November 26, 2014

The Truth About Bear Trapping

“Maine’s nationally famous Bear Study has monitored thousands of bears since it started in 1975. During that time, using the foot snare, it has trapped and released, unharmed, more than 2,700 bears. Many bears have been caught repeatedly, and have shown no physical or behavioral trauma from the experience.

“Trapped bears don’t struggle much, and are found sitting quietly at the trap site, often sleeping. Their physical condition is closely studied by biologists, and trap injuries have been statistically non-existent. The bears have to be released completely unharmed for the studies to be effective; foot snares would never be used if they damaged the animals even slightly.”<<<Read More>>>

Olson’s Trappers Weekend Reveals Huge Support Against Question One

“On Saturday at trapper and fur trader Neil Olson’s 38th annual New England Trappers Weekend in Bethel, large signs were just about everywhere urging the few thousand participants to defeat the referendum. Additionally, the Maine Trappers Association was holding a 50/50 raffle and auction with all proceeds going to fight the referendum.

Many trappers view the referendum as an attack on their right to hunt and on deeply steeped hunting traditions.”<<<Read More>>>

Town of Wilton Passes Resolution Opposing Bear Referendum

WILTON — The Board of Selectpersons unanimously agreed Tuesday, on behalf of the town, to sign a resolution opposing the Nov. 4 referendum question banning the use of bait, dogs and traps for bear hunting.<<<Read More>>>

WiltonBear

Maine’s Kennebec Journal Editor Corrects False Accusation About HSUS

In what can only be described as unprecedented, the editor of the Kennebec Journal corrects a statement made by a person in a Letter to the Editor promoting a “yes” vote on Question One of Maine’s upcoming November referendum vote. In that letter, the writer accuses a previous letter writer(Carroll Ware) of “made up stuff out of whole cloth” when Ware said that Wayne Pacelle, CEO of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), wanted to end all hunting.

The editor adds a correction after the Letter to the Editor that reads: “Editor’s note: In 1991, when he was CEO of the Fund for Animals, a radical anti-hunting organization, Pacelle was quoted by The Associated Press as saying, “If we could shut down all sport hunting in a moment, we would.””

The other information contained in this letter about the results of bear baiting is “made up stuff out of whole cloth.”

Maine/USFWS Plan for Canada Lynx Incidental Take Permit

Press Release from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service:

Agencies release revised plan, assessment for protecting Canada lynx affected by Maine trapping programs Maine to manage at least 4,785 acres for Canada lynx
August 5, 2014
Contacts:

USFWS, Meagan Racey, 413-253-8558
MDIFW, Mark Latti, 207-287-5216

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is one step closer to making a decision on permitting Maine’s state-regulated trapping programs for effects to the federally protected Canada lynx. The Service and Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife reviewed public comments on the necessary documents for the permit and have released revised versions for public review and comment through September 5, 2014.

The agencies previously released draft versions of MDIFW’s incidental take plan and the Service’s environmental assessment for public comment in November 2011, followed by three highly attended public information sessions. The Service received about 285 unique letters, 129 comment cards from public information sessions and 6,100 form letters commenting on issues from outreach and monitoring measures to lynx handling procedures and enforcement.

The revised plan describes measures proposed by MDIFW to minimize the effects of incidental trapping on lynx, such as increased trapper outreach, compliance monitoring by wardens and veterinary oversight, and it incorporates several new methods of trapping and new trapping regulations. MDIFW proposes to offset, or mitigate, for the effects on lynx by maintaining at least 4,785 acres of lynx habitat in the state’s Bureau of Parks and Lands Seboomook Unit in northern Maine. The agency has added the predator management and animal damage control programs as activities to be covered under the plan, but the addition has not changed the expected effect on lynx.

The Endangered Species Act makes it illegal to “take”—meaning trap, capture, collect, harass, harm, wound or kill—federally threatened or endangered wildlife, such as the threatened Canada lynx. Some activities, such as trapping for common species like bobcat or fisher, have the risk of incidentally taking protected species. An incidental take permit would allow trapping through the recreational, predator management and animal damage control programs to continue as MDIFW undertakes practical measures to avoid, minimize, and mitigate take of lynx.

Incidental take plans, known also as habitat conservation plans, identify the impacts to wildlife from a project or program; the steps the applicant will take to reduce or compensate for such impacts; what alternative actions were considered; and how conservation efforts will be funded.

