May 1, 2017

Logging, intentional fires planned in Superior National Forest to improve moose habitat

*Editor’s Note* – Well, I’m confused but that probably doesn’t surprise many of you. Last time I checked Minnesota officials said there was little to be done about saving the state’s moose herd because “global warming” was causing everything imaginable that might work against the moose herd…including the defeat of Hillary Clinton last November.

Using the circular reasoning of unreasoned circular nonsensical clap-trap, isn’t cutting down forests contributing to global warming which in turn kills off the moose herd?

“Twenty years ago the Superior National Forest was criticized for allowing loggers to cut too many trees, especially too many large swaths of forest.

Environmental groups and others contended that so-called clear-cuts were more than just an aesthetic eyesore, but that they contributed to monocultures of small aspen trees and disrupted wildlife that depended on thick, mature forests of big, old trees.

The Forest Service responded by cutting back on cutting.

Flash-forward a couple decades, however, and plans to cut more and larger swaths of trees are getting high praise. Wildlife biologists and others say more logging and more fire are the only hope for Minnesota’s dwindling moose herd.”<<<Read More>>>

Maybe The Proposed “Comprehensive Hunting License” is Not a Good Idea

George Smith, political activist and outdoor writer, probably perceived by many as a bad dose of pine pollen, is at it again. It seems that if he’s not hounding somebody about forcing Mainers to take up Sunday hunting, he’s beating their brow over creating what he calls a Comprehensive Hunting License. I’m not so sure that I can agree with a lot of Smith’s reasons why he thinks this is a good idea and I also wonder if he really understands why the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) is fighting him on this proposed bill. And to those with little gray matter, I’m not suggesting in any way that Smith, or anybody else, stop exercising their right to petition the state. Good for him.

George, it’s all about the money, isn’t it? You say it’s a shame that something this good might not happen because of money. I don’t know that your proposal is that good, but it is a shame that decisions are made on whether or not it will add or subtract revenue to pay the salaries and retirement pensions of the growing number of retirees.

I understand your point of view about how simple it is to pay the extra cost for your comprehensive license because it’s no more than 10 or 12 gallons of gasoline, but I don’t agree with you. I also understand what you are saying about how it cost more to get to and come home from a hunt in North Dakota, but the reality is, how many of all the hunters in Maine can afford to do that? In short, they can’t relate to your reasoning.

You speak of how great and beneficial the Superpack License was to you UNTIL the state charged $200 for it. I didn’t think you grew up with a silver spoon but then again I know very little about you or your past. I grew up dirt poor. In the world I live in, facing that increase for a Superpack to $200 might loom as large as someone considering an increase of $13.00. In short, they can’t relate to your reasoning.

You say the increased cost would not only not deter anyone from hunting but that it would increase those who decide to take up hunting species they never tried before. Really? Does all the world think as you do – not that there is anything wrong with how you see things. It’s just I don’t think everyone sees things the same as you. I don’t…and that’s one.

Since giving up my Maine residency 20-some years ago, I have to purchase a nonresident hunting license to hunt deer in Maine. I don’t CHOOSE to hunt other species, accept maybe the few I can collect during deer season. The past 3 years I have really labored in my mind to justify spending $114.00 for a hunting license to walk in the woods and listen to coyotes howl at night. You have addressed that issue, however, seeing this as a future problem is not seeing the problem that stands before us now. The future is here.

From the MDIFW’s perspective, I believe they are, at least to some degree, protecting their income. I would do the same if I were in their positions. I may just choose to do it in different ways. If MDIFW understands they are between a rock and hard place because in many places in Maine the deer hunting sucks and the moose hunting, along with “opportunities,” is shrinking at a rate in which soon hunting of the lanky critter will be another item to read about in Maine’s historical documents, then perhaps they don’t want more people hunting. Instead, they want to advertise what a great place Maine is to hunt and dupe the public as long as they can by selling their “opportunities.” It’s called (stealthily) stroking the Golden Goose.

