June 24, 2018

Should “Any-Deer Permits” Be Changed to Doe Permits and…

Yesterday I was approached by a Maine deer hunter who asked me to ponder his question. He didn’t want an answer right then and there. I’m not sure when he expected the answer or that he assumed maybe I would write about his question. So, here’s his question: “Do you think that when somebody applies for and wins a doe permit [Any-Deer Permit], that is all they should be able to shoot – an antlerless deer?” My knee-jerk reaction was yes, I would like to see it that way. But then I had some time to think about it. Here are some thoughts for you to ponder and please feel free to offer comments below.

If we swallow the bait, hook, line, and sinker, that the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) uses the allocation of “Any-Deer Permits” (ADP) as a scientific means of controlling and manipulating the state’s deer population, including age structure and buck-to-doe ratios, and that along with that belief you think the ADP system is successful, then it might be easy to say there is little need to discuss the what-ifs of changing the ADP to a strict doe-only permit.

But, let’s consider it anyway. Perhaps there is something to be discovered in this proposition.

I mostly understood the basis for this hunter’s question to ponder. Especially after he told me that in his hunting life-span, which extends far before the ADP system was put in place, he has never applied for an ADP. I smiled and said, “Neither have I.”

There is a belief that those hunters who apply for and get an ADP, are taking the antlered bucks that I guess somehow should be saved for….well, I dunno who – “trophy” hunters and not meat hunters?

According to an article that appeared in the Sun Journal, Maine deer biologists have recommended that MDIFW issue a record number of ADPs – up 28% from last year and to a level never before seen in the state. The recommended number of ADPs sits at 84,745. That must mean the state has the largest number of deer ever in the history of the existence of the ADP system.

Errr…hang on just one second. When the estimated deer population in Maine stood at 331,000 AND the ADP system was in place, there certainly were not that many ADPs issued. So what gives? Today’s deer population estimate statewide might be as high as 120,000, depending on who you want to listen to. Doesn’t it make some sense that ADPs would be half what they were when the population was at 331,000 – more or less depending on circumstances?

Issuing this many permits can only mean one other thing…maybe…? That the buck-to-doe ratio in Maine, especially in the southern Wildlife Management Districts (WMD), is out of whack and the state needs to kill more does to make that happen…Or, maybe not so much.

Maine’s former head deer biologist told me once that it was virtually impossible for buck-to-doe ratios to exceed 1-3 or 4 unless the ratio was deliberately skewed. So, is the management of deer so deliberately skewed it has created an out-of-whack buck-to-doe ratio?

It would seem that if that was a problem, MDIFW would have at least hinted that they needed to issue straight-up doe permits to get that back on track.

According to George Smith, MDIFW is actually hinting at the prospects that the ADP system in its current form, is not working: “Deirdre Fleming reported recently that DIFW Wildlife Division Director Judy Camuso told the department’s Advisory Council that in all but six of the state’s Wildlife Management Districts the projected doe harvest was not reached last fall. State biologists projected a doe harvest of 7,114 in 2017 but the actual reported doe harvest was only 5,950.”

Uh, oh!

My question is this: If the doe harvest in all but 6 WMDs fell short last year by 1,200 deer, how is adding an additional 18,695 permits going to achieve the desired goal? Is it because there are not enough hunters or is it because those who win an ADP aren’t using it for the purposes designed? Or, perhaps, the ADP system is beginning to more and more show that it is a flawed system…not that it should be abandoned, however, but perhaps some needed changes injected into it.

I am getting to the question at hand about whether the ADP should become strictly a doe permit – meaning the holder of the doe permit can harvest ONLY a doe and not “Any Deer.”

It was an interesting brief discussion I had with this hunter. He said to me, “There are only two reasons a hunter will apply for an ADP – he wants meat regardless, or he wants insurance in case he messes up (I assume meaning he mistakenly shoots a doe instead of a buck).

I have no preference one way or the other except that however ADPs or doe permits are issued, they are done specifically to scientifically (real science) manipulate deer populations, age structure, and buck-to-doe ratios.

