June 6, 2020

Summary For Maine’s 2011/2012 Intensive Coyote & Predation Management


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I Ate My Dog For Homework

Two things in play in our society today and one of them dominates all others. The second issue is that our society struggles to laugh at themselves and find humor in things where humor is intended to be found. The first and most dominant point of departure is hypocrisy.

Hypocrisy reveals myriad things in a society, one of which is the manifestation of people’s incompetency to make legitimate judgements about much of anything worthwhile. Hypocrisy is dishonesty and when we exemplify that we are also showing the world our anger and hatred, all of which drives our bias.

A current example playing out in this nation is the joke telling dealing with the topic of President Barack Obama’s revelation that when he was a kid growing up in Indonesia he ate dog. Do rational people care about this beyond the obvious, that either the president’s family was poor and that’s all they could afford or eating dog was acceptable table fare?

Even though I think we as a people are losing our ability to laugh, I still believe that existing in a society that considers laughing healthy, we have always had a strong yen for humor. Once, every comedian and late night talk show host made gobs of money telling jokes about presidents. We all laughed no matter who was in the White House. Of course some presidents became better targets of the quipsters, mostly dependent upon what they did or said. I even recall impersonators like Rich Little, who struggled to impersonate some presidents and then got plenty of mileage from others, sometimes by just the simple way they looked or the tone and quality of their voice. Think of the actor John Wayne, who had a distinct walk and a voice to go with it.

Today, people too often tend to limit their laughter based on political bias. This is where the hypocrisy comes into play. A joke about George Bush may make some laugh and others not, taking offense that they are being made fun of or that somehow it’s not fair. If the same comedian told a joke about Barack Obama, the roles become reversed. Don’t misunderstand me here. This hypocrisy swings in all directions and the worst kind is that coming from those who refuse to recognize it for what it is.

Let’s also be honest, if that’s possible anymore. Barack Obama is half black and half white. We have struggled as a society to get beyond racism and bigotry and as such, I’m positive in my assessment that a lot of restraint has been shown in targeting Barack Obama for jokes out of fear of just what has happened; accusations of racism.

President Obama ate dog as a child. What’s wrong with that? I’ve written about eating dog in our history and that eating dog is still the cuisine of some societies. When President Jefferson sent Captains Lewis and Clark to find a passage to the Pacific Ocean, neither of the men or their expedition would have survived had they not eaten dog. But as humans, we are prone to make jokes about it, I think some because we are uncomfortable with talking about the subject, but mostly because humor defines us.

On the website The People’s Cube, an entire array of photoshopped pictures depicting President Obama eating or chasing after dogs with the intent of eating them, can be found.

On John McCain’s Twitter page he posted a photo of his son’s bull dog and ends his Tweet by saying, “I’m sorry Mr. President, he’s not on the menu!”

When asked at a press conference, White House Press Secretary, Jay Carney, struggled to answer the question as to whether the President was aware of all the jokes but he couldn’t resist making a joke about the jokes.

If you click on the link to John McCain’s Twitter page, you can read some of the comments irate people left to John McCain about his sick sense of humor.

But what about the hypocrisy? Recall, if you will, that not long ago, there were a lot of people very upset about the movie “The Grey”. Two issues played out here. The movie was about a plane that crashed in the middle of nowhere in Alaska. Survival was key, i.e. finding food and prevent becoming food. The plot is about these survivors fending off a hungry pack of wolves. The first issue of outrage was that the makers of the movie dared depict wolves in a truth setting; that they are bloodthirsty killers. The second issue is that the wolves they killed, they ate.

Hang on for a second. This is a movie! But yet there was still outrage. In addition, before filming of the movie began, the cast and staff tried eating some wolf meat in order to gain a better understanding of what they were up against. Doing so has “dogged” them ever since. (See what I mean?)

The point is there was outrage over this and I recall reading in several places among the media outlets, including Online, that people just did not eat dog. That our society (American) has never eaten dog, etc. etc. etc. This is what prompted me to dig back through the Lewis and Clark Expedition journals to recount all the times they not only ate dog meat buy preferred it over deer or elk. In addition this dog meat they ate, included domestic dogs they bought from the natives and coyotes and wolves they were able to kill during their journey.

