Advisory Council Meeting
January 29 , 2019 @ 9:30 a.m.
Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (upstairs conference room)
284 State Street, Augusta
Judy Camuso, Acting Commissioner
Timothy Peabody, Deputy Commissioner
Christl Theriault, Assistant to the Commissioner
Nate Webb, WRAS Supervisor
Bob Cordes, Special Projects Coordinator
Kelsey Sullivan, Game Bird Specialist
Francis Brautigam, Director of Fisheries and Hatcheries
Matt Lubejko, Fisheries Planner Steve Allarie, Warden Service Corporal
Becky Orff, Secretary/Recorder
Don Dudley (Chair)
Brian Smith - by phone
Gary Corson, New Sharon
Fern Bosse, Norway
Katie Hansberry, HSUS
Brian Cogill, MTA
Jeff Reardon, MTA
Bob Parker, TU
I. Call to Order
Don Dudley Council Chair, called the meeting to order.
Introductions were made.
III. Acceptance of Minutes of Previous Meeting
A motion was made by Mr. Gunderson to approve the minutes of the previous meeting and that was seconded by Mr. Sage
Vote: Unanimous - minutes approved.
A. Step 3
1. Chapter 4 Rules repeal and replace
Mrs. Theriault stated there were a few minor changes to Chapters 16 and 17. For the new Chapter 16 Hunting, under section 16.07 there was an error with the header; moose hunting season and districts there was an internal proposal to modify the second week of the moose season to start on the first Monday of October rather than the second Monday. After further review it was determined to keep the second Monday start date and the proposed change was removed. Chapter 17 Trapping, a modification was made to the definition of a steel foothold trap to make it easier to understand. Under Section 17.05 a season end date was corrected; under 17.06 a word was corrected to read beaver instead of muskrat.
Mr. Thurston stated there were some discussions on other zones moving into the September moose hunting season. A lot of comments from the public were that they would rather hunt that period.
Mrs. Theriault stated we should have a chance to do that when we proposed our regular moose hunting season rules. We didn't want to incorporate anything substantive in the clean-up.
A motion was made by Mrs. Oldham to accept the proposal as amended, and that was seconded by Mr. Scribner
Vote: unanimous - motion passed.
2. Animal Damage Control Rules
Mr. Cordes stated this was a new rule as part of our modernization of the ADC policy and program. We needed to align with other rules with our certificates and permitting. In addition to previous categories we had created hazing with dogs and a specific class for bats. Part of the rule would be an examination for new applicants so we partnered with National Wildlife Control training out of Cornell University and the University of Nebraska and they were going to create a manual for the Department. They would also be able to create the test. If anyone was previously certified they would not have to take the test.
Mr. Sage asked how many states used the program.
Mr. Cordes stated there was an internet center for wildlife damage and they had created that; they had been around for a number of years.
Mr. Sage asked if there was reciprocity between states.
Mr. Cordes stated he did not think so. New York, West Virginia, Virginia, were some of the states had adopted that ADC agents had to be certified. Maine was not one of those. We would have the exam but someone would not have to pay a $200 training fee.
Mr. Farrington asked if someone had been an agent for 10 years, would they be up to the standards of the new agents.
Mr. Cordes stated they would be grandfathered and would not have to take the exam. Part of the modernization of updating the policy would include some of that information.
Mrs. Theriault stated when someone renewed they would still have to meet the training standards even if they didnt have to retest. There would be an obligation for them to read the educational material that we provided and sign off on that to bring them up to speed.
A motion was made by Mr. Fortier to accept the proposal as presented, and that was seconded by Mr. Smith.
Vote: unanimous - motion passed.
