Ludger Belanger, a young man who shot a big buck and hauled it out of the woods onto an old road, hopped into a car with two guys who offered to transport him and his buck out to his car. And then Ludger disappeared.
This is just one of the amazing stories in Daren Worcester’s new book, Open Season – True Stories of the Maine Warden Service, published by Down East Books. I especially enjoyed Daren’s book because I knew many of the dozen wardens featured in the stories, during my years of working for the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine.
Those wardens spent a collective total of 300 years in the Maine woods, and the 20 stories in the book are some of their best. Daren was inspired to write the book after listening to game wardens reminiscing at the retirement party for his father-in-law, warden Nat Berry. And Nat’s story about the Rolfe Brook Smelt Run is a good one, along with his story of the poacher who had just four fingers on his two hands. But the story you will really love about Nat is in the book’s introduction, where Daren discloses that wardens who worked for Nat dumped problem wild animals – from skunks to a black bear – on his property without his knowledge!
Two of my favorite wardens, Russ Dyer and Maynard Marsh, are featured in the first story about Russ’ initial assignment in Saint Pamphile. Let’s just say Russ almost got killed there. I don’t want to spoil that story for you.
One of the scariest stories involved wardens and ice anglers who got isolated on an ice flow in Sebago Lake, and came within seconds of drowning. That story had a happy ending, but not all the stories in this book did.
From Bill Allen’s urgent search for a snowmobiler who was nearly frozen when Bill found him, to a serious snowmobile accident – an attempted rescue by warden pilots Gary Dumond and Jack McPhee (a guy I admired greatly) – you will enjoy each and every story in this book. I sure did.