May 7, 2013
LD 1474, sponsored by Representative Denise Patricia Harlow (D-Portland) and supported by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), would mostly do away with the tactics of bear hunting and trapping in Maine that aid and assist in proper black bear management. LD 1474, if it were to pass, would:
*Ban bear trapping and bear hunting with dogs. Under the bill, government officials would only be allowed to trap or use dogs on “specific offending” bears or for scientific studies
*Ban using a leashed dog to track a wounded bear
*Place a permanent prohibition on hunting bears between January 1st and July 31st
*Reduce the bear bag limit from two to one bear for all hunters.
With a loss of these tools, an already overblown population of black bears, many of which are contributing to a whitetail deer herd going extinct in much of Maine, would balloon out of proportion and further exacerbate the problems, not to mention increased encounters between the bear and humans.
Not included in this bill is a ban on bear baiting. This bill is very unlikely to make it through the legislative process, in which HSUS has already promised they intend another citizens’ referendum in 2014 and in that proposal it will also include a ban on baiting.
George Smith, who was executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine in 2004 when the last bear referendum was defeated, is indicating he may support a move to pass LD 1474 in order to save bear baiting. One has to ask whether Smith has learned anything about these sort of things over the years. Does he really think if HSUS won LD 1474, they would quietly go away and never bother Maine again? Me thinks he’s been hanging out with the environmentalists too much.
The hearing on this bill will be held on Friday, May 10th, with the Joint Committee on Fisheries and Wildlife. The hearing is scheduled for 10 A.M. in Room 206 in the Cross Office Building in Augusta.
Please attend or contact members of the Joint Standing Committee. This bill should never make it out of the hearing alive.
March 21, 2013
The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife presents its Annual Deer Report. You can find a copy of the 8-page report by clicking on this link (PDF).
There’s not a lot of new information contained in this report, however I would like to point out a couple of things of interest, at least from my perspective.
1. The report places a fair amount of emphasis on the fact that the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) has used appropriated money for predator control to focus on remote areas where the department deems a need for coyote reduction. MDIFW claim in this report that without proper funding it was impossible to get hunters and trappers into remote deer yards. As such, that leaves much of the coyote control in not so remote areas up to volunteers and efforts of coyote contests, along with efforts to increase participation in coyote hunting through marketing and education.
2. It also appears quite clearly that MDIFW needs to act quickly and seriously in dealing with an overblown black bear population. Bear population target goals, it is said in this report, are to be similar to numbers from 1999 (23,000). Current estimates place the population in excess of 30,000. The same report states that deer fawn mortality by black bears can range from 20%-60%. Knowing that the easiest and perhaps fastest way to destroy a deer herd is to eliminate fawn recruitment, it should be a no-brainer that MDIFW needs to figure out ways to cut those numbers down.
One point brought up in the report was the reduction of hunter participation for bears. Does MDIFW have data that might show a reduction in participation coinciding with the increase in bear hunting permit fees?
3. Coyote control, evidently focused on remote areas, over the past three seasons has amounted to the killing of 398 wild dogs, at a cost of $49,765.00 or $125.03 per coyote. We need to assess whether this effort and the cost of killing one coyote is accomplishing what was hoped for. I’m not sure how this can be honestly assessed at this point.
If we take a look at the past three years, we see that for the 2010/2011 season, the cost for killing coyotes ran at $146.27 per animal while harvesting 11. For 2011/2012, that cost dropped to $127.36, while harvesting 119. And for 2012/2013, the cost dropped again slightly to $123.13, while killing 268 coyotes.
What can we conclude from this? Not much. Perhaps it is easy to say that even at $123.00 an animal, that’s a lot of money. But we have no way of knowing if it’s even possible to get that cost any lower. If you examine the information this report gives us, one thing that jumps out should be that in the three years nothing is consistent. It’s pretty difficult to assess effectiveness if there’s no consistency in which to make any kind of comparative assessment.
We can’t control the weather, which determines where both deer and coyotes will be and when and the susceptibility of deer to coyote predation and coyotes to human predation. We can control where we choose to target coyotes and the amount of money to be used to accomplish specific goals.
I guess then the question really becomes two fold. Do we have enough information to form an honest assessment? Has the program been running long enough and if not how many more years before we can make a determination?
