May 24, 2019

Monkey See Monkey Do

PantsOnFire

MaineHillaryBrand

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There Can Never Be Transparency In Government When Government Dictates the Transparency

Kabuki Theater: “the stylization of its drama and for the elaborate make-up worn by some of its performers.” (Source)

Government: the exercise and practice of Kabuki that they learned from the Japanese during negotiations post World War II.

In an opinion piece published in the Maine Sun Journal, Sen. Chris Johnson, a member of the Judiciary Committee, says that unless there is an investigation into the actions of the Maine Warden Service and the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, concerning undercover operations and accusations that have been leveled against these state agencies, there will be a destruction of the public trust in government.

A truthful analysis might reveal that there is little public trust that exist with any government – or is it just me?

While I have to agree with Sen. Johnson in what he says about the whys and wherefores of transparency and the need to investigate all the actions of the Warden Service and Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, including a refusal by these two departments to conduct any investigation and their continued stalling of the release of government documents supposed to be available to the public, how can there ever be transparency when government investigates government? Are we to somehow, magically believe that because the state’s “Right-to-Know Advisory Council” (or any other government agency) may be called in, this will restore public trust?

These are all members of the good-ole-boys’ club and while actions on the surface may appear to some as truthful and transparent, no government agency can ever be honest and achieve the amount of investigative honesty some of us expect. It’s much like what we see in Washington. People actually think somebody is going to get to the bottom of Hillary Clinton’s actions in Benghazi, her email scandal, etc. However, if the government digs too deeply they end up implicating themselves in all government corruption. It therefore becomes nothing more than a fake controlled opposition, designed to deceive until interest fades. These politicians are master of deceit and fraud. And, they are all politicians.

The Maine Warden Service and the Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, both government agencies, run by politicians, understand how the rigged system works. It’s Kabuki Theater. Lot’s of show and dance but it’s all fake.

It’s easy to write an opinion piece to a newspaper (especially if it will buy or win votes) making claims of investigations, but when the investigation resembles the infamous fox tending the chicken coop, there will never be public trust of any government agency – unless, of course, you are a shill for the political party that you have been brainwashed to think is looking out for your best interest.

What we are seeing is nothing more than politics as usual. To believe anything else, you are a fool.

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Maine Warden Service: Taking Their Ball and Going Home

According to the Bangor Daily News (BDN), after a paragraph by paragraph rebuttal to a newspaper article, read before a hand-selected group of “lawmakers,” accusing the Maine Warden Service (MWS) of improper undercover tactics and refusing to release documents requested under the Freedom of Information Access Law (FOIA), the head of the MWS announced it was suspending all undercover operations and blamed the press for forcing their hand.

Col. Joel Wilkinson, of the MWS, said it was necessary to stop all undercover operations to protect his officers and the integrity of the department. He pointed specifically to the issue of the Maine Sunday Telegram (Portland Press Herald) publishing a photograph of the undercover agent who seems to be the focus of the newspaper’s investigation.

I have to agree that releasing that picture was a pretty irresponsible thing to do, stupid too, if for no other reason than to protect the man and his family from the psychos we hear and read about everyday. One also has to wonder if the Portland Press Herald (PPH) did that intentionally to destroy the integrity of the MWS. Are they targeting the LePage Administration?

However, I have made it clear, that even though the Maine Courts have scrutinized all of these cases, and did not find the MWS guilty of breaching any undercover guidelines, the rules regulating undercover operations for all Maine law enforcement need a review and the elimination of the allowances for law enforcement to deliberately break any laws the rest of us are expected to adhere to, for the sole purpose of catching a thief. Trained or not trained, no law enforcement officer should be permitted to break the laws on the books in hopes of making an arrest, with perhaps the exception of saving a life.

For those who have been following my reports and commentary, where does this leave Maine citizens in answer to questions surrounding what appears to be stonewalling by the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) and the MWS of FOIA document requests?

