August 23, 2017

Ducks, Dodos* & Moose

By James Beers

*Dodos were flightless birds slightly larger than turkeys.  They were found only on the island of Mauritius, East of Madagascar in the Indian Ocean.  First recorded by Dutch sailors in 1598; by 1662 dodos were extinct due to hungry sailors stopping there for food and introduced species like Norway and Black rats that began preying upon their single egg nests and young.  It can honestly be observed that no one intentionally made dodos extinct.  Dodos became extinct due to human ignorance of and indifference to the dodos fate

Question: “What do ducks, dodos and moose have in common?”

Answer: “They have each been the victims of unregulated predation that reduces their numbers such that they either did or are steadily losing their many benefits to mankind.

The dodo no longer feeds island visitors or the residents of Mauritius thanks to Early European voyagers and the vermin they carried with them

The moose and particularly their calves and pregnant cows are very vulnerable to wolf predation as attested to by the suspension of moose hunting in Minnesota as wolves increased in numbers dramatically.  This phenomenon is repeated routinely in Alaska when wolf numbers are allowed to increase above minimal levels as well as in the Upper Rocky Mountain States as wolves have increased dramatically in recent years.

Ducks in North America, similarly, are preyed upon by duck hunters since the times of Asian immigration as glaciers receded to the advent of European arrivals and settlement.

What these three animals do not share is any human concern for their sustainable benefit to humans as their numbers dwindle and the effects of predation are ignored.

In the case of the dodo, ignorance and indifference are understandable, though regretted, as men were dramatically expanding their limited comprehension of the globe and the life forms it contained.

In the case of moose; Minnesota and the Upper Rocky Mtn. States are forced by federal fiat; from feckless politicians and self-serving bureaucrats in thrall to radical environmentalists, animal rights fanatics and a host of reactionaries from gun controllers and anti-hunters to communists; to host and protect wolf densities not seen for over a century.  Alaskan moose are also threatened by the same characters using expensive court maneuvers to prevent any and all wolf control to maintain moose availability as desired by Alaskans. Thus, you could say the dodo was made extinct by human indifference while the moose numbers and availability are being reduced in moose habitat in the US by a government bureaucracy using force to implement a broad range of hidden agendas.

But; what of ducks?

The same federal bureaucrats that are forcing uncontrolled wolves into the Lower 48 States’ settled landscapes have had complete management authority over ducks and duck hunters for a century.  Up until the early 1990’s, these bureaucrats (USFWS) gave high priority to waterfowl management and waterfowl hunting.  Waterfowl hunting financed federal land acquisition for Refuges, state wildlife programs and Billions of dollars in the economy from art and rural employment to businesses and manufactories for everything from guns and boats to waders, decoys and rural hunting leases.  Waterfowl were important and managed carefully for a long list of good reasons by knowledgeable federal managers and cooperating state bureaucrats.  But, “Why did I say; ‘Up until the early 1990’s’?”

In the early 1990’s, USFWS began a steady shift away from hiring anyone trained in, concerned about or likely to advocate for waterfowl and waterfowl hunting.  The “new” USFWS was to consist of anti-wildlife management and anti-hunting “protectionists” and animal “rights zealots.  Just as with wolves federal (and complicit state) bureaucrats began “cooking” census numbers and counts.  They shifted migratory bird money to “education” about “saving” every living thing from guns, chainsaws and cows.  They shifted migratory bird enforcement from waterfowl and preventing importation of Injurious Wildlife like snakeheads, constrictors, pythons and Asian carp to prosecuting anyone harming a wolf or grizzly bear and “assisting” the “new” natural resource enforcers shooting a protestor in the snow, shooting privately owned cows on grazing allotments and getting life terms for ranchers standing up for their rights.

