Commissioner Camuso Shoots Her First Turkey

            DIF&W Commissioner Judy Camuso is very excited about shooting a turkey last week. This is the first wild animal Judy has taken, and as she told me the story I could tell she was very pleased.

            DIFW fisheries biologist Liz Thorndike guided Judy that morning, and a large landowner gave them permission to hunt and even provided them with a very comfortable blind including two nice chairs. Yes, Judy is spoiled.

            Liz had told Judy not to shoot a puffed-up gobbler because it was easy to just hit the feathers and miss the bird. And when a nice gobbler appeared it was some distance away so Judy did not shoot. But Liz called the globbler in and when he got to about 15 feet away, she started whispering to Judy to shoot.

            Judy whispered back that the gobbler was puffed up. She didn’t realize that once a bird gets that close you couldn’t miss. And when Liz finally convinced her to shoot, down went the gobbler and up went Judy in a wild and crazy celebration.

            It took a while for Liz to get Judy calmed down and when she finally did they went outside and eventually took some very nice pictures with Judy’s turkey which had an 8 ¼ inch beard and weighed 16.8 pounds.

            When I asked Judy if she’d be going out to get her second turkey, she told me she really didn’t have time. She is a very busy person but I explained to her that as Commissioner of the Inland Disheries and Wildlife Department, she is supposed to be out there hunting and fishing!

            She is an avid angler so don’t be surprised if you see her sometime out there fishing in one of your favorite waters. And no, I have not told her about my favorite waters!

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.