March 21, 2018

Open Thread – July 17, 2012

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When MDIFW Stopped Managing Whitetail Deer, the Herd Began to Die Off

In a recent report filed by George Smith on his blog, he stated that Wildlife Management Section Supervisor from the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW), John Pratt, “encouraged me to write something positive about the program” [speaking in reference to the miserably and embarrassingly failed Maine Land Owner Relations Project].

What a joke! Pratt’s comment states that, “when tools and/or funding is provided for the deer effort, good things do happen”. Perhaps sportsmen like myself could muster up something positive to say had MDIFW actually been managing the deer herd over the past 30 years or so instead of stroking the golden goose and hoping against all hope that magic, a dash of global warming and continued lawsuits filed by environmentalists and animal perverts, would take care of any problems that might show up before anyone realized all the time and money, of which MDIFW claims they have no more of, was spent on search and rescue, non-game programs, piping plovers, studying and protecting bears, bowing down to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and permitting a non endangered or non threatened Canada lynx to take away the only tool left to control coyotes from killing deer. Alas, but to MDIFW, that’s really not a problem is it? Nor is the fact that there are an ungodly number of black bears and so many moose they’ve all been infected with disease and are dying off. Evidently dragging bears out of their dens in the winter does nothing to help know how many there are and that they are contributing to the absent deer herd.

Gasp! Had actual deer management been taking place, MDIFW would know that wouldn’t they? Somebody tell me they would.

So, now that MDIFW has failed miserably in their jobs to manage whitetail deer in Maine, it has become the fault of “there is no money”, “the economy is in really tough shape”, “those evil landowners cut down trees”, and/or “it’s not my fault” (equivalent to the dog ate my homework.)

I think George Smith is trying to write something positive and somehow justify fantasy, hands-off deer management by saying that he thinks it’s “disappointing” that in trying to strong arm landowners to stop cutting a hunter’s favorite hunting ground to save the deer herd, “sportsmen are unable or unwilling to put up the money necessary to get the job done.” Really, George? I think me and about a few hundred thousand other license buyers have been footing the damned bill for decades and decades believing actual deer management was taking place. Now that the proverbial excrement has hit the fan, some believe it’s a shame that sportsmen can’t enable the drunken sailors and give the dysfunctional department more money.

If MDIFW needs money to put up some kind of charade they are trying to convince Maine citizens is necessary to save the deer herd, being they aren’t using any biologists and resources to manage deer and haven’t for a long time, perhaps it’s time to cut the MDIFW staff and budget by the same percentage as all other game species hunting and fishing activities contribute to the economy of the state of Maine?

MIDFW, needs to give it a rest on the pity partying of “we ain’t got no money!”

Please give us something good to write about and don’t ask me to lie to do it!


Open Thread – July 16, 2012

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Open Thread – July 13, 2012

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Does Maine’s Restriction on Youth Deer Hunting Day Help Deer or Hurt the Future of Hunting?

*Editor’s Note* Below is a letter written by Leo Kieffer in response to questions and concerns about Maine’s restriction to limit deer hunting for the state’s youth on Youth Day.

Many have asked that I put in writing my opposition to the continuation of the discriminatory Dept. of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife’s program that I refer to as the Northern Maine Anti Youth Program on youth deer hunting day. I am very happy to do so.

I strongly opposed this proposal when it was originally proposed when I was on the Advisory Council, and I strongly oppose it even more today. It has accomplished nothing except to totally alienate our Northern Maine youth, their parents, landowner’s who have a family, and to limit access. If these are the goals of anyone, then they can consider themselves a rousing success.

Over the years as a master Maine guide, a State Senator, a member of the SAM board of directors and having served on the IF&W advisory board I always supported managing our fishery and wildlife based on solid biological research and factual statistical information gathered from departmental records and a variety of other professional sources including a little common sense. The present Northern Maine anti youth program fails any and all of these tests.
Lets look at where this anti youth program originated. The Legislature passed LD 823 which resulted in the creation of yet another deer study or task force. The report from this group was filed with Commissioner Martin in December 2007 and has since been filed in the round file under the desk along with the others. While the report goes on and on for many pages in its redundancy the basic recommendations are itemized on pages 11 to 16.

Look on page 15, paragraph number 1 under HUNTING. This is very clear that this anti youth proposal is merely a recommendation, supported by absolutely no biological data or anything else. It was submitted for consideration by this group along with the many other recommendations, yet it is the only one that was accepted by the department. The other recommendations under paragraph 2, a. b., and c as well as all of paragraph 3 were and continue to be completely ignored. Paragraph number 1 was accepted as it cost the department nothing, required no effort and would cause the department no heartburn from 12 year olds. The other recommendations under HUNTING, paragraph 2, a, b, and c that were ignored would have required biological and statistical studies, effort and funding in some cases. This was all a very cut and dried issue as several members of this task force were departmental employees, appointed by the Commissioner, and were the very employees that were in position to make decisions on behalf of the department to either accept or reject any or all recommendations!

Even then if this recommendation had been incorporated as part of a comprehensive deer management plan, including but not limited to coyote and bear predator control, landowner relations, an attempt to limit the slaughter of our deer on our highways, shorter hunting seasons in certain areas, and other conservation issues it might have been acceptable. As a standalone item it is a sad pathetic joke to blame our northern Maine youth for the deer decline.
Because of the past two easy winters weather wise and efforts by the Aroostook County Conservation Association and others in reducing coyote numbers, there has been a remarkable increase in deer numbers east of route 11. The bear predator issue now needs to be addressed. West of route 11 the deer situation is an entirely different story. Yet management is still always based on the old North South issue. I really don’t know why we have game management districts for deer in Northern Maine. A few permits could be issued to our youth East of route 11 and do no harm to the resource and do a world of good in other ways.

The biological position of the department on this youth day issue was made very clear recently by the Commissioner at the Advisory Council meeting in Augusta on May 19, 2011. On page 3, step 2, number 1 any deer permit-youth day. Mr. Thurston stated that he would like to know the Departments biological opinion on this. Commissioner Woodcock stated there would be insignificant impact. He had talked it over with biologists and in total there weren’t many does killed on youth day. This quotation is taken directly from the meeting minutes.

While I and others believe that every deer is important, we also believe that every one of our youth, their parents, and landowners that are being lost to hunting, along with lost access, are more important than saving a very few deer on youth day for coyote feed next winter. Our youth deserve better.

R. Leo Kieffer

Caribou, Maine


Milt’s Corner Photography


Open Thread – July 12, 2012

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You Might Be a Liberal If This Makes Sense to You


In “Big Woods” of Wisconsin Deer Fawn Survival Rate Only 20%

A recent study, according to a Field and Stream report, says that in northern Wisconsin deer fawn mortality rate runs about 80%, the most deaths caused by predators.


Open Thread – July 11, 2012

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