab-and-go category. Ammunition always pleases a shooter, as long as it matches the firearm. A little knowledge when shopping ensures smiles all around when the package is opened: a box or a case of target loads for the sporting clays shooter on the list; a box or a case of non-toxic shotshells to please the coastal waterfowler. Follow a similar line for rifle and pistol shooters. Prices and availability have moderated for most types of ammunition from the state of the market a year or two ago. It’s an always appreciated gift. A boxed cleaning kit makes a great gift for wingshooters. The nicest ones include a selection of bore brushes and swabs, with a segmented wooden cleaning rod with brass fittings. Also consider a gift of snap caps for dry firing. Every shooter could use a bore (Continued on next page)

������������������������������������������� The Maine Sportsman • December 2022 • 39 (Continued from page 38)

light. These inexpensive little battery-operated flashlights can be carried in a pocket like a large pen, and they facilitate inspection of a firearm’s bore for serviceability and cleanliness. Like a compass in the Maine woods, these are musthave items for anyone who shoots. Any pistol shooter would love and use a good quality case for storing and transporting handguns. Retailers such as Gokey, Hunter, and Cabela’s, among others, offer these snug, secure cases. Some are leather with fleece linings. Others are nylon over foam. All do the job of protecting the pistol from hard knocks, scratches, and dings. Some offer water resistance, and some offer water proofing. Pistol cases provide an opportunity to

please a pistol owner. without investing a great deal of money. Holiday Cheer Rounding out this consideration of holiday shopping are a few items that will please a shooter all year long without putting a strain on anyone’s wallet. Targets leap to mind first. Shooters never have enough targets, and they enjoy a variety of different scales for different shooting distances. Some like targets that portray actual game. Some prefer targets with gradations, aiding sight adjustments. Stick-on target material allows a shooter to paste over bullet holes and get more use out of a single target. Shooters always need bore cleaning materials, cleaning cloths, swabbing material, lubricants, and associated brushes. Packages of pre-oiled

Thoughtful holiday gifts for shooters do not have to be large or expensive. Allard photo

wipes make an ideal small gift, guaranteed to be used. Anything in the maintenance category is a surefire hit. Finally, everyone who works on their own firearms needs hollow-ground screwdrivers – “turn screws,” as the Brit-

ish would say. Costly sometimes, but not necessarily, these are essential tools for any shooter. Every shooter on the shopping list ought to have a set to employ whenever a firearm needs assembly or disassembly. So, happy holidays and Merry Christmas

from “The Shooter’s Bench.” Here’s hoping you are able to enjoy the company of family and friends around a warm hearth, and that there is good shooting ahead in the New Year.

MAINE WILDLIFE QUIZ: Fishers by Steve Vose

The fisher (pekania pennanti) is a member of the mustelid family. While frequently called Fisher Cat, the fisher is not in any way related to the feline species. Instead, the fisher shares many common traits with other mustelids, such as weasels, martens and otters. The fisher’s native range includes Canada and the northern United States, where it thrives in these regions’ boreal forests. A crepuscular creature, the fisher prefers to hunt during dusk and dawn. Despite its name, the fisher rarely eats fish; instead, it spends a majority of its time stalking small mammals, including squirrels, rabbits and even porcupine. The fisher is one of the few animals able to effectively dispatch and consume porcupines without becoming

Questions 1. What other animals are member of the mustelid family? 2. What is the native range of the fisher? 3. When does the fisher prefer to hunt? 4. What well-protected creature is the

injured. Male and female fisher share similar features. Both possess long, thin, bodies and a sleek black coloration, similar to an oversized mink. However, fishers however are much larger than mink, with males averaging around 10 pounds, and females averaging 5 fisher able to consume without becoming seriously injured? 5. What are the average weights of a male and female fishers? 6. How much did the heaviest recorded fisher weigh?

pounds. The largest fisher ever recorded weighed 20 pounds. Retractable claws give the fisher the ability to maneuver well in trees. In fact, they can even climb down trees head-first, a trait shared by very few mammalian species. The fisher mating cycle starts with both males and females actively finding mates during March and April. After mating is complete, the pregnancy is delayed for 10 months until the following February. Female fishers then give birth to a litter of three or four kits in the early spring. The female nurses and cares for the kits until late summer, and when they are five months old, the kits set out on their own to establish new ranges. 7. When does the fisher mating cycle start? 8. How many fishers are birthed in a litter?

Answers on Page 48

40 • December 2022 • The Maine Sportsman ————————————————————————————————————————————

Losing a Good Dog My Brittany, Argos, was diagnosed with aggressive lymphoma in June. I’d hoped we would have one more October in the woods together, but he died in August at 8.5 years old. I spent the last two months of his life focused on doing the things he loved, which I really did all his life. I chose my hobbies based on things we could do together – instead of skiing or golfing, I shed-hunted and hiked. Some people dream of hiking the AT, being valedictorian, or becoming a Maine Guide. My life’s dream was to own a good dog. My dad is allergic, so we never had a dog growing up. Of all the things I’ve done in my life, I am most proud of being Argos’ mom. I feel like part of my identity is now gone. I made a list of things that helped me say goodbye to Argos. I

It’s never easy. Here are the author’s first-hand suggestions on easing the pain of the passing of your best canine friend.

The author and her pup, a week before he died. Carlene Holmes photo

hope it helps you, too. Start Early When your dog is a puppy: • Get pet health insurance. Now is the time – it’s dirt cheap, and your pup doesn’t have any preexist-

Privately stocked game farms allow “hunting” year round. Christi Holmes photo

ing conditions. I used Pets Best. When Argos was 8 years old, my monthly premium was still only $22. After paying the initial $1,000 deductible, his insurance kicked in and paid for his cancer

treatments. I was reimbursed quickly and had the peace of mind to be able to focus on getting him the best care, without worrying about cost. • Familiarize yourself with your puppy’s

The author recommends having professional photos taken. Cait Bourgault photo

eyes, ears, paws, teeth, so you can watch for any changes. Middle Age When your dog is middle-aged: • Savor simple moments with your pup. • Record a few short videos of your dog doing what he or she loves. • If you did not do it earlier, get pet health insurance. It’s not too late; there are no age limits on enrollment. Preparing for the End When your dog is elderly or sick: • Have professional photos taken. • Take your dog hunting, swimming or for a hike – whatever is your dog’s favorite activity. I took Argos to Setter’s Point in Albany Township twice after his diagnosis. I bought chukars that the owner put out, and Argos and I “hunted” them together. • Think about his fi-

The author had a ring made containing Argos’ fur. Christi Holmes photo

������������������������������������������� The Maine Sportsman • December 2022 • 41

Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument Celebrates Six Years! It takes a lot for this introvert to go to a party. Dancing ... forget it. Free beer ... don’t drink. Good food ... shouldn’t eat anything with salt. Social skills ... nonexistent. I’m a loner who avoids crowds and prefers a solo walk on a dusty dirt road. When editor Will Lund encouraged me to attend the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument six-year anniversary celebration, I cautiously bought a ticket. The gathering was to be hosted by NEOC (New England Outdoor Center) on the shores of Millinocket Lake, and I figured it wouldn’t hurt to touch base with a few old friends and catch up on the park’s progress. Batting way out of my league, I arrived early and started mingling with some of the volunteers. Before the night was over, we heard from the heavy hitters, but the troops on the ground really deserve a round of applause. Little Sister? I consider KWWNM like Baxter State Park’s little sister, since they share a border and a common theme of preserving and sharing the great outdoors. A few hours of celebrating all the progress dating back to when in 2016 President Barack Obama proclaimed 87,500 acres a National Mon-

They also have a well-stocked store for wayward travelers who forgot to pack their cooler. They make a real good breakfast, too! Okay, time to move on. After crossing the river, take the next left that leads to the North Entrance Gate. Then proceed to the parking area and trailhead with access to great cross country ski trails. A printable map from the website provides detailed direction and mileage. Patrons using snowshoes need to walk along the sides of the groomed trails. I’m not coordinated enough to use cross country skis, so plodding along the sidelines with snowshoes works for me.

The author is a skilled woodworker. Katahdin Woods and Waters needed some wooden signs. The author had a proposed design for the signs, and even a cute nickname for the trout on the sign. What could possibly go wrong? — This “Heritage Fish Waters” sign was designed and built by the author for the Native Fish Coalition and Baxter State Park. The author planned to build and donate one sign for each of the 41 Heritage Waters in the park. He good-naturedly named the trout “Bob” after NFC Executive Director and good friend Bob Mallard. Unfortunately, the powers that be rejected “Bob.” Currently there are no signs identifying those 41 waters as “Heritage Waters.” Bill Sheldon photo —

ument made me realize how much little sister has grown up. The test of time has shown that preserving land for public use radiates well with the outdoor crowd. Enjoying this public treasure starts with a simple click of the mouse on the monument’s helpful website. The website has printable maps for those looking to get acquainted with the area. The northern end of the park particularly interests me. An extensive cross country ski trail system mixed with a healthy dose of the Penobscot River makes for great exploring. Before arriving at

the North Entrance Gate, travelers must cross the Upper East Branch of the Penobscot River, by way of the Grand Lake Road. As a sidebar, I have important information concerning that particular location. Right at the intersection of the Grand Lake Road and the Penobscot sits the Matagamon Wilderness Camps and Store. This is a privately run operation that I would never pass by. Homemade Donuts My reason for the stop – donuts. Homemade donuts. Perhaps it’s my good timing, but every time I stop by, piping hot donuts magically slide out

of their kitchen. Absolutely delicious donuts, and in the middle of nowhere!

Nice Try I must admit I’m a (Continued on next page)

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42 • December 2022 • The Maine Sportsman ————————————————————————————————————————————

Trophy Gallery

Katahdin (Continued from page 41)

bit jealous of skiers as they effortlessly glide by me. A few years ago, I even took one of those Outdoor Discovery classes sponsored by L.L.Bean. Great class that taught me a lot about this winter sport. Still couldn’t keep from looking up at the sky. Hard to ski with my back to the ground. I’m sure the instructors are sitting around a fire somewhere sharing a beer and retelling tales of my cross-country skiing exploits. The printable map also clearly details areas where hunting is allowed. This bodes well for those chasing snowshoe hares, or looking for one final partridge for the crock pot.

No One Appreciates Fine Art A laughable tidbit. A few years ago, the Native Fish Coalition wanted to put their trademark porcelain signs on the Heritage Waters in Baxter State Park. The powers that be thought they were too modern for the park. So, ol’ Bill fired up his CNC (computerized numerical control router), and made a test sign using wood painted and engraved to match the current BSP signage. A simple sign with the Heritage Waters lettering, a BSP logo, and an image of a trout. I was excited, and looked to donate as many signs as were needed. I named the trout

Maine Sportswoman (Continued from page 40)

nal day. Decide whether you want your pup cremated, buried in a public pet cemetery, or buried in your backyard. The more decisions you make ahead of time, the less you will be faced with on that final day, allowing you to simply be present and grieve. Big Truck, and Callie Gets Her Bear Patch A Maine nonprofit organization called “Moose Maine Kids” provides hunting opportunities and adventures for young hunters. Eleven-year old Callie Robinson had an exciting day on August 27, 2022, Youth Bear Day, starting in Springfield with a ride in the organization’s “Moose Maine-iah” monster truck (top photo) with, from left, Paetyn Rich, Jordan Greco, Dylan Angel, Cullen Matthews, Lenix Fallos, Callie Robinson and Liadian Coston. Maine Game Warden Lynch is in the back row. Later that day, Callie earned her Maine Sportsman black bear club patch by taking a large black bear in Amity, Maine (bottom photo) using her Spikes Tactical AR chambered in 350 Legend. Callie was accompanied on the hunt by her father and biggest supporter, Travis.

Handling the Last Day The final day: • Don’t wait. Dogs are great at hiding pain; you owe it to your best friend to not let him suffer. Do not wait until your pup is so sick that he’s not himself. • Go out for ice cream, or cook your dog a steak. • Bring a toy and treats to the vet’s office with you. Say your dog’s favorite word and give him chocolate as the vet administers the drug. Remembering Your Pet Afterwards Here are some ways you can memorialize your dog: • Ink paw print

on the sign “Bob” as some good-natured ribbing towards Native Fish Coalition Executive Director and good friend Bob Mallard. However, those same powers thought my sign still not rustic enough. Strike one. When I was listening to dignitaries speak at the KWWNM celebration, they talked of coming up with a plan for signage. I immediately forwarded a photo of “Bob” the trout to the acting director. I guess I misunderstood. They are planning for signs, and the National Parks Service makes the signs. Strike two. I guess no one wants my help. I have included a photo of “Bob” the trout with this column. Readers – what do you think?

• Paw print or photo Christmas ornament • Jewelry with some of your pet’s fur in it • Jewelry or keychain with your pet’s ashes • Coffee mug with your pet’s photo • Make a donation in your pet’s memory to a local rescue facility, or to a dog food pantry organization. • Jot down your dog’s quirks, memorable stories, or other recollections you can read a decade from now. • Dog-sit for your friends; it’s a good baby step to a quiet house, if you don’t have another dog. ***** I named Argos after Odysseus’ faithful hunting dog in Greek mythology. As Homer writes in the Odyssey, when Odysseus returned from his voyage, “Argos passed into the darkness of death, now that he had fulfilled his destiny of faith and seen his master once more after twenty years.” I think my Argos fulfilled his destiny, and is hunting in heaven.

������������������������������������������� The Maine Sportsman • December 2022 • 43

Welcome Winter with Changing Tactics While hunting earlier this season I got to chat with some bird hunters from Ohio. They had made the long drive to Paul Beauregard’s camp in the North Maine Woods. I was there for two simple reasons. First, to assist a friend of mine with filling his moose tag. My second objective involved bringing along my Brittany, Baxter, to fill out the week hunting birds in the event the tag was filled early. I’ll describe the details of the moose hunt in a future article. It’s the observations of bird hunters from away that caught my immediate attention. They came equipped with two beautiful Hungarian Pointers, as well as a wealth of experience chasing birds across the country. Natural-

In terms of grouse and woodcock covers, the experienced hunters from Ohio thought they’d seen it all. Then they encountered the North Maine Woods, which offer three grades of cover: 1) thick; 2) tight; and 3) impossible. ly, all dog owners tend to chat, and we traded notes around Beauregard’s outdoor campfire. They mentioned the thick cover here in Maine as unlike any they have experienced. Called it their most difficult bird hunting to date. Of course, I dutifully listened. It’s hard for Maine bird hunters to understand just how difficult/thick our covers are because that’s what we have gotten use to. It’s part of the program. My ears also perked up when they told of the wide-open terrain of fabled bird

hunting states like the Dakotas. Not having hunted out West, I could only imagine having a dog on point at distances measured in yards rather than feet. Tight Covers Rule Maine covers, at least the ones I hunt, tend to rate as thick, tight or impossible. Make no mistake, woodcock and grouse thrive in tight covers. Many times my dog points woodcock after woodcock, but getting a shot off seems next to impossible. During this week, we found both grouse and woodcock up to their old tricks. They

stayed tight to conifer plantings, especially where ground water made walking with waterproof boots mandatory. In the end, one Ohio hunter told me he had to “unlearn” everything he previously did hunting out West, and adapt to these new surroundings. I encouraged him to keep his dog close and his chokes open. I’m sure out West I’d need to let my dogs run out farther and use a full choke. These gentlemen exhibited a lot of class admitting that they needed to change tactics in the North Maine Woods.

