July 17, 2018

Applications for 2018 any-deer (antlerless) permit lottery are now available online from the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

Press Release from the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife:

 To apply online, visit www.mefishwildlife.com. Online applications are due by 11:59 P.M. on August 15, 2018.

It is free to apply for the any-deer permit lottery. The drawing will be held on September 7, 2018 and results will be posted on the Department’s website.

For this coming deer season, a total 84,745 any-deer permits are proposed for 22 of the state’s 29 wildlife management districts across the state, an increase of 28%. Last year, there were 66,050 permits available to hunters.  Hunters who do not receive an Any Deer permit are only allowed to shoot an antlered deer (with some exceptions during archery season and on youth day).

This year, make sure you also apply for a bonus permit, as there are likely to be wildlife management districts where there are more any deer permits available than there are hunters who apply for them. In these districts, hunters can get a bonus antlerless permit for no charge if they apply and are selected. Last year, bonus permits were awarded in WMDS 20, 21, 22, 24, and 29 which are located in southern, central and coastal Maine.

Hunter success rates are much higher for those with an any deer permit. Generally, success rates for deer hunters in Maine hover around 15% but those with an any deer permit harvested a deer over 20% of the time.

Permit numbers are increasing in nine southern and central wildlife management districts, are decreasing in 11 WMDs and staying the same in nine WMDS. You can find the complete numbers at https://www.maine.gov/ifw/hunting-trapping/any-deer-permit.html#permitallocations. The permit numbers reflect that the 2017-18 winter was more moderate in central and southern Maine, while up north the winter was a little more severe than years past.

The department uses the any-deer permit system to manage the white-tailed deer population in the state. The ability to enact change in the state’s deer populations derives from the ability to increase, or decrease, the number of breeding female deer on the landscape. By controlling the harvest of female deer in the 29 regional wildlife management districts throughout the state, biologists can manage population trends.

Deer hunters in Maine harvested 27,233 deer in 2017, the highest total in the last ten years and an increase of 15% from 2016. Maine’s deer hunt is broken down into several seasons for firearm hunters, muzzleloaders and bow hunters. Most deer are harvested during the general firearms season (23,288), which started on October 28th and continued until November 25. Bowhunters took 2,099 deer, and hunters took 970 deer during the muzzleloading season. Maine’s junior hunters were also very successful on youth day, with 876 youth hunters taking a deer this year.

Deer hunting in Maine provides many Maine families with wild game meat that is high in nutrition, sustainable, free range, and organic. On average, a 150-pound field dressed deer will provide close to 70 pounds of meat.

Deer hunting season (firearms) begins with Youth Deer Hunting Day on Saturday, October 20, 2018. Youth may take a buck statewide or an antlerless deer only in the wildlife management districts where any-deer permits will be issued this fall.

This year, Maine Residents Only Day is on Saturday, October 27, 2017 and regular firearms season for deer runs October 29 through November 24, 2017. Once again this year, a nonresident who owns 25 or more acres of land in Maine and leaves land open to hunting, holds a valid hunting license, and is not otherwise prohibited by law, may hunt deer on the Resident only day.

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Maine IFW Posts Ancient 2017 Deer Harvest Report…Sort of

Yesterday I noticed that finally, the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) posted the 2017 deer harvest report.

A couple things to note: First, the report is dated June 13, 2018. If that was the actual date this report was completed, why did it take at least 2 more weeks to make it public? Or did they post-date it so they wouldn’t be guilty of setting a new tardiness record?

Second, when examining the map MDIFW uses to show the number of deer tagged within each town when you enlarge the map hoping to be able to read the town listed in each town’s boundary, it is illegible. Older reports don’t seem to have that problem. This becomes worthless for those trying to make comparisons from one year to the next without being able to distinguish the towns.

Third, beginning in 2012 MDIFW published what they call an “Age Report.” This report simply lists the estimated age of each deer tagged for that season. I wish it contained more information. The Age Report for 2017 has not been made public yet.

Incidentally, the total deer harvest for 2017 stands at 27,233.

