January 20, 2022

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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Wildlife Management Communication by Keeping Your Mouth Shut?

Maine is in the midst of what could be described as the throes of drafting 15-year management plans for deer, bear, moose and turkey. There are no draft plans yet available, so all I have been able to get are a minuscule sampling of what is being discussed for plan consideration.

In what I have read about many of the four plans, it seems that at least one of the goals is calling for increased communication and education of the public about each species. It seems that for the duration of time that I have been writing about game management efforts in Maine, I have heard that drumbeat incessantly. Has there been improved communication and education with the public on what the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) is doing to responsibly manage the game species they are mandated by the Legislature to do? I guess that is difficult to answer because the perceived result is individually value-weighted. Also consider, that the Maine taxpayer laid out a sizeable amount of coin so that MDIFW could pay an “outside” entity to devise a survey that would give MDIFW favorable results for their work- wink, wink. All of Maine loves MDIFW. Odd, I might say.

So, let’s consider.

I had written earlier how that it seems everyone loves Bullwinkle, but nobody wants to discuss winter ticks but as something bugging (sorry) the life out of moose. It therefore seemed understandable that when MDIFW undertook a moose study, there was not a lack of media coverage – very little as far as preliminary findings, but photos of all the Bullwinkles to impress the public. So let me give credit where credit is do, as far as exposing to the public its effort to study moose.

I wonder how many people know that as part of the moose study, aerial counts of moose populations were done, as well as counts of deer? And deer have also been collared and are being studied, I guess. Who might suspect? Perhaps Bullwinkle is just that much bigger an icon and photographs more easily than a deer. I dunno. Is there more money and job security in looking out for Bullwinkle?

The public is quickly notified about piping plovers, bats, loons, bald eagles, cormorants, puffins and ruby-throated-croople-poops but isn’t it a disproportionate media coverage (press releases, Tweets, etc.) between these critters and deer? Or it’s my imagination. However, when one considers the trillions of dollars over the many decades that Maine has enjoyed in direct and indirect revenue from exploiting the whitetail deer, what the MDIFW is doing to ensure its sustainability, we hear very little about. Odd, I would say.

It takes MDIFW months to even get around to publishing information about game harvests – deer are no exception. No, not everyone is as anal as I am, wanting every last detail of data collected from the harvest, but the general public wants to be told what the number of deer, bear, and moose taken without waiting until the following Summer, or later, to get it. An “unofficial” number within 2 weeks of the end of general rifle season on deer would go a long, long way toward improving PR with the people, in particular the hunters. Perhaps MDIFW doesn’t care about who pays their wages? Odd, I would say.

I have been reading about some of the proposed plans for bear management, where it is being suggested that there needs to be a way to increase the number of bear hunters and to improve education of the public about bears, bear management and the need for the implementation of hunting and trapping as a viable means of population control. All of this, and yet, the latest bear hunting season commenced before MDIFW had released to the public the previous year’s harvest information. Odd, I would say.

Maybe the employees at MDIFW are that much more important than those of us coughing up the big bucks (dollars) so they can keep their jobs. I learned at a very young age that if you wanted to keep your job, you had to make sure you kept those in power over you happy. I suppose that has been lost along with most everything else that was once considered normal. Odd, I would say.

So, some might be asking, what prompted this rant? Well, let me tell you. This morning I received information from a colleague from New Brunswick, Canada. He sent a link to a news article about how New Brunswick, along with Maine, the University of Maine and JD Irving Co. were undertaking a deer study in which deer are being collared in locations in New Brunswick and Maine. If you’re interested in the purpose of the study, click on the link above.

Otherwise, this is the kind of stuff that drives me crazy. We read about how MDIFW and the “committee” working on game plans want to improve communication and education, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah and I have to find out through a member of the public in Canada about Maine’s involvement with another deer study. WHAT THE HELL IS THE BIG SECRET? And, odd, I would say.