All that the BDN chose to report in regards to the document information request was to say that the MWS responded, in explanation, that they would only respond to requests for information that were done in writing, out of fear that any verbal communication would be twisted or taken out of context and used in ways, “to benefit the intent of the article.” For my purposes, this is not an acceptable or a sufficient answer to why the PPH has not received the documents they have requested – at least those in writing.

In addition, the MDIFW/MWS expressed concern over what might happen to information exchanged verbally, fearing it would only benefit the newspapers, that same concern exists in the reverse. I refuse to use verbal communication for very valuable information and will only accept it in writing because reports stemming from unrecorded verbal communications become a he said – she said argument. I do understand the concern of the MWS and I believe it is the prerogative of the MWS to seek all requests in writing.

To me, it appears the stonewalling continues and the actions and reactions of all parties involved suggest that the MWS is deflecting attention away from the FOIA legal issue and putting it on the Service’s desire to terminate undercover operations as a form of retribution toward the newspaper via manipulation of public opinion.

The PPH gave the MDIFW and the MWS a convenient opportunity to employ such a tactic when they decided to publish a photograph of the undercover MWS agent. That wasn’t too brilliant a move – retaliatory maybe, but not smart.

I think the MWS jumped on this opportunity to play on the public’s perception, as any well-greased governmental agency would do, and by doing such can draw more attention away from perhaps a real screw up in refusing or delaying the release of right-to-know information. One can only speculate.

How anyone chooses to view this entire operation, for sure, nobody wins. The only victory that citizens can hope for is a correction and resolution to the FOIA issue, in hopes that it will help to preserve that man-given right into the future – for whatever it is worth.

Don’t hold your breath!

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Maine Warden Service sets the record straight on “North Woods Lawless” allegations

*Editor’s Note* – Obviously somebody is lying, in part or in whole. Readers will have to decide between the Portland Press Herald investigative reporting or the statement by the Maine Warden Service. In addition to these two accounts, in my opinion there still remains unanswered questions about the process of PPH attempting to obtain documents. Read the exchange of emails and then decide if there exists incompetence or deliberate stonewalling.

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

The Maine Warden Service has been working diligently for the last two days in an effort to properly respond to the many inaccuracies contained within a Portland Press Herald story regarding our undercover operation in Allagash in 2014. We were informed today that the Portland Press Herald will not publish our response. Here it is in its entirety.

The story’s headline— “North Woods Lawless” —was correct because in that small isolated area of northern Aroostook County, a lawless attitude toward game laws by a small group of the town’s citizens had prevailed for many years.

That casual disregard was described in the story as “… a hit against our way of life.” that supposedly precipitated the undercover action by the Warden Service. It is well known that within sympathetic, tight-knit communities there is an unwillingness to speak out against one another. Special investigations are often the only means for acquiring evidence necessary for enforcement action. The sentiment of many in Allagash was that this lawlessness had been going on unanswered for far too long and resulted in complaints.

As a result of the investigation, 17 people were convicted of more than 75 crimes and violations that are detailed below. Suspects in this case paid over $39,000 in fines, spent a total of nearly 180 days in jail and had 80 years’ worth of license revocations handed down to those convicted. Thirty-three game wardens were used while serving five search warrants and one arrest warrant in Allagash. The investigation focused on three primary suspects and 15 other associates. Over the course of two years, 31 days were spent by the game warden investigator in contact with the primary suspects. The investigation ultimately moved its way through Maine’s judicial process, including the Maine Supreme Court just last month, which upheld the convictions previously adjudged by the jury of Aroostook County citizens.

Selecting an undercover case

There are a number of criteria that are considered prior to moving forward with an investigation of this nature. The first is whether or not the suspects of the investigation are inclined on their own to violate fish and game laws. The primary defendants in this case did have prior serious fish and wildlife violations—contrary to the statements used by the story’s author claiming that Carter McBreairty had “… no previous convictions.”

