Press Release

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.