Thursday, January 28, 2016

Benefit Statewide Maine Ice Fishing Derby

A great ice fishing derby and a great cause, honoring the memory of a passionate ice fisherman Alec Cyr, who passed in October of 2011 after a courageous battle with colon cancer. All proceeds from the derby go to support his son Chase Cyr's college fund.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

The Evolution of the Modern Day Snowmobile

Man for the first time flew into the great blue yonder in 1903 but the first vehicle capable of effectively traveling over snow wasn’t built until 1914 by O. M. Erickson and Art Olsen. Their creation was made out of a modified Indian motorcycle and featured side-by-side seating and a set of sled runners fore and aft. Named the “motor-bob”, it lacked the tracks of a true snowmobile but was otherwise similar to the modern version of the snowmobile and it stands as one of the earliest examples of a personal motorized snow vehicle.

Over the next decade, numerous people had some other wild ideas for allowing man to effectively travel over snow, including equipping early Model T Fords with tractor treads and skis. In 1924 by a man named Carl Eliason built what is considered to be the first true “snowmobile”. The machine consisted of a 2.5 HP engine set upon a wooden toboggan and while a true dinosaur by today’s standards, Eliason’s creation continued to paved the way for what has eventually evolved to become the modern day snowmobile.

As time past, several other snow machine prototypes attempted to expand and improve upon Eliason’s original design but it wasn’t until 1959 that the Ski-Doo company forever changed the history of the snowmobile. Ski-Doo patented endless track technology and was soon joined by several other companies, including Polaris and Arctic Cat who further worked to innovate snowmobile design. Sleds from these companies were soon rolling off the assembly lines with upgraded suspension systems, slide rails, more powerful engines and a laundry list of other advancements.

Snowmobiles during the 1950-60 weren’t regulated and local, state and federal governments sought to put restrictions on sleds. The largest complaint from the public was that sleds were just too loud. To answer these complaints and make sleds more “public” friendly, sled makers poured resources into reducing the sound output. Exhaust systems were improved and hoods sealed. This, of course, led to higher under hood operating temperatures which prompted the creation of liquid-cooled engines.

Eventually, more and more people began to purchase sleds, with a staggering 500,000 sold annually in the early 1970s. This shear volume of sleds created an entire culture of snowmobile riding enthusiasts who kick started the creation of thousands of miles of groomed trail that previously did not exist. The creation of this extensive trail system, lead to the possibility of longer rides, further prompting snowmobile companies to improve track suspensions systems and replace leaf springs with more back pleasing options. Early snowmobiles also used rubber tracks, but as snowmobile riders began logging more and more miles per year, tracks needed to be more resistant to wear and are now made from a Kevlar composite.

Snowmobiles continued to evolve throughout the 1980s and 1990 with the advent of fuel injections engines and electronic reverse, both of which added much more comfort and convenience to the sport. Many credit Jim Hollander, the creator of heated hand warmers in 1981, with inventing the biggest advancement in snowmobile history since the continuous track. Since the mid-2000s two stroke engines have been mostly replaced in new models by quieter and more environmentally friendly four-stroke engines.

Currently, snowmobiling is a $22 billion business in the United States and $6 billion in Canada with about 130,000 snowmobiles sold annually. The snowmobile industry employs more than 90,000 people, with jobs related to manufacturing, dealerships and tourism. In 1997 the University of Maine and the Maine Snowmobile Association conducted a study showing the economic impact of snowmobiling in Maine to be $225 million with snowmobilers on average spending about $4,000 per year on snowmobile recreation.

 Overall, snowmobiles certainly have come a long way in roughly 100 years and even today snowmobile companies still continue to innovate, allowing snowmobile to continue to evolve with today’s performance engines providing more power, increased fuel economy and cleaner emissions. While most snowmobiles today are powered by either a four or two-stroke internal combustion engine, engineers are currently exploring the feasibility of battery-powered snowmobiles. It is certainly difficult to predict specifically what other new advancements will be made in the future to continue to allow the snowmobile to evolve and become even better adapted to its environment but it is exciting to watch it continue to evolve!

