July 19, 2018

I Still Don’t Understand How You Can “Manage” Wildlife Without Counting

And evidently, I’m not the only one scratching their head just a bit in trying to figure this nonsense out. It sure appears on the surface as though claiming counting is no longer important as a vital tool to responsibly manage game populations, like bear, deer, moose, and turkeys is another convenient excuse to hide problems or simply provide alibis for where you were when the moose population dropped dead.

V. Paul Reynolds, in his article today, states the following: “When the moose aerial studies were commenced in 2010, getting a handle on the ever-elusive question of how many moose there actually are was an avowed purpose of the surveys, along with understanding moose mortality and productivity. Eight years later, it seems that, although we have gained useful data on moose sex ratios and causes of mortality, and other indices, we have fallen short in counting heads.”

And in and around 2010 (It wasn’t immediately made known to the public that the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) had undertaken a moose study.), I questioned whether MDIFW would ever get to the real, honest, explanation of life as a moose in Maine or would it be just another in a long line of “studies” backed and crafted by Environmentalism’s Scientismic hocus-pocus. So far, it appears it’s leaning toward the scientismic end result.

However, it was encouraging when MDIFW reported that their data “suggested” that ticks were the real culprit in taking control over moose populations, although there still exists fuzzy voodoo science and romance biology over whether it’s Global Warming or too many ticks that are causing moose mortality.

As Reynolds points out, one of the great selling points of this current moose study was the need to get a solid grasp on the moose population and what is controlling it. The Second Grade question remains how do you accomplish this task while at the same time removing from the new Game Management Plan the importance of population densities and replacing it with “healthy populations?”

At the drop of a hat, or perhaps if it fits the current moose management narrative for political purposes, moose biologists and MDIFW officials seemed almost boastful in stating Maine had 76,000 (or lot’s more) moose. After eight years of study and many dollars later, MDIFW is reluctant to utter a guess?

Perhaps what’s really going on is a matter of attempting to save face. Is it that MDIFW has discovered that Global Warming can’t be blamed for a decline in moose? Has MDIFW discovered that winter ticks really are killing off the moose (you know, some of that “natural balance”) and it is NOT Global Warming that has caused the epidemic? Has MDIFW discovered that trying to grow too many moose has caused the prevailing tick problem? Has MDIFW discovered that there isn’t even close to 76,000 moose and, as yet, has not come up with a workable lie as to why they were so far off in their estimations?

If so, perhaps now they don’t know what to do because taking action to scientifically correct the “unhealthy” moose population means bucking the Environmentalists and Animal Rights groups who not only want more moose they want uncontrolled numbers of every wild animal that exists…despite the consequences.

Being politically on the wrong side of Environmentalism is a place MDIFW does not want to be.

For now, better to act stupid and not reveal your hand, and then maybe it will just magically go away.

In the meantime, let’s practice…1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10… I knew you could.

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Maine Moose Lottery Drawing Results

Click the link below and click on the letter that begins the last name of the applicant.

Maine Moose Lottery Results

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Maine: Moose Lottery is June 9, 2018 at the Skowhegan Fairgrounds

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

The annual lottery event attracts hundreds of hopeful hunters, anxious to see if they will be one of 2,500 selected from a pool of over 54,000 people who will get the chance at the hunt of a lifetime.

AUGUSTA, Maine – The Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife is pleased to announce that the drawing for Maine’s moose permit lottery will be held on Saturday, June 9, 2018 at 2:00 p.m. hosted by Main Street Skowhegan at the historic Skowhegan Fairgrounds in Skowhegan, Maine as part of their weekend-long Moose Festival.

Since 1999, the Department has rotated the lottery location throughout the state. Prior to 1999, it was always held in Augusta. In more recent years, lotteries have been held in Greenville, Presque Isle, Bethel, Kittery and Caribou.

“We hold the drawing in different areas of the state so that people can have the opportunity to be part of it first hand,” stated Commissioner Woodcock. “Nothing pleases us more than to have members in the audience react to being selected,” he said.

The Skowhegan Moose Festival kicks off on Friday, June 8 with an exciting schedule of events for the entire weekend, including a moose calling contest, a wild game and craft brew pairing and a country music concert featuring Phil Vassar and Bryan White (ticket required). Additionally, there will be several vendors, food trucks and fun activities for the whole family throughout the entire weekend. A full schedule can be viewed by visiting skowheganmoosefest.com/schedule/

In addition to the many events planned for the weekend-long Skowhegan Moose Festival, the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Commissioner’s Advisory Board for the Licensing of Guides will host a roundtable discussion on June 9 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. in the Lyndall Smith Building at the Skowhegan Fairgrounds. The public, particularly registered Maine guides and industry stakeholders, are invited to attend.

