May 25, 2018

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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The Continued Misrepresentation of Wildlife Watching

A recent Letter to the Editor in a Maine newspaper is, at best, misleading as well as selfishly hypocritical probably due mostly to ignorance.

In the Letter, the author says, “…about two-thirds more people come to this state every year to watch a live moose than to kill a moose…” I have my doubts that this person has any real data to support this claim but even if they did, the data would be inaccurate unless “you know a thing or two because you’ve seen a thing or two.”

I happen to know a thing a two about these statistics that claim that there are more wildlife watchers than hunters. Here’s how it works.

Yellowstone National Park is a prime and representative example of how “statistic prove that statistics can prove anything.” When visitors to the park are surveyed they are asked if they saw any wolves during their trip. Whether they did or didn’t matters not. The statistic they were seeking was to put this visitor down as someone who traveled to Yellowstone for the purpose of viewing a wolf. This way the data gatherers can drum up a number to support their wolf agendas.

Throughout the country similar surveys take place. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service conducts similar surveys. When asking participants in a survey what they did and where they went, they were also asked if they saw wildlife. If they did, they automatically become designated wildlife watchers even if their intent was something else. What they don’t differentiate is the honest and complete demographics of the person being surveyed.

Another example would be when a person who happens to be a hunter is in the woods hunting for any game animal when asked if they saw other wildlife, they then become a statistic labeled as a wildlife watcher, not necessarily a hunter. Most people believe because it is what they have been wrongfully misled to believe, that there are hunters and there are wildlife watchers. I don’t know of any hunters who aren’t wildlife watchers. So, what percentage of the “two-thirds” are actually hunters, fishermen, and/or trappers?

I might tend to agree that there are more people who come to Maine in hopes of seeing a moose somewhere than come to moose hunt. That’s a no-brainer. Only 210 moose permits were issued to “those from away” for the 2016 moose hunt.

The author mentions that hunting licenses in Maine have been on the decline. That may be so but it should be as important to ask why that might be so. Is it because those potential hunters have become wildlife watchers instead? Is it because the hunting over the past decade or so in Maine has become so poor fewer want to spend the money or take the time off work to hunt when success rates are dropping faster than the number of licensed hunters? Or maybe it’s like the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has determined that the number one reason for any reduction in hunting has to do with being able to get time off from work. So what does that suggest about the hunter? I’ll let you figure that out while you’re standing in the welfare hand-out line waiting to collect so you can go watch wildlife.

What’s also deliberately never spoken of is that if not for the efforts and money spent by hunters, there would be no moose watching or wildlife watching in general. And that is a fact that ALL hunters are extremely proud of. And we do that WITHOUT demanding that someone else change their lifestyle.

The author states a couple more grave errors deliberately attempting to influence public opinion. First, it is stated that if a constitutional amendment passed in Maine placing a “right to hunt” as part of the constitution, it “…would enshrine the right to hunt and fish into the Maine Constitution.” Whether intended by the author or not to mislead readers to believe that an amendment, as proposed, would give Maine citizens the protected right to hunt, fish and trap regardless of the goals and direction of the state’s wildlife management programs, use of the word “enshrine” certainly paints that picture. The proposal basically recognizes that hunting, fishing, and trapping are a scientifically proven method of managing wildlife populations to ensure their sustainability. It’s called the North American Model of Wildlife Management.

Secondly, if such an amendment passed it would not eliminate the right of citizens to petition the state in regards to wildlife management.

However, at the root of all this, we clearly see the real problem. The author makes the bold and extremely inaccurate statement that “…the hunting and trapping special interests in this state view wildlife as their own private preserve rather than a public resource.” That is the biggest bag of horse manure that I am sick and tired of selfish, ignorant, Leftist, immoral degenerates stating.

Clearly, it is before the reader to understand that there is nowhere in the majority of the hunting, fishing, and trapping collective that believes they own wildlife or game. It is the opposite. For decades the left has spent millions of dollars doing everything they can to force their perverse, degenerate lifestyle onto the rest of us. And just like the spoiled rotten brats they are, when hunters, fishermen, and trappers take a necessary step to protect one small activity to stop the onslaught, we are painted as selfish people who think the resource is ours alone. That’s never been the case in a million years.

Hunters understand that part of what they do is to perpetuate wildlife and make it so that everyone can enjoy it. We know that doesn’t come without a price. We understand that at times reductions in hunting permits need to be made in order to responsibly manage game populations. We like it when game populations exceed goals and we can hunt them and eat them. We understand that when we purchase a hunting, fishing, and/or a trapping license, that money is going toward responsible wildlife management for everyone to enjoy. How can any of this be seen as believing we own the resource?