I could go here, like telling you how the waterfowl NGO’s like Ducks Unlimited are no more than Charlie McCarthies on the federal ventriloquist’s knee.  Before I retired to Minnesota (once a famous duck hunting state but no more) I was critical of DU’s reticence in opposing the USFWS shift from pro-ducks to anti-ducks.  When I moved here I renewed my DU membership that I had let lapse, with the intention of going to a few DU Banquets (where they raise lots of their money) and meeting some duck hunters and maybe finding a good place or two to hunt.  In two years I was never once invited to or informed of ANY banquet.  HHMMM!

Two other quick incidents tell you all you need to know about ducks, USFWS and DU.  My first year in MN as I was leaving church one Sunday a fellow came up and said he heard I was a duck hunter.  When I said yes, he said good and that he and I should go sometime and he would get back to me.  He never did and I still see him most Sundays.  When I asked if anyone knew him, I was told not his name but he works for the MN DNR. That was 8 years ago.

Then there was the time I wrote a scathing article about waterfowl management in Minnesota and (among other local addressees) sent it to everyone I thought might be able to do something.  At 6 AM the next morning I got a very happy and enthusiastic call from a Minnesota duck organization president who talked to me for about 15 minutes and said he was going to speak with his board and get back to me.  That was 7 years ago and still… crickets.

Certain refuges no longer plant waterfowl food or manage for hunting (primary stated reasons for funding and authorization for purchase to Congress).  Nasty anti-hunting bureaucrats get nastier and nastier as they go about more egregious policies without any opposition from cowed hunters and NGO’s like DU that trade jobs and grants with USFWS employees and retirees routinely, again because of no enforcement or pushback.

All of the foregoing is a lead-up to the following note by a former USFWS employee and duck hunter like yours truly.  He is a native of the Lower Mississippi Flyway and I grew up and live in the Upper Mississippi Flyway.  He has been a reader and correspondent for years and he just shared the following message he sent to a colleague at Louisiana State University regarding the current state of the continental waterfowl population and duck hunting.

I agree with everything he says here and I ask you to remember as you read it that the same USFWS bureaucrats that are pushing wolves and grizzlies; turning state wildlife agencies into federal handmaidens; allowing all manner of deadly, destructive and dangerous wildlife into the USA despite the money, employees and laws they are given to prevent this – these same bureaucrats are purposely doing what he relates and unlike those European sailors, these wildlife-as-tools for rural destruction cannot plead ignorance or indifference.  They are doing this with full knowledge for their “foul” purposes.

Jim Beers

2 August 2017

If you found this worthwhile, please share it with others. Thanks.

Jim Beers is a retired US Fish & Wildlife Service Wildlife Biologist, Special Agent, Refuge Manager, Wetlands Biologist, and Congressional Fellow. He was stationed in North Dakota, Minnesota, Nebraska, New York City, and Washington DC.  He also served as a US Navy Line Officer in the western Pacific and on Adak, Alaska in the Aleutian Islands.  He has worked for the Utah Fish & Game, Minneapolis Police Department, and as a Security Supervisor in Washington, DC.  He testified three times before Congress; twice regarding the theft by the US Fish & Wildlife Service of $45 to 60 Million from State fish and wildlife funds and once in opposition to expanding Federal Invasive Species authority.  He resides in Eagan, Minnesota with his wife of many decades.

Jim Beers is available to speak or for consulting.

August 1, 2017

History of the Perfect Storm for the Demise of Ducks in North America

1-Agricultural practices have changed from spring plowing to fall plowing.  Fall plowing eliminates fall and spring duck foods

2- Adaptive Harvest Management (AHM) stabilized regulations by flyway at very liberal harvest levels

3-High harvest levels appear to have dramatically decreased breeding populations in “Production” States, particularly within the Mississippi Flyway.

