Friday, November 27, 2020

Veteran outdoorsman joins newspaper lineup as columnist

By Ed Pierce

This week The Windham Eagle newspaper welcomes Bob Chapin as its new outdoors columnist.

Chapin is a retired U.S. Air Force officer and a retired defense analyst who moved to Raymond about 12 years ago with his wife, Susan, and has been active in local conservation, environment, neighborhood, and local hunting and fishing organizations. He is the past president of Raymond Waterways Protective Association, the current president of Thomas Pond Improvement Association and the Pulpit Rock Road Association of homeowners. He’s also a past president of Windham-Gorham Rod and Gun Club, the current Windham-Gorham Rod and Gun Club entertainment director, and the current president of the Sebago Lake Anglers’ Association.

Bob Chapin will be writing an outdoors column
starting with this issue for The Windham Eagle.
He is active in local conservation efforts, 
environment, neighborhood and local hunting 
and fishing organizations and has lived in
Raymond for the past 12 years.

He’s been a lifelong fisherman and hunter and has fished in Thailand, Korea, France, Florida, Alaska, Montana, California, Virginia, Maryland, Idaho, Connecticut and Maine. He has hunted elk in Montana, Colorado, New Mexico, and Idaho. While on assignment to Alaska for six and a half years he hunted Dall Sheep, Brown Bear, Black Bear, Moose, Ptarmigan, Grouse, Ducks, and Geese. In Germany he hunted Reh Deer, Wild Boar, Red Stag, and Gomswild or Chamois goats and has also hunted hares, rabbits, ring-necked pigeons and pheasants.

As an experienced fisherman, Chapin has taught fly tying and ice fishing to Boy Scouts, taught fishing to Girl Scouts, taught fly casting to participants in Portland Water District’s field day and is currently mentoring several members of the Windham-Gorham Rod and Gun Club on hunting ducks and geese, turkeys, and pheasants in Maine.

He said the best thing about being an outdoorsman living in the Sebago Lake Region is the assortment of available options.

“We are blessed with such a variety of places, activities, and resources that make pursuing our passions whether they be fishing or hunting, or boating or hiking, or collecting mushrooms, whatever it is, it is right here at our doorstep,” he said. “All we have to do is get out and enjoy it.”

Through this new outdoors column, Chapin said he’ll pass along helpful hints that almost everyone can use.

“Readers should expect to learn something they can apply to their personal pursuits and maybe make them a little more comfortable, safer, or successful doing so,” he said. “I am at that age when I feel I have had so many wonderful experiences all over the world and hopefully learned some of the finer points that I can share with readers.  I have made some mistakes as well and hopefully they can read about them and avoid doing the same. I also like to include some humor when I can because reading the column should be fun as well.”

His interest in outdoors activities didn’t just happen overnight.

“For me it was not just one thing and it took several years to develop. My parents had a summer camp on Lake Housatonic down in Connecticut, that section of the Housatonic River that was captured between two dams, one at Lake Zoar and one in Derby near Shelton, Connecticut,” Chapin said. “I had three brothers and three sisters and all of us kids loved the last day of school after which we bundled up everyone and headed for the camp for the summer. We lived in bathing suits and fished and swam about every day. Neither my dad nor my uncles were outdoorsmen, so our development was a slow one. My interest didn’t really take off until I was through college and assigned to my first duty station, Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska.”

He said he spent quite a bit of time in the coffee bar at the squadron there and when they were not talking about flying, they were talking about fishing or hunting because Alaska is an outdoorsman’s paradise.

“Several guys in the squadron had their own bush planes and could fly us into some remote areas. We would relish the stories when a crew would get back from a hunt and would tuck any special lessons into our planning for our next hunt,” Chapin said. “This continued when we got assigned to Germany. Most guys were content to just shoot trap or skeet on base, but I wanted to hunt in Germany. To do so required you to take and pass the German Hunting Course, which of course was in German and pass a practical shooting and safety test. I did all that and it opened lots of opportunities for me on that and a subsequent assignment later in my career. I continued my interest in each subsequent assignment always researching and following up on opportunities to enjoy the outdoors wherever I was.”

According to Chapin, he’s is a master navigator, a flight examiner, a private pilot, and a certified open ocean scuba diver and in his spare time, he works on minor construction. He’s also a member of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Ducks Unlimited, and through the Sebago Chapter of Trout Unlimited has assisted Maine’s Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Department on several field studies and projects.

His column will be published in The Windham Eagle once or twice every month and Chapin’s first column appears in today’s newspaper. <

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