March 17, 2018

Vermont Continues To Reduce Moose Permit Allotments

It appears that the Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife has decided, once again, to cut back on moose hunting permits. Where once there were 25 permits issued, authorities are recommending only 14 be issued this year.

A news article said the decision is based on the continued reduction of the moose herd because of, “…infestations of ticks and brain worms believed to be caused by the warming climate.”

If this was a game where you could buy a clue, the clue to buy would be this: So long as fish and wildlife departments continue to wallow in the deep manure pile of “global warming” they will never find any real answers to wildlife management problems.

Evidently, that’s the easiest mode of operation and are we to now believe the most lucrative?




Our outdoor heritage faces an uncertain future

When it comes to Maine’s fabled outdoor heritage, you don’t have to be a social scientist or a statistician to sense what is going on. Changing times are leaving a mark on our culture in countless ways. If you visit a few rod and gun clubs around the state, a common theme shows itself: a predominance of wrinkled gray-haired members and a glaring absence of bright-eyed, fresh-scrubbed youth among the club rolls.

Equally apparent, if you are an older sportsman yourself, who still spends time in the deer woods or on the fishing waters of this state, is that there seems to be a significant absence of active sportsmen like yourself.<<<Read More>>>



Hunting Is Conservation


Animal Rights: Bunkum and Balderdash

Some people simply do not like hunting and trapping or the idea that other people do. Perhaps it’s time to get a life and get over it. There are many things in life that all of us don’t like, but does that mean we spend our time forcing our own idealism onto others? Evidently, that is true in some cases.

I have no issues with another who is opposed to hunting and trapping. I don’t try to get them to change their life over it. I only expect the same respect in return. Did I say respect? Pfffft!

What I do have an issue with is when ignorant and severely misguided excuses are given to defend one’s position on the dislike of the activity. Given the direction the American Society has taken in recent years, there is no guilt association with lying nor is there any need to present honest facts. This practice has become null and void and runs rampant throughout.

Recently two Letters to the Editor in Maine newspapers came from obvious despisers of hunting and trapping. As they go hand in hand, it is safe to say that these same people have a perverse perspective of the roles animals, both wild and domestic, play in man’s existence.

The first letter I’d like to address comes from someone who wants to stop the use of bait as a tool to harvest black bears. For the record, so would I. I don’t like baiting (I’ll save the reasons for another show). However, I can reasonably understand that without baiting the success rate for taking a bear would drop significantly, seriously hampering the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife’s (MDIFW) ability to maintain the bear population at healthy levels.

But factual information is void in such conversations with animal lovers.

I’ve heard the argument before that baiting unnaturally over-feeds bears, causing a false increase in the number of offspring and that baiting habituates bears to human conditions, i.e. food and smells. The letter writer states: “One of the worst things that can be done to manage a bear population is to artificially increase the amount of available food in the environment and accustom them to human food and smells…”

Under different conditions, this may be true but I don’t think so in this case. If baiting was seriously widespread, in other words, that there actually is an artificial increase in food in the environment (not just at bait stations), throughout the entire habitat of Maine, artificially feeding bears would probably cause a problem.

According to the MDIFW’s website, bears in Maine number as high as 36,000: “Maine’s bear population remained fairly stable through 2005, but has been increasing over the last 5 years and our current estimate is between 24,000 and 36,000 bears.”

We also can find that in 2016 Maine’s bear harvest totaled 2,859. The same data tells us that 68% or 1,936 bears were taken over bait. From previous information found at various sources, it has been estimated that bear hunting success rate is around 30%. For Maine to have harvested 2,859, the number of licensed hunters probably approached 9,000. 62% of all bears harvested was done by out-of-state (guided) hunters.

How does all this translate into the number of bait piles and where they were located geographically? I dunno, but it would certainly appear that the process of baiting may have affected only a very small portion of the bear population, if at all, regardless of how one might fudge the numbers. Even if it were biologically correct to state that artificial feeding increases bear populations, baiting bears does not and cannot have any real effect on the growth of bears.

