May 22, 2017

Endangered Species Act Petitions for Florida Black Bear and Mojave Desert Tortoise do not Warrant Further Action

Press Release from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service:

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has completed reviews of petitions to list the Florida black bear and uplist the Mojave population of desert tortoise from threatened to endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The Service found that neither petition presented substantial information that the requested action may be warranted and so no further action will be taken.

Due to conservation efforts by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, private landowners, conservation groups and others, Florida black bear numbers have rebounded from approximately 300 individuals in the 1970s to some 4,350 today. Conservation efforts will continue for the Mojave population of desert tortoise, which will remain listed as threatened under the ESA.

The Federal Register docket numbers and links for the two findings are:

Species Range Docket Number and Link
Florida black bear AL, FL, GA, MS FWS­–R4–ES–2017–0015
Mojave population of desert tortoise AZ, CA, NV, UT FWS­–R8–ES–2017–0009

The notice for the above findings is available here: https://www.federalregister.gov/public-inspection.

The Service is actively engaged with conservation partners and the public in the search for improved and innovative ways to conserve and recover imperiled species. For more information on the ESA listing process, including 90-day findings and status reviews, please visit: www.fws.gov/endangered/esa-library/pdf/listing.pdf.

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Removal of the Louisiana Black Bear From the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Removal of Similarity-of-Appearance Protections for the American Black Bear

SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), are removing the Louisiana black bear (Ursus americanus luteolus) from the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife (List). This action is based on a thorough review of the best available scientific and commercial information, which indicates that this subspecies has recovered and no longer meets the definition of an endangered or threatened species under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). Our review of the status of this subspecies shows that the threats have been eliminated or reduced, adequate regulatory mechanisms exist, and populations are stable such that the species is not currently, and is not likely to again become, a threatened species within the foreseeable future in all or a significant portion of its range. This rule also removes from the List the American black bear, which is listed within the historical range of the Louisiana black bear due to similarity of appearance, and removes designated critical habitat for the Louisiana black bear. Finally, this rule also announces the availability of a final post-delisting monitoring (PDM) plan for the Louisiana black bear.<<<Read More>>>

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Black bear crashes college party, gets collared

And as we have grown wrongly accustomed to reading in all newspapers of encounters with bears, nobody was in danger. In this case, evidently the person making this statement must be a bear whisperer and could read the mind of the bear to KNOW “the bear wasn’t any threat to anybody.” Amazing magic!

“The bear wasn’t any threat to anybody. It was just looking for somewhere to eat, take a break.”

Source: Black bear crashes college party, gets collared | USA TODAY College

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Maine Deer Management: Excuse Du Jour?

I was reading George Smith’s blog this morning about all the deer plans Maine has come up with over the years all aimed at rebuilding a deer herd. Smith points out, and I believe he is factual, that the number one excuse found in the myriad of deer plans as to why deer numbers don’t grow is because of diminishing habitat for the animal. Really?

I won’t deny that losing habitat isn’t a factor – and it might even be a significant factor – to maintaining and growing a deer herd. But I don’t think I’m alone when I say that I am really quite sick and tired of listening to that crap sandwich.

It’s a crap sandwich because of all the things that could be done to increase the deer herd, it’s the least likely something anybody can do about it. It’s not too far from thinking we can control the weather.

First of all, the avoidance continues, with never an answer, as to why if wintering deer habitat is so lacking why are there empty deer yards across the state? But let’s forget that for now – seeing that nobody wants to talk about it.

So Maine has all of these deer plans proposed and proposed and proposed and then along comes another to suggest another working group to come up with a plan, a plan, a plan and guess what? Nothing changes…well, at least nothing any of these people want to talk about.

Let me ask one question. What are Maine deer managers doing to build the deer herd back up? Simple question. Let’s form a list:

1. Form a working group
2. Devise a plan
3. Cry because it’s all about habitat, habitat, habitat, habitat, habitat…excuse me, I just vomited on my computer screen.
4. Ignore the plan
5. Talk about wasting money to collar 40 deer to study whether or not coyotes are killing deer.
6. Form a working group
7. Devise a plan
8. Self committal to an insane asylum.