In addition, game wardens in the area had received numerous complaints about ongoing illegal hunting activity by the defendants, heavy drinking, violent tempers and attempts to try to intimidate local law enforcement. The complaints of ongoing poaching demonstrate that traditional patrol techniques were not successful in curtailing the illegal behavior. Soon after the warden investigator made contact with each of the defendants, they quickly confirmed their continued tendency to violate the law. The seriousness of the violations, coupled with the defendants’ criminal history and continued intent to violate, resulted in the investigation being authorized.

Release of documents

The story leads the reader to believe that the Maine Warden Service only produced a 16-page document and 35 emails in response to the author’s request. In reality, the Department has produced over 232 documents, for which the Portland Press Herald and their attorneys have paid.

Additionally, while attempting to accommodate the Freedom of Access Act request initiated by Colin Woodard, he filed a complaint with the Office of the Attorney General, which compelled the Warden Service to direct communications through attorneys. The Office of the Attorney General determined the Maine Warden Service was compliant with Maine’s Freedom of Access Act. The Maine Warden Service continues to work with the Attorney General’s Office to guide the release of records requested.

The Warden Service routinely processes requests for information through cooperative communication with the public to ensure the correct records are produced. Woodard resisted staff attempts to clarify the scope of his request, which would have reduced staff time and costs incurred by the requester. The Warden Service even dedicated time to create summary documents—which is not required under FOAA—in an attempt to expedite the request and make the process more efficient for Woodard.

“… SWAT-style raid…”

Woodard’s story asserts the Maine Warden Service used SWAT teams and tactics when conducting the operation in Allagash. Additionally, the story alleged the operation was embellished for purposes of the “North Woods Law” camera crews who were present. He is wrong. There were no SWAT teams or tactics used in the investigation, and no part of the investigation was embellished. This can be seen clearly in the episode of “North Woods Law,” which was titled “Throttle Out” and aired June 19, 2014.

The operation in the town of Allagash included serving five search warrants at separate residences as well as an arrest warrant signed by the Honorable Justice Hunter. Occupants of an additional three residences were identified as needing interview follow-ups. For operational logistics and officer safety, four to five game wardens were present at each search warrant, including one supervisor, one warden assigned to collect evidence, one warden assigned to interview, one warden conducting the search and one safety warden. Additionally, two wardens were typically sent to each of the residences with occupants who required follow-up interviews. One warden for each of these critical roles at a search warrant is well within a reasonable number of officers for such an operation.

On the evening of serving the warrants, one “North Woods Law” camera crew of five was used and divided into two small groups to cover more than one location. As per protocol for the camera crews, they never entered any of the houses and did their filming from the street, gathering video mostly of wardens carrying evidence from the residences.

Undocumented “… meal of onions and venison…”

The story described one of the defendants feeding the warden “… onions and venison, for which he would later be charged with possession of undocumented meat.” The deer was in fact described to the warden by the defendant as being a 140-pound doe which he had killed prior to the open deer season—an “early bird special” as described by Jess McBreairty. Additionally, McBreairty killed the doe in a wildlife management district that has been closed to the taking of antlerless deer for the past several years. This was further indication that the defendants were making a significant negative impact on local game populations.

“… entrapment…”

Woodard attempted to convey to readers that the game warden in this investigation acted outside the law. The author used expressions such as: “…persuaded,” “… entrapment,” “… entice,” and “… padding evidence.” He implied that these techniques were used in an effort to tempt defendants to commit crimes that they otherwise would not have committed. The game warden was also accused of frequently being intoxicated and was “… providing alcohol to suspects to entice them to commit crimes.” None of these unsubstantiated accusations are true.

At no time did the warden in this investigation entrap, persuade, entice or tempt any defendants to commit a crime. The defendants in this investigation had strong, controlling personalities and often commented how they wanted to teach the game warden the “Allagash way.” The warden took a passive role while hunting with the group and followed their lead and instructions. During this investigation, the game warden often attempted to limit and at times stop a defendant from killing moose and other wildlife.