As a matter of fact, it is the complete opposite. Not only does this writer want to claim ownership of the resource, but wants to prohibit those of us who have worked for generations from being able to enjoy it in our own way. Instead, by the will of the writer, we are supposed to stop doing what we do because the writer doesn’t believe in it or doesn’t care to be a part of it.

So you tell me who is the selfish one here who thinks THEY own the resource. Maybe if this mixed-up and misled person and their ilk would stop trying to make us just like them, people in Maine wouldnt be trying to figure out how to stop them.

Utter leftist, selfish, psycho-babble!!!

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Vermont Continues To Reduce Moose Permit Allotments

It appears that the Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife has decided, once again, to cut back on moose hunting permits. Where once there were 25 permits issued, authorities are recommending only 14 be issued this year.

A news article said the decision is based on the continued reduction of the moose herd because of, “…infestations of ticks and brain worms believed to be caused by the warming climate.”

If this was a game where you could buy a clue, the clue to buy would be this: So long as fish and wildlife departments continue to wallow in the deep manure pile of “global warming” they will never find any real answers to wildlife management problems.

Evidently, that’s the easiest mode of operation and are we to now believe the most lucrative?

 

 

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Almost All Good News Out of Maine About Moose

According to the Portland Press Herald, the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) has made a proposal to increase the number of allotted moose hunting permits by 420, with all of that increase in the far northern part of the state – WMD 1-6.

MDIFW is still estimating the state’s moose population at between 50,000 and 70,000 (far too high) but we mustn’t forget that increasing moose permits to 2,500 is a far cry from the over 4,000 permits allotted by chance in 2013.

However, is there hope on our horizon? Is the MDIFW, and in particular the moose biologists, beginning to see things a bit differently? Maybe. Let’s review some of the comments found in this article.

In the order that they appear: First, “A 20 percent increase is very conservative,” said Judy Camuso, wildlife division director for the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. “We’re doing it in the core moose range in Maine where we have excellent survival among cow moose – around 90 percent.” Yes, 20% is very small but it is a step in the right direction. I wanted to point out to readers that the remainder of the quote is actually quite meaningless. In pointing out the need to raise moose permits “in core moose range,” Camuso says that is where they find “excellent survival among cow moose.”

Excellent survival means nothing if we don’t know how “survival” is defined in this context. Example: generally if a biologist speaks of calf survival rates, it’s most often based on a yearling calf surviving the winter – recruitment. To speak of cow survival does that mean one winter or for the average lifespan of a female moose? It is important to know.

Second, we read, “Camuso said state biologists are already talking about increasing permits in 2019 dramatically in at least one hunting district where there has been higher calf mortality because of winter tick infestation. Such an increase would be used as a test to see whether culling the moose population in areas with a higher incidence of winter ticks can lead to a healthier herd.” (Emphasis added)

Now that you’ve picked yourself up off the floor, read further: “Winter ticks play a big part in calf survival,” Camuso said. “In the (more southerly) areas of moose range calf mortality is high. Higher densities of a host species usually perpetuates the parasite. And climate is absolutely a part of the equation.” (Emphasis added)

I have to disagree somewhere here. Upon a considerable amount of research on the winter ticks, it would be dishonest to state that climate is “absolutely” a part of winter tick survival. Maine’s climate is not absolutely an influencing factor for winter ticks. Weather phenomenon may play a limited roll in tick survival but it is certain that availability of a host blood meal (moose) is of ABSOLUTE importance.

Third, With any wildlife population, when there are too many animals on the landscape it’s not a good thing,” Camuso said. “Based on the public feedback from polling, people in Maine support a healthy population, even if that means fewer moose.” (Emphasis added)

It is refreshing to actually hear wildlife biologists expressing to the mainstream press that “too many animals…is not a good thing.” If true, it is equally refreshing to learn that people in Maine support fewer moose, if it means healthier moose. Do they really mean that? Do they understand what they are saying?

It is seldom, like almost never, that any wildlife biologist would even suggest that there are limits to the number of pounds of apples you can put in a 5-pound sack. If this proposed test is to take place in a WMD that has a lot of moose – reducing the population to moose to see if it mitigates the tick infestation – showed it to be true in controlling ticks, this would surely upset the global warming applecart. It is for that reason I see little hope that such a test would amount to much of anything, but I guess one can only hope. The myth of global warming is so deeply entrenched in everyone’s way of thinking, it is hopeless to think any of this will change.

However, this news comes as good news – more moose permits to lower population numbers in some areas, and a test area to see if reducing moose numbers reduces tick numbers. I hope MDIFW doesn’t keep the results a secret.

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