Outdoors in Maine

  • North Maine Woods director retires

    Al Cowperthwaite, executive director of North Maine Woods (NMW) for 46 years, is retiring this month. A Houlton native, Cowperthwaite, 67, says it time for “new blood” and for him “to spend more time with his wife and grandchildren.” Tom Pelletier, an Aroostook County native, has been selected to replace Cowperthwaite. Cowperthwaite attended Houlton schools

  • The iPhone hikers

    The iPhone hikers

    Once, before the age of iPhones, most responsible hikers took to the woods with a few basic essentials: compass, map, matches, flashlight, water and a couple of energy bars. Not anymore. Increasingly, hikers hit the trail with just their iPhones and a pocketful of high expectations. After all, an iPhone imbues confidence and a sense

  • SAM works hard for Maine sportsmen

    Throughout the country there are literally hundreds of organizations whose mission is to represent those of us who hunt and fish and recreate outdoors. Quite frankly, some are better than others. Nationally, at the top of my list are the NRA and the RMEF (Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation). The NRA works tirelessly to protect our

  • Black bear basics

    Maine’s 13-week black bear season opens Aug. 30. Although a natural supply of berries and mast crops predicted for this season will make it more difficult to attract bears to artificial bait sites, outfitters and their clients — the bear hunters — remain optimistic. Maine’s black bear numbers are reportedly at record levels. Recently, bear

  • Backseat shooters

    Backseat shooters

    Four cow elk answered the call. On cue the elk emerged from the aspens and began to mill about along the edge of the small creek that meandered through the wide-open drainage. Nothing but tall sweetgrass between us and the elk. But it was a long shot. Wife, in a prone shooting position beneath an

  • Deer hunter survey

    The Northwoods Sporting Journal received 59 responses to its recent deer hunter survey. These responses have been collated and are reported below. Although the statistical validity of this survey may not comply with scientific protocols, it does lend some anecdotal insights into what Maine deer hunters are thinking and doing when it comes to any-deer

  • The school of sparse

    Like so many other dimensions of life, the fly-tying community has its disparate schools of thought. Which is better or more effective, a sparsely tied artificial fly or a gaudy, heavily dressed creation? Since I no longer hover over the fly-tying vice, my credentials when it comes to debating the pros and cons of modern

  • Good news for deer yards

    Good news for deer yards

    There is very good news for Maine’s whitetail deer. LD 404, an Act to Preserve Deer Habitat, a deer-yard protection measure, is a done deal! Not in all my years in reporting on the Maine outdoors can I recall a single legislative initiative with such potential to salvage Maine’s declining Big Woods deer numbers. This

  • The cost of salmon recovery

    The cost of salmon recovery

    The River Tyne was once a flowing sewer and is now thriving as a salmon fishery that annually sees upward of 32,000 sea-run salmon in its system. Check it out online. Recreational salmon fishing is once again big business on the River Tyne! How did they do it?

  • The ammo crisis

    Market volatility is not leaving the sporting community untouched. The stock market may be soaring but so is the price of ammunition — not to mention gasoline, two-by-fours and chicken. When it comes to ammunition, whether for handguns, long guns or shotguns, supply and demand rule. One ammo maker told the American Rifleman magazine: “…

  • The spring spawn

    Recently, on my Sunday night radio program, “Maine Outdoors,” my show co-host and fishing buddy Bob Leeman stirred up a piscatorial hornet’s nest. Leeman, a knowledgeable and confident sort, especially when the subject is fish or fishing, got us on the subject of the spawning habits of native Maine fish. He quizzed me about which

  • Tick patrol

    For me, generally, biting insects such as hornets, horse flies, black flies or other creeping or slithering critters are never cause for panic. Years ago, during my Navy days stationed in the South, an 8-foot-snake had terrorized the Married Officer Quarters, a housing complex where Diane and I lived. Reconstruction of the housing complex’s street