May 23, 2015

Maine “Constitutional Carry” Legislation Hangs in the Balance

Bloomberg and his anti-gun minions are continuing to barrage the Legislature with misinformation regarding “safety concerns.”  This anti-gun rhetoric is unfounded. In fact, the top law enforcement agency, The Maine State Police went on record supporting this legislation, citing the fact that over the past 30 years, fewer than 20 people per year have ever been charged with carrying a concealed weapon of any type.  Additionally, less than one tenth of a percent of the 36,000 applicants reviewed by the State police are denied.

Source: Maine “Constitutional Carry” Legislation Hangs in the Balance

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Opponents of Proposed New National Park in the Katahdin Region Host Info Session

Opponents of a proposed new national park in the Katahdin region hosted a public meeting in East Millinocket Wednesday night. Attendees heard from speakers
Source: Opponents of Proposed New National Park in the Katahdin Region Host Info Session | WABI TV5

Maine: Legislative Document 801 Voted Down in Committee

Yesterday, May 19, the Joint Committee on Inland Fisheries and Wildlife voted down anti-bear hunting legislation, Legislative Document 801 (Bates-Westbrook). As previously reported, “An Act To Ensure Safe and Humane Bear Hunting Practices” would have created a Class D crime for hunting bear with the use of dogs for the first offense.<<<Read More>>>

National park opponents to host forum in East Millinocket

EAST MILLINOCKET, Maine — An organization opposed to the proposed 150,000-acre national park and recreation area will host an informational session on the proposal on Wednesday at Schenck High School. Maine Woods Coalition President and Chairwoman Anne Mitchell, whose group is hosting the event, said she hopes it will draw […]
Source: National park opponents to host forum in East Millinocket — Outdoors — Bangor Daily News — BDN Maine

Lawmakers Override Gov’s Veto of Moose Permit Bill

AUGUSTA – The Maine House and Senate have voted to override Gov. Paul LePage’s veto of a bill that would allow the commissioner of Inland Fisheries and…
Source: Lawmakers Override Gov’s Veto of Moose Permit Bill | Maine Public Broadcasting

Coyotes on the Run? Let’s Get Bears on the Run Too

LonelyCoyoteI have never met V. Paul Reynolds, but I think I should. I was never blessed with the ability to see a half-filled glass of water as half full – it’s always half-empty. Perhaps his positive and optimistic attitude would rub off on me.

Reynold’s latest article in the Sun Journal extols the successes of Maine’s coyote “suppression program” saying this effort has “coyotes on the run.”

According to Reynolds this year’s effort to limit the damage to deer in deer wintering areas has realized a harvest of around 500 coyotes – combined total from hired state coyote hunters and trappers, and private citizens by hunting, trapping and coyote derbies. Ryan Robicheau, Maine’s Wildlife Management Section Supervisor, says the budgeted amount of money for this programs, and using 500 coyotes as the number of coyotes killed, works out to $175.00 a coyote. However, if my calculations are correct, and I’m understanding the information provided, aside from the state’s effort and coyote yield of 270 varmints, all the rest of the kills were paid for out of individuals’ or groups’ pockets. Therefore, the cost per coyote harvested by state officials runs well over $200.00 – a figure most of us have come to recognize, wishing that money could be allotted to citizen trappers and hunters. Alas!

Actually, I was a bit surprised that there was still an ongoing coyote control program. It’s been so quiet (Okay let’s blame this on no PR position at MDIFW) I just assumed, like many programs the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) undertakes, just abruptly ended.

The article in reference states that the money appropriated is used to pay “professional” hunters and trappers to kill coyotes in and around “52 major deer wintering areas.” This is good and, in my opinion, with the limited supply of money, efforts should be targeted in critical areas where coyotes do the most harm. I would like to also see targeting of coyotes in known deer fawning areas. Like deer yards, coyotes know where the does go to birth, as do bears.

