September 22, 2017

It Took 251 Days to Count 2,400 Black Bear for the Maine Fish and Game Bear Harvest Report

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I think “Johnnie” needs to go see the principal because of his conduct in not getting his homework done in a timely fashion and that the quality of his work is not up to expected standards.

It’s been 251 since the Saturday after Thanksgiving in 2011. That’s how long it took the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) to prepare two pages of the annual black bear hunting season harvest report. In addition, the quality of the blurry post on the MDIFW website appears to be that of a second grader. Is it possible that someone’s dog ate their homework? Maybe MDIFW has spent so much money on non game programs and watching bears sleep in winter dens, they can no longer afford to post quality reports on their website? Should we expect the website to be taken down soon also? Maybe it’s just global warming?

The first thing to point out in this report, other than it took 251 days to prepare, is that the harvest of just 2,400 bears, statewide, is abysmal. Maine may have perhaps the largest black bear population it has ever seen, at least in modern times, and one has to wonder why hunters can only take 2,400 bears. At this rate, we should expect to hear about more bear and human encounters and likely a kill off of the creature by some disease because of too dense a population. I suspect global warming myself.

The second thing that should be pointed out is that the only mention of comparative harvest numbers of previous years is, “The 2011 harvest of 2,400 bears is the lowest harvest since 1997.” By the way, the 2010 harvest was 3,062 and 2009 resulted in the take of 3,486. Is there a pattern here? You can find bear harvest reports on the MDIFW website going back only to the year 2005. Perhaps the website doesn’t have enough disk space to contain more information. Or, now that the use of modern techniques for calculating harvest numbers (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, ……..etc. must not work anymore) it’s extremely complicated to copy and paste the bear harvest report from the previous year and then just plug in the new year (that requires changing one digit or perhaps two every ten years), with the continued development of best available counting methods, Mainers might expect to wait for several years for their reports…….or never. I can hear the excuse now: “Well, nobody seemed interested in these reports so we stopped making them available.”

I wonder how many hunters even know these reports are generated by MDIFW? By the time they come out, everyone has forgotten last year’s bear season. Most are out fishing and getting their firewood together for the coming winter. Or maybe that’s the way it’s intended to be.

With less and less effort and money being spent on managing game for hunting opportunity and hunting harvest surplus, one would logically conclude that with at least 1,000 fewer bears killed, any intelligent man can calculate that it has taken MDIFW, on average, 105 days to count a thousand bears, this report should have been out in May. If it took 105 fewer days to count bears, MDIFW should have saved money. Must be time for a new fleet of trucks. Or maybe they could use the money to better understand why no one appears to be interested in hunting Maine bears.

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  • Bonedog

    And to complicate (confuse?) matters further the 2011 report is by Wildlife Management District and Town and the previous reports are by Town and County making comparison really difficult. Since they have little interest in counting bears they must assume folks also have little interest in learning about them.

  • Bonedog

    And……the second page of the report is either truncated or the third page is missing entirely.

    The blurry map, the changing of the data sets and the lack of historical perspective combines nicely with the length of time it took to do a miniscule truncated report.

  • Woodsy

    Looks like confusion is the plan.

  • Mainiac710

    And what about the statewide population assessment? With so few bears harvested year after year, the total population has got to be 40,000 plus by now. Does anyone at the IF&W understand the impact that the burgeoning bear population has on fawn mortality?

    Perhaps Commissioner Woodcock will soon announce his GAME PLAN FOR BEAR……REDUCTION!

  • KurtJLane

    Just another IFW failure, A spring season??? but but but we might get sued,,and what about natural balance? Wildlife veiwing is the way we need to go, just ask Daryl Dejoy.
    pitifull
    Meanwhile bear nuisance reports are at an all time high, the woods are full of food and I still can’t hang a bird feeder.