The hypocrisy here is that while there was outrage that dogs were depicted as being eaten in a movie, there was no outrage at the disclosure that President Obama actually did eat dog as a kid. Instead, their biased anger is directed at those who chose to make jokes about it, seemingly now supporting the eating of dog….well, depending upon who did the eating I guess.

One can argue that most of these jokes originated from people or organizations that are working to elect a different president, but why is this all of a sudden different or deserve a different level of scrutiny? Campaigns bring out the worst in everybody.

What the reasons are that President Obama ate dog as a kid, I don’t know, nor do I care. I think some of the jokes are funny. I find some a bit over the top. I certainly can understand a person who adores dogs, finding offense in some of these photos and jokes. And I find the same level of humor disseminated the same way regardless of which side of the political aisle they walk on.

Tom Remington

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Wolf Killed in New Brunswick, Canada

While the media is acting like there should be some surprise here, the rest of us have acknowledged the fact that wolves live in Eastern Canada and Northern New England. A hunter killed a wild dog in the Acadian Peninsula, weighing around 90 pounds. DNA testing is being done to determine the genetic make up of the wild dog.

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Naked Vermont Gov. Reported to Have Been Chased by Bears While He Worked to Save His Bird Feeders

Vermont’s governor Peter Shumlin ran naked in his backyard while he heroically(?) attempt to save his bird feeders from the eminent doom of four hungry black bears.

You can’t make this stuff up.

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First Phase of Predator Prey Study Reveals Interesting Data But Nothing Conclusive

From an article posted recently on Cleveland.com, deer hunters and others are rushing to conclude that coyotes are killing all the deer in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. At the same time, wolf lovers are declaring a victory in that grey wolves didn’t top the list of predators killing the deer.

What was written about in the article was information on data collected from the first phase of a three-phase study intended to determine what is killing too many deer in the UP of Michigan. The first phase took 3 years to complete.

If you read the article and examine the information provided with an open and understanding mind, you see what on the surface appears to be interesting so-called conclusions from the data. However, it is my opinion that no such definitive conclusions can nor should be made at this time.

The first basic thing to understand is that the study involved deer fawns. Only deer fawns were collared and the study was used to determine what was killing the deer fawns. It is my understanding also, from reading this report, that any of this data used to estimate total deer mortality was based on modeling and not hard data. Where the data is being collected on fawns, are researchers then inclined to believe that wolves, coyotes and bobcats do not kill adult deer?

Phase one took place deliberately in what researchers called a “low snow zone”. Phases two and three will take place in “medium snow zones” (depths of snow) and “high snow zones”, respectively. Phase one also was done where there were low densities of wolves and high densities of coyotes.

The data from Phase I showed that coyotes accounted for more fawn deaths than any other predator. This was followed by bobcats second and wolves fourth. No official numbers for comparison were published in this article.

While it appears that Phase I presents some interesting tidbits of information, for anyone to conclude that wolves don’t kill all the deer or that coyotes do kill all the deer, is simply premature.

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Coyote Pack and Sleepless Nights

Of course it’s definitely springtime in Florida. Daytime highs have been in the 80s and nights cool to the upper 60s. This means sleeping with the windows open and sometimes a fan. It’s also pollen season and it’s kicking me in the butt. I try not to run the fan for that reason. Probably I should close up the house and turn on the AC but I’m afraid Algore wouldn’t approve of that.

Last night was a fanless night and without a fan there’s little to drown out the other outdoor noises. I live in a unique place in that I am perhaps a quarter mile from what is considered the city center and yet to my north is a large wooded area, including about 5 or 6 acres of field. Across the street to the west are a couple of large, by city standards, farms with cattle, horses, llamas, alpacas, chickens and there must be a rooster as I occasionally hear his call.

It’s the wooded area to the north where the pack of coyotes live. The den cannot be far away as I can hear, mostly at night, when the adult dogs bring home something to eat and the pups, who by the sounds are getting quite big, yelp, bark and howl at being treated. This happened several times during last night. In addition, each time fire and rescue or police sirens sounded, and last night it seemed a lot, the pack would howl and yap and yelp! What a pain!

