Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Maine Guide Helps Disabled Vets Enjoy the Outdoors

Bob and Andrea Howe chat with Rip Thibodeau and Dave Huard, their fishing guests for the day. All free trips for veterans include a place at the Howes' table for a home cooked meal.
Credit Jennifer Mitchell/MPBN
Posted by Wayne G. Barber

Source: MPBN NEWS Jennifer Mitchell

Maine Master Guide Bob Howe gives Rip Thibodeau a refresher course in fishing for trout.
Credit Jennifer Mitchell/MPBN
Mainers love the outdoors. Many grew up in camping, fishing and hunting families, and have maintained a lifelong connection to those traditions. But for some combat veterans, who've experienced serious mental and physical disabilities, its much more difficult to enjoy the recreational activities that have such an important part of their lives. One Registered Maine Guide is making it his life's mission to see that all veterans, regardless of disability, can enjoy the Maine woods.
Rip Thibodeau spent his childhood exploring the outdoors.
"When I was a kid we'd take off Friday night and wouldn't come home until Sunday afternoon," says Thibodeau with a chuckle. "That was back in the good old days."
In addition to free hunting and fishing, Bob Howe conducts nature trips. His bird dog, Ash, is trained to sniff out shed deer and moose antlers for veterans to collect.
Credit Jennifer Mitchell/MPBN
Now in his 70's, Thibodeau has not been able to hunt or fish or hike for years. He can only walk short distances with the help of metal crutches clamped round his arms, a consequence, he says, of nerve damage sustained from exposure to the defoliant, Agent Orange, during his three year stint in Vietnam, from 1969 to 1971.
But on this brisk, autumn day in Western Maine, Thibodeau is zipping over rocks and roots and fallen leaves, trying for the first time an off road wheel chair at Pine Grove Lodge in Pleasant Ridge Plantation, Somerset County. Registered Maine Master Guide Bob Howe is showing him all the bells and whistles.
Bob Howe: "Forward, backwards, left, right."
Rip Thibodeau: "Ooh yes... I like this."
BH: "Pretty neat huh?" Jennifer Mitchell: "So it's like a little tractor kind of?"
Man: "Like a little tractor type of thing...Go ahead and take right out back."
The chair is called an Action Trackchair, and as the name implies, features two spinning rotating gripper tracks in place of wheels. Bob Howe and his wife Andrea maintain a small fleet of THEM at their nonprofit Pine Grove Program for Veterans. Using these special chairs, the Howes can reconnect veterans Like Thibodeau with the great outdoors.
JM: "So has it been a while since you've been able to really get out into the woods? Into the rough?"
RT: "Ten years. Been a long time. Been a long time. And you miss it. You know, people say you don't but you do. You miss it."
While the chairs are new, the veterans' trips are not. Howe started organizing outdoor adventures for vets and first responders 40 years ago, at the age of 18, when he was faced with the difficult decision of whether or not to join the military. It was 1974, the Vietnam conflict was in its waning years, and the draft had ended the year before. But many Americans felt angry and demoralized over the war. Howe says, nobody thought that joining up was a good idea.
"And everybody said, Don't you join because these people do not respect for anything that you did- that we did over there. I said, Really? They said, Yeah, don't do it Bob, they spit on you, they holler at you. So I didn't join."
But Howe says it troubled him to know that so many had lost lives and limbs fighting overseas, when he had not. And the chilly reception returning soldiers were getting from their communities bothered him even more. That's when he decided that what he had to offer veterans was the peace of the Maine woods.
"That's how you heal people," says Howe. "Taking them back to nature, back to God."
Across the field on the weedy banks of the Pine Grove trout pond, Rip Thibodeau and another veteran, Dave Huard, are sitting side by side in the track chairs, comparing service and casting their lures into a pond teeming with rainbow trout. No one is catching much of anything but weeds, but they don't seem to mind; it's a day out. Huard's mobility has been seriously hampered by Parkinson's Disease. Like Thibodeau, he's living with post traumatic stress disorder, and seeks solace far from the madding crowd. But Huard says it's hard to go fishing when you're confined to a wheelchair.
"I have to go to where's there's a dock," says Huard. "So there's only like three or four spots I can go. What this does for me, it calms me right down, because my anxiety is way up."
Huard says he looked into buying one of the track chairs himself so he wouldn't feel so confined at home, but with a price tag of not much less than that of a small car, he says there aren't a lot of veterans anywhere who would be able to afford one.
And that is where Pine Grove comes in. The Howes say the nonprofit currently pays for all its activities through its snowshoe making business as well as funds from private guests who book Bob Howe's guide service, and some charitable donations. Andrea Howe says the eventual goal is to run the lodge as a full time, no-cost retreat for veterans and first responders, but that dream she admits is several years- and several hundred thousand dollars away.
 In the meantime, Bob Howe says he'll see to it that any veteran in the country, regardless of ability or disability, can go hunting and fishing in Maine, for free.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Black Friday Shoppers: Gift certificates for 2016 fishing or hunting licenses --

Posted by Wayne G. Barber

Check your Christmas shopping list for family and friends for a most popular Outdoor gift!

