George Smith's blog

Hunting and fishing rules are too complicated and confusing

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Most everyone who hunts and fishes will agree that the laws and rules governing our favorite outdoor sports are far too complex. If you agree, it’s time for you to step up and help us address the problem.

On Thursday, March 12, at 1 pm, the legislature’s IFW Committee hosts a hearing on LD 157, An Act to Create an Advisory Committee To Review and Make Recommendations Regarding Hunting and Fishing Laws, sponsored at my request by Representative Matt Pouliot.

If you can’t get to the hearing in Room 227 of the State Office Building (next to the Capitol) to testify in favor of the bill, you can submit your comments via email to Be sure to title your message: Testimony in favor of LD 157.

Pink moose and slingshots are debated at legislature

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Well, the moose weren’t pink – but the clothing moose hunters wear would have been. Today’s work session of the Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Committee debated the impact of winter ticks on moose, the pink clothing proposal, hunting with slingshots, and one long-fought fishing bill.

Two months into the 2015 legislative session, the Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Committee had acted on only a single bill, LD 22, An Act to Require Removal of Mooring Equipment. The committee adopted an amended version of the bill, sponsored by Representative Mike Shaw, authorizing a harbor master, code enforcement officer, or a county commissioner in the unorganized territories to direct the owner of a boat to remove that person’s mooring or floating dock from a great pond if the mooring “would create a public safety hazard.”

Deer Herd Recommendations Rejected But Still Needed

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Three dozen outdoor leaders spent December 13, 2010 at the Augusta conference center of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine to help create recommendations to rebuild and sustain a large deer herd throughout the state. The group gathered at the invitation of Senator David Trahan. I organized and facilitated the meeting.

Dave and I continued to work on the plan, gathering ideas over the next two months, and created what was called the Trahan/Smith Deer plan.  The plan was consistent with the recommendations of DIF&W’s Deer Task Force, issued in December of 2007, and DIF&W’s Deer Predation Working Group, issued in January of 2009. Dave and I recognized and applauded their work while noting that our plan proposed a much more aggressive effort in all areas and a greater emphasis on some elements.

Travis Ferland is restoring the historic Rangeley Inn to greatness

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                It takes a brave soul to tackle the restoration of an old historic inn, and Travis Ferland is a brave soul. He also has the credentials and work ethic to do it. Travis purchased the Rangeley Inn two years ago at a foreclosure auction and has been working tirelessly ever since to bring this landmark on Rangeley’s Main Street back to its glory years.

                So far, so good. We stayed in the renovated section of the Inn and were impressed with how Travis has retained the historic aspects while modernizing the building. The entire Inn is full of old photos, memorabilia, and furniture, as well as mounts of moose and bear. My friend Bill Pierce, executive director of the Fly Fishing Museum in Oquossic, loaned the Inn some amazing photos from the museum’s collection. The common rooms at the entrance are particularly beautiful.

Let’s make sure Maine’s citizen initiatives really come from Maine citizens

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It’s called the citizen’s initiative because it is supposed to come from the citizens, not national well-funded or even state well-funded groups who buy their way onto our ballot.

Over the years we’ve tried to take the money out of the process, including making it illegal to pay people to gather signatures. The Maine Supreme Court overturned that law in 1988. So we were back at the legislature yesterday, with a new attempt to improve the integrity of the process.

Dave Trahan, executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine, led the way in support of a bill he drafted that was sponsored by Representative Stan Short. Dave presented the Veterans and Legal Affairs Committee with excellent testimony, including a lot of specifics about the most recent bear initiative by the Humane Society of the United States.

From mining to maple syrup, a busy day at the Maine legislature

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I got my exercise today. A hearing by the Environment and Natural Resources Committee on the DEP’s proposed mining rules kicked off on the second floor of the State Office Building at 9 am and lasted all day. At the same time, the Appropriations Committee, in the Capitol building, opened a hearing on the budget for the Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry Department. And upstairs on the fourth floor of the Capitol building, hearings on bills on the citizen initiative process began.

Trout, moose, slingshots, and pink hunting clothes debated at the legislature today

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 It was an interesting afternoon with the legislature’s Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Committee, hosting hearings on four issues highlighted by Representative Danny Martin’s bill, LD 134, calling for more research on moose mortality from ticks. That was the only bill I testified on, and I will provide my testimony at the end of this column.

After Rep. Martin presented his bill, Dave Trahan from SAM and I testified in favor of bill. I went first and was especially pleased when Dave, in his testimony, praised my testimony. It was good to have SAM’s support on this important issue.

Daryl DeJoy, Wildlife Alliance of Maine, also testified for the bill, explaining that it is rare that he testifies on the same side as Dave and me. He got that right!

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