Advisory Council Meeting
August 17, 2016 at 9:30 a.m.
Inland Fisheries and Wildlife
284 State Street, 2nd Floor Conference Room
Chandler Woodcock, Commissioner
Timothy Peabody, Deputy Commissioner
Christl Theriault, Assistant to the Commissioner
Jim Connolly, Director, Bureau Resource Management
Judy Camuso, Wildlife Division Director
Tom Schaeffer, Regional Wildlife Biologist - Jonesboro
Francis Brautigam, Fisheries Division Director
Chris Cloutier, Major, Warden Service
Becky Orff, Secretary/Recorder
Don Dudley (Chair)
Jeff Lewis (Vice-Chair)
Gary Corson, New Sharon
Fern & Sylvia Bosse, Norway
James Cote, MTA
Jim Fleming, Kennebec Valley Fur Takers
John Glowa, South China
Jeff Reardon, TU
Elaine Abbot, City of Eastport
Karen Coker, Cape Elizabeth
Carleen Cote, Vassalboro
Liam Hughes, Director of Animal Welfare, ACF
Katie Hansberry, HSUS
Amy Mercer, York's Wild Kingdom
Gail Mercer, York's Wild Kingdom
Scott Macreavy, Kennebec Valley Fur Takers
Tim Lesage, Aviation Engineer, MDOT
Kristina Snyder, New Hampshire
Victor Shenard, New Hampshire
Reb Brann, Maine Citizens Against Puppy Mills
Mac Maginley, TU
Gena Gary, HSUS
I. Call to Order
Council Chair Don Dudley called the meeting to order.
Introductions were made.
III. Acceptance of Minutes of Previous Meeting
A motion was made by Mr. Gundersen to approve the minutes of the previous meeting and that was seconded by Mr. Dudley.
Vote: unanimous – minutes approved.
A. Step 3
1. Wildlife in Captivity
Mr. Connolly stated a summary of the comments received was distributed along with the recommended changes to the proposed rule to address concerns. There were a lot of good comments that were incorporated. The rule going forward, there would be a technical committee put in place afterwards to assign species to the different categories.
Mrs. Oldham stated she was pleased with the presentation to the Council of the changes made between Steps 2 and 3. The educational requirements for rehabilitators and others, she thought the language was much better. In terms of the grandfather clause, she thought there should be no grandfather clause but understood these kinds of changes frequently had them. She wanted to be sure she understood it, "grandfathered until the death of the animal?" She felt sale or transfer of the animal would make that a more complete and effective grandfather clause.
Mr. Fortier stated the only question he had was on the grandfather clause and how to approach that to benefit the animals and the people doing rehabilitating. He felt Mrs. Oldham's suggestion was a good one. Sometimes things that were grandfathered in weren't consistent going forward where you could end up.
Mrs. Oldham asked if an amendment could be made to what was presented.
Commissioner Woodcock stated it was an up or down vote on what was presented.
A motion was made by Mr. Fortier to adopt the proposal as presented, and that was seconded by Mr. Gundersen.
Vote: 8 in favor; 1 opposed (Mrs. Oldham) – motion passed
2. Scientific Collection Permits
Mr. Connolly stated this was the proposal that was shared originally with the Council; we did not receive any comments during the comment period.
A motion was made by Mrs. Oldham to adopt the proposal as presented, and that was seconded by Mr. Scribner.
Vote: unanimous – motion passed
3. Any-deer Permits 2016
Ms. Camuso stated the proposal was the same as what was originally presented with the exception of WMD 7. We changed the expansion factor from 4 to 3 on that so there was a reduction of 130 permits for WMD 7.
Mrs. Oldham asked what an expansion factor was.
Ms. Camuso stated we had expansion factors for each WMD based on the success rate in that zone. We knew in WMD 7 that the past two times we had similar levels of permits the expansion factor was 4.5 and 3.8 so we needed to issue 4.5 permits before 1 doe was harvested. Some of the zones and a 3 expansion factor, some up to 8 or 12.
Mr. Farrington asked what the reason was for the decrease in WMD 7.
