A reader of one of my recent outdoor news blogs claimed I was just trying to stir up trouble, in order to attract readers, and reminded those readers that I get paid for writing this blog. Well, shame on me!
Let’s tackle these charges one at a time. Yes, I get paid a small amount by the Bangor Daily News for writing this blog. The money doesn’t come close to justifying the time I put into this, however, nor the fact my outdoor news columns usually are in the top 10 each week for having the most readers – out of 160 blogs posted on the BDN website.
Yes, I do like to stir you up. Guilty as charged there. And I hope that, by stirring you up, I also stir you on to taking action on some of the important projects and issues I write about.
Five years ago, when I left the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine in order to write full-time, I recognized that the issues we sportsmen and women care about get very little coverage in the daily news. In a state where one of my heroes, Gene LeTourneau, wrote about hunting and fishing every day for 50 years for southern Maine’s newspapers, we are lucky to get any stories about hunting and fishing these days.
I am attempting, in a very modest and limited way, to fill that gap. Here’s one example. While Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife is preparing new game and fisheries management plans this year, and emphasizes that this process, this year, includes unprecedented opportunities for sportsmen, landowners, and the general public to participate, I am the only one so far who has written about the process and attended some of the meetings in order to tell you about them.
I do not say this to brag. It actually discourages me that we are unable to attract more attention to something as important as this. There are huge challenges and important issues involved in creating these new plans and you need to be informed about this and to participate in the process.
Something the reader didn’t complain about, but that others have, is that I often express my opinions on these issues in this column. Well, yes again. This is my column. I think some people believe bloggers are members of the news media, and should be forbidden from expressing opinions. I do not pretend to be a member of the news media. Period.
Clearly, I enjoy the legislative process, the opportunity to participate in DIF&W’s issues and processes, the chance to influence the course of events, and the responses I get from readers of this outdoor news blog. I appreciate the fact that even those who disagree, and criticize me, are still reading these columns every time they are posted. I swear one guy must sit there waiting for a new column, because he almost always, within seconds, posts his critical comments.
Having participated in the political system for 50 years, and been in the public eye for much of that time, I have a very thick skin. So, fire away. I appreciate your passion for and participation in these issues.