April 20, 2014

Is Maine’s Hunting Future About Leased Land?


The State of Maine has a wonderful heritage of access to land, a heritage that operates well when there is mutual respect. Under state guidelines, private land is open to public access unless it is posted by the landowner. For those looking for hunting access and even recreational access in general, we discover signs reading that the land is closed to all trespassing, by permission only or perhaps even restricted use to specific activities such as hunting.

Maine is quite unique in this fashion of open access unless otherwise signed differently. But, is that changing? Is the purchase of leases from landowners going to become a thing of the future?

I have believed for many years that it was only a matter of time and now Maine may be seeing more and more signs of it coming to fruition. As a matter of fact, believe it or not, there are some in Maine pushing for hunting leases and they are not necessarily one of those landowners who can only see a profit. Other states require written permission and/or to pay the owner of that land a certain sum of money for a lease, complete with covenants, that may restrict activities and limit number of hunters in a lease, times of the day and days of the week.

Depending upon the size of the private property, more than one lease may be established and if this parcel of land is a very desirable hunting ground, the cost of a lease can be quite expensive; even unattainable if you don’t have any money. Which brings us to perhaps the absolute worst part of hunting leases: It disqualifies many hunters without the financial means to purchase a hunt. They are then restricted to public lands, if there are any open to hunting. Where in the public trust is opportunity limited to one’s financial status? And should then all hunters have to pay the same price for a license now that their opportunities are restricted?

There is more to the establishment of hunting leases than a landowner seeing dollar signs. The sportsmen themselves, including the guides and outfitters, encourage this action whether they fully realize it or not.

In the sign posted above, take note that the area has been leased for bear hunting and nobody else is allowed access to this land for hunting bear with bait or with hounds. I assume others may access the land to hunt bears via stalking method? And please define “bait.” Is it a food product or scented lures?

The photo was taken by a friend and was sent to me. I have no way of knowing who holds the lease for bear hunting on this land. There is an example of what might (emphasis on might) be going on here or is the result of what has gone on in the past.

At Robin’s Outdoors website, she writes of an incident involving her, her husband, and a very aggressive/angry guide.

He [the guide] asked Steve what he was doing (waiting for his wife who was sitting over a bait), demanded to see his AFM (American Forestry Management) permit, and gave Steve a hard time. I don’t have or need an AFM permit. I’m not hunting on AFM land. I was on Peter’s land. He told Steve that as a Registered Maine Guide he has the right to demand to see his permit and hunting license (He does not.) and is obligated to turn him into the Maine Warden Service for illegal hunting on his baits.

Guides, not all, want unfettered and sole access to land for bear hunting for their “sports” (a term used to describe a sportsman who hires and pays for guide services). I can understand, to a degree. I’ve been in business my entire life and certainly understand the need to run a business for profit. But at what expense?

If you read the entire article linked to above, you will also see that it is a fact that idiot hunters undertake illegal acts by sitting in tree stands and utilizing bait stations that don’t belong to them. This action further inflames the attitudes of others to seek a lease for exclusive access and rights for bear hunting. In other words, the pointing of the finger as to what causes signs like the one shown above to go up, can go in both and other directions.

So, now we hunters must ask, how long is it going to be before this sort of signage begins appearing over much of the Pine Tree State? In addition, how long before a word is changed in that signage from bear to deer or moose or for trapping, fishing, etc.?

It is a sad day indeed and perhaps a commentary on what’s become of a civil and respectful society.

Is Creating Scarcity by Over Protecting Wild Carnivores Ethical?

beareatspeta*Editor’s Note* – This information first appeared on Candid Conservatives.

Hosea 4:3

King James Version (KJV)

3 Therefore shall the land mourn, and every one that dwelleth therein shall languish, with the beasts of the field, and with the fowls of heaven; yea, the fishes of the sea also shall be taken away.


