August 24, 2019

Maine Police Officer “Unintentionally” Shoots Cow Moose

According to the Lewiston Sun Journal, Farmington, Maine police sergeant, Edward Hastings, while legally hunting with a shooting partner for moose during the annual moose hunt in Maine, “unintentionally” killed a cow moose and a bull moose. I believe that the intent was to kill only the bull.

Hastings immediately notified authorities, including his boss at the Farmington Police. The Maine Warden Service is charging Hastings with “a rule violation.”

What wasn’t exactly pointed out in the news article is that Hastings, by lottery, had drawn a permit for a bull moose. You can find the results of the moose lottery on the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) website. A screen shot is included below.

hastingsmoosepermit

By rule, the winner of a moose lottery can name a shooting partner. That partner can legally shoot a moose for the permit holder. The news article is not completely clear as to whether or not the shooting partner fired any shots at the moose, only to state that the investigation revealed it supposedly was Hasting’s bullet that killed the cow. It appears the shooting partner was not charged. And, of course, by rule if your permit is for a bull moose, you cannot legally shoot a cow moose.

I’m sure that Mr. Hastings had no “intention” to shoot two moose and one ended up being a cow. From the news report it states:

Hastings and his moose-hunting permit partner shot at a bull moose during the legal season on Oct. 16 in Freeman Township, but when they got to the site where the moose fell, two moose were down — a bull and a cow, Lt. Tim Place of the Maine Warden Service said Thursday.

It is also, by rule, the responsibility of the hunter to be 100% sure of his or her target. Apparently, Hastings and his shooting partner were not 100% sure. The news article also stated:

Hastings’ case was treated the same as those of other violators, Place said.

Failure to identify a target is pretty cut and dry, with no room left for error, when it involves the shooting of a human. Not that a moose and a human are equal in value of life (maybe to some it is) but it will be interesting to see to what extent, if any, failing to identify target will play in this court hearing.

And let’s hope that preferential treatment isn’t extended to Hastings because he is a member of the law enforcement fraternity.

Share

How Many Months Before Maine Releases Moose Harvest Information?

It’s an ongoing frustration for many of Maine’s license holders, those who pay dearly for the salaries and programs at the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife(MDIFW). They must wait for several months before MDIFW releases even preliminary deer, bear and moose harvest information.

With a lot of “urging”, better recognized as bitching and complaining, MDIFW last deer season was able to at least give out some preliminary numbers of how many deer were taken. This was done within about a month after the close of the season, if memory serves me correctly.

Over in neighboring New Hampshire, where a 9-day moose hunt will end on Sunday (oh yeah, N.H. hunts on Sundays), officials presented harvest data midway through the hunt. 281 permits were issued via lottery in New Hampshire, and as of October 23, 119 moose had been taken – 63 bulls and 56 cows. And, they even knew hos this compared to last season’s moose hunt for the same period. WOW!

A report published on The Outdoor Wire, did not say “around” 119 moose. It specifically said 119, as well as a breakdown of bulls and cows. In Maine? CRICKETS!

What’s the holdup?

Share

Two Maine Men in Successful Moose Hunt

Milt Inman sent me this photograph of a couple of Maine men near where he lives that were successful in bagging a young spike bull moose. Congratulations!

greenwoodmoosehunters

Milt Inman Photo

Share

Maine Moose Hunting Success

I was so happy, but not as happy as my dear friends who went on a moose hunting expeditions into the Allagash Region of northwestern Maine, to learn of their success. Congratulations!

The hunters were also on a bit of a side mission for me. I had requested that when they took a moose, if they could look for Hydatid cysts in the organs of their moose. It was reported, thankfully, that to their untrained eyes, none were found.

Below is a photo of the couple and their young bull moose, along with a brief caption of the event.

nanimoose

Share

Moose Season Set To Begin Monday In Northern, Eastern Areas Of Maine

AUGUSTA, Maine — After a record season for moose hunters last year, moose season begins Monday in the northern and eastern part of the state. But even though there are more permits this year than ever before, permit numbers are increasing in one area of the state, and decreasing in others.

“The increase in permit numbers may be deceiving,” said IFW moose biologist Lee Kantar, “We have increased the number of permits in the northern section of the state where the moose population is above our population goal, and have lowered the number of permits in other parts of the state where we are at or below our moose population goals.”

In all, permits have increased in five northern wildlife management districts that can support additional harvest, and permits have decreased in 12 wildlife management districts. There are 25 out of 29 wildlife management districts in the state that are open for moose hunting.

“By adjusting the number and type of permits available to hunters, we can control the moose harvest and manage population growth,” says Kantar.

