Sportsman’s Alliance has lots of major achievements

Since it’s founding in 1975, the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine has achieved a lot for those who hunt, fish, and trap, and for all the wild critters in our state.

Today I want to take a look back and share some of the group’s early achievements. But first, let me tell you how I got involved in SAM. Dr. Alonzo Garcelon, a founder of SAM, encouraged me to join in 1977, which I did.

In 1978, I attended SAM’s annual meeting, and after board members were elected to fill out the 12-member board of directors, Doc decided I should be on the board. So they immediately voted to expand the board to 13 members and elected me to the board. In 1982 I actually served a term as president of SAM.

And I’ve always been proud of our many achievements during SAM’s first 20 years. It was 1991 when the board contracted with me to resolve some serious problems, and I enjoyed working there so much that I agreed to serve as executive director and lobbyist, working for SAM for 18 years.

Now here’s some of the major achievements in SAM’s first 20 years.

1983 saved Maine’s moose hunt by defeating anti-hunt referendum.

1984 Sam PAC founded, a political action committee to endorse and help elect pro-sportsman legislators

1984 SAM Conservation and Education Fund established

1986 sponsored and successfully championed a $5 million wildlife habitat bond

1987 leading supporter of a $35 million bond for the Land for Maine’s Future

1988 led successful campaign for a constitutional amendment to strengthen firearms rights in Maine

1989 spearheaded a state firearms preemption law to prevent anti-firearms local ordinances

1993 led successful constitutional amendment campaign to protect the funds of the Department of Inland
Fisheries and Wildlife

1994 defeated an attempt to abolish the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife

1994 championed legislation to increase most hunting permits, hire more game wardens, and simplified fishing rules

1994 developed ongoing fishing initiative to improve fishery resources and expand opportunities to fish

1994 led campaign for $10 million hatchery bond

1995 championed legislation to toughen poaching laws, expand landowner relations programs, and provide more funds for conservation

1995 expended scholarships to conservation school to honor Gene Letourneau and Bud Leavitt

1995 won important new protections for shooting ranges

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,, and one on the website of the Bangor Daily News), and special columns for many publications and newsletters. Islandport Press published a book of George's favorite columns, "A Life Lived Outdoors" in 2014. In 2014, George also won a Maine Press Association award for writing the state's bet sports blog. In 2016, Down East Books published George's book, Maine Sporting Camps, and Islandport Press published George and his wife Linda's travel book, Take It From ME, about their favorite Maine inns and restaurants.