Commissioner Woodcock stated we had some comments with concern for the fact that zone had gone between some permits and no permits for some time. The comments were they thought it was too much of an increase at one time. The Commissioner and Ms. Camuso had a discussion about expansion factors and lowered it based on that discussion.
A motion was made by Mr. Lewis to adopt the proposal as amended, and that was seconded by Mr. Gundersen.
Vote: unanimous – motion passed
B. Step 2
1. Furbearer Seasons/Beaver Closures 2016/17
Mr. Connolly stated this was the annual adjustments to beaver closures and some adjustments in the trapping season. We added a week for bobcat hunting. We met with the Maine Trappers Association last spring and talked about proposed changes and interest to see any harvest of furbearers and one of the suggestions was opportunity to increase bobcat hunting and we agreed we could do that without any impacts to the population. There was also a change in the starting date for beaver in an area where we had traditionally had a lot of beaver problems and that would give us an opportunity to address that as well. In the past there had been several discussions about the impacts of harvest at particular times on otter and other species and an interest in better understanding what portion of the population it was impacting. There was some tooth submission we would be looking at to get age information as well as sex information on harvested furbearers to better understand what the impact was on the population to have that in future years to summarize and consider as part of the rulemaking process.
Council Member Comments and Questions Mr. Dudley stated they would not need to turn in the lower jaw, the tooth would suffice?
Mr. Connolly stated either/or.
Mrs. Oldham stated at the last Council meeting it was thought the harvest was down, but we did not have final numbers. Did we have final numbers on the furbearer season?
Ms. Camuso stated we did not have them. There were no further comments or questions.
2. Nonresident Landowners/ME Resident Only Day
Deputy Commissioner Peabody stated there was one public comment received which was provided to the Council. Essentially the concern was for any burden for the Department or hunter to process paperwork. The Legislature was also concerned about that when passing the bill. We anticipated having a one page paper the landowner would fill out and carry with them. We did need some verification for wardens to be able to do some kind of enforcement. The landowner would fill the form out and attest to the information by signing. Most landowners had their tax map and lot number and acreage so should not be much of a burden. We would not be processing anything through the office to allow for them to hunt.
Council Member Comments and Questions
Mrs. Oldham stated the rulemaking was in response to legislation that was passed, so we had to have rules.
Commissioner Woodcock stated the Legislature wanted nonresident landowners with a certain number of acres to have the ability. They gave us regulatory power to set up the rules.
Mr. Lewis stated there was a sunset provision.
Deputy Commissioner Peabody stated it would be reviewed in 2018.
Mr. Fortier stated 25 acres in some areas was a lot of land and in some it was not. Could ordinances override anything, for instance compact zones with landowners with 25 or 30 acres being able to hunt on their own land.
Deputy Commissioner Peabody stated the compact zones were discharge ordinances. There shouldn't be a conflict here.
Mr. Farrington asked if there was any clarification on landowners. A lot of people bought land and put it in trust and there may be 6 people that owned the land. Would all 6 of them be able to fill out the form and carry it?
Deputy Commissioner Peabody stated it was the landowner of record. There was some discussion in the Legislature about family members. The landowner's son couldn't hunt on that day, it was just the landowner. He did not think multiple owners or corporations qualified here.
Mr. Scribner stated that was an excellent question and would like some follow up on that.
Deputy Commissioner Peabody stated they were pretty direct with it being one person; multiple owners would be questionable. The law stated "nonresident" specifically and he would have to check the definition to see if that was a person or corporation.
Commissioner Woodcock stated his understanding was the Legislature did not want multiple landowners to hunt, they wanted one designated person.
There were no further questions or comments.
