September 1, 2014

Maine’s George Smith Under Scrutiny Over His Rant About Gov. LePage and Claims Made About Political Intentions

For me, it began sort of innocently enough when George Smith, writer, blogger, activist, and former executive director for the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine (SAM), published a not very nice blog in his Bangor Daily News safe haven. Smith stated that sportsmen in Maine should not support or vote for incumbent Governor Paul LePage mostly because he says LePage failed in his promises to sportsmen in the last election.

Nothing that Smith wrote took me by surprise. Smith typically writes about himself, reliving his days at SAM and wishing to perpetuate the thoughts that these were his glory days. Many have not been able to understand why, after having been absent from his job at SAM for several years, he continues to present himself as a mouth piece for the organization. However, Smith has made no bones about the fact that he dislikes LePage and perhaps it is only coincidental that it appears his dislike for the Governor grew when his sister was fired from the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW). Smith has in subsequent writings denied that any love lost with the governor has anything to do with that incident.

Therefore, Smith’s rant in the Bangor Daily News really should not have come as any big surprise. Personally, I thought the article was a lot of whining and what credibility Smith might have had with Maine sportsmen in his perspectives and positions on Gov. Paul LePage, were caught up in the swirl as the toilet bowl emptied into the septic tank.

But one thing that caught my eye appeared in the comments section when a reader wrote:

George, You should probably disclose that you and your sister are advising LePage’s opponents in this race. This is pretty dishonest.

I have not been able to confirm whether this statement was true and have decided up to this point to remain quiet on this issue because, one, I don’t really care what George Smith thinks about Paul LePage, and two, until I can find confirmation that Smith is working, for pay, for Eliot Cutler and/or Mike Michaud, then I would continue to remain silent. If this is true, not only is Smith wrong to not reveal this but the Bangor Daily News is culpable as well.

To the criticisms Smith received from his first rant, he rebuts many of the claims on his own website and does very little to smooth the water or add back any sort of credibility. I wonder if anyone has ever told Smith that readers, generally, don’t find much interest in reading a person so full of himself?

Today, the Maine Wire provides evidence, from emails, that Smith is working as an adviser to Mike Michaud and Eliot Cutler.

In the July email exchange provided by SAM, Smith attempted to procure LePage’s SAM survey for use in a blog post. The survey would have provided Smith with LePage’s positions on various sportsman’s issues.

Cherly[SIC] C. Timberlake, the chair of SAM’s board of directors, declined to provide Smith with the information and raised questions about his work on behalf of candidates for statewide offices.

“I am helping both Michaud and Cutler and have made no secret of it,” Smith wrote in response.

In Smith’s I-am-the-greatest-of-all-time rebuttal, he states that he is not getting paid to advise either Michaud or Cutler:

I have given free advice (not paid as some charged) to Mike Michaud and Eliot Cutler and any other politician who asked…

If Smith is “advising” without pay, it lessens the degree of dishonesty in not disclosing his agenda, but it still appears dishonest and heaps troubles on a man who may be suffering from the lack of credibility, at least credibility when it comes to Paul LePage issues.

Some have asked why SAM allows, if that would be the correct terminology, Smith to continue falling back on and presenting himself as a representative of SAM. To that question I have no idea the answer. There is no need to make enemies between Smith and SAM but when certain claims by Smith go unanswered by SAM, people begin to assume that SAM must agree. It would best handled, in my opinion, if Smith would move beyond his SAM “glory days” and let the present personality of SAM do its thing.

I’m not sure that we have heard the end of this issue. However, now that a few Maine sportsmen have woken up, Gov. LePage would benefit by stepping up to the batters box and taking a swing. He’s gotten a sign, now he should swing away and see if he can drive in some runs for the Maine sportsmen. If not, perhaps Michaud and Cutler will do his pinch hitting.

Newry Maine’s Pie Stealing Bear

NEWRY — The Puzzle Mountain pie stand, which sells homemade pies on the honor system, has attracted the appetites of Route 26 tourists and hikers.

They honor the honor system, leaving money in a box.

But lately the pie stand has attracted a pie-hungry bear, which has crossed the highway — looking out for traffic — and taken pies. It appears to be smarter than the average bear.<<<Read More and Video>>>

Maine/USFWS Plan for Canada Lynx Incidental Take Permit

Press Release from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service:

Agencies release revised plan, assessment for protecting Canada lynx affected by Maine trapping programs Maine to manage at least 4,785 acres for Canada lynx
August 5, 2014
Contacts:

USFWS, Meagan Racey, 413-253-8558
MDIFW, Mark Latti, 207-287-5216

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is one step closer to making a decision on permitting Maine’s state-regulated trapping programs for effects to the federally protected Canada lynx. The Service and Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife reviewed public comments on the necessary documents for the permit and have released revised versions for public review and comment through September 5, 2014.

The agencies previously released draft versions of MDIFW’s incidental take plan and the Service’s environmental assessment for public comment in November 2011, followed by three highly attended public information sessions. The Service received about 285 unique letters, 129 comment cards from public information sessions and 6,100 form letters commenting on issues from outreach and monitoring measures to lynx handling procedures and enforcement.

The revised plan describes measures proposed by MDIFW to minimize the effects of incidental trapping on lynx, such as increased trapper outreach, compliance monitoring by wardens and veterinary oversight, and it incorporates several new methods of trapping and new trapping regulations. MDIFW proposes to offset, or mitigate, for the effects on lynx by maintaining at least 4,785 acres of lynx habitat in the state’s Bureau of Parks and Lands Seboomook Unit in northern Maine. The agency has added the predator management and animal damage control programs as activities to be covered under the plan, but the addition has not changed the expected effect on lynx.

The Endangered Species Act makes it illegal to “take”—meaning trap, capture, collect, harass, harm, wound or kill—federally threatened or endangered wildlife, such as the threatened Canada lynx. Some activities, such as trapping for common species like bobcat or fisher, have the risk of incidentally taking protected species. An incidental take permit would allow trapping through the recreational, predator management and animal damage control programs to continue as MDIFW undertakes practical measures to avoid, minimize, and mitigate take of lynx.

Incidental take plans, known also as habitat conservation plans, identify the impacts to wildlife from a project or program; the steps the applicant will take to reduce or compensate for such impacts; what alternative actions were considered; and how conservation efforts will be funded.

To learn more and comment on the documents:

Visit the Maine Field Office website, http://www.fws.gov/mainefieldoffice/, for questions and answers about the revised documents, species information and an archive of the draft documents.
Visit www.regulations.gov and enter docket FWS-R5-ES-2014-0020 to review comments submitted during the 2011-2012 comment period, the Service’s response to comments, and the revised plan and assessment.
Submit comments at www.regulations.gov or by hard copy to: Public Comments Processing, Attn: FWS-R5-ES-2014-0020; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Headquarters, MS: BPHC; 5275 Leesburg Pike; Falls Church, VA 22041–3803. Please reference the docket number for this notice.

After the comment period ends, the Service will determine whether the application meets the permit issuance requirements.

Copy of an email sent to various recipients from Mark McCollough of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service:

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) has updated its draft Environmental Assessment (DEA) for the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife’s (MDIFW) revised incidental take plan (ITP) for incidental trapping threatened Canada lynx. The agencies will make both available for a 30-day supplemental public comment period. They will be published in the Federal Register on Wednesday, August 6. There will be a 30-day comment period ending September 5, 2014. No public meetings are planned.

In summary, from 1999 to 2013, 84 lynx have been reported incidentally trapped in Maine (seven were caught in killer-type traps and 77 in foothold traps). Under the revised plan, the MDIFW anticipates that up to 13 lynx per year, or 195 total, might be incidentally trapped in restraining traps (e.g., foothold, cage traps and cable restraints) following issuance of the 15-year permit. The MDIFW expects that the majority of lynx caught in these traps will be released with little to no injury. They are requesting the permit to allow for up to three lynx fatalities as the result of incidental trapping. The MDIFW does not anticipate take in killer-type traps and take of orphaned kittens. The MDIFW seeks incidental take coverage for lynx that might be trapped in fur trapping, predator management (coyote control), and animal damage control programs. The agency proposes to phase in cable restraints, a new form of trapping for Maine, rescind regulations governing the size of foothold traps, and resume use of cage traps in northern Maine. The MDIFW will conduct a number of minimization measures that include increasing trapper education; a trapper hotline; biologists responding to lynx trapping incidents; assessing, classifying, and treating injures; rehabilitating injured lynx; and a protocol to care for kittens in situations where a female is trapped and injured and must be removed from the wild for rehabilitation. To mitigate for potential lynx mortalities, the MDIFW will maintain and enhance at least 4,785 acres of lynx habitat on a 10,411-acre area in the Maine Department of Agriculture Conservation and Forestry, Bureau of Parks and Lands Seboomook Unit in northern Maine.

