July 16, 2018

I Still Don’t Understand How You Can “Manage” Wildlife Without Counting

And evidently, I’m not the only one scratching their head just a bit in trying to figure this nonsense out. It sure appears on the surface as though claiming counting is no longer important as a vital tool to responsibly manage game populations, like bear, deer, moose, and turkeys is another convenient excuse to hide problems or simply provide alibis for where you were when the moose population dropped dead.

V. Paul Reynolds, in his article today, states the following: “When the moose aerial studies were commenced in 2010, getting a handle on the ever-elusive question of how many moose there actually are was an avowed purpose of the surveys, along with understanding moose mortality and productivity. Eight years later, it seems that, although we have gained useful data on moose sex ratios and causes of mortality, and other indices, we have fallen short in counting heads.”

And in and around 2010 (It wasn’t immediately made known to the public that the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) had undertaken a moose study.), I questioned whether MDIFW would ever get to the real, honest, explanation of life as a moose in Maine or would it be just another in a long line of “studies” backed and crafted by Environmentalism’s Scientismic hocus-pocus. So far, it appears it’s leaning toward the scientismic end result.

However, it was encouraging when MDIFW reported that their data “suggested” that ticks were the real culprit in taking control over moose populations, although there still exists fuzzy voodoo science and romance biology over whether it’s Global Warming or too many ticks that are causing moose mortality.

As Reynolds points out, one of the great selling points of this current moose study was the need to get a solid grasp on the moose population and what is controlling it. The Second Grade question remains how do you accomplish this task while at the same time removing from the new Game Management Plan the importance of population densities and replacing it with “healthy populations?”

At the drop of a hat, or perhaps if it fits the current moose management narrative for political purposes, moose biologists and MDIFW officials seemed almost boastful in stating Maine had 76,000 (or lot’s more) moose. After eight years of study and many dollars later, MDIFW is reluctant to utter a guess?

Perhaps what’s really going on is a matter of attempting to save face. Is it that MDIFW has discovered that Global Warming can’t be blamed for a decline in moose? Has MDIFW discovered that winter ticks really are killing off the moose (you know, some of that “natural balance”) and it is NOT Global Warming that has caused the epidemic? Has MDIFW discovered that trying to grow too many moose has caused the prevailing tick problem? Has MDIFW discovered that there isn’t even close to 76,000 moose and, as yet, has not come up with a workable lie as to why they were so far off in their estimations?

If so, perhaps now they don’t know what to do because taking action to scientifically correct the “unhealthy” moose population means bucking the Environmentalists and Animal Rights groups who not only want more moose they want uncontrolled numbers of every wild animal that exists…despite the consequences.

Being politically on the wrong side of Environmentalism is a place MDIFW does not want to be.

For now, better to act stupid and not reveal your hand, and then maybe it will just magically go away.

In the meantime, let’s practice…1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10… I knew you could.

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Black Bears, Mange, Climate Change Nonsense, Emotional Ignorance

In a report filed in the Washington Post and reprinted in the Bangor Daily News, bears in Pennsylvania, along with neighboring states of New York, West Virginia, Virginia, and Maryland, are suffering from mange.

The article states that Pennsylvania, “seems to be the epicenter of an outbreak that scientists don’t fully understand.” Mange has been a problem since the 1990s.

And because biologists “don’t fully understand” the reason for the outbreak, they make sure they insert their favorite “go to” excuse of Climate Change.

When these clowns blame climate change, we know that what they are referring to is a warming of the climate that brings events that scientists “don’t fully understand.” If this was true, then it seems feasible that black bears living in the southern states would be suffering from mange on a regular basis, but that evidently is not the case. But it’s easier to blame Climate Change.

While it might not be explained how the bears contracted this kind of unusual for bears mange, might it be possible that it is spreading from the “epicenter” at quite an alarming rate, or so it appears, because of a large population of bears (20,000) and one that is “a record number for the state.” Mange is spread through contact and with increased populations of bears the chances of contact with other bears increases. Makes sense.

If 20,000 bears is a record number, and Pennsylvania has a bear hunting season, then it certainly appears that despite the hunting the population continues to grow. Either Pennsylvania is deliberately attempting to grow the bear population or bear hunting alone doesn’t seem to be able to keep the population in check or to reduce the population. Many other states are suffering the same dilemma – too many bears and no way of controlling the populations. What waits on the horizon for all these states with black bears?

Most people don’t have knowledge of real wildlife science and depend on their favorite form of Scientism to give them the fabricated talking points that make them feel like good pals with animals such as bears. They don’t want to believe that bears, or any other animal, suffers when populations get too large. Instead, they want to just blame the existence of men and of course all forms of hunting.

