October 28, 2020

Maine Has Black Bears…And a Few Fools

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When I was a very young boy, I recall one time going to the grocery store with my mother. While there, I witnessed another young boy, perhaps a year or two younger than me (4 or 6), throw himself to the floor of the store, screaming, crying and eventually banging his head against the floor, in a fit of uncontrolled rage, simply because he wanted something on the shelf his mother would not let him have.

Quietly, the mom pushed her cart to the front of the store, spoke briefly with the cashier, left her partially-filled cart for when she intended to return, and dragged the boy outside and then…I don’t know what happened. I’m guessing what happened might have been pretty close to what my mother said to me when I asked her what the mom was going to do. Her response went something like: If you ever do that, you may not ever live long enough to see your next birthday.

Things have changed, and depending on one’s perspective, not for the better.

Let’s shift up gears for a moment and examine the acts of adults – perhaps those that didn’t fully grow up from the days of temper tantrums. These days some adults mostly resemble the actions of the 4-year-old screaming, banging his head, and demanding his own way.

Most adults love to extol the wonders of what they call democracy…but only when it is beneficial to prop up an ideology and the narrative that goes along with it. Most really cannot comprehend what a democracy is but love it when it works for them. What a selfish society we have crafted.

The American Governments, federal and state, misrepresent to the citizen slaves that they have certain “rights” (actually privileges of which can be taken away as easily as given out), among them the “right to petition the state.”

This can work well in a civilized society that isn’t manipulated into little locust totalitarians, the likes of which are as the 4-year-old banging his head and demanding his way. Regardless, the spoiled totalitarian, brought up under the banner of repetitive petitioning, goes about his or her demonstrations with the belief that regardless of what the majority have spoken in their “democratic” society, they will get what they want one way or another.

So what’s wrong with that you might ask? Well, nothing, actually. It is the system that has been created and we are subjected to all of its bad points and very few good ones. For me, it’s all about the approach and methodology used in demanding one’s way.

Maine has weathered two anti-hunting bear referendums within the past 16 years. Both times, the voters of Maine have said they don’t want little spoiled totalitarians telling those that are paid to manage the state’s wildlife, how to do it. But that doesn’t stop the little spoiled totalitarians.

Many of those spoiled totalitarians simply do not approve of hunting, fishing, trapping…basically any kind of what they might call consumptive use of wildlife and natural resources. That’s fine. It’s their uncontrolled desire to force all others to accept and abide by their political ideals, etc. Regardless as to whether years of wildlife science and management has proven that consumptive use of natural resources, when done responsibly, is a major benefit to the people and to the wildlife, spoiled totalitarian anti hunters, incapable of mounting an actual provable scientific basis for demanding an end to hunting, fishing, and trapping, have no other alternative than to resort of lying and playing on the emotions of ignorant people.

In the second of the two bear hunting referendums that Maine residents and the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) endured, the MDIFW did a very respectable job of hitting the pavement to educate voters that due to the very large bear population in the state, the department needs every tool and resource it can to try to keep the population at a safe and healthy level. One of those tools that still remains a necessity in that effort, is placing baits for hunters to hunt over. It’s not how I would personally choose to bear hunt, but I understand the need to reduce the number of bears and I would never attempt to prevent anyone from participating in a legal hunting activity simply to force them to accept my ideology. That is selfish, childish, and actions of a fool.

The overwhelming majority of bears taken during the hunting and trapping seasons are done so with the use of bait. Baiting bears may not be the weapon of choice in controlling bear numbers, but until such time as the MDIFW is able to find another way of controlling bears, the managers in Augusta have continued to promote the need for this harvest tool.

Without baiting bears, harvest numbers, more than likely, would be reduced by at least half, adding even more and more bears to forests and fields that would indeed increase the already troublesome bear and human encounters that pose a threat to human safety.

Recently I read yet another Letter to the Editor in a Maine newspaper from one of those loud-mouthed, spoiled totalitarians who hates anything he doesn’t agree with…including hunting, fishing, and trapping.

