July 23, 2019

Don’t Cry For Me Maine Deer Hunters

When I opened George Smith’s article today in the Bangor Daily News, I thought that all of Maine’s northern forests had been wiped out and it was time for all Maine sportsmen, managers and biologists at the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife to search for the “tanto” for performing an act of “Seppuku.” But let’s not disembowel anybody just yet. And, I am exaggerating just a bit.

The good news is, that it appears as though at least one other outdoor writer has enough passion to put passion into his writing when it comes to what is being done about the Maine whitetail deer herd. And for that I would never suggest he keep quiet.

Mr. Smith makes reference to a recent study from the University of Maine, author Daniel Harrison, about the effectiveness of protecting habitat and specifically deer wintering habitat in the northern climes of Maine.

“I was, frankly, stunned by some of the findings…”

“When I read that, I thought: so it’s not all about predation by bears and coyotes! Perhaps the focus of the Maine Game Plan for Deer needs to be broadened from its almost sole focus on killing coyotes.”

Stunned? Surely, not. That is if you understand what has been going on in the woods, the actual non effort of those fingered to do something constructive about this problem and what’s really behind a study and an examination into what it really says.

I’m also a bit puzzled by Smith’s comment that the Maine Game Plan for Deer is, “almost sole focus on killing coyotes.” I didn’t think the Plan was all that much about killing coyotes, and predators in general, but contained a whole lot of unattainable things…..even some of those George writes of in his article. More on the predator issue in a bit.

The study in reference, has to be taken for what it is, who did it and why. The study needs to be studied and while doing that look for the little things that shed more light on what’s really going on and for whom it benefits, etc.

I’m not going to dissect the entire study but let’s take a couple examples. The study says:

Given that zoning of a small part of the landscape was ineffective for meeting population-level habitat objectives for deer in Maine, other collaborative landscape conservation
approaches will likely be needed to couple forestry and wildlife habitat objectives on managed forests in the region.

How can this one study make that conclusion? What this is saying is that zoning of the landscape didn’t work because the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) is not achieving population goals for deer in those same areas.

An examination of the 14-page report speaks of nothing except habitat. Is the reason MDIFW has or isn’t achieving deer population goals strictly due to habitat? I know MDIFW loves to make that the focus of their excuses du jour, but at least some are willing to admit that weather, climate, predators, disease, etc. also play an integral role.

When the same report also makes statements like: “The extent to which past zoning has been successful in protecting habitat within deer wintering areas is unknown.”, and, “Further, the extent that landscape changes adjacent to DWA’s have affected the ability of DWAs to serve as viable
deer wintering habitats is uncertain(emphasis added),” are we then to assume that any and all efforts to rebuild a deer herd be abandoned? And/or that any effort to protect habitat is “ineffective?”

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not relegating the University of Maine’s report as useless nor am I standing up blindly to the MDIFW’s deer management efforts. As the study suggests, “alterations in deer
management objectives, as well as new approaches to forest landscape and biodiversity conservation are needed.” And perhaps MDIFW should look toward making some changes and using this study as only one part of the plan and not all of the plan.

What I took away from the study was not a sense of fear, dredge and an urge for self-flogging over the future, but a question as to how the administrators of this study can reach a statement that says protecting land areas used for wintering deer is ineffective simply because deer population goals are not being reached. There exists a myriad of other circumstances that readily effect deer population. Habitat and it’s complexities make up only a part of that. I honestly don’t think this report makes any effort in explaining that at all and they should have. It is completely focus on only habitat.

Which brings me back to the point Smith made about Maine’s Game Plan for Deer is all focused on killing coyotes. As I stated, the Plan is not all focused on killing coyotes and neither are the majority of sportsmen in the state of Maine. They mostly understand that predators, those large enough to impact the deer herd, i.e. coyotes/wolves, bear, bobcat, lynx, etc. need controlling just like all the other game species MDIFW is given management responsibilities over.

One needs a deep enough understanding about interactions between predators and deer before suggesting to give up on predator control and management. Abandoning a predator control program at this time in the state’s effort to help a shrinking herd would be catastrophic.

MIDFW and others, and now found in this report, have stated that deer population goals are not being met. Even if we buy into the study that habitat is being destroyed and that it is that which is preventing a rebound in deer populations, then it is even more pressing that we not only maintain a predator reduction program but perhaps increase it.

