Outdoors in Maine

  • Checking the backtrack

    The slate is clean as we start another year anew. Nobody knows what lies ahead, even as friends and family offer seasonal salutations that wish us well. As we look ahead with hopeful expectations, it doesn’t hurt to check the backtrack. For the Maine sportsmen and women, 2017 was, like most years, marked by some

  • Ice: Is it safe?

    Each year about this time, the Maine Warden Service urges us to use extreme caution before venturing out onto any ice that may be covering Maine’s waterways. This is timely advice. Two winters ago, three nighttime snowsledders all perished in one night on Rangeley Lake when they and their machines broke through thin ice. This

  • The baitfish bugaboo

    The tired old joke goes like this: “How can you tell the difference between a partridge and a grouse?” You know the answer, right? If it’s shot on the ground, it’s a partridge; if it is shot on the wing, it is a grouse. Well, now there is a new twist along the language line

  • Quebec caribou hunts closed down

    Starting the first of next year, the sport hunting of migratory caribou will be indefinitely suspended in Quebec and Labrador. This measure was announced by Quebec’s minister of forests, who cited “sustainability of the species” as the reason for the hunt closure. Sport hunting of the George River herd was closed in 2012 due to

  • A success story

    When it comes to the quality of the sport fishery, once-fabled fishing lakes like Branch Lake, Green Lake and Beech Hill Pond have had their ups and downs. When I was a kid, Branch Lake was a red hot game fishery. Beech Hill gave up a record lake trout that has never been bested. In

  • Gift ideas for sportsmen

    Sportsmen love their toys. Of course, they prefer to consider these toys as indispensable tools for the outdoors. Sometimes the best gift one can give to an outdoorsman is a tool or device that he might not either think to buy for himself or feel comfortable buying. For example, my late mother-in-law always had an

  • The trail food search

    Author’s note: This is part two of a three part column series about my fall elk hunt to Colorado. Over the years, in pursuit of elk, my sons and I have made a number of backpacking hunts into the Routt National Forest in western Colorado. There is a lot of careful preparation for trips of

  • Hillary: The horse with attitude

    Author’s note: This is part one of a three-part column series about my recent elk hunt in Colorado. Halfway down the mountain a creek crosses the road. Approaching the creek, I could tell that the dirt-covered ice was making this horse skittish. At the creek’s edge, Hillary put on the brakes. Not until I took

  • Nine Mile Bridge

    Although Henry David Thoreau’s book about his venture into the Maine North Woods is one of the well-known books of its genre, “Nine Mile Bridge,” by Helen Hamlin, has always occupied a special place on my bookshelf. I have read it a number of times. In my estimation, Mrs. Hamlin, wife of game warden Curly

  • The moose hunt

    For many Maine moose hunters lucky enough to get drawn, a moose permit is a once-in-a-lifetime affair. Such was the case with my middle-aged friend Greg Goodman, who has been trying for that permit since he was a young man. Knowing that I had had some experience in the moose woods (and perhaps that I