What I am confused about is that it appears you are coming down on both sides of this issue – or at least straddling the fence. If, as you seem to want to base a good part of your argument on, the increased cost of a “comprehensive license” is no big deal – meaning $13.00 or $30.00 is of no concern – and it would gain hunters rather than drive them away, then by the same reasoning, it’s no big deal to select and pay for only the species you want to hunt, even if it might cost you more money.

The consumer is an odd duck in some ways. My wife recently bought a brand new sewing machine as part of her retirement strategy. We both discussed the issue at length and we both agreed that she should purchase what she WANTED in a sewing machine, but not to buy one loaded with extras because it seemed a better deal. Maybe hunters in Maine don’t want a comprehensive hunting license. In the long run, to the smart shopper, maybe it’s not really a better deal. I’m not convinced it is and if I’m forced to try it, I might not even try it.

I understand how you like to throw out statistics from surveys, the most of which are designed to achieve desired results (I’ve written extensively about that), and report that 68% of those hunters who chose to return a survey (6% return) favored a comprehensive hunting license. That number means little unless we know all the details about the survey, including the wording of the questions and what the respondents believed to be an “all-inclusive” license and it’s cost. Surveys are easy to answer. Reality is always considerably different.

So, if you want to toss out survey results, here’s one that is often avoided because it doesn’t comfortably fit the narrative of those seeking to make changes in laws to satisfy their own ideals. In most of the latest surveys taken for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the number one reason people do not hunt is lack of time/time away from work.

If this is true, then perhaps MDIFW is on top of the ball and they understand this (am I really saying this?). If I had but two days to hunt deer in November, because that’s all the time off I could get, why would I want to spend another $13.00 to do what I can do for $25.00. After all, the sneaky-snake can say it’s only $13.00 but the thinking man sees it’s a better that 50% increase. Not everybody looks at things from the perspective of “gee, it’s only the price of half a tank of gas.” Many people look at this as wasting money. What then are my options? If I feel $13.00 is $13.00 I don’t want to needlessly spend, then my only two options are spend the money or don’t bother to try to get time off work to hunt. How is this increasing the number of hunters?

Maybe it’s also time that Maine got on the bandwagon and modernized it’s fishing license structure to allow fishermen to pay for only what they choose to fish and/or how they would like to fish for their desired species. I have fished in many states that provide a general fishing license and then you purchase a stamp (real or figurative) for each of the species you want to fish. If you never fish any other species but bass, why should I be forced to pay a higher fee to fish what I don’t want.

I guess it might depend on whether the glass is half full or half empty.

Florida: Bear Hunting Is Essential to Management….Er, Except When Politics Rule

During the deliberation portion of their June 2016 meeting that resulted in the postponement of a bear hunt that year, dissenting FWC Commissioners claimed their wish was to polish the scientific data supporting a hunt which was to be presented this year. They had no desire to “kick the can down the road” or “study the issue to death.”

What did they do at the meeting last Wednesday? They decided to revise the bear management plan to incorporate the new data and hunting as a management tool. This updated plan will be presented to the Commission in two years. To the best of my understanding, 2019 will be the earliest bear hunting is considered again.

Can kicked. Issue studied and dead. For now.<<<Read More>>>

11 Months and Three Weeks Later IF&W Counted the Turkeys Shot in May 2016

Because IF&W Really, Really, Really Gives a Damn!

We could go over to New Hampshire and live and nobody in Maine would miss us!

Collaring Wild Animals: Scientific Research or Playing With Technology?

The manufacture, sale and use of radio telemetry collars for animal research is a racket and perhaps a serious waste of dollars. Depending upon the model of telemetry collar selected for each use, the cost of one such collar can run into the thousands of dollars. One must ask then if the cost of the collars is worth the return on investment? Well, that depends.

What we do know is that using tracking collars for wildlife is big business and a very popular thing to do. The tax payers like it because of their perverse love, adoration and all out worship of any kind of animal…well, until such animals become a real threat to them. The average tax payer doesn’t know how the collar is used and seldom is any “scientific research” information/data shared with the public. When it is, a trained eye recognizes very little scientific process and whole lot of speculation and theory swapping.