This season MDIFW decided to use the majority of the money to focus on killing coyotes in remote deer yards. This is different from last year. Obviously the costs of traveling farther and into more remote areas is higher than it would be targeting nearby areas. If any kind of conclusion could be made, then perhaps with the higher costs and the result being 268 dead coyotes to show for it at a price tag of $123.13 per dog, success rates are going up causing cost per animal to come down. Therefore, perhaps as the program runs long enough to get the bugs out, numbers might look differently.
Will Maine run out of money for this program before it has had time to run long enough to know and understand any effectiveness?
I’d also like to know if MDIFW is considering killing coyotes in targeted deer fawning areas? We know that deer are targets in deep snow years in their deer wintering areas. We also know that fawns are targets in fawning areas. Shouldn’t we be targeting those areas as well?
I’ll leave readers with one more question. At and average so far of $125.03 per dead coyote could an attractive bounty system work the same or better if that money was paid to Maine hunters and trappers? Perhaps the bounty program could be set up in a lottery/permit allocation system in which higher bounties are paid for coyotes taken in high need or difficult to access areas.
March 1, 2013
*Editor’s Note* – Edited for correction and clarification 3/3/13
During our ordeals with the past bear referendum and the two times the Maine Trappers Association went to federal court on behalf of all trappers over the Lynx issues, we received a tremendous amount of financial and letter writing support from trappers from away.
Now the USFWS is going after Wolverine trapping out west in the lower 48 states. They want the wolverine to be classified a Threatened Species. Only one state currently has a trapping season (Montana), but they want to put trapping restrictions on California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Washington & Wyoming.
The reason the USFWS is doing this is because GLOBAL WARMING may cause the population to decrease based on “climate modeling indicates” the wolverine’s snowpack habitat will become greatly reduced & fragmented in the coming years due to global warming, thereby threatening the species with extinction according to a USFWS news release.
The USFWS has opened a 90 day comment period that started 4 Feb. to allow public comment regarding the proposal. To find out how to submit comments go to [ http://www.fws.gov/mountain/prairie/species/mammals/wolverine ]
Lets give the trappers out west a helping hand, they sure did us when we needed it.
It is my opinion that Global Warming is one part of the U.N. Agenda 21 (their documents support this) scam to gain control of the peoples & governments of the world and reduce world populations in the future and restore wild areas to support what they call a sustainable population.
Submitted by Dave Miller
January 24, 2013
Two weeks ago I reported that the Humane Society of the United States, was looking for someone in the Maine Legislature willing to sponsor their ridiculous anti bear hunting and trapping bill. It appears they have found their marionette in Maine Senator Edward Mazurek, D-Rockland.
The Sun Journal report is mostly a copy and paste effort from the Humane Society of the United States’ (HSUS) website, so it fails to present any other opinion, position, or facts from people who have them. HSUS does not!
This bill should NEVER make it out of committee. We will see just where the Legislature, Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife and the governor stand on this. Ironic in a way that MDIFW and the Legislature tend to tip-toe around scared to death of offending someone or causing some insane animal rights con artists, like HSUS, to file a lawsuit like the one in 2004. And what do we have? Not a lawsuit but what good did tip-toeing do except send out a red flag that Maine is weak on game management.
January 14, 2013
Below is a photo of some coyotes taken during the winter months in New Brunswick Canada. More can be seen here.
January 11, 2013
The timing is about right. With Obama’s illegal and crooked election victory and the majority of Americans seemingly content to become slaves to the government, compounded by the fact that Obama and a corrupt, inept, worthless, puppet Congress have decided now is the time to steal more of the hard earned money a few American still make, sportsmen probably don’t have enough money to fight an anti-hunting bill from the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS).
At the local level in Maine, voters decided they would rather continue the mired-in-poverty lifestyle while being the most popular state to find free hand outs from the same Santa Clause that Obama worships, and voted the communists, er, I mean democrats back in control of the Maine Congress.
Yeah, the timing is excellent for HSUS to impose their fascists dreams onto a population of serfs eager to collect their next government dole.
In 2004, a similar battle erupted costing exorbitant amounts of money to stop bear hunting and trapping. The antis got greedy and thought they could get it all in one fell swoop. After the fact, they learned Maine voters would have voted down a trapping ban, so HSUS has gone back to work to get as much as they can now and will come back later, with their endless supply of dirty money they take from people annually, to get the rest.