*Editor’s Comment* – Isn’t arguing that eating meat involves some sort of “sacrifice” ridiculous when honesty reveals that eating, nay, living on this planet requires many levels of sacrifice? Evolution promotes fear of lost resources while God promises to take care of those who love him. You choose.

Maine Judge is an Idiot – Criminal Con Man Leonard Walks

This is probably the con job of the century or perhaps it’s the stupidest ruling a judge can make. Ex cop, Everett H. “Lenny” Leonard, 61, of Turner, gets out of jail free because the judge says he is just too sick to do the time.

“I am going to suspend all of this,” Kennedy said. “I don’t think anything I could do today could have more of an impact on you than you have already had in the press, in your life or in your reputation, which has been severely damaged.”


According to Leonard’s attorney, Leonard might die if he screws up his meds:

“He is on a very complex regimen of medications, which, if not administered right on time, actually threatens his life,”

Or maybe it’s because Leonard is an ex cop, a member of the good ole boys club that takes care of their own and the judge is on the dole as well. Who knows.

Leonard was charged in both Maine and Pennsylvania for numerous poaching and illegal hunting charges, along with drug trafficking. The charges carried with it the possibility of 42 years behind bars and $84,000 in fines.

Leonard had faced up to 42 years in jail and $84,000 in fines for illegal hunting activities in 2010 in Turner, Leeds and Auburn.

When Leonard and his son, Everett T. Leonard, 33, were arrested in January 2011, police seized hundreds of pounds of deer meat, firearms, deer antlers, bows and arrows, spotlights, a mounted hawk and owls, a computer, documents and other hunting-related equipment from their homes.

Much of Wednesday’s court proceeding looked at the drug charge, which carried a three-year sentence, of which all but 90 days was suspended. The counts of driving deer were reduced to one-week jail terms.

An investigator with the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife testified Wednesday that he watched the elder Leonard sell oxycodone, an opiate painkiller, to his son several times, often with profanity-laced complaints over his son’s habit and his reluctance to pay.

And Superior Court Justice MaryGay Kennedy lets Leonard walk!

There is no justice and a judge is an idiot who swallows the pill (pun intended) that:

It’s too much for a jail staff to manage, said William Cote, Leonard’s attorney.

“He is on a very complex regimen of medications, which, if not administered right on time, actually threatens his life,” Cote said.

Justice Kennedy agreed.

Deer Hunting With Drones?

I was sent some information from a reader about the prospects of hunting deer or other animals with the use of a drone; a drone being a remote controlled flying contraption that provides video or photos of areas used to locate game for hunting purposes.

First of all we must bear in mind the Airborne Hunting Act:

This Act, Public Law 92-159, approved November 18, 1971 (85 Stat. 480) and subsequently amended by P.L. 92-502, approved October 28, 1972 (86 Stat. 905) added to the Fish and Wildlife Act of 1956 a new section 13 (16 U.S.C. 742j-l), which is commonly referred to as the Airborne Hunting Act or Shooting from Aircraft Act, prohibits shooting or attempting to shoot or harrassing any bird, fish, or other animal from aircraft except for certain specified reasons, including protection of wildlife, livestock, and human life as authorized by a Federal or State issued license or permit. States authorized to issue permits are required to file reports with the Secretary of the Interior containing information on any permits issued.

Also keep it in your mind that this act, having been through the rigors of the courts at differing times, has some degree of time restrictions. It is my understanding that a certain period of time must elapse from the time a prospective hunter spots game and when he is on the ground and can legally shoot.

I’m not sure that this law would pertain all that much to hunting with a personal drone. However, one must be sure of their own state statutes. In Maine, I believe the law is quite clear in that it states:

1. Prohibition on use of aircraft to hunt. A person on the ground or airborne may not use an aircraft to aid or assist in hunting:

I would suppose that once lawyers got involved, a debate might ensue as to the definition of “aircraft”. It is also my belief that when this statute was written, it was not written to deal with drones. Rather it was written to deal with a hunter on the ground by aided by a pilot in the plane as to the location of game.

What are the statutes in your state and if legal would you consider using a drone to assist you with hunting? With the ever increasing presence of technology in the sport of hunting one has to wonder what the limits are and whether or not each state is keeping up with regulations to ensure that such contraptions aren’t having negative effects on the sustainability of game populations.

This blog addresses hunting with a drone and questions the ethical ramifications of drone hunting. And the video below is sample video taken from a small remote controlled drone. If the quality and capabilities of affordable drones in general is represented in this video, I certainly wouldn’t fear the overuse of the devices.

I should also point out here that I had previously had conversations with a friend about another issue concerning the use of drones for business related items and with a bit of research it was determined that the federal government, i.e. the FAA, is beginning to crack down on the personal use of drones and is intending to regulate the activity. This should mean, licensing and all other means of pricing and regulating hobby users out of commission.

It may not be a matter of whether you would use a drone to hunt with but a matter of whether your government will permit it.

$3,000 Reward For Information About Idiot Poachers

From the Bangor Daily News:

On either the night of Oct. 5 or Oct. 6, a person or group of people killed four deer on the Lane Road in Ripley. The Maine Warden Service was notified on Monday and started an investigation, according to Maine Warden Service Cpl. John MacDonald.

“Two does and a lamb were night-hunted, shot and left in a field,” MacDonald said in a statement late Thursday morning. “Wardens determined another deer was night-hunted, shot and taken. All the deer appear to have been shot the same night. Wardens then found nearby parts of a boned deer they believe was from the deer that was taken.”<<<Read More>>>


Does Opposing Catch and Release Align A Person With Animal Rights Groups?

On a message board called New England Outdoor Voice, of which I am a member and an occasional poster, in a discussion about catch and release fishing, the topic, as always, turned to whether catch and release fishing is ethical. This particular discussion took a step a bit further than is the norm. The poster wrote: “when PETA C&R talking points are used here to denigrate C&R that IS “aligning” with PETA.” The argument here became that anyone who took a stand against catch and release (c&r) for ethical reasons automatically must be “aligned” with PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) or other animal rights groups. I think making a statement of assumption that one is “aligned” with PETA because they opposed C&R fishing for ethical reasons, is equal to making the same assumption that those that promote C&R fishing are also “aligned” with PETA.

I am not qualified in any way to discuss any scientific need for C&R fishing for the overall health and good of a fisheries, so I will make every attempt to avoid that topic. It is also not my intention to try to somehow influence readers to my way of thinking as it pertains to ethics in the context of hunting, fishing and trapping. Within the laws written, my ethical barometer differs from all others. I am willing to share my thoughts but who am I to try to somehow force my ethical beliefs on others?

The author above wrote that when talking points of radical animal rights groups were used by a fisherman this “aligned” them with those groups. Not knowing exactly what the author’s intent of a definition for “aligning” is, I will turn to the dictionary: “to bring into cooperation or agreement with a particular group, party, cause, etc.: He aligned himself with the liberals.” (Note: I did not add the example of the sentence for the use of the word “aligned”.)

The definition says to “bring into” which implies some kind of action is needed in order for this to happen. One could therefore argue that if someone happens to make a statement that is similar or exactly like the position of any animal rights group, one would have to actually make an effort to “bring into” their “aligning” with such groups.

If I were to claim that the richest people in America should pay their fair share of taxes, because that is the position of the democratic party, does that “align” me with the democratic party and make me one of them? Perhaps if I had said, “I strongly agree with the democratic party on their position of paying taxes, I would be “bring[ing] into” an alignment with the party. I might even send them money or support them in other ways. To call me a liberal because of one small statement is dishonest and intended to mislead.

