Legislature debates Advisory Council nominees and law changes

On Wednesday the legislature’s IFW Committee held confirmation hearings for 6 people nominated for positions on the Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Advisory Council. Among other things, the Council must approve all DIFW rules.

The nominees are Jerry Scribner of Belgrade, Lindsay Ware of Ellsworth, Robert Duchesne of Old Town, Albro Cowperthwaite Jr of Linneus, Kristin Peet of Winterport, and Shelby Rouseau of Phillips.

I know several of the nominees, and I believe they are all good choices for the Advisory Council. All were unanimously endorsed by the IFW committee, and will now move on to the Senate for confirmation.

Following the confirmation hearings, the committee heard a bill making quite a few changes to fish and wildlife laws. Here’s the list of proposed changes. If you want more details about things in this bill, go to the legislature’s website and select LD 1787.

This bill makes several changes to the State’s fish and wildlife enforcement laws. The bill:

1. Makes it illegal for nonviolent juvenile offenders and persons convicted of domestic violence to possess a firearm hunting license. It also prohibits a person convicted of a domestic violence offense from owning or possessing a crossbow, a muzzleloader or archery or airbow equipment;

2. Provides that a person is guilty of aggravated trafficking in a scheduled drug if the person is convicted of trafficking while in an area open to fishing for only persons under 16 years of age or complimentary fishing license holders;

3. Requires all edible meat from bear, deer and moose to be presented for registration with evidence of sex;

4. Clarifies that a person’s hunting license will be revoked if the person is convicted of night hunting while in possession of a thermal imaging device;

5. Amends the definition of “owner” for the purpose of registration of a snowmobile, watercraft and all-terrain vehicle;

6. Provides for penalties for bag limit and possession limit violations for individual upland game species as established by the commissioner;

7. Clarifies the time limit to register a bear, deer, moose or wild turkey;

8. Clarifies that bear fat not attached to the meat can legally be used for personal or commercial use without a hide dealer’s license;

9. Provides for restitution of expenses incurred as a result of scientific testing to enhance investigation procedures;

10. Clarifies that a person may not take or possess reptiles or amphibians from the wild for export, sale or commercial purposes;

11. Strengthens the prohibition of abuse of another person’s property by removing reference to certain stated activities such as hunting, fishing or trapping to allow the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife to enforce the law against persons who abuse another person’s property but who may not be involved in an activity such as hunting, fishing or trapping; and

12. Replaces the prohibition on operating a motorboat that exceeds noise limits with a prohibition on operating a marine engine that exceeds noise limits.


George Smith

About George Smith

George stepped down at the end of 2010 after 18 years as the executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine to write full time. He writes a weekly editorial page column in the Kennebec Journal and Waterville Morning Sentinel, a weekly travel column in those same newspapers (with his wife Linda), monthly columns in The Maine Sportsman magazine, two outdoor news blogs (one on his website, georgesmithmaine.com, and one on the website of the Bangor Daily News), and special columns for many publications and newsletters. Islandport Press published a book of George's favorite columns, "A Life Lived Outdoors" in 2014. In 2014, George also won a Maine Press Association award for writing the state's bet sports blog. In 2016, Down East Books published George's book, Maine Sporting Camps, and Islandport Press published George and his wife Linda's travel book, Take It From ME, about their favorite Maine inns and restaurants.