We also know that bears much prefer natural foods. During high-yield mast crop years, attracting bears to baiting stations is a difficult task to accomplish.

This is a poor argument to use against the use of bait for bears and is always simply a play on the emotions of readers.

The second letter is an excellent example of bunkum and balderdash. The diatribe begins with an attempt at likening bobcat hunting to an unfair advantage for the hunter over the animal because it doesn’t have a helmet, protective padding and shoes….or something.: “Most of us like some kind of sports by either following them, participating in them or both. Whatever ones we prefer, we expect that players or teams be more or less evenly matched in terms of skill and equipment.

We’d protest, for instance, if the tennis players we were rooting for were not allowed to use rackets, and we’d be in an uproar if the quarterbacks and linemen on our favorite team were denied helmets, protective padding and shoes.

Why? Because we require a level playing field and we believe in fairness, as well as giving those we contend against a sporting chance.”

Oh, my! This might deserve the Golden Horse Excrement Award.

Let’s put it this way. If the letter writer wants a “level playing field” wouldn’t that mean that each team would have an even chance, 50-50, of winning? This sounds more like “each participant gets a trophy.” How is it a level playing field when MDIFW has determined that a better than average chance at a bobcat hunter being successful, i.e. winning, runs at not much better than 9%?

But we soon discover the real reason for the whining and complaining: “…we believe that the consequence of defeat should not be the forfeiture of life itself.” Okay, so everyone DOES get a trophy. As I said, I don’t have an issue with people who don’t like to see animals die. I understand this but they don’t understand that the perpetuation of life insists that something must die in order for life to continue. But I digress.

The writer then goes on questioning the MDIFW’s bobcat management practices of which I have no problem. After all, I spend a great deal of time questioning their wildlife management practices. The letter writer states that MDIFW has no idea how many bobcats are in the state of Maine. This may be somewhat true but they do have a system, although it may be antiquated (I haven’t studied the plans and formulas used), where bobcat populations are estimated (like every other game species) and harvest requirements formulated from that information. See the plan here.

(Note: The writer honestly doesn’t see any difference between hunters and trappers legally taking wild animals for various reasons and MDIFW’s prohibition on hunters and trappers killing domestic animals. Where does one go from here?)

Then the writer gets back to the real meat and potatoes as to why he wants bobcat hunting to end: “Hunting bobcats is cruel and abusive.” And let’s not forget it’s “inhumane.”

What the writer rambles on about at this point is mostly pointless to discuss as it becomes obvious the writer places animals at an existence equal to or greater than that of man, giving them the attributes of man: “The word humane is derived from the world [word?] humanity, but until that connection is understood and practiced, what we have is really nothing less than state-sanctioned cruelty…”

The word “humanity” (an Evolution term) first appears in the late 14th century. All definitions and attributes are given to the existence of man…not animals. “Human” and “humane” were used interchangeably for centuries all in reference to characteristics of man…not animals.

Few know that “humane societies” were first established to save drowning people.

Any sense of humaneness pertaining to animals should only be derived from a value-weighted perception of the man toward the animal. It is certainly debatable as to whether or not an animal thinks, acts, and feels the same as a man. It is when we project our own “human” qualities onto animals, we get into some real serious issues.

I really do not understand what the author is saying when he says that “until that connection is understood.” Assuming he means a connection between human and humanity, I fail to see any connection that pertains to the existence of animals.

Not that many animal lovers would care to learn from the Scriptures, but perhaps I can give a better understanding of the role our Creator intended between man and beast (all animals, i.e. birds, fish, mammals, etc.). Genesis 1:26 tells us at the time in which He was going to “create man in our image,” “and let them rule over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the heaven, and over the beasts, and over all the earth, and over everything that creepeth and moveth on the earth.”

In verse 28, Yaweh instructs Adam to “Bring forth fruit, and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it, and rule over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the heaven, and over every beast that moveth upon the earth.”

