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How Do We Manage Wildlife?
by Ken Elowe
How does the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife (MDIF&W) manage wildlife? What does manage mean?
In general, our role is to conserve and protect wildlife, while providing opportunities for people to enjoy and interact with wildlife, including through strong traditions such as hunting.This means that we must figure out what affects the health and population of different wildlife species, and somehow, balance the impacts to ensure that we will continue to have wildlife into the future. This is no easy task, as the impacts of hunting, habitat loss or change, loss to disease and other natural causes, road mortality, and the effects of nuisance wildlife on farmers, and landowners represent an extremely varied and challenging set of viewpoints to balance.
So, where do we start?
In Maine, 75 percent of the cost of managing our wildlife is provided by Pittman-Robertson dollars, which come from a tax on firearms paid by America's sportsmen.
This provides the guidance for the Department's management efforts for the next 10-year period. This fall, we will begin this process to develop management goals for deer, bear, and moose with the help of a public working group. The last management goals were set in the same manner back in 1985. Changes to population levels, habitat, public interest, and demand mean that it is time to revisit the goals for major game species, as well as many other small game and nongame wildlife species over the next few years.
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