December 14, 2017

Maine IFW Posturing for an “ATTA BOY?”

Could it be? With several years now of the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) telling people that the state’s black bear population is getting too big and that bear hunting and trapping harvests have been inadequate to keep populations in check, is the Department actually considering doing something about it?

According to an article in the Bangor Daily News, the MDIFW has emailed out questionnaires asking licensed bear hunters, “If the law allowed you to harvest two bears while hunting, would you attempt to harvest two bears?”

It has been suggested that upping the harvest limit and/or adding a Spring bear hunt might assist the MDIFW in establishing the goals of the department. The Spring bear hunt has been under the control of the Guides and Outfitters for some time dictating to the MDIFW what, when, where and how. Perhaps these two groups have suggested upping the bear harvest limit?

I’ve grown tired over the years listening to the drivel over what to do about the growing number of bears, while at the same time never seeing anything done about it.

If finally, the department is going to do something about it and actually increase the bag limit to two bears while hunting, let’s all give the MDIFW a big ATTA BOY!

The author of the piece that I linked to, suggested, “Perhaps a two bear limit by any method or combined methods would be a feasible alternative.” I agree, however, if things go as they have in the past, the guides and outfitters will dictate to the MDIFW how things will run.

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Maine’s Hill Gould Record Buck

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Eastport, Maine’s Continuing “Deer Problem”

Actually, I don’t think Eastport has a “deer problem.” I think they have a people problem who think they can cure a perceived problem with a “new way to look at wildlife management” – i.e. Romance Biology and Voodoo Scientism.

If you live in Eastport, Maine, you have the right to keep and bear arms. However, if you are attacked within the city limits and need to defend yourself, make sure the gun you have for self-defense is small enough to throw but big enough to cause some damage if it should strike a violent criminal. That’s because in Eastport, like many other towns and cities in America, there is a law about discharging a firearm in the city. Why are these laws not being challenged?

That’s part of the so-called deer problem.

Another issue is that a deer committee, formed to look at ways of resolving the “problem” admit they are anti-hunting and seek alternative ways of “learning to live with” the deer. A Bangor Daily News article states that a member of the town’s deer committee said, “…And Bartlett made it clear the committee wasn’t a deer hunting group but rather a deer deterrent group.”

The two biggest limiters of deer populations in Maine are severe winters and depredation by large predators, i.e. bears, coyotes, bobcats and mountain lions(?). What better place to mitigate these life-threatening problems than to take up residence in a town that only wishes to “deter” deer, where they probably get fed by residents and where, usually, these large predators are not interested in having much to do with…until they get really hungry. Then they can take a bunch of pets, livestock and an occasional child or two in their quest for a meal.

Here’s my prediction. According to this news article, “…each of the deer that has been taken during the special hunt has been checked for ticks, with Lyme disease being a concern. Over the past two seasons, none of the deer have had ticks. The deer deterrent committee seems mostly unconcerned about private property and public safety of Eastport residents – at least not enough to do anything serious to lessen the problem. When deer become numerous enough and predators hungry enough to come to town for dinner, along the way they will begin eating up citizen’s pets. People can be put at risk and have their property destroyed, but when something causes harm to their pets, attitudes will change. Add to that the likelihood of increased risk of contracting some kind of disease that hits close to home, and soon bullets will replace arrows.

There’s a reason why the North American Model of Wildlife Management is still the best way to manage wildlife.

It works!

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Maine IFW Website Now Has Game Harvest Data Published

I have written in recent past of the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife’s (MDIFW) appearing to have scrubbed of a lot of hunting, fishing and trapping information from their website. At the time of the first writing, I wrote: “Perhaps MDIFW has released their new website a bit prematurely in hopes of tying in all their previous pages of information in time.”

Evidently, that has been part of the scenario taking place. Just today, I returned to the MDIFW website and found links to harvest data for game animals. This is good news. I doubt that the revamping of the website will be a reason to think harvest data will be published in a more timely manner.

However, and there are a few, finding that data isn’t an easy task due to poor navigation. Landing on the “Home Page,” one can see a typical menu bar near the top of the page. One of those menu titles is “Hunting and Trapping,” where one might expect to find harvest data.

If you hover your cursor over the drop-down menu, the options include, Hunting Rules & Laws, Trapping Rules & Laws, Licenses & Permits, Safety Course, Accessing Private Land, Wildlife Management Areas, Opportunities for People With Disabilities, Commercial Shooting Area, and Safety Tips. There is no headline to find “Harvest Information” and there should be.

