September 18, 2019

Coyote Behavior: When All You Know is Farley Mowat’s Book of Mythology

Yesterday I was reading an article of utter nonsense published in a small Maine town newspaper about coyote behavior. Of course the article was all about the love of the nasty, diseased animal and the call for its protection “because it is an important necessity for a healthy ecosystem.” Unfortunately the writer appears to have gotten 100% of their education from the proven and admitted make believe of Farley Mowat’s Never Cry Wolf.

Mowat laced his book of fiction with make believe nonsense about how wolves and coyotes only eat mice and other small rodents. The author of the Maine piece tells the same fairy tale about Maine’s coyotes: “To clarify, coyotes primarily feed on mice and other rodents…” The myth if further perpetuated by stating: “While coyotes do occasionally eat fawns and sick deer…”

Coyotes are basically garbage collectors that will eat anything…and by that I mean anything. When hungry enough, they will eat mud in order to stop the hunger in their guts. But this author obviously doesn’t get around much. Coyotes in Maine are a mixed hybrid animal, a cross breeding of an invasive coyote, wolf, and domestic dog. Because of this, the wild canine in the Maine woods is not like a typical coyote. Maine’s coyotes feed on deer, yes, adult deer too, in regular fashion. To state that coyotes feed primarily on mice and other small rodents is patently false.

The purpose of the author making this statement is to claim that because coyotes eat mice, we need to protect them because mice are what carry the ticks that cause and spread Lyme disease.

There’s a problem with that scenario. If anyone does any honest and complete research on the behavior of coyotes and the results of their behavior, they would know that the meal of the Maine coyote hybrid includes such animals as foxes and other canines and felines that truly do feed on the mice that perpetuate Lyme. The more coyotes, the fewer foxes and thus, because honestly coyotes don’t primarily feed on mice and small rodents, having more coyotes results in fewer animals that do kill the mice and thus the possibility exists that the prevalence of Lyme grows.

It should also be noted that while some choose to believe that the coyote makes for a healthier ecosystem, the reality is far from healthy. It has been proven that coyotes carry as many as 50 different diseases and viruses. Maine also has detected the presence of “lung worm” in moose. Lung worm, in this case Echinococcus granulosus (E.g.) is the result of the presence of wild canines. E.g. can be contracted by humans and can be deadly. Wild ungulates, such as deer and moose, pick up the disease by grazing around coyote scat where the tiny infectious spores are found. These spores are highly viable and thus the increase in the spread of the disease. In short, the more coyotes roaming the countryside, the higher the threat of disease. E.g. is not a direct killer of deer and moose (livestock also) but restricts their ability to escape large predators because of cysts that can grow on lungs and other internal organs.

The author points an accusatory finger at the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) for lying about its “responsible and science-based stewardship” when it comes to the management and control of coyotes. I find is amazing that simply because a person does not agree with the “responsible and science-based stewardship” of the MDIFW (in other words the department may not be all in with complete animal protection and natural wildlife management), they are labeled irresponsible and that their practices aren’t science-based. In fact, regardless of the fact that MDIFW spends far too much time trying to appease the social demands of lunatics who think coyotes will stop Lyme disease, the department’s efforts in selective coyote control and the allowing of coyote hunting derbies, while perhaps not a favorite tool for this necessary control, it is something that must be done in order to be “responsible and science-based” in the care and management of other wildlife species.

No matter how much anyone wants to read and believe Farley Mowat’s nonsense, it doesn’t change reality. Nature does not regulate itself in the Nirvanic way the uninformed want to believe. The author states that if we would leave the coyote along it would regulate itself. Obviously, the author has never seen the predator pits of death, destruction, and scarcity that predator protection causes.

If we want to enjoy the wildlife and its abundance, real responsible and science-based management and control is necessary.

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USDA Distributes Oral Rabies Vaccine for Wildlife in Northeast Maine

07/29/2019 06:14 AM EDT

AUGUSTA –Oral rabies vaccine (ORV) baits will be distributed in northeastern Maine beginning on or about August 3 through August 7 as part of ongoing, cooperative rabies control efforts aimed at reducing the incidence of raccoon rabies.

The distribution of ORV baits has occurred annually since 2003.

Wildlife Services, a program within the U.S Department of Agriculture’s Plant Health Inspection Service, will distribute the ORV baits in cooperation with the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Maine CDC) and the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry. Approximately 351,000 ORV baits targeting raccoons will be distributed by air and ground over a 2,405-square-mile area. The eastern portion of the area will include Mars Hill and Houlton and reach as far south as Weston; the area will extend west covering areas including Oxbow, Patten, and Stacyville.