What makes for a predator pit, that is a situation where there are too many predators that will never allow for the rebuilding of a prey species, such as deer, is when there are so few deer and too many predators. Even if habitat is diminishing, while we work on finding ways to deal with that, we can’t just give up a coyote killing program simply because a forestry group says not cutting down certain zoned forests to protect deer isn’t effective. All efforts should be made to attempt to bring a deer herd to goal levels and/or carrying capacities and neither of those are happening.

In conclusion, we must also consider the authors of the study. Studies are what they are (to use an already overused expression) and one has to consider the source, whose paying for the study and why, etc. I would have expected nothing different to come from this study because it was done by and about the Maine Forest Industry. I would be looking to protect my property and my rights to harvest my timber as well.

It is up to MDIFW and others to look to see what changes might be needed, short of all out abandoning ship.

My fear is that MDIFW will use this study to throw up their hands and exclaim that they’ve tried and there is nothing they can do to save the habitat, suggesting giving up. It’s not ALL about habitat.

It ain’t pretty but it’s far from over…..if you care enough.

forestreport

And piping plovers I would surmise!

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Sustaining a Deer Herd

twoyoungdeerblog*Editor’s Note* – This article first appeared in the Bethel Citizen.

Open Air
With Tom Remington

Sustaining a Deer Herd

Nature does not balance itself; at least not in the idealistic sense that many of us have been taught in schools and read about in environmental and wildlife biology books. In nature, or within our ecosystems as the popular term is used today, nothing is in balance. It is always changing. My good friend, Dr. Valerius Geist, a professor emeritus at the University of Calgary, has explained to me, “Thinking nature is in balance is intellectual garbage.” (I have lots more information on this subject on my website if you are interested.)

With that in mind, Maine is struggling to sustain a whitetail deer herd in much of the state. Because Nature does not “balance” itself, if we, as citizens, wish to have a healthy population of varied species throughout the state, humans must participate in making that happen. This becomes one of the functions of a fish and game department but is our responsibility as well.

To maintain a deer herd at present levels, simple math tells us that we must have an equal number of newborn deer survive to replace those that are killed throughout the year by various means. Sounds simple enough but it’s not. If the total mortality of deer is 40%, then newborn and surviving deer must be 40% in order to maintain current population numbers. Should biologists wish to increase deer populations, they must implement ways of decreasing mortality and/or increasing survival of newborns. The opposite is required to reduce populations.

Many people believe that control of a deer population can only be done by how many deer get taken during hunting season. This is not true. Deer die each year in a number of ways: old age, disease, auto collisions, hunting, predators, etc. There often is one factor that goes overlooked – fawn recruitment.

Fawn recruitment is a term used to describe when a newborn deer lives throughout their first year of life. Born mostly in June in Maine, if a fawn makes it through their first winter, that is considered one recruited fawn to the deer herd. Recalling the math earlier, if fawn recruitment drops too low and remains that way for too long, it isn’t long before a deer population begins shrinking very fast. If that number gets too low, recovery can become next to impossible.

Many believe that fawn recruitment must meet 30% to 40% in order to maintain a present deer population. In parts of Maine, recruitment barely makes 20%.

Fawns are a target of many predators such as: black bears, bobcats, coyotes, red fox, Canada lynx, fisher, even domestic dogs. We must also bear in mind that there are recorded events of eagles snatching newborn deer from the field.

This predation is a normal and natural event but what happens if any one or all of the above mentioned predator populations becomes too high? Logic tells us that too many predators can kill too many fawns, bringing the recruitment rate below the necessary level to maintain and even sustain a healthy deer herd.

The reality of life in the forest and fields is not a pretty picture when it comes to surviving. The idea that nature is in balance brings many to believe that if man just left these animals alone, everything would be fine. That is idealistic thinking.

Dr. David Mech, considered the foremost expert on wolves, once also believed that having all the indigenous predators in an ecosystem would “balance” things out. He has since discovered that to not be the case and believes that predators need to be “controlled” in order to achieve the population levels desired by us humans.

The next time you read or hear about people wanting to pass laws to prohibit the scientific control of predators, understand that while few want those predators gone, they do need to be kept in check in order to sustain a healthy ecosystem.

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Joke: “develop opportunities to increase hunter and trapper effectiveness” to Restore Elk Populations

The joke gets bigger with each passing hunting and trapping season. While one could say that the Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG) has made progress to acknowledge that the state’s missing elk herds are due in part to predation, the joke remains that loss and changing habitat is blamed as well and IDFG’s plan on limiting predation is to, “develop opportunities to increase hunter and trapper effectiveness”, that is according to the Idaho County Free Press.

