August 23, 2019

Keep Maine Game Wardens or Add More Welfare?

The natural resource commissioners — from the Departments of Agriculture, Marine Resources, Environmental Protection and Inland Fisheries & Wildlife — don’t often get involved with policy debates outside their agencies. Their involvement in the Medicaid expansion debate represented the strongest push yet by LePage to gain traction with his core message in recent weeks: that Medicaid spending is “cannibalizing” other state programs.<<<Read More>>>

Welfare

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November Deer Hunting Season in Maine Busiest for Wardens. So What Are They Doing?

I doubt few would argue that in Maine, during the November deer hunting season, Maine Game Wardens are busiest running down poachers and protecting the hunting resources licensed hunters pay them to do. So, why then, are wardens visiting classrooms in the public schools teaching kids about how to reconstruct an off-road accident during this time?

I think it is a great thing that the Warden Service provides such terrific public relations activities. For example, this summer, the Warden Service worked with young students at the Maine Conservation School in Bryant Pond to learn all about the things the Warden Service does. It was a very popular class and enthusiasm was high. But should such public service outreach programs be scheduled in the heart of deer hunting season?

In discussions about whether of not the Maine Warden Service is capable of doing a good job, or maybe an adequate job, inevitably I will hear of how lack of money and not enough wardens, due to lack of money, prohibits this law enforcement agency from doing a better job.

Let’s use some logic here. If licensed hunters pay much of the Warden Service’s salaries, if you want to keep up and/or increase the number of licenses sold, is it not logical to conclude that the resources, i.e. deer, bear, turkey, etc. need protecting to ensure hunters are satisfied enough with the product to come back and buy another license, which, in turn, funds wardens?

Which brings me back to the question as to whether or not visiting classrooms in the middle of deer hunting season is in everyone’s best interest? Was this particular school’s schedule so chuck-a-block full, it couldn’t schedule the warden to attend, say just before or right after Christmas break?

To most this may seem nitpicking and perhaps it is. But it is these kinds of little things that do very little to help build a better relationship between outdoor sportsmen and the Warden Service. When sportsmen hear, that at a time when warden services are most needed, they are out teaching kids classes about recreating crime scenes, the department will garner little sympathy when the cries go up that the Service doesn’t have enough money.

I think a little more thought and a bit better planning would do wonders to avoid the critical eye of people like me, who will not look the other way and let it pass. I’ve been in business most of my adult life and I have learned to watch everything that effects money in and money out. That’s my money and it makes me question whether the public servants, paid buy sportsmen, are as protective of citizen’s tax dollars and ensuring they are best spent.

Let’s work harder to get it right. Think!

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60% of Maine Fish and Game Revenue Goes to Warden Service

It is a rare occasion when outdoor writer and political activist, George Smith, doesn’t write about the woes of the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) lamenting the need to get general tax money to fund the department. My argument has always been that first we need to audit the department and more wisely spend the money that exists, move programs and activities out of fish and game and put them into conservation, agriculture or law enforcement and/or where more appropriate and then see if more money is needed.

Smith’s latest rant, of which he, a bit tongue in cheek, says that the Maine Warden Service, State Police and county Sheriffs won’t like his article, because he doesn’t think they are doing the jobs they are being paid for. And, I think he is right.

When a warden service, paid for with mostly fees collected from licensing of outdoor sports activities, issues more citations for possession of marijuana than trespassing or possessing too many fish, one has to wonder just what is going on. According to Smith, 60% of the entire MDIFW budget goes to the Warden Service and this money is being used to investigate traffic accidents, crime scene investigation, school security, etc.

Instead of crying that MDIFW and the Warden Service need more money to function, Smith suggests fine tuning the department and stop spending outdoor sportsman’s dollars on law enforcement that causes fish and game to suffer.

He has my vote.

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Maine Game Warden Sanborn Dies at 47

AUGUSTA – Governor Paul R. LePage is among many in Maine mourning the loss of longtime State Game Warden Major Gregory “Gregg” Sanborn, who died today after a courageous battle against cancer.

Sanborn, 47 and a native of Fryeburg, was a 23-year veteran of the Maine Warden Service, most recently its second in command.

“Major Sanborn embodied what it means to be a Maine Game Warden, and was a true ambassador of our great outdoors and our entire State,” said Governor LePage.”I had the privilege to meet Gregg several times and was always humbled by his commitment to public service and his passion for life, even as he fought this horrible disease. The First Lady and I extend our thoughts and prayers to his family, and his extended family at the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.”

Services for Major Sanborn will be at the Maine Criminal Justice Academy on Saturday.

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34 Wardens and State Police PLUS Local Law Enforcement Investigate Shooting

I hope there is a good explanation available as to why it takes 24 Maine Game Wardens and 10 State Police to investigate a “hunting-related” shooting in Wales involving two men. According to the Sun Journal:

The investigation revealed a 41 year-old man fatally shot a 49 year-old man, both from Wales. Nearly two dozen game wardens and approximately 10 state troopers responded to the incident. Resources included warden service canines, Forensic Mappers, aircraft, and the Evidence Response Teams from both the Warden Service and State Police.

The investigation continued throughout Tuesday night and will resume Wednesday morning. Investigation efforts were supported by both Monmouth and Wales Fire and Rescue departments.

Is there just nothing else to do? We are in the peak period of deer hunting season and two dozen wardens can be spared for this shooting? As was pointed out by one reader, the number of law enforcement, rescue and local police outnumbered the deer in the area 8 to 1.

Perhaps the shooting victim was a U.S. ambassador who called in for emergency backup just before being killed.

The real downside to all of this is that a human being died and that is sad. I pray for the families and everyone involved.

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Maine Warden and His Dog Find Body of Missing Florida Firefighter

From the Bangor Daily News, a report comes that the body of a missing Florida man was found in the woods near the small town of Newburgh, Maine.

A portion of that report states that:

Ten Maine game wardens and about 20 others began searching for the body in Newburgh about 8 a.m. Wednesday. Game Warden Norman Lewis of Bryant Pond and his dog Clyde found the body around 9:30 a.m. about 150 feet off a short woods road that runs off Dahlia Farm Road, authorities said.

I know Norman Lewis and his family and have for a few years. I also have had the pleasure of meeting his dog and close friend “Clyde”. Below is a photo of Mr. Lewis and Clyde, when Clyde was just a puppy. I believe the photo I took at Albany Hunting Camp in November of 2009, when Norm and Clyde stopped in for a visit.

Clyde, not unlike any dog, was as much interested in what was available to table scraps as anything. However, he was well-behaved and Norm Lewis spent a great deal of time bragging on about Clyde, as anyone in this position would be expected to do.

Lewis and Clyde were teamed up when Clyde was very young. They have a special bond.


Photo by Tom Remington

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