January 20, 2022

CSI: Wildlife

Plans for a new television show are underway, where specially trained scientists and game detectives seal off crime scenes with bright yellow tape, take photographs, collect as much evidence as they can, including samples for DNA testing and with all this information, officials can virtually re-enact the events that lead up to the shooting death of an eight point buck.

Sound like a good show? Well, the television show part of the story is made up but the rest of it is true. This is what is being played out more and more in the woods across America. Officials working to crack down on poachers.

In the past, game officials have been frustrated with attempts to prove guilt in poaching cases because there was never enough evidence to fully prosecute suspected criminals. Things they are a changing.

Officials now are using DNA testing to help prosecute poachers. In one Pennsylvania case, wardens busted three men for poaching. They actually caught them with one deer and no legal hunting licenses.

In the area where the poachers were carrying out their illegal deeds, several gut piles were found and dogs lead wardens to a house that had a freezer full of venison. DNA tests are being conducted to determine if the gut piles match the venison.

I can now see the head detective, wearing dark sunglasses, staring off into the woods, nose raised slightly into the air, hands on hips and queries, “Tell me about this venison here in your freezer.”

“Well, that’s fine. With our people and DNA tests, it looks like you’ll be doing some hard time.” (at this point we get a “dum dum” sound as cameras fade to a commercial. Tonights episode is brought to you by “Deer Cocaine” the ultimate in deer baiting equipment). Sorry! Where was I?

I guess it was only a matter of time before some real serious forensics would be used to help stop game law breakers. I’m sure that with the costs of these forensics, fines levied will have to go up to offset the cost of science.

Tom Remington

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Gray Wolves to be Hunted Again

The Secretary of the Interior is expected to sign an agreement next week that would place control over management of the gray wolf into the hands of the states and out of the control of the Federal Government. When this happens states like Idaho, Montana and Wyoming intend to allow the animal to be hunted.
Gray Wolf
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

This of course has raised objections from mostly animal rights groups and in particular those that are focused on the gray wolves. Carter Niemeyer a self proclaimed educator, peacemaker, moderator and referee for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Boise, Idaho stands up for the wolf.

In contrast, Ron Gillett of the Idaho Anti-Wolf Coalition, wants to see all the wolves gone completely. He says this about the gray wolf.

“…immediately remove them by whatever means are necessary.”

“They kill everything, all of the game first, then the predators, then each other,” he said, adding that they are outsiders.

“These are Canadian wolves,” Gillett said. “The only place they belong in Idaho is in a zoo, neutered.”

I’m not a rocket scientist but I think I know where Mr. Gillett stands on the gray wolf issues.

On the other hand, Niemeyer says that the gray wolf roamed the landscape in these areas long before man arrived and hunted them to near extinction. He also downplays the fact that the gray wolf preys on cattle owned by ranchers in the region. He says this about those who would disagree with him.

“But I know they don’t want to let facts get in their way,” he said of anti-wolf activists.

This is no new story. There has been a war brewing over the gray wolf for many years. Ranchers want them gone for the simple reason that wolves kill their cattle. Mr. Niemeyer states facts (his own) about the insignificant impact wolves have on cattle. As a rancher, losing one cattle is a substantial lost – at least from my perspective.

The agreement that has been reached with the Department of the Interior with the states, namely Idaho, Montana and Wyoming, is to allow ranchers the chance to kill wolves that are regularly preying on their cattle – or harassing them as was reported by MSNBC. It would also allow game officials to eliminate wolf numbers that are threatening a healthy population of deer and elk.

I don’t have a copy of the agreement to know exactly what it says but who and what determines when a wolf or pack of wolves regularly preys on cattle.

Idaho and Montana have approved plans in controlling the wolf but Wyoming is suing the U.S. Fish and Wildlife agency over the rejection of its plan, which would allow unregulated hunting of wolves outside of national parks and designated wilderness areas.

