June 3, 2023

Deer Baiting Bill Shot Down in Committee

The proposed deer baiting bill for Maine deer hunting was shot down in committee, I am being told. One reason given was that, “this could really hurt the pride of hunting in Maine,” and explained that shooting deer over bait would incite groups like the Humane Society to “ripping these things apart,” and, “to see our hunting industry jeopardized.” Helloooooo!

The Humane Society of the United States and others, are already doing everything to “rip(ping) these things apart,” and to put the hunting industry in jeopardy. Although I don’t support hunting over bait, this is just the kind of reaction groups like the Humane Society of the United States hope to create – to live in fear of their shadow.

One guide at the hearing commented that it was legal to hunt over “crops” that deer like to feed on, so what was the difference? There are some obvious differences but it is my opinion that hunting over “crops” shouldn’t be allowed either. I like to see hunting as HUNTing not shooting.

But it still comes down as a practice that is not needed in Maine for deer hunting. It only promotes more lazy hunting and could jeopardize the opportunities of others by forcing a shorter season, among other reasons. Should the management of deer in Maine become necessary to implement a baiting rule, then this is a tool that should be available to the department.

Congratulations to the Committee for defeating this measure.

“AUGUSTA — A legislative committee voted Tuesday against endorsing a bill that would have ended the state’s prohibition on using bait to hunt deer in Maine.”<<<Read More>>>


Maine Wardens and Fish & Wildlife to Cut Budgets

Some appear to be “alarmed” that the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) commissioner is proposing a budget that will cut Warden Service (MWS) employees, reduce mileage allotments, as well as the reduction of other positions within the Fish and Wildlife department. I see this as a good thing.

At least some people think that throwing money at anything makes it better. I’m not one of them. While the potential exists that these cuts could be an advantage to better management and administration at MDIFW and the MWS, there appears to be one thing lacking that would have gone a long way in generating public support for a cut or an increase – a deep forensic audit of the departments in question so that the public is readily made aware of where every penny of revenue comes from and specifically where all expenses go.

It was suggested in an article by George Smith, an outdoor writer and political activist, that the cuts to the Warden Service was some kind of retribution to the controversial actions of an undercover agent in northern Maine awhile back. Perhaps that is the only reason that Gov. LePage told Commissioner Woodcock to cut the MWS budget. It appears from information provided, that one of those positions that would be cut is in northern Maine.

Is this really a bad thing? It depends on how you look at it. Perhaps the governor feels that if the MWS has the time and resources to send an agent undercover, to carry out tactics that go far beyond anything that should be considered ethical, then maybe the MWS has too much time, too many resources, the results offering little but controversy and a disturbed public. Heroes?

Within the MDIFW, I see cuts as a good thing. At age 65, having hunted and fished since I was about old enough to walk, I have seen many changes to the landscape and the administering of the MDIFW and MWS. Especially in the past couple of decades, I have watched as hunting opportunities for deer have steadily declined in many locations in Maine. Listening to the echo-chamber of fake global warming is doing nothing to help the situation. In most recent times, moose hunting opportunities have declined significantly. And, what is being done to mitigate these losses? Maybe the revenue to MDIFW isn’t being appropriated in the best way to seal up a leaky ship.

This is where some think that more money is needed to throw at the problem. Perhaps not. Perhaps what is really needed is a restructuring of the MDIFW. Along with that restructuring, we might like to see real changes in deer and moose management. It only makes sense that in order to keep the revenue stream flowing, you have to keep the license buyers happy. Forcing the general public to pay for sportsman’s activities would only exacerbate the problems that exist now, i.e. the lack of actual deer and moose management. With a public paying for hunting, trapping and fishing opportunities, it won’t take long before they will be demanding and end to these activities in favor of protecting coyotes, counting bats, growing more loons that will continue killing the fisheries – and let’s not forget those infamous piping plovers.

Some might say that MDIFW is doing their managerial jobs with the ongoing studies of moose and deer. I doubt it. Such studies end up being mostly money grabbing events that keeps employees working. As anyone with any sense at all should realize by now, that finding solutions to problems dries up the income flow.

The end of the world isn’t going to come because the governor is asking the MDIFW and the MWS to makes some cuts, as all government agencies should be making cuts. I’ve had to pay more in taxes in the past 8 years anyway, while not seeing my income go about one red cent. I would, therefore, expect state and federal governments to do some cutting of their own. I would, however, would have liked to see that audit, along with an opportunity for public comment, before the budget was proposed.

