Libby Gardner (left) and her father, Larry Gardner, both of Fort Fairfield, look out over a small cut while the sun rises on the opening day of moose hunting season in the North Maine Woods. Credit: John Holyoke / BDN

The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife has unveiled a series of three clinics designed to help hunters continue to make progress in their hunting journey. The clinics will focus on firearms education, the cleaning and maintenance of firearms and hunting questions that participants may want to have answered by an expert.

“Whether you’re just starting out or have been hunting for years, learning to hunt is a lifelong journey,” a news release from the DIF&W said. “Familiarizing yourself with the laws, gaining an understanding of scouting, being safe and prepared in the outdoors, and practicing safe firearm handling takes time. We’re here to help with a variety of in-person and virtual Next Step hunting workshops.”

The workshops are designed to provide in-person or virtual opportunities for those age 18 and older to build skills and knowledge.

The workshop schedule:

–Friday, Jan. 9, 1-4 p.m., Summerhaven Range, Augusta: An in-person Introduction to Firearms: Long Guns. The DIF&W will provide .22-caliber rifles and participants will be able to safely practice and gain confidence, with a goal of increased understanding of long guns and the ability to comfortably and safely handle and operate a rifle.

–Wednesday, Jan. 13, 4-5 p.m., a virtual workshop: Introduction to Firearms: Cleaning and Maintaining. Participants will learn about safe cleaning, maintenance and care of firearms.

–Wednesday, Jan. 27, 5:30-6:30 p.m., a virtual workshop: Hunting Q and A. Those who log in will be able to ask questions about hunting safety, the hunting safety course, and next steps in hunter development. DIF&W staffers will cover frequently asked questions and offer advice on hunting success.

Those interested in taking part should click on the proper link to register in advance.

The DIF&W plans to offer more classes in the coming weeks. Go to to learn more.

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John Holyoke

John Holyoke has been enjoying himself in Maine's great outdoors since he was a kid. He spent 28 years working for the BDN, including 19 years as the paper's outdoors columnist or outdoors editor. While...