The vaccine packets will be distributed by airplanes in rural, wooded areas. Personnel from Wildlife Services will distribute vaccine baits from vehicles in the more populated areas.

Since 2003, Wildlife Services has worked to eliminate raccoon rabies from northern Maine because the virus poses a threat to human and animal health. Wildlife Services also collaborates with Canadian officials in New Brunswick and Quebec to reduce the presence of rabies across Maine and Canada.

As of July 23, 2019, 49 animals have tested positive for rabies this year in 12 of Maine’s 16 counties, including bats, raccoons, striped skunks, gray foxes, and red foxes. Occasional animal rabies cases have occurred in southeastern parts of Aroostook County in the last several years.

Rabies is a viral disease that infects the nervous system of humans and other mammals. It is transmitted primarily through a bite from an infected animal. Rabies is fatal once symptoms are present, although timely post-exposure treatment is effective in preventing the disease in humans.

To help protect yourself and your pet against rabies:

  • Keep your pet’s rabies vaccination current
  • Feed pets indoors
  • Keep garbage cans or other sources of food tightly secured
  • Do not feed, touch, or adopt wild animals and be cautious of stray dogs and cats
  • Do not relocate wildlife because this can spread rabies into new areas
  • Contact Wildlife Services at 1-866-487-3297 to report dead or suspicious-acting raccoons, skunks, foxes, or coyotes in northern Maine. Or call Maine CDC at 1-800-821-5821 for concerns about rabies anywhere in Maine.

ORV baits are coated with fishmeal and distributed in one-inch square cubes or two-inch plastic sachets. Humans and pets cannot get rabies from contact with the baits but should leave them undisturbed.

This vaccine has been shown to be safe in more than 60 species of animals, including domestic dogs and cats. Dogs that consume large numbers of baits may experience an upset stomach, but there are no known long-term health risks.

If contact with baits occurs, immediately rinse the area affected with warm water and soap. For photos of ORV baits, please visit 
www.flickr.com/photos/usdagov/sets/72157623983143606/.

If you are bitten or scratched by an animal, wash the wound thoroughly with soap and water and contact your health care provider and Maine CDC at 1-800-821-5821.

Costs associated with detection, prevention and control of rabies exceed $300 million annually in the U.S., according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Approximately 90 percent of reported rabies cases in the U.S. occur in wildlife. As part of the Wildlife Services’ National Rabies Management Program, the ORV distribution program in Maine is part of a larger effort to prevent the westward spread of raccoon rabies by creating a barrier along the Appalachian Mountains from the Canadian border to Alabama.

For more information:

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Mandatory CWD Testing

A hunter skillfully downs a trophy buck. After admiring the beauty of the massive creature, before field dressing it, he reaches into his backpack and pulls out a Chronic Wasting Disease test kit. A new mandatory test, where the hunter must do a quick test to see if the animal he took tests positive for CWD. And then what?

Well, here we go. Here’s a case of a man-invented or man-spread disease, Chronic Wasting Disease, that all began in a government laboratory in Colorado. Today CWD has been tested positive in 26 states and now, officials are demanding that mandatory testing of harvested deer be implemented.

And for what reason? It is recommended that people do not eat CWD-infected meat. A mandatory field test would tell the hunter immediately if the animal is infected. Then what?

The test might prevent the hunter from dressing the deer and spreading the disease throughout the environment quicker than if you just left it to rot. Either way the contamination is there.

About the only advantage I can see is that a hunter might save himself/herself a lot of work before dressing and dragging a deer out of the woods and then waiting for test results before eating.

Then, if the test comes back positive, what’s the hunter to do with the contaminated meat?

While a required test might alert the hunter immediately of whether he/she has downed an infected animal, I see nothing here that would do much of anything to help stop the spread of the disease.

Maybe there isn’t anything that can be done. Perhaps we could require force feeding all contaminated meat to any and all government officials. They deserve it.

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Are Tick Bite Reactions Associated With Our Chemical Ingestion?

A reader shared with me the other day an article that, evidently, was published in Peterson’s Hunting. What I received was a scan of the magazine article, so I can’t really share that with you. No matter, you can get information on the Lone Star tick from the CDC. Just scroll down a bit from the landing page until you find information about the Lone Star tick.

The issue that appears to be associated with a bite from a Lone Star tick is that some people (emphasis so far might be on “some”), after being bitten develop an allergic reaction to eating red meat. Hmmm. Maybe it’s a conspiracy formulated by vegetarians. But, why would they put their own food supply in jeopardy by forcing more people to have to give up eating red meat? (Just kidding)

It seems that as time goes along, more and more people are “contracting” diseases from ticks. We can make up all kinds of excuses and develop many theories about why but has anyone actually considered the fact that perhaps little has changed as far as the ticks go and a whole lot has changed as far as the chemical make-up of the human being is concerned?