And so the posturing goes with the one side wanting to kill all wolves and the other side wanting wolves to have free rein. Stuck in the middle of this debate are the Wildlife Departments of each state feeling like an incompetent child. Does anyone believe that the states powers in this matter want to control and not eliminate the gray wolf?

When looking at other species of animals that were once placed on the endangered list, like the Canada lynx, and removed, behind it you will find a very competent game department that probably doesn’t get enough credit for making the change possible.

With the extremes of both sides warring, generally, consensus is reached and a sensible solution is put into place. Man must live with animals and animals must live with man – that, is a fact that isn’t going to change.

Tom Remington

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Public Hearing Set For Comments on Changes to Maine Guide Standards

We brought you this notice a while back about changes proposed for licensing of Registered Maine Guides. As a requirement by law to provide safety standards for the protection of clients of Maine Guides, what is being proposed is for all Registered Maine Guides to undergo a criminal background check.

With that said, a public meeting has been scheduled. Here are the details.

STATUTORY AUTHORITY: 12 MRSA Section 12851

PUBLIC HEARING: January 24, 2006 – Bangor Auditorium/Civic Center, 100 Dutton Street, Bangor

DEADLINE FOR COMMENTS: February 3, 2006

AGENCY CONTACT PERSON: Andrea Erskine
AGENCY NAME: Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife
ADDRESS: 284 State St., 41 SHS, Augusta, ME 04333-0041
TELEPHONE: 287-5201

For more information, follow this link to the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Game.

Tom Remington

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High-Teching It

The world of technology is growing so fast that sometimes it is nearly impossible to keep up – or maybe you’re a bit like me and don’t want to keep up.

One of the biggest items found underneath Christmas trees all across America this year is the IPod. Many feel the IPod is going to change communicating as we know it today. I’m not so sure it is that impressive a little gadget but people sure do like them.

It seems that cutting edge businesses are getting on the band wagon too and they are beginning pod casting. Pod casting is providing audio or video files through RSS for people to download and listen to or view.

We have even gotten into the act here at Maine Hunting Today and the Black Bear Blog. We have audio blogs available to those who would prefer to listen to the news or hear me speaking my mind on some issues involving the outdoors. We also have the Maine Hunting Today Radio.

We are moving toward making the files available for pod casting and if you got one of those dandy little gadgets for Christmas, you will be able to log on to our site and listen to your news and information.

I think there is another idea that might be useful. How about pulling out your Ipod and listening to or viewing a pod cast while fishing about how to properly present a mosquito nymph? Sound far fetched?

Well, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is encouraging ice fishermen to take their Ipods with them fishing. They are making pod casts available with ice fishing tips for the angler. You can read more about that here.

So, if you were one of the lucky ones and Santa brought you an Ipod, there are things you’ll be able to listen to or watch that I bet you had no idea you’d be able to.

Oh, just one thing! Be careful not to drop your Ipod down the ice hole.

Tom Remington

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The Economic Effects of Chronic Wasting Disease

There is no way for me in a relatively short amount of time, to be able to touch every aspect that Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) could have on our economy. I would though like to share with you a few statistics and perhaps do a bit of futuristic speculation.

First of all, let me explain that any of the figures I am going to share with you come from a report titled, “Economic Importance of Hunting in American“, done by the International Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. This report compiled data collected in 2001.

More than 13 million people ages 16 and over hunted in 2001 and hunting generated more than $67 billion to our economy. Over 575,000 jobs are directly the result of hunting. How does that compare to other businesses? That’s more jobs than the combined number of employees of all the top major airline companies in America.

On average, hunters spend $1,896 each per year on hunting. In retail sales alone, Texas leads all states with $1,761,285,042. The top ten states in retail sales on hunting gear are, Texas, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, New York, Alabama, Ohio, Michigan, Minnesota, Tennessee and Louisiana, totaling sales of over $8.5 billion.

