November 14, 2018

Maine Deer Hunting Season: Not Much Has Changed

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Saturday afternoon I returned from my annual deer hunting trip to a remote hunting camp in Western Maine. The verdict, from my perspective, is that very little has changed to improve the deer hunting there. Maybe even global warming – with two days of snow (snicker, snicker) – hasn’t made many improvements.

If you believe the hype the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) is putting out about how Maine has so many deer now you’ll be tripping over them, then I have a bridge in New York City I would like to sell you at a fair price. How does one keep a straight face to be able to, in one breath, speak of how the new deer management scheme will consist of reducing the deer population in Maine to around 230,000 deer (down from around 350,000) and then send out press releases stating more deer than you can shake a stick at?

And speaking of press releases…One full week into the regular deer firearms season and the MDIFW armed with their hi-tech digital deer tagging system, and all we hear from the department is about a fish netting project. IMPRESSIVE!!!!

But back to my week at deer camp.

The weather was horrible for the week but I hunted faithfully every day. I thought that perhaps things had improved when on Monday, two minutes past legal hunting, two does emerge from the deep woods onto the powerline where I had been sitting in my blind for two hours.

On Wednesday, I was still hunting a section of heavy beech, where the leaves still have a death grip on the trees, when I spotted a nice doe, about thirty yards away staring me down. We exchanged stares and I tried my best to grow a set of antlers on her head. For the next hour, she stayed just ahead of me trying to figure out what I was doing.

And that was it!

There were six hunters covering the woods every day from sun up until sun down and those three deer were the only deer sighted. The general consensus was that there seemed to be more indications of more deer but sighting them was impossible.

Maybe there are spots in the state where deer numbers are up but not everywhere. It was my 32nd year at Hunting Camp and there have been many, many, changes to the habitat in that time. In that time, there has been nothing that an honest assessment would uncover that might lead one to think the climate is changing. Some think the climate is warming causing all sorts of weird things in the woods and yet at the same time of year every year, we seldom have snow to hunt on. However, in the past 5 years, we have had snow to hunt on the first week of deer season twice. Global warming? No more than it is global cooling.

When MDIFW decided to lower the deer population management goals by more than 100,000, it wasn’t due to anything scientific. It is political and a form of outcome-based Scientism. In other words, the department is mostly incapable of growing the population of anything unless it happens by chance. Similar to lowering the standards of education in order to improve graduation rates, to lower the deer population goal this drastically is a means of dishonest deception.

Why do we tolerate this?

I still have three weeks to hunt deer. I am in hopes that during part of that time I will move to areas where there seems to be more success at tagging deer and hopefully my odds improve.

I sure would like some venison to munch on this winter

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