Humans willingly and unawarely ingest gobs of chemicals into their bodies every day. Whether the consumption of these chemicals is temporary (until it passes through your system) or accumulative, logic might dictate that perhaps the same venom from the same ticks is the same as it always has been, plus whatever chemicals the ticks have been forced to take into their systems. With the human body fully loaded up with cocktails of various and sundry drugs/chemicals, and of course, the ticks may be injecting chemicals into our bodies as well, and the outcome is a chemical reaction that results in the next name for a human disease contracted from a tick/insect bite.

Are we to believe that all these newly discovered diseases and reactions from tick/insect bites have always been around and that due to better diagnostic techniques and technology, they are now being discovered? I don’t happen to buy into the explanation as the sole reason, no more than I blame everything on Climate Change.

It may be years and years before any of this can be explained. When a human – and I suppose an insect – ingest a chemical, the chances are pretty good that that chemical may undergo some kind of change. The chemical may or may not remain in its original state or chemical make-up. With several changes and/or concoctions of drugs/chemicals being interchanged and interacted between human and insect bodies, it only makes sense to me that chemical reactions occur. We like to call them “allergic reactions.”

Whatever we call them, the fact remains that some people, according to their own biological and chemical composition, may or may not react to certain insect bites.

While we can control some of what we ingest for chemicals, i.e. 37 flavors of drugs our doctors, while “practicing” medicine (giving us chemicals to see what happens), prescribe, and eating better foods, it’s impossible to rid our systems of all of them because these “pollutants” saturate our air and the government regularly practices filling our atmosphere with chemicals in the name of “seeding” clouds to “control” the weather.

The bottom line is that we should expect to hear of more ticks/insects supposedly carrying more and other and undiscovered “diseases” all due to uncontrolled and excessive ingestion of chemicals…all for our health, mind you.

Just thinking logically! Scary isn’t it?

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Maine: New Law One Step Closer to All-Out Ban on Wildlife Feeding

LD 1818, a bill that is supported (and written by) the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW), gives authority to the commissioner of MDIFW to limit and/or stop the feeding of deer, bear, moose, and wild turkey, if the commissioner “has reason to believe that the type or location of feed may create a public safety hazard or may have a detrimental effect on deer, bear, moose and wild turkey…”

Hiding behind the threat of Chronic Wasting Disease, LD 1818, goes too far, in my opinion, in granting authority to the commissioner to exercise personal judgement based on their own perspective (a weighted measure) to limit or stop wildlife feeding. LD 1818 was presented as an emergency measure. Unfortunately, the idea of giving the commissioner authority to stop feeding wildlife outside of the presence of Chronic Wasting Disease, does not meet any standards of necessary emergency ruling. This one got away from the legislators…or did it?

It is no secret that the MDIFW has fought against the feeding of wildlife, particularly deer. This newly enacted bill now gives authority to the commissioner to do just that based on the commissioner’s perspective of what constitutes a “public safety hazard.”

Playing around with laws and authority in hopes of preventing or limiting the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease is one thing, but giving a commissioner pretty much Carte Blanche authority to make such determinations exceeds the boundaries of democratic checks and balances as well as a call for “emergency” establishment of law.

Commissioners come and commissioners go and with each successive commissioner, they bring with them political agendas and ideology that may be out of step with the wishes of the majority.

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Combined “Brilliance” at North American Moose Conference

It is most difficult to get reliable and accurate information from just about ANY media source. Here is but one example.

I did not attend this conference on moose. All that I have had a chance to read about it I found in this Bangor Daily News article. As readers, we must understand that information contained in this article is from the perspective of the author…period. If the author is a Climate Change zealot, naturally the article will only provide support for their religious beliefs, perhaps overlooking contrary data or information provided. It matters not the complete outcome of the conference and all thoughts and determinations, the readers are subjected to personal perspectives of the author regardless of the writer’s intentions.

Having said this, this remains an attempt at sharing some thoughts and my own perspective on what I know about the North American Moose Conference, combined with years of knowledge and research about moose and in particular moose ticks and large predator mortality.

According to the article in question, Maine appears to be the only state (region) where the winter tick is killing off the moose herd. (Makes one wonder if that is true and Climate Change is the cause, aren’t these other areas being subjected to the same Climate Change?) I will make a note right now that compared to the other regions where biologists in attendance at the conference said ticks aren’t the problem, Maine has gobs more moose than any of the other regions. Is there a correlation? And why does Maine have gobs more moose? Does the spruce budworm after effects have anything to do with it? Does growing an artificially high number of moose related?

