December 12, 2018

Ayuh! A Biggun! Wicked Lotta Hohns Too!

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Too Many Deer Being Harvested?

Yeah, I know. I’m never satisfied. It’s either too hot or too cold, etc. However, just asking!

According to Bill Green of Bill Green’s Maine, hunters have taken 30,299 deer through the regular firearms season. Muzzleloader season remains.

Last season, 2017, total deer harvest of all disciplines, totaled 27,233. Easily Maine will exceed a 10% increase in deer harvested. Last year Maine muzzleloader hunters took 970 deer, so we might add another 1,000 deer to the 30,299 when harvest totals are completed.

I have discussed numbers and asked questions before, so let’s do this one more time. In 2017 Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) allotted 66,050 “Any-Deer Permits” (ADP) with tags used totaling 6,054 doe (antlerless) deer. This harvest was 13% less than deer manager’s harvest projections.

My question going into this deer hunting season with MDIFW issuing a record number of ADPs, 84,745, was why did the projected “Any-Deer” harvest fall 13% short? Evidently, MDIFW managers believe that increasing the number of ADPs will increase the number of females, or antlerless deer harvested. But, do we know that falling short of projections was the result of not enough permits issued? It is important to have this information.

There’s a problem with issuing record numbers of ADPs, even if the majority of those ADPs are issued for Wildlife Management Districts (WMD) with more deer per square mile than managers desire – and one of those problems is what we have seen this season with hunters being able to hunt on lots of snow (in many places) for extended periods of time (three weeks in most of Western Maine).

I don’t have any scientific data to support any claim that it seems that it is in those areas with the most snow, falling on the earliest dates, are in those WMDs where deer per square mile is extremely sparse. With early snow in those areas combined with a record number of ADPs, have we harvested too many deer? What will this cost us?

While it is nice for hunters that 31,000 deer have been harvested, the increase in harvest is NOT due to an increase in the overall population of deer throughout the state. What does this mean for next year’s deer harvest? While it’s too early to predict, with better than two feet of snow on the ground in the Western Foothills, and we haven’t reached December yet, are we staring down the barrel of another “severe” winter that will wipe out the rest of the herd? Do deer managers factor in the possibility of hunters having snow to hunt on nearly the entire season, which in and of itself causes harvest numbers to increase? This amount of snow this early is not even close to approaching normal. (Damned the Global Warming)

Are we going to pay for this and if so, how much?

Addendum:

I have spent many years bitching and complaining that MDIFW cannot get deer harvest numbers out to the public in some time period less than 6-8 months after the fact. MDIFW has finally done it and digitalized the tagging process so that this information is at the hands of managers instantly.

While it appears that the only way to get that information is to contact someone at MDIFW and hope for cooperation, we can get occasional updates from media sources who get cooperation, such as Bill Green.

I have expressed that there are few excuses to use that would prohibit the managers from placing live tagging information on the MDIFW website and would certainly like to see this in another year. We’ll see.

With that all said, congratulations and thank you to the personnel at MDIFW for getting this task moved into the modern era and that we can at least have harvest data that we don’t have to wait months for.

*Editor’s Note* – Within moments of publishing this report, MDIFW published a press release with deer harvest information. You can read their report by clicking on this link.

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A Most Different Thanksgiving

Yesterday, I awoke around 5 a.m. to -2 degrees F. Need I remind readers it is only November? With around 16 inches of snow on the ground and the wind whipping at times to 25 miles per hour, I’m not such a die-hard whitetail deer hunter, anymore, that I felt inspired to get out in this crap. Instead, I journeyed east on a three-hour car ride for Thanksgiving dinner with family and friends.

My eighteen-year-old Florida van, that has never seen salt or any temperatures below 32 degrees, made some of the darndest noises as it mumbled and grumbled in protest even louder than I was. I kept asking questions like, what the heck is that noise and consoling the old girl telling her it will be okay. You’ll be back in Florida in a couple of weeks, and I’ll give you a nice bath.

As in most any car, regardless of its age, riding on frozen Maine highways makes you think something has seriously happened to the suspension. By the time I got to my destination, I got a rush of memories of winters of many years gone by when I spotted the dark brown globs of frozen slush directly behind each wheel. The frozen reminders of nastiness were all large enough that the tires themselves kept the size shaved down, and each time I hit a “frost heave” or a pothole, the compression of the vehicle kept the bottoms of each mini iceberg from growing beyond its maximum.

