March 25, 2019

Maine Legislative Committee Opposes Extra Youth Hunting Day

Recently, Maine hunters and outdoor sportsmen and women heard how the new commissioner for the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW), Judy Camuso, intends to recruit more people to hunt and fish.

Clearly she has little support from the legislative Joint Standing Committee of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, as that committee unanimously opposed adding one more day to the youth deer hunting.

Proven to be one of the better methods of recruiting and retaining new hunters to the fold, disallowing one more tiny day of deer hunting evidently isn’t worth the effort to do that.

Perhaps the legislative committee is somehow feeling guilty that the MDIFW instigated an unnecessary killing of more deer than most people wanted (so much for managing per social demands) by issuing a record number of “Any-Deer Permits” that happened to coincide with a very snowy winter that reports now are indicating is resulting in massive deer kills in winter yards – mostly by coyotes/coywolves.

But then, making little sense (politics NEVER do) the same committee voted to allow the elites, who can afford to buy their deer harvest, that purchase a “Superpack” license and buy an “Any-Deer Permit,” can now also participate in the “Any-Deer Permit” lottery in order to draw a second permit to kill antlerless (doe) deer. Does that make any sense to you? If we have extra deer why not first give the youth a shot at them (pun intended).

The committee is basically telling the youth they don’t give two rat’s behinds whether the children get to become lifelong hunters (maybe because they can’t buy the crooked bastard’s votes) but are sure willing to give the wealthy (vote buyers) a chance at more deer.

I don’t envy the job Camuso has facing her. It’s obvious the Legislature has their own crooked agenda and it doesn’t involve the future existence of hunting and fishing in the State of Maine.

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Maine’s Deer Yard Slaughters

It seems that all I am hearing about of late is the unbelievable slaughters taking place in some of Maine’s winter deer yards. Coyotes/coywolves are having a free-for-all feast. While anyone with a brain should know the implications of deep snow and prolonged deep snow, what I want to know is whether or not the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife is having any regrets about issuing a record number of “Any-Deer Permits” (doe permits) that contributed to a substantial increase in the deer harvest this past Fall? I recall I asked if MDIFW considered the possibility of such a winter as this one BEFORE they issued the ADPs.

I doubt it.

Maine hunters should prepare for another multi-year drought of deer for hunting purposes – blamed, of course, on Climate Change. Bwhahahahahahahaah, Bwhahahahahahahahaha

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Maine’s New Commissioner Intends to Recruit New Hunters, Anglers

In a Sun Journal article about Maine’s new commissioner of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (sorry, at this time the link in Google search is no good. Perhaps at a later time if you search “Meet the New Wildlife Boss: Judy Camuso” you will have better luck.), it is stated about Camuso that, “Her top goals are to recruit new people into the agency with the “Citizen Science Program,” recruit more hunters and anglers, and improve communication with the public about how they can participate in outdoor programs.” (emboldening added)

According to the latest report from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the number of hunters and fishermen has seriously declined. From a high of 14.1 million hunters nationwide, that number is now down to 11.1 million.

According to this latest survey and previous ones, some of the major factors that have caused a drop in participation are, land access reductions, available time to hunt and fish, and opposition from environmentalists who oppose hunting and fishing.

I should like to take a moment and point out that although the same survey shows an increase in “wildlife watching” the numbers are misleading if not downright dishonest. Let me simply state that any hunter or fisherman is automatically labeled as a wildlife watcher whether that was their intent or not. So the numbers presented are not an exact representation of the number of people who purposely set out to “wildlife watch.”

If it is a top priority of Commissioner Camuso to recruit more hunters and fishermen, she has a monumental task before her. It has often been stated that although there may be somewhere around 10% of the nationwide population who hunt and fish, an overwhelming majority of people support hunting and fishing as part of a viable wildlife management program. Sadly, that support is dwindling.

One has to wonder what, exactly, can Camuso do to recruit sportsmen, when so many things are now stacked against such an attempt.

If land access is a big wall of prevention, what can the commissioner do to convince land owners to “tear down that wall?” Are there incentives worth pursuing that would prompt a landowner to offer access to their land for hunting and fishing? Some have tried. Few have succeeded. Are there fresh, new approaches to this dilemma? Maybe she has ideas that will work. Let’s hope.