Late Season Tweaks Speaking of changing tactics, the 12th month also requires a few tweaks to our small game hunting plans here in Maine. By now the early signs of winter – snow, and naked trees – change the game on a few fronts. Grouse hunting, open until the end of this month, and snowshoe hare hunting, open until March 31 of 2023, grab the lion’s share of attention now. Those thick covers that took the Ohio gang by surprise start to open up a bit. Early December snowstorms brighten the woods dramatically. The leaves buried under that fresh carpet of snow no longer limit vision, and the window of opportunity (Continued on next page)

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Jackman Region (Continued from page 43)

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ble of making a few changes from one season to another here in his home woods. December’s colder weather will also encourage birds to sun themselves, taking advantage of mid-day warming rays. It pays to check out south-facing slopes that let the heat through. Using a dog gets more difficult once the snowpack gets excessively deep. This means I usually end up slowly walking woods roads, skidder paths and snowmobile trails, carefully scanning those sun-splashed honey holes. One point of cau-

It pays to look up! December grouse often take advantage of the sun, roosting on sunny slopes to warm up their plumage. Accumulating snow requires bird hunters to change tactics. Upland game hunters have until the end of this month to harvest some sweet-tasting grouse. Shutterstock Photo

tion bears repeating – trails used by logging trucks, snowmobiles and other motorized vehicles need to be treated with respect. When I see or hear mo-

torized traffic getting closer, I simply step off the trail and wait until they pass. (Jackman Region continued on page 46)


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������������������������������������������� The Maine Sportsman • December 2022 • 45

December is When the Guides Go Hunting Common wisdom contends that by December, birds are few, scattered, and spooky. Well, says the author, that just isn’t so. Those who work in the outdoor industry spend the best hunting and fishing times taking others afield. But guides like to hunt too, and December stands as the month for them to get out and enjoy the outdoors for themselves. While I no longer guide clients, I can remember when December was a much-anticipated month. My winter’s firewood was in, there were no more clients, and the woods and meadows were wide-open to me and my bird dog, Ben. Using a brown-colored dog in November had its risks; namely, someone could have mistaken Ben for a deer. And Ben didn’t take to wearing orange vests. Besides that, I liked to hunt deer mornings and evenings and so Ben was consigned to the house, where he would whine and howl as I grabbed my rifle and went off into the woods without him. But come December, Ben got a reprieve. Sure, the muzzle-loading season was open early in the month, but there were few muzzle-loading hunters, and I reasoned that anyone who hunted deer with a primitive one-shot

weapon would be careful to pick and choose their targets. Ben was plenty safe. And we two had a lovely time together, trudging through early snows and pushing partridge out from thick covers of fir and spruce. It was cold, but it was immensely rewarding. Training Time Guides must make time to train their dogs, beginning in late summer and lasting until the season opens on upland game. After the season ends, guides use December not only for their own enjoyment, but also to get young dogs used to the routine. While December was once a snowy, often very cold month (and it could be again), conditions in the Moosehead Region are now more forgiving. Deep snows usually come later, and the bitter cold often waits until January to set in in earnest. My friend Eric Hol-

brook hunts in December and has a high success rate. Eric usually sends me photos of his December hunts, and it’s easy to see that he and his bird dogs are at the top of their games. And just to think, common wisdom contends that by December, birds are few and scattered, and besides that, they are so spooky from being pushed all fall that they either won’t hold or will flush wildly and out of range. Well, that just isn’t so. Anyone who wants to share in the fun will find the covers wideopen, with the exception of a guide here and there. So if you have the inclination to try something new, by all means give December bird hunting a go in the Moosehead Region.

Ella-Bean, Eric Holbrook’s bird dog, shows that grouse hunting in December pays off. Eric Holbrook photo

(Moosehead Lake has special regulations on salmon, where the season doesn’t begin until February 15), a few stocked waters open in December. These ponds are stocked with brook trout. Here is an example of what to expect from two of the most popular early season ponds. Last fall, the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries

& Wildlife (DIF&W) stocked 1,100 13-inch brook trout in Prong Pond. Prong Pond lies in Beaver Cove, just off the Lily Bay Road. Mountain View Pond, on the west side of Moosehead Lake in Big Moose Township, received 1,400 13-inch brook trout stocked especially for the ice-fishing season. Note that the 13-inch (Continued on next page)

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Moosehead Region (Continued from page 45)

figure represents an average length. Some individuals will run a bit shorter, while others can be considerably longer. Both these ponds are small enough that locating fish shouldn’t be difficult. For starters, though, remember that in the beginning of the season, stocked trout often stay fairly close to where they were released. As the season lengthens, fish will disperse more widely, except that some will continue to haunt the place of introduction. As per quality,

these stocked brook trout can rival their wild counterparts in color. Taste-wise, their flesh shows a bright orange, with a mild, sweet taste. These fish are well worth pursuing, and a pair of 12- to 14-inch beauties makes a fine reward for a day well spent outdoors in the Moosehead Region. To locate Prong Pond in the DeLorme Atlas, look on Map 41, C-3, and to see Mountain View Pond, visit Map 41, C-1. Early Motorsports By December, expect the ground to

have frozen down to the point where ATV wheels cannot create ruts. Greenville Junction offers a trailhead as well as a parking area for vehicles with trailers. From here, the sky is the limit. Snowmobilers may or may not see favorable conditions, depending upon the amount of snow cover. Check the weather before traveling, just to make sure. If the weather cooperates, you will find the area extremely snowmobile-friendly. The Moosehead Region has something for everybody in December. Come and see.

Jackman Region (Continued from page 44)

Look Up! Another casual winter hunting observation has also tweaked my cold weather bird hunting. Look up! Grouse like those sunny branches where the sun peaks through and warms up their plumage. Roosting birds often get overlooked. And, of course, snowshoe hare tracks really show up, especially in fresh snow. Fresh snow is the key. A few rabbits can make a lot of tracks overnight, so prints in older snow can be confusing. Tracks in new snow paint a better picture of the local rabbit population. December makes for the perfect month to wander the minimum maintenance roads that penetrate the remote region that borders Canada. The DeLorme map book details the backwoods “highways” that lead to many more abandoned skidded paths and logging trails made for the grouse and rabbit population.

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������������������������������������������� The Maine Sportsman • December 2022 • 47

Off Road Winter Camping Tricks and Techniques The author asserts that winter camping can be just as comfortable as summer camping – if, that is, you bring and maintain the right gear, and take steps to keep yourself warm, dry and fed. Many readers will look at the title of this column and exclaim, “Why in the world would anyone want to go camping in the winter?” Yes, winter weather can be brutal, but when properly prepared and equipped, a cold-weather camper can enjoy a winter outing as comfortably as someone spending their time at a campsite during hot and hu-

mid summer months. Let’s say an ice angler wants to hit the hardwater at sunrise, or a blackpowder deer hunter wants to get right on a track at daylight – camping in the area they’ll be fishing, or hunting gives them the extra edge. Those who choose to spend the night at home, and then drive for several hours to get to their hunting or fishing

destinations, miss out on the opportunity to wake up in the midst of their chosen territory. They also miss the adventure that comes with camping in the solitude of a glorious wilderness. A little extra preparation and shift of attitude makes a huge difference, and the simple winter camping hacks presented here can get

The author spent many winter camping trips in this tipi. During the upcoming cold months, he plans to try sleeping inside the cap over the bed of his pickup truck. William Clunie photo

you started on the path to real outdoor adventure. I’m sure many will say, “I can still hunt or fish with-

out having to camp out.” What I’m saying is that there is something special about (Continued on next page)

48 • December 2022 • The Maine Sportsman ————————————————————————————————————————————

Off-Road Traveler (Continued from page 47)

rising before sunrise, sipping a coffee from a cup with floating pine needles, finding a little “grit” in the scrambled eggs, or the multitude of character-building things that come with

roughing it. Staying Warm The number one issue a winter camper must deal with is quite obvious – staying warm. Most of my winter camping has been

Trophy Gallery

A Smasher! Addyson “Addy” Herrick of Abbott, Maine shot this 10-pt., 222-lb. buck on October 31 in her hometown. She used the Remington pump .308 that belonged to her late father, and shared the hunt with her Great Uncle Arvo Korsman. Photo by Avery Herrick

done in a tent, but since I recently purchased a cap that covers the bed of my truck, I’ll be looking at sleeping in the bed of my truck (I’ve done plenty of this in the past). No matter where a winter camper chooses to spend the night, good gear has a lot to do with the level of comfort afforded. To properly hunt or fish effectively, a good night’s sleep is crucial – so get the best gear you can afford. A top-quality sleeping bag really does make the difference, but just as important is the pad beneath the sleeping hunter/angler. Winter campers must have a closed-cell foam pad under their sleeping bag, or they will certainly suffer a poor night’s rest. Even if a camper likes sleeping on an air pad, be sure to slide a closed-cell foam pad beneath the air mattress. Unlike other materials, closed-cell foam doesn’t allow the transfer of cold from the ground (or truck bed) to the sleeping camper. I also stuff those chemical heat packets in the feet of the sleeping bag to keep my toes toasty warm, even when outside temperatures dip below zero.

While wearing your camp boots, use Peet’s Portable Boot Dryers ( to dry your other boots out before heading to bed and for warming them up before hunting/fishing in the morning. The portable boot dryers plug into a cigarette lighter on the truck. Another boot-drying trick is to place your footwear upside down on sticks near the heat of a campfire. Bottom line? Sticking your foot into a frosty and frozen pair of boots isn’t a good way to start the day. Dry boots are a necessity during cold weather adventures. Important Details Properly ventilating the shelter (or tent, or camper shell) helps a winter camper avoid condensation, Nothing ruins a winter outing more than waking to the extreme discomfort of a wet sleeping bag, and then having to slide into wet and frosty clothing. I keep the doors and windows on my tents slightly opened to allow the moisture out of the sleeping area – the same goes for sleeping in an unheated camper, tent, or a camper shell

in the back of the truck. One of the first things a winter camper should do when initially setting up a campsite is to create a way to hang up wet clothes for drying around the campfire. Better yet, place the campfire near a spot that offers a place to hang your wet clothing. At the end of a day of hunting or ice fishing, your snowy and wet clothes will need to dry overnight, or they will freeze solid by daybreak. The right food also helps to keep you warm during extremely cold weather, so consider meals like chili, hearty soups, hot chocolate, tea and coffee. A simple sandwich doesn’t cut it when the temps drop below freezing. Another thing folks often forget is to stay hydrated, even when you don’t feel thirsty. Cold weather dries you out and you need to replenish your body by drinking enough water throughout the day. Above all, take some time to just sit and enjoy the quiet solitude – an adventure anyone can enjoy when they learn how to stay warm and comfortable.

Wildlife Quiz Answers: Fishers (Quiz on Page 38)

Kaitlyn’s Opening Day Buck Kaitlyn Schanz of New Vineyard tagged out at 9 a.m. on Opening Day 2022 with this handsome 8-pt., 167-lb. buck, using her Savage .308. The big deer was registered at Jack’s Trading Post, Farmington. Congratulations!

1. Other animals that are members of the mustelid family include weasels, martens and otters. 2. The fisher’s native range includes Canada and the northern United States. 3. Crepuscular creatures, the fisher prefers to hunt during dusk and dawn. 4. The fisher is one of very few animals that are able to effective dispatch and consume porcupines without becoming injured. 5. The average male fisher weighs approximately 10 pounds, and female fishers average approximately 5 pounds. 6. The largest fisher ever recorded weighed 20 pounds. 7. The fisher mating cycle starts with both males and females actively finding mates during March and April. 8. Female fishers give birth to a litter of three or four kits in the early spring.

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— Guest Column —

Hunting Season Gets Warmer, as First Frost Dates Move Later in the Year by Eden Mayer and Lloyd C. Irland

Hunting has long been an important tradition for those who embrace life in Maine, a state known for its brutal winters. However, as many long-time residents know, our winter temperatures are beginning to shift, becoming less predictable and – well – less brutal. Looking at average temperatures from 1895 through 1914 and 2002 through 2021 for the month of November in Northern, Central, and Coastal parts of Maine reveals there has been an increase in temperature by at least 3 degrees. As temperatures increase and extend longer into the year, the start of winter is postponed. Since 2000, Maine has seen an increase in abnormally-warm days that persist into fall. Comparing the years 2001 through 2021 to the cooler temperatures recorded from 1901 to 2000, the maximum, minimum, and average temperatures across Maine have become warmer. When Does Mean Daily Temp Drop Below 32°? Sean Birkel, the State Climatologist for Maine, who also serves as assistant research professor at the University of Maine, suggests that the start

November temperatures have increased about 4 degrees in Central Maine between 1900 and today. Source: NOAA Weather-at-a-Glance

of winter is not easily measured. “Because of sometimes significant variability, there may not be an easy way to define a precise start of winter for a particular year at a given location,” he explained. “An early cold wave could bring what appears to be winter onset with snow and ice forming on lakes, but those gains can be lost if followed by a warm wave. But that is for a

specific year. In terms of a climatological mean, a helpful metric to use is the day of [the] year when the mean daily temperature drops below freezing.” It isn’t only warmer temperatures that are affecting Maine’s November weather. Novembers can be rainy—the long-term average is almost 4 inches. But there has not been a major deluge since November of

1983, when 9.4 inches fell on Maine’s soggy ground. The average, though, was up half an inch over the century. Snowfall Less Predictable; More Volatile For snowfall and frost, we only have data since about the 1970s. Predicting snow itself has become more difficult in recent years, its volatility making it difficult to plan successful trips or rely on familiar

hunting grounds. Looking at the first accumulated inch of snow for Portland, Harmony, and Jackman, all three towns experienced more variable dates, fluctuating between early October and early November, but little trend on average. Date of first frost has shifted slightly later in the Portland area, but, mysteriously, has been coming earlier in Caribou since the 1970s. Scientists are predicting that these climate shifts will continue, and variability will increase. Future hunters will be bringing raingear more often, and will more frequently see early snow vanish. For hunters coming to Maine from out of state, such varying conditions year after year can make it difficult to make longrange plans, potentially having a negative impact on Maine’s sporting camps and lodges. Eden Mayer is a sophomore at Colby College, and this article is based on her internship research. Lloyd Irland is a semiretired forestry consultant in Wayne, Maine.

¶ In the Portland area, the date of the first frost has, on average, come later and later in the year. Source: National Weather Service, Gray, Maine

50 • December 2022 • The Maine Sportsman ————————————————————————————————————————————

’Tis the Time for Giving Thanks and Giving Gifts One of life’s greatest blessings is all around us: the wonder and beauty of nature. The year-end holiday season is a good time to give thanks and show our appreciation to those who work hard to protect our land and waters and the amazing diversity of fish and wildlife that bring us so much joy and fulfillment. Giving Thanks First, let’s consider a few things to be grateful for: 1) Our Public Lands – In the US, approximately 40 percent of all land is publicly owned and managed by our local, state or federal government. In Maine, less than 7 percent is publicly owned, mostly stateowned land. In New Hampshire, about 18 percent is publicly owned, primarily as National Forest. We all benefit from the shared beauty and bounty of these millions of acres in the public domain. They belong to all of us, whether we can get there this month or maybe someday in the future. From Acadia National Park to the White Mountain National Forest to Baxter State Park to Katahdin Woods & Waters. From numerous other state parks and lands that provide public access and recreation. From boat launches to town forests and local

The State of Maine wouldn’t be what it is without many resources and advocates for our environment. Here, the author lists several groups and organizations that deserve our appreciation, our thanks, and even our (tax deductible) contributions.