If you click on the menu icon in that menu bar and scroll down the landing page, eventually you will find a link to game harvest information.

The good news is, there is now some of the information that was on the old website available once again on the new site. However, there are still some pages that I have links to that the links are no good and I can’t find the data.

Maybe in time.

 

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The Secret Society of MDIFW

Today I was reading a blog in the Bangor Daily News, and it mentioned a report published by the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW). That report, according to the author of the blog, is called, “Wildlife Division Research & Management Report.”

I’ve been doing this writing for many years now, with a focus at times on MDIFW. I’ve never heard of or seen such a report. The author of the blog provides his readers with a link to the Maine Government website where such a report exists. Hmmmm! (And thank you.)

Of course, I clicked the link and began looking around. Then I went back and opened the MDIFW website to see if I could find this report linked from anywhere on this brand new, environmentalist-laden website.

Yes, we have no bananas… The only way I was able to find it, I had to know the title of the report and enter it into the “Search” box. Of course, all Mainers have memorized this report title and know how to use the “Search” box to retrieve it.

There was something also quite laughable that I read on the blog: “What caught my attention in this year’s report was the effort made to educate the general public about how the department is funded and the costs associated with MDIFW’s mission.”

How can one imagine that there is an “effort to educate” when nobody in the public even knows this report exists or how to find it? No wonder three-quarters of Maine residents don’t know how the department is funded. Are they supposed to guess?

MDIFW is more and more coming off like a secret society where only the select few are granted permission to receive information. I have previously asked exactly what it was that the staff of the Division of Information and Education does. It would seem that if the Wildlife Division Director states: “…the majority (74%) of Maine residents do not understand how the Department is funded,” then keeping this information a secret by hiding somewhere deep in the bowels of web pages is not conducive to educating the public.

How difficult is it to at least put out a press release saying the report is available for the public to read along with an easy way to locate it? MDIFW quickly notifies the mainstream press when bats, plovers or loons are being counted. Is there something in this Research and Management Report that needs to be kept under wraps?

Now that I have downloaded a copy, I will be reading through it to see what kind of real “gems” I can find.

Reports to follow.

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So, Is Katahdin Woods and Waters Now On The Chopping Block?

Now that’s a laugh!

It has been announced that President Trump, citing the intent of the Antiquities Act, has reduced the sizes of a couple of National Monuments in Utah. After examining the press release does this mean places like Maine’s Katahdin Woods and Waters is scheduled for the chopping block?

That’s not likely going to happen, but one has to wonder why in Utah and not in other places? Or, are there more to come? What’s on that land in Utah that is important enough for Trump to do this and not in more places?

Maybe the best place to start is at the beginning. Below is a copy of the Antiquities Act of 1906, signed into law by President Theodore Roosevelt.

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American Antiquities Act of 1906

16 USC 431-433

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That any person who shall appropriate, excavate, injure, or destroy any historic or prehistoric ruin or monument, or any object of antiquity, situated on lands owned or controlled by the Government of the United States, without the permission of the Secretary of the Department of the Government having jurisdiction over the lands on which said antiquities are situated, shall, upon conviction, be fined in a sum of not more than five hundred dollars or be imprisoned for a period of not more than ninety days, or shall suffer both fine and imprisonment, in the discretion of the court.

Sec. 2. That the President of the United States is hereby authorized, in his discretion, to declare by public proclamation historic landmarks, historic and prehistoric structures, and other objects of historic or scientific interest that are situated upon the lands owned or controlled by the Government of the United States to be national monuments, and may reserve as a part thereof parcels of land, the limits of which in all cases shall be confined to the smallest area compatible with proper care and management of the objects to be protected: Provided, That when such objects are situated upon a tract covered by a bona fied unperfected claim or held in private ownership, the tract, or so much thereof as may be necessary for the proper care and management of the object, may be relinquished to the Government, and the Secretary of the Interior is hereby authorized to accept the relinquishment of such tracts in behalf of the Government of the United States.

Sec. 3. That permits for the examination of ruins, the excavation of archaeological sites, and the gathering of objects of antiquity upon the lands under their respective jurisdictions may be granted by the Secretaries of the Interior, Agriculture, and War to institutions which the may deem properly qualified to conduct such examination, excavation, or gathering, subject to such rules and regulation as they may prescribe: Provided, That the examinations, excavations, and gatherings are undertaken for the benefit of reputable museums, universities, colleges, or other recognized scientific or educational institutions, with a view to increasing the knowledge of such objects, and that the gatherings shall be made for permanent preservation in public museums.

