July 22, 2019

Skin and Process a Deer in 10 Minutes

I don’t agree with everything he claims will happen to the meat by field dressing an animal. I hunted in terrain where moving an undressed out deer and elk would be impossible. I field dressed and boned out my elk and deer and did not have dirt urine feces and hair on the meat. Although this is an interesting lesson. I’ve seen this done before many times over the years..

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False Historical Claims About Deer and Predators

Just the other day, I wrote a rebuttal piece attempting to correct terrible information that was published in a Maine newspaper about how, according to the author, “coyote control doesn’t work.”

In the mythical nonsense written about why coyote control doesn’t work, the author quotes work from someone she believes to be a “carnivore conservation biologist” (therefore an expert on predator prey relationships?). This “expert,” in regards to historical deer populations in Northern Maine, was quoted as saying, “They were never there historically. It’s not a place for deer to thrive because the winters are too cold and the snow is too deep for them to move easily. Deer like edge habitat, not forests. They only moved north after the forests were cut down.”

This substantiates the point that “experts” lose any credibility as an authority on predator/prey relationships because they expose their true agenda by making biased and completely false statements to promote their agendas. We see in this statement that this “expert” claims that deer never existed in Northern Maine because deer can’t survive there because “winters are too cold and the snow is too deep for them.” In addition, this same “expert” gets her hateful digs in by making a false claim that deer migrated north into Maine “after the forests were cut down.”

What absolute nonsense! Actual historic documents, not idealistic coyote worship doctrine, show that when wolves and mountain lions were part of the Maine landscape in Northern Maine (that’s where the moose and caribou were found, thus a good meal selection for the wolves and pumas) the deer all lived on the coast of Maine and even crammed onto the islands to escape predator harassment. When the caribou vacated the state, moving into the Canadian Provinces (for whatever reason) the wolves went with them. All of this had nothing to do with the forests being cut down.

To continue the historic timeline of predator/prey relationships, after the wolves left, the deer began moving back north and the population grew significantly.

Beginning the the late 1960’s and early 1970s, the coyote moved into the state and began to flourish. With it, especially in Northern Maine, the deer numbers came crashing down and have never recovered to historic highs and never will so long as predators are protected.

In information I was sent yesterday that originated with Deer Friendly website, provides us with data that makes it extremely difficult to honestly claim that deer in Northern Maine historically were never there. (Refer to the chart below.)

This data shows that in the 1950s and 1960s, before the coyote arrived and flourished, the deer harvests in Aroostook, Washington, Piscataquis, and Somerset Counties, all of which comprise the majority of what we would consider to be Northern Maine, attributed to nearly 40% of the total deer harvest. This might be considered a pretty good indicator that in just 4 counties (of 16), 40% of the deer harvest meant Northern Maine historically DID have more deer than they do today.

Let’s compare. In the 2010s, at a time when the coyote population in the state as well as the bear population, are at historic highs, those same four countries struggle to comprise 20%, or about half, of what used to be the Maine deer harvest.

Claiming that deer were never in Northern Maine is a false statement intended only to justify the allowance of the wanton waste and destruction of coyotes and other large predators. The way these predator protectors present their myths, I wonder if they have ever asked why, if Northern Maine never had any deer, why our neighbors to the north, in Canada, have deer enough to offer their residents an opportunity to stock up venison for the winter?

There are very few, if any, legitimate reasons to not control large predators and manage deer numbers to levels conducive to protect and promote a useful, renewable resource. Presenting false information is intended only to place hunting in a negative light in hopes of ending it, while promoting the status of predators above that of people.

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Predator Prey Relationships For the Making

To go along with the age old saying that statistics prove that statistics can prove anything, the same is evident when it comes to predator/prey relationships. Simply pick the “expert” advice and opinions from those who have theories and “suggestions” that, when cherry-picked appropriately, will neatly fit into an agenda-driven narrative, and you have an instant predator/prey relationship that works for you.

