November 18, 2019

Maine’s Bear Hunt Falls Short of Harvest “Hope and Change”

Understanding that the Maine black bear hunting season is not yet over and what is left generally produces very little increase in the the total harvest, it appears that the black bear harvest will fall far short of hoped-for numbers.

According to the live harvest data on the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife’s (MDIFW) web page, the current black bear harvest stands at 2,241, nearly 1,100 short of last years total bear harvest. Compared with the last 5 years, it appears this year’s take will come up well short of that average.

Yes, the blame will be placed on the reality that there was abundant natural food for the bears and history seems to have taught us that because baiting of bears is the most successful way to take them, when there is abundant natural food, bears aren’t so much interested in a bait pile.

Okay, so we get that. Isn’t this another thing that, as game managers, we have no control over? And because we have no control over certain things, isn’t it responsible to take better and different actions that would better guarantee that a bear harvest would meet harvest goals as part of a responsible management program?

One might think.

But, the MDIFW and the Maine Legislature have failed, once again, to take any meaningful and responsible action to make sure that the bear harvest meets goals necessary to keep the population in check so as not to continue to increase public safety issues as well as the impact bears are having on the dwindling deer population (even though managers are telling us there are plenty of deer) in parts of the state where the bear population is very healthy numbers wise. There is a correlation…isn’t there?

The Maine Legislature either would not pass or postponed any action to address the burgeoning bear population. As I asked earlier, is the Maine Legislature liable for damages, injuries, and death caused by an irresponsibly grown population of black bears? Is the MDIFW liable because they refuse to buck the outfitters and guides in the state who refuse to work with the state in reasonable ways and responsibleness to bring the bear population in check?

I walk down the street. I see a hole. I fall in it………..

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Maine Moose History and Shucking Bears

A couple of issues jumped out at me that I found reading two articles published in Maine newspapers recently. The first had to do with an article in the Bangor Daily News about the history of Maine’s moose and their moose hunt.

The article presents a timeline of events that began with how unregulated moose killing led to the end of all moose hunting, ending with the present day limited moose hunt lottery. The article, as written, states: 1980: Changes in forest practices, including clear-cutting, have provided moose with more habitat and food sources, and the herd shows signs of consistent growth.”

This is actually a partially inaccurate statement. Yes, there were changes in forest practices that have been ongoing, but everyone knows that it was the event of the outbreak of the spruce budworm and the resulting clear-cutting in efforts to salvage as much timber as possible that provided millions of acres of prime moose habitat. There was so much habitat as a result that Maine grew an artificially high population of moose. (Note: This same event and resulting clear-cuts, also provided false growths in rabbits, the prime food source for Canada lynx. And yes, the clear-cuts caused a false growth in Canada lynx and as these clear-cuts change, we are still attempting to artificially grow the number of Canada lynx.)

Two things have been happening since. First, because of man’s greed and ignorance, we attempted, and still are, to sustain a moose population approaching 100,000 animals. Mother Nature responded by knocking that population down with winter ticks providing an unnecessary and tormenting way to die for moose – wasted meat that would have provided some Maine families with nutritious food. Second, it’s been nearly 50 years since the spruce budworm and much of that prime habitat has changed.

In short, Maine’s generous uptick in moose numbers was an accident and not simply due to man’s efforts at management.

The second issue I found was in George Smith’s article about not needing to be scared of bears. George tells stories of some of his and his families’ dealings with black bears, and in one case of how he gathered up the family to run down to the shore of the lake to be there when a mother bear and two of her cubs came swimming across the lake.

George’s stories are presented as cute, fun, exciting, and never a serious word of caution. All the stories and accounts the author tells are probably true, but, what of that one time when a person, or family, due to “cute, fun, and exciting,” find themselves in a position where the mother bear will do whatever it feels is necessary to protect her cubs? Then what? Oh, yeah, yell.

Even domestic animals can be unpredictable but this is seldom, if ever, taught to our children. The family dog or the neighbor’s cat are always seen by people, children in particular because of how they are taught, as always approachable, never looking for signs that might indicate to stay away or having been taught that because they are animals they are unpredictable.

This incorrect teaching and attitude that animals are nothing but cute, fun, and exciting, it what causes those “rare” occasions when animal attacks person.

Perhaps instead of saying that there is no need to be scared of bears, we should be a bit more honest with ourselves and those around us and say that we don’t need to be scared but because it is an animal, and a potentially vicious predator, we need to be respectfully cautious, assuming that we might be treading where the bear, or other animal, may not want us to be.

Maybe then, those “rare” instances will become even rarer.