When it is a most difficult task to receive information from state fish and wildlife agencies about their “ongoing studies,” some of us are left to only guess what it is they are using collars on animals for and what actual data is being collected. So, let’s take a look at what is, might and could be done with a tracking collar.

What got me thinking about this popular event of tracking animals with radio telemetry, was an exchange of emails among a handful of wildlife scientists about this very subject. The foundation of discussion was centered around an article written about a collared wolf in British Columbia, Canada that was tracked along a route covering over 300 miles (not unusual). The journey for the wolf came to an end when it was legally shot and killed by a hunter. Of course this prompted outrage from the above described group of perverse, adoring wolf worshipers. But that’s not the topic of this immediate discussion.

In the email exchange, questions arose about what, if any, data and information was being collected on this wolf other than to know where the male wolf was at any point in time when a “data point” was sent (telemetry) and recorded on a computer. One scientist commented: “Reading the story makes me suspect that the wolves are collared and then left alone, while “researchers” are watching wiggly lines on the computer screen – and start guessing what is going on.”

Which brings us back to one of my original comments that because of the stinginess of researchers to share information, minus their speculations, the rest of us are left to guess (our own speculation) as to just what it is they are doing or not doing.

It seems about the only place we can get any information about studies is through the “Echo Chambers” of the Press. The vast majority of news media personnel are nothing more than “copy and paste” writers who wouldn’t understand what a true scientific process was if it was spelled out for them. As such, what is reverberated in the echo chambers is the Environmentalist’s nonsense, most often including speculation and theorizing about each collared animal based on placing human values on the animals – i.e. a guess as to what animals might be thinking, doing, etc. based more than likely on human projection of human values.

The State of Maine claims to be in the middle of a moose study. I have written extensively on this project and moose management in general. You can search this website, mostly under the Maine Hunting column.

What has been doled out to the public, which we have no idea if this is an actual reflection of the study, is that biologists placed collars on a hundred or so calf moose and some cows. It has been passed on that the purpose of the “study” is to find out the effects of winter ticks (moose ticks – Dermacentor albipictus) on moose mortality. All that we have been told is that when one of the collars stops moving, the collar sends a signal notifying researchers of the non movement. Somebody will go find the stationary collar (as quickly as possible – wink, wink) and attempt to determine what killed the moose.

This is one function that we are allowed to know about, evidently. But what kind of science is this? Or is it any kind of scientific research that will provide data and observation in order to find out more useful information in order to create better management plans? Who knows. It would seem that if any fish and game department was going to go through the expense and time to trap and collar moose, a full spectrum of scientific observation, collection of data, and analysis would be implemented into the effort. Is it? Who knows.

If the only thing these researchers are doing is sitting in front of a computer screen, in their comfortable offices, “watching wiggly lines” so somebody can go to the site where they think a moose died in hopes of determining cause of death, what is the real value of placing the collars on the moose?

It appears the collars work pretty good for “tracking.” Watching wiggly lines on a computer screen can tell biologists where a moose has gone over any prescribed length of time. They receive a signal when a collar becomes motionless for a period of time. Suggesting the collared animal might be dead, researchers journey into the woods to see what they can find…we are told.

Then what?

How well trained are the biologists in determining cause of death? So, they get to the scene and see a dead moose. It’s covered with winter ticks. The moose looks emaciated and missing hair/fur. No cuts, scratches, etc. are noticed on the moose and is it assumed that the moose died from the effects of the winter ticks? Other than tracking this moose on a computer screen, did researchers enter the woods on a regular basis in order to know, not speculate, what this dead moose had been up to over the weeks and months prior to it’s death? Where was the moose when it died, and in relation to where it normally “hung out?” How is this fact relevant to making a determination of its cause of death? Did the moose actually die of exhaustion, due to a combination of a low blood supply from the ticks, poor nutrition (it is winter you know) and being harassed by predators, including harassment by humans – both scientists and the general public? If it appears the moose was partially eaten, are the biologists adequately trained in making determinations of the kill tactics of predator suspects? How many of such kills has each scientist seen and been a part of? Are they trained to know when the dead animal became a meal for scavengers or when it became a meal by the kill of a predator?

