Outdoor enthusiasts are passionate about their chosen pursuits. Just ask an angler how the fishing is, or ask hunters about their most memorable times afield, and you’ll quickly learn that’s true.
As a group, we sit around campfires and on truck tailgates for hours each year, telling each other tales, and debating important outdoor issues.
And opinions? Boy, do we have opinions.
In this space, you’re apt to read more than a few of those opinions. Some are mine. Others are those of professionals, or of your peers.
Now, we’re opening the door to the rest of you.
In the coming weeks, we hope to include more of your opinions in our weekend outdoor pages.
Got a gripe? Got a solution to an age-old problem? Just want to get something off your chest?
This is the place. And now is the time.
Just picture this space as your own personal campfire … or tailgate, if you prefer. Just sit down a spell, and tell us what’s on your mind (just like you would if we weren’t listening).
We’re not looking for long diatribes — there are enough of those available in any number of places. Instead, we’re looking for short, punchy stuff.
Take a look at the length of the letters we run from readers, and you’ll get an idea of the length we’ve got in mind. If you know your way around the “Tools” tab on your word processor, 250 words is good. Fewer is even better.
Make a point. Tell a tale. Tell us how good we’ve got it … or how bad things have become.
The choice is all yours.
We do need your name, and a contact phone number you can be reached at.
And as volume dictates (and as space allows), in the coming weeks we’ll all be able to sit down on Saturday mornings and see what our fellow Mainers think.
Sometimes, I’m sure, we’ll laugh with each other. Other times, we’ll disagree … vehemently.
That won’t matter.
As long as we’re talking, engaging others, and learning more about the outdoor opinions of others, there’s something to be gained.
We all, after all, love spending time in the woods and on the waters of this great state.
And we’ve all got valuable perspectives that ought to be shared with as many people as possible.
Everywhere I go, people bend my ear about the state of the state’s fishing and hunting and hiking and paddling.
Starting soon, you’ll be able to tell readers across Maine (and around the nation, via the Internet) exactly what you think.
Sounds like fun, you say?
Our e-mail in-box is ready, and I can’t wait to see what you’ve got to say: Send submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The nearly Internet-only lottery
On Tuesday I told you about the annual moose-permit lottery, and urged prospective moose-hunters to enter the drawing early.
What I didn’t tell you was that some hunters are apt to find that registration a bit more frustrating this year.
This year, if you want to enter the lottery, the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife strongly suggests you do so via the Internet.
Not that you can’t enter the moose-permit lottery the old-fashioned way, mind you. You can.
But trust me: You don’t want to.
You’ll find it’s just much simpler if you can figure out a way to get on-line and take advantage of the technology that’s available.
The state has stopped mailing out paper applications to last year’s entrants, you see.
And while there are ways to step back in time and do things the way you always have, by the time you’re done you may be rethinking your reluctance to embrace the computer age.
The DIF&W says that prospective hunters who don’t typically use the Internet can still use the automated system in most cases. DIF&W officials say entrants may be able to use computers at their workplaces (during break times or lunch), or can use those found at libraries or Internet cafes. Computer-literate friends or relatives can also help.
I’m a long-time user of the DIF&W’s Internet system. It’s quick, easy and simple.
Still, each year I hear from plenty of hunters and anglers who don’t share my view on the new system. They grew up on paper applications. They want paper applications.
There are plenty of people out there who just don’t use computers, or don’t trust them.
For those of you who fall into one of those categories, here are a few solutions, suggested by your pals at the DIF&W:
• Get someone to print you out a copy of the moose lottery application at www.mefishwildlife.com, fill it out, and mail it to the DIF&W along with payment.
• Travel to DIF&W headquarters and fill out a paper application in person.
• Send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to the DIF&W, 41 State House Station, 284 State Street, Augusta, 04333. The DIF&W will send you a paper application, which you can fill out and return.
A warning is in order, however: If you must fill out a paper application, your deadline is much earlier. Paper entry forms must be received by 5 p.m. on April 1.
If you choose to leap into the Internet era and file your application electronically, your deadline is May 15.