George Smith's blog

Changes Coming for Maines Moose Hunt and Lottery

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The legislature's Fish and Wildlife Committee took decisive action today on a host of moose bills, determined to find a way to increase moose hunting opportunity this year. Commissioner Chandler Woodcock had asked the committee to put its ideas into the form of a resolve, directing him to consider those ideas and bring back to the 2012 legislation his proposed changes in the moose hunt and lottery. The committee decided not to wait. Committee members want to act in time to include their ideas in the 2011 lottery and hunt.

Nine moose bills were submitted this session. Eight have already received public hearing, and one remains (LD 682) to be scheduled for a public hearing.

Maine Land Access Law May Change

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An ambitious agenda of bills was scheduled for today’s 9 am work session and public hearings, in addition to the legislature’s Fish and Wildlife Committee’s work session on DIF&W’s proposed budget. The committee’s reaction to the budget is due to be presented on Thursday at the Appropriations Committee.

Contentious issues from hounds to moose were up for work session this morning but the committee began its day by killing LD 637 that would have increased the amount of money tagging agents receive from the existing tagging fee.

Weekin Preview April 4, 2011

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Today’s snowstorm changed my busiest day to a day of leisure, so you get your Week in Preview early. Postponed today were the public hearings on a slew of controversial bills impacting wildlife habitat including vernal pools. The annual Milfoil Summit was wiped out by snow for the second time, rescheduled now to April 15. The State of Maine Sportsman’s Show went on as scheduled, without me.

More than halfway through the legislative session, things are really piling up. The IFW Committee’s work session on Monday is, unfortunately, all too typical: work sessions on a dozen bills, public hearings of five bills, and a work session on the governor’s proposed budget for the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

Updated List of Legislation of Interest

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LD 11, An Act Regulating the Keeping of Wolf Hybrids. Sponsored by Senator David Trahan. This bill changes the registration requirement for a wolf hybrid kennel to a licensing requirement. It directs the Department of Agriculture, Food and Rural Resources to consult with the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife on potential threats to wildlife and public safety prior to issuing a license. It provides for the conditional licensure of kennels that were previously registered.

IFW Budget Draws No Public Interest

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No organizations or individuals spoke at the Appropriations Committee’s hearing this afternoon on the governor’s proposed budget for the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. Committee members must have thought they’d died and gone to heaven, after more than a month of budget hearings that often drew hundreds of protestors to the Capitol and required special security outside the committee’s hearing room.

Following IFW Commissioner Chandler Woodcock's presentation of the budget, the committee's Senate Chair Richard Rosen invited comments from the public but was greeted with a very telling silence.

IFW Committee Hears More Ideas for Deer Plan

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This morning Senator David Trahan and I presented a report to the legislature’s Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Committee focused on the recommendations in the deer plan that we created with the help of participants in a December deer workshop that are not in DIF&W’s Maine Game Plan for Deer. Here’s the report we presented and discussed.

 DIF&W’s Maine Game Plan for Deer is a work in progress. Some of the recommendations below will certainly be added to DIF&W’s plan as time goes on. It is our hope that the recommendations listed below, in our plan but not in DIF&W’s plan, will be inserted into Senator Kevin Raye’s resolve to add further substance and direction to DIF&W’s plan, with the support of Commissioner Woodcock.

Week in Preview March 28

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The next seven days will be hectic for Maine sportsmen and environmentalists. Before we take a look at the first four days, let’s check out the end of the week.

April 1 will be no joke for us. We start out at the Milfoil Summit in Lewiston, headlined by DEP Commissioner Darryl Brown. DIF&W’s Joe Dembeck speaks about invasive fish, and an opportunity to question speakers as well as a summit-ending panel could really enliven things. I learned last week that the milfoil sticker has generated only half the money DIF&W expected, so three of the six warden positions that were supposed to be funded by the sticker remain unfilled.

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