September 23, 2017

IFW News — Bear Season Starts Monday, Youth Bear Hunting Day is Saturday

Press Release from the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife:

AUGUSTA, Maine — Maine’s bear season begins on Monday, August 28 throughout the state of Maine, and youth hunters get their own day on Saturday, August 26. Last year, 10,936 hunters purchased a permit to hunt bear, with 2,859 hunters harvesting a bear for a success rate of 26%.

“Conditions look promising for hunters to have a better year than last year, but just how successful hunters are depends on the abundance of natural foods and how long those natural foods remain available” said IFW Bear Biologist Jen Vashon.

Maine’s black bear population is closely monitored by Department biologists through one of the most extensive, longest-running biological studies in the U.S. The study began in 1975 and continues today. Over nearly 40 years, Department biologists have captured and tracked over 3,000 bears to determine the health and condition of Maine’s bears and estimate how many cubs are born each year.

“Over that time, our research has shown that when natural foods are in low supply, hunters have more success taking a bear since bears are more likely to seek out other food sources,” said Vashon.

Maine’s bear season is divided into three segments, as hunters can hunt with bait from August 28 to September 23, hunters can hunt with dogs from September 11 to October 27, and hunters can still hunt or stalk bear from August 28 to November 25. Maine has one of the longest bear seasons in the country since Maine has one of the largest bear population estimated at over 36,000 animals. In addition to a season that starts in August and ends after Thanksgiving, Maine allows hunters to take two bears, one by hunting and one by trapping.

In 2016, hunters harvested 2,859 bear and 68% were taken over bait, 21% with dogs, 2% by deer hunters, 1% by still-hunting or stalking prior to deer season, and 4% in traps. The remaining 4% was taken without the method of harvest being reported.

Even with the lengthy bear season, only about 25% of all bear hunters are successful. By contrast, 75% of moose hunters were successful last year, turkey hunters enjoy success rates between 30-35% and deer hunters in Maine are successful 14-18% of the time. Young hunters will once again get their own day on Saturday, August 26. Youth hunters who have a junior hunting license can hunt bear with a firearm, bow, or crossbow on this day. Youth hunters may hunt bear with the use of bait, or still hunt; however the use of dogs during youth hunting day is prohibited. Last year, 27 youth hunters were successful in taking a bear on youth day.

Youth hunters may hunt only in the presence of an adult supervisor who is at least 18 years of age. The adult supervisor may not possess a firearm, bow, or crossbow while the youth hunter is participating in the bear hunt. Any person who accompanies a junior hunter other than the parent or guardian, must either possess a valid adult hunting license or have successfully completed a hunter education course.

While the abundance of natural foods this year is likely to impact hunters, in-state research shows that it is also what drives nuisance bear complaints. In years when there is a good natural food crop, the numbers of complaints drop. In poor natural food years, nuisance complaints increase.

Over a span of 40 years, Maine’s bear study has shown that not only does the availability of natural foods drive bear cub survival and bear birth rates, but it also directly influences when bears den for the winter, as well as hunter success rates. In poor natural food years, hunter success is higher than in years when natural food is abundant.

Successful bear hunters are reminded that it is mandatory to submit a tooth from their bear when registering. Tagging agents will provide envelopes and instructions to hunters as to how to remove the tooth. Biologists age the tooth, and the biological data collected help biologists adjust season lengths and bag limits for bears.

In August, hunters can learn the age of the bear they harvested the previous season by visiting www.maine.gov/ifw/hunting_trapping/hunting/bear/index.htm.
Hunters and trappers must have a bear permit in addition to a big game hunting or trapping license to harvest a bear in Maine.

However, during the deer firearm season, resident hunters can harvest a bear without a bear permit. Bear hunting is most popular and bear populations are the densest in the northern and downeast regions of the state.

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Scientific Game Management Trumped by Progressive Totalitarianism

Of the approximately 15,000 grizzlies in British Columbia, about 250 are killed by hunters annually, according to government figures.

Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development Minister Doug Donaldson characterized that level of hunting as “sustainable” in an interview with the CBC.

However, he says the decision to end trophy hunting is “not a matter of numbers, it’s a matter of society has come to the point in B.C. where they are no longer in favour of the grizzly bear trophy hunt.”<<<Read More>>>

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Florida: Bear Hunting Is Essential to Management….Er, Except When Politics Rule

During the deliberation portion of their June 2016 meeting that resulted in the postponement of a bear hunt that year, dissenting FWC Commissioners claimed their wish was to polish the scientific data supporting a hunt which was to be presented this year. They had no desire to “kick the can down the road” or “study the issue to death.”

