October 20, 2018

Maine Sitting On Moose and Bear Hunting Data? Deer Next?

An article in the Bangor Daily News says, “Kantar was able to provide real-time data on the moose hunt because of the implementation of an internet-based registration system that the DIF&W is using this year for the first time. Previously, it took biologists months to receive paper registration books from far-flung tagging stations, and data wasn’t released until all of those books were sent to Augusta and logged.”

So, if you are a member of the mainstream press you can call the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MIDFW) and get the lowdown on the moose hunt, but the MDIFW can’t take 5 minutes out of their schedule to post the numbers on their website?

On the website, the office of Information and Education has a mission statement that reads: “The Division of Public Information and Education is established within the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife and is responsible for the administration of programs to increase the public’s knowledge and understanding of inland fisheries and wildlife resources and the management of these resources. The division’s responsibilities include public education, promotion of inland fisheries and wildlife resources and the dissemination of information.” (emboldening added)

Glancing through such things on the website as “Press Releases,” we see that MDIFW posts anywhere between 5 and a dozen releases per month over the past 6 months or so. If the Division of Information and Education can only come up with such scant information to share and educate the public with, one might be prompted to ask why taxpayers cough up money for that job position.

If nowhere else, can’t the division officer, say, once a week, take 5 minutes and file a Press Release that gives us tagging information? Is it that difficult a task to ask for?

Evidently. Control and business as usual. So glad the money was spent to give the MDIFW real-time data they won’t readily share.

Government – YUCK!!!!

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Those “Dam” Beavers Be Damned

A friend today sent me a news article about how beavers are building dams near a road and a neighborhood in Farmingdale, Maine. It seems these days there is no simple solution to ridding public safety and property destruction problems caused by beavers.

In reading the article, I was reminded of the quite hilarious story of a letter written by a landowner in Michigan who was accused by the state environmental Nazis of unlawfully building dams and causing flooding and damage.

Evidently, the event is fabricated but is worthy of a good laugh – art imitating life. Below is a copy of that letter.

Dear Mr. Price:

Re: DEQ File No. 97-59-0023; T11N, R10W, Sec 20; Montcalm County

Your certified letter dated 12/17/97 has been handed to me to respond to. You sent out a great deal of carbon copies to a lot of people, but you neglected to include their addresses. You will, therefore, have to send them a copy of my response.

First of all, Mr. Ryan DeVries is not the legal landowner and/or contractor at 2088 Dagget, Pierson, Michigan – I am the legal owner and a couple of beavers are in the (State unauthorized) process of constructing and maintaining two wood “debris” dams across the outlet stream of my Spring Pond. While I did not pay for, nor authorize their dam project, I think they would be highly offended you call their skillful use of natural building materials “debris”. I would like to challenge you to attempt to emulate their dam project any dam time and/or any dam place you choose. I believe I can safely state there is no dam way you could ever match their dam skills, their dam resourcefulness, their dam ingenuity, their dam persistence, their dam determination and/or their dam work ethic.

As to your dam request the beavers first must fill out a dam permit prior to the start of this type of dam activity, my first dam question to you is: are you trying to discriminate against my Spring Pond Beavers or do you require all dam beavers throughout this State to conform to said dam request? If you are not discriminating against these particular beavers, please send me completed copies of all those other applicable beaver dam permits. Perhaps we will see if there really is a dam violation of Part 301, Inland Lakes and Streams, of the Natural Resource and Environmental Protection Act, Act 451 of the Public Acts of 1994, being sections 324.30101 to 324.30113 of the Michigan Compiled Laws annotated. My first concern is – aren’t the dam beavers entitled to dam legal representation? The Spring Pond Beavers are financially destitute and are unable to pay for said dam representation – so the State will have to provide them with a dam lawyer.

The Department’s dam concern that either one or both of the dams failed during a recent rain event causing dam flooding is proof we should leave the dam Spring Pond Beavers alone rather than harassing them and calling their dam names. If you want the dam stream “restored” to a dam free-flow condition – contact the dam beavers – but if you are going to arrest them (they obviously did not pay any dam attention to your dam letter — being unable to read English) – be sure you read them their dam Miranda first. As for me, I am not going to cause more dam flooding or dam debris jams by interfering with these dam builders. If you want to hurt these dam beavers – be aware I am sending a copy of your dam letter and this response to PETA. If your dam Department seriously finds all dams of this nature inherently hazardous and truly will not permit their existence in this dam State – I seriously hope you are not selectively enforcing this dam policy – or once again both I and the Spring Pond Beavers will scream prejudice!

