October 20, 2019

Marketing Maine's Outdoor Economy – Once Again

George Smith, Executive Director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine, is once again preaching his message to Mainers about the need to market the resources of hunting and fishing in Maine. He says that Maine is striving for mediocrity and missing the boat when it comes to strengthing the economy. *previous story about marketing Maine’s outdoors*
In an article that appears this morning in the Morning Sentinel, Smith lays out economic facts and figures and compares trends in Maine with other states with comparable marketability. Let’s look at figures he presents from a study done 10 years ago. *this link will take you to that study done in 1999*

Ten years ago, a University of Maine study reported that hunting, fishing and wildlife watching produced nearly $1.5 billion in economic output, supported 17,680 jobs and generated $67.7 million in state income and sales taxes — in addition to revenue from hunting and fishing licenses. This was almost 5 percent of the Maine economy at the time.

Smith goes on to declare the opportunities that exist in Maine for the hunter – turkey, deer, bear, waterfowl, grouse, moose, etc., but says that Maine is missing out on the opportunity to take advantage of a nationwide trend that shows a growing hunting economy.

Unfortunately, despite these opportunities, Maine is not participating in the national growth in the hunting economy.

He then tells of how Maine, unlike other states, has seen a steady decline in the sale of hunting and fishing licenses to Maine residence, since 1992. For non-residence, fishing licenses have declined and hunting held steady since 1992.

We do almost no marketing of hunting and fishing in Maine. We invest almost nothing in the resources that deliver our outdoor economy.

Here is a good comparison: Colorado stocks about 60 million fish each year, including 14 million catchable-size rainbow trout. Maine stocks about 1.5 million fish. Where would you go if you had limited time and really wanted to catch fish?

Smith makes some other comparisons which seem to make sense but then, from my perspective, he hits the nail squarely on the head. I have spouted off about this same aspect of Maine’s faultering tourism business. Let’s face it, the truth is Maine’s tourism industry depends heavily on hunting, fishing and wildlife watching. No one can dispute that. Here’s what Smith said.

But this state does not get it. At the invitation of the owner, my wife and I visited an Alaskan lodge two years ago — to fish for silver salmon and rainbow trout. The lodge charges $6,500 a week per person and gets it because they have gorgeous rivers full of really big fish. No place in Maine can command that kind of money — but we have equally magnificent rivers. We just do not have the big fish because we manage for mediocrity.

What I would have to add to Smith’s analogy is that Maine has managed for mediocrity for far too long in more areas than just marketing its outdoor resources. Maine does not fully understand the marketing potential of their outdoors because they are not aware of the rest of the world or doesn’t want to be a part of it. I think the proper term to describe much of what it does is called provencial. Maine is quite isolated from the rest of the United States and often times prides itself on being that way. They don’t want anyone else to share in their experience.

The choice is really that of the Maine people. I agree with George Smith that there is an opportunity that sits ripe on the tree for the picking if Maine people want it. If they do, there is a lot of work to be done but as the saying goes, you got to start somewhere. If Mainers choose to remain status quo, then that’s the way it will be and we will all continue to struggle, always trying to find an extra penny here and an exra penny there.

Smith tells of seeing a bumper sticker on a car in Augusta the other day that read, “If this is the tourist season, why can’t we shoot them?” Having been actively involved in Maine’s tourism and hospitality business for several years, I can assure you I have seen many bumper stickers emitting the same message and heard more than my share of comments about those who contribute huge sums of dollars to Maine’s economy each year. Do Maine’s residents fully understand and appreciate what this does for them?
Often times these bumper stickers are good for a laugh and we can’t lose our sense of humor but from my experiences, I have seen and heard enough to know that it is not all fun and games.

Smith finishes his article with the following that I believe pretty much sums up my feelings as well as his thoughts.

Maine has a traditional outdoor economy that relies on resources that have been served and neglected by conservation agencies that have been underfunded.

That outdoor economy is being lost to competition that understands that a combination of natural-resource investments and good marketing can deliver big bucks to their economies.

Tom Remington

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Buy a License – Win a Truck

Game Wardens Truck

If you purchase you Maine hunting and/or fishing license from a MOSES agent or do it online, you will be automatically signed up to win for a chance to win this 1957 Dodge Classic Wardens Truck. More information here.

Tom Remington

Update: I changed the wording to read “for a chance to win”. As dumb as it may sound, I didn’t want anyone thinking that by simply buying a license they would win the truck – Sorry!

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Hunting Hare in Maine in the Dead of Winter

Even though Maine hasn’t of yet seen a “dead of winter”, hunting the snowshoe hare is still a good bet. Ken Bailey, outdoor writer for the Village Soup, has a fantastic article he did on a recent hare hunt with a couple of buddies into northern Maine.

Loaded up with shotguns, ammunition, lunch and their beagle dogs, they head out for a day in the woods rabbit hunting. If you’ve never been on a rabbit hunt in winter with beagles or used to and haven’t in a while, you’ll want to read this story.

Tom Remington

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Maine Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Meetings

The following meetings are scheduled for this coming Thursday, January 26, 2006

Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (287-1338)

1:00 PM Room 206, Cross State Office Building

L.D. 1813    An Act To Allow Smelt Dipping in Long Lake in Aroostook County (Sponsor: Rep. SMITH of Van Buren)

L.D. 1896    An Act To Make License Requirements and Rules Consistent for Young Anglers (Sponsor: Rep. BRYANT of Windham) (DEPARTMENT BILL) (Submitted by Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife)

L.D. 1819    An Act To Protect Volunteer-earned Funds of the Maine Wildlife Park (Sponsor: Rep. AUSTIN of Gray)

L.D. 1877    An Act To Protect the Water Quality of Colcord Pond and Bickford Pond in Porter (Sponsor: Rep. MUSE of Fryeburg)

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Continued Maine Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Meetings

Tomorrow, the second round of public meetings is sceduled to discuss bills proposed. Below is a list of them and the locations.

Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (287-1338)
1:00 PM Room 206, Cross State Office Building
L.D. 1725    An Act To Enhance the Integrity of the Moose Lottery (Emergency) (Sponsor: Rep. MOODY of Manchester)

L.D. 1895    Resolve, To Direct the Commissioner of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife To Increase the Number of Moose Permits (Sponsor: Rep. JACKSON of Fort Kent)

L.D. 1922    An Act To Amend the Laws Governing All-terrain Vehicles (Sponsor: Sen. GAGNON of Kennebec)

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NASCAR Driver Loves Hunting in Maine

Tim Fedewa, NASCAR driver, owns land northeast of the Bangor area with a friend. This year while there, Tim was able to bag a nice black bear with his bow and arrow and a 10-point buck with a muzzle loader.

Read more about his trip and success from this story.

Tom Remington

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Maine Moose Hunt Applications

I’ve been dragging my feet on this blog and I don’t know why.

You can go online and apply for the 2006 Moose Lottery. Applications must be completed before midnight on April 3, 2006.

Fill out application here.

Tom Remington

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Two Maine Men Arrested – One Other Charged

Two Washington County men were arrested and one other charged in various illegal activities involving poaching, illegal possession of wild game, snaring deer, you name it they did it and it appears they bragged about it.

Kevin Farley, age 44 of Edmunds was arrested and charged with five counts of
night hunting, one count of exceeding the bag limit on bear and one count of
hunting bear without a license. Travis Stevens, 35, of Pembroke was arrested on one count of possession of a firearm by a prohibited person.

Also charged last night was Dennis Stevens, age 39, of Pembroke on five different counts. More charges assessed to Farley will follow, and others could be charged as well.

Evidence seized in the search included one mounted deer head with snare marks on the antlers, ten firearms, two different bows, arrows, bear meat, moose meat and deer meat, spotlights, snares that were used illegally for deer and bear, and meat and bones saws used to process the wild game.

Below is a summary of charges. You can read the entire article at our Maine Hunting Today news section.

SUMMARY OF VIOLATIONS

KEVIN S. FARLEY DOB 01/14/61
Ht. 5″10″; wt. 260; Hr. Br. Eyes, Br.
56 Harrison Rd., Edmunds Me. 04628

All violations occurred in Washington County, Maine.

Five counts of night hunting
One count of exceed the bag limit on bear
One count of hunting bear without a license

Travis L. Stevens DOB 07/24/70
Ht. 6′ Wt. 160; Hr. Br. Eyes, Br.
290 Brickyard Rd. Pembroke, Me. 04666

All violations occurred in Washington County, Maine.
One count of possession of prohibited implement; deer Snare
One count of night hunting
One count of possession of deer killed in the night time

Dennis L. Stevens DOB 12/08/66
Ht. 5′ 9″; wt. 170; Hr. Br. Eyes, Br.
247 US rt.1, Pembroke, Me. 04666-4631

All violations occurred in Washington County, Maine.

One count of false registration of bear
One count of hunting migratory waterfowl w/out permit
One count of possession of a deer killed in the night
One count of possession of unlabeled gift deer
One count of a Loaded gun in a motor vehicle

Tom Remington

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Maine Sportsmen Have a Chance to Air Their Concerns

The Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine held its annual conference, gathering hunters, fishermen, representatives from the fish and game, private landowners, developers and the Governor, all to voice their concerns, share ideas and tell of future plans.

Much of the focus seemed to lie with a topic that generates much conversation and controversy – Sunday hunting. Advocates are still pushing to open up the woods in Maine to Sunday hunting, while landowners are threatening to post their lands if it happens. No real new proposals were presented although George Smith of SAM suggested we start slowly by allowing a youth hunt on Sundays.

Other topics discussed, many with no hard plans to carry them out were:

1. New trout fishing regulations
2. A moose hunt in Southern Maine
3. Debate over protecting the Canada lynx
4. Introducing wild turkeys into the northern counties of Maine
5. The ban on coyote snaring
6. Expanding the fall fishing season
7. The Maine Warden service is creating a new position to work with landowners and sportsmen
8. Expansion of the rainbow trout stocking program
9. The loss of deer yards in northern Maine
10. Chronic Wasting Disease
11. Plum Creek Timber Co. gave an overview of their plans in the Moosehead Region
12. Governor Baldacci talked about expanding snowmobile and ATV trails, working more closely with private fish hatcheries, and trying to find new ways to fund the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife – with no specifics presented.

The Bangor Daily News has more on this event.
Read Dave Sherwood’s take on the meeting as well.

Tom Remington

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Gander Mountain Looking at Maine

Another retailer of outdoor sporting goods is looking at opening stores in Maine. Gander Mountain, based in Minnesota is hoping to have a store in the Portland area open this year or early in 2007 and are considering a store in Bangor sometime down the road.

This announcement, coupled with a previous revelation that Cabela’s is considering a move into Scarborough, would bring some serious competition to L.L. Beans and Kittery Trading Post. Competition among retailers usually means lower prices for consumers.

Update: 15:15 The Boston Globe has more details on this story.

Tom Remington

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