Maine’s moose population is estimated at under 70,000 animals, reduced intentionally from the 76,000 it was two years ago through increased permits to hunt moose. Maine’s moose population is a valued resource, due to the high demands for both viewing and hunting. Moose population goals are derived through a public process, and different areas of the state are classified for recreational opportunity (hunting and viewing), road safety, or a compromise between the two.

Maine’s moose hunting season is divided into four separate segments. The first segment runs from September 23-28; the second from October 14-19; the third segment from November 4-9; and the fourth from November 2 through 30. This week there are 950 hunters who have permits for northern and eastern Maine during the initial week of the season.

In order to assess and monitor moose population health and growth, the department is once again asking cow moose hunters during the November season who are hunting in Northern Maine (WMDs 1-5, 7, 8) to bring the ovaries to the registration station where they tag their moose. IFW is examining the ovaries to help determine rates of pregnancy.

This information, coupled with the information on harvested bull and cow age structure obtained from moose teeth that are collected at moose registration stations are combined with our aerial surveys to give the department a more complete picture of the status of the moose population.

Share

Applications for the 2013 Maine Moose Permit Lottery now are being accepted.

The deadline for online applications is May 14, 2013.

If you applied for a moose permit last year or the year before, all of your information is pre-filled into this year’s online application. To start, type in your first name, last name and date of birth the same way as in 2012 or 2011. The computer will look up your information. Please review your personal data and make any necessary changes. It’s easy!

Once you’ve filled out and paid for your application, you’ll be able to print out a confirmation page. An email confirmation will also be sent to you.

Permit winners and their subpermittees will be able to hunt in one of the department’s 25 wildlife management districts (WMD’s), which cover more than 21,000 square miles.

Legislative changes put into effect last year have given long-time lottery applicants who have never won a permit a better chance at winning.

Bonus points are awarded for each consecutive year the applicant has applied for the lottery since 1998 without being selected and each bonus point gives the applicant an additional chance in the drawing.

Bonus points are earned at the rate of one per year for years one to five, two per year for years six to 10, three per year for years 11 to 15 and 10 per year for years 16 and beyond.

Starting in 2011, applicants can skip a year and not lose their bonus points. So if you applied in 2011 but not in 2012, you still have your points if you apply in 2013.

GOOD LUCK and Safe Hunting!

Best wishes,
Your Friends at the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife

Apply HERE!

Share

Maine Needs a Better System to Share Game Harvest Data

*Scroll Down for an Update*

*Editor’s Note* Below is a copy of a document that I just emailed to Maine’s Governor Paul LePage and Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife commissioner, Chandler Woodcock. It is no secret that I and many other hunters are displeased that we should have to wait 3 or 4 months after the close of deer, bear, moose seasons to get any information on harvest numbers – and how about a turkey harvest? Most all other states provide rapid, and in some cases, real time harvest data. I took the time, with some help from some of my friends, to craft a plan that I think will work, if nothing more than providing a starting point.

We live in an ever-changing world of technology and it is a reasonable request to have more timely access to this data. If you agree, let Mr. LePage and Mr. Woodcock know. I would like your support.

A Plan to Create More Timely Game Harvest Numbers and Data

It is my sincere belief that hunters want and would appreciate a more timely report on the deer/bear/turkey/moose harvest numbers during and immediately after the season has closed. In the last several years, deer harvest reports are not made available to anyone until at least March and sometimes April; bear and moose harvest information takes longer than that.

For comparison, I include a small sampling of how other states do their registering/tagging. Please not that all of these states listed are able to provide near real time harvest numbers at any point during the deer hunting season.

Ohio – mandatory reporting, done either by telephone, online or by visiting a licensing agent. I believe this year is the first year that Ohio has fully eliminated a visit to a tagging station.
Nebraska – Uses a combination of tagging stations and telephone registering.
Kentucky – Uses a “Telecheck” harvest reporting system. Fully automated and provides real time information.
Wisconsin – Uses a system very similar to Maine’s current system but still can provide harvest data within 2 days.
Iowa – Mandatory reporting by either online, telephone or at licensing agent.
*Note – In those states that that still use tagging stations, it is my understanding that the fish and game departments require the tagging agents to submit harvest data daily or weekly.

Below I have suggestions on how Maine might be able to accomplish faster harvest information and at the same time collect better data.

Please understand that I’m not suggesting an end to the gathering of important data used for deer management. As a matter of fact, I’m offering ways of collecting more and better data which can only help the process and provide for a better product, and this system will free up more staff time in order that more time and personnel can be utilized counting deer, checking deer yards and implementing predator control when circumstances demand it.