4-  Senator Trent Lott of MS forced the regulatory framework to be extended roughly 10 days longer into January, while all previous research had indicated that hunting seasons past January 15 broke waterfowl pair bonds, and led to poorer body condition in breeding hens the following spring. However, the northern states opposed this and requested that the frame work be extended on the front end by the same number of days. Instead of the FWS denying the southern states the ability to add days at the end of their season, they allowed northern states to open a week earlier.  This makes successful adult females and HY young ducks extremely vulnerable to hunting.  This has likely led to the disastrous declines in breeding populations in many “Production States”

5- Climate changes made this a monumental mistake for southern states because most northern states were usually frozen solid by Dec 1st. Therefore, in northern states ducks were only hunted for 2/3 of the season length no matter how long the season was.  So if the flyway was granted a 50 day season southern states hunted 50 days and northern states only hunted 30 because the last 20 days all the water was frozen!! Now most the States in the Miss. Flyway hunt nearly 60 days.

6 – Since 2005, 25 MILLION + acres of CRP and other grasslands (DUCK NESTING HABITAT ELIMINATED) have been converted to agriculture to provide corn for the government imposed ethanol mandates.  Somehow starting at the exact same time (2005) the May Survey began to increase, and by spring 2015, minus 25 million acres of CRP, and millions of acres of drained temporary and seasonal wetlands, duck populations – according to the May Survey- had grown to the point that they were higher than they had EVER been.

7- Although the May Survey indicated that there were more breeding ducks in spring of 2015, the waterfowl hunting season in 2015-2016 was one of the worst in several decades with more than a million fewer ducks killed in the Mississippi Flyway alone than in the previous year.

8- Further, although May survey numbers have grown exponentially since 2005, to numbers greater than have ever been counted, mid-winter surveys indicate half the number of mallards than in the 1960’s and 1970’s.

9- Water is now artificially maintained throughout the US and crops are “legally” left unharvested, and FLOODED, for the purpose of killing ducks.

10– The Adaptive Harvest Management (AHM) Matrix was adopted to stabilize hunting regulations in the early 1990’s. The matrix is so biased to high harvest that the duck season in the Mississippi flyway has been 60 days and 6 ducks for over 20 years.

11- The AHM regulations are largely based on the May Breeding Population Estimates conducted by the US FWS, CWS and the States. These estimates were in 2016 –13.9 million breeding mallards. The harvest on mallards has been down 40% in the flyway!!! The Adult to immature ratio is very low. Given these data it appears that near record numbers of Mallards are not producing adequately to sustain the population, or, and this is quite likely given every other source of data concerning duck numbers, the May Survey numbers are not portraying waterfowl population trends in a reliable way.  It seems highly illogical that duck populations can continue to increase with the amount of habitat destruction that has gone on the past 10 years.  There are very few waterfowl hunters, observers, or biologists that would concede that there are more ducks today than there were in the 1950’s, 1960’s or 1970’s.  If that is the case, and the May survey has not changed protocols, then it is hard to believe any of the numbers coming from this survey.

12- The FWS conceded to allow special teal seasons in several “Production” states in the past 10 years.  The “production” states within the Mississippi Flyway that took these seasons have all seen dramatic declines in blue-winged teal numbers within their states over the past 30 years.  Why would the FWS allow these states, and more importantly, why would these states take a blue-winged teal season, thus adding harvest to their already decimated local blue-winged teal populations?

13- With the above points in mind, there is major concern by knowledgeable biologists and hunters that there are major flaws in the management of Duck populations in North America.

14 – One significant problem in this equation is that duck scientists that question the current system are typically shunned, ignored and not professionally considered.  The purpose of this document is not to condemn current management but to open the eyes of the people that actually manage waterfowl in North America.  It may not be too late to reverse this perfect storm, but something must be done soon if we are to stem the tide of declining waterfowl hunters, and maintain waterfowl hunting traditions for our children and grandchildren.

Paul Yakupzack
Wildlife Consulting
244 St. Paul Street
Houma, LA 70364

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More Nonsensical Nonsense About Man’s “Impoverish”ing Wildlife

As nauseating as it is, we hear it all the time – how man is destroying everything and how man is disrupting the balance of nature… which doesn’t exist. Most often mixed in with the rant about how man treats animals we hear, although most often implied, that man should just go away. That, of course, can only be defined as man must die in order to save the animals and our ecosystems.

