The Maine Sportsman May 2024 Digital Edition

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IT’S TURKEY HUNTING TIME! • Best Turkey Calls P. 30 • Bowhunting for Wild Turkey P. 67 • Getting Close to the Birds P. 34

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2 • May 2024 • The Maine Sportsman ————————————————————————————————————————————————

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4 • May 2024 • The Maine Sportsman ————————————————————————————————————————————————


Turkey Baiting, the Allagash, and Sunday Hunting Mississippi Official’s Turkey-Baiting Citation a Good Reminder for Us Here in Maine Recently, the Commissioner of Wildlife for the state of Mississippi was issued a citation for hunting turkeys over bait. The commissioner posted a statement claiming he was hunting on a friend’s land and he did not know the landowner had released crickets into the field the day before the hunt. The problem with that defense is that in Mississippi – and also here in Maine – prosecutors do not have to prove a defendant knowingly hunted over bait, but only that the bait was there. Maine’s turkey baiting prohibition, for example, states that a person may not “hunt from an observation stand or blind overlooking bait or food ….” The deer-baiting law contains a similar standard. The laws do not require the state to prove the hunter knew the bait was present. Maine prosecutors we spoke to told us it would be rare for them to take a case to trial if the evidence indicated the hunter was truly not aware of the bait. “Usually, we have game camera photos of them dumping buckets of cracked corn in front of their blinds,” one said. The stakes are very high: a $500 fine, and – at least in the case of deer baiting – a one-year hunting license revocation. Forewarned is forearmed. Allagash Development on Hold – For Now According to an article last month by Julie Harris in the Bangor Daily News, the state’s Bureau of Parks and Lands has “backed off” on plans to construct three administrative offices and three storage barns within the restricted zone along the Allagash Wilderness Waterway. The Maine Sportsman’s “Ranger on the Allagash” columnist, Tim Caverly, was joined by Northwoods Sporting Journal’s “The Maine Woods” columnist, Matt LaRoche, to spearhead the opposition. Both men formerly served as superintendents of the waterway. They were joined by citizen groups, as well as several students from the College of the Atlantic. Opponents argued the planned construction was inconsistent with the legal mandate to maximize the wilderness character of the waterway. A tip of The Maine Sportsman’s cap to the ad hoc group that came together to express concern about the development and the precedent the construction would establish for the future. Sunday Hunting Bid Falls Short Maine’s Supreme Judicial Court held last month that Maine’s “right to food” law does not mean Mainers can hunt on Sunday. After declaring that Sunday hunting was illegal, the court stated, “We hold that the right to hunt for food created by the [right to food] amendment does not extend to illegal hunting, and therefore Maine’s longstanding Sunday hunting ban does not conflict with the Maine Constitution.” It was a novel argument, but no one knows what the ramifications would have been had the decision gone the other way, given Mainer’s reliance on access to private land to hunt, and on the opposition to Sunday hunting voiced to the court by Maine Woodland Owners, Maine Farm Bureau, and Maine Forest Products Council.

On the Cover: Maine’s Spring Turkey Hunt is Here! Youth Spring Wild Turkey Day is Saturday, April 27. The regular season starts Monday, April 29 and runs through Saturday, June 1. Hunters are limited to taking only bearded turkeys during the spring season. It’s a two-bird limit in WMDs 7, and 9-29; and a one-bird limit in WMDs 1 - 6, and 8. In this issue, our experienced writers teach you how to call in wild turkeys, stalk them, decoy them, and even make them into turkey maple breakfast sausage. Good luck out there!

New England’s Largest Outdoor Publication

Sportsman The Maine

ISSN 0199-036 — Issue No. 618 • PUBLISHER: Jon Lund MANAGING EDITOR: Will Lund OFFICE MANAGER: Carol Lund CREATIVE DIRECTOR: Kristina Roderick ADVERTISING DIRECTOR: Nancy Carpenter DISTRIBUTION DIRECTOR: Jon Mulherin 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: $33 • 24-Month Subscription: $54


Almanac by Will Lund.................................................... 14 Aroostook - “The County” by Bill Graves..................... 43 Big Game Hunting by Joe Saltalamachia.................. 34 Big Woods World by Brad Willey................................... 33 Editorial.............................................................................. 4 Freshwater Fly Fishing by Lou Zambello....................... 57 Get Out There by Staci Warren.................................... 48 Jackman Region by William Sheldon.......................... 53 Jottings by Jon Lund........................................................ 8 Katahdin Country by William Sheldon......................... 51 Letters to the Editor.......................................................... 6 Maine Sportswoman by Christi Elliott........................... 47 Maine Wildlife by Tom Seymour................................... 20 Midcoast by Tom Seymour........................................... 63 Moosehead Region by Tom Seymour......................... 55 New Hampshire by Ethan Emerson.............................. 72 Nolan’s Outdoor World by Nolan Raymond............... 49 Off-Road Traveler by William Clunie............................ 65 Outdoors & Other Mistakes by Al Diamon.................. 76 Quotable Sportsman by Will Lund................................ 12 Rangeley Region by William Clunie............................. 68 Ranger on the Allagash by Tim Caverly...................... 46 Riding Shotgun by Robert Summers............................. 75 Saltwater Fishing by Bob Humphrey............................ 27 Sebago to Auburn Region by Tom Roth..................... 64 Self-Propelled Sportsman by Jim Andrews.................. 50 Shooter’s Bench by Col. J.C. Allard............................. 38 Smilin’ Sportsman by Will Lund...................................... 75 Snapshots in Time by Bill Pierce.................................... 13 Southern Maine by Val Marquez................................. 67 Sportsman’s Journal by King Montgomery................. 10 Tales from the Warden Service by Ret. Lt. Doug Tibbetts.37 Tidewater Tales by Randy Randall............................... 62 Trapping The Silent Places by David Miller.................. 70 Trading Post (Classifieds)............................................... 77 Trout Fishing by Tom Seymour....................................... 59 Vermont by Matt Breton............................................... 74 Western Maine Mountains by William Clunie.............. 71


ATVing in Maine by Steve Carpenteri......................... 21 Boating in Maine by Will Lund...................................... 24 GRAND SLAM PATCH CLUB SPECIAL FEATURE........ 40-42 GUEST: I See, I See by David E. Petzal.......................... 36 Turkey Hunting in Maine: Let’s Talk Turkey Calls by Blaine Cardilli.................... 30 Wild Turkeys: Hail to the Chief by Bill Catherwood.. 32

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6 • May 2024 • The Maine Sportsman ————————————————————————————————————————————————

Letters To The Editor

Driving through Grindstown Twp

To the Editor: Last autumn, I had the opportunity to drive up Route 11, north from Stacyville to Medway, along the Penobscot. I’m 81. The first time I drove that stretch of Rt. 11 was in October of 1959. Memories of that trip are still vivid – deer, visible under the canopy of trees, and in the backyards of rural homes. As a non-resident (southern NH), I was in awe of the different world “up there” in Maine. Passing through the township of Grindstone, I stopped at the cabin of Emile Robichaux of Medway. I purchased a number of his hand-painted cedar fishing creels for $20 each. They now sell for $800 to $3,000. Things have changed. The woods are still there, but the loftiness of the trees has diminished. Some trees in the forest used to be 100 years old; now, the average age is 15.

Gone too are the whitetails that used to exit the mature forest to feed on roadside clover and grasses. We formerly saw between 30 and 50 whitetails each trip, but now we are lucky to see a single deer. Today, I realize there are at least three entities hoping to “hang on” – 1) the forest; 2) the deer herd; and 3) me! It’s been a great ride through the Maine woods, and I am hoping for another productive season in Maine’s unorganized territories in 2024. Pat Cassier, Deerfield, NH —

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To the Editor: I and others will miss David Van Wie’s monthly “Sporting Environment” columns in The Maine Sportsman. We all must be made aware of – and become changers regarding – fossil fuels. As Pogo said in 1970, “We have met the enemy, and it is us.” I very much appreciated all David’s writings, since they increased awareness, and gave us wake-up calls. Matthew Scott, Aquatic Biologist, Emeritus, Belgrade ME —

To the Editor: Thank you for providing The Maine Sportsman’s ace reporter, Bill Sheldon, with two pages of space in the April issue (see “Jackman Region”) to tell the story of Oliver “Ollie” Nunes and his Grand Slam achieved at age 92. Ollie is a gentleman, and he embodies all that is good about our sport. Joe Schuttert, Greene, RI —

Appreciated David Van Wie

Concerned About the “Un-Wilding” of the Allagash To the Editor: I am writing to thank you for your coverage, in Tim Caverly’s columns and in your April editorial, of the opposition to the state’s proposal to build additional structures along the Allagash Wilderness Waterway, and to purchase a more powerful boat for patrolling the waterway. In Tim’s columns, it’s clear that both he and Matt LaRoche are helping the public to understand that the current development proposal is in direct contradiction to the Allagash Wilderness Waterway mandates. Plus, Tim and Matt have offered alternatives. And regarding your magazine’s editorial, in which you stated that you believe it’s time for the waterway’s governing rules to be amended to prohibit (Continued on next page)

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future increases and enlargements in development, including access points, buildings and equipment, I say “Well said!” Let’s stop the ongoing “un-wilding” of the Allagash Wilderness Waterway. Alexandra Conover Bennett, Elliotsville Twp, ME —

Another View: Leave My Gas and Oil Alone To the Editor: I don’t know about the rest of your readers, but I’m getting tired of people telling me that if we don’t get rid of all fossil fuels, we’re all going to die. News Flash: We’re all going to die. We have many resources at our disposal (and I think we can agree each come with drawbacks), and I don’t know why we can’t use each one to meet our needs. This country was built and moves on fossil fuels, and I hope we can still count on them to sustain us. It’s a shame that some tell us

that their way is the only way. Total ban! Change in our surroundings is inevitable. It’s called entropy – a naturally occurring phenomenon. For instance, I used to be 5’7”; now I’m 5’5”. I did like David Van Wie’s “temperature anomaly” graph, though. All I’m saying is, if you want to live in a windmill and pedal your bike to the mountains with kayak in tow, have at it! Just leave my gas and oil alone; I like them both. There’s another scientist out there who got it all wrong as well; his name is Darwin. Just saying! Scott LaBreck, Saco, ME —

Will Miss David Van Wie To the Editor: I will miss David Van Wie’s monthly wisdom in the Sportsman. It is a tough job writing for the cast-and-blast community. Our members are quick to attack most ideas coming from any governing body. (Letters to the Editor continued on page 9)

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8 • May 2024 • The Maine Sportsman ————————————————————————————————————————————————

My New York Turkey Hunt Back in the 1960s, before we had a turkey hunt here in Maine, when L.L.Bean maintained a small odd lots department in their Freeport store, I used to check it out for interesting items. I found a turkey box call that seemed to be well-made. I purchased the call, even though Maine did not yet have an open season on turkeys. The call was simple to operate – only one moving part, a small pivoting board on top attached to a rubber band that supplied tension when the operator pulled it open. When the rubber

In the decades before Maine offered a spring turkey hunt, residents of this state had to travel far and wide in search of the big birds. The author and a hunting buddy headed to upper New York State, armed with a New York DeLorme Atlas and an L.L.Bean box call. band pulled the door shut, the edge of the door dragged on the edge of the box to generate a gentle squawking sound that mimicked the call of a hen turkey. With a bit of practice, the squawk could be produced consistently. NY was Smart with Pittman-Robertson Funds New York State government had some visionary leaders. All states receive match-

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ing federal funds from taxes assessed on firearms and certain other sporting goods. New York expended those funds to acquire large and small parcels of real estate to ensure public access for recreation, including hunting and fishing. New York State has a remarkable number of parcels of public land. Maine leaders, on the other hand, saw no need for such land acquisition, in view of our tradition of allowing public use of privately owned timberland. Maine used federal matching funds mostly to support the

activities of the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. Depression-Era Food Source Wild turkeys are vulnerable to poaching because of their instinct to spend the night in a tree, where they are protected from most predators, except man. They will even give away the location of their nighttime roost by gobbling in response to many unusual sounds. During the depression years, wild turkey populations crashed, because hungry folks shot them out of trees

when the birds roosted for the night. Public and private efforts to restore the populations by releasing farm-raised turkeys were unsuccessful. The only process that worked was to livetrap wild flocks, and re-locate wild birds. The recreational lands in New York State proved to be well-suited to support fast-growing populations of wild turkeys. New York was a pioneer state in establishing sufficient populations of wild turkeys to permit public hunting of the big birds. Therefore, small groups of Mainers interested in exploring a different form of hunting banded together for a springtime hunt in New York State. In those days, the spring (Continued on next page)

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was an otherwise quiet time for us hunters. Headed for New York State You don’t need a lot of equipment to hunt turkeys – 12, 16 or 20 gauge shotgun, number 4 or 6 shot shells, a couple of lightweight decoys, suitable camo clothing including a face-mask, and a turkey call or two. Turkeys are tough birds, and hunters should not try to shoot them from a long distance away. Hunters must remain as motionless and quiet as possible, since turkeys have keen eyesight and hearing, and can spot movement a long ways away. Armed with a New York State DeLorme Atlas, we set out for upper New York State. After arriving during daylight hours, we scouted possible hunting areas and roosting areas with easy access. We chose a location adjoining an open field

bordered by a wire fence, beyond which was a heavily wooded hill. Gobblers Early the following morning, we thought we heard a gobble response to my clucks and purrs on the box call, so we parked the car. We crossed the field, entered the woods, and walked in the direction of the gobble. I sat on a folding stool and waited, heard a gobble up on the hill, and we clucked and purred in response. This turkey was closer. Two toms. I sat tight. Waited. Two toms, both coming my way, gobbling as they came. When the first one showed in the brush, I fired, and the tom tipped over, dead. My old Fox Model B Double had come through again. It was my introduction to turkey hunting.

“I sat tight,” the author recalls. “Waited. Two toms, both coming my way, gobbling as they came.” Photo by Tommy Kirkland

Letters to the Editor (Continued from page 7)

By contrast, David’s last article (see April issue) simply and honestly described the causes and effects of global warming. The increasing number and severity of storms have cost billions of dollars, resulting in the higher cost of food, insurance, habitat, and lives. The Maine Sportsman features a monthly virtual learning library describing the presence of coldwater fish and warm-blooded creatures. Rapid planet warming is destructive to all of these creatures. Science is telling us – through tree rings, Arctic ice cores, and atmospheric studies – that climate change is not a “Chinese hoax.” David has been the messenger of this truth. Thanks, David, for your gift of knowledge to all of us who are so invested in enjoying and preserving our wonderful outdoors. Joseph N. Weiss, Ph.D., Clarence, New York

10 • May 2024 • The Maine Sportsman ———————————————————————————————————————————————

Short History of the Rangeley Boat Building small wooden boats and tying flies have something in common: all of the basic patterns for both have been around forever, and new flies or boats are primarily variations on an established theme. And so it is with the iconic Rangeley Boat that had its beginnings in the late 1860s in the Rangeley Lakes. In my research on the genesis of the Rangeley, I’ve come to the conclusion that its initial construction was based on two small boats, both from the state of New York. One craft is the Adirondack Guideboat, and the other is the St. Lawrence Skiff. The skiff played the larger role in the beginnings of the Rangeley, and I suspect both parent boats were present on the Rangeley Lakes in the mid-19th Century, brought by well-to-do New York businessmen for the purpose

The Adirondack about 60 pounds.

The author traces the fascinating history of the iconic Rangeley Boat, from its beginnings as a double-ender, to the squaring off of the stern to accommodate the “newfangled” outboard motors, and finally to a transition from wood to fiberglass.

Typical length of the Adirondack Guideboat was around 16 feet, with a 38inch beam. It seated three – a guide and two sports, usually had shallow draft, and could be portaged by one person. All photos provided by the author

of conveyance to fishing spots throughout the vast array of rivers, lakes, and ponds in the Western Maine Mountains, and elsewhere in the Pine Tree State. The St. Lawrence and Adirondack boats were based on the original designs of



the Native American canoes that plied our waterways before Europeans set foot on the continent. The Native Americans, I suspect, used the old dugout canoe as the blueprint for the birch bark canoes that became pretty standard over time in indigenous peoples’

boating endeavors. The Adirondack Guideboat Canoes are paddled, but on bigger waters, oars on a boat are much preferred. Oars place more stress on a craft, so a stronger “canoe-like” boat for rowing was developed

The St. Lawrence skiff probably has been around since the 1840s, and it was designed primarily to serve as a sportfishing boat. Note that anglers can stand and cast just as in the Rangeley Boat.

sometime in the 1840s in an area known as the Adirondack Park that consumes a good part of Northern New York, from Lake Champlain to well below Lake George, and westward not quite to the St. Lawrence River and Lake Ontario. Typical length was around 16 feet with a 38-inch beam. It seated three – a guide and two sports usually – had shallow draft, and could be portaged by one person. The craft weighed 60 pounds. It was more robust construction than a canoe, included ribs and stem of spruce, a hull of cedar laps, and a bottom board of pine. It was rowed cross-handed. This was a perfect boat for fishing and recreating in the beautiful and very numerous Adirondack lakes and waterways. Easily portaged between the many lakes or around obstructions, the (Continued on next page)

The St. Lawrence skiff is a beautiful double-ended wooden rowboat that generally ranged in length from 14 to 22 feet, with a beam of around 42 inches. Note how similar the Rangeley Boat is to this craft.

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Some St. Lawrence Skiffs were tricked out with wicker seats for sport’s comfort. (Continued from page 10)

Guideboat excelled in its versatility in a wild environment. The craft is pretty much obsolete these days, but some Guideboat aficionados still race in their own class in the annual Adirondack Canoe Classic on Lake Saranac. The St. Lawrence River Skiff Skiffs had been around in the Old World long before we became a country, and in New York and Ontario, Canada, boatwrights on both sides of the St. Lawrence River built a particular kind of skiff to handle the waters around the fabled Thousand Islands stretch of the river. The St. Lawrence skiff probably has been around since the

Cornelia “Fly Rod” Crosby fishes from a Rangeley Boat in the early 20th century. Here, she holds 18 brook trout weighing 15 pounds, all caught within two hours.

1840s, and it was designed primarily to serve as a sportfishing boat. It was a favorite of fishing guides because it was easy to row for long distances and could be rowed all day when fully loaded – and even sailed when the wind was up, and without a rudder! It was a beautiful double-ended wooden rowboat that generally ranged in length from 14 to 22 feet, with a beam of around 42 inches, and it was the predominant boat in numbers for many uses until the advent of the outboard motor. Unlike the Rangeley Boat, the St. Lawrence Skiff was not widely modified to handle the new motors, and it quietly faded from the boat scene except for some folks who keep it

This photo by Starbird appeared in The Maine Sportsman July 1897 issue. The sport holds a Rangeley Lake 11-pound salmon. Note the fancy chairs for the two sports.

going. The Rangeley Boat There is a very good probability early members of the Oquossoc Angling Association (OAA) in the late 1860s had a St. Lawrence Skiff and an Adirondack Guideboat or two pulled up on the shore of Cupsuptic Lake where their private camps still stand today. Many, if not most, of the early members probably had fished in the Adirondacks and/or along the St. Lawrence, and many were from New York itself. So models for a future boat were on-site. (The OAA is the first angling club formed in America.) The early club members hired a Mr. Ball and, by some accounts, Luther Tibbetts, to build six “In-

Note the Rangeley Boats and canoes lined up on the dock in front of the Mingo Springs Hotel on Rangeley Lake in the early 20th century.

dian Rock” boats, and Tibbetts would go on to be the first full-time Rangeley Boat builder in the region. (“Indian Rock” is directly across the mouth of the Kennebago River from the OAA Kennebago Camps.) According to Harland “Spike” Kidder (1919-2017) in his self-published A Good Life in the Rangeley Lakes Area: A Good Life of Hunting, Trapping & Fishing, the boats were built higher and wider to handle conditions in the Rangeleys. Kidder was a hunting and fishing guide, and superintendant of the OAA from 1950-89. He began rowing a Rangeley in 1937! The Barrett brothers, Tom and Charles, built the most Range-

Three Rangeley Boats at Upper Dam Pool, around the turn of the 20th century.

leys over the longest period of time from around 1880 to 1939. Charles invented the round oarlocks that allowed guides to drop the oars without fear of losing them while they scrambled for the landing net. Barrett also introduced the incredibly clever round seats that forced clients to sit amidships, making for easier rowing, and later for running about with an outboard motor. The Barretts sold to Herbert Ellis, and he built three different square-stern models of the Rangeley, and apparently the number two model was preferred by guides. It took up to a 7.5 horsepower outboard, and still was easy to row when necessary. (Continued on next page)

This Barrett built boat at the Outdoor Heritage Museum in Oquossoc belonged to Elizabeth Morris, and her regular guide was Herb Welch (1879-1960). The boat was donated by Elizabeth’s niece, Beth Brunswick.

12 • May 2024 • The Maine Sportsman ———————————————————————————————————————————————

Two of my favorite people, Leslie Hilyard aft, and the late Graydon Hilyard doffing his cap, in a vintage Rangeley at Upper Dam Pool. Mike Hiza photo

A modern-day Rangeley Boat built by Alex Comb of Stewart River Boatworks.

Sportsman’s Journal (Continued from page 11)

Grant’s Kennebago Camps still has some Rangeleys built by Ellis. Although the Maine boat was originally a double-pointer like the New York/ Ontario St. Lawrence parent boat, the boat’s stern was squared in the 1920s and 30s to accommodate the newfangled outboard motor. Rangeleys generally were about 17 feet in length with a 45inch beam. In any configuration, the Range-

ley is a gorgeous and highly functional watercraft that persists today in the Rangeley Lakes, the Belgrade Lakes, Sebago Lake, throughout Maine, and beyond. Information: – Outdoor Heritage Museum, 8 Rumford Rd., Oquossoc, ME 04964, 207-864-3091. Has some Rangeley Boats. – According to Google, the following businesses make Rangeley



by Will Lund

“Dallas Seavey Wins Record Sixth Iditarod Despite Moose-Gutting Penalty” New York Times headline, after Dallas Seavy, a five-time Iditarod sled dog race winner, won the race again this year even though he was assessed a two-hour penalty for insufficiently field-dressing a moose. He was forced to shoot the moose after the animal became entangled in his sled dogs’ harness, fatally injuring one of his dogs. “The moose fell on my sled; it was sprawled on the trail,” Seavey told a local television crew. “I gutted it the best I could.” —

Boats. Stewart River Boatworks, Knife River, MN, 219-8342506, Riverbend Fiberglass, Dixfield, ME, 207-562-7103, www.rangeleyboats. com. Newfound Woodworks, Bristol, NH, 603-744-6872, www. – The Adirondack Guideboat: With Plans and Commentary by John Gardner, by Kenneth and Helen Durant, 1980. A good source for learning about and building this interesting, little boat. – Building Classic

Grant’s Camps owner John Blunt launches his prototype fiberglass hull Rangeley boat on Kennebago Lake several years ago. He’s replacing the camp’s fleet of old, somewhat decrepit wooden boats with a updated versions.

Small Craft: Complete Plans and Instructions for 47 Boats by John Gardner, 1997. Everyone’s go-to book for small boat building. Includes the St. Lawrence Skiff and Rangeley Boat. – The Rangeley and its Region: The Famous Boat and Lakes of Western Maine by Stephen A. Cole, 2002. A superb historical study of the place, the people, and the boat. – Images of America Rangeley Lakes Region by R. Donald Palmer, 2004. It seems almost every other page has a photo that includes

Rangeley Boats. For a nice overview of Rangeley’s history told in photos, this is the volume. – As of this writing, John Blunt at Grant’s Kennebago Camps has about 30 wooden Rangeley boats for sale between $300 and $900. He even has some for free, but they’ll require a bit of work. Call 800-6334815. Blunt is replacing his wooden fleet with a fiberglass version of the Rangeley. And it’s still a Rangeley Boat.

“The Bureau appears to be suffering from an edifice complex.” Kyla Bennett, director of the environmental advocacy group PEER (Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility). Bennett was referring to the Maine Parks Bureau’s proposal to construct six buildings along the Allagash Wilderness Waterway. — “To catch the 6-lb., 4 oz., 25-inch long brook trout at Moosehead Lake, I baited my ice-fishing trap with a Manwich.” Gabe Valley, discussing his February 16, 2024 trophy trout. A “Manwich,” he explained, is a live smelt and a nightcrawler on the same hook. — “A hole the size of a quarter that’s one foot below the waterline, lets 19 gallons of water into your boat every minute.”

Video, “Why Boats Sink,” by BoatUS. Nineteen gallons of water weighs more than 150 lbs. The video also explains that as a boat gets lower in the water, the flow through the hole accelerates. If a boater notices a leak, BoatUS recommends the 3-F Rule: Find the leak and Fix it, Fast.

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“Snapshots in Time”

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

A Jumping Salmon, a Polluted River, and a Predatory Cat – Three Stories from 1906 the water. There are also several other mills situated on the banks of the Androscoggin, all of which turn more poisonous matter into the river. The sewers of several towns and cities are turned into the river, all together making the water very bad. Comment: Thank Goodness for the Clean Water Act! The Andro, once on the list of the top 10 most polluted rivers in America, has steadily recovered. I love fishing this river, and although I still don’t eat any fish from the river because of a concern regarding lingering toxins in the riverbed, it is a wonderfully productive recreational fishery.