What did they do at the meeting last Wednesday? They decided to revise the bear management plan to incorporate the new data and hunting as a management tool. This updated plan will be presented to the Commission in two years. To the best of my understanding, 2019 will be the earliest bear hunting is considered again.

Can kicked. Issue studied and dead. For now.<<<Read More>>>

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Florida Representative Proposes Ten Year Ban on Bear Hunting

*Editor’s Note* – As we continue to see such legislation that strips wildlife managers of necessary tools to do the jobs they are commissioned to do, is there any wonder that other states, sick and tired of ignorant animal rights perverts and environmentalists crafting legislation to rule out science over emotional clap-trap, crafting some of their own bills that would prohibit any legislation of this kind pertaining to wildlife management. Where will this nonsense end? 

Press Release from the Sportsmen’s Alliance:

Take Action! Currently House Bill 491 is in House Natural Resources & Public Lands Subcommittee. Florida sportsmen should contact their state representatives and ask them to vote NO on House Bill 491. Members can use the Sportsmen’s Alliance Legislative Action Center to contact their state representative.

In Florida, Rep. Amy Mercado (D-Orlando) has proposed legislation that would place a ten-year ban on black bear hunting in Florida. House Bill 491 also requires bear-proof garbage cans, and restricts burning in habitats that could impact bears. The bill also would commission a study on the effectiveness of non-lethal means for the management of bears.

In 2016, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission paused plans to have a hunting season for bears after anti-hunting groups pressured both commissioners and legislators.

“HB 491 would set a terrible precedent by removing the management authority from the commission altogether and instead establishing an arbitrary timeline,” said Luke Houghton, the Sportsmen’s Alliance associate director of state services. “The Commission was created to make scientific decisions regarding wildlife, and House Bill 491 undermines that process and politicizes wildlife decision making.”

Taxpayers would also be on the hook for at least $1 million to pay for bear-proof trash cans, which local governments would then apply for funding from. HB 491 also mandates an end to any timbering of palmetto and oak trees in state forests. Rep. Mercado claims that bears will avoid garbage if there are more food sources available naturally.

“HB 491 substitute’s politics for science, ignoring the advice of Florida’s wildlife experts,” continued Houghton. “It sets a precedent that politicians can step on sound scientific wildlife management decisions when opponents of hunting become upset. HB 491 also poses a serious public safety risk, as Florida’s growing bear population expands unchecked.”

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PA Releases 2016 Bear Harvest Data. Maine Asleep At The Wheel

This year, 2016, Pennsylvania bear hunters took 3,529 bears – 5th highest harvest on record. Officials are telling the world about the great bear hunting Pennsylvania has to offer. This report is calling it “The Golden Age of Bear Hunting.”

Two years ago, Maine harvested, 3,016 bears. It took officials over a year to release any of the harvest data and when they did, it was not announced to anyone. For days on end, I would check in at the website and for days on end, nothing appeared. Hmmmm!

The 2016 bear hunt has long concluded, and hunters can expect the data from that hunt to be available on the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) website by sometime in September of 2017 – hopefully not long after another new bear hunting season has started.

Some have asked me why I get all “wee-weed up,” as a former president once said, over the release of deer, moose, turkey and bear harvest data. “What difference does it make?”

I wouldn’t expect everyone to understand, or care enough to understand, so let me present it in a way I have not presented it in the past.

Suppose, as we have been told (if you look hard enough), that Maine actually was interested in finding more bear and turkey hunters. There are some reports that make that claim. It is my understanding that this dilemma has become a regular topic of discussion at the planning meetings for bear and turkeys.

It’s a bit odd, to me anyway, that in many parts of Maine the deer hunting sucks, but I have seen MDIFW attempt to convince people through the media that the deer hunting is great. Maine has too many bears and too many turkeys, but I don’t hear any bragging about how good it is. I don’t get it.

It would seem to me, that one way to go about bragging, would be to put some honest effort into getting the harvest information out as quickly as possible and then brag about it. Let the world know that Maine, last year (if they got their data out in a timely fashion), harvested 3,016 bears and 7,570 turkeys.

A message can be sent that Maine cares about, not only the social tolerances of its brainwashed citizenry, but that it cares about the importance of harvest data to keep the hunters happy and to be able to use such information as a marketing tool, instead of some kind of political leverage of power over others – which is what it all too often feels like.

Isn’t it time to put some effort and money where mouths are found? Talk is cheap. If MDIFW wants more hunters – which spells revenue – to assist in better control over turkey and bear populations, they have a terrible way of showing it. One has to assume they don’t care.

Perhaps it’s the Climate Change.

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Is It Possible MDIFW Will Actually Do Something About Reducing Bear Population?

