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Hunting License Fee Proposal

Discussion in 'Chesapeake Flyway Forum' started by sapidusandsuds, Feb 23, 2012.

  1. Osprey

    Osprey Elite Refuge Member

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    Nahh, the General O'Malley would be a Prius with something like a breath-a-lyzer lock that required a $100 bill every time you wanted to start it up. ;)
     
  2. BuzzTheDecoys

    BuzzTheDecoys Elite Refuge Member

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    Maryland's Governor O'Malley Recieves "Sportsmen's Best Friend" Award
    Maryland's Governor Martin O'Malley was honored with the prestigious Sportsmen's Best Friend of the Year Award by the Maryland Legislative Sportsmen's Foundation at its 7th Annual Banquet & Auction in Annapolis, Maryland. It is the highest honor annually awarded by the Foundation - an affiliate, non-profit organization of the bi-partisan Maryland Legislative Sportsmen's Caucus within the Maryland General Assembly.
    The Governor was honored in recognition of his extraordinary leadership on the issues critical to the time-honored traditions of fishing, hunting and trapping, as well as his support of legislation that impacts Maryland's sportsmen and women

    Back in the good ole days
     
  3. Allan

    Allan Elite Refuge Member

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    I don't really know that much about O'Malley, does he deserve it? Hope its not like that Nobel Peace Prize Obama won.:rolleyes:
     
  4. BuzzTheDecoys

    BuzzTheDecoys Elite Refuge Member

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    Allan this was from just a few years back. I just wanted to make sure everyone remembers how much on our side he really is. If the Director can not provide us with the information which has been asked for, something tells me someone is looking over his shoulder.
     
  5. muddyduck

    muddyduck Elite Refuge Member

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    He deserved it in the same way that Hannibal Lecter would deserve an award from a Vegan Society.
     
  6. Allan

    Allan Elite Refuge Member

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    LOL, gotcha.
     
  7. muddyduck

    muddyduck Elite Refuge Member

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    When you are appointed to a position, part of the input in that decision would be are you on the same team, especially when it comes time to implement unpopular fiats from the throne.

    We could speculate as to where the loyalties lay, and what the motivations are, and I really don't what to speculate, but I'm kind of leaning towards the old President Regan adage, "trust, but verify"....Right now there's very little in the way of numbers to verify and trust is suffering.
     
  8. muskrat25

    muskrat25 Elite Refuge Member

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    Hmmm...... Bill Miles and the MSLF are holding a meeting Saturday to make sure that "sportsmen" can debate "whether to support Wildlife and Heritage" (which presumes that the only way to support them is to support this fee increase)? Is that the same MSLF that supported increased fishing license fees a few years ago? The same Bill Miles and MSLF that recommended this hunting license fee increase, (according to the WAC minutes The Mayor of Seneca directed us to a few pages ago)? The same Bill Miles that is greeted by Martin O'Malley in his acceptance speech of his Sportsmans Friend of the Year award?

    http://www.governor.maryland.gov/speeches/080611.asp

    Saturday sounds like a fair and balanced time, I have some other plans but maybe I can make it.......
     
  9. sapidusandsuds

    sapidusandsuds Senior Refuge Member

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    Gents - apologies for delay but I left Annapolis hearings last night and headed directly to W. MD for all day mtg today with off-road vehicle stakeholders and returned home in time to have family dinner and check in with daughter at college. Also, trust me, I have no interest in b.s'ing you guys or anyone who might be watching. It's not my style and having served ten years as Director and 22 yrs working from entry-level to this role, I figure it's served me well so I'm not going to change now.

    That said, I tried to cut-and-paste the key budget items here but don't see that functionality in the site so I dropped the link to FY 12 below. This is what we're operating under now. FY 13 is what the legislature is chewing up now. The short version is that we are going to hit the $10M total budget mark this year (I'm rounding here so please don't pick on that level of detail). $2M will be from soft-money unrelated to hunter dollars for non-game work so that's of little consequence here. Another $1M is landowner incentive, tax check off and other non-game related cash. Again, that's money we chase from elsewhere to help do work for those species that are not hunted or trapped. Of course some of that work does good for game species too so it's a 'freebie' for those critters (think grouse and woodcock benefits from golden-winged warbler work).