I’m guessing by listening, there must be at least 4 or 5 pups, possibly more.

Tom Remington

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Actions Speak Louder Than Words

*Editor’s Note* This article first appeared in the Northwoods Sporting Journal in Maine.

Last February, Maine’s brand new IFW commissioner released “Maine’s Game Plan for Deer”. This article is not about the Plan but instead about the commitment or lack thereof, to implement the plan and resolve the problems of a depleted whitetail deer population.

During the gubernatorial campaign of 2010, then candidate Paul LePage convinced hunters that he was committed to rebuilding the herd. LePage’s selection of Chandler Woodcock as IFW commissioner brought with it the promise that Maine was committed to saving the deer and thus keeping the industry itself part of Maine’s heritage.

If the governor and the commissioner have made this commitment, and some would question even that, where is the engagement in the effort from others?

My work puts me in touch with fish and game issues nationwide. Of late, I have been a party to events taking place in the state of Utah where they are attempting to rebuild a depleting mule deer herd. I read with comparative amazement the vast differences in the devotion to the two causes.

A recent email tells of plans to double the herd from 200,000 to 400,000 in Utah and that effort is “strong” from government and non government agencies alike. I read about the devotion by several in the Utah Legislature to increase deer numbers. I’m told deer recovery in Utah “has a high priority from powerful and influential people in Utah”.

I observe the communication between the governor’s office and that of U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch in conjunction with all sportsman’s groups. In one email exchange, I learned how Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, a neighboring state, assisted the contingencies in obtaining millions of dollars for habitat restoration along with predator control, etc.

Through the demands of Utah sportsmen, a study was finally done and paid for that determined the reason for a declining deer herd was a near non existent fawn recruitment. While the fish and game department, only one stakeholder in this statewide investment, dithers, all other efforts are directed at what can be done now, i.e. predator control and into the future habitat restoration and protection.

So, where is Maine’s commitment? What has IFW done? Are there studies that could be done with a commitment of money? Who is finding that money? What has the governor done? When was the last time that senators Snowe and Collins got involved in Maine’s commitment to restore the deer herd? If Sen. Reid can find millions of dollars, can we assume that Snowe and/or Collins could as well? Have all Maine’s hunters and trappers and outdoor sportsman’s groups anted up?

If the commitment is lacking, then perhaps there is also lacking a firm belief in the seriousness of the problem. Or, the belief exists but a poor job of selling and recruiting all influential people stands in the way. Perhaps consideration that inexperience and/or political savvy at many levels within the state presents a river with no means to cross.

Whatever it is, Maine’s effort to save a deer herd and a hunting industry, will fail miserably if there isn’t a stronger commitment at all levels.

It’s time for the Governor, the Commissioner, Sens. Snowe and Collins, Reps. Michaud and Pingree and all sportsmen and their organizations to get serious about the deer herd problem if they believe it is a problem.

Tom Remington

Tom Remington is an independent, well-published writer, researcher, syndicated columnist and public speaker, focusing on hunting, outdoor issues, rights and the environment. Much of his work can be found at his website http://www.tomremington.com

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Coyote Bingo Gets New Category Name

It was brought to my attention by the creator of Coyote Bingo, that in the next full edition a new category or a new box will be added. On the website Predator Xtreme, an article appeared in which it wrote of 3 different people in Peoria, Arizona had been recently bitten by coyotes.

The article reads:

Game and Fish officials say the biting incidents likely stem from territorial behavior by adult coyotes protecting their young.(emphasis added)


Coyote Bingo designed by Richard Paradis

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They Don’t Call Them Loup Cervier For Nothing….Or Do They?

All information for this blog was provided by contributor Richard Paradis. Thank you.

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Maine DIF&W Lacks Mission Statement and Commitment For Harvest Opportunities

It’s nearly impossible for any establishment to achieve success without a distinct and clear vision of what their mission is. On the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife(MDIFW) website, there is no “mission statement”. If one gleans through the many pages, they might be able to pick up certain statements that would tend to make them think certain things about what it is that MDIFW is aiming to do. However, is that clear and concise planning that guarantees success?

