June 22, 2017

QDMA Whitetail Deer Report for 2016

Below is the link to the 2016 Quality Deer Management Association Report on whitetail deer. Bear in mind a couple of things. One, I am not a very big fan of QDMA for various reasons. One reason is because I believe they put too much focus on “trophy” hunting and manipulating the resource towards that end. Another issue to consider, should you choose to review this report, is that it is a great example of the saying, “Statistic prove that statistics can prove anything.” While QDMA is presenting information about declines and increases in yearling buck harvest and/or buck harvest in general, as well as antlerless deer, it offers no explanations of why. It’s one thing to report declines or increases in yearling buck harvest, for example, even to go to the point of suggesting trends, but to make specific claims requires much greater knowledge and information about all aspects that effect deer management and hunting harvests.

One might suspect that with QDMA’s insistent pushing for antler point restrictions (for trophy hunting purposes), it would seem logical that the buck harvest might decrease when such restrictions are put in place. The same kind of unknown comparison can be applied to reports in changes of antlerless deer. In states, like Maine, that use “Any-Deer Permits” to regulate the populations of deer, significant changes in the allotment of such permits, as has been the case in recent years, obviously affects the harvest data.

That isn’t to say the report is worthless. It contains interesting data and if taken in its context and applied subjectively and honestly, within the smallest denominator of available data in each state, one might find some interesting comparatives, assuming most things remain consistent…and they don’t.

QDMA’s Whitetail Report 2016

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Are Anti-Hunters Educable?

Some are, most aren’t. I’m not quite so optimistic as the author, although he does present good points. The author also points out that our own fish and wildlife departments almost never get off their lazy, brainwashed asses and work toward educating those that need educating. As a matter of fact, most members of fish and wildlife agencies are responsible for feeding the media echo-chambers with the lies and “emotion-driven diatribe” that the anti hunters feed off.

As the old saying goes, who needs enemies when you have friends like this?

“I’ve presented many talks and slide programs to non-hunting organizations and groups. I always include some hard-core hunting, trapping and predator management material in the program. On occasion, I’ve purposely baited an anti or two in the crowd, who invariably let their mouth overload their ass and give me an opportunity to override and stifle their attention seeking, emotion-driven diatribe with simple facts and personal experience to the contrary of what they have been misled and misinformed into believing.”<<<Read More>>>

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Renowned Conservationist, RMEF Promote Relevance of Hunting

Press Release from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:

MISSOULA, Mont.—In an effort to promote a wider public conversation about the positive connections between hunting and wildlife conservation, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation partnered with widely-respected conservationist and wildlife researcher Shane Mahoney to release a timely and evocative short film titled Relevance.

The video, which discusses the modern relevance of hunting traditions, especially in terms of conservation benefits, is the first product generated as part of a new and ongoing collaboration between RMEF and Mahoney.

“Shane is one of the world’s leading voices for conservation,” said Steve Decker, RMEF’s vice president of Marketing. “His message about hunting’s role in society showcases the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation, certainly one of the most successful systems of wildlife recovery and management the world has ever seen. Shane’s message resonates not only among sportsmen and women, but also with those who do not hunt or fish but who share in the concern for wildlife’s future.”

The film’s narrative is borrowed from Mahoney’s keynote address, delivered at RMEF’s 2017 National Convention earlier this year in Nashville.

Mahoney, a long-time RMEF member, is the president and CEO of Conservation Visions, a global wildlife initiative focused on international conservation issues.

“Hunting is sometimes incorrectly viewed as a self-indulgent and wasteful anachronism in modern society,” says Mahoney. “However, we know, from an objective perspective, that sustainable use of wildlife can be an effective tool in support of conservation and human livelihoods; it is connected to the conservation of wild lands and waters, the environment, and our own food security.”

In 2015, Mahoney launched the Wild Harvest Initiative, a multi-year research and communication effort supported by RMEF and a diverse partnership of individuals, business interests, conservation NGOs and government agencies. The project’s mission is to provide a first-ever evaluation of the biomass and economic value of wild food harvested by recreational hunters and anglers in Canada and the United States and to assess the wider community of consumers who share in this harvest. By conjoining these insights with existing economic assessments of recreational hunting and angling, and by evaluating the costs and mechanisms that might be considered necessary to replace this wild food harvest, the Wild Harvest Initiative will help focus a wider question facing conservation policy institutions in both countries; namely, if hunting and angling were to cease tomorrow, what would be the consequences?

RMEF and Mahoney will work together on future projects as part of RMEF’s ongoing#HuntingIsConservation campaign, which has reached more than 30 million people since its launch in January 2016.