What other data is collected on this moose? Is a full necropsy (animal autopsy) done, along with checking for all diseases and health issues? Moose calves are probably too young to have contracted what Maine biologists like to call “lung worm,” also known as Hydatid cysts caused by the existence of Echinococcus granulosus parasites carried and spread by wild canines (coyotes, foxes, raccoons). It has been shown that this disease exists in moose in the state of Maine. An infected moose, having cysts in the lungs, heart or liver, can seriously hamper a moose’s ability to escape danger from predators. Is this aspect of a moose’s death even considered, or is it just passed off as death by winter ticks? It is important to know the differences if ever there was hope to do anything about the problem.

Tracking a moose, or any other animal, with a radio telemetry collar can tell biologists where a moose is at pretty much any given point in time. One could argue that is science, but if you call that science it isn’t very good science.

Another scientist in our email discussion referred to this action this way: “…just data points that merely define where they [collared animals] are at a given time. What they are doing, which really matters, is left to interpretation, [and] conjecture. Until an effort is made to “follow” as closely as possible the movements of radio-collared animals, we can expect more “Research Lite.”

It is not a simple task to net a moose and snap a collar around it’s neck, wait to see if it’s going to die and then go find it to see if you can tell what killed it. However, is that effort alone worth the time and expense? Before this “study” began, I really don’t think it took a highly educated wildlife biologist to figure out winter ticks were knocking the hell out of the state’s moose herd.

What other information is being gathered and will any of the rest of us get to see it and not be relegated to the end of the line waiting for another copy and paste edition of our favorite echo chamber? I’m guessing the latter.

Who knows!

Maine Cuts Moose Hunting Permits by “Just” 3%

Opportunity! That’s the adjunct word that is readily used today in describing hunting, fishing, and trapping. Once everyone is brainwashed into accepting the word “opportunity” as a privilege granted by the state, what else is left?

Why should I, or anyone, get riled up over a measly little 3% reduction in “opportunity” to hunt moose? Maybe I shouldn’t but that’s not the whole and truthful story in the matter.

According to what the Portland Press Herald just reported,  in 2013 the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) issued 4,085 moose hunting permits. Those permits are handed out through a lottery process. Just announced by MDIFW is that this year’s permit allocation will stand at just 2,080. However, let’s make sure that Maine sportsmen understand that there is still “opportunity.” We can’t fault MDIFW’s management plans and execution of those plans because, well, we still have “opportunity.” That’s how many sportsmen see things. As I said, “opportunity” is the word.

If MDIFW keeps cutting permits, the moose numbers may recover to where 4,000 or more permits are allotted. By then the tick problem will resurface and MDIFW can find some Federal funds and/or grant money and conduct another study on the affects of winter ticks on moose, all the while never bothering to study the tick itself. It’s easier just to take what the environmentalists have perpetuated that global warming causes ticks. Science and common sense are no longer a part of the equations. Always be ruled by the demands of the social groups.

There is, however, hope…well, not really. I just like to say that, I suppose in the same fashion that fish and game departments love to promote “opportunity.”

Okay! So, we are supposed to cut the managers some slack because they are still in the middle of a moose study. Probably ten years from now, we will still be saying Maine is in the middle of a moose study. Or maybe the sharing of the results and data of this moose study will happen as efficiently as when we get harvest reports for deer, bear and moose…never? We had to find out through the grapevine that MDIFW was conducting a deer study with the major land owners of northern Maine. Evidently this study is about how protecting deer yards is having no effect on the deer. Let’s go discuss it in the coffee shop. That has always worked.

We know winter ticks are being blamed for fewer moose which results in fewer hunting permits (opportunist). I don’t have a problem with that….well, mostly not. Of course increased winter ticks has always been blamed on global warming, even though Maine’s head moose biologist says, “With moose the hypothesis that is being talked about has to do with climate, but it’s complicated. It seems spring and fall affect the winter ticks, that and high moose densities.”