Once again today, in reading George Smith’s latest article about the plans and proposals for turkey management in Maine, the head of the Maine Professional Guides Association said, “…need for fact sheets on turkeys and other big game animals, and improved communications about them with hunters, landowners, and the public.” Hasn’t this become a very common theme? Odd, I’d say…especially when you consider that there appears to be nothing accomplished to resolve this problem. Why is that? Maybe it’s perceived by MDIFW as not a problem for them at all. Odd, I would say.

Which brings me back to my original comments about how these 15-year game management plans are a bunch of bureaucratic nonsense being carried out for the single purpose of being eligible for federal money – i.e. blackmail.

I feel badly for the members of the committees working on these plans, that if they don’t know it now, will someday discover, they wasted their time – used, abused and cast aside for personal and financial gain.

There is one thing for certain. Anytime you hear that another committee has been created to study this or study that, it is a definite indication nothing will ever be done or will get resolved from the work. That’s what government is all about. And that ain’t “ODD” at all. Just fact.

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In Maine, Too Many Game Animals or Not Enough Game Animals? And None of It Matters

And the beat goes on! Drums keep pounding rhythm to my brain!

Ah, yes! The committee in Maine is at work attempting to put onto paper all the management plans for deer, moose, bear and turkey. Members on the committee seem to be saying there are too many of certain kinds of game animals, while others are saying there isn’t enough. Perhaps the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) and the committee should go on Facebook and ask followers what they think…and don’t forget the environmentalists and animal rights perverts. Oh, wait. That’s right. They already have some of them on the committee helping to “steer” efforts in the right way. Perhaps asking for input from Black Lives Matter?

The other day I wrote about how I thought the entire effort was a waste of time – jumping through bureaucratic hoops for the sole purpose of getting money. These plans are seldom followed or even referred to during their 15-year life expectancy…well, except when it’s convenient. I wonder if all the committee members will win a trophy when the task is complete? At least a certificate of participation?

Just as a reminder, some of us have been doing a lot of hollering that something ought to be done about growing a deer herd. The result? Increased doe permits because Maine had one relatively mild winter. I guess this is now the major driving force toward deer management.

Some of us have suggested efforts to reduce the bear populations that have been determined to be a major factor in reduced deer existence. The result? Crickets, except listening to what the guides have to say and doing as they are told. Now I understand that in the proposed bear management plan, MDIFW is going to spend time and money to “educate” people how to “coexist” with bears. No, seriously. I’m not the only person out there over the age of 60. When was the last time, in your life span, that we had to teach people how to “coexist” with bears? I thought so.

I’ve banged my head against cement walls attempting to get somebody to listen to the idea that Maine simply has too many moose and that’s why winter ticks have taken over the job of managing the moose herd. The result? Reduced numbers of moose permits and discussion about stopping any kind of deer management in Northern Maine and focus only on moose. Let’s continue breeding and growing ticks shall we? Hmmm. This must have been the suggestion of the guides and camp owners. It’s probably easier as well. Instead of having to listen to questions about why the deer hunting sucks, MDIFW biologists can just say, “We don’t manage deer there anymore. But the moose hunting is good. You just need to hire a guide, pay a few thousand dollars, and if you’re lucky enough to draw a permit, oh boy!” Maybe the change would make for better reality TV programming. Let’s get drunk and go catch somebody illegally looking at a moose….or something.

I really should stop all this talk!

But, for some reason, and meaning no offense to the members of the committee, members seem to think this time will be different. If we can just get into these game management plans all those things that make us feel good, this time it will be different. This time MDIFW will follow the plan. This time.

Last time the plan didn’t get followed very good and so MDIFW had to stop mid-plan and devise a crock of bologna called Maine’s Game Plan for Deer.  We can expect MDIFW to follow these new game management plans as closely as they did the Maine’s Game Plan for Deer. I wonder what followers of Facebook thought about that. Did MDIFW get any “likes” for that? Did MDIFW go and ask members of the Humane Society of the United States if it was alright to go through the motions so as to get the sportsmen off their backs? Go ask Katie!

