Standing on the dock of the Great Harbor Marina in Southwest Harbor, Maine Game Warden Eric Rudolph looks over more than five dozen snowshoe hares allegedly killed illegally by hunters on Great Duck Island on Saturday. PHOTO COURTESY OF THE MAINE WARDEN SERVICE

Six charged in hare hunt



FRENCHBORO — Maine Game Wardens and federal wildlife officials have charged six men for allegedly killing nearly 70 snowshoe hares over the legal limit on remote, uninhabited Great Duck Island here Saturday.

Five hunters from Massachusetts and a man from Southwest Harbor were apprehended Saturday, March 18 for allegedly killing 67 snowshoe hares over their limit. Working on a tip, a team of Maine game wardens, Maine marine patrol officers and U.S. Fish and Wildlife agents closed in on the group who had been hunting on Great Duck Island Saturday.

The group of six had killed 87 hares during their day of hunting, a statement from the warden service said. One individual was also summonsed for hunting without a license. Great Duck Island is in the town limits of Frenchboro and is approximately a ten-mile boat ride from Southwest Harbor.

Those summonsed included: Andrew Mays, 52 from Southwest Harbor – 10 snowshoe hare over the limit; Carlos Almeida, 47 from Acushnet, MA, – hunting without a license, and 10 hares over the limit; Abilio Fernandes, 61 from New Bedford, MA, – 10 hares over the limit; Luis Fidalgo, 52 from North Dartmouth, MA, – 10 hares over the limit; Antonio Fidalgo, 54 from Acushnet, MA, – 10 hares over the limit and Antonio Borges, 69 from Acushnet, MA, – 10 hares over the limit)

The island, which has a lighthouse on its southern end, is owned by the Nature Conservancy. Approximately 1.5 miles long and 0.5 miles wide, the island is frequently used by College of the Atlantic researchers studying sea birds.

The former light house is now officially the Alice Eno Field Research Station. Some websites mention that the hares, introduce to the island by previous owners in the mid-20th century, were having a deleterious affect on island vegetation.

A private home on the island’s north end is available for seasonal rental. A rental website notes that the island’s many hares “are often seen scurrying about.”

Maine is home to two rabbit-like species, the snowshoe hare and the cottontail rabbit. The rabbit is only found only south of Portland and is an endangered species.

The open season on snowshoe hare runs from October through the end of March. Licensed hunters are allowed to take four in any one day and have a maximum of eight in their possession.