3. Kimball Pond Horsepower Restriction Petition
Commissioner Woodcock stated the petition for a horsepower restriction on Kimball Pond, which was a 55 acre pond in Vienna, was to restrict the horsepower to 10hp and under. We held a public hearing which was well attended. This was a re-visitation of a former petition that was for 25 horsepower and under and was rejected. The residents of the area and those that were from the area that testified expressed some very strong opinions about the use of one particular boat on the pond which had quite a large engine and was used by the individual for waterskiing, etc. for the grandchildren. He testified about the times of the year that he used the boat and said he was very cautious of other people's use of the pond. The Commissioner's authority to regulate horsepower was to examine the issue of safety concerns, size of the body of water, impact on the environment; all of those were considered. Warden Service weighed in that the boat had an engine that was bigger than you would normally expect, but there had been no documentation of any safety violations issued or complaints investigated that turned out to be a safety concern. The Commissioner was interested to hear what the Council's thoughts were. This was the usual practical social discussion about horsepower limitation.
Mr. Farrington stated in Title 12 there were over 30 ponds already in Maine that the motor size was controlled including no internal combustion engines. Did the Department have a standard for size of the pond or standard formula that was used?
Commissioner Woodcock stated there was not and he would not be comfortable in promoting that type of approach. For instance, if you had a pond that had no residences on it at all but it was a small pond of 55 acres and somebody was using it and bringing in a boat you would restrict them. There was such a variety of circumstances.
Mr. Farrington asked if someone could give the history on the existing list of horsepower restrictions.
Commissioner Woodcock stated when he was a Senator back in the 2000's they had a subcommittee of the Fish and Wildlife Committee and he was on the subcommittee. The requirement was that each town that had a piece of property on that body of water hold a public meeting and present to Fish and Wildlife its concern with horsepower restriction of whatever was presented. It was the case that if you had, for instance, Sebago Lake and all the towns except two were in agreement on a horsepower restriction then you wouldn't be able to bring it forth because all of the towns were not in agreement. The committee went back and forth to include specifics of watercraft, ie: jetskis, horsepower restrictions, but it became quite laborious. This was a discussion that would continue as long as we had residents and usage of engines on bodies of water.
Mr. Lewis stated with the water safety zone that curtailed a lot of it, you couldn't be over wake speed within 200 feet of shore. On a body of water that size they were pretty much stuck in one area.
Commissioner Woodcock stated they were quite restricted there with the 200 ft. wake zone around it. The person testified that he was very careful, he documented 12 hours usage during the year and made a statement if other people were recreating on the pond he didn't take his boat out. No one at the hearing objected to that.
Mrs. Oldham stated in terms of the Advisory Council where safety concerns were to play a major role in judgement, there was no documentation. Twelve hours of taking the grandchildren waterskiing didn't seem to be sufficient justification to award the petition in her opinion.
Commissioner Woodcock stated he was careful to review the warden's comments. The warden's comments were that it could present a problem; it hadn't presented a problem specifically by incident.
Mr. Farrington stated several of the public comments mentioned erosion that was caused in the pond. Commissioner Woodcock stated he was not aware of any evidence of that. There were complaints and photographs; the pond had a rocky shore in many places. It was shallow so when taking off you could create sediment. There was one camp owner that testified that had a well in the body of water and he'd never had a problem with sediment. In this case it was one boat with one motor that was causing the residents around the pond to write in.
Mr. Thurston stated it seemed to be responsible on both sides from what he read. Had the person been skiing there a long time?
Commissioner Woodcock stated the family had been there for 30-40 years.
Mr. Thurston stated so they had always had a greater than 10 horsepower motor on that pond.
Commissioner Woodcock stated he had a bigger horsepower engine for awhile. The other gentleman that had the 25 horsepower motor also resided there and just used it to troll.
Mr. Thurston stated it did not seem that it would be the kind of place that if you had a big boat with a big motor you would trailer it to Kimball Pond to recreate. This was a person that was recreating in his back yard the way he had for a long time.
Commissioner Woodcock stated the question was asked what impact it would have on future use of Kimball Pond's water resources. There wasn't much evidence of people trailering boats in to waterski on Kimball Pond or cruise around with a big horsepower engine. It was a small rural fishing pond with some residents on it who utilized it.
Mr. Fortier stated his thoughts were to leave it alone unless some violations were coming up. He felt they were looking to the Council or IFW to be the deciding person or the bad person. Right now he wasn't hearing anything safety related or any big problems. We may be creating a problem if we stepped in and made it 10hp or less. If there were a lot of people going to Kimball Pond with big boats it might bring another factor into it, but he was not hearing that.
