May 6, 2015

Moose permit increase proposal criticized at Greenville hearing

GREENVILLE, Maine – The economy of the Moosehead Lake region depends a lot more on moose watchers than moose hunters. That was the message strongly conveyed at Friday’s public hearing at Greenville Consolidated School on a proposal by the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife to increase the number of […]

Source: Moose permit increase proposal criticized at Greenville hearing — Outdoors — Bangor Daily News — BDN Maine

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Deer killings in Chesterville, Livermore ‘disrespectful,’ ‘bizarre’ – Central Maine

A reward is being offered for tips on who shot and killed four pregnant does over the past week.

Source: Deer killings in Chesterville, Livermore ‘disrespectful,’ ‘bizarre’ – Central Maine

Chesterville

Moose casually walks down Main Street

The video shows police following the moose until it made it safely back into the woods.

Source: Moose casually walks down Main Street

Ogunquit

Reward to Find the “Poop” Baiter

Yes, there are people who make politicians look not quite as stupid as they really are. Someone is dumping 5-gal plastic pails full of human waste into streams in the Farmington and Wilton areas. A $500 reward has been offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of “The Poop Baiter.”

Rescued Deer Gets Put Down

ST. ALBANS — Hours after people saw firefighters rescue a small deer from thin ice on Weymouth Pond, the animal was killed by a game warden who saw it suffering and believed it was unlikely to survive.

The deer was rescued Wednesday night, but “when I checked on it this morning it was laying on the shore,” Maine Game Warden Josh Tibbetts said Thursday. “They had put some corn down to try and feed it, but it wasn’t eating it. It didn’t even raise its head.”<<<Read More>>>

RescuedDeer

StAlbans

Fed’s Canada Lynx Review Excuses

PORTLAND, Maine — The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is applying a new threat assessment for federally protected Canada lynx from Maine to Washington State, delaying completion of the first five-year review.

The structured threat assessment will involve several other agencies, at least 15 states and more than 20 Native American tribes. The resulting assessment will serve as the basis of a streamlined five-year review, and a recovery plan if one is necessary, said Jim Zelenak of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Montana.<<<Read More>>>

Perhaps it is time for some kind of accountability within the ranks of the Federal Government. In the Private Sector, if anyone performed as ineptly and corruptly as these clowns, they would have been fired a long time ago.

By law, before any species can be officially listed as “threatened” or “endangered” under the guise of the Endangered Species Act, a statement of what the environmental impact will be must be drafted, finalized and published in the Federal Register. In order to list a species as “threatened” or “endangered,” by law it is required to present a Recovery Plan (before the listing) – after all, if a species is in trouble there must be a plan to save and recover the species. That plan for Canada lynx was never done, but that didn’t stop the Feds, under pressure from corrupt, environmental groups, to list the lynx anyway.

Five years later, we are now hearing that the Feds need more time to complete their required-by-law assessment while stating, “The resulting assessment will serve as the basis of a streamlined five-year review, and a recovery plan if one is necessary.”

Are you kidding me? If one is necessary? How did the Feds get away with listing the lynx as a threatened species to begin with?

But does it really matter?

In those states where the Canada lynx is illegally listed as a species in trouble, people will never see this critter removed from federal protection. It was never intended that way and it will never happen. Oh, the Feds may put on a dog and pony show to convince enough people that they are doing all that they can – the most being enabling the pocketing of millions of dollars by environmental crooks.

On a project that should have been done BEFORE listing, the Feds “hope” to have a five-year recovery plan in place by this coming December. How thoughtful of them.

If you read the article, linked to above, you will read the Fed’s planned-out excuse of why Canada lynx will not be removed from Federal protection:

In Maine, the lynx population’s fate is tied to the snowshoe hares upon which they feed, and the populations of both are believed to be declining because of lack of suitable habitat for the hares. The end of clear-cutting forestry practices in Maine has allowed forests to fill in, taking away the habitat preferred by hares.

