December 10, 2019

Maine Fish and Game One Step Further Out of the Dark Ages

In several years in Maine, the fish and game department (MDIFW) has gone from taking several months (sometimes over a year) to tabulate deer, bear, moose, and turkey harvest information, to now where anyone can visit the MDIFW website and receive instant harvest data in total or broken down by Wildlife Management District.

THANK YOU!!! It’s about time.

Even when MDIFW announced it was tagging digitally and the department (and select others) could get the harvest information, it seemed MDIFW was in the dark that the public was interested in having access to that same information. I wondered if the department ever planned to do that or keep good control over some of us by making us beg for data.

And so, here we are! Click on this link – https://maine.maps.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/199555de2ee14d94a6186d9e07453e05 – and to the left you will see up-to-date harvest data for the entire state, for deer, bear, moose, and turkey. Click on the WMD shown in the Maine map to get a breakdown of each WMD.

I am very grateful that MDIFW has chosen to do this…although I am a bit puzzled by a comment from the MDIFW Wildlife Director, printed in the Bangor Daily News. The director said: “We just realized that there was a lot of interest in having that information (harvest data from their digital tagging system). Seriously? “We just realized…?”

MDIFW was so terrible at providing hunters with any current harvest data, they were the laughing stock around many coffee tables in coffee shops statewide. And NOW, they just realized?

Okay, so I guess for some it just takes a long time to wake up. So, good morning!! And, thank you for allowing the tax payers to have access to information we have paid for.

So, now what am I going to bitch about?

Oh, OKAY! How about this? Being that this event is one of the biggest deals to come out of MDIFW in a very long time, why is there no Press Release posted on their website? Back in July, there was a PR announcing an appointment to the position of Information and Education Director. Has that position not been filled and is not active yet?

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An Ethical Shot?

I was reading V. Paul Reynolds very good article the other day about how important it is when hunting moose, to do your best in placing a killing shot. What I got thinking about though was the idea that so many writers/hunters/trappers these days put emphasis on the term of an “ethical” shot or “ethical” kill.

Let’s first examine the definition of the term “ethical.” By definition, ethical means: “relating to moral principles or the branch of knowledge dealing with these. Morally good or correct. Avoiding activities or organizations that do harm to people or the environment.”

Hmmm! It seems we need to examine what “moral” means. “Concerned with the principles of right and wrong behavior and the goodness or badness of human character.” Er, ah… or maybe: “Examining the nature of ethics and the foundations of good and bad character and conduct.”

Getting closer: “Holding or manifesting high principles for proper conduct.”

I think this one pretty much covers what drives comments about “taking an ethical shot” when hunting. “Concerned with or derived from the code of interpersonal behavior that is considered right or acceptable in a particular society.”

So, essentially an “ethical” shot means one that accomplishes the “morally good” conduct that meets the standing acceptable behavior in this particular society at this particular moment.

Perfect! Not really. It’s hogwash!

Geez! If we are going to get all “moral” about this issue of shooting and killing, then perhaps those opposed to hunting have some valid ground to stand on. I mean, seriously. Is killing anything “morally ethical” in this “particular society?”

We hunt for various reasons. To be successful hunters must kill. We hope the kill is quick, for more reasons than just “ethical.” Some practice their skill of hitting a target. Some are better equipped to make “ethical” kills than others. They have better eyes and coordination to make a quick “ethical” kill.

But let’s face it. When we pull the trigger are we really thinking about ethics? Or are we thinking much of anything except we hope we make the shot and not have to chase our prey all day?

I understand the desire of many to not allow any animal that is a resource to suffer when being taken. I think it is dishonest to lay the term “ethical” onto any taking. I think it is more ethical to be honest about the truth than to place some conjured term to the act of shooting to kill.

Perhaps we can find a better more honest word or term to describe simply a quick kill. Oh, hey! Why not “quick kill?”

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Biggest Bucks of Maine Per Year of Deer Harvest

Most people in Maine and other parts of deer hunter havens across the country, know that the biggest buck, by weight, ever taken in Maine was in 1955. Horace Hinkley’s record buck weighed in at 355 pounds.

There were two hunters who tied for second largest bucks recorded at 310 pounds, 42 years apart. Do you know who they were and where the deer were taken? Visit Troy Frye’s Facebook page and you can get a list of the biggest bucks taken in Maine, the year they were taken, the hunter’s name, and where the deer was shot.

Thanks Troy!!

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2018 Maine Deer Harvest By County

Kennebec County in Maine, had the greatest 2018 deer harvest. If you would like to see what each Maine country had for a deer harvest in 2018, please visit Troy Frye’s Facebook Page.

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Land Access: “There Ought to be a Law!”

A few years back, while speaking to a group of elk breeders in Iowa at their national convention, I began my talk by asking for a show of hands from any and all who ever made the exclamation, there ought to be a law. Most raised their hands. The rest were lying…LOL.

In our post-normal existence we have eagerly created, without supporting evidence we reactively rush toward the creation of more limits, bans, and regulations falsely believing such actions will actually alter human behavior and make for a better, safer life. Does it? Do the majority of Americans heed such laws intended to make our world a better place to live?

Not exactly! Have you been out on the highways lately? This is but one example of how laws, intended to make things safer, are failing at breakneck speed. Everyone is speeding. Everyone is running stop signs and traffic lights. Everyone is tailgating. Everyone is passing on the wrong side. Everyone is texting. These are examples of laws intended to make the highways safer to be on and yet the proof is in what you see…total disregard of the laws. So, why do we insist more laws will work?

Does this same thumbing of the nose happen with all other laws? Of course it does and yet, we, in our programmed reactionary behavior insist on making more laws, limits, and bans anytime something happens that we think could have been avoided…especially if we had more laws.

A tragedy occurred in Maine two years ago when a young woman was on her own land during deer hunting season and was shot an killed. The shooter admitted he failed to follow the “rule of law” that demands a hunter identify his/her target before pulling the trigger. While this law is more of an educational reminder of the ultimate responsibility of the one with the gun in their hand, it does not prevent mistakes nor will it stop anyone intent on killing for whatever the reasons.

The editorial board of the Bangor Daily News suggests that Maine needs to review its hunter land access laws and consider a requirement that all hunters seek written permission from a landowner before hunting on that person’s land.

A land owner should be able to control who and how anyone accesses their land. They presently have that control at their fingertips by utilizing an existing law of posting signs of no or limited access. Yes, the onus is placed on the landowner to spend the money for signs and put the signs out. Perhaps there are better ways to assist a landowner in accomplishing this task.

The bottom line is this, will posting the land keep people off the property and will it prevent a tragedy like the one that happened two years ago? It will not stop the person who is intent on entering someone’s land whether it’s posted or not. Unless land is posted all the way around, what is to stop anyone from accessing partially posted land?

The question here is whether or not making or changing the law that would require written permission to access land would have prevented a killing like the one in Maine two years ago? We might be creating ourselves a false sense of security, causing the landowner, who may falsely believe their land is 100% safe to be on during hunting season. In actuality, a new law may be making things worse.

One could argue that it is the hunters’ responsibility to know where boundary lines are regardless of what the access laws and restrictions may be. Sometimes it is extremely difficult to know where every boundary is and if you cross, even a well-marked property line, whose it is. If I unknowingly cross a poorly marked property line, would I be in violation of the law?

Hunting is a very safe activity. It is not fool proof. To err is human as the old expression goes. We will never correct that regardless of how many laws are made.

So, let’s consider the problems that will mount if Maine decided to enact a law that would require written permission before access…for any reason. Which brings us to another question about such a proposed law. Would such a law discriminate against hunters and be in effect only during hunting seasons? Assuming a new law requiring written permission would be permanent and year-round, what kind of mess is this going to create for the outdoorsman, the landowner, businesses geared toward outdoor recreation, and law enforcement? Will this new law be such that it places the landowner in a situation where they are constantly being asked for written permission? Will this form of harassment cause the landowner to avoid such and simply post their land, which they might not have done anyway – an added expense for the landowner.

Consider the large landowners of Maine – Irving, Pingree, Liberty Media Corp. (John Malone, who is based in Colorado). How are they going to handle a law where they have to hand out written permission for anyone to access their land? Or are they just going to shut it all down to avoid having to have another paid position to handle just dishing out land access permission slips?

How is law enforcement supposed to handle this new law? Is it even enforceable? Is what exists now really broken?

I own land. It’s not posted. If I go on my land during hunting season, I dress the same way as if I was hunting – with hunter orange. I never assume because I’m on my own land I am safe. Mistakes happen.

I don’t believe anyone is capable of grasping the extent of how Maine would change if the laws were changed that would require written permission to access private land. What economic impact will such a move have on Maine’s economy? One can argue that it might make it safer but such laws will not stop human error. Most all accidents happen due to human error. In that case, more and better education might limit and reduce those errors.

Before we make more laws to restrict land access, let’s first consider other ways to educate and remind hunters of their responsibility and to remind the people of Maine when hunting seasons are underway. Perhaps Maine could invest in public service announcements that would remind people about hunting seasons.

Let’s be practicably responsible and not create a bigger mess that may do little to make things safer.

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2019 Maine “Any-Deer” Lottery Results

The results of the Maine 2019 “Any-Deer Permit” Lottery results can be found at this link – https://deer.informe.org/2019/

Just select the letter that matches the last name of the applicant and scroll through the results.

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Maine’s Top 20 Deer Harvest Years

This chart comes from Troy Frye’s Facebook page found at this link. He provides other interesting graphics about Maine’s deer harvest histories.

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SAM Director Needs “Blue Papering”

The executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine needs to have the new law he created, fostered, and now fully supports (LD 1811) put into action against him. He is mentally suspect and is a threat to tens of thousands of Maine residents who, because oh his new law, can quickly have their rights dashed from their hands, leaving many and their families unprotected from real criminals, all in the name of guessing that somebody might do something wrong based upon the biased, and often unprofessional perspectives of cops and quasi medical people. From my perspective, the director should have all his “weapons” temporarily confiscated until such time as a court can rush to judgement over what to do with him and his guns.

Part of the mental disorder afflicting the director is that he believes that “justice” can be served when someone decides another person MIGHT do something wrong based on a person’s perspective of whether or not another person matches their idealistic, “normal” behavior pattern and has the targeted individual put into “protective custody,” weapons confiscated, and put on ice for 14 days waiting for a judge to decide what to do. Think about how things are in this fascist/totalitarian insane asylum called the United States of America. What judge in his right mind (if there are any) is going to release any accused mental patient and restore him/her their “weapons?”

Director Trahan can paint as rosy a picture as he would like but it doesn’t remove the stark reality that his law, while I want to say is “unconstitutional,” blatantly goes against what has been practiced for many years in this country where a person is allowed presumption of innocence and is not taken into custody AND had their personal property confiscated because somebody has power to attempt to predict what a person might or might not do.

I’m going to go out on a small limb here and guess that at some point in David Trahan’s political past and as the current E.D. of SAM, has at one time or other stated that gun control laws only effect innocent, law-abiding citizens – that criminals will get guns no matter whether they are banned or not…etc. And yet, here he is creating and promoting laws designed to forecast a person’s actions, a clear violation of an infringement upon a lawful citizen.

It has been historically stated that as long as any government, and/or those who participate in government, can keep the masses living in fear, they can control them with any laws designed to strip them of any granted or presumed rights of freedom.

It was Thomas Jefferson who said, “When government fears the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny.”

What is most tragic is when, due to ignorance and fear of reprisals, heads of sportsmen groups abandon their own rights for a bit of trumped up false security. Governments by themselves can create enough destruction of a person’s rights, we certainly should not have people like David Trahan gunning for (Excuse the expression. You might find it offensive.) laws that not only destroys our Second Amendment freedoms to keep and bear arms but also places in the hands of fascists and totalitarians the power to decide what another law-abiding American might or might not do because they might not fit the mold of what is perceived as sanity in a world gone insane.

Now that’s insanity.

I’ve said it before and I’ll repeat it here – Trahan should step down as his interests are not in line with Maine’s outdoor sportsmen. He has become a serious liability to all gun owners across America and those who believe in the unquestioned right to keep and bear arms.

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Coyote Behavior: When All You Know is Farley Mowat’s Book of Mythology

Yesterday I was reading an article of utter nonsense published in a small Maine town newspaper about coyote behavior. Of course the article was all about the love of the nasty, diseased animal and the call for its protection “because it is an important necessity for a healthy ecosystem.” Unfortunately the writer appears to have gotten 100% of their education from the proven and admitted make believe of Farley Mowat’s Never Cry Wolf.

Mowat laced his book of fiction with make believe nonsense about how wolves and coyotes only eat mice and other small rodents. The author of the Maine piece tells the same fairy tale about Maine’s coyotes: “To clarify, coyotes primarily feed on mice and other rodents…” The myth if further perpetuated by stating: “While coyotes do occasionally eat fawns and sick deer…”

Coyotes are basically garbage collectors that will eat anything…and by that I mean anything. When hungry enough, they will eat mud in order to stop the hunger in their guts. But this author obviously doesn’t get around much. Coyotes in Maine are a mixed hybrid animal, a cross breeding of an invasive coyote, wolf, and domestic dog. Because of this, the wild canine in the Maine woods is not like a typical coyote. Maine’s coyotes feed on deer, yes, adult deer too, in regular fashion. To state that coyotes feed primarily on mice and other small rodents is patently false.

The purpose of the author making this statement is to claim that because coyotes eat mice, we need to protect them because mice are what carry the ticks that cause and spread Lyme disease.

There’s a problem with that scenario. If anyone does any honest and complete research on the behavior of coyotes and the results of their behavior, they would know that the meal of the Maine coyote hybrid includes such animals as foxes and other canines and felines that truly do feed on the mice that perpetuate Lyme. The more coyotes, the fewer foxes and thus, because honestly coyotes don’t primarily feed on mice and small rodents, having more coyotes results in fewer animals that do kill the mice and thus the possibility exists that the prevalence of Lyme grows.

It should also be noted that while some choose to believe that the coyote makes for a healthier ecosystem, the reality is far from healthy. It has been proven that coyotes carry as many as 50 different diseases and viruses. Maine also has detected the presence of “lung worm” in moose. Lung worm, in this case Echinococcus granulosus (E.g.) is the result of the presence of wild canines. E.g. can be contracted by humans and can be deadly. Wild ungulates, such as deer and moose, pick up the disease by grazing around coyote scat where the tiny infectious spores are found. These spores are highly viable and thus the increase in the spread of the disease. In short, the more coyotes roaming the countryside, the higher the threat of disease. E.g. is not a direct killer of deer and moose (livestock also) but restricts their ability to escape large predators because of cysts that can grow on lungs and other internal organs.

The author points an accusatory finger at the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) for lying about its “responsible and science-based stewardship” when it comes to the management and control of coyotes. I find is amazing that simply because a person does not agree with the “responsible and science-based stewardship” of the MDIFW (in other words the department may not be all in with complete animal protection and natural wildlife management), they are labeled irresponsible and that their practices aren’t science-based. In fact, regardless of the fact that MDIFW spends far too much time trying to appease the social demands of lunatics who think coyotes will stop Lyme disease, the department’s efforts in selective coyote control and the allowing of coyote hunting derbies, while perhaps not a favorite tool for this necessary control, it is something that must be done in order to be “responsible and science-based” in the care and management of other wildlife species.

No matter how much anyone wants to read and believe Farley Mowat’s nonsense, it doesn’t change reality. Nature does not regulate itself in the Nirvanic way the uninformed want to believe. The author states that if we would leave the coyote along it would regulate itself. Obviously, the author has never seen the predator pits of death, destruction, and scarcity that predator protection causes.

If we want to enjoy the wildlife and its abundance, real responsible and science-based management and control is necessary.

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USDA Distributes Oral Rabies Vaccine for Wildlife in Northeast Maine

07/29/2019 06:14 AM EDT

AUGUSTA –Oral rabies vaccine (ORV) baits will be distributed in northeastern Maine beginning on or about August 3 through August 7 as part of ongoing, cooperative rabies control efforts aimed at reducing the incidence of raccoon rabies.

The distribution of ORV baits has occurred annually since 2003.

Wildlife Services, a program within the U.S Department of Agriculture’s Plant Health Inspection Service, will distribute the ORV baits in cooperation with the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Maine CDC) and the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry. Approximately 351,000 ORV baits targeting raccoons will be distributed by air and ground over a 2,405-square-mile area. The eastern portion of the area will include Mars Hill and Houlton and reach as far south as Weston; the area will extend west covering areas including Oxbow, Patten, and Stacyville.

The vaccine packets will be distributed by airplanes in rural, wooded areas. Personnel from Wildlife Services will distribute vaccine baits from vehicles in the more populated areas.

Since 2003, Wildlife Services has worked to eliminate raccoon rabies from northern Maine because the virus poses a threat to human and animal health. Wildlife Services also collaborates with Canadian officials in New Brunswick and Quebec to reduce the presence of rabies across Maine and Canada.

As of July 23, 2019, 49 animals have tested positive for rabies this year in 12 of Maine’s 16 counties, including bats, raccoons, striped skunks, gray foxes, and red foxes. Occasional animal rabies cases have occurred in southeastern parts of Aroostook County in the last several years.

Rabies is a viral disease that infects the nervous system of humans and other mammals. It is transmitted primarily through a bite from an infected animal. Rabies is fatal once symptoms are present, although timely post-exposure treatment is effective in preventing the disease in humans.

To help protect yourself and your pet against rabies:

  • Keep your pet’s rabies vaccination current
  • Feed pets indoors
  • Keep garbage cans or other sources of food tightly secured
  • Do not feed, touch, or adopt wild animals and be cautious of stray dogs and cats
  • Do not relocate wildlife because this can spread rabies into new areas
  • Contact Wildlife Services at 1-866-487-3297 to report dead or suspicious-acting raccoons, skunks, foxes, or coyotes in northern Maine. Or call Maine CDC at 1-800-821-5821 for concerns about rabies anywhere in Maine.

ORV baits are coated with fishmeal and distributed in one-inch square cubes or two-inch plastic sachets. Humans and pets cannot get rabies from contact with the baits but should leave them undisturbed.

This vaccine has been shown to be safe in more than 60 species of animals, including domestic dogs and cats. Dogs that consume large numbers of baits may experience an upset stomach, but there are no known long-term health risks.

If contact with baits occurs, immediately rinse the area affected with warm water and soap. For photos of ORV baits, please visit 
www.flickr.com/photos/usdagov/sets/72157623983143606/.

If you are bitten or scratched by an animal, wash the wound thoroughly with soap and water and contact your health care provider and Maine CDC at 1-800-821-5821.

Costs associated with detection, prevention and control of rabies exceed $300 million annually in the U.S., according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Approximately 90 percent of reported rabies cases in the U.S. occur in wildlife. As part of the Wildlife Services’ National Rabies Management Program, the ORV distribution program in Maine is part of a larger effort to prevent the westward spread of raccoon rabies by creating a barrier along the Appalachian Mountains from the Canadian border to Alabama.

For more information:

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