Sec. 4. That the Secretaries of the Departments aforesaid shall make and publish from time to time uniform rules and regulations for the purpose of carrying out the provisions of this Act.

Approved, June 8, 1906 

[Emboldening Added]

Section 1, clearly states that the intent of the Act is to protect “historic or prehistoric ruin or monument, or any object of antiquity.” These artifacts are those found on Federal Land and/or private lands that the private landowner has or will “relinquished to the Government.”

These so-called “antiquities” that needed protection, at the time of the creation of this act, were items that someone could,  “…appropriate, excavate, injure, or destroy any historic or prehistoric ruin or monument, or any object of antiquity.” The abuse that has happened in this regard wonders how someone might “appropriate, excavate, injure, or destroy” a view or a small river.

With that in mind, looking at Section 2, an honest examination of the Katahdin Woods and Waters has to bring forth the question as to what, precisely sits on the 87,563 acres of donated land that qualifies as, “historic landmarks, historic and prehistoric structures, and other objects of historic or scientific interest.”

If President Trump’s motivating factor for reducing the National Monuments in Utah was to limit the scope of land designated as protecting “historic landmarks, historic and prehistoric structures, and other objects of historic or scientific interest,” and there are no real “historic landmarks, historic and prehistoric structures, and other objects of historic or scientific interest” found at the Katahdin Woods and Waters site, should the president remove National Monument designation from that site and simply turn the land, given by Roxanne Quimby, over to management by the Bureau of Land Management or the U.S. Forest Service?

Argument will always be made as to the value-weighted perspective of what the Katahdin Woods and Waters has to offer that qualifies as worthy of protection. The only view of anything worthwhile is of Mt. Katahdin and that can be seen in many places throughout the region. Other than that everything else in the new park can be found commonly in many places across Maine and other states.

Removing designation will never happen but the point should be made that abuse of the Antiquities Act has repercussions, many of which will not be felt at the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument until sometime into the future. It is very little this administration can do that would justify a move to remove the entire national monument designation.

So Mainers are stuck with what there is.

 

 

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Is Maine’s Muzzleloader Deer Season in the Best Interest of the Deer?

I was sent a link to a short article written by Maine’s Bill Green about Maine’s muzzleloader deer hunting season that runs until this coming Saturday. Green quotes muzzleloader advocates: “It just gives you that two weeks to get out there in the woods with less people out there.” And, “You have to take your time and I think while you’re hunting you get flashbacks of the way that it was a couple hundred years ago and that’s kind of neat.

I often get a lot of flack back from readers when, to them, I don’t support increased opportunities to hunt, fish and trap. In reality, I do always support increased opportunities, but only when that increase is equitable and is not detrimental to the sustainability of any game species.

If muzzleloaders are looking for some extra time in the woods “with less people out there,” certainly there must be a period of time except during the first two weeks of December (explanation to follow). But consider that this allowance, even though anyone who chooses can buy a Muzzleloader License and buy a muzzleloader gun…..or can they? Is this a form of elitism, exclusive to those who can afford a license and another gun and a deterrent to those who can’t? Perhaps. I doubt that is considered. I doubt anyone actually cares.

Who can argue the enjoyment one gets being in the woods, even when carrying a gun, rifle, muzzleloader, or even a camera. Having “flashbacks” of maybe what it was like “a couple hundred years ago?” Two hundred years ago, did deer hunters have inline muzzleloaders that can be cleaned and reloaded in 30 seconds? Maybe some have “thoughts” about what it was like, but I don’t think there are any hunters who hunted 200 years ago so that they could have a “flashback.”

Aside from any discussion about primitive versus modern muzzleloader equipment, if a guy wants those thoughts, can’t he have them during the regular firearm deer hunting season? Or other times and places?

Here are some questions. Is the muzzleloader season just another money-making pet project for the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW)? How about a pistol season? What of a muzzleloader pistol season? Can we get a season for atlatl hunting? Let’s make a season for only shotguns. One for only senior citizens. And one for veterans. A separate one for senior citizens who are also veterans. Where does this end?