Maybe this is all a difference of perspective from being very optimistic and being realistic. I intend to not take away from the effort or the results. Some is good. More is even better. Here’s the take away…or is it a giveaway?

Robicheau says that this math[cost per coyote], coupled with anecdotal reports from winter trappers, strongly suggests that this coyote suppression program is working.

“Our people are seeing fewer coyotes this year in our designated deer wintering areas,”

The only way this program can continue to be successful is that this “suppression program” must be continuous, because the following year other coyotes move to the deer yards and more deer killing will commence.

What readers should not be confused about is that it might be a bit unclear about the success of this program and a program that would be designed to control the coyote population state wide. Robicheau says that anecdotal reports show a reduction in coyotes. It appears he is clarifying that when he says in the next sentence, “in our designated deer wintering areas.”

Because without exact clarification, math and previous statements made by such deer professionals as Gerry Lavigne, could get confusing. We don’t need confusion and we don’t need suppression of information. For instance, Lavigne has stated before that in order to begin reducing coyote populations, an annual coyote harvest needs to be about 70% of the existing animals. Once coyote numbers are reduced to the desired levels, that 70% harvest would need to be adjusted smaller in order to maintain a desired number. The program has to be continuous and well-monitored. Will that ever happen? NOPE!

Math can get fuzzy if we attempt to use Lavigne’s logarithm and apply it to the 500 coyotes killed and claims that there are now fewer coyotes than before. On it’s face, if we took those numbers, then if killing 500 coyotes reduced the overall number of coyotes to a point where fewer coyotes are being seen, then one would have to ask just how many coyotes does Maine have?

I have read, and I don’t believe there is an “official” population number, that coyotes in Maine number between 15,000 and 20,000. Clearly we see that a 500-coyote harvest is NOT a 70% reduction. A 70% reduction would be somewhere around 11,000 coyotes.

My point is not to confuse Lavigne’s general statement about state-wide coyote population control and that done in targeted deer wintering areas. As far as helping to protect the deer herd in winter deer yards, the program is good and appears to be helping. Personally, I would like to see a more substantial effort, because too many coyotes can have real negative effects on many other wildlife species, not just deer. But, I’ll take what we can get that works at any level.

And, if officials can figure out a way to protect deer fawning areas, perhaps a joint effort can be undertaken to limit fawn kills of deer, by both coyotes and bear. Bears are sleeping during winter months, but when they wake up they are hungry. When the does fawn, like the coyotes, the bear knows where the does fawn.

CoyoteFuture

Maine’s Trend Toward Smaller Bucks Continues

Now that the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife has decided to at least release some information about the 2014 deer harvest, some 5-1/2 months after the fact and they have yet to post the data on their website, the information that was made available shows a continued trend toward smaller-sized buck deer harvested.

In years past, I have provided readers with our own graphic showing recent year’s harvest data in order to make comparisons. A look at the graphic below shows the downward spiral in size of buck deer harvested.

2014DeerGraph

Would Horace Hinckley be an OUTLIER today? His buck would be. . . .
HoraceHinkley

How luck might run out for West Grand Lake’s superior landlocked salmon

By Randy Spencer and published in the Bangor Daily News:

Moose. Lobster. Blueberries. Potatoes. They’re all emblematic of Maine and our way of life.

Promotions of Maine often show another icon, too, usually airborne, a colorful fly dangling from its mandible — our landlocked salmon.

There were only four original sites where landlocked salmon were native in Maine — Sebago Lake, Sebec Lake, the Union River system, and West Grand Lake. The West Grand Lake strain has been deemed so pure that for decades, brood stock from these bloodlines has supplied 75 percent of the salmon stocked in Maine lakes. The economic ripple effect for Maine has been the gift that keeps on giving.

Scientists from Cornell and UNH have come here to study the spawning sites of West Grand Lake salmon to try, unsuccessfully so far, to replicate them in their home states. Whatever delicate balance exists, it continues to produce a valued Maine natural resource — the result not just of good luck, but of smart science.

