April 26, 2018

Snow Line Coming Down in Alaska

Today is just the first day of October and from the photo below, one can see that the snow line is dropping lower and lower. Report is that Anchorage had a couple inches of snow the other day but it all melted. Not in the mountains. (Click the image for a bigger sharper view.)


Photo by Al Remington

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Baiting Wild Game With Sugary Substances Will Cause Bad Teeth…Before You Kill Them

Honest to God! You can’t make this stuff up….or can you?

A reader sent me a link to a bizarre and unbelievable claim coming out of Sweden that it is a bad practice to feed wild hogs sugary substances for bait because it will give them bad teeth. From the link, I tried several times to open the web page where the entire article supposedly is found but was unsuccessful in doing that. Here is that link. Perhaps it will work later.

According to Waznmentobe.com, the original piece said: “But local officials warn that the practice, while increasing the chances of a successful hunt, it increases the risk that the boar suffer from weight problems and poor dental hygiene.”

Evidently, in Sweden, hunters put out “sticky buns” to lure the hogs in in order to kill them. I guess that’s cheaper than a helicopter and paid snipers.

In Maine, hunters use bait in the same fashion for killing black bears. Often the bait for black bears is mostly junk food, i.e. donuts, candy, etc.

The same reader who sent me the link to this illogically reasoned display of mental incapacity, also sent along a picture of a sow bear he shot two years ago. The bear was later discovered to be 23 years old. The picture shows the condition of the bear’s teeth. Do you suppose this bear had been feasting on sugary treats for 23 years and perhaps would have lived to be 103 if she had practiced good dental hygiene?

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Bob Humphrey: Banning Deer Feeding “Akin to Throwing Baby Out With Bath Water”

Bob Humphrey, a freelance outdoor writer who writes for the Portland Press Herald, recently wrote that he believes that a supplemental feeding program for deer in Maine, if done the right way, could be beneficial to the struggling deer herd. He offers information to support his claims.

While many, myself included, don’t understand why, with all the other important things that the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife should or could be doing, they have decided to piss off a whole bunch of people about feeding deer in the winter time.

And, from the perspective of a wise old man:

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Dave Miller on Predator Workshop: “First Real Positive Efforts”

The Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine and Gerry LaVigne, sponsor and put on Maine’s first Predator Control Workshop. Below is a summation of that workshop by David Miller, who attended the workshop and was a presenter for the function.

PREDATOR CONTROL WORKSHOP

On Saturday, September 29th, The Sportsman Alliance of Maine sponsored the first workshop addressing the need for and the methods required to control predators, which is one of several key factors causing the decline of the deer herds in the Western Mountains, Aroostook County, and Down East portions of Maine. The loss of these deer herds has resulted in a tremendous impact on the state’s rural economies. Deer hunting has for generations brought in millions of dollars annually to the state’s economy and been a welcomed addition of healthy meat to the family dinner table.

This work shop is one of the first real positive efforts to reverse the situation. The Maine sportsmen have not had much in the way of constructive support in stopping the downward spiral of the deer within the state. This workshop was the first big step in a statewide effort.

This day long work shop was the result of efforts by Dave Trahan of the SAM, Gerry Lavigne and the dedication and professionalism of the guest speakers and demonstrators from a cross section of well known “working outdoorsmen”, not the normal outdoor writers and politicians seen at many events like this. These keynote speakers were the hands on experts in their respective fields which included two MIF&W [Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife] personnel who addressed land owner relations and ethics, a firearms specialist who addressed firearms and ballistics commonly used in predator control work, and experts in their respective fields of predator calling, coyote hounding, coyote baiting/shooting shacks/and night hunting, and coyote trapping.

The SAM facility was packed with over one hundred concerned outdoorsmen who are fully supportive of efforts to reduce the predation of deer to a level where the herds will be able to recover. With the excellent results of this first step it is hopeful that this effort will continue at larger facilities across the state to stimulate the public in participating in these efforts.

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Open Thread – Oct 1, 2012

Please use this open thread to post your ideas, comments and information about issues not related to the content of articles published on this blog. Thank you.

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Rangeley’s Deer Forage Project Ends, But……..

For three years the Rangeley community planted 35 food plots designed to, “address the sharp decline of the area deer herd.”

The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) recently stated that supplemental feeding of deer was not beneficial in most cases. Here’s what is written about the Deer Forage Project on the website of the Rangeley Region Guides and Sportsmen’s Association.