The short articles below were found in the May 11, 1906, edition of the MAINE WOODS newspaper. My comments appear in italics; otherwise, all copy is reprinted just as it appeared in 1906. Enjoy what follows, and be sure to get outside this month and make some great outdoor history of your own. —

Salmon Jumped Into Boat

Seldom does a big seven-pound salmon jump right into a fisherman’s boat, but that was what happened to C.D. Martin of East Sebago, while fishing at Sebago Lake recently. Mr. Martin had hardly begun trolling on the lake off East Sebago when he began to get bites, and it was but a short time later before he felt a tremendous tug, the signal that a salmon of unusual weight had been hooked. Quicker than a flash, the handsome fish made a dash for the surface and then rising gracefully, it sailed through the air, landing directly in the boat from which Mr. Martin was trolling. Comment: This sounds fun. However, I recall a story in Sports Illustrated back in the early 1980s about two fishermen having a similar, albeit less “fun” experience. The two buddies were sea trout fishing in the Indian River near Stuart, Florida. One angler was landing a two-pound trout, when a huge tarpon came out of the water, inhaled the trout, and landed, fresh as a daisy and fit to be tied, in their boat. In the moments before the anglers were able to dispatch the big fish, it had caused more than $1,200 in damage to boat and equipment. One angler received a broken arm, and the other ended up with numerous bruises and contusions. Cage-match angling at its finest!

Polluted Andro Kills Salmon Fry (1906)

The people of Brunswick have dim hopes that the 75,000 small salmon recently placed in the Androscoggin River will live, and they do not believe that the time will ever be seen when

Cat Caught Rabbit

A large tarpon landing in your boat could get really interesting. Images courtesy of Boca Grande Historical Society

these fish can be caught in this river. It is said that large numbers of the small fry have been found dead on the banks of the river below the falls, and it is supposed that many hundreds more have gone down the river. The principal reason given for this is that it is impossible for the fish to live in a river, the water of which is so contaminated as is the water of the Androscoggin. At Pejepscot Mills, only a few miles above Brunswick, there is a large sulphite paper mill, the refuse of which is turned into the river. This poisons

The following is from the Boston Herald. It may be true, or purely imaginative. We do not doubt that a cat can catch a rabbit, but to credit the animal with so much intelligence is to make it outrank not a few men we know, some of whom are supposed to deal in fur. Here’s the story: “A certain cat, much petted and adored, is believed to understand language, it having repeatedly acted upon what was said to it, but not long since it did far more and better. It obeyed literally. The man of the house is a great hunter. He loves to shoulder his gun and bring down small game, and one morning when he was setting forth for sport, his wife called out, “If you will bring home a rabbit, I will make a pie!” The cat sat by, but said nothing. A few hours after, while the wife was busy with her sewing, the cat appeared by her side carrying a rabbit in its mouth, and then dropped the game beside his mistress began to sing and purr like a tin kettle on the fire.” Comment: I’ll buy it. Our family cat, “Governor Baxter,” probably understands but ignores us, as we are but lowly “staff” to him. And how many among us are convinced our hunting dog understands most everything we say? Have a great month, everyone!


14 • May 2024 • The Maine Sportsman ———————————————————————————————————————————————

Three Minutes with a Maine Guide by Lisa DeHart

Maine Canoe Symposium The 38th annual Maine Canoe Symposium will be held June 7 - 9, 2024 at Camp Caribou in Winslow, Maine. My first MCS was 1992. I was a baby canoeist, hungry to learn all I could. I remember how grateful I was to all the Maine Guides and Canadian canoe professionals who gathered to teach on land and on-water workshops. I eagerly grabbed a schedule and was in heaven. Let’s see … paddling classes, poling classes, fire-starting in the pouring rain, how to sharpen an axe … the list went on and on. I knew then I had just shortened by decades my learning curve for everything I was desperate to be good at … and I was right!

Compiled and Edited by — Will Lund —

same waterways until they had crossed Canada by canoe. Nighttime presentations at Maine Canoe Symposium feature these expeditions, so we can all live vicariously through these canoeists. For me, after all these years, it’s a place to connect with old friends and plot new adventures. This crew is easily corrupted – one needs only to stare into the flames of a campfire with them and say, “You know, I’ve heard the Bloodvein River in Manitoba is quite a trip; we should check it out.” Someone around that fire will have done it or know someone who has done it or know where to get the maps, and bam!, the plot thickens.

Photo credit: John Meader Photo credit: John Meader

The Maine Canoe Symposium made me a better canoeists and a better Guide. I rubbed shoulders with modern-day true explorers like the Peake brothers of Canada. Michael and Jeffrey Peake researched historical expeditions that took place 50 -100 years ago, and paddled the

It’s a “safe space” where you can geek out about hull design and model of canoe. A place where no one will judge you for having a dozen canoes, and shopping to pick up Just. One. More. It has a fantastic kids program that my son absolutely loved, because they have canoes small enough that kids can paddle all by themselves. I know of no

other event like it. I know of no other place where so many Maine Guides volunteer their time and experience. I started out as a participant, and now I’ve been on staff for 20 years. To me, it signals the start of summer. Check it out at — Guide Talk by John LaMarca

Jump Up to Jackman Those who’ve been reading my columns here in The Maine Sportsman know of my strong view that even if you have young kids or infants, you should be able to continue enjoying nature just as you did before you became a parent. Granted, how you do it must change if you want to take them with you. We enjoyed an excursion in May of last year that offered the best of a wilderness experience, while still providing the comforts of home. My wife Anastasia, along with our two boys Jack and Tom, took a trip up to Cozy Cove Cabins in Jackman, Maine where we rented a cabin. Since the cabin was located right on Big Wood Lake, we were able to play in the water, throw some stones, and just discover. We even made some friends! Our kids, along with the Cozy Cove Cabins owner’s daughter, got to run around the grounds and just be kids in nature. Another benefit of Jackman is all the hiking that is within quick striking distance. The four of us loaded up and took (Continued on next page)

— MAINE CAMPING GUIDE — Nestled in Maine’s Western Mountain Richardson Lake Region Fly Fish Rapid River, Fish for Salmon or Trout on Richardson Lake, Hike the A/T, RV or Tent Sites including Remote Wilderness Lakeside Sites, Boat & Kayak Rentals, 40-Slip Marina

62 Kennett Drive, Andover, ME 207-364-5155 For Reservations Email

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to a good spot from which to cast, I saw a fly stuck in a log under the water. I reached in, plucked it out and inspected it. I had never seen a fly like this, but I figured “What the heck – let’s give it a try.” A short 5-10 minutes later, I was holding a beautiful salmon. Clearly, that fisherman knew his stuff. We were able to enjoy a campfire that night with some of the other campers, swapping stories and enjoying waves of heat from the fire to temper the crisp May air. It was a perfect way to start the summer season. Best of all, our cabin was so close we were in transmission range for the baby monitor, so Anastasia and I were able to enjoy the night while still ensuring all was well with our sleeping cubs. — (Continued on next page)

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a short drive to hike the Moxie Falls trail to see the wondrous waterfall. The trail conditions were suitable for little kids, and we all had a fantastic time picking up sticks, collecting slugs, and jumping in puddles along the way. Of course, Jackman is well known for all the fishing and hunting opportunities as well. After the kids had gone to bed and their mother was reading her book at the comfortable lodge, I was able to get out fly fishing one of the many rivers in the area. Native brook trout and salmon were biting well that evening. I must thank the Mystery Fisherman who was at the river before me. As I waded into the river to get

The author holding a salmon that couldn’t resist the “Mystery Fly.”


The author and family hiked the family-friendly trail to Moxie Falls. The trailhead is a short trip from where they were staying at Cozy Cove cabins on Big Wood Lake.


16 • May 2024 • The Maine Sportsman ———————————————————————————————————————————————


(Continued from page 15)

True, or False?: “Maine Coyotes are Getting Bigger” Submitted by Jon Lund

Photo credit

measurements show that coyotes are in fact not getting bigger, but smaller. So the answer to the statement above is “False.” For a fascinating discussion of the history and future of these wild canines written by Gerry Lavigne, see the Winter 2024 SAM News on page 6. —

Mid-Maine Marine


Eastern coyotes first appeared in Maine in the 1930s. However, they did not achieve widespread distribution in Maine until the 1970s. There is a common belief that coyotes have been getting bigger over the years. However, folks who trap coyotes or hunt them, also weigh them and measure the animals, and keep records from one year to the next. The statistics resulting from those

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Brown Bullheads (Hornpout) Make the Grade Recently, The Maine Sportsman added brown bullhead (hornpout) to the state record books for freshwater fish, Not only that, but we listed a new state record-holder. That would be 13-year old Grady Michaud, of Bremen, who caught a 1 lb., 9.6-oz bullhead through the ice at a pond in Nobleboro. Grady was using a dead minnow for bait. The species has been added to the Sportsman’s “One that Didn’t Get Away” patch club application (a hornpout that’s 1.5 lbs. or heavier qualifies), as well

Grady Michaud, and his new staterecord hornpout.

as to the “Catch and Release” application (a minimum of 13 inches long). Grady’s uncle, Capt. Michael Fahey, worked hard to locate state biologists and to document the fish’s weight on two different certified scales. “That’s great news!” said Fahey when he learned of the judges’ decision to declare his nephew as the new record-holder. “Grady’s going to be stoked!” —

A Second Grant Program for Snowmobile/ATV Clubs

In our March 2024 issue, we told readers of a grant to the Lexington Highlanders Snowmobile Club that was awarded by Polaris, Inc. (see “Maine Snowmobile Club Wins $10,000 Grant, and the Timing Could Not Have Been Better,” by Blaine Cardilli). Soon thereafter, we learned of another national manufacturer, Yamaha Motor Corporation, which awarded a $16,000 grant to the Day Mountain Road Association, in Avon. The program is administered by the “YaCome Visit Us at Our New Location Just 2 Doors Up! maha Outdoor Access Now owned and operated by Gary Coleman, who has been doing service work for General Appliance for 35 years – nothing has changed! Initiative.” According Still Here Serving Up First-Class Customer Service! to an article in the Dai-

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ly Bulldog, the funding was used to pay for repairs necessitated by erosion damage on a sloped portion of a heavily used OHV (off-highway vehicle) connector trail. Lisa Spicer, grant administrator, told The Sportsman that Yamaha’s grant program has distributed $6 million since it was founded in 2008. Information is available at —

Moose Lottery Deadline is May 15 This year’s Maine moose lottery opened on April 1st, and closes at 11:59 p.m. on May 15. This year the only way to apply is online, at the site mooselottery. This year’s moose lottery drawing will be held in Fort Kent on June 15, during a festival that’s already shaping up to be a great deal of fun. Winners’ names will be posted online by 6:00 p.m. that same day. —

New Fees for North Maine Woods (But it’s still a bargain!)

The Original



Turkey Hunting Can Alleviate Health Risks Spring fever is upon us in Maine. With spring often comes the desire to regain our health by increasing activity and dropping those holiday confections from our waistlines. The spring turkey season is

BLRD Blue & Red

(Continued on next page)






North Maine Woods (NMW) recently announced an increase in the day-use fee and other land use and camping fees. The organization explained that since the 1970s, they have set fees based on Maine’s prevailing minimum wage, under the premise that if someone was willing to work an hour at the minimum wage, they should be able to use those earnings for a day in NMW. In 1976, the minimum wage was $2.30/ hour, and the day use fee was $2. In 1986, the state’s minimum wage

was $4.85, and the use fee was set at $4, and in 2017, with a minimum wage of $9 and yearly statutory increases until it reached $12, the use fee was set at $10. With the minimum wage now set at $12, the new daily fee for Maine residents has been set at $13. Those under 18 are entitled to free day use and camping, while those 70 and over get free day use. A camping fee per night is an additional $12. Non-residents will be charged $18 per day, with a camping fee of $15. Year-long and season-long discounts are available, as are discounts for leaseholders, internal landowners, and customers staying four or more days at commercial sporting camps. Details are available at — Wilderness First Aid by Stacey Wheeler, RN


(Continued from page 16)


Also Available




18 • May 2024 • The Maine Sportsman ———————————————————————————————————————————————

May 2024 Sunrise/Sunset Bangor, ME DATE RISE SET 1 Wed 5:22 7:42 2 Thu 5:20 7:43 3 Fri 5:19 7:44 4 Sat 5:17 7:45 5 Sun 5:16 7:47 6 Mon 5:15 7:48 7 Tue 5:13 7:49 8 Wed 5:12 7:50 9 Thu 5:11 7:51 10 Fri 5:09 7:53 11 Sat 5:08 7:54 12 Sun 5:07 7:55 13 Mon 5:06 7:56 14 Tue 5:05 7:57 15 Wed 5:04 7:58 16 Thu 5:02 7:59

DATE RISE SET 17 Fri 5:01 8:01 18 Sat 5:00 8:02 19 Sun 4:59 8:03 20 Mon 4:58 8:04 21 Tue 4:58 8:05 22 Wed 4:57 8:06 23 Thu 4:56 8:07 24 Fri 4:55 8:08 25 Sat 4:54 8:09 26 Sun 4:53 8:10 27 Mon 4:53 8:11 28 Tue 4:52 8:12 29 Wed 4:51 8:13 30 Thu 4:51 8:14 31 Fri 4:50 8:15

May 2024 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

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

HIGH AM PM 4:56 5:49 6:00 6:51 7:07 7:52 8:13 8:49 9:15 9:41 10:11 10:31 11:06 11:20 11:59 — 12:08 12:50 12:56 1:41 1:45 2:32 2:35 3:25 3:29 4:21 4:26 5:18 5:25 6:14 6:24 7:09 7:22 8:00 8:19 8:47 9:10 9:29 9:56 10:07 10:39 10:44 11:20 11:20 12:01 11:57 — 12:40 12:35 1:20 1:16 2:03 2:00 2:49 2:49 3:40 3:43 4:35 4:43 5:32 5:45 6:29

LOW AM PM 11:28 11:44 — 12:29 12:51 1:30 1:59 2:29 3:01 3:24 3:58 4:15 4:52 5:04 5:43 5:54 6:34 6:42 7:24 7:31 8:14 8:21 9:06 9:14 10:01 10:11 10:57 11:11 11:53 — 12:12 12:48 1:14 1:41 2:12 2:30 3:04 3:13 3:49 3:53 4:29 4:30 5:08 5:07 5:45 5:44 6:24 6:23 7:04 7:05 7:46 7:49 8:31 8:37 9:21 9:31 10:14 10:30 11:09 11:32 — 12:05


(Continued from page 17)

a great way to dive into a smaller swimsuit. Turkey hunting offers the ability to increase physical activity through scouting, stalking and traversing terrain. Exercise contributes to weight loss, better sleep, and toning muscle. The International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health published a study in 2019 that reported merely spending time outdoors reduces stress and increases endorphins. Stress increases cortisol levels which directly correlates to extra pounds across the mid-section. And increased pounds around the belly increases risk for heart disease, diabetes, and hypertension. Release of endorphins also improves mood and can reduce symptoms of depression. One can not boast about the physical and mental health benefits of turkey hunting without also speaking to the harvest itself. According to the USDA, one serving of wild turkey meat contains 25 grams of protein and only 1 gram of fat. Compare those numbers to its farmraised, store-bought counterpart at 7 grams of fat per serving. Many people shy away from wild turkey as it can be drier due to its diet, lean muscle mass and not being pre-injected with brine. However, with proper preparation, one can achieve a juicy, flavorful dish that surpasses that of a commercially grown turkey and is better for the waistline and heart health. Fortunately, there are many resources for great recipes, including wild game cookbooks, and the internet. So put on your camo, practice your calls, and hit the woods to a

The author with a 22-lb. jake from a previous season. Turkey hunting is good for you, she writes, both for the exercise and for the healthy meal the bird can provide to the hunter and her family.

healthier, leaner you. Happy hunting! —

NEW on The Maine Sportsman Website

Check out these newly added special features on The Maine Sportsman website: • Unlocking the Secrets of Maine’s 200-lb. Bucks by Jason Tome • Father/Daughter Turkey Hunt by Jerry Scribner • VIDEO: Lou Zambello’s Great Day Flyfishing on the Medomak River Go to www.MaineSportsman. com/Blog to view these special features today!

Become a Member of The Maine Sportsman


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

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Libby Outposts – Then, and Now The outlying camps owned and operated by the Libby family have varied as much as the Maine weather. The cabins started off as nothing more than a rough trapper’s cabin in the late 1800s, and morphed into what we have today. The value of the cabins then as now is location. In the 1900s, these cabins were necessary for overnights on the canoe or hiking trails throughout the headwaters of the Aroostook and Allagash Rivers. The six generations of Libbys that

have operated the cabins have all put their own stamp on these log cabins, and many if not most have had to be rebuilt to meet the expectations of the current day’s sportsmen and women. The photo below is from 1917 on our river, and shows the dress of the women then. In subsequent years, Orvis and L.L.Bean have changed the women’s styles to make climbing over rocks, brush and wading through quick water a bit more enjoyable. Now, family members arrive decked out in their waterproof waders and Goretex rain suits, and with improvements in transportation, they can travel here from

Southern Maine in only a few hours. Women hunters now come mostly to bird hunt, but the lady deer hunters in the 1940 photo (far left, the owner’s mother and aunt) were very skilled, as shown by this harvest of big bucks. Come let us start your family tradition in one of our wilderness locations. Call Matt or Ellen, (207) 551-8292. The travel is more modern and faster, but the locations are as magic as they ever were.

Wilsons on Moosehead Lake

The dam at the East Outlet on Moosehead Lake creates a river flowage leading to Indian Pond, the headwaters of the Kennebec River. Well-informed anglers know the East Outlet as one of the finest brook trout and landlocked salmon fisheries in New England. Wilsons on Moosehead is situated at this “salmonid epicenter”! Scott and Alison Snell recall, “It started over 17 years ago with a dream and two young children (soon to be three). It turned into hard work, uncertainty, determination and incredible relationships with so many new and repeat guests we now consider family. In 2017, we were fortunate to be able to purchase Wilsons on Moosehead.” Visitors to the Greenville/Moosehead region will continue to enjoy hunting, fishing, family vacations and four-sea-

son recreation at Wilsons, and relish the idea that this unique set of camps may be around for another 150 years. Wilsons cabins range from one to five bedrooms, all with full kitchens and bathrooms, and a screened-in porch (lakeside) to enjoy the views of beautiful Moosehead Lake and the surrounding mountains. Wake up at one of your own personal cabins at Wilsons on Moosehead, grab your fly rod, and walk down to the East Outlet dam to fish the turbulent headwaters. Or experience the ultimate fly-fishing adventure and book a drift boat trip with Scott, a Master Maine Guide. He will show you the tactics and techniques to help you catch the fish of your dreams. Adventures abound at Wilsons on Moosehead, every season – all year long. Spring/summer at Wilsons includes some of the best drift boat fishing trips on the East Outlet, as well as world-class fishing for brook trout, landlocked salmon and huge smallmouth bass – the ultimate prize when fishing with Scott as your guide. Fall offers hunting and fishing “cast ’n’ blast” at Wilsons on Moosehead. Flyfish the world famous East Outlet of the Kennebec River, and end the day on a

guided upland bird hunting adventure. Winter at Wilsons on Moosehead offers ice fishing on over 1,000 feet of lake frontage. Snowmobile the hundreds of miles of beautifully groomed ITS trails – right from your cabin door. Wilsons on Moosehead also boasts private scenic trails to enjoy winter hiking, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. You might even see some wildlife! Their guests agree – vacationing at Wilsons on Moosehead is a spectacular adventure driven by the whole Snell family. Scott, his wife Alison and their children offer their guests the most spectacular experience possible. For reservations or more info, go to, or call the Snells at (207) 695-2549.

20 • May 2024 • The Maine Sportsman ———————————————————————————————————————————————

Maine Wildlife:


by Tom Seymour

The Bass Invasion Bass, easily caught, can attain large sizes and are extremely prolific. What’s not to like? Plenty, when bass, either largemouth or smallmouth, suddenly appear where they never existed before. Many fish populations across Maine have plummeted after the legal and illegal introduction of bass. Brook and brown trout, white perch and chain pickerel, have all suffered the same fate. These species and others have taken a big hit, being unable to compete with bass for forage species, while serving as forage species themselves, at least when they are in immature stages of growth. Once, shallow ponds and lakes held spiny-rayed fish such as white and yellow perch, and pickerel. And then largemouth bass were introduced, and populations of the pre-existing species declined and in some cases, vanished. I have witnessed this phenomenon in several locations. The first was a small pond that held nothing but pickerel and hornpout. The place was known for producing the biggest pickerel around. But then, a well-intended game warden decided that the pond would make a good bass pond, and convinced the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (DIF&W) to stock a handful of largemouth bass in the little pond. The introduction took, and bass numbers skyrocketed. The warden was correct in his thinking, in that the pond soon began producing lots of bass, but at the same time, the pickerel population dwindled to the point where no one caught pickerel any more. Another example of a bass introduction being responsible for a pre-existing fishery crashing was in a different small pond – this one chock-full of white perch. It also contained small numbers of pickerel. It didn’t take many years before the illegally-introduced bass took over the pond. Now the pond holds largemouth bass and stocked trout. These two examples represent only a tiny fraction of similar situations found in Maine waters.

Problems arise, says the author, whenever individuals take it upon themselves to act as self-appointed fisheries managers. None Superior We all have our own favorite, and least-favorite, fish species. As long as these individual preferences don’t affect anyone or anything else, that’s all well and good. The trouble arises when individuals take it upon themselves to act as self-appointed fisheries managers. These people, deeming existing fish species as of little value or consequence, carry out illegal stockings of their favorite fish. The problem is, most of the time these newly-introduced fish pose serious problems for existing populations, as illustrated above. Even worse, commonly introduced species such as bass, pike and crappies, have a wandering bone, and manage to spread into other waters by any means possible. It doesn’t take a very large stream for spiny-rayed fish to wend their way from one watershed to the next. What the people responsible for illegal stockings don’t consider is that no one fish species is superior to another. Each has a right to exist without being menaced by exotic species. By “exotic,” I mean all non-native species. Even brown and rainbow trout rank as exotics, because they are not native to Maine. Knowledge Required None of this should be construed to mean that exotic species don’t have a place in Maine. As mentioned above, brown, and more recently, rainbow trout, now offer excellent fishing in waters where their presence is deemed acceptable by DIF&W. However, it’s not as easy to say “Brown trout would do well in this place.” Only a trained biologist can make that decision, based upon

scientific research. Laymen cannot presume to know the repercussions of a new species to a certain Maine water. Even smelt, illegally stocked into ponds that previously held native brook trout, can endanger the existing trout species, by out-competing them for available forage. Even when fisheries biologists decide to stock a new species in a water, they must endure a sometimes-lengthy peer review. Anglers might rail against biologists for not stocking a desired species, or even for failing to make much-needed rule changes. But in many instances, it is not that the biologists don’t want to make the changes, but rather, are restrained by required protocol. So if even trained biologists can’t just go out and stock a new species, what makes non-biologists believe they should? Bass, being heavy feeders, are capable of out-competing native fishes, and in many cases even turning to native fish as prey. Like pike, bass rate as apex predators, the top of the food chain, often in places where there is room for only one apex predator. Even mighty Moosehead Lake, Maine’s crown jewel of coldwater species, has fallen victim to illegal introduction of bass. Smallmouth bass are now found on both sides of the lake. While most of Moosehead holds cold, deep water, the eastern side, especially in Lily Bay, has shallower areas and there, someone illegally introduced bass. These pioneering species quickly spread around the lake, and no one knows the final impact. No More Maine has enough bass. We don’t need more.

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Maine’s ATV Trends:

An Interview with Scott Nicholas Lyons by Steve Carpenteri ATVs and sideby-sides have never been more popular in Maine, not only for the summer months but also the “shoulder” seasons of spring and fall, and with modifications, even on the winter ice. So what does the

Reynolds Motorsports has been around since 1962. Now managed by Scott Nicholas Lyons, the dealership has been a part of the ATV scene since the machines first appeared in our state. future of the sport look like? Will the state relax current regulations on when and where ATV riders can

enjoy their sport? Will traditional snowmobile trails (or parts thereof) be converted to ATV use? What’s

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LEWISTON Central Maine Powersports 845 Main Street 207-689-2345 WARNING: Polaris® off-road vehicles can be hazardous to operate and are not intended for on-road use. Driver must be at least 16 years old with a valid driver’s license to operate. Passengers, if permitted, must be at least 12 years old. All riders should always wear helmets, eye protection, and protective clothing. Always use seat belts and cab nets or doors (as equipped). Never engage in stunt driving, and avoid excessive speeds and sharp turns. Riding and alcohol/drugs don’t mix. All riders should take a safety training course. Call 800-342-3764 for additional information. Check local laws before riding on trails. ©2024 Polaris Industries Inc.

new in ATV design and technology? Who better to answer these and other questions about the

growing sport of ATV riding than those who promote, sell and maintain those vehicles. For answers to some of Maine’s trending ATV questions, we stopped into Reynolds Motorsports on Route (Continued on next page)


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WARNING: CFMOTO recreational vehicles are intended for off-road use only and can be hazardous to operate. Read Owner’s Manual and all product labels before operating. Never operate on paved roads. Operators and passengers must wear a helmet, eye protection and protective clothing. Operators must be at least 16 years old with a valid driver’s license. Passengers, if permitted, must be at least 12 years old. Always use seat belts, cab netting and doors (if equipped). Never operate under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Avoid excessive speed and sharp turns, and never engage in stunt driving. Check state and local laws before operating on trails. Take a safety training course before operating. Contact your CFMOTO dealer for more information, call the ATV Safety Institute at 1-800-887-2887, or go to ©2015 Zejiang CFMOTO Power Co., Ltd.

