Coyote hunting is a big, big deal, especially in the Western Mountains, the Forks region, Washington County and “The” County. The March issue of The Maine Sportsman features a cover photo of a big “song dog” headed through the deep snow right toward the camera. Think of it as a deer’s-eye view.
When it comes to hauling long-legged coyote-chasing hound dogs through the woods with a snowmobile, expert ’yote hunter William Clunie, in “Off-Road Traveler,” reveals that traditional snowmobile tote sleds may not work well, given the rough territory that must be traversed during a coyote hunt (Clunie describes traveling the swamps and mountains as “violent snowmobiling”).
He presents alternatives to a haul-behind tote sled, including mounting a hard plastic dog crate directly to the snowmobile’s frame where the back of the rider’s seat is usually located.
In his “Washington County” column, Steve Vose offers valuable marksmanship hints to coyote hunters; specifically, he recommends using a basic range-finder to avoid under-estimating the distance from your rifle’s muzzle to a coyote in the woods. The difference between 200 yards and 250 yards is a slug hitting 4-1/2 inches low, even using a flat-shooting .223. Steve does his coyote hunting in the Cherryfield area.
Just because a firearm is powerful and accurate does not mean it must be loud, since Maine law now permits use of “noise suppressors.” Col. J.C. Allard (“The Shooter’s Bench”) tells of Maine’s first buck taken with a suppressor-equipped rifle, an 8-point buck felled by 11-year old Nick Zimba. Allard believes suppressors have the potential to improve relations between hunters and nearby resident non-hunters, as well as saving the hearing of those hunters or target shooters who are subject to the noise of repeated discharges.
Two of our regular columnists present different perspectives on the issue of how to permit fish to travel up and down the Mousam River, which runs through several southern Maine towns before entering the ocean in Kennebunk. King Montgomery (“Sporting Journal”) tells of groups that are advocating for removal of several of the lower dams, while Val Marquez (“Southern Maine”) describes the excellent fishing made possible by impoundments along the upper river, starting in the Shapleigh/Acton area.
The March issue contains many other highlights, including:
• Luke Giampetruzzi’s second contribution (“Young Maine Sportsman”), in which the 12-year old provides a lesson on “ice fishing basics”;
• Cathy Genthner’s revealing article on the effects of ethanol on snowmobile engines;
• Joe Saltalamachia’s interview with state deer guru Kyle Ravana, describing live-trapping, tagging and tracking whitetails in the name of science;
• A rabbit stew recipe provided by William Clunie (“Rangeley Region”), and hints on how to track down the hares to provide the stew’s main ingredient (“Jackman Region,” by Bill Sheldon);
• A collaboration piece by William Clunie and Lou Zambello on improving your fly fishing techniques;
• Bill Graves’ “Trophy Fish of Aroostook”;
• The outdoor experiences of Alexia Gregoire, a wonderful and deserving Miss Maine Sportsman finalist; and
• The latest salt-water fishing gear, detailed by Barry Gibson.
Thanks again this month to the great advertisers who help to bring this issue to you, including Kittery Trading Post, James D. Julia auctioneer, L.L.Bean, Ski-Doo and Allstate Insurance.
A couple of final reminders:
• Moose lottery application deadlines are fast approaching. Paper applications must be postmarked by April 1, 2016 or received at IF&W’s Augusta office before 5 p.m. on that date. Online applications (see https://www5.informe.org/online/moose/) can be submitted for 6 weeks afterwards, but must be received by 11:59 p.m. on May 16, 2016.
• · Make plans now to attend the Maine Sportsman’s Show, jointly organized by The Maine Sportsman magazine, and Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine, April 1st, 2nd and 3rd at the Augusta Civic Center. See you there!