Results Gratifying. There is ample evidence that deer and other wildlife are using the food plots. Besides deer, other wildlife such as moose, bear, turkey, grouse coveys, and song birds are thriving on the landings. These plots produce ten times the forage grown without wood ash or lime preparation. This increase tonnage adds confidence to the benefit it has for wildlife sustainability. A low ph seed mix is now being experimentally seeded on Seven Islands plots, and they have indicated a willingness to use the two new seed mixes in the future. As RRG&SA steps down, Wagner will continue using ash to remedy the soil intended in the original project. Two deer plot workshops have been conducted with small land owners, and Baker now consults state-wide to other land owners hoping to grow private deer plots. Another educational workshop is being planned for Farmington in November. There is an educational blog http://deerandwildlifeforageproject.blogspot.com/ to further elaborate on the project. The Rangeley Seed Mix is available for sale at River’s Edge Sports in Oquossoc.

Along with the MDIFW’s announcement that supplemental deer feeding was not beneficial, the department is proposing a ban or at least some levels of restrictions on feeding deer. In an article I wrote recently about winter supplemental feeding of deer in Maine, I didn’t consider year round supplemental feeding into the equation at that time.

So now the question becomes, will MDIFW’s proposal to limit or ban feeding, affect projects such as this one? Obviously, this project above is at least considered worthy of more and more businesses, organizations and individuals becoming involved. In addition, organizations like the Aroostook County Conservation Association has undertaken planting food plots for deer and other wildlife. I happen to know a number of individuals who do it and I am in the planning stages of one for myself.

If such projects are as big a success as is boasted of in this report, then MDIFW is going to have a difficult time convincing tax payers that they can’t contribute to the saving and regrowing of their deer herd and other important wildlife.

If MDIFW puts draconian restrictions on deer feeding, both winter and summer/year round, one would have to wonder what the motivation is behind the department’s move to restrict this activity.

Does it not make sense that if the complaint from MDIFW is that there is a lacking of ideal deer wintering areas, that at least giving the deer extra fat supplies to get through the winter would be a desirable thing to do?

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What Drives Maine’s Black Bears to Hibernate?

There have been some interesting discussions over the past couple of weeks or so about Maine’s black bear hunting season and the fact that hunters seems to be having good success and large bears are being taken. The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) predicted a higher success rate for hunters this season and they attributed it to the lack of natural food. To go along with this claim, the same predictors said that bears would eat early, hibernate early and exit their dens early come spring.

If interested you can read the articles I wrote about this topic here and here.

It made little sense to me that black bears would show up in record-breaking sizes in a year when there was no natural food, as claimed by MDIFW scientists. I was also troubled by statements made that what drives bears into hibernation is lack of food. This prompted me to go on a multiple day search and rescue mission to see what I could see as it pertained to scientific studies, available to anyone with a computer (and a few extra dollars). What I discovered is that some of my suspicions were confirmed and some of what MDIFW scientists presented was confirmed.

The first major thing I discovered is that most all the studies on bears and black bears specifically, all deal with the physiological affects on bears when hibernating. Not surprisingly, it also appeared these studies were motivated by a desire to learn more so that one day humans can choose (or be forced) to hibernate.

The short of it is that little exists that specifically addresses why bears hibernate, i.e. is there something physiological that takes place or is it as MDIFW biologists state, that it’s all about the food supply? The answer is both.

In some studies, like this one on “The Comparative Anatomy of Eating“, I found statements not unlike several other studies not specific to the forces driving bears to hibernation:

Their diet is dominated by primarily succulent lent herbage, tubers and berries. Many scientists believe the reason bears hibernate is because their chief food (succulent vegetation) not available in the cold northern winters.

It appears as though what actually goes on with a bear in hibernation, if I can put this in words most people, including myself, will understand, is that a bear changes its metabolism. The effects are a myriad of things and the timing and degree to which such changes takes place seem to a product of diet and length and depth of hibernation, among other things.

In another study about how glucose responses by the bears with natural and manipulated amounts, still seem to be regulated by the bear:

Furthermore, the apparent increase in glucose utilization at the end of hibernation when fat stores are nearly exhausted suggests a continuum of metabolic activity from early to late hibernation with a transition to the active phase by the end of hibernation.

All very interesting but what drives the bear to head for the den? It was difficult, at best, to find anything definitive but I think the general consensus was that “something” triggers a black bear’s natural physiological response to increase fat supplies. During this time period, called the hyperphagic stage (transitioning from normal activity to hibernation), the bear naturally begins a gradual metabolic (if that be the correct term) change that will eventually lead them to their favorite winter hibernation local.

It also appears that the time in which a bear decides to actually head into the den can be influenced by whether or not there remains any food to eat. This is part of the equation but not all of it.