Now is the time, says the author, to give thanks for public lands like Baxter Park and to support environmental organizations that advocated for protecting the West Branch of the Penobscot. David Van Wie photos

parks with paths down to a favorite fishing hole. 2) Private Lands – It’s time once again to thank the private landowners who allow us to use their land to hunt, fish, hike, ride, ski and camp. According to Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, private landowners in Maine voluntarily allow the public to use more than 10 million acres of farms and forests. Many hunters share venison or turkey with the local landowner who generously

lets them put a tree stand on the back forty. But a simple thank you card can go a long way in showing appreciation to those who let us tromp through an ancient apple orchard, hike to a remote peak, or cut through a field to get to a favorite pool in a stream. 3) Trail Networks and Rights of Way – Thousands of miles of trails across Maine and New Hampshire are maintained by snowmobile and ATV clubs, municipalities, the Appalachian Mountain Club, private landowners and the federal and

state agencies. Many trails interconnect in a network allowing snowmobilers, ATVs and skiers to travel long distances across rugged backcountry terrain, or simply across town. These trails provide hours of enjoyment to thousands of people yearround. Gifts Go a Long Way Instead of giving someone the latest gadgets or outdoor fashions this holiday season, consider making a year-end (and tax deductible) gift in their honor to an or-

ganization that helps make their favorite outdoor activities possible. Here are a few worthy organizations that rely on our financial support, in no particular order: 1) Trout Unlimited – TU has restored rivers, streams and lakes for over 60 years, with a focus on wild and native trout. In 2016, TU Maine worked with the Trust for Public Land and the Land for Maine Futures Fund to purchase and protect the 8,000-acre Cold Stream parcel of land in the Kennebec drainage that includes essential wild brook trout habitat. TU has also played a major role in improving fish passage and river flows during hydropower relicensing negotiations over the last 30 years. 2) Land Trusts – Whether local, statewide or national in scope, land trusts are important players in protecting treasured resources and inspiring scenic vistas. They deserve our generous support. Land trusts provide public access to lakes, rivers and shores, while conserving critical habitat and providing trails for family outdoor recreation. 3) Ruffed Grouse and American Woodcock Society – RGS/AWS works to protect and (Sporting Environment continued on page 52)

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Maine’s Winter Months Offer the Best Trekking If you told most Maine hikers about a place they could ramble around with no crowds, no bugs, stunning scenery and smooth trails, they would all instantly agree to go. But if you mention that it all happens in the winter months, the enthusiasm wanes very quickly. So, let’s make the argument for self-propelled winter trekking. Why would anyone leave the immediate vicinity of a hot woodstove for the uncertain wind and weather of a Maine winter? Solitude is Worth Almost Any Trade-Off Maine outdoors-folk are blessed with the most remote outdoor playgrounds east of the Mississippi River. Wilderness areas like Baxter State Park are exceedingly rare in this part of the country. But a summer visit might convince a hiker that all that wilderness is being loved to death. Even though the Park’s camping capacity is controlled by the reservation system, it sometimes feels like there are other people everywhere you turn. This is particularly true in the southern part of the park near Katahdin. A summer hike to Chimney Pond Campground is, at least in part, a social event. A winter trek to

If you possess the right attitude and equip yourself with the right gear, winter trekking allows you to discover a different, less-crowded side to many of Maine’s most spectacular wilderness areas.

Well-packed trails can be hiked without the use of snowshoes. All photos: Jim Andrews

the same location is like visiting a different place. It’s a 12.5-mile snowshoe trek or ski from winter parking on the Golden Road to Roaring Brook Campground. It’s then another 3 miles to Chimney Pond. The trails are not groomed. These sobering facts tend to discourage casual visitors who might consider a summer visit where most of this distance can be driven. In short, winter brings the wilderness back to Baxter State Park. Winter trekkers are unlikely to be alone near Katahdin, but they will not be crowded. BSP has a fantastic website for planning winter trips – go to www.baxterstatepark.

org/winter-basics. Winter Options Without Suffering Less-remote options abound for winter enthusiasts. Maine Huts and Trails offers 40 miles of groomed trails that stretch from the foot of Sugarloaf Mountain in Carrabassett Valley to the eastern end of Flagstaff Lake. With comfortable lodges spaced an easy skiday apart, trekkers can enjoy thousands of acres of Maine winter woods with a hot meal and warm bunk at the end of each day. The MH&T organization is planning full-service options – at least on weekends – during the 2022-2023 season. Check out www. The Appalachian Mountain Club also offers lodge-to-lodge ski and snowshoe adventures on their huge tract of land east of Moosehead Lake. Groomed trails lead to overnight lodging and full meal service at ecolodges near the Appalachian Trail, Gulf Hagas and the Gorman Chairback Range. Gear shuttles are available to lighten the load of your daily pack. Check out destinations/maine. Gear Makes the Winter Trip In case you need another reason to get out this winter, think of all the great gear you can buy to make

winter trips more enjoyable. New skis or snowshoes, or maybe a new fat-tire bike under the Christmas tree, can be a big motivator to wander away from the woodstove. But even a simple pair of traction devices for our winter boots is enough to make us get outside more often. In extreme conditions, crampons and ice-axes are mandatory equipment – think ascending Katahdin’s peak – but most of the time, Maine hikers can get by with less-technical equipment. Groomed trails for fat bikes or Nordic skiing, or even a wellpacked snowshoe trail, are often firm enough that hiking with traction devices is efficient and easy-going. I’ve worn Kahtoola Microspikes (www.kahtoola. com) for more than ten winters now. L.L.Bean carries its own brand of strap-on traction-enhancers, based on their popular BOA attachment system; see Options for backcountry skis and snowshoes are too numerous to detail here, but a few simple guidelines are helpful. Unless you plan to stick to machine-groomed Nordic trails at ski areas or resorts, consider wider backcountry skis with edges designed to make turns and stopping easier. You’ll appreciate the (Continued on next page)

52 • December 2022 • The Maine Sportsman ————————————————————————————————————————————

Winter trekking in the mountains offers spectacular views.

The Maine Huts and Trails route between Sugarloaf and Flagstaff Lake is wide, level, and well-groomed for easy trekking.

Self-Propelled Sportsman (Continued from page 51)

extra stability and turning power on ungroomed services – even

more so if you are carrying a pack. I keep my pair of

wooden snowshoes on the barn wall for easy access, but I reach for modern, lightweight synthetic models for almost every trip. The traction is unsurpassed, the bindings

Various manufacturers offer tractionenhancing devices to provide a sure grip on packed snow and ice.

are more user-friendly, and the miles go more smoothly without the extra weight. Winter Trekking is Habit-Forming Be aware that self-propelled winter

travel is habit-forming. A day spent on a winter trail is never wasted. Don’t worry. The woodstove will still be there when we get home.

Sporting Environment (Continued from page 50)

manage habitat for these favorite gamebird species. The habitat provides home to many other species that require similar successional stages in our forested landscape. 4) The Nature Conservancy – TNC is a global organization with a Maine office that does so many things: acquiring and managing conservation easements; protecting habitat and biodiversity in our oceans; conducting scientific studies on climate change; and hiring summer interns to monitor bird populations or remove invasive species. Check out their fascinating blog called Cool Green Science. You can’t go wrong in supporting the work of TNC. 5) Natural Resources Council of Maine – NRCM has been a voice for Maine’s environment for over 60 years, not just in Augusta, but in communities in all of Maine’s 16 counties. We can thank NRCM for protecting the Allagash Wilderness Waterway and the West Branch of the Penobscot, among many other key accomplishments.

Fortunes Rock Beach is accessible by the public, and is especially popular with shorebirds and surfers.

6) Maine Audubon – Maine Audubon combines hands-on conservation with education and advocacy. While much of their work is avian-oriented, their mission also includes protecting critical habitats for numerous species of wildlife as well as rare plants.

All of these organizations – and many more – deserve our thanks and generous support. Maine wouldn’t be what it is without all of these amazing resources and advocates for our environment.

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Fins, Fur and Feathers Dominate Downeast Region From Bucksport and Milbridge to Addison and East Orland, the author reveals the Downeast Region’s hotspots for ice anglers, muzzleloader hunters, and those in search of rabbits and partridge. “Flag!” Finally, my long-awaited 2021 ice-fishing season had begun. After skating and gliding for 30 yards along the gleaming ice-covered surface, I reached my Heritage trap. Instantly, I noticed the cold water roiling, as the spinning reel released 10 feet or more of braided ice-fishing line. I carefully pulled the trap up onto the ice and grabbed the line. The line tightened suddenly. That’s when I realized that whatever had inhaled my 3-inch, emerald shiner was no small fish. The tug-of- war lasted approximately five minutes before I brought the 3-pound largemouth bass to the ice hole. I clipped the line close to the hook with my Leatherman, and released the trophy

back into the lake. Where, you might ask, can you have good fishing in December? Well, last year, I cut a few ice holes on nearby Silver Lake in Bucksport; see Delorme’s Atlas, Map 23, D-2. That day, I fished on solid ice in the cove by the town’s boat landing. More than a dozen of my ice-trap flags pointed skyward during the course of the day. I ended up catching a half dozen white perch, and one more largemouth bass, this one a 2-pounder.

This lake offers some of the best and early-winter fishing prospects in the area. White perch, bass and chain pickerel are the main bait-stealers on this lake, so bring plenty of bait, check the ice depth carefully, and enjoy some great December ice fishing. Silver Lake has been my go-to water for over five decades. It was here where my son Rick, my daughter Lisa, and many of their friends learned (Downeast Region continued on page 56)

In this month’s “Downeast” column, the author describes pulling good-size largemouth bass through the ice at Silver Lake, Bucksport. Ice fishing was also good in Central Maine last winter. Here, Cory Cronk of Gardiner displays a 5.53-lb, 21-1/2 inch largemouth caught through the ice and released January 23, 2022 on Pleasant Pond, on the Litchfield/Richmond line. Cory used a large shiner for bait, and the fish qualified him for The Maine Sportsman’s “Catch and Release” patch club.

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54 • December 2022 • The Maine Sportsman ————————————————————————————————————————————

Trout Fishing and Bird Hunting – Cold, but Possible When I was young, we usually saw safe ice on small ponds by the third week of December. Pickerel ponds, especially, got a lot of use. Even people who didn’t eat pickerel would hit the ice then, simply because any action was better than no action. Also, yellow perch bit like mad early in the season. And while no one today – or hardly anyone – targets yellow perch, they were fairly popular years ago because they bit so readily. Want to introduce a child to ice fishing? Visit a perch pond, and flags will fly. Always one to eat things that no one else will touch, I purposely visited small ponds and took my pickerel and perch home to eat. Yellow perch fillets have a sweet, savory taste and make for memorable fish fries. Pickerel have a distinct flavor that appeals to me. As for the numerous, hairlike bones, I just turn the lights down low and ignore them. These days, if any ice has formed by mid-December, it

“Yellow perch fillets have a sweet, savory taste and make for memorable fish fries. Pickerel have a distinct flavor that appeals to me. As for the numerous, hairlike bones, I just turn the lights down low and ignore them.”

Yellow perch readily bite on small panfish jigs. Tom Seymour photo

probably isn’t safe enough to walk on. In fact, we’re fortunate to

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have sufficient ice by January 1, the season opener on coldwater game fish. The last 10 or so years have seen a later onset of cold, winter weather, and consequently ice forms later in the season than in the past. In fact, I visited my local togue lake on January 1 last year and did not dare to go out on the ice because it was

so thin. And that was where there was ice, as in sheltered coves. The main body of the lake was ice-free. Tom’s Prediction As a “weather junkie,” I assiduously follow long-range and seasonal weather predictions from a variety of sources. Learning about our weather, and what influences it, intrigues me. At

any rate, from what I have seen, it appears as if Maine will have a warmer-than-normal winter, with a 50-50 chance of something like an average snowfall. This translates to a somewhat comfortable December, perfect for hitting some of those year-round trout streams and rivers that the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife stocks with 13-inch trout each fall. This doesn’t mean there won’t be ice along streamsides, because there will be. Fishing in winter is always a treacherous proposition, and slippery, icy streamside rocks and boulders call for extreme care when walking. Thankfully, none of our Midcoast stocked streams or small rivers are wide enough that they require wading. A dip in the hyper-chilled water now could easily lead to hypothermia and worse. Here’s something else to consider. Many of the year-round streams are managed under general law, meaning that bait is allowed. But in December, even on a relatively moderate day, wet fingers can quickly become chilled when dealing with cold, slippery bait. Better to use artificials, since they are a no-muss, no-fuss way of fishing. (Midcoast Report continued on page 56)

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New Saltwater Tackle for 2023 Each summer, the American Sportfishing Association holds its annual ICAST (International Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trades) trade show. I have attended many ICAST Shows around the country in the past, and all I can say is that it’s the world’s largest candy store for anglers. If you want to look at all the tackle displayed, you’ll spend two full days walking the aisles. Also each year, the fishing media votes on the Best New Products in a number of categories. So, without further ado, here are eight of the top saltwater-oriented products that won first place at this year’s show in Orlando. Reels

The Best Saltwater Reel award went to Penn’s new Authority line of spinning reels. They feature an IPX8 waterproof rating, CNC gear technology with a stainless steel gear train and pinion gear, a 12+1 bearing system, and the Dura-Drag generates maximum drag pressure. The reels are said to be available now, available in sizes from 2500 to 10500. A

Here’s a look at a few of the award-winning saltwater fishing-related products from the fishing tackle industry’s annual ICAST trade show. new Authority would make a dandy Christmas present for an ardent saltwater angler, but they don’t come cheap, running $499.95 to $599.95 (www.pennfishing. com). Rods The Best Saltwater Rod was won by Shakespeare’s new Ugly Stik Carbon Inshore line of rods. They feature a 24-ton graphite blank with a solid graphite tip, which creates a lightweight, balanced rod with crisp action and increased sensitivity. The rods are available in six spinning and three casting models, and feature one-piece stainless Ugly Tuff guides, cork foregrips, and a shrink-tube aft handle for durability. The rods cost $99.95 ( Rod/Reel Combos

The Best Saltwater Rod & Reel Combo award went to Shimano, which took its recently introduced Spheros reel and paired it with high quality graphite rods

to create the Spheros SW Combo line, designed to target specific saltwater game fish. The rods feature double blanks with EVA handles and Fuji aluminum oxide guides. The combos are available in four spinning models (7 and 9 feet) with reels from 5000 to 8000 sizes, and sell for $229.99 ( Lures

The winner of the Saltwater Hard Lure went to Livetarget for their new Live Shrimp. It features a swing-weight system that allows the lure to fall through the water column with a horizontal profile. The segmented abdomen and carapace are made from rugged ABS, and the swimming and walking legs flutter during the retrieve. The Live Shrimp should be gangbusters on striped bass, and they come in two sizes and eight colors. Cost is $14.99 (www.

