December 9, 2019

Maine Fish and Game Will Train….Butterfly Surveyors?

I think the title speaks for itself but if you want a bit more detail, see the Bangor Daily News.

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Maine IFW Chief: A Century From Now People Will Say…………

I suppose I could call it some form of job security, but why people at the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife continue to provide fodder that prompts repeated demands for accountability on my part, puzzles me. Evidently the Sportsman’s Congress, sponsored by the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine, was the breeding ground for yet another jewel of spoken words.

In Deirdre Fleming’s article in Saturday’s Press Herald, she begins her piece this way:

A century from now, Mainers will look back and say the state’s fish and game department did what it promised, vowed Chandler Woodcock on Friday.

This remark, as written in Fleming’s piece, came as Mr. Woodcock addressed the Sportsman’s Congress. Part of that debate included discussions on Maine’s efforts, or lack thereof, in rebuilding a whitetail deer herd that is far from adequate.

While some attempts at regulating Maine’s game began in the early to mid 1800s, it was around a century or so ago that Maine and most states in the Union were devising fish and game laws that became the backbone for the North American wildlife management model.

One would have to wonder if the head of Maine’s fish and game around the turn of the century had said, “A century from now, Maine will be at a crossroads not willing to do what is right to protect and perpetuate the game species for the people of this state”, people would have thought him crazy.

But here we are and the current commissioner is talking about the hope that between now and a hundred years from now the deer problem will be saved. I’m sure I will be told that Mr. Woodcock didn’t mean that it would take 100 years to replenish the deer herd. I’m also sure that the same supporters of his comments will claim that Mr. Woodcock feels so strongly about his “Plan for Maine’s Deer” that it will be the greatest thing since the Ginsu Kitchen Knife…….or something.

Perhaps so, and I would suppose a quick pat on the back would be in store for attempting to raise sportsman’s hopes for the future but why would he choose to pick 100 years? I mean, how many fish and game commissioners that have come before Mr. Woodcock have left behind some kind of lasting legacy? How many can you name that we should all remember from 100 years ago? Or twenty years ago? That’s what I thought.

I honestly don’t think Mr. Woodcock is thinking about his legacy, so I have to think that little thought went into his choice of making reference to a century from now.

The current Maine sportsmen are looking for action NOW. They want actions NOW that will create results NOW. And then they want assurances that what we do NOW will pay off NOW and TOMORROW and the NEXT DAY, and that other plans taking place NOW will work at building and maintaining a deer herd 5 years from now and 10 years from now. And the commissioner speaks of what Maine people will be commenting on in 100 years? Are we supposed to lock up our hunting rifles now and make sure our wills are up-to-date so we pass on our hunting rifles to the proper inheritor?

The Commissioner has a plan to rebuild the deer herd. I think he thinks it is a good plan and that it will work. I have serious reservations about it and even if I thought it was a good plan, how can it be implemented with little support for it statewide that is being shown now?

Mr. Woodcock does need to continue to sell his plan. I’m afraid telling the sportsmen that things will be just ducky in 100 years really isn’t going to fire up the troops too much.

I can hear the faint echos now: “Five score and 7 years ago, our founding fathers brought forth in this state, Maine’s Game Plan for Deer , conceived in good thinking and dedicated to the proposition that in one hundred years men would look back and say, ‘What the hell were they thinking’?”

Tom Remington

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