As I drove along the highway, carefully monitoring my engine temperature gauge wondering if I have the right mixture of coolant/antifreeze to keep the engine from freezing, I began to reminisce about what the sides of the roads used to look like on Thanksgiving Day – each old logging road would have a car or truck parked in it, as hunters have hit the woods. In my 3-hour journey, mostly covering back roads, I saw none. I took notice of all vehicles I spotted, looking for “hunter orange” clothing – hats, vests, jackets, even the now shied away from rifle racks for fear of “offending” someone. I saw three that I suspected were going to or coming from hunting.

Is this the case because it was so cold? It’s been cold before. Is it because it was a holiday? Isn’t it a Maine tradition for hunting families to have Thanksgiving dinner after dark because the daytime is spent trying in near desperation to fill that tag? Or maybe there just aren’t many people left who hunt – perhaps because there are so few deer left, getting motivated to hunt in the cold is extremely difficult to do.

It’s Friday morning now. The temperature on my deck thermometer reads 10 degrees – “We’re having a heat wave!” There are today and tomorrow and then the deer hunting season draws to an end. I’m struggling to reason and to find excuses I guess. There’s snow to hunt on but it’s a bit deep and crusty/crunchy. It is also cold to be out long.

What to do? I leave for Florida for the winter in just a few days. Do I want to shoot a deer and then rush around to get the deer processed? I’ve frozen the meat and packed it in ice for the trip to Florida before, but I’m not sure I want to do that again.

The forecast says Saturday, the last day, high temps here are to reach a balmy 33 degrees.

Maybe tomorrow will be a better day for us fair-weather fairies to take one more whack at it.

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Carry In, Carry Out

Carry In

Carry Out

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Maine’s Deer Harvest Numbers

There are 5 more days, including today, to hunt whitetail deer in Maine. With the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife’s (they must all be on vacation) new digital, instant tagging technology, we have been told that Maine’s deer harvest so far is…ah…er…well. Maybe next year.

God, technology is a beautiful thing!

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Maine’s Forgotten “Game Plan for Deer”

Does anybody remember? Maine had/has a deer problem. What was/is the problem? There are not enough deer statewide, and when combined with predator devastation, harsh winters (global warming isn’t helping) and grumbling began the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) figured they best do something to appease the grumblers. Thus was born Maine’s Game Plan for Deer.

The farce was devised and published in March of 2011. *Note* I would highly recommend (if you give a rat’s patootie) that you go to this link quickly and download it into your computer files for safekeeping and future reference before it disappears…again.

I wrote extensively during that time about the plan, and in those writings provided readers with a link to the Plan. Unfortunately, like with hundreds of other documents, when MDIFW rebuilt their website, which is difficult at best to navigate and impossible at times to find anything, all of the previous links became void – perhaps by design.

This morning I began to think again about this document and plan and wondered why so much time, money, and effort was put into devising this piece of propaganda. At the time I called the work a worthless document and asked if MDIFW practiced deer management as a hobby. I wrote: “The Maine Game Plan for Deer is a worthless document until a strong and united effort is undertaken. It has to be more than task force creations, meetings, talk, and rhetoric, while fractured small groups or individuals practice futility. It appears Maine has to learn how to build a coalition that brings everybody onto the same page. Until that happens the only rebuilding of any deer herds will be happenstance.”

Game management history in Maine should have taught us that the mandated 15-year management plans are nothing more than typical political bureaucratic nonsense. This is proven out because nothing ever written in these plans is followed and when game managers remove themselves and their work from those plans, their excuses are that “best available science” changes and managers have to change with those changes. Yeah, OK!

Now, we have learned that Maine’s Game Plan for Deer was another political appeasement, a worthless document designed to get the complaining idiot hunters (their perceptions) off their back. Essentially, the Plan was tossed in the garbage and disregarded. Didn’t this become evident when the pretty document was scrubbed from the MDIFW website?

And then we have the surveys that MDIFW paid ridiculous amounts of money for saying they wanted to make their management plans based on what “stakeholders” (including anti-hunters, environmentalists, and animal rights radicals) wanted and their perceptions of existing game management.

We can easily assume that all previous game management plans, including Maine’s Game Plan for Deer, became null and void after Responsive Management devised the outcome based, scientismic, Delphi Technique enhanced answers to rigged questions.

We also can only assume that the new 15-year deer management plan that calls for reducing the deer population, stopping counting game animals, and strive for hocus-pocus “healthy” deer is the result of the SURVEY! Wink-wink and Kumbaya!