    If you track this from FY9/10 to 13 it doesn't look like we're hurting but the details don't show what really happened -- along they way we began to lose general funds (see below) BUT we had some good news because every time the current Penn. ave leadership mentioned guns, folks went out and purchased more guns and ammo just in case (at least that's the theory that explains why we experienced this huge uptick in arms/ammo sales for a few years there). Of course that increase in sales resulted in an increase in available federal aid monies to the state ("P-R dollars"). So we managed to put a million or so in reserves during that windfall period. Of course, that lottery ticket dried up and when the GF went away we had to eat the reserves and are now left with essentially zero reserves and zero GF (we'll have a small/2.5% allocation that will go to FHFH this year). Thus the problem we're facing going forward...

    As for the operating details, you'll see a big portion of what we expend is for staff. Hopefully that makes sense since what we do is put boots on the ground to make things happen -- we don't spend a lot of money on 'stuff' because that's generally not necessary for the work we do. We underwrite biologists and technicians who manage more than 500k acres of public hunting land, 112k acres of wma's and conduct the science of our business -- so all of the surveys, disease monitoring, nuisance species management and hunter access systems are handled by those employees across the state. We average $1.5M in operating per region with four regions...so there's a big piece of the pie.

    So when someone says 'just cut some more' -- it's not that simple since no one employee is a standalone entity or isolated-expert on this team. If you close xyz WMA, you don't lose the bodies who work there because they're also responsible for multiple other wma's across a multi-county region. If you say "stop doing bear work and get rid of those staff" -- well, notwithstanding the Achilles heel you create for anti-hunters to snip, you also don't lose anybody because the bear team is also the cwd team and the duck trapping team and so on.

    Well, that might lead you to suggest cutting the 'fat from the top' -- well we didn't view it as 'fat' but since FY09 we've gone from six senior staff in the unit to four . . . all the while expanding the number of acres and issues we're responsible for across the state. Likewise, we cut furbearer program, outreach coordinator (NASP), several land management staff and more.

    In my tenure these were the biggest and most painful cuts we've ever had to take but we did it to stay alive and continue to provide the services and ensure continued hunting opportunities in MD.

    I say that because it's demonstrative of our commitment to making hard decisions and runs counter to the suggestions some have made that we're playing fast and loose with your money.

    Finally, all of this has taken place in the context of the loss of 100k hunters since the late 60's/early 70's; decline of more than $1.5M in general funds in just two years and a shift of more than $500k additional from our budget to help keep NRP afloat . . . and don't take that as a negative, it's just a fact that you can verify in public documents and worth knowing that we are paying our fair share to protect against others stealing wildlife from you.

    Lastly, we also know that the only big-ticket items left to cut are those few but hyper-important standalone projects that aren't tied directly to bodies. Namely, bear research, deer research and waterfowl banding and population estimates. Each represents approx. $50-75k per project depending on the year and the scope. Nonetheless, it's real money.

    However, I'll say what I said before, we go gently and with great risk into that place where we begin watering down the science that guides our decisions. Sure, the USFWS can't tell us we will have to close AP goose hunting next year if we are the only non-participant in the flyway, but you can damn well bet they (and every other voting state in the flyway) will never afford us the full benefit of the seasons and bag limits we might receive if we are not doing the requisite homework.

    Likewise, when we were challenged by the HSUS to stop the bear hunt in 2004, the Judge who heard that case looked at two things: 1. the law that refers to our 'due regard' for wildlife in MD when we make decisions; and 2. the population estimate, scent-station surveys and long-term radio collar monitoring of those animals. That was a huge win for us, not just because it opened the door for us to sustainably and appropriately manage bears in MD, but it substantiated the good work of our team and put folks on notice that we take our work seriously.

    I'd hate to send a different message by backing down now.

    In closing, I apologize in advance for using up all this bandwidth and for the long diatribe (I would normally spend a lot more time editing for details and proofing but it's been a long few days . . . ).

    I truly hope this helps and hope you'll understand if I'm not on here every time someone posts a 'hot question'. It's just not practical or possible to be that attentive to this single forum. But, I promise to do my best and hang in there if you'll avoid giving me false-hope of my dream 'stang. :dv

    Thanks!
    Paul

    http://dbm.maryland.gov/agencies/operbudget/Pages/2012ProposedOperBudget.aspx
     
  10. pamungus

    pamungus Elite Refuge Member

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    i hope you can make it saturday, because we know the friends of the employees and backers of this will be there, slapping eachother on the back talking about what a great job they are doing, how the "people" support this, then going to the bathroom together and shaking eachother dry!

    it seems people like Bill Miles needs to be concidered a target to the sportsman other then a friend, along with mslf, and members on the wac who no longer care about HUNTERS, just their situation
     

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