After the Great Flood, Yaweh once again gave Noah and his sons the same instructions. We find them in Genesis 9: 1-5: Also the fear of you, and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth, and upon every fowl of the heaven, upon all that moveth on the earth, and upon all the fishes of the sea: into your hand are they delivered.

Everything that moveth and liveth, shall be meat for you: as the green herb, have I given you all things.”

Clearly, the role of the animal toward man’s existence is clearly defined. An animal, of any kind, is not and does not have the same existence as that of man. It was intended for food, the same as plants.

Unfortunately, these verses and others are too often taken out of context to mean that man can do anything he wishes to an animal. Proverbs 12:10 tells us: “A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast: but the mercies of the wicked are cruel.” The original Hebrew word for “regardeth” is “yada.” It carries many meanings, mostly in reference to acknowledging “the life of the beast.” It also carries the meaning “to respect.”

Yaweh gave us all the plants and animals of the Earth. After the flood, He told Noah and his sons that animals “shall be meat (food) for you.” His Scripture also tells us to be knowledgeable about the beasts and give them respect. Obviously, this didn’t mean to the point that animals are protected beyond that which might ensure their existence or to the detriment of man.

My advice to the animal lovers and those who hate hunting and trapping, tell us how upset you are because someone is killing an animal, but save the bunkum and balderdash about equal playing fields and “inhumane” treatment of animals.

As an aside: The author quotes someone who says, “Bobcats are worth more for wildlife watching and tracking opportunities than they are as pelts.” Wildlife watching? Tracking? Seriously? I have lived in Maine for going on 66 years. I have “wildlife watched” a bobcat once in my life and that was while visiting a park in Florida. It would appear that this person places little value on the life of a bobcat. Shame.



Hunting: Biological or Political?

A Maine outdoor writer and associate asks whether caribou hunting in Canada is political or biological. “Given the fact that the native communities in Quebec and Labrador apparently have not had their caribou harvest quotas decreased by government closures, some are questioning whether the sport hunting ban is as much political as it is biological.”

I could ask why V. Paul Reynolds might not think any sport hunting isn’t political. But I see things just a tad differently than Mr. Reynolds.

It is a shame that we have now reached a point in North America where this question of whether hunting is still considered part of the North American Model for Wildlife Management, where allotments or management plans are a scientific approach to manipulating and sustaining a healthy and productive population of any species or politics and social demands rue the day – a bitter regret perhaps not realized yet but eventually will be.

Caribou hunting in Quebec and Labrador Provinces has been suspended until further notice. According to Quebec’s Minister of Forests, the reason is “sustainability of the species.” Does this announcement come without warning? If so, what has happened in these provinces that so abruptly demolished a caribou herd that hunting goes from “normal” to zero in no time flat?

Sounds to me like either politics and social demands by the usual suspects or extremely poor caribou management. Take your pick.

One thing is for sure. The plan to “change the way wildlife management is discussed and carried out” appears to be working just swell.


Better to Remain Silent

It appears that I am always returning to the adage: Better to remain silent and be thought of as a fool than to open it and remove all doubt. Or as is found in Proverbs 17:28: (Wycliffe Bible) “Also a fool, if he is still, shall be guessed a wise man; and, if he presseth together his lips, he is guessed an understanding man.”

Here I go reading again! I was reading an article online about how one “outdoor writer” stated that hunters can mistake another hunter for game. He expressed it in these terms: “If it hasn’t happened to you yet, it probably will.”

Most disturbing about this piece is there is no differentiating between the actions by every hunter to sift through the hundreds upon thousands of objects his eyes take in in one day of hunting and seeing something and shooting at it or killing it.

This is followed by a bunch of psycho-babble about how the brain will see only what it wants to see and when a hunter is so anxious to see game and shoot it, he or she will pull the trigger on such things as a box of Marlboro cigarettes.

