Friday, March 26, 2021

Spring sports season will look closer to normal

Now a senior, Windham's Hayden Bioldeau keeps
his eye on the ball during a boys' prep tennis
scrimmage in April 2019.
By Matt Pascarella

The high school spring sports season is coming up and at the moment it resembles the closest to “normal” I’ve heard about in a while. The season, which began for pitchers and catchers on Mar. 22 and will begin for all other sports on March 29, will be a close mirror to the 2019 spring sports season. All spring sports will be able to participate with full schedules, playoffs, and the return of fans.!

Fans will be required to be masked at all times and observe social distancing. Per Governor Mills’ executive order, effective Mar. 26 Windham will be able to utilize 75 percent of its permitted occupancy in the stands and as of May 24, Windham can utilize 100 percent of its occupancy.

What an open tournament playoff would look like and how it would be seeded and ranked is still up in the air, but playoffs will happen.

Softball began with their first pitcher/catcher arm conditioning practices earlier this week and the team is ready to get back on the field.

“I have high expectations for this squad whether it’s varsity or junior varsity. The ladies showed up with some energy,” said varsity softball coach Fred Wilcox. “I think they’re just as excited as I am to get back out there with the team. We have a lot of young talent that will have an instant impact and coupled with that, we’re bringing back some talented veteran players that have great leadership and softball skills. This should be a great recipe for success this season.”

The boys lacrosse team has been preparing mentally before they take the field. They read the book “The Hard Hat: 21 Ways to be a Great Teammate” by Jon Gordon based on a Cornell lacrosse player who passed away. The team discussed the book, characteristics of successful teams and qualities that they want on their team.

Boys’ lacrosse is very excited to get back together and begin working on common goals. Coach Peter Small noticed some hesitation regarding the possibility of COVID-19 disrupting the season.

“We know that some players have been off of the field for quite a while,” said Coach Small. “We recognize the need to focus on culture, chemistry and approach. We ... intend to approach the season as we do others – work to be better every day as individuals and as a team. I think we have a great group of student-athletes on the roster, both who they are as people as well as who they are as players.”

This is an extremely positive outlook for the upcoming high school spring season. Especially after last year, I’m really looking forward to getting back out there and seeing the kids play. <

Strong effort shown by Windham unified basketball against South Portland

By Matt Pascarella

Windham’s unified basketball team was ready for their home opener against South Portland on Tuesday, March 23, and showed the Red Riots they had what it takes on the court.

Although the Eagles lost 57-44, it was a very impressive game with Windham connecting on several three-pointers including a buzzer beater at the end of the first half by Windham senior Austin Rice.

Windham senior Austin Rice prepares 
for a three-point shot nearing halftime
during a unified basketball game against
South Portland on Tuesday, March 23
at Windham High School. Windham
fell to South Portland, 57-44.
Senior AJ Mains got Windham on the board early in the first half and continued to put the ball in the hoop as the game continued. Rice scored several baskets as did freshman TJ McAllister.

Windham was quick to grab rebounds and passed the ball well. At the half, South Portland led 34-19.

Windham’s intensity remained strong at the start of the second half as the Eagles made shot after shot and tried to catch up to South Portland.

Rice scored. McAllister scored. Mains scored. These guys were on fire. Rice put the ball in for two points, then backed up and sank a three-pointer. Mains scored back-to-back and helped close the gap between the teams.

At the final buzzer, Windham had put in a stellar effort, but the Red Riots remained just out of reach.

Mains said he had fun in the game and that his favorite part was shooting baskets. Rice said sinking that three-point buzzer beater was an awesome feeling.

Overall, Windham’s unified basketball team did well with their shooting said Windham coach Anne Blake.

She said overall Windham played well as a team because there were no substitutions, which made it harder, but all of the players contributed and did a fantastic job against South Portland.

This is the seventh season for unified basketball in Maine, although last year was limited and eventually scrubbed because of COVID-19 transmission concerns. <

Tales from the outdoors: Five tips to make your sporting outings more effective and fun

By Bob Chapin

For the most part, duck and goose seasons overlap each other. As a hunter, you want to be prepared for either species as you never know which will come to your decoys or which you may stumble across in a jump shooting situation. Shell belts have become very popular for storing your shells while providing ready access to them for follow-up shots or to change loads to match the species available.

