March 21, 2013

2012 Deer Harvest Up 13% in Maine

AUGUSTA, Maine - The third annual Landowner Appreciation Cleanup Day is Saturday, September 15, and you can help.

Landowner Appreciation Cleanup Day is a way for all who enjoy the outdoors to say thank you by helping clean up unwanted trash and dumpsites on private property throughout the state. You can get involved by calling 1-800-750-9777.

Last year, volunteers helped clean up over 130 sites, collecting 95 tons of refuse and nearly 1,000 discarded tires.

This year, the Maine Department of Conservation, Forestry and Agriculture along with the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife are working with outdoor groups such as the Maine Snowmobile Association, the Maine Professional Guides Association, the Maine Trappers Association and other volunteers to help clean up private land.

Public access is the key to enjoying Maine’s outdoors, yet each year, access and the environment is threatened by illegal dumping. Landowner Appreciation Cleanup Day is one way for those who enjoy the outdoors to say thank you to the landowners who allow them on their property.

Maine Forest Service Forest Protection Division is utilizing their incident command system to identify and prioritize illegal dumping sites throughout the state. They have compiled a database of illegal dump sites and they are utilizing their dispatching system to direct volunteers to different sites to help clean up.

You can also see if there are sites near you by viewing this Google Map link: https://maps.google.com/maps/ms?ie=UTF8&hl=en&oe=UTF8&msa=0&msid=209039316182295407160.0004c908f263fb412c5d9

Maine Forest Rangers and Maine Game Wardens will be at dumpsites assisting volunteers, and the Maine Forest Service is providing equipment to haul away trash, and dispose of it properly.

Landowner Appreciation is one way for those who utilize private land for outdoor recreation to say thank you to landowners who provide that access.

Access is the key to Maine’s outdoor traditions. Over 90 percent of Maine is privately owned. Without public access to private land, there would be few opportunities to hike, hunt, fish, trap, boat, watch wildlife, snowmobile, mountain bike and ATV.

Get involved, and this year, help those landowners who help you enjoy the outdoors. It’s a great way to say thank you, and help ensure that future generations will have access to Maine’s vast outdoors.

For More information, contact mark.latti@maine.gov; or to find a site near you call 1-800-750-9777.

April 1, 2013

Maine Wildlife Park Opening for 2013 Season

Augusta, Maine - The Maine Wildlife Park, located on Route 26 in Gray, will open for the 2013 season on Saturday, April 13th at 9:30am – just in time for school vacation! Even though there is still some snow on the ground, it’s a bit muddy, and our new bathroom building project is in full swing (and may temporarily disrupt some activities in the picnic area), the wildlife park will welcome visitors the second Saturday in April this year.

So many families cannot wait to visit their favorite animals after a long winter, but close to 10,000 fans have ‘kept in touch’ with our wildlife via Facebook over the winter, ‘liking’ and commenting on photos posted of wildlife individuals as they adapted to winter snow and cold. But they are ready to see them again in person!

The Wildlife Park has a variety of NEW events planned for weekends beginning Saturday May 4, with a live wildlife exhibit and demonstration from the W.I.L.D. Center of NE; bringing an interesting menagerie of exotic wildlife related to our very own Park critters. Learn about, see and photograph unusual animals like a Serval Cat, Crested Porcupine, Arctic Fox, Indigo Snake or Alligator Snapper – and many more!

Other new programs throughout the summer will include Falcons, Lobsters, a Mad Science Fire and Ice Show, Outdoor Safety and Survival, the Dry Mills Hatchery Display Building Dedication and park wide Open House, an evening Table Tour featuring local specialty foods, a night visit with Northern Stars Planetarium, a Maine Authors Day, an all-new Pow Wow and a meet and greet with the stars of Northwoods Law! Plan to purchase your family pass now so you don’t miss any of the fun; and be sure to pick up an Event Calendar!

The Maine Wildlife Park is owned and operated by the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. The park exists to promote an understanding and awareness of the wildlife, conservation and habitat protection programs and projects of MDIFW.

The Maine Wildlife Park has over 30 species of native wildlife on display, plus wildlife gardens, nature trails, a fish hatchery and other interactive exhibits and displays. The park is open daily from April 13th through November 11th from 9:30am-4:30pm; visitors must leave the premises by 6:00pm. Admission to the park is free for ages 3 and under; $5.00 ages 4-12; $7.00 for adults, and $5.00 for seniors. Groups of 15 or more are $3.50 per person. Bring a picnic and spend the day! Family and Community Season Passes are available, and are an incredible bargain for families and groups that visit the park several times over the course of the summer.

Remember that Family Passes make a great gift; and are available for purchase in the Department of Fish & Wildlife’s online store @ www.mefishwildlife.com. For more information about any of these programs, please call the Maine Wildlife Park at 207-657-4977; or visit us online at www.mainewildlifepark.com, www.mefishwildlife.com or on Facebook!

GEMS OF ROUTE 26: Rich in culture, ecology and history, the Maine Wildlife Park, Shaker Village, Poland Spring Inn and Resort, Poland Spring Preservation Society, Poland Spring Preservation Park, Harvest Hill Farm and the grounds of McLaughlin Garden truly are “The Gems of 26.”

Visitors are encouraged to go and experience the park, as well as five other unique sites -- all less than an hour from each other on the picturesque Route 26 in Western Maine. Route 26 connects Western Maine to the rest of the State via Maine Turnpike’s exit 63 in Gray; meandering through gorgeous countryside and boasting culturally, historically, and ecologically significant attractions. Just thirty minutes north of Portland, a family can spend a day or several days visiting all five important and interesting destinations for very little money – a true value. www.gemsof26.com

March 19, 2013

Warden Service Holding Fur Tagging Event on Saturday

Augusta, Maine - On Saturday, March 23, the Maine Warden Service and the Northeast Trapping Supply store of Oakland will be holding a fur tagging event in Sidney.

The event will run from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m at the Warden Service’s Sidney Regional Headquarters, located at 270 Lyons Road.

Wardens from Section 5 will be on hand to tag fur for trappers.

For more information on trapping in Maine, go to www.mefishwildlife.com.

March 15, 2013

Missing Man Found Deceased by Game Wardens

T3 ND, Maine - Today, Maine game wardens assisted with search efforts for a missing man from Old Town. Troy Crawford, age 41, had been missing since Wednesday, March 13. Crawford’s vehicle was found by Down East Emergency Medical Institute (DEEMI) earlier today near Nicatous Maine. Search efforts were then concentrated in that area.

Crawford was located deceased at 3:30 PM today by game wardens. A game warden canine team air scented Crawford from the road near an area where clothing evidence had been left behind by Crawford. He was located about 300 yards from the vehicle and about 60 yards off the road. Crawford was located in T3 ND in Hancock County on a locally known road named Oxbow Road and is shown on topographic maps as “The Horseback”.

Five game wardens, a Warden Service aircraft, and members of the DEEMI Search and Rescue group participated in the search.

June 12, 2013

When Dealing With Young Wildlife: If You Care, Leave Them There

As the weather continues to get warmer and more people are enjoying the outdoors, the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife is reminding everyone to follow this motto when encountering wildlife, especially young animals: If you care, leave them there.

Wildlife is active during this time of the year and it isn’t unusual for people to come across baby fawns, moose calves, robins, raccoons and other young wildlife in woodlands or in their backyards, but that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea for people to intervene.

“Well-meaning people sometimes take in young wildlife in the mistaken belief that they have been abandoned,” said Governor Paul R. LePage. “But they often put the young animal in more risk. Wild animals and birds do not make good pets, and it’s against the law to possess them without the proper state and federal permits.”

A deer may leave its fawn hidden in the leaves on the forest floor if it’s too young to come along to forage for food. The mother-young bond is very strong in mammals and birds and deer will return to its fawn as long as humans don’t interfere.

“Too often people see a young animal alone and assume it has been abandoned by its mother, when in fact the mother has likely just left temporarily to search for food,” said IFW Biologist Scott Lindsay. “In most cases, it’s best to leave the animal alone because wildlife has a much better chance at survival when they aren’t disrupted by humans.” .

If you come across a healthy young animal or bird, leave it alone. If you have pets, put them inside your home or on a leash so they don’t disturb the young wildlings.

If you do think an animal may be orphaned, please call an IFW regional biologist to alert them to it.

Here are other tips on what to do if you see young wildlife:

Fawns: It is always best to leave fawns alone. The nutrient profile of a mother’s milk enables fawns to be left for many hours as mothers feed on their own to help maintain the high energy demands of nursing the fawn. Adult does will return two or three times a day to nurse fawns but otherwise leave them in a safe place and rely on the fawn’s camouflage and lack of scent to protect them from predators. As soon as a fawn is able to keep up with its mother, it will travel more with the mother.

Repeated visits to a fawn can draw the attention of predators and could discourage its mother from returning. Under no circumstances should anyone attempt to feed a fawn.

Moose calves: Treat moose calves similar to fawns, but also be aware that approaching or handling a moose calf is likely to elicit a defensive response from a mother moose if it is nearby.

Squirrels or Raccoons: If a nest of squirrels or raccoons must be disturbed, (for example if a tree has been cut down or fallen) leave the young in the den part of the tree and move them nearby to a protected place. The mother will in all likelihood come back and transport them to a new location.

Birds: The same is true for a bird’s nest. Put the nest and nestlings into a nearby tree, supported in a basket or other container that has drainage. The mother robin or blue jay is probably right around the corner, and will return to feed the young and care for them until they can fly on their own.

Be aware that direct contact with wildlife can expose you to a variety of diseases. Human contact with wildlife may lead to an animal being euthanized in order to test for rabies.

June 11, 2013

Media Event at Maine Wildlife Park on Dealing With Young Wildlife

The Maine Wildlife Park will host a media event on Thursday, June 13 to remind everyone of the importance of leaving young wildlife alone.

The event will run from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Wildlife Park, located at 56 Game Farm Road off Route 26 in Gray.

Three fawns and many other young animals have already been brought to the park this spring and summer.

“The general public can become very concerned when they happen across young wildlife that appear to be alone or in trouble, and often want to help them,” said IFW Wildlife Education Coordinator Lisa Kane. “We want to remind everyone that wild parents cannot hire babysitters, and have to leave their youngsters for periods of time to find food. It’s very important to leave young birds or wildlife alone because trying to help wild animals can often put them at greater risk.”

While it is often well-intentioned people who take in young animals, the animals are safer in the wild than with someone who doesn’t have proper training on how to care for them.

During the event, media members will be able to interview an IFW representative about what people should do if they do encounter baby animals or birds in the wild. Media members will also be able to photograph or get video of the three fawns at the park.

The Maine Wildlife Park is managed by the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife and is home to more than 30 wildlife species.

For more information on wildlife in Maine, go to www.mefishwildlife.com.

June 26, 2013

IFW, Maine Audubon Seek Bat-Counting Volunteers

White Nose Syndrome has severely impacted bat populations throughout the northeast, and the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (IFW), along with Maine Audubon, is looking for volunteers to help determine the effect of the fungus on Maine’s bat population.

The recent introduction of White Nose Syndrome (WNS), a cold-tolerant fungus, has wiped out entire bat hibernating colonies and has had a dramatic impact on the bat population in the northeast. Experts estimate that to date, more than five million bats have died because of WNS.

“White Nose Syndrome is impacting little brown bat and big brown bat colonies throughout the northeast,” notes IFW wildlife biologist John DePue, “Many historic bat colonies throughout Maine did not even have roosting bats last year.”

IFW and Maine Audubon are in the second year of a two-year study to determine the impact of WNS in Maine. The research is funded in part by the Maine Outdoor Heritage Fund. IFW is also conducting bat acoustic surveys this summer as well.

“Of the 45 historic colonies identified by citizen scientists last year, only 12 had bats actually roosting – and none of them raised any pups,” noted Susan Gallo, Maine Audubon wildlife biologist.

Little brown bat and big brown bat colonies can be found in attics, barns, church eaves, old theaters, abandoned buildings, homes, garages and other structures. The rapid decline of these bats has many scientists and citizens concerned. Peak localized bat activity takes place now through the end of July. Bats migrate in the spring and fall.

Maine Audubon and IFW seek the help of Maine residents to identify the location of maternal bat colonies throughout the state (where female bats group together to raise their young). Information from citizen scientists will help establish a baseline for breeding bats.

Interested volunteers can follow an established protocol for estimating colony size by counting the number of bats emerging at dusk. “Because of the devastation of WNS on bat colonies, we are even looking for historical information – if you know of a bat colony that has not seen activity this year, we still want to hear about it,” noted Gallo.

Bat colony observations can be submitted at www.maineaudubon.org/bats.

For questions or further information about the Bat Conservation Project, please email Susan Gallo at sgallo@maineaudubon.org or call (207) 781-2330 x216.

June 28, 2013

NOW ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS FOR MAINE GAME WARDEN

**To download an application, please visit mainegamewarden.com...good luck!

Career Opportunity Bulletin

GAME WARDEN

CODE: 951100 PAY GRADE: 20 ($17.51 – 23.21/hr.)* Value of State’s share of Employee’s Retirement: 17.26% of pay Value of State-paid Dental Insurance: $13.69 biweekly Value* of State-paid Health Insurance: Level 1: 100% State Contribution (employee pays nothing): $363.77 biweekly Level 2: 95% State Contribution (employee pays 5%): $345.58 biweekly Level 3: 90% State Contribution (employee pays 10%): $327.39 biweekly Level 4: 85% State Contribution (employee pays 15%): $309.20 biweekly

*Salary includes a $0.85 per hour Market Pay Adjustment.

OPENING DATE: June 12, 2013 CLOSING DATE: August 9, 2013

The Maine Warden Service has a proud history that dates back to 1880. At the core of our bureau’s history stand the men and women who perform our important work. It is of critical importance that we continue to take great care in selecting new game wardens. We must select an individual who can take on the inherent dangers of the job while representing the State of Maine as a courteous, genuine, consummate professional. In the coming months, we will again be looking for that candidate who has the appropriate skill sets, practical experience, and attitude to be a positive, productive employee. What are the skill sets and experience required?

The foundation by which a good candidate is built can be summed up quickly; a hardworking, positive, good person with a will to succeed in all he/she does. Beyond that is the need to find candidates who have good life experience, sound judgment, and a strong moral character. Peel back the layers further and that person must have a strong understanding of the outdoors to include hunting and fishing, recreational vehicles, and the desire to work outdoors in a law enforcement role. Although not a requirement, some candidates chose to go to college. Degree types range from law enforcement to more generic studies such as business, biology, or psychology.

As sworn, trained police officers we must identify those well suited for law enforcement work. No different than any other police agency, we cannot employ those with extensive or prohibitive criminal backgrounds. The hiring process itself can take as long as six months from initial application submission to becoming hired. We include a very comprehensive oral board exam that covers a wide spectrum of relevant topics. This exam tests a candidates practical knowledge of outdoor related items, provides an opportunity to sell themselves in a traditional style interview, and engages them with “what if?” scenarios to see first-hand how they process complicated, real life situations. Additionally, all candidates submit a typed essay on a topic provided on test day. It is then reviewed by the Maine Department of Education to be sure the candidate has adequate writing skills and computer knowledge. Those who successfully complete the oral board exam will undergo a comprehensive background investigation as well as polygraph, psychological, and physical exams.

After careful consideration, those who rise to the top are provided with an offer of employment and must then complete both the 18-week Basic Law Enforcement Training Program (BLETP) ant the Advanced Warden Academy (12-weeks) in Vassalboro. You must be age 21 to apply. If you have 60 college credits, you are eligible to apply at age 20. We have no age limit restrictions. You do NOT need to be a Maine resident to apply.

Why all this? In order for us to carry out the important role of game warden, we must have the respect and trust of the public. Our success comes from the relationships we have built and the trust we have earned. We take great measures to ensure this is not compromised.

Corporal John MacDonald Maine Warden Service

Questions? Please contact: john.macdonald@maine.gov

July 2, 2013

Any-Deer Lottery Application Period Open

The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife is now accepting applications for the 2013 Any-Deer(Antlerless) Permit Lottery.

Paper applications must be postmarked by July 26 or delivered in person to 284 State Street in Augusta before 5 p.m. on that date.

Online applications are due by 11:59 p.m. on August 15 and can be found by visiting www.mefishwildlife.com.

Residents applying to hunt on their own land without a license and applicants with a legal residence outside the U.S. or Canada must use the paper application and may not apply for an any-deer permit online.

It is free to apply for the any-deer permit lottery. The lottery drawing will be held on Sept. 9 and results will be posted on the Department’s web site after 2 p.m.

A total of 46,710 any-deer permits will be issued in these 16 wildlife management districts: 3, 6, 7, 12, 13, 15-17, 20-26 and 29. It is bucks only in all other wildlife management districts.

Deer hunting season (firearms) begins with Youth Deer Hunting Day on Oct. 26. Youth hunters may take a buck statewide or an antlerless deer only in the wildlife management districts where any-deer permits will be issued this fall.

Maine Resident Only Day will be held on Nov. 2 this year.

Deer hunting season (firearms) runs from Nov. 4 to Nov. 30.

For more information on deer hunting in Maine, visit www.mefishwildlife.com.

July 7, 2013

MAINE GAME WARDENS RECEIVE TWO PERSONAL WATERCRAFT

Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Maine Warden Service

--For Immediate Release--

JULY 5, 2013: Today, the Maine Warden Service acquired two new pieces of equipment under the Kawasaki Customer Relations Loaner Program. Two personal watercrafts (PWC’s) are being used for patrol by game wardens and are on loan from Reggie’s Kawasaki/Ski-Doo located on Route 202 in Leeds. Upon application, the nationwide program operates through Kawasaki dealers, who loan JET SKI watercraft at no cost to public agencies responsible for boating law enforcement, recreational boating education, safety, and search and rescue operations.

“The Kawasaki loaner program provided the Warden Service with an opportunity to add two additional tools to our fleet. They are an essential piece of equipment used to maintain safety and boating law compliance on some of Maine’s busiest boating waters” stated Game Warden Lieutenant Adam Gormely. Gormely is out of the Gray Regional Headquarters and manages Division A; home to Maine’s most visited and congested water bodies for recreational boating.

Craig Caron, general manager of Reggie’s Kawasaki-Ski-doo stated today that he was “happy to help the Maine Warden Service with its recreational boating safety efforts this summer season.” The PWC and trailer package on loan ordinarily cost about $11,000 each. With today’s financial challenges in State government, the PWC’s came at a particularly good time. The two Kawasaki Jet Ski STX-15F’s will be utilized by game wardens in the Cumberland and Oxford county regions.

(The attached photo courtesy of the Maine Warden Service. Pictured (left) are Lieutenant Adam Gormely and General Manager of Reggie’s, Craig Caron.)

No further information is available at this time.

Please direct media related calls to Corporal John MacDonald by calling: Public Safety Dispatch in Gray at 207-657-3030 Email at: john.macdonald@maine.gov

July 7, 2013

FATAL ATV CRASH - AMHERST, MAINE

Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Maine Warden Service

--For Immediate Release--

AMHERST, MAINE: On July 6, 2013 at approximately 7:20 PM, Kevin Clements (46) of Allen Road in Amherst (about 25 miles east of Orono) was operating a Polaris 6-wheel ATV near his residence. The machine rolled over and he became pinned under the machine. He was found by his wife a short time later. EMS personnel arrived and determined that Clements was deceased. Game wardens investigated the scene and aided family members of the victim. His body was transported to Brookings Smith Funeral home in Bangor. The cause of the crash remains under investigation.

No further information is available at this time.

Please direct media related calls to Corporal John MacDonald by calling: Public Safety Dispatch in Gray at 207-657-3030 Email at: john.macdonald@maine.gov

July 26, 2013

IFW Freshwater Fishing Report – July 26, 2013

For Immediate Release July 26, 2013

IFW Freshwater Fishing Report – July 26, 2013

Sebago Lakes Region

Thanks to last week’s scorching weather, surface water temperatures in the Sebago Lake area are unusually warm, according to regional fisheries biologist Francis Brautigam, a full two to three weeks ahead of where we usually are.

“I was on Sebago Lake earlier this week, and at 10:30 a.m., the surface water temperature was 79.8 degrees. I have never seen it that warm,” said Brautigam, who added that a local angler fishing Norway Lake reported that waterway reached the 80 degree mark.

Coldwater fish such as trout and salmon don’t stand much of a chance with prolonged exposure in water temps near 80, so Brautigam reminds anglers to play and release fish as quickly as possible, keep the fish in the water as you release it, and be careful handling and releasing the fish.

With lake and pond temperatures above average, now is a good time for brook and stream fishing for trout. Recent rains mean flows are good for fishing, as fish will move when water levels increase. Since many of these small streams are fed by groundwater, they also are not heavily influenced by the temperatures spikes we experienced last week.

Central Maine Region

IFW fisheries biologists are busy on the upper Kennebec River, taking a closer look at the section of river between Harris Station Dam and Wyman Dam.

“We are up there getting a better understanding of the fish population in that section, looking at the age and growth of fish in that segment of the river,” said IFW fisheries biologist Jason Seiders. To capture fish, biologists use an electro-fishing boat that sends pulses of electricity into the water, temporarily stunning fish, which allows biologists to net them. They are weighed and measured, then released.

Seiders said they saw several anglers fishing that section, and that the fishing was “fantastic.” The fish surveys revealed quite a few salmon in the 16”-19” range.

“Unfortunately, bass numbers are also relatively high,” said Seiders, who reminds anglers that there is no size or bag limit on bass in that section, and anglers can keep as many bass as they want. Removal of bass from that section will help salmon and trout populations, and anglers who like to keep bass to eat would be wise to try this section of river as well.

Anglers may want to float that section of river in a canoe. Put in at the ball field just over the Route 201 bridge in The Forks and you can take out at the Hole in the Wall near Northern Outdoors on Route 201. This segment is approximately 5 miles in length.

Downeast Region

This time of year, anglers will have the most success chasing warmwater fish such as pickerel, bass, and white perch, according to Greg Burr, IFW fisheries biologist in Jonesboro. He recommends fishing the edges of weed beds and lily pads for pickerel and largemouth bass, and the drop-offs and deep rocks for smallmouth bass.

White perch are schooling and anglers may find them nearly any time of day. If you are looking for some perch waters for a fish fry, in Washington county try Second Gardner Lake in Marion, Rocky Lake in Township 19, Third Machias Lake in Township 43, Big Lake in Greenlaw Chopping Township, and the Grand Falls Flowage in Princeton. In Hancock county, head out to Toddy Pond in Orland, Georges Pond in Franklin, and Webb Pond and Abrams Pond in Eastbrook.

This time of year, fishing for salmon and trout is a little more difficult, but the fish are still there, just deeper. Burr recommends using use lead line, downriggers, or still fishing to get down below the thermocline, somewhere between 25 and 40 feet.

Rangeley Lakes Region

IFW Fisheries biologist Bobby Van Riper has noticed more anglers on the region’s rivers this year, and said he is receiving good reports about the fishing in these rivers.

“Fishing pressure seems to be up, and we are getting rave reviews on the fishing. The Rapid, Magalloway, and Kennebago have been superb at times, but with the warm-up we’ve had it, it is starting to slow down,” said Van Riper.

For those willing to hike or bike a bit to access a fishing spot, Van Riper suggests a trip into Upper Dam on Richardson Lake. As the weather warms up, trout seek out the deep pool at Upper Dam. Anglers should be aware that there is a different water flow pattern at the dam as repairs continue on the dam.

Rangeley Region Fisheries biologists will be visiting Moxie pond next week to do a bass evaluation. Bass were illegally introduced into the pond in 1998, and have now spread into other ponds in the watershed.

“It’s one of the unintended consequences of illegal introductions. There are a bunch of little ponds that were nice brook trout ponds, but now have bass,” said Van Riper, who noted that bass have moved through tributaries and have colonized other ponds that flow into Moxie.

Moosehead Region

Last week’s hot weather has cooled down trout and salmon fishing in the Moosehead Lake area. Early July generally means a big hex hatch, but IFW fisheries biologist Tim Obrey said that this year the hex hatch seemed a little off according to reports from area anglers. Obrey suggested trying local rivers for trout and salmon.

“Water levels are good, and the fishing is still pretty good. The East Outlet and the West Branch should still have some good fishing,” said Obrey. Obrey noted that the caddis hatch has been strong on the West Branch, with anglers having the most luck in the evening.

Moosehead Lake experienced an excellent spring with good catches of trout and salmon, and several large brook trout. Right now, however, if you want to fish the lake, you need the equipment to get down deep. According to Obrey, trout and salmon are cooling off in deeper depths between 35 and 65 feet.

Penobscot Region

While some anglers are experiencing the mid-summer doldrums, IFW Fisheries Biologist Nels Kramer says anglers on East Grand Lake are still experiencing a lot of success.

“I’ve talked with the district wardens there, and for those who are fishing deep, they are still catching quite a few salmon in the 18-20” range,” said Kramer. Kramer added that they are even catching some salmon up to 23 inches.

Bass fishing on the Penobscot is picking up, but anglers need to be aware of changing water levels. The Veazie Dam was breached on Monday, lowering water levels in that section, and water levels behind the Mattaseunk Dam in Medway have been lowered to facilitate repairs on the dam.

“There’s a lot of water downstream – The bass may be confused but they still need to eat,” said Kramer.

Aroostook Region

While the green drake hatch is over, recent rains and cooler weather have dropped water temperatures in the region, and according to IFW fisheries biologist Frank Frost, trout are biting again.

“On Monday, we had one river that dropped 16 degrees,” said Frost, who added that with two nights of predicted nighttime lows in the 40s, river fishing should bounce right back.

Cooler tributaries will hold the most fish, and Frost recommended streams such that flow into the Aroostook such as the Mooseleuk and Munsungan as possible fishing destinations.

“Trout hold in the cooler water, but once it cools off, they will spread out,” says Frost, who added that water levels have been high much of the summer, and with the midweek rain, that trend will continue. “It looks like a good weekend, the trout should be pretty active with nights in the 40s.”

July 27, 2013

UPDATE: SEARCH FOR GERALDINE LARGAY

SEARCH FOR GERALDINE LARGAY – July 26, 2013: This morning, approximately 60 searchers to include game wardens and searchers associated with Maine Association of Search and Rescue (MASAR see below) are looking for Geraldine Largay. A Maine Forest Service helicopter is also being utilized today. Maine Warden Service fixed-wing aircraft are not being used today due to low cloud cover. A command post has been established at the Sugarloaf Mountain Resort. Search efforts are concentrated on the AT north of the Spaulding lean-to in Mount Abram TWP toward the Route 27 crossing in Wyman TWP. Between those two points are numerous overlapping roads and trails. Wardens continue to seek more information as to the identity of the female hiker who reported staying at the Spaulding lean-to with Geraldine Tuesday night.

Geraldine Anita Largay started her hike on the AT in April at Harpers Ferry, West Virginia. Her destination was Baxter State Park. Her husband George keeps track of her along the way and makes pre-determined stops to resupply her. On Sunday morning, she departed from the Route 4 AT crossing in Sandy River Plantation near Rangeley. Later that day she texted her husband and advised she was on top of Saddleback Mountain. Her plan was to stay at the Poplar Ridge lean-to in Redington TWP Sunday night. On Monday morning she texted again indicating she was headed north on the AT. Her next stop would have been the Spaulding Mountain lean-to. Largay is an experienced hiker who was prepared with supplies. She had no previous incidents up to this point on her hike.

Yesterday, wardens learned that an unidentified female hiker called the Stratton Motel on Wednesday, July 24. The caller indicated she was travelling south (opposite direction of Geraldine) on the Appalachian Trail and spent Tuesday night (23rd) with Geraldine Largay at the Spaulding lean-to. Rain was heavy on Tuesday so it is suspected that Geraldine waited out the rain in the Spaulding lean-to for the day. It is believed she continued on her way north Wednesday morning.

The Maine Warden Service needs to talk with the unknown female hiker about this incident. Anyone with information regarding either Geraldine or the unknown female hiker is asked to call Augusta Public Safety Dispatch at 1-800-452-4664.

(The Maine Association for Search and Rescue (MASAR) is a non-profit organization that promotes and develops search and rescue resources for the state of Maine. MASAR provides training and certification for search and rescue volunteers using nationally-recognized standards. See mainesearchandrescue.org for more information.)

No further information is available at this time.

Please direct media related calls to Corporal John MacDonald by calling: Public Safety Dispatch in Gray at 207-657-3030 Email at: john.macdonald@maine.gov

July 27, 2013

LARGAY SEARCH CONTINUES

There is no new information this evening regarding Geraldine Largays location. Today, approximately 60 searchers to include game wardens and members from the Association of Search and Rescue (MASAR* see below) searched for Geraldine. A Maine Forest Service helicopter was utilized today as well. Maine Warden Service fixed-wing aircraft we not used as weather did not permit their use. A command post has been established at the Sugarloaf Mountain Resort and will be utilized tomorrow.

Search efforts continue to concentrate on the Appalachian Trail north of the Spaulding lean-to in Mount Abram TWP toward the Route 27 crossing in Wyman TWP. Between those two points are numerous overlapping roads and trails. Search efforts will resume tomorrow morning. Information gathering and logistical planning will occur this evening.

Wardens continue to seek information as to the identity of the female hiker who reported staying at the Spaulding lean-to with Geraldine Tuesday night. Anyone with information regarding either Geraldine or the unknown female hiker is asked to call Augusta Public Safety Dispatch at 1-800-452-4664.

Attached photo courtesy of the Maine Warden Service and Maine Forest Service. Shown is Ranger Shane Nichols during today’s search operation.

*The Maine Association for Search and Rescue (MASAR) is a non-profit organization that promotes and develops search and rescue resources for the state of Maine. MASAR provides training and certification for search and rescue volunteers using nationally-recognized standards. See mainesearchandrescue.org for more information.

July 27, 2013

LARGAY SEARCH UPDATE 3

SATURDAY, July 27, 2013: Maine game wardens are seeking information concerning missing AT hiker Geraldine Largay who uses the trail name “inchworm” from the following hikers using the trail names: “Cowboy”, “Marathon”, “Postman”, “Breeze”, “Paranoid”, “Crunchmaster”, “Harpo/Groucho”, “Ice Pack/SOBO ’13”,” Luke 11:9”, “Sandman”, “BBTGR”, and “.com/Queen”.

Warden investigators need to speak with the listed hikers to determine and verify if the Geraldine was seen between the Poplar Ridge Lean-To and the Spaulding Mountain Lean-To on the Appalachian Trail. Warden investigators also need to verify if Geraldine stayed overnight at the Spaulding Mtn. Lean-To Monday night July 22 into Tuesday morning July 23. The Warden Service also wants to inform bear baiters baiting in the search area to be on the lookout for Mrs. Largay.

Those with any information should call the Public Safety Communications Center in Augusta at (207) 624-6076. or 1-800-452-4664

Please direct media related calls to Corporal John MacDonald by calling: Public Safety Dispatch in Gray at 207-657-3030 Email at: john.macdonald@maine.gov

July 27, 2013

LARGAY SEARCH PHOTO

Search photo taken today courtesy of the Maine Warden Service.

Photo 4: Sergeant Jeff Spencer and Maine State Police Detective Lenny Bolton hiking towards Spaulding Mountain from the summit of Sugarloaf.

July 27, 2013

LARGAY SEARCH UPDATE 4

Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Maine Warden Service

--For Immediate Release--

MAINE WARDEN SERVICE – JULY, 27, 2013: The search continues for Geraldine Largay. Today there are approximately 130 searchers taking part in today’s search effort. Searchers include Maine game wardens, their ATV’s, K9’s, and aircraft, Maine forest rangers, *MASAR members including a horseback search team, US Border Patrol, and members of the Civil Air Patrol with their CAP helicopter.

*The Maine Association for Search and Rescue (MASAR) is a non-profit organization that promotes and develops search and rescue resources for the state of Maine. MASAR provides training and certification for search and rescue volunteers using nationally-recognized standards. See mainesearchandrescue.org for more information.

(Attached: Recent photo of Geraldine Largay courtesy of the Maine Warden Service.)

July 28, 2013

SEARCH - JANET POST - MOUNT DESERT ISLAND_1

Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Maine Warden Service

--For Immediate Release--

SEARCH - MOUNT DESERT ISLAND – JULY 28, 2013: Maine game wardens are conducting a search for a missing woman on Mount Desert Island that began late yesterday. Janet Post, 81, from London England was last seen by two male cousins near their summer home at 5:45 late yesterday afternoon. The Maine Warden Service was called to respond at approximately 7:00 PM. She was last seen wearing a white sun hat, light colored shirt and blouse, and tan capris pants.

Janet and her two cousins (one named Brian Pfieffer) walked the 1/3 mile foot path from their summer home located at 279 Beech Hill Road in the Town of Mount Desert. The path leads to the shore of Long Pond. All three made it to the shore. At approximately 5:45 Janet was last seen walking back toward her home via the wooden path by herself. About five to seven minutes later, the two cousins returned back to the home. When they returned Janet was not there.

The search area is about one mile square, heavily wooded, and contains some steep terrain. Janet is in good health and had recently retired. Today’s search effort consists of eight game wardens, two warden K9 teams, a fixed wing aircraft, and a watercraft. Assisting with search efforts are members of the Mount Desert Island Search and Rescue Team and Acadia National Park Rangers with watercraft.

Maine game wardens are asking anyone with information that might help find Janet Post to please call ORONO PUBLIC SAFETY DISPATCH AT 1-207-866-2122.

(Attached photo of Janet Post courtesy of the Maine Warden Service.)

Please direct media related calls to Corporal John MacDonald by calling: Public Safety Dispatch in Gray at 207-657-3030 Email at: john.macdonald@maine.gov

July 29, 2013

LARGAY SEARCH UPDATE:

Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Maine Warden Service

--For Immediate Release--

Monday, July 29, 2013: The search continues today for Geraldine Largay. Several search assignments have been completed which are contained within two points on the AT. Several more assignments will be given today as well. The high probability search area is approximately 27 miles on the AT and begins about one-half mile south of the Caribou Valley Road intersection with the AT and extends south to Route 4, near Rangeley. The search area encompasses roughly 81 square miles. Weather conditions are cloudy this morning with a chance of thunderstorms this afternoon. It is unlikely aircraft will be utilized today.

Largay search log to date in miles: Canine teams - 56.2 miles
Hasty/Grid Teams (ground searchers) – 300.2 Miles Horse Teams – 26.9 Aircraft/Helicopter – 338

Approximately 30 searchers will be out today to include Maine game wardens, Mahoosuc SAR, US Border Patrol, and the Maine Forest Service. Those with any information should call the Maine State Police Communications Center in Augusta at (207) 624-7076 or 1-800-452-4664 (Maine only).

Photo 1: Colored lines represent where searchers have been and includes hasty/grid teams, horse teams, and canine teams. Searchers continue to cover many areas not yet colored.

Please direct media related calls to Corporal John MacDonald by calling: Public Safety Dispatch in Gray at 207-657-3030 Email at: john.macdonald@maine.gov

July 29, 2013

GERALDINE LARGAY PHOTO:

Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Maine Warden Service

--For Immediate Release--

This photo shows Geraldine Largay in her black rain jacket which she would likely have been wearing in the rain on Tuesday, July 23.

(Photo taken Saturday, July 20, 2013 in Sandy River Plantation at the intersection of Route 4. Courtesy of the Maine Warden Service.)

Please direct media related calls to Corporal John MacDonald by calling: Public Safety Dispatch in Gray at 207-657-3030 Email at: john.macdonald@maine.gov

July 29, 2013

LARGAY SEARCH AREA NARROWED:

Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Maine Warden Service

--For Immediate Release--

The search area has been narrowed and now includes a fourteen-mile section of the AT extending between Lone Mountain located in Mount Abram TWP north to Route 27 in Wyman TWP. The Maine Warden Service believes the area of highest probability is even smaller and includes a nine-mile section of the AT between Lone Mountain north to the Caribou Valley Road intersection with the Appalachian Trail.

Those with any information should call the Public Safety Dispatch Center in Augusta at (207) 624-7076 or 1-800-452-4664 (Maine only).

Please direct media related calls to Corporal John MacDonald by calling: Public Safety Dispatch in Gray at 207-657-3030 Email at: john.macdonald@maine.gov

August 1, 2013

Brookfield to Team with Professional Angler Joe Thomas for Free Water Safety and Fishing Clinic

Wear a Life Jacket for Chance to Win $50 Gift Card

THE FORKS, MAINE (July 22, 2013) – Brookfield Renewable Energy Group recently announced that it is teaming with professional bass angler and Outdoor Channel series television host Joe Thomas to promote water safety. The first event in this national partnership will be a water safety and fishing clinic in The Forks. This free, family-friendly event will be held on Saturday, August 10, 2013 from 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 noon at the Indian Pond Campground in The Forks, Maine.

All attendees who wear a life jacket to the event will be entered into a random raffle drawing to win door prizes, including the $50 Visa gift card grand prize.

According to Shannon Ames, Brookfield’s Director of Community and Stakeholder Relations, “The water safety and fishing clinic at Indian Pond Campground is a great way for Brookfield and Joe Thomas to promote the national Wear It! campaign. Wear It! raises public awareness about responsible and safe recreation on or near water, and the importance of wearing a life jacket.”

“Through this great family event, we hope to make a difference in how people approach water safety,” said Thomas. “Having fished professionally for close to 30 years I understand that water safety starts simply by wearing a life jacket.”

Event Specifics

The event will feature a special 30-minute water safety presentation to precede the fishing clinic. The presentation will include an overview of the various types of life jackets and how to determine the proper size and fit. Following the life jacket presentation, Joe Thomas will work with attendees on casting techniques, lure and bait selection and general fishing skills.

There is no pre-registration required for the event. All participants must bring their own life jacket, fishing gear, tackle and lures. Brookfield will provide bait worms, free of charge. The campground is equipped with restrooms. Brookfield encourages people to wear sunscreen and bring cameras.

Event Schedule

8:30-9:00 a.m. – Life jacket demonstration

9:15-11:15 a.m. – Joe Thomas fishing clinic

11:30 a.m.-12:00 noon – Open discussion and photos with Joe Thomas

Noon – Event concludes

Brookfield and Joe Thomas

Brookfield first collaborated with Joe Thomas in 2012 for its Fish with a Pro sweepstakes, part of the Wear It! Oswego campaign. “Joe follows many of the same common-sense safety tips Brookfield encourages when he’s fishing or hunting. We believe through this partnership, Joe and Brookfield can maximize our reach to more effectively convey the importance of the Wear It! water safety campaign,” Ames added.

The 2013 season of Thomas’ Outdoor Channel series Stihl’s Reel in the Outdoors began in July, and features special public service announcements made possible by Brookfield. The PSAs remind viewers to always wear a life jacket when recreating on and around the water. In addition, Mr. Thomas will also make personal appearances at select Brookfield hydroelectric generating facilities in 2013 and 2014 to promote the Wear It! initiative.

Brookfield Renewable Energy Group operates the renewable generation and power utility portfolios for Brookfield Asset Management, a global alternative asset manager with over $175 billion of assets under management. Brookfield Renewable’s 2,200 employees have responsibility for over 200 generation facilities and 28,000 miles of transmission and distribution in the United States, Canada and Latin America. As a global leader in clean energy, Brookfield’s portfolio totals over 5,900 megawatts of installed capacity, primarily hydroelectric, powering over three million average homes each year in 12 power markets across Canada, the US and Brazil. For more information on our publicly traded entity, Brookfield Renewable Energy Partners, please visit www.brookfieldrenewable.com. In Maine, Brookfield owns and operates 36 hydropower stations on four rivers. Brookfield actively promotes the National Safe Boating Council’s Wear It! Campaign to promote the usage of life jackets.

Stihl’s Reel in the Outdoors with Joe Thomas airs nationally on Outdoor Channel Friday mornings at 10:00 am, Saturday mornings at 7:30 am and Saturday afternoons at 3:00 pm (all times eastern). For more information visit www.reeloutdoorstv.com.

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For more information, please visit www.brookfieldrenewable.com or contact:

July 31, 2013

MDIFW Accepting RFPs for Range Improvement Grant Program

The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife is accepting request for proposals (RFPs) for its 2013 Maine Range Access Improvement Grant Program.

Small grants will be awarded to private non-profits and municipalities to fund firearm and archery range access improvement projects.

The Department is accepting proposals for projects that do any of the following:

•Improve public access to firearm and archery range facilities.

•Accomplish improvements at existing or develop new firearm and archery range facilities.

•Integrate Best Management Practices into physical facilities and management of ranges.

•Support firearm and archery education to learn safe and responsible practices.

Requests may be for a single project or a portion of staged projects. Requestors can ask for a maximum of $50,000 in grant money, which will serve as 70 percent of allowable costs. Projects must include a minimum of 30 percent match, cash or in-kind donations.

The selection process includes a statewide distribution of awards, which will work as follows: The highest scoring proposal in each of the seven (7) Maine Fisheries and Wildlife Regions (Regions A - G), will be the first 7 proposals selected. A state map with the Maine Fisheries and Wildlife Regions A - G indicated is included in the RFP.

Proposals must be submitted by 2 p.m. on August 14 to the State of Maine Division of Purchases, located at the Burton M. Cross Building, 111 Sewall Street, 4th Floor, 9 State House Station, Augusta.

The Maine Range Access Improvement Grant Program is funded by a $1 million grant ($750,000 federal portion, $250,000 non-federal match) from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and a $14,300 grant from the Maine Outdoor Heritage Fund.

To see a copy of the RFP, visit www.maine.gov/ifw/rfp.htm.

August 2, 2013

Man Found Deceased - Jones Pond, Gouldsboro

Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife and Maine Warden Service

--For Immediate Release--

JONES POND, GOULDSBORO: Early yesterday evening (August 1, 2013) Jon Webber, 82, from Gouldsboro was located deceased by his wife Susan approximately 20 feet from shore on Jones Pond. Webber had gone out for a swim near his home on the north end of Jones Pond in Gouldsboro. His body was transported to the Medical Examiner’s office in Augusta for an autopsy. The incident remains under investigation pending the cause of death, no foul play is suspected. Maine Warden Service was assisted by Gouldsboro Police Department and Gouldsboro Fire Department.

August 4, 2013

SEARCH UPDATE: GERALDINE LARGAY

Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Maine Warden Service

--For Immediate Release--

SEARCH UPDATE FOR GERALDINE LARGAY: At the conclusion of today’s search efforts there was no new attributing evidence or information found as to Geraldine’s location. At this point, the search for Geraldine Largay will be extensively scaled back.

Today’s search involved approximately 115 searchers that included Maine game wardens and MASAR* search volunteers. They were concentrated in an area approximately 4.2 miles square. The area is contained within the black search boxes in the attached map. This search area was established based on several pieces of information gathered from hikers.

The search area was intensely covered today and utilized game wardens and K9 teams, MASAR foot searchers and both K9 and horseback teams. Game wardens will continue to investigate all leads. In the event new information becomes available, local wardens and MASAR searchers will be used to search those areas. Those with any information should call the Public Safety Dispatch Center Augusta at (207) 624-7076 or 1-800-452-4664 (Maine only).

(*The Maine Association for Search and Rescue (MASAR) is a non-profit organization that promotes and develops search and rescue resources for the state of Maine. MASAR provides training and certification for search and rescue volunteers using nationally-recognized standards. See mainesearchandrescue.org for more information.)

No further information is available at this time.

Please direct media related calls to Corporal John MacDonald by calling: Public Safety Dispatch in Gray at 207-657-3030 Email at: john.macdonald@maine.gov

August 5, 2013

WOMAN RESCUED - PUSHAW LAKE, GLENGURN

Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Maine Warden Service

--For Immediate Release--

PUSHAW LAKE, GLENBURN: Sunday afternoon (August 4) at approximately 2:30 PM, Lizabeth Gleason (54) of Hermon left to go boating in a small watercraft on Pushaw Lake in Glenburn. After not returning for several hours, her friends and family began searching the lake. Gleason’s family searched the area for several hours and did not locate her. Just prior to dark, they called the Maine Warden Service.

Game wardens responded with a boat in an attempt to locate Gleason. The wardens searched the lake until after midnight, but found no sign of Gleason. Search efforts continued Friday morning with two warden service watercraft and an airplane. At approximately 9:00 AM, the warden service air plane spotted Gleason on a remote shore of the lake. She was picked up by game wardens and transported back to a residence in Glenburn.

Gleason said her Craig Cat Boat, http://www.craigcat.com/ suffered mechanical issues preventing Gleason from returning to camp. She said she spent the night on the boat both drifting and tied to a hazard buoy. Early this morning she drifted to the remote shore where she waited at a nearby camp until she was located by the airplane. Although cold, wet and a bit shaken up from her ordeal, Gleason was doing well.

The Maine Warden Service would like to remind boaters to always tell someone where you plan to go and when you plan to be home. When possible, bring a cell phone with you and always wear your life jacket.

No further information is available at this time.

Please direct media related calls to Corporal John MacDonald by calling: Public Safety Dispatch in Gray at 207-657-3030 Email at: john.macdonald@maine.gov

August 8, 2013

IFW Freshwater Fishing Report – August 8, 2013

For Immediate Release
August 8, 2013

IFW Freshwater Fishing Report – August 8, 2013

Sebago Lakes Region

On Sebago Lake, fishing has started to pick up, according to IFW Fisheries Biologist Francis Brautigam, who notes that the weather feels more like late August than early August.

“Salmon fishing was really good last week on Sebago,” noted Brautigam, “Some anglers who were fishing early morning picked up a half dozen salmon. Most successful anglers were using bait and trolling slow. “

Smelt are a key part of a landlocked salmon’s diet, and it seems salmon are keying in smelt hatched just this year, which are now about the size of a matchstick. Anglers have noted big schools of these smelts up near shoals and bars on the big lake.

Brown and rainbow trout fishing is also picking up in southern Maine. Try the Ranges, Crystal Lake or Norway Lake. Anglers are finding trout in 20-30 feet of water, hovering near the thermocline.

Belgrade Lakes Region

No matter if your passion is bass or trout, river fishing is the answer in the central Maine.

“Anglers are catching lots of smallmouths in the Sebasticook,” says IFW Fisheries Biologist Wes Ashe, “and anglers are catching large smallmouths, up to three pounds, in the Shawmut section of the Kennebec.”

Trout fishing is near ideal in the tailwater sections of the upper part of the Kennebec. Ashe noted a water temperature of 65 degrees in one section of the river.

“It’s a great time to fish those upper stretches of the Kennebec, it’s near ideal conditions now, with lots of insects and ideal temperatures,” says Ashe. Despite the rains this summer, flow levels for fishing are still good on the upper stretches.

Downeast Region

If you are fishing for trout, togue or salmon this time of year, you know you need to get a little deeper in the water column if you want to have success, but just how deep you need to get depends on the species.

“The sweet spot for salmon is between 25 and 40 feet, togue are generally between 40-100 feet and brook trout in small ponds can be found at depths between 10 and 15 feet,” says IFW Fisheries Biologist Greg Burr.

If you are trolling with downriggers and lead line, not only do you need to get deep, but according to Burr, you want to get in that temperature range that fish find comfortable. Look for 55-60 degree water for salmon, trout like temps in the 55-68 degree range and togue enjoy temps that are below 50 degrees.

Biologists use this temperature scale and dissolved oxygen levels to set the depths of their nets while sampling.

In Washington County, try Cathance Lake for salmon, and West Grand Lake for togue and salmon. In Hancock county, head to Tunk Lake and Green Lake for togue and salmon, and Branch, Phillips and Long Pond on MDI for salmon.

Rangeley Lakes Region

Anglers are still experiencing some caddis fly hatches and a few hex emergences in the northern section of this region. IFW Fisheries Biologist Bobby Van Riper recommends heading north of the Forks to areas such as Chase Stream Township to try some stream and pond fishing.

“There are a whole bunch of small ponds with fabulous wild brook trout populations in that area,” says Van Riper, who mentioned Round Pond off the Capital Road as a good destination.

Not too long ago, Round Pond had very restrictive regulations including a one trout, over 18” limit. However, an illegal introduction of golden shiners has impacted the fishery. There’s still a lot of trout and some big trout there, but the regulations have been changed on this fly fishing only pond to allow anglers to keep five trout between 6 and 12 inches, all other sizes must be released. Removing trout of this size from the pond will allow some of these smaller fish to grow, and allow larger trout to continue to feed on the shiner population.

Moosehead Region

If you are looking to fish the trout ponds in the Moosehead Region, according to IFW Fisheries Biologist Tim Obrey, there still are a few caddis hatches going on, but with water temps what they are, your best bet will be finding the springholes where the trout are congregating in the cooler water.

On Moosehead, anglers are getting respectable catches of togue, but Obrey says “the togue are down deep – try between 35 and 65 feet. People are catching them using dead bait and Mooselook Wobblers.”

“I was able to do a little trout pond fishing this week and found some action with Rapalas down around 25 feet,” said Obrey.

Penobscot Region

IFW Fisheries Biologist Nels Kramer is working with other IFW staff in Baxter State Park this week assessing both wild and stocked brook trout populations in the park. IFW Staff will be examining a number of ponds including Frost Pond, Hudson Pond, Lower Fowler Pond and Billfish Pond. Look for more on that in our next report.

Salmon and togue fishing is still quite good on Schoodic Lake with numerous reports of large salmon, some even in the six to seven pound range, and togue have tipped the scales up to nine pounds. A new IFW boat launch on the south shore of the lake in Lakeview provides wonderful access to this fishery.

August means white perch fishing for many anglers throughout the region, and anglers heading out Nicatous, West Lake, Pemadumcook, Milllinocket Lake, Pushaw, Saponac and Escutasis ought to find plenty of perch.

Fish River Lakes Region

Up north, the story still is high water, as the summer rains continue to soak the region.

“It rained all weekend up here, and the flows still are high,” says IFW Fisheries Biologist Frank Frost, who says the Fish River was flowing at 400 cubic feet per second already, and he expected that flow to go up.

One bonus of the higher flows, more people are out canoeing and catching fish on many of the region’s rivers. As of last week, even the St. John River was canoeable, which is unusual for this time of the year.

The Fish River, as many know, is known for its excellent salmon and trout fisheries during the fall. The Fish River Chain of Lakes just upstream of this popular river reach support brook trout, salmon, and lake trout fisheries that have been world renowned for more than a century.

These fisheries and populations are all in jeopardy from the threat of two invasive fishes, smallmouth bass and muskellunge, both of which are now well established in the St. John River.

The Fish River Falls, located in Fort Kent approximately 4 miles upstream from the St. John River, is a prominent obstruction to upstream fish passage. Fisheries staff in northern Maine are sampling the Fish River this summer to determine just how abundant bass and muskie are downstream of the Falls and to what extent the trout and salmon populations have been impacted.

So far this summer, biologists have found bass and muskie downstream of Fish River Falls but more importantly they have not been found upstream of the Falls.

August 12, 2013

FATAL ATV INCIDENT - CARTHAGE

Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Maine Warden Service

--For Immediate Release--

CARTHAGE, MAINE: Sunday evening (August 11) just after 8:00 PM, game wardens responded to Smith Road in Carthage regarding a fatal ATV incident. Tyla J. Thibodeau, age 15, from Carthage was staying with friends and was killed while operating a small, motorized, two-wheel dirt bike/mini bike. Motorized dirt bikes/mini bikes are considered ATV’s by Maine standards. Thibodeau was carrying a coil of rope while riding the machine and the rope became entangled in the rear wheel. Thibodeau then became entangled in the rope as well. He was pronounced dead at the scene by EMS personnel. The body was transported to Meador and Son Funeral Home in Rumford for examination by the Medical Examiner’s Office to determine cause of death. The cause of death will be released as soon as it becomes available. This case is currently being reviewed by the Franklin County District Attorney’s Office and remains under investigation by the Maine Warden Service.

No further information is available at this time.

Please direct media related calls to Corporal John MacDonald by calling: Public Safety Dispatch in Gray at 207-657-3030 Email at: john.macdonald@maine.gov

August 15, 2013

MDIFW Clarifies Junior Hunter/Anterless Deer Law

The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife would like to clarify a law having to do with junior hunters and antlerless deer after the law was incorrectly reported in the media.

According to law, junior hunters without an antlerless deer permit are only able to take a doe during Youth Hunting Day in October. They are not permitted to take a doe during the regular season on deer without an antlerless deer permit.

The original bill having to do with this, LD 101, intended to allow a junior hunter to take an antlerless deer without an antlerless deer permit, but that part of the bill was removed.

The section of the bill that did pass instructs the Commissioner to provide at least 25 percent of the available antlerless deer permits in a WMD to persons with a valid junior hunting license who apply for an antlerless deer permit in that district. The bill is now Public Law 2013 Chapter 213 and can be found in the Summary of New Laws on the Department’s web site at www.mefishwildlife.com.

August 23, 2013

IFW Freshwater Fishing Report – August 23, 2013

Sebago Lakes Region

As the summer’s sun starts to fade earlier and earlier, it’s a great time bass for fishing in the Sebago Lakes region.

Periods of warm weather tend to have bass laying low during the day, but as the sun starts to set, bass fishing is picking up as fish start to cruise shallower areas searching for food.

Anglers in the Sebago Lakes region have a variety of bass waters to choose from. Look for shoals around drop offs, rock outcroppings, ledges and gravel bars to target hungry fish. Try Moose Pond in Bridgton, Kezar Lake in Lovell and Upper Range Pond in Poland.

Use topwater lures such as jitterbugs, hula poppers, devil horses and others to attract savage strikes from bass lurking below.

Central Maine Region

“This is a great time of year to catch bass in the evening,” says IFW Fisheries Biologist Scott Davis, “With the nearly full moon, plugs on the surface can be a lot of fun.”

Late summer rains will have juvenile alewives are staging for their fall migration, and bass will key in on the small baitfish.

Davis has seen a lot of anglers out on the Kennebec and Sebasticook bass fishing, but don’t forget area ponds. With cooler nights and nearly full moon, bass are cruising the shallows and shoals in search of food. Davis recommends using anything that resembles an alewife, such as a Rapala.

Anglers are also reeling in a lot of white perch this time of year. Perch school up and can be concentrated in areas of a lake where there is a lot of oxygen. Anglers interested in catching white perch may want to try China Lake, Sheepscott Lake and Salmon Pond for white perch.

Downeast Region

For Anglers who like to fish for white perch, now is the time Downeast.

“Perch are really schooled up this time of year,” says IFW Fisheries Biologist Greg Burr who recommended lakes such as Second Gardner Lake in Marion, Third Machias Lake in Township 43, Toddy Pond in Orland, Georges Pond in Franklin, Big Lake in Greenlaw Chopping Township, and the Grand Falls Flowage in Princeton.

If perch are not your passion, there is still plenty of action on area streams.

“I’ve been directing a lot of people to small streams. These streams hold a lot of trout this time of year,” says Burr. “Even Acadia, with over a million visitors a year, has a lot of trout streams.”

While not offering specific locations, Burr advises not to overlook small local streams.

“A lot of times, people cross these streams all the time, and don’t realize they are loaded with trout,” says Burr, who suggests bringing a thermometer and checking water temperatures. Look for streams that are in the mid-60s or cooler.

Rangeley Lakes Region

With the warmer temperatures, fishing has slowed in the Rangeley Lakes Region according to IFW Fisheries Biologist Bobby Van Riper, but regional biologists are busy preparing to remove an old log driving dam in the Sunday River in Riley Township.

“The dam has probably been there close to 100 years. It’s half-rotted and collapsing, and is a significant barrier for trout moving upstream or downstream,” says Van Riper, who added that the buildup of sediment is also forcing the stream channel to move around the dam.

Region D is enlisting the help of Project SHARE (Salmon Habitat and River Enhancement) to help with the project, and plans are to remove the dam early this fall.

Moosehead Region

Warmer temperatures this week have extended summer fishing opportunities in the Moosehead region, but fall is just around the corner.

“Everyone seems to be waiting for September,” remarks IFW Fisheries Biologist Tim Obrey, who noted that there is plenty of water for good fishing flows this fall in area rivers.

Obrey took advantage of the warmer weather to do some bass fishing with a group of local kids from the Natural Resources Education Center in Greenville and Danny Legere from the Maine Guide Fly Shop.

“We took 11 kids to Indian Pond below the East Outlet and they caught a bunch of bass and even a salmon,” remarked Obrey.

Penobscot Region Summer rains are keeping Katahdin area waters cool, and the trout fishing hot.

“I stopped by and talked with a local pilot who runs a regional air service,” said IFW Fisheries Biologist Nels Kramer, “and he says this has been one of the best summers for trout fishing in recent memory.” Kramer added that Martin and Twin ponds have been fishing well.

Kramer was working at Katahdin Lake earlier this week, trap netting and electrofishing to gather data on the brook trout population.

“Katahdin Lake has good wild brook trout population, and it looks as though it is improving as far as abundance,” said Kramer. While in the area, Kramer, along with IFW Fisheries Biologist Merry Gallagher, toured several streams in the area to see if there was potential for trout habitat enhancements.

Aroostook Region

Up in Aroostook county, this is a fine time to go brook trout fishing. Brooks and streams are at good fishing flows, and water temperatures are excellent.

“This is the perfect time to head for the North Maine Woods for brook trout fishing,” remarks IFW Fisheries Biologist Frank Frost. Frost reminds anglers that on rivers, brooks and streams after August 15, it’s artificial lures only and a one trout bag limit.

Frost recommends fishing the smaller streams, and using small spinners with darker colors which imitate leeches and sculpins. Fly casters would be well served with nymphs, hoppers, ant and beetle patterns.

Anglers who enjoy fishing on Long Lake should mark their calendar for Tuesday night, September 10, as IFW fisheries biologists will hold an informational meeting to discuss the fisheries and management of Long Lake.

The public meeting starts at 6:30 p.m., at the Knights of Columbus Hall in St. Agatha. There will be a presentation focused on the current status of Long Lake salmon and brook trout, how and why biological data is collected, and then an interactive question and answer period.

August 28, 2013

IFW To Host Long Lake Informational Meeting

ST. AGATHA, Maine -- Anglers who enjoy fishing on Long Lake should mark their calendar for Tuesday night, September 10, as Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife fisheries biologists will hold an informational meeting to discuss the fisheries and management of Long Lake. The public meeting starts at 6:30 p.m. at the Knights of Columbus Hall in St. Agathe.

IFW Regional Fisheries Biologist Frank Frost will lead a presentation focused on the current status of the Long Lake salmon and brook trout fishery. Frost will share biological data collected over the years, and explain how and why the data is collected. Frost is the lead fisheries biologist in the IFW Region G Ashland office.

After the presentation, there will be a question and answer period in an open forum. Along with Frost, other IFW fisheries biologists will be on hand to discuss questions about the Long Lake fisheries.

August 24, 2013

4-YEAR-OLD STRUCK AND KILLED BY UTILITY ATV

Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Maine Warden Service

--For Immediate Release--

EAST MACHIAS, MAINE – AUGUST, 24, 2012: At approximately 10:00 this morning, a four-year-old boy was struck and killed by a side-by-side utility ATV. The incident occurred off the Cutler Road in East Machias. Troy Denison, 37, from Cutler Road was operating his 2007 Yamaha Rhino 660 UTV (two-seater) with his eight-year-old son. As they were driving around their home, an eight-year-old nephew who lived next door ran to Denison and asked for a ride. The nephew did get in and they began riding around the Denison home once again.

While riding, the nephew accidently stepped on the accelerator of the UTV. The machine accelerated and encountered an embankment, causing the machine to roll over. All three passengers in the Rhino walked away although Troy Denison received lacerations to his head. When they assessed the scene they quickly realized they had rolled over four-year-old Wesley Keeton, a younger brother to the eight-year-old passenger and nephew to Troy Denison. Wesley had been playing nearby and was in the path of the UTV. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Game Warden Sergeant Dave Craven who responded and helped investigate the scene stated “this was a tragic incident brought about by very unfortunate circumstances. Our deepest sympathy goes out the both families involved.” A team of several game wardens, Machias EMS, East Machias Fire, and Cutler Navy Fire Department assisted in this incident. Both the Medical Examiner’s Office and Washington County District Attorney’s Office have been notified. This incident remains under investigation.

No further information is available at this time.

Please direct media related calls to Corporal John MacDonald by calling: Public Safety Dispatch in Gray at 207-657-3030 Email at: john.macdonald@maine.gov

August 25, 2013

MAN INJURED IN DIRT BIKE CRASH

Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Maine Warden Service

--For Immediate Release--

SEBAGO, MAINE – AUGUST 25, 2013: At approximately 10:00 this morning, a man was impaled by a small tree when he was ejected from his dirt bike. In the vicinity of 575 Hancock Pond Road in Sebago on the narrow gauge railroad (exempt) ATV trial system, Scott Killton (age 32 from Naples) was riding his Yamaha dirt bike with four other friends, also on dirt bikes.

While riding, Killton struck a small stump in the trail and was ejected. He landed on a small one-inch wooden stick and it became impaled in his lower back/abdomen. Killton was treated at the scene by Sebago EMS and was then transported by LifeFlight to Maine Medical Center in Portland. All riders were in compliance and riding with full safety gear including helmets. No prosecution is expected in this incident.

(Photo courtesy of the Maine Warden Service. Unidentified LifeFlight employee and rescue personnel. Killton shown in the helicopter.)

No further information is available at this time.

Please direct media related calls to Corporal John MacDonald by calling: Public Safety Dispatch in Gray at 207-657-3030 Email at: john.macdonald@maine.gov

August 28, 2013

THREE SURVIVE SCHOODIC LAKE BOATING INCIDENT

Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Maine Warden Service

--For Immediate Release--

SCHOODIC LAKE, LAKEVIEW PLANTATION, ME - August 29, 2013: Late yesterday afternoon at approximately 5:00 PM, the Schoodic Lake region experienced a very heavy rain storm with high winds and lightning. During that storm, three people were out boating and their motorboat became filled with water and capsized.

The operator, George Tucker (75 from Medford, Maine) his wife Beverly Tucker (69) and their friend Charles Jenkins (77 also from Medford) were in a 12-foot aluminum boat with a 2.5 horsepower outboard motor. They were at least one mile from any shoreline and approximately two miles north of the Lakeview Boat Landing when they capsized. All three people were able to stay with the boat and they drifted nearly two and one half hours. Fortunately all three were wearing their life jackets.

At 7:25 PM, two bear hunters had pulled over on the Schoodic Lake railroad bed (gravel road) that runs near the shoreline of Schoodic Lake. The bear hunters were Rick Seavey of Sanford, Maine and Mark Aventzen of Pennsylvania. They were changing a flat tire on their truck when they heard the calls for help. The men called 911 and MILO Fire, EMS, police, and Warden Dan Carroll responded. As the boat drifted closer to shore, George and Beverly Tucker chose to swim for shore while Jenkins remained with the boat. Eventually the Tuckers made it to shore. Jenkins was rescued by the Milo Fire Boat while he remained with the overturned watercraft.

George and Beverly Tucker were both taken to Mayo Regional Hospital in Dover and treated for hypothermia. Jenkins was treated and released at the scene. All are doing well at this time. The Maine Warden Service reminds all boaters to wear lifejackets. Had these three people chose not to wear lifejackets, it is likely this incident would have had a tragic ending.

No further information is available at this time.

Please direct media related calls to Corporal John MacDonald by calling: Public Safety Dispatch in Gray at 207-657-3030 Email at: john.macdonald@maine.gov

September 6, 2013

Fall Education Programs at Maine Wildlife Park and Swan Island

FALL 2013 Wildlife/Conservation Education Program Schedules Set for Maine Wildlife Park and Swan Island

Close to 2000 children took part in our popular wildlife and conservation education field trip programming this spring at the Maine Wildlife Park in Gray; and Swan Island in the Kennebec River in Richmond. Both Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife education facilities offer unique perspectives about Maine wildlife, habitats and conservation.

SCHOLARSHIPS ARE NOW AVAILABLE!! This Fall, we are offering 200 $5.00 scholarships for children attending programs at the Maine Wildlife Park in Gray. We are also offering 50 $5.00 scholarships for children attending programming at Swan Island in Richmond. Scholarships will be awarded on a first-come, first served basis – so call 287-5244 today to reserve your fall class trip! Adults, teachers and chaperones attending the programs will be charged the regular $5.00 PP fee.

Reservations are now being accepted for our September and October programs. Children from K-12 learn about eagles, owls, adaptations, predators, beavers, skins/skulls, Maine’s state symbols and much more with 23 different program topics from which to choose!

The Maine Wildlife Park has programs for up to 100 children per session on Tuesday and Thursday mornings at 10am and 11am starting September 10th. Swan Island has programs for up to 60 children Monday and Wednesday mornings at 10am only; starting on September 9th.

For more information, please visit www.mainewildlifepark.com or www.maine.gov/swanisland; or www.maine.gov/ifw/education/schoolprograms/ or call directly to make a reservation at 287-5244.

Scholarship money is available for both facilities on a first come, first served basis. However, our regular admission fees, at $5 per person, have not changed for 5 years now – a fantastic value!

We hope to see you and your students at the Wildlife Park or on the Island this fall!

September 6, 2013

Two MDIFW Projects Awarded Federal Funding

The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife is pleased to announce that two department projects have been chosen to receive nearly $540,000 of federal funding as part of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s annual Competitive State Wildlife Grant (SWG) program.

One of the grants will allow IFW, along with partners New Hampshire and Massachusetts, to work on filling critical knowledge gaps on the basic ecology, distribution and abundance of 27 species of greatest conservation need along the Gulf of Maine’s coastal marine ecosystem.

As part of this project, IFW and its partners will identify areas of exceptional species diversity and develop digital maps of these important habitats in the Gulf of Maine. The researchers will then develop habitat models and maps which can then be used to predict other important areas with similar habitat features.

Due to its high wind potential, Maine’s coastal region has drawn the interest of many offshore energy developers, meaning this data will be especially useful when trying to minimize the effects of wind turbines on these ecosystems. The data from this survey will allow IFW to provide assistance during the planning stages of energy development projects in the region and assist in the proper siting of these projects with the delicate ecosystems in mind.

The federal funds for this project, which are appropriated annually by Congress, amount to nearly $500,000 with $200,000 in additional non-federal match funding.

The second SWG-funded project will enable IFW to review and update the Maine Wildlife Action Plan to address threats to the state’s species and habitats. The revised plan will provide better guidance at the scale of specific management regions, outline a strategy to achieving goals and provide usable data to non-governmental conservation partners.

The approximately $40,000 SWG grant combined with a non-federal match of $13,200 will fund the project.

SWG provides federal grant funds for developing and implementing programs that benefit wildlife and their habitats. Funds must be used to address conservation needs such as research, surveys, species and habitat management, and monitoring.

September 6, 2013

IFW Freshwater Fishing Report – September 6, 2013

IFW Freshwater Fishing Report – September 6, 2013

Sebago Lakes Region

Even though cooler temperatures have arrived, IFW Fisheries Biologist Francis Brautigam says that lake temps are still a bit on the warm side.

“Many area lakes still have surface temperatures that are in the low 70s,” says Brautigam, who said that early bird anglers are still having a lot of success in the wee hours on Sebago.

“There’s some pretty good salmon fishing very early in the morning on Sebago,” says Brautigam who said the peak time for fishing is between 4:00 and 8:00 a.m. Those fishing the early hours have been rewarded with salmon in the 19-21” range that are feasting on juvenile smelt and alewives.

Regional Fisheries staff, along with volunteers and financial assistance from Trout Unlimited, are preparing to reclaim Abbott’s Pond in Sumner in order to eliminate several species of illegally introduced fish including smelt, bullhead and golden shiners. Trout fishing opportunities are at a premium in southern and central Maine, and competing species has severely impacted brook trout at Abbott’s.

Despite efforts to promote trout growth including lower stocking rates and more protective regulations, the trout population has not responded, and reclamation is the next step. The pond will be restocked with brook trout in the spring of 2014. Without completion from other species, this pond should provide southern Maine trout anglers with an excellent brook trout fishery.

Central Maine Region

IFW Fisheries Biologist Jason Seiders says that white perch fishing continues to be top notch at area ponds. If you are looking to catch some larger humpback perch, try Long Pond in Belgrade, North Pond in Smithfield and Biscay Pond in Bremen. If you are looking more for quantity instead of size quality, head to China Lake or Unity Pond.

Bass anglers know that early fall is an excellent time for bass fishing, and the Kennebec River has offered some fantastic bass fishing, particularly near the Shawmut Dam. Anglers are regularly catching bass in the 16-18” range.

Biologists will be busy this fall in the Shawmut portion of the Kennebec as they are getting ready to release a number of radio-tagged brown trout this October.

The brown trout radio telemetry study is part of a multiyear study to assess the brown trout fishery in the Kennebec. Along with the telemetry, there will be public informational meetings, creel surveys and volunteer efforts to help assess and improve the brown trout fishery.

Downeast Region

Cooler temperatures mean the trout are starting to bite, and in the Downeast region, anglers ought to seek out some of the smaller ponds.

“This time of the year, trout will start to feed near the shore and on the surface,” says IFW Fisheries Biologist Greg Burr, “People start to think about hunting, but it is the perfect time to get out and fish on some of our smaller ponds.”

Burr suggests trying the Hidden Ponds area on Public Reserve Land just off of Route 182 (also known as Black Woods Road) between Franklin and Cherryfield. Anglers can park at the Hidden Ponds trail head and hike into Tilden, Little Long, Salmon and Anderson ponds. These ponds are crystal clear and boast healthy brook trout populations with trout in the 13-15” range, and on Little Long, sometimes fish that exceed 17”.

Pack your float tube for these ponds as fishing from shore is rather limited. The hikes to these ponds can take from 25 minutes up to an hour and a half, but Burr notes that they are well worth the effort.

Moosehead Region

“The good news in the Moosehead region is that flows are up,” says IFW Fisheries Biologist Tim Obrey, who said the gates on the Roach River are now open, and flows are in the 200 cfs range.

On the West Branch of the Penobscot River below Seboomook, flows also have been increased, with water at the 800 cfs level. Flows on the East Outlet and the Moose River have also increased.

“Usually within a week of the flows increasing, the fish start to move in,” says Obrey, who says that by the second week of September, the fishing is usually pretty good.

There also have been some good reports of fishing on Moosehead Lake, with decent catches of both salmon and trout. Anglers still need to fish deep on the big lake to land these fish.

Penobscot Region

“We’ve received a lot of rain lately,” says IFW Fisheries Biologist Nels Kramer, who noted that last week’s rainfall total exceeded three inches, and the flows were fairly high on the Penobscot.

Kramer said it has been an unusual year for fishing on the Penobscot due to the removal of the Veazie Dam and repairs on the Matasseunk Dam. Water levels have been lower than usual most of the time, but are high during rain events.

“The river has been fishing a little strange,” notes Kramer, who fished the Penobscot recently, “Bass were grouped up in different areas such as bridge abutments and some of the deeper runs. We’d get into an area and get a bunch of hits, then go through an area without a fish.”

White perch are still biting, as area ponds and lakes are still on the warm side. Once lake waters cool, biologists and fish culturists will be marking hatchery fish with a fin-clip as they prepare for the fall stocking season.

Aroostook Region

Up north, it’s more of the same.

“Three inches of rain over the past weekend,” notes IFW Fisheries Jeremiah Wood, “It doesn’t want to stop.”

Wood stated that fishing in the Aroostook River was fairly good before the recent rains, but water clarity is now an issue and it is tougher fishing now.

Wood suggests fishing some of the lakes in the Fish River chain such as Long Lake, Eagle Lake, and St. Froid Lake.

“A lot of successful fisherman are hooking live smelts and fishing them deep,” says Wood. Wood suggests trying near the mouths of inlets, small brooks and other tributaries. He says generally people are catching fish in spots where you saw clusters of ice shacks last winter.

With the cooler weather late this week, Wood says anglers may want to get ready to fish the thoroughfares between these lakes, as the cooler temperatures will have the fish moving in.

September 11, 2013

BENTON SEARCH - Maine Warden Service

Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Maine Warden Service

--For Immediate Release--

BENTON, MAINE – September 12, 2013: The Maine Warden Service is currently involved in a search in Benton for Arthur Wakeman. He is 86-years-old and left his residence yesterday (September 11) at 344 East Benton Road sometime between 2:00 PM and 6:00 PM. Arthur is wearing blue jeans and a plaid shirt and may have a walking stick with him. If anyone has seen Arthur within the last 24-hours or has information that may help to determine his location please call the Augusta State Police Communication Center at 624-7076.

As of 7:00 AM this morning there are 10 game wardens and several K-9 units on scene. A warden service airplane is also headed to the scene. MASAR search teams have also been called and have provided additional K-9 units and ground search personnel. The Maine State Police are assisting with house to house interviews and searching in the area. A command Post has been established at the Albion Fire Department.

(Attached photo of Arthur Wakeman courtesy of the Maine Warden Service)

Please direct media related calls to Corporal John MacDonald by calling: Public Safety Dispatch in Gray at 207-657-3030 Email at: john.macdonald@maine.gov

September 13, 2013

BENTON SEARCH CONTINUES

Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Maine Warden Service

--For Immediate Release--

BENTON, MAINE – September 13, 2013: The Maine Warden Service continues their search in Benton for Arthur Wakeman. He is 86-years-old and left his residence Wednesday, September 11 located at 344 East Benton Road sometime between 2:00 PM and 6:00 PM. Wardens were notified that he was missing at 8:15 PM on the 11th. Arthur is wearing blue jeans and a plaid shirt and likely has his walking stick with him. Warden Service received two credible sightings of Wakeman on Wednesday the 11th. The first being in the afternoon on East Benton Road and another possible sighting of Wakeman on the Hanscom Road later on in the evening. Both sightings were from area witnesses.

Roadblocks were established late yesterday afternoon to advise area motorists and to distribute literature regarding the search for Wakeman. Maine state troopers and game wardens performed house to house informational interviews in the area yesterday. Canine teams were utilized until about midnight last night with no clues found. The attached photograph of Arthur shows him with a beard which we now know is currently shaved off.

A total of approximately 65 *MASAR (see below) volunteer searchers, State troopers, fire/rescue personnel, and game wardens were utilized in yesterday’s efforts. Today’s efforts will likely have similar numbers. Warden Service aircraft and a Maine First Service helicopter will also be utilized today weather permitting. A command post has been established at the Albion Fire Department. If anyone has seen Arthur within the last 24-hours or has information related to Wakeman’s walking habits please call the Augusta State Police Communication Center at 624-7076.

*The Maine Association for Search and Rescue (MASAR) is a non-profit organization that promotes and develops search and rescue resources for the state of Maine. MASAR provides training and certification for search and rescue volunteers using nationally-recognized standards. See mainesearchandrescue.org for more information.

(Attached photo of Arthur Wakeman courtesy of the Maine Warden Service)

Please direct media related calls to Corporal John MacDonald by calling: Public Safety Dispatch in Gray at 207-657-3030 Email at: john.macdonald@maine.gov

September 20, 2013

IFW Fishing Report – September 20, 2013

**IFW Fishing Report – September 20, 2013

Sebago Lakes Region**

A busy week in the Sebago Lakes region with the 2013 B.A.S.S. Nation Eastern Divisional being held at Sebago Lake. Today is the final day, with a live weigh-in scheduled for 2:15 at Point Sebago. This weekend also marks the Sebago Lions Club Togue Derby, with the weigh-in at Jordan’s Store in the town of Sebago.

Even if you are not fishing in either of these events, Sebago Lake is fantastic fall fishing destination.

“Most of the salmon and togue on Sebago are quite fat,” says IFW Fisheries Biologist Francis Brautigam, “They are feasting on juvenile baitfish.”

Salmon fishing has been mostly good, but has turned off at times with the weather systems that have passed through. Anglers are catching salmon measuring in the low 20’s, but location seems to be the key as they are following baitfish, and starting to stage for spawning. Togue catches have been inconsistent. Find the bait and you will find the togue.

Brautigam is gearing up for a brown trout project that will start in October. Biologists will be placing radio telemetry tags in a number of brown trout that will be released in the river below the Skelton Dam between Dayton and Hollis. Biologists will be monitoring the trout’s movements and habits in order to gain a better understanding of behavior and mortality.

Central Maine Region

“Area ponds are still pretty warm, so there is not a lot of pond fishing for trout, but if you head north to the upper Kennebec, there’s some pretty decent trout and salmon fishing there,” says IFW Fisheries Biologist Jason Seiders. “The water is starting to cool down with the cool nights and the fish are feeding.”

If trout and salmon are not your passion, or if you just need to stay a little closer to home, “The bass fishing in the lower Kennebec has been fantastic, and the Sebasticook has been really, really good,” according to Seiders.

Juvenile alewives are beginning their seaward migration, and bass are feasting on these fish. Seiders recommends anything that resembles a small alewife such as a rapala, yozuri or rebel stick bait. Twitch the lure on or just below the surface, making it look like an injured minnow.

Downeast Region

Downeast, the nights and days are getting cooler, and according to IFW Fisheries Biologist Greg Burr, “Surface water temps have dropped about ten degrees in the last week.”

Burr says that trout, and particularly salmon are moving out of the depths, and throughout lakes and ponds. Anglers should have luck fishing on or just below the surface with brightly colored streamers and lures. This time of year, salmon can be found from the surface down to ten feet.

Burr suggests trying any of the following waters: West Grand Lake in Grand Lake Stream, Nash Lake in Calais, Cathance Lake in Cooper, Mopang Lake in Devereaux Township, Alligator Lake in Township 34, Tunk Lake in Township 10, Schoodic Lake in Cherryfield, Beech Hill Pond in Otis, Green Lake in Ellsworth, Phillips Lake in Dedham, Branch Lake in Ellsworth, Donnell Pond in Franklin and Long Pond on MDI.

“It’s a great time of the year for salmon fishing. A lot of times, you have the place all to yourself, surrounded by fall colors, cool air and no bugs,” says Burr.

Rangeley Lakes Region

“Water is cooling down in the northern part of the region, and as these lakes destratify, fish start moving from the deeper depths to a variety of depths, and the action starts to pick up,” says IFW Fisheries Biologist Bobby Van Riper. Van Riper suggests trying waters in The Forks and the Chain of Ponds area.

Aerial angler counts by the Warden Service show that even though the fish may be more active, angler activity has yet to pick up in the region. Van Riper thinks that will change shortly up north.

Trout and salmon are starting to stage as they get ready to spawn. A big rain storm and some cooler temperatures will get them moving into area rivers and streams.

Even though it is artificial lures only in brooks and streams, Van Riper says anglers can have some of the best fishing of the year in these waters. While not mentioning any brooks or streams by name, he suggests taking a look at a map and finding your own. His suggestion? The further north you go, the better off you will be.

Moosehead Region

If you are looking to fish some of Maine’s big rivers, now is the time in the Moosehead region.

“The rivers are all in their prime right now,” says IFW Fisheries Biologist Tim Obrey. “The recent rains have brought flows up and the fish are moving in. Temps continue to cool off, and this is the time to be out if you want to catch trout and salmon.”

Anglers are getting good numbers of fish on the Roach. Most salmon are in the 16”-18” range, but there are a few up to 20. Most trout you catch are in the 14”-16” range, with a few larger ones as well.

Flows continue to remain good for fishing as they just bumped up the flows on the East Outlet which should bring in more fish, and it should be the same on the Moose River below Brassua too.

Penobscot Region

Up in the Katahdin area, trout fishing is heating up.

“Mitchell Pond has a very healthy trout population. It’s somewhat underutilized and has great access,” says IFW Fisheries Biologist Kevin Dunham. Mitchell Pond is right of the Huber Road in T7 R9, and getting your canoe from the road to the water is just a hundred feet or so.

“We trapnet that pond every five years, and when we did it this summer, the trout showed really good growth rates,” added Dunham, “The trout looked phenomenal.”

Bass fisherman ought to check out Chemo Pond in Bradley where they have been catching some sizeable largemouth. Dunham received a picture of one largemouth that tipped the scales at 6.5 pounds. There’s a town landing at the public beach on the Eddington side of the pond for access.

Dunham has also received scattered reports of the fishing picking up in Cold Stream Pond as the salmon bite is starting to turn on.

Aroostook Region

Up north, “It’s a great time to go fishing,” says IFW Fisheries Biologist Frank Frost, “it’s been tremendous on some of our smaller ponds.”

“It’s going to be a good couple of weeks,” adds Frost who says the recent cold weather has the fish spread out and actively feeding. “Overcast days with a low wind are the ideal days.”

While Frost didn’t mention any particular ponds, if you are looking for some excellent trout fishing, scan the law book for ponds with high length limits and low bag limits.

Rivers are still a little high in the region, so anglers are waiting for flows to settle down. Anglers trolling the shore on area lakes and ponds are having good luck.

“Square, Cross and Eagle are all good salmon lakes, and activity is starting to pick up,” says Frost, “Any of those are good places to go these last two weeks of the season. Anglers are getting fish right near shore in water 8-10 feet deep.”

September 20, 2013

Moose Season Set To Begin Monday In Northern, Eastern Areas Of Maine

AUGUSTA, Maine -- After a record season for moose hunters last year, moose season begins Monday in the northern and eastern part of the state. But even though there are more permits this year than ever before, permit numbers are increasing in one area of the state, and decreasing in others.

“The increase in permit numbers may be deceiving," said IFW moose biologist Lee Kantar, "We have increased the number of permits in the northern section of the state where the moose population is above our population goal, and have lowered the number of permits in other parts of the state where we are at or below our moose population goals."

In all, permits have increased in five northern wildlife management districts that can support additional harvest, and permits have decreased in 12 wildlife management districts. There are 25 out of 29 wildlife management districts in the state that are open for moose hunting.

"By adjusting the number and type of permits available to hunters, we can control the moose harvest and manage population growth," says Kantar.

Maine's moose population is estimated at under 70,000 animals, reduced intentionally from the 76,000 it was two years ago through increased permits to hunt moose. Maine's moose population is a valued resource, due to the high demands for both viewing and hunting. Moose population goals are derived through a public process, and different areas of the state are classified for recreational opportunity (hunting and viewing), road safety, or a compromise between the two.

Maine's moose hunting season is divided into four separate segments. The first segment runs from September 23-28; the second from October 14-19; the third segment from November 4-9; and the fourth from November 2 through 30. This week there are 950 hunters who have permits for northern and eastern Maine during the initial week of the season.

In order to assess and monitor moose population health and growth, the department is once again asking cow moose hunters during the November season who are hunting in Northern Maine (WMDs 1-5, 7, 8) to bring the ovaries to the registration station where they tag their moose. IFW is examining the ovaries to help determine rates of pregnancy.

This information, coupled with the information on harvested bull and cow age structure obtained from moose teeth that are collected at moose registration stations are combined with our aerial surveys to give the department a more complete picture of the status of the moose population.

#

September 24, 2013

MEET GAME WARDEN STARS OF NORTH WOODS LAW AT THE MAINE WILDLIFE PARK THIS SATURDAY!

‘A great place to see that moose!”

MAINE WILDLIFE PARK Route 26, Gray
www.mainewildlifepark.com

For immediate release

Meet the Maine Game Wardens featured on the popular Animal Planet TV show North Woods Law at the Maine Wildlife Park, off Route 26 in Gray; on Saturday, September 28th, National Hunting and Fishing Day, from 9:30am – 11:30am and 1:00pm-3:00pm!

Saturday’s North Woods Law SCHEDULE

9:30-11:30am Meet Maine Game Wardens: Tim Spahr Jonathan Parker Dan Carroll Scott Thrasher Kris MacCabe with K9 Morgan Pete Herring

1:00pm-3:00pm Meet Maine Game Wardens: Rick LaFlamme Dan Carroll Alan Curtis with K9 Cruizer Kris MacCabe

Make sure to bring your cameras to have photos taken with the stars! The Warden Service Operation Game Thief ‘Wall of Shame’, Dive Trailer, Airboat and other special equipment and displays will also be available for viewing.

There is no extra fee for this special event, however regular wildlife park admission will apply. Adults $7, 4-12 $5, Seniors $5, 3/under free.

Animal Planet is currently filming a 3rd season of North Woods Law here in Maine, featuring both current and new Maine Game Wardens, for exciting new shows about Maine and the dangerous jobs of our Game Wardens.

Don’t forget to watch the 2nd season’s opener on October 3rd on Animal Planet!

BASIC PARK INFORMATION

The Maine Wildlife Park has over 30 species of native wildlife on display, plus wildlife gardens, nature trails, a fish hatchery and other interactive exhibits and displays. The park is open daily from April 15 through November 11th from 9:30am-4:30pm; visitors must exit the premises by 6:00pm. Admission to the park is free for ages 3 and under; $5.00 ages 5-12; $7.00 for adults, and $5.00 for seniors. Groups of 15 or more are $3.50 per person. Bring a picnic and spend the day! Family and Community Season Passes are available, and are an incredible bargain for families and groups that visit the park several times over the course of the summer. The Maine Wildlife Park is owned and operated by the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. The park exists to promote an understanding and awareness of the wildlife, conservation and habitat protection programs and projects of MDIFW. The ever growing and very popular “Halloween Fest” will run on both Friday and Saturday nights this year, October 19 and 20, from 6-9pm. The Wildlife Park Nature Store is full of new wildlife and nature merchandise for all ages; and the Friends of the Maine Wildlife Park ‘Snack Shack’ sells ice cream, soda and light snacks, with all monies raised donated to the Wildlife Park for wildlife exhibit improvements and new construction. For more information about any of these programs, please call the Maine Wildlife Park at
207-657-4977; or visit us out online at www.mainewildlifepark.com , www.mefishwildlife.com or on Facebook!

GEMS OF ROUTE 26
Rich in culture, ecology and history, the Maine Wildlife Park, Shaker Village, Poland Spring Inn and Resort, Poland Spring Preservation Society, Poland Spring Preservation Park, Harvest Hill Farm and the grounds of McLaughlin Garden truly are “The Gems of 26.” Visitors are encouraged to go and experience the park, as well as five other unique sites -- all less than an hour from each other on the picturesque Route 26 in Western Maine. Route 26 connects Western Maine to the rest of the State via Maine Turnpike’s exit 63 in Gray; meandering through gorgeous countryside and boasting culturally, historically, and ecologically significant attractions. Just thirty minutes north of Portland, a family can spend a day or several days visiting all five important and interesting destinations for very little money – a true value. www.gemsof26.com

September 25, 2013

IFW, Plum Creek Team Up To Restore Brook Trout Habitat

September 25, 2013

IFW, Plum Creek Team Up To Restore Brook Trout Habitat

Please Note: To view a short video on the project, please visit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HdrvwXUNaDg

AUGUSTA, Maine -- The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife is assisting Plum Creek in the brook trout habitat restoration of Intervale Brook, an important tributary of First Roach Pond in Frenchtown Township.

Intervale Brook bears the scars of a long history of log driving. Streams like Intervale were straightened, instream boulders and trees were removed, and banks were heightened in order to ease log driving.

However, these changes have negatively impacted brook trout in Intervale Brook, as well as other streams and brooks. Despite excellent water quality, the loss of brook trout habitat in this stream has negatively impacted the number of brook trout in the stream.

The Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, along with willing landowners, has looked for opportunities to restore trout habitat in streams such as Intervale.

“Intervale Brook has great water quality, but we need to provide more habitat diversity,” said Merry Gallagher, a fisheries biologist with the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife who is assisting (overseeing) the project. “By adding woody material, we can provide habitat and help diversify the stream substrate, which enhances the food supply and provides protection for fish.”

Restoration generally means recreating habitat, and Plum Creek has placed boulders back in the stream, removed certain berms to restore flood plain dynamics, restored disconnected stream channels and added trees to the stream to add protective cover for fish. In all, Plum Creek is restoring a total of four miles of the stream.

Restoring the flood plain helps dissipate hydrologic energy during high-water events, protecting trout and not flushing them out of the river. Placing large boulders back into the stream creates habitat diversity, as does placing dropped trees in the channel. This “chop and drop” method of strategically adding fallen trees to the stream improves overall habitat quality by providing cover, increasing insect population density, creating or enhancing pools, varying the streambed floor through scour and slowing flows during high water events.

Chop and drop, which is becoming more widespread in Maine and other states, offers encouraging signs of improved trout densities or sizes in brooks where this technique is utilized.

On Monday, one of the final steps in restoration was completed when Plum Creek removed the old log driving dam in the headwaters of the stream. These logging dams were installed at the headwaters to ease the movement of logs. Currently, dams such as this fragment habitat for brook trout. With the dam now removed, the main stem of the stream is now reconnected with the additional headwaters of the stream.

Stream restoration, chop and drop habitat enhancement and dam removal are activities that are beneficial to trout and other aquatic life when done properly. These restoration techniques are conducted by trained professionals and require proper planning, a variety of potential environmental permits and approval of the landowner in order to alter the stream.

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September 27, 2013

IFW Hunting Report for September 27, 2013

Southern Lakes Region

In the southern region of the state, hunters are gearing up for pheasant season. Pheasant season begins on October 1, and over 2,300 pheasants will be released at 22 different sites in York and Cumberland County.

“If you are looking for an area to hunt, we have a list of release sites on our website,” said IFW Wildlife Biologist Cory Stearns, who recommended the Vern Walker and Scarborough Marsh Wildlife Management areas as good locations to hunt.

Hunters are reminded that you need to purchase a pheasant permit before going out to hunt pheasants in York and Cumberland Counties. The permit is available on the department’s website or wherever you purchase your license. Proceeds from the sale fund the pheasant program.

Turkey hunters are also looking forward to a successful season, new rules allow for a longer season (October 3 – November 1), and up to two turkeys this fall.

“The turkey population is doing really well throughout southern Maine, and I expect hunters to do very well this fall,” added Stearns.

Central and Midcoast Maine

In Central Maine, upland bird hunting means Frye Mountain Wildlife Management Area, a destination for many bird hunters.

“People fly in all the way from Germany to hunt Frye Mountain,” said IFW Wildlife Biologist Keel Kemper, “It should be a pretty good year at Frye because there are always birds there.”

Kemper did remind hunters that there was quite a lot of rain this spring and in early summer which has impacted grouse broods. There will be birds, but perhaps just not as many.

Of course, Central Maine is also “ground zero for wild turkeys” says Kemper. Central Maine and its robust turkey population supplied birds for much of the state’s reintroduction program, and hunters should have no problems finding birds this fall season.

Kemper said that waterfowl hunters may want to try Madawaska Bog in Palmyra. A strong wild rice year has that wildlife management area brimming with ducks.

“It’s socked with wild rice. There are lots of hiding spots for hunters, and lots of birds,” said Kemper, who said Ruffingham Meadow in Searsmont is also a good destination.

“I was pretty impressed with the quantity of teal and the quality of the rice,” said Kemper, “Wild rice is an annual, and it can be boom or bust, and this year seems to be exceptional.”

Downeast Region

Downeast, it looks like a good year for waterfowl and turkeys, but not quite as good for upland birds. IFW Wildlife Biologist Tom Schaeffer thinks it is going to be an average year for grouse hunters in the area.

“We had a cold and wet spring just about the time that birds would be hatching,” said Schaeffer, “Expectations for grouse season should be about average.”

However, Schaeffer noted that there has been spring conditions on rivers and streams right through the summer, creating favorable conditions for waterfowl hunters who like to jump shoot. There have also been quite a few hunters who are taking advantage of the early goose season, since there are “a favorable number of geese around.”

Turkey hunters will be able to hunt Wildlife Management District 28 this fall, and next spring, District 27 will be open.

“This time of year, we are seeing some small turkeys, which means they re-nested, most likely because the first nest failed,” said Schaeffer.

If you are looking for areas to hunt this fall, Schaeffer said to check out the Cobscook Wildlife Management area. There are ten units that make up the Cobscook WMA, and there are some really nice upland areas. Waterfowl hunters will want to check out the Lyle Frost WMA in Eastbrook, which has a nice, canoeable flowage.

Rangeley Lakes/Western Mountains Region

Up in the Western mountains area, things are looking good for the turkey season this fall.

“We have lots of turkeys, and plenty of excellent turkey hunting opportunities in our region,” said Hulsey, “I would grade it an ‘A’”

Hulsey added that brood counts were normal for waterfowl, and that while he doesn’t have a good feel for grouse, he has heard some encouraging news from others.

“I was out all day with a forester in the Rangeley area, and he said that he’s seen some pretty good numbers of birds,” said Hulsey. “Overall, I think it will be an average year for grouse, with some areas a little better than others.

Waterfowl hunters may want to check out Mercer Bog. While Hulsey said the middle of the day can be hit or miss, get there early or late for more action.

Moosehead Region

In the Moosehead region, leaves are starting to drop, which bodes well for upland hunters

“Even with what looks like below average nesting success, there are still a lot of grouse around,” said IFW wildlife biologist Doug Kane.

“People are seeing more grouse, which is more of a trend due to a growing grouse population,” said Kane. “We had a higher than average number going into the winter last year, and last year’s mild winter helped. Even with below average production this spring, there still are a lot of grouse around.”

Kane also noted that he has seen quite a few turkeys in the southern part of the region, and just as in other parts of the state, he is seeing a variety of sizes with the poults.

“There are several age classes of turkeys,” said Kane. “They have been re-nesting throughout the summer, and we have seen some real little ones.” Turkey hunters should concentrate their efforts in the southern part of the region, said Kane.

Penobscot Region

In the Penobscot region, even though you may have not seen many grouse, it may not be a cause for concern.

“Grouse numbers can be hard to determine,” said Mark Caron. “I haven’t seen much for broods, but that’s not uncommon, it’s a good food year, and I have been flushing birds now and then.”

“I have heard from foresters and others who haven’t been seeing many, but I have heard that in past years too, and then once the leaves drop, the grouse appear and it turns out to be a good year,” says Caron.

If you are interested in turkey hunting, WMD 18 will be open for turkey hunting this fall, and Caron says there are plenty of turkeys around.

Turkey hunters should try the Page Farm unit of the Mattawamkeag River System WMA. Caron says the department has done a lot of work in that WMA such as creating early successional forest areas, planting food plots, freeing apple trees, cutting habitat strips and improving three miles of roads.

Duck hunters may want to try the Mud Pond WMA or the Pond Farm WMA. Still a little early for good goose hunting in the region as there is still standing corn in many fields.

Aroostook Region

It’s moose season up north, and this week’s cool weather has moose moving around, and hunters are happy.

IFW wildlife biologist Rich Hoppe said one hunter downed a very large bull, tipping the scales at 1,070 pounds, and had a spread of 62 inches. Hoppe said the Gateway check station in Ashland had two or three other moose that were over 1,000 pounds. Business has been brisk, with hunters registering 75 moose on Tuesday.

Goose hunters are doing well this early season up north. Hoppe notes that waterfowl hunting in the county “is one of the gems of the county. Very few people take part in it, but it can be outstanding.” Hoppe suggests hunting at Lake Josephine or the Christina Reservoir in Easton.

As for upland birds, Hoppe says “It has rained a lot, but I think it is going to be above average. I have seen a few birds while I was out, and I have seen good numbers of woodcock already.” Hoppe suggests the North Maine Woods as a destination for upland hunters.

“I don’t know if there is any place that has as good a habitat as the North Maine Woods,” says Hoppe. “The stewardship is excellent for upland birds, and there are a couple of million acres open to bird hunting. There is nothing else like it in the country.”

