July 21, 2019

Attempting to Resolve Maine’s Moose Management Dilemma With Half a Solution

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Maine is working on developing big game management plans for deer, bear, moose and turkeys that will span the next 15 years. They have yet to release a “draft” management plan and so all we are able to get our hands on are bits and pieces. Please bear that in mind in considering the information to be presented in this article.

There’s one thing about drafting plans and management goals that I don’t think very many people understand – at least that is sure how it appears to me. Goals and projected achievements should be reasonable and attainable. Anything short of that, or greatly exceeding that, is dishonest, if not a complete waste of time.

From information I was reading the other day on George Smith’s latest article that contains some proposals being considered for these management plans, the first thing the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) will need to do is increase their working staff by about 400% – it may take more than that. Other than that, the proposals I am reading are mostly pie in the sky – “hope and change.” They appear much too grand. However…..

I want to take a moment and examine some of the proposals for moose management that Smith lists in his column. After listing out how the MDIFW is going to increase this perception from the public and decrease that perception from the public, while at the same time hoping planning to reduce the moose population, while at the same time make everyone feel good that the chances of hunting a moose have been cut in half in recent years, we see the following listed at the end of the long and quite ambitious proposals to manage moose:

“Develop an improved understanding of the role of winter ticks and moose density in annual adult cow and calf survival rates.

“Implement management actions to stabilize or decrease winter tick effects on moose mortality.”

Huh?

Maine and much of Northern New England are in the midst of a moose study. They are collaring moose and collecting data. It would seem the most data gets collected when a moose succumbs to winter ticks. From this proposal then, we are to assume that MDIFW is working on, or hopes to work on, or if “luck” goes their way they might be able to work on, “improved understanding” of the role winter ticks and moose density play in survival rates. And it appears this is what most of us are looking for. But is that enough? Will the ongoing study parameters give us what we really need to understand what is going on? What we read in these two proposals is typical double speak – lots of undefined gray areas. “Improved Understanding?” Maybe somebody could explain what that means. No, I’m not just being the usual pain in the ass. What does it mean? If collaring some moose shows more moose died than was first thought, is that “improved understanding?” What will that accomplish in providing any information that would assist in “implement management actions” to offset the negative effects of the winter tick?

After MDIFW figures out how to “improve” their understanding, they hope plan to come up with a management objective that will “stabilize or decrease winter tick effects on moose mortality.” One can only hope. How can they actually do that if they don’t have but half of the information needed? I believe this to be a valid and extremely important question.

I don’t know how Smith came up with the order in which he listed highlights of actions being proposed for moose management, but this idea of “improved understanding” and “actions to stabilize or decrease” winter tick effects on moose are the last two items listed. It seems to me that most of the items above in this list can be disregarded until such time as MDIFW figures out how many moose there are, and how many moose can healthily inhabit the Maine woods. Right now they don’t know and I have serious doubts they ever will. Here’s an example of what we are all subjected to on a regular basis and I’m sure that, from what I have seen, MDIFW is just as guilty as the next guy.

The Boston Globe ran a story today about how moose in Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont are being “devastated” by winter ticks. For those seeking some truth, it seems plausible that moose are dying because of the winter tick. We have no idea if this is a lot more than “normal” or “average” or perhaps it’s far smaller than in previous years. If you think you have a firm grip on the answer, please provide readers with all the studies and reports on how winter ticks effect moose populations. I thought so. Hopefully, the moose studies underway can answer some of the questions but it can’t answer all of them because there are no studies from the past to compare with. We might get a grip on how many moose are being killed under present conditions, or at least for the duration of the study, but what is there to compare these results with to know if the numbers are good, bad or the same? We are then left to guess…or should be, but, it will not be that way. If things go as they usually do when it comes to such studies, conclusions will be irresponsibly drawn and plastered in the “Fake News” Press about the same crap sandwich we have been fed for quite some time now. GLOBAL WARMING. It’s the convenient answer to everything.