What’s odd though is that spending a considerable amount of time read searching the published results of that Survey, I don’t recall any questions, concerns, or comments about “stakeholders” wanting to stop counting game, reducing game populations, and/or putting a focus on healthy deer rather than focusing on growing a deer herd that would provide better opportunities to hunt and to boost the success rate, which in turn would continue to keep interest in deer hunting stable or growing.

Or maybe the new 15-year plan is newly devised to create just the opposite because that’s what Environmentalism and animal rights perverts, saturating the department, want.

So, why do we have a department of fish and wildlife? It’s all part of the rigged system. They waste money by devising wicked and worthless documents, convincing people they have our interest at heart, and evidently, we fail miserably in not seeing the scam.

MDIFW, like all government bureaucracies, is going to do just as they damn well please. First up on that agenda is to do what is necessary to keep fake biologists and game managers employed, at least long enough to collect a pension. The art is making the people think they are doing worthwhile, commendable work is a must.

Your government at work! Nice…real nice.

Maybe we need to develop a task force to look into this.

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Is Maine Really in the Midst of Deer Hunting Season?

I wonder if the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) is ashamed or embarrassed that it is regulating and administering the state’s annual deer hunting season? – or any of the big game hunting seasons for that matter.

Someone visiting the state would have no idea unless they happened to see some people running around with hunter orange clothing on, but then again, blaze orange is often daily attire for some of the locals. The majority of Maine residents don’t even know the deer hunt is on. Didn’t it use to be a right of passage? Didn’t kids skip school, with or without their parents’ permission, to go deer hunting? Hell, I did!!! Once I even went to the boys’ room and lit a cigarette (I didn’t smoke) so I would get expelled from school to have more time to deer hunt. The principal laughed at me and told me I would have to wait until Saturday like everyone else.

It was a time when the fish and game department got to brag about the successes of their efforts at managing deer, touting the number of deer tagged, even in estimations. In a way, it was the canary in the coal mine of successful deer management.

Is that what’s going on? Is the MDIFW refusing to acknowledge the deer season because they are ashamed of how global warming has yet to produce more deer? Or maybe it’s because most managers are believers in nonconsumptive use – that animals should be protected from all killing, even when scientifically proven over generations to be the trophy model of success. The brainwashing is in full metal jacket.

I’ve spoken often of what appears to be the deliberate act of not placing live data of deer tagging on the websites so we can all see. If you are a mainstream media person in good standing with MDIFW, you can call or email and ask for some numbers, but not the rest of us. MDIFW even fails to take 5 minutes (omg we just don’t have the resources to do that) to send out a press release on their website with a brief update about the hunting season. It’s really like the preteen who insists their parents drop them off a block away from the school for fear the parent might embarrass them somehow.

How do we maintain hunters, say nothing of recruiting new ones, if the MDIFW appears ashamed of the event?

Yesterday, the MDIFW took enough time to release their “Monthy Review.” And what was in the monthly review? About anything except hardly a mention about hunting.

Commissioner Woodcock expresses appreciation to private landowners for land access, we can read about the “mysteries of bats,” honoring fallen game wardens, salmon in Sebago Lake, or learn more about chronic wasting disease.

Whatever happened to the sense of pride in Maine’s deer, bear, and moose hunting seasons?

It is extremely obvious that the MDIFW has little or no interest in such things anymore and is a precursor to what lies ahead for those left who still enjoy hunting. I’ll give it 10 years, perhaps as many as 20, and it will be a violation to hunt any animal, which would be difficult to do considering that the totalitarians will have what guns they can take away from us and it will be unlawful to own any.

God, the future looks bright, doesn’t it?

I don’t want to be this way. I don’t want to berate the MDIFW, but for 50 years I have paid my way and now the department is too conscience-stricken to even publically speak of one of Maine’s historical events that used to knit a community together. There’s a lot more to “Git ya deeyah yet?” than the poking fun of hunters it is today. It was all that was talked about. Now people get “offended” when they see or even hear about deer hunting.

Evidently, the MDIFW is the same way.

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My Eyes: Maybe They Do Look So Good Anymore

There’s an old Maine story sometimes told. I first heard it when being entertained by Maine humorist Joe Perham many years ago. Maine has always had a strong French Canadian influence. The transition from the Canadian French to Maine English sometimes leaves one amused or confused. The French tend, in their interpretations and implementation of the English language, to get the order or use of certain words mixed up. The old Maine story goes something like this.

Two farmers who lived on opposite ends of town seldom had the pleasure of meeting and visiting each other. But when they did, it often began a series of bartering and sometimes bickering and undoubtedly confusion, leading to anger.

