August 21, 2019

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!

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Wanton Waste?

Perhaps someone was having a meltdown over Donald Trump?

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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.

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Albino Fawn

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

albinofawn

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Here’s A “Buck” For Black Friday

presqueislebuck

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Wildlife Management Districts Aren’t Perfect

When zones were established for the purpose of a better means of managing wildlife, it certainly helped. It should be understood that, like many “systems,” it is only as good as its weakest link. Such is the case of managing wildlife within districts. It’s not a perfect system, although argument could be made that it is much better than without them.

I’m not exactly sure how boundaries were established in Maine’s creation of Wildlife Management Districts (WMD). More than likely some politics were involved but hopefully not as corrupt as establishing voting precincts in order to further rig the system.

Eastport, Maine has a problem with deer taking over the downtown area. According to the Portland Press Herald, part of the problem associated with trying to mitigate the deer problem, comes from the boundaries established for the WMD for Eastport: “In 2005, the department redrew Maine’s hunting district boundaries for the state’s 27 wildlife management districts and, as a result, Eastport lost its any-deer permits and went to a bucks-only hunt. The state uses the any-deer – or doe – permit system to adjust deer populations in various parts of the state.”

It appears Eastport will get a chance, for one year only, to reduce the downtown resident deer population with an archery cull.

One has to wonder how long it will take before managers get a handle on the fact that deer aren’t where they used to be and have moved into human-settled landscapes, much because it is safer for them. They are not completely stupid animals. Perhaps one way to ease the influx of deer into human-populated areas is the go outside those regions and reduce the number of large predators forcing the deer downtown.

But Don’t Go Look!

redneck

 

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First Snow

Parts of Maine woke up to a bit of snow this morning. On my way to work this morning, I caught sight of this beautiful creature experiencing the first snowfall of the year. She better look out. Maine is in the midst of deer hunting season and some hunters are getting very interested in filling their freezers.

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Deer Sanctuaries on Maine’s Seacoast Islands

We continuously hear of Maine’s coastal islands, where many residents live, overrun with deer. Residents have had to resort to killing deer in order to limit the destruction the deer can cause. This perceived phenomenon has existed for a very long time and yet is incompletely reported as some sort of modern event without historical perspective to give people a full understanding of how common deer migration to the islands has been and continues to be. What might be lacking in all this is a rational explanation as to why.

The Portland Press Herald reports that, “Deer are surprisingly good swimmers and have found their way to islands all along the coast, where they face no threats from predators and gradually grow in number until they virtually overrun the communities.”

Let’s put a bit more historical perspective on this.

First, readers should understand that deer are not completely stupid animals. They are quite adaptive to their changing surroundings. An unrecognized example is that deer are learning to winter outside of their traditional “deer yards” because they are tired of being harassed by predators, i.e. coyotes, bobcats, lynx, etc. (bears in the Spring). I have witnessed this “phenomenon” myself. More people need to learn this fact as well.

Deer, not unlike any living creature, need to eat, have reasonable survivable habitat and exist in the least dangerous environment. These changing conditions force deer to adjust their habits and adapt…or die. These are some of the reasons we are witness to more and more deer, and other wildlife living in our backyards. Unfortunately, man haters can only see that this phenomenon exists because man keeps encroaching on the deer. Instead of understanding that man’s existence has created some of the best habitat historically for deer, which is a magnate for them.

But none of this is really new. In 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, we read that, since the beginning of the time that man inhabited Maine, deer would swim the distances from the mainland to the islands to escape the natural predators.

In a multi-part series I did about the wolves written in this book, I wrote this about the island deer:

“This particular presentation I have chosen, comes from work done by a W. Wood in 1977, New

England Prospect. The writings were dated 1634. I believe the 1634 author was a Thomas Cotes
of London.”
~~~~~
“They [deer] desire to be near the sea, so that they may swim to the island when they are chased
by the wolves. It is not to be thought into what great multitudes they would increase were it not
for the common devourer, the wolf.
The wolves be in some respect different from them in other countries. It was never known yet
that a wolf set upon man or woman. Neither do they trouble horses or cows; but swine, goats and
red calves, which they take for deer, be often destroyed by them, so that a red calf is cheaper
than a black one in that regard in some places. In the time of autumn and in the beginning of
spring, those ravenous rangers do most frequent our English habitations, following the deer which
come down at that time to those parts. They be made much like a mongrel, being big boned, lank
launched, deep breasted, having a thick neck and head, prick ears, and a long snout, with
dangerous teeth, long-staring hair, and a great bush tale.
 
These be killed daily in some place or other, either by the English or Indian, who have a certain
rate for every head. Yet is there little hope of their utter distruction, the country being so spacious
and they so numerous, traveling in the swamps by kennels. Sometimes ten or twelve are of a
company. Late at night and early in the morning they set up their howlings and call their
companies together – at night to hunt, at morning to sleep. In a word they be the greatest
inconveniency the country hath, both for the matter of damage to private men in particular, and
the whole country in general.”
Even today, the deer move to the islands for protection. It is my contention that predators have historically driven deer, seeking safety, to the islands. Once there, they reproduce in numbers only somewhat limited by their surroundings. This rate of growth becomes a problem for residents who, in turn, take actions to limit the destruction the deer can cause.
It should also be understood that coyotes/wolves, if the conditions exist on the mainland, in which these large predators became hungry enough, they would also swim to the islands in search of a meal.
Certainly the fact that deer swim to the islands is not a modern day phenomenon.
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Can coyote predation risk induce reproduction suppression in white-tailed deer?

Abstract

Predators can have powerful nonconsumptive effects on their prey by inducing behavioral, physiological, and morphological responses. These nonconsumptive effects may influence prey demography if they decrease birthrates or increase susceptibility to other sources of mortality. The Reproductive Suppression Model suggests that iteroparous species may maximize their lifetime reproductive success by suppressing their reproduction until a future time, when conditions may be more favorable. Coyote (Canis latrans) range expansion in the United States has exposed white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) populations to increased predation risk, and coyote predation can have profound effects on white-tailed deer reproductive success. We evaluated effects of temporal variation in predation risk (i.e., coyote–deer ratios) on fecundity and reproductive success of white-tailed deer on the Joseph W. Jones Ecological Research Center in southwestern Georgia, United States, by exploiting a rapid decline in coyote abundance to establish a natural experiment. We measured fecundity by examining ovaries for evidence of ovulation, and measured reproductive success using evidence of lactation from deer harvested before and after the decline in coyote abundance. We found that incidence of ovulation and lactation increased following the decline in predation risk. Our results suggest coyotes may be able to influence deer recruitment, independent of direct predation, through interactions that result in reduced fecundity. More broadly, our study suggests that in order to understand the totality of the effect of predators on prey population dynamics, studies should incorporate measures of direct and indirect predator effects.<<<Read More>>>

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Sensible Statement About Predators

“The issue is not wolves, it’s the combination of wolves, grizzly bears, black bears and cougars,” Bob Jamieson, a systems ecologist and environmental consultant, told the paper. “The prey species can’t handle the combined impact of those four animals,” he said. “A lot of people [blame] habitat problems because they don’t want [to] wrap their head around the predator issue.”<<<Read More>>>

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