At 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, June 9, the moose permit lottery drawing will commence. There is no charge to attend the lottery event at the Skowhegan Moose Festival and the reading of names is expected to last 3 hours.

This year, 2,500 names will be drawn in the random chance lottery from a pool of over 54,000 applicants.

Maine’s moose hunt is designed to manage the moose population. By modifying the number and type of moose permits available to hunters, the department can manage the moose population in order to provide for hunting and viewing opportunities, maintain a healthy moose population, and limit the number of moose/vehicle accidents.

For those prospective moose hunters who can’t make it to the lottery drawing, the names of permit winners will be posted on the Department’s web site starting at 6:00 p.m. on the day of the event. Visit mefishwildlife.com to access the list once it has been posted.

For more information on moose hunting in Maine, visit mefishwildlife.com For more information about the Skowhegan Moose Festival and to see a full schedule of events, visit skowheganmoosefest.com

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Maine’s “Coded” Moose Management Messages

The Bangor Daily News printed an article about the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) need to reduce either the moose population, the tick population, or both. Even though MDIFW has announced that the number of moose is proportionate to the number of ticks, one would think the simplest approach – that is one that can be most easily regulated by management – would be to reduce the number of moose, even if only temporary until managers and researchers can explore ways of killing the winter ticks that are killing the moose.

Instead, we are getting odd, coded messages which leave some of us scratching our heads. I admit it doesn’t necessarily take all that much to cause me to scratch my head but consider these words taken from the Bangor article that were placed in “quotations” by the author: “One thing that’s likely to happen in western Maine, in one way or another, is that there’s going to be less moose than people have seen over the years,” Kantar said. “That’s either going to be a byproduct of ticks, or perhaps there will be some management actions we can take as well to try to reduce the parasite issue that we’ve been seeing there.”

We are being told that there will be fewer moose “than people have seen over the years.” Okay, we got that…sort of. With these cryptic messages being published throughout the media about focusing on “healthy” game instead of the number of game, is this another way of alerting Maine people that this shift in management strategy will result in fewer game animals across all species?

We are being told that this result of fewer moose being seen is going to happen one of two ways – either winter ticks are going to kill the moose off or managers are going to take “actions we can take as well to try to reduce the parasite issue.” [emphasis added]

I can read this statement and formulate some speculations, but what exactly is MDIFW trying to say? First of all, if there are going to be fewer moose, by this statement are we to believe the MDIFW only plans to let the ticks continue to do the work managers should be doing to reduce the populations to levels that will mitigate the bulk of the winter tick problem? And what is “some management actions we can take” to reduce the parasite issue? Is MDIFW even considering “some management actions” that include letting moose lottery winners “reduce the parasite issue?” When MDIFW indicates they might “TRY” some actions to reduce winter ticks, it’s easy to assume that doesn’t include issuing more permits to kill moose. What does it then mean? Hope and pray that global warming will go away? Or maybe that sea levels with rise so high that the ocean drives all the moose so far north there are none left to manage. Geez!

MDIFW tells us in another Bangor News article that there’s little managers can do about reducing the bear populations because the Legislature has that locked up. I don’t think this is the case with moose. Isn’t it simply a matter of determining how many moose permits should be issued for each of the Wildlife Management Areas to accomplish moose management goals? If so, and any one area needs a reduction in moose numbers, then MDIFW should issue the appropriate number of permits. What’s the problem?

I can also speculate that the reason for such “coded” messages is that there exists a fear of environmentalist’s retaliation should MDIFW simply announce they intend to kill more moose through permit lottery in order to achieve a “healthier” moose herd.

As the old saying goes, “Oh, what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive.”

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Maine’s Bald Eagles Not “Big Game” So Worthy of Population Counting?

What a mixed bag of contradictory statements that come from the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW). We heard recently that MDIFW intends to shift its focus from keeping track of population densities of the state’s deer, moose, bear, and turkey and concentrate more on the health of these designated “big game” animals.

Evidently, Maine’s bald eagles are not “big game” nor are the piping plovers, as we discovered here, and so they deserve to be counted and kept track of in order that biologists can…can…can… better manage them? Because they are NOT going to be hunted?

A recent press release from MDIFW tells us that the Department is undertaking a bald eagle “survey” – something they do every 5 years. The release states: “Biologists are looking to determine the current eagle population; determine whether the eagle population has increased, slowed, or stabilized; evaluate changes in breeding abundance and occupancy rates and compare occupancy rates in traditional eagle nesting territories based on habitat protection.”

Sounds pretty smart to me!

Will this effort tell the biologists the overall health of the bald eagle? It would appear so. So why is MDIFW counting eagles and piping plovers and are not going to place as much effort on counting “big game” species? Is it because eventually, the move will be toward deer, bear, moose, and turkeys not being hunted?

