DIF&W used to work with the outdoor industry, including guides and sporting camps, to market hunting and fishing in our state. But they don’t do that today. Bill Pierce worked hard at that, but when he left DIFW, they abolished his job.
I wrote a book, at the request of Down East Books, about Maine sporting camps, many of which are failing. When I asked them what their greatest challenge is, many said the loss of hunters and anglers. The camps that are open in the winter, serving snowmobilers and cross-country skiers, are doing better.
For example, at Claybrook Mountain Lodge in Highland Plantation (east of Kingfield), the Drummond’s most profitable business used to be deer hunting. Today deer hunting is their least profitable business and their most profitable business is cross-country skiing. They also hold two wonderful birding weekends in May, which Linda and I have enjoyed for several years.
It is critical that DIF&W work with the industry to market hunting, fishing, and other outdoor activities in Maine. This is one of many recommendations I’ve given to our new governor, Janet Mills.