September 18, 2019

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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2019 Maine “Any-Deer” Lottery Results

The results of the Maine 2019 “Any-Deer Permit” Lottery results can be found at this link – https://deer.informe.org/2019/

Just select the letter that matches the last name of the applicant and scroll through the results.

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Maine’s Top 20 Deer Harvest Years

This chart comes from Troy Frye’s Facebook page found at this link. He provides other interesting graphics about Maine’s deer harvest histories.

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SAM Director Needs “Blue Papering”

The executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine needs to have the new law he created, fostered, and now fully supports (LD 1811) put into action against him. He is mentally suspect and is a threat to tens of thousands of Maine residents who, because oh his new law, can quickly have their rights dashed from their hands, leaving many and their families unprotected from real criminals, all in the name of guessing that somebody might do something wrong based upon the biased, and often unprofessional perspectives of cops and quasi medical people. From my perspective, the director should have all his “weapons” temporarily confiscated until such time as a court can rush to judgement over what to do with him and his guns.

Part of the mental disorder afflicting the director is that he believes that “justice” can be served when someone decides another person MIGHT do something wrong based on a person’s perspective of whether or not another person matches their idealistic, “normal” behavior pattern and has the targeted individual put into “protective custody,” weapons confiscated, and put on ice for 14 days waiting for a judge to decide what to do. Think about how things are in this fascist/totalitarian insane asylum called the United States of America. What judge in his right mind (if there are any) is going to release any accused mental patient and restore him/her their “weapons?”

Director Trahan can paint as rosy a picture as he would like but it doesn’t remove the stark reality that his law, while I want to say is “unconstitutional,” blatantly goes against what has been practiced for many years in this country where a person is allowed presumption of innocence and is not taken into custody AND had their personal property confiscated because somebody has power to attempt to predict what a person might or might not do.

I’m going to go out on a small limb here and guess that at some point in David Trahan’s political past and as the current E.D. of SAM, has at one time or other stated that gun control laws only effect innocent, law-abiding citizens – that criminals will get guns no matter whether they are banned or not…etc. And yet, here he is creating and promoting laws designed to forecast a person’s actions, a clear violation of an infringement upon a lawful citizen.

It has been historically stated that as long as any government, and/or those who participate in government, can keep the masses living in fear, they can control them with any laws designed to strip them of any granted or presumed rights of freedom.

It was Thomas Jefferson who said, “When government fears the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny.”

What is most tragic is when, due to ignorance and fear of reprisals, heads of sportsmen groups abandon their own rights for a bit of trumped up false security. Governments by themselves can create enough destruction of a person’s rights, we certainly should not have people like David Trahan gunning for (Excuse the expression. You might find it offensive.) laws that not only destroys our Second Amendment freedoms to keep and bear arms but also places in the hands of fascists and totalitarians the power to decide what another law-abiding American might or might not do because they might not fit the mold of what is perceived as sanity in a world gone insane.

Now that’s insanity.

I’ve said it before and I’ll repeat it here – Trahan should step down as his interests are not in line with Maine’s outdoor sportsmen. He has become a serious liability to all gun owners across America and those who believe in the unquestioned right to keep and bear arms.

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USDA Distributes Oral Rabies Vaccine for Wildlife in Northeast Maine

07/29/2019 06:14 AM EDT

AUGUSTA –Oral rabies vaccine (ORV) baits will be distributed in northeastern Maine beginning on or about August 3 through August 7 as part of ongoing, cooperative rabies control efforts aimed at reducing the incidence of raccoon rabies.

The distribution of ORV baits has occurred annually since 2003.

Wildlife Services, a program within the U.S Department of Agriculture’s Plant Health Inspection Service, will distribute the ORV baits in cooperation with the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Maine CDC) and the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry. Approximately 351,000 ORV baits targeting raccoons will be distributed by air and ground over a 2,405-square-mile area. The eastern portion of the area will include Mars Hill and Houlton and reach as far south as Weston; the area will extend west covering areas including Oxbow, Patten, and Stacyville.

The vaccine packets will be distributed by airplanes in rural, wooded areas. Personnel from Wildlife Services will distribute vaccine baits from vehicles in the more populated areas.

Since 2003, Wildlife Services has worked to eliminate raccoon rabies from northern Maine because the virus poses a threat to human and animal health. Wildlife Services also collaborates with Canadian officials in New Brunswick and Quebec to reduce the presence of rabies across Maine and Canada.

As of July 23, 2019, 49 animals have tested positive for rabies this year in 12 of Maine’s 16 counties, including bats, raccoons, striped skunks, gray foxes, and red foxes. Occasional animal rabies cases have occurred in southeastern parts of Aroostook County in the last several years.

Rabies is a viral disease that infects the nervous system of humans and other mammals. It is transmitted primarily through a bite from an infected animal. Rabies is fatal once symptoms are present, although timely post-exposure treatment is effective in preventing the disease in humans.