But let’s get to the most important issue – the deer. Hunting rules for muzzleloader season are the same as during the firearms season. If you don’t have an “Any-Deer Permit” you have to hunt bucks only. Traditionally, the deer’s annual rut (mating season) falls around the third week of November. That doesn’t mean that that is the only week that deer mate. As soon as any female deer comes into “heat” (estrus) a male deer, with the opportunity, will mate with it. If during the month of November, a doe deer is not successfully bred, that doe will continuously remain in estrus until it gets bred. Science has shown that sometimes that breeding will not happen until late in November or into early December.

With that understanding and knowledge of how bucks run themselves ragged during rutting season, an honest question might be is it in the best interest of those deer, coming off or still in the rutting process, to continue allowing hunters to harass them? We know that bucks will lose most of their valuable, stored fats, needed for winter survival, during the rut. Because of this, buck mortality can be high during the long winter months. That time between the end of the rut and when deer are forced to “yard up” can determine whether a buck can survive the winter. Do we really want hunters, harassing those bucks even further during this period of time?

If the deer population is strong enough to support a two-week muzzleloader season, perhaps a more equitable increase in hunter opportunity might be to extend the firearm season for deer another day or two. At least let’s find a better time to give those muzzleloader hunters a chance to be alone in the woods and dishonestly have “flashbacks” about what it was like 200 years ago. Oh, please!

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Has Governor LePage Flip-Flopped Or Not on Background Checks

It seems that my article of a few days ago about how Maine’s Governor Paul LePage advocating for stricter gun control through background checks, is but a part of a greater stir in Maine about the governor’s OpEd.

Centrist Lance Dutson, a Susan Collins supporter, presented his own OpEd disparaging “hardcore gun rights advocates” for seeing some of the same things I saw when I read the governor’s piece.

If you take the time to read through the comments from readers, it might become clear, but I doubt it, that, like just about everything in America today, it’s a Left/Right issue. Comprehending written words is a lost art, replaced with ideology and political rhetoric parroted by those choosing a side absent independent thought.

I don’t necessarily intend to be cruel, but I am at a loss for how to explain the truth honestly and accurately.

From the comments section, some attempt to ridicule Dutson because he is a Susan Collins supporter and they believe him to be a Centrist, i.e. a supporter of the RINO (Republican in name only) faction. Others claim that Dutson has failed to comprehend LePage’s historic position and that his recent commentary on background checks is but reinforcing the same belief he has carried throughout his political career.

What was clear to me was that Dutson has an aversion to anyone with a strong support of the Second Amendment. I wonder if he has the same aversion toward those who support the other articles of the Bill of Rights?

Even ignoring the governor’s past, what he wrote clearly states that he supports tighter controls on background checks. When he extolled the need for more workers to the do the checks, more money to pay for those checks as well as finding those who slipped through the cracks of the system, no matter how you slice it, he is supporting more stringent government intervention in order to further decay the Second Amendment…..PERIOD! It is childish and ignorant to feign support for LePage, or anybody for that matter, simply because he’s on your “side.”

Those who support the NRA, as Governor LePage has done during his political career, unknowingly support tighter controls on gun ownership. Willful blindness prevents them from seeing that the NRA, a strong advocate for government control over background checks, along with other “reasonable” measures to destroy the Second Amendment, is not the pure advocate for the right to keep and bear arms some believe them to be. For decades I have listened to the “True Believers” of the NRA state that the organization is the best and strongest supporter of the Second Amendment and therefore we should give them our money and our lives. No thanks! This might be akin to desiring to be hung with a new rope instead of the old one.

Until such time as people can (and they never will) lose the Left/Right false paradigm and make decisions based on independent thought, nothing will change. The Left will argue with the Right, the Right with the Left and, as we see in the comment section of this article, each side will argue among themselves, all the while unknowingly advocating for their own demise….and liking it too, I might add.

Read LePage’s words. Understand what those words mean. (Either the Governor understands what he wrote and politically advocates stricter gun control or he’s ignorant of the meaning of the words he chose to use.) Forget he’s who he is. If you support the Second Amendment then support it regardless of political loyalties and false promises.

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Maine: Contradictory Deer Management Goals vs. Reality – Shameful

Here are some interesting, to say the least, deer management graphics the property of which are from the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW), with the exception of the deer harvest graph which is private property. These graphs and tables should show hunters that what MDIFW puts out in their deer management plans and long-range goals, is a far cry from the practices that are being carried out and the results that those practices give. One has to wonder if anyone holds the department accountable for this farce?

The first table here shows the Wintering Deer Population goals, per each Wildlife Management District (WMD), by the year 2030. Note that the total deer population goal for 2030 is 383,550. Yeah, I know. I’m still spaying coffee on my computer screen.