I’m not sure how a wildlife commissioner would approach the problem of sportsmen claiming they don’t have time to hunt and fish like they used to or would like to. Economics is the driver of many things and when a person has to work to make ends meet, how do you convince them that they need to take the time off work to hunt and/or fish?

Perhaps the lack of motivation to take some time off is prompted by lousy hunting and fishing as well as a tiring of the opposition Maine has faced often in recent years from environmentalists and animal rights activists willing to spend millions of dollars to put an end to hunting and fishing. This all tends to spell more doom than encourage more participation.

Which brings me to the third part in this discussion. It would seem to me that if Maine could do a better job at providing bountiful game populations, mainly deer, recruiting would be easier. Deer hunting is really the cash cow but you wouldn’t know if from past management practices and the politics behind them. However, try as they may, the deck is stacked against such an approach.

With the exception of deer, Maine has an abundant bear population that needs to be better controlled. The turkey population is near out of control, judging by the number of landowner complaints and the visual of seeing turkeys overrunning peoples’ property. Moose have always been a favorite of both hunters and wildlife watchers, but managers don’t seem to understand the balance between a healthy moose population, void of deadly winter ticks, and the cash cow that comes from a moose lottery and moose gawking.

So generally speaking, Maine has an abundance of bear, turkey, and moose and yet there is a need for hunters to take this game but few are willing. Why? I hope Camuso has some answers. History shows us that public support is lost when that public sees these valuable game species as nothing but nuisances.

It would seem plausible to me that with so much game (not considering the deer) that’s one deterrent not missing and that the Department should be doing more to get hunters in pursuit. So far nothing has worked. Does Camuso have something up her sleeves? Let’s hope so.

I believe the biggest obstacle is the opposition that exists in this modern culture that have their ideas about animals out of skew. This includes some of the employees at MDIFW. While this opposition may not be that large in numbers – but those numbers are growing – they are well-funded and very vocal. Ongoing threats of lawsuits dampens the courage of any new commissioner regardless of their intentions.

Note: Camuso mentions that several in her department will be retiring and she will have jobs to fill. If she is serious about recruiting, she should make sure those that are hired are not environmental activists anchored in animal rights; that they are believers in the North American Model of Wildlife Management and that hunting, fishing, and trapping are integral and necessary parts of the management policy. It’s time to weed out those more interested in the rights of animals and their protection against hunting and fishing.

How do you curb these threats of lawsuits and do what you know is the right and scientific thing in a wildlife management plan?

The Maine Legislature stopped a recent bill that would have provided hunters with a chance to hunt bear in the Spring. When will the MDIFW stop caving in to the demands (always, always, always) of the Maine Guides Association and do what is scientifically right instead of what is politically best? And while I’m on this discussion, when will MDIFW stop attempting to responsibly manage wildlife when all decisions are too heavily influenced by social demands void of sound science?

Judy Camuso probably has great intentions when she says she wants to recruit more hunters and fishermen. If she is sincere about this and determined enough, there has to first be management changes within the department. Is she prepared to do that? Can she? Maybe?

During the latest anti-bear referendum, we got to see Camuso in action, working for the MDIFW, convincing the Maine population that baiting bear was a necessary part of bear management. It was a great job done and perhaps the one act in many years that gave hunters hope that proper and necessary management took a front seat to the demands of environmentalism. That act probably did more to save, or perhaps recruit, more hunters than anything else the department has done in many years.

Is there more where that came from? Was Judy Camuso’s actions at that time driven by her own perspective of things or was she just following orders from then commissioner Chandler Woodcock? I think we are going to find out…or at least I hope so and the sooner the better.

The new commissioner should take immediate action to save the hunters and anglers Maine already has and then head down that road that will actually recruit more of them.

A monumental task and good luck.

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Maine Leg. Committee Up and Down of Bill Votes

I recently wrote of the Maine Legislative Joint Standing Committee on Inland Fisheries and Wildlife’s unanimous vote of “ought not to pass” on a bill that would have allowed for a Spring bear hunt. The JSC has been up to more tricks.