Recently I was reading what is really a very ignorantly compiled bit of broad-brushed nonsense about how coyote control doesn’t work (for the purpose of providing enough deer for hunting). Void of any specific information of just how any sort of coyote control was, is, or might be implemented (it is crucial in attempting to make determinations that result in such claims as “don’t work”) to make the statement that coyote control doesn’t work is dishonest at best.

Not to belabor the issue of whether or not coyote control works or doesn’t work, perhaps missing from the writer’s obvious hatred for those who choose to hunt and eat natural food, is the simple fact that no example of whether coyote control works, or is even needed, is ever considered before, during, or after ranting on about a call for protection of large predators as though it is something that should never be done and by not doing it everything lives in perfect harmony. What nonsense. And it’s so tiring to be subjected to the same nonsense repeatedly.

This morning I was reading a Ph.D. college thesis where a person chose to study the predator/prey relationship between coyotes and whitetail deer in the Chicago area. The Abstract tells us a few very important things. First, that coyotes were the cause of 77.8% of whitetail deer fawn mortality. Second, that there are so many coyotes and deer in this study area that habitats unavoidably overlap, and three, coyote seem to prefer to prey mostly on fawn deer and not adult deer.

It would be ridiculous to make any kind of suggestion about whether coyote control would work or not work in this situation or for the reason anyone might suggest coyote control. As far as hunting goes, if there are this many deer, what coyotes do to only the deer herd is probably immaterial. There may be other collateral damage that is not being considered.

Another example of why broad-brushed accusations and conclusions are ignorant is the fact that an agenda-driven person might use this thesis to prove that coyotes only prey on fawn deer. In this case, because of an overblown deer population and the fact that coyotes, like all large predators, are opportunistic hunters, i.e. that they simply kill and eat the most easily attained prey. In this case, it is generally easier to take down a fawn deer than an adult deer.

In a different scenario, one that could very easily be found on the Maine landscape, where in much of the state there is a definite scarcity of deer and an abundance of coyotes, a hungry coyote or pack of coyotes can and do take down the biggest and healthiest of adult deer.

To claim predator control doesn’t work, based on some hyped up theory about reproductive behavior response, reveals a person’s desire to promote their own ideology at the expense of denying others the opportunity to promote surplus game management for consumptive use, a use that has been around since the beginning of time and this uncalled for totalitarian action coming at a time when people are in quest of natural, more healthy, food.

The writer who claims that predator control doesn’t work, was pointing a finger at how Maine manages its deer herd which includes a degree of coyote control. Again, void of specificity and an understanding of how, when, and where predator control would be effective, the author chooses to wrongfully claim that control doesn’t work.

In Maine’s case, much of the coyote control takes place during winter, in deer wintering areas, where coyotes often make those areas blood baths. Whether there’s any so-called reproductive behavioral response in coyotes to run out and have more pups to replace those taken during control actions, matters little. It is known and understood that any effective control must be ongoing and targeted, thus the reason the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) implements the coyote control.

The foundation of the call for coyote control in Maine is based upon the fact that, unlike the Chicago region, much of Maine has a very scarce deer population. Common sense, often lacking these days, should tell us that deer venison on the table is of a higher value to the consumer than a nasty, disease carrying wild dog. I, like many others, would like to improve our odds of filling our freezers for the winter, and thus we call for targeted coyote control in deer wintering areas in order to assist in the management of a few more deer. I would like to take the opportunity to say that for many in Maine, deer meat is an essential to providing sustenance. In addition, I would like to be able to choose to hunt deer, bear, and moose as a healthy alternative to store-bought meat.

If Maine had, statewide, the same deer density as is found in portions of Central Maine, coyote mortality on deer would mostly go unnoticed. Such is not the case.

Because we live in a post normal existence, where science is about predetermined outcomes that fit agendas and drive narratives, anyone can pick and choose theories, perspectives, and suggestions to support any claim they wish. In this case: Coyote control doesn’t work.

In the same vein, I can claim that coyote control does work when it is applied scientifically in those regions where it becomes necessary to sustain a deer population.