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Did Man Extirpate the Caribou from Maine?

I was reading Part II of V. Paul Reynolds’ report about “Wildlife Restoration Projects.” He wrote mostly about Maine’s two attempts to restore caribou to northern Maine and seemed to suggest that with years of gained knowledge, perhaps it was time to try again. I’m not so sure about that, but…..

I did want to add to something that he wrote about the extirpation of caribou in Maine when he wrote: “Historical documents indicate that Maine’s last remaining caribou were killed off by market hunters who sold them to big city restaurants.” I won’t deny that market hunters made serious dents in deer, moose and caribou herds in their day. However, there are other historical documents that equally indicate the vanishing act of caribou and wolves cannot all be blamed on unregulated hunting.

A few years ago I did an extensive research piece on wolves in Maine from the 1600s until the time they were essentially declared missing in action. Readers should understand that this work was nearly 100% taken from the book, “Early Maine Wildlife: Historical accounts of Canada Lynx, Moose, Mountain Lion, White-Tailed Deer, Wolverine, Wolves, and Woodland Caribou, 1603-1930 – by William B. Krohn and Christopher L. Hoving – The University of Maine Press, Orono, Maine 2010.

It seemed that around the mid-1800s there existed, even then, disagreements as to whether deer, moose and caribou “disappeared” due to wolves or hunters. One writer made the claim, “Curiously enough there are old settlers in Maine who retain the theory that wolves follow deer. They claim that there were no deer at the time of the wolves – ‘the wolves killed them all off’ – but that since the extermination of the wolves the deer have gone on increasing.”

A hunter and trapper, in the book described as experienced, claimed: “In 1853 wolves were very plenty, and for the next five years were not scarce, plenty could be found within sixteen miles of Bangor in 1857 and 1858. They seemed to leave quite suddenly, the last I know of positively being taken was killed by Frank Fairbanks in 1860 in Munsengun. I know the wolves were not exterminated, as from the time they were quite plenty till the time they disappeared, very few skins were brought in. They left of their own accord, just as the caribou left us.”

Those that have some knowledge of the habits and behavior of wolves, understand that many things influence their behavior. For example, at times wolves can eat up all their prey. If this happens, the wolf moves on and the possibility exists that if the prey doesn’t return, neither will the wolf. If there exists alternative prey, i.e. there is more than one prey species to feed wolves, the large predator canine may never leave an area. It would probably require quite a number of wolves in Maine to seriously reduce or extirpate moose, deer and caribou.

In the quote above, we read of the first indication that wolves were not “exterminated” and simply up and left “just as the caribou left us.” This should be important information to consider.

According to evidence found in the book of reference, wolves were mostly gone from the state by the mid-1800s. From around 1860 into the early 1900s, there were very few, to almost zero, recorded wolf kills – the last official wolf kill took place in Andover, Maine in 1920.

One account in the Maine Sportsman, in 1900, of the absence of wolves, claims that, “During the whole winter we saw no deer and but few moose, the entire absence of deer being due to the wolves with which the woods were overrun. Caribou we saw everywhere and I plainly remember that one day, coming out upon them trailing along in single file was a herd of 17 caribou.”

It would seem this would indicate that with reports of wolves being missing from Maine by the mid-1800s, that in 1900, some 40 or 50 years later, there were still quite a few caribou, or at least more of them seen than deer or moose. One must honestly consider that if caribou “recovered” after a presumed disappearance of wolves, in 40 or 50 years, wouldn’t the deer and moose have recovered? Because there are so many influencing factors in wildlife management, that question cannot be simply answered. Other accounts from this book also indicate that after what appeared to be the absence of wolves, deer, moose and caribou made recoveries.

We also know that in the late 1800s Maine began it’s work to regulate the hunting and fishing activities throughout the state, with regulations well in force by the early 1900s.

Examination of the information provided in this book help to support the historic behavior of wolves, i.e. that once they had reduced the numbers of the prey to a certain level, the wolves took off for better hunting grounds. However, this event appears to have occurred nearly 50 years before the caribou disappeared.

It cannot be argued that many factors contributed to the disappearance of the caribou in Maine. That disappearance cannot and should not be completely attributed to hunting. We know that after the wolves mostly disappeared from Maine, the deer, moose and caribou recovered. If in 1900 loggers were reporting seeing “herds of 17 caribou” it was not market hunters and uncontrolled hunting that killed them after that.

