December 10, 2018

To Err Is Human. To Forget About 60 Moose Hunting Permits Is Tragic!

Maybe this is the ammunition Rep. Moody of Manchester, Maine needs to move the moose hunting permit selection process from the hands of the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife and into those of the Maine State Lottery. During the winter, Moody sent a bill to the Maine Legislature that would do that. The bill was referred to committee where it was filed as a “dead” bill. In what appears to be a errant mistake of forgetting to enter certain criteria into the computer that makes the selections for moose permits, 60 did not get drawn.

A member of the general public who can count (they must not be from Florida), began reviewing the list of winners in the recent moose lottery done last Wednesday in a drawing held at the clubhouse of Scarborough Downs. When this person began adding up the total number of permits issued, they came up with 2,765, 60 permits shy of the promised 2,825.

That’s when the MDIFW officials went to the sidelines and stuck their heads under the tarp to review the instant replay. Sure enough, they were 60 permits short.

It was then discovered that no antlered moose permits for the September hunt in WMD 19 (much of northern Washington County) had been selected. Evidently the data to make those selections was never entered into the computer that does the random drawings. (It is not believed at this time that President Bush had anything to do with this – and yes, this is a joke).

Normal procedure calls for the naming of 60 alternates using the same criteria in the selection of those who receive moose permits. These 60 alternates, listed in the order in which they would be eligible, are selected if someone who is chosen as a permittee refuses their license. Officials claim that on average anywhere from 40-60 applicants turn down their permits. Those permits are then given to the alternates.

Officials met at mid-field to determine what the proper ruling for the foul would be and decided that they would name the 60 alternates as the recipients of the 60 antlered moose permits for WMD 19 (perhaps not the zone they applied for but a permit nonetheless). 60 new alternates have already been named to replace those.

I seldom am critical of the Maine DIFW or any other state wildlife department because I believe that for the most part, all these agencies do a fine job and often work under extreme pressure from many souces. This seemingly innocent mistake is bigger than what appears on the surface.

First off, it seems to me that the very first step in a checks and balance agenda would be to have anyone at the department, perhaps even the janitor, add up the total number of permits selected just to make sure the numbers match. I learned this mind boggling technique in my freshman year of high school in business math.

This was not done and a member of the general public had to notify the officials at MDIFW that they had made a mistake. This is bad – bad because the MDIFW just reduced the confidence level that many of us have in them, myself included. I have to be honest in saying that after reading about this incident, I did ask myself about what other mistakes like this have been made in the past.

I have no information that would suggest that any mistakes have been made in the past but each year there is a certain amount of complaining that occurs from those who did not draw a moose permit and especially from those who have applied for several years in a row.

There has never been any politics or favoritism played that anyone has ever been able to find out with the moose permit selection process, but this booboo sure will give the complainers more fodder to chew on.

Mistakes happen and as I said in my title, to err is human. What’s wrong with this picture is the Department had no checks and balances in place, even something as simple as to count how many permits got selected. This should have been going on during the selection show. It could have been programmed into the selection process for that matter. An announcement could have been made -“and the final permit…. number 2,765, goes to…….no, wait. That’s not right”.

The damage has been done. Those who didn’t draw a permit will have more ammunition to argue about the faults of the system. Those who don’t like how the department is run can point another finger and officials will be scrambling around hoping to mend a badly broken fence.

A complete list of those selected for moose permits, including the 60 afterthoughts, can be viewed here.

Tom Remington


Moose Lottery Results Are In

The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife has the 2006 Maine Moose Permit Lottery Winners posted. Click here to see the results.

Steven Remington


Maine's Moose Drawing Tomorrow

Don’t forget that the drawing for the Maine moose lottery will be tomorrow in the club house at Scarborough Downs. If you’re considering attending, the drawings are done quite a bit differently than years ago. It used to be a very boring event, sitting and listening while someone read off numbers.

Now, it is nearly a hunting show and expo, with several companies, vendors, outfitters, etc. setting up booths and it gives hunters a chance to get together and talk up the hunt.

Good luck to everyone who has applied. We’ll get the results up here at the Black Bear Blog as soon as we have them.

Tom Remington


Heading For The North Country

By the time you read this, I will be on the road heading for Allagash, Maine. My good friend and U.S. Hunting Today’s chief photographer, Milt Inman, and I (along with our wives to keep us in line) are headed for the Allagash Sporting Camps to work.

Don’t laugh. You know some people have jobs that are so much fun, it is hard to classify it as work.

The Allagash Sporting Camps are owned and operated by Mike Paquette. He has been gracious enough to host us for a few days in order to cover an event he is hosting next Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

The event is his annual Whitetail Tracking School. The meat and potatoes of the school will be run by the Benoit brothers and promises to be an extremely educational event.

It is open to the first fifteen who register and pay their fee.

Milt and I will be photographing, filming and writing stories. Rumor has it we may even be able to find some down time and get in a little fishing.

I have taken several hours of my time and searched out a few stories and written a commentary or two that will get posted each day here. Although the posting will be light, it will continue and if there is any real breaking news, Steve will make sure you are kept informed.

I will be back here at my camp table bright and early next Wednesday morning – unless the fishing is really good.

Tom Remington


U.S. Hunting Today – Employment Opportunities

U.S. Hunting Today now has employment opportunities. We will be adding more in the near future so make sure to check back. You can see all job offers here:

Currently we are looking for several people to become part of our permanent staff. I will copy and paste the position below:

Regional Marketing Directors

*Must be a strong leader
*Must be a self motivator
*Must be good with people
*Must be able to sell
*Must have prior advertising and promotion experience
*Must have ability to travel within region
*Must be able to build long lasting relationships with other people
*Must have a business and marketing mindset
*Must be able to see opportunities when they arise
*Must be knowledgeable about hunting and fishing

Job Description:
Full-time position. A Regional Marketing Director will be marketing, advertising, and promoting U.S. Hunting Today within a region. Your job will be to educate the market with our advertising services and keep an ongoing business relationship by follow up visits and phone calls.

Payment is based on performance. All Regional Marketing Directors will receive 40% of all sales generated by the clients you have gained. You will also receive 40% from ALL repeat sales. This is why building long lasting relationships is crucial to your success.

If you are interested in this position please contact us via email first at with your name and tell us a little bit about who you are and why you are interested in this position.



Maine's Moose Lottery Set For June

Moose Lottery Is June 15 at Scarborough Downs Clubhouse

The annual lottery attracts hundreds of hopeful hunters, anxious to see if they will be one of 2,895 selected from a pool of over 70,000 people who will get the chance at the hunt of a lifetime.

AUGUSTA, Maine – Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Commissioner, Roland “Dan” Martin announced today the Annual Moose Lottery will be held on Thursday, June 15 at the Scarborough Downs Club House in Scarborough.

“At 5:30 p.m., we will commence the drawing and announce the name of the first hunter fortunate enough to be selected,” said Martin.

Since 1999, the Department has rotated the lottery throughout the state. Previously, it was held only in Augusta. This is the second time it is held in southern Maine. Previous lotteries were held in Millinocket, Wiscassett, Old Town, Bucksport, Scarborough, Presque Isle, and Rumford.

“We’ve moved the drawing to all parts of the state so that people can have the opportunity to be part of it first hand,” stated Commissioner Martin.  “Nothing pleases us more than to have members in the audience react to being selected,” he said.

This year, 2,895 names will be drawn in the random chance lottery. Last year over 70,000 people applied to hunt moose in Maine.

Martin said that staff from IF&W including local biologists and game wardens will be on hand.  

“This is an opportunity for sports enthusiasts and the general public to interact with IF&W personnel,” said Martin.

Admission to the event is free. In the past, the event has lasted approximately 3-4 hours.

Tom Remington


Watch Out For The Moose

Mark Latti from the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife is encouraging people out and about to be on the lookout for moose.

AUGUSTA, Maine — Motorists need to be aware that Moose are on the move in June, and statistics show that there are more moose vehicle crashes in June than any other month of the year.

“Moose frequent roadways during the late spring and early summer,” said Roland D. Martin, Commissioner, Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. “Drivers need to be alert when driving in areas populated by moose, and be certain to use their seatbelts.”

Moose travel to roadways for several reasons. After a long winter of eating poor-quality food, their bodies crave the salt that is found along roadsides. The sides of roads are also the first areas to green up in the spring, offering tender plant shoots as another source of food for moose. And yearling moose (last year’s calves), recently forced away by their mothers as the mothers prepare to give birth to this year’s calves, often travel and find themselves around roads.

Nighttime is also peak time for moose-vehicle collisions. The number of moose crashes peaks between 7:00 p.m. and midnight. Moose move more during the evening after it cools from the daytime high temperatures.

Moose collisions can happen anywhere in the state, and the state averages roughly 3 fatalities a year. As a driver, there are several steps you can take to minimize the chance of being involved in a moose-vehicle collision.

  • Drivers should reduce their speed when it is dark.
  • Use your high beams where it is appropriate.
  • Always have everyone buckle up.
  • Search the roadway ahead to identify potential problems.

“A moose vehicle accident can cause serious injury, or even death,” said Colonel Thomas Santaguida of the Maine Warden Service. “Statistics show that one of every four moose-vehicle crashes causes significant injury.”

With their dark brown color, moose are difficult to see at night; and because of their height, their eyes do not readily reflect oncoming headlights. They also tend to move in groups. If you see one, slow down, because there may be another, and be on the lookout for tall silhouettes along roadsides.

Tom Remington


North Pond in Greenwood Hosts Unusual Gathering of Ducks

Staff writer and outdoor enthusiast, A. Sayward Lamb, lives most of the year at his cottage on North Pond in Greenwood, Maine. He sent me an e-mail this morning about a sighting he viewed in front of his cottage. Curiousity got to him, so he fired off an e-mail to Wendy at the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife in hopes for some feedback.

Below is a copy of the e-mail Sayward send to MDIF&W.

Dear Wendy; While eating breakfast this morning I looked out on to North Pond, in Woodstock ,and saw a large flock of ducks. I got out my binoculars and counted 68 of them swimming together. If it were earlier in the Spring I would have thought they were flight birds coming in to rest on the pond. However, seeing that many ducks together tthis late in the Spring  has me puzzled. I saw them flying down the lake in a southerly direction a few minutes ago. I cannot see the whole area of the pond from our cottage, so don’t know if they left or not. These birds were quite large, and all I saw was black or dark brown coloration. The stayed out in the middle of the pond, I did not see any of them diving below the surface. They simply moved slowly up and down the pond in one or two rafts. Maybe you have an ornothologist who might have some ideas of what type of duck they may be? Thanks, Sayward Lamb  

Wendy forwarded Sayward’s inquiry on to Michael Schummer, wildlife biologist with the Department of Inland Fisheries and Game. Here is his reponse.

Dear Sayward,
Thank you for your inquiry…very interesting observation.  We actually have had a few similar reports in the past few days.  Seaducks such as Eiders, Scoters, and Long-tailed Ducks often do overland flights on their way north towards Hudson Bay and/or the St. Lawrence Estuary.  When they encounter harsh weather or a stiff north wind that they can not fly into they often drop out into lakes in northern Maine.  It is most likely that you saw either Black, White-winged, or Surf Scoters.  Possibly all three mixed together.  Thank you for your observation.
best wishes–
Michael Schummer, Ph.D., Wildlife Biologist
Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife
Wildlife Resource Assessment Section
650 State Street
Bangor, Maine 04401-5654
Phone: (207)-941-4474
Fax: (207)-941-4450 


Maine's Turkey and This Cold Damp Weather

Probably the number one killer of young turkeys, called poults, is a prolonged spell of cold and wet weather in Maine – which is quite common in the Pine Tree State. Parts of Maine have had something like 17 straight days of cold, cloudy and damp weather.

Ken Bailey, outdoor writer for the Village Soup, has a fantastic story, along with some interesting photos, about how cold weather affects the turkeys. He follows up his article with some education on habitat and survival habits of the bird. You should check it out.

Tom Remington


Big Buck Tracking School in the North Woods of Maine

Listen To The Audio Version

This is a rerun of the story I did on April 27, 2006

Everyone dreams of bagging a trophy deer. Some are infatuated with antlers, some by body mass and weight. I know some whitetail deer chasers that are obsessed with tracking, some with stil- hunting and others sitting in a tree. Ever wonder what it would be like to come face to face, or as close as one could imagine, with a monster buck that had never seen a human before? Ever wonder what that deer’s reactions and actions would be?

It can happen and it does happen every deer hunting season. But not everywhere. Maine has vast wilderness with acres of wooded space to hunt. I need to tell you right up front that hunting in these woods is not an easy task. There also are not a lot of deer, at least by some hunters standards. You could spend countless hours chasing hopes and dreams unless you know where to go and what to do once you got there.

Are you interested in learning how to track monster bucks, where to find them, ensure you won’t get lost and hone your shooting skills so you won’t miss that once in a lifetime opportunity?

Now you can! The Allagash Sporting Camps, located in Allagash, Maine is hosting a three-day tracking school. This event is scheduled for June 16, 17, and 16, 2006, is limited to the first 15 hunters who secure a spot AND there are still a few openings.

I called Mike Paquette, owner of the Allagash Sporting Camps yesterday, to get more information and find out if there was still some room. Mike informed me that there was some room but if you’re interested, not to wait. Hunters are flying into from all over the country.

The tracking school will be in three parts Mike says. First, professional instructors are going to teach hunters how to enter the big woods and not get lost. Sounds a bit silly but unless you’ve been in the big woods you may not realize just how big it is. If you’re not accustomed to tracking big bucks, you also don’t realize the amount of concentration it takes. Everyone who tracks big bucks has done it before. Get tracking a big buck and the next thing we know, where am I? You have to have the confidence that you can focus all your attention on tracking and not on keeping track of where you are.

A second part will focus on the tracking aspect of hunting – where to find the big bruisers in thousands of acres of woods and how to recognized signs to know you’re on the right track. The tracking methods, most of which will be conducted by the Benoit brothers, are complex and varied. Trust me! You’ll leave this school with a wealth of knowledge from people who have spent years in the northern Maine woods and they have proof of their effort and skills.

The third part of the school is going to test your skills at shooting. We all want to stalk our buck and catch him standing, just quartering slightly to the left or right, silhouetted by a partially obscure sun in the early morning mist – isn’t going to happen! Once that big guy knows what’s up, more than likely you’ll have only a split second of time to react. Can you? Are you good enough to hit the target?

Below is the banner that the Allagash people are circulating for the event. Give Mike a call now and book your spot. If you’ve ever wondered how to track and how to hunt wilderness trophy bucks, there’s no better school with any better instructors than what you’ll find here.

Tom Remington