October 1, 2013

Turkey Season Starts October 3

AUGUSTA, Maine -- Today marks the start of the upland bird season in much of the state, and this fall, turkey hunters have an expanded season that starts October 3 and can take up to two birds this fall season. Wild turkeys are a wildlife success story in Maine. Once gone from Maine landscapes, they are now a familiar sight in all Maine’s 16 counties, thanks to a reintroduction and management plan started in the 1970s by the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. With a turkey population that continues to grow, turkey hunters are seeing the benefit as this fall they will see a longer season, higher bag limit, and more areas open to hunting than ever before. Successful hunters will be happy to know that there is a reduced registration fee, now only $2.00, down from $5.00. “Maine has some of the finest turkey hunting opportunities in the eastern United States,” said Brad Allen, IFW’s game bird biologist, “Success rates are high, the birds are lightly hunted compared to other states, and there are a variety of areas to hunt turkeys in the state.” The fall turkey season now spans four weeks starting October 3 and continuing through November 1, running concurrently with the archery season for deer. Hunters can hunt the entire day from ½ hour before sunrise to ½ hour after sunset. Hunters can take up to two turkeys this fall, but should note where they are hunting. In some western and eastern wildlife management districts (12, 13, 18, 26 and 29), hunters can only harvest one turkey of either sex or age but in southern and central Maine (WMDs 15-17, 20-25, and 28), hunters can take two turkeys of either sex or age. Wildlife Management Districts 1-11, 14, 19, and 27 are closed to fall turkey hunting, but are open for spring turkey hunting. Today marks the beginning of the grouse and woodcock seasons, and the waterfowl season in the southern and coastal zones. Grouse hunters who hunt in unorganized territories should take note of a new law that requires grouse hunters that are in or travelling through unorganized territories to label their harvested birds with their name and the date taken before the next calendar day. An Unorganized Territory is defined by the state as the area of Maine having no local, incorporated municipal government. Unorganized territories in Maine consist of over 400 townships, plus many coastal islands that do not lie within municipal bounds.

October 11, 2013

IFW To Host Three Meetings Concerning Kennebec River Fisheries

MAINE DEPARTMENT OF INLAND FISHERIES & WILDLIFE 284 State St., SHS 41, Augusta, ME 04333 www.mefishwildlife.com Main Number: (207) 287-8000

For Immediate Release October 11, 2013 Media Contact: Doug Rafferty 287-5248

IFW To Host Three Meetings Concerning Kennebec River Fisheries

AUGUSTA, ME -- The Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife is hosting three public meetings that will focus on the current status, ongoing research, and future of the Kennebec River freshwater fisheries. The public is encouraged to attend and participate at these meetings in Bingham, Madison and Fairfield.

Each meeting will focus on a different segment of the Kennebec River, and will be held near the fishery it represents. Meetings will open with a brief presentation concerning that segment of the river, and will be followed with a question and answer period. Each meeting will focus on two segments of the river.

“This is an opportunity for the public to discuss the future of these fisheries, and to learn about the research and management of this important river,” said Chandler E. Woodcock, Commissioner, Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

Presentations will include topics such as recent history of the Kennebec fisheries, the current status, management strategies and options available moving forward, and other items such as brown trout strains, historical catch rates, and growth rates.

Department fishery Biologists will also discuss current research on the rivers including radio telemetry studies, stocking rates and strain evaluations.

“There is a lot of research concerning these segments we are eager to share, and look forward to hearing from anglers concerning what they have experienced with these fisheries,” said IFW Regional Fisheries Biologist Jason Seiders, who oversees the freshwater fisheries on much of the Kennebec.

Meeting locations and dates are as follows. All meetings are scheduled to begin at 6:00 p.m.

Monday, October 21 – Quimby Middle School, 263 Main St., Bingham. Meeting will focus on the section from Harris Station down to Wyman Lake including the Kennebec Gorge, The Forks and the Bingham reach below Wyman. Meeting begins at 6:00 p.m.

Thursday, October 24 – Madison Area Memorial High School, 486 Maine St., Madison. Meeting will focus on the Solon and Madison river sections from the Williams dam in Solon down past the Madison Dam. Meeting begins at 6:00 p.m.

Monday, October 28 – Lawrence Junior High School, 7 School St., Fairfield, Maine. Meeting will focus on the Shawmut section and the Skowhegan Reach below Weston Dam. Meeting begins at 6:00 p.m.

Among the topics to be discussed will be summaries of volunteer log books which are instrumental in much of the data collected.

“The data collected by a group of dedicated volunteers is invaluable,” said Seiders, “Without this data, it would be difficult to analyze these fisheries.”

October 15, 2013

IFW Opens Two New Access Sites

AUGUSTA, Maine -- The Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife opened two new boating access facilities recently, providing anglers and boaters with expanded recreational opportunities in northern and Downeast Maine.

“Access to the waters of this magnificent state is a priority for Governor LePage and this department,” said Chandler E. Woodcock, Commissioner, Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. “Maine is blessed with thousands of waterways, yet access is limited on many of them. We are pleased to restore access Downeast and provide another option for access along the 420-mile long St. John River.”

The two new locations include Bog Lake in Northfield (Washington County) and the St. John River in Grand Isle (Aroostook County).

Bog Lake provides a warm water fishery for bass, and until recently, also provided a very good cold water fishery for landlocked salmon and brown trout. Anglers used to access Bog Lake via a private gravel launch area, but when that property was sold, the new owners closed the launch in 2000. With no public access to Bog Lake, the salmon and brown trout stocking program was discontinued.

Due to the fisheries potential and access inequities (lakeside camp owners had access through private launches on the lake), restoring access to Bog Lake became a priority for IFW regional staff down east.

Crews broke ground this spring, and the launch opened on September 26. IFW stocked Bog Lake with landlocked salmon this spring.

“The town is very supportive, and is a welcome partner in this access project,” said Commissioner Woodcock.

Bog Lake is 826 acres in size, and has a maximum depth of 46 feet. The launch is located right off Route 192 just north of Frenning Point in Northfield.

Funds for the project came from the US Fish and Wildlife Service Sport Fish Restoration Act, as well as funds from the Maine Sportsman’s license plate and the state gasoline sales tax.

Boaters and anglers will also enjoy the new launch site on the St. John River in Grand Isle.

October 16, 2013

Landowner Appreciation Awards

Augusta, Maine – 2013 Landowner appreciation awards were handed out last night at a banquet and ceremony at the Augusta Civic Center. The awards, hosted for the 12th time by the Maine Snowmobile Association, honor landowners who make a significant contribution not only to snowmobile clubs, but also to the entire State of Maine.

“Over 95 percent of Maine's snowmobile trails are on private property, so snowmobilers have a great responsibility to the landowners,” said Governor Paul R. LePage. “These landowners are our neighbors, employers and friends. We appreciate their willingness to let snowmobilers and others enjoy access to their property.”

“Maine would not be the state it is without private landowners stepping up and allowing us to use their property,” said Chandler Woodcock, Commissioner of the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. “We owe them both our gratitude and respect.”

Winners of 2013 Landowner Appreciation Awards include: Private Landowners – 100 Acres or Less Thomas and Sharon Webster – Nominated by the Bog Hooters Snowmobile Club Allen Hill – nominated by the Palmyra Snowmobile Club

Private Landowner – 100 Acres or More: Lyle “Chi” Guptil – Nominated by Maine Game Warden Sgt. Dave Craven Elmer and Beatrice Littlefield – Nominated by Smokey’s Angels Snowmobile Club

Corporate Landowners: Prentiss and Carlisle – Nominated by Bowlin Matagamon Snowmobile Club Treeline, Incorporated – Nominated by Lee Mogul Pounders Snowmobile Club

Land User Group Awards: Penobscot Valley 4WD Nominated by David Evans, Private Landowner Presque Isle Fish and Game Club – Nominated by North Maine Woods, Inc.

“We look for any way we can to honor landowners who are so generous and give so much to the State of Maine,” said Bob Meyers, President of the Maine Snowmobile Association.

October 15, 2013

EAGLE KILLED - HERMON, MAINE

Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Maine Warden Service

--For Immediate Release--

October 16, 2013: The Maine Warden Service is seeking information from the public regarding a Bald Eagle which was shot in Hermon earlier this week. The Eagle was located in the area of Hermon Pond near the Souadabscook Stream. Anyone with information regarding the incident can report information online here or call the Operation Game Thief Hotline at 1-800-ALERT US. Operation Game Thief (OGT) is offering a $1000.00 reward for information leading to an arrest of the person responsible for shooting the eagle.

Operation Game Thief is a poaching hotline which offers rewards for information leading to arrests for illegal hunting and fishing activities. Callers are able to remain anonymous while still reporting their information and collecting reward money. As we enter into another busy fall hunting season, people are encouraged to report illegal hunting activity that is known to them. The fish and wildlife resources of Maine belong to the people of Maine and poachers are stealing from all citizens who enjoy our unique natural resources. Do your part to ensure those resources are abundant for your children and your children’s children and report illegal hunting today.

No further information is available at this time.

Please direct media related calls to Corporal John MacDonald by calling: Public Safety Dispatch in Gray at 207-657-3030 Email at: john.macdonald@maine.gov

October 21, 2013

Reward Increased/Eagle Killing

October 21, 2013: The Maine Warden Service was contacted this weekend by John Banks of the Penobscot Nation. Banks indicated that the Penobscot Nation is extremely concerned about Bald Eagles in the State of Maine and they wanted to do what they could to assist with the apprehension of the person who killed the eagle last week in Hermon. Subsequently, he Penobscot Nation has offered to increase the reward by $1000.00 making the total of a $2000.00 reward for information leading to the arrest of the person who shot the Bald Eagle in Hermon last week.

Anyone with information should call Operation Game Thief Hotline at 1-800-ALERT-US.

Please direct media related calls to Corporal John MacDonald by calling: Public Safety Dispatch in Gray at 207-657-3030 Email at: john.macdonald@maine.gov

October 28, 2013

Peregrine Falcon Set Free Along Kennebec River

A young male peregrine falcon returned to the wild today along the banks of the Kennebec River, thanks to the efforts of the Maine Warden Service, the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, and Avian Haven.

The bird, estimated at about a year old, immediately took flight and was soon out of sight.

The bird was captured by Warden Kris MacCabe after it was spotted hopping on the ground in new Sharon in August. MacCabe transported the bird to Avian Haven.

Avian Haven nursed the bird back to health in its raptor facility and today Wildlife Rehabilitator Marc Payne and MDIFW Biologist Erin Call set the bird free.

Peregrine falcons have been federally de-listed from the endangered species list, but breeding pairs of peregrines are still on the state list. There are an estimated 25 pairs in Maine.

October 29, 2013

Hunter Orange Still the Rule for Maine Deer Hunters

Maine hunters who take to the woods this fall are reminded that hunter orange clothing is still the rule when it comes to being safe in the outdoors. Hunter orange has been shown to be the most visible and effective color when it comes to identification in the outdoors. Why hunter orange? During the last 5 years, the Maine Warden Service has averaged 25 citations a year for failure to wear hunter orange clothing. Hunter orange clothing can been seen better than any other color and thus alerts others to your presence. “See and be seen,” is the rule of thumb. What is hunter orange? An article of hunter orange clothing must be in good and serviceable condition and be visible from all sides. It is a daylight fluorescent orange color, with a dominant wave length between 595 and 605 nanometers, an excitation purity of 85% and a luminance factor of not less than 40%. Who must wear hunter orange? Anyone who hunts any species with a firearm or a crossbow during any firearms season on deer, and on Youth Deer Day, must wear two articles of hunter orange. One must be a hat, the other to cover a major portion of the torso. This also applies to the muzzle-loading season on deer. For moose hunters, one article of hunter orange clothing must be worn except in WMD 15, 16, 22, 23, 25, and 26 during deer season and WMD 1-5, 7,8, and 19, where two pieces must be worn. Who does not have to wear hunter orange? Only waterfowl hunters, while hunting from a boat, blind or over decoys. Also, anyone hunting with bow and arrow during archery season. Hunter orange is just one thing that any hunter can do in the outdoors to be safe. Target identification, being prepared and never being in a hurry can also keep you from taking the shot that you’ll regret. Good luck, good hunting, and be safe!

October 31, 2013

2013 Deer Season Preview

October 31, 2013

For More Information, Please Contact: Kyle Ravana, IFW Deer Biologist, 941-4472, kyle.r.ravana@maine.gov Mark Latti, IFW communications and outreach, 287-5216, mark.latti@maine.gov

In the 2013 Deer Season Preview, you will find the following releases:  Hunters Excited About Deer Season as Deer Population Rebounds  Hunting In Maine Is Big Business  Make Sure Your Deer Hunt Is A Safe Hunt  Hunters Can Help The Hungry  Maine White-tailed Deer Facts

Hunters Excited About Deer Season As Deer Population Rebounds

AUGUSTA, Maine -- Deer hunters are excited about the upcoming season, as deer numbers have rebounded from the back-to-back severe winters of 2008 and 2009. As a result, IFW wildlife biologists are expecting an increased deer harvest for the third straight year.

The firearm season for deer opens on Saturday, November 2 for residents and Monday, November 4 for nonresidents. The firearm season for deer concludes on November 30.

“Through strong management, conservation and some milder winter weather, Maine’s deer herd has rebounded,” said Governor Paul R. LePage. “Hunters are excited as they are seeing more deer throughout the state. We wish them good luck this season, and as always, we urge everyone to be safe while enjoying Maine’s great outdoors.”

Kyle Ravana, Maine’s deer biologist, estimates that if normal hunting conditions and hunter effort prevail, this year’s dear kill will be in the 25,750 range, nearly a 20 percent increase from last year’s kill. The total deer kill for the last ten years is as follows: 2012 – 21,553; 2011 – 18,839; 2010 – 20,063; 2009 – 18,092; 2008 – 21,062; 2007 – 28,885; 2006 – 29,918; 2005 – 28,148; 2004 – 30,926; 2003 – 30,313.

“After the severe winters of ’08 and ’09, the department instituted ‘Maine’s Game Plan For Deer’, a three-pronged approach to restore Maine’s deer herd,” said Chandler Woodcock, Commissioner of the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. “The three core principles of the game plan for deer include protecting and enhancing deer wintering areas, deer population management and focused predator control.”

At the core of Maine’s deer management program is the any-deer permit system, which regulates the harvest of does. One male deer will breed with multiple does, so by adjusting the number of female deer removed from the population, biologists can manage the deer population.

Maine’s wildlife biologists monitor winter severity throughout the state from December through April to determine the impact that winter weather has on deer survival. Maine is at the northern edge of the white-tailed deer’s population range, and severe winters can negatively impact Maine’s deer population. Recently, northern Maine has experienced four consecutive milder-than-average winters, and southern Maine has experienced two.

Maine’s biologists also examine thousands of deer for disease, analyze deer teeth to determine age structure of the harvest, monitor antler beam and growth for health and conduct hunter surveys to determine hunter effort and sightings. All combine to give department biologists a clearer picture of the health and size of Maine’s deer population.

The deer harvest has increased for the past three out of the last four years since hitting a low point following the severe winters of 2008 and 2009, a strong sign of a growing deer population. More importantly, several other indicators show that the deer herd has rebounded. Maine’s buck (male deer) harvest has increased for four straight years, and there have been record buck harvests in several wildlife management districts.

Harvest trends support the fact that the population has rebounded. Last year, WMD 3 in Eastern Aroostook County had its highest buck harvest ever, and WMD 6, while not a historical high, had one of its highest buck harvests ever. As a result of the increasing deer population in WMDs 3 and 6, the department issued any-deer permits in these WMDs 3 and 6 for 2013. Hunter surveys also show that hunters are seeing more deer.

Most telling is the annual buck kill, an index used by the department to note trends in the population. Maine’s buck kill has increased each of the past four years. Last year’s buck harvest increased 23% from the previous year. In much of the state, the buck kill exceeded the 10-year average, another sign the deer population has rebounded.

Perhaps more noticeable is the anecdotal evidence supporting the biological trends.

“There’s a buzz about the deer season. People are emailing, calling, telling us about the number of deer they are seeing,” said Ravana. “Now is a good time to be a hunter in Maine.”

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For Immediate Release October 31, 2013

Hunting In Maine Is Big Business

AUGUSTA, Maine -- Over 200,000 people hunt in Maine each year, and those hunters generate over $200 million in direct sales, supporting business such as restaurants, gas stations, sporting goods stores, motels and other small family owned businesses.

According to the 2011 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife-Associated Recreation conducted by the US Fish and Wildlife Service, hunters in Maine spent $98 million on food, lodging and transportation in Maine.

Hunters spent an additional $60 million on equipment such as firearms, ammunition, hunting clothes, and other items; and $40 million on magazines, membership dues, permits, licenses and other related items.

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For Immediate Release October 31, 2013

Make Sure Your Deer Hunt Is A Safe Hunt:

 Always treat every firearm as if it was loaded  Be sure of your target, and what is beyond it.  Always keep the muzzle of your firearm pointed in a safe direction.  Unload your firearm before entering a dwelling, before entering a vehicle, or before storing it.  Sight in your firearm prior to hunting season.  Be sure that someone knows where you are headed, and when you plan to return.  Carry emergency survival gear, a flashlight, map and compass, matches and water.  Stop periodically to eat and re-hydrate yourself.  Wear two pieces of hunter orange that are in good condition.

For Immediate Release October 31, 2013
Hunters Can Help The Hungry

AUGUSTA, Maine – Hunters looking to help area food kitchens and pantries can donate game in order to combat hunger in Maine.

Hunters for the Hungry is a cooperative program in Maine sponsored by Maine Sportsmen and Sportswomen who care about the hungry, the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, and the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. Call 888-4DEER-ME for more information.

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For Immediate Release October 31, 2013

Landowner Relations is Important to Hunters, All Who Enjoy the Outdoors

AUGUSTA, Maine – Deer season is a Maine tradition, with close to 200,000 deer hunters participating throughout the state. The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife is once again urging hunters and all who enjoy the outdoors this fall to act appropriately while on private land.

“Over 90 percent of the state is privately owned, and it is the generosity of private landowners that sustain Maine’s outdoor traditions,” said Chandler Woodcock, Commissioner, Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. “These landowners are a vital part of our outdoor community, and we hope that this fall, everyone who enjoys the outdoors on private land acts respectfully and appropriately.”

Hunters, as well as others, who utilize private land for outdoor recreation, are asked to keep these suggestions in mind while out enjoying the outdoors this fall.

Ask First If possible, please obtain permission before accessing private land. While it’s not the law, it’s the right thing to do, as both a courtesy and out of respect for the landowner. Don’t wait until the last minute to ask for permission, and provide the landowner with your name, address and what vehicle you will be driving.

Communicate with the landowner Ask where to park, and if there are certain areas that they would prefer you do not hunt. Remember, you need landowner permission to operate at ATV on the property of another, so make sure you get permission, verbal or written, before utilizing an ATV on someone else’s property. Ask for permission if you plan to use a tree stand or a ground blind, and if you leave a stand on his property, make sure it is appropriately marked with your name and address.

Respect the land and landowner Remember, you are the guest of the landowner, so please act appropriately. Carry out all your trash, and if possible, items left by others. Stay within the boundaries set by the landowner, and be aware of the location of buildings, dwellings, livestock, trails and agricultural or logging operations. Never block roadways or trails, and leave gates and barriers the way you found them.

Thank the landowner After your hunt, make sure you thank the landowner. If possible, offer to share some of your game with the landowner. After the season, follow up with a personal note or a holiday card thanking the landowner. Showing your appreciation go

As always, please obey all signs posted on property. A recent law change also has changed the silver paint stripe “Access by Permission Only” law. The new rule allows property owners to post their property “Access by Permission Only” by painting one purple vertical stripe at least one inch in width and at least 8 inches in length placed on trees, posts or stones between three and five feet off the ground. These stripes should be no more than 100 feet apart and the paint markings must be maintained so as to be conspicuous at all times. The vertical purple stripe replaces the two horizontal silver bars.

Without a doubt, public access is one of the biggest challenges facing hunters and others who enjoy the outdoors. Please remember that your actions reflect not only on you, but all who enjoy the outdoors. Please treat the landowner and land with respect.

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Maine White-tailed Deer Facts:

 Maine’s current deer population is approximately 203,000.

 Male white-tailed deer weigh between 100-300 pounds, and females weight between 85-130 pounds.

 White-tailed deer are found throughout the state, but there are more deer in the southern and central part of the state.

 During the summer months, deer will feed on grasses, deciduous vegetation, leaves and crops. In fall and winter, deer will feed on acorns and bark from oak, birch and maple trees, as well as cedar.

 Deer in Maine generally mate in mid- to late November, and females have a gestation period of 7 months. Female deer will produce 1-3 fawns, generally born in May and June.

 Black bear and coyotes are significant predators on fawns.

 In winter when snow depths exceed 16 inches, deer will yard in stands of conifers, forming a central resting area with trails packed through the snow. This dense cover with adequate browse is essential for winter survival.

 Deer hunting success during the 2012 firearms season is estimated to be 14%

 In 2012, Deer hunting success averaged 17%. Moose hunters had an 79% success rate in 2004, turkey hunters had a 38% success rate, and bear hunters a 30% success rate.

 Deer hunters in Maine killed 21,553 deer during the 2012 season.

 Maine’s regular firearm season attracts the most hunters (approximately 175,000) and accounts for the greatest share of the total deer harvest, which includes two archery seasons, the firearm season as well as a muzzleloader season, and stretches from the beginning of September through the middle of December. In 2012, 84% of the total deer harvest was taken during the four-week firearms deer season.

 Maine’s residents registered 92% of the deer harvest in 2012.

 The peak breeding time for deer in Maine is the third week of November, consistent with the peak for deer breeding activity from Nova Scotia to the Carolinas.

October 31, 2013

IFW News -- 2013 Deer Season Preview

For Immediate Release October 31, 2013

In the 2013 Deer Season Preview, you will find the following releases:

Hunters Excited About Deer Season as Deer Population Rebounds

Hunting In Maine Is Big Business

ake Sure Your Deer Hunt Is A Safe Hunt

Hunters Can Help The Hungry

Maine White-tailed Deer Facts

Hunters Excited About Deer Season As Deer Population Rebounds

AUGUSTA, Maine -- Deer hunters are excited about the upcoming season, as deer numbers have rebounded from the back-to-back severe winters of 2008 and 2009. As a result, IFW wildlife biologists are expecting an increased deer harvest for the third straight year.

The firearm season for deer opens on Saturday, November 2 for residents and Monday, November 4 for nonresidents. The firearm season for deer concludes on November 30.

“Through strong management, conservation and some milder winter weather, Maine’s deer herd has rebounded,” said Governor Paul R. LePage. “Hunters are excited as they are seeing more deer throughout the state. We wish them good luck this season, and as always, we urge everyone to be safe while enjoying Maine’s great outdoors.”

Kyle Ravana, Maine’s deer biologist, estimates that if normal hunting conditions and hunter effort prevail, this year’s dear kill will be in the 25,750 range, nearly a 20 percent increase from last year’s kill. The total deer kill for the last ten years is as follows: 2012 – 21,553; 2011 – 18,839; 2010 – 20,063; 2009 – 18,092; 2008 – 21,062; 2007 – 28,885; 2006 – 29,918; 2005 – 28,148; 2004 – 30,926; 2003 – 30,313.

“After the severe winters of ’08 and ’09, the department instituted ‘Maine’s Game Plan For Deer’, a three-pronged approach to restore Maine’s deer herd,” said Chandler Woodcock, Commissioner of the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. “The three core principles of the game plan for deer include protecting and enhancing deer wintering areas, deer population management and focused predator control.”

At the core of Maine’s deer management program is the any-deer permit system, which regulates the harvest of does. One male deer will breed with multiple does, so by adjusting the number of female deer removed from the population, biologists can manage the deer population.

Maine’s wildlife biologists monitor winter severity throughout the state from December through April to determine the impact that winter weather has on deer survival. Maine is at the northern edge of the white-tailed deer’s population range, and severe winters can negatively impact Maine’s deer population. Recently, northern Maine has experienced four consecutive milder-than-average winters, and southern Maine has experienced two.

Maine’s biologists also examine thousands of deer for disease, analyze deer teeth to determine age structure of the harvest, monitor antler beam and growth for health and conduct hunter surveys to determine hunter effort and sightings. All combine to give department biologists a clearer picture of the health and size of Maine’s deer population.

The deer harvest has increased for the past three out of the last four years since hitting a low point following the severe winters of 2008 and 2009, a strong sign of a growing deer population. More importantly, several other indicators show that the deer herd has rebounded. Maine’s buck (male deer) harvest has increased for four straight years, and there have been record buck harvests in several wildlife management districts.

Harvest trends support the fact that the population has rebounded. Last year, WMD 3 in Eastern Aroostook County had its highest buck harvest ever, and WMD 6, while not a historical high, had one of its highest buck harvests ever. As a result of the increasing deer population in WMDs 3 and 6, the department issued any-deer permits in these WMDs 3 and 6 for 2013. Hunter surveys also show that hunters are seeing more deer.

Most telling is the annual buck kill, an index used by the department to note trends in the population. Maine’s buck kill has increased each of the past four years. Last year’s buck harvest increased 23% from the previous year. In much of the state, the buck kill exceeded the 10-year average, another sign the deer population has rebounded.

Perhaps more noticeable is the anecdotal evidence supporting the biological trends.

“There’s a buzz about the deer season. People are emailing, calling, telling us about the number of deer they are seeing,” said Ravana. “Now is a good time to be a hunter in Maine.”

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For Immediate Release October 31, 2013

Hunting In Maine Is Big Business

AUGUSTA, Maine -- Over 200,000 people hunt in Maine each year, and those hunters generate over $200 million in direct sales, supporting business such as restaurants, gas stations, sporting goods stores, motels and other small family owned businesses.

According to the 2011 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife-Associated Recreation conducted by the US Fish and Wildlife Service, hunters in Maine spent $98 million on food, lodging and transportation in Maine.

Hunters spent an additional $60 million on equipment such as firearms, ammunition, hunting clothes, and other items; and $40 million on magazines, membership dues, permits, licenses and other related items.

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For Immediate Release October 31, 2013

Make Sure Your Deer Hunt Is A Safe Hunt:

 Always treat every firearm as if it was loaded  Be sure of your target, and what is beyond it.  Always keep the muzzle of your firearm pointed in a safe direction.  Unload your firearm before entering a dwelling, before entering a vehicle, or before storing it.  Sight in your firearm prior to hunting season.  Be sure that someone knows where you are headed, and when you plan to return.  Carry emergency survival gear, a flashlight, map and compass, matches and water.  Stop periodically to eat and re-hydrate yourself.  Wear two pieces of hunter orange that are in good condition.

For Immediate Release October 31, 2013
Hunters Can Help The Hungry

AUGUSTA, Maine – Hunters looking to help area food kitchens and pantries can donate game in order to combat hunger in Maine.

Hunters for the Hungry is a cooperative program in Maine sponsored by Maine Sportsmen and Sportswomen who care about the hungry, the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, and the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. Call 888-4DEER-ME for more information.

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For Immediate Release October 31, 2013

Landowner Relations is Important to Hunters, All Who Enjoy the Outdoors

AUGUSTA, Maine – Deer season is a Maine tradition, with close to 200,000 deer hunters participating throughout the state. The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife is once again urging hunters and all who enjoy the outdoors this fall to act appropriately while on private land.

“Over 90 percent of the state is privately owned, and it is the generosity of private landowners that sustain Maine’s outdoor traditions,” said Chandler Woodcock, Commissioner, Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. “These landowners are a vital part of our outdoor community, and we hope that this fall, everyone who enjoys the outdoors on private land acts respectfully and appropriately.”

Hunters, as well as others, who utilize private land for outdoor recreation, are asked to keep these suggestions in mind while out enjoying the outdoors this fall.

Ask First If possible, please obtain permission before accessing private land. While it’s not the law, it’s the right thing to do, as both a courtesy and out of respect for the landowner. Don’t wait until the last minute to ask for permission, and provide the landowner with your name, address and what vehicle you will be driving.

Communicate with the landowner Ask where to park, and if there are certain areas that they would prefer you do not hunt. Remember, you need landowner permission to operate at ATV on the property of another, so make sure you get permission, verbal or written, before utilizing an ATV on someone else’s property. Ask for permission if you plan to use a tree stand or a ground blind, and if you leave a stand on his property, make sure it is appropriately marked with your name and address.

Respect the land and landowner Remember, you are the guest of the landowner, so please act appropriately. Carry out all your trash, and if possible, items left by others. Stay within the boundaries set by the landowner, and be aware of the location of buildings, dwellings, livestock, trails and agricultural or logging operations. Never block roadways or trails, and leave gates and barriers the way you found them.

Thank the landowner After your hunt, make sure you thank the landowner. If possible, offer to share some of your game with the landowner. After the season, follow up with a personal note or a holiday card thanking the landowner. Showing your appreciation go

As always, please obey all signs posted on property. A recent law change also has changed the silver paint stripe “Access by Permission Only” law. The new rule allows property owners to post their property “Access by Permission Only” by painting one purple vertical stripe at least one inch in width and at least 8 inches in length placed on trees, posts or stones between three and five feet off the ground. These stripes should be no more than 100 feet apart and the paint markings must be maintained so as to be conspicuous at all times. The vertical purple stripe replaces the two horizontal silver bars.

Without a doubt, public access is one of the biggest challenges facing hunters and others who enjoy the outdoors. Please remember that your actions reflect not only on you, but all who enjoy the outdoors. Please treat the landowner and land with respect.

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Maine White-tailed Deer Facts:

 Maine’s current deer population is approximately 203,000.

 Male white-tailed deer weigh between 100-300 pounds, and females weight between 85-130 pounds.

 White-tailed deer are found throughout the state, but there are more deer in the southern and central part of the state.

 During the summer months, deer will feed on grasses, deciduous vegetation, leaves and crops. In fall and winter, deer will feed on acorns and bark from oak, birch and maple trees, as well as cedar.

 Deer in Maine generally mate in mid- to late November, and females have a gestation period of 7 months. Female deer will produce 1-3 fawns, generally born in May and June.

 Black bear and coyotes are significant predators on fawns.

 In winter when snow depths exceed 16 inches, deer will yard in stands of conifers, forming a central resting area with trails packed through the snow. This dense cover with adequate browse is essential for winter survival.

 Deer hunting success during the 2012 firearms season is estimated to be 14%

 In 2012, Deer hunting success averaged 17%. Moose hunters had an 79% success rate in 2004, turkey hunters had a 38% success rate, and bear hunters a 30% success rate.

 Deer hunters in Maine killed 21,553 deer during the 2012 season.

 Maine’s regular firearm season attracts the most hunters (approximately 175,000) and accounts for the greatest share of the total deer harvest, which includes two archery seasons, the firearm season as well as a muzzleloader season, and stretches from the beginning of September through the middle of December. In 2012, 84% of the total deer harvest was taken during the four-week firearms deer season.

 Maine’s residents registered 92% of the deer harvest in 2012.

 The peak breeding time for deer in Maine is the third week of November, consistent with the peak for deer breeding activity from Nova Scotia to the Carolinas.

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November 8, 2013

IFW Hunting Report for November 8, 2013

For Immediate Release November 8, 2013

Compiled By Mark Latti with IFW Wildlife Biologists

Region A – Southern Lakes Region

In Southern Maine, The deer hunt is off to a fine start.

“Good weather so far, people are seeing a lot of deer, but not necessarily taking a deer, especially those with any deer permits,” said IFW Wildlife Biologist Scott Lindsay.

Lindsay did say that quite a few hunters were successful on opening day this past Saturday, and most of the deer brought to area tagging stations were younger age class, yearlings that were born last year. As the season moves along, older deer start to appear at the tagging station.

One deer of note was taken in Otisfield. Lindsay said this buck topped out at 260 pounds.

“Usually the week of Veterans Day, we start to see some of those older deer being registered,” said Lindsay.

There are a lot of hunters out, but Lindsay said they are spread out, and that while there are pockets of heavily developed areas, there certainly are plenty of undeveloped areas to hunt.

Interestingly, Lindsay has noticed that he is seeing a lot of people from other parts of the state coming to southern Maine to hunt.

“This past month, I received two calls from hunters who live in the St. John Valley,” said Lindsay. After hearing so much about the number of deer in southern Maine, the two hunters were calling to learn more about hunting in southern Maine and what they could expect if they came down here to hunt.

Region B – Central and Midcoast Area

What’s the one word that comes to mind when describing deer in central Maine?

“Exceptional,” says IFW wildlife biologist Keel Kemper, who uses the word when describing the number and size of the yearling deer in his area.

Kemper made his rounds Sunday to area meat cutters in order to gather biological samples of deer. He is excited by what he has seen.

“It’s a bumper crop,” says Kemper, who noted that the Sundays after opening day in recent years has been “dismal” when it comes to the number of deer at area cutters. However, this year is different.

“One cutter said business was terrible, only because he had to turn away deer,” said Kemper, who noted the cutter had no more room to store deer and was at capacity. “Guys that had five deer at this time last year now have 18 deer in the freezer.”

“These yearling deer are exceptional in size, quality and abundance,” said Kemper, who said they are getting yearling deer that are dressing out at over 160 pounds.

“There’s no shortage of enthusiasm, as the hunting conditions are good, and hunting effort is up in central Maine,” said Kemper.

If you are lucky enough to have tagged out on deer this season, try heading up to the Frye Mountain Wildlife Management area for some grouse hunting. Kemper said that several hunters have had good luck up there, and there is a “good crop of grouse.”

Region C -- Downeast

“Obviously, it’s still early, but the early returns show a surprisingly good opening day in terms of success,” said IFW wildlife biologist Tom Schaeffer.

While it was a little warmer than some hunters would have liked, it didn’t seem to impact many.

“Registrations are way up at tagging stations,” said Schaeffer, “They are showing some numbers that we haven’t seen in recent history.”

It’s still moose season in WMD 19, and there are 50 cow permits for the November season. Schaeffer has seen a few registered moose that were tagged earlier in the week.

Schaeffer noted that he got two unusual nuisance wildlife calls in the past two weeks that occurred on different coastal islands. The first was a moose that swam out to one of the islands, and a landowner was concerned about the moose browsing on his fruit trees.

On another island, a black bear was wreaking havoc with landowner’s lawns and fields. The bear was turning over the sod in search of food, and Schaeffer said it looked “like someone took a bulldozer to a field.”

The Islands provide very poor habitat for both moose and bear. A hunter shot the bear, which was malnourished and extremely emaciated, and Schaeffer expects that the moose will swim back to the mainland, if it already hasn’t.

Region D – Rangeley Lakes and Western Mountains

Deer season is off to a strong start in the western mountains region of the state.

“Things are looking pretty good. In the southern part of the region, our deer numbers are back to where we were even pre-2008,” said IFW wildlife biologist Bob Cordes.

Word travels fast of big deer in the region, and already there was a 276 pound buck that was taken on opening day in Avon.

Cordes is encouraged by what hunters are telling him.

“People are seeing a lot of deer, and the number of big deer is swinging back up,” said Cordes who noted that it takes about three and half years for deer in this area to make the 200 pound mark.

It still is moose season in parts of this region, so biologists are out taking biological samples from harvested moose. The data collected will give biologists a clearer picture of the moose population in the area once it is analyzed this winter.

Region E – Moosehead Region

In the Moosehead Lake area, deer season has started, but for IFW wildlife biologist Scott McLellan, his focus is on moose season as the Greenville headquarters is a tagging station.

When a hunter brings in a moose to register, McLellan gathers a lot of biological data.

“We are collecting lungs, ovaries, checking lactation, taking a tooth, taking weights and taking blood samples,” said McLellan.

In some states, winter ticks on moose are a major concern. Maine wildlife biologists count the number of ticks in four different small areas of a moose to determine how prevalent winter ticks are in the area.

Biologists will also check to see if the moose is lactating, which tells if the moose had a calf this summer, and will preserve the ovaries to examine at a later date in order to help determine rates of calf production.

A tooth is also taken and later examined to determine the age of the moose, lungs are saved to see if there is lungworm and then finally a blood sample is drawn which will be examined to see if there is any signs of EEE (eastern equine encephalitis).

Opening day of deer season brought news of a piebald deer taken in the area. While not a true albino, these deer are mostly white, and their coloration is due to a recessive gene.

McLellan noted that there have been several deer over 200 pounds taken already, and one lucky hunter who came to the tagging station had both a deer and a moose.

Region F – Penobscot Region

The deer season has started strong in the Penobscot region

“In the southern part of the region, Corinth and Hudson, they are getting good numbers of deer,” said IFW wildlife biologist Allen Starr, “They are up to 40 in Corinth and 25 in Hudson.”

Starr has already seen some large deer, including several over 200 pounds.

“I’ve seen one that was 218 and another at 245,” said Starr, “there was another from the Katahdin Ironworks area that was 12 points and 232 pounds.”

“The deer are in really good condition and the necks on these bucks were swollen,” said Starr. “The season started a little later this year and the bucks are already moving.”

Starr is encouraged by what he has seen.

“Numbers are up at all of our tagging stations,” said Starr.

Region G – The County

The numbers are coming in, and hunters of all ages are doing well in the County.

“Youth day went well, we had 12 deer registered in Ashland, 11 in Presque Isle, and 7 in Mapleton,” said IFW wildlife biologist Rich Hoppe. “On residents opening day, effort was up considerably.”

“People are seeing more deer. The weather is good as it has been fairly cool most mornings. The bare ground and the cool weather keeps the deer moving,” said Hoppe.

It is also the last week of moose season in the county, and the numbers keep coming in.

“The first day, Quigley’s in Fort Kent tagged 67 moose and we tagged 65 in Ashland. The next day, Quigley’s was in the 60s and Ashland was in the 40s. Overall, people are still seeing a lot of moose,” said Hoppe.

Hoppe also noted the condition of the moose taken is excellent.

“The percentage of body fat on the moose is a lot higher. The just have tons of fat, and that goes hand in hand with the quality of the bulls. Calves seem to be 20-25% percent heavier,” said Hoppe.

“We’ve got excellent habitat, had good winters and the moose that are coming in are high-quality animals,” remarked Hoppe.

November 22, 2013

IFW Hunting Report for November 22, 2013

For Immediate Release November 22, 2013

Compiled By Mark Latti with IFW Wildlife Biologists

Region A – Southern Lakes Region

“We are at numbers that we usually have at the end of the season, all our registration stations are up in numbers,” says IFW wildlife biologist Scott Lindsay, who has seen a lot of deer and deer hunters as this deer season continues.

“Everyone has been very positive about the season, and we are getting a lot of favorable comments from hunters,” says Lindsay.

Lindsay added that all the positive comments are not necessarily from successful hunters. Many hunters are seeing deer but being selective.

“We had one hunter who said that in Buckfield over a period of a half dozen days, he saw several deer that he could have taken, but he was waiting for a larger buck to show,” said Lindsay.

And there have been larger bucks showing up as well. Lindsay said they are seeing several deer a week in the 240-pound range, with lots of fat in the hips and the shoulders. He said the big ones have been tagged throughout the region, mentioning towns such as Wells, Waterboro and Hartford as successful locations.

“Deer are going into the winter in very good shape,” said Lindsay.

Region B – Central and Midcoast Area

In central Maine, hunting conditions remain excellent.

“Things have been robust as far as quantity and quality,” said IFW wildlife biologist Keel Kemper, who said that numbers continue to be up throughout the region.

As is typical of the third week, Kemper said he saw a drop in the numbers this week. Last week was busy with excellent weather for hunting and the Veterans Day Holiday. Earlier this week, three straight windy days decreased hunter effort and slowed deer movement.

Kemper estimates that he will examine approximately 500 deer this year. While the specific timing of the rut is difficult to pin down, judging by what he is seeing and hearing from hunters, we are coming into the rut if we are not already there.

While things may have slowed down this week, Kemper expects to see a surge in hunters and the number of deer tagged during the Thanksgiving week.

Region C -- Downeast

Downeast, hunters in the coastal district are having a lot of success.

“In WMD 27 along the coast, the number of deer taken is an recent high. Tagging stations are already ahead of last year’s totals with a big week still to go,” said IFW wildlife biologist Tom Schaeffer.

While success in the coastal WMD has been strong, Schaeffer notes that as you head into the Downeast interior, success rates start to drop, and the deer kill in WMDs 28 and 19 is more on par with recent years. Overall, however, numbers are either at the average or above the average of the last five years. There are other positive signs as well.

“The yearling take is quite noticeable,” said Schaeffer, “and we are seeing good numbers of 2 and a half year old deer as well.” Schaeffer said that means there is decent winter survival of last year’s fawn crop which bodes well for the future.

“A good number made it through last winter and through the hunting season as well,” said Schaeffer.

Schaeffer has handled a number of deer this year, and has noticed a number of traditional crotch and spike horn bucks for yearlings. All are in decent shape and in condition. He also noted that tooth replacement seems advanced this year, but feels that could be due in part to the later calendar season, which is a week later than most years.

Region D – Rangeley Lakes and Western Mountains

Up in Region D, while there may not be the number of deer that are south of there, hunters are certainly bagging some large deer.

“Deer numbers have been steady, and I have seen 10-15 deer that are over 200 pounds,” said IFW wildlife biologist Bob Cordes.

One thing that Cordes did note is that he has been seeing big deer throughout the season.

“They’ve been coming in steady, from youth day right into this week,” said Cordes.

IFW wildlife biologist Chuck Hulsey has been traveling through the region, taking biological samples from deer, and he had several observations.”

“Seems like we are seeing a higher percentage of nonresident hunters than we have seen recently,” said Hulsey. He hasn’t been seeing a lot of hunters, but the hunters he has seen have been generally very positive.

“We aren’t getting a lot of complaints, and that tells me the season is going well,” said Hulsey, who noted that when it’s not going well, he tends to hear from quite a few hutners.

Region E – Moosehead Region

Good things are happening up in the Moosehead region, where all the area tagging stations are showing an increase in numbers over the past few years.

“Some tagging stations are up by as much as 20 percent,” said IFW wildlife biologist Doug Kane. “Kokadjo is up, and it has been like a desert up there the last few years.” Kane thinks that the region hasn’t rebounded all the way back for the harsh winters of ’08 and ’09, but “people are happy because they are seeing deer.”

The big bucks are starting to show up in the harvest as well, as there was one 15-pointer that was shot in the southern part of The County, and it topped out at over 260 pounds.

Kane, who is gathering biological data from a number of harvested deer, is pleased with what he’s seen as far as age structure of the harvest as well.

“The yearling and 2-and-a-half year old numbers are really strong. The two-and-a-half year olds are really showing in the rut,” said Kane who says this bodes well for numbers in the spring.

The rut is in full swing as well. Kane remarked about an interesting observation. He was at the tagging station at Indian Hill last Friday, he handled three bucks, and all three were shot between 10:00 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. All were out chasing down does in the middle of the morning.

“I have never seen anything so marked as that,” said Kane. “I am hearing a lot of stories about bucks chasing does.” Kane also cautioned hunters not to get confused if the bucks seem to stop moving. He said that when does are in peak estrus, there isn’t much movement, but just before and just after is when you get the peak movement for bucks.

Region F – Penobscot Region

“All our registration stations are way above where they have been the last few years,” remarked IFW wildlife biologist Allen Starr who said that deer totals for the season include over 80 deer registered in Hudson, over 100 in Corinth and the Katahdin General store in Millinocket tagged over 60.

One of the reasons for the many success stories is that the weather has cooperated with hunters.

“All in all it has been pretty good conditions for hunters,” said Starr, who noted that while earlier this week it had been pretty windy, the cold, clear weather boded well for hunters later this week.

Starr said the deer he has seen have all been in very good condition. He saw a nice nine pointer that topped out just under 200 pounds (198.5) that was shot in the Katahdin Iron Works area. Perhaps more interesting was a large yearling Starr checked, that was five points with nice thick antlers.

Starr also sent this picture of a happy hunter who bagged this big buck in the western part of the region, a 230 pound, ten pointer.

Region G – The County

Up in the County, a very successful deer season continues.…

“I would say that deer registrations are up by 75-100% over the last few years,” said IFW Wildlife Biologist Rich Hoppe who noted that Ben’s in Presque Isle was up over 100% from last year with still a week to go. “Hunter effort is up, and success rates are up.”

Hoppe has examined a number of the harvested deer, and has come away impressed.

“The deer are in excellent shape headed into this year’s winter. What we noted with moose, with the exceptional weight and antler growth, also seems to be reflected in the deer,” said Hoppe.

“The excellent habitat and mild winters have enabled deer to maintain optimal body condition with high fat reserves,” said Hoppe. “This will serve them well going into winter and should translate into higher survival rates.”

Hunting conditions have also been very good as well. During the week of Veterans Day, there was snow on the ground Monday through Wednesday. Hoppe said he saw lots of hunters who took advantage of the excellent conditions to spend some time tracking deer.

If you’ve already tagged out or would rather chase grouse than deer, Hoppe added that there still is some excellent bird hunting in the western part of the region.

November 30, 2013

MISSING HUNTERS

November 30, 2013: The Maine Warden Service is asking for help locating two overdue hunters in northern Maine. Travis Hafford, 33 of East Millinocket and Ryan Stevens also 33 of Millinocket have not been seen since yesterday morning.

The men left yesterday morning (11-29-13) between 6:00 and 7:00 AM to go hunting near Chamberlain and/or Clayton Lake. They were to be back for supper last evening. They were reported overdue at 2:20 this morning. They were driving in Hafford's silver 2006 Chevy extended cab pick-up truck with Maine passenger car registration number 5936 SC.

Several game wardens and two Warden Service aircraft have been searching the area for the men today. Anyone with information can call the Public Safety Dispatch Center in Houlton at 1-800-924-2261.

December 3, 2013

SEARCH SUSPENDED FOR QUEBEC MAN

Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Maine Warden Service

--For Immediate Release--

DECEMBER 3, 2013: The search for Renald Poulin from Quebec will be suspended this afternoon. Today’s search effort included 26 game wardens including K9 team and dive team members as well as 15 MASAR search team volunteers and five Maine Forest Rangers. No clues were found that led investigators to Poulin at todays end. The primary search area has been contained within TWP T6 R13 WELS and included both the western and southwestern shores of Umbazooksus Lake, Umbazooksus Stream, and encompassed significant portions of the once-used tram railway system; believed to be Poulin’s destination. Poulin’s vehicle was located by game wardens on Saturday, November 30; however Poulin was never physically seen at this location.

With no clues indicating Poulin’s direction of travel and recent snows accumulating 3 to 4 inches, evidence detection has become nearly impossible. Due to weather conditions today, aircraft were not used. The Maine Warden Service Dive Team dove in several high probability water locations today with no signs of Poulin. At this time, the Warden Service will evaluate future search strategies of larger wooded areas likely to have been explored by Poulin in proximity to his recovered vehicle. Game wardens have been talking with tram enthusiasts to collect information regarding the area and tram system. Searches in areas most frequented by tram enthusiasts have turned up no clues. Warden Service aircraft will fly this week to search the area when weather permits.

It is possible that Poulin encountered a problem in the Umbazooksus Dam area beginning on his border crossing date of Tuesday, November 26th, although his vehicle was not observed until four days later on Saturday, November 30th by game wardens. Game wardens are asking those who may have seen Renald Poulin’s vehicle parked at the Umbazooksus Dam between the days of Tuesday, November 26th and Saturday, November 30th to please call the Public Safety Dispatch Center in Houlton at 1-800-924-2261.

SEARCH HISTORY: While searching for two Millinocket men in an unrelated search, game wardens located a vehicle owned by Renald Poulin from Saint Côme, Quebec for whom authorities from Canada had also been searching. Renald Poulin, age 67 from Quebec, crossed into the U.S. on Tuesday, November 26th and was to return November 27th. On Saturday, November 30th, game wardens located his green 2002 Kia Sedona parked near Umbazooksus Dam.

Poulin had interest in the tram rail systems located in the Umbazooksus Lake area used decades ago in the logging industry, and wardens believe he was exploring those areas when he went missing. Agencies assisting in this exhaustive search effort include the Maine Forest Service, U.S. Border Patrol, Unity College Search and Rescue Team (SAR), Baxter State Park Rangers, Mid-Maine SAR, Mount Desert Island SAR, Pinetree SAR, and the Maine Association of SAR Dogs (MESARD).

December 3, 2013

UPDATE: MEN LOCATED FROM MILLINOCKET

Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Maine Warden Service

--For Immediate Release--

DECEMBER 3, 2013: The Maine Warden Service reports the two missing men found late Sunday afternoon in northern Piscataquis County became stranded. On Friday, November 29th Travis Hafford age 33 of East Millinocket and Ryan Stevens also 33 of Millinocket left to go hunting in a region north of Allagash Lake near T9 R14 WELS.

While driving in an area east of Mud Pond the men encountered a flooded road and became stuck in the ice. The men spent Friday night in Hafford’s 2006 Chevy pickup. On Saturday morning, the men walked south to the Narrow Pond Road. Hafford and Stevens were able to make entry into Johnson’s Allagash Lodge on Narrow Pond in T8 R14 WELS. Here they made a fire and spent Saturday night in the lodge. Earlier that morning, a game warden checked the lodge for the men but they had not yet arrived.

The following morning, both men began to walk east on the Narrow Pond Road where they eventually made contact with a passing US customs agent who was heading to work at the St Juste Checkpoint in Big Ten TWP. The men were transported to St Juste where authorities called the Maine Warden Service at approximately 5:30 PM Sunday, December 1. Neither man needed medical attention.

December 6, 2013

IFW Hunting Report for December 6, 2013

For Immediate Release December 6, 2013

IFW Hunting Report for December 6, 2013 Compiled By Mark Latti with IFW Wildlife Biologists

Region A – Southern Lakes Region

Region A wildlife staff has been busy throughout York, Cumberland and Oxford counties collecting scientific samples from harvested deer.

“The number of deer harvested is certainly higher than it has been in recent years,” says IFW Wildlife Biologist Scott Lindsay, “We are seeing good representation of multiple age classes throughout. Our staff has seen more deer this season than we have seen in a while.”

Lindsay noted that overall the health of the deer he has seen is excellent.

“I have seen fawns that are near 70 pounds, and a good percentage of bucks in the 230 pound class,” said Lindsay, who noted that deer winter survival has been good, remarking about several does who were so old, their teeth were practically worn down.

The two-week muzzleloading season has started and Lindsay said that he hasn’t seen a great number of muzzleloaders, but with the two-week season, there is still plenty of time to get out there.

Pheasant season is ongoing, and one club in Wells has one more release of 100 birds planned at the Bragdon Pit site. For more information on the release, please visit http://www.maine.gov/ifw/hunting_trapping/hunting/pheasant.htm.

Grouse season is still ongoing, and Lindsay noted that harvested grouse have a lot of winterberry in their gizzard. Look for those bright red berries on an otherwise drab background and you should have some luck finding grouse.

Region B – Central and Midcoast Area

After a hectic first three weeks of the deer season, unsettled weather calmed things down in Region B.

“The last week of the season, the numbers just seemed to fall off the table,” said IFW Wildlife Biologist Keel Kemper. “We got all that rain, the wind, and then it froze. It was like walking on potato chips in the wood.”

With that type of weather, it was no wonder the numbers went down.

“Effort was way down last week. Effort drives success, so when effort is down, so is success. Still, numbers for this season will be up. I thought it was going to be way up, but the last week slowed things down.” With the wild weather the last week of the firearm season, many hunters who were waiting to “cash in” their Any Deer permits were unsuccessful, but now look towards the muzzleloading season as one last chance.

“There appears to be a fairly strong muzzleloading contingent as we are seeing a larger muzzleloading harvest,” said Kemper, who added that he as seen some really big bucks at the meat cutters since the muzzleloading season began.

Region C -- Downeast

Unsettled weather last week impacted deer hunters Downeast.

“The good hunting conditions we had didn’t hold through the last week, and that tempered effort and success,” said IFW Wildlife Biologist Tom Schaeffer. “Last week presented its challenges, but overall, things look encouraging.”

However, Schaeffer noted that the deer harvest is certainly up in the coastal part of Washington County.

Attention now turns to muzzleloading, and other game pursuits. Much of the Downeast region has one week of muzzleloading season, but grouse season continues through December and the coastal and southern waterfowl zones are still open for duck hunting.

“Typically, the trend is that hunters turn to waterfowl. Ponds are skimming over and there is some good late season duck hunting in Washington and Hancock County,” said Schaeffer. “If you like grouse hunting, many woods roads remain open, and typically there’s not a lot of snow this time of year so there is pretty good access.”

Region D – Rangeley Lakes and Western Mountains

In Region D, the early numbers point to a successful deer season.

“The Rumford tagging station, our biggest tagging station, keeps meticulous records, and they are up a lot from last year, probably a 25% increase,” said IFW wildlife biologist Chuck Hulsey.

“Hunting conditions for the season were pretty good for not having snow,” said Hulsey, “and throughout the season, I never got a complaint about the deer season, which is unusual.”

It’s now muzzleloading season in Region D. The season in the northern part of the region is for one week, but muzzleloaders get two weeks in 12, 13, 16 and 17.

Waterfowl season is now over as well in Region D. One hunter had an interesting observation on the season, which was not as productive as it usually is for him. This hunter walks into different areas, hunting small waterholes. He had a “terrible” year, because a lot of the areas that he hiked into were completely dry due to the lack of rain. Grouse hunting continues through the end of the month, and hunters might get a shot at some well-educated grouse by driving the many logging roads in the area.

Region E – Moosehead Region

“Deer season in the Moosehead region ended up about where we expected,” said IFW wildlife biologist Doug Kane. “Most of the stations were at or above where they were last year.”

In fact, Kane said that most of the stations were up about 25%, and only one tagging station in the area was the same as last year.

“The yearling and two and a half year olds showed up very strong in the harvest,” said Kane, which showed both good winter survival and reproductive rates. “That bodes very well for the future.”

Kane noted that there were a number of bucks that were taken over 200 pounds, but maybe a little less than what may expect since those age classes were hit hard by the bad winters in 2008 and 2009. Still, things look good for the years ahead.

“There are a lot of happy hunters this year,” said Kane. “There was a lot of deer activity and a lot of deer sightings. All those signs point to a very good future.”

Kane did note that he expected to see more bear harvested during the deer firearm season, but that did not materialize.

“There was a very strong beech nut crop this season, and I thought that we would see more bears taken,” said Kane, “but even with the strong food year, it looks as though most bears denned up early.”

Region F – Penobscot Region

“We had some great tracking snow on Monday, and we are already seeing some muzzleloaders getting deer,” said IFW wildlife biologist Mark Caron. In the Enfield area and parts of Washington County, there was five inches of snow. “That was the day to go muzzleloading.” Throughout the region, every deer tagging station showed an increase in numbers.

“Everybody was up. In Shin Pond, they registered a little over a hundred deer, and there were similar stories elsewhere. They even ran out of tagging books in some regions,” said Caron.

“It was a good year, people were seeing deer and taking deer, and the good weather carried through the season,” said Caron.

Caron said there were a lot of nice deer in the 180-200 pound range, although he didn’t see many over 250 pounds. He did note a lot of yearlings and two and a half year olds in the harvest.

“Most hunters weren’t waiting. They were shooting if they saw a deer,” said Caron. “Over the past few years, I think many hunters have gotten into the habit of shooting when they see one.”

Grouse hunters are still out. While some of the roads may not be great, bird hunters can still be seen walking the woods roads.

“Some hunters who tagged out early on deer still go out and hunt. While the roads are starting to get a little worse, hunters are still getting out and walking,” said Caron.

Region G – The County

Up in the County, it’s been a good deer season.

“The deer harvest looks to be up about 20% in our area. Individual tagging stations are up between 10 and 50% for the season,” said IFW wildlife biologist Amanda DeMusz, who noted that the Gateway in Ashland had registered over 230 deer for the season.

Deer weights have been strong, with several over 200 pounds, but many in the 150 pound range and above. “Everyone seems to be talking about the deer being bigger and heavier,” said Demusz. The Gateway had 40 deer registered over 200 pounds.

Bird hunters are still seeing birds, but grouse hunters may want to look up when they are looking for birds.

“The grouse are spending a lot of time in trees with the cold weather,” said DeMusz. “Particularly in spruce and fir trees.”

Coverts that were productive in the early fall might not be as productive now, as the conifers provide some degree of shelter for the birds. Once the snow gets deeper, they will be on the ground more often.

Snowshoe hare are also become more visible, or invisible, depending on the amount of snow. Hare are losing their summer colors and are turning white, but most right now have a mottled look to them. Snowshoe hare season runs through the end of March.

December 12, 2013

IFW News -- Department Urges Caution, Safety Before Venturing On Ice

For Immediate Release December 12, 2013

Department urges caution for early season ice fishing AUGUSTA, Maine -- Small lakes and ponds are beginning to ice over, and some eager ice anglers are already catching fish through the ice.

The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife urges all ice anglers to check the ice before venturing out to fish during the early season, and to check the 2013 Open Water and Ice Fishing law book (http://www.eregulations.com/maine/fishing/) to comply with the regulations. Please visit http://www.maine.gov/ifw/warden_service/safety.html#ice for general ice thickness guidelines.

“Remember, there are many opportunities to ice fish throughout the season,” said Governor Paul R. LePage. “While we encourage anglers to enjoy ice fishing, we urge everyone to be safe. Please check the ice before venturing out to fish.”

Maine has many year-round fishing opportunities, and on some lakes and ponds in the state, it is legal to ice fish starting December 1. The department stocks many lakes and ponds with trout and landlocked salmon, and you can find a list of stocked waters on the department’s website at http://www.maine.gov/ifw/fishing/reports/stocking/stocking.htm.

For those interested in catching early season trout and salmon, check the law book and look for waters marked with the season date code “D”. Waters with the season date code “D” are open to both open water and ice fishing from December 1 through April 30 for all fish. Unless otherwise noted, general law fishing tackle rules apply, which allow for the harvest of trout and salmon, and the use of all legal forms of bait, artificial lures and artificial flies.

Anglers should check the 2013 Open Water and Ice Fishing law book before fishing. The 2014 Open Water and Ice Fishing law book will be available shortly before Christmas.

Before venturing on the ice, please check the ice to ensure that is safe. The department offers these tips for ice safety:

 Never guess the thickness of the ice - Check it! Check the ice in several different places using an auger or some other means to make a test hole and determine the thickness. Make several, beginning at the shore, and continuing as you go out.

• Check the ice with a partner, so if something does happen, someone is there to help you. If you are doing it alone, wear a lifejacket.

 If ice at the shoreline is cracked or squishy, stay off! Watch out for thin, clear or honeycombed ice. Dark snow and dark ice are other signs of weak spots.

 Avoid areas with currents, around bridges and pressure ridges. Wind and currents can break ice.

For More Information on Ice Safety and Thickness, Please visit: http://www.maine.gov/ifw/warden_service/safety.html#ice

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December 13, 2013

MAINE WARDEN SERVICE HIRES NEW PILOT

AUGUSTA, ME – December 13, 2013: The Maine Warden Service announces today that they have hired a new game warden pilot. Jeffrey Beach, age 42 form Fairfield, accepted the position of pilot this week. Beach is married and has two children. Colonel Joel Wilkinson stated “we are excited to have Jeff with us and feel he will complement our aviation division with extensive experience and expertise. He brings a positive attitude and a passion for his new career.” Beach served in the US Air Force for 7 years as an aircrew member (loadmaster) on C-5 aircraft. He also served in Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm from August of 1990 to August of 1991 and was awarded the Air Medal for his aerial flight during that conflict. Beach brings with him extensive flying experience.

Beach attended the University of Connecticut and majored in Natural Resource Economics and English. He is a 16-year veteran of the Maine State Police and attended the 44th Maine State Police Academy which began in November of 1995. He patrolled Troop C his entire career as a State Trooper with assignments in Somerset County for four-and-a-half years, Interstate 95 for 10 years, and as a patrol supervisor (Sergeant) for two-and-a-half years. Beach has been an Emergency Vehicle Operation Course (EVOC) instructor for six years for the Maine Criminal Justice Academy and currently leads the EVOC Instructor program.

The position of Game Warden Pilot has many responsibilities to include search and rescue, law enforcement, and assisting with fish and wildlife resource management. Beach will be responsible for flying the southern Maine region.

December 13, 2013

SEARCH FOR QUEBEC MAN - RENALD POULIN

Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Maine Warden Service

--For Immediate Release--

SEARCH FOR RENALD POULIN – December 13, 2013: Today, the Maine Warden Service organized another day of searching for Renald Poulin from Quebec. Today’s efforts turned up no clues that can be attributed to Poulin’s location. The search will be suspended until temperatures rise and the snow has melted. Snow has hampered the search for Renald Poulin since game wardens began looking for him Saturday, November 30th.

The Ice on Umbazooksus Lake and nearby small bogs and wet areas has made detection of Mr. Poulin especially difficult. Weather conditions will need to improve significantly before further searching can occur. Search teams were out all day conducting a combination of grid, hasty, and K9 team searches. Temperatures remained around 10 degrees (F) and snow fell during the morning hours. Searchers covered new areas and some previously searched areas were covered again.

Twenty-two game wardens, 18 members of the Maine Association of Search and Rescue (MASAR), four Maine Forest Rangers, and members of the Civil Air Patrol assisted with today’s effort. Search teams associated with MASAR* included Lincoln SAR, Lincoln County SAR, Wilderness SAR, Waldo County SAR, Franklin County SAR, and the Maine Search and Rescue Dogs (MESARD).

Game wardens are asking those who may have seen Renald Poulin’s vehicle parked at the Umbazooksus Dam between the days of Tuesday, November 26th and Saturday, November 30th to please call the Public Safety Dispatch Center in Houlton at 1-800-924-2261.

SEARCH HISTORY: While searching for two Millinocket men in an unrelated search, game wardens located a vehicle owned by Renald Poulin from Saint Côme, Quebec for whom authorities from Canada had also been searching. Renald Poulin, age 67 from Quebec, crossed into the U.S. on Tuesday, November 26th and was to return November 27th. On Saturday, November 30th, game wardens located his green 2002 Kia Sedona parked near Umbazooksus Dam.

Photographs courtesy of the Maine Warden Service: Photos of the Maine Warden Service Mobile Command Vehicle (MCV). SEE MORE PHOTOS ON THE IF&W FACEBOOK PAGE.

*The Maine Association for Search and Rescue (MASAR) is a non-profit organization that promotes and develops search and rescue resources for the state of Maine. MASAR provides training and certification for search and rescue volunteers using nationally-recognized standards. See mainesearchandrescue.org for more information.

No further information is available at this time.

Please direct media related calls to Corporal John MacDonald by calling: Public Safety Dispatch in Gray at 207-657-3030 Email at: john.macdonald@maine.gov

December 20, 2013

2014 Maine Birder Band Is Now Available

AUGUSTA, Maine -- The 2014 Maine Birder Band is now available! Maine’s Birder band is instrumental in helping protect birds, conserve habitat and provide access for birders throughout the state.

For just $20, you get an authentic bird band similar to ones that biologists use to band wild turkeys and Canada geese. The band is meant to fit on a camera or binocular strap and has a unique number registered in your name. If this item becomes lost, the finder can call the IFW number on the band and the item can be returned to the owner. Over the years, this band has returned several pairs of binoculars and a set of car keys.

Your donation helps Maine’s non-game birds. While some game birds such as waterfowl receive dedicated federal funds, over 90% of Maine’s 292 bird species do not. The Maine Birder Band has already generated over $20,000 that goes directly to helping protect Maine’s non-game birds. Money raised by the birder band can be used to leverage additional federal funds.

Over the years the band has helped fund several conservation and educational projects, including the launch and maintenance of the Maine eBird Portal; grasshopper sparrows survey at Kennebunk Plains and the former Naval Air Station in; research examining saltmarsh sparrow nesting success in sites with and without tidal restrictions and Southern Maine shorebird monitoring focused on sanderlings, red knots, black bellied plovers and ruddy turnstones.

Getting your Maine Birder Band is easy – Just visit the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife online store.

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December 26, 2013

IFW Ice Fishing Preview For December 26, 2013

For Immediate Release -- December 26, 2013

IFW Ice Fishing Preview For December 26, 2013 Compiled By Mark Latti with IFW Fisheries Biologists

Welcome to the 2014 ice fishing season. We will be providing these reports to you every two weeks through winter into the beginning of March.

If you haven’t purchased your license yet, 2104 licenses are available online at www.mefishwildlife.com. Also, the 2104 fishing lawbook is also available where you buy your licenses or at your favorite sporting goods store.

Anglers should also be aware of a new law that bans the use of lead sinkers that are shorter than 2.5” in length OR if they weigh less than an ounce.

As always, please consult the law book before fishing your favorite water, and stay safe while out on the ice.

Region A – Sebago Lakes Region

The cold weather has many anglers taking advantage of the early season opportunities for brook trout. There is a variety of lakes and ponds in Southern and coastal Maine that allow the use of live bait and the harvest of trout prior to January 1.

“We are encouraging people to fish waters that are labeled “D” in the rule book. These are managed for early winter opportunities for brook trout,” says IFW fisheries biologist Francis Brautigam.

With so many options, Brautigam says you may want to prioritize.

“When I think about ice fishing over the course of the winter, I tend to think of what types of fish are available as the season progresses,” says Brautigam. “Brook trout get caught early, so these “D” season waters are a great place to kick of the season.” Try the Otter Ponds in Standish, Worthley Pond in Poland, Halls Pond in Paris, Moose Pond in Acton and Simms Pond in Newfield.

“Species like lake trout provide season –long fishing, so there’s no need to rush to get out for togue. Most togue lakes freeze up later anyway.”

“After brook trout, I’d target splake and salmon. Waters that have either splake or salmon you want to fish early. Rainbows are slow biters, and fishing tends to be more consistent throughout the season,” says Brautigam.

Brautigam also noted the department is testing several new strains of brown trout in region waters; checking to see if they may provide more action for anglers. The department will be survey anglers on these waters to determine if these different strains of brown trout provide better fishing.

York county ice anglers who want to introduce their children to fishing would be well served to try out the pond at the York County Fish and Game Club in Lyman. This a youth fishing/complimentary license pond, and provides excellent opportunities for young anglers.

Region B – Central and Midcoast Area

Ice anglers are active in Region B, taking advantage of the cold weather and recently stocked ponds.

This past year, Region B biologists reviewed their stocking data, and are reallocating fish to smaller waters where they expect anglers to have more success.

“Anglers are doing well at McGrath Pond in Oakland,” mentioned IFW fisheries biologist Jason Seiders. “We stocked it heavily with brook trout, and people have been fishing.”

Anglers also may want to head over to Jamies Pond in Manchester, as this season, it is now open to ice fishing.

“That’s another pond we stocked with ice fishing in mind. There’s three age classes of brook trout in Jamies Pond,” said Seiders. The season on Jamies opens on January 1, expect to find trout from the fingerling size up to four pounds.

Anglers will also want to try Dutton Pond in Knox, and Sanborn Pond in Brooks. Those two ponds were also stocked with multiple ages of brook trout, and also some retired brown trout broodstock. Seiders said that some of the brown trout weigh up to ten pounds.

Young anglers will also want to mark February 1 on their calendars to head over to Wiley Pond in Boothbay. The department worked with the Boothbay Region Fish and Game Association to reopen the pond to ice fishing and it will be open to youth anglers/complimentary licenses with a two line limit, and no use of live fish for bait. The pond was heavily stocked this fall, and should provide fast action for young anglers.

Region C -- Downeast

This season, Downeast, anglers will have opportunities they haven’t seen in years.

“We just started stocking rainbow trout in Jones Pond in Gouldsboro,” said IFW fisheries biologist Greg Burr. “This is the first stocking of rainbows in this area since 1979. People are very excited.”

Jones Pond is open now, but it is artificial lures only, and catch and release for all trout. Starting January 1, anglers will be able to keep rainbows.

“People who are familiar with fishing through the ice for rainbows say that the best way to fish for them is with worms. A lot of times they don’t respond well to shiners,” said Burr.

Parents who want to take their kids fishing this holiday break, should head over to the youth waters at Foxhole Pond in Deblois and to the Penobscot County Conservation Association in Brewer. At Foxhole, there are three different ages of stocked trout, including some very large brood stock. Burr mentioned that there is a local taxidermist that has done many mounts over the years for kids who were lucky enough to catch one of these large fish. If you are looking to catch a large brood stock salmon, try these lakes: Pleasant River in Beddington; Mopang Lake in Township 29; Lower Springy Pond in Otis; Brewer Lake in Orrington; and Hopkins Pond in Mariaville. Many of these ponds also have stocked trout as well.

Landlocked salmon anglers will want to check out Cathance Lake in Cooper, Branch Lake in Ellsworth, Gardner’s Lake in East Machias, Long Pond on MDI, Beech Hill Pond in Otis, Donnell Pond in Franklin and Tunk Lake in Township 10 SD.

If you are looking for togue, head to Green Lake in Ellsworth which regularly produces togue over 10 pounds, Branch Lake in Ellsworth where Burr encourages the harvest of togue and there is no size or bag limit on togue under 23 inches, Tunk Lake, West Musquash in Tallmedge, Pocumcus Lake, Phillips lake in Dedham and Beech Hill Pond.

Brook trout will be found at Lakewood Pond in Bar Harbor, Round Pond in Someville, Eagle lake in Bar Harbor, Montegail Pond in T 19, Indian Lake in Whiting, Keely Lake in Marshfield and Schoodic Lake in Cherryfield.

Lovejoy Pond in Township 35 just opened this season to ice fishing, and the trout stocked there this fall are in the 12-16 inch range.

Anglers looking for a little adventure and the road less travelled out to head to three different ponds in Township 10 near Tunk Lake.

“For the people who make the effort to hike into these ponds, it will be well worth the effort,” said Burr.

Region D – Rangeley Lakes

In Region D, there are several options for early season ice fishing.

“Anglers ought to try Crowell Pond in Chesterville, right off Route 41,” says IFW Fisheries Biologist Bobby Van Riper. “We stocked a thousand brook trout there.”

Anglers who are looking for waters to ice fish prior to January 1 should look for waters marked A in the northern counties section of the law book.

Popular early season ponds also include Norcross Pond in Chesterville and Roxbury Pond in Roxbury; others include Parker Pond and Sand Pond in Chesterville.

However, most of the ice fishing ponds in this region open up January 1. One of the more popular destinations early season is the Chain of Ponds north of Eustis on Route 27. The department stocked 1,400 brook trout there this fall. Anglers should remember that this is a flowing water, and the ice can get thin in the narrows and around points.

If you are looking fish some of the bigger waters in the region, check out Webb Lake in Weld, Wilsons Lake in Wilton, Embden Pond in Embden and Wesserunsett in Madison. Smaller waters you may want to check out include Clearwater in Industry, Ironbound in Solon and Wilson’s Lake in Wilton. Another favorite in this region is Spring Lake, just north of Flagstaff Lake in T3 R5.

Region E – Moosehead Region Compiled by IFW Fisheries Biologist Tim Obrey

Can we declare the end of global warming? Probably not, but we can find some reason to be thankful for the cold wintery weather that enveloped the North Woods in November and December. As the snow birds fled south to warmer clines, old man winter brought the rest of us hardy souls an early ice-in. We have already seen a “flurry” of ice fishing activity on our smaller ponds like Fitzgerald Pond and Prong Pond, both of which are stocked with 12-14 inch brook trout in late fall to provide some early ice fishing action.

To the south of us, Brann’s Mill Pond and Harlow Pond should be fishing well as we approach the traditional start of the ice fishing season. Drummond Pond in Abbot is open to kids only and is also stocked just before the ice forms in the fall. We’d like to thank those individuals that have generously plowed out the parking area at Drummond Pond and Fitzgerald Pond. I’m sure the anglers appreciate it as well.

Of course one of the hottest early season favorites is Big Wood Pond in Jackman. The pond is stocked with splake and brook trout (including some adults) and even an occasional salmon is caught. Access is very easy, with plenty of parking in this friendly town and snowmobile trails onto the lake. This is a terrific place to take the family to catch a limit in January.

We’ve been riding the wave of big brook trout on Moosehead Lake for the past several years. It is unclear how long it will last, but we’ve seen and heard of many trophy trout from Maine’s largest lake recently. The best trout fishing is early in the season and anglers should be tight to shore amongst the rocks. Don’t forget the 7th Annual Moosehead Lake Togue Derby will be January 24th to 26th this year. It is a great opportunity to win some prizes while helping us control the lake trout population in the lake.

As always, check the ice before venturing out in unfamiliar territory. No fish is worth a surprise dip in the lake this time of year.

Region F – Penobscot Region

Like most of the state, ice fishing came early to Region F.

“A lot of years we are wondering if we will have good ice on January 1, but Cold Stream Pond iced up over a week ago, weeks ahead of normal,” said IFW fisheries biologist Nels Kramer who added that a lot of area waters were buttoned up.

Two popular destinations for ice fishing include Seboeis Lake in T4 R9 and Endless lake inT3 R9. There’s good access to Endless by snowmobile. Another option is Schoodic Lake in Brownville. Wintertime offers some very good landlocked and brook trout fishing on the lake. IFW staff will be conducting creel census surveys on Schoodic, Seboeis and Endless this season.

If you want to head a little further north and east, Matagamon Lake, East Grand and Pemadumcook Lake all offer good ice fishing opportunities for trout, salmon and togue.

Perhaps more importantly, due to the cold weather, it looks as though this season, anglers will have a variety of lakes and ponds they can choose from for ice fishing.

“There seems to be a good base for snowmobiling,” says Kramer, “I’m looking forward to a January 1 opening where many lakes and ponds are frozen and you can travel by snowmobile all over the area.”

Region G – Aroostook Region

It may be early in the ice fishing season, but anglers are taking advantage of fishing opportunities at Scopan Lake and Mud Pond in Linneus. Both were stocked heavily with brook trout earlier this season, and anglers are out enjoying the early season ice conditions.

Other ponds for those looking to get out early include Arnold Brook Lake in Presque Isle, and Hodgdon Pond in Hodgdon. Arnold Brook has excellent brook trout fishing and a two trap limit, and Hodgdon Pond is stocked with brown trout.

“We have seen a lot of people out on our early waters and they are catching fish,” said IFW fisheries biologist Frank Frost.

Many in the area, however, look forward to January 1 and the traditional opening of ice fishing season.

“Our ice conditions are pretty good, we have five to nine inches of ice on a lot of our lakes,” said Frost.

Already there is up to a half a foot of ice on portions of Long Pond and Square Pond. That’s good news for anglers, since the past several years, both of those ponds have had somewhat sketchy ice conditions on opening day.

In southern Aroostook, Nickerson Lake in New Limerick has both browns and brookies, and Drews Lake in Linneus offers both browns and splake. Anglers may also want to test Spaulding Lake in Oakfield for brook trout.

January 17, 2014

MDIF&W: Free Snowmobile Weekend Slated for January 31-Feb. 2

Snowmobilers in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont will have a chance to get outside their own state and discover new trails for free during the Reciprocal Snowmobile Weekend that will take place Jan. 31 thru February 2, 2014. This open weekend allows all legally registered Maine snowmobiles to be operated in New Hampshire and Vermont without being registered in those states.

It also means that all snowmobiles legally registered in New Hampshire and Vermont can be operated in Maine without a current Maine registration. Snowmobilers can explore more than 14,000 miles of Maine’s interconnected, groomed and marked trails.

The Maine Warden Service reminds snowmobilers to ride with caution at all times.

“With the increased traffic anticipated during the reciprocal snowmobile weekend, we remind all riders to obey laws of prudent operation, do not drink and drive, and be mindful that this is a family sport, so please keep our trails safe,” said Maine Warden Colonel Joel Wilkinson. “Pay close attention to ice conditions on all Maine waterways especially when travelling at night. We hope that enthusiasts participate in this great opportunity to discover Maine’s tremendous snowmobiling opportunity.”

Snowmobilers should stay off roads, ride at a reasonable speed, use hand signals and ride to the right.

If you need to register your snowmobile in Maine, visit: https://www10.informe.org/ifw/atv-snow/.

For information about snowmobile laws and rules in Maine, go to: http://www.eregulations.com/maine/atv/snowmobile-laws-and-rules/.

January 17, 2014

IFW Ice Fishing Report For January 17, 2014

For Immediate Release: January 17, 2014

Compiled By Mark Latti with IFW Fisheries Biologists

Region A – Sebago Lakes Region

“Overall, it’s been pretty good. We are not seeing really high catches, but we are seeing good numbers of fish,” said Francis Brautigam, IFW Fisheries Biologist who said that due to the weather, numbers of anglers may be down, but the fishing isn’t.

“The fishing has been very consistent, people are catching fish,” said Brautigam. “Since we aren’t seeing the really large catches, that tells me that the fishing will hold up longer.”

Ice conditions over the past week have gotten a little worse. The big bay on Sebago had set up with ice, but the warm weather, rain and wind broke it up and it is now wide open once again. Smaller ponds have also seen ice erode near shore, as well as wherever there is current.

Overall, Brautigam noted that he isn’t seeing as many anglers as he usually does on ponds that the department surveys, but he feels that with the early season cold spell, anglers had plenty of ponds to choose from, which spread anglers out.

Even though the big bay has reopened on Sebago, anglers are still fishing at the Station on Sebago. Brautigam said he has heard reports of some parties catching upwards of 40 lake trout. “There have been some very good catches by those who know where and how to fish Sebago,” said Brautigam.

Region B – Central and Midcoast Area

In central Maine and the Midcoast area, the fishing has been very good, but the ice is another story.

“Ice conditions are getting treacherous and anglers should use common sense. Edges are bad, old holes are widening – people need to use caution,” said IFW biologist Jason Seiders, who added things could get better quickly with this weekend’s cold weather.

“As far as fishing, we are seeing a great number of salmon and brook trout on Lake St. George. There’s a good number of 17-18 inch fish,” said Seiders.

On Maranacook, anglers are hooking up with good numbers of salmon, with most averaging about 18 inches and a few over 20. Smelt fisherman are even getting good catches of their favorite quarry.

Trout anglers are having excellent success in Arrowsic.

“On Sewall, we’ve seen good numbers of anglers and all kinds of trout. It’s been great fishing. Opening day, cars were lined up. Even this weekend, there were nine cars. We had four cars even on a Tuesday,” said Seiders.

Seiders added that anglers have also had very good success on Dutton Pond in Knox, where the department stocked three different ages of brook trout, and also some trophy brook trout and browns.

“People were out fishing at midnight on opening day,” said Seiders.

Region C -- Downeast

“We are getting a lot of calls and reports that things are going well for anglers,” said IFW fisheries biologist Greg Burr.

Burr did say that early on, with the deep snow and slush, people were having difficulty getting out to different areas of some lakes, but as conditions go better, anglers were getting out to their favorite spots.

Most places Downeast have at least 8-12 inches of ice, with some locales having more. Burr cautioned anglers that there are some treacherous areas, however, with the recent warmup.

“Anglers should use caution,” said Burr, “Old ice fishing holes and areas around rocks have opened up. Anywhere there is moving water such as saddle areas, inlets and outlets can be dangerous as the ice has deteriorated. Around shore, there are pockets of water between the shore and ice. It’s hard to get on the ice in some places, and people should use caution,” said Burr, who added that with colder weather on the way, things should get better in a hurry.

While the ice may be below average for this season, the fishing has been very good.

“People are excited on Schoodic Lake. There’s a new stocking program there and anglers are catching brook trout in the 14-16 inch range, and even some trophies in the 18-22” range. Anglers are also catching some nice salmon,” said Burr.

Tunk Lake also has been producing, with togue in the 26-30 inch range and 22-23 inch salmon being caught. Anglers have also had good success for salmon at Beech Hill Pond and Cathance Lake.

Anglers are also excited about rainbow trout In Jones Pond in Gouldsboro. People are still figure out the best way to get rainbow trout, but some are having success. There’s also some nice browns in the 16-20 range as well.

Region D – Rangeley Lakes

In Region D, anglers are out on Porter Lake in New Vineyard, Clearwater Lake in Industry and Wilson Lake.

“Anglers are catching a good number of brook trout and salmon in these lakes. Several have been good size,” says IFW Fisheries Biologist Dave Howatt.

On Webb Lake in Weld, anglers are out on the ice targeting brown trout and brook trout.

“Anglers are catching a lot of brook trout on Webb,” said Howatt. “They are not catching huge numbers of browns, but the ones they are getting are decent size.”

If anglers are looking for a new destination to ice fish, they ought to try Haley Pond in Rangeley.

“We haven’t seen a lot of use on Haley Pond, but anglers ought to check it out. We stocked 600 brook trout there this fall, and there’s still quite a few there,” said Howatt, who added not only are there a lot of brook trout in the 13-15 inch range, there is very good access as well.

Region E – Moosehead Region

Inconsistent weather has kept most anglers off Moosehead.

“On opening weekend, there weren’t many anglers in Rockwood and Lily Bay as the temperature didn’t get above ten,” said IFW fisheries biologist Tim Obrey, “and last weekend’s rain also kept people in.”

Obrey will be out on Moosehead this weekend, censusing anglers, gathering information on how successful anglers are. Creel survey censuses, surveying anglers about what they are catching and how quickly they are catching them, provides biologists with excellent information on how to better manage fisheries on a waterway.

“Anglers have been going out on foot or by ATV fishing near shore and they are having some good fishing,” said Obrey.

Many anglers are gearing up for the Moosehead Lake Derby which begins on Friday, January 24th, and Obrey expects a big crowd that weekend. The three day tournament togue tournament has a $1500 first prize, $500 second prize, and $250 for third place.

“There’s a lot of other prizes as well. Anglers can bring in their small fish and are entered into a pool for prizes, there’s also a big door prize from Indian Hill Trading Post,” said Obrey.

Anglers who are interested in participating should check out the Natural Resource Education Center facebook page at NREC Moosehead for the most up to date information.

“There hasn’t been a lot of fishing pressure on Moosehead yet this year, so the fishing should be fantastic,” added Obrey.

Region F – Penobscot Region

“We had some great ice to start the season, but with the snow and then the rain, our aerial counts of anglers have been very low due to the weather conditions,” explained Nels Kramer, IFW fisheries biologist.

IFW fishery biologists will do aerial angler counts to determine fishing pressure. The information gathered is useful when determining how many fish should be stocked in a waterway or whether to adjust regulations.

Anglers who have been out fishing are doing well.

“Matagammon and the Scraggly area has produced some good fishing for brook trout. We are also getting very good reports out of Pleasant Pond in Island Falls,” said Kramer.

Anglers out on Schoodic, Seboeis and Cold Stream Pond are also having luck with brook trout, though not as many as salmon and togue.

“A lot of people aren’t trusting the ice, so they are fishing close to shore, and they are catching primarily brook trout,” said Kramer, who added that once the weather gets colder, he expects to get a lot more reports about good fishing for salmon and togue throughout the region.

“Once everyone feels more comforatable with the ice and we get a little snow, anglers will be fishing a little further off shore, and they’ll be catching lake trout,” said Kramer.

Region G – Aroostook Region

News up in Aroostook is that anglers are catching salmon, but the weather has made travel difficult on snowmobile trails and lakes.

“There have been a lot of anglers on Long Lake, it’s pretty accessible,” explained IFW fisheries biologist Frank Frost. “We measured one salmon over seven pounds and measured several others that were in the four to five pound range. We got a lot of reports of salmon in the 18-20 inch range that were released.”

With the rain, Frost urges caution on area roads.

“The roads can be treacherous. The woods roads, camp access roads, they all are very slippery,” said Frost. “Area lakes are down to glare ice and the trails are soft with water everywhere.”

The Long Lake Ice Fishing Derby is January 25 and 26, and Frost says that is the busiest weekend of the year on the lake.

If you are looking for an area to try that hasn’t been heavily fished, Frost suggests the Musquacook lakes and the Allagash Waterway.

“The Musquacook Lake chain and the Waterway haven’t been fished a whole lot, so as soon as the roads improve, anglers should have some good luck fishing there,” said Frost.

January 21, 2014

Ice Conditions Still Questionable

The Maine Warden Service wants to remind everyone that because of the last two weeks of warm weather, ice conditions around the state can be uncertain, and to use caution.

Corporal John MacDonald says there are some waterways that have seen ice open up or become thin, and he urges caution. “It’s still a smart idea to check the ice as you go and watch out for currents that can undermine the conditions. Please – everyone – play it safe in spite of the cold weather returning.”

Rivers and streams are of most concern, where water is constantly flowing and the warm weather has helped contribute to thin ice. And even with cold weather arriving this week it will be a while before ice conditions firm up on lakes as well, as thin spots have cropped up in some unusual places according to wardens in the field.

In short, ice conditions remain questionable for much of the State of Maine and anyone venturing onto the ice, whether it be for snowmobiling, ice fishing, or just hiking or skating, is urged to use caution.

For More Information: Doug Rafferty @ 287-5248

January 22, 2014

Record Number Of Moose Hunters Successful For Second Year In A Row

AUGUSTA, Maine -- The numbers are in from this fall’s moose hunt, and 2,978 moose hunters were successful last season in their quest for a moose. The Department issued 4,110 permits this past season, with 73% of the hunters successful. The 2,978 successful hunters marks a new record, eclipsing the 2,937 of last year.

"I extend congratulations to all who took part in this year's moose hunt," said Governor Paul LePage. "Not only was it a successful hunt, it was also a safe one."

“Maine has a thriving moose population,” said Chandler Woodcock, Commissioner for the Department of Inland fisheries and Wildlife. “The moose hunt allows us to regulate the moose population in Maine, and it gives hunters the opportunity at the hunt of a lifetime.

Maine currently is in the fourth year of conducting aerial surveys to estimate moose abundance and population composition (composition of male/females; adults/calves). The aerial surveys provide data used to estimate the moose population and health of the herd.

“Maine has a healthy and strong moose population and has the highest density of moose in the lower 48 states,” says Lee Kantar, Maine’s moose biologist.

Biologists are set to establish moose permit numbers for the fall 2014 moose season. The number of moose permits available are based upon population numbers and the composition of the moose population in wildlife management districts, as well as the population goals and objectives for that district.

January 27, 2014

Sinclair Snowmobiling Incident

SINCLAIR (T17 R4 WELS) – January 26, 2014: At approximately 0106 on the morning of Sunday, January 26, the State Police barracks in Houlton received a call reporting two snowmobilers had driven their snowmobiles into open water in Sinclair. Caleb Fernald (24) and Jake Deschaine (25) were each operating a snowmobile when they entered into the open water.

The open water is the thoroughfare between Long Lake and Mud Lake and is typically open water throughout the winter. The depth of the water where the snowmobiles entered is approximately 3-5 feet deep. Both snowmobile operators were able to crawl onto the ice and walk to a near-by residence where assistance was rendered.

Wardens were less than five minutes from the incident and were on scene shortly after the call. Both men are from the Brewer area and not very familiar with the geography of Long Lake. Both snowmobiles were still in the water at daylight and arrangements are being made by the owners to have them removed. Both men were charged with Operating a Snowmobile Under the Influence.

(Attached photo courtesy of the Maine Warden Service. Photo shows both submerged snowmobiles with only the windshield visible.)

January 29, 2014

Reports back to the Legislature

Soft Plastic Lures Study & Report back to the legislature may be found at: http://www.maine.gov/ifw/aboutus/index.html

January 29, 2014

IFW Radio-Collar Moose Research Project Begins

For Immediate Release: January 29, 2014

IFW Radio-Collar Moose Research Project Begins

AUGUSTA, Maine – This morning, the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife embarked on an intensive 5-year moose research project that will give department biologists an even greater understanding of the health of the Maine moose population, including such keys as adult and calf survival rates and reproductive rates.

“Maine’s moose population is healthy and strong,” said Lee Kantar, the department’s moose biologist. “This research project is an important tool in managing Maine’s moose population, and will benefit all who enjoy Maine’s moose.”

A trained crew that specializes in capturing and collaring large animals is utilizing a helicopter, cartridge-launched nets and immobilization darts to capture and collar female moose and calves in an area located in and around Jackman and Greenville (centered in Wildlife Management District 8).

The plan calls for the crew to capture and collar 30 adult female moose and 30 calves. This area of western Maine was chosen since it is within the core moose range of the state, and earlier research shows that this area already has a lower cow to calf ratio than other parts of the state. The geography and winter conditions of the area are also representative of much of Maine’s moose habitat.

“Capturing more information on female moose and their young is the key to improving our moose management,” said Kantar.

Aero Tech, Inc. specializes in this type of capture and collaring, and recently completed a similar job in New Hampshire. The crew, based out of New Mexico, consists of a team of four, with each having a specialized role in the process.

Kantar, with the assistance of the Maine Forest Service Air Operations Branch, has been scouting and marking GPS coordinates within WMD 8 already. This information will assist Aero Tech in finding moose in this area.

“The Maine Forest Service and their pilots have been extremely helpful in providing flights to locate moose, as well as assisting us with our moose population surveys over the last 4 winters,” said Kantar.

Once collared, the GPS-enabled collars will transmit twice a day, providing biologists the ability to track moose movements. The GPS collars are expected to transmit movement signals for four years. If there is no movement for a certain period of time, the collar transmits a mortality signal, and biologists will then travel by foot to investigate the cause of death.

“Once we receive a mortality signal, we will locate the dead moose within 24 hours,” said Kantar. Where possible, the entire body will be removed to conduct a necropsy in the lab in cooperation with the University of Maine-Animal Health Lab, but if this is not possible, a field necropsy will be conducted.

In May, as females prepare to give birth, movements will also be closely monitored. Once females give birth to calves, biologists will keep a close eye on the young calves.

“After birth, we will use walk-in surveys to monitor calving, as this will give us more information on behavior and mortality,” said Kantar.

This will be the first year of the monitoring study. Additional moose and calves will be captured and collared next year.

This survey is in addition to the research that is already being conducted on Maine’s moose. IFW utilizes aerial flights to assess population and the composition of the moose herd. During the moose hunting season, biologists also examine teeth, the number of ticks a moose carries, and in some cases, examine ovaries to determine reproductive rates.

This will be the second time that moose have been radio-collared in Maine. In the early 1980’s, moose were radio-collared tin order to better understand the range of the moose population.

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February 1, 2014

IFW Ice Fishing Report For February 1, 2014

Compiled By Mark Latti with IFW Fisheries Biologists

Region A Sebago Lakes Region

January's mid-month thaw is but a memory and ice conditions are very good throughout the region. On Sebago, the big bay has set up several times, only to break up during the day when wind has picked up.

I think if we get a period of wind-free weather, it could set up pretty quickly, said IFW fisheries biologist Francis Brautigam.

The rest of Sebago is in pretty good shape, said Brautigam, from the station up to the southern end of Frye Island to Jordan Bay. Most of the area has 8-12 inches of ice. There still are some thin areas, so anglers should always use caution when fishing Sebago.

Fishing for togue on Sebago has been inconsistent. The fish are there, anglers with electronics are seeing them, but they aren't always biting, says Brautigam. One other thing they are noticing is that these fish are sometimes suspended off the bottom. That's when a fish finder will really help you since that can be an issue when you are fishing in 160 feet of water.

Brautigam noted that while togue fishing may be inconsistent, it is an unusually good year for cusk. Generally, the cusk fishing picks up around presidents day after cusk have spawned, but anglers are getting good catches now. Fishing for cusk is more productive at night, but they are still getting some during the day.

Region B Central and Midcoast Area

If you are looking to take a child fishing in the midcoast, this is a great weekend to do it, as Wiley Pond, a small 20 acre pond in Boothbay, opens today (February 1). This is a kid's only pond, open only to those under 16, has a two trap limit with a no live fish as bait regulation.

We put a lot of trout in there, including a variety of sizes, said Wes Ashe, IFW fish biologist. Most trout are in the 12-16 inch range, but there are many that are 18 inches and above.

Ashe also noted that this season, he is seeing a lot of people out panfishing for species such as white perch.

A lot of people are out jigging, Maranacook has nice perch, Messalonskee too, said Ashe. Long Pond in Belgrade is a good choice as well because it gets very little ice fishing pressure.

While the brook trout fishing in some of the smaller ponds have cooled off, there's still some nice fish to be had, particularly on some of the larger ponds.

The brook trout and salmon fishing has held up on Lake St. George, said Ashe, and the salmon we do see there are pretty darn nice.

Region C -- Downeast

Ice conditions are good throughout the region, as most areas have 12-16 inches of ice. West Grand Lake opened today February 1, a date that every ice angler in the region looks forward to.

Fishing should be terrific for salmon and togue, with the chance of a togue at over ten pounds, said Gregg Burr, IFW Fisheries Biologist. There is also a pretty good chance of catching a whitefish. They are throughout the lake, but more are found in the Junior Bay area.

Travel on and around the lake should also be good.

There's a good 15 inches of ice or more on West Grand. Traveling conditions are patches of ice and snow, with crusty snow in the woods. People will be able to travel around easily, said Burr.

Anglers interested in ice fishing tournaments should get ready. The Mount Desert Island ice fishing derby is February 1. It is hosted by the Tremont Elementary School and helps the department thin out the lake trout population on Jordan Pond, but also includes all legal waters on MDI.

Next week is the G&M Family Market derby which includes all legal waters in Hancock County. This is a two day tournament, with a weigh-in each day at the G&M store in Holden. The derby focuses on lake trout, particularly thinning out the lake trout population in Phillips, Beech Hill, Branch and Tunk Lakes. There is a cumulative prize for the largest combined weight of lake trout. Burr said Branch Lake if you are looking to catch a lot of togue.

Region D Rangeley Lakes

Ice anglers have been busy on Clearwater and Porter Lakes in Region D.

Fishing has been good for togue recently, said IFW fisheries biologist Dave Howatt, People were getting brook trout earlier in the season, and they are still getting some salmon.

Fishing has also picked up on the Chain of Ponds, located on Route 27 near the Maine/Canada border.

Anglers are enjoying some good salmon fishing, with the salmon bigger than they've been in the recent past, said Howatt. Howatt credits the new fishway at Chain of Ponds, which allows salmon to migrate into better habitat that allows them to grow at a faster rate as juveniles.

When we trapnetted the pond, we were seeing salmon up to 17 inches, said Howatt, who said anglers are now catching some of those 16 and 17 inch salmon.

Howatt also said that anglers were still catching brook on Haley Pond in Rangeley, even during Snodeo weekend.

I saw two groups catching fish while others were snowmobiling on the pond, said Howatt. We are not seeing a lot of fisherman up there, but what groups we are seeing are doing quite well. There's fast fishing there for both trout and yellow perch.

Region E Moosehead Region By IFW Fisheries Biologist Tim Obrey

It was another windy and wild weekend on Maine's largest lake for the 7th annual Moosehead Lake Togue Derby. Cold temps and a stiff wind challenged anglers as they vied for top billing on the leader board. Anglers reported having some good catches on Friday and Saturday, but the action slowed on Sunday as the wind switched to the northwest.

The winner for the best togue of the weekend went to Warren Fitzgerald of Dexter with a 6.60 lb 28 ¼ inch fish taken in the Rockwood area. Second place went to Chris Young of Greenville with a 3.47 lb togue and 3rd place went to Sandra Cooper of St.Albans with a 3.37 lb fish.

The grand door prize was donated by Indian Hill Trading Post and consisted of a pack basket, ice traps, camouflage jet sled with hitch and cover, and a new gas ice auger. Long-time Moosehead angler John McLellan of Lily Bay was the lucky winner.