Or maybe cough up another few hundred thousand dollars to hire a “research” company to come up with what you want to hear – like sportsmen are so much in love with MDIFW.

I’ll repeat it one more time, just for the insanity of it: Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and each time expecting a different result. Isn’t this really bureaucratic insanity at its finest?

And yes, I do understand that by my repeated writing, asking the same questions, pointing out the same nonsense, etc. and expecting that something will change, is complete insanity.

I guess I really do fit in!

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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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Maine’s New Deer Management Plan Mostly Bureaucratic Nonsense

*Editor’s Note* – After posting this article and rereading it the following day, I realized that when I made the statement that the reason Maine has to have a “new” 15-year plan for deer, moose, bear, turkeys, etc. was because the Legislature makes them do it. This is true but it is also a necessary evil if Maine intends to receive any Federal funding or support. In essence, the main driving factor for the 15-year plan is Federal money. (Updated 12/24/2016 10:53 a.m.)

Before getting your undies in a bunch, understand that the reason Maine formulates 15-year management plans for big game species is because the Legislature, an author and purveyor of bureaucratic nonsense, tells them they must do this. Why? Well, your guess is as good as mine.

While for most individuals and small businesses, it is important to devise plans that help to lay a path toward success, seldom are they followed – at least to the letter. If you had taken the time to read fully the existing 15-year-plan for deer management, compare it to the realities of what has taken place during that 15 years, and it makes sense that having the plan, with any detail, is a waste of time. Much of it is “copy and pasted” from the previous and then an addendum here and an addendum there. Anyone taking the time to read the plans discover that they either like it or dislike it.

According to what George Smith writes on his website, the proposed goal of the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) in the new deer plan is to: “Maintain the deer population below biological carrying capacity while providing hunting and viewing opportunity.” As I see it, this should be about good enough for MDIFW’s 15-year deer management plan. It says it all and provides the best loop hole and excuse, other than Global Warming of course, when they say they intend to maintain the deer population “below biological carrying capacity.” This they have been extremely successful at doing for a couple of decades now. Why should we expect anything different? Now, they will have a written excuse to fall back on when convenient.

Some hunters get all excited when they hear that their fish and game department is going to “provide hunting opportunity,” even if it is written into a constitutional amendment. They have no idea just what that means. Here’s an example of what “opportunity” might look like if and when the MDIFW is further successful in maintaining a deer population “below biological carrying capacity.” November is approaching and MDIFW announces the winners of the 75 doe-only permits that will be issued to lottery winners of the Maine Deer Lottery that will “provide the opportunity” for winners to go onto Maine’s 110-acres of designated public land and hunt deer – with an atlatl, – void of any sharp tip in order to keep the animal rights people happy. Pretty lousy prospects wouldn’t you say, especially when you realize this is the entire “opportunity” the MDIFW is or feels obligated to provide. In short, they are fulfilling their Plan and Mission Statement.

Which now brings us to the new legislation everyone thinks is so wonderful – that added language to the “Mission Statement” of the MDIFW. Here’s what the mission statement says, with the added legislative language in bold letters. “The Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife is established to preserve, protect and enhance the inland fisheries and wildlife resources of the State; to encourage the wise use of these resources; to ensure coordinated planning for the future use and preservation of these resources; to provide for effective management of these resources; and to use regulated hunting, fishing and trapping as the basis for the management of these resources whenever feasible.”

I mean seriously! This has no teeth – for the hunter, fisherman and trapper that is! It has lots of “gumability” for the heavily dominated environmentalists who now run fish and wildlife departments across the nation…Maine is no exception. Basically it’s worthless text taking up time and space. Oh, yes, it sound really good. Some even think it guarantees a Maine citizen’s right to hunt, fish and trap. It doesn’t! All it says is that MDFIW will do the exact same things it has done for several decades and if the need exists for hunting, fishing and trapping to control numbers, then so be it. They don’t have to.