But that’s NEVER going to happen. So we will keep on wishing in one hand and piling garbage in the other and see which one fills up first.

Regardless of what you might think about this whole issue, one thing is certain. Nothing will change.


Gov. LePage’s Attempt to Block Quimby “Monument” Ends in Fluff With No Puff

Some used to think we lived in a democracy, of which they also considered a good thing. No longer and it was never good and only slightly better than an oligarchy, dictatorship, etc. It is quite clear from events in Maine that the people aren’t interested in another useless national park, one that, if established, would not be taken care of, because the U.S. Government can’t take care of what they have now. But, I guess that’s neither here nor there in this day and age of uncontrolled totalitarianism, and the forcing of the wills of those in power onto those that should be called subjects.

Due to the opposition of many Maine residents to a national park near Baxter State Park, by the wishes of the land owner, Roxanne Quimby, efforts for a park, which requires a vote in Congress, have become efforts to convince the current oligarchical president, Obama, to use his executive “privilege” and, while closing his eyes, to the unappealing-in-any-way land, grant it as a National Monument. It matters not whether the proposed monument land has all the qualifications for a monument designation. It’s about politics. Well, isn’t it?

Maine’s governor Paul LePage is opposed to Federal intrusion, which is what a park or monument would do, and has sought some kind of legislation that might prohibit either action. His latest attempt was to craft some sort of law that would force ownership of the land back to the original owner if that land was purchased or given to the U.S. Government and designated as a park or monument. Those of us with curious minds would have loved to see how that would have worked out.

The Maine Governor’s huffing and puffing, ended benignly, when his proposed bill, LD 1600, was amended to read that the State of Maine doesn’t wish to have another national park or a national monument. Here’s how the summary read: “This amendment is the minority report of the committee. It removes the requirement for a reverter clause in a deed and conveyance or title papers in the event that land is given by the State to the Federal Government and the Federal Government attempts to designate such land a national monument. It adds language specifying that, in the case of designation of property as a national monument, the consent of the Legislature is not given to the Federal Government for the acquisition of land.”

In an article in the Portland Press Herald, it states: “Bill opponents questioned whether the measure would violate private property rights or violate the U.S. Constitution.” What property rights? The only property rights that exist individually are those we are allowed to have, i.e. the right to pay the king his tribute for using the land. Once the king decides there are other uses, those granted privileges are taken away.

We know that whatever the president does or whatever the Congress does, nothing is unconstitutional. We must learn to get over this myth. Article I, Section 8 of the United States Constitution says, in part: “To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by the Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.”

For those unaware of Section 8, it is a long laundry list of the Powers granted unto Congress with the establishment of the U.S. Constitution. The above clause becomes the “general article,” similar to the Uniform Code of Military Justice’s Article 134. For less studious minds, it’s similar to the “Coaches Rule” which reads: Rule one, the coach is always right. Rule two, refer to rule one.

The short of it is, Congress can do anything it damn well pleases because when they signed the Constitution (the people had nothing to say about it) they granted themselves a general article in which they can “make all Laws which are necessary and proper.” And don’t think for one minute that you or I have any say in what is “necessary and proper.” We all laughed when a reporter asked Nancy Pelosi, then Speaker of the House, if Obamacare was “constitutional” and her response was, “You gotta be kidding me.” She knew, we didn’t and can’t figure it out…yet.

Here’s the reality. If Roxanne Quimby is well-connected enough with Barack Obama, at the least she will get her national monument. Forget whether or not the president has certain powers. Those who can see should know by now the president is allowed, by Congress, to do just as he damn well pleases. And, we should know now that Congress has the power to do what it wishes. Maine, not a “sovereign” state as most falsely are led to believe, cannot stop any action the president or Congress decides to do. We gave up that sovereignty when we signed onto the United States Corporation contract.

What will happen with Ms. Quimby’s land actually depends upon how beholding Obama is to Quimby – how much money and support she has given Obama and whether or not her actions deserve his actions. That’s how the corrupt government works – always has and always will. But in our programmed insanity, we keep convincing ourselves the next election will change things. Uh, huh!

While the Maine governor, residents and legislators get their undies in a bunch over trying to stop Roxanne Quimby, the best that they can do is waste taxpayer’s money by drafting, amending, discussing and passing a bill that is nothing more than a resolution stating that a weak majority of House members don’t want Quimby’s park or monument.