There were also numerous fish pool prizes which were drawn from tickets anglers received for registering their smaller togue. These prizes include a $250 check from the Natural Resource Education Center at Moosehead (NREC), Irving Gas Cards and many other gift certificates and sporting good items donated from the local businesses in Greenville and Rockwood.

The results for the derby and the fish pool winners will be posted on the NREC Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/NRECmoosehead) and the Moosehead Region Chamber of Commerce (http://www.mooseheadlake.org/) sometime in the next day or two. Winners can pick up their prizes at the Chamber of Commerce office located in the Visitors Center on Rte 15 in Greenville. Congratulations to all the winners and a big thank you to all the sponsors!

Region F Penobscot Region

Things have certainly turned the corner in this region, said IFW fisheries biologist Nels Kramer. All the crappy weather and poor ice is gone. Conditions are as good as it gets for travel on the ice with 15-20 inches of with decent snow cover.

Anglers are getting out on the ice in the Penobscot region. Kramer said that Schoodic has been productive lately, with good catches of lake trout, brook trout and some nice salmon.

One angler caught an 8-pound salmon, said Kramer, and some nice togue as well. Shacks are set up in the middle looking for togue, and they've had some success jigging. Anglers are using a variety of jigs, such as weeping willows, Kastmasters, Swedish Pimples, and jigs with minnows, talk to six guys about what the best jig is, and you will get six different answers, said Kramer.

Anglers are also getting excited about the 52nd annual Schoodic Lake Ice Fishing Derby, which is slated for February 15 and 16th, and also includes Seboeis and Ebemee Lakes. It is one of the oldest derbies in the state.

There are some great prizes, and the organizers are very cooperative with IFW with the prize structure and how the derby is set up, said Kramer. There are prizes for biggest fish in several categories and also some great prizes that are drawn for anyone who registers a fish into the derby. For more info, check out http://www.trcmaine.org/fishingderby.

Region G Aroostook Region

In The County, the cold weather has firmed up ice conditions. Traveling is a lot easier, and the fishing has been pretty good, according to IFW fisheries biologist Jeremiah Wood.

Splake fishing has been very good on Scopan, said Wood, referring to the lake formerly known as Squapan. It's a good fishery but it's a quiet fishery, not many people take advantage of it. Wood also noted that the smelt are biting in the Walker Siding area of the lake.

Anglers are also getting smelt on Eagle and Saint Froid Lakes. Bigger fish such as togue are coming a little slower, although there were several five pounders and a seven pounder as well.

Activity on Glazier Lake has also picked up. Poor ice conditions kept most angler off the lake early in the season, but the ice is solid on this border lake, and last week, IFW fisheries biologist Derrick Cote talked to 38 people fishing Glazier.

Wood also noted that it has been fairly quiet on the Allagash Waterway for ice fisherman. Poor weather was a factor for both ice and travel conditions, but it should still be pretty good fishing due to light fishing pressure early in the season.

Search in Porter

: A search for a woman from Porter has ended. Lillian Larose, 67, from Bickford Pond Road in Porter left her residence at 11:00 this morning to go skiing near her home. When she didn’t return as expected, a friend called authorities. Game wardens found her alive and well minutes ago. She is being evaluated by medical personnel at this time but appears to be in good health.

February 5, 2014

Search in Porter

A search for a woman from Porter has ended. Lillian Larose, 67, from Bickford Pond Road in Porter left her residence at 11:00 this morning to go skiing near her home. When she didn’t return as expected, a friend called authorities. Game wardens found her alive and well minutes ago. She is being evaluated by medical personnel at this time but appears to be in good health.

February 6, 2014

Several Charged in Wildlife Enforcement Case

ALLAGASH, MAINE: On the evening of February 5, 2014, the Maine Warden Service executed six search warrants as a result of an ongoing investigation into illegal hunting activity in the town of Allagash. Five of the warrants were in Allagash and one was in Palermo. A number of suspects were charged with various hunting violations and two subjects were arrested and taken to the Aroostook County Jail.

The Warden Service was assisted by several Maine State Troopers during the execution of the warrants. Maine Game Warden Lt. Dan Scott commented that the suspects charged in this investigation are intentional wildlife violators who display a complete disregard for our fish and game laws. He added that their current and past poaching practices have undoubtedly had an impact on local wildlife resources. He commented that the Warden Service has been working with the Aroostook County District Attorney’s Office on the investigation and more charges are likely to be filed.

Below is a summary of charges filed:

Carter McBreairty (age 57) of Allagash

Hunting Deer After Having Killed One (Class D crime)

Kim Hafford (53) of Allagash

False Registration of Deer (Class E crime)

Jess McBreairty (50) of Allagash

Hunting with a Suspended License (Class D crime) Arrested for a violation of bail (Class D crime)

Reid J. Caron (36) of Allagash

Arrested on a warrant for night hunting moose (Class D crime)

Hope Kelly (63) of Allagash

Possession of Moose Killed at Night (Class D crime) Possession of an Unregistered Moose (Class E crime)

Gregory Hughes (63) of Allagash

Possession of a Firearm by a Felon (Class C crime)

Arlo Caron (73) of Allagash

Unlawful Possession of Gift Deer (Class E crime)

Gerald M. Pollard (57) of Palermo

Illegal Possession of Moose (Class E crime)

February 14, 2014

Free Fishing Days Are This Weekend

AUGUSTA, Maine -- This weekend, February 15 and 16, you can fish for free on waterways throughout the state of Maine. Any person, except those whose license has been revoked or suspended, may fish on Saturday, February 15 and Sunday February 16 without a license. All other fishing regulations apply.

For many ice anglers, ice fishing derbies and tournaments are a fun way to spend the day ice fishing. There are many ice fishing derbies being held throughout the state this weekend. Please visit http://www.maine.gov/ifw/fishing/derbies_tournaments/derbies.htm for a list of ice fishing derbies near you. -30-

February 22, 2014

Overnight Search in Eddington

Last night the Maine Warden Service responded to Eddington to assist in the rescue of 3 Boy Scouts as well as two Boy Scout leaders who were stranded on the side of Black Cap Mountain. Earlier in the day, the Scouts had gone on a hike from Camp Roosevelt to Black Cap Mountain on what is locally referred to as the Blue Trail. After reaching the top of Blackcap Mountain they started back toward camp. While coming down the mountain they mistakenly ventured off the trail. They continued downhill searching for the trail but got to a point where they were stranded, unable to go any further down or back up from where they came.

Once the Boy Scouts became overdue from their return time, Scout leaders Tom Turlo and Jim Collins went looking for them. They eventually located the three boys on the side of the mountain but they themselves became stranded and called 911 at approximately 7:30 P.M. Six game wardens and several firefighters from both the Holden and Eddington Fire Departments responded to the scene. It was quickly determined that professional climbers would be required to conduct the rescue. Chris Weibusch, Al Simons, and Steve Hudson of MDI Search and Rescue as well Jon Tierney of Acadia Mountain Guides were called to the scene.

In a joint rescue effort, three game wardens made it to the stranded party after coming from the top of the mountain down to their location. They found that the two adults were at the highest elevation with two of the boys below them and a third boy at a lower elevation. All the Scouts were within voice contact of each other. Fire department personnel and another game warden responded to the bottom of the mountain and the warden was able to make his way up to the two boys at the middle elevation.

Everyone stayed in place until the climbers could be ferried into the scene. They soon were able to climb up to the boys and then began to methodically lower everyone one at a time until all were safe. The last person was lowered off the mountain at approximately 1:00 A.M. this morning. The Boy Scouts were evaluated by medical personnel on scene. Other than being cold they suffered no injuries and did not require further treatment.

The Maine Warden Service wishes to recognize the outstanding rescue efforts by the members of MDI Search and Rescue as well as John Tierney.

February 23, 2014

Fatal Snowmobile Crash in Farmington

FARMINGTON – SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 23: At 11:09 A.M., The Maine Warden Service investigated a fatal snowmobile crash that occurred on a snowmobile trail in Farmington off the Holly Road. Richard Keith Horton, age 50, of Delran, New Jersey was snowmobiling with two friends when his machine struck a tree on the edge of the trail. Horton was pronounced dead on scene by medical personnel.

Wardens reported that neither speed nor alcohol was contributing factors in this incident however operator inexperience and riding in an unfamiliar were. Horton was operating a borrowed snowmobile. Maine Game Wardens, Farmington Fire & Rescue, State Police Troopers, as well as equipment provided by the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office were on scene assisting with the investigation. The incident remains under investigation and will be reviewed by the Franklin County District Attorney’s Office.

This is Maine’s third snowmobile related fatality this season. The first fatal crash occurred in Byron on January 31. The second fatal crash took place in Dixfield on February 1 on a public way and was investigated by the Maine State Police.

PHILLIPS – SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 23, 2014: At 12:39 PM, the Maine Warden Service investigated a personal injury snowmobiling incident that occurred on a snowmobile trail in Phillips on Interconnecting Trail System (ITS) 89 off Reeds Mill Road. A 23-year-old-male from Lunenburg Massachusetts rolled his snowmobile. The operator was reported unconscious and rescue personnel responded along with Maine Game Wardens. The wardens reported that the male subject had recovered upon arrival and only minor head injury had occurred. Alcohol was not a factor. The wardens reported operator inexperience and oncoming traffic were contributing factors in this incident. No charges were filed.

February 24, 2014

Missing Snowmobilers in Greenville

The Maine Warden Service is seeking your help in helping locate two missing snowmobilers. Missing are Lloyd M. Blanchard (46) and Wendy Blanchard (54) both from State Street in Brewer.

The couple left the Kineo View Motel in Greenville yesterday morning (February 23) between 8:00 and 9:00 AM. They were due back yesterday afternoon at 2:00 PM. They were both operating individual machines. Both are 2007 Arctic Cat snowmobiles; one is black the other color is unknown at this time.

DESCRIPTIONS: (Please see attached recent photo)

Lloyd M. Blanchard, Jr. 108 State Street Brewer, Maine 6’2”, 210, Brown hair and Brown eyes

Wendy C. Lainez-Blanchard Height: 5’7”, 140 lbs. Blond hair and Brown eyes

*Those with any information as to their location are urged to call the Orono Public Safety Dispatch Center at 1-800-432-7381.

February 24, 2014

Located: Greenville couple

The Maine Warden Service reports that Lloyd and Wendy Blanchard have been located alive. The couple stayed the night at Northern Outdoors Lodge in The Forks last evening. A miscommunication with the motel owner at Kineo View had them due back yesterday instead of today. Family and friends witnessed the news reports today at noon and made phone calls to advise both he Blanchard’s and the Maine Warden Service of their location.

March 4, 2014

Fatal Snowmobile Crash in Dover-Foxcroft

At 0819am this morning, the Piscataquis County Sheriff’s Office received a call from a passerby of a possible snowmobile crash at the Piscataquis County Fairgrounds located in Dover-Foxcroft, Maine. Several Dover Foxcroft Police Department members responded to the scene and located a deceased snowmobiler. The snowmobiler has been identified as 48 year old James Curtis of Dover-Foxcroft. Curtis was operating a 1999 Polaris XC 700 snowmobile alone while inside the fairgrounds when he struck a rope and was ejected from the snowmobile. The Fairgrounds property is posted to no snowmobiling. The crash is being investigated by Game Wardens Chad Robertson and Tom McKenney. At this time alcohol does not appear to be a contributing factor but further tests will be conducted to confirm this. The crash site is being mapped by Deputy Ed TouLause who is also Crash Reconstructionist. The Maine Warden Service was assisted by the Dover-Foxcroft Police Department.

March 17, 2014

IFW To Hold Informational Meetings about Eagle Lake and St. Froid Lake Fisheries

Anglers interested in learning more about the Eagle Lake and St. Froid Lake fisheries should make plans to attend the two public informational meetings that will focus on each lake. Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife regional fisheries biologists will present information on Eagle Lake and St. Froid Lake separately on the following dates:

Eagle Lake Fisheries Forum Tuesday April 8, 2014, 6:30 p.m. Eagle Lake Elementary School

St. Froid Lake Fisheries Forum Tuesday, April 1, 2014, 6:30 p.m. Winterville Town Office

IFW Regional Fisheries Biologist Frank Frost will lead a presentation focused on the current status of the coldwater fisheries in each lake. Frost will share biological data collected over the years, and explain how and why the data is collected. Frost is the lead fisheries biologist in the IFW Region G Ashland office.

The meetings are designed to gather more information from the public concerning these popular salmon, togue and brook trout fisheries. These are not public hearings concerning proposed rule changes, rather an opportunity for anglers and department staff to learn more about the fisheries and their use by the public.

After the presentation, there will be a question and answer period in an open forum. Along with Frost, other IFW fisheries biologists will be on hand to discuss questions about the Eagle and St. Froid Lake fisheries.

March 22, 2014

Fatal Snowmobile Crash in Hermon

Last evening (March 22, 2014) at 9:15 PM, Maine game wardens investigated a fatal snowmobile crash in the town of Hermon. Austin Gardiner, age 41, from Hampden, Maine died when the snowmobile he was operating struck several trees near the shoreline of Hermon Pond. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Gardiner was riding with a 15-year-old male who was on a separate snowmobile following behind him. Gardiner was operating a 2002 Polaris Indy Edge 500. Game wardens say speed and alcohol appear to be contributing factors in this crash. Assisting with this incident were Hampden Police, Hampden Rescue, and Hermon Rescue This is Maine’s sixth snowmobiling fatality this season.

  1. January 31 - Byron
  2. February 1 – Dixfield (occurred on a public way: investigated by Maine State Police)
  3. February 23 - Farmington
  4. March 4 – Dover Foxcroft
  5. March 7 – New Portland (occurred on a public way: investigated by Somerset County Sheriff’s Office)
  6. March 22 - Hermon

March 27, 2014

Deadline Approaching for Maine Moose Lottery

For Immediate Release: March 27, 2014

Deadline Approaching for Maine Moose Lottery

The deadline to apply for the Maine Moose Lottery is fast approaching, and hunters who want the chance to hunt moose in Maine need to mail or deliver their paper application by April 1, 2014. Online applicants have until 11:59 on May 14, 2014 to apply for the moose lottery.

Online and paper applications are available at www.mefishwildlife.com. Hunters can print and mail their paper application, deliver it to IFW headquarters at 284 State Street in Augusta or can easily apply directly online.

This year, the department intends to issue 4,085 moose permits in 25 different wildlife management districts that encompass over 21,000 square miles.

“Maine’s moose population is healthy and strong,” said Lee Kantar, the department’s moose biologist. The department utilizes several different methods to monitor the moose population, including aerial flights to assess population and the composition of the moose herd. During the moose hunting season, biologists also examine teeth, the number of ticks a moose carries, and in some cases, examine ovaries to determine reproductive rates.

The department also recently began an intensive 5-year radio-collar moose research project that will give department biologists an even greater understanding of the health of the Maine moose population, including such keys as adult and calf survival rates and reproductive rates.

Maine’s moose hunt is segmented into four different seasons, with the first season beginning on September 22, and the final season ending on November 29.

Maine’s moose hunt is extremely popular. Last year, over 55,000 hunters applied for a chance to hunt moose in Maine. Long-time lottery applicants who continue to apply have a better chance at winning due to changes in the lottery implemented in 2012.

Bonus points are awarded for each consecutive year the applicant has applied for the lottery since 1998 without being selected. Each bonus point gives the applicant an additional chance in the drawing.

Bonus points are now earned at the rate of one per year for years one to five, two per year for years six to 10, three per year for years 11 to 15 and 10 per year for years 16 and beyond.

Since 2011, applicants can skip a year and not lose their bonus points. So if you applied in 2012 but not in 2013, you still have your points if you apply in 2014.

This year’s moose permit lottery winners will be announced on June 14 at the Moose lottery festival at the University of Maine Presque Isle.

March 28, 2014

Ice Anglers Can Continue To Ice Fish On Many Waterways After March 31

AUGUSTA, Maine -- While many Mainers may be lamenting the length of this year’s winter, ice fisherman should be relieved to know that come April 1, the traditional start to Maine’s open water fishing season, you can still legally ice fish on many waterways throughout the state.

No matter what the weather was like, ice anglers used to have to put away their ice fishing traps and ice augers come April 1. But thanks to Old Man Winter’s refusal to succumb to spring, as well as the Department’s efforts to streamline Maine’s fishing laws and expand opportunities, you can ice fish on many lakes and ponds as long as there is ice that is safe to use.

In 2010, the Department went to year-round fishing laws throughout much of the state, giving anglers more waters and longer seasons to fish while simplifying Maine’s fishing law book.

So while others may debate the pros and cons of climate change, don’t put your ice fishing gear away just yet.,Go out and check the safety of the ice on your favorite pond, and enjoy another outing on the ice.

In Southern, Central and Downeast Maine, if lakes or ponds are open to ice fishing and open water fishing under general law fishing provisions, anglers can continue to ice fish, unless that lake or pond has a special rule specifying otherwise.

In Northern and Western Maine, you can ice fish in April on lakes and ponds that are designated with the “A” season in the lawbook.

Please, always check the safety of the ice before heading out by chiseling or drilling holes in the ice and measuring. Remember, springtime ice can often be softer than ice in mid-winter, and areas near inlets and outlets tend to open up earlier than other parts of lakes and ponds.

Also, ice fishing shacks still must be removed from all lakes and ponds by April 1, but portable shelters are allowed.

For detailed information on where you can and can’t fish, please consult the 2014 fishing law book, which is available online at www.mefishwildlife.com or at many locations where fishing licenses are sold.

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April 7, 2014

Maine Wildlife Park Opening For 2014 Season

The Maine Wildlife Park, located on Route 26 in Gray, will open for the 2014 season on Saturday, April 19th at 9:30am – just in time for school vacation! Even though there is still some snow on the ground and it’s a bit muddy, the wildlife park will welcome visitors a bit later than usual, due to heavy snow cover, on the 3rd Saturday of April this year. Visitors will be happy to note that for the 6th year in a row, the park’s admission fees remain the same!

Many families cannot wait to visit their favorite animals after a long winter, but close to 13,000 fans have ‘kept in touch’ with our wildlife via Facebook over the winter, ‘liking’ and commenting on photos posted of our wildlife as they adapted to winter snow and cold. But everyone’s ready to see the moose, bears, eagles, owls, foxes and more again in person!

The Wildlife Park has a variety of NEW things to see and do this year! A brand new native snake and amphibian exhibit is taking shape in the Visitor’s Center using the space formerly occupied by the restrooms. There are new games, puzzles and exhibits in there as well. The turtle ponds have been completely reconstructed to ameliorate leaking ponds and predation. The Friends of the Wildlife Park are funding the construction of a new lynx exhibit, on which work has already begun. The park also has a new resident, an unreleasable merlin, which can be viewed in the raptor exhibits.

New events are planned for several weekends beginning Saturday May 3, starting with a snake and turtle event. Raptor programs, an LLBean Camping Demo, a Tailgate Yard Sale, Summer Solstice Farmers Market, ‘Meet Donn Fendler Day’, Fish on Ice, Wildlife Encounters and Enchanted Forests will all be new and different! Favorites like Mad Science, Pow Wow, Chainsaw Artists, Northwoods Law Day, Rick Charette and Halloweenfest will all be back as well. Plan to purchase your family pass now so you don’t miss any of the fun; and be sure to pick up an Event Calendar! Keep up with current photos and stories on Facebook too.

The Maine Wildlife Park is owned and operated by the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. The park exists to promote an understanding and awareness of the wildlife, conservation and habitat protection programs and projects of MDIFW.

The Maine Wildlife Park has over 30 species of native wildlife on display, plus wildlife gardens, nature trails, a fish hatchery and other interactive exhibits and displays. The park is open daily from April 19th through November 11th from 9:30am-4:30pm; visitors must leave the premises by 6:00pm. Admission to the park is free for ages 3 and under; $5.00 ages 4-12; $7.00 for adults, and $5.00 for seniors. Groups of 15 or more are $3.50 per person. Bring a picnic and spend the day! Family and Community Season Passes are available, and are an incredible bargain for families and groups that visit the park several times over the course of the summer. Remember that Family Passes make a great gift; and are available for purchase in the Department of Fish & Wildlife’s online store @ www.mefishwildlife.com. For more information about any of these programs, please call the Maine Wildlife Park at
207-657-4977; or visit us online at www.mainewildlifepark.com , www.mefishwildlife.com or on Facebook!

GEMS OF ROUTE 26: Rich in culture, ecology and history, the Maine Wildlife Park, Shaker Village, Poland Spring Inn and Resort, Poland Spring Preservation Society, Poland Spring Preservation Park, Harvest Hill Farm and the grounds of McLaughlin Garden truly are “The Gems of 26.” Visitors are encouraged to go and experience the park, as well as five other unique sites -- all less than an hour from each other on the picturesque Route 26 in Western Maine. Route 26 connects Western Maine to the rest of the State via Maine Turnpike’s exit 63 in Gray; meandering through gorgeous countryside and boasting culturally, historically, and ecologically significant attractions. Just thirty minutes north of Portland, a family can spend a day or several days visiting all five important and interesting destinations for very little money – a true value. www.gemsof26.com

April 11, 2014

Chickadee Checkoff Helps With Release Of Golden Eagle In Western Maine

NORTHERN OXFORD COUNTY, Maine -- A young Golden Eagle was released in northern Oxford County last week after 3 months of clinical care and rehabilitation at Avian Haven Wildlife Rehabilitation Center in Freedom, Maine. Biologists from the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife and New Hampshire Audubon Society joined Avian Haven staff and local cooperators to release the eagle. This is the first successful release into the wild among only 6 Golden Eagles physically recovered in Maine during the last 40 years. In contrast, over 2,500 different Bald Eagles were handled in the same time period by biologists, wardens, and cooperators. The bird was found in a weakened, flightless state near Boothbay, ME on December 29. Blood tests revealed symptoms of anemia and elevated lead levels.
Care for this golden eagle and many other species with voluntary contributions such as the “Chickadee Checkoff” on individual tax returns and a portion of proceeds from the loon and sportsman’s license plate. These voluntary contributions are used as matching funds to leverage federal monies that are only available with matching funds. Look for the “Chickadee Checkoff” on Schedule CP of your tax reform if you have not yet filed your Maine income tax returns! For more on the Chickadee Checkoff, please visit: http://www.maine.gov/ifw/wildlife/support/chickadeecheckoff.htm For more on golden eagles in Maine, please visit: http://www.maine.gov/ifw/wildlife/species/birds/goldeneagle.html

April 16, 2014

Caswell, Maine Death

CASWELL, MAINE - On April 15, 2014, at approximately 9:20 PM, a report was received that Paul Oliver (age 74) of Caswell was missing after attempting to move his truck through a flooded portion of Oliver Road in Caswell. Oliver had moved his truck across the flooded dirt roadway and attempted to walk back across the flooded road to his residence.

The water was completely covering the roadway and flowing with considerable force. Oliver apparently stepped into the opening of a large culvert that was covered by water and was swept downstream. Oliver’s body was located by wardens at approximately 5:35 this morning approximately 20 yards downstream of the road. Game wardens were assisted by members of Limestone Fire Department.

(Photos courtesy of the Maine Warden Service: Photo 1 from left to right - Wardens Gary Sibley, Ryan Fitzpatrick, and Alan Dudley.)

April 16, 2014

Swan Island: Pearl of Merrymeeting Bay: Illustrated and Described

On Thursday May 1, 2014 from 6:15pm – 7:30pm; upstairs at The Old Goat, 33 Main Street, Richmond; join ‘place based’ historian Jay Robbins of Richmond as he shares gleanings from over 35 years of research on Swan Island, that 4 mile by ¾ mile island located in the Kennebec River between Richmond and Dresden at the head of Merrymeeting Bay. Once a Native American stronghold, the Island appears on every early map of Maine from the time of first European contacts. Soon it was resettled by the ‘New Peoples’.

Jay will explore the 17th and 18th century history of Swan Island, including a close look at the Noble/Whidden “Massacre” of 1750. You’ll see how the Pejepscot and Kennebec Proprietors finally settled their competing claims for ownership, and how the Island later became a summer “resort.” The Gardiner/Dumaresq house (c. 1763) is perhaps the oldest surviving house in New England built specifically as a summer home. Soon the Island grew into the Town of Perkins (inc. 1847) with a population of almost 100. It was an Island of subsistence farmers who supplemented income through fishing and shipbuilding. Then the ice industry came to the Island. After that, decline. In 1918, when there were not enough people on Island to fill the required Town offices, the Town of Perkins disorganized and became the unorganized territory of Perkins Township.

Folks tried sheep farming and fox farming, but with the opening of the Richmond-Dresden Bridge in 1930, ferry service ended and the last of the Island residents moved off Island. In the early 1940s what is now Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife purchased the Island. It was improved for migratory waterfowl habitat, a deer repellant was developed to keep those pesky critters out of farmer’s fields, and one of Maine’s first moose was raised in captivity. Jerry the (Swan Island) Moose was moved to the Bronx Zoo in 1948.

Today, Swan Island is still a place of magic. Now known as the Steve Powell Wildlife Management Area, tours and camping opportunities await those who visit. Jay will discuss State and volunteer group efforts to save the remaining historic buildings and to keep the agrarian landscape of this National Register of Historic Places site open for public enjoyment.

SWAN ISLAND GENERAL INFORMATION Swan Island, known for its abundant and often quite visible wildlife, is actually an abandoned 18th and 19th century town called Perkins Township, and has long been recognized for its varied and interesting history. There are five standing homes that date back to the 1700s. The wildlife management area, about 1,755 acres in size, is located in the Kennebec River between the towns of Richmond and Dresden. The Island's public visitation season generally runs from May 15th through Labor Day (with limited access through the fall). There are ten Adirondack type shelters available for overnight use; picnic facilities for day use; modern bathroom facilities at campground; and drinking water.

If you wish to visit the Swan Island Wildlife Management Area, you must make reservations for the ferry and/or campground. You may access the island, for day use, via personal canoe or kayak without a reservation; admission fees may be deposited in iron rangers. All visitor fees are as follows: day use, 3 years and under – free; 4 years and older - $ 8.00. For overnight camping, 3 years and under – free; 4 years and older - $14.00. Please visit our website at www.maine.gov/swanisland for more information and details about the island; or like us on Facebook!

Swan Island, the Steve Powell Wildlife Management Area, is owned and maintained by the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. Its operation and maintenance are supported by your fees as well as revenue from the sale of hunting and fishing licenses, and federal monies under the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Program.

April 17, 2014

Northern Maine Spring Turkey Season Suspended Due To Effects of Severe Winter

For Immediate Release: April 17, 2014

AUGUSTA, Maine -- Due to the impact of this year’s severe winter in northern Maine, the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and wildlife has suspended the spring wild turkey hunt in portions of northern Maine, specifically Wildlife Management Districts 1-6. The spring turkey season will remain unchanged in all other areas of the state.

“Late winter can be the most critical period for wild turkeys, and unfortunately March of 2014 has been challenging for turkeys in Northern Maine,” said Chandler Woodcock, Commissioner, Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. In fact, the National Weather Service ranked March 2014 in northern Maine as the third snowiest March on record.

“This winter has taken a toll on younger wild turkeys, including hens. A spring hunting season in addition to the severe winter could impact not only this turkey season, but future seasons as well,” said Woodcock.

IFW wildlife biologists believe the northern Maine wild turkey population has potentially sustained above-average winter mortality rates. Perhaps more significantly, much of northern Maine is still blanketed in snow.

The wild turkey population in northern Maine is more vulnerable to severe winters as it is not as well established as wild turkeys in other parts of the state.

“Wild turkeys breed in April and May, and there is still over two feet of snow in the northern Maine woods, and 80 percent of our fields are snow-covered, making nesting conditions extremely difficult for turkeys,” said IFW Wildlife Biologist Rich Hoppe.

Wild turkeys nest on the ground at the base of trees or near brush piles. The snow, excessive water and the late spring will delay nesting as well as impacting overall nesting success.

Wild turkeys had vanished from the Maine landscape, but a wild turkey reintroduction program initiated in the mid-1970s in York County by the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife began the process of restoring wild turkeys throughout their historical range in Maine.

Careful stewardship and partnerships with outdoor groups and landowners has expanded the range of wild turkeys in Maine, including northern Maine. This past fall, the department expanded turkey hunting opportunities to include the entire state, including northern Maine.

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April 23, 2014

Snakes and Turtles at the Maine Wildlife Park

The Maine Wildlife Park on Route 26 in Gray will host the first weekend event of the season on Saturday, May 3 from 11am to 2pm, featuring Snakes and Turtles! The Park has a new native snake exhibit, with 2 species currently in residence and plans for several more to be exhibited inside the newly renovated Visitor Center. Maine is home to 9 different native species of snakes – all of which are non-venomous and quite beneficial to humans. A 4-foot boa constrictor will also be on hand for folks to meet and photograph as a kind of a friendly ‘snake ambassador’.

The Park’s popular turtle ponds were completely redesigned and rebuilt over the winter because of unrepairable leaks in the original ponds. Several of our turtles will be displayed for inspection and photographs; with a volunteer available to explain more about them. Maine is home to 7 native species of freshwater turtles, some of which are endangered or threatened species. Interactive games for the kids will focus on both snakes and turtles.

Plan to purchase your family pass now so you don’t miss any of the fun; and be sure to pick up an Event Calendar! Keep up with current photos and stories on Facebook too.

The Maine Wildlife Park is owned and operated by the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. The park exists to promote an understanding and awareness of the wildlife, conservation and habitat protection programs and projects of MDIFW.

The Maine Wildlife Park has over 30 species of native wildlife on display, plus wildlife gardens, nature trails, a fish hatchery and other interactive exhibits and displays. The park is open daily from April 19th through November 11th from 9:30am-4:30pm; visitors must leave the premises by 6:00pm. Summer Wildlife Days events for May will include live raptors with Wind Over Wings May 10; Endangered/Threatened Species May 17, Friends of Maine Wildlife Park Annual Plant Sale Memorial Weekend May 24/25; and Archery with Bryant Pond 4-H Camp May 31st. Admission to the park is free for ages 3 and under; $5.00 ages 4-12; $7.00 for adults, and $5.00 for seniors. Groups of 15 or more are $3.50 per person. Bring a picnic and spend the day! Family and Community Season Passes are available, and are an incredible bargain for families and groups that visit the park several times over the course of the summer. Remember that Family Passes make a great gift; and are available for purchase in the Department of Fish & Wildlife’s online store @ www.mefishwildlife.com. For more information about any of these programs, please call the Maine Wildlife Park at
207-657-4977; or visit us online at www.mainewildlifepark.com , www.mefishwildlife.com or on Facebook!

April 24, 2014

Turkey Season Starts Monday Throughout Much Of The State

AUGUSTA, Maine – Spring turkey season starts on Monday, April 28, and this year, hunters in Maine will have more opportunity than ever before with a longer hunting day and the chance to take two bearded turkeys in the spring on the same permit. Youth hunters will once again have their own day on Saturday, April 26.

With a valid Maine big game hunting license, turkey hunters can purchase a spring/fall wild turkey permit for just $20 for both residents and nonresidents. This permit allows turkey hunters to take up to two bearded wild turkeys on the same permit in the spring, and an additional two turkeys in the fall.

Hunters should note that Wildlife Management Districts (WMD) 7-29 are open to spring turkey hunting, and that there is no turkey season in northern Maine in WMDs 1-6. Hunters can take up to two turkeys in WMDs 7 and 9-29, but there is a one turkey bag limit in WMD 8. If a hunter takes a turkey in WMD 8, their second bird must come from WMDs 7 and 9-29 as a hunter may not exceed an individual bag limit in a WMD. More information and WMD maps are available at www.mefishwildlife.com.

Hunters will also be happy to know that the wild turkey hunting season doesn’t end at noon anymore, as you can hunt all day with legal hunting hours stretching from one-half hour before sunrise and one-half hour after sunset.

“Maine has some of the finest turkey hunting opportunities in the eastern United States,” said Governor Paul R. LePage. “Success rates are high, the birds are lightly hunted compared to other states, and there are a variety of areas to hunt turkeys in the state.”

Wild turkeys are a wildlife success story in Maine. Once gone from Maine landscapes, they are now a familiar sight in all Maine’s 16 counties, thanks to a reintroduction and management plan started in the 1970s by the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

“With a turkey population that continues to grow, turkey hunters are seeing the benefit as they now have longer hunting days, a longer season in the fall, higher bag limit, and more areas open to hunting,” said IFW game bird biologist Kelsey Sullivan.

April 25, 2014

The Maine Butterfly Survey Takes Flight for another Season

Dr. Phillip deMaynadier, MDIFW Coordinator: 207-356-2530; phillip.demaynadier@maine.gov Dr. Herb Wilson, Colby College Coordinator: 207-859-5739; whwilson@colby.edu

For Immediate Release April 25, 2014

With at least 120 species, butterflies contribute a colorful component to Maine’s biological diversity. In addition to serving as delicate harbingers of spring, butterflies also play important ecological roles, both as pollinators of wildflowers and as prey to larger species, from dragonflies to migrant birds.

Initiated in 2007, the Maine Butterfly Survey (MBS) is a statewide, volunteer survey effort designed to fill information gaps on butterfly distribution, flight seasons, and habitat relationships for one of the state’s most popular insects. Following in the tradition of previously state-sponsored wildlife surveys, such as the Maine Amphibian and Reptile Atlas Project, data generated from the MBS comes primarily from trained citizen scientists.

To help new volunteers join the survey MDIFW is sponsoring a free six-hour training workshop on May 17th at Colby College in Waterville. Participants will learn about butterfly biology, identification, and MBS survey protocols. Lunch will be provided and participants will receive a butterfly net, collecting equipment, and training manual. Space is limited and pre-registration is required. To become involved in this project or to learn more about Maine’s butterflies contact the MDIFW coordinator, Phillip deMaynadier, at phillip.demaynadier@maine.gov or the MBS volunteer coordinator, Herb Wilson, at whwilson@colby.edu. Also check details on progress to date at the MBS website: http://mbs.umf.maine.edu.

Butterflies are valuable indicators of ecosystem stress due to habitat loss, pollution, and climate change. Their economic contribution in terms of “watchable wildlife” is difficult to estimate, but clearly no other group of insects has attracted as much attention from naturalists and eco-tourists, a group whose ranks increasingly include bird watchers armed with close-focusing binoculars.

Many neighboring states and provinces, including Vermont, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New Brunswick, have compiled atlases of their butterfly fauna. Despite growing concern for pollinating insects generally and butterflies specifically, Maine had only a rudimentary knowledge of the group, until now.

There is an increasing demand for information on the health and status of butterflies and other wildlife in Maine. Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) receives requests for data on butterflies from landowners, land trusts, outdoor organizations, and scientists. Of special note is the high proportion of butterflies (~20%) considered Extinct, Endangered, or Special Concern in Maine -- a result consistent with global trends elsewhere for the group. More statewide butterfly surveys could demonstrate that some species are more abundant than formerly believed, while others may merit increased conservation attention. By marshalling the efforts of citizen scientists from across Maine, this multi-year statewide survey is designed to provide MDIFW with a significant increase in knowledge on the status of the state’s butterfly fauna.

We have much to learn about this fragile and ecologically important group of winged jewels. Thank you for your participation in the Maine Butterfly Survey!

Additional photos available upon request.

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May 2, 2014

IFW News -- 2013 Deer Harvest Up 15% From Previous Year

For Immediate Release: May 2, 2014

Augusta, Maine – Hunters during the 2013 deer season killed 24,795 deer, an increase of 15% over the 2012 harvest of 21,552 deer. The 2013 harvest is the third consecutive year the deer harvest has increased, reflective of a deer population that has grown since the back-to-back severe winters of 2008 and 2009.

“I commend IFW for its management of the deer herd, and I congratulate hunters who participated in one of our state’s most popular sporting pursuits,” said Governor Paul R. LePage. “Deer hunting is not only a time-honored tradition, but it attracts economic activity from hunters throughout Maine and those from other states.”

The deer kill increased in almost every Wildlife Management District in the state, and the adult buck harvest once again increased over the previous season with hunters taking 16,765 bucks, which was an increase of 8% over the 2012 buck kill of 15,475.

Holding true to the harvest patterns seen in 2013, Maine’s youth hunters also saw an increase in harvest numbers, climbing from 570 deer in 2012 to 781 in 2013, representing an increase of 37%. Their harvest consisted of a total of 335 adult bucks, 280 adult does and 166 fawns. Once again, youth hunters were allowed to harvest antlerless deer without needing an Any-deer Permit in WMDs where permits were issued.

As the deer population continued to rebound, in 2013 IFW issued approximately 36% more permits than were issued in 2012. This resulted in an increase in the adult doe harvest of 5,307 animals, approximately 24% more than the 4,287 harvest in 2012. In 2013, IFW issued Any Deer permits in Wildlife Management Districts 3 and 6, representing the first antlerless deer harvests in those districts since 2000 and 2007, respectively. The allocation of permits to these WMDs resulted in a total adult doe harvest of 17 individuals from WMD 3, and 64 from WMD 6. It also was the first time since 2007 that Any Deer permits were issued in WMD 7 where the doe harvest was 34.

“The increase in the number of successful hunters last season reflects a growing deer population in much of the state,” said IFW Commissioner Chandler Woodcock, “However, with the long, cold winter we experienced, it is prudent that we move forward thoughtfully in 2014 concerning the number of Any Deer permits issued.”

To help alleviate the impacts of deer nuisance issues in and around urban areas where bans on the use of firearms exist, the Department provides additional deer population management via deer harvests during an Expanded Archery season. Generally spanning a period greater than 70 days, this season allows hunters, whom have the appropriate license(s) and tags, to harvest one additional buck and potentially an unlimited number of does from within an identified Expanded Archery zone. The 2013 Expanded Archery season experienced an increase in harvest over the 2012 season by 13% from 987 deer to 1,122 deer.

This past winter marked the first in four years with above-average winter severity throughout the state, the first since 2009. As a result of the winter, IFW wildlife biologists have recommended decreasing the number of Any Deer permits throughout the state.
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May 2, 2014

IFW Fishing Report For May 2, 2014

For Immediate Release: May 2, 2014

Compiled By Mark Latti with IFW Fisheries Biologists

For current stocking information that is updated daily, please visit: http://www.maine.gov/ifw/fishing/reports/stocking/currentseason/currentstockingreport.pdf .

Region A – Sebago Lakes Region

Ice is gone in southern Maine, and the anglers are out. Ice went out on Lake Auburn in the middle of last week, and they are getting some big salmon there. On Sebago, the ice went out over two weeks ago, and the reports continue to be good.

“We are getting reports of salmon in the 18-21 inch range, and one angler landed a lake trout that was 22 pounds,” said IFW fisheries biologist Francis Brautigam.

Smelt runs have been a bit trickier to pin down with the smelt run about a week late this year, according to Brautigam.

“A number of runs have started and gone, yet some haven’t even started. On Auburn Lake, Tricky Pond and Crystal Lake the runs are still ongoing,” said Brautigam.

Some anglers are hitting the small rivers and streams. Collyer Brook and the Royal River have decent flows and were recently stocked. While the Little Androscoggin is a little larger, flows have been fishable and anglers are having success there as well.

The larger rivers such as the Androscoggin and the Saco still seem to be a little high but levels are dropping.

“All in all, we seem to be out of the woods. Lakes have finally opened up, water flows are normalizing and the hatchery folks are busy stocking,” said Brautigam. “We are getting into the full swing of fishing season.”

Region B – Central and Midcoast Area

In the Belgrades, the ice went out and the anglers soon followed.

“I’ve seen some people out fishing, particularly on the small streams,” said IFW Fisheries biologist Jason Seiders, “There a people out on Messalonskee Stream and Belgrade Stream which we stock heavily with brook trout.”

Seiders noted that those streams were stocked last week in order to give kids some fishing opportunity during April vacation. It was a little more challenging this year due to the weather, but the hatchery crews got it done.

“Flows were a little high compared to recent years, but they see a high amount of use, so we wanted to get them stocked,” said Seiders.

Seiders noted that the Pemaquid River, Medomak River, and the Megunticook River are all good bets now as rivers in the coastal areas have warmed up quicker than other areas.

“We’ve also heard good news from Jamies’ Pond. Anglers are catching fish that were stocked in the fall in the 12-15” range and they are even catching some brood stock fish,” said Seiders.

Region C -- Downeast

Ice has been out on Big Lake, and it just went out on West Grand Lake last week.

“West Grand goes out five to six days after Big Lake, and there will be some hot fishing,” said IFW fisheries Biologist Greg Burr. “It’s always some of the best fishing of the year.”

Burr recommends trolling slow in order to maximize your chances of success.

“Fish are slow and lethargic this time of year. If you fish streamers fast, you will find that the fish don’t move fast after them,” said Burr.

“Fish can be everywhere this time of year, but the windward shores can be particularly productive,” said Burr who said that the smelts congregate there chasing food that has been blown in by the winds.

“Try some of the narrow areas, where the wind funnels down in between areas and islands,” said Burr, who added don’t be afraid to move around if you haven’t found the fish. The fish may be everywhere, but they tend only to feed in certain areas.

If you can’t make it to West Grand Lake, Burr also recommended Long Pond on MDI, Tunk Lake and Alligator Lake. Right now, streams are running high and cold, and not worth your time. Small trout ponds in the area, especially those closed to ice fishing, are worth trying.

Region D – Rangeley Lakes

The ice is just going out in the southern part of the region, but it could be a while in the Rangeley Lakes area.

“Clearwarter, Porter, Wilson, Varnum, the ice just went out on those ponds, but once you go north of Strong, there’s still ice,” said IFW Fisheries Biologist Dave Howatt, who felt Rangeley would go out by the end of the week.

Water levels are still a little high on most area rivers, but some anglers are having luck on the Sandy River.

“There’s one local guy who is doing well with browns and brookies. Try in the Farmington area near the bridges,” said Howatt. “You need to put in the time though, as they are not actively feeding.”

IFW hatchery crews have stocked Wilson Stream, Muddy Brook, Mill Pond below Clearwater and Hight’s Pond in Skowhegan. These are kid’s waters that are open for those under 16 only, so young anglers who want to wet a line after school have plenty of opportunity.

Region E – Moosehead Region

Submitted by IFW fisheries biologist Tim Obrey We still have ice throughout the Moosehead Lake Region, but we are getting closer to spring. As of 4/30, the ice out line is somewhere around the Dexter/Newport area. Anglers can find pockets of open water near the mouths of stream on most lakes and ponds in the region.

The streams are still a little high and tend to be cold and a little flashy this time of year. A few good days of wind will likely take the remaining ice out of Sebec Lake in the next week. Ice out on Moosehead Lake is usually a week after Sebec.

This spring was the first time anglers could open water fish on Moosehead in April. The lake has had a May 1st opening for decades. But the long, harsh winter put a damper on most fishing activity on the big lake in April. However, anglers are resourceful and we have heard of a few fish taken off the Junction Wharf where there is a little open water around the confluence with Wiggin Stream. There is also a fair amount of open water at the mouth of the Moose River in Rockwood. There are several web cams for both Sebec and Moosehead Lakes that anglers can check out for a good idea of ice conditions.

Region F – Penobscot Region

Ice is out on very few lakes and ponds in the region, but it won’t be long with many lakes and ponds close to losing their ice.

Pushaw went out end of last week, and the big south basin of Cold Stream Pond also went out on Monday the 28th. IFW fisheries biologist Nels Kramer checked some anglers at the landing on Cold Stream Pond and saw a couple of salmon in the 18-22” range.

Kramer noted that it may be a couple more days before ice out in the north. Brooks are still a little high, but should drop quickly (if the rains hold off) and should be available to fish soon.

With ice recently out and water temperatures in the high 30s and low 40s on many waters, anglers are encouraged to wear their life jackets.

Region G – Aroostook Region

Open water is still pretty limited up north, and even on southern waters like Nickerson Lake there was still ice headed into the weekend.

Once the ice starts going, it will go pretty quick, and IFW fisheries biologist Frank Frost feels that parts of the Fish River chain could be open this weekend.

Even with the ice, anglers are still fishing ponds, having some good luck fishing areas where the ice has pulled away from the shoreline.

If you are looking for some good early season spots, check out the Drew and Nickerson ponds in the Houlton area. Ice goes out early, and there is good access. Echo Lake in Aroostook State Park is another popular early season spot with good access.

May 6, 2014

BODY RECOVERED FROM UMBAZOOKSUS LAKE

Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Maine Warden Service

--For Immediate Release--

UMBAZOOKSUS LAKE (T6 R13 WELS): Earlier today, a Maine game warden pilot was surveying ice conditions on northern Maine lakes. While inspecting ice conditions the pilot also scanned the area for missing Canadian resident, Renald Poulin. At approximately 10:45 AM, he observed what he believed to be a body in Umbazooksus Lake. Game Wardens on the ground arrived several hours later with watercraft to retrieve the body which was located approximately 2 miles northwest of Umbazooksus Dam on the western shore of the lake. The Maine Warden Service believes the body to be that of Renald Poulin of St. Come Quebec, Canada. The body will be examined by the Medical Examiner’s Office in Augusta to positively determine identification. The Maine Warden Service has been in contact with the family of Mr. Poulin since the search began last November and we are hopeful the family will now have closure. SEARCH HISTORY: While searching for two Millinocket men in an unrelated search, game wardens located a vehicle owned by a man from Quebec for whom authorities from Canada had also been searching. The search was suspended on December 13, 2013 as heavy snow began to fall in the search area. Search efforts were to resume when temperatures began to melt snow in that region this spring.

Renald Poulin, age 67 from Quebec, crossed into the U.S. on Tuesday, November 26th and was to return November 27, 2013. On Saturday, November 30th, game wardens located his green 2002 Kia Sedona. Poulin was not hunting; it is believed that he had interest in the train rail systems located in the Umbazooksus Lake area used decades ago in the logging industry.

The ice on Umbazooksus Lake and nearby small bogs and wet areas made detecting evidence of Poulin especially difficult. Weather conditions needed to improve significantly before further searching occurred. Search teams conducted a combination of grid, hasty, and K9 team searches. Temperatures remained at approximately 10 degrees (F) and snow began to fall during the last days of searching in December. The ground search was suspended but aerial flights had started to occur again this spring as snow and ice began to melt in that region. Ground searching was planned for next week. When search efforts were suspended last December, as many as 22 game wardens, 18 members of the Maine Association of Search and Rescue (MASAR), four Maine Forest Rangers, and members of the Civil Air Patrol assisted with searching. Search teams associated with MASAR* included Lincoln SAR, Lincoln County SAR, Wilderness SAR, Waldo County SAR, Franklin County SAR, and the Maine Association of Search and Rescue Dogs (MESARD).

(No photos were available from today’s recovery effort. The attached photo courtesy of the Maine Warden Service and were taken during last winter’s search efforts. Photo 02: Maine game warden divers search Umbazooksus Stream.)

*The Maine Association for Search and Rescue (MASAR) is a non-profit organization that promotes and develops search and rescue resources for the state of Maine. MASAR provides training and certification for search and rescue volunteers using nationally-recognized standards. See mainesearchandrescue.org for more information.

No further information is available at this time.

Please direct media related calls to Corporal John MacDonald by calling: Public Safety Dispatch in Gray at 207-657-3030 Email at: john.macdonald@maine.gov

May 7, 2014

Nuisance Bear Calls On The Increase This Time of Year

For Immediate Release: May 7, 2014

AUGUSTA, Maine – Nuisance bear complaints have already begun this spring, and the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife is reminding homeowners to remove potential bear attractants from their yard.

“Maine has a large bear population, and this time of year after emerging from their winter dens, hungry bears are out looking for food,” says IFW black bear biologist Jen Vashon. “We want to remind people to remove common backyard attractants so they don’t create a potentially dangerous interaction with a black bear.”

Already, the department has received over 20 nuisance bear complaints. Annually, the Department handles approximately 500 nuisance bear complaints. In 2012, the department responded to over 827 complaints, and last year there were 311 as of December.

Black bears emerge hungry from their dens after losing between 15 to 40 percent of their weight during winter, and they immediately start looking for food. Bears will often turn to suburban attractants such as bird feeders, pet food and unsecured garbage bins when natural foods are not available.

“It is important for people to be proactive so they don’t attract bears to their homes,” said Vashon. “Don’t wait until a bear gets to your birdfeeder or grill. They become accustomed to the location where they find food and they will return.”

Much of a bear’s diet is vegetation, but with the late winter, many natural foods such as buds, leaves and grasses are not yet available. Generally this time of year, bears will feed on grasses and sedges near wetlands, as well as the roots, tubers and bulbs of plants, such as skunk cabbage and others. Bears are also opportunistic carnivores, and they will occasionally feed on moose calves, deer fawns and livestock.

Once the berry crops emerge in early summer, bears will start seeking food in berry patches and conflicts will diminish. However when berry crops are poor, bears move more in search of food and often find food in backyards—causing more problems between people and bears.

Bears that live near people often rely on foods inadvertently provided by people, such as highly nutritional sunflower seeds for birds. Birdseed and other attractants should be removed to prevent attracting or creating nuisance bears. Because a bear will continue to visit an area where there is easy access to food, everyone needs to work together to make their community less attractive to bears.

In order to keep your home and community less attractive to bears between April 1 and November 1, when bears are most active, please:

• Take down bird feeders, rake up and dispose of bird seed on the ground, and store remaining bird seed indoors. o Although bringing your feeders in at night and raking up and disposing of bird seed on the ground can make your yard less attractive to a bear, a bear may visit your bird feeder during the day. If you are experiencing problems with bears, the only way to discourage the bear from returning is to remove all food attractants.
• Keep garbage cans inside until the morning of trash pickup. • Keep lids on dumpsters closed at all times and schedule frequent pickups to avoid overflowing garbage. If possible, used dumpsters with metal lids and keep the dumpster in a building or behind a fence.
• Keep your barbecue grill clean by burning off any food residue, disposing of wrappers and cleaning the grilling area after use. If possible, store grills inside when not in use. • Store pet and livestock food inside, and clean up any uneaten food.

If you do encounter a bear, you should make loud noises, such as banging pots together, to try to scare it off. Always back away from the bear to give it an escape route. Without an escape route, a cornered bear may charge.

By taking these precautions, homeowners are more likely to prevent conflicts that could pose a danger to human life or require corrective action, such as moving or killing a bear.

For more information, visit www.mefishwildlife.com.

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May 9, 2014

Missing Teen - North Waterboro

The Maine Warden Service is seeking information from the public this morning regarding a missing/lost 15-year-old male in the town of North Waterboro.

Jaden Dremsa (DOB 3/26/1999) is described as 5 feet 9 inches tall, 140 lbs., has shoulder length brown hair and blue eyes. Jaden was last seen at 3:00 PM yesterday afternoon (May 8th) near the Twin Pines Trailer Park in North Waterboro. Twin Pines is located on Route 5 in North Waterboro. It is believed Jaden was wearing a dark colored (or black) t-shirt, blue jeans, and sneakers. Jaden currently has longer hair than what is shown in the attached photo.

This morning, game wardens will be organizing ground search teams to include approximately ten game wardens, K9 teams, and a warden service aircraft. Assisting with search efforts are the York County Sheriff’s Department, Waterboro Fire Department, Maine State Police, and K9 search team members associated with MESARD* (Maine Association of Search and Rescue Dogs).

Anyone with information as to Jaden’s location or who might have seen him yesterday afternoon is being asked to call the Public Safety Dispatch Center in Gray at 207-657-3030.

(Attached photo courtesy of the Maine Warden Service. A recent photo of Jaden Dremsa, shown here with slightly shorter hair.)

*Maine Search and Rescue Dogs (MESARD) is a volunteer K9 Search and Rescue group in Maine that supports search missions conducted by the Maine Warden Service, State Police, and other law enforcement agencies across Maine. A MESARD team consists of a K9 handler and a search dog that have completed extensive training and passed certifications. All MESARD teams comply with the Maine Association for Search and Rescue standards

May 9, 2014

IFW Reduces Number Of Moose Permits Available

For Immediate Release: May 9, 2014

AUGUSTA, Maine -- Due to a peak year for winter ticks and their impact on the moose population this winter, the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife is reducing the number of moose permits available to hunters this fall.

Earlier today, The IFW’s advisory council accepted the department’s recommendation to reduce the number of moose permits available for the 2014 season. This fall, the department will issue 3,095 permits statewide, down from the 4,110 that were available last year.

“Based upon the research of our biologists, I feel it is prudent to decrease the number of female moose permits available,” said IFW Commissioner Chandler Woodcock. “Decreasing the amount of permits will help lessen the impact of winter tick on the state’s moose population.”

In particular, the department decreased the number of antlerless only permits that are available to hunters. Antlerless only permits were decreased in wildlife management Districts 1-5, 7-9 and 12-13. This is the northern and northwestern part of Maine, including the northern portions of Oxford, Franklin, Somerset, Piscataquis, Penobscot and Aroostook Counties.

Winter ticks have been documented in Maine since the 1930s. Periodically, there are peak years when the number of ticks increase substantially.

Each year, IFW biologists sample moose for winter tick densities at moose registration stations during the moose hunt. This past fall, biologists noted one of the highest tick counts in the past 10 years.

In making the recommendation to reduce permits, IFW biologists also used data from the radio collar moose study that is ongoing. Early data from the study shows that there was about a 30 percent mortality rate for adult females, which is above the average 10 percent winter mortality rate for female moose.

IFW wildlife biologists have also documented a number of moose winter kills throughout the state. Many of the moose carcasses are engorged with winter ticks, and some are practically bare of hair as they have tried to rub the ticks off.

“Maine has had winter tick for decades, and Maine’s moose population has encountered peak tick years before, as they happen periodically,” said IFW moose biologist Lee Kantar. “Even with the increase in ticks this year, by decreasing the number of antlerless permits available, we can continue to meet our population objectives for moose.”

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May 14, 2014

Maine Warden Service, York County Sheriffs Still Searching For Teenager

AUGUSTA, Maine – As the search enters a new phase, the Maine Warden Service and the York County Sheriff’s office are still investigating leads and searching for 15-year-old Jaden Dremsa of North Waterboro.

“Game wardens and the York County Sheriff’s Office are still interviewing people who may have seen Jaden and following up on informative tips we receive,” said Maine Warden Service Lieutenant Kevin Adam, “The search may not be as visible, but that does not mean we are not making progress. We are still actively looking for Jaden.”

Local game wardens and local sheriff personnel continue to search for Jaden, and Maine Warden Service aircraft are scheduled to fly over the area when weather permits.

A large search led by the Maine Warden Service and supported by numerous local and state law enforcement agencies, emergency services personnel as well as volunteers have intensively search a two mile area.

“In many cases we have exceeded the two mile perimeter where Jaden was last seen. We have searched the high probability areas and no significant clues have been found that can be attributed to him,” said Adam.

Anyone with any information regarding Jaden’s location should contact the York County Sheriff’s office at 207-324-1111

“Jaden’s mom and father are extremely appreciative of the entire community and the many volunteers for their support during this difficult time,” said Adam, “They are very pleased with everyone’s efforts to help and locate Jaden.”

Jaden Dremsa (DOB 3/26/1999) is described as 5 feet 9 inches tall, 140 lbs., has shoulder length brown hair and blue eyes. Jaden was last seen at 3:00 p.m. on May 8 near the Twin Pines Trailer Park in North Waterboro. Twin Pines is located on Route 5 in North Waterboro. Jaden was last seen wearing a dark colored (or black) t-shirt, blue jeans, and sneakers.

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May 16, 2014

Road Signs To Help Maine's Endangered Turtles

May through July in Maine is a critical period when Maine’s female turtles undertake risky overland forays to reach nesting areas. During this time, turtles often cross roads, sometimes with fatal consequences. In response, the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) and The Nature Conservancy are cooperating to install new road signs in addition to previously installed signs warning motorists of endangered turtle road crossing locations in the towns of Wells, South Berwick and York with the goal of reducing collisions with two of the states rarest species.

“A small change, like driving just a little slower, can make a big difference for these turtles,” said Jonathan Bailey of The Nature Conservancy. “These signs are in places where we know these rare species are on the move. Making people aware can save turtles.”

Spotted and Blanding’s turtles, both protected under Maine’s Endangered Species Act, have seen much of their freshwater wetland habitat destroyed or degraded. Now, as human population densities and rates of development increase in southern Maine road mortality is becoming an ever-increasing threat. The turtle’s shell is its signature adaptation that has served to protect adults from most predators for millions of years; however it is no match for a car’s tire. Both Blanding’s and Spotted Turtles are extremely long-lived animals that take a minimum of 7 (Spotted) to 14 (Blanding’s) years to reach reproductive age. This coupled with low hatchling success places a premium on adult survivorship. In fact, recent population analyses of several freshwater turtle species indicate that as little as 2-3% additive annual mortality of adults is unsustainable, leading to local population extinction. Simply put, there is probably no group of organisms in Maine for which roads represent a more serious threat to long-term population viability than turtles, and no place more threatening than southern York County where road density and traffic volumes peak.

A cooperative study by the University of Maine’s Wildlife Ecology Department and MDIFW has identified high-density rare turtle areas where road-crossing hotspots are located in southern Maine. Now, with the assistance of the Maine Department of Transportation, the Mt. Agamenticus Conservation Coalition, and local towns, state biologists are installing temporary yellow warning signs in strategic locations to alert motorists to the possible presence of turtles on the roadway. The signs will only be deployed seasonally, coinciding with the spring and summer period when overland turtle movements are greatest, thus helping to maximize the signs impact by reducing “sign fatigue” by local commuters.

MDIFW requests that motorists encountering one of the roadside turtle signs reduce their speed and increase their vigilance for potential road-crossing turtles. Should a driver come across a turtle on the road and care to help, state biologists advise pulling over and moving the turtle to the side of the road it was headed, if it is safe to do so. If just a few rare turtles can be saved annually from a roadkill fate, it is believed the road signs will have contributed to the recovery of these declining species.

For more information about Maine’s turtles and work by MDIFW to survey and protect them, please contact wildlife biologists Derek Yorks (Bangor research office), Phillip deMaynadier (Bangor research office), or Scott Lindsay (Gray Region A office). Funding for this project comes primarily from the Loon Conservation License Plate and donations to the state’s Chickadee Check-off. Additional research support was provided by the Maine Department of Transportation, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, The Nature Conservancy, and the Maine Outdoor Heritage Fund.

May 27, 2014

Megunticook Lake, Camden

Game wardens are currently investigating an incident that occurred at approximately 8:00 this morning on Megunticook Lake in Camden. James B. Wescott, age 71, was boating with a friend when he apparently suffered a medical event, entered the water, and did not resurface. Maine game warden divers are currently performing recovery efforts. Water depths in the search area are 60-65 feet deep. Maine game wardens, Camden Fire and Police Departments, and Megunticook Lake Patrol are on scene. More information will be provided as soon as it becomes available.

May 27, 2014

Body of James Wescott Recovered

At 8:34 this evening, Maine Game Warden Divers recovered the body of James B. Wescott from Megunticook Lake. James B. Wescott, age 71, of Belfast is the father of Olympic snowboarder Seth Wescott.

At approximately 8:00 this morning, Wescott was operating a single person *sculling boat with his friend Jeff Foltz from Camden. Foltz was operating a second boat and witnessed the incident. It is presumed that Wescott suffered a medical event and then fell into the water. Wescott did not resurface. Maine game warden divers and side-scan sonar were deployed this afternoon to locate Wescott’s body which was recovered from 60 feet of water. Nearly a dozen Maine Game Wardens, personnel from Camden Fire and Police Departments, and members of the Megunticook Lake Patrol assisted with today’s recovery effort.

*Sculling boat: A long and very narrow boat usually rowed by one or two people.

May 29, 2014

Free Fishing Days May 31 & June 1

AUGUSTA – The weekend is approaching and what better way to spend it than to go fishing – or take your children fishing!

The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife is promoting Free Fishing Days this Saturday May 31 and Sunday June 1 to encourage people to get out and experience Maine’s waterways. This free fishing event is open to any person except those whose license has been revoked or suspended. All fishing regulations apply. For a complete list of fishing regulations, including limits and sizes, visit www.mefishwildlife.com

Fishing, whether on open water or on ice, is one of the most popular activities in Maine, drawing thousands upon thousands of residents and out-of-state visitors to the state’s nearly 6,000 lakes and ponds and almost 32,000 miles of rivers and streams.

Maine is proud to be home to more than 90 percent of the wild brook trout found in lakes and ponds and also boasts exceptional landlocked salmon, brown and rainbow trout, smallmouth bass, and plenty of other fish species that are great for children.

The Department stocks more than 1 million fish each year and manages more than 20 species of freshwater game fish.

This weekend is the last of two free fishing weekends offered this year.

Free fishing weekend is a great opportunity for adults to introduce youngsters to Maine’s outdoors. The anticipation of catching a fish, and the excitement of seeing one on the end of the line, are experiences that create life long memories.

Want to continue the fishing experience throughout the year? Fishing licenses are available for purchase on IF&W’s website www.mefishwildlife.com, at any of the more than 285 MOSES licensing agents statewide, or at town offices and other locations.

They also are available at our main office at 284 State St., Augusta.

May 31, 2014

Sherman ATV Fatal

SHERMAN, MAINE – MAY 31, 2014: Last evening, Bryon Jacobs, age 38, from Stacyville died in an ATV related crash in the town of Sherman. He was operating a 2005 Can-Am Outlander 400 all-terrain vehicle with a 16-year-old male passenger also from Stacyville. The male passenger is not a relative of the victim. Jacobs was traveling northeast on a trail located west of Interstate 95 near mile 266 south-bound.

At approximately 8:30 PM, the 16-year-old called to report the incident. Wardens say that initial evidence suggests the left front tire of the ATV might have fallen off causing it to overturn. Jacobs received blunt trauma to the head, he was not wearing a helmet. Patten Ambulance responded however Jacobs died of his injuries at the scene. The 16-year-old was transported to Houlton Regional Hospital with a head injury but was communicating with wardens. The ATV will be inspected for possible contributing factors.

Jacobs’ body was released to Bower’s Funeral Home in Houlton. Stacyville Fire Department and Maine State Police assisted. The Medical Examiner’s office has been notified as well as the Aroostook County District Attorney’s Office. This incident remains under investigation; no further information is available at this time.

June 4, 2014

Body of Hampden Man Recovered

LOWER BEAN POND, T2 R11 WELS – JUNE 4, 2014: This afternoon the Maine Warden Service recovered the body of Roland Mayhew, age 60, from Hampden, Maine. Mayhew was travelling alone on a fishing trip and was staying at the Big Eddy Campground making daytrips to local fishing areas both Monday and Tuesday, June 2 and 3. When Mayhew did not make contact this morning as planned he was reported overdue by his wife Phyllis.

Today, Maine game wardens began to search areas known to be frequented by Mayhew. At approximately 10:00 AM this morning, a Warden Service aircraft identified what they believed to be Mayhew’s body in Lower Bean Pond. Game wardens responded on the ground and recovered Mayhew’s body and canoe. Mayhew did have a personal floatation device with him. Mayhew’s body was released to Lampson Funeral Home in Millinocket. The State Medical Examiner’s Office in Augusta will be conducting an autopsy. Hampden Police Department assisted with this incident. The incident remains under investigation. No further information is available at this time.

IFW Fishing Report For June 6, 2014

IFW Fishing Report For June 6, 2014 Compiled By Mark Latti with IFW Fisheries Biologists

For current stocking information that is updated daily, please visit: http://www.maine.gov/ifw/fishing/reports/stocking/currentseason/currentstockingreport.pdf .

Region A – Sebago Lakes Region

In southern Maine, anglers are still catching salmon, even though the calendar says June.

“Salmon fishing is still the talk of the town, and the fishery is holding up well. Water temps are still in the 50s on Sebago, and it’s in the low 60s in the other ponds,” said IFW Fisheries Biologist Francis Brautigam. “Anglers are still getting fish in relatively shallow water, on a variety of lures, streamers and hardware.”

Brautigam noted one angler who fished a local pond and caught 12 legal salmon last weekend, ranging in size from16-21 inches. He was one of only three boats on the pond at the time.

Bass seem to be a bit perplexed by the cool, rainy weather this spring. Brautigam noted that while electrofishing they found several empty nests, but on another pond, they got three smallmouth bass that were still all holding their eggs.

“We’ve had a number of cold snaps in the last two weeks, and those cold temps can delay or postpone spawning,” said Brautigam.

If you are looking to latch onto a rainbow, Brautigam said that he has received good reports on rainbow trout from Lily Pond, the Ranges and Little Ossippee.

Region B – Central and Midcoast Area

In central Maine, anglers have had great success catching white perch.

“There’s been white perch everywhere,” said IFW Fisheries Biologist Jason Seiders, “Even though it seems to be slowing down, we have received wonderful reports of big fish. In North pond, there was an excellent run of fish that were over one and a half pounds.

Fisheries biologists were trap netting in Long Pond as well, and on the last check of the nets, there were over 250 white perch, including some up to two and half pounds.

“They have been feasting on landlocked alewives,” said Seiders, “All of the predatory fish are so robust. The condition of these fish is amazing.”

Anglers are still reeling in brook trout in central Maine, and Seiders suggests trying some of the local rivers and streams such as the Messalonskee, the Belgrade, the Medomak and the Pemaquid. These waters were stocked this spring with brook trout.

And if you are looking for brown trout, anglers are catching browns in the Shawmut section of the Kennebec. Fish that were stocked last fall seem to have survived the winter, and anglers are catching browns in the 12-16” range.

Region C -- Downeast

“We have been extremely pleased with the reports we have been getting,” said IFW Fisheries Biologist Greg Burr, “Brook trout streams and rivers have been doing particularly well.”

Burr mention the middle branch of the Union, the Chandler River, Mopang Stream, the west branch of the Machias, Old Stream, and the Dennys as some of the blue ribbon brook trout waters in the Downeast region.

“On some of these waters, you need to know where to go, but once you find the locations, fishing has been fantastic,” said Burr.

Grand Lake Stream has also been hot. Flows have been in the 500 cfs range, and anglers are finding fish, especially in the lower section of the river.

Area lakes been terrific as well according to Burr. “We are getting terrific reports for salmon on Cathance, West Grand, Beech Hill, and Tunk Lake,” said Burr.

If you are looking for something a little different, Burr suggests trying Jones Pond for a shot at some rainbows. The pond was stocked last fall with rainbows, and after a slow winter ice fishing for rainbows, this spring has been excellent.

“Jones Pond has gone from a slow brown trout fishery to an exciting rainbow fishery. Anglers have had success trolling for them. They hit like a ton of bricks and fight hard,” said Burr.

Bass anglers will be happy to know that fish are on their nests and anglers are having great luck on many Downeast waters.

Region D – Rangeley Lakes

In the Rangeley and Western Mountains region, the cool spring weather has led to some fantastic fishing.

“I just talked with one man who said he just had the three best fishing days of his life,” said IFW fisheries biologist Bobby Van Riper. Unfortunately, Van Riper declined to disclose exactly what pond he was talking about. “The fishing has been great all season long.”

Many of the bigger lakes have had some decent fish appearing in daily catches including Rangeley, Richardson and Mooselook. Van Riper said that Richardson in particular has been fishing very well, with good catches of salmon, lakers and trout. Mooselook salmon fishing has also been fast, and Van Riper is encouraging anglers to keep some salmon in order to improve growth rates in that water.

Now is an excellent time to try some of the remote ponds in the region. Some of the ponds that require some walking don’t get a lot of fishing pressure, but hold decent numbers of trout in the 12-16” range.

One of the best ways to figure out which pond to fish is to get your DeLorme and regulation book out and cross check it with the IFW stocking list. Look for fish that were stocked last fall in the 6” range and this spring, those fish are in the 8-10” range.

“There are a lot of ponds that are suitable for trout, they just don’t have the spawning habitat, that’s why we stock them,” said Van Riper. “Look for small ponds with general law that are off the beaten path. If you are willing to hike in, the fishing experience can be outstanding.”

Region E – Moosehead Region

“Fishing up here is as hot as a firecracker right now,” said IFW fisheries biologist Tim Obrey. “The caddis have just starting coming off, it started late last week and the fishing is hot.”

Obrey mentioned that the trout ponds are extremely good right now, as the water temps are still cool and the fish are really active.

“We are getting great reports from a lot of ponds, especially some of the smaller ones in the Jackman and Greenville area,” said Obrey.

Fishing on Moosehead is still holding up, and anglers are still catching some salmon trolling in the Rockwood area. There also have been reports of several brook trout in the four to five pound range on Moosehead.

The East Outlet hasn’t really caught fire yet, but Obrey feels it will soon with the caddis flies popping off the water now. He also mentioned the Moose River should heat up as well.

Bass anglers may have to wait a bit as water temps are still cool and the bass haven’t really started hitting yet.

Region F – Penobscot Region

Things have finally dried out a bit in the Penobscot region, roads have firmed up, and the fish are biting.

“We have received some good reports from some of the trout ponds in Baxter Park,” said Nels Kramer, IFW Fisheries Biologist. “The park is open and all the roads are open as well.”

Near the park, anglers are having some good luck at Matagammon Lake. Kramer said to try trolling with some of your favorite lures or streamers and you should have some good luck.

If you want to catch some good size lakers, Kramer suggested heading up to East Grand Lake.

“There are a lot of anglers catching togue in the 8-12 pound range this spring. I’ve heard of more big lake trout this spring than I have in a while,” said Kramer, who added that some camp owners have called with good reports of landlocks, and that bass are just starting to move into the shallows preparing to spawn.

Region G – Aroostook Region

Up in Aroostook, now is the time to hit the rivers.

“River fishing has been hot throughout the region,” reports IFW Fisheries Biologist Jeremiah Wood, “Water temperatures and the flows have been just right. The bugs are hatching and the fish are active.”

If you are wondering just which river to try, how about the Aroostook River? According to Wood, anglers have reported excellent trout fishing throughout the river. Another good choice is the Fish River, where anglers are catching both trout and salmon.

“It’s prime time to be out fishing the rivers right now. The rain and cool weather have helped extend things, but it likely won’t last long. Warm weather will push the fish down into spring holes or seek out cooler tributaries,” said Wood.

Over on Eagle Lake, salmon are still feeding near the surface, but are running on the smaller side. Eagle Lake has a three salmon limit with a minimum length of 12”. Anglers are encouraged to keep some of the small salmon in order to increase growth rates.

June 6, 2014

IFW Fishing Report For June 6, 2014

IFW Fishing Report For June 6, 2014

Compiled By Mark Latti with IFW Fisheries Biologists

For current stocking information that is updated daily, please visit: http://www.maine.gov/ifw/fishing/reports/stocking/currentseason/currentstockingreport.pdf .

Region A – Sebago Lakes Region

In southern Maine, anglers are still catching salmon, even though the calendar says June.

“Salmon fishing is still the talk of the town, and the fishery is holding up well. Water temps are still in the 50s on Sebago, and it’s in the low 60s in the other ponds,” said IFW Fisheries Biologist Francis Brautigam. “Anglers are still getting fish in relatively shallow water, on a variety of lures, streamers and hardware.”

Brautigam noted one angler who fished a local pond and caught 12 legal salmon last weekend, ranging in size from16-21 inches. He was one of only three boats on the pond at the time.

Bass seem to be a bit perplexed by the cool, rainy weather this spring. Brautigam noted that while electrofishing they found several empty nests, but on another pond, they got three smallmouth bass that were still all holding their eggs.

“We’ve had a number of cold snaps in the last two weeks, and those cold temps can delay or postpone spawning,” said Brautigam.

If you are looking to latch onto a rainbow, Brautigam said that he has received good reports on rainbow trout from Lily Pond, the Ranges and Little Ossippee.

Region B – Central and Midcoast Area

In central Maine, anglers have had great success catching white perch.

“There’s been white perch everywhere,” said IFW Fisheries Biologist Jason Seiders, “Even though it seems to be slowing down, we have received wonderful reports of big fish. In North pond, there was an excellent run of fish that were over one and a half pounds.

Fisheries biologists were trap netting in Long Pond as well, and on the last check of the nets, there were over 250 white perch, including some up to two and half pounds.

“They have been feasting on landlocked alewives,” said Seiders, “All of the predatory fish are so robust. The condition of these fish is amazing.”

Anglers are still reeling in brook trout in central Maine, and Seiders suggests trying some of the local rivers and streams such as the Messalonskee, the Belgrade, the Medomak and the Pemaquid. These waters were stocked this spring with brook trout.

And if you are looking for brown trout, anglers are catching browns in the Shawmut section of the Kennebec. Fish that were stocked last fall seem to have survived the winter, and anglers are catching browns in the 12-16” range.

Region C -- Downeast

“We have been extremely pleased with the reports we have been getting,” said IFW Fisheries Biologist Greg Burr, “Brook trout streams and rivers have been doing particularly well.”

Burr mention the middle branch of the Union, the Chandler River, Mopang Stream, the west branch of the Machias, Old Stream, and the Dennys as some of the blue ribbon brook trout waters in the Downeast region.

“On some of these waters, you need to know where to go, but once you find the locations, fishing has been fantastic,” said Burr.

Grand Lake Stream has also been hot. Flows have been in the 500 cfs range, and anglers are finding fish, especially in the lower section of the river.

Area lakes been terrific as well according to Burr. “We are getting terrific reports for salmon on Cathance, West Grand, Beech Hill, and Tunk Lake,” said Burr.

If you are looking for something a little different, Burr suggests trying Jones Pond for a shot at some rainbows. The pond was stocked last fall with rainbows, and after a slow winter ice fishing for rainbows, this spring has been excellent.

“Jones Pond has gone from a slow brown trout fishery to an exciting rainbow fishery. Anglers have had success trolling for them. They hit like a ton of bricks and fight hard,” said Burr.

Bass anglers will be happy to know that fish are on their nests and anglers are having great luck on many Downeast waters.

Region D – Rangeley Lakes

In the Rangeley and Western Mountains region, the cool spring weather has led to some fantastic fishing.

“I just talked with one man who said he just had the three best fishing days of his life,” said IFW fisheries biologist Bobby Van Riper. Unfortunately, Van Riper declined to disclose exactly what pond he was talking about. “The fishing has been great all season long.”

Many of the bigger lakes have had some decent fish appearing in daily catches including Rangeley, Richardson and Mooselook. Van Riper said that Richardson in particular has been fishing very well, with good catches of salmon, lakers and trout. Mooselook salmon fishing has also been fast, and Van Riper is encouraging anglers to keep some salmon in order to improve growth rates in that water.

Now is an excellent time to try some of the remote ponds in the region. Some of the ponds that require some walking don’t get a lot of fishing pressure, but hold decent numbers of trout in the 12-16” range.

One of the best ways to figure out which pond to fish is to get your DeLorme and regulation book out and cross check it with the IFW stocking list. Look for fish that were stocked last fall in the 6” range and this spring, those fish are in the 8-10” range.

“There are a lot of ponds that are suitable for trout, they just don’t have the spawning habitat, that’s why we stock them,” said Van Riper. “Look for small ponds with general law that are off the beaten path. If you are willing to hike in, the fishing experience can be outstanding.”

Region E – Moosehead Region

“Fishing up here is as hot as a firecracker right now,” said IFW fisheries biologist Tim Obrey. “The caddis have just starting coming off, it started late last week and the fishing is hot.”

Obrey mentioned that the trout ponds are extremely good right now, as the water temps are still cool and the fish are really active.

“We are getting great reports from a lot of ponds, especially some of the smaller ones in the Jackman and Greenville area,” said Obrey.

Fishing on Moosehead is still holding up, and anglers are still catching some salmon trolling in the Rockwood area. There also have been reports of several brook trout in the four to five pound range on Moosehead.

The East Outlet hasn’t really caught fire yet, but Obrey feels it will soon with the caddis flies popping off the water now. He also mentioned the Moose River should heat up as well.

Bass anglers may have to wait a bit as water temps are still cool and the bass haven’t really started hitting yet.

Region F – Penobscot Region

Things have finally dried out a bit in the Penobscot region, roads have firmed up, and the fish are biting.

“We have received some good reports from some of the trout ponds in Baxter Park,” said Nels Kramer, IFW Fisheries Biologist. “The park is open and all the roads are open as well.”

Near the park, anglers are having some good luck at Matagammon Lake. Kramer said to try trolling with some of your favorite lures or streamers and you should have some good luck.

If you want to catch some good size lakers, Kramer suggested heading up to East Grand Lake.

“There are a lot of anglers catching togue in the 8-12 pound range this spring. I’ve heard of more big lake trout this spring than I have in a while,” said Kramer, who added that some camp owners have called with good reports of landlocks, and that bass are just starting to move into the shallows preparing to spawn.

Region G – Aroostook Region

Up in Aroostook, now is the time to hit the rivers.

“River fishing has been hot throughout the region,” reports IFW Fisheries Biologist Jeremiah Wood, “Water temperatures and the flows have been just right. The bugs are hatching and the fish are active.”

If you are wondering just which river to try, how about the Aroostook River? According to Wood, anglers have reported excellent trout fishing throughout the river. Another good choice is the Fish River, where anglers are catching both trout and salmon.

“It’s prime time to be out fishing the rivers right now. The rain and cool weather have helped extend things, but it likely won’t last long. Warm weather will push the fish down into spring holes or seek out cooler tributaries,” said Wood.

Over on Eagle Lake, salmon are still feeding near the surface, but are running on the smaller side. Eagle Lake has a three salmon limit with a minimum length of 12”. Anglers are encouraged to keep some of the small salmon in order to increase growth rates.

June 11, 2014

Moose Lottery Drawing Scheduled for 3:00 Saturday in Presque Isle

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine -- This Saturday, June 14, just over 3,000 hunters will find out if they will be taking part in what many call the “Hunt of a Lifetime.”

Starting at 3:00, the department will begin announcing the names of the lucky moose hunters who were fortunate enough to be drawn for a moose permit for 2014. The annual drawing is part of the Moose Lottery Festival that is taking place on Saturday, June 14 at the Gentile Hall Building at the University of Maine in Presque Isle.

This year, 53,577 people applied for the chance to hunt moose, including 15,158 nonresidents. There are 3,095 permits available this year, 10% which go to nonresidents.

Hunters may hunt moose in one of twenty-five wildlife management districts (WMD's), which cover over 21,000 square miles. The moose hunt is divided into four separate seasons that take place from September through the end of November.

Along with the selection of names, there will be a variety of events taking place at the Moose Lottery Festival on the campus of UMPI including:

-The finals of the Maine Professional Guides Association Moose Calling Contest will be held starting at 2:00 p.m.

-Blue grass music from 12-2 featuring the local bands the Fiddle Heads and the Left Over Biscuits.

-In addition, there will be vendors attending from the throughout the state of Maine.

The annual moose lottery generally draws several hundred hopeful people to the event. Since 1999, the Department has rotated the lottery throughout the state. Prior to 1999, it was always in Augusta. Over the past 15 years, lotteries were held in Millinocket, Boothbay Harbor, Old Town, Bucksport, Scarborough (three times), Presque Isle, Rumford, Phippsburg, Kittery, Fort Kent, Freeport, Oquossoc, and Greenville.

As always, admission to the event is free and is open to the public. For more information, please visit www.mefishwildlife.com.

For those prospective moose hunters who can’t make it to the lottery drawing, the names of permit winners will be posted on the Department’s web site starting at 7 p.m. on Saturday. Visit www.mefishwildlife.com to access the list once it has been posted. For more information on moose hunting in Maine, visit www.mefishwildlife.com.

June 16, 2014

Holding Named Director Of Information And Education for IFW

For Immediate Release: June 16, 2014

Holding Named Director Of Information And Education For IFW

AUGUSTA, Maine -- Bonnie Holding, a master Maine guide and small business owner, was named the Director of Information and Education at the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. Holding begins her new position today.

"We are pleased to have Bonnie join our team here at IF&W. She is widely known and respected in a variety of arenas. She will be a wonderful asset to our department," said Chandler Woodcock, IFW Commissioner. "Bonnie brings a great deal of experience in the outdoor education field, as well as strong leadership and communication skills."

Holding is a well-respected, accomplished Master Maine Guide with 28 years of experience. She has guided for many years at the Megantic Fish and Game Club and Tim Pond Camps and has also served as fly fishing instructor at LL Bean. For the past 23 years, Holding has also owned and operated her own business, the Gold/Smith Gallery at the Sugarloaf Ski Resort. Before beginning her own business, she was the first woman employed as a sales associate in the LL Bean Hunting and Fishing Department.

Holding is well known in Maine's outdoors. She serves as the coordinator for the Casting for Recovery Program in Maine for the past 16 years, is an active volunteer at the Maine Special Olympics Winter Games for the past 20 years, and is a volunteer fly fishing instructor for the Becoming an Outdoors Woman Program for the past 12 years. She has also served as a member of the IF&W Brook Trout Working Group. Holding's awards and accomplishments include the Great Women of Maine Award in 2011, the LL Bean Outdoor Hero’s Award in 2010 and the Grassroots Advocate Award in 2009. She was featured in Outdoor Life Magazine in 2005 as one of the top female guides in North America.

As Director of the Information and Education division of the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, Holding will oversee the marketing and communications of the department. The Information and Education division also oversees the Maine Wildlife Park in Gray.

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June 17, 2014

Search for Geraldine "Gerry" Largay

On Tuesday June 17, 2014, Maine Game Wardens, Maine State Police, US Border Patrol and searchers from the Maine Association of Search and Rescue (MASAR) returned to Redington TWP to continue the search for missing Hiker Geraldine “Gerry” Largay (age 66) from Brentwood Tennessee. Geraldine also goes by the trail name “Inchworm.” Geraldine disappeared while hiking the Appalachian Trail in Maine in July of 2013. She was last seen early on the morning of Monday, July 22 at Poplar Lean-To after spending the night with other hikers. She was planning on hiking to Spaulding Lean-To approximately eight miles to the north.

Tuesday’s search focused on areas that have not been searched and previously searched areas that included very difficult terrain requiring additional search efforts. Like previous search efforts, yesterday’s efforts provided no clues that could be attributed to Geraldine or her location. A $15,000 dollar reward has been offered to anyone who can provide information to investigators that will locate Geraldine Largay. There has been no date set for future searches. Today’s search included MASAR teams from Mahoosic SAR and Franklin County SAR.

Anyone who has any information that can lead to the location of Geraldine or if anyone has information of other hikers or persons in the area of Poplar Lean-To or the Oberton Stream area on the Appalachian Trail last year on July 22, 2013, please share the information with the Maine Warden Service by calling 207-624-7076.

July 7, 2014

Time To Apply For Your Any Deer Permit

The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife is now accepting applications for the 2014 Any Deer (Antlerless) Permit Lottery. Online applicants have until 11:59 p.m. August 15 to apply at www.mefishwildlife.com, and those who want to apply with a paper application must do so by the end of the day on July 25.

This year, there will be a total of 37,185 any deer permits available in 12 districts. These districts are primarily in southern and central Maine. This is a decrease from last year when there was 46, 710 permits available to hunters.

“In the fall of 2013, we saw an increase in the number of successful hunters for the third straight season, a sign that the deer herd is rebounding from the back-to-back severe winters in 2008 and 2009,” said Chandler Woodcock, Commissioner of the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. “While the deer population has made gains since 2009, this past year’s long, cold winter dictates that we move cautiously with the number of any deer permits we issue.”

The department monitors winter severity throughout the state in order to assess the impact on deer. White-tailed deer are at the northern edge of their range in Maine, and winter severity is a limiting factor concerning population growth.

This past winter marked the first in four years with above average winter severity throughout the state, the first since 2009. As a result of the winter, IFW wildlife biologists have recommended decreasing the number of Any Deer permits throughout the state. Earlier this year, the department decreased the number of moose permits available and suspended the turkey season in Northern Maine.

The department uses the Any Deer permit system to manage the white-tailed deer population in the state. By controlling the harvest of female deer in the 29 regional wildlife management districts throughout the state, biologists can manage population trends.

It is free to apply for the Any Deer permit lottery. The lottery drawing will be held on September 9, and results will be posted on the Department’s web site after 2 p.m.

Hunters who do not receive an Any Deer permits are only allowed to shoot an antlered deer.

Paper applications must be postmarked by July 25 or delivered in person to 284 State Street in Augusta before 5 p.m. on that date.

Online applications are due by 11:59 p.m. on August 15 and can be found by visiting www.mefishwildlife.com.

Hunters during the 2013 deer season killed 24,795 deer, an increase of 15% over the 2012 harvest of 21,552 deer. The 2013 harvest is the third consecutive year the deer harvest has increased, reflective of a deer population that has grown since the back-to-back severe winters of 2008 and 2009.

Residents applying to hunt on their own land without a license and applicants with a legal residence outside the U.S. or Canada must use the paper application and may not apply for an Any Deer permit online.

Deer hunting season (firearms) begins with Youth Deer Hunting Day on Oct. 25. Youth hunters may take a buck statewide or an antlerless deer only in the wildlife management districts where Any Deer permits will be issued this fall.

Maine Resident Only Day will be held on Nov. 1 this year.

Deer hunting season (firearms) runs from Nov. 3 to Nov. 29.

For more information on deer hunting in Maine, visit www.mefishwildlife.com.

July 8, 2014

Brennan Search - Volunteers Needed

WATERFORD – JULY 8, 2014: Today the search for Ruth Brennan covered mostly roadsides, trail edges, streams, and travel ways. There were a variety of resources used over the last 24 hours to include helicopters, fixed wing aircraft, FLIR technology, K-9 teams, horse teams, trained ground searchers, and ATV teams.

The resources came from a variety of resources and agencies. The Maine Association of Search and Rescue (MASAR), Maine Game Wardens, Oxford County Sheriff’s Department, Maine State Police, Maine Forest Service, Maine Army Guard, Waterford Fire Department, and other area fire departments were represented.

Authorities are asking people who own property in the area to look around their property and outbuildings for Brennan. Tomorrow, wardens are asking for volunteers to assist in searching for Brennan. Please keep in mind that the search areas have very difficult terrain combined with thick woods and swamps. Volunteers are asked to dress in long pants, waterproof boots with good traction, bug and tick repellant spray or clothing, and sufficient snacks, food, and water to accommodate them throughout the day. Volunteers are asked to arrive at the Waterford Fire Department at 8:00 AM located at 366 Valley Road telephone 207-583-2410.

There have been several sightings of Ruth Brennan since Monday at 10:30 AM. The sightings have helped narrow the search area considerably. If anyone has seen Brennan they are encouraged to call Public Safety Dispatch in Gray at 207-657-3030 to report a sighting; an investigator will call you back.

(Attached photo of Ruth Brennan – courtesy of the MWS)

July 9, 2014

26% Of Bear Hunters Were Successful In 2013; Winter Bear Den Surveys By Biologists Reflect Abundant Natural Foods, With Year Old Bears Weighing Over 40% More Than Previous Year

AUGUSTA, Maine -- Over 10,888 hunters purchased a permit to hunt bear in Maine in 2013—the most bear hunters since 2009—but they harvested 2,845 bears.

That means only 26% of bear hunters in Maine were successful this past year. Hunters can take a bear in Maine using bait, dogs, traps or still-hunting. Over 90% of the bears taken by hunters this past season were taken using bait, dogs or traps. An abundance of natural foods last year also kept bears out later in the season, as 81 bears were taken during the deer season in November.

The abundance of natural foods this past year was also reflected in the winter bear den survey work conducted by the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. This past winter, the average weight of year-old bears (yearlings) measured during the winter den surveys averaged 46.6 pounds. In contrast, in 2012, a poor natural food year, year-old bears only weighed 32.5 pounds on average.

Since 1975, IFW wildlife biologists have visited the dens of radio-collared female black bears in Maine to research and monitor the bear population. Over the course of the season, the bear research crew visited 88 dens this past winter, handling a total of 194 bears in three different study areas across the state. There are now 102 collared female bears throughout the state, including 17 yearlings.

Collaring female bears allows biologists to locate them in their dens during the winter. IFW biologists travel to the dens and gather biological data from the bears that they find, including size, weight, number of cubs and number of yearlings. These data give the department an in-depth view of Maine’s black bear population.

Baiting, the use of dogs and trapping continue to be the most effective methods for hunters. This past year, 2,048 bears were harvested over bait, 479 bears were taken by hound hunters, and 105 bears were taken in traps. Only 7% were taken by still-hunters: 81 bears were harvested by deer hunters, and 131 bears were registered by tagging stations but did not record the method used to take a bear.

Due to the quantity of natural foods available, bears entered their dens later, providing hunters with opportunity late into the season (12% taken in October and November), and fewer bears were taken by bait hunters (72%) than the past five year average (79%). As usual, most bears (87%) were harvested earlier in the season with 2,486 bears harvested before the end of September.

The 2013 bear hunting season was very different than in 2012, which was a very poor year for natural foods for Maine’s black bears. As a result, in 2012, more bears were taken by bait hunters (81%), and fewer bears (6%) were harvested in October and November since bears entered dens earlier. In years when natural foods are not readily available during the fall, a bear can actually burn more calories than it consumes while foraging for food. So in lean food years, bears will den early. The abundance of natural foods varies from year to year and is generally high one year and low the next.

Due to the thriving bear population that is estimated at over 30,000, Maine has a lengthy bear season with many opportunities for hunters. The general hunting season for black bears opened August 26 and closed November 30. Hunters were allowed to hunt bears near natural food sources or by still-hunting throughout the entire three-month season.

Hunting over bait was permitted from August 26 through September 21. The hound season overlapped the bait season, opening September 9 and closing November 1. The bear trapping season opened September 1 and closed October 31.

For the first time, bears were harvested throughout the state in all 29 Wildlife Management Districts (WMDs) in the state. The density of harvest expressed as the number of bears killed per 100 square miles of habitat (forested land) was greatest in WMD 3 (northeastern Aroostook County) and WMD 28 at 22 bears per 100 square miles (central Hancock and Washington counties) and lowest in WMDs 22-24 and 29 (southern and central Maine ) with only 1 or 2 bears harvested per 100 square miles. Males made up 56% (1,600 bears) of the 2013 harvest.

Despite a long fall hunting season for bears in Maine, the bear harvest has been below objectives since 2005. Bait, hounds and traps are the most effective for harvesting bears in Maine’s dense forest and accounts for 93% of the harvest. Even with these three methods, only about 1 in 4 hunters using bait, hounds and traps are successful. Still-hunters harvest less than 300 bears (7%), since it is very difficult to spot and stalk bears in Maine’s thick vegetation.

To stabilize the bear population estimated at more than 30,000, a harvest of 4,500 bears is needed. Without bait, hounds or traps, Maine’s bear harvest will be well below objectives.

July 9, 2014

Brennan Search Details/Photos

WATERFORD, MAINE – JULY 9, 2014: This morning, 77-year-old Ruth Francis Brennan of South Portland, Maine was found alive in the woods of Waterford. MESARD K9 handler Elizabeth Fossett and her German shepherd Kobuk located Bassett at 9:27 this morning in a heavily wooded area. There were searching an area assigned to them by the Maine Warden Service. Brennan was alert and in relatively good health for having been missing since Monday morning; approximately 48 hours. Brennan was brought out of the woods by wardens and search personnel and reunited with her family at Waterford Fire and Rescue and transported to the hospital for evaluation. Brennan was found approximately 1.25 miles from the point she was last seen on Monday as indicated on the attached map. She was also about 1.25 miles from the camp at which she had been staying.

The search effort including several agencies and departments to include the Maine Warden Service, Oxford County Sheriff’s Department, Maine State Police, Air National Guard, *MASAR search volunteers, *MESARD canine teams, Maine Forest Service, Mid-Maine Equestrian horseback teams, and Baxter State Park Rangers. In total, 146 people were involved in the search for Ruth Brennan. The Maine Warden Service would like to thank all those who responded and aided in this significant search effort.

*The Maine Association for Search and Rescue (MASAR) is a non-profit organization that promotes and develops search and rescue resources for the state of Maine. MASAR provides training and certification for search and rescue volunteers using nationally-recognized standards. See mainesearchandrescue.org for more information.

*MESARD is associated with MASAR and includes certified canine search teams from Maine. Please visit MESARD.org for more information.

(Attached photos courtesy of the Maine Warden Service. Photo 1: Map of the search area containing the camp at which Brennan was staying, the point last seen on Jewett Pond Road, and the point where she was located. Photo 2: Canine handler Elizabeth Fossett (left) and her canine Kobuk alongside Ruth Brennan.)

July 10, 2014

IFW to Hold Public Hearings on Proposed Fishing Regulation Changes

AUGUSTA – The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife will hold public hearings on the proposed regulation changes to the upcoming open water and ice fishing seasons. These regulation changes are necessary to provide for the effective management of Maine’s inland fisheries, and to enhance fishing opportunity throughout the state. The public is encouraged to attend these public hearings and present testimony on the proposed changes.

Public hearings will be held:

July 21, 2014 at 6:30 pm at the Fort Kent Community High School located at 84 Pleasant Street, Fort Kent July 22, 2014 at 6:30 pm at the Greenville Town Office (Meeting Hall room) located at 7 Minden Street, Greenville July 23, 2014 at 6:30 pm at the Princeton Town Office (Conference Room) located at 15 Depot Street, Princeton July 24, 2014 at 6:30 pm at the Fireside Inn located at 1777 Washington Street South (next to I-95), Auburn

A full list of proposed regulation changes can be found online at www.mefishwildlife.com or by contacting Becky Orff at 284 State Street, 41 State House Station, Augusta, ME 04333-0041, by email at becky.orff@maine.gov or by telephone at (207) 287-5202. Anyone who is unable to attend a public hearing may submit written comments on any of the proposals to Becky Orff.

The proposals, if adopted, will become effective January 1, 2015. The Department is also proposing regulation changes to waters that will then become listed as State Heritage Fish waters.

Highlights of the proposed regulation changes include:

Apply State Heritage Fish protections to several newly surveyed brook trout ponds.

Provide additional protection to high-quality brook trout waters by minimizing the opportunity to transport invasive fish. This will be achieved by prohibiting baitfish trapping on several new lakes and river systems.

Simplify the regulation framework for General Law management of bass by consolidating the current three-tiered system that uses changing dates and bag limits into a single year-round regulation.

Modify the current S-15 special rule by expanding the protective length slot limit and reducing the daily bag limit to provide more protection to large bass in certain lakes. This proposal also simplifies the S-15 rule by making it consistent on a year-round basis.

Modify the list of complimentary license holders eligible to fish in S-9 waters (formerly restricted to children only). This change will more closely reflect the Department’s intent to provide additional special fishing opportunities to anglers with physical or cognitive disabilities.

Provide additional harvest restrictions on smelts in Beech Hill Pond, Otis, to maximize the availability of this important forage for landlocked salmon and togue.

Expand early open water season fishing opportunity in several lakes in the Moosehead Lake area by eliminating their special May 1 opening dates and replacing them with April 1 (General Law).

July 24, 2014

Maine Warden Service Responds to Two Search and Rescue Calls

Maine Game Wardens responded to two different Search and Rescue calls in northern and southern Maine on Wednesday, July 23.

