December 9, 2023

Maine Legislature Approves Amended IFW Mission Statement

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pigwithlipstickA pig with lipstick? Perhaps.

About three weeks ago I reported that the Joint Standing Committee of the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife endorsed wording to be added to the Mission Statement that some think will strengthen the support for sportsmen looking to hunt, fish and trap.

The Maine Legislature voted to approve that amendment, the new words reading as follows: “The Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife is established to preserve, protect and enhance the inland fisheries and wildlife resources of the State; to encourage the wise use of these resources; to ensure coordinated planning for the future use and preservation of these resources; to provide for effective management of these resources; and to use regulated hunting, fishing and trapping as the basis for the management of these resources whenever feasible.” (Amended portion underlined.)

Below is a cut and paste of what I said about this proposal back on March 12:

“The best argument I can offer is that it’s better than nothing…maybe, and is better than what was proposed before. It will not accomplish what some think it will accomplish – protecting hunting, trapping and fishing. What it does do is give those who think it does, something more to whine about. This is not a mandate but merely a suggestion, with no teeth. It suggests that hunting, trapping and fishing “is the basis” for management. It does NOT say that hunting, trapping and fishing WILL be used for management, nor does it mandate the fish and game department to manage game species for the purpose of surplus harvest. It might provide a thin veil of protection against forthcoming lawsuit directed at banning hunting, fishing and trapping…but don’t bet the farm on it.”

If IFW and sportsmen were intent on actual protection of hunting, fishing and trapping, whether through constitutional amendment or amending the mission statement, it would be void of words such as: “encourage,” and “whenever feasible.” Part of the problem is it is always worded in such a way that carrying out of the mission statement, or in the case of a poorly worded constitutional amendment, leaves a subjective interpretation. In other words, the environmentalists love it. That’s no good for the future of hunting, fishing and trapping.