October 18, 2018

A Billowing Thunderhead


Photo by Tom Remington

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Milt’s Corner: Photography

The “Old Snag” Catches its share of “Fishing Tackle!!”


Milt Inman Photo

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Bear Management in Maine Has Been a Profound Failure

*Editor’s Note* Guest blogs do not necessarily reflect the position of the editor, the owner, the staff or anyone else affiliated with this website.

A guest blog by Paul Camping from Maine

Bear management by the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) in Maine has been a profound failure, on a scale equivalent to or exceeding, their disastrous blunders in the management of deer. The responsible management of any game species requires keeping their populations at desired levels; not too few, not too many, but just right.

The MDIF&W has failed miserably on both counts. For the last 15 years, or possibly longer, the deer population has been crashing while the bear population has exploded out of control! And to make matters worse, they knew then that the bears were preying on deer fawns and moose calves, but did nothing to stop it. So the mismanagement of bears CONTRIBUTED to the decline of deer! If this isn’t a case of being asleep at the switch, I don’t know what is!

Here is an excerpt from the 2011 Bear Harvest Report:

“A population model of Maine black bears indicates the population can sustain a harvest of 15%. Thus a harvest of 3,500 bears was needed to stabilize Maine’s bear population conservatively estimated at 23,000 bears in 2004. However, in recent years we have not met our harvest objective. This low harvest rate coupled with high cub survival rates has allowed Maine’s bear population to grow. In the next year, we will be considering modifying hunting opportunities to stabilize Maine’s bear population based on a pending updated population estimate.” (emphasis added)

In my opinion, it’s a clear-cut admission of guilt and mismanagement. They screwed up and they know it. They can no longer hide their ineptitude when bears are showing up in backyards in record numbers simply because there are too damn many of them. They are starting to lay the ground work for a drastic reduction effort in the future. The proof of which is found in the last sentence above regarding their “pending updated population estimate”!

I predict the bear population will be 40,000 plus. All one has to do is look at the actual yearly harvest figures as a percentage of the harvest goal, to determine whether the population grew, declined or remained stable. I’ve run the numbers and you can readily see, like compounding interest on a bank account, bears have increased by at least 5% every year for the last 15 years!

Last years abysmal harvest of 2,400 bears severely exasperated the situation!

There is more than enough blame to go around. The Maine legislature is complicit too. First and foremost, has been the ridiculously low bag limit of one bear per hunter or trapper per year. This was only recently changed to 2, one bear by each method of taking. The second legislative mistake is the crazy fee structure imposed on residents who would like to try both hunting and trapping of bears. This combined outdoor activity requires a hunting license ($25.00), an early season bear permit ($27.00), a trapping license ($35.00) and a bear trapping license ($27.00). That amounts to $114.00. And it’s 3 times more expensive for non-residents! SERIOUSLY! Are they deliberately going out of their way to discourage the harvesting of bears? Now factor in the cost of bait and you have priced the common man right out of the market!

And then they wonder why license sales are declining! Any accountant will tell you that sales are inversely proportional to the cost of the item being sold. If they want to sell more licenses they should make them more affordable.

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Open Thread – August 17, 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 website. Thank you.

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Milt’s Corner Photography: Moon Beam

When the mo-moon shines,
Over the co-cow shed.
I’ll be wa-waiting,
At the ka-ka-ka-kitchen door.


Milt Inman Photo

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Maine Fish & Game to Invest $ Million Windfall From Pittman-Robertson on……Rifle Ranges?

It appears to me that this blind, political ignorance that so blatantly reveals itself in Washington, is deeply imbedded into state governments as well.

According to George Smith, free lance writer and blogger, the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MIDFW) is about to receive a one-million dollar windfall from excess Pittman-Robertson (PR) money, due to the increase in gun and ammunition sales since Barack Obama became president. The excise tax on guns, ammunition and other assorted sporting goods, gets doled out to each of the states according to land mass, how many licenses sold, etc.

Smith writes that Governor LePage doesn’t want to use that money for programs that will just cost the taxpayers of the state more money once the symptoms of the windfall go away.

Governor Paul LePage is determined not to take federal dollars if the end result – down the road – will be increased spending of state dollars. In other words, he doesn’t want this extra PR money to be spent on new staff, because if and when the federal funds go back to normal levels, the state would have to pay all those costs. That’s got DIF&W officials looking for one-time expenditures of the new PR funds.

LePage’s notions make sense. So, if the state is looking for “one-time expenditures”, what’s the first thing that comes into your head? There are restrictions on the PR money and what it can be spent on. But like all government appropriations and expenditures, that expenditure gets abused and isn’t used exactly as was intended. It’s supposed to be money for preservation of wildlife habitat or most anything directly related to promoting and enhancing huntable wildlife, etc.