Think about the brains that must have existed that would come up with a plan to make hunting and trapping of wolves more effective. To admit that predation by wolves is a part of the problem with shrinking elk herds and then present a plan that is akin to urinating over the side of an ocean liner thinking you might flood the coastline has to be considered an elitist attempt to placate what IDFG believes is an ignorant citizenry.

In 2009 I wrote that Idaho’s proposed plans on how to “manage” wolves, if they were ever taken off the Endangered Species List, would be ineffective. In addition, I crafted a multi-part series, “To Catch a Wolf”, highlighting the difficulties historically worldwide in “managing” wolves. I enclose in quotes “manage” because prolific predators like wolves aren’t managed, as in categorizing them as a game species, but need to be controlled.

You can find more information on Idaho’s lack of success in controlling wolves with links to the information I referenced above by following this link.

Should IDFG follow the same pattern of wolf management, and there is no reason to think they won’t, it will mirror what has taken place so far. It took over a decade for IDFG to admit that wolves might be having a negative impact on the Lolo elk herd. Now they acknowledge wolves play a role and propose an idiotic plan that will do nothing to limit wolves and increase elk populations. One can expect that 10 years from now, IDFG might declare that their idea of making more effective wolf hunters and trappers to better “manage” wolves, didn’t work. And yet again, there is always the excuse to fall back on that habitat is the real problem.

Expect no real changes. Let’s go pull some knapweed and plant some grass.

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Shucks! Idaho Isn’t Controlling Wolves Enough

On January 21, 2009 I wrote that when and if the gray wolf in the Northern Rocky Mountains were ever taken off the Endangered Species Act list of protected species and put in the hands of the states, the states would be clueless as how to “manage” the animal. It seems I can rest my case and say, “I told you so.”

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG) believed themselves to be ahead of the curve by laying out rules and regulations that would govern a wolf hunt should there ever be one. It became clear that IDFG was more interested in seeing how much money they could make selling wolf hunting tags than managing and controlling the large predators so that other game species, i.e. elk, moose and deer, wouldn’t be destroyed from an overgrown and out of control wolf population. They failed! In addition the rules set aside for wolf hunting were so restrictive to the hunter, the odds on harvest success were reduced considerably. Essentially that first hunt provided for a man and gun and a short period of time to tag his harvest; nothing else to assist him.

Some argued that erring on the side of caution would be the prudent thing to do out of fear that too many wolves would be killed and the wolf would be put back under federal protections. This showed the real ignorance of game managers who both had no idea of how to control this creature nor did they seem interested in learning how to do it from countries that have had to deal more with savage and disease-ridden wolves than Idaho.

In my January 2009 writing I even took the time and listed out the methods that had been implemented by the Russians to control wolves, as was written down in Will Graves’ outstanding book, “Wolves in Russia: Anxiety Through the Ages.” The list includes 14 items including hunting over bait, organized drives, poison, falconry, hunting hounds, helicopters, airplanes and snowmobiles, and yet Russia could not keep the wolves under control. And Idaho knows better?

We are now just over 4 years since that writing and Idaho is just beginning to figure out that maybe the tools they are allowing to control wolves isn’t going to be enough to meet their objectives. And of course the downside of all this “erring on the side of caution” is that in those areas where wolves need thinning, elk, moose and deer populations are suffering. Time is of the essence.

IDFG has grown from man and gun to approving the use of electronic calling devices and trapping but as is being reported in the Spokesman Review, “….the overall effort has barely made a dent in a wolf population that federal and state experts agree is too large for its own good.”

All of this talk of hunting, managing and controlling wolves, also prompted me back in February of 2009 to write a five-part series on the difficulties that confronted people around the globe for centuries on just how to control these wily predators. The series is entitled, “To Catch a Wolf.”

But is the problem really about whether IDFG is allowing for the implementation of the necessary tools to reduce wolf populations? Or is it about a contrary fish and game department unwilling to abide by the laws created by the Idaho Legislature in 2002 to manage wolves to a maximum of 100? Even if one was to concur with the illegally crafted Idaho Wolf Population Management Plan of 2008, the hunting and trapping seasons aren’t getting the job done as they stand. This 2008 plan calls for 500-700 wolves. The official “low ball” estimate of wolves in Idaho stands at around 700, meaning 900-1,000 is probably closer. (This is easy to conclude as we hear every day of the discovery of wolves and wolf packs in Idaho that officials had no idea existed.)

With a fish and game department brazen enough to turn it’s back on the Idaho Legislature, it doesn’t take a genius to conclude that there’s nobody at IDFG seriously concerned with a 900-1,000 individual gray wolf population and probably there are no plans to further implement the use of necessary tools to begin cutting into that destructive population.