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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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Not All Deer Complaints Receive the Same Attention

George Smith, Maine outdoor writer, shares with his readers about the distribution of “Any-Deer Permits” (doe permits) across the State of Maine and the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife’s (MDIFW) explanation as to why.

MDIFW intends to issue “bonus permits” in some sections of Maine to further reduce deer populations due to “…elevated levels of Lyme disease, deer-vehicle collisions and public complaints about deer.” (emboldening added)

It seems that whenever the “public” complains about too many deer, they get what they want. When hunters complain that there are too few deer to hunt, they get nothing. Perhaps hunters aren’t considered part of the “public.”

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Why Did Maine Issue 1,275 Antlerless Permits in 2018 in Regions of No Deer?

It was heavily questioned last season when biologists at the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) issued a record number of “Any-Deer Permits” (ADP) while the overall state’s deer herd is abysmal in some places. Yes, the bulk of the deer population is in Central and Southern Maine where winters are milder and large predators are less hungry and aggressive. And that’s where the bulk of the permits are issued. I get it!

I understand the desire of MDIFW biologists to better control the swelling deer populations (if in fact they are) in these regions, but what has puzzled me is last year’s allocation of ADPs in Wildlife Management Districts (WMD) in the Northwest sector of the state, specifically WMDs 7, 12, and 13.

Last year Maine biologists allotted ADPs to these three WMDs totaling 1,275 – 400, 400, and 475 permits respectively. Why? I’ve hunted these regions for my entire life and while I’m willing to admit that in my advancing years, I don’t cover the ground I used to but how much age and experience compensates for lack of geographical discovery, I’m not sure. I can honestly assess that from my perspective there hasn’t been any descent deer hunting in these three zones for quite some time…and NOTHING has changed in quite some time.

So, why did MDIFW issue 1,275 ADPs last season?

While that number, spread out over three zones, may not seem like a large number of permits, it is when you consider what percentage of ADPs issued is represented in the overall deer population in those three zones.

In the new proposal of ADP allocations, MDIFW is suggesting reducing those three zone’s ADP issuance to ZERO! Shame on the MDIFW and the Advisory Council for issuing the 1,275 for last season.

But the damage may have already been done.

It appears that MDIFW’s goal is to reduce the deer population in the state to absolute minimums for “social” reasons and to carry out the long term goals of Environmentalism to manage for scarcity and NOT manage for surplus harvest to feed the people.

I wonder what the New Science Romance Biologists will suggest to kill unwanted deer after biologists and managers have driven the hunters from the state due to poor hunting conditions and animal rights groups and environmentalists finally get their way?

If they are waiting on Climate Change to do their managing for them, they might want to rethink that strategy. According to their own Climate Change nonsense, as the climate in Maine warms, the “northern fringe” of deer habitat will recede further north. This means habitat more conducive to less climate mortality – i.e. severe winters. Then what? With moose gone, having retreated further north to a cooler climate (chuckle, chuckle) there will be less competition for food and habitat. Then what?

What a joke.

Maybe it’s not so easy making these management decisions from the confines of a four-walled office space. I dunno. Does the Advisory Council ever go out in the woods? Who are they listening to?

It’s a crap shoot!

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The Socialist State Driven By Criminal Politicians – Dirty Dealings Within Maine’s Moose/Deer Permitting System

On April 30, 2019, President Donald Trump, through Executive Proclamation, declared, “Loyalty Day, 2019.” In that farcical proclamation the president stated: “We also remember those who have protected our values, and we renew our resolve that America will never be a socialist country.” It is your choice to continue to bury your head in the sand in denial that the United States Corporation “will never be a socialist country.” It is a socialist state and has been for a very long time. Perhaps the degree to which it exists is deepening as we speak, eventually reaching a point of no return and a destination of which few will even be aware of.