The documents are available for review today at the Federal Register Reading Room at https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2014/08/06/2014-18548/incidental-take-plan-maine-department-of-inland-fisheries-and-wildlifes-trapping-program. The Service is releasing the revised versions of the plan and the Environmental Assessment for a 30-day supplemental public comment period. We encourage you to submit comments. Written comments may be submitted electronically by September 5, 2014, via the Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov, or in hard copy, via U.S. mail, to: Public Comments Processing, Attn: FWS–R5–ES–2014–0020; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Headquarters, MS: BPHC; 5275 Leesburg Pike; Falls Church, VA 22041-3803. The docket number for this notice is FWS–R5–ES–2014–0020.

Following this comment period, the Service will evaluate the revised plan and comments we receive to determine whether the permit application meets the requirements of section 10(a) of the Endangered Species Act (ESA)(16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.). We will also evaluate whether issuance of a section 10(a)(1)(B) permit complies with ESA section 7 by conducting an intra-Service consultation and biological opinion.

All documents associated with MDIFW’s 2008 and 2014 incidental take permit applications (including the Service’s draft Environmental Assessments) will also be posted at the Service’s Maine Field Office website Canada lynx page: http://www.fws.gov/mainefieldoffice/Canada_lynx.html. We are also posting public comments that we received during our 2011-2012 90-day public comment period. Responses to these public comments are appended to our 2014 draft Environmental Assessment.

The Service issued the attached press release and question-and-answer documents this afternoon.

Please contact Laury Zicari, field office supervisor (207 866-3344 x111, Laury_Zicari@fws.gov), or myself (contact information below) if you have any questions. We encourage you to comment through www.regulations.gov.

Please distribute to others who may be interested in this issue.

Sincerely, Mark McCollough

Mark McCollough, Ph.D.
Endangered Species Specialist
Maine Field Office
U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Canada Lynx Incidental Take Plan and Permit Application for Maine Trapping Program
Questions and Answers

IFW Seeks Comment On Proposed Changes To State Threatened And Endangered List

Press Release from Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife:

Public hearings set for August 4 in Portland and August 5 in Farmington; written comments accepted through August 15

AUGUSTA, Maine — The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife is seeking comments from the public on proposed additions and changes to the State of Maine Endangered and Threatened Species list.

The proposed changes include recognition of six new species under the Maine Endangered Species Act, including three bats and three invertebrates. Three cave bats are experiencing catastrophic declines from a prolific disease called White Nose Syndrome, first documented in 2006. Little Brown Bats and Northern Long-eared Bats are proposed for endangered status, while the Eastern Small-footed Bat would be classified as threatened.

Three new invertebrate additions to the list include a butterfly (Frigga Fritillary), a land snail (Six-whorl Vertigo) and a beetle (Cobblestone Tiger Beetle). All three are currently documented in single locations and are proposed as endangered.

Other changes include status changes for four species already listed under the Maine Endangered Species Act. Two birds, the black-crowned night heron and the great cormorant, are proposed to be upgraded from threatened to endangered. Two invertebrates, the Roaring Brook Mayfly and Clayton’s Copper Butterfly, would be downlisted from endangered to threatened.

There will be two public hearings where public comments will be taken concerning the list. The first is at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, August 4 at the Portland City Hall, 389 Congress Street; and the second is at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, August 5 at the Roberts Learning Center at University of Maine in Farmington.

Those interested in submitting public comments by writing must do so by August 15. Comments can be submitted by email to becky.orff@maine.gov or by mailing comments to Becky Orff, Inland Fisheries & Wildlife, 284 State Street, #41 State House Station, Augusta, ME 04333.

This is the sixth modification of the State’s Endangered and Threatened list by the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife since the law was enacted in 1975.

There currently are 22 species designated as endangered on the State list, and 23 species are listed as threatened. For the listing of all 45 species on the Maine Endangered and Threatened Species list, please visit http://www.maine.gov/ifw/wildlife/endangered/listedspeciesme.htm.

The department is required by regulation to update the State’s Endangered and Threatened Species list at least once every eight years. The department will consider public comment received before presenting the department’s final recommendation of the list to the legislature in 2015. Any additions or subtraction to the list must be approved by the legislature and governor.

Proposed Additions To Maine’s Endangered Species List

Birds Black-crowned Night Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax) – currently Threatened Great Cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo; breeding population only) – currently Threatened

Invertebrates Cobblestone Tiger Beetle (Cicindela marginipennis) – new listing Frigga Fritillary (Boloria frigga) – new listing Six-whorl Vertigo (Vertigo morsei) – new listing

Mammals Little Brown Bat (Myotis lucifugus) – new listing Northern Long-eared Bat (Myotis septentrionalis) – new listing

Proposed Additions To Maine’s Threatened Species List

Invertebrates Roaring Brook Mayfly (Epeorus frisoni) – currently Endangered Clayton’s Copper (Lycaena dorcas claytoni) – currently Endangered

Mammals Eastern Small-footed Bat (Myotis leibii) – new listing
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Maine Game Wardens responded to two different Search and Rescue calls in northern and southern Maine on Wednesday, July 23.