In a bill (LD27) that will allow the use of crossbows during the bowhunting season on deer was unanimously approved. The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife’s (MDIFW) commissioner, Judy Camuso, argued in favor of the crossbow use and even supported its use for turkey hunting. The JSC did not vote on such a move.

LD 79 is a bill that would grandfather any shooting range that existed before a recent bill banning shooting ranges within 100 yards of any building. The JSC was unanimous in its recommendation to pass.

A bill (LD 490) to expand the trapping season up to 21 days also passed the committee, while a bill (LD 525) to raise the registration fee for snowmobiles failed.

Next week the committee will vote on a brand new proposal from the Humane Society of the United States that would require all female bears to report to MDIFW headquarters in Augusta to receive the yearly supply of birth control pills. Bears wishing to avoid ingestion of chemicals can option for an IUD. (This is a joke. Ha Ha)

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Brainwashing the Cause of Loss of Youth Hunters

This morning I was reading an article in the Portland (Maine) Press Herald about the woes of the loss of youth to the activity of hunting, specifically the reduction of license sales.

Bills are being proposed to mitigate some of that loss including increasing the Youth Hunting Day from one to three days and one bill proposed to create a turkey hunting season for youth around Thanksgiving. Maybe more effort should be given to coordinate hunting seasons for youth that line up with school vacations and/teacher workshop days.

It seems that these proposed bills are coming from young people who already enjoy hunting and are looking for more opportunities designed exclusively for youth hunters under the age of 16. Not that these proposals and ideas are bad, but are such acts targeting the non hunters? I don’t think so.

To interest a new, let’s say Middle School-aged person, to hunt, shouldn’t we at least be attempting to devise ways of generating interest where there is none?

If you might agree that there is no interest and nothing being done to change that dilemma, then the question might become why can’t this be done?

I think the explanation is quite simple. It’s because our schools, media, etc. have successfully brainwashed the masses to view animals as creatures of intelligence, feelings, love, and should be bestowed the same rights, or more, as humans. When you combine this with a fish and wildlife department trained in the same indoctrination factories, what hope is there?

Yes, there is no doubting that the youth of today sometimes more resemble zombies with their noses pressed firmly to anything electronic. This is by design. What better way to control the future of our world than to completely manipulate the minds of the youth through music, cellphones, and all electronic gadgets that have been designed to target and control?

Efforts underway to recruit more youth hunters might collect a stray here and there but until such time as we put a stop to the ongoing indoctrination and brainwashing of our children, nothing will get better and much will get worse.

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Proposed Deer Hunting Bills for Maine

Deer hunting bill proposals are making there way before the Legislative Joint Committee on Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. Here’s a look at some, with links for you to view the text of the bills, and some comments that I may have.

LD175 – An Act to Extend the Deer Hunting Season by 2 Saturdays.

In my opinion this is not a good idea. Let me explain my position.

As I understand the bill, the intent here is to give rifle deer hunters 2 extra Saturdays to hunt. These two Saturdays would run the following two Saturdays after the last Saturday of hunting in November. This usually occurs right after Thanksgiving.

It should be noted that the two weeks following the regular firearms season is muzzleloader season. These 2 extra Saturdays being sought coincide with the muzzleloader season.

I am not a very big proponent of the muzzleloader season falling when it does. It is my opinion that running any deer hunting season that late into the season puts an added stress on the deer which are either on their way to winter yard up or are already there.

Adult male deer have undergone a great physical strain through their rutting season. They have eaten little, have lost a lot of weight and stored fat. Further stressing the animal puts it at greater risk of survival during the winter months.

Adding 2 Saturdays of rifle hunters in the woods stressing further the deer population could cause serious damage to the deer herd, of course, depending on what Wildlife Management District (WMD) we are talking about. Certain WMDs would be not under the strains of winter during that time while others, like this past season, deer would already be yarded up. Perhaps changes to this bill might specify WMDs that would not be greatly affected.

