February 25, 2018

Ronald Reagan on Campaigning and Cow Manure

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Open Thread – March 1, 2012

Please use this open thread to post your ideas, comments and information about issues not relevant to articles posted on this blog. Thank you.

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Portage Glacier, Portage Lake, Alaska


Photo by Al Remington

Portage is on the way to Whittier after passing through a mile-long train tunnel. From Whittier you can enter Prince William Sound – by boat of course.


This map is a cropped portion of a map found at Alaska.org.

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Open Thread – February 29, 2012

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

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Interesting Headline Found on Yahoo News

This morning, Yahoo was running a headline with a link. The headline read, “After Losses, Santorum Focuses on Women”. Click the link to the real story and the headline there does not say that.

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The $181.27 Dead Coyote

According to information given to Reuters News about a year ago, Maine officials at the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW), claimed there were around 20,000 coyotes living within the borders of that state. I don’t think there exists too many people, with the exception of coyote worshipers, who will argue that if MDIFW is willing to admit there are 20,000 coyotes in their state, there’s more accurately probably around 30,000 or more. However, for the sake of this article let’s say Maine has 20,000 coyote.

According to Gerry Lavigne, retired deer biologist with the MDIFW and current board member for the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine, he says that, “Eastern coyote populations will probably decline if their annual losses exceed 60%.” “Probably decline” means also that they might not. So let’s say a 50% annual mortality on Maine’s coyotes will maintain the current population at 20,000. That would mean that each year 10,000 coyotes need to be killed just to maintain current levels. Please bear in mind here that I am being generously conservative in my estimates of coyote population and total mortality rates.

The MDIFW has miraculously found $50,000 to appropriate for killing coyotes in targeted areas. According to information coming out of the MDIFW office, that targeting is being done in 9 specified Deer Wintering Areas (DWA).

Below is a chart showing where the nine DWA are, the number of coyotes killed in each DWA and costs associated with paying hunters/trappers to kill those varmints. To date, 52 coyotes have been killed at an expense of $9,426.00. That breaks down to $181.27 per dead coyote. If Maine left coyote control up to the MDIFW, taxpayers or license buyers would have to come up with $1,812,700 annually just to sustain a coyote population at current conservative levels.

Also, according to Gerry Lavigne, of those 10,000 coyotes that need culling to maintain current populations, perhaps 80% of those are taken by natural causes in combination with trapping and hunting; again conservative numbers being used here. With Maine’s limited trapping regulations, taking more coyotes is problematic and with the state applying for an Incidental Take Permit (ITP) for trapping and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) threatening to pile on more trapping restrictions, controlling coyotes doesn’t hold a very good future for deer but wonderful if you are a coyote. This will put more burden on the MDIFW to find ways of killing more coyotes.

Of the 10,000 coyotes needed killing each year, and trapping, hunting and natural causes take care of 8,000 of them, MDIFW is left with finding some way of killing another 2,000 varmints. At $181.27 per each flea, tick and disease carrier, that’s $362,540 annually to hire trappers and hunters to get the job done.

Is this the best way to take care of this problem? Couldn’t it be argued that putting up a $100 bounty per each coyote cheaper and more effective, providing the targeting of specific areas was handled properly? For a $100 bounty per coyote there’s bound to be a spike up in coyote hunting and trapping license sales.

If you factor in the need to reduce coyote populations, say cut the current numbers in half, the expense becomes overwhelming. But I ask again, isn’t it in the best interest, if that amount of money is going to have to be spent to address this problem, that it be put into the hands of all trappers who have bought licenses and supported the wildlife and trapping in the state for years?

Either there’s a coyote problem in Maine that needs addressing or there’s not. Puttering at the problem accomplishes nothing. $50,000 could probably be used on better program management. Why go about this effort seemingly in order to fail? It’s time to go or get off the pot.

Tom Remington

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Spring Green-Up is Right Around the Corner

As the snows melt, one of the first places for sweet green shoots of vegetation is along roadsides. This brings herbivores, like the moose, out of the dark forests for some much needed nutrition. Unfortunately, sometimes it leads to confrontation between automobiles and 1,000-pound critters.


Photo by Al Remington

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Open Thread – February 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 web site. Thank you.

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Maine’s Big Bucks: Getting Smaller as Number Harvested Declines?

*Update* – March 1, 2012 – I will add the updated chart below that includes data from 2008 which was not available at the time of the original posting.

*Editor’s Note* All the information in this post was compiled by TomRemington.com contributor, Richard Paradis of Maine.

In 2009 I did a four-part series entitled, “Does Maine Have a Deer Management Problem?” (find links to the other parts in the “Related Links” at the bottom of the page.) In this expose I examined information I had received from the Maine Antler & Skull Trophy Club. It was expressed to me at the time that the harvest of trophy (rack and body weight) bucks in Maine had not only been significantly reduced in numbers but that it was not proportional to the overall decrease in deer harvested. From the information I had available to me at that time, I was able to show that the number of trophy bucks harvested did, in fact, mirror the overall trend in deer harvest statewide.

With Richard Paradis’ time to put together trophy deer body weight data and make a comparison for 5 or the past 6 years, it appears that again, number of trophy deer harvested closely follows in proportion to overall harvest. While some may view this as bad (of course we all want more deer to hunt.), it should tell us that the health of the deer herd, at least in terms of size, seems to be not be effected or is having an effect on the overall health and size of the herd.

Folks have been wondering whether Maine’s big bucks were getting fewer (they are) and whether they are getting smaller (not appreciably according to this small set of data). The counts are from a review of the Biggest Bucks in Maine entries from the Maine Sportsman magazine from 5 of the past 6 years. What is obvious is that the bucks being taken are being killed further south in the state. I had always assumed that the end of the season was a more opportune time to get a big buck so hunting hard to the last day was a good plan. Maybe not so. Of course, the bucks lose weight as the rut goes into high gear so they will weigh a lot more on the first day of the season than the last day. The disparities between the numbers of entries in the five years is due to ties and the 2010 listing does not have dates with the top 10. I will try to look that up and fix it later on as well as uncover 2008 of the Maine Sportsman’s Biggest Bucks in Maine editions to see if there really has been a difference over the years.


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Grey Ghost Productions: “Turning Tail” Atlantic Salmon Movie Trailer

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