George Smith's blog

Anglers Congress created Maine fishing initiative – in 2008.

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 It’s never too late – at least I hope not. The Sportsman’s Alliance organized an Anglers’ Congress in 2008, with statewide participation by many organizations and clubs, to create a state fishing initiative. As Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife works this year to create new fisheries management plans, the suggestions of the Anglers’ Congress provide excellent direction and ideas. Here they are.

General Themes

There is no accountability at DIF&W for the decisions, plans, and policies created by fisheries biologists (including no financial accountability).

An underfunded unresponsive system has caused a decline in Maine’s fishery and number of anglers.

DIF&W does not grasp the economic value of anglers as other states have done.

We are unable to interact effectively with DIF&W.

Fishery management problems are not new – but it’s time to fix them

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 It’s always good to look back, as we look ahead, and that is especially true as we work on new fisheries management plans. And I urge you to step up and take advantage of a new opportunity offered by Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife by expressing your opinions and concerns in DIF&W’s online forum, which you can access here.

2002 Review

In 2002, the Management Assistance Team of the International Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies reviewed DIF&W’s fisheries management program, thanks to successful legislation proposed by the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine where I worked as executive director. Here is some of what we learned in the MATT report.

I’m volunteering to help reduce Italy’s out-of-control wild boar population

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 They’re calling my name, those beautiful hills of Tuscany, where wild boar and deer are chowing down on the grape vines and grapes and endangering my favorite wines.

A friend sent me the news story, written by Gaia Pianigiani and published in the New York Times on March 7, which started out this way:

GAIOLE IN CHIANTI, Italy — Fences are rising. There is talk of a brutal and destructive insurgency, invasions and a slaughter that could include hundreds of thousands in the years ahead. If that sounds something like a war, the battlefield is the prized vineyards of Chianti, Italy’s vaunted wine region in the heart of the rolling hills of Tuscany.

And the enemy? An exploding population of voracious wild boars and deer that savor the sugary grapes and the vines’ tender sprouts, but that are also part of the region’s famed landscape, hunting traditions and cuisine.

Another great dining adventure at Solo Bistro

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Bath
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 George

                Ever since we enjoyed a wonderful dinner at Solo Bistro three years ago, we’ve wanted to return. And finally, our recent stay at the Inn at Bath gave us that opportunity. We scheduled the visit for a Wednesday night, figuring they wouldn’t be very busy. Well, that was wrong!

                And I should have known that, because for years the restaurant has featured a Wednesday special for the bargain price of $17.99. The special is promoted in a weekly email from Will Neilson, who owns the restaurant with his wife Pia, the manager. Will’s weekly emails are always entertaining with a bit of philosophy mixed with food news.

The snows gone but the garbage remains

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 Road slobs had a busy winter. When I stopped my garbage walks, after snow piled along the roadsides and hid the garbage tossed out by road slobs, the side of the road from my house to the corner of the Blake Hill Road, and then up Route 41 past my woodlot, were clean.

So it was discouraging today to set out with two bags, one for bottles and cans and one for garbage, and fill both up on just one side of the road. Tomorrow I’ll tackle the other side.

On my last garbage walk of 2015, I found an anniversary card signed by Peg and Ray, and a receipt from the Waterville McDonald’s offering me an opportunity to buy one quarter pounder or egg mcmuffin and get one free. I couldn’t use that because I got so disgusted by all the garbage from fast food restaurants, especially McDonald’s and Dunkin Donuts, that I now refuse to eat at either place.

Legislature acts to strengthen hunting, fishing, and trapping

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 The legislature’s Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Committee voted unanimously yesterday to strengthen the language in the Fish and Wildlife’s mission statement. It’s been a long road getting here, especially considering that the amended version of LD 1593 contains only 19 words. But those 19 words are important.

This story begins with a proposal from the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine designed to discourage wildlife ballot initiatives like the 2014 bear referendum. As described in the summary, “This bill establishes contingent wildlife management provisions that become effective when an initiated ballot measure is approved that reduces wildlife management methods available to the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. The provisions of this bill only apply to the animals that are significantly effected either directly or indirectly by the approved ballot measure.”

It’s never been easier to express your opinions on big game management

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 For the first time, Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife is reaching out to all of us and inviting us to participate in the preparation of new management plans for our big game animals: deer, moose, bear, and turkeys. In public meetings and an online forum, you can be heard on all the issues that are important to you. I hope you will not miss this unprecedented opportunity.

Let’s start with the online forum. You’ll find it here, at www.metownhall.org. Since the forum opened on March 1, only 13 comments were posted on turkeys, 14 on deer, 2 on moose, and surprisingly, just one on bear. You can simply post your thoughts on one or all of these big game animals and management of them, or get into an online discussion of the issues that concern you.

DIF&W’s Questions

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