A friend of mine was a Maine Humorist. One of his albums he recorded was titled, “Tall Tales and Damned Lies.” Some of this guy’s claims belong in Joe Perham’s Tall Tales and Damned Lies. The author writes: “That explains why virtually every truly experienced turkey hunter I know has been shot at least once.”

Either this guy knows only a handful of “experienced” turkey hunters who are total, brain-dead idiots, or he lies longer than a bearskin rug. Evidently, he buys into the psycho-babble of whom he quotes in this article who says, “the more experienced the hunter,…the more likely you are to be tricked by your ‘mind’s eye.'”

For crying out loud! Years have been spent to educate hunters in recognizing their targets. In Maine, for example, the hunter is 100% responsible to recognize his or her target BEFORE they pull the trigger. Nothing is foolproof. Mistakes can happen but they are rare. Listening to this guy one is led to believe everyone who hunts gets shot and the more experienced you are at hunting the greater your risk of shooting someone.

Hunters don’t need enemies when they have friends like this.


Insane Grizzly Bear Nightmare


Next Up For H(I)S(I)US: Ban Mountain Lion Hunting

*Editor’s Note* – It seems that with these extremists, like H(I)S(I)US, that the only qualifier in killing any animal is when a person’s live is threatened. HSUS makes me feel like my life is being threatened. So, now what?

In November 2018, the world’s wealthiest animal-rights organization intends to ask Arizona voters to ban mountain lion, bobcat and other big-cat hunting. Operating under the name ‘Arizonans for Wildlife,’ the campaign is really being spearheaded by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). The group filed language on September 25 with the Arizona Secretary of State’s office to allow the signature-gathering process to begin in an effort to qualify the issue for the 2018 ballot. If the language is approved, the HSUS-led group would have to gather 150,642 valid voter signatures by July 5, 2018 to qualify for the election on November 6, 2018.

The language filed by the anti-hunting group would remove mountain lions and bobcats from the state’s list of huntable species. Under the proposed language, mountain lions and bobcats, along with jaguars, ocelots and lynx, would be called “wild cats,” and be prohibited from hunting or trapping.<<<Read More>>>


Secretary Zinke signs Secretarial Order to Support Sportsmen & Enhance Wildlife Conservation

Order seeks to expand access on public and private lands and to promote hunting and fishing among youth, veterans, and minority communities


Date: September 15, 2017

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke signed Secretarial Order 3356, which will support and expand hunting and fishing, enhance conservation stewardship, improve wildlife management, and increase outdoor recreation opportunities for all Americans. Secretarial Order 3356 is an extension of Secretarial Order 3347, issued on Zinke’s first day, March 2, 2017. That order identified a slate of actions for the restoration of the American sportsmen conservation ethic, which was established by President Theodore Roosevelt.

The new order comes days after the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced a survey that found there are 2.2 million fewer hunters in America now than in 2011. The order seeks to improve wildlife management and conservation, increase access to public lands for hunting, shooting, and fishing, and puts a new and a greater emphasis on recruiting and retaining new sportsmen conservationists, with a focus on engaging youths, veterans, minorities, and other communities that traditionally have low participation in outdoor recreation activities.

“Hunting and fishing is a cornerstone of the American tradition and hunters and fishers of America are the backbone of land and wildlife conservation,” said Secretary Zinke. “The more people we can get outdoors, the better things will be for our public lands. As someone who grew up hunting and fishing on our public lands – packing bologna sandwiches and heading out at 4AM with my dad – I know how important it is to expand access to public lands for future generations. Some of my best memories are hunting deer or reeling in rainbow trout back home in Montana, and I think every American should be able to have that experience.

“Today’s Secretarial Order is the latest example of how the Trump Administration is actively moving to support hunting and other forms of outdoor recreation on public lands. This means finding ways to expand hunting and fishing on public lands, improving access, and taking necessary actions to facilitate the enjoyment of these time-honored activities by any member of our society.”