Mr. Farrington asked if the body of water had a public boat launch.
Commissioner Woodcock stated it did. Fishermen used it during the season. He had not heard the residents saying people were trailering boats in there.
There were no further questions or comments.
4. Fishing Regulations/State Heritage Fish Waters 2017
Mr. Brautigam stated we attended 5 public hearings to present the new 2017 proposed fishing law book. The focus was restructure of the law book to create an easy to use book by the general public. Most of the changes proposed reflected that effort. Overall there was strong support from the people that attended for the restructuring effort. There were a few comments filed relating to some of the components related to those changes. One of the areas of concern related to northern Oxford County and Franklin County where bag limits were changing from 2 to 5 trout. There were some concerns with regard to how staff determined when appropriate to retain 2 trout bag limits in those areas. We were working with staff to make sure we used consistent methodology in making those decisions. We had also received public input with regards to specific waters where there had been some suggestions made that we entertain 2 trout bag limits. When we presented the package in Millinocket there was very strong support for the Department moving in the direction of more liberalized trout bag limits in small lakes and ponds. They had been finding an overall decrease in angler use and those populations of brook trout were becoming more abundant and size quality was declining. Some conversations were centered around the component to establish maximum length limits for salmon and trout on rivers and streams, a 25" maximum. That was an effort to provide protections to state listed adult Atlantic salmon. Those recommendations were generally well received. There were some concerns that maybe we had not identified all the lakes and ponds that might have adult sea run Atlantic salmon that might also warrant the same kinds of protection so we would be taking another look at that.
Mr. Brautigam stated overall there was very strong support for the Department proposing to list 3 new waters on the heritage waters list. There were comments that folks hoped and thought there would be more waters nominated for that listing. We were planning to look at what we currently had as potential nominations for heritage waters. They may not be advanced during this rulemaking effort, but we may undertake a separate process if warranted.
Council Member Comments and Questions
Mrs. Oldham stated at the Farmington hearing, regarding the list of ponds going from 2 to 5 brook trout limit, the concern was raised that a number of these were state heritage waters already. The question Mrs. Oldham asked at the hearing was what qualitative data was there to support that recommendation in the state heritage waters. The response given was that historically they were 5 or 10 trout bag limits and the ponds did fine. Her response to that was it was an anecdote, which was not data. She knew it was not legislated that special care be given to these ponds other than they couldn't be stocked and there was no ice fishing. However, she thought because we had 97% of the Eastern brook trout in the country we had a special obligation to do what was reasonable to protect those ponds. She was looking for data, maybe the habitat had changed and they couldn't support that bag limit, that was the information she was looking for to be able to support the package. Some of the comments received, there were a number of waters that apparently had been surveyed and justified to be on the state heritage list and she did not understand the delay.
Commissioner Woodcock stated we had a lot of surveyed waters and the charge was for our biological staff to also survey them to make sure they qualified. There were some that had been surveyed by staff and were in the mix. They were not listed during this process. They did qualify, so we were discussing having a separate process.
Mr. Brautigam stated the list was in the process of being reviewed when Dave Boucher passed away and Mike Brown left as Division Director. There was some transition that took place and waters may have been left off the list unintentionally.
Mrs. Oldham stated there was a fairly lengthy list of proposed new waters, she hoped the process would be expedited. We also wanted to make sure that just because the waters weren't listed yet that they didn't get stocked.
Commissioner Woodcock stated we were monitoring that.
Mr. Farrington stated he had received calls, one from a gentleman in Millinocket who said there were several ponds in that area that were brook trout producing factories. He wanted to know why the second brook trout they caught had to be over 12". It was stunting the growth of the pond, it was overrun with fish.
Mr. Brautigam stated that regulation was intended to create size quality, but it could be use had declined and was not getting sufficient harvest. He would encourage the individual to speak with the regional biologist.
Mr. Farrington stated the other call he received was questioning why we changed the Kennebec River in Skowhegan to ALO only, it had been general law for years and was full of bass and yellow perch. Was it just to make the entire river consistent?