You see, in 2002 the Idaho Legislature approved the wolf management plan and in that plan it stated that the IDFG could not alter or create any other wolf management plan(s) without Legislative approval. The 2008 plan was not approved by the Idaho Legislature. So, when you have the anti fish and game department crafting the plan that calls for 500-700 wolves, the same anti fish and game department will post wolf populations always at 500-700 regardless of what they really are. In 2002 the Idaho Legislature understood this problem. Evidently today they do not.

Business as usual as I see it. It appears as though the rules are dictated by the one who holds the ball.

But the rubber swan is mine.”

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Minnesota Moose Dreamin’

By Jim Beers (republished on this website with permission from the author)

Link:

The following article (Minnesota moose.. hunt suspended)[Link provided above to referred to article] from the front page of today’s St. Paul Paper is worth reading to either make your blood boil or, if you’ve been following the demise of big game hunting in the US, give you a good excuse to shake your head with a wry smile.

There is a reward of a 50-cent coupon to the Wacky Minnesota Gift Store if you can find the word – WOLF – in the article. There is a 25-cent coupon to JoAnns Fabric Store if you can find the words – Echinococcus granulosis or tapeworms spread by wolves (the generic word “parasite” doesn’t count) – in the article.

So, to all you former Montana and Idaho elk hunters now playing violent video games on your kid’s smart phones while they are at school; take note that the Minnesota elk hunt this year (for two isolated and small herds in isolated woods in NW Minnesota where they should be vulnerable to hunting) was a bust. An expected harvest of 23 elk could do no better than 9; calling Sherlock Holmes and Watson. These same DNR/Outdoor Writer Worthies are also mystified about what is going on with the elk as well as the moose.

To all you Yellowstone Park Visitors, this Minnesota moose/elk disappearance practically overnight is credited to unspecified diseases and habitat changes due to global warming just like the missing Yellowstone moose and elk. I refrain from the other reason given by the nicely-uniformed National Park Service “experts” that the moose and elk are mysteriously “staying in the backcountry” since Minnesota “backcountry” is both inhabited and hunted thoroughly so such lies are hard to make. Of course wolves are blameless to all these government wolf-manipulators for their no longer hidden agendas from killing hunting to making gun ownership more problematic.

Why no less an authority than the “head biologist for the fish and wildlife department of the Grand Portage band of Lake Superior Chippewa” is quoted as saying, “Parasites, disease and habitat are all potential factors” (i.e. in the demise of moose). I refrain at this point from using another quote from the article that would be out-of-place and unfair –“That’s insane”.

Since I moved to Minnesota 5 years ago I have spoken and written about how Minnesota wolves are at their highest populations and densities in the past century for the past 20 years since the federal government ripped state (and therefore state resident) wolf management from a compliant state wildlife agency over 40 years ago. I have made pen pals of the outdoor writers to their great amusement and created a reputation with the paper as an hilarious old crank. The high wolf populations being maintained by livestock, dog, deer, moose and elk meat in Minnesota is having the SAME effect that it has in Montana, Idaho, Ontario, Alberta, Alaska, British Columbia, Siberia, Kazakhstan, etc. etc.

The primary Minnesota wolf habitat is and was EXACTLY where the moose and elk lived (note the past tense). The graph of wolf population increase over the past 20 years coincides with the moose/elk population estimate/hunting success rates for the same period. Duh!

Every news article about the missing moose only mentions wolves by way of vilifying those that even suspect wolf depredation as a factor (much less THE factor) as troglodytes that should be locked in the attic with the old uncle that slobbers and passes gas around genteel folks. This writer has been so designated.

So, the rest of the world take note: Alaska abandon your wolf control to maintain moose; Siberia abandon your wolf control to save reindeer; Kazakhstan and Russia abandon your wolf control to save livestock and the old ladies and kids that tend them – All of you look to Minnesota bureaucrats where such losses (except for the old ladies and kids that are too hard to deny) these losses are due to GLOBAL WARMING AND UNDEFINED DISEASES. Stop all that wolf control, until Minnesota determines the REAL REASONS and (along with uniformed US National Park Service Storytellers) reveals the deep dark secrets you have been too dumb to figure out. Keep up your anti-wolf-hunt lawsuits Michiganders and shut down your power plants – Global Warming and Diseases are the enemy, certainly not wolves! Wisconsinites stay cold and in the dark all winter to reduce your carbon footprint to save moose, elk and deer meat for higher wolf population densities to replace hunters and armed citizens while moving rural folks into cities!

