October 14, 2019

Maine Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Given Authority Over Turkey Hunting Dates and Bag Limits

An amended bill, LD98, gives the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife authority to set hunting season dates and bag limits on wild turkeys. In addition, the Department can implement special hunts for wild turkeys when it is deemed a necessity.

Each of us will have to decide whether we think granting this authority to the Department is a good thing or a bad thing. But then again, does it really matter if the Department never uses it? For those who are suffering crop damages and/or other livestock or property damage issues, I hope the Commissioner at least opts to implement some special hunts to mitigate the losses.

One report is being spread around the state that an apple orchard company is losing over $1 million a year in crop damage. MDIFW should begin immediately to stop this problem.

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11 Months and Three Weeks Later IF&W Counted the Turkeys Shot in May 2016

Because IF&W Really, Really, Really Gives a Damn!

We could go over to New Hampshire and live and nobody in Maine would miss us!

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A Bill Proposal to Eliminate a Turkey Permit Fee

Evidently turkey hunting in Maine is a dead duck. Or maybe it’s too expensive. Maybe having to travel as many as 30 miles to be a law-abiding citizen to register your turkey, is prohibitive. Maybe I should have called it something other than a dead duck. There’s a proposed bill that will eliminate the permit and tagging fees, increase bag limits and allow Online and telephone tagging.

Maybe those agog about more and easier turkey killing should keep in mind that in a few more years the only hunting left in Maine might be turkeys and bears and replacing deer and moose will be wild hogs and opossum. What puzzles me though is that deer can’t grow in northern and western Maine because deer are “at the northern fringe of their habitat, but I guess New Brunswick is south of Maine? And moose are dying because of global warming, causing ticks that kill moose. So, the confusing part is that if the climate is warming, then the “northern fringe” of the deer habit should be moving to the north, allowing more deer to flourish and moose will eventually not be found in Maine’s warm climate. Right? Let’s adjust those mirrors and apply smoke in different places to see if we can remove all doubt.

But I don’t want to get off the subject. According to reports there were only 16,000 licensed turkey hunters last year in Maine. At $20 a pop that’s $320,000 dollars in revenue for the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW). One might think (rationally) that with 200,000 deer hunters more than 16,000 would want to turkey hunt and that would mean more from the cash cow to fatten up the coffers. Rational thinking belongs with the wild hogs.

In one article I read, MDIFW Commissioner Woodcock told the Joint Standing Committee he didn’t want to lose that turkey hunting license revenue, if the proposal passed to eliminate the license fees. If they lose the revenue, is the incentive gone to do anything about growing more turkey hunters, or even managing turkeys at all? If it’s not a “game species” anymore, what is it? Wild hog hunting is sounding better all the time.

Maine’s Wildlife Division Director said, “The Department is opposed to this bill because it does not allow us to manage Maine’s wild turkey population based on biological principles and sound science.” Really?

So let’s see. One report says that too many turkeys have cost one apple farmer $250,000 in damages a year. That’s no small potatoes apples! But, all we hear about is that MDIFW must consider the social demands and toleration levels before they can make decisions. What to do, what to do? Too bad that apple farmers are a minority group. Maybe he should team up with the Humane Society of the United States. There is a member on one of MDIFW’s boards helping to make decisions – based, of course, on social demands. No, wait. That’s right. She wants to stop all hunting…along with human existence. Looks like the apple farmer is all out of luck. She might even insist apple growing stop due to the rights of worms and maggots.

And, we can’t disregard the honey-hole of information created in the recent survey that will justify just about any issue with MDIFW. “overall Maine’s public is very satisfied with the management and population levels of Maine’s Big Game species.” But what about turkeys? Time to begin some education seminars on how to effectively hunt wild pigs. I’d suggest someone start up a helicopter service for shooting pigs but Maine doesn’t have many open fields like Texas.

In the latest report to the Maine Legislature about the status of deer management in Maine, the report is a doozie! We read several times similar claims to self-importance, “95% of landowners rated the Department’s ability to manage deer as fair to excellent.” WOW! That’s a big number. But look closer. This statement could just as easily have read, “100% of landowners rated the Department’s ability to manage deer (turkeys) as piss poor to excellent. Fair is but one notch above piss-poor.