If the trend is that doe harvest isn’t coming close to being met with ADPs in the current format, for whatever the reasons (lack of hunters?), something has to change.

BTW, I shared the other day the real reason MDIFW wants to kill more does in the southern regions of the state and it has NOTHING to do with buck-to-doe ratios or age structure. It simply has to do with pressure from environmentalists to get rid of Lyme disease and they have chosen to pick on the deer as the culprit instead of going to the root source of the disease.

A brainwashed population of scared-by-design people are at a near panic level, fearful of even going outside. So let’s kill a whole bunch of deer.

Another fine example of non-scientific wildlife management driven by totalitarian socialism.

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Is Maine’s Big Game Management Plan Really Shifting Toward Focus on Animal Health Not Numbers?

If readers will recall, last week I commented on an article published in the Portland Press Herald that quoted a member of the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) as saying, “There is no absolute density (number),” Cordes said. “There is more flexibility now in management.”

From this, the article indicated that MDIFW was shifting their focus to game animal health and away from population densities. Is this what’s really going to happen?

This all came about as a lead-in to announce that MDIFW was soon to release their Final Big Game Management Plan for the next 15 years. It should be understood that although these required management plans are written, they seldom are actually followed. I would imagine they go up on a shelf someplace and collect dust, perhaps being pulled down on occasion should the department have a need to placate the public with something like a mid-management plan rewrite to keep the masses of residents who care happy.

Consider what is written in this regard in the Draft plan: “It may not be necessary or feasible to implement all strategies in order to achieve the goals and objectives.”

So, for what it’s worth, I spent some time reading over the Draft Big Game Management Plan for 2017 – 2022 with a specific focus for this report on deer management goals and strategies. MDIFW has listed 3 specific goals of their plan. In addition, they have added “new” efforts to carry out the deer management plans. I’ll give you the 3 goals, in my own words, and list for you each of the “new” strategies to be employed along with MDIFW’s assessment of the level of priority they put with each new strategy followed by my own comments for some of them.

First, the 3 goals.

Goal #1 – Maintain a “healthy” deer herd for hunting and viewing.

Goal #2 – Keep the Public happy about the deer population.

Goal #3 – Increase “Public Understanding” (create new knowledge?) of biology, ecology, and management.

If the focus shift at MDIFW is going to be on deer health rather than population densities, isn’t the chore of keeping the Public happy about deer populations going to become just a bit more difficult?

Because we know that the management plans are written as part of the bureaucratic process and aren’t ironclad instructions on step by step procedures to manage deer, we also don’t know, and I can’t determine from reading the Draft Plan whether it is actually a written proposal to shift focus to animal health or whether the person from MDIFW in the PPH interview letting the Public know that his office intends to focus on animal health rather than population densities regardless of the Plan. This is government business as usual.

So here are some of the “new” additions to the deer management strategy that we are to presume will help to achieve the goal of a “healthy” deer population…along with how MDIFW prioritizes it.

Listed under Goal #1:

4. Explore options to identify habitat degradation due to over-abundance of white-tailed deer (New; Moderate Priority) Even though this is listed as of “Moderate Priority,” how much more difficult or effective will this proposal be with this new approach at deer health? To understand habitat degradation due to “over-abundance” of deer, doesn’t that require counting?

5. Evaluate early fawn mortality factors (New; Moderate Priority) My first question might be, why hasn’t MDIFW been doing this already? In a state where the majority of its land mass is quite significantly below management objectives, deer management 101 teaches us that fawn recruitment and/or fawn mortality is vital to sustaining/growing a deer herd. And, let’s not miss the point the point that it would seem that in order to understand fawn mortality factors, it should require COUNTING.

6. Evaluate the effectiveness of the coyote predation management program and identify options for improvement (New; High Priority) We know the MDIFW has been undertaking some form of predator control to help protect the deer herd particularly in winter. One might quickly think the idea to “evaluate” usually means the plan is to get rid of it. However, this new proposal speaks of discovering ways to improve it. That’s a good thing, and I’m glad it’s listed as a high priority.

