August 29, 2015

Card Carrying Moose?

“The only place in Maine where moose arrive right on schedule for nature shoots is at Baxter State Park. The reason? Those moose are considered state employees and their activities are strictly governed by their 80-page union contract. At other well-known “moose venues” like Rangeley and Moosehead, the moose schedules are much more casual and seeing one is hit or miss, so good luck.”<<<Read More>>>

MooseCheeez

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Outdoors: Luck of the draw for Maine moose hunters 

Unless you get a coveted lottery permit, moose hunting is largely a rich man’s sport. To bring home a 60-inch Alaska-Yukon moose rack will cost about $20,000 or more. That’s why the recent Maine auction for permits brought such high sealed bids and local hunters flock to Newfoundland, where the most affordable hunts can still be booked.

Ten lucky Maine winners spent between $11,000 and $13,000 for the privilege, while contributing $122,000 earmarked for scholarships (why wasn’t that money used for wildlife habitat acquisition and improvement or wildlife management?).

Source: Outdoors: Luck of the draw for Maine moose hunters – Sports – telegram.com – Worcester, MA

Maine’s Moose Population Cut in Half?

*Editor’s Note* – Estimates are there are between 60,000 and 70,000 moose in Maine. A Maine biologists once told the Joint Standing Committee that her estimate was 90,000 moose. We have linked to below a Maine Guide who says “confidently” that the moose population is “down about half.” I don’t know by what number this person is using in making the claim of a population reduction of half.

However, whether it is 90,000 or 60,000 to 70,000, half any of those numbers, in my opinion, is more realistic as to where the moose population in Maine ought to be. If this reduction exists in those numbers, then perhaps we will begin to see healthier moose due to a reduction also of the dreaded, deadly and tortuous winter tick.

“We are easily,and I say this confidently, we are down about half our moose population, Lambert said.

Source: Maine moose facing uptick in parasitic predator | Local News – WMTW Home

Outdoors in Maine: Managing moose numbers best left to pros

*Editor’s Note* – Management of moose is the job of wildlife “pros.” However, not all wildlife pros know what they are doing and have agendas far and beyond “the best available science,” and sometimes even the rule of law. Therefore, we need watchdogs to keep a close eye on their every move, questioning those things that should be questioned.

The author of this piece (linked to below) tells of the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife’s (MDIFW) responsibility and legal obligations to manage moose for viewers and hunters. Managing any animal for the purpose of providing viewing opportunities is a non scientific event proving only to provide management complications for healthy populations. The North American Model, i.e. managing game for surplus harvest, (taking advantage of our God-given resource) has a proven scientific track record while providing a healthy resource.

As the author points out, it appears that attempting to manage the number of moose for viewing and hunting is warring against each other.

Something is wrong as far as I can see things. Hunters are restricted and the number of moose permits available to hunters rise and fall according to how MDIFW determines a need for population controls within Wildlife Management Districts (WMD). There is seldom any complaining by hunters for this, although sometimes we question the reasoning behind certain decisions. At the same time, we are seeing where people are demanding that hunters be short-changed in opportunities to harvest moose simply because of their demands for more viewing opportunities. I believe that what we have witnessed is MDIFW deciding to forego scientific moose management, according to the moose management plans, in order to placate the selfish desires of those riding around in cars hoping to see moose without any effort.

If it is proven, or if anyone is willing to connect the dots, that increasing moose populations to satisfy the social demands of viewers, is exacerbating the tick problem killing moose and spreading disease, this is something that needs to be seriously addressed.

Hunters would be cut off if management demands showed the need. The same much apply to moose watchers.

As Kantar will tell you, he and the Fish and Wildlife Department are obligated by law and tradition to safeguard the moose resource, for moose viewers as well as moose hunters. Ironically, it is possible that an excess of moose in Maine may be exacerbating the moose tick infestations that have taken a lot of young moose.

Source: Outdoors in Maine: Managing moose numbers best left to pros | Sun Journal

Mark Latti: Keeping an eye on the welfare of Maine moose 

*Note* This article does not tell us what the actual “recruitment” rate for moose has been since collaring began. This is vitally important in a better understanding of the fate of Maine’s moose. If there are not enough calf moose to survive to replace the total mortality of moose each year, the overall population will continue to spiral downward.

So what is exactly happening when it comes to birth rates of Maine moose? This year biologists have confirmed that 10 of a likely 20 cows had calves. Why likely? It’s hard to determine the age of some moose, and moose don’t give birth until they are nearly 3 at the earliest. Last year, 11 of 18 cows had calves.