One day the two men met near the center of town. They briefly exchanged pleasantries. One farmer, Les,  said to the farmer of French descent, “Say, Pierre. I’m looking for a mule to work my farm.”

Pierre replied, “Well, I got one but his eyes they no look so good anymore.”

Farmer Les said, “I don’t care what he looks like. What you gut to git for that mule?”

“I’ll trade you my mule for your mule,” offered Pierre.

So in a couple of days, they met and swapped mules. Les had a reputation for a bit of dishonest bartering. He knew his mule was old and tired and figured an even swap was a good deal, getting the better of the trade. However, after a couple of days, Les went looking for Pierre.

Say, Pierre, “That mule you swapped me for…the dang thing’s blind!”

“Yeah, I know,” replied Pierre. “I told you his eyes they no look so good anymore.”

During my hunting trip to Hunting Camp, I came away with a bit of reassurance that my eyesight wasn’t failing worse than I thought in my advancing years. Three events took place that reassured me that for 66 years in age, my eyes they do look so good anymore.

The first event happened the day we arrived at Hunting Camp. As is tradition, we target shoot. From the sitting rest that somebody once built, to the target is approximately 30 yards or about 90 to 100 feet. I don’t know that any of us have ever measured exactly.

I stood behind the shooters and I could most often tell the shooter where his bullet hit the target – even the .223 caliber rounds. Most shooters doubted my ability to see that well at that distance, but upon examination of the target, more than not I was right.

As a side note, just before I got out of the U.S. Navy in 1976, I decided to have my teeth fixed and my eyes checked to at least get me taken care of for a while. I’ll spare the details but the eye doctor became fascinated with my seeing ability and gave me a thorough examination, determining that my eyesight was 20/8. Normal vision is 20/20. 20/8 vision means that what “normal” eyes can see at 8 feet, I could see at 20. The doctor told me Ted Williams, the all-time great baseball slugger, had 20/10 vision and that’s why he could hit the baseball so well.

I know I no longer have 20/8 vision. I need glasses to read by. Needless to say, I am a typical far-sighted person.

The following day, which was opening day of the regular firearms season for deer, at precisely 2 minutes after legal hunting, a fellow hunter and I were getting ready to drive out of the woods on our ATV. At a distance of approximately 300 yards, I made out two does’ silhouette at the top of a hill on the power line. I pointed them out to my buddy who took a while to pick them up…through his binoculars I might add.

The third event was a couple days later when I was still hunting in some small beeches that still had not shed their leaves. Scanning the landscape, I spotted a “brown” spot that seemed a bit out of place. I guessed what I was seeing was about 75 yards away. I continued to study the object until I focused in on a deer’s face staring directly at me. I swear the deer had a look on her face that said what the heck is that?

She continued to stare as I slowly raised my gun to see what she looked like in my scope. I wanted desparately to place a set of antlers on her head. Seeing none at 3x power, I brought the gun down and turned the power up to 7x. Still no antlers. I knew the chances were pretty good that if I was seeing a nice buck…well, I wouldn’t be seeing a nice buck hanging around wondering what I was up to.

She turned her head 90 degrees away from me and straight ahead as she was facing. I knew what was next. She bounded away, but lazily. I did spy her again watching me as I continued to still hunt.

In the past few years, mostly because I haven’t been able to even see deer in the woods, I have resorted to sitting in places in the woods or in a ground blind. I don’t like getting into tree stands anymore. I wondered if not seeing deer was solely attributed to lack of deer to spot or if it was my failing eyesight.

It was comforting and reassuring to know that my eyes “look good enough” to still be able to pick out a deer perhaps a little better than the average hunter.

 

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Maine Deer Hunting Season: Not Much Has Changed

Saturday afternoon I returned from my annual deer hunting trip to a remote hunting camp in Western Maine. The verdict, from my perspective, is that very little has changed to improve the deer hunting there. Maybe even global warming – with two days of snow (snicker, snicker) – hasn’t made many improvements.

If you believe the hype the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) is putting out about how Maine has so many deer now you’ll be tripping over them, then I have a bridge in New York City I would like to sell you at a fair price. How does one keep a straight face to be able to, in one breath, speak of how the new deer management scheme will consist of reducing the deer population in Maine to around 230,000 deer (down from around 350,000) and then send out press releases stating more deer than you can shake a stick at?

And speaking of press releases…One full week into the regular deer firearms season and the MDIFW armed with their hi-tech digital deer tagging system, and all we hear from the department is about a fish netting project. IMPRESSIVE!!!!

