April 25, 2019

Are Maine’s ATVers, Snowmobilers, and Boaters Really the Biggest Criminals in the Outdoors?

I was reading George Smith’s article, “Biggest law breakers are ATV riders, snowmobilers, and boaters.” Not to distract from Smith’s statistics of recreational laws being broken and the work of the Maine Warden Service, but I might question a blank statement that ATV and snowmobile riders, along with boat operators are the “biggest lawbreakers” of any group of outdoor people. Maybe, when you come right down to it, these three groups make up a very large percentage of the total number of “outdoor groups.” In addition, these three groups also utilize motorized vehicles that have a thick book of rules and regulations that, whether intentional or not, would understandably increase the number of citations to be handed out. Are there any laws governing the use of walking sticks or the type and size of binoculars to use for birdwatching? When you think about it for a moment or two, what other “groups” are there out there?

Smith says next week he will look at citations issued to hunters and fishermen. I wonder if we’ll get a distinction between whether any hunting citations included the use of ATVs, boats or snowmobiles? Will we see the same with boating citations lumped in with fishing citations? I feel bad that these three groups might be getting a bit of a bum rap.

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Illegal Deer Hunting “Causes Animal to Suffer Extreme Pain”

I generally avoid publishing stories about poaching, but this one caught my attention. It’s not the fact that a man shot at a deer in the nighttime, which is against the law, and that he went back the next day to find the deer he had wounded. The man has been charged with various items of law-breaking but the one that has me puzzled is that he has been charged with “felony aggravated cruelty to animals.” According to the charges, the poacher, “manifested a depraved indifference to animal life or suffering, did intentionally, knowingly or recklessly cause extreme physical pain to an animal, cause the death of an animal, or physically torture an animal.”

I need a little help here in figuring out how this alleged deer poacher did all these things. First he “manifested a depraved indifference to animal life and suffering.” How did he do this? Were there witnesses that heard him say he was going to go shoot at a deer, in the dark, and he hoped or didn’t care whether he wounded the deer or not because he was going to let it suffer all night long, and then kill it? And he knew that shooting and wounding a deer, intentionally mind you, would cause “extreme physical pain (and torture) to an animal?” Or that he knew shooting at a deer at night might kill the animal? Whether one is poaching a deer or legally hunting a deer, the object is to kill it…unless, in this case, the Maine Warden Service intends to prove the alleged poacher only intended to wound the deer and make it suffer – cruelly, with extreme physical pain and torture.

I have hunted deer for many years. I’m not as good a shot as I used to be when I was younger, but I still consider myself better than average. I have never met anyone who ever expressed the ability to shoot at a deer, or any other animal for that matter, to intentionally wound it. That’s one hell of a good marksman. To shoot and kill a deer is a bigger target to hit, and that’s difficult enough. Now we are supposed to believe this guy, at night, making it even more difficult, aimed at and pulled the trigger of a weapon with the intention of only wounding it, so he could intentionally cause “extreme physical pain,” and “torture,” along with “suffering?”

I think what we are witnessing is just another example of what I have been writing about for years – the mind manipulation by Environmentalists of wildlife managers (in this case wildlife law enforcement) in order to brainwash them into believing the nonsense of the charge. Don’t get me wrong. If this guy was illegally taking game, throw the book at him. But to somehow think a felony charge of “aggravated cruelty to animals,” as the charge claims, is demented thinking. Unless this warden has proof of what I have just described, he better drop those charges. What’s more important, if this particular warden, and/or the Maine Warden Service, actually is of the position that shooting at and wounding a deer deserves felony aggravated animal cruelty charges, the department should be shut down.

The question I have is this: If this guy was legally hunting and fired at a deer, 10 minutes before the end of legal hunting, discovered he had wounded the deer, and tracked it as best he could, deciding to come back in the morning to pick up the track again, eventually finding the deer, dead or otherwise, would this hunter then be charged with the same felony aggravated cruelty to animals?

The only difference that I can see between the case where charges were filed and the one I just described, is that the first one happened after dark. I hope like hell there ain’t a judge anywhere in the world that would agree that this alleged poacher, went about his business of breaking the law, to intentionally cause pain and suffering by deliberately aiming to wound the deer and not kill it.

God help us!

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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.

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What About The FOIA Requests From the Press Herald?