Note how an esteemed Minnesota “wildlife research manager for the DNR” “thinks” Ontario is “seeing the same thing”. Thinks? Doesn’t he have a phone? Doesn’t he “think” those are the same woods (albeit measured in kilometers), wolves and moose in the contiguous wolf/moose habitat from central Minnesota to Hudson Bay? Two weeks ago my wife and I had lunch with a great retired Canadian law enforcement officer and his wife. His Ontario hunting camp (a dozen plus guys) was not good at all last year for either moose or deer. His (and his neighbor a retired Ontario wildlife guy) reason? There were wolf tracks and wolves everywhere but they are now killing wolves and coyotes year-around with complete expectation if they kill enough of them and keep killing them the moose and deer hunting will recover hopefully in a few years.

Finally, back in the 1990’s I testified before the US Congress about how US Fish and Wildlife Service hacks stole $45 to 60 Million dollars from the Hunting and Fishing Excise Taxes intended only for State agencies to manage State Fish and Wildlife Resources. This was after Congress had denied USFWS funding for this hair-brained scheme. But undeterred by lawful authority and on a mission for “Gaia” they stole millions from hunters and game management so that federal bureaucrats could capture Canadian wolves, import them illegally and release them without any state concurrence in Yellowstone Park to eliminate ranching, elk, moose and hunting/rural safety in the Upper Rockies states. I was shocked, angered and disgusted at the time as a hunter who still believed that at least the State agencies were still on the hunters’ side but how naive I was for a guy in his fifties. If this Minnesota “Moosegate” debacle is how they are using the excise taxes, USFWS might as well steal it all and if there is any left over after paying themselves bonuses, give it to Garrison Keillor to do a skit on The Prairie Home Companion explaining where all the Minnesota moose and elk and deer and pheasants have gone. At least it will boost the sale of those biscuits in the oil-stained bags and maybe create another non-government job or two to slow the slide in the Minnesota economy.

Jim Beers
7 February 2013

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

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New-Science Wildlife Scientists: Creations of Wellington House – Part I

I thank God daily that there still exists in this country a few people who think independently; who refuse to blindly accept the “settled” theories, the many studies and the strategic lying of our string-pulled media without questioning. Without these people, surely by now America and the rest of the world would have been devoured by the New World Order lead by a One World Government headed by a dictator. These thinking people are slowing the process and keeping the promoters of the destruction of this country, with the goal of One World Government, somewhat at bay.

Recently, I have told many older friends to sit down and make a list of everything they could think of that made America great; the greatest nation on earth where everyone wanted a piece of the American Dream; where none dared rattle our cage or test our resolve. If we were to examine that list, then wouldn’t it make sense that in order to destroy the greatness of a country like America that all one need do is take each item and change or destroy it?

Unfortunately, with each passing generation, the list shrinks or is completely rewritten reflecting the changing mindset of the American citizen. But why? Is this change, at least from the perspective of those who can recognize it, a natural phenomenon? In other words, is it in man’s nature, that given to him by God, to willingly work at destroying inalienable, God-given rights and all that made America great? Or are there forces at work, out to destroy, item by item, everything that is on that list of America’s greatness and for what purpose would they do this? I hope to answer at least some of these questions to give you a better understanding of why a well-proven wildlife management plan, a plan that in my opinion belongs on the list of what made America great, is being systematically destroyed and replaced with new-science outcome based education. In outcome based education, one chooses the desired outcome and manipulates the data, even devising of false data, to achieve such predilection.

It’s been about 10 years now that I began to turn my focus of writing and researching to hunting, wildlife, wildlife management, the environment, Endangered Species Act and much of all the politics that go, unfortunately, hand in hand now with everything related to the outdoors. It’s easy to castigate “environmentalism” as the root cause, and one’s effort in that would be rightfully justified, but there has to be more to it. Environmentalism contains innumerable evils, which to the trained eye can be recognizable, but who or what is behind environmentalism and is it the same force that is changing the mindset of our young students through education?

Over the years of writing and researching on these topics, it became very clear to me that people just didn’t think (and I use that term very loosely) the same way as previous generations. I wondered how long this had been going on, but more importantly, why.

If I may take a moment to step back to a time in American history when settlers and appointees of governments and commercial establishments took from the resources of wild game until one day it was realized that all taking and no giving was not sustainable – meaning without some kind of restrictions and efforts on the part of man to conserve the resources, there soon would be none.

