November 13, 2018

Portions of Maine Should Be On The Lookout for Wildlife Diseases

Last week outdoor writer George Smith told his readers that they should be aware that Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in bearing down on Northwestern Maine as the disease has been found only 100 miles from the Maine border with Quebec, Province. CWD is a debilitating disease for deer as it causes, as the name suggests, deer to “waste away” and die. While not pleasant to see or harvest a fulling infected CWD deer, eating the meat is not harmful to humans…but not everyone cares to eat it and will not risk doing so.

But, this isn’t the only threat Mainers should be made aware of. Today I posted a recent study that showed certain strains of Echinococcus worms carried and spread by wild and domestic canids (dogs). The study sampled wolves, coyotes, red, and arctic foxes in both Quebec Province and the State of Maine and found the human-contagious parasite in Northern and Western Maine near the Canadian border.

Some good news is that the more harmful strain of Echinococcus, E. multilocularis, was not found in any of the canids sampled, although it has been found in portions of Ontario and moving east.

I’ve written much about this disease over the past years, falling mostly on deaf ears. Even when the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) first reported that they had found the disease in Moose in Maine (2014), after initially posting something about it on their website, they quickly scrubbed it. In an email I sent to Commissioner Woodcock asking him what the Department intended to do about this troubling discovery, the response I got was, “nothing at this time.”

So when? It’s been 4 years.

Canid species are definitive hosts of the Echinococcus eggs and are passed through their feces into the environment of which wild ungulates – moose, deer, elk, caribou, etc. – ingest the tiny spores which in turn form cysts on their lungs, liver and other organs. While not deadly to these animals directly, cysts can affect the capacity of lungs and the function of the liver making these animals more susceptible to predators.

Humans, on the other hand, are at risk from the same ingestion of spores. This can happen from close examination of wolf, coyote, fox scat when the spores are released into the air and a person can inhale or ingest eggs that have gotten on their skin or clothing. They can also ingest eggs by drinking infected water. These eggs are extremely viable in various environmental conditions.

The most common way of becoming infected is when dog owners allow their dogs to run free in areas where wild canines, infected with the disease, live and roam. Dogs, as dogs do, can eat infected carrion, getting eggs on their mouth, face, and fur, passing it on to people, including children (think dogs licking children’s faces). Dogs also will eat or roll in wild canine feces, bringing the eggs with them back home and into the house if people allow their free-ranging dogs to live with them in their houses.

The study that I linked to in a previous posts exclaims that what is needed is that more effort is taken to educate and warn those who might be at risk, including trappers, hunters, and anyone with free-ranging dogs living in known infected areas.

Perhaps it is time for MDIFW to step up to the plate and inform the public what they know and begin an education program. They may be concerned about the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease, as they should, because it can destroy our already fragile deer herd, but what about protecting people? That should be of higher priority than protecting the deer…shouldn’t it?

For Maine, the E. canadesis strain (G8 and G10) are of the most threat to us. The report defines the spread of this disease into Maine as “rapid.” Now is the time to begin the education process, to teach people about restraining their dogs and or talking to their vets to make sure they are getting the proper and timely worm treatments. The simplest and quite effective thing people can do is to wash their hands frequently.

Detection of the cysts, Hydatid cysts, in humans is difficult. If detected, treatment is expensive and dangerous. Part of the reason detection is difficult is because doctors aren’t looking for it because nobody is telling them the incidents of Hydatid disease is on the increase. These people prefer to scoff at the notion of any health risk in order to protect their precious wild dogs.

It’s time to make some changes that will help reduce the risk of infection of humans.

Share

Echinococcus in wild canids in Québec (Canada) and Maine (USA)