In my humble opinion, the Spring Pond Beavers have a right to build their dam unauthorized dams as long as the sky is blue, the grass is green and water flows downstream. They have more dam right than I to live and enjoy Spring Pond. So, as far as I and the beavers are concerned, this dam case can be referred for more dam elevated enforcement action now. Why wait until 1/31/98? The Spring Pond Beavers may be under the dam ice then, and there will be no dam way for you or your dam staff to contact/harass them then.

In conclusion, I would like to bring to your attention a real environmental quality (health) problem; bears are actually defecating in our woods. I definitely believe you should be persecuting the defecating bears and leave the dam beavers alone. If you are going to investigate the beaver dam, watch your step! (The bears are not careful where they dump!)

Being unable to comply with your dam request, and being unable to contact you on your dam answering machine, I am sending this response to your dam office.

Sincerely,

Stephen L.Tvedten

 

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Anti-Hunting Mental Drool

Along with the time of year when there is much activity with hunting and trapping, we all regularly are subjected to the mental drool of those who don’t like any of the activities. Maybe if they just said I don’t like hunting and trapping and left it at that, some of us wouldn’t bother to single them out to expose their limited mental capacities while disparaging a worthwhile, long-standing, cultural heritage that has unlimited benefits to both man and wildlife – hunting.

A letter scribbler in the Bangor Daily News called hunting and trapping “incivil” – evidently meaning that any reporting in the news about hunting and trapping is offensive, rude, or impolite. The writer also called hunting and trapping an unworthy event and unsportsmanlike and said hunting was no longer “fair chase.”

Here’s a couple of things to ponder. Most of these terms – fair chase, sportsmanlike, etc. – have been crafted by men over the years perhaps as a means of pulling the wool over someone’s eyes about hunting and trapping. They are man-made terms much the same as when some mental midget declares hunting is an act to “prove one’s manhood.”

Fair chase is really nothing but abiding by the laws crafted by men for men to hunt and trap animals for consumptive use. All rules and regulations for hunting and trapping are grounded in species management and public safety – nothing more. I never thought of hunting as a “sport” therefore sportsmanship had nothing to do with the act. I see hunting as something I enjoy doing that occasionally (emphasis on occasionally) rewards me with a few good meals of healthy meat.

So give it a rest already. Take your “fair chase” and “sportsmanship” to the athletic field, where these days everyone gets a “trophy.” Hunting and trapping are a well developed scientific necessity to responsibly manage and maintain a healthy and sustainable game population.

The other issue is one in which I’ve never quite understood. Obvious this whiner takes offense – finds incivility – in news reports about hunting and trapping, and yet in order to find offense, the person must be reading the reports.

As this writer mentions, they find politicians offensive and rude, as do I. I find the solution sensible. Stop reading the articles and looking at the pictures. Any moron should understand that basic concept, but evidently, that is above the capacity of some who would rather whine, bitch, and complain about something they know nothing about.

 

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Wow! Maine’s New Digital Tagging System Sure is a “Benefit” to Hunters?

How is Maine’s bear hunting season going? How is Maine’s moose hunting season going? How is Maine’s deer hunting season going? Your guess is as good as mine. Although we weren’t promised that the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) would share their “instant” tagging information, we were told that it would be a great benefit to hunters. Really? In what way?

We were told that MDIFW would have virtually real-time tagging data. One might assume that would be shared with the public. One might also assume that because it is a law that MDIFW has to make this data available, steps would have already been taken to get this data onto their website where those who are interested can go there and see how the harvest is shaping up. It’s what hunters care about…don’t we?

The secret remains with MDIFW officials. Evidently, their intention is to keep hunting harvest data a secret but to let us know when the next report comes out on piping plovers.

And taxpayers/licensed hunters paid how much to have this digital tagging system put in place?

I guess that no longer matters.

Maybe if you decide to go to the polls and vote for governor in November, you better ask the candidate of your choice who he or she will pick as commissioner of MDIFW and whether or not they care to share the data from the new tagging system.

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For Maine, Regular Deer Hunting Season Creeping Up On Us

It is chilly this morning. A taste of what’s to come with each passing day. Daylight doesn’t arrive at my camp until 7 a.m. and it’s dark by 6 p.m. This morning’s check of the weather (about as accurate as flipping a coin) says snow showers for Wednesday night…YUK!

Got a call yesterday morning from one of the guys who go to hunting camp the first week of the deer season. He and another friend were heading to camp to clean and rake the front lawn. I went along to help.

Arriving at camp, it became obvious – once again – that the camp doesn’t belong to us. We are just allowed to take it over for one week out of the year. The rest of the time it belongs to the mice, snakes, and a family of porcupines.

We cranked up the generator, plugged in the shop vac and within a few minutes filled the tank with another year’s worth of dust, dirt, mice nests, snake skins, and whatever got tracked in on the floors from last season’s deer camp event.

Perhaps it was the first time this summer that I began to have any thoughts about the annual right of passage to hunting camp. I’ve been so busy and working so hard this summer that the last thing on my mind was the upcoming deer hunting season. But, it’s now only a few days away.

In yesterday’s Portland Press Herald, outdoor writer Bob Humphrey writes of the wide variety of deer hunting techniques employed throughout the country. Maine is no exception. Because Maine has a sparse deer population, restrictions on the length of the season and legal tactics to bag a deer limit hunters to what methods they might use to fill their tags. Hunter’s choices may only vary from sitting, standing, or walking.

I have my preferred, and legal, methods of hunting deer as does every other deer hunter that enters the woods of Maine. With that in mind, I don’t pretend to have any authority to tell others how they should hunt. They shouldn’t pretend to have authority to tell me how to hunt either. But sometimes, the way people have been “educated” these days, they just can’t help themselves.

As I age, I find sitting gets done more than ever before but it is not my preferred tactic. I don’t like climbing into treestands, so I avoid them. I have a small pop-up ground blind that I usually set up in some strategic location and go there when the conditions are right – usually to get caught up on my reading. Not only have I never shot a deer from a blind, but I’ve also never even seen one.

Walking and “still hunting” are the methods I choose.

As we each get ready for opening day in our own preferred methods and lifestyles, remember that we are all different and have the right, within the laws that regulate hunting, to do it in the fashion that best suits our wishes. So, let it alone, let them alone, and just get out in the woods and have a great time.

Good luck!

 

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Maine: Emergency Rules Enacted To Protect Deer, Moose Herd; Prevent Spread Of Chronic Wasting Disease

*Editor’s Note* – This ruling probably should have been put into effect a long time ago. Maine should also consider the same rules for other game and animal species that spread disease – coyote/coywolves and foxes come to mind.

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

AUGUSTA, Maine — With Chronic Wasting Disease discovered in bordering Quebec, the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife implemented emergency rules designed to protect Maine’s deer and moose herds, and keep Maine CWD free.

“Chronic Wasting Disease is the most serious threat facing our deer and moose populations in modern times,” said Chandler Woodcock, Commissioner of the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. “Unchecked, this disease could devastate Maine’s Deer and Moose populations, and ravage Maine’s hunting and wildlife watching economy.”

CWD is an always fatal neurological disease that affects white-tailed deer, moose and other cervids such as elk and caribou. CWD is caused by a mutant protein called a prion, which causes lesions in the brain. Research shows prions can be shed in saliva, blood, urine, feces, antler velvet, and body fat. Prions bind to soil where they can remain infectious for years. CWD is always fatal, there is no treatment, vaccine or resistance, and once present in the state, it is nearly impossible to eradicate.

In order to halt the spread of CWD and keep this devastating disease out of Maine, the Department has implemented the following rules regarding the importation of deer and other cervids into the state of Maine. It is now illegal to bring cervid carcasses or parts except in the following manner:

  • boned-out meat; properly identified and labeled. hardened antlers;
  • skull caps with or without antlers attached that have been cleaned free of brain and other tissues;
  • capes and hides with no skull attached;
  • teeth; and
  • finished taxidermy mounts.

In addition, the rule also prohibits the temporary importation of cervid carcasses and parts that are in-transit through Maine to another jurisdiction. These rules apply to all states and provinces with the exception of New Hampshire.