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Grizzly Bears, The Courts, The Government, The RIGGED SYSTEM

Reinstatement of ESA Listing for the Grizzly Bear in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem in Compliance With Court Order

SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), are issuing this final rule to comply with a court order that had the effect of reinstating the regulatory protections under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (ESA), for the grizzly bear (Ursus arctos horribilis) in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE). Thus, this final rule is required to reflect the change effected by that order to the GYE grizzly bear population’s status on the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife. DATES: This action is effective July 31, 2019. However, the court order had legal effect immediately upon being filed on September 24, 2018.<<<Read More>>>

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Maine Bears and Wildlife Managers: Dither, Dither, Dither

It seems that when Rome burned, all the people managed to do was stand and watch. Wildlife managers and Maine legislators seem content to stand and watch, dithering away as the black bear population continues to grow and no real action taken to do much of anything about it.

One has to wonder if the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) is incapable of doing their job due to fear of lawsuits and the pressures they receive from environmentalists, animal rights groups, animal protectionists, hunting haters, and haters in general.

We know that MDIFW is pretty much controlled by the outfitters and guides who tell the department how, when, and where the bear will be hunted. That needs to end.

For many years managers have spoken publicly of the need to do something about a rapidly growing bear population and since the beginning of those discussions, nothing has been done to limit the growth.

MDIFW claims that the only way they can get enough bears killed to somewhat limit the growth is by allowing baiting of bears. The act of baiting and hunters sitting over that bait to shoot and kill bears is not a very popular activity, especially among non hunters. According to the last two referendum votes to end bear baiting, the majority of voters indicated that they believe the MDIFW when they said it was a necessary tool to help control the bear population.

The Maine Legislature is also dithering on any actions suggested to battle the growing bear population and so the non action continues. Until when or what happens?

We now read that Maine has decided to put off another useless study in attempts to discover what affects baiting bears with human food has on the bears and in particular the rate of growth in population. I don’t really think some scientismist’s fake study, rooted in romance biology, and outcome-based is necessary. A simple examination of mathematical numbers would do the trick.

Most bears taken during the hunting season are taken over bait. Last season 3,486 bears were harvested. 2,484 were taken over bait. Officially, Maine claims there are 35,000 bears roaming about the woods. As those estimates go, there is no doubt that number is a low estimate. Guesses in excess of 40,000 would probably not be that far off. So, with approximately .6% of bears being fed human food, kick me if I’m wrong, I have serious doubts that feeding .6% of bears human food for one month out of the year is having any serious impact on the bears. Certainly we shouldn’t be wasting money on something so stupid just to appease the animal rights people.

With each passing season and more dithering taking place, combined with the reality that the bear harvest continues to fall below target goals and the number of hunters decreasing, one has to wonder what kinds of diseases will take over the bear population and do the job of reducing numbers the managers and legislators of this state can’t seem to get around to doing. In the meantime we up the risk of bear/human conflict pushing the envelope of public safety and health.

Is it so difficult to simply up the bag limit to two bears, excluding having to take one by trapping? Come on man!

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Deer Baiting Should Be Used Like Bear Baiting

George Smith in the Bangor Daily News, posted testimony from Rep. Paul Stearns arguing in favor of a bill that would allow for deer baiting. It appears not many people are in favor of such.

Stearns gives several reasons baiting of deer should be allowed, the most of which I disagree with. I have voiced opinion in the past that it seems ridiculous that it is legal to grow a crop specifically for deer to eat and then, while you can’t directly hunt “over” that crop you can hunt “near” it.

Maine allows for baiting of bear. The reason is that it is believed that baiting bear increases the success rate of harvesting a bear. This, at the current bear management strategy, is a desirable thing as the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) has too many bears and management wants numbers reduced. This should be understandable but that is not always the case.

Does Maine have too many deer? Not by a long shot. However, there are some places in Maine that do have far too many deer. Many of these places do not get hunted and in some cases won’t get hunted for various reasons. It would seem that in such cases, allowing baiting of deer, to draw them to a shooting zone, would be an appropriate use of the tactic. Isn’t this what so-called “sharp shooters” do when hired to cull deer?

It makes sense that if the MDIFW retains as a management tool the authority to allow bear baiting, then shouldn’t they also retain the authority to allow deer baiting, or any other species, when the demands of responsible control and management of a species is necessary?

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The Deaf Maine Legislature

The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) has been trying (I’m not sure how hard) to find ways to reduce the overblown black bear population in much of the State of Maine. During the debate that surrounded the last assault by animal rights groups to eliminate bear hunting, the MDIFW repeatedly told Maine voters that Maine had too many bears and it was causing a problem…including a public safety issue.

Voters must have understood and agreed that hunting was the best way to manage and control game populations and for the second time, they voted down a referendum to end bear hunting. Evidently the Maine Legislature had their heads inserted deep into regions of darkness and smelly air.

Proposed bills that would have taken steps to reduce bear populations, were either shot down by the legislature or postponed. In essence, nothing has changed and Maine will continue to be pestered by nuisance bears…such as the one in the picture below taken by my next door neighbor.

