Time to make your voice heard on private land access, deer, bear and brook trout issues


sporstmansayThe Sportsmen Say Surveys on my website are off to a great start. Thanks to all who have participated so far. If you haven’t voiced your opinions yet, there is still time on a host of key questions including private land access, any-deer permits, deer yard protection, wild and native brook trout, and spring bear hunting.

This new survey, sponsored by Moody’s Collision Centers, gives sportsmen and other outdoor recreationists an opportunity to voice their opinions on key issues. The survey questions can be found on my website, www.georgesmithmaine.com. The survey is named for long-time outdoor newspaper reporter Gene Letourneau.

One of the best things about Gene’s column, called Sportsmen Say, was the way he let his readers and fans speak, by constantly soliciting and printing their comments. This is exactly what I hope to do with this survey – help Mainers make their voices heard.

I publicize the survey results and share them with outdoor leaders, legislators, and the news media. I have posted a column in my Outdoor News Blog, on my website and the website of the Bangor Daily News, on each of the issues, to give you background information before you express your opinions in the survey questions.

Survey Results

Here are the results, so far, on the questions I hope all readers of this blog will answer.

Should Maine repeal the ban on spring bear hunting? Yes 69% No 31%

Is it fair to expect private landowners to protect deer wintering areas – and give up the value of their timber in those areas – without compensation? Yes 31% No 69%

Should the state work aggressively to limit damage to deer yards by the spruce budworm including spraying deer yards in public lands? Yes 68% No 32%

Do you support the legislature’s decision to allocate 25 percent of the any-deer permits to junior hunters? Yes 55% No 45%

Do you support the current practice of allocating 25% of the any-deer permits to landowners who allow hunting on their land? Yes 64% No 36%

Based on your experience, is land posting increasing? Yes 90% No 10%

Do you believe Maine has enough open land available for public recreation? Yes 50% No 50%

Has some land you used in the past been posted? Yes 86% No 14%

Most popular question

The question that drew the most responses since I started the Sportsmen Say Surveys earlier this year was about brook trout. Here is the question and result.

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?

Almost 300 people answered this question, with 61 percent saying Yes and 39% saying no.

Your Opinions Count

We don’t get enough opportunities to participate in debates on key issues and to express our opinions on those issues. With the help of Shawn Moody and Moody Collision Centers, I am trying to give you the chance to learn about these issues, share your opinions, and (hopefully) influence the outcomes on these issues.

This will only work if you participate. Please do!

George Smith

About George Smith

George stepped down at the end of 2010 after 18 years as the executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine to write full time. He writes a weekly editorial page column in the Kennebec Journal and Waterville Morning Sentinel, a weekly travel column in those same newspapers (with his wife Linda), monthly columns in The Maine Sportsman magazine, two outdoor news blogs (one on his website, georgesmithmaine.com, and one on the website of the Bangor Daily News), and special columns for many publications and newsletters. Islandport Press published a book of George's favorite columns, "A Life Lived Outdoors" in 2014. In 2014, George also won a Maine Press Association award for writing the state's bet sports blog. In 2016, Down East Books published George's book, Maine Sporting Camps, and Islandport Press published George and his wife Linda's travel book, Take It From ME, about their favorite Maine inns and restaurants.