George Smith of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine and Mark Latti of the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife spoke recently at Husson College stressing the need to increase marketing to other states in order to bring more hunters to Maine (BDN, Jan. 20, “Sportsman urges more marketing”).
Like two dinosaurs stuck in the ice refusing to notice that the weather is changing, Smith and Latti are blind to the fact that people are indeed coming to Maine for the wildlife. The only difference is that people are coming to our state to see wildlife alive not dead.
According to the 2001 “National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife Associated Recreation,” published by the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service, wildlife watchers in Maine spend $346 million annually. This is more than double the amount spent by hunters.
As long as funding for the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife is based on hunting and fishing license sales, we will be selling our bears to be shot over buckets of old doughnuts to the highest bidder and our moose to become hood ornaments for cars heading south on I-95.