May 11, 2020

Maine: Sporting Camps to Resume Business Earlier Than Anticipated

Contact: Joe Mullin, New England States Senior Coordinator

On May 8, Governor Janet Mills, a Member of the Governors Sportsmen’s Caucus (GSC), announced a change to her plans for reopening the state, providing some much-needed, and relieving news to the sportsmen’s community. Effective May 18, sporting camps in 12 counties (Aroostook, Piscataquis, Washington, Hancock, Somerset, Franklin, Oxford, Kennebec, Waldo, Knox, Lincoln, and Sagadahoc) may resume operations, allowing guides to get back out on the water and take advantage of one of the most important times of the year for anglers. Dedicated efforts by a Maine Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus Co-Chair, Members of the Caucus Advisory Council, and the Governor’s office have made this beneficial change possible.

In late April, Governor Mills announced a four-step plan for reopening the State and returning Maine to as much of a sense of normalcy as is possible during these difficult times. However, the initial plan would not have allowed businesses classified as “outdoor recreation such as charter boats and boat excursions” to recommence operations until as late as July 1. This date would have been devastating to the guiding community – a group of individuals who have already suffered significant losses in business thus far – as prime trolling season would be taken off the table. A popular method in Maine is to troll for salmon and brook trout in May and June, as the fish skim the surface for food after the ice subsides in the northern portion of the state.

In light of this consideration, an update has been provided by the Governor, accommodating “rural Maine” by permitting sporting camps in the 12 counties listed above to open on May 18 to “Maine residents or those who have completed the 14 day quarantine.” Importantly, these hunting and fishing camps will now be able to take advantage of Memorial Day Weekend.

Similarly, Representative Stewart commented on the Governor’s decision by stating, “Sporting camps are critical to our economy, especially in Northern Maine. I’m glad we were able to find a solution to allow these businesses to continue their operations this year.”

Governor Mills’ office worked alongside Caucus Co-Chair Representative Stewart, and Advisory Council Members Dan Riley (Norman Hanson DeTroy, LLC) and Don Kleiner (Maine Professional Guides Association) to make this possible. The unwavering support of all parties involved exemplifies the advancements that are possible for sportsmen and women when coordinated efforts are directed towards protecting their time-honored traditions.

“Maine’s historic sporting camps represent a unique and precious tradition of hunting and fishing in our state, which the Maine Legislative Sportsmen’ Caucus and its Advisory Council rallied to protect during this crisis,” said Advisory Council Member Dan Riley. “Governor Mills’ recognition of the importance of May’s traditional ‘ice out trolling’ and Memorial Day weekend fishing is critical to the survival of sporting camps.”

The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) applauds Caucus Co-Chair Representative Stewart, Advisory Council Members Dan Riley and Don Kleiner, and GSC Governor Mill’s Administration for taking action and putting the sporting community’s interest’s front and center. CSF looks forward to continuing its mission of protecting and advancing hunting, fishing, recreational shooting, and trapping alongside these individuals in the Pine Tree State.

Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?

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