All signs positive for Maine hunters
The sizeable crowd of men milling through the gun aisle at Old Town Trading Post on Wednesday morning was a solid indicator that a hunting season of one kind or another may have arrived.
The question one of those men asked proprietor Dave Hanson left no doubt.
Those words made perfect sense to many of those in attendance, who had surely spent their fair share of hours sitting in a solid, metal tree stand, waiting for a wily bruin to show up.
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It is, in fact, bear season in Maine has been since Monday, and will be, in one form or another, until Nov. 28.
And in many of the state rural hunting hotspots places like Allagash and Clifton, Sebec and Patten a steady stream of trucks carrying non resident hunters has arrived, and are spending several hours each afternoon and evening sitting in trees, waiting for a bear to liven things up.
Hanson said reports after the first two days of the bait season have been positive, and photos of five bears that have been tagged at his store this year were hanging on the bulletin board next to the front door.
Another nearby store tagged nine bears in one night, Hanson said, and many hunters like the ones that flooded his shop on Wednesday had seen bears already.
One hunter stopped briefly at the checkout counter and said he seen the same bear twice in two days of hunting. On opening day, the little bruin carefully worked his way down a hillside before eventually slinking to the bait.
The second day, apparently hungry or emboldened, the bear wasted no time.
“He rolled right down the hill,” the hunter said with a laugh.
Maine allows hunting for bears over bait from Aug. 31 until Sept. 26 this year, while hunting with dogs is allowed from Sept. 14 until Oct. 30.
And though many of the hunters in Hanson store on Wednesday seemed to be interested in bears, that not to say that other hunting opportunities aren available.canada goose
In fact, bear season is just one of many options hunters have now, or will have in the coming weeks.
In areas that have sizeable Canada goose populations, for instance, hunters began targeting them during the so called “early” season on Sept. 1. That session will last until Sept. 25.
Then, on Oct. 1, the regular Canada goose season begins, and hunters can target the big birds until Dec. 9 in the state northern zone.
Deer season, many hunters will tell you, takes place in November. Nowadays, that not exactly true, and hundreds of Mainers take advantage of additional opportunities that are available.
Beginning Sept. 12, for instance, bowhunters will start heading into the woods in expanded archery zones. And on Oct. 1, statewide archery season on deer opens.
Of course, come October, a versatile hunter might start running into some conflicts of interest: In some parts of the state, the fall archery season for turkeys opens on Oct. 1 in other parts of the state, it starts on Oct. 10. And in still other areas, where shotguns and bows are allowed, a turkey season will run from Oct. 17 until Oct. 23.
That would keep you busy enough, I suppose unless you an upland bird hunter (Oct. 1 opener) or a squirrel hunter or a moose hunter (if you were lucky enough to cash in during the permit lottery).
So today, it goose and bears. Soon, we have more options. Plenty more.
All the opportunities. So little time. Yes, hunting season is officially upon us.
Have fun out there. And be safe.
Recreation planning help needed
If you a Mainer who loves spending time outdoors, especially at state run parks and recreation areas, the state Department of Conservation is seeking your help.
The DOC has put together a tentative blueprint that will guide the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands recreation management efforts over the next five years, and the agency is looking for people to share their thoughts on that State Comprehensive Outdoor Plan, or SCORP.
According to a DOC press release, three public listening sessions are planned, and public input at those sessions will help determine how to spend federal recreation money.