Having failed (1) to make hunting in Maine a constitutional right; and, (2) to ban wildlife-related citizen initiated referendums, a small group of consumptive-use extremists recently succeeded in amending the mission of the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife to require the department to use hunting, fishing and trapping to manage the public’s fish and wildlife resources.

Thanks to a bill titled, “An Act to Make Hunting, Fishing and Trapping the Basis of Managing Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Resources,” the department’s mission now includes, “…(the) use (of) regulated hunting, fishing and trapping as the basis for the management of these resources whenever feasible.”

The bill was presented and approved by the Inland Fisheries and Wildlife legislative committee with no opportunity for public comment. It was crafted in a back room by special interests for special interests. It’s no wonder that so many Mainers are fed up with government.

The new law contains no definition of “feasible” or how it will be determined. The legislation was approved to benefit solely consumptive users despite the fact that Maine’s fish and wildlife resources belong to all Mainers. It was approved in spite of the fact that nearly 90 percent of Mainers do not hunt, and that non-consumptive users (wildlife watchers) outnumber and outspend consumptive users in Maine, according to the 2011 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife Associated Recreation.

The legislation worsens the department’s already outdated and imbalanced mission statement. It’s time to begin fixing Maine’s broken government that allows special interests to dictate public policy at the expense of public interest. Returning Maine’s publicly owned fish and wildlife resources to the people where they rightfully belong is one place to start.

John Glowa

South China