Archives for category: Outfitter

Dave Conley Master Maine Guide and owner of Canoe the Wild, has been paddling the rivers of Maine and Canada since 1985. During the school year, Dave teaches an outdoor education program at East Grand High School in Danforth, ME, host to the annual East Grand Adventure Race. In the fall, guided moose hunts are offered in northern Maine.


I grew up in the mid coast Maine town of Boothbay Harbor with my parents, Ervin and Jane Conley, and three siblings, Tari, Jan, and Mark.  I have fond memories in the fall at the age of 11 getting up hours before sunrise to travel to Pemaquid Stream with my father to go duck hunting. We would launch our wood canvas canoe well before first light, paddle up the Pemaquid Stream, setting out decoys and wait for first light. I think it was here that I fell in love with being outdoors on the water, and I am so thankful for a father that introduced me to hunting at a young age.

As a teenager, my passion for the water continued when my father loaned me $2,500 to buy a used 14’ wooden flat-bottom lobstering skiff, new 25 HP Evinrude outboard motor, and 25 lobster traps to get started. I was able to pay him back in just two seasons. This passion of being on the water continued through my high school years, spending summers on the Sheepscot River pulling traps by hand.

During my college years I worked summers in the family business but longed for a place less crowded than the mid coast region. I found what I was looking for in northern Maine. It was here I developed and oversaw a canoe tripping program in the East Grand Lake area for a summer camp. I enjoyed 21 summers paddling the rivers of Maine and Canada in my Old Town canoe, introducing others to the great outdoors while assisting with developing outdoor living and paddling skills.

Obtaining my Maine Guide license in the early 90’s was a prerequisite to starting my Canoe The Wild guiding business. The tripping season here runs from late May to mid-September, leaving time for other ventures such as guiding moose hunts in the fall from remote camps, overseeing an outdoor education program for students at the East Grand School since the mid-90’s, and selling Christmas trees and wreaths in Central Virginia for the past 27 years.

What I’ve discovered with the guiding business is that there are plenty of people looking for the exact same feeling I experienced at a young age on Pemaquid Stream, a desire to experience the outdoors with a break from daily routines. People of all ages and experience levels take part in our guided canoe trips. Many will take part in canoe camping for the first time this summer. Trip highlights include young people (freed of electronics) flourishing on the river and around the campsite, taking in a simpler way of life such as collecting fire wood, learning to use a saw and ax, building a campfire, catching a fish, hanging around the campfire, star gazing after dark, spotting and identifying wildlife such as moose, and experiencing the song of the loons.

I see a lot of recent growth within the guiding industry for a few simple reasons. Guided trips provide people with a quality, safe, and well-organized experience. Families, private groups and individuals choose guided trips to leave the pre-trip planning, logistics, gear and meals for the guide to take care of.

Each season, we offer about 12-15 trips with 3-5 day trips being the most popular for first timers, and the more adventuresome choosing a week or longer on a whitewater canoeing trip in Quebec.(see 2018 summer schedule).

For more information about Canoe The Wild, Dave’s guiding company, visit their website for at www.canoethewild.comBe sure to check back in May for Dave’s first educational article!

Trip Highlights from 2015. River trips including the Allagash canoe trip, St. Croix River, Cascapedia, NE Mistassibi river trip, Liard River Trip, Yukon Canada and Penobscot Rivers. also a few pictures from a moose photography outing and moose hunting wall tent base camps in the North Maine Woods. My 2016 schedule Maine canoe trips includes 3 day, 4 day and longer trips on Maine  and Canadian rivers. Most canoe trips are for the beginner, and no extreme workouts or conditioning required before you trip. An active life style including walking and stretching for a few weeks prior to the trip is helpful. Canoe trips are fully outfitted and guided. More information is available at Canoe the

What a fantastic time we had in remote Maine hunting zones this 2013 season! A three day photo hunt produced exciting photo opportunities for amateur photographer Richard Maxcy. When it came to the hunt, Richard Bator shot a nice 54.5″ trophy bull moose with a muzzle loader. This moose had to be called into close range as Richard had health issues that prevented him from getting in the woods on foot. We were persistent and patient. What a thrill to call this moose from 160 yards out to within 50 yards!

Here is what Richard had to say “Maine, the way life should be. My two sons and I travel to Maine from NJ since the early 1990’s. Ron harvested two bulls, in 1998 and 2006. First with a bow and then a muzzleloader. Jon harvested a cow with a shotgun in 2002. I never drew a tag but always applied, year after year………… In 2013, it was my turn. I drew a bull tag. The three of us headed up to Smoldering Lake Outfitters for the hunt. Once there, our guide Dave Conley led us to an outpost camp. We arrived to a log cabin on a lake during the changing seasons. What a great way to experience zone 2 in the Northern Maine Wilderness. After all these years of applying for the permit, the trips with my sons, I wanted a record book moose. The first day of the hunt went well. I saw so many moose but they weren’t what I was looking for. On the second day I had that feeling all of us get when we know we’re going to get one. Three hours into the hunt we spotted a big one. Dave started calling. Ron readied the range finder. Jon, muzzleloader in hand and I was set. The moose headed off into a thicket. While we were looking for a shot, Ron spotted a second moose. Then he drew our attention to it. The bull’s enormous rack glistened in the sun as it drew into Dave’s cow call. The bull swung his rack back and forth, wow, what a sight. At 50 yds, he turned broadside. Three shots later he was down, field dressed and back to camp. As I look back on it, it was a trip of a lifetime, my sons, Maine, the outfitters and the record bull. Maine, the way life should be. The bull ranks 20th all time muzzleloader in Maine Skull & Antler!” Richard Bator, NJ

Kirk Sherman’s moose hunt involved many miles on foot with a map and compass to spot, stalk and call his moose. Kirk spotted numerous moose in the upper 40″ range and took a long shot on a large bull on Monday. In the end, it was the team approach that paid off with a large bull spotted resulting in a spot, and stalk, reading the situation correctly and setting up for the shot. His bull measured 55.5″ inches. Maine has increased the number of permits for remote Wildlife Management Districts (WMD) 5,2,1 & 4. Visit my website for more information, links to pictures, and how to apply on line for the 2015 season at