What would you say if I told you that also according to Smith, MDIFW is looking to use at least some of that money on gun and rifle ranges. No, really! Don’t get me wrong. I think having some rifle ranges around are a good thing but honestly, how high on the priority list of things “critical” is dumping money into game club’s rifle ranges?

Smith says, “The Department may also spend some of the new PR funds on the acquisition of wildlife habitat.” Gosh, am I mistaken or wasn’t it just a short time ago that deer hunting was never going to recover unless the state did something about protecting habitat? This coming directly from MDIFW. And wasn’t it just awhile ago that the state was arguing over whether the Governor should appropriate some general fund money to pay for predator reduction? And wasn’t the concern over where the money would come from to continue the effort as all agreed it had to be ongoing to be effective? And what ever has become of Maine’s Plan for Deer? Wasn’t the lament that the plan might be good but where in hell was the money going to come from?

And now MDIFW thinks the need for improved rifle ranges is more important than what has come before?

I just don’t get it. Is this a bit of sour grapes that the Governor doesn’t want to use the money to hire more wildlife officials to count butterflies, bats and look out for piping plovers and so MDIFW has decided to spend the money on something that probably ought to be handled by the private sector, especially at a time when money is tight all over. In your face?

Isn’t it a matter of priorities and sound, sensible investment. A loss of a deer herd and the hunting industry will cost the state millions of dollars. Using this money toward that goal, of which the plans are drawn and everything ready, only makes sense; not improving rifle ranges. Not now!

Is MIDFW still praying global warming is going to take care of the deer problem? That’s my bet.

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New Report Shows Hunter Participation Increasing

MISSOULA, Mont. – ?A new report that shows more people are hunting is good news for conservation, according to the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.

The just-released 2011 National Survey of Hunting, Fishing, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation shows 13.7 million people, or 6 percent of the U.S. population age 16 and older, went hunting last year. That marks a 9 percent increase over 2006, reversing a previous downward trend.

?”This is great news for everyone in the hunting and conservation community,”? said David Allen, RMEF president and CEO. ?”But it?s even better news for our conservation efforts to protect and improve habitat for elk and other wildlife. We strongly believe that hunting is conservation. This is also a reflection of the importance of our hunting legacy of the past and our hunting heritage as we look to the future.”?

Thanks to hunter-generated dollars, RMEF protected or enhanced more than 6.1 million acres of wildlife habitat. RMEF also recently added ?hunting heritage? to its mission statement, reaffirming a commitment to ensuring a future for wildlife conservation through hunter-based support.

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service data show hunters spent $34 billion last year on equipment, licenses, trips and other items to support their hunting activities. If you break down the numbers, sportsmen and women spent $10.4 billion on trip-related expenditures, $14 billion on equipment such as guns, camping items and 4-wheel drives, and $9.6 billion on licenses, land leasing and ownership and stamps.

?”The more hunters spend on firearms, ammunition, bows, arrows and hunting licenses and permits, the more money is generated to provide the necessary funding for successful science-based wildlife management across the United States,?” added Allen.

Here are some brief highlights from the report:

? 13.7 million hunters in 2011 compared to 12.5 million in 2006 (9 percent increase)
? Hunters spent an average of 21 days in the field
? 1.8 million 6 to 15 year olds hunted in 2011
? Big game attracted 11.6 million hunters (8 percent increase since 2006)
? Hunting-related expense increased 30 percent since 2006
? The overall participation of hunters increased more than 5 percent since 2001
? Total hunter expenditures increased 27 percent since 2001
? Expenditures by hunters, anglers & wildlife-recreationists were $145 billion or 1 percent of gross domestic product

The 2011 FWS report contains preliminary numbers. Read it in its entirety at the link below:

http://www.doi.gov/news/pressreleases/upload/FWS-National-Preliminary-Report-2011.pdf

The final report is due in November. An FWS preliminary report containing data from the states is due out later this month.

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Open Thread – August 16, 2012

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

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Maine Fish and Game Fixes Poorly Crafted 2011 Bear Harvest Report

A few days ago I posted an article about the 2011 Maine black bear harvest report from the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW). In that report I said, “In addition, the quality of the blurry post on the MDIFW website appears to be that of a second grader. Is it possible that someone’s dog ate their homework? Maybe MDIFW has spent so much money on non game programs and watching bears sleep in winter dens, they can no longer afford to post quality reports on their website? Should we expect the website to be taken down soon also?”

And yes, I was chastised, once again, by some who thought I was being too hard on the folks at MDIFW. Whether I was or wasn’t, it appears MDIFW agreed that the report lacked the quality typical of what you would find on the website. The blurry, gray and black report was removed and replaced with clear and sharp text and a dash of subtle coloring to assist in distinguishing between numbers, etc.

Thank you MDIFW for doing this and keep that dog away from your homework!

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Open Thread – August 15, 2012

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

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