Last time I checked the Earth is inhabited with a variety of plant and animal life, and while many often want to see man disappear, none are willing to step forward and be the first to do what they have deemed in their tiny minds as the only right thing to do to “Save the Planet.”

In addition, we can also read really stupid things. Here’s an example. This author evidently believes that it is wrong to “manage” game species for surplus harvest. He writes, “A typical response of utilitarians to environmental harm is to call for better management.  So, for example, wildlife agencies manage game species and their habitat so that more of the desired species are available for “harvest.”  In Maine, we manage coyote (that is encourage hunting coyotes) because of the belief that coyotes reduce the number of deer for hunters.”

Simply stated, this is a reasonable approach to utilizing a valuable resource rather than letting it go to waste. Science does show us that within a robust population of, let’s say deer, a percentage of those animals will suffer and die simply because there are too many of them. Is this somehow better than harvesting a percentage to fulfill the wants and needs of people?

Although we could argue this point until the moon turns blue, a point I wanted to make is that while this author finds it wrong to manipulate animal and game populations for the benefit of all, including hunting, he evidently sees no problem with manipulating feral and domestic cat populations for the benefit of “saving” song birds. “As I pointed out in an early blog…, feral cats and cats whose owners let them roam outside kill hundreds of millions, maybe a billion, song birds each year.  Why is it that we get to choose that a species we domesticated is more important than wild birds?”

The fact is, people are never going to take it upon themselves to either leave their cats, and all their other pets indoors. Therefore, the only other course of action to “save song birds” is to kill cats. While the author questions whether manipulating the number of coyotes that kill deer, that are used as a food source, is an ethical thing to do, evidently the feral and domestic cats don’t share the same rights of existence as the coyote. In addition, I guess it just depends on one’s selfish desires of how they want to take advantage of wildlife.

No matter how you view the use of our God-given resources, I wonder, if ever, people will one day realize and admit that man is on this earth and that it belongs to them…even if for a short time? We simply cannot approach wildlife management with any formula that does not include the existence of man.

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OPINION: MNRF takes the road of junk science to forward their agenda

In my younger years growing up in Sundridge, the moose season fell on every even year and lasted a week. You bought your moose license and shot a MOOSE. There were plenty of moose and trappers harvested wolves and hunters harvested spring bears and laws were based on science and time-proven management practices. During this time the powers that be were the Ontario Lands and Forests, later changed to Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR). Recently renamed Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry.  Much has changed over the past two decades within what I once considered Ontario`s flagship ministry, for without our rich resources what does Ontario have to offer?

I have been deeply concerned about the direction this ministry has been travelling for some years now as laws are now being based on emotion and driven by special interest and protectionist lobby groups.<<<Read More>>>

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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>>>

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Utah: Biologist Back With Family After Accident

*Editor’s Query* – Of course I have questions. Reading the information in this article, we see where a biologist is “accidentally” injected with a tranquiler (dart) intended for a yearling cub black bear – weighing how much? And how much did the biologist who got “accidentally” injected weigh?

The article doesn’t tell us the dosage the biologist received, only that they made note of that dosage to give to medical personnel. Are we to assume the dosage the biologist received was no more – perhaps less – than what was intended for the bear? If so, is there somehow a greater danger to the health of a man than that of the bear, or is this really not that newsworthy of an item?

I don’t know the procedures being used here but in some research methods, once the data is collected the animals are given and antidote that will counter the tranquilizer effects and soon the animal is going about his business. 

“Quick action and training are the reasons a Utah Division of Wildlife Resources biologist is resting comfortably at home with his family today.

The biologist, a 20-year veteran with the DWR, was released March 15 from the Utah Valley Regional Medical Center. He was hospitalized after accidently being injected with a tranquilizer meant for a bear.”<<<Read More>>>

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Can We Stop the “Social Justice” of Wildlife Management?