Listed under Goal #2:

3. Evaluate the effectiveness of the Expanded Archery Program in managing deer-human conflicts (New; Moderate Priority) Looks to me like more counting. Geez, it’s just hard to get away from having to know how many animals there are. And, I always thought that knowledge of good deer management included the fact that managing deer at the “biological capacity” provided for a healthy herd. But I do understand that all important “flexibility” that gives managers another good excuse…kind of like global warming.

2. Develop a certification program for hunters (e.g. Marsh Island deer hunt) that would authorize participation in special urban deer hunts (New; Moderate Priority) This may prove more beneficial to a lot more people than just hiring sharpshooters.

Listed under Goal #3:

Develop a strategic outreach plan for deer and use the MDIFW Communication Program to disseminate key messages to the public (New; Moderate Priority) I’d like to see this. It wouldn’t take a lot to improve the communication of important information from MDIFW to the Public.

Work with partners to develop a mentoring program that encourages deer hunting. (New; Low Priority) Low Priority? Hmm

Conduct regular public meetings on deer management (New; High Priority) Never happen, and/or won’t last. Even if MDIFW had “regular” public meetings, nobody would show up and it would be a waste of time.

Expected Outcomes:

MDIFW lists what it thinks might happen IF they were to successfully carry out this 15-year management plan for deer. Here’s what they write:

5.6 Expected Outcomes for White-tailed Deer Management

Implementing the deer management strategies in this plan will require adequate staffing, funding, and public support. It may not be necessary or feasible to implement all strategies in order to achieve the goals and objectives. If MDIFW and its partners are successful managing deer over the next 10 years, the following outcomes are anticipated:

• The statewide over-wintering deer population averages 210,000 animals.

• The percentage of the public rating the management of deer as ‘excellent’ or ‘good’ increases to 75% by 2022.

• Public support for deer hunting to manage the population remains at or above 90%. • Annual hunter participation of ? 150,000 hunters.

• Statewide hunter satisfaction with Maine’s Deer Management Program increases to >85% by 2022.

• Northeast Maine hunter satisfaction ?80%

• Central Maine hunter satisfaction ?85%

• Southern Maine hunter satisfaction ?90%

• An average annual statewide buck harvest of at least 15,000 animals is maintained

• Seven year running average of the percentage of yearlings in the buck harvest remains below 50%

• Any-deer permits generally available in WMDs 15-17, 20-25, and 29, with permits issued in other WMDs during some years.

All of this sure looks like a lot of counting…that is if there is any serious attempt at implementing and working at this deer management plan. It is impossible to effectively manage any game herd without a minimum of reasonable, scientific methods of devising estimates of population densities – the more accurate that estimation becomes the more precise and effective management strategies become.

To announce a shift from this method of deer management to one of concentrating on the health of the herd, stating that it will give management more “flexibility” is utter environmental nonsense – Romance Biology and Voodoo Science. Like imposing the effects of Climate Change on every failure of wildlife management, as if they needed more “flexibility.” I can see the headlines now: Maine’s deer harvest this year was lower than expected. That’s because we now have a healthy herd despite Climate Change.

However, MDIFW is going to do what MDIFW is going to do and that’s the bottom line. After all, they are a government agency. Need I say more?

 

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If You Have No Intention to Count Live Deer, Why Bother to Count Dead Ones

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Deer Management is Such a Tough Job…So What!

In a recent column I published on this website about Maine secretly hiring a new head deer biologist, I finished that piece by saying, “The echo chamber and all their minions will just continue to parrot that MDIFW does such a wonderful job. Perhaps they do but surely there is a lot of room for improvement. Is that taboo with this new scientism-laced wildlife management we are in the midst of?”

Perhaps it’s my imagination or maybe I just am determined to be tough on fish and game departments, but it appears to me that too often fish and game departments are not only given a free pass for poor results but some go out of their way to enable their failings and will make excuses for them.

Why are some so eager to pass off failures in game management as the result of a “tough job?”