It is not that I am opposed to offering hunters extra opportunities. My concern is for the deer herd. When examining hunter opportunities, it must be considered whether the deer herd can withstand the extra strain and the resulting reduction in the herd.

LD188 – An Act To Provide for an Expanded Muzzle-loading-only Deer
Hunting Season

This proposed bill will make it mandatory that the Muzzleloader Season on deer be extended for “12 hunting days” following the close of regular firearms season.

There’s a couple of things that need to be explained here. First, the current laws regulating the muzzleloader season give the commissioner authority to close a season if conditions warrant the need.

Second, the commissioner also has authority to set the season dates. The new proposal would mandate 12 hunting days (two calendar weeks) and remove authority from the commissioner to set the dates. It would not take away the authority of the commissioner to close the season if conditions warrant.

There is little that changes here from the current conditions except taking the authority away from the commissioner to set the muzzleloader season dates and makes the season mandatory. As long as the commissioner can still close the season due to detrimental conditions, I see little difference.

Neither for nor against this bill until such time as more evidence is presented.

LD190 – An Act To Provide Antlerless Deer Permits to Senior Resident
Lifetime Hunting License Holders

The intent of this bill is within its title. It is my understanding that there are currently some 36,000 senior hunters. Many are not aware of the fact that the overwhelming majority of “Any-Deer Permits” (ADP) are already predestined to special interest groups. Adding another 36,000 ADPs to the list will effectively use up all the permits. The ADP system is a tool that is used to manipulate the deer populations per WMD. If the total number of ADPs required to be issued exceeds the biological need, then what? In addition, this bill allows for the holder of a senior ADP to use his/her tag anywhere in the state. This runs contrary to the theory behind utilizing ADPs.

Not only would I oppose this bill but I might suggest another bill that would effectively repeal the issuance of most all other special interest groups’ awards of ADPs.

LD265 – An Act To Increase Opportunities for Hunters, Anglers and
Sporting Camps by Extending the Seasons on Upland Game

The intent of this bill is to open the season on Upland Game on the last Saturday of September in order to better utilize a Saturday to coincide with fishing season. It is stated that this bill would be perhaps an economic advantage for sporting camps.

I think this bill makes sense and not only assist sporting camps but might provide better opportunities to hunt snowshoe hare, gray squirrels, ring-necked pheasants, ruffed grouse, and bobwhite quail. Provided that such a move doesn’t jeopardize the management goals of the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, this bill appears reasonable.

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Advice and Suggestions to the Maine Department of Fish and Wildlife

A reader sent me a copy of the Maine Sportsman, specifically George Smith’s article about his “advise” to the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW). After reading it, I thought perhaps I would offer something similar. Sometimes I am accused of being only critical of the MDIFW seldom offering constructive criticism or even suggestions on better or different ways in which to do things.

Smith writes of the need to “unlock that door” that prohibits visitors access to the commissioner of the MDFIW. I understand the concept and how convenient it would be to just “drop in” someday and chat with the commissioner. I would like to think that the real situation playing at the offices of the MDIFW has more to do with security than a want to lock themselves up and separate them from the public. I might be wrong. We do live in a strange time in which most people are always aware and subjected to enhanced security measures.

TURKEYS

George writes about what he would do about turkey management and the role that hunting plays in that management. For the most part I think he brings up some good points, i.e. too many turkeys, too few hunters, and the barrier of license fees that prohibit more people from trying or getting involved in turkey hunting and harvesting a turkey that would aide the MDIFW with their management goals.

Originally, I had thought that Smith’s idea of including turkey hunting as part of a Big Game Hunting License wouldn’t fly because the MDIFW would not be willing to give up that revenue from turkey license fees. Is there a trade-off here? Will somehow opening up the turkey season to reduced cost (and loss of fees to MDIFW) be made up in other ways? Perhaps.

I think that consensus must be reached as to whether there are too many turkeys and how critical it is that turkey populations be reduced. If, more people gained interest in turkey hunting, perhaps down the road, as populations came more in line with management goals, turkey license fees could be levied again. If a reduction in the number of turkeys is urgently needed, and I think if we haven’t gotten there yet we soon will, then the MDIFW must do what is expedient to make the reductions in numbers necessary to be responsible for the healthy management of these game birds.