INSANITY!

Here’s something to think about. The excuse du jour – no habitat – claims that deer can’t be grown because there just isn’t enough habitat so deer can survive the winters. So, Maine has done nothing about that and that’s not surprising. So, they wash their hands of any responsibility and decide to go study moose. Oh, but let’s not forget that token deer collaring program that might happen. That will surely put meat in my freezer.

So, if habitat is the big deal here, then there must be enough wintering habitat to allow for the increase in deer densities following 2 or 3 relatively mild winters. That did happen. I know it did. That’s encouraging so, hold that thought for a minute.

If Maine could maintain the current level of deer wintering areas and build deer up to carrying capacity, would not hunters and others be happy? Or at least happier than they are now? So, let’s work at trying to keep the habitat that exists, without becoming statist, totalitarians, and actually do those things within our easy power to cause deer numbers to go up.

1. Control coyotes/wolves (Sorry that means killing them and it has to be a program, ongoing and forget all the lame excuses as to why it doesn’t work. It does and there’s proof. We don’t need a study group to find out.)
2. Reduce black bear populations. When discussions surround coyote killing to mitigate depredation, we hear how bears kill more deer than coyotes. Fine, go kill some bears. How about a spring season? Oh, wait. Because we live in fear for our lives over fascist animal rights groups we dare not stir the pot and have a spring bear hunt. IT MIGHT OFFEND SOMEBODY. It might offend the farmer losing his livestock too but that doesn’t count? It offends me that I don’t see deer at all while hunting deer in the woods in the Fall. And while we bury our heads in the sand, the deer population works toward extirpation in Maine, while deer to the north of the state, in Canada, are doing okay.
3. Better control and monitor where bobcats and all other predators are having an effect. We don’t have to kill all the bobcat, just reduce numbers in areas where deer need help.
4. Here’s another suggestion. Instead of caving in to the political power brokers to allow them to build trails through the middle of deer wintering yards, maybe that would help save habitat. Oh, what’s that you say? That doesn’t count? That doesn’t matter? That’s too small an amount to have any impact? Okay. I get it. It’s about power and control.

If habitat is so big that nothing else matters, as it sure seems that’s the case, then how do you explain the fact that in Eastern Maine were coyote/wolf control is ongoing, their deer numbers are rebounding nicely? Why? Coincidence? I don’t think so. They are doing something about it. I think they at least understand that while habitat isn’t fully abundant, and let’s face it, it never will be again, they can and are doing somethings that will help.

Now, I know these suggestions require work and it might not be as much fun as tracking radio collars and flying in helicopters counting animals, but one more claim that Maine can’t do anything about the deer herd because of habitat and I will have to vomit on my computer screen again.

Enough already! Rome burns while another working group and deer plan is devised.

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The Fuss Over Maine’s “Endangered” Lynx: What About the Whitetail Deer?

While agenda-driven environmentalists, who couldn’t recognize an honest scientific process if it lifted it’s leg and peed on their shoes, fret and stew over the Canada lynx in northern regions of Maine, the whitetail deer is moving toward extirpation. For those who pay attention at all to history, the Canada lynx was called the “deer wolf.” Note: Post normal science and history would tell us that, like the fairy tale of Little Red Riding Hood, early settlers calling the Canada lynx the deer wolf was probably also a myth to scare children through abuse. Anything to protect a predator at the cost of the destruction of other species.

There’s not much sense in trying to sugar coat the fact that in northern Maine, the whitetail deer is struggling to persist. Excuses are abundant: severe winters, deer are at their northern range (although further north in portions of Canada there’s not necessarily the same struggle), loss of habitat, the pope is Catholic, etc.

And yet, as the deer population there in Maine struggles, other species that compete with, threaten and prey upon the deer are overprotected – black bear, bobcat, Canada lynx and coyote/wolf hybrids. Because the whitetail deer has historically been the species of focus for most hunters, why then are we protecting everything that wants to destroy the deer? Maybe I just answered my own question, if you follow.