On numerous occasions, Reid Caron attempted to convince the game warden to kill multiple moose and deer. On one occasion, the game warden stopped Caron from attempting to kill both a cow and a calf moose. On another occasion, Caron tried to night hunt a federally protected Lynx; the game warden prevented this by scaring the Lynx into the woods with his vehicle. Those found guilty as a result of this investigation killed five illegal deer, one moose and wounded one additional moose without the undercover warden being present.

The game warden did shoot one male deer with Reid Caron. This was after Reid Caron shot and wounded two deer at night on Halloween 2013 and after Caron had shot at numerous deer at night.

Caron insisted the game warden shoot and laid out the rules for the game warden to do the shooting.

Defendants often challenge the warden once they realize they [defendants] have been committing all the violations.

By not following the defendant and killing an animal, the game warden would jeopardize his safety and the entire case. The deer which the game warden shot was one of two wounded deer that Caron shot five nights prior. The actions of the game warden were in compliance with policy and law. In some cases, officers are challenged and tested by suspects. Failure to follow their direction or demands will jeopardize the officer’s safety and identity with the suspect(s).

Past documented occasions during similar investigations have lead game wardens to be threatened with their lives. Reid Caron had previously shot and wounded two deer at night and shot at other numerous deer at night. The game warden was successful in those instances and avoided killing an animal. The circumstance in this case of a deer being shot by the game warden was the result of Reid Caron ordering the game warden to shoot a deer. The game warden complied to protect his undercover status and quite possibly his life.

Providing/Consuming Alcohol

The warden in this case put himself in situations where he could document as many violations as possible, while at the same time trying to minimize his participation in the illegal activities. However, in order to “fit in” with this group of excessive drinkers, the game warden did consume minimal amounts of alcohol and used several techniques to appear or pretend he was consuming alcohol. At no time during this investigation was the game warden intoxicated while in character.

The customary practice for this group was to buy and bring large amounts of alcohol to camp or while out hunting. The game warden followed that pattern and brought his own alcohol. The game warden did not provide his alcohol to the suspects in this investigation. On one occasion only, in October of 2012, Jess McBreairty specifically asked the game warden for one (1) beer purchased by the game warden.

They were working outdoors on a tractor while McBreairty smoked a marijuana cigarette and were not engaged in hunting activities.

“… providing the man with the gun, ammunition, vehicle, and spotlight…”

Over many years of participating in covert operations, the Warden Service has seen time and again defendants who would rather use other individuals’ firearms and vehicles in the event they are caught.

It is common knowledge among suspects, especially those such as Jess McBreairty and Reid Caron who have been convicted of past offenses involving mandatory jail time and loss of firearms, to know the potential to lose valuable equipment. Of the 15 defendants in the case, all used their own firearms and associated equipment at some point to commit fish and wildlife crimes.

Reid Caron, an educated violator

During several incidents of night hunting with Reid Caron, he told the game warden he is more careful and has learned from getting caught in the past. Caron stated numerous times, after finding rifle shells, that he must spend time looking for evidence left behind of his illegal night hunting activity. Caron often commented to the warden that this is why he will never get caught again. It should also be noted the illegal activity continued even when the game warden was not in the area, and they used their own firearms and equipment to commit crimes.

Fact vs. Fiction – Reid Caron

Here are the facts about Reid Caron, who was described in a February 5 story as being “in dire straits and needed the food” back in 2008 when both he and Jess McBreairty killed a moose at night. When Caron committed that crime, he was employed as an Allagash Wilderness Waterway Ranger (see story here: http://bangordailynews.com/2008/09/22/news/allagash-ranger-charged-with-illegal-moose-kill/ ) and both he and McBreairty were convicted; Caron for night hunting and McBreairty for Hunting Moose in Closed Season and Shooting from a Motor Vehicle. Caron resigned from his position as a waterway ranger shortly thereafter. See full BDN story: http://bangordailynews.com/2009/03/26/news/park-ranger-resigns-in-wake-of-night-hunting-conviction/

Contrary to the Portland Press Herald’s story, McBreairty and Caron—whom Woodard portrayed as being in “dire straits and needed the food”—subsequently left the moose, which they poached at night, to rot.

