December 18, 2017

Maine Hunters Funding Efforts to Provide Moose Watching For Tourists

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George Smith, former executive director for the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine, and current free-lance writer who covers many of Maine’s outdoor issues, filed a report on his blog yesterday about activities that took place at the meeting of the Joint Committee on Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

Part of Smith’s article included a report on moose by Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife’s (MDIFW), Lee Kantar, head deer and moose biologist.

Kantar claimed that Maine would be leading the nation in moose research and management and described new research initiatives, including surveys using Maine Forest Service helicopters and pilots………………..

“We’ve gone a long way… but it’s limited,” acknowledged Kantar. When asked by Rep. Jane Eberle how many moose we have, Kantar said he couldn’t answer that question definitively. But he did provide an estimate of 75,000 moose, a very high number that will embolden those calling for more hunting permits. Kantar warned against that, noting the importance of balancing all demands for moose from tourism to hunting.

There are a couple things to note in this information. If Kantar says he “estimates” 75,000, historically all wildlife biologists low ball estimates. So how many moose does Maine really have? 100,000? Regardless, at the rate the state is going the moose herd will soon outnumber the deer herd.

Which brings me to another point to be made. Yesterday I reported on efforts by the State of Maine to make the Moose Lottery more fair. In that article I suggested the idea of a mocked down version of the current “Any-Deer Permit” system, the only deer management policy the state employs. The question now becomes one of asking if a continued deer hunt in a shrinking deer herd is good enough for deer management, shouldn’t a short moose hunting season be good enough for moose management?

But the issue I wanted to point out is what is wrong with wildlife management today. Mr. Kantar states that Maine needs to be careful about killing more moose because it might mess with the “balancing all demands for moose from tourism to…..” Where is the science in that? Why are my license fees being used to provide moose watching opportunities while limiting my opportunities to hunt the game species I’m investing in? Maine is trying to generate tax revenue through tourism out of the wallets of the outdoor sportsmen. Where will it all end? It all makes me very ill!

Also consider how Maine’s game management, if you want to call it that, has changed over the years. What once was a deer hunting mecca, the Great North Woods of Maine, has now become a paradise for providing moose for tourists to look at and putting video cameras in bear dens, how cute, which no doubt will result in more demands by environmentalists and animal rights advocates to stop hunting and killing black bears and moose.

Below is a “Metamorphosis Part I and Part II” of a Maine Deer Biologist as compiled by contributor Richard Paradis of Maine. Maybe, just maybe, this closer resembles reality than tongue in cheek and also consider the prophetic claims, laced with environmental truths of today.

  • alrem

    Dear deer Department of Inland Fish and Wildlife dwindling,

    I met a man that had a business no one could use. The product of his business was not available through normal channels so he made the decision to provide the product himself.

    Guaranteed; he provided his product regardless. Each year following his decision to guarantee his product, funds became available to expand his small business and produce more of his guaranteed product.

    Over a few short years and much effort and attention to detail, he was able to sell his guaranteed product to potential future businesses/customers and promote more economic growth in the region for the future.

    Does curiosity lend to wondering what product is of enough value that someone would want to purchase that product?

    In one case, the product is Hot Dogs. In another, the product is shoes. For either case, the product was available and “on the shelves” generating future business, viability and expansion.

    In another case, guaranteeing a specific product makes as much “cents”, even if the product is seasonal, like sports and skiing; skating etc.. Of which, each one would be entirely fruitless without it’s seasonal conditions available.

    And, in another case, some mountains in Maine do not depend on the weather to produce snow for their business but make their own product and guarantee it.

    MDIFW is obliged to do the same.

  • Albert_Ladd

    Remember the report about all the moose carcasses found last spring,
    Remember last fall hunters were seeing few moose, and working real hard to fill their tags
    Rememebr this past deer season deer hunters who had seen numerous moose in these areas in the past were reporting darn few.
    Now hard working shed hunters who in the past have found many antlers, are finding darn few and darn little moose sign.
    I’m hearing this this from jackman south, I can’t say how things are for the rest of the sate, but this area of western Maine has another wildlife problem–No moose along with no deer!—Will IF@W make any changes in their moose management plan?–I doubt it!

    • Anonymous

      You bring up an excellent example AND we don’t know what other parts of the state, if any, are effected the same way.

      I was having a conversation on the phone today with a gentleman from “up north” about moose. He indicated he thought the moose population was having troubles in “the county”. I reminded him of the perpetuated myth that coyotes/wolves aren’t big enough to take down an adult moose. While that is untrue, I reminded my caller that coyotes/wolves don’t need to kill off the adult moose to kill of a moose population. Just destroy fawn/calf recruitment, that is make sure there are fewer newborn calves/fawns to replace all the adult animals that die of combined total mortality. In time, the herd is gone.

      Now, so long as we have biologists, commissioners, etc. who mouth there might be a predator problem but really won’t admit it nor take any real steps to do anything about it (oh sorry. The excuse is no money), then the answer to your question is NO IFW will NOT make any changes to their moose management plan. There is no problem in their minds. It’s habitat my friend, habitat! Predators BALANCE the forests. Kumbaya!

  • Albert_Ladd

    Newfounland’s caribou are in a deep decline since 2002. Like us the locals see the problem as the coyote. Of course the wildlife officials ares still studying the coyote link, and passing the blame on to (Take a guess)–Habitat!
    One of the articals said that the 3 predators that pray on calves are bear, lynx and coyotes.