To help protect yourself and your pet against rabies:

  • Keep your pet’s rabies vaccination current
  • Feed pets indoors
  • Keep garbage cans or other sources of food tightly secured
  • Do not feed, touch, or adopt wild animals and be cautious of stray dogs and cats
  • Do not relocate wildlife because this can spread rabies into new areas
  • Contact Wildlife Services at 1-866-487-3297 to report dead or suspicious-acting raccoons, skunks, foxes, or coyotes in northern Maine. Or call Maine CDC at 1-800-821-5821 for concerns about rabies anywhere in Maine.

ORV baits are coated with fishmeal and distributed in one-inch square cubes or two-inch plastic sachets. Humans and pets cannot get rabies from contact with the baits but should leave them undisturbed.

This vaccine has been shown to be safe in more than 60 species of animals, including domestic dogs and cats. Dogs that consume large numbers of baits may experience an upset stomach, but there are no known long-term health risks.

If contact with baits occurs, immediately rinse the area affected with warm water and soap. For photos of ORV baits, please visit 
www.flickr.com/photos/usdagov/sets/72157623983143606/.

If you are bitten or scratched by an animal, wash the wound thoroughly with soap and water and contact your health care provider and Maine CDC at 1-800-821-5821.

Costs associated with detection, prevention and control of rabies exceed $300 million annually in the U.S., according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Approximately 90 percent of reported rabies cases in the U.S. occur in wildlife. As part of the Wildlife Services’ National Rabies Management Program, the ORV distribution program in Maine is part of a larger effort to prevent the westward spread of raccoon rabies by creating a barrier along the Appalachian Mountains from the Canadian border to Alabama.

For more information:

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Maine Bears and Wildlife Managers: Dither, Dither, Dither

It seems that when Rome burned, all the people managed to do was stand and watch. Wildlife managers and Maine legislators seem content to stand and watch, dithering away as the black bear population continues to grow and no real action taken to do much of anything about it.

One has to wonder if the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) is incapable of doing their job due to fear of lawsuits and the pressures they receive from environmentalists, animal rights groups, animal protectionists, hunting haters, and haters in general.

We know that MDIFW is pretty much controlled by the outfitters and guides who tell the department how, when, and where the bear will be hunted. That needs to end.

For many years managers have spoken publicly of the need to do something about a rapidly growing bear population and since the beginning of those discussions, nothing has been done to limit the growth.

MDIFW claims that the only way they can get enough bears killed to somewhat limit the growth is by allowing baiting of bears. The act of baiting and hunters sitting over that bait to shoot and kill bears is not a very popular activity, especially among non hunters. According to the last two referendum votes to end bear baiting, the majority of voters indicated that they believe the MDIFW when they said it was a necessary tool to help control the bear population.

The Maine Legislature is also dithering on any actions suggested to battle the growing bear population and so the non action continues. Until when or what happens?

We now read that Maine has decided to put off another useless study in attempts to discover what affects baiting bears with human food has on the bears and in particular the rate of growth in population. I don’t really think some scientismist’s fake study, rooted in romance biology, and outcome-based is necessary. A simple examination of mathematical numbers would do the trick.

Most bears taken during the hunting season are taken over bait. Last season 3,486 bears were harvested. 2,484 were taken over bait. Officially, Maine claims there are 35,000 bears roaming about the woods. As those estimates go, there is no doubt that number is a low estimate. Guesses in excess of 40,000 would probably not be that far off. So, with approximately .6% of bears being fed human food, kick me if I’m wrong, I have serious doubts that feeding .6% of bears human food for one month out of the year is having any serious impact on the bears. Certainly we shouldn’t be wasting money on something so stupid just to appease the animal rights people.

With each passing season and more dithering taking place, combined with the reality that the bear harvest continues to fall below target goals and the number of hunters decreasing, one has to wonder what kinds of diseases will take over the bear population and do the job of reducing numbers the managers and legislators of this state can’t seem to get around to doing. In the meantime we up the risk of bear/human conflict pushing the envelope of public safety and health.

Is it so difficult to simply up the bag limit to two bears, excluding having to take one by trapping? Come on man!

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Predator Prey Relationships For the Making

To go along with the age old saying that statistics prove that statistics can prove anything, the same is evident when it comes to predator/prey relationships. Simply pick the “expert” advice and opinions from those who have theories and “suggestions” that, when cherry-picked appropriately, will neatly fit into an agenda-driven narrative, and you have an instant predator/prey relationship that works for you.

Recently I was reading what is really a very ignorantly compiled bit of broad-brushed nonsense about how coyote control doesn’t work (for the purpose of providing enough deer for hunting). Void of any specific information of just how any sort of coyote control was, is, or might be implemented (it is crucial in attempting to make determinations that result in such claims as “don’t work”) to make the statement that coyote control doesn’t work is dishonest at best.

Not to belabor the issue of whether or not coyote control works or doesn’t work, perhaps missing from the writer’s obvious hatred for those who choose to hunt and eat natural food, is the simple fact that no example of whether coyote control works, or is even needed, is ever considered before, during, or after ranting on about a call for protection of large predators as though it is something that should never be done and by not doing it everything lives in perfect harmony. What nonsense. And it’s so tiring to be subjected to the same nonsense repeatedly.