Yellow, said to feature increased abrasion resistance that’s 25 percent tougher than other braids and that’s smooth-casting and easy to manage. It’s available from 8to 80-pound test, and comes in 140-. 300-, and 3,000-yard spools, with costs ranging from $13.99 to $319.99 (www.purefishing. com/spiderwire). Boots

The top award for Footwear went to AFTCO’s new An-

kle Deck Boots that feature a hex-grip, non-marking outsole and a neoprene liner that dries quickly. Combined with a compression-molded antimicrobial insole, the boots are said to provide cushion and support for all-day wear. Available in men’s sizes 7 to 13, they come in three colors (gray, naval, and green acid camo) and cost $99 to $109 ( Knives

The Best Cutlery award went to Bubba’s new Saltwater Multi-Flex Interchangeable Knifer Set that features a squeeze-and-slide mechanism, allowing the user to quickly switch between blades. (Continued on next page)

Lines The Best Fishing Line award went to SpiderWire’s DuraBraid in Hi-Vis

56 • December 2022 • The Maine Sportsman ————————————————————————————————————————————

Saltwater Fishing (Continued from page 55)

The Flex-Change locking system keeps the 9-inch serrated flex and 9-inch stiff blade safe and secure, and the kit comes with a

watertight hard-sided carry case. Price is $99.99 (www.bubba. com). Sunglasses The top Eyewear

Downeast Region (Continued from page 53)

to enjoy the thrills of ice fishing. More Ice Fishing Indian Lake is a favorite December ice-fishing water in Washington County; see Map, 26, B-5. This 120-acre lake has a maximum depth of 20 feet. The shoreline is quite developed with seasonal camps and year-round residences; however, access can be gained at the boat launch on the Route 1 end of the pond. Indian was stocked in the spring of 2022 with 600 10-inch brookies, and again this past fall with 200 13-inch trout and 6,000 8-inch fish for ice cutters to catch. Many trout from last fall’s stocking are iced by fisherman; however, significant numbers of even heftier holder-over trout also are caught. Winter anglers fishing small golden shiners, small smelts or worms fished in 4 to 5 feet of water usually have the best chance to catching winter brookies. Ice anglers who set up ice traps on the southern shoreline of the lake have the most success.

Midcoast Report (Continued from page 54)

Besides all that, artificials work as well in December as they do in May and June. Just make sure to fish your offerings deep and slow. Late “Pats” The hunting season on grouse lasts through December and once again, warmer-than-average temperatures make for comfortable days afield. This seems a bit incongruous to me, since now I hunt upland game in the same timeframe during which I once went ice fishing. On the other hand, I recall that it never seemed colder than in December. Back in the 1960s and 1970s, a walk in the woods was always a chilly

Award went to Bajio’s new extra-large Roca sunglasses frames, which offer complete

protection and coverage on the water, reducing glare and light intrusion without fogging due to vented side shields. Bluelight-blocking technology minimizes eye fatigue and strain. The frames are available

Black-Powder Hunting Muzzle-loading season in the Downeast Region starts November 28 and ends December 10, 2022. My hunting area includes prime deer habitat in Wildlife Management Districts (WMDs) 26 and 26a. The two-week season allows smoke-pole carriers the chance to hunt on snow-covered terrain. Colder weather makes deer move more during the day, and stimulates bucks in the area to search for does. WMD 26a encompasses acres of cut hayfields, cultivated farmlands and an ample amount of cover to sustain an ever-increasing population of deer. Top-hunting areas to pursue a December whitetail are found in the towns Penobscot, Map 15, A-3, and Castine, Map 15, A-2. Coastal towns in WMD 27 also showed increases in last year’s deer harvest. Some of the top deer kills occurred in the towns of Addison (115), Milbridge (81) and Harrington (84). Two areas that contain healthy populations of deer are located along Big Ridge Road and around Porcupine Hill in Addison; see Map 25, D-5. Small-Game Hunting Another opportunity that exists this time of year is rabbit hunting. Bunny tion. The snow cover had yet to form in any big way, and we weren’t yet accustomed to the cold. The chill would go right through a person. Come January, that would change. Very few hunters take advantage of the late season on partridge, so you won’t need to worry about competition at most of your favorite bird covers. Also, with the leaves long since departed from the trees, it’s a wide-open landscape – far different from the foliage-encumbered settings of October. Also consider that with an open field of view, shots will be at a longer distance. Use 12-gauge shotguns, if possible, with shot no smaller than size 7 ½. Even young of the year birds are fully fledged now, and the knockdown power of a 12-gauge helps to ensure

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hunter Scott Lally of Bucksport tells me that rabbit populations are holding their own in our region. Scott and several of his hunting buddies enjoy successful hunts at a couple of nearby locations, including rabbit covers along the Silver Lake Road and the Town Farm Road. Several small streams feed this low-lying landscape, creating ideal habitat to sustain a healthy population of snowshoe hare. The boggy edges are productive areas to release a pair of beagles. Within minutes, experienced hounds are often in hot pursuit of an ever-circling rabbit. A few logging roads provide access to this location; however, the dense cedar makes bushwhacking the only way to get around in this area; see Map 23, E-3. Another prospect that keeps sports afield is partridge hunting. Grouse season continues until December 31, 2022. Gunners can find partridge by hunting along many of the country or camp roads in WMD 26. According to dedicated bird hunter Don Lynch of East Orland, top choices for hunters are the roads leading to Toddy Pond, Map 23, D-5, and the camp roads surrounding Alamoosook Lake, Map 23, D-5.

clean kills. I use a double gun with improved cylinder and modified barrels. With today’s tight-shooting shotshells, even the modified barrel can reach out and take game. As for a single-barrel gun, modified makes the best choice now. Last Fling December has replaced November as the last fling for open-water fishing and upland hunting. While the chances of extreme cold are always present, our warmer seasons have expanded our outdoor opportunities. Maine sportsmen are a durable type, and we quickly adapt to changing conditions. So whether the weather be warm or frigid, we make the best of it.

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Think Like a Trout Trout seek comfort. In stream fishing, water temperature dictates where you’ll find trout. In lake fishing, combinations of temperature and amount of dissolved oxygen in the water are instrumental to the question of where trout will hold. Too often, I see people fishing where there are no fish, and I feel sorry for them. They do this because they haven’t learned to think like a trout. Let me make a comparison to illustrate my point. Deer hunters study deer. The good ones do, anyway. They read magazine articles and buy books on how to fool a whitetail. Some even spend time in the field year-round, checking where deer travel and learning their ways firsthand. These people are crazy about deer, and it shows. But how many do you know who devote a similar degree of zeal in familiarizing themselves with trout? Few or none, I’ll wager. “Classroom Time” Outdoors Experience being the best teacher, it takes time on the stream or lake in order to gain even a modicum of knowledge about trout habits and preferences. So then, we should consider our time afield as classroom time and study and learn from it. At the least, we need to take mental notes about when and where we find fish. Knowing those two things, we

may then attempt to conclude why – why trout are at a certain place at a certain time. Those who pursue trout with surface offerings, dry flies, have an easier time finding fish. The different Mayfly hatches are regular occurrences and happen each year at approximately the same time. Whether trout are present when the flies are hatching is evident by whether or not they are rising to the surface to take the floating insects. There are exceptions – perhaps the water is too cold, or perhaps they are taking the flies beneath the surface. But generally, if a hatch is going on and trout are present, they will plainly reveal themselves. It’s not as obvious to the rest of us, however. Those who use artificial lures and even bait, usually don’t time our streamside visits to surface activity. Temperature Matters Trout always seek the most comfortable settings. There is no exception to this rule. In stream fishing, water temperature dictates where we will find trout. In lake

fishing, combinations of temperature and amount of dissolved oxygen in the water are instrumental in where trout will hold. But that’s not all. Water temperatures in a stream may vary according to time of year. In very early spring and in late fall and winter, temperatures in streams become quite uniform. This means that trout become more widespread throughout the stream, since temperature-wise, one place is as good as another. I have taken trout in early April in shallow places that will become bereft of fish in May. The sun also plays a big part in locating trout. In spring, when temperatures begin rising toward a trout’s comfort level, fish will hang on the sunny side of a lake or in a sunlit pool in a stream. It’s warmer there, and that acts like a magnet to these temperature-sensitive fish. If you can think like a trout at this time, you will find it easy to determine where fish will – and won’t – hold. Similarly, by midJune, when water warms and trout seek the comfort of shady

Learn to think like a trout, and you will catch fish even in winter. Tom Seymour photo

runs, it’s unlikely you will take many fish from shallow, wide, sunlit pools. It’s too warm, and besides that, such a place offers scant protection from predators. However, on a drizzly day with no sunlight, trout may well venture into open pools, especially if insect life is present. So you see how temperature and sunlight work in concert to dictate trout locations. Time Essential Time of day plays a major role in trout activity and location. This is especially true during times of warm water, when morning and evening may be the only times trout will present themselves. In ponds and lakes, water temperature drops considerably at night and remains cool in the early morning, before the sun again warms it higher than trout can accept. The same goes for large pools on streams and in rivers.

I can recall fishing a favorite deep hole on a local stream during an early summer heat wave. It was still cool when I arrived at the pool. The sun was just breaching the eastern horizon, and mist rose from the still water. Swirls indicated feeding trout. Even so, the air was humid and a touch uncomfortable. But the trout bit, and for 10 minutes or so, everything was right with the world. Then the sun rose higher in the sky, the mist vanished from the surface and trout beat feet for undercut banks and other shady, cool locations. Likewise in the evening, streams, lakes and ponds can come alive with trout, although they can be difficult if not impossible to locate during the heat of the day. So try to think like a trout. If you do, you will enjoy more troutfilled days afield.

58 • December 2022 • The Maine Sportsman ————————————————————————————————————————————

Learning How to Fly Fish Lakes and Ponds – Part 2 The author reveals where to fish on a windy day (hint: it’s not what you might think), how to fish around boulders and drop-offs, and the secrets of a lake’s hidden currents and wave actions that concentrate food sought by salmon and trout. Last month, I wrote that ponds and lakes offer more days of good and uncrowded fly-fishing for trout and salmon compared to rivers, and that we need to learn to fish stillwaters better. I also concluded that locating fish we can cast to requires understanding where they feed and why. This month, I will share my thinking on more ways to pinpoint “castable” salmonids. Most folks paddle or motor around, look-

ing for calm water, emerging insects, and rising fish – a hatch! – and start casting. This is a common-sense and successful approach, but the reality is that hatches don’t occur every day or everywhere. And a hatch might be brief, and never when you are on the water! How often have you heard, “You should have been here (choose your own phrase – last week, yesterday, this morning, a half-hour ago)”?

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Wind Influence To consistently find shallow-feeding fish requires understanding other natural phenomena, not just chasing hatches. Wind is a major influence in so many ways. The slightest breath of air can concentrate surface food. Even on flat calm mornings or evenings, lake surfaces can have scum lines or swirls. The briefest of breezes in several directions will blow foam and tiny particles together on the surface. The food is microscopic – the tiniest of mites, pollen grains, midges, and micro-organisms, but trout sip them down. Look for noses. A steady wind blowing towards any point of land jutting into a lake will set up

Sometimes it can be intimidating to figure out where to fly-fish on a big lake. All photos: Lou Zambello

a current line downwind from that point. From that line, waves will eddy into the lee (calmer water) behind the point. This wave action brings drifting food into the lee where it congregates. It’s easy to spot bits of leaves, detritus, and insects lining up together in that one spot. Trout and salmon looking for food will cruise both the current line and the eddy. Prospect there. The Protected Shore Often fly-casters


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head for the shore that’s protected from the wind where the water is calmest, because casting is easier and a dry fly more visible. This makes perfect sense, except it’s often wrong. The fishing can be best on the opposite shore! A steady wind directly on shore will create a trough when waves crash against the bank, rebound out, and interact with other waves coming in. This trough concentrates bugs and small fish washing in on the waves and washing out from shore. Beach striper fisherman are familiar with this phenomenon – they often cast into the trough just offshore from the breaking surf. This fall, I was fishing an inlet to Mooselookmeguntic Lake during an unsettled day with a stiff northerly breeze. Most anglers were fishing in (Continued on next page)

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Don’t be dissuaded from dry-fly fishing even with surface waves like this – the fish will find your offerings if they are surface feeding. (Continued from page 58)

the incoming stream’s mouth. But I was walking along an exposed shoreline where the waves were breaking. I spotted the backs of colorful brook trout rising to submerged midges trapped in the chop of a trough about ten feet from shore. Trout have much better eyesight than we do, and it wasn’t a problem for them to pick out a size-20 midge amidst rough surface water. The fishing wasn’t easy, but a few good trout came to net before my hands went numb from the windchill. Submerged Boulders Strong wave action crashing around half-submerged boulders disorients nearby bait fish. Large salmon don’t mind the chop, and take advantage. Earlier this year, I cast a big streamer into a maelstrom of churning water around a point of boulders and got a strike so strong it almost tore the rod from my grasp before the leaping salmon tossed the hook. Fish Drop-offs Without current,

Drop-offs are often easy to spot and productive to fish.

an advantageous wind or a hatch, fish will cruise to locate food, and their favorite highway is a drop-off between shallow and deep water. Shallow water is where most of the food is – baitfish, nymphs, crayfish, hatching bugs, and terrestrial insects falling in from shore. Deep water offers protection from marauding predators, be they avian (loons, ospreys, eagles) or the finned variety (pike, bass). Fish cruise the drop-off in between. They move into shallow water to feed if they sense opportunity, and can also dart into deeper water if threatened. If you park yourself at a drop-off, float a dry fly on the surface, or crawl a streamer or wet fly down the underwater slope, and eventually you will draw a strike. Attractor flies such as the Royal Wulff, Crystal Bugger, or Zug Bug often work best. Take Time to Observe Gazing out at an unfamiliar large lake and thinking about where to flycast can be intimidating. But by walking the shoreline or exploring

by boat, and taking the time to observe insect activity, the water surface, wind, currents, and underwater topography, you can

As a general rule, trout residing in lakes grow larger than river fish.

narrow your options to perhaps 5% of the available water. After that, a little time (and a little luck) is needed to find the

most productive spots, but that’s a part of fishing everywhere.

Trophy Gallery

Gracie’s in the 2022 Grand Slam Patch Club! At age 15, Gracie Elizabeth Feeney of Rangeley is already an accomplished hunter, and recently The Maine Sportsman magazine awarded her a Grand Slam Patch, for tagging a moose (675 lbs, from Russell Township), deer (a buck, bowhunting on October 7, 2022), turkey (October 22, and certified at River’s Edge, in Oquossoc) and bear (a 222-lb. sow shot in Beattie) within the same calendar year. She was accompanied on the hunts by Stuart Feeney. Congratulations, Gracie!

