Fisheries Steering Committee frustrated with process to date

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Members of DIF&W’s Fisheries Steering Committee are frustrated with the lack of progress in preparation of new fisheries management plans. While the new big game management plans are nearing completion, the Fisheries Division staff has not even completed the initial assessments of each species, never mind the new 15-year management plans.

From my point of view, the fisheries planning process is deeply flawed. For each big game animal, a special steering committee of individuals representing a variety of groups was organized to work with the Wildlife Division staff in preparation of draft management plans. Both the initial assessments and the draft management plans then went to a larger Steering Committee, which has been actively engaged in the preparation of the final plans.

Bombay Mahal has been our favorite Indian Restaurant for 20 years

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                We’ve been dining for 2 decades at our favorite Indian restaurant, Bombay Mahal in Brunswick. Raj and Bina Sharma opened their restaurant 25 years ago, and it’s now the oldest Indian restaurant in Maine (and we would also argue the best Indian restaurant in Maine).

            I could sit in this intimate place for hours, entranced by the low lights, music, art, and awesome food, starting with naan and ending with a delightful bowl of ice cream. I do have one tip for you: don’t fill up on appetizers and naan! Portions here are large, and we didn’t make a dent in our main courses on our visit two weeks ago.

Let Me Tell A Story by Paul Betit

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 Paul Betit wants to tell you a story. Well, actually, a bunch of stories. And he does just that in his new book, Let Me Tell A Story, published by BeeMan Books in Brunswick.

If you haven’t read Paul’s three novels, you should. They are very good. But it turns out he can write nonfiction too. Well, sort of.

Paul says his new book is “a mix of short fiction and memoir.” He told me, “This book is a big departure from the books I have published in the past. It’s more personal and, I think, much more literary. Basically, the book is about growing up and growing old.”

It is all of that, a relatively short (116 pages) trip through Paul’s interesting life. I would love to know what is fact and what is fiction, but part of the fun is trying to figure that out.

Moose hunters compared to gangs with guns in Somalia

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 It’s often helpful to take a look back, before moving forward. In April of 1998, Roberta Scruggs, at that time the outdoor writer for the Portland Press Herald and Maine Sunday Telegram, wrote this story, titled Law Clarified, and Hunters Ride in Peace.

It wasn’t his 30 years as a Maine master guide that earned Greig “Butch” Barker of Medway his spot in Maine hunting history. And he certainly didn’t seek or enjoy his moment of fame.

“I am very bitter,” Barker said last week. “And you can quote me on that.”

But Barker and nine others – I think of them as the Aroostook 10 – did Maine hunters a real service. Because of them, an important law was recently clarified. It’s now safe for hunters to ride the roads again – as long as their weapons are unloaded.

“It’s illegal to have a loaded firearm in a vehicle. Period,” said Senator Marge Kilkelly, D-Wiscasset.

From Sunday hunting to fisheries management, the legislature will tackle it all.

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                 Legislators have filed nearly 2000 bills this session, and there’s a lengthy list of proposals that will be of interest – and concern – to sportsmen and women and all others who enjoy the outdoors. We only have titles and sponsors so far (no details) but the titles often give us a good idea of what’s being proposed.

                As soon as we begin to get completed bills, hearings will be scheduled on them, and I will write about those. Here’s a quick look at some of the more interesting and provocative bills.

Sunday Hunting

New Big Game Plans Draw Plenty of Questions

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 The Big Game Steering Committee is really engaged in the creation of new management plans for moose, deer, bears, and turkeys. At the committee meeting on January 5, members asked many questions of the professional staff of Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, and provided them with lots of advice.

The committee and agency are nearing completion of the plans which will then go out to you – the public – for comment. I expect that opportunity to be offered sometime in February or early March.

By comparison, new fisheries plans are way behind schedule. The Fisheries Steering Committee hasn’t even received the initial assessments of each fish species, the first step in this process, with draft plans following. I doubt those plans will be ready for public review before the end of 2017.

Here’s what they hope to accomplish with new big game plans

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 The “expected outcomes” for Maine’s new big game management plans are ambitious, to say the least. A draft of these outcomes was distributed to DIF&W’s Big Game Management Steering Committee at its January 5 meeting, and Nate Webb, DIF&W’s staffer who is directing this process, provided me with a copy.

I think you will find these to be very interesting. But please remember, these are drafts, for discussion purposes only, at this point in the planning process. And you will note that in some of the expectations, they have yet to come up with a number.

Expected Outcomes – Big Game Management Plan

Wild Turkeys

A new method to track wild turkey population trends is implemented by 20XX.

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