22 • May 2024 • The Maine Sportsman ———————————————————————————————————————————————

ATVing in Maine

202 in Buxton. The shop was opened in 1962 by Calvin Reynolds, who sold the business to partner Scott Lyons in 2020. Lyons’ son, Scott Nicholas Lyons, is now general manager of the facility. We asked manager Lyons about ATV trends, rules, laws, and the future of ATV riding in Maine.

(Continued from page 21)

Reynold’s MotorSports general manager Scott Nicholas Lyons with one of the dealership’s popular enclosed-cab ATV offerings. Photos by Steve Carpenteri






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LEWISTON Central Maine Powersports 845 Main Street • 207-689-2345 SKOWHEGAN Whittemore & Sons 257 Waterville Road • 207-474-2591 t - Customer Cash offer good on select models between February 1, 2024 through June 30, 2024. See dealer for additional customer cash available on prior year models. 1 - Available for well qualified tier 1 credit customers who finance through Yamaha Financial Services, a DBA of Yamaha Motor Finance Corporation, USA (YMFUS). 3.99% APR financing for 84 months at $13.66 per month per $1,000 financed regardless of down payment. Must take delivery from retail stock by 3/31/24 on purchases of new 2022-2024 Yamaha RMAX, YXZ1000, Wolverine X2 1000 Side by Side. Available on approved credit through Yamaha Financial Services. Not all buyers will qualify. Higher financing rates apply for buyers with lower credit ratings. See dealer for qualifications and complete details. Offer can not be combined with customer cash. Offer good only at participating dealers.. Always wear your seat belt, helmet, eye protection and protective clothing. Yamaha recommends that all Side-by-Side riders take an approved training course. For Side-by-Side safety and training information, see your dealer or call the ROHVA at 1-866-267-2751. Read the Owner’s Manual and the product warning labels before operation. Avoid excessive speeds and never engage in stunt riding. Always avoid paved surfaces and never ride on public roads. And be particularly careful on difficult terrain. Never ride under the influence of alcohol or other drugs; it is illegal and dangerous. Models shown with optional accessories. ©2024 Yamaha Motor Corporation, U.S.A. All rights reserved •

ATVs to the Rescue While snowmobile sales and usage have declined in recent years, the manager said in an interview last month that the boom in ATV interest has caused him to be excited for the future of that sport. “We’re just getting into the ATV season,

and already sales are picking up,” he said. “Honda has always been our best-selling unit, but in the last seven years, C. F. Moto has edged its way into the No. 2 spot, particularly the C-Force and U-Force models.” Scott Nicholas Lyons credits the Covid pandemic with the surge in ATV sales in Maine. “Parents were looking for some way to get their kids out of the house and away from electronics,” he explained. “Sales skyrocketed during the period, and are just now leveling off.” Best-Selling ATVs Things have definitely changed in the realm of ATV design since the time of the often-unstable 3-wheelers that were so popular back in the 1970s and ’80s. In fact, (Continued on next page)


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First, Snowmobile News As many long-time snowmobile riders may have deduced, the future of snowmobiling is difficult to predict, due to a continuing decline in annual snowfall. Perhaps the first inkling of what’s ahead is that Yamaha, a long-time manufacturer of snowmobiles, recently announced that they will no longer make their popular sleds after 2025.

In fact, Scott Nicholas Lyons said, the company has already slowed production of current models. “The good news is that many clubs in Maine are working with landowners to expand the use of existing snowmobile trails to accommodate ATV riders,” he said, noting that many clubs in southern Maine, in Waterboro and elsewhere, have already started the transition to multi-use trail riding.

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WARNING: Arctic Cat® vehicles can be hazardous to operate. For your safety, all riders should always wear a seat belt (Side-by-Sides), helmet, eye protection, and protective clothing. Riding and alcohol/drugs don’t mix. Arctic Cat recommends that all operators take a safety training course. For safety and training information, please see your dealer or call 1-800-887-2887 (ATVs) or visit (Side-by-Sides). Arctic Cat vehicles are for operators age 16 years and older with a valid driver’s license, except the Alterra 90, which is intended for operators 10 years of age and older. ©2023 Textron Specialized Vehicles Inc. All rights reserved.

���������������������������������������������� The Maine Sportsman • May 2024 • 23 (Continued from page 22)

the manager said, federal law prohibited the sale of 3-wheelers back in 1988, and, today, they’re not generally even accepted as trade-ins unless a dealer is interested in them for nostalgic reasons. At the shop in Buxton, customer interest in ATVs ranges from basic side-by-sides to what the manager calls the “Cadillac” of ATVs; namely, the Can-Am series of machines. “The Maverick X-3 offers more than 220 horsepower, and features dynamic power steering, which enables riders to adjust their steering instantly to the driving conditions,” he explained. Other features on top-end models, such as the Kawasaki Ridge, include fully-enclosed, heated cab, air-conditioning for summer riding, built-in GPS, winch and many other options and after-market add-ons. One important current innovation is helmet-to-helmet communications, which allows the driver to converse with the passenger and other riders in a group with a range of up to one mile. As many as 12 riders can be connected to the system, which has proven to be more popular than the older CB-radio systems. Trail Conversions Ongoing According to Scott Nicholas Lyons, Maine’s growing ATV community can expect more trails to be combined, so off-roaders will be able to make use of at least portions of the existing ITS trail system. He

also pointed out that the conversion process will be a slow one, but noted that it is quickly gaining popularity in southern portions of the state. “Some of the trails in southern Maine have already been combined,” he said, “and most are open to ATV traffic once the season is officially opened in spring, which is generally late April or May.” He added: “The best advice is for ATV riders to contact their local clubs to see which trails are open to ATV use. It’s very important for riders to obey access signs and avoid damage to trails, bridges and signage. A few riders’ bad behavior will get trails blocked or closed, reducing access for everyone.” Future is Bright The manager said that he and his co-workers at Reynold’s Motorsports in Buxton are excited about the future of ATV riding in Maine. “We are one of the largest ATV dealers in the state, with five full-time salesmen, four technicians, and a full-service parts department capable of servicing all makes and models,” he said. “While we don’t do warranty work on other brands, we will make an effort to find parts and make repairs whenever possible. “We are all about the customer experience,” he added. “We have over 100 miles of inter-connected test trails, and we’re working with local clubs to expand our system. Also, we have occasional trail tours and hold a variety of

events, such as the recent chili cook-off, which are designed to get folks connected with local clubs if they are interested in ATV riding.” For more information on Reynold’s Motorsports, stop by the shop to see Scott Nicholas Lyons at Route 202 in Buxton, or call him at (207) 839-5522. The shop is open from 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday. The shop is closed Sunday and Monday. Also, check them out online at

Reynold’s MotorSports is located on Route 202 in Buxton. The dealership has been offering ATV, snowmobile, motorcycle and dirt bike sales and service since 1962.



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©2024 Bombardier Recreational Products Inc. (BRP). All rights reserved. ®, ™ and the BRP logo are trademarks of BRP or its affiliates. In the U.S.A., products are distributed by BRP US Inc. Some vehicles depicted may include optional equipment. BRP highly recommends that all ATV drivers take a training course. For safety and training information, see your dealer or, in USA, call the ATV Safety Institute at 1-800-887-2887. In Canada, call the Canadian Safety Council at (6131 739-1535 ext 227. Read the Operators Guide and watch the Safety DVD before riding. Wear appropriate protective clothing and helmet. For side-by-side vehicles, fasten lateral net and seat belt at all times. Never engage in stunt driving and avoid excessive speed. Always observe applicable local laws and regulations. Side-by-side vehicles and ATVs are recommended for drivers aged 16 and older, and passengers aged 12 and older only. For off-road use only. Never ride on paved surfaces or public roads. Always ride responsibly and remember that riding and alcohol/drugs don’t mix.

24 • May 2024 • The Maine Sportsman ———————————————————————————————————————————————

Lithium Ion Batteries Help Boaters Power Electronics by Will Lund In many different settings, but especially in the world of boats designed for serious fishing, lithium ion batteries are the talk of the town. In comparison with conventional lead-acid batteries, lithium ion units have their strengths – lighter weight, incredible power, and the ability to “cycle” (discharge and then be recharged) many more times than lead-acid units. The early versions of lithium batteries also had their disad-

It’s a whole new world of boating electronics out there, especially the power-hungry forwardfacing sonar units that have found favor among professional anglers and guides. Lithium ion batteries are evolving to meet the need for greater capacity, including some that feature internal heating elements to combat the difficulties of charging the batteries in below-freezing temperatures. vantages, such as the fact that they could not be recharged in temperatures below 32° F. But engineers have learned to deal with that downside.

Requirements for More Power The big demand for lithium ion batteries in fishing boats is the result of the need to operate multiple electronic devices, ranging from electric trolling

motors, GPS units, and lighting, to “power poles” that extend downward to the bottom to hold a boat in position. More recently, manufacturers have introduced a new gen-

eration of electronics that require large amounts of electricity. One device that has gained favor almost overnight is the forward-facing sonar (FFS) technology being used by guides, professional anglers, and would-be professionals. These units can “see” underwater up to 100 feet away from the boat. The transducers draw a great deal of power, and the results are viewed on 9-inch, 12-inch and even 16(Continued on next page)

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The boats used by today’s professional anglers are floating platforms of electrically-powered technology. Photo credit: Humminbird/Traditional Media (Continued from page 24)

inch color screens on the boat’s dashboard. “Talk To Me” Modern lithium batteries, such as those made by Norsk Lithium, Inc. of Minneapolis, can actually “talk” to their users. To be more precise, these batteries have a “management system” that sends messages to the owner’s smartphone, using Bluetooth connectivity to provide data on the charge remaining, the draw on the battery, and whether any short-circuiting or malfunctions are occurring. Dealing with the Cold On the professional fishing circuit, the issue of being able to charge a battery for the next day’s fishing even if it’s cold overnight, is very serious business. Some traveling pros took to bringing all their boat batteries into their hotel rooms at night so the batteries would be warm enough to receive a charge.

To address the issue of lithium batteries not charging in cold temperatures, engineers figured out how to use some of the battery’s own electrical power to activate heating elements inside, thereby warming the cell sufficiently to allow it to accept a charge. This is very important news to our state’s anglers, some of whom like to get out on the water early in Maine’s often-chilly springtimes. In addition, this development is welcomed by those anglers who use batteries during Maine’s long winters, such as to power lights or fishfinders while fishing on the ice or in fishing shacks. Some Cautions About Batteries Given the greater voltage output of lithium batteries, manufacturers are issuing warnings, especially about the risks of installing both lithium and lead-acid batteries on the same circuit (Continued on next page)


���������������������������������������������� The Maine Sportsman • May 2024 • 25

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5 YEAR LIMITED WARRANTY applies to qualifying purchases of Suzuki outboard motors sold and delivered to the retail purchaser, for pleasure (non-commercial) use only, from April 1, 2021 through March 31, 2024. See Suzuki Limited Warranty for additional details. Suzuki, the “S” logo, and Suzuki model and product names are Suzuki Trademarks or ®. Don’t drink and drive. Always wear a USCG-approved life jacket and read your owner’s manual. © 2021 Suzuki Marine USA, LLC. All rights reserved.

26 • May 2024 • The Maine Sportsman ———————————————————————————————————————————————

New foward-facing sonar units display fish and underwater structure up to 100 feet from the boat. Their need for power has driven interest in high-voltage lithium batteries. Photo credit: Norsk Lithium, Inc. and Humminbird/Johnson Outdoors, Inc.

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Before purchasing and installing batteries, boat owners should understand that batteries are engineered for different purposes (such as starting batteries versus deep-cycle batteries). In addition, they should never mix battery types on the same circuit. Photo: Norsk Lithium, Inc.

Boating in Maine (Continued from page 25)

(i.e., in series). James Hoist, a spokesperson for Norsk, explained during a recent discission: “Never mix battery types, because the higher-voltage battery will constantly try to recharge the lower-voltage battery, resulting in a dangerous build-up of heat.”

Hoist recommended that customers learn as much as they can about the various types of batteries before purchasing and installing them since, for example, a starting battery is engineered differently from a deep-cycle battery.

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���������������������������������������������� The Maine Sportsman • May 2024 • 27

“Salters” – the Excitement and Surprise of Catching Sea-Run Trout Some time in May, depending on which part of the coast they fish, anglers will increasingly transition from fresh to saltwater, simultaneously shifting their objective from trout and salmon to stripers. That transition need not be exclusive. They’ve always been out there to some degree but increasingly more anglers targeting striped bass are encountering salters. If you’ve never heard of them, you may want to read on. Salters No, it’s not some new, exotic fish that has found its way into our waters. Salter is colloquial term for sea-run trout. In some places it’s exclusively applied to either brook or brown trout, but here in the northeast, it includes both, and sometimes other salmonids as well. Salters differ from true anadromous fish in several ways. They

Compared to our knowledge of other categories of fish, we know and understand very little about searun brown trout, brook trout and even landlocked salmon. Unlimited food and year-round feeding allow them to grow fast and big. They are often hooked by striper anglers. But what challenges await them? And, most important, can we figure out how to target and catch more of them?

Anglers striper fishing with light tackle close to shore are increasingly encountering sea-run brown trout. Photo provided by the author

spawn in fresh water but unlike Atlantic salmon, do not spend years at sea or under-

take long migrations. In some cases the distinction is merely an artifact of where

you catch them. In Maine, the jurisdiction between inland and marine agencies

is based on dams and bridges, but fish don’t know the difference. They can and do swim throughout systems that flow from fresh water through brackish estuaries and then into the sea. Like salmon and unlike many other freshwater species, their physiology allows them to adjust to different salinity levels. Biologically Speaking This ability gives them – and those who seek them – another advantage. Most freshwater fisheries are closed systems, with a finite forage base that limits growth in predatory fish. This is called determinate growth, and it’s why some fish never grow above a certain size, regardless of their age. In general, fish growth in salt water is indeterminate, because the forage base is, at least theoretically, unlimited. (Continued on next page)

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28 • May 2024 • The Maine Sportsman ———————————————————————————————————————————————

Sea-run brook trout are colorful, fat and strong. Photo: Sea-run Trout Coalition

Saltwater Fishing (Continued from page 27)

Furthermore, they feed actively throughout the year, rather than reducing activity in winter like freshwater fish. That means they grow faster and larger. One Maine

study found sea-run brook trout grow 30% faster than their landlocked cousins, and anglers have been bagging some bragging-sized browns off the coast in recent

years. Where, When and How Finding salters is often a matter of chance. Theoretically, any freshwater system with unrestricted access to the ocean could – and often does – hold salters. Once they hit

the open ocean it’s anyone’s guess where they go, but they do tend to stick close to their estuarine origins. Because they fall under marine jurisdiction, you can fish for salters year-round. However, the most popular time is during the fall spawning period – October through December. Spring is also a good time, as the fish are actively feeding on anadromous herring, smelt and alewives. Summer is more hit-and-miss, and most fish are unintentionally caught by striper anglers. Tackle and Tactics How you fish for them varies to some extent with where you fish, but it’s fairly straightforward and simple. Use basically the same tackle and techniques you would

in freshwater, leaning toward the lighter side, because salters are notoriously wary. One notable difference between brackish and fresh water is tides. Fishing is typically better during the higher range of the tidal cycle, when trout leave their hiding places to forage for baitfish and marine invertebrates that may be disoriented by the moving water. The ocean is a little different. Again, most marine salters are caught by anglers targeting striped bass, which means their tackle and tactics work. Other than size, there isn’t much difference between the terminal tackle used for stripers and that used for trout. However, it might be interesting to (Continued on next page)

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���������������������������������������������� The Maine Sportsman • May 2024 • 29 (Continued from page 28)

see if lighter, smaller tackle is more effective. Play by the Rules Maine saltwater fishing regulations allow anglers to take sea-run brown, rainbow and brook trout in waters within their jurisdiction (check the

regulations for boundary specifics). They also allow taking searun landlocked salmon, which seems a bit contradictory because it is unlawful to fish for, take or possess any Atlantic salmon from any Maine waters, and short of genetic testing it’s virtually impossible to tell

the difference between a sea-run and Atlantic salmon. Best just to let them go if you catch one; and know how to tell the difference between brown trout and salmon.

ecology of sea-run trout, like how they may differ genetically and behaviorally from strictly fresh-water stocks. There is some evidence, or at least supposition of high-grading, where prolonged liberal harvesting of the largest and easiest to catch fish favors smaller fish

Conservation and Management There’s still much to learn about the

in a population. With a liberal bag limit and year-round season, it’s also possible some systems are being overfished. Furthermore, coastal areas typically have the highest levels of human development and activity, which can degrade water quality.


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30 • May 2024 • The Maine Sportsman ———————————————————————————————————————————————

Let’s Talk Turkey Calls! by Blaine Cardilli What types of calls should a turkey hunter have in his or her vest? And what are the first steps new hunters can take to learn calling? From the start, understand that not all turkey hunters can successfully operate all turkey calls; there will always be one or two that you’ll find you just can’t seem to master, no matter how much you may practice. The fact is, you don’t have to be a professional caller to bring a turkey into gun range. Turkeys (like people) have different-sounding voices, and if you’ve been out there long enough, you know that not all hens sound exactly the same. It’s been my experience that if you can produce some basic yelps, cutts, clucks, and purrs, you’ll be well on your way to filling your spring tags. Mouth Calls I have some experience with mouth calls, from years of giving

You don’t have to be a pro to call in a wild turkey, but it’s important to learn the basics. Here’s an introduction to the three most common types of calls, and some tricks of the trade to help make your hunt a success.

The author is a huge fan of the traditional box call. Photos provided by the author

seminars and in-store calling demonstrations. Here’s how to get started with mouth

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calls. Place the call on the roof of your mouth and slightly back, though not far enough to create a gag reflex. And whatever you do, don’t inhale! Always keep the call far enough forward to be comfortable, and hold it in place with your tongue. From there, experiment with different

pressures as you blow out, which is how you create the actual turkey sounds. You’ll want to begin with a single-reed call with no cuts in the latex. Practice the twonote, high/low dropdown, to get the basic yelp. Start slow, and then run the two notes together a little faster. You’ll quickly see how easy it is to yelp.

Once you’ve done that, go ahead and start experimenting with two and threereed calls with different cuts in the latex, until you find the sound that seems perfect for you. There are a lot of different cuts to try. I prefer a batwing cut. Slate Calls Slate and pot-style calls are extremely versatile and relatively easy to master. Just start by making tiny oval movements on the surface, tipping the top of the striker slightly away from you while keeping constant contact on the call with the point of the striker. Don’t be afraid to experiment by trying different areas of the call’s surface, since each spot will produce higher or lower pitches. One good thing about a slate/pot-style call is that there are many different surfaces out there. I have found that the basic slate surface produces much softer tree yelps and purrs for calm, non-aggressive calling, while crystal and aluminum surfaces produce higher, sharper, more excited sounds. And be sure to carry a bunch of different strikers with you, be(Continued on next page)

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A small but effective arsenal, these calls can always be found in the author’s vest. (Continued from page 30)

cause you’ll get a different sound with each one, and by changing strikers you can actually sound like two or three different hens. That may make all the difference in getting a stubborn old gobbler to commit and come in. Box Calls I’m a huge fan of the traditional box call, and have a bunch that produce all kinds of different-sounding yelps. Boxes are easy to use, and I recom-

mend them for the beginning hunters who wish to make realistic turkey sounds without a lot of effort. When you’re using a box call, do not lift the paddle between the back and forth motions of making a yelp. Instead, maintain constant contact between the paddle and the lip of the box. And by placing an elastic band snugly (but not too tightly) over the whole thing, you can produce some pretty good jake gob-

bles simply by giving the box a few hard, fast shakes back and forth. Carry An Assortment I have had very good luck calling in turkeys over the years, and here’s what’s in my hunting vest: a box call, two pot-style calls, several different strikers, and various mouth calls. With this assortment, you’ll be ready for any hunting situation you encounter.

Using his box call and slate call together, the author was able to fill both tags in 2023, 10 minutes apart.

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32 • May 2024 • The Maine Sportsman ———————————————————————————————————————————————

— Turkey Hunting in Maine —

Wild Turkeys: Hail to the Chief by Bill Catherwood

Turkey hunting is a passion of mine. You see, turkeys are truly a native game bird – not imported or stocked. They were here long before the pilgrims decided to land. In fact, Benjamin Franklin wanted to name the wild turkey as our national bird. I’ll always remember the first turkey I called in. It was 2006, and I had a couple of hours to spare before going to work. I was hunting turkeys with my long bow. I heard a tom gobble in the distance. At the time, I knew nothing about calling, other than to try and make sounds like a turkey. Who knows why, but the tom answered and started in. When I saw him, I was awestruck. He looked like a small car. When he got in range, I drew back and let fly. I couldn’t believe it. The arrow hit right under him, and the turkey began to pick at the arrow. Then it walked off. I never thought to shoot again. I think I was just in shock. That experience had a lasting effect on me – an addiction that I can’t get over. “Hi!” One time, I called a tom in, but he came up behind me and stood five feet away, gobbling loudly. I had no room to spin around, so I just decided to enjoy his company. Since

Turkeys are as all-American as apple pie, says the writer. He fully enjoys the passion of the hunt, even if it means having to explain to his non-hunting girlfriend the meaning of the term “henned up.”

“When I saw the tom turkey, I was awestruck. It looked like a small car.” Photo by Steve Fehlberg from Pixabay

I was in full camo, he never saw me until I said, “Hi! Nice out, isn’t it?” That poor turkey took off like I’d showed him an open oven. Another morning in the dark, a hen came off a roost and knocked my hat off me. Talk about being up close and personal! Later that same morning, I saw some jakes in a field, but they could hear a tom and were afraid to come in. When one finally came in close enough, I shot him. He was a nice bird, and I was happy as I carried him out to the edge of the tote road. I was

quite tired, and decided to take a nap. Now, I am not very tall (5’4”), so as I lay there asleep with my arm over the bird, the turkey appeared nearly as big as me. When my friend Gary came out, he kicked my boot and said, “Who killed whom?” He then said, “Looks like a pretty fair fight, both of you being the same size and all.” Take a Shower Fefore Entering the House My friend John Starkey is a hunting and fishing guide, and a real sportsman. While he and a buddy

were heading home from an unsuccessful morning hunt, they drove by a small flock picking at a manure pile. John stopped the truck, and crawled along the stone wall until he got even to the birds. He then poked his head over the wall and shot the biggest bird, which happened to be right on the top of the pile. Then came the problem – how to retrieve the bird? Well, John is a former Sea Bee. He said, “Can do!” and waded through the fresh manure until he reached the big tom.

With his friend driving and John sitting in the open-air truck bed with bird in hand, they went to John’s house. John headed to the back yard, where he cleaned himself off with a garden hose. Henned Up My son Billy was always a deer fanatic, but now he is really getting into turkey hunting. My friends and other family members say, “He’s acting like you more every day.” Has me worried, to be honest. My partner Gail grew up in the city, but she does her best to understand the way I feel about turkeys and turkey hunting. One night in the beginning of turkey season, I took her into McDonald’s for a cup of coffee. I noticed a couple of guys in camo, and had to go over and ask them how they did. They smiled, shook their heads and said, “The toms were henned up.” On the way home, Gail asked what “henned up” meant. I explained that a tom might be happy with the hen he has and doesn’t want to go roaming all over on a maybe. After a minute, she looked at me and said, “Bill, I hope you’re henned up.” So I’ll end this story with saying that turkeys are as American as John Wayne and the 2nd Amendment. Hail to the Chief!

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Comfortable Being…Uncomfortable by Brad Willey I think it’s a fair statement that everyone fears something. Something that at the very least, makes them unsettled or “uncomfortable.” A discomfort that precludes them from completing a task. For instance, some people are uneasy around snakes. Some people have a fear of being alone. Others are uncomfortable being deep in the woods, especially when the sun begins to set. Having been born and raised in northern New Hampshire, I was not comfortable around snakes, large spiders, and gators, and I was reminded of these fears profoundly while conducting late night patrol movements in the swamps of Georgia and Florida. In addition to psychological fears, the intense training, sleep deprivation, food deprivation, and being wet every waking second exponentially increased the “uncomfortable” factor. I quickly learned to overcome these fears or I would have faced the consequence of being truly uncomfortable, which was being dropped from US Army Ranger School. In other words, I valued success over comfort. I share this experience with you because the ability to be “comfortable being

The author has learned to be comfortable being uncomfortable.

uncomfortable” is just as important in the big woods as it was years ago for me in Ranger School. If you’re a deer tracker, you are likely going to be alone in the big woods, and it’s likely going to be cold, damp, and windy. No one is there to help you if you get lost or injured, or if you need help dragging your buck miles back to your truck. It’s just you. So, how does one prepare for ultimate success? Gear Preparation The gear you take in the woods does influence the level of your success. My clothing is light, but warm, which is why I wear wool … nothing else. Hal Blood coined the phrase, “Wear

your woolies … cotton is death,” and it’s true. With wool, I know that even if I get wet, I will be warm. By now, everyone knows wool has natural properties that will keep you warm when wet. I also wear rubber boots with wool socks to keep my feet dry. In addition, I carry a fire starter kit. It’s in a waterproof container and is stowed where it can never be lost. When still-hunting in the bone-chilling cold, I am able to utilize my fire kit and start a small warming fire. A small fire will not only warm you up, it will recharge your psyche. Weapon and caliber selection is a discussion for another day. My only recom-

mendation is that you learn to be proficient with it to a degree that it’s an extension of yourself. Navigating The ability to navigate in the woods

during daylight and hours of darkness is essential. If there is one thing that makes hunters apprehensive, it’s being in the woods when it’s dark. If you are truly going to take on the big woods and be successful, you must be comfortable navigating in the hours of daylight and darkness, although I do not condone being deep in the big woods during hours of darkness. A deer tracker can’t be thinking about how he’s going to get out of the woods all day long while tracking a buck. Having a GPS navigation app such as onX is very useful, but at the end of the day, it is powered by batteries. The best hunters are exceptional woodsmen, and are proficient with a map and compass. (Big Woods World continued on page 35)

34 • May 2024 • The Maine Sportsman ———————————————————————————————————————————————

Using Topography to Kill Turkeys Before we ever got to the field, I could hear the big toms gobbling. I had a first-time turkey hunter with me. David, aka “Poncho,” is the son of one of my real estate clients. He had seen turkeys, but never had the opportunity to hunt them. Youth Day 2023, he’d take his first bird. I asked Poncho to “stay glued to my hip” as we entered the big field. I was intimately familiar with this field. The birds continued to gobble. It was evident they were on the low end of the field. We’d be able to walk within 100 yards, without them seeing us. As we sneaked to the top of a knoll, I had Poncho stop short. I walked stealthily close to the top of the knoll, set up my Struttn-360 base, and got ready. I peeked over the knoll.