If this focus on health is going to be the new scientismic approach to big game management, then, as the spokesman for MDIFW said, it gives the managers “more flexibility” in how they manage big game. We should then focus on the intent and purpose of “flexibility.”

Flexibility in government bureaucratic management historically has meant a chance to do whatever you want to do with less accountability for what it is you are doing. It also affords a chance to more easily cave into the demands of those whose power can make life uncomfortable. Of course, that “flexibility” is never presented in such a fashion. Instead, it is revealed to the public as some modernistic approach to new science that will make things better.

Unfortunately, this is never the case and will not be in this sense. It appears to me that seeking flexibility, or not having to account for numbers in wildlife as a baseline to successful species management, to go hand in hand with the continued migration of the purpose of wildlife management from supporting sustainable game herds to environmentalism’s non-consumptive over protection, is the real goal here…even if managers and biologists haven’t a clue as to what they are doing and for whom they are doing it.

Think indoctrination institutions!

However, the same press release indicates that perhaps MDIFW will decide whether or not they need to keep counting eagles: “The findings of this study will also be used to re-evaluate the future needs for monitoring of Maine’s breeding eagle population or determine whether to modify the 5-year aerial survey census that has been ongoing since 2008.”

If it is determined that there is no need to continue 5-year counting surveys, does that mean a shift toward general health evaluations instead? And if health evaluations are the focus, like with deer, bear, moose, and turkeys, I want to know how then managers will know how many of these creatures need looking out for? When they know numbers are low, counting is vital to the recovery of the animal. Is this then the new tactic – to wait until numbers of deer, moose, bear, and turkey “seem to be” so low protective measures must be implemented along with 5-year counting surveys? Are we not returning to the beginning stages of fish and game management of 150 years ago?

It would seem there is some middle ground here somewhere and perhaps that is what MDIFW is trying to do. But please, for those of us with a brain that works well enough to know the differences, do tell me that shifting management tactics from numbers to health offers more “flexibility.” I just am not going to buy it.

Can we back up and then move on?

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Maine’s Move To “Digital” Big Game Harvest Reporting

One has to wonder! With the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) announcing – officially or not – that they are mostly abandoning the concept of keeping track of game populations and replacing it with concentrating on a “healthy” game herd, what bag of tricks they are sitting on that, as quoted, “will give the department more flexibility” in managing that wildlife.

Yesterday, we read that MDIFW is making plans to begin implementation of a digital form of recording game harvests to replace the paper version that some believe to be antiquated. What could go wrong?

Reading the article and trying at the same time get a grasp on what exactly MDIFW is planning to do left me scratching my head. Perhaps poor reporting or a worse explanation..maybe just a dumb reader. My take is that MDIFW plans to work slowly, starting with a “beta” version for the turkey season and then gradually overspreading the rest of the game harvests.

But what, precisely, are they going to do?

It sounds like they intend each tagging station to have a computer with Internet access. Instead of filling out the paperwork and then months later get around to mailing their harvest report to the Department, each game tagged will instantly be reported and sent to MDIFW. Sounds great.

It was quite a few years ago now, that I was told that an employee of the state approached the MDIFW with a proposal to design a computer program that would give the Department any and all data they wanted…instantly. They rejected the plan stating if they did that there would be nothing for biologists to do in the winter sitting in the office. Hmmm.

Depending on the design of the software that will be used to record this harvest data, this could mean that a harvest report should be available within hours of receiving the last tagging from the last station…well, providing that every station is so equipped. It seems that is not the case. If it is impossible to get necessary and needed tagging stations Online, then each of those stations should use the same program and then at the end of the season, download the data to a thumb drive and drop it in the mail – right frigging now!!!

If this is actually how the new harvest reporting system is going to work, I think it will be a great idea and about time. I have always bitched and complained that we have to wait nearly a year from the close of each hunting season to get harvest data. MDIFW blames it on stations refusing to mail in their data in a timely manner. Really? The dog ate my homework? Who is charge around here?

When you read some of the people at certain tagging stations say, “It usually takes me five minutes to tag each animal. I have to fill out the paperwork. It’s a process. It’s a pain.” perhaps MDIFW should consider not giving an inspection station to someone who views the process as a pain. With an attitude like that, it’s probably a “pain” to also gather together all the reports and mail them in. What kind of a “pain” is it going to be for some to go digital?

However, it seems that for some they think the digital form of reporting game harvest should go even farther. “David Trahan, executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine, said his group is going to introduce legislation that would allow hunters to tag remotely rather than going to tagging stations.”

