September 25, 2023

Baxtergate And The Anti-Hunting Crowd

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The Baxter land swap deal that appears to be headed for the cesspools with all the other political foopas, has reared its head to become what it really is – messing with a Mainer. We have all talked about the politics, the secretive negotiations, the economic factors, what the late Governor Baxter would have wanted, the access to the land and it’s limitations and any other excuse anyone can contrive as a reason it will or won’t work.

We have those who are now saying that the Republicans are using the Baxter deal to make the Democratic sitting Governor Baldacci, look bad during an election year. I got news for those who might think that. He doesn’t need any help from the Republicans. He did look bad, inept and uninformed about the deal, as did all the other bureaus and departments run by the Maine government, the Baxter Park Authority and any and all private groups involved.

We have talked about the secret talks that went on for 3 years without informing anyone in the public sector about this – like it was going to slide through without any debate.

There’s the economics too, most of which would affect the local economy of small neighboring towns like Millinocket.

We don’t want to forget Governor Baxter’s long time dream to have Katahdin Lake part of the park – whether he would have or would not have allowed hunting and trapping will always be debated, which brings us to the debate on access to the park.

Should the new addition, if of course it gets added, allow hunting, trapping and other tradional uses? This my friends is the ultimate question. Bring Maine residents, not the implants from other states, the real true born-and-raised-in-Maine folks into this equation and you’re going to get their dander all in a fuss. Your messing with their life, their traditions, their right to hunt and fish………. well, to do just as they darn well please. This is the issue.

Mainers don’t like nobody telling them what to do. They don’t like it when others wheel and deal behind their backs. They don’t like it when outsiders come in and buy up the land they have recreated on for centuries, and shut it down. This is what those who negotiated behind the backs of Maine’s citizens didn’t think about when they were doing it – including the Governor.

Small groups thought they nearly convinced Mainers to stop bear hunting. They now think they have a foothold on Maine and are ready to move in to stop all hunting in this state. Again, I got news for them. They don’t know real Mainers. They don’t have a clue.

The bear issue, which isn’t over, was one tiny issue that leaves Mainers split on how they feel about trapping, baiting and hounding bears. Try and tell them you’re going to stop all bear hunting. Now you’re talking a whole different story. Mainers might want to see officials get rid of trapping bears but when someone talks about doing away with it completely……. ain’t no way!

Mainers don’t like it either when others tell them they got enough land now to hunt and fish on. You might think so but tell that to the family that’s always hunted a certain piece of land for generations and now it’s closed because an out-of-state rich dude moved in and bought it up and put up “No Tresspassing” signs. Tell it to the hunter from Maine who went back to his favorite hunting piece last fall and found the “No Tresspassing” signs. Tell that to the Maine hunter who now has to travel 4 hours to find land that’s accessible for hunting.

I think what we are really beginning to see here is the evolution in the transformation of the identity of the Mainer. Mainers are trying to be squeezed out by big money and the anti-hunting and animal rights crowd. The new kid on the block is the elitist, the country club set, the ones who think that their way is the right way. They don’t understand respect and sharing. They don’t know what it is like to help your neighbor out by taking down a fence or two not putting up more fences and signs. When they run up against people like us Mainers, well, they think we’re pigheaded, stubborn and ignorant.

Another news flash! We are pigheaded and stubborn but we ain’t ignorant. We know what we want and we know how things should work. This Baxter deal ain’t working the way Mainers think it ought to. Those negotiating this deal went against real Mainers. They violated their trust. It’s going to take a long time to get it back too. Mainers have long memories, real long.

Mainers share, always have. Their isn’t one Maine hunter who wants exclusive rights to anything. Contrary to what the antis have to say, hunting is a safe sport. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again. Put in the woods with a bunch of hunters anyday versus on the highway with them fools. I want to share the woods with everyone during hunting season. I have changed my hunting plans before because I saw hikers or mountain bikers and even ATV riders nearby. It isn’t hard to do, that sharing thing, respect for others.

Maine hunters just don’t think it’s right for someone to take a big piece of their land away from them and then tell them they can’t do what they’ve always done – hunt, fish and trap. If you’re new to Maine and the Maine way, you’ve got a lot to learn my friend.

Just try sneaking another one by us dumb Mainers!

Tom Remington