April 24, 2017

When Man Wasn’t Around Animals Survived

*Editor’s Note* – A New Hampshire town wants to better manage wildlife on town property – just in excess of 2,500 acres. It is believed too many coyotes are reducing the deer population below numbers desired. As is often the case, animal lovers seem to think managing is more cruel than the savagery of letting “Nature” do it alone. Ignorance driven by emotion.

“Why fool with Mother Nature?” asked Elliot, adding that he’s read that trapping is considered inhumane. “What happened years ago when we weren’t around? They (the animals) all survived.”<<<Read More>>>

Destruction of Deer Environmentalists Refuse to Acknowledge

Kill Deer To Limit Lyme Disease – Moose Ticks? Global Warming

In this article I was reading, it amazes me that doctors, politicians and scientists will argue that if you want to limit the infestation of the ticks that carry Lyme disease, we need to kill or eradicate the landscape of deer.

And yet, moose are dying by the tractor trailer truck load and it is blamed on global warming.

Is any connection being blocked due to political agendas? Probably.

Did Man Extirpate the Caribou from Maine?

I was reading Part II of V. Paul Reynolds’ report about “Wildlife Restoration Projects.” He wrote mostly about Maine’s two attempts to restore caribou to northern Maine and seemed to suggest that with years of gained knowledge, perhaps it was time to try again. I’m not so sure about that, but…..

I did want to add to something that he wrote about the extirpation of caribou in Maine when he wrote: “Historical documents indicate that Maine’s last remaining caribou were killed off by market hunters who sold them to big city restaurants.” I won’t deny that market hunters made serious dents in deer, moose and caribou herds in their day. However, there are other historical documents that equally indicate the vanishing act of caribou and wolves cannot all be blamed on unregulated hunting.

A few years ago I did an extensive research piece on wolves in Maine from the 1600s until the time they were essentially declared missing in action. Readers should understand that this work was nearly 100% taken from the book, “Early Maine Wildlife: Historical accounts of Canada Lynx, Moose, Mountain Lion, White-Tailed Deer, Wolverine, Wolves, and Woodland Caribou, 1603-1930 – by William B. Krohn and Christopher L. Hoving – The University of Maine Press, Orono, Maine 2010.

It seemed that around the mid-1800s there existed, even then, disagreements as to whether deer, moose and caribou “disappeared” due to wolves or hunters. One writer made the claim, “Curiously enough there are old settlers in Maine who retain the theory that wolves follow deer. They claim that there were no deer at the time of the wolves – ‘the wolves killed them all off’ – but that since the extermination of the wolves the deer have gone on increasing.”

A hunter and trapper, in the book described as experienced, claimed: “In 1853 wolves were very plenty, and for the next five years were not scarce, plenty could be found within sixteen miles of Bangor in 1857 and 1858. They seemed to leave quite suddenly, the last I know of positively being taken was killed by Frank Fairbanks in 1860 in Munsengun. I know the wolves were not exterminated, as from the time they were quite plenty till the time they disappeared, very few skins were brought in. They left of their own accord, just as the caribou left us.”

Those that have some knowledge of the habits and behavior of wolves, understand that many things influence their behavior. For example, at times wolves can eat up all their prey. If this happens, the wolf moves on and the possibility exists that if the prey doesn’t return, neither will the wolf. If there exists alternative prey, i.e. there is more than one prey species to feed wolves, the large predator canine may never leave an area. It would probably require quite a number of wolves in Maine to seriously reduce or extirpate moose, deer and caribou.

In the quote above, we read of the first indication that wolves were not “exterminated” and simply up and left “just as the caribou left us.” This should be important information to consider.

According to evidence found in the book of reference, wolves were mostly gone from the state by the mid-1800s. From around 1860 into the early 1900s, there were very few, to almost zero, recorded wolf kills – the last official wolf kill took place in Andover, Maine in 1920.