Abstract

Zoonotic Echinococcus spp. cestodes (E. canadensis and E. multilocularis) infect domestic animals, wildlife, and people in regions of Canada and the USA. We recovered and quantified Echinococcus spp. cestodes from 22 of 307 intestinal tracts of wild canids (23 wolves, 100 coyotes, 184 red and arctic foxes) in the state of Maine and the province of Québec. We identified the species and genotypes of three Echinococcus spp. cestodes per infected animal by sequencing mitochondrial DNA at two loci. We further confirmed the absence of E. multilocularis by extracting DNA from pools of all cestodes from each animal and running a duplex PCR capable of distinguishing the two species. We detected E. canadensis (G8 and G10), but not E. multilocularis, which is emerging as an important human and animal health concern in adjacent regions. Prevalence and median intensity of E. canadensis was higher in wolves (35%, 460) than coyotes (14%, 358). This parasite has historically been absent in Atlantic regions of North America, where suitable intermediate hosts, but not wolves, are present. Our study suggests that coyotes are serving as sylvatic definitive hosts for E. canadensis in Atlantic regions, and this may facilitate eastward range expansion of E. canadensis in the USA and Canada. As well, compared to wolves, coyotes are more likely to contaminate urban green spaces and peri-urban environments with zoonotic parasites.<<<Read More>>>

 

Share

Are Tracking Collars for Deer Problematic?

I guess the answer to that question might be dependent on who you talk to. According to an article I read this morning, (photos available) with the ongoing deer study program taking place in Maine and New Brunswick, Canada, a handful of deer with collars are showing the fur of the deer around the neck worn down to the skin.

Some are concerned about this condition, but according to Dr. Graham Forbes, a wildlife biologist for New Brunswick, it’s only a small number of deer that have developed this problem. However, he also stated: “We’ve talked to some vets and the feeling is there is no great concern for heat loss or damage…”

I know I am guilty of projecting human conditions onto an animal but when the weather is cold outside and my neck is exposed to the elements I wouldn’t like it much.

If it can be agreed that the entire event is basically harmless to the deer, then for no other reason than it just doesn’t look good, this needs to be corrected.

It seems that the majority of the collars that have bothered deer have been removed.

 

Share

Maine/New Brunswick “Magic Kingdom” of Deer Research

Share

Perverse Values (and a vote) Outweighs Real Science

*Editor’s Note* – This is further proof of the imminent doom of our hunting heritage along with the actual and real scientific approach to wildlife management. “Values” as found the context of this decision by the British Columbia government, is laced with nothing but emotional clap-trap and perverted perceptions of animals as part of our existence. It runs completely counter to the proven practice of the North American Model for Wildlife Management that employs hunting and trapping as a means of controlling populations of wildlife in order to sustain and maintain healthy animals. At the same time, hunters have paid for this animal healthcare and filled their freezers at the same time.

This action by the BC Government is another element of our “post-normal” existence. We can expect more of the same. Whether or not any of us will live long enough to witness the ultimate destruction remains to be seen.

“The British Columbia government is bringing an end to the hunting of grizzly bears throughout the province, Doug Donaldson, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, and George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy, announced today.

“Through consultations this past fall, we have listened to what British Columbians have to say on this issue and it is abundantly clear that the grizzly hunt is not in line with their values,” (emphasis added)<<<Read More>>>

Share

Hunting: Biological or Political?

A Maine outdoor writer and associate asks whether caribou hunting in Canada is political or biological. “Given the fact that the native communities in Quebec and Labrador apparently have not had their caribou harvest quotas decreased by government closures, some are questioning whether the sport hunting ban is as much political as it is biological.”

I could ask why V. Paul Reynolds might not think any sport hunting isn’t political. But I see things just a tad differently than Mr. Reynolds.

It is a shame that we have now reached a point in North America where this question of whether hunting is still considered part of the North American Model for Wildlife Management, where allotments or management plans are a scientific approach to manipulating and sustaining a healthy and productive population of any species or politics and social demands rue the day – a bitter regret perhaps not realized yet but eventually will be.

Caribou hunting in Quebec and Labrador Provinces has been suspended until further notice. According to Quebec’s Minister of Forests, the reason is “sustainability of the species.” Does this announcement come without warning? If so, what has happened in these provinces that so abruptly demolished a caribou herd that hunting goes from “normal” to zero in no time flat?

Sounds to me like either politics and social demands by the usual suspects or extremely poor caribou management. Take your pick.

One thing is for sure. The plan to “change the way wildlife management is discussed and carried out” appears to be working just swell.

Share

Words of Wolf Wisdom from Hay River, NWT

By James Beers

Words of Wolf Wisdom from Hay River, NWT

The sort of incidents reported by THE HUB newspaper in Hay River happen in The Lower 48 States and now in Europe more than is reported.  This is so for a host of reasons.

