That was the lead on a “Favorite Turkey Hunts” in the April edition of Bowhunting World magazine.
Despite the fact that Maine probably offers the best turkey hunt in the country, we’re on nobody’s radar, a stunning example of how much our lack of marketing and promotion is costing the state’s outdoor industry.
In January of 2012, a Task Force directed by the legislature to study the decline in the number of nonresident hunters coming to Maine, issued its report and recommendations. Among the Task Force’s findings were these:
- Numbers of Maine nonresident hunters have dropped from a high in 2002 of 41,538 to 37,925 in 2005 to an all-time low of 27,898 in 2010.
- Numbers of alien hunters have dropped from a high in 1995 of 1885 to 232 in 2010.
I recently obtained the 2012 license numbers. That year 23,334 nonresident hunters and 281 aliens purchased hunting licenses. The numbers for 2013 are not yet available.
Among the Task Force’s recommendations were these: Develop collaborative marketing strategies with Maine Office of Tourism to target the nonresident hunter audience. They called for annual marketing plans, surveys of nonresident hunters, marketing tools and training for Maine’s hunting industry, advertising “Maine’s world class resources, ease of access, available and open lands, and outdoor experiences,” and lots more.
Most telling, the Task Force recommended, “Species other than moose, deer and bear must be promoted; emphasizing turkey, waterfowl, upland birds, rabbits and coyotes.”
None of these recommendations were implemented.
According to Bowhunting World, the best places to hunt turkeys this spring are Nebraska, Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, and, GASP! – New York.
Sad. Very sad.