They also facilitate carrying them around with you as you scour the bogs. However, once the shell is loaded into a belt loop it is near impossible to determine whether it is a duck or goose load. The manufacturers don’t give us much help either as the markings that tell us what size load it is, how many drams of powder it contains and whether it is steel or lead shot are on the sides and tend to rub off after a few outings.

In the excitement of an approaching flight in low light conditions how do you know if the round you are pulling out is what you want? One solution I have used involves painting a stripe across the metal or primer end of my goose shells with White Appliance paint…the small bottles that come with a paint brush in the cap. I know at a glance which ones to pull when the geese approach.

It seems like no matter what kind of footwear I wear on hunting outings, leather boots, knee high rubber boots, or waders my feet would always get cold when on stand and not moving much. Now, when I get ready to leave home, I tape a chemical hand warmer to my socks right under my toes with masking tape. The chemical sacks stay put until I get my foot into a boot and they are small enough not to bunch up and hurt my toes. They make triangular toe chemical warmers that come with a sticky side to do the same thing, but I find they are not large enough to remain warm for the entire outing. You may be tempted to use duct tape but I caution against that as the heat may cause the stickum to transfer to your sox and when they go through the wash they will become permanently sticky…word to the wise!

Scarves and neck gaiters, particularly the polypropylene kind, are a great contribution to your cold weather gear. They come now in various camo patterns to complement the rest of your ensemble and can be worn up or pushed down as needed. They can even replace a lost hat to keep your ears warm and as gloves in a pinch. With our recent COVID mask wearing experiences we are all used to the face being covered why not be warm as well!

Archers often save a group of arrow shafts for their hunting loads and use the rest of the dozen arrows that come in the box for target practice to minimize the variations in arrow flight. Even within the saved arrows they will number the shafts or light-colored vanes of the straightest arrows so that they are assured the highest probability of true flight.

They measure them on a straightness jig to the thousandths of an inch. Even the manufacturers have caught on and marketing materials declare what the variation in straightness they “guarantee” they will have out of the box. Do not trust these claims…measure them for yourself and mark your arrows accordingly. The measuring gauges are relatively inexpensive and the cost of failure to fly true on a costly elk hunt is immeasurable.

Most folks like a hot beverage when they are sitting in a blind or on stand in the cold of a winter morning. Many lug a 24-ounce or greater thermos with them and at the end of the hunt are still lugging half the liquid around with them. Years ago, I switched to a 10-ounce thermos and I find that it holds all the liquid I need at half the weight. It has a push button stopper in it so I can pour without fear of the liquid rushing out and overrunning the small cup lid. It makes quite a popping sound when released so when on deer stands, I unscrew the whole stopper to avoid the noise that would not be necessary in a duck blind. It makes for fewer nature calls as well. I taped the barrel of mine with camp duct tape and spray painted the ends to avoid glare.<

Friday, March 19, 2021

Lady Eagles volleyball shows strength against Falmouth

Windham senior Lydia Budroe soars into the air
to forcefully return a serve from Falmouth during
a varsity volleyball game at Windham High
School on March 10.
By Matt Pascarella

In their first games of the season, the junior varsity and varsity Lady Eagles volleyball teams took on Falmouth at home on Wednesday, March 10 and showed they are worthy competitors.

Despite the JV team suffering a 2-1 defeat and varsity falling, 3-0, Windham proved to the 2019 Class A champions they are a formidable challenge.


Windham’s varsity played best of five games and the Lady Eagles jumped to an early lead in game one, but soon the game was tied at seven. The game was close for a little while, but Falmouth nabbed a 25-12 win.

Windham came out strong in game two and scored immediately. Senior Lydia Budroe had quite a few forceful spikes that put points on the board for Windham. The Lady Eagles had great teamwork as they slowly gained on Falmouth. Unfortunately, Falmouth pulled away and won 25-14.

Despite Windham’s strong volleys and hustle in game three, Falmouth pulled away quickly and couldn’t be caught as they won game three 25-13 and the match, 3-0.

“I think they did awesome; coming out of the gate they looked strong,” said Windham Coach Chuck Fleck. “We just got a couple things we can hopefully work on and get some consistency, and (next time) I think we’ll give (Falmouth) a good run for their money.”

