Monday, February 25, 2013

The Maine Moose Lotto

This year, Dad and I decided that we would sit out of the moose lotto. It made sense. In 2010, when Dad was picked, we spent a solid 8 hours a day riding the roads in his truck looking for moose, walking around in the woods calling for moose and seeing a lot of hunters and only 1 dead cow. Since we know the time commitment that we are looking at if we get picked, and with me nursing a 4 month old come October, we decided to not apply for a permit.

But, with the new Maine Moose Lotto revamped from what it was in 2011, Dad and I could still get points for applying and ensure our names were not entered to be drawn for permits. For each year that you apply and you do not get a permit, you gain a point. I am up to 5 points right now. The catch is that even if you don't want a permit, you still need to pay the fee of $15. So, for Dad and I, we paid $30 and will just gain a point each.

When I posted a comment about this on Facebook, I received two comments:

"I don't see the point in wasting the money this year, sadly. With some households getting more than one permit and most people getting none for years on end...its not something I can afford to throw money away on."

"I lost my points once when I didn't put my application in, so now I'm down to only seven. I don't think anyone should lose points for not applying every year. **We pay for those points.** I don't think we should get points for years we don't apply, but taking away something we paid for isn't right."

When I asked the Commissioner about this, he said "The legislature debated the payment in the exact situation that you describe and decided that the fee should remain if the applicant was remaining in the point process. It is, therefore, in statute."

It is an interesting dilemma; while I am not a fan of paying the fee to really get nothing out of it, I understand where the money goes and the need to keep the funds coming. At the same time, losing points for not putting in an application is a catch 22 that forces people to pay the fee even if they don't want the permit but want to maintain the points.

With this new system, the probability of people getting a permit after waiting for years has gone up considerably. If you get drawn, you must wait 3 years before being eligible to get a permit again, which opens up more slots for new hunters. A Maine Moose permit is something that is a coveted thing in the hunting world and when I visited the tagging station last fall, I met a few hunters who had shot their first moose, on their first permit drawing after 32 years.

So, my question to you: would you pay the $15 for a point, knowing that you would not get a permit? Do you think it is worth it?

Friday, February 15, 2013

Youth Hunting where you are

I have written (and rewritten) a blog about 2 proposed bills being sent to the 126th Maine Legislature about proposed changes in our current youth deer hunt. Here is the original blog with the bills, LD79 and LD101 explained.

Currently, in Maine, youth hunters are between 10-15 and become adult hunters at 16. They are allowed to begin their season a week before Maine residence, who can start the last Saturday in October and must be with an adult. According to the Executive Director of the Sportman's Alliance of Maine, there are 16,000 youth deer hunters and their success rate is about 10%. The real issue that is being debated is, with the Maine deer herd in such rough shape, is it worth risking the health and growth of the herd to give these 16,000 hunters the chance to shoot does and bucks instead of just does.

What, if any, program do you have in your State? Does it work in attracting and keeping young hunters interested?

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Sharing the news with the family

On Christmas Eve, we told my parents. To say Dad was shocked is an understatement. This is the last entry for what it was like to be pregnant during hunting season. It is pretty surreal to think about the next hunting season and the fact that come November (or opening day), I will have a 5 month old. WOW!!!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Just because I have a gun, does not mean I am the bad guy.

I wrote this post for my blog with a local newspaper. I was hoping it would generate some conversation, but instead of talking about guns, the comments were more about Liberals vs everyone else. One guy actually commented that "Liberals will never understand." But... I am a liberal. I am a little too liberal some days and with some issues. Without trying to, he proved my point that there will never be considerate, thoughtful conversation about guns because we so quickly jump to conclusions.

Here is the post, and if you click on the title, it will take you to the blog page over at Thoughts From a Tree Stand.

Just because I have a gun, does not mean I am the bad guy.

Posted on February 1, 2013

My Twitter feed is filled with posts and articles about guns. I argue with friends on Facebook about guns and the right to have them, use them, own them. I found articles (here and here) about Liberal gun owners and their take on the gun issue. S.E. Cupp published an article about gun owners this week. Every show and every news anchor mentions it daily – the gun problem and what can be done to “fix it” in the U.S. Everyone has an opinion and suggestion on what we need to do to “make things better.”

What we really should do – stop getting the media involved! Stop putting the names and faces of the murders on our TV screens, in our newspapers and online. Even if you can’t name a shooter, I bet if you were given a group of photos and asked which ones were killers, from Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold to Cho Seung-Hui to James Holmes and Adam Lanza… you could pick them out. They lived on our TVs longer than any of the victims or their families did. As a society, we made it possible for each of them to get publicity for shooting up a school, mall, movie theater etc. We gave them more than their 15 minutes of fame, but why? Why are we focusing on them and not their victims?

During Senate testimony this week, in which Gabby Giffords took the podium to speak about the need for more laws and regulations, NRA President, Wayne LaPierre was asked the question about mandatory background checks. His reply, “background checks will never be universal because criminals will never submit to them.” YES! While, I am all for tighter regulations if it means saving a 6-year old’s life, the idea that cracking down on legal gun owners will somehow stop shootings is unrealistic.

Fact: In Chicago last weekend, 11 people were involved in homicides. 11 people in 2 days were killed (46 others were injured). In one city – a city with such strict gun laws that there are no gun shops within city limits. 11 people! Why are we not hearing about a need to crack down on gang violence? or for that matter, why have we stopped talking about the need for better mental health screenings and services across the country??

In Maine, if you don’t have a gun in your house, I bet your neighbor or a family member does. And chances are, they have more than one. I do. But what I am really sick of, is the rhetoric from people who don’t understand the mindset of gun owners, (or from those who have never held a gun, shot a gun or even seen a gun) and blame us for not wanting to drop what we are doing and support the new rules and regulations that will “fix things.” The number of people I know who have never handled a gun, but are now experts in all things guns infuriates me, as I am sure it does others, and proves that we will never have a civil conversation in this country about what the problem actually is and how it could be solved.

We are not the bad guys. We are the legal gun owners who support the gun industry, the hunting industry and numerous rod and gun clubs around the State and country. We are the one’s who are teaching our kids how to be responsible gun owners and operators. We are the ones who are being proactive in creating an educated gun culture for the future. Stop acting like because I have a gun, I am the bad guy.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Week 4 recap of hunting season...

... at this point, no one knows I am pregnant and the season is pretty much over. Click here for the post.