This just might be so! According to George Smith, the group that is working on devising game management plans for bear, deer, moose and turkeys, voted, in a split vote, to consider implementation of a Spring bear hunt.

As the old Maine saying goes, “Hahd tellin not knowin,” the Smith article mentions no other options than a Spring bear hunt for the purpose of reducing bear numbers. I have been calling for real action for some time now to reduce the bear populations, especially in areas were the deer herd is suffering, in order to give the herd a kick start.

Crickets! But excuses.

In this article, in discussing the ups and downs of a Spring hunt, head of the Maine Guides said, “…guides and sporting camps felt they would not get more hunters, but their expenses would increase in order to offer both spring and fall hunts.”

I don’t like that the Maine Guides wield so much power and control over the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDFIW) but I do want them to be able to take full advantage of the cards they are dealt…just like the rest of us. Therefore, I’ll repeat what I have said before. There has been so much negative press on a Spring bear hunt, and if it is true that the Maine Guides wouldn’t benefit the most from a Spring hunt, then why not double up the bear bag limit, for a season or two, for the late Summer, early Fall hunt? Aren’t there things MDIFW can do within the scope of a Fall bear hunt that will both reduce the bear population AND accommodate the guides and camp owners? – lengthen the season, increase the bag limit, gag some environmentalists, etc.

At least it appears suggestions are being made and seriously considered for doing something about getting the bear population under better control, while at the same time maybe helping out the deer herd.

Way to go! Don’t stop now!

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MDIFW Avoided the Cash Rewards

In George Smith’s article in the Bangor Daily News, he writes of a question he was asked by a reader as to why, “Maine essentially close[d] the bear season to non-residents during deer season?”, and querying as to why the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) and/or the Legislature won’t open the November deer hunting season to harvesting bear by non-residents in the same fashion as Maine residents can do during the deer season.

The MDIFW offers an answer to that question but doesn’t really address the real issue with managing bears or explain their cash windfall by charging non-resident deer hunters an additional $74.00 for a special tag in order to harvest a bear during deer season. (Maine residents must pay an additional $27.00 for a bear permit to hunt bear outside of deer season.)

As Smith explains and has explained, MDIFW is in the process of establishing revised 15-year management plans for big game species that include bear, deer, moose and turkey. Part of the plan for bear involves what the Department can do to create a greater interest in bear hunting in order to better keep in check a still growing bear population.

The explanation as to why non-residents can’t inclusively hunt bear during deer season without a $74.00 tag, does not include why MDIFW or the Maine Legislature decided to create the exemption in the first place. If the MDIFW is certainly interested in keeping hunters happy, providing for the best management of bears, while at the same time looking for ways to increase the bear harvest, they sure have a strange way of going about it.

MDIFW says that after implementation of the bear hunt exemption, non-resident deer hunters continue to lay out $74.00 for a bear tag, even though the success rate is slim to none – barely over a dozen bears harvested. MDIFW says those bear permits range from 700 – 1,000 each season – or a cash windfall to MDIFW of between $51,800 and $74,000 dollars per year. In the grand scheme of government gouging for every tax dollar they can swindle out of the public, this is not a lot of money, but we do need to change the attitudes of tax payers and stop giving these bureaucrats more money so they can find more ways to limit hunter’s ways to harvest game.

The explanation given by MDIFW about the small harvest totals of bears during the deer season is understandable but it doesn’t address the issue of what to do about the Department’s ability to better control the bear population. In the explanation, MDIFW’s bear biologist writes, “…we will consider a variety of options for meeting our management needs that includes reviewing our permit system and making changes if appropriate.”

I understand that in this particular incident MDIFW was addressing the question asked and therefore there was no need to explain more about the proposed bear management plan.

As I said above, MDIFW has an odd way of addressing how to generate more bear kills to control the population. The first mistake, in my opinion, they made was to require bear hunters to pay for a special bear hunting permit ($27.00 for residents, $74.00 for non residents), in addition to the Big Game Hunting License ($26.00 for residents, $115.00 for non residents). Not everyone is made of money and in a time when all governments are out of control and clueless about stealing more and more of people’s money, they fail to realize that two things can happen with this scenario. First, fewer people can and will cough up the money to purchase a bear permit. Second, those still wishing to harvest a bear, will do it illegally. In addition, I tire from listening to lame excuses such as the fees required in Maine are a lot cheaper than in other states. Fine! But we are not talking about other states and never is there any discussion about demographics and other factors that go into the setting of fees for hunting, fishing and trapping. I grew up in Maine and I certainly understand, from my own past, that for some people buying a license is a chore. Is it not discriminatory to set fees that take away some people’s opportunities to hunt, fish or trap?