Knowing the contours of a field allows you to understand where you can position yourself without being seen, while also giving your decoys maximum visibility. Four toms appeared, full-strut. I made a few quick yelps to get their attention, and made sure they saw Bob, the decoy. I quickly placed Bob on the Struttn-360, and snuck back to Poncho. “Get ready – here they come,” I whispered. The young man stared at me, a bit confused. Within 20 seconds, those big toms were running over the knoll, just 30 yards from us, 10 yards from Bob. As they hit the 20yard mark, Poncho fired, and dropped his first turkey ever. Knowing the topography of that field was key in killing that

bird. Field hunting obviously doesn’t offer the cover a forest does. However, utilizing topography is a great way for hunters to close in on birds that spend their time in open fields. Salty Takes Two on Opening Day Having had an awesome Youth Day hunt with Poncho, I was really excited for opening day of the 2023 turkey season. There were lots of good toms on the farms I was hunting. Opening day found me sitting on the edge of a field on a familiar tree farm. There were at least four mature toms spending time

here. One looked to be a three-year-old. As dawn broke, the birds sounded off; however, they weren’t where I thought they’d be. They were in a field behind me, nearly a half-mile away. I waited an hour before making my move. As I approached the field, the gobbles grew louder. I peeked around a corner, through the branches of a fir tree, down the long narrow field. The birds sounded close, within 200 yards, but they weren’t visible. About half-way down the field, the topography rose 20-40 feet, then abruptly dropped. I knew I’d

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be in great shape if I could get to that high spot. Keeping the high spot between us, I began my stalk. Squatting low, I snuck cautiously toward my spot. Nearing the high spot, just like on Youth Day, I set up the Struttn-360 unit, and readied my trusty decoy, Bob. Crawling to the high spot, I peered over the hill and saw three big toms and six to eight hens. I lifted Bob in the air, and two of the strutting birds stretched their heads high. Quickly, I spun Bob around, crawled back to my Struttn-360 unit, and set Bob on top. I backed off another 20 yards, lay flat in the grass, and waited. Within a minute, three big fans appeared on the top of the knoll. As soon as I could see the heads of those birds, I hit the controller and spun Bob away from the approaching rivals. Their slow walk toward the decoy instantly became a race to the decoy. As the birds got close enough, I picked what I thought was the largest bird, and fired. My bird hit the ground, but he wasn’t the big bird I wanted. As I stood to get my quarry, the other two birds ran off, and I could see a larger bird in the corner of the field. Still, I had (Continued on next page)

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Pictured is a happy Youth Day hunter, David “Poncho” Hubbard, with his first turkey ever. (Continued from page 34)

a mature bird – 9-1/2” beard, 3/4” spurs and 19 pounds. My first of the season. A Second Bird on Opening Day! Driving home from the first farm, I began thinking of work. However, I was driving by another favorite

farm. I asked myself, “Why not stop and see if any birds are in the big field?” There was a large, hidden field I could drive directly to. If there were birds there, the plan would be to come back the next day. Instead of driving into the field, I parked 100 yards short, and

Big Woods World (Continued from page 33)

Mental Preparation Your mindset is paramount to your overall success. The climate of the northeast has a profound effect on the psyche of a hunter. To hunt in the big woods, you must learn to mentally and physically prepare yourself to deal with the ever-changing weather conditions. A successful big woods hunter has to be prepared to hunt in austere climates. A special level of “grit” is required to contend with all types of weather, from warm and dry to rain, snow, and bitter cold. Regardless of the weather conditions, get off the couch and get in the woods! If you back out of the woods to return to the safety and comfort of your truck every time the weather isn’t in your favor, you’re going to have a difficult time being consistently successful. You must discipline yourself to endure

The author with his two opening day toms. Both birds were killed in the middle of large, open fields. The author was able to get close because of his familiarity with the topography. Using high points and low points to the hunter’s advantage is a proven tactic when searching for turkeys among the Maine’s rolling fields.

got out. Immediately, I heard a bird gobbling close by. I decided to hunt. While I was walking the 100 yards, the bird must have gobbled two dozen times. A small hill stood at the opening of the field. The bird was gobbling just over the top.

I performed the same tactics once again with my Struttn-360 and Bob. That tom popped over the hill and walked right to me. I killed my second bird less than two minutes after exiting the truck. This was a great bird. Weighing over 21 pounds, he had a 10-inch beard and

every obstacle in your path. At the end of the day, remember this – the ability to “be comfortable being uncomfortable” will not happen overnight. It requires practice, patience, persistence, and experience. Have the courage and determination to not only become more proficient with your current skill set, but strive to learn more. Knowledge equals confidence, and confidence equals success. “Never quit!” Hal’s Thoughts Brad is spot-on about being comfortable in the woods. I was venturing off into the woods on my own at a very young age. Back when I was a kid, we didn’t hang around the house. We were always outside finding something to do. Life was simpler back then. There were no distractions from cell phone video games, and there were only three channels on the TV. I was drawn to the woods and spent most of my days wandering around and

1-1/4” spurs. What an opening day it was! Knowing the property we hunt, and especially the topography of the property, is extremely important. This familiarity made the 2023 Maine turkey opener a very memorable one for this hunter.

exploring. By the time I was ten and could hunt with a real gun, my father and grandfather turned me loose. I’d rabbit hunt with my grandfather, but found my own places to stand to get a shot at a rabbit ahead of the dogs. I’d check in with Gramp once in a while, and have a fire and toast a sandwich, but other than that I was figuring out how to kill a rabbit. Doing that from a young age, prepared me for hunting the Big Woods. Heck, it was about my third year into my hunting up north before I even thought to bring a compass. I had my wool clothes and a way to start a fire, so I didn’t have a care in the world. Most hunters probably weren’t as fortunate as I was by getting that early start, but anyone can make up for lost time by just getting out there and doing it. It’s never too late to get out there and be part of the woods.

36 • May 2024 • The Maine Sportsman ———————————————————————————————————————————————

— Guest Column — I See, I See

by David E. Petzal, Cumberland, ME A lot of your success as a big game hunter depends on how well you use your eyes – or don’t – and cell phones get you into habits that are no help. When your snout is glued to a handheld device, all you see is a very small, brightly-lit screen. The information you get from it is clear, unambiguous, and instantly available. This is the opposite of how you get visual information when you hunt. Look for Horizontal Lines In the woods, your eyes must constantly be in motion. Information comes at you when it wants to, not when you press a button. It may arrive suddenly, with no warning, or it may evolve slowly. For example, if you want to see deer, look for horizontal lines. Almost all the lines in nature are vertical, but a deer’s back is horizontal. If you see something that runs parallel to the contour of the land, you then watch until the line turns into a deer … or doesn’t. No Posers Unlike the photos you see in outdoor magazines and on websites, animals rarely pose for you out in the open. If you’re glassing a clearing that’s nearly a long way off, you’re not likely to see a deer out in the open. What you’ll spot

Seeing game is not easy, says the author, because nature intended it that way. Don’t make it harder by spending your hunt staring at your cell phone.

A treestand is no place to have your nose glued to a smartphone. Photo: August Gray, Maryland Dept. of Natural Resources

is a flash of sunlight glancing off an antler. Staring at your mobile phone will not accustom your eyes to registering flashes in the distance. Seeing game is not easy. Nature intended it that way. If you hunt in unfamiliar country, it gets much harder. You may be a whitetail-spotting fool in the woods of Maine, but if you try picking out mule deer in the sage flats of Wyoming, you’ll get a lesson in humility. Tracking is an en-

tirely different type of seeing. The best trackers I’ve watched at work were Africans, not only for the amount of information they could get from a print, but for the speed at which they could follow a trail. They do at least some tracking every day of their lives; it’s how they tell what’s going on in the neighborhood. They know how to look in detail, which we don’t. The single greatest example of tracking I’ve ever seen was pulled off by a South

African named Abie du Plooy, who picked out the trail of a wounded Cape buffalo from among the identical hoofprints of a dozen other buffalo, and followed it. If you’d like to duplicate what Abie did, go into a stockyard that’s held cattle, cut the track of one animal, and see where it takes you. Prefers Crawling in Maine – No Snakes Africans can track walking, or at a trot, but we sometimes have to crawl to get a look at what’s there.

Crawling works, and is good for you spiritually. If you’re tracking a wounded animal, it helps to have a wad of surveyor’s tape with you and mark the places you’ve found sign. Eventually, a clear trail will emerge. I’ve crawled in Maine and South Carolina. I prefer Maine, since you’re unlikely to put your hand down on a canebrake rattlesnake. I hope for snow a lot. Snow is the hunter’s greatest friend. Animals stand out against snow. Everything that happens is right there for you to read. As the line in Amazing Grace says, “Was blind, but now I see.” Also, snakes don’t come out in the snow. Sulking in Tents Back to cells. I once asked a Montana outfitter friend who runs terrific elk hunts how Millennials do in the mountains. I questioned their mental toughness, since you can pack more suffering and futility into an elk hunt than just about anything else. She said that old guys do best; they’re used to hardship and failure. Millennials, she went on, can hack it for a while, but if they lose their cell service it breaks their spirit, and they sulk in their tents and refuse to come out. For some reason, I find that very reassuring.

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Neither Have I Getting outsmarted by fishermen can be acceptable to a certain extent, but rubbing your nose in it can lead law enforcement to take unorthodox counter-measures. Durham Bridge, at the eastern side of Sebasticook Lake in the Town of Newport, is almost a quarter-mile long. It has been a popular fishing spot for as long as I can remember. People fish from both sides, either by standing on the edge of the road, or by walking down over the banking next to the water. In recent years, the town has prohibited vehicles from parking on the bridge, and that has reduced the number of people fishing there. In the past, as many as thirty people could be found fishing there at one time, with vehicles parked all along the bridge. Such a conglomerate of people and vehicles sometimes made it difficult to determine those who were actually fishing (and therefore needed a license), as opposed to those who were merely bystanders. Such was the case in early July of 1980 as I entered onto the south end of the bridge. While pulling to a stop, I tried to visualize those who were fishing. That task was, as usual, made difficult because of vehicles that blocked my view, and also because some people were down over the bank on the far side of the road. Added to those obstacles, many of the people at the bridge saw me pull up and sounded the alarm – “The game warden is here!” I began to check for fishing licenses, including approaching a middle-aged couple who were down over the bank on the westerly side of the bridge. I’d been keeping an eye on them, as they both remained stationary about twenty feet apart. “I’m Not Fishing,” She Said When I stepped over the guardrail to speak with them, the man had a spinning rod in his hands with the line in the water. The woman was standing near a spinning rod that also had the line extended into the water. I inquired about licenses, and the

Was the warden’s tactic stealthy, or was it diversionary? You decide.

The author’s unmarked law enforcement vehicle. Credit:

man produced his – a non-resident license, as he was from Connecticut. I next asked to check the license of the woman, and she stated that she was not fishing. The man then spoke up and said, “That pole is mine, too.” I clearly did not believe that was the case, but the law allowed a person to fish with two lines at a time, so I accepted that explanation with a grain of salt. After checking a few more fishermen, I decided to move on, circle around, and return in about an hour from a different direction. When I did return, I came from the opposite direction and drove right past other fishermen, but I had to proceed cautiously due to all the activity. Of course, this made me visible, and everybody became aware of my presence. The man and woman were still there when I arrived at a point where I could view them, and they were both looking in my direction, with the woman standing over a pole that was right at her feet. I kept going, and gave up on Durham Bridge for the rest of the day. Try Again Tomorrow Since it was a holiday weekend, I knew I’d be back the following day and perhaps give it another shot. The next day it was late in the afternoon when I returned and, of course, had this man and woman on my radar.

I tried to find a location where I could view the area from which they’d been fishing the day before, but could not find a satisfactory position. Giving up on that approach, I decided to just drive out and see if I could be lucky enough to find them back again and both fishing. I had the same problem as the previous day. Everyone saw me coming, and to my surprise, they were in the same spot – this time farther apart, with the woman sitting on a rock with the pole directly in front of her feet. I did not stop, but both of them exchanged glances with me. Final Try I left the area, and drove completely around the lake. When I got back to the bridge, I drove into a camp road on the north side to think this annoying situation over. I got out of my truck and noticed I had my daughter’s banana bike in the back. It was painted pink, and had tassels dangling from the handlebar grips. A lightbulb came on – I could utilize the bike to ride onto the bridge. It was now getting a little on towards dusk and that would be helpful. I pulled a plain, long-sleeved shirt on over my uniform, and got the bike out. It was way too small for a 6’2’’ person, but away I went, hoping nobody I knew would see me. As I started onto the bridge I knew how stupid I must look, but people were mostly paying me no attention. I was doing my best to be stealthy, but every time the pedals went around, the chain sprocket emitted a loud squeak. As I pulled up to my Connecticut couple, they both held spinning rods and were fishing away. As I stopped, the gear squeaked, and they turned around and looked up. I said, “Hi, there!” The woman realized who I was, and exclaimed, “I never saw a warden on a banana bike.” I replied, “Neither have I.”

38 • May 2024 • The Maine Sportsman ———————————————————————————————————————————————

A Rifle Expert Muses About His Favorite Rifle During a recent late-night drive with my wife, my thoughts drifted toward selecting a topic for this column. May is perhaps the quietest month of my shooting year, aside from the anticipation of the annual moose lottery results. Sensing my unproductive musing, my wife started posing questions on subjects she knew were of interest to me. “What’s the most valuable gun in your collection?” she asked. “What’s the oldest gun you have?”

When it comes to rifles, says the writer, there is just something oh-so special about a first love. “What’s your favorite gun?” For several minutes, as we went along the dark highway, she inspired and encouraged me to think creatively about my interest in firearms. She is a wise woman, and knows me well. Soon, I was rewinding the long string of The Shooter’s Bench, and rediscovering the path.

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large-bore Model 1886, modernized with the .348 cartridge. Cartridges of the World calls the Model 71 “the smoothest lever-action ever built.” It also says the .348 is “one of the more powerful rimmed cartridges available for the lever-action rifle.” I read about the Model 71 as a kid, and admired its beefy, no-nonsense look. I first encountered it among die-hard elk hunters along the eastern slopes of the Cascade Mountains in Washington and Oregon. It wasn’t until I moved to Kentucky that owning and using one became any more than a fantasy. In Kentucky, I met a kindred spirit, Mike Martin, and while working with him I discovered we both loved the old Model 71. As a team, we visited gun shows and gun shops all over the Ohio River country. We kept lists of Model 71 serial numbers, and detailed notes on examples we saw for sale. We tracked specific rifles as we sought to find the right configuration and condition we wanted. It was great fun. Finally, in 1998, I found the one impossible-to-decline example. Number 98XX, made in 1937, was the 2,007th Model 71 to (Continued on next page)

���������������������������������������������� The Maine Sportsman • May 2024 • 39 (Continued from page 38)

hit the market. It has the deluxe checkered stock and forearm, its wood and metal finishes unblemished, and it features the peep sight mounted to the bolt, so it moves forward and backward whenever the lever is actuated. 98XX has a 24-inch barrel. Some Model 71s carried a much shorter, 20-inch barrel, and were known popularly as “carbines.” Many 71s earned replacement rubber recoil pads on the buttstock that often do not age well. However, 98XX retains the original steel buttplate that Winchester’s designers intended. The .348 round remains suitable for all North American big game. Arguably, it is overpowered for

deer, but fine for other big, heavy game at close range. The .348’s 200-grain and 250-grain bullets lose velocity quickly and begin to drop significantly out beyond 200 yards. This is a round for hunting close-in, among the timber. There, it is unbeatable. Holding Fast More than 20 years ago I was fortunate enough to draw a moose permit in New Hampshire. My friend and fellow Model 71 enthusiast Mike Martin came east as my sub-permitee. Naturally, the big, weighty number 98XX had to go along. We didn’t shoot a moose that year (a story for another time), but we and the old Winchester made a lot

of memories together. Those memories combined with other memories, and with the wonderful privilege of writing The Shooter’s Bench each month opened up the world of sporting firearms. Still, if my wife asks again what my favorite is, I believe I will answer that it is remains the Winchester Model 71. My horizons have expanded, and my collections have grown since coming to the Sportsman nineteen years ago, in 2005. New experiences abound because of my good fortune at becoming a gun-writer in Maine, but there is just something oh-so special about a first love. When it comes to rifles, mine is the Model 71.

The author in 2002, on the track of a New England moose and carrying a 65 year-old Winchester. Photo by Michael Martin

Trophy Gallery

Asher Kronstadt of Biddeford was fishing in Nequasset Stream in Woolwich on Opening Day (April 1). On his fourth cast, he had a strike that snapped his fishing rod. He managed to haul in this handsome 15-1/2” rainbow trout. He was using a Watermelon Red Flake Senko for bait.

Brian Tibbetts (right) tagged a 10-point deer during the 2022 expanded archery hunt on the island of Islesboro. He used a Matthews compound bow. His friend Bradley French registered a 9-point whitetail on the same day. Tibbetts is assistant manager at Foshay’s Tire, in Augusta.

40 • May 2024 • The Maine Sportsman ———————————————————————————————————————————————

— The Maine


The Maine Sportsman’s G “An Association of Hunters Who Have Taken a Turkey

This spectacular 721-lb. bull moose, harvested September 25, 2023, helped qualify Caleb McKenzie of Farmingdale for a 2023 Grand Slam patch. Caleb shot the big bull in T13 R14 WELS, after which it was registered at Gateway Trading Post. Earlier in the year, on June 3, Caleb had shot a 22lb., 6 oz. tom turkey in China, and on September 12, he had killed a whitetail deer in Farmingdale. On October 4, he completed the “Slam” requirements by harvesting a 300-lb. black bear, during a hunt in T4 R17 WELS. Nice job, Caleb!

Chase Troudeau of Wells tagged two big tom turkeys on May 8, 2023 to start off his Grand Slam quest. He succeeded, with a massive bull moose in T6 R18 WELS that was registered at Bishops; a 363-lb. boar bear in Newry that was certified at Sport Thoma in Bethel; and a nice whitetail doe from his hometown, registered at Meserves Market.

LAST NAME Argraves




Kennedy Kennedy Laskey Lemay Mains Mathieu

Kirstin Tyler Kathryn Jeffrey John Shawn

Erin Boudreau * Caleb Bryant Joshua Campbell-McCarthy Darcie Campbell-McCarthy Skyler Curry* Lily Doughty Bradley Ferland Johnna Ford Wyatt Frost Sean Hafner * Peyton Harriman Darren Higgins Edward

Mapleton Industry Naples Littleton Littleton Searsport Eddington Poland Belfast Skowhegan Litchfield Monroe Bernard New Gloucester Harrington Hancock Waterboro Springvale Naples Springvale



**Indicates hunter

Check out more 2023 Grand S 42 and 78, plus on our website

Edward Higgins of Bernard qualified for his 2023 Grand Slam patch based on his excellent year of hunting in 2023. His first trophy was this 250-lb. black bear, harvested September 30 with a largecaliber handgun in Franklin. Next on the list was a 735-lb. bull moose, tagged in the Tim Pond region of Eustis on a hunt during which he was accompanied by Todd Holbrook, Heath Higgins and Keith Higgins. On October 30, he shot a 17-lb. jake wild turkey in Tremont, and then completed the “Slam” with a 170lb. buck while on a hunt in Franklin.

Joshua Bryant of Naples earned his Grand Slam patch from The Maine Sportsman in 2023. He started out with a tom turkey in Casco during the spring hunt, then harvested a 637-lb. bull moose in Hammond Twp on October. Next was a boar bear tagged in Katahdin Iron Works, and ending up with this trophy 157-lb. buck, shot in Naples and registered at Jordan’s Store in East Sebago.

Lily Curry of Searsport (left) used her crossbow, and the realistic-looking turkey decoy being held by her cousin Karagan Kenney, right, to complete the first leg of her Grand Slam with this 20-lb. tom. Lily, who was 14 at the time, also bagged a bear in Brooklyn, an 8-pt. buck in Searsmont, and a cow moose in T14 R13. Congratulations to Lily and her family.

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Sportsman —


Grand Slam Patch Club – y, Bear, Moose and Deer in the Same Calendar Year” LAST NAME


McKenzie McPherson Metcalf * Nunes Palm Perez Ranhosky Reinhard Seymour Sinclair Smith * Stotts Sturtevant

Caleb Matthew Brady Oliver Gregory Daniel Daniel Sadie Sandor Jason Kasen Michael Jeffrey



Tolman Tracy Trudeau Tweedie * Vollmer Young

Tyler Paul Chase Ridge Michael Marijo


Farmingdale ME Fort Fairfield ME Porter ME Hudson MA Presque Isle ME Lincolnville ME Greenville ME Naples ME Harmony ME Ripley ME Parsonsfield ME Mechanic Falls ME Mechanic Falls ME Parlin Pond ME Twp Mattawamkeag ME Raymond ME Wells ME Newburgh ME Mt Desert ME Franklin ME

Kathryn Laskey of Waterboro tagged this large 193-lb. whitetail buck during a hunt on November 30, 2023 in Northeast Carry Township. This deer was the final step for Kathryn toward her 2023 Grand Slam, which started with a black bear harvested September 23, then with a 635-lb. bull moose from T2 R13, and a tom turkey on November 6 from Waterboro.

Michael Stotts of Mechanic Falls had a very productive 2023, earning him entry into the Grand Slam patch club. He harvested a tom turkey on May 24, as shown in this photo, in which Michael is accompanied by his daughter Natalie. On September 1, he shot a 170-lb. black bear in C Surplus TWP. On September 17, accompanied by Greg Morrison and Chris Chudzik, he tagged a massive bull moose in T12 R17. Then, he completed his Grand Slam requirements with a whitetail deer, taken October 11 in his hometown.

Maine Sportsman subscriber Jason Sinclair of Ripley gained membership into the 2023 Grand Slam patch club, all during the month of October. He started with a 614-lb. bull moose, harvested in Madawaska Lake TWP on October 9. On October 12, he shot a black bear in T41 MDBPP (see photo; Jason is accompanied by Brittany Currier and Erik Sinclair-Day). Jason shot a wild turkey on October 14, and then completed the Grand Slam requirements on October 30 with a whitetail buck.

Tyler Tolman of Mattawamkeag earned his 2023 Grand Slam patch for shooting Maine’s “big 4” game animals, including this 685-lb. bull moose, which he harvested in St. Francis. Tyler’s buck was from T6 R12, and the black bear and wild turkey were both hunted in Mattawankeag.

was 16 or younger

Slam Patch Club photos pages e!

Matthew McPherson of Fort Fairfield harvested this nice 150-lb. whitetail buck on October 28, 2023 in Mars Hill, which took him one step closer to qualifying for The Maine Sportsman’s “Grand Slam” patch club. Matthew also harvested a jake wild turkey in Fort Fairfield on November 1, a huge 909-lb. bull moose on September 30 in Bridgewater, and, on November 21, a black bear in Fort Fairfield.

42 • May 2024 • The Maine Sportsman ———————————————————————————————————————————————

— The Maine Sportsman —

2023 GRAND SLAM PATCH CLUB Continued from pages 40-41. More photos on page 78!

Tyler Kennedy of Hancock harvested this nice buck in Ellsworth on November 21, 2023, thereby completing his Grand Slam. Earlier in the year, Tyler tagged a tom turkey in Lamoine, a black bear in Ellsworth, and a 706-lb. bull moose in T14 R10.

Shawn Mathieu of Springvale harvested this big black bear in Stoneham on September 12, 2023, en route to qualifying for his 2023 Grand Slam patch. During the spring season, he shot a 21.2-lb. tom turkey. On October 9, he tagged a 761-lb. bull moose in T10 R9 WELS (Ashland), and he dropped a 175-lb. whitetail buck in Sanford on November 4. Nice job, Shawn!

Marijo S. Young of Franklin earned her Grand Slam patch club membership last year, with four of Maine’s big game animals, including this 666-lb. bull moose, tagged in Zone 2. Marijo also harvested a hen turkey in Franklin, a 336-lb. black bear in Sullivan, and a 142-lb. buck in Franklin.