Immediately after I published the above linked-to article, I read how biologists at the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) “have an extremely tough job regulating Maine’s Deer Population.” The posting was replete with all the usual suspects of excuses; winters, weather, vehicle collisions, starvation, predation, and poaching. If the owner of this writing was finding excuses for poor deer management, he should have included “Climate Change” as it provides the convenient escape for any failure.

In another article I read this morning, deer managers have a “thankless job.” The piece ends with the following statement: “I believe, for the most part, our biologists do a commendable job when it comes to managing wildlife resources. But it’s a difficult and sometimes thankless task, given financial and logistical constraints, the bureaucracy they must wade through, and pressure from supervisors, legislators, lobbyists and special interest groups. Even within the hunting community, there’s sometimes disagreement over how to best manage our deer herd. It’s a balancing act, and the more time and energy biologists must devote to managing people, the less they can direct toward our wildlife resources.”

Does this mean we should all shut up and let the deer managers do as they wish regardless of the outcome? I hope not. I understand the statement. I understand that managing deer (or any other game species) is an “extremely tough job,” and that this job, at times, can be thankless. But what job can’t? Is there something wrong with expecting a better return on your investment? Would you settle for unsatisfactory results from your doctor, lawyer, banker, or school? I think not.

One is entitled to their opinion as to whether any game management establishment does a “commendable job.” That opinion is of one’s value-weighted perspective. I’m sure that even though a person may believe a fish and game department does a “commendable job” there must be room for improvement, and shouldn’t we expect it and even demand it?

If you visited your doctor, who had been treating you for a chest cold for weeks on end, only to discover later you actually suffered from lung cancer, would you just say, “The doctor has a tough and thankless job, full of financial restrictions, political influences and a vocal public that expects too much. Give him a break. Just let him do his job.”

Your banker or stockbroker has a tough and thankless job. If you lost your money, would you expect and demand a better job? Do you think bankers, lawyers, stockbrokers, doctors, teachers, etc. don’t have pressure and regulation all around them making their jobs thankless and tough? They all have to work with the cards they are dealt, sometimes those cards being far less than ideal, and yet don’t we expect that doctors will keep us healthy, lawyers out of trouble, teachers to educate our children, etc.?

There’s nothing wrong with thanking and complimenting those who do jobs that directly and indirectly affect parts of our lives. We don’t have to exclaim their tough and thankless jobs and not still demand a better performance.

Greatness is not grounded on the principle that doing an adequate job is enough. Greatness in an individual or an establishment is the expectation that everything must be the best that it can be, exceeding all expectations, in everything that is done. Settling for mediocrity is accepting failure and what is the future in that?

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Eastport, Maine’s Continuing “Deer Problem”

Actually, I don’t think Eastport has a “deer problem.” I think they have a people problem who think they can cure a perceived problem with a “new way to look at wildlife management” – i.e. Romance Biology and Voodoo Scientism.

If you live in Eastport, Maine, you have the right to keep and bear arms. However, if you are attacked within the city limits and need to defend yourself, make sure the gun you have for self-defense is small enough to throw but big enough to cause some damage if it should strike a violent criminal. That’s because in Eastport, like many other towns and cities in America, there is a law about discharging a firearm in the city. Why are these laws not being challenged?

That’s part of the so-called deer problem.

Another issue is that a deer committee, formed to look at ways of resolving the “problem” admit they are anti-hunting and seek alternative ways of “learning to live with” the deer. A Bangor Daily News article states that a member of the town’s deer committee said, “…And Bartlett made it clear the committee wasn’t a deer hunting group but rather a deer deterrent group.”

The two biggest limiters of deer populations in Maine are severe winters and depredation by large predators, i.e. bears, coyotes, bobcats and mountain lions(?). What better place to mitigate these life-threatening problems than to take up residence in a town that only wishes to “deter” deer, where they probably get fed by residents and where, usually, these large predators are not interested in having much to do with…until they get really hungry. Then they can take a bunch of pets, livestock and an occasional child or two in their quest for a meal.