DEBOULLIE TOWNSHIP – JULY 23, 2014: Mark Nadeau, 46 of Gorham, ME, was camping near Deboullie Lake with his son Nathaniel Nadeau age 16, and a friend Garrick Brown age 15 also from Gorham. The two young men hiked to the Deboullie Mountain Fire Tower at about 1:30pm. A storm came in and the two headed down the mountain on the wrong trail ending up about 3.1 miles further west in the wrong direction. This put them on the west end of Gardner Pond, a very remote location. At about 8:15pm, three game wardens responded to the call and headed to Deboullie Township for the search. At about 1:00am voice contact was made, but it was on the other side of the lake. After a 2 ½ hour hike up over Gardner Mountain and down to the lake the two young men were found at about 3:30am in cool but good condition. Game Warden Pilot Jeff Spencer was called in at dawn, to taxi the party out of the rugged country with the plane across Gardner and Deboullie Lake. Red River Sporting Camps owner Jen Brophy spent the entire night in the woods assisting wardens with her knowledge of the trails and was a huge reason the search was successful.

(Attached photo of Nathaniel Nadeau, Garrick Brown and Jen Brophy with responding game wardens at Gardner Pond – Courtesy of MWS)

CASCO – JULY 23, 2014: David Crocker, 86 of Portland was located yesterday along Meadow Brook in need of medical attention. While out fishing on along Meadow Brook on Monday, Mr. Crocker suffered a severe medical event. On Wednesday he received a phone call which awoke him and he was able to convey that he needed assistance. Four game wardens and a Cumberland County Deputy responded to the area and were able to locate Mr. Crocker after conducting a hasty search along Meadow Brook. Mr. Crocker was transported to Brighton Hospital after being outside for over 2 days.

July 25, 2014

Body Of Missing Swimmer Recovered This Morning

MADISON, Maine -- The Maine Warden Service recovered the body Jordan Cummings, Age 21 of Anson, who drowned last night while swimming on the Kennebec River in Anson. The body was recovered at 8:55 this morning in approximately 12 feet of water.

Cummings disappeared while swimming last night at approximately 7:40 p.m. after he attempted to swim across the river and then appeared to be having trouble in the water. One of two friends who was with him jumped into the water and attempted to save him but was unsuccessful. Cummings was attempting to swim to a rope swing located across the river.

Emergency crews were notified immediately by the witnesses, and the Anson and Madison fire departments along with other emergency service personnel searched for the victim last night along the shore and with boats but were unsuccessful. Somerset County Sheriff’s office and the Maine Warden Service also searched last night.

Searchers reconvened this morning at approximately 7:00 a.m. and divers entered the water at approximately 8:30 a.m. The body was recovered at 8:55 a.m. not far from where Cummings was last seen. The Anson and Madison fire departments and the Somerset County Sheriff’s office assisted the Maine Warden Service with the search and recovery operations on the Kennebec River.

Due to the proximity of Route 201A (River Road) to the area being searched on the river, the road was closed this morning to assist rescue teams. Recreational boating traffic was also restricted on that area of the Kennebec.

August 1, 2014

IFW Seeks Comment On Proposed Changes To State Threatened And Endangered List

For Immediate Release: August 1, 2014

Public hearings set for August 4 in Portland and August 5 in Farmington; written comments accepted through August 15

AUGUSTA, Maine -- The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife is seeking comments from the public on proposed additions and changes to the State of Maine Endangered and Threatened Species list.

The proposed changes include recognition of six new species under the Maine Endangered Species Act, including three bats and three invertebrates. Three cave bats are experiencing catastrophic declines from a prolific disease called White Nose Syndrome, first documented in 2006. Little Brown Bats and Northern Long-eared Bats are proposed for endangered status, while the Eastern Small-footed Bat would be classified as threatened.

Three new invertebrate additions to the list include a butterfly (Frigga Fritillary), a land snail (Six-whorl Vertigo) and a beetle (Cobblestone Tiger Beetle). All three are currently documented in single locations and are proposed as endangered.

Other changes include status changes for four species already listed under the Maine Endangered Species Act. Two birds, the black-crowned night heron and the great cormorant, are proposed to be upgraded from threatened to endangered. Two invertebrates, the Roaring Brook Mayfly and Clayton’s Copper Butterfly, would be downlisted from endangered to threatened.

There will be two public hearings where public comments will be taken concerning the list. The first is at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, August 4 at the Portland City Hall, 389 Congress Street; and the second is at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, August 5 at the Roberts Learning Center at University of Maine in Farmington.

Those interested in submitting public comments by writing must do so by August 15. Comments can be submitted by email to becky.orff@maine.gov or by mailing comments to Becky Orff, Inland Fisheries & Wildlife, 284 State Street, #41 State House Station, Augusta, ME 04333.

This is the sixth modification of the State’s Endangered and Threatened list by the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife since the law was enacted in 1975.

There currently are 22 species designated as endangered on the State list, and 23 species are listed as threatened. For the listing of all 45 species on the Maine Endangered and Threatened Species list, please visit http://www.maine.gov/ifw/wildlife/endangered/listedspeciesme.htm

The department is required by regulation to update the State’s Endangered and Threatened Species list at least once every eight years. The department will consider public comment received before presenting the department’s final recommendation of the list to the legislature in 2015. Any additions or subtraction to the list must be approved by the legislature and governor.

Proposed Additions To Maine’s Endangered Species List

Birds

Black-crowned Night Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax) – currently Threatened

Great Cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo; breeding population only) – currently Threatened

Invertebrates

Cobblestone Tiger Beetle (Cicindela marginipennis) – new listing

Frigga Fritillary (Boloria frigga) – new listing

Six-whorl Vertigo (Vertigo morsei) – new listing

Mammals

Little Brown Bat (Myotis lucifugus) – new listing

Northern Long-eared Bat (Myotis septentrionalis) – new listing

Proposed Additions To Maine’s Threatened Species List

Invertebrates

Roaring Brook Mayfly (Epeorus frisoni) – currently Endangered

Clayton’s Copper (Lycaena dorcas claytoni) – currently Endangered

Mammals

Eastern Small-footed Bat (Myotis leibii) – new listing

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August 1, 2014

IFW Fishing Report For August 1, 2014

For Immediate Release: August 1, 2014

Compiled By Mark Latti with IFW Fisheries Biologists

Region A – Sebago Lakes Region

Warmer temperatures can impact fish feeding activity. If you are not catching many during the day, change your tactics and go fishing at night.

“When it gets warm, night time is the only time when bass are feeding in shallow water,” says IFW fisheries biologist Francis Brautigam. “If there isn’t a lot of food such as smelts available in the deeper, colder water, fish will move inshore during the night and early morning to feed.”

Brautigam mentioned several examples, including a lake trout that was stuffed full of banded killifish and juvenile sunfish, two species known to stay close to shore.

“Normally largemouth bass will drop down to 10-15 foot depths during the day, and smallmouths are even deeper at 20-30 feet. However, once it gets dark, they will cruise the shallower depths looking for crayfish and smaller fish,” said Brautigam.

Anglers looking for trout and salmon will be happy to note that they are still catching salmon and lake trout on Sebago Lake.

One angler notified Brautigam that he caught nearly 30 landlocked salmon one morning at the north end of Sebago. Brautigam says that many anglers are catching six to 12 salmon in the early morning hours on Sebago.

“You need to get up very early. Typically the fishing slows after 9:00 or 10:00 a.m.,” said Brautigam, who added that with surface water temps in the low 70’s, anglers should play and release fish as quickly as possible as high water temperatures are stressful to these fish.

Also of note on Sebago was a 31-inch lake trout caught early this week that likely weighed in the vicinity of 12 pounds. The angler released the fish as it was in the 23-33 inch slot that must be released.

Region B – Central and Midcoast Area

If you are looking for brook trout, you may want to try a couple of ponds in central Maine.

“Anglers should try Gould Pond in Sidney or Egypt Pond in Chesterville,” said IFW fisheries biologist Jason Seiders, “The fish may be deep, but the catch rates are high.”

These ponds were stocked heavily in the spring with brook trout that averaged approximately 10” in length. The ponds are considered a “put and take” fishery, providing anglers with an opportunity to take home a couple of brook trout.

“Anglers should fish 15-20 feet deep. Small minnows or worms work best, but they are catching them trolling small lures deep as well,” said Seiders. Both ponds are relatively small with good roadside access, which makes them a good choice for fishing with a canoe.

Seiders has also been out on Maranacook Lake, monitoring the fishery. One note that may be of interest to anglers is that biologists confirmed that togue are reproducing naturally in Maranacook. The lake generally is stocked with lake trout, but with the confirmation of naturally reproducing togue, there won’t be a need to stock the pond with togue this year.

Region C -- Downeast

Downeast, now is a great time to fish for white perch.

“Right now the white perch are really schooling up and can be found in different pockets in your favorite lake. Try some live bait or jigs,” said IFW fisheries biologist Greg Burr.

Burr also noted that it is a good time of the year to target togue and salmon, as they are somewhat contained as well, right below the thermocline.

The barrier between cold water and warm water, known as the thermocline, can vary from lake to lake, but for the most part, it occurs somewhere between 25 and 30 feet in larger lakes, and sometimes it can be as deep as 35feet.

Trout anglers are having success in smaller ponds fishing the thermocline there. In small ponds, the thermocline can be a littler shallower, often between 10 and 17 feet.

“Fly casters are having success at Little Pond in Franklin, which is fly fishing only, and catch and release. It’s a neat little hike in. Anglers are letting their lines sink to below the thermocline and getting some nice trout,” said Burr.

Anglers are still catching bass, just a little deeper this time of year. Try near the edges of weedbeds where there are drop-offs, or wait until the evening and cast some surface lures into the same area.

Region D – Rangeley Lakes

“It’s been really quiet on the trout front up here in the Rangeley area,” said IFW fisheries biologist Bobby Van Riper. “Some anglers go after them with lead line and downriggers, but many anglers prefer to wait until the water cools instead of trolling.”

Where and how you fish can make a difference. Some of the more experienced anglers may take a run across a potential fishing area without even putting their lines in, scanning their sonar, marking the depth where they see fish. They then will take the same route back, with one line above the fish and the other below.

In some parts of the western mountains area, green drakes are still hatching, but that is solely in the northern part of the region. Some anglers are having luck on rivers fishing on the fringes of a deep pool with a big green drake fly.

This time of year, however, it can be challenging to catch trout.

“Summer has settled in, we are reaching our maximum temperatures for area lakes and ponds, which means that they have also reached their minimum for oxygen. Most fish are just trying to endure the summer heart and aren’t looking to feed this time of year,” said Van Riper.

Van Riper notes that it is a good time of year to fish for bass in the southern part of the region, and suggests trying Clearwater Lake, Hancock Pond, McGurdy Pond or Norcross Pond for bass.

Region E – Moosehead Region Report submitted by IFW Fisheries Biologist Tim Obrey

As July winds down the fishing gets a little tougher. Salmon and lake trout are heading to depths below the thermocline in our larger lakes. Brook trout will get picky as the water warms and the hatches taper off.

Trolling probably offers the best chance, especially in larger waters. We’ve had scattered reports from Moosehead Lake which indicate the fishing is hit or miss. Some anglers, particularly in the Rockwood area are still able to find some cooperative fish down deep.

While the fishing is slowing down, our work hasn’t. This time of year we are very busy evaluating our lake trout waters. We’ve handled a number of nice fish in the Moosehead Lake Region this summer.

We are also gearing up for the busy fall season and we plan to operate our fish weir on Wilson Stream, a tributary to Sebec Lake, this fall to evaluate the wild salmon population on one of Maine’s original salmon lakes. It will be a very interesting project as we hope to further evaluate the conditions which provide the best chance for these fish to pass over several falls on their way to reach their spawning grounds.

Region F – Penobscot Region

Looking to catch some trout? You ought to take a visit to Baxter State Park. This summer, Region F crews have been in the park doing surveys of several ponds.

“We went into Basin Pond, which we hadn’t surveyed in a while. It still has a thriving population of brook trout. It’s a couple of miles in, and it doesn’t get much fishing pressure. The water is gin clear and you can see bottom down to 30 feet,” said Nels Kramer, IFW fisheries biologist.

Over on Daicey, the surveys showed a healthy brook trout population, with nice fish over 16 inches.

Lost Pond revealed similar results, with very fat trout up to sixteen inches. Kramer noted that there still were some hex hatches occurring on Lost Pond, but felt they might be over by now.

One of the appeals to fishing in the park is that some of the ponds have canoes that you can rent for a dollar an hour. Some ponds, like Daicey, have canoes on the rack that you can use. More remote ponds have canoes that are locked. Check with the ranger station for availability at the pond you would like to fish.

“It’s a tremendous resource all throughout the park. You can’t beat a dollar an hour to rent a canoe, plus you get gorgeous scenery and some great fishing,” said Kramer.

Region G – Aroostook Region

Up north, the water has heated up, but there are still trout to be caught.

“Trout ponds are still offering hot fishing during the evening hatches, as long as anglers can find the right fly to match the hatch,” said Jeremiah Wood, IFW fisheries biologist. “Daytime fishing in these areas has been slow. In many of the ponds, trout are feeding on midge larvae and scuds near the bottom and they can be difficult to catch.”

If you are looking to fish the rivers and streams, look for places with cool tributaries or areas that are spring fed. Otherwise, the river fishing has slowed right down.

On the larger lakes and ponds in the Fish River chain of lakes, folks are having success trolling deep, but Wood says generally you need to be 30 to 50 feet down in the water column.

Of course, this time of year is prime time to fish smaller brooks and streams. “Anglers would be well served to bring a pocket thermometer on their fishing trips. Any stream in the area that is below 70 degrees should produce trout.”

August 8, 2014

IFW Biologists Capture And Radio Collar Additional Bears To Augment 40-Year Study

WASHINGTON COUNTY, Maine - Maine’s bear biologists recently wrapped up another successful spring bear capture season as part of the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife’s long-term bear research and management program. State bear biologist Randy Cross led a team of 5 biologists for a total of 43 days in Washington County in May and June. The crew captured 66 different bears a total of 92 times, and placed radio collars on 16 females.

This trapping effort is an essential part of the Department’s black bear management program. Capturing and radiocollaring black bears allows IFW’s biologists to collect information on birth and death rates to ensure a healthy population of black bears in Maine.

On average, it took thirty-nine trapping nights to capture a bear. A trap night is defined as a single trap being set for 24 hours. The IFW capture team used cable-foot restraints and culvert traps at 88 sites over a six-week period, for a total of 3,577 trap-nights. The traps biologists use are the same as those used by the public during the bear trapping season, and are the only legal bear trapping devices allowed in Maine. Cross, who has worked on IF&W’s bear project for 32 years and is widely regarded as having live-captured more black bears than anyone in North America, noted that the cool, wet weather this spring reduced the vulnerability of bears to trapping.

“Wet weather results in an abundance of natural food for bears, which makes them less interested in the bait we use to lure bears into trapping locations. We see this same pattern with harvest by hunters in the fall, where the bear harvest goes down in years when natural foods are widely available,” said Cross.

“People often assume that luring bears with bait is easy, but the fact is that the vast majority of hunters (about 75%) using bait are actually unsuccessful. We face the same challenge in our research program. We worked very hard this year and it still took us nearly 40 trap-nights to capture each bear,” said Cross. Despite the uncooperative weather, the team handled 66 bears, totaling a combined weight of 10,890 pounds of bear. This year, bears ranged in weight from a 12-pound cub to an 11 year-old male weighing 432 pounds. The majority of the bears captured weighed under 100 pounds. Each bear was anesthetized, measured, checked for reproductive status, tattooed with an identifying number beneath their lip, and released unharmed.

“Many people have the impression that the devices used to trap bears by our research team and by the general public are inhumane. In fact, these devices are considered safe and humane by scientific and animal care committees across the country. There is a perception that the old-fashioned steel-jawed bear traps are used, but they have been illegal in Maine for years,” says Judy Camuso, the Department’s Wildlife Division Director. Of the 16 female bears that were radio-collared this spring, 8 were new to the study and will join the Department’s 40-year bear monitoring effort, which is the longest running bear research program in the country.

Each of these bears, as well as about 100 others that were already collared in 3 study areas across the state, will be visited in their dens this winter. The Department tracks between 79 and 100 radio-collared black bears annually, and generally inspects over 80 bear dens each winter. The den visits also provide biologists with crucial information on Maine’s black bears including birth rates, survival, behavior, and bear health and nutrition.

MDIFW’s bear monitoring effort occurs in three study areas . This year, biologists trapped the Downeast region of the state. Other study areas include an area in the north Maine woods, and one area in the central Piscataquis county. The three areas are representative of bear habitat throughout the state.

The Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife began the bear study in 1975, and since that time, more than three thousand bears have been captured and marked.

Maine is fortunate to have the largest bear population in the eastern United States while experiencing relatively few conflicts. The State’s very successful bear management program has ensured that this resource continues to thrive, while also protecting property and public safety.

By monitoring Maine’s bear population closely, the Department can adjust rules and regulations concerning the bear hunting season to that harvests are sustainable and that the number of bears is kept in balance with available habitat.

The black bear population throughout the United States is rising. Maine’s bear population has risen from 23,000 bears in 2004 to more than 30,000 bears currently. Maine has the largest bear population in the east and one of the largest in the continental US.

August 14, 2014

IFW Enhances Website With Information Concerning Bear Referendum

AUGUSTA, Maine -- Voters who want to learn more about Maine’s black bears and Question 1 on the November ballot should visit the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife web page, which features a new section designed to inform citizens about the upcoming bear referendum and why the department is opposed to Question 1. You can visit the website at www.mefishwildlife.com.

“No one care’s more about Maine’s black bears than Maine’s bear biologists—they have dedicated their careers to protecting Maine’s bear population,” said IFW Wildlife Division Director Judy Camuso. “They are hired by the state to protect and care for Maine’s bear population, and we want to let voters know what we have learned from over 40 years of research and why we are opposed to the referendum.”

The site includes research authored by Maine’s bear biologists, videos focused on Maine’s black bear management and bear biology, infographics, biographic summaries, pictures of field research, a presentation on Maine’s bear management program and other information regarding the upcoming referendum.

The site is full of information about Maine’s black bears. For instance, just over 50 years ago, black bears were relegated to no more than a nuisance animal, with the state paying a bounty to those who killed black bears. Now bears are a valued game animal to hunters and non-hunters alike.

“We want to provide Maine’s voters with facts about Maine black bears so they have the information they need before they cast their vote,” said Camuso. “Maine’s biologists are some of the most experienced and respected in North America. Their research has been utilized in bear management programs throughout the continent.”

Web users should visit the site often, as it will be updated with new videos and infographics about Maine’s black bears on a weekly basis. The videos feature Maine wildlife biologists and game wardens and focus on information learned from Maine’s long-running research program, why the department opposes the referendum and why these hunting methods are important to control the bear population.

“We felt it was important that voters understand the ramifications of this referendum,” said Camuso. “Maine’s biologists and game wardens are opposed to this referendum, and this website clearly shows why we are opposed and why this referendum is bad for Maine.”

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August 21, 2014

Bear Season Opens Monday, August 25

AUGUSTA, Maine – Bear hunting season begins on Monday, August 25 at 5:19 a.m. throughout the State of Maine. Last year, with over 10,000 hunters purchasing permits to hunt bear, 2,845 bears were killed.

Black bear populations are growing throughout North America, and due to Maine’s heavily forested landscape, Maine boasts one of the largest bear populations in the United States at over 30,000 bears. As a result, Maine has one of the longest hunting seasons in the country, stretching from the end of August to after Thanksgiving.

“Hunting is the Department’s tool for managing this thriving bear population,” says Jennifer Vashon, one of the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife’s bear biologists. “And due to Maine’s dense forest, bear hunting with dogs and with bait are essential for controlling Maine’s bear population.” Department bear biologists expect bait hunters to do well this year as the availability of many natural foods has been delayed or are in low supply due to the cool, wet spring. Over a span of 40 years, Maine’s bear study has shown that not only does the availability of natural foods drive bear cub survival and bear birth rates, but it also directly influences when bears den for the winter, as well as hunter success rates. In poor natural food years, hunter success is higher than in years when natural food is abundant. Availability of natural foods also fuels nuisance bear complaints. In 2013, when there was a good natural food crop, nuisance complaints dropped to 311, well under the five-year average of approximately 500 complaints per year. This year, due to poor natural foods, nuisance complaints have increased to over 600. Maine’s bear hunting season is divided into three segments. Hunters can hunt bears with bait from August 25 to September 20; hunters can hunt bears with dogs from September 8 through October 31; and hunters can still hunt or stalk from August 25 through November 29. The trapping season runs from September 1 through October 31. You are allowed to take up to two bears during the year; one by hunting and one by trapping. Over 90% of the bear harvest occurs during the first four weeks of the season when hunters can use the traditional methods of hunting with dogs and baiting.

Maine is one of 32 states that allow bear hunting. In the 32 states that allow bear hunting, nearly three-quarters of the states (23) allow either hunting with dogs, bait or both.

Since 2004, Maine’s bear population has increased by over 30% and is estimated at more than 30,000 animals. Bear/human conflicts have also increased in frequency in the past 10 years, with the department responding to an average of 500 nuisance bear calls a year. Even with the lengthy bear season, only about 25% of all bear hunters are successful. By contrast, 72% of moose hunters, and 32% of turkey hunters were successful last year. Deer hunters who hunted last year with an Any Deer permit had a 58% success rate according to surveys; while without an any-deer permit, deer hunters had an 18% success rate. Historically, deer hunters success rates are in the 15% range.

Maine’s black bear population is closely monitored by Department biologists through one of the most extensive, longest-running biological studies in the U.S. The study began in 1975 and continues today. Over nearly 40 years, Department biologists have captured and tracked over 3,000 bears to determine the health and condition of Maine’s bears and estimate how many cubs are born each year. Successful bear hunters are reminded that it is mandatory to submit a tooth from their bear when registering. Tagging agents will provide envelopes and instructions to hunters as to how to remove the tooth. Biologists age the tooth, and the biological data collected help biologists adjust season lengths and bag limits for bears. Hunters must have a bear permit in addition to a big game hunting license to hunt bear in Maine. Bear hunting is most popular and bear populations are the densest in the northern and downeast regions of the state.

The bear season is carefully regulated. Maine Game Wardens will be patrolling the woods of Maine ensuring that bait areas, hunting stands and blinds are labeled properly, and they will be enforcing all other laws pertaining to the hunting of bears.

September 5, 2014

Eaglet Pair Released Along Banks of Kennebec

AUGUSTA, Maine -- Two Bangor Eaglets, rescued from their treetop nest in May after one parent died and another became ill, were released today along the banks above the Kennebec River earlier today. The released juvenile bald eagles took right to the sky in their new home.

The eaglets were raised at Avian Haven in Freedom until they were ready to be released as full-sized healthy, juvenile birds. Avian Haven is a non-profit, private wildlife rehabilitation facility located in Freedom, Maine. Marc Payne, one of the founders of Avian Haven released one eagle, and Brent Bibles, a professor at Unity College, released the other.

“Fall is one of the best times of year to release young eagles as this is when birds of this age group leave their nest sites and seek out areas of abundant food across the state,” said IFW Wildlife Biologist Erynn Call, who specializes in eagles. “The Kennebec River is a known foraging hotspot for eagles, and with less competition for food, it can give young birds a better chance at survival.”

These eaglets were rescued from their nest after the male was killed after flying into an electrical line, and the mother became ill after apparently ingesting some type of toxin. The Eaglet pair was removed from their nest, the ill mother captured and all were transported to Avian Haven. The adult female was successfully treated back to health and released earlier this summer.

The eagles were rescued since they could not care for themselves, as one parent was killed and the other unable to fly. Avian Haven and MDIFW consult on these types of situations and consider removal if eaglets are injured, in danger of becoming accustomed to people, or are threatened by roads or pets.

Generally, eaglets go through a phase in July and August where they may be calling incessantly from the nest, adjacent branches, or on the ground below their nests. Adults spend less and less time with eaglets as they get older to encourage them to become independent, which may appear like abandonment. If left undisturbed, adults will intermittently provide food to the fledglings, even those on the ground. Please contact Avian Haven or MDIFW if you observe an eaglet that may be injured or in trouble.

The current darker coloring of the juvenile birds will slowly transition over the next five years to the recognizable white feathers on the tail and head. Because of newly formed flight feathers and their darker coloring, subadult eagles can appear larger than adults and often are misidentified as golden eagles.

Avian Haven funds their operation through private donations and grants, and receives no state funding. Avian Haven is run by Marc Payne and Diane Winn and is one of the largest rehabilitation practices in New England. To date, nearly 12,000 birds from more than 100 species have been treated at Avian Haven.

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September 9, 2014

Any Deer Permit Results Available at mefishwildlife.com

AUGUSTA, Maine -- Deer hunters eager to learn if they received an Any Deer Permit should visit the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife website at www.mefishwildlife to see if they were selected for an Any Deer permit. This year, over 64,000 deer hunters applied for the 37,185 permits that were available in 12 wildlife management districts. There are 29 regional wildlife management districts throughout the state, and the permits were issued in districts that are primarily in southern and central Maine. Annually, over 175,000 deer hunters take part in the deer season. The Firearms Deer hunting season begins with Youth Deer Hunting Day on October 25. Youth hunters may take a buck statewide or an antlerless deer only in the wildlife management districts where any-deer permits are issued this fall. Maine Resident Only Day is on November 1 this year, and the general firearm deer hunting season runs from November 3 to November 29.

The Department uses the Any Deer permit system to manage the white-tailed deer population in the state. By controlling the harvest of female deer in the 29 regional wildlife management districts throughout the state, biologists can manage population trends.

Hunters who do not receive an Any Deer permits are only allowed to shoot an antlered deer.

For more information on deer hunting in Maine, visit www.mefishwildlife.com.

September 11, 2014

IFW to Host Outdoor Skills Weekend for Women

AUGUSTA – The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife is hosting their annual Becoming an Outdoors-Woman Introductory Skills Weekend this Friday, September 12 through Sunday, September 14 at Camp Caribou in Winslow, Maine.

The Becoming an Outdoors Woman (BOW) program is a non-profit educational program offering hands-on workshops to adult women. The program provides a supportive environment conducive to learning, making friends, and having fun. No experience is necessary and BOW is for women of all ages and fitness levels. BOW workshops are held throughout the United States and have been sponsored here in Maine by the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife for nearly 20 years.

Close to 100 women from throughout New England have registered to participate in the upcoming workshop, which will offer sessions on topics related to hunting, fishing and outdoor recreation. Each participant will select four sessions to complete during the weekend, which are taught by volunteer instructors who are considered experts in their field.

This year’s sessions include: firearms use (rifle and shotgun), archery, bow hunting, turkey hunting, deer hunting, kayaking, stand up paddleboarding (SUP), freshwater fishing, fly casting, bird watching, primitive skills, outdoor survival, forest ecology, fly tying, landscaping for wildlife, ATV safety, ropes course, GPS, map and compass, canoeing and a self-defense course for women. Special activities are planned for the evenings offering additional learning opportunity and a chance to relax (complete with a campfire and s’mores).

The Becoming an Outdoors Woman program is one of several educational programs that the Department sponsors in an effort to provide opportunity to women, children and families and has been generously supported by volunteers and by the Friends of Maine BOW.

In addition to the annual Introductory Skills Weekend each fall, the program also offers a Winter Skills Weekend each February, a Spring Mini workshop each May and Summer Adventure Camp each June. Additional information about the BOW program can be found at www.mainebow.com.

Note: Members of the media who are interested in attending the Introductory Skills Workshop are encouraged to contact Emily MacCabe at 207-462-1017 or emily.maccabe@maine.gov. Hands-on sessions are scheduled to take place between 1-4pm on Friday, September 12, between 9am-12pm and 1-4pm on Saturday, September 13 and between 9am-12pm on Sunday, September 14. A copy of the full schedule is attached.

Photos courtesy of the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife

September 12, 2014

IFW Fishing Report For September 12, 2014

For Immediate Release: September 12, 2014

Region A – Sebago Lakes Region In southern Maine, there is no shortage of late season fishing opportunities. It used to be if you wanted to fish late in the season, you would fish the tidewater areas of the Mousam and the Ogunquit, but now anglers have a variety of choices.

“We have made a concerted effort to identify and target fall fishing waters,” said IFW Fisheries Biologist Francis Brautigam, “for over three years, we have been stocking the Upper Mousam below the outlet of Mousam Lake, the Lower Royal below the dams in Yarmouth, and expanded opportunities on the Presumpscot for the entire year, not just the upper area. And all these rivers have very good access.”

Many of these waters receive stocked trout not in only in the spring, but a fall stocking as well. Waters that see a higher number of anglers are stocked periodically through the fall right into December.

“With the Mousam, Royal, and Presumpscot, we pretty much have covered the region,” said Brautigam.

Biologists have been busy working with dam owners on the Presumpscot to improve access and fishing. Through the dam relicensing procedure, there are now minimum river flows and improved parking and access.

“At Mallison and Dundee, there are now footbridges that get you to the bypass channel which you couldn’t get to before,” said Brautigam.

If you want to fish area lakes and ponds, you may want to wait until early October. The department is now stocking larger fish in the fall, which seem to survive better in lakes with bass and pickerel.

Anglers who like to fish for landlocked salmon ought to look for areas with current. On Thompson Lake, the set of culverts near the heath is always a popular option. Shore angles may want to try Crystal Lake for rainbows off the town beach.

Whenever fishing, anglers are reminded to check their law book for regulations. Come October 1, many of these stocked waters are restricted to artificial lures only, and all trout and salmon must be released at once.

Region B – Central and Midcoast Area

Anglers who want to spend a productive day fishing ought to try a canoe trip down the Sebasticook River.

“The Sebasticook has been superb. Anglers are catching multiple bass in excess of 20 inches,” said IFW fisheries biologist Jason Seiders, who added the Burnham section has been excellent. “Surface lures work well, as well as anything that imitates a juvenile alewife.”

Further north on the Kennebec River, catches continue to be outstanding. Anglers are having a lot of success in the Bingham section, particularly bouncing nymphs off the bottom throughout the day.

A little lower on the Kennebec, there’s still browns to be caught in the Shawmut area, and the stocking truck will be delivering more brown trout to the Shawmut reach soon, once water temps cool.

Region C -- Downeast

Anglers are still boating a good number of togue and salmon in the region, as the water is still stratified with a defined thermocline in many of the region’s lakes.

“There’s still some very good fishing to be had,” says IFW fisheries biologist Greg Burr. “It’s a beautiful time of year to be out on the water. Temperatures are getting cooler and there’s not as much boating activity.”

Along with salmon and togue, some anglers are still catching a good number of white perch. Anglers can find them in deeper water, schooled up. With surface water temps still in the low 70s, bass anglers are still recording good numbers of catches.

Of course if it’s fall salmon fishing you are thinking, most anglers think of Grand Lake Stream. As the water temps begin to cool down, salmon start moving into the river, setting the stage for some fantastic fly fishing.

“October can be fantastic in this region, I highly recommend getting out and fishing this time of year,” said Burr.

Region D – Rangeley Lakes

There is a myriad of fall fishing opportunities in the Rangeley region, particularly if you enjoy fishing in rivers. The Kennebago, Magalloway, and the Rapid are all very well known for their fall trout and salmon fishing.

“The cold mornings are cooling down the rivers, and fish are starting to move around, thinking about spawning,” said IFW Fisheries Biologist Dave Howatt. “It’s a great time to be on these rivers.”

And if you don’t feel like wading, don’t forget about the lakes and ponds.

“Lake fishing often gets overlooked this time of year, but lakes and ponds can be very good. Fish are starting to stage in front of the rivers, and you can find quite a few in the deeper pockets close to the rivers,” said Howatt, who added this time of year, you are likely to only see a few boats instead of the dozens you might encounter early in the year.

While many waters will shut down on October 1, there still are waters open to fishing such as Beal, Little Jim and Quimby Ponds, all which have good access. Remember to check your law book before venturing out, as many regulations change after October 1.

Region E – Moosehead Region

In the Moosehead Lake Region, it’s prime time for fishing.

“They just dropped the flow at the East Outlet this week after a week of high flows, so that should draw plenty of salmon into the river,” said IFW fisheries biologist Tim Obrey. “This is one of our best river fisheries in the spring and fall, and now is a good time to try it.”

On the other side of the lake, the gates on the Roach River are open and it is flowing at 200 cfs, which is normal for this time of year, with another bump in flows expected September 15. How big a bump depends on how much water is in First Roach. Look for brook trout to head into the river first, followed by a charge of salmon. Next week should be fantastic.

If you are looking for a bit of an adventure, head out to the West Branch of the Penobscot below Seboomook. Currently, flows are running around 750 cfs which is a good flow to fish the area know as the “Foxhole.” Chesuncook salmon travel to this section of the river in September.

“It is a unique fishing experience. Many anglers will canoe down the river several miles and stay in the maintained campsites,” said Obrey. “There’s nothing like waking up on the fog covered Penobscot River and slipping your canoe out into a salmon pool before breakfast. If you enjoy fly-fishing for salmon, you need to make this trip.”

Region F – Penobscot Region

If you are looking for a place to go brook trout fishing, now is a great time to be in the Penobscot/Katahdin region.

“Most of our better brook trout waters are in Baxter Park. A lot of those are wild populations like Sourdnahunk, Katahdin, Daicy and Lower Fowler,” said IFW fisheries biologist Nels Kramer. “Most of the ponds are fly fishing only, no live fish as bait, and the season ends on September 30. There are some significant large fish in these ponds.”

If you are looking for some late season fishing, try Abol, Billfish, Celia, Draper or Rocky Pond (T2R9). Outside the park, you should try Island Pond, Wapiti, Davis and Lunksoos which have an extended fall season.

If you’d rather fish the rivers, the East Branch of the Penobscot offers some great opportunities in the fall. There are wild brook trout and landlocks. The Mattawamkeag also offers some excellent fishing this time of year.

Of course, there really is no bad time for fish for smallmouth bass in the Penobscot, and late season, Lower Togue Pond in T2R9 offers excellent opportunities for splake. As always, check your lawbook before heading out on the water.

Region G – Aroostook Region

Cold weather has already hit much of the Aroostook region, with frost covering some fields earlier this week.

“Right now, the rivers and streams are at pretty low flows,” said IFW fisheries biologist Frank Frost. “As the fall rains start, fishing should pick up.”

This time of year, the uppper and lower sections of the Aroostook are productive, and the Fish River downstream of Eagle Lake is a popular spot for salmon. The rehabilitated portion of the Meduxnekeag River, where river habitat was improved, should also provide anglers with some great opportunities.

There are also several areas where the department stocks trout, check the law book for waters with extended fall fishing seasons into October and November, and those areas are likely stocked with trout in the fall. Waters to try should include Arnold Brook Lake in Presque Isle, Drews Lake in New Limerick, and Nickerson Lake outside of Houlton.

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September 15, 2014

IFW News -- Maine’s Bear Biologists Discuss Increasing Bear Population And Management Strategies At Conference

FRONT ROYAL, Virginia – Burgeoning black bear populations throughout the northeast were among the major topics discussed at the annual Northeast Black Bear Technical Committee meeting in Virginia. Maine bear biologists Randy Cross and Jennifer Vashon joined bear biologists from 16 states and six Canadian provinces for the annual conference, which was held August 27 and 28 in Front Royal, Virginia.

“Nearly all the northeast states are increasing hunting opportunities to try and control black bear numbers,” said Vashon. “New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania and West Virginia all recently increased the length of their black bear hunting seasons. Connecticut is considering enacting a bear hunt, and Maryland has been increasing the number of bear permits available.”

The two-day meeting focused on issues surrounding bear managers in the northeast. Among the topics discussed over the two days included reports from subcommittees:

• Bear population management strategies, including population estimates, modeling techniques and harvest strategies. • Effectiveness of focused hunting in in urban and suburban areas to reduce conflicts between bears and people. • Developing a standard message for how to react in a bear-human encounter. • Standardized protocols for responding to bear attacks and the recent bear attack training received by the Southeast Black Bear Technical Committee. • Summarizing data on care and rehabilitation of orphaned cubs. • Ongoing predator prey/prey research about black bear and deer.

“The first day involves status reports from each state and province, where bear managers highlight what is happening in their state, and then we hear from our working groups that are tasked with researching certain topics,” said Cross. Vashon noted that one of the more interesting topics for the working groups was the discussion concerning aversive conditioning of nuisance black bears, where bears are hazed or harassed in hopes that nuisance bear behavior won’t be repeated. “What the group found was that there was no silver bullet or one tool that was effective, and that aversive conditioning is an effective short-term solution, especially when addressing an immediate public safety issue or when property damage is severe,” said Vashon. That was the result of studies in three different states where biologists radio-collared nuisance bears and subjected them to aversive conditioning after a nuisance bear complaint.

“Dealing with increasing nuisance conflicts is a priority for most eastern states,” said Vashon. “The committee is currently evaluating if increasing hunting opportunity around urban areas can alleviate conflicts. Initial findings indicate that increased hunting around urban areas is effective at removing bears that cause problems in backyards.”

One part that is particularly helpful to bear managers is feedback from the committee.

“These people know their subject and can give you feedback. It helps improve your program based upon the shared knowledge within the committee,” said Vashon.

The Northeast Black Bear Technical Committee first met in Maine in 2002 and has met every year since then. Vashon, Maine’s lead bear biologist, was the chair of the committee from 2007-2010. As chair, Vashon was instrumental in bringing the Eastern Black Bear Workshop to Maine in 2013.

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September 17, 2014

Moose Season Set To Begin Monday

AUGUSTA, Maine -- On Monday, September 22, over a thousand moose hunters will enter the woods, embarking on what many call the hunt of a lifetime.

While Monday marks the first day of moose season in northern and eastern Maine, the moose season is divided into four segments and continues throughout the fall during the weeks of October 13-18, November 3-8 and November 3-29 in southern Maine. In all, 3,095 permits were issued to hunt moose in Maine this year.

Regulated hunting seasons is how the department controls Maine’s moose population, estimated at approximately 65,000 to 70,000 animals. Maine's moose population is a valued resource, due to the high demands for both viewing and hunting.

The number of permits issued for each moose hunting district varies depending on moose population density in the district and publicly derived populations objectives, such as managing for recreational opportunity (hunting and viewing), road safety (reducing moose-vehicle collisions) or a combination of both.

"By adjusting the number and type of permits available to hunters, we can control the moose harvest and manage population growth," said Lee Kantar, IFW’s moose biologist. “In the northern part of the state, the goal is to reduce the moose population, and in other areas, stabilize or increase the population.”

Last year, with over 4,000 permits issued, 2,971 moose hunters were successful, translating to nearly three out of every four moose hunters getting a moose. The 72 percent success rate is in stark contrast to bear or deer hunting, where success rates range historically from 18 to 25 percent. Moose hunting in Maine continues to be extremely popular, with over 53,577 hunters applying to the moose lottery for a chance to hunt moose.

This year, the number of moose permits issued to hunters was decreased. The department issued 3,095 permits statewide, down from the 4,110 that were available last year.

“Based upon our research, we felt this was necessary,” said Kantar. “Decreasing the amount of permits will help lessen the impact of winter tick on the state’s moose population.”

In particular, the department decreased the number of antlerless only or cow permits that are available to hunters. Antlerless-only permits were decreased in wildlife management Districts 1-5, 7-9 and 12-13. This is the northern and northwestern part of Maine, including the northern portions of Oxford, Franklin, Somerset, Piscataquis, Penobscot and Aroostook Counties.

Winter ticks have been documented in Maine since the 1930s. Periodically, there are peak years when the number of ticks increased substantially, and last year was a peak year. The number of moose permits were reduced to offset the impact of the high tick year.

All successful moose hunters are required to register their moose at an area tagging station. At these stations, IFW wildlife biologists collect data that provides insight into moose population health.

Biologists will measure antler beam width and diameter. A tooth is removed in order to determine the age of the moose. Ticks are counted on four different areas of the moose to compare numbers to years past. In later weeks, moose hunters who shoot a female moose are required to bring the ovaries, which are examined to determine reproductive success.

This biological data is combined with data from the ongoing moose radiocollar study, as well as the aerial moose population and composition surveys to give biologists a clearer picture of the health and status of Maine’s moose herd.

September 24, 2014

REWARD FOR MISSING APPALACHIAN TRAIL HIKER GERRY LARGAY INCREASED TO $25,000

September 24, 2014: The family of missing Appalachian Trail hiker Geraldine “Gerry” Largay announced today that it has increased its reward for locating her to $25,000, up from $15,000.

Largay, who goes by the trail name “Inchworm,” was last seen on the early morning of July 22, 2013, at Poplar Lean-to in Maine after spending the night with other hikers. She was planning on hiking that day to Spaulding Lean-to approximately 8 miles to the north, but never arrived there. The next day, July 23, she had planned to continue hiking north from Spaulding Lean-to, which is located in Mount Abram Township, to meet her husband, who was waiting for her at the Route 27 crossing. The AT crosses Route 27 in Wyman Township, which is located between the towns of Carrabasset and Stratton.

As recently as Sept. 14, 2014, Maine game wardens and searchers from the Maine Association of Search and Rescue (MASAR) returned to Redington TWP in Franklin County to continue the search for Largay, of Brentwood, Tenn. These most recent search efforts concentrated on areas east of Oberton Stream and west of Mount Abram Trail that had not had documented ground search efforts prior. Searchers are equipped with GPS trackers after receiving assignments, and wardens are then able to document where searching has occurred. This assists wardens greatly in tracking search efforts and aids in determining future search strategies.

This was one of several searches that took place this summer for Largay and was not prompted by any particular piece of information. Maine game wardens are continuing to search possible areas where Largay may be located that have not previously had ground search resources. There have been no clues found that can be attributed to Largay in any of the searches that have taken place.

The Largay family has expressed gratitude to all the searchers and investigators who have taken the time to help find Gerry. The family is still in contact with Maine Warden Service investigators and is updated routinely about searches and any investigative leads regarding her disappearance. The family decided this week to increase the $15,000 reward amount to $25,000. The reward will be for anyone who can provide information to investigators that locates Geraldine Largay.

Anyone who has any information that can lead to the location of Largay or has information about other hikers or persons in the area of Poplar Lean-to or the Oberton Stream area on the Appalachian Trail last year on July 22, 2013, is asked to please share the information with the Maine Warden Service by calling (207) 624-7076.

(Attached photo of Geraldine Largay courtesy of the Maine Warden Service.)

For additional search information, please contact 207-695-3756 ext.1 at our Greenville office.

September 30, 2014

IFW Hunting Report for September 30, 2014

Southern Lakes Region – Region A

In Region A, October 1 marks the beginning of pheasant season, and IFW biologists and clubs have been busy releasing birds throughout the region.

“We had our first pheasant release on Monday, and we have two other releases planned for October 5 and October 19,” said IFW Wildlife Biologist Corey Stearns. Stearns said that over 40 birds were released at each of the 22 sites, releasing over 880 birds so far in the region.

Releasing the pheasants before the season, or on a Sunday during the season, gives the birds some time to acclimate to their surroundings. Over the course of the season, both the department and area Rod and Gun clubs will release over 2300 birds at 22 different sites.

Hunters are reminded that they must purchase a pheasant hunting permit. Proceeds from the permit go directly to fund the pheasant program. For more information on the pheasant program and a list of release sites, please visit: http://www.maine.gov/ifw/hunting_trapping/hunting/pheasant.htm

In other news, Brownfield Bog has been busy with waterfowl hunters, and upland hunters might want to check out the western portion of the Brownfield Bog Wildlife Management Area which offers good habitat for grouse.

Turkey hunters are also gearing up. While Stearns mentioned that the number of broods seems to be lower this year, he is still seeing quite a few turkeys right now.

“There is still plenty of opportunities for turkey hunters, and there seems to be more people talking about it,” said Stearns, who reminds hunters that you can take two turkeys this fall on the permit you purchased in the spring.

Central and Midcoast Maine

If you are looking to go grouse hunting on opening day in central Maine, bird hunters ought to find a reasonable number of birds.

“Average May rainfall generally means an average bird crop,” said IFW Wildlife Biologist Keel Kemper. “So I am expecting that hunters should see reasonable numbers of birds in Central Maine.”

If you are looking for a spot to hunt, you should visit Frye Mountain, one of the Department’s many wildlife management areas. Frye Mountain possesses an excellent network of roads, and is managed with selective cutting for varying ages of young forests.

If waterfowl is your passion, it should be a good early season in central Maine.

“Word on ducks is that there’s a good acorn crop which means better than average wood duck shooting. Teal are already showing up at Merrymeeting Bay,” says Kemper. “There will also be some good mallard hunting on the Kennebec and Sebasticook when the time comes.”

Kemper also noted that there are lots of migrant geese in local fields around Unity but very few hunters. Take the time to ask for permission and you can have some outstanding hunting.

Downeast Region

With a wet early spring and summer, and higher water levels into July, expectations for birds are fair to moderate Downeast.

“It wasn’t a washout, but it certainly wasn’t the best nesting season that we’ve seen,” said IFW wildlife biologist Tom Schaeffer.

If you are looking to go turkey hunting this fall, there are some new opportunities in the Downeast region. Check out WMDs 19 and 28.

“Along the coastal plain in Hancock and Washington Counties, the spring numbers seemed down. However, that is not the case as you move more into the interior where the numbers look pretty favorable,” said Schaeffer.

During spring waterfowl brood counts, Schaeffer noted decent waterfowl broods, and expects hunters to have a good season.

A check of area tagging stations has the bear numbers below last year, even with hunter numbers looking pretty good. Looks like hunters had success early, but with what seems to be a low volume of natural foods, bears have denned up early.

Schaeffer noted that a few hunters have had success with the resident goose season, as some hunters have enjoyed decent numbers on a few local fields.

Rangeley Lakes and Western Mountains Region

In the Rangeley and western mountain regions, bird season is set to begin.

“While it didn’t seem to be a particularly bad spring, our waterfowl numbers were off,” said IFW wildlife biologist Chuck Hulsey. “If I had to venture a guess on grouse, I would have to say it looks about average.”

Turkey hunters in the southern part of the region are likely to see lower numbers of birds this spring.

“Our turkey numbers are down, as they were hit hard by the winter,” said Hulsey, who added that over recent winters, he has been averaging between one and four complaints from area farmers. This past winter? Not a one.

Moosehead Region

IFW regional Wildlife biologist Doug Kane has seen a good number of birds in his travels this summer, and hunters should be happy with what he’s seen.

“I always look at clutch sizes for an indicator of what we’ll see in the fall, because once these chicks start flying, mortality goes way down,” says Kane.

Most of the clutches he saw at flight stage this year numbered between three and six chicks.

“When we have had the great grouse years, I see clutch sizes that are more than five,” said Kane. “This year, I saw a lot of clutches that were 4-5.”

With the cooler weather settling in last week, Kane started seeing more birds.

“It was like someone flipped a switch, they just started showing up on the roads, both the bigger birds and the younger birds,” said Kane. “It should be a pretty good year.”

Turkey hunters are getting ready in the southern part of the region, and even though the numbers for this spring might have been down, things look good for the fall.

“Both turkeys and grouse seemed to nest well. There was plenty of rain, but it was not extended, and it was usually followed by warmer weather so the chicks and poults could handle the cold,” said Kane.

Bear season is slowing down in the Moosehead region, as Kane says, for when they are getting ready to den, they are traveling less.

“Most of the natural foods are gone, bears are heavy and they seem to be ready to den earlier in this non-beech nut year,” said Kane.

And if you are excited about deer season, Kane says the number of deer he has seen is very good, boding well for the upcoming season.

Penobscot Region

If you are looking to go grouse hunting in the Penobscot region, it looks to be a good season, not great. According to IFW wildlife biologist Mark Caron, sightings have been consistent through the summer.

“It can be hard to predict. I have heard from Patten and north of there from people training dogs that there are good broods. It was not a great hatch in our area,” said Caron. “Once thing is for sure, once the leaves come off, things get better,” said Caron.

Page Farm, with its improved network of roads is a popular destination for grouse and woodcock. It provides steady hunting right through October.

If you are looking to go turkey hunting, you can now hunt the fall in Wildlife Management Districts 10, 11 and 19. There is one bird limit for those areas. Caron says turkey habitat is a little better in 11 than in 19.

How waterfowl hunters will fare can be more difficult to assess, as there are so many different waters in the region for hunters to hunt.

“There’s plenty of beaver bogs and backwaters, and usually early on the hunting can be pretty good,” said Caron. He added that it can be busy on the first day, but it usually quiets down after that.

Aroostook Region

If you are looking to go bird hunting, you may want to head north.

“All indications in our area is that the grouse season should be good to excellent,” said Rich Hoppe, IFW wildlife biologist. “I’ve been talking with sportsman, and most people have been seeing a lot of birds.”

Hoppe said that with the great spring and summer, survivorship has been high, there have been good numbers of broods, and by all indications, there is not as much mortality as years passed.

Northern Maine is increasingly becoming a destination for bird hunters from throughout the northeast and beyond. Sporting camps are becoming increasingly filled during the month of October.

As far as waterfowl, Hoppe added that he’s seen more ducks than normal for this time of year, and it has been great weather. While there aren’t a lot of waterfowl hunters in the region, it is a great destination for waterfowl hunters, for those who do come north find a lot of success.

October 9, 2014

IFW Biologists Discuss Impact Of Bear Referendum With Biologists From States Where Similar Referendum Passed

For Immediate Release: October 9, 2014

AUGUSTA, Maine – With Maine’s bear management program the subject of a statewide referendum, Mainers are hearing a lot about Colorado, Oregon, Washington and Massachusetts, four states that have passed similar measures.

After similar referendums passed in these states, generally these states have has seen an increase in the bear population, an increase in the number of nuisance complaints, an increase in the number of nuisance bears killed and an increased cost to the public as a result of expanding bear populations. Voters in Massachusetts, Colorado, Washington and Oregon banned bear hunting with bait and hounds from 1992 to 1996.

In Massachusetts, the bear population has increased seven-fold and bear conflicts have increased by 500 percent. Wayne MacCallum, director of the state’s Department of Fish and Game’s Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, described the situation in an August 24 article in the Portland Press Herald: “(The bear population) is expanding eastward,” he said. “Every year now there are an increasing number of juvenile bears in metropolitan Boston. I suspect if we can’t harvest significantly more, the population will continue to increase.”

He went on to state that “there are constant complaints about bear encounters. We are constantly moving bears. It’s kind of like shoveling sand against the tide. This is the largest bear population in the state for at least 200 years. The fact of the matter is, at some point you will just have so many bears that people won’t tolerate them.”

In Colorado, more than 350 bears are killed each year in response to conflicts. Many towns have passed ordinances that regulate how residents can store their garbage and when it can be placed for curbside pickup, with fines ranging up to $1,000. One Colorado county even banned levered door handles on new houses because home entries by bears are so common.

In some Colorado towns, bear complaints are the number-one call received by police departments. When asked what impact a similar ban would have on Maine’s bear management program, Colorado bear biologist Jerry Apker recently said, “I think it would tremendously complicate how the State has to approach managing bears in Maine.”

In Oregon and Washington, biologists have struggled to prevent property damage by bears since the referendum passed, and those states now allow private landowners and deputized agents to kill bears using bait, hounds and traps in unlimited numbers.

Despite this, bears cause an estimated $16 million in damage to the timber industry each year by stripping the bark from young trees. Donny Martorello, the Carnivore Section Manager with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, recently told 92.9 Radio Host Bob Duchesne that before the referendum, “we were able to use recreational hunters at a very low cost and through time (that) was working well.” While he respects the rights of voters to pass a citizen initiative, he went on to say that “having that full toolbox of ways to manage the resource is something we’d like to see.”

In Maine, bait, hounds, and traps account for 93 percent of our annual bear harvest. Maine is the most forested state in the country, and our woods have a thick understory, which makes still-hunting extremely difficult. The loss of bait, hounds and traps for bear hunting will have a much larger impact on Maine’s bear management program than it has in other states.

In addition, Maine has very few options to increase participation by bear hunters if the referendum passes. The state already has a 14-week hunting season that starts in late August and ends after bears have entered their dens. Bear hunting licenses are already available in unlimited numbers, and a spring hunting season is prohibited by legislation.

During the firearms season on deer, all Maine residents are already allowed to hunt bears without having to purchase a separate bear license. Since Maine won’t be able to offset a reduction in the bear harvest by increasing hunter numbers or season length, if the referendum passes we expect the bear harvest to decline dramatically. This will result in a rapidly increasing bear population that expands into the more populated areas of Maine, causing more conflicts with people.

Even though each of these states is very different from Maine in several ways, it is informative to understand how their bear management programs have evolved over time. Maine’s bear biologists discussed each state’s bear management programs and hunting methods with the biologists in these states. As a result, Maine’s biologists are more convinced than ever that a ban on bear hunting with bait, hounds and traps will be bad for Maine.

In all of these states that passed similar referendums, bait and hounds were responsible for a relatively small portion of the annual bear harvest because the open habitats make other hunting methods, like spot and stalk, more effective. Therefore, it was possible for the fish and wildlife agencies to partially offset the decline in the bear harvest that occurred after the referendums passed.

This was accomplished by lengthening fall hunting seasons, reducing the cost of bear hunting licenses, expanding spring hunting seasons, increasing annual bag limits or issuing more bear hunting permits.

In some states, bear tags were included in a package with other big game licenses, so that virtually all hunters could shoot a bear if they saw it. The rise in bear hunter numbers was due to changes in how hunting licenses were administered, rather than an actual increase in interest in bear hunting (e.g. all big game hunters receive a bear tag and then are counted as bear hunters whether they actually pursue bears or not). Even with these changes, each of the harvests in these states is less than half the number of bears that need to be taken in Maine each year to control the population.

Maine is fortunate to have one of the largest bear populations in the country. We have very few conflicts between people and bears, and those that do occur are generally not severe. Fewer than a dozen bears are killed each year to protect property or public safety. Our bear management program is based on 40 years of research and is highly regarded by biologists across the country.

Leaving bear management in the capable hands of Maine’s biologists and game wardens will ensure that bears retain their stature as one of our state’s most treasured resources.

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October 21, 2014

Youth Deer Hunting Day Is This Saturday, October 25

AUGUSTA, Maine – This Saturday, youth deer hunters across the state get their own day to hunt deer.

“Youth day is an excellent way to introduce a young hunter to a tradition such as deer hunting,” said Governor Paul R. LePage. “Hunting is not only a Maine tradition, it also teaches children conservation, patience, responsibility and respect for our natural resources.”

Hunters who possess a junior hunting license and are 10 or older and younger than 16 (either resident or non-resident) can hunt deer on this day if they are under the direct supervision of a parent, guardian or a qualified adult. Any person who accompanies a junior hunter other than that parent or guardian must either possess a valid hunting license or have successfully completed a hunter safety course. A qualified adult is a person at least 18 years of age approved by that youth hunter’s parent or guardian, and this person must hold a valid Maine hunting license or have successfully completed a hunter safety course. The accompanying adult cannot possess a firearm.

The junior hunter on this day can take one deer of either sex only in those Wildlife Management Districts where Any Deer permits were issued. In WMDs where there are no Any Deer permits issued, hunters may only take an antlered deer. All laws pertaining to hunting during the open firearms season on deer apply on the youth deer day.

Hunters can also transfer their Any Deer permits or Bonus Deer Permit to a junior hunter, or any other hunter. Certain restrictions apply, including that a resident permit may only be transferred to another resident, and a nonresident permit may only be transferred to another nonresident. This transfer can be done online until 11:59 p.m. October 31, 2014 For more information on how to swap or transfer your permit, please visit http://www.maine.gov/ifw/licenses_permits/lotteries/anydeer/#swap

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November 19, 2014

IFW News -- IFW, Partners Crafting Wildlife Action Plan

For Immediate Release: November 19, 2014

AUGUSTA, Maine -- Did you know that Maine has a plan for conserving its most rare and vulnerable fish and wildlife species? Maine’s Wildlife Action Plan, created in 2005, focuses on voluntary measures that can assist many of Maine’s most vulnerable species, it highlights natural area conservation efforts, and sets the course for the future of wildlife conservation in Maine.

Since 2005, Maine has received close to $8 million in federal funding and accomplished over 50 research, management, and conservation projects, benefitting brook trout, rare freshwater mussels and dragonflies, migrant birds such as Bicknell's Thrush and Black-throated blue Warbler, and globally rare endemics, such as the Tomah mayfly. Puffins, wood turtles, Atlantic sturgeon, little brown bats and bumble bees are also recognizable species that have benefitted from the Wildlife Action Plan.

Maine is home to 292 species of birds, 61 species of non-marine mammals, 20 species of reptiles, 18 species of amphibians, 56 species of inland fish and 313 species of marine fish and mammals. The state is a geographic transition area, and its abundant wildlife resources represent a blending of species that are at or approaching the northern or southern limit of their ranges. Maine’s diverse physical settings support a wide diversity of wildlife that few other states can equal.

Wildlife Action Plans are created collaboratively among state, federal, tribal, and local agencies, non-profit organizations, private landowners, and the general public to identify opportunities to conserve vulnerable species and habitats before they become more difficult to address. (http://www.maine.gov/ifw/wildlife/reports/wap.html). In 2005, Maine’s plan identified 213 of our species in greatest need of conservation, the key issues surrounding these fish, wildlife, and their habitats; and showcased conservation opportunities necessary to prevent a species from becoming endangered, or to implement recovery programs.

Wildlife Action Plans must be updated every ten years; Maine’s next revised plan is due October 1, 2015. Over the coming year, MDIFW and its partners will work together to identify Maine’s fish and wildlife needs and conservation opportunities for the next decade.

Over 70 public, private, and non-profit entities are helping revise Maine’s Action Plan. Close to 50 of these organizations have attended workshop meetings in July, September and November, ensuring that Maine’s 2015 Wildlife Action Plan will reflect the values and priorities of Maine’s people. Landowner participation is also an essential part of the process, in order to identify practical, voluntary conservation opportunities that are amenable to landowner objectives and land use practices. Considering that wildlife-related recreation contributes over $1.4 billion annually to Maine’s economy, crafting an effective Wildlife Action Plan benefits not only our resident fish and wildlife species, but also supports a thriving sector of our state’s economy.

For more information, to make comments, or to become involved in Maine’s 2015 Wildlife Action Plan revision, please visit http://www.maine.gov/ifw/wildlife/reports/MWAP2015.html or contact us at mainewildlifeactionplan@gmail.com.

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November 21, 2014

IFW Hunting Report for November 21, 2014

Southern Lakes Region – Region A

“Hunters are seeing plenty of deer. Some hunters are being selective right now and passing on does or smaller bucks,” said IFW Wildlife Scott Lindsay. “Usually around now, we will start to see more of these hunters taking deer.”

Lindsay said that while numbers may be down a bit from last year as expected, hunters are still seeing good numbers of deer and good size ones as well.

“While there haven’t been any huge deer, we are seeing plenty of deer in the 200-210 pound range throughout our region,” said Lindsay. “We are even seeing some of these large deer in some of our more developed coastal towns.”

Pheasant season is still ongoing, with more releases of pheasants planned for the Bragdon site in Wells and Blackberry Hill area in Berwick. Hunters are reminded that a pheasant stamp is needed to hunt pheasants. For more information on the pheasant hunting program, please visit: http://www.maine.gov/ifw/hunting_trapping/hunting/pheasant.htm.

Central and Midcoast Maine

In central Maine, many deer hunters continue to find success after some early season struggles with heavy snow.

“I know things are going well because I haven’t heard any complaints,” said IFW wildlife biologist Keel Kemper.

Kemper said that some tagging stations and meat cutters are up from last year, and other areas are down. It has been an odd deer season, as some areas had upwards of 16 inches of snow early in the deer season.

“We had a slow start to the season, but since the snow has melted, things are coming along,” said Kemper. While most hunters enjoy a tracking snow, 16 inches of it was too much of a good thing.

Kemper said that while he has seen good numbers of deer, he has only seen a “smidgeon” of deer over 200 pounds so far. He expects that to change “as the rut is starting, and the bucks are chasing does.”

Waterfowl hunters in the area are also having success, with good wild rice crops at the Ruffingham Meadow Wildlife Management Area in Searsmont as well as other places.

Downeast Region

Downeast, it seems like old times.

“Things are going well...Down along the coast, it’s like the old traditional deer season,” said IFW wildlife biologist Tom Schaeffer.

Schaeffer said there seems to be a noticeable difference this year with more people driving around dressed in orange, and the occasional deer hanging in a successful hunter’s yard.

“The effort is very noticeable this year, mostly in the central and western part of Washington county,” said Schaeffer.

Already Schaeffer said he has seen a good crop of yearling deer and younger bucks.

“The younger aged deer are well-represented. If we get a continuation of some decent winters, coastal Washington County could be better than it has been in a long time,” said Schaeffer.

For the first two weeks of the season, Schaeffer noted that it was the best deer hunting conditions he has seen since 1988. He said there has been tracking snow for much of the season, cool weather, and more importantly, there hasn’t been a lot of warmth, wind and rain.

“Last Saturday was a fantastic day with the tracking snow,” he added.

Of note, Schaeffer recently saw on 234 pound buck, as well as a hefty 257 pound buck. He figures he might see a couple more of them before the season ends.

Rangeley Lakes and Western Mountains Region

Seems to be business as usual in the western mountains regions of Maine.

“We’ve had good conditions as it is still cold, with snow through most of the region,” said IFW wildlife biologist Chuck Hulsey. “We’ve had some great days to hunt, with some soft snow at times.”

Hulsey has been gathering biological data from harvested deer throughout the region. This gives biologists insight into the health of the deer herd.

He’s gathered samples from private citizens with deer hanging on their property, meat cutters, taxidermists and others.

Hulsey will take note of the general condition of the deer, including fat content, and talk with hunters to find out more about what they are seeing, how hunters are faring, and other related info. In some cases, biologists will remove a gland to test for chronic wasting disease, and with freshly killed deer, may draw a blood sample to test for eastern equine encephalitis.

Checking harvested deer is invaluable as it provides both biological data with the deer, and anecdotal evidence concerning hunter effort and participation.

All this data is combined to give a clearer picture of the age structure and health of the deer herd, and gives the department the tools they need to manage the deer population.

Moosehead Region

Three-quarters of the way through deer season, there are some good signs in the Moosehead region.

“Things are pretty good. We are seeing more deer in the southern part of the region, and more deer in the northern part,” said IFW wildlife biologist Doug Kane. Oddly enough, there have been fewer deer registered this year right in the Greenville area.

“I think hunters are seeing deer throughout the region, so they are traveling outside of Greenville because they are optimistic,” said Kane.

Conditions are good throughout the region, as there was snow from Monson north earlier this week. Hunters have been using it to locate where deer are already congregating, or to track a buck. Kane did mention that with the cold weather, it was a bit noisy in the woods.

For the next two weekends, Kane and other IFW personnel will be setting up a check station at the Greenville rest area where they will check between 20 and 30 deer on both Saturday and Sunday.

The biological data gathered gives biologists insight into the health of the deer herd in the region. They also gather a lot of anecdotal data on what hunters are seeing not only for deer, but for moose and grouse as well.

Penobscot Region

“Deer season is going pretty well,” said IFW wildlife biologist Mark Caron in the Penobscot region. “We are getting a lot of good reports of hunters seeing deer, both does and bucks.”

Caron thinks that deer in his region may have fared through the past winter a little better than initially believed. “The deer got a break when we had the thaw midwinter, and even though winter hung on into April, they did not burn as much fat.”

Throughout the region, all of the tagging stations appear to be doing fairly well.

“We had all that snow, and that tracking was good, which helped many hunters,” said Caron.

Caron noted that there was on monster buck killed last weekend. It was a 19 point, 254-pound buck shot in Prentiss. He also got reports of another 200 pounder that was shot in Stacyville. The condition of the deer that Caron has seen are good, with plenty of fat, as it was a decent year for apples and acorns where they appear in the region.

If you have already tagged out with your deer, Caron says that the duck hunting has been very good this year, with whistlers coming in heavy over the Penobscot, and mallards still around big time. Some ponds are skimming over, congregating birds for a bit, but they usually are opened up again by evening.

Aroostook Region

A mid-week snowfall left two to three inches of snow on the ground in most of the Aroostook region, and deer hunters in the area are doing well.

“Registration stations are having one of their better years up here,” said IFW wildlife biologist Rich Hoppe. “We may not be seeing the number of hunters that we have seen in years past, but the deer hunters up here are quite content, and the deer population still seems to be on the upswing.”

Hoppe expects the good hunting to continue, with the recent snow, and the deer beginning to move with the onset of the rut this past week.

Hoppe says he has seen quite a few crotch-horns and spike horns from hunters who have been hunting along the edges of fields and roads. He’s checked larger deer, and those are coming from hunters who are getting off the roads and deeper into the woods.

Bird season goes till the end of December and bird hunters are still finding success along hedgerows in the woods. There’s still fruit on many trees, said Hoppe, and birds seem to be all over the place. “We’ve had a very good bird year as well,” said Hoppe.

December 9, 2014

IFW News -- IFW Adopts Emergency Trapping Rule Changes In Northern Maine

For Immediate Release: December 9, 2014

Information Regarding Emergency Rulemaking Required Under Terms Of Maine’s Incidental Take Permit Issued By The U.S. Fish And Wildlife Service

• On November 4th, 2014, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issued an Incidental Take Permit (ITP) for the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife which went into effect on November 17th.

• The purpose of the ITP is to protect licensed Maine trappers in the event a federally protected Canada lynx is accidentally captured in a legal trap set. Lynx are listed as threatened by the USFWS.

• The permit allows for the accidental killing of 3 lynx over the 15 year period the permit remains in effect.

• Since the ITP went into effect, there have been 2 incidents of lynx killed by legally set traps.

Under the conditions of the permit, if two lynx are killed in legally set traps, the department must immediately implement regulatory measures to prevent further lynx fatalities

• The Department adopted an emergency rule on December 9th restricting some of the trap types and sizes that may accidentally capture Canada Lynx in Northern Maine (WMDs 1 - 11, 14, 18, 19). Maine’s regular trapping season ends on December 31st. This rule will remain in effect for 90 days.

• The Department will go through the regular rulemaking process to implement any necessary changes for next year’s trapping season.

Throughout the emergency rulemaking process, the department worked with the Maine Trappers Association, and the MTA board of directors was in full support of these emergency rules to minimize the kill of additional lynx.

Trapping Rule Change Summary

• Effective immediately, killer-type traps are not allowed at or above ground or snow level in areas of the state where there are lynx, specifically Wildlife Management Districts (WMDs) 1-11, 14,18,19 (Predominantly Aroostook, northern Somerset, northern Piscataquis, northern Penobscot, northern Hancock and northern Washington counties).

• In WMDs 7,14,18,19, killer-type traps not greater than 7 and one half inches may be used on the ground if the trap is placed within a lynx exclusion device.

• In WMDs 1-11, 14, 18, 19, the use of any foothold trap above the ground or snow level will not be allowed. Footholds can still be used if on the ground, on the snow, or buried under the ground or under the snow

• Killer-type traps with an inside jaw spread that does not exceed 5 inches may be used in WMDS 1-11, 14,18,19 when set so as to be partially covered by water at all times, or when set under overhanging stream banks. These traps can no longer be set in blind sets at or above ground or snow level.

• All killer-type traps may be used if, when set, placed and tended, the trap is completely underwater.

• Colony-style traps may be used if set so they remain completely underwater at all times

IFW News -- IFW Adopts Emergency Trapping Rule Changes In Northern Maine

AUGUSTA, Maine -- The Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife has implemented immediate trapping regulation changes through an emergency rule making process after two Canada lynx were killed in traps this fall.

“We are taking immediate measures to drastically decrease the probability of having another lynx killed in a trap,” said James Connolly, Director, IFW Bureau of Resource Management.

Effective immediately, lethal traps that are commonly used to catch fisher and marten are not allowed above ground or snow level in areas of the state where there are lynx, specifically Wildlife Management Districts (WMDs) 1-11, 14,18,19 (Predominantly Aroostook, northern Somerset, northern Piscataquis, northern Penobscot, northern Hancock and northern Washington counties). In WMDs 7,14,18,19, lethal traps smaller than 7 ½ inches may be used on the ground if the trap is placed within a lynx exclusion device. Additionally, the use of any foothold trap above the ground or snow level will not be allowed in these WMDs.

The new regulations were triggered by a contingency provision in the Department’s incidental take plan developed to obtain a permit under the Endangered Species Act from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for the unintended take of Canada lynx resulting from the Department’s trapping programs.

Under the conditions set forth in the incidental take plan, if two lynx are killed by legally set traps, trapping rules will be modified to prevent the likelihood of another lynx being killed.

These are the first lynx trapping deaths in six years in Maine. Statistics show that trapping is not a major factor impacting Maine’s lynx population. Since 2009, there were 26 lynx killed by vehicles, and only 2 by trapping.

“Although trapping related deaths are uncommon, we have worked diligently with Maine trappers in order to change the regulations to protect lynx,” said Connolly. “We are committed to protecting Maine’s lynx population.”

According to Laury Zicari, supervisor of the Fish and Wildlife Service’s Maine Field Office, “The incidental take permit for trapping issued to Maine accounted for the possibility of lynx deaths. It outlined what trapping restrictions would need to be implemented if lynx were killed to hopefully avoid additional deaths. We commend Maine’s swift action through these regulation changes to address this issue, demonstrating that the permit framework is working."

The first lynx death was self-reported by the trapper to the Maine Warden Service when he checked his traps as required by Maine regulations and the conditions of the Incidental Take Permit. The second dead lynx was discovered Sunday, December 7 St. Croix Township by a Maine Game Warden conducting a routine check of traps for compliance with Maine trapping regulations. An initial inspection by the game warden showed that the trap was set in compliance with Maine’s trapping regulations. The trapper was immediately notified by the warden about the capture.

“Trapping education, outreach and compliance with Maine trapping laws are important aspect of Maine’s lynx management plan. The Maine Warden Service is in the field, working with trappers, to make sure trappers are complying with Maine’s trapping regulations to protect lynx from accidental trapping,” said Major Chris Cloutier.

Trappers are required to report all lynx captures and all lynx captures are investigated by the Maine Warden Service.

Brian Cogill, President of the Maine Trappers Association commented that “The Maine Trappers Association has always supported department efforts to protect lynx. Trappers understand and believe that these measures are currently needed, and support these immediate protections for lynx. We look forward to working with the department as they develop long-term regulations to protect lynx for the 2015 season and beyond.”

Lynx are listed as threatened under the Federal Endangered Species Act (ESA). IFW recently received an incidental take permit issued by the USFWS, which allows for the accidental trapping of Canada lynx by trappers legally pursuing furbearers in Maine. The permit outlines specific protocols and mitigation measures for the incidental take of lynx that minimizes direct impacts to lynx while providing habitat that benefits species recovery.

In 2006, Maine’s lynx population was estimated at between 750 and 1,000. IFW has increased protections for lynx in those areas where lynx are now found. IFW will also be conducting a lynx population survey this winter.

Maine’s lynx population is a subset of a larger population of lynx in Canada, and Maine lynx continue to interact with a far-reaching lynx population in Canada.

As part of an extensive 12-year lynx study, the IFW radio-collared over 80 lynx and monitored their movements, and documented survival and birth rates. Although more lynx die on roads than in traps, the major source of mortality for the 85 radio-collared lynx tracked over a 12-year period in northern Maine was predation by fisher and starvation attributed to disease (i.e., lungworm).

Radio-collar research of Maine’s lynx show that Maine’s lynx travel in and out of Canada, and ear-tagged Maine lynx have also been captured in Canada. Maine’s lynx study showed that one lynx travelled a straight-line distance of 249 miles from northern Maine into the Gaspe Peninsula.

Another lynx was tracked using a Global Positioning System (GPS) collar after it was trapped and released last fall. Although the lynx was initially trapped northeast of Greenville, in May, the lynx headed east all the way to Fredericton, New Brunswick, before turning around and venturing back to the Greenville area, covering 481 miles from March through December.

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December 11, 2014

IFW News -- Summary Of New Trapping Rules In Northern Maine

Information Regarding Emergency Rulemaking Required Under Terms Of Maine’s Incidental Take Permit Issued By The U.S. Fish And Wildlife Service

• On November 4th, 2014, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issued an Incidental Take Permit (ITP) for the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife which went into effect on November 17th.

• The purpose of the ITP is to protect licensed Maine trappers in the event a federally protected Canada lynx is accidentally captured in a legal trap set. Lynx are listed as threatened by the USFWS.

• The permit allows for the accidental killing of 3 lynx over the 15 year period the permit remains in effect.

• Since the ITP went into effect, there have been 2 incidents of lynx killed by legally set traps.

Under the conditions of the permit, if two lynx are killed in legally set traps, the department must immediately implement regulatory measures to prevent further lynx fatalities

• The Department adopted an emergency rule on December 9th restricting some of the trap types and sizes that may accidentally capture Canada Lynx in Northern Maine (WMDs 1 - 11, 14, 18, 19). Maine’s regular trapping season ends on December 31st. This rule will remain in effect for 90 days.

• The Department will go through the regular rulemaking process to implement any necessary changes for next year’s trapping season.

Throughout the emergency rulemaking process, the department worked with the Maine Trappers Association, and the MTA board of directors was in full support of these emergency rules to minimize the kill of additional lynx.

Trapping Rule Change Summary

• Effective immediately, killer-type traps are not allowed at or above ground or snow level in areas of the state where there are lynx, specifically Wildlife Management Districts (WMDs) 1-11, 14,18,19 (Predominantly Aroostook, northern Somerset, northern Piscataquis, northern Penobscot, northern Hancock and northern Washington counties).

• In WMDs 7,14,18,19, killer-type traps not greater than 7 and one half inches may be used on the ground if the trap is placed within a lynx exclusion device.

• In WMDs 1-11, 14, 18, 19, the use of any foothold trap above the ground or snow level will not be allowed. Footholds can still be used if on the ground, on the snow, or buried under the ground or under the snow

• Killer-type traps with an inside jaw spread that does not exceed 5 inches may be used in WMDS 1-11, 14,18,19 when set so as to be partially covered by water at all times, or when set under overhanging stream banks. These traps can no longer be set in blind sets at or above ground or snow level.

• All killer-type traps may be used if, when set, placed and tended, the trap is completely underwater.

• Colony-style traps may be used if set so they remain completely underwater at all times

December 17, 2014

IFW News -- 2015 Maine Birder Band Is Now Available

For Immediate Release: December 17, 2014

AUGUSTA, Maine -- The 2015 Maine Birder Band is now available! Maine’s Birder band is instrumental in helping protect birds, conserve habitat and provide access for birders throughout the state. Get yours at the IFW Online Store

For just $20, you get an authentic bird band similar to ones that biologists use to band wild turkeys and Canada geese. The band is meant to fit on a camera or binocular strap and has a unique number registered in your name. If this item becomes lost, the finder can call the IFW number on the band and the item can be returned to the owner. Over the years, this band has returned several pairs of binoculars and a set of car keys.

And new this year, with the purchase of your birder band, you’ll receive some valuable added extras including a day pass to the Maine Wildlife Park (www.mainewildlifepark.com) in Gray, and a day pass to Swan Island (www.maine.gov/swanisland) in Richmond.

Birder bands make great gifts! If you are looking to purchase one for someone else, please contact us at 287-8000, and we can take your order over the phone and ship it direct to you, or direct to the recipient of the gift.

Many birders have purchased a birder band each year since its inception in 2009. New this year, you can purchase the entire set of bands, 2009-2014 for $50. If you missed a year, you can also purchase individual past years for just $10.

Your donation helps Maine’s non-game birds. While some game birds such as waterfowl receive dedicated federal funds, over 90% of Maine’s 292 bird species do not. The Maine Birder Band has already generated over $20,000 that goes directly to helping protect Maine’s non-game birds. Money raised by the birder band can be used to leverage additional federal funds.

Over the years the band has helped fund several conservation and educational projects, including the launch and maintenance of the Maine eBird Portal; grasshopper sparrows survey at Kennebunk Plains and the former Naval Air Station in Brunswick; research examining saltmarsh sparrow nesting success in sites with and without tidal restrictions and Southern Maine shorebird monitoring focused on sanderlings, red knots, black bellied plovers and ruddy turnstones.

Getting your Maine Birder Band is easy – Just visit the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife online store.

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December 21, 2014

IFW News -- Maine 2015 Hunting and Fishing Licenses Now Available

AUGUSTA - Just in time for holiday gift giving! Maine 2015 hunting and fishing licenses are now available for purchase online or at any of the more than 800 licensing agents statewide.

“Buying a license is an easy and effective way to support Maine's fish and wildlife management efforts,” said Governor Paul R. LePage. “Especially this time of year, a license is the perfect gift for outdoor sporting enthusiasts.”

To purchase a 2015 licenses online go to: www.informe.org/moses

The Department's online licensing system offers the convenience of purchasing from home, camp or office and allows the opportunity to print out multiple copies of licenses.

All proceeds from the sale of hunting and fishing licenses stay at the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

IFW also offers additional gift items in our online shop such as IFW logo apparel, The Maine Way cookbook, season passes to the Maine Wildlife Park, or the opportunity to support conservation efforts with the purchase of a Maine Birder Band or Heron Sticker. To visit our online shop or to learn more about IFW programs please go to www.mefishwildlife.com

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December 30, 2014

IFW Ice Fishing Preview For December 30, 2014

For Immediate Release: December 30, 2014

Welcome to the 2015 ice fishing season! If you haven’t purchased your license yet, 2015 licenses are available online at www.mefishwildlife.com. Also, the 2015 fishing lawbook is also available where you buy your licenses or at your favorite sporting goods store.

While many waters are open for ice fishing, that does not always mean they are safe to travel on the ice. Please use caution and check the ice before fishing. For more information on ice safety, please visit these safety tips at www.mefishwildlife.com.

As always, please consult the law book before fishing your favorite water, and stay safe while out on the ice.

Region A – Sebago Lakes Region

Due to the early cold spell, some anglers have already been out on the ice catching fish. While the December warm spell put a damper on ice fishing activity in the region, more seasonable temperatures will mean more ice fishing opportunities.

“Crystal Lake (in Gray) has set up a few times, but then we get a little rain and some wind and it opens right up again,” says IFW fisheries biologist Francis Brautigam.

Biologists manage several ponds in the Sebago Lakes Region for ice fishing opportunities. Among them, anglers will have good luck at ponds such as Worthley Pond in Peru, Halls Pond in Paris, the Hinckley Ponds in South Portland and York Pond in Elliot. These ponds were stocked with catchable trout earlier this year.

If you are looking for other ponds like these, check the law book for ponds in the region that have regulations of artificial lures only after October 1, with all trout, salmon and togue needed to be released at once. These ponds generally are stocked in the late fall with catchable trout.

“Many of these ponds are managed for ice fishing, that’s why we don’t allow anglers to keep trout and salmon in October and November,” said Brautigam. “Ice Anglers get the benefit of this late season stocking.”

If you are looking for some larger fish, the department stocked some togue in the 10-12 pound range in Mousam Lake, Little Ossippee and Long Lake. These larger fish are retired breeding fish and offer a great chance at a trophy size fish in these waters.

Region B – Central and Midcoast Area

If you are looking for the chance at some larger fish at the end of your line, you may want to head out onto Messalonskee Lake, Damariscotta Lake and Echo Lake. The department stocked 12-15 pound lake trout in those lakes, providing anglers with an opportunity to land a lunker.

Speaking of Echo Lake, IFW fisheries biologist Jason Seiders says that it is an interesting place to fish. Good smelt numbers in turn has meant good salmon growth. It’s also a good place for early season brook trout at the south end, which tends to set up earlier than other parts of the pond.

Another pond that’s showing promise as a salmon water is Flying Pond in Vienna. According to Seiders, the smelt population is in high numbers, and not only are the salmon responding, but there’s trophy size browns there as well. “It’s a good place to catch multiple species of fish,” said Seiders.

Looking for other early season hot spots? Check out Levenseller Pond in Searsmont, which receives a fall stocking of both 12-14” brook trout and some larger trout in the 18” range. Dutton Pond in Knox and Salmon and McGrath Pond in the Belgrades are also good choices.

Remember, along with checking the ice for safety, remember to remove what you bring onto the ice. Access to many smaller ponds relies on landowners, and making sure that trash and other belongings are all removed when you are done fishing ensures that the ponds will remain accessible for all.

Region C -- Downeast

There’s plenty of early season ice fishing opportunities waiting for you Downeast this winter.

Looking to catch some brook trout? Try these early season waters such as Lovejoy pond in township 35 md, Lower Hadlock in Northeast Harbor, Fox Hole Pond (kids only regulations) in Deblois, Schoodic Lake in Cherryfield, Indian lake in Whiting, Keely Lake in Marshfield, Keenes Lake in Calais, Lakewood Pond in Bar Harbor, Lower Springy Pond in Otis, Fitts Pond in Clifton, The Penobscot County Conservation Pond (kids only) in Brewer, Montegale Pond in Centerville and MicMac Pond in Deblois.

Most of these are smaller ponds, with many less than 100 acres according to IFW fisheries biologist Greg Burr. Most are stocked both in the spring and the fall, sometimes heavily, with a variety of different ages of fish.

For ice fisherman, these ponds can offer some fast fishing for a variety of fish. Check your law book for opening dates and regulations.

Region D – Rangeley Lakes

This area of the state can sometimes get overlooked for ice fishing opportunities, but a closer look will reveal there are a number of waters open for ice fishing.

“We have 68 waters that are open to ice fishing in the region,” says IFW fisheries biologist Bobby Van Riper. “That’s a significant number. And we never really see a crowd of people fishing, except for a handful of waters in the southern part of the region.”

In the New Vineyard area, Anglers may want to try Baud’s Pond or Mill Pond. A little further south, Norcross and Crowell in New Sharon have a diversity of fish, and they are stocked fairly heavily.

There are two new waters that are open and stocked with brook trout. Anglers may want to test out Fahi Pond in Embden, and Moores Pond in Lexington. Other ponds in the area where you may want to wet a line include Little Sandy and Hancock pond.

Some of the more popular waters year after year include the Chain of Ponds, Roxbury Pond, Norcross Pond, Crowell Pond and Pleasant Pond in Caratunk. If you fish these ponds, you may run into one of our fisheries biologists. They will be interviewing anglers throughout the winter, gathering data through conversations with anglers in order to manage and enhance the fisheries on these waters.

Region E – Moosehead Region

If you are looking for a good bet for early season ice fishing, Jackman is a popular destination.

“One of the best places for the first week is Big Wood Pond in Jackman,” says IFW fisheries biologist Tim Obrey. “Anglers there have a chance at catching trout, splake and salmon.”

Anglers may also want to try Fitzgerald Pond in Big Moose Township, where there have been reports of anglers already catching trout. The pond is stocked heavily in the fall and is located between Greenville and Rockwood.

Other ponds anglers might want to try out include Brann’s Mill in Dover and Harlow in Parkman. While both these ponds have bass and perch, they are stocked in the fall to provide for some ice fishing opportunities for trout.

If you have a younger angler, take a trip to Drummond Pond in Abbot, it’s a kid’s only pond that’s stocked not only with trout in the 12-14” range, but also some larger ones over 17”.

Region F – Penobscot Region

With the cooler weather, ice is firming up in the region, and anglers are out on the ice.

Early season, Deering and Faulkner Lake in Weston provide some fine fishing. Along with trout in the 10-14” range, there are some larger trout in the 18”-20” range as well. These ponds generally have ice earlier than other ponds in the region. Middle Oxhead Pond in T40 MD is stocked with similar size trout, and is another early season favorite.

A little further to the north, anglers may want to try Upper Pond in Lincoln, which buttons up early and was stocked with 12-14” trout.

If you are looking to take some kids fishing, try Little Round pound in Lincoln. This is a kids only water in the winter, and not only is it stocked with trout in the 12-14” range, but there is also the chance of hauling in a brook trout over 17”.

Other popular spots for ice fishing include Silver Lake in Lee and Hay Lake in T6R8. Hay Lake receives a charge of both trout and salmon offers some good early season opportunities.

Region G – Aroostook Region

Even Aroostook was not immune to the December warm weather, with ice slow to form on many lakes in the area. Before Christmas, only the small ponds had ice in the 6-8” range. Cooler weather has helped, and anglers should have a variety of ponds to choose from during the early season.

Nickerson Lake and Mud Pond in Linneus offer some fast fishing for ice anglers. The department heavily stocks these ponds and the high catch rates show its working. Trout anglers will catch fish in the 12-14” range, and some lucky anglers may latch on to some over 18”.

Once the ice improves, expect so see some good salmon fishing on the Fish River chain, including Long Lake. Looking for some other ponds to try? Try Portage Lake and Carr Pond for some good fishing.

December 31, 2014

MDIF&W: Reminder to Take Safety Precautions When Around Ice

The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife and the Maine Warden Service would like to remind ice anglers and others who enjoy outdoor winter activities of the importance of safety when around ice.

“We can’t stress enough the importance of checking ice conditions right now,” said Governor Paul R. LePage. “Never guess at the thickness of the ice—check it for yourself. Please take the necessary precautions so that your Maine ice fishing experience and other winter activities are not only safe and fun, but also create positive memories with family and friends that will last a lifetime.”

“Test the thickness of the ice using an ice chisel or ice auger and check with local bait shops for known thin ice areas,” said Major Chris Cloutier of the Warden Service. “Remember that new ice is usually stronger than old ice and ice seldom freezes uniformly. Ice that forms over flowing water and currents, especially near streams, bridges and culverts, can be particularly dangerous.”

Refrain from driving on the ice whenever possible. If you must do so, make sure to keep the windows down, unbuckle your seat belt and discuss emergency plans with any passengers in case you need to exit the vehicle quickly.

Wearing a life vest under your gear and having a pair of accessible ice picks can be life-saving decisions if you do fall through the ice. Remember that your helmet and snowmobile suit, even if it’s non-buoyant, may keep you afloat for several minutes. Kicking your feet like a seal can help propel you onto the ice.

If you witness someone fall into the ice, call 911. Instead of putting yourself in danger by trying to reach the victim, assist them from the shore by reassuring them help is on the way and extend objects like a rope, ladder or jumper cables to them if it’s safe to do so.

While many factors other than thickness can cause ice to be unsafe, the Warden Service suggests staying off from ice that is less than four inches thick. Ice that is at least four inches thick may allow for ice fishing or other foot activities while 5-inch thick ice often allows for snowmobile or ATV travel. Eight to 12 inches should support most cars and small pick-up trucks, but at least 12-inch ice is recommended to support a medium sized truck.

For more information, visit www.mainegamewarden.com

January 14, 2015

IFW To Resume Capture and Radio-Collaring of Moose

For Immediate Release January 14, 2015 IFW To Resume Capture and Radio-Collaring of Moose AUGUSTA, Maine -- Starting next week, The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife will take to the air in year two of an intensive five-year moose study that will provide a greater understanding of the health of Maine’s moose population, particularly factors that impact their survival and reproductive rates.

A trained crew that specializes in capturing and collaring large animals is utilizing a helicopter and launched nets to capture and collar female moose and calves in an area located in and around Jackman and Greenville (centered in Wildlife Management District 8).

“By radio-collaring moose and actively monitoring their movements, we can further understand the factors that can impact Maine’s moose population,” said IFW moose biologist Lee Kantar.

The radio collar study is just one component of the research that IFW conducts on moose. IFW also utilizes aerial flights to assess population and the composition of the moose herd. During the moose hunting season, biologists also examine teeth to determine a moose’s age, measure antler spread, monitor the number of ticks a moose carries, and examine ovaries to determine reproductive rates.

Depending on the weather, the crew plans to start next week, and they plan to capture and then collar 3 adult female moose (cows) and 35 moose that were born this past spring (calves) with GPS collars that will track and broadcast their movements to IFW biologists.

This is the second year that the crew from Aero Tech, Inc. will work in Maine capturing and collaring moose. Aero Tech specializes in this type of capture and collaring, and is currently performing a similar job in New Hampshire. The crew, based out of New Mexico, consists of a team of four, with each having a specialized role in the process.

Prior to their arrival, Kantar and several other IFW biologists will fly and scout different areas of WMD 8 in order to locate cow-calf groups. This pre-capture scouting worked very well last year by providing GPS coordinates to Aero Tech pilots who were able to fly to these areas, and capture and collar moose with an increased efficiency that decreases their time in the air, and the number of days they fly.

Last year, the department collared 30 adult cows and 30 calves.

Once collared, the GPS-enabled collars transmit twice a day, providing biologists the ability to track moose movements. The GPS collars are expected to transmit movement signals for four years. If there is no movement for a certain period of time, the collar transmits a mortality signal, and biologists will then travel by foot to investigate the cause of death.

“Once we receive a mortality signal, we locate the dead moose within 24 hours,” said Kantar. Biologists conduct an extensive field necropsy on each moose, taking blood, tissue and fecal samples that will later be analyzed by the University of Maine-Animal Health Lab as well as other specialized diagnostic facilities,.

This is the second year of the monitoring study. Additional moose and calves will be captured and collared next year.

“This project is just one component of the Department’s multi-faceted moose management system. It provides us with another important tool to ensure we have the most relevant data needed to manage our moose population,” said Kantar.

Upon locating fresh footprints in the snow along the railroad tracks near Wilson Street, Penobscot County Deputy Ryan Allen deployed his K9, Dozer, on the track. Approximately 1.5 hours and nearly two miles later, Deputy Allen located Webb in a large piece of woods between Wilson Street and Bagaduce Road. Webb was very cold, disoriented and not dressed for the extreme cold weather. Maine Game Wardens responded with an ATV and 4-wheel drive trucks to remove Webb from the woods. Capital Ambulance transported him to St. Joseph’s Hospital to be treated for a substantially decreased core body temperature.

Lt. Dan Scott of the Maine Warden Service attributed the quick thinking and teamwork of the first responding units to saving the man’s life. Lt. Scott commented, “With temperatures hovering around zero and wind-chills near -15 below, the man would likely not have survived a night in the woods.” The Maine Warden Service reminds us that hypothermia can set in very rapidly in the extreme temperatures we have been experiencing. People should monitor themselves and especially young children for the signs of frostbite and hypothermia. Anyone recreating outdoors should dress accordingly, take a friend, and tell someone where they plan to go and when they plan to return.

January 20, 2015

Free Snowmobile Weekend Slated for January 30-February 1

Snowmobilers will have the opportunity to enjoy the trails in neighboring states for free during a special weekend shared by Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont. This annual three-day event will take place January 30-February 1, 2015 and allows all legally registered Maine snowmobiles to be operated in New Hampshire and Vermont without being registered in those states.

“This means that all snowmobiles legally registered in New Hampshire and Vermont can be operated in Maine without a current Maine registration,” said Governor Paul R. LePage. “We welcome these snowmobilers to explore more than 14,000 miles of Maine’s interconnected, groomed and marked trails. As always, we encourage them to enjoy Maine’s beautiful outdoors, but also urge them to ride safely.”

The Maine Warden Service reminds snowmobilers to ride with caution at all times.

“With the increased traffic anticipated during the reciprocal snowmobile weekend, we remind all riders to obey laws of prudent operation, do not drink and drive, and be mindful that this is a family sport, so please keep our trails safe,” said Maine Warden Colonel Joel Wilkinson. “Pay close attention to ice conditions on all Maine waterways especially when travelling at night. We hope that enthusiasts participate in this great opportunity to discover Maine’s tremendous snowmobiling opportunity.”

Snowmobilers should stay off roads, ride at a reasonable speed, use hand signals and ride to the right.

If you need to register your snowmobile in Maine, visit: https://www10.informe.org/ifw/atv-snow/.

For information about snowmobile laws and rules in Maine, go to: http://www.eregulations.com/maine/atv/snowmobile-laws-and-rules/.

January 30, 2015

IFW News -- Nearly two-thirds of moose hunters successful in 2014

AUGUSTA, Maine -- Despite brief warm spells during both the September and October moose seasons, 65% of all moose hunters harvested a moose last season.

With 3,095 moose permits issued, 2,022 hunters were successful in getting their moose. Hunter success rates varied throughout different regions of the state with over 80 percent of the hunters getting moose in Wildlife Management Districts 3 and 5 in Aroostook County and under 10 percent of hunters getting a moose in WMDs 23 and 25 in Waldo and Knox Counties.

The 65% success rate for hunters is lower than the 73% success rate for hunters in 2013.

“Weather certainly played a factor,” said IFW’s moose biologist Lee Kantar. “Moose tend to travel less and spend more time in cover when it’s hot. Hunter effort also declines.”

Maine’s moose season is split into three segments with six-day seasons in September, October and November. Temperatures were above 80 degrees on the first day of the season in September, and despite a cool start to the October season, warmer weather in the 70s prevailed during the middle of the October season.

“We expect to see a higher success rate in September, as moose are more receptive to calling,” said Kantar. “But in WMD 3, only 79% of the hunters were successfully in September compared to 91% in October. ”

Kantar also added that there are fewer moose on the landscape than in previous years.

“Looking at the survival data from our radio-collared moose last year, we know that winter ticks during the winter of 2014 had an impact on moose,” said Kantar. “It was an impact that was likely above normal, somewhat similar in its impact to a tough winter on deer.” As a result, the department decreased the number of permits available to moose hunters.

The radio-collar moose study is just one aspect of the department’s ongoing research on Maine’s moose.

IFW is currently in its fifth year of conducting aerial surveys to estimate moose abundance and population composition (composition of male/females; adults/calves). The aerial surveys provide data used to estimate the moose population and health of the herd. During the moose hunting season, biologists also examine teeth to determine a moose’s age, measure antler spread, monitor the number of ticks a moose carries and examine ovaries in November to determine reproductive rates.

Biologists are set to recommend moose permit numbers for the fall 2015 moose season. The number of available moose permits is based upon population numbers and the composition of the moose population in wildlife management districts, as well as the population goals and objectives for that district.

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February 5, 2015

Belgrade Lakes Hosts Major League Fishing Championship; Airs On CBS This Weekend

AUGUSTA, Maine -- With the Patriots once again champions and your Sundays suddenly football-free, this Sunday, tune in to another championship, with this one playing out on the lakes of central Maine.

Major League Fishing's General Tire Summit Cup, filmed right here in the Belgrade Lakes Region this past August, is set to air this Sunday, February 8 at noon on your local CBS affiliate.

Major League Fishing takes some of the world's best bass anglers and brings viewers inside the boat as they compete against each other during a six day event that included some of central Maine's best bass waters.

While here these anglers fished on Messalonskeee Lake, Great Pond, Long Pond and China Lake, and had some incredible fishing with the anglers on the leader board landing 30-40 bass a day. One component of Major League Fishing that is unlike other bass tourneys is that the star anglers do not know in advance where they will be fishing.

Major League Fishing includes nationally-known bass anglers such as Kevin VanDam and Mike Iaconnelli, who both competed in the Belgrade Lakes Region this summer.

This was the first time coming to Maine for many of these anglers, and they came away impressed not only with the fishing, but also with the residents of central Maine and the natural beauty of the area and surroundings

It was the first time fishing these lakes for the professional anglers, and the footage associated with the tournament is interesting to see their techniques and observations about fishing in August for smallmouths and largemouths.

If you happen to miss the show, you can see some of the footage by visiting the Major League Fishing website at http://www.majorleaguefishing.com/. You can also watch them on the Outdoor Channel on Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays, as well as on CBS Sunday, February 8 when they have the one-hour special on the General Tire Summit Cup that was filmed here in Maine. For more information on the TV schedule, go to http://www.majorleaguefishing.com/eventnewsdetailsnophoto.aspx?et=8715&list-type=co&event-id=8945&id=2839.