To learn more and comment on the documents:

Visit the Maine Field Office website, http://www.fws.gov/mainefieldoffice/, for questions and answers about the revised documents, species information and an archive of the draft documents.
Visit www.regulations.gov and enter docket FWS-R5-ES-2014-0020 to review comments submitted during the 2011-2012 comment period, the Service’s response to comments, and the revised plan and assessment.
Submit comments at www.regulations.gov or by hard copy to: Public Comments Processing, Attn: FWS-R5-ES-2014-0020; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Headquarters, MS: BPHC; 5275 Leesburg Pike; Falls Church, VA 22041–3803. Please reference the docket number for this notice.

After the comment period ends, the Service will determine whether the application meets the permit issuance requirements.

Copy of an email sent to various recipients from Mark McCollough of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service:

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) has updated its draft Environmental Assessment (DEA) for the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife’s (MDIFW) revised incidental take plan (ITP) for incidental trapping threatened Canada lynx. The agencies will make both available for a 30-day supplemental public comment period. They will be published in the Federal Register on Wednesday, August 6. There will be a 30-day comment period ending September 5, 2014. No public meetings are planned.

In summary, from 1999 to 2013, 84 lynx have been reported incidentally trapped in Maine (seven were caught in killer-type traps and 77 in foothold traps). Under the revised plan, the MDIFW anticipates that up to 13 lynx per year, or 195 total, might be incidentally trapped in restraining traps (e.g., foothold, cage traps and cable restraints) following issuance of the 15-year permit. The MDIFW expects that the majority of lynx caught in these traps will be released with little to no injury. They are requesting the permit to allow for up to three lynx fatalities as the result of incidental trapping. The MDIFW does not anticipate take in killer-type traps and take of orphaned kittens. The MDIFW seeks incidental take coverage for lynx that might be trapped in fur trapping, predator management (coyote control), and animal damage control programs. The agency proposes to phase in cable restraints, a new form of trapping for Maine, rescind regulations governing the size of foothold traps, and resume use of cage traps in northern Maine. The MDIFW will conduct a number of minimization measures that include increasing trapper education; a trapper hotline; biologists responding to lynx trapping incidents; assessing, classifying, and treating injures; rehabilitating injured lynx; and a protocol to care for kittens in situations where a female is trapped and injured and must be removed from the wild for rehabilitation. To mitigate for potential lynx mortalities, the MDIFW will maintain and enhance at least 4,785 acres of lynx habitat on a 10,411-acre area in the Maine Department of Agriculture Conservation and Forestry, Bureau of Parks and Lands Seboomook Unit in northern Maine.

The documents are available for review today at the Federal Register Reading Room at https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2014/08/06/2014-18548/incidental-take-plan-maine-department-of-inland-fisheries-and-wildlifes-trapping-program. The Service is releasing the revised versions of the plan and the Environmental Assessment for a 30-day supplemental public comment period. We encourage you to submit comments. Written comments may be submitted electronically by September 5, 2014, via the Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov, or in hard copy, via U.S. mail, to: Public Comments Processing, Attn: FWS–R5–ES–2014–0020; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Headquarters, MS: BPHC; 5275 Leesburg Pike; Falls Church, VA 22041-3803. The docket number for this notice is FWS–R5–ES–2014–0020.

Following this comment period, the Service will evaluate the revised plan and comments we receive to determine whether the permit application meets the requirements of section 10(a) of the Endangered Species Act (ESA)(16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.). We will also evaluate whether issuance of a section 10(a)(1)(B) permit complies with ESA section 7 by conducting an intra-Service consultation and biological opinion.

All documents associated with MDIFW’s 2008 and 2014 incidental take permit applications (including the Service’s draft Environmental Assessments) will also be posted at the Service’s Maine Field Office website Canada lynx page: http://www.fws.gov/mainefieldoffice/Canada_lynx.html. We are also posting public comments that we received during our 2011-2012 90-day public comment period. Responses to these public comments are appended to our 2014 draft Environmental Assessment.

The Service issued the attached press release and question-and-answer documents this afternoon.

Please contact Laury Zicari, field office supervisor (207 866-3344 x111, Laury_Zicari@fws.gov), or myself (contact information below) if you have any questions. We encourage you to comment through www.regulations.gov.

Please distribute to others who may be interested in this issue.