Keeping in line with the unreliability of good and accurate news information, we also read that in Minnesota, one attendee said, “We had a very high neo-nate mortality. And two-thirds of that was wolf predation.”

I will most certainly guarantee that if you were to contact the Minnesota authorities about wolf predation and moose survival, the “official” line would state nothing about wolves killing off the moose herd. Regardless of long-time historical accounts from Minnesota that wolves have always had devastating effects on moose herds, officials there will tell you the problem is…you guessed it – Climate Change. Who let this person out?

The article in question states that the problems with moose herd management throughout North America varies from ticks, to predation by wolves, to disease, to unregulated hunting, etc. but it just seems an irresistible result of brainwashing that Climate Change is the problem. I can’t help but wonder how much good scientific study has been destroyed or wasted due to catechized indoctrination of the false impacts of a man-created religion (politics) of global warming – now generically referred to as Climate Change?

Perhaps there is some hope. It has taken many years for Maine, with a few years of moose study under their belt, to admit that winter ticks might be destroying the moose herd. There has also been some hints that perhaps an artificially inflated herd is responsible for an intensification of the the winter tick.

I have stated in the past that if scientists want to blame the problems of moose management on the winter tick, maybe it’s time to do some studying of the winter tick. There is danger in that these days, as there is danger in any, so-called, scientific research. Scientism rules and most “scientific” research is nothing but useless garbage that mostly better represents a good dose of propaganda – outcome based research – it’s where the money is.

However, there are signs that there needs to be better studies (not influenced by the false demons of Climate Change) about the tick.

In a separate article, also found in the Bangor Daily News, about how this winter tick “quests” and finds a winter home on board a warm, blood-filled moose, we read some comments from attendees at this conference about that winter tick that remains mostly misunderstood and wrongly said to thrive on “Climate Change.” (Whatever conveniently fits the narrative of the day.)

They got it right about how ticks climb vegetation in the Fall and lie in wait for a moose to walk by at such time they jump on the moose for a long winter’s ride participating in the blood letting…if you will.

They also get it partly right when they state that “early snow” will “…knocks that vegetation down and knocks the ticks down on the ground.”

This is a bit misleading though. At the time that the winter tick is questing (late Summer or early Fall – around the same time that the moose is rutting which adds to the enhanced possibility of getting ticks due to increased travel) what are the chances of “early snow?” And what are the chances that this “early snow” is substantial enough to “knocks that vegetation down and knocks the ticks down on the ground?”

Just about never. In regions throughout Maine, rutting and questing happen most often long before “early snow.”

While it may be fun to talk about and wish for “early snow,” none of us have any control over that weather and leaving it to chance (Mother Nature) wishing and wanting will do absolutely nothing to responsibly manage a moose herd.

Also mentioned as a deterrent to the tick population is drought. Once again, this may be an accurate claim, but perhaps the chances of a drought in the Fall being an effective killer of ticks are about as good as “early snow.”

Most often discussed in tick gabbing circles is the need for a lot of snow and cold to “kill the ticks.” This is really what I’ve come to call Romance Biology or Voodoo Science (coined by former USFWS biologist Jim Beers). For winters to be cold enough, long enough you have to approach the Arctic Circle. That’s why ticks aren’t a problem on Alaska moose.

As a side note, a biologist from Alaska made this statement: “Winter ticks aren’t a problem there. They don’t exist.”

Not to lose the point of his perspective of winter ticks in Alaska, but it is not totally accurate to say winter ticks “don’t exist” there. They may exist but negligibly. And the reason they might exist is because irresponsible researchers took winter ticks into that region just to see if they would survive. They did and that’s how you have “some” ticks in that region.

If one spends all their time focusing on how “early snow” and “drought” can have an effect on moose, sensible things are overlooked in exchange for blaming the lack of “early snow” or lack of a drought on Climate Change – a hopeless and irresponsible excuse for doing nothing. You can’t get rid of the winter tick. They are a viable species that can survive in extreme heat and drought as well as moisture and extreme cold temperatures. And we have no control over that. We do have control over the number of moose (food supply) we manage.

What studies that do exist on the winter tick, can tell us that a better deterrent in tick questing is wind. Ticks can’t hang on to vegetation forever and strong winds, which odds are probably better to have than early snow or drought, knock the ticks off vegetation forcing them to begin their quest back up the plants. Persistent winds could be quite effective. Maybe someone needs to make a claim that winds, or lack thereof, is a product of Climate Change.

Completely missing from this one news article is any discussion about reducing the moose population in order to reduce the tick population. Among sensible biologists (mostly those not overwhelmed by Climate Change) the ONLY way to mitigate winter ticks is to mitigate the number of moose….period.

