Articles by Tom Hennessey


Maine can’t afford to lose the bear referendum

By Tom Hennessey on Sept. 18, 2014, at 11:35 a.m.
Not surprisingly, the Humane Society of the United States, the most affluent animal-rights organization nationwide, is backing Mainers for Fair Bear Hunting’s second attempt to ban bear hunting with baits, hounds and traps, via referendum. The Portland-based coalition’s first attempt, also backed by the HSUS, was defeated by referendum in …

After 54 years, the end of the trail

By Tom Hennessey on March 01, 2013, at 1:44 p.m.
There’s no denying that time passes quickly when we’re having a good time. But because all good times come to an end, this column will end my 54 years of employment at the BDN, which began in 1959 as an apprentice printer. Suffice it to say, the people I worked …

‘Camp’ cooking differs, but always satisfies

By Tom Hennessey on Feb. 01, 2013, at 12:26 p.m.
In my travels to do commissioned paintings of storied hunting and fishing grounds, I’ve had the pleasure of dropping my duffel in places that gave new meaning to the word, “camp.” Simply put, the accommodations were something to write home about and the culinary artistry of the cooks was masterful. …

Feathers ‘n Fins: ‘Old’ a familiar word for outdoorsmen

By Tom Hennessey on Jan. 04, 2013, at 1:58 p.m.
In being addicted to hunting, fishing, trapping and the outdoors in general, it isn’t surprising that you habitually use the word “old” when referring to the equipment essential to your health and happiness. No matter that the reference may be to things fairly new, and oftentimes to people younger than …

Feathers ‘n Fins: Deer are cagey critters

By Tom Hennessey on Nov. 30, 2012, at 5:44 p.m.
Realizing that the athletic agility he was born with was showing signs of age, Hank Lyons climbed carefully into his tree stand. Diligently, then, he fastened the safety harness, muffling the snap of the clasp with his gloved hands. “Can’t be too quiet,” he thought. “I swear a deer can …

Sportsmen are witnesses to climate change

By Tom Hennessey on Nov. 02, 2012, at 11:26 a.m.
Admittedly, much of the time I spend hunting and fishing is frittered away thinking, wondering and pondering about things that are beyond my purview, as the politicians say. So it was while Jeff and I were jump-shooting ducks recently, my thoughts wandered like the stream we followed through boggy woodlands. …

Feathers ‘n Fins: Doggy

By Tom Hennessey on Aug. 31, 2012, at 6:24 p.m.
As a senior sportsman who never misses a meal and isn’t bashful about going back for seconds at hunters breakfasts and church suppers, you somehow manage to stay as slim as a sapling. Consequently, you’re often asked what you do to keep in shape. Likewise, if your hair isn’t as …

Fishing for answers sheds light on stripers

By Tom Hennessey on Aug. 03, 2012, at 1:30 p.m.
As far back as I can remember, and long before that, the Penobscot River has been a productive fishing ground for striped bass. Until five years ago, that is. Since then the sporty “schoolies” have been scarce to say the least. Actually, it’s been slim pickings for striper fishermen on …

What kind of fishing is best?

By Tom Hennessey on July 06, 2012, at 12:04 p.m.
Whenever I’m asked which kind of fishing I like best, I’m reminded of the joke about two guys discussing girls: “Which do you like best,” said one, “blondes, brunettes or redheads?” To which the other replied quickly, “Whichever one I’m with.” So there you have it. To me, fishing is …

Bass now sit atop state’s piscatorial totem pole

By Tom Hennessey on June 01, 2012, at 2:34 p.m.
Steel wool clouds were scrubbing an aluminum sky when Steve Forrest and I launched his Grand Laker canoe on West Grand Lake. Though the famed fishing ground had shed its winter coat early, the water was still cold owing to windy overcast days and frosty nights. Consequently, the usually hard-hitting …

Feathers ‘n Fins: Wonder

By Tom Hennessey on May 04, 2012, at 5:47 p.m.
Dusk was drawing the curtains of night when, in mid-April, I arrived at the high-shouldered ledges leaning against the South Brewer banks of the Penobscot, where I first dipped smelts a long time ago. “Tide’s got a ways to go yet,” I thought. “Hurry up and wait, as usual.” Gazing, …
Drawing of a pike.

Voracious pike alter the balance at Pushaw

By Tom Hennessey on April 13, 2012, at 5:53 p.m.
On March 31, I had the pleasure of fishing for pike with Chris West and Tyler Grant. Considering they started fishing at Pushaw Stream on March 16 and had since caught 46 pike, you could say I was well-guided. But before you tow your boat and tackle to that marshy …
"Steamers and Smelts"


By Tom Hennessey on April 06, 2012, at 3:48 p.m.
Like all things long-awaited and much-anticipated, springtime usually arrives slowly in this neck of the woods. This year, however, fishermen addicted to trolling for hit-and-run salmon or tug-o’-war togue soon after ice out will have an early start thanks to the premature arrival of the season at hand. Not surprisingly, …

Feathers ’n Fins: Flies

By Tom Hennessey on March 02, 2012, at 8:25 p.m.
Assuming that you started tying flies long before your hair turned the color of a Gray Ghost, you probably need another fly like a porcupine needs another quill. So the question begs: why do you continue tying flies, streamers, trout flies, bass bugs, Atlantic salmon flies, whatever — that may …
Drawing by Tom Hennessey

Feathers ‘n Fins: Aerial

By Tom Hennessey on Feb. 03, 2012, at 3:41 p.m.
For the past 20 years or so, coastal duck hunters have wondered why the flocks of teal that fluttered down to their decoys like falling leaves have all but vanished. Now, sea-duck hunters — not to mention guides — are wondering why the once-abundant rafts of eider ducks common to …

Maine’s storied logging era

By Tom Hennessey on Jan. 06, 2012, at 9:30 p.m.
For as long as I can count my blessings, foremost will be my birth certificate bearing the state of Maine seal. Yet I often wish I’d taken my first breath about 100 years earlier. Not only to have partaken of the hunting and fishing that established this state as a …

The Gunning Grounds

By Tom Hennessey on Dec. 02, 2011, at 11:03 p.m.
You know how it is on the coast, my friend, when the weather is brittle-cold, and the breaking dawn is painting the sky with colors of pink and gold. And on a shore that’s cluttered with rockweed exposed by the ebbing tide, you watch your Lab retriever bound into a …
Painting by Tom Hennessey

Does outnumbered by bucks in deer stories

By Tom Hennessey on Nov. 04, 2011, at 4:23 p.m.
In all of the deer stories you’ve heard at hunting camps, tagging stations, sports shops and the Public Information and Education Center otherwise known as the town dump, how often have you heard a hunter say the buck he shot was number than a pounded thumb? Not often, I’d say. …

Maine’s upland bird and waterfowl seasons

By Tom Hennessey on Sept. 30, 2011, at 5:32 p.m.
Now that the first shots have been fired in Maine’s upland bird and waterfowl seasons, let’s draw a bead on the always interesting subject of wing shooting. Considering the books, videos and clinics now offering in-depth instructions on how to shoot a shotgun, you have to wonder how we gray-haired gunners …

New England Grouse and Woodcock Championship set for Sept. 24-25

By Tom Hennessey on Sept. 16, 2011, at 4:02 p.m.
To ensure that Friday, Sept. 23, doesn’t pass unnoticed as the first day of autumn, the Mid-Coast Maine Field Trial Club will celebrate the season’s arrival with the ringing of dogs’ bells throughout the weekend. Specifically, the club’s annual New England Grouse and Woodcock Championship field trial will be held …