Here’s my prediction. According to this news article, “…each of the deer that has been taken during the special hunt has been checked for ticks, with Lyme disease being a concern. Over the past two seasons, none of the deer have had ticks. The deer deterrent committee seems mostly unconcerned about private property and public safety of Eastport residents – at least not enough to do anything serious to lessen the problem. When deer become numerous enough and predators hungry enough to come to town for dinner, along the way they will begin eating up citizen’s pets. People can be put at risk and have their property destroyed, but when something causes harm to their pets, attitudes will change. Add to that the likelihood of increased risk of contracting some kind of disease that hits close to home, and soon bullets will replace arrows.

There’s a reason why the North American Model of Wildlife Management is still the best way to manage wildlife.

It works!

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Maine: Contradictory Deer Management Goals vs. Reality – Shameful

Here are some interesting, to say the least, deer management graphics the property of which are from the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW), with the exception of the deer harvest graph which is private property. These graphs and tables should show hunters that what MDIFW puts out in their deer management plans and long-range goals, is a far cry from the practices that are being carried out and the results that those practices give. One has to wonder if anyone holds the department accountable for this farce?

The first table here shows the Wintering Deer Population goals, per each Wildlife Management District (WMD), by the year 2030. Note that the total deer population goal for 2030 is 383,550. Yeah, I know. I’m still spaying coffee on my computer screen.

According to information that I’ve been able to get my hands on, the largest estimated deer population, after the deer hunting season, came in 1999 – 331,000 (found on second chart below).

We find ourselves near the conclusion of the 2017 deer hunting season and it appears as though the estimated deer population in Maine must be about, or less than, 200,000. That’s a bit shy of the hoped-for 383,550 set for 2030…a mere 13 years from now. Maybe the hope is global warming will do the trick?

From available data, between the years 1999 and 2008, the average deer population (after harvest), estimated by the MDIFW, was 214,600. Using data from the deer harvest chart below (the harvest total is information provided by MDIFW, the chart was made by an individual and his calculations), during that same time frame, an average of 30,353 deer were harvested each year…or about 14% of the estimated state deer herd.

Using that data, and knowing that Maine harvested about 22,000 deer last year (and as low as 18,000 in 2009), at 14% harvest rate, the population might be as low as 150,000 deer at present and has dipped to below 125,000 in 2009/2010.

And yet, when we examine chart two below, we see that as the estimated deer population shrank, the number of “Any-Deer Permits” (doe permits) increased significantly. Why? We are told by MDIFW that the “Any-Deer Permit” allotment is the management tool they use to manipulate the deer population by WMD. We are told that if MDIFW wants to lower a deer population within a WMD, they increase the allotment of “Any-Deer Permits,” and vice-versa. So this action makes very little sense, as far as deer management goals. Perhaps it makes more sense concerning meeting budget income requirements to pay inflated salaries and retirement.

I would surmise that if I were presenting a deer management goal of 383,550, when in reality there may be only 150,000 deer left roaming the state, increasing the sales of “Any-Deer Permits,” and at the same time telling the public that Maine has lots of deer due to a bunch of “mild” winters in recent years, while Maine set records last year for total snowfall, I’d scrub my website of any data that showed me to be a poor, and perhaps dishonest, wildlife manager too.

So what’s really going on and why? We will never know because finding out makes people uncomfortable. Evidently, it’s better to be on the ins with the MDIFW, with no deer to hunt, than on the outside…with still no deer to hunt. One has to ask themselves if this is the nonsense we are seeing when it comes to deer management, what else is going on in Augusta?

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Information Regarding Whitetail Deer Dispersal

Although I’m not a huge fan of Quality Deer Management, they have provided some interesting graphics on deer dispersal, ages of dispersal, timing, distance and what effects all of that.

Please visit this link to view.