This is a mission statement – a worthless paragraph fit for anyone who gets off on feel-good crap sandwiches. There is no binding legislation that mandates that MDFIW and/or the Maine Legislature manages OUR games species for surplus harvest. No more than the new plan will guarantee enough game to harvest, especially if the social demands disagree with the pseudo-scientific management currently in place.

What is on display here is government at it routine, worthless, bureaucratic nonsensical self, wasting time, drafting documents nobody reads and, more importantly, nobody abides by or even makes an attempt to closely resemble. Again, I ask what’s the point?

Remember Maine’s Plan for Deer? A work of utter brilliance wasn’t it? Everyone sat around and sang Kumbaya…repeatedly…feeling real good that Maine was FINALLY going to do something about our lack of deer in the state. How did that work out? Oh, you forgot all about it? Maybe that was the real plan. Did that Plan for Deer include a part that when Maine had one non severe winter, everything would be coming up roses? Perhaps a better plan than the waste of time plan that was drafted.

In effect, isn’t this what the 15-year-plan is all about? The Legislature, in order to keep the microscopic number of people who actually read such a plan happy, require the Department to copy and paste, wave a magic wand, repeat “hocus-pocus” six times, release a draft, pretend anybody cares, print a final copy, file it away, and it’s forgotten, as the Department will just do as it damn well pleases and has done for like forever. When a wheel squeaks, a little oil (lies) is applied and the squeak stops until the next round.

The bottom line is that the MDIFW is going to do all that is necessary, first to ensure that salaries and retirement are fully considered and then somehow try to please the few people who want to hunt, fish and trap, the lazy slobs who want to ride around in plush SUV’s “viewing” wildlife, those who fear Lyme disease, and those who get angry because the deer are eating their shrubs, while never actually considering what was written in a Management Plan or what their mission statement is.

MDIFW has their bases covered and we the taxpayers and license buyers pay to have somebody copy and paste a plan together. But, worst of all, some of us actually believe the intent of the plan and the mission statement is real and will be used as a guideline.

There’s little point in giving the plan or the effort much attention unless you plan to read the draft, offer suggestions, changes, deletions, etc. and then spend every waking moment of your life after it passes making sure the Department adheres 100% to the Plan (ROFLMAO). But don’t forget to read the part that gives the Department the authority to change pretty much whatever they want.

Yup! Bureaucratic Nonsense…and, oh yeah –

DON’T GO LOOK!

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Maine’s Seemingly Endless Debate on Sunday Hunting

I’ll give George Smith, a writer and sportsman’s activist from Maine, credit for sticking with something he believes in. It appears he is just about the last survivor to advocate for Sunday Hunting in Maine. Smith says we will never hunt on Sundays in Maine, and he probably is correct. As a matter of fact, I’ll take that claim one step further and say the days that we actually will be able to hunt, are numbered. With the continued, unchecked, onslaught by animal rights groups and environmentalists, combined with the influx of newly indoctrinated wildlife biologists, and the myriad of other environmental movements nationwide, hunting will soon be a thing of the past – perhaps in my lifetime.

There are several issues about Sunday Hunting that appear to be stumbling blocks. Let’s address a few.

Religious reasons. I’m going to guess this is another example of the pitfalls of socialistic democracy, in which two wolves and a sheep are discussing what’s for lunch. If the majority of Mainers, who go to church, do so on Sunday and they view that day as somehow “holier” than the others, their socio-democratic power trumps everybody else.

There is a bit more to this as we have seen in the past. I can’t seem to find a link to the story but if my memory isn’t completely shot, I recall, if not in Maine, somewhere, where some who choose to recognize Saturdays as the sabbath, proposed legislation that would allow them to hunt on Sundays. Of course that was shot down. I have serious doubts that very many people would actually not hunt on Sundays because it’s their sabbath. Hypocrisy abounds in that area.

