George's Outdoor News

George’s new outdoor issues blog. He goes all over the state. He listens. And he reports on issues of concern to sportsmen, conservationists, and environmentalists.

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.

Ritchie Offers Weekly Reports on Maine Deer Plan

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You can follow DIF&W’s progress in the implementation of its Maine Game Plan for Deer through the excellent weekly reports issued by project director Sandy Ritchie. Contact Sandy to get on her email list for these reports (

 On Monday (March 28) at 8 am Senator David Trahan and I will be briefing the legislature’s Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Committee on the recommendations in our plan that are not included in DIF&W’s plan. You can listen to our presentation on-line at the legislature’s website ( Later that day I will post our report in this blog.

Kid Steals Governor's Deer Plan Press Conference

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It was the best question ever asked at a governor’s press conference. But before we get to that, let’s shout out to Governor Paul LePage for focusing attention on Maine’s critical deer problems.

And DIF&W’s Commissioner, Chandler Woodcock, deserves special recognition for launching this effort in his second week on the job. A lot of key department staff had the plan ready to go, but Woodcock added emphasis to the plan and got the governor to make it a high priority for his administration.

Senator David Trahan also gets much credit for sponsoring a December workshop on deer and working with me to craft our own plan, some of which made it into the department’s plan. I’ll be writing often about both plans.

Sportsmen and Farmers Clash at Legislature

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Quote of the Day

I trust the wisdom of nature, the wisdom of Creation, far more than the selfish and arrogant desires of George Smith and the extremist wing of the Maine hunting community that has gone off the deep end in its unethical and inhumane demonization, persecution and massacre of natural predators such as coyotes.

Robert Goldman, South Portland (by way of Massachusetts).

Today's Hearing

Room 206 in the Cross Office Building was already full when I arrived 20 minutes prior to this afternoon’s hearing on two controversial land access bills. I ended up sitting on the window ledge, even as the crowd spilled out into the corridor. Most were here to oppose the two bills scheduled for public hearing today by the IFW Committee, LDs 223 and 559.

Woodcock Selects IFW Team

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For the first time in its history, the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife’s leadership team will include two women in the top four appointed positions. Commissioner Chandler Woodcock will officially announce his selections for his leadership team on Monday.

Colonel Joel Wilkinson will be reappointed to lead the Maine Warden Service.

Andrea Erskine will be appointed Deputy Commissioner.

Edith Smith will be appointed Director of the Information and Education Division.

Erskine is a well-respected long-time IFW staff member. She’s currently responsible for many key tasks, including the rule-making process where she works with the Commissioner and his Fish and Wildlife Advisory Council. Andrea also coordinates the department’s work at the legislature and is generally at all IFW Committee meetings.She is the first woman to serve as IFW's Deputy Commissioner.

Brook Trout Group Hears Report

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The Brook Trout Working Group of the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife convened this morning to hear a presentation by Moosehead’s fisheries biologist Tim Obrey, and got a pep talk from new Commissioner Chandler Woodcock.

Obrey had a power point presentation on his Moosehead Lake Weir Project.

Information was gathered over the last 2 years. This was the first presentation of the info and no formal report has been written yet. Obrey is waiting for more data before writing a formal and final report.

NEXTera Energy, Plum Creek, and the Natural Resource Education Center in Greenville, were cooperators on the project. Plum Creek put in a road so DIF&W could access a test site on ATVs. NEXTera paid most of the $13,000 cost of weirs that were installed in remote locations.

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