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Maine: Public Hearing Regarding Antlerless Deer Permits

A public hearing is scheduled for Tuesday, June 26, 2018 at 6:00pm at the Augusta Armory, Room 209, 179 Western Avenue in Augusta regarding the proposed antlerless deer permit numbers for the 2018 regular deer hunting season and special muzzle-loading season.

Members of the public are encouraged to attend the public hearing.

Comments may also be shared in writing by July 6, 2018 to Becky Orff, Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, 284 State Street 41 SHS, Augusta, ME 04333; phone: 207-287-5202; fax: 207-287-6395; e-mail: Becky.Orff@maine.gov

Click HERE for full proposal details and additional information.

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Old Hunter: Maine IFW Asleep at the Wheel

Old Hunter says:

Press Release from the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife:

MDIFW News — Deer Kill Largest In Last Ten Years

For Immediate Release: June 12, 2018

AUGUSTA, Maine – Deer hunters in Maine harvested 27,233 deer in 2017, the highest total in the last ten years and an increase of 15% from 2016.

“An increasing deer herd in southern and central Maine, and favorable hunting conditions contributed to the best deer hunting season in ten years,” said Nathan Bieber, MDIFW Deer Biologist.

Maine’s deer hunt is broken down into several seasons for firearm hunters, muzzleloaders and bow hunters. This year the season framework stretched from September 9 to December 9. Most deer are harvested during the general firearms season (23,288), which started on October 28th and continued until November 25. Bowhunters took 2,099 deer, and hunters took 970 deer during the muzzleloading season. Maine’s junior hunters were also very successful on youth day, with 876 youth hunters taking a deer this year.

“Deer hunting is large part of Maine’s cultural heritage. Each year, over 200,000 hunters head into the woods of Maine,” said Bieber. “Hunting also provides many in Maine with a sustainable source of high quality, organic, free-range protein.”

The deer hunting season allows the department to manage the deer herd and provide wildlife watching and hunting opportunity in much of the state while decreasing the deer population in other areas in order to reduce deer/car collisions and property damage, and prevalence of lyme disease.

Adult bucks by far comprised the vast majority of the harvest, with hunters taking 18,255 antlered bucks. With 66,050 anterless permits issued, hunters harvested 8,978 antlerless deer.

According to Maine’s deer hunter surveys, on average deer hunters spent 37 hours hunting deer during the season, averaging 4.3 hours afield each trip.

For this coming deer season, a total 84,745 any-deer permits are proposed for 22 of the state’s 29 wildlife management districts across the state, an increase of 28% Last year, there were 66,050 permits available to hunters. Hunters who do not receive an Any Deer permit are only allowed to shoot an antlered deer (with some exceptions during archery season and on youth day). The proposed permit numbers await approval by the IFW advisory council. There will be a public hearing on the proposed permit numbers on Tuesday, June 26 at 6:00 p.m. at room 209A in the Augusta Armory.

“Last year’s winter was more moderate in central and southern Maine, while up north, winter was a little more severe on average than years past. The change in the number of any deer permits reflect that,” said Bieber.

Permit numbers are increasing in nine southern and central wildlife management districts, are decreasing in 11 WMDs and staying the same in nine WMDS. You can find the complete numbers at https://www.maine.gov/ifw/news-events/rulemaking-proposals.html.

The department uses the any-deer permit system to manage the white-tailed deer population in the state. The ability to adjust the state’s deer populations derives from the ability to increase, or decrease, the number of breeding does on the landscape. White-tailed deer are at the northern edge of their range in Maine, and winter severity is a limiting factor concerning population growth. By controlling the harvest of female deer in the 29 regional wildlife management districts throughout the state, biologists can manage population trends.

Last year, MDIFW wildlife biologists examined over 20% of the state’s deer harvest, collecting biological data to monitor deer health throughout the state. In addition to examining registered deer and gathering biological data, lymph nodes were collected in ongoing efforts to monitor for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in Maine.