Part of what drives this spiraling downward toward oppressive socialism is the actions of criminal politicians, which essentially entails every last stinking one of them. There are many, many, examples of how this works. I am going to give you just one example and then you can attempt to extrapolate this illustration to fit nearly every act of a criminal government and those who perpetuate it.

The State of Maine runs a lottery each year to hunt moose. The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) has other lotteries as well, including a lottery for the allocation of “Any-Deer Permits.”

There is money involved, of course, in this entire process which opens it up to corruption. In the example of the permits handed out for deer hunting, the majority of all those permits (this past deer hunting season there were nearly 85,000 permits issued) went to special interest groups. The criminal enterprise of the government politicians comes into play when a special interest group lobbies a crooked politician to take a piece of a pie – a pie once intended to be equally accessible by all taxpayers – and get special treatment to support and enable their wants and desires. The number of people effected by this immoral act of partisanship directly translates into votes for the politician, along with money payouts, that benefit the politician. So, what else is new…right?

The moose lottery is a bit different but utilizing the same crooked actions. In this case, moose permits, of which there are far fewer than for deer, are given out according to who has the most money and persistence to game the system. There are far fewer moose permits than for deer and thus the value increases exponentially, which in turn drives the corruption. In addition to the unfair lottery system used to decide who gets a permit, crooked politicians and special interest groups have lobbied the Maine Legislature to get a piece of the moose pie.

Hiding behind a socialist bit of totalitarian nonsense, someone convinced the Legislature that a certain number of moose permits should be given over to the “lodging and outfitters” (wink-wink) because their business sucks and they need the government to prop them up. If you don’t understand what this means, maybe I can help you. It means, a crooked politician or a group of them (in this case the Maine Legislature) uses the authority they have garnered to promote the socialism (oppression and more need for government assistance which spells job security for the politician) of a simple moose lottery to pay off, indirectly, potential voters and any reaping the rewards of a greased hand through financial support for campaigns and other sinister actions.

It’s easy to hide behind lies about how the “extra” (wink-wink) money will go into funds to pay for moose management, etc. but the fact remains, even if it is hidden by the crooked politicians as best they can, that any permit, whether deer or moose, that is given (even sold) to a special interest group, places the average Joe Citizen at a direct disadvantage (more oppression) when it comes to obtaining a permit of which they have paid their share in taxes to support and, once again, nothing to show for it.

Because politics cannot exist without corruption, the best method of sustaining their existence is through corrupt actions driven by socialistic behavior (funding failing businesses) such as giving preferential treatment to one group of businesses or people over another.

This is wrong on every level but because of the corrupt system of government that we willfully support, wrong on every level will continue unabated.

And these same clowns can’t understand why interest in applying for a chance to win is shrinking.

On a related note: Here is an example of the Maine Government lending a “hand” to “help out” those businesses of guiding and outfitting that struggle. A moose permit bought and paid for, thanks to the crooked Legislature, for, I think $1,500, is now for sale to anyone willing to pay $25,000.

Drinks are on me!

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Are There Positive Changes Happening at Maine Fish and Game?

Late yesterday afternoon I received an email that contained information about an event that will happen this evening (Thurs. April 25th) at The University of Maine at Presque Isle. I immediately posted it and you can find that here.

The title of the event, “Enhancing Deer Survival in Maine – Are we Doing Enough?” is intriguing but what is more intriguing to me is the make-up of the event. Isn’t such an event a bit unprecedented? Is the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife actually exposing themselves to the public with the prospects of receiving some criticism for their deer management practices…or lack thereof? I thank them if this is a lasting phenomenon.

The event is sponsored by the Presque Isle Fish and Game Club (PIFGC), the Aroostook County Conservation Association (ACCA), and the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine (SAM). SAM serves its function but can become a bit too political to be completely effective when it comes to protecting the interests of all outdoor sportsmen. However, the PIFGC and ACCA, both grassroots organizations have done some pretty remarkable things over the years with efforts to protect and enhance the population of deer in Northern Maine.

How they (PIFGC, ACCA, and SAM) pulled this event together is a masterful achievement. Let’s hope it’s not the last.