60 • December 2022 • The Maine Sportsman ————————————————————————————————————————————

Sport Aplenty to be Had This Month Fishing, muzzleloading for deer, and pursuing ruffed grouse and snowshoe hare are on the author’s “to do” list this month. Just because the calendar is running out, there’s no need to put away all the fishing and hunting gear. Fishing is still open for stalwart souls, and myriad hunting opportunities exist to fill the larder before the end of the year. It just takes some gumption and warm clothes to brave the cold and usher the old year out. While my boat has been put away since the end of October, hardy anglers can still fish on Sebago Lake (DeLorme Atlas, Map 5, C-1) this month. If there isn’t ice in front of the launches and your boat doesn’t require a great depth to launch, you can fish Sebago for lakers and salmon (but you have to put the salmon back). I can almost guarantee you’ll have the whole lake to yourself. Cold-Weather Anglers Last December I was enjoying a morning coffee from the warmth of my kitchen. As I gazed out into Jordan Bay, I did a double-take as I saw a fiberglass fishing boat. I grabbed my binoculars and confirmed it was two anglers trolling across the bay. It was below freezing but it was sunny and not windy. I didn’t recognize them as anyone

from the local angling fraternity, but I smiled, knowing they were getting every ounce of fishing action from the big lake before her icy winter cloak covers her for another year. Winter anglers know that Sebago Lake is open to angling year-round, but from October 1 through December 31 they must use artificial lures and must release any salmon that are hooked. Anglers can keep an unlimited number of lake trout under 26 inches, and one fish 26 inches or longer. Grouse in the Orchards I’ve bird hunted right up to the New Year before. It’s chilly, but it’s a great way to keep hunter and bird dog in shape for the start of winter. Grouse are skittish in this neck of the woods, but are susceptible to those cold mornings, and even dogless hunters can get a snap shot before they flush. I always like walking the rows in an apple orchard, especially if apples are left on the ground. Grouse can’t resist a mushy apple for breakfast, and it’s easy to sneak up on one when they dine this way. One of my favorite hunts as a youngster

was to grab my single-shot LeFever .410, a gun passed down to me by my grandfather, and try my luck on the wily gray squirrel. These aren’t the urban park variety of squirrel. Woods squirrels are very savvy, and they make for a challenging hunt. Squirrel stew is a delicacy down South, but there’s no reason it wouldn’t taste as good up here. Walking and stopping to listen to the squirrels scampering across dried leaves is one good technique. Mimicking a squirrel’s chatter is another way to locate a nearby bushytail. While I always liked the old .410, a squirrel hunt with a .22 rifle is a more challenging sport. Hare, Deer Snowshoe hare are another top December quarry of mine – or at least they were, in my younger days. They are starting to show their white now, and it makes them easier to spot in the brush. Poke around grown up fields with low growing juniper bushes, and you may jump one of these prizes. A scattergun is almost a must for hare hunters, but there are some deadeyes who use a .22. Muzzleloader hunters rejoice as they have the first two weeks of December

Joshua Gauthier of Hebron tagged out on October 4, 2022 in his hometown, using a crossbow. The whitetail weighed 220 lbs on the scales of Northland True Value, Auburn Road in Turner, earning Joshua a coveted “Biggest Bucks in Maine” club patch.

in Southern Maine to practice their craft. From November 28 through December 10. the smokepole crowd has the woods virtually to themselves in one last attempt to bag a buck or fill an antlerless deer tag or two. I keep saying I’ll invest in a muzzleloader soon, but I never seem to drop the hammer, so to speak. I’m torn between wanting a modern, inline version or an old musket-style version. So far, the old-school model is at the top of my list.

I can picture myself trudging out in the cold with my double Mackinaw parka on, gun receiver cradled under my arm to keep the charge warm and dry. Perhaps this will be the year! December is full of holiday parties and celebrations, but there is still plenty of sport to be had on the water and in the woods. Days are shorter and colder, but the fish and game still warm our souls, and any catch is a trophy this month.

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Allagash Characters – Part 1 During my work in the famed Waterway, I met an assortment of colorful people. Some of them explained to me the reasons they had “escaped” to the woods. Motives included logging, trapping, fishing, snowmobiling, or visiting Nugent’s Chamberlain Lake Camps. Others sought to escape traumatic experiences that were even more personal. Our First Wilderness Home Our assigned quarters on Umsaskis Lake once served as a VIP retreat for International Paper Company. Our accommodation was an Alaskan-style log cabin complete with separate baths, bedrooms, a kitchen, and a fieldstone fireplace. A cork floor had been installed in the galley to prevent noisy footsteps made by those preparing meals or cleaning up from bothering guests relaxing in the 20 foot x 40 foot living room.

Umsaskis Lodge. T. Caverly Collection

Our first year, 1981 into 1982, was a time that passed quickly. Before we knew it, the lake had frozen solid. But even with the prediction of the first blizzard of the season, Susan and I were secure in the knowledge that we had enough firewood to last until spring, and a way out in case of emergencies. Our one-mile driveway to the nearest road wasn’t plowed, but the Churchill Dam to the Clayton Lake Road was maintained. This allowed us to park our 4x4 pick-up beside the woods road that led 14 miles to our nearest neighbors, and to the post office, where we received weekly mail. Once the ground was blanketed with snow, we snowmobiled that one-mile distance, and then hoped the truck would start in freezing temperatures. During February, a cold front blew through, dropping temperatures into the minus category. The bitter cold of the previous night dissipated only when the sun warmed daytime temps to a balmy 15 degrees. The interior of our lodge

The nighttime temperature was minus 30 degrees. It was so cold inside the cabin that we moved our mattress to a pantry off the kitchen, and we slept next to the airtight Ashley wood heater. was so frigid, that we moved the double bed from the bedroom to the living room near a radiant rock fireplace. And as the outside cold penetrated, we eventually moved our mattress to a pantry off the kitchen where in goose down sleeping bags, we slept close to an airtight Ashley wood heater. Susan and I knew that eventually as the winter waned, we would reverse our steps and return to the summer bedroom. Between blizzards, we could gaze at the Milky Way shining through the frozen night sky in such a spectacular fashion that it seemed that with little effort we could pluck a star from the sky. Frozen Lake One clear night, despite the cold, we donned insulated clothing complete with hats and face masks, and trekked from the warmth of our kitchen out onto the ice of Umsaskis. While the northern lights lit up the horizon, out of the northeast came the howling call of a wild cat, as if giving warning of what was to come.

Chamberlain Lake. T. Caverly Collection

On the frozen surface we stood, starting up at our celestial ceiling. Suddenly, as the result of the dropping temperatures, the glacial lake surface contracted and deformed, causing an inch-wide crack to open between our feet. Nervously we listened to the groaning fission race northward towards Long Lake Dam, nine miles away. The movement happened so quickly our hearts jumped

into our throats, fearful we were going to be swallowed alive.

Caverly Family at Nugent’s Camps. T. Caverly Collection

Shivering from the earth-shaking event as much as from the cold, we returned to our log cabin, with the Allagash world all to ourselves. Winter Travelers The next morning, we awoke to temperatures hovering around minus 30. Without any wind, the day was clear, and as we prepared to take care of the Waterway’s administrative duties, suddenly there came a knock on our kitchen door. We hadn’t heard the noise of a snowsled, and after the experiences of the previous night, Susan and I weren’t sure we wanted to answer the call. The frost on the entrance window was so thick we couldn’t see who, or what had made the bid to enter. Could it be that the cold had forced a Northwoods Sasquatch to seek the warmth of our home, we wondered? The last thing we wanted to discover in the woods miles from anyone else was Bigfoot. Cautiously opening the door, we saw a bearded face completely hidden behind sunglasses and wearing a fur-trimmed parka. Who or what could this visitor want? And how did he get here? Susan and I slowly backed away from the entrance. Next month -- Part II, “A Winter Walk.” Tim Caverly has authored eleven books about Maine’s northern forest.

62 • December 2022 • The Maine Sportsman ————————————————————————————————————————————

Time for Winter Walkabouts, Campfires and Cowboy Coffee Our philosophic columnist recommends slowing down and simplifying your outdoor adventures in the early winter – sleep a bit later; leave your weapons at home; and plan to make coffee over a fire. Checking a sequence of trail cams, he says, is similar to running a trap line. In the 1986 action film Crocodile Dundee, set in the Australian outback, Mick Dundee said the phrase “…I’m going on a walkabout.” Mick’s outing was about big crocodiles, and bad guys – he lived off the land in the wilds of the outback. This is one of my favorite movies. I have been enjoying winter “walkabouts” here in Southern Maine all my life. As a youth I took to the woods, built cabins, and shot my longbow, to escape the turmoil in my life, and later, as an adult, to neutralize the stress of work and family. Work or Play? There are a lot of things to do during a cold, Maine winter, including ice-fishing, small game hunting and snowmobiling – and I recommend them all. However, much like deer hunting, each involves some sort of regimentation and timelines, like getting up on time, gathering gear, meeting others – and then the stress of success, or lack of it. It can become more like going to work than enjoying the outdoors. If you can relate to

this situation and you find that you are in a rut, then try a different approach. Turn off the alarm clock and sleep in – there’s no reason to get up and kill or catch something. Simplify your gear – a small pack and hiking poles will work well. You’re not trying to hunt or fish, so you can wander wherever you wish. There’s no need to remain quiet or downwind and sit still for hours – those can be like a typical workday. You are now free to unwind, relax and truly enjoy nature. Campfires What’s a winter hike without a campfire? In your pack, carry a fire kit, including fire starter and matches and lighter. Birch bark is nature’s fire starter, if it’s available. Most experienced outdoor folks can start and maintain a campfire; but can they during rain and snowy days, when a fire is needed? If everything is wet, then gather a lot of birch bark or carry fire starter in your kit. Next, gather large bundles of small, dead sticks – dead ends of

soft-wood branches work well. Your goal is to layer wood so that each layer dries the next by starting with small, easy-burning wood and progressively adding larger pieces as the fire grows. How you place the firewood is critical. I like to put two logs about foot apart, remove all snow and wet leaves, place bark or lay out sticks on the ground – then place fire starter with small twigs on it. Build a log-cabin or teepee of stacked larger sticks until the fire really gets going. Everyone who spends time in the woods should master these skills. Venison or Hot-dogs? Watching a campfire you built in the snowy Maine woods is gratifying, but now it’s time for hot coffee and food. Deer venison kabobs or hot dogs on a stick roasted over hot hardwood coals make a great cold winter feast. Then there’s coffee – for me, it’s a must, but tea or hot chocolate will work, too. Cowboy coffee is easy to cook over an open fire – boil coffee and water (around ¼ cup

Coyotes are active in winter months. This photo was taken with one of the author’s game cameras. He takes long walks, and enjoys campfires and coffee, while checking cameras in his hunting areas. Val Marquez photo

of ground coffee to a quart of water) in a pot for around four minutes, and then pour a little cold water in the pot. Cold water goes to the bottom of the pot, taking the coffee grounds with it. It’s not Dunkin, but it is the best coffee available in a remote location on a cold, windy Maine day. Hidden Agenda Carefree walks in the woods combined with meals fit for a king and coffee that could put Starbucks out of business are great ways to spend a winter day. However, for those looking for more excitement and are obsessed with deer hunting, then there’s wintertime scouting. Placing trail cameras and then checking for game activityin the winter is like “catch and release trapping”; checking cameras is akin to running a trap line. Back-trailing bucks in the snow

is another great winter pastime, as well. Campfires and coffee will also enhance these outings. I have game camera photos of moose, bear, deer, fox and coyotes, all taken in my favorite hunting locations. It’s fun to see what’s wandering around your hunting areas. But it’s the pure relaxation, campfires and smell of boiling coffee that is the main reasons for these outings. Although muzzleloader and extended archery seasons are open in the early days of December, for most, big game hunting is over. It’s a time to recover, and gear up for Maine’s winter outdoor activities. Ice fishing and walkabouts combined with campfires, venison and cowboy coffee are the next items on Maine’s revolving, diverse, outdoor agenda.

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Yellow Jackets Attack Dad “Run! Run!” my father yelled. “Yellow jackets! Run!” Dad ran one way, and I ran the other, but the yellow jackets were on us. They were stinging my ears, my neck and my hands. “Run for the camp,” Dad hollered. We ran as fast as we could trying to outrun the swarm of yellow jackets. “Jump in the lake,” Dad yelled. He kicked off his pants and pulled off his shirt and plunged into the pond. I jumped in after him, clothes and all. Mom came running. “What’s wrong? What happened?” she asked. Dad gasped, “Yellow jackets. We’ve been stung bad.” “Oh dear,” Mom exclaimed. The cool pond water helped, but Dad was in bad shape. His face was swollen from the stings, and he felt sick. He thought he might pass out. All Because of a Fan Belt We struggled up to the camp, where mom was waiting for us. “Here,” she said, as she lathered on a poultice made from baking soda. “Bob,” she said, ”you may need a doctor.” Dad lay back on the couch and winced. “I’ll be okay,” he said. “Little buggers – they were waiting for us.” I had never experienced such bee stings, and it all happened because of a broken fan belt. We were staying at the family camp for our August vacation. Dad had the time off, but I still had to work in Old Orchard Beach, so we had brought both cars – the Ford station wagon, and Dad’s 1948 “beater” Dodge sedan. This was a tank of a car. A big metal sun visor shaded the windshield and the rear doors opened backwards making it easy to get in and out of the back seat. The engine was six cylinders, and the hood opened like a butterfly – two panels, one on each side. You twisted the handle and raised up the left or right side to get at the engine. How it Happened The morning had been routine. I’d had a quick cup of coffee and climbed into the old Dodge and started out the

Dad was in bad shape. His face was swollen from the stings, and he felt sick. He thought he might pass out.

Illustration: National Park Service

camp road. Part way up the hill, the engine quit. The road is one lane, so I let the car roll back and steered off onto the shoulder, putting the driver’s side wheels into the ditch. I didn’t know what was wrong with the engine, so walked back to the camp to get Dad. I also did not know that I had parked the car on top of a yellow jacket nest. Dad Opens the Hood Mom and Dad were surprised to see me. “What’s happened?” Dad asked. I told him, and he said “Well let’s go look. You’ll be late for work.” We walked back to the hulking sedan parked partly in the bushes. Dad moved around to the driver’s side of the engine, twisted the hood latch and lifted up the hood. All the time I had been gone, the yellow jackets had been swarming, and they’d become trapped inside the engine compartment. When Dad threw up the

1948 Dodge Custom Sedan. Source: Mecum Auctions

side of the hood, the yellow jackets exploded out in a cloud and attacked. Time to Run Dad waved his hands around his head and yelled, “Run! Yellow Jackets.” There were thousands of them. Poor dad – he got the full-frontal attack. The yellow jackets were fierce. We ran for our lives and the yellow jackets flew after us. We could not swat or slap them all away. Slow, Painful Recovery Mom nursed Dad, washing and cleansing his many stings. He was in agony. The yellow jackets had exacted a terrible revenge. I was too stung to go to work, so Mom called my employer. My boss understood, and wished a speedy recovery. Dad lay on the couch all day, alternately napping and Mom daubing alcohol or peroxide on all his stings. He didn’t feel like eating and could barely move. I was worried because I’d never seen my father debilitated in such a fashion. He felt awful, but by morning he was recovering. Mom’s home remedies had helped. Back to the Scene Around mid-day, we walked up to check on the old Dodge. The yellow jackets were all gone, so it was safe to inspect. We quickly found the broken fan belt. It didn’t take much for Dad to rummage up a new fan belt, install it, and get the ponderous old Dodge back on the road. I drove that car a lot. I’d drive it to high school, and my friends said the back doors reminded them of Al Capone and his gangsters. That’s also the car I drove off the road in a snowstorm and had to get pulled out by the town plow truck; but that’s another story, and at least that time my dad was not around to get stung by an army of yellow jackets.