In a study titled, “Environmental Relationships and the Denning Period of Black Bears in Tennessee“, we get a glimpse at perhaps what that “something” is that begins to transition toward hibernation:

Den entry and strong fidelity to dens by all instrumented bears indicated that the intensity of dormancy did not differ from that in northern regions; however, duration of dormancy was considerably shorter. Cumulative effects of increased precipitation and lower maximum and higher minimum temperatures, which correspond to passage of a low pressure weather front, provided a proximate stimulus to enter dens. Food supply also appeared to affect denning in a proximal manner because bears denned earlier in years with fair to poor mast yields than in years with excellent mast yields.

The study further explains what determines the timing of denning:

Emergence dates were less strongly correlated with environmental factors. Ultimate synchronization of denning behavior with the environment is best explained by a circannual (endogenous) rhythm; this rhythm is easily shortened or lengthened allowing flexibility depending on environmental variation and the ecology of a species. Such a rhythm encompasses the observed variation in environmental factors affecting the denning period of bears over their broad geographic range and diverse ecological conditions.

It does appear that it’s not just food that determines when denning will occur but a myriad of environmental factors.

But why are Maine’s bears so fat when there’s a poor supply of natural food available? Generally speaking I am not convinced that they are. As the study suggests, it may be proximal, in that the reason we are seeing more bigger, fatter bears is because they got fat from eating bait put out by hunters and guides.

Maine allows baiting to begin approximately one month before opening of the hunting season. One MDIFW biologist told John Holyoke, at the Bangor Daily News, that one bear he was aware of gained 65 pounds in 16 days. If that’s true, then for 30 days of feasting at a bait station, one can imagine the amount of weight a hungry, greedy and dominating bear can put on.

So, are when then to conclude that what we are seeing at the tagging stations is not indicative to what the rest of the bear population, that is those without access to bait barrels, is like? The data being collected by biologists on the bears at tagging stations, is this good, usable and representative data of the general condition of all of Maine’s bears?

With the information I have gathered, some of which I have shared, I can concur that the timing of when black bears decide to go to sleep is partially driven by food supply. I do have concerns about whether big, fat bears is a real representation of the condition of the population in general.

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Open Thread – September 28, 2012

Please use this open thread to post your ideas, comments and information about issues not related to the content of articles published on this blog. Thank you.

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Frank Losey Exposes HSUS For Deceitful Marketing, Illegal Lobbying and More

*Editor’s Note* – Below are copies of letters written by Frank Losey, an associate of the Missouri Federation of Animal Owners (MoFed), regarding Wayne Pacelle, President and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). The letters are republished with permission from the author.

Mr. Losey has tirelessly waged a campaign to expose the American public to the deceit, lies and hypocrisy of HSUS. This first letter, which includes a link to a copy of the original email sent to Mr. Losey from Wayne Pacelle in which Pacelle suggests that hunters are poachers, is written by Mr. Losey to Wayne Pacelle calling him out on name calling and challenging Mr. Pacelle and the HSUS to use more of the organization’s money for better animal welfare programs.

The second letter, is a response letter to the silence he received from Mr. Pacelle after the first letter.