An example of what I mean can be found on the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources web pages. While it matters not to me or perhaps to you whether we agree with the information contained on those pages, at least there is a brief mission statement and stated goals and objectives. This gives the department written goals and objectives to strive for, provides that same information to the citizens of Utah and creates a written benchmark in which citizens can keep the department on task by a continual reference to those goals and objectives. This is basic.

Some states, like Montana, and approximately 12 other states, have gone so far as to amend their constitutions in order to protect the right to hunt and fish. Montana’s amendment reads: Section 7. Preservation of harvest heritage. The opportunity to harvest wild fish and wild game animals is a heritage that shall forever be preserved to the individual citizens of the state and does not create a right to trespass on private property or diminution of other private rights.”

While it’s impressive that Montana has such an amendment, read carefully exactly what it protects concerning hunting. It protects “opportunity to harvest wild fish and wild game animals”, nothing more and nothing less. As citizens wishing to fully protect that heritage, wouldn’t it make sense to mandate fish and game departments to manage wild fish and wild game animals for surplus harvest for all citizens, along with protecting the opportunity?

This is the transformation that has taken place over the years by fish and game departments, hijacked by state governments, along with non governmental, environmental, and animal rights groups, to turn these departments into wildlife protection agencies. While most states’ fish and wildlife departments toss about the use of “opportunities” to hunt and fish, no longer do we find departments willing to state that their goals are to manage game animals for surplus harvest.

Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife(MDIFW) lacks a clearly written, well defined and accessible mission statement, complete with goals and objects. It also has no constitutional guarantee to provide surplus game or protection of “opportunities” and spends much of its time not only being manipulated by social pressures rather than using science, it goes out of its way to seek out and involve the public in setting management and population goals based on what the public will tolerate.

Evidently fed up with the bitching and complaining from hunters and associated industries, Maine crafted its “Maine’s Game Plan for Deer“. Prompted by a dying population of whitetail deer in Northern, Western and Eastern Maine, this plan was devised believing it would be the road map to recovery. What the plan lacks, once again is what I, personally, would consider clear goals and because of this, leaves sportsmen unsure of what exactly is going to take place, what the specific plan and achieved goals will be, specifically population objectives, and exactly who the Maine’s Game Plan for Deer was written for.

As a hunter, one would wish to see a statement from the Governor or at least the MDIFW Commissioner, stating that the objective of Maine’s Game Plan for Deer is to restore surplus populations of deer in all Wildlife Management Districts(WMD) for harvest opportunities. This would tell the sportsmen, who by the way are paying the bills at MDIFW, that the department intends to grow deer to levels that will give them surplus deer to harvest. Such a statement does no exist in Maine’s Game Plan for Deer.

As second choice, hunters might be satisfied for now if they could read or hear from the same sources that Maine’s Game Plan for Deer sets goals to rebuild deer populations that would increase hunting opportunities. That didn’t happen either.

As a matter of fact any wording or written statements that provide hunters any kind of reasonable assurances are quite lacking. The best I could come up with I’ll share below.

The MDIFW, after releasing Maine’s Game Plan for Deer, dedicated an entire newsletter to publish its new plan and discuss the whys and wherefores. Surely here hunters would find assurances.

In the newsletter, the following statement can be found:

While we’ve all been impressed by healthy deer populations, including trophy bucks, in parts of Maine, we’ve been concerned about low deer numbers in northern, eastern and western Maine. The population is below our publicly derived goals, and below the desires and expectations of hunters, guides and outfitters, rural Maine business owners, and those who enjoy watching deer.(emboldening added)

What does “publicly derived goals” mean? I can guarantee you it doesn’t mean more, better and guaranteed opportunities to harvest your deer to feed you family next fall. Further research shows us that Maine’s Game Plan for Deer is broken down into five elements.

One might also think that while publishing Maine’s Game Plan for Deer, an opportunity would be seized upon by MDIFW to assure the hunters, again those paying the bills, that this plan is for them (we are the ones who bitched and complained) and the purpose is specifically to grow deer to hunt. Instead, the preamble is about deflecting any notion of placing any blame for an abysmal deer herd away from MDIFW by stating: “there are several inter-related factors that are suppressing deer numbers” and the list does not include any slight hint of poor management. As a matter of fact, Commissioner Woodcock tells readers, “I’ve heard hunters claim that mismanagement on the part of the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife caused the numbers to go down. That’s not true.” The dog ate my homework? Why does MDIFW exempt itself from blame?

