September 18, 2019

An Ethical Shot?

I was reading V. Paul Reynolds very good article the other day about how important it is when hunting moose, to do your best in placing a killing shot. What I got thinking about though was the idea that so many writers/hunters/trappers these days put emphasis on the term of an “ethical” shot or “ethical” kill.

Let’s first examine the definition of the term “ethical.” By definition, ethical means: “relating to moral principles or the branch of knowledge dealing with these. Morally good or correct. Avoiding activities or organizations that do harm to people or the environment.”

Hmmm! It seems we need to examine what “moral” means. “Concerned with the principles of right and wrong behavior and the goodness or badness of human character.” Er, ah… or maybe: “Examining the nature of ethics and the foundations of good and bad character and conduct.”

Getting closer: “Holding or manifesting high principles for proper conduct.”

I think this one pretty much covers what drives comments about “taking an ethical shot” when hunting. “Concerned with or derived from the code of interpersonal behavior that is considered right or acceptable in a particular society.”

So, essentially an “ethical” shot means one that accomplishes the “morally good” conduct that meets the standing acceptable behavior in this particular society at this particular moment.

Perfect! Not really. It’s hogwash!

Geez! If we are going to get all “moral” about this issue of shooting and killing, then perhaps those opposed to hunting have some valid ground to stand on. I mean, seriously. Is killing anything “morally ethical” in this “particular society?”

We hunt for various reasons. To be successful hunters must kill. We hope the kill is quick, for more reasons than just “ethical.” Some practice their skill of hitting a target. Some are better equipped to make “ethical” kills than others. They have better eyes and coordination to make a quick “ethical” kill.

But let’s face it. When we pull the trigger are we really thinking about ethics? Or are we thinking much of anything except we hope we make the shot and not have to chase our prey all day?

I understand the desire of many to not allow any animal that is a resource to suffer when being taken. I think it is dishonest to lay the term “ethical” onto any taking. I think it is more ethical to be honest about the truth than to place some conjured term to the act of shooting to kill.

Perhaps we can find a better more honest word or term to describe simply a quick kill. Oh, hey! Why not “quick kill?”

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Land Access: “There Ought to be a Law!”

A few years back, while speaking to a group of elk breeders in Iowa at their national convention, I began my talk by asking for a show of hands from any and all who ever made the exclamation, there ought to be a law. Most raised their hands. The rest were lying…LOL.

In our post-normal existence we have eagerly created, without supporting evidence we reactively rush toward the creation of more limits, bans, and regulations falsely believing such actions will actually alter human behavior and make for a better, safer life. Does it? Do the majority of Americans heed such laws intended to make our world a better place to live?

Not exactly! Have you been out on the highways lately? This is but one example of how laws, intended to make things safer, are failing at breakneck speed. Everyone is speeding. Everyone is running stop signs and traffic lights. Everyone is tailgating. Everyone is passing on the wrong side. Everyone is texting. These are examples of laws intended to make the highways safer to be on and yet the proof is in what you see…total disregard of the laws. So, why do we insist more laws will work?

Does this same thumbing of the nose happen with all other laws? Of course it does and yet, we, in our programmed reactionary behavior insist on making more laws, limits, and bans anytime something happens that we think could have been avoided…especially if we had more laws.

A tragedy occurred in Maine two years ago when a young woman was on her own land during deer hunting season and was shot an killed. The shooter admitted he failed to follow the “rule of law” that demands a hunter identify his/her target before pulling the trigger. While this law is more of an educational reminder of the ultimate responsibility of the one with the gun in their hand, it does not prevent mistakes nor will it stop anyone intent on killing for whatever the reasons.

The editorial board of the Bangor Daily News suggests that Maine needs to review its hunter land access laws and consider a requirement that all hunters seek written permission from a landowner before hunting on that person’s land.

A land owner should be able to control who and how anyone accesses their land. They presently have that control at their fingertips by utilizing an existing law of posting signs of no or limited access. Yes, the onus is placed on the landowner to spend the money for signs and put the signs out. Perhaps there are better ways to assist a landowner in accomplishing this task.

The bottom line is this, will posting the land keep people off the property and will it prevent a tragedy like the one that happened two years ago? It will not stop the person who is intent on entering someone’s land whether it’s posted or not. Unless land is posted all the way around, what is to stop anyone from accessing partially posted land?

The question here is whether or not making or changing the law that would require written permission to access land would have prevented a killing like the one in Maine two years ago? We might be creating ourselves a false sense of security, causing the landowner, who may falsely believe their land is 100% safe to be on during hunting season. In actuality, a new law may be making things worse.

