The Maine Professional Guides Association held its annual banquet April 9 at Jeff’s Catering in Brewer. Well-known Maine fishing guide and brook trout advocate Gary Corson was named recipient of this year’s “Wiggie Robinson Legendary Guide Award.”

Created last year by the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, in collaboration with guide Mark Kingsbury, the award, which is named after the late Millinocket guide, was first presented at last year’s banquet to Allagash guide Gil Gilpatrick.

Millinocket guide Jay Robinson, son of Wiggie Robinson, was on hand to congratulate Corson. Corson told the large gathering of state-wide Maine guides that he was “deeply honored and humbled” by the recognition. He said that guiding was his life, not a hobby. Game Warden Jim Fahey said that “when it comes to guiding, Corson is the real deal.”

Before the dinner, MPGA lobbyist Skip Trask offered a summary of pending legislation that will impact outdoor recreation. Trask explained that before the state legislature are a couple of prospective laws that, if passed, will be the equivalent of reverse posting.

Reverse posting, which has been adapted in some high-population states, requires that all outdoor enthusiasts obtain written permission before recreating on any private land anywhere in Maine. Trask said these laws, which would be the death knell for outdoor recreation as we know it, were triggered by a few slobs who are spoiling it for the rest of us. He predicted that, “unless we all get our act together, reverse posting will be a reality within 10 years.”

The banquet’s guest speaker was Maine’s new Fish and Wildlife Commissioner Chandler Woodcock. He said that his department was dealing with 2,000 pieces of legislation, most of which, if passed, will “impact your life for years.”

Woodcock showed himself to be a relaxed, good-humored and able public speaker.

“It’s very important to me that IF&W be seen as not adversarial. If you don’t agree with us, call us up. Let’s talk,” he said. He also emphasized that “being controversial is OK with me.”

Much of his talked focused on Maine’s deer problems. During the question-and-answer session , guide Kenyon Humphrey told the commissioner that, in his opinion, snaring, which has been banned by a previous commissioner, is still the most effective way to control coyote populations. He asked, “Tell me, commissioner, when it comes to coyote control, how serious are we going to get?”

The commissioner said that the department was having talks with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and that snaring, though very controversial, is “not off the table.” A couple of times, Woodcock said that he personally favored limiting the moose permits to one in a lifetime.

Guide Jay Robinson questioned the guest speaker about the possibility of doing away with slot limits altogether on game fish. He said that he felt, like his father before him, that slots were confusing and needless. “Why not simply have a two fish limit instead?” he offered.

Woodcock, who explained some of the complexities of managing game fish, did not appear to favor doing away with slot limits. Following the speaker and other presentations, the MPGA conducted its famous fund-raising raffle featuring outdoor items donated by assorted benefactors.

Turkey season

Lest you forget, Maine’s spring turkey season begins May 2 and goes until June 4th. Only a bearded Tom may be hunted and in Wildlife Management Districts (WMDs) 7,10 through 18 & 20 through 26 & 28. (See the law book). Hunters must have a valid big game license and a spring turkey permit. A resident permit is $20.00. For an extra $20 a turkey hunter may purchase a second permit for a spring gobbler. There is a youth day for turkeys, which is April 30. Youth, 10 years or older and under, 16 may hunt under adult supervision. For youngsters all the necessary permits are wrapped up in the junior hunting license, which is required.

Shooting hours are one half hour before sunrise until 12 noon. Hunt safely. Hunt from a blind. Don’t stalk birds, period! And whatever you do, avoid wearing any of the patriotic colors — red, white and blue. This includes hankerchiefs..

V. Paul Reynolds is editor of the Northwoods Sporting Journal. He is also a Maine Guide, co-host of a weekly radio program “Maine Outdoors” heard Sundays at 7 p.m. on The Voice of Maine News-Talk Network (WVOM-FM 103.9, WQVM-FM 101.3) and former information officer for the Maine Dept. of Fish and Wildlife. His e-mail address is [email protected] and his new book is “A Maine Deer Hunter’s Logbook.”

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