FISHERIES

Fisheries is far from my strong point and knowledge base. I am not at all that qualified to offer the MDIFW advice on how to specifically manage the fisheries in the State of Maine. How fortunate for some.

MOOSE

Odd isn’t it, in many ways, that some are opposed to the reduction of moose populations to mitigate the winter ticks’ destruction of the moose herd but think nothing about advocating the complete destruction of a herd of deer to get rid of Lyme disease. Perhaps if more evidence pointed a finger at the health risk to humans from the winter tick, mindsets might change.

I have written extensively on Maine’s moose and what I believe to be the need to bring the moose population in Maine to levels that seriously reduce the presence and perpetuation of winter ticks that are inhumanely and unnecessarily causing moose to suffer and die during long and cold winters.

Smith laments about the loss of businesses associated with moose watching now that Mother Nature took over where wildlife management failed. During the heyday of the overgrown moose populations, some scrambled and took advantage, as any good entrepreneur might do, looking for ways to exploit the abundant moose for profit. It might have been fun while it lasted but the lesson that should be learned here might be at what price do we exploit any wildlife animal for lucre? As grown adults we should see that having enough moose around that many got into the business of moose watching tours was but a flash in that pan. Time to move on. We have learned that attempting to grow moose in numbers for capitalistic enterprises is a terrible thing to do to the animal – part of the downside of attempting to manage any species while being driven by social demands.

More recent studies are suggesting what some of us knew a long time ago – that too many moose was the cause of the aggressive expanse of winter ticks resulting in high mortality rates on the large beast.

The MDIFW should move quickly to determine at what population Maine’s moose will be most healthy while still providing opportunities for Maine residents to harvest a moose and fill their freezers.

I suggest that the MDIFW, once establishing moose populations, based on sound science and not social demands, issue enough permits or a long enough season to bring the population under a control that reduces the tick infestation. Once that is accomplished, permit for the future can be issued accordingly. Letting Mother Nature do the job is not only irresponsible but is a waste of a terrific natural resource.

DEER

Smith tells readers that the MDIFW stopped managing deer in northern Maine and only “manages” moose. I don’t know if this is actually an official position taken by the MDIFW, but it appears there is at least quite a bit of evidence to support that statement.

Smith claims that because Maine failed to protect winter habitat in Northern and Western Maine, the deer herd “was lost.” I concur the deer herd was lost but I think it had other influences than just a loss of habitat. A lot of things have changed over the years, one thing being the behavior of the deer. While deer are learning how to adapt to that loss of winter habitat, we humans remain locked in our unadaptable behavior of insisting on things being the way they were when our fathers hunted the whitetails.

Each time I have listened to the worn out excuse that deer have disappeared because of loss of winter habitat, I have always asked why, if that is true, thousands of acres of old winter habitat, still in winter habitat condition, is void of deer? Never an answer.

Loss of winter habitat in the classical sense, can and does have an effect on the deer population. Attempting to somehow “manage” deer to return to unwanted winter habitat, is an example of managers failing to learn and adjust to changes of the deer population and their habits. When we see this failure, one can’t help but wonder how much we can rely on the deer managers “estimate” of deer populations and other management shortcomings.

We failed to learn quickly enough that attempting to manage moose populations at high enough levels that tourism benefitted, the moose herd suffered terribly due to exposure and anemia from blood sucking winter ticks. Deer populations are suffering but perhaps in different ways because the ecosystem in which they have traditionally comfortably inhabited have and are changing. The deer are adapting as best they can but our management tactics are not. Evidently the preference is to give up.

Too many moose compete with deer. Too many large predators kill deer and fawns and this is challenging the stability of the deer population and in some places we are witnessing the unsustainability of a deer herd. Are we to just blame it on loss of winter habitat and Climate Change or should we be responsible stewards of our wild game animals?

If we are to mitigate the cause for the lack of deer in portions of Northern and Western Maine, isn’t the responsible thing to do is to reduce the bear and coyote populations to give the deer a chance? If we simply stop deer management because loss of habitat and Climate Change is the excuse, what then can we expect of all of our game and wildlife species going forward?