Just hunting deer, there were over $10.2 billion hunters hunting a total of more than 133 million days, spending over $10.6 billion on travel and gear. For 2001, the total economic impact from deer hunting alone was $27,885,673,982.

It would be safe to say that hunting, and deer hunting in particular, has a definite impact on the economy of America. So, let’s see or speculate for a moment because there are no hard facts available, on what kind of an impact CWD could have on our economy.

We know there are several factors that I can’t even imagine at this point in time, that would directly effect hunting when it comes to CWD. For example, how many extra dollars are spent each year to test and research CWD? I don’t know. You think of your own ideas.

I have been able to read some articles that contain speculation from some state’s Wildlife Departments, about the impact the disease might be having on licenses being bought by hunters.

These officials speculate that some hunters have stopped hunting deer completely out of fear of the disease and other reasons related to CWD. In some states, the number of licenses being sold each year is on the decline or holding steady. Few states are seeing increases.

What they are not able to determine is how many people have stopped hunting because of CWD – for whatever their reasons? Some officials have estimated that as much as a 15% reduction in hunters because of CWD. As I said, there is no hard evidence to support this 15%.

There is no known cure for CWD. Scientist believe that CWD is caused as the result of prions getting into the deer. The affects are very similar to mad cow disease. They also believe that humans cannot contract the disease from deer by being near or from eating the meat – there are no known cases of such.

What spreads the disease is believed to be from deer eating food that is on or near deer feces. Usually this is a result of too large a congregation of deer. Deer and elk farms need to be monitored closely for the disease and CWD has been found in moose as well.

Let’s speculate a moment. If nothing changes from present, i.e. no cures for CWD and it continues to spread at a similar rate, how is this going to effect our economy? How will it effect the deer herd?

Let’s suppose that we had determined that 10% of hunters across the board in the United States got scared of CWD and stopped hunting deer (we are not factoring in elk and moose hunting. Also, I am not ignorant enough to say that CWD is present in every state in the United States that has deer hunting. But for the purpose of discussion, this would mean that, according to the 2001 numbers, 1,027,200 hunters would no longer hunt, therefore they would not buy a hunting license.

If also for the sake of discussion, carrying this same 10% reduction across the board into all aspects of the economic impact this would mean several things. One of the more important things would be a loss of 57,500 jobs and total revenue reduction of $2.8 billion.

If for instance, too many hunters decided to quit hunting, how would that effect things? We know that most state’s major deer management plans have hunters as their number one management tool. How are we going to control deer growth? Things might begin to exponentially spiral out of control. If that happened, where’s the money going to come from to deal with communities overrun with diseased deer? Who will fund the extra needed research?

As you can see, CWD has a potential of creating serious havoc in many ways. I am not trying to say that this is going to happen nor am I attempting to instill panic and fear in people. I am only looking at possibilities when it comes to dealing with CWD and bringing to light the fact that hunting and the impact it has on this country is very substantial.

Tom Remington

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MTV Will "Take a Shot" at Guns and Their Effect on Society

Tonight at 10:00 p.m. on MTV (not my favorite show and I am far from promoting anything they do on TV)a show called “True Life: I’m a Gun Owner” will air as part of their “True Life” so-called reality television.

MTV has not made public the script from the show (they said it wasn’t yet available)but many gun rights groups are beginning to speculate on the bias the liberal program will bring to this topic.

CNS News has the story of four people scheduled to appear on the program – a gangster, a convicted felon, a hunter and a victim, now an advocate of armed self defense.

As has been pointed out in the story, this is not a balanced representation of guns in our society when it is obvious half of the scheduled guests are criminals. But we can only guess what MTV will present and I for one, will not be watching it nor will I ever watch the show. If this is something you want to watch, go nuts. Perhaps you can enlighten us all.

I will wait until the dust settles and see what transpires from news stories in the morning.

Tom Remington

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I Was Sitting in my Truck One Day, When a Bobcat Jumped in the WIndow….