Another aspect would be the fallout that may or may not create less land access. Some land owners have threatened to post their land if Sunday hunting is permitted. Whether and how much that would actually happen, I don’t know. I do know that in some states where much land is posted and/or land is considered closed without owner’s permission, access to hunting lands is difficult at best and in some cases, with the exception of public lands, hunters have to pay, sometimes hefty amounts, to “lease” a portion of private land. Unless you’ve been relegated to that, I don’t think you really want to go there.

The other issue in Sunday hunting is seldom seriously discussed. In Maine, as in many states, hunting is used as a means of “managing” (control) the population of all game species. For deer hunting, the state also uses a permit system that regulates and controls deer populations within Wildlife Management Districts. The bottom line is this: wildlife regulators decide how many of which species should be harvested each year and do what is necessary to achieve those goals…usually.

If we look at deer hunting as one example, game managers have an idea of how many deer will need to be harvested, by different methods, utilizing permits, along with length of season and all other factors that effect the harvest. Some of those factors are not controllable. One that is, is the length of season. In my lifetime, I have seen the deer hunting season in Maine shortened to barely two weeks – the need being a lack of deer and protecting the herd to remain at safe sustainable levels.

So what if Maine added, not just 3 or 4 more days to the annual deer hunt (you can also use this to extrapolate out to all other game species, i.e. turkey, grouse, bear, moose, etc.) but that those added days were on the weekends? We know that the busiest hunting days during the deer season are Saturdays. If Sundays were added, how many more net hunters would there be? How many more hunters would skip a working day in order to hunt on Sundays? How great would hunter participation become?

We have had the claim beaten into our brains for years now that Maine and her economy are suffering because hunters won’t hunt in Maine because there is no Sunday hunting. If that is true, then the question has to be asked, how many more hunters will now hunt Maine, especially on Sundays?

This all adds up to one large question. If Sunday hunting for deer is allowed, how many more deer will be killed? If there is an increase, what is the extent of that increase and will it force the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) to shorten the season in order to mitigate the losses of deer due to harvest? If Maine was overrun with deer, this would not be a problem. With or without Sunday hunting, if the state was overrun with deer, the season would be extended and/or the limits may increase to more than one deer per season. Too few deer, and the results are reversed.

I personally, have no interest in angering the landowners. Whether or not a Sunday hunting move would seriously effect land access, is a guess. I will state that I believe in the short term, there will be a knee-jerk reaction to Sunday hunting and land will be posted that wasn’t before. How that trend evolves will really depend on the realities of what takes place on that land, that is different from the present, that would cause more or a continuation of reduced land access.

If an added Sunday hunt resulted in a shortened season, that would mean more hunters in the woods at any one time. I don’t like that idea at all. Safety must also be a concern. Maine has an outstanding track record when it comes to hunter and public safety during the hunting seasons.

I think the bottom line should be deer management. Yes, Maine should consider ways of maximizing the positive influences and effects of hunting seasons, but the bottom line should always remain, what is best for the deer herd and landowner relations.

A final issue that is seldom discussed or is presented in the wrong way, in my opinion, is the rights of landowners. I get a sense from reading Smith’s article about Sunday hunting that every effort to implement some form of Sunday hunting in Maine is a serious loss for hunters and Maine’s community, without consideration of protecting the rights of landowners first and foremost.

I am first a property rights advocate and then a hunter. Yes, I am saddened with each passing year that I see more and more land posted to access, but that is and should be their right. But I also believe that those landowners who post their land, should limit their involvement in hunting issues that involve land access. In other words, there is little credibility in anyone with posted land stating that they didn’t believe a Sunday hunt would have any real effect on land access. Hello?

As Maine citizens, we should be glad the majority of people are looking out for the rights of the landowners. We hear of how wildlife management, which includes hunting and trapping, is beneficial to the landowner. I couldn’t agree more, which makes me tend to emphasize that all the effort that has been expended attempting to promote Sunday hunting, could better be spent educating the landowner to the advantages of the North American Model for Wildlife Management, i.e. managing for surplus harvest, and that leaving their land open has it’s benefits. Landowners should also be taught how they can control the access to their land to meet their wishes and still reap the benefits of wildlife management – hunting and trapping.