There were no further questions or comments.
C. Step 1
1. Shooting Areas
Deputy Commissioner Peabody stated the proposal pertained to two Department owned sites, one at the Brownfield Wildlife Management Area (WMA) and one at Summerhaven in Augusta. The Department had opportunity for federal funds to expand the ranges and essentially build state of the art ranges at both of the sites. They had been operational for years as public shooting areas but really not under any direction for the Department to oversee activities there. Some problems had resulted from that. There were 2 public hearings scheduled, September 7 in Brownfield and September 8 in Augusta. At both of the hearings there would be a presentation prior to the hearing regarding the new range itself. We had a representative of the engineering firm working with the Department that would go over the plans for the ranges. Following the presentation would be a public hearing on the rules.
Council Member Comments and Questions
Mr. Gundersen asked if there would be a lead management program for the ranges.
Mr. Connolly stated when the range was redesigned it would incorporate measures to deal with the lead issue. There would be two things, lanes and berms to direct the shooting into the berm and baffles to deal with the noise as well and a plan to collect lead from the berms periodically.
Deputy Commissioner Peabody stated the guidelines would allow us to address any activity that was inappropriate on the sites.
Mr. Scribner asked about the prohibited activities. Inappropriate ATV use was not included as a prohibited activity but bicycles, fireworks, drones, etc. were listed. He would think that ATV usage in those areas would also be prohibited.
Deputy Commissioner Peabody stated the ranges were both on WMAs which did not allow ATVs.
There were no further questions or comments.
V. Other Business
1. Eastport Deer Reduction Special Hunt
Commissioner Woodcock stated we had other considerations from other communities for deer reduction programs. The City of Eastport, the community had a concern for the deer population density and also support for working with the Department. They had been working with wildlife biologist Tom Schaeffer and they had specifically outlined what their plan was for the deer reduction program. It did have some unique qualities not discussed in prior deer reduction programs.
Elaine Abbot, City Manager of Eastport presented their proposal. They had 78% of the voters in Eastport speak up and say that deer were a definite issue. Eastport was about 3 square miles, they had about 1,300 residents and at least that many deer. The deer were tame, she had deer put their head in her vehicle when stopped. The deer would come to her back door and stare in while the dogs would bark at them. Because Eastport was 3 square miles they were looking to have an anterless deer special hunt 2-weeks after the regular hunt. About 25% of the 3 square miles was open land. About 300 acres of the 480 acres of open land was closed to hunting due to the municipal airport and state park. It left about 180 acres for people to hunt on. They were looking to first restrict the special hunt to 25 permit holders, that would be 1 hunter per 7 acres. They would like to be cautious. The deer committee had been working with Tom Schaeffer trying to come up with something that would be able to show some viable results after the first year and they were looking for a 3 year program to carefully manage the deer population. Their social carrying capacity had reached its limit. There were two deer/car collisions as she was leaving the island that day. During some parts of the season along Rt. 190 it was not unusual to have deer/car collisions on a daily basis. They were not aware of any Lyme disease issues thus far. People were unable to garden or use their yards in normal ways. They would respectfully ask the Council to review their proposal and give any feedback that might assist them in moving forward to control the number of deer. The city council would be holding a public meeting for input on the proposal. The city council had not approved the proposal yet but were hoping for any input that could be brought back to them so that any amendments could be made in time.
Tim Lesiege from MDOT stated deer at airports were a problem. We had issues all over Maine and if the FAA had their way we would put a wildlife fence around every airport in the state at the cost of millions. They had DOT fence half the airport in back in 2007. In inspecting the airport he could watch the deer walk across the airport, get to the fence and turn around and go back so they were twice the problem they were before. Landowners feeding deer were also a problem for airports. He would rather not spend what little money they got ($150,000 per airport) on fencing. That would get them about 100 feet of fence in one year and they would not be able to maintain their runways with FAA monies. Just having seen the number of deer on the island with the airport he saw as an issue. He would support the process to hopefully support the airport and not have such an impact of wildlife on the airport.