Notice he did call it a hypothesis. It appears this hypothesis, like all other hypotheses, still provides the escape to blame all things on climate change. Winter ticks have been around the world since the beginning of time. Who did the first moose biologists blame the ticks on?

I refuse to even hint that Kantar is suggesting anything will ever be done about “high moose densities” unless it is done by Nature the way it has in the past 3 years. There are too many moose, causing too many ticks and those ticks are killing off the moose. The reports are that this year’s winter tick mortality has been considerably less than the previous 3. What has happened to the moose population during this time? Who knows. They won’t tell us. Is a reduction in moose population directly proportional to the reduction in ticks. Nah, it’s the drought and the cold winter. Don’t you know?

Aside from all this, the state wouldn’t dream of reducing moose populations to mitigate ticks and other diseases, including public safety and private property issues, because they fear the lobby of the environmentalists and those looking to make a buck gawking at moose. I don’t blame those looking to make a buck…but at what expense.

But, never fear. Maine sportsmen will always have their “opportunities.” Opportunities may not exist for all or even most. If you’ve got the money, you can increase your chances, even while the chances continue to dwindle. If there remain but one lone moose permit, deer permit, bear permit, etc. Mainers couldn’t complain because MDIFW has protected their opportunities.

If LD 11, a constitutional amendment said to protect hunting, fishing and trapping in Maine, were to pass, how easy it will become to protect opportunity.

Fabulous!

SAM’s Testimony on Right To Hunt Amendment, Makes Claims Not Entirely True

Recently I wrote about a proposed constitutional amendment in Maine that is being presented as an amendment to protect the “right” to hunt, trap and fish – LD 11. I also wrote that this proposal was one that I could support and I was wrong to have made the statement using the words that I did because I failed to succinctly express the full truth in my statement. Please let me explain.

Yesterday, I was reading David Trahan’s (Executive Director of the Sportman’s Alliance of Maine) testimony before the Legislative Committee in support of the proposed amendment.

To many, his words ring true, much because most of us have been taught certain things about our federal and state constitutions and the rights we have been granted under those constitution. Men don’t grant rights to anyone. They simply claim ownership of them and hand them back to us in some kind of limited form or fully deny us of such rights.

Trahan states that when this nation was founded, wildlife was “placed in the public trust” and as such we had the right to take it for sustenance. Therefore, Americans have always possessed the right to hunt, fish and trap. I will have to save for another day any debate on this so-called public trust and our inherent right to hunt, fish and trap. I will proceed from the perspective of most that they do have either a right or a privilege.

As Mr. Trahan also pointed out, man decided that in order to sustain game and other wildlife, they must construct laws to limit that activity. What happened to our inherent “right” to hunt, trap and fish when the limitations by law became enforced? Is anything really a “right” when it is controlled by man? We evidently believe so. When men, because they couldn’t maintain viable game populations through their own disciplines, called upon man-governments to do it for them, it began the process of destroying any semblance of a right to hunt. I ask once again, what happened to a so-called “right” to hunt wildlife “placed in the public trust” when at least some of that right was ceded over to government and restricted?

This is not that much different than the argument of sovereignty, in which most people do not understand sovereignty of an individual or a government agency. How are you a sovereign individual? Oh, you might say, “Nobody tells me what to do! I’m my own man!” But you are not. You might be a legend in your own mind, but you are not a sovereign individual. Once a man agrees to become part of a community, whether it is a small as a neighborhood or as large as a nation, they have agreed to relinquish that sovereignty and place it under the control of the government. Your act of relinquishment places decisions about your life into the hands of the controlling government agencies.

