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Every time I turn the calendar from December to January in the “new millennium,” it always strikes me that we’re a long, long way from the mid-1900s when I was born. Pretty much any date in the last century or two sounded right to me, but anything starting with “two thousand and” still seems clunky to me. It must be old age!
Getting used to the new year doesn’t take long, however. The first order of the day is purchasing a new combination hunting-fishing license, which opens the door to all kinds of outdoor pleasures year-round. The new 2007 resident Superpack license includes fishing, hunting, archery and muzzleloading licenses as well as migratory waterfowl, pheasant, fall turkey, spring turkey, bear and coyote night hunt permits. (The Superpack license does not include the Supersport certificate, or the Expanded Archery Antlered and Expanded Archery Antlerless permits.)
Applicants must submit proof of a previous adult archery license from Maine or any other state, province, or country in any year after 1979 or having successfully completed an archery safety course or submit a notarized affidavit. Applicants must also submit proof of a previous adult firearms license from Maine or any other state, province, or country in any year after 1975 or having successfully completed a firearms hunter safety course or submit a notarized affidavit.
Applicants 10 years of age or older and under 16 years of age may purchase the Superpack license without meeting the archery and firearms safety course requirements. However, they must follow all laws related to these activities. (The Superpack license may not be a good deal from a price perspective for a customer in this age bracket since they presently qualify for many of the licenses and permits at reduced rates.)
The annual fee for the Superpack license is $200 and the agent’s fee is $2.
An applicant who purchases the Superpack license is entitled to six free chances in the moose lottery for that year. The licensee must submit a moose permit application indicating that they are a Superpack license holder.
A Superpack licensee is also eligible for entry into a special category in the annual Any-Deer Permit lottery. In order to qualify for the special category the licensee must apply in a wildlife management district (WMD) that has at least 5,000 permits allocated. In addition, the law states that no more that 2.5 percent of the any-deer permits in those districts will be allocated to Superpack license holders. The licensees must submit an Any-Deer Permit application and will need to indicate on the application that they are a Superpack license holder in order to be entered into the special lottery category. There will be specific instructions on the Any-Deer Permit Application for Superpack license holders.
Because the vast majority of licensees will not be eligible for the crossbow license until they take a crossbow safety course, the Superpack license will not include the crossbow-hunting license. However, any Superpack license holder who meets the eligibility requirements for a crossbow-hunting license can have the crossbow-hunting license added to their Superpack license at no charge by contacting the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.
With all that said, and if the Superpack license sounds good to you, the point is that your cost for hunting or fishing in Maine now comes down to a little over 50 cents a day! I don’t think there’s anything else in Maine you can do all day every day and just pay 50 cents for it! The average movie CD costs over $5 and lasts only two hours or so – for that amount you can spend 10 days in the woods, and based on the last couple of movies I’ve seen, 10 days outdoors would have been the better choice!
Realizing the incredible bargain your Maine sporting license represents, I’d say the best course of action on Jan. 1 is to get out there and start enjoying your investment. Starting today, you can hunt rabbits or predators, or, if you like the looks of a frozen lake in January, go for some trout, salmon, bass or pickerel.
Be sure the ice is safe (3-inch minimum for a single angler, more if there’s a crowd and a lot more if you plan to drive a vehicle on the ice), and then get going. Ice conditions are iffy right now – there may be no ice on some waters and plenty of ice on others, so check carefully before you go. Many southern Maine waters are still open and are not safe for ice-fishing, so hop on your snowmobile and head north. You’ll find a place to go before long.
If I had to choose between, say, rabbit hunting and ice-fishing, I’d mull it over for a while and then do both! I often have the best luck on the ice in the early hours of the day, and the rabbit hunting seems to be best in mid-afternoon, so the timing is always right for a double-header. In fact, it was long the rule on Schoodic and Sebec lakes to be out there before dawn because the very instant the sun started to glimmer over the horizon the salmon would begin to hit, and the initial flurry of action often lasted only 30 minutes or so before things settled down to a flag here and a flag there every hour or so. For some reason, the fish get active again just before dark but that makes for a long day on the ice.
If you choose to hunt rabbits with beagles, get out there after lunch and stay till after sunset. The dogs seem to do very well in the afternoon – perhaps the scent lays heavier on the snow or the rabbits are more active at that time, but most days you’ll have to peel your dogs off the track if you want to be home in time for dinner!
In any case, this is the first day of the new year and things are going to be different, right? Start your year off with a few hours spent outdoors. Rain or shine, you can’t possibly have a bad day at only 50 cents a pop!
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