January 23, 2019

The Epitome of Government Irony

I just received this statement from a reader of this blog:

“Isn’t It Ironic?

The food stamp program, part of the Department of Agriculture, is pleased to be distributing the greatest amount of food stamps ever. And, they spend thousands of our tax dollars encouraging others to apply.

Meanwhile, the Park Service, also part of the Department of Agriculture, asks us to “please do not feed the animals” because the animals may grow dependent and not learn to take care of themselves.”

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Will Higher Prices for Coyote Fur Do For Deer What Wildlife Managers Won’t Do?

Maine and some other states have too many coyotes. As a result, in some of those states, like Maine, too many coyotes is contributing to a drastic reduction in whitetail deer populations. Too many predators combined with a couple of bad winters and wildlife management programs that protect large predators rather than control them, have all contributed to the problem.

I reported just the other day that the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) had somehow dug up $50,000 to pay expenses to hire trained hunters and trappers to go to specified deer wintering areas and kill coyotes. However, so far, spending $9,500 has only seen the death of 52 coyotes, or about $180 apiece.

Last night I sent out an email to a small contingency of Maine hunter/trapper experts. From one of those people I got back the following response which was not directly related to the question I asked.

Tom,

If coyote prices stay where there at the trappers will have them harvested to there lowest numbers since coming to Maine. One trapper in Princeton got $92 a piece for two of his yotes and overall had over a $50 average. I predict we will see a big difference in two years on our deer herd.

I have to admit this caught me off guard. I am not a trapper but I do fully support the activity as I see trapping and hunting as both integral parts of wildlife management. I had no idea the price of coyote fur had risen so much. Usually the comments are that it was difficult to get people out to hunt and trap coyotes because the fur prices were worth nothing, rendering the effort a waste of time.

To help me out, another reader sent me links to information about fur prices. The Maine Trappers Association (MTA) has early season fur prices from different regions posted. And at the website, Trapping Today, there exist extensive reports on fur prices to include one report that lists auction prices for coyotes running between $63 and $69 dollars.

I had suggested in that earlier report that perhaps Maine could better spend what little money they had and just pay out the $50,000 in bounty fees of $100 per coyote on a first come, first served basis. Imagine if you will if coyote prices remained at or above $50 a pelt in conjunction with a $50 bounty? At those prices, I would have to agree with the one gentleman who predicted that there would be a big difference in Maine’s deer herd after a couple years.

If coyote fur prices were to remain at very high levels, this event all by itself would accomplish what no fish and game department is willing to do or has the ability to do.

Bring on high fur prices!

Tom Remington

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Maine Warden and His Dog Find Body of Missing Florida Firefighter

From the Bangor Daily News, a report comes that the body of a missing Florida man was found in the woods near the small town of Newburgh, Maine.

A portion of that report states that:

Ten Maine game wardens and about 20 others began searching for the body in Newburgh about 8 a.m. Wednesday. Game Warden Norman Lewis of Bryant Pond and his dog Clyde found the body around 9:30 a.m. about 150 feet off a short woods road that runs off Dahlia Farm Road, authorities said.

I know Norman Lewis and his family and have for a few years. I also have had the pleasure of meeting his dog and close friend “Clyde”. Below is a photo of Mr. Lewis and Clyde, when Clyde was just a puppy. I believe the photo I took at Albany Hunting Camp in November of 2009, when Norm and Clyde stopped in for a visit.

Clyde, not unlike any dog, was as much interested in what was available to table scraps as anything. However, he was well-behaved and Norm Lewis spent a great deal of time bragging on about Clyde, as anyone in this position would be expected to do.

Lewis and Clyde were teamed up when Clyde was very young. They have a special bond.


Photo by Tom Remington

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Interior Department Puts Hit Out on Barred Owls, Proving Folly of Endangered Species Regulations

Occupy Occupy D.C. Calls for Cease Fire in Obama’s War on Nature

Washington, D.C. – Members of the National Center for Public Policy Research’s “Occupy Occupy D.C.” street team will rally against the Obama Administration’s new policy to kill the barred owl in deference to the spotted owl in the Pacific Northwest on Thursday at noon in Washington D.C.’s Freedom Plaza (13th and Pennsylvania Avenue NW).

“After decades of sidelining the once-thriving American timber industry and taking the food out of the mouths of loggers’ children to allegedly protect the spotted owl, the green bureaucracy is still not happy and has declared war on the environment,” said David Almasi, executive director of the National Center for Public Policy Research and director of the National Center’s “Occupy Occupy D.C.” project. “One owl is being sacrificed for another. Where is the respect for the laws of nature? The one thing we do know from this travesty is that the Endangered Species Act is out-of-control and desperately needs to be reformed.”

After more than two decades of setting aside millions of acres of woodland and dramatically scaling back the forestry industry in Washington, Oregon and California, the amount of spotted owls – which are designated as endangered under the Endangered Species Act – has declined by approximately 40 percent. A new plan has been announced by the U.S. Department of the Interior in which the genetically-similar barred owl is designated as a threat to the spotted owl and will be targeted for termination. Hundreds of barred owls may be executed by shotgun under the federal directive.”

National Center staff will rally at Freedom Plaza over the noon hour with (simulated) owls and loggers to protest the new animal vs. animal wildlife policy.

“Obama has picked winners and losers when it comes to bailouts, handouts and where we can get our energy. Now he’s playing God by favoring one animal over another. What arrogance,” added the National Center’s Almasi. “Virtually shutting down the timber industry in the Pacific Northwest didn’t work, so now the plan is to shut down the barred owl. This is unreasonable, and the answer is to rethink our government’s unsustainable endangered species regulations.”

The National Center has obtained a five-week permit for Freedom Plaza to share Freedom Plaza with left-wing “Occupy D.C.” protesters. Since February 13, it has sponsored noontime events every weekday.

The National Center for Public Policy Research, founded in 1982, is a non-partisan, free-market, independent conservative think-tank with over 100,000 recent supporters. Contributions to it are tax-deductible and greatly appreciated.

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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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