Tagging stations in a quandry

6:13 PM, Nov 15, 2010   |    comments
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ALNA, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- The people who run deer tagging stations are upset over a fee increase and an increase in paper work. Some stations are disappearing and the state is hustling to replace them especially in Central and Southern Maine where most of the deer are shot.

It's another example of a changing Maine.  Stores used to vie for the opportunity to be their town's tagging station.  In 2009, the state raised the fee from one dollar to five.  The additional four dollars all go to the state.  This has caused agents to buck.

"They've made the taqging more expensive for the hunter and they've give us more work," says Amy Preston of the Alna Store. 

She and her husband Mike tag more than 100 deer a year at their country store and restaurant.  They now must hold on to the money until they are billed by the state a couple of times a year.

"I've got to hold on to it for four to five months waiting for that bill to come in and if you're not really good at putting yourmoney away, you get a bill for four or five hundred dollars in February," she told NEWS CENTER.  "That can really hurt if you don't have it saved somewhere."

The Prestons are not alone.  A number of stores have gone out of the tagging business.

The increased fee raises about $100,000 for the cash strapped Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.  This helps them keep biologists in the field managing Maine's wildlife populations.

Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Deputy Commissioner Paul Jacques says his department is trying to make sure there is at least one tagging station in each town.  He notes that the trend in new stations is moving from country stores to outdoors shops. 

"In some towns, we still have people fighting to get the tagging station," he said.

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