64 • December 2022 • The Maine Sportsman ————————————————————————————————————————————

Bird Dog Training – is Steady-on-Point Necessary? During the 2021 bird season, I hunted for grouse with my trusty bird dog Ginger, from the opener in October, right up to the last day of December. We had a great time throughout the season. While traveling the myriad dirt and gravel roads in the Rangeley Region in December, I found plenty of time to think and rethink the way I train my bird dog. I discovered that I sometimes lock onto a training idea and limit any further thought on the subject – to my detriment. For instance, I had a well-known hunting dog trainer tell me, “After years of struggling with getting my bird dogs to be steadyto-shot, I finally realized that I could hunt just as effectively by relaxing a little by letting my dog go off the ‘whoa’ command as soon as the bird flushes. There’s really no need to have a dog hold its whoa position in the field when a bird flushes.” I have always tried to train my bird dogs to be steady-tocommand, and only sometimes did it work correctly. Usually my dogs would, at a later age, figure it out, and start obeying properly. I figured this was just because my puppies were eager and excitable (a good trait). I never pressured the young dogs by forcing

Steady-to-wing means the dog leaves the point (the “whoa” position) when the bird flushes; steady-to-shot means it leaves at the shot; and steady-to-command means the dog leaves the point when you give the command. The ability of a dog to progress through these steps, says the author, depends on the maturity of the dog, and the skill – and patience – of the trainer.

The author’s dog Ginger is old enough to know how to hold a point. Whether she chooses to do so, is a different issue. William Clunie photo

them to obey my command to stay steady until I released them because I didn’t want to be barking commands right when they are doing so well at finding and pointing a wild bird in the field.

Sorting it Out Let’s look at the three options for what to do when your dog goes on point: 1) Steady-to-wing; 2) Steady-to-shot; and 3) Steady-to-command. Steady-to-wing means

the dog leaves the point (the whoa position) when the bird flushes; steady-to-shot means it leaves at the shot; and steady-tocommand means the dog leaves the point when you give the

command. When you have worked hard to get a dog to hold in the whoa position on a live bird in the field, it seems counter-productive to get upset when the young dog gets so excited it immediately jumps after the flushed bird. Notice I said “young” dog … as a dog matures, it should stay in the whoa position until the hunter orders it to release. What I’m getting at here is that I think it is very important to have your dog trained to hold the whoa position until you give a verbal command to release the dog from its holding position (the point). It is difficult to stop a dog from breaking its point when a bird flushes. Most dogs won’t learn this right away, and it doesn’t help to get forceful out in the field – work on that problem at home before you get out in the woods on wild birds. Just My Experience I have three reasons for training a dog to stay steady on point until the hunter gives a verbal command. The most obvious is that you have trained your dog to hold the whoa position at home, even with all sorts of distractions. Why then should the dog be allowed to fly off that position whenever it (Continued on next page)

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feels like it when it is pointing a wild bird in the field? My second reason comes from many years of watching my hunting buddies approach and shoot birds in front of dogs. I have seen on several occasions where the pointing dog jumped up at the flushing bird and almost had it in their

mouth as the hunter aimed the shotgun at the bird. Fortunately, I hunt with fellows that have a great respect for gun safety and know when to hold off on a shot – there are some hunters out there who can be too quick to pull the trigger, maybe so anxious to get the bird that they don’t see the dog so close to the flushing

bird. My hunting buddies know the rule: Never shoot unless the bird is above eye level – that’s enough above the level of how high a dog can jump for a bird. The third reason becomes obvious when a hunter has a dog that wildly breaks the point as the bird flushes and bumps anoth-

er bird as it scatters about the woods to get the first bird. Train your dog at home to hold the “whoa” command solidly, and eventually it will figure it out in the field. My dog Ginger is four years old, and she’s just now starting to figure out what I want in the field. She is learning to search and find with little

instruction, and now needs to sharpen the skills we have been working on at home. I am confident that she’ll be holding that locked-up point next year – even though it’s more fun to wildly chase those flying birds – and I will learn to stay calm and be patient during this process.

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66 • December 2022 • The Maine Sportsman ————————————————————————————————————————————

I’m Glad It’s You It was late November of 1976 when I ran into one of my neighbors at the gas station. He hunted over in Exeter, and wanted to know why I didn’t do something about a man we both knew. I asked him what he meant and described how he had seen his vehicle parked down back in a field well after legal hunting had ended, on more than one occasion. My neighbor described the area where he thought the man was hunting, and offered to show me. The next day was a Sunday, so I took him up on his offer, and we made plans to look the area over the following day. The hunter in question was well known to me, as we had played softball together for the past three years. In addition, I’d had several hunting encounters with members of his family, mostly with one of his brothers (for details, see “You’re a Liar! or How Much Will This Cost Me?” in the November 2022 issue of The Maine Sportsman, page 43). What’s The Poacher’s Method of Operation? On Sunday afternoon, we made the trip to Exeter and parked down in the back of a field where my friend had observed the suspect’s vehicle. The

A ladder leaning against the hemlock; a man in the tree with a gun; and a pile of red apples out in the field. Then, some noises in the tree, followed by silence and the total darkness of the late-November night. Had the suspect gotten away? next questions were, 1) Which way would our suspect walk after he left his vehicle there?; and 2) What was his modus operandi? We began to look for any indications of travel that might get us headed in the right direction. That proved to be rather difficult, as we could not find clues indicating a regular pattern of travel. After a while, we decided to take a wide swing to the easterly side of the field, and as we circled back from our farthest point, I spotted a stand of hemlocks that piqued my interest. This was due to my previous experiences with this family of hunters, as I had learned they were partial to sitting in hemlock trees, since hemlocks have nice climbing limbs, and no pitch. We got over into the hemlocks and sure enough, there, we found a board seat with a short crude ladder against the tree trunk. On the ground about 30 feet from the base of the tree, we observed a pile of red apples. A Plan to Nab the Poacher So how was I going

or three days. He told me that would be fine, as long as we didn’t get a big rain or some snow.

“About 3:00 p.m., a hunter arrived and headed for the hemlock. I couldn’t tell who it was from my position, but I could hear him getting up into the tree.”

to approach this situation without giving myself away? I would likely need to make several visits there in order to come up with a satisfactory result. On the north side of this piece of woods were located some other fields owned by an elderly farmer. That area could be accessed from a different road and would be suitable for my coming and going to the tree stand area. The next afternoon, I stopped at the aforementioned farmer’s residence, and inquired about driving down into his back field for the next two

First Stake-Out I had come prepared, and after parking in his back field, I made my way through the woods to the tree stand. I arrived at 2:30 p.m., concealed myself in my sleeping bag until the end of legal hunting time. However, nobody showed up to utilize the hemlock tree. I gathered my gear up and used my compass in the dark to retrace the distance back to my vehicle. Second Try The next day, November 23, 1976, I came a little bit earlier, to make certain I would arrive ahead of my hunter. I found nobody there, and settled in for the rest of the afternoon. About 3:00 p.m., a hunter arrived and headed for the hemlock. I couldn’t tell who it was from my position, but I could hear him getting up into the tree. It was all quiet the rest of the afternoon, and as it was a late November overcast day, darkness soon settled in.

I was aware of the end of legal hunting time passing by at 4:05 p.m. However, there seemed to be no movement within the tree. Another hour passed, and I heard what sounded like someone getting out of the tree, but I could not be sure since had become pitch dark. I decided to wait, just to be sure. By 5:30 I had heard nothing else, and I talked myself into believing the guy had left without me realizing it. I rolled up my sleeping bag and took care of nature’s calling (I had been unable to move for over three hours). Then, with my sleeping bag under my left arm, I made my way over toward the tree. I was certain the guy was gone, and I just wanted to see if the deer had eaten the apples. Just as I got to the base of the tree, I was startled by a voice from the tree asking, “Who is it?” I shined my light up into the tree and asked, “Is that you, Eddie?” “Yes,” he replied. “I’m glad that’s you, Doug – you scared the crap out of me!” I responded, “You say you’re glad it’s me, but you won’t be so glad when you get down here.”

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Keeping Water Sets Operating in Cold Weather Keeping traps operating during the Maine general trapping season (November and December) can be a problem due to lowering temperatures. Water trapping before solid ice cover is a real test, as some nights there is skim ice and others are open waters. There are ways to trap that help dealing with early skim ice. One night it’s open water and the next may have skim ice, which will definitely interfere with mink and muskrat trapping. Mink and muskrat are very lightweight and can walk on thin ice, so thin ice along the shoreline can prevent taking them in a water set. whereas a raccoon, beaver or otter will likely break up skim ice while entering or leaving the water. Traps set for larger animals are generally under several more inches of water than those set for the smaller furbearers, allowing skim ice to float

Mink and muskrat traps are set in shallow water, so in early winter, how does a trapper prevent skim ice from blocking access to the traps? The first step, says the author, is to find –or create – moving water that limits ice formation. away or be pushed aside, increasing the possibility that the animal will place its foot in the trap. Trapping Mink and Muskrat Typical mink and muskrat sets are generally baited or blind sets that are placed in only one or two inches of water. Because of the animals’ light weights, they can walk right over a trap which is sitting under skim ice. The average male mink weighs approximately 4 pounds, while the female is somewhat smaller. The typical muskrat weighs between 3 and 4 pounds, depending on sex and the amount of food available in the aquatic environment in which they are living. The mink is a pred-

Skim ice has already formed over this trap, preventing it from functioning properly. All photos: Dave Miller

ator that hunts for food over a longer range of distance, while the muskrat generally has its den or house in the immediate area, where it feeds on vegetation. Baiting and Positioning the Trap Under the muskrat trapping rules in Maine, vegetation is not considered “trapping bait.” As such, baits such as apples, parsnips, carrots, potatoes or other vegetable matter does not need to be covered “except when utilizing floats” (always read the Maine Trapping Summary to ensure your sets are legal). Muskrat traps set in shallow water are commonly baited or set in runs, on feed beds or on muskrat toilets. If one uses colony traps

for muskrats, those traps must be set completely under water at all times. Baited mink sets need to have the bait covered and not visible from above, because the bait will consist of animal matter that might attract protected species (again, read the Trapping Summary to ensure compliance). Many trappers use only blind sets for mink. They are commonly taken at pinch points where the animal is forced by an obstruction to enter or leave the water. If baited sets are used, a variation of the pocket set is commonly used. This set is where a short tunnel is dig up at an angle at the edge of a water course or made out of rocks or other material that

Shallow water has also frozen over this “blind set” (unbaited set).

will “cover” the bait. The most commonly used baits are a small chunk of fish, eel, or the flesh of a muskrat. Minimizing the Effects of Ice Trappers can take a couple of extra steps to keep sets from freezing over, even if it’s only for a few of hours at night, which extends the time a trap is operational. The most common method is to set traps where water flow prevents ice forming. This can be natural water movement, or trapper-created by placing rocks or logs to funnel water through a specific place. This is key in dealing with early skim ice. All aquatic related furbearers are attracted to running water. Setting traps in running water gives a double advantage in that the trap is on target and freeze-proof, at least until solid ice forms. The disadvantages (Trapping continued on page 69)

This trap is set on a logging road bridge footing. Water moving under the bridge and over the trap will delay formation of skim ice.

68 • December 2022 • The Maine Sportsman ————————————————————————————————————————————

Taking a Chance Rewards Maine Deer Hunter I have always had good luck when asking landowners for permission to hunt on their land. Many of the landowners tell me they are shocked that I asked for permission – that most of the time, folks come on their property without asking permission. When they find these folks sneaking on their land, they politely ask them to leave and never come back.

if I notice “No Hunting” signs on a piece of land, I don’t even bother – I just move on to the next good looking, non-posted section of hunting territory without having to worry about asking permission. One of the greatest pieces of high-tech hunting gear that has come about recently, in my opinion, is the onX hunt (onxmaps.

When property owners post their land, it’s often the result of slob hunters who did something in the past to anger the landowners. Reversing that sentiment takes a lot of work and patience, but occasionally the efforts of individual hunters pay off – in spades. It just wouldn’t feel right, sneaking onto someone’s property and then trying to feel good about hunting there, so I always ask first. I’ve only had two landowners

deny me access in my nearly sixty years of hunting – all because slob hunters had committed some atrocious acts on their property in the past. I can’t really blame them.

With the huge amount of acreage open to hunting here in the Western Maine Mountains, I haven’t had to ask for landowner permission too often. Many times,

(Continued on next page)

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com) app on my phone. It not only helps me find my way in the woods, but it gives me a wealth of information about the land I’m hunting, including the name and address of the landowner, GPS coordinates, and WMD number. With that information, I can easily contact the landowner for access. Requesting Permission I was scrolling around a deer hunting group’s page on Facebook, and a post caught my eye. A certain Mark Preston posted a great story about how he saw a piece of land that had “Hunting by Permission Only” signs on it, and also noticed that the land looked like an excellent deer hunting spot. After asking and receiving permission to hunt on the land from the ninety-yearold woman who owned the property, Preston shot a young buck on the land. Later, he stopped by to drop off some venison steaks to the elderly landowner. She was very appreciative, and the hunter

and landowner hit it off, sitting on the patio and talking for hours. Preston was so impressed with the kindness of the woman that he returned later and did some repairs and clean-up around her property. He was moved to help this nice lady and felt his small show of kindness might help her out – some of the yard work was more than the woman could do herself. The next time Preston came by to visit, they again talked for hours, and he left with a great feeling in his heart, as well as several packages of baked goods. The two have become great friends, despite the landowner’s initial hesitance to let anyone hunt on her land. People who give kindness out like this, make the world a better place. Thank you to Maine’s wonderful landowners, as well as thoughtful hunters like Mark Preston. Final Thoughts I understand that getting the game we spend so many hours and dollars on back home and into the frying pan is a huge part of the enjoyment

Trapping (Continued from page 67)

of running water are that the current may become too strong, keeping the furbearer from working the set very hard. Other challenges include keeping the trap bedded and stabilized, and preventing it from being clogged with shifting gravel or floating debris such as leaves or muskrat-cut vegetation. Leave Some Muskrat for Seed If you’re lucky enough to trap large marsh areas or bogs that hold a good population of muskrat, the cream of the crop can be harvested in a couple of nights, while avoiding ice formation. Some wildlife management districts

Mark Preston and the deer he shot after gaining landowner permission. Photo courtesy of Mark Preston

of hunting. How is it then, that sometimes when we get home without even seeing the game we are after, we can still be completely filled with thankfulness for a wonderful day afield? Our time spent in the woods is certainly precious, no matter the number of game animals acquired. It’s the fine friends we make along the way that really count. I often look back on my days as a

guide, and am overwhelmed by the fact that I totally enjoyed every minute with the clients I took out hunting and fishing. Outdoor-loving folks are the best – down to earth, appreciative, kind and respectful. I’m glad that the few, unthinking slob hunters out there are far outnumbered by good fellows like Mark Preston. Going above and beyond, out of the kindness of his heart,

have an “early muskrat season,” giving the trapper a few more days of trapping before the general season. Once the catch drops, I recommend pulling your traps and leaving the remaining muskrat as seed for the following year. In some districts where beaver seasons are long enough to allow open water trapping in the spring, the law also allows muskrat to be trapped in all waters open to beaver trapping. This will extend muskrat trapping. Due to shifting water levels, the spring is the period that floats are most commonly utilized for muskrat. Special regulations apply during this time so one should ensure that the manufacturing of floats and their use is done in

to explain to this landowner his love of the natural world does so much for all hunters. Mr. Preston could have hunted other unposted land in the area, but chose to take a chance and talk with this landowner. Take a chance in your own life to help a stranger learn about your love of the outdoors, and you may wind up with a new friend.

accordance with the law. Ice a Challenge to Mink Trapping As mink are predators and cover a large area hunting for food, it may be a few days before one travels back through the area. Keeping the traps functioning in open water becomes more difficult, due to the early forming of ice during the general trapping season. Trapping for mink is not allowed outside of the general trapping season, but those caught in traps set for muskrat (see above discussion of extended muskrat seasons) may be kept as incidentals, along with otter and raccoon.

