June 18, 2019

My Letter to Governor LePage – Re: LD372 and Bond Issues

Governor Paul Lepage – Thank you for signing LD372 and other bills to appropriate money and further your commitment to control predators that are seriously harming the state’s deer herd and other species. I hope you will also join other sportsmen in keeping a watchful eye on the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife to ensure that they will use the funds as mandated by the Legislature and use it effectively.

I hope that you will consider not signing the Bond issues for mostly economic reasons. You’re doing a great job working to get Maine out of debt, we don’t need millions in bond debt piled on now. In particular the bond that would provide money to Land for Maine’s Future, is a proposal that comes premature. It is one thing to seek funding for this program, some of which through wording of the bond proposal, would earmark money to be spent on saving deer wintering areas. This effort may sound good and is certainly well intentioned but, it is quite another to appropriate this money without a real plan. Millions of dollars should not be appropriated to a program that has no viable plan on how it is going to use that money.

Some in Maine, have said that this money to save deer yards is critical and yet they also state that no landowner is going to sell the state a stand-alone deer yard. Where is the plan? Until Maine produces a workable plan that is agreeable to landowners, appropriating money, particularly through a bond is irresponsible…at best.

Thank you again for your efforts and considerations on the upcoming bond issues.

Tom Remington

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Maine Gov. LePage Signs Bill To Appropriate Money for Predator Control

I had reported on Maine’s efforts to pass appropriations legislation for predator control to help rebuild a seriously depleted deer herd. The linked-to article questioned Maine’s full commitment to saving the herd and thus saving the hunting industry.

According George Smith, blogger and former executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine, Governor Paul LePage has signed LD 372 that would add another $100,000 to the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) budget to be used for predator control. In addition to this bill, the governor signed other MDIFW related bills appropriating funds for fish stocking, increased tagging agents’ fees and adding a “check-off” on the licensing application for sportsmen to donate money toward predator control.

I applaud Governor LePage’s signing of LD 372 as it seems to indicate more of a commitment to save the deer herd. He promised during his campaign he would and while it has taken 2 years, this is certainly better than nothing. However, Maine still lacks real commitment from all stake holders to make this happen.

The other issue is that Maine sportsmen are now left wondering if the money will actually be spent on killing predators that kill deer, i.e. coyotes/wolves, bears, and bobcats. Last winter MDIFW had $50,000 budgeted for coyote control and only used $15,000, in a piddling effort in only 9 deer yards scattered across the state, to kill coyotes. The excuse was it was a poor winter to kill coyotes in deer yards.

Time will reveal now whether MDIFW has the stomach and determination to kill predators to save a dying species. Sportsmen should keep a watchful eye on MDIFW to make sure this money gets spent on what it was legislated for and that real effort is made to reduce the number of predators that kill deer.

In addition, email the Governor’s office and thank him for signing these bills and remind him to make sure MDIFW does what it has been commissioned by the Legislature to do. Governor@maine.gov

Tom Remington

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