December 10, 2019

All The Wrong Excuses Why Bears in Maine Are Showing up in Your Back Yard

I’ve reported previously that Maine has a bear problem and part of that problem is being exemplified in the presence of the beasts showing up in people’s back yards at a rate far exceeding last year’s. The reasons given and appearing in the regular press I don’t think addresses at all part of the problem, i.e. that there are just too many black bears in Maine.

In yesterday’s Bangor Daily News, Nick Sambides, Jr. reported that bears were frequenting neighborhoods in the Millinocket region and in particular downtown. What should be confusing, as well as dishonest, to the people is what is being relayed to the people as to why there are more bear encounters.

As is written in the Bangor News piece, it appears the more popular excuse du jour is that Maine had an early spring and a late berry crop forcing hungry bears to raid people’s bird feeders, trash bins and barbecue grills. However, in this same report, Sambides writes: “Bolduc [police chief] speculated that bears were foraging in town for food because of an early spring and a late berry bloom caused by the unusually wet weather. Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife officials, however, have said that bear food is plentiful in the woods.”

So, which is it? Is there plenty of food for bears in the woods, or are there no berries or other food to satisfy the creatures? Perhaps there’s all there usually is to satisfy a bear except there are just too many bears competing for a limited amount of food leaving some hungrier than normal.

Perhaps it’s time to revisit the idea of an increased bear hunt and get the numbers back to reasonable levels.


Bearing the Burden of Beastly Bears, Banal Balderdash and Bully Bobbies

Reports are everywhere these days of people seeing bears in their yards and attacking their bird feeders, rummaging through garbage and even tearing down flagpoles to get a bird feeder. So far, even though reports of human/bear encounters is nearly double that of last year at this same time, nobody has gotten hurt in Maine. This is not the case in nearby New Hampshire, where a woman was slashed by a bear when she opened her door to let her dog out.

The balderdash that is often spewed by wildlife officials and others is that bears won’t harm humans. We are told to keep our garbage inside and take bird feeders down, which is good advice, but it is not good advice to dismiss, off hand, the fact that bears can be quite unpredictable and are governed by circumstances that drive them to survive, including the search for food. Depending upon the severity of effects from such circumstances, it can place an individual in a very precarious situation if presented to a very hungry, protective or angry bear. Bear that in mind when outside.

In Penobscot, Maine, a resident is not only battling bears tearing up his property but he is feuding with the Maine Warden Service over whether such actions provides him the opportunity to shoot bears ripping down bird feeders, crushing his garbage cans and destroying his barbecue grill. The Warden Service said that kind of personal property isn’t considered personal property in which bears need to be destroyed to warrant killing the bear. The owner of the property thinks otherwise. He claims next time he’ll kill the bear and suffer the consequences of jail time and a fine.


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


Naked Vermont Gov. Reported to Have Been Chased by Bears While He Worked to Save His Bird Feeders

Vermont’s governor Peter Shumlin ran naked in his backyard while he heroically(?) attempt to save his bird feeders from the eminent doom of four hungry black bears.

You can’t make this stuff up.


Polar Bear Populations Healthy and Growing

Among the many stupid things President George W. Bush did during his two terms in office, the one “environmental” issue that stood out was when he and his administration decided to act irresponsibly and trust the computer modeling on climate change and list the polar bear as a “threatened” species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

To the rational world, it has now been pretty much decided that Al Gore’s trumped up man-made global warming is a farce, a scam and a real con job, bordering on criminal. Few disagree that our climate is changing but with gigantic distractions that Gore and his minions have created over the years, it has taken away from sound scientific research that will help us better and more quickly understand all things that factor into the equation of climate science.

The Bush Administration’s flawed and politically driven decision to list polar bears, which at the time reflected a population that was near record high levels, was all based on computer models that have basically a zero percent accuracy rate. Why anyone would trust these models is beyond rational thought, leaving us to conclude that the modeling is only for driving public opinion and promoting agendas.

At the time that the Bush Administration decided that global warming was so bad that polar bears would die in the near future (May 2008), the indoctrinated scientists promoting the evils of man and our destruction of the planet, predicted that by 2011 the number of polar bears in the Hudson Bay region would continue to drop from around 900 to 600. Doom and gloom!

We’ve passed 2011 and after the Nunavut Government Wildlife Management Department did a recent aerial count of the same doom and gloom Hudson Bay polar bears, they’ve estimated that population to be over one thousand.

We’re all going to die!