If you agree with the position of Mr. Losey and the effort he and others have been doing, I might suggest you visit his website and support the effort in anyway that you can.

~~~~~~~~~~

Franklin W. Losey
2029 Tampa Blvd.
Navarre, FL 32566
f.losey@insightbb.com

August 13, 2012

Mr. Wayne Pacelle
President and CEO
Humane Society of the United States
2100 L Street, NW
Washington DC 20037

Dear Mr. Pacelle:
I have recently become aware of the fact that you personally, in a letter dated July 9, 2012, described me as an “individual hostile to animal welfare,” which description is an outrageous lie!

As you may recall, I am the individual who wrote to you in 2009, and told you that responsible breeders in State Commercial Breeder Associations in the States where over 80% of all Federally Licensed and inspected Breeders were located had “publicly condemned substandard kennels.” I was the individual who orchestrated these “public condemnations” by responsible breeders, and I thought at the time that you would be ecstatic with the fact that a sincere, genuine and substantive effort was being made to advocate what was in the best interest of animals. To my chagrin, you not only declined to share this information with your “following” by publicly acknowledging such “public condemnations,” but you went on to discredit all responsible breeders by stating that “condemning substandard breeders does not help animals.” And then for good measure, you gratuitously went on to disparage “family farmers” by suggesting that they were “factory farmers,” even though my correspondence made no reference to “family farmers.” (See your E-Mail dated November 16, 2009. A copy is attached.) As an aside, if “condemning substandard breeders does not help animals,” why has the HSUS spent Tens, if not Hundreds, of Millions of Dollars since 2004 “condemning substandard breeders” each and every day when that money could have been better spent in support of local shelters that are helping animals each and every day of the year?

Each month my wife and I load up the trunk of our car with dog food, cat food, and supplies and deliver them to a local dog shelter and a cat shelter. If I were truly “hostile to animal welfare,” why would I have received notes of appreciation from the local shelters?!? An illustrative note is attached – – and it begins as follows: “Mr. Losey, SOCKS is fortunate to have such a loyal supporter as you!”As a further aside, since I donate a higher percentage of my annual income to local shelters than does the HSUS, does that mean that the HSUS is more “hostile to animal welfare” than I am?!?!?!?!?!?

Every time I am invited to speak to any group that is associated with animals, I always encourage them to raise the bar by keeping themselves educated on best practices for animal welfare. My Mother taught me that an ounce of praise and encouragement is far more effective than a “slash and burn,” “take no prisoners” approach. That is why I have been so supportive of encouraging every Educational Seminar put on by dog breeder organizations to have at least one Veterinarian discuss best practices to avoid the spread of PARVO, a highly contagious and viral disease that often leads to the death of puppies and young dogs if they do not receive all of their Parvo booster shots. All too often, puppies do not receive the last of their booster shots because the owners of new puppies, who are so filled with the joy of having a healthy, happy, well socialized puppy, innocently do not realize that they must protect their puppies from being exposed to the dreaded Parvo virus that is often contracted from sniffing the feces of other infected dogs in such places as public parks.

Tragically, the HSUS, which professes to care so much about animal welfare, has NEVER – – REPEAT – – NEVER used the “functionality” of its Website to educate pet owners, as opposed to animal shelters, on procedures as to how best to protect their puppies and dogs from contracting Parvo. This “deadly” omission of information about Parvo for pet owners by the HSUS, that purportedly has a following of Millions, suggests that there has been a conscious and unconscionable decision to keep the American Public and Elected Officials at the Federal, State and Local Levels of Government in the Dark so that the spread of Parvo and its deadly consequences will be inhumanely perpetuated, and be exploited and misrepresented to the American Public as being caused by irresponsible breeding practices in order to further enhance the fundraising activities of the HSUS. To dispel such a notion, I implore you to ensure that the HSUS immediately spend a relatively insignificant amount of its annual revenue, that is approaching $150 Million Dollars a year, on a Nationwide Campaign that highlights and educates the American Public, and especially the new owners of puppies, on how best to protect healthy puppies from contracting Parvo. Failure to do so will lead me, and others, to conclude that the Humane Society of the U.S. has a hidden agenda that is “hostile to animal welfare.”

Sincerely,

Franklin W. Losey

~~~~~~~~~~

“UNGLUED?!?” WHY IS PACELLE “TRASHING” LOSEY?!?!?

On August 28, 2012, Mr. Pacelle responded to Frank Losey’s Letter that was dated August 13,2012 and stated that Frank Losey:

Is “an individual hostile to animal welfare;”
Has “a serious honesty problem;”
Defends “puppy mills, soring, factory farming, and all other abuses;”
Has “been dishonest,” and
Is “not an honorable person.”

In a gesture of “Good Faith,” Frank Losey offered Mr. Pacelle an opportunity to withdraw his disparaging comments, which Frank Losey described as “outrageous, unsubstantiated, unfounded, defaming, and libelous lies.” And how did Mr. Pacelle respond to this “Good Faith” gesture? Silence! Deafening Silence!!!!!

Why would Mr. Pacelle so disparage Frank Losey?

Could it be that Mr. Pacelle has learned that Frank Losey has cumulatively submitted over 2,500 pages of incriminating documents to Members of Congress; to the Office of the Inspector General of the Department of Agriculture; to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS); to the Department of the Treasury; and to the Department of Justice?

Could it be because Frank Losey’s “Calls to Action” have orchestrated 20,000-30,000, or more, E-Mails and Letters being sent from citizens in all 50 States to Members of Congress, to the IRS and to the Justice Department documented that the Humane Society of the U.S. (HSUS) may be violating the U.S. Tax Code which provides that “Public Charities,” such as the HSUS, may not engage in “TOO MUCH LOBBYING;” and that the HSUS may be violating the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995 because it has not been registered as a “Lobbying Organization” since August of 2006, at which time it terminated its Registration as a “Lobbying Organization” with both Houses of Congress? (Prior to August 2006, the HSUS was registered as a “Lobbying Organization,” and listed Mr. Pacelle as its Chief Lobbyist!)

