Gene Letourneau honored in new sportsmen’s survey

Press Release – January 23, 2014

Contact: George Smith, 207-293-2661, georgesmithmaine@gmail.com

Gene Letourneau honored in new sportsmen’s survey

A new survey that gives sportsmen an opportunity to voice their opinions on key issues is being named for long-time outdoor newspaper reporter Gene Letourneau.

“The Sportsmen Say Survey,” says its creator George Smith of Mount Vernon, “will empower sportsmen by capturing and publicizing their opinions on key issues on a regular basis.”

“One of the best things about Gene’s column, called Sportsmen Say, was the way he let his readers and fans speak, by constantly soliciting and printing their comments. This is exactly what I hope to do with this survey – help sportsmen make their voices heard,” said Smith.

Smith served as the executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine for 18 years, and stepped down from that job 3 years ago to write fulltime. He currently writes an outdoor news blog for his website and the website of the Bangor Daily News, the monthly Capitol Report in The Maine Sportsman magazine, weekly travel columns with his wife Linda for the Kennebec Journal and Waterville Morning Sentinel, and a weekly editorial page column for those same newspapers.

Smith has also hosted a TV talk show called Wildfire with his friend Harry Vanderweide for 13 years. The show is now owned and produced by Maine Audubon and seen on Time Warner’s cable station throughout the state. The show is also available on Maine Audubon’s website. It focuses on hunting, fishing, conservation, and environmental issues.

Gene Letourneau wrote a daily column on hunting and fishing for 50 years for Maine’s Guy Gannett newspapers. “Growing up,” said Smith, “Gene’s column was the first and best read item in the daily newspaper at my house. We were always thrilled whenever some comment from a letter my Dad sent to Gene would make it into his column.”

“In my early years of working for the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine,” Smith said, “I got to know Gene. Whenever he would come to work sessions of the Fish and Wildlife Committee, he would sit in the audience, taking notes. Always, at some point in the deliberations, the chair would call out to Gene in the audience and ask, ‘Gene, what do you think?’ No other reporter or writer ever commanded that kind of respect, in my experience at the legislature.”

The Sportsmen Say Survey questions will be posted on a regular basis on Smith’s website, georgesmithmaine.com., where participants can also read a column Smith wrote about Letourneau. “I will report survey results in my outdoor news blog,” reported Smith. “I also plan to write columns about many of the issues before posting the questions, so participants can learn more about those issues before they answer the questions.”

“For example, I might post a report in my blog about a legislative work session on an important bill, then post a Sportsmen Say Survey question to give readers a chance to express their opinions on that bill. Those opinions will be available to legislators, news reporters, state agency staff, and others.”

Smith’s first question, about native and wild brook trout, is up on his website now and asks, “Should Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife do more to protect native and wild brook trout, including banning the use of live fish as bait on wild brook trout waters in order to reduce the chance of an introduction of new competing fish species in those waters?” Smith has posted a column in his outdoor news blog about the issue that is scheduled for legislative discussion on February 11 at the Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Committee.

George Smith

About George Smith

George stepped down at the end of 2010 after 18 years as the executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine to write full time. He writes a weekly editorial page column in the Kennebec Journal and Waterville Morning Sentinel, a weekly travel column in those same newspapers (with his wife Linda), monthly columns in The Maine Sportsman magazine, two outdoor news blogs (one on his website, georgesmithmaine.com, and one on the website of the Bangor Daily News), and special columns for many publications and newsletters. George also hosts, with Harry Vanderweide, a TV talk show called Wildfire, now in its 13th year and focused on hunting, fishing, environmental, and conservation issues. The show is owned and produced by Maine Audubon and seen on its website as well as on the Time Warner cable TV station throughout the state.