One account in the Maine Sportsman, in 1900, of the absence of wolves, claims that, “During the whole winter we saw no deer and but few moose, the entire absence of deer being due to the wolves with which the woods were overrun. Caribou we saw everywhere and I plainly remember that one day, coming out upon them trailing along in single file was a herd of 17 caribou.”

It would seem this would indicate that with reports of wolves being missing from Maine by the mid-1800s, that in 1900, some 40 or 50 years later, there were still quite a few caribou, or at least more of them seen than deer or moose. One must honestly consider that if caribou “recovered” after a presumed disappearance of wolves, in 40 or 50 years, wouldn’t the deer and moose have recovered? Because there are so many influencing factors in wildlife management, that question cannot be simply answered. Other accounts from this book also indicate that after what appeared to be the absence of wolves, deer, moose and caribou made recoveries.

We also know that in the late 1800s Maine began it’s work to regulate the hunting and fishing activities throughout the state, with regulations well in force by the early 1900s.

Examination of the information provided in this book help to support the historic behavior of wolves, i.e. that once they had reduced the numbers of the prey to a certain level, the wolves took off for better hunting grounds. However, this event appears to have occurred nearly 50 years before the caribou disappeared.

It cannot be argued that many factors contributed to the disappearance of the caribou in Maine. That disappearance cannot and should not be completely attributed to hunting. We know that after the wolves mostly disappeared from Maine, the deer, moose and caribou recovered. If in 1900 loggers were reporting seeing “herds of 17 caribou” it was not market hunters and uncontrolled hunting that killed them after that.

If Maine was ever going to seriously consider a third try at caribou restoration, many, many factors must be considered other than introducing more of them this time. Perhaps the habitat of northern Maine simply cannot support caribou any longer. If caribou, in the very early 1900s, one day just walked out of the state – some believe they moved into New Brunswick and never returned – there had to be reasons. Do we know what those reasons were? Are we interested in finding out? Perhaps knowing what took place in the early 1900s would answer a lot of questions as to whether another attempt at caribou restoration would work.

Some things to consider:

Biggest Coyote/Deer Study Ongoing

*Editor’s Note* – In the teaser I placed just below, the author of the article about the relationship between coyotes in the East and deer, says, “Shooting the occasional coyote really makes no difference in what happens to the deer herd.” In the context of the article the “occasional” coyote is described as a “transient” coyote, i.e. one looking to establish a new territory. I have to somewhat disagree with this statement. I understand the dynamics of “resident” coyotes versus “transient” coyotes, but to state that shooting a transient coyote makes no difference in what happens to the deer herd is not completely an accurate or honest statement. It would make sense if all that was being targeted were transient coyotes, but such is not the case. While targeting the resident crop of coyotes is probably more effective at protecting a local deer herd, stopping a transient from continuing its search for another territory to take over certainly has its benefits. Perhaps not a direct effect but nonetheless it could slow down or stop the progression of more coyotes in more places.

Regardless, all this reminds me of what Dr. Val Geist, in 1994, told the annual Southeast Deer Study Group meeting in Charlottesville, Virginia, as they were facing perceived problems of what to do about too many deer. Geist told them, “Enjoy your problem while it lasts, because the coyote is coming. Once he’s here, you’ll miss your deer problems.”

“Resident coyotes, Chamberlain observed, have relatively small home ranges of 2 to 25 miles. Transients, on the other hand, may roam 150 miles, presumably looking for a home range to open up. Once a resident coyote dies, a transient will settle in and claim the territory within a matter of weeks. This helps explain why trapping efforts weren’t working. “For every 10 coyotes you remove, three were just passing through,” Chamberlain says. “And if you’re removing transients, you’re not really having any effect.” Shooting the occasional coyote really makes no difference in what happens to the deer herd.”<<<Read More>>>

In Maine, Too Many Game Animals or Not Enough Game Animals? And None of It Matters

And the beat goes on! Drums keep pounding rhythm to my brain!