Now, that luck might be about to run out, and at least four biologists have come out of retirement to work as volunteers to try to head off a fisheries disaster.

A startling recommendation made by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission would open the fishway at the outlet of 14,360-acre West Grand Lake and let in three invasive species: sea run and landlocked alewives (technically the same species), as well as largemouth bass established in lakes downstream.

If a private citizen were to do what FERC is recommending, it would result in steep fines and possibly jail time. Maine laws guard against the introduction of invasive species into Maine lakes with good reason. From baitfish to aquatic plants to exotic species, the record shows dire consequences can and do happen from such introductions.

The re-licensing of the West Grand Lake dam with FERC is due to be completed by this summer. “Normally, the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) provides important comments in a timely manner on FERC licensing. After a deadline extension, MDIFW prepared those comments and sent them to the Governor’s office in December for approval, but for some reason FERC never received any comments from Maine on this highly important matter,” says Rick Jordan, retired senior fisheries biologist for Region C with 31 years experience.

He and two other former Region C senior fisheries biologists, Ron Brokaw and Denny McNeish, have mobilized, along with former Director of Fisheries Peter Bourque to try to prevent the impending crisis.

Lacking input from Maine’s biologists, FERC is recommending that the West Grand fishway “be operated 365 days a year to pass any and all fish upstream and into the lake,” according to Jordan. Up to now, the gates were operated by MDIFW in a manner that permitted salmon, but not other unwanted species, to return to the lake. This method protects the lake from invasive species while preserving its genetically superior population of salmon. This, in turn, preserves the salmon stocking program for the rest of the state.

FERC did consider input from both U.S. Fish and Wildlife and the National Marine Fisheries Service. In a glitch that has left Jordan, Brokaw, McNeish and Bourque thunderstruck, submissions from the Maine scientists who have managed the fishery fell through the cracks of a bureaucratic labyrinth that has seemingly let in only the pro points of view with regard to the exotic species invasion.

Maine scientists fear that such an abrupt biological blitz will set in motion the devolution of landlocked salmon in Maine. “All alewives carry an enzyme that causes early mortality syndrome in landlocked salmon,” says Jordan. “These syndromes can lead to poorer vision, less prey capture, poor growth, reproductive failure, and a less immune fish, sometimes resulting in death of adults or juveniles.”

Jordan says alewives are capable of out-competing smelts for zooplankton, while larger alewives feed on smelts themselves, the preferred forage of landlocked salmon.

If the source of 75 percent of Maine’s stocked salmon is jeopardized by the lack of egg availability expected from this move, there may be a point on the horizon when landlocked salmon in Maine, like Atlantic salmon before them, would need to be listed as endangered. Fishery crashes of that magnitude have happened, but this team of biologists question the wisdom of bringing one about deliberately.

As for the glitch on why they haven’t been heard, they aren’t spending time assessing guilt or assigning blame. Instead, they’re working to sound a clarion call to all who care about Maine’s landlocked salmon. “If we lose this battle, the results in West Grand Lake will be irreversible,” Jordan added.

Jordan and his colleagues are asking concerned citizens to contact IFW Commissioner Chandler Woodcock, Gov. Paul LePage, Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King, and U.S. Reps. Chellie Pingree and Bruce Poliquin. On a final note, he said, “The West Grand Dam should not be relicensed in the absence of vital comments and actions recommended by the State of Maine.”

Randy Spencer is a working Master Maine guide, columnist, and the award-winning author of two books on the Grand Lake Stream region. Visit www.randyspencer.com.

Maine Deer Harvest Slightly Above Abysmal

Press Release from the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife:

Deer harvest second highest in the past six years

AUGUSTA, Maine – Deer hunters in Maine harvested 22,490 deer in 2014, the second-highest total in the past six years.