Senior and captain Alexis Budroe of Windham said the Lady Eagles kept fighting. Windham stayed with Falmouth for most of the games with just some little mistakes that they need to work on.


The Windham JV played best of three games with Windham close to Falmouth for the first two matches. In the first game, the Lady Eagles jumped to a 4-2 lead. Then Falmouth tied the game. JV had nice volleys and returned serves well. Windham tied the game at 12. Then tied it at 20, then again at 24. Teams must win by two, and soon the game was tied again at 26. After a stellar effort from the Lady Eagles, Falmouth won, 28-26.

In game two, Windham again had good volleys and came back from behind to be one point away from Falmouth. Soon, the game was tied at 16. Then 21. It was match point and as Windham sent the ball over the net, Falmouth could not return it and Windham won, 25-21.

Game three was played to 15. Falmouth took an early lead and although Windham put in an unwavering effort, Falmouth won 15-6.

“I think it went really well and I’m proud of everyone,” said Windham sophomore and JV captain Odessa Files. “We really came together.”

Coach Chuck Fleck said the team had high energy and did great. The first set could have gone either way and he’s proud of the players and their supporters. <

Windham JV and varsity girls’ basketball are tough on GNG

By Matt Pascarella

In their final home games of the season, Windham’s junior varsity and varsity girls’ basketball teams hosted Gray New Gloucester on Friday, March 12, with the varsity girls crushing GNG 58-19 and JV narrowly falling, 44-37.


Windham came out ready to play and play they did just that. Showing very strong defense from Windham the entire game; the Lady Eagles started with a small lead and then pulled away. Windham was capitalizing on as many rebounds as they could and at the end of the first half, Windham led 27-7.

Windham's Lexi Hirning races past several Gray New Gloucester
players on her way to score during a girls varsity basketball game
on Friday, March 12 at Windham High School. Windham won,
58-19 in the final home game of the season for the Lady Eagles.
Windham senior Chloe Allen sunk a three-pointer close to the start of the second half. The Lady Eagles kept up the intensity for the full 32 minutes. Windham had a significant lead and could not – would not – be caught, winning 58-19.

“Our defensive intensity was fantastic,” said Windham Coach Brody Artes. “We really played good team basketball. It was a good cohesive unit from start to finish ... good way to send out our seniors at home, Lexi (Hirning) and Chloe (Allen).”

Allen said that even with the quarantine during the season, they always bounced back and played hard.

Hirning said that she thought that made the team chemistry that much better.


Windham sophomore Elizabeth Talbot scored immediately to open the game against GNG. The game was very close in the first half and although GNG held a small lead, the Lady Eagles weren’t far behind.

Freshman Brooke Gerry sunk a three pointer in the second quarter and with Windham picking up momentum, getting closer to GNG they only trailed at intermission, 22-16.

In the second half, Windham had continued that momentum. Gerry sunk two more three-pointers. Windham was getting rebounds and soon had the lead; then the game was tied.

The Lady Eagles employed strong defense and with four minutes left, Windham was only down by six.

Gerry hit another three-pointer with only 20 seconds left and despite a strong effort, Windham trailed at the buzzer, 44-37, with GNG picking up the victory.

“We had a couple bad turnovers that led to other things, but overall, I think we did well as a team,” said Gerry. “My teammates did well in feeding me the ball, but I also looked for them, too.”

Windham Coach EJ Regan said Gray New Gloucester was the toughest team they played all season. For Windham to stay right on GNG and be a pain until the very last buzzer was great to see. <

Friday, March 12, 2021

Windham alpine ski team has great showing toward end of season

Sophomore Logan Marden comes to a stop during
Windham High School's alpine skiing meet against
Chevrus and Kennebunk on Friday, March 5 at
Shawnee Peak in Bridgton. Marden finished with
a combined time of 1:08:21, which earned
him second-place overall among the boys as
Windham 's boys' team beat Kennebunk and 
Chevrus by a score of 22-23-40.
By Matt Pascarella

In one of the final meets of the season, the Windham High School alpine ski team faced off against Cheverus and Kennebunk on Friday, Mar. 5 at Shawnee Peak in Bridgton. Windham finished high on the scoreboard with junior Sarah Hare and sophomore Logan Marden finishing in the top two for both girls and boys.  