I wonder if the Maine Legislature is now liable for serious injury or death to the public by bear by refusing to take action?

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Denial of Bear Behavior

In an article in the Bangor Daily News, a writer tells of how one area of Maine has become a hot spot for Spring bear encounters as the bears search for food after a long winter of prolonged diet.

Unfortunately, ignorance of bear behavior places people in danger of more serious encounters or attacks by hungry bears. The article states: “I don’t feel threatened by him, but I would not go out and try to pet him, no. We both respect him. You have to respect them and keep your distance. I have had so many people tell me that he will come through your door, he will come through your windows, but we use common sense, too. We don’t treat them like pets.”

The first thing to understand is that a hungry bear doesn’t much care about how you feel about them. Becoming acclimated to a source of food outside your house, means the next step will be to get a taste of some of that savory smelling foods from inside. Bears will easily go through screen windows and break doors and bust up glass if they are intent on the food inside. When they decide to do that, I hope the bears only go after the good smelling food and not the humans in the house.

I guess it’s some sort of human gesture to say you “respect” the bears, use “common sense” and “don’t treat them like pets.” But seriously, do you think a bear has the reasoning powers to understand that you respect them and are using common sense? It might sound like a good explanation for bad behavior but a hungry bear isn’t interested in your feelings toward them.

And on another note, when will writers stop insisting that bear attacks are rare? Rare as compared to what? Feeding bears out your back door causes the risk of a bear attack to go up exponentially and therefore the event is far from rare.

Every time a writer or a wildlife biologist suggests that bear attacks are rare, the signal is sent out that there is little to be concerned with. What should be of concern is someone feeding bears in their backyard, believing the chances of something happening as “rare” while having “respect,” “using common sense,” and “not treating them like pets.” Rare is gone out the window.

To feed bears, as pets, and then state that they don’t treat them as pets, shows the ignorance that will, eventually, land them in trouble. I hope it is not serious when it happens.

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Maine Spring Bear Hunt: “Sensible Wildlife Methodology”

It is a rare thing these days to read articles published by outdoor writers who do not necessarily shy aware from approaching wildlife management from a position of sense and sensibility, while at the same time promoting a proven scientific method of doing so, discarding fear and trembling from Environmentalism’s threats of lawsuits and their totalitarian desires to force all others to their perverted lifestyles.

V. Paul Reynolds, former information officer for the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW), editor of the Northwoods Sporting Journal, and radio host of “Maine Outdoors,” discusses a possible spring bear hunt for the State of Maine.

In his last paragraph he writes: “Maine bear biologists are advocating for a spring bear hunt as a way to better manage our state bear population. To shy away from this sensible wildlife methodology simply out of political concerns would be demonstrating a lack of moral courage and represent a compromising rebuke of state wildlife biologists, the professionals we depend upon to scientifically manage our wildlife.” (emboldening added)

Operating from a position of fear from lawsuits and social demands is a sure formula for the destruction of any fish and game management department. Wildlife management is and should be a methodology of proven scientific approach with consideration given to public safety; never making decisions based on politics.

The only hope left for the salvation of our once valued fish and game heritage is a return to the same proven methods.

The MDIFW and the Maine Legislature have shied away from making any bear management decisions based on the need to better control the bear population more out of concern for lawsuits from the animal rights groups and environmentalists than a scientific approach. As they dither and doddle a public safety issue grows more intense and there should be concern for the health of the animal as well.

I implore the MDIFW and the Maine Legislature to cast aside the social demands and threats from lawsuits and do what is right…for a change. It’s time to get serious about responsible wildlife management before such negligence casts a dark shadow over innocents.

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Too Many Bears, Too Little Effort, Too Much Fear

Rome may be burning to the ground and those charged with the authority to stop it dither and doddle. Maine is swimming in bears and even though the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) expresses their “concerns” over a bear population that needs to be reduced, one effort that would have given the commission of the MDIFW authority to make adjustments to bear hunting, trapping seasons, and bag limits, was set aside until next year’s legislative session. I wonder if these clowns on the left and clowns on the right will feel any guilt when someone gets killed by a hungry bear?

Not likely, you might say. And last evening I glimpsed a video someone took while riding up the chair lift at Sunday River Ski Resort in Newry, Maine. On the ski trail that ran under their lift, a mother bear and her two cubs meandered about the packed trail, I suppose fresh out of hibernation and looking for a quick meal. Anyone interested in testing that hypothesis? I didn’t think so.

Perhaps it’s time for education courses on how to “Look Big” in case you are attacked by a hungry bear. And now we must add to that instruction now to “Look Big” while schussing down the ski trails. What next?

According to George Smith, Maine outdoor writer, discussion on the proposed bill that would have given the commissioner authority to manipulate seasons and bag limits, was lengthy but ended in tabling any decisions until next year.