Press Release from the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife:

DEBOULLIE TOWNSHIP – JULY 23, 2014: Mark Nadeau, 46 of Gorham, ME, was camping near Deboullie Lake with his son Nathaniel Nadeau age 16, and a friend Garrick Brown age 15 also from Gorham. The two young men hiked to the Deboullie Mountain Fire Tower at about 1:30pm. A storm came in and the two headed down the mountain on the wrong trail ending up about 3.1 miles further west in the wrong direction. This put them on the west end of Gardner Pond, a very remote location. At about 8:15pm, three game wardens responded to the call and headed to Deboullie Township for the search. At about 1:00am voice contact was made, but it was on the other side of the lake. After a 2 ½ hour hike up over Gardner Mountain and down to the lake the two young men were found at about 3:30am in cool but good condition. Game Warden Pilot Jeff Spencer was called in at dawn, to taxi the party out of the rugged country with the plane across Gardner and Deboullie Lake. Red River Sporting Camps owner Jen Brophy spent the entire night in the woods assisting wardens with her knowledge of the trails and was a huge reason the search was successful.

Nathaniel Nadeau, Garrick Brown and Jen Brophy with responding game wardens at Gardner Pond – Courtesy of MWS

Picture 423

CASCO – JULY 23, 2014: David Crocker, 86 of Portland was located yesterday along Meadow Brook in need of medical attention. While out fishing on along Meadow Brook on Monday, Mr. Crocker suffered a severe medical event. On Wednesday he received a phone call which awoke him and he was able to convey that he needed assistance. Four game wardens and a Cumberland County Deputy responded to the area and were able to locate Mr. Crocker after conducting a hasty search along Meadow Brook. Mr. Crocker was transported to Brighton Hospital after being outside for over 2 days.

No further information is available at this time.

“Natural Foods Drive The State’s Bear Population

“Our biologists have conducted four decades of field research and have intensively monitored more than 3,000 individual bears. We monitor cub and yearling survival and weights, adult survival and health, age when females give birth and litter size, and the size and weight of all bears.

The research shows that natural foods drive the state’s bear population. Maine’s population is increasing because of several years of low hunter harvest and improving habitat that provides more natural foods.

Our studies show that in years of low natural food availability, bears enter their dens earlier, fewer cubs survive and yearling bears put on significantly less weight, although bait is still present on the landscape. Some bears even enter their dens during the baiting season because of the lack of natural foods.”<<<Read More>>>

Our Resident Deer and Fawn

Since arriving at camp, I had taken notice of what appeared to be a lack of much wildlife. Early on I had heard the local fox barking during the night, caught the flash of a hawk swooping through the thick forest, often being pestered by some other smaller bird more than likely in protecting their nest. But overall, it seemed quiet.

I put up a bird feeder in hopes of attracting a few forest birds to watch but so far natural food is highly abundant and no birds to the feeder; although one or two gray squirrels are keeping a close eye on that high hanging object. Oh, yeah, and yesterday, with a handful of rocks, I managed to chase a woodchuck back in the direction he/she came from. Hopefully it will stay away.

Over the years I have learned where our resident doe fawns, or at least where she leaves her fawn in hiding in the early days of life. I’ve also discovered that the coyotes learned where the same place was and more often than not the deer loses one or both fawns to those wretched, wily varmints.

Upon arriving to town this spring, one of the first things I noticed was that the 6-8 foot tall grass at the edge of the dense pine trees, where the deer historically has hidden her fawn, had been mowed down. I wondered where mother deer would choose to hide her little one.

One day, while taking a rest from working around camp, my brother and I looked down the trail that leads out to the West and there we spotted mom, standing at the top of a small crest and watching us as closely as we were watching her. Once she had determined that we were friends not foes, she began to move a bit to her right heading into the thicker undergrowth. Almost immediately, almost tripping over the heals of the doe, clumsily, a new-born fawn followed mom’s every move. They slowly disappeared into a small area of thick vegetation; not large and very close to camp. I wondered if this was where she would hide her package when it became necessary for her to move about for nourishment.

Over the next few days we would spot momma sneaking back into that same area. We stayed clear so as not to disturb anybody. Life, I figured, is tough enough for these two and I didn’t want to contribute to it.