In Maine, at some point in time, the full right to hunt, trap and fish, was ceded to the State Government to control and make the decisions for us as to what, when and how we might harvest game. Trahan points this out in his testimony. In reality, the sportsmen have very little control over their perceived right to hunt. What has evolved since the creation of game and wildlife laws, is that the government agency formulated to oversee hunting, trapping and fishing, call the shots. Yup, proposals for new laws can be presented. Sometimes they get through a committee and most times not. You are heard before a committee but if you can’t get by the committee then what has become of your “right” to hunt, trap and fish. If you do get through committee you are at the mercy of the Legislature. Where then is your protected right?

Many believe that an amendment to the Constitution will guarantee, protect or create a “right” to hunt, trap and fish. They are wrong. I have written many times on this subject and stated that unless an amendment mandated or forced the government to do something, it is nothing more than words on a piece of paper.

The proposed LD 11 states, in reference to the right of the people of Maine to hunt, fish and trap, that this right: “may not be infringed.” (emboldening added) This is not a mandate. It does not force the Legislature, the Governor, Law Enforcement, or anybody else to stop any infringement of a person’s right to hunt, trap and fish. Go ask a lawyer – or at least an intelligent and honest one (yeah I know). Or go research it yourself. “May” is not a mandate – only a suggestion.

Further, the amendment says that this non infringement of the right to hunt, trap and fish is subject to “reasonable” laws enacted by the Legislature and “reasonable” rules adopted by the department in charge of management of game, fish and other wildlife. Is a “reasonable” law or rule an infringement? We’ve already established that the protection against infringement is non binding because the lawyers chose “may” instead of “must.”

So, who decides what “reasonable” means? I hope you are beginning to understand.

The amendment establishes that the department in reference is supposed to “promote wildlife conservation and management” and “maintain natural resources in trust for public use” (emboldening added) and this evidently will “preserve the future of hunting and fishing.” Nothing here is a mandate that forces anybody to do anything. What is wildlife conservation? As it is in operation today, wildlife conservation becomes a matter of which social entity has the most dollars and the loudest mouth to force their idealistic perceptions and conceptions of wildlife conservation.

The Department, according to this amendment will “maintain” natural resources. Maintain them how and to what levels of population that will guarantee, protect or create the “right” to hunt, trap and fish? This, of course, is left up to the Department, which is what takes places now. There is no mandate. There is no protection of any right.

The amendment further states that “public hunting and fishing are the preferred means…” (emboldening added) Where is the mandate here that will guarantee, protect or create a “right” to hunt, trap and fish? The Department might “prefer” to use hunting and fishing but what if they decide to import wolves to control populations of deer and moose? Where is the mandate? Where is the protection of any “right” to hunt, trap and fish? And would such a decision be “reasonable?”

The truth is, that while this is better language than previously proposed in other amendments, voters in Maine should not be misled to believe that this amendment, as written, will guarantee, protect or create for Maine citizens, the “right” to hunt, trap and fish.

And on the reverse of this, as I have already read in a few spreads of clap trap nonsense, such an amendment, as written will not destroy the process to petition the state. This should be obvious once you understand this proposal has nothing in it that is a mandate, forcing anybody to do anything.

When I said this amendment was something I could support, that statement was not accurate and I apologize for misleading people, if I did. First, I could not “support” such and amendment in the literal sense because I am not a legal resident of Maine and therefore could not vote for it if I wanted.

My thinking at the time was that while there still were no mandates in the proposal, perhaps the language was such that it might deter the onslaught of lawsuits and referendums that have been piled onto the Pine Tree State. It may, in fact, increase them. It is difficult to assess.

I will work harder to choose my words and the statements I make more carefully.

When Man Wasn’t Around Animals Survived

*Editor’s Note* – A New Hampshire town wants to better manage wildlife on town property – just in excess of 2,500 acres. It is believed too many coyotes are reducing the deer population below numbers desired. As is often the case, animal lovers seem to think managing is more cruel than the savagery of letting “Nature” do it alone. Ignorance driven by emotion.