These numbers don’t tell the whole story concerning reproduction as well because calves are susceptible to bears, coyotes and other predators before a biologist may be able to confirm a birth. That’s why biologists will examine the ovaries of hunter-harvested moose and conduct aerial flights to determine cow/calf dynamics, in addition to the walk-ins, to see if an adult has given birth.

CollaredMoose

Source: Mark Latti: Keeping an eye on the welfare of Maine moose – The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

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Maine Moose Lottery Results

You can find the results of Saturday’s Moose Lottery on the Inland Fisheries and Wildlife website.

Lawmakers Override Gov’s Veto of Moose Permit Bill

AUGUSTA – The Maine House and Senate have voted to override Gov. Paul LePage’s veto of a bill that would allow the commissioner of Inland Fisheries and…
Source: Lawmakers Override Gov’s Veto of Moose Permit Bill | Maine Public Broadcasting

Maine Moose Herd in Decline

Maybe more hunters and outdoor people will get sick and tired of the same old crap sandwich that the media doles out and begin asking for facts, instead of fiction, from the media and outdoor biologists.

In this linked-to article, complete with video, take note that Maine’s head moose biologist says nothing about a warming climate, and yet the news agency reporting cannot get through their report without suggesting to its viewers that any perceived moose problems in Maine are the result of moose ticks, caused by global warming.

The other disturbing item in this news account is that in what viewers were presented, there was also no mention of anything other than ticks that are killing the moose, specifically predators!

One last disgusting comment that can be heard is how damned important it is that Maine manages it’s moose population in order to keep those who want to see a moose, happy. Is there ANY consideration that that effort might be part or even all of the cause for spikes in ticks and other diseases? ANY? Of course not! It’s easier to blame a fake global warming scam. It’s a convenient excuse for everything and all things inept and corrupt.

Maine is in the middle of a moose study. From the information that I read, so far, it appears that Lee Kantar, Maine’s lead moose biologist, has kept a pretty good head in this game, and seems to be not eager to draw any conclusions, yet. That may be a good sign. It is imperative that real science, minus politics and lobbying pressures stay out of this study. While I hope that Maine becomes the first state to actually use real science to come to accurate conclusions, I’m not laying down any money that they will.

The moose is an important symbol of Maine. It’s on the state seal. It draws tens of thousands of tourists to be

Source: Maine Moose Herd in Decline

Deadline to Apply for the Maine Moose Permit Lottery is May 14

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

The deadline to apply online for the Maine Moose Lottery is fast approaching, and hunters who want the chance to hunt moose in Maine need to visit bit.ly/mainemoosefestival and complete their online application by 11:59pm on May 14.

The online application process is fast and simple and you receive instant confirmation that you have successfully entered the lottery.

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.

Permit winners and their subpermittees will be able to hunt in one of the department’s 25 wildlife management districts (WMD’s), which cover more than 21,000 square miles.

The moose hunting season takes place between late September and late November, depending on the specific WMD given.

This year, the Department will be issuing 2,740 permits in a chance drawing that will take place on June 13, 2015 at the Moose Festival in Bethel, Maine. To learn more about the festival, please visit www.bethelmainemoosefest.com

For more information on the moose lottery, visit www.mefishwildlife.com.

IFW Opts to Manage Moose by Social Demands

I get it! No, I really do get it. People have been told, and they believe, that they “own” the natural resources in their state and therefore they have the right to demand that wildlife biologist base their decisions about wildlife management on the demands of that public. And the public should have a say in decisions about wildlife management…to a point.

If, as has been the case in Maine, the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW), for whatever reasons, has managed deer populations in many parts of the state at levels nearing or below sustainable levels, I will make my demands as much as the next guy. At the other end of the spectrum, if that same department manages deer populations at such high levels that disease is rampant, starvation persists and personal property is being damaged or destroyed, I also will have my demands.

And, yes, I will be transparent enough here to state that I want MDIFW to manage deer, moose, bear and all game animal species, at levels where hunting is an important tool in controlling numbers. This method has worked well for decades and when implemented correctly and responsibly is extremely valuable to a lot of people and wildlife.

However, I’m confused as to what is going on in one Wildlife Management District (WMD) in the Greenville region of the state. WMD 9 sits just east of Moosehead Lake. MDIFW had made its decision as to how many and of which species of permits would be issued as part of the Moose Lottery to be held in a few weeks in Bethel, Maine.