Daniel Perez of Lincolnville had a great year of hunting in 2023, earning his Grand Slam patch. He tagged this 724-lb. bull moose on September 26 in T15 R10. He was accompanied on the hunt by Robin Lauer, Joe Perez, Jay Perez and Dan Randolph. Earlier in the year, he registered a jake wild turkey in Appleton, and a boar bear from New Sweden. Daniel’s final trophy was a 170-lb. whitetail buck, harvested in Lincolnville.

Maine Sportsman subscriber Ridge Tweedie of Newburgh was 11 years old when he completed his 2023 Grand Slam. He shot two turkeys during the spring season, then harvested a huge 802-lb. bull moose in T3 R3. Next was a black bear, harvested in T14 R5 on October 20. Ridge completed his Grand Slam with this 160-lb. whitetail buck, shot November 4 in Jackson.

Skyler Campbell-McCarthy of Littleton, ME (on the right, accompanied by friend Breea Caril) was awarded the 2023 Grand Slam patch after harvesting Maine’s four big-game animals. He tagged a 631-lb. bull moose on October 9 in Hammond; a boar bear T14 R5 WELS on October 14; a hen turkey in Littleton on November 2, and this spikehorn on November 13, also in Littleton.

���������������������������������������������� The Maine Sportsman • May 2024 • 43

Aroostook Lakes Offer Terrific Trolling Of the vast array of Aroostook’s yeararound angling options, spring trolling tops my list of favorites. I’m pretty sure a big part of the reason is because it’s the first opportunity to enjoy hands-on open water fishing after a long winter. Another reason for my excitement and enthusiasm to float a boat and actually cast a line is the chance to hook the largest fish of the entire season. The three weeks after ice out on any particular Crown of Maine lake

The author reveals his trolling secrets for anglers pursuing trophy landlocked salmon, brook trout and brown trout. or pond is truly trophy prime time. Long Legacy Fishermen hoping to catch the landlocked salmon of the year, or perhaps a lifetime, need to visit Long Lake on the Fish River Chain of lakes for iceout trolling. If sportsmen hope to land the leaping slab of silver on a streamer fly, this is certainly the most likely time of year. Local folks flock to this

productive waterway, and trucks hauling trailered boats from southern Maine and dozens of other states fill the yards of rental camps and cabins. Fishing pressure is heavy this month, but thanks to the huge expanse of the water, crowding is seldom an issue. I personally try to steer clear of weekends, and recommend visitors fish the first three days of the week

if possible. For hotspots, the shoreline along Barn Brook, Van Buren Cove, the section near Green Point and the golf course, and what I call Cleveland Cove above Pelletier Island in St. Agatha, are personal favorites. Big Brookies While it’s possible to catch bragging size brook trout on any of the six sister gems of the Fish River

Aroostook County: The Crown of Maine

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chain, my proven favorite remains Square Lake. I’ve caught lots of trout and salmon from all of these lakes, but the greatest number and largest size trout have been from Square. Trolling tandem streamers has also produced equal or better action than lures or plugs, and I much prefer playing fish on a fly rod. While it’s simple to launch directly into Square at the Burnt Landing ramp, I prefer Cross Lake for its spacious parking area

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44 • May 2024 • The Maine Sportsman ———————————————————————————————————————————————

Colorful streamers show up well in freshet condition waters after ice-out, and they are great trout-takers. All photos provided by the author

Sherby Morris of Fort Kent owns a camp in St Agatha cove. He trolls early and often this month, and has good results as a prospector in his efforts to mine Long Lake silver.

The County (Continued from page 43)

and dock. This approach also allows me to scoot across the lower end of the lake and troll the entire Cross/ Square thoroughfare (TF), which is often very productive. I suggest as boats exit the TF that anglers keep their lines deployed, and zig-zag up the shoreline to Rocky Point. Limestone, Barstow and Salmon Point provide a trio of proven, dependable stretches that are worth a pass or two. My favorite area

year in and year out is the region across the Goddard Brook inlet, and when the water is high enough in freshet conditions, I troll right up into the brook. Because this spot is farthest from both launch sites, it generally gets lower pressure, but in my book it’s worth the long, often bouncy run. Lines and Flies I have my fly rod loaded with a level dacron trolling line that is color coded every ten yards, and another Pflueger 1498 with a pair of spools. One

Allagash Lakes Region

spool holds a sinking tip fly line, and the other is loaded with a full sinking fly line. I select the one best matching water conditions on the lake I’m trolling. Low and slow is my mantra during the first two weeks of frigid, dingy, debris-filled freshet water. Bright attractor patterns such as a Little Brook Trout, Red and White Special, Red Gray Ghost, or an Ouananiche Sunset show up better than smelt imitations, until lakes turn over and clear up. Here’s a pro secret: I edge my odds by trolling a dual drop-

Tom Tardiff of Robinson trolled almost 4 hours on Nickerson lake and caught only one fish; it just happened to be the largest brown trout of his life.

per-fly rig that allows an attractor and bait imitator to be used on each fly rod. Route 161 north from Caribou to Fort Kent will bring travelers near each of the lakes I’ve mentioned. A couple of miles on side roads will allow anglers to reach spacious launch and parking areas. Just check out DeLorme’s Atlas and Gazetteer, Map 68, for an overview. Bodacious Browns Brown trout are a rare commodity in Aroostook waterways, and catching one over five pounds is a memorable event. I’ve yet to

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achieve that goal, but have boated or pulled through the ice several over the 3-pound mark, and keep returning to Nickerson Lake each spring with high hopes. This boomerang-shaped water lies south of Houlton via Route 2A and along Drew’s Lake Road. There are excellent, well-kept ramp, dock and parking areas. See DeLorme’s, Map 53, grid A-2 for an overview. Nickerson is simple to troll, with no real coves and only a couple of creek inlets, but has some depth to explore going down to 107 feet at one point. Besides the much sought-out brown trout, there are brookies, togue, perch, pickerel and smelt. Chances are good some species will be biting, and if you see five boats at once during an outing, it’s a rare occurrence. Colorful tandems are still my go-to bait. Timberland Togue Spring anglers in search of lots of lake trout and very few other fishermen should consider Second Musquacook Lake, deep in the North (Continued on next page)

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Early-season trolling on Long Lake often provides the largest salmon of the season, and memories for years.

This early May troller made the long, often bumpy boat ride across Square Lake, and was rewarded with this fat and feisty bragging-size brookie from right in front of Goddard Brook. (Continued from page 44)

Maine Woods. It’s a long slow, bumpy ride hauling a boat, but the action can be top-rate for togue and brook trout this month. Most of the lakers weigh one to three pounds, but there are a few five-pound beauties finning about. At this time of year, lead core won’t be needed, as the togue prowl near the surface, but having a sinking tip fly line along is a good idea. Most springs, it’s possible to navigate the shallow thoroughfare up into First Musquacook for some new trolling territory and different scenery. As well as favorite streamer patterns, try dragging some shiny

Once in a while, a shorts-and-T shirt day will occur in May. Here, Tom Tardiff uses a canoe, a 3-weight rod, and a feisty trout from a local pond to celebrate warm May weather.

Square and Cross Lakes are better known for brook trout, but as Mike Wallace proves, football-shaped silver leapers are also prone to grabbing a passing streamer fly.

metal in the form of Sutton Spoons or Mooseleuk Wobblers for variety. Also, heed some hard-learned advice, and have at least one fully-inflated spare

tire for truck and boat trailer, since roadbed gravel made from sharp-edged crushed shale is a tire-killer! Drive Route 11 or 163 to Ashland, then on to Six Mile Checkpoint

Although Bill Graves would rather land large salmon, several 2-3 pounders from an afternoon outing on a Fish River Lake offers great catch-and-release fun.

Dave Ash of Ashland displays one of several lake trout taken while trolling Second Musquacook Lake deep in the North Maine Woods during an early May outing.

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The Allagash – an Endangered River? In previous columns, I’ve discussed that despite efforts by Governor Ken Curtis, U.S. Senator Ed Muskie and Maine citizens to protect the Allagash, today the Waterway is once again under assault by the very agencies charged with its protection. Concept Plan vs. Management Plan In 1973, Maine park planners released a 10-year concept plan to guide departmental policies and daily field operations. That effort to follow state and federal laws was the building block provided to the Waterway’s first Supervisor, Leigh Hoar Jr. Months after I was appointed supervisor in 1981, the 1973 document was given to me by the same planner who’d written it eighteen years before. By 1981, the Allagash had undergone immense changes. During heavy rains, miles of poorly built roads caused brooks to run brown with mud, resulting in silt runoff smothering trout spawning beds. Other challenges included the proliferation of motorized access points, illegal oversized groups, and multiple campsites that were built without permission – years of challenges that Park administrators were seemingly unable to resolve. Once I was settled into the job, I asked the

The scenic beauty of Umsaskis Lake. Photo provided by Tim Caverly

Bureau’s permission to update the 1973 guidelines. Finally in 1999, eighteen years later, a new management plan was approved. While the written language follows state and federal requirements, it appears that when under political pressure, Maine Dept. of Conservation, Parks Bureau ignores legal mandates. River of Broken Promises By the early 1990s, it was obvious that Park directors were maintaining a laissez-faire or hands-off style of operations. This fact was discussed in a 2001 legal brief about Maine’s failure to fulfill the requirements of the NPS Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. One example was the unpermitted and illegal 1997 construction of a concrete Churchill Dam*1. To read the full report online, google “River of Broken Promises”. In 2000 and again in 2002, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) released Losing Paradise – The

Allagash Wilderness Waterway Under Attack. This white paper provided examples of cases in which the State failed to support Allagash rangers who were trying to fulfill their duties. In 2002 and in 2008, American Rivers named the Allagash as one of the ten most endangered rivers in the United States. Documents cited “neglectful management,” while Maine legislators stripped away the protections provided by the Wild and Scenic Rivers Inclusion of 1970*2. This development was noted by Cathy Johnson of the Natural Resource Council of Maine: “Once considered the crown jewel of the nation’s Wild and Scenic River System, the Allagash Wilderness Waterway has been degraded by 30 years of poor management by the State. Multiple parking lots and motor vehicle access points threaten to diminish the priceless wilderness experience offered by the Allagash.” 4/17/2008.

2012 Management Plan In the 2012 AWW Management Plan, the Directors of the Bureau of Parks and the Superintendent have been provided with an excellent tool to plan for today and tomorrow. However, when there is an inspection of Allagash operations, the first question that needs to be asked is; Has the Bureau of Parks and Lands read their own work? This concern is evident by the Bureau’s proposal for $1.2 million worth of six new buildings within 500 feet of the River (note: this part of the proposal was withdrawn in April, following a public outcry); and the purchase of a 23’ boat complete with powerful twin outboard motors – a patrol vehicle able to speed by those seeking a wilderness experience. In addition to the above development, is the loss of water quality, as editorialized by the Maine Sportsman, which discussed findings in a recent report that report of tree

harvesting along the Allagash is so heavy that unprotected, unshaded feeder streams are too hot for brook trout.*3 To provide others with information I have created a 50-minute PowerPoint program titled “A Hard Road to an Allagash Wilderness.” The program’s description tells it all: “In this virtual trip, the audience will canoe with retired Supervisor Tim Caverly from Allagash Lake to Allagash Falls. Discover the AWW as a Wild and Scenic River, and hear about threats such as increases in day use hiking trails and multiple vehicle access points, escalation of development, limited rule enforcement and efforts to degrade the wild.” Let me know if you or your group would like to view this presentation. ***** *1 River of Broken Promises, Allagash Partners, Feb. 13, 2001, Chapter 14, Pgs. 68-74 *2 American Rivers Most Endangered List 2002, Pg. 28 *3 The Maine Sportsman, March 2024, Pg. 4 Tim Caverly worked eighteen years as Allagash supervisor. He has authored twelve books about Maine’s northern forest.

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Youth Turkey Hunting Tips Turkey hunting is a great way to introduce new hunters to hunting. Compared to deer hunting, it’s warmer, there’s more action, and the stakes aren’t as high if things don’t work out. Even if you don’t bag a bird, you will likely hear them gobbling and even see them strutting, which is encouraging to new and experienced hunters alike. The past few years, I have had the pleasure of taking my friend’s daughter, Abbi, out on Youth Day for both turkey and deer, and we are batting a thousand. Last year, at 14 years old, Abbi shot two toms with one shot! Much of the credit goes to her level head in the heat of the moment, and her comfort with her firearm. Here are some tips I’ve learned to be a better mentor. These same principles can be applied to guiding youth deer hunters, as well. Target Practice Make sure the young hunter is comfortable with their firearm and that it fits him or her properly. Using a red dot scope is invaluable. Have him or her target practice in a set-up that’s similar to the one you’ll be using; for example, seated on a hunting stool with a shooting stick. Recoil can ruin a kid. Use hearing protection; in addition to protecting their hearing, often kids associate the loud bang with perceived recoil. Consider whether to let the youth practice with actual turkey loads or instead with a lighter load that doesn’t kick as hard. Some mentors and parents prefer to not let the child shoot the turkey load until the hunt; in the moment, full of excitement and adrenaline, the youth is less likely to notice the recoil. Decide what works best for your situation. Together, discuss and decide on how far of a shot to take. Stress the importance of firearm safety, and to always put the safety on after a shot. Roost the Birds The evening prior, try to roost some birds. Bring the young hunter with you if possible. It’s not that you’re trying to make the hunt easy, but that you’ll want to ensure the two of you at least

When you guide a young turkey hunter, both of you benefit from the experience. hear some gobbles. A chilly, silent early morning can be very boring and disheartening for a new hunter of any age. The Set-Up Sit in a blind so the youth can squirm and fidget. Bring a shooting rest. Once it’s light enough, have your youth practice aiming at your decoys – is he or she comfortable? Practice aiming if a turkey were to come from the right side, and then the left. Is there a shot? I once had Abbi sit on my lap to make a shot! The more comfortable your youth

Abbi (left) as a 13-year-old hunter ...

... and the following year, as an experienced 14-year-old. Photos by the author

is, the longer you’ll be able to hunt, increasing your odds of success. Bring snacks, games, bug spray and more snacks. Make sure they dress warmly. If the youth does get restless and wants to quit, that’s okay; this is their hunt. Communicate To involve the young hunter in the process, explain what you’re doing and why. Have your youth help set up decoys, and explain why you’re setting them up the way you are. Ask the youth whether you should call again now or wait a few minutes. Ask your youth whether he or she wants to shoot a jake, or a tom only, so that if a jake appears, you’re both on the same page. If a jake comes in that your youth does not want to shoot, let the youth try some calling, to see if he or she can get the bird to gobble. In the Moment When a shooter turkey comes in, I like to tell Abbi whether it’s a tom or a jake, and then I say something along the lines of, “Whenever you’re ready; take your time,” because that’s what I would want someone to tell me in the moment. I would not want to hear, “Shoot! Shoot! Shoot!” Kids are literal thinkers, and they may just pull the trigger whether the bird is in the scope or not. If the child changes his or her mind and doesn’t pull the trigger, that’s perfectly fine. Commend their decision to not take a poor shot. After the Shot Remind the youth to put the safety on, then take the firearm, unload it, and confirm the safety is on. Then let the celebrating begin! There is no rush. Let the youth collect themselves and make a phone call to a loved one if they want. Take an extra five minutes to get quality, respectful photos of the youth with their quarry. It’s perfectly fine to not include the firearm in the photo, but if you do, be extra mindful of where the firearm is pointed. Encourage the youth to dress the turkey themselves, but do not pressure them if they don’t want to. Early hunting experiences should be positive. Good luck to all the youths and all hunters this season!

48 • May 2024 • The Maine Sportsman ———————————————————————————————————————————————

Time to Forage! Fly fishing, turkey hunting and camping are among the activities we look forward to enjoying in May. But springtime is also the beginning of the foraging season. Foraging, the act of harvesting wild food, has grown in popularity, especially since the Covid pandemic and the organic food movement. According to Maine Public (, a recent study from the University of Vermont and Vermont Fish and Wildlife showed that hunting, fishing, foraging, and gardening improve overall food security. This isn’t a new concept to hunters and fishermen, who have long used hunting and fishing to put food on the table, but it’s encouraging to see people beginning to better understand and appreciate where their food comes from. We mostly forage for mushrooms as one more thing to do when we’re out in the woods. Depending on where you choose to forage, do your research, and make sure there hasn’t been any pesticide/herbicide spraying near the area you want to mushroom forage. Most companies have signs they post in areas treated, but a simple search on the internet may bring up any potential issues. Ramps The first spring

There’s no better meal at your campsite than fresh landlocked salmon or brook trout, accompanied by some sauteed ramps, boiled fiddleheads, and sauteed morels.

Ramps. All photos provided by the author

ible, ramps, also called wild leek, are mainly found along riverbanks north of Augusta. They are one of the first greenery, and they sprout before the fiddleheads. You know you’ve found them when you find a plant with two leaves and a reddish stem, that smells like onion and tastes like garlic. They are wonderful sauteed in butter, made into a wild potato leek soup, or dried and used as a seasoning. Fiddleheads Most everyone is familiar with fiddle-

Mountain fiddlehead.

heads. What many people don’t realize is that you can find them in locations other than just along riverbanks. In fact, some of the biggest fiddleheads I’ve ever found were far from the river. However, because of a concern for agricultural run-off and pollutants, my first choice is to find fiddleheads in the wild over riverbanks. Fiddleheads can be canned or frozen, to be eaten throughout the rest of the year. Mushrooms Mushrooms are trickier, but with some basic knowledge, you can enjoy some easily-found tasty edibles to go with your game dinners. There are basic rules you should follow prior to ever eating any wild mushroom. Identify the mushroom by what it looks like, and be able to know its characteristics, where it’s found, what it smells like, and what color spore print it creates. I have picked many mushrooms that I chose not to eat because I could not be absolutely certain of their identity. Maine author David Spahr has a simple-to-follow book that helps identify key ed-

ible mushrooms. It’s titled Edible and Medicinal Mushrooms of New England and Eastern Canada. Just as with most wild plants, mushrooms are very finicky and susceptible to the positive and negative effects of weather. Last year was the wettest summer I remember, but it was also the best mushroom season ever. Mushrooms also have times when they emerge and die, so timing is everything. The first to emerge are Dryad’s Saddle, a.k.a. Pheasant’s Back mushrooms. Found on dead maple, Pheasant’s Back mushrooms must be picked as they emerge with a pig snout appearance. If you pick them fully developed, they’ll be tough and buggy. Morels are next, and their timing varies due to changes in the weather. While highly

Morel Mushroom.

abundant in the south and Midwest, they are scarce here in Maine. There needs to be rain, but also sunshine and warmer temps to force their emergence. Morels are hard to find, and are often referred to as “elusive.” That’s because their color blends in so well with the early spring colors, you can literally walk by them several times. Morels are found in old orchards, disturbed ground, or old logging areas. Since we spend a considerable time in forest management areas, that’s where we find them. Morels come back to the same places, supposedly each year, but that’s not always the case. Morel season is roughly three weeks, since we find some, then go back the next week to the same spot and find more and then again, the third week. By the fourth week, all signs of morels are gone, and we’re ready to look for chanterelles and black trumpets. Morels have a unique nutty flavor, and are savored because we get so few compared to the rest of the mushrooms we pick. Chanterelles and black trumpet mushrooms are found in mixed hardwoods, especially along old gravel roads. They (Get Out There continued on next page)

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Is a Convertible Mustang the Epitome of Off-Road Adventure? I know, I know – you’re reading this title and saying to yourself, “A convertible Mustang has to be the worst possible off-roader in existence.” How closed-minded of you! What’s wrong with a little extra airflow and style on the way in to a remote pond or hunting spot? After making the questionable decision to sell my perfectly capable Jeep for a car with only five inches of ground clearance, I’ve learned to adapt. Here are the pros and cons of a sports car as a sporting rig. Pros Efficiency – A lot of newer muscle cars are actually pretty efficient, if you are extremely gentle on the throttle, and coast downhill a lot. Looks – Any deer, partridge, or turkey in the Maine woods has a deep passion for cool cars. They’ll flock to the roadsides like moths to a flame to watch you drive by. Natural air conditioning – Never have to worry about being too warm again!

Our consummate off-road young outdoorsman has traded in his Jeep for a Mustang convertible. (“SUV? SUV? We don’t need no stinkin’ SUV!”)

Note the coating of road dust, the ice-fishing gear stowed in the back seat, and the big grin on the author’s face. Clearly, this Mustang convertible is a stealth SUV.

With the push of a button, the roof is gone, and you’ll be bundling up and shivering. Trailer hitch – You read that correctly! The Mustang came with a hitch receiver. You know what that means – it can pull anything … as long as what’s being towed weighs less than a small boat, and there are no extra people or weight in the car. Overall off-road capability – When

Get Out There (Continued from page 48)

also have the longest season, beginning in late May, and often running into September. While you can spot chanterelles from a vehicle, black trumpets require you to get out of your car and look at your feet. A few sightings can easily lead to having ten pounds of

you encounter a stretch of rough traveling, the trick is to proceed very, very, very slowly. If that doesn’t work, the second trick is to stop the car and walk the rest of the way in. Cons I won’t sugar coat it; just like all vehicles, this one isn’t perfect. Here are the very few cons of using a convertible car as an off-road vehicle: Traction – As

you might’ve guessed, a rear-wheel drive, two-wheel drive car isn’t the best for loose gravel or mud. In fact, I once got it stuck in some slush in the middle of a paved intersection. And don’t even think about any sort of an incline with loose dirt. It’s just not going to happen, especially if you aren’t carrying momentum. Clearance – With about 5 inches of clearance, you’d best

mushrooms in less than two hours, so be ready for the addiction. At the end of your day afield, a nice landlocked salmon or brook trout accompanied by some sauteed ramps, boiled fiddleheads and sauteed morels makes for one of the best meals you can enjoy while camping. I hope you’ll give foraging a try, too.

Chanterelle Mushrooms

hope that whatever dirt road you’re traveling doesn’t have a hump in the middle, or else you’re scraping the whole way. Which isn’t a big deal at all. Just turn the radio up so you can’t hear your vehicle decreasing in value. Storage – The Mustang is a four-seater … technically. In reality, it seats two adult-size people, and two small people, children, or dogs. Or, you can fill the back seat with hunting and fishing gear. With the top back, your capacity is nearly unlimited. Just be aware – this technique isn’t great if there’s snow or rain in the forecast. Also, prepare to bundle up if it’s cold outside. There’s no denying it … the Mustang was a controversial purchase. I argue with myself over it frequently. It can’t take too much abuse, and I tend to abuse my rigging. However, as I said at the beginning of this column, I’m learning to adapt.

Black Trumpet Mushrooms

50 • May 2024 • The Maine Sportsman ———————————————————————————————————————————————

Side-Trips Make the Big Trips Worthwhile As we plan for extended trips into the Maine woods over the coming months, it’s important to build in time for exploration of sideline attractions. Adding an extra day or two into the itinerary can ease schedule anxiety, lead us to less-crowded venues, and enable us to discover some amazing spots just off the beaten path. Moose River Bow Tip The 34-mile Moose River Bow Trip has long been one of the most popular canoe camping trips in the state. And despite at least two strenuous portages being required to complete the full circuit, most sources recommend allowing 3-4 days for the experience. That’s plenty of time to complete the trip if you are willing to ignore most of the off-route attractions and simply follow the crowd along the river

Some canoe-trippers, says the author, focus on the destination rather than on the journey. For those taking the Moose River Bow Trip, he makes specific suggestions for detours that lead to many trout and few people.

Holeb Falls, depicted on a Maine Forest Service diagram. Directional arrows indicate the usual Bow Trip for canoeists.

trail. Add a day or two if you want to explore some of the huge tract of Maine Public Reserve Land that is accessible from the river. For brook trout enthusiasts, the Bow Trip can be a disappointment if you stay on the designated route. The Moose is

Holeb Falls trout for the pan. Photos provided by the author

mostly flatwater, with shallow riffles between deep, tannin-stained pools lined with clay and mud. Granite outcrops at Camel Rips, Holeb Falls, Spencer Rips, Attean Falls and a few other spots offer more oxygenated water and better fishing. But riv-

er trippers often seem focused on portaging around, or running through, these quickwater sections in their rush to complete the trip. Holeb Falls Side-Trip For those willing to linger and explore, the trout fishing at Holeb

A view of No. 5 Mountain from the “dead end” tributary.

Falls can be fantastic. The Bow Trip canoe route follows a back channel that goes north of the main falls and terminates at a log jam where the portage trail begins. The trail leads to the lower end of the falls where the back channel rejoins the main branch of the river. Only a few trippers follow the short sidetrail from the portage trail that offers an overlook of the back channel running down over an impressively steep drop. But fewer still explore the main branch of the river, which loops dramatically away from the canoe route, and for more than a mile races through several sets of falls and pools before rejoining the back channel. This section of falls and pools along the main stem is remote river trout fishing at its best. The river braids itself into different channels (Self-Propelled continued on page 52)

Side trips lead to glimpses of beauty, such as this wild Northern Blue Flag iris.