Could it be because the more than 2,500 incriminating documents that Frank Losey has submitted through Official Government Channels, as well as the 20,000-30,000 or more E-Mails and Letters that were received by Government Officials in Congress, the IRS, the Treasury Department and the Justice Department have illuminated a chilling and growing belief by more and more Government Officials who are echoing an internal whispering “BUZZ OF ALARM?”And has that “BUZZ” been “leaked” back to the HSUS, which has been told that Frank Losey keeps documenting facts that establish by “clear and convincing evidence” that “cover-ups” may be occurring within Government Agencies; that information is being improperly ‘leaked’ back to the HSUS; that the HSUS may not be in compliance with the U.S. Tax Code; and that the HSUS may not be in compliance with the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995?!?!?

And could it also be because Mr. Pacelle now knows that Senator Hatch, who chaired the Hearing that ultimately resulted in the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act being amended after “9-11,” has recently told a constituent that, with regards to the HSUS, ” I share your belief that this law (Lobbying Disclosure Act) has been violated, the Justice Department should respond with appropriate action?!?!?” And in this regard, is it possible that Mr. Pacelle could be embarrassed by his prior written correspondence that was dated January 18, 2008 that suggested that the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act, is an “unjust law” worthy of “civil disobedience?!?”

And could it also be because as recently as August 9, 2012 a U.S. Representative wrote to the IRS Commissioner and stated: “Years ago when I first wrote you regarding the tax-exempt status of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). . . . I have provided the IRS with documentation that I believe clearly demonstrates that the HSUS has abused its tax-exempt status, and I stand ready to provide additional supporting documents.”

Perhaps Mr. Pacelle also was not pleased when Frank Losey told Mr. Pacelle that since the HSUS donates a lower percentage of its annual income to local shelters than does Frank Losey, this would suggest that the HSUS is more “hostile to animal welfare” than Frank Losey is!And to add salt to that wound, Frank Losey included a note of appreciation from a local shelter that read as follows: “Mr. Losey, SOCKS is fortunate to have such a loyal supporter as you!”Is Frank Losey figuratively beginning to breathe down the neck of Mr. Pacelle, and he does not like the smell of Frank Losey’s breath?!?!?

And then could Mr. Pacelle have gone ballistic when he read the closing paragraph in Frank Losey’s Letter that was dated August 13, 2012, which read as follows:

“Tragically, the HSUS, which professes to care so much about animal welfare, has NEVER – – REPEAT – – NEVER used the “functionality” of its Website to educate pet owners, as opposed to animal shelters, on procedures as to how best to protect their puppies and dogs from contracting Parvo.This “deadly” omission of information about Parvo for pet owners by the HSUS, that purportedly has a following of Millions, suggests that there has been a conscious and unconscionable decision to keep the American Public and Elected Officials at the Federal, State and Local Levels of Government in the Dark so that the spread of Parvo and its deadly consequences will be inhumanely perpetuated, and be exploited and misrepresented to the American Public as being caused by irresponsible breeding practices in order to further enhance the fundraising activities of the HSUS.To dispel such a notion, I implore you to ensure that the HSUS immediately spend a relatively insignificant amount of its annual revenue, that is approaching $150 Million Dollars a year, on a Nationwide Campaign that highlights and educates the American Public, and especially the new owners of puppies, on how best to protect healthy puppies from contracting Parvo. Failure to do so will lead me, and others, to conclude that the Humane Society of the U.S. has a hidden agenda that is “hostile to animal welfare.”

Regardless of what Mr. Pacelle thinks about Frank Losey, there is NO “HUMANE” REASON for the HSUS to continue to maintain its “Wall of Silence” that keeps the American Public in the Dark as to how best to prevent young puppies from contracting PARVO – – Parvo Booster Vaccine Shots, and shielding young puppies from sniffing “droppings” from contaminated dogs in such places as public parks!

Could it be that the sanctimonious HSUS INHUMANELY wishes to perpetuate the spread of PARVO among young puppies and sacrifice their precious young lives so that the HSUS may continue what appears to be a deceptive practice of citing “sick puppies” as a basis for the American Public to continue to contribute Tens of Millions of Dollars each year to the coffers of the HSUS which contributes a smaller percentage of its annual income to local shelters than does Frank Losey?!?!?!?

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Maine’s Moose Hunt is On

This dead bull moose in the back of a pick-up truck was spotted and photographed in Greenville, Maine.


Photo by Tom Carter

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