Smoke and Mirrors it appears.

But then one, or at least a whiner like me, has to ask if MDIFW really gives two rats’ stomach tumors about how many turkeys there are, or are they more interested in just the money? After all, the turkey harvest results for the Spring and Fall 2016 hunts haven’t been published on the website yet….or deer…or bear….or moose. Alas! So busy “managing” turkeys?

We may need to protect the turkey for the only remaining “Big Game” hunt for Maine. Supplement that with an extended season on coyotes and wild pigs and Maine’s hunters will be sitting in fat city.

America is great again?

 

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Socially Acceptable Levels of Nonsense

It’s beyond foolishness that fish and game departments across this totalitarian nation – that thinks it’s a democracy – aim to implement “socially acceptable levels” of wild animals as it pertains to their legislative mandates to “manage” them. Wildlife management is a science – even though more often than not that science is severely fouled through Scientism, outcome-based pseudo science, environmental idealism, Romance Biology, Voo-Doo Science, or just plain political bias. Make way for “socially acceptable levels” of wildlife injected into what once was a scientific process formulated in the best interest of the people, the health of the animals and the desire to utilize a natural resource for the benefit of providing a food source and continuing a heritage that has been a part of human survival since The Great Flood.

In order to be transparent and forthcoming, let me say right up front that if the real, honest, scientific process determined that any and/or all hunting should stop, for the purpose of sustaining a game species, I would support that. I have in the past.

This “social acceptance” nonsense rose to recognition right along with Environmentalism and the perversion of Animal Rights. Much because the American person has been so misguided in their understanding as to what purpose animals have on this planet, that existence has risen to such a psychopathic level that we witness, as a common element within our society, of, not only humans living, eating, bathing, and sleeping with their pets, but offering these animals a perceived right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, equal to or greater than those of men. Utter nonsense and far beyond the realm of human intelligence.

Now we are witness to fish and game departments, caving in to the mental illness of equal existence of man and animal, that somehow it has become necessary to bastardize and pervert what was left of honest, scientific, wildlife management in order that people get to express their tolerance levels of wild animals – based on nothing but one’s manipulated perception, formulated on selfishness, greed, laziness and a myriad of other emotional factors and useless, non-redeeming social values.

Perhaps the only half-sensible level of tolerance that should be considered is that of public safety. However, are we to accept the idealism of some city slicker, who has never seen a moose, bear, turkey, deer, or downhill-side-badger, as a legitimate means of managing wildlife? Nobody wants to run the risk of running into a large wild animal with their car and getting hurt, even if they are too stupid to know when to slow down or to slow down at all. Few understand the real risk of confronting large predators due to distorted views allowed to be presented. Aren’t these issues something that should be decided by science and not socially progressive emotional clap-trap?

In what other things in our life are we asked of our “socially acceptable levels?” Please don’t confuse “socially acceptable” with economic tolerances, although in some wildlife management issues, some level of economic tolerance exists.

Does the EPA consult with the people, i.e. sending out surveys and questionnaires to get a sense of how much the public will stand for their fascists dictations?

Does the Department’s of Transportation, actively seek social tolerances with automobile drivers as to how many deaths by vehicular destruction is acceptable? Do they do the same before setting the speed limit, building or repairing roads?

Does the Department of Energy and Defense consult with you and I about our social acceptance of the number of nuclear weapons or the need for war?

Are we consulted with what our tolerances are with the military and U.S. Government spraying chemicals daily in our skies over us?

Even in fake, government shams like “Global Warming,” you and I aren’t consulted with as to what our tolerance level is as to the amount of carbon dioxide we are willing to “suffer” with.

We have been told for decades now that man explored space and landed on the moon. When was the last time you were probed as to your social acceptance of rockets in space and vast amounts of resources, time and money it took to pull this off?

Are we consulted for social acceptance as to how many trees get cut, fields get planted and harvested, or who gets to place their land in Tree Farm status?