Sincerely, Mark McCollough

Mark McCollough, Ph.D.
Endangered Species Specialist
Maine Field Office
U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Canada Lynx Incidental Take Plan and Permit Application for Maine Trapping Program
Questions and Answers

Trapping: Effective Management Action

Abstract

Many populations of wildlife, including large- and medium-sized predators are increasing in Europe. Trapping can be one way to reduce negative impacts of predators on human interests, such as game species and threatened species, but there is little knowledge of trap usage and motivation behind it. We used a mail survey in Sweden (n?=?3,886 respondents) to compare predator trappers with hunters who used other methods to kill predators, and with other hunters who did not kill predators, in regard to sociodemographics, beliefs, behaviors, and constraints. During 12 months prior to the survey 19 % of respondents had trapped any small- or medium-sized predator, while 15 % of respondents had trapped and 55 % had hunted (without using traps) red fox (Vulpes vulpes), European badger (Meles meles), or corvid birds. Reducing predator numbers was an important reason for hunting predators with traps. Of predator trappers, 97 % had hunted species that were potentially prey of the targeted predators (e.g., roe deer [Capreolus capreolus], hare [Lepus spp.], and grouse), 94 % believed that there were too many red foxes, badgers, or corvids on their main hunting ground, and 64 % believed it to be very important to reduce predator numbers to benefit other game species. We conclude that the use of traps is widespread among Swedish hunters, and that increasing wildlife populations, increased presence of wildlife in urban areas, and management of invasive species calls for effective management actions, of which trapping can be one. (Note: This Abstract is part of the overall study results posted online. For those interested the entire study can be purchased online as well. Learn more about this by following this link.)

Ted Nugent Speaks Out Against Maine Bear Referendum

“It may not come as a surprise that rockstar and avid hunter Ted Nugent is against the referendum to ban bear baiting, hounding and trapping in Maine, and Tuesday, the famous musician made his views on the referendum clear in a email interview with the BDN.”<<<Read More>>>

The Problem With Arguing Hunting Ethics, Name Calling and Ignorance

This nonsense is endless. Even the Bangor Daily News allows anybody to publish a bunch of rude nonsense about bears and bear hunting in order, I suppose, to promote their anti-hunting agenda. If not anti-hunting, certainly to support radical, corrupt organizations such as the Humane Society of the United States.

In an opinion piece in the Bangor Daily News, a mortgage broker, presenting himself as some authority on hunting and, being an “ethical” one at that, because he lived in Alaska for a handful of years, calls those who legally choose to use baiting as a means of harvesting a bear, lazy. To him they are lazy because all they have to do is carry a bucket of bait to a site, climb into a tree and wait for a bear to appear. Obviously the man knows nothing about baiting. However, he presents “his way” of hunting as ethical and the right way. Oh really?

Josh Phillips is a lazy hunter, if one at all. He is lazy because he hunts with a gun, maybe even a bow and arrow. He probably uses scent block or some kind of lure or a masking scent. Does he use a gps so he doesn’t get lost? How about a radio? Carry a cell phone? What a lazy hunter. Perhaps a real “ethical” hunter would venture into the woods with nothing but a loin cloth and bare hands. Who died and left Josh Phillips in charge of hunting ethics?

The rest of his story is old, worn out, unsubstantiated, nonsense about how other states have magically done this and done that while at the same time increased the number of bear hunters, blah, blah, blah. Probably Mr. Phillips is a lazy writer because he didn’t “ethically” do his research to vet that misinformation being used to promote his cause. If he had he would know this repeated information is false.

Some might think that calling Mr. Phillips lazy is an insult. I say it’s calling a duck(quack) a duck(quack).

Now that we know that Mr. Phillips is better than other hunters, well, you know, those that are ” finding a bear to kill and stuff or turn into a rug,” it still doesn’t solve the problem of how the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife is going to control bear populations.

It is nonsense to think that Maine’s bear population has increased in the amounts indicated by Phillips because of baiting bears. His analogy of relationships between bears and humans and bait stations is wrong on every account. He knows little, if anything, about baiting bears, nor the differences between “feeding” bears in back yards and carefully and strategically placing “bait” in remote areas.

I see the issue as one of the Humane Society of the United States wishing to steal the necessary tools away from the Maine wildlife management department in order to promote their bigger agenda of ending hunting. I wonder if Mr. Phillips has considered that his support of the Humane Society to end bear baiting, trapping and hounding, drives one more nail in the coffin of his beloved hunting experiences? For this reason, I doubt that he is much of a hunter at all. He appears as the typical person who condemns other choices of sport believing his own choice is THE ONLY one.