CWD sampling efforts were targeted around towns with active captive cervid facilities, winter feeding operations, and/or high cervid densities. We collected samples from 476 deer, which were sent to the Colorado State University- Veterinary Diagnostics Laboratory for testing. All samples tested negative for CWD prion.

The deer harvest for the past ten years is as follows: 2007 — 28,885; 2008 — 21,062; 2009 –18,092; 2010 — 20,063; 2011 — 18,839; 2012 — 21,365; 2013 — 24,217; 2014 — 22,490; 2015 — 20,325; 2016 — 23,512; 2017 — 27,233.

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Maine’s Disturbing Deer Harvest Trends

Although still not published on the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) website, some news outlets are reporting that Maine hunters surprisingly harvested a total of 27,233 deer in 2017, an increase over the previous season of about 15% but far from the near 37,000 in 2000.

The increase is being given to a growing deer herd…well, at least in southern and central Maine, while the rest of the state evidently is just devastated by global warming (severe winters). MDIFW intends to issue more “Any-Deer Permits” hoping that even though last year’s ADPs never got filled in the majority of Wildlife Management Districts. Without more hunters, I’m not sure how more ADPs will cause more deer to be killed. But we’ll see.

Below is a completed graphic by my graphs guru which includes the 27,233 harvest figure. But I am more and more clearly beginning to see a disturbing pattern that needs some answers.

From the graph we see that while the number of deer harvested in 2017 increased 3,721, the number of 200 lb. bucks harvested actually dropped by one, instead of a logical near 15% increase if all things were remaining relative. The graph also shows that the percentage of big bucks harvested in relation to the overall kill continues to shrink and that we are approaching half the number of big bucks that were taken in the year 2,000.

There could be several contributing factors to this event but the trend appears to be putting Maine in the same league with a lot of other small deer states further reducing the appeal to hunt deer and/or come to Maine and hunt big bucks.

I’ll take a closer look at this if we EVER get to see the harvest reports for 2017.

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Proposed Allotment of Maine “Any-Deer Permits” per WMD

George Smith, through the Bangor Daily News, provides readers with a list of the number of “Any-Deer Permits” proposed to be distributed to the Wildlife Management Districts for the upcoming 2018 deer hunting season.

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Should “Any-Deer Permits” Be Changed to Doe Permits and…

Yesterday I was approached by a Maine deer hunter who asked me to ponder his question. He didn’t want an answer right then and there. I’m not sure when he expected the answer or that he assumed maybe I would write about his question. So, here’s his question: “Do you think that when somebody applies for and wins a doe permit [Any-Deer Permit], that is all they should be able to shoot – an antlerless deer?” My knee-jerk reaction was yes, I would like to see it that way. But then I had some time to think about it. Here are some thoughts for you to ponder and please feel free to offer comments below.

If we swallow the bait, hook, line, and sinker, that the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) uses the allocation of “Any-Deer Permits” (ADP) as a scientific means of controlling and manipulating the state’s deer population, including age structure and buck-to-doe ratios, and that along with that belief you think the ADP system is successful, then it might be easy to say there is little need to discuss the what-ifs of changing the ADP to a strict doe-only permit.

But, let’s consider it anyway. Perhaps there is something to be discovered in this proposition.

I mostly understood the basis for this hunter’s question to ponder. Especially after he told me that in his hunting life-span, which extends far before the ADP system was put in place, he has never applied for an ADP. I smiled and said, “Neither have I.”

There is a belief that those hunters who apply for and get an ADP, are taking the antlered bucks that I guess somehow should be saved for….well, I dunno who – “trophy” hunters and not meat hunters?

According to an article that appeared in the Sun Journal, Maine deer biologists have recommended that MDIFW issue a record number of ADPs – up 28% from last year and to a level never before seen in the state. The recommended number of ADPs sits at 84,745. That must mean the state has the largest number of deer ever in the history of the existence of the ADP system.

Errr…hang on just one second. When the estimated deer population in Maine stood at 331,000 AND the ADP system was in place, there certainly were not that many ADPs issued. So what gives? Today’s deer population estimate statewide might be as high as 120,000, depending on who you want to listen to. Doesn’t it make some sense that ADPs would be half what they were when the population was at 331,000 – more or less depending on circumstances?