This list is endless and yet, science be goddamned, it has become necessary for officials within our fish and game departments to consult with mentally ill animal perverts, even placing them on department committees, in order to figure out how much people can take. Who made that decision? What a joke. And how irresponsible can it be, to pretend to somehow balance sound and responsible wildlife management with the demands of environmentalists and animal perverts?

Maine is in the process of wasting time devising copy and paste game management plans so they can continue to be eligible for Federal funds. The latest laugh comes from plans to decide how many wild turkeys is “socially acceptable” to Maine people.

According to George Smith’s article, the Department wants to have enough turkeys for “viewing”: ““Ensure public satisfaction with the turkey population by providing hunting and viewing opportunity and minimizing conflicts with landowners.””

If you haven’t been to Maine recently, the traffic is extremely heavy with idiots wanting to view wild turkeys. Give me a break! Does anyone have a brain anymore? Are we so stupid as to forego everything sensible because we fear political correctness (censorship)? Cannot they see that this sham of “social tolerance” is nothing more than a guise to rid the world of the things environmentalists don’t like while protecting their own. This is totalitarianism and doesn’t even resemble the next worse thing – democracy.

If fish and game departments haven’t the collective brains to have an understanding of “what the market will bear” (no pun intended), then fire them…or better yet, don’t hire them to begin with. Science is first and foremost. To go out seeking public input about social acceptances within a scientific process is fools folly. They should be able to get a good sample of the real population’s tolerances by listening to the phone ring with complaints.

To pimp the rides of environmentalists is playing their totalitarian games. This nonsense needs to stop and it needs to stop right now. It’s a waste of time, energy and money. Fish and game departments should be applying the real scientific process to wildlife and game management, while considering the recreational value of such management, combined with public safety. If they haven’t figure this child’s game out yet, then what good are they? Get rid of all of them and find those who got a clue.

 

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Turkey Season Starts Monday Throughout Maine

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

AUGUSTA, Maine – Spring turkey season starts on Monday, May 2 throughout the state, and youth hunters have their own day on this Saturday, April 30. With this year’s milder than usual winter, hunters should be seeing a lot of birds.

“This was an easy winter on turkeys, even up in northern Maine,” said IFW game bird biologist Kelsey Sullivan. “We had good survival rates through the winter, and this was on top of a good production year for turkeys last spring.”

The light snow meant a lot of open ground where turkeys could feed through the winter resulting in higher survival rates and healthy birds.

“There are a lot of younger birds around, and the weights on some of them are impressive,” said Sullivan who had captured and weighed some year-old jakes earlier this spring. “We had some healthy 14-15 pound jakes and even measured one that was 19 pounds.”

Wild turkeys are a wildlife success story in Maine. Once gone completely from Maine landscapes, they are now a familiar sight in all Maine’s 16 counties, thanks to a reintroduction and management plan started in the 1970s by the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

“Maine has some excellent turkey hunting,” said Sullivan. “Success rates are very good, the birds are lightly hunted compared to other states, and you can hunt turkeys throughout the state.”

With a valid Maine big game or small game hunting license, turkey hunters can purchase a wild turkey permit for just $20 for both residents and nonresidents. This permit allows turkey hunters to take up to two wild turkeys in the spring, and an additional two turkeys in the fall. Legal hunting hours for turkey hunting stretch from ½ hour before sunrise and ½ hour after sunset. The spring season runs from May 2 until June 4.

While the turkey season is open throughout the state in all wildlife management districts, hunters should note that that there is a split season in northern Maine in WMDs 1-6, as well as one turkey bag limit in WMDs 1-6 and 8. Hunters may take two bearded turkeys, but no more than one of these bearded turkeys can come from WMDs 1-6 or 8.

If you are turkey hunting in northern Maine, in WMDs 1-6, turkey hunters in are assigned to either Season A or Season B based on their year of birth.  During “even” numbered calendar years such as this (2016), hunters with “even” birth years will be authorized to hunt during Season A (May 2-7, 2016 and May 16-21, 2016 this year); hunters with “odd” birth years will be authorized to hunt during Season B (May 9-14, 2016 and May 23-28, 2016). All turkey hunters can hunt the last week (May 30- June 4, 2016).