You can learn more about the results, check out some videos, and learn some new bass tactics on their video page at http://www.majorleaguefishing.com/Video_list.aspx
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February 9, 2015

Apply now for the 2015 Maine Moose Permit Lottery

AUGUSTA, Maine – Hunters who dream about the hunt of a lifetime will be happy to know that Maine moose permit online application process is now open, as the 2015 Moose Permit Lottery is accepting applications.

The online application process is fast and simple and you receive instant confirmation that you have successfully entered the lottery. To apply, please visit www.mefishwildlife.com. The deadline for online applications is May 14, 2015. Paper applications are available by contacting the Department at (207) 287-8000 or from our website at www.mefishwildlife.com. Completed paper applications must be postmarked by April 1, 2015 or delivered to 284 State St., Augusta, Maine by 5:00 p.m. on April 1, 2015 Bonus points are awarded for each consecutive year the applicant has applied for the lottery since 1998 without being selected and each bonus point gives the applicant an additional chance in the drawing.

Bonus points are earned at the rate of one per year for years one to five, two per year for years six to 10, three per year for years 11 to 15 and 10 per year for years 16 and beyond. Since 2011, applicants can skip a year and not lose their bonus points. So if they applied in 2013 but not in 2014, they still have their points available if they apply in 2015. The moose permit drawing drawing will take place on June 13, 2015 at the Moose Festival in Bethel, Maine. To learn more about the three-day festival, please visit www.bethelmainemoosefest.com

February 13, 2015

MDIF&W Holding Free Fishing Weekend

AUGUSTA - The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife is reminding everyone to take advantage of the upcoming free fishing weekend.

On Saturday, February 14 and Sunday, February 15, any person may fish for free without a license on Maine’s waterways, except those who have had their license suspended or revoked. All other rules and regulations, including bag and possession limits, apply.

“Fishing during the winter is a wonderful way to get out of the house and make memories with family and friends that are sure to last a long time,” said Governor Paul R. LePage. “We offer this free fishing weekend in the hopes that more and more people will be introduced to the many winter fishing opportunities Maine offers, particularly on our frozen lakes and ponds.”

“Whether on open water or ice, fishing is one of the most popular activities in Maine. Maine’s nearly 6,000 lakes and ponds and more than 30,000 miles of rivers and streams offer endless opportunities for the thousands of residents and non-residents who fish them each year,” said Chandler Woodcock, IFW Commissioner. “The free fishing weekend is a great chance for people to try fishing for the first time or for more experienced anglers to teach a child the joys of the sport.”

There are numerous fishing events happening around the state during this weekend, including one put on by the Department’s Hook on Fishing – Not on Drugs program.

The program will host a free family fishing clinic from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on February 14 as part of the annual ice fishing derby on Wilson Lake in Wilton.

The Department will also offer a free fishing weekend on May 30 and May 31.

For a complete list of fishing regulations, including limits and sizes, visit www.mefishwildlife.com

For more information on fishing opportunities in Maine, visit www.maine.gov/ifw/fishing/opportunities/index.htm

IFW News --Application Period Opens For Maine Shooting Range Access Improvement Grants

For Immediate Release: March 4, 2015

AUGUSTA, Maine --The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife is accepting applications for its 2015 Maine Range Access Improvement Grant Program. Last year, 12 different organizations were awarded grants totaling over $335,000.

The Department will be awarding small grants to private non-profits and municipalities to fund firearm and archery range access improvement projects. In order to be considered for an award, applicants must agree to provide public access to shooting facilities.

The Department is accepting applications for projects that do any of the following: • Improve public recreational firearm and archery shooting opportunities. • Accomplish improvements at existing firearm and archery range facilities. • Develop new firearm and archery range facilities. • Provide range facilities accessible by persons with disabilities. • Integrate Best Management Practices into physical facilities and management of ranges. • Support firearm and archery education to learn safe and responsible practices.

Applications may be for a single project or a portion of staged projects. Requestors can ask for a maximum of $50,000 in grant money, which will serve as 70 percent of allowable costs. Projects must include a minimum of 30 percent match, cash or in-kind donations.

Applications must be submitted by 2 p.m. on April 22 to the State of Maine Division of Purchases, located at the Burton M. Cross Building, 111 Sewall Street, 4th Floor, 9 State House Station, Augusta.

The Maine Range Access Improvement Grant Program is funded by grants from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Maine Outdoor Heritage Fund.

For more information or questions about the application process, please contact Bob Annese at rannese@gmail.com.

To see a copy of the application, please visit: http://www.maine.gov/ifw/huntingtrapping/ShootingRanges/index.html

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March 4, 2015

IFW News --Application Period Opens For Maine Shooting Range Access Improvement Grants

AUGUSTA, Maine --The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife is accepting applications for its 2015 Maine Range Access Improvement Grant Program. Last year, 12 different organizations were awarded grants totaling over $335,000.

The Department will be awarding small grants to private non-profits and municipalities to fund firearm and archery range access improvement projects. In order to be considered for an award, applicants must agree to provide public access to shooting facilities.

The Department is accepting applications for projects that do any of the following:

• Improve public recreational firearm and archery shooting opportunities.

• Accomplish improvements at existing firearm and archery range facilities.

• Develop new firearm and archery range facilities.

• Provide range facilities accessible by persons with disabilities.

• Integrate Best Management Practices into physical facilities and management of ranges.

• Support firearm and archery education to learn safe and responsible practices.

Applications may be for a single project or a portion of staged projects. Requestors can ask for a maximum of $50,000 in grant money, which will serve as 70 percent of allowable costs. Projects must include a minimum of 30 percent match, cash or in-kind donations.

Applications must be submitted by 2 p.m. on April 22 to the State of Maine Division of Purchases, located at the Burton M. Cross Building, 111 Sewall Street, 4th Floor, 9 State House Station, Augusta.

The Maine Range Access Improvement Grant Program is funded by grants from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Maine Outdoor Heritage Fund.

For more information or questions about the application process, please contact Bob Annese at rannese@gmail.com.

To see a copy of the application, please visit: http://www.maine.gov/ifw/huntingtrapping/ShootingRanges/index.html

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March 13, 2015

Maine Warden Service 135th Anniversary and Annual Awards Ceremony

AUGUSTA - Today, the Maine Warden Service celebrated its 135th anniversary at the Samoset Resort in Rockport, Maine. Included in today’s celebration was their annual awards banquet that gives special recognition to game wardens for their performance in 2014 and includes the recipient of the Maine Game Warden of the Year Award.

Game Warden of the Year – Game Warden James Fahey (Bangor, Maine) Warden James Fahey (pictured at right) is a warden whose reputation embodies the very essence of this prestigious award. He has proven that he possesses the desire and fortitude for apprehending Maine’s most serious intentional fish and game violators, while consistently garnering public support. His accomplishments complement the esteemed community of past recipients and make him highly deserving of this honor bestowed by the Maine Warden Service.

Warden Fahey has consistently demonstrated integrity, character, leadership, and professionalism throughout his career. He is highly motivated, successful, and still energetic after 21 years of service. This past fall, like every fall throughout his career, Warden Fahey demonstrated his commitment to the Warden Service's mission. He persevered and successfully captured numerous intentional violators using innovative methods to resolve complicated investigations. Warden Fahey developed statewide partnerships to execute multiple arrest warrants and search warrants to bring violators to justice.

Warden Fahey started with the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife with the Atlantic Salmon Commission. He was hired as a deputy game warden in 1991 sponsored by Warden David Priest Jr. Warden Fahey worked with as many wardens as possible throughout the division and performed night dispatcher duties at the Bangor Headquarters. Warden Fahey was hired as full-time district game warden in 1994, and after working a few districts in Northern Maine, Warden Fahey settled into the Bangor district where he currently patrols today. Warden Fahey consistently exhibits diligence and has an exceptional gift of conversation that affords him great insight as to the activities of the sportsman he encounters. Warden Fahey is a patient man who possesses the traditional traits and knowledge necessary to outwit the intentional violators.

Warden Fahey is a consistent producer year after year and, in addition to his regular duties, he has taken the initiative to help develop new protocols to efficiently manage the abundance of nuisance wildlife or human/animal type conflicts, which allow wardens to focus on investigations resulting in a more strategic use of financial resources.

Warden Fahey also sits on the advisory board for the licensing of guides, and is also a Maine guide examiner. Because of his background as a game warden, coupled with his experience guiding and extensive knowledge of Maine, Warden Fahey is often called upon to respond to and investigate guide complaints. Warden Fahey has consistently demonstrated that he can do a thorough and fair investigation. His findings are discussed by the board and they formulate a recommendation to the Commissioner based, largely, on his endorsement. Besides his excellent investigative work, Warden Fahey has gone above and beyond in other areas of his position on the board. He has made many contributions to the new practical testing procedures and procured equipment to enhance the board’s ability to evaluate candidates. He has also occupied integral roles on board sub-committees such as the Maine Professional Guide’s Association that resulted in strong partnerships and unified focus.

In addition to his work, Warden Fahey has always been involved with the community where he serves. While living in Aroostook County, Warden Fahey volunteered every year to assist with the Can Am dog sled race, school programs, and education outreach activities. In recent years Warden Fahey has been deeply committed to, and involved with, the Penobscot County Conservation Club youth fishing project. Warden Fahey has balanced his career and family obligations well. He is a dedicated husband to his wife, Shelley, and committed father to his two sons, James and Scott. Warden Fahey is active with his sons’ traditional sports, and also has successfully developed and mentored them in Maine’s outdoor heritage of hunting, fishing, and trapping. It is for all the above reasons that Game Warden Jim Fahey is the Maine Warden Service Game Warden of the Year for 2014.

Maine Warden Service Canine Team Awards:

K9 Conservation Case of the Year Award: Game Warden Kim Bates and her K9 Yaro (West Forks)

K9 Search and Rescue of the Year Award: Game Warden Dave Chabot and his K9 Ruby (Greene)

William Roseberry Spirit of America Award: Corporal Michelle Merrifield (Union)

Exemplary Service Award recipients are Lieutenant Tim Place (Belfast), Sergeants Bruce Loring (Enfield), Scott Thrasher (Madison), Dave Craven (Bucks Harbor), Glenn Annis (Dover Foxcroft), Corporals Mike Joy (South Berwick), Michelle Merrifield (Union), Andrew Glidden (Millinocket), Investigator Josh Bubier (Skowhegan), Game Wardens Aaron Cross (Morrill), Dan Christianson (Kingfield), Dave Ross (China), Steve Allarie (Winthrop), Bob Johansen (Millinocket), Jim Davis (E. Millinocket), Mike Boyer (Howland), Dave Georgia (Greenfield TWP), Joe Bailey (Milford), Kim Bates (West Forks), Jeremy Kemp (Sangerville), Phil Richter (Lamoine), Mike Pierre (Standish), Will Shuman (Rockwood), Troy Dauphinee (Shirley), Jared Herrick (Harmony), Preston Pomerleau (Ashland), Tony Gray (Oxford), Chris Dyer (Morrill), Lucas Bellanceau (Denmark), Carlton Richardson (North Waterboro), Peter Herring (Gorham), and Maine Warden Service Chaplain Kate Braestrup (Lincolnville). A certificate for Exemplary Service shall be presented when, in the opinion of the Awards Board, a Warden has rendered relevant outstanding service which deserves special recognition.

Meritorious Service Award recipients are Warden Pilot Charlie Later (Greenville), Sergeants Bruce Loring (Enfield), Dave Craven (Bucks Harbor), Ron Dunham (Lincoln), Game Wardens Norm Lewis and his K9 Clyde (Bryant Pond), Wayde Carter (Marshfield), Joseph McBrine (East Machias), Joe Bailey (Milford), Chris Sergeant (Ellsworth), and James Fahey (Bangor) and Acadia Mt. Guide John Tierney. The Meritorious Service Awards shall be presented for conduct above the ordinary course of duty, when a Game Warden, because of individual or team initiative, courage and diligence, places themselves in danger while performing their duties.

Maine Warden Service Special Recognition: Recipients are Game Wardens David Ross (China), Tom McKenney (Norridgewock), Eric Rudolph (Ellsworth), and Kris MacCabe (Wilton).

Outstanding Supervisor Award: Recipient Chief Pilot Durward Humphrey (Benedicta). The Outstanding Supervisor Award is presented annually to the supervisory officer who has demonstrated superior knowledge and leadership in the area of conservation law enforcement supervision and by doing so has gained the respect of administrators, supervisors, fellow officers, other Department employees, other agencies and the public regarding expertise and performance in the field of supervision.

Maine Warden Service Association (MWSA) Merit Award: Recipient Jen Brophy owner/operator of Red River Sporting Camps in Township 15 Range 9.The MWSA Merit Award provides recognition to a civilian(s) for highly meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding service. For the purpose of this award, conduct above the ordinary course of duty, when a civilian, because of individual or team initiative, courage and diligence, provides assistance with the goals and mission of the Maine Warden Service.

MWSA Legendary Game Warden Award: Retired Game Warden Lloyd Perkins (Augusta) served as a Maine game warden from 1971 to 2001. The Legendary Game Warden of the Year Award shall be presented to any retired member of the Maine Warden Service who, consistently in the past, conducted themselves in such a manner as to display exceptional expertise in the areas of conservation law enforcement and since retiring has continued to provide a passion for meeting the goals and mission of the MWS.

March 12, 2015

IFW Ice Fishing Report For March 13, 2015

For Immediate Release: March 13, 2015

Region A – Sebago Lakes Region

With the moderating temperatures, the snow is settling, and getting around on southern Maine lakes is getting easier.

“We’ve got good travel conditions now. There is some slush, but most is frozen,” said IFW fisheries biologist Francis Brautigam. “With the snow and cold, use has been on the light side, so there are plenty of good fishing opportunities.”

In March, Brautigam generally sees a decrease in the number of ice anglers fishing, but with the light use earlier this year, anglers who are looking to enjoy a March day on the ice should see some good fishing.

“In some of the waters where we stocked brook trout, anglers are still catching brook trout,” said Brautigam.

If you are looking to head out trout fishing, you ought to check out Horn Pond in Limington and Lower Range Pond. These ponds received to mid-winter stocking, and there are definitely some holdovers left that will brighten any angler’s day.

Brautigam also noted that anglers are still catching trout on the Otter Ponds in Standish and Barker’s Pond in Lyman. They’re a good bet for some late season fishing.

It’s also a good time for targeting rainbow and brown trout. Both browns and ‘bows are a bit more difficult than brookies to catch, so come March, there’s generally good opportunities to land a rainbow or a brown.

Of course, fishing for bass is also heating up. Lot of bass are in their pre-spawn mode are and are actively feeding, making them a prime target for ice anglers. Remember, there is a two fish bag limit for bass, with anglers only allowed to keep one over 14 inches. This regulation is designed to protect the larger fish as they are better breeders than smaller bass.

Anglers should also be reminded that if you decide to keep a bass, salmon, togue, trout or whitefish, it is unlawful to remove the heads and tails of the fish, and it is unlawful to possess or transport fish dressed in such a manner that the species of fish cannot be identified (unless they are being prepared for immediate cooking). While this isn’t an issue for most anglers, these laws help ensure that only legal fish are kept.

Region B – Central and Midcoast Area

“Bass fishing tends to take off this time of year,” says IFW fisheries biologist Jason Seiders. “Bass are in prespawn mode and are feeding heavily.”

Largemouth bass are going to start moving into the shallow weedy areas of lakes and ponds, while smallmouths will continue to hang relatively deep, generally near a shoal or some type of structures.

“Last year, we changed the regs, allowing anglers to keep smaller bass,” said Seiders. “By keeping a smaller bass instead of a larger one, we can improve bass productivity and the size quality of the fishery.” Seiders noted that it takes about 20 years to produce a trophy bass.

This winter’s weather has certainly decreased the number of anglers out in January and February, and as result, fishing for trout and salmon in the area is still pretty good. Seiders recommends Flying Pond and Pleasant Pond as destinations if you are looking for salmon.

“While we are not seeing a ton, the fishing is still pretty good. The fish on Flying Pond are just gorgeous. The smelt are abundant, and every fish that you catch are full of smelts.”

If you are looking for lake trout, head out over to Swan Lake where the togue numbers appear to be up, but the size quality is still quite good, which is a good indicator that the smelt population is up. An average size togue on Swan is about 21 inches.

Messalonskee and Long Pond continue to hold up well for pan fish. On Long Pond, the average white perch is in the 1 ½ pound range, with some tipping the scale at 2 ½ pounds.

Region C -- Downeast

It’s a familiar refrain, but due to all the snow and cold weather, the number of ice anglers out on the ice was down in January and February. The good news? There are still plenty of fish to be caught.

“Use has certainly been down this winter, and the further away you get from urban areas, the fewer the anglers,” said IFW fisheries biologist Greg Burr, who said that anglers were staying closer to home this winter. “A lot of lakes where access has been limited still has fishing that is similar to the beginning of the season.”

Traveling conditions are much better than they have been earlier this year, so anglers who want to head out ought to try waters such as Mopang Lake, Spring River Lake, Alligator Lake and Upper and Lower Lead Mountain Ponds.

Other lakes and ponds where you should have some excellent March ice fishing include West Grand Lake, West Musquash Lake, Meddybemps Lake, Big Lake, Crawford Lake, and Pocomoonshine Lake.

Burr did mention that with all the snow the Downeast Region has received, parking is an issue at some of these areas. However, the warmer weather this week should help knock down some of the snowbanks.

With many lakes seeing lighter use this season, Burr said anglers should be shy about trying new spots on some of their favorite lakes. A lot of smaller coves haven’t been fished yet this season, and offer some fast fishing to anglers looking to try new areas.

“There’s some good fishing to be had,” said Greg Burr, “The light use this winter not only bodes well for ice fishermen, but also for the spring fisheries as well.”

Region D – Rangeley Lakes

Looking for some late season destinations for salmon and trout? Region D has some excellent late winter options.

“The Chain of Ponds in Franklin County has some nice brook trout and salmon,” says IFW fisheries biologist Dave Howatt. “And Pleasant Pond in Caratunk is good bet for lake trout and a shot at some brookies.”

Other popular late winter/early spring destinations include Spring and Spencer Lakes in Somerset County. Anglers venturing to Spring and Spencer have a chance at salmon, togue and brook trout.

“Any of these lakes are a good choice as they offer some good fishing and the ice is usually in good condition this time of year,” said Howatt.

Region E – Moosehead Region

Similar to other regions across the state, use has been down this year on Moosehead due to weather. While the number of togue caught on Moosehead may be down this year, anglers are catching some good salmon and some nice trout so far this year.

Anglers targeting salmon would do well to try Chesuncook Lake, which has been fishing well. Out on Sebec Lake, anglers are faring well targeting togue. Sebec closes after this weekend, so this is your last chance this winter at some good-sized lake trout.

Catch rates have also been good on Manhanock in Parkman. The pond received a good stocking of brook trout this fall, and anglers have been catching some big bass as well. Please remember, all bass caught on Manhanock must be released.

Region F – Penobscot Region

After the cold, snowy winter, last weekend was a breath of fresh air in the Penobscot region as more people were out enjoying the outdoors.

“Last weekend, we really started to see people out on the ice,” said IFW fisheries biologist Nels Kramer. “It was nice weather and the conditions were better for traveling.”

Slush has been a problem in this area of the state, just like every other, but if you stay on established tracks that have hardened up, you can avoid bogging down your machine.

On Upper Cold Stream Pond there were a number of anglers spread out across the ice. Kramer was out conducting a creel census on Cold Stream last weekend, and anglers were catching both togue and salmon. Average size togue on Cold Stream this year has been in the 2-4 pound range, but there were two togue in the 15-pound range that were caught earlier this year.

Other places where anglers are doing well include Schoodic, where anglers have been targeting lake trout. One lucky angler hooked into a Schoodic landlocked salmon earlier this year that tipped the scales at over ten pounds.

Anglers are also having good luck for lake trout on East Grand Lake. “East Grand has been hot. It’s been producing well for togue, and the occasional salmon,” said Kramer.

Region G – Aroostook Region

There’s still plenty of fish and ice to be had up in Aroostook County.

“Anglers fishing the north country the next few weeks should plan to have an auger extension to get through the unusually thick ice layer covering most lakes and ponds,” said IFW fisheries biologist Frank Frost.

In particular, areas blown clear of snow, areas around cleared ice shacks, and plowed roads on lakes and ponds have especially thick ice.

“One area on Long Lake over the weekend had ice that was reported to be four feet thick,” said Frost.

Even though conditions have been colder than normal this past winter, there hasn’t been the deep snow and accompanying slush that generally occurs each winter.

“Travel is very good on northern Maine waters and unless we get some heavy snow or rain in the near future, the remainder of the season should be excellent for ice fishing,” said Frost.

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March 31, 2015

Ice Anglers Can Continue To Ice Fish After March 31

AUGUSTA, Maine -- While many Mainers may be lamenting the length of this year’s winter, ice fisherman should be relieved to know that come April 1, the traditional start to Maine’s open water fishing season, you can still legally ice fish on many waterways throughout the state.

No matter what the weather was like, ice anglers used to have to put away their ice fishing traps and ice augers come April 1. But thanks to Old Man Winter’s refusal to succumb to spring and the Department’s efforts to streamline Maine’s fishing laws and expand opportunities, you can ice fish on many lakes and ponds as long as there is ice.

In 2010, the Department went to year-round fishing laws throughout much of the state, giving anglers more waters and longer seasons to fish while simplifying Maine’s fishing law book.

So while others may debate the pros and cons of climate change, don’t put your ice fishing gear away just yet, go out and check the safety of the ice on your favorite pond, and enjoy another outing on the ice.

In southern, central and downeast Maine, if lakes or ponds are open to ice fishing and openwater fishing under general law fishing provisions, anglers can continue to ice fish, unless that lake or pond has a special rule specifying otherwise.

In Northern and western Maine, you can ice fish in April on lakes and ponds that are designated with the “A” season in the lawbook.

Please, always check the safety of the ice before heading out, by chiseling or drilling holes in the ice and measuring. Remember, springtime ice can often be softer than ice in mid-winter, and areas near inlets and outlets tend to open up earlier than other parts of lakes and ponds.

Also, ice fishing shacks still must be removed from all lakes and ponds by April 1, but portable shelters are allowed.

For detailed information on where you can and can’t fish, please consult the 2015fishing law book which is available online at www.mefishwildlife.com, or at many locations where fishing licenses are sold.

April 7, 2015

Maine Moose Permit Auction Raises Over $122,000 for Scholarships

AUGUSTA, Maine – Over $122,000 was raised for youth conservation education scholarships in Maine through the 2015 Maine Moose Permit Auction. Ten hunters bid a total of over $122,000 in an auction for the opportunity to hunt moose in Maine during the 2015 season.

Proceeds from the auction fund partial scholarships that will help send over 600 Maine youngsters to the University of Maine 4-H Camp & Learning Center at Bryant Pond and to Greenland Point Center in Princeton. These camps provide boys and girls ages 8 through 17 the opportunity to participate in a variety of outdoor and classroom activities. Students are taught by experienced instructors and counselors, as well as staff from the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife and other state and private conservation agencies.

“While the auction winners have the opportunity to partake in the hunt of a lifetime, their winning bids also ensure Maine children have the chance to learn outdoor skills that will give them a lifetime of appreciation of the Maine outdoors,” said Chandler Woodcock, Commissioner, Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

The auction was created by the Legislature and begin in 1995. It allows the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife to publicly auction ten moose permits each year. Applicants submit bids through a written bid process. Permits are awarded to the ten winning bidders each February. The average bid ranges between $11,000-$13,000. Funds from the auction are specifically directed to youth conservation education programs.

Conservation camp programs are designed to teach Maine boys and girls the importance of conservation, a respect for the environment and a working knowledge of a variety of outdoor skills. Subjects taught at camp include wildlife identification, fishing, boating safety, archery, firearms handling, hunter safety, forest conservation, map and compass work and much more.

For more information on Greenland Point Center and the 4-H Camp and Learning Center at Bryant Pond, please visit their websites at www.greenlandpoint.com and www.umaine.edu/bryantpond/

For more information on the Maine Moose Permit Auction or moose hunting in Maine, please visit our website at www.mefishwildlife.com

April 22, 2015

Maine Dept of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife Announces Camp North Woods!

AUGUSTA - The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife is pleased to announce an exciting new opportunity for youth in the outdoors…Camp North Woods!

The Department has developed Camp North Woods to provide opportunities to youth and their families to learn lifelong outdoor skills as well as the importance of sustaining Maine's natural resources. The camp has also been established to build upon the overwhelming interest by youth who have grown to love our hit TV series on Animal Planet, North Woods Law!

Camp North Woods will be held at and hosted by the University of Maine 4-H Camp and Learning Center at Bryant Pond. Camp staff and instructors will include Maine Game Wardens from North Woods Law, Fisheries and Wildlife Biologists, Recreational Safety Coordinators, Information and Education staff as well as staff from Bryant Pond. An all-boys camp will be held July 15-19 and an all-girls camp is planned for July 29-August 2. Each week will accommodate 48 campers and will provide hands-on learning opportunities in a number of outdoor related activities in a safe and comfortable environment. Campers will be joined by their parent(s) or guardian(s) for the last two days of camp for a family field day and overnight.

Because there are a limited number of spaces at Camp North Woods, a chance lottery will be held on June 8, 2015. Campers may enter the drawing for a chance to attend Camp North Woods if they will be at least 8 years of age by July 15, 2015 and no older than 12 years of age on August 2, 2015. Each child may enter the drawing only once. The entry fee is $5 and all proceeds will go to support Camp North Woods. Interested campers can apply for the online lottery by visiting bit.ly/campnorthwoodslottery. Deadline to apply for the lottery is June 1, 2015. If selected, campers will be responsible for the $400 tuition fee to attend the camp.

For more information about Camp North Woods please visit us online at bit.ly/campnorthwoods or email Brittany Humphrey at brittany.humphrey@maine.gov

April 24, 2015

IFW Seeking Volunteers To Assist In Bumble Bee Population Project

For Immediate Release April 22, 2015

IFW Seeking Volunteers To Assist In Bumble Bee Population Project

AUGUSTA, Maine -- The Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife is seeking volunteer citizen scientists to assist in the Maine Bumblebee Atlas, a multi-year statewide survey looking to document the different species of bumble bees in Maine, their range in Maine, and their abundance.

Since the 1990s, there have been significant population declines of certain bumble bee species. Several species, including four that are native to Maine, were once very common throughout their range but now are rarely observed. Various factors are believed to be contributing to these declines, including habitat loss and fragmentation, pesticides, and diseases and parasites introduced through widespread use of commercially raised bumble bees.

In order to document the diversity, distribution and abundance of all Maine’s 17 known bumble bee species, the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife (MDIFW) is initiating the Maine Bumble Bee Atlas (MBBA) project in mid-May 2015. Designed as a multi-year statewide survey, the project is being coordinated by MDIFW in partnership with the University of Maine at Orono and Farmington.

To recruit volunteers for the survey, MDIFW will sponsor free six-hour training workshops across the state during each year of the project. The first workshop will be held on Saturday, May 16th at the University of Maine in Orono. Participants do not need to have prior experience in surveying for bees – just an interest and willingness to learn and contribute data to the project. Project staff will give presentations on bumble bee behavior, ecology, conservation, and identification, and attendees will be trained in a standardized survey and data collection protocol.

Workshop space is limited, open to adults only, and pre-registration is required. Lunch will be provided. For more information or to pre-register for the training workshop, contact the MDIFW Coordinator, Beth Swartz, at beth.swartz@maine.gov or 941-4476. Project details and information about the training workshop can also be found on the MBBA website (http://mainebumblebeeatlas.umf.maine.edu/) and Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/MaineBumblebeeAtlas).

Bumble bees, with their bold yellow and black stripes, large furry bodies and relatively docile dispositions, are a familiar backyard insect to most people. The important role they play in our environment, however, often goes unrecognized. Bumble bees are an essential component of pollination for flowering plants throughout the Northern Hemisphere. They pollinate many of our spring and summer wildflowers, as well as a wide variety of other plants, including most garden flowers, fruits and vegetables. This ecosystem service is key to maintaining not only cultivated crops for human use, but also native plant communities which provide habitat for Maine’s diverse wildlife species.

The Maine Bumble bee Atlas is modeled after MDIFW’s highly successful Maine Butterfly Survey (2007–2015) and Maine Damselfly and Dragonfly Survey (1999-2005), the Maine Bumble Bee Atlas will marshal the efforts of volunteer citizen scientists from across Maine to greatly increase our knowledge on the status of the state’s bumble bees.

The Maine Bumble Bee Atlas is funded in part by the Maine Outdoor Heritage Fund (MOHF), in which proceeds from the sale of a dedicated instant lottery ticket (currently “Gopher Gold”) are used to support outdoor recreation and natural resource conservation. For more information about MOHF, go to www.maine.gov/ifw/MOHF.html. Additional support comes from a federal State Wildlife Grant award and contributions by Maine citizens to the Maine Endangered and Nongame Wildlife Fund (Chickadee Check-off, Loon License Plate).

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April 27, 2015

Volunteers needed for Brook Trout Survey Project

AUGUSTA, Maine – The Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, Maine Audubon (MA), and the Maine Council Trout Unlimited (METU) are seeking volunteer anglers to survey remote ponds and coastal streams for brook trout this fishing season. Information provided by volunteers will be used to identify previously-undocumented wild brook trout populations across the state.

To learn how you can volunteer, please visit http://maineaudubon.org/wildlife-habitat/brook-trout/.

“Identifying the ponds and coastal streams with wild brook trout will greatly assist IFW in planning our conservation and management strategies over the next several decades,” noted IFW fisheries biologist Merry Gallagher.

Maine has hundreds of remote ponds that have never been surveyed by fisheries biologists nor have any record of past stocking. The project’s focus on both remote ponds and coastal streams offers anglers a chance to explore new areas of the state.

“Volunteers should be enthusiastic about fishing for brook trout, be comfortable in remote settings and have a sense of adventure,” noted Jeff Reardon of Trout Unlimited.

Wild brook trout have declined significantly throughout their eastern range, and today Maine is home to 97% of the intact wild brook trout lake and pond habitat in the eastern United States. Brook trout require clean, cold water and habitat connectivity to survive. Wild brook trout are a nationally significant resource and Maine is considered the last stronghold of these fish.

The Maine Brook Trout Survey Project was launched by project partners and anglers in 2011. To date, 252 active volunteers have successfully surveyed 288 remote Maine ponds. Of those waters, 127 ponds were recommended to MDIFW for a formal survey after brook trout were caught or observed. Based on the fact that these ponds had never been formally surveyed by MDIFW and there are no records of any past stocking, these trout are likely previously unknown populations of native or wild brook trout.

Based on the success of the Pond Survey, the project expanded in 2014 to include coastal stream surveys from Kennebunkport to Cobscook Bay. Brook trout that live in coastal streams may spend part of their lives in saltwater and come back to freshwater to spawn. Currently, little is known about the distribution and life history of sea-run brook trout in Maine, so volunteers are needed to help identify watersheds containing this special and elusive fish.

Volunteer anglers are needed to survey 300+ ponds in northern Maine and coastal streams ranging from Kennebunk to Lubec. Surveys can be completed any time before September 30, 2015. The prime time for coastal stream surveys is mid-April through June, while pond fishing can be productive in both the spring and fall. Project partners will provide maps, data sheets and instructions on how to survey ponds and streams.

For more information about the Brook Trout Survey Project, please visit http://maineaudubon.org/wildlife-habitat/brook-trout/.

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April 28, 2015

Game Wardens Seeking Information: Deer Poaching

[Maine Warden Service: April 28, 2015] Maine game wardens and MAINE OPERATION GAME THIEF (OGT) continue to seek the public's assistance in gathering information in hopes to find those responsible for the illegal killing of as many as four deer in the towns of Chesterville, Livermore Falls (East Livermore), Livermore, and Leeds. Since our last attempt to obtain information on April 23, three additional deer have been located. All the deer found have been does which were killed at night and left to waste in open fields. These four doe deer could have produced another five fawns for the area.

Due to the recent activities and additional deer found, OPERATION GAME THIEF has increased its reward to $2,500 for anyone who can provide information that leads to a conviction for those responsible. We are asking anyone with information to call either OGT (you can remain anonymous) at 1-800-ALERTUS (1-800-253-7887) or Public Safety Dispatch in Augusta at 207-624-7076 or Gray at 207-657-3030.

Details: At approximately 2:00 PM on Wednesday, April 22, Maine game wardens responded to a complaint of an injured deer near the intersection of Bragdon Road (aka French Road) and East Road in Chesterville. Upon arrival, a deer was located in a field posted no trespassing with a fatal gunshot wound to the spine. The doe deer was pregnant with twin fawns. Since that time, three additional doe deer have been located and left to waste. A doe deer was shot on Route 106 in Leeds, another was shot on Route 133 near Dodge Road in Livermore Falls (East Livermore), and a third doe was shot on River Road in Livermore. The four doe deer all appear to have been killed under similar circumstances and left to waste. Anyone who saw suspicious activity in the areas of Leeds, Livermore, Livermore Falls (East Livermore), Chesterville, Jay, or surrounding areas are strongly encouraged to call the Maine Warden Service at the above contact numbers.

April 30, 2015

Turkey Season Starts Monday Throughout The State

For Immediate Release: April 30, 2015

AUGUSTA, Maine – Spring turkey season starts on Monday, May 4 throughout the state, and for the first time in modern history, hunters will be able to turkey hunt in northern Maine. Youth hunters will have their own day on Saturday, May 2

“Maine has some excellent turkey hunting,” said IFW game bird biologist Kelsey Sullivan. “Success rates are very good, the birds are lightly hunted compared to other states, and you can now hunt turkeys throughout the state.”

Wild turkeys are a wildlife success story in Maine. Once gone completely from Maine landscapes, they are now a familiar sight in all Maine’s 16 counties, thanks to a reintroduction and management plan started in the 1970s by the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

With a valid Maine big game hunting license, turkey hunters can purchase a wild turkey permit for just $20 for both residents and nonresidents. This permit allows turkey hunters to take up to two wild turkeys in the spring, and an additional two turkeys in the fall. Legal hunting hours for turkey hunting stretch from 1/2 hour before sunrise and 1/2 hour after sunset.

While the turkey season is open throughout the state in all wildlife management districts, hunters should note that that there is a split season in northern Maine, as well as one turkey bag limit in WMDs 1-6 and 8. Hunters may take two bearded turkeys, but no more than one of these bearded turkeys can come from WMDs 1-6 or 8.

As this is the first year for turkey hunting in northern Maine, in WMDs 1-6, turkey hunters in are assigned to either Season A or Season B based on their year of birth. During “odd” numbered calendar years such as this (2015), hunters with “odd” birth years will be authorized to hunt during Season A (May 4-9, 2015 and May 18-23, 2015 this year); hunters with “even” birth years will be authorized to hunt during Season B (May 11-16, 2015 and May 25-30, 2015). All turkey hunters can hunt the last week (June 1-6, 2015).

During “even” numbered calendar years (2016, 2018, etc.), hunters with “even” birth years will be authorized to hunt during Season A; hunters with “odd” birth years will be authorized to hunt during Season B. Many turkey hunters are familiar with this split season as it was in place statewide prior to 2007. More information and WMD maps are available at www.mefishwildlife.com.

The Department strongly encourages all turkey hunters to reach out to landowners before hunting. Please remember to ask first before accessing private land, and respect any and all requests of the landowners.

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May 5, 2015

$3,500 OGT REWARD: Deep Poaching/Maine Warden Service

[Maine Warden Service: May 5, 2015] Thanks to the generosity of concerned citizens, Operation Game Thief (OGT) is now able to further increase its reward and is now offering $3,500 to anyone who can provide information that leads to a conviction for those responsible for killing four doe deer and leaving them and their fawns to waste in the towns of Chesterville, Jay, Livermore, and Leeds. These events have created significant public interest and Game wardens and Operation Game Thief feel there is someone who holds the keys to unlock this very troubling case of poaching. Our natural resources and the conservation of those resources are the responsibility of all who love Maine. We need your help and Maine OGT has made this very clear.

We are asking anyone with information to call: Operation Game Thief at 1-800-ALERT-US (1-800-253-7887, you can remain anonymous) or Public Safety Dispatch in Augusta at 207-624-7076 or Gray at 207-657-3030.

CASE DETAILS: At approximately 2:00 PM on Wednesday, April 22, Maine game wardens responded to a complaint of an injured deer near the intersection of Bragdon Road (aka French Road) and East Road in Chesterville. Upon arrival, a deer was located in a field posted no trespassing with a fatal gunshot wound to the spine. The doe deer was pregnant with twin fawns. Since that time, three additional doe deer have been located and left to waste. A doe deer was shot on Route 106 in Leeds, another was shot on Route 133 near Dodge Road in Livermore Falls (East Livermore) and a third doe was shot on River Road in Livermore. The four doe deer all appear to have been killed under similar circumstances and left to waste. Anyone who saw suspicious activity in the areas of Leeds, Livermore, Livermore Falls (East Livermore), Chesterville, Jay or surrounding areas are strongly encouraged to call the Maine Warden Service at the above contact numbers.

May 7, 2015

Want to become a Maine Game Warden? Maine Warden Service

[Scarborough, Maine: Cabela’s, Saturday, May 9th] Want to become a Maine Game Warden? Join us this Saturday, May 9th at Cabela's in Scarborough for a recruitment seminar from 10:00 to 4:00. Maine Game Warden recruiters will be at Cabela's to field questions and provide information about our current career opportunities. The seminar will be held in the Kennebec and Penobscot River conference rooms...we hope to see you there!

For more information on Saturday’s seminar, please contact: Game Warden Corporal John MacDonald at 207-557-0818 or john.macdonald@maine.gov

May 7, 2015

Remove Potential Meals So Bears Don’t Become A Nuisance

AUGUSTA, Maine – Nuisance bear calls are on the increase this spring, and the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife is reminding homeowners to remove potential bear attractants from their yard.

“Maine has a growing bear population, and this time of year, hungry bears are out looking for food,” says Jen Vashon, IFW’s bear biologist. “We want to remind people to remove attractants so they don’t create a potentially dangerous interaction with a hungry bear.”

Already, the department has received over 40 nuisance bear complaints this spring, spread throughout the state. Annually, the Department handles approximately 500 nuisance bear complaints, with May and June being the busiest months for complaints. In 2014, the department responded to over 700 complaints for the year.

Black bears emerge hungry from their dens after losing between 15-40% of their weight during winter and they immediately start looking for food. Bears will often turn to suburban attractants such as bird feeders, pet food, and unsecured garbage bins when natural foods are not available.

“It is important for people to be proactive so they don’t attract bears to their homes. Don’t wait until a bear gets to your birdfeeder or grill. They become accustomed to the location where they find food and they will return,” said Vashon.

Much of a bear’s diet is vegetation, but with the late winter, many natural foods such as leaves and grasses are not yet available. This time of year, bears will feed on grasses and sedges near wetlands, and well as the roots, tubes and bulbs of plants such as skunk cabbage and others. Bears are also opportunistic carnivores, and will also feed on moose calves, deer fawns, and livestock.

Bears that live near people often rely on foods inadvertently provided by people, such as highly nutritional sunflower seeds being fed to birds. Birdseed and other attractants should be removed to prevent attracting or creating nuisance bears.

In order to keep your home less attractive to bears, please:

• Take down bird feeders, rake up and dispose of bird seed on the ground, and store remaining bird seed indoors. • Keep garbage cans inside until the morning of trash pickup • Keep your barbecue grill clean by burning off any food residue, disposing of wrappers and cleaning the grilling area after use. If possible, store grills inside when not in use. • Store pet and livestock food inside, and cleanup any uneaten food.

If you do encounter a bear, you should make loud noises, such as banging pots together, to try to scare it off. Always back away from the bear to give it an escape route. Without an escape route, a cornered bear may charge.

By taking these precautions, homeowners are more likely to prevent conflicts that could pose a danger to human life or require corrective action such as moving or killing a bear.

For more information, visit www.mefishwildlife.com.

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May 8, 2015

IFW Fishing Report For May 8, 2015

Region A – Sebago Lakes Region

So far this year, lakes in Region A have been providing anglers with plenty of action.

“Salmon fisherman have had a good early season with a good mix of size and catch rates,” said IFW fisheries biologist Francis Brautigam.

Early on, Auburn Lake anglers were fishing under the ice with their PVC rigs and were rewarded with some healthy salmon right as the ice was receding. The smelt run on Auburn Lake was noted as one of the largest ever by area wardens as well.

“Boat anglers on Auburn reported initially slow action, but recently the fishing has picked up with one angler reporting a mornings catch of 19 salmon, with some up to 4 pounds,” said Brautigam.

Out on Sebago, there was some unusually good early fishing as soon as the ice went out, with some good and some slow days to date. At the time of this report the smelt are beginning to migrate into the Songo and we’ve had reports of some smelt at the locks. The next week or so should offer some good fishing as the lake’s smelt population converges on the northwest corner of Sebago to spawn, followed by hungry salmon and togue.

Over on Peabody Pond, the smelt run is over, during which successful anglers reported catching 5 to 6 salmon in a trip up to 4 pounds on a good day. Thompson offered fast fishing for one angler who fished a week after ice out and reportedly landed 30 salmon over two outings using sewed smelt trolled very slow. Another angler fished there with streamers and landed 12 salmon. The salmon on Thompson are smaller than last year when some unusually large salmon were caught in the 4 to 6 pound range. This year’s catch is “more normal” with most salmon under 3 pounds.

If you are into river fishing in Region A, things were a bit slow but the Presumpscot River Bypass fishery was perhaps the exception, with anglers reporting some quality-size salmon being caught early by fly fishermen.

“Many of the popular streams in Region A are stocked twice (April/May) and typically the fishing in May provides much faster action as the waters warm, flows subside, and insect life emerges,” said Brautigam. “The difficult decision now is do you fish or turkey hunt?”

Region B – Central and Midcoast Area

There are some outstanding bass waters in central Maine, and the bass fishing is starting to heat up.

“Bass are starting to move into the shallows as they prepare to spawn,” said IFW Fisheries Biologist Jason Seiders. “Anglers have a lot of opportunity to fish for big bass.”

Seiders reminds anglers to treat these fish with care, as these large females are generally full of eggs and ready to spawn.

Area brooks and streams are running at a very fishable level, and anglers are doing well catching some of the trout stocked by IFW hatchery personnel.

“One spot that is doing well is the Salmon Lake Outlet in Belgrade,” said Seiders. The outlet connects Salmon Lake to Great Pond, and trout have been congregating in certain areas of the outlet.

One other spot to add to your list to try is the Goose River in Swanville below Swan Lake. The water is a little lower than you would generally find this time of year, and plans are to stock it this week.

If you are looking to try your luck on one of the bigger rivers, you should try the Kennebec. Seiders has heard several reports of anglers catching rainbows over 20 inches below Wyman Dam, and the area in Madison from the dam to the confluence of the Sandy River has also been productive.

Also of interest to anglers is that Great Meadows Stream, the main tributary to Great Pond is now open to paddle craft such as canoes and kayaks, but is still closed to motorized craft. The stream has been closed to all use due to a mifoil infestation but is now open to paddle craft. There is a small hand carry launch on Route 225 that now has an open gate.

“The area is a scaled down version of the south end of Messalonskee,” said Seiders. “There’s tremendous bass fishing as well as excellent wildlife and bird watching opportunities.”

Region C -- Downeast

In the last week, area lakes have been opening up throughout the Downeast area.

“Mount Desert Island waters started going out the week of the 20th, then we started to see other area lakes following,” said IFW fisheries biologist Greg Burr. Big Lake opened up soon thereafter, and West Grand Lake finally on May 1.

Water levels in area lakes and ponds are mostly up, although West Grand Lake and Grand Lake Stream are down. With the deep snowpack, water regulators ran high flows on Grand Lake Stream through April in order to avoid flooding, but currently Grand Lake Stream is running a little lower than normal for this time of year. Anglers are catching fish, but fishing will improve once the water levels are bumped. Of interest to anglers will is that 75 retired brood salmon were stocked in the river earlier this year, as well as 25 in the St. Croix below the powerhouse in Kellyland.

The rapid warmup also has smaller ponds fishing very well for this time of year.

“Everything seems to be happening all at once. Usually there’s a progression with the smaller ponds warming up first, but right now, fishing seems to be picking up everywhere,” said Burr. “Salmon are very active on area lakes as the water temperatures are climbing.”

Burr mentioned that early season favorite Cathance Lake is doing well, as is West Grand and Big Lake. Anglers on Branch Lake in Ellsworth are also having good luck.

“Winter use throughout the area was down this year, and that bodes well for spring fishing,” said Burr. “It’s time to get out and fish.”

Region D – Rangeley Lakes

Up in the Rangeley region, water levels are going down and the fishing is picking up.

“There’s still some ice in the northern part of the region, but the ice on Rangeley Lake went out earlier this week,” said IFW fisheries biologist Bobby Van Riper.

The southern part of the region is ice free, and anglers have been catching fish on Porter and Clearwater Lakes and Temple Stream. Biologist Dave Howatt said one angler caught a five pound salmon on Little Ellis Pond in Roxbury.

“We’re starting to stock in Temple Stream, and yesterday there were several trucks and cars parked along the stream with people out fishing,” said Van Riper.

While many smaller ponds may be free of ice, trout in some of these smaller ponds might be a little slow to bite. “Once the bugs come out, the trout will start to bite,” said Van Riper.

River fishing has been slow to pick up, but that hasn’t stopped anglers from trying as fly fisherman were seen wading through the snowbanks to fish on the Magalloway earlier in the season.

Some northern ponds are still experiencing strong smelt runs but in the southern section of the region, the smelt runs have come and gone.

Region E – Moosehead Region

On Tuesday Evening, the ice went out on Moosehead Lake.

“It’s time to be out on the shorelines fishing for big trout,” said IFW fisheries biologist Tim Obrey. While most of the snow is out of the woods, anglers should note that area roads are still a bit muddy.

While many anglers will concentrate on the big lake right after ice out, Obrey noted that anglers may want to check out the Moose River.

“It’s too high to fish the river right now, but the mouth of the river is a good bet,” said Obrey. Other popular early season spots include Chesuncook and Allagash Lake. “Ice fishing pressure was down this year, and there are a lot of fish still out there.”

Smelt runs seem to be just about over in the Moosehead region, as Obrey and his staff set trap nets earlier to determine the strength of some smelt runs in a couple of Moosehead tributaries.

Region F – Penobscot Region

April 25th marked ice out on Cold Stream Pond, and word is that most ice is out in the region, including early season favorites Grand Lake Matagammon and East Grand Lake.

The early returns on Cold Stream have been very favorable, with salmon in the 22” range being landed, however, reports have been slowing coming in from other ponds in the region.

“We are basically just getting underway here,” said Nels Kramer, IFW fisheries biologist. “Water levels are good, we had a gradual thaw, and people are starting to catch fish.”

Smelts have pretty much come and gone in the area. Some larger streams are beginning to see the suckers moving in. Stocking has begun in the area, and will continue through the end of the month.

“The next couple of weeks are one of the best times to be fishing in the area,” added Kramer.

Region G – Aroostook Region

Ice is out on all the major lakes, smelt runs are winding down, and anglers are catching fish.

“Ice went out earlier this week on Long Lake,” said IFW fisheries biologist Frank Frost, who added that the ice is out on all the lakes on the Fish River Chain.

“Things seem to condensed this year. Smelt runs are winding down but Squa Pan and Long Lake are still running. Tributaries are warming up quickly as some now have temps now over 50 degrees,” said Frost.

Water levels in area rivers and streams are at good fishing levels, but still need to warm up a bit. With the warm weather this week, fishing should pick up quickly.

If you’re looking for a good early season spot for fishing, any of the lakes in the Fish River chain are a good bet, with Square Lake always a popular spot, as well as Carr Pond.

A little further to the south, Drews Lake and Nickerson are popular early, as well as Conroy Lake in Monticello. These waters are stocked in the fall and spring, and are popular fisheries this time of year.

May 14, 2015

Press Conference/National Safe Boating Week: Maine Warden Service

[Augusta, Maine - May 13, 2015] National Safe Boating Week is a great way to kick off what will be a fun and safe summer on the water. From May 16-22, 2015, the Maine Warden Service and Maine Marine Patrol are asking boaters to pay EXTRA attention to their boating safety behaviors, and to especially ALWAYS wear their lifejackets. Remember…even the most experienced boaters can fall victim to boating crashes.

News conference: Who: The Maine Warden Service and Maine Marine Patrol Where: Bug Light Boat Ramp, South Portland When: Tuesday, May 19th at 11:00 What: News conference with representatives from both the Maine Warden Service and Maine Marine Patrol will be available for interviews. Boat rides will be available depending upon weather conditions.

What is the goal of National Safe Boating Week? The goal of the National Safe Boating Week is to heighten awareness among recreational boaters of the importance of ALWAYS wearing a life jacket. This includes informing boaters that they have options when it comes to life jackets, such as the new inflatable versions that offer comfort and a complete range of movement. There are no excuses for not wearing a life jacket. For children and many adult activities on Maine waters, it's the law.

The Maine Warden Service and Maine Marine Patrol are asking all boaters to properly prepare their watercraft before heading out on the water. Be sure that all necessary safety devices are both on your boat and in good serviceable condition. In addition to life jackets, safe boaters should have working navigation lights, sound signaling devices, and properly displayed current registration numbers. A thorough check of fire extinguisher and flare expiration dates should be done to be sure they are in working order. A list of safety requirements can be found here at Maine boater safety requirements, laws, and rules.

More information related to the National Safe Boating Week campaign can be found here.

May 15, 2015

Deer harvest second highest in the past six years

AUGUSTA, Maine – Deer hunters in Maine harvested 22,490 deer in 2014, the second-highest total in the past six years.

“Hunters had an unusual year with heavy snow hitting much of the state on opening weekend, and then again during Thanksgiving,” said Kyle Ravana, IFW’s deer biologist. “Those are always two of the busiest weekends of the year for hunters, and it gave many hunters the chance to track and harvest a deer.”

Maine’s November firearms season for deer attracts the most hunters and accounts for most of the state’s deer harvest (18,510). Maine’s deer season starts in early-September with expanded archery, and ends with the muzzleloader season in mid-December, providing hunters with over 80 days in which to pursue deer. The deer hunting season allows for the department to manage the deer herd and provide wildlife watching and hunting opportunity in much of the state while decreasing the deer population in other areas in order to reduce deer/car collisions and property damage, and prevalence of lyme disease.

While the 2014 buck harvest was similar to 2013 (15,986 to 16,736, a difference of 4%), a decrease in the number of harvested does was expected due to a previous winter (2013-14) that was above average in its severity which resulted in a corresponding reduction in any deer permits.

The department decreased the number of any deer permits last season by 20% in order to compensate for deer that may have succumbed to the harsh winter conditions. As a result, fewer adult does were harvested. In 2014, 4,401 adult does were harvested, which was approximately 17% below the 2013 harvest of 5,308 adult does. The Any-Deer Permit system plays a vital role in the management of Maine’s deer since it was first implemented in 1986. By controlling the harvest of female deer in the 29 regional wildlife management districts throughout the state, biologists can better manage population trends.

For the 2015 deer season, the department is again suggesting a decrease in the number of any deer permits due to another harsh winter.

For 2015, the department is recommending a total of 28,770 any deer permits. This is a decrease of 23% (8,415 permits) from 2014. Most of these any deer permits will be issued in southern, central and midcoast Maine, where the deer population is growing, remains highly productive, and usually experiences milder winter weather. There also will be some permits issued in eastern Aroosotook, as well as southern Piscataquis and southern Penobscot counties. In most of northern and downeast Maine, there will be no any deer permits issued and hunters will be allowed to take only bucks.

“By decreasing the number of any deer permits available, we can offset some of the impact of the now two consecutive harsh winters,” said Ravana.

The any deer permit recommendation is still in the comment period until June 6. Once the comment period closes, the Commissioner’s Advisory Council will then vote whether to accept the any permit recommendation.

The deer kill over the past five years includes: 2014 –22,490; 2013 – 24,795; 2012 – 21,553; 2011 – 18,839; 2010 – 20,063; 2009 – 18,092; 2008 – 21062.

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May 20, 2015

When Dealing With Young Wildlife: If You Care, Leave Them There

AUGUSTA, Maine - As the weather continues to get warmer and more people are enjoying the outdoors, the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife is reminding everyone to follow this motto when encountering wildlife, especially young animals: If you care, leave them there.

Wildlife is active during this time of the year and it isn’t unusual for people to come across baby fawns, moose calves, robins, raccoons and other young wildlife in woodlands or in their backyards, but that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea for people to intervene.

“Well-meaning people sometimes take in young wildlife in the mistaken belief that they have been abandoned,” said Governor Paul R. LePage. “But they often put the young animal in more risk. Wild animals and birds do not make good pets, and it’s against the law to possess them without the proper state and federal permits.”

A deer may leave its fawn hidden in the leaves on the forest floor if it’s too young to come along to forage for food. The mother-young bond is very strong in mammals and birds and deer will return to its fawn as long as humans don’t interfere.

“Too often people see a young animal alone and assume it has been abandoned by its mother, when in fact the mother has likely just left temporarily to search for food,” said IFW Wildlife Division Director Judy Camuso. “In most cases, it’s best to leave the animal alone because wildlife has a much better chance at survival when they aren’t disrupted by humans”.

If you come across a healthy young animal or bird, leave it alone. If you have pets, put them inside your home or on a leash so they don’t disturb the young wildlings.

If you do think an animal may be orphaned, please call an IFW regional biologist or game warden to alert them to it.

Here are other tips on what to do if you see young wildlife:

Fawns: It is always best to leave fawns alone. The nutrient profile of a mother’s milk enables fawns to be left for many hours as mothers feed on their own to help maintain the high energy demands of nursing the fawn. Adult does will return two or three times a day to nurse fawns but otherwise leave them in a safe place and rely on the fawn’s camouflage and lack of scent to protect them from predators. As soon as a fawn is able to keep up with its mother, it will travel more with the mother.

Repeated visits to a fawn can draw the attention of predators and could discourage its mother from returning. Under no circumstances should anyone attempt to feed a fawn.

Moose calves: Treat moose calves similar to fawns, but also be aware that approaching or handling a moose calf is likely to elicit a defensive response from a mother moose if it is nearby.

Squirrels or Raccoons: If a nest of squirrels or raccoons must be disturbed, (for example if a tree has been cut down or fallen) leave the young in the den part of the tree and move them nearby to a protected place. The mother will in all likelihood come back and transport them to a new location.

Birds: The same is true for a bird’s nest. Put the nest and nestlings into a nearby tree, supported in a basket or other container that has drainage. The mother robin or blue jay is probably right around the corner, and will return to feed the young and care for them until they can fly on their own.

Be aware that direct contact with wildlife can expose you to a variety of diseases. Human contact with wildlife may lead to an animal being euthanized in order to test for rabies.

For more information about Maine’s wildlife, please visit: http://www.maine.gov/ifw/wildlife/human/living.html

If You Care, Leave Them There PSA: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Unqz2f6ukwo

May 21, 2015

Dan Legere Recognized as the 2015 Legendary Maine Guide

AUGUSTA, Maine – Dan Legere of Greenville, Maine was recently recognized by the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife at the Maine Professional Guides Association banquet as the 2015 recipient of the Wiggie Robinson Legendary Guide Award. Dan’s award will be presented to him at an event this summer as he was unable to attend the banquet. Dan owns and operates the Maine Guide Fly Shop and Guide Service in the heart of the Moosehead Lake Region, offering guided fly fishing trips and fly fishing schools. “Dan’s long career as a Registered Master Maine Guide in the Moosehead Region has earned him much respect amongst his peers,” said Deputy Commissioner Andrea Erskine. “He is known as a gifted teacher and wonderful mentor and exemplifies what it means to be a Maine Guide.”
Dan currently serves on the Moosehead Fisheries Focus Group and previously held a position on the Board of the Forest Society of Maine. He was also heavily involved in the West Branch Easement Project. In recent years, Dan has hosted Project Healing Waters retreats, has worked with the Wounded Warrior Project and has taught fly tying to area youth through the local school system. Dan is regularly asked for his input on local issues and has been active in numerous efforts to promote the outdoor opportunities found in the Moosehead region. “Dan has taught me more about fly fishing that I will ever remember,” said Registered Maine Guide Ian Cameron. “He is a gifted teacher, a wonderful mentor, and an extraordinarily marvelous example to the public of what it means to be a Maine Guide. He is what all the rest of us in the profession aspire to be. Dan is, simply, the guide’s guide.” Winners of the Wiggie Robinson Legendary Maine Guide Award must have held a guide’s license in Maine for at least 20 years and actively guided for a least 10 of those years; pass a criminal background check; actively volunteer within the community to introduce and educate youth about the Maine outdoors; and actively serve on boards or committees that enhance or promote the important of Maine’s outdoor resources. Nominations are reviewed by a seven member panel comprised of four Registered Maine Guides, the Deputy Commissioner of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife, the recipient of the previous year’s award and a representative from the Inland Fisheries & Wildlife Licensing Division.
The Legendary Maine Guide award was created in memory of Wilmot “Wiggie” Robinson and past recipients include Gil Gilpatrick (2010), Gary Corson (2011), Gardner Defoe (2012), Matt Libby (2013) and Don Dudley (2014).

May 26, 2015

Free Fishing in Maine this Weekend

AUGUSTA, Maine - The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife is encouraging everyone to get out on Maine’s waters this weekend to take advantage of free fishing days.

Free fishing weekend will take place on Saturday, May 30 and Sunday, May 31, when any person may fish for free without a license on Maine’s waterways, except those who have had their license suspended or revoked.

All other rules and regulations, including bag and possession limits, apply.

“Fishing always provides great memories, especially when you help a child experience the joys of fishing for the first time,” said Governor Paul R. LePage. “Free fishing weekend is the perfect time for people of all ages to try their hand at fishing and see why the sport is such a beloved Maine tradition.”

Fishing is one of the most popular ways to enjoy Maine’s great outdoors. There are wonderful fishing opportunities throughout the state on the nearly 6,000 lakes and ponds and more than 30,000 miles of rivers and streams.

“Maine is proud to be home to more than 90 percent of the wild brook trout found in lakes and ponds and also boasts exceptional landlocked salmon, brown and rainbow trout, smallmouth bass, and plenty of other fish species that are great for children,” said Chandler Woodcock, IFW Commissioner.

The Department stocks more than 1 million fish each year and manages more than 20 species of freshwater game fish.

The Department also offers a free ice fishing weekend in February each year.

For a complete list of fishing regulations, including limits and sizes, visit www.mefishwildlife.com

For more information on fishing opportunities in Maine, visit www.maine.gov/ifw/fishing/opportunities/index.htm

Current Fish Stocking Reports: http://www.maine.gov/ifw/fishing/reports/stocking/currentseason/currentstockingreport.pdf

Tips for taking kids fishing: http://www.maine.gov/wordpress/insideifw/2015/05/26/free-fishing-weekend-in-maine-and-tips-for-taking-kids-fishing/

May 28, 2015

GAME WARDENS RECEIVE NEW TOOLS FOR THE JOB

[Leeds, Maine - May 28, 2015] The Maine Warden Service and Reggie's Kawasaki & Ski-Doo in Leeds are proud to announce three new recreational vehicles to assist game wardens in the course of their work this summer and fall. As a result of the Kawasaki User Relations Loaner Program, three new recreational vehicles will be on loan at no charge to Maine game wardens.

Included in the program will be a 2015 Kawasaki TERYX 800 4x4 utility vehicle (UTV). This two-passenger UTV will be utilized during search and rescue operations, ATV special enforcement details, and will aid in transporting people and equipment to and from the woods in a variety of circumstances. Game wardens also received two, 2015 Kawasaki STX1500 Jet Ski's to be used for recreational boating safety enforcement efforts on Maine's busiest lakes in York and Cumberland counties this summer.

This is the third year Reggie's Kawasaki & Ski-Doo has worked with the Maine Warden Service to help secure recreational vehicles under this loaner program. Reggie's General Manager Craig Caron stated "It's been a great on-going relationship that we have had with the Maine Warden Service. It is good public relations, provides valued tools for their (Warden Service) mission, and it has been good for our business."

The loaner program for these three machines will expire in November 2015 when the machines will be returned to Reggie's. The Maine Warden Service is very appreciative to both Reggie's and the Kawasaki User Relations Loaner Program as it provides essential equipment to Maine game wardens and valuable added resources to the State of Maine.

May 29, 2015

IFW Fishing Report For May 29, 2015

IFW Fishing Report For May 29, 2015

For current stocking information that is updated daily, please visit: http://www.maine.gov/ifw/fishing/reports/stocking/currentseason/currentstockingreport.pdf .

Region A – Sebago Lakes Region

On Little Sebago, anglers are enjoying the rebuilt launching facility there and enjoying some fine fishing for rainbow and brown trout, as well as smallmouth and largemouth bass.

The refurbished facility has a new dock system and toilet. It provides boaters with improved deep water access on little Sebago.

“Little Sebago attracts anglers seeking both trout and bass,” said Brautigam. “The launch is used from right after ice-out almost until it ices in again.”

With the weather warming up, area waters have been heating up as well, and bass are actively spawning.

“We were conducting our bass electrofishing surveys last week and bass are actively spawning. Water temperatures were in the mid- to high 50s last week. Smallmouth bass typically spawn when the water temps hit 50, and largemouths spawn in a little warmer water, around 55,” said Brautigam.

Auburn Lake continues to produce good action for salmon and some lake trout. Out on Sebago, it’s been a good spring if not a little inconsistent.

“It’s been hot and cold, but recently it has been very good,” said Brautigam.

Out on our smaller streams, water levels have been low, so in many streams, fish aren’t yet found throughout the waterway. “A little rain and the fish will be moving and will be found throughout the stream,” said Brautigam.

It is the time of year that water temps are rising, so once river flows increase, trout will start to move around looking for areas of cooler water. This can make it a productive time of year to fish.

Region B – Central and Midcoast Area

In central and coastal Maine, the bass fishing is heating up, with bass on or near nests in 3-5 feet of water.

“Males will guard the nest after spawning,” explains IFW fisheries biologist Jason Seiders. “Once you land the fish, it’s important to release the fish quickly as they prevent predators from eating eggs or the fry.”

If you like river fishing, the reports from portions of the Kennebec are glowing.

“In Madison, anglers are catching good numbers of brown trout, with many of these fish around 18 inches,” says Seiders.

However, it is the rainbows in the Bingham area that has people really talking.

“The fishing in Bingham has been exceptional,” said Seiders. “Anglers are catching some unusually large rainbows.”

Many of these rainbows are in the 20-24 inch range, but Seiders received on report of a rainbow at 28 inches.

“It’s really been a tremendous spring for catching large fish up there,” said Seiders.

Region C -- Downeast

Downeast, you can take your pick of bass, trout, salmon or togue.

“Bass fishing is just starting to come on with smallmouths and largemouths right near shore,” said IFW fisheries biologist Greg Burr, “Anglers are also catching good numbers of salmon and trout still.”

If you’re looking for salmon, Burr mentioned Branch Lake in Ellsworth, and Long Pond in Mount Desert Island as good choices, as well as Beech Hill Pond, Cathance Lake and Donnell Pond. Brown trout can be found in Walker Pond in Brooksville and Molasses Pond in Eastbrook. Tunk Lake is producing some nice salmon and togue, and West Grand is producing some big togue. West Musquash is another pond with good access with some nice salmon and wild togue. Some of the togue in West Musquash have tipped the scales at over 20 pounds.

“We have been emphasizing size quality in managing these fisheries, as well as provide for reasonable catch rates,” said Burr. “It seems to be working out well as anglers are catching fish.”

Brook trout fishing has also been good in a lot of very good small ponds in the region. “Now is a great time to get out and fish,” said Burr.

Region D – Rangeley Lakes

Up in the Rangeley Lakes region, anglers have been landing some big fish.

“One angler caught a four-and-a-half pound salmon on Rangeley Lake, and there have been several brook trout over three pounds caught on Mooselook,” said IFW fisheries biologist Liz Thorndike.

Rangeley usually offers the fastest fishing early in the spring, and then the other area lakes start to heat up. With water temps still in the low 50s, anglers are still catching fish on Rangeley as well as other locations too.

“We are surveying anglers on Aziscohos, and every boat we talk to has been producing fish,” said Thorndike, who added that Aziscohos is one of those waters that has a productive coldwater fishery that extends well into the summer.

Trout anglers who are looking for something a little different ought to try Jackson Pond in Concord. This small pond is off the main road, but just a short walk along the outlet to the pond. The pond was recently stocked with trout fry, but while there earlier this week, Thorndike noticed several nice rises from trout that had been stocked in past years.

“It’s a fly fishing only pond, and it’s a great size for fishing with a float tube,” said Thorndike.

If you are thinking about fishing in Porter and Clearwater Lakes, bring your lead core, as anglers are doing well getting deeper in the water column.

Region E – Moosehead Region

Up in the Moosehead region, last week’s weather was a real struggle between winter and summer. There was ice on the puddles on Saturday, but by Monday the heat was on. Unfortunately the wind kept many anglers on shore next to the fire for the first half of the holiday weekend before it died down for the rest of the weekend.

“We have received some good reports of fishing on Moosehead, primarily in the Rockwood area, as salmon and togue staged off the mouth of the Moose River during the smelt run,” said IFW fisheries biologist Tim Obrey. “We are also hearing accounts of flying ants in the stomachs of salmon and togue on Moosehead.”

With flying ants already hatching, usually caddis flies aren’t far behind. “Caddis flies usually make their first appearance of the summer in early June on our rivers and trout ponds,” said Obrey.

The stocking trucks have been out if full force the past several weeks in the area. Anglers can take advantage of the free fishing weekend coming up to hit a couple of the more accessible stocking sites. For the most up-to-date info check out the IFW website and hit the current stocking link (http://www.maine.gov/ifw/fishing/reports/stocking/currentseason/currentstockingreport.pdf).

“Gravel Pit Pond in Greenville is stocked several times in the spring and there should be plenty of fish this weekend,” said Obrey, “Also, Prong Pond, the Sebec River, Piscataquis River, and Drummond Pond are all good spots to fish in the Dover-Foxcroft to Greenville area.”

“If you’re in Jackman, head over to Big Wood Pond, Sandy Stream, or Heald Stream as they should be loaded with brook trout,” said Obrey, “These are all great places to take kids that want to catch a few fish for dinner...just don’t forget the bug dope!”

Region F – Penobscot Region

Are you in the Orono area this weekend and looking to go trout fishing? The department recently stocked 500 brook trout in the Stillwater River in Orono.

“We expect there to be a lot of angler interest in this fishery,” said IFW fisheries biologist Nels Kramer. In order gauge interest in the fishery, Kramer has set up voluntary angler boxes at the landing at the UMO steam plant and across the river at the Orono Land Trust Kiosk. “If you fish this area, please fill out a survey card and let us know how you did. The reports we get back help us better manage the fishery.”

If you’re not in Orono, don’t fret, there are plenty of other waters that are experiencing good to excellent salmon fishing according to Kramer, including Cold Stream Pond, West Lake, Duck Lake, East Grand Lake, Shin Ponds, Millinocket Lake and Schoodic Lake.

Brook trout fisherman will want to try Matagamon Lake, Scraggly Lake, and just about any pond throughout Baxter State Park. Looking to take the kids fishing and bring home some trout? There are numerous Kids Only Ponds in the Region, including Harris Pond in Milo, Edwards Pond in Lincoln, Pickerel Pond in T32 and many, many more. Don’t forget, it’s also Free Fishing Weekend!

Brook fishing has been just about perfect of late with moderate flows and cooler temperatures, however that will be changing fast this week with predicted temperatures in the 80’s.

Bass fishing should start to pick up soon especially on the Penobscot River. If you are fishing for bass on the Penobscot, please be on the lookout for northern pike. Workers at the Milford Dam reported a 29” pike in the fishway this past holiday weekend. Pike are invasive species in Maine, so we ask that if you encounter a pike in the Penobscot, please kill it immediately and call the Regional Office at 732-4131.

Region G – Aroostook Region

Now is the time to be fishing up in the county.

“The fishing is pretty good right now with near ideal conditions for lakes, ponds and rivers,” said IFW fisheries biologist Frank Frost. Fishing has been good throughout the region, and Memorial Day Weekend was busy, despite the Saturday morning snow that left 2-5 inches of the white stuff on the ground.

“All the district game wardens say that fish are being caught all over,” said Frost.

Of note was an 18 pound togue that was landed on Eagle Lake, which has been the largest fish of the spring.

Out on area rivers, conditions are about as good as it gets.

“The Aroostook is lower than normal, but very fishable,” said Frost. ”It’s near ideal temperature and flows.”

Other rivers that anglers may want to try include the Meduxnekeag in Houlton and the east branch of the Mattawamkeag in Smyrna.

If you are looking to take some family fishing this weekend, you may want to try Nickerson Lake in New Limerick, Spaulding Lake in Oakfield and Mantle Lake in Presque Isle. These lakes were stocked with brook trout by IFW, and offer anglers a good chance at bringing home some trout.

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June 1, 2015

Bethel to Host Maine Moose Lottery Festival in June

AUGUSTA, Maine – The 2015 Moose Permit Drawing will take place on Saturday, June 13 as part of the Bethel Maine Moose Festival. The weekend-long event is highlighted by the moose lottery drawing at 3 p.m. on Saturday at the Bethel Common, when the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife will announce the names of those drawn for one of the 2,740 moose hunting permits.

On Friday evening, June 12, the Moose Festival gets started with a qualifying round of the Maine Moose Calling Championship at Gould Academy’s Bingham Auditorium. Maine’s nationally touring alt-country rock band, The Mallett Brothers, will also perform that night at The Bethel Inn Resort.

In addition to the moose permit lottery on Saturday, June 13, the schedule for the day also includes the finals of the Moose Calling Championship, appearances from the cast of North Woods Law, kids’ activities, hunting- and fishing-related demonstrations, the L.L. Bean Bootmobile, an ATV safety course, raffles and vendors, including guides, outdoor products, non-profits, crafts and food. After the lottery, Team Zespy will show off their exhibition shooting skills.

Sunday’s events include Youth Field Day at the UMaine 4-H Camp & Learning Center in Bryant Pond and a golf tournament at The Bethel Inn Resort to benefit camp scholarships.

For those prospective moose hunters who can’t make it to the lottery drawing, the names of permit winners will be posted on the Department’s web site starting at 8 p.m. on Saturday. Visit www.mefishwildlife.com to access the list once it has been posted.

For more information on moose hunting in Maine, visit www.mefishwildlife.com.

To see the complete schedule of events for the 2015 Moose Lottery Festival, go to www.bethelmainemoosefest.com

June 9, 2015

Swan Island now open for its 50th season

RICHMOND, Maine - Swan Island is now open for a great 50th season of camping, hiking and wildlife viewing. Several new features are now available here, including a new larger ferry, kayak rentals from the island campground, new interpretive signage, docks at the campground and a 15 & under kids-only trout fishing pond with free equipment loans. Many different events are being held on and around the Island throughout the summer and fall. Check out the event calendar on our website www.maine.gov/swanisland to sign up for one of the many planned programs; or visit to just explore on your own.

The next scheduled Swan Island event is Sunday June 21 – Father’s Day, with free Admission for Maine Residents. There will be four scheduled ferry trips throughout the day. Bring a picnic and spend a great day outdoors with Dad. In addition, the historic Tubbs-Reed house, the first house you’ll see on the Island overlooking the new Richmond/Dresden Bridge, will be open to the public today! There is period furniture, Island artifacts and new interpretive signage to see here. Call 547-5322 FMI.

Swan Island, known for its abundant and often quite visible wildlife, is actually an abandoned 18th and 19th century town called Perkins Township, and has long been recognized for its varied and interesting history. The wildlife management area, about 2,000 acres in size, is located in the Kennebec River between the towns of Richmond and Dresden.

Today the island is managed for a variety of wildlife and enjoyed by many visitors each season. Five of the historic homesteads still stand. The cemetery and landscape along with old stone walls and other remnants stand testament to the islands rich history.

The Island's public visitation season runs from May through October. There are ten Adirondack shelters available for overnight use; picnic facilities for day use; modern bathroom facilities at the campground; drinking water; hiking trails; kayak rentals; and wildlife viewing.

If you wish to visit the Swan Island Wildlife Management Area, you must make reservations for the ferry and/or campground. You may access the island, for day use, via personal canoe or kayak without a reservation; admission fees may be deposited in iron rangers. All visitor fees are as follows: 5 and under free! Day use - $ 8.00. For overnight camping - $8 plus $20 per site per night. Please visit our website at www.maine.gov/swanisland for more information and details about the island; or find us on Facebook!

Swan Island, also called the Steve Powell Wildlife Management Area, is owned and maintained by the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. Operation and maintenance of the campground and public use areas are supported by your visitation fees. The wildlife management work is supported by revenue from the sale of hunting and fishing licenses, and federal monies under the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Program.

June 19, 2015

IFW Fishing Report For June 19, 2015

June 19, 2015

For current stocking information that is updated daily, please visit: http://www.maine.gov/ifw/fishing/reports/stocking/currentseason/currentstockingreport.pdf .

Region A – Sebago Lakes Region

There are some good reports coming out of Sebago, with anglers still landing salmon.

“I talked to one angler who fished Monday, and he landed 20 salmon, all on streamers,” said IFW fisheries biologist Francis Brautigam. Brautigam noted that most were in the 13 – 16” range, but he has also received reports of some exceptional fish in the 3-4 pound range.

“Right now, coldwater fish are feeding 10-15 feet below the surface as lakes begin to heat up,” said Brautigam, who noted that the surface water temps were 70 degrees at Range Pond, and Lake Auburn was in the high 60s.

They are also getting some decent size lake trout out on Sebago, including some good size ones that are over the 33” slot limit.

“Anglers should know that lake trout aren’t always in the same areas as in the past, as they seem to be moving around feeding on alewives,” said Brautigam.

Anglers are also catching some pretty nice browns on area lakes, and that means fish in the 18-25” range. One of the more effective baits has been live shiners. Bass fishing is still productive even though most bass have moved off their spawning beds.

Anglers fishing for rainbows have been rewarded with decent fishing. Lakes like Norway, Little Ossippee and the Range Ponds have all been producing with daily catches from 2-7 fish in the 15-19” range.

Region B – Central and Midcoast Area

In Solon, anglers are catching some nice size brown trout in the 18” range. Anglers are also catching lots of salmon, but many are just below the legal limit of 16”

“It’s a productive area. You can launch at Evergreen and float down to Anson. You can also wade there by the bridge,” said IFW Fisheries biologist Jason Seiders. “One day last week there were so many rises you would’ve thought it was raining.”

Early season reports are that the Shawmut section of the Kennebec is fishing better than it has in years. Anglers are catching browns in the 14-18” range with the occasional fish over 20”. While the number of fish being caught is not as strong as several years ago, the resurgence in the numbers even has a few guides taking sports to the Shawmut section once again.

The department stocked three different varieties of brown trout in that section, and all three strains of brown trout seem to be doing well.

“We are seeing three different year-classes (ages) of fish, which tells us that survival is good, and their growth is good as well,” said Seiders. One of the keys, said Seiders, is stocking a larger fish in the fall, instead of a smaller size brown trout in the spring.

Region C -- Downeast

Bass fishing is hot right now throughout the region, with some waters still having bass on their nests in the shallows.

“If you’re fishing one of our colder, deeper lakes, you’re likely to still see bass on nests,” said IFW fisheries biologist Greg Burr. “Lakes like Green, Branch, West Grand, Beech Hill – we are still seeing bass in the shallows.”

Water flows are very good for stream and brook fishing, and fishing your favorite trout stream has been productive.

“With the streams and brooks still relatively cool, trout are still spread out throughout the stream instead of concentrating in cooler, deeper areas,” said Burr.

Trolling for salmon is still productive. Anglers are still getting some on the surface, as well as just below. If you’re looking for togue, just troll a little deeper and you’re likely to be rewarded.

“Take your pick, no matter what you want to fish for, it’s all pretty darn good,” says Burr.

Region D – Rangeley Lakes

In Rangeley Lakes Region, perhaps the best barometer on how good the fishing is the phone.

“I can tell the fishing has been pretty fantastic because it’s reflected in the amount of phone calls I get,” says IFW fisheries biologist Bobby Van Riper. “So far this season, there have been no complaints and that means they are out fishing and catching fish. If not, people would be calling.”

Popular spots like the Rapid and Magalloway Rivers have been busy, but anglers are still catching fish. Water levels are down a bit, but fish are throughout the river and anglers are doing well.

On Rangeley Lake, anglers are still trolling and catching fish. Van Riper counted 20 boats there on Thursday. Look for the fishing on Mooselookmeguntic to heat up once fishing starts to cool off on Rangeley.

Bass fishing has been steady on waters like Crowell and Norcross. Van Riper things the best bass fishing in the southern part of the region is still to come.

If you like brook fishing, water levels in the area are near perfect. “The black flies will just about carry you away, so the trout are feeding heavily,” said Van Riper. “Every trout is loaded with black fly larva.”

Region E – Moosehead Region

Last week’s rain really gave the rivers and streams a boost in flow said IFW Fisheries Biologist Tim Obrey.

“While it makes it tough to fish the bigger rivers, the smaller flowing waters should offer some terrific fishing for the next several days,” said Obrey. “These early summer rain events will often bring some fresh adult salmon and brook trout up into the streams and rivers creating some great fishing as flows recede.”

Rivers that you may want to try include the Roach and the Moose River above Brassua Lake. “Trout and salmon just scream into them,” after a rain says Obrey.

If you’re looking for some trout ponds in the Greenville area to try, take a look at Salmon, Secret or Rum Pond. They’re relatively easy to get to, offer good access and have plenty of trout in the 12-14” range. Bug activity on these smaller trout ponds is very good with both caddises and mayflies.

Region F – Penobscot Region

On the Eastern border, there are very good reports from East Grand Lake.

“Reports from East Grand Lake, one of the more important salmon lakes in the region, indicate a good to excellent spring trolling season,” said IFW fisheries biologist Nels Kramer. “A number of anglers and guides have boated some very nice landlocked salmon in the 2-3 pound range. Togue fishing is also been impressive with numerous reports of lakers in the 8-10 pound range.”

As you head north, reports from Millinocket Lake in T1R8/T1R9 WELS are encouraging, with some handsome salmon coming to net. Across the dike from Millinocket Lake, anglers at Pemadumcook Chain of Lakes are also presently reporting some good salmon and togue as well.

It seems you can never go wrong heading into Baxter State Park, and lakes and ponds in and around Baxter are warming up with anglers experiencing some excellent trout fishing so far. Large brook trout in the 2 pound range have started to show at Grand Lake Matagamon, and a number of very fat salmon are also being reported.

Spawning bass are the ticket on lakes throughout the region, with anglers reporting action at South Branch Lake, Sysladobsis Lake, Caribou, Egg and Long Ponds, Mattanawcook Lake, Nicatous Lake, Saponac Lake and many others too numerous to mention. Smallmouth bass fishing has been as good as ever on the Penobscot River from Old Town to Medway, with fast action for smallies from 1-3 pounds being common.

Nicatous Lake has also started to produce some excitement with anglers enjoying the splake stocking program. Anglers are reporting splake in the 15” to 17” category, as well as some additional larger fish.

Region G – Aroostook Region

If you are headed up to the County to go fishing, you won’t be disappointed.

“The trout fishing is still very good,” said IFW fisheries biologist Jeremiah Wood. “The cool weather has extended the season in streams and the pond fishing just seems to be getting started.

Good news if you like to fish the Aroostook River.

“The Aroostook is fishing good as well. Usually the lower part of the Aroostook is more productive and produces bigger trout more consistently but the upper river is still fishing pretty good,” said Wood.

If you want to try some pond fishing, the Deboullie area is always a good bet.

“There’s been quite a few people in there the last couple of weeks. It’s been fast fishing and a nice place to go,” said Wood. “And if the fish aren’t biting in one particular water, just head over to another.”

In Long Lake, the salmon bite is just beginning and they’re still catching togue in Eagle. If you’re looking for a new spot, try Fish River Lake, near the headwaters of the Fish River. There is a public launch there, and the water holds both landlocks and brook trout.

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June 29, 2015

Any-Deer Permit Applications Now Available

AUGUSTA, Maine – Applications for 2015 any-deer (antlerless) permit lottery are now available online from the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. Online applications are due by 11:59 P.M. on August 17, 2015. Paper applications may be submitted in person or by mail no later than 5 P.M. on July 27, 2015. To apply online, visit www.mefishwildlife.com. The Department no longer mails paper applications. It is free to apply for the any-deer permit lottery. The drawing will be held on September 9, 2015 and results will be posted on the Department’s website. The department uses the any-deer permit system to manage the white-tailed deer population in the state. By controlling the harvest of female deer in the 29 regional wildlife management districts throughout the state, biologists can manage population trends. A total of 28,770 any-deer permits will be issued in 15 of the state’s 29 wildlife management districts. This is a decrease from last year when there were 37,185 permits available to hunters. The permit allocation is: 7,196 for landowners; 7,196 for juniors; 398 for Superpack holders, and 13,980 for all other hunters. This past winter was of above-average severity in some parts of the state, which may have resulted in increased winter mortality rates for our over-wintering deer. Therefore, IFW wildlife biologists have recommended decreasing the number of any-deer permits in much of the state. The 15 wildlife management districts where any-deer (antlerless) permits will be issued are 3, 6, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26 and 29. This year, permits have been allocated to districts 3, 6, 14, and 18 as biological data collected and field observations by staff suggest that these WMD’s have experienced population growth. Deer hunting season (firearms) begins with Youth Deer Hunting Day on Saturday, October 24, 2015. Youth may take a buck statewide or an antlerless deer only in the wildlife management districts where any-deer permits will be issued this fall. This year, Maine Residents Only Day is on Saturday, October 31, 2015, and regular firearms season for deer runs November 2 through November 28, 2015. For more information, visit www.mefishwildlife.com

June 30, 2015

Changes to Registered Maine Guide Testing Process

AUGUSTA, Maine – Beginning this July, individuals applying to become a Registered Maine Guide should be aware that changes have been made to the existing testing process. Currently, applicants must successfully complete both a written examination as well as an oral examination that includes map and compass, a catastrophic event scenario and a question and answer portion. The new testing process will now include a practical examination that will require a greater hands-on demonstration of skills. The Maine Guide Advisory Board pulled together a working group that has been meeting over the past two years to develop these changes. The group recently held three days of trial testing with Maine Game Wardens, Maine Marine Patrol Officers and experienced Registered Maine Guides who provided feedback to the working group after completing the trial test. The updated testing process will apply to the hunting, fishing, recreation and sea kayaking specializations.
“Changes to the guide testing process are being implemented to ensure that we continue to license only the most qualified and experienced individuals,” said Commissioner Chandler Woodcock. “Registered Maine Guides are known for their knowledge and skills in the woods and on the water and play an important role in our economy as they work to introduce others to outdoor experiences that Maine has to offer.” This is the first time since 2003 that changes have been made to the guide testing process. Guides first began being licensed in Maine in 1887, although a standardized testing process was not implemented until 1975. Today, there are approximately 5,000 licensed guides in Maine. For more information about becoming a Maine Guide visit: http://www.maine.gov/ifw/licenses_permits/guide.htm
or contact Maryann Foye at (207) 287-3614

July 9, 2015

Family Field Day Scheduled for August 1 at Swan Island WMA

AUGUSTA, Maine – The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife is hosting a family field day on Swan Island in Richmond from 9:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M. on Saturday, August 1, 2015. This event is designed to provide fun and learning for the whole family. Activities include fishing, archery, geocaching, orienteering, ATVing, trapping, firearms (both shogun and rifle), bird house building, paddling, a working dog demonstration and more! All equipment and instruction will be provided. The cost to attend is $5.00 per person or $20.00 for a family. Participants will be able to complete six 50-minute sessions on topics of their choosing with a break for lunch. This event is also a perfect opportunity to explore the island, a great place to hike, camp, and watch wildlife! Ferry rides are provided to and from Swan Island and we strongly encourage participants to arrive early. Registration is required; materials are available online at bit.ly/SwanIslandFieldDay SWAN ISLAND GENERAL INFORMATION Swan Island, known for its abundant and often quite visible wildlife, is actually an abandoned 18th and 19th century town called Perkins Township, and has long been recognized for its varied and interesting history. There are five standing homes that date back to the 1700s. The wildlife management area, about 1,755 acres in size, is located in the Kennebec River between the towns of Richmond and Dresden. The Island's public visitation season generally runs from May 15th through Labor Day (with limited access through the fall). There are ten Adirondack type shelters available for overnight use; picnic facilities for day use; modern bathroom facilities at campground; and drinking water. If you wish to visit the Swan Island Wildlife Management Area, you must make reservations for the ferry and/or campground. You may access the island, for day use, via personal canoe or kayak without a reservation; admission fees may be deposited in iron rangers. All visitor fees are as follows: day use, 5 years and under – free; 6 years and older - $ 8.00. For overnight camping, 5 years and under – free; 6 years and older - $8.00 plus $20 per site per night. Swan Island, the Steve Powell Wildlife Management Area, is owned and maintained by the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. Its operation and maintenance are supported by your fees as well as revenue from the sale of hunting and fishing licenses, and federal monies under the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Program. To learn more about Swan Island Wildlife Management Area please visit our website at www.maine.gov/swanisland or call 207-547-5322, and like us on Facebook

July 9, 2015

IFW To Host Five Public Hearings Concerning Fishing Regulation Changes

AUGUSTA, ME -- The Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife is hosting five public meetings concerning proposed fishing regulation changes for the 2016 open water and ice fishing seasons.

Each year, IFW updates the fishing law book. Regulation changes are needed in order to enhance fishing opportunities throughout the state, as well as to protect fish from overfishing. This year, there are over 150 proposed regulation changes for Maine’s 6,000 lakes and ponds and 30,000 miles of rivers and streams.

You can find a list of the proposed regulation changes at www.mefishwildlife.com. The dates, times and locations for the upcoming public hearings are as follows:

• July 14, 2015 @ 6:30 p.m. – Northeastland Hotel, Red Room 436 Main Street, Presque Isle

• July 15, 2015 @ 6:30 pm – Stearns High School, Library 199 State Street, Millinocket

• July 16, 2015 @ 6:30 pm – Ramada, Breakfast Room 215 High Street, Rt. 1 & 3, Ellsworth

• July 21, 2015 @ 6:30pm – University of Maine Farmington, Olson Student Center N. Dining Hall B, 111 South Street, Farmington

• July 23, 2015 @ 6:30pm – Brunswick High School, Multi-Purpose Room 116 Maquoit Road, Brunswick

Any proposed regulation can be discussed at any of the public hearing locations. If you cannot attend any of these public hearings but still wish to provide input, there is a public comment period that runs from now until August 3rd. You can provide written comment by emailing becky.orff@maine.gov or mailing Becky Orff at Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, 284 State Street, #41 State House Station, Augusta, ME 04333.

July 10, 2015

IFW Fishing Report For July 10, 2015

For current stocking information that is updated daily, please visit: http://www.maine.gov/ifw/fishing/reports/stocking/currentseason/currentstockingreport.pdf .

Region A – Sebago Lakes Region

Where to fish? That’s always a good question.

“With the start to the summer fishing season and interest in family fishing, we receive a growing number of inquiries on where to fish,” says IFW fisheries biologist Francis Brautigam who noted that many anglers like to fish for largemouth and smallmouth bass this time of year.

“Some of the best bass waters we have in the region are fortunate to have state boat launches to support a fun day fishing from a boat,” says Brautigam. If you are looking for a new place to try, take a look at these waters:

• Square Pond in Shapleigh and Acton offers the chance to catch some large bass. The boat launch is located of the West Shore Road.

• Mousam Lake in Shapleigh and Acton has both smallmouth and largemouth bass, but it is noted for its quality smallmouth fishery. Access is off Route 11/109.

• Sokokis Lake in Limerick is predominantly a largemouth bass fishery with some smallmouths. If you want to catch a lot of bass, this is a good choice. Access is located off Route 11.

• Little Sebago Lake in Windham has a good mix of sizes for both smallmouth and largemouth. Anglers may be surprised to catch the occasional rainbow trout as well. Access is off of roads connected to Route 302.

• Pennesseewassee Lake in Norway has good populations of largemouth and smallmouth, with smallmouth being more common. Anglers may also catch rainbow trout here while targeting bass. You can access Pennesseewassee directly off Route 118.

Region A also has some fantastic river fishing for bass. A trip on the Androscoggin offers not only a chance to catch bass, rainbows, browns and brookies, but some great mountain scenery and wildlife. One of the more popular stretches is from Gilead to West Bethel. As the water warms up, you are less likely to catch trout, but the smallmouth bass fishing picks up on the lower stretch of this reach where the water slows a bit. For convenience, there are several shuttle services and canoe/kayak rental in the area that offer pickup abnd drop-off services.

Region B – Central and Midcoast Area

Looking for a new spot try? IFW fisheries biologist Jason Seiders was just at Bowler Pond in Palermo, and was impressed with what he saw.

“We surveyed the pond a couple of weeks ago. The primary fishery is brook trout, and the fishery looks exceptional with several age classes of brook trout. The biggest trout we saw was around 18 inches and nearly three pounds,” said Seiders.

And if the brook trout aren’t biting, there’s other fish as well.

“In addition, there’s a white perch population. They’re a little sparse, but they are huge. They’re two-plus pound perch. It’s also a good place for bass fishing with lots of smallmouth,” said Seiders.

Bowler is an artificial lures only pond, and is small in size, making it “very canoeable” says Seiders.

Another pond you may want to try is Round Pond in Livermore. This pond is regularly stocked with brown trout and brookies.

“We recently surveyed it, and saw good growth on both species. If you go there, you want to fish deep, around 20 feet or so. There are good numbers of brookies there,” said Seiders, who also noted there is a chance of catching a northern pike, which seem to have made their way up to round pond from the Androscoggin.

The Kennebec is also fishing well. Try the Madison stretch from the lowest dam to the confluence with the Sandy River.

“Every angler I talked to while I was there was smiling. They are experiencing great catch rates for brown trout, and even catching some rainbows that are dropping down,” said Seiders.

Region C -- Downeast

Downeast, the weather and the waters are warming up, so now is the time to change your methods if you are fishing for trout and salmon.

“It’s a transitional time, it’s time to switch over from spring fishing tactics to summer tactics. If you’re fishing trout ponds, you’ll want to go deeper using nymphs on a sinking line. If you’re fishing for bass that are feeding on dragonflies, look for drop offs and deeper areas with lily pads,” says IFW fisheries biologist Greg Burr. On area streams, you’ll want to look for deeper pools or smaller, colder tributaries.

Anglers fishing lakes are having success using leadcore and downriggers, but some are still catching a few salmon near the surface.

More people are also out fishing as summer progresses. The fisheries division conducts aerial surveys with the Warden Service and the numbers show that use is increasing as the summer continues. These surveys provide valuable data on how much a pond is fished, and they provide important information when it comes to stocking rates and regulations.

Region D – Rangeley Lakes

In the Rangeley area, the trout fishing is slowing down as water warms and the thermoclines are setting up.

“This time of year, you either need to know where to go, or have specialized equipment,” says IFW Fisheries Biologist Bobby Van Riper. “Anglers who are successful have one of these or both.”

Trout and salmon are cruising just below the thermocline, and successful anglers are trolling just above the thermocline. Thermocline depths vary depending on the body of water, but some of today’s depth finders will pick up those layers of colder and warmer water.

If you are fly fishing, there still are some green drakes emerging in area waters, and Van Riper says the area generally gets two pulses of this hex hatch, one now, and then another pulse later in July. Dawn or dusk is the best time to hit the waters for the hex hatch.

“There’s still plenty of fish and they’ll bite, but they are hunkering down in the cooler area, looking for easy meals,” said Van Riper. “If they’re feeding, they’re expending energy, so fish are a little more cautious about feeding and they don’t want to get out of their comfort zone.”

“If you’re not familiar with the area, you may want to hire a guide,” says Van Riper.

One interesting catch recently was a brown trout in Mooselookmeguntic Lake. The wild trout catch was confirmed by IFW biologists.

“We had heard of people catching them, but never have been able to confirm one. This definitely was a brown, 100% documentation” said Van Riper. “It’s a unique situation and we may not see another until 20 years from now.”

Van Riper says there are some small pockets of wild, self-sustaining brown trout populations in the area, descendants of stocked fish from decades ago. Van Riper believes that it dropped down from Kennebago, into Cupsuptic, then into Mooselook.

Region E – Moosehead Region

While the water may be warming on Moosehead, it’s still not hot by any means, as the surface temperature on the lake earlier this week is still in the 60s.

“Water temps are certainly cooler than normal,” says IFW fisheries biologist Tim Obrey.

Anglers are catching some nice togue on Moosehead. One boat recently landed three togue, with one lake trout at 29 inches, and another was 30. Other boats have landed togue in the night.

Fly fisherman will be happy to know that hexes are still coming off area ponds a bit. With the cooler weather, flying ant hatches have just started as well. Your best bet for these are smaller ponds in the evenings.

“Not a lot of news to report on the East Outlet and the West Branch, but the flows are good, and typically this is a great time with the caddis and stoneflies,” said Obrey.

Fishing on smaller streams seems be a little bit above average for this time of year, but Obrey says to get out now, because once it gets hot and dry, things will tail off.

Region F – Penobscot Region

Over the past week, IFW fisheries biologists have been in Baxter State Park, surveying many of the trout waters there.

“We were netting on a variety of ponds, and the fishing was excellent,” said IFW fisheries biologist Nels Kramer. “Ponds like Daicey, Draper, Foss and Knowlton Pond, and Kidney Pond are all fishing well,” says Kramer.

Kramer noted that there is a good mix of different sized fish on these ponds. Most ponds have trout in the 6-14” range, but a couple of them have trout in the 18-20” range.

“The fishing is good and getting better,” says Kramer who noted that the green drake hatch is just beginning up in the park.

Area lake fishing for bass is very good, with excellent reports coming in from Spednik and East Grand, and “bass fishing on the Penobscot is as good as it gets,” said Kramer.

There are some fabulous stretches of the Penobscot if you are looking for some excellent bass fishing. Try the stretch from Passadumkeag to Green bush. Or Lincoln to Howland. Or Wynn to Lincoln. Water levels are good on the river, and fishing couldn’t be better.

Region G – Aroostook Region

If you’re fishing trout ponds up in the county, look for ones with spring holes or cool tributaries. Fish are seeking out these cooler spots as temps begin to climb.

Brook and stream fishing is picking up. Water flows have been going down and temperatures have been consistent, right around 60 degrees, making for some very good fishing.

If you are looking for a stream or brook to fish, there’s certainly no shortage of waters in Region G where they have over 7,000 miles of flowing water.

“Try almost anywhere in the North Maine Woods, or in the eastern Aroostook farmlands from now until early August. Seek out streams with groundwater influence,” says IFW Fisheries biologist Frank Frost.