Over the past few years, I have made many an utterance condemning the idiotic “social justice” approach to wildlife management. Perhaps if deer, bear, moose, loons, piping plovers, and all other animals, could sit down to a cup of coffee and “tell us how they really feel.” The job of providing for their welfare would be a bit easier…or not. Our human society, at present, believes that providing things for free – by utilizing another person’s money – is the correct thing to do, along with forcing idealistic lifestyles onto others. Evidently wildlife management is not exempt.

Animals can’t tell us how they feel, what they want, where they prefer to live and what their basic enjoyments in life are. Because we can’t communicate with animals, as with man, we are supposed to use science to figure this all out. There once was a day when it was acknowledged that in order to understand animals and care for their existence, the tried and proven principle of honest, scientific method and approach was an honorable challenge.

Today it seems that this scientific approach to wildlife management has been replaced with a form of social justice, the result of which has created a form of scientific injustice.

Social Justice can be defined as, “justice in terms of the distribution of wealth, opportunities, and privileges within a society.” With each enforcement of social justice, all hopes at individuality and even self-determination are forever lost.

Social Justice is a Leftist term of idealism. Environmentalism and Agenda 21, both glorified perpetuations of social justice, has put a stranglehold on future individualism and aides in the destruction of God-given rights. Agenda 21, pretending to be a guideline to “save the planet,” was the infrastructure needed by those seeking social justice. It has been woven into the very fabric of American life. Every movement we make, we run face to face with “sustainable development” – the ultimate destroyer of self determination and individualism – perhaps even life itself.

Agenda 21, therefore, has become a dominant theme in wildlife management, even if never spoken. It seems, whether by design or happenstance, no decisions within wildlife management departments, crafted to care for our wildlife, can be made unless first they seek the wishes of society. With a fully propagandized public, surely wildlife management has become a form of social justice. To continue this thought process, understand that “Climate Change” (note it’s in capitals) is all a part of Environmentalism, Agenda 21 Sustainable Development and Social Justice. They didn’t just independently appear one day.

I’m not here to debate the proclamation that all wildlife belongs to all the people. That’s not what this is about. Whatever happened to when wildlife departments, their foundations built on a firm understanding of the responsibilities before them, devised scientific management plans to achieve the goals that they knew would satisfy a majority of the public, and stand behind those decisions with strong, honest and real science to support it? Today, regardless of science, if you have enough money and holler loud enough, you’ll get what you want. The system is gamed.

So where are we? Can or will we ever return to rational, scientific wildlife management? Probably not, however, before the doom arrives, we might witness some degree of a push-back. It might even be a substantial one.

To be forthcoming, please understand that I do not subscribe to the idea that there are two political systems diametrically opposed to one another. The paradigm is manufactured, the result of which is vividly on display presently coming off the November presidential election. It all about propagandized perceptions.

Because the paradigm is fake, doesn’t mean that the perceptions of the people are fake as well. They honestly believe what they say and do…or at least they feel convinced enough to say and do some pretty far out things. As Yehushua stated in the last moments of his earthly life, “Forgive them Father for they know not what they do.”

Some are calling the events and fallout of the election a sudden fall of the Left and a rapid rise of the Right. Reading “Wretchard’s”, Richard Fernandez’s recent column, is a great example of how some are seeing things.

The premise being presented here is that the Left pushed and pushed and reached a point where they considered themselves to be in the catbird’s seat controlling everything of importance within their progressive lifestyle. All of a sudden, the Left came crashing down as the great wall of the Right was rapidly built around Donald Trump. As Fernandez describes it, “In an instant what was formerly yielding pudding becomes incredibly resistant like liquid armor.  The Left hits a wall.  Progressives, perplexed at this sudden change in resistance doubles down.  But this makes the liquid armor even more impenetrable and they double down some more. Unable to understand i[f] they naturally  blame conspiracies.”

So, what is this? Is any of this real? I’ll let you answer that question, however, there is everything real about perceptions. Perceptions are what guide us. It’s the forming of those perceptions that have, historically, been an extremely dangerous thing.