It’s much akin to the large pit bull ordered to sic a man who was being a bully. The pit bull ran after the man, cornered him and began barking (in a soft feminine voice) bowsy-wowsy, bowsy-wowsy.

Fluff with no Puff!


MDIFW Commissioner Opposes SAM Bill LD 1593

Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife commissioner, Chandler Woodcock, submitted testimony in opposition to a Sportsman’s Alliance Bill proposed bill, LD 1593. His opposition appears based on restrictions he believes the bill will place on the Department under certain conditions that would be forced upon the MDIFW, when certain conditions exist.

While the intent of the bill is understandable, the bill does have its problems.


Maine’s Welfare Whores Give Millions, Can’t Find $100K to Fund Concealed Carry Law

The epitome of ignorance, screwed up values and priorities, can be found in the State of Maine. Just the other day I reported that Maine would fail to implement a law passed in the Legislature because it wasn’t willing to come up with $100,000 to fund something that no longer exists. The law did away with the need for Maine citizens to spend time and pay useless taxes in order to carry a concealed weapon. The Legislature claimed they just couldn’t afford to fund the new law.

However, the same Legislature voted millions of dollars in welfare handouts to aliens.

“I was appalled to find out this morning that the Maine Senate voted to give at least $6 million worth of welfare benefits to non-citizens just days after they voted to leave hundreds of severely disabled Mainers on waitlists for Medicaid services,” said Maine Department of Health and Human Services Commissioner Mary Mayhew. “Mainers have spoken loud and clear that they believe public benefits should go to Maine citizens in need, not to non-qualified aliens, but a majority in the senate has decided to listen to welfare industry lobbyists instead of Maine citizens.”

Whether you agree with the new gun carrying law, Maine’s Legislature has their priorities screwed up in a big way. This should be rectified.


Testimony Given in Right to Hunt Constitutional Amendment

Senator Paul Davis, Representative Michael Shaw, distinguished members of the committee on Inland Fisheries and wildlife.

Good afternoon and thank you for the opportunity to speak here today. My name is Brett Patten and I am here to testify in support of LD753, a proposal that would amend Maine’s Constitution to protect an individual’s right to hunt, and fish. And, in concept, LD703 a proposal that would amend the constitution of Maine to protect the people’s right to hunt, fish and harvest wildlife.

That being said, I feel here in Maine we pride ourselves on having strong beliefs as well as our own thoughts and ideas. That is why I’m asking you, when these bills go to work session that you make them our own. Make this “Maine’s Constitutional Amendment”, not Idaho’s, not Kentucky’s or any other state in the union, but Maine’s. There is a belief that similar Constitutional Amendments in other states, that are already in place, will work here in Maine, maybe they will, I don’t know. I do know this, in Maine we tend to do things our way, and not the way of others. This may be our best opportunity to do this so I would ask you to make this the best it can be.

Notwithstanding the fact that I am in favor of these bills, I am proposing the following changes in section 26 of the amendment and to the question that would appear on the ballot.
(Changes are in bold type)

Section 26. Right to hunt, fish, trap and harvest game and fish.
The right of the people of this state to hunt, fish, trap and harvest game and fish, including by the use of traditional methods, may not be infringed, subject to reasonable laws enacted by the legislature and reasonable rules adopted by the state agency designated for fish and wildlife management to promote wildlife conservation and management, to maintain natural resources in trust for public use and to preserve the future of hunting, fishing and trapping managing fish and game for surplus harvest. Public hunting, fishing and trapping are preferred means of managing, controlling and perpetuating fish and wildlife. This section may not be construed to modify any provision of law relating to eminent domain, trespass or property rights.

The question on the ballot would read like this:
“Do you favor amending the Constitution of Maine to provide that the right of the people of this state to hunt, fish, trap and harvest game and fish may not be infringed, subject to reasonable laws and rules, and to provide that public hunting, fishing and trapping are a preferred means of managing, controlling and perpetuating wildlife”?

I have hunted and fished in Maine most of my life and in recent years I’ve found a real love in trapping. I’m very proud to say I’m a registered Maine guide, a member of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine, the Maine Professional Guide’s Association and the Maine Trapper’s Association. Last year’s fight against the bear referendum showed me a lot about who we are as Mainer’s. Although I was sickened at the amount of money and resources wasted in last years fight, I’m very grateful that I got to be a part of, and see firsthand, the solidarity and determination it took to defeat the Humane Society of the United States, for the second time in 10 years. For those of you that may not know, the Maine trapper’s Association donated over $117,000.00 towards last years cause along with soliciting thousands more from other fraternal organization’s. Trapping is a valuable part of Maine’s wildlife conservation and has been for hundreds of years. The word “trap” and the word “trapping” deserve to be in this amendment.