Now that the totalitarians have taken complete control of the Canada lynx, there’s little now that Maine’s wildlife managers can do to mitigate the loss of deer due to loup cervier, the deer wolf. The same act of wildlife management extortion, via the Endangered Species Act, has further severely restricted trapping and so what now will become of coyotes and bobcats? I suspect increased predation on whitetail deer.

For now, Maine is off the hook as far as putting an end to bear hunting but don’t take that to the bank. So long as Maine Guides control what the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife does with the implementation of bear hunts, I don’t expect any real effort to reduce bear numbers in areas where the deer are struggling. This is where, as a matter of convenience, anyone can play any one of a number of those excuse cards that explain why the deer are disappearing. I’ll bet this is a good chance to get a grant to study global warming in Maine and it’s affects on deer. Line up!

Nobody else will make notice that the deer are, more than likely, feeling the effects of hydatid cysts on lungs and other organs, that reduces their ability to evade predators.

Maine biologists reported, albeit inaccurately and incompletely, that moose examined in portions of Aroostook County had, what officials called, “lung worms.” What the moose had were hydatid cysts, the result of ingestion of Echinococcus granulosus eggs found in the scat of wild canines. Ingestion of these eggs by humans can be fatal. The more the coyote/wolf hybrid is protected the greater the chance of infecting wild ungulate populations in Maine (deer, moose) and putting humans at risk.

Because the cysts were found in moose, the likelihood of finding similar cysts in deer grows. The last thing Maine’s deer herd needs is another enemy. Wintering deer can struggle to exist under normal circumstances but if moose and deer struggle to breathe due to cysts on the lungs, liver, brain and muscle tissue, odds of surviving the onslaught of predators goes down.

Over the past several months, all focus has been on defeating an anti human, bear referendum and now it has shifted to Canada lynx. The deer still suffers while managers hope and pray for some global warming. The question I have is what will then become the excuse for disappearing deer herd when Maine’s climate becomes like Virginia’s?

NorthernMaineDeerHarvestLynx

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Ranchers in Oregon Kill 500-Pound Bear

KLAMATH FALLS, Ore. — Ranchers in south-central Oregon have legally killed a nearly 500-pound black bear after one of their heifers was killed by a bear and the giant animal was found in the family’s cattle herd.<<<Read More>>>

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642# Black Bear Minnesota Record?

Field and Stream reports that Shawn O’Connor tagged a 642-pound black bear that might be a new state record for Minnesota.

Here’s a picture of the Maine state record black bear and the guy who shot it.

mainerecordblackbear

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Florida Woman Shouts a Bear Off Her Back Deck

This is NOT the recommended way to get a black bear off your back deck. If confronted by a bear unexpectedly, it has been suggested that you attempt to “look big” and shout very loudly as a hopeful means of deterring an aggressive or attacking bear. You should NOT confront a bear in the manner this woman did.

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In Maine, Black Bears Still About in Mid January

I have been reporting this week of several field reports in Maine as to what is happening. Just this morning I finished posting a report of a coyote(s) chasing a deer and it was captured on a trail camera.

In a completely separate report, by a completely different person, on opposite ends of the state, comes word that bears are still out and about, or at least can be easily roused. Are these creatures not hibernating this winter?

Albert Ladd, from the Western part of Maine, sends me information that he, “Put bait out for coyotes a few days back”. Upon checking his bait pile he discovered that the bait was gone. Ladd says, “I walked out and found out it was dragged into the woods by a small bear.” (See photos below)

Ladd also surmised that being that his bait pile was near a “lot of rock and ledge”, the bear’s den is someplace not so far away. Perhaps the bear, not being snowed under in his den of hibernation, caught wind of the scent from the bait pile and he couldn’t resist.

While part of the contents of the bait pile was leftover bear parts, Ladd referred to the bear as a “cannibal”.


Photo by Al Ladd


Photo by Al Ladd

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