Managers have a responsibility to care for all of these game species. Giving up on one species in certain areas, tells me that there is lack of knowledge and poor management skills involved. The epitome of wildlife management failures is giving in to some man’s fictitious notion that the globe is warming and the northern border of the whitetail deer’s habitat is moving south, while our neighbors to the north continue to work at managing their deer. If Climate Change is causing such chaos that is forcing the destruction of habitat for deer, then it makes sense that other more northern species are migrating south according to the changes. Is this happening? No. A warming climate, as claimed, should be reducing the affects of severe winters. Is that happening? No.

There’s little more that managers can do to stop the perceived reduction of winter habit and deer habitat in general short of demanding more totalitarian tactics to take property and property rights away from people and corporations. It’s easy, from afar, to stand in judgement over landowners, demanding they relinquish their rights as property owners in order to enhance the habitat of any wild animal. The tough part to deer management is maximizing what is left and working in earnest to make the best of what we have. Even if deer densities in Northern and Western Maine aren’t at ideal levels, is that reason enough to simply walk away and say, we tried?

There is no need to kill off all the coyotes/wolves in Maine or reduce bear populations to levels that give us more deer than are needed to balance a very valuable resource. All that is stopping this effort is the MDIFW’s insistence on caving to social demands. I suppose to them in the short term it is easier to cave in than to stand up to those demands supported by strong scientific evidence. And that may be the actual problem. Does the MDIFW have or want the strong scientific evidence?

BEAR

The MDIFW has a very good bear study program. Some claim that program is the envy of all other fish and wildlife departments. Only radical animal rights groups or individuals would argue that there are too many bear. The MDIFW publicly admits they need to reduce the bear population, but so far, have done little to solve that problem. Perhaps they are moving at a speed that only politics and social demands allow them. Time for change.

Having too many bears presents several problems – public safety and a disruption of population goals of other species such as deer and moose. Fortunately, bear hibernate, otherwise God only knows what kind of destruction they would wreak on weakened deer in deer wintering areas.

Some studies suggest that the presence of bear has more negative impact on deer than do coyotes/wolves. Maybe the current studies that the MDIFW are conducting on moose and deer will help us gain better understanding on this concept.

Regardless, it appears Maine must reduce bear populations. But how? One problem that jumps out immediately is the power of the guides and outfitters placing demands on the MDIFW to manage bears according to their wishes that would best maximize their business profits. While it is understandable that this is important to the private enterprises, should the MDIFW continue to allow increased public safety concerns and actual reductions in deer populations, and perhaps even moose, simply to appease these groups? Of course not, but when will the MDIFW move to do anything about it? Perhaps the time is now.

Like with turkey hunting, Maine needs to find easier and less expensive ways to encourage more hunters to take up the challenge. Hunters that have little interest in bear hunting might change their mind if hunting bear were part of a Big Game License all the time during open season on bear.

Bag limits should be raised. The late summer bear hunt should have a minimum of a two-bear limit – perhaps three in some areas. If that doesn’t do the trick, then a Spring bear hunt may be necessary. Regulations can be employed to mitigate the killing of cubs as has been proven in other places that have Spring bear hunts.

The MIDFW has done a respectable job of working to ward off the radical animal rights groups bent on closing down bear hunting. They should increase and improve this effort to include everything they do with wildlife management. Two bear referendums have proven that maintaining a passive posture and making management decisions based on social demands is not only irresponsible, but ridiculous, almost childish. If wildlife managers and their administration don’t have or believe the science necessary to responsibly managed their wildlife, they should be out of a job. There should be little room given to social demands when it comes to scientifically managing game.

OPERATIONS

There are certain aspects of running a fish and game department that should be within the control of the commissioner, who, of course, answers to the governor. Open and closed seasons should be within the control of the commissioner. That person, along with the managers and biologists in the department, are the ones who should know what is going on and what is needed, not the Humane Society of the United States, other animal rights groups, or even the Legislature. Such social and political powers spoil any scientific approach at wildlife management. It may take an act of the Legislature to effect such changes.