B. Step 2
1. Commercial Whitewater Rafting Rules
Corporal Allarie stated there were no changes except for a spacing correction. The information for the proposal was based on and supported by the commercial rafting industry. There were no public comments received on the proposal. The rule was to enhance our allocation system for reviewing purposes to help them due to a decline in the industry. The Kennebec was the big issue, the Penobscot had held its own. The annual numbers were not good on the Kennebec. Their allocation system they were paying for was declining every year based on the percentage of use. The old review criteria was based on a 5-year review to ensure they were complying with state laws, providing a quality service and utilizing their allocations. The proposal was from information they proposed on a simpler method for review and the percentage would change. It would be this 5 years, here is the percentage, the criteria to meet and they were in the 55% - 60% range for use on the Kennebec. It was declining each year. We were seeing an increase in non-commercial use on the Kennebec. The Penobscot was not seeing as much, it was a more technical river. We were trying to help the outfitters as much as we could. They wanted to keep an allocation system, however, they thought it was time to make some modifications. The last time that was done was in the 1980s. We currently had about 34 allocations on the Kennebec River that we could not sell.
Council Member comments and questions
Mr. Fortier asked what was the reason for the decline in use.
Corporal Allarie stated on the Kennebec it was easy access. Even someone with no rafting experience could make it down the Kennebec. Many were drinking which we were trying to get a handle on. The commercial outfitters offered a great program but there were some things they could not do. The young people today didnt want to go on the two-day excursion in northern Maine without internet and long overnights. They wanted a quick fix as was being offered in Boston. Groupon was an issue on the West Branch of the Penobscot. There were a few outfitters that did Groupon and got $25 for a raft trip and then had to pay their guide $100. Distance, gas prices, extended forecasts for weather, etc. were all contributing factors to the decline.
Mr. Sage asked what allocations were and how did they work.
Corporal Allarie stated we allowed 1,000 commercial passengers to go down on an allocated day. An allocated day was every Saturday on the Kennebec and every Saturday on the West Branch for the months of July and August. No outfitter could exceed 120 people on a Saturday. This was in place in the 80s when business was booming and the groups were competing for use on the same water. We had specific launch times and it was by public auction that they were sold to the outfitters. They had to maintain a standard so we would take the industry average for every 5-year review. If they were not using the allocations, we took them back.
Mrs. Oldham asked if the whitewater rafting business had a seat at the R-3 summit.
Commissioner Camuso stated she believed so.
Mr. Farrington asked if the allocations had to be coordinated with the power company for the opening of the dam for the water.
Corporal Allarie stated it was a separate license. Brookfield had their own license for all outfitters and they arranged that ahead of time during the spring. They had a fall meeting to discuss water releases, how much they were guaranteed and what their license restrictions were going to be. They had significant insurance requirements. In the spring when they met it was to finalize their license agreement with Brookfield based on water releases. They were guaranteed releases for 3 hours of water.
Mr. Fortier asked if the industry ever held a forum to see what others were doing that made them more successful or cross train.
Corporal Allarie stated they were starting to see more of that after going away from the affiliation law.
C. Step 1
1. Bear Trapping Rules
Mr. Webb stated last summer we became aware of some bear trapping devices and trapping techniques that we felt posed a small risk of incidental take of lynx. Lynx were listed federally as a threatened species and we had an incidental take permit (ITP) that allowed a maximum of three lynx to be incidentally taken over the course of the permit. Unfortunately, we had two of those events the first year of the permit. As a result, we passed an emergency rule just before the start of the 2018 bear trapping season. The rule expired after 90 days. We committed to go through regular rulemaking to address the issue long term. We held a public informational meeting in Augusta on October 18, 2018 that was well attended by the trapping community with the objective of getting feedback on various design standards and ways of setting bear traps that could minimize the risk of catching non-target species, lynx in particular.
