August 19, 2019

Maine IFW Should Stop Wasting Resources on Developing Plans

George Smith seems upset that the Committee on Inland Fisheries and Wildlife isn’t that much interested in spending gobs of time and money promoting an anti-hunting, Environmentalist-backed plan that would further erode the support for and opportunities to hunt, fish and trap. I’m glad the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) does not support the large plan presented by Mark Duda and Responsive Management. I further hope it never reaches a vote in the Legislature.

I cannot specifically comment on the survey by Responsive Management because I haven’t seen it, but such surveys, in general, are a waste of time and money. These surveys are no different than forming a “task force” which amounts to drinking coffee, bitching and moaning, and nothing is ever accomplished. So why do them.

According to what Smith writes in his latest article, this survey says that Maine people are the happiest they have seen and satisfied with the job MDIFW is doing. Not that Maine should rest on those laurels, if, in fact, that is actually true, but why spend millions of dollars trying to carry out plans that most business people would see as a terrible return on investment.

I’ve seen these surveys done in other states and seen the results of them. What they end up doing is playing right into the hands of the Environmentalist movement bent on the complete takeover of all state fish and wildlife agencies – the same movement that has taken over the National Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies.

No thank you! Keep your worthless survey and keep your worthless plan. The only way that the MDIFW can remain with a high degree of satisfaction is to keep the environmentalists out of the department. Developing lines of communication and inviting in the enemy will spell disaster for traditional Maine sportsmen.

That certainly doesn’t mean there isn’t room for improvement. That’s one reason I am fast at work keeping a little check and balance going with the department and informing readers as to what is actually going on. Just the other day I commented that MDIFW might need to improve on their communications. But that doesn’t mean tossing out the baby with the bathwater and spending millions of dollars to implement worthless and costly programs.

I have said before that I believe MDIFW does a pretty good job. A few changes, with little fanfare or money spent, could increase the perception of Maine people as to the good job MDIFW is doing. Here’s a brief look:

First – and this is actually an opposite suggestion from what it appears Responsive Management (RM) wants – funnel all press and public communications through one clearing agent. RM wants all employees to be mouthpieces for the department. Really? So we continue to get one biologist telling us that the mild winter is terrific for all wildlife, while another says it’s no big deal and that severe winters don’t have much effect on Maine’s wildlife, while dissing taxpayers by saying people make a big deal out of nothing.

Second, MDIFW could vastly improve public perceptions if they would put a better effort into getting game harvest data out to the public in a timely manner. Just about every state in the Union releases hunting harvest numbers almost instantly. Maine used to. You would think that with the technology and the existence of “instant information” preliminary harvest numbers would be made available within hours of the close of each season. It would send a big message to the hunters that MDIFW actually cares.

Third, is to lose the stinking attitudes and begin listening to the sportsmen afield. I think Maine has done a better job in recent years in this event. They should continue to improve on it. Each and every time Maine residents are told they don’t know anything, the relationship is driven apart. Each time sportsmen have to wait for 3, 4, 5 months to get any data on deer, moose, bear and turkey harvest, the message comes across loud and clear that MDIFW doesn’t care about the sportsmen.

Here are three suggestions and they will not take millions of dollars. The effort will go a long, long way.

Let’s stop already with the task forces and surveys and devising worthless plans that are never followed. Let’s improve the relationship between MDIFW and ALL SPORTSMEN, not the handful of elites, and reduce the mixed messages being delivered to the press.

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Maine Fish and Game Hire Communications Specialist

For those who read my articles on a regular basis, know that I have always complained that one of the lousy aspects of the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) is their lack of communication with the public. Now, MDIFW, through recommendations of an assessment team and from the International Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, has hired a communications specialist. What possibly could go wrong?

Any problems with this position will come from decisions on what to publicize. In other words, who decides what gets told and to whom that information is given. MDIFW Commissioner Chandler Woodstock recently announced a restructuring of the department but did this restructuring actually benefit the sportsmen who pay the bills or the environmentalists who have the most money and use it to infiltrate the MDIFW and control it? Only time will tell but my money rests with the environmentalists because I’ve seen very little that would indicate that much of anything has changed philosophically in the department.

In addition, I can also guarantee that if the International Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies was involved at any level and MDIFW followed any of their recommendations, then the MDIFW is better geared toward catering to the environmentalists and further turning their backs on the sportsmen.

As a friend told me in an email, “Somehow I think we are going to be told now that things are better when they are not.” Communication is good. It helps many of us to keep from guessing and speculating. I just wished that the new communications specialists was going to be communicating information I would like to hear that will show that good things are being done to bring MDIFW back in focus on the sportsmen and away from environmentalism, non game programs work and non-scientific natural balance.


Editorial Comment by Richard Paradis

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