Opponents of bills like these say, “A State’s Constitution should guarantee fundamental democratic rights, not provide protection for recreational pastimes.” I say, “Hunting, fishing, and trapping are not recreational pastimes, but they are rights, rights of the people of this great state that should be protected forever!”

I would ask you to please vote “ought to pass” with the few changes I have presented.

I would be happy to answer any questions that the committee may have.

Thank you all for your time and God bless.

Respectfully submitted,
Brett Patten


Maine Bill: Legislature Would Have Final Approval Before Land Given to NPS

“AUGUSTA, Maine — New legislation put forward by Gov. Paul LePage appears to take aim at proponents of a national park in Maine by giving the Legislature final say on large federal projects that would require the acquisition of state land.

The Legislature’s Judiciary Committee will review on Tuesday LD 1828, “An Act To Limit Consent Regarding Land Transfers to the Federal Government.” Rep. Doug Thomas, R-Ripley, is sponsoring the bill.”<<<Read More Answer Poll Question>>>


Cowards at Maine Legislature Limit Gun Rights While Heading Out the Door on Vacation

What was thought to be a relatively safe bet that LD1240 would go down in defeat, ended up being passed by the Maine Senate as lawmakers headed out the door for summer vacation. LD1240 is a bill that will end Maine residents’ rights to sell and buy firearms through private sale.

Please contact Governor Paul LePage (governor@maine.gov) and ask him to veto this bill.


An Act to Abolish the Maine Fish and Wildlife Advisory Council

LD 128, An Act to Abolish the Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Advisory Council, is the brainchild of George Smith, former executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine and present writer/activist in outdoor affairs in the State of Maine. He got Senator Anne Haskell to sponsor the bill.

On Smith’s blog he publishes his testimony before the Joint Committee on Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. Smith’s attempt in his testimony is to point out the reasons why the Advisory Council should be abolished but I think what he should be doing is giving good reasons as to why it’s authority and function should change in order to make it more effective. More on that in a second.

Disturbing to me in Smith’s testimony is he says the following:

And there are two other problems. There has never been a nonsportsman on the advisory council, even though the department serves all the people of Maine, not just those who purchase hunting and fishing licenses and permits.

Smith has a history of giving away the power that license-buying sportsmen need to continue a department that will manage game species for surplus harvest. That power struggle is already weighted heavily on the side of environmentalists and giving them more power will do absolutely no good for fish and game issues. While it may be easy to state that the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife works for everyone, everyone doesn’t pay the bills. Therefore, “nonsportsmen” do no deserve a spot on the Advisory Council, nor should we be seeking tax revenue in order to make this happen.

But back to the restructuring of the Advisory Council (AC). I will agree with many of the things Smith says about how the current structure of the AC is working or not working. Restructuring it, rather than abolishing it would be better, I think, for sportsmen.

It is my opinion that the worse thing that can happen for fish and game departments is to establish what would be a dictatorship. The commissioner should not have complete or too much control over the aspects of operating the department; neither should he or she have all authority stripped away.

advisorycouncilThis same dynamic can and does exist in other states where the commissioner is hamstrung and can’t do anything without legislative approval. This hinders timely wildlife management. There needs to be a balance of power between the fish and game commissioner, the Legislature and the Advisory Council.

If the commissioner holds the majority of the power to make all decisions related to fish and wildlife management, then any person, lobbyist, non governmental agency, etc. can focus all their efforts on a single commissioner to achieve their personal agendas. This same can occur if a legislature has all the control. All one need do is have an audience with the ranking member(s) and I’ll guarantee the results will not be in the best interest of all sportsmen. We need checks and balances….unfortunately.

And of course this same dynamic can exist within the Advisory Council if that board is given too much power. The key here is to keep a healthy division of power without hamstringing the commissioner, that will insure that all sportsmen, from all corners of the state can be heard and represented. Members of the Advisory Council should have enough influence that when sportsmen contact them on issues, those council members will be heard.

It is for these reasons, mostly, that I would suggest keeping the Advisory Council but change the power structure in order to make them effective and worthwhile. The separation of powers is essential.


