January 28, 2023

Are There Positive Changes Happening at Maine Fish and Game?

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Late yesterday afternoon I received an email that contained information about an event that will happen this evening (Thurs. April 25th) at The University of Maine at Presque Isle. I immediately posted it and you can find that here.

The title of the event, “Enhancing Deer Survival in Maine – Are we Doing Enough?” is intriguing but what is more intriguing to me is the make-up of the event. Isn’t such an event a bit unprecedented? Is the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife actually exposing themselves to the public with the prospects of receiving some criticism for their deer management practices…or lack thereof? I thank them if this is a lasting phenomenon.

The event is sponsored by the Presque Isle Fish and Game Club (PIFGC), the Aroostook County Conservation Association (ACCA), and the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine (SAM). SAM serves its function but can become a bit too political to be completely effective when it comes to protecting the interests of all outdoor sportsmen. However, the PIFGC and ACCA, both grassroots organizations have done some pretty remarkable things over the years with efforts to protect and enhance the population of deer in Northern Maine.

How they (PIFGC, ACCA, and SAM) pulled this event together is a masterful achievement. Let’s hope it’s not the last.

The MDIFW is in the early stages of blossoming (?) under a new administrative team. Could participation in this event be a good, positive start? Perhaps bravery might best describe it.

Looking through the lineup of guests/speakers, we see the big Kahuna herself, Commissioner Judy Camuso opening the event with some remarks. I wish I could be there.

Aside from Gary Lavigne, a former MDIFW deer biologist who now operates under the banner of SAM, we see even more participation from other MDIFW biologists/administrators. Head deer biologist Nathan Bieber, will address the group with information on deer populations, harvests, and winter severity, while Ryan Robicheau, Wildlife Management Supervisor, will discuss deer yard management and protection. Good luck with that one.

You’ll have to take a look at the entire schedule to see what’s going to be discussed.

It is extremely encouraging, to me anyway, that MDIFW might be actually dismantling some of those high-handed, authoritarian walls that drive wedges between the sportsmen and the department. With the commissioner and her staff attending such an event, is akin to a semi-wild dog laying down and exposing its belly as a sign of submission.

Kudos to the sponsors for pulling this Houdini event off. I hope it is extremely successful and will lead to more sharing of the wealth, while assembling a platform for future joint efforts to solve the deer management problems, along with others.