Issuing this many permits can only mean one other thing…maybe…? That the buck-to-doe ratio in Maine, especially in the southern Wildlife Management Districts (WMD), is out of whack and the state needs to kill more does to make that happen…Or, maybe not so much.

Maine’s former head deer biologist told me once that it was virtually impossible for buck-to-doe ratios to exceed 1-3 or 4 unless the ratio was deliberately skewed. So, is the management of deer so deliberately skewed it has created an out-of-whack buck-to-doe ratio?

It would seem that if that was a problem, MDIFW would have at least hinted that they needed to issue straight-up doe permits to get that back on track.

According to George Smith, MDIFW is actually hinting at the prospects that the ADP system in its current form, is not working: “Deirdre Fleming reported recently that DIFW Wildlife Division Director Judy Camuso told the department’s Advisory Council that in all but six of the state’s Wildlife Management Districts the projected doe harvest was not reached last fall. State biologists projected a doe harvest of 7,114 in 2017 but the actual reported doe harvest was only 5,950.”

Uh, oh!

My question is this: If the doe harvest in all but 6 WMDs fell short last year by 1,200 deer, how is adding an additional 18,695 permits going to achieve the desired goal? Is it because there are not enough hunters or is it because those who win an ADP aren’t using it for the purposes designed? Or, perhaps, the ADP system is beginning to more and more show that it is a flawed system…not that it should be abandoned, however, but perhaps some needed changes injected into it.

I am getting to the question at hand about whether the ADP should become strictly a doe permit – meaning the holder of the doe permit can harvest ONLY a doe and not “Any Deer.”

It was an interesting brief discussion I had with this hunter. He said to me, “There are only two reasons a hunter will apply for an ADP – he wants meat regardless, or he wants insurance in case he messes up (I assume meaning he mistakenly shoots a doe instead of a buck).

I have no preference one way or the other except that however ADPs or doe permits are issued, they are done specifically to scientifically (real science) manipulate deer populations, age structure, and buck-to-doe ratios.

If the trend is that doe harvest isn’t coming close to being met with ADPs in the current format, for whatever the reasons (lack of hunters?), something has to change.

BTW, I shared the other day the real reason MDIFW wants to kill more does in the southern regions of the state and it has NOTHING to do with buck-to-doe ratios or age structure. It simply has to do with pressure from environmentalists to get rid of Lyme disease and they have chosen to pick on the deer as the culprit instead of going to the root source of the disease.

A brainwashed population of scared-by-design people are at a near panic level, fearful of even going outside. So let’s kill a whole bunch of deer.

Another fine example of non-scientific wildlife management driven by totalitarian socialism.

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Maine Deer Harvest Report: The Dog Ate My Homework

As of this writing, the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) has not published the deer harvest results for the 2017 season. They are approaching a record:

According to V. Paul Reynolds, who used to work for this outfit, says MDIFW still blames the tagging stations for not filing their information with Augusta. Really? “During my three year-tenure with IF&W, it never changed. Blame was placed on the deer tagging stations.

Guess what? It’s no better today. In fact, it is worse. Much worse. As of the first of June, nobody in officialdom, including the state deer biologist Nathan Bieber, can tell you how many deer were taken in last fall’s hunt. Don Dudley, chairman of the IF&W advisory council, said that it is frustrating for policymakers who keep asking for the deer harvest summary and are told that the foot draggers in the tagging stations are the culprits.”

So, there are “foot-draggers” in the tagging stations that refuse to send their tagging data to MDIFW in a timely manner. Who is captain of this piece of a crap sinking ship? Why does a governmental agency, that thinks nothing of running roughshod over any private citizen who stands in the way, not have the balls to tell tagging stations “NO MORE! WE ARE TAKING AWAY YOUR TAGGING PRIVILEGES?”