In the dozen years or so that I have covered the emotional politics of wolves, this paradigm of Left vs. Right (perhaps better recognized as Rep. vs. Dem. or better yet, Liberal vs. Conservative) has run its course of ups and downs. Often I wrote of how the Left (Environmentalists, Animal Rights advocates, Agenda 21, Sustainable Development, Social Justice warriors) always pushes for more; exercising their perceived power of controlling all things wolf, ignoring any and all opposition to their determination at achieving social justice for an animal regardless the cost. To what extreme will the Right go, if allowed?

The “pudding,” at times, runs up against “liquid armor.” In the Left’s comfort and incorrect perceptions of power, they went too far. The perceptions of the Left caused them to feel as though things have come crashing done on them. The Right began their push back. They are feeling power, some control. And so it goes. There is no ending.

I don’t believe for one minute that the progressive lifestyle is dead. Too many people love their immoral lifestyles, made legitimate in the minds of Leftists claiming a “changing world,” where all things desired must be achieved void of any thought toward morality and decency. But they do not see their world that way. What is dead is the lifestyle of tolerance, anchored by a truly moral foundation.

It matters not whether you and I want to accept the manufactured internal war of Left and Right. The reality is that a very large population of people believe (perceive) in “their side” and we are receiving hints that some are ready to fight to the death for it. What a very huge mistake that would be, especially when an honest examination of what one is fighting for is undertaken.

Historically, it has been a common existence of what appears to be ups and downs, or maybe Rights and Lefts, as each “side” maneuvers their pawns on a chess board in hopes of gaining more power than the other. Is any of it real, at least beyond the ends of their noses?

The perception may be that the Left has been in control too long. Their idealism has been forced onto the American people, for a time long enough that those on the Right believe they have “fought against” the “pudding” and have created “liquid armor.”

What then will happen to wildlife management by Social Justice, Agenda 21, Sustainable Development and Climate Change?

I’m offering little hope that wildlife management will ever return to what it should be, but can I help you to better understand?

The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) is in the process of keeping their cash flow solvent, by complying with the blackmail practices of the Federal Government, to devise game management plans for deer, moose, turkey and bear. In all preliminary readings of what to expect in these revised management plans, there is a common and readily repeated theme of making decisions within the plan based on social tolerances. In this case the social tolerances are the result of strong-arm indoctrination of Social Justice, through Environmentalism, Agenda 21 and Climate Change.

With this mind manipulation running its course and having achieved giant strides in promoting its agenda, there is little hope, short of a massive flow of liquid armor.

Perhaps another example of blind ignorance as to what has befallen us, can be seen in Maine’s effort to lay out tens of thousands of dollars to hire a company to conduct a survey of the Department and their practices. And because it’s a “well-known” and “well-respected” company, are we supposed to blindly take their propaganda, bought and paid for by MDIFW, as the gospel?

All questions in this survey are general in nature, with little or no specifics, including background data that might prompt the questions. The multiple choice of answers never include all the answers – only the ones the company wants you to choose from – often leaving respondents frustrated. Did I mention the survey was bought and paid for by MDIFW? (Learn about the Delphi Technique)

But, I don’t want to create my own distraction. Now that MDIFW has THEIR survey results, all, of course, favorable to MDIFW, that will become their answer, along with Climate Change, for everything. We’ve already seen it. It’s nauseating once you understand it.

I have searched for any kind of legislation that Maine might have that forces MDIFW to consider social tolerances within their wildlife management plans. I have found nothing. One then can only conclude that the choice to implement social tolerances into scientific processes, is that of a state government so deeply indoctrinated in the idealism of Social Justice, they believe it is the correct thing to do. How do you counter that? Isn’t this same sort of Social Justice prevalent at all levels of government, throughout all departments?

We have seen in this most recent presidential election one the biggest, if not the biggest swings in political idealism. Whether real or imagined, if this political push-back, i.e. the liquid armor, has and will have actual destructive powers to dismantle, at least to some degree, the progressive lifestyle running rampant in this nation, remains to be seen. Will any of this backlash and power gained, trickle down into state’s fish and game departments, like Maine’s, that will spoil the “pudding” of the progressives who have taken over wildlife management? One can only hope. Or none of this is real.

At some point in time, many aspects of wildlife management, based on Romance Biology and VooDoo Science, will run their course. Some people will see. Some won’t, nor do they want to. A push-back will ensue. To what strength remains to be seen. I doubt any will go noticed. The beast is too big with not enough people left who care enough to do anything about it. They love their Kool-Aid. Drink it and like it.

But always remember that democracy, as we have been brainwashed to believe is such a wonderful thing, is two wolves and a sheep deciding what’s for dinner. Perhaps at one meal time there may be two sheep and one wolf.

 

 

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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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Maine’s Seemingly Endless Debate on Sunday Hunting

I’ll give George Smith, a writer and sportsman’s activist from Maine, credit for sticking with something he believes in. It appears he is just about the last survivor to advocate for Sunday Hunting in Maine. Smith says we will never hunt on Sundays in Maine, and he probably is correct. As a matter of fact, I’ll take that claim one step further and say the days that we actually will be able to hunt, are numbered. With the continued, unchecked, onslaught by animal rights groups and environmentalists, combined with the influx of newly indoctrinated wildlife biologists, and the myriad of other environmental movements nationwide, hunting will soon be a thing of the past – perhaps in my lifetime.

There are several issues about Sunday Hunting that appear to be stumbling blocks. Let’s address a few.

Religious reasons. I’m going to guess this is another example of the pitfalls of socialistic democracy, in which two wolves and a sheep are discussing what’s for lunch. If the majority of Mainers, who go to church, do so on Sunday and they view that day as somehow “holier” than the others, their socio-democratic power trumps everybody else.

There is a bit more to this as we have seen in the past. I can’t seem to find a link to the story but if my memory isn’t completely shot, I recall, if not in Maine, somewhere, where some who choose to recognize Saturdays as the sabbath, proposed legislation that would allow them to hunt on Sundays. Of course that was shot down. I have serious doubts that very many people would actually not hunt on Sundays because it’s their sabbath. Hypocrisy abounds in that area.

Another aspect would be the fallout that may or may not create less land access. Some land owners have threatened to post their land if Sunday hunting is permitted. Whether and how much that would actually happen, I don’t know. I do know that in some states where much land is posted and/or land is considered closed without owner’s permission, access to hunting lands is difficult at best and in some cases, with the exception of public lands, hunters have to pay, sometimes hefty amounts, to “lease” a portion of private land. Unless you’ve been relegated to that, I don’t think you really want to go there.

The other issue in Sunday hunting is seldom seriously discussed. In Maine, as in many states, hunting is used as a means of “managing” (control) the population of all game species. For deer hunting, the state also uses a permit system that regulates and controls deer populations within Wildlife Management Districts. The bottom line is this: wildlife regulators decide how many of which species should be harvested each year and do what is necessary to achieve those goals…usually.

If we look at deer hunting as one example, game managers have an idea of how many deer will need to be harvested, by different methods, utilizing permits, along with length of season and all other factors that effect the harvest. Some of those factors are not controllable. One that is, is the length of season. In my lifetime, I have seen the deer hunting season in Maine shortened to barely two weeks – the need being a lack of deer and protecting the herd to remain at safe sustainable levels.

So what if Maine added, not just 3 or 4 more days to the annual deer hunt (you can also use this to extrapolate out to all other game species, i.e. turkey, grouse, bear, moose, etc.) but that those added days were on the weekends? We know that the busiest hunting days during the deer season are Saturdays. If Sundays were added, how many more net hunters would there be? How many more hunters would skip a working day in order to hunt on Sundays? How great would hunter participation become?

We have had the claim beaten into our brains for years now that Maine and her economy are suffering because hunters won’t hunt in Maine because there is no Sunday hunting. If that is true, then the question has to be asked, how many more hunters will now hunt Maine, especially on Sundays?

