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.

Fish and Wildlife Department may get authority over turkey bag limits and seasons

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Turkey bag limits and seasons are set in law, but that may change. My turkey bill, LD 98, was amended by the legislature’s Inland Fisheries and Wildlife today to give the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife full authority to set bag limits and seasons, including the opportunity to schedule special hunts where turkeys are causing problems.

Currently bag limits and seasons are set in law, giving the agency no opportunity to make any changes.

The three sections of my turkey bill were removed. One called for elimination of the turkey hunting permit and fee, to encourage more hunters to try turkey hunting. The department and several IFW Committee members were skeptical that this would actually attract a lot more turkey hunters, and the committee felt that DIF&W needed the money for turkey research and other purposes.

At the legislature, landowners urge us to kill more turkeys

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 My turkey bill got plenty of support at yesterday’s public hearing before the Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Committee. And the committee will quickly get to work on the bill on Thursday.

The bill would eliminate the permit requirement and fee, allow on-line and phone tagging, and expand the bag limits to three toms in the spring season and three birds of either sex in the fall season. I tried to eliminate the permit and fee in 2014, and believe that is going to be essential if we’re going to get more hunters to hunt turkeys. Last year DIF&W sold only 16,000 turkey hunting permits and estimated that no more than 5,000 of us hunted turkeys in the fall.

Persistence Pays Off When Pursuing Deer

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 You should never assume you missed a deer without spending lots of time in persistent pursuit of it. Today I’ll tell you a few stories of mine that demonstrate this point.

Ethan Emerson triggered these memories in his column in the February, 2017 issue of The Maine Sportsman. The title of his column is “A Hunter’s Ethical Responsibility To Track Down Wounded Game” and he notes that, “The real work begins after you pull the trigger.” He tells his own story too, of a long several-days pursuit of a wounded buck by one of his friends.

About 40 years ago, the first huge buck I’d ever seen while hunting sauntered by me. I got off five shots, but was shaking so badly that I was sure I’d missed. I checked out the area where the buck was walking when I shot, saw no signs that I’d hit him, and headed home, morose.

How low will they (Maine’s Moose) go?

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 There’s not a lot of consensus or agreement on key issues in the new 15-year moose management plans, and the most recent meeting of the Big Game Steering Committee spent quite a bit of time on these issues.

From when moose hunting weeks should be scheduled, to the need for more research, to strategies to reduce the serious impact of ticks on moose, there’s always a lot to talk about at these meetings. The Steering Committee is working with the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife to create new plans for moose, deer, bear, and turkeys.

Lee Kantar, DIF&W’s very capable lead moose biologist, always has a lot of interesting information for the committee. For example, I found this statement from Lee to be interesting: “It’s inappropriate to suggest that a moose harvest in southern Maine will reduce moose/car collisions.”

How low will they (Maine’s Moose) go?

Blog Showcase Image: 

 There’s not a lot of consensus or agreement on key issues in the new 15-year moose management plans, and the most recent meeting of the Big Game Steering Committee spent quite a bit of time on these issues.

From when moose hunting weeks should be scheduled, to the need for more research, to strategies to reduce the serious impact of ticks on moose, there’s always a lot to talk about at these meetings. The Steering Committee is working with the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife to create new plans for moose, deer, bear, and turkeys.

Lee Kantar, DIF&W’s very capable lead moose biologist, always has a lot of interesting information for the committee. For example, I found this statement from Lee to be interesting: “It’s inappropriate to suggest that a moose harvest in southern Maine will reduce moose/car collisions.”

How low will they (Maine’s Moose) go?

Blog Showcase Image: 

 There’s not a lot of consensus or agreement on key issues in the new 15-year moose management plans, and the most recent meeting of the Big Game Steering Committee spent quite a bit of time on these issues.

From when moose hunting weeks should be scheduled, to the need for more research, to strategies to reduce the serious impact of ticks on moose, there’s always a lot to talk about at these meetings. The Steering Committee is working with the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife to create new plans for moose, deer, bear, and turkeys.

Lee Kantar, DIF&W’s very capable lead moose biologist, always has a lot of interesting information for the committee. For example, I found this statement from Lee to be interesting: “It’s inappropriate to suggest that a moose harvest in southern Maine will reduce moose/car collisions.”

Are you getting “ticked” off by high populations of deer?

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 Lyme and other diseases caused by deer ticks provoked a lengthy discussion at the last meeting of the Big Game Steering Committee, a group that is working with the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife to create new 15-year management plans for deer, moose, bear, and turkeys.

Tom Doak, the director of the Maine Woodland Owners group, was the first to raise Lyme as a concern, noting, “We’ll make a mistake if we don’t address this in the plan.”

“This is a serious public health issue,” he said, “I don’t know how you are going to resolve the desire for more deer by hunters and the concerns by the public about Lyme disease.”

Don Kleiner of the Maine Professional Guides Association jumped in to add concerns about other illnesses caused by deer ticks.

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