George's Outdoor News

George’s new outdoor issues blog. He goes all over the state. He listens. And he reports on issues of concern to sportsmen, conservationists, and environmentalists.

Retired Chief Warden Parker Tripp spills his stories

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Game wardens everywhere have great stories to tell and many choose to tell them in book form.  John Ford’s books are a phenomenon – or perhaps I should say John is a phenomenon.

Now along comes Mainer Parker Tripp, retired Chief Warden, and I have to say, he’s got some wonderful stories to tell. Parker turned for help to Megan Price, an award-winning journalist and author of other books including Vermont Wild - Adventures of Fish & Game Wardens.

Maine Wild, Adventures of Fish and Game Wardens, was written by Price, but it reads as if Parker is sitting in your living room telling you his stories.

Merger of Agriculture, Forestry, Parks, and Lands questioned at legislature

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 “When the battle is over” is one of my favorite hymns. But it doesn’t apply at the Maine legislature. No battle is ever over.

Last session, over the objections of some environmental groups, the legislature merged the Department of Agriculture with the Department of Conservation, creating the Department of Agriculture, Forestry, and Conservation. And while many are unhappy about some aspects of the merger, including some who supported it, few want to re-examine the issue this year.

At least, that’s my prediction, even though two environmental groups made a pitch yesterday to review the merger. LD 39, sponsored by Representative Anthony Edgecomb, would create a task force that could, in the words of Eliza Donoghue of the Natural Resources Council of Maine, “determine whether the merged department has provided, at the same or better level, the protection and management of our natural resources and public lands formerly provided by the Department of Conservation.”

Maine Warden Service strangling fisheries and wildlife management.

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It’s a roadmap to the agency’s priorities and programs. And some of the things along that road will surprise you.

I just received a financial report on the revenues and expenditures of Maine’s Fish and Wildlife Department for Fiscal Year 2014, from July 1, 2013 to June 30, 2014.

The agency received $35,860,125 from 55 revenue sources and spent $37,360,309 in its 7 divisions. While it’s a bit of a mystery as to how they came to spend more than they raised, Commissioner Chandler Woodcock did disclose recently that the agency currently has a $3 million surplus.

If you don’t read any more of this report, please consider this:

Homeless Deer may be doomed in Maine's north woods

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“We’re not going to do very well as long as deer are homeless.”

Representative Bob Duchesne’s comment sums up the problem nicely. Without habitat – especially wintering yards – deer are doomed. Bob’s radio show with Erin Simons-Legaard, a research professor at the University of Maine’s Forestry School, was – well, there’s no other way to describe it – discouraging and depressing.

But you must listen to it. And you can do that here:

In about a month, the report Erin talks about on the show will be published. It’s an impressive look at wildlife habitat in Maine’s forests from 1975 to 2007. That includes the time period when the Forest Practices Act was enacted to govern forest harvesting practices (including limits on clearcuts), and the spruce budworm epidemic.

The devil is in the details of Maine’s 2015 moose management plan

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Permits to hunt moose in Maine will be reduced this year, but not nearly as sharply as they were in 2014 when we lost about 1000 permits.

However, when you get into the details of the permit proposal from the Wildlife Division professionals at Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, you will find that the only reason the total number of permits will be reduced is a significant cut in WMD 2.

In that district, the legislature directed DIF&W in 2010 to decrease the moose population to reduce motor vehicle collisions with this beast of the woods. And Judy Camuso, DIF&W’s very capable Wildlife Division Director, told me that the population has been reduced in WMD 2, the goal has been met, and consequently the recommendation for 2015 is to reduce permits in that district by 300.

Moose ticks, legislation, management recommendations and more

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This is the third of three columns about Maine’s moose. Part I, posted two days ago, includes a bit of history of moose issues, management, research and the lottery. Part II, posted yesterday, covers issues debated in the last two legislative sessions and brings us up-to-date. Part III recognizes the important advances DIF&W has made recently in its moose research and management, but notes all that we don’t know, and offers some challenging suggestions for the future. After each of the three columns, readers are invited to share their opinions on these issues.

                We know a lot about moose. The 2014 Research & Management Report of Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife contains an impressive amount of information about moose. The report includes details of the 2014 moose hunting season, including success rates by season and permit type.

Lee Kantar destroyed my moose bill

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 Moose Series – Column #2

Lee Kantar destroyed my moose bill

This is the second of three columns about Maine’s moose. Part I, posted on February 2, includes a bit of history of moose issues, management, research and the lottery. Part II covers issues debated in the last two legislative sessions and brings us up-to-date. Part III, to be posted tomorrow, February 4, poses a few questions, recognizes the important advances DIF&W has made recently in its moose research and management, and offers some challenging suggestions for the future. After each of the three columns, readers are invited to share their opinions on these issues.

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