According to information that I’ve been able to get my hands on, the largest estimated deer population, after the deer hunting season, came in 1999 – 331,000 (found on second chart below).

We find ourselves near the conclusion of the 2017 deer hunting season and it appears as though the estimated deer population in Maine must be about, or less than, 200,000. That’s a bit shy of the hoped-for 383,550 set for 2030…a mere 13 years from now. Maybe the hope is global warming will do the trick?

From available data, between the years 1999 and 2008, the average deer population (after harvest), estimated by the MDIFW, was 214,600. Using data from the deer harvest chart below (the harvest total is information provided by MDIFW, the chart was made by an individual and his calculations), during that same time frame, an average of 30,353 deer were harvested each year…or about 14% of the estimated state deer herd.

Using that data, and knowing that Maine harvested about 22,000 deer last year (and as low as 18,000 in 2009), at 14% harvest rate, the population might be as low as 150,000 deer at present and has dipped to below 125,000 in 2009/2010.

And yet, when we examine chart two below, we see that as the estimated deer population shrank, the number of “Any-Deer Permits” (doe permits) increased significantly. Why? We are told by MDIFW that the “Any-Deer Permit” allotment is the management tool they use to manipulate the deer population by WMD. We are told that if MDIFW wants to lower a deer population within a WMD, they increase the allotment of “Any-Deer Permits,” and vice-versa. So this action makes very little sense, as far as deer management goals. Perhaps it makes more sense concerning meeting budget income requirements to pay inflated salaries and retirement.

I would surmise that if I were presenting a deer management goal of 383,550, when in reality there may be only 150,000 deer left roaming the state, increasing the sales of “Any-Deer Permits,” and at the same time telling the public that Maine has lots of deer due to a bunch of “mild” winters in recent years, while Maine set records last year for total snowfall, I’d scrub my website of any data that showed me to be a poor, and perhaps dishonest, wildlife manager too.

So what’s really going on and why? We will never know because finding out makes people uncomfortable. Evidently, it’s better to be on the ins with the MDIFW, with no deer to hunt, than on the outside…with still no deer to hunt. One has to ask themselves if this is the nonsense we are seeing when it comes to deer management, what else is going on in Augusta?

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Mountain Lions Not Only Cat THAT Preys on Deer

A Bangor Daily News column incorrectly titles their piece, “Biologist says mountain lions aren’t the only cats ‘WHO’ prey on deer.” You see an animal is not a who. A who is in reference to a person. An animal is NOT a person, nor does it even have human traits. Contrary to what we are taught today, an animal does not have “rights” either, but that doesn’t stop the perverts from pushing for them.

I have pointed out often and recently when we see headlines such as this, it is an exemplification of the brainwashing we have all been subjected to. This ignorance must stop if we are ever expected to get back to any kind of normalcy in dealing with animals…..but it won’t.

In the piece itself, the author appears to have some kind of feared aversion to “conspiracy theorists.” Not sure what that’s all about, short of the fact that most who quickly resort to calling anyone and anything that makes them uncomfortable the work of a conspiracy theorist, is, perhaps, simply ignorant of facts and refuses to expand their knowledge of an issue.

In addition, one biologist does not a fish and wildlife department make. Perhaps Walter Jakubas would like confirmation that mountain lions “walk among us,” however, I don’t. It would be a terrible thing to confirm that event. I’ll spare the details, for now, as to why. That doesn’t mean the entire department shares the same feelings. I hope they don’t. In addition, I hope they don’t spend one red dime of my tax money trying to “prove” that mountain lions “walk among us.” We have enough influence from the animal perverts who are attempting to destroy life in Maine.

If we examine the past history of how the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) has responded to and the treatment toward those reporting what they think they saw, is it any wonder that readers make comments that express their belief that MDIFW would never admit mountain lions exist in Maine? Instead, I guess we label them conspiracy theorist and then walk away snickering. An enlightened person might ask just exactly who are the ignorant ones.

There’s an old Bible verse that tells us that we should not “cast our pearls before swine.” Maybe that someone saw what they believed to be a mountain lion in the woods, or run in front of them while traveling down the highway, as one of those pearls. Sharing that pearl of an experience with swine accomplishes nothing, excepts subjects you to ignorant ridicule and public scoffing.

Enjoy the pearl and consider it a unique experience. That’s the best you can do.

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