MDIFW grants Maine residents permission to harvest a bear, at no extra charge, during deer season with the purchase of a Big Game Hunting License ($27.00). How big of them, considering, as shown in the explanation in discussion, very few bears are taken during deer season because the bears are most often in hibernation. But they did put it to the non-residents asking for and additional $74.00 (in addition to the $115.00). While the bear harvest by non-residents before and after is seemingly negligible, a handful of harvested bears versus the cash windfall might be worth losing a few more bears.

If MDIFW wanted more bears harvested, why ask Maine hunters to pay for a permit? Makes no sense. Out one side of their mouths they cry about what they are going to do to curb the bear population. While doing that they stick their hand into hunter’s back pockets and pick them clean with no justification other than they wanted more money. It certainly does nothing to help control bear numbers.

Of the bear hunters that exist and do try to harvest bear, why not offer some means of allowing hunters or trappers to take more than one bear? MDIFW really went all out when they said a person could take one bear by trapping and one by hunting (sarcasm in case you weren’t keen). I bet that knocked down the bear population in a hurry!

We know that bears are big killers of deer fawns. MDIFW attempts to use smoke and mirrors to convince people that there are now tons of deer (due to one mild winter, wink, wink), and yet, the deer harvest essentially has remained at historic lows for at least the last 10 years. MDIFW has done nothing to remedy this problem with the exception of coughing up a couple dollars to do some sporadic predator control.

If bear populations are a problem, anyone with a brain should be able to logically conclude that with bears being fawn killers, two birds could be killed with one shot here. Increasing the bag limit on bear, in turn might help grow a deer herd instead of relying on Al Gore and his fake Global Warming.

But wait! MDIFW probably won’t do that because they are owned by the Maine Guides Association. Near as I can tell the guides tell MDIFW what they will and will not do when it comes to bear hunting. Granted, I’m not as stupid as some may think, bear hunting is a cash cow for the guides and they don’t want anybody spoiling their fun. But, at what expense?

It appears from reports I’ve heard and read about, MDIFW is looking at ways of creating more “interest” in bear hunting, hoping this will lower the bear population. Seriously? Again, strange ways of generating an interest in bear hunting. Maine should implement a 2-bear bag limit for one season and then reassess. While they are at it, they should seriously increase the number of moose permits and take a real proactive approach at dealing with an overgrown moose herd that is killing itself with disease and pests – Mother Nature in action.

If MDIFW is only looking for ways of fattening up their cash cow, why not be transparent and go to the hunters, trappers and fishermen, who have paid MDIFW’s way for decades and tell them what they need, what they are going to do with the money and how it will benefit the sportsman. MDIFW might be surprised at the response they get. But, instead, they limit the opportunities for bear hunters while at the same time attempting to gouge their wallets and then wonder what can they do to generate interest.

You can’t make this stuff up.

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Colorado Has Too Many Black Bears – We Told You So

*Editor’s Note* – When Colorado decided to effectively ban every method to legally harvest black bears, with the exception of one man and one rifle, we warned the public and officials that when social demands, orchestrated by the environmentalists, remove the tools necessary for wildlife managers to control wild animal populations, problems like those now appearing in Colorado would persist.

This is the same message that many of us sent to voters in Maine who, thankfully, opted not to do away with the hunting and trapping tools needed to keep bears in check. Now Colorado is considering increasing bag limits on bears and/or lengthening the season. Good luck with that. Maybe they should consider repealing the ban and allowing baiting and hounding.

The Post Independent reports higher numbers of bear-human conflicts has led to more relocation of the animal, but more relocations have led to less available locations for more relocations. According to the newspaper, Parks and Wildlife has relocated six bears and put down 17 this year in Management Area 17, which includes Glenwood Springs, Carbondale and most of Pitkin and Eagle counties.

Parks and Wildlife District Manager Dan Cacho told The Post Independent relocation gets complicated when that many incidents occur in one spot because officials want to move the bears “at least 100 miles away” but still need to keep them in Colorado.”<<<Read More>>>

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Finally! Maine’s 2015 Bear Hunt Harvest Information

For those interested, the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife has finally posted their annual report of the 2015 bear hunt. The posting comes several days into the 2016 bear hunting season and nearly 9 months after its conclusion.

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Is MDIFW Out Chasing Down Drug Dealers for the Governor?

One has to wonder what the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife are up to these days. As we enter the 6th day of the 2016 bear hunt, MDIFW has yet to publish results of last year’s bear harvest. I wonder why not. Hiding something?

Oh, I know. They are “hoping” and “encouraging” somebody to get the job done. At this rate, harvest reports will be coming in one, two, three….years after the event. So why bother?

SleepingOnTheJob

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