Tom Schaeffer stated back when we had 30 WMDs Eastport was part of WMD 29 where we did allow harvest of does. We were not able to sustain that harvest and population trends were down overall in the district. We reverted to 29 WMDs eleven years ago and Eastport became part of WMD 27. In WMD 27 we had been for 25 years of bucks only harvest trying to recover the Downeast deer herd. In doing that, we had been conservative on deer harvest but over the years started to develop some local residential areas with problems and Eastport was one of those. We did look closely the last couple of years at introducing some doe permits in WMD 27 which would have enabled archers to take doe deer. We weren't able to do that staying true to the management system for deer because of the 2014-2015 winter. We would only know after this coming winter what the management system would be going forward. Eastport had been bucks only for the last 11 years since those changes and that was not a way to control the population of deer.
Mr. Farrington stated under the doe permit system, was it legal for them to authorize a certain section of a WMD for does to be taken?
Commissioner Woodcock stated it was managed by the entire district, but micro managing districts had been discussed.
Tom Schaeffer stated Eastport had another complicating factor, because of safety constraints they had a very restrictive discharge ordinance. It was archery only and when trying to manage deer problems archery presented an issue. Hunting there was not only bucks only, but archery only. The approach was very conservative, but Eastport was trying to build consensus among their population. There was consensus there was a problem and they wanted to work with the Department to solve it, but on the other hand they felt it was necessary to move slowly and make sure we were doing things right before being more liberal with the number of participants or permits being awarded.
Commissioner Woodcock stated this was a social concern as well as a biological one.
Mr. Lewis asked if there was a way to include Eastport in the expanded archery season.
Tom Schaeffer stated that currently a WMD that was bucks only, there was no application of the expanded archery season. He met with Eastport and mentioned expanded archery and it was told to him that the public did not want to become a magnet. If they were the only place in WMD 27 where archers could go to take deer under a regular season they were concerned about people coming there that didn't know Eastport. They had enough problems during the regular archery season.
Elaine Abbot stated she had already been receiving phone calls if the rule had passed yet. It was frightening to them, they were only 3 square miles. 25 permits may seem conservative but that was 7 acres per hunter and a lot of it being open ground and not wooded. While it may seem conservative it was a safe number.
Mr. Fortier stated having that many deer in a 3 mile square area he would be willing to bet they had a Lyme problem and didn't know it. He could understand in that small area why they would not want use of long guns, but a shotgun might wend itself. They would have to look at bringing down that deer population or they would not be gaining any ground.
Mr. Thurston stated out of the 25 permits, 3 would be given to nonresidents. Did they have that number of locals that wanted the opportunity?
Mrs. Oldham stated they only sold 17 archery licenses last year.
Elaine Abbott stated it was not necessarily residents it was property owners. They had property owners in neighboring Perry that would be considered for the resident type permits because they were property owners.
Mrs. Oldham stated her concerns were that they had no science based studies. In order to judge effectiveness of any kind of change in hunting regulation you needed to do that. There was a biological way to do that and it did cost money and if the town was interested in pursuing that they needed to get it done to be able to show success or failure of a hunt. It was annoying that there were circumstances where municipalities were requesting special hunts when they did everything they could to discourage management by regular hunting methods. They had residents that were feeding deer. She suggested they enact a local ordinance to have them stop feeding deer. There were a number of non-special hunt initiatives they could do to try to decrease the perceived deer problem. A deer density study may confirm that there were too many deer in Eastport, but they had no data and she could not approve a special hunt if there was not that scientific data. The thing that bothered her most about the initial proposal was the use of bait. That was not hunting, that was an ambush and she felt that was a horrible precedent to set. There were many other ways through normal hunting methods that they could address the problem. She felt a special hunt with landowners only, using bait would not pass. The proposal would not get her vote.
Commissioner Woodcock stated Eastport was trying to reach a reasonable solution to a clearly defined problem.
Mr. Farrington asked if we had any facts on bow hunter success rates. If they gave out 25 permits and probably only 1 out of 4 got a deer it wasn't going to help the problem.
