August 19, 2019

Bear Encounters Soar In Maine While MDIFW Officials Still Haven’t Released Bear Harvest Data

*Editor’s Note* All the information for this blog post was provided by Richard Paradis.

The chart above shows the history of the past seven years of how long it has taken the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) officials to make public the results of the bear harvest and associated data. The last bear hunt for 2011 ended 189 days ago and counting. According to the chart, the average length of time is takes MDIFW officials to prepare the data, is 175 days; the longest being 269 days in 2006. I think getting deer harvest data is only slightly better.

So, why the long wait? Who knows! Probably the excuse is that there is no money. Odd that long before there were computers, harvest data was available on hunting seasons as the season progressed. Now we have to wait half a year or longer.

Meanwhile, the number of complaints filed for nuisance bears has doubled as compared to a similar time frame from a year ago. According to state biologist Kendall Marden, at least part of that increase is pinned on a growing population of bears; perhaps an unhealthy population of bears. One should consider that MDIFW and Maine outdoor sportsmen have realized there are too many bears and yet nothing seems to be taking place to increase seasons or bag limits, etc. to counter the growth. Is MDIFW now in bear protection mode along with other predators?

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Coyote Attacks Happening Frequently All Over Massachusetts

Even though predator lovers and protectors hate to admit that coyote attacks on humans do happen, their worn out claim that it is rare, is now quite worthless dogma. According to WCVB in Boston, coyote attacks on people, pets and livestock are becoming quite common. In addition, these wily varmints are showing up in large urban locations like the one that was seen running through the Ted Williams Tunnel in Boston.

What isn’t being honestly addressed are the real reasons why this is happening. An official reported in this article that Massachusetts has an estimated population of coyotes at around 10,000. My years of experience in this sort of “estimating” tells me that more than likely there are at least double that number and the annual growth rate sometimes approaches 30%.

So long as states’ fish and game departments, many of which have been hijacked by environmentalist organizations, and the organizations themselves, insist on predator protection, this problem will only become exacerbated.

While the linked-to article provides some useful information, I would like to take a moment to expound on something the wildlife official said about coyotes becoming “confused” about their prey.

Coyotes are very territorial, especially in late winter months. Dogs, and in rare cases small children, can be confused as competition or prey.

There is a certain degree of truth to this statement but falls short in telling the whole story. Dr. Valerius Geist, professor emeritus at the University of Alberta and world recognized wildlife expert, has studied and written extensively about wolves and coyotes. He presents his seven stages in which these wild canines can become a danger to humans. Please take the time to read that information found here.

The Massachusetts’ professional at the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, was correct when she said that coyotes, like wolves, are “opportunistic and omnivorous so they will eat whatever is easiest and most abundant”. When prey and/or food supplies are adequate and/or abundant, then there is more truth in the statement that coyotes, being territorial, might become confused and attack a pet dog or a small child. But that is not the only time this happens. Consider the story at hand. The coyote attacked the man walking the dog, not the dog. If the coyote was territorial, thinking the dog was another coyote nosing into to the wrong territory, why did the animal attack the man. The truth is we may not know for sure. But let’s not hide behind what we know as fact.

As Dr. Geist points out, circumstances effect the behavior of wild canines. If Mother Nature really did “balance itself”, and it doesn’t, there would remain only those actual rare events, but in Massachusetts anyway, they are no longer all that rare. So, we must ask why.

With predator protection, the coyotes will continue to grow and expand. All things relative, they would grow until they eat up all their food sources or die of disease or both. Coyotes running out of food isn’t going to just make them go away. If you were that hungry, what would you do.

Through overpopulation, due to protection, coyotes are forced into places they shouldn’t be; like your backyard and in the Ted Williams Tunnel. Too many coyotes and not enough “natural” food and/or garbage, will alter the circumstances on the ground that forces the animals to change what we like to refer to as normal coyote behavior.

This brings us back to Dr. Geist’s seven steps. At this point, hungry coyotes go where they can find food. There are more and more coyote sightings and more encounters with humans. That is what Massachusetts is seeing now. Coyotes come into your yard and study it. They see you and your pets. They discover how to attack. They kill your pets and livestock. If conditions are right, they attack people, usually children first.

The utmost important bit of information that Dr. Geist provides, that pertains to these news events, is the following:

6) Wolves turn their attention to people and approach them closely, initially merely examining them closely for several minutes on end. This is a switch from establishing territory to targeting people as prey. The wolves may make hesitant, almost playful attacks biting and tearing clothing, nipping at limbs and torso. They withdraw when confronted. They defend kills by moving toward people and growling and barking at them from 10 – 20 paces away.