The MDIFW is in the early stages of blossoming (?) under a new administrative team. Could participation in this event be a good, positive start? Perhaps bravery might best describe it.

Looking through the lineup of guests/speakers, we see the big Kahuna herself, Commissioner Judy Camuso opening the event with some remarks. I wish I could be there.

Aside from Gary Lavigne, a former MDIFW deer biologist who now operates under the banner of SAM, we see even more participation from other MDIFW biologists/administrators. Head deer biologist Nathan Bieber, will address the group with information on deer populations, harvests, and winter severity, while Ryan Robicheau, Wildlife Management Supervisor, will discuss deer yard management and protection. Good luck with that one.

You’ll have to take a look at the entire schedule to see what’s going to be discussed.

It is extremely encouraging, to me anyway, that MDIFW might be actually dismantling some of those high-handed, authoritarian walls that drive wedges between the sportsmen and the department. With the commissioner and her staff attending such an event, is akin to a semi-wild dog laying down and exposing its belly as a sign of submission.

Kudos to the sponsors for pulling this Houdini event off. I hope it is extremely successful and will lead to more sharing of the wealth, while assembling a platform for future joint efforts to solve the deer management problems, along with others.

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Event: Enhancing Deer Survival in Northern Maine — Are We Doing Enough?

A Forum Sponsored by:

Presque Isle Fish and Game Club

Aroostook County Conservation Assoc., &

The Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine

Date:         Thursday, April 25, 2019, 6 to 8 pm

Location:   Weiden Auditorium, Univ. of Maine at Presque Isle

Moderator:  David Trahan, SAM Exec. Director

Introductory Remarks: David Trahan.

Opening Remarks: Judy Camuso, DIFW Commissioner

Topics and Panelists:

     Topic Introductory Remarks: 

          Gerry Lavigne, Wildlife Biologist

     Current Status of Deer in Northern Maine

          Nathan Bieber, DIFW Deer Biologist – Deer population, harvest, and                   winter severity trends in Northern Maine.

Deer Wintering Area Protection    

          Ryan Robicheau, DIFW Wildlife Management Supervisor, Deer        

          Wintering Area Management and Protection (recent and historic status).

Predation Management

         Gerry Lavigne: SAM’s Coyote Control Model

        Ryan Robicheau: DIFW’s Predation Management efforts 2010 to 2019.

        Jerry McLaughlin: Pres. Aroostook County Conservation Assoc., The use

        of coyote contests to incentivize timely coyote removals.

Improving Nutritional Condition of Deer

        Ryan Robicheau: The strategic use of timber harvests to provide

        winter forage for deer.

        Nathan Bieber: DIFW’s perspectives regarding supplemental feeding

        of deer in winter.

       Jerry McLaughlin: ACCA’s winter feeding, food plot, and tree planting

       Programs.

Future Efforts

     Nathan Bieber, DIFW’s Deer Plan 2018 to 2025.

Are We Doing Enough?

     Suggestions from the floor.

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Gaining Understanding of Deer Habits…And Then Forgetting Them

I would suppose an “attaboy!” is in order for a Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) biologist from Northern Maine who tells some truth about why locations throughout Maine are finding deer in places they don’t “normally” spend their winters.

I put the word “normally” in quotations because it forces (or should) the question of what is normal? I’m not sure I can answer that in any other terms than to say it is what I think it should be. Perhaps none of us live long enough and are “expert” on deer biology to grasp an understanding of normal beyond only the period of time we are interested in the subject and what history books (often better relegated to the Fiction aisles and shelves in libraries) tell us about what is “normal” behavior for deer.

In our short life span, we have been indoctrinated (both citizen and biologist) to believe that it is “normal” behavior for deer to spend winters cooped-up in a classic, ideal, “deer wintering area,” known once to Mainers as a deer yard. This same indoctrination machine tended to cast dishonest claims about how deer, without those ideal deer wintering areas, shrivel up and die.