Here’s further explanation. In reading the Boston Globe article, which is no different than any other news or magazine article, in which they must, evidently, get their news from members of the fish and game departments or those conducting the studies, anyone can easily determine that winter ticks are “devastating” moose and the reason for the ticks is caused by a warming climate.

Rinse and repeat!

Winter ticks are “devastating” moose and the reason for the tick increase is caused by a warming climate.

Rinse and repeat!

The echo chamber is in full saturation mode – probably by design and unbeknownst to those entrusted to apply the real scientific method. We live in a post-normal scientific world, ruled by Scientism, and controlled by Environmentalism. What else can be expected?

Everybody loves Bullwinkle….don’t they? Hey, Rocky! Watch me pull a rabbit out of my hat!” But nobody cares much for a blood sucking tick. Eewwww! People really wouldn’t even want to discuss winter ticks if they could see a few tens of thousands of them, on one moose, blood-engorged and clinging onto a moose, draining it of all it’s life.

So what is the emotional thing to do? That’s right. Let’s spend hundreds of thousands of dollars and study….wait for it….the moose. Not that studies and learning about moose, etc., aren’t good ideas. In this case, the whole world seems to have it well in hand that winter ticks are “devastating” moose and the cause is ticks embellished by a warming climate. How does the Boston Globe, and all other news outlets, along with countless fish and game biologists and administrators, know that “Global Warming” is the cause of an increased load of winter ticks? Answer? They don’t. But the echo chamber, the rinse and repeat, has ignorantly and irresponsibly told the world this is so. And so, it is conveniently repeated – post-normal Scientism.

If this is so, and you have a firm grasp on the concept, please provide readers with a viable list of studies done on the winter tick (Dermacentor albipictus). No, no, no! I don’t want all those items of propaganda in which one clown copy and pasted from another clown and is now presented by any entity having to deal with winter ticks on their website and printed in literature. I mean, honest to goodness, scientifically processed, winter tick studies which include, not only the life cycle but what increases and decreases a tick’s chances of finding a host of blood for the winter. Is it the timing of the onset of winter and cold? Is it weather…not climate? Is it the vegetation available in specific regions? Does wind, rain, frost, snow, etc. have anything to do with it and if so, what? What are the low and high temperatures in which ticks can and cannot survive, and what is the duration of being exposed to those temperatures that might cause death? I also want information about where these ticks are found, geographically, and how the same ticks in different global regions and climate, if there are any beside Maine, survive and their related habits and functions to reproduce and perpetuate. How do these ticks effect other animals? If all of this is being assumed, and it is, how, then, can an honest scientists draw valid conclusions about how winter ticks effect the survival of the moose?

If you want some help finding those, let me know. I have about the only 2 or 3 studies that exist. I must also say, of the studies on this winter tick that do exist, nothing in the system of study and conclusions would support the theory (Fake News) that global warming is causing an increase in tick populations. Perhaps that disappointment is the reason the tick is not looked at.

But, I know you won’t go look.

So, if we are seriously interested in the “improved understanding” of how winter ticks effect moose and moose density, which is the only way any reasonable “management actions to stabilize or decrease winter ticks” can be accomplished, we must study the tick!

But will the tick be studied? I can almost guarantee that it will not be. Why? Because of fear that a study of the tick might prove that man’s created idea of global warming has nothing to do with the ticks. Then where would the money and job security go? We all know, or should by now, that the quickest way to lose grant money for studies and research, is to find cures and solutions. God forbid that should happen.

I can already conclude that the results of the moose study will, more than likely, be that winter ticks are killing moose at a rate greater than first anticipated, that it is caused by a warming climate, that moose hunting permits will be drastically cut, or eliminated, because social demands in Maine call for over 100,000 moose for lazy-ass moose gawkers.

After all, they can’t see those nasty ticks from their climate controlled automobiles.

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