If this man had his way, all hunting, fishing, and trapping would end and he would import wolves, mountain lions, and probably saber-toothed tigers.

He is one of those totalitarians who can’t seem to find real science to support his agenda and so he relies on the echo-chambers of the scientismist’s to promote false, outcome-based, bought and paid for, unprovable theories to promote his agenda to put an end to bear hunting and other pet projects.

His latest “petition” to the State of Maine, to change the rules of bear hunting, would, over a 10-year period of time, outlaw what he has now chosen to call bear “feeding” instead of calling it what it really is…which is bear baiting as part of the necessary process to reduce bear populations.

It appears the reason for petitioner’s upside down and backwards approach to lying to the public about bears and wildlife science, surrounds around the false, outcome-based, over-simplified, study, done in extremely general terms with no specificity in the study that is used as a broad, sweeping, brush stroke across all species, that when there is ample “food” available for wildlife, it causes those species to reproduce at higher than “normal” rates. Even to the effect that such dynamics might exist, there is no science that indicates, because it is near impossible to do, what, if any, the rate of increase in reproduction would be.

Evidently, the author of the petition now believes that if he calls bear baiting, bear feeding, it somehow has a different affect on the bears and their population, but more importantly it probably will have a false affect on public opinion and I’m sure that is what he is hoping to achieve.

In his Letter to the Editor, the author claims that bears in Maine now exceed the “natural carrying capacity” by 10,000 bears, but offers no information as to what this claim is based on. Carrying capacity, a complex algorithm to determine how many of any species of wildlife is desired by wildlife managers to live within any given habitat and/or ecosystem, cannot be implemented in shear numbers. It’s far to sophisticated which can become extremely troublesome.

No matter the complexity of carrying capacities, the petitioner blames the fact that his claim of 10,000 too many bears is the fault of MDIFW, bear hunters, and guides who use “food” for attracting bears for hunting.

The fact that actual bear baiting involves a very small comparative geographic region, including lots of bear habitat, that any “feeding” of bears for hunting purposes is so negligible it is not thought to have any real effect on the state’s bear population. To even suggest placing baits within strategic hunting locations would “feed” enough of the estimated 50,000 bears to effect bear reproduction is actually quite a silly supposition and certainly any such suggestion is not, and cannot be supported by actual science.

This totalitarian, in his insistent ignorance, states matter of factly: “Feeding bears produces more bears. This is the science.” He then demands an end to the state’s “bear feeding program.”

Only a fool, and there are too many of them, would claim that feeding bears produces more bears and that it is proven science. It is not. It is not as simple as that. One of the most difficult aspects of managing wildlife is the fact that everything about what we like to call an ecosystem is constantly changing with almost none of the changing things something that we, as managers, can control. All we really have at our disposal are well-planned, science-based hunting seasons to control populations. Even those proved problematic at times.

At best, our wildlife managers try to figure out how many of any game species there are and then to go about doing what is needed to keep those populations under control for the health of the species and for public safety. I don’t very often let the MDIFW off without having my say, but right now, I agree with them that they NEED to be able to use baiting bears to control the population. I also think that if the MDIFW believed baiting bears was causing the population to grow, they would end the practice. They have repeatedly stated the need to kill more bears. I think they have other methods available to them but refuse to use them due to social demands…which is wrong on many counts. One might think a large group of biologists and wildlife managers have more collective knowledge about how bears reproduce than one disgruntled man.

If the bear population in Maine was so low, the managers would put an end to hunting and trapping them. They do this with any game species. I would support that move providing the MDIFW has the data to show the need. Right now, the MDIFW has the data to show more bears need to be harvested each season and “feeding” bears (use of bait) is not what is causing the bears to grow in numbers.

Give it rest already and let’s encourage the MDIFW to provide more bear hunting opportunities…the ONLY way to reduce those “10,000” bears.

Below is a copy of the suggested rule changes for bear baiting and bear hunting. I would encourage as many as possible to contact the MDIFW, as there is a comment period, and share your thoughts and ideas about this petition. Thanks!

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