Secretarial Order 3356 directs bureaus within the department to:

  • Within 120 days produce a plan to expand access for hunting and fishing on BLM, USFWS and NPS land.
  • Amend national monument management plans to ensure the public’s right to hunt, fish and target shoot.
  • Expand educational outreach programs for underrepresented communities such as veterans, minorities, and youth.
  • In a manner that respects the rights and privacy of the owners of non-public lands, identify lands within their purview where access to Department lands, particularly access for hunting, fishing, recreational shooting, and other forms of outdoor recreation, is currently limited (including areas of Department land that may be impractical or effectively impossible to access via public roads or trails under current conditions, but where there may be an opportunity to gain access through an easement, right-of-way, or acquisition), and provide a report detailing such lands to the Deputy Secretary.
  • Within 365 days, cooperate, coordinate, create, make available, and continuously update online a single “one stop” Department site database of available opportunities for hunting, fishing, and recreational shooting on Department lands.
  • Improve wildlife management through collaboration with state, Tribal,? territorial, and conservation partners.

“On behalf of the 5 million hunters, recreational shooters and members of the NRA, we commend Secretary Zinke for continuing to follow Teddy Roosevelt’s sportsman legacy by opening more land and water to hunting and target shooting,” said Chris Cox, Executive Director of the National Rifle Association. “In the past, management plans for federal lands have been put in place to ban hunting and shooting. Sportsmen and women can now breathe a sigh of relief that those days are over. This administration values access to public lands for sportsmen and we commend them for it.”

“For too long, sportsmen’s access to our federal lands has been restricted, with lost opportunity replacing the ability to enjoy many of our best outdoor spaces. This extension to Secretarial Order 3356 will go a long way to reversing that trend and help grow the next generation of hunters, fishermen, and recreational shooters,” said Senator Lisa Murkowski, Chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. “I appreciate this new order and am committed to working with Secretary Zinke and my colleagues to do everything we can to expand and enhance access to our federal lands for all Alaskans, and all Americans, so that we can continue our rich sportsmen’s heritage.”

“Restoring wildlife habitat and expanding opportunities for hunting, fishing, and other outdoor recreation will help increase wildlife populations and connect millions of Americans with our nation’s natural treasures,” said Collin O’Mara, President and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation. “Secretary Zinke’s order demonstrates his commitment to collaborate closely with conservation organizations and state agencies to achieve these critical conservation outcomes. We look forward to working with the Secretary, the Department, and our conservation partners to recover America’s wildlife and connect every American with nature.”

“Secretary Zinke’s action today follows in the great tradition of President Teddy Roosevelt and recognizes the central role that hunters play in conservation and successful wildlife management,” said Lawrence G. Keane, Senior Vice President and General Counsel of the National Shooting Sports Foundation. “The National Shooting Sports Foundation is deeply grateful to Secretary Zinke for the historic Secretarial Order that he signed  today. NSSF has worked closely with, and in support of, Interior Department officials on these priorities and other positive steps announced today. Today’s action will serve to benefit current and future generations for years to come.”

“Americans depend on reliable and affordable access to public lands to participate in outdoor sporting and recreational activities,” said Chairman Rob Bishop. “Unfortunately, these lands are not being managed to facilitate consistent, open access. Today’s Secretarial Order to increase these opportunities strengthens the foundation of our country’s hunting and fishing heritage and helps ensure that sportsmen and women continue to enjoy access to our federal lands and waterways.”

“For many Americans, hunting and fishing wouldn’t be possible without public land and the access it provides for these pastimes. Secretarial Order 3356 represents a renewed commitment to working with our nation’s sportsmen and women to ensure that our legacy of hunting and fishing-driven conservation continues to stand the test of time,” said Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation President Jeff Crane. “We applaud Secretary Zinke for recognizing the critically important role that expanded federal land access plays in achieving this goal.”

