New Big Game Plans Draw Plenty of Questions

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 The Big Game Steering Committee is really engaged in the creation of new management plans for moose, deer, bears, and turkeys. At the committee meeting on January 5, members asked many questions of the professional staff of Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, and provided them with lots of advice.

The committee and agency are nearing completion of the plans which will then go out to you – the public – for comment. I expect that opportunity to be offered sometime in February or early March.

By comparison, new fisheries plans are way behind schedule. The Fisheries Steering Committee hasn’t even received the initial assessments of each fish species, the first step in this process, with draft plans following. I doubt those plans will be ready for public review before the end of 2017.

Here’s what they hope to accomplish with new big game plans

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 The “expected outcomes” for Maine’s new big game management plans are ambitious, to say the least. A draft of these outcomes was distributed to DIF&W’s Big Game Management Steering Committee at its January 5 meeting, and Nate Webb, DIF&W’s staffer who is directing this process, provided me with a copy.

I think you will find these to be very interesting. But please remember, these are drafts, for discussion purposes only, at this point in the planning process. And you will note that in some of the expectations, they have yet to come up with a number.

Expected Outcomes – Big Game Management Plan

Wild Turkeys

A new method to track wild turkey population trends is implemented by 20XX.

The A1 Diner is A Great!

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                 You may be wondering why we’ve never written about the A1 Diner in Gardiner, a very popular place right here in central Maine. Well, we just figured everyone already knew about this wonderful eatery, which has even been featured on national television and had an entire book written about them.

                But then we decided to do it because the A1 really is a special place. The Worcester Diner #790 was delivered by truck and installed at 3 Bridge Street in Gardiner in 1946. It immediately became popular with employees of Gardiner’s factories, who appreciated the large portions and low prices.

Legislation changing the moose hunt, fisheries management, and more being proposed

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 We don’t yet have the titles or details of the expected 2000 bills that legislators will propose (except of course my 12 bills that I’ve already told you about), but I am getting information daily on some of the fish, wildlife, conservation, and environmental bills that will be considered.

Rep. Peter Lyford tells me he has submitted a moose bill that will:


Eliminate subpermittees on moose hunting permits (to keep 2 and 3 year olds out)

The Worst Hunting Legislation Ever

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 It may have been the worst hunting bill ever, during my 18 years as executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine.

LD 1186, introduced in the Maine legislature in 1997, was titled “An Act to Ensure Hunting Safety.” When I reported on the bill in the SAM News, I left out the name of the sponsor to save her from embarrassment.

The bill would have required hunters to quit hunting at 2 pm on Halloween, ostensibly to protect trick-or-treaters.

The bill was sponsored at the request of a woman from southern Maine who apparently believed her kids were in danger of getting shot by a hunter on Halloween.  “Some of the kids actually wear animal costumes,” she exclaimed.

Taking an opportunity to have some fun with the bill at the public hearing, I thanked the sponsor for putting in the bill, “because I do like to get out of the woods by 2 pm to get my mask and costume on for trick or treating.”

Native Brook Trout Protection may be Extended by the Legislature

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 Representative Russell Black has sponsored two of my fisheries bills. One would extend protective regulations for native and wild brook trout from lakes and ponds to tributaries where they spawn. The second would assure that all waters that qualify for the state’s Heritage Fish list get put on that list.

I’ll have a lot more to say about these two important bills later, but wanted to give you this basic information now. Here are the summaries of the two bills.

An Act to Improve Maine’s Heritage Fish List and Program

Inn by the Sea is World Class

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Cape Elizabeth
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                Entering the two story suite at Inn By the Sea in Cape Elizabeth, I breathe a sigh of relaxation. Its contemporary design is a stark contrast to our old cape in Mt Vernon. And it is one of the most beautiful places we have ever stayed.

                Their spacious rooms are tastefully decorated but not over-decorated. It is a relaxing space filled with clean lines and artwork. There's even a small kitchen with island seating as well as a microwave, fridge, coffee pot, and full set of dishes and silverware. The wall facing the sea includes a two story window with an automatic shade. Double doors open to a private deck.

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