During “odd” numbered calendar years (2017, 2019, etc.), hunters with “odd” birth years will be authorized to hunt during Season A; hunters with “even” birth years will be authorized to hunt during Season B. Many turkey hunters are familiar with this split season as it was in place statewide prior to 2007. More information and WMD maps are available at www.mefishwildlife.com.

The Department strongly encourages all turkey hunters to reach out to landowners before hunting. Please remember to ask first before accessing private land, and respect any and all requests of the landowners.

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Tallies from hunting show that deer, bear and turkeys are doing well in N.H. – moose, not so much

…although it may seem counterintuitive, hunting seasons are one of the best ways to determine the size and health of wild animal populations. A popular hunting season can send thousands – tens of thousands in the case of deer season – into the woods looking for specific species.

Because hunters must register their kills for major game animals such as deer, bear, turkey and moose at stations, their season provides data about age, weight and general health of individuals and sex ratios of populations. For example, samples taken at deer check-stations let biologists know that chronic wasting disease, often called the deer version of mad cow disease, has not shown up in New Hampshire.

Source: Tallies from hunting show that deer, bear and turkeys are doing well in N.H. – moose, not so much | Concord Monitor

ObamaMooseHunting

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Northern Maine Spring Turkey Season Suspended Due To Effects of Severe Winter

AUGUSTA, Maine — Due to the impact of this year’s severe winter in northern Maine, the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and wildlife has suspended the spring wild turkey hunt in portions of northern Maine, specifically Wildlife Management Districts 1-6. The spring turkey season will remain unchanged in all other areas of the state.

“Late winter can be the most critical period for wild turkeys, and unfortunately March of 2014 has been challenging for turkeys in Northern Maine,” said Chandler Woodcock, Commissioner, Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. In fact, the National Weather Service ranked March 2014 in northern Maine as the third snowiest March on record.

“This winter has taken a toll on younger wild turkeys, including hens. A spring hunting season in addition to the severe winter could impact not only this turkey season, but future seasons as well,” said Woodcock.

IFW wildlife biologists believe the northern Maine wild turkey population has potentially sustained above-average winter mortality rates. Perhaps more significantly, much of northern Maine is still blanketed in snow.

The wild turkey population in northern Maine is more vulnerable to severe winters as it is not as well established as wild turkeys in other parts of the state.

“Wild turkeys breed in April and May, and there is still over two feet of snow in the northern Maine woods, and 80 percent of our fields are snow-covered, making nesting conditions extremely difficult for turkeys,” said IFW Wildlife Biologist Rich Hoppe.

Wild turkeys nest on the ground at the base of trees or near brush piles. The snow, excessive water and the late spring will delay nesting as well as impacting overall nesting success.

Wild turkeys had vanished from the Maine landscape, but a wild turkey reintroduction program initiated in the mid-1970s in York County by the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife began the process of restoring wild turkeys throughout their historical range in Maine.

Careful stewardship and partnerships with outdoor groups and landowners has expanded the range of wild turkeys in Maine, including northern Maine. This past fall, the department expanded turkey hunting opportunities to include the entire state, including northern Maine.

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Maine Turkey Season Starts Thursday

AUGUSTA, Maine — Today marks the start of the upland bird season in much of the state, and this fall, turkey hunters have an expanded season that starts October 3 and can take up to two birds this fall season.

Wild turkeys are a wildlife success story in Maine. Once gone from Maine landscapes, they are now a familiar sight in all Maine’s 16 counties, thanks to a reintroduction and management plan started in the 1970s by the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

With a turkey population that continues to grow, turkey hunters are seeing the benefit as this fall they will see a longer season, higher bag limit, and more areas open to hunting than ever before. Successful hunters will be happy to know that there is a reduced registration fee, now only $2.00, down from $5.00.

“Maine has some of the finest turkey hunting opportunities in the eastern United States,” said Brad Allen, IFW’s game bird biologist, “Success rates are high, the birds are lightly hunted compared to other states, and there are a variety of areas to hunt turkeys in the state.”

