April 25, 2019

Maine Fish and Game’s Bundle of Contradictions About Bear Behavior

These “Bear Facts” were found in an article published in Seacoast Online from the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife:

Bear facts

According to the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, the black bear is the smallest of three species of bears inhabiting North America, and is the only bear living in the eastern United States. Although most black bears are not much larger than humans, their weight can vary tremendously with the season of the year.

Adult males can average 250 to 600 pounds, and measure 5 to 6 feet tall from nose to tail. Females are smaller, weighing 100 to 400 pounds, and measuring 4 to 5 feet in length.

If you come in contact with a bear, back away slowly, make yourself big by putting your arms over your head, make noise, and head indoors.

There is a misconception, said Doug Rafferty, director of public information and education for the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, that a bear would want to harm a human, when their primary goal is food.

“No bear wants to eat a man because a man doesn’t taste all that good to a bear. A bear is hungry. His fight or flight response is based on hunger and whether or not he’s trapped or cornered. He generally doesn’t want to even be around a human,” Rafferty said. “Although the thing you have to remember, is that given the proper circumstances, any bear will attack. These animals are wild, you’ve got to stay away from them.”

I just don’t get it and probably never will. How can anybody state that “no bear wants to eat a man” and then turn around in the same paragraph and claim that under “proper circumstances, any bear will attack”? Why is it necessary to somehow dumb down and mislead people by saying stupid things about bears that can’t be proven when the only things that drive a bear and their habits are circumstances? Why can’t these fish and game and environmental organizations use the same amount of resources to explain to the people what those circumstances are that would drive a bear to attack you?

First, Rafferty claims that it’s a misconception that a bear would want to harm a human, when their primary goal is food. The misconception here is that the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife is presenting a misconception that a bear wouldn’t harm a human. Bears harm humans more often when they are looking for food. MDIFW seems to be attempting to tell people that bears WILL NOT harm humans when they are looking for food. When there is ample food that bears prefer, we seldom have occurrence to even lay eyes on a bear. But if a bear gets hungry enough, it will eat whatever it can get and yes, under the right circumstances, a bear will choose a human as a target for food.

Those circumstances might include but not limited to or necessarily need to be all inclusive: A bear coming out of winter hibernation is very hungry; there is little or no food available for the bear in its “natural” habitat; a bear, usually a young male, has been forced away from its mother and is in search of food and a new place to live and gets hungry; a bear that has become habituated around humans. They have lost their fear of humans and have determined humans are not a threat to them and perhaps have even tested enough to plan how to attack.

There are also those circumstances when a human may become or is perceived by a mother bear as a threat to her young and/or herself. Bears can also become startled and immediately feel threatened. If they know they can easily and quickly escape, chances are they will but don’t bet your life on it.

And don’t forget some old bears just become crotchety old bastards and will come looking for some human flesh to munch on just for the heck of it.

The second claim made by MDIFW is that, “No bear wants to eat a man because a man doesn’t taste all that good to a bear.” I mean, seriously? Give us the data on that one, okay! When I read this, in my mind I’m envisioning the Geico commercial on television, where people are asked to sample two drinks. One is sweet, the other bitter. When asked which drink they prefer, they pick the sweet one, of course, and the person reveals they picked the drink of Geico Insurance. So, did MDIFW sit down and offer a bear a barrel full of Dunkin Donuts and Hershey chocolate bars and then a pound of human rump roast and determined the bear didn’t care much for human flesh?

Probably the most intelligent bit of information in the “Bear Facts” is found in the last two sentences, “given the proper circumstances, any bear will attack. These animals are wild, you’ve got to stay away from them”. That’s great advice. The rest of it is mumbo-jumbo nonsense. If MDIFW would now just spell out what circumstances, I think then it might help people to understand why they need to stay away from wild bears.

There’s no need to run around in fear of bears but there’s also no need to be spoon-fed dumb stuff like humans don’t taste good to bears. Please!

Tom Remington

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Open Thread – June 7, 2012

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“When I’m Calling You-oooooooooooooooooooooo”


Photo Provided by Richard Paradis

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Milt’s Corner Photography – High Water Lupine

It appears the Maine lupine are getting a good drink of water during the high waters of late. This photo appears that the lupine aren’t minding the water at all.


