November 21, 2019

Does Maine Fish and Game Dept. Really Need a Marketing Program?

George Smith has his undies in a bunch over one of his apparently failed bill proposals that would have forced the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) to establish a marketing position. Why? Is it really the responsibility of MDIFW to “market” its programs? Is the idea to market MDIFW so as to generate income from increased license sales and fees? Another question, if ever asked, is seldom examined to understand what it means – who is the marketing director going to target?

I could spend a great deal of time discussing the business end of a marketing approach, and talk about what point is there is marketing to draw deer hunters to Maine, for example, when the market is poor at best. But, as would generally be the case, I would be accused of being a downer, instead of burying my head in the sand and pretending all was great with deer management.

Instead, I want to focus on one aspect of what Smith mentioned in his article.

In 2003 and 2004, The Management Assistance Team of the International Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies examined the various divisions of Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife and issued a very detailed report with many recommendations….these recommendations were never implemented. In fact, not long after the recommendations were received, DIF&W abolished its marketing position!

I would like to give MDIFW, and/or the governor, and/or the Legislature, credit for making sure these recommendations were never implemented. Anything that comes from the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (AFWA) is usually designed as a destructive mechanism to anything that once resembled normal fish and game heritage.

I’ve written often about AFWA before and they are a fraudulent group that was successful in convincing Congress to let them have a percentage of the Pittman-Robertson and Johnson-Dingell, excise tax money so that they can promote their anti hunting, fishing and trapping agendas.

I’ve also written about the outcome-based efforts of the most recent survey foisted on unsuspecting Maine sportsmen about hunting and fishing. Like the AFWA, these programs are designed by environmentalists for environmentalists whose goals are to end consumptive use of natural resources and eventually to put an end to the event itself. Odd isn’t it, or it would be if people would open their eyes, that sportsmen pay all the money, have it taken away from us by political, non-governmental agencies and used against us. If more sportsmen could see this, perhaps more than a small handful would begin asking what the hell is going to happen when the money dries up because there are no more sportsmen to take advantage of?

Which brings me back to the question of who is a marketing director going to target. Most will think a marketing director would be targeting other hunters and fisherman. On the surface, it might even appear that way. However, the real target will be those most susceptible to the propaganda created by Environmentalism. Most Maine sportsmen understand conservation of fish and game. Some are conned by Environmentalism, such as wanting for everyone to release all the fish they catch to save the planet. We play right into their hands when we do this sort of thing. What will the fishermen be saying when, after the forcing of catch and release, a perverted act in and of itself, the catch aspect is also done away with. Won’t happen? Just wait. It’s nearer than you think.

Environmentalism is no friend of the traditional hunter, trapper and fisherman…no friend at all. Our fish and game agencies have almost unanimously become fish and wildlife, or departments of natural resources, and along with it, imitate the environmentalists way of how fish and wildlife are discussed. This has been done by design and that design is such to destroy traditional hunting, fishing and trapping.

Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife doesn’t need a marketing director. I’ve spent a number of years writing about hunting, trapping and fishing and the outdoor business in general. In a previous life, I was quite extensively involved in the hospitality trade and tourism industry. One of the most important things I learned in those years was the simple truth that you have to have something that is marketable – that people want or you can convince that they want. The raw truth in that is that if you market something and the clientele discover the product stinks, you are in big trouble. So, you better have a good product first.

Another aspect I discovered, which caught me by surprise, was to learn that a large percentage – perhaps a majority – of Maine sportsmen, do not want to market hunting and fishing to “outsiders.” They want what limited product they have for themselves. And, for that you cannot blame them.

If we focus on deer hunting as an example, we know that from the deer harvest highs of many years ago – 35,000+ – to the lows of the latest years – less or near 20,000 – marketing a limited product to out-of-state interests might somehow generate a tiny bit more revenue, but most of that would end up being offset by the loss of locals who will give up hunting because the hunting is so poor and they have to share it with out-of-state hunters. And of course, if the product remains poor, what few hunters that were captured with a marketing scheme, upon discovery of false advertisement, would return home and never come back.

Consider marketing Maine fishing. Now, the push is to promote non-consumptive use of brook trout fishing – one of Maine’s more prized natural resources. This would mean a marketing campaign, aimed at convincing the “catch and release” brook trout fishermen to fish Maine waters. This means marketing to promote Environmentalism. That would result in a bigger push to force catch and release fishing, i.e. to end fishing altogether. But I know most don’t want to believe my words. We’ll see.

I don’t think MDIFW is the place that should be directing its resources and energy to market a product. Maybe the saying of “if you build it, they will come” comes into play here. And if the State of Maine believes they have a marketable product now, big enough to share with “those from away,” then the effort should come from the Office of Tourism, not the Department on Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. Tourism is the specialty of the Office of Tourism, not MDIFW.

Thank you to the Appropriations Committee for giving a 7-6 ought not to pass. Let’s hope the Legislature sees fit to drop this proposal and if necessary get a governor’s veto.

 

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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

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