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Spring Tradition on Grand Lake With winter’s ice safely melted into memory, I slid my boat into West Grand Lake. My 18-foot Starcraft had just turned 50, and looked every bit like a postcard from 1973 as we nudged her towards the dock. Traditions come hard. Life often sabotages the best of intentions. When that boat splashed, I called it a win. The biggest challenge with any yearly tradition involves getting to the starting line. On this particular trip my son, Matt, along with Parker Capwell and Wally McDonald, were along for the ride. With the boat in the water, we settled into our cabin at Grand Lake Lodge and geared up for our first voyage across the lake. Accidental Tradition I got hooked on early-season trolling for landlocked salmon quite by accident. Years ago, my good friend, Gerry Gauvin, mentioned his 40-year tradition of fishing the lake after ice-out would end because his long-time fishing partner, “Doc” Arcand, was having a medical procedure. On a whim, I offered my services and found myself dragging a fly around Grand Lake the first week of May. When Doc returned to action the following year, the

locked salmon in the boat. I had two fly rods set up with tandem flies. The front offering, a homegrown attractor fly we call Bandy the Rodeo Clown, pulls a trailing classic Blacknose Dace. Parker was working with spoons and spinners near the surface. Matt had purchased some smelts and a sliding hook rig for his offering. Wally brought his saltwater roots – and gear – with him. Wally’s plan involved a heavy bait cast rod spooled with lead core line. A heavy spoon would be working the depths. Still within sight of the dam, I throttled down along the southern shore. In order to get my 70 h.p. motor to putt me along at two miles

Which trolling offering would catch more salmon or lake trout – streamer flies, live bait, or a deeprunning spoon?

Wally McDonald utilized lead-core line to pull this nice laker from the depths of Grand Lake. Trolling the heavy line at two miles per hour put his spoon in just the right thermocline. Before the week was out, Wally added some landlocked salmon to his résumé. Bill Sheldon photo

long-time anglers continued to let me tag along. Now, with both men tickling 90, it’s up to me to continue the tradition. Grand Lake Stream While trolling for landlocked salmon easily satisfies me, the area offers so much more. Parker was eager to wade the threemile stretch of river that flows from the dam into Big Lake. It’s a wade-fisherman’s paradise. That three-mile flow might arguably rate as the most famous stretch of water in the State of Maine. High water can hinder wading after ice out. For Parker, who is 6’8”, that’s not a prob-

lem. Those looking for a change of scenery can drive the three miles from Grand Lake, and splash a boat at the ramp on Big Lake. Astute anglers might consider working the water where Grand Lake Stream spills out into Big Lake. It’s just a short distance from the boat ramp. Dragging flies through that section of the lake rates high on my to-do-list. Another bucket list item involves returning to both of these storied lakes during the summer, and taking a firsthand try at the legendary smallmouth bass fishery. Many Plans

I could see on the first morning everyone had a slightly different plan for putting land-

(Continued on next page)

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Katahdin Country (Continued from page 51)

per hour, I added a trolling plate. Debate rages about the perfect trolling speed. Some boats really move along at what seems double that speed. When I quizzed guide Paul Laney back at camp, he gave me the thumbs up at two to two and a half miles per hour.

Lake Trout, Too! Not 10 minutes into the troll, Wally’s saltwater rod doubled over hard. Apparently going deep would pay off. It was a hard, deep pull, and not acting like the landlocked salmon we were targeting. Welp, it’s no secret that Grand Lake Stream has its share

Self-Propelled Sportsman (Continued from page 50)

between granite ledges, debris from downed trees, and deep holes. The designated canoe route has followed the back channel since at least the early 1970s. And from the upstream point where canoeists commit to the channel by turning left off the main stem, one would never guess what lies downstream. I suspect that even most veteran Bow Trippers have no idea what they are missing. And consequently, the fishing pressure is uncharacteristically light for a spot where hundreds of people pass through every year. Unless they are camping along the portage trail, most canoe campers don’t spend more than an hour portaging and maybe having lunch here. The portage trail offers tenting spots, with picnic tables. Two old forest service cabins are also open for use – if you don’t mind sharing with the mice. A foot trail at the put-in follows the

of lake trout. I guess I forgot to tell Wally about the big lakers roaming below. Good thing he had some respectable sized gear. While that was our only lake trout of the week, it was a beauty. It was a slow week for salmon. Timing the best post ice-out fishing requires a combination of studying past seasons, guesswork, and maybe a little bit of luck. By most accounts, we were just

a bit early. With that said, we did bring some salmon to hand. We caught a few on the flies, and a handful with live bait. The spoons picked up a few more. So, the question popped up, which method caught the most fish? Well, Wally’s deep-running spoon certainly caught the nicest fish of the trip. Interestingly, the spoons, flies and live bait pretty much came

river downstream past another campsite at Mosquito Rips, and then turns sharply uphill toward a gated road system. Very Remote Ponds in Reach The river fishing might be enough to suggest lingering and exploring here for a day. But for trout fishermen, nearby remote ponds should seal the deal for a side-trip. The loop of main river that bypasses the designated canoe trail, passes a swampy logan on the south side of the river. That logan is within bushwhacking distance of the Tobey Ponds – a set of four remote ponds that are near the foot of No. 5 Mountain with its telltale fire tower. A small brook from the nearest of these three ponds feeds into the riverside logan. Once again, the limited access to these ponds provides for excellent trout fishing. This pond-filled area cries out for an overnight bivouac camp and some way to get out on the water – perhaps a float tube. I have portaged canoes from the logan into these ponds in the past. Switch ponds if the action is slow – some are deeper than others.

out even. That tells me that timing might be more important than offering or method. And, oh, Parker did make it to the stream with his fiberglass fly rod and a Golden Retriever streamer. Despite higher flows and perhaps being there a week early, he put two nice salmon in the net. My now 51-yearold boat is ready for 2024.

Other Explorations At the upstream point, above the falls, where the canoe trail leaves the main channel of the river, canoeists must make an immediate right hand turn to stay on the trail into the back channel that leads to the canoe portage. If instead they turn left here (into the stream marked “Dead end” on the diagram), they will travel upstream on a tributary that runs along the foot of Attean Mountain. The unnamed tributary is navigable for well over a mile – depending on water level. First, there is an incredible spruce/fir forest labyrinth to paddle through, which further upstream gives way to open meadow and long, deep beaver pond. At the eastern edge of the bog is a barn-sized boulder that overlooks the pond below, and offers views of the surrounding area from the top. I’ve never fished in this beaver pond, but there’s no good reason it doesn’t harbor trout. The views from the boulder alone make this side-trip worthwhile for an afternoon or even an overnight bivy camp.


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Fiberglass Rod Revival Catches Bill’s Attention My passion for fly fishing was born in Freeport, Maine during the early 1990s. Armed with a gift card stout enough to purchase a pair of waders and a fourweight starter kit fly rod, I strolled through the iconic doors at L.L.Bean. For anyone looking to dip their toe into the world of fly-fishing, starter kits are perfect. Purchasing rod, reel and line takes some of the guesswork away, compared to buying individual components. The helpful clerk assured me I couldn’t go wrong. I didn’t know it then, but this rod would ignite a lifelong passion. I’d unwittingly made the leap from spin casting to fly fishing. This little graphite rod and I would spend some great times together.

When fiberglass rods started replacing bamboo rods, aficionados of bamboo opined that fiberglass did not have the same “feel” as bamboo. And when graphite started replacing fiberglass, fiberglass aficionados complained that graphite did not have the same “feel” as fiberglass. While Maine’s open water season officially opened April 1st, it’s the month of May when the action really heats up. While these days heading into the field with a fly rod in hand suits me just fine, I haven’t forgotten all those good times when a fiberglass spinning rod soothed my passion. My favorite spinning rod, a Classic Glass Fenwick, still accompanies me on most expeditions. In certain conditions, especially in extreme wind, I’ll enjoy the retro feel of fiberglass. That has me think-

ing about resting all my graphite rods and transitioning to a fiberglass fly rod. I too have noticed the resurgence in fiberglass fly rods. Most major rod manufacturers have noticed it also. Fiberglass Resurgence Orvis, Reddington, Epic, L.L.Bean and Moonshine Rod Company all offer fly rods in fiberglass. So that begs the question, why? Rod manufacturers have spent the last few decades pushing graphite technology to the edge, in order to give us lighter, faster and better casting

rods. Why would anglers trade a new high-tech rod for 1950s technology? Well, today’s fiberglass rod is not the same as the one that hung on Grandpa’s wall. Without getting technical, modern fiberglass has benefited from technology, too. Glass rods replaced bamboo rods starting in the 1960s, when companies like Orvis and R.L Winston attempted to offer affordable fishing rods to the masses. It did so at the expense of labor-intensive split bamboo. These less expen-

sive rods dominated the market for years. Purists always complained that fiberglass didn’t have the “feel” of bamboo. In 1973, graphite showed up, and fiberglass was dealt the same fate as bamboo, as graphite appeared ready to dominate the future. A new generation of purists complained it didn’t have the same “feel” as fiberglass. Fortunately, a handful of bamboo and fiberglass rod builders refused to let go of rods they felt were superior in many ways while acknowledging the occasional shortcoming. Classic Glass Fiberglass fly rods, unlike fast-action graphite, bend deep into the rod blank. Basically, think slow action. I’m speculating this may work (Continued on next page)


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Jackman (Continued from page 53)

well for my slow, lazy casting style. Slowing down and letting the rod load deep into the handle has the advantage of letting the rod do the work. It’s grace over brawn. Fiberglass rods have a reputation for delivering flies smoothly and softly. Delicately setting a mayfly imitation of one of the 55 native brook waters within 15-miles of Jackman’s epicenter makes a good case for classic glass. Think slower line speeds. Okay, so fiberglass must have some downsides. They tend to weigh more than graphite, and the

slower line speeds are a killer in high winds. That’s where a stiff graphite rod will generate the line-speed necessary to punch through those high winds. Moose River Fishing The Moose River (DeLorme’s Atlas, Map 39, C-3) has multiple access points for both classic glass and graphite equipment. The Moose River inlet to Big Wood Lake has seen its share of classic glass. Anglers in the know study The Maine Sportsman’s stocking list (see the April, 2024 issue) or watch the Department of Inland Fisheries

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and Wildlife (DIF&W) website for fish stocking reports, to gauge the best time to put line to water. The Moose River, as it connects Attean and Big Wood Pond, also gets its share of early-season attention. Most anglers fish this section by boat. Its rocky bottom, good for salmonids, but not so good for propellers, requires excellent boating skills and extreme caution. The outlet of Holeb Pond often gets overlooked. DIF&W regularly stocks Holeb Pond (Map 39, B-2), another water worth keeping track of on the DIF&W website. Adventurers looking to spend a few days remote camping have the option of doing the Moose River Bow Trip during this peak fishing time. Done with a Registered Maine Guide at this time of year, it has the “trip of a lifetime” potential (see more details about the area in Jim Andrews’ “Self-Propelled” column this month). So, what rod will my hand be wrapped

The Jackman Region has over 50 waters within a short drive from downtown Jackman that support native brook trout. Lightweight, sensitive rods offer anglers their best chance for fooling these skittish salmonids. Bill Sheldon photo

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It All Begins Now Despite our surprise early April snowfall, I believe the woodchuck was right with its prediction of an early spring. The way I figure it, even if the groundhog gets it wrong, that’s still pretty good news, because six more weeks of winter would mean spring returns in mid-May. This all translates into an early ice-out for area lakes and ponds. Smaller waters will probably become ice-free by late April, and the larger lakes won’t be far behind. Thank a thinner layer of ice this past winter, coupled with many above-average-temperature days. Any way you view it, May should shape up to be a red-hot month for spring fishing. Of course, with spring comes mud season. Back roads and in fact most unpaved roads, even ATV trails, will go off limits for a while as frost leaves the ground, and will reopen when the ground finally dries out and becomes fit for vehicular travel once again. No need to fret, though, because boat access to many lakes and ponds is via paved roads. So sometime in early May, expect to see scores of boaters putting in during the early-morning hours – the best time for iceout trolling.

It’s May in the storied Moosehead Region. The salmon, brook trout and togue, says the author, are ready and willing to provide great ice-out angling.

Fred Cooper lands a togue on a still day on Moosehead Lake. Photo provided by the author

All Species All three coldwater species go on the prowl in May. For a chance at trophy brook trout, the likes of which are not usually seen south of the subarctic, hit Moosehead Lake. Last

winter’s catch included some brookies in the 6-pound range. Note that Moosehead’s brook trout are a capricious lot, not dependable enough to be counted upon, but present and always

susceptible to falling for a live smelt, streamer fly or lure.

The other two coldwater species, salmon and togue, are much-disposed to biting now. While most anglers target salmon, togue are also present, and they make for a regular by-catch. Moosehead Lake in particular has a solid reputation for producing early-season salmon and togue. For both species, May presents an opportunity to take fish in relatively shallow water near shoals, ridges and even along rocky shorelines. I have taken togue, normally a deepwater fish, in 10 – 12 feet of water close in to shore. But you may find both togue and salmon almost anywhere, as fish from far out in the lake come to near-shore locations to feast upon spawning smelt. I find that while live smelt remain at the top of the ladder regarding bait and (Continued on next page)

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Moosehead Region (Continued from page 55)

lure choices, lures, especially wobbling spoons, work almost as well, without the need to tend to a bait pail full of live fish. Next in line come streamer flies. Note that while trolling streamers, if you are not going faster than people using smelts, you are not going fast enough. Also, it pays to grab the rod once in a while and pump it. Salmon will often nail the fly as it drops back. Stocked Lakes Some smaller lakes and ponds see regular stockings of brook

trout, courtesy of the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife (DIF&W). One small lake in the southern tip of the Moosehead Region, Wassookeag Lake in Dexter, has lots going for it. Each year, DIF&W stocks brook trout and salmon here. Last year, DIF&W stocked Wassookeag with 500 9-inch brook trout and 500 8-inch salmon. The salmon stockings supplement an existing population of mature fish. In addition to salmon and brook trout, the lake

also holds togue. Wassookeag also holds another species of interest, black crappies. Illegally introduced, crappies here attain enormous sizes. Do they do so by tapping into the smelt population? I don’t think so. The lake is filled with baitfish other than smelt, including golden shiners. Crappies are a shallow-water species, and as such have only limited access to smelt. My biologist friends suggest fishing along the rocks that line the causeway. Here again, timing is everything. Hit it right and reap your reward.

Hit it wrong, and go home empty-handed. Since white perch also live in Wassookeag, you might take crappies while fishing the perch runs at the northeast end of the lake, almost in downtown Dexter. Look for Wassookeag on the DeLorme Atlas, Map 32, D-1. Rivers Open Moosehead Lake’s West Outlet sees regular stockings of brook trout throughout the spring and then again in fall. The big pool just downstream from the dam usually holds trout, but not everyone catches them. Oftentimes, fish hold near

bottom, and surface or mid-depth offerings won’t take anything but the occasional small salmon. Here’s how I fish the pool. First, using 4-pound test line, because it sinks faster and easier, I cast out as far as I can and then, with my bail open to allow line to flow freely, I’ll allow the current to carry my lure down toward bottom before closing. That’s when most strikes occur. It’s May in the storied Moosehead Region. The fish are ready and willing.

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Lou’s May Bass, Hatch, and Catch If variety is the spice of life, the author found a flavorful stretch of the Medomak River. He brought three fly rods with him, including a 7-weight bass rod, a 3-weight dry fly rod, and a 10-foot nymphing rig. Before the day was over, he got to use all three rods. Two hours of fishing and nary a strike. I was disappointed. I look forward to my annual late-spring pilgrimage to Damariscotta Lake to fish for smallmouth bass with small poppers. But just my luck, during an otherwise warm 2023 spring season, the night before I

arrived was cold. When I clambered onto the boat at first light, it was below freezing – ice formed on the guides as I started casting. No bass even nudged my popper as I worked along the shoreline. I stuck my hand into the water and the water felt much colder

than the optimal 55-65 degrees. The sluggish bass were not interested in topwater fare. Venue Change As the sun rose and hit the water, I knew continuing would be futile. The sun would drive the bass into deeper water. So I gathered my gear and headed back to the car.

The Quality of the fish stocked by the state of Maine has improved over the years. All photos by the author

But instead of heading south on Route 1 toward home, I decided to turn north. The beauty of Maine fishing is if one spot isn’t producing, you are never far from another opportunity. In this case, the Me-

domak River is just half-hour up the road. If the bass weren’t cooperating, maybe the trout would. This time of year, my fishing gear rarely leaves the SUV. On this day, I carried (Continued on next page)

58 • May 2024 • The Maine Sportsman ———————————————————————————————————————————————

Mop Flies are constructed from pieces of actual dyed mop “strings.” They are strange looking, but work well at times.

tippet spools, nippers, floatant, and other tools, and a couple fly boxes of bass poppers and go-to trout flies. All set. A brook trout bends the author’s nymphing rod on the Medomak River.

Freshwater Fly Fishing (Continued from page 57)

hip boots, a ten-foot Douglas nymphing rod, a three-weight

Loomis dry-fly rod, a seven-weight bass rod, my lanyard with

Medomak River The Medomak is heavily stocked in the spring and again in the fall with both brookies and brownies. And while some might turn up their nose at hatchery fish, I don’t. Catching any

trout is always fun. I don’t fish for freshly-stocked fish that haven’t learned to eat wild food yet, or cluster within thirty feet of where the hatchery truck dumped them. But give the trout a few weeks to spread out and acclimate to natural fare, and I am all in. I hadn’t fished the Medomak in some time, but I tried a few

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side roads and found a stretch of river that looked familiar. It was wooded, quite rocky, and had a gradient that moved the water along. I noticed a half-dozen deep runs between clusters of boulders. I usually carry a couple of rods down to a river. I loathe taking the time to re-rig when I change tactics, and with my aging eyes, it takes me longer than it used to. My solution is to have on hand two rods rigged differently. The air was still chilly, and I observed nothing moving in or on the water, so I started prospecting with a weighted Wood Special streamer. After a dozen casts, I felt a tug, and quickly landed a small brook trout. As the sun hit the water, the temps warmed quickly, and I paused to shed a layer. I spotted a few mayflies emerging and flying about. I didn’t take the time to make a specific species ID, but they were of the March Brown/Quill Gordon/Hendrickson (Freshwater Fly Fishing continued on page 61)

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Take Early-Season Trout, Salmon, Togue from Shore The author calls it a “mini-season” before the boat trolling season – a time when togue, salmon and trout are cruising near the surface and close enough to be caught by anglers casting from the shore. It was one of those cold, early spring days when conditions felt more like March than May. I used two rods while trolling, each rigged with a promising salmon lure. Smelt runs had begun, and salmon and togue should have cooperated. But they didn’t. Several days later, a friend mentioned that he took a 4-pound togue the same day that I had such poor luck. The difference was that my friend was fishing from shore, with live smelts. He used enough weight to keep his bait near bottom, cast out as far as

he could, and waited. My friend had fished this way for years, hitting the water soon after ice-out. He had a good success rate, better than what I had while trolling during the same time period. Was I missing something? As a diehard troller, changing fishing methods comes hard to me. On the other hand, I’m not one to argue with success, and in fact I’m eager to learn from successful anglers. While most of our angling expertise comes as a result of our own trials and errors, a good deal of it comes from imitating

others. The successful angler is never too proud to take a lesson from someone else. Besides, the timeframe for taking coldwater game fish from shore has a limited span – a few weeks at the most. So as anxious as we all are to get out in the boat and start trolling, I see no reason not to take advantage of a mini-season, one that requires only a spinning rod and a bucket of smelt for gear. Salmon, Too Salmon, too, come close inshore in early spring. Two wellknown examples of this are the early

The author caught this brown trout shortly after iceout, using an earthworm fished on bottom. Photo by Tom Seymour

spring fishery at Sebago and tributaries, and at the public landings at Moosehead Lake. Both are early spring destinations for people seeking to take salmon from shore. This season often begins in April during early springs. Scores of other places throughout

Maine also offer early season success on salmon, when anglers cast from shore. Here’s another thing to consider. In years past, people came out in droves to hit the white-perch spawning runs. In waters where they were (Continued on next page)

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60 • May 2024 • The Maine Sportsman ———————————————————————————————————————————————

Trout Fishing (Continued from page 59)

present, salmon were often a much-appreciated bycatch species. As I recall, few, if any, ever fished specifically for salmon. I did, though. My reasoning was that while white perch run mostly in

the late afternoon and evening, salmon probably remain in the same areas in the morning. My reasoning proved correct. Following the perch runs is not a surefire way to catch

salmon, but it certainly is worth trying. And unlike when togue fishing, the smelt or shiner should be fished shallow, as opposed to on or near bottom. One of the easiest ways to do this is to employ a bobber, or if it makes you feel better, you might assign a more

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sophisticated name for it. Call it a “strike indicator.” Either way, set the bait so it fishes about 3 feet below the surface. Salmon often cruise quite near the surface, and even if they hold deeper, they are quite willing to zip up to the surface to smash a baitfish. Brook Trout Maine’s favorite trout, brook trout, congregate near shore areas in late April and early May. This stands especially true in stocked lakes and ponds, where fish tend to tarry at the point of introduction. This stands true even for fall-stocked fish that linger near where they were stocked until the following spring. In early May, if the

ice has only recently gone out, cold water temperatures slow fishes’ metabolisms to the point where they become quite sluggish, reluctant to chase a lure or fly. Believe it or not, water after iceout is a tiny bit colder than it was under the ice. The answer to this situation is to use bait, worms, smelt or shiners, fished on or near bottom. I like to use a single lively garden worm, hooked just once on a small, thin-wire hook. Add a non-lead split shot or two, about 12 inches above the bait. Then cast out, and allow the worm to crawl on bottom. If a trout sees it, it will probably pick it up. Of course, fresh(Continued on next page)

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ly-stocked trout are easy to catch within a week or two after being released. If you don’t find fish in your favorite spot, even though it was stocked only a day or two previous, be assured that you are

doing nothing wrong. Some places, especially some small rivers, should not be stocked, because after being released, the trout all immediately rush off to parts unknown. Unless you fish in the still-wet tracks of the stocking truck, you

Freshwater Fly Fishing (Continued from page 58)

type. Then I spotted a boil in the water, and then another. Trout were taking mayflies below the surface as they rose up the water column.

a dark Klickhammer emerger pattern, I started catching fish on the surface as they slashed at the duns.

Notice to Readers To see Lou’s video of the excellent day of fly fishing he describes in this column, go to and find the link for “Lou’s Fishing Trip on the Medomak”.


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Surprise Catch I worked my way downstream and the gradient slowed, the boulders disappeared, and a short riffle entered a mud-and-sand bottomed pool. A few caddis flitted about but no rises rippled the surface so I switched back to my nymphing rod, concluding that the Mop Fly might garner a strike. After some fruitless drifts, I felt a solid take, and was surprised to see a brown trout had engulfed the Mop Fly. The river had changed to more of a brown trout habitat, leading to the species shift. I had started the day casting for bass, had lucked into a hatch, caught a mess of brook trout, and ended with a brown trout. Such can be May fishing in the State of Maine.



Nymphing Action I picked up my nymphing rod. The deeper runs weren’t over fifteen feet wide, so I decided to try short-line nymphing with no indicator – just drifting two nymphs below my rod tip. One pattern was a small Mop Fly (as an attractor) and the other, a Pheasant Tail (a mayfly nymph/emerger imitation). Both patterns were weighted with tungsten beadheads, because the runs between the boulders looked deep. Tucking the nymphs down between the boulders, I varied the depth of the drift. It didn’t take long. Got a solid strike, and after a vigorous fight, I cradled a fat brookie over a foot long. It was a stocker, but a high-quality fish with vibrant colors and undamaged fins. More trout came to hand in the next half hour. I could hear splashes as the hatch intensified. Switching to my three-weight and

probably won’t catch fish. Despite these isolated instances, our Maine stocking program offers good fishing in places that would not hold trout otherwise. So get out, and try your luck.