The fact that this took place near Hay River, NWT in Canada (South across the Great Slave Lake from Yellowknife) makes it different from The Lower 48 States only in the fact that wolves are harassed more (hunting, trapping, protection of property, self-defense) in NWT and therefore are less likely habituated to people that never threaten them in that sparsely settled landscape.  Recognizing that fact, should give pause to Lower 48 State and other rural residents in settled landscapes that are increasingly living amongst wolves that go near homes routinely and through towns at night as they forage and explore communities and residences much as happens in the settled landscapes of parts of Russia and (now) Europe.  If wolves in very sparsely settled landscapes like Hay River and the (mentioned) Alaskan Peninsula will attack humans; how much more likely are more habituated wolves in Wisconsin (Green Bay lady?), Minnesota (USFS Campground on Lake Winnibigoshish), Saskatchewan (Kenton Carnegie 2005), Idaho (Craters of the Moon?), Oregon (elk hunter one week ago), Greece (see my Wolves and Pillows article of 21 OCT.), Germany (some being investigated currently) and elsewhere to attack and kill humans (especially the elderly and the young)?

Note the sentence in the article by “a carnivore biologist with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources in Yellowknife” that, “In general, I’d say a wild animal that hasn’t been close to people is pretty leery, pretty cautious and stays clear.”

What goes unsaid in this doublespeak found even in the Far North is, that “a wild animal that is close to people (as is the case in the settled landscapes of The Lower 48 States) is not ‘pretty leery, pretty cautious and stays clear’”.  In other words, the more habituated to people is the wolf; the more dangerous is the wolf to the people!  Therefore the more settled the landscape, the more dangerous are wolves or bears or cougars in such landscapes for that matter.

The reason this is not believed by the urban public is due to more than years of animal rights propaganda about benevolent wolves being somewhat like unicorns flitting about the countryside eating only non-native plants while protecting lambs, calves and little children.  The reason this is not believed is because it is neither reported nor discussed.  On the rare occasion of being reported (see my Two Lucky Kids article of 1 Oct.) the encounter is presented as a rare glimpse of a benevolent Mother Nature worthy of mention on Sesame Street.

It is not mentioned whenever possible because to recognize its existence is to question allowing  the government to forcibly plant and protect wolves in the settled landscapes of The Lower 48 States and then having to ask yourself, “ Who is then responsible” if:

–           A single Human is maimed and/or killed?

–           If livestock losses to wolves decimate livestock producers’ livelihoods?

–           “     “            “         “   “       “            “      rural families and economies?

–           “     “            “         “    “      “             “     local government revenue and the political power of local people?

–          If meat prices spike and become prohibitively costly due to wolves”

–          If dog owners’ property (watchdogs, guard dogs, hunting dogs, pets, show dogs, guide dogs, etc.) are killed or maimed by wolves?

–          If game animals from moose and elk to prairies chickens and grouse are no longer able to support hunting and hunters along with their license fees (that support the “Conservation/DNR/F&G” agencies), disappear?

–          If hunting and trapping are then so rare that there are no longer young men enthused about paying for or profiting from applying thenecessary annual  (and prohibitively expensive) controls of wolves, bears, cougars, coyotes, and wintering herbivores?

–          If dog packs that trail deadly predators after a human attack/death are no longer available when such animal needs to be tracked down?

–          If (actually when) the truth ever emerges that wolves are not only very serious carriers and vectors of over 30 deadly and debilitating (to humans, livestock and wildlife) diseases and infections ever begin spiraling into an outbreak?

–          If it is realized that the increasing cross-breeding between wolves /dogs /coyotes is not only the most real threat to the very existence of the wolves of such faux importance in The Lower 48 States, but the Raison D’etre for the emergence of a new breed that is even more dangerous or destructive than the current breeds of this large and varied species?

The ANSWER to “Who is then responsible”, is; No One!