Oh, what is it? MDIFW is so desperate for tagging stations they are at the mercy of owners of businesses that tag game that they have no say? Give me a break!

I recall one time when, as commissioner of the local Little League program, during a championship playoff game, two women stood behind the backstop and verbally accosted the home plate umpire to a point the umpire called a time-out and asked to speak to me. We asked them to leave the grounds, but they refused. What was was to do? What could we do? It had gotten out of hand and the players and the rest of the spectators were getting angry.

I gathered the coaches and umpires together and we decided that, short of calling the local sheriff to assist with evicting them, I turned on the microphone to the public address system and announced that due to difficulties with two parents the baseball game was suspended until such time as the two women left the property.

What worked was that the two felt isolated and embarrassed because those they thought were on their side, were not. The crowd began to become vocal themselves, insisting the two women leave the park in order that the children could finish their game and enjoy it.

Maybe it is time for MDIFW to use a similar tactic with these irresponsible clowns – if it is really them that are the problem. I have my doubts.

You know what I think it is? I think that MDIFW finds placing the blame for not doing their jobs on tagging stations because it is convenient to not have the data and not have to process it until they get damned good and ready – you know, like when everyone has already forgotten about how lousy the hunting was and have already forgotten they were thinking about never buying another license.

I contend there is only a handful of us who want the specific data – and much more than what is stingily provided. It is our way of sifting through information as a means of checks and balances of this government agency. The majority of those who have a little bit of concern would like for the MDIFW to issue a press statement within hours or a day or two after the close of the hunting seasons with an “ESTIMATE” of numbers of game animals harvested. Is that difficult? If a tagging station is not giving up their data, how about a quick phone call and ask them how many deer they have tagged so far? Crissakes Anyway!!!

Back before there were computers to do all the work, the fish and game department was sending out press releases each week during the season. Today, we are told MDIFW doesn’t want to release any information that isn’t 100% accurate and so conveniently blame tagging stations.

And, Reynolds wants to know how MDIFW can, with a straight face, formulate how many permits and Any-Deer Permits to issue if they claim to not have all the returned data from tagging stations.

Telling the teacher that the dog ate my homework has never worked. I guess what has changed in this modern era of governmental totalitarianism is that there just aren’t enough taxpayers who care enough anymore to hold MDIFW’s feet to the fire and MAKE them do a much better job.

And that’s why MDIFW doesn’t feel any sense of responsibility to do what should be expected of them.

I would be embarrassed, but then again, I’m a weird, son-of-a-bitch who expects a minimum of production out of those who work for me.

 

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Maine’s New Big Game Management Plan Stained With Environmentalism

*Editor’s Note* – When I ended my work on this article last evening, unfinished and unedited, I didn’t realize that I unintentionally hit the “publish” button instead of the “save draft” button. For some readers, you may have gotten a look at the unfinished work with lots of errors in it. I apologize for this mistake.

Maine wildlife authorities have concluded the Draft copy of a new 15-year big game management plan. The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) likes to call the plan the 10-plan – that’s because it’s about 5 years late in coming.

Regardless, for those willing for some honest examination of the Draft Plan, can see that it is smeared with acts of Environmentalism, Romance Biology, Voodoo Science, and Scientism.

Pharmacies and doctors have seen windfall profits from the fear-mongering over Lyme disease. We’re all gonna die, ya know! And along with this preprogrammed effort to scare the hell out of anyone thinking about going outdoors, we see the call from “society” (social, socialism, communism) to reduce the deer population to save the planet. Never lose sight of the fact WE’RE ALL GONNA DIE from Lyme disease or some other manufactured “weapon of mass mental destruction.” Doing so would really upset the Global Power Structure’s plans.

Because MDIFW has taken up the cross to manage big game for healthy populations, spending less effort on anything that might reveal or expose lack of accountability, we now have to even further reduce the deer population below the dismal levels that already exist. (Note: Once again we see another firm case of the overwhelming need to KNOW deer populations in order to manage them responsibly.)