The other day, once again while taking a break and sitting on the deck, my brother says in a low voice, “There’s your deer, Tom.” I turned slowly to see the doe standing in just about the same identical spot where I had first seen her. She appeared to be alone. (Note: I apologize for the blurry photos. It was a bit dark that day and some distance away with many objects between camera and target.)

DeernoFawn

Photo by Al Remington

The deer stared motionless at the two of us and once again deciding we were not a threat, looked to her right, in the direction she had taken her little one that first day. As near as I could tell, she didn’t make a sound, only to stare intently into the forest.

My brother moved slowly to retrieve his camera. His movement startled the mom and she quickly turned her head toward us. After a few moments, again determining the coast to be clear, she began to stare back in the same direction. Within moments that little fawn came bounding out of the thick vegetation and immediately began suckling on mom’s nourishment.

This lasted perhaps a minute or so, as both seemed delighted to see each other. We were also delighted to have been fortunate enough to see the wonders of the forest.

Soon, mom turned to her left and slowly walked away, the little one still struggling to get hold of one of mom’s nipples. She led her fawn back into the forest and we have not seen her since. I assume the fawn is now big enough to remain with mom at all times.

DeerFawn

Photo by Al Remington

Maine Gubernatorial Candidates Receive SAM Survey

*Editor’s Note* – The below is information found on George Smith’s blog at Bangor Daily News. This editor’s views to the questions highlighted in this article are as follows:

1. Do you support efforts to maximize the deer population’s potential and to also make use of hunting and trapping opportunities to control predators like the Eastern coyote? – My answer: Absolutely. Maine’s deer population will never be sustainable without continued and more predator control. In short, Maine must stop predator protection.

2. Will you support funding the Land for Maine’s Future Program and vote to maintain this important habitat protection and investment provision? Answer: This is a difficult question to answer in an easy yes or no format. Taking land out of the tax rolls and putting it in the control of government is never a good thing. Demanding private land owners lose property rights for the purpose of managing a deer herd, or any other wildlife, is never a good thing. Any funding for Land for Maine’s Future Program must be carefully considered on a case by case basis.

3. Do you support efforts to enhance sporting opportunities on public lands? Answer: Smith says that without any specific information about such a plan, it would be difficult to answer this question and I agree. Public lands should always remain open to all taxpayers for multi-use.

4. If they would sign a bill to expand background checks to private firearm sales? Answer: Never. The U.S. and Maine constitutions do not include the right to keep and bear arms provided an individual passes a government derived background check. The Second Amendment acknowledges the right to keep and bear arms and is NOT granted to the people by government…..with restrictions.

5. There are also questions about reverse posting, the introduction of wolves, and the establishment of a new national park. Answers: Reverse posting (assuming that to mean if you post your land you cannot hunt on other people’s land.) Ridiculous, when you stop and think about it. A land owner has limited rights as it is. This is just another form of Totalitarianism.

Introducing wolves would be the biggest mistake Maine could ever make, but I suspect, like the rest of the nation, fully controlled by the commu-fascist environmentalists, Maine will have “introduced” wolves, if they don’t already.

And a National Park should be off the radar screen. The Federal Government cannot manage the land it has, and have proven that what they do with such lands is not in the best interest of anyone except corporate fascists in government. Any effort to create a National Park on Roxanne Quimby land is nothing more than political cronyism because Quimby sits on the Board of Directors for the National Park system.

6. If they would support a constitutional amendment to dedicate a portion of the sales tax to fund outdoor conservation. Answer: This should NEVER happen. Environmentalist, who are historically opposed to hunting and resource consumption, have enough power and control over game management now. Giving them monetary power, entitling them to a higher degree of a position as a “stake holder” would be nearly as big a mistake as it would to “introduce” wolves to the Pine Tree State.

“Maine’s three candidates for governor recently received their 2014 Questionnaire from the Sportsmen’s Alliance of Maine. There are also questions about reverse posting, the introduction of wolves, and the establishment of a new national park. The most important question, in my mind, asks if they would support a constitutional amendment to dedicate a portion of the sales tax to fund outdoor conservation. Given that he broke the most important promise he made to SAM four years ago, I don’t see how SAM can give any credibility to Governor LePage’s 2014 Questionnaire answers.”<<<Read More>>>

Anti Human Bear Banning Referendum Wording Decided

“Do you want to ban the use of bait, dogs or traps in bear hunting except to protect property, public safety, or for research?”

This will be the wording of the referendum question on the Maine ballot in November.

Vote “NO” On Question One

VoteNo