Mr. Webb stated we took that information and suggestions and consulted internally to develop some recommendations to address the issue and reduce the potential for incidental catch of a lynx. As part of that, going through the big game planning process the bear subcommittee had a number of recommendations for bear trapping that we wanted to incorporate in the rulemaking effort. The draft rule took the existing language and added a number of additional requirements. Changes that resulted from the big game planning effort were sort of basic design standards for bear trapping that we used for research and that the vast majority of trappers already used. They followed best management practices, they were fairly standard among bear trappers to minimize the potential for injury for bears. The big game subcommittee recommended entrenching those in rule to make those requirements for everyone. They included things such as minimum diameter for the cable to ensure the cable was strong enough, swivels, fixed anchor as opposed to a drag as well as some other items related to the catch circle and reducing the potential for entanglement. They were all things we required for other types of foothold trapping for other species. A new component to the rule specifically addressed the types of traps that led to the concern last summer, the so-called "bucket or pipe-style" traps. The proposed language would set a minimum inside diameter of the device as well as a minimum opening size of 6, would limit the type of bait that could be placed within the device to limit its attractiveness to species other than bear, and would also require the trigger to be recessed at a depth that would make it very difficult for non-target species to trigger the device. Where the bait may be placed to make sure that its not accessible to other species and the requirement that the device be covered by a weight to prevent access by non-target species. Those were all things that were recommended by the trapping community and used to develop the proposal.
Council Member comments and questions
Mr. Sage asked how long the ITP was for.
Mr. Webb stated it was a 15-year permit and went into effect in 2014, so 2029. The USFWS had announced its intention to develop a rule to propose delisting. Their timeline was to have a proposed rule for public comment by the fall of 2019. There was potential that lynx could be delisted before 2029.
Commissioner Camuso stated that would not lessen our need to protect lynx.
Mr. Webb stated we felt regardless of whether lynx were listed or not we had an obligation as a state agency to minimize take as we did for other non-target species.
Mr. Sage asked about studies in the state to see if the lynx population had started to grow.
Mr. Webb stated we had an active survey underway. This was the 5th of a 5-year study resurveying towns across northern Maine to document whether or not the range had expanded. We had seen a fairly substantial range expansion since the surveys were done about 15 years ago. The USFWS did a species status assessment as part of their process to determine whether they would propose delisting or not. One of the things that went into that status assessment and we believe ultimately led to their recommendation was all the information we gathered in Maine. Lynx were doing much better in Maine than anybody thought when they were listed almost 20 years ago.
Mrs. Oldham stated when Jenn Vashon did the presentation for the bear management plan as part of the big game management assessment she spoke about the two bear limit and that it used to be one by either hunting or trapping and they were going to recommend that be eliminated. No person may have more than one trap set at any one time, as long as they hadnt already harvested one bear. Was that a possibility you could set two traps if you hadnt harvested any. We wanted to increase the bear harvest.
Mr. Webb stated the bear bag limit was set in statute and the limit was two, one by hunting and one by trapping. That was not something we could change in rule. There was a bill before the Legislature to give the Department full authority to regulate the limit through rulemaking.
Mr. Sage asked if we had the harvest numbers from the seasons bear hunt.
Mr. Webb stated it was around 3,309. We needed to harvest approximately 15% of adult females to stabilize the population. Our bear population estimate was approaching 40,000. It would take a substantial increase in harvest to stabilize the bear population.
Mr. Smith asked if there was a bill in the Legislature to go to a two-bear limit in the fall.
Commissioner Camuso stated if we had the authority to set the bag limit in statute she would look to the bear subcommittee to make recommendations for a variable bag limit across the state similar to deer management.
Mr. Webb stated we believed a bigger challenge was to increase participation in bear hunting. There would be a certain percent of hunters that were interested in harvesting two bears and a smaller percent that were actually successful. We believed that would help get us towards our goal but unlikely to get us all the way. A big part of our bear management plan moving forward which tied in with our R3 program was to increase hunter interest and participation in bear hunting.
2. Migratory Bird season 2019-2020
Mr. Sullivan stated for the most part the proposal was pretty standard compared to last year, a 60-day season for regular ducks. There were some changes to the mallard bag limit. This was a directive from the USFWS based on mallard population trends across the northeast and most of the Atlantic flyway. Mallard numbers were going way down and states were directed to go from 4 to 2 mallards per day during the regular season. Prior to that, we had a hen restriction where only 2 of those 4 previously could be hens and its going to a 1 hen restriction with the reduction from 4 to 2 total. The waterfowl community was well informed of the change. It was different in Maine, we had a healthy mallard population but we derived our harvest from Eastern Canada from a different source than almost 95% of the rest of the flyway. It was a flyway wide management perspective.