Most of us don’t really know all that was discussed at this moose conference. All we have here is a little bit of information about Maine’s problem in dealing with winter ticks and the toll it is taking on the state’s moose herd.

Perhaps someday, if the Scientismists don’t completely win out, somebody will figure this all out. We could do as some suggest and let Nature do the job of management but I assure all readers, that’s not the ugly, rotten mess we really want to be subjected too.

Seriously, it’s time to can the false claims associated with the politics and religion of global warming and get down to some real, honest scientific research of value.

In case you might not have figured it out yet, I’m not holding my breath waiting.

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Battling Ticks – We Can’t Eat Mice

Staten Island is at it again. This time they are targeting mice as a means of mitigating the tick problem – instead of targeting deer.

Recall that Staten Island contracted with Cornell University to undertake a deer vasectomy program that is believed to stop or reduce the breeding and production of deer by making sure some of the male deer are unable to mate with a female deer in heat. There’s a couple of problems with this dog and pony show. One problem is that one buck, that has not been snipped and clipped, will probably die trying to breed all the female deer that come into heat. The second problem is that when a doe deer goes into estrus (heat) she will remain that way until bred. Somewhere alone the lines in the misguided, perverse society we are subjected to, I read something about deer reproductive rights.

But I digress!

Now, some say due to an overblown deer population on the island, the threat of disease from ticks is growing as well. But this time, instead of going after the deer to curb the diseases, New York will spend a gob of money each year for 3 years to go after mice – the real culprits that spread the deer tick responsible for Lyme disease.

Deer meat tastes far better than mouse meat. Because we live in a post normal world, where everything is upside-down, our sick culture cannot see the benefits of killing the deer to eat, which in turn would help to mitigate the tick problem AND at the same time, seriously reduce the number of nasty, disease-carrying mice. Better health, better food.

But no!

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More Moose Permits Fewer Moose Ticks – Connection?

It’s difficult most of the time to separate what a person says or doesn’t say in a Media report from what the author is either required to say or is brainwashed enough they don’t know the difference. I think we are seeing some of this in an article in the Portland (Maine) Press Herald about Maine’s intention to increase the number of moose permits they will have available for profit.

Lee Kantar is the head moose biologist at the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW). When the MDIFW began their mostly secretive moose study, I held out little hope that much good would come out of it due to the extent to which brainwashing by Environmentalism has infiltrated the fish and wildlife community and every level of existence.

None of that has changed, however, there has been glimmers of hope in scattered reports from the MDIFW. It appears that Mr. Kantar might even have come to understand that there is a correlation between the number of moose and the number of winter ticks that are a cause of mortality in the great beast community. Perhaps (I may be giving him the doubt on this one) he even has a better understanding of the life cycle of the winter tick…(I’ll leave that one with a question mark at the end)?…? (make it two)

Kantar says: “This year, there was lower reproduction in moose in some parts of the state. Winter tick does not kill cows, it kills calves. But winter tick does put enough pressure on cows that are carrying a fetus, and not all the calves survive.”

An admission that ticks are one cause of moose mortality. This is the first (that I have seen or read) of MDIFW admitting or better, explaining, how anything that negatively effects the reproduction cycle of the moose will negatively effect the sustainability of the herd. It isn’t just the blood sucking that causes the moose to drop dead from exposure or starvation.

Many parts of Maine have seen tons of snow on the ground this winter. This kind of snowfall also has a negative effect on moose and deer. This is where Kantar suggests he has a better understanding of the ticks than before: “The fall conditions drive the winter tick,” Kantar said. “Our expectation is that the tick count will be down, and that should translate into increased calf survival.”

It is during the Fall that ticks are “questing” – in search of a host body to hang out on during the long winter months. When conditions on the ground seriously disrupt this questing process, ticks die by the millions and thus the overall negative effects of the winter tick on moose are mitigated…at least in the short term. This is why Mr. Kantar is suggesting a good moose calf survival and a need to make adjustments to the herd growth and population.

However, the reporter just can’t leave the “Climate Change” myth out of her reporting: “But biologists hope that the incidence of winter tick is lower because snow came early last fall and the parasite thrives in warmer climates and conditions.”

My wish is that one day, just one reporter would do some homework about the tick and stop perpetuating the Echo Chamber of Climate Change. The winter tick does not thrive in warmer climates and conditions. If that were true, the winter tick would be “thriving” to our south where the climate is always warmer and the conditions the way in which ignorant climate change alarmist present it.

