Meeting Minutes

Advisory Council Meeting
June 13, 2015 at 10:00 a.m.
Bethel Fire Station
9 Mill Hill Road, Bethel, Maine

Attending:

Chandler Woodcock, Commissioner
Jim Connolly, Director of Bureau of Resource Management
Judy Camuso, Wildlife Division Director
Mike Brown, Fisheries Division Director
Keel Kemper, Regional Wildlife Biologist
Chris Cloutier, Major, Warden Service
Bonnie Holding, Director Information and Education
Becky Orff, Secretary/Recorder

Council Members:

Jeff Lewis (Chair)
Lance Wheaton
Dick Fortier
Don Dudley
Jenny Starbird
Larry Farrington
Sheri Oldham
Matt Thurston

Guests:

Dave Crensen, Rangeley
James Cote, MTA
Ken Smith, Islesboro
Dick Cole, Winthrop
Rick Douglas, Gray
Don Kleiner, MPGA
Gary Corson, New Sharon
Brian Cogill, MTA

I. Call to Order

Council Chair Jeff Lewis called the meeting to order.

II. Introductions

Introductions were made.

III. Acceptance of Minutes of Previous Meeting

A motion was made by Mr. Dudley to approve the minutes of the previous meeting and that was seconded by Mr. Fortier.

Vote: unanimous – minutes approved.

IV. Rulemaking

A. Step 3

There were no items under Step 3.

B. Step 2

1. Any-deer permits 2015

Ms. Camuso stated this was the annual any-deer permit allotment. No public comments had been received. There was an overall reduction in permits based on the severe winter.

Council Member Comments and Questions

Mr. Lewis asked if there was a statewide number for winter kill.

Ms. Camuso stated that was done by WMD, some were between 9-10% and others were upwards of 17%.

Mr. Lewis asked about Washington and Hancock counties.

Ms. Camuso stated she was not sure about those specific counties. Because the severe part of the winter was later it wasn’t as bad as we originally anticipated it might be. For a lot of the WMDs, even when we had a lot of snow it didn’t prevent movement, the deer had no trouble going through it and it was so cold it remained powdery and didn’t really impede their ability to get around.

There were no further questions or comments.

2. Trapping Season

Ms. Camuso stated we had a pretty firm proposal, but we were still working out some testing with the exclusion device. The specifics on that would be brought forward at Step 3. We were proposing some broad changes to the trapping season. The biggest change would be all conibear or killer type traps set on land statewide would be required to be in an exclusion device. There were some exceptions for blind sets, muskrat traps, unbaited sets that were in a bank, those did not have to be in an exclusion device, but by and large all the traps that we would consider to be land traps/killer type traps, statewide, would need to be in an exclusion device. There were a couple different designs that we were looking at for the exclusion devices. This was part of our lynx ITP to prevent the additional take of any lynx in the state. We had two, we were allowed 3 under our ITP so we were only allowed one more take. That could be either through the fatal take or an injury that the animal was non-releasable. We had to look at conibear traps as well as leghold traps that could potentially injure a lynx.

Ms. Camuso stated the exclusion device design, initially we had them and believed behaviorally lynx would not go into them, but now we’ve had two mortalities and the exclusion device requirements would be physically prohibitive of a lynx to get in. There were a couple different designs. One for smaller conibears, for marten trapping, the opening could be 4” x 4” and it could be either on the front of the exclusion device or on the side. The trap had to be at least 18” back from the furthest opening so that lynx could not reach in. We had been testing the devices with lynx kittens at the Maine Wildlife Park and some of the original designs we were surprised that the kittens were able to climb right in. The 4” x 4” opening they physically could not get in. We had to also make sure that an adult lynx could not reach in and get it’s foot stuck. The 18” back would give us that protection.

Ms. Camuso stated for the larger type exclusion devices with the bigger opening, 6” x 7” or 6” x 8” the lynx could conceivably get in that. If you were going to have an opening that size it would have to have a baffle, no more than 6” back and the two openings had to be offset so that the lynx could not have a straight shot back to the trap. The fisher or marten could wiggle through, but the lynx physically couldn’t get through. We were going to try a couple other designs to see if we could give trappers another option.

