August 14, 2018

Maine’s Mangled Moose Management

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Most every morning I get up and somewhere along the line I end up asking myself why I see things differently than others. I don’t know half the time if it’s a curse or a blessing.

Once I had confidence that when Maine finished their moose study program, they would be able to come up with sensible, scientific conclusions that would help in making decisions about how to responsibly and scientifically take care of the state’s moose herd. The confidence has ebbed to something just short of doubtfulness, but there is still a lot of time left to get things right. Let’s hope.

Yesterday, the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MIDFW), in their Twitter Updates, provided a link to “Searching for Maine’s Moose Calves.” In that report, the author wrote: “In late April, wildlife biologists begin to closely examine the daily locations of each adult cow to determine whether or not they have localized into one small area.  A cow that localizes into a small area at this point of the spring usually means that she has given birth to a calf or calves.  Once this determination has been made, biologists use tracking (or telemetry) equipment to visit this site when she is present to obtain a visual on her, and hopefully a calf or two at her side.”

It is also written that “it is important to understand the productivity of the population to guide management decisions.”

What is not written is an explanation as to how long it takes from when biologists think they have discovered that moose have “localized into one small area,” and when calving occurs. We also are not told how long it takes after the so-called localization of the moose before biologists get to an area to “obtain a visual” on the cow moose, in which they “hopefully” will find a calf or two. (Note – Vaginal implants are now available that will signal researchers the exact moment a birth has occurred.)

It appears that Maine’s focus, also heavily trumped up by the Media and their directive to promote “climate change,” i.e. global warming, is on death of moose by ticks – and of course the growth of ticks, they repeat, is caused by global warming. This focus deflects attention away from other causes of death and/or the cause of a dwindling moose population.

We know that predators attack and kill newly born moose calves, from within minutes to hours of birth. Predators such as bear, coyote/wolf, bobcat and lynx, learn where moose “localize.” They have also learned where deer go to fawn. These same predators can smell the birth of moose and deer and beeline for a fresh, hot meal.

Which brings me to my question of concern. Biologists may or may not assume an adult cow moose is pregnant. The cow moose that they have collared should give them that information. Moose without collars, it’s a guess. Can a biologist, under these techniques actually obtain accurate data to know the moose calf survival rate within the first week, or before biologists have made their way into the woods in hopes to find the collared moose with a calf or two?

Recently we learned that in studies of coyote behavior and predation on deer, that data being collected was not necessarily giving accurate conclusions because there was no way to determine how many fawns were preyed upon and killed immediately after birth, up until the time biologists could fit the small deer with collars. Once a collar is attached, tracking the animal is certainly easier. Without a collar, not so much. Are we possibly seeing the same thing with Maine and New Hampshire’s moose study? And their deer study? If so, will this give them inaccurate and/or misleading information causing bad decisions to be made?

According to information provided by George Smith in the Bangor Daily News, “In the winters of 2014 and 2015, 73% and 60% of Maine’s collared moose calves, respectively, died from ticks.” Do we know how many of the newly born moose calves died from other causes between birth and getting collared?

It’s important when conducting studies to examine completely, and with open scientific minds, to understand all that is going on. Anything short of that is a waste of time and resources. Yes, it’s important to try to understand winter ticks and their effects on moose, but if that is what the entire focus is going to be on, then all that might be accomplished is to better understand the tick. However, other information in Smith’s report doesn’t offer much hope for a good result.

There was one encouraging thing I read in this report, that the AP quoted one New Hampshire biologist who said, “As our moose numbers decline, the ticks will decline.” I’ve harped on that subject for quite a long time now. Maybe some are beginning to listen?

But, don’t get too excited. Biologists, along with the help of the Media, continue to brow-beat people over the effects of a fake “global warming.” It also shows that, like parrots, it is ignorantly repeated that a warming climate exacerbates the winter tick population. Instead of doing some research to learn about the winter tick and how weather and climate effect it, it’s much easier to just “rinse and repeat” the same mouthful of garbage forced into it.

In the meantime, Maine has decided that it’s more important to keep growing more and more moose…well, at least until someone figures it out: “If we just took the (dead moose) results of last year, we would have concerns. And we do have concerns, but it’s going to take some time.” 

Even though it has finally been suggested that winter ticks will not go away, substantially, until the moose population is reduced enough to effect the necessary change. The way I see it, Maine can dither, pretending they can grow enough moose to make money from selling hunting permits and keep the moose gawkers happy, or they can decide to manage a healthy moose herd. One way or another, the moose herd will be reduced. Either disease and ticks will kill them or MDIFW could call for a drastic reduction in the moose herd, not by reducing moose hunting permits, but by increasing them – perhaps doubling and tripling – maybe set a goal to reduce the herd to one-half, then open a season for all Maine residents until the quota is obtained. Of course it would be helpful if Maine had a firm grip on what the population is now, along with the perpetuating tick epidemic, then they could more easily derive a target population, relatively tick free, while at the same time feeding the large predators, which in turns grows their numbers too high.

And, environmentalist keep repeating the lie that the North American Model of Wildlife Management doesn’t work anymore. The further away from the Model we get, the more serious problems arise.

BUT DON’T GO LOOK!

KnowMoose

 

Share