February 16, 2021

The MDIFW can Bear More Authority

Contact: Joe Mullin, Assistant Manager, Northeastern States

On February 8, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation’s (CSF) Assistant Manager, Northeastern States, Joseph Mullin, testified during a Maine Committee on Inland Fisheries and Wildlife hearing in support of Legislative Document 142 (LD 142). This legislation would provide the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) Commissioner the authority to establish a bear season framework and season bag limits.

As discussed in Mullin’s testimony, as well as CSF’s letter of support, the MDIFW Commissioner works alongside a force of highly educated and widely experienced staff daily. Working together, this group of professionals includes seasoned biologists, policy staff, and enforcement personnel – all of whom play a fundamental part in determining the appropriate bear seasons and bag limits. Should LD 142 go into effect, the MDIFW would still be required to post the necessary notice of agency rulemaking proposal, absorb a collection of public comments and testimony through a public hearing, and provide a presentation before the MDIFW Advisory Council, who would ultimately have final say.

CSF believes that species should be managed by the best available science and that in this instance the recognized experts at MDIFW are in the best possible position to do so. Furthermore, ensuring that these decisions are done through the rulemaking process rather than having to go through the legislature will allow the agency to react to changed circumstances expeditiously – reviewing the pertinent data and observations in order to make an informed decision on any appropriate changes to the bear season framework.

In Maine and across the nation, CSF will continue to support efforts to grant state fish and wildlife agencies with the authority to manage their respective natural resources.

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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