Maine Hunters Funding Efforts to Provide Moose Watching For Tourists

George Smith, former executive director for the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine, and current free-lance writer who covers many of Maine’s outdoor issues, filed a report on his blog yesterday about activities that took place at the meeting of the Joint Committee on Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

Part of Smith’s article included a report on moose by Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife’s (MDIFW), Lee Kantar, head deer and moose biologist.

Kantar claimed that Maine would be leading the nation in moose research and management and described new research initiatives, including surveys using Maine Forest Service helicopters and pilots………………..

“We’ve gone a long way… but it’s limited,” acknowledged Kantar. When asked by Rep. Jane Eberle how many moose we have, Kantar said he couldn’t answer that question definitively. But he did provide an estimate of 75,000 moose, a very high number that will embolden those calling for more hunting permits. Kantar warned against that, noting the importance of balancing all demands for moose from tourism to hunting.

There are a couple things to note in this information. If Kantar says he “estimates” 75,000, historically all wildlife biologists low ball estimates. So how many moose does Maine really have? 100,000? Regardless, at the rate the state is going the moose herd will soon outnumber the deer herd.

Which brings me to another point to be made. Yesterday I reported on efforts by the State of Maine to make the Moose Lottery more fair. In that article I suggested the idea of a mocked down version of the current “Any-Deer Permit” system, the only deer management policy the state employs. The question now becomes one of asking if a continued deer hunt in a shrinking deer herd is good enough for deer management, shouldn’t a short moose hunting season be good enough for moose management?

But the issue I wanted to point out is what is wrong with wildlife management today. Mr. Kantar states that Maine needs to be careful about killing more moose because it might mess with the “balancing all demands for moose from tourism to…..” Where is the science in that? Why are my license fees being used to provide moose watching opportunities while limiting my opportunities to hunt the game species I’m investing in? Maine is trying to generate tax revenue through tourism out of the wallets of the outdoor sportsmen. Where will it all end? It all makes me very ill!

Also consider how Maine’s game management, if you want to call it that, has changed over the years. What once was a deer hunting mecca, the Great North Woods of Maine, has now become a paradise for providing moose for tourists to look at and putting video cameras in bear dens, how cute, which no doubt will result in more demands by environmentalists and animal rights advocates to stop hunting and killing black bears and moose.

Below is a “Metamorphosis Part I and Part II” of a Maine Deer Biologist as compiled by contributor Richard Paradis of Maine. Maybe, just maybe, this closer resembles reality than tongue in cheek and also consider the prophetic claims, laced with environmental truths of today.


Streaming Live Video/Audio in Maine Black Bear Den

Dear Friend,

On behalf of the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, I am sending you this email today to inform you of an exciting new endeavor the Department has undertaken with the Wildlife Research Foundation.

We urge you to visit the Foundation’s new website by clicking here. A camera has been placed in a bear den in northern Maine, providing 24/7 streaming of one of our radio collared bears, “Lugnut” who birthed two cubs on January 16. This is the first time a live streaming video has been placed in a wild Maine Black Bear den.

The website provides us with an opportunity to share Lugnut’s world and watch her as she raises her cubs. You will also see videos of our bears “Spunky” and “Nell” and as the project develops, we will follow those bears and others.

There are videos that tell the story of the north Maine woods, its habitat, including how the camera was installed in the den. Fascinating stuff.

The video in Lugnut’s den provides not only a unique visual, but audio as well; the two cubs (yet un-named) often squeal and protest quite loudly as they adjust to life in the den.

The Foundation’s mission statement states their goal is to provide funds and support to the scientific community and wildlife managers to enhance wildlife and habitat research and inform and educate the general public concerning the value and necessity of wildlife research.

The bear cam allows us to do that in a fun and exciting way!

The Foundation approached the Department with this unique opportunity and we are pleased to work with them to educate the public on Maine’s Black Bear population and urge donations to the Department’s wildlife research projects. Maine is fortunate to have two of the most well respected bear biologists in the nation, Randy Cross and Jen Vashon, and I know the website will be an effective and exciting tool to educate people around the world about Maine’s Black Bears.

The website has become popular right out of the gate. It has been live for just two weeks, and has had over 15,000 visitors.

We encourage you to share this email and the link to the website with your family, friends and colleagues, urging them to follow the story of Lugnut and her cubs and to also support the work of the Foundation and Maine’s wildlife research projects.

Thank you very much and I hope you will follow Lugnut’s journey as I will on a daily basis!


Chandler E. Woodcock
Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife