April 19, 2015

Maine Moose Permit Auction Raises Over $122,000 for Scholarships

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

AUGUSTA, Maine – Over $122,000 was raised for youth conservation education scholarships in Maine through the 2015 Maine Moose Permit Auction. Ten hunters bid a total of over $122,000 in an auction for the opportunity to hunt moose in Maine during the 2015 season.

Proceeds from the auction fund partial scholarships that will help send over 600 Maine youngsters to the University of Maine 4-H Camp & Learning Center at Bryant Pond and to Greenland Point Center in Princeton. These camps provide boys and girls ages 8 through 17 the opportunity to participate in a variety of outdoor and classroom activities. Students are taught by experienced instructors and counselors, as well as staff from the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife and other state and private conservation agencies.

“While the auction winners have the opportunity to partake in the hunt of a lifetime, their winning bids also ensure Maine children have the chance to learn outdoor skills that will give them a lifetime of appreciation of the Maine outdoors,” said Chandler Woodcock, Commissioner, Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

The auction was created by the Legislature and begin in 1995. It allows the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife to publicly auction ten moose permits each year. Applicants submit bids through a written bid process. Permits are awarded to the ten winning bidders each February. The average bid ranges between $11,000-$13,000. Funds from the auction are specifically directed to youth conservation education programs.

Conservation camp programs are designed to teach Maine boys and girls the importance of conservation, a respect for the environment and a working knowledge of a variety of outdoor skills. Subjects taught at camp include wildlife identification, fishing, boating safety, archery, firearms handling, hunter safety, forest conservation, map and compass work and much more.

For more information on Greenland Point Center and the 4-H Camp and Learning Center at Bryant Pond, please visit their websites at www.greenlandpoint.com and www.umaine.edu/bryantpond/

For more information on the Maine Moose Permit Auction or moose hunting in Maine, please visit our website at www.mefishwildlife.com

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New Hampshire Will Cut Back On Moose Hunting Permits

“Declining moose population has prompted the state Department of Fish and Game to propose a reduction from 124 permits in 2014 to 105 this year. The decrease continues a precipitous drop in the number of permits since 2007, when the state issued 675.

It’s a familiar pattern seen in nearby Maine and Vermont, where the reduction in moose hunting applications have been even greater.

But those numbers don’t tell the whole story.”<<<Read More>>>

Discrepancies in Issuance of Moose Permits

Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont have a wide discrepancy in the implementation of moose hunting permits as part of its moose management plan. Why?

Keeping in mind that animals don’t see boundaries, there are geographical and habitat availability differences between the three northern New England states. These issues and many other factors, drive the plans and decision making processes of each state’s fish and wildlife department.

However, in a news report found in the Concord Monitor, we find that each of the three states use the issuing of moose permits for moose management in different ways – very different.

Vermont sends out one hunter for every 10 moose, Maine sends out one hunter for every 23 moose, while New Hampshire sends out one hunter for every 38 moose.

These numbers are based on moose population estimates for each of the three states as follows: Vermont – 2,400; Maine – 65,000; New Hampshire – 4,000.

Without having every available data to make comparisons, these numbers provide for interesting debate over a cup of joe.

Is Maine Going in the Wrong Direction With Moose Harvest Plans?

mooseI have questioned whether the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) should be reducing moose densities rather than taking efforts to keep population levels where they are or even considering increasing them. This question, from my perspective, is based mostly on whether or not the objectives created by MDIFW for moose population density goals within categorized Wildlife Management Districts (WMD), is in the best interest of the health of the moose herd.

In an article by the Associated Press, it said that Maine plans to reduce moose permits for this year’s coming moose hunt to, “the fewest number in 12 years and a reduction of nearly 10 percent over last year.”

In addition, the article quotes Lee Kantar, MDIFW head moose biologist, as saying, “We have to be cautious. Coming out of this winter, we’re already seeing less of an effect [from ticks].”

This, on the surface, would appear to be the prudent and responsible thing to do. But perhaps we first need to ask if Maine’s present moose population is too high.

While Maine is undergoing moose studies and aerial count surveys, the guesstimation on the moose population in the last 3 or 4 years has run from a high of 90,000 to a more conservative estimate of around 75,000. This same article, referenced to above, states that Maine officials currently estimate the population at around 60,000 to 70,000.