70 • December 2022 • The Maine Sportsman ————————————————————————————————————————————

Oops! ... Now What? Author’s note: The following discussion is not intended to be critical of hard-working and fair conservation officers. It is also not intended to justify or defend hunters who intentionally violate game laws. “If you hunt the way we do, and hunt as hard as we do, for long enough, you are bound to make a mistake at some point.” I received this poignant piece of wisdom from an older friend of mine many years ago. Time and tales have proven its truth.

Hunting, says the author, is full of split-second, adrenaline-induced decisions, and any hunter who hunts long enough and hard enough is bound to commit, or witness, an unintentional mistake involving shooting game. So the question becomes, “Then what?” For many, that ethical decision is complicated by perceptions fueled by shows such as “North Woods Law.” Not all mistakes are malicious or egregious. As alluded to by my friend, some just come with the territory. The nature of hunting on foot in rugged places after wild, fleeting animals is much more mistake-laden than the nature of sit-

ting in a box blind over a corn feeder in a field. The way I, and many others, hunt, is full of split-second, adrenaline-induced decisions. Perhaps, a critic could argue that that is not the proper or ethical way to hunt—but I would challenge them

on how they would define the word hunt. So, given that one’s batting average in these chaotic circumstances is going to be less than a thousand, what do you do when you or a hunting buddy screws up?

Calculating Severity Not all mistakes are equal. Not having your fishing license in your pocket is different from not having a license at all. Shooting a feeding bear in the rear-end is different from gut-shooting a trotting buck. Shooting a flushed spruce grouse thinking it was a ruffed grouse is not the same as shooting a calf moose at last light thinking that it was a big deer. Thus, in my (perhaps wrong) opinion, (Continued on next page)

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It wouldn’t be hard to make an honest mistake if you poked through the woods and saw the scene pictured on the left. (Continued from page 70)

I think responses to such incidents should be dependent on the perceived severity of the offense. I don’t think anyone would argue that you need to turn yourself in to the warden for prosecution if you go for an uneventful walk with your shotgun and then realize that your hunting license is in your other pants pocket at home. So what warrants punishment? What warrants self-reporting? These answers aren’t universal. They depend on each person’s conscience and tolerance of moral quandaries. Fear and Fairness Unfortunately, it is human nature to weigh the costs of getting caught. Even the most honest do it. In my conversations with hundreds of sportsmen over the years, I have heard my share of “oopsies.” Most were completely innocent

mistakes. Some relatively mild, while others were more serious. The reactions of those who mistakenly shot an animal varied across the entire spectrum of possibilities. Some immediately called the warden and volunteered their mistake. Some punched their tags and didn’t hunt the rest of the season. Some quietly took the animals with them so the meat wasn’t wasted. Some left animals in the woods. Some tried to hide their error, and got caught. What these hunters typically had in common was a sense of regret, guilt, and shame – and a welllearned lesson, with a vow to never let it happen again. Is that punishment and self-correction enough? Perceptions are Everything One thing I’ve deduced from hearing these stories and reflecting on my own,

However, a slightly different angle from the right photo reveals a much clearer scene. Photo credits: Raymond Lacasse

is that relationships with Fish and Game employees matter. If you know the local conservation officers or biologists and have an amicable relationship with them, you are more likely to “come clean,” trusting that your honest mistake will be seen for what it was and that you will be treated fairly. However, if you already have a rocky relationship with Fish and Game, or if you have a negative perception of them for whatever reason—or if you are a non-resident with no knowledge of the reputation of the local Fish and Game Department – you are more likely to keep mum and take the chance that you may get caught. Though the latter is the “wrong” moral response, I try my best to listen empathically to the storytelling offender, and wonder what I would do in his circumstances. Can you have complete

confidence that you will be treated fairly or given leniency when warranted? Will law enforcement even believe that it was an honest mistake? Is it worth the possibility that you’ll be required to pay a hefty fine and lose your license? “Reality” TV? Unfortunately, I think that recent media has promulgated a sense of concern for self-reporting. There have been lots of game warden books lately telling “gotcha” tales, and highlighting the punishments the offenders received. The same can be said for the slew of TV programs featuring wildlife officers from across the nation. The show North Woods Law, formerly showing hunters’ interactions with Maine wardens, and now with New Hampshire’s conservation officers, is a prime example of this. I watched about a dozen episodes of the

NH version. At first, it was neat to see lots of people and places that I know. But I began to detect a dramatized “guilty until proven innocent” theme. On numerous occasions, the show spent twenty minutes making the viewer think that the guy was a no-good lying dirtbag poacher, just to have a 10-second blurb at the end saying that actually he wasn’t even in the same county when the transgression occurred, and that charges were not pursued. It also seemed like every malicious liar escaped prosecution, while every honest mistake-maker who fessed up got the book thrown at him. So I stopped watching. And I can understand why some hunters opt to quietly repent to their own conscience and to their God—but not to the local warden.

72 • December 2022 • The Maine Sportsman ————————————————————————————————————————————

“Wrapping Up” December still holds plenty of deer hunting, but it is certainly winding down unless I head south. To date, that bug hasn’t bit me. The winter woods of the North, and their relative emptiness, hold too much appeal for me to venture in that direction. Usually by the end of VT’s late muzzleloader season, my tank is pretty empty for long adventures. This year, I’ve moreor-less been on the go since the middle of August, when we made a long-delayed family trip to Alaska. No hunting, but I did squeeze in a couple of cool fishing adventures. The options up there seem endless, and the Dall sheep I glassed from one of our hotel rooms has my wheels turning. I also made fishing trips to Maine, Rhode Island and NY in September and a foray to Colorado to guide an elk hunt. Phew ... so many adventures! And somehow, I feel like I left a lot of things I wanted to do on the table. I used to bemoan the end of deer hunting season. As I started hunting more, and with more intensity, I started to get worn down. A decade ago, I think it took me until February before I felt recovered from the miles and mountains of chasing bucks

The author’s attention span gets challenged this time of year – there’s muzzleloader season, archery, rabbits, grouse, and holiday shopping – but no shopping until after the goose season is over!

The author’s VT muzzleloader season buck from a few years ago.

across northern New England. Since then, I’ve limited my archery hunting time and have focused on getting out on snow. I’ve noticed that paying attention to my nutrition helps with my ability to recover and sustain a high level of effort across the season. I make sure I get plenty of fat and protein in my diet, balanced with carbohydrates for day-to-day energy. If you’re dragging yourself around (instead of dragging a buck around), fuel up and try to end the season with a bang.

Late Season Deer Vermont has a couple of late season deer hunting opportunities. Immediately following the end of rifle season, archery hunting begins anew on November 28th and runs until December 15th. I know a number of guys who are happy to brave the cold and sit out with their bow, but I figure if I don’t like to sit in the beautiful days of October, it probably won’t happen in December. Thankfully, the nine-day VT muzzleloader season starts on December 3rd and

runs through December 11th. There is often snow, which is a bonus, but in the areas where I like to hunt, the deer have often started to migrate to their wintering range. I really try to avoid getting anywhere near the yards to hunt – it just doesn’t feel right knowing what is coming in the next few months. I have caught up to some late season bucks before, provided that the timing is right so that they’re still poking around postrut. One buck comes to mind. I cut his track

crossing a road before daylight, and camped on it. There was snow in it when I started in, so I had some catching up to do. Thankfully, there was evidence he was feeding pretty heavily, and tine marks pressed into the snow around the areas where he was digging up ferns kept me fired up in the single digit temperatures. I busted him out of that first bed without seeing him, and then gave him some time. Knowing I’d caught up, I resumed the chase. I saw where he had watched his back track, then started walking, browsing his way through a cut, then made his way down into a swamp. Having learned my lesson, I eased along, and spotted him bedded in front of me under some cedars at 40 yards. I was able to touch off my muzzleloader and get a round into him. More waiting, some tracking, a miss, and finally I was able to finish him off. What a chase. I certainly didn’t get chilled dragging him out. What’s Next With the buck tracking season winding down, I like to shift gears into the final couple weeks of grouse hunting, and get after some snowshoe hare. If the snow isn’t too deep, tracking a hare (Continued on next page)

������������������������������������������� The Maine Sportsman • December 2022 • 73 (Continued from page 72)

is a lot of fun and a good way to introduce people to the world of tracking. Those bunnies make all the same moves, just at 1/100th scale from a buck. I also start to get my ice fishing gear together and figure out what

I broke last winter and forgot to fix, despite my best intentions. Oh yeah, I’ll start Christmas shopping on December 12th. Seems about right, according to the “Twelve Days of Christmas” song. As I mentioned, I’ve been chasing the partridge in the pear tree. We don’t

have a dove season here, though maybe we should, though they’ve departed by now. There’s a thing about rings in there that makes me pretty nervous. As I ponder the song and all the things I need to buy, it turns out that I may have to

hold off on shopping after all, since the goose season runs until December 16th in the Connecticut River zone, and I think that’s one of the days. After all that, I’m thinking Lori might get a subscription to The Maine Sportsman for Christmas – what a gift!

I never ask for hunting or fishing stuff during the holidays. Everyone is well-intentioned, but I’m pretty picky. Hopefully, I’ll need some money under the tree to pay for taxidermy!

Trophy Gallery

Jessica Wallace of Raymond, shown here with fiancé Eric Heath, shot this 10-pt., 204-lb. buck in Raymond on November 2, 2022 using her .308. Jessica is the newest member of The Maine Sportsman’s “Biggest Bucks in Maine” patch club.

Pittston resident and Maine Sportsman reader James Coan had a very successful moose hunting trip to Drew Plantation this fall, using a 7 mm magnum to drop this 964-lb, 20-pt bull moose on September 26, 2022. “It’s by far the most impressive animal I’ve ever harvested,” he wrote. Congratulations, Jim!

Dave Shaw and his 14-year-old daughter, Katie, of Whitefield tagged out early in the 2022 whitetail firearms season. Dave bagged this 175-pound 10-point buck on Opening Day for Maine residents, while Katie tagged a 165-pound 8-pointer on Youth Day. Congratulations, Dave and Katie!

Travis O’Brien of Bremen became a member of the “Biggest Bucks in Maine” club in a big way on October 29, 2022 with this impressive 12-pt, 218-lb whitetail. Travis was hunting in Newcastle, using a 7 mm Remington Magnum. The deer was registered at Market 27, on the Gardiner Road in Wiscasset.

Kierra Bumford of Oakland, ME tagged her first moose on October 13, 2022 while hunting in Zone 4 with her father, brother, and family friends. The bull weighed 780 lbs. and had a 48-inch spread. Congratulations, Kierra!

74 • December 2022 • The Maine Sportsman ————————————————————————————————————————————

Smilin’ Sportsman

Wrong Card Flo: “When I went to pay for my groceries at the supermarket today, I accidentally used my medical donor card instead of my credit card.” Eb: “What happened?” Flo: “I’m not sure, but it cost me an arm and a leg.” — Tourist Surcharge The Downeast gas station attendant finished filling up the tires on the out-ofstater’s car. “That’ll be five dollars,” he said. “What?” asked the customer. “The sign out front says, ‘Free Air.’ What are you charging me for?” “Inflation.” — The Diagnosis My psychiatrist says I have a preoccupation with vengeance. Well, we’ll see about that. — Make Your Choice Ladies: If your husband is pounding

on the front door, and your dog is barking outside the back door, which door do you open first? Answer: You open the back door and let your dog in first, because at least when you let the dog in, the dog will quiet down. — Truth as a Defense A married man stopped at a bar on the way home from work. He started talking with a friendly woman sitting next to him, and before he realized it, they had talked for hours and hours. Then he glanced at his watch and saw that he’d be very, very late getting home. Outside the bar, he put on his boots and walked back and forth through a mud puddle before getting into his truck.

“Where have you been?” demanded his wife when he entered the house. “Darling,” replied the man, “I can’t lie to you. I met an attractive woman at the bar and lost track of the time.” The wife glanced down at his boots and said, “You liar! You’ve been hunting!”

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Hibernation Domination Maine black bears have the right idea. When the weather gets cold and miserable, our native bruins crawl into their caves and go to sleep, thereby avoiding the hassle of blizzards, ice storms and Christmas shopping. They don’t have to worry about New Year’s Day hangovers, getting into drunken fights at Super Bowl parties, or whatever it is Americans do to celebrate Presidents’ Day (chop down a cherry tree? steal classified documents?). The more I thought about the advantages of snuggling under the covers and staying there until spring, the more the idea appealed to me. It helps that I’m a fundamentally lazy guy, who can easily sleep 12 hours a night and still take an afternoon nap. I’d only need to increase my shut-eye time by a few hours per day to qualify as officially hibernating. Even so, instituting such a major change in my annual life cycle required some serious advance planning. But with the proper preparation, I managed to set myself up to have my best winter ever. Bulking Up for the Cold Months My quest to join the hibernation generation began last March, just about the time bears were waking up. If I was going

to survive an entire winter of doing nothing but snoozing, I was going to need a layer of fat that my body could use to sustain itself through the long, dark months. I had some serious eating to do. For breakfast, make mine pancakes, waffles, ham, sausage, bacon, omelets, crepes, Scotch eggs, blueberry muffins, cinnamon buns and scones. Banana bread? Yes, please, with cream cheese. At lunch and dinner, let there be steaks, chops, roasts, pasta, chowders, stews, chili, wings, legs, thighs, pizzas, burritos, burgers, fries and all other forms of potatoes. After that, bring on the pies, cakes, cookies, brownies and ice cream treats in all their delectable varieties. Not Gluttony; Science And let’s not forget doughnuts: glazed, frosted, cream-filled, jelly, blueberry, cinnamon and chocolate, not to mention crullers and every other deep-fried alternative. Oddly enough, shortly after I told a few bear-hunting friends about my plans to sleep all winter, buckets of these treats began showing up on my porch. I was a little uneasy, wondering what that meant, but not so much that I didn’t eat them all, anyway. When that surplus of rich food made

me thirsty, I filled my tankard with double India pale ales, hearty stouts, intoxicating barley wines and traditional holiday beers. Also, the occasional case of whiskey for chasers. Gluttony? No, science. Reinforce the Bed I’m sure some vegan-tinged dietician will find fault with this menu because of its alleged lack of vegetables. Like a BLT doesn’t count as a salad. Like barbeque sauce doesn’t qualify as plant-based. Like anybody who was trying to gain weight would even consider eating broccoli, cauliflower or Brussel sprouts. Those are wasted non-calories. After gorging myself all summer and fall, I had acquired sufficient bulk to survive a somnambulant winter. I prepared to begin my long seasonal nap right after Thanksgiving dinner, a time when I’m filled with turkey, stuffing, gravy, cranberry sauce and hard cider, and my sleep-inducing tryptophan levels were at their maximum. My bed had been reinforced to bear (heh) my additional bulk, and I was fully (heh) prepared to avoid the seasonal drawbacks of snow shoveling, ice scraping and blizzard hysteria from TV meteorologists. It was time to

bid adieu to my wife (skeptical, but surprisingly supportive, possibly because there was something appealing about getting rid of me for four months) and crawl between the sheets. No Bruins; No Patriots In no time, I fell into a deep slumber, undisturbed by the vagaries of winter weather, the need to prepare my tax returns, and the sad state of the Patriots and Bruins. So far, the only interruption I’ve suffered was when some over-enthusiastic game wardens made their surreptitious way into my bedroom and attached a tracking collar to my neck. They also left a survey about my mating plans for the spring. I’m not planning to fill it out. You may be wondering how I intend to

keep up with my columns for this esteemed publication while I’m deep in my dreams. Fear not, I’ll still be showing up here each frozen month, because I’ve stumbled upon a simple solution to the seemingly impossible feat of accomplishing my creative work while unconscious. Years ago, one of my nastier critics declared, “I could write better stuff than you in my sleep!” I didn’t need better stuff. Just the same level of marginal incomprehensibility would do. And if you’re reading this, that proves I managed it. Awake or not, Al Diamon writes the weekly column Politics & Other Mistakes for the Portland Phoenix and the Daily Bulldog.