While some should be happy that Maine Rep. Jeffrey Evangelos of Friendship is seeking a federal investigation into whether or not the Maine Warden Service (MWS) illegally carried out undercover operations, has everyone forgotten that the MWS, to my knowledge, has yet to comply with state and federal laws by withholding documents requested by the Portland Press Herald?

I have written in the past that perhaps it was time for the Maine Legislature to take a look at the guidelines – which seem to be a secret – and determine if there needs to be changes made to undercover operations by Maine law enforcement agencies. A bit puzzling in all of this is that in each of the cases in question, that have been heard by a Maine Court, no judge has seen fit to not charge any of the defendants due to illegal actions by the MWS. Some judges have called the tactics questionable.

Assuming the Courts are not also corrupt (wink, wink) what then is the purpose of seeking a federal investigation? If the state-approved guidelines for undercover agents is being adhered to, then the next logical step would appear to be an examination of the guidelines.

But, is this really the more serious matter in all of this? What about the fact that at least one media source cannot complete its investigation because the MWS refuses to turn over documents requested through the Freedom of Information Access Law?

A federal investigation might determine that a raid that was filmed by a television film crew was staged and embellished but without release of requested documents, how can the people know exactly what took place and the communications carried out in these events.

I certainly hope the efforts to get documents from government agencies is not forgotten in all of this. Perhaps that is the intent? Do law enforcement agents and other government agencies intend to deflect attention away for FOIA and place it somewhere else where they know it will be an easier dead end? More than likely.

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Undercover Maine Warden Seeks Legislative “Probe” Against Rep. Martin

ClearConscienceCan the entire episode of accusations by a newspaper and victims against the Maine Warden Service (MWS) get any more weird and childish? Today we learn that the undercover warden in the whole charade is seeking an investigation into the actions of Maine’s representative John Martin, claiming Martin used his political power to fabricate the original news story and to influence a judge in the case.

Rep. Martin suggested that the undercover warden, “… the best he could do is probably shut up.” I tend to agree, especially since it appears that the MWS Colonel is still AWOL and the FOIA documents have not been turned over to the newspaper.

The MWS has investigated itself and found they did nothing wrong when it appears the DID NOTHING!

One has to wonder if the MWS is advising their agent. If so, I’m thinking this is very poor advice, at least at this time. They should get their house in order first, that is if they have done nothing wrong. If there is strong evidence of political influencing by a representative, then by all means go for it.

These events have a way of resulting in a great big loss for all parties involved. In the meantime, the people laugh at these people and fail to develop any kind of respect for them.

 

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Creating a Police State and Then Not Liking It

Yesterday I laughed! But then again most everyday I laugh; sometimes laughing a lot and sometimes not so much. I laughed at blind ignorance.

I read an article, the bulk of which was whining about people whining. I don’t understand. But that isn’t what I laughed at. I laughed at the lack of understanding that we, in our eagerness to love government and trust in their criminal ways, lined up after 9/11 to give government more control over us and empower law enforcement to ultimately bring this here United States into a full scale police state – all by design of course.

The article in question is an ongoing debate in Maine about the tactics employed by the Maine Warden Service, and probably all Maine law enforcement agencies, used in undercover operations – essentially whether or not law enforcement should be allowed to break the laws the rest of us are expected to uphold in order to entice a would-be criminal and make an arrest. The second issue in this debate is whether or not the same Warden Service is deliberately withholding FOIA documents requested by a leading Maine media company.

Most of the discussions have centered around these two topics but some writers have jumped on this event to try to tie together other issues and connect them with this current one in hopes to further expose the Warden Service of all its shortcomings.

According to information provide in the linked-to article above, the author states that in a survey he conducted, 778 out of 832 people who answered his survey question – “Should Maine game wardens be allowed to break the law and to encourage others to break the law, in order to arrest law breakers? – said that Maine game wardens should not be allowed to break the law in order to arrest someone. (Note – I doubt that the survey is “scientific” and thus may not be a representation of the overall population of Maine residents.)

It made me laugh. It still makes me laugh.

Consider the events of 9/11. I’ll use this as a beginning point because I’m not sure exactly where it all began. However, 9/11 is as good a place as any to start. After 9/11, cops and firefighters were put into a status of “hero.” From that point on, our society has devoted countless hours to putting law enforcement into a category that dangerously gives them powers they should not have. It seems that regardless of what they do or don’t do, they are never wrong and anyone caught criticizing their actions is “unpatriotic.”