Ah, yes! The committee in Maine is at work attempting to put onto paper all the management plans for deer, moose, bear and turkey. Members on the committee seem to be saying there are too many of certain kinds of game animals, while others are saying there isn’t enough. Perhaps the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) and the committee should go on Facebook and ask followers what they think…and don’t forget the environmentalists and animal rights perverts. Oh, wait. That’s right. They already have some of them on the committee helping to “steer” efforts in the right way. Perhaps asking for input from Black Lives Matter?

The other day I wrote about how I thought the entire effort was a waste of time – jumping through bureaucratic hoops for the sole purpose of getting money. These plans are seldom followed or even referred to during their 15-year life expectancy…well, except when it’s convenient. I wonder if all the committee members will win a trophy when the task is complete? At least a certificate of participation?

Just as a reminder, some of us have been doing a lot of hollering that something ought to be done about growing a deer herd. The result? Increased doe permits because Maine had one relatively mild winter. I guess this is now the major driving force toward deer management.

Some of us have suggested efforts to reduce the bear populations that have been determined to be a major factor in reduced deer existence. The result? Crickets, except listening to what the guides have to say and doing as they are told. Now I understand that in the proposed bear management plan, MDIFW is going to spend time and money to “educate” people how to “coexist” with bears. No, seriously. I’m not the only person out there over the age of 60. When was the last time, in your life span, that we had to teach people how to “coexist” with bears? I thought so.

I’ve banged my head against cement walls attempting to get somebody to listen to the idea that Maine simply has too many moose and that’s why winter ticks have taken over the job of managing the moose herd. The result? Reduced numbers of moose permits and discussion about stopping any kind of deer management in Northern Maine and focus only on moose. Let’s continue breeding and growing ticks shall we? Hmmm. This must have been the suggestion of the guides and camp owners. It’s probably easier as well. Instead of having to listen to questions about why the deer hunting sucks, MDIFW biologists can just say, “We don’t manage deer there anymore. But the moose hunting is good. You just need to hire a guide, pay a few thousand dollars, and if you’re lucky enough to draw a permit, oh boy!” Maybe the change would make for better reality TV programming. Let’s get drunk and go catch somebody illegally looking at a moose….or something.

I really should stop all this talk!

But, for some reason, and meaning no offense to the members of the committee, members seem to think this time will be different. If we can just get into these game management plans all those things that make us feel good, this time it will be different. This time MDIFW will follow the plan. This time.

Last time the plan didn’t get followed very good and so MDIFW had to stop mid-plan and devise a crock of bologna called Maine’s Game Plan for Deer.  We can expect MDIFW to follow these new game management plans as closely as they did the Maine’s Game Plan for Deer. I wonder what followers of Facebook thought about that. Did MDIFW get any “likes” for that? Did MDIFW go and ask members of the Humane Society of the United States if it was alright to go through the motions so as to get the sportsmen off their backs? Go ask Katie!

Or maybe cough up another few hundred thousand dollars to hire a “research” company to come up with what you want to hear – like sportsmen are so much in love with MDIFW.

I’ll repeat it one more time, just for the insanity of it: Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and each time expecting a different result. Isn’t this really bureaucratic insanity at its finest?

And yes, I do understand that by my repeated writing, asking the same questions, pointing out the same nonsense, etc. and expecting that something will change, is complete insanity.

I guess I really do fit in!

Wanton Waste?

Perhaps someone was having a meltdown over Donald Trump?

A Monster of a Buck

I have not details yet on this monster white-tail buck. It supposedly was shot in Maine. The quality of the photo, I realize, is not good and sometimes angles and shadows make objects appear bigger or smaller than they really are. However, this particular photo sure make this animal look to be a monster in both body weight and antler size. I will post more information if I can get it.

Albino Fawn

It was reported that this photo of an albino fawn was taken in North Carolina.

albinofawn

Here’s A “Buck” For Black Friday

presqueislebuck