MDIFW’s new commissioner said, “…the agency is concerned about the growing population of bears, and their goal would be to stabilize that population.” We can only assume that means it’s time to do something besides talk about it…or maybe not. If there is “concern” does that mean the bear population hasn’t risen to levels that threaten public safety…like bears running around the middle of a ski resort?

And here’s the chicken, environmentalist answer to the problem when Maine Rep. John Martin said, “…if the committee gave the department this authority, including the possibility that bear trapping would be expanded, it would provoke another ballot measure to ban bear trapping.”

With comments such as this one, I have to ask myself a few questions and I hope you do too. I want to know if members of the Committee on Inland Fisheries and Wildlife are there to do the bidding for the environmentalists and their cohort animal rights activists? I also want to know if there is more value put on the threatening of lawsuits than on the welfare of a human life? There is no intelligent thought that remains anymore.

By now any politician, voter, or commissioner of the MDIFW should know and understand that because they exist is reason enough for radical animal rights groups and environmentalists to bring a lawsuit in order to force the rest of us to cave in and follow their perverse lifestyle. Here we see members of the Committee giving them what they want and it’s cheaper than a lawsuit or another referendum vote. It is for reasons of comments such as this one that the MDIFW has resorted to making wildlife management decisions based on social demands…which include the threat of lawsuits.

In the meantime, what are we to tell the families of those who get injured or killed from marauding bears, driven by hunger and emboldened by loss of fear of humans? Sorry, but we were afraid of a lawsuit from environmentalists. It’s not my fault.

Now the Maine Legislature must concern themselves with lawsuits from families of injured and dead members due to malpractice and negligence. I suppose that’s better than pissing off an environmentalist who wants to stop the world from doing most things the rest of us enjoy doing. It’s no wonder interest in hunting, fishing, and trapping is dwindling away to nothing.

Maybe it’s time that these mostly useless politicians made decisions based on science (not scientism), or social demands and threats of lawsuits, and did what was RIGHT for a change. And while they are at it, how about making those RIGHT decisions based upon something other than the demands of guides and outfitters.

There is little hope.

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Contracting With Incompetents For Bear Management

I was reading testimony provided by the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) on proposed legislation LD 1118, a bill that would give the commissioner authority to manipulate bear hunting/trapping rules in order to better manage the growth of black bears in certain areas.

In that testimony, MDIFW wrote: “…are contracting with Cornell University to develop a new population model for bears…”

This all sounds innocent enough and perhaps even a good thing that MDIFW would reach out to higher institutes of “learning” (cough, cough) until you consider just who it is they are reaching out to (contracting) and their track record of doing some really damned stupid things when it comes to biological manipulations to control the growth of deer in certain places.

First consider their demise when Cornell University attempted to control the deer population on the campus and adjacent university property. This all began when the university, or at least the mental midgets in charge of whatever it was they thought they were going to do, promoted the belief that deer are possessed with “reproductive health is a cervine right.”

Yeah, I know. Where once anyone would and should be the laughing stock of the world to suggest that animals should have the same rights as people. What’s even more bizarre is that while delusional people are bestowing human rights on animals, they are working feverishly to take away human rights. Does that make sense to you?

So, Cornell, in their infinite wisdom (add a chuckle or two here), bestowing reproductive rights on deer, decided to gather up all the female deer on the campus and give them all a “tubal ligation,” i.e. get their tubes tied.

Evidently, to the brainless wonders of higher environmental indoctrination, they didn’t realize that a tubal ligation would do little to stop the female deer from entering estrus (a condition that indicates to every male deer within smelling distance a deer is ready to be bred). A female deer will essentially remain in heat until conception is completed. As a result, the attempt to reduce the deer population ended up increasing due to the mass migration of bucks to the campus, in much the same way as men show up in masses at a all women college.

Having learned absolutely nothing (or any misguided individual might think more reproductive rights need to be administered), Cornell decided to try a different approach on Staten Island. Here, the University coughed up $3.3 million dollars to give all the male deer (their turn this time around) a vasectomy.

With all the male deer having been denied their real reproductive rights, as were the female deer from the previous malpractice, they could never complete conception of the hundreds of does in heat. In a previous report on this event, I considered the fact that the male deer on Staten Island might all drop dead from….uh…well, you might get the picture? I hope.

So, these are the trials and tribulations of attempts at wildlife management from one of this country’s more prestigious learning institutions and now the MDIFW has contracted with them in developing a “new population model for bears.” If things go according to historic disasters, perhaps Maine can look forward to ten times the number of bears they have now. Or, perhaps within this “model” Cornell can devise a way so that bears won’t hibernate.

Don’t bears have the right to be awake year round? Sleeping through added reproduction periods might be considered a denial of rights.

I hope the MDIFW knows what they are doing…er…uh…or something.

And who is paying these clowns and at what expense?

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