Advisory Council Meeting Minutes

November 13, 2013 @ 1:30 p.m.
Sebago Lake State Park
Conference Room in the Day Use Area
11 Access Park Road
Casco, ME

Attending:       Chandler Woodcock, Commissioner
Andrea Erskine, Deputy Commissioner
Christl Theriault, Assistant to the Commissioner
Jim Connolly, Director Bureau of Resource Management
Doug Rafferty, Director of Information and Education
Ryan Robicheau, Wildlife Section Supervisor
Keel Kemper, Wildlife Biologist
Chris Cloutier, Major, Warden Service

Lance Wheaton, Vice-Chair
Dick Fortier
Don Dudley
Dick Thurston
Gunner Gunderson
Sheri Oldham 

7 members of the public

I.  Call to Order

Lance Wheaton, Council Vice-Chair called the meeting to order.

II.  Introductions

Introductions were made.

III.  Acceptance of Minutes of Previous Meeting

A motion was made by Mr. Thurston to approve the minutes as presented and that was seconded by Mr. Dudley.

Vote:  unanimous – minutes approved.

IV.  Rulemaking

A.  Step 3

1.  Islesboro Special Hunt
Mr. Kemper stated because of the way the calendar fell this year the special hunt would have received a short season and the effort was to try to create a season that would extend past January 1 to give the folks on Islesboro expanded opportunity to extend the length of that season. 

Council Member Comments and Questions

Mr. Fortier stated he dealt with the tick issue when he was on the MOHF Board and they had a problem on Monhegan.  The problem was severe and they hired a sharp shooter to get rid of the deer.  He had spoken with pathologists regarding ticks and the severity of Lyme disease.  If the numbers were correct, there were 600 residents on the island and there were 125 to 160 people that had been infected with Lyme. 

Mr. Kemper stated the 125 to 160 people were those people who sought medical treatment  at the Islesboro clinic for a tick bite.  The number that would have Lyme disease, he was not sure of that number.

Mr. Fortier stated if what he was reading was correct, bow hunters could go on the island and hunt, but they did not allow people with firearms if you did not live on the island, in general.

Mr. Kemper stated in general, Islesboro had a history of only being open to expanded archery. 

Mr. Fortier asked how long it would take with an extended deer hunt like what the Department was proposing to bring the deer herd down to that 10 deer per square mile in keeping with the success rate they had had.

Mr. Kemper stated probably several seasons.

Mr. Fortier stated he wanted to be sure it was done as efficiently as possible to get the deer herd down.  When it took that long, how many more people were going to get infected.  He thought more had to be done to bring the deer herd down faster so more people did not get infected.  Islesboro came to us asking for assistance and to him taking 5 -7 years to do that was not a solution.

Mr. Kemper stated what he was hearing was this was the objection to the island residents only doing the hunting.  There was a tremendous amount of off island participation in Islesboro.  If you were a resident of Islesboro this year and you needed to get off the island on the opening day of the expanded archery season, you could not because the ferry was totally booked up with bow hunters coming from off island.  The idea that the off island community was not allowed to participate wasn’t really true.  They were invaded, and there were issues with people camping inappropriately, occupying estates that no one was living in, etc.  There were many problems from September thru the end of December.  The community was looking for a way to conduct the hunt without having another wave of people coming on the island.

Mrs. Oldham stated in terms of decreasing the deer population to 10 per square mile, from a medical standpoint, is simply decreasing the deer numbers sufficient to address the severe Lyme disease population on the island?

Mr. Kemper stated from a medical standpoint, Dr. Peter Rand, the state tick guru stated it was simply about the reduction of the square footage of deer hide on the island.

Mrs. Oldham stated as she understood it from 2012 there were 100 deer harvested via the expanded bow and 60 from the residents only, so 160 deer were harvested.  How many deer needed to be harvested in 2014 and 2015?

Mr. Kemper stated they would like to double that number.  They started with a population of 50 deer per square mile and harvested about 20 deer per square mile which brought it down to about 30. 

Mr. Dudley discussed recruitment of the next years herd; really they weren’t reducing it at all.

Commissioner Woodcock stated because of the statute Islesboro was in a unique situation along with other communities that they had most of the say in how they accomplish their goals.  We were giving a blessing in a sense of year two of a three year project.  At the end of three years we would evaluate.

A motion was made by Mrs. Oldham and seconded by Mr. Thurston to accept the proposal as presented. 

Vote:  5 in favor; 1 opposed (Dick Fortier) – motion passed.

B.  Step 2

There were no items under Step 2.