One could argue that it is the hunters’ responsibility to know where boundary lines are regardless of what the access laws and restrictions may be. Sometimes it is extremely difficult to know where every boundary is and if you cross, even a well-marked property line, whose it is. If I unknowingly cross a poorly marked property line, would I be in violation of the law?

Hunting is a very safe activity. It is not fool proof. To err is human as the old expression goes. We will never correct that regardless of how many laws are made.

So, let’s consider the problems that will mount if Maine decided to enact a law that would require written permission before access…for any reason. Which brings us to another question about such a proposed law. Would such a law discriminate against hunters and be in effect only during hunting seasons? Assuming a new law requiring written permission would be permanent and year-round, what kind of mess is this going to create for the outdoorsman, the landowner, businesses geared toward outdoor recreation, and law enforcement? Will this new law be such that it places the landowner in a situation where they are constantly being asked for written permission? Will this form of harassment cause the landowner to avoid such and simply post their land, which they might not have done anyway – an added expense for the landowner.

Consider the large landowners of Maine – Irving, Pingree, Liberty Media Corp. (John Malone, who is based in Colorado). How are they going to handle a law where they have to hand out written permission for anyone to access their land? Or are they just going to shut it all down to avoid having to have another paid position to handle just dishing out land access permission slips?

How is law enforcement supposed to handle this new law? Is it even enforceable? Is what exists now really broken?

I own land. It’s not posted. If I go on my land during hunting season, I dress the same way as if I was hunting – with hunter orange. I never assume because I’m on my own land I am safe. Mistakes happen.

I don’t believe anyone is capable of grasping the extent of how Maine would change if the laws were changed that would require written permission to access private land. What economic impact will such a move have on Maine’s economy? One can argue that it might make it safer but such laws will not stop human error. Most all accidents happen due to human error. In that case, more and better education might limit and reduce those errors.

Before we make more laws to restrict land access, let’s first consider other ways to educate and remind hunters of their responsibility and to remind the people of Maine when hunting seasons are underway. Perhaps Maine could invest in public service announcements that would remind people about hunting seasons.

Let’s be practicably responsible and not create a bigger mess that may do little to make things safer.

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Deer Baiting Should Be Used Like Bear Baiting

George Smith in the Bangor Daily News, posted testimony from Rep. Paul Stearns arguing in favor of a bill that would allow for deer baiting. It appears not many people are in favor of such.

Stearns gives several reasons baiting of deer should be allowed, the most of which I disagree with. I have voiced opinion in the past that it seems ridiculous that it is legal to grow a crop specifically for deer to eat and then, while you can’t directly hunt “over” that crop you can hunt “near” it.

Maine allows for baiting of bear. The reason is that it is believed that baiting bear increases the success rate of harvesting a bear. This, at the current bear management strategy, is a desirable thing as the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) has too many bears and management wants numbers reduced. This should be understandable but that is not always the case.

Does Maine have too many deer? Not by a long shot. However, there are some places in Maine that do have far too many deer. Many of these places do not get hunted and in some cases won’t get hunted for various reasons. It would seem that in such cases, allowing baiting of deer, to draw them to a shooting zone, would be an appropriate use of the tactic. Isn’t this what so-called “sharp shooters” do when hired to cull deer?

It makes sense that if the MDIFW retains as a management tool the authority to allow bear baiting, then shouldn’t they also retain the authority to allow deer baiting, or any other species, when the demands of responsible control and management of a species is necessary?

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Secretary Bernhardt Proposes Increasing Public Access to Hunting and Fishing on 1.4 Million Acres Nationwide

Proposal Includes New Opportunities at 74 National Wildlife Refuges and 15 National Fish Hatcheries

June 5, 2019

Contact(s):

Contact: Interior_Press@ios.doi.gov
Vanessa Kauffman, 703-358-2138, vanessa_kauffman@fws.gov


Oak Harbor, Ohio – Furthering the Trump Administration’s efforts to increase access to public lands, U.S. Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt today announced from Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge a proposal for new or expanded hunting and fishing opportunities at 74 national wildlife refuges and 15 national fish hatcheries managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) across more than 1.4 million acres.