The echo chambers continue to falsely report that because Maine has warmer winters the tick is thriving, when, in fact, this has nothing to do with the growth and sustainability of the winter tick. Science has shown that it would take conditions found in the Arctic to actually kill the tick. Two things drive the survival of the tick and Kantar mentioned one of them.

One is the questing process. As I have already mentioned, when the process of climbing vegetation and waiting for a moose to walk by so they can hitch a ride is seriously effected, fewer ticks will complete their life cycles and will die.

The second condition goes hand in hand with the first – ticks being able to find a host ride. It is important and necessary for the tick to find a host. If conditions are favorable to find a host, but there are fewer hosts to latch onto, tick production is mitigated. I believe Mr. Kantar is attempting to learn the balance between how many moose results in a healthy, relative tick-free existence while making adjustments in line with conditions.

What appears to me as encouraging here is that Kantar’s adjustments in the issuing of moose permits is as close to real time adjustments as you can get. Often reactions by biologists are years too late, making it difficult to understand whether any actions were good or effective.

Here we have a case where the biologist appears to understand that probably the tick questing period was interrupted by early fall snow which should result in an increased survival rate of moose calves – depending on how destructive the winter has been in general. This kind of real time management, so long as that management is based on sound science and not Climate Change mythology, should be a terrific boost for the moose herd and these actions should provide us all with a healthier population of moose to enjoy.

Keep up the good work. Let’s hope it continues.

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CWD Ain’t What It’s Claimed to Be?

Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) is a man-made disease that is believed to have purposely originated in a lab in Colorado. Since its “discovery” it has been promoted as being a “prion” disease. In other words, a misshaped protein that, as a result, causes a deterioration of the brain and the destruction of the central nervous system always ending in death for deer, elk, and moose.

But some specialist “scientists” are saying this theory goes against basic biology – that proteins cannot replicate and cause the spread of the disease; that it is but a symptom. Does this mean it may be possible to find a cure?<<<Read More>>>

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Advice and Suggestions to the Maine Department of Fish and Wildlife

A reader sent me a copy of the Maine Sportsman, specifically George Smith’s article about his “advise” to the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW). After reading it, I thought perhaps I would offer something similar. Sometimes I am accused of being only critical of the MDIFW seldom offering constructive criticism or even suggestions on better or different ways in which to do things.

Smith writes of the need to “unlock that door” that prohibits visitors access to the commissioner of the MDFIW. I understand the concept and how convenient it would be to just “drop in” someday and chat with the commissioner. I would like to think that the real situation playing at the offices of the MDIFW has more to do with security than a want to lock themselves up and separate them from the public. I might be wrong. We do live in a strange time in which most people are always aware and subjected to enhanced security measures.

TURKEYS

George writes about what he would do about turkey management and the role that hunting plays in that management. For the most part I think he brings up some good points, i.e. too many turkeys, too few hunters, and the barrier of license fees that prohibit more people from trying or getting involved in turkey hunting and harvesting a turkey that would aide the MDIFW with their management goals.

Originally, I had thought that Smith’s idea of including turkey hunting as part of a Big Game Hunting License wouldn’t fly because the MDIFW would not be willing to give up that revenue from turkey license fees. Is there a trade-off here? Will somehow opening up the turkey season to reduced cost (and loss of fees to MDIFW) be made up in other ways? Perhaps.

I think that consensus must be reached as to whether there are too many turkeys and how critical it is that turkey populations be reduced. If, more people gained interest in turkey hunting, perhaps down the road, as populations came more in line with management goals, turkey license fees could be levied again. If a reduction in the number of turkeys is urgently needed, and I think if we haven’t gotten there yet we soon will, then the MDIFW must do what is expedient to make the reductions in numbers necessary to be responsible for the healthy management of these game birds.

FISHERIES

Fisheries is far from my strong point and knowledge base. I am not at all that qualified to offer the MDIFW advice on how to specifically manage the fisheries in the State of Maine. How fortunate for some.

MOOSE

Odd isn’t it, in many ways, that some are opposed to the reduction of moose populations to mitigate the winter ticks’ destruction of the moose herd but think nothing about advocating the complete destruction of a herd of deer to get rid of Lyme disease. Perhaps if more evidence pointed a finger at the health risk to humans from the winter tick, mindsets might change.

I have written extensively on Maine’s moose and what I believe to be the need to bring the moose population in Maine to levels that seriously reduce the presence and perpetuation of winter ticks that are inhumanely and unnecessarily causing moose to suffer and die during long and cold winters.