Hope Kelly’s allegations that “I thought it was a home invasion.”

Contrary to Hope Kelly’s (Reid Caron’s mother) statement that “eight or 10 men came into her house unannounced,” game wardens who entered Hope Kelly’s residence both knocked and announced their presence and immediately notified Hope Kelly that they were there to execute a search warrant. There were not 8 to 10 wardens that arrived at her residence, as Woodard reported. There was 1 game warden sergeant and 3 game wardens. One additional game warden arrived later to take custody of Reid Caron and to interview him.

The warrant was audio taped and was in the hands of Woodard. However, he chose to mislead readers and relay Hope Kelly’s account instead. As soon as the residence was secured, Hope Kelly sat down at her own table, was shown the search warrant and was interviewed about to her involvement in the investigation.

The canned vegetables

During the course of the search warrant, a number of canned vegetables were seized inadvertently, a mistake that wardens made. The vegetables were in canning jars that were identical to and packaged with the illegal moose meat. Immediately upon being informed by Rep. John Martin that some non-evidentiary items were seized from her residence, we promptly returned the items. At the time they were returned, Ms. Kelly signed for the return of the property. That receipt is available to view. At no point did the Warden Service seize peaches.

In addition to the illegal canned moose meat, which was erroneously described by the author as “meat never proven to be illicit,” illegal moose and illegal deer parts were also seized from Ms. Kelly’s residence. As for any remaining canned evidence not being returned to Ms. Kelly, all other canned evidence was determined to be contraband and was forfeited upon adjudication.

“… scant results.”

These are the words that Woodard emphasized in his effort to play down the poaching of Maine’s wildlife. This group was found guilty of committing the following and paid nearly $40,000 dollars in fines.

Reid Caron (37) of Allagash, previously under revocation, but had been reinstated in 2010, received 364 days in jail, all but 90 days suspended. Caron paid $21,200 in fines and lost his hunting license privileges for 44 years. He was found guilty of:

Nine (9) counts of Night Hunting

Three (3) counts of Hunting Under the Influence

Five (5) counts of Closed Season Hunting of Deer and Moose

Four (4) counts of Exceeding Limit on Deer

Four (4) counts of Illegally Hunting Antlerless Deer

Two (2) counts of Possession of Night Hunted Moose and Deer

One count of Guiding w/out a License

One count of Hunting Moose w/out a Permit

One count of Possession of Unregistered Deer

One count of Over Limit of Grouse

Seven (7) counts of Shooting from/Loaded Firearm in a Motor Vehicle

Carter McBreairty (59) of Allagash received 364 days in jail with all but 30 days suspended and 60 days of 24-hour home confinement. Carter was ordered to pay fines of $8,550; he surrendered three (3) firearms; and his hunting license privileges in Maine will be suspended for 24 years.

Carter was found guilty of:

Three (3) counts of Hunting Under the Influence

Three (3) counts of Exceeding Bag Limit on Deer

Three (3) counts of Loaded Firearm in a Vehicle

Night Hunting

Failure to Register a Deer

Over the Limit of Brook Trout

Two (2) counts of Theft of Services

Jess M. McBreairty (51) of Allagash, who was already under revocation for a previous night hunting case, received 50 days in the Aroostook County Jail, paid $3,000 in fines and lost his hunting license privileges for 12 years. Jess McBreairty was found guilty of:

Loaded Firearm in a Motor Vehicle

Hunting w/out a license

Exceeding Bag Limit on Deer

Hunting Under Revocation

Illegal Possession of an Antlerless Deer

Possession of a Deer in Closed Season

Violation of Condition of Bail

Fourteen (14) additional defendants in connection with this case from the towns of Allagash, Winterport (ME), Palermo (ME), Derry (NH), Chester (NH), St. Francis (ME) and Fort Kent (ME) were found guilty of 17 additional violations, including Possession of Firearm by a Felon, Furnishing a Place for Minors to Drink, Illegal Possession of Moose Shot from a Motor Vehicle, Hunting w/out a License, Furnishing a Schedule Z Drug, and Illegal Possession of Grouse. Those fines totaled $7,250.