“President Trump is committed to expanding public access on public lands, and this proposal is executing on that directive by opening and increasing more access to hunting and fishing by the Fish and Wildlife Service at more stations and across more acres than ever before,” said Secretary Bernhardt. “Hunting and fishing are more than just traditional pastimes as they are also vital to the conservation of our lands and waters, our outdoor recreation economy, and our American way of life. These refuges and hatcheries provide incredible opportunities for sportsmen and women and their families across the country to pass on a fishing and hunting heritage to future generations and connect with wildlife.”

The proposal would increase the number of units in the Service’s National Wildlife Refuge System where the public may hunt from 377 to 382, and the number where fishing would be permitted would be increased from 312 to 316. The proposal would also formally open lands on 15 hatcheries of the National Fish Hatchery System to hunting or sport fishing for the first time.

The proposal also outlines a comprehensive revision and simplification of all refuge-specific hunting and fishing regulations in all 50 states to more closely match state regulations while continuing to ensure safe and compatible opportunities. The Service worked closely with the states in preparing the proposed rule.

“Well managed hunting and fishing are the backbone of conservation in this country, but inconsistent or overly complex regulations can act as a disincentive,” said Service Principal Deputy Director Margaret Everson. “By aligning our refuge regulations with our state partners, we are reducing confusion and the regulatory burden on the American public, helping ensure the tradition and benefits of hunting and fishing can continue.”

New proposed refuge opportunities include the opening of Green Bay National Wildlife Refuge in Wisconsin to hunting and fishing for the first time and the opening of Seedskadee National Wildlife Refuge in Wyoming to deer and elk hunting for the first time on lands already open to other hunting.

Proposed expansions of refuge opportunities include the opening of new acres at St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge in Florida to existing upland and big game hunting, and, at Great River National Wildlife Refuge in Illinois and Missouri, the expansion of season dates, times and methods for existing deer, turkey and other upland game hunting to align with state seasons.

Proposed changes at hatcheries include the formal opening of lands on Leadville National Fish Hatchery in Colorado to migratory game bird, upland game and big game hunting, and the formal opening of lands on Iron River National Fish Hatchery in Wisconsin to migratory game bird, upland game and big game hunting. Inks Dam National Fish Hatchery in Texas and Little White Salmon National Fish Hatchery in Washington are proposing to formally open their lands to sport fishing. An update to hatchery regulations is also included in the proposed rule.

“The Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies is delighted by this announcement of a continuing commitment by the Department of the Interior to expanded access for regulated hunting and angling, on National Wildlife Refuges, in partnership with state fish and wildlife agencies,” stated Ed Carter, President of the Association and Executive Director of the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency. He added, “We need to get people outside to enjoy the lands and waters, and fish and wildlife resources, of our great nation. This is an important step in that direction!”

“The announcement today by Secretary Bernhardt is incredibly welcome news and builds off great progress in increasing access to refuge lands the last two years,” said John Devney, Senior Vice President, Delta Waterfowl. “Duck hunters have been leaders in investing in the refuge system and this action will provide them with new access and opportunities. We are sincerely grateful to Secretary Bernhardt and the Fish and Wildlife Service staff who have worked hard to create these new opportunities for hunters.”

“The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation applauds Secretary Bernhardt for his efforts to expand hunting and fishing opportunities within the National Wildlife Refuge System,” said Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation President Jeff Crane. “This announcement builds off momentum generated over the last few years through Interior Secretarial Orders, and advances recent recommendations submitted by the Hunting and Shooting Sports Conservation Council to increase hunter and angler access to federal lands and waters, including the Refuge System.”

Hunting, fishing and other outdoor activities contributed more than $156 billion in economic activity in communities across the United States in 2016, according to the Service’s National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife-Associated Recreation, published every five years. More than 101 million Americans — 40 percent of the U.S. population age 16 and older — pursue wildlife-related recreation, including hunting and fishing.

The Service will seek comments from the public on the proposed rule for 45 days, beginning with publication in the Federal Register in coming days. The notice will be available at http://www.regulations.gov, Docket Number: FWS-HQ-NWRS-2019-0040, and will include details on how to submit your comments. An interim copy of the proposed rule is now available.

The Service intends to finalize the proposed changes in time for the upcoming 2019-2020 hunting seasons.

A complete list of all refuges and hatcheries in the proposal is available in the proposed rule and online.

For more than 145 years, the National Fish Hatchery System has worked collaboratively with tribes, states, landowners, partners and stakeholders to promote and maintain healthy, self-sustaining populations of fish and other aquatic species. There are 70 national fish hatcheries visited by more than two million people each year. Hatcheries offer opportunities for viewing the operations and learning about fish, as well as activities such as fishing, hunting, hiking, sightseeing, nature study, birdwatching and photography.