The Emperor’s New Clothes: Maine’s Non Resident Hunter Task Force

In Hans Christian Andersen’s tale “The Emperor’s New Clothes”, a vain, and yes stupid, emperor hires two tailors to make him clothes. The tailors present the emperor with “new clothes” telling him that only stupid people or those unfit to be king could not see the clothes and think him naked. Of course the emperor can’t see the cloth and fearing someone will discover his stupidity, wears his “new clothes” in public. One has to wonder if the Task Force, appointed by the Maine Legislature to discover why non resident hunters don’t want to come to Maine anymore, is presenting the Joint Committee on Inland Fisheries and Wildlife new and invisible clothes.

Through the course of this discussion on what the Task Force will research and make for recommendations, I have reported on the contents of the very belated minutes of those meetings – here, here and here. In addition, readers can go to the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife website and find information unearthed and presented by the Task Force.

Alas, the Task Force has made its recommendations to the Maine Legislature. The Final Report includes the following recommendations:

• MDIFW must work collaboratively with the Office of Tourism to develop a marketing plan promoting Maine as a destination for Nonresident hunters; and in all areas of outdoor recreation.

• Funding should be allocated to survey current and recently lapsed Nonresident hunters, using a qualified market research firm specializing in natural resource and outdoor recreation issues; to find out what these customers want, why they have lapsed, and what barriers there are for travel to Maine as a hunting destination.

• Based on the data generated from this market research, marketing tools, strategies and training must be provided to Maine’s hunting industry partners, including guides, outfitters, sporting camps, B & Bs, and other state agencies such as Office of Tourism and Department of Conservation; to multiply the effect of the marketing plan.

• New hunting licenses, ‘repackaged’ licenses, or licenses that feature new privileges or opportunities appear to be one of the greatest factors with the potential to positively affect any kind of license sales. The Legislature and MDIFW must take a closer look at ways to accomplish and implement this initiative in a timely manner.

• Maine must do more to promote its lands open to hunting statewide, and the ease of access to them. Paper collateral such as maps and brochures, and online information that can be shared by state agency and hunting partners’ websites, must be developed, distributed and kept current.

The Task Force is naked! The Task Force is naked! But don’t look now, but the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) and the Maine Legislature are also naked! Naked I tell you!

The Legislature and the MDIFW all made recommendations prior to this Task Force’s work and the Task Force has made their final recommendations and none of them once addressed the topic in a serious fashion that perhaps, just perhaps, the reason non resident hunters won’t come to Maine to hunt is because there are NO DEER to hunt.

While it was briefly discussed during Task Force meetings, it was quickly dispelled as something they were not interested in including in their discussions. Forget that it is the only element of things that were blamed that directly correlates to the decline in non resident hunters. In other words, as the state’s deer population began to shrink, and yes I must say it here, because of poor management, so also did the number of non resident hunting license sales.

However, the Task Force, the Legislature and MDIFW have all chosen to think people can really see their new clothes. Instead of facing reality, the recommendations are to market a product that does not exist and is of little or no interest to big game hunters who pay the big dollars. The idea is to “repackage” hunting license options. As the old saying goes, you can put lipstick on a pig but it’s still a pig.

If there was any controversy to the Task Force’s discussions it was the idea that Sunday hunting should be recommended along with allowing non residents to hunt on the resident only day. In the end, even those were bypassed.

The best thing the Legislature can do with these recommendations is to file them away somewhere until such time, if ever, the day comes when there are deer to hunt. Maybe if the Legislature was truly committed to Maine’s deer problem, which is directly related to the no non resident hunters problem, they would get to work to actually fix it. It’s simple really. First, sit down and determine whether the number of jobs and businesses that would be saved and/or created by investing in dealing with real issues, is worth the investment. If the Legislature and the rest of the state determine they are committed to the investment and the MDIFW should recommend that $500,000 is needed to kill coyotes as a viable means to begin a herd rebuilding, then the Legislature should commit to that investment. Yes, it really is that simple.

They have not and more than likely will not because the Governor, MDIFW and the Legislature are NOT fully committed to saving the hunting industry. Interesting in that the industry provides a very handsome tax revenue to the state and the hunters necessary to keep the industry going, pay their own way, while the state reaps the benefits. Now, their commitment is non existent. If the Maine Government is not interested in helping out when help is needed, then perhaps the government should butt out of fish and game business.

I suppose therefore, the hunting industry is the goose that lays golden eggs.

Tom Remington