Ms. Camuso stated the other big change statewide was all foothold traps would be required to have three swivels. One swivel had to be at the center of the base of the trap and then two other swivels. The third change was just restricted to the lynx zones. We were not going to allow the use of drags in the lynx zones. We made that change because according to our data the use of drags was where we had seen the majority of injuries to legs. The animal would get caught and entangled and put additional pressure on the paw. We felt to really protect trappers, we needed to take that step. The other change also in lynx zones was any foothold trap would have to have a clear catch circle to prevent that entanglement of the trap train. We didn’t limit the length of the chain but the circumference around from where the stake was to where the trap was, that area had to be clear of rooted woody vegetation. Trappers could still use stones or rocks to guide where the animal would step, but the catch circle needed to be clear of any vegetation that could cause an injury.

Ms. Caumso stated the last change in the lynx zones, currently only ADC agents were allowed to use the Hancock or suitcase type traps that we would use for live trapping beaver. That currently had to be done under the direction of a game warden or regional biologist. One additional requirement would be that those traps would be required to be set so the suitcase closed, basically so the lynx would have to approach the trap from the water which was not likely to happen. That would prevent the off chance if it were set on a bank that a lynx could walk in and get caught. If it were set toward the water the lynx wouldn’t swim out and approach that way.

Ms. Camuso stated we had discussed this at length with the trappers and internally, especially in southern Maine with our ability to effectively trap raccoons. Those were a likely species for rabies and in southern Maine where we had our highest population of people and the highest incidence of rabies; we had to note the fact that we would most likely reduce the raccoon capture. We would be trying to collect data from trappers so we would know how many raccoons we were trapping. We were also concerned that fisher may refuse the exclusion devices. Most people were comfortable the marten would go in, the opening was smaller and it was a straight shot to go in. The potential for fisher refusal was real. Fisher were also the number one predator of lynx. If we were not able to trap fisher, we were virtually going to be increasing the number of predators for lynx and being counterproductive of what we wanted to do.

Ms. Camuso stated we had given these ideas to the USFWS and they were aware of our concerns. After receiving more data in a couple of years we may want to make further changes in the future so that we could ensure we could effectively trap both raccoon and fisher. The rules, if passed, would affect all ADC agents, IFW staff, USFWS staff and recreational trappers.

Commissioner Woodcock stated he would like to acknowledge Mr. Connolly, Ms. Camuso and staff on the issue. He particularly wanted to acknowledge the Maine Trappers Association, Brian and James, it had been a good working relationship. It had been a practical hands-on discussion and we were very concerned about the fisher and raccoon scenario. It would be an ongoing discussion to look for modifications once we had more information.

Council Member Comments and Questions

Mrs. Oldham stated since the final type of exclusion device would not be known until Step 3, would discussion be allowed?

Commissioner Woodcock stated yes.

Mrs. Oldham stated it would be helpful for the final if a picture or real life exhibit could be shared.

Ms. Camuso stated when the designs were finalized they would have pictures and drawings and some kind of educational video.

Mr. Lewis asked what the furthest south was for lynx. A lot of the regulations were moving statewide.

Ms. Camuso stated it was a challenge. When they looked at the map and tried to figure out where to draw the line, they had credible reports in Bangor, Ellsworth, Bethel, Lovell, could they slip down to Fryeburg, if there was a hungry lynx in Fryeburg could it jump down to Bridgton? In a poor food year lynx could travel a long distance. We had a lot of lynx on the landscape and if we had a hard winter and food resources were tough they would move to try and find food. We felt we had to be as cautious as we could be and get through another year or two of successful trapping and make modifications as soon as we could.

Mr. Farrington asked if the restriction devices were going to be available; were they commercially made or were the trappers going to make their own?

Ms. Camuso stated the trappers would make their own.

Mr. Farrington asked Mr. Cogill if that was going to be a problem for the trappers.

Mr. Cogill stated it depended on what they were allowed to make it out of. At one point they were allowed to use 1” x 2” wire. Now he understood it would be down to 1” x 1” wire like lobster wire. It would depend where they would have to go to buy the wire.

Ms. Camuso stated we had two devices that would be acceptable and the dimensions were in the packet. We may, if we could come up with another design that was effective, add more.

Mr. Dudley asked about foothold traps with swivels, the proposal stated, “the chain is center mounted to the base of the trap must have 3 swivels, one swivel at the base” a lot of the traps had a ring in the bottom which was on the base, he assumed the swivel could go on that ring.

Ms. Camuso stated yes.

Mr. Fortier asked about education so the trappers would know the new restrictions and how to build the devices and make modifications.

