Two well-known outdoorsmen were honored recently as they received the fifth annual Lifetime Achievement Awards from the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.
Charlie Mann of Winthrop and George Smith of Mount Vernon were named the winners of the awards during the annual Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine banquet. Mann was honored posthumously, but had been told he was receiving the award shortly before his death on Sept. 4. His widow, Elaine Mann, accepted the award on his behalf, according to the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.
Smith is a lifelong hunter and fisherman who grew up in Winthrop and served as the executive director of the sportsman’s alliance for 18 years. He has also hosted the TV show “Wildfire,” written outdoor blogs for the BDN and columns for the Kennebec Journal for 30 years. He’s also the author of “A Life Lived Outdoors,” which is a collection of outdoors essays.
Among Smith’s achievements: He helped establish the Maine Outdoor Heritage Fund, which has distributed millions of dollars meant to protect and enhance Maine’s natural resources; he helped ensure that hunting and fishing access were important parts of the Land for Maine’s Future program; he helped revive Maine’s modern moose hunt; defended Maine’s bear hunt; and fought to simplify hunting and fishing rules.
Mann founded the wildlife and fisheries department’s Hooked on Fishing, Not on Drugs program and served as the department’s volunteer coordinator.
Mann was also an avid angler and a well-known fly tier. He tied at many national fishing shows, and volunteered with the Back in the Maine Stream program, teaching disabled veterans how to tie flies.
Among Mann’s creations were flies he designed to commemorate specific people or groups. Included on that list of flies are the Governor Angus King streamer, the Maine Warden Service streamer and the Maine guide fly.
In order to qualify for the award, an individual must have hunted, trapped and fished in Maine for a combined total of 40 years.
Previous award winners include: Dana Johnson of Wells and Roger Milligan of Princeton in 2018; Carole Dyer of Bowdoinham and Gabriel “Gabby” Giguere of Lewiston in 2017; Oscar Cronk of Wiscasset, Gary Cobb of North New Portland and Jim Martin of Bangor in 2016; and Joseph Boudreau of Waterville and Harland Hitchings of Princeton in 2015.