We live in a rapidly advancing age of technology and therefore the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) should take advantage of that, while at the same time putting some of the onus onto the sportsmen, to more positively participate in the process. This will accomplish several things, the crux of which will be a tremendous public relations benefit to MDIFW and a greater sense of ownership for the sportsmen. An achievement such as this can be a great benefit to all parties concerned.

Here are my suggestions: (Please understand also that automated telephone reporting systems as well as computer data collecting software is readily available at a low price or even perhaps free is some shopping around was done.)

Mandatory Reporting – All licensed hunters will be required to report their game take along with hunting activity and all other data desired by MDIFW. This reporting can be done Online or by telephone. Any game taken, i.e. deer, bear, turkey, moose (all currently tagged game) can be reported online or by telephone within 12 hours (or 24hrs). The reporting systems will be automated and designed to collect and compile the data provided. Vital information can be collected and processed electronically at the time of reporting. This immediate reporting will enable MDIFW to have up to date, almost real time harvest numbers to report to sportsmen and the public. At the end of the season, all licensed sportsmen will be required, within one week, to report online or by telephone, and fill out a survey. This must be done by all sportsmen whether they are successful or not. Better information can be collected that will vastly improve on the ability of wildlife managers to set seasons and bag limits, as well as better understand what is taking place in the field. This information can be collected about all aspects of hunting to gain a better and more accurate understanding of how many, how often and how many hours hunters go afield and what game they are seeking and taking.

Setting up Check Points – MDIFW gathers vital biological data at some tagging stations. I believe the same information can be collected by strategically placing check stations where hunters will be required to stop for data collection. This is done very successfully in other states; states that also have mandatory reporting.

Data Collection with Commercial Meat Processing Plants – MDIFW should continue to collect biological data from meat processing facilities.

Dealing with Non Reporters – Several states do not use a tagging system as Maine does. Instead they implement a mandatory reporting system (either required by the hunter or the tagging agent), and with pretty good success, I might add. I’ve taken the time to include only five states that do that now. See above. I’ve already pointed out the positives that can come from reporting. Mandatory or not, we will still run into a certain percentage of sportsmen who will not report, particularly those not successful in taking game or poachers who will fail to obey any laws; as the events that took place recently in Turner. There are ways to deal with this. While not wanting to appear as some heavy handed authoritative figure, full implementation of this plan is necessary for the greatest success. A suggestion might be that for those failing to complete a hunter survey, will be ineligible to buy a license the following year.

*Update – December 5, 2012 12:50* It took approximately 11 minutes to receive an email response from Commission Woodcock:

Tom,

I sincerely appreciate your efforts with this important discussion. We at IF+W, and many other sportsmen and women, have similar observations. Here at the department, have had several discussion about electronic tagging possibilities as well as reporting requirements. We are currently investigating electronic options.
I share your desire to have immediacy. It also appears that we share similar concerns.
We continue to examine the issue and I believe that there will be changes forthcoming reasonably soon. The discussion has complexities as you are well aware and we certainly need biological data.
Again, thanks. And safe travels.

Chan Woodcock

Share

1,500-Pound Bull Moose Taken in Hunt

Was this giant bull moose taken in Northern Maine, Millinockett, Greenville? Nah, Bob Condon of Soldotna, Alaska bagged this big guy. Read the whole story here.

Share

Maine’s Moose Hunt is On

This dead bull moose in the back of a pick-up truck was spotted and photographed in Greenville, Maine.


Photo by Tom Carter

Share

Maine Fish and Wildlife Funding Woes

Every governmental agency has to balance revenue with expenditures……well, “any responsible government agency” – and that phrase in quotations is truly an oxymoron. The State of Maine suffers many of the same problems as other states in outspending the revenue coming in. So what does a fish and game department do?

In this instance it must be recognized that just about every state in this country is struggling with budget issues. Much of the reason is simply a lack of tax generated revenue that isn’t meeting the desires to spend money.

However, the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) doesn’t get it’s funding from general taxation. While some of its funds come from taxes on sporting goods-related products and services, the bulk comes from the collection of licensing and registration fees from users. So why should there be a shortage of revenue or overspending?

One of the reasons I have written about extensively over the years – too many non game programs being run by the MDIFW using sportsman’s money to pay for them. So, this is clearly one avenue in which the State and MDIFW can work to correct. Perhaps it is time to pay for all non game programs with general taxation and/or user fees for those that generally play for free. This effort would require budget rewrites and cuts or tax increases for other departments that would pay for the programs and services.