While not a perfect solution, over time, coupled with a desire of many to sustain viable wildlife species, the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation was crafted. It wasn’t long before the implementation of this working model restored game species as well as gave the outdoor sportsmen the opportunities for surplus harvests, without depleting the resource. This Model became the envy of the civilized world.

So then, why are we moving away from it and replacing it with contrary, faux science, driven by outcome based strategies that are not working and have led to sizable reductions in game herds and overwhelming increases in large predators; a direct competitor of the hunter/trapper?

To go along with the mentality that exists in wildlife management, that nature is self regulating, there exists a hatred toward man. Man is always perceived as the culprit, the one to point a finger at as the destroyer of wildlife. There is an incessant drum beat of: “the animals were here first”, that “there are just too many people” and that “man is encroaching on everything to do with wildlife” and ruining it; while seldom providing the proper documentation to support such claims. It’s easy to look at places like Westchester County, New York, a suburb of New York City, where on a recent trip along the Saw Mill River Parkway heading for the Tappan Zee Bridge, I witnessed more deer grazing along the highway and in people’s back yards than I saw for an entire week of hunting deer in the deep Maine woods.

I suppose it may be related to the person who calls a glass of water half empty rather than half full, but others see this occurrence and somehow see it as man’s fault. The poor deer/dear! If it is man’s fault for doing too good a job devising ways to protect and conserve deer and other wildlife, then I guess the shoe fits and must be worn. However, these same man haters fail to comprehend history of how things were in America before it was America.

Many have swallowed the pill and believe what they have been told that in pre-Columbian days the forests, hills and plains of this vast and beautiful country were teeming with wildlife everywhere. While there existed areas of abundant wildlife, it is fact that much of our wildlife in this country never inhabited vast areas until man settled and unknowingly or unintentionally created large expanses of wildlife habitat by growing lush crops, lawns, flower beds, working forests, etc. The result now being perhaps the largest populations of most wildlife at any given time in history in this nation.

So, is the problem, if there is one, that man is ruining everything for our wildlife? Or, is there a problem that man has done too good of a job? Consider a recent article found in the Wall Street Journal, written by Jim Sterba. Sterba says that we have done such a remarkable job of conserving wildlife that in many areas there are too many and that presents a host of problems, some of which are very expensive.

It is not my intent to get off on side discussions about wildlife management. It is my intent to point out what I perceive as obvious and I’m sure non existent for others; that our scientists graduating from our education factories are leaving with information that, when applied, appears to be more geared at destroying our wildlife, while ripping man to shreds, rather than improving on a pretty darn good, man-made, wildlife conservation model for management.

Why? Who is teaching these students such things and why? Does it begin once they reach college or are our students being “prepared” to enter the science world long before college graduation day.

Part II will take a closer look.

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One PPH Reader: Cut Down More Trees to Increase Deer Population

For what it’s worth, over the years residents of Maine have been told that the reasons there is such a poor deer herd in many parts of the state are because (and in no particular order): Severe winters, loss of habitat, destruction and loss of deer wintering areas, poaching and perhaps an occasional depredation (said with tongue nicely inserted into depth of right cheek) by a bear, coyote/wolf, bobcat, lynx and/or mountain lion. Never, in my recollection, has anyone suggested cutting down more trees to increase the number of deer…..directly.

I should, however, point out that there is legitimate debate as to whether proper logging practices – proper in the sense of better wildlife management – would provide better feed. I don’t believe that lack of feed is a problem. At this point spending time and effort to provide more feed for deer would be akin to me setting up feed stations all across Maine to feed the elusive down-hill-side-badger.

As silly as all this sounds, a person actually did write the Portland Press Herald and suggested, “it’s time to “cut” a few trees, thus increasing feed opportunities” and further suggested that, “Large forest growth contributes to the lack of deer.”

Well, not really but…..well, really? I think if the argument was that Maine has a sufficient population of deer but lack of feed, then perhaps cutting more trees would be in order. But that isn’t the problem. The problem is there aren’t any deer to begin with. We must address that problem first, and we are not in any serious way.

And on a related note, it has been brought to our attention nearly one year ago, that those hundreds of thousands of acres of forests, clear cut because of the spruce budworm, will be mature within the next 15 years. Then what?

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All The Wrong Excuses Why Bears in Maine Are Showing up in Your Back Yard

I’ve reported previously that Maine has a bear problem and part of that problem is being exemplified in the presence of the beasts showing up in people’s back yards at a rate far exceeding last year’s. The reasons given and appearing in the regular press I don’t think addresses at all part of the problem, i.e. that there are just too many black bears in Maine.