It is my understanding that MDIFW will be or perhaps they already have, begun work on a new moose management plan. The current one is outdated and appears to have not been adhered to. For example, the current assessment states that in 1999, the time the assessment was done (only 16 years old but we can gather some valuable information from this), the estimated moose population in the state was 29,000. At that level, MDIFW assessed the population densities for each of the WMDs. Densities seemed to range anywhere from 0.8 moose per square mile (WMD 10, 11, 19 and part of 18) to a high of 3.4 moose per square mile (WMDs 9 and 14).

In examining each of the assessments, it appears that all of the zones where labeled as being at least half the estimated carrying capacity (the number of moose that habitat could handle). Under ideal conditions, and in some areas, the report states that moose could be as high in density as 5.6 moose per square mile.

If the moose population estimate at 75,000 was accurate, then that puts it at approximately 2.6 times the 29,000 estimate of 1999. If all things were relative, simple math says that moose must be well above carrying capacity, at least in some areas.

The Moose Management System plan calls for a recommended goal of moose density at 55% – 65% of carrying capacity (K). If the 1999 objectives were even close to reality, Maine is certainly managing moose populations at far greater than 55% – 65% of carrying capacity. These estimations calculated at the time were for both moose density and carrying capacity.

Granted, new science brings changes to goals and management strategies, but these numbers sure leave some of us scratching our heads wondering what was going on and still is.

By the way, it should be noted that in these reports that I have referred to, it was estimated that the moose populations were not expected to grow over the next 10 years. What happened? Either the 1999 estimates were so far off they were worthless, or the calculation used to model the population trends for moose was flawed – as were perhaps the carrying capacity.

So, we come back to the same question as to whether Maine is attempting to grow and manage too many moose? In the management plan, it is stated that one of the two major considerations being taken in determining at what level the population of moose should be, is demands by the viewing public. While this activity might be exciting to the viewers and offers guides and others to pocket some extra cash, is manipulating moose densities to a level high enough to keep moose watchers happy a scientific and prudent thing to do?

Perhaps it is time to consider other factors when determining at what level to target moose populations. If 29,000 moose in 1999 were somewhere just slightly less than the 55% – 65% of carrying capacity (as estimated), what, then, is 75,000 moose doing to the moose and the state?

I visited the New Hampshire fish and wildlife website to see what they were trying to do with their population. They presently are at a crossroad of determining what to do, i.e. should they have a moose hunt at all because of population reductions.

New Hampshire’s most densely populated moose area is in the Connecticut Lakes region – 2.23 moose per square mile. In 1994, 3.12 moose per square mile was considered above carrying capacity. And, New Hampshire also has a tick problem. Are these related?

While some seem to just be puzzled by this confounded tick problem, I am wondering just how puzzled some scientists are. Maybe this is a good opportunity to get some of the grant money to do more studies? In digging through New Hampshire’s Moose Assessment, and found this bit of a jewel:

Musante (2006) has shown that winter tick is our greatest mortality influence and our monitoring programs have revealed that it is ubiquitous in time and area in the northern regions. Scarpitti (2006) and Bergeron (2011) have suggested that available browse does not seem to [be] an issue in the northern regions although actual browse productivity studies were not conducted. Both Scarpitti (2006) and Bergeron (2011) also indicated that tick loads alone could influence body weight and productivity as did Garner (1993). This means that in areas where the moose population is large enough to support ticks, the Central region and northward, we have lost a relatively easy method of using reproductive output to measure where we are in relationship to K as defined by food availability. Winter tick is now felt to be the biggest influence on pregnancy rates and weights of yearlings and adults. As such, it is now a measure of the populations relationship to K as defined by levels of animals that can be supported without severe adverse impacts from parasitism. (emboldening added)

This statement clearly admits that first, there must be a population of moose large enough to support ticks, and second, that in determining at what density moose should be in relation to carrying capacity, it must be considered the impact of ticks (parasitism).

Maine has decided to be “cautious” in not reducing moose numbers lower than the current estimate of 70,000 (or in order to grow more moose?) Is MDIFW considering the two things above that I just mentioned? By all accounts, Maine certainly has a large enough moose population to support a tick infestation. But is MDIFW considering that perhaps the population is too high and is only exacerbating the tick problem?

Somebody has to make a decision on this because in all honesty I don’t think we can rely on global warming or global cooling to cure the tick problem.

Deadline Approaching for Maine Moose Lottery

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

The deadline to apply for the Maine Moose Lottery is fast approaching, and hunters who want the chance to hunt moose in Maine need to mail or deliver their paper application by April 1, 2015. Online applicants have until 11:59 on May 14, 2015 to apply for the moose lottery.

Online and paper applications are available at www.mefishwildlife.com. Hunters can print and mail their paper application, deliver it to IFW headquarters at 284 State Street in Augusta or can easily apply directly online.

Long-time lottery applicants who continue to apply have a better chance at winning due to changes in the lottery implemented in 2012.

Bonus points are awarded for each consecutive year the applicant has 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 2013 but not in 2014, they still have their points available if they apply in 2015.

The moose permit drawing drawing will take place on June 13, 2015 at the Moose Festival in Bethel, Maine. To learn more about the three-day festival, please visit www.bethelmainemoosefest.com

Ticks Killing Maine Moose

More discussion existed with the Joint Standing Committee and Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife moose biologist Lee Kantar. According to what George Smith wrote in his column on his website, ticks are responsible for the death of 70% of collared calves.

Representative Steve Wood asked if all those moose were killed by ticks. Kantar said that, with the collared calves, he is “pretty confident that ticks killed them,” but with the cows, “I am still in the process of working with folks in New Hampshire and the University of Maine to find out if there was anything else that might have killed them. It’s a long process to run this through.”

How moose are managed and the tactics used to manipulate and/or control the population growth is building up to be a bit on the controversial side I am thinking. Smith writes:

I’ve been questioning, for years, why we harvest more than 10% of deer and bear but just 3.3 percent of moose. And Representative Wood asked that question. Kantar responded, “We are talking about very different critters, different reproductive rates of growth, different guidelines (bulls to moose) – we don’t do that bucks to does ratio in deer. “It doesn’t take much to change the population structure of moose. You seldom have negative growth with deer like you do with moose.”

I understand some of that but not all of it. This implies, and I agree with Smith, that the management strategy is to protect big bull moose but it is unclear why? Most wildlife population manipulation is achieved in a few ways, including harvest, but mostly through manipulating the number of breeding females to control the birth rate. This, of course, is dependent upon many other factors. It’s not just black and white.

I’m curious if there are biological reasons that younger bulls can’t get the mating job done. Could it be that younger bull moose, even though they are of mating age, fail at impregnating the cow moose? Seems odd to me. Dr. Valerius Geist, a professor emeritus at the University of Calgary in Canada, and someone that I from time to time consult with on wildlife issues, provided information about protecting the gene pool. Essentially he stated that genes are genes. They get passed on down through each successive generation. Some think that if they are not seeing the bigger male animals, that something has screwed up the gene pool. It might be something else.

Lee Kantar told me one time about gene pools and he mostly reiterated what Dr. Geist said.

What does concern me a little bit is what Kantar said, according to Smith’s article, about keeping moose watchers happy:

“We are all told how important seeing moose is, it’s a tough balance, but I think the department does a good job of balancing all interests.”

As most readers know, I see little future in managing any wildlife according to social demands and moose are no different. If I cannot find a biological reason to protect larger bull moose in manipulating the age structure then I would assume that there can really be only two reasons to do that – one is to provide larger, trophy bull moose for hunters and the other would be to have more big bulls for moose watchers to see. Both of those are not necessarily in the best interest of the health and scientific management of moose.

As Maine’s moose study continues, I look forward to hearing more what is being concluded by the biologists. It should prove interesting.

We Are All Montanans Now

By James Beers:

A stunning maneuver by the federal government was recently brought to my attention. While it is directed at the government of the State of Montana concerning shooting ranges; there is a much broader precedent establishment being attempted that concerns every state official and every rural resident that farms, grazes, hunts, fishes, traps, owns animals and/or owns property or recreates in myriad ways on both public and private rural landscapes.