Smith laments about the loss of businesses associated with moose watching now that Mother Nature took over where wildlife management failed. During the heyday of the overgrown moose populations, some scrambled and took advantage, as any good entrepreneur might do, looking for ways to exploit the abundant moose for profit. It might have been fun while it lasted but the lesson that should be learned here might be at what price do we exploit any wildlife animal for lucre? As grown adults we should see that having enough moose around that many got into the business of moose watching tours was but a flash in that pan. Time to move on. We have learned that attempting to grow moose in numbers for capitalistic enterprises is a terrible thing to do to the animal – part of the downside of attempting to manage any species while being driven by social demands.

More recent studies are suggesting what some of us knew a long time ago – that too many moose was the cause of the aggressive expanse of winter ticks resulting in high mortality rates on the large beast.

The MDIFW should move quickly to determine at what population Maine’s moose will be most healthy while still providing opportunities for Maine residents to harvest a moose and fill their freezers.

I suggest that the MDIFW, once establishing moose populations, based on sound science and not social demands, issue enough permits or a long enough season to bring the population under a control that reduces the tick infestation. Once that is accomplished, permit for the future can be issued accordingly. Letting Mother Nature do the job is not only irresponsible but is a waste of a terrific natural resource.

DEER

Smith tells readers that the MDIFW stopped managing deer in northern Maine and only “manages” moose. I don’t know if this is actually an official position taken by the MDIFW, but it appears there is at least quite a bit of evidence to support that statement.

Smith claims that because Maine failed to protect winter habitat in Northern and Western Maine, the deer herd “was lost.” I concur the deer herd was lost but I think it had other influences than just a loss of habitat. A lot of things have changed over the years, one thing being the behavior of the deer. While deer are learning how to adapt to that loss of winter habitat, we humans remain locked in our unadaptable behavior of insisting on things being the way they were when our fathers hunted the whitetails.

Each time I have listened to the worn out excuse that deer have disappeared because of loss of winter habitat, I have always asked why, if that is true, thousands of acres of old winter habitat, still in winter habitat condition, is void of deer? Never an answer.

Loss of winter habitat in the classical sense, can and does have an effect on the deer population. Attempting to somehow “manage” deer to return to unwanted winter habitat, is an example of managers failing to learn and adjust to changes of the deer population and their habits. When we see this failure, one can’t help but wonder how much we can rely on the deer managers “estimate” of deer populations and other management shortcomings.

We failed to learn quickly enough that attempting to manage moose populations at high enough levels that tourism benefitted, the moose herd suffered terribly due to exposure and anemia from blood sucking winter ticks. Deer populations are suffering but perhaps in different ways because the ecosystem in which they have traditionally comfortably inhabited have and are changing. The deer are adapting as best they can but our management tactics are not. Evidently the preference is to give up.

Too many moose compete with deer. Too many large predators kill deer and fawns and this is challenging the stability of the deer population and in some places we are witnessing the unsustainability of a deer herd. Are we to just blame it on loss of winter habitat and Climate Change or should we be responsible stewards of our wild game animals?

If we are to mitigate the cause for the lack of deer in portions of Northern and Western Maine, isn’t the responsible thing to do is to reduce the bear and coyote populations to give the deer a chance? If we simply stop deer management because loss of habitat and Climate Change is the excuse, what then can we expect of all of our game and wildlife species going forward?

Managers have a responsibility to care for all of these game species. Giving up on one species in certain areas, tells me that there is lack of knowledge and poor management skills involved. The epitome of wildlife management failures is giving in to some man’s fictitious notion that the globe is warming and the northern border of the whitetail deer’s habitat is moving south, while our neighbors to the north continue to work at managing their deer. If Climate Change is causing such chaos that is forcing the destruction of habitat for deer, then it makes sense that other more northern species are migrating south according to the changes. Is this happening? No. A warming climate, as claimed, should be reducing the affects of severe winters. Is that happening? No.

There’s little more that managers can do to stop the perceived reduction of winter habit and deer habitat in general short of demanding more totalitarian tactics to take property and property rights away from people and corporations. It’s easy, from afar, to stand in judgement over landowners, demanding they relinquish their rights as property owners in order to enhance the habitat of any wild animal. The tough part to deer management is maximizing what is left and working in earnest to make the best of what we have. Even if deer densities in Northern and Western Maine aren’t at ideal levels, is that reason enough to simply walk away and say, we tried?

There is no need to kill off all the coyotes/wolves in Maine or reduce bear populations to levels that give us more deer than are needed to balance a very valuable resource. All that is stopping this effort is the MDIFW’s insistence on caving to social demands. I suppose to them in the short term it is easier to cave in than to stand up to those demands supported by strong scientific evidence. And that may be the actual problem. Does the MDIFW have or want the strong scientific evidence?

