Saturday, April 16, 2011

Guest Column: Dennis Perry of Rising Sun Outfitters

 One of the key players in my efforts to become a Registered Maine Guide just happens to be an accomplished guide himself.  Dennis Perry of Rising Sun Outfitters deserves much credit for his leadership, tutoring, and support in an almost daily correspondence of question & answer, preparation, and perspective.  Although we have only accompanied each other in the field sparingly, I do look forward to the days ahead chasing down a brook trout or dropping a committed black duck.  The most impressive quality I've determined is that Dennis might be one of the most passionate sportsmen I've ever encountered with an outdoor aptitude that will certainly impress.  Spend an hour with this guy, you'll know what I mean. 

Dennis Perry, Registered Maine Guide
This column is in response to my previous two post concerning DIFW commissioner Chandler Woodcook's visit to Washington County.

Please comment on your thoughts concerning the meeting.

I had a pretty good feeling when I left last night and that Chandler Woodcock has sparked some positive "new life" within the department.  I believe that he will be a man that will listen to someone if they call and return a call if he is unavailable.  It’s nice that he is a fellow sportsman as well and understands the thoughts and wants of sportsmen.

There was a lot of talk about the deer population crash.

In the end, yes we have a deer problem in Washington County.  I think that the season should be shortened so the deer don't have to look over their shoulders from October 1st until the 2nd week of December.

I think that the state needs to continue the fight and get coyote snaring back with firm rules on this practice.  However, this needs to be limited to trained Animal Damage Control agents or appropriate state authorities.  No one wants to hear about snaring coyotes, but it is the most effective means to control or stabilize a population.  Coyotes are like mosquitoes, we will never be able to get rid of them but my mosquito magnet makes things a lot better at my house.  I have noticed in 3 years of running the mosquito magnet, my mosquito population has significantly decreased. I think that the coyote population would have a similar effect if we increase our efforts to control the coyote.

Do we put too much expectation on DIFW?

I don't think that we as sportsman can shoulder or push all the blame on the department, and that each and every sportsman has a choice right now to lay off the younger bucks during deer season.  Again, it is a conscious decision that each one of us has to make until there are some new regulations. 

What can we as sportsmen do to help the problem?

I think that it is important to take a look at the future of deer hunting in Maine and there is a lack of young hunters getting hooked on deer hunting.  You can't go and shoot what we don't have right now.  I think that kids get discouraged and eventually lose interest.

There was a lot of talk about coyote predation from game management, increased seasons, and reinstating old practices to reduce the coyote population.  What’s you mind on the issue?

I think that one of the people had a good thought with delisting the coyote as a fur bearing animal. That's a good start. We should be able to trap them year round and be able to shoot them year round at night.  I believe that a bounty on them complicates issues and would probably stir more strife from anti-hunters. That is something that we don't need.

It was said several times that the bear population is one species that has increased in population and also that bear prey on newborn deer.  In addition, it was suggested to increase the bear limit to 2 bear per fall season.  Any thoughts?

I like the idea being tossed around with 2 bears per hunter. I believe that a lot of people will see the benefits from this. The State will see it from increased fees and guides will certainly see the benefit with hunters knowing that they can come to Maine for an opportunity to hunt two bears. Gas stations, grocery stores, sporting goods stores, restaurants and others will see a greater economic benefit. It is quite likely that this will be a win-win for everyone.

Throughout the meeting, what stood out most for you?

In the end, I was most impressed with the local guides and sportsmen in the Grand Lake Stream area that took the bull by the horns and locked up thousands of acres of habitat for sportsman through the Downeast Lakes Land Trust.  That certainly was not easy, but if 14 dedicated people can do it than I think that leaders in Augusta could and should learn from this model plan and expand from there.

It was suggested that firms such as Old Town Canoe, L.L. Bean, and Cabelas could play key roles in addressing the problems cited during the meeting.  Is it feasible to consider this and what may be ways for these companies to contribute especially within the realm of predator control?

I believe that L.L. Bean and Cabelas may be in a position to assist the state of Maine in promoting predator control through effective hunting practices. These companies are the "Big Two" in Maine and it seems that maybe they could put on seminars for the general public by professional predator hunters.  It may be possible that the two companies could give a donation of some sort towards predator control.


  1. As with anything, there exists a broad spectrum of hunting enthusiasts with a variety of perspective. One of the comments that still rings in my head was gear towards Commissioner Woodcock as "what are YOU going to do about the deer problem?"

    Everybody has a responsibility to do their part, for instance this winter I took the time to find a deer yard that falls on a neighbors property. After letting him know of this treasure, he was both excited and committed to protect it.

    On the other side, I've witnessed how clearing land pushes deer out. One stand I traditionally used with success, now stands adjacent to cleared forest. The bedding zone shifted and rendered this spot somewhat obsolete.

    Finally, I chose this past season to let one go. A decent buck, but clearly younger, provided a most impressive learning experience as he came into sight, grunted, urinated, approached the scent, and then reversed straight back from where he came. My father had taken a nicer buck exactly one week before and there was plenty of venison in the freezer. This buck hopefully will become a productive breeder.

    I used to be hellbent on producing a deer every season no matter the size, but things are different now and hunting isn't so much results as the benefits that diverge from the opportunity. I understand a lot of problems are facing our state in terms of wildlife, but the solutions must come from the varied levels of input and output. A discussion like the one Monday proved to be just that, Commissioner Woodcock & Matt Dunlap listened, spoke, and took notice. I believe things will get better.



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