The green drake hatch is winding down, but there still are a few spots where the big bugs are popping.

It’s also been a good spring and early summer on the Fish River chain of lakes.

“We are seeing good catches of salmon in waters in addition to Long Lake. Eagle, Square and St. Froid are all producing higher than average salmon,” says Frost.

And with the cool nights, it can pay off to try a few early mornings on some larger rivers in the area.

“With cool nights in the 40s, it can drop river temperatures and fish will leave those cool areas for the first few hours of the morning to feed,” said Frost.

July 14, 2015

IFW News -- Draft of State Wildlife Action Plan Available For Public Comment

For Immediate Release: July 14, 2015

AUGUSTA, Maine – The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, in conjunction with a broad spectrum of partner organizations, has created a draft state wildlife action plan that is now posted on the department’s website and open for public comment.

Maine’s 2015 Wildlife Action Plan identifies practical and voluntary opportunities to conserve Maine’s most vulnerable fish and wildlife, while emphasizing that landowner and public participation is essential for wildlife conservation. Yesterday, July 13 marked the beginning of a 30-day opportunity for Maine citizens to review the action plan and provide comment. You can view the document at www.maine.gov/ifw/wildlife/reports/MWAP2015.html.

The draft is a collaboration of IFW and 102 conservation partners -- representatives from federal, state, local, tribal, and public organizations – who over the past 18 months have identified species and habitats in the greatest need of conservation, the factors negatively impacting these species and their habitats, and potential conservation opportunities that citizens, partner organizations, and agencies could undertake to address these issues.

The partners completed their review in June, and based upon their feedback, IFW, with state agency partners prepared the first draft of the action plan, which will help guide the conservation of rare and vulnerable fish and wildlife from 2015 – 2025.

States must have an approved Wildlife Action Plan to be eligible to participate in the State Wildlife Grants (SWG) program, administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). The USFWS approved Maine’s initial Wildlife Action Plan in the summer of 2005. Since then, Maine has accomplished over 50 research, management, and conservation projects, benefitting brook trout, rare freshwater mussels, dragonflies, migrant birds such as Bicknell's Thrush and Black-throated blue Warbler, and globally rare species, such as the Tomah mayfly. Puffins, wood turtles, Atlantic sturgeon, little brown bats and bumble bees are also recognizable species that have benefitted from Maine’s Wildlife Action Plan. IFW must submit the updated action plan to the USFWS by October 2015 for Maine to remain eligible for SWG funds.

Maine’s 2015 Wildlife Action plan is not solely a plan for IFW; rather, it is a cooperative fish and wildlife conservation strategy for the entire state and all Maine’s citizens and visitors. IFW encourages the public to review the 2015 action plan. Comments and suggestions from citizens will ensure that it reflects the values and priorities of Maine’s people.

For More Information, Please Contact: Mark Latti, IFW Outreach and Communications, 287-5216, 592-1339 (cell) mark.latti@maine.gov Amanda Shearin, State Wildlife Planner, Amanda.F.Shearin@maine.gov, 287-5260

July 23, 2015

MDIFW Seeking Nominations for Annual Lifetime Outdoor Achievement Award

AUGUSTA, Maine – Hunting, fishing and trapping are an important part of the heritage of the State of Maine. The Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife would like to bring forth and recognize individuals who have been dedicated to the wide use and stewardship of our Maine resources by recognizing an annual recipient of a Lifetime Outdoor Achievement Award.

Nominees for the award should be individuals who have hunted, trapped and fished in Maine for a combined total of 40 years. For example, an individual who has fished for 20 years, trapped for 10 years and hunted for 10 years would be an ideal candidate. Candidates should have also demonstrated a form of mentoring, teaching or instructing outdoor activities.

Nominations for the 2015 Annual Lifetime Outdoor Achievement Award are now being accepted and should include the nominee’s name, address, phone number and a few paragraphs about the individual, their experience in the Maine outdoors and why they are a deserving candidate. Nominations can be sent by email to Bonnie Holding at bonnie.holding@maine.gov or by mail to 284 State St, SHS 41, Augusta, ME 04333. The deadline for nominations is Monday, August 10 by 5pm.

The recipient of the 2015 Lifetime Outdoor Achievement Award will be selected by a committee of individuals from the Department and the award will be presented in Augusta by Commissioner Chandler Woodcock at the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine Banquet on September 12.

For more information, please visit www.mefishwildlife.com

July 23, 2015

Swan Island Field Day Registration

Augusta, ME

The Swan Island Field Day Registration period has ended, and we are happy to say that the family field day event is full. Thank you for your participation.

August 7, 2015

Interest Continues To Grow in Hunting, Fishing and ATVing in Maine

AUGUSTA, Maine -- Fishing, Hunting and ATV riding are increasing in popularity in Maine, and while the exact numbers are not finalized, funds from the sale of hunting and fishing licenses, ATV registrations and the moose lottery have increased over last year by nearly three-quarters of a million dollars ($700,250). “The increased revenue shows a rising interest in fishing, hunting and ATVing,” said Governor Paul R. LePage. “Maine’s natural resources are unequalled in the east, and the rising interest in these outdoor sports shows that more people are enjoying all that Maine offers.”

With the fiscal year ending on June 30, the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife saw a marked increase in revenue in several categories.

 Hunting and fishing combination license revenue is up by 6% over last year, an increase of $222,443 over last year.

 Fishing license revenue is up by 7% over last year, generating $5,591,188 in revenue.

 ATV riding revenue continues to increase, with revenue up 6% over last year.

“Even with all the choices in today’s interconnected world, interest in Maine’s traditional outdoor pursuits continue to grow,” said IFW Commissioner Chandler Woodcock.

Overall, the department generated $22,169,289 in revenue from the sale of licenses, registrations and permits, up 3% from last years $21,469,039.

Over 90% of the annual IFW budget comes from sportsman’s dollars. The overall IFW budget is comprised of three parts: general fund, federal grant funds and other special revenue funs. General fund appropriations equaling the amount of revenue earned from license sales, registrations, fees and other items are constitutionally protected, requiring the IFW general fund appropriation in any fiscal year not be less than the revenues collected by IFW.

August 14, 2014

IFW Fishing Report For August, 14, 2015

Region A – Sebago Lakes Region

Anglers seeking brown trout are having success, you just need to fish a little deeper, somewhere between 20-30 feet seems to be ideal depth this time of year. Hancock Pond and Little Sebago are popular spots for brown trout, but don’t be afraid to try some other ponds.

Trolling live shiners is productive, but you need to troll very slow, less than a mile an hour. If you are using a DB smelt or Rapala, you can speed up a little, but keep your speed in the 2-3 mile per hour range.

Of course, if you are looking for some fast fishing action, now is one of the best times to be fishing for white perch. It’s also a great way to introduce someone to fishing, and can be fun for the whole family.

“There is some spectacular white perch fishing in area lakes such as Long Lake in Naples, Highland Lake in Bridgton, and Keoka Lake in Wateford,” says IFW fisheries biologist Frances Brautigam. “What’s fun about white perch fishing is that they move to the surface in the evening, they fight hard and they are not that finicky.”

Look for dimples or fins on the surface of the water just before and after sunset. Cast out a spinner, a Swedish pimple or even a bit of worm and your likely to have good luck.

Out on Sebago, anglers that are out there fishing early and late are doing fairly well for salmon. Anglers are catching quite a few wild 11-15 inch salmon, a result of good salmon spawning production in the Crooked River. Anglers fishing close to the surface are likely to catch the smaller ones, and those trolling deeper in the 20-35 foot range are being rewarded with some three to four pound salmon.

Region B – Central and Midcoast Area

Bass fishing in local rivers is always productive this time of year, and the Sebasticook has been producing for area anglers. Anglers should try sections of the river in the Burnham area, with a chance at some decent size bass.

“On the upper Kennebec in the Solon area, there are plenty of salmon and few larger brown trout,” says IFW fisheries biologist Wes Ashe. “Anglers are catching a mix of small and larger salmon, but some of the brown trout landed are upwards of 20 inches.”

With the shorter days and cooler night time temperatures, Ashe said that water temperatures are dropping and fish are feeding more actively. Try some of the deep runs off some of the gravel bars for your best chance at a trout or salmon.

Brown trout lovers might want to know that there are some large browns being caught in Long Pond in Belgrade according to Ashe. While browns aren’t stocked in Long, they are dropping down from Great Pond.

While a number of 3-6 pounders have been landed, even more impressive are the 8-10 pound brown trout that have been caught this summer. Succesful anglers head out early in the morning, and have been trolling leadcore line with some sort of live bait or a Mooselook wobbler.

Region C -- Downeast

Downeast, it’s a great time for bass and white perch fishing.

“Perch fishing has been really good. There’s been a lot of people out perch fishing, finding the deeper holes and getting some nice fish,” said IFW fisheries biologist Greg Burr.

Bass anglers are also having quite a bit of success, particularly in the early and later parts of the day.

“Bass fishing has been pretty good, particularly for those who love to fly fish for bass this time of year,” said Burr. “Anglers who like to fish with live bait are also finding success in the drop -off areas.”

Togue and salmon anglers are still getting some fish, but you have to go deep, with the most success found in the 35-50 foot range. Anglers are getting fish with live bait trolled really slow (less than a mile an hour) and others are having success with copper mooselooks, or flies attached to dodger.

Region D – Rangeley Lakes

“It’s typical summertime fishing up here in the Rangeley region,” says IFW fisheries biologist Dave Howatt. “You need to fish either early or late in the day.”

Howatt had spent the earlier part of the day up at Saddleback Pond, getting a sample of brook trout.

“We went up there to survey the trout population, and we found a good variation in age classes,” said Howatt, noting that they got trout anywhere from one to four years of age.

With river temps still in the summer range, river and stream fishing has slowed, but it won’t be long till it picks up.

“One big rain will trigger the spawning urge, and the fishing will pick up,” said Howatt, who said with the rain earlier this week, “rivers went from extremely low to just normal August lows.”

Howatt did add that there is some really good white perch fishing in Chesterville on Norcross and Sand Pond. If you are looking to have a white perch fry, you may want to try one of these ponds.

Region E – Moosehead Region

Moosehead Lake is still producing some big brookies, even in the summer heat, with some large trout including one that topped the scales at 6.6 pounds.

“Right now, for brook trout, landlocked salmon and togue, you want to fish in the 45-65 foot range,” said IFW fisheries biologist Tim Obrey

Those depths are based on summer netting that is done to monitor togue growth and condition.

“We are very pleased with the results we got. Last fall and winter we saw a slight decline in salmon and togue weights, but the fish are looking better this summer,” said Obrey.

This fall, Moosehead area fish biologists will be operating two fish weirs on tributaries to Moosehead to gather baseline data on wild brook trout spawning. The weirs will be set in late August and will be checked during September and early October.

Using radio tags implanted in the fish, biologists will monitor movements throughout the drainage giving biologists a better idea on how many fish and how much of these drainages trout use during their spawning season.

Money for the weirs comes in part from the Natural Resource Education Center at Moosehead who purchased additional weir parts this summer. The money from their fisheries enhancement/internship fund originates from the Moosehead Lake Togue Derby and other donations.

Region F – Penobscot Region

“Most people you are seeing out this time of year are white perch fishing,” said IFW fisheries biologist Nels Kramer.

“Some anglers are still fishing the salmon lakes, but you have to be more patient this time of year,” said Kramer. Looking for a good salmon lake for this time of year? Try East Grand, Matagammon, West Lake, or Pleasant Lake in Island Falls.

If you’re looking for a pond to trout fish, you’d be hard-pressed to do better than some of the walk-in ponds in Baxter State Park, which don’t receive a lot of fishing pressure, but hold some fantastic populations of wild brook trout.

“Anglers may want to try either the upper or lower South Branch Ponds in the northern part of the park. These are fairly large, crystal clear and cold ponds with a campground on the north end,” said Kramer. “We were in there surveying the trout and we got good numbers of trout in the 5-17” range.”

If you want to do some bass fishing, fishing on the Penobscot is still quite good, with flow levels excellent for fishing.

Region G – Aroostook Region

In the Aroostook region, IFW fisheries biologist Derrick Cote says they have been getting questions about black spots on some trout

“We have received numerous inquiries in recent weeks about "blackspots" present on the skin of brook trout. These blackspots are the intermediate stage of a parasitic worm known as a trematode. The adult form of the worms are found in the intestine of fish-eating birds such as the loon, kingfisher, duck, gull, cormorant, with the heron being the most common.”

“After reproduction, eggs are subsequently released into the water with the droppings of the host bird. The eggs soon hatch into a larval form and seek out an intermediate host snail. Further development requires the larvae to burrow into the internal tissues of a specific species of snail within a short period of time or else the larvae soon perish.”

“Within the snail, the larvae undergo two more stages of development within a month or two. Under the influence of warming water and light, the cercariae, as they are now called, break out of the snail and begin to seek a suitable fish, the second intermediate host. “

“As with the snail, if contact with an appropriate fish is not soon made, the cercariae will die. Upon contact with a fish, the parasite bores through the scales and skin and occasionally the muscle whereupon it is surrounded with a thin wall. The fish in turn lays down a black pigment around the encysted parasite thereby producing the "blackspot" visible to the angler.”

“The final stage of the life cycle occurs when a bird, the final host, eats a fish infested with blackspot. Digestive juices within the bird's stomach frees the encysted parasite from the fish's skin whereupon it migrates to the bird's intestine and develops into a sexually mature worm, completing the life cycle. “

“We are not aware of a situation in the wild where blackspot has been lethal or harmful to adult fish. Nor is it necessary to refrain from eating a fish infested with blackspot. Cooking the fish will destroy the parasite and the parasite is not known to survive in humans. So, although the presence of blackspot may detract from a trout's appearance, it is of no consequence to its edibility.

#

August 14, 2014

IFW Fishing Report For August, 14, 2015

Region A – Sebago Lakes Region

Anglers seeking brown trout are having success, you just need to fish a little deeper, somewhere between 20-30 feet seems to be ideal depth this time of year. Hancock Pond and Little Sebago are popular spots for brown trout, but don’t be afraid to try some other ponds.

Trolling live shiners is productive, but you need to troll very slow, less than a mile an hour. If you are using a DB smelt or Rapala, you can speed up a little, but keep your speed in the 2-3 mile per hour range.

Of course, if you are looking for some fast fishing action, now is one of the best times to be fishing for white perch. It’s also a great way to introduce someone to fishing, and can be fun for the whole family.

“There is some spectacular white perch fishing in area lakes such as Long Lake in Naples, Highland Lake in Bridgton, and Keoka Lake in Wateford,” says IFW fisheries biologist Frances Brautigam. “What’s fun about white perch fishing is that they move to the surface in the evening, they fight hard and they are not that finicky.”

Look for dimples or fins on the surface of the water just before and after sunset. Cast out a spinner, a Swedish pimple or even a bit of worm and your likely to have good luck.

Out on Sebago, anglers that are out there fishing early and late are doing fairly well for salmon. Anglers are catching quite a few wild 11-15 inch salmon, a result of good salmon spawning production in the Crooked River. Anglers fishing close to the surface are likely to catch the smaller ones, and those trolling deeper in the 20-35 foot range are being rewarded with some three to four pound salmon.

Region B – Central and Midcoast Area

Bass fishing in local rivers is always productive this time of year, and the Sebasticook has been producing for area anglers. Anglers should try sections of the river in the Burnham area, with a chance at some decent size bass.

“On the upper Kennebec in the Solon area, there are plenty of salmon and few larger brown trout,” says IFW fisheries biologist Wes Ashe. “Anglers are catching a mix of small and larger salmon, but some of the brown trout landed are upwards of 20 inches.”

With the shorter days and cooler night time temperatures, Ashe said that water temperatures are dropping and fish are feeding more actively. Try some of the deep runs off some of the gravel bars for your best chance at a trout or salmon.

Brown trout lovers might want to know that there are some large browns being caught in Long Pond in Belgrade according to Ashe. While browns aren’t stocked in Long, they are dropping down from Great Pond.

While a number of 3-6 pounders have been landed, even more impressive are the 8-10 pound brown trout that have been caught this summer. Succesful anglers head out early in the morning, and have been trolling leadcore line with some sort of live bait or a Mooselook wobbler.

Region C -- Downeast

Downeast, it’s a great time for bass and white perch fishing.

“Perch fishing has been really good. There’s been a lot of people out perch fishing, finding the deeper holes and getting some nice fish,” said IFW fisheries biologist Greg Burr.

Bass anglers are also having quite a bit of success, particularly in the early and later parts of the day.

“Bass fishing has been pretty good, particularly for those who love to fly fish for bass this time of year,” said Burr. “Anglers who like to fish with live bait are also finding success in the drop -off areas.”

Togue and salmon anglers are still getting some fish, but you have to go deep, with the most success found in the 35-50 foot range. Anglers are getting fish with live bait trolled really slow (less than a mile an hour) and others are having success with copper mooselooks, or flies attached to dodger.

Region D – Rangeley Lakes

“It’s typical summertime fishing up here in the Rangeley region,” says IFW fisheries biologist Dave Howatt. “You need to fish either early or late in the day.”

Howatt had spent the earlier part of the day up at Saddleback Pond, getting a sample of brook trout.

“We went up there to survey the trout population, and we found a good variation in age classes,” said Howatt, noting that they got trout anywhere from one to four years of age.

With river temps still in the summer range, river and stream fishing has slowed, but it won’t be long till it picks up.

“One big rain will trigger the spawning urge, and the fishing will pick up,” said Howatt, who said with the rain earlier this week, “rivers went from extremely low to just normal August lows.”

Howatt did add that there is some really good white perch fishing in Chesterville on Norcross and Sand Pond. If you are looking to have a white perch fry, you may want to try one of these ponds.

Region E – Moosehead Region

Moosehead Lake is still producing some big brookies, even in the summer heat, with some large trout including one that topped the scales at 6.6 pounds.

“Right now, for brook trout, landlocked salmon and togue, you want to fish in the 45-65 foot range,” said IFW fisheries biologist Tim Obrey

Those depths are based on summer netting that is done to monitor togue growth and condition.

“We are very pleased with the results we got. Last fall and winter we saw a slight decline in salmon and togue weights, but the fish are looking better this summer,” said Obrey.

This fall, Moosehead area fish biologists will be operating two fish weirs on tributaries to Moosehead to gather baseline data on wild brook trout spawning. The weirs will be set in late August and will be checked during September and early October.

Using radio tags implanted in the fish, biologists will monitor movements throughout the drainage giving biologists a better idea on how many fish and how much of these drainages trout use during their spawning season.

Money for the weirs comes in part from the Natural Resource Education Center at Moosehead who purchased additional weir parts this summer. The money from their fisheries enhancement/internship fund originates from the Moosehead Lake Togue Derby and other donations.

Region F – Penobscot Region

“Most people you are seeing out this time of year are white perch fishing,” said IFW fisheries biologist Nels Kramer.

“Some anglers are still fishing the salmon lakes, but you have to be more patient this time of year,” said Kramer. Looking for a good salmon lake for this time of year? Try East Grand, Matagammon, West Lake, or Pleasant Lake in Island Falls.

If you’re looking for a pond to trout fish, you’d be hard-pressed to do better than some of the walk-in ponds in Baxter State Park, which don’t receive a lot of fishing pressure, but hold some fantastic populations of wild brook trout.

“Anglers may want to try either the upper or lower South Branch Ponds in the northern part of the park. These are fairly large, crystal clear and cold ponds with a campground on the north end,” said Kramer. “We were in there surveying the trout and we got good numbers of trout in the 5-17” range.”

If you want to do some bass fishing, fishing on the Penobscot is still quite good, with flow levels excellent for fishing.

Region G – Aroostook Region

In the Aroostook region, IFW fisheries biologist Derrick Cote says they have been getting questions about black spots on some trout

“We have received numerous inquiries in recent weeks about "blackspots" present on the skin of brook trout. These blackspots are the intermediate stage of a parasitic worm known as a trematode. The adult form of the worms are found in the intestine of fish-eating birds such as the loon, kingfisher, duck, gull, cormorant, with the heron being the most common.”

“After reproduction, eggs are subsequently released into the water with the droppings of the host bird. The eggs soon hatch into a larval form and seek out an intermediate host snail. Further development requires the larvae to burrow into the internal tissues of a specific species of snail within a short period of time or else the larvae soon perish.”

“Within the snail, the larvae undergo two more stages of development within a month or two. Under the influence of warming water and light, the cercariae, as they are now called, break out of the snail and begin to seek a suitable fish, the second intermediate host. “

“As with the snail, if contact with an appropriate fish is not soon made, the cercariae will die. Upon contact with a fish, the parasite bores through the scales and skin and occasionally the muscle whereupon it is surrounded with a thin wall. The fish in turn lays down a black pigment around the encysted parasite thereby producing the "blackspot" visible to the angler.”

“The final stage of the life cycle occurs when a bird, the final host, eats a fish infested with blackspot. Digestive juices within the bird's stomach frees the encysted parasite from the fish's skin whereupon it migrates to the bird's intestine and develops into a sexually mature worm, completing the life cycle. “

“We are not aware of a situation in the wild where blackspot has been lethal or harmful to adult fish. Nor is it necessary to refrain from eating a fish infested with blackspot. Cooking the fish will destroy the parasite and the parasite is not known to survive in humans. So, although the presence of blackspot may detract from a trout's appearance, it is of no consequence to its edibility.

#

August 14, 2014

IFW Fishing Report For August, 14, 2015

Region A – Sebago Lakes Region

Anglers seeking brown trout are having success, you just need to fish a little deeper, somewhere between 20-30 feet seems to be ideal depth this time of year. Hancock Pond and Little Sebago are popular spots for brown trout, but don’t be afraid to try some other ponds.

Trolling live shiners is productive, but you need to troll very slow, less than a mile an hour. If you are using a DB smelt or Rapala, you can speed up a little, but keep your speed in the 2-3 mile per hour range.

Of course, if you are looking for some fast fishing action, now is one of the best times to be fishing for white perch. It’s also a great way to introduce someone to fishing, and can be fun for the whole family.

“There is some spectacular white perch fishing in area lakes such as Long Lake in Naples, Highland Lake in Bridgton, and Keoka Lake in Wateford,” says IFW fisheries biologist Frances Brautigam. “What’s fun about white perch fishing is that they move to the surface in the evening, they fight hard and they are not that finicky.”

Look for dimples or fins on the surface of the water just before and after sunset. Cast out a spinner, a Swedish pimple or even a bit of worm and your likely to have good luck.

Out on Sebago, anglers that are out there fishing early and late are doing fairly well for salmon. Anglers are catching quite a few wild 11-15 inch salmon, a result of good salmon spawning production in the Crooked River. Anglers fishing close to the surface are likely to catch the smaller ones, and those trolling deeper in the 20-35 foot range are being rewarded with some three to four pound salmon.

Region B – Central and Midcoast Area

Bass fishing in local rivers is always productive this time of year, and the Sebasticook has been producing for area anglers. Anglers should try sections of the river in the Burnham area, with a chance at some decent size bass.

“On the upper Kennebec in the Solon area, there are plenty of salmon and few larger brown trout,” says IFW fisheries biologist Wes Ashe. “Anglers are catching a mix of small and larger salmon, but some of the brown trout landed are upwards of 20 inches.”

With the shorter days and cooler night time temperatures, Ashe said that water temperatures are dropping and fish are feeding more actively. Try some of the deep runs off some of the gravel bars for your best chance at a trout or salmon.

Brown trout lovers might want to know that there are some large browns being caught in Long Pond in Belgrade according to Ashe. While browns aren’t stocked in Long, they are dropping down from Great Pond.

While a number of 3-6 pounders have been landed, even more impressive are the 8-10 pound brown trout that have been caught this summer. Succesful anglers head out early in the morning, and have been trolling leadcore line with some sort of live bait or a Mooselook wobbler.

Region C -- Downeast

Downeast, it’s a great time for bass and white perch fishing.

“Perch fishing has been really good. There’s been a lot of people out perch fishing, finding the deeper holes and getting some nice fish,” said IFW fisheries biologist Greg Burr.

Bass anglers are also having quite a bit of success, particularly in the early and later parts of the day.

“Bass fishing has been pretty good, particularly for those who love to fly fish for bass this time of year,” said Burr. “Anglers who like to fish with live bait are also finding success in the drop -off areas.”

Togue and salmon anglers are still getting some fish, but you have to go deep, with the most success found in the 35-50 foot range. Anglers are getting fish with live bait trolled really slow (less than a mile an hour) and others are having success with copper mooselooks, or flies attached to dodger.

Region D – Rangeley Lakes

“It’s typical summertime fishing up here in the Rangeley region,” says IFW fisheries biologist Dave Howatt. “You need to fish either early or late in the day.”

Howatt had spent the earlier part of the day up at Saddleback Pond, getting a sample of brook trout.

“We went up there to survey the trout population, and we found a good variation in age classes,” said Howatt, noting that they got trout anywhere from one to four years of age.

With river temps still in the summer range, river and stream fishing has slowed, but it won’t be long till it picks up.

“One big rain will trigger the spawning urge, and the fishing will pick up,” said Howatt, who said with the rain earlier this week, “rivers went from extremely low to just normal August lows.”

Howatt did add that there is some really good white perch fishing in Chesterville on Norcross and Sand Pond. If you are looking to have a white perch fry, you may want to try one of these ponds.

Region E – Moosehead Region

Moosehead Lake is still producing some big brookies, even in the summer heat, with some large trout including one that topped the scales at 6.6 pounds.

“Right now, for brook trout, landlocked salmon and togue, you want to fish in the 45-65 foot range,” said IFW fisheries biologist Tim Obrey

Those depths are based on summer netting that is done to monitor togue growth and condition.

“We are very pleased with the results we got. Last fall and winter we saw a slight decline in salmon and togue weights, but the fish are looking better this summer,” said Obrey.

This fall, Moosehead area fish biologists will be operating two fish weirs on tributaries to Moosehead to gather baseline data on wild brook trout spawning. The weirs will be set in late August and will be checked during September and early October.

Using radio tags implanted in the fish, biologists will monitor movements throughout the drainage giving biologists a better idea on how many fish and how much of these drainages trout use during their spawning season.

Money for the weirs comes in part from the Natural Resource Education Center at Moosehead who purchased additional weir parts this summer. The money from their fisheries enhancement/internship fund originates from the Moosehead Lake Togue Derby and other donations.

Region F – Penobscot Region

“Most people you are seeing out this time of year are white perch fishing,” said IFW fisheries biologist Nels Kramer.

“Some anglers are still fishing the salmon lakes, but you have to be more patient this time of year,” said Kramer. Looking for a good salmon lake for this time of year? Try East Grand, Matagammon, West Lake, or Pleasant Lake in Island Falls.

If you’re looking for a pond to trout fish, you’d be hard-pressed to do better than some of the walk-in ponds in Baxter State Park, which don’t receive a lot of fishing pressure, but hold some fantastic populations of wild brook trout.

“Anglers may want to try either the upper or lower South Branch Ponds in the northern part of the park. These are fairly large, crystal clear and cold ponds with a campground on the north end,” said Kramer. “We were in there surveying the trout and we got good numbers of trout in the 5-17” range.”

If you want to do some bass fishing, fishing on the Penobscot is still quite good, with flow levels excellent for fishing.

Region G – Aroostook Region

In the Aroostook region, IFW fisheries biologist Derrick Cote says they have been getting questions about black spots on some trout

“We have received numerous inquiries in recent weeks about "blackspots" present on the skin of brook trout. These blackspots are the intermediate stage of a parasitic worm known as a trematode. The adult form of the worms are found in the intestine of fish-eating birds such as the loon, kingfisher, duck, gull, cormorant, with the heron being the most common.”

“After reproduction, eggs are subsequently released into the water with the droppings of the host bird. The eggs soon hatch into a larval form and seek out an intermediate host snail. Further development requires the larvae to burrow into the internal tissues of a specific species of snail within a short period of time or else the larvae soon perish.”

“Within the snail, the larvae undergo two more stages of development within a month or two. Under the influence of warming water and light, the cercariae, as they are now called, break out of the snail and begin to seek a suitable fish, the second intermediate host. “

“As with the snail, if contact with an appropriate fish is not soon made, the cercariae will die. Upon contact with a fish, the parasite bores through the scales and skin and occasionally the muscle whereupon it is surrounded with a thin wall. The fish in turn lays down a black pigment around the encysted parasite thereby producing the "blackspot" visible to the angler.”

“The final stage of the life cycle occurs when a bird, the final host, eats a fish infested with blackspot. Digestive juices within the bird's stomach frees the encysted parasite from the fish's skin whereupon it migrates to the bird's intestine and develops into a sexually mature worm, completing the life cycle. “

“We are not aware of a situation in the wild where blackspot has been lethal or harmful to adult fish. Nor is it necessary to refrain from eating a fish infested with blackspot. Cooking the fish will destroy the parasite and the parasite is not known to survive in humans. So, although the presence of blackspot may detract from a trout's appearance, it is of no consequence to its edibility.

#

August 14, 2015

IFW Fishing Report For August, 14, 2015

Region A – Sebago Lakes Region

Anglers seeking brown trout are having success, you just need to fish a little deeper, somewhere between 20-30 feet seems to be ideal depth this time of year. Hancock Pond and Little Sebago are popular spots for brown trout, but don’t be afraid to try some other ponds.

Trolling live shiners is productive, but you need to troll very slow, less than a mile an hour. If you are using a DB smelt or Rapala, you can speed up a little, but keep your speed in the 2-3 mile per hour range.

Of course, if you are looking for some fast fishing action, now is one of the best times to be fishing for white perch. It’s also a great way to introduce someone to fishing, and can be fun for the whole family.

“There is some spectacular white perch fishing in area lakes such as Long Lake in Naples, Highland Lake in Bridgton, and Keoka Lake in Wateford,” says IFW fisheries biologist Frances Brautigam. “What’s fun about white perch fishing is that they move to the surface in the evening, they fight hard and they are not that finicky.”

Look for dimples or fins on the surface of the water just before and after sunset. Cast out a spinner, a Swedish pimple or even a bit of worm and your likely to have good luck.

Out on Sebago, anglers that are out there fishing early and late are doing fairly well for salmon. Anglers are catching quite a few wild 11-15 inch salmon, a result of good salmon spawning production in the Crooked River. Anglers fishing close to the surface are likely to catch the smaller ones, and those trolling deeper in the 20-35 foot range are being rewarded with some three to four pound salmon.

Region B – Central and Midcoast Area

Bass fishing in local rivers is always productive this time of year, and the Sebasticook has been producing for area anglers. Anglers should try sections of the river in the Burnham area, with a chance at some decent size bass.

“On the upper Kennebec in the Solon area, there are plenty of salmon and few larger brown trout,” says IFW fisheries biologist Wes Ashe. “Anglers are catching a mix of small and larger salmon, but some of the brown trout landed are upwards of 20 inches.”

With the shorter days and cooler night time temperatures, Ashe said that water temperatures are dropping and fish are feeding more actively. Try some of the deep runs off some of the gravel bars for your best chance at a trout or salmon.

Brown trout lovers might want to know that there are some large browns being caught in Long Pond in Belgrade according to Ashe. While browns aren’t stocked in Long, they are dropping down from Great Pond.

While a number of 3-6 pounders have been landed, even more impressive are the 8-10 pound brown trout that have been caught this summer. Succesful anglers head out early in the morning, and have been trolling leadcore line with some sort of live bait or a Mooselook wobbler.

Region C -- Downeast

Downeast, it’s a great time for bass and white perch fishing.

“Perch fishing has been really good. There’s been a lot of people out perch fishing, finding the deeper holes and getting some nice fish,” said IFW fisheries biologist Greg Burr.

Bass anglers are also having quite a bit of success, particularly in the early and later parts of the day.

“Bass fishing has been pretty good, particularly for those who love to fly fish for bass this time of year,” said Burr. “Anglers who like to fish with live bait are also finding success in the drop -off areas.”

Togue and salmon anglers are still getting some fish, but you have to go deep, with the most success found in the 35-50 foot range. Anglers are getting fish with live bait trolled really slow (less than a mile an hour) and others are having success with copper mooselooks, or flies attached to dodger.

Region D – Rangeley Lakes

“It’s typical summertime fishing up here in the Rangeley region,” says IFW fisheries biologist Dave Howatt. “You need to fish either early or late in the day.”

Howatt had spent the earlier part of the day up at Saddleback Pond, getting a sample of brook trout.

“We went up there to survey the trout population, and we found a good variation in age classes,” said Howatt, noting that they got trout anywhere from one to four years of age.

With river temps still in the summer range, river and stream fishing has slowed, but it won’t be long till it picks up.

“One big rain will trigger the spawning urge, and the fishing will pick up,” said Howatt, who said with the rain earlier this week, “rivers went from extremely low to just normal August lows.”

Howatt did add that there is some really good white perch fishing in Chesterville on Norcross and Sand Pond. If you are looking to have a white perch fry, you may want to try one of these ponds.

Region E – Moosehead Region

Moosehead Lake is still producing some big brookies, even in the summer heat, with some large trout including one that topped the scales at 6.6 pounds.

“Right now, for brook trout, landlocked salmon and togue, you want to fish in the 45-65 foot range,” said IFW fisheries biologist Tim Obrey

Those depths are based on summer netting that is done to monitor togue growth and condition.

“We are very pleased with the results we got. Last fall and winter we saw a slight decline in salmon and togue weights, but the fish are looking better this summer,” said Obrey.

This fall, Moosehead area fish biologists will be operating two fish weirs on tributaries to Moosehead to gather baseline data on wild brook trout spawning. The weirs will be set in late August and will be checked during September and early October.

Using radio tags implanted in the fish, biologists will monitor movements throughout the drainage giving biologists a better idea on how many fish and how much of these drainages trout use during their spawning season.

Money for the weirs comes in part from the Natural Resource Education Center at Moosehead who purchased additional weir parts this summer. The money from their fisheries enhancement/internship fund originates from the Moosehead Lake Togue Derby and other donations.

Region F – Penobscot Region

“Most people you are seeing out this time of year are white perch fishing,” said IFW fisheries biologist Nels Kramer.

“Some anglers are still fishing the salmon lakes, but you have to be more patient this time of year,” said Kramer. Looking for a good salmon lake for this time of year? Try East Grand, Matagammon, West Lake, or Pleasant Lake in Island Falls.

If you’re looking for a pond to trout fish, you’d be hard-pressed to do better than some of the walk-in ponds in Baxter State Park, which don’t receive a lot of fishing pressure, but hold some fantastic populations of wild brook trout.

“Anglers may want to try either the upper or lower South Branch Ponds in the northern part of the park. These are fairly large, crystal clear and cold ponds with a campground on the north end,” said Kramer. “We were in there surveying the trout and we got good numbers of trout in the 5-17” range.”

If you want to do some bass fishing, fishing on the Penobscot is still quite good, with flow levels excellent for fishing.

Region G – Aroostook Region

In the Aroostook region, IFW fisheries biologist Derrick Cote says they have been getting questions about black spots on some trout

“We have received numerous inquiries in recent weeks about "blackspots" present on the skin of brook trout. These blackspots are the intermediate stage of a parasitic worm known as a trematode. The adult form of the worms are found in the intestine of fish-eating birds such as the loon, kingfisher, duck, gull, cormorant, with the heron being the most common.”

“After reproduction, eggs are subsequently released into the water with the droppings of the host bird. The eggs soon hatch into a larval form and seek out an intermediate host snail. Further development requires the larvae to burrow into the internal tissues of a specific species of snail within a short period of time or else the larvae soon perish.”

“Within the snail, the larvae undergo two more stages of development within a month or two. Under the influence of warming water and light, the cercariae, as they are now called, break out of the snail and begin to seek a suitable fish, the second intermediate host. “

“As with the snail, if contact with an appropriate fish is not soon made, the cercariae will die. Upon contact with a fish, the parasite bores through the scales and skin and occasionally the muscle whereupon it is surrounded with a thin wall. The fish in turn lays down a black pigment around the encysted parasite thereby producing the "blackspot" visible to the angler.”

“The final stage of the life cycle occurs when a bird, the final host, eats a fish infested with blackspot. Digestive juices within the bird's stomach frees the encysted parasite from the fish's skin whereupon it migrates to the bird's intestine and develops into a sexually mature worm, completing the life cycle. “

“We are not aware of a situation in the wild where blackspot has been lethal or harmful to adult fish. Nor is it necessary to refrain from eating a fish infested with blackspot. Cooking the fish will destroy the parasite and the parasite is not known to survive in humans. So, although the presence of blackspot may detract from a trout's appearance, it is of no consequence to its edibility.

#

August 17, 2015

Maine 2015-2016 Hunting Regulations Now Available

AUGUSTA, Maine- The 2015-2016 Hunting and Trapping Law Book is now available from licensing agents throughout Maine. Bowhunters should be aware that the dates for the expanded archery season were printed incorrectly on page 19 of the law book. The correct dates for the expanded archery season are September 12, 2015-December 12, 2015. The correct season dates are reflected in the online version of the law book, which can be viewed at http://www.eregulations.com/maine/hunting/

October 2, 2015

IFW Hunting Report For October 2

IFW Hunting Report for October 2, 2015

Southern Lakes Region – Region A

October marks the beginning of pheasant season in southern Maine, and IFW biologists and local rod and gun clubs were out earlier in the week, releasing birds at a variety of sites.

“We released 770 birds at 24 different sites,” said IFW wildlife biologist Scott Lindsay. “We had 40 volunteers from different fish and game clubs who helped us release the birds.”

Over the course of the season, the department will release 2,300 birds on three different release dates. The next pheasant release date is October 11, and then the final release date will be October 18.

Funding for the program comes directly from the pheasant stamp, which costs $17. Birds are released on public land, or on private land where the landowners have provided access to pheasant hunters. For more information on the program, please visit: http://www.maine.gov/ifw/hunting_trapping/hunting/pheasant.htm

The fall season for wild turkeys also begins this week. Lindsay says that he is still seeing turkeys throughout the region, but not as many as years past due to some harsh winters and increased turkey hunting opportunities. Lindsay suggests changing your tactics when hunting this bird in the fall.

“Birds are not in the fields as much since the males aren’t displaying,” said Lindsay. “You should try more in the woods. Look for oak stands where there is some good hard mast. It’s been a good acorn year.”

Lindsay did add that this fall, he had close to 20 requests for bear baiting sites on wildlife management areas in southern Maine. He said that several of those hunters were successful in getting a bear, and that many of them got a lot of activity from bears that were confirmed with game cam pictures.

Central and Midcoast Maine – Region B

Waterfowl season is heating up in central and coastal Maine.

“We are seeing a lot of the big ducks, blacks and mallards, on Sebasticook Lake,” said IFW Wildlife Biologist Keel Kemper. “They haven’t drawn down the water yet, but once they do, the teal will start to show up as well.”

Kemper added that teal hadn’t really showed up at Merrymeeting Bay either. “Things seem to be a little behind this year.”

If you are a wood duck hunter, this might be one of the better years in a while.

“It could be an exceptional year for wood ducks due to the huge acorn crop. Everywhere I have gone, it has been quite substantial,” said Kemper. Kemper said a trip down the Sebasticook River would be worthwhile for woodies. “They are pretty evenly distributed up and down the river.”

Green Point in Dresden is another good choice for waterfowl hunting. The gate is open down to the point and it offers excellent access to Merrymeeting Bay.

If you are a goose hunter, things are looking good as well. Unity Pond has hundreds of geese that are roosting on the pond, then heading out at first light to feed in the fields around the area.

If you are looking to go duck hunting, don’t forget your federal duck stamp. They are available at your local post office. Some hunters have had to go to multiple post offices to get theirs, so plan ahead. You can also get them online from the US Postal Service.

And the early word is that that the grouse study at Frye Mountain Wildlife Management Area had good grouse numbers which should translate to a good season.

Downeast Region – Region C

After two harsh winters Downeast, upland bird numbers are rebounding.

“Two years ago, our December ice storm was pretty harmful to grouse and turkeys, and then we had a prolonged winter last year,” said IFW wildlife biologist Tom Schaeffer. “But from what I have seen, this year could be slightly above average, or average in most areas downeast.”

Schaeffer points out that even though spring was delayed in arriving, it wasn’t a prolonged cold and wet spring, meaning that there was fair to good conditions for broods of grouse and turkeys. “We’ve received some favorable reports and observations of pretty good recruitment.”

If you are looking to turkey hunt downeast,, WMDs 16 and 28 have a two bird bag limit, while WMD 19 has a one bird bag limit. There is no fall turkey hunting in WMD 27.

Rangeley Lakes and Western Mountains Region – Region D

Now is a great time to go waterfowl hunting in the western foothills and western mountain areas of the state.

“Any of our wildlife management areas such as Stump Pond in Strong, Fahi Pond in Embden, Chesterville WMA in Chesterville, Mercer Bog in Mercer and Black Brook Flowage in Carrying Place Township all are good bets for waterfowl hunting,” said IFW wildlife biologist Chuck Hulsey.

Fall turkey hunters aren’t likely to as many turkeys as they’ve seen in years past. “There are fewer turkeys out there with the harsh winters we’ve had the past two winters,” said Hulsey.

With a relatively good spring from nesting, upland bird hunters in the area should see an average to an above average year for birds.

Moosehead Region – Region E

While much of Maine was dry this spring, it was a little different in parts of northern Maine.

“I was a little concerned about grouse numbers after all the water we had up here in the nesting season,” said IFW wildlife biologist Doug Kane, who added that once the foliage drops, hunters should start seeing birds.

With the start of the regular archery season for deer, Kane is glad to hear favorable reports on deer in the area.

“Deer numbers are showing up really well. There’s been a lot of sightings and we are seeing a slow upward growth in the population after the two very difficult winters we had in 08 and 09,” said Kane.

Bear hunters in the Moosehead region are doing well, but with all the natural foods in woods, it was more difficult to get a bear using bait.

“For some hunters, it was about average, but for other hunters, it was a little more difficult,” said Kane. “The good news is that bears will be out longer this year and denning later. Deer hunters will likely get a chance at a bear.”

The moose hunt started slow in the northern part of the region with temperatures in the mid-70s on Monday, but with the rain and cooler weather, hunters were seeing more moose by mid-week.

Penobscot Region – Region F

By mid-week, area moose tagging stations were busy. Island Falls had registered nine moose, Mount Chase registered 11 and Springfield had 10 registered. Abol Bridge was the busiest as usual, registering 27 moose through early Thursday.

With the early part of bear season over, numbers look similar to last year.

“They tagged 60 bear up to Mount Chase,” said IFW Wildlife biologist Allen Starr, “Milo has also tagged a similar number. While the beginning of the bait season was a little slower than normal, it picked up later in the season.”

Bird hunters were out the first day of the season, and even though it was windy, they were finding success. Many moose hunters were on the prowl for birds as well. Foliage is still thick throughout the region.

If you are looking to turkey hunt in the area, you will want to hunt the southern part of the region. “I’ve noticed some good flocks of turkeys in the Bradford, Lagrange and Charleston areas,” said Starr.

If you are looking to go grouse hunting, the Bud Leavitt Wildlife Management Area is an excellent choice. IFW biologists have been working to free apple trees that are overly grown in, and have been cutting different areas of the forested landscape in both strip and block cuts for grouse and woodcock. The staggered cuts provide excellent habitat in different stages of growth for both game birds. Page Farm on the Mattawamkeag River Wildlife Management Area is another good choice to hunt.

Aroostook Region – Region G

At 7:00 a.m. on Thursday, it was 43 degrees in parts of Aroostook County, a marked contrast to the mid-70s that were prevalent for moose hunters earlier in the week.

Even with the warm weather, there were steady numbers of moose being registered, including several over 1,000 pounds.

Thursday also marked the beginning what should be a good grouse season up north.

“It should be a better than average year,” said IFW wildlife biologist Rich Hoppe. This is based primarily on drumming counts and brood counts done earlier in the year. “It may be spotty in some areas, but overall what we saw was that brood numbers were better than average.”

“It’s also looking good for duck season up here. We’ve seen good production with a high number of broods and there’s a lot of food available. What we’ve seen in the past is that if the food is here, the ducks will stay put,” said Hoppe. “The recent rain has spread the ducks out, but once things dry out a bit, the duck hunting will pick up.

October 21, 2015

IFW News -- Youth Deer Day is Saturday, October 24

AUGUSTA, Maine – This Saturday, youth deer hunters across the state get their own day to hunt deer.

“Youth day is a wonderful way to introduce a young hunter to Maine’s deer hunting heritage,” said Chandler Woodcock, Commissioner, Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. “Hunting is an ideal tool to teach children about conservation, responsibility, patience and respect for our natural resources.”

Youth hunters who possess a junior hunting license and are 10 or older and younger than 16 (either resident or non-resident) can hunt deer on this day if they are under the direct supervision of a parent, guardian or a qualified adult. Any person who accompanies a junior hunter other than that parent or guardian must either possess a valid hunting license or have successfully completed a hunter safety course. A qualified adult is a person at least 18 years of age approved by that youth hunter’s parent or guardian, and this person must hold a valid Maine hunting license or have successfully completed a hunter safety course. The accompanying adult cannot possess a firearm.

The junior hunter on this day can take one deer of either sex only in those Wildlife Management Districts where Any Deer permits were issued. In WMDs where there are no Any Deer permits issued, hunters may only take an antlered deer. All laws pertaining to hunting during the open firearms season on deer apply on the youth deer day.

Hunters can also transfer their Any Deer permits or Bonus Deer Permit to a junior hunter, or any other hunter. Certain restrictions apply, including that a resident permit may only be transferred to another resident, and a nonresident permit may only be transferred to another nonresident. This transfer can be done online until 11:59 p.m. October 30, 2015.

For more information on how to swap or transfer your permit, please visit http://www.maine.gov/ifw/licenses_permits/lotteries/anydeer/#swap

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October 29, 2015

Deer Season Starts Saturday For Residents, Monday For Nonresidents

AUGUSTA, Maine – Maine’s firearm deer season begins this Saturday. Even with last year’s long winter, Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife biologists are expecting that the 2015 deer will be a successful one for many hunters. The tradition of deer hunting in Maine continues to increase in popularity. Resident hunting license sales have increased each year since 2005 and non-resident licenses sales have also increased each of the past three years.

Last year, there were 224,039 licensed hunters in the state, and it is estimated that more than 160,000 hunt deer in Maine. Hunting is how the Department manages the deer population, and according to a recent economic survey by Southwick Associates, hunting in Maine contributes more than $338 million ($338,730,639) annually to Maine’s economy. Deer hunting alone contributes more than $100 million ($101,419,052). The full study can be found here at http://www.maine.gov/ifw/pdfs/MEHuntEconomics%20Final%20Report%2010-06-2014.pdf.

“While last year’s winter certainly stretched into spring, December and much of January was relatively snow-free, which lessened winter’s impact on Maine’s deer herd,” said IFW’s deer biologist Kyle Ravana. The lack of snow early in the winter allowed deer to feed and conserve energy, lessening some of the effects of the long winter.

White-tailed deer in Maine are near the northern edge of their population range, and winter can impact deer survival. Maine’s deer population has rebounded from the severe winters of 2008 and 2009, which now stands at approximately 210,000, up from approximately 146,000 after the 2009 winter. Deer are more abundant in southern, central and coastal Maine than in northern, western and downeast Maine.

Maine’s wildlife biologists monitor winter severity throughout the state from December through April to determine the impact that winter weather has on deer survival. The 2014-15 deer season was above average in its severity throughout nearly the entire state. In order to offset the effects of the winter, IFW biologists opted to act conservatively and decreased the amount of Any-Deer permits available to hunters this year.

IFW closely regulates the harvest of does, which is how biologists can increase or decrease deer numbers within our Wildlife Management Districts. This year, 28,770 Any-Deer permits were issued, compared to 37,185 last year. The reduction in Any-Deer permits will result in more breeding female deer remaining in the population, allowing the population to rebound more quickly.

Each year Maine’s biologists examine thousands of deer for disease, analyze deer teeth to determine age structure of the harvest, monitor antler beam diameters and weights, from yearling bucks, conduct hunter surveys to determine hunter effort and deer sighting rates, and even examine road-killed deer to look at productivity and breeding success.

Together the information gives department biologists a clearer picture of the health and size of Maine’s deer population. For example, antler beam diameter can determine the nutritional status of the animals, and where the population is in relation to the habitat’s ability to sustain it.

“Generally what we see is that the deer look to be healthy,” said Ravana. “Our average yearling weight in Maine is over 119 pounds, and that is above average when compared to other New England states.”

Last year, hunters harvested 22,490 deer. 15,986 of those deer were bucks, and 6,504 were antlerless deer. Maine’s firearm season for deer continues to be the most popular, with 18,510 deer harvested by hunters in 2014. Maine’s archery season accounted for 2,086 deer, muzzleloaders took 1,064 deer, and on youth day, 810 young hunters were successful.

Maine’s deer season is divided into several different seasons. The firearms season for deer opens on Saturday, October 31 for residents and Monday, November 2 for nonresidents. The firearm season for deer concludes on November 28. Muzzleloading season begins on November 30 and runs for one week in northern and eastern Maine and for two weeks in southern and central Maine. The regular archery season extends from October 1-October 30, with an expanded archery season open in select areas from September 12 to December 12. For more information on deer season and all hunting regulations, please visit www.mefishwildlife.com.

November 6, 2015

IFW Hunting Report for November 6, 2015

IFW Hunting Report for November 6, 2015

Southern Lakes Region – Region A

Despite some warmer weather, deer season is off to a strong start in southern Maine, where registration numbers at area tagging stations are strong.

“Right now, we have a higher proportion of younger deer, and starting next week, we will start to see more mature bucks,” said IFW Wildlife Biologist Scott Lindsay.

Lindsay said that there were a good number of deer registered at all area registration stations including one large buck in the Fryeburg area. Game Warden Sergeant Kris Barbosa confirmed that a 16 point, 243 pound buck was shot in Fryeburg opening day.

Pheasant hunters are still getting birds in York and Cumberland counties. While all birds have been released, hunters are still finding success at area release sites (you can find a list of area release sites here: http://www.maine.gov/ifw/hunting_trapping/hunting/pheasant.htm).

“We have received a lot of positive feedback this year about the pheasant program. People are still pheasant hunting, and the coverts in these areas are still holding birds,” said Lindsay.

Lindsay did day that there were some successful bear hunters on two wildlife management areas in southern Maine, the Vernon Walker WMA in Newfield and the Steep Falls WMA in Standish.

Central and Midcoast Maine – Region B

With all signs pointing to an exceptional natural food year, biologists are seeing this reflected in deer size and weights in the central part of the state.

“We are seeing some extraordinarily strong yearling buck numbers, and the quality is really high,” says IFW wildlife biologist Keel Kemper. Weights for yearling bucks are in the 125-130 range with 6-8 point racks. Most years, these bucks average around 110 pounds according to Kemper.

Kemper also got word (and a picture!) of a fully velveted buck in Albion. This 200 pound buck never shed its velvet, which is a sign of low testosterone. This genetic condition is known as cryptorchidism. Kemper also noted that one hunter bagged a deer whose face was full of porcupine quills.

“Deer numbers in Region B have rebounded strongly, the yearling buck quality is very good, and hunters are seeing good numbers of deer as well,” said Kemper.

Downeast Region – Region C

Last year, there was snow on the ground, and this year, temperatures are in the 60s. It’s been a little different deer hunting Downeast this fall.

“Hunters are out and about. Hunter effort seems to be consistent with the last few years, but the harvest is a little behind what it was last year,” said IFW Wildlife Biologist Tom Schaeffer.

Downeast Maine saw record amounts of snow last year, and its effects are being seen.

“It’s been warm, and last year we had snow. I am encouraged with the number of deer we have seen, but a lot of tagging stations are behind where they were last year,” said Schaeffer. “We have had a good representation of yearling bucks, which is a good sign.”

Moose season is over in much of the region, although there are some cow permits issued in Wildlife Management District 19. “Hunters are finding cows,” said Schaeffer.

Bird hunters are still finding success, as leaves are now off the trees. However, there still is some striking foliage to behold.

“The blueberry fields Downeast are just flaming red. It may be just a little past peak, but it still is dramatic,” said Schaeffer.

Rangeley Lakes and Western Mountains Region – Region D

Up north in the Rangeley area, deer season has started sluggish.

“I’ve visited stations in Eustis, Dixfield, Bethel, Roxbury and Andover, and it has been slow,” said IFW wildlife biologist Chuck Hulsey. “Weather has had an effect on hunters.”

While warmer weather doesn’t impact deer as much as it does moose, it can have an effect on hunter effort, as many hunters scramble to get outside chores done before weather gets colder. The good news is that once it gets cooler, these numbers should pick up.

“A lot of people in the region have been saying they have seen a lot of deer this summer, many of them have said they’ve seen more than they expected,” said Hulsey.

Moosehead Region – Region E

Hunters in the Moosehead area have had a strong start to the season, particularly in the southern part of the region.

“Youth day was a big hit, with a lot of young hunters successful, and opening day was better than expected with good numbers of deer at area tagging stations,” said IFW wildlife biologist Doug Kane, who said that the Sangerville tagging station registered 20 deer.

Further north, it’s been slower, but that changes as the weather changes.

“In the north, there isn’t much hunter effort until the third week of the season. Once it gets cold, hunters are going to do real well,” said Kane.

Deer hunters in the area may also get an opportunity to take a bear this deer season. The warmer weather and abundant natural foods means bears are still feasting.

“Bears are still out, eating beech nuts and other mast. This could be a good season for deer hunters to get a shot at a bear,” said Kane.

While the frosty mornings have not been that frequent, leaves are off the hardwoods, and grouse are showing up much more than they were just three weeks ago.

Penobscot Region – Region F

Deer hunters in the southern part of the region have had success, but it has been a little slower as you head north.

“We haven’t had a lot of hunters out yet,” said IFW wildlife biologist Allen Starr, “But it is still early.”

Starr has received some reports of some big deer, including a 230 pound ten pointer up in Millinocket.

Deer in the area are in great shape added IFW wildlife biologist Mark Caron, who added that he got reports of a couple in the 250-pound class.

“Some of the tagging stations are slow, but they deer they are getting are in great shape. We are getting a lot of good reports,” said Caron.

Duck hunters are still finding birds as well, with hunters who put in the time being rewarded with some good hunting.

Aroostook Region – Region G

“It’s been an unusual start to the season as we are in the 60s today,” said IFW wildlife biologist Rich Hoppe. “I strongly believe there’s more deer on the landscape than the last three or four falls, but they aren’t showing up at the tagging stations yet.”

With the warm weather, and the abundance of food, hunters may not see deer concentrated in areas where they may normally see deer.

“There is so much natural food out on the landscape, you aren’t going to see deer bottlenecked into an area where there is food,” said Hoppe. “They don’t have to be out and about where they are showing themselves since there is food everywhere.” Hoppe added most deer are content to feed and stay in area, not expending any energy.

Grouse hunting is still going strong, albeit a bit spotty. Talk to ten people and five will say it’s great and the other five will say its poor. Some areas contain high concentrations of birds, others not as many. Don’t give up if your first covert is holding birds, they are around, just not as spread out as past years..

Warmer temperatures and plenty of food means that other species are still around. Ducks and geese are still plentiful and feeding in the area and with all the fall foods, bears are still out foraging before they den up for the winter.

IFW News -- Preliminary Moose Hunt Numbers Are Up For 2015

December 8, 2015

AUGUSTA, Maine -- With the preliminary numbers in, it looks as though moose hunters were more successful in 2015 than in 2014, and Maine’s moose population looks healthy.

“We had a number of moose that weighed in excess of 1,000 pounds,” said Kantar. “The moose we examined looked very healthy, with good percentage of body fat stored for the winter.”

Approximately 2,200 hunters harvested a moose in 2015, an 80% success rate for the 2,740 permits issued. This is up from 2014, when 2,022 of 3,095 hunters were successful for a 65% success rate. With approximately 12% fewer permits issued in 2015 than 2014, approximately 180 more moose hunters were successful in 2015.

“The numbers are still preliminary, but it looks as though better hunting weather, later seasons and fewer permits all contributed to a higher success rate for moose hunters,” said Lee Kantar, moose biologist for the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

Maine’s moose hunt is designed to manage the moose population. By modifying the number and type of moose permits available to hunters, the department can manage the moose population in order to provide for hunting and viewing opportunities, maintain a healthy moose population, and limit the number of moose/vehicle accidents.

The moose hunt also provides thousands of pounds of wild game meat that is high in nutrition, sustainable, free range, and organic. On average, an 850-pound field dressed moose will provide over 450 pounds of meat.

“Hunting in Maine is a tradition,” said IFW wildlife division director Judy Camuso, “Not only does it help us manage healthy wildlife populations, but it also provides organic, free-range protein to thousands of families in Maine and beyond.”

The preliminary harvest results are calculated through biological data collected at moose registration stations during the September, October and November moose hunt seasons.

“Each year at moose registration stations, we examine over 90 percent of the moose that are harvested. By comparing the data to years past, we can get a fairly accurate estimate of how many hunters were successful,” said Kantar, who added that a final harvest number on the moose hunt would be completed by the end of January.

Moose hunting in Maine continues to be extremely popular, with over 52,374 hunters applying to the moose lottery for a chance to hunt moose. -30-

IFW News -- Preliminary Moose Hunt Numbers Are Up For 2015

December 8, 2015

AUGUSTA, Maine -- With the preliminary numbers in, it looks as though moose hunters were more successful in 2015 than in 2014, and Maine’s moose population looks healthy.

“We had a number of moose that weighed in excess of 1,000 pounds,” said Kantar. “The moose we examined looked very healthy, with good percentage of body fat stored for the winter.”

Approximately 2,200 hunters harvested a moose in 2015, an 80% success rate for the 2,740 permits issued. This is up from 2014, when 2,022 of 3,095 hunters were successful for a 65% success rate. With approximately 12% fewer permits issued in 2015 than 2014, approximately 180 more moose hunters were successful in 2015.

“The numbers are still preliminary, but it looks as though better hunting weather, later seasons and fewer permits all contributed to a higher success rate for moose hunters,” said Lee Kantar, moose biologist for the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

Maine’s moose hunt is designed to manage the moose population. By modifying the number and type of moose permits available to hunters, the department can manage the moose population in order to provide for hunting and viewing opportunities, maintain a healthy moose population, and limit the number of moose/vehicle accidents.

The moose hunt also provides thousands of pounds of wild game meat that is high in nutrition, sustainable, free range, and organic. On average, an 850-pound field dressed moose will provide over 450 pounds of meat.

“Hunting in Maine is a tradition,” said IFW wildlife division director Judy Camuso, “Not only does it help us manage healthy wildlife populations, but it also provides organic, free-range protein to thousands of families in Maine and beyond.”

The preliminary harvest results are calculated through biological data collected at moose registration stations during the September, October and November moose hunt seasons.

“Each year at moose registration stations, we examine over 90 percent of the moose that are harvested. By comparing the data to years past, we can get a fairly accurate estimate of how many hunters were successful,” said Kantar, who added that a final harvest number on the moose hunt would be completed by the end of January.

Moose hunting in Maine continues to be extremely popular, with over 52,374 hunters applying to the moose lottery for a chance to hunt moose. -30-

IFW News -- Preliminary Moose Hunt Numbers Are Up For 2015

December 8, 2015

AUGUSTA, Maine -- With the preliminary numbers in, it looks as though moose hunters were more successful in 2015 than in 2014, and Maine’s moose population looks healthy.

“We had a number of moose that weighed in excess of 1,000 pounds,” said Kantar. “The moose we examined looked very healthy, with good percentage of body fat stored for the winter.”

Approximately 2,200 hunters harvested a moose in 2015, an 80% success rate for the 2,740 permits issued. This is up from 2014, when 2,022 of 3,095 hunters were successful for a 65% success rate. With approximately 12% fewer permits issued in 2015 than 2014, approximately 180 more moose hunters were successful in 2015.

“The numbers are still preliminary, but it looks as though better hunting weather, later seasons and fewer permits all contributed to a higher success rate for moose hunters,” said Lee Kantar, moose biologist for the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

Maine’s moose hunt is designed to manage the moose population. By modifying the number and type of moose permits available to hunters, the department can manage the moose population in order to provide for hunting and viewing opportunities, maintain a healthy moose population, and limit the number of moose/vehicle accidents.

The moose hunt also provides thousands of pounds of wild game meat that is high in nutrition, sustainable, free range, and organic. On average, an 850-pound field dressed moose will provide over 450 pounds of meat.

“Hunting in Maine is a tradition,” said IFW wildlife division director Judy Camuso, “Not only does it help us manage healthy wildlife populations, but it also provides organic, free-range protein to thousands of families in Maine and beyond.”

The preliminary harvest results are calculated through biological data collected at moose registration stations during the September, October and November moose hunt seasons.

“Each year at moose registration stations, we examine over 90 percent of the moose that are harvested. By comparing the data to years past, we can get a fairly accurate estimate of how many hunters were successful,” said Kantar, who added that a final harvest number on the moose hunt would be completed by the end of January.

Moose hunting in Maine continues to be extremely popular, with over 52,374 hunters applying to the moose lottery for a chance to hunt moose. -30-

December 9, 2015

IFW News -- Preliminary Moose Hunt Numbers Are Up For 2015

AUGUSTA, Maine -- With the preliminary numbers in, it looks as though moose hunters were more successful in 2015 than in 2014, and Maine’s moose population looks healthy.

“We had a number of moose that weighed in excess of 1,000 pounds,” said Kantar. “The moose we examined looked very healthy, with good percentage of body fat stored for the winter.”

Approximately 2,200 hunters harvested a moose in 2015, an 80% success rate for the 2,740 permits issued. This is up from 2014, when 2,022 of 3,095 hunters were successful for a 65% success rate. With approximately 12% fewer permits issued in 2015 than 2014, approximately 180 more moose hunters were successful in 2015.

“The numbers are still preliminary, but it looks as though better hunting weather, later seasons and fewer permits all contributed to a higher success rate for moose hunters,” said Lee Kantar, moose biologist for the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

Maine’s moose hunt is designed to manage the moose population. By modifying the number and type of moose permits available to hunters, the department can manage the moose population in order to provide for hunting and viewing opportunities, maintain a healthy moose population, and limit the number of moose/vehicle accidents.

The moose hunt also provides thousands of pounds of wild game meat that is high in nutrition, sustainable, free range, and organic. On average, an 850-pound field dressed moose will provide over 450 pounds of meat.

“Hunting in Maine is a tradition,” said IFW wildlife division director Judy Camuso, “Not only does it help us manage healthy wildlife populations, but it also provides organic, free-range protein to thousands of families in Maine and beyond.”

The preliminary harvest results are calculated through biological data collected at moose registration stations during the September, October and November moose hunt seasons.

“Each year at moose registration stations, we examine over 90 percent of the moose that are harvested. By comparing the data to years past, we can get a fairly accurate estimate of how many hunters were successful,” said Kantar, who added that a final harvest number on the moose hunt would be completed by the end of January.

Moose hunting in Maine continues to be extremely popular, with over 52,374 hunters applying to the moose lottery for a chance to hunt moose.

December 16, 2015

Maine 2016 Hunting and Fishing Licenses Now Available

AUGUSTA, Maine – A new year of hunting and fishing opportunity is just around the corner! The 2016 Maine hunting and fishing licenses are now available for purchase online or at any of the more than 800 licensing agents statewide.

The state of Maine offers a wide range of hunting and fishing opportunities. Maine is nearly as large as all the other New England states combined, with over 17 million acres of forested land, 6,000 lakes and ponds and 32,000 miles of rivers and streams. To purchase a 2016 license online, go to: www.informe.org/moses The Department's online licensing system offers the convenience of purchasing from home, camp or office and allows the opportunity to print out multiple copies of licenses. All proceeds from the sale of hunting and fishing licenses stay at the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

“Buying a license is an easy and effective way to support Maine's fish and wildlife management efforts,” said Governor Paul R. LePage. “Especially this time of year, a license is the perfect gift for outdoor sporting enthusiasts.” IFW also offers additional gift items in our online shop such as IFW logo apparel, The Maine Way cookbook, season passes to the Maine Wildlife Park, or the opportunity to support conservation efforts with the purchase of a Maine Birder Band or Heron Sticker. To visit our online shop or to learn more about IFW programs, please visit www.mefishwildlife.com

IFW Captures and Collars 70 Moose , Expands Maine’s Moose Survival Study Into Second Area

For Immediate Release: January 5, 2016

AUGUSTA, Maine – Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife biologists in northern Aroostook County just finished capturing and radio-collaring moose in a new “northern” study area as part of Maine’s five-year moose study that will provide a greater understanding of the health of Maine’s moose population, particularly factors that affect their survival and reproductive rates, including the impact of winter ticks on moose.

“Maine’s moose occupy a variety of habitat across their range in the state. By adding a second study area to the north we can bolster our study and get a better understanding of moose survival and reproductive rates, and the factors that impact them,” said Lee Kantar, Maine’s moose biologist.

Biologists and a helicopter-based aerial capture team will capture and collar 106 adult female and calf moose. They just completed capturing and collaring 70 moose in the Aroostook study area, and now will capture and collar an additional 36 calf moose in the existing study area located between Jackman and Greenville. There already are over 40 collared moose in the Jackman/Greenville study area. When finished, IFW biologists will be able to monitor 150 total moose in the two study areas.

IFW has contracted with Native Range Capture Services out of Elko, Nevada to capture 106 moose. The crew specializes in capturing and collaring large animals and is using a helicopter and launched nets to capture and collar female moose and calves. Funding for the study comes from a federal Pittman-Robertson grant (funded by the sale of hunting equipment) and the state’s dedicated moose fund (funded through sale of moose permit applications and permits).

“Once the moose is captured, the crew attaches a GPS collar and ear tags, collects a blood, hair and fecal sample, takes a tick count and weighs the animal,” said Lee Kantar, “The entire process takes between 10 and 12 minutes and then the moose is released unharmed.”

Crews started capturing and collaring moose last week and finished in the northern study area yesterday. They started flying in the western study area today. Once Native Range finishes in Maine, they will travel to a similar job in New Hampshire. New Hampshire is conducting a study similar to Maine, in an area further south than the two Maine study areas. The two states are sharing information gathered during the study.

Once collared, the GPS-enabled collars transmit twice per day, providing biologists the ability to track moose movements. The GPS collars are expected to transmit location signals for four years. If there is no movement for a certain period of time, the collar transmits a mortality signal, and biologists will then travel overland to investigate the cause of death.

“Once we receive a mortality signal, we locate the dead moose within 24 hours,” said Kantar. Biologists conduct an extensive field necropsy on each moose, taking blood, tissue and fecal samples that will later be analyzed by the University of Maine-Animal Health Lab as well as other specialized diagnostic facilities,.

This is the third year of the monitoring study. Additional moose and calves will be captured and collared next year.

The radio collar study is just one component of the research that IFW conducts on moose.

IFW also utilizes aerial flights to assess population abundance and the composition of the moose herd. During the moose hunting season, biologists also examine teeth to determine a moose’s age, measure antler spread, monitor the number of ticks a moose carries, and examine cow ovaries in November to determine reproductive rates.

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January 5, 2015

IFW Captures and Collars 70 Moose , Expands Maine’s Moose Survival Study Into Second Area

For Immediate Release: January 5, 2016

AUGUSTA, Maine – Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife biologists in northern Aroostook County just finished capturing and radio-collaring moose in a new “northern” study area as part of Maine’s five-year moose study that will provide a greater understanding of the health of Maine’s moose population, particularly factors that affect their survival and reproductive rates, including the impact of winter ticks on moose.

“Maine’s moose occupy a variety of habitat across their range in the state. By adding a second study area to the north we can bolster our study and get a better understanding of moose survival and reproductive rates, and the factors that impact them,” said Lee Kantar, Maine’s moose biologist.

Biologists and a helicopter-based aerial capture team will capture and collar 106 adult female and calf moose. They just completed capturing and collaring 70 moose in the Aroostook study area, and now will capture and collar an additional 36 calf moose in the existing study area located between Jackman and Greenville. There already are over 40 collared moose in the Jackman/Greenville study area. When finished, IFW biologists will be able to monitor 150 total moose in the two study areas.

IFW has contracted with Native Range Capture Services out of Elko, Nevada to capture 106 moose. The crew specializes in capturing and collaring large animals and is using a helicopter and launched nets to capture and collar female moose and calves. Funding for the study comes from a federal Pittman-Robertson grant (funded by the sale of hunting equipment) and the state’s dedicated moose fund (funded through sale of moose permit applications and permits).

“Once the moose is captured, the crew attaches a GPS collar and ear tags, collects a blood, hair and fecal sample, takes a tick count and weighs the animal,” said Lee Kantar, “The entire process takes between 10 and 12 minutes and then the moose is released unharmed.”

Crews started capturing and collaring moose last week and finished in the northern study area yesterday. They started flying in the western study area today. Once Native Range finishes in Maine, they will travel to a similar job in New Hampshire. New Hampshire is conducting a study similar to Maine, in an area further south than the two Maine study areas. The two states are sharing information gathered during the study.

Once collared, the GPS-enabled collars transmit twice per day, providing biologists the ability to track moose movements. The GPS collars are expected to transmit location signals for four years. If there is no movement for a certain period of time, the collar transmits a mortality signal, and biologists will then travel overland to investigate the cause of death.

“Once we receive a mortality signal, we locate the dead moose within 24 hours,” said Kantar. Biologists conduct an extensive field necropsy on each moose, taking blood, tissue and fecal samples that will later be analyzed by the University of Maine-Animal Health Lab as well as other specialized diagnostic facilities,.

This is the third year of the monitoring study. Additional moose and calves will be captured and collared next year.

The radio collar study is just one component of the research that IFW conducts on moose.

IFW also utilizes aerial flights to assess population abundance and the composition of the moose herd. During the moose hunting season, biologists also examine teeth to determine a moose’s age, measure antler spread, monitor the number of ticks a moose carries, and examine cow ovaries in November to determine reproductive rates.

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January 5, 2016

IFW Captures and Collars 70 Moose , Expands Maine’s Moose Survival Study Into Second Area

For Immediate Release: January 5, 2016

AUGUSTA, Maine – Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife biologists in northern Aroostook County just finished capturing and radio-collaring moose in a new “northern” study area as part of Maine’s five-year moose study that will provide a greater understanding of the health of Maine’s moose population, particularly factors that affect their survival and reproductive rates, including the impact of winter ticks on moose.

“Maine’s moose occupy a variety of habitat across their range in the state. By adding a second study area to the north we can bolster our study and get a better understanding of moose survival and reproductive rates, and the factors that impact them,” said Lee Kantar, Maine’s moose biologist.

Biologists and a helicopter-based aerial capture team will capture and collar 106 adult female and calf moose. They just completed capturing and collaring 70 moose in the Aroostook study area, and now will capture and collar an additional 36 calf moose in the existing study area located between Jackman and Greenville. There already are over 40 collared moose in the Jackman/Greenville study area. When finished, IFW biologists will be able to monitor 150 total moose in the two study areas.

IFW has contracted with Native Range Capture Services out of Elko, Nevada to capture 106 moose. The crew specializes in capturing and collaring large animals and is using a helicopter and launched nets to capture and collar female moose and calves. Funding for the study comes from a federal Pittman-Robertson grant (funded by the sale of hunting equipment) and the state’s dedicated moose fund (funded through sale of moose permit applications and permits).

“Once the moose is captured, the crew attaches a GPS collar and ear tags, collects a blood, hair and fecal sample, takes a tick count and weighs the animal,” said Lee Kantar, “The entire process takes between 10 and 12 minutes and then the moose is released unharmed.”

Crews started capturing and collaring moose last week and finished in the northern study area yesterday. They started flying in the western study area today. Once Native Range finishes in Maine, they will travel to a similar job in New Hampshire. New Hampshire is conducting a study similar to Maine, in an area further south than the two Maine study areas. The two states are sharing information gathered during the study.

Once collared, the GPS-enabled collars transmit twice per day, providing biologists the ability to track moose movements. The GPS collars are expected to transmit location signals for four years. If there is no movement for a certain period of time, the collar transmits a mortality signal, and biologists will then travel overland to investigate the cause of death.

“Once we receive a mortality signal, we locate the dead moose within 24 hours,” said Kantar. Biologists conduct an extensive field necropsy on each moose, taking blood, tissue and fecal samples that will later be analyzed by the University of Maine-Animal Health Lab as well as other specialized diagnostic facilities,.

This is the third year of the monitoring study. Additional moose and calves will be captured and collared next year.

The radio collar study is just one component of the research that IFW conducts on moose.

IFW also utilizes aerial flights to assess population abundance and the composition of the moose herd. During the moose hunting season, biologists also examine teeth to determine a moose’s age, measure antler spread, monitor the number of ticks a moose carries, and examine cow ovaries in November to determine reproductive rates.

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January 4, 2015

MDIF&W: Free Snowmobile Weekends Slated for Winter 2016

AUGUSTA, Maine - This winter, the State of Maine is participating in two special weekends to provide enhanced opportunity for snowmobilers.

Tri-State Snowmobile Weekend: This annual three-day event will take place January 29 – 31, 2016 and allows all legally registered Maine snowmobiles to be operated in New Hampshire and Vermont without being registered in those states. This also means that all snowmobiles legally registered in New Hampshire and Vermont can be operated in Maine without a current Maine registration.

Maine and New Brunswick Free Trail Weekend: From February 12-14, 2016, snowmobilers from Maine can obtain a FREE 3-Day Trail Permit to ride in New Brunswick. The special free permit must be obtained online by visiting www.nbfsc.com. All snowmobiles and snowmobilers on NBFSC trails will still be required to carry personal PLPD insurance ($200,000.00 minimum) and have a current 2016 snowmobile registration from Maine. Additionally, riders from New Brunswick will be permitted to operate in Maine without a current Maine registration on those dates.

“We welcome these snowmobilers to explore more than 14,000 miles of Maine’s interconnected, groomed and marked trails,” said Governor Paul R. LePage. “As always, we encourage them to enjoy Maine’s beautiful outdoors, but also urge them to ride safely.”

The Maine Warden Service reminds snowmobilers to ride with caution at all times.

“With the increased traffic anticipated during the reciprocal snowmobile weekends, we remind all riders to obey laws of prudent operation, do not drink and drive, and be mindful that this is a family sport, so please keep our trails safe,” said Maine Warden Service Colonel Joel Wilkinson. “Pay extra close attention to ice conditions on all Maine waterways especially when travelling at night, and ride with caution. We hope that enthusiasts participate in these great opportunities to discover Maine’s tremendous snowmobiling opportunity.”

Snowmobilers should stay off roads, ride at a reasonable speed, use hand signals and ride to the right.

If you need to register your snowmobile in Maine, visit: https://www10.informe.org/ifw/atv-snow/.

For information about snowmobile laws and rules in Maine, visit: http://www.eregulations.com/maine/atv/snowmobile-laws-and-rules/.

For Maine trail condition updates and trail maps, visit the Maine Snowmobile Association at: http://www.mesnow.com/ For more information on New Brunswick’s Free Trail Permit, visit: http://www.nbfsc.com/html/whatsnew/docs/FreePermitWeekend2016.pdf

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January 4, 2016

MDIF&W: Free Snowmobile Weekends Slated for Winter 2016

AUGUSTA, Maine - This winter, the State of Maine is participating in two special weekends to provide enhanced opportunity for snowmobilers.

Tri-State Snowmobile Weekend: This annual three-day event will take place January 29 – 31, 2016 and allows all legally registered Maine snowmobiles to be operated in New Hampshire and Vermont without being registered in those states. This also means that all snowmobiles legally registered in New Hampshire and Vermont can be operated in Maine without a current Maine registration.

Maine and New Brunswick Free Trail Weekend: From February 12-14, 2016, snowmobilers from Maine can obtain a FREE 3-Day Trail Permit to ride in New Brunswick. The special free permit must be obtained online by visiting www.nbfsc.com. All snowmobiles and snowmobilers on NBFSC trails will still be required to carry personal PLPD insurance ($200,000.00 minimum) and have a current 2016 snowmobile registration from Maine. Additionally, riders from New Brunswick will be permitted to operate in Maine without a current Maine registration on those dates.

“We welcome these snowmobilers to explore more than 14,000 miles of Maine’s interconnected, groomed and marked trails,” said Governor Paul R. LePage. “As always, we encourage them to enjoy Maine’s beautiful outdoors, but also urge them to ride safely.”

The Maine Warden Service reminds snowmobilers to ride with caution at all times.

“With the increased traffic anticipated during the reciprocal snowmobile weekends, we remind all riders to obey laws of prudent operation, do not drink and drive, and be mindful that this is a family sport, so please keep our trails safe,” said Maine Warden Service Colonel Joel Wilkinson. “Pay extra close attention to ice conditions on all Maine waterways especially when travelling at night, and ride with caution. We hope that enthusiasts participate in these great opportunities to discover Maine’s tremendous snowmobiling opportunity.”

Snowmobilers should stay off roads, ride at a reasonable speed, use hand signals and ride to the right.

If you need to register your snowmobile in Maine, visit: https://www10.informe.org/ifw/atv-snow/.

For information about snowmobile laws and rules in Maine, visit: http://www.eregulations.com/maine/atv/snowmobile-laws-and-rules/.

For Maine trail condition updates and trail maps, visit the Maine Snowmobile Association at: http://www.mesnow.com/ For more information on New Brunswick’s Free Trail Permit, visit: http://www.nbfsc.com/html/whatsnew/docs/FreePermitWeekend2016.pdf

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January 15, 2016

IFW Ice Fishing Report for January 15, 2016

For Immediate Release: January 15, 2016

Region A – Sebago Lakes Region

If you haven’t noticed, this is anything but a normal winter throughout the state. Ponds and lakes that are usually frozen and safe throughout are still iffy at best. Before heading out onto the ice on any pond, please check the ice.

“Last weekend, we were out on a small pond that had about five inches of ice,” said IFW fisheries biologist Francis Brautigam. “That’s not a lot of ice for a pond that size in the middle of January.”

The snow earlier this week didn’t help ice conditions either. Ponds and lakes that skimmed over now have an insulating blanket of snow that has slowed ice forming conditions, even with the single digit temperatures that we’ve experienced at night. That’s if there is any ice at all.

“Mousam Lake in York County was pretty much wide open, except for some ice on the very north end,” said Brautigam. “There aren’t too many years when we still have open water this time of year on our moderate-size lakes.”

With ice conditions extremely variable, anglers are targeting smaller ponds in the region, as well as fishing the frozen coves and shorelines of the larger lakes and ponds.

“On Crystal Lake and the Range Ponds, there’s less than a couple of inches of ice in the middle. People were tight to the shore and in coves and catching fish,” said Brautigam.

“On some of our smaller ponds that we manage for catchable brook trout, anglers are having good success at the Otter Ponds, Sand Pond, Barker Pond and Worthley Pond,” said Brautigam, who added the Hinkley Ponds in South Portland are fishing well too. Check your law book for regulations specific to each water you want to fish.

One silver lining for anglers? Ponds with poor ice conditions haven’t received any fishing pressure, and once they freeze up, the fishing should be excellent.

Region B – Central and Midcoast Area

Ice conditions vary throughout the region, so make sure you check the ice before heading out. Anglers fishing some of the smaller ponds in the region are having good success.

“We are seeing a number of people of fishing and doing well on Brettuns and Beals Pond which are both right off of Route 4 in Turner,” said IFW fisheries biologist Jason Seiders. “Both have really good access and are stocked with a variety of different sized brook trout.”

In addition to brook trout, there are also some brown trout stocked in these ponds.

If you are closer to the coast, you may want to try out Maces Pond and Rocky Pond in Rockport. Both were stocked this fall with brook trout that range up to 20 inches. Rocky Pond is a youth and complimentary license only water, but Maces is open to all.

“Anglers are seeing some really good catch rates with brook trout,” said Seiders. “Try fishing with small minnows, worms or nightcrawlers. Jigging is also very productive. Remember to fish shallow, shallow, shallow for trout.”

Region C -- Downeast

Downeast, people are fishing, but not in areas that you normally would this time of year.

“Until last week’s rain, the ice was shaping up, even if it was a little later than usual,” said IFW fisheries biologist Greg Burr. “Most had sealed over, even though the larger waters were marginal.”

With the rain last weekend and then the snow, larger lakes are still extremely questionable. Thin ice is blanketed with snow, covering up poor ice conditions, and as well as creating slushy conditions.

“We are seeing people along shore and in the coves,” said Burr. “People are anxious to get out.” Burr is hoping the colder weather will help freeze the slush and solidify the ice. Until then, check the ice before venturing out.

“People who are fishing the smaller ponds are doing really well. Ponds like Round Pond on MDI and Lovejoy in T34 offer some really good fishing,” said Burr.

“Fish the shallower water for brook trout. Brookies tend to hang out in 4-8 feet of water. We found them schooling in some of the coves,” said Burr, who added don’t be afraid to keep moving until you find the fish. Try fishing off of structure, or even downed trees in some of these ponds.

Small bodies of water in the region have 5-8” of ice. Try Keely Lake in Machias or Second or Third Lake Old Stream in Township 31. Splake are stocked into Second Lake Old Stream, and they can also be found in Third Lake. Some anglers are catching 18” splake in these waters.

Other ponds you may want to try include Fitts Pond in Clifton, where there are some splake and retired brood fish; Lowe Hadlock in Northeast Harbor which has brook trout ranging from 8-20”; and Jacob Buck Pond in Bucksport that has brook trout, splake and landlocked salmon.

Region D – Rangeley Lakes

Ice conditions vary up here, and anglers are still staying off the larger, deeper waters like Embden Lake until the ice gets thicker.

“Overall, the bigger lakes don’t have ice, the smaller, shallower ones do, and people have been catching fish on the smaller ponds,” said IFW fisheries biologist Dave Howatt. “Spring Lake (T3 R4) is not real safe and one angler who went up to Chain of Ponds and saw the ice said he has never seen such a scary place in his life.”

Lufkin Pond in Phillips has been a popular destination with a good population of splake and brown trout, as well as a number of bass. Crowell Pond in Chesterville is also fishing well. If you’ve got children under the age 16, you will want to try Harvey Pond in Madrid. This was stocked this fall with fish 13-17” in length.

Mount Blue Pond in Avon is open to ice fishing this year, and is stocked with splake and brown trout, and is also loaded with bass. Fishing has started a little slow there, but Howatt thinks it’s just a matter of time until people learn where to go on the pond.

If you want to fish Wilson Pond or Porter Lake, stay near the shore. Anglers near the shore are catching some nice fish, particularly on Porter where they are getting some nice salmon, but the ice is iffy as you head out deeper. There have been several reports of shacks and anglers breaking through the ice.

Region E – Moosehead Region

There’s not much ice, even in the Moosehead area.

“The ice just caught up in Rockwood earlier this week, but it’s not safe,” said IFW fisheries biologist Tim Obrey.

Obrey said he has heard of some anglers fishing close to shore, but has also heard that even on the smaller ponds such as Moutain View, there have been some people who went through the ice.

With ice conditions so poor, organizers for the 9th annual Moosehead Lake Togue Derby have modified the event. The event was originally scheduled for the weekend of January 29th, but organizers have added three more days to the event, the weekend of February 19-21. The banquet, silent auction, and the door prize drawings will occur on Saturday, February 20th at the Masonic Hall in Greenville..

Organizers will also operate the weigh-in stations during the originally planned dates of January 29th -31 since many anglers have already booked camp and hotel reservations a year in advance. They do caution anyone fishing that weekend to be extremely cautious and check ice conditions before heading out on the lake.

Region F – Penobscot Region

It’s been on again off again in the Penobscot region.

Last Friday, Cold Stream Pond finally buttoned up. After all the rain and wind on Sunday, it was wide open again on Monday. On Tuesday, it had frozen once again.

“Schoodic Lake was the same story, with it freezing, opening up again, then buttoning up in some places just enough to give some people some false confidence,” said Nels Kramer, IFW fisheries biologist. “The truth is, I have a longer list of what is not fishable than of what is fishable.”

Anglers have been having some success at the north end of Pleasant Lake in Island Falls where there is 4-6” of ice with reports that anglers are catching salmon. Kramer says do not attempt to go across the lake.

The upper basin of Mattawamkeag is producing with salmon, perch and pickerel. Anglers are also fishing the Shin Ponds, but watch out as this snow will hide some of the thin ice on the ponds.

Anglers are fishing East Grand and Spednic near to the shore as the main body of those waters remains iffy. Locals up at Matagammon say that lake was unfishable earlier this week, but that should change quickly.

Molunkus Lake had 7” of ice and was producing some “nice, fat brook trout.” On Mud (Perch) Pond in Old Town, anglers are catching 13-17” brook trout. Smaller water bodies generally are safer, and anglers have cautiously getting out on the ice to fish them.

On Pushaw Lake and Little Pushaw Lake, there are some anglers but they are staying near shore and are targeting perch and pickerel.

“This is the worst year for ice that I can remember,” said Kramer.

Region G – Aroostook Region

Even up north in Aroostook County, ice conditions are less than ideal.

“The ice is not good. The snow we got this week has created some treacherous conditions,” said IFW fisheries biologist Frank Frost. Fisheries biologists do a lot of creel survey work during the winter on a number of ponds and lakes, and for now, biologists have suspended their work.

“The ice is really variable. In shore you may have 5-7 inches of ice and out in the middle there is 1-2 inches. Now with the snow, there is slush as well. Several sleds have gone through the ice on area lakes,” said Frost.

“What little fishing there is happens very, very, close to shore. Right now, that’s the extent of the fishing. It’s a very atypical year,” said Frost.

Frost did mention that he has received several reports of anglers fishing the Fish River below the Fish River Falls. That area is open to fishing during the winter, and some anglers are taking advantage and going open water fishing.

“It can be tough conditions with ice forming in the guides of your rod, but the fish are there,” said Frost, who recommended trying it on a sunny day so ice is not as much of an issue.

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February 9, 2016

Apply Now for the 2016 Maine Moose Permit Lottery

Hunters who dream about the hunt of a lifetime will be happy to know that Maine moose permit online application process is now open, as the 2016 Moose Permit Lottery is accepting applications.

The online application process is fast and simple and you receive instant confirmation that you have successfully entered the lottery. To apply, please visit https://www5.informe.org/online/moose/. The deadline for online applications is 11:59pm on May 16, 2016.

Paper applications are available by contacting the Department at (207) 287-8000 or from our website at http://www.maine.gov/ifw/licenses_permits/pdfs/2016moose.pdf. Completed paper applications must be postmarked by April 1, 2016 or delivered to 284 State St., Augusta, Maine by 5:00 p.m. on April 1, 2016.

Applicants are awarded bonus points for each consecutive year the applicant has applied for the lottery since 1998 without being selected and each bonus point gives the applicant an additional chance in the drawing.

For all applicants, Bonus points are earned at the rate of one per year for years one to five, two per year for years six to 10, three per year for years 11 to 15 and 10 per year for years 16 and beyond.

Since 2011, applicants can skip a year and not lose their bonus points. So if they applied in 2014 but not in 2015, they still have their points available if they apply in 2016.

The moose permit drawing will take place on June 11, 2016 at Kittery Trading Post in Kittery, Maine.

For more information about moose hunting in Maine and the moose permit lottery, please visit: http://www.maine.gov/ifw/licenses_permits/lotteries/moose/index.htm

February 9, 2016

IFW NEWS: Free Fishing Weekend Approaches; Ice Safety Reminder

AUGUSTA - The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife is reminding everyone to take advantage of the upcoming free fishing weekend.

On Saturday, February 13 and Sunday, February 14, any person may fish for free without a license on Maine’s waterways, except those who have had their license suspended or revoked. All other rules and regulations, including bag and possession limits, apply.

“Fishing during the winter is a wonderful way to get out of the house and make memories with family and friends that are sure to last a long time,” said Governor Paul R. LePage.“We offer this free fishing weekend in the hopes that more and more people will be introduced to the many winter fishing opportunities Maine offers, particularly on our frozen lakes and ponds. And remember, safety first. Please check the condition of the ice before you go out.”

“Whether on open water or ice, fishing is one of the most popular activities in Maine. Maine’s nearly 6,000 lakes and ponds and more than 30,000 miles of rivers and streams offer endless opportunities for the thousands of residents and non-residents who fish them each year,” said Chandler Woodcock, IFW Commissioner. “The free fishing weekend is a great chance for people to try fishing for the first time or for more experienced anglers to teach a child the joys of the sport.”

Due to varying weather conditions this winter, game wardens are reminding everyone to be cautious and check ice conditions before venturing out. The general guidelines for ice safety are a minimum of four inches of solid ice for on foot travel and six to eight inches for snowmobiles and ATVs. Due to uneven temperatures and high winds, ice conditions are currently very unpredictable and it is not advisable to drive vehicles onto the ice.

“Test the thickness of the ice using an ice chisel or ice auger in several locations on the lake or pond,” said Major Chris Cloutier of the Warden Service. “Remember that new ice is usually stronger than old ice and ice seldom freezes uniformly. Ice that forms over flowing water and currents, especially near streams, bridges and culverts, can be particularly dangerous.”

The Department will also offer a free fishing weekend on June 4 and 5.

For a complete list of fishing regulations, including limits and sizes, visit www.mefishwildlife.com

For additional ice and winter safety tips, visit http://www.maine.gov/wordpress/insideifw/2014/12/31/ice-safety-tips/

February 25, 2016

Department Seeks Input On Maine’s Most Popular Wildlife And Fish Species At Public Meetings And Online Town Hall Forum

For Immediate Release: February 25, 2016

AUGUSTA, Maine -- The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife wants to hear your ideas and opinions about Maine’s most popular wildlife and fish species.

Over the next month, the department will hold a series of statewide public meetings that will focus on moose, deer and turkey; bear, and freshwater fisheries. The meetings are designed to gather ideas and information from the public that will help shape management of these species over the next fifteen years.

“We want to hear from the public concerning some of Maine’s most popular species,” said Jim Connolly, IFW Director of Resource Management. “We’ve already conducted extensive public surveys, but this is your chance to provide additional input on the management of these species for years to come.

In addition to public meetings, IFW is creating a dedicated “Town Hall forum” at www.metownhall.org to provide a further opportunity for residents to voice their opinions on big game issues specifically (the forum will cover deer, moose, turkey, and bear issues).

Starting March 1, residents will be able to access the Town Hall forum website and leave comments and suggestions at www.metownhall.org. The website will stay live until March 31, at which point comments will be reviewed. Residents are encouraged to log onto the website during the month of March to submit responses to prepared questions as well as interact with one another in an exchange of opinions and ideas.

Throughout March and April, there will also be a series of public meetings around the state to hear people’s thoughts and ideas regarding species management.

There will be three public meetings that will focus specifically on bear management. The dates, time and location are:

Bear Management Public Meetings

o Wednesday, March 16 from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m.; Embassy Suites, 1050 Westbrook Street, Portland, ME 04102, Katahdin Room

o Wednesday, March 16 from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m.; Northeastland Hotel, 436 Maine Street, Presque Isle, ME 04769, Red Room

o Wednesday, March 30 from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m.; Black Bear Inn, 4 Godfrey Drive, Orono, ME 04473, Blue Room

There will also be three Moose, Deer and Turkey Management public meetings that will meet on the following dates and these locations:

Moose, Deer, Turkey Management Public Meetings

o Saturday, March 19 from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m.; Embassy Suites, 1050 Westbrook Street, Portland, ME 04102, Katahdin Room

o Saturday, March 19 from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m.; Northeastland Hotel, 436 Maine Street, Presque Isle, ME 04769, Red Room

o Saturday, April 2 from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m.; Black Bear Inn, 4 Godfrey Drive, Orono, ME 04473, Blue Room

Maine’s freshwater fisheries will be the focus at these locations on the following dates and times:

Fisheries Management Public Meetings

o Thursday, March 17 from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m.; Embassy Suites, 1050 Westbrook Street, Portland, ME 04102, Katahdin Room

o Thursday, March 17 from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m.; Northeastland Hotel, 436 Maine Street, Presque Isle, ME 04769, Red Room

o Thursday, March 31 from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m.; Black Bear Inn, 4 Godfrey Drive, Orono, ME 04473, Blue Room

o Tuesday, April 5 from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m.; University of Farmington, Lincoln Auditorium, 224 Main Street, Farmington, ME 04938

The meetings and online town hall are part of a larger study designed to assess priorities for bear, other big game, and fisheries management, including the issues residents see as important; their attitudes toward the current and desired population levels of various fish and game species; management techniques for these species; and any ideas for potential changes to the current management programs. Input from the public will help MDIFW to create the best management plans possible.

MDIFW contracted with Responsive Management, an internationally recognized public opinion research firm, to conduct the research for the state. Responsive Management is handling the facilitation of the public meetings as well as the administration of the Town Hall web forum. The firm has also conducted focus groups and surveys with Maine residents, hunters, anglers, and landowners as part of the research.

Maine residents may have received a call, email, or letter in recent weeks inviting them to participate in one of the scientific surveys conducted for the project. The next phase of the project calls for a wider opportunity for residents to submit comments and suggestions in an open-ended manner via the public meetings and web forum.

For more information about Responsive Management, please visit www.ResponsiveManagement.com.

For further information about the research study, please contact Nate Webb, Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, at nathan.webb@maine.gov.

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March 8, 2016

IFW Fisheries Biologists Improve Downeast Fishery

March 16, 2016

IFW Commissioner Opens Fishing Season Two Weeks Early

For Immediate Release: March 16, 2016

Effective tomorrow, Thursday, March 17, the 2016 Open Water fishing season will begin, two weeks earlier than usual, per an amended rule by the Commissioner of the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

The amended regulation allows bodies of water that were closed to open water fishing until April 1, 2016 to become open to open water fishing effective March 17, 2016.

Anglers throughout the state may now get a chance to enjoy the early spring by fishing on their favorite waterway earlier than usual.

Many lakes in southern and even central Maine are completely ice free. The lower than average snowfall also means that rivers and streams are at low springtime flow levels, making for easier fishing.

Anglers are likely to find more fish available in waters that were stocked last fall. Poor ice conditions meant less time for ice fishing, leaving many trout and salmon that normally would have been caught in the winter still there for spring anglers.

The early open water fishing season does not apply to waters with special season opening dates starting after April 1, 2016. This rule does not close any body of water currently open to ice fishing or open any water to ice fishing that is currently closed to ice fishing.

In addition, all waters with S-10 and “CO” designations will also be open to fishing. All other S-codes, tackle restrictions, daily bag, possession and length limits still apply as listed.

If you are fishing from a boat, the Maine Warden Service is urging boaters to wear their lifejackets. Prolonged immersion in cold water can kill, and wearing a life jacket can greatly increase your survival chances if you are in the water unexpectedly.

The beginning of the open water season also means that the department stocking trucks will be busy. The department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife begins an ambitious stocking program in mid-April and by the time ice starts to cover lakes in the fall, over 1.2 million fish will have been stocked in waterways across the state.

If you haven’t purchased your license yet, please visit www.mefishwildlife.com to purchase your license any time of the day, any day of the week

Please be sure to check the 2016 fishing law book for regulations specific to the water you wish to fish.