76 • December 2022 • The Maine Sportsman ————————————————————————————————————————————

Trophy Gallery Be sure to join one of The Maine Sportsman’s Patch Clubs!

Biggest Bucks in Maine Maine Youth Deer Hunter Maine Big Game Grand Slam Maine Black Bear • Maine Bowhunters Maine Moose Hunters • Maine Wild Turkey The One That Didn’t Get Away Catch-and-Release • Maine Saltwater Anglers

Neil Pendleton of Nashua, NH had a successful 2021 muzzleloader season, as shown by this 211.4-lb., 7-pt whitetail buck. Neil qualified for Maine’s “Biggest Bucks” club while hunting December 4, 2021 in Upton, Maine. He registered the deer at Mills Market, South Main St., East Andover.

Jeffrey Desrosiers of Gilmanton, NH earned his “Biggest Bucks in Maine” patch with this 224-lb, 10-pt buck shot in Bingham and registered at the Bingham General Store on Maine Street. The hunt took place on November 1, 2022, and Jeffrey used a 30-’06.

Michael Simmons of Fort Eustis, PA shot this 750-lb. bull moose with his .300 Winchester Mag while hunting in Chase Stream Township. From left: Alan Samples (subpermittee), Hayden Stratton (guide), and Michael Simmons (permit holder). The trophy was registered at Bishop’s Store in Jackman.

On January 16, 2022, Kent Raymond of Hermon became a member of the Maine Sportsman’s “One that Didn’t Get Away” club when he hauled this 6.4-lb., 26.5-inch salmon through the ice at Cold Stream Pond in Enfield. The lunker’s weight was certified at JC’s Variety, Western Avenue in Hampden.

Eight-year-old Zachary Vieira caught this 21-inch salmon while ice fishing Moosehead Lake in February, 2022. Nice fish, Zachary! Matt Vieira photo

Isaac Austin (right) of Sabattus took second place in the Cobbosseecontee Fishing Derby on March 5, 2022, and also earned a Maine Sportsman “One that Didn’t Get Away” patch, with this 15.55lb, 39-inch Northern pike, caught with live bait. With Isaac is his father, Austin. The catch was certified at Gowell’s Shop ‘N Save, Litchfield.

������������������������������������������� The Maine Sportsman • December 2022 • 77

— TRADING POST — • Subscribers may place one free 20-word • The regular rates are $15 for up to 20 line classified ad per month (2-month limit) words and 50¢ for each additional word • Items for sale must include a price • Check, money order, MasterCard or VISA (Credit or Debit) are accepted • Real estate ads must include an address or location

• 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. miles North of Pines box. Facebook market1949 MODEL 70 BOATS FIREARMS Market in Eustis. place . $190. 207-728270WIN FOR SALE 16 FOOT

SOLID FIBERGLASS RANGELEY BOAT Built by Riverbend Fiberglass in good condition except needs gunwale work. $250 OBO. Located near Augusta. ME. Reply to: Ads@ —

CAMPS FOR RENT CAMPS FOR RENT For hunting, fishing, families, sledding, ATV. Ashland, Medford, Argyle, Lagrange. Ample parking. Off-grid $400/ week, Modern $700/ week. 207-745-1725. DEAD RIVER CAFE, YEAR-ROUND HOME FOR RENT On the North Branch of the Dead River. Sleeps up to 9. Four bedrooms, 1/1/2 baths, 2 car garage. 3 1/2

Long Term Winter Rental Jan 1st-Mar 31st $12,000 Contact Jamie: 207-577-6516 —

CAMP FOR SALE BYORN CABIN CO. NORDIC LOG CABIN KITS Quality European wood windows and doors, easy to assemble and affordable. 207-271-3449 —

DOGS QUAIL HOLLOW KENNELS: BRITTANYS Simply the best personal shooting dogs and family pets. Puppies and started dogs. Woodcock training November through March. Forty years of excellence. Call after sunset 856-935-3459

22 RIMFIRE ARMALITE EXPLORER AR 7 In good condition $450. Reply to: Ads@

VERY NICE MOSSBERG 835 ULTI-MAG Turkey/deer combo. Finished in Mossy Oak Obsession. Shoots 2 3/4”, 3” and 3 1/2”. Has 24” ported turkey barrel, with fiber optic sights. Also has a 24” cantilever fully-rifled and ported barrel. Very nice shotgun. Asking $600. Have some sabot slugs, buckshot and turkey loads that could possibly go with it. Call / text 207-402-4180.

With recently purchased Shepard 3x10 scope ($500+). Asking $1600 OBRO. Remington Model 597 22 autoloader with 3x9 scope. Like new ,asking $225 OBRO. 603-953-3220 —

ICE FISHING EQUIPMENT FOR SALE CLAM ICE FISHING SHACKS Two-Man $100. FourMan $150. T-bar Ice Auger $35. Jet Sled $50. Assorted Tip-ups $40. 207-400-6239 ICE FISHING TIP-UPS Hand-crafted optix acrylic plexi reels hardwood stakes. Five tip-ups with carrying

4740 —


LINE-CLASSIFIED AD DISCOUNTS Place a 20 word TEXT AD for a firearm, ammo, rod, bow, boat, car, truck or truck cap, shanty, auger or other personal item at $10/month. Offer good through December 31, 2022. Mail ad to our office or email ad to: —

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78 • December 2022 • The Maine Sportsman ———————————————————————————————————————————— Discover the versatility and convenience of Northeastern’s Camp and Cabin kits. Perfect for vacation homes or retirement retreats, these log cabin kits are easy to build and very affordable. They feature simple, open designs and come complete with pre-cut Eastern White Pine Logs, insulated doors, windows, rafters, roof sheathing and subflooring, plus step-by-step instructions.

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Never Miss Another Issue! Subscribe to The Maine Sportsman by going to www.MaineSportsman. com/Subscribe or calling (207) 622-4242 today!


The Maine Sportsman IS GROWING! The Maine Sportsman is seeking an experienced, self-motivated

Home and Business on 196 ACRES! Private setting, yet minutes off 295. Home is built like a fort, garage will fit 4 cars. Trails galore, rich history here. Property offers an established, successful business, only one of its kind since 1996, with extensive clientele. Perfect set-up for shooting enthusiasts! Have your own dreams? This is the place to make them a reality - start your own business! Minutes to Airport. Have your own plane? Land it here! A MUST SEE. CALL KATHLEEN TODAY! Kathleen “The Real Estate Queen” Scott Broker/Realtor®, Coldwell Banker Realty

Cell: 207-838-7740 Julia Edwards

Associate Broker, Coldwell Banker Realty

Cell: 207-730-6932



Contract Ad Sales Account Executive

to assist businesses and organizations in promoting products, services and events. Qualifications include a proven sales record, superb customer service, fluent in English, and access to computer and phone. Knowledge of the outdoors a plus. Training and contacts provided, monthly commission, and bonus potential. Send resume and introduction to





Mark Your Calendars for Maine’s Premier Outdoor Show! MARCH 31 – APRIL 2, 2022 Augusta Civic Center

FREE PARKING! HUNDREDS OF EXHIBITORS! ACTIVITIES FOR THE ENTIRE FAMILY! If you a returning or new exhibitor with questions, contact Carol at or 207 622-4242 or Becky at or (207) 623-4589.

������������������������������������������� The Maine Sportsman • December 2022 • 79 Caryn Dreyfuss, Broker • (207) 233-8275

DALLAS PLT – This 1.4 acre building lot is located in a desirable subdivision with protective covenants, well maintained roads and underground power. Lot is lightly wooded and has easy snowmobile trail access from your door. Deeded right to Rangeley Lake for swimming and boating at the HOLA association waterfront. Super spot just 2 miles from Rangeley Village and 6 miles from Saddleback ski area. MLS #1524732 – $76,900 EUSTIS – Looking for views, then check out this lot in the scenic Eustis Ridge Overlook! Wooded 3.87 acre parcel recently selectively cut to enhance the beautiful Flagstaff Lake and mountain vistas. Rough driveway in, building site cleared, underground power in place. Access ATV/snowmobile trails from your door. Quiet, private spot for your fulltime or get away home - don’t miss out on this one, inquire today! MLS #1541633 – $99,500 WELD – Check out this new to market building parcel. Gradually sloping 2.46 wooded acres with potential scenic Blueberry, Hurricane Mountain views. Located on year-round town maintained road - lot has been surveyed, soils tested, driveway entrance in, power available roadside. Quiet, peaceful spot off the beaten path and yet minutes to Mt Blue State Park, Webb Lake, Tumbledown Mt. Country living at its best. MLS #1546850 – $79,000

EMBDEN – This home has rustic charm in a country setting on a year round town maintained road that is also an ATV access. Sit on the back lawn among the fruit trees and flowering bushes watching wildlife while being just a few minutes to town. The pine interior of the home is warm and welcoming. There is a mudroom, a front sitting room, living room, two bedrooms on the main level, kitchen with dining area, main floor bathroom and upstairs is a large bedroom. This would be a great home or get a way property in an area of endless recreational opportunities. MLS #1540924 – $155,000 CANAAN – Well-built 4 bedroom, 3 bath home offers a large open kitchen/dining/living area, first floor main bedroom with its own bathroom and jetted soaking tub. The first floor also features a second full bathroom. Upstairs are 3 bedrooms and a full bathroom. The walk-out basement has plenty of room to be finished off to fit your needs. The home sits nicely off the road and has 36 acres offering fields and your own pond in the backyard. Very private setting and a short drive to shopping, dining and activities. MLS #1544046 – $370,000 NORRIDGEWOCK – Spacious, meticulously maintained 3 bedroom, 2 bath log home with well-appointed kitchen, large dining area, and spacious living room. It rests on a well-insulated, full foundation. Wildlife abounds in this rural area and the home is close to lots of recreational opportunities, including deeded access to the Sandy River. MLS #1536390 – $269,000 GREENVILLE – Beautiful 3 bedroom 2 bath home sitting on 5+/- acres of land with 281’ of owned water frontage on Prong Pond. The living area features a cathedral ceiling, wood stove and plenty of windows looking out to the waters edge. The open concept kitchen, dining and living areas as well as two bedrooms and bathroom finish out the main floor. Huge loft area for more sleeping space or whatever fits your needs. In the walk out basement you will find an area with a refrigerator and sink, a bathroom, the utility room, and two other rooms that could be used for more sleeping area or office space. The home offers radiant heat, central vacuum and a shed for your storage needs. This area provides great opportunities for hunting, fishing and outdoor recreation. The septic is a two bedroom design. MLS #1525052 – $760,000 ATHENS – 3 bedroom 1 bathroom single wide mobile home with covered porch area. This home sits on 89.06 surveyed acres that are well wooded. Stay in the home while building your new home or camp or use as the current owners do for recreation. Great area for hunting, fishing and trail riding. MLS #1531792 – $145,000 WELLINGTON – If you are looking for seclusion, privacy, and plenty of wildlife, this is the property for you. 88 acres of prime woodland located in Wellington. Property has not been cut in decades. This is the perfect spot for your off-grid cabin where you can enjoy the best in deer, moose, and upland hunting. Also enjoy easy access to ATV and snowmobile trails. MLS #1545544 – $99,000 HARTLAND – Approximately 97 acres of surveyed land on a town maintained gravel road, with power available at the road. Nice spot to build your home or camp. The ROW from Huff Hill Rd. offers a nice gravel road for more access to this property and is also the ATV and snowmobile trail. The property features beautiful views as well. Currently in tree growth for tax purposes. Tax figure is estimated only. (23025Sa1003) MLS #1537245 – $122,500 EMBDEN – Approximately 68.8 acres of land with about 750 feet of frontage on the East Shore Road. Paved, public road and electricity is available at the road. There is a gravel driveway. Short distance to the public boat landing. Currently in tree growth for tax purposes. (23025Hb0152). MLS #1543663 – $107,500 12/22

Grand Falls – This cabin was landed on this lot two years ago and ready to finish off and use. This 41 acre lot sits high on a hill with great views on Lord Brook Road. ATV and snowsled from this location. Take a look. $79,000

Springfield – Remote. Well wooded acreage. Direct ATV and snow mobile access right on McGinley Road. Clean northern Maine air, wildlife outside the front door and the chance to feel free. Call today for a look at this traditional Maine cabin. $59,900

Lee – New cabin is well insulated and should heat easily with electric baseboard. Good sized wooded lot offers privacy on Old Steamboat Road. Close to ATV and snowmobile trails. Year round access, electricity, near many lakes and ponds. $65,000

Lakeville – Gorgeous piece of land, heavily wooded and near the end of the Spaulding Pond Road with lakes all around. The cabin is small but sturdy. The privy and fire pit make it comfortable. Definitely well worth a look. $49,000

T3 R1 – A brand new cabin, fully insulated, knotty pine interior, wired for a generator. The privy is oversized with a covered porch, skylight and attached woodshed. Right on Sylvan Way with deeded access to Bill Green Pond. Offering owner financing! $79,000

Winn – This cute cabin is insulated with a knotty interior. The lot is heavily wooded and gorgeous. Situated on North Road; a paved, year round, secondary road. With a little fire pit sitting just off the cabin’s screen porch. $59,000

Lee – Well wooded. Remote. Critters everywhere. Add in the good, clean air of Northern Maine and you’ve got yourself a “keeper”. This smashin’ little lot right off Mallet’s Mill Road shouldn’t last long – call today for a guided tour. $69,900 Enfield – This large lot is part of a larger parcel, owner would consider selling larger piece. Not far from Cold Stream Pond and Cold Stream. Public road of Caribou Road and short distance to electricity. $34,000 Lee – This nice 10 acre lot is on a year round road with electricity. The lot is nicely wooded right on North Road. $21,900 Lee – 83+/- acres with spectacular views of lakes and Mt. Katahdin with a long, well-built road ending at the crest of the hill. Build your dream home or getaway cabin, right on Arab Road. $199,000



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


80 • December 2022 • The Maine Sportsman ————————————————————————————————————————————

Full Line of Browning Products! We have Browning Citori & Cynergy Shotguns, X-Bolt Rifles & Many Browning Handguns In Stock! PLUS Knives, Binoculars, Apparel and MORE!

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