The fact remains that all those involved plead guilty or were convicted by a jury of their peers for breaking the law. Some even went so far as to appeal all the way to the Supreme Court, which upheld their convictions and the merits of the case were affirmed 7-0 by Maine’s highest arbiters of justice.

We know the Portland Press Herald story leaves some with questions regarding the investigative process used by the Warden Service. We firmly believe that effective special investigations remain an essential part of our 136-year mission to fairly enforce the laws protecting Maine’s invaluable fish and wildlife resources. This has been an investigative unit that exemplifies our very best work:http://georgesoutdoornews.bangordailynews.com/2012/08/11/maine-woods/mount-vernon-poachers-my-neighbors-rounded-up/

Maine people and those who are connected to our state deserved to hear the truth. We appreciate being able to set the record straight.

Very respectfully submitted, Corporal John MacDonald Spokesperson – Maine Warden Service

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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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Connolly Named Acting Deputy Commissioner of ME Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife

Jim Connolly was named Acting Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Monday, replacing retiring Deputy Commissioner Andrea Erskine. Connolly first joined the Department as a wildlife biologist in 1980 and currently serves as IFW’s Director of the Bureau of Resource Management.

Source: Connolly Named Acting Deputy Commissioner of ME Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife : The Outdoor Wire

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Maine bear hunters get ready for season after ban try fails

*Editor’s Note* – Maine is less than a month away from a time when bear hunters can take to the woods and begin baiting for bear. As the below article states, Maine is coming off another assault from the animal rights perverts’ attempt to ban bear hunting. During the campaign that led up to the referendum vote, it appeared that bear hunters propped up the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, standing behind their efforts to ward off the attack that they claimed would seriously diminish their abilities to control black bear populations.

While most stand firmly behind MDIFW’s work, what kind of a statement is being broadcast, when the department has yet to publish on their website, the results and data of last year’s bear harvest? If the bear hunt, as it now stands, is so vitally important to the management of bears, one has to wonder if the department is too busy pimping for federal grant (extortion) money to count bats and bees, that it neglects the bear harvest report.

Maine’s bear hunters are getting ready for their season after withstanding a pair of challenges to the way they hunt,

Source: Maine bear hunters get ready for season after ban try fails | Concord Monitor

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No Deer Harvest Data: Put on That Same Ole Broken Record

It was one year ago today, according to my most reliable source of information, that the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife(MDIFW), finally posted deer harvest data so the rest of us can discover what took place going on 5 months ago.

I and others sound like a broken record wanting to know why it takes 5 months to count deer tagged at tagging stations and make it available to the public. One year some of us made a bunch of noise and got MDIFW to release a preliminary harvest number a couple months after close of the hunt. Now we are back to waiting, waiting, and waiting some more.

If you visit the website, you’ll also notice data from the black bear harvest isn’t even posted yet.

George Smith today wants to know how Maine sportsmen would spend extra money if MDIFW had it. Perhaps we could spend five bucks to teach somebody how to count.

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Maine IFW, Partners Crafting Wildlife Action Plan

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

AUGUSTA, Maine — Did you know that Maine has a plan for conserving its most rare and vulnerable fish and wildlife species? Maine’s Wildlife Action Plan, created in 2005, focuses on voluntary measures that can assist many of Maine’s most vulnerable species, it highlights natural area conservation efforts, and sets the course for the future of wildlife conservation in Maine.