As much as I have complained about the lateness of game harvest reporting, I wouldn’t and neither should MDIFW, give that important data up simply to get a report to the people more quickly. Regardless of whether or not MDIFW thinks they can utilize more “flexibility” by concentrating on the health of the game herds rather than population numbers, it is still impossible to responsibly manage the wild game without having reliable data which includes numbers – yes, counting populations.

To allow hunters to simply pick up their cellphones/smartphones and register their harvest will spell disaster. States that have done this sort of reporting for years are only now struggling to find a better way of collecting harvest data – with some states moving toward having tagging stations or check stations.

A good software program loaded onto a computer for each tagging station – and one that is more than willing to do the job properly – will take the same data collected at present but make that data available to MDIFW instantly. Risking losing important data by allowing remote registering by the hunter is a move in the wrong direction. The Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine should rethink that position.

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NSSF Sends Dick’s Packing

U.S.A. – -(Ammoland.com)-The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), the trade association for the firearms, ammunition, hunting and shooting sports industries;

Board of Governors today unanimously voted to expel Dick’s Sporting Goods from membership for conduct detrimental to the best interests of the Foundation. <<<Read More>>>

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Deadline Approaches for Applying for Maine Moose Hunting Permit

*Editor’s Note* – It was noted by the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW)that their ongoing moose study has indicated that a reduction in the moose herd will mitigate the winter tick problem. Does that mean there will be more moose permits issued during this lottery? This could be the last best chance you have of getting your hands on a moose permit. 

If MDIFW seriously intends to reduce the moose population in Maine to a level to reduce winter tick infestation, will we ever know at what level they intend to bring it down to…if at all? Understand that if MDIFW plans to lower the moose population and keep it that way, once the population is at target levels, more than likely the number of permits will be reduced as well. Then again, if the moose herd is “healthy” they may prosper to a point they will always need to be pared down. Wink-wink.

Apply for a permit

To hunt for moose in Maine, you will need a permit; and due to high demand, these permits are administered through a chance lottery.

Apply Online: visit to maine.gov/online/moose and fill out the online moose permit application. There, you’ll be able to indicate several preferences, including:

  • WMD preferences – which districts you’d be willing to accept a permit in, and if you’d accept a permit in another WMD if your name is drawn and all of your top choices are filled
  • Season preferences – if you only want to hunt in a specific month.
  • Antlerless preference – whether or not you would accept an antlerless permit.
  • Your sub-permittee – This is someone authorized to participate with you in your moose hunt. You can designate an alternate sub-permittee, and can apply with MDIFW to change either of these names up to 30 days before the hunting season begins.

Application Deadline: 11:59 p.m. on May 15, 2018

Want to be there for the drawing?

Attend the Skowhegan Moose Fest June 8-10 at the Skowhegan Fairgrounds (drawing will take place on June 9). More info: skoweganmoosefest.com

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Vermont to Issue 13 Moose Hunting Permits…But Not Really

Vermont says it will allot 13 moose hunting permits. However, unless you are a military veteran, have a terminal illness or are filthy rich, you will not have a chance at obtaining one of these permits. But that is only one issue.

With all the money and research done on moose, this is the best we can come up with?

According to Vermont officials, the state has decided that it will attempt to maintain the moose population, the majority of which is found in the very northeast corner of the state, at 1 moose per square mile in order to “reduce the effects of winter ticks.”

I have an idea there will be few people happy about this move but if now the wildlife managers are going to put more focus on the “health” of wildlife rather than population estimates, it’s difficult to know what to expect into the future.

We’ll just have to wait and see.

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To Grow Moose Burn Down the Forest

In a small corner of northeast Minnesota is where you’ll find what is left of a moose herd. A Minnesota newspaper is saying that the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) blames the reduction in moose on deer and as an aside note that “some” attribute some of the loss to wolf densities. But there’s an answer to the problem. Burn down the forest!

According to some researchers and biologists, brainworm and ticks are killing moose. (Note – this is of course due to global warming, wink-wink.) If you burn down the forest, the fire kills off the ticks and snails that host the brainworm parasite.

You don’t have to be a Ph.D. to know that moose thrive in forests that are regenerating. Maine has seen the moose population explode where millions of acres of forest were cleared because of an infestation of spruce budworm. Coincidentally, this same act created prime habitat for the snowshoe hare which is the Canada lynx’s favorite food and thus the lynx has made a remarkable resurgence…for now. What happens when the hare habitat is gone? Along with the explosion of the population of the moose, so too did the moose tick or winter tick which is now killing off the too large moose population.

So now there’s an answer for those of you interested in exploiting further the moose population. Think of the money outfitters can make with moose gawking tours. WOW! All we have to do is simply burn down the forests according to how many moose people want to see or hunt.

But at what expense to the rest of the ecosystem?

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