Tuesday, April 12, 2011

A Positive Experience...

My truest intentions did not collaborate with my actions last night when I attended the Pleasant River Rod & Gun Conservation Association annual meeting in Columbia Falls.  Although a camera, notebook, pen, and an inspired attitude towards a feeble attempt at journalism were on the docket, the night became more of a learning experience.  Simply put, if I were to try to document anything during the two hour discussion then I would be forfeiting one fine learning opportunity.  So without one picture and some worthwhile notes, the following narrative highlights my experience with the Commissioner of DIF&W Chandler Woodcock, Executive Director of the Sportsman's Alliance of Maine Matthew Dunlap, and the fifty or so people of broad experience and influence.

Captain Dennis Perry of RSO
As I entered the gym I caught up with Dennis Perry, a fellow Maine Guide who is a top gun for Rising Sun Outfitters.  After some prodding, Dennis has agreed to submit a guest column about his thoughts about the meeting.  In addition, I wrote a post on the DEDH blog a few years ago when he invited me to attend a duck hunt which became a fine opportunity to honor his fine retriever, Lexi.  Click Here

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.


  1. I really hope you guys get the things done that you want to accomplish! Keep up your good work and good attitude. I think you can do more by being positive than by being negative!

  2. I'm curious does the DIF&W officially recognize that the stock is in a state of collapse or is that a consensus amongst professional guides?

  3. This is what I gathered...

    Early on in the conversation, it was stated that much of Washington County has been severely cut. The question became what is the state going to do? Matt Dunlap went on to talking about the cyclic winter weather than occurs from decade to decade, coyote predation, and the lack of food & cover. The term "state of collapse" did come up, but did not come from Commissioner Woodcock but rather Dunlap. No one disagreed with that comment, and much of the conversation continued to return to the deer population. It is important to mention that there is no one solution to the problem. The next post will be interesting as Dennis Perry who sat next to me, brings a different viewpoint.

  4. Well that's a start..The "industry" is too important to the State of Maine's economy..Tourism and fishing and hunting are about all we have left..Fish and game are about our only natural resources that we can market and the state needs to do whatever it takes to assure that the resource stays healthy.

  5. Totally random obnoxious bow tie question FTW! You DA MAN!

  6. Rabid,
    Commission Woodcock did take the time to discuss the history behind his trademark bow tie and explained why he had not worn one since his appointment. His explanation was good enough for me, and I'll be sure to fill you in on the details. You need to run over to DIFW and visit, I think you'd like him.

  7. It matters little if he currently wears a bow tie or not. The fact remains that at one time during his existence on this planet he did in fact wear a bow tie. I find this action inexcusable. However, I suppose if I can forgive you for wearing those parachute pants, sporting a mullet and jamming out to MC Hammer perhaps in time there can be a place in my heart for Comm. Woodcock.


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