November 13, 2019

Problems With Bears

In Montana, efforts to “haze” a black bear proved futile and so authorities shot the bear instead.

Just an egg sucking bear? No not really but this now dead bear, has a hankering for killing chickens. The bear killed 40 of the feathered friends and thus had to die.

On June 10, 2013, I wrote an article about the Humane Society of the United States’ attempts ongoing to ban bear hunting in Maine. It seems the executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine took issue with part or all of the OpEd published in the Bangor Daily News by Katie Hansberry. David Trahan, executive director for the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine, said that the newspapers decision to publish a photo of an outdated and outlawed bear trap was intended to “sensationalize the trapping of bear.”

And it seems that even some of those who support the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) disagree in part with the tactics and use of disparaging and misleading words by Katie Hansberry, head of the Maine division of the HSUS, in efforts to ban bear hunting and trapping.

However, it is difficult to take much of anything the author of the opinion piece had to say too seriously because of statements made early in the article.: “I believe Katie Hansberry is on a personal crusade that overshadows the good that the Humane Society of the United States is known for and which most of us support.” The Humane Society of the United States does very little that is “good”; that is much of anything good for animals. HSUS is a fringe group of extremists and mostly animal perverts but the organization itself is more about bilking people for money to pay big salaries and little to do with helping animals. If people want to help animals, a better bet would be to support your local animal shelter which is NOT part of HSUS.

In addition, I don’t know who the “us” is in “most of us support”, meaning the HSUS. Most people do NOT support HSUS. It’s only enough ignorant people who have no knowledge of the truth of what HSUS does.

In the small coastal town of Wiscasset, Maine, bears are making visits to homes in search of food. Some so-called authorities will often say this is a rare occurrence, but it’s not all that rare. It might be rare that a bear comes and visits in broad daylight and the homeowner is able to get some pretty good pictures (as can be seen in the Wiscasset newspaper), but bears visiting homes is quite a bit more common than some know and those encounters and visits are bound to increase as the bear population in Maine continues to increase.

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Too Many Bears, Too Many Predator Lovers

Maine has a lot of forest. Maine has a lot of bears. Too many bears presents too many problems, like killing too many deer and moose fawns in the Spring and bears banging down people’s back doors and yards looking for something to eat, either because of too many bears or not enough to eat or both.

But Maine is, once again, being threatened by a citizens’ referendum against bear hunting and trapping. The Humane Society of the United States, unsuccessfully tried passing legislation in the Pine Tree State, to severely limit bear hunting and to end trapping and hunting bears with dogs. They threatened that if they lost the fight to get the legislation passed, they would come back next year with a referendum and that would include a proposal to end baiting bear for hunting purposes.

Should such a referendum pass, it would, for all intent and purposes, end hunting and trapping of bears and remove the most essential management tool the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife has to control bear populations. If that should happen, well, then Maine can expect some of what I have below for links about bears encountering people. More bears mean more encounters with people, which means……not so good.

In Wisconsin, a man is attacked by a bear and his wife, noticing the attack, grabbed the shotgun. She didn’t know how to load it so she commenced to beat the bear with it.

The above story takes place at a cabin in the woods of Wisconsin. The next story takes place in the suburbs of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

At Incline Village in Nevada, a 325-pound bear enters a condominium on Lake Tahoe and ultimately gets killed because of the threat posed to humans.

And of course the bear/predator lovers and protectors, who live in a different world than the rest of us, will cry that it’s the human’s fault and tell everyone we must learn to live with large predators – meaning we are to become prisoners in our houses.

People should do as much as they reasonably can to reduce the chances of having an encounter with bears. This is no guarantee that it still will not happen. Bears generally mind to themselves but circumstances dictate their behavior. When bears get hungry, whether because of a lack of natural food and/or too much competition, meaning too many bears or other animals competing for the same food source, they go ANYWHERE they can find food. Anywhere!

