October 23, 2018

Feedback Beginning to Come in on Maine’s New Game Tagging System

It was announced a few days ago that Maine was entering the techno-zombie world of electronic game registration. This new system went into effect with the onset of the black bear hunting season. We are also in one of those “Expanded” seasons for deer with archery hunting.

I saw a first comment about the new system of registration from a person who shot and registered a deer taken in the Expanded season.

Essentially, he said the new program was easy to use and mostly begged that the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) would begin to allow field registration so tagging could be done in the field with a smartphone.

I hope not.

Field tagging, while appearing convenient to some, presents a myriad of problems as I see it. I’ll present one.

Registering of game serves more than one purpose. It provides game managers a location where they can go and physically inspect the game, take samples, and collect all kinds of data. It is this data that should make Maine wildlife managers better at doing their jobs. Consider what might happen if this data was no longer collected.

Maine is one of those states that is not overrun with deer for example. Because of this, more importance is put on responsible and effective deer management. Data is vital to accomplishing this.

Let’s not be greedy. I’m still in a bit of shock over this announcement of MDIFW moving to a more modern form of game registration. We should be thankful for that. We should also be eager to be a part of game management by understanding the need to visit a registration center to tag our haul.

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Tagging Maine’s Ruffed Grouse

It appears from all indications that very few people are aware of, “An Act to Strengthen Maine’s Wildlife Laws.” It is even more concerning that even fewer people have been made aware of Sec. 11. 12 MRSA §11857 of that act, entitled, “Unlawful possession of ruffed grouse.”

Here is that section only but I would advice hunters to check out everything within “The Act.”

Sec. 11. 12 MRSA §11857 is enacted to read:

§ 11857. Unlawful possession of ruffed grouse
1. Daily bag limit. A person may not take more than the daily bag limit of ruffed grouse during any open season on ruffed grouse as established by the commissioner.
2. Possession limit. A person may not possess more than the possession limit of ruffed grouse taken during any open season on ruffed grouse as established by the commissioner.
3. Duty to label ruffed grouse. A person shall label any ruffed grouse that the person has taken, before the next calendar day begins, with the name of the person who harvested the ruffed grouse and the date it was taken if that person is within or travelling through the unorganized territory.
4. Penalty. A person who violates this section commits a Class E crime for which a fine of not less than $100 plus $25 for each ruffed grouse taken in violation may be adjudged.

So, if you are a partridge hunter, better take along some paper and pen and something to attach a tag to a bird if you plan on hunting in or traveling through Maine’s “Unorganized Territories.”

I’m sure there is a reason for such a law, where there has never been one before, but it kind of smells a bit like one of those “I gotcha!” laws.

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