“Why fool with Mother Nature?” asked Elliot, adding that he’s read that trapping is considered inhumane. “What happened years ago when we weren’t around? They (the animals) all survived.”<<<Read More>>>

Maine: Deer Baiting, Feeding, Crop Damage

If it is important enough that laws in the State of Maine be made tougher to extend and grow the penalties for hunting deer over “bait,” perhaps it would behoove the lawmakers to take the time first to define “bait.”

A proposed new law, LD 1083, would, “…makes the penalty for hunting over bait during an open season on deer a mandatory fine of $500. It also provides for the one-year suspension of a hunting license of a person convicted of doing so.”

The head of the Maine Warden Service supports this bill because, as he states, “the agency averages over 100 deer baiting cases per year.” 100 case per year, times $500, equals a nice little windfall, perhaps enough to pass out some raises. And, at a guaranteed $500 per case, doubling that to 200 is good profit.

The new proposal also states that, “A hunting license of a person convicted of placing or hunting over bait in violation of section 11452, subsection 1 must be revoked, and that person is ineligible to obtain a hunting license for a period of one year from the date of conviction.”

Taking a look at Title 12, 11452, subsection 1, we read,1. Prohibitions.  A person may not, during an open hunting season on deer: A. Place salt or any other bait or food in a place to entice deer to that place.”(emphasis added)

So, what is “bait?”
Part B of Subsection 1 describes the limits of hunting from a tree stand or an observation deck: It is prohibited to B. Hunt from an observation stand or blind overlooking salt, grain, fruit, nuts or other foods known to be attractive to deer.” (This is inconsistent with the above prohibition.)
What’s inconsistent in this regulation is that Part A prohibits anyone during deer season, to put out things that will “entice deer to that place.” In Part B, there are limitations as to what a hunter can observe from a tree stand, i.e. he can’t hunt over “salt, grain, fruit, nuts or other foods known to be attractive to deer.” This does not specify “bait.”
So, what is bait?
Can I climb my tree stand and hunt over “bait?”
So, what is “bait?”
It appears that the issue here, aside from the threat of the spread of disease, is that authorities don’t want hunters placing “bait” some place in the woods, which happens to be in front of their tree stand….or maybe not.
I know I sound like a fool, but, what is “bait?”
If the concern is over “baiting” a deer to the location in which a hunter awaits in ambush, then isn’t anything a hunter puts out, in, around his tree stand to “attract” deer, “bait?” The existing law states that you can’t use items that are known to be attractants for deer and lure them to a specific location. If so, then what is putting out scent attractants to draw deer to your stand?
Maine has to do a better job of making the work of law enforcement better but more importantly so that hunters fully understand what is legal and illegal and why. When we see exceptions to “baiting” it often times is a matter of a certain lobby fighting for their preferred methods of hunting at the expense of others. In case you aren’t keeping up, I might suggest that the manufacture of deer lures, scents, attractants and covers, is a giant money-making industry. Serious argument can be made as to whether those are “baits.”
It’s also very stupid that you can’t “bait” deer to a specific location, like a tree stand, but you can plant a “crop” and place your tree stand overlooking your “crop” – the result of a “standing crop” or “foods left as a result of normal agricultural operations…” (emphasis added)
So, what is “bait?” Your guess is as good as mine.
The other issue being discussed presently is what to do about deer and crop damage. I am a bit confused. Much of this debate takes place in Washington County, the eastern portion of the State of Maine, due to blueberry crops being destroyed by deer.
As anybody who has read much of my writings will know, I am as big a property rights supporter as there are. However, a scant few years ago, Washington County, along with many other parts of the state, had pretty much a non existent deer herd, much the result of too many coyotes and some tough winters. Efforts were put forth in the area to construct a systematic approach at reducing the coyote population in order to save the deer herd.
Killing coyotes helped the deer herd and now the blueberry farmers are complaining about crop damage. That’s understandable.
However, if one examines Maine’s history with blueberries and deer, both have existed since settlers first came here. I am willing to believe that at certain periods of time, deer were far more plentiful in blueberry country, and other areas of farmland where crops grow. What was done about that damage then?
I’m not opposed to doing what is reasonable to limit crop damage. I’m sure that same feeling has existed for decades. But, now the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) is suggesting a bill that would give the Commissioner authority to establish deer killing zones around crop lands, even the blueberry patches in Washington County, where deer numbers are only beginning to recover. Something tells me that either some people want too many deer, or some want crops that are never harmed and they don’t want the responsibility to deal with it. Or something. Is it just the tolerance level of people has dwindled so low that nothing is to be put up with? It seems we only bitch and complain and propose another law to stop somebody else from doing something somebody doesn’t like.
From testimony before the Committee, we are told that the Food Safety Modernization Act prohibits the harvesting of crops where animals have eaten or defecated. Obviously the Act is a Leftist nightmare creation, never intending to implement public health and safety but to destroy our food crops. But, that’s another book. How can we harvest any crops anywhere if any animal has excreted their waste there? What have we become?
Some want to kill deer to mitigate crop damage, complaining that deer defecate in the crops, while others want to protect the coyotes, to kill the deer, with no concern about the coyotes defecating in the fields. I’ll guarantee you that coyote scat is far more dangerous to our health than deer scat. This is a sure sign of animal perversion over human well being, including the protection of private property.
This morning I was listening to rubbish on television, when a news anchor asked a senator why they took so much time off. His answer was that some people would like it that Congress didn’t meet. I concur. We are so brainwashed to think that all legislation, at every level, must make laws and keep making laws. Why? The existing laws are incomprehensible, designed by lawyers for lawyers, and are either unenforceable or lacking the manpower to enforce them. And yet, we keep piling them on, as is the case here in Maine.
I believe that with increased levels of anger, hatred and intolerance, we can only expect that the number of totalitarian-type legislative proposals will inundate our politicians, who scramble to take care of only those that feed them money for reelection.