We live in a time where these powerful animal rights and environmentalists have gained control over our factories of higher indoctrination. The result of this is now showing up in our fish and game departments where the concerns are more about the “rights” of animals and away from a consumptive, use of a natural resources approach to wildlife management.

Scientifically, it has been proven that the North American Model of Wildlife Management works. Those opposed to this form of wildlife management know this and have been working tireless to “change the way wildlife management is discussed.” Along with this has come the social demands to place equal rights and protections on animals as are given to humans.

Outdoor advocates, hunters, trappers, fishermen, as well as all those who understand and believe in the necessity of consumptive use to best manage and control wildlife, should demand that the commissioner be more selective and demanding of those that are hired as biologists and wildlife managers. Candidates should be screened as to their idealism and positions on animal rights and hunting, fishing, and trapping. To responsibly utilize hunting and fishing as part of the overall plans for wildlife management, cannot have room for animal rights advocates or those opposed to this system.

Some have called for money from general taxation to support the MDIFW. It is my opinion this would be a very big mistake. First of all, before any MORE money is dumped in the lap of this department, a complete audit should be undertaken so that all will know exactly what every penny is spent on and where every penny comes from to run the department. If more money is needed, then that has to come from fee increases and not from general taxation. Here’s why.

With money sent to the MDIFW from general taxation, along with it will be demands from the general taxpayer for bigger representation. This opens the door even further for more infiltration by environmentalists who want to “change the way we discuss wildlife management.”

We have seen this already. Where once the MDIFW used to be the department of fish and game, other states have gotten rid of their fish and game names completely, replaced with departments of natural resources.

With a weakening of the managerial understanding and knowledge of how wildlife management should run, further expedites the dreaded end to responsible wildlife management, replaced by VooDoo Science and Romance Biology.

The only way the MDIFW can survive as a bonafide fish and game department is if it remains out of the control of Environmentalism.

The MDIFW does many things well. Some things they have little control over. Certainly there is room for improvement and if others, like me, realize that if we don’t do something to change those things that are sending us in the wrong direction and away from the North American Model of Wildlife Management, the good that we enjoy now will soon be lost. Let’s not let that happen.

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Maine: Crossbow Hunting – To Be Or Not To Be

Maine, once again, is being presented with a bill that would allow the use of crossbows during the regular archery season for deer. Those opposed see this as a means to kill more deer that would in turn take away hunting opportunities for hunting. Those in favor see it as the opposite.

We should toss out mostly what the Maine Guides have to say because their only position on any issue concerning hunting is all about themselves. Such is understandable…to a point, but come on…

Nobody has presented a reason why prohibiting a crossbow during archery season on deer other than for selfish reasons. I ask, is that legitimate?

If we were to take on that attitude, where would we stop. I remember when someone suggested a “primitive” muzzleloader season. That soon became not so primitive a sport so that today a “muzzleloader” is not much different than a single-shot regular firearm. Where’s the beef? Didn’t this elevation of muzzleloader take away somebody else’s hunting opportunity?

One group says that allowing crossbows will result in killing off all the deer before the rifle hunters have a chance. Are there that many crossbow hunters that they would actually force a close of the season early because the deer are all gone? We may be looking at a shorter deer hunting season but not because of crossbows. Where’s the beef?

Maybe we should ban ice fishing because ice fishermen are taking all the fish so fly rodders are left with no fish to catch?

So, do rifle hunters hold the privilege to lay out the who, what, and with what you can hunt because there are more of them?

I need something more to go on other than one group is trying to protect their own selfish interests. If I discover that there are no deer left (I think in many places that’s the case anyway) and the only chance I have to get a deer is to take up crossbow hunting, or archery, then sign me up.

How about an open season deer in July hunting with an atlatl?

I just am not the kind of person that feels justified in dictating to all others how and by what means they can hunt. Give me a good and sound biological reason, or public safety concern and I’m on board. Whine about your own shortcomings of selfishness and you get no support from me.

Sorry!

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Maine 2018 Deer Harvest And Other Data

It does seem a bit odd to be able to put together a deer harvest chart this early in the season. Thanks to the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) for putting to use a new digital tagging system that, if nothing else, gives us hunters a fresh-in-our-minds look at the recent passed deer hunting season.

