Welcome to The Maine Sportsman
Guiding Format Continues for Four Decades
When The Maine Sportsman first hit newsstands four decades ago, we had no columns, just articles and an occasional short story, and the writers, editor and publisher aimed at a guiding format right from day one. Outdoor sports offer participants fun and more fun, and the finished product should capture that joy, while touching upon where-to-go, localized how-to, outdoors politics, current trends and more sandwiched between short, crisp images that put the readers there to feel the excitement. In the mid-1970s, this publication began publishing more and more columns and less free-lance articles, but we continued with the same plan that has carried on until this day.
Here’s a bit from our December 2014 issue:
Blackpowder Bucks and Ice Fishing for Big Brookies!
December’s cover photo features a hunter’s dream – a big trophy buck crossing an open, snowy field in the daytime. A rarity, of course, but what a sight for muzzle-loading enthusiasts to contemplate! Perhaps this blackpowder season will be your lucky one. Make that first shot count, because a wary whitetail is unlikely to stick around to watch you reload.
In his column from The County, Bill Graves tells of a friend who has taken a buck each year for the past 5 years. Bill reveals the DeLorme map page and coordinates – all you have to do is follow directions! Bill also details a hilarious ice-fishing scene in which his friends watch from the safety of the shoreline while Bill ventures out onto new ice.
Tom Seymour also covers ice fishing in our first special section of the season, describing a new DIF&W stocking program that Tom says is creating “spectacular” ice fishing.
December kicks off Maine’s snowmobiling season in earnest, and Cathy Genthner covers snowmobile safety, while William Clunie describes the deep-snow, thick-woods models offered by major manufacturers (including Ski-Doo, Arctic Cat, Yamaha, Polaris). In addition, Genther’s “Southern Maine” column details snowmobile trail prep by local clubs, brushing out trails and rebuilding bridges so when the snow’s deep enough – as it was during last year’s stellar winter – the sleds can make full use of the ITS.
Clunie’s “Rangeley Region,” reveals news of a deer-tracker’s success in that area, with multiple 200-pound bucks. And in “Western Maine,” Clunie covers coyotes, grouse and blackpowder hunting.
Joe Saltalamachia offers a thoughtful “Big Game” piece, titled “Losing Wounded Game Affects Joe Deeply.” Joe reveals a respect for animal life shared by many hunters, from ancient times to today.
In his “Katahdin Country” and “Jackman” columns, William Sheldon covers snowmobiling and muzzleloading opportunities. He points out two obvious advantages to hunting whitetails in the first week (or first two weeks, depending on your zone) with black powder – the likelihood of tracking snow, and the lack of competition from fair-weather hunters.
George Smith offers his insightful Capitol Report, as well as his monthly collection of quotes, while Chris Johnson shares tips for bowhunting success, reminding us that expanded archery season continues into December.
Ken Allen’s “Upcountry Journal” offers an outstanding article titled, “Rifle Manufacturers Keep Reinventing Century-old Cartridges,” acknowledging, “the gun-collector in us influences manufacturers to keep originating new cartridges to tempt us, companies that create new products at our expense.” This month’s editorial page pays homage to Ken’s countless contributions to the magazine as a writer and editor, as Ken announced to staff in mid-November that he decided to leave the publication in order to devote full attention to some major projects. Ken is a class act and a gentleman, and we wish him our best in those projects.
On the subject of firearms, Col. Allard’s “Shooter’s Bench” describes a Forbes rifle chambered for 7mm-08, so accurate that, in the Colonel’s opinion, the rifle earns the designation “tack-driver”.
Tom Seymour “Moosehead Region” column covers grouse, and both open water and ice fishing in his “Midcoast Report.” And Shawn Simpson’s “Mid-Kennebec Valley” offering focuses on the outstanding fishing found in Chesterville’s myriad tiny ponds, ponds that produce huge pickerel and largemouth bass.
Jim Lemieux’s “Greater Penobscot Bay” reports that the coastal region’s climate provides numerous days each December with above-freezing temperatures offering excellent scenting conditions. And speaking of cold fingers, Steve Vose’s “Washington County” piece offers vivid quotes, such as “Late-season sea duck hunts involve fighting extreme cold, spitting snow squalls and showers of freezing rain, building determination, strength and character.”
Jon Lund’s “Jottings” covers big birds, from loons to bald eagles, while “Saltwater” by Barry Gibson’s describes the challenge of taking big tuna on relatively-light spinning tackle. David Miller reveals how to trap bobcat, and we learn a great deal about this handsome and elusive animal in “The Silent Places”.
Lou Zambello’s “Maine Bicycling,” helps us get a jump on the holiday shopping season, providing hints on gifts to purchase your favorite bicyclist.
Brian Emerson chases late-season bucks, describing how to intercept big deer as they head from food to beds, while Tom Roth is pleased with the long, two week blackpowder season in his area, which ranges from Sebago to Auburn. Don Eno’s “Allagash” column continues that theme, revealing that muzzleloaders can improve chances of success by realizing that big bucks seek out food sources in December they may have passed by earlier in the season.
And in “Self-Propelled Sportsman,” Jim Andrews calls Baxter State Park the “Granddaddy of Maine Ski-Touring Destinations,” and opines that winter in Baxter is when the park comes closest to being a true wilderness.
So make the proper preparations for cold weather, then get out and enjoy!