If Maine was ever going to seriously consider a third try at caribou restoration, many, many factors must be considered other than introducing more of them this time. Perhaps the habitat of northern Maine simply cannot support caribou any longer. If caribou, in the very early 1900s, one day just walked out of the state – some believe they moved into New Brunswick and never returned – there had to be reasons. Do we know what those reasons were? Are we interested in finding out? Perhaps knowing what took place in the early 1900s would answer a lot of questions as to whether another attempt at caribou restoration would work.

Some things to consider:

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Man Hunting With Dogs Is Natural

As wolves hunting with wolves and as natural as coyotes hunting with coyotes.. Anyone claiming when a man and a dog go hunting together that it isn’t hunting, isn’t fair chase, has likely never tried it. they are likely not even a hunter gatherer stalker either.  Man has been using canines for hunting all types of things for centuries.  For food, lost people, lost livestock.. The canines love it.  Animals rights activists don’t really care about animals so called rights. What they really care about is demanding the hunter gatherer men and women live with less rights. They want to punish man. Animals will never recognize the rights of other animals nor of man. Animals rights is an oxymoron.  The object is to end all hunting by chipping away at man hunting with dogs, horses and dogs, man using traps, then men stalking, then men ambushing from cover.

 

 

 

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Wildlife Management Communication by Keeping Your Mouth Shut?

Maine is in the midst of what could be described as the throes of drafting 15-year management plans for deer, bear, moose and turkey. There are no draft plans yet available, so all I have been able to get are a minuscule sampling of what is being discussed for plan consideration.

In what I have read about many of the four plans, it seems that at least one of the goals is calling for increased communication and education of the public about each species. It seems that for the duration of time that I have been writing about game management efforts in Maine, I have heard that drumbeat incessantly. Has there been improved communication and education with the public on what the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) is doing to responsibly manage the game species they are mandated by the Legislature to do? I guess that is difficult to answer because the perceived result is individually value-weighted. Also consider, that the Maine taxpayer laid out a sizeable amount of coin so that MDIFW could pay an “outside” entity to devise a survey that would give MDIFW favorable results for their work- wink, wink. All of Maine loves MDIFW. Odd, I might say.

So, let’s consider.

I had written earlier how that it seems everyone loves Bullwinkle, but nobody wants to discuss winter ticks but as something bugging (sorry) the life out of moose. It therefore seemed understandable that when MDIFW undertook a moose study, there was not a lack of media coverage – very little as far as preliminary findings, but photos of all the Bullwinkles to impress the public. So let me give credit where credit is do, as far as exposing to the public its effort to study moose.

I wonder how many people know that as part of the moose study, aerial counts of moose populations were done, as well as counts of deer? And deer have also been collared and are being studied, I guess. Who might suspect? Perhaps Bullwinkle is just that much bigger an icon and photographs more easily than a deer. I dunno. Is there more money and job security in looking out for Bullwinkle?

The public is quickly notified about piping plovers, bats, loons, bald eagles, cormorants, puffins and ruby-throated-croople-poops but isn’t it a disproportionate media coverage (press releases, Tweets, etc.) between these critters and deer? Or it’s my imagination. However, when one considers the trillions of dollars over the many decades that Maine has enjoyed in direct and indirect revenue from exploiting the whitetail deer, what the MDIFW is doing to ensure its sustainability, we hear very little about. Odd, I would say.

It takes MDIFW months to even get around to publishing information about game harvests – deer are no exception. No, not everyone is as anal as I am, wanting every last detail of data collected from the harvest, but the general public wants to be told what the number of deer, bear, and moose taken without waiting until the following Summer, or later, to get it. An “unofficial” number within 2 weeks of the end of general rifle season on deer would go a long, long way toward improving PR with the people, in particular the hunters. Perhaps MDIFW doesn’t care about who pays their wages? Odd, I would say.

I have been reading about some of the proposed plans for bear management, where it is being suggested that there needs to be a way to increase the number of bear hunters and to improve education of the public about bears, bear management and the need for the implementation of hunting and trapping as a viable means of population control. All of this, and yet, the latest bear hunting season commenced before MDIFW had released to the public the previous year’s harvest information. Odd, I would say.

Maybe the employees at MDIFW are that much more important than those of us coughing up the big bucks (dollars) so they can keep their jobs. I learned at a very young age that if you wanted to keep your job, you had to make sure you kept those in power over you happy. I suppose that has been lost along with most everything else that was once considered normal. Odd, I would say.

So, some might be asking, what prompted this rant? Well, let me tell you. This morning I received information from a colleague from New Brunswick, Canada. He sent a link to a news article about how New Brunswick, along with Maine, the University of Maine and JD Irving Co. were undertaking a deer study in which deer are being collared in locations in New Brunswick and Maine. If you’re interested in the purpose of the study, click on the link above.

Otherwise, this is the kind of stuff that drives me crazy. We read about how MDIFW and the “committee” working on game plans want to improve communication and education, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah and I have to find out through a member of the public in Canada about Maine’s involvement with another deer study. WHAT THE HELL IS THE BIG SECRET? And, odd, I would say.

Once again today, in reading George Smith’s latest article about the plans and proposals for turkey management in Maine, the head of the Maine Professional Guides Association said, “…need for fact sheets on turkeys and other big game animals, and improved communications about them with hunters, landowners, and the public.” Hasn’t this become a very common theme? Odd, I’d say…especially when you consider that there appears to be nothing accomplished to resolve this problem. Why is that? Maybe it’s perceived by MDIFW as not a problem for them at all. Odd, I would say.

Which brings me back to my original comments about how these 15-year game management plans are a bunch of bureaucratic nonsense being carried out for the single purpose of being eligible for federal money – i.e. blackmail.

I feel badly for the members of the committees working on these plans, that if they don’t know it now, will someday discover, they wasted their time – used, abused and cast aside for personal and financial gain.

There is one thing for certain. Anytime you hear that another committee has been created to study this or study that, it is a definite indication nothing will ever be done or will get resolved from the work. That’s what government is all about. And that ain’t “ODD” at all. Just fact.

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Maine’s Seemingly Endless Debate on Sunday Hunting

I’ll give George Smith, a writer and sportsman’s activist from Maine, credit for sticking with something he believes in. It appears he is just about the last survivor to advocate for Sunday Hunting in Maine. Smith says we will never hunt on Sundays in Maine, and he probably is correct. As a matter of fact, I’ll take that claim one step further and say the days that we actually will be able to hunt, are numbered. With the continued, unchecked, onslaught by animal rights groups and environmentalists, combined with the influx of newly indoctrinated wildlife biologists, and the myriad of other environmental movements nationwide, hunting will soon be a thing of the past – perhaps in my lifetime.

There are several issues about Sunday Hunting that appear to be stumbling blocks. Let’s address a few.

Religious reasons. I’m going to guess this is another example of the pitfalls of socialistic democracy, in which two wolves and a sheep are discussing what’s for lunch. If the majority of Mainers, who go to church, do so on Sunday and they view that day as somehow “holier” than the others, their socio-democratic power trumps everybody else.

There is a bit more to this as we have seen in the past. I can’t seem to find a link to the story but if my memory isn’t completely shot, I recall, if not in Maine, somewhere, where some who choose to recognize Saturdays as the sabbath, proposed legislation that would allow them to hunt on Sundays. Of course that was shot down. I have serious doubts that very many people would actually not hunt on Sundays because it’s their sabbath. Hypocrisy abounds in that area.

Another aspect would be the fallout that may or may not create less land access. Some land owners have threatened to post their land if Sunday hunting is permitted. Whether and how much that would actually happen, I don’t know. I do know that in some states where much land is posted and/or land is considered closed without owner’s permission, access to hunting lands is difficult at best and in some cases, with the exception of public lands, hunters have to pay, sometimes hefty amounts, to “lease” a portion of private land. Unless you’ve been relegated to that, I don’t think you really want to go there.

The other issue in Sunday hunting is seldom seriously discussed. In Maine, as in many states, hunting is used as a means of “managing” (control) the population of all game species. For deer hunting, the state also uses a permit system that regulates and controls deer populations within Wildlife Management Districts. The bottom line is this: wildlife regulators decide how many of which species should be harvested each year and do what is necessary to achieve those goals…usually.

If we look at deer hunting as one example, game managers have an idea of how many deer will need to be harvested, by different methods, utilizing permits, along with length of season and all other factors that effect the harvest. Some of those factors are not controllable. One that is, is the length of season. In my lifetime, I have seen the deer hunting season in Maine shortened to barely two weeks – the need being a lack of deer and protecting the herd to remain at safe sustainable levels.

So what if Maine added, not just 3 or 4 more days to the annual deer hunt (you can also use this to extrapolate out to all other game species, i.e. turkey, grouse, bear, moose, etc.) but that those added days were on the weekends? We know that the busiest hunting days during the deer season are Saturdays. If Sundays were added, how many more net hunters would there be? How many more hunters would skip a working day in order to hunt on Sundays? How great would hunter participation become?