But back to my week at deer camp.

The weather was horrible for the week but I hunted faithfully every day. I thought that perhaps things had improved when on Monday, two minutes past legal hunting, two does emerge from the deep woods onto the powerline where I had been sitting in my blind for two hours.

On Wednesday, I was still hunting a section of heavy beech, where the leaves still have a death grip on the trees, when I spotted a nice doe, about thirty yards away staring me down. We exchanged stares and I tried my best to grow a set of antlers on her head. For the next hour, she stayed just ahead of me trying to figure out what I was doing.

And that was it!

There were six hunters covering the woods every day from sun up until sun down and those three deer were the only deer sighted. The general consensus was that there seemed to be more indications of more deer but sighting them was impossible.

Maybe there are spots in the state where deer numbers are up but not everywhere. It was my 32nd year at Hunting Camp and there have been many, many, changes to the habitat in that time. In that time, there has been nothing that an honest assessment would uncover that might lead one to think the climate is changing. Some think the climate is warming causing all sorts of weird things in the woods and yet at the same time of year every year, we seldom have snow to hunt on. However, in the past 5 years, we have had snow to hunt on the first week of deer season twice. Global warming? No more than it is global cooling.

When MDIFW decided to lower the deer population management goals by more than 100,000, it wasn’t due to anything scientific. It is political and a form of outcome-based Scientism. In other words, the department is mostly incapable of growing the population of anything unless it happens by chance. Similar to lowering the standards of education in order to improve graduation rates, to lower the deer population goal this drastically is a means of dishonest deception.

Why do we tolerate this?

I still have three weeks to hunt deer. I am in hopes that during part of that time I will move to areas where there seems to be more success at tagging deer and hopefully my odds improve.

I sure would like some venison to munch on this winter

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When Deer Hunting Season Was a Much Welcomed Event

Once upon a time, deer hunting season was the ultimate in getting away from the everyday hustles and bustles, finding some solitude in the woods, and stalking a whitetail deer in my favorite hunting grounds.

I suppose that with age the excitement of the event has been tempered but there’s something more to it than what it once was. Maybe I can point out some obvious differences.

Deer hunting in Maine was once an all or nothing, statewide event. Even if your neighbor didn’t pick up a rifle and head into the woods, he was with you in spirit. It seemed everyone wanted to know “Did ya git ya deeyah yet?” Today there are more and more people who feel compelled to end that long-time heritage mostly due to the wants of protecting the animals that are pursued. Surely participating in an activity that fewer people approve of takes some of the wind out of your sail.

A second issue is fewer places to hunt. A growing epidemic in this country is the escape of many from the urban jungles of which they have come to despise, moving to the smaller communities in more rural settings and immediately setting their sites on making their new home just exactly like where they escaped from. Along with this senseless action, and a dislike of the traditions of rural Mainers, these selfish, greedy people immediately post their land. Surely knowing there are fewer places to hunt now and the attitudes that go along with the reasons for posting lands, takes some of the wind out of your sail to get out in the woods at daybreak to meet that buck attempting to sneak back to his hiding place.

Another truth that takes the wind further from my sail is the fact that there are fewer and fewer deer. Where once the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) openly and proudly attempted to manage deer in numbers that would give as many hunters as possible a respectable chance at harvesting a deer, today the deliberate action is to manage for as few deer as possible, while using the excuse that a few “healthy” deer are better than higher numbers to keep the hunters happy. Yeah, I know. Doesn’t make a lick of sense to me either.

Instead of “Did ya git ya deeyah yet?”, the more common comment of today might be, “Have ya seen one yet?” You can’t argue that fewer deer to hunt on less land makes you question the need to even raise your sails.

So, here we are but just two days away from the first day of deer hunting season in Maine (for residents only). The weather has been cold and snowy for the past few days – an uncommon event even for Maine (must be the global warming).

Add to all of this the fact that last Saturday morning I awoke to the sound of my water pump running only to discover that due to a prolonged drought that began in this portion of Maine in the Spring, my well had gone dry. Now I’m carrying containers of water from the town’s public water hose, flushing the toilet with a bucket of water and taking sponge baths instead of a nice hot shower. The idea of leaving for hunting camp for a week and leaving my wife here to take care of the water issue, makes me even wonder if I ought to go.

What’s going on? Things certainly are not the way they used to be and with age, those changes come harder and harder. Where once NOTHING could keep me from hunting camp, now I’m searching for reasons to go.

DANG!

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