            C.  Step 1

1.  Taxidermy Rule Amendment

Deputy Commissioner Erskine stated there were businesses out there that did what was called the “European style” mount, which was a process they went through either using bleach or beetles to clean skulls.  She had been visited by a couple licensed taxidermists to file a complaint that people doing that style of mount did not have to have a license.  After review, the definition indicated any type of mounting for purposes of mounting.  She found the Department had issued a letter to the two major businesses indicating that as long as that was the only type of business that they did, they did not need a license.  After further review, part of the reason we license taxidermists was to ensure the public was getting a good quality product.  It made sense that they should also follow those guidelines.  The two businesses were contacted and they indicated they would have no problem getting licensed if we made that a requirement.  The taxidermy board was reconvened and they reworked it into the current structure of the taxidermy.  The testing process would not be as intense.  The proposed rule was incorporating that style of taxidermy into our process so that they will become licensed just like all other companies that were providing services.

Council Member Comments and Questions

Mr. Fortier asked if a person did taxidermy for himself only, did he need a license.

Deputy Commissioner Erskine stated if you’re not taking remuneration for providing that service then no. 

Deputy Commissioner Erskine addressed the second part of the rule which would give the Department the authority to assist clients of taxidermists that were no longer licensed to recover their specimens.

Mr. Fortier asked about abandoned mounts, what was the taxidermist’s recourse if they could no longer possess the mounts because they had lost their license.

Major Cloutier stated in Title 25 regards lost and abandoned property there were steps to take and after a certain period of time the property would go back to the person that found it or if the law enforcement agency has it they can go to auction. 

Mr. Wheaton asked about mounts that were created by, for example, catching a fish and taking a picture of it and providing the weights and measures for the fish and then someone creating a carving or mold of that fish.  Would that person need to be licensed as a taxidermist?

Deputy Commissioner Erskine stated no, the person was not possessing an animal.  The definition of taxidermy in rule meant preparing, stuffing and or mounting the skins of fish or wildlife.  In that instance they would not need a license.

Mrs. Oldham asked how often taxidermy licenses had to be renewed.

Deputy Commissioner Erskine stated every three years.

Mrs. Oldham asked if they would have to represent that they were still in business and still doing quality work.

Deputy Commissioner Erskine stated if we received a complaint we would be within our rights to ask them to come in and go back through the testing process again.

Mr. Thurston asked what the penalty was for taxidermists that did not comply and kept deposits, etc.

Deputy Commissioner Erskine stated they had discussed requiring them to become bonded, and were exploring other options.

V.  Other Business

There were no items under Other Business.

VI.  Councilor Reports

Council members gave reports.

Mr. Fortier stated he had received email regarding the new trapping regulations and he would like to see some discussion come forward from that.  One of them was on slide wires and the other one was on the tending of traps and moving bait.

VII.  Public Comments & Questions

Brian Cogill stated he understood some of the Council members had gotten calls about the new beaver regulations.  They’d been changed since implementing this set, place, tend during the months of November, December, March and April and they were kind of confusing.  Slide wire drowning sets in organized townships during the month of December, it was a one day check.  On Conibears if there was open water it was a 3-day check.  In unorganized townships using slide wires it was a 5-day set and Conibears if there was open water, a 5-day set.  The problem was, especially in the springtime during the month of March when there was open water, down where he was and up in Mr. Dudley’s area it was a 5-day check.  Down where he was it was a one day check.  It was going to really hamper people trying to run a beaver line and make it profitable.  It used to be there was no check time.  He was going to have to tend the traps every day so it was going to shorten his beaver harvest and shorten the beaver harvest in the Downeast area.  Some of the big landowners would be screaming about the beaver problems.  The state came to the trappers a few years back and asked for help to control the beaver numbers and now it’s been taken away some of their assistance.  Even some of the guys running 300-400 traps in the spring or catching 300-400 beaver, their catch was going to be off they estimated about 1/3.  IF&W and the paper company lands were going to get a lot more calls. 

Mrs. Oldham asked why tending the traps daily would decrease the beaver harvest.

Brian Cogill stated he could run 40 traps one way, 40 or 50 traps another way, etc.  If he had to tend them every day he could only go one way.  He would be tending the same traps over and over again.

Mrs. Oldham stated it would decrease the number of traps he set? (yes)

Brian Cogill stated once they did get ice there was no time limit.  What was considered ice?  Was it walkable ice, just having ice?  It was confusing to everybody and they wanted to bring it to attention and try to straighten it out.

Mr. Fortier stated that was one of the major calls that he had received.

Mr. Dudley specified that slide wires meant drowning sets.  We also had the consent decree that we had to abide by so when we made the rule on the trap being under water set, place and tended that covered it, what it didn’t cover was the time frame to tend the trap.

VIII.  Agenda Items & Schedule Date for Next Meeting

The next meeting was scheduled for December 17th in Augusta. 

IX.  Adjournment

A motion was made by Mr. Thurston and that was seconded by Mr. Dudley to adjourn the meeting.  The meeting was adjourned at 4:00 p.m.