We have had the claim beaten into our brains for years now that Maine and her economy are suffering because hunters won’t hunt in Maine because there is no Sunday hunting. If that is true, then the question has to be asked, how many more hunters will now hunt Maine, especially on Sundays?

This all adds up to one large question. If Sunday hunting for deer is allowed, how many more deer will be killed? If there is an increase, what is the extent of that increase and will it force the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) to shorten the season in order to mitigate the losses of deer due to harvest? If Maine was overrun with deer, this would not be a problem. With or without Sunday hunting, if the state was overrun with deer, the season would be extended and/or the limits may increase to more than one deer per season. Too few deer, and the results are reversed.

I personally, have no interest in angering the landowners. Whether or not a Sunday hunting move would seriously effect land access, is a guess. I will state that I believe in the short term, there will be a knee-jerk reaction to Sunday hunting and land will be posted that wasn’t before. How that trend evolves will really depend on the realities of what takes place on that land, that is different from the present, that would cause more or a continuation of reduced land access.

If an added Sunday hunt resulted in a shortened season, that would mean more hunters in the woods at any one time. I don’t like that idea at all. Safety must also be a concern. Maine has an outstanding track record when it comes to hunter and public safety during the hunting seasons.

I think the bottom line should be deer management. Yes, Maine should consider ways of maximizing the positive influences and effects of hunting seasons, but the bottom line should always remain, what is best for the deer herd and landowner relations.

A final issue that is seldom discussed or is presented in the wrong way, in my opinion, is the rights of landowners. I get a sense from reading Smith’s article about Sunday hunting that every effort to implement some form of Sunday hunting in Maine is a serious loss for hunters and Maine’s community, without consideration of protecting the rights of landowners first and foremost.

I am first a property rights advocate and then a hunter. Yes, I am saddened with each passing year that I see more and more land posted to access, but that is and should be their right. But I also believe that those landowners who post their land, should limit their involvement in hunting issues that involve land access. In other words, there is little credibility in anyone with posted land stating that they didn’t believe a Sunday hunt would have any real effect on land access. Hello?

As Maine citizens, we should be glad the majority of people are looking out for the rights of the landowners. We hear of how wildlife management, which includes hunting and trapping, is beneficial to the landowner. I couldn’t agree more, which makes me tend to emphasize that all the effort that has been expended attempting to promote Sunday hunting, could better be spent educating the landowner to the advantages of the North American Model for Wildlife Management, i.e. managing for surplus harvest, and that leaving their land open has it’s benefits. Landowners should also be taught how they can control the access to their land to meet their wishes and still reap the benefits of wildlife management – hunting and trapping.

Perhaps someday, Maine will have Sunday hunting, but without it, as things currently stand, giving the drums a rest would probably be in the best interest of hunting, while shifting the effort to increasing better landowner relationships.

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When You Start Killing Wolves Something Odd Happens

Other wildlife population numbers POSITIVELY GROW!

 

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Elk herds thrive!

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A Wolf Is A Wolf Is A Wolf Just A Good Wolf Just Because They Say So

All things positive about wolves have been evolving over the years while all things negative about wolves has been suppressed and swept under the rug.. Thus any balance sharing the positives and negatives which justifies management of wolves for various purposes such as positive elk herd growth for the preservation of consumptive use multiple use which benefits ranching at the same time has been non existent because of the dishonesty of the IWC and the various anti grazing anti ranching, anti hunting pseudo environmentalist groups who are willing to get in bed with animal rights anti hunting fruitcakes who chatter endlessly about nothing relevant..

Enough nonsense has been repeatedly repeated about the good wolf that does no harm.. Now laugh After Me…

HoHoHoHoHoHawHawHawHawHeeHeeHeeHeeHee…. Wolf Pimps, you can shit yourselves but not Me…

Gawblesmurka!!!

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The Colonial Origins of Conservation: The Disturbing History Behind US National Parks

*Editor’s Note* – Below is a teaser and a link to an article aimed at discovering the truth about “conservation,” it’s roots, and what it has done to the world. It’s also about the evolution of Environmentalism.

While many items in this article are true and based up truth, it is my opinion that the author, director of Survival International, the global movement for tribal peoples’ rights, may rely on some wildlife management myths himself. However, much of what is written is worthy of reading and with most things we read and study today, we shouldn’t throw out the baby with the bath water.

Iconoclasm – questioning heroes and ideals, and even tearing them down – can be the most difficult thing. Many people root their attitudes and lives in narratives that they hold to be self-evidently true. So it’s obvious that changing conservation isn’t going to be an easy furrow to plow.

Source: The Colonial Origins of Conservation: The Disturbing History Behind US National Parks

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