The Refuge System is an unparalleled network of 567 national wildlife refuges and 38 wetland management districts. There is a national wildlife refuge within an hour’s drive of most major metropolitan areas. More than 55 million Americans visit refuges every year. National wildlife refuges provide vital habitat for thousands of species and access to world-class recreation, from fishing, hunting and boating to nature watching, photography and environmental education.

Under the National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997, the Service permits hunting and fishing along with four other types of wildlife-dependent recreation, including wildlife photography, environmental education, wildlife observation and interpretation, when they are compatible with an individual refuge’s purpose and mission. Hunting, within specified limits, is currently permitted on 340 wildlife refuges and 37 wetland management districts. Fishing is currently permitted on 278 wildlife refuges and 34 wetland management districts.

The Service manages hunting and fishing programs to ensure sustainable wildlife populations while also offering other wildlife-dependent recreation on public lands.

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Night, Night Hunters

I have just read an article on one of my favorite outdoor sites, Sporting Classics Daily.  The article was titled, “Conservation Funding and Firearms” by Craig Springer, External Affairs, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service – Southwest Region.

I first read this article when I was in high school (over 60 years ago) when I was memorizing articles by Robert Ruark, and every item and its cost in the Herter’s Catalog.  Today, it has been perverted into propaganda meant to seduce any awareness in hunters, state wildlife agencies and hunter’s organizations about what is happening to hunting and this once-proud program, the Pittman-Robertson Excise Tax on Arms and Ammunition.  Whether you think this article to be a simple oversight, ignorance, a bid for a bonus or a bona fide deception: I leave to you.

While the article was true those many years ago and properly whetted a young man’s imagination and energy toward hunting, shooting and possibly a job one day: today the article is a stale clip of a bygone era and a glimpse of how it is being used by that herd called “The Swamp” with their Hidden Agendas running amok.  It details all the money collected and disbursed to State wildlife programs (the only beneficiaries, supposedly, of the funds) by law.  It chirps about putting “gas in a biologist’s truck” and “bobwhite quail traps in Oklahoma” giving the impression that the increased funding does as much or more than it did for Dad or Grandpa – nothing could be farther from the truth.  The funding source itself, the use of the funds and the goals of the modern wildlife bureaucrats, both state and federal, being paid by the Excise Tax dollars are such today that a good case could be made that hunters and Rural America would be better off without the program entirely.  Other than serving as one more good reason (of many) why the 2ndAmendment must be protected and preserved; the wildlife benefits to hunters and Rural America are, to quote Ross Perot describing the loss of jobs to NAFTA, “a giant sucking sound” off in the distance.

Let me describe some of the ways this once great program has been savaged and distorted:

1.    In the early 1990’s, Congress refused a Request from US Fish and Wildlife Service to authorize and fund the capture of Canadian wolves to release in the Rocky Mountains.  When Congress refused, USFWS clandestinely “took” (stole is a better word) $45 to 60 Million from the funds and released wolves into Yellowstone National Park (from which they spread in every direction).  Leftover funds were used to open a USFWS Office in California that Congress had also refused to fund; and to give bonuses to USFWS managers involved in the illicit funding uses.  When a GAO Audit revealed the misuse of the funds to a US House of Representatives Committee, after a flurry of activity ala Lois Lerner et al, the responsible USFWS managers went on to be Directors and high-paid Executives of environmental lobby groups.  The state wildlife agency Directors that along with you, me and the state wildlife programs never asked for the money to be replaced.  I suggest that not only was this a visible flame 20 years ago of the advanced degree of corruption corroding the state/federal/radical groups “Complex” to use Ike’s term: it was a clear signal to others like ATF in Fast and Furious, Lois Lerner in IRS, and the FBI/Federal Intelligence network in the past three years to, “do what you want, nobody gets in trouble anymore”.

2.    The program has been diverted into a quasi-preservation effort of government force on behalf of animal communities that while not in any trouble should get as much attention as game animals according to New Age wildlife “professionals”.  Think of it as a sort of socialism for critters wherein Excise tax (and license revenue) is forcibly taken from the management of those animals that “have” and given to those animals that “have not”, somewhat like a progressive tax scheme that will ostensibly make everyone “equal”.  To say that game animals and hunting have not suffered greatly in this “Robin Hood-like redirection of the Excise taxes generated by Arms and Ammunition Sales” is simply an ideological rejection of truth and facts. This was made possible by some federal/state wordsmithing of regulations almost 30 years ago that no one, not even the NRA saw fit to oppose.  Words like “game” were simply transformed to “wildlife” which in a legal sense covers a multitude of sins.  When I read Mr. Springer’s piece I looked to see how he would handle or avoid this fact.  At the end of his long list (first written 60 years ago) about mule deer, bobwhite, et al; the last phrase was, and “habitats restored benefiting multitudes of organisms”.  Yo, anyone awake out there?