BEAR

The MDIFW has a very good bear study program. Some claim that program is the envy of all other fish and wildlife departments. Only radical animal rights groups or individuals would argue that there are too many bear. The MDIFW publicly admits they need to reduce the bear population, but so far, have done little to solve that problem. Perhaps they are moving at a speed that only politics and social demands allow them. Time for change.

Having too many bears presents several problems – public safety and a disruption of population goals of other species such as deer and moose. Fortunately, bear hibernate, otherwise God only knows what kind of destruction they would wreak on weakened deer in deer wintering areas.

Some studies suggest that the presence of bear has more negative impact on deer than do coyotes/wolves. Maybe the current studies that the MDIFW are conducting on moose and deer will help us gain better understanding on this concept.

Regardless, it appears Maine must reduce bear populations. But how? One problem that jumps out immediately is the power of the guides and outfitters placing demands on the MDIFW to manage bears according to their wishes that would best maximize their business profits. While it is understandable that this is important to the private enterprises, should the MDIFW continue to allow increased public safety concerns and actual reductions in deer populations, and perhaps even moose, simply to appease these groups? Of course not, but when will the MDIFW move to do anything about it? Perhaps the time is now.

Like with turkey hunting, Maine needs to find easier and less expensive ways to encourage more hunters to take up the challenge. Hunters that have little interest in bear hunting might change their mind if hunting bear were part of a Big Game License all the time during open season on bear.

Bag limits should be raised. The late summer bear hunt should have a minimum of a two-bear limit – perhaps three in some areas. If that doesn’t do the trick, then a Spring bear hunt may be necessary. Regulations can be employed to mitigate the killing of cubs as has been proven in other places that have Spring bear hunts.

The MIDFW has done a respectable job of working to ward off the radical animal rights groups bent on closing down bear hunting. They should increase and improve this effort to include everything they do with wildlife management. Two bear referendums have proven that maintaining a passive posture and making management decisions based on social demands is not only irresponsible, but ridiculous, almost childish. If wildlife managers and their administration don’t have or believe the science necessary to responsibly managed their wildlife, they should be out of a job. There should be little room given to social demands when it comes to scientifically managing game.

OPERATIONS

There are certain aspects of running a fish and game department that should be within the control of the commissioner, who, of course, answers to the governor. Open and closed seasons should be within the control of the commissioner. That person, along with the managers and biologists in the department, are the ones who should know what is going on and what is needed, not the Humane Society of the United States, other animal rights groups, or even the Legislature. Such social and political powers spoil any scientific approach at wildlife management. It may take an act of the Legislature to effect such changes.

We live in a time where these powerful animal rights and environmentalists have gained control over our factories of higher indoctrination. The result of this is now showing up in our fish and game departments where the concerns are more about the “rights” of animals and away from a consumptive, use of a natural resources approach to wildlife management.

Scientifically, it has been proven that the North American Model of Wildlife Management works. Those opposed to this form of wildlife management know this and have been working tireless to “change the way wildlife management is discussed.” Along with this has come the social demands to place equal rights and protections on animals as are given to humans.

Outdoor advocates, hunters, trappers, fishermen, as well as all those who understand and believe in the necessity of consumptive use to best manage and control wildlife, should demand that the commissioner be more selective and demanding of those that are hired as biologists and wildlife managers. Candidates should be screened as to their idealism and positions on animal rights and hunting, fishing, and trapping. To responsibly utilize hunting and fishing as part of the overall plans for wildlife management, cannot have room for animal rights advocates or those opposed to this system.

Some have called for money from general taxation to support the MDIFW. It is my opinion this would be a very big mistake. First of all, before any MORE money is dumped in the lap of this department, a complete audit should be undertaken so that all will know exactly what every penny is spent on and where every penny comes from to run the department. If more money is needed, then that has to come from fee increases and not from general taxation. Here’s why.

With money sent to the MDIFW from general taxation, along with it will be demands from the general taxpayer for bigger representation. This opens the door even further for more infiltration by environmentalists who want to “change the way we discuss wildlife management.”

We have seen this already. Where once the MDIFW used to be the department of fish and game, other states have gotten rid of their fish and game names completely, replaced with departments of natural resources.

With a weakening of the managerial understanding and knowledge of how wildlife management should run, further expedites the dreaded end to responsible wildlife management, replaced by VooDoo Science and Romance Biology.

The only way the MDIFW can survive as a bonafide fish and game department is if it remains out of the control of Environmentalism.

The MDIFW does many things well. Some things they have little control over. Certainly there is room for improvement and if others, like me, realize that if we don’t do something to change those things that are sending us in the wrong direction and away from the North American Model of Wildlife Management, the good that we enjoy now will soon be lost. Let’s not let that happen.

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