Advisory Council Meeting Minutes

ADVISORY COUNCIL MEETING
September 19, 2013 @ 9:30 a.m.
Inland Fisheries and Wildlife
284 State Street, Upstairs Conference Room
Augusta, ME

Attending:

Chandler Woodcock, Commissioner
Andrea Erskine, Deputy Commissioner
Christl Theriault, Assistant to the Commissioner
Jim Connolly, Acting Director Bureau of Resource Management
Doug Rafferty, Director of Information and Education
Mike Brown, Fisheries Division Director
Dana DeGraaf, Coldwater Fisheries
Judy Camuso, Wildlife Division Director
Lieutenant Tim Place, Warden Service
Tim Coons, Warden Service
Chet Chessman, MOSES Team
Linda Ahearn, Supervisor, Licensing and Registration         
Becky Orff, Secretary/Recorder

COUNCIL MEMBERS
Jeff Lewis, Chair – by phone
Cathy DeMerchant
Bos Savage
Sheridan Oldham       
Gunnar Gundersen
Lance Wheaton, Vice Chair
Dick Fortier – by phone
Don Dudley
Lila Ware – by phone

GUESTS
Brian Cogill, President, Maine Trappers Association


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 Mrs. DeMerchant and seconded by Mr. Dudley to accept the Council minutes for the last meeting. 
Vote:  unanimous – minutes accepted.
IV.  Rulemaking

A.  Step 3

1.  2013-14 Furbearer Seasons/Regulations/Beaver Closures

Mr. Connolly stated there was a clarification on the part of the regulations related to traps remaining underwater, we were going to hold that portion of the language for another month to reach a better consensus in moving forward on that part.  Regarding the other portion of the regulations, one comment was received from Dana Johnson pertaining to fisher traps.  He had suggested looking at using a smaller trap size rather than the regulation as proposed.  Mr. DePue was going to use this method in his guidance to trappers about how to avoid taking fisher as an option, but suggested leaving the rule as proposed. 

Council Member Comments and Questions

 Ms. Camuso stated Mr. Johnson was not opposed to the proposal but suggesting in the expanded seasons to require people to use the smaller body gripping traps.  Our recommendation was that Mr. Depue do a demonstration and show how that worked but we weren’t going to make it a requirement.

Mr. Cogill stated Mr. Johnson’s proposal was anything over 5” jaw spread was not to be used until November 15th.  By using the smaller trap it was less likely a fisher was going to be caught and less likely having to report incidental catches to wardens.

Mr. Connolly stated in Mr. Depue’s guidance he was providing to trappers on how to avoid catching a fisher in the first place, this would be one of his suggestions but we wouldn’t make it a requirement.

Commissioner Woodcock stated we were proposing the proposal as written, the only exception being we were holding off on the underwater set discussion until next month.

Mr. Connolly stated there was one clarification on the beaver closures.  In Porter there was a closure of a significant area and when Scott Lindsay went and checked the area it appeared there was a family that put in a broad request that extended beyond their own specific property.  Mr. Lindsay proposed to remove that specific closure and allow them to come back and refine the closure request back to their property.  It was an area where they owned about 500 acres and the owners in general at surrounding properties were not against beaver trapping.  When the closure was put forth originally about 10 years ago it was put forth as very broad.

A motion was made by Mrs. DeMerchant and seconded by Mrs. Oldham to accept the proposal as presented holding apart from that the underwater set portion. 

Vote:  unanimous – motion passed.

2.  Wild Turkey Hunting

Ms. Camuso stated the proposal was for an expanded season in the fall, open up the season in the fall to 2 birds for an entire month to coincide with fall archery season on deer and there would be zones with a 1 or 2 bird limit.  In the spring we would open the whole state to a spring harvest of a tom only.  The proposal was to maintain it during the archery season on deer.  Wardens were comfortable with that.  If there was an adult out with a youth hunter, they were not allowed to have a firearm with them.  People could be out hunting turkey with shotguns, you couldn’t hunt turkeys with a rifle.

Council Member Comments and Questions

Mrs. DeMerchant asked about safety issues with hunter orange and the youth being out there on youth deer day.

Ms. Camuso stated on youth day everybody would be required to wear blaze orange, that was the law for youth day.

Mrs. Ware asked about bowhunters and hunter orange.

Lt. Place stated bowhunters, when they were bowhunting, hunter orange was not a requirement.  It was the firearms portion.

Mr. Fortier asked about the northern section during the turkey season in the spring would there be just 1 bearded bird?

Ms. Camuso stated opening up the turkey season in the northern WMDs, the comments we got referenced that.  We were going to put a sunset clause on that, but turkey regulations were reviewed on an annual basis.  We would review the take next year and address any issues.

Mrs. DeMerchant stated for clarification, turkey hunters that were hunting with a gun would have to wear blaze orange, what if they were hunting with a bow and arrow?

Ms. Camuso stated no, they would not have to wear blaze orange.

A motion was made Mrs. DeMerchant and that was seconded by Mr. Savage to accept the proposal as presented.

Vote:  8 in favor; 1 opposed (Mr. Fortier) – motion passed

3.  Fishing Regulations 2014

Mr. Brown stated we only had two proposed changes to the fishing regulations packet.  The first was to remove the proposal for Richardson Lake which was fishing in the month of October excluding the tributaries.  The second was to modify the proposed slot limit for salmon on Tunk Lake from the proposed 18” – 22” for salmon to 17” – 22”.  The bag limit would be 2 salmon, but the lake trout portion of that proposal would stay as it was.  There were also a handful of housekeeping modifications that did not require any action on the part of the Council. 

Council Member Comments and Questions

Mr. Fortier stated in the Fort Kent area of the Fish River, there was a public hearing but it was in Presque Isle.  They would like to see from the Fish River Falls to Fort Kent the kids be able to fish with worms.  He did not feel there would be a huge impact to the area but they felt it would be a detriment to not getting the kids fishing if they had to use lures only.

Mr. Brown stated kids fishing opportunities were important.  We would not be able to include the change in this packet but would look at it for the next round of proposals.

Mr. Fortier asked if the modification were made, when would it be done.

Mr. Brown stated the 2015 lawbook.

Commissioner Woodcock stated the proposal that was advertised did not include the recommendation that Mr. Fortier was bringing forward at Step 3.  The public did not have a chance to comment so we would have to hold off on the process for that particular regulation.

A motion was made by Mr. Savage and that was seconded by Mrs. DeMerchant to accept the proposal as amended.

Vote: unanimous – motion passed.

B.  Step 2

There were no items under Step 2.

            C.  Step 1

There were no items under Step 1.

V.  Other Business
There were no items under Other Business.

VI.  Councilor Reports
Council members gave reports.

VII.  Public Comments & Questions
There were no public comments or questions.

VIII.  Agenda Items & Schedule Date for Next Meeting
The Council would be notified at a later time of the next meeting date and location.

IX.  Adjournment
A motion was made by Mrs. DeMerchant and that was seconded by Mr. Dudley to adjourn the meeting.  The meeting was adjourned at 10:30 a.m.