This all adds up to one large question. If Sunday hunting for deer is allowed, how many more deer will be killed? If there is an increase, what is the extent of that increase and will it force the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) to shorten the season in order to mitigate the losses of deer due to harvest? If Maine was overrun with deer, this would not be a problem. With or without Sunday hunting, if the state was overrun with deer, the season would be extended and/or the limits may increase to more than one deer per season. Too few deer, and the results are reversed.

I personally, have no interest in angering the landowners. Whether or not a Sunday hunting move would seriously effect land access, is a guess. I will state that I believe in the short term, there will be a knee-jerk reaction to Sunday hunting and land will be posted that wasn’t before. How that trend evolves will really depend on the realities of what takes place on that land, that is different from the present, that would cause more or a continuation of reduced land access.

If an added Sunday hunt resulted in a shortened season, that would mean more hunters in the woods at any one time. I don’t like that idea at all. Safety must also be a concern. Maine has an outstanding track record when it comes to hunter and public safety during the hunting seasons.

I think the bottom line should be deer management. Yes, Maine should consider ways of maximizing the positive influences and effects of hunting seasons, but the bottom line should always remain, what is best for the deer herd and landowner relations.

A final issue that is seldom discussed or is presented in the wrong way, in my opinion, is the rights of landowners. I get a sense from reading Smith’s article about Sunday hunting that every effort to implement some form of Sunday hunting in Maine is a serious loss for hunters and Maine’s community, without consideration of protecting the rights of landowners first and foremost.

I am first a property rights advocate and then a hunter. Yes, I am saddened with each passing year that I see more and more land posted to access, but that is and should be their right. But I also believe that those landowners who post their land, should limit their involvement in hunting issues that involve land access. In other words, there is little credibility in anyone with posted land stating that they didn’t believe a Sunday hunt would have any real effect on land access. Hello?

As Maine citizens, we should be glad the majority of people are looking out for the rights of the landowners. We hear of how wildlife management, which includes hunting and trapping, is beneficial to the landowner. I couldn’t agree more, which makes me tend to emphasize that all the effort that has been expended attempting to promote Sunday hunting, could better be spent educating the landowner to the advantages of the North American Model for Wildlife Management, i.e. managing for surplus harvest, and that leaving their land open has it’s benefits. Landowners should also be taught how they can control the access to their land to meet their wishes and still reap the benefits of wildlife management – hunting and trapping.

Perhaps someday, Maine will have Sunday hunting, but without it, as things currently stand, giving the drums a rest would probably be in the best interest of hunting, while shifting the effort to increasing better landowner relationships.

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Maine’s Moose Biologist: Epiphany or Slip of the Tongue?

*Editor’s Note* – Actually, I didn’t think I would live long enough to read the below quip found in the Bangor Daily News. I spent about five minutes checking myself, and actually walked outside, found a stranger walking down the street and asked them if they thought I was dead. She didn’t think so.

But, I am curious. Is this statement an epiphany or a slip of the tongue? For surely no modern day wildlife biologists would actually resort to a basic fundamental in understanding animal management, i.e. that when you crowd together too many of any animal, the result is disease. Maybe I got the man all wrong. Maybe under all that “we must manage wildlife according to social demands,” he retains a bit of old fashioned “codgerism.” Therefore, I may have convinced myself his statement is a slip of the tongue.

Not that I think this will in anyway assist in keeping the current moose study going in a direction of the normal scientific process and not be kidnapped by global warming, it does provide just a glimmer of hope.

“And while the moose herd in the western part of the state is struggling to deal with the effect of winter ticks, Kantar pointed out that the problem was likely influenced the abundance of moose on the landscape to begin with.

“We know that the more moose that you have over time, has likely created a scenario where winter ticks have done really well,” Kantar said.  “Our winter tick population has grown with our moose population through the decades. This is not a one-year thing where all of a sudden, one year, something’s happened.””<<<Read More>>>

Question for readers: Is the picture shown below:

A. The result of too many winter ticks?

B. The result of global warming?

C. The result of a hybrid mix due to too many moose?

D. Photoshopping?

E. I don’t get it?

cowmoose

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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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