As they would say in Maine, I’m a “wicked” fiscal conservative. I don’t believe in throwing money at a problem and hope it fixes it. In trying economic times, as we are facing today, Maine sportsmen, citizens and all government agencies have to “suck it up”, as the saying goes. This requires making unpopular decisions by making short term decisions that will play well into long term planning.

George Smith, former executive direction for the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine (SAM), writes on his blog today that MDIFW is short $900,000 with 5 months remaining in this current budget period. He also writes that MDIFW has $1.2 million in its “reserve” account and some are hollering to use that money to meet the demands of MDIFW.

Smith also writes in his Downeast Magazine blog that: “Two weeks ago the agency’s John Pratte told the committee the deer plan needed an additional $650,000 per year to be fully implemented. Some legislators appear ready to say to DIF&W Commissioner Chandler Woodcock: ok, go for it. Take that $650,000 out of your surplus and show us what you can do.” Is using up that surplus money to implement the Deer Plan what Maine should do? Or, use it for other needs within the department?

Whoa, is the cry in demanding some kind of fiscal responsibility, including transparency, from any government agency but there is one very clear thing that is too easily forgotten these days; keeping the license buyers and fee payers happy. After all, they are the biggest source of revenue and the ones with the real investment here.

While we can all harp and debate about how efficiently and effectively MDIFW spends the money it has, that department needs desperately to convince its investors that they are wise stewards of our money. Without that, all the rest is simply a practice in futility.

I ask, when was the last time any MDIFW administration went out of their way to convince the stakeholders, i.e. the revenue generators, that their money is being wisely invested?

Getting the MDIFW house in order is only one aspect of the formula for responsible management. If MDIFW can convince fee payers their existence means something and the majority of the focus is put back on providing opportunities, the department would be on the way to curing the revenue stream.

Don’t get me wrong. It isn’t that easy but it certainly would go a long way.

To increase revenue, there has to be satisfied users of the resources. If the hunting and fishing resources stink, it only stands to reason license sales will drop, and of course that means a reduction in revenue. The above suggestion of making the sportsmen happy will go a long way toward the start of rebuilding more license buyers.

Let’s face it. The only way you can sell hunting licenses is to have ample opportunities to hunt game or fish for fish, etc. The lousy deer herd has certainly cut into license sales and will continue to do so until things change.

But there are things MDIFW can do for the short term that would bolster license sales. Staring the state squarely in the face are two huge opportunities for both hunters and the MDIFW. Maine has probably the largest black bear population of any state in the Union. It was also recently announced by Lee Kantar, MDIFW head deer and moose biologist, that the moose population has grown to 75,000 or more. MDIFW needs to jump all over these two situations and accomplish two things. 1.) Provide more hunting opportunities for hunters, both in state and out of state, and 2.) Increased opportunities directly relates to increase revenue. This would help pick up the slack of a current $900,000 shortfall.

Maine must not just jump at the opportunity to grab all or some of the $1.2 million surplus without being responsible. It’s simple really: 1.) MDIFW and sportsmen need to back off on the demands for money at a time when all departments need to tighten their belts. 2.) MDIFW needs to convince license and fee buyers it is THEIR interest that is being guarded and protected and prove to them that they really have no place else to cut spending. 3.) Work toward finding how structurally to provide funding for non game programs through other departments and/or user fees for the free loaders. 4.) Take advantage of the very large bear and moose populations and provide opportunities NOW. That will give a short term increase to revenue.

If these efforts are undertaken, the short term will set the stage of long term success. I will unequivocally state that MDIFW cannot be successful and maintain a quality and responsible budget if their only attempt comes in raising fees or confiscating tax money from some place else. A quality product will yield more revenue. With continued fiscal discipline and responsibility, the result will be a well functioning fish and game department that more closely resembles the days when the sportsmen actually felt they had ownership and those “in charge” listened to them.

In closing, I might caution the efforts of some in Augusta. While the scramble is on to find money, it is prudent that in consideration of all sources of revenue, the big picture is kept in clear perspective.

Smith writes to readers that Senate President Kevin Raye has launched an effort to find other means of revenue:

In the meantime, a separate effort has been launched by Senate President Kevin Raye to find new revenue sources for DIF&W. Participating in discussions with Raye are the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine, Maine Audubon, The Nature Conservancy, and the Maine Tourism Association.

Not all of these agencies have the same goals as the sportsmen who pay the bills at MDIFW. It is their investment and any perceived desperation of lacking funds that result in seeking revenue elsewhere, should never compromise the strong Maine heritage of hunting, fishing and trapping for the mere sake of throwing more money at a problem.

Tom Remington

Share