August 20, 2019

One Bear, Two Bears, Three Bears, Four

The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife has yet to publish black bear harvest data on their website. So far, this is the second longest it has taken the Department to count bears. How long does it take to count bears? Oh, yeah! It’s the teeth that slows them down. RIGHT!

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Record Bear Season? But What About the Deer?

The Seacoast Online is reporting that Maine will have a record-breaking bear hunting season. Wonderful! I hope they kill around 10,000 of them.

Maine hunting guides are telling state game officials that 2012 will go down in the record books as one of the best years ever to hunt bears in the state.

We know the cause for big bears being taken is because there is no natural food to eat. It has been explained to Maine citizens by wildlife officials, that when there is a shortage of natural food to eat, bears will eat early, get fat early and den up early. I’m not sure on what food source they eat early and fatten up early on if there isn’t any, other than a handful of bait sites. There appears to be no other explanation for a supposed record bear season other than lack of natural food.

Maine officials seem to confidently state that the state has a population of 31,000 black bears, all of which will apparently eat early, fatten up early and den early. I’ve yet to find this information in scientific studies but I’m still searching.

In the Seacoast article, it states that guides are seeing record numbers of bears as well as big fat bears. It is probably a waste of my time to argue about why the bears are fat right now, but there is little to dispute that there is a record number of bear in Maine at present. And there’s little to dispute that because of such, the bears are taking a toll on the deer population by targeting deer fawns soon after the bears come out of hibernation.

With little interest in reducing the bear herd, from officials and guides, the protection of one species at the expense of another is the order of business it would appear. This kind of thinking is akin to the predator protectors and animal rights perverts.

We are told that moose, of which the state officially boasts 76,000 of them (a record more than likely), compete with the whitetail deer for habitat and food resources and yet the state fails to offer more moose tags to keep the population in check and to give the deer a break at a time they need it most.

And bear kill deer fawns and adult deer if they can ambush them.

Again I repeat, Maine wildlife officials seem to have a firm grasp on the number of moose and bear that there are but can’t nail down anything better than a rough estimate on the deer population. Maybe that fact all by itself partly or mostly explains why the deer herd has gone to hell in a hand basket.

So long as Maine officials and guides fail to place the salvage of the deer population on a higher priority than it currently is, i.e. taking a back seat to bear and moose, the chances are slim and none that the deer will recover. If they do, it will be only by happenstance of weather and climate conditions.

Jokingly, I reported that the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) was going to use “Black Bear Crows” to count deer as officials couldn’t seem to come up with any firm numbers from flying with helicopters and counting them. As one reader told me, “Using a mythological “black bear crow” to count deer isn’t any more far fetched than MDIFW coming up with an accurate deer count anytime soon.”

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Just How Many Black Bears Does Connecticut Have Anyway?

Yesterday I reported in “Connecticut: Counting and Killing Bears” that the “official” bear count in Connecticut was about 500 bears. Maybe Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection should learn how to measure the number of bears in the same fashion as the old timer learned how to convey the size of the trout he caught. When asked how big a particular fish was being told about in a story, the old timer fisherman would reply, “I wouldn’t say it was bigger than 14 inches.”

Maybe if Connecticut reported that the state had no more than 5,000 they would be better off. Then again, one has to honestly question with a department of energy and environmental protection is rightfully equipped to know and understand the population of a flock of bears or a herd of turtles.

After publishing my article yesterday, a reader and part time contributor to this blog, Richard Paradis, emailed me a link to the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection website where they have tracked and recorded by town bear sightings/encounters reported by residents from September 7, 2011 until August 30, 2012.

This chart shows 2,915 reports of bear sightings all across the state. As was pointed out by Mr. Paradis, “If there are 500 bears [in Connecticut] then each bear has been sighted an average of 6 times.” It might be safe to say, I don’t see my next door neighbor that often.

While not out of the realm of possibilities that there exists only 500 bears in Connecticut, this many sightings are very much possible providing that the bears are out hitch hiking, visiting the local restaurants, standing in unemployment lines and chartering buses to Foxwoods Casino.

IF the counting and estimating process continues, I will be curious to see what kind of a number they come up with and how much confidence to put into such an estimate.

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