Must Lyme disease be a new disease? Oh, wait! According to some (wink-wink) Lyme disease was “discovered” (deserves another wink-wink) about 40-years ago. Others (get ready for it) say “new discoveries” (quadruple wink-winks until at least the cows have all come home) indicate that Lyme disease has been around for “15-million years.”

During a period of time of nearly 20-25 years ago, Maine wildlife biologists were estimating the deer population in excess of 300,000 and the deer management plan in place at that time stated the statewide goal was to maintain an “over-wintering” population of about 310,000.

In MDIFW’s wildest dreams, they estimate today deer population of around 200,000 animals. However, it appears that harvest rates of modern times don’t match with those of 15 years ago or longer. In other words, the number of deer harvested of late does not necessarily equate to 200,000 deer. Something less than that.

Regardless, 40 years ago, when Lyme disease was “discovered,” where was Lyme disease? Where was Lyme disease when Maine’s deer population spiked to well over 300,000? I know, I know. You’re all going to say that better diagnoses today detect the disease. Is that really an honest answer?

So why is the deer being blamed? It’s not the source of Lyme disease. It only is a blood host for the Lyme/deer tick. Why aren’t we expending necessary effort to go to the source of the disease and instead, picking on deer and determining to kill off whatever number of deer it takes to reduce Lyme disease (oh, why not! Wink-Wink) (Note: It is the aim of Environmentalism and/or animal rights perverts to end hunting. Going after the source of Lyme disease is not conducive to ending hunting, but if they can successfully reduce the deer populations to levels below the need for surplus harvest, they will have achieved their goal. You should also know that these groups couldn’t care less about your risk of contracting Lyme or any other disease.)

Ironically, or something, those Environmentalists who say we’re all gonna die because deer spread Lyme disease, will be the first in front of the microphones and television cameras demanding that all hunting must stop in order to protect a man-caused fragile deer population…while the cases of Lyme disease continue to flourish…because of better diagnostic techniques? (yes, yes! Wink-Wink)

Environmentalism = Scientism, Romance Biology, Voodoo Science, man sucks, and we’re all gonna die!

Also in this latest charade of big game management mockery (as demanded by the Legislature), once again we hear the woes of the failure of deer management.

A few years ago, a group of “stakeholders” and interested “volunteers” comprised a quasi-vigilante-style onslaught defined as an effort to address deer management issues in Maine. I wonder what they would have done through all those meetings if “Climate Change” didn’t exist or their bred-in instincts at totalitarian authority to steal away landowner rights didn’t give them subject matter?

During those meetings, the discussion eventually came around to suggesting that deer management in northern, western, and eastern Maine be essentially abandoned because the MDIFW cannot find ways to grow deer. That’s called GIVING UP! There are just too many excuses why it can’t be done. However, a great deal of actual deer management has been abandoned due to the utter nonsense being taught to wildlife biologists in factories of higher brainwashing, and increased pressure from Environmentalism to “change the way we talk about wildlife management.” And, let’s not forget the fear of lawsuits.

It is imperative that those who care about deer management in Maine understand that part of this Draft Plan calls for a “reevaluation” of deer management in northern, western, and eastern Maine to determine whether any effort to manage the deer in those regions is worthwhile. DAMN THAT CLIMATE CHANGE!! (Note: We must consider that should MDIFW abandon deer management in these regions, would the deer population then grow?)

We can blame whomever we want, however, according to the outcome-based “surveys” MDIFW conducted, the majority of Maine people think all is well on the homefront and that MDIFW is doing a marvelous job. That’s mostly because not unlike the brainwashed college students, society is just as brainwashed and they don’t even suspect anything.

It’s easy to target the wildlife biologists, but how much they are to blame is difficult to tell. Many are just simply doing what they are told. If we look at wildlife management as what it has become, none of what I write about matters because we will NEVER return an honest science-based system of wildlife biology. Instead, we will see a rise in Scientism, Romance Biology, Voodoo Science, Outcome-based management plans, etc.