This power enabling has gone unchecked for so long now that unbeknownst to the masses, we have willingly offered up our society to a police state. This is exemplified on a regular basis but due to the propagandizing of the hero status, nobody sees or wants to see the reality of what has been created…well, until that reality begins to hit close to home.

This brings us back to the events in Maine where 93.51% of the people taking the survey didn’t think law enforcement should be able to break the law in hopes of making an arrest. Really? Evidently it was okay for law enforcement to break the law when, after the so-called Boston Marathon Bombing, armed police with heavy weaponry and armored vehicles drove down the street illegally busting down doors and intruding into the privacy of people, as police searched for what we have been told were the perpetrators of the bombing. Evidently we have become blinded to think a suspension of the Constitution is in order when a crime rises to a certain level? How many of these same people stood up at that time protesting that law enforcement shouldn’t be allowed to break the laws to catch a criminal?

Oh, but that’s different, I hear often. When asked specifically how it is different, I seldom get an answer. Once upon a time, there was taught in schools and at home that people are innocent until proven guilty; that our laws were made to protect the innocent; that our court system was designed to protect the innocent while prosecuting the accused. Sometimes this process seemed to fail but the good far outweighed bad results.

Not anymore!

It’s easy when sitting at home, comfortable, and knowing that what goes on in Boston or Baltimore, really doesn’t effect you and demand that law enforcement does “whatever is necessary” to “lock them bastards up.” But when law enforcement does what they think is “necessary” to catch a thief in your backyard, things don’t look the same.

Our actions have given police departments of all levels empowerment to often do just as they well please, with the notion that the ends justifies the means. It should never be that way. What enjoyment is there in life, when you see a police car and immediately you fear what they might do to you?

You can continue to call cops heroes if you must but giving them powers to commit crimes in hopes of stopping crime is asinine.

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Maine Warden Service Needs More Women and Baiting Deer?

While the problems at the Maine Warden Service (MWS) continue to fester, much because government and law enforcement have opted to “investigate” themselves, denying any wrongdoing and to hell with anyone who thinks they might have, writers are offering their own suggestions of how to remedy the Maine Warden Service’s problems.

First, one writer suggests that all these issues would go away if the MWS would just hire more women. Let me understand this. It seems, according to an expose filed by the Portland Press Herald, the MWS is carrying on some illegal acts during their undercover investigations, may have colluded with Animal Planet’s television crew filming of “North Woods Law,” to embellish reality, and refuses to provide right-to-know documents or the ones provided are heavily redacted. Even if, all things considered, women are capable and qualified to do the exact same job as a male warden, I need some assistance in understanding how these actions of the MWS will all go away if more women were on the force. Have I missed something about women in the past 50 years? Or better yet, have I missed something about men?

Another writer, who claims to be a big fan of “North Woods Law,” says that he has issues with camera crews following law enforcement around taking pictures. My question then would be how can one expect a reality TV show about the Maine Warden Service, a law enforcement organization, if there are no cameras rolling? Are they then supposed to witness the action then go back to the studio and try to recreate it?

The same author, evidently believes that the same issues I’ve mentioned above would not have taken place if wardens hadn’t been active in campaigning against the last proposed anti-hunting bear referendum. In addition, somehow this author doesn’t even suspect, as Maine humorist Tim Sample used to say, that bear baiting and deer baiting have nothing in common with the exception that bait is used. Somehow, baiting bears, if allowed, should then be permitted to other species. For $100 I could let him buy a clue and provide a little understanding as to why bears are baited in the first place and deer are not. However, I doubt that would help, because throughout the entire bear referendum campaign, it was repeated, like a broken record, that baiting of bears is a necessary tool in order to better control the population of bears. Hint: Maine does not have a deer population problem, that is, too many deer. If they did, they might allow baiting deer if it was deemed a necessary tool to control deer populations.

But that’s not the issue for this guy is it?

Let me repeat. The MWS is being accused of questionable tactics by undercover agents and withholding FOIA documents. Suggestions for remedies, we have just discovered, include hiring more women and not allowing wardens to campaign in referendums that would severely impact their jobs. In addition, if baiting bears would stop, these problems would go away.