“We support Secretary Zinke’s order to expand opportunities for hunters and anglers on BLM, Fish and Wildlife Service and Park Service lands as well as on private lands,” said David Allen, President and CEO of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. “Access to quality wildlife habitat remains one of the most significant factors impacting hunting and fishing participation throughout the country. This order will help ensure sportsmen and women continue to have opportunities for quality recreational experiences on public lands and potentially private lands.”

“Generations of Idahoans, including me, have passed on their love of hunting, fishing, and shooting sports to their children and grandchildren,” said Senator James Risch, Co-Chairman of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus. “I applaud Secretary Zinke’s quick action to protect those fundamental rights and expand access for sportsmen and women across the country.”

On his first day in office, Secretary Zinke reversed an order that would have banned lead ammo and tackle on National Wildlife Refuge lands, and he began the process of expanding hunting and fishing opportunities on public lands across the Department.

In August, the Secretary announced a proposal to expand hunting and fishing opportunities at 10 national wildlife refuges, and he announced the initial stages of a plan to acquire land to make the Bureau of Land Management Sabinoso Wilderness Area accessible for the first time ever to hunters, hikers, and wildlife watchers.

In addition, Secretary Zinke recently made recommendations to President Trump on 27 national monuments that call for changes to some that, while still protecting the land, would also protect and expand public access to that land for citizens who want to hunt, fish, and hike and experience the joy and beauty of these special places.


The Ethics of Baiting Deer….or Any Other Game Animal

Maine has recently passed a law prohibiting the “feeding” of deer from August 15th to December 15. This Act was supported by the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW), which should be no surprise as we know MDIFW has tried for years to ban the act of feeding deer at anytime.

However, the real issue, I think, is the prevention of “baiting” deer for the purpose of improving your chances of taking a deer during the archery, rifle or muzzleloader seasons.

In V. Paul Reynolds article this week, he says that in this debate about baiting deer, ethics should be part of the discussion. But ethics of any kind, can be a very sticky wicket.

Who decides what is ethical? For years I have written about ethics as it may apply to hunting and still believe, within the written laws, ethics is a personal perspective.

I support the baiting of bear for harvest purposes because there is a need to limit or reduce the growth of the black bear populations in Maine. It is my understanding that the MDIFW mostly sees the bear baiting issue much the same way. In short, it is a necessary management tool, even if it perceived by some as ugly. Without this tool, the alternative may be even uglier.

Because most of Maine has few deer and historically the state has never really been overrun with deer, the need to call for the implementation of baiting as a management tool to reduce numbers, has never been necessary and is definitely not needed today.

But this really has little to do with ethics. I’m not a bear hunter but I can clearly say that if I was, I would NOT bait – unless, of course, I was very, very hungry. I am a deer hunter and I would NOT bait deer for much the same reasons. I don’t necessarily object to those who choose to bait their game, where legal, but I personally would not care to implement baiting regardless of how, if any, doing so effects the odds of bagging game.

I have often read those who define ethics as, “what you do when nobody’s watching.” While this may be partially true, personal ethics goes beyond whether or not someone chooses to stay within the bounds of regulations. Short of legitimate regulations to guide the scientific management of game animals, it should NEVER be left up to Government to attempt legislating ethics. When you consider the corrupt and unethical existence of Government at all levels, surely one cannot seriously ask such an entity to make the decisions as to what is ethical and not ethical.

We have been brainwashed and manipulated into a totalitarian form of existence in which one of the greatest problems in today’s society is that “useful idiots,” i.e. the totalitarian sheep, believe it is their right and their duty of conquest to tell others how to live.

To what degree ethics should be discussed in this debate about baiting deer, would be a crap shoot and more than likely would only serve to create more problems. Within the laws of man, whether or not we agree with them, my personal ethics should remain as such…personal. If I strongly believe in my own ethical practices, perhaps, and I mean perhaps, I might share that philosophy with friends…if they care to know. Besides that, I mind my own business and expect that same respect in return.

Here is a link to the story of how Maine’s record Boone and Crockett buck was shot over a pile of “bait” – culled potatoes.