Hare came in first overall for the girls with a combined run time of 1:07.29. Marden came in second overall for the boys with a combined run time of 1:08.21. As a team, the Windham boys beat Kennebunk and Cheverus 22-23-40. In the girls team race, Windham beat Kennebunk 14-34; Cheverus did not meet team requirements and had no score.  

Hare finished her first run in 33.85 seconds and her second in 33.44 seconds. Windham sophomore Annie Jackson and freshman Lilly Mclean finished third and fourth among the girls. Jackson had a combined time of 1:13.38. Mclean had a combined time of 1:15.15. Windham sophomore Grace Paiement finished sixth with a combined time of 1:17.36. 

"It's definitely been different, because because we haven’t had our normal amount of races, but I think it’s gone pretty well this year,” said Windham junior Hare.

“We’ve been lucky that we get to come up (to Shawnee Peak) every day. I know a lot of teams don’t get that. It’s been really helpful getting training every single day and having good coaches that really help me do the best that I can.”

Marden finished his first run in 34.06 seconds and his second run in 34.15. Right behind him in third place was teammate and sophomore Nolan Dries with a combined time of 1:10.58. Windham sophomore Cody Taylor came in eighth among the boys with a time of 1:16.80.

“All the kids skied really well,” said Windham coach Lucas Hare. “There was a lot of ice under this snow so it was a really hard course. It’s been fun to watch the kids especially with everything happening this year; they’re having so much fun and they’re doing great.”

While Hare said that he was disappointed there will be no post season, with no seniors on the team, they can look forward and train for next season. <

Windham swimmers excel in virtual meet against Thornton Academy, Biddeford

Senior Haley Thebarge competes in Windham
High School's virtual meet against Thornton
Academy and Biddeford on Saturday, March 6
at Riverton Community Center in Portland. Each
team swam at their respective locations and then
the scores were sent in. The Windham girls' team
came in second to Biddeford and Thornton Academy,
By Matt Pascarella

Windham’s swim team got the chance to compete in a virtual meet against Thornton Academy and Biddeford on Saturday, March 6 at Riverside Community Center in Portland.

Each school swam at their respective locations and the results were compiled and scored. Windham came in second for the boys with scores of Biddeford, 62; Windham, 56; Thornton, 43. The girls also came is second with scores of Thornton, 116; Windham, 65; Biddeford, 12.

Windham had high energy, put in a lot of work and were ready and excited to compete.

In the boys 200 medley relay, seniors Lyden Fogg, Sebi Anghel, Simon Gabaree and Griffin Black finished first with a time of 2:08.49.

Senior Rosie Haibon finished second in the girls 200 freestyle with a time of 2:29.81. Junior Chloe Desmond finished second in the girls’ 100 backstroke with a time of 1:16.61.

“It was insane,” said Windham senior Haley Theberge. “It was great to be all together again and even though the season hasn’t been what we expected it to be ... it’s just having this last meet was kind of like a last hurrah all together. It felt incredible to be able to race again and to cheer for each other again.”

Gabaree finished third in the boys 50 freestyle with a time of 28.01. Black finished second in the boys 200 freestyle with a time of 2:21.16.

 “It was really fun,” said Windham coach Peter Small. “It was great to give them a chance to race. It was bittersweet (for the nine seniors); we were overjoyed to get them to a point where they could race, but sad that it’s the last race. It was nice ... glad we got to race one more time.”

Theberge added a thank you to Cach Small, assistant coach Kevin Roy and athletic director Rich Drummond for their efforts in getting the team together during this time to have a season. <

Tales from the Outdoors: Cusk at night

By Bob Chapin

Special to The Windham Eagle

Cusk, or Burbot, or Lawyer Fish, or Eel Pout, or Ling Cod or whatever you choose to call it, is an interesting fish.  It looks like a cross between a cod fish and an eel. The head is large with a wide mouth and a single barbel protruding from its lower lip. It doesn’t have scales and the dorsal fin starts in the normal place, runs the length of the spine, stops for a short tail then commences again running along the bottom of the fish up to the vent. They are equally at home in salt or fresh water. They have teeth but they are small allowing you to “lip” them like you would a bass.