3.    The Excise Tax funding and the License Revenue have been increasingly diverted in almost half the states and growing in recent years into Lawsuits, depredation Complaints, propagandizing incidences, denying the reason moose and elk (and their hunting) are disappearing, teaching kids prevarications about predators and generally concocting nonsense for public consumption like, “the wolf that attacked the young man had a ‘deformed brain’” and “the moose season is closed forever because of climate change” (as though moose failed to adapt to eating coconuts and mangoes) because of forcibly imposed federal wolves laughingly called “Endangered” or “Threatened”.  This all costs millions of Excise Tax and License Revenue dollars that are purposely under-reported by unaudited state and federal agencies.  My estimate of the under-reporting (as a former National Wildlife Refuge Operations Chief, Program Coordinator, Program Analysts and wildlife biologist) is that the state and federal agencies only report 25-30% of the costs and thereby minimize any signs of hunters and Rural Americans waking up to what is going on like Rip Van Winkle.

4.    The current scam to further drain Excise Tax funding and dwindling hunting License Revenue is for the federal government to “Return Wolf Management” to the States.  This is a comedy skit in more ways than one.  Forcing wolves back into states where they were purposely and at great expense exterminated over a century ago and calling it “Returning Management” is reminiscent of the man that killed his mother and father and then threw himself on the mercy of the court as an orphan.  In other words it takes a certain amount of chutzpah.  States will now be expected to “Maintain Wolves”; answer depredation calls; pay (?) compensation; explain why game is disappearing without using the words “predator” or “wolf”; tell dog owners to keep their dogs in or on a leash or expect a wolf to kill or (in certain cases) to mate with them; fight lawsuits; and pay for pre-determined research to explain why neither they nor the wolves are responsible for the ensuing chaos and safety concerns of Rural Americans from hunters to hikers, campers, birdwatchers, kids at school bus stops and older ladies walking to rural mailboxes or outbuildings.  This means MORE Excise Tax Revenue and MORE of the dwindling (for reasons of human safety and disappearing game) Hunting License Revenue diverted not only away from game but to expand an agenda meant to do away with game, guns, hunting, ranching and a vibrant Rural America.

5.    How many of these USFWS do-gooders are explaining that more gun controls and ammunition quotas will seriously defund state wildlife programs?  Where are the state wildlife agencies and their political overlords spreading the same truths?  Where have you seen any explanation of what all this diversion of funds is doing?  Or what wolf management or non-game handouts are taking from hunting and game?  What is the alternative after most game hunting Revenue is gone?  When gun and ammunition purchase, importation and use is all but obliterated.  Will we just close down the state agencies and simply have a federal wildlife authority funded from General revenue?  For what purpose?  Will states just start paying for the “biologist” and His/Her “truck and gas”?  Why would anyone spend anything on deer or ducks or grouse? Why would anyone spend money on frogs or snakes?  Where would any money come from year after year after year?  When the wolf kills the dog or the grizzly bear kills the camper who does what in an unarmed Rural America?  How?  Who is responsible?  Who has the answer?

This could be longer but my fingers are getting tired.  I just opened my window onto a fine spring day to hear the reporters working on the Excise Tax/Hunting License Revenue issue; the future of state and federal wildlife programs; and the role of predators in our brave new world. I listened for the Hunting, Dog and Livestock organizations fighting gun and ammunition controls, wolves and federal grizzlies.  I cupped my hands over my ears to hear the bureaucrats speaking out for the 2nd Amendment and what needs to be done about dwindling game animal populations.  I leaned out to hear the state and federal politicians fighting for hunters, ranchers, dog owners and Rural America (what’s that, they sound like their cheering for the environmental extremists and animal rights radicals?)  I tried to hear the honest scientists advocating sensible predator management, game animal use and management, and the establishment of compatible wildlife communities that enhance human rural communities rather than discouraging and diminishing them.

But, all I heard were crickets and besides, I am tired of reading 60 year-old articles about how good things are going out there so I might as well take a nap too.