There were no further questions or comments.
VI. Councilor Reports
Councilors gave reports.
VII. Public Comments & Questions
Jeff Reardon stated TU was generally supportive of the proposal. They liked the simplification proposals. They had concerns about the 2 trout, 5 trout bag limits. Not in general, but they felt like there was a fairly thoughtful approach to that in Penobscot County in terms of where the 2 trout limits were retained. They had more concerns in Franklin/Oxford. They were supportive of the proposal for Penobscot County, not supportive for Franklin and they hoped to see a change before the rule was finalized. He hoped there would be a rulemaking going forward dealing with just heritage waters. There was a back log of approximately 35 waters. He thought some of those were clearly appropriate and should go on the list. Some of them there were some issues to resolve. He was more familiar with rulemaking at DEP, and IFW process was somewhat different. He had some process concerns. The Council was at Step 2 discussing the rules and they may still get written comments from people after the meeting. He thought they saw during the Wildlife in Captivity at Step 3 there was a constructive proposal to improve it but because we were at Step 3 it was too late for that to be made. He would just question whether the process could be more open to things that would improve the proposal that were relatively minor changes late in the process. Having public comment earlier prior to Step 2 would allow more flexibility to incorporate changes.
Carleen Cote stated she was a wildlife rehabilitator so that was what she would speak about. If the rules were implemented, as of December 2017 the program would end. The wildlife community addressed between 20,000 and 30,000 incidences that the Department did not have to deal with. She asked a question at the public hearing, if no one applied for the special permit for deer what were the wardens going to do with the fawns? If you shot one fawn doe you were also killing any possibility of offspring. No one would be able to meet the credentials, 100 hours and somebody with a bachelor of science rehabilitating squirrels, she didn't think that would happen. Dependency on humans, you had to have an apprentice and there would be a lot of people handling the wildlife. At her facility the policy was if you did not have the pre-exposure rabies vaccination there was absolutely no contact with the wildlife. Public viewing, the Commissioner allowing she thought was a violation of USDA regulations. If you were open to the public you had to be licensed as a zoo. This would end the rehab program as of next December. No one was going to meet the requirements.
Jim Fleming stated on the proposal for a jaw or tooth submission it said it would be required. What if someone did not comply?
Ms. Camuso stated technically if they did not comply we could refuse trapping license renewal the following year. We would not be taking that approach. Our approach similar to mandatory jaw submissions with bear, we did not have 100% compliance but we found we had voluntary compliance. There would be a learning process the first couple of years and then after that there should be less of a lack of submission.
Jim Fleming stated they had a lot of people nationally that had come to their association. They realized that Maine was under tremendous pressure for trapping. They were concerned about the state of trapping and rabies, etc. He had submitted a proposal to the Council and Department at the June meeting and sent a copy to Cory Mosby. He had heard nothing regarding their proposal. Last year we held hearings in Portland and Bangor and his phone lit up from people up north because it was hard for them to get to Bangor. They felt they were not underserved, but not served. Mr. Fleming stated the KVFT would like to be included in future discussions with the Department and MTA.
Katie Hansberry stated she had some comments regarding the wildlife in captivity proposal. She hoped the Department would continue to look at or reassess the inclusion of an exception for capuchin monkeys as helper animals. They were no longer recognized federally as service animals. There were significant concerns about animal welfare, threats to public safety and health. It was a serious issue and should continue to be looked at. Looking at the changes that were made between Steps 2 and 3, she was disappointed to see under the committee composition where it described the types of degrees or experience that the individuals on the committee would be required to have that. Previously on the list there was an inclusion of animal welfare and that had been removed. She wanted to ask why that was done.
Ms. Camuso stated it was on the list twice, it was duplicitave.
Gena Gary stated she was from Portland and she was a member of the Maine State Council for the Humane Society of the U.S. She wanted to go back to Mr. Reardon's observation about constructive comments and the openness of the process, maybe going forward revisiting and perhaps allowing for some constructive improvements prior to a Step 3 process. She also wanted to support Ms. Hansberry's comments. With regards to the trapping issue and extending the season, since steps were taken to protect endangered species and the trapping program in Maine why would we consider extending the season to create perhaps a bigger problem relative to that. Where we represented balancing public interest with the interests of wildlife, why wouldn't we consider the inherent cruelty in the trapping process and the inadvertent trapping of companion animals and endangered species. We might consider using other types of methods to collect biological data such as they did in Portland with have-a-heart traps rather than trapping animals for fur that cannot legally be used in the United States. There was no market for it.
Christina Snyder stated she was an animal welfare advocate from New Hampshire. She hoped the facilities and people the wildlife in captivity rule would effect would be watched very carefully for adherence to the rules. She felt in the past that did not always seem to be the case. The public would continue to watch and make sure the facilities would abide by the rules and file complaints if they did not.
Victor Shenard stated he was also from New Hampshire and an animal advocate. There was a big exotic wildlife in captivity and trade crisis in the country right now, and he felt the rules would help stop some of the outflow from Maine that had been contributing to that.
Gary Corson stated he was from New Sharon and had sent in comments on the fishing regulations packet. He thought he had heard Mr. Brautigam say the Franklin and Oxford County proposals we were looking at making some changes.
Mr. Brautigam stated we were going to review the specific water changes that had been submitted as comments and also look at the methodology that Region D used in identifying 2 trout exemptions special regulations that were part of the packet.
Gary Corson stated one region should not be a whole lot different from another region when we were talking about specific rules on a specific type of fishery. He had some real concerns about the 2" harvest slots. He had been very supportive of the packet, and supported the changes that were done in Region F to go to only one over vs. the 2" slot. Each region was different. With a species specialist, you would be able to go to somebody that you could discuss how the regulations and fisheries were supposed to be managed. Modifications were being made differently from one region to another. The public, as much as anybody, needed the species specialists. If he had questions about northern Maine he had to go to northern Maine for a hearing, whereas in wildlife you went to a hearing and the species specialist was there that explained how management took place in the state. As far as the packet went, he felt the Department had done a good job, simplification was tough.
Reb Brann stated she liked what Mrs. Oldham has said about having the science behind it, what concerned her about the furbearer issue was she heard someone say at the last meeting that the numbers were down, now the numbers were up. What was the reason to extend it by a week? That told her we did not have the science yet. If there was no science why were we making a change? She liked what Mr. Reardon said about the rulemaking process. The process didn't allow for a logical change that could have been made but wasn't able to because of a rulemaking process. That probably wasn't in the best interest of the citizenry.
Karen Coker stated she was there to let everyone know that many wildlife advocates were quite concerned about the rulemaking proposal to extend the season for bobcat and beaver trapping and hunting. She was new to the proposal, but wanted to let us know there were enough concerns by enough people to suggest that a public hearing was in order and the Department would soon be receiving letters requesting a public hearing. One of her issues was access to the information the rulemaking was based on. The APA required at least 3 information sources the rulemaking was based on to be included with the form, but she had not seen those. John Glowa had wanted to attend the entire meeting, but was not able to stay so asked her to convey his concerns and questions. He said that many eagles were dying from eating wildlife killed by lead bullets. There were also concerns about the impact on children of eating venison contaminated by lead. Was the Department planning to investigate and respond? He asked how the recent change in IFW's mission statement would be interpreted and implemented. He also requested the wildlife action plan be amended to include the gray wolf, but he had not received a response. He also requested but had not received scientific evidence the Department may have regarding the impact of Maine's coyote control program on the deer herd. Ms. Coker stated it appeared there was a lot of interest in background information and it would be great to hear whether the Department was willing to be more open and share those scientific data and substantiating evidence for decision making.
Commissioner Woodcock stated he was aware of the items she had brought forward.
There were no further comments or questions.
VIII. Agenda Items & Schedule Date for Next Meeting
The next meeting was scheduled for September 22, 2016 at Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, Augusta beginning at 9:30 a.m.
A motion was made by Mr. Gundersen and that was seconded by Mr. Thurston to adjourn the meeting. The meeting was adjourned at 11:45 a.m.