September 19, 2018

Deer Management is Such a Tough Job…So What!

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In a recent column I published on this website about Maine secretly hiring a new head deer biologist, I finished that piece by saying, “The echo chamber and all their minions will just continue to parrot that MDIFW does such a wonderful job. Perhaps they do but surely there is a lot of room for improvement. Is that taboo with this new scientism-laced wildlife management we are in the midst of?”

Perhaps it’s my imagination or maybe I just am determined to be tough on fish and game departments, but it appears to me that too often fish and game departments are not only given a free pass for poor results but some go out of their way to enable their failings and will make excuses for them.

Why are some so eager to pass off failures in game management as the result of a “tough job?”

Immediately after I published the above linked-to article, I read how biologists at the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) “have an extremely tough job regulating Maine’s Deer Population.” The posting was replete with all the usual suspects of excuses; winters, weather, vehicle collisions, starvation, predation, and poaching. If the owner of this writing was finding excuses for poor deer management, he should have included “Climate Change” as it provides the convenient escape for any failure.

In another article I read this morning, deer managers have a “thankless job.” The piece ends with the following statement: “I believe, for the most part, our biologists do a commendable job when it comes to managing wildlife resources. But it’s a difficult and sometimes thankless task, given financial and logistical constraints, the bureaucracy they must wade through, and pressure from supervisors, legislators, lobbyists and special interest groups. Even within the hunting community, there’s sometimes disagreement over how to best manage our deer herd. It’s a balancing act, and the more time and energy biologists must devote to managing people, the less they can direct toward our wildlife resources.”

Does this mean we should all shut up and let the deer managers do as they wish regardless of the outcome? I hope not. I understand the statement. I understand that managing deer (or any other game species) is an “extremely tough job,” and that this job, at times, can be thankless. But what job can’t? Is there something wrong with expecting a better return on your investment? Would you settle for unsatisfactory results from your doctor, lawyer, banker, or school? I think not.

One is entitled to their opinion as to whether any game management establishment does a “commendable job.” That opinion is of one’s value-weighted perspective. I’m sure that even though a person may believe a fish and game department does a “commendable job” there must be room for improvement, and shouldn’t we expect it and even demand it?

If you visited your doctor, who had been treating you for a chest cold for weeks on end, only to discover later you actually suffered from lung cancer, would you just say, “The doctor has a tough and thankless job, full of financial restrictions, political influences and a vocal public that expects too much. Give him a break. Just let him do his job.”

Your banker or stockbroker has a tough and thankless job. If you lost your money, would you expect and demand a better job? Do you think bankers, lawyers, stockbrokers, doctors, teachers, etc. don’t have pressure and regulation all around them making their jobs thankless and tough? They all have to work with the cards they are dealt, sometimes those cards being far less than ideal, and yet don’t we expect that doctors will keep us healthy, lawyers out of trouble, teachers to educate our children, etc.?

There’s nothing wrong with thanking and complimenting those who do jobs that directly and indirectly affect parts of our lives. We don’t have to exclaim their tough and thankless jobs and not still demand a better performance.

Greatness is not grounded on the principle that doing an adequate job is enough. Greatness in an individual or an establishment is the expectation that everything must be the best that it can be, exceeding all expectations, in everything that is done. Settling for mediocrity is accepting failure and what is the future in that?

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