Landowner Appreciation Day is scheduled for September 15. And I encourage you that day to thank the private landowners who allow you to enjoy their land.
Private landowners do a lot for us, from providing ATV and snowmobile trails and places to hunt and access favorite fishing spots to the opportunity to hike and pick mushrooms or wild blueberries.
Growing up in Winthrop, dad and I hunted all over town. Back then there was no posted land. Today a lot of land is posted although I found that if you talk with a landowner you very often can gain access to that land.
Development has also reduced the amount of land available to us. Pretty much every place that dad and I rabbit hunted in Winthrop now has a house on it.
I posted my Mount Vernon woodlot years ago because a bunch of hunters from New Hampshire were driving deer on my lot. And I wanted to be sure that my neighboring families that hunted with their kids could have that lot to themselves. Well of course, with the exception that dad and I hunted there too!
Last year Linda and I donated our woodlot to the Kennebec Land Trust, partly because they do a lot with kids. On the first trail they created on the woodlot, posters are up teaching the kids about the habitat they’re walking in. We named the lot for my dad. It’s now the Ezra Smith Wildlife Conservation Area.
Friends of mine who own a blueberry farm in Fayette, posted their land so I could bring new and young hunters to hunt there. That’s where I took Deidre Fleming, the outdoor writer for the Portland press Herald, on her first-ever hunt. It turned into quite a story.
I really spoiled Deidre. She saw 17 deer in three days and on the afternoon of the third day she shot a deer. My friend Harry Vandeweide’s daughter Amanda also shot her first deer at that blueberry farm. And I took my young grandson, Vishal, turkey hunting there. That’s also the place dad and I got our last turkey, before dad died.
If you have time on September 15, I recommend stopping by and thanking your landowners in person. But at the very least, send them a thank you note for allowing you to enjoy their land.