Jim Beers

26 March 2019

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.

You can receive future articles by sending a request with your e-mail address to:   jimbeers7@comcast.net

If you no longer wish to receive these articles notify:  jimbeers7@comcast.net

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Recruiting Hunters and Fighting Antis: It’s Just a Little Too Late

Reading two articles this morning, I am reminded of the old saying, “A day late and dollar short.”

The first article is in response to the latest U.S.F.W.S.’s survey of hunting and fishing which shows a decline in the number of hunting licenses sold. The article goes on to tell of what we can do to reverse that trend…ha, ha.

Recruitment, retention, and reactivation, they label it, is what is needed they say. Isn’t it just a long time overdue and far too late? Retention and reactivation are near impossible in some locations for several reasons but who wants to hunt when the hunting sucks. Places in the country, more than many want to talk about, are void of game animals to hunt and/or land to hunt on. Much of that game is locked up on private posted land. Overprotection of large predators has caused a rapid and permanent decline in deer and moose. This trend won’t end until something is done to control large predators – all part of the problem.

This brings us to part of a bigger problem that also effects why recruitment is near impossible.

A second article deals with the so-called antis who want to stop hunting. The article reads: “Their [antis] zealous drive to ban sensible wildlife management will never be derailed by facts or science because they refuse to consider facts or science. The flame of compassion burns hot in the antis, fanned by the fear-monger zealots and financial bottom lines of the PETA’s and Disney’s of the world.”

And why are these zealots this way? Simple. It began at their childhood when media, schools, etc. began a systematic propaganda campaign that involved two very prominent aspects of today’s post-normal culture – a perverse perspective on animals and an aggressive “boot to the throat” approach toward forcing the “non believers” to assimilate or else.

How do you fight that now?

One article talks of programs that have been tried – some proven to work they say – but in reality any success seen in this form of recruitment is only based on passing fads, i.e. it’s cool to want to eat “natural” food. The real damage was done decades ago and continues with extreme pressure today. While a passing fad might temporarily convince a few to take up the sport, it cannot be disregarded that these same people came out of that brainwashed existence of hands-off wildlife management and protect all animals at any cost.

Perhaps efforts in play now can slow the demise down but until such time as the entire systematic approach to change the way wildlife management is viewed and talked about, whose change has permeated every level of wildlife management, no real changes will be made. Hunting must, once again, become an overwhelmingly accepted part, a tradition, a heritage, of American life.

With the brainwashing that has taken place, there is no longer any such thing as sensible and rational discourse in resolving problems. The attitude is I am right and you will change to my way…end of discussion.

In the article about the antis, the author laments that they: “…refuse to consider facts or science.” Isn’t that the description of just about everyone in this exceptionally screwed up world? Scientism, which is the fake governing source of everything related to the world of science, dictates that ideological theories that support political agendas is the only “science” that matters. Scientism is the act of creating theories for the purpose of influencing public opinion – outcome driven.

If the proponents of the R3, recruitment, retention, reactivation, really want to become effective, they must return to the beginning. This involves finding enough “deep pockets” to properly fund an all out effort to infiltrate the schools and the media to propagandize this country about the benefits of hunting, etc. Once that has been accomplished, a lot will change. Not only will there be a return to the activity of hunting, but it will, once again, be supported by millions more. This change in attitude will take care of just about all the rest of the hunting community’s problems, including a disappearance of brainwashed wildlife managers who don’t know what they are doing and are operating under the smoke and mirrors of the environmentalists who taught them and placed them in their jobs.

The disease is much bigger than finding a cure by generating a recruitable interest. Stop kidding yourselves.

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Filth in Politics Extends to Hunting

According to George Smith’s article yesterday on his blog, the idea of the Maine Legislature selling moose hunting permits to lodging establishments still runs controversial – as it should.

Smith says that last year the corrupt Legislature used 50 moose permits, valued at some $15,000 each to bribe voters. Oh, that’s not what they would call it but that’s what it was.

You see the Legislature bribes the Maine lodges and in return each “winner” of a moose permit must pay the Legislature a measly $1,500 for each permit. In an attempt to cover up their sin, the Legislature says it uses the money for, “the Moose Research and Management Fund.” How splendid. Is that the money used to determine how to socially best manage the number of moose?

It always amazes me how politicians can wallow in a big vat of excrement and crawl out of it thinking they don’t stink.

