Sunday, January 27, 2013

Boy! oh Boy!

It is official; we are having a boy! I have always been the one in the family to say that I was going to have a boy, years before now. My cousin and sister both have girls so he will be the first boy in our family. Hubby and I could not be happier!
But, there is a part of me that wonders how this is going to go. The idea of potty training and puberty scare me, but the weird thing is that my son will probably have no idea what it is like to not be taken seriously as a hunter.

The struggles that myself and other women have gone through to "prove" that we deserve to be in the woods along side men will be something my son will not have to deal will just be assumed; born into a hunting family, seen as a hunter. In August, I wrote about Steven Rinella's reaction to having a daughter and his concern about getting her into the outdoors with the same enthusiasm that he had when he knew he was going to have a son. Am I experiencing the reverse? Am I over thinking this? Will I just assume that he will be interested in the outdoors and not put as much enthusiasm into it as I would if I were having a girl??
I know that we are a few years away from a time when he will begin to experience the world around him, so the best bet is to probably sit back and relax. And til then, I can strap him to me, take him for walks and bundle him up next winter to see the amazing things that the outdoors can offer... And hope that he picks up the same excitement and enjoyment that I have being outside.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Week 3

Things are getting interesting for me, as I document week three of being in the woods with Dad. Click here to read more.

Monday, January 14, 2013

After a positive 2012, IFW looks for an even better 2013

Last week I sat down with Commissioner Woodcock to talk about the highlights of the 2012 hunting seasons and where he saw the Department going in 2013:

Last year, the moose hunting system was reworked. Do you think it helped with the numbers this year?
YES! 34% of the top tier were picked this year. Of course, we add people to that top tier every year but we are predicting that in the next five years, everyone in that top group who has been waiting for more than 30 years to get drawn, will in fact get drawn. We even had a few people, probably 1% get picked on their first try this year. Overall, we are very happy with the results this year and looking forward to a successful hunt next season.

Do you see any other changes being implemented this upcoming season?
The Legislature makes those changes, not the Department. We are always looking at our resources and we may end up tinkering with the number of permits in different areas because of the success of last year’s hunt. We will look at numbers and have the tick/habitat discussion and make our decisions based on what we think will be best to keep the moose population a viable resource across the state.

With over 21,000 deer harvested in 2012, up from 18,839 in 2011, what do you think this means for the deer population here in Maine?
I think it’s a good indicator of herd growth. So far the snow amounts have been good for the deer and we are hearing reports of deer being seen in areas where they have not been. We are very encouraged and think our efforts are working to help the herd.

Do you know where the majority of the deer were taken and if some of those hard hit areas had decent turn outs?
I don’t but we are anxious to see the geographical break down. I know there were some big bucks taken up north. We are lucky to have some big bucks in this State!

With the increase in deer harvested, do you think the number of doe permits will be increased next season?
Winter will play a role in the health of the herd and we will be very cautious with the number of permits we will release because we do not want to take any steps backward.

We have talked before about antler point restrictions and if Maine would ever adopt any of these restrictions. Do you think we would ever get to a point where we would?
I don’t see it happening in the near future. Other States that do have the restrictions have a different weather pattern that we do and have a larger population overall. Right now, we have a good buck to doe ratio and are focused on growing our deer management, which I think we are doing a good job of. It’s not off the table, but it wont be any time soon.

In notes from the Sportsman’s Council published in a blog by George Smith, there are quotes from many people saying there are still no deer around. What do you think?
People are very passionate about the deer population which is a great benefit to this State. We are always looking at the population numbers and we have some ample populations across the State and we are still working in other areas to grow the herd. We also have the challenge of trying to curb the poaching issue, which is huge in Maine. We have Operation Game Theft but we can’t protect the deer population alone. We need to kill deer legally and all work together to deal with the poaching issue. It impacts the deer across the entire State.

Another thing mentioned at the Sportsman’s Council were turkeys and the booming population we see across the State. George quotes you as saying “We’ve been talking turkey at the Department, and I assure you changes will be made.” What do you have planned?
We have brought our turkey group together to look at the population across the State. We know we have an ample population and we need to make sure we are controlling the population in a meaningful way and are aware of where the turkeys are and where they are not. We are also aware of the diseases that we are dealing with in Maine when it comes to the turkey populations… so there are a lot of balls in the air but lots of great conversations happening.

How is the predator fund/campaign working?
Good! We are about where we were last year; appropriately controlling the balance in the overall population. We don’t want to eliminate the coyotes. I expect with more snow and if the deer yard up, we will see more coyotes taken but we are finding that in some areas where we thought there were coyotes, there are none. We have great partnerships with clubs and individuals and as a result, as of Dec 31st, we have had 176 coyotes taken through the program and have spent about $25,730.

Lastly, are there any bills that are being submitted this legislative session that you are excited about?
I think the bills have to be in by the 18th of this month, so I am not sure what has or will be submitted. I am excited about working with the new committee and hearing how we can best serve the people of Maine and ensure a successful future for our resources.

A big thank you to Commissioner Woodcock for talking with me last week. If you have any questions you want answered, please let me know and I will add them to a list for next time.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Biggest news to hit Coffee yet!

There are two really big things I want to tell you about:

1. I am working with my amazing friends Robin and Tammy on a new collective called Outdoors Women's Experiences. If you know of anyone who may be interested in writing for us about their interests or documenting their experience as they get into an outdoor sport, we want to hear from them. Our goal is to create a space for women, regardless of experience levels, to come to for advice, to make connections and to share their stories as they grow, try out and love the outdoor actives that we love. We officially launched in January 1 and we are all so excited to see where this takes us and who we can meet along the way. We are also looking for people to swap links with to help spread the news of the site, to let me know if you are interested or know anyone who might be!

I would have never guess a year ago, that I would meet such incredible women and be launching such a cool project that has us all interested and excited about the endless possibilities of women, the outdoors and our stories.

2. This one is the biggest. I timed it perfectly, but as a result, my blogging took a hit as I totally dropped the ball this fall. For that, I apologize and thank you for sticking around!

I have a series of 5 posts that describe what hunting season was like for me this season. The first one went live on OWE and I will post a new one each week and let you know about it. I took notes each week to document what the season was like from a point of view I have never known. It was a new adventure almost every hour that I was in the woods. But it has been amazing... the big news... I am expecting my first little hunter in June.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Chattin with the Commissioner

Over the past year or so, I have interviewed Mr. Woodcock about a variety of different things concerning the deer population, funding and land conservation. With this year's deer numbers coming in above average, I figured it was time for another check in.

I have some questions but are there any that you want answered?

Some questions on the list so far:

* what does the increase in deer harvested mean for the overall population

* were the majority of deer taken in the central/southern Maine areas? was there an increase in the northern/eastern parts of Maine?

* how is the predator fund/campaign going so far this year?

Links to past interviews: