They’ve caught a big one in Oquossoc and put their catch on display for all of us to enjoy. You’ll want to get up there and see this.
The catch of a lifetime is the Rangeley Outdoor Sporting Heritage Museum, constructed in the small village of Oquossoc just ten minutes west of Rangeley. It’s an astonishing collection that celebrates the region’s fly fishing history.
Conservation license plates play an important role in funding key projects at the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife and the Bureau of Parks and Lands. In these days of diminished General Fund support for these programs, those who, literally, step up to the plate, are making significant contributions.
Colonel Joel Wilkinson of the Maine Warden Service recently acted quickly to turn a bad situation into a good learning opportunity, heading off an escalating cascade of angry emails by calling in all interests for a discussion and resolution of the issues.
In the process, Wilkinson changed the topic from “invasive wardens” to “invasive plants,” while demonstrating some flexibility in fixing a few glitches and misunderstandings.
Once a prime destination for the nation’s sportsmen who flocked here for huge whitetail deer and wild native brook trout, Maine has lost its reputation as a sportsman’s paradise.
We still have world-class black bear hunting, a quality (but limited) moose hunt, and great coastal duck hunting, along with most of the nation’s remaining wild native brook trout, but that’s apparently not enough to turn around a declining outdoor industry or attract the notice of one of the nation’s top sporting publications.
Political leaders may need more than DeLorme’s new technologically sophisticated PN-40 GPS to follow the “Trail Map to Prosperity” provided recently by the Maine Conservation Voters Education Fund. They’ll have to carry courage, wisdom, and a very high level of persuasiveness in their political backpacks.
Governor Establishes New ATV Working Group: Governor John Baldacci signed an executive order on June 15 establishing a new ATV working group to “review standards by which state law enforcement officers may stop all-terrain vehicles.”
The governor’s order responds to a legislative decision last year to require law enforcement officers to suspect a violation of law is occurring before stopping ATV riders on public or private land.
While volunteer boat launch monitors continue to stop invasive plants from entering Maine waters, game wardens have issued only three citations for illegal transportation of these plants since 2002.
In that time, the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife has received almost $3.5 million dollars from sale of milfoil stickers to those who own motorized boats. Most of the money is targeted for enforcement of invasive plant laws and rules.
Each of those three citations cost boaters more than a million dollars!
You’d have to conclude that hunters are losing interest in Maine’s moose hunt, judging by the huge decline in applicants in the state’s once-popular moose lottery.
Since lottery applications peaked in 1994 at 94,532, applications from residents have declined by 50 percent and from nonresidents by 37 percent.
In the last two years alone, applications have decreased by a stunning 23 percent.
The state’s top expert on black bear and primary advocate for wildlife habitat will head south to Massachusetts on July 31. He won’t be on a summer vacation to the Cape. He’ll be taking a new job at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
When Dr. Ken Elowe leaves Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife on July 31, a huge knowledge gap will open up along with a number of great challenges at this hard-pressed agency.
The Future of Forest Conservation: Twenty years ago, my stump speech reported that the future of sportsmen on public land was challenged, due to many competing interests, but we were in good shape on private land where large landowners welcomed us with few restrictions.
Today it’s all changed.
We are blessed with lots of opportunities on public lands — including hunting on undeveloped lands in state parks. We’re in trouble on private lands.