Milt Inman Photo

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Open Thread – June 6, 2012

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With No Signs of Deer Population Recovery, Maine Increases “Any-Deer” Permits 29%

Each spring, the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) claims to crunch their data and do very serious contemplating to come up with how many “Any-Deer” Permits to issue for each of the state’s Wildlife Management Districts (WMD). Allotment of “Any-Deer” Permits is the only tool used by MDIFW to regulate the growth, up or down, of the whitetail deer herd. In theory, if the department wants to lower a deer population in a given WMD, it issues more permits. In the reverse, if the state needs to grow a population, provided that population is not beyond sustainability, the number of permits issued will be reduced.

With the State of Maine still trying to figure out what it is going to do to rebuild the deer herd in geographically two-thirds of the state, the MDIFW has decided it will increase the number of “Any-Deer” Permits by 29%. Granted there still remains no permits issued in those areas deemed to be the most severely affected by predator annihilation of deer (MDIFW will not admit this), but my jaw is left agape to learn that MDIFW has decided to increase the number of permits in the rest of the state, when just 2 years ago MIDFW admitted their shock to discover, through aerial counting, most of Maine’s WMDs contained fewer deer than guesstimated. Combine that with the fact that deer harvest over the past three seasons has remained flat and at near record level lows and any sane person wants to ask, “What in the hell are they doing?”

Is this action about finding ways to increase revenue to MDIFW at the risk of further depleting the deer herd in the rest of the state, or is this about building the herd to carrying capacity and managing for a healthy herd?

Poor deer management, somewhat the result of MDIFW using funds for nongame programs that should have been going to keep a better watch on the deer herd, has resulted in a state that has become most undesirable to out-of-state hunters, costing MIDFW and the state hundreds of thousands of dollars. Now, clamoring to find funding to pay MDIFW salaries and benefits, is the fish and game department willing to further deplete the deer population in order to meet budgetary demands? It appears that way.

The only explanation, so far, given as to the reason for the increase in permits, is found on the official rule changed issued by the MDIFW and signed by Commissioner Woodcock.

This statement claims that the reason for increasing the permits would be to “enable populations in central Maine to track more quickly towards population goals and objectives.” From this then we are to conclude that MDIFW’s objective is to reduce deer populations in central Maine. How can this be? Only two years ago, these deer numbers were below objective. Does MDIFW want the deer herd reduced to levels where another winter or two of extreme cold and heavy snow pack would wipe them out again? Are they really relying on a return of global warming to do the job for them?

I am quite certain that MDIFW will claim, as they did after waiting nearly 5 months for the deer harvest data, that the decrease in harvest of deer was the result of a reduction in “Any-Deer” Permits. While I contend that may have contributed to that reduction it certainly was not the sole reason.

This move by MDIFW, coming smack dab in the middle of a troubling time, when the Maine people are wondering when, if ever, they will see a return to a healthy deer population, deserves a better, more detailed and precise explanation for their decision to do this. But don’t hold your breath. They are notorious for sticking their noses high in the air and refusing to provide the information, that if accurate and scientifically based, would help put doubts to rest, and forcing sportsmen to continue distrusting the MDIFW.

One has to wonder if deer management has become an unwanted task at MDIFW and if they can figure a way to finish destroying the deer herd, their money and efforts can be more focused on counting bats, identifying butterflies, growing their love affair with predators and saving piping plovers.

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Open Thread – June 5, 2012

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Maine’s Wolf Lover DeJoy and His Claptrap About Coyotes

Daryl DeJoy is executive director of the Wildlife Alliance of Maine. In an OPINION piece published in the Bangor Daily News, Dejoy starts at the very beginning and until the very end, fills his piece with claptrap about coyotes. It’s either his opinion or information from agenda-driven environmental groups who have paid for results from fraudulent studies about coyote behavior. Nothing DeJoy writes can be substantiated and I will not waste my time refuting all of his claims, they are so ridiculous.

It is only noteworthy to point out that this is simply an opinion piece and nothing more.

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Open Thread – June 4, 2012

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Open Thread – June 2, 2012

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