Ms. Camuso stated we would send out a letter and mail the trappers handbook which we didn’t normally do to include the dimensions and directions. We would also have video online to walk people through it and also have staff at trapper rendezvous this fall and give demonstrations.

Mr. Thurston asked about the lynx population growth, and when did we get to a point where we had not necessarily a sustainable population of lynx in the North Country, but when it would become equal.

Ms. Camuso stated lynx were listed by the USFWS which was sued to list lynx. They didn’t have the data to show it did not warrant listing, so they had to list it. This summer, they would be doing a species assessment and we had been told they were going to include the states in those discussions. During that assessment they would determine if the current listing status was warranted or if they should be upgraded to endangered or downgraded to not listed. Should they determine that they were no longer warranted for listing, they still had to go through a delisting process which took about 18 months. Best case scenario would be that in September/October if in their conversations with other states determine that the species would not biologically warrant listing then it would be another year to two years. The challenge was they weren’t listed based on necessarily a declining population, they were listed because out west they didn’t have a good land management agreement with federal lands so they were listed based more on a habitat protection then they were on species numbers. The threats they addressed were habitat management and climate change. We did not have a ton of federal lands in Maine and there was not much we could do in the short term to address climate change.

Mr. Connolly stated lynx were looked at as a population across the U.S. and the lower 48, so Maine could be doing just fine but the USFWS was looking at it across the country. The other piece was that there hadn’t been standardized surveys done across the range. Maine, as part of the ITP process, had started our own survey. We were doing track surveys over the winter and would be analyzing the data. Initial surveys were more presence/absence and not hard numbers but we hoped to move towards that. At the same time the other states needed to be doing that also and there had not been that kind of coordination across the country. The states were anxious to work with the USFWS. It would be interesting because climate change was pointed out as a factor when they designated lynx critical habitat so it was a challenge for those who thought about spruce, fir forests and climate change and how to react to that. Especially here in Maine where we had documentation that our lynx were moving back and forth across the border as if it didn’t exist.

Commissioner Woodcock stated the terminology, it was conceivable that Maine and the upper tier of New England may be a distinct population segment. That would separate us from being included with the rest of the country as we were now. We maintained that our population was higher than the USFWS thought it was.

Mr. Lewis asked if they did that with any other species as far as across the country with the threatened and endangered.

Ms. Camuso stated the northern long-eared bat was a good example of a species that was just recently listed federally. In portions of the range for northern long-eared bat the population had been decimated by white nose syndrome but in other parts of the range they hadn’t been. The USFWS generally listed on the range not state by state.

Mr. Lewis stated New Brunswick did not allow trapping now.

Mr. Connolly stated lynx were protected in the Maritime Provinces but there was trapping in Quebec. We did a 14 year study on lynx in the Clayton Lake area and had a number of lynx that were ear tagged that went to Quebec and were trapped. We also had a lynx that was injured, we had it rehabilitated, radio collared it and it wandered from the Greenville area to Topsfield up to Frederickton New Brunswick and then went back west of Millinocket in the span of two months. We had another animal that was released several years ago in the Clayton Lake area that was captured this past winter in New Brunswick or Nova Scotia. The animals were moving around in the northeast. When they were originally listed in 2000 or 2001 the USFWS didn’t even know that we couldn’t show how many lynx we had in Maine. When they were listed Maine was considered a non-factor in terms of the population across the country. Since then we documented that we have a fairly substantial population. Colorado has reintroduced lynx and think they have a couple hundred lynx in Colorado. They had listed species before where climate change was a factor, when you looked at the Polar Bear there were issues. Most of those related to the melting ice cap. It was something the USFWS needed to consider moving forward, and they were proposing to amend the endangered species process to make someone looking to list something go through the states first to try and address some of the challenges they were having with some organizations petitioning to get things considered and listed. There were two or three bills at the federal level to take wolves out of the endangered species act and legislatively delist them and alternate the courts from reconsidering what the USFWS was doing.

There were no further questions or comments.

C. Step 1

1. Furbearer Seasons/Beaver Closures 2015/16

Ms. Camuso stated this was changing the dates for the calendar year and each year we had landowners that requested areas be closed to trapping.

Council Member Comments and Questions

Mr. Dudley asked when they would get a copy of the list.

Ms. Camuso stated at Step 2.

Mr. Lewis asked if the numbers were down for beaver.