7) Wolves attack people. These initial attacks are clumsy, as the wolves have not yet learned how to take down the new prey efficiently. Persons attacked can often escape because of the clumsiness of the attacks.

Isn’t this what is taking place in Massachusetts? The little 9-year-old girl said she thought the coyote was a dog and put her hand out. The coyote bit her. If the coyote was in full attack mode, I doubt the animal would have approached the young girl in such a manner that the girl thought “it was a dog”. I would be willing to wager the coyote had been studying this situation for some time, perhaps for days.

The coyote was testing his potential prey by “examining them closely for several minutes on end”, finally approaching the girl and biting in order to catch a response. This is all part of learning to attack an unfamiliar potential food source.

From the information provided and the expertise of people like Dr. Geist, it is reasonable to conclude that Massachusetts probably has too many coyotes, at least in some specific regions. Too many coyotes has probably already led to a reduction of prey and food sources, forcing the coyotes to begin looking at alternative prey, i.e. pets and people.

Coyotes belong in the wilderness not in our backyards. Protecting these creatures, believing that man and coyote can coexist in close proximity, is unrealistic and ignorant.

Tom Remington

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Maine Turkey Hunter Attacked By Coyote

Hiding in the brush and using a hen turkey call, Maine turkey hunter Bill Robinson called in a hungry coyote that attacked him believing the noise to be a turkey. Bangor Daily News has more.

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

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

You can’t make this stuff up.

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N.H. Boy Attacked By Coyote. Officials Conclude Rabies Pass On Poor Information to Public

*Editor’s Note* Below is a copy of a press release sent out by the New Hampshire Department of Fish and Game about a boy that got attacked by a coyote. The department, for no other reason than because they think that only a sick coyote would attack a human, is warning everyone that the coyote is rabid.

As long as fish and wildlife officials insist on burying their heads in the sand and refusing to understand wild canine behavior, beyond the ancient talking points, they are irresponsibly putting people at further risk.

Teen Attacked by Coyote in Hopkinton, N.H.

CONCORD, N.H. – Fish and Game Department personnel are alerting residents of Hopkinton, N.H., to the likely presence of a rabid coyote, following an attack on a local teenager yesterday (February 22, 2012).

The young man was walking the family dog in a wooded area near his home when the coyote approached him. The dog ran away, at which point the coyote attacked the teenager. The teen defended himself, reportedly punching the coyote in the nose until the coyote left the scene. During the interaction, the teenager was scratched and possibly bitten by the coyote. The teen sought medical treatment, and is receiving a course of rabies shots as a precaution.

Though there are occasional reports of rabid wild animals attacking humans in New Hampshire, Pat Tate, wildlife biologist with Fish and Game, said that the coyote attack was highly unusual. “It’s the first time we know of that a coyote has attacked a person in New Hampshire,” he said. Tate noted that earlier in the week, a local dog was also attacked by a coyote, and required veterinary care. “We suspect that it’s the same coyote, and that the coyote is rabid, given the uncharacteristic aggressiveness of the attacks. For local residents, that means they should be aware of the presence of coyotes, and they should know the signs of a rabid animal.” He added, “This incident, scary as it was, gives us no reason to fear wild animals in general.”

Tate points out that it’s not that unusual to see a coyote at any time of day or night. “The species is spread out around the state. Seeing a coyote in woodland landscape, one that’s acting normal, is fine,” he said. Normal behavior, for a coyote, is expressing no interest in humans or pets. “If a coyote displays any interest in a human – whether friendly or aggressive – that’s unusual, and that’s when you need to be on alert.”

Martin Garabedian, chief of Law Enforcement for N.H. Fish and Game, says that Conservation Officers and Hopkinton Police Department personnel are in the area, looking for signs of the rabid coyote. “In the interest of public safety, when the officers find the animal in question, they will dispatch it and send it for rabies testing,” he said.

If someone sees a coyote, Tate recommends yelling at it to instill fear. Healthy coyotes will retreat when faced with loud noises or thrown objects. “Obviously, you never want to approach a wild animal. But if you are in a situation where you are outdoors near a coyote, shout at it, make sure it knows you’re a threat,” Tate advises. “If it comes at you, hit it hard on the head and snout.”

If Hopkinton residents see a coyote behaving aggressively, they are asked to notify Fish and Game Law Enforcement dispatch at (603) 271-3361.

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