The fall turkey season now spans four weeks starting October 3 and continuing through November 1, running concurrently with the archery season for deer. Hunters can hunt the entire day from ½ hour before sunrise to ½ hour after sunset. Hunters can take up to two turkeys this fall, but should note where they are hunting. In some western and eastern wildlife management districts (12, 13, 18, 26 and 29), hunters can only harvest one turkey of either sex or age but in southern and central Maine (WMDs 15-17, 20-25, and 28), hunters can take two turkeys of either sex or age. Wildlife Management Districts 1-11, 14, 19, and 27 are closed to fall turkey hunting, but are open for spring turkey hunting.

Today marks the beginning of the grouse and woodcock seasons, and the waterfowl season in the southern and coastal zones.

Grouse hunters who hunt in unorganized territories should take note of a new law that requires grouse hunters that are in or travelling through unorganized territories to label their harvested birds with their name and the date taken before the next calendar day.

An Unorganized Territory is defined by the state as the area of Maine having no local, incorporated municipal government. Unorganized territories in Maine consist of over 400 townships, plus many coastal islands that do not lie within municipal bounds.

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WMD 27 in Maine Open for Spring Wild Turkey Hunting

With the beginning of the spring turkey hunting season just days away, Governor Paul R. LePage has signed into law a bill that expands hunting opportunities this spring in Downeast Maine.

The legislature approved bill LD 477, “An Act To Expand Wild Turkey Hunting,” and the Governor signed it into law on Thursday, April 25.

Department wildlife biologists have determined that the turkey population in WMD 27 is at a level that can withstand being open to the spring hunt. To pass the bill in time for the spring season, the IFW Committee voted it out of committee as an emergency at the Department’s request.

“I commend the Department for being able to open another district to turkey hunters, and I am pleased that we were able to enact it in time for Youth Spring Wild Turkey Hunting Day,” said Governor LePage.

This year’s Youth Spring Wild Turkey Hunting Day is Saturday, April 27. The Spring Wild Turkey Hunting Season is open from April 29 to June 1.

WMD 27 is that district along the coastline in Downeast Maine.

WMD 27 will be open for all hunters in possession of a big game hunting license and wild turkey hunting permit for bearded turkeys only. The permit costs $20 and is good for one bearded bird in the spring and a bird of either sex in the fall. Holders of a turkey permit may obtain a second bearded turkey permit for an additional $20. Resident youth hunters are not required to purchase a turkey permit but must have a junior hunting license.

Last year, more than 16,000 permits to hunt wild turkeys were sold in Maine.

Wild turkeys were absent from Maine since the early 1800s until restoration efforts began in 1977. In cooperation with the National Wild Turkey Federation, MDIFW and partners in Vermont captured 41 wild turkeys and transported and released them in York County. Following protocols developed in other states, Maine biologists and members of the now State Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation slowly worked to trap and transfer birds east and north of the original releases.

Today, Department biologists estimate the statewide population to be in excess of 50,000 turkeys and we maintain that we have one of the very best turkey hunt programs in the east.

For more information on wild turkey hunting in Maine, please visit www.mefishwildlife.com

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Maine Needs a Better System to Share Game Harvest Data

*Scroll Down for an Update*

*Editor’s Note* Below is a copy of a document that I just emailed to Maine’s Governor Paul LePage and Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife commissioner, Chandler Woodcock. It is no secret that I and many other hunters are displeased that we should have to wait 3 or 4 months after the close of deer, bear, moose seasons to get any information on harvest numbers – and how about a turkey harvest? Most all other states provide rapid, and in some cases, real time harvest data. I took the time, with some help from some of my friends, to craft a plan that I think will work, if nothing more than providing a starting point.

We live in an ever-changing world of technology and it is a reasonable request to have more timely access to this data. If you agree, let Mr. LePage and Mr. Woodcock know. I would like your support.

A Plan to Create More Timely Game Harvest Numbers and Data

It is my sincere belief that hunters want and would appreciate a more timely report on the deer/bear/turkey/moose harvest numbers during and immediately after the season has closed. In the last several years, deer harvest reports are not made available to anyone until at least March and sometimes April; bear and moose harvest information takes longer than that.

For comparison, I include a small sampling of how other states do their registering/tagging. Please not that all of these states listed are able to provide near real time harvest numbers at any point during the deer hunting season.