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Buying Into Deer Management by Political Influence

Recently a Maine outdoor writer expressed his newly found knowledge he had acquired from reading a 10-year-old study about how deer can destroy a forest. What is most unfortunate for readers is that lacking in this report was the actual history of what took place during that time that prompted this politically biased report, placing pressure on the Pennsylvania Game Commission, forest management companies and private land owners to side with the Game Commission in carrying out their newly crafted deer management plan to radically butcher the existing deer herds throughout the state by up to 70%.

If for no other reason, one has to look at the very top of the study to see that the study was composed by, essentially, the forest industry. With knowledge and understanding, which so few people have these days, of the realities of “studies,” founded in Scientism and outcome-based, agenda-driven, “science,” one can easily discern that this study is the work of scientists, paid by the forest industry, to show a need to protect the forest, even at the expense of a deer herd.

There is, of course, more than one side to any story. The Unified Sportsmen of Pennsylvania sued the Pennsylvania Game Commission to try to get them to stop the destruction of the deer herd. However, many believed the number of deer in Pennsylvania to be much too large, in some places sporting numbers in excess of 60-70 deer per square mile. Growing up and hunting in Maine, where at times to find 1 deer in 60-70 square miles was a feat, it’s difficult to muster up support for those complaining that reducing deer populations to 15-20 deer per square mile would be a total destruction of the deer herd. There is a balance in there somewhere and it’s not based strictly on numbers but on a wide variety of items, often mostly driven by habitat and available feed on a continuous level.

The study in question is more of a political influence prompted by a very nasty set of events set in the mid-2000s. No study should be blindly accepted as the gospel without a deep forensic research into the background of the study and the whos and whys it is being done. Few would argue that too many of any animal within a defined area of the landscape can be destructive, in more ways than simply eating too much vegetation. But at the same time, a biased study, bought and paid for by the forest industry, has to be taken with a grain of salt and definitely within the context of the events at that moment in time. That is why the author should have spent a little more time in conducting his own research about the politics behind this study before extolling its “scientific” virtues as high value.

At the time this study was being compiled, those of us who followed the event, saw typical political nonsense loaded with contradictions. As an example, the forest industry, seemingly having convinced the Game Commission, that the only way the forest industry could survive was to have the deer densities slashed to around 15 deer per square mile. The same forest industry and Game Commission said that their new deer management plan would manage and maintain populations at that level, and yet in May of 2008, we read in the news that a member of the Pennsylvania Game Commission said that in one region, where deer densities had been reduced to 15-20 per square mile, the deer where healthy, the forest had “regenerated,” and that now the deer herd could be rebuilt. Rebuilt? Huh?

The author’s piece also revealed, what he called, “troubling,” a statement made by an author of the study in question. “It doesn’t matter what forest values you want to preserve or enhance – whether deer hunting, animal rights, timber, recreation, or ecological integrity – deer are having dramatic, negative effects on all the values that everyone holds dear.”

This is, of course, the root of all things bad when it comes to wildlife and game management. The real scientific method has gone absent. The study in question is a work of Scientism, in which those with authority present their opinions and perspectives as scientific evidence, understanding full well the power derived by such a position. When scientific decisions are disregarded and replaced with caving in to social and socio-political groups because deer, or any other animal, is having “dramatic, negative effects on all the values” that these, sometimes perverse groups “holds dear,” what hope is there for responsible game management? We can always expect to read more fake “studies” bought and paid for by political groups for political purposes.

Interesting that the reality is that none of these social groups would be in any position to be seeking the preservation of their perceived values as they might pertain to wildlife, if, over the past century, the hunters, trappers and fishermen had not been the financiers and willing participants in the execution of the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation. And yet, these social and political groups, who are now dominating the fish and wildlife agencies across the country, have never paid a lick of money or given any time toward real conservation of wildlife, are looking to destroy the one proven existence that has brought us to this point. Go figure.

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People in Eastport, Maine Complain of Nuisance Deer and Complain About How It’s Done

Nearly a year ago I shared a report that in far eastern Maine, the town of Eastport wanted the state to do something about the slew of deer that had moved into town. Of course there are reasons the deer have moved into town but, as usual, that issue is never addressed. Instead, according to George Smith, columnist at the Bangor Daily News, a mere 30 permits were issued to kill up to 30 deer. With those permits, 11 deer were taken.