This morning I was reading a Ph.D. college thesis where a person chose to study the predator/prey relationship between coyotes and whitetail deer in the Chicago area. The Abstract tells us a few very important things. First, that coyotes were the cause of 77.8% of whitetail deer fawn mortality. Second, that there are so many coyotes and deer in this study area that habitats unavoidably overlap, and three, coyote seem to prefer to prey mostly on fawn deer and not adult deer.

It would be ridiculous to make any kind of suggestion about whether coyote control would work or not work in this situation or for the reason anyone might suggest coyote control. As far as hunting goes, if there are this many deer, what coyotes do to only the deer herd is probably immaterial. There may be other collateral damage that is not being considered.

Another example of why broad-brushed accusations and conclusions are ignorant is the fact that an agenda-driven person might use this thesis to prove that coyotes only prey on fawn deer. In this case, because of an overblown deer population and the fact that coyotes, like all large predators, are opportunistic hunters, i.e. that they simply kill and eat the most easily attained prey. In this case, it is generally easier to take down a fawn deer than an adult deer.

In a different scenario, one that could very easily be found on the Maine landscape, where in much of the state there is a definite scarcity of deer and an abundance of coyotes, a hungry coyote or pack of coyotes can and do take down the biggest and healthiest of adult deer.

To claim predator control doesn’t work, based on some hyped up theory about reproductive behavior response, reveals a person’s desire to promote their own ideology at the expense of denying others the opportunity to promote surplus game management for consumptive use, a use that has been around since the beginning of time and this uncalled for totalitarian action coming at a time when people are in quest of natural, more healthy, food.

The writer who claims that predator control doesn’t work, was pointing a finger at how Maine manages its deer herd which includes a degree of coyote control. Again, void of specificity and an understanding of how, when, and where predator control would be effective, the author chooses to wrongfully claim that control doesn’t work.

In Maine’s case, much of the coyote control takes place during winter, in deer wintering areas, where coyotes often make those areas blood baths. Whether there’s any so-called reproductive behavioral response in coyotes to run out and have more pups to replace those taken during control actions, matters little. It is known and understood that any effective control must be ongoing and targeted, thus the reason the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) implements the coyote control.

The foundation of the call for coyote control in Maine is based upon the fact that, unlike the Chicago region, much of Maine has a very scarce deer population. Common sense, often lacking these days, should tell us that deer venison on the table is of a higher value to the consumer than a nasty, disease carrying wild dog. I, like many others, would like to improve our odds of filling our freezers for the winter, and thus we call for targeted coyote control in deer wintering areas in order to assist in the management of a few more deer. I would like to take the opportunity to say that for many in Maine, deer meat is an essential to providing sustenance. In addition, I would like to be able to choose to hunt deer, bear, and moose as a healthy alternative to store-bought meat.

If Maine had, statewide, the same deer density as is found in portions of Central Maine, coyote mortality on deer would mostly go unnoticed. Such is not the case.

Because we live in a post normal existence, where science is about predetermined outcomes that fit agendas and drive narratives, anyone can pick and choose theories, perspectives, and suggestions to support any claim they wish. In this case: Coyote control doesn’t work.

In the same vein, I can claim that coyote control does work when it is applied scientifically in those regions where it becomes necessary to sustain a deer population.

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Maine: New Law One Step Closer to All-Out Ban on Wildlife Feeding

LD 1818, a bill that is supported (and written by) the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW), gives authority to the commissioner of MDIFW to limit and/or stop the feeding of deer, bear, moose, and wild turkey, if the commissioner “has reason to believe that the type or location of feed may create a public safety hazard or may have a detrimental effect on deer, bear, moose and wild turkey…”

Hiding behind the threat of Chronic Wasting Disease, LD 1818, goes too far, in my opinion, in granting authority to the commissioner to exercise personal judgement based on their own perspective (a weighted measure) to limit or stop wildlife feeding. LD 1818 was presented as an emergency measure. Unfortunately, the idea of giving the commissioner authority to stop feeding wildlife outside of the presence of Chronic Wasting Disease, does not meet any standards of necessary emergency ruling. This one got away from the legislators…or did it?

It is no secret that the MDIFW has fought against the feeding of wildlife, particularly deer. This newly enacted bill now gives authority to the commissioner to do just that based on the commissioner’s perspective of what constitutes a “public safety hazard.”

Playing around with laws and authority in hopes of preventing or limiting the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease is one thing, but giving a commissioner pretty much Carte Blanche authority to make such determinations exceeds the boundaries of democratic checks and balances as well as a call for “emergency” establishment of law.

Commissioners come and commissioners go and with each successive commissioner, they bring with them political agendas and ideology that may be out of step with the wishes of the majority.

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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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Maine: 2019 Moose Lottery Results

For those interested, the results of the 2019 Maine Moose Lottery are available to view online. Select the letter corresponding to the beginning letter of the last name that applied for a permit and view results.

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