On a good day of fishing (or a bad one, for that matter), anglers put daily problems aside, lose track of time, and immerse themselves in the natural world around them.
The folks that run Project Healing Waters understand that. And the fly fishing-based outreach program for veterans is designed to offer recreational outlets — fly-tying, rod-building and fishing — that build or renew those connections to the natural world.
Project Healing Waters is a national group that has staged outings for vets on Maine rivers in past years. A group of six veterans recently spent some time in one of the state’s legendary fly-fishing villages: Grand Lake Stream.
Jeff McEvoy, the owner of Weatherby’s Resort in Grand Lake Stream, reported two of the veterans spent time fly fishing the stream while four others spent two days fishing Big Lake out of Grand Laker canoes.
Six guides — Sue (Wheaton) Hurd, Dick Turmenne, Brett Vose, John Brown, Scott Sabol and McEvoy — donated their time to make the trips possible. Weatherby’s served as the base of operations.
“The veterans were very appreciative of our efforts on this end,” McEvoy wrote in an e-mail. “For me as the lodge owner, it is about giving back to these folks that have given so much of themselves in the name of our country.”
McEvoy said Weatherby’s has enjoyed a long relationship with military personnel, including some top officers, over the years. Today, he said, many of his guests are active or former military personnel, as are many of the guides that serve those clients.
“I feel that I have a civic responsibility to support these men and women through my business. I was never in the service and it is the least I can do,” McEvoy wrote.
And after the successful trip that recently wrapped up, McEvoy is eager to repeat it in coming years.
“It seemed proper to honor to honor these men and women in this way and we plan to make it a regular event here,” McEvoy wrote.
Turkey season winding down
If you’re among those hunters still waiting to bag your wild turkey this spring, you no doubt realize time’s running short. The five-week season ends June 6.
Late last week I sat down with Kelsey Sullivan, a game bird biologist for the Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife, and asked him what hunters might be seeing in the woods right now.
As it turns out, it depends on where you are … and when you’re planning on using his advice.
“Most of the hens are going to be sitting tight on the nest,” Sullivan explained. “The gobblers are going to still be full of reproductive energy, so they’ll be looking for something. In a way, they’re a little more receptive to calling, I would think.”
In other words, with real hens being unavailable, the increasingly desperate toms might be more apt to fall victim to the efforts of hunters.
But as the season reaches its final days, that advantage may be lost, Sullivan said on a day that was likely too early to be truly considered “late season,” but too late to be considered “midseason.”
“In midseason you would see birds more receptive to calling,” he said. “Towards the end I think everything’s kind of petered out, and that’s when it gets hard.”
Of course, all of that doesn’t matter a lick if you don’t get out there and try.
Which is exactly what I’m hoping to do … one of these days.
Seen and heard
As we all get back in the swing of things after the extended holiday weekend, it seems there are plenty of critter tales to tell … and hear.
A co-worker said she and her family enjoyed a fine hike at Bangor’s Rolland F. Perry City Forest over the weekend, but did have a bit of company that caught their attention.
The group spied a mother bear and her cub, and the mother bear made her displeasure known, huffing at the still-distant hikers before disappearing back into the woods.
Another co-worker saw a medium-sized black bear on Interstate 95 near Medway. The bear seemed perfectly content to lounge around in the grass and watch cars zoom past on their way north.
Odd behavior, my co-worker thought. I’d tend to agree.
And me? Well, the calendar said Memorial Day, but I’d swear it was Thanksgiving. Everywhere we went, it was turkeys, turkeys, turkeys.
A few pecked their way along a hillside in Holden village, not far from the corner of Route 1A and Route 46. A few more casually crossed a road in Trenton, stopping long enough that everyone in the car got a chance to say “I saw it!” (As you may realize, if one youngster on a family trip doesn’t end up seeing a certain wild beast, all manner of complaining will surely commence).
On this day, on that count, all was good. Add to the turkeys a ground hog, some eiders and a massive flock of unidentifiable birds on a Mount Desert Island pond, and it was a fine weekend for critter-watching.