September 22, 2019

More Flexibility In Deer Management Means There Is No Accountability

Word on the street is that the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) is about to release their 15-year management plans for deer, bear, moose, and turkey. I’ll reserve space and time for when the written plans are made available and I have a chance to read and digest them before I make too many comments.

However, there are two items in an article in the Portland Press Herald that caught my attention. I’ll start with some apparent good news: “The 5-year moose radio collar study has shown that the population will be more resistant to winter tick infestation if it’s smaller – rather than larger for easier wildlife watching – so more hunting permits will be issued, said Wildlife Division Director Judy Camuso.”

Let’s hope that the increase in permits and the reduction in moose is significant to get the job done. Thank you MDIFW for taking this direction.

Now the bad news: “There is no absolute density (number),” Cordes said. “There is more flexibility now in management.” What this statement is referring to is that the management plan for big game will no longer include efforts to estimate population numbers. Evidently, this is not reserved strictly for deer but for all big game. Instead, management officials will focus on the health of the population of deer, moose, bear, and turkey.

And for those who buy into this scientism form of unaccountable, rely on Climate Change for answers to all things management, “flexibility in management” means they lie, cheat, and steal and we aren’t supposed to know about it. That is historically the ONLY definition of flexibility in government.

Yes, I’m of an older generation (a much better one) where it was expected of you to be accountable and accurate. Then one day I heard that doing math problems evidently gave the students and teachers “more flexibility” because it didn’t matter whether you came up the correct answer, it was whether you got the process right. HOT DAMN! Flexibility meant I only had to do half the amount of work. It was easier to fake the rest.

If numbers will no longer be a part of management, I suppose that will be justification for never publishing harvest data. Instead, MDIFW can publish one big page on their website or in the newspapers that read: “Deer/Bear/Moose/Turkey are healthy.” Our job is done and we did a good job…damn I just wrenched my shoulder patting myself on the back.

Flexibility!!!! Got it.

 

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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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