Mr. Sullivan stated the other change was pintails which didnt necessarily effect Maine waterfowl hunters but because of the breeding population estimates we were going from last year with 2 in the bag to 1 this coming season. The other change was the coastal zone regular goose season. Our goose populations derived from Atlantic population geese which were Hudson Bay west and North Atlantic population (NAP) geese which were east of Hudson Bay. 95% of the geese we got from migration were from the NAP, the eastern Hudson Bay population. That population was managed differently from the western population. Because of that, bag limits and season lengths were different. Most of Maines harvest in the coastal zone was from our resident population, birds that bred in Maine and a very low percentage were migrant geese that were taken in the coastal zone. There was a caveat in the USFWS that allowed if you could derive your harvest mostly from resident geese in a particular zone you could increase your season length and bag limit. That was why our coastal zone was going to be different than our northern and southern zone in terms of the regular goose season. The remainder of the proposal was pretty much a shift in date based on the calendar. Next year, the regular duck season north zone start date would be 5 days later. Because of the calendar, we could set our seasons the Saturday closest to September 24. Every seven years it shifted so the north zone would be almost a week later.
3. Wild Trout Conservation Strategy - North Zone General Law concept
Mr. Brautigam stated this was a fairly bold initiative that required quite a commitment from staff and the public and the heritage working group to pull together. This was an effort to conserve our native trout in the state. In northern Maine you currently could use live baitfish anywhere unless there was a specific special regulation that prohibited that. We were proposing to prohibit the use of live fish as bait as a general law in the north zone with exceptions. There would still be waters where we would retain opportunities to fish with live fish as bait. This was being done to discourage introductions of fish and other things found in the bait bucket from ending up in waters that were supporting our brook trout and charr populations. The range of the Eastern brook trout extended from Maine to Georgia. Maine and parts of New Hampshire stood out in the range where other states were seeing decline. Some of the threats that had contributed to the range wide declines included development which caused habitat degradation, barriers and introductions of fish that competed with brook trout. Brook trout did not compete with other fish very well and were quite vulnerable when exposed to new introductions of fish. That was the underlying reason why we were developing the strategy to better conserve the wild trout populations we had in Maine.
Mr. Brautigam stated this started from proposed legislation in 2017-2018 and resulted in direction from the IFW legislative committee where they were interested in seeing additional protections to tributaries to heritage ponds. Heritage ponds were waters that were on a special list that represented waters that supported self-sustaining populations of wild brook trout and charr. When waters were elevated to that status the Department was required to impose a no live fish as bait restriction in order to protect those populations. The Department pulled together a heritage working group which was comprised of Department staff and some public members in the conservation community. In October of 2018 a report was formed detailing their work to try to address the concerns and direction set forth by the Legislature. The main reason the Department was not excited about the proposed legislation to add no live fish as bait to all the tributaries to heritage ponds was, in part, there were 578 ponds, many which would have tributaries. Many of the ponds were in very remote areas and not in places where people were inclined to use live fish as bait. We felt the risk of introductions was extremely low in those settings and that compliance and enforcement would be poor and it didnt address the issue of fish being able to swim up into the heritage ponds from some outlets.