There is one more issue in the Draft Deer Management Plan that needs to be looked at. The Plan calls for a reduction in deer populations in most all of southern and central Maine. These reductions, because of pressure from Environmentalists to stem Lyme disease, would put the population densities down to 15 – 20 deer per square mile, which is ample deer. Essentially, areas of central and southern Maine are what is keeping deer hunting in Maine alive. This is because there is a viable deer population there. In the north, west, and east, deer densities run as low as 2 – 5 deer per square mile and hunting activity is dropping like a rock.

If we slash the deer herd in central and southern Maine, what’s left? How will hunters react?

The Draft Plan for all Wildlife Management Districts calls for increased hunting and, “Continue to provide a diversity of opportunities for hunters to pursue deer by allowing multiple hunting techniques over a long season framework.”

This is a great example of wordsmithing. The Plan wants to “provide a diversity of opportunities.” What precisely does that mean? I suppose it means that I could buy a 10,000-acre spread in Central Maine, put nothing on it, manage the nothingness that is there and sell “opportunities” for those interested to go there and pursue rhinoceros. That would be diverse and provides an “opportunity.”

You might recall in my opposition to the wording of any proposed constitutional amendment to protect hunting, fishing, and trapping to Maine’s Constitution, each proposal used the same kind of wording – wording that would guarantee a right to an opportunity not a right to hunt, fish, and trap game. There is a difference.

However, the bottom line is that if hunting in Maine is to be a part of our future, there must be game to hunt, fish, and trap. It’s that simple.

Surveys, for what they are worth, conducted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, have indicated that the biggest deterrent to hunting is finding or taking the time. If hunters and potential hunters now struggle to find the time, or to justify taking the time, to hunt, how much more disinterested will people be when the only parts of the state where there are ample deer to hunt are gone?

For some of us, there is a great challenge to pursue the monster buck in areas where deer densities run around 2 -5 per square mile. Most, however, want meat and don’t have the resources to spend hours and hours to get it.

And all of this discussion about the Management Plan is actually a wasted effort. This legislatively mandated management plan is nothing more than typical government bureaucratic nonsense that, once written, is set aside and little attention paid to it. If it was required that game managers followed this plan and their production was as dismal as it is, compared to the plan, many should lose their jobs.

It is an act to appease the morons in the Capital building and to placate the unsuspecting public. In some ways, perhaps a lot of ways, consider it a good thing that game managers don’t follow their own plans.

Now, if we could just do something about the spread of Environmentalism throughout society and in our school systems.

RIGHT!!

 

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Secretary Zinke Proposes Expansion of Hunting and Fishing Opportunities at 30 of America’s National Wildlife Refuges

Press Release from the Department of Interior:

WASHINGTON – Continuing his efforts to increase access to public lands, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke today announced a proposal to open more than 248,000 acres to new or expanded hunting and fishing opportunities at 30 national wildlife refuges.

Opportunities include places like Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge in Illinois and Wisconsin, and deer hunting in Philadelphia at John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge being proposed for the first time. The proposal also outlines expanded hunting and fishing opportunities at 136 national wildlife refuges. If finalized, this would bring the number of units of the National Wildlife Refuge System where the public may hunt to 377, and the number where fishing would be permitted to 312.

“As stewards of our public lands, Interior is committed to opening access wherever possible for hunting and fishing so that more families have the opportunity to pass down this American heritage,” Zinke said. “These 30 refuges will provide incredible opportunities for American sportsmen and women across the country to access the land and connect with wildlife.”

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (Service) proposal would open more new acres to hunting and fishing than in the past and takes steps to simplify regulations to more closely match state hunting and fishing regulations. The changes would be implemented in time for the upcoming 2018-2019 hunting seasons.

Hunting, fishing and other outdoor activities contributed more than $156 billion in economic activity in communities across the United States in 2016 according to the Service’s National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife-Associated Recreation, published every five years. More than 101 million Americans – 40 percent of the U.S. population 16 and older – pursue wildlife-related recreation – such as hunting, fishing and birding.

