Skip to main content

Thank you, George!

My friend George Smith publicly announced that he had been diagnosed with ALS early this year.  When he told me in late last summer, I was shocked and saddened. I can't imagine the Maine outdoors without George in it.

The following is my article from the April issue of the Northwoods Sporting Journal.


Love him or hate him, you can’t deny that George Smith has spent the majority of his life being dedicated to the Maine outdoors and the sportsmen and women who enjoy it as well.  He is passionate about hunting, fishing, hiking and everything outdoors related, sometimes to a fault but, no matter how you feel about him, I am sure that some aspect of the outdoors that you enjoy has George somehow tied to it.

I don’t need to write about George’s accolades or his writing, time at SAM or legislative work because I am sure you know of them.  What I will write about it how George has helped me get my writing ‘out there’ through his own connections and reputation.  Thanks to George, I published an article in Downeast Magazine about the rise in female hunters and the fact that we live in urban areas! I was on Wild Fire with him and Harry Vanderweide and I wrote a chapter in his book, “Maine Sporting Camps.”  He has always been a huge supporter of me and my writing and for that, I am forever grateful.

One of George’s big initiatives has been getting kids and new potential hunters into the woods.  He has written about taking his grandkids fishing and the importance of getting kids interested in the hunting world early on. He and Portland Press Herald writer Deirdre Fleming chronicled her first season as a deer hunter and the importance of getting women comfortable in the outdoors.  All of these stories have helped to showcase our outdoor heritage as something that should be protected and celebrated.

How we are viewed as hunters, trappers and outdoorsmen and women to the general population can be a very slippery slope that George has taken on again and again. You and I see a picture of a dead coyote with a smiling outdoorsman and we get it.  We get the excitement and energy that surrounds a successful trip into the woods but so many people don’t. A dead coyote can launch hundreds of comments against hunters.  We see that same dead coyote as one less fawn-eater in the woods.  George’s writing in the Bangor Daily News and on his own website has been a bridge for people to possibly learn a little bit about what we do and why it is important.  I am not sure who will take over that role and help us get people to understand our passions.

And there are so many of us who are passionate about the outdoor issues that impact this State, be it native Brook trout, the moose population, bear hunting, Sunday hunting…I worry that as George slowly steps away from his advocacy work at the legislature and his writing, that there will be nobody to fill that seat. Nobody to push issues, voice concerns and question what’s been done, being done and is it in the best interest of the Maine outdoors.   We all have big shoes to help fill.


Thank you, George. Thank you for dedicating your career and passion into making the Maine outdoors a better place for future generations. Thank you for advocating. Thank you for mentoring young interested hunters and anglers. Thank you for not giving up and being dedicated to the cause no matter how sharp the criticism. We owe you a debt of gratitude for all the work that you have done and I hope in the years to come, that us Maine outdoorswomen and men can meet the high benchmarks that you have set.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The unlikely bear hunter

Jesse Phillips had no intention of bear hunting.  He was along for the ride with friend and host of Blood Origins, Robbie Kroger, who was on his annaul bear hunt with Grove Hill Outfitters. Being convinced that he should go hunt, Jesse grabbed the 45-10 and headed into a treestand.  He wore his cowboy boots, jeans and flannel, "the only thing I didn't do was put on deoterant" Jesse laughed.  Climbing up into the stand a little before 2pm, he held no expectations for seeing his first bear in the wild.  He was doing this just to apease the guys in camp. At 4:02, a bear appeared. "He was about 40 yards away," explained Jesse, "and he was just walkeding around, sniffing and eating.  He wasn't interested in the bait at all."  Watching the bear, Jesse knew he needed to remain calm. He was in no position to move his gun and take a shot without the bear spooking. The bear walked in and out of the opening with no intention of heading to the bait. Jesse wat…

Eagles on the trail

Reason number 3,657,935 why my Dad is the best: As we were snowmobiling, we approached a bog and three eagles with about 20 crows took off.  It could only mean one thing in my book - something was dead.  We circled back and walked around in the snow but the birds had left and we couldnt find anything that would resemble a meal.  A part of me thinks that we were in the wrong piece of land and should have been on the other side of the bog but in our snowmobile gear, we were not going to cover a lot of ground.  I was disappointed that we couldn't find what the birds were eating but I was able to get some good pictures of one of the mature eagles and the immature eagle that were flying around.






The Blood Origins Project

"I was looking for a narrative that described who we are as hunters,” my friend Robbie Kroger explained to me, “Essentially looking for an authentic truth about who we are. I couldn't find it. So we built it with Blood Origins.” If you have never heard of Blood Origins, set aside a solid hour and watch the videos on their website or YouTube, featuring some of the most influential people in the hunting world. People like Will Primos, Cuz Strickland and Jim Shockey all share a small piece of their story and the how and why hunting was so important.

Robbie has more than 30 unique stories from hunters, nonhunters, men, women, veterans, young and old and each one is a personal look into the importance of hunting and conservation. “It is about our community, and conveying the truth around hunting” said Robbie.

The fact that Robbie and I even connected is a testament to the power of the hunting community. As a native South African, American and Mississippian, Robbie was determined to…