Perhaps someday, Maine will have Sunday hunting, but without it, as things currently stand, giving the drums a rest would probably be in the best interest of hunting, while shifting the effort to increasing better landowner relationships.

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8-Year-Old Accomplishes Hunting Grand Slam

MEXICO — Brycen Waugh of Mexico, who recently turned 9, completed a hunting “grand slam” in his very first year of hunting.

Tagging a turkey, a bear, a moose and a deer in the same calendar year takes a good deal of skill, and a fair amount of luck.<<<Read More>>>

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Hunters in Maine should be aware of a few new laws that go into effect January 1, 2016

No Hunting Age Minimum.  As of January 1, 2016, any hunter under the age of 16 may purchase a junior hunting license and hunt. Hunters under the age of 10 must be in the presence of, and under the effective control of, an adult supervisor who remains at all times within 20 feet of the hunter. Hunters from 10-15 years of age must be in the presence of and under the effective control of an adult supervisor. The adult supervisor of the junior hunter must hold, or have held, a valid adult hunting license or have successfully completed a hunter safety course.
Increased opportunity for apprentice hunters. Additionally, this law increases the number of times a person may hold an apprentice hunter license from twice to 5 times before becoming ineligible to purchase the license.

Click to view the full language of P.L.C. 136An Act To Eliminate the Minimum Age Requirement for a Junior Hunting License and Increase the Number of Times a Person May Hold an Apprentice Hunter License.

Species Management Education Fund – License Fee Increase. This law increases hunting and trapping license fees by $1 and directs IFW to use that revenue to educate the public on the management of game species. The hunting license fees will increase January 1, 2016 and the trapping license fees will increase July 1, 2016 to coincide with the annual license expiration dates. This new law also requires that the IFW Commissioner convenes a stakeholder group to develop recommendations for a 5 year public outreach campaign on IFW’s efforts to manage game species, including a plan for how money in the Species Management Education Fund is to be used. The Commissioner shall report on the recommendations of the stakeholder group, including any suggested legislation to the IFW Committee by February 1, 2016.  The IFW Committee may report out a bill in the 2nd Regular Session of the 127th in 2016.

Click to view the full language of P.L.C. 245An Act To Expand Public Opportunities for Wildlife Management Education.

Additional Opportunity for Junior Hunters Who Turn 16. A junior license holder who turns 16 may hunt with that junior license for the remainder of the year, but must complete a hunter safety course prior to hunting without adult supervision. BeginningJanuary 1, 2016, the law will allow holders of junior hunting licenses, after they turn 16 years of age, to also hunt pheasants and migratory waterfowl, and to hunt with a bow and arrow for the remainder of the calendar year for which their licenses are issued without having to purchase pheasant permits, migratory waterfowl permits or archery hunting licenses. Reminder: Anyone 16 and older must purchase a Federal migratory bird hunting stamp even if they are continuing to hunt with a junior hunting license.

Click to view the full language of P.L.C. 281An Act To Clarify and Simplify the Licensing and Registration Provisions of the Inland Fisheries & Wildlife Laws.

Maine’s hunting laws are available online at www.eregulations.com/maine/hunting/

CLICK HERE for the 2016 hunting seasons and bag and possession limits.

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N.H. 10-Year Game Plan Wish List

“In the current plan we actually have objectives and were fairly well able to achieve those until the last five or six years,” said Kent Gustafson, wildlife program administrator at Fish and Game.

Unlike the current plan, the proposal would allow the state to change the goals to reflect what’s happening with moose.

“We can’t stick to these come hell or high water. We have to be able to maneuver should things continue to change,” said Kristine Rines, the moose project leader. “It may simply become impossible to even think we’re going to reach the goals.”<<<Read More>>>

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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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