The moose lottery, as well as the “Any-Deer Permit” (ADP) allocations stink of political gerry-meandering. These items of bribery, favoritism, and elitism are used to benefit the wealthy – those that can further buy and influence elections.

The losers, of course, are the ignorant people who know no better. Propagandized to think the process of bribery funnels money into good projects, like the “Moose Research and Management Fund,” only steals away opportunities they could have had to fill their freezers. Whether it’s right or wrong matters not. This is corrupt, filthy politics running its course.

I’m surprised to discover the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) opposes the 50 moose permits being used for bribery. While the Legislature also gives away (bribes) all the ADPs to special interest groups, the MDIFW cow-tows to the demands of guides and outfitters when making decisions on hunting season dates and bag limits in order to keep them happy. Votes? Directly or indirectly that’s the politics behind all of this.

As the corrupt political process continues unfettered, in a brief period of time there will be no ADPs or moose permits available to the common citizen serf. And the lie we are told is that the game animals don’t belong to the king.

I have a bridge in New York I’d like to sell. Call 1-800-who-cares!

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Hipsters Are The New Hunters?

A group of veteran hunters set out last month in a forest northeast of Atlanta with apprentices. Among them, a former vegetarian, a Haitian-born grad student and a farmers-market manager. They wore camouflage and carried crossbows.

They were aiming to kill white-tailed deer.<<<Read More>>>> (Subscription required)

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Maine Hunting And Fishing: Not Marketed or Not Attractive?

George Smith’s article in the Bangor Daily news says, “DIF&W used to work with the outdoor industry, including guides and sporting camps, to market hunting and fishing in our state. But they don’t do that today.”

Is that the job of government, to market private business and industry? Some would think so. They might even invoke the “Commerce Clause” in the U.S. Constitution which states: “To regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states, and with the Indian tribes.”

The Commerce Clause says its purpose is to “regulate” not necessarily to market and promote. Of course, for those who have spent some time studying the Commerce Clause, we know how the tyrannical government has abused the clause with its mandate to “regulate” to control and manipulate private business and the people of this country in ways that require a vivid imagination to link certain laws with Article I, Section 8, Clause 3.

Personally, I don’t think it is the job of the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) to market hunting and fishing, but is that really the issue in Maine? Is the state in need of marketing hunting and fishing or is it a problem of “if you build it, they will come?” By this I mean is Maine an attractive enough place to hunt and fish that those capable and interested in traveling to other places beyond their home state to hunt and fish would find appealing enough to do so?

I would suppose that much involved in answering that question is based upon one’s perspective. It is mostly all relative to what a person might find attractive.

Also bear in mind that from what I gather talking to locals throughout the state, there’s not a lot of interest in bringing in outsiders to spread thinner the dwindling supplies of fish and game. Can we blame them? If that is understandable, are these same locals interested in their hard-earned money being used to promote private business? What’s in it for them? Maybe a few other private businesses may profit from more out-of-staters coming to hunt and fish but the majority of Maine hunters and fisherman are more interested in filling their freezers with game – a product that seems to be dwindling in Maine which might be the biggest reason these businesses, in part, are struggling to make ends meet.

Let’s take a look at a few of these fish and game species and see how attractive they are.

Maine is noted for having good trout fishing and yet the most popular fishing is for bass. Does Maine do a good job of promoting bass fishing or is it all trout fishing? 

Deer hunting is a struggling enterprise. Where once population objectives for deer were sought to be around 350,000 animals, the newest plan for deer management is calling for around 200,000 deer by the year 2020. Even though the most recent deer harvest was better than it has been in the past ten years, two things directly contributed to the increase – snow to hunt on and a record number of “Any-Deer Permits” issued (an issuance that makes little sense to many.)

Examination of data seems to indicate that as the deer harvest shrinks, along with it is the number and size of “trophy” class bucks. With a success rate below 20% and a shrinking trophy-class bucks, what’s the attraction that’s worth MDIFW spending time, personnel and money to market? (Note: Those who can afford to come to Maine “from away” to trophy hunt are the wealthy – aren’t they?)

Bear hunting attracts out-of-state hunters but an overabundance of the animals directly competes with deer and moose growth and bear are fond of fawns and calves for their meals.

MDIFW admits they need to reduce the bear population but so far have shown they have no serious intentions of doing anything about it. They whimper at the demands of guides and outfitters who want bountiful bear to keep their clientele happy. Is this the results we would get if MDIFW marketed hunting and fishing? No thanks!