Mr. Brautigam stated we remained committed to addressing the fundamental concern expressed by the Legislature to establish some protections to tributaries. We wanted to do this in a way that would not alienate all the different user groups and be sensitive to their concerns. We established 8 guiding principles that would guide development of the proposal. The initiative was going to focus the northern zone, we managed the south zone differently. The focus on the north zone was that 95% of our heritage waters were located there. Maine waterways supported a lot of healthy wild brook trout populations that would also benefit from broader levels of protections. We spent several years restructuring and simplifying the fishing law book and we wanted to be sensitive to that. We were also concerned about not eliminating traditional fishing opportunities. Fishing with live fish as bait in Maine was a traditional form of fishing. There was a small economy associated with bait collection and sale in Maine and we wanted to support that as well as those that liked to collect bait themselves. We identified three potential approaches to meeting our expectations with the Legislature and trying to provide a broader level of protection into our native wild trout resources. The first was adding no live fish as bait protections to tributaries to heritage ponds. This was not an initiative that we thought was meaningful and would add a lot of regulations to the lawbook. The second approach was going to no live fish as bait in all the flowing waters in the north zone with exceptions. That would be more comprehensive and address waters where there was a greater likelihood of people using live fish as bait. The third strategy that we were looking to advance through rulemaking was where we would change the general law to no live fish as bait in the north zone with exceptions. This would provide the most comprehensive approach to conserving our wild trout populations in the northern zone. It targeted the vast majority of waters where the public would be more likely to fish with live fish as bait and increased the opportunity for us to see a reduction in special regulations in the law book.
Mr. Brautigam stated the proposal would control the use of live fish as bait, it did not eliminate opportunities to use dead fish as bait. The proposal was for all north zone waters, those that were currently open to ice fishing would retain the use of live fish as bait. That represented, from the bait industry standpoint, where most of the bait sales were occurring. Staff had been tasked with the responsibility of identifying waters where there was significant traditional use of live fish as bait during the open water season. Both the waters currently open to using live fish as bait in the winter as well as those where there was a tradition of using live fish as bait during the open water season, those waters would be identified and listed with special regulations in the law book.
Council Member questions and comments
Mrs. Oldham stated during the open water season there were many alternatives to the live fish as bait, but she did not understand why the recommendation was considered important. She did not have any idea how many waters we would be talking about with the last recommendation.
Mr. Lubejko stated about 60 lakes and ponds during the open water season that would retain the use of live fish as bait.
Mrs. Oldham asked how important they felt that recommendation was.
Mr. Brautigam stated it was a consideration as part of the development of the proposal and we were trying to ensure that moving forward we would be able to establish broad based support from the different stakeholder interests. Staff in some of the regions were quite concerned that the average angler would be losing opportunity to fish with traditional methods.
Mr. Sage asked how many of the 60 waters had a substantial brook trout population.
Mr. Brautigam stated they were waters that were open to open water fishing that may or may not have trout or salmon or they may be warm water fisheries. Staff were asked to identify waters where there was a definite tradition of fishing with live fish as bait and where use was more than incidental.
Mrs. Oldham commented on the statement Mr. Brautigam made that protecting the tributaries of all 500 state heritage waters was not practical because fish swam upstream. She thought it was a harder argument to make that during open water fishing, that population of anglers justified potential risk of illegal fish swimming upstream and hurting some of the state heritage waters.
Mr. Brautigam stated in crafting the proposal we were seeking balance. The initiative was broad enough that it could have gone in the other direction, it was pretty comprehensive in scope. If they saw what would be off limits to using live fish as bait in the north zone after the rule he thought they would be pleasantly surprised at the number of waters afforded those protections. It was substantial.
Mr. Farrington stated in the lawbook there were a few ponds that said you could use live bait in the pond if you caught the bait in the pond, i.e. Sheepscot Lake. Why couldnt they do that with the 60 waters they were discussing.
Mr. Brautigam stated it was hard to enforce. If they were limited to using only dead bait they would have some assurances. When we provided opportunities for using live fish as bait we lost some of the controls over the source of the bait. It had been discussed.
Mr. Brautigam stated we had done two email blasts to the public explaining the initiative. We also conducted two public informational meetings and had participation from about 70 members of the public. At the meetings, there was a lot of interest in moving forward with strategies that were going to conserve wild trout resources. There were a few comments suggesting there may be some reservations. The vast majority of the people in attendance were conservation minded and concerned about maintaining Maines unique wild trout and charr populations.