Mr. Cogill stated they were way down. No one trapped beaver that spring. He normally caught over 100 and he knew another that normally caught over 100 and he got 22 and Mr. Cogill got 55. He had tagged maybe over 100 beaver since January 1. They were averaging $15-$18, plus all the snow we had, late spring, etc. He expected a lot more nuisance beaver complaints.

2. Migratory Bird Seasons 2015/16

Ms. Camuso this was a change to adjust for the calendar. The proposal would go to the Waterfowl Council, there would be a public hearing and to the Council in August.

Mr. Connolly stated the Atlantic Flyway Council had to approve the regulations and that meeting would occur the last week in July. There would be a hearing with the Waterfowl Advisory Council and then it would come to the Advisory Council in August.

Ms. Camuso stated the USFWS had indicated very clearly that after this season there were going to be major changes in the sea duck allowances. The sea duck populations were declining throughout the range. They had been working with the states and discussing for the last couple of years so people were aware. Next year we would be looking at probably a significant reduction in the number of days open for sea duck hunting and the daily bag limit.

3. Fishing Regulations/State Heritage Fish waters 2016

Mr. Brown stated there were several sections to the rulemaking packet. There was a New Brunswick boundary water section, bass regulations with Maine general law, looking at line limits between New Brunswick and Maine and going to 2 lines on several of those waters; also trying to reduce largemouth bass populations that we saw on those border waters. The population seemed to keep growing and we wanted to do all we could by removing the weight and bag limits on those fish. There was a New Hampshire (NH) boundary waters section as well to align the rules between Maine and NH. Most of those had to do with bass spawning closures. NH’s seemed to be earlier than Maine and they asked that we acquiesce to some of those concerns. There was an effort to refine some of the waters around Umbagog Lake and there were some specific proposals there. There was a NH bass tournament section in the packet. It dealt mainly with how the Department addressed and regulated bass tournaments on those border waters. There were a couple of conservation things going back to the bass spawning closures. NH had a law where they had their bass tournament fishermen take the fish they caught after the weigh in and transport them at least 300 feet off shore, and they asked Maine to comply with that. There was a Heritage water section, we were proposing 4 new waters be added to the list. There was a general rule proposal section and that had to do mainly with gear type changes, bag limit changes to modify and increase in most instances the numbers of fish you could take. There were some proposals to add S-33, which established a maximum length on brown trout and salmon. Where we had brown trout and Atlantic salmon we did not want anglers catching the fish over 25” and thinking they were brown trout or landlocked salmon. There was also a section proposing changes to existing Heritage fish waters on the list having to do with harvest restrictions and gear type to maximize what we saw for catches. We wanted to make sure we didn’t have stunted populations and seeing adequate size and growth in these ponds. The dates and locations for the public hearings had been established; Presque Isle – July 14, Millinocket – July 15, Ellsworth – July 16, Farmington – July 21 and Brunswick – July 23.

Council Member Comments and Questions

Mrs. Oldham asked about the definition for artificial lures.

Mr. Brown stated we had an artificial lure definition, but we needed to make the change legislatively.

Mrs. Oldham asked to see the definition.

Mr. Brown stated he could send that. It had been difficult in how to incorporate things that were man made and folks that use them during the bass season and we did have a concern for trout.

Mr. Fortier asked if there had been any discussion in dealing with the St. John River.

Mr. Brown stated those would be in some of the New Brunswick proposals. A lot of them had to do with opening those waters to muskie fishing. We heard a lot of concern when we held hearings there last year.

Mr. Dudley stated there was nothing on the East Branch to be changed.

Mr. Brown stated if there was nothing in the package then there were no proposals for it.

There were no further questions or comments.

4. Islesboro Special Hunt

Commissioner Woodcock stated there were some members from the Islesboro deer reduction committee there and would highlight some of the recent discussions they had had. The Commissioner stated he would like to have the discussion about the hunt, it had some controversy surrounding it not only with the Department but also the people of Islesboro.