Most anglers are not aware the fish lurks below them in most of the waters they fish because they are rarely caught as an incidental or by-catch on normal hooks and bait when fishing for other species preferring to remain low in the water column.

You have probably guessed that you fish for them right on the bottom with a stationary bait at night. In fact, the rule book says dusk to dawn, with your bait on the bottom, read large weight, and the line must be fixed at the reel, meaning the fish should not be able to take line off your spool. You can run off a few feet, lock down the reel with a loop of line over it, then re-spool the loose line such that should a fish hit your bait the spool will trip your trap and you will know you got a bite. Several tackle shops have clip on beacons that activate when the flag goes up signaling with a light easily seen at night.

In Maine you may have up to 5 traps down per licensed fisher person and you must check them at least once per hour, no continuous watch requirement. In New Hampshire you are limited to two lines down at once, but you only need to check them once every 24 hours. That sounds like a good deal, but when we have colder nights if you don’t check them more often you will have a difficult time getting them out of the new ice.

Where you fish on a lake can be quite varied because you can catch them anywhere from 8 to 10 feet of water to over 1,000 feet deep, some 10 to 50 feet works well on Sebago. They tend to favor the deeper water except when it is time to spawn, mid-February to late March, then they seek out shallower sandy or cobble stoned bottoms. Use anywhere from 10- to 12-pound test leader because not only do they come large but they have a habit of curling themselves around bottom structure and sometimes it is a tug ‘o war to get them loose, steady firm pressure works most times but don’t be afraid to give them some slack and they may swim away from whatever is holding them.

Virtually any bait you choose to use will work from live minnows to dead minnows, night crawlers, trout worms, even an old discarded hot dog works. They eat almost anything they can find including crayfish and smaller pan fish and perch. I’ve had good luck with live suckers fished right on the bottom. Artificial lures work well too. Out in Michigan, they do well with glowing lures, spoons and Swedish Pimples that glow in the dark but always tip them with some sort of bait as they find their food with their sense of smell.

When you pull your first one through the ice you will be hesitant to touch it because it looks and acts pre-historic. It will curl its whole body up like an eel tighter than you think it should and it will be slimy like an eel. But don’t let that fool you. You don’t have to “gut them” per se just cut down behind the head and slice the skin which has no scales and grab the skin with a pair of pliers, and it comes right off. The top half of the fish contains two nice filets of firm white flesh that cooks up like haddock or pollock and is outstanding in chowder.

An evening spent Cusk fishing can be quite pleasant if the weather cooperates. Sitting out on the ice in a blind or ice hut with an adult beverage and a space heater is fun, jigging one hole while you watch traps on the other four holes. Snacks are always welcomed by your fishing buddies and can make a slow evening go by faster. It is a great social event in Maine in the winter so dress appropriately and give it a try…you will be glad you did. <

Friday, March 5, 2021

Where Are They Now: Lauren Talbot driven in the classroom and on the field

Lauren Talbot, a 2018 Windham
High School graduate, played
softball as a freshman and field
hockey during her sophomore
year at the University of
Massachusetts Dartmouth.
By Matt Pascarella

Positive. Hardworking. Dedicated. Upbeat. These were just some of the words used to describe Lauren Talbot, a current junior at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth and a Windham High School alumna, class of 2018. She is a political science major with a sustainability minor and an international relations concentration.

Talbot was a star on and off the field while at Windham, becoming a member of television station WCSH’s Varsity Club and winning the Bruce Glasier Memorial Scholarship in her senior year. Talbot continued to excel while playing softball her freshman year and field hockey her sophomore year at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.

In fall and spring 2020, Talbot made the Chancellor’s list by attaining a grade point average of 3.8 or better. It can be very hard to balance school and sports, but for her, school always comes first. She strives to be the best and always do her best.

“The first thing I noted about Lauren is that she is a determined and dedicated athlete,” said University of Massachusetts Dartmouth field hockey Coach Linee Mello-Frost. “She constantly has (a) ... positive attitude from the minute you first see her until she’s leaving. I believe this clearly shows in the way she progressed so quickly on our team in her first season with us and also how well she performs in the classroom.”