In a recent Letter to the Editor of a Maine newspaper, one such person blames the continued growth in Maine’s black bear population on hunters being allowed to hunt over bait. Pennsylvania does NOT allow hunting bears over bait and yet their bear population continues to grow at about the same rate as Maine.

It can be argued forever whether or not artificially feeding bears effects the rate of reproduction. But there are some facts that should be looked at but seldom are when emotional clap-trap Scientism is the driving force behind the obvious hatred toward hunting and hunters.

The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) has stated repeatedly that when natural food is readily available, hunters have a very difficult time to successfully lure a bear to a bait station. Bears much prefer their natural food over man-made bait.

Those opposed to hunting, and more specifically bear baiting, claim that baiting bears causes the increase in reproductivity of black bears. There are far too many influencers on bears that any study can definitively say more food, or baiting bears causes an increase in population.

But even if it was an accepted fact, at what real impact does a bear baiting season have on population growth?

Maine has an estimated 30,000 to 35,000 black bears. According to MDIFW’s bear harvest report for 2016, 2,859 bears were taken during the entire hunting and trapping seasons. Of those 2,859 harvested bears, 1,936 were taken over bait. It can be safely stated that all of Maine’s 35,000 bears don’t live adjacent to the handful of bait stations hunters employ.

The overall success rate of harvesting a bear in Maine runs about 25%. We could play around with some math here but the bottom line appears to be that even with the baiting, bears being affected, if at all, by bait is but a drop in the bucket compared to the overall population of bears in the state of Maine. Consequently, any change in reproductive rates would certainly appear to be insignificant.

For Maine residents, including the ones making claims that baiting is the driving force behind an ever-growing bear population, the question of concern should be, will Maine bears begin suffering from mange? And if so, what is the plan of attack should it strike?

The trend in this country today is disturbing from a wildlife management perspective. More and more people are perversely in love with all animals and want them all protected. To go along with this unnatural love affair with animals and the brainwashing of our children in schools and in the media, there are fewer and fewer hunters every year. This combination spells disaster in wildlife management. With little or no tools available for wildlife population control and management, our forests and fields will become chaotic “natural balance” as the Environmentalists scream for. With that chaotic approach, we can expect continued “unusual” outbreaks of life-destroying diseases which is how Mother Nature deals with it.

It appears the only way we can learn the truth is to let it happen and clean up the mess later.

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Should “Any-Deer Permits” Be Changed to Doe Permits and…

Yesterday I was approached by a Maine deer hunter who asked me to ponder his question. He didn’t want an answer right then and there. I’m not sure when he expected the answer or that he assumed maybe I would write about his question. So, here’s his question: “Do you think that when somebody applies for and wins a doe permit [Any-Deer Permit], that is all they should be able to shoot – an antlerless deer?” My knee-jerk reaction was yes, I would like to see it that way. But then I had some time to think about it. Here are some thoughts for you to ponder and please feel free to offer comments below.

If we swallow the bait, hook, line, and sinker, that the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) uses the allocation of “Any-Deer Permits” (ADP) as a scientific means of controlling and manipulating the state’s deer population, including age structure and buck-to-doe ratios, and that along with that belief you think the ADP system is successful, then it might be easy to say there is little need to discuss the what-ifs of changing the ADP to a strict doe-only permit.

But, let’s consider it anyway. Perhaps there is something to be discovered in this proposition.

I mostly understood the basis for this hunter’s question to ponder. Especially after he told me that in his hunting life-span, which extends far before the ADP system was put in place, he has never applied for an ADP. I smiled and said, “Neither have I.”

There is a belief that those hunters who apply for and get an ADP, are taking the antlered bucks that I guess somehow should be saved for….well, I dunno who – “trophy” hunters and not meat hunters?

According to an article that appeared in the Sun Journal, Maine deer biologists have recommended that MDIFW issue a record number of ADPs – up 28% from last year and to a level never before seen in the state. The recommended number of ADPs sits at 84,745. That must mean the state has the largest number of deer ever in the history of the existence of the ADP system.

Errr…hang on just one second. When the estimated deer population in Maine stood at 331,000 AND the ADP system was in place, there certainly were not that many ADPs issued. So what gives? Today’s deer population estimate statewide might be as high as 120,000, depending on who you want to listen to. Doesn’t it make some sense that ADPs would be half what they were when the population was at 331,000 – more or less depending on circumstances?

Issuing this many permits can only mean one other thing…maybe…? That the buck-to-doe ratio in Maine, especially in the southern Wildlife Management Districts (WMD), is out of whack and the state needs to kill more does to make that happen…Or, maybe not so much.

Maine’s former head deer biologist told me once that it was virtually impossible for buck-to-doe ratios to exceed 1-3 or 4 unless the ratio was deliberately skewed. So, is the management of deer so deliberately skewed it has created an out-of-whack buck-to-doe ratio?