(Continued from page 60)


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62 • May 2024 • The Maine Sportsman ———————————————————————————————————————————————

Gifts from the Sea The author tells of the guilty pleasure of watching excited anglers “play” a monster striper in the river, when in fact the fishermen have merely hooked one of the heavy anchor cables that secure the marina’s floats. I haven’t bought a saltwater fishing lure for quite a few years, and yet my collection of them keeps growing. I have many, representing all the major brands: Rapala, Yo-Zuri, MirrOlure, Heddon, Daiwa, and Slug-Go, to name just a few. I probably have at least one of each make. You might wonder – am I in the lure business? Do I shoplift them? No, neither of those. It’s just that we own a marina, and the lures are a gift from the sea. Every fall, when we haul the moorings out of the river, the boys find fishing lures caught on the chains and cables. Jeremy comes up to our house for lunch, casually drops some lures on the table, and announces, “Here, Dad – a few more for your collection.” The Lure Trap Our marina docks are held in place by granite mooring blocks, and these are attached to the docks with chains or cables. These attachments range in length from 30 feet to 75 feet. They reach out into the river, tending down

ward the bottom. Actually, these chains and cables “concatenate”; that is, they sag in the water, forming a crescent shape. They loosen or tighten with the rise and fall of the tide, but mostly the cables lie pretty close to the river bottom. We know the cables and chains are there, but many fishermen do not, and are tricked. It happens every summer, as guys troll past our fuel dock trying to attract a striped bass. Their strategy is not without merit, as our marina docks shelter all kinds of marine life. Everything from eels to shrimps to shad to sturgeon take refuge under our marina. We know this for two reasons. First, customers who fish from their boat slips catch a variety of fish, especially stripers on the early morning bite; and second, our diver who goes under water to fetch lost tools and orphan moorings reports seeing many kinds of fish. A giant sturgeon surprised him once when it came swimming out of the murky depths. The predation pyramid is alive and well under our docks,

where big fish eat little fish and little fish eat minnows and minnows eat miniscule shrimps and bugs. So, the chance of catching a decent sized fish near our docks is not unreasonable. The “Fish” Never Gets Tired However, those moorings are a formidable hazard. If we happen to see fishermen too close, we’ll yell at them and try to warn them off, but they don’t always get the message. When an unsuspecting angler snags one of those cables, the fight is on. The cable gives a little, so the fishermen falsely believes he has hooked the biggest cow striper in all of Saco Bay! He pumps his rod and feels the cable move, so he tightens up on the drag. It’s a whopper for sure! He tells his friend to take the boat out of gear while he attempts to land this fish of a lifetime. But the fish never tires, and eventually it dawns on the poor fisherman that maybe he has hooked the great state of Maine, and that bit of real estate is not going to budge. Sometimes the line breaks. Other times

A selection of salvage saltwater lures from the fall of 2023. Photo by the author

they make the decision to cut and run. This happens more than you might think, because in the fall my lure collection grows substantially. Some of the hooks are rusted, so we know they must have been lost early in the season. Others are pristine, like they just came off the sales rack at Cabela’s. I take them all. Some I have to wash and clean and replace the hooks, which is pretty easy to do with the right set of pliers. I fish with these lures some, but mostly I save them to give away, especially to kids. Sharing the Bounty with Young Anglers We have families with youngsters just getting into fishing, and they ask for advice. I tell them the most likely ways to catch mackerel or stripers and, depending on what they have for gear, I will offer up a few of my freebee lures. I let the kids

pick what they want out of the bucket. I did this once for a young guy who was reluctantly going on a long cruise with his sailing parents. I made up a fishing kit for him, including a few of my found lures. He played with those lures and his fishing rod all during the cruise, and when he caught some mackerel, his parents were totally surprised. He told me later he’d had a pretty good trip. You’d think for someone who owns a marina, there ought to be some perks, but believe me, there aren’t many. Having a slip for your own boat is one, I guess; but owning any business is a chore and a challenge no matter what. Still, it’s kind of fun every fall when we haul the docks and moorings to see what treasures the sea will offer up to us this year.

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Trout, Crappies Highlight Tom’s May Agenda For outdoors people, May brings it all together. Trout, salmon and togue bite furiously, and sporty panfish such as black crappie and white perch participate in huge, extended spawning runs. For boaters, trolling stands as the top method for coldwater species. Slow trolling with colorful lures, especially those with a bit of orange or yellow, or colorful bucktails and single-hook streamers, take brook trout. And the old favorite, Mooselook Wobbler, in all its various sizes and color patterns, take all coldwater species. Live smelt, though, rank among angler favorites for springtime salmon trolling. Nightly smelt runs draw salmon to river mouths. But salmon also line up along shorelines, intercepting smelt queuing up for that night’s spawning run. Stream fishing, too, shines now. Small streams filled with native brook trout beckon a select few anglers, while trout stocked by the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife (DIF&W) entice great numbers of hopeful anglers. Our DIF&W stocks both brook and brown trout in area streams and rivers, along with a smattering of rainbow trout in at least one Midcoast river. In addition to variety, all these

trout are of a catchable size, and many run large – by stream and small-river standards – with lengths from 12 – 15 inches and sometimes more. Sometimes DIF&W releases spent broodstock trout. These can run up to 5 pounds and sometimes much more. Favorite Lakes I’ve seen it written that Midcoast Maine has only limited opportunities for trout, togue and salmon fishing. This made me chuckle, because this region has many good waters. Lakes, streams and rivers teeming with coldwater species dot the Midcoast region. Here are some of my favorites. St. George Lake in Liberty, along with Alford Lake in Hope, stand as two places where trollers stand a good chance at hooking a salmon. St. George Lake, long-known as an outstanding trophy lake, produces 3- to 4-pound salmon regularly, plus some fish well over the 5-pound mark. The DIF&W also stocks St. George Lake with brook trout, and these have a high carryover rate, providing open-water anglers with fish up to 16 inches. Alford Lake, a brand-new salmon fishery, is stocked with salmon in fall, to cater to ice fishermen. However, enough fish survive the winter to provide good sport for

open-water anglers. Fish from Alford Lake are fat and healthy, due to a substantial smelt population. Megunticook Lake, in Lincolnville and Camden, contains both brown and rainbow trout, making it one of a handful of Maine lakes to hold these beautiful fish. Both species of trout grow large in Megunticook, with fish of 2 to 4 pounds common. Much larger fish sometimes come from Megunticook, too. Finally, Swan Lake, in Swanville, once known for its salmon fishery, still holds salmon, but these are very difficult to catch. Togue, however, thrive in Swan and bite well throughout the open-water season. Sizes typically range from barely legal up to 3 and 4 pounds, but every so often, someone will land a double-digit fish. All waters listed here are found on Map 14 of the DeLorme Atlas. Warmwater Lakes White perch, an old-time favorite, abound in Midcoast Maine. One of the better places for non-stop action, Seven Tree Pond in Union, holds massive schools of 10to 12-inch, and larger, white perch. Try the area just off the boat landing first before taking off for other parts of the lake. This lake has become my favorite white-perch water.

Tony Wieman hits the crappie run at Sebasticook Lake. Photos provided by the author

Little St. George Lake, connected to St. George Lake by a small channel, holds lots of white perch. Although this water is no longer accessible by foot, boaters from the bigger lake can run the channel and follow the smaller lake, really a pond, to the outlet in Liberty Village. Here, schools of outsized white perch congregate toward evening. Many of these fish probably come from St. George Lake. Black crappie fans could do no better than to hit the causeway, along with various coves, of Sebasticook Lake in Newport. These fish run up to 14 inches, with some bigger. One leviathan of a crappie broke my

4-pound-test line last May while being reeled up from the channel to the causeway. Fish bite early here, and the runs commence in late April and last well into May. Early morning and evening are best times, although at the height of the run, fish will bite all day. Besides black crappie, white perch also make spawning runs, and these runs often coincide with the crappie runs, making chances good for taking a mixed bag. Make sure to bring a cooler, because if fish are running, you will certainly catch enough to take home for a fish fry. May has arrived. Let’s go fishing.

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Turkey and Trout Tempt Tom We struck out on Youth Turkey Hunt Day, 2023. We had not seen a lot of birds on the farm, and certainly not the flocks we traditionally saw. Other hunters were reporting the same dismal outlook, so we decided to re-group the following Saturday. Because it was now the regular season, I was able to grab my shotgun, and my hunting buddy Waleed and I headed out in the field to our blind about an hour before sunrise. Me with my coffee thermos, and “W” with

The author, hunting with his young protégé, tried a few clucks on the box call, and in no time they saw a big jake emerge from the woods at the far end of the field. Waleed readied his mother’s 20-gauge. his hot chocolate thermos, hunkered down together in the blind to await the sun. Turkey Time The woods awoke slowly. First, an owl hooted in the distance. Next came the songbirds, and finally a series of distant gobbles. Our neighbors all have fields, so the gobblers could be anywhere. I decided to try a

few clucks on the box call, and in no time I saw a bird emerge from the woods at the far end of the field. He was a jake with a nice beard, and he was headed our way. I set out two hens and a jake decoy at 25 yards. Those drew his attention, and I told the boy to get ready. He was shooting his mother’s 20-gauge, and we knew from pat-

terning and past success that it was spoton. He waited until the jake stepped inside the decoys, and folded him neatly with one blast. We spent the morning making, then eating, a batch of turkey maple breakfast sausage. Good memories. Turkey season opens in this region with Youth Day on

April 27, and the regular season runs from April 29 through June 1. Mouse Ears and Alders My old fishing partner always said the best trout fishing was when the bud on an alder was the size of a mouse’s ear. He had heard that from an old-timer, no doubt. When it was May, despite the size of alder buds, and without looking at the ear of any mice, we would head to our favor(Sebago to Auburn continued on page 66)

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Tread Lightly and Responsibly in Maine’s Backwoods This month, offroad enthusiasts become excited at the prospect of getting back into the deep woods for some remote adventures. Drier conditions and warming temperatures draw some of the moisture out of the road muck and make it easier to get around. Some of the remote roads that get closed for winter will open at this time, as well as ATV trails throughout Maine. I remember driving on some backwoods roads with my father during the late 1980s,

When he comes to a sketchy-looking stretch of frost-heaved woods road, the author says he not only looks at the condition of the road, but he also scans the area for trees that are large enough to anchor his winch, in case he gets stuck. while spring turkey hunting. We came to a bad-looking area of the road, and got out to assess the half-frozen, mushy dirt ahead. We noticed places in the dirt road with hidden frost heaves that left underground holes and weak spots. Those holes could have easily swallowed our truck tire and left us stuck

on the frame. We were far from any kind of help, so we decided to turn around and head out of the woods in another direction. I also remember, during another early-spring outing, driving on a road that was covered with hardpacked snow. Suddenly, the snow gave way, dropping the truck

to the frame. There wasn’t a thing to anchor the winch to, so all that was left to do was start digging the hard packed snow from around the tires. I was never so glad to have my entrenching tool along. The hard metal shovel allowed me to chop into that crusty snow and dig the tire out

enough to drive away. Curiously Cautious I know what it’s like. You’ve traveled through some really tough stuff on this old logging road, and you are not about to turn around now … even though the road ahead looks worse than what’s behind you. I get it – it’s not fun to halt the forward momentum and call a retreat. Sometimes, turning around at a sketchy area of road is the best choice. My suggestion is to sim(Continued on next page)

66 • May 2024 • The Maine Sportsman ———————————————————————————————————————————————

Off-Road Traveler (Continued from page 65)

ply get out and look at the road ahead before plowing through. I’ve saved myself plenty of recovery work by stopping the vehicle to get out on foot to be sure the truck could make it through a rough spot. I try to not only look at the condition of the road, but to also scan the area for trees that are large enough to anchor the winch in case I get stuck. I also stop and think to myself, “Is this a major road that will dry out in a few weeks and be fine for traveling? Do I want to plow the road up now and leave huge ruts that have to be leveled by machinery at a later date?” Sometimes,

it’s just better to turn around and take another route. Drive Responsibly Tearing roads up during mud season might sound like a fun thing to do, but it might also be the thing that pushes a landowner to shut the road down for wheeled travel, or install gates to limit access. Making a few ruts in the mud here and there doesn’t cause a problem … it’s when someone hot-rods through mudholes on purpose that does it. Those irresponsible folks who do this know exactly what they are doing, and they refuse to consider the sentiments of the landowner. I think it’s crimi-

nal, and hope they get caught. Better yet, I hope they use their heads and limit their mudslinging to their own property. There are plenty of places to legally run your vehicle through mudholes (organized “mud runs”) if that’s your thing. I’ve seen several places right here in Western Maine that cater to folks who enjoy this kind of off-road recreation. There are all sorts of gatherings with monster trucks with names like “Big Foot,” where folks run their trucks through the mud along specified areas designated and agreed-to for this purpose. I recommend folks go there and tear it up. It actually looks like fun – but I’m not going to tear up the roads where someone

Off-road travelers owe a debt of gratitude to landowners who allow us to access privately-owned properties. William Clunie photo

has been kind enough to open their land to the public. I guess you could look at it this way – would you like it if someone tore up your grass lawn with their truck? Even if you owned a huge parcel of remote land, most everyone would consider it a personal affront if somebody destroyed their property by tearing it up with their truck tires. I really enjoy just riding around remote

Sebago to Auburn

I have been trolling the lake’s shoreline targeting trout for many years, and the lake never disappoints. Heavily stocked with brown and rainbow trout, Little Sebago has an undulating shoreline, with gravel bars and rock piles here and there. Leave your motor tilt released in the hopes that the lower unit will “hop” over a rock, should you encounter any. My favorite trolling lure for this lake is a small Rapala floating minnow in bronze or silver. The rapid wiggling that the lure’s lip imparts, coupled with it running a few feet under the surface, gets it noticed. Flies work well, too, and you can’t beat the Barnes Special for this water.

(Continued from page 64)

ite small lakes and ponds, and troll streamers or lures with sinking fly line for trout. First up were the Range Ponds in Poland (DeLorme Atlas, Map 5, A-3). Here you can still troll for the trout trifecta – rainbows, brookies and browns! Each year it seems the trout want a different offering, but I generally do well with a Gray Ghost or Umbagog Special. Troll the shoreline in six to twenty feet of water, and you will be in target range. Trolling near a heavily developed shoreline like the Range Ponds has its hazards. Mooring lines lurk just under the surface, so be on the lookout for them and for submerged buoys. Also be aware that Lower Range Pond has a 10-horsepower motor restriction, so you need a boat with a small engine. I typically troll Upper and Middle Range Ponds for that reason. I heard about one crafty angler who owned a 15-horsepower motor, but purchased stickers for it so it read 9.9. Now that is a diehard angler!

parts of this state. Getting way back in the woods is fantastic. It all turns out great if we can work together and police ourselves to keep landowners happy. If I see any kind of mudslinging out in the woods, I will make an attempt to gently speak with the offenders and see how they react. If they take care of things properly, nothing happens. If they don’t, I will make the call.

Waleed Rabbat of Cumberland cleans his 2023 turkey to make turkey maple breakfast sausage. Last year was a great year for this young hunter, as he also bagged his first grouse, duck, pheasant and deer. Photo by Tom Roth

Trolling Time Next up is Little Sebago Lake in Windham (Map 5, C-3). My friend Kevin Ronan, who is president of the Sebago Lake Anglers Association, lives on the lake and loves fishing there for trout and bass. I always look forward to receiving his reports of lunker bass.

Coffee, Anyone? For brook trout and splake (splake being the brook trout’s cousin, on steroids), Coffee Pond (DeLorme’s Atlas Map 5, B-1) in Casco is a must-visit. It’s heavily stocked with both species, and trolling the shoreline typically produces results this month. I favor frozen smelt (live fish as bait is prohibited) or Gulp minnows on Coffee Pond. Nothing puts up a fight on a fly rod like a hungry splake. Tight lines and sure shots sum up the month of May in this neck of the woods.

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The Challenge of Bowhunting Turkeys Wild turkeys are very difficult to kill with archery gear. Archers must aim at a tennis-ball kill area that’s difficult to locate compared to the armpit crease on a deer. Turkeys are consistently moving and turning, and they offer different postures to shoot at – standing, feeding and strutting. Locating that tennis-ball size kill zone that’s hiding in a ball of feathers is extremely difficult. So why do many bowhunters, including myself, have these crazy birds on our bucket lists? We just love the “agony of defeat and lack of success” I guess. I’ve bowhunted turkey in Maine and New Hampshire, and I’ve killed only one hen (legal during the fall season), and that was in Freedom, NH a few years ago. My arrow hit the bird center mass, it flopped around, took a few steps, and died within my field of vision. To make that killing shot, I needed to stop my shot process at full draw, because I was aiming at the overall bird and not putting my sight pin on the bird’s vitals. After relocating my pin, I released the arrow, and the turkey was dead within seconds. The rest of the birds in the flock ran in all directions, and then all was quiet.

Each of the author’s turkey hunts has been an adventure – some good; some not-so-good. But now he has a secret weapon. A Little History DIF&W’s longterm wild turkey management strategy has worked well; today there are turkey populations statewide, and hunting opportunities are good to excellent in many areas. It wasn’t always that way. How wild turkeys were reintroduced here in Maine has an interesting timeline. In 1977, 41 wild turkeys from Vermont were released in Southern Maine. Turkey populations increased, and DIF&W then trapped and trucked birds from southern Maine, releasing them in Waldo County. Over the years, birds were relocated to other areas of the Pine Tree State. Maine’s first-ever turkey hunt was established in 1986. Then in 2006, unlimited turkey permits were available over the counter. The next year, a fall season was established. In 2014, hunters were granted permission to hunt all day; before then, the hunting hours were from dawn to noon. Also, hunters were allowed to kill two toms during the spring season, and if they were unsuccessful they could kill a hen or tom in the fall turkey season.

The author wanted to kill a bird with a bow and arrow, for his bucket list, and after a while he was successful. This season, he plans to hunt with an historic shotgun, to make up for all the shots he missed while using his bow. Val Marquez photo

The Author’s First Encounter However, my experience with wild turkeys started much earlier. In 1964, Lloyd Hooper swung open a school bus door, and a skinny 16-year-old teenager stepped from the bus. Skipper, our family dog, was waiting for the bus, as usual. I went in the house, grabbed an old Stevens single-shot 16-gauge, dumped a few number six shells in my pocket, and took off out the back door. The forest there was my sanctuary. I escaped there from the stress at Sanford High School, and the adolescent confusion that seemed to rule my life at that time. This was before my mountain had been cut off. It

was a mature forest; it was my Sherwood Forest – big stately oaks and pines laced with moss-covered rock walls. I followed a path that led deep into the forest, and as I stepped into a small clearing, there stood a big bird. I slowly cocked the hammer back and started to raise the rusty shotgun. But the big bird saw my movement and flew off. I’d never seen or heard about wild turkeys; the only turkey I’d ever seen was at Thanksgiving. When I returned home, I went to my neighbor, Vern Walker, the local game warden, and told him about the bird. He told me it was a wild turkey that had been released by local fish and game clubs in southern Maine – “Don’t shoot one,” he instructed. I was a little trigger-happy back then. Today I turkey-hunt the same areas, but they have changed – the area has been cut off a few times over the years, and a power line runs through it. But now the location has a thriving wild turkey population. There’s deer in the area, too, and I baited a small bear there last year, but I didn’t kill it. I’ve even seen moose there.

After a half-a-century, I still hobble up the mountain looking for turkey. Revenge Time Successful turkey bowhunters generally hunt from popup blinds, with decoys and calls. Blinds allow archers to draw their bows without turkeys seeing them – a big advantage. But some folks don’t like sitting in the confines of a dark blind for hours … me included. I used spot-andstalk methods to kill my first turkey with a bow; after years of attempts, it finally all came together for me. I did hit a turkey with a longbow while hunting from a natural brush blind with a decoy. I had called the tom across the Kennebunk Plains WMA, but coyotes found the bird before I was able to get to it. You can’t tag a bag of bones and feathers. I’ve killed a turkey with a bow now, so my quest is complete. This winter, I saw an H&R 12-gauge single shot shotgun while walking the rows of Kittery Trading Post’s gun department. It reminded me of the old gun I hunted with in my youth. I bought it. This month, I plan to hunt with it in the very same spot where I saw that turkey many years ago. This time, I will bring the gun up more slowly.

68 • May 2024 • The Maine Sportsman ———————————————————————————————————————————————

Live By the Knife: on the Cutting Edge Anyone who routinely enjoys hunting, fishing or camping, gains a fine appreciation for quality steel. We outdoors folks develop close relationships with our axes, knives, and hatchets. A few months back, in this column, I wrote about finding and purchasing a Deane H. Russell “Canadian Belt Knife” online, from Grohmann’s Knife Company (grohmannknives. com). Following that column, writer David Petzal, an outdoor writer with impressive credentials, wrote a guest column for this publication about his own Canadian Belt Knife. I emailed Mr. Petzal, and we had exten-

The author touts the advantages of obtaining a quality knife – he prefers a blade made of D-2 tool steel – and then learning to sharpen it to a razorlike edge. sive discussions about the knife. I mentioned I wished it were made of D-2 steel. Petzal replied, “If you like D-2 steel, you should check out Knives of Alaska ( The owner, Chuck Allen, makes his knives almost exclusively out of D-2 steel.” So I scanned the website, and noticed one knife with a familiar shape: the #2 Yukon Knife. The shape of the knife is very similar to the characteristic design of D.H. Russell’s Canadian Belt Knife, only it’s

made with D-2 steel. Needless to say, the awesome #2 Yukon Knife showed up in the mail a few weeks later, and I’m amazed at the similarity to the D.H. Russell Canadian Belt Knife. I’m also amazed at the extreme sharpness of the wonderful knife that’s made with the special D-2 steel. D-2 Steel There’s a fine line between a knife blade that is made too hard, and one that is too soft. An extra-hard temper helps a blade hold an edge longer, but it’s harder to sharpen;

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some folks go so far as to say it can be brittle and easily damaged if it has been tempered too hard. On the other hand, a soft-tempered knife is easier to sharpen, but doesn’t hold an edge well. D-2 steel, in my opinion, constitutes the perfect compromise between soft and hard steel for a knife blade. Knife steel is tested and rated for hardness on the Rockwell Hardness scale. The D-2 steel on the Yukon knife is rated at a Rockwell Hardness of 59-61. Remember also, that D-2 steel is a tool steel, and properties can vary depending on where it comes from. Knives of Alaska are made here in the good old U.S.A. Sharpeners To sharpen any

knife, the sharpening tool must be harder than the steel of the blade; that’s why you see a lot of knife sharpeners made from diamonds – diamonds are extremely hard. Recently, I watched a video on how to sharpen D-2 steel knives. I watched with amazement as a fellow using a sharpening tool called “Sharp-N-Spark” from Sharpens Best ( took a decently sharp, D-2 steel knife and made it razor-sharp with a few strokes of the tool. I went to and watched their video that clarified the simple sharpening process even more. The sharpener is made of tungsten carbide (super-hard material), and it takes only a little effort to put a perfectly sharp edge on the hard D-2 knife blade. The Sharpening Process It’s not just the tungsten carbide that (Continued on next page)

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creates a great sharpener for D-2 steel – a lot has to do with the actual sharpening technique. The angle of the blade to the sharpener must remain consistent throughout each stroke. The final strokes must alternate from one side to the other, for every stroke. When sharpening with any tool, there will be an almost microscopic curve in the very edge of the blade. Some folks use what’s called a “stropping leather” or ceramic sticks to remove this burr edge. When using the Sharps Best tool in this alternating fashion, the burr edge is removed, and the sharpest possible blade edge remains. During the process, check your progress by slicing paper … a dull blade push-

The author’s “Knives of Alaska” #2 Yukon knife, and a “Spark-N-Sharp” sharpening tool from Sharps Best. William Clunie photo

es and rips the paper, while a sharp blade will smoothly slice the paper without dragging or ripping. Once the paper starts slicing smoothly, the process is done. The blade will now take hair right off your skin without any prob-

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lem, and the D-2 steel will hold that fine edge for longer than you can imagine. One final note on both of these knives … they are labeled with either a #1 or #2 designation. The #1 knife has a sharp edge on both sides of the tip

of the blade, while the #2 is sharp only on the blade side. If you are using the knife for skinning game animals, don’t get the #1 knife … it cuts on both sides, and will make a mess when you slide the knife through the belly skin, by cutting

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What It Was The rules have certainly changed over the author’s lifetime of trapping. However, he says he believes trapping now is better than it has ever been. Once, when I was young and living in South Carolina, my good friend Mark Fowler took me to meet an older gentleman named Archibald Rutledge. During that meeting, Mr. Rutledge told me something I’ve never forgotten. He said, “You don’t quit loving something that’s gone, because the part you loved is still there.” At the time, we were talking about hunting with hounds. The words he spoke can be related to many things in one’s life, but he was talking about something he truly loved but could no longer do. Rutledge was the first outdoor writer that I had ever met. The few times I hunted in Potter County, Pennsylvania I thought of Mr. Rutledge, because part of our discussion that day centered around the 250 Savage. Mr. Rutledge told me of deer hunting in Potter County with his 250. That was years

before I started hunting McKean County, which borders Potter. Trapping is a Lifetime Pursuit I have always enjoyed hunting, from Maine to down south and out West – even in Scotland. However, the one thing more intrinsic to me than hunting is trapping. Trapping is a far-reaching, lifelong learning experience. To become proficient at trapping, one must acquire knowledge of the equipment used, its care, adjustments, the modifications required to enhance its use for a specific species of furbearer, which style of trap to use to best fit the situation at hand, what type of trap set is best for the species sought, and how to deal with the multitude of different situations that can occur at each site. Further, a trapper must possess knowledge of prevailing winds, ice conditions, travel corridors and seasonal food prefer-

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ences. One can become proficient trapping a single species fairly fast today, with all the available information out there, plus the willingness of trappers and different organizations to share their knowledge of the activity. Trappers Were Reluctant to Share Not all that many years ago, information was not readily available, nor was it given freely by other trappers. The reason was that it took many years of trials and tribulations on the trapline by the individual trapper to gain his knowledge. Most trappers were not willing to pass on the knowledge it had taken them years to acquire. That was a time when a man could still make wages trapping to supplement their income. Most rural people farmed or had other seasonal jobs, and they could schedule their trapping time around those other jobs, to support their families. Rules Adopted in the 1950s Once trapping became regulated, it was allowed for specific periods of time. An example is back when I first started to trap in the 1950s, some of

This is Archibald Rutledge, an outdoor writer whom the author met 60 years ago. Rutledge told the author to retain and cherish memories of doing things he loved. Photo credit: South Carolina Encyclopedia

our seasons were short while others were open all year, because those furbearers were considered predators. A few furbearers, such as martin and fisher, were not allowed to be trapped at all. Trapping seasons for furbearing animals at that time were as follows: • Otter: Month of November, and from 1 January - 7 February • Muskrat: Month of November (except counties of Washington and York, 20 March - 20 April) • Mink: Month of November • Marten: No open season • Fisher: No open season • Raccoons: 1 November - 15 February. (With dogs, 16 October - 15 December) • Fox: No closed season (except nights and Sunday) • Bobcat: No closed season (except nights and Sunday)

• Lynx: No closed season (except nights and Sunday) • Bear: No closed season (except nights and Sunday) • All other fur bearing animals: 1 November – 15 February Hawks Legal to Shoot Most all of the trapping back then was done by foothold traps. Also, bobcat, lynx, and bear had bounties paid on them. A bounty wasn’t paid on fox in Maine, but they could be taken all year long. Even raptors could be taken with firearms or traps, because they targeted farmers’ poultry. Traps were set on top of tall poles in fields, gardens, and farmyards wherever one thought one of the “chicken-killers” would sit looking for a meal. I do remember there were fewer lynx (Trapping continued on page 73)

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Early Spring Fishing Primer for the WMM Although the traditional start of Maine’s fishing season begins in April, the month of May brings better fishing to the Western Maine Mountains (WMM). Depending on the weather, most ice is off the lakes and ponds this month, allowing anglers free and clear open-water angling. Some great ice-out fishing can be had at this time, with anglers effectively trolling at shallow depths. As water temperatures warm up after the ice goes out, river and stream anglers also look for fish moving out of deep winter holes to shallower locations. Trolling anglers like to tie on smelt, while fly fishers prefer to troll using smelt imitations. As smelt invade the incoming tributaries in early spring, anglers also

find predatory trout and salmon there in the current, feasting on the tasty bait fish. Fly fishermen who have tied fur and feather imitations all winter can now ply the waters with their creations to see if they can fool a fish. These fly-tying enthusiasts enjoy tying streamer patterns to imitate bait fish, as well as myriad patterns that imitate insects that fish feed on. Warming Water Temperatures During early spring fishing adventures, water temperatures remain cold enough to limit any abundance of hatching flies. For the most part, anglers will find that salmonids prefer smaller sized bait fish imitations during the spring. Water levels, often higher than usual, make for tough

fishing, but persistent anglers take the prize here. As water temperatures increase, insect activity also increases, allowing anglers to cast to fish near the surface as those bugs hatch and go airborne to lay their eggs. Without any obvious hatch taking place, it’s a good idea to start with streamers, or attempt to lure a fish into hitting a nymph. Swinging a nymph pattern under an indicator in the current can often do the trick. Some folks have plenty of luck swinging a streamer with a nymph tied off the bend of the hook. The length of the tippet for the nymph dropper will vary from about a foot to two feet, depending on the depth of the water. Did you ever wonder why a woolly bugger catches so many

The author is shown training Operation ReBoot Outdoors veterans to do a roll cast at Camp Byron, Maine. Brian Clunie photo

fish? It’s because the bulky fly looks like several different types of food that fish like. It could imitate a stone fly or a big nymph or a hellgrammite if you dead drifted it, and a bait fish imitation if you swung it downstream. The old woolly bugger works great when all others fail to bring fish to the net. I tied some this winter that have a feather for a tail, rather than the traditional marabou … we’ll see how they work this fishing season.

