Nate Webb takes over as Director of Wildlife

by Jun 22, 2019Wildlife Conservation

Nate Webb takes over as Director of Wildlife

Nate Webb has researched and hunted animals I can only dream about; wolves, cougars, grizzlies

and even Big Horn sheep. I first met Nate when we worked on Maine’s bear management plan

for MDIFW. An avid outdoorsman, Nate is incredibly knowledgeable about all things wildlife in

Maine and beyond.

So, I was not surprised when I saw the notification that he had been named the new wildlife

director of the department. I sat down with Nate to go over some of his goals and reflect on all of

the impressive animals he has studied so far in his career.

I asked him the question “Now that you are the wildlife director, what’s on your priority

list?” and we went from there. “I want to make sure that we are working towards the broader

vision for IFW and following Judy’s direction and initiatives,” Nate started, “Obviously, we

want our staff to be well supported and get the trainings that they need so that they can be the

best at their jobs. We have a lot of people coming up for retirement so we are looking at the

future and how we can be the most successful.”

One objective that is weaved throughout the entire big game species management plan is

the need for communication with the public. How do you see that evolving? “We know that

we can reach hunters, trappers and anglers but we also want to reach the non-consumptive public

and let them know about what we are doing.” Nate continued, “For example, we just wrapped up

an eagle survey that was paid for with Pittman-Robertson money. We now know that Maine has

more nesting pairs of eagles than existed in the entire lower 48 when the recovery efforts began.

We need more people to understand the complete role that the department has when it comes to

all of Maine’s outdoor resources. And the funding behind it. Pittman-Robertson can be used for

mammals and birds but when we want to study pollinators, we need to find the funding to do

that.”

One of Judy’s goals is to get more women and youth into the woods and streams. How do

you see yourself working to make that happen? “That is a crucial piece of growing our

outdoor community. Across the country, you see license sales drop but if you dig deeper into the

data, you can see that women are buying more licenses and their growth is trending upwards.

We need to make sure that we are helping them feel comfortable and encourage them to get out

there. Our daughter sees my wife out there hunting and trapping, so to her, it is normal to think

that women and girls do that. I really want to utilize our R3 (recruitment, retention, reactivate)

initiatives and Information and Education department to promote and demonstrate ways for more

involvement.”

What other priorities are you looking at over the next few year? “Since the wildlife plan is complete, we can work to implement it and really work to communicate with the public on issues that are facing wildlife. We have a great team with Mark Latti and Emily McCabe,” Nate replied, “Our goal is to help hunters, trappers and wildlife watchers appreciate and understand the mission of the department.”

Anything else? “We want to tackle private land and how to ensure that it stays accessible.  Maine is made up of almost all private land.  If we don’t take care of the land that we are using, we could lose it.  Out West, a lot of land is public so they don’t have the same concerns as we do when it comes to land.  We need to make sure that we are respecting landowners and working with them so that everyone can have the best experience in the woods and waters as possible.”

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Erin Merrill, author of And a Strong Cup of Coffee, is president of Women of the Maine Outdoors, a senior writer for Drury Outdoors, a contributor to the Northwoods Sporting Journal and passionate all things Maine, Hunting, and the Outdoors.

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