Those willing to study and understand the positions and years of statements and actions conducted by the large number of animal rights groups in this country, do gain an appreciation of the tactics used by these institutions to further their agendas. Often denied, incrementalism is used. This is the action of taking away any and all, tiny if necessary, freedoms and liberties enjoyed by hunters, fishermen and trappers. The ultimate goal is to end these activities.

One very successful stratagem used by groups like PETA and HSUS (Humane Society of the United States), is to convince the general public that hunting, fishing and trapping are not “necessary”, that no longer do people “need” to hunt, fish and trap because we have grocery stores. Their goal is to indoctrinate the people that there is no requisite for these activities and over the years have successfully labeled hunters, fishermen and trappers as “sports” or that the activities they enjoy are for sport and entertainment only.

If that battle becomes successful, the greater war on the abolition of “sport” hunting, sport fishing and sport trapping will be sooner realized. When the need to hunt, fish and trap is removed, then all that is left is the entertainment value. When the general public begins to perceive these activities as entertainment, then the task of classifying outdoor sportsmen as a blood thirsty, perverse and, yes, unethical lot, becomes so much easier.

Doesn’t it therefore make sense that someone who enjoys hunting, fishing and trapping would not be looking to “align” themselves with groups that want to take away their enjoyment? To make the claim that anyone opposing C&R fishing is “aligning” themselves with PETA, either doesn’t believe anything about the objectives of animal rights activists or they have another agenda.

The same twisted logic can be used to claim that anyone who promotes C&R fishing aligns themselves with PETA or other groups. If you believe what these organizations write on their websites, it doesn’t take long to see that what seems to be bees in their bonnets is when people are “cruel” to animals and use “unethical” means of exploiting them. And, if anything, they seem to offer a bit of slack in cases where people “need” to hunt, fish and trap for sustenance.

For those that argue against C&R fishing for ethical reasons, using the same logic, can accuse those who promote C&R fishing as being “aligned” with PETA. I don’t believe for a minute this is the case, no more than I believe those who oppose C&R fishing align in the same way. This is simply a matter of personal ethics.

I have heard it said about hunting, fishing and trapping that ethics is what a person does when nobody is looking. The meaning being that this is the time that a person will do what they believe right in their heart. Perhaps the conversations about ethics, more accurately described as preaching about my own ideals, should be left to the families around the dining room table.

What needs to be understood is how does C&R fishing effect the fishery?

Tom Remington

Agenda 21 For Dummies

A 1970s Conservation Officer Stuck In Time Warp

In today’s Idaho Statesman, John Gahl, a one-time conservation officer or game warden, tells of his days in the 1970s when he saw bad things on a game ranch.

Back in the 1970s, I was a conservation officer (game warden to most people) in the Cascade area. Some of my duties, among many other things, was to work with an individual who ran “canned hunts.”

You can tell immediately the tone of the opinion piece. I’m not going to make any attempt at disproving Mr. Gahl and what he saw or how he feels about what he and his ilk refer to as “canned hunts” or “shooter-bull operations”. Mr. Gahl is entitled to his opinion and because I would have no reason to believe he would lie about what he saw, I’m not going to question any of it.

There are two things that I will address. The first is to make a statement that I believe is a fair assessment of things today compared to 30 years ago. Things have changed a lot since Mr. Gahl’s days of beating the bush. I’m not naive enough to believe that there are not abuses that exist today concerning domesticated animals of all kinds. We can’t rid our world of bad acting people as much as we would like. But I think there are far fewer cases of animal cruelty today than back in the 70s. So let’s put that aside for a moment.

The second issue begins by me asking a question. Does Mr. Gahl believe that because he was once a conservation officer he has the power to rule over others and dictate or legislate hunting ethics? By his comments he makes, I think he has some serious issues with certain “types” of people.

First of all, we need to understand who participates in these canned hunts. (Don’t be fooled, “shooter-bull facilities” are just a more polite way of saying canned or guaranteed hunt.) As an officer, I checked U.S. senators, princes, sports writers and a myriad of more “common” folks. They had money but really weren’t interested in fair chase or what a real hunt entailed.

