September 22, 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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RMEF Lauds Growth of Hunting, Findings of Scientific Study

MISSOULA, Mont.–A recent study shows an increase in the participation of hunting and fishing is related to several major factors including the economic recession, hunting for meat and the locavore movement, and an influx of new hunters including those who are younger, female and suburban.

“Hunting is a way of life. It is an American tradition and more and more people are realizing the importance it plays in all our lives,” said David Allen, RMEF president and CEO. “Hunting is conservation! It has a wide range of positive impacts on our lands and our wildlife.”

Responsive Management, a public opinion research organization specializing in survey research on natural resource and outdoor recreation issues, focused on recent showing a nine percent increase in hunter participation among Americans nationwide from 2006 to 2011.

The study pinpoints 10 major reasons for the increases:

• The economic recession

• Higher incomes among some segments of the population

• Hunting for meat and the locavore movement

• Agency recruitment and retention programs

• Agency access programs

• Agency marketing and changes in licenses

• Current hunters and anglers participating more often

• Returning military personnel

• Re-engagement of lapsed hunters

• New hunters and anglers including female, suburban and young participants

The data showed that hunting and fishing increased because of a perfect storm of reasons ranging from nationwide economic conditions to efforts on the part of individual state agencies to the confluence of key participant groups entering or re-entering the sports.

“The fact that a variety of factors was responsible for the increases should not take away from the importance of each individual factor,” said Mark Damian Duda, executive director of Responsive Management. “The research isolated each of these factors as having a notable impact on the increase in hunting and fishing participation between 2006 and 2011.”

“Different people hunt for different reasons whether to put food on the table, they want a more natural source of food, they have more or better access to lands to hunt, or they’re trying it for the first time. But the bottom line is more hunters and more hunting is good news for conservation, wildlife and wildlife habitat,” added Allen.

Responsive Management conducted the research by conducting personal interviews and surveys with state agency personnel, reviewing license sales data and past hunting and fishing participation, and conducting more than 1,400 interviews in 10 states over an 18-month period.

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It’s the Meat, Stupid!

New Research Shows Hunters Increasingly Motivated by the Meat

Reasons Include the Recession, the Locavore Movement, and More Women Hunting

HARRISONBURG, Va. – Recent national and state-level research conducted by Responsive Management reveals that obtaining meat is an increasingly important motivation among American hunters to go afield. “While there are several reasons for this growth in the segment of hunters who engage in hunting for utilitarian reasons, several of Responsive Management’s new studies make clear that the trend is widespread and unmistakable,” explains Mark Damian Duda, executive director of Responsive Management, who managed the research studies.<<<Read the Rest>>>

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National Survey: Public Approval of Hunting at 18-Year High

MISSOULA, Mont.–A recent nationwide survey indicates 79 percent of Americans approve of hunting, marking a five percent increase from 2011 and the highest level since 1995. “Hunting is a way of life for many of us. Most Americans recognize and agree with that,” said David Allen, RMEF president and CEO.

“Hunting is conservation! It has a tremendous positive impact on wildlife and wildlife habitat.”

Responsive Management, a public opinion research organization focusing on natural resource and outdoor recreation issues, began to scientifically track nationwide hunting approval trends in 1995. The most recent finding of 79 percent is the highest percentage to date. Trends remain relatively steady over the years: 73 percent in 1995, 75 percent in 2003, 78 percent in 2006, 74 percent in 2011 and 79 percent in 2013.

The survey also found that more than half of Americans (52 percent) strongly approve of hunting (79 percent strongly or moderately approve) while 12 percent disapprove (strongly or moderately) of hunting. Another 9 percent gave a neutral answer.

The increase in acceptance may be linked to results from a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service report (2011 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife-Associated Recreation, http://www.census.gov/prod/2012pubs/fhw11-nat.pdf) that shows hunting participation increased by 9 percent since 2006 while shooting participation increased 18 percent since 2009. Other Responsive Management studies on public opinion on hunting show the strongest correlation with the approval of hunting is knowing a hunter.

“Hunting has a tremendous and measureable link to conservation. Hunters deserve to be proud of their contributions to wildlife, habitat and resource management,” added Allen.

Hunting directly accounts for more than a million jobs in the US and creates an overall economy of $67 billion per year. Hunters provide the vast majority of funding that allows state wildlife agencies to successfully manage our wildlife resources through license sales and excise taxes on hunting equipment.

Conducted in February 2013, the Responsive Management survey randomly surveyed 1,306 Americans 18 years of age and older.

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