Mr. Brautigam stated in summary, we tried to develop a balanced approach by developing eight considerations to support the strategy that we were ultimately looking to move forward for conserving trout in the north zone. The strategy only limited where you could use live baitfish, it didnt limit where you could use baitfish. It would retain use of live fish as bait opportunities on all the waters that were currently open to ice fishing. It would stand to reason during open water you could do the same on those waters. It would retain additional waters during the open water season. We believed the initiative was bold and provided a much broader level of conservation for trout resources and exceeded the direction we had gotten from the Legislature. We saw benefits including further simplification of our fishing lawbook. Another important aspect which did affect bait dealers, they collected bait from various sources and stored them. The could store bait wherever they wanted except for a list of waters that excluded bait storage. Under the proposal that would change. The only places they would be able to store live fish as bait in public waters of the state would be in those waters that were going to be open to using live fish as bait. It would concentrate all the places people were using and or storing bait to a more limited number of waters.
Mrs. Oldham stated years ago, there was a baitfish committee that was tasked with trying to eliminate the multiple legal baitfish in Maine. Nothing came out of that as far as she knew.
Mr. Brautigam stated it was a pretty active group. They did shrink the list of legal baitfish slightly by removing 3 species of fish. They tried to focus on fish that were important to the commercial market. There were lots of other issues related to management of the bait industry that were discussed. Some which needed further resolution.
Mrs. Oldham asked if there was a baitfish which when illegally or inadvertently introduced into a brook trout water would be considered the most detrimental. They had talked about other waters which had lost their eastern brook trout population because of illegal introductions.
Mr. Brautigam stated smelt was a big one as far as charr were concerned and smaller brook trout ponds. In dealing with some of the reclamation projects and seeing what happened when golden shiners were reintroduced was quite interesting. There was some work that Tim Obrey had done on Moxie Pond looking at sucker removal, showing there was competition between brook trout and suckers. Brook trout just did not get along with other fish. The rule would discourage introductions from the bait bucket.
Mr. Fortier stated up north one of the concerns was muskie and trying to prevent them from getting into the Fish River Chain. The muskie fishing up there was a large sport fishing industry to the point where the purses for derbies were up to $15,000-$20,000 in the Fort Kent area. That year with the snow, high water and ice he was always worried about the muskie making it over. What detriment would that do to the brook trout?
Mr. Brautigam stated it was one of the reasons we had implemented some restrictive regulations on bait harvest in the St. John to make sure people wouldnt be taking muskie out and moving them. Dealing with invasives and introduced fish was one of the biggest challenges in the fisheries division.
V. Other Business
1. Ch. 34 Licensed Guide rules
Mrs. Theriault stated she had been working with the guide advisory board to update the guide rule chapter. The main focus was to bring language into current practice for what they did going through the testing process. There was a section we wanted to repeal that spoke to grandfathering, folks that had one or more classifications, if they were licensed pre-2002 they could pay a $100 fee and work up to their master guide license. Now, we required someone to pay $100 for each classification. We also wanted to add language about the background check requirement in statute. There was discussion about expanding what one or three years of experience really meant; competency standards.
There were no further comments or questions.
2. Ch. 13 Watercraft Rules
Mrs. Theriault stated it was brought to our attention that warden service had been dealing with complaints about loud boats, particularly on Sebago and Long Lake. There was a prohibition in statute that someone not exceed 90 decibels under a stationary test, 75 decibels in a moving test and that the Commissioner would prescribe the way in which the testing occurred. A rule was never implemented to describe the testing process. New Hampshire had been conducting testing for a number of years on Lake Winnipesaukee for loud boat noise and we had received a copy of their rules. We would try to implement a stationary process. The moving process was virtually impossible to conduct on Maine lakes. We were referring to the SAE national standards for prescribing the testing process.
Council Member comments and questions
Mrs. Oldham asked what the decibel level was on a standard motor such as a 250 hp Mercury while it was idling.
Deputy Commissioner Peabody stated in order to violate typically you would have to alter the exhaust. You would be testing against that.
Mr. Dudley asked about the moose permits for lodges legislation.