I guess money determines hunting ethics.

I think Mr. Gahl typifies the average Joe who wants hunting on ranches stopped. The reasons are basic. One, they want to force their own ethics on other people while at the same time sitting in judgment of the character of anyone who opts to try it. Secondly, the more liberal view of hunting and hunting ethics, proposes to throw out the baby with the bath water. Because one ranch 30 years ago abused animals, we need to ban ranch hunting. Think about the logic behind this for a moment.

When we get in our cars and head down the highway, we see bad drivers. We see lawbreakers, speeders, those driving to endanger others, we see running of red lights and we see some automobiles that are obviously not safe to be driving. Do we banning driving?

We turn on our television sets and there are some good family programs and there are some bad ones, full of violence, sex, foul language, etc. Do we ban televisions?

There are billions of people in the world, some good some bad. What do we do about that? I played Little League baseball. There were good coaches and bad coaches. Did we ban baseball?

There are millions of people in the United States who fish. There are good fishermen and bad fishermen. Do we ban fishing? The majority of fishermen condone and actively support “put and take” fishing. This is where fish and game departments farm fish and dump them into lakes and streams so fishermen can fish them out. A lot of fishermen see that as unethical but do we ban it? Does put and take fishing give fishermen a bad name?

There are millions of different kinds of hunters all over the United States. Some consider themselves to be a “purist” by making their hunt as primitive as possible while others use every tactic legally available to increase their chances for success. Is the purist a better hunter or person because they chose that method? Some view shooting game over bait as unethical. Do we ban hunting?

The point to all this is simple. I’m not God and have no right to sit in judgment as to what is ethical or not. As an American I am guaranteed certain rights and I don’t take kindly to those who have no respect for those rights simply because they may not agree with them, in this case hunting behind fences. This IS America!! America has remained strong because people fought to keep our freedoms not take them away.

We don’t ban automobiles, baseball, fishing, and television. We work to make them better and in many cases we work to allow people a choice. Choice is an important part of the freedoms we enjoy as Americans. Nobody makes me drive a car with all the crazies on the road. I choose to do that understanding there are risks and there will always be bad drivers.

I have a choice as to what I watch on television. I see some television as good and some bad. My next door neighbor sees different things and he has a choice as to what to watch. I don’t try to ban certain channels because I think they are wrong.

We should be working to make sure that hunting ranches offer a reasonable amount of “fair chase” opportunities while limiting animal abuses. The owners of ranches have rights guaranteed them under our constitution to conduct business and pursue happiness, even if we don’t always agree. Certainly we can all think of some kind of business we don’t like or question whether it’s good for our community but do we ban it and strip others of their rights in the pursuit of happiness?

Instead of seeking a ban, we should be working to improve an American business for the good of all.

Tom Remington

Fair Chase Is Fair Chase Done This Way Because I Said So

There’s one thing about this job that makes it a bit like Christmas morning. As a kid you wake early and scurry downstairs to the tree to see what Santa left for you. In the mornings or after I’ve been away from my computer for a spell, it’s like Christmas as I open my mailbox(es) and see what treats are in there. Sometimes it is coal, big black pieces of dirty smelly coal. Other times the gifts are priceless.

Once I returned from the garage after dropping off my Camry to get a front main oil seal replaced, my mailbox was full. I have yet to open up all the presents but I did find this one intriguing. For whatever the reasons, the writer wanted his last name left off but had given Pete Ellsworth, president of the Concerned Sportsmen of Idaho permission to pass it around. So I’m passing it around.

IDFG Commission Stand On Domestic Elk Ranches

After reading the IDFG Commissions unanimous stand in the Wild Idaho News on domestic elk ranches I was appalled. What makes them think they are qualified to tell anyone what qualifies as a ‘fair chase’ hunt?