To compare bears and bear hunting in Maine to that of Colorado, Oregon or any other state further exemplifies the ignorance of the subject matter being discussed. Do your homework. Know your subject matter.

If Mr. Phillips really is a hunter and if Mr. Phillips chooses, because he is allowed legally to have a choice, to be nothing more than a stocker of game in the woods, that is his choice and I certainly respect that. His wish to steal choices from others is no different than should I campaign to make hunter an matter of loin cloths and bare hands. I doubt Phillips would like that much.

Ethics while hunting, as guided by hunting regulations devised for game management and public safety, is a subjective matter driven by personal choice. I don’t want to take away Mr. Phillips choices why does he want to take away mine?

The real issue here is the ability to be able to manage bears to provide a healthy bear population. How can that be done with the wildlife manager’s hands bound behind their backs?

Old Hunter says:

ScarboroughHunter

Who’s Brainwashing Who?

A recent opinion piece found in the Portland Press Herald (Maine) says that the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife’s claim that stopping bear baiting, bear trapping and bear hounding will cause an increase in bear population, perhaps threatening public safety, is “baloney” and “brainwashing the public.” How about one of these brainwashed individuals, like who wrote this letter to the editor, provide some scientific research about the “millions of pounds” of food they claim hunters are dumping in the woods each year? Or that baiting bears is the same as feeding them in your backyard, and that baiting bears is what is causing the continued increase in bear population throughout Maine. That’s because there isn’t any. In case the writer isn’t aware, the use of propaganda (false information) repeated over and over again, results in brainwashing.

BigFoot

Opinions Are Like……….Well, Never Mind

Readers should ALWAYS be reminded that letters to the editor of newspapers are only opinions no matter how inaccurate a writers claims might be. It is quite astounding that some people can present seemingly continuous claims about Maine bear hunting while providing absolutely nothing of value to substantiate those claims. As a reader you are left with total disregard for what is contained in the opinion piece. It should be also noted that providing links to other’s opinions does not make for credible information to back claims.

This happened recently in the Bangor Daily News when a woman, passing herself off as someone who, “hunted as hard as any man for 30 years when I was younger,” states that people should support the upcoming bear hunting referendum to ban hunting bears with bait, hounds and trapping with snares.

I’ve addressed most all of these issues in the past. However, there is one issue that this author brought up that needs some attention as well; that of sportsmanship and hunting ethics.

The author says that Maine has a “time-honored principle of fair chase” and that game should have a “reasonable” chance to escape a hunter. I wonder if the 30-years of hunting “as hard as any man” can remember some of those “time-honored” principles when bears were slaughtered due to unregulated hunting? That the bear population had diminished to near unsustainable levels due to that “time-honored” tradition of fair chase? That heritage of “fair chase” might be more myth than reality.

The problem with discussing ethics in hunting is complex and too much of what is considered sportsmanlike and ethical is left to the individual beliefs and governed by laws crafted by fish and game authorities to provide a degree of public safety along with what becomes necessary to control populations of game species. The author makes the claim the Maine doesn’t “bait” for other species like moose and deer because “it’s not fair chase.” Maine has a very limited deer and moose population and so that while providing opportunities for all hunters to fill their freezers there must be limits on tools used in the “fair chase” to also limit harvest. If Maine was overrun with deer, it can be expected that laws would be changed to find ways to increase the harvest of deer and moose. If it then is an individual’s choice and belief system of what is and is not “fair chase” and decides to opt out of baiting, then more power to the individual. Perhaps to resort back to hunting with an atlatl would be ethical and fair chase enough. Then again there are those extremists who think any form of hunting at all is unethical. Who gets to decide what you believe? Legislating ethics and fair chase is something that should never happen.

When anyone inserts the word “reasonable” as a means of describing fair chase, then any definition is completely lost, as it should be. So, then, what is fair chase? Is hunting with a GPS fair chase? Using a rifle scope? Scent locked clothing? Buck lures and doe scents? Calling by mouth, with a hand-held device or electronic call? Every individual can draw their own line of ethics. Claiming bear hunting by hounds or baiting for hunting or trapping is not fair chase obviously in not to this writer but to many others, within the law, it is fair chase and they should have that right. I shouldn’t dictate to this writer what she should maintain for fair chase ethics and I expect the same in return.

Massing words together in a rant about other people’s perceptions of fair chase and ethics involving hunting does nothing to convince anyone that ending the current means of available hunting and trapping methods for black bears is a worthy goal.

Old Hunter says:

Language