The state guys (many of whom have been lying and dissembling for years about wolves) will blame the federal guys that forced wolves into “their” state.  The federal guys that have been profiting big-time (unlimited powers, promotions, bonuses, enhanced retirements, public adulation in the press, etc.) will blame “the law” and “the politicians”.  The politicians (who made millions fro9m lobbyists and who reaped urban votes) will blame the scientists for faulty “science”.  The “scientists” (who have profited for years from grants and tenure thanks to wolves) will blame the Non-Government Organizations like Defenders of Wildlife, Wildlife Federation, Center for Biological Diversity et al for “distorting” and “manipulating” the “science”.  The “Environmental”/”Animal Rights” NGO’s will simply shrug, count their money and go to some secret meeting with the federal bureaucrats and politicians about how to ease, buy and “take” the remaining remnants of private property left in The Lower 48 States abandoned and unused except for the wealthy in their mansions with views no longer marred by timber cutting, grazing livestock, crops, canoeists, campers, or the sounds of rifle and shotguns.

So Lower 48 State newspapers and news shows either avoid (when possible) or dissemble any negative incidents much like terrorism reports or select descriptions of urban perpetrator characteristics.  They do this with the attitude once spoken by Jack Nicholson and here only directed to the general public about wolves in this instance, “You can’t handle the truth”.  Like all those in the preceding paragraph, after years of distorting the truth about the costs and dangers of wolves and the constant denigration of those challenging the government/NGO version of wildlife in settled landscapes; the media is a major conspirator in the wolf debacle and, like some Chicago Police Lt. during Prohibition that cannot tell the truth for fear of indicting himself, they chirp duets with the powers-that-be and do whatever it takes to survive.

Jim Beers

4 November 2017

If you found this worthwhile, please share it with others. Thanks.

Jim Beers is a retired US Fish & Wildlife Service Wildlife Biologist, Special Agent, Refuge Manager, Wetlands Biologist, and Congressional Fellow. He was stationed in North Dakota, Minnesota, Nebraska, New York City, and Washington DC.  He also served as a US Navy Line Officer in the western Pacific and on Adak, Alaska in the Aleutian Islands.  He has worked for the Utah Fish & Game, Minneapolis Police Department, and as a Security Supervisor in Washington, DC.  He testified three times before Congress; twice regarding the theft by the US Fish & Wildlife Service of $45 to 60 Million from State fish and wildlife funds and once in opposition to expanding Federal Invasive Species authority.  He resides in Eagan, Minnesota with his wife of many decades.

Jim Beers is available to speak or for consulting.

You can receive future articles by sending a request with your e-mail address to:   jimbeers7@comcast.net

Share

Why Constitutional Amendments to “Protect” Hunting Need The Correct Language

Many states have tried, some have succeeded, in getting a constitutional amendment to protect the right to hunt, fish and trap…or at least they think they have. Truth is, very few, and perhaps no state, has made a success out of actually protecting and guaranteeing the right to hunt, fish and trap. Essentially what they have done is end up with legalese, fit only for the law profession, that says the state recognizes that hunting, fishing and trapping are long held traditions and these activities have been used as part of a game management plan. The new laws then make people think this tradition is being protected, when it is not. And here’s why.

As an example of the wrong wording in a right to hunt, fish and trap constitutional amendment, the state of Maine, over the past few years, has bounced around half-efforts to get an amendment passed. However, I have opposed all wording of this effort because it’s fake wording that fails to provide the protection that I believe most sportsmen want.

Without the proper, tough and direct language, while there may be recognition of how hunting, fishing and trapping have been a part of game management and responsible use of natural resources, all attempts have failed to provide language that forces the state, along with their natural resources departments. or fish and game departments, to manage all game species specifically for surplus harvests. I might point out that this kind of tough language is generally opposed by legislators and in particular heads of fish and game departments. The biggest reason is because most fish and game departments have already morphed beyond sensible and scientific game management in favor of environmentalism’s “Romance Biology” and “Voodoo Science.”

Without this kind of tough and direct language, fish and game departments and/or state governments, can end hunting, fishing and trapping at anytime. With a growth and power of the progressive Left, a totalitarian social effort to end all hunting, fishing and trapping, mostly driven by an extremely perverse animal rights society, not only are fish and wildlife departments gradually, and sometimes not so gradual, are becoming more anti hunting, fishing and trapping, but the general electorate can end hunting, fishing or trapping with one effort at the ballot box with zero consideration for science.