In addition, the Department urges all hunters to help halt the spread of CWD by following these guidelines:

  • Do not use urine-based deer lures or scents. CWD can be introduced into the soil with these scents and lures and lay dormant for years before infecting a deer herd. Many, if not all these products are derived from CAPTIVE deer, where the risk of CWD is greatest. While currently legal, avoid using these products in order to protect Maines moose and deer herd.
  • Please follow the laws and rules regarding the importation of harvested deer, moose, or elk from any state or provinces (other than New Hampshire). CWD carried in the brain and spinal cord of infected deer. It is vitally important that these parts are not transported across state and provincial boundaries.
  • Report deer that appear sick, weak, or starving to the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife so that the animal can be tested for CWD. Early detection is the key in stopping the spread of CWD.
  • Avoid feeding deer and encourage your friends and neighbors to do the same. Feeding artificially concentrates deer, creating conditions increase the risk of CWD transmission. Feeding also attracts deer from long distances, increasing the likelihood of the disease becoming established in Maine.

Following these guidelines will help prevent the spread of CWD as Deer shed prions in urine, feces, and saliva and Infected animals can start shedding prions nearly a year before showing clinical signs of the disease.

“We hope that all hunters take an active role in keeping CWD out of Maine by doing their part to prevent the spread of CWD,” said Woodcock.

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And The Bear and Moose “Instant” Harvest Data Is………?

The baiting season for black bears is over. The black bear hunting season with hounds has been ongoing since September 10 and will run until October 26. Black bears can still be taken during the regular deer hunting season.

The first week of moose hunting for Zones 1-6, 10, 11, 18, 19, 27, 29 ended September 29th.

With the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife promising that they would have virtually “instant” tagging data, why haven’t they published any of this information? MDIFW extolled the benefits to hunters and the department but evidently, those benefits must be prioritized to MDIFW only and they will wield their full control over the wishes of some of us and withhold that data until such time as it is beneficial to them.

Business as usual I guess.

And how much did WE pay to have this new system???

Isn’t the Department required by law to share this data? Or do we have to beg to get it?

I’m still waiting for a web page on the MDIFW site that is live, i.e. that when a tag is registered digitally, it shows up immediately on a page that can be viewed by everyone…at any time.

We have the technology!!!!!!!!!

As an aside: Maine is in the middle of the busiest time of the year with hunting seasons. The state is busy, busy, busy with bears, moose, turkey, upland birds, migratory birds, and small game and we get to find out that MDIFW has completed their bald eagle survey.

Nice!

 

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Portions of Maine Should Be On The Lookout for Wildlife Diseases

Last week outdoor writer George Smith told his readers that they should be aware that Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in bearing down on Northwestern Maine as the disease has been found only 100 miles from the Maine border with Quebec, Province. CWD is a debilitating disease for deer as it causes, as the name suggests, deer to “waste away” and die. While not pleasant to see or harvest a fulling infected CWD deer, eating the meat is not harmful to humans…but not everyone cares to eat it and will not risk doing so.

But, this isn’t the only threat Mainers should be made aware of. Today I posted a recent study that showed certain strains of Echinococcus worms carried and spread by wild and domestic canids (dogs). The study sampled wolves, coyotes, red, and arctic foxes in both Quebec Province and the State of Maine and found the human-contagious parasite in Northern and Western Maine near the Canadian border.

Some good news is that the more harmful strain of Echinococcus, E. multilocularis, was not found in any of the canids sampled, although it has been found in portions of Ontario and moving east.

I’ve written much about this disease over the past years, falling mostly on deaf ears. Even when the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) first reported that they had found the disease in Moose in Maine (2014), after initially posting something about it on their website, they quickly scrubbed it. In an email I sent to Commissioner Woodcock asking him what the Department intended to do about this troubling discovery, the response I got was, “nothing at this time.”

So when? It’s been 4 years.

Canid species are definitive hosts of the Echinococcus eggs and are passed through their feces into the environment of which wild ungulates – moose, deer, elk, caribou, etc. – ingest the tiny spores which in turn form cysts on their lungs, liver and other organs. While not deadly to these animals directly, cysts can affect the capacity of lungs and the function of the liver making these animals more susceptible to predators.

Humans, on the other hand, are at risk from the same ingestion of spores. This can happen from close examination of wolf, coyote, fox scat when the spores are released into the air and a person can inhale or ingest eggs that have gotten on their skin or clothing. They can also ingest eggs by drinking infected water. These eggs are extremely viable in various environmental conditions.

The most common way of becoming infected is when dog owners allow their dogs to run free in areas where wild canines, infected with the disease, live and roam. Dogs, as dogs do, can eat infected carrion, getting eggs on their mouth, face, and fur, passing it on to people, including children (think dogs licking children’s faces). Dogs also will eat or roll in wild canine feces, bringing the eggs with them back home and into the house if people allow their free-ranging dogs to live with them in their houses.

The study that I linked to in a previous posts exclaims that what is needed is that more effort is taken to educate and warn those who might be at risk, including trappers, hunters, and anyone with free-ranging dogs living in known infected areas.

Perhaps it is time for MDIFW to step up to the plate and inform the public what they know and begin an education program. They may be concerned about the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease, as they should, because it can destroy our already fragile deer herd, but what about protecting people? That should be of higher priority than protecting the deer…shouldn’t it?

For Maine, the E. canadesis strain (G8 and G10) are of the most threat to us. The report defines the spread of this disease into Maine as “rapid.” Now is the time to begin the education process, to teach people about restraining their dogs and or talking to their vets to make sure they are getting the proper and timely worm treatments. The simplest and quite effective thing people can do is to wash their hands frequently.

Detection of the cysts, Hydatid cysts, in humans is difficult. If detected, treatment is expensive and dangerous. Part of the reason detection is difficult is because doctors aren’t looking for it because nobody is telling them the incidents of Hydatid disease is on the increase. These people prefer to scoff at the notion of any health risk in order to protect their precious wild dogs.

It’s time to make some changes that will help reduce the risk of infection of humans.

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Echinococcus in wild canids in Québec (Canada) and Maine (USA)

Abstract

Zoonotic Echinococcus spp. cestodes (E. canadensis and E. multilocularis) infect domestic animals, wildlife, and people in regions of Canada and the USA. We recovered and quantified Echinococcus spp. cestodes from 22 of 307 intestinal tracts of wild canids (23 wolves, 100 coyotes, 184 red and arctic foxes) in the state of Maine and the province of Québec. We identified the species and genotypes of three Echinococcus spp. cestodes per infected animal by sequencing mitochondrial DNA at two loci. We further confirmed the absence of E. multilocularis by extracting DNA from pools of all cestodes from each animal and running a duplex PCR capable of distinguishing the two species. We detected E. canadensis (G8 and G10), but not E. multilocularis, which is emerging as an important human and animal health concern in adjacent regions. Prevalence and median intensity of E. canadensis was higher in wolves (35%, 460) than coyotes (14%, 358). This parasite has historically been absent in Atlantic regions of North America, where suitable intermediate hosts, but not wolves, are present. Our study suggests that coyotes are serving as sylvatic definitive hosts for E. canadensis in Atlantic regions, and this may facilitate eastward range expansion of E. canadensis in the USA and Canada. As well, compared to wolves, coyotes are more likely to contaminate urban green spaces and peri-urban environments with zoonotic parasites.<<<Read More>>>

 

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Maine Map: Deer Wintering Areas

I was sent the below map the other day. When I finally got around to looking at it more closely, I began formulating some questions. Perhaps you will have them too. If so, please become part of a discussion in the “Disqus” portion of this post at the end.

As you will notice, the dark green spots on this map show the locations of what the creators of the map are calling Deer Wintering Areas. The map also shows the locations of all the major highways throughout the state. Is it my imagination or do the majority of deer wintering areas happen to exist near to all the main highways? Is it reasonable to assume that much of the population of Maine can be found in and around all the major highways? If so, why?

Also, notice in the Northwest sector of the state – an area often referred to as the Big Woods. Where are all the Deer Wintering Areas? Is it because all the trees have been cut and there are no more Deer Wintering Areas left? Or do many of the deer migrate to the East near Interstate 95 and U.S. Route 1?

In the far north, take notice of the large Deer Wintering Area near the town of Allagash. Is it my imagination, again, or do the deer move closer to civilization in order to spend the winters?

Or maybe, the mapmakers didn’t want to venture too far from the main highways to locate Deer Wintering Areas.

I’m trying to make sense out of the map and what we have repeatedly been told that there are no Deer Wintering Areas left – that they have all been destroyed by logging. Is this why we seem to see the majority of Deer Wintering Areas near major highways? Or have the experts got it all wrong?

What I would like to see, if it even exists, is a map of Deer Wintering Areas from 30, 40. 50 years ago and overlay it with this map to see if those areas have moved, some lost, some added, etc.

Talk is cheap. Valued scientific research might tell us some truth.

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