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

7 Tips for Buying a Quality Hunting Scope

For rifle scope reviews and full buyer guides check out Rifle Optics World.

Don’t get wrapped around Magnification This seems to be the biggest mistake people make when purchasing an optic, they assume the more magnification the better the scope is. To a degree this may be true, but not for hunting scopes. The vast majority of people do not need an incredibly powerful optic, and most hunters do not shoot beyond two hundred yards.

A typical 3 to 9 power optic is suitable for most ranges people are hunting at. Using too powerful of a scope makes close and medium range shots difficult. You may attempt to sight in on your chosen game with your 5 to 25 power scope on a deer less than 50 yards out and have issues actually finding the animal in your crosshairs. Instead of investing into an ultra powerful scope, invest into an ultra high quality scope in the 3 to 9 or 2 to 7 power range.

Know your Weapon To buy a good scope for your weapon you need to know your weapon. Your rifle may be too powerful for the scope, and if that’s the case you’re looking at a possible damage to it, or vice versa you may spend a ton of money on a scope for a rifle in 308 that’s unnecessarily rated for the 50 BMG round. Others factors could include scopes being designed around a single load of a single round like the Nikon P-300. The Nikon P-300 is designed for a 155 grain 300 Blackout round, and its bullet drop compensator isn’t going to work well with a 243 round.

Understand Light Transmission and Lens Coatings Light transmission is a more accurate term for light gathering that’s commonly associated with scope terminology. Light transmission with a rating of 85 percent or more is very high, with the top optics reaching 98 percent. Light transmission is important for hunters due to the fact most game is taken as the sun rises and as it sets, and many hunters may be under a canopy which reduces light.

Lens coating has a lot to do with how much light transmits through an optic, reduces glare, and reduces loss of light transmission through reflection. Lens coating go hand in hand with quality glass but in general lens coatings rank as so, with 1 being the ‘best’ and declining.
1. Fully Multi coated
2. Multicoated
3. Fully Coated
4. Coated.

First Focal Plane Rules
Scopes come into two focal planes the second and first focal plane. Without going into the nitty gritty of how focal planes work I’ll explain why the first focal plane rules. FFP scopes have a reticle that changes as you change the magnification. Scopes with mil dot reticles or any reticle that is used for measurement is accurate at any magnification with a FFP scopes, whereas with a second focal plane scope the reticle is only accurate at one magnification. A FFP scope allows users to make more accurate and precise shots using holdovers at any magnification. This could be 3 xs to 18x and reticle measurements will always be the same.

Survival Conditions
Going hunting can be a rather rough sport on your equipment. The world in the field is an unpredictable place, where hunters can face a variety of different threats and challenges to their equipment. Optics are somewhat fragile objects, they are made mainly from aluminum and glass. A good high quality scope for a hunting rifle needs to be sealed against water, moisture and dust. In the field it’s easy for your rifle to bang around, crash into things, and even be dropped. Who’s never slipped down a hill trying to a drag a deer out of a holler? An optic should be shock proof, and bonus points its fog proof, and has a lens coating like Bushnell’s Rain guard HD, or Vortex’s Armortek lens. In terms of construction, a solid aluminum is a great place to start, and an optic with single piece tube construction is going to be even tougher.

A simple reticle is often the easiest way to go. A simple duplex reticle is okay for short range hunting, but if you are looking at two hundred or three hundred yards look into a mil dot reticle. A simple vertical and horizontal mil dot scale will allow shooters to make adjustments for both windage and bullet drop. A bullet drop compensator is tempting, but you are isolated to one caliber, with one bullet weight and one velocity, so keep these limitations in mind. If you mind that limitation a BDC is surprisingly accurate, and I’ve enjoyed my ACOG’s BDC’s accuracy a lot. Anything too complicated will make observation difficult, and will slow your time to the trigger. Also illuminated reticles are a poor choice for hunting if the reticle is not glass etched. A glass etched reticle can be used if the battery dies, or the electronics short.