Ken Smith stated he would try to give a synopsis of all the data and things they considered. This past year they had repeated reports from the hunters that came to the island. Most of the deer harvested on Islesboro were taken during the expanded hunt, 95% of the deer that were killed were killed by people from the mainland. Their special hunt occurred after that. They were into the months of the year that were difficult, particularly this past February they had the coldest record in the history of Maine. The year before that February was also a very cold month. They considered that the last couple of years were not normal, however, their goal was to try to get 100 deer per year. They did 36 and 50 deer. They felt the stormy weather had a lot to do with that. The other thing they felt strongly, they would like to increase the number of people that were actually hunting and increase them to the point where it was somewhat controlled because they still had to get landowner permission. Islesboro was 14 square miles and there were enforcement issues with that. They came up with two options; 1) include the month of November where 1/3 of all the deer that were killed on Islesboro were killed in November, that was current expanded archery and 2) include more hunters. That essentially brought in all landowners. Currently it was if you were a resident of the island. That would increase the number of hunters by approximately 60. They would then be increasing by roughly 50%, 20 more hunters over the 40 they had now. He had a gentleman with him that was an example of one of the new hunters, he owned land and was also an avid hunter. Also Dick Cole was in attendance. He was a frequent flyer to Islesboro and was all over the state with Brookfield and was aware of the movement of the deer population.

Ken Smith stated as evidence of why they felt they were making progress, there was a deer count done by Stantec in 2010 which said they had 62 deer per square mile. They excluded about 2 acres of land because of the shoreline and ponds. Stantec just completed another survey and it was 50.9 deer per sq. mile. That showed there was a reduction in the number of deer per square mile. It greatly reduced incidents of Lyme disease, that had gone down 46% from 2013. That was what they were trying to do was get rid of Lyme disease and ticks. They had planes that came and went everyday and had 3 planes that ran into deer. Those incidents had been greatly reduced and now pilots did not even report seeing deer coming into the airport. They were seeing far fewer deer and some of the studies showed that they still had a lot of deer but they had moved around on the island.

Ken Smith stated by adding landowners and having another hunt they had been able to reduce Lyme disease by 46%. The number of deer in 2009 was 232 taken during the expanded archery season. In 2013 it went to 133, that was a 42% decrease in the number of deer. If you took all of those things together they felt they were making progress. They had just held a town meeting on Thursday night and they didn’t want to have the November hunt. They were concerned about safety issues with shotguns and bow hunters and enforcement. They only defeated it by 1 vote. 62% of the island favored another special hunt and that was what they were requesting.

Council Member Comments and Questions

Mr. Fortier asked how many of the residents they would include, how many were hunters.

Mr. Smith stated estimated on people they knew, that was why they were very conservative by saying they had another 20 hunters, they currently had 40 sign up and take the course. They were going to give them a 2 hour refresher course.

Mr. Farrington asked how many deer per square mile were they trying to get down to.

Mrs. Oldham stated 10 deer per square mile to reduce the incidence of Lyme disease.

Mr. Farrington asked out of the 14 miles on Islesboro, how many square miles were actually huntable?

Mr. Smith stated in the Stantec study they broke it up and they found very few deer in the southern part of the island. They were clumped in the middle eastern section and northern section. There were 12 square miles that were actually huntable.

Mrs. Oldham stated she reviewed the proposal and had a number of objections and read a prepared statement into the record…

1. Prior Islesboro DRC proposals have NEVER met objectives. In 2012, the Special Hunt objective was to harvest 100 deer/year for three years. The harvest data from 2012-2014 has been 50, 36, and 38. This harvest is less than half (41%) of objective.

2. Prior Islesboro DRC proposals have had a stated goal to reduce the deer population to 10 deer per square mile. This is the population necessary to reduce the incidence of tick-borne disease. The current DRC proposal states: “Because islanders and hunters from the mainland are seeing fewer deer than in the past, we believe that the deer herd has seen a significant reduction over the past few years”(page 2 of the DRC proposal). Their own scientific data from the 2015 deer pellet counts show a very different story. The current data suggests a population density of 50.9 deer per square mile, a slight increase from the 2011 estimate of 48 deer per square mile. This data suggests that prior Special Hunt proposals have totally failed to come close to the stated goal of reducing the deer population to 10 deer per square mile.

The other thing about the pellet count they should all keep in mind, the pellet counts were done in April before the fawns were dropped. They needed to keep that in mind when talking about harvest objectives.

3. The current Islesboro DRC request would increase the total number of hunters by approximately 20 by expanding eligibility requirements. The anticipated level of harvest is 50. Using their numbers, at the end of three years, the deer population will still not be close to the stated goal of 10 deer per square mile.

