For the first time, Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife is reaching out to all of us and inviting us to participate in the preparation of new management plans for our big game animals: deer, moose, bear, and turkeys. In public meetings and an online forum, you can be heard on all the issues that are important to you. I hope you will not miss this unprecedented opportunity.
Let’s start with the online forum. You’ll find it here, at www.metownhall.org. Since the forum opened on March 1, only 13 comments were posted on turkeys, 14 on deer, 2 on moose, and surprisingly, just one on bear. You can simply post your thoughts on one or all of these big game animals and management of them, or get into an online discussion of the issues that concern you.
Here are the questions posed by DIF&W at the beginning of the forum. You can select deer, moose, bear, or turkeys, before you post your comments. You will find these questions from DIF&W at the beginning of the forum on deer.
Overall, how do you feel about deer management in Maine? Include the county in which you reside in order to be as specific as possible.
- Have you ever participated in deer hunting? Observing deer in the wild?
- Do you think the deer population in the area where you live should be increased, decreased, or stay about the same? Why?
- What do you think are the most important factors in managing the deer population in Maine?
For example, do you think deer management is important in order to provide deer hunting opportunities? Do you think deer management is important in order to provide opportunities to observe deer in the wild? Do you think deer management is important in order to reduce the risk of vehicle collisions, damage to property, damage to gardens, or risks to human health and safety in Maine?
- Which methods of deer management do you think should be utilized in Maine?
- Because deer and moose have different habitat requirements, it is difficult to have large numbers of moose and deer in the same area. In Northern Maine (includes Aroostook, Piscataquis, northern Franklin, northern Somerset, and northern Penobscot) what proportion of deer and what proportion of moose would you most like to see?
So far, some really interesting comments have been posted. Here are a few.
The State has failed to establish through legislation the means to implement proper deer yard design and maintenance. The policy of allowing the private landowners to do the right thing on a voluntary basis is a failure. Wildlife is a public resource the State is obligated to protect and whose populations it is responsible to maintain at scientifically reasonable numbers. – Robert Mathews of southern Aroostook County
Sunday hunting has been forbidden in Maine since February 28, 1883. This noble agreement between land user and landowner is one of the only things that have not changed over this one hundred-thirty-two year period. Every aspect of Maine hunting has undergone restructuring during this time period. The Sunday hunting prohibition was not initiated as an agreement between landowner and land user, but has developed into a tradition of tremendous value to the landowner, much like hunting has to the land user. Let’s stop trying to drive a wedge between ourselves and the people we depend upon for our outdoor recreation. – Troy Frye
I think we need more hunters to expand “deer season” to 12 months a year, not just the fall open season. – George Haley
I also would say youth hunters should automatically get their doe permit every year up to the age of 15. I’m also not against if you shoot a buck one year the next year you can only shoot a doe. – Jeremy Miller, Cumberland County
Somehow we need to invest how to rid the state of the Tick problem as they are as detrimental to people as well as animals ….I also believe animals should be hunted (such as Bears )not trapped or shot over baiting with food …. – Ktel
There should be no extra fee for a turkey permit. The past couple of years, I haven’t even bothered with turkey season, because I was too busy. Why bother spending $20.00 for a permit, when I’m lucky if I get to hunt even one morning during the spring season. – James Andrews
The state has an excellent bear management team, resulting in a healthy and thriving bear population. I do question however whether a limited spring season (other than tribal) might help with lamb deer predation. – Charles McLaughlin
Looking at success rates as a barometer of population densities, there is no good reason to reduce moose permit numbers in the northern tier of the state. That, combined with a desire to thin moose populations where winter ticks are a problem is another reason why maintaining permit numbers or even possibly issuing more would make good sense to the north. Judging moose population densities on the general public’s ability to find and see them is not a good management strategy. As a Maine guide who has been guiding moose hunts in WMDs 2, 3, and 5 for 13 years it is my observation that moose population levels are healthy and that continuing the moose hunt with no fewer permits than issued in 2015 and even increasing to 2014 levels would not hurt one bit. One other point worth noting in regard to “quality of hunt” – issuing more than 80 permits in any given hunt week starts to diminish the quality of the hunt, especially as permit numbers approach 100 and more. – MeGuideGirl
The Department has announced public meetings on big game and fisheries plans. At these meetings, you’ll hear about their surveys of hunters and anglers, the public, and landowners, and get a short briefing on existing plans and issues, and then be given the opportunity to express your opinions, limited to 3 minutes per person. Here are the dates, times, and places for these meeting.
There will be three public meetings in Presque Isle:
- Wednesday, March 16 from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m.; Red Room, Northeastland Hotel, 436 Maine Street, Presque Isle
Moose, Deer, Turkey Management
- Saturday, March 19 from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m.; Red Room, Northeastland Hotel, 436 Maine Street, Presque Isle
- Thursday, March 17 from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m.; Red Room, Northeastland Hotel, 436 Maine Street, Presque Isle
There will be three public meetings in Portland:
- Wednesday, March 16 from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m.; Katahdin Room, Embassy Suites, 1050 Westbrook Street, Portland
Moose, Deer, Turkey Management
- Saturday, March 19 from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m.; Katahdin Room, Embassy Suites, 1050 Westbrook Street, Portland
- Thursday, March 17 from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m.; Katahdin Room, Embassy Suites, 1050 Westbrook Street, Portland
There will be three public meetings in Orono:
- Wednesday, March 30 from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m.; Blue Room, Black Bear Inn, 4 Godfrey Drive, Orono
- Thursday, March 31 from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m.; Blue Room, Black Bear Inn, 4 Godfrey Drive, Orono
Moose, Deer, Turkey Management
- Saturday, April 2 from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m.; Blue Room, Black Bear Inn, 4 Godfrey Drive,
In Farmington, there will also be an additional fisheries meeting:
- Tuesday, April 5 from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m.; University of Farmington, Lincoln Auditorium, 224 Main Street, Farmington,