May 25, 2018

Nearly Three Quarters Of Maine Moose Hunters Successful In 2017

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*Note* – In the Press Release below, the second paragraph states, “For success rates in all Wildlife Management Districts and in each season, please visit the 2017 Maine Moose Harvest Summary.” The problem with that is when visiting the website, at least at the time of this writing, accessing such a report appears to be impossible. the MDIFW website scrubbed publishing harvest data, we were told, and now they are telling us to visit the Harvest Summary, which can’t be found.

I copied “2017 Maine Moose Harvest Summary” and pasted it into the search box on the MDIFW website. The results gave what appears to be a link but the link gives only an error message. I also pasted the same search criteria into a Google search and received nothing.

Perhaps sometime in the future, that link will work. What is certain though is that the website evidently has no intention of making any information wanted easy to find. I curse some of the changes made to the site and I might suppose that was their purpose in doing so, i.e. accountability, or so it appears.

*Update* – Mar 7, 2018, 10:45 am. I placed the link above as I was able to find a link that worked. Still not sure the link on the MDIFW website is any good.

Press Release from the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife:

AUGUSTA, Maine — Despite warm spells during both the September and October moose seasons, 73% of all moose hunters harvested a moose last season.

With 2,080 moose permits issued, 1,518 hunters were successful in getting their moose. Hunter success rates varied throughout different regions of the state with over 80 percent of the hunters getting moose in Wildlife Management Districts 1-3 and 5 and 6 in Aroostook County. For success rates in all Wildlife Management Districts and in each season, please visit the 2017 Maine Moose Harvest Summary.

“Weather impacted many hunters, particularly the first week,” said IFW’s moose biologist Lee Kantar. “Moose tend to travel less and spend more time in cover when it’s hot. Hunter effort also declines.”

The 73% success rate for hunters is consistent with the 71% success rate for moose hunters over the past five years. Success rate for turkey hunters generally is over 30%, bear hunters in Maine are successful 25% of the time and deer hunters in Maine are successful 15-20% of the time.

Maine’s moose season is split into three segments with six-day seasons in September and October. Temperatures were above 80 degrees on the first few days of the season in September, and some warmer weather in the 70s prevailed during the early part of the October season.

“High success rates for moose hunters in northern Maine are consistent with what we are seeing with our moose survival study,” stated Kantar. “Adult survival rates are consistently high in our study areas, and calf survival rates are higher in our northern Maine study area compared to our western Maine study area.”

The radio collar study is just one component of the research that IFW conducts on moose. IFW also utilizes aerial flights to assess population abundance and the composition of the moose herd. During the moose hunting season, biologists also examine teeth to determine a moose’s age, measure antler spread, monitor the number of ticks a moose carries, and examine cow ovaries in late fall to determine reproductive rates.

Biologists are preparing to recommend moose permit numbers for the fall 2018 moose season. The number of available moose permits is based upon population numbers and the composition of the moose population in wildlife management districts, as well as the population goals and objectives for that district.

*Editor’s Comment* – It puzzles me, but then again a lot of things puzzle me, that in this press release, it says that “Moose tend to travel less and spend more time in cover when it’s hot. Hunter effort also declines.” And then goes on to tell us that temperatures during parts of the moose hunting season were in the 80s and/or in the 70s.

In addition, we are also told that the moose hunter’s success rate was 73% compared to the previous 5-year average of 71%. That amounts to about 20 moose, which doesn’t seem at all significant in the grand scheme of things. So what’s the point of the statement about temperatures? It appears contradictory that warm temperatures would drive success rates down but it looks like the success rate was ever so slightly higher than the five-year average. Is this just smoke and mirrors?

Not knowing (and I searched) what the aggregate success rate for moose hunting since 1985 is, we really can’t get a true idea of whether 73% is average, higher or lower. Are we then to assume that the purpose of the statement made about high temperatures and hunter effort declining is the perpetuation of the myth that global warming is the cause for all things the might negatively affect one’s job? What are we to think?

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