Sounds like the opening lines to a good piece of fiction….. but, it’s true. Bill Cochran of the Roanoke Times has the story and I’m not going to try to take any of the story credit away from Bill. It’s his “top weird story of the year” and he deserves the credit for the piece.

Seems that Bill had gotten an e-mail from a friend and he had a story that had come from the letter writer’s nephew. You know how stories go – especially on the Internet. Why, just the other day, I was chastised by a friend for letting him know that an e-mail story he sent me was not a true story. He e-mailed me back to tell me I shouldn’t let facts stand in the way of a good story.

So Bill, before having much of a chance to do any research into the incident, received the verification he needed to authenticate this doozy.

Go read his article. In short three men are sitting in a pick-up truck taking a break from bear hunting, when a bobcat shows up and begins hissing at them. What happened from there is just unbelievable as Bill will tell you.

Tom Remington

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Entities Work Together For the Good of Many

Dare County in North Carolina is the site of approximately 50 acres of land that is farmed with crops in the summer and in the winter, it collects water which floods local roads. The county has, in the past, teamed up with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife, farmers who grow the crops and the land owner to share the cost of pumping the water from the parcel of land.

A new proposal would build a dike around the piece to contain the water in winter. No crops are grown there in winter, so having the water held within the parcel would not be a problem.

The advantage of retaining the water instead of pumping it into the sound somewhere, is it can be used as a wildlife refuge during the winter months. The county is also proposing that this opportunity could be used to provide Dare County youth, age 15 and under and opportunity to hunt game birds.

Another proposal is to construct bird watching stands for bird watchers to view wildlife.

It appears as though the cost savings would substantial and all sides seem to be in agreement to the plan.

Read more about the project here.

Tom Remington

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Nature Conservancy Completes Land Purchase

The Nature Conservancy completed an agreement to purchase nearly 10,000 acres from H.C Haynes Inc. The parcel is located in northern Hancock County.

There are two rivers that flow through the parcel – the west branch of the Narragaugus and the Spring rivers. With the reserve next door of the Donnell Pond parcel, this provides nearly 24,000 contiguous acres of preserve land in Hancock County.

This purchase, of 2.2 million dollars, will continue to guarantee recreation on the land. There are presently sport camps located on the land and the Conservancy says it will renew the leases so the camps can continue to operate.

Some changes will involve the relocation of some ATV trails away from sensitive wet areas and along the river banks. The two rivers are considered prime habitat for the recovery of Atlantic Salmon in Maine.

The Bangor Daily News has a story with more information about the agreement and future plans as well as how the funding for the purchase came together.

Tom Remington

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Maine Takes a Look at the Upcoming Ice Fishing Season

Just out today, is the 2006 Ice Fishing Preview from Mark Latti of the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. With the usual season set to begin on January 1, 2006, anglers are again reminded to check the thickness of the ice before getting too serious about getting all your gear out on the ice ready to fish. Ice thickness is varying considerably from one end of the state to the other.

Ice fishing prospects are said to be excellent, particularly early in the season. Fall brood stocking was done throughout the state and with a lot of rain and wind with high waters this fall, few of the stocked species were caught by anglers, thus making the prospects better for ice anglers.

Follow this link and go to the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife web site and read the report of where brood fish were stocked and when. The entire fish stocking report has not been made available yet. We will let you know when it does.

In the Ice Fishing Preview, Regions A through G gives break downs of what species will be more readily available on which bodies of water in each of the zones. If you are an avid angler or heading out on the ice in the near future, take a look at the preview. I’m sure it will help you decide which pond to fish on depending on your preference of fish species you want to catch.

The fishing report will be coming out on a regular basis now and we will continue to post that report over at Maine Fishing Today and give you a brief overview here at the Black Bear Blog and Blogging the Outdoors at Maine Outdoors Today.

Tom Remington

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