4. Tick-borne disease from the over population of deer on Isleboro poses a serious public health problem for island residents and visitors to the island. The Islesboro Health Center’s tick-borne
disease prevention program is praiseworthy. However, the quoted 46% decrease in confirmed or
suspected cases of Lyme disease is misleading. There is no way to know the number of unsuspecting visitors to the island who may have contracted a tick-borne disease. These visitors would likely receive medical care off-island, so their data would not be included in this statistic.

After reading the minutes from the last meeting, she realized she did a very poor job of explaining in terms of disease incidents. She gave a hypothetical example of 100 people in a population. The incidents of their contracting the disease was 10% of the population per year. After you had year 1, 10 people had the disease; year 2, 90 people were the population and 10% of them would get the disease so that was 9 that year. At the end of 4 years, you had a little over 30 people who already had the disease, so the population you were talking about was 70. So, 7 people were going to get the disease. They went from 10 to 70, there was a 30% reduction in the incidents of Lyme disease, no. 10% of the population was getting infected each year. Once the population was saturated or everyone had been infected, you had a 0% chance. She felt the island’s tick prevention program had helped a lot, but to say this reduction in new cases of Lyme disease was any indication of the deer population was false.

5. Unfortunately, in 2014, Islesboro citizens rejected a professional sharpshooting program subsidized by $350,000 in private funds. A substantive reason for rejecting this opportunity has not been forthcoming.

My Opinion: If approved, the current Islesboro DRC proposal would end in 2018. The current scientific data suggests that the stated goal of 10 deer per square mile will not be achieved. The public health risk of tick-borne disease for island residents and unsuspecting visitors will continue unabated. With continued vegetation loss, the deer population may be starving.

The problem of deer overpopulation on Islesboro was recognized in 1997. After 18 years, it is time to formulate a plan that has reasonable chance to achieve deer density objectives and reduce the threat of tick borne disease for island residents and visitors. For these reasons I urge the Commissioner and the Advisory Council to reject this request.

After the last meeting the Commissioner referred to legislation that was special for Islesboro. We obviously could not tell them what to do, but it was a collaborative effort. We were under no obligation to support a plan that could not meet the objectives.

Mr. Dudley stated regarding Lyme disease, had they done any studies on the mice and how they were related to all this.

Mr. Smith stated they had looked at many recommended studies. They had been helpful but the data was confusing. There was an article in the Maine Sportsman that month that talked about the mice and it being the primary provider of the ticks. He felt the general feeling of most biologists was a lot of mixed data. If they removed all the deer the question was would they still have a tick problem. He did not know the answer.

Mr. Dudley stated the studies that had been done blamed the mice more for Lyme disease than the deer. The deer was merely a host.

Mr. Kemper stated what they were referring to was the daminex tubes which were small tubes that were taken back to the nest. It was looked at extensively when all this started. The problem was, to effectively put daminex tubes on Islesboro it would cost more than $1 million. That was why the daminex tube proposal was rejected.

Mr. Dudley stated that was not the study he read.

Mr. Kemper stated you could either tackle the problem by going after the mice on one end of the cycle or go after the deer on the other end of the cycle.

Mr. Dudley stated maybe there were ways to reduce the mice population.

Mr. Kemper stated it was probably more difficult to eliminate all the mice than it may be to eliminate all the deer. The mice were very prolific. This was all looked at even before the first special hunt by the town and at that time it was called the Tick Committee. The Tick Committee looked at all mechanisms that might be out there that were being tried all throughout New England. But at over $1 million to thoroughly saturate it, it was eliminated.

Ms. Camuso stated we had experience with eliminating the deer end of the cycle.

Mr. Kemper stated Monhegan was a good example. Deer were eliminated off Monhegan and eliminated tick born disease. There were still small mammals on Monhegan.

Mr. Fortier asked why it seemed like there was an objection to having more hunters with shotguns during the expanded bow season.

Mr. Smith stated it was the possibility that accidents may increase. That was a feeling that was expressed.

Mr. Fortier stated hunting with a shotgun, you were limited on distance. If they started in October they would have more hunters under better conditions than in February. He agreed with Mrs. Oldham. He had seen the nationwide numbers on ticks. He did not think they could accomplish their goals without an earlier hunt. When they did the eradication on Monhegan, until they reached a point, then they went in with a sharp shooter. He was a little upset with that because he thought they could do it with hunters and put the meat to much more use than what the DRC’s proposal was. As far as them reaching their objective, he thought 3 years from now they would still be in the same position.