Try to understand this statement, if you can. The attempt here is, as any good environmentally biased group or person would do, to demonize the forest industry because they destroyed habit that is affecting the Canada lynx. But, notice the article unknowingly states that the only way the Canada lynx can remain at artificially high levels is due to the presence of the snowshoe hare, which flourished due to clear cutting – clear cutting, by the way, that was done to mitigate the devastation from the spruce bud worm.

Also take note, that in the permitting process for Maine to obtain an Incidental Take Permit for Canada lynx, the state had to agree to clear-cut hundreds of acres of public land in order to artificially create lynx habitat. Does this at all make sense? The same environmental, mental midgets who demand that forests be left in their “natural” state, also demand that forests be clear-cut in order to artificially grow Canada lynx.

Imagine that the spruce bud worm attack never happened. There wouldn’t be the extent of clear-cut forests and because of that, there would have been fewer snowshoe hares, thus fewer Canada lynx. Therefore, the current conditions that caused the Canada lynx to be in large numbers, as they are at present – and now predicted to shrink – were all caused artificially – GASP! by man.

So, according to the perverted reasoning of the Feds and the environmental groups they love to crawl in bed with, the only way we can hope to save and perpetuate more lynx so more cars and trucks kill them on the highways, and more will die of diseases, and more will kill more threatened white-tail deer, and more lynx get incidentally caught in traps, and more romantics can dream about one day having a lynx of their own to love and coddle, is to pray for another severe outbreak of spruce bud worm.

Brilliant! Just brilliant!

Maine Supreme Court Arguments Over Windmills

Information provided by a member of the Partnership for the Preservation of the Downeast Lakes:

Dear PPDLW member,

Today the Maine Supreme Court heard oral arguments from Juliet Browne (for Champlain Wind) and Peggy Bensinger (Asst AG representing BEP/DEP). Neither PPDLW now Conservation Law Foundation were allowed to address the Court and neither of us were asked any questions.

Champlain Wind presented an argument that I thought was weaker than previous ones. Juliet was interrupted and was asked some difficult questions. At one point she seemed a bit flustered.
AAG Bensinger attacked firmly and quickly but when she was asked questions she faltered a bit. She did a fine job of explaining that this project is unique in the number of lakes affected, the fact that the lakes form a large system and that they are enjoyed as a system.

I won’t go into the details of exactly what was asked nor will I paraphrase the responses. You have to understand that the Justices have been studying this massive written record for nine months. They have most likely formed opinions already but wanted to hear each party expound on the key issues. They often ask questions to which they have the answers. They will play devil’s advocate to test the parties’ positions. We shouldn’t read much into the questions that are asked. They are not a good indication of the judge’s position.

The Court always give a huge benefit of the doubt to decisions made by a State agency. It take an enormous amount of compelling evidence to get the Court to overturn an agency decision. One of Judges asked Juliet if she realized that. I think for the Court to overturn the BEP’s affirmation of the DEP denial, Juliet would have had to hit the ball out of the park. I don’t think she did. If the Court is not willing to outright overturn the DEP/BEP denial, they have two options. One, they could say they don’t see enough convincing evidence of a legal error and therefore deny Champlain’s appeal and the Bowers project will remain dead. Two, the Court could remand the decision back to BEP so they can address the concerns raised by the Court and write a new decision document. In that case I’m fairly certain BEP can address those concerns and still affirm the DEP denial.

I’m not a lawyer so this is all speculation but I’m cautiously optimistic about the outcome. Obviously I’ll let you know the decision as soon as I hear.

The Board and Officers of PPDLW thank all of you who attended the Court today. As always, there were more of our supporters than Champlain’s.

Have a great mud season!

The Legacy of One Bear – Sara (ID #225)

Written by Randy Cross, Biologist

Wildlife biologists have been monitoring black bears in Maine since 1975. Over the course of this monitoring program, a few bears have been monitored for over 20 years. This is a short account of the legacy of one of those bears – Sara (#225) –who started her life in January 1972.