Talbot recently found out she has Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). This revelation has been difficult, but it makes her more motivated to be the best student and person she can be.

“I want to prove to myself and others that this does not hinder me from being able to excel as a student and as an individual. It may make life more challenging, but it’s that much sweeter when achieving something like Chancellor’s List,” she said.

Through her first couple years in college, she visited the Student Transition and Achievement Resource Center, which helped students navigate college. Talbot would occasionally help students who came in. She quickly developed a love for helping others navigate college and became a peer mentor.

This semester, as a peer mentor, Talbot is gathering research regarding peer mentorship in colleges and is putting together research on ADHD in college students.

When Talbot looks back on her time at Windham High School, she is most thankful for her softball coaches Travis Demmons and Fred Wilcox. They took the time to support the team and individual players. They were all family in every sense of the word. The connection she had on the field with her teammates is something Talbot misses.

Talbot’s advice for current high school players who may be struggling because of the pandemic is to: manage your time wisely, be open to change and work as hard as possible on and off the field. It’s tough being out of normal routines. Talbot said the most important thing you can do is to prioritize your mental health. She said it’s hard, especially now with online school and being away from friends, but the more you can do things that add to your wellbeing, like physical activity, the better.

After college she would like to get her graduate degree abroad, maybe in the Netherlands, and use her knowledge to help others through teaching, researching and/or working in a non-governmental organization.

Whenever Talbot has downtime, she likes to read, do Pilates, hang out with her parents or friends at school as well as watch Netflix. <

Windham Middle School indoor track team happy to be back at it

Windham Middle School seventh-graders Camden
Patin, Tate Robinson and Ellias Jauregui run laps
around Windham High School's athletic field. The
WMS indoor track team has been practicing despite
not being able to participate in competitive meets
and working on honing skills and techniques.

By Matt Pascarella

When Windham Middle School girls’ indoor track coach Jason Lanoie reached out to athletic director Rich Drummond to see if there was going to be some sort of indoor track season, the eighth-grade girls on the team were really happy to hear that there was going to be something. The whole team is glad there is something. The athletes on this indoor track team are happy to be back doing a sport they love.

While the Windham Middle School teams aren’t having competitive meets, they are working on skills and drills in preparation for a possible competitive track season in the spring. The team practices four days a week and the turnout has been great among the two cohorts.

The events the kids are training in during their skills and drills season are events they would have participated in during a regular meet, such as: distance running, sprint work, hurdles, shot put, and relays – contactless relays. The kids are excited to be on the track, or in the gym, and are putting in a lot of effort during these events.

Lanoie was excited that there could be a season, no matter what it looked like. 

“My goal is to have something, because everything is getting canceled,” he said. “I wanted to have something where they would be able to get in shape and get them out of the house; it’s getting them active and having a good time.”

One of the eighth-grade girls who was excited to hear there would be a season was Caitlyn Marsh. She has been on the team for a few years and considers track one of her biggest passions. She said it’s a fun learning experience to be with other kids running. She would love to run track in high school.

Seventh-grader Ellias Jauregui said even with COVID-19 out there, the season is a big hit. He’s glad they get to run. He was sad when he heard it might not happen, but now that it’s happening, he’s excited to be back on the track again.

“It’s creating more of a routine for them and making things a little more normal, said assistant coach Lindsey Szewczyk. “It’s bringing their positivity up.”

Szewczyk’s goal is to improve on whatever the kids need to for outdoor track and helping the kids improve for next year when hopefully they can compete.

When competitive meets return, this team will be ready. <

Junior varsity Trail Blazers record hockey win over Gorham

By Matt Pascarella

The junior varsity Windham/Westbrook/Bonny Eagle Trail Blazers hockey team took on Gorham and they led with intensity for 40 minutes, earning an 8-3 win at the Bridgton Ice Arena on Saturday, Feb. 27.

One of the changes to the 2021 hockey season is instead of the traditional three periods, the JV team played two 20-minute halves.

In the first half, the Trail Blazers were aggressive right out of the gate. Sophomore Wyatt Carpenter and Darren Haskell scored in the half. The Trail Blazers moved the puck nicely with strong defense and kept Gorham from many possession opportunities. Trail Blazers had a 2-1 lead at halftime.