This certificate is redeemable at any license agent or Town Hall or can be used for merchandise at a Fish and Game Retail Store.
  Some States start on Jan.1st and some fishers forget to purchase a license and are caught short for hard water fishing and the many tournaments that are gaining in popularity.
  Also ask your clerk for any suggestions on stocking stuffers for the Outdoor's person in your circle of friends and family.

How about a gift certificate from a Guide Service in a adjoining State ?

Happy belated Thanksgiving to our Canadian friends (Columbus Day Weekend) and to everyone in the lower States a Happy Thanksgiving from the entire "Outdoor Scene" Nation
Wayne on the French River

Pennsylvania Preliminary First-Day Bear Harvest Results

Posted by Wayne G. Barber
A Maine Bear Guided by Lorenda DayCoombs and sister Jannah Park

Harvest includes a more than 700-pound bear taken in Blair County.

The first day of Pennsylvania's statewide bear season resulted in a harvest of 1,508 black bears, according to preliminary totals released Monday by the Pennsylvania Game Commission.

Archery and other early bear season harvest data still is being entered into the Game Commission's database, and is not available at this time.
Bears have been harvested in 53 counties during the statewide season so far.

The top 10 bears processed at check stations by Monday were either estimated or confirmed to have live weights of 592 pounds or more.
The largest of those bears – a male estimated at 713 pounds – was taken in Blair Township, Blair County, by Richard A. Watt, of Gallitizen, Pa. He took it a 7:10 a.m. on Nov. 21, the season's opening day.

Other large bears taken in the season's opening day include: a 685-pound male taken in Letterkenny Township, Franklin County, by Dustin J. Foust, of Orrstown, Pa.; a 649-pound male taken in Limestone Township, Warren County, by Matthew B. Stanga, of Tarentum, Pa.; a 648-pound male taken in Brush Creek Township, Fulton County, by Andrew D. Fischer, of Crystal Spring, Pa.; a 640-pound male taken in Weatherly Township, Carbon County, by Kenneth J. Mehlig, of Weatherly; a 618-pound male taken in Blooming Grove Township, Pike County, by Brad D. Losito, Hamburg, Pa.; a 617-pound male taken in Henry Clay Township, Fayette County, by Glenn P. Pyeritz, of Markleysburg; a 614-pound male taken in Logan Township, Huntingdon County, by Glenn L. Hannah, of Warriors Mark; a 592-pound male taken in Packer Township, Carbon County, by Michael J. Ulinitz, of Barnesville; and a 592-pound male taken in Dunbar Township, Fayette County, by Jason K. Burns, of New Alexandria.
The 2015 first-day preliminary harvest is a decrease compared to 1,623 bears taken during the 2014 opener. Hunters in 2014 harvested a total of 3,366 – the seventh-largest harvest in state history. The largest harvest – 4,350 bears – happened in 2011, when preliminary first-day totals numbered 1,936.

Other first-day harvest totals were 1,320 in 2013; 1,751 in 2010; 1,897 in 2009; 1,725 in 2008; 1,005 in 2007; 1,461 in 2007; 1,461 in 2006; and 2,026 in 2005.

The preliminary first-day bear harvest by Wildlife Management Unit was as follows: WMU 1A, 10 (6 in 2014); WMU 1B, 35 (54); WMU 2B, 2 (0); WMU 2C, 133 (162); WMU 2D, 99 (84); WMU 2E, 20 (21); WMU 2F, 208 (171); WMU 2G, 275 (365); WMU 2H, 31 (49); WMU 3A, 27 (101); WMU 3B, 133 (133); WMU 3C, 41 (44); WMU 3D, 160 (105); WMU 4A, 76 (66); WMU 4B, 60 (67); WMU 4C, 46 (44); WMU 4D, 130 (132); WMU 4E, 17 (15); WMU 5A, 0 (3); and WMU 5C, 0 (1).The top bear hunting county in the state on the first day of the season was Lycoming County, with 149.

