George Smith (left) and his father, Ezra Smith, pose with a wild turkey after a hunt in 2012. Credit: Courtesy of George Smith

Thanks to my dad, I have lots of great memories of hunting, fishing, and trapping as a kid. Here are some of my favorites.

Dad started taking me perch fishing when I was very young. When the perch were spawning, we’d fish a small stream that ran from a bog into Maranacook Lake in Readfield. Dad hooked me up so I could catch five perch at a time – and yes, that was very exciting! When all our pails were full of fish, we headed home. The perch we didn’t eat, Dad threw in the garden.

Dad loved to troll from our boat. I thought that could be boring, but I loved being out in the boat with dad.

I was pretty young when I started fishing a small brook deep in the woods behind our house. Sometimes I’d bring home enough trout for our family’s supper.

As a teenager, I’d get on my bike with my fishing rod and ride to my favorite fishing spots. And yes, I had lots of favorite spots!

Dad and I started trapping when I was in high school. We concentrated on muskrats, and would collect our catch before school. Dad and I would skin the muskrats and sell the skins. I don’t remember what we got for each skin, but it wasn’t much. However, by the end of trapping season, I had a lot of money in my account.

Dad got me started hunting when I was 13. The first critter I killed was a pheasant. Dad’s club in Wayne raised pheasants and set them out in Wayne, Winthrop, and Monmouth. Which meant dad knew where they were.

My first pheasant was in a stand of corn in a big field at the end of Maranacook Lake in Readfield. Our dog, an English setter, marched up to the stand of corn and went on point. We scurried up to him, and sent him into the corn.

Immediately, a pheasant flew up and out of the corn. Dad told me to shoot, and I did, hitting the pheasant, which dropped back into the corn. Our setter rushed in and brought the pheasant out to us. Today, in the exact spot where I shot, there’s a house.

I also loved rabbit hunting in the winter. We had beagles, and after they started running after a rabbit, the rabbit would run in circles. So if you saw a rabbit run by, all you had to do was stay there and in a while the rabbit would run by again.

As a kid, I hated deer hunting, probably because I never saw a deer. I didn’t shoot my first deer until I was in my 20s. But Dad was an amazing deer hunter. He’d often shoot several deer so his friends could have one.

I was very young when Dad sent me into the woods with a gun to shoot porcupines. There was a bounty on them, and I’d take their four legs to the town office and get 50 cents.

Ah, yes. So many great memories. Thanks, Dad!

George Smith, Outdoors contributor

George Smith has spent his life advocating for hunters, anglers, wildlife and conservation. He has been awarded many lifetime achievement awards including from the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife...