February 25, 2018

Time To Apply For Your Dwindling Chances at a Moose Permit

From the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife:

MDIFW NEWS – – Apply Online Now For The 2018 Maine Moose Permit Lottery

AUGUSTA, Maine – The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife is now accepting applications online for the 2018 Maine moose permit lottery. Applications for the 2018 Maine moose permit lottery will be accepted online only. The online application process is fast and simple and you receive instant confirmation that you have successfully entered the lottery.

To apply online, go to mefishwildlife.com and fill out the online moose permit application. There, applicants will be able to indicate several preferences, including which wildlife management districts (WMD) they are willing to accept a permit in, and if they would accept a permit in another WMD if their name is drawn and all of their top choices are filled. They will also be able to select your preferred hunting season, whether or not they would accept an antlerless permit, and their choice of a sub-permittee.

If an applicant does not have access to a computer or the Internet at home, the Department has the following suggestions for applying online:

• Use a computer at work during lunch or a break • Use a computer at your local library • Ask a friend or relative with a computer for help in applying

The deadline to apply for the lottery is 11:59 p.m. on May 15, 2018.

Applicants are awarded bonus points for each consecutive year that they have applied for the lottery since 1998 without being selected and each bonus point gives the applicant an additional chance in the drawing.

Bonus points are earned at the rate of one per year for years one to five, two per year for years six to 10, three per year for years 11 to 15 and 10 per year for years 16 and beyond.

Since 2011, applicants can skip a year and not lose their bonus points. So if they applied in 2016 but not in 2017, they still have their points available if they apply in 2018.

Want to be there for the drawing? The 2018 moose lottery permit drawing will take place during the Skowhegan Moose Festival. The festival runs June 8-10, 2018 at the Skowhegan Fairgrounds and the drawing will take place on the afternoon of June 9. For more information, please visit skowheganmoosefest.com For more information about moose hunting in Maine and the moose permit lottery, please visit: http://www.maine.gov/ifw/hunting-trapping/moose-permit.html

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Our outdoor heritage faces an uncertain future

When it comes to Maine’s fabled outdoor heritage, you don’t have to be a social scientist or a statistician to sense what is going on. Changing times are leaving a mark on our culture in countless ways. If you visit a few rod and gun clubs around the state, a common theme shows itself: a predominance of wrinkled gray-haired members and a glaring absence of bright-eyed, fresh-scrubbed youth among the club rolls.

Equally apparent, if you are an older sportsman yourself, who still spends time in the deer woods or on the fishing waters of this state, is that there seems to be a significant absence of active sportsmen like yourself.<<<Read More>>>

 

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Maine’s Constitutional Amendment to Hunt and Fish Given a Thumbs Down

According to George Smith’s article in the Bangor Daily News, the Maine Legislature’s Joint Standing Committee for Inland Fisheries and Wildlife turned their noses up at a proposed constitutional amendment sold as something that would guarantee Maine residents a right to hunt and fish. The biggest reasons, as expressed in the article, is that the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW), who said they were neither for nor against the amendment while showing their disdain for it, might hinder their ability to carry out their management practices. One might ask if that was necessarily a bad thing. The other issue seemed to be that some lawmakers were afraid that if the initiative went to the voters and was rejected it would cast a negative image on MDIFW and sportsmen.

No really! That’s what is written. Check this out. “Rep. Bob Duchesne, the House chair of the IFW Committee, stated that the majority of the committee agrees that we do have the right to hunt and fish. But he also expressed… that voters might reject the amendment which would have a seriously negative impact.”

Here is an organization that seems to go out of its way to keep important information from sportsmen, pissing a lot of us off, and they are worried about whether allowing the people of Maine to make a decision on a constitutional amendment might have negative effects? Whatever! Buy the emperor some new clothes!

It doesn’t really matter. It’s probably a good thing this proposal is dead in the water. One has to ask whether it would have been worth the time, effort and expense to push this amendment when you consider the amendment didn’t go far enough to guarantee anything. Like just about all legislation, it would be worthless and crafted in such a way that lawyers would have a field day with it.

And besides, isn’t this proposed amendment coming about a decade or two too late? Somebody has been sleeping.

The entire effort reminds me of the Biblical parable of the ten virgins. Ten virgins were told to go and wait for the bridegroom to return. Five took lamps with oil in them and five took lamps with no oil. When the bridegroom returned, five virgins lit their lamps and followed him while the other five were lost and left behind. I’ll let you figure out who had the oil.

I suggested a constitutional amendment for Maine at least ten years ago. As a matter of fact, I also posed such a question to Maine’s gubernatorial candidates in 2006. Two of the three candidates supported an amendment or would support it if the people desired one. But, there was no mention of negative embarrassments if such a proposal failed before the voters. Where are we headed anyway? Perhaps back then, if lamps had been trimmed and ready for action, an amendment might have been more easily accepted.

As time wears on, the activity of hunting, trapping, and fishing is falling by the wayside being overtaken by the movements of Environmentalists. Environmentalism, a disease that has deliberately been spread throughout the nation to upend the time-proven heritage and science of wildlife management according to the North American Model of Wildlife Management, and replaced with non-consumptive, Romance Scientism, has infiltrated every aspect at every level of wildlife management. Because of this, there are few left who see what is happening and the reception of such things as constitutional amendments to guarantee the right to hunt, trap, and fish is, in and of itself, negative.

This infiltration is seen within the proposed amendment itself – a proposal that guarantees no more than the propaganda that MDIFW lists on their website as a mission statement.

From this point on, any effort to even suggest a constitutional amendment would be nothing more than a waste of time. Chaulk another up for the animal rights/environmentalists. They are winning the battle one small step at a time while the rest of us dither.

The day rapidly approaches when someone might ask, “Didn’t there used to be hunting in Maine?”

BUT DON’T GO LOOK!

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Maine Big Bucks and Estimated 2017 Deer Harvest

As has been the case over the past several years, we wait until nobody cares anymore about the last hunting season’s deer harvest data. In the meantime, my team waits for the Big Bucks Report that is put out by the Maine Sportsman magazine, then goes to work counting and plotting graphs. From the number of registered “big bucks,” an estimate is generated as to what the final count will be for that year’s deer harvest. While not accurate, the estimations haven’t been very far off, proof of our excellent work.

Below are two charts. The first, which probably looks familiar to those regular readers here, is the ongoing chart that shows the deer harvest year, the total harvest and an array of numbers, percentages, and departures from a base year. As is always done when I publish this chart, the last, or in this case 2017 “Deer Kill” is an estimation based on previous years’ calculations. When the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) decides to release the deer harvest data (typically we will not see this until early summer), I will update this chart with the official “Deer Kill” and republish that for readers.

The second chart/graph shows the number of registered Big Bucks with the Maine Sportsman magazine since the year 2000. To be honest, I’m not sure what, if any, real conclusions can be made from this information because there are certain variables that change that may affect the results. For example, what determines how many people decide to register their “Big Bucks” with the Maine Sportsman? I doubt those numbers vary a lot from year to year, but over several years as the demographics of the hunting community changes from year to year, so too it may change the results of the number of big bucks registered.

I was a bit dismayed after having read an editorial in the Maine Sportsman where the editors presented a bright and optimistic overview of Maine’s deer population, the percentage of big bucks, and the future outlook for deer hunting and deer management. The magazine provided their own creative graph of big bucks, but only for the past six years – certainly not long enough where any honest estimations, conclusions, or trends could be generated.

As you will see, our charts go back to the year 2000. Eighteen years of Maine Sportsman Magazine’s registered Big Bucks are plotted. When comparing eighteen years against 6 years, a deer hunter might not be so thrilled about the trend that appears before them.

Reminding readers that this information and chart is not necessarily a scientific one, I have generally concluded that the number of big bucks basically follows the trend in the overall deer population. If this is accurate, this could be taken as a compliment to the MDIFW having been able to accomplish a healthy maintenance of buck to doe ratios and age structure. This is a good thing.

However, to state that “more hunters took trophy deer each successive year since 2014” may be accurate but perhaps a bit misleading.

An examination of the eighteen-year graph shows that the Maine deer population shrank and remains that way. The deer harvest has plummeted from a high of 38,153 in 2002, to a low of 18,045 in 2009. Since 2009, the deer harvest has averaged around 21,000 – nothing to get too excited about.

Reports have been thrown around about mild winters and more deer, but to those who get around, it is clear that such conditions only exist in certain areas.

While only looking at the last two years, the number of reported Big Bucks is nearly identical, hinting that the deer population throughout the entire state has remained static.

I do not look for any changes in deer management. All that might change as far as deer herd and harvest will be the result of variables in which we have no control over. As long as there remains too many moose, too many black bears, too many coyote/wolf hybrids, too many bobcats, and too many Canada lynx, the struggle to grow a deer herd will persist. Maine hunters should get used to how things are now, while expecting up and down swings of hunting success.

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Pretty in Pink? Or, An Amish Meeting Has Begun?

*Editor’s Note* – I must apologize for the gross error that I made when I wrote this article. Whether it was old age or just laziness and stupidity, I referred to the group in Maine who lobbied for an exemption to wearing hunter orange clothing as the Quakers. I have written more than one article in the past year about this event and in those articles, I correctly referred to the group as the Amish, not the Quakers. I have gone through the below article and changed the name of Quaker to Amish. I apologize if I have offended some. It was not my intention. Thank you. (2/1/18 9:30 a.m.) Find previous articles here, here, here, here.

I knew it only a matter of time before a ridiculous law the State of Maine passed allowing a group of Amish, who say they can’t wear bright clothing, don’t have to wear Hunter Orange as is required by law, before other groups would jump in making demands of what kind and/or color clothing they prefer to wear while hunting.

Maine, even though it decided that the reason the state requires Hunter Orange clothing is for safety, got trumped by a stupid request from a tiny bunch of Amish seeking an exemption from wearing the “bright colored” clothing.

Now it appears that in Michigan a bill has been introduced that will allow anyone, not just women (after all it is difficult to tell the difference these days), to wear blaze pink when they go hunting, because as one person stated, “Women prefer to always look and feel attractive (even while hunting), having pink as an option can help with any insecurities over what they are wearing, pink is a color that can immediately identify a female, women don’t want to be mistaken for a man, even from a distance or in the woods.”

There is an argument that can be made that women don’t want to look like men. Everywhere I go today, I see what I think are women dressed up like men and vice-versa. Is it important that the few women who want to “feel attractive” while hunting, forego the hunting safety issue just as Maine did when it came to appeasing a group of Amish?

As someone so eloquently put it, “Nobody looks good wearing hunter orange!” Hunting isn’t a fashion statement and the last time I checked it wasn’t restricted to only one sex. Did lawmakers act in a sexist fashion to devise this safety law? If the laws were devised for public safety, and that safety issue is a time-proven event, then religious sects who think their god will send them to eternal damnation, should stop hunting. What god would condemn bright clothing but allow getting all bloody killing animals. And if women feel it necessary to “feel attractive” while hunting, take up modeling.

All of this is just completely insane and proves the world has gone insane. One man was quoted as saying, “This borders on the absurd.” No, it doesn’t border on the absurd. It is beyond that. There is no longer any sense or sensibility or the reasoning skills and mental prowess to even know the difference.

INSANITY!

 

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And Maine’s 2017 Deer Harvest Total Is………?

Awe shucks! Maine is the last New England state to let people know anything about the deer harvest for 2017.

Maybe that new guy they hired to be the new head deer biologist doesn’t know how to count either. Question: How many piping plovers does it take to screw in a light bulb?

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Are Maine’s ATVers, Snowmobilers, and Boaters Really the Biggest Criminals in the Outdoors?

I was reading George Smith’s article, “Biggest law breakers are ATV riders, snowmobilers, and boaters.” Not to distract from Smith’s statistics of recreational laws being broken and the work of the Maine Warden Service, but I might question a blank statement that ATV and snowmobile riders, along with boat operators are the “biggest lawbreakers” of any group of outdoor people. Maybe, when you come right down to it, these three groups make up a very large percentage of the total number of “outdoor groups.” In addition, these three groups also utilize motorized vehicles that have a thick book of rules and regulations that, whether intentional or not, would understandably increase the number of citations to be handed out. Are there any laws governing the use of walking sticks or the type and size of binoculars to use for birdwatching? When you think about it for a moment or two, what other “groups” are there out there?

Smith says next week he will look at citations issued to hunters and fishermen. I wonder if we’ll get a distinction between whether any hunting citations included the use of ATVs, boats or snowmobiles? Will we see the same with boating citations lumped in with fishing citations? I feel bad that these three groups might be getting a bit of a bum rap.

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USFWS To Begin Work to Remove Canada Lynx from Federal Protection Under ESA

The following link and its landing page will provide the reader with ample links to all the work that is about to begin and what has already been done to remove the Canada lynx from Federal protection under the Endangered Species Act. Please follow this link and scroll down to find other links to recent actions and status assessment.

On January 11, 2018, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) announced the completion of a scientific review of the Canada lynx in the contiguous United States. The review concludes that the Canada lynx may no longer warrant protection under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and should be considered for delisting due to recovery. This recommendation is the result of an extensive review of the best available scientific information and almost 20 years of working in partnership with state, federal, tribal, industry and other land managers on the conservation of this species. As a result of this status review, the Service will begin development of a proposed rule to delist the species.

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At What Price the Exploitation of the Maine Moose

It appears, from a report filed by the Portland Press Herald, that biologists at the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) are all excited because surveys have shown there are fewer winter ticks being found on moose than in previous years. Surprisingly enough, this report doesn’t actually give a reason for the event. I was surely expecting global warming…but wait! That’s right! Global warming causes an increase in the number of ticks. Does that mean global cooling is causing a decrease? I doubt that seriously.

From studies quoted by officials at MDIFW, we are told that what influences the amount of tick mortality is sub-zero cold and/or early snows in late September into mid-October. How much of that has Maine, specifically the Moosehead Region, had in the past 5 or 6 years? I thought so.

Here’s an interesting bit of information found in the PPH article. The newspaper and MDIFW should be careful. If they present too much of the wrong information they might just prove that I am right and they are going about their perceived moose problems the wrong way.

This report states that in 2011 there were 76,000 moose in Maine. I would assume they retrieved these numbers from an aerial count that was done at that time. Maine’s head moose biologist told the PPH that at one time MDIFW estimated the moose population at between 60,000 and 90,000. That 90,000 estimate was passed along to the Maine Legislature’s Joint Standing Committee for Inland Fisheries by another Maine biologist. Many agreed with the assessment of 90,000 or greater, than 60,000.

It was an official estimate that Maine’s moose population in 1999 was 29,000. Was there any talk of winter ticks killing moose then? If my memory doesn’t fail me, I recall sending an email (can’t seem to put my hands on it at the moment) to MDIFW asking about their thoughts on the effects of winter ticks on moose. I was at the time undergoing some research on diseases that affected wild ungulates. The response I got might surprise you. They said that they were aware of winter ticks on moose, that those ticks might “bother” the moose some, but certainly did not kill any of them. We all learn…don’t we?

To the point. Few would argue the fact that around 2012, give or take, Maine’s moose population was at the highest probably ever. Few would argue that since that time, the moose population has been decreasing. Did it drop from 90,000 to a current guesstimate of 50,000 – 70,000? At least!

Forget the numbers. It is conceivable that Maine’s moose population has been cut in half. I doubt that many would argue that from the period of time when people were tripping over moose, to now, there has been a very significant reduction in the moose population.

In the PPH article, it states that tick counts on surveyed moose have decreased 68% from this same period last year. So, what’s causing the decline? Unless someone can provide accurate data that can definitively explain this decline in ticks, there can be only one reasonable, common sense answer – something that should have been learned in Biology 101.

When moose populations reached an estimated high of 90,000, all hell broke loose. Unfortunately, all this “hell” was blamed on global warming. It is a reasonable explanation that such a large moose population resulted in a marked increase in the winter ticks’ resource of questing for a blood meal for the winter. As I have attempted to point out, Biology 101 teaches that too many animals cramped into too small space results in the growth, spread, and perpetuation of disease. Nothing new here.

Because all have focused on global warming, failure to adequately understand the phenomenon at work, Mother Nature took over, growing winter ticks in order to kill the population of moose. As the moose population began to decline, it wasn’t too long before we began to witness the reduction in ticks. Nothing new here. We are now seeing a 68% reduction in ticks found on moose during winter.

I doubt that MDIFW biologists will admit this or perhaps even consider it in drawing conclusions from their ongoing moose study. If we use their same explanation that climate change (global warming) is causing ticks to grow in uncontrolled numbers, then the only explanation they can give for this occurrence is global cooling. Will they see the direct correlation between moose population and tick population? For the sake of the moose, one can only hope.

I recently expressed a desire to see wildlife departments nationwide to end the practice of making management decisions based on social demands, especially when those decisions become detrimental to the health and/or sustainability of a species. Hunters understand that if numbers of moose, deer, bear, or any other game animal, gets too low, hunting will cease. In the case of moose, the numbers are too high and need to be reduced to mitigate winter ticks. Will greedy guides and moose watching businesses get it? We can be the responsible managers or let Mother Nature continue to force moose calves to die a slow, agonizing death from anemia and exposure.

Unfortunately, as was brought up in the PPH article, guides and outfitters are hoping the MDIFW will figure out a way to kill the ticks while at the same time growing the herd bigger and bigger because the animal “puts a lot of money into the state.” At what expense to the moose are we now driven to its exploitation for profit?

My only hope is that after all the time and money spent on this moose study, biologists will figure it out. But, I doubt that is going to happen. I think it is far beyond the point that any modern-day biologist can get beyond the myth of global warming as being the cause of everything.

It’s really sad a bodes terribly for the future of wildlife management.

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Insistence on Global Warming As the Culprit of Increased Winter Ticks

There is no end to this and I suspect it will continue – the constant ignorant echo-chambering of global warming is going to kill all of us and everything that lives. Damn global warming and damn the computers people have become addicted to that creates fake “computer modeling” and then is plastered throughout cyberspace as an effective means of brainwashing the masses into believing that if man was simply killed off, Nirvana would take over.

A recent article in the Bangor Daily News (Maine) contained information about a Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont ongoing moose study. Any discussion of this study inevitably brings up the subject of moose ticks. It’s kind of a no-brainer that vast amounts of winter ticks, also called moose ticks (Dermacentor albipictus) are killing moose – perhaps too many moose.

The article states information they claim is what limits the growth of winter ticks: “Late summer drought, which kills tick eggs, and early snowfall, which kills larval ticks before they attach to a host like a moose.” Unfortunately, as always, this is misleading information but works well with selling news copies. Also, unfortunately, this nonsense is repeated incessantly throughout all media to a point where people, including wildlife biologists, believe only what they read in the Media.

If you believe the studies and quote information from those studies, then doesn’t it make sense that you should believe everything that’s in the studies?

Late summer drought CAN have an effect on tick larvae survival. It may also have an effect on tick egg survival. Regardless, that effect is quite minimal in the grand scheme of things…that is if you want to believe the studies where these quotes come from. In addition, “early snowfall” might kill tick larvae in a roundabout way, but most likely the event itself will not kill ticks in an all-of-a-sudden happening. That doesn’t stop the ignorance and dishonesty.

One such study tells about drought and snow and cold and its effects on the survival of the winter tick larvae. It has all the regurgitated echo-chamber scientism, graphs, bells, whistles and even information on the use of “computer modeling” in arriving at certain conclusions. I guess left out of these media echo-chamber discussions are important statements like: “While alterations in drought may influence distribution of the winter tick, climate conditions, especially temperature and snowfall in the spring and fall seasons, seem to be the major determinants of northern expansion of D. albipictus.”

Take notice that drought “MAY” influence tick distribution. However, what does this study say about temperatures? It says that the most influential factors in the destruction of winter tick larvae are high and low temperature exposures. For example, direct exposure of 6 hours to low temperatures of -13 F cause tick larvae to begin dying off. And, high temperatures over 114 F will do the same. Media doesn’t bother to read any of these studies and so they rely on what somebody else tells them who also never reads and examines the studies in their entirety.

What do these temperatures mean? When tick larvae are on the ground, prior to climbing vegetation as part of their “questing” event, they are commonly found in the leaves where temperatures effectively never reach 114 degrees F or -13 F, say nothing about doing so for 6 hours or more.

Once the tick larvae leave the protection of the leaf litter, they begin climbing vegetation where they search for a host, i.e the moose. Their “quest” is a host for the winter where they remain mostly protected from climate conditions hiding out in about a 100-degree climate until Spring.

In late Summer and early Fall, during the tick’s quest, they are exposed to the elements while waiting in the vegetation. It is during this time that the tick is vulnerable. What we are never told is that the tick at this stage is most vulnerable to wind. Yes, that’s right, wind. Wind can blow the ticks from the vegetation and return them to the ground. They must then begin their slow ascent back up the vegetation. They might miss their ride. It could kill them in the end.

They are also vulnerable to cold temperatures. In Maine, during September and October, if the tick larvae are exposed to temperatures at or below -13-degrees F for six hours or more, according to this one study, they will begin to die off. If early snow comes and remains on the ground, it will end the quest cycle which in turn will limit the number of ticks waiting to attach themselves to a passing moose. Obviously, a shortened or a lengthened quest cycle will alter the number of animals that take up a tick for the winter.

So, please leave your comments below with data that shows when and how often areas of Maine have seen these climatic conditions that will kill tick larvae in September and October. Hint: I won’t be holding my breath while waiting.

But it’s global warming that is causing the increase in winter ticks. That’s we hear perpetually. Okay, let’s play their game. If global warming, as spoken and written about in the Media, is real, then according to them the average temperature in a place like Maine will increase gradually anywhere from 1 – 5 degrees F over the next half-century. With the information I just gave, and the fact that more than likely the authors of this study are believers in global warming (they indicate as such in their study report) how can it pass the straight face test that small average temperature rises are what is causing ticks to increase in the proportions that they have?

Missing from this study, as we often find in about all studies rooted in global warming mythology, is any discussion about how the number of moose effect the number of ticks. We know from what has been learned that the winter tick could never survive if it didn’t have a host. This study indicates that riding on the back of a moose is the safest place in the world for tick larvae to be. When we examine the life cycle of the winter tick, you don’t have to be an over-paid scientist to understand that to kill the tick is to eliminate any one part of its life cycle. Not much we can do about climatic conditions…no, seriously, there isn’t. Get over it. Grow up! There is so much separation in reality between the conditions of drought, high and low temperatures (in Maine) and the survival of the tick larvae that it appears a waste of time trying to blame it all on global warming when perhaps the answer is really very simple.

I am thus reminded of what a veterinary scientist said not very long ago about moose and moose ticks: “Once (winter ticks are) introduced in a moose population in an area, the only known way to control it is to reduce the moose density, especially calves, so that there are no hosts available,” she said. “It would require an antler-less hunt or even a cull of calves and yearlings, which would not be something that would be easy to sell to the public.”

I have, and will continue to hear, all the nonsense about how, because I am a hunter, I just want to hunt and kill moose. Not exactly true. For example, I am a hunter. I hunt almost 100% only deer. I have never hunted moose, nor have I ever applied for a moose permit to do so. I have no plans for my future to do that either. I like moose meat. I like it a lot. I like deer venison more.

Consider, however, the ignorance of the statement that all I want to do is hunt moose or that all I want is for hunters to hunt moose. Once the moose herd was reduced to levels where events of winter ticks stop their epizoodic levels, hunting of moose will return to a level to maintain a moose herd. There might be a short burst of increased moose hunting to reduce the population, but certainly, it will not continue.

As far as the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife managing moose numbers at levels to please the public to be able to see moose, it is time to end that dangerous practice. Growing moose so people can drive around in climate-controlled autos and view moose, needs to end and end now. Look what it is doing to our moose. Are we to allow 50% of our moose calves to suffer a slow death so someone in an SUV can gawk at a moose? Get off your lazy ass and walk in the woods to see moose the way some of the rest of us do.

But nothing will change. Obsessed with global warming and the money and convenient excuses that come with it, enables the creation of more and more useful idiots.

However I must say,

DON’T GO LOOK!

 

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