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Maine Fish and Game’s Bundle of Contradictions About Bear Behavior

These “Bear Facts” were found in an article published in Seacoast Online from the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife:

Bear facts

According to the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, the black bear is the smallest of three species of bears inhabiting North America, and is the only bear living in the eastern United States. Although most black bears are not much larger than humans, their weight can vary tremendously with the season of the year.

Adult males can average 250 to 600 pounds, and measure 5 to 6 feet tall from nose to tail. Females are smaller, weighing 100 to 400 pounds, and measuring 4 to 5 feet in length.

If you come in contact with a bear, back away slowly, make yourself big by putting your arms over your head, make noise, and head indoors.

There is a misconception, said Doug Rafferty, director of public information and education for the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, that a bear would want to harm a human, when their primary goal is food.

“No bear wants to eat a man because a man doesn’t taste all that good to a bear. A bear is hungry. His fight or flight response is based on hunger and whether or not he’s trapped or cornered. He generally doesn’t want to even be around a human,” Rafferty said. “Although the thing you have to remember, is that given the proper circumstances, any bear will attack. These animals are wild, you’ve got to stay away from them.”

I just don’t get it and probably never will. How can anybody state that “no bear wants to eat a man” and then turn around in the same paragraph and claim that under “proper circumstances, any bear will attack”? Why is it necessary to somehow dumb down and mislead people by saying stupid things about bears that can’t be proven when the only things that drive a bear and their habits are circumstances? Why can’t these fish and game and environmental organizations use the same amount of resources to explain to the people what those circumstances are that would drive a bear to attack you?

First, Rafferty claims that it’s a misconception that a bear would want to harm a human, when their primary goal is food. The misconception here is that the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife is presenting a misconception that a bear wouldn’t harm a human. Bears harm humans more often when they are looking for food. MDIFW seems to be attempting to tell people that bears WILL NOT harm humans when they are looking for food. When there is ample food that bears prefer, we seldom have occurrence to even lay eyes on a bear. But if a bear gets hungry enough, it will eat whatever it can get and yes, under the right circumstances, a bear will choose a human as a target for food.

Those circumstances might include but not limited to or necessarily need to be all inclusive: A bear coming out of winter hibernation is very hungry; there is little or no food available for the bear in its “natural” habitat; a bear, usually a young male, has been forced away from its mother and is in search of food and a new place to live and gets hungry; a bear that has become habituated around humans. They have lost their fear of humans and have determined humans are not a threat to them and perhaps have even tested enough to plan how to attack.

There are also those circumstances when a human may become or is perceived by a mother bear as a threat to her young and/or herself. Bears can also become startled and immediately feel threatened. If they know they can easily and quickly escape, chances are they will but don’t bet your life on it.

And don’t forget some old bears just become crotchety old bastards and will come looking for some human flesh to munch on just for the heck of it.

The second claim made by MDIFW is that, “No bear wants to eat a man because a man doesn’t taste all that good to a bear.” I mean, seriously? Give us the data on that one, okay! When I read this, in my mind I’m envisioning the Geico commercial on television, where people are asked to sample two drinks. One is sweet, the other bitter. When asked which drink they prefer, they pick the sweet one, of course, and the person reveals they picked the drink of Geico Insurance. So, did MDIFW sit down and offer a bear a barrel full of Dunkin Donuts and Hershey chocolate bars and then a pound of human rump roast and determined the bear didn’t care much for human flesh?

Probably the most intelligent bit of information in the “Bear Facts” is found in the last two sentences, “given the proper circumstances, any bear will attack. These animals are wild, you’ve got to stay away from them”. That’s great advice. The rest of it is mumbo-jumbo nonsense. If MDIFW would now just spell out what circumstances, I think then it might help people to understand why they need to stay away from wild bears.

There’s no need to run around in fear of bears but there’s also no need to be spoon-fed dumb stuff like humans don’t taste good to bears. Please!

Tom Remington

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