In yesterday’s Bangor Daily News, Nick Sambides, Jr. reported that bears were frequenting neighborhoods in the Millinocket region and in particular downtown. What should be confusing, as well as dishonest, to the people is what is being relayed to the people as to why there are more bear encounters.

As is written in the Bangor News piece, it appears the more popular excuse du jour is that Maine had an early spring and a late berry crop forcing hungry bears to raid people’s bird feeders, trash bins and barbecue grills. However, in this same report, Sambides writes: “Bolduc [police chief] speculated that bears were foraging in town for food because of an early spring and a late berry bloom caused by the unusually wet weather. Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife officials, however, have said that bear food is plentiful in the woods.”

So, which is it? Is there plenty of food for bears in the woods, or are there no berries or other food to satisfy the creatures? Perhaps there’s all there usually is to satisfy a bear except there are just too many bears competing for a limited amount of food leaving some hungrier than normal.

Perhaps it’s time to revisit the idea of an increased bear hunt and get the numbers back to reasonable levels.

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Editorial Calls For Non Professional Wolf Managers to Butt Out and Shut Up

*Editor’s Comment* On May 18, 2012, in the Bozeman Daily Chronicle, newspaper staff crafted an editorial in which they basically said that unless you are a paid professional wolf expert, people should mind their own business and stay out of concerns over control and management of the wild canines. Retired U.S. Fish and Wildlife biologist, Jim Beers, rebuts that editorial and is found below.

BOW TO YOUR BETTERS

The following editorial from an urban Montana paper nicely encapsulates the arrogance of power being enjoyed by those that revel in subjugating others to their will, no matter the harm they create. The distortions it fosters are criminal and indicate that reason and appeals to civil discourse or to Constitutional guidance to such (per Lenin) useful idiots are as futile as explaining why increasing government debt is a similar recipe for disaster to a third generation welfare recipient.

Here is my answer to this editor:

1. So, “Let’s face facts: Wolves are going to be part of the Montana landscape from here on out. There will never be the national stomach to extinguish the species from the region for a second time.

Then, when “the national stomach” wants authority over all Montana “waters”, Montanans should go into their homes and listen to the radio about what they are to be allowed to do henceforth? When the UN (the “international stomach”) says Montanans should not possess guns, Montanans and other Americans should quietly turn in their guns and carry cellphones with 911 on quick dial (does FWP respond to 911?). Then, when the state “stomach” leaves the state and crawls into the sack with the “national stomach” and “international stomachs” we should all plan a “shower” for any issue therefrom?

Local communities bear the brunt of the wolf debacle. Local citizens are being harmed and in the absence of either protection from their state government or federal acknowledgement of their #1, Constitutional charge, i.e. “insure domestic Tranquility” and “promote the general Welfare”: then by God Local citizens working with their Local government will return “domestic Tranquility” and general Welfare” to THEIR Local community. Let the “national stomach” take a gelusil or ex lax.

2. So, “State game managers are the most knowledgeable and best positioned to manage the wolves effectively.” Really?

The presence, distribution, and “management” of wolves, or any other high-impact wild animal is first and foremost a decision to be made and supported by those citizens and communities AFFECTED by such decisions. “State game managers” are charged to advise and implement the parameters of Local decisions from elimination of wolves to densities not seen since Russians were denied weapons by their dictators or Czars (and everything in between. Saying that “State game managers” should make such decisions is putting the cart before the horse. G.K. Chesterton said it best 103 years ago, “Science must not impose any philosophy, any more than the telephone man must tell us what to say”.

3. So, “Gallatin County commissioners may feel the need to act on pressure from constituents and call for a meeting with state wolf biologists. If so, the commissioners should listen politely, voice their concerns and then let the wildlife managers go about their work.”

Are we “free” men or slaves? Listen politely? Who works for whom?

Whoever believes such pernicious tripe would clearly be more comfortable in Stalin’s Russia where slaves (to the state) listened “politely” or were shipped off to a Gulag or worse. It has honestly gotten to the point where any opposition to federal or state wolf impositions begets not only law enforcement threats from those that ostensibly “protect” us but this sort of dripping disdain from arrogant elites.

4. So, “State wildlife managers, who took over wolf policy when federal protections were lifted from the species, have been upping the number of animals harvested with each season. And still the overall wolf numbers are increasing.”