BACKGROUND:

* Since 1987 Montana Shooting Sports Association and the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks have partnered to make about $25 M in grants available to local shooting ranges. This wildly popular program has made a huge difference in the availability of safe and suitable places for Montanans to shoot and practice gun (and by extension hunter) safety.

* Early in the program, federal funding was sought but insurmountable red tape from several federal sources made such funding impractical. For more than a decade, in-state hunting license fees were used to fund the program

* The Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks has always administered the program and this was confirmed in a State Statute in 1999.

* State funding budgets are confirmed every two years (the Legislature meets every two years).

* In the last two funding cycles, the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks has diverted nearly all of this funding from the State budget for other purposes not budgeted by the Legislature such as employee pay raises.

* This year the State Legislature is considering proposing putting the money they authorize for shooting ranges into a separate account to be used ONLY for shooting ranges.

* The Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks objects to this, claiming it violates the Pittman Robertson (Wildlife Restoration) Act that is the basis for federal collection of Excise Taxes on guns, ammunition, archery paraphernalia and certain imports. Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks notified the US Fish and Wildlife Service Excise Tax administrators who have threatened to deny all Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration funds (over $27M last year) if the State tells their own agency where to spend the money they authorize for shooting ranges. As a result, the State’s own wildlife agency is fixing to oppose the State legislature and Governor’s exercise of their duly elected and sworn duty to exercise oversight and set priorities OVER THEIR OWN EMPLOYEES WORKING IN THE STATE AGENCY THEY ESTABLISHED, AUTHORIZED, FUND AND FOR WHICH THEY (THE LEGISLATURE AND GOVERNOR) ARE THE SOURCE OF THEIR POWER AND CONTINUING OPERATION.

FURTHER FEDERAL BACKGROUND:

* The US Fish and Wildlife Service Office that was notified by the State agency was the Federal Aid Program. This State Excise Tax oversight office is the very office that “saw no evil, heard no evil, and said no evil” twenty years ago when their political bosses stole $45 to 60M of the Excise Taxes from the state agencies (and you and me and our wildlife programs financed by our license dollars and equipment purchases) and then used the money secretly to capture Canadian wolves and release them in Yellowstone plus open a new office in California to all but share space with the environmental extremist and animal rights radical organizations that were replacing the historic wildlife management and wildlife users organizations as federal partners. Both the wolves and the office had been turned down by Congress and were refused authorization before the appointees, bureaucrats and the administration decided to simply steal the money, release the wolves and build the new office anyway.

* This federal office oversees the operation of state wildlife agencies for compliance with Excise Tax uses named as “eligible” in the law and the operation of the state wildlife agency activities and uses of license revenue to remain eligible for their annual share or “Apportionment” of available Excise Taxes based on their area and the sale of hunting licenses in the state. Historic violations included Excise Tax or license dollars used to purchase vehicles for state motor pools; or such funds used to pay state parks’ employees; or hatchery fish or upland birds released on the private property of donors and politicians; or lands purchased with such funds used to build a prison; or revenue from timber sales on such lands put in the General Treasury; or selling wildlife for profit. These are examples of “diversions” and were supposed to be detected by audits by the overseers every five years as required by the law. Despite this requirement, the twenty years preceding the theft of the $45 to 60M were marked by the all-but disappearance of any audits, a hiatus that was welcomed by federal and state bureaucrats as their working “relationship” became closer and closer and more and more “informal”. When the theft of the money was exposed by a Government ACCOUNTING Office Audit, an audit firm was hired to audit every state wildlife agency and then to re-establish a 5-year cycle as required by law, corruption again reared its ugly head. Less than 3 years into the audits, the auditors had had found millions of dollars in “diversions”; the states were screaming (quietly); and federal bureaucrats wanted no more scandals: so the auditors were fired for being “behind schedule” and the Interior Department Inspector General who was simultaneously responsible for overseeing US Fish and Wildlife Service (?) was then “hired” to resume the audits. Needless to say, the “diversions” were evidently “mistakes” and never reported; and that particular Inspector General was introduced later by President Obama at his first State of the Union as the “New Inspector General for the Stimulus Program” that consisted of billions and which, like the state PR audits, was found to be as pure as the driven snow.

* An “Acting Chief” of the above Office responded to the letter from the Director of the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks about shooting ranges and how those mean old Legislators and the Governor were about to tell the all-wise and smarter-than-everybody-else agency what to do! Imagine! Well, the
“Acting” (federal) Chief in what can only be described as an arrogant and laughable (if everyone rolls over for him) way said in his “view” (??) such administration by the State elected officials would “render Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks ineligible for further participation in the benefits (i.e. Excise Tax funding) of the (Wildlife and Sport Fish Program)”.

He told the downtrodden State Director that, in “our (federal government?, USFWS?, Solicitor?, a frog in his pocket?) view the (sic Montana) FWP would suffer a loss of control of its hunting and fishing license revenues” if the proposed bill was passed. All the State Director does is to tell the State officials that he will therefore be compelled to oppose the attempt by the Governor and Legislature to tell him (and “his” employees) what to do or how to do it. The fact that the State Director offered no blowback to the federal threat is, take my word, a clue.

Two reasons given for this federal threat to deny any future Excise Tax sharing are taken from the Code of Federal Regulations govern the PR Act in the letter:

1.) “Revenue from hunting and fishing licenses (must) be controlled only by the State Fish and Wildlife Agency.”

Does this mean that the Governor or Legislature cannot set priorities and expenditures for lawful and eligible Wildlife and Fisheries activities? Of course not! Can anyone argue that this Excise Tax program for conservation has contained within it for over 70 years an authority for federal bureaucrats to not merely assure that State governments did not MISUSE Excise Tax and Licenses dollars BUT TO DENY STATE GOVERNMENTS ANY ROLE IN THE ACTIVITIES AND PRIORITIES THEREOF FOR THEIR WILDLIFE AGENCY TO PURSUE JUST, LEGITIMATE AND ELIGIBLE (UNDER THE PR ACT) FISH AND WILDLIFE PROJECTS (that both the Act and the State agency share and agree on? Since when did the responsibility to assure compliance intended to protect “Eligible Uses” of Excise Tax and License dollars morph into a federal bureaucrat power to tell the duly elected officials of a State government to stand down because the federal bureaucrats doesn’t agree with their and the people of the state’s priorities?

2.) “Revenues from hunting and fishing licenses can only be used for administration of the State fish and wildlife agency which includes only the functions required to manage the agency and the fish and wildlife related resources for which the agency has authority under State law” and, “A State becomes ineligible to receive the benefits of the Act if it diverts hunting and fishing license revenue from purposes other than the agency’s administration.” Really?

The Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks was given the administration authority over shooting ranges by the Montana Legislature in 1999.

But, I am sure you are thinking, what about the federal view of shooting ranges especially in these days of gun control hysterics and the most anti-gun administration in my lifetime?

The PR Act and the Regulations promulgated under it define “Eligible Uses” of Excise Tax dollars and license revenues as “Constructing, operating and maintaining recreational firearms shooting and archery ranges” right alongside other eligible uses such as, “Management of wild bird and mammal populations”, “Managing wildlife habitat”, and “Providing public use that benefits from Wildlife Resources”.

So the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks has the authority to manage shooting ranges and shooting ranges in totality are an “eligible use” under the federal Act and under State law, and the Governor and Legislature simply want more emphasis on it and for the agency to stop diverting shooting range money from where the State Legislators direct. How does the federal bureaucrat suggest they do that other than what they are considering? Will the federal bureaucrat pay for it like “the People” want? Will the federal bureaucrat even allow the Governor and State Legislature to even speak with these ostensible crybaby employees or will they just get their priorities from Washington henceforth? Federal priorities for Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, given their way, span everything from wolves and grizzly “management” in accord with federal dictates to fooling a hostile Montana public into allowing federal “free-roaming buffalo” to be loosed like Yellowstone wolves once were and for eventually the State to “assume management” (how sweet that sounds) of the latest federal imposition following federal dictates on rural Montana in cahoots with State employees. All that takes money and Lord knows Montanans may want shooting ranges but federal bureaucrats want gun control and control of these ostensible “State” agencies AND their license revenue And their Excise Tax dollars to do what Montanans are obviously too dense to realize they should be doing if only they could see “the big picture”.

Finally, I had some extraneous, but I believe relevant, thoughts as I wrote this:

* I note that the State agency is “preparing to argue against HB 234”. This plus their request to federal overseers and then the absence of any blowback by the state agency to argue for the State (and evidently NOT the State agency’s) position leads me to believe that this State agency (like many others) is much more of a federal subcontractor agency than a State Agency. As Struther Martin said in the movie Cool Hand Luke, I think that regarding the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks; the Governor and Legislature have “a failure to communicate”.

* State agencies are generally reluctant to identify with “shooting ranges” in these days of national and international environmental and animal rights “awareness”. Shooting Ranges are generally like Trapping and Animal Control in these regards in that they anger those out to eliminate hunting and fishing and do things like loose free-roaming buffalo on rural Americans.

* Wolves and grizzlies and like critters are loosed on a rural populace by federal bureaucrats and then “turned over” to state (is it their governments or one of these “independent” agencies???) management. This federally mandated management of these animals is expensive and the federal bureaucrats and State bureaucrats WANT FULL CONTROL OF ALL STATE FUNDS AND PRIORITIES WITHOUT ANY ACCOUNTABILITY TO STATE GOVERNMENTS OR STATE TAXPAYERS. This is not unrelated to these federal PR bureaucrats and State agency bureaucrats colluding to do just that with STATE LICENSE FUNDING EXPENDITURES AND PRIORITIES.

* Federal bureaucrats these days accrue significant political and career benefits from enacting ways to further restrict gun uses, gun availability and ammunition supplies. Examples are – The secret negotiations by the State Department under Clinton and Kerry to negotiate a UN Small Arms Treaty that will shrink or abolish the 2nd Amendment. The Fast and Furious federal gun-running scheme into Mexico intended to create justification for more gun control that has never been explained. Closure by EPA of the last lead smelter in the US. Continuous statements by the President and Attorney General about the need to register and confiscate guns, etc……. Is it not possible that any federal bureaucrats that can establish a PRECEDENT to abolish any vestige of State control of their state wildlife agency, or their state wildlife license revenue, or such agency’s activities, AND SIMULTANEOUSLY POINT THE WAY ON HOW TO STOP AND REVERSE THE GROWTH OF SHOOTING RANGES might not at least be in line for a bonus and maybe an eventual promotion and all that portends? I do not doubt that this is involved in this whole tug of war between the government of Montana on the one hand and the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks & US Fish and Wildlife Service “partners” on the other.

Consider YOUR State wildlife agency. It gets Excise Taxes and dances to a federal tune that is steadily pushing YOU and YOUR STATE GOVERNMENT out of the picture. If Montana succumbs here; whether because of State employees that serve Washington and not your state government or because of federal bureaucrats that have silenced your organizations and are working so closely with your enemies that you won’t see what is happening until it is too late is immaterial: you will be like that lonesome German noted in the early 1940’s, “when they came for me, no one was there”. Truly we are all Montanans in these regards.

Allow me two analogies: State wildlife agencies are becoming like that famous horse Lincoln once noted was bucking and got his foot caught in the stirrup and his rider (the Governor, Legislature and people of the state) leaned over and told him if he will just calm down, “I will get off so you can get up”.

The federal agencies (US Fish and Wildlife Service with its ESA and easement schemes with radicals; the US Forest Service with its Roadless/Wilderness/Grazing Shutdowns/Logging & Timber Management Elimination; BLM with its Bundy Fiascoes and selective use and management shutdowns; and National Park Service with its Viewsheds/Historic Zones/Total anti-natural resource management and use mission) are like Oscar Wilde’s famous Picture of Dorian Gray. He was an outwardly handsome and wealthy man that made a pact with the devil that his secret life of corruption and vice would only be noted on a painting of himself hidden away in his attic while he stayed forever young and spotless. Just as Dorian met an horrific end, so too will these federal agencies that are operating on a no longer real image that was once true but any longer simply conceals an existence of harm to people and abuse of power that will eventually end in something much worse than anyone imagines.

