As a rule, my editors prefer that the Maine outdoor beat steers clear of politics. And they are right, most of the time. But when the body politic begins trifling with our Second Amendment rights, should an outdoor writer just walk away? Tough to do because gun rights and taking a gun to the woods are not mutually exclusive. In the end, gun laws inevitably have an impact on our hunting rights and traditions.

When you go to the polls on Nov. 6 — and please do because there is a lot at stake — consider this: The National Rifle Association (NRA) recently issued its well-researched national and regional scorecard on Maine political candidates. Keep in mind that the NRA rates the candidates solely on their support of our right to keep and bear arms, and no other criteria or unrelated issues.

In general, a vote for a Republican candidate is a vote for gun rights, but there are exceptions, which are important and will be listed below. Republican gubernatorial candidate Shawn Moody received an “A” rating from the NRA. His Democratic opponent, Janet Mills, garnered an “F” rating. The NRA defines an “F” as “True enemy of gun owners” rights. Need we say more?

In the races for U.S. Senate, the NRA gave the Republican candidate Eric Brakey an “A+”, Independent candidate Angus King, the incumbent, drew an abysmal “D” and Democratic senatorial candidate Zak Ringelstein rang up an “F.”

In the race for U.S. House of Representatives, both Republicans, Mark Holbrook and Bruce Poliquin, got “A’s,” while Democratic hopefuls Chellie Pingree, an”F,” and Jared Golden, a “D,” showed themselves as no friends of gun rights.

As noted above you really need to pay attention in the state legislative races. According to the NRA scorecard, not all of the state Democratic candidates are anti-gun. In fact, there are five Democratic legislative candidates who actually drew “A” ratings on gun rights. They are State Senate candidates Troy Jackson, Bill Diamond and State House candidates Michelle Dunphy, Roland Martin and John Martin.


Again, the NRA emphasized an important point that needs underlining here: the candidates were rated solely on their position on gun rights and nothing else. For all of us, responsible voting is a privilege and an exercise involving deliberation and careful, informed choices.

Please get out and vote on Nov. 6.

Deadly Cables

This is the time of year that camp owners drain the water and button up their getaways for the long winter. A common practice as well is to cable off the driveways or the roads to these camps and summer cottages as a way of discouraging unwanted “visitors” during the winter months.

An informal survey indicates that about one in five of these cables are flagged. That’s a bad thing. Every winter some unsuspecting snowmobiler winds up killed or badly injured after running into one of these almost- invisible driveway cables.

If you are one of these camp owners consider this: hanging a couple pieces of orange tape, or even an old T-shirt on the cable before you drive a way for the season is a thoughtful gesture.

The author is editor of the Northwoods Sporting Journal. He is also a Maine guide and host of a weekly radio program, “Maine Outdoors,” heard at 7 p.m. Sundays on The Voice of Maine News-Talk Network. He has authored three books; online purchase information is available at

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