Why It Matters: State-based fish and wildlife management authority should be left in the jurisdiction of the respective state fish and wildlife agency. In Maine, the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) is the best equipped to address fish and wildlife management issues within the Pine Tree State. It is staffed by trained professionals with backgrounds with a wide variety of expertise, including biology, law enforcement, land management, wildlife biology, and numerous other disciplines. If enacted, LD 728 would have undermined the MDIFW’s ability to work through the normal channels for setting seasonal turkey bag limits. The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) has a tenured history of supporting state fish and wildlife agency management authority and applauds the many in-state and national partners who helped defeat this legislation in Committee.
- On Wednesday, May 3, the Maine Committee on Inland Fisheries and Wildlife voted to kill LD 728 – legislation that would have aligned the wild turkey bag limit with the ruffed grouse limit in a misguided attempt to simplify state hunting regulations.
- The proposal would have taken away the management of wild game species from the state agency and ceded such responsibility and management to the Legislature.
- CSF has worked with in-state and national partners in opposing this legislation.
On Wednesday, May 3, the Maine Committee on Inland Fisheries and Wildlife convened for a discussion on ME LD 728, among many other topics. Essentially, this bill, in an attempt to simplify the state’s hunting regulations, would have required that the “maximum number of wild turkey that may be taken within any given period of time must be the same as the limits on the maximum number of ruffed grouse that may be taken.” The Committee swiftly voted “Ought Not to Pass” on LD 728, resulting in a significant win for the MDIFW’s integrity in setting seasonal bag limits.
As introduced, Maine LD 728 sought to liberalize the daily bag limit of wild turkeys to the same as Maine’s daily limit of ruffed grouse, which currently is set for four birds per day and a possession limit of eight. Such a gross expansion on daily bag limits of wild turkey, “would potentially threaten the sustainability of our wild turkey population, or significantly reduce hunting opportunities for ruffed grouse, wild turkey, or both species,” as mentioned in testimony submitted by the MDIFW. A daily bag limit of four wild turkeys would in effect, have the potential to reduce wild turkey populations in some areas to a point where regulated hunting would be severely curtailed or discontinued.
CSF looks forward to continued coordination with in-state and national partners, and members of to Maine Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus, in opposing legislation that would undermine the management authority of the state fish and wildlife agency.