September 20, 2017

GPS Radio Collars Tracking Maine Deer – WHY?

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“In use since 1950s, Maine’s deer allocation system has worked very successfully; however, with a changing climate, changing landscapes, and perhaps, missing data for the 2 extremes of our winter weather – the very mild and the very severe – it was time for the WSI system to be re-evaluated. Kyle Ravana, the lead MDIFW deer biologist, recently initiated a 5-yr study to conduct deer population monitoring using GPS satellite collar technology to track survival and mortality trends in Maine’s antlerless deer – i.e. does and fawns.

The Goals of the project are to:

1) Reevaluate the correlation between WSI and WMR for white-tailed deer

2) Assess seasonal survival rates for the adult female (?1.5 years) and fawn segments of the population

3) Assess cause-specific mortality of our adult female and fawn populations

4) Reassess the current winter severity index and try to identify a new, and more simplistic metric” <<<Read More>>>

It’s not so much that I was born a skeptic and struggle to find “good” in things that are loaded with bad, it’s just that I’m given few reasons to be optimistic about deer management (game management) in Maine. I also do not see putting on blinders, in order to only see the good, and feel good, as an honest means of building for a better tomorrow.

The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) has, of late, repeated the claim that the deer herd in Southern and Central Maine has recovered to a point a 59% increase in Any-Deer Permits (ADP) has been issued in order to reduce deer populations to levels determined by the public. If it is a fact that MDIFW is basing the determination of how many ADPs to issue for the following Fall deer hunt, almost completely on the Winter Severity Index (WSI) for one winter, no wonder the state, overall, struggles to grow a deer herd.

Now MDIFW is in the beginning stages of conducting a deer study – the goals of which are listed above. What I find of interest is the statement before the listing of the goals, claiming that MDIFW’s use of the WSI since the 1950s “has worked very successfully,” and this if immediately followed by a “however.”

The usual scapegoat of “climate change” and “changing landscapes” (wink, wink) leads the list of why there’s no deer but now we see a “perhaps.” This “perhaps” is saying that the previous two “extreme” winters had “missing data?” Can that be? Why is there missing data? Maybe we should radio-collar snow flakes? I hate pulling the logic card, because in today’s society and particularly in the Romance Biology and Voodoo Environmentalism entrenched in a mindless society, such nonsense as rational “thinking” often stands in the way of fulfilling narratives. I find it irresponsible, if there was missing data from the two previous “extreme” winters, enough so that this is worthy of consideration in a very expensive deer study program, to jerk one’s knee and increase ADPs 59%, while claiming the deer population in certain areas needs reducing. How do they honestly know this? Can they see this on their computer screen? And if that is the claim, what is it they are seeing, or not seeing, if there is “missing data?”

MDIFW now claims they are going to collar a bunch of deer in “one” Wildlife Management District- WMD 17. “With approximately 20 deer per square mile and a good variation of winter severities, habitats range from hard and soft wood stands, logging operations, agricultural lands; with some urban forest on the fringes of small towns and cities like Newport, Bangor and Skowhegan.”

Again, shouldn’t we ask WHY? Why WMD 17? So what if it has all those things stated above. I want to know if WMD 17 is representative of areas where deer aren’t growing. Or is this insurance that any results will fit the desired outcome? Screw the logic, again, but shouldn’t we be more interested in what’s killing the deer in places where the deer are being killed? This tells me MDIFW doesn’t want to know and/or they have already made up their minds. Hell, what do I know. I’m just a freak who can’t see things the same as other people. None of this makes me “feel good.”

And, once again, we return to the same point I brought up yesterday. Why spend the resources to collect any of this data, when MDIFW makes decisions to manage deer based on what the Environmentalist tell them? With a prominent member of the Humane Society of the United States sitting on a committee that will help decide bear management practices, a person who recently, through referendum, tried to ban bear hunting and trapping, and during the same time span sued the State of Maine; and, a group of people wanting to make more money conducting moose watching tours tells the MDIFW how many moose permits to allocate in their WMD; and, surveys and public meetings from the public at large being used as the major factor in determining game species populations; and, Maine Guides dictating to MDIFW how to run their hunting season in order for them to maximize profits, and there is little reason to think anything other than fish and game management is going to hell in a hand-basket…quickly.

But, by all means, DON’T GO LOOK!

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