So, if Maine drafts a Maine’s Game Plan for Deer, and in it there is nowhere that it even assures hunters that the plan is to grow surplus deer for harvest, then why are we paying for this and supporting it?

Element Two of Maine’s Game Plan for Deer is titled: Deer Population Management. Here’s what’s listed:
Strategies:
• conduct research to
refine our current deer population model
• better understand interactions between deer,
habitat, and predation
• understand how moose management may affect
our ability to increase the deer population
• work with landowners to eliminate deer mortality
where winter feeding makes deer susceptible to
vehicle collisions
• increase law enforcement efforts to target illegal killing
of deer
• work with the legislature to increase penalties for
illegal killing of deer
(emboldening added)

If I wanted to write a book, I would address all of these issues. However, a strategy to “refine our current deer population model” needs attention because, after all, isn’t this what Maine’s Game Plan for Deer is about? How does MDIFW plan to “refine” this and what’s more, what IS the current deer population model? Oh, yeah! I recall. Maybe the statement made the other day that was published in the Bangor Daily News from Maine’s head deer biologist tells us what Maine’s “current deer population model” is.

We realize, more than anything, that moose are valued economically for viewing as well as hunting opportunity as well as being on the landscape and just the aesthetic of moose,” Kantar said. “We balance all those things. That’s our job.”

Just replace the word “moose” with “deer” and that probably fits aptly.

But I think Element Four should give us a better indication why Maine’s Game Plan for Deer is not a plan to increase your odds of bagging a deer next year or any year into the foreseeable future. It’s a plan to appease the public and in particular environmental and animal rights groups. Element Four is: “Deer Planning and Public Involvement”.

MDIF&W has employed public participation to develop management goals and objectives for many species of Maine’s wildlife, including deer. The Department has conducted species planning since the early 1970s and has refined and expanded the process with each planning update. Most recently, the 1999 Big Game Working Group set the Department’s deer population management objectives for 2000-2015.

Deer are a public resource, but live on private lands. For any wildlife management effort to be successful, especially those occurring on private property [including deer wintering area management] society must determine: 1] the wildlife management result it desires, 2] the effort that it will undertake or require to achieve the result, and 3] to achieve the result, how much of the effort / cost will be borne by the private landowner and what, if any, society will bear.

You may view this statement in much the same way as does MDIFW, the governor’s office, the Maine Legislature and probably the majority of the Maine population. You agree with it and/or find no fault with it. However, it’s this mind set of “we’ve been doing this “since the early 1970s” that people think because they have it must be right. It’s not! It’s wrong on every count. It’s why there are no more deer! Why is this difficult to comprehend?

Deer is a resource that must be managed scientifically. We are now at a point where our fish and game departments allow the dictates of social pressures, and yes, even the social perversions of extremism, to directly influence how it manages wildlife. We, as yet anyway, don’t directly control our human populations based on what society dictates, do we? Please say no.

As a hunter, here I sit trying to figure out how we have gotten to this point. Since I was ten years old, I have invested in the Maine fish and game department. I didn’t do it because I had nothing better to do with my money. I did it because I like to hunt and fish. I did it because I was told that coughing up money each year for a license was a good thing and that money would be used to make sure that I had fish and game to harvest when I was hungry. This is my investment and your investment. We are still paying for it and we have nothing to say about it while the environmentalists and animal rights advocates have infiltrated our fish and game departments and all through state governments. And they pay nothing for the privilege of telling MDIFW what it will and will not do. There once was a time when sportsmen had ownership and the influence. No more, and that’s very sad as well as a troubling commentary for our future.

Maine’s Game Plan for Deer, like the hapless MDIFW without goals, without strategies, without a mission, is not a plan that will promise to increase your hunting and harvest opportunities. The Plan makes no such promise, while only stating it will work to increase deer populations that fit social demands only. With a department that protects the predators that destroy the deer, you might get some limited opportunities to hunt deer but it certainly is not what most hunters have in mind…..or at least used to.

Tom Remington

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