God only knows that this negative destruction can happen but does it happen at the rate scientismic biologists believe it does?

To believe such scientismic clap-trap is to say that deer, or any other wild creature, is mostly incapable of making adjustments to their habits in order to survive. I would claim that animals are more adept at this action/reaction than most humans.

Throughout Maine this winter, mostly toward the latter stages of a very snowy winter in many regions across the state, reports are surfacing of people finding pockets of deer (some in quite large numbers) hanging out in neighborhoods or right in the midst of down town. Why are the deer doing this?

I have written for years that I was finding deer in the throes of winter in places deemed as not “normal.” I guess normal is changing. Are the biologists though?

I doubt they are or at least not quickly enough to adjust their own habits to meet the management needs of the down town deer herds.

In Northern Maine, one biologist recognizes the reality – something that appears to have taken many years to admit: “Wildlife Biologist Shawn Haskell says between starvation, predators like coyotes and an occasional lynx, as well as competing with moose for food, it’s a struggle for deer in the wild. That’s why over time they’ve transitioned to more residential areas in colder months.”

Let’s point out the admissions often never spoken of in certain circles. First there’s the admission that coyotes kill deer; in winter; in deer yards. Aside from an “occasional lynx” perhaps the “occasional” bobcat was overlooked. And, lo and behold, the first time I’ve seen in writing that a Maine wildlife biologist is admitting that moose and deer compete for the same winter food. Thus, as honest logic would dictate, more moose hogging the food has a negative and detrimental affect on the deer herd. Too many moose, less deer. Too many moose, more winter ticks, fewer moose, more deer.

But the biggest admission of all is that the deer are adjusting and finding winter comfort (relative term) in places that, due to a more shy behavior of coyotes, Canada lynx, and bobcats, these predators might fear to tread. This is, as explained by the MDIFW biologist, one of the reasons we are seeing deer in places that are considered not “normal.”

So, “normal” is changing…it has changed. It isn’t “normal” anymore. Or, normal is not consistent. While it may be ideal in our brainwashing of “normal” things to see deer in those Hotel Hilton sort of deer yards, it ain’t gonna happen anymore. Things they are a changin’!

And they will continue to change. Yes, we should do what is reasonable to protect those “normal” deer yards. No, I’m not suggesting we “take em by force.” That’s not reasonable in my book, nor is it “normal.”

The Maine biologist alludes to a couple things we should take note of and I think there might be a lesson to be learned as well. The biologist says that the deer that are wintering in down town, “…have not forgotten where they came from.” Or, maybe they have. If “normal” is not their “normal” anymore, even if that “normal” disappeared forever due to forest management practices, a new normal will be achieved and lagging behind will be the education (indoctrination, if and when it fits another agenda) of citizens and wildlife biologists that deer ain’t where they used to be. (This is currently being blamed on Global Warming.)

Also alluded to about the changing habits of deer was, “…a situation that just works for them now.” I’m glad that the biologist recognizes the “for now” aspect of this event. Perhaps one day the deer will return to the Hotel Hilton’s winter resort of ideal “old growth” dense forests for protection from the elements. Or maybe they won’t. It’s what works. The deer will adjust but will the biologist?

Another issue not mentioned here which is mandatory in any honest conversation about deer management and predator control. We finally have the admission that coyotes kill deer. We are witnessing the deer making adjustments for their own survival by going places the coyotes, lynx, and bobcats might shy away from…FOR NOW!

If you know anything about wild canine behavior, you’ll have to admit that if deer decide that “normal” is in your back yard, the predators will overcome their fear and will dare tread on the winter habitats regardless of where they are. Predators are mostly driven by hunger. Fear of humans and our habitat is but a temporary roadblock.

How long will it be before bringing the wildlife into our towns, mostly due to predator protection, sets off a firestorm about public safety and that something needs to be done about it?

If things don’t change from current perverse perspectives on animal idolatry, when this day arrives, look for the call to go out to kill the deer (and waste the food) so that the wild dogs can have their way.

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