March 17, 2016

IFW Blog -- Moose Mortalities Providing Clues About Moose Survival

April 6, 2016

Big Fish and Kids Opportunities Highlight Rangeley Area Ice Fishing Season

April 8, 2016

IFW Fishing Report For April 8, 2016

For Immediate Release: April 8, 2016

Region A – Sebago Lakes Region

“The fishing in the southern part of the state is really exceptional for this time of year,” says IFW fisheries biologist Francis Brautigam.

Brautigam was recently out on Sebago talking with anglers who were fishing. Most of the boats had 2-4 landlocks, and were reporting excellent fishing. Three-year-old salmon on Sebago are running in the 16-18 inch size. Smelt runs on Sebago and throughout the region are earlier than usual.

“On Sebago, as soon as we got some nice weather, people were out there,” said Brautigam. “The water is 35 degrees, and people are picking up some pretty nice salmon, including some that are reaching 23 inches.”

Anglers trolling Sebago have also been getting some nice togue in the slot range from 23-33 inches. “Anglers are saying how much fun it has been to bring in a 5 to 8 pound togue trolling with fly gear,” said Brautigam.

There is also some excellent fishing on many other ponds, particularly waters that were stocked in anticipation of youth fishing events that later got cancelled due to poor ice conditions. “There wasn’t a lot of ice fishing activity this winter,” said Brautigam who suggested Crystal Lake and Lower Range Pond as destinations for some quality brook trout.

Flows for river fishing have been on the high side, and they still are a little on the muddy side. “Still a bit early for river fishing,” said Brautigam.

On Little Sebago, anglers are talking about the big rainbows they are catching.

“We’ve been stocking rainbows there since the late 2000’s, and the last few years we are getting more and more reports of good rainbow catches in the springtime,” said Brautigam. “Anglers are catching rainbows in the high teens with streamers.”

If you are looking for a little variety, anglers on Kennebunk pond in Lyman are catching brookies, rainbows and brown trout.

Region B – Central and Midcoast Area

If you want wet a line, you may want to head towards some of the coastal streams that are part of Region B.

“The coastal rivers like the St. George, Medomak and Pemaquid were heavily stocked this spring and have fish that range up to 16 inches. Inland, you should try the Nezinscot,” said IFW fisheries biologist Jason Seiders. “The fishing should be fantastic.

Another spot that is getting some good early season reviews is Lake St. George.

“The fish we saw in our trap net surveys were in the best condition we’ve seen in a decade,” said Seiders. “That, coupled with the lack of ice fishing pressure, has the lake fishing really well. Anglers are catching good numbers of salmon, with a lot of the fish in the three to four pound range.”

Smelts are the key to landlock health in Lake St. George, and the smelts in Lake St. George are shoreline spawners.

“Trolling near the shore is your best bet,” said Seiders, who added that the salmon are looking like footballs.

If you are looking to bass fish this spring, one spot you may want to try is the Great Meadows Stream, which flows from North Pond into Great Pond. This used to be closed to watercraft due to a milfoil infestation but it is now open to paddle craft. You can put in at a hand carry launch at the Route 225 bridge. The current there is slow, so you can also paddle back to where you put in.

“There is tremendous bass fishing there, particularly as you get close to the mouth of the stream,” said Seiders. “It’s also a beautiful area to paddle with lots of shorebirds and waterfowl, and it’s a great area for some really large fish.”

Region C -- Downeast

With the short ice fishing season this past winter, springtime Downeast should bring a lot of opportunities.

“Early season should be terrific,” said IFW fisheries biologist Greg Burr. “With the light fishing pressure we had this year, there should be some very good early season fishing.”

Burr said that there have been a few anglers out, but they are “not catching a whole lot. That should start to turn as soon as we get a little warmer.”

Most of the lakes in the region are now ice-free and open. West Grand Lake went out last Saturday, one of the earliest ice outs ever. Grand Lake Stream was also fishing well early, but the recent rains have bumped up the flows to 1200 cfs which is not conducive to river fishing.

As far as where to go salmon fishing this spring, Burr thinks that West Grand, Beech Hill, Branch, Donnell, Green, Tunk and Long Pond should all have some very good salmon fishing this spring.

Region D – Rangeley Lakes

Spring is here in the southern part of the region, but as you go further north, it is still winter, with ice covering most of the lakes and ponds.

Ice is out on Porter, Crowell, and Norcross, and there have been a few people fishing,” said IFW fisheries biologist Bobby Van Riper. “There also were some anglers out on Temple Stream which we will be stocking next week.”

Recent winds and rain should open up some other ponds soon, if not already.

“Ice on many of our ponds hasn’t been safe since the middle of March, and now it’s beginning to break up,” said Van Riper, “Clearwater will be open soon if it is not already.”

Stocking in the area hasn’t really begun yet, but there are still some ponds that have quite a few holdover fish from the lighter than normal fishing pressure this past winter. However, be aware that these fish are fairly sluggish due to water temps that are still in the 30s and low 40s.

Region E – Moosehead Region

Thoughts of an early spring have disappeared in the Moosehead region.

“There was a lot of anticipation in March about getting some extra open water fishing due to the warm winter, but those thoughts have been put on ice in the Moosehead Lake area,” said IFW fisheries biologist Tim Obrey. “Right now, many of the lakes and ponds south of Dexter are ice free, but we still have winter-like conditions to the north and west.”

The general rule of thumb in this region is that Sebec Lake will be ice free about 7-10 days after the Piscataquis River opens up, and then another 7-10 days for Moosehead to be ice free.

“Based on this theory the ice would be out of Maine’s largest lake around the 11th of April,” said Obrey, “Unfortunately the theory doesn’t account for having the river re-freeze like some of it did earlier this week.”

Obrey said it won’t be much longer, especially with the heavy rain we just had, as it will start to eat away at the remaining ice on our lakes. He also said that Brookfield plans very high flows on the East Outlet and Moose River in the near future which will make them unfishable for a while, but will also open large areas near the mouths of the rivers.

“The recent rains will also fill lakes and ponds which will pull the ice away from shore and create some good areas for anglers to drop a line,” said Obrey, “This is a great time to hit some of the smaller ponds and lakes.”

“The water is still very cold and the trout, salmon, and togue will be cruising the shoreline. Any place where a brook or stream enters a lake should have some open water after this weekend. The brooks and streams themselves will be very high, but they are usually very cold this time of year and not as productive as lakes and ponds. We’ll have to wait until water temperatures rise and flows settle before the stream fishing improves.”

Region F – Penobscot Region

If you look at lakes and ponds in the Penobscot region, it still looks like winter with most lakes and ponds still frozen. However, there a few places you can fish.

“Cold Stream Pond went out last Thursday, and this week we saw a few guys fishing,” said IFW fisheries biologist Nels Kramer.

On East Musquash, the lake is half open, but there is still ice at the boat ramp so anglers haven’t had a chance to get out there. The recent rains and winds should take care of that if they haven’t already.

About the only anglers who seem to be out fishing right now are some of the younger kids taking advantage of the kid’s only waters.

“The kids have been catching some nice trout in the outlet of Cold Stream Pond,” said Kramer, “I’ve also got some reports of kids catching some good fish in the Burlington Fire Pond.”

Region G – Aroostook Region

If you are planning to go fishing in the northern part of Aroostook county, you are going to have to wait a bit longer.

“We had two mornings earlier this week where the temperature was below zero,” said IFW fisheries biologist Frank Frost, “and we still have full ice cover on our lakes and ponds.”

Rivers and streams have opened up, but most are still too high to fish. It also may take a while for rivers to subside to a fishable level as there is still two feet of ice on lakes and ponds, and snowpack to the north and west.

About the only area that you can fish is in the Fish River below the falls. There are also some very minor ice openings in areas where tributaries flow into lakes.

With all this cold weather, when will the ice leave?

“Probably the first week of May, depending on the weather. For the last twenty years or so, that’s generally been the week of ice out,” said Frost.

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April 1, 2016

136TH ANNUAL AWARDS CEREMONY: Maine Warden Service

[Winslow, Maine - March 31, 2015] The Maine Warden Service celebrated its 136th anniversary yesterday at the Winslow VFW. Included in the days celebration was the annual awards banquet that gives special recognition to game wardens for their performance in 2015 and includes the recipient of the Maine Game Warden of the Year award. Also highlighted are those who assist the Maine Warden Service during the course of their mission, the legendary game warden of the year, supervisor of the year, and the Colonel’s Award.

The work of Maine’s game wardens is diverse and challenging and takes place during the best and worst of weather conditions. Some of the achievements that were recognized included lifesaving events in which game wardens clearly saved human lives. Examples ranged from preventing a heroin overdose, saving a lost person from hypothermia, and placing a convicted murderer back in prison. A canine team search and rescue case was honored for tracking a missing man and saving his life while another canine team case brought an intentional fish and wildlife violator to justice by detecting crucial evidence. The Maine Warden Service is proud to be able to honor game wardens who made a distinct difference in people’s lives and for conserving Maine’s natural resources in 2015. The following were recipients of this year’s awards.

2015 Maine Game Warden of the Year: Recipient: Game Warden Tom McKenney – photo attached (Norridgewock) Game Warden Tom McKenney started his career in the Ripogenus Dam district where he patrolled for nearly four years. It was there that Warden McKenney learned to become a well-rounded game warden. He developed a keen eye and his never-quit attitude towards upholding the state’s fish and wildlife laws showed through. Tom and his family moved from the Ripogenus Dam district to the Norridgewock district in 2010, where he continues to work today. Warden McKenney was assigned the Norridgewock district and made the transition from being a woods warden to a warden that patrols a much more populated part of the state. Tom handles a high volume of calls for service and continues to aggressively seek out intentional violators and address these issues appropriately. Warden McKenney has developed a very positive rapport with the citizens in his district and they often bring problems to his attention.

From the moment that Tom started his career as a Maine game warden to present day, he has been the epitome of hard work and consistency. Regardless of the season, time of year, or weather, he starts out every day striving to make a difference and be a positive and hard-working member of his section and of the Maine Warden Service. Because of Tom’s proactive approach to warden work that goes above and beyond, his assistance with planning for the future of the Warden Service, his gregarious attitude within the community, the consistency he exhibits, and the deep desire to protect the natural resources of the State of Maine, Game Warden Tom McKenney was presented the 2015 Maine Game Warden of the Year award.

K9 Search and Rescue of the Year Award: Recipient: Jeremy Judd K9 Tundra (Mechanic Falls)

K9 Conservation Case of the Year Award: Recipient: Kris MacCabe K9 Morgan (Wilton)

Exemplary Service Awards: Recipients: Game Warden’s Sergeants Aaron Cross (Morrill), Alan Gillis (Orrington), Bruce Loring (Enfield), Ethan Buuck (2 awards, Mt. Vernon), Kris MacCabe (2 awards, Wilton), Bob Johansen (2 awards, Millinocket), Tony Gray (2 awards, Oxford), Dave Chabot (Greene), Maine State Trooper Jason Wing, Tim Coombs (Stoneham), Dave Ross (China), Eric Rudolph (Ellsworth), Dave Georgia (Greenfield TWP), Phil Richter (Lamoine), Kyle Hladik (Millinocket), Troy Dauphinee (Shirley), Chad Robertson (Madison), Andrew Smart (Ashland), Charles Brown (Dyer Brook) A certificate for Exemplary Service shall be presented when, in the opinion of the Awards Board, a Warden has rendered relevant outstanding service which deserves special recognition.

Maine Warden Association Merit Awards: Recipients: Auburn Fire Chief Frank Roma, Lt. Chris Morretto, and Erik Poland. The MWSA Merit Award provides recognition to a civilian(s) for highly meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding service. For the purpose of this award, conduct above the ordinary course of duty, when a civilian, because of individual or team initiative, courage and diligence, provides assistance with the goals and mission of the Maine Warden Service.

Legendary Game Warden Award: Recipient: Richard “Dick” Longley (Anson): Served 1945-1968 The Legendary Game Warden of the Year award shall be presented to any retired member of the Maine Warden Service who, consistently in the past, conducted themselves in such a manner as to display exceptional expertise in the areas of conservation law enforcement and since retiring has continued to provide a passion for meeting the goals and mission of the MWS.

Supervisor of the Year: Recipient: Lieutenant Dan Scott (Hampden): Division C - Bangor The Outstanding Supervisor Award is presented annually to the supervisory officer who has demonstrated superior knowledge and leadership in the area of conservation law enforcement supervision and by doing so has gained the respect of administrators, supervisors, fellow officers, other Department employees, other agencies and the public regarding expertise and performance in the field of supervision.

Colonel’s Award: 2015 Recipient: David Delorme Presented annually to an individual or individuals who the Colonel has determined have provided distinguished support and/or service to the Maine Warden Service and/or its mission. Maine Warden Service Colonel Joel Wilkinson.

April 8, 2016

Maine Warden Service hosts Mozambique: International Visitor Leadership Program

[Augusta, Maine – April 8, 2016] For the second year in a row, the Maine Warden Service helped host the International Visitor Leadership Program. A group of eight people from Mozambique, Africa, that included two chief game wardens, a district prosecutor, a judicial magistrate (judge), an assistant AG, a journalist, and others, visited with leadership in the Maine Warden Service for the day as part of their larger tour of the United States. This group is in the United States under the auspices of the U.S. State Department's International Visitor Leadership Program, a more than 75-year-old program started by former U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1940. This program was arranged by the World Affairs Council of Maine, Meridian International Center in Washington D.C., and the Maine Warden Service.

Today’s visit began with an overview of the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife by Commissioner Chandler Woodcock and Game Warden Colonel Joel Wilkinson. Afterwards, the group visited the Maine Law Enforcement Officer Memorial, took a tour of the State Capital, and met with Governor Paul LePage and IF&W Committee Chair, Senator Paul Davis. After lunch, Chief District Court Judge Charles C. LaVerdier and Penobscot County District Attorney Chris Almy met with the group to discuss their roles in Maine’s judicial process. The afternoon wrapped up with an overview of the Maine Operation Game Thief Program, a private, non-profit organization that works with the Maine Warden Service to pay rewards to citizens who turn in poachers.

During their stay and travel in the US, some objectives include an assessment of our efforts to deter poaching and trafficking of wildlife resources through wildlife protection policies, law enforcement, and criminal prosecution. They will explore non-governmental organizations that promote and support wildlife protection and discourage consumer demand. Additionally, the group will examine the harmful impact of international wildlife trafficking on political, economic, environmental, and social stability.

April 6, 2016

2016 Maine Migratory Waterfowl Stamp Contest Winner Announced

April 11, 2016

IFW Blog -- Well-planned Timber Harvests Can Provide Food and Habitat For Wildlife

March 30, 2016

IFW Blog -- Gordon Manuel WMA Offers Fishing, Hunting, Canoeing and Much More

March 10, 2016

IFW Blog -- Waterfowl Nest Boxes: Getting By With A Little Help From Our Friends

April 13, 2016

IFW Blog -- Installing Better Stream Crossing Structures Benefits Fisheries and Wildlife

April 25, 2016

IFW News -- Remove Potential Meals So Bears Don’t Become A Nuisance

For Immediate Release: April 25, 2016

AUGUSTA, Maine – Nuisance bear calls have begun in certain parts of the state, and the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife is reminding homeowners to remove potential bear attractants from their yard. You can learn more at http://www.maine.gov/ifw/wildlife/human/lww_information/bears.html

“With the lack of snow and the early onset of spring, bears are out of their den earlier than normal. After living off their fat reserves, they emerge from their winter den hungry and are looking for food,” says Jen Vashon, IFW’s bear biologist. “Some bears will seek out easily accessible foods in back yards. With a growing bear population that is expanding into central and southern Maine, there is a greater potential for conflicts. We want to remind people to remove attractants so they don’t create a potentially dangerous interaction with a bear.”

Already, the department has received 29 nuisance bear complaints this spring, spread throughout the state. Annually, the Department handles approximately 500 nuisance bear complaints, with May, June, and July being the busiest months for complaints. In 2015, the department responded to 415 complaints for the year.

Black bears emerge hungry from their dens after losing between 15-40% of their weight during winter and they immediately start looking for food. Bears will often turn to suburban attractants such as bird feeders, pet food, and unsecured garbage bins when natural foods are not available.

“It is important for people to be proactive so they don’t attract bears to their homes. Don’t wait until a bear gets to your birdfeeder or grill. They become accustomed to the location where they find food and they will return,” said Vashon.

Much of a bear’s diet is vegetation, and many natural foods such as leaves and grasses are not yet available. This time of year, bears will feed on grasses and sedges near wetlands, as well as the roots, tubes and bulbs of plants such as skunk cabbage and others. Bears are also opportunistic carnivores, and will also feed on moose calves, deer fawns, and small livestock.

In recent years, complaints associated with small livestock such as chickens have increased as backyard farming becomes more popular. To protect your livestock, please keep them behind a fence. At night, keep your animals in a secure building.

Bears that live near people often rely on foods inadvertently provided by people, such as highly nutritional sunflower seeds being fed to birds. Birdseed and other attractants should be removed to prevent attracting or creating nuisance bears.

In order to keep your home less attractive to bears, please:

• Take down bird feeders, rake up and dispose of bird seed on the ground, and store remaining bird seed indoors. • Keep garbage cans inside until the morning of trash pickup • Keep your barbecue grill clean by burning off any food residue, disposing of wrappers and cleaning the grilling area after use. If possible, store grills inside when not in use. • Store pet and livestock food inside, and cleanup any uneaten food. • Keep small livestock behind a fence or in a secure building, especially at night. • Keep dumpster lids closed and locked. • Keep outbuilding and garage doors closed.

By taking these precautions, homeowners are more likely to prevent conflicts that could pose a danger to or require corrective action such as moving or killing a bear. Removing these food sources will also limit other backyard visitor (raccoons, skunks, etc.).

If you encounter a bear, do not approach the bear and slowly back away. If the bear approaches you, try to intimidate the bear by waving your arms and making loud noises, such as clapping your hands or banging pots together. A cornered bear may charge. Always back away while giving the bear an escape route. Although bear attacks are extremely rare, if a bear charges you, stand your ground and if necessary fight back.

For more information, visit www.mefishwildlife.com.

April 22, 2016

IFW Blog -- Two things you probably didn’t know about gray squirrels

April 28, 2016

IFW News -- Turkey Season Starts Monday Throughout The State

For Immediate Release: April 28, 2016

AUGUSTA, Maine – Spring turkey season starts on Monday, May 2 throughout the state, and youth hunters have their own day on this Saturday, April 30. With this year’s milder than usual winter, hunters should be seeing a lot of birds.

“This was an easy winter on turkeys, even up in northern Maine,” said IFW game bird biologist Kelsey Sullivan. “We had good survival rates through the winter, and this was on top of a good production year for turkeys last spring.”

The light snow meant a lot of open ground where turkeys could feed through the winter resulting in higher survival rates and healthy birds.

“There are a lot of younger birds around, and the weights on some of them are impressive,” said Sullivan who had captured and weighed some year-old jakes earlier this spring. “We had some healthy 14-15 pound jakes and even measured one that was 19 pounds.”

Wild turkeys are a wildlife success story in Maine. Once gone completely from Maine landscapes, they are now a familiar sight in all Maine’s 16 counties, thanks to a reintroduction and management plan started in the 1970s by the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

“Maine has some excellent turkey hunting,” said Sullivan. “Success rates are very good, the birds are lightly hunted compared to other states, and you can hunt turkeys throughout the state.”

With a valid Maine big game or small game hunting license, turkey hunters can purchase a wild turkey permit for just $20 for both residents and nonresidents. This permit allows turkey hunters to take up to two wild turkeys in the spring, and an additional two turkeys in the fall. Legal hunting hours for turkey hunting stretch from ½ hour before sunrise and ½ hour after sunset. The spring season runs from May 2 until June 4.

While the turkey season is open throughout the state in all wildlife management districts, hunters should note that that there is a split season in northern Maine in WMDs 1-6, as well as one turkey bag limit in WMDs 1-6 and 8. Hunters may take two bearded turkeys, but no more than one of these bearded turkeys can come from WMDs 1-6 or 8.

If you are turkey hunting in northern Maine, in WMDs 1-6, turkey hunters in are assigned to either Season A or Season B based on their year of birth. During “even” numbered calendar years such as this (2016), hunters with “even” birth years will be authorized to hunt during Season A (May 2-7, 2016 and May 16-21, 2016 this year); hunters with “odd” birth years will be authorized to hunt during Season B (May 9-14, 2016 and May 23-28, 2016). All turkey hunters can hunt the last week (May 30- June 4, 2016).

During “odd” numbered calendar years (2017, 2019, etc.), hunters with “odd” birth years will be authorized to hunt during Season A; hunters with “even” birth years will be authorized to hunt during Season B. Many turkey hunters are familiar with this split season as it was in place statewide prior to 2007. More information and WMD maps are available at www.mefishwildlife.com.

The Department strongly encourages all turkey hunters to reach out to landowners before hunting. Please remember to ask first before accessing private land, and respect any and all requests of the landowners.

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May 4, 2016

IFW Blog -- IFW, TU and Audubon Are Looking For Volunteer Anglers

May 4, 2016

IFW Blog -- Working with Partners to Create Wildlife Habitat

May 6, 2016

Monthly Review from the Maine Dept of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife - March 2016

For Immediate Release: May 6, 2016

IFW Fishing Report For May 6, 2016

Region A – Sebago Lakes Region

In the Sebago region, the rainbow trout fishing is heating up.

“We’ve been hearing about some good rainbow fishing in the region, particularly in the western part of the state. Some of the fish are pushing four pounds,” said IFW fisheries biologist Francis Brautigam.

The smelt run is starting to wane on Sebago. There still are some at the mouth of the Songo, but salmon are starting to redistribute throughout the lake as the smelts disperse. Anglers may want to try around the western shore, or down at the southern end of the lake.

Water temps are still in the low 40s on Sebago. Some anglers have switched from trolling smelts to trolling streamers, but the results still have been excellent. One angler targeting togue caught 18 togue and three salmon; another netted 8 togue and three salmon.

With water levels lower than you would normally find this time of year, some anglers are hitting area streams with good success, catching a fair number of brookies and browns, some that have held over from the fall.

If you are looking for some panfish, it seems to still be a little early for the white perch spawn, but there are some big yellow perch spawning this time of year. Biologists were out trapnetting on Ossipee and the yellow perch that were captured in the nets were dripping with eggs or milt.

Bass fishing hasn’t really started to heat up, but this time of year, bass are seeking out shallower coves and the mouths of inlets where you will find warmer water.

Region B – Central and Midcoast Area

In central Maine, anglers hitting some of the area rivers are doing very well.

“Fishing on the Nezinscot has been phenomenal. There are a lot of brookies and browns in the river, some reaching 17 or 18 inches. The Nezinscot should fish well into June,” said IFW fisheries biologist Jason Seiders.

Anglers have also been doing well on the Kennebec up in the Bingham and Madison areas. One angler caught two rainbows, one 27 inches and another that was 20. In Madison between the dam and the Sandy River, anglers are catching some nice holdover brown trout.

“White perch runs are just getting started. North Pond in Smithfield always has a very strong run, as do many lakes in coastal and central Maine. Target large inlets and you will likely find white perch spawning this time of year,” said Seiders.

If we ever get some nice, warm, sunny weather, bass will be moving into the shallows. Usually the first bass into the shallows are the larger fish so don’t miss out.

Relatively low water levels have resulted in outstanding small brook fishing for brook trout. Now is the time as the there are no black flies and plenty of fish. Look for streams that are a little in higher in elevation, or streams that you know stay cold in the summer. Even if you think they are too small, they probably hold some trout as long as it stays cool.

Region C -- Downeast

Now is the time to be fishing in Washington County.

“The fishing is great, everything is coming alive,” said IFW fisheries biologist Greg Burr. “Streams have warmed and are producing brook trout, salmon are still on top and biting in area lakes and bass are beginning to move into shallower water.”

Reports are coming with some very good catches at West Grand Lake, Branch Lake and Beech Hill Pond.

“At Branch, they are catching some beautiful salmon in the 19-22 inch range, and Beech Hill is producing nice salmon as well,” said Burr. “On West Grand, most of the salmon are in the 16-19 inch range, and they are experiencing great catch rates.” On West Grand Lake, one angler even caught a 35 inch togue.

On Grand Lake Stream, salmon have started to move throughout the river. The river was also recently stocked with brook trout, giving anglers and added bonus. There is also a kids’ only fishing area in the canal that was also recently stocked with brookies.

Other trout ponds you might want to try include Indian Lake in Whiting, Salmon pond in Township 30, Berrypatch Pond in Township 31 and West Pike Pond in Deblois. Jones Pond in Gouldsboro is also gaining in popularity as anglers are catching some nice rainbows there.

“Now is just a great time to be out fishing,” said Burr.

Region D – Rangeley Lakes

If you are looking to go fishing in the Rangeley area, you may want to try Rangeley Lake.

Biologists have been talking with fisherman on the lake, starting the day after ice on the 21st. Catches have been very good. Last weekend, they checked over 70 boats that had caught 183 legal salmon. On average, salmon are running in the 19-20 inch range, but they did measure one that was 22.5 inches and weighed just over four pounds.

“The salmon are looking good – healthy and fat,” said IFW fisheries biologist Liz Thorndike. “Anglers are also picking up some trout as well.” Most anglers are trolling sewn-on smelts at slow speeds.

Nearby on Richardson Lake, anglers are catching some very nice lake trout. One angler landed two togue that were both over 30 inches.

Elsewhere, smelt are still running on Aziscohos, and there are scattered reports of good fishing on the Rapid as well as the Magalloway. Overall, stream and river fishing is picking up as the flows are very fishable right now.

Region E – Moosehead Region

The fishing on Moosehead right now is very good.

“We’ve heard some good reports from Moosehead,” said IFW fisheries biologist Tim Obrey. “Smelts are still running in the Moose River. That’s the place to go for salmon, togue and trout. Anglers are catching salmon up to 21 inches.”

On Moosehead, the smelts are still running on the northern end of the lake, but the runs have petered out in the southern end.

IFW stocking trucks have also made several trips to the area, and one of the more popular fisheries is the West Outlet. Anglers have been catching some nice brook trout there. Other rivers in the area including the Roach still might be a little too cool to fish.

“It’s still early – there’s still ice on Allagash,” said Obrey.

Now is also a good time to try some of the smaller ponds in the Moosehead area.

“Now’s the time of year when people catch the biggest trout out of these small ponds. The next two weeks should be really good for bigger fish,” said Obrey. “There’s usually a few midge hatches around midday, and anglers can catch some nice trout on wet flies during the day as well.”

Region F – Penobscot Region

Smelt runs have been strong in the Penobscot Region, and that translates to good fishing and large fish.

“In the north end of the region, ice went out two weeks ago on places like Matagammon, Shin Pond and Scraggly. For the most part, we’ve had some good smelt runs, but they have been extremely good in some places,” said IFW Fisheries Biologist Nels Kramer, who said that the size and condition of the salmon they are seeing is excellent.

“Schoodic and Cold Stream pond are looking really good,” said Kramer. “It’s still a little early for Matagammon and the East Branch of the Penobscot but those should be good as well.”

Ice went out on East Grand a month ago, but cold and windy weather have limited fishing activity there. This weekend could be really good there with the winds likely diminishing Saturday.

“The head of the lake has produced some good, healthy salmon but down at the southern end, we just haven’t seen many anglers due to the wind. When we have seen fish, we have seen some very nice salmon,” said Kramer.

It’s still early up in the Katahdin/Baxter Park area, but they are opening the Park Tote Road to Foster Field on Monday. This will give anglers access to Daicey, Kidney and Draper ponds.

“There’s some pretty good ponds in that neighborhood and anglers do well,” said Kramer. “We did some netting in there and the results were astounding.”

Region G – Aroostook Region

Up north, winter is still hanging on in much of the region. Basically, the further north and west you go, the more likely you are to find ice on ponds and lakes, while waters are more open to the south and east of the region.

“In the northwest corner of our region there’s still a lot of snow in the woods and the roads are just beginning to open,” said IFW Fisheries Biologist Frank Frost. “The southern and eastern part of the region is ice free.”

However, that could change soon.

“By the weekend, we expect ice outs to begin to spread from the east to the west. Eagle Lake should be out by the weekend and others will follow,” said Frost. Eagle is usually the first lake for ice out in the Fish River chain, and Long Lake is the last.

Smelts have just started to run in the Fish River Chain, while most of the smelt runs in the southern part of Aroostook are done.

“Square and Eagle are very good ice out fisheries, along with the thoroughfares. Smelt are spawning in the thoroughfares and the salmon and trout are following them into the tributaries,” said Frost.

Ice is out in the shallower ponds in eastern and southern Aroostook. Many of those ponds are heavily stocked and the ice out fishing can be excellent.

Even with the recent rain, water levels are lower than you would normally see for this time of year. Anglers may want to check out the Fish River, as there has been some good fishing both above and below the falls.

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May 6, 2016

IFW Fishing Report For May 6, 2016

For Immediate Release: May 6, 2016

Region A – Sebago Lakes Region

In the Sebago region, the rainbow trout fishing is heating up.

“We’ve been hearing about some good rainbow fishing in the region, particularly in the western part of the state. Some of the fish are pushing four pounds,” said IFW fisheries biologist Francis Brautigam.

The smelt run is starting to wane on Sebago. There still are some at the mouth of the Songo, but salmon are starting to redistribute throughout the lake as the smelts disperse. Anglers may want to try around the western shore, or down at the southern end of the lake.

Water temps are still in the low 40s on Sebago. Some anglers have switched from trolling smelts to trolling streamers, but the results still have been excellent. One angler targeting togue caught 18 togue and three salmon; another netted 8 togue and three salmon.

With water levels lower than you would normally find this time of year, some anglers are hitting area streams with good success, catching a fair number of brookies and browns, some that have held over from the fall.

If you are looking for some panfish, it seems to still be a little early for the white perch spawn, but there are some big yellow perch spawning this time of year. Biologists were out trapnetting on Ossipee and the yellow perch that were captured in the nets were dripping with eggs or milt.

Bass fishing hasn’t really started to heat up, but this time of year, bass are seeking out shallower coves and the mouths of inlets where you will find warmer water.

Region B – Central and Midcoast Area

In central Maine, anglers hitting some of the area rivers are doing very well.

“Fishing on the Nezinscot has been phenomenal. There are a lot of brookies and browns in the river, some reaching 17 or 18 inches. The Nezinscot should fish well into June,” said IFW fisheries biologist Jason Seiders.

Anglers have also been doing well on the Kennebec up in the Bingham and Madison areas. One angler caught two rainbows, one 27 inches and another that was 20. In Madison between the dam and the Sandy River, anglers are catching some nice holdover brown trout.

“White perch runs are just getting started. North Pond in Smithfield always has a very strong run, as do many lakes in coastal and central Maine. Target large inlets and you will likely find white perch spawning this time of year,” said Seiders.

If we ever get some nice, warm, sunny weather, bass will be moving into the shallows. Usually the first bass into the shallows are the larger fish so don’t miss out.

Relatively low water levels have resulted in outstanding small brook fishing for brook trout. Now is the time as the there are no black flies and plenty of fish. Look for streams that are a little in higher in elevation, or streams that you know stay cold in the summer. Even if you think they are too small, they probably hold some trout as long as it stays cool.

Region C -- Downeast

Now is the time to be fishing in Washington County.

“The fishing is great, everything is coming alive,” said IFW fisheries biologist Greg Burr. “Streams have warmed and are producing brook trout, salmon are still on top and biting in area lakes and bass are beginning to move into shallower water.”

Reports are coming with some very good catches at West Grand Lake, Branch Lake and Beech Hill Pond.

“At Branch, they are catching some beautiful salmon in the 19-22 inch range, and Beech Hill is producing nice salmon as well,” said Burr. “On West Grand, most of the salmon are in the 16-19 inch range, and they are experiencing great catch rates.” On West Grand Lake, one angler even caught a 35 inch togue.

On Grand Lake Stream, salmon have started to move throughout the river. The river was also recently stocked with brook trout, giving anglers and added bonus. There is also a kids’ only fishing area in the canal that was also recently stocked with brookies.

Other trout ponds you might want to try include Indian Lake in Whiting, Salmon pond in Township 30, Berrypatch Pond in Township 31 and West Pike Pond in Deblois. Jones Pond in Gouldsboro is also gaining in popularity as anglers are catching some nice rainbows there.

“Now is just a great time to be out fishing,” said Burr.

Region D – Rangeley Lakes

If you are looking to go fishing in the Rangeley area, you may want to try Rangeley Lake.

Biologists have been talking with fisherman on the lake, starting the day after ice on the 21st. Catches have been very good. Last weekend, they checked over 70 boats that had caught 183 legal salmon. On average, salmon are running in the 19-20 inch range, but they did measure one that was 22.5 inches and weighed just over four pounds.

“The salmon are looking good – healthy and fat,” said IFW fisheries biologist Liz Thorndike. “Anglers are also picking up some trout as well.” Most anglers are trolling sewn-on smelts at slow speeds.

Nearby on Richardson Lake, anglers are catching some very nice lake trout. One angler landed two togue that were both over 30 inches.

Elsewhere, smelt are still running on Aziscohos, and there are scattered reports of good fishing on the Rapid as well as the Magalloway. Overall, stream and river fishing is picking up as the flows are very fishable right now.

Region E – Moosehead Region

The fishing on Moosehead right now is very good.

“We’ve heard some good reports from Moosehead,” said IFW fisheries biologist Tim Obrey. “Smelts are still running in the Moose River. That’s the place to go for salmon, togue and trout. Anglers are catching salmon up to 21 inches.”

On Moosehead, the smelts are still running on the northern end of the lake, but the runs have petered out in the southern end.

IFW stocking trucks have also made several trips to the area, and one of the more popular fisheries is the West Outlet. Anglers have been catching some nice brook trout there. Other rivers in the area including the Roach still might be a little too cool to fish.

“It’s still early – there’s still ice on Allagash,” said Obrey.

Now is also a good time to try some of the smaller ponds in the Moosehead area.

“Now’s the time of year when people catch the biggest trout out of these small ponds. The next two weeks should be really good for bigger fish,” said Obrey. “There’s usually a few midge hatches around midday, and anglers can catch some nice trout on wet flies during the day as well.”

Region F – Penobscot Region

Smelt runs have been strong in the Penobscot Region, and that translates to good fishing and large fish.

“In the north end of the region, ice went out two weeks ago on places like Matagammon, Shin Pond and Scraggly. For the most part, we’ve had some good smelt runs, but they have been extremely good in some places,” said IFW Fisheries Biologist Nels Kramer, who said that the size and condition of the salmon they are seeing is excellent.

“Schoodic and Cold Stream pond are looking really good,” said Kramer. “It’s still a little early for Matagammon and the East Branch of the Penobscot but those should be good as well.”

Ice went out on East Grand a month ago, but cold and windy weather have limited fishing activity there. This weekend could be really good there with the winds likely diminishing Saturday.

“The head of the lake has produced some good, healthy salmon but down at the southern end, we just haven’t seen many anglers due to the wind. When we have seen fish, we have seen some very nice salmon,” said Kramer.

It’s still early up in the Katahdin/Baxter Park area, but they are opening the Park Tote Road to Foster Field on Monday. This will give anglers access to Daicey, Kidney and Draper ponds.

“There’s some pretty good ponds in that neighborhood and anglers do well,” said Kramer. “We did some netting in there and the results were astounding.”

Region G – Aroostook Region

Up north, winter is still hanging on in much of the region. Basically, the further north and west you go, the more likely you are to find ice on ponds and lakes, while waters are more open to the south and east of the region.

“In the northwest corner of our region there’s still a lot of snow in the woods and the roads are just beginning to open,” said IFW Fisheries Biologist Frank Frost. “The southern and eastern part of the region is ice free.”

However, that could change soon.

“By the weekend, we expect ice outs to begin to spread from the east to the west. Eagle Lake should be out by the weekend and others will follow,” said Frost. Eagle is usually the first lake for ice out in the Fish River chain, and Long Lake is the last.

Smelts have just started to run in the Fish River Chain, while most of the smelt runs in the southern part of Aroostook are done.

“Square and Eagle are very good ice out fisheries, along with the thoroughfares. Smelt are spawning in the thoroughfares and the salmon and trout are following them into the tributaries,” said Frost.

Ice is out in the shallower ponds in eastern and southern Aroostook. Many of those ponds are heavily stocked and the ice out fishing can be excellent.

Even with the recent rain, water levels are lower than you would normally see for this time of year. Anglers may want to check out the Fish River, as there has been some good fishing both above and below the falls.

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May 10, 2016

IFW News -- IFW To Conduct Mock Oil Spill Training Scenario Near Searsport

AUGUSTA, Maine -- The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife will be conducting a mock oil spill training exercise on Thursday, May 12 near Searsport starting at 8:00 a.m. and continuing into the late afternoon.

“As part of the training, people may see department staff in protective gear, staff at the mobile command center, or boats searching the harbor, but they should not be alarmed,” said IFW wildlife biologist Don Katnik, who will be overseeing the exercise. “We try and make these scenarios as realistic as possible in order to be prepared for an actual spill.”

The simulated spill involves a small vessel running aground in the vicinity of Sears Island and breaking up, releasing diesel fuel into the harbor as well as onto the shore at Sears Island. Boundary flags will mark the “oiled” shoreline, and stuffed animals and waterfowl decoys will represent “oiled” wildlife.

“If anyone should encounter one of the orange survey flags or a marked stuffed animal, we ask that they please leave them there for the exercise,” said Katnik, “They all will be collected and removed as part of the training.”

During an actual oil spill, the department’s primary role is finding and capturing oiled wildlife, and preventing more wildlife from become oiled. Staff participating in the exercise in and around Sears Island will be looking for “oiled” wildlife in the spill area, and using hazing techniques such as a propane noise cannon to keep wildlife away from the oil sheen.

“We will have a tent set up where biologists will bring the ‘oiled’ wildlife to be stabilized before transport to a rehab facility,” said Katnik. Eight different sections of the area will be searched. There will also be one team searching in a boat, and another team practicing hazing techniques. A command center will be set up at the corner of Route 1 and the Sears Island Road.

IFW annually conducts classroom training concerning oil spills, and periodically conducts mock oil spill scenarios with other agencies. The last field scenario was conducted in 2010.

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May 11, 2016

Maine Warden Service sets the record straight on “North Woods Lawless” allegations

The Maine Warden Service has been working diligently for the last two days in an effort to properly respond to the many inaccuracies contained within a Portland Press Herald story regarding our undercover operation in Allagash in 2014. We were informed today that the Portland Press Herald will not publish our response. Here it is in its entirety.

The story’s headline— “North Woods Lawless” —was correct because in that small isolated area of northern Aroostook County, a lawless attitude toward game laws by a small group of the town’s citizens had prevailed for many years.

That casual disregard was described in the story as “… a hit against our way of life.” that supposedly precipitated the undercover action by the Warden Service. It is well known that within sympathetic, tight-knit communities there is an unwillingness to speak out against one another. Special investigations are often the only means for acquiring evidence necessary for enforcement action. The sentiment of many in Allagash was that this lawlessness had been going on unanswered for far too long and resulted in complaints.

As a result of the investigation, 17 people were convicted of more than 75 crimes and violations that are detailed below. Suspects in this case paid over $39,000 in fines, spent a total of nearly 180 days in jail and had 80 years’ worth of license revocations handed down to those convicted. Thirty-three game wardens were used while serving five search warrants and one arrest warrant in Allagash. The investigation focused on three primary suspects and 15 other associates. Over the course of two years, 31 days were spent by the game warden investigator in contact with the primary suspects. The investigation ultimately moved its way through Maine’s judicial process, including the Maine Supreme Court just last month, which upheld the convictions previously adjudged by the jury of Aroostook County citizens.

Selecting an undercover case

There are a number of criteria that are considered prior to moving forward with an investigation of this nature. The first is whether or not the suspects of the investigation are inclined on their own to violate fish and game laws. The primary defendants in this case did have prior serious fish and wildlife violations—contrary to the statements used by the story’s author claiming that Carter McBreairty had “… no previous convictions.”

In addition, game wardens in the area had received numerous complaints about ongoing illegal hunting activity by the defendants, heavy drinking, violent tempers and attempts to try to intimidate local law enforcement. The complaints of ongoing poaching demonstrate that traditional patrol techniques were not successful in curtailing the illegal behavior. Soon after the warden investigator made contact with each of the defendants, they quickly confirmed their continued tendency to violate the law. The seriousness of the violations, coupled with the defendants’ criminal history and continued intent to violate, resulted in the investigation being authorized.

Release of documents

The story leads the reader to believe that the Maine Warden Service only produced a 16-page document and 35 emails in response to the author’s request. In reality, the Department has produced over 232 documents, for which the Portland Press Herald and their attorneys have paid.

Additionally, while attempting to accommodate the Freedom of Access Act request initiated by Colin Woodard, he filed a complaint with the Office of the Attorney General, which compelled the Warden Service to direct communications through attorneys. The Office of the Attorney General determined the Maine Warden Service was compliant with Maine’s Freedom of Access Act. The Maine Warden Service continues to work with the Attorney General’s Office to guide the release of records requested.

The Warden Service routinely processes requests for information through cooperative communication with the public to ensure the correct records are produced. Woodard resisted staff attempts to clarify the scope of his request, which would have reduced staff time and costs incurred by the requester. The Warden Service even dedicated time to create summary documents—which is not required under FOAA—in an attempt to expedite the request and make the process more efficient for Woodard.

“… SWAT-style raid…”

Woodard’s story asserts the Maine Warden Service used SWAT teams and tactics when conducting the operation in Allagash. Additionally, the story alleged the operation was embellished for purposes of the “North Woods Law” camera crews who were present. He is wrong. There were no SWAT teams or tactics used in the investigation, and no part of the investigation was embellished. This can be seen clearly in the episode of “North Woods Law,” which was titled “Throttle Out” and aired June 19, 2014.

The operation in the town of Allagash included serving five search warrants at separate residences as well as an arrest warrant signed by the Honorable Justice Hunter. Occupants of an additional three residences were identified as needing interview follow-ups. For operational logistics and officer safety, four to five game wardens were present at each search warrant, including one supervisor, one warden assigned to collect evidence, one warden assigned to interview, one warden conducting the search and one safety warden. Additionally, two wardens were typically sent to each of the residences with occupants who required follow-up interviews. One warden for each of these critical roles at a search warrant is well within a reasonable number of officers for such an operation.

On the evening of serving the warrants, one “North Woods Law” camera crew of five was used and divided into two small groups to cover more than one location. As per protocol for the camera crews, they never entered any of the houses and did their filming from the street, gathering video mostly of wardens carrying evidence from the residences.

Undocumented “… meal of onions and venison…”

The story described one of the defendants feeding the warden “… onions and venison, for which he would later be charged with possession of undocumented meat.” The deer was in fact described to the warden by the defendant as being a 140-pound doe which he had killed prior to the open deer season—an “early bird special” as described by Jess McBreairty. Additionally, McBreairty killed the doe in a wildlife management district that has been closed to the taking of antlerless deer for the past several years. This was further indication that the defendants were making a significant negative impact on local game populations.

“… entrapment…”

Woodard attempted to convey to readers that the game warden in this investigation acted outside the law. The author used expressions such as: “…persuaded,” “… entrapment,” “… entice,” and “… padding evidence.” He implied that these techniques were used in an effort to tempt defendants to commit crimes that they otherwise would not have committed. The game warden was also accused of frequently being intoxicated and was “… providing alcohol to suspects to entice them to commit crimes.” None of these unsubstantiated accusations are true.

At no time did the warden in this investigation entrap, persuade, entice or tempt any defendants to commit a crime. The defendants in this investigation had strong, controlling personalities and often commented how they wanted to teach the game warden the “Allagash way.” The warden took a passive role while hunting with the group and followed their lead and instructions. During this investigation, the game warden often attempted to limit and at times stop a defendant from killing moose and other wildlife.

On numerous occasions, Reid Caron attempted to convince the game warden to kill multiple moose and deer. On one occasion, the game warden stopped Caron from attempting to kill both a cow and a calf moose. On another occasion, Caron tried to night hunt a federally protected Lynx; the game warden prevented this by scaring the Lynx into the woods with his vehicle. Those found guilty as a result of this investigation killed five illegal deer, one moose and wounded one additional moose without the undercover warden being present.

The game warden did shoot one male deer with Reid Caron. This was after Reid Caron shot and wounded two deer at night on Halloween 2013 and after Caron had shot at numerous deer at night.

Caron insisted the game warden shoot and laid out the rules for the game warden to do the shooting.

Defendants often challenge the warden once they realize they [defendants] have been committing all the violations.

By not following the defendant and killing an animal, the game warden would jeopardize his safety and the entire case. The deer which the game warden shot was one of two wounded deer that Caron shot five nights prior. The actions of the game warden were in compliance with policy and law. In some cases, officers are challenged and tested by suspects. Failure to follow their direction or demands will jeopardize the officer’s safety and identity with the suspect(s).

Past documented occasions during similar investigations have lead game wardens to be threatened with their lives. Reid Caron had previously shot and wounded two deer at night and shot at other numerous deer at night. The game warden was successful in those instances and avoided killing an animal. The circumstance in this case of a deer being shot by the game warden was the result of Reid Caron ordering the game warden to shoot a deer. The game warden complied to protect his undercover status and quite possibly his life.

Providing/Consuming Alcohol

The warden in this case put himself in situations where he could document as many violations as possible, while at the same time trying to minimize his participation in the illegal activities. However, in order to “fit in” with this group of excessive drinkers, the game warden did consume minimal amounts of alcohol and used several techniques to appear or pretend he was consuming alcohol. At no time during this investigation was the game warden intoxicated while in character.

The customary practice for this group was to buy and bring large amounts of alcohol to camp or while out hunting. The game warden followed that pattern and brought his own alcohol. The game warden did not provide his alcohol to the suspects in this investigation. On one occasion only, in October of 2012, Jess McBreairty specifically asked the game warden for one (1) beer purchased by the game warden.

They were working outdoors on a tractor while McBreairty smoked a marijuana cigarette and were not engaged in hunting activities.

“… providing the man with the gun, ammunition, vehicle, and spotlight…”

Over many years of participating in covert operations, the Warden Service has seen time and again defendants who would rather use other individuals’ firearms and vehicles in the event they are caught.

It is common knowledge among suspects, especially those such as Jess McBreairty and Reid Caron who have been convicted of past offenses involving mandatory jail time and loss of firearms, to know the potential to lose valuable equipment. Of the 15 defendants in the case, all used their own firearms and associated equipment at some point to commit fish and wildlife crimes.

Reid Caron, an educated violator

During several incidents of night hunting with Reid Caron, he told the game warden he is more careful and has learned from getting caught in the past. Caron stated numerous times, after finding rifle shells, that he must spend time looking for evidence left behind of his illegal night hunting activity. Caron often commented to the warden that this is why he will never get caught again. It should also be noted the illegal activity continued even when the game warden was not in the area, and they used their own firearms and equipment to commit crimes.

Fact vs. Fiction - Reid Caron

Here are the facts about Reid Caron, who was described in a February 5 story as being “in dire straits and needed the food” back in 2008 when both he and Jess McBreairty killed a moose at night. When Caron committed that crime, he was employed as an Allagash Wilderness Waterway Ranger (see story here: http://bangordailynews.com/2008/09/22/news/allagash-ranger-charged-with-illegal-moose-kill/ ) and both he and McBreairty were convicted; Caron for night hunting and McBreairty for Hunting Moose in Closed Season and Shooting from a Motor Vehicle. Caron resigned from his position as a waterway ranger shortly thereafter. See full BDN story: http://bangordailynews.com/2009/03/26/news/park-ranger-resigns-in-wake-of-night-hunting-conviction/

Contrary to the Portland Press Herald’s story, McBreairty and Caron—whom Woodard portrayed as being in “dire straits and needed the food”—subsequently left the moose, which they poached at night, to rot.

Hope Kelly’s allegations that “I thought it was a home invasion.”

Contrary to Hope Kelly’s (Reid Caron’s mother) statement that “eight or 10 men came into her house unannounced,” game wardens who entered Hope Kelly’s residence both knocked and announced their presence and immediately notified Hope Kelly that they were there to execute a search warrant. There were not 8 to 10 wardens that arrived at her residence, as Woodard reported. There was 1 game warden sergeant and 3 game wardens. One additional game warden arrived later to take custody of Reid Caron and to interview him.

The warrant was audio taped and was in the hands of Woodard. However, he chose to mislead readers and relay Hope Kelly’s account instead. As soon as the residence was secured, Hope Kelly sat down at her own table, was shown the search warrant and was interviewed about to her involvement in the investigation.

The canned vegetables

During the course of the search warrant, a number of canned vegetables were seized inadvertently, a mistake that wardens made. The vegetables were in canning jars that were identical to and packaged with the illegal moose meat. Immediately upon being informed by Rep. John Martin that some non-evidentiary items were seized from her residence, we promptly returned the items. At the time they were returned, Ms. Kelly signed for the return of the property. That receipt is available to view. At no point did the Warden Service seize peaches.

In addition to the illegal canned moose meat, which was erroneously described by the author as “meat never proven to be illicit,” illegal moose and illegal deer parts were also seized from Ms. Kelly’s residence. As for any remaining canned evidence not being returned to Ms. Kelly, all other canned evidence was determined to be contraband and was forfeited upon adjudication.

“… scant results.”

These are the words that Woodard emphasized in his effort to play down the poaching of Maine’s wildlife. This group was found guilty of committing the following and paid nearly $40,000 dollars in fines.

Reid Caron (37) of Allagash, previously under revocation, but had been reinstated in 2010, received 364 days in jail, all but 90 days suspended. Caron paid $21,200 in fines and lost his hunting license privileges for 44 years. He was found guilty of:

Nine (9) counts of Night Hunting

Three (3) counts of Hunting Under the Influence

Five (5) counts of Closed Season Hunting of Deer and Moose

Four (4) counts of Exceeding Limit on Deer

Four (4) counts of Illegally Hunting Antlerless Deer

Two (2) counts of Possession of Night Hunted Moose and Deer

One count of Guiding w/out a License

One count of Hunting Moose w/out a Permit

One count of Possession of Unregistered Deer

One count of Over Limit of Grouse

Seven (7) counts of Shooting from/Loaded Firearm in a Motor Vehicle

Carter McBreairty (59) of Allagash received 364 days in jail with all but 30 days suspended and 60 days of 24-hour home confinement. Carter was ordered to pay fines of $8,550; he surrendered three (3) firearms; and his hunting license privileges in Maine will be suspended for 24 years.

Carter was found guilty of:

Three (3) counts of Hunting Under the Influence

Three (3) counts of Exceeding Bag Limit on Deer

Three (3) counts of Loaded Firearm in a Vehicle

Night Hunting

Failure to Register a Deer

Over the Limit of Brook Trout

Two (2) counts of Theft of Services

Jess M. McBreairty (51) of Allagash, who was already under revocation for a previous night hunting case, received 50 days in the Aroostook County Jail, paid $3,000 in fines and lost his hunting license privileges for 12 years. Jess McBreairty was found guilty of:

Loaded Firearm in a Motor Vehicle

Hunting w/out a license

Exceeding Bag Limit on Deer

Hunting Under Revocation

Illegal Possession of an Antlerless Deer

Possession of a Deer in Closed Season

Violation of Condition of Bail

Fourteen (14) additional defendants in connection with this case from the towns of Allagash, Winterport (ME), Palermo (ME), Derry (NH), Chester (NH), St. Francis (ME) and Fort Kent (ME) were found guilty of 17 additional violations, including Possession of Firearm by a Felon, Furnishing a Place for Minors to Drink, Illegal Possession of Moose Shot from a Motor Vehicle, Hunting w/out a License, Furnishing a Schedule Z Drug, and Illegal Possession of Grouse. Those fines totaled $7,250.

The fact remains that all those involved plead guilty or were convicted by a jury of their peers for breaking the law. Some even went so far as to appeal all the way to the Supreme Court, which upheld their convictions and the merits of the case were affirmed 7-0 by Maine’s highest arbiters of justice.

We know the Portland Press Herald story leaves some with questions regarding the investigative process used by the Warden Service. We firmly believe that effective special investigations remain an essential part of our 136-year mission to fairly enforce the laws protecting Maine’s invaluable fish and wildlife resources. This has been an investigative unit that exemplifies our very best work: http://georgesoutdoornews.bangordailynews.com/2012/08/11/maine-woods/mount-vernon-poachers-my-neighbors-rounded-up/

Maine people and those who are connected to our state deserved to hear the truth. We appreciate being able to set the record straight.

Very respectfully submitted, Corporal John MacDonald Spokesperson - Maine Warden Service

May 13, 2016

Maine people see through media’s attempt to smear wardens

The Portland Press Herald this morning has again launched another one-sided story challenging the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. Today’s story, with contributions by Colin Woodard, was produced by a new author, perhaps as another attempt at credibility. Maine people have voiced their opinion loud and clear and have seen through this attack. The newspaper has taken on a personality that no longer reflects Maine values. Maine people are different. We have strong core values. We respect our friends and neighbors. We tell the truth.

The May 13 Portland Press Herald story surgically pulled a few words from a judge’s ruling in order to intentionally mislead readers as to the actual meaning of the judge’s statement. This was clearly meant to mislead readers into believing the game warden acted inappropriately. Here is the judge’s statement in its entirety.

“The Warden’s activities here were clearly designed to infiltrate himself with Perry, Perry’s friends, and clients so he could personally observe violations. His testimony was replete with instances of how he attempted to avoid committing a crime personally. We are not convinced that the wardens’ conduct was so outrageous that due process requires a dismissal of all charges.”

Meanwhile, our sister State of New Hampshire is managing an incident that took place at 2:00 AM this morning in which two Police officers in Manchester, New Hampshire were shot. Numerous media outlets in Maine and around the Nation reported on this; the Portland Press Herald had not made this a headline as of 5:00 this evening. It would seem they would rather focus on their attempts to smear rather than report on newsworthy events.

It is quite evident the paper has an agenda. A reporter could go anywhere in the State of Maine or across the country and find defendants in any case, whether it is drug busts or prostitution rings, and find those that have been convicted who have a story to tell about how their lives have been impacted because the police held them accountable for their poor decisions.

As a result of the ongoing character assault by the Portland Press Herald and Colin Woodard, the game warden’s family has been subjected to ongoing harassment and inappropriate conduct by some, which has put his family through tremendous anxiety and stress. These behaviors are inappropriate, illegal and will not be tolerated.

The subject of today’s Press Herald story, Richard Sanborn Sr. of Parsonsfield, has subsequently been served a Cease of Harassment Notice this afternoon by Maine State Police for repeated harassing phone calls to the game warden.

The career of a game warden is dangerous. We conserve natural resources and we save lives. Maine people are tuned in, nearly 400,000 of us on our social media alone. Maine people know the difference.

Respectfully - Corporal John MacDonald - Spokesperson - Maine Warden Service

May 14, 2016

Maine Warden Service locates missing Rockwood man

[Brassua Township – Friday, May 13, 2016] The body of a missing fisherman from Rockwood was located by game wardens yesterday in Brassua Lake. Early yesterday afternoon the Maine Warden Service received a call regarding a missing fishermen who had not been seen since Thursday, May 12, 2016. Richard Weymouth, 80, of Rockwood, Maine was said to have gone fishing on Thursday. Family and friends had not seen or heard from him since. His vehicle was also missing from his residence.

At approximately 2:00 PM yesterday afternoon, Weymouth’s family called the Maine Warden Service. Four game wardens including a Maine Warden Service aircraft responded. Family and friends located Weymouth’s vehicle off the Demo Road near the South Branch of Brassua Stream in Brassua Township. A search of the area turned up some of his fishing gear.

Game Warden Will Shuman responded in a motorboat to the area and located a body in Brassua Lake. The body has tentatively been identified as Richard Weymouth by game wardens. The body was transported to the Maine Medical Examiner’s office for examination and positive identification. Maine Warden Service was assisted by the Somerset County Sheriff’s Office and a Maine Army National Guard Helicopter.

May 14, 2016

Maine Warden Service finds missing woman in Wellington

[Wellington, Maine – Friday, May 13, 2016] Maine game wardens located a lost woman in the woods of Wellington early last evening. Betsy Mace, 59, from Detroit, Maine had gone to walk property lines with her brother Robert Morrison, 62, on a property that was for sale on the Zion Road in Wellington. At approximately 5:15 PM last evening, Piscataquis County dispatch received a 911 call in reference to a female being lost in the woods of Wellington. The two separated and had planned to meet up later at the vehicle. When Robert Morrison returned to the vehicle he discovered that his sister was not out of the woods. Four Game Wardens and a Piscataquis County Sheriff’s Deputy responded to the scene.

Several nearby roads were searched by vehicle. Rain had started to fall and an aircraft was not able to respond. Game Warden Kris MacCabe and his K-9 Morgan responded and met with Morrison and walked to the location where he had last seen his sister. At 6:45 PM, Warden Kris MacCabe and K-9 Morgan located Betsy sitting in the woods. She was wet and cold, but in good health.

Follow several safety guidelines when recreating in the woods: • Always tell a trusted person where you are going and when you will be back. Including from where you will be parking or leaving. • Stick to the original plan or tell someone when they change • Have a safety pack with you to include fire starter material, space blanket, food, water, & signaling device such as a whistle and a flashlight. Start a campfire or small fire. • Do not rely on cell phones to be a primary safety plan. Many rural areas of Maine have limited or no cell phone coverage. Also the battery could become very weak in limited cell coverage areas. • If you do have cell phone, call 911. This can assist us in locating you if you are in a good coverage area. • Once you realize you are lost, stop, find an open area, build a shelter, start a fire, use your signaling device. This will assist game wardens and search volunteers greatly.

*Maine Warden Service also reminds those with an interest in searching to contact the Maine Association of Search and Rescue (MASAR) to get started on becoming a professional volunteer search and rescue person in the state of Maine.

The Maine Association for Search and Rescue (MASAR) is a non-profit organization that promotes and develops search and rescue resources for the state of Maine. MASAR provides training and certification for search and rescue volunteers using nationally-recognized standards. See mainesearchandrescue.org for more information.

[Snowshoe Lake/T7 R7 – Friday, May 13, 2016] Maine game wardens were called last evening to another search that involved an overdue fisherman on Snowshoe Lake located in northern Penobscot County. Mike Jones, 61, from Yarmouth, Maine had been fishing a brook between Snowshoe Lake and Grand Lake Seboeis with friends when he failed to return at the end of the day. The fishing party had boated across Snowshoe Lake to get to the brook.

Game wardens searched the area through several hours of heavy rain fall until 2:30 this morning. The search resumed at 5:30 this morning (May 14). Game wardens were able to locate Jones at a remote campsite on Grand Lake Seboeis at 7 AM. Jones was wet but in good spirits. The game wardens then used a motorized canoe to get Jones from the remote camp site back to safety.

Jones had become disoriented late on Friday and was able to eventually make his way to the shore of the lake. He then started a camp fire and stayed there through the evening of heavy rainfall. Jones made several good decisions after becoming disoriented in the woods. He first found a safe location where he could easily be spotted. He then gathered materials to start a campfire. The campfire not only provided him with warmth but also served as a signaling device.

Attached photo courtesy of the Maine Warden Service. Mike Jones can be here seen in the center of the canoe being helped to shore by game wardens.

May 14, 2016

Maine game wardens locate overdue fisherman in northern Aroostook County

[Snowshoe Lake/T7 R7 – Friday, May 13, 2016] Maine game wardens were called last evening to another search that involved an overdue fisherman on Snowshoe Lake located in northern Penobscot County. Mike Jones, 61, from Yarmouth, Maine had been fishing a brook between Snowshoe Lake and Grand Lake Seboeis with friends when he failed to return at the end of the day. The fishing party had boated across Snowshoe Lake to get to the brook.

Game wardens searched the area through several hours of heavy rain fall until 2:30 this morning. The search resumed at 5:30 this morning (May 14). Game wardens were able to locate Jones at a remote campsite on Grand Lake Seboeis at 7 AM. Jones was wet but in good spirits. The game wardens then used a motorized canoe to get Jones from the remote camp site back to safety.

Jones had become disoriented late on Friday and was able to eventually make his way to the shore of the lake. He then started a camp fire and stayed there through the evening of heavy rainfall. Jones made several good decisions after becoming disoriented in the woods. He first found a safe location where he could easily be spotted. He then gathered materials to start a campfire. The campfire not only provided him with warmth but also served as a signaling device.

Attached photo courtesy of the Maine Warden Service. Mike Jones can be here seen in the center of the canoe being helped to shore by game wardens.

May 16, 2016

National Safe Boating Week - May 21 - 27

National Safe Boating Week is a great way to kick off what will be a fun and safe summer on the water. From May 21 - 27, 2016, the Maine Warden Service asks boaters to pay EXTRA attention to their boating safety behaviors, and to especially ALWAYS wear their lifejackets. Remember…even the most experienced boaters can fall victim to boating crashes.

Wear your life jacket Although May is not considered to be the height of boating activity here in Maine, Safe Boating Week provides a great opportunity to remind those who are already recreating on the water to remember these important tips. Remember the dangers of springtime water temperatures. If you think you have enough time to get to your life jacket before a crash or incident, think again.

Be prepared The Maine Warden Service asks all boaters to properly prepare their watercraft before heading out on the water. Be sure that all necessary safety devices are both on your boat and in good serviceable condition. In addition to life jackets, safe boaters should have working navigation lights, sound signaling devices, and properly displayed current registration numbers. A thorough check of fire extinguisher and flare expiration dates should be done to be sure they are in working order. Make a trip itinerary and stick to it, tell others if you deviate from that itinerary, and most of all, wear your life jacket.

What is the goal of National Safe Boating Week? The goal of the National Safe Boating Week is to heighten awareness among recreational boaters of the importance of ALWAYS wearing a life jacket. This includes informing boaters that they have options when it comes to life jackets, such as the new inflatable versions that offer comfort and a complete range of movement. There are no excuses for not wearing a life jacket. For children and many adult activities on Maine waters, it's the law.

A list of safety requirements can be found here at Maine boater safety requirements, laws, and rules. http://www.maine.gov/ifw/atvsnowmobilewatercraft/watercraft.htm More information related to the National Safe Boating Week campaign can be found here. http://www.safeboatingcampaign.com/

May 16, 2016

IFW News -- Kids Fishing Event on Swan Island

AUGUSTA, Maine - On Saturday May 21 from 9am – 1pm, the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife will be holding a ‘learn to fish’ event on Swan Island in Richmond. This event offers the opportunity for children 15 and under to learn basic angling skills. All equipment, bait and tackle will be provided at no charge, and volunteer instructors will be on hand to assist. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

This event is limited to the first 30 people who sign up. Reservations can be made by calling 207-287-5252. Although the event is free, there is an $8 per person fee for anyone attending who is 15 or older. For this event only, children 15 and under are free. Meet at the Swan Island dock promptly at 9am! Bring a lunch and beverage and dress for the weather!

SWAN ISLAND GENERAL INFORMATION Swan Island, known for its abundant and often quite visible wildlife, is actually an abandoned 18th and 19th century town called Perkins Township, and has long been recognized for its varied and interesting history. There are five standing homes that date back to the 1700s. The wildlife management area, about 1,755 acres in size, is located in the Kennebec River between the towns of Richmond and Dresden. The Island's public visitation season generally runs from May 15th through Labor Day (with limited access through the fall). There are ten Adirondack type shelters available for overnight use; picnic facilities for day use; modern bathroom facilities at campground; and drinking water.

If you wish to visit the Swan Island Wildlife Management Area, you must make reservations for the ferry and/or campground. You may access the island, for day use, via personal canoe or kayak without a reservation; admission fees may be deposited in iron rangers. All visitor fees are as follows: day use, 5 years and under – free; 6 years and older - $ 8.00. For overnight camping, 5 years and under – free; 6 years and older - $8.00 plus $20 per site per night. Please visit our website at www.maine.gov/swanisland for more information and details about the island; or call 547-5322, and like us on Facebook!

Swan Island, the Steve Powell Wildlife Management Area, is owned and maintained by the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. Its operation and maintenance are supported by your fees as well as revenue from the sale of hunting and fishing licenses, and federal monies under the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Program.

May 17, 2016

Fatal rafting incident/ West Forks Plantation

The Maine Warden Service responded to the report of an unresponsive male in West Forks Plantation on Saturday, May 14, at approximately 2:00 PM. Michael Arena, 52, of Lexington, Massachusetts was on a commercial rafting trip with North Country Rivers. Arena fell from the raft as they were going through a series of white water on the Dead River.

Arena was a chaperone with a group of four boy scouts, one of which was his son. There were seven people total in the raft to include a guide, two chaperones and four teenage boys. The raft was being operated in accordance to state law. Upper Kennebec Valley Ambulance responded and pronounced Arena dead at the scene. The cause of death has yet to be determined. This is a rare incident involving Maine’s whitewater rafting industry as it has been several years since a fatality has occurred. Nearly 70,000 people commercially raft Maine’s rivers each year.

May 18, 2016

IFW Blog - Searching for Maine's Moose Calves

May 19, 2016

Eagle shot and killed

Maine Operation Game Thief has offered a $2,500 reward to anyone with information that leads to a conviction for the person(s) responsible for killing a bald eagle. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is offering an additional reward of up to $2,500 for information which leads to the conviction of any responsible party.

On April 15, a female, adult Bald Eagle was found dead beside a logging road in Days Academy Grant, east of Moosehead Lake. A concerned sportsman reported it to game wardens which responded and collected the bald eagle. The eagle was taken to Avian Haven in Freedom, Maine where an examination revealed it had been shot. It is believed to have been killed in early April.

The Maine Warden Service is looking for any information related to the senseless killing of this Bald Eagle. Those with information are asked to call Operation Game Thief at 1800-ALERT-US (207-287-6057) or Public Safety Dispatch in Bangor at 1-800-432-7381 (207-973-3700).

May 19, 2016

IFW Blog -- Training Drill Prepares Biologists For Multiple Crisis Scenarios

May 19, 2016

Maine Law Enforcement Officer's Memorial Ceremony

Today in Augusta, law enforcement agencies from across Maine joined forces to honor police officers who have died in the line of duty. Dedicated on May 25, 1991, 83 names are now engraved in granite on the Law Enforcement Officer’s Memorial which is located in front of the Maine State Capitol. Fifteen game wardens are on that memorial, more than any other branch of law enforcement in the State of Maine.

Today’s ceremony follows that of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C., at Judiciary Square. Each year on May 15 in Washington, D.C., all law enforcement officers who have died in the line of duty are honored. In 2015, 123 U.S. police officers died in the line of duty.

We encourage you to visit our website to view our Fallen Heroes Honor Roll page and view our newly released Fallen Warden Tribute Video.

May 20, 2016

Maine graduates four new game wardens

The Maine Criminal Justice Academy graduated 63 new police officers today from the 18-week Basic Law Enforcement Training Program (BLETP) in Vassalboro. Of those 63 officers, four were Maine game wardens who will now be entering their next phase of training. They will participate in an intensive Warden Training Officer (WTO) program involving field work, team building and problem solving. Following the WTO program will be a twelve-week Advanced Game Warden Academy also based out of the Academy in Vassalboro.

Graduating today for the Maine Warden Service are Game Wardens John Carter, 28, from Unity, Kale O’Leary, 23, from Fort Kent, Nicholas Raymond, 24, from Winslow, and Harrison Wiegman, 24, from Leeds. Maine’s newest game wardens have been assigned their patrol areas. Carter has been assigned to the Blue Hill district, O’Leary is headed for the Masardis district, Nicholas Raymond will be going to the Fort Kent district, and Harrison Wiegman will be covering the Jackman district.

The Maine Warden Service has always produced top candidates and this BLETP was no exception. Game Warden Wiegman was elected class Vice President and took with him two additional class awards, one for attaining class valedictorian as well as the academic proficiency award. Game Warden John Carter was also named a class officer and held the role of treasurer.

Governor Paul LePage addressed the newest BLETP graduates by providing the commencement address. The Maine Warden Service congratulates all those who graduated today and their families and wish them all a safe and fulfilling career in law enforcement. Attached photo: From left to right, Game Wardens John Carter, Nicholas Raymond, Harrison Wiegman and Kale O’Leary.

May 22, 2016

Four-year-old boy found dead in St. Albans farm pond

[St. Albans, Maine – May 22, 2016] A four-year-old St. Albans boy was found deceased late this afternoon in a farm pond near his home. At approximately 4:30 PM, the Maine Warden Service responded to a residence on the Ballad Road in St. Albans regarding the missing boy. The initial call went to the Somerset County Sheriff’s Office and they requested assistance from the Maine Warden Service.

A ground search was initiated in the immediate area of the boy’s residence. The Maine State Police attempted to track with a K-9 team while other ground searchers looked in wooded areas surrounding the house. Clues led to a farm pond next door on property owned by the boy’s uncle; the Maine Warden Service Dive Team responded. Game warden divers entered the water and recovered the boy’s body at approximately 6:50 PM in seven feet of water.

The body will be taken to the Medical Examiner’s Office for further examination. The Warden Service was assisted by the Maine State Police, Somerset County Sheriff’s Office, Dexter Fire, St. Albans Fire, Hartland Fire and Sebasticook Valley Ambulance. This case remains under investigation; the boy’s name will be release after additional family notifications have been made.

May 23, 2016

Boy identified in St. Albans drowning

[St. Albans, Maine – May 23, 2016] The body recovered by game wardens yesterday in St. Albans has been positively identified as four-year-old Maxwell Brawn. The manner and cause of death was ruled as an accidental drowning by the Medical Examiner’s Office. The investigation and interviews conducted by Maine Game Wardens, Somerset County Deputies, and Maine State Police detectives has supported the findings that this is a tragic accident.

Incident synopsis: At approximately 4:30 PM yesterday, the Maine Warden Service and Somerset County Sheriff’s Deputies responded to a residence on the Ballad Road in St. Albans regarding a search for Brawn. A ground search was initiated in the immediate area of the boy’s residence.

A State Police trooper K9 team attempted to track while other ground searchers looked in wooded areas surrounding the house. Clues led to a farm pond next door on property owned by the boy’s uncle. As a result, the Maine Warden Service Dive Team responded. Game warden divers entered the water and recovered the boy’s body at approximately 6:50 PM in seven feet of water.

No charges are expected in this case. This is a tragic accident, a worst case scenario for a parent. The family of Maxwell Brawn has asked that media refrain from contacting them during this time of mourning. If and when they decide to reach out to the media, they will do so through a family spokesperson.

May 23, 2016

Dover Foxcroft man dies on Long Pond near Millinocket

[Long Pond, TAR 11 - Saturday May 21, 2016] At approximately 5:00 PM, the Maine Warden Service received a call regarding a man who had fallen from a watercraft into the water and was deceased. Kevin Pullyard, 52, from Dover Foxcroft, Maine, and three friends were staying at a campsite on Long Pond in TAR 11.

Pullyard had gone out in a canoe to fish alone on Long Pond while the three others remained on shore. The friends witnessed Pullyard fishing and observed him stand up in the canoe and fall overboard. Kevin was wearing a lifejacket. Pullyard’s friends located another watercraft from a nearby campsite and responded out on the pond. They arrived to find Pullyard floating due to his lifejacket, however, Pullyard was unresponsive. Lifesaving measures were attempted but were unsuccessful.

Millinocket ambulance and game wardens responded to the remote location. The cause of death is still under investigation.

May 24, 2016

IFW News -- Kittery Trading Post Hosting Maine Moose Permit Lottery on June 11

The annual lottery event attracts hundreds of hopeful hunters, anxious to see if they will be one of 2,140 selected from a pool of over 55,000 people who will get the chance at the hunt of a lifetime.

AUGUSTA, Maine – The Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife is pleased to announce that the drawing for Maine’s moose permit lottery will be held on Saturday, June 11, 2016 at Kittery Trading Post in Kittery, Maine.

This year, 2,140 names will be drawn in the random chance lottery from a pool of over 55,000 applicants.

The event will be held under a tent at Kittery Trading Post. Festivities kick off at 9:00 a.m. Food will be available from Kittery Trading Post’s new “Lobster Pot” restaurant located on the patio and over one dozen local vendors will be on site offering everything from guided hunting trips to handmade crafts and goods. Staff from the Department including local biologists and game wardens will be on hand at the event as well.

“At 2:00 p.m., we will commence the drawing and announce the name of the first hunter fortunate enough to be selected,” said Commissioner Chandler Woodcock.

Since 1999, the Department has rotated the lottery throughout the state. Prior to 1999, it was always held in Augusta. In more recent years, lotteries have been held in Scarborough, Oquossoc, Greenville, Presque Isle, and Bethel.

"We hold the drawing in different areas of the state so that people can have the opportunity to be part of it first hand," stated Commissioner Woodcock. "Nothing pleases us more than to have members in the audience react to being selected," he said.

For those prospective moose hunters who can’t make it to the lottery drawing, the names of permit winners will be posted on the Department’s web site starting at 6:00 p.m. on the day of the event. Visit www.mefishwildlife.com to access the list once it has been posted.

There is no charge to attend the event at Kittery Trading Post. In the past, the reading of names has lasted approximately 3-4 hours. Kittery Trading Post is located at 301 U.S. Route One, Kittery, Maine.

For more information on moose hunting in Maine, visit www.mefishwildlife.com

May 25, 2016

IFW Blog -- Bud Leavitt Wildlife Management Area

May 25, 2016

IFW News -- Department Seeking Nominations for 2016 Lifetime Outdoor Achievement Award

AUGUSTA, Maine – The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife is now accepting nominations for the 2016 Annual Lifetime Outdoor Achievement Award.

This award, which is presented by the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, honors individuals who have been dedicated to the wise use of our natural resources and who are embedded in Maine’s rich outdoor traditions.

This is the second year of this very special award and the Department is now seeking nominations of individuals who have hunted, trapped and fished in Maine for a combined total of 40 years. For example, an individual who has fished for 20 years, trapped for 10 years and hunted for 10 years would be an ideal candidate. Candidates should have also demonstrated a form of mentoring, teaching or instructing outdoor activities.

The 2015 Annual Lifetime Outdoor Achievement Award recipients, Harland Hitchings and Joseph Boudreau, were recognized by Commissioner Chandler Woodcock at the annual Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine Banquet held last September.

Nominations should include the nominee’s name, address, phone number, photograph and a few paragraphs about the individual, their experience in the Maine outdoors, and an explanation of why they are a deserving candidate. The nominator should also include their contact information. Nominations, which are due by 5 p.m. on August 8, can be sent by email to Bonnie Holding at bonnie.holding@maine.gov or by mail to 284 State St, SHS 41, Augusta, Maine 04333. Please note, if you nominated an individual last year who you would like to nominate again this year, please contact Bonnie Holding. If preferred, a nomination form can be downloaded from www.mefishwildlife.com

The recipient(s) of this year’s Lifetime Outdoor Achievement Award will be selected by a committee of individuals from the Department and will recognized at the Sportsman Alliance of Maine Banquet in Waterville on September 10, 2016.

May 27, 2016

IFW Blog - Brook Trout Flourish In Little Moxie Pond After Removing Suckers, Shiners

May 31, 2016

IFW News -- Free Fishing Weekend is June 4 & 5

AUGUSTA, Maine - The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife is encouraging everyone to get out on Maine’s waters this weekend to take advantage of free fishing days.

Free fishing weekend will take place on Saturday, June 4 and Sunday, June 5, when any person may fish for free without a license on Maine’s waterways, except those who have had their license suspended or revoked.

All other rules and regulations, including bag and possession limits, apply.

“Fishing always provides great memories, especially when you help a child experience the joys of fishing for the first time,” said Governor Paul R. LePage. “Free fishing weekend is the perfect time for people of all ages to try their hand at fishing and see why the sport is such a beloved Maine tradition.”

Fishing is one of the most popular ways to enjoy Maine’s great outdoors. There are wonderful fishing opportunities throughout the state on the nearly 6,000 lakes and ponds and more than 30,000 miles of rivers and streams.

“It’s our hope that families would take advantage of this weekend, and of what Maine has to offer,” said Chandler Woodcock, Commissioner of the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. “Introducing new or young anglers to the sport is a great way to carry on the tradition of fishing in Maine and to teach the importance of conservation and wise use of our natural resources.”

The Department stocks more than 1 million fish each year and manages more than 20 species of freshwater game fish.

The Department also offers a free ice fishing weekend in February each year.

For a complete list of fishing regulations, including limits and sizes, visit www.mefishwildlife.com

For more information on fishing opportunities in Maine, visit www.maine.gov/ifw/fishing/opportunities/index.htm

June 1, 2016

Body of Massachusetts man recovered from Stillwater River, Orono

The body of a Massachusetts man was recovered this morning in the Stillwater River in Orono. Muhammad Jamal, 37, of Malden, MA was kayaking with his 7-year old niece on the Stillwater River in Orono yesterday evening when his kayak overturned. His niece, who was wearing a life jacket, was able to reach the shore safely. Jamal was last seen slipping beneath the surface of the water near the area they overturned.

First responders from Old Town Police and fire, Orono Police and Fire, the Maine State Police and Maine Warden Service responded to the incident. Search efforts were conducted by the Maine State Police Dive Team and Maine Warden Service Dive Team until late Tuesday night.

This morning, the Maine Warden Service Dive Team returned to the scene and continued conducting search efforts in the Stillwater River. At approximately 8:30 AM, Warden Service Divers recovered the body of Jamal in approximately 13 feet of water. Jamal was not wearing a life jacket.

Cold-water conditions make it extremely difficult for boaters to safely get to shore in the event they go overboard. The Maine Warden Service reminds people of the importance of wearing life jackets while boating.

June 3, 2016

IFW News -- When Dealing With Young Wildlife: If You Care, Leave Them There

For Immediate Release: June 3, 2016

When Dealing With Young Wildlife: If You Care, Leave Them There

AUGUSTA, Maine - As the weather continues to get warmer and more people are enjoying the outdoors, the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife is reminding everyone to follow this motto when encountering wildlife, especially young animals: If you care, leave them there.

Wildlife is more visible this time of the year and it isn’t unusual for people to come across baby fawns, moose calves, robins, raccoons and other young wildlife in woodlands or in their backyards, but that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea for people to intervene.

“Well-meaning people sometimes take in young wildlife in the mistaken belief that they have been abandoned,” said Commissioner Chandler Woodcock. “But they often put the young animal in more risk. Wild animals and birds do not make good pets, and it’s against the law to possess them without the proper state and federal permits.”

A deer may leave its fawn hidden in the leaves on the forest floor if it’s too young to forage for food. The mother-young bond is very strong in mammals and birds, and the deer will return to its fawn as long as humans don’t interfere.

“Too often people see a young animal alone and assume it has been abandoned by its mother, when in fact the mother has likely just left temporarily to search for food,” said IFW Wildlife Division Director Judy Camuso. “In most cases, it’s best to leave the animal alone because wildlife has a much better chance at survival when they aren’t disrupted by humans”.

If you come across a healthy young animal or bird, leave it alone. If you have pets, put them inside your home or on a leash so they don’t disturb the young wildlings.

If you do think an animal may be orphaned, please call an IFW regional biologist or game warden to alert them to it.

Here are other tips on what to do if you see young wildlife:

Fawns: It is always best to leave fawns alone. The nutrient profile of a mother’s milk enables fawns to be left for many hours as mothers feed on their own to help maintain the high energy demands of nursing the fawn. Adult does will return two or three times a day to nurse fawns but otherwise leave them in a safe place and rely on the fawn’s camouflage and lack of scent to protect them from predators. As soon as a fawn is able to keep up with its mother, it will travel more with the mother.

Repeated visits to a fawn can draw the attention of predators and could discourage its mother from returning. Under no circumstances should anyone attempt to feed a fawn.

Moose calves: Treat moose calves similar to fawns, but also be aware that approaching or handling a moose calf is likely to elicit a defensive response from a mother moose if it is nearby.

Squirrels or Raccoons: If a nest of squirrels or raccoons must be disturbed, (for example if a tree has been cut down or fallen) leave the young in the den part of the tree and move them nearby to a protected place. The mother will in all likelihood come back and transport them to a new location.

Birds: The same is true for a bird’s nest. Put the nest and nestlings into a nearby tree, supported in a basket or other container that has drainage. The mother robin or blue jay is probably right around the corner, and will return to feed the young and care for them until they can fly on their own.

Be aware that direct contact with wildlife can expose you to a variety of diseases. Human contact with wildlife may lead to an animal being euthanized in order to test for rabies.

For more information about Maine’s wildlife, please visit: www.mefishwildlife.com

If you care, leave them there PSA: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Unqz2f6ukwo

-30-

June 6, 2016

IFW Blog - - Butler Island Wildlife Management Area

June 6, 2016

IFW News -- Southern Maine/Sebago Region Fisheries Biologist Named Fisheries Division Director

For Immediate Release: June 6, 2016

AUGUSTA, Maine -- Francis Brautigam, the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife head fisheries biologist in the southern Maine/Sebago region, was named IFW’s Fisheries and Hatcheries Division Director today. “As commissioner and an avid angler, I am very pleased to have Francis as our director. He brings a combination of experience, passion and innovation to the position that will serve him and the state well,” said IFW Commissioner Chandler Woodcock.

For the past 13 years, Brautigam was the lead biologist in the southern Maine/Sebago region where he oversaw the management of Sebago Lake and other waters in York and Cumberland counties. During that time, Brautigam has overseen a change to the Sebago salmon fishery to a primarily native salmon fishery driven by natural reproduction in the Crooked River, from a hatchery-based salmon fishery.

Innovative fisheries management programs are a hallmark of Brautigam’s career as he has been instrumental in either creating or enhancing year-round fishing opportunities in southern Maine, creating sea-run trout fisheries through the stocking and management of coastal streams and rivers, and implementation and expansion of the state’s rainbow trout program.

Brautigam was honored last year by the University of Maine with their Award of Professional Excellence, and in 2013 he also received the Governor’s Employee of the Year award. Earlier, he received recognition as IFW’s manager of the year in 2006, and was named employee of the year in 2000.

As Fisheries and Hatcheries Division Director, Brautigam oversees an increasingly popular freshwater fishery in Maine that attracts over 320,000 anglers annually, supports over 3,000 jobs and has an economic impact to the state of over $370 million. -30-

June 8, 2016

IFW News - Monthly Review from Inland Fisheries and Wildlife

June 9, 2016

IFW News -- Unexpected Reduction in Waterflow at Casco Hatchery Not Expected to Adversely Affect Stocking Programs

AUGUSTA, Maine – The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife owns and operates a total of eight fish hatcheries and/or rearing stations across the state and stocks approximately 1.2 million fish each year. Maine’s fish hatcheries play an important role in supporting sport fishing in Maine, which has a $360 million impact on the state’s economy.

Constructed in 1955, the fish hatchery and rearing station in Casco is responsible for approximately 12% of the Department’s annual hatchery production. The facility raises landlocked salmon, brook trout, rainbow trout and brown trout.

Last week, the Casco hatchery experienced an unexpected reduction in water flow entering the facility. Unfortunately, the disruption in water flow caused the loss of many of the juvenile landlocked salmon (fry) being raised at the facility.

Anglers can be assured that the loss of salmon fry is not expected to adversely affect most of the salmon stocking programs in Southern Maine, as additional salmon production at the Grand Lake Stream hatchery and rearing station will offset the fry being raised at the Casco facility.

As a precautionary measure, some fish from the hatchery that would normally be stocked in early fall are being stocked in their planned locations now, and some fish are being relocated to other facilities.

The Casco hatchery is supplied with water by a single pipeline from Pleasant Lake. The intake pipe at the facility was identified as needing improvements in a recent infrastructure study that was conducted on all of the Department’s hatcheries and rearing stations. Although the reason for the sudden disruption in flow has not yet been determined, the Department’s fisheries biologists and hatchery staff are working hard to identify the cause and determine both short term and long term solutions.

In the meantime, anglers across the state will still be able to enjoy the abundance of fishing opportunities that Maine has to offer. A current fish stocking report is available by visiting www.mefishwildlife.com

June 13, 2016

19-month-old dies in weekend ATV incident

A 19-month-old child injured yesterday in an ATV crash has died. The crash occurred Sunday, June 12 on private property in Windham at 20 Laskey Lane.

The boy was injured when the ATV operated by his father, age 32, rolled over backwards while ascending a hill on their property. The father was carrying two additional children, ages six and four, on the ATV when the crash occurred. The victim was between the front legs of the father and the two other children were behind him on the ATV. The ATV involved is a 2007 Yamaha Big Bear 350. Game wardens believe helmets were not being worn at the time of the incident.

Windham Rescue transported the boy to Maine Medical Center in Portland where he died from his injuries today. The Maine Warden Service will be working closely with the Cumberland County District Attorney’s Office regarding this incident. The boy’s body will be examined today by the Medical Examiner’s Office. This case remains under investigation and no further information is available at this time. Windham Police Department and the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Department assisted game wardens at the scene.

June 13, 2016

Dry Weather Causing High Number of Nuisance Bear Complaints; Tips for Avoiding Conflicts

AUGUSTA, Maine – With an early spring and dry weather conditions, Maine’s black bears have been causing more conflicts with many Maine residents this spring. The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife reminds homeowners that bears may be attracted to bird feeders, garbage cans, dumpsters, and grills in your backyards in the spring and summer, where food or the odor of food is prevalent.

When bears emerge from their winter dens in April throughout Maine, natural food is not readily available to them, meaning bears may be encountered in backyards where bird feeders and garbage containers provide bears easy access to food. The number of bear conflicts usually diminishes during late summer when berries begin to ripen, making it easier for bears to find natural food. June is typically the busiest month for nuisance bear complaints.

Last year, the Maine Warden Service received 406 bear-related complaints, compared to 718 in 2014 another year with poor natural food levels. So far this spring, there have been 208 complaints received.

To avoid conflicts with black bears, we strongly suggest that homeowners take these precautions:

Birdfeeders - Take down bird feeders between April 1st and November 1st - Rake up and dispose of bird seed on the ground - Store remaining bird seed indoors

Garbage - Keep garbage cans inside until the morning of trash pickup - Keep dumpster lids closed and latched - Never overfill dumpsters - Dumpsters with plastic lids aren’t bear proof and should be kept in a secure building or protected by fencing

Grills - Remember to burn off any food residue, dispose of wrappers and clean the grilling area after use - If possible, store grills inside when not in use - If you’re having bear problems, stop grilling for one to two weeks so that the bear will move on

Pet and Livestock Foods - Store pet and livestock foods inside - Feed pets and livestock inside - If feeding animals outside, cleanup any uneaten feed daily

Protect your livestock with fencing and bring them inside a secure building at night.

By taking these precautions, homeowners are more likely to prevent conflicts that could pose a danger to human life or require corrective action such as moving or killing a bear. Removing these food sources will also limit other backyard visitors (raccoons, skunks, etc.).

For more information, visit http://www.maine.gov/ifw/wildlife/human/lww_information/bears.html

June 14, 2016

IFW Blog -- Providing Access Into Wildlife Management Areas Is A Balancing Act

June 14, 2016

Missing Greenville woman located alive

A Greenville woman missing since yesterday morning has been found alive. Clarice Jardine, 76, was located at 5:00 PM this evening by a K9 team member from the Maine Association of Search and Rescue (*MASAR). Jardine was located in the woods nearly two miles from where she was last seen in Greenville. Search crews are currently getting to Jardine and will be bringing her from the woods. Medical personnel will evaluate her condition. Initial reports indicate she is conscious and talking. Accompanying photo illustrates areas covered by searchers during the two-day effort.

Jardine was last seen at her residence at 4:45 am yesterday when she left to go for a walk with her dog. When she did not return, family called Greenville Police Department mid-morning yesterday. Jardine does have memory issues and she has not driven a vehicle in many years. The Maine Warden Service utilized K9 teams throughout last night until early morning today and attempted sound attraction with whistles after dark. Today, the Maine Warden Service was covering areas with the assistance of MASAR search teams. Greenville Police & Fire Departments as well as area volunteers assisted search efforts. More information will be provided as it becomes available.

*The Maine Association for Search and Rescue (MASAR) is a non-profit organization that promotes and develops search and rescue resources for the state of Maine. MASAR provides training and certification for search and rescue volunteers using nationally-recognized standards. See mainesearchandrescue.org for more information.

June 14, 2016

Details: Greenville woman located alive

[Greenville, Maine – June 14, 2016] A Greenville woman missing since yesterday morning has been found alive. Clarice Jardine, 76, was located shortly before 5:00 PM this evening by *Maine Association of Search and Rescue (MASAR) K9 team member Chad Carleton and his K9 Jenga. Jardine was located in Greenville Junction nearly two miles from where she was last seen in Greenville; please see attached map.

Jardine was located in a heavily wooded area on a muddy skidder road; photo attached. Search crews carried Jardine from the woods where she was evaluated by medical personnel. She appeared to be in good condition. The two-day effort included 80 searchers and involved Maine game warden and MASAR K9 units as well as aircraft from both the Maine Warden Service and the Maine Army National Guard.

Search synopsis: Jardine was last seen at her residence at 4:45 am on Monday, June 13 when she left to go for a walk with her dog. When she did not return, family called Greenville Police Department Monday morning. Jardine does have memory issues and she has not driven a vehicle in many years. The Maine Warden Service utilized K9 teams throughout last night until early this morning and attempted sound attraction with whistles after dark. Today, the Maine Warden Service was covering areas with the assistance of MASAR search teams. Greenville Police & Fire Departments as well as area volunteers assisted search efforts. The Maine Warden Service wishes to thank all those who helped with this intensive search.

June 15, 2016

IFW Blog -- Landowner Relations Program Provides Kits to Maine Forest Rangers

June 21, 2016

Operation Dry Water: June 24th - 26th

Maine Game Wardens will be out in force this coming weekend participating in Operation Dry Water, a national outreach and enforcement campaign with the goal of raising awareness of the dangers of boating under the influence and removing impaired operators from our nation's waterways.

Thousands of law enforcement officers across the United States will be on heightened alert for those violating boating under the influence laws during the annual Operation Dry Water weekend, June 24-26 2016. Operation Dry Water is a nationally coordinated heightened awareness and enforcement campaign, focused on deterring boaters from boating under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

We have designated Saturday, June 25th from 3:00 PM to 6:00 PM as the date and time available if you are a media organization looking to coordinate a ride with a game warden in a watercraft. To coordinate a ride along, please contact Maine Warden Service spokesperson Corporal John MacDonald at john.macdonald@maine.gov or 207-557-0818.

June 22, 2016

IFW News -- Department To Hold Informational Meeting On Jamie’s Pond WMA Timber Harvest

AUGUSTA, Maine -- The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife will hold a Public Information Meeting on Wednesday, June 29 at 6:00 pm at the Hallowell City Hall Auditorium to discuss an upcoming timber harvest on the Jamie’s Pond Wildlife Management Area.

The Jamie’s Pond Wildlife Management area encompasses 886 acres in the towns of Farmingdale, Hallowell and Manchester. Overall, IFW oversees over 100,000 acres of wildlife management areas throughout the state.

IFW staff will provide information about the upcoming timber harvest, and answer any questions about the harvest including how the harvest will enhance existing wildlife habitat, and how the department manages WMAs for wildlife. There is also a walking tour for the Hallowell and Manchester conservation commissions scheduled for 11:00 on Tuesday, June 28 at the Jamie’s Pond Wildlife Management Area. The tour will visit areas to be harvested, but due to the outside location and limited time, anyone with questions about the harvest should attend the public informational meeting Wednesday night, which is more interactive with IFW wildlife biologists available and will include maps, diagrams and a presentation of the area to be cut.

The timber harvest is designed to enhance wildlife habitat in the Jamie’s Pond WMA, and will include thinning around mast-producing trees such as red oaks in order to increase foraging opportunities for deer, snowshoe hare and turkey; cutting in and around deer wintering areas to increase browse and create patch openings in aspen dominated areas to provide habitat for both grouse and woodcock.

The project is scheduled to begin in the middle of this summer. For more information about the proposed timber harvest at Jamie’s Pond, please attend the informational meeting.

IFW Blog - Biologists Research Migratory Patterns Of Coastal Stream Brook Trout

June 23, 2016

IFW Blog - Biologists Research Migratory Patterns Of Coastal Stream Brook Trout

July 1, 2016

IFW News -- IFW Fishing Report For July 1, 2016

IFW Fishing Report For July 1, 2016

Region A – Sebago Lakes Region

In southern Maine, anglers are still having good fishing on Sebago. Fishing early has provided some action for salmon, but those with the ability to troll deep with downriggers or lead line are getting some nice catches of lake trout throughout the day.

Bass have moved off their nests and back into deeper water. However, anglers willing to fish at dusk or later have been rewarded with larger bass cruising the shallows looking to feed.

Bass fishing on the Androscoggin continues to be excellent and is a great way to spend the day. There are numerous access points on the river from Bethel all the way down to Brunswick and it’s easy to find an excellent stretch of water to fish. Access sites can be found in towns like Bethel, Newry, Rumford, Dixfield, Livermore Falls, Turner, Auburn, Durham, Lisbon and Brunswick. Spend a day floating a section of the river casting for bass and you won’t be disappointed.

Region B – Central and Midcoast Area

If you like river fishing, right now is the time to be on the Kennebec.

“The whole river is fishing well, and some areas are fishing fantastic,” said IFW fisheries biologist Jason Seiders.

The resurgence at the Shawmut section of the dam river has been most notable.

“Shawmut has been fishing extremely well, it’s the best it’s been in over ten years,” said Seiders, who said that flow levels are very good for wading, and you can access the river from both sides.

Evening has been the best time to hit Shawmut, as there have been some decent hatches and the brown trout are responding. Anglers are even catching some brown trout over three pounds.

In Skowhegan, below the dam, anglers are also catching brownies, with fish that are exceeding 18 inches in length. One of the best spots to access this section is on the Route 2 side by the boat launch.

Up in Madison anglers are getting good number of fish and some of those are in the 18-20 inch range.

“We’ve been getting great reports there right from the start of the season,” said Seiders, “Try the section from the Abenaki Dam down to the Sandy River.” You can access the river from either of the two launches on the west shore, or by some of the trails from the cemetery on the eastern side.

Up in Solon, there are reports of some good brown trout, and lots of salmon, though the salmon aren’t as large as the trout.

Bingham is still fishing well for rainbows and brook trout, and one local guide remarked that he cannot remember ever seeing so many brook trout.

If you are lake fishing for bass, most have moved off nests and into the deeper water. Target shoals and rocky areas that are 4-5 foot in depth that go down to 20-30 feet.

Region C -- Downeast

Downeast, they are still catching some landlocks on area lakes, but the lakes are starting to warm up. Surface water temps are still in the 60’s, but that’s not likely to stay cool much longer.

Bass fishing continues to produce. As bass fry have gotten larger and water temps warmer, the male bass guarding nests have moved to deeper water. Fish the drop-offs for most success. Some anglers are still having good luck targeting white perch as well.

Brook trout fishing has been good in the small ponds, with anglers fishing deeper from float tubes and canoes.

In Grand Lake Stream, the fishway is now open, and salmon are moving out of the stream seeking the deeper, cooler water of the lake. There are still some salmon in the river, as some IFW fisheries biologists were scuba diving in the hatchery pool, the glide area, big falls and some other pools and noted a number of salmon.

