Deer Dying in the Dakotas

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Pheasant hunting in North Dakota each October has been one of my favorite activities over the past half-dozen years. Pheasant populations go up and down, mostly due to the severity of the winter, but there always seems to be plenty of birds. Some years we see a thousand birds a day. Other years a few hundred.

We also see lots of whitetail and mule deer. But this year, most of our whitetail deer sightings were of dead deer. On one farm, I saw eight freshly dead deer in four days of pheasant hunting, including the biggest whitetail I’ve ever seen in North Dakota.

I did some research into the problem while I was there and more since returning home. Here’s the sad story.

First, the whitetails are dying of EHD, epizootic hemorrhagic disease. Whitetails die within 96 hours of being bitten by a midge. The virus doesn’t impact Mule deer, and has been present in North Dakota for more than 40 years.

Legislature's IFW Committee Gets Few Bills

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While the Maine legislature as a whole grapples with many key conservation and environmental issues in 2012, the members of the Joint Standing Committee on Inland Fisheries and Wildlife may wrap up their committee work quickly, with very few issues and bills assigned to them.

The committee will hear a bunch of reports, some of which may include recommendations, reconsider a few bills carried over from the 2011 session, and take up a scant two bills that the Legislative Council allowed to be submitted in this session that is supposed to be limited to emergency measures.

The two bills that the Council considered to be emergencies are these:

Maine Tax Credit Available for Public and Private Fish Hatcheries

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Because Senator David Trahan’s bill to provide a tax credit for private investments in fish hatcheries was killed in the last legislative session, some folks think the idea died.

Actually, the proposal was moved into the state’s new two-year budget and authorized and funded. The authorizing language can be found in Part HHHH Subchapter 8 of the budget, titled “Maine Fishery Infrastructure Tax Credit Program.”

Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife must work with the Department of Marine Resources to designate appropriate projects and issue certificates of eligibility for those projects.

The tax credit cannot exceed 50 percent of the amount of cash actually invested in or contributed to an eligible fishery infrastructure project in any calendar year.

Bangor's Fiddlehead Restaurant Always in Season

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Warning: this column may make you hungry. You may feel a sudden urge to jump in your vehicle and drive to Bangor. This could result in severe depression – if you arrive when The Fiddlehead Restaurant is closed or packed.

The antidote: take two whoopie pies and call for a reservation.

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Maine Deer Hunters Urged Not To Use Urine-based Scents

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Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife shares the concern of some Maine legislators about the use of urine-based scents.

Concern over Chronic Wasting Disease led Rep. Deborah Sanderson to sponsor legislation authorizing a study of the use of scents in hunting deer and renderings used in deer feed.

Rep. Sanderson’s resolve was enacted, requiring DIF&W to perform the study and the “implications that the sale and use of these products have for the spread of chronic wasting disease.”

DIF&W must report its findings, including any suggested legislation, to the committee no later than December 7, 2011, and the Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Committee is authorized by the resolve to create its own legislation on this subject in 2012

Failure of Maine Outdoor Federation Was Predictable

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Bill Green’s recent report on the failure of the Maine Outdoor Federation reminded me that I wanted to write more about this – specifically, why this failure was so predictable.

In Bill’s WCSH TV6 report, Don Kleiner accepted the blame for the Federation’s failure. But it was most assuredly not Don’s fault. Indeed, there is no blame to be assigned here.

The simple explanation is that sportsmen’s groups only come together when facing a significant threat to their favorite outdoor activities – the 2004 bear referendum being the last example.

Dining at DiVinci's is Definitely Delicious

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We’ve been eating at and enjoying Lewiston’s Davinci’s Eatery for many years – usually before or after another great performance at the city’s Public Theatre.

Usually we were there for lunch, so a special October visit for dinner proved to be very special.

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