Residents of the Greenville area became incensed when they discovered that MDIFW planned to increase the number of permits for WMD 9. A public meeting was held in which residents spoke out against any plans to increase permits and, as a matter of fact, mostly demanded a reduction from the previous year’s numbers. Driving that opposition were claims that moose sightings were not prominent and it was hurting tourism business.

I’ve written in the past about MDIFW’s plans for moose management, mostly about how it may concern the presence of the winter ticks, but have not said that much about the social demands that drive wildlife management decisions concerning the moose in Maine.

In a John Holyoke article in the Bangor Daily News, John reports some things that perhaps more outdoor sportsmen should pay attention to.

First off, the article states that it was Commissioner Woodcock who caved in to the demands of the Moosehead Lake area residents.

Camuso said DIF&W Commissioner Chandler Woodcock took those public comments into consideration before deciding to return the number of moose permits in that district to 2014 levels — without additional cow permits.

Second, MDIFW, according to the BDN, had confidence in their data and that is what they based their decision to increase permits by.

Camuso said she was confident with the data that biologists have gathered, which was relied on to determine that increasing permits in that district was biologically feasible. But she said that biologists ultimately serve both the animals and the state’s residents, and the people of Greenville made their position quite clear.

“It’s important for people to remember that our jobs as biologists is to manage at a level that’s what the public wants,”

Here we have a clear indication that regardless of moose management plans, regardless of the data or the confidence that MDIFW says it might have in that data, MDIFW has decided to disregard that information in order to placate the demands of the public. One might ask why Maine bothers to conduct aerial surveys, do studies or even have paid biologists. That’s a lot of money for nothing.

It is my opinion that the statement made that it’s the job of a biologists to manage game species at levels demanded by the public, if unfortunate when the possibility exists that such social demands put the animals’ health at risk, if that be the case here. Earlier in the article it is stated that meeting public demands was PART of the equation. It shouldn’t be the driving force however.

But it gets worse. The article states that while MDIFW is preparing rewrites of their 15-year management plans for deer, moose and bear, MIDFW declares:

“Certainly one of the things we’ll be looking to do is to get input from a broad range of people and find out what level do they want, not just for moose but for deer, bear,” she said. “Obviously, we want to maintain healthy animals, but there’s what we call a biological carrying capacity, but we also want to make sure that we’re not exceeding the social carrying capacity, or underachieving the social desires.”

Huh? When MDIFW reviewed their moose data and stated they had confidence in that data when establishing proposals for the allotment of moose permits, was MDIFW attempting to increase moose numbers, decrease moose numbers or maintain the population they thought they had at present? Did they say? Not that I’m aware, but from past history if MDIFW increased permits from a previous year, they were at least attempting to maintain a current population target goal, to perhaps reducing the numbers.

I’ll have to go back and review the moose management plan, not that it gets followed anyway by anybody, but I believe the plan calls for attempting to keep the number of moose in ideal locations at about 80% of the biological carrying capacity. If MDIFW was using that as a guideline when, with the compliment of new data from aerial surveys, they made the proposal for the number and sex of permits to be issued, then lowering the permits might be putting the herd at risk of exceeding carrying capacity.

There needs to be some kind of balance here and in my opinion the balance should not be equally weighted between biological demands and social demands necessarily. There are so many other determining factors. Things on the ground are constantly changing. I understand the desire of businesses in the Greenville area wanting to take advantage of moose viewing and the tourism it might draw. I was quite involved in the tourism business in Maine and New Hampshire for several years. However, simply because people say they don’t see moose on their moose watching trips “like they used to” does that necessarily mean there needs to be more of them?

Most will concur that the ease of sighting a moose has diminished simply because the animal is now hunted and has been, legally, for about 30 years. The places where moose frequented – in large cuttings – are growing up and driving down wood roads in search of moose isn’t as easy a task as it once was. Hunting the creature is more difficult now for many of the same reasons. Were these and all other things considered before Commissioner Woodcock caved in to the demands?

Few will argue that the moose population has dropped over the last 5 years, but MDIFW has not made a definitive statement as to why, other than to guess it’s ticks and global warming. While I don’t consider Mr. Woodcock’s decision to reduce the number of moose permits for WMD 9 something detrimental to the moose herd, I do have to wonder if we should be spending tax dollars to gather data that will ultimately be trumped by social demands. I would like to see Commissioner Woodcock make a statement fully disclosing every factor he used in making his decision – and I hope it is based on more than simply people demanded it.

In addition, if representatives of MDIFW are going to publicly state that the biologists have confidence in the information they used to make recommendations for moose permit allotment, of what value, then, does it really have?

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