Nobody took my advice of several years ago, not long after the BBI (Bear Battle I) and put their efforts into getting a constitutional amendment to guarantee the Maine people the right to hunt, trap and fish while constitutionally mandating that the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) manage game species for surplus harvests. While not an end all to such asinine lawsuits, it is quite a stumbling block when crooks like HSUS know they have to somehow defeat a state constitution to promote their idealistic perversions of animal cult worship.
While it’s never too late to introduce an amendment, having done so before this latest announcement, might have warded off the efforts of the fascists.
Time to gear up the propaganda machine for Bear Battle II. What’s in your wallet?
January 10, 2013
Time to begin making some comparisons and then try to determine if the coyote reduction plan in Maine is flawed or its success or failure is based on uncontrolled circumstances or both.
Let’s first examine last year’s coyote report of the number taken as of February 27, 2011.
There was quite a lot of hoopla when this report came out. What we discovered was that 89 coyotes were killed in 9 designated killing zones at a cost of $106.00 per coyote. However, the blame for this was laid squarely on the lack of snow and the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife stating that because of no snow, the deer were not in the deer yards and as a result there were no coyotes there to kill deer. And that was the ONLY reason. In addition, $50,000 had been appropriated for coyote culling and less than $10,000 of that had been spent as of February 27, 2012. Virtually no more money and effort was put toward coyote control.
As of December 31, 2012, the trapping phase of the coyote control program was completed. It entailed 26 designated killing zones, with 176 coyotes being killed at a cost of $25,770; or $146.00 per coyote. The graphic below shows that information.
So what’s the deal? Are the deer in the yards? Is there enough snow in the 26 designated areas to force deer into the yards? Are there any deer left to go into the yards? Have deer adapted more than we want or choose to believe and aren’t using these traditional deer yards, having been forced out by predators or other reasons?
Last January 14, 2012, the National Weather Service compiled the below map showing snow depths in Maine.
The next photograph, also from the National Weather Service, shows Maine’s snow depth as of January 10, 2013.
Even though the hunting phase of the coyote control program is just underway, with 11 taken so far, can we attribute the increase in coyote kill to the increase in number of designated areas from 9 to 26? Can we attribute this increase in an increase in snow depth, driving more deer into the yards? Or both?
Clearly the snow depth charts show an increase in snow cover; in some cases substantially. I have communicated with one trapper, who is part of the program of paid trappers, who said snow in his area of coyote trapping was up to his waist. But he also noted that even with this amount of snow, few deer can be found in the traditional deer yards. Why?
Aside from the debate of how many coyotes are being killed, we must examine more closely the cost associated with this. The cost of killing one coyote jumped up $40 per animal. How can this be explained and/or justified?
Last season the complaint was the ridiculous cost of this government program, along with lack of success, and it was suggested by many that if even half that amount was paid to each trapper/hunter for taking one coyote, the kill numbers would have shot up drastically. But now with this increased cost, one has to seriously question whether the program is designed to kill coyotes or to appease a few hunters and trappers.
I am continuing an effort to gather more information and ideas on this program in hopes of compiling suggestions on how to make it better. Look for this report in a few more days. As one trapper pointed out to me, “It is up to us the trappers & hunters to make it [coyote control program] work in the manner that is most beneficial to the deer.”
And ain’t that the truth!
January 2, 2013
November 30, 2012
A Maine trapper, checking his trap lines with his trusty partner, discovered a perfectly matched set of moose antler sheds. What a find!
October 16, 2012
Once again, Outcome Based Education, political bias and perpetuated myths are on display in Maine. A retired U.S. Fish and Wildlife biologist and a Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife biologist, says that politicians are the cause of Maine’s depleted(ing) deer herd, not coyotes.
Politicians are to blame for many things and readers know I would be the last in line to stand up for one unless I knew them personally and could trust them. As far as whether politicians are the sole blame for Maine’s vanishing deer herd, I don’t think, as much as I would like to, I could put all the blame on them.
The author was a wildlife biologist and worked for the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW), so I doubt he would dare place any of the blame for a terrible deer management execution on his “brotherhood” at MDIFW.