But the ignorance grows. This author has suggested that nobody would be paying much attention to the MWS if they hadn’t botched the search and rescue efforts of the woman who wandered off the Appalachian Trail and wasn’t found until later. Search for the lost hiker began in July of 2013, was called off about 8 or 9 days later and her remains were finally located in October of 2015. The author appears to indicate that because the hiker’s body was found, “less than 3 miles from where she went missing,” the MWS was inept in their search effort and tactics. Obviously the author knows nothing about how large an area “less than 3 miles” would be in a circumference around the point where searchers THOUGHT the hike MIGHT have gone missing. I also wonder if the author has ever participated in a search and rescue with the MWS?

I’m not sure I understand the need to dump all over the MWS and to exploit a war between an administration and a news agency, to promote equal rights for women and faulting the MWS for doing a difficult job. Perhaps it’s more just a dislike of the MWS or something. If anybody has issues with the MWS then take the initiative to address those issues and not use an unrelated incident to badger the Service for some other reason.

The issues appear simple. Maine needs to review its undercover sting policies and release documents legally requested. This will never happen so long as the government agency investigates itself. But for certain, these issues will not go away if more women are hired and if we can only ban bear baiting.

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Stings raise questions of entrapment vs. fair prosecutions

*Editor’s Comment* – Yes, yes, yes! But what about the government’s refusal to release documents?

The use of undercover agents and informants sometimes can be the only way to crack especially tough cases. The technique, however, also invites abuse. For both types of operatives, the incentive and ability to cut corners are always present. Reputations and rewards are improved when targets are found guilty, especially when the defendants are well known and the crimes are significant. But even in less important cases, undercover operatives are hard to control, because they operate on their own and report only what they want.

Source: Stings raise questions of entrapment vs. fair prosecutions – Central Maine

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Head of Maine Warden Service Only Qualified Employee??

According to the Portland Press Herald, “As of Wednesday, the warden service said it will not be able to release the requested emails for another month or longer because the agency’s chief, Col. Joel Wilkinson, won’t be working.”

It’s a crying shame that there is only one person qualified and capable to undertake FOIA requests at the Maine Warden Service office. Perhaps is the remaining staff are so damned incompetent, they should seriously consider shutting down the department until such time as the Colonel can carry the load again.

Your tax dollar at work.

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There Can Never Be Transparency In Government When Government Dictates the Transparency

Kabuki Theater: “the stylization of its drama and for the elaborate make-up worn by some of its performers.” (Source)

Government: the exercise and practice of Kabuki that they learned from the Japanese during negotiations post World War II.

In an opinion piece published in the Maine Sun Journal, Sen. Chris Johnson, a member of the Judiciary Committee, says that unless there is an investigation into the actions of the Maine Warden Service and the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, concerning undercover operations and accusations that have been leveled against these state agencies, there will be a destruction of the public trust in government.

A truthful analysis might reveal that there is little public trust that exist with any government – or is it just me?

While I have to agree with Sen. Johnson in what he says about the whys and wherefores of transparency and the need to investigate all the actions of the Warden Service and Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, including a refusal by these two departments to conduct any investigation and their continued stalling of the release of government documents supposed to be available to the public, how can there ever be transparency when government investigates government? Are we to somehow, magically believe that because the state’s “Right-to-Know Advisory Council” (or any other government agency) may be called in, this will restore public trust?

These are all members of the good-ole-boys’ club and while actions on the surface may appear to some as truthful and transparent, no government agency can ever be honest and achieve the amount of investigative honesty some of us expect. It’s much like what we see in Washington. People actually think somebody is going to get to the bottom of Hillary Clinton’s actions in Benghazi, her email scandal, etc. However, if the government digs too deeply they end up implicating themselves in all government corruption. It therefore becomes nothing more than a fake controlled opposition, designed to deceive until interest fades. These politicians are master of deceit and fraud. And, they are all politicians.

The Maine Warden Service and the Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, both government agencies, run by politicians, understand how the rigged system works. It’s Kabuki Theater. Lot’s of show and dance but it’s all fake.

It’s easy to write an opinion piece to a newspaper (especially if it will buy or win votes) making claims of investigations, but when the investigation resembles the infamous fox tending the chicken coop, there will never be public trust of any government agency – unless, of course, you are a shill for the political party that you have been brainwashed to think is looking out for your best interest.

What we are seeing is nothing more than politics as usual. To believe anything else, you are a fool.

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