Opening-day harvests by county and region are:
Northwest (277): Warren, 70 (69); Forest, 55 (32); Venango, 45 (42); Clarion, 41 (35); Jefferson, 40 (30); Butler, 10 (11); Crawford, 9 (15); Mercer, 5 (3); and Erie, 2 (11).
Southwest (144): Somerset, 45 (61); Fayette, 39 (62); Armstrong, 20 (21); Cambria, 14 (7); Indiana, 14 (5); Westmoreland, 11 (15); and Allegheny, 1 (0).
Northcentral (531): Lycoming, 149 (143); Clinton, 131 (91); McKean, 55 (60); Centre, 48 (60); Clearfield, 40 (36); Elk, 31 (46); Potter, 30 (64); Cameron, 19 (54); Union, 15 (24); and Tioga, 13 (130).
Southcentral (214): Huntingdon, 63 (45); Bedford, 43 (43); Fulton, 21 (19); Blair, 18 (20); Juniata, 17 (10); Perry, 15 (29); Franklin, 13 (6); Mifflin, 13 (22); Snyder, 10 (9); Cumberland, 1 (1).
Northeast (314): Pike, 77 (49); Luzerne, 44 (26); Monroe, 33 (25); Wayne, 32 (19); Sullivan, 29 (37); Bradford, 20 (31); Wyoming, 20 (13); Carbon, 18 (18); Susquehanna, 14 (23); Lackawanna, 13 (9); Columbia, 11 (6); Northumberland, 2 (2); and Montour, 1 (0).
Southeast (28): Dauphin, 12 (13); Schuylkill, 11 (17); Lebanon, 3 (1); Lehigh, 2 (0); Berks 0 (2); and Northampton, 0 (1).Source: Pennsylvania DEM Media Press Release Photo by Lorenda DayCoombs Facebook Share

Monday, November 23, 2015

Nutmeg State Trout Stockings Today

Posted by Wayne G. Barber

Trout stocking update for Monday November 23, 2015 - Today, the following waters were stocked with trout: East Twin Lake (3000 browns), West Hill Pond (3000 browns), Tyler Pond (1000 browns), West Side Pond (1000 browns), Long Pond (1667 browns and 833 rainbows), and Beach Pond (1667 browns and 833 rainbows). Good luck anglers! Go catch um !

DEERdre's First Deer

Posted by Wayne G. Barber

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Special Guest on the "Outdoor Scene" Lorenda DayCoombs" Maine Guide, Black Bear, Moose, Turkey

Posted by Wayne G. Barber

Tune in 9:00am Sunday November 22, 2015 for a inside look into the annual Black Bear, Moose, and Turkey Hunt in Maine.

  Lorenda DayCoombs, a Maine Guide, Business Person, Seminar Speaker, started

Mother and Son

her fall guiding season Aug. 25, 2015 She has been a guest three times on the broadcast to record listener e-mails. Ask a question @ live from now through the the broadcast. Do not miss this episode of the award winning "Outdoor Scene" WNRI.COM or Tune In radio, a free App or 1380AM  P.S I will also play a Maine State Dem Bioligist findings of opposing the Statewide Referendum to Ban the annual hunt !

Friday, November 20, 2015

Connecticut Fish Hatcheries On The Chopping Block Again

Posted by Wayne G. Barber

It makes me sick to be here writing this post right now, knowing we have been here before. I cannot say that this time is any more important than the last time, or the time before that, but honestly, it is. We are not looking at just one of our three hatcheries to be closed, this time Governor Malloy wants to cut all three of them with his most recent budget cuts. This is unacceptable to not only the everyday angler but to the once per year angler, parents, children and the everyday citizen of the State of Connecticut. Even if you do not fish hatchery raised fish this will effect you.
  Please take the time to reach out to your legislators and the Governors office. Every voice needs to be heard and heard again. Below are the links to find your legislators for your local communities as well as the Governors office. I am also including a link for an online petition, please sign it. Also, for those that live close to a bait and tackle shop, please print out the printable petition and hand deliver them to that shop to help spread the word. The more names we get on these petitions the better. I will keep everybody updated with new information and possible events as we proceed with this.





Close the State Fish Hatcheries
This option closes the three state fish hatcheries (Quinebaug, Kensington and Burlington). The closure will result in the layoff of 17
staff. There is also savings from other expenses (utilities, fish food, etc). The FY 16 savings assumes a January 1st closure of the
facilities. $2,140.000 CUT !