Tyrannical Turrets
It’s very tempting to go for the biggest, easiest to use target turrets on the market. In reality though these target turrets are made for target shooting for a reason. They tend to move very easily, and in the field this means they can get bumped and changed radically, destroying your zero. In reality in the field, hunting, you’ll often only get one single shot, so target turrets are often useless. Low profile turrets are often a better choice for hunters, and even turrets that require a tool to make adjustments are a better choice than target turrets. Target turrets are not as tough as low profile turrets and more apt at breaking.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Wildlife Quiz - The Landlocked Atlantic Salmon

The Landlocked Atlantic Salmon (Salmo salar) exists as a freshwater form of the sea-run Atlantic salmon. A fish species native to Maine waters, the Landlocked Salmon originally only inhabited the St. Croix, Penobscot, and the Presumpscot river basins. Today, Landlocked Salmon inhabit over 300 lakes and close to 50 rivers and streams throughout Maine. Though a native species, only 49 Maine lakes support natural salmon reproduction.

The remaining lakes require regular stocking efforts by Inland Fisheries and Wildlife to remain viable Landlocked Salmon fisheries. Without regular stocking efforts, these lakes would become barren of salmon populations. From 1996-2000 approximately 125,000 salmon were annually stocked in Maine lakes. Maine anglers normally catch Landlocked Salmon between averaging 17 inches and weighing 1 1/4 pounds. Occasionally a lucky angler will land a fish exceeding 5-6 pounds.

The current state of Maine record Landlocked Salmon was 22 pound 8 ounce behemoth pulled out of Sebago Lake by Edward Blakeley in 1907.

Landlocked Salmon possess a vibrant silvery coloration overlaid with small black spots predominantly distributed above the lateral line. A forked tail distinguishes it from trout species. Landlocked Salmon will feed on a variety of bait fish for sustenance but their preferred prey species is the rainbow smelt. Landlocked Salmon spawn from mid-October to late November. Female Landlocked Salmon deposit eggs in gravel where the male fertilizes the eggs, covers them with gravel and leaves them to incubate and hatch in the early spring. After hatching, young Landlocked Salmon swim free of the gravel and begin searching for food. Young salmon spend approximately 2 years in the stream, in which they were hatched, before migrating to a lake. With luck, stream dwelling fry will avoid predators, eventually growing-up and living 1-10 years. The oldest landlocked salmon on record in Maine was 13 years old.

Wildlife Quiz Questions
1. Are Landlocked Salmon an introduced species in the state of Maine?
2. How many lakes, streams and rivers for Landlocked Salmon inhabit in the state of Maine?
3. How many Maine lakes support natural salmon reproduction?
4. What is the average size Landlocked Salmon that anglers catch in Maine?
  5. What is the current state of Maine record Landlocked Salmon?
6. What is the prey species preferred by the Landlocked Salmon?
7. When do Landlocked Salmon spawn?
8. What was the oldest Maine Landlocked Salmon on record?

Wildlife Quiz Answers
1. No, Landlocked Salmon are a fish species native to the state of Maine.
2. Landlocked Salmon inhabit over 300 lakes and close to 50 rivers and streams throughout Maine.
3. Only 49 Maine lakes support natural salmon reproduction.
4. Maine anglers normally catch Landlocked Salmon between averaging 17 inches and weighing 1 1/4 pounds.
5. The current state of Maine record Landlocked Salmon was 22 pound 8 ounce behemoth pulled out of Sebago Lake by Edward Blakeley in 1907.
6. Landlocked Salmon will feed on a variety of bait fish for sustenance but their preferred prey species is the rainbow smelt.
7. Landlocked Salmon spawn from mid-October to late November.
8. The oldest landlocked salmon on record in Maine was 13 years old.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Kill more Coyotes with Scent Control, Ice fishing & Snowmobile Riding

Scent Control Kills More Coyotes
A coyote appeared suddenly, 50 yards downwind of my position. The wily dog weaved between spruce trees, offering me no shot opportunity. With the distance closing fast, I knew at any moment he would pick up my scent and the jig would be up. Fortunately, he kept coming and at just 10 yards, he suddenly stopped, finally smelling something that just wasn’t right. At that precise moment, my rifle cracked, and a single .223 round put that coyote down for good. I am not absolutely sure what happened that day; maybe that particular coyote wasn’t exactly the smartest of his breed. Instead, however, what I would like to believe is that I would not have shot that coyote had I not take extensive measures to control my scent.

