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Shows set for Orono, Wilton, PI, Augusta

By John Holyoke
Tuesday, March 06, 2007 - Bangor Daily News

When the warmer days of March arrive and our hard-earned snowbanks begin to diminish, two things are certain to follow.
Mud season … and sporting shows.
Thankfully, we’re probably still a couple weeks away from any serious mudding up. And that means we’ve still got a couple weeks to put together itineraries for the outdoor shows that always seem to fall during that messy travel time.
Like cord wood, they’re stacked, these shows; one a week (or sometimes more). Plan efficiently, and you can see several over a monthlong span. Or, if you’re more of a homebody, you can simply wait for the show nearest to your hometown and make an afternoon trip to check out the exhibits.
Here are this year’s sporting show options, in chronological order:
ä It all starts in Orono, as the 69th annual Eastern Maine Sportsman’s Show kicks off the season from March 16-18 at the University of Maine field house and pool. The Penobscot County Conservation Club takes great pride in its annual offering, and for these parts, it has turned into a must-see harbinger of spring … and mud.
ä While not purely a show, a concurrent event is on tap for the weekend of March 17-18. The L.L. Bean Spring Fishing Expo will be held in Freeport, with activities beginning at 9 a.m. each day. Leading experts will be on hand to lead seminars and talk about fishing … the perfect salve for winter wounds.
ä The following weekend — from March 23-25 — the new kid on the sporting block will open its doors at the Bob Nichols Expo Center in Wilton. This event, the 3rd annual Pine Tree State Sportsman & Gun Show, is a monster, with more than 55,000 square feet of available space at the former Bass Shoe plant.
Folks who’ve attended past Pine Tree State shows have told me it’s well worth the trip from Bangor, and has quickly turned into an event worth marking on your calendar.
  • Next up: The State of Maine Sportsmen’s Show at the Augusta Civic Center, which will run from March 30-April 1. This may be the most polished of the shows, as organizers do a wonderful job providing a variety of activities and seminars.
  • Don’t rest yet! The members of the Presque Isle Fish & Game Club have another show for you on April 7-8. This event takes place in the beautiful new Gentile Building on the campus of the University of Maine at Presque Isle.
I’ve visited this show in the past and will be back in town on Saturday this year to help with the judging of the moose-calling contest.
Moose lottery deadline looms
Speaking of Maine’s majestic moose, you may want to mark another date on your calendar.
If you want to hunt for moose this year, you’ve got less than a month to fill out the proper paperwork (or its computer-generated equivalent).
The deadline for moose permit applications is 11:59 p.m. on April 2.
Maine residents can purchase one chance in the lottery for $7, three chances for $12 or six chances for $22. In order to buy three or six chances, a Mainer must be a licensed big- game hunter.
Non-residents can pay $15 for a single chance, $25 for three, $35 for six or $55 for 10. Non-residents can also purchase additional blocks of 10 chances for $55 per lot.
Each year a handful of Mainers complain to me that non-residents are getting an unfair shot at their permits because the state allows non-residents to buy an unlimited number of chances in the lottery.
That’s simply not the case: Non-resident hunters are competing for permits with other non-residents in a much smaller permit pool, and even if each prospective hunter buys 1,000 chances, it does nothing to affect the success ratio of residents.
This year a total of 2,880 moose permits will be issued during the annual lottery, which will be held in mid-June.
Successful applicants will be entitled to purchase an actual moose permit for $52 (Maine resident) or $477 (non-resident).
To apply or gather more information, check out the Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife’s Web site at
Planning for deer season?
We’ve got plenty of trails to trek between now and when deer season arrives in the fall, but I did want to let know that some folks here at the BDN are already making plans you may want to know about.
At this point things are still in the early planning stages, but it looks as if we’ll be putting together a pretty nifty big buck contest come November, and you’ll all be invited to take part.
That’s all I can really say for now — the people doing the legwork are enthusiastic, but we haven’t ironed out all the details — but keep watching these pages (and look for other notices in the places you buy your morning paper) for more information.
John Holyoke can be reached at [email protected] or by calling 990-8214 or 1-800-310-8600.

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