Deputy Commissioner Peabody stated there was a new law passed that 2% of the total permits issued would go to lodges. There was a definition for commercial sporting lodges. The permits would be taken from the nonresident moose permits. This was the first year of implementation. The outfitters wanted to be able to sell the permits at sportsman shows. We held the lottery in January 2019, sent out applications the first week of December and drew the 50 outfitter permits. We took the list of licensed sporting camps from DHHS and we also took several camps that were licensed as eating and lodging facilities that had been previously licensed as sporting camps, and we sent them applications as well. We had received numerous questions on how the list was determined. We used the DHHS list. We mailed 104 applications and had approximately 47 outfitters apply for the 50 permits. Some outfitters received two permits. We had made the determination that once the outfitter received the permit we did not care what they did with it. The statute was written that if you were an outfitter and received a permit you could sell it, etc. The outfitter would need to pay the Department for the permit and by July 1 there needed to be a person assigned to the permit. Once a hunter was attached to the permit the law stated the hunter could not sell or trade or swap, it had to go back to the outfitter. We based the number of permits on what was issued for 2018.
Council Member comments and questions
Mr. Smith asked what the permit fee was
Deputy Commissioner Peabody stated it was $1,500. The outfitter would apply like the regular lottery with zone choices, season choices, etc.
VI. Councilor Reports
Councilors gave reports
VII. Public Comments & Questions
Jeff Reardon stated he wanted to commend staff for their work on the brook trout proposal. There was about two years of work in the proposal. The public meetings were some of the best hed ever been to. He shared Mrs. Oldhams concern about the list of 60 waters and they would be taking a close look at it. He thought some of them would be bass waters or muskie waters or waters where the baitfish species we were concerned about were already present. Some of them were likely to be waters that did not have a principal fishery for brook trout so would be less of a concern.
Steve Wood stated as a previous State Representative he used to get a lot of phone calls regarding the guide background check. Speaking with most of them, once he told them the reason why the bill was passed, they understood. Lately, he had been receiving calls about them not being able to get an appointment to get their fingerprints taken. Maybe we needed to allow sheriff or police stations to take fingerprints and then turn them over to state police. It was almost a month before he could get his fingerprints taken. Also, he had been at two sportsman shows and no one had asked him about trout fishing in Maine, they wanted to know about smallmouth bass fishing and northern pike. We did not promote that enough in Maine. It was harder to get bear hunters in Maine and there were some barriers such as the crossbow permit. You had to purchase a big game license before you could buy the crossbow permit. If you were a convicted felon you could not buy a big game license. We were hurting a group of people that would like to come to Maine.
Mr. Sage stated they could purchase an archery license and get the crossbow permit as long as they had the safety course.
Deputy Commissioner Peabody stated in regard to the guide background check, it was still new to the Department. We were going to review our procedures internally and work to streamline some of that and identify the problems that were brought up regarding IdentoGO.
Katie Hansberry stated she had been working with Bob Cordes on updating resources and policies for wildlife rehabilitators and it had been a great process. She hadnt been involved in the ADC work, but she was sure it was just as much of an undertaking. She just wanted to say a quick thank you.
Gary Corson stated he did not disagree with what he heard Mrs. Oldham say regarding the fishing proposal. The number of waters that he heard from Mr. Lubejko, he thought what they would find was that any principal brook trout water in northern Maine that currently allowed live fish as bait would continue to allow it. If they looked at it from the perspective of what they were actually getting, it was all of the low hanging fruit and it was huge. All the lower dead waters, all the beaver ponds, all the small brooks and streams. It was a big difference what you could currently use live fish as bait on. Whether people did or not that was another questions, but that was really what they were focused on. This was a huge step in the change to general law. He thought it was being done in a way that people were going to accept it. The proposal came from Fisheries and he served on the working group. He hoped the public hearings would follow the informational meetings where there really wasnt any opposition.
Brian Cogill stated he had more beaver complaints that winter about different places across the state. He never had so many beaver complaints.
VIII. Agenda Items & Schedule Date for Next Meeting
The next Advisory Council meeting was scheduled for March 21, 2019 at 9:30 a.m. in AugustaIX. Adjournment
A motion was made by Mr. Sage and that was seconded by Mr. Farrington to adjourn the meeting. The meeting was adjourned at 12:00 p.m.