|Captain Dennis Perry of RSO|
We shot the bull for a few minutes and was introduced to another guide Matt Whitegiver who you may have read about over at the Maine Outdoorsman. Matt owns the Wilderness Lodge and runs the Eagle Mountain Guide Service. Shortly thereafter, we took our seats and the meeting began.
Rather than receive two coordinated speeches, the men after being introduced quickly brought the conversation to the audience. They filtered throughout the crowd and took every question cast with the intent to merge the ideas at the state level into the reasoning of the crowd. It became quite apparent that much needs to be done but without input, effort, and reflection no progress can be made. So here's the talking points from my perspective...
The bulk of the meeting focused primarily on the deer population including coyote, bear, and habitat management.
Talk dominated the night ranging from the fathoming of why the stock is in the state of collapse, plans to address the problem, and efforts to support a greater whitetailed deer population.
Within the forum, ideas such as a deer stamp to fund greater action for deer research, habitat protection (wintering yards), and predator control were weighed against the stance that asserting yet another fee without clearly allocating the funds with a distinct purpose had the sportsmen wary. Other topics raised were a shorter or closed season, year round trapping for coyote, a second bear permit within the scope of the regular season, spring bear hunting season, and limiting the harvest of quality deer yards that land owners may not even know exists albeit the massive cutting of the woods.
The conversation went in a variety of ways as both the commissioner and executive director handled each and every comment or question with a forthright and committed demeanor.
In terms of my participation, I felt compelled to seriously learn more about the coyote issue. Having lived on an island my entire life and never once seeing a coyote, I became a passive observer. With no input on this heavy issue, I sat back and appreciated the ideas, comments, and questions all offered within the two hour time frame.
My only contribution was in closure as I inquired whether or not the commissioner would be marketing his trademark bow tie with DIF&W logos. I feel it got quite a chuckle out of the audience, but I also took the time to publicly thank everyone for what I considered a highly worthwhile evening.
Much thanks goes out to the PRRGCA for hosting this event, and I appreciate the willingness of all parties to partake in the forum.
As the commissioner so well stated, "The natural resources of Maine are precious and we (meaning each and every person) must do something meaningful for the future generations of Maine." and I feel that no one left the meeting without a sense of betterment and anticipation of a positive effort to ensure the great outdoors remains just that.
Stay tuned for my next installment on this meeting featuring Dennis Perry of Rising Sun Outfitters.