Antler Point Restrictions Eliminates Still Hunting/Stalking

As is often the case, Quality Deer Management and their associates, continue to push for antler point restrictions on whitetail bucks for what I see as mostly satisfying the selfish trophy hunter determined to fill the woods with larger antlered deer. I think the decision should be based on biology and management goals, which I think the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife is attempting to do.

When you stop and think about the proposed antler point restrictions, at least three points longer than one inch on at least one side of the antlers, one is almost exclusively regulated to tree stand “hunting” or hunting from a blind. I’ve hunted for many years in Maine, long before the “bucks only” law, or the issuance of “Any-Deer Permits” were formulated. Whether stalking, still hunting, in a tree stand or a ground blind, it’s relatively easy to determine if a deer has horns longer than 3 1/2 inches. In other words, if you see your target long enough to make that recognition, you are therefore, sure of your target, which is the law. It is also my assumption that this length of antler restrictions was decided upon because typically a deer that has antlers longer than 3 1/2 inches, the length is longer due to age. If a fawn (button buck) has started to grow antlers, they are typically just knobs. A 1 1/2 year-old-buck would generally have larger antlers but not necessarily three points of at least one inch. Yes, there are exceptions to that observation.

If you were to change the law to require 3 points of at least one inch in length, that requires the hunter to be in a position where they can see a standing deer long enough to assess the antler points and length, i.e. a tree stand or blind. This would, by default, remove one tactic of hunting and severely limit a hunter’s opportunity to harvest a deer.

I don’t like that idea very much because I am and always have been more of a still hunter/stalker than a sitter. Occasionally I might sit in a ground blind but never in a tree stand because of physical difficulty in climbing.

However, I would support an antler point restriction, different from what it is now, if and when somebody can give me the science to support the need, rather than the want,  in Maine. I have read most of the literature and I just don’t see much of it applying to the State of Maine and its deer herd. But I’m ready to see more proof of need.

On a related note, I read where Maine is in year one of a five your deer study on land in northern Maine owned by the major land owners. Why is stuff like this not announced except as an aside to other issues?

In the same article where I read that, I also read, “The deer are not rebounding the way we think they should despite protection of deer yards.” Now that’s something to think about for all you that blame loss of habitat and global warming for the demise of Maine’s deer herd.