Week in Preview May 9, 2011

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This week legislative committees face a deadline for finishing their work on all the bills before them. That’s a prodigious task for some committees, but the Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Committee should have no problem disposing of all of its bills, with two exceptions.

 The committee’s work on deer issues awaits a bill to be submitted by Senate President Kevin Raye. Senator Dave Trahan has led two workshops on deer issues with other committee members and DIF&W staff. From that effort, proposals will be forthcoming to insert into Senator Raye’s bill. Those proposals will add elements and perhaps funding to DIF&W’s Maine Game Plan for Deer.

 Senator Trahan continues to work with DIF&W staff on hatchery issues, and will probably ask legislative leaders for an extension to allow that work to continue.

Summer Fun in Lubec

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Lubec
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Lubec is lovely and lively in the summer, a top spot for a short or long vacation. We’ve been “summering” there for – well, for our entire lives. We often get “down” to Lubec in June and always for a week in August.

Lubec has astonishing scenery, the “Bold Coast” with some of our best conservation lands, the tastiest chocolates in the state, great birding and whale watching, history and hiking, fabulous saltwater fishing and kayaking, and the prettiest lighthouse you’ll ever see.

We started to build you a list of “don’t miss” places and activities in and around Lubec, but it got too long for this column!

Week in Preview May 2, 2011

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The hunt is on for turkeys, both in the field and at the State House. I plan to focus plenty of attention to the field, when the DIF&W’s turkey season kicks off Monday morning 30 minutes before sunrise.

At the State House, hundreds of bills are scheduled for work sessions this week, and legislators will be trying to quickly weed out the turkeys so they can get to the bills that warrant further consideration. I’ll be covering this process too, although it may not be as interesting as the mornings’ turkey hunts around Mount Vernon.

Deer Plan Gets Legislative Attention

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The following elements are under consideration by the Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Committee as additions to DIF&W’s Maine Game Plan for Deer. The responses of DIF&W’s Sandy Ritchie are printed in italics.

 

A subcommittee of IFW Committee members, led by Senator David Trahan, is working on language to insert in Senator Kevin Raye’s deer resolve and will bring their suggestions back to the full committee soon. That language may include some of the following elements, plus additional elements created by the committee.

 

DIF&W Constitutional Amendment Gets Hearing

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The legislature's Taxation Committee held a hearing yesterday on Senator David Trahan's proposed Constitutional amendment to direct a small percentage of sales tax revenue to the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

You can read my report on the hearing in my Downeast.com blog.

PHOTO: Senator David Trahan.

Woodcock Tackles Ambitious Agenda

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DIF&W Commissioner Chandler Woodcock’s first 60 days set the stage for major changes in the second two months of his tenure. Between now and the end of June, expect significant announcements from the moose hunt to the fisheries division.

Chandler sat for an interview with me on April 26 to talk about some of the major initiatives that are in process. It’s an impressive list.

Maine Game Plan for Deer

Barely a week into the job, Chandler stood with his boss, Governor Paul LePage, and Senate President Kevin Raye, in the governor’s cabinet room, to announce DIF&W’s Maine Game Plan for Deer. The plan has encouraged and excited sportsmen throughout the state.

Although the plan was created by DIF&W’s staff before his arrival, Chandler beefed it up significantly. Even so, the plan lacks the staff, money, and other resources needed to rebuild the state’s deer herd.

ATV bills still on the legislative trail

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The Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Committee hosted public hearings on April 25 on two bills that would create a mitigation fund private landowners could access to repair damage caused by ATV riders. The committee also reconsidered an earlier vote on a bill that would allow game wardens to stop ATV riders without suspecting that they were violating a law.

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