It appears as though the town and its people are complaining about the deer and yet don’t seem willing to remove all or some of their restrictions in order that the job can be done. Perhaps it is time to tell Eastport that if they aren’t willing to give a little, they are on their own to figure the problem out.

Eastport has a ban on the discharging of a firearm, and so only archery can be employed to kill the deer. As Smith points out, “This is not hunting. This is killing.”

The Town of Eastport is not entirely to blame. Because of new zoning, it became unlawful to hunt does in the Eastport region. The allotment of “Any-Deer Permits” by the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) is to control the growth or decline of deer populations. This is why the state stepped up and issued 30 permits for just one year. Realizing this effort did nothing to mitigate the deer problem, the MDIFW has issued another 30 permits and when 30 deer have been killed, they will issue another 60 permits.

With continued restrictions on the use of firearms, that hunters are restricted to using designated tree stands and the outlawing of baiting, the stage remains set for the killing of perhaps as many as 11 deer.

Evidently the deer problem isn’t THAT bad.

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VooDoo Science, Social Demands and Lyme Disease Drive Any-Deer Permit Allocations

So, let me get this straight! According to John Holyoke’s report in the Bangor Daily News, the excuses the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) give for increasing the allotment of “Any-Deer Permits” (ADP) to over 66,000 is because of 10 consecutive years of mild winters. I can say they were mild for me because I was in Florida, but record breaking snowfall evidently doesn’t account for any part of the Winter Severity Index.

We hear also that most of those ADPs are being handed out in Wildlife Management Districts (WMD) in Central and Southern Maine where populations of deer are the highest, and yet ADPs are being issued in zones where there haven’t been any for a few years and where record deep snowfalls occurred.

And if that isn’t enough to start your blood boiling just a tad, read what Lee Kantar, acting deer biologist(?) said (because the former deer biologist quit and moved on): “Kantar said that as the DIF&W continues to work on its next generation of long-range management plans, a subtle shift is emerging. In past years, it was common for biologists to issue population estimates for various big game animals. When asked for a statewide estimate on deer, Kantar said biologists are focusing more on the health of the population than sheer numbers.

“We’re not abandoning the thought of ‘How many critters are there out there?’ but the means for us doing that, we do as part of monitoring health, as well,” Kantar said.”

This “subtle shift” is a convenient new tool that is part of a continued reduction in accountability for wildlife managers. The ONLY way a biologist can honestly determine how many ADPs to issue to meet population goals is to know how many deer are within a WMD. To somehow approach things from the perspective of “I think the herd is healthy in WMD 27, therefore I will increase ADPs,” is a step backwards of about 40 years.

Now, it appears, the convenient excuse will be that managers don’t really have a handle on deer populations and will, with the onset of a new Romance Biological deer management plan, sense the condition of the herd and make excuses from there. In case you hadn’t figured it out yet, this is right in line with the convenience of Climate Change (CC = 33). With Climate Change and managing deer for “health” is there really any reason Maine needs any wildlife biologists?

The third excuse of convenience is now emerging where the issuance of 66,000-plus ADPs is Lyme Disease. Deer are carriers of ticks that spread Lyme disease. With the perpetual effort to scare the living hell out of people over Lyme disease, social pressures will demand that MDIFW kill more deer. Historically when those demands are made, the deer get killed and licensed sportsmen are not allowed to do the job and residents are not allowed to benefit from the resource. Also, understand that where Lyme disease is said to be most prevalent is in areas where land is heavily posted to prevent access for hunting those deer. As with any Totalitarian society, the problem is created by the totalitarians who in turn demand that government solve their problems. And we know what kind of job government does at anything they do.

Maine residents and sportsmen should look of a “subtle shift,” or maybe not so subtle shift, toward a new movement of Romance Biology and Voodoo Science to guide the wildlife managers to wallow in their own brilliance of disease creation and scarcity because they are fully engaged in the effort to “change the way we look at and discuss wildlife management.”

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