An example of that is seen in British Columbia, Canada, where voters have decided to ban grizzly bear hunting because it doesn’t fit their ideological narrative. As was said by Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development Minister Doug Donaldson, “[It is]not a matter of numbers, it’s a matter of society has come to the point in B.C. where they are no longer in favour of the grizzly bear trophy hunt.”

Certainly this reflects the desires of the people, a product of a totalitarian democracy of sorts (two wolves and a sheep discussing what’s for lunch), where a simple vote can destroy long held traditions as well as making a mockery out of wildlife science.

While there never exists any true guarantee of a right to hunt, fish and trap, one does have to wonder if this same kind of referendum would have even been attempted if a true constitutional amendment existed with real power that said it is the mandated function of government to manage all game species for the purpose of surplus harvest and use of natural resources.

It is often argued about whether wildlife is part of the public trust. In my 65 years of life, I do not recall anyone suggesting that viewing wildlife, even out one’s back door, should be stopped or that managers should grow game species to levels that would be harmful to a healthy establishment of animal species. Why is it then, as seems to be the way of the “new” progressive society, that society has little interest in the aspects of the public trust when it comes to the public trust involvement of hunters, fishermen and trappers? In their pea brains, hunters, trappers and fishermen are excluded from any participation in a public trust.

A classic example of totalitarians at work.

Next time anyone begins talking about another proposed constitutional amendment to guarantee the right to hunt, trap and fish, please take a little extra time and honestly ask yourself if what is being proposed will do what it is being sold as doing and is worth any effort to get it passed. Contrary to what the politician will tell you. something is NOT better than nothing.

But, isn’t it now just too late? Does there even exist enough people who aren’t mentally destroyed and manipulated with animal rights and environmentalism, along with Romance Biology and Voodoo Science?

Share

OPINION: MNRF takes the road of junk science to forward their agenda

In my younger years growing up in Sundridge, the moose season fell on every even year and lasted a week. You bought your moose license and shot a MOOSE. There were plenty of moose and trappers harvested wolves and hunters harvested spring bears and laws were based on science and time-proven management practices. During this time the powers that be were the Ontario Lands and Forests, later changed to Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR). Recently renamed Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry.  Much has changed over the past two decades within what I once considered Ontario`s flagship ministry, for without our rich resources what does Ontario have to offer?

I have been deeply concerned about the direction this ministry has been travelling for some years now as laws are now being based on emotion and driven by special interest and protectionist lobby groups.<<<Read More>>>

Share

Glyphosate Spraying Killing Whitetail Deer in New Brunswick

KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) — The Halifax Media Co-op has acquired a series of internal communications from New Brunswick’s Department of Natural Resources that comprise literally hundreds of pages of emails related to newly-retired, whistle blowing, provincial deer biologist Rod Cumberland.

These communications are interesting for a variety of reasons, the least of which because they provide an insight into the manner that the bureaucratic machine in New Brunswick is very much linked into streamlining their publicly-presented message with their counterparts in industry, in particular with the efforts of J.D. Irving.

Whistle-blowing scientists take note: Never underestimate your ability to send your former employer into reaction mode, with all the bureaucratic and corporate cooperation and message massaging that that entails.

Upon his retirement in 2013, Cumberland, with early assistance from the Conservation Council of New Brunswick, began to publicly rail against the effects of New Brunswick’s glyphosate application program, whereby, since the 1970s, an estimated 12,000 – 15,000 hectares of Crown land are sprayed with the herbicide per year. Glyphosate mixtures are applied to Crown land in order to eliminate hardwood tree species and select for softwoods, which are then largely used for pulp. Readers may be more familiar with agricultural applications of glyphosate, where it is consistently among the most highly used herbicides in North America.

Cumberland’s wedge issue was that glyphosate spraying in New Brunswick is responsible for the province’s dwindling white-tailed deer population, as it destroys their food supplies. He has, however, continuously highlighted the scientifically-proven detrimental health impacts of exposure to glyphosate mixtures, and has gone so far as to liken the future health-related fall-out from glyphosate applications in New Brunswick to “this generation’s Agent Orange.”<<<Read the Rest of Part I>>><<<Part II Can be Found Here…and there’s a link at the bottom of Part I for Part II.>>>

Share