Mr. Smith stated they were 3 miles from the mainland, quite different from Monhegan. If they did shoot all the deer it wouldn’t take long for them to come back.

Mr. Fortier asked how they took care of their waste on the island; disposal of garbage.

Mr. Smith stated they had a transfer station.

Rick Douglas stated he had been hunting on Islesboro for about 10 years. They had a big problem with deer back then, that was part of what drew him over there. He hunted every year from the beginning of the expanded hunt to the last day of the expanded hunt. He had 6 or 7 sites on the island and game cameras to check the areas. The deer in the area had been significantly reduced. He saw the report Mr. Smith was talking about showing 50 deer per square mile. The deer must be all down at the other end in one little herd, he just did not see it. He had been on the island 9 years and had a couple of ticks here and there but nothing significant. He had more ticks on him in Gray in his back yard. He was confused on the reports and the deer counts. To say the idea wouldn’t work as far as getting more hunters out there, if you increased the number of hunters you would take more deer. He didn’t see where it wouldn’t work. Not all the islanders wanted to go out there in January and February and want to hunt. Move it back to earlier and get the off islanders. He would go over there in January and February.

Mr. Wheaton asked if any other diseases besides Lyme had shown up with ticks.

Mrs. Oldham stated anaplasmosis. Not only could tick born disease make your life miserable, they could also kill you.

Mr. Kemper stated we had one mortality from a woman in Thomaston who died of Powassan virus a year ago.

Mr. Farrington stated it was his understanding there was opposition on the island to bringing in outside assistance to eliminate the deer herd.

Mr. Smith stated they had 3 different votes and was overwhelmingly rejected. Clearly it had to do with the history of the island.

Rick Douglas stated it wasn’t that they didn’t want to be told what to do, it was that they believed the reduction would work. It wasn’t just that they were being stubborn.

Commissioner Woodcock stated this was one of the unique situations in terms of the discussion. The statute allowed certain islands in the state to be the final stopping place for certain regulations. They had to approve whatever they propose, unlike other portions of the state regulated by IFW. Given the historical perspective of the votes on Islesboro it became even more compounded in its complexity. There had been many different forms of the committee over the course of the years as people had become more satisfied or dissatisfied in the political arena. The discussion would continue.

V. Other Business

1. Phippsburg expanded archery hunt petition

Commissioner Woodcock stated we had a petition to remove Phippsburg from the expanded archery hunt. Phippsburg was a unique situation because it had a firearms portion to the season as well as expanded archery. We would be addressing some of the unique situations in a different manner in the future to make them have a sense of equality amongst them. The petition was solely for Phippsburg. After staff review it was determined it might be a complex delineation of the line of Phippsburg that geographically for enforcement purposes. We brought in a portion of West Bath into the discussion to make the line more easily identified. We had a public hearing in the area and had a huge turnout, 100 people attend. Maybe 6 of them were in favor of the petition, the rest all opposed and wanted to keep expanded archery in place. They felt the process was going well and the deer herd was functioning appropriately. Because of that and because of the entire scope he did not move the proposal forward.

VI. Councilor Reports

Councilors gave reports.

VII. Public Comments & Questions

Dick Cole stated he hunted on Islesboro and supported Rick Douglas. He had hunted there since the late 1990’s. He did not believe there was 50% of the deer there used to be when he was there. He thought a lot of times their issue was getting access. That was the big thing as far as including the rest of the public. Having experience out of state with high tick areas, if ticks were their problem, when they had that equine encephalitis when they did night aerial spraying for mosquitoes they wiped out ticks for years. They did it for a number of years. If that was a help to the people of Islesboro, he would just throw that out there.

Brian Cogill stated the Maine trappers all voted to keep drags. He knew it was the feds that were pushing to do away with drags. He thought we would see a lot of lynx being shot because of doing away with drags. If there was an incidental lynx catch on a drag, he would go in the bushes and be hidden and out of sight but he thought we would find a lot of deer hunters and bird hunters that would shoot and not know what it was.

VIII. Agenda Items & Schedule Date for Next Meeting

The date and location of the next meeting would be Thursday, August 6th at 10:00 a.m. at the Youth Fish & Game Association at Pickerel Pond in Hancock County.

IX. Adjournment

A motion was made by Mr. Farrington and that was seconded by Mr. Dudley to adjourn the meeting. The meeting was adjourned at 11:45 a.m.