Good things are happening at the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine.
In less than six months our membership has increased by more than 1,000 people, and the good will we have earned with our new emphasis on youth and family has earned us a new look from many sportsmen and outdoor enthusiasts.
Over the last month, Becky Morrell, SAM office manager, her husband Duncan, and their two children, Kelsey and Duncan Jr., have joined me at sportsman shows in Orono, Presque Isle, and Augusta, and the reception has been one of warmth and high hopes for our organization.
During the shows we signed up 250 new members and raised nearly $10,000 from raffles and merchandise sales. None of this would have been possible without the many SAM volunteers that took precious time from their families and manned our booth. Thank you to all!
We were surprised by two high-profile visitors at the Augusta Sportsman’s show: Rep. Mike Michaud, D-Maine, longtime friend of SAM who is seeking re-election to the U.S. House of Representatives, and former governor and current U.S. Senate candidate Angus King. He was the last governor to make a serious financial commitment to the DIF&W, and his support of sportsmen always was appreciated.
New tenant at the SAM Conference Center
We are excited to announce that the Maine Snowmobile Association has signed a long-term rental lease at our SAM Conference Center. SAM and the MSA have had a long and close relationship on issues such as public access, Roxanne Quimby’s national park proposal, and many other issues. We are elated that they will now share our building and look forward to them being a few steps down the hall.
Deer Management Network
In January, we held our first deer management network fundraiser and game supper. It was a terrific success.
One of the network’s first projects was developing a responsible education program for feeding deer. Education materials appeared in 18 Agway stores, thanks to Nutrena representative Don Bibeau. The information also appeared in several outdoor publications and on our website. Next year’s goal is to have the information in all stores in Maine that sell deer feed.
Gerry Lavigne, retired state deer biologist, has been busy developing several more pieces of the network. One exciting piece is a responsible approach to managing predation. He has been busy researching how other states mange coyotes and bear predation. By fall we should be ready to unveil several new initiatives we think will be very popular with sportsmen. Stay tuned!
We have renewed our partnership with the law firm Preti Flaherty Beliveau & Pachios. Longtime friend and partner of SAM, Robbins Lumber Co. of Searsmont donated 2,000 board feet of lumber for an outbuilding that we are now constructing on our Augusta property.
The Kittery Trading Post has donated another round of items for our raffle, and we offer a special thanks to them for their commitment.
Another new partner, Dick’s Sporting Goods, has provided us with online coupons and discounts for our members. Visit sportsmansallianceofmaine.org and print all you want.
Board member moves on
We are sad to see that longtime board member Bob Engelhardt has decided not to seek reappointment to the SAM board. Bob has long advocated for issues important to sportsmen, and his voice of reason will be missed. We wish him well.
June 13 Tribute to Service bass tournament scheduled
SAM, the International Brotherhood of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, and Pine Grove Lodge are partnering on a Tribute to Service bass fishing tournament on Messalonskee Lake in Belgrade on June 13. Twenty-five boats and guides will take veterans and active duty servicemen and women for a day on the lake. The private catch-and-release tournament is free, and trophies will be awarded on an honor system. Veterans, volunteers with boats, and anyone interested in helping should call Becky at 622-5503.