I had reported on Maine’s efforts to pass appropriations legislation for predator control to help rebuild a seriously depleted deer herd. The linked-to article questioned Maine’s full commitment to saving the herd and thus saving the hunting industry.
According George Smith, blogger and former executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine, Governor Paul LePage has signed LD 372 that would add another $100,000 to the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) budget to be used for predator control. In addition to this bill, the governor signed other MDIFW related bills appropriating funds for fish stocking, increased tagging agents’ fees and adding a “check-off” on the licensing application for sportsmen to donate money toward predator control.
I applaud Governor LePage’s signing of LD 372 as it seems to indicate more of a commitment to save the deer herd. He promised during his campaign he would and while it has taken 2 years, this is certainly better than nothing. However, Maine still lacks real commitment from all stake holders to make this happen.
The other issue is that Maine sportsmen are now left wondering if the money will actually be spent on killing predators that kill deer, i.e. coyotes/wolves, bears, and bobcats. Last winter MDIFW had $50,000 budgeted for coyote control and only used $15,000, in a piddling effort in only 9 deer yards scattered across the state, to kill coyotes. The excuse was it was a poor winter to kill coyotes in deer yards.
Time will reveal now whether MDIFW has the stomach and determination to kill predators to save a dying species. Sportsmen should keep a watchful eye on MDIFW to make sure this money gets spent on what it was legislated for and that real effort is made to reduce the number of predators that kill deer.
In addition, email the Governor’s office and thank him for signing these bills and remind him to make sure MDIFW does what it has been commissioned by the Legislature to do. Governor@maine.gov