Jim Beers
17 February 2015

If you found this worthwhile, please share it with others. Thanks.
Jim Beers is a retired US Fish & Wildlife Service Wildlife Biologist, Special Agent, Refuge Manager, Wetlands Biologist, and Congressional Fellow. He was stationed in North Dakota, Minnesota, Nebraska, New York City, and Washington DC. He also served as a US Navy Line Officer in the western Pacific and on Adak, Alaska in the Aleutian Islands. He has worked for the Utah Fish & Game, Minneapolis Police Department, and as a Security Supervisor in Washington, DC. He testified three times before Congress; twice regarding the theft by the US Fish & Wildlife Service of $45 to 60 Million from State fish and wildlife funds and once in opposition to expanding Federal Invasive Species authority. He resides in Eagan, Minnesota with his wife of many decades.
Jim Beers is available to speak or for consulting. You can receive future articles by sending a request with your e-mail address to: jimbeers7@comcast.net

Winter Ticks Haven’t Figured Out Where to Ambush the Moose

Nathan Terriault has a “Special to the Bangor Daily News” about his belief that perhaps the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) should be providing more moose permits rather than fewer. Much of this is substantiated by the notion that there are too many moose – at least in some places – and as a result the moose population is not healthy, i.e. malnourished and carrying hundreds and thousands of winter ticks making the moose anemic and susceptible to exposure and predation. I might add that moose are also carrying or infected with what MDIFW likes to call “lungworm” but what I would call Hydatid cysts from the Echinococcus granulosus eggs carried by wild canines. These cysts also make the moose more susceptible to escaping or fleeing from harm by predators.

Terriault’s piece is well thought out and I would have to agree with much of what he is saying, as I have recently written questioning whether MDIFW is attempting to grow and perpetuate too many moose due to social demands rather than devising desired populations based on scientific evidence.

However, I have to snickeringly take issue with one comment that was made, not so much as a means of correcting Mr. Terriault but to make sure that readers better and more accurately understand about winter ticks. Terriault writes:

Forestry practices, such as clearcutting and strip cutting, concentrates cover for moose and funnels animals through areas where ticks lie in wait for host animals.

This is true information but it might lead some to think that the ticks have actually figured out exactly where these moose “funnel” and go there and wait; much the same way large predators do. A tick’s life cycle, part of which begins when the ticks (female) drop from the moose in Spring. From that point, wherever the drop occurred, the tick larvae and the tick do not travel any great distances – by human standards – and these drop zones are not necessarily within one of these “funnel” corridors. In the late Summer and early Fall, the tick climbs vegetation wherever they are and they wait, hoping to catch a ride on a passing moose. If they don’t catch a ride, they die. It’s that simple.

From the moment a tick attaches itself to a moose, where that tick ends up next Spring, to drop and begin the cycle all over again, is dependent upon the travels of the moose. Understand as well that the time in which ticks are climbing vegetation looking for a free ride happens to fairly closely coincide with the moose mating season, when moose travel the most due to increased activity. Where the tick is picked up by a moose and then dropped in the Spring could be some distance away, even by human standards.

It shouldn’t be thought that moose are carrying more ticks because ticks are moving into the regions where moose seem to be traveling the most, although simply because of those natural actions it is possible that more ticks might be present in a travel corridor than some other random spot, but I can’t believe it would be of any significance.

I think the facts are clear, and I’ve never read any studies that suggest ticks have figured out where to go to catch a ride, that there are more ticks everywhere, because there are more moose everywhere. Therefore logic would suggest that if you reduce the number of moose, there would be less ticks and healthier moose, which is, what I think, Mr. Terriault is suggesting.

Former Maine Fish and Game Commissioner Proposes Bill to Study Winter Ticks

Sorry for not getting excited over this but this, more than likely, will prove to be nothing more than stealing away Maine taxpayer’s money for post-normal, outcome-based, new-science scientific study that will provide false and agenda-driven results. Maine should save their money and let this one pass. If I look into my crystal ball, I can predict that the results will be that climate change is causing the ticks and we need to give the Government all of our money, while at the same time giving up what rights we have left, to save the planet.

“The legislation would direct the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife to conduct a study of the impact of winter ticks on Maine’s moose population, including identifying population problems due to ticks and recommending possible courses of action to address those problems.”<<<Read More>>>

Maine Moose Hunt Harvest Report 2015

In what I believe to be early, the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife has made available on their website, the harvest data for the 2014 moose hunt.

Please follow this link to view the report.