Frying Fish The only wild or native brook trout that I’ll ever eat will be in places that have such an abundance of fish that the population will not be affected. I will gladly eat brook trout that have been stocked – that’s why fisheries biologists put them there in the first place. I like eating only those brook trout that run between eight and ten inches – fish bigger than that seem to have (Western Maine continued on page 73)

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72 • May 2024 • The Maine Sportsman ———————————————————————————————————————————————

Online Big Game Registration: Convenient? Reckless? An Attack on Tradition? A few years ago, in response to Covid, New Hampshire Fish and Game started offering the option to register turkeys online after harvest. When it happened, I heard all the groans that it wouldn’t be long until hunters would be able to register their deer online, too. Given the longstanding New England tradition of in-person registration and our relatively small deer herd in NH, I didn’t believe the groaners. But, alas, the groaners were right. This past fall, 2023, NH starting offering online registration for deer. Since then, I’ve spoken with many folks about their thoughts on the shift to online registration: groaners and advocates, alike. I also recently reached out to Dan Bergeron, the Wildlife Division Chief for NHFG, to get

Will online deer registrations lead to an increase in unethical and illegal hunting behavior? The writer presents his views, and wants to hear your opinion. some official answers on the matter. Why the Change? So what prompted the change from in-person registration only, to having the online option? Dan Bergeron explained, “Online registration had already been implemented by many other states, as it provides a modern and convenient option for hunters, and streamlines entry of harvest data, while minimizing errors.” Those of us who have traveled outside of New England to hunt, have probably encountered a telephonic or online game registration system. But those states tend to have a much high-

er and less-monitored deer population, which makes NH (and Vermont’s) shifts a little surprising. To be clear, one can still register deer at an in-person location. In fact, during the first two days of muzzleloader season and the first three days of firearms season, the online system is shut down, and all hunters are required to check their deer in-person at a registration station. This is because biologists staff certain registration stations around the state on these days and collect biological data from harvested deer, including age, weight, and antler characteristics.

Data Mr. Bergeron shared the following data with me regarding the use of the online registration system in NH: Throughout the course of the season, 59% of deer were registered in-person, while 41% were registered online. On days that both options were available (days when biological data was not being collected), 52% of deer were registered online, while 48% were registered in-person. I am surprised at the almost-even split. I don’t know of anyone personally who utilized the online option. Although I don’t have the demographic data to confirm, I would

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hypothesize that the online registrations are skewed toward the younger generation and the southern part of the state. I just don’t see traditional-style “old-time” hunters up north doing the online process. There is too much nostalgia in bringing your deer to the local hardware store to get weighed. The Seal Controversy Speaking of tradition and nostalgia, one thing that is really irking people about the online transition is the omission of physical registration seals. Traditionally, when you brought your deer to the local business/check station, you would receive a crimped metal seal with the registration number stamped into it. (Maine does the same, but with heavy (Continued on next page)

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plastic seals.) Now, in NH, even if you register in-person, all you get is a business-cardsized paper with a number on it. So now all the hunters (myself included) who have been collecting and displaying a ream of seals in their man-cave, can no longer add to the stack from NH. When asked, Mr. Bergeron said that the move away from seals was for “maintaining consistency in proof of registration across registration methods, which allows for more efficient data management, easier tracking and management of registration supplies, and simplified regulations regarding possession and transportation of deer.” He added that there is no intention of returning to using seals in the future. The blowback from this has prompted several check station businesses to explore the idea of ordering their own (unofficial) metal seals to attach to the hocks of deer being registered there

in person. To cover their costs, they plan to charge a nominal fee to the hunter who wants a seal to add to their collection. The Poaching Controversy Among the groans and grumbles of those opposed to online registrations, I heard a common refrain about the possibility of online registration making illegal/unethical behavior easier to conceal. I asked Mr. Bergeron if NHFG encountered any instances of this, or if any correlation could be drawn between the two. He responded, “This has been a longheld belief, but it is nearly impossible to quantify or draw any correlation. Conservation Officers encounter violations such as untagged deer, now just as they did before online registration was available. Is it more prevalent now? It does not appear to be. If a poacher is predisposed to take illegal game, there is not much difference in opportunity between the online registration system

Trapping (Continued from page 70)

back then compared to today. I don’t remember anyone up north catching or shooting more than a few in any given year.

Western Maine (Continued from page 71)

less flavor. I also want to let the big fish pass their good genes on to the next generation (and maybe to be caught again). I hate it when the trout curl up in the pan, so I use a trick I learned many years ago. Take the gutted and rinsed fish, and lay it on a cutting board with the belly up. With a very sharp knife, slice along one side of the spine just enough to cut the rib bones – but don’t cut all the way through the fish. Make

and the 24 hours they have to physically bring a deer, for example, to a registration station.” While I appreciate his response, I didn’t find that it assuaged those fears very well. His answer above, and additional dialog, focused on the tagging or not tagging of animals – but didn’t address a bevy of other unethical or illegal behavior that may be detected and reported by a check station attendant. I think that most “poachers” want to maintain the illusion that they are doing things on the up-andup. They want people to know that they have been successful, but they want to conceal the illicit practices that led to that success. Therefore, in the past, they had to tag and register the animal at a check station. Because if they didn’t register it, they couldn’t tell anyone about it. It would be too easy for a warden to hear they shot one, and then not find it among the registrations. It is hard to keep

Many hunters keep and collect the leg seals of the deer they register. These hunters are upset that the state no longer uses seals, since online registration became an option. Emerson photo

secret the fact that you killed a deer. Blood, antlers, meat, and a glowing smile are all giveaways. It is much easier to hide how you killed the deer – especially if you don’t have to show it to anybody and answer questions. My family owned a local business that acted as a check station for decades. My dad saw it all: gunshot wounds during archery-only seasons, frozen stiff carcasses that had supposedly just been shot that 50-degree morning, evasive and contradicting stories about the hunt, and slipping up and mentioning an illegal bait.

Sometimes the check station attendants are the only ones to report these things; other times, conservation officers hear rumors and interview those attendants to gather more information or evidence. All of this is lost in an online registration. I can’t help but to think that more illicit behavior went undetected this year because the offender chose to register the deer online, and keep the details quiet and out of sight. Readers, what are your thoughts on online big game registration?

In time, bounties were removed from bear, lynx, and bobcat. Raptors and lynx became protected. The bear became a big game animal (as it should have), and it remains today as a furbearer. We have been trapping the marten and fisher for a number of years now.

In my opinion, our trapping today is far better than it was back then in what some call the “good old days.” Even if you no longer can trap, hunt or fish, always remember, “You don’t quit loving something that’s gone, because the part you loved is still there.”

that slice from one end of the spine to (and through) the tail. Cutting the fish like this allows you to open the fish up and fry it flat in the pan. I start frying the fish in olive oil and butter, with a little salt and pepper. Lay the fish skin down in the pan, then flip it when the skin gets a little browned. When the fleshy side gets lightly browned, pull the fish off the pan … do not let the fish cook too long. I also saw a method for cooking bigger fish that seems appealing. The cook placed a huge lake trout fillet skin-side

up on a rack over a sink, and slowly poured boiling water on the skin. After a bit of this treatment, the skin peeled right off the fillet. He then cut the skinless and boneless fillet into two-inch cubes, and mixed the fish cubes with honey mustard, salt, and a very small pinch of cayenne pepper. Then he coated the cubes with a flour mix (I make my own with all-purpose flour). Gently fry the coated cubes until light brown, and enjoy. I’m trying this as soon as possible!

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Being Prepared If outside help were far away, how would you treat a hunting buddy with a sprained ankle? How about a finger accidentally severed by a hatchet? A lower leg fracture? Hypothermia? If these hypotheticals alarm you, perhaps it’s time for you to take a wilderness first aid course. If you’re much more than a quarter of a mile from the road, a rescue effort can take more than an hour to get you out. In emergency medicine, that hour is known as “the Golden Hour,” and it is the window of time after a traumatic event where definitive medical care will be most likely to prevent death. For a lot of us, we haven’t even started hunting or gotten to our destination when we’re just a quarter of a mile into the woods. This was the first lesson I learned during the Wilderness First Aid (WFA) course that I recently took. If you’re out there, it’s best to plan as if no one is coming for you. I started hunting out West more than a decade ago, and I have guided in Colorado for the last two seasons with CO-Outfitters, which is owned and operated by Maine native Russ Lambert. My trips have been in designated Wilderness areas, typically a day’s horseback ride into the mountains. We’re out there, blissfully alone, with only ourselves and one another to rely upon.

When I started guiding, I immediately became responsible for the well-being of my clients. I fell back on a lot of the emergency medicine training I received when I was in the U.S. Army, but that was quite a while ago, so I felt like I needed a strong refresher. Wilderness First Aid The Green Mountain Club, which manages the Long Trail here in VT, advertised that they were hosting a Wilderness First Aid course at a location about 90 minutes from me. This 16-hour course was run by an instructor associated with SOLO Schools out of Conway, NH (, and for the class I attended, we were taught by the very capable and outstanding Wilderness EMT and Paramedic, Ariel Temple (her website has a ton of info – Dr. Frank Hubbell and his wife Lee Frizzell founded SOLO Schools, and were among the first in the world to develop an organized wilderness/ remote emergency medicine course. By 1975, a basic “Moun-

tain/Woods First Aid” course was being taught. There are now multiple levels of education for wilderness medicine, but WFA remains the foundation. Our weekend course got rolling right out of the gate. We were taught how to assess a scene to make sure it was safe for us to help, then how to assess the emergency using a series of checklists. We learned about managing a variety of emergency situations, from bleeds to fractures to allergic anaphylaxis. Then we learned to stabilize those situations and monitor them. There was a lot of discussion about when to evacuate versus call for help, and combinations of the two. Stressful Situations With most trainings like this, from my experience on the medical side of the Army 20 years ago with the Expert Field Medical Badge in Fort Indian Town Gap, PA, all the way through to this training, these skills are best learned hands-on, so active simulations are typical. We did these simulations outdoors, with people changing

Students huddle around a mock patient during a simulated emergency at the GMC Wilderness First Aid Course. Matt Breton photo

roles from care provider to patient over the two days. I pretended to have injuries ranging from a relatively simple ankle injury, all the way to a finger severed by a hatchet. On the treatment side, I dealt with a hypothermic winter mountain biker who started out unconscious, and a lost hiker who had a lower leg fracture. It was funny how stressful these situations got, trying to remember all the strategies to treat, and trying not to miss anything vital. We all learned to splint fractures of the upper and lower limbs, and also to manage wounds. Overall, the course taught and refreshed many important skills, reminded me of important things to have in my first aid kit (a tourniquet might save your life when you accidently slice into your own artery while gutting that buck or moose), and gave me way to approach a wil-

derness emergency. When you and your patient are far from help, managing injuries is a different animal than when you’re in the front country. Many of us take our well-being for granted. It’s not uncommon to be eight miles deep by horseback or 20 miles in on a logging road by truck, then three more from the road by foot. No one is coming, so we each need to be prepared, whether it is an emergency shelter, water purification, or medical skills. Part of the allure of wilderness adventure is in the independence it requires and fosters, but the longer we manage it well, the more risks we often take. I’d encourage anyone who gets more than a half-mile in the woods to give a little thought to medical emergency preparedness. It might add a few more years to your own, or your buddy’s, hunting lives!

Smilin’ Sportsman

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Time to Pay Attention I asked my girlfriend what it was that women really wanted. She told me they want “a tent of lovers.” Or maybe she said, “attentive lovers.” I’m not sure; I wasn’t really paying attention. — Identity Crisis Q: What do you call it when you’re attracted to both men and women, but neither are attracted to you? A: Bi-yourself. — Head’s Still Spinning “Hi, Honey – I’m still at the airport. A passenger jumped up on the baggage carousel, then slipped and knocked himself out.” “Is he okay?” “Oh, he’s slowly coming around.” —

Most Important Meal of the Day A police detective was at the house of a woman whose past three husbands had suspiciously died. “I heard your first two husbands died of food poisoning,” he inquired. “What caused it?” “They both mistakenly ate poisonous mushrooms,” she replied. “I see,” said the inspector. “And how did your third husband die?” “He was accidentally run over by a car.” “How did that happen?” “He wouldn’t eat his mushrooms.”

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Critter, or Varmint?

Our columnist insists he can tell the difference. Let’s discuss varmints. The word comes from 1) the Latin root “var,” which is how Swedish people pronounce “car”; and 2) “mint,” the ancient Greek term for candy that nice hotels put on your pillow. Since those definitions don’t make a lick of sense, most people say “varmits,” which designates any small- to medium-size animal doing annoying things. The opposite of varmits is “critters,” which are small- to medium-size animals that are not being annoying. Such as three-toed sloths, which couldn’t annoy you if they tried, since they don’t live within a thousand miles of Maine. I mention this because a writer at named Barry Petchesky recently posted a blog in which he attempted to classify animals as either critters or “varmints.” Some he got right — opossums are definitely critters — and some he got wrong — groundhogs (what we call woodchucks) and squirrels are indisputably varmits. He claimed raccoons could be either depending on the circumstances, but I’m at a loss to think of an occasion when they’re not varmits. He thinks cats and dogs are neither, but he’s being a wimp. They’re both critters to the core. He doesn’t rate human beings, but it’s clear most of them are varmits. Except maybe Tom Hanks and Ray Wylie Hubbard. And possibly a few people who make good beer. Doing What Journalists Do -- Steal Because Barry lives in a big city (which explains why he thinks squirrels are cute critters that hang around parks begging for peanuts, rather than pests who claw their way into walls and ceilings and eat the wiring), he doesn’t address lots of animals frequently encountered in Maine. I felt compelled by journalistic ethics to steal his idea, and expand his limited understanding to more accurately reflect the world normal people live in. And that world is one where the dividing line between critter and varmit can get kinda fuzzy. • Beavers might be cute little critters, right up until the varmits build a dam that floods your field. • The cry of the coyote lends a certain

tion. Also, your lawn was a mess before the moles showed up. Woodpeckers aside, most birds are critters, ranging from the mighty eagle to the perky chickadee, with the exception of pigeons and gulls, which are airborne varmits. I don’t care how adorable city dwellers find those germ-laden avians when they cluster around their park benches to panhandle for breadcrumbs and French fries.

“Bear cubs are critters,” writes the author, “right up until mom rushes in. After that, you won’t be worrying about such fine distinctions.” Photo: USFWS

romantic charm to a lonely winter night (critter), until a pack of them takes down a doe (varmit). A wedge of Canada geese traveling overhead in V-formation is a stirring sight of flying critters. The same gaggle on your lawn leaving nasty droppings everywhere is a nuisance, a health hazard, and a good example of migrant varmits.

Some are Easy to Classify That doesn’t mean there aren’t some clear distinctions, even among closely related species. Mice and most rodents are varmits, but their cousin, the yellow-nose vole is a critter. Horseshoe crabs are quirky (and the least cuddly) critters, but green crabs that are gobbling up all the soft-shell clams are vile varmits. A woodpecker on a dead tree is a delightful critter. The same bird pecking relentlessly on your eaves is a feathered varmit. Moles under your lawn are varmits, except star-nose moles, which are too funny-looking for that classifica-

Al Diamon the Decider And what are we to make of vultures, with their disgusting looks and their even more disgusting diet. We must set aside our prejudices and admit they do important work cleaning up decaying remains that would otherwise pile up and pollute the planet. The jury rules them to be critters. All reptiles and amphibians are critters. Listen up, Indiana Jones – just because you don’t like snakes doesn’t mean they don’t do more good in the world than Dial of Destiny ever will. Also, there aren’t any poisonous snakes in Maine. Unless you count tourists. Proximity can figure in classifying animals as critters or varmits. Skunks are critters until they get within about a hundred feet of you. Then, they’re varmits. Same goes for bobcats, fisher cats and politicians. Actually, the distance limit on that last one might be more like 300 feet. Bear cubs are critters, right up until mom rushes in. After that, you won’t be worrying about such fine distinctions. Have Your Certificate Ready Wolves, mountain lions and Bigfoot would all be critters if they existed in Maine, which they officially don’t. Just in case officialdom is wrong about that, whenever you enter the woods, you should carry The Maine Sportsman Official Honorary Critter Certificate in the event you encounter any imaginary beasts. Presenting one of these to an angry cryptid could save your life. Al Diamon is the varmit who writes the monthly column Politics & Other Mistakes for The Bollard magazine.

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— 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


BOATS & MOTORS LUND 1625 CLASSIC TILLER 2006 WITH 25 HP HONDA MOTOR Equipped for streamer fishing. Always garaged when not in use $4,000. Call-207-729-1736 MERCURY OUTBOARD 2023 25 HP EFI 4-stroke, in-line #3. Long Shaft, manual trim, tiller steering, manual†start. Never used because we got a bigger boat. Includes prop, gas tank, tubing and warranty for $4,700. Call Tom in Gorham, ME. CALL: 207-650-1629

BELL MERLIN SOLO CANOE Custom wood trim, detachable yoke, skid plates. Located in Fryeburg. $1200 OBO Call (207) 318-4016

10’x10’ CAMO. NEW, never used. Comes with outside floor and extra inside floor, and stove pad. 508-737-1666, $2,000 firm.


AUTO ACCESSORIES FIVE NEW WHEELS AND TIRES 225/75 By R17 Summer, Jeep five hole pattern. $1200. Phone 207-461-5704 —


HUMMINBIRD FISH FINDER Complete with all mounts, transducers. Brand new unused (2) rod holders included. Pristine condition. Rehoboth, MA. $100.00 Call 774-565-0288 —



WHY RENT When You Can Lease-to-Own One of Ed’s Sheds? The Genuine. The Original. Serving the Bangor Area Since 1948

Residential & Commercial Garage Doors & Openers Sales, Service & Repairs

56 Liberty Drive Hermon, ME

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Handcrafted in Maine

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WANTED SKI DOO, ELAN OR TUNDRA Any Condition. Have Cash. Will Travel. Call Or Text 207-522-694

If somebody wants to get rid of moose or bear meat from their freezer (up to 4 years old) I can pick it up myself. It is a big appreciation. Call 303-241-6862

MOOSE OR BEAR MEAT Been looking for 20 years, never found it.

Mike Lund

BROKER 207.596.5082 MOBILE 207.558.8811 OFFICE Lic. #BR111090 NextHome Northern Light Realty 93 Second Street Hallowell, ME 04347


Each office is independently owned and operated.

Caryn Dreyfuss, Broker • (207) 233-8275

RANGELEY – In-town home privately sited on 2.21 level acre, featuring sun-filled open kitchen/ living area, and main floor bedroom and bathroom. Two bedrooms and bath on 2nd level with spacious bonus room over the 2-car garage. Mature trees, perennials, large, well-maintained lawn, stone driveway, and rock walls. Quiet end of road location yet walking distance to all Village amenities. This oasis is sure to please – don’t miss out on this one, inquire today! MLS# 1585753 – $529,900 RANGELEY – Quiet subdivision off the beaten path! Walk to no-motors, fly fishing only Quimby Pond, snowmobile, snowshoe, X-C ski from your door, watch the local deer! Bring your building plans, this nicely wooded 1 acre lot has been surveyed, soils tested. Great 4-season location between Rangeley and Oquossoc. Come see what makes this area so special. Don’t miss out on this one, inquire today! MLS #1586097 – $89,900 RANGELEY – Scenic 5 acre parcel with 300’ private frontage on the quiet and calm waters of Hunter Cove. Beautiful pastoral setting overlooking open fields and evergreen forest, abutting Sanctuary Farms. Build high and take in the views or low, near the water’s edge. Located between Rangeley and Oquossoc, enjoy 4-season recreation from your door. Loaded with wildlife! **Property is not part of Sanctuary Farm Subdivision.** MLS #1582380 – $345,000

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— The Maine Sportsman —

2023 GRAND SLAM PATCH CLUB More photos on pages 40–42!

On May 17, 2023 Maine Sportsman subscriber Daniel Ranhosky of Greenville took the first step toward completing his 2023 Grand Slam with this 20-lb. tom turkey, shot in Augusta. Next was a black bear, harvested September 9 in Limestone, followed by a 695-lb bull moose on September 27 in Caswell, then a whitetail buck on November 16 in Connor Twp.

Jeffrey Lemay of Springvale qualified for the 2023 Grand Slam patch club, for those hunters who harvest a turkey, deer, bear and moose in the same calendar year. Jeffrey got his turkey first -- a 20-lb. tom -in Lyman on May 19, 2023. On September 21, he tagged a boar bear while hunting in T10 R11. On the 26th of September, while hunting with (see photo, from left) David Kirton, Josh Langevin and his Dad, Thomas Lemay, Jeffrey (on the right) shot a big, 800-lb. bull moose in T10 R8. Jeffrey completed his requirements for the patch by harvesting a whitetail buck on September 30 in Shapleigh.

Michael Vollmer of Mt. Desert was awarded his Grand Slam patch for 2023. This 140-lb. whitetail buck was tagged in Lamoine, and was registered at the Lamoine General Store, 684 Douglas Highway. Michael also harvested a bull moose in Zone 5, a 342-lb. black bear in T34 MD BPP, and a 21-lb. tom turkey in Mt. Desert.

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Lakeville – Large, private waterfront property on Lombard Lake & Stream, with cheap taxes. Cabin needs some love, but appears solid and square. Post and beam construction, on a full concrete foundation, offers plenty of potential. $229,000

Lincoln – This large lakeside home has an oversized garage, lawn to the lake and a paved driveway right on Mattanawcook Lake. Many mechanical updates completed, leaving cosmetics up to you to make your own. Come take a look today. $235,000

Enfield – This small off grid house is on a large lot that is bordered on one side by Cold Stream. Electrified by solar and well insulated. This could be used as a getaway or for an off grid lifestyle. $160,000

Danforth – Lot offers relaxing sunset’s views, has electricity available at the road and is level and well wooded right on Lower Hot Brook Lake. This is a beautiful, quiet part of northern Maine, ready for you. $99,000 Lakeville – Large cabin is unfinished on the inside and sits on a half-acre of land. End of road privacy in quiet, rural location on Duck Lake. It has a one car, drive in full foundation with a 400amp underground electrical feed. $229,000 T3 R1 – Brand spanking new cabin with detached woodshed/privy. Deeded across to Bill Green Pond (across the road). Partially furnished and cute as a button. Possible owner financing. $89,900 Lee – Looking for some privacy but still need year round access and electricity? This lot is well wooded, fairly level and ready for you to take a peek at on Old Steamboat Road. It could be the property you have been looking for. $37,500

207-794-2460 • 1-800-675-2460 R E A L


5 Lake Street, P.O. Box 66 LINCOLN, ME

— Call any of our brokers to work for you! — “Tate” Aylward 207-794-2460 Peter Phinney (207) 794-5466 • Kirk Ritchie (207) 290-1554

Visit for more listings!

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