Small brooks for trout are always a good bet this time of year, as most of the larger streams and rivers have heated up. Also some good reports of large trout out of Schoodic in Cherryfield.

Region D – Rangeley Lakes

Up in the Rangeley Lakes area, now is good time to fish the Magalloway.

“The Magolloway is fishing like a bandit,” says IFW fisheries biologist Bobby Van Riper. “We are doing a creel survey up there and the fishing is pretty good.” Biologists have also received news of some good fishing through creel surveys on the Rapid, Mooselook and on Rangeley Lake earlier in the year.

Rivers like the Rapid are still fishing pretty well, but it is beginning to warm up in the region and the lakes are starting to stratify.

On the Rapid, Brookfield Power has started their pulse flows, designed wash the bass fry off their nests. The alternating high and low flows displace the bass fry from the shallows and into the river where they become easy prey for trout and other predators, while keeping the bass population low in this blue ribbon trout river.

In the Kennebago, anglers are still catching trout in some of the deeper pools or where there are seeps in the banks. There are still some pretty good mayflies and caddis emerging on the smaller ponds and rivers.

“It’s been a really good spring for fishing up here,” summed up Van Riper.

Region E – Moosehead Region

Up in the Moosehead Lake region, they are still catching fish on the big lake.

“The lake is still holding up and we are getting some good reports from Moosehead. Over the weekend, one angler caught a 2 and ¾ pound salmon,” said IFW fisheries biologist Tim Obrey.

Water temps are still in the low to mid-60s on Moosehead, but that could change quickly. Obrey was out on Sebec Lake last week and it was 60 degrees, three days later, the water temp was 65.

This cold spring, and others like it, are helping keep down the invasive smallmouth bass population in Moosehead. Cold spring temperatures and rapidly cooling water often push adult bass off the nests in order to survive. This can leave bass fry exposed to predators or delay spawning. If spawning is delayed, it can impact the winter survival of young of the year bass as they need to reach a certain size in order to survive the winter.

With low flows and warmer temperatures on many rivers, anglers are having good luck on the Moose River, which has a deeper discharge. Also, smelt fry born this past spring are dropping through, providing plenty of feed for salmon and trout in the river.

Caddis hatches are continuing on small ponds, as well as the East Branch of the Penobscot. Anglers are also getting ready for the green drake hatch, which usually coincides with July Fourth.

Biologists continue to monitor the East Outlet fishway, where they measure and weigh salmon and trout in the fishway on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from June 15th through the end of July.

Monitoring the fishway is an important project, it provides biologists with updates on wildlife salmon production in the east outlet.

In the 90’s when the dam was relicensed, instream habitat improvements were made in order to provide more spawning areas for landlocked salmon, and it is working.

“When we first started monitoring, we were getting a few hundred salmon,” said Obrey. “After the relicensing and creation of more spawning areas, we have tripled natural salmon production.”

Brookfield Power, who operates the dam, works with IFW to provide access for anglers and to regulate flows that allow for successful salmon spawning. The East Outlet is a very popular fishery and is open late into the season, with one section open until the end of the year.

Region F – Penobscot Region

In the Penobscot region, East Grand Lake has slowed down somewhat after some very good fishing for salmon and lake trout this spring.

“The big attraction on East Grand is for landlocks,” said IFW Fisheries Biologist Nels Kramer, “Anglers not only were catching good numbers of fish, they were good size as well.”

Anglers on Schoodic have been catching good numbers of togue, but not as many salmon. However, size quality of the salmon is excellent, with some anglers landing 6-7 pound fish.

Trout fisherman in the Katahdin region eagerly await the green drake hatch which normally occurs around the fourth of July.

“Some of the trout ponds are just starting to see drakes, and that should really pick up in the next week,” said Kramer.

Even with the dry spring and early summer, flow rates on the Penobscot are decent and anglers are catching good numbers of bass throughout the river.

On Cold Stream Pond, the Penobscot Valley High School class of 2017 held their annual fundraiser for project graduation, the third annual Cold Stream Bass Tournament. Bass were illegally introduced into Cold Stream Pond, and the tournament is designed to remove them.

The first year, over 900 bass were, caught, and the past two year, approximately half that many were caught. The winning fishermen this year caught an amazing 153 bass in one day.

Region G – Aroostook Region

Recent rains have helped anglers up in Aroostook County.

“Brook fishing is excellent right now. The rain showers we got this week have brought flows up. The salmon rivers are still fishing good as well,” said IFW fisheries biologist Frank Frost.

Like the rest of the state, water temps in ponds are warming up, and if you are looking for trout, you are going to find them in their summer refuge areas, such as spring holes and seeps where the water is cooler.

“The green drake hatch hasn’t quite started, but we are on the verge,” says Frost, who says it likely will be in full swing by the Fourth of July.

Frost and his crew have begun trapping the fishway at Churchill Dam on the Allagash Waterway.

“One of the gems in the State of Maine is the Allagash Waterway,” said Frost. “It gets a lot of use and supports a lot of wild trout.”

They are already getting a good number of fish as they come out of the river, seeking the cooler, deeper waters of the lake. Trout have ranged in size from 4-18 inches, representing a variety of ages.

Data gathered from the trapping will provide an in-depth look at the trout population in that waterway. The dam was replaced in 1997, and in 2001 and 2002 crews trapped the fishway to gather biological data on the trout. Once this collection is completed, Frost will be able to compare data this year with that from 15 years ago and get an even clearer picture of the health of the trout fishery in that section of the waterway.

July 5, 2016

IFW News -- IFW Biologists Seeking Information On Maine Bat Colonies

AUGUSTA, Maine -- The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife is looking for more information concerning bat colonies around the State of Maine as biologists continue to research the impact of white-nose syndrome in Maine.

“Certain species of bats have been hit hard by white nose syndrome. This online survey tool will help us locate existing bat colonies and give us more insight into the health of Maine’s bat population,” said IFW wildlife biologist Cory Mosby.

The Maine Bat Colony Identification Program is asking for people to report bat colonies by filling out an online form at http://www.maine.gov/ifw/wildlife/species/mammals/report-bat-colony.html Filling out the form is simple and quick, and the information goes directly to Maine’s biologists.

Maine is home to eight species of bats. The state has two bat species on the state’s endangered list, the little brown bat and the northern long-eared bat; and the eastern small-footed bat is on the state’s threated list. Little brown bats like to raise their young in barns and warm attic spaces during Maine’s summer.

In Maine, biologists have seen a drastic decline in the number of cave-dwelling bat species. Maine’s eight bat species are divided into cave dwelling species, and tree dwelling species. White-nose syndrome is a fungal disease that is estimated to have killed over 6 million bats in the eastern United States, with the cave dwelling species have been hit hardest by the disease.

In Maine, it is estimated that some bat species have declined by as much as 98%. Bats are an important part of Maine’s ecosystem, as they are a major predator of insects, including mosquitoes and agricultural insects. -30-

July 7, 2016

IFW News - - Monthly Review: June 2016

July 6, 2016

IFW Blog - - Wildlife Management Areas Receive New Signs

July 7, 2016

IFW News -- Any-Deer Permit Applications Available, Proposal To Up Permits by 60% from 2015

For Immediate Release: July 7, 2016

AUGUSTA, Maine – Applications for 2016 any-deer (antlerless) permit lottery are now available online from the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

Online applications are due by 11:59 P.M. on August 15, 2016. Paper applications may be submitted in person or by mail no later than 5 P.M. on July 29, 2016. To apply online, or print a paper application to mail, visit http://www.mefishwildlife.com/.

This year, a total 45,755 any-deer permits are proposed for 18 of the state’s 29 wildlife management districts across the state, an increase of nearly 60%. Last year, there were 28,770 permits available to hunters. Hunters who do not receive an Any Deer permits are only allowed to shoot an antlered deer. The proposed permit numbers await approval by the IFW advisory council.

“Last year’s winter was more moderate in many areas of the state, and the increase in the number of any deer permits reflect that,” said IFW wildlife biologist Kyle Ravana. The proposed increase in permits are in 13 different wildlife management districts that comprise southern, central, and western Maine.

The department uses the any-deer permit system to manage the white-tailed deer population in the state. The ability to enact change in the state’s deer populations derives from the ability to increase, or decrease, the number of breeding does on the landscape. White-tailed deer are at the northern edge of their range in Maine, and winter severity is a limiting factor concerning population growth. By controlling the harvest of female deer in the 29 regional wildlife management districts throughout the state, biologists can manage population trends. With last year’s winter below average in severity, more permits can be issued.

This year, there are any deer permits proposed for WMDs 7, 12, and 13 after these districts saw no permits last year. Biological data collected as well as field observations by biologists suggest that these WMDs can withstand a light doe harvest. The mild winter provided deer with a lower than average over-winter mortality, as well as increased reproductivity.

Last year, Maine’s hunters harvested 20,325 deer. Hunters harvested 14,907 bucks, and 3,615 adult does. For the past 8 years, Maine hunters have been harvesting approximately 20,900 deer annually.

Maine hunters were most successful during the regular firearms season for deer, which accounted for 82% of the total deer kill. Bowhunters accounted for 10%, youth hunters just over 4.2% and muzzleloaders 3.7% of the total deer kill. Up to half of all any deer permits in each WMD are allocated between Maine landowners who own 25 acres or more (25%) and youth hunters (25%). The remaining permits are then distributed to the remaining hunters who apply for any deer permits. The drawing will be held on September 9, 2016 and results will be posted on the Department’s website.

The 18 wildlife management districts where any-deer (antlerless) permits are proposed are 3, 6, 7, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26 and 29. Firearms hunting for deer begins with Youth Deer Hunting Day on Saturday, October 22, 2016. Youth may take a buck statewide or an antlerless deer only in the wildlife management districts where any-deer permits will be issued this fall.

This year, Maine Residents Only Day is on Saturday, October 29, 2016, and regular firearms season for deer runs October 31 through November 26, 2016. Note: this year, a nonresident who owns 25 or more acres of land in Maine and leaves land open to hunting, holds a valid hunting license, and is not otherwise prohibited by law, may hunt deer on the Resident only day.

The regular archery season begins on September 29 and continues until October 28. The expanded archery season is from September 10- December 10 in specially designated areas. The muzzleloading season is November 28-December 3 in all areas of the state, and continues another week ( December 5-10) in southern and central Maine (WMDs 12, 13, 15-18, 20-26 and 29). For more information, visit www.mefishwildlife.com.

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July 12, 2016

IFW News -- Maine To Help Massachusetts With Loon Restoration

For Immediate Release: July 12, 2016

AUGUSTA, Maine --The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife is partnering on a national restoration effort for the Common Loon designed to strengthen and restore loon populations within their existing and former range in New England.

“Maine is home to 75% of the territorial pairs of loons in New England and New York, making Maine the stronghold for the northeast loon breeding population,” says Danielle D’Auria, wildlife biologist with MDIFW. “We are pleased to play a role in the restoration of this species to its historic range in Massachusetts.”

IFW and Maine Audubon are assisting Biodiversity Research Institute (BRI) on this program known as “Restore the Call,” which will relocate older loon chicks (> 6 weeks old) from areas with dense loon populations in Maine and New York to a release lake in southeastern Massachusetts.

The program is designed to boost the population and number of breeding pairs in Massachusetts. Adult loons are slow to colonize new areas, as they generally stay within 2.5 miles of the previous year’s breeding territory and loon chicks usually return to lakes within 7-8 miles of the lake where they were raised. Chicks translocated to southeastern Massachusetts will likely return to that region to breed as adults in 4-6 years, the age at which loons start to claim territories.

In Massachusetts, there are only 45 breeding pairs in the state. The majority of loon pairs that have recolonized Massachusetts are on or near the Quabbin and Wachusetts Resevoir, and few loons have dispersed and formed breeding pairs outside of this region.

“Restore the Call aims to help expedite expansion of the loon population into this formerly occupied area of the state,” says Andrew Vitz with Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife. “Without these efforts, establishing nesting loons in southeastern Massachusetts would likely take decades if it happens at all.”

Last year, seven loon chicks were successfully translocated from New York’s Adirondack population to Massachusetts. This summer, New York and Maine hope to contribute a combined 10 chicks to this project. “No more than 10 chicks would be moved from Maine, which constitutes a small proportion of the total offspring from this healthy population,” says D’Auria. “This contribution will not significantly impact the overall viability of Maine’s loons.” Additionally, chicks will only be translocated from highly productive lakes with a history of successful reproduction.

Once transported to Massachusetts, chicks will be kept in aquatic enclosures on the rearing lake to ensure their safety as they continue to grow and mature. These enclosures allow biologists and wildlife veterinarians to easily monitor their feeding and behavior without being seen by the loons (due to blinds and visual barriers). After several weeks, the chicks will be recaptured and physically examined before being released onto the lake. From that point, the chicks are then visually monitored until they fledge (fly off the lake). The rearing lake and lakes in the region will be monitored for years to come in hopes of detecting the return of these individuals.

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July 12, 2016

IFW Blog -- Maine Game Wardens Participate in Operation Dry Water

July 12, 2016

IFW News -- IFW to Host Family Field Day on Swan Island

AUGUSTA, Maine -- On Saturday, July 30 from 7:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., join staff for a fun day of hands-on learning on Swan Island in the Kennebec River. This event is designed to provide fun and learning for the whole family. Activities include fly fishing, archery, geocaching, orienteering, ATVs, trapping, air gun range, paddling, a working dog demonstration and more! All equipment and instruction will be provided.

The cost to attend is $5.00 per person or $20.00 for a family. Participants will be able to complete six 50-minute sessions on topics of their choosing with a break for lunch. This event is also a perfect opportunity to explore the island, a great place to hike, camp, and watch wildlife!

Ferry rides are provided to and from Swan Island. Participants are strongly urged to arrive early for the event.

Registration is required; materials are available online at http://bit.ly/swanislandfieldday16

General Information about Swan Island Swan Island, known for its abundant and often quite visible wildlife, is actually an abandoned 18th and 19th century town called Perkins Township, and has long been recognized for its varied and interesting history. There are five standing homes that date back to the 1700s. The wildlife management area, about 1,755 acres in size, is located in the Kennebec River between the towns of Richmond and Dresden. The Island's public visitation season generally runs from May 15th through Labor Day (with limited access through the fall). There are ten Adirondack type shelters available for overnight use; picnic facilities for day use; modern bathroom facilities at campground; and drinking water.

If you wish to visit the Swan Island Wildlife Management Area, you must make reservations for the ferry and/or campground. You may access the island, for day use, via personal canoe or kayak without a reservation; admission fees may be deposited in iron rangers. All visitor fees are as follows: day use, 5 years and under – free; 6 years and older - $ 8.00. For overnight camping, 5 years and under – free; 6 years and older - $8.00 plus $20 per site per night. Please visit our website at www.maine.gov/swanisland for more information and details about the island; or call 547-5322, and like us on Facebook!

Swan Island, the Steve Powell Wildlife Management Area, is owned and maintained by the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. Its operation and maintenance are supported by your fees as well as revenue from the sale of hunting and fishing licenses, and federal monies under the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Program.

July 14, 2016

Camp North Woods begins next week!

Camp North Woods begins next week at the Bryant Pond 4-H Camp and Learning Center!

We invite you to come spend time with campers, Bryant Pond staff and game wardens on Tuesday, July 19th from 9:00 to 3:00. To schedule a time to meet with us, please contact Corporal John MacDonald at 207-557-0818 or by email at john.macdonald@maine.gov.

Camp North Woods is a youth outreach project that began in 2015 by the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife in cooperation with Bryant Pond 4H Camp and Learning Center. The Camp builds upon the momentum created by the hit TV show North Woods Law on Animal Planet. There has been a tremendous amount of support and interest as a result of the show from families in Maine and across the nation. The camp provides a unique opportunity to introduce children to outdoor recreational activities in the company of their hero game wardens seen on the show North Woods Law. Game wardens will mentor campers as they experience Maine’s outdoor opportunities in a safe and controlled environment.

The camp runs two weeks, one week for girls and another for boys. The girl’s week begins Sunday, July 17 and runs to Saturday, July 23. Boys will arrive Sunday, July 31 and will stay through Saturday, August 6. The camp will host a total of 240 children between the ages of 8 and 12 from Maine and several other states. Campers will experience shooting sports, ATV and watercraft use, water safety, fishing, archery, and many other outdoor related activities managed by the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife is dedicated to providing opportunities to youth in the outdoors, where they can learn lifelong skills and the importance of sustaining Maine's natural resources. We hope to see you on Tuesday, July 19th!

(Attached photo courtesy of the Maine Warden Service. 2015 Camp North Woods file photo.)

July 15, 2016

IFW Blog -- Echo Lake Togue and Salmon Continue To Thrive

July 15, 2016

Two dead after drowning in Mattawamkeag River - Island Falls

A man and boy are dead this evening after drowning in the West Branch of the Mattawamkeag River. The adult male has been identified as Jamie Main, 49, from Crystal, Maine. The boy was Kobe Berry, 13, from Bangor. Maine Game Wardens, Island Falls Fire Department, and Maine State Police responded at 3:30 this afternoon to the report of two subjects that were presumed drowned.

The victims had been swimming in the river in Island Falls. Witnesses stated seeing a juvenile subject struggling in the current near the middle of the river. An adult male swam to the juvenile to attempt a rescue when both became submerged. A search began and included the use of watercraft, aircraft, and foot searches along the river. Main’s body was recovered at 6:00 PM and Berry was recovered at 8:00 PM this evening.

IFW Blog -- Allagash Fishery Part of 50th Anniversary Celebration

July 22, 2016

IFW Blog -- Allagash Fishery Part of 50th Anniversary Celebration

July 26, 2016

IFW News--Fryeburg Shooting Area To Reopen With New Schedule

For Immediate Release: July 26, 2016

AUGUSTA, Maine – The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife is scheduling new hours for use of the Fryeburg Shooting Area, located on the Major Gregory Sanborn Wildlife Management Area.

Starting Tuesday, July 26, the area temporarily closed and will reopen only during periods when an approved range safety officer is present. The department is currently developing a schedule of time periods when the shooting area will be open for public use. As soon as it is available, the schedule will be posted on the Department’s webpage and at the entrance to the shooting area. NRA-certified Range Safety Officers that are interested in volunteering their time to monitor shooting activity at the range can contact Craig Gerry, MDIFW Shooting Range Coordinator, at 650-4914 for more information.

Until the schedule is posted, members of the public are encouraged to take advantage of numerous privately operated shooting ranges throughout the state. A map of shooting ranges, including contact information, can be found here: http://www.maine.gov/ifw/huntingtrapping/shootingranges/index.html .

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August 2, 2016

IFW News -- IFW Names Overlock As New Fisheries Division Management Supervisor

For Immediate Release August 2, 2016 IFW Names Overlock As New Fisheries Division Management Supervisor AUGUSTA, Maine -- Joseph Overlock, a Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Fisheries biologist in the Downeast region was named IFW’s fisheries division management supervisor today.

“Joe is a welcome addition to our fisheries management team. His experience, education and energy are an excellent fit as our fisheries management supervisor,” said IFW Commissioner Chandler Woodcock.

In his new role as fisheries management supervisor, Overlock will oversee the fisheries division research and management programs, supervise the seven field and one research offices, assist with fisheries operational and strategic plans, and aid with the development and implementation of fisheries regulations and policy.

Since graduating from the University of Maine-Machias in 2006, Overlock has quickly risen in the fisheries division. Most recently, he was the assistant regional fisheries biologist in the Downeast region. He began his IFW fisheries career as a seasonal worker in 2005 before being hired as a fisheries biology specialist in 2007, a position he held until he became the assistant regional biologist in 2012.

Overlock already has assumed several leadership positions within the fisheries division including being the species specialist for landlocked salmon, head of the fisheries division dive team and co-coordinator of the fisheries reclamation program.

Overlock assumes the number two position in the fisheries division, and will work directly with fisheries and hatcheries division director Francis Brautigam. The pair oversees an increasingly popular freshwater fishery in Maine that attracts over 320,000 anglers annually, supports over 3,000 jobs and has an economic impact to the state of over $370 million.

August 4, 2016

Monthly Review from the Maine Dept of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife - July 2016

August 5, 2016

Landowner Appreciation Day...September 18, 2016!

Well it’s that time of year again! The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife & the Maine Forest Service will be hosting a statewide clean-up event Sunday, September 18th 2016. This event will be the day when you can show the private landowners of Maine, just how much you really appreciate them!

Kittery Trading Post has graciously agreed to sponsor the prizes again this year.

1st place prize $1000.00 gift card to KTP 2nd place prize $750.00 gift card to KTP 3rd place prize $500.00 gift card to KTP 4th place prized $250.00 gift card to KTP

Your club or organization can enter the contest / event by calling 287-5240 speak with Virginia Vincent, or e mail her at Virginia.Vincent@maine.gov.

Please provide the following info: • Club /organization name, (amount in group that will be participating) • Area of the state where you will be willing to help • Contact person & phone number, e-mail address • Clean up sites that you will be working on (towns, locations, landowners, etc…) Maine Warden Service and Maine Forest Service staff will have some sites available as well (via e-mail)

For contest purposes: All loads of trash will be measured by pick-up truck load, at one of the designated drop off spots, (By Warden Service or Forest Service personnel).

We will be sending more info periodically. Become an Outdoor Partner today and visit our website under Landowner Relations. For more information about the Outdoor Partners Program, please contact Landowner Relations Specialist Corporal Rick LaFlamme at rick.laflamme@maine.gov.

August 8, 2016

IFW's Summerhaven Shooting Area In Augusta to Open Tuesday

AUGUSTA, Maine – Beginning tomorrow, Tuesday, August 9, the Summerhaven Shooting area in Augusta will open under a new schedule.

The shooting area is now open on scheduled days under the supervision of a range safety officer. A calendar of upcoming days the shooting area is open can be found at https://www1.maine.gov/ifw/huntingtrapping/shootingranges/index.html .

Over the next week, the Summerhaven Shooting Range will be open to the public on the following days:

August 9, 2016 - 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. August 11, 2016 - 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. August 12, 2016 - 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. August 13, 2016 - 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. August 14, 2016 - 12 noon to 6 p.m.

Members of the public are also encouraged to take advantage of numerous privately operated shooting ranges throughout the state. Please visit here( http://www.arcgis.com/apps/PanelsLegend/index.html?appid=0a38596510bc43f3a8d5a9f367b61544 ) to see map of shooting ranges, including contact information.

NRA certified Range Safety Officers that are interested in volunteering their time to monitor shooting activity at the range can contact us ( http://www.maine.gov/ifw/aboutus/autoforms/contactus.htm ) for more information.

For the most up to date calendar for when the shooting area is open, please visit https://www1.maine.gov/ifw/huntingtrapping/shootingranges/index.html .

August 10, 2016

IFW Blog - - Pollard Flat Wildlife Management Area

August 5, 2016

IFW Blog - - Fisheries Biologists Embark On Intensive Sebago Lake Togue Study

August 4, 2016

IFW Blog - - Experience Unique Natural Diversity at the Mattawamkeag River System Wildlife Management Area

July 27, 2016

IFW Blog - - Monitoring Maine’s Waterfowl Production and Populations

August 12, 2016

IFW News -- Hot Weather, Low Water Levels Can Impact Trout and Landlocked Salmon

AUGUSTA, Maine -- With much of Maine suffering from below average rainfall and varying degrees of drought-like conditions, anglers are reminded to be prudent when fishing for coldwater fish species such as trout and landlocked salmon. “Maine is known for our coldwater species like brook trout and landlocked salmon,” said IFW’s director of Fisheries Francis Brautigam, “Yet during a summer like this, our waters can get unusually warm and it can impact fish such as trout and salmon.”

In order to beat the heat in streams and rivers, brook trout seek deeper pools that are cooler and better oxygenated. Small, colder tributaries are also locations where these fish will seek thermal refuge. In ponds, they will seek spring holes. When fish are in these situations, they become more susceptible to predators.

Trout and salmon that reside in our deeper, colder lakes are also impacted by this summer’s weather. The lack of rain has surface water temperatures warmer than usual, with some lake surfaces topping the 80 degree mark. Trout and salmon will stay below the thermocline, where temperatures can be in the 45-55 degree range.

“A fish that is caught below 40 feet of water may experience a temperature difference of close to 35 degrees,” said Brautigam, “This type of temperature swing can put added stress on a fish.”

In extreme cases in some shallower and smaller ponds, dry summers such as this can result in fish kills, since water loses oxygen as it becomes warmer.

Anglers can help out Maine’s trout and landlocked salmon by following a few simple steps:

• After hooking a fish, catch and release the fish quickly if you are not planning to keep it.

• Fish early and later in the day when water temperatures are cooler

• Consider using barbless hooks as it allows you to release a fish quicker.

• Avoid keeping the fish out of the water for pictures, or keeping them in warm surface water.

Anglers are also reminded that beginning August 16, fishing in rivers, streams and brooks is restricted the use of artificial lures and flies only, and the daily bag limit on trout and salmon species is 1 fish. -30-

August 16, 2016

IFW Blog - - Meet Warden Paul Farrington and K9s Koda and Yaro

August 17, 2016

IFW Blog - - Invasive Species: More Than Just a Thorn in the Side

August 31, 2016

IFW To Hold Public Hearings/Informational Meetings On Shooting Ranges

AUGUSTA, Maine – The Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife will hold two combination informational meetings/public hearings to discuss proposed improvement plans and facility rules for department-owned shooting areas in Fryeburg and Augusta.

IFW currently operates two shooting areas on department-owned property at the Major Gregory Sanborn Wildlife Management area in Brownfield and Fryeburg, and the Summerhaven shooting area in Augusta. The two established shooting areas have been utilized for years, and have seen a marked increase in use in recent years.

The informational meetings will begin at 5:00 p.m. and the focus will be the proposed facility upgrade plans which include improved parking, an upgraded shooting area, enhanced sound suppression and containment improvements.

Following the informational meetings, the public hearing will begin at 6:30. The public hearing will focus on proposed rules for the shooting ranges which include planned hours of operation, staffing, age requirements, and other items.

The public hearings and informational meetings are scheduled as follows:

• September 7, 2016 at the Brownfield Community Center on 90 Main Street in Brownfield; informational meeting at 5:00 p.m. and public hearing at 6:30 p.m.

• September 8, 2016 at the Camden National Bank Ice Vault on 203 Whitten Road in Hallowell; informational meeting at 5:00 p.m. and public hearing at 6:30 p.m.

For those who are unable to attend the public meetings, you can also submit written comments until September 19th. Comments, or requests for a copy of the proposed rules, should be sent to Becky Orff, Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, 284 State Street 41 SHS, Augusta, ME 04333; or by e-mail at Becky.Orff@maine.gov.

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August 22, 2016

IFW Blog - - Meet Warden Dave Chabot and K9 Ruby

August 24, 2016

IFW Blog - - Wildlife Management Areas Provide Habitat Management Demonstration Opportunities

August 31, 2016

IFW Blog -- What Exactly Is A Beaver Deceiver? And What Does It Do?

August 29, 2016

IFW Blog -- Landowner Appreciation: Partners in Wildlife Award Presented to John Sferazo, American Greenlands Restoration, Inc

September 2, 2016

IFW News - - Monthly Review: August 2016

September 1, 2016

IFW Blog -- September Offers a Number of Family Field Days in Maine

September 7, 2016

IFW Blog -- Looking For Areas To Hunt? Check Out The Sebasticook Woodlands WMA and the Carlton Stream WMA

September 8, 2016

IFW Blog -- Schedule of Wild Game Cooking Workshops Hosted by Maine’s Community Colleges

September 13, 2016

North Woods Law Day at the Maine Wildlife Park

September 14, 2016

IFW Blog - Conservation Easements Are A Useful Tool For Wildlife Management

September 16, 2016

IFW News -- Dave Boucher, Fisheries Biologist, Awarded Department’s Highest Honor Posthumously

AUGUSTA, Maine – David Boucher, fisheries biologist, author and division supervisor, was posthumously awarded the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Kenneth Anderson Award. IFW Commissioner Chandler Woodcock presented the award to Dave’s wife Christa earlier today in Augusta.

“The Anderson Award is presented to a member of the Department who has made exemplary contributions towards the enhancement of the states’ fish and wildlife resources,” said Chandler Woodcock. “Over a career that spanned 30 years, Dave made a lasting impact on the state’s trout and salmon, and numerous individuals.”

Dave began his career as a student research assistant for IFW while he was at the University of Maine in the early 1980s. After short stints at IFW’s Palermo Fish Hatchery and the Department of Environmental Protection, Dave was hired as an assistant regional fisheries biologist in the Belgrade Lakes Region in 1988, where he worked until he transferred to the Rangeley Lakes region in 1995.

In his 17 years in the Rangeley Lakes region, Dave became well known for protecting and enhancing the area’s trout and salmon fisheries. In 2006, he coauthored “Maine Landlocked Salmon: Life History, Ecology and Management.” During that time, Dave also directed the fisheries dive team, and was the Department’s lead researcher on landlocked salmon.

In 2012, Dave was promoted to Fisheries Management Supervisor in Augusta where he oversaw fisheries management for the seven regions of the state, assisted regional biologists in the field, and helped craft fisheries policy.

“I have long known Dave’s work from living and fishing in the western Maine area. His professionalism and commitment made a substantial, enduring effect on the state’s fisheries resources, the people he worked with, and the public,” said Woodcock. “He is well-deserving of the Department’s highest honor, and we are very pleased to be able to recognize Dave for his outstanding work.”

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September 20, 2016

IFW News -- IFW To Create More Habitat For New England Cottontails, Other Species In Scarborough Marsh Wildlife Management Area

For Immediate Release: September 19, 2016

SCARBOROUGH, Maine – The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife will hold an informational meeting and site visit to discuss creating more habitat for the New England cottontail rabbit, a State Endangered species, as well as other species in the Scarborough Marsh Wildlife Management Area (WMA).

IFW wildlife biologists will be at the Scarborough Municipal Building on Tuesday, September 27 from 6-8 to discuss the management plans. There will a site visit on Friday, September 30 that begins at 9 a.m. at the Scarborough Marsh Wildlife Management parking area on the Manson Libby Road across from Black Point Auto.

New England Cottontails were once a common sight from Kittery to Belfast, but as old fields turned to forest, and farmland became developed, habitat for this this distinctively New England species diminished and their numbers plummeted. New England cottontails need shrublands and young forests to thrive.

In upland portions of the Scarborough WMA, IFW has been managing for species that benefit from a young, regenerating forest since 2011 when 21 acres of the WMA was cut, and portions of the meadows and fields were left to regenerate to shrublands. Scarborough Marsh is the only IFW management area with documented New England cottontail use.

Within the upland area of the Scarborough Marsh Wildlife Management Area along Manson Libby Road and the Eastern Trail, IFW plans to improve habitat for New England cottontails through the removal of trees in certain portions of the WMA, planting shrubs, and minimizing the spread of invasive plants. The timber removal will occur in January and/or February 2017. The result of the project will be producing young forest habitat that will benefit a number of other species such as cottontails, yellow warblers, eastern towhees, and American woodcock.

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September 29, 2016

IFW Blog -- Managing Deer Wintering Areas Is One Aspect Of A Regional Biologist’s Job

October 4, 2016

Winners! 2016 Landowner Appreciation Day

The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife & the Maine Forest Service hosted a statewide clean-up event on Sunday, September 18th 2016. This event helped private landowners in Maine by organizing a clean-up day for illegally disposed litter on their land. The statewide event sends a clear message that we appreciate their generosity for access and use of private land for outdoor recreation.

A contest was established and was sponsored by Kittery Trading Post for those groups that collected the most trash from private land. Here are the 2016 winners:

1st Place: Waterboro Cub Scouts pack 306
$1,000.00 gift card to Kittery Trading Post [29 loads of garbage] Game Warden Carleton Richardson & Corporal Mike Joy

2nd Place: Skowhegan Boy Scouts troop 485 $750.00 gift card to Kittery Trading Post [25 documented loads] Game Wardens Tom McKenney & Chad Robertson

3rd Place: Tie! Maine Youth Fish & Game Association & Standish ATV & Snowmobile Club $500.00 gift card to Kittery Trading Post [23 documented loads]
Game Wardens Joe Bailey, Dave Georgia, Jim Fahey & Pete Herring

4th Place: Morrill Cub Scouts pack 35 $250.00 gift card to Kittery Trading Post [19 documented loads]
Game Warden Sergeant Chris Simmons

Honorable mention goes to the Unity College Conservation Law Club which was next on the list with 17 documented loads! Thank you to all who participated and helped make the 2016 Landowner Appreciation Day effort a huge success!

*Attached photo courtesy of the Maine Warden Service: Waterboro Cub Scouts pack 306.

October 4, 2016

Lifejacket credited for saving Winthrop mans life

[Winthrop, Maine – October 4, 2016] Game wardens say a lifejacket likely saved the life of a Winthrop man last evening. Maine game wardens, as well as Winthrop Police, Fire and Rescue responded to a 911 call at 6:11 last evening. The caller, Ida Turgeon of Upper Narrows Pond Road in Winthrop, reported hearing a boat crash and someone yelling for help. Turgeon heard the victim’s whistle and calls for help near the northeast portion of Upper Narrows Pond.

Upon arrival with fire and rescue, game wardens met with victim James Leavitt, 70, of Winthrop. Leavitt was being escorted to shore by witness Ronald LeClair of Winthrop, who also heard whistling and yelling for help. LeClair, who lives on the pond, used his canoe to reach Leavitt. Leavitt was found in the water holding onto his capsized canoe approximately 100 yards from the nearest shore.

Leavitt, who was wearing a lifejacket at the time, informed game wardens that he was out for a boat ride in his 14-foot Old Town canoe with an electric motor. Leavitt stated hearing the sound of rushing water coming from behind him and realized the stern of his canoe was going underwater. Leavitt said the canoe capsized and threw him into the water with the motor still running. The canoe continued to drag Leavitt through the water.

Leavitt, who was not injured, told Warden Service he always wears his lifejacket when on the water due to a previous shoulder injury that prevents him from swimming. Game Warden Steve Allarie commended Leavitt for having his required safety equipment and wearing his lifejacket, which likely saved his life. Leavitt was treated by Winthrop Rescue for hyperthermia from being exposed nearly 30 minutes to the cold water conditions.

October 5, 2016

Maine game wardens respond to two lost bird hunters in Shirley

On October 5, 2016, at around 5:00 AM, Maine game wardens were notified of two overdue hunters in the Shirley area, south of Moosehead Lake. The two hunters were Carl Ponkala, 70, from Monson and Nicholas Erickson, 25, from Shirley. The two hunters had left Shirley in a grey Honda CRV yesterday afternoon at about 4:00 (October 4) and had not returned home.

The information indicated the hunters may have taken the Clouse Allen Road in Shirley towards Bald Mountain. Several game wardens responded to the area early on Wednesday morning after receiving the call. Just after 7:00 AM this morning, the missing vehicle was located off the Clouse Allen Road with no one around it. While game wardens were at this location, a Carrier Timberlands tractor trailer driver named John Morrell stopped and dropped off the two hunters. He had located them along the road.

The hunters reported that they had gone in a section of woods to hunt for grouse and had gotten turned around. They had located another road through the woods and were able to build a fire to help them through the night. The hunters were cold, but uninjured.

Remember basic safety tips when you go hunting.

Tell someone where you are going and when you plan to return. Stick to that plan or notify the responsible person if you change plans. Have a map of the area you are hunting and use in conjunction with a good compass or GPS. Carry a survival kit with you to include matches or a lighter, survival blanket, some high energy snacks, and any other packable items you feel are important. DO NOT RELY ON CELL PHONE COVERAGE AS YOUR EMERGENCY PLAN. There are many areas of Maine that have poor to no cell phone coverage. Purchase a satellite communicator that can do email and track your position at the same time.

Unrelated file photo courtesy of the Maine Warden Service.

October 11, 2016

Question 3: Maine Warden Service has concerns regarding referendum question.

The Maine Warden Service, the law enforcement bureau of the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, is concerned that Question 3, if approved by the voters, will have negative impacts on some individuals who hunt and trap in Maine. Most importantly, this ballot question is written in such a way that it will be difficult—if not impossible—for Wardens to enforce.

Question 3 will require background checks for firearms sales and transfers and includes criminal penalties for those who do not follow the new law. It could make criminals out of responsible firearm owners. For example, the law will make it far more difficult for two hunters who have no criminal records and are legally entitled by law to possess firearms to share or loan their firearm to other legal hunters who are not prohibited from possessing firearms.

Loaning a firearm has been a common practice in apprenticeship and youth hunting for generations of Mainers, especially for those considering getting into the sport of hunting but who are not yet ready to purchase their own firearms.

There are only limited exceptions in the law. One exception allows a transfer between certain family members without a background check. Another exception allows a hunter to transfer a firearm to another hunter only for a “temporary” period of time and only if the transferee is in the “actual presence” of the transferor. This exception also requires the transferee to possess the gun exclusively in areas where hunting is legal.

The Warden Service also has concerns about the enforcement of Question 3. It would be difficult for a law enforcement officer to prove actual ownership and where the transfer occurred unless the transfer was actually observed by the officer. A routine interaction with a hunter would not generate that line of questioning unless there was reasonable suspicion that an illegal transfer had taken place.

Maine is well known for its hunting and trapping opportunities. These sports create jobs for Maine citizens and attract enthusiasts from around the world. The Maine Warden Service encourages Maine citizens to carefully consider the effects that Questions 3 will have on our outdoor heritage.

October 13, 2016

IFW's Shooting Area In Fryeburg to Open Friday

AUGUSTA, Maine – Beginning Friday, October 14, the Shooting Range on the Major Gregory Sanborn Wildlife Management Area in Fryeburg will open under a new schedule. The shooting area is now open on scheduled days under the supervision of a range safety officer. A calendar of upcoming days the shooting area is open can be found at https://www1.maine.gov/ifw/huntingtrapping/shootingranges/index.html Over the next few weeks, the Fryeburg Shooting Range will be open to the public from 9am to 4pm on the following days: • Friday, October 14 • Saturday, October 15 • Friday, October 21 • Saturday, October 22 • Friday, October 28 • Saturday, October 29 The Fryeburg range is located on the Fish and Game Road, just of Routes 5 and 113. Members of the public are also encouraged to take advantage of numerous privately operated shooting ranges throughout the state. Please visit here( http://www.arcgis.com/apps/PanelsLegend/index.html?appid=0a38596510bc43f3a8d5a9f367b61544 ) to see map of shooting ranges, including contact information. NRA certified Range Safety Officers that are interested in volunteering their time to monitor shooting activity at the range can contact us (http://www.maine.gov/ifw/aboutus/autoforms/contactus.htm) for more information. For the most up to date calendar for when the shooting area is open, please visit https://www1.maine.gov/ifw/huntingtrapping/shootingranges/index.html

October 19, 2016

IFW News - - Youth Deer Hunting Day is Saturday, October 22

AUGUSTA, Maine -- On Saturday, October 22, young hunters across the state get their own day to hunt deer. “Hunting is a wonderful way to learn about conservation, responsibility, patience and respect for our vast natural resources,” said Chandler Woodcock, Commissioner, Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, “And youth deer hunting day gives all hunters an opportunity to share that with a young hunter.”

The number of junior hunting licenses and lifetime hunting licenses to those under 16 has increased over the last ten years, going from 21,395 in 2006 to 24,332 in 2015.

This growing segment of hunters mirrors the overall trends that have seen the number of hunting licenses increase for five straight years. Hunting continues to be an economic catalyst in much of Maine, supporting over 3,400 jobs with an economic output of over $338 million.

On youth deer day, youth hunters who possess a junior hunting license can hunt deer on this day if they are under the direct supervision of a parent, guardian or a qualified adult. Any person who accompanies a junior hunter must hold or have held a valid hunting license or have successfully completed a hunter safety course. A qualified adult is a person at least 18 years of age approved by that youth hunter’s parent or guardian, and this person must hold or have held a valid Maine hunting license or have successfully completed a hunter safety course. The accompanying adult cannot possess a firearm.

The junior hunter on this day can take one deer of either sex in a Wildlife Management District where Any Deer permits were issued. In WMDs where there are no Any Deer permits issued, junior hunters may only take an antlered deer. All laws pertaining to hunting during the open firearms season on deer apply on the youth deer day.

The department uses the Any-deer permit system to manage the white-tailed deer population in the state. By controlling the harvest of female deer in the 29 regional wildlife management districts throughout the state, biologists can manage population trends.

Any hunter under the age of 16 may purchase a junior hunting license. Junior hunters must be under the supervision of an adult while hunting. Hunters from 10–15 years of age must be in the presence of, and under the effective control of, an adult supervisor. Hunters under the age of 10 must be in the presence of, and under the effective control of, an adult supervisor who remains at all times within 20 feet of the hunter.

Hunters can also transfer their Any Deer permits or Bonus Deer permit to a junior hunter, or any other hunter. Certain restrictions apply, including that a resident permit may only be transferred to another resident, and a nonresident permit may only be transferred to another nonresident. This transfer can be done online until 11:59 p.m. October 30, 2015.

For more information on how to swap or transfer your permit, please visit http://www.maine.gov/ifw/licenses_permits/lotteries/anydeer/#swap.

If you plan to take a young hunter out on youth deer day, remember, preseason scouting can be critical in the success of any hunt, and scouting should include seeking landowner permission on the land you want to hunt. Asking for permission only takes a minute, and the time that it takes benefits both you and the future of hunting.

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October 20, 2016

Monthly Review from the Maine Dept of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife: September 2016

October 23, 2016

76-year-old woman located in Madison

A 74-year-old Madison woman is home safe tonight after becoming lost in the woods with her dog. By request of the Somerset County Sheriff's Department, Maine game wardens were called to assist in looking for Rita Gutchess. It is believed Gutchess left her home at about 10:30 this morning. When she did not return home, her family became worried and called police.

A family member believed she had become lost in the woods behind her residence while walking her dog. At approximately 3:00 this afternoon, Gutchess was located approximately a half mile in the woods behind her residence with her dog. She stated she had become dizzy and sat down on a rock wall. She had begun to holler and was heard by game wardens close by. The Maine State Police also assisted with today’s search effort.

October 23, 2016

IFW Blog - - Maine’s Herons Reveal Their Wintering Grounds

October 26, 2016

Mentor a New Hunter. Pass on our Outdoor Heritage.

October 27, 2016

IFW News -- Firearm Season For Deer Begins Saturday, October 29

AUGUSTA, Maine – This Saturday, October 29, marks the beginning of the regular firearm season for deer, an unofficial holiday for tens of thousands of hunters across the state. The regular firearm season for deer opens on Saturday, October 29 for residents, and Monday, October 31 for nonresidents. The Firearms Season for deer concludes on Saturday, November 26.

“Opening day of deer season is an eagerly awaited event that draws together family and friends year after year,” said Chandler Woodcock, Commissioner, Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. “It’s a Maine tradition filled with memories and anticipation that encompasses generations.”

Maine has over 225,000 licensed hunters, a number that has increased each of the past five years. Hunting continues to be an economic catalyst in much of Maine, supporting over 3,400 jobs with an economic output of over $338 million.

Following a 2016 winter that was on average warmer than usual, hunters should see more deer than last year. If normal hunting conditions and normal hunter effort prevail, IFW biologists believe that the deer harvest will be higher than last year’s 20,325 deer. For the past eight years, the deer harvest has averaged 20,900.

“Last year’s winter was more moderate than what we usually experience in Maine, and as a result, we have increased the number of Any-Deer permits in southern, central and western Maine,” said Kyle Ravana, IFW’s deer biologist.

The department manages white-tailed deer through regulated hunting, and controls the deer population in parts of the state to limit vehicle crashes, reduce instances of lyme disease and reduce property damage complaints. In other areas of the state, the department manages the deer population to increase opportunities for hunting and viewing.

Deer seasons begin the Saturday after Labor Day and continue into mid-December. These structured seasons, along with controlling the harvest of female deer in the 29 wildlife management districts across the state through the Any Deer permit system, allows biologists to manage population trends.

Hunting continues to be an extremely safe sport. Last year, there were only four hunting-related firearm injuries, and two of those were self-inflicted. Over the past ten years, Maine has averaged only seven incidents per year, and there has been only one fatality in that time period.

“Nearly half of our hunting-related firearm injuries are self-inflicted, so hunters are reminded to treat every firearm as if it is loaded, and always keep your firearm pointed in a safe direction,” says Corporal John MacDonald of the Maine Warden Service.

If you plan on hunting this year, experienced hunters are encouraged to introduce someone new to the sport. An apprentice license is available to both residents and non-residents, and sales of the license have increased by nearly 50% since they were first introduced in 2008. An apprentice license allows someone to hunt in the presence of an experienced hunter. For more information, please visit http://www.maine.gov/ifw/licenses_permits/apprenticeship.htm.

And remember; please seek landowner permission on the land you want to hunt. Asking for permission only takes a minute, and the time that it takes benefits both you and the future of hunting.

“So many of our outdoor traditions are made possible through the generosity of private landowners,” said Woodcock. “Please treat private land as if it were your own, and remember to thank any landowner who allows you access to hunt.”

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October 28, 2016

This Hunting Season, Be Prepared Before You Head Into the Woods

October 28, 2016

IFW Blog - IFW Fisheries Biologists Capture Salmon In Steep Bank Pool To Monitor Mooselook Fishery

Maine National Guard General honors Maine game warden

A Maine game warden was honored today in Augusta by Brigadier General Douglas A. Farnum, Adjutant General for the Maine National Guard. With assistance from the Landowner Relations Program within the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, Game Warden Jason Scott assisted Maine’s National Guard at their 425 acre Hollis Training Site. The Site not only provides necessary military training opportunities but also includes rare natural resources to include scrub oak barrens.

For many years, the property had been plagued with issues of trespassing, littering, vandalism and illegal ATV use. When traditional law enforcement means failed to bring satisfactory results to the area, Warden Jason Scott took things a step further and began to work with National Guard representatives, local ATV clubs and DIF&W biologists on plans to reroute traffic away from the military property and onto adjacent property owned by the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

After a great deal of work and the acquisition of necessary equipment and gear, a new half-mile ATV access route was completed in 2015 and has since alleviated a decade’s old problem that once caused serious concerns for the military and the environment. Congratulations Warden Scott!

Accompanying photo of Brig. Gen. Farnum and Game Warden Jake Scott. Warden Scott was provided a signed print of the Twentieth Maine at Little Round Top, July 2, 1863.

November 3, 2016

Maine National Guard General honors Maine game warden

A Maine game warden was honored today in Augusta by Brigadier General Douglas A. Farnham, Adjutant General for the Maine National Guard. With assistance from the Landowner Relations Program within the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, Game Warden Jason Scott assisted Maine’s National Guard at their 425 acre Hollis Training Site. The Site not only provides necessary military training opportunities but also includes rare natural resources to include scrub oak barrens.

For many years, the property had been plagued with issues of trespassing, littering, vandalism and illegal ATV use. When traditional law enforcement means failed to bring satisfactory results to the area, Warden Jason Scott took things a step further and began to work with National Guard representatives, local ATV clubs and DIF&W biologists on plans to reroute traffic away from the military property and onto adjacent property owned by the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

After a great deal of work and the acquisition of necessary equipment and gear, a new half-mile ATV access route was completed in 2015 and has since alleviated a decade’s old problem that once caused serious concerns for the military and the environment. Congratulations Warden Scott!

Accompanying photo of Brig. Gen. Farnham and Game Warden Jake Scott. Warden Scott was provided a signed print of the Twentieth Maine at Little Round Top, July 2, 1863.

November 3, 2016

Game wardens respond to two hunting incidents in as many days

[Phippsburg, Maine – November 2, 2016] A Phippsburg man is recovering today from a self-inflicted rifle wound he sustained yesterday near Popham Beach. Thomas Gilliam, 48, was involved in a hunting incident at about 4:30 Wednesday afternoon. Gilliam had parked his truck along the side of route 209 in Phippsburg. He exited the vehicle and loaded his rifle, a Model 94 lever-action Winchester 32 Special.

Gilliam walked across the road to look for signs of deer activity. When doing so, he stumbled and dropped his rifle. The butt end of the rifle hit the pavement and the gun discharged. The bullet passed through several fingers on his right hand as well as his left forearm. Gilliam was assisted by citizens passing by until an ambulance arrived. Gilliam was transported to Maine Medical Center in Portland where he remains in stable condition today.

[Springfield, Maine – November 3, 2016] A twelve-year-old boy from Florida is in the hospital this afternoon after shooting himself in the foot while hunting in Penobscot County. At about noon today, Ashton Crowther of New Port Richey, Florida was hunting deer with his father John Crowther off the Old Winn Road in Springfield, Maine.

The two had stopped along a woods road as they were heading back to their ATVs to return to camp for lunch. Ashton placed the barrel of the Remington Model 742 Woodsmaster .308 caliber rifle against his left foot and inadvertently pulled the trigger. Ashton sustained a bullet wound to his left foot and was transported by his father and uncle to Penobscot Valley Hospital in Lincoln where he was examined and transferred to Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor.

*The Maine Warden Service reminds all hunters to be diligent about firearm safety. Always treat every firearm as if it is loaded, keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction and always be sure of your target and surroundings.

November 7, 2016

This season, do your part to help ensure continued access to private land

November 7, 2016

Search efforts suspended for Medford, ME woman

Search efforts coordinated by the Maine Warden Service have been suspended for 71-year-old Diana Estey of Medford, Maine. At this point, no clues have been found that can be attributed to Diana Estey. Today, approximately 40 searchers took part in looking for any evidence left behind by Estey, believed to have gone missing from her Medford Center Road residence at some time since Wednesday, November 2. Estey has not been seen since Monday, October 31.

Diana Estey is 5 feet 2 inches tall, weighs 100 pounds and has grey hair and green eyes. She might be wearing a grey polar fleece top with pink trim. If anyone has any information about Diana Estey or has seen her since Monday, October 31, 2016, please call the Piscataquis County Sheriff’s Office at 207-564-3304 or Bangor Public Safety Dispatch 207-973-3700.

Several search team organizations within the Maine Association of Search and Rescue (MASAR) were involved in this extensive effort to include Wilderness SAR, Lincoln County, Waldo County, Franklin County, Mercer Cert., Unity College, Civil Air Patrol, Dirigo SAR, Maine Search and Rescue Dogs (MESARD) and the Maine Mounted SAR horse team. Game wardens were also assisted by a Maine Forest Service helicopter and several local townspeople.

The Maine Warden Service urges hunters, camp owners and home owners in the Medford area to check outbuildings and other structures that could provide forms of shelter.

The Maine Warden Service and the Estey family wish to thank all those who came forward to help in this exhaustive search effort. The Estey family has been overwhelmed at the tremendous outpouring of support from both local people and those from far away.

November 9, 2016

Vermont hunter found safe by Maine game wardens

A Vermont man was found safe this morning after an unexpected night’s stay in the Maine woods. Brownell Bacon, age 79, from Arlington, Vermont left his camp in Allagash at around noon on November 8 to go deer hunting in the Johnson Brook area. When he failed to return after dark, friends went searching for him. They did locate his vehicle but were unable to make voice contact with him. Friends told game wardens that Bacon was showing signs of dementia.

Game wardens searched on foot and in vehicles throughout the night, trying a variety of noise techniques to establish contact with Bacon. Shortly after 6:00 this morning, Bacon emerged from the woods and onto the road. He came out about 400 yards from his truck shortly after game wardens had fired another series of shots to attempt contact. Bacon was missing a boot, his hat, rifle and keys; at the time of this release, those items had not yet been recovered. Bacon was confused and disoriented and was brought back to his camp and checked by medical personnel from Ambulance Service Inc. of Fort Kent. Fortunately Bacon was dressed in wool clothing which helped keep him warm and dry overnight. Bacon apparently became disoriented late yesterday and was unable to find his way back to his truck. Bacon stated he heard the horns and gun shots of searchers during the night and fortunately made his way out this morning in good health.

Maine game wardens remind all hunters tell someone your hunting plan for the day to include where you are going and when you plan to return. If your trip plans change, be sure to tell someone they have changed. Bring a small pack to include essential items such as food and water, medications, a means to make fire, extra socks, a compass or GPS and a cell phone. All of these items will easily fit into a comfortable pack that will add considerable safety to any trip. These items will not only make an unexpected stay in the woods more comfortable, Maine’s game wardens will have a much easier time locating you should you become lost.

November 10, 2016

Monthly Review from the Maine Dept. of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife: October 2016

November 18, 2016

Wild Game Cooking Workshop Scheduled for November 29

IFW Blog - Managing A Waterway For Larger Fish

November 21, 2016

Lincoln man located after becoming lost while hunting

On Friday, November 18, Ronald Freelove, 69 of Lincoln, Maine was reported lost by his son Keith Freelove of New Hampshire. Keith said his father left their camp on the Kingsbury Road in Bradley, at approximately 12:45 PM. He was going to walk through the woods and meet up with him by 4:00 PM back at camp. A search was started utilizing K-9 and ground searchers. At approximately 12:30 on Saturday, Ronald Freelove was located by Jake Letendre from MESARD and his K-9 Reese.

During the night, Mr. Freelove stayed mobile as his lighter to make a fire was not working. Mr. Freelove lost his hat, which had a compass pinned to it. A second compass was lost after the lanyard caught on a bush dragging the compass from his pocket along with a whistle and pair of gloves. Ronald used all his ammo trying to signal for help throughout the night. He was located approximately three quarters of a mile from where he started and was assisted out of the woods by searchers. Freelove was checked out by medical personnel from Milford Rescue and Old Town ambulance crew before going back to camp.

The Warden Service would like to thank *MESARD, MASAR, Milford Rescue, and Old Town Ambulance. The Maine Association for Search and Rescue (MASAR) is a non-profit organization that promotes and develops search and rescue resources for the state of Maine. MASAR provides training and certification for search and rescue volunteers using nationally-recognized standards. See mainesearchandrescue.org for more information.

December 1, 2016

Grant provides safety gloves for Maine's game wardens

Maine’s game wardens are now better protected than ever to deal with sick and injured animals in the course of their duties. Thanks to a grant from the Maine Outdoor Heritage Fund, Maine game wardens recently received specialized gloves that will help prevent the spread of infectious wildlife diseases, and offer protection when handling birds such as eagles, owls, hawks and ospreys.

Maine game wardens routinely come into contact with injured and sick animals as well as a variety of birds, some of which are raptors with large talons. The Maine Warden Service is charged with handling injured and sick wildlife calls across Maine. In 2015 alone, Maine game wardens responded to 105 calls for animals suspected of having rabies. In addition, game wardens responded to 2,918 calls from the public regarding injured animals. It is extremely difficult to safely and effectively handle these animals without protective equipment.

These gloves were the result of considerable work and research by Game Wardens Dave Chabot of Greene and Eric Blanchard of Wells and funds were made available by the Maine Outdoor Heritage Fund. The Maine Warden Service provides game wardens with the best equipment available to perform their unique mission for the State of Maine. These gloves are now available to help compliment the tools available to game wardens to safely respond to sick and injured animal concerns.

Attached photo of Game Warden Dave Chabot courtesy of the Maine Warden Service.

December 2, 2016

Reward For Information: Two Canada Lynx Found Dead

A reward of up to $5,500 is being offered in connection with the recent illegal killings of two Canada Lynx in Maine. The Maine Warden Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service investigators are seeking information regarding two separate Canada Lynx shootings in northern Oxford County and Aroostook County.

The Canada Lynx is listed as a threatened species under the Federal Endangered Species Act. Unlawfully killing a Canada Lynx carries a maximum fine of up to $100,000 and or imprisonment up to one year. Maine’s Operation Game Thief, the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the Maine Trappers Association are all contributing considerable reward money.

The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife long term monitoring of lynx indicates that lynx are increasing in number and expanding their range in Maine. Vehicle accidents involving Canada Lynx, sightings of lynx, and verified lynx tracks are increasing in number and location. A record number of Canada Lynx, 11, have been killed by vehicles in 2016.

The Maine Warden Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Investigators are seeking information in the following incidents:

Case 1 [T14 R7 – NEAR Portage Lake, Maine] On November 17, 2016, a Canada Lynx was shot and found dead alongside a logging road that connects the Hewes Brook Road and the Wilderness Island Road, west of Portage Lake. This was reported to the Maine Warden Service after a concerned sportsman discovered the shot lynx in a legally-set foothold trap.

Case 2 [Near Aziscohos Lake – western Maine] U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Maine Warden Service are also investigating the recent shooting of a Canada Lynx that is believed to have occurred on or about November 15. This took place on a logging road that connects to the Parmachenee Road on the New Hampshire/Maine border near Aziscohos Lake, approximately seven miles north of the Parmachenee Road/Route 16 intersection.

It is believed that this Canada Lynx was shot and killed with a rifle. This adult male lynx was wearing a GPS radio collar that was affixed by IFW wildlife biologists in 2015 as part of an ongoing IFW lynx study.

Currently, Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife biologists are in the midst of a three-year Canada Lynx study that will provide an updated lynx population estimate. Early results support an increasing range and number of lynx in Maine. A 2006 Canada Lynx population survey by the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife estimated the population between 750 -1000 adult lynx in their core range of northern Maine.

Maine Operation Game Thief is offering a $2,500 reward for each case ($5,000 total) to anyone with information that leads to a conviction for the person(s) responsible for killing either of these Canada Lynx. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is offering an additional reward of up to $2,500 for each case ($5,000 total) to any person who furnishes information which leads to a conviction in either case. Additionally, the Maine Trappers Association will add a $500 reward for each case to any person ($1,000 total) who can provide information that leads to a conviction in either Canada Lynx case. Total reward dollars for these cases has now reached $11,000.

Anyone with information about either incident is urged to call Maine Operation Game Thief at 1-800-ALERT-US (207-287-6057), you can remain anonymous. People may also call Public Safety Dispatch in Bangor at 1-800-432-7381 (207-973-3700).

December 6, 2016

Range Safety Officers Needed in Fryeburg!

IFW blog - http://www.maine.gov/wordpress/insideifw/2016/12/09/stocking-season-nearly-completed/

December 9, 2016

IFW blog - Stocking Season Nearly Completed!

December 12, 2016

IFW Blog - IFW's Newest Poster Benefits Maine's Endangered and Threatened Species

December 15, 2016

Game Wardens receive map software from Forest City Rod & Gun Club

Forest City Rod & Gun Club provides Maine game wardens with Delorme Earthmate mapping software. At the annual Game Warden Appreciation Night held last evening, December 14, the club provided enough Delorme Earthmate software programs for every Maine game warden. Earthmate is a GPS navigation app designed for mobile devices. It includes highly detailed GPS trip logging, location sharing and tracking.

This generous gift will prove very useful for game wardens during search and rescue and routine enforcement missions. “This is another great example of the Warden Service’s strong partnerships with outdoor fish and wildlife organizations. This gift clearly illustrates a strong commitment, one that helps enhance our natural resources and the safety of all those who enjoy Maine’s outdoors. This gift will assist game wardens during their unique off road law enforcement and search and rescue missions and could possibly help save lives...” stated Maine’s chief game warden, Colonel Joel Wilkinson.

The 100-member-strong Forest City Rod and Gun Club in Westbrook was established in 1948 and remains one of Maine’s oldest clubs of its kind. Club President James Bell stated they have held an appreciation night for game wardens for more than 25 years and look forward to it every year. The Maine Warden Service wants to thank the Forest City Rod & Gun Club for their continued support, their contribution to responsible hunting and fishing and commitment to Maine’s natural resource conservation.

Photo shows Game Warden Lt. Adam Gormely accepting the new software from Club President James Bell.

December 16, 2016

Maine graduates five new game wardens from police academy

The Maine Criminal Justice Academy graduated 61 new police officers today from the 18-week Basic Law Enforcement Training Program (BLETP) in Vassalboro. Among the many topics the officers studied were crime scene processing, emergency vehicle operation, firearms proficiency, traffic and criminal law, domestic violence and sexual assault.

Of those 61 officers, five were Maine game wardens who will now be entering their next phase of training. A twelve-week Advanced Game Warden Academy, also based out of the Academy in Vassalboro, will begin in late January where skills more specific to game warden work will be taught. In addition, they will also participate in an intensive Warden Training Officer (WTO) program involving field work, team building and problem solving.

Graduating today for the Maine Warden Service are Game Wardens Camden Akins, 23, from Winslow, Kayle Hamilton, 26, from Buxton, Megan Miller, 22, from Pittsfield, Lauren Roddy, 21, from Belgrade, and Taylor Valente, 24, from New Gloucester. Also shown in the attached photo is Game Warden Kyle Franklin, 24, from Durham. Due to limited BLETP class sizes, Franklin will be entering the Academy in August of 2017.

Maine’s newest game wardens have been assigned their patrol areas. Akins has been assigned to the Chamberlain Lake district, Hamilton is headed for the Clayton Lake district, Miller will be going to the Mars Hill district, Roddy will be covering the Jackman district, Valente has been assigned the Rockwood district, and Franklin will be going to Escort Station after completing the BLETP next year.

The class commencement address was given by Maine Attorney General Janet Mills. Maine’s Chief Game Warden, Colonel Joel Wilkinson stated today that “…We are very proud of our five game wardens and their successful completion of the 18-week BLETP. Their actions and performance through the training process demonstrate the success of our rigorous screening and hiring process of hiring the very best. “ The Maine Warden Service congratulates all those who graduated today and their families and wish them all a safe and fulfilling career in law enforcement.

(Attached photo: From left to right: Game Wardens Taylor Valente, Kayle Hamilton, Megan Miller, Lauren Roddy, Camden Akins, and Kyle Franklin.)

December 21, 2016

Monthly Review from the Maine Dept. of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife: November 2016

December 20, 2016

MDIFW Gift Guide!

December 22, 2016

IFW Ice Fishing Report For December 22, 2016

For Immediate Release: December 22, 2016

IFW Ice Fishing Report For December 22, 2016

Anglers can find the 2016 fishing law book ( http://www.eregulations.com/maine/fishing/ ) and the 2017 fishing law book ( http://www.maine.gov/ifw/fishing/laws/index.htm ) online.

If you would like more information, or need questions answered, please call the Regional Fisheries Offices at these locations and numbers: Region A – Gray (207) 657-2345; Region B - Sidney (207) 547-5300; Region C - Jonesboro (207) 434-5925; Region D – Strong (207) 778-3322; Region E - Greenville (207) 695-3756 ext. 2; Region F - Enfield (207) 732-4131; Region G - Ashland (207) 435-3231.

Region A – Sebago Lakes Region

The early season cold has made for some excellent early season ice fishing opportunities in the southern part of the state.

“There are a lot of people out already, and there is more than a couple of inches of ice on the smaller ponds. A lot of the bigger lakes are still open in the middle, but the shoreline and coves have frozen over,” said IFW Fisheries biologist Jim Pellerin.

If you are looking for some good early season fishing for trout, try these ponds: The Otter Ponds in Standish, Littlefield Pond in Sanford, Barker Pond in Lyman, Knights Pond in Berwick, Hall Pond in Paris, Moose Pond in Acton, and Worthley Pond in Peru.

If you are looking to take the kids fishing, try Round Pond in Lyman and Lower Hinckley Pond in South Portland

“On some of these ponds, like the Otters, anglers are doing great already,” said Pellerin, who noted that these ponds were stocked with trout that range from 12-15” in length with a few bigger ones as well.

Pellerin advises that if you are looking to fish for brookies, remember to fish shallow, in water that is five feet deep or less. Use small bait, such as worms or small shiners, and don’t be afraid to use a small jig as well.

If you are looking to fish for some rainbows, head on over to Stanley Pond in Hiram, Norway Lake in Norway, Little Sebago in Gray, the Ranges in Poland, or Crystal Lake in Gray. Most of these ponds are a little larger but should have some good ice and fishing for rainbows by the first of the year.

Region B – Central and Midcoast Area

Anglers are having early season success for trout in many different waters in Region B.

“If you are looking for trout, you ought to try Levenseller Pond in Searsmont or Dutton Pond in Knox. They were stocked with brook trout that range in size from ten inches to nearly 20 inches,” said IFW Fisheries Biologist Jason Seiders.

With ice covering the pond now, many anglers might be tempted to try the deeper water at Levenseller, but Seiders says that if you are looking for brookies, stay close to shore in and in shallow water.

“Brook trout cruise the shoreline looking for food, usually nymphs or small minnows. Look for areas that have gravel or rocky bottoms,” said Seiders.

Once you’ve found a spot, make sure you use small bait or jigs.

“Fish shallow with small bait –use worms or small shiners. Don’t be afraid to jig. The key is to be where the trout are, and they are not out deep, they are cruising the shoreline, and they like small bait,” said Seiders.

If you’ve got kids and you want to give them a day catching trout, try Maces Pond and Rocky Pond in Rockport. “Both ponds are heavily stocked with trout,” says Seiders.

Heading away from the coast and towards the Belgrades, you may want to try Salmon and McGrath Ponds in Belgrade, which were recently stocked and also have some nice bass. If you are looking for panfish, East Pond in Smithfield has a popular white perch fishery.

Round Pond and Brettuns Pond in Turner has good access and good fishing. “They were both heavily stocked with brook trout and there are some nice holdovers of brown trout that are in the 20 inch range,” said Seiders.

There are also some nice salmon to be had in Region B. Fall trapnetting revealed a number of 20” salmon at waters such as Flying Pond in Vienna; and in Alford Lake, there were brown trout that tipped the scales at over seven pounds as well as a number of 20 inch salmon. Lake Wassokeag in Dexter also had some good number of large salmon.

Down in the southern coastal part of the region, check out Sewall Pond in Arrowsic for trout and a chance at some big bass, and in Georgetown, Charles Pond was also stocked and should offer some fine trout fishing.

Region C -- Downeast

Anglers are enjoying the early season angling downeast, with some excellent early season angling opportunities.

“Lovejoy Pond in T 35, just south of the Studmill Road is a pond that freezes early and was stocked with fall fingerlings and fall yearling trout,” says IFW Fisheries Biologist Greg Burr. Anglers fishing there can expect to catch trout in the 12-14” range.

Over in Calais, you’ll want to try Keene’s Lake for brookies. In Whiting, Indian Lake has a range of sizes for brook trout, ranging from 8-10”, and even some in the 20” range.

Down on Mount Desert Island, there are some excellent opportunities for brook trout. Check out Round Pond in Mount Desert, and Lower Hadlock in Northeast harbor. Both were stocked this fall with 12-14 inch brook trout.

For the kids, try Foxhole in Deblois. It’s a kid’s only pond that’s stocked with brook trout. If you are fishing here, use small bait and worms, or small silver lures for jigging.

There’s also a few new fisheries you may want to try out downeast, including Phillips Lake in Dedham and Spring River Lake in T10SD, just north of Tunk lake.

“Phillips Lake gets quite a lot of use, and anglers wanted more opportunity. So after a thorough review, this fall we stocked it with brook trout to augment the togue and salmon fishery,” explained Burr. “We can’t enhance the togue or salmon population without impacting the smelt population, so a ‘put and take’ brook trout fishery will enhance the species diversity without putting a lot of pressure on the forage base.” 700 brook trout were stocked there this fall, and the stocking program will be evaluated over the coming years.

“We did the same thing at Spring River Lake,” said Burr. “We had been stocking the lake with brown trout, which tend to have slower catch rates. Anglers were catching browns and some salmon that dropped down, but again, anglers were looking for more opportunity. We think the addition of 400 fall yearling brook trout should really augment the fishery, and over the next few years, we will be evaluating the program.”

Region D – Rangeley Lakes

It’s been cold in Region D, and even before the sub-zero cold we had last week, anglers were already out fishing their favorite early season spots. Ice conditions continue to get better, and most of the small ponds now have 5-6” of ice.

“There are a number of popular early season ponds that received stockings of 12-14 inch brook trout this fall,” said IFW Fisheries Biologist Dave Howatt. “Anglers should check out Crowell and Norcross Ponds in Chesterville, Ellis Pond in Roxbury, and Fahi Pond in Embden.” Most of the ponds have very good access (Fahi requires a bit more effort), and along with the trout, there are also strong bass, pickerel and perch fisheries.

Howatt mentioned that a lot of other ponds will open on January 1, including Mount Blue Pond in Avon.

“Mount Blue Pond is an interesting place to try. It was opened to ice fishing for the first time last year. It saw moderate activity, and the fishing for splake was fair. This year, we upped the splake stocking from 200 up to 500.” Howatt said it will be interesting to see if this draws more anglers, and if anglers have more success at Mount Blue Pond. There is also a decent smallmouth bass and white perch fishery at Mount Blue.

Other waters that you may want to try after the New Year include Clearwater Pond in Industry, Porter Lake in Strong, and Wilson Pond in Wilton. All three of these waters are in Franklin County, have easy access, and offer decent winter angling for brook trout, salmon, and togue. If you are looking for more of an adventure this winter, you could try the Chain of Ponds in Chain of Ponds Twp for brookies and salmon or head to Spring Lake in T03 R04 BKP WKR for brookies, salmon and togue.

Region E – Moosehead Region

Anglers looking for early season action in the Moosehead Lake Region should target smaller, shallow waters that tend to freeze early.

“Ponds like Fitzgerald Pond, Prong Pond, and Shirley Pond are good early season choices in the Greenville area,” said IFW Fisheries Biologist Tim Obrey. “These ponds are all stocked with fallyearling brook trout in the fall that range from 12-14 inches.”

“Brann’s Mill Pond in Dover-Foxcroft is another good bet, and a great place to take the kids. The pond has white perch, bass, and pickerel to keep the action going all day in addition to the fall stocking of brook trout,” added Obrey. “Access is very easy as the main road runs very close to the pond.

Other ponds that you may want to try for some early season action include Harlow in Sangerville and Manhanock Pond in Parkman. Both ponds are stocked with brook trout, and white perch are big and abundant. There are some monster bass in this pond but they must be released.

One other water, while not small or shallow but always freezes early is Big Wood Pond in the Jackman region

“Big Wood freezes earlier than most of our larger waters,” says Obrey. “This pond is stocked heavily with splake and brook trout in the fall. In fact, this year we had a few extra brook trout in the hatchery and Big Wood Pond anglers will reap the benefits. The fishing is always fast and furious in early January on this pond and this year should be even better.”

Even with the cold weather, early season ice conditions can be tricky, so take care. “We’ve had some pretty cold days over the last week which will help make ice but caution is the rule of the day. No fish is worth a dip in the water this time of year,” said Obrey.

Region F – Penobscot Region

Ponds and even some lakes are buttoning up in the Penobscot region, but even with the spell of cold weather we experienced, remember, there are no guarantees with ice, so be careful and check the ice before heading out.

“We have a number of lakes and ponds that tend to firm up early,” said IFW fisheries biologist Nels Kramer, “and we stock a number of them with both fall yearling and adult brook trout.” Fall yearlings average about 12-14 inches, and the retired brood stock adult brook trout are generally in the 17-20 inch range.

Some of the waters you may want to try early this season include: Middle Oxhead Pond (T40 MD), Perch Pond (Old Town), Wiley Pond (Patten), Silver Lake (Lee), Upper Pond (Lincoln), Trout Pond (Lowell), Smith Pond (Millinocket), Norton Pond (Brownville), Flatiron Pond (T3R9) and Falkner Pond (Weston).

You may also want to try Lower Shin and Upper Shin Ponds (Mount Chase), Hay Lake (T6R8 WELS), Cold Stream Pond (Enfield) and Upper Cold Stream Pond (Lincoln). Check the regulation book on these waters, as they have special S-Code regulations for the early part of the season.

Kramer and the Region F fisheries crew were out trapnetting this past fall, and were encouraged with the results

“We have high expectations for both salmon and togue fishing at a number of waters that will be opening on the 1st of January, including Schoodic Lake in Brownville, East Grand in Danforth and Cold Stream Pond in Enfield,” said Kramer. “Matagamon Lake should also have very good fishing for trout and salmon. Anglers should also do well at Scraggly and I expect to see excellent splake and salmon fishing at Nicatous Lake (T40 MD), Cedar Lake (T3R9 NWP) and Seboeis Lake (T4R9 NWP).”

The region also has some excellent “Kid’s Only” ponds that you may want to try with some young anglers.

“We always encourage any adults who enjoy ice fishing to consider taking a kid along. We have a number of “Kid’s Only” ponds that have been heavily stocked with big trout and we’d love to see young anglers experience the thrill of hooking and landing a 12” to 18” brookie,” said Kramer.

If you are looking for a “Kid’s Only” pond, try Jerry Pond (Millinocket), Pickerel Pond (T32MD), Edwards Family Fishing Pond (Lincoln), Harris Pond (Milo), Little Round Pond (Lincoln) and Rock Crusher Pond (Island Falls).

As always, anglers should check their fishing rule book and if any anglers would like more information, or need to have questions answered, please call the Regional Fisheries Office and ask. The Penobscot Regional Office number in Enfield is: 732-4131.

Region G – Aroostook Region

This year, the winter weather is cooperating for ice anglers and there are no shortages of places to fish.

“This is looking like a more normal year. By January 1st, we should have ice nearly everywhere,” said IFW Fisheries Biologist Frank Frost.

Many of the smaller lakes and ponds already have five to six inches of ice. “Even some of our bigger lakes are starting to close in,” said Frost, who noted that most of the larger lakes had ice around the shore.

Anglers looking to catch some trout or splake have a variety of ponds they may want to try early this year.

Arnold Brook Lake in Presque Isle and Scopan Lake in Mapleton should offer some good fishing early, and if you are a little further south in Region G, Drews Lake in Linneus and Nickerson Lake in New Limerick. All of these waters have good numbers of catchable trout. You also have the chance to catch some larger splake in Scopan and Drews.

“All of these were stocked with fall yearling trout, but there are also some adult brood trout that are up to 20 inches,” says Frost. Frost added that the St. John River in Van Buren also holds good number of catchable trout. He cautions anglers to be careful when heading out onto any body of water, including the St. John.

December 26, 2016

Three women located after overnight search in northern Maine

An intense overnight search locates three women who became separated last night while snowmobiling in northern Maine. Dorothy Gould (62) from Glenburn, Alice Meadow (50’s) from Texas and Valerie Morrow (50’s) from Garland, Maine were staying together at a camp on Smith Pond located west of Millinocket in Township T3-Indian Purchase.

The three women went snowmobiling last evening and were headed toward Kokadjo when they became stuck near Penobscot Pond in T1R11 between Millinocket and Kokadjo. Dorothy Gould left her two friends on snowmobile to find help when she became lost. Gould made her way to the north end of Baxter State Park where she ran out of gas near Nesowadnehunk Field Campground. None of the women had extra gas or emergency supplies with them. Game wardens were called early this morning at about 2:30 and began an intensive search. With temperatures last evening below zero and some thin ice in the area, game wardens were very concerned for the women’s safety.

Late last evening, Gould made her way to a cabin near Nesowadnehunk Field where she was able to enter and make a fire. Gould stayed the evening in the cabin and was met this morning by snowmobilers travelling in the area. The snowmobiler’s provider her with gas and she followed them back towards Millinocket where she met with game wardens around noon today. Meanwhile, Meadow and Morrow were found this morning by game wardens stranded beside the snowmobile trail. The women were taken to Kokadjo as they were cold and hungry from spending a night outdoors.

Over a dozen Maine game wardens and two Warden Service aircraft were involved in this overnight search effort. The Maine Warden Service recognizes that this incident was very dangerous and could have turned out much worse. It is critical to be prepared for an unexpected stay in the woods and those who snowmobile are reminded to bring a communication device, area trail maps and a means to start a fire. The impending storm this evening coupled with some thin ice and open water condition s in this area was of high concern to game wardens. Please use good judgment and common sense and be prepared when snowmobiling, especially in remote areas of Maine.

(Attached photo courtesy of the Maine Warden Service. Two Warden Service aircraft are shown here staged at Millinocket Airport for this search effort.)

December 29, 2016

RIDE RESPONSIBLY - Snowmobile Safety Campaign

This snowmobile season, the Maine Warden Service and the Maine Snowmobile Association have teamed up once again to remind people to ride responsibly. Game Warden Corporal John MacDonald and MSA Executive Director Bob Meyers met with several media outlets this morning to discuss Maine’s busy snowmobiling season. Today’s press conference highlighted the need for snowmobile riders to work together and reduce crashes. Driving under the influence, speeding, operating in adverse weather conditions, and operating on unfamiliar water bodies are common contributing factors with snowmobile incidents here in Maine.

To reduce incidents related to snowmobile crashes and search and rescue incidents, we ask that riders provide trip plans to family members and carry essential items with them. If you deviate significantly from your trip plans, please let a family member know. Search and rescue involves significant resources and are often hazardous to conduct. Many search and rescue missions can be avoided using good common sense.

When possible, carry a phone or other communication device in the event of an emergency and dial 911. Other key items include a means to make a fire, extra gas, snowshoes, small shovel, hand warmers and perhaps some food and water in the event your trip gets delayed or you must spend the night in the woods unexpectedly.

We encourage every rider to make sure their sled is registered and join a snowmobile club before they ride. Your snowmobile registration dollars provide the funding and support clubs need to maintain our great trails and also provide game wardens with tools needed to keep you safe.

With early and ongoing snowfall, visitors from all over the Northeast are headed for Maine’s 14,500 miles of snowmobile trails. Thanks is due to the thousands of volunteers who belong to 289 clubs statewide whose hard work in the off-season make the trails ready to ride as soon as enough snow hits the ground. Show them your support by joining your local snowmobile club before you ride. Thanks also to generous landowners statewide who allow us the use of their property – please respect their generosity by treating their property as if it were your own.

And when you register your snowmobile, it is a great time to purchase an Outdoors Partner membership from the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. For a nominal fee, you help provide critical support to Maine’s Landowner Relations Program. Maine’s rich tradition of public access to private land for recreation is essential for everyone who enjoys the outdoors. Your participation ensures that landowners across the state get the support they need and deserve to continue to allow access.

Now is also the time to brush up on safety and remind yourself of the simple rules that will keep your riding season safe and enjoyable. Some basic safety tips include:

STAY ON MARKED TRAILS. Respect the property of the thousands of landowners that allow trails on their property. Riding off-trail can lead to crashes with hazards buried under the snow.

NEVER DRINK AND RIDE. Many snowmobile accidents involve alcohol. The Maine Warden Service will be on the trails all season to strictly enforce Maine’s tough OUI law. Offenders pose a risk to all riders, and if caught will face large fines and jail time.

ALWAYS OPERATE YOUR SLED AT A SAFE AND REASONABLE SPEED. Operating at a safe and reasonable speed means being in control of your machine at all times. If you have any doubt, slow down.

ALWAYS RIDE TO THE RIGHT. Stay on the right hand side of the trail at all times. Remember to always pull well off the side of the trail when you stop.

APPROACH EVERY HILL, CORNER, AND INTERSECTION WITH CAUTION. Ride your sled as if another will be coming toward you on your side of the trail. On Maine’s busy trail system, you must keep an eye out for other riders.

LET OTHERS KNOW WHERE YOU’RE GOING. Leave a note on your dashboard saying where you’re going and when you expect to be back. If you go missing, searchers will have a starting point to look for you.

DON’T RIDE ALONE. Riding with others ensures that someone else will be there to help should you encounter problems. Many times help can be hours away, and having friends along will help ensure a safe trip.

WITH ICE CONDITIONS, IF YOU DON’T KNOW DON’T GO. Check conditions with locals. Area chambers of commerce or snowmobile clubs are excellent sources – they know conditions first hand.

January 4, 2017

IFW Wildlife Biologists Track New England Cottontails

January 7, 2017

A Massachusetts man is dead after his snowmobile breaks through thin ice.

A Massachusetts’ man was pronounced dead this afternoon after a snowmobile he was operating broke through thin ice on Messalonskee Lake (Snow Pond) in Oakland. Richard Dumont, 52, from North Attleboro was riding a friend and business partner’s Polaris 550 snowmobile towards the outlet of the lake when it broke through.

Witnesses who saw the incident called 911 at 2:51 PM causing an immediate response by Oakland Fire Department, Oakland Police Department, Maine State Police and the Maine Warden Service. Fire department personnel were able to reach Dumont with an ice rescue sled and pull him from the water. Delta Ambulance staff attempted to revive Dumont and he was transported to Inland Hospital in Waterville where he was pronounced dead. The Maine Warden Service will continue to investigate this incident.

This is a tragic reminder that Maine’s lakes and ponds vary widely in ice thickness and safety for snowmobilers and others who recreate on the ice. Game wardens are asking that everyone exercise extreme caution on any water body this winter season. This is Maine’s second snowmobile related fatality this season.

Attached photo courtesy of the Maine Warden Service. Snowmobile tracks can be seen leading to thin ice where Dumont entered the water and died.

January 13, 2017

IFW News -- IFW Adds An Additional 73 Moose Calves To Moose Survival Study

For Immediate Release: January 9, 2017

IFW Adds An Additional 73 Moose Calves To Moose Survival Study AUGUSTA, Maine -- Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife biologists just finished a week of capturing and collaring moose in two different geographic study areas in northern Maine as part of the department’s ongoing moose study. The study provides a greater understanding of the health of Maine’s moose population, particularly factors that affect their survival and reproductive rates.

A team of IFW biologists and a helicopter-based aerial capture team located, captured and collared 73 moose this past week. These were calf moose which were born last spring. There are now 162 moose equipped with GPS collars which will be monitored remotely by IFW biologists.

The GPS-enabled collars transmit twice per day, providing biologists the ability to track moose movements. The GPS collars are expected to transmit location signals for four years. If there is no movement for a certain period of time, the collar transmits a mortality signal, and biologists then travel overland to investigate the cause of death. This is the fourth year that Maine has captured and collared moose for research.

“Once we receive a mortality signal, we locate the dead moose within 24 hours,” said Kantar. Biologists conduct an extensive field necropsy on each moose, taking blood, tissue and fecal samples that will later be analyzed by the University of Maine-Animal Health Lab as well as other specialized diagnostic facilities.

The collared moose are in two study regions. One is located in northern Aroostook county, and the other is located between Jackman and Greenville in Northern Somerset county. New Hampshire and Vermont are also conducting similar studies. All three states are sharing information gathered through the study, which will provide biologists insights into moose survival in a variety of habitats, environmental conditions and moose densities.

“Once the moose is captured, the crew attaches a GPS collar and ear tags, collects a blood, hair and fecal sample, conducts a tick count and weighs the animal,” said Lee Kantar, “The entire process takes between 10 and 12 minutes, we don’t have to sedate the animal, and the moose is released unharmed.”

The radio collar study is just one component of the research that IFW conducts on moose. IFW also utilizes aerial flights to assess population abundance and the composition of the moose herd. During the moose hunting season, biologists also examine teeth to determine a moose’s age, measure antler spread, monitor the number of ticks a moose carries, and examine cow ovaries in late fall to determine reproductive rates.

IFW contracted with Native Range Capture Services out of Elko, Nevada to capture and collar the moose. The crew specializes in capturing and collaring large animals by helicopter and using net guns to capture and collar female moose and calves. Funding for the study comes from a federal Pittman-Robertson grant (funded by the sale of hunting equipment) and the state’s dedicated moose fund (funded through sale of non-resident moose applications and permits).

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January 16, 2017

IFW NEWS -- Free Snowmobile Weekends Slated for Winter 2017

AUGUSTA, Maine - This winter, the State of Maine is participating in two special weekends to provide enhanced opportunity for snowmobilers.

Maine and New Brunswick Free Trail Weekend: From January 20-22, 2017, snowmobilers from Maine can obtain a FREE 3-Day Trail Permit to ride in New Brunswick. The special free permit must be obtained online by visiting www.nbfsc.com. All snowmobiles and snowmobilers on NBFSC trails will still be required to carry personal PLPD insurance ($200,000.00 minimum) and have a current 2017 snowmobile registration from Maine. Additionally, riders from New Brunswick will be permitted to operate in Maine without a current Maine registration on those dates if their snowmobile is legally registered in New Brunswick.

Tri-State Snowmobile Weekend: This annual three-day event will take place January 27-29, 2017and allows all legally registered Maine snowmobiles to be operated in New Hampshire and Vermont without being registered in those states. This also means that all snowmobiles legally registered in New Hampshire and Vermont can be operated in Maine without a current Maine registration.

“We welcome these snowmobilers to explore more than 14,000 miles of Maine’s interconnected, groomed and marked trails,” said Commissioner Chandler Woodcock. “As always, we encourage them to enjoy Maine’s beautiful outdoors, but also urge them to ride safely.”

The Maine Warden Service reminds snowmobilers to ride with caution at all times.

“With the increased traffic anticipated during the reciprocal snowmobile weekends, we remind all riders to obey laws of prudent operation, do not drink and drive, and be mindful that this is a family sport, so please keep our trails safe,” said Maine Warden Service Colonel Joel Wilkinson. “Pay extra close attention to ice conditions on all Maine waterways especially when travelling at night, and ride with caution. We hope that enthusiasts participate in these great opportunities to discover Maine’s tremendous snowmobiling opportunity.”

Snowmobilers should stay off roads, ride at a reasonable speed, use hand signals and ride to the right.

If you need to register your snowmobile in Maine, visit: https://www10.informe.org/ifw/atv-snow/.

For information about snowmobile laws and rules in Maine, visit: http://www.maine.gov/ifw/atvsnowmobilewatercraft/atvsnowmobilelaws/index.htm

For Maine trail condition updates and trail maps, visit the Maine Snowmobile Association at: http://www.mesnow.com/

For more information on New Brunswick’s Free Trail Permit, visit: www.nbfsc.com

For more information about snowmobile laws and rules in New Hampshire, visit: http://www.eregulations.com/newhampshire/OHRV/

For information about snowmobile laws and rules in Vermont, visit: http://vsp.vermont.gov/auxiliary/snowmobile

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January 17, 2017

IFW NEWS -- Rhonde Island man dies in Maine's third snowmobile fatality this season

A Rhode Island man was killed over the weekend in Maine’s third snowmobile related fatality this season. At approximately 5:43 PM, Edmond D. Imondi, 53, from Foster, Rhode Island was riding with two friends in T1 R9 WELS on a groomed ITS trail west of Millinocket Lake. Imondi failed to negotiate a right hand curve in the trail. Tracks in the snow indicated the machine went straight into a series of trees to the left of the trail. Imondi impacted the trees and was pronounced dead at the scene.

This crash is still being investigated but it appears that speed and unfamiliarity with trail conditions are possible contributing factors. Assisting at the scene were Millinocket EMS and a Ranger with Baxter State Park.

January 18, 2017

IFW NEWS -- A man is dead after an overnight snowmobile crash in Sidney

A man is dead after an overnight snowmobile crash in Sidney. Jeffrey Fisher, 32, from Sidney, was found dead along the shoreline of Messalonskee Lake after he became separated from his friend while on a snowmobile ride. The Maine Warden Service determined that Fisher crashed his snowmobile and was ejected onto rocks at the shoreline. A responding paramedic unit from Delta Ambulance pronounced Fisher dead on scene.

Fisher was operating an Artic-Cat snowmobile and was wearing a helmet. Speed is likely a contributing factor in this crash based upon an initial witness statement and evidence at the scene. Members of the Warden Service Evidence Recovery and Forensic Mapping Units assisted in the investigation as well as Sidney Fire and Rescue. An autopsy will be performed by the Office of the Medical Examiner in Augusta. This case remains under investigation. This is Maine’s fourth snowmobile related fatality this season.

January 26, 2017

IFW BLOG - - Blown Off Course

January 30, 2017

IFW NEWS -- Maine Moose Permit Auction Raises Over $133,000 for Scholarships

AUGUSTA, Maine – Over $133,000 was raised for youth conservation education scholarships in Maine through the 2016 Maine Moose Permit Auction. Ten hunters bid a total of over $133,000 in an auction for the opportunity to hunt moose in Maine during the 2016 season.

The auction was created by the Legislature and began in 1995. It allows the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife to publicly auction ten moose permits each year. Applicants submit bids through a written bid process. Permits are awarded to the ten winning bidders each February. The average winning bid for 2016 was $13,516.50.

Proceeds from the auction fund partial scholarships that will help send over 600 Maine youngsters to several conservation camps within the state.These camps provide boys and girls ages 8 through 17 the opportunity to participate in a variety of outdoor and classroom activities. Students are taught by experienced instructors and counselors, as well as staff from the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife and other state and private conservation agencies.

“While the auction winners have the opportunity to partake in the hunt of a lifetime, their winning bids also ensure Maine children have the chance to learn outdoor skills that will give them a lifetime of appreciation of the Maine outdoors,” said Chandler Woodcock, Commissioner, Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

Conservation camp programs are designed to teach Maine boys and girls the importance of conservation, a respect for the environment and a working knowledge of a variety of outdoor skills. Subjects taught at camp include wildlife identification, fishing, boating safety, archery, firearms handling, hunter safety, forest conservation, map and compass work and much more.

Bids for the 2017 auction are now being accepted and must be received at the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, 284 State Street, Augusta, Maine 04333, no later than 5:00 p.m. (Eastern Time) on February 15, 2017. A non-refundable bid fee of $25.00 in U.S. funds must accompany each bid.

A downloadeable copy of the bid packet is available online by visiting: http://www.maine.gov/ifw/licensespermits/lotteries/moose/pdfs/2017mooseauctioninformationbidform.pdf

For more information on the Maine Moose Permit Auction or moose hunting in Maine, please visit our website at www.mefishwildlife.com -30-

February 1, 2017

IFW NEWS -- 2017 Camp North Woods Lottery Now Open

AUGUSTA, Maine -- Camp North Woods is back for another great summer of learning in the Maine outdoors! The Department created Camp North Woods in 2015 to provide opportunities for youth and their families to learn lifelong outdoor skills as well as the importance of sustaining Maine’s natural resources. The camp has also been established to build upon the overwhelming interest by youth who have grown to love the hit TV series on Animal Planet, North Woods Law! Camp North Woods will again be held at and hosted by the University of Maine 4-H Camp and Learning Center at Bryant Pond. Camp staff and instructors will include Maine Game Wardens, Fisheries and Wildlife Biologists, Recreational Safety Coordinators, Information and Education staff as well as staff from Bryant Pond. A co-ed overnight camp for children ages 8-10 will be held July 16-21, 2017 and a co-ed overnight camp for children ages 10-12 is planned for July 30-August 4, 2017. This year, each week will accommodate 100 campers and will provide hands-on learning opportunities in a number of outdoor related activities in a safe and comfortable environment. Campers will be joined by their parent(s) or guardian(s) for the last day (Friday) of camp for a family field day. Because there are a limited number of spaces at Camp North Woods, a chance lottery will be held on April 12, 2017. Campers may enter the drawing for a chance to attend Camp North Woods if they will be at least 8 years of age by July 16, 2017 and no older than 12 years of age on August 4, 2017. Each child may enter the drawing only once. The entry fee is $5.00 and all proceeds will go to support Camp North Woods. Both residents and non-residents may apply and lottery winners will be composed of 70% Maine residents and 30% non-residents and 50% boys and 50% girls.

If selected in the lottery, the registration fee is $435 for Maine residents and $635 for non-residents and includes meals, lodging and instruction for the week. Interested campers can apply for the online lottery by visiting bit.ly/campnorthwoodslottery. The deadline to apply for the lottery is April 3, 2017. For more information about Camp North Woods please visit us online at bit.ly/campnorthwoods or email Brittany Humphrey at brittany.humphrey@maine.gov

October 20, 2002

IFW NEWS - - 2017 Camp North Woods Lottery Now Open

AUGUSTA, Maine -- Camp North Woods is back for another great summer of learning in the Maine outdoors! The Department created Camp North Woods in 2015 to provide opportunities for youth and their families to learn lifelong outdoor skills as well as the importance of sustaining Maine’s natural resources. The camp has also been established to build upon the overwhelming interest by youth who have grown to love the hit TV series on Animal Planet, North Woods Law! Camp North Woods will again be held at and hosted by the University of Maine 4-H Camp and Learning Center at Bryant Pond. Camp staff and instructors will include Maine Game Wardens, Fisheries and Wildlife Biologists, Recreational Safety Coordinators, Information and Education staff as well as staff from Bryant Pond. A co-ed overnight camp for children ages 8-10 will be held July 16-21, 2017 and a co-ed overnight camp for children ages 10-12 is planned for July 30-August 4, 2017. This year, each week will accommodate 100 campers and will provide hands-on learning opportunities in a number of outdoor related activities in a safe and comfortable environment. Campers will be joined by their parent(s) or guardian(s) for the last day (Friday) of camp for a family field day. Because there are a limited number of spaces at Camp North Woods, a chance lottery will be held on April 12, 2017. Campers may enter the drawing for a chance to attend Camp North Woods if they will be at least 8 years of age by July 16, 2017 and no older than 12 years of age on August 4, 2017. Each child may enter the drawing only once. The entry fee is $5.00 and all proceeds will go to support Camp North Woods. Both residents and non-residents may apply and lottery winners will be composed of 70% Maine residents and 30% non-residents and 50% boys and 50% girls.

If selected in the lottery, the registration fee is $435 for Maine residents and $635 for non-residents and includes meals, lodging and instruction for the week. Interested campers can apply for the online lottery by visiting bit.ly/campnorthwoodslottery. The deadline to apply for the lottery is April 3, 2017. For more information about Camp North Woods please visit us online at bit.ly/campnorthwoods or email Brittany Humphrey at brittany.humphrey@maine.gov

February 2, 2017

IFW Blog -- For A New Generation, Are These The Good Old Days Of Deer Hunting?

February 8, 2017

IFW BLOG -- Moose Fatalities Can Take Many Different Forms in the Maine Woods

February 8, 2017

IFW NEWS -- Apply Now For The 2017 Maine Moose Lottery

AUGUSTA, Maine – Hunters who dream about the hunt of a lifetime will be happy to know that the 2017 Maine moose permit lottery application process is now open.

The online application process is fast and simple and you receive instant confirmation that you have successfully entered the lottery. To apply, please visit www.mefishwildlife.com. The deadline for online applications is 11:59 p.m. on May 15, 2017.

Applicants are awarded bonus points for each consecutive year that they have applied for the lottery since 1998 without being selected and each bonus point gives the applicant an additional chance in the drawing.

Bonus points are earned at the rate of one per year for years one to five, two per year for years six to 10, three per year for years 11 to 15 and 10 per year for years 16 and beyond. Since 2011, applicants can skip a year and not lose their bonus points. So if they applied in 2015 but not in 2016, they still have their points available if they apply in 2017. The moose permit drawing will take place on June 17, 2017 at Caribou Parks and Recreation. For more information about moose hunting in Maine and the moose permit lottery, please visit: http://www.maine.gov/ifw/licenses_permits/lotteries/moose/index.htm

February 9, 2017

Monthly Review from the Maine Dept. of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife: January 2017

February 14, 2017

IFW NEWS -- Free Fishing Weekend Approaches

AUGUSTA, Maine - The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife is reminding everyone to take advantage of the upcoming free fishing weekend.

On Saturday, February 18 and Sunday, February 19, any person may fish for free without a license on Maine’s waterways, except those who have had their license suspended or revoked. All other rules and regulations, including bag and possession limits, apply.

“Fishing during the winter is a wonderful way to get out of the house and make memories with family and friends that are sure to last a long time,” said Governor Paul R. LePage. “We offer this free fishing weekend in the hopes that more and more people will be introduced to the many winter fishing opportunities Maine offers, particular