It would seem that if that was a problem, MDIFW would have at least hinted that they needed to issue straight-up doe permits to get that back on track.

According to George Smith, MDIFW is actually hinting at the prospects that the ADP system in its current form, is not working: “Deirdre Fleming reported recently that DIFW Wildlife Division Director Judy Camuso told the department’s Advisory Council that in all but six of the state’s Wildlife Management Districts the projected doe harvest was not reached last fall. State biologists projected a doe harvest of 7,114 in 2017 but the actual reported doe harvest was only 5,950.”

Uh, oh!

My question is this: If the doe harvest in all but 6 WMDs fell short last year by 1,200 deer, how is adding an additional 18,695 permits going to achieve the desired goal? Is it because there are not enough hunters or is it because those who win an ADP aren’t using it for the purposes designed? Or, perhaps, the ADP system is beginning to more and more show that it is a flawed system…not that it should be abandoned, however, but perhaps some needed changes injected into it.

I am getting to the question at hand about whether the ADP should become strictly a doe permit – meaning the holder of the doe permit can harvest ONLY a doe and not “Any Deer.”

It was an interesting brief discussion I had with this hunter. He said to me, “There are only two reasons a hunter will apply for an ADP – he wants meat regardless, or he wants insurance in case he messes up (I assume meaning he mistakenly shoots a doe instead of a buck).

I have no preference one way or the other except that however ADPs or doe permits are issued, they are done specifically to scientifically (real science) manipulate deer populations, age structure, and buck-to-doe ratios.

If the trend is that doe harvest isn’t coming close to being met with ADPs in the current format, for whatever the reasons (lack of hunters?), something has to change.

BTW, I shared the other day the real reason MDIFW wants to kill more does in the southern regions of the state and it has NOTHING to do with buck-to-doe ratios or age structure. It simply has to do with pressure from environmentalists to get rid of Lyme disease and they have chosen to pick on the deer as the culprit instead of going to the root source of the disease.

A brainwashed population of scared-by-design people are at a near panic level, fearful of even going outside. So let’s kill a whole bunch of deer.

Another fine example of non-scientific wildlife management driven by totalitarian socialism.

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In Days of Old When Knights Were Bold….

What’s this? Is this actually an activity that is being allowed to take place? But…But…But…

Bye, bye stubborn belly fat ticky-wicky!

Don’t ticks have rights??? Crimea River!!!!

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Ticks Survive Anything, But…Global Warming

It’s like a bad disease!! This country is so completely brainwashed with a lie about “Climate Change” that it is impossible for them to escape from it. We blame global warming for everything. I wonder if any kid has blamed not passing in their homework because of global warming?

A Portland Press Herald article tells of recent studies on ticks that carry Lyme disease. This study has proven that ticks heartily survive even the harshest of Maine winters and yet it is still claimed that ticks and Lyme disease are being caused by global warming.

You see what you want to see and believe what you want to believe.

I BELIEVE! I am a “TRUE BELIEVER!?

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Brainwashing and Fear of Government Causes Rabies Shots

We don’t really know who actually said, “When government fears the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny,” but it doesn’t matter because the statement makes a lot of sense.

Fear instilled in the masses is a great tool to control those masses and along with it, we see an eagerness of those fearful people to give up their liberties in exchange for false security.

When you combine this indoctrination and propagandizing that has been undertaken with the American people, with another form of brainwashing resulting in animal perversion you have instances like the one in Maine where an obviously sick bobcat doing “weird things” and attacking people, and nobody wanted or dared to shoot the animal in order to remove the imminent danger as well as put the animal out of its misery.

The report claims that in the instance where one man got attacked, bit, and scratched, even though he had a gun in his possession, said, “Her husband, John, and their son went outside to confirm the cat was not a lynx, which is protected, and to keep an eye on the animal while John called the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife to confirm that he could shoot it. Plowden said her husband had been armed but set the gun down to make the phone call.”

Now the son and father are undergoing rabies shots.

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Parasite Transmitted By Ticks Discovered In Canada Lynx

From the Granite Geek:

“Scientists found lungworm infection in 22 of 32 animals where the lung was examined. According to Stevens, it is unclear how much of an affect the presence of these parasites had on the health of the lynx. Many cases had minimal reaction associated with the infection so the parasites were likely incidental. However, other cases had more severe inflammation associated with the parasites, which may suggest some effect on the overall health of these individuals.

However, scientists also found inflammation in the heart and skeletal muscle of multiple Canada Lynx, and in two animals noted a microscopic protozoal organism suggestive of Hepatazoon sp. Additional diagnostic tests are being performed at the University of Georgia to definitively identify the protozoal species in these lynx. Protozoa are unicellular organisms, which occasionally lead to parasitic disease in different animal species.”