Sara was born in a warm den in January, just as hundreds of other bear cubs are born in Maine. This den would be her home for 3 months, where she would nurse, gain strength, and develop from a 12 ounce, nearly hairless creature; into a bright-eyed 8 pound miniature bear. When she left the sanctuary of her den that spring, she would follow her mother throughout the summer and den with her again through the next winter. Most likely, in June of 1973, weighing only 30-40 pounds, she left her mother for good and took on the challenges of surviving alone in the vast forest lands of northern Maine.

At the same time Sara was becoming acquainted with the woods of northern Maine, efforts were being made by the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife (MDIFW) to start a research project to gain a better understanding of bears in Maine. The section of woods that Sara bear was born into was chosen to be one of the study areas for the bear project. Biologists began capturing bears to monitor their survival, general health, and reproduction in 1975. MDIFW used this information to develop a bear management system and a monitoring program that is still used today to monitor the status of Maine’s bear population.

Although MDIFW wildlife biologists began capturing bears in 1975, Sara managed to escape capture until August 11, 1980. On that day she was captured with a cable foot restraint, given the study identification number of 225, and named Sara. She was the 225th bear captured since the study began. By this time, Sara was eight years old and had grown to 150 pounds. She was fitted with a radio collar that emitted signals that could be used to locate her either from a plane or on the ground. From this point forward, Sara, as well as many other female bears, would be visited in her den each winter by biologists who would document her successes and failures at producing and raising cubs.

The following winter (February 19, 1981), researchers found Sara with two offspring just over a year old (yearlings) that had been born in the previous winter’s den. . In the 1980’s, bears in Northern Maine typically didn’t begin having cubs until they were 6 years old and then continued to have cubs every other year thereafter. So, this was likely Sara’s second litter of cubs. One of these yearlings was a female (ID 236) who weighed a remarkable 63 pounds, which is strong evidence that natural foods for bears were in great abundance during the preceding summer and fall. This yearling received a radio collar of her own so that when she left her mother in June, she could also be followed through her life, contributing valuable information to the monitoring project.

The next summer and fall (1981) was not nearly as productive for natural bear foods in this part of Maine. At this time, beechnuts were a very important food source for bears in northern Maine in the fall. Unfortunately, the nuts were not abundant that year, forcing bears to den very early and in poor condition. When biologists visited Sara in her den in March of 1982, they found her to be very thin, weighing just 100lbs and had no cubs with her. At 10 years old, Sara was entering the prime years of her life. Other mature females were experiencing similar struggles. Very few cubs were born this winter in the forests of northern Maine.

Bears are well adapted to being able to survive lean times and take advantage of plentiful food sources when they are available. As is often the case, the extremely lean year of 1981 was followed by an extraordinarily bountiful year for these bears. The next fall, they foraged on an abundant crop of beechnuts late into the fall and entered dens in remarkably good shape.

When recaptured on March 24, 1983 Sara had nearly doubled her weight in the year since she had last been seen in the den. Snuggled under her were 3 healthy female cubs Clara (Id 454), Belle (ID 455), and Karen (ID 456). All 3 were radio collared as yearlings the following winter and a matriarchal dynasty began to take shape.

Karen and all her cubs were studied over the next 20 years until 2003 when her radio signal failed due to a faulty battery connection installed by the manufacturer. That was a tough loss to the research team and efforts to recapture her the following spring were unsuccessful. She may still be roaming those woods at 32 years old.

Karen’s sister, Belle (ID 455), gave birth to her first litter of 2 cubs in 1989 when she was 6 years old. One of these cubs was a female, Josie (ID 1048). This bear, the granddaughter of Sara, has provided reproductive information the next 26 years of her life. By the time she was in her teens, Josie grew to become the largest female bear in the study area. The biologists were able to document 11 of her litters, including one male (ID 3390) this winter (2015), setting a record for the oldest female to give birth in the study (a record previously held by 2 females at 25 years old).

Over 3000 research bears have been handled between the time of Sara’s first capture and when Josie and her young male cub were handled on March 20, 2015. Sara had 11 offspring which produced 18 “grandchildren” (2 are still being monitored); 32 great grandchildren (5 are currently being monitored); 31 great-great grandchildren (7 are currently being monitored); and 13 great, great, great grandchildren (2 of which are being monitored). 105 different bears have been tagged that are direct descendants of Sara, representing 6 generations of bears. Sixteen of these, now equipped with radio collars, are providing reproductive information in this study area. Unlike males, who instinctively will roam many miles from where they were raised, females reside very close to where they were born. All of these females in this family line live within a few miles of where Sara was first captured back in 1980.

Click her for a chart of Sara’s family tree:

Prevalence of Eastern Equine Encephalitis Virus Antibodies Among White-Tailed Deer Populations in Maine

Mutebi John-Paul, Godsey Marvin, Smith Robert P. Jr., Renell Melanie R., Smith Leticia, Robinson Sara, Sears Stephen, and Lubelczyk Charles. Vector-Borne and Zoonotic Diseases. March 2015, 15(3): 210-214. doi:10.1089/vbz.2014.1696.

Published in Volume: 15 Issue 3: March 20, 2015

ABSTRACT:

During the fall of 2010, 332 deer serum samples were collected from 15 of the 16 (93.8%) Maine counties and screened for eastern equine encephalitis virus (EEEV) antibodies using plaque reduction neutralizing tests (PRNTs). The aim was to detect and map EEEV activity in the state of Maine. Forty-seven of the 332 (14.2%) sera were positive for EEEV antibodies, showing a much wider distribution of EEEV activity in Maine than previously known. The percentage of EEEV antibody–positive deer sera was ?10% in six counties—Piscataquis (100%), Somerset (28.6%), Waldo (22.2%), Penobscot (21.7%), Kennebec (13.7%), and Sagadahoc (10%). Positive sera were detected in all the six counties (Somerset, Waldo, Penobscot, Kennebec, Cumberland, and York) that were positive in 2009, suggesting endemic EEEV activity in these counties. EEEV antibodies were not detected in sera collected in five counties—Franklin, Knox, Lincoln, Oxford, and Washington—which was either due to low sample size or lack of EEEV activity in these counties. Our data suggest higher EEEV activity in central Maine compared to southern Maine, whereas EEEV activity in Maine has historically been associated with the southern counties of York and Cumberland.<<<Full Report>>>

Mud Runts Kick Off Official Start of Spring

What does Punxsutawney Phil know about when Spring arrives in Maine? Nothing! Only two people, that I am away of, have the uncanny ability of seeking and finding the first emergence of an “official” Maine Mud Runt.

Ron Fournier, owner of Orion Outfitters appears to have been the first to sight a Runt. He wrote me:

“Just last week during the brief warm up, we took just enough time off from ice fishing to check some of the streams and trout ponds in search for early season open water trout fishing spots. As I walked the banks of the West Branch of the Pleasant River, deep in the National Forest I saw not one but two Runts! Each only about 12″ long, sunning themselves on a distant branch that poked from the water. Their impeccable hearing was no match for the crunch of my snowshoes and they soon disappeared before I could get the camera.

But what was even more promising, and concerning…I then departed to pull off one of our ice shacks off of North Pond. The edges of the lake are getting a little punky and open in some spots. As I approached the ice, there in the slush was the telltale sign of a mud runt slowly coming out of hibernation!

This one was much larger, and it’s black beady eyes were quite visible above the surface. The distinct “croak” followed by 3 short whistles seldom heard from a mud runt quickly let me know that he wasn’t in the mood to move anytime quick. Not knowing how many more lurked in the slush and mud, I decided to leave the shack for another day.

Be careful out there folks, and if you can get a photo please do so. The state still does not recognize this invasive species as having a foothold in Maine.”

Eleazer Peabody, “noted” Maine storyteller and keeper of some of Maine’s best secrets, evidently has not yet spied on his own the coming out of hibernation of the Mud Runts. His only comment, upon hearing Ron’s discovery was:

“Here it is to be in the forty’s all day and overnight above freezing!! Certainly a day of some celebration….”

A man of wisdom and few words – and probably fed up with winter.

mudrunts2010

Stock Photo