Below is the chart compiled by the best damned statistician Maine has. The most recent deer hunting season ended with a total deer harvest of 32,438. As has been stated, this total is a bit of an unexpected increase not totally because MDIFW decided to flood the market with a record number of “Any-Deer Permits” (ADP). Let’s hope the MDIFW will provide us with some data on whether the issuance of ADPs brought them closer to the number of female deer killed needed to meet goals.

In addition to the record ADPs issued, much of Maine saw ample snow to hunt on which always brings harvest numbers higher. It should be stated that it appears in a few areas of Central and Southern Maine deer populations are considerably higher than Western, Northern and Eastern Maine. Those areas are still experiencing low deer populations and thus deer harvests.

Looking at the numbers provided, there are a couple items that should be looked at. The number of big bucks (200 pounds or more and those registered with the Maine Sportsman’s Magazine) killed this past season was 559. What that means is that as a percentage of the total deer harvest, big bucks attributed to 1.72%. That figure tells us that the percentage of big bucks making up the harvest remains lower than the percentages from the years 2000 – 2004. The chart shows us that in comparison to the year 2000, big bucks killed was but 72% – i.e. 28% lower.

Looking at these numbers over an extended period of time is telling us that whatever MDIFW is doing in their deer management practices, fewer big bucks, as a percentage of the population, are being taken. Logic should tell us this equates to fewer big bucks in the overall population…sort of. There are other demographics that should be considered before any concrete conclusions can be made. However, the trend has continued for so long now, it appears that Maine is not making any effort to change this aspect of the deer herd.

Below is a photo from the Maine Sportsman of the biggest of the Big Bucks that were registered, weighing in at 300 lbs.

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When Deer Management Seems Stupid

According to an article published at the Bangor Daily News website, the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) are in the fifth year of a deer collaring study. Most of us know that MDIFW has been extremely secretive about the study and any results they have received and collected from this effort.

The article states the following: “At this point, Bieber is still in the data-gathering phase of the study, which has been aided by the cooperation of the University of Maine, the University of New Brunswick, J.D. Irving Ltd., the Passamaquoddy Nation and the Quality Deer Management Association.

He looks forward to a time when the department can use the data that is being collected to formulate management decisions. To date, the data that has been gathered in the GPS study has not been utilized in management efforts.

“Every year when we allocate for [any-deer] permits, we do make adjustments based on winter severity. It’ll be nice to be able to look back on what we’ve done in the past and see if those decisions were sound. And if not, we’ll be able to adjust according to the data that we have now,” Bieber said.”

Does this make much of sense? Why would the gathering of data for at least 4 years be disregarded in any deer management decisions? The last paragraph says that when the MDIFW allocates “Any-Deer Permits” (ADP) they make adjustments based on “winter severity.” And yet this study is mostly aimed at determining the affects of winter severity as well as other mortality causes.

This past deer hunting season, the state allocated a record number of ADPs, and now we are learning the decision to do so was NOT based at all on any data obtained over the past 4 years from their study on the effects of winter severity? Why does that not make much sense at all?

For those who spend a great deal of time studying and following such things as deer management, it’s easy to determine that management decisions made at the department level run a minimum of three years behind actual events taking place on the ground. This effort not only substantiates that claim but extends that fault out to at least five years. Isn’t that one of the biggest problems with game management? Of course it is. And yet, the MDIFW has at least four years of winter severity data on whitetail deer and according to Maine’s head deer biologist, none of that data is being used and was not used in deciding to allot a record number of ADPs for last deer hunting season.

We live in an era of instant information availability. How many decades has it taken the MDIFW to take advantage of this reality to finally put together a digital, online tagging system that gives managers instant data? And now, managers are receiving real time data from their collaring study and for at least four years are not using the data. How many decades will it take at the conclusion of this study before any of that data will be implemented into management decisions?

Perhaps all of the decisions made for managing deer are based solely on social demands with no consideration for scientific data. If so, why doesn’t MDIFW stop wasting their time and our money with senseless “studies?”

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