Let’s see; state and federal “wildlife managers” release wolves despite overwhelming opposition from those on whom the wolves were imposed. Then the feds do a double arabesque and pirouette off the stage and the state “managers” oversee “increasing” wolf numbers (i.e. elk/moose disappearance, livestock losses, dog losses, stress and fear of rural residents as wolves habituate all around, etc.) and those rural bumpkins are told to buck-up, keep your kids inside, eat more vegetables, and take government job training for the next available job in LA or Chicago. My advice to those chirping this line is “stuff it”.

5. So, “On the good news front, state Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks officials report that predation on domesticated animals went down last year over the previous year. That may be the result of government biologists and wolf advocates working with stockgrowers on how to protect livestock from the predators. Those efforts should continue, and they should continue to get results.”

Earth to elites: neither the state nor federal government should be spending billions ad infinitum THAT WE DON”T HAVE on such harmful and senseless twaddle. Additionally, wolves NEVER HAVE and NEVER WILL be harmlessly blended into settled landscapes as found in the Lower 48 states. They ADAPT; they HABITUATE; they DEPLETE GAME ANIMALS; they KILL LIVESTOCK; they KILL DOGS; they SPREAD DISEASE; and last but certainly not least THEY KILL AND THEY ATTACK CHILDREN, WOMEN, THE AGED, and even MEN RUNNING A CHAINSAW! Read Wild Graves excellent book WOLVES IN RUSSIA. “Good News” my patoot!

6. Finally we come to the piece de resistance of our arrogant author, “In time, ranchers, hunters and the rest of us will learn to live with the wolves. But it will take patience.”

“In time”? Tell that to Russians, Kazaks, Siberians, Alaskans, and others where humans are killed and maimed annually, livestock husbandry is a matter of small flocks tended 24/7 by women and kids, game hunting is a matter of dreams (not reality), and dogs are not allowed in homes (much less “kissed” and slept with) because of the diseases they contract from wolves FOR THOUSANDS OF YEARS!. Patience, like Dirty Harry’s boss’s breath mints “ain’t cutting it”.

What it will take is local wrath expressed Constitutionally by Local governments in the teeth of rogue government bureaucracies and their elite enablers like the editor of this paper.

Two final newspaper quotes from G.K. Chesterton 100 years ago in London shows us that such media distortions as this wolf propaganda piece are nothing new.

“There never was a power so great as the power of the Press. There never was a belief so superstitious as the universal belief in the Press. It may be that future centuries will call these the Dark Ages, and see a vast mystical delusion spreading its black bat’s wings over all our cities.”

“We do not need a censorship of the press. We have a censorship by the press. It is not we who silence the press. It is the press that silences us. It is not a case of the Commonwealth settling how much the editors shall say; it is a case of the editors settling how much the Commonwealth shall know. If we attack the Press we shall be rebelling, not repressing.”

Jim Beers
19 May 2012

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

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Mild Maine Winter May Have Stalled Whitetail Deer Death Spiral

If the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife(MDIFW) is always so quick to jump on the bandwagon of severe winters as an excuse why there are no deer left in most portions of Maine’s landscape, then it would only stand to reason to jump ship and onto the bandwagon heading in the other direction when there is a mild winter. If all things are relative and one severe winter destroys a deer herd, then is it rational to conclude that one mild winter restores one?

If there has been any reprieve in continued destruction of Maine’s whitetail deer population, it comes more from what the MDIFW didn’t have their fingers in than what they did. A mild winter throughout the state probably did more to halt the death spiral of deer than anything MDIFW did or could have done.

What MDIFW did do was kill 119 coyotes. Earlier, I published the summary of their efforts. In short, MDIFW appropriated $50,000 for coyote killing. They spent $15,156, concentrating on 9 Deer Wintering Areas(DWA) and killed 119 coyote/wolf hybrids. Of note: 79 coyotes were killed by paid agents of the MDIFW and 40 were taken by volunteers.

However, I will withhold judgement on any successes or failures in this effort as the mild winter did not provide the best opportunity to find coyotes in DWAs. And, we may never get to see if any long term, concentrated effort to kill coyotes will be effective if there is no money appropriated next year or the years after that.

For Maine’s license buyers, those 79 coyotes killed by paid agents, cost $191.85 per coyote. A mild winter cost nothing. One mild winter will not cause a restoration of a severely depleted deer herd, but it may be the only hope we have. Sane sportsmen understand that real science forecasting calls for earth to be heading into at least a ten-year cooling. For those wildlife managers betting on global warming to cure their deer management problems, I wouldn’t bet the farm on it.

Tom Remington

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