March 20, 2023

Committee OKs sale of moose bones

AUGUSTA — Members of the Legislature’s Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Committee postponed action Thursday on two deer hunting bills, while giving unanimous support to a measure legalizing the sale of moose bones.

A fourth bill that would require law enforcement officers and other government workers to wear blaze orange in the woods during hunting season was rejected 8-1.

The deer hunting bills dealt with the related issues of extending the hunting season and visibility in the woods. Developed by the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine’s Deer Task Force, one bill would extend the deer hunting day from sunset to 15 minutes after sunset. The second would allow a deer hunter to wear two pieces of camouflage blaze orange, rather than plain blaze orange.

Rep. Royce Perkins, R-Penobscot, who sponsored both proposals, requested more statistical data concerning the numbers of hunter fatalities and accidents in the vicinity of sunset before putting the plan out to a committee vote.

Because camouflage orange could be more difficult than regular blaze orange to detect after sunset, the lawmakers chose to delay action on that bill until deciding the fate of the hunting day extension measure. No workshop date was scheduled for those bills Thursday.

With little discussion, the committee members approved a bill adding moose “bones” to the list of commercially traded animal parts that currently includes “head, hide, hooves and antlers.”

The change was sought at the request of Gerald and Valerie Hoff, two Mount Vernon carvers who create intricately designed pieces of jewelry from the animal’s leg bone. The Hoffs told the legislators that customers overwhelmingly preferred the moose bone to beef bones, largely because of the animal’s exotic connection to Maine.

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