“Hunters had an unusual year with heavy snow hitting much of the state on opening weekend, and then again during Thanksgiving,” said Kyle Ravana, IFW’s deer biologist. “Those are always two of the busiest weekends of the year for hunters, and it gave many hunters the chance to track and harvest a deer.”

Maine’s November firearms season for deer attracts the most hunters and accounts for most of the state’s deer harvest (18,510). Maine’s deer season starts in early-September with expanded archery, and ends with the muzzleloader season in mid-December, providing hunters with over 80 days in which to pursue deer. The deer hunting season allows for the department to manage the deer herd and provide wildlife watching and hunting opportunity in much of the state while decreasing the deer population in other areas in order to reduce deer/car collisions and property damage, and prevalence of lyme disease.

While the 2014 buck harvest was similar to 2013 (15,986 to 16,736, a difference of 4%), a decrease in the number of harvested does was expected due to a previous winter (2013-14) that was above average in its severity which resulted in a corresponding reduction in any deer permits.

The department decreased the number of any deer permits last season by 20% in order to compensate for deer that may have succumbed to the harsh winter conditions. As a result, fewer adult does were harvested. In 2014, 4,401 adult does were harvested, which was approximately 17% below the 2013 harvest of 5,308 adult does. The Any-Deer Permit system plays a vital role in the management of Maine’s deer since it was first implemented in 1986. By controlling the harvest of female deer in the 29 regional wildlife management districts throughout the state, biologists can better manage population trends.

For the 2015 deer season, the department is again suggesting a decrease in the number of any deer permits due to another harsh winter.

For 2015, the department is recommending a total of 28,770 any deer permits. This is a decrease of 23% (8,415 permits) from 2014. Most of these any deer permits will be issued in southern, central and midcoast Maine, where the deer population is growing, remains highly productive, and usually experiences milder winter weather. There also will be some permits issued in eastern Aroosotook, as well as southern Piscataquis and southern Penobscot counties. In most of northern and downeast Maine, there will be no any deer permits issued and hunters will be allowed to take only bucks.

“By decreasing the number of any deer permits available, we can offset some of the impact of the now two consecutive harsh winters,” said Ravana.

The any deer permit recommendation is still in the comment period until June 6. Once the comment period closes, the Commissioner’s Advisory Council will then vote whether to accept the any permit recommendation.

The deer kill over the past five years includes: 2014 –22,490; 2013 – 24,795; 2012 – 21,553; 2011 – 18,839; 2010 – 20,063; 2009 – 18,092; 2008 – 21,062.

Maine Moose Herd in Decline

Maybe more hunters and outdoor people will get sick and tired of the same old crap sandwich that the media doles out and begin asking for facts, instead of fiction, from the media and outdoor biologists.

In this linked-to article, complete with video, take note that Maine’s head moose biologist says nothing about a warming climate, and yet the news agency reporting cannot get through their report without suggesting to its viewers that any perceived moose problems in Maine are the result of moose ticks, caused by global warming.

The other disturbing item in this news account is that in what viewers were presented, there was also no mention of anything other than ticks that are killing the moose, specifically predators!

One last disgusting comment that can be heard is how damned important it is that Maine manages it’s moose population in order to keep those who want to see a moose, happy. Is there ANY consideration that that effort might be part or even all of the cause for spikes in ticks and other diseases? ANY? Of course not! It’s easier to blame a fake global warming scam. It’s a convenient excuse for everything and all things inept and corrupt.

Maine is in the middle of a moose study. From the information that I read, so far, it appears that Lee Kantar, Maine’s lead moose biologist, has kept a pretty good head in this game, and seems to be not eager to draw any conclusions, yet. That may be a good sign. It is imperative that real science, minus politics and lobbying pressures stay out of this study. While I hope that Maine becomes the first state to actually use real science to come to accurate conclusions, I’m not laying down any money that they will.

The moose is an important symbol of Maine. It’s on the state seal. It draws tens of thousands of tourists to be

Source: Maine Moose Herd in Decline