The JV Trail Blazers played a great game all around, but it was the second half that brought the most action when the team scored six goals. Freshmen John Ulmer and Lucas Laforest scored back-to-back goals at the start of the second half. Gorham scored twice in the half, but they were no match for the Trail Blazers, whose momentum did not slow down until the final buzzer.

Trail Blazers seniors Jack Foley and Robert Doherty both scored in the second half. Laforest found the back of the net again. Before the final buzzer, Ulmer put one between the posts.

“I think we played a well-rounded 200 foot game” said Trail Blazers coach Ben Haskell. “We worked hard for each other and when we play as a team, good things happen. I think the players are getting more comfortable with each other and trusting each other. Once you build confidence in each other it all starts to come together.” <

Tales from the outdoors: Hunting the famous Anticosti Island

By Bob Chapin
Special to The Windham Eagle

For many of you a guided hunt on Anticosti Island, Canada, in the middle of the Gulf of Saint Lawrence, is a dream come true. It is truly a remarkable place managed exclusively for whitetail hunters by SEPAQ, a Canadian government entity, motivated to have you be successful. It can be as “authentic” a hunt as you want it to be, meaning you can arrange to hunt by yourself in an approximately 3 square km area or you can drive the many roads that connect hunting areas by truck or ATV.
Deer populations can vary greatly from 40,000 to 120,000 due to harsh winter weather but you can be assured of seeing many deer and can hunt either does or bucks. You are permitted to take two deer per trip and most do. You will get your deer at the plane for the return flight to Mount Joli, boxed up and ready for further processing.
For most Mainers it is a six- to seven-hour drive up through Qu√ębec to Mount Joli which is the jumping off place for the short flight to the island—take your passport! The hunting trips run all fall but the trip I took was right after Thanksgiving. By that time the snow had already begun to fall. You are met at the airport by Sepaq personnel, taken by the equivalent Fish and Game office for licensing, and a small variety store for last minute items.

The island was once owned entirely by one man, a Frenchman by the name of Henri Menier. He envisioned it as his own hunting and fishing paradise and he came close to realizing it. He imported a lot of different animals including White-tailed deer, grouse, black bears, salmon, foxes, and rabbits. Over the years it became clear that the climate and the collection of animals were not always compatible. Some did very well and prospered and others had a more Darwinian fate. Oddly, one of the non-survivors were the black bears. They competed with the deer for the same food sources and there were just too many deer and they were more prolific.
With the top predator gone, the deer multiplied to match the excellent habitat they had. The island suffers from great crashes in deer populations due to the weather. In the winter when the snows come the deer “migrate” so to speak from the higher elevations to the shorelines, but it is a short trip. It is not a true migration in the normal sense of the word, but they are driven down by snowfalls which tend to cover a lot of their preferred browse. Once down at the shoreline they walk out on the flats that are revealed at low tide and feed on the kelp and grass beds that are exposed. Should there be a freezing rain at low tide and they can’t paw through the ice, they starve. The year I hunted there they had a die off of over 60,000 deer due to a prolonged ice storm. Within two years, they were back up to a population of 120,000, nature’s way of compensating. The foxes eat well and look to be as big as German Shepherds.

The hunting styles vary from sitting deer stands, to still hunting, spot and stalk, or simply driving the island roads until a deer is spotted. One style that is not done, are drive hunts. Be clear with your guide what style you prefer, understanding you can change your mind after some experience. Most guides’ first language is French and their skills in English vary from conversant to none. Make sure you have a good understanding of pick-up times and places if you are dropped off and what the ‘lost hunter’ procedures are. It is not a huge place and there are roads and ATV trails throughout the island but you don’t want to be wandering around after dark in a snowstorm.

This is a great hunt for a small group of hunters who know each other. You will mostly hunt as individuals, but it can be comforting to know your buddy is hunting next door and it is always a fun time to compare experiences around dinner or a fireplace after. Like a lot of hunts, if you get a shot opportunity early in the hunt, take it. In other words, don’t pass up a deer on day one that you would shoot on day four, you may not get a second chance. Pack goggles that you might use snowmobiling because you will get to use an ATV and if you have precipitation, they will be lifesavers. Practice shooting offhand with and without gloves. Take shooting sticks. Take a good cell phone camera for the hero shots! <