“Ensuring public lands are open for multiple uses supports local economies and provides important opportunities for recreation. Further, this proposal means that families and individuals across our nation will be better able to participate in our nation’s tradition of hunting and fishing. We appreciate Secretary Zinke and the Interior Department for advancing this priority, and we will continue to work to improve access to public lands for our sportsmen,” said Senator John Hoeven.

“Public lands should be open for the public to enjoy,” said Chairman Rob Bishop of Utah. “The Department of the Interior’s latest decision to expand acreage and access for hunting and fishing on wildlife refuges was the right move. Secretary Zinke’s decision will help our economy grow and enable those who hunt and fish to spend more time catching game and less time caught in red tape.”

“North Dakota is a sportsman’s paradise. The decision to expand access to public lands by opening more than 248,000 acres across the nation to hunting and fishing will provide new economic opportunities for local communities as well as open up new areas for anglers and hunters,” said Congressman Kevin Cramer. “For the first time, the J. Clark Salyer and Lostwood National Wildlife Refuges will be open to moose hunting. I commend the Secretary’s decision and look forward to working with the department.”

“Hunters, anglers and shooting sports enthusiasts play a crucial role in funding the management and conservation of North America’s wildlife,” said Service Principal Deputy Director Greg Sheehan. “We are providing sportsmen and women with more access to our national wildlife refuges and streamlining regulations to more closely align with our state partners. And that’s good news for our customers.”

The Service manages hunting and fishing programs to ensure sustainable wildlife populations while also offering other traditional wildlife-dependent recreation on public lands, such as wildlife watching and photography. The Refuge System is an unparalleled network of 566 national wildlife refuges and 38 wetland management districts. There is a national wildlife refuge within an hour’s drive of most major metropolitan areas.

“The proposed expansion of hunting and fishing opportunities through working partnership with the states is a demonstration of Secretary Zinke’s commitment to our nation’s outdoor heritage and the conservation community,” said Virgil Moore, President of the Association of the Fish and Wildlife Agencies and Director of the Idaho Department of Fish and Game. “These efforts reaffirm the tremendous value of quality wildlife habitat and outdoor recreational opportunities, including hunting and fishing, in connecting millions of Americans to the outdoors.”

“We applaud Secretary Zinke and the Fish and Wildlife Service for their continued commitment to increasing opportunities for hunting and fishing within the National Wildlife Refuge System,” said Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation President Jeff Crane. “We look forward to continuing to work with the Department of Interior on increasing access for sportsmen and women.”

Hunting and/or fishing will expand or be opened on the following refuges:

Arkansas

California

Florida

Illinois

Illinois and Missouri

Illinois and Wisconsin

Indiana

Maine

Maine and New Hampshire

Maryland

Michigan

Minnesota

Montana

New Jersey

New Jersey and New York

New Mexico

North Dakota

Ohio

Oregon

Pennsylvania

Utah

Wisconsin

  • Trempealeau National Wildlife Refuge: Open hunting of certain gamebirds, small mammals and furbearers for the first time, and expand existing migratory game bird and big game hunting.

The Service will seek comments from the public on the proposed rule for 30 days, beginning with publication in the Federal Register in coming days. The notice will be available at www.regulations.gov, docket no. FWS-HQ-NWRS-2018-0020, and will include details on how to submit your comments. An interim copy of the proposed rule is now available at https://www.fws.gov/home/pdfs/Proposed_2018-2019_Hunt_Fish_Rule_signed.pdf.

More than 53 million Americans visit refuges every year. National wildlife refuges provide vital habitat for thousands of species and access to world-class recreation, from fishing, hunting and boating to nature watching, photography and environmental education. In doing so, they support regional economies to the tune of $2.4 billion dollars per year and support more than 35,000 jobs.

Under the National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997, the Service permits hunting and fishing along with four other types of wildlife-dependent recreation, including wildlife photography, environmental education, wildlife observation and interpretation, when they are compatible with an individual refuge’s purpose and mission. Hunting, within specified limits, is currently permitted on 337 wildlife refuges and 37 wetland management districts. Fishing is currently permitted on 277 wildlife refuges and 34 wetland management districts.

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