Region G

MDIF&W Regional Office
PO Box 447
Ashland, ME 04732
(207) 435-3231

Weekly Outdoor Reports by Wildlife Biologists

The Aroostook Region

by Richard Hoppe, Regional Wildlife Biologist

Physical Characteristics

Region G, a northern coniferous forest, offers two very unique geographical areas in Aroostook County to hunt, the first being the area west of Route 11, known as the "Big Woods,"consisting of industrial timberlands and the second being the area east of Route 11 consisting of agricultural lands. These two major land use patterns have created a very diverse region with some of the most remote areas in Maine adjacent to some of the most highly developed agricultural areas. The far eastern third of Region G where the majority of the people live, is mostly tilled fields with varying size woodlots. The western two thirds of northern Maine is a large parcel of relatively undeveloped land managed for forest products. Gravel roads cross this area providing access for timber management and recreation. Hunting any of the game species within the "Big Woods," the hunter can choose from numerous full service lodges and primitive campsites or stay around quaint towns east of Route 11 at rental camps or Bed and Breakfasts. All amenities including gas, food, and water, should be purchased prior to entering the " Big Woods," where a nominal fee is charged to those that enter, but once in, the sports person has over 3.5 million acres of non-posted land to use with minimal regulations.

Wildlife Management Areas

Region G has two major Wildlife Management Areas, each having their own unique land use and subsequent hunting opportunities. The largest, Lt. Gordon Manual Wildlife Management Area, occurs in the farm belt in Southern Aroostook County. A mix of cultivated fields, abandoned farmland, wetlands, and woods, covers approximately 6500 acres. Access is available off the Town Line Road in Linneus, the Horseback Road in Hodgdon, and the Wilcox Settlement Road in Cary Plantation. The central feature is the Hodgdon Mill Pond, a 200 acre shallow marsh managed primarily for waterfowl. Waterfowl hunting is allowed during the regular waterfowl firearm season as described in the Migratory Game Bird Hunting Schedule. In the adjoining uplands, other opportunities include bear, deer, moose, snowshoe hare, ruffed grouse, and woodcock. Most habitat management projects have been directed at improving grouse and woodcock habitats. A mix of old fields, abandoned apple orchards, and reverting poplar and alder stands create excellent upland bird habitat. Dickwood Lake Wildlife Management Area is located in the Town of Eagle Lake and borders the "Big Woods", a large tract of undeveloped privately owned industrial forest land. Access to this 4300 acre parcel is off of Route 11, through the Gilmore Brook Road where four wheel drive vehicles are recommended due to rough terrain. This parcel is characterized by large picturesque hardwood ridges surrounding Dickwood Lake. Large tracts of forested land dominate the area creating a setting for solitude and a remote hunting opportunity for those hunters who like to get outdoors and walk. Due to the higher elevation, severe winters, and minimal winter cover, deer populations exist in small pockets. Bird hunting can be favorable depending on the season and location.

Hunting Opportunities

White-tailed Deer: Even though this Region may have the fewest number of deer/mi.2 the potential of taking a trophy buck keeps the hunter coming back. The large region enables the hunter to stalk deer in areas where coming across other hunters is rare. The deer hunter can choose between two distinct types of hunting opportunities in pursuing the elusive white-tailed deer. First, the "Big Woods," which is divided into numerous gravel logging roads, and second, the agricultural areas where the hunter can hunt throughout fields and wood lots off asphalt roads.

Black Bear: Region G has excellent black bear habitat enabling the region to harvest the majority of the state wide harvest. Most hunters use a full service guide and hunt in the "big woods" due to assigned bait sites although some of the largest regional bears are observed in the agricultural areas.

Moose: Those fortunate hunters who draw a moose permit from the state lottery and select Wildlife Management Districts (1-6) will experience one of the most successful big game hunts in North America with over 92% of the hunters bringing home a trophy. The region consists of over 4 million acres of land open to moose hunting where most hunters search for their prey by driving log or farm roads. Hunters can either have a registered Maine guide to assist in the arduous task of loading and registering the animal or go on their own, but no matter what they decide, all equipment needed for this hunt goes with the hunter who anticipates any situation that may arise.

Upland game: Agricultural areas reverting back to early successional habitats offer Aroostook County hunters favorable habitat for woodcock, ruffed grouse, and snowshoe hare. Areas in the "Big Woods" allow the hunter to choose the habitat type (alders, poplar, or mixed wood), with easy access along logging roads. Many of the full service camps and lodges in Aroostook County cater to the upland hunters with dogs and kennels enabling the hunter to take day trips from the camp.

Waterfowl: Aroostook county offers the waterfowl hunter multiple opportunities to hunt geese and ducks primarily throughout the agricultural areas. Miles of waterways abound offering the waterfowl hunter the opportunity to take their watercraft and dog to different wetlands everyday. Once the waterfowl hunter bags his limit in the morning hours, he can spend the afternoon hunting upland birds, which makes for an exciting full-day hunt.