I believe that many times when hunters fail to succeed in shooting coyotes, they simply have not taken the proper measures need to adequately control their scent profile. When the stakes are high and we are chasing whitetails, it is easy to invest the time and energy required to control our scent. When hunting coyotes however, maintaining that same level of discipline can be difficult. Scent control is not rocket science and even a basic level of scent control, when hunting coyotes, will often go a long way in allowing hunters to put more fur on the ground. No-scent soaps and deodorants are effective but should be used each day 3-4 days before hunting to ensure that residual smells from scented shampoos and body washes are eliminated. Also, wear hunting clothes no more than two outings before rewashing in no-scent laundry soap, drying and then storing in sealed plastic bags with spruce or pine boughs.

Done right, more coyotes will see their last Maine winter. Hunting coyotes is practically a sport in Down East, almost as exciting as the high school basket ball tournaments. To get in on the action, use the Stud Mill road to access a massive road network, providing access to thousands of miles of prime coyote hunting opportunities. One of my personal favorite spots is located in and around Cranberry Mountain (DeLorme’s The Maine Atlas and Gazetteer (MAG), Map 35 E2) and Lower Sabao Lake (Map 35, D1, E1) both of these areas hold enough song dogs to make any hunter happy.

Ice Fishing
West Grand (Map 35, B-3, B-4) exists as a hugely successful salmon fishery, standing as one of the premier salmon lakes in Maine. The lake’s 14,340 acres and 128 ft watery depths provide excellent habitat for salmon, perhaps one of the most consistent salmon fisheries in eastern Maine. The lake provides superb habitat for coldwater sport fish, yielding trophy sized togue and salmon every season. Currently, the lake is being managed by Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (IFW) to produce a high percentage of 2-pound salmon. Salmon caught by ice anglers typically range from 17 to 19-inches with the chance to pull up a larger trophy fish always a possibility. In years, boasting high smelt population densities, between 40-50% of the salmon harvested weigh 2 pounds or greater.

Show me a map of West Grand Lake and it would be difficult to indicate a specific spot where I have fished and not caught many fine salmon. Whitney Cove, the Throughfare, Hardwood Island, Pineo Point and many, many other locations are great choices for catching old silversides through the ice. Anglers targeting salmon will encounter more success if they bring smelts. While salmon will bite shiners, a much larger degree of success will be managed by those willing to invest a little more expense and effort and use smelts. If unaccustomed to using this baitfish, know they are notoriously difficult to keep alive. Bait buckets equipped with small aerators will increase the chances of keeping bait actively swimming all day long.

West Grand Lake should not be trifled with any time of year but especially during the winter. Those wishing to fish its icy depths need to have a backup plan should weather turn nasty. This plan should include extra layers of clothing, food, fire starting materials and being sure to leave an itinerary with someone should you not arrive back home by a specified time.

Snowmobile Riding
My idea of the perfect snowmobile ride includes a maximum of about 50 miles of trail done at around 10-20 miles an hour. At this speed, a rider is able to fully appreciate his or her surrounding and enjoy the beautiful scenery that the Maine winter offers. Often, I see riders flying down trails and across lakes at such unsafe speeds, it has me wondering why they appear to be in such a big hurry. It isn’t that I am an old fossil; it’s simply that I enjoy taking things slow. When I ride, I like to take my time and enjoy the moments spent outside, I stop to talk to ice fishermen, other snowmobile riders, cross country skiers and have even been known to stop at a store to get a snack and drink piping hot cocoa.

If looking for a slow ride with plenty of beauty and nice places to stop for hot drinks and an afternoon snacks, I suggest taking a ride on the Sunrise Trail ( from Machias (Map 26, C-3) to Dennysville (Map 27, A-1) or Cherryfield (Map 25, D-2). This scenic trail passes through some beautiful country and can be accessed by parking at the causeway in Machias. While the scenery is spectacular, even more fun is stopping after a long afternoon of riding at Helen’s Restaurant in Machias for a hot cup of coffee and a slice of one of their delicious pies.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...