Since 2005, Maine has received close to $8 million in federal funding and accomplished over 50 research, management, and conservation projects, benefitting brook trout, rare freshwater mussels and dragonflies, migrant birds such as Bicknell’s Thrush and Black-throated blue Warbler, and globally rare species, such as the Tomah mayfly. Puffins, wood turtles, Atlantic sturgeon, little brown bats and bumble bees are also recognizable species that have benefitted from the Wildlife Action Plan.

Maine is home to 292 species of birds, 61 species of non-marine mammals, 20 species of reptiles, 18 species of amphibians, 56 species of inland fish and 313 species of marine fish and mammals. The state is a geographic transition area, and its abundant wildlife resources represent a blending of species that are at or approaching the northern or southern limit of their ranges. Maine’s diverse physical settings support a wide diversity of wildlife that few other states can equal.

Wildlife Action Plans are created collaboratively among state, federal, tribal, and local agencies, non-profit organizations, private landowners, and the general public to identify opportunities to conserve vulnerable species and habitats before they become more difficult to address. (http://www.maine.gov/ifw/wildlife/reports/wap.html). In 2005, Maine’s plan identified 213 of our species in greatest need of conservation, the key issues surrounding these fish, wildlife, and their habitats; and showcased conservation opportunities necessary to prevent a species from becoming endangered, or to implement recovery programs.

Wildlife Action Plans must be updated every ten years; Maine’s next revised plan is due October 1, 2015. Over the coming year, MDIFW and its partners will work together to identify Maine’s fish and wildlife needs and conservation opportunities for the next decade.

Over 70 public, private, and non-profit entities are helping revise Maine’s Action Plan. Close to 50 of these organizations have attended workshop meetings in July, September and November, ensuring that Maine’s 2015 Wildlife Action Plan will reflect the values and priorities of Maine’s people. Landowner participation is also an essential part of the process, in order to identify practical, voluntary conservation opportunities that are amenable to landowner objectives and land use practices. Considering that wildlife-related recreation contributes over $1.4 billion annually to Maine’s economy, crafting an effective Wildlife Action Plan benefits not only our resident fish and wildlife species, but also supports a thriving sector of our state’s economy.

For more information, to make comments, or to become involved in Maine’s 2015 Wildlife Action Plan revision, please visit http://www.maine.gov/ifw/wildlife/reports/MWAP2015.html or contact us at mainewildlifeactionplan@gmail.com.

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Maine Audubon Looking for Volunteers to “Monitor” Roads for Wildlife Traffic

The Maine Audubon is seeking volunteers to give of their time to “monitor” highways in parts of the state in order to provide information as to where and how often wildlife crosses the road. More can be read about this program by following this link.

I’ll actually reserve comment about this programs and its usefulness and effectiveness, however I would like to point out that in the linked-to article above it reads:

Biologists with Maine Audubon and the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife will use the information gathered by volunteers to work with town planners and the Maine Department of Transportation to reduce road risks to rare wildlife and improve conditions for drivers.

I find it troubling that the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife(MDIFW) will work with a group of untrained volunteers conducting nonscientific “studies” or “monitoring” to be used to “work with town planners and MDOT” to protect wildlife and yet when experienced outdoor sportsmen repeatedly report to MDIFW about game conditions in the forests and fields, it is not always and regularly heeded in ways that could be beneficial to the wildlife.

From my own experiences over the past several years, what I have found is that sportsmen are right on top of what’s taking place in the field. Fish and Game “experts” are about 3 to 5 years behind reality and this lag in field knowledge can be a critical time. Part of the reason they are behind the actual events on the ground is due to their refusal to listen to or work with sportsmen when it comes to game management.

I wonder then, should, let’s say, the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine, or some other sports afield group seek volunteers to monitor how moose and deer or other game species are doing, whether or not MDIFW would have any interest? Perhaps it is because MDIFW fears the lobby power of groups like Audubon over sportsmen groups.

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