Ohio – mandatory reporting, done either by telephone, online or by visiting a licensing agent. I believe this year is the first year that Ohio has fully eliminated a visit to a tagging station.
Nebraska – Uses a combination of tagging stations and telephone registering.
Kentucky – Uses a “Telecheck” harvest reporting system. Fully automated and provides real time information.
Wisconsin – Uses a system very similar to Maine’s current system but still can provide harvest data within 2 days.
Iowa – Mandatory reporting by either online, telephone or at licensing agent.
*Note – In those states that that still use tagging stations, it is my understanding that the fish and game departments require the tagging agents to submit harvest data daily or weekly.

Below I have suggestions on how Maine might be able to accomplish faster harvest information and at the same time collect better data.

Please understand that I’m not suggesting an end to the gathering of important data used for deer management. As a matter of fact, I’m offering ways of collecting more and better data which can only help the process and provide for a better product, and this system will free up more staff time in order that more time and personnel can be utilized counting deer, checking deer yards and implementing predator control when circumstances demand it.

We live in a rapidly advancing age of technology and therefore the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) should take advantage of that, while at the same time putting some of the onus onto the sportsmen, to more positively participate in the process. This will accomplish several things, the crux of which will be a tremendous public relations benefit to MDIFW and a greater sense of ownership for the sportsmen. An achievement such as this can be a great benefit to all parties concerned.

Here are my suggestions: (Please understand also that automated telephone reporting systems as well as computer data collecting software is readily available at a low price or even perhaps free is some shopping around was done.)

Mandatory Reporting – All licensed hunters will be required to report their game take along with hunting activity and all other data desired by MDIFW. This reporting can be done Online or by telephone. Any game taken, i.e. deer, bear, turkey, moose (all currently tagged game) can be reported online or by telephone within 12 hours (or 24hrs). The reporting systems will be automated and designed to collect and compile the data provided. Vital information can be collected and processed electronically at the time of reporting. This immediate reporting will enable MDIFW to have up to date, almost real time harvest numbers to report to sportsmen and the public. At the end of the season, all licensed sportsmen will be required, within one week, to report online or by telephone, and fill out a survey. This must be done by all sportsmen whether they are successful or not. Better information can be collected that will vastly improve on the ability of wildlife managers to set seasons and bag limits, as well as better understand what is taking place in the field. This information can be collected about all aspects of hunting to gain a better and more accurate understanding of how many, how often and how many hours hunters go afield and what game they are seeking and taking.

Setting up Check Points – MDIFW gathers vital biological data at some tagging stations. I believe the same information can be collected by strategically placing check stations where hunters will be required to stop for data collection. This is done very successfully in other states; states that also have mandatory reporting.

Data Collection with Commercial Meat Processing Plants – MDIFW should continue to collect biological data from meat processing facilities.

Dealing with Non Reporters – Several states do not use a tagging system as Maine does. Instead they implement a mandatory reporting system (either required by the hunter or the tagging agent), and with pretty good success, I might add. I’ve taken the time to include only five states that do that now. See above. I’ve already pointed out the positives that can come from reporting. Mandatory or not, we will still run into a certain percentage of sportsmen who will not report, particularly those not successful in taking game or poachers who will fail to obey any laws; as the events that took place recently in Turner. There are ways to deal with this. While not wanting to appear as some heavy handed authoritative figure, full implementation of this plan is necessary for the greatest success. A suggestion might be that for those failing to complete a hunter survey, will be ineligible to buy a license the following year.

*Update – December 5, 2012 12:50* It took approximately 11 minutes to receive an email response from Commission Woodcock:

Tom,

I sincerely appreciate your efforts with this important discussion. We at IF+W, and many other sportsmen and women, have similar observations. Here at the department, have had several discussion about electronic tagging possibilities as well as reporting requirements. We are currently investigating electronic options.
I share your desire to have immediacy. It also appears that we share similar concerns.
We continue to examine the issue and I believe that there will be changes forthcoming reasonably soon. The discussion has complexities as you are well aware and we certainly need biological data.
Again, thanks. And safe travels.

Chan Woodcock

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