Too Much Money Going to Game Wardens

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As the legislature grapples with difficult budget issues, it’s a good time to take a close look at the finances of Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. In the last fiscal year (July 1, 2011 to June 30, 2012), the agency raised $34,071,863.


$9,397,726 (28%) was federal funding. $15,238,773 (45%) came from the sale of licenses and permits, and $3,800,213 (11%) came from registrations of snowmobiles, ATVs, and boats.

Rockland Around the Christmas Tree!

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Rockland
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We decided not to wait for Christmas to enjoy one of our mutually-given gifts – a weekend of pampering at Rockland’s Berry Manor Inn and fine dining at Primo and Café Miranda. We also picked up gifts for others (and ourselves) at Fiore Oils. Merry Christmas!

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Cafe Miranda Opens for Lunch!

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Rockland
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Rockland’s Café Miranda is a favorite dinner place for us, and now it’s a favorite for lunch too!

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Photo: Cafe Miranda's outstanding Reuben.

 

IFW Committee Gets New Members and Chairs

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The legislature’s Joint Standing Committee on Inland Fisheries and Wildlife will get seven new members (a majority) and two new chairs this session. Legislative leaders announced committee appointments late yesterday afternoon, and there were many surprises. Here’s the rundown on the IFW Committee.

Senator David Dutremble (D-York County) will be the Senate chair, while Representative Mike Shaw (D-Standish) will serve as the House chair. Dutremble is a new Senator, while Shaw served on the committee last session.

Mike is one of two Democratic Representatives returning to the committee, and he was a great choice to chair the committee. I’ve hunted turkeys with Mike, he’s sponsored bills for me, and I can tell you he is great individual, conscientious and hard working.

Also returning to the committee is Representative Sheryl Briggs (D-Mexico).

Fishing and Deer Feeding Rules Revised and Enacted

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Commissioner Chandler Woodcock presented significant changes to proposed rules governing deer feeding at this morning’s meeting of the Fish and Wildlife Advisory Council. The revised rule proposal won the endorsement of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine, a strong critic of the initial proposal.

Woodcock also offered amendments to the agency’s controversial proposal to ban the use of live fish as bait on 16 wild brook trout waters on the “B List.” The Commissioner read a lengthy statement on this proposal and other proposed changes in fishing rules, at the beginning of the meeting.

Among other things, he announced that DIF&W will organize a bait focus group, to “revise bait regulations in Maine.”

F&W Advisory Council Tackles Controversial Issues on Thursday

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Maine’s Fish and Wildlife Advisory Council will act on two controversial rules proposals on Thursday (December 20). The Council’s meeting convenes in Augusta at 9:30 am and I will be there to post a report.

Deer feeding and protection of native brook trout are the issues in contention, and the actions of the Advisory Council on these two issues and proposals will be significant. The Council shares rule-making authority with the department’s Commissioner, Chandler Woodcock. Both must approve a rule for it to be enacted.

Chandler will suffer a significant setback if he is unable to win the Council’s support for these two initiatives.

Fisheries

First up will be a proposal from DIF&W’s Fisheries Division to prohibit the use of live fish as bait on 16 brook trout waters that are on the “B List” of waters that have not been stocked in at least 25 years.

Demands Growing For Quality Deer Management

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A revolt is brewing in the deer hunting community over management of Maine’s most popular big game animal. While an earnest group of Quality Deer Management enthusiasts has been at work for many years in Maine, the drastic decline in the deer population seems to have triggered a strong grass roots effort to try something different in our state.

Simply put, quality deer management is a specific strategy that includes antler restrictions, usually three on a side. It has been successfully employed in other states, at least to the satisfaction of deer managers and hunters.

The major stumbling block to QDM in Maine has been the strong opposition of the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife’s leaders, including the top deer biologists.

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