Turkeys are a nuisance. All I have heard all year long is people commenting, both positively and negatively, about turkeys. There are just far too many of them and not very many people have an interest in hunting them. It is historically proven that when society begins to perceive any animal in a negative way, managers lose support for their programs. Perhaps it is time to allow the hunting of turkeys with a big game license, for both in-state and out-of-state hunters. There may be an interest in taking a few turkeys if hunters didn’t have to buy a special permit to do so. That might be a way of “marketing” hunting in the state while at the same time solve the turkey problem. But, then again, turkey hunting is prevalent and available in so many places the market is saturated. What does Maine have that other states don’t?

Which brings us to moose hunting. Year after year we hear repeatedly the disappointment of never getting drawn for a moose permit. It seems perhaps the program more resembles that of the king’s than a resource for all to enjoy. The program seems to benefit the wealthy in buying points etc. The other problem that exists with moose is one that seems to be backfiring into the faces of MDIFW from greed. The greed comes from trying to grow so many moose they can demand more money for the hunt and at the same time keep businesses trying to eke out a living through moose gawking tours. Now there is a tick and disease problem that is working to mitigate the greed. Where this will end who is certain?

With limited resources and plans for the future that appear to be calling for even fewer hunting opportunities, what’s to market? I spent many years of my earlier life in business. I never asked, nor did I want, government’s “help” with anything. As a matter of fact, I wanted them to butt out of my business knowing that any “help” they offered came in the form of more control and restrictions that directly limited my ability to prosper.

Maybe business owners, no matter who they are or what their business it, should move further away from centralized social government (what can my government do for me) and do what they can to get government out of their businesses so they can be free to change with the times. We have all been programmed to believe government is the answer. When will we learn?

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A Most Different Thanksgiving

Yesterday, I awoke around 5 a.m. to -2 degrees F. Need I remind readers it is only November? With around 16 inches of snow on the ground and the wind whipping at times to 25 miles per hour, I’m not such a die-hard whitetail deer hunter, anymore, that I felt inspired to get out in this crap. Instead, I journeyed east on a three-hour car ride for Thanksgiving dinner with family and friends.

My eighteen-year-old Florida van, that has never seen salt or any temperatures below 32 degrees, made some of the darndest noises as it mumbled and grumbled in protest even louder than I was. I kept asking questions like, what the heck is that noise and consoling the old girl telling her it will be okay. You’ll be back in Florida in a couple of weeks, and I’ll give you a nice bath.

As in most any car, regardless of its age, riding on frozen Maine highways makes you think something has seriously happened to the suspension. By the time I got to my destination, I got a rush of memories of winters of many years gone by when I spotted the dark brown globs of frozen slush directly behind each wheel. The frozen reminders of nastiness were all large enough that the tires themselves kept the size shaved down, and each time I hit a “frost heave” or a pothole, the compression of the vehicle kept the bottoms of each mini iceberg from growing beyond its maximum.

As I drove along the highway, carefully monitoring my engine temperature gauge wondering if I have the right mixture of coolant/antifreeze to keep the engine from freezing, I began to reminisce about what the sides of the roads used to look like on Thanksgiving Day – each old logging road would have a car or truck parked in it, as hunters have hit the woods. In my 3-hour journey, mostly covering back roads, I saw none. I took notice of all vehicles I spotted, looking for “hunter orange” clothing – hats, vests, jackets, even the now shied away from rifle racks for fear of “offending” someone. I saw three that I suspected were going to or coming from hunting.

Is this the case because it was so cold? It’s been cold before. Is it because it was a holiday? Isn’t it a Maine tradition for hunting families to have Thanksgiving dinner after dark because the daytime is spent trying in near desperation to fill that tag? Or maybe there just aren’t many people left who hunt – perhaps because there are so few deer left, getting motivated to hunt in the cold is extremely difficult to do.

It’s Friday morning now. The temperature on my deck thermometer reads 10 degrees – “We’re having a heat wave!” There are today and tomorrow and then the deer hunting season draws to an end. I’m struggling to reason and to find excuses I guess. There’s snow to hunt on but it’s a bit deep and crusty/crunchy. It is also cold to be out long.

What to do? I leave for Florida for the winter in just a few days. Do I want to shoot a deer and then rush around to get the deer processed? I’ve frozen the meat and packed it in ice for the trip to Florida before, but I’m not sure I want to do that again.

The forecast says Saturday, the last day, high temps here are to reach a balmy 33 degrees.

Maybe tomorrow will be a better day for us fair-weather fairies to take one more whack at it.

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