My thanks to those who completed the first two surveys in my new Sportsmen Say Survey, found on my website: www.georgesmithmaine.com. I am delighted by the initial response to this new opportunity to make your voices heard, and look forward to gaining more participants as we progress. As promised, I have shared the results with the news media, legislators, and outdoor leaders.
The first survey question concerned a major issue before the legislature this session, protection of native and wild brook trout. Last week I posted a column in my outdoor news blog about the amazing result fashioned by Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife with the help of two working groups, one on bait fish and another on brook trout. The legislature’s IFW Committee will be briefed on the department’s proposed policy and plan for brook trout next Tuesday, February 11, and I will post the details of the plan that afternoon.
Here are the brook trout question and survey responses.
Should Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife do more to protect native and wild brook trout, including banning the use of live fish as bait on wild brook trout waters in order to reduce the chance of an introduction of new competing fish species in those waters?
Yes 65 percent No 35 percent 243 responses
The second survey included two questions about wild game meat. I had some fun with the issue – without intending to cause anyone any trouble. Clearly, while the law is very strict – many of us would say too strict – DIF&W is allowing wild game dinners to be offered, even when a fee is charged.
For my entire career at SAM, I looked for laws and rules that are commonly violated and that don’t make sense and tried to get rid of them. I’d put the laws requiring labeling and prohibiting the sale of wild game meat in that category – and so do those who responded to the question.
Even though the question has only been posted for one day, I want to report on it today to put to rest any rumors that I’m trying to make trouble for all the wonderful events that serve wild game in Maine. Not true! But I do suggest that we fix this law, sooner rather than later.
Here are the two questions and the results, so far.
Do you think it should be illegal to charge a fee for wild game dinners in Maine?
Yes 18 percent No 82 percent 76 responses
Is all the wild game meat in your freezer and home properly labeled?
Yes 50 percent No 50 percent 76 responses
Sportsmen Say Survey questions will remain up for some time, so you can still answer these questions if you want to.
PHOTO: by Emily Burnham, Bangor Daily News, of last year’s wonderful Unity College wild game dinner, usually scheduled in April. Proceeds go to good causes. Look for info on the 2014 dinner to be posted soon on the Unity College website. Some of the proceeds will go to the college’s bear study project.