They say absolutely nothing about an outfitter and guide on a private ranch where, they are the only ones allowed to hunt “wild” elk. Then they pick up a “hunter” take him out and walk him up to where the elk are and even call the elk in. He shoots the elk and he is a real hunter and on a ‘fair chase’ hunt. This hunter doesn’t know a whitetail track from a moose track or one thing about where the elk are or why they are there but since IDFG is getting their money that is a ‘fair chase’ hunt.

But if it happens on a private domestic elk ranch where the rancher bought and paid for the elk, fed them in bad winters, protected them from wolves, bears and mountain lions, didn’t kill so many that he had too few for anyone to hunt, gave them injections to prevent disease and checked annually to make sure they didn’t have any contagious diseases but a hunt there isn’t ‘fair chase’; according to the IDFG Commission. Regardless of the how the hunt conditions are it isn’t ‘fair chase’ because they said so. They are such hypocrites.

The IDFG claiming that domestic elk herds present a threat to wild elk herds is just too far a stretch for me and the majority of other knowledgeable hunters to believe. I have to wonder what makes people say and do the things they do.

I am more than disappointed in the IDFG Commission, I am ashamed of the propaganda that I have seen on this subject much of it coming from the IDFG sources.

I am not sure where they started this but when any agency that is primarily funded by hunters money joins the largest group of anti-hunter organization in the nation, don’t you think they should check where they are headed? Maybe their Compass tells them when the game is all gone they will still have jobs. I hope I never need any position or anything so bad I have to support anything like this.

Idaho: News

Please Join Us Jan 16 for Camo Day to Help Stop Canned Hunts in Idaho.

Please join The Humane Society of the United States for an important …




Tom Remington

Concerned Sportsmen Of Idaho Revise Stance On Elk Farming/Hunting

As a result of learning more about the facts surrounding the debate in Idaho over proposals to ban elk farming and “high-fence” hunting on those ranches, members of the Concerned Sportsmen of Idaho have revised their official stance on the issue. CSI president Pete Ellsworth has written a formal letter stating the organizations positions along with some suggestions, that has been sent to Idaho Governor Butch Otter.

Governor Butch Otter
Boise, Idaho

Dear Governor Otter:

The Concerned Sportsmen of Idaho, Inc. (CSI) after much discussion and learning a great deal more on this issue CSI offers the modified positions and recommendations which are outlined below regarding domestic elk ranching and domestic elk shooting operations in our great state of Idaho. The CSI categorizes such operations and associated enterprises as follows:

1. domestic elk ranching – High fenced ranches that are similar to yet different from domestic cattle, sheep, horse, mule and exotic breed operations. Where agricultural products, both live and processed, are sold for financial gain.
2. captive domestic elk shooting operations – High fence operations that vary in size (acreage) where customers pay to shoot domestic elk under various conditions, directly linked to domestic elk ranching.

The CSI does not oppose domestic elk ranching provided those ranches comply with Idaho Department of Agriculture regulation.

The CSI does not oppose captive domestic elk shooting operations provided those operations comply with Idaho Department of Agriculture regulation.

Concerns and Related Recommendations:
1. CSI recommends, because of the unique industry features and requirements of domestic elk ranches and captive domestic elk shooting operations a system of licensing or a fair and more effective rule enforcement system be established.

2. CSI has a concern that domestic elk must have a positive identification. (This is now in effect with ear tagging and one other form of identification. We want to make sure that it will continue in effect.)

3. If the Idaho Legislature or the Idaho Elk Breeders decide fair chase guidelines should be adopted, CSI believes the State of Utah Domesticated Elk Hunting Parks Rule R58-20 or the Safari Club International domestic game ranch policies may assist in that effort.

CSI members have expressed a broad spectrum of opinions related to domestic elk ranching and captive domestic elk shooing operations. The CSI is always willing to work with the agricultural community and other members of the hunting, fishing and trapping communities to bring about successfully negotiated solutions to any issue.


Pete Ellsworth

Tom Remington

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