It appears that it is not known, or at least made public, enough information to know the full extent of the presence of this lungworm which is passed on by ticks…and what brand of ticks are involved.

However, I will guarantee one thing. We also read this: “To our knowledge, the parasite we believe this to be has not been diagnosed this far north as it tends to infect animals in the southern states and has not been diagnosed in Canada Lynx, although they are often diagnosed in Bobcats in southern states. This parasite is transmitted by tick vectors and to this point, the range of these tick vectors is not described to be in Maine so it is unclear if the tick range has expanded into Maine or if the Hepatazoon-like organism in these lynx is one not normally found in North America.”

The guarantee is that the root cause of this “previously unknown” parasite will be attributed to Climate Change. It’s what’s for lunch.

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Meta-Analysis, Coyotes, and Lyme Disease

Recently I had posted a link to a “study” conducted at Pepperdine University about the diet of Northeastern coyotes, compared to Western coyotes’ and a possible link to the spread and/or perpetuation of Lyme Disease in the Northeast.

On March 4, 2018, I wrote an article sharing, in part, the publisher of Maine Sportsman Magazine, Jon Lund’s, observation that the increased population of coyotes in Maine was causing an increase in Lyme Disease-carrying ticks which in turn was the cause of up-turns in the incidences of the disease. I wrote: “In the March 2018 edition, he asks, “Are Coyotes to Blame for Increase in Ticks?” His simple explanation is that the presence of an increased population of coyotes in Maine is causing a reduction in the fox population – the trickle-down effect of an increase in ticks, particularly the tick that carries Lyme disease. The reality is that coyotes compete with and kill, directly and indirectly, the red fox that is sufficiently more adept at killing the small rodents that carry and perpetuate the Deer (Lyme) tick. In an effort to mitigate what appears to be a festering and growing incidence of Lyme disease in Maine, Lund is wondering if it is time, due to the necessity of a public health risk, to make a more serious effort at reducing the coyote population.”

According to the Meta-Analysis linked to, their conclusions do not support Lund’s theory. While I only have the Abstract of the study, I can only provide what is written there. But first, let me explain something in case readers don’t know what a meta-analysis is. A meta-analysis is “a statistical analysis that combines the results of multiple scientific studies.” (Source)

In this instance, scientists simple took data from 18 different studies about coyote diet and determined that while coyotes in the Northeast readily ate more deer, they proportionately did not eat more or less small predators (like the fox that Lund claims eat the rodents that carry the Lyme tick). The Abstract states: “Our results show that deer occur significantly more in the diet of Northeastern coyotes than in the diet of Midwestern coyotes, while small mammals occur significantly less. The occurrence of rabbits, hares, birds, vegetation, and fruit do not differ significantly by region. This supports the hypothesis that Northeastern coyotes, due to their larger size and hybridization with wolves, are better adapted at hunting large prey. Although Northeastern coyotes eat fewer small mammals than Midwestern coyotes, small mammals are still a common component of the Northeastern coyote diet. Thus the abundance of Northeastern coyotes is not likely to be positively correlated to the incidence of Lyme disease.”

It’s worth pointing out a few things. Again I’ll state that I don’t have access to the full study, however, there does seem to be some degree of contradiction but that contradiction may be insignificant.

Second, it appears from this information that because the Northeastern coyote eats far more deer, due mostly in size and cross-breeding with wolves, it may be due to a bigger appetite because the animal was bigger than the Western coyote. A conclusion on my part.

Third, this information clearly states that Northeastern coyotes eat fewer small mammals than their Western counterparts, but evidently not enough to make any sort of difference.

Fourth, this study concludes that it is “not likely” fewer small mammals consumed “positively correlated to the incidence of Lyme disease.”

It would appear that this analysis has only proven that Northeastern coyotes eat more deer than Western coyotes.

There is nothing conclusive, that I can see, that the presence of an increased population of coyotes has no effect on Lyme ticks.

Do any of the studies have data that go back to a time before the “Eastern coyote” became an invasive species? Have any of these studies taken place in long enough periods of time to take into account a changing coyote diet due to changing conditions on the ground? In other words, depending on conditions on the ground, a coyotes’ diet can have large fluctuations in amount and prey diet. Are these factored in? Will a changing diet also change the incidence of Lyme disease?

There are a lot of questions that remain unanswered. Because of this meta-analysis, I wouldn’t be too quick to disregard Jon Lund’s hypothesis about the direct correlation between coyotes and Lyme disease.

What got along superbly before the invasive species arrived. I would surmise we could get along marvelously without them now.

 

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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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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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