Getting beyond the political bias and nonsense, let’s examine a few things that the retired biologist had to say.
Since the early 1900s, expensive and barbaric coyote bounties have failed miserably in western states, but that knowledge carries no weight in Augusta.
History is full of accounts of how “barbaric bounties” very effectively controlled predator populations. Maybe the author needed to rewind his history clock a few more years to discover that….or maybe the seeming failure was intentional.
One has to simply reread many of the journals and accounts from years ago in the West to learn what actually happened. A favorite account of mine is that of C. Gordon Hewitt.
It always amazes me how that the evils of hunting swing in both directions, when convenient. While wolves and coyotes were virtually wiped out in the West as the settlers moved in, hunters were blamed. When there is talk of killing predators, such as coyotes and wolves, those same people who blamed the destruction of coyotes and wolves on hunters, swing the door in the other direction and tell us as did the opinion piece in question:
It seems counterintuitive, but the war on coyotes has actually increased their numbers and breeding range. The Colorado Division of Wildlife reports that coyotes are more numerous today than when the state was first settled by trappers. Colorado and other western states no longer waste taxpayer money on futile coyote control programs.
There exists no scientific evidence that killing coyotes causes them to automatically breed more of themselves. There are just too many factors that come into play when examining reproductive habits of any wild animal. And is the author of this opinion piece actually suggesting here that all those coyotes now in Colorado are solely to blame on hunters and trappers? Once again, a reading and studying of the history of settling the West shows that aside from certain pockets, this nirvana of the West was not so Disneyesque as many would like to believe. Man’s expansion created a vast habitat to support coyotes and all other wildlife. In time, the implementation of the North American Model for Wildlife Conservation allowed for the growth and health of our wildlife systems.
The retired biologist intimates that Maine plans to implement a one year program to kill coyotes, saying it wouldn’t be effective. Agreed, and I know of no honest person who has indicated that it would. I happen to know explicitly that both MDIFW Commissioner Woodcock and Governor LePage have been told and I believe understand that predator control is an ongoing part of wildlife management and this should have been taking place years ago. The MDIFW fell flat on their faces in this regard.
The article shows us the author’s real colors when he begins his rant about how the Maine politicians failed because they did not steal land rights away from American taxpayers. The crying and gnashing of teeth is about the State Legislature failing to tell landowners they can’t use the resources on their own land; an unconstitutional land grab straight from the pages of the United Nations Agenda 21 program, whose goal it is to take all land and resources worldwide and forbid you and I from owning or having access to any of it, saving it instead for them. I’m all for protecting our wildlife, but never at the expense of man’s life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. There are better ways than forceful takeovers.
We are then treated to what appears to be an expert on the deer management in Minnesota and Michigan stating:
If you remain unconvinced that lack of winter shelter is the primary reason northern Maine supports few deer, please consider this: Minnesota and Michigan deer herds are much healthier than Maine’s. Minnesota and Michigan winters are as difficult as Maine’s. Deer in both of those states must also avoid being eaten by coyotes and wolves.
So the logical question LePage, Woodcock, Martin and deer hunters should ask is this: What are Minnesota and Michigan doing differently to maintain healthy deer populations? The answer: Both states prioritize protecting deer wintering areas through land purchases, conservation easements and regulating excessive timber harvests.
The proof is in the pudding they say, and with the help of a reader, we have been able to provide a couple of graphs that show that since the late 1990s and early 2000s, both Minnesota and Michigan have seriously reduced deer harvest numbers, dropping over 30% and more.
You don’t suppose that one of the reasons that Minnesota and Michigan have a declining harvest of deer, an indication of a declining deer population, has anything at all to do with the years of over protecting predators and now the results of that over protection are showing up? In addition, I have yet to get anyone that pretends to have all the answers explain to me why, if there are no more deer wintering areas left in Maine to support more deer, the ones we have are not being used?
It appears that the basis for the author’s opinion piece in the paper is mostly wrapped around his dislike of Gov. LePage and his republican administration, while at the same time blaming politicians in general for a deer demise, the fate of which was left in the hands of the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife; a department that the biologist was an employee of. Surely we couldn’t expect someone to point a finger at their brotherhood of hoodwinked biologists….or even perhaps at themselves.