November 21, 2019

More Money to Make Claiming Minnesota Moose Affected by Global Warming

In response to the dramatic decline of moose in northeastern Minnesota, over 100 moose were equipped with radio-collars that could alert biologists to the moose’s impending death, allowing biologists to account for the deaths of 35 calves and 19 adults.

– 16 calves (46%) were killed by wolves

– 13 calves (37%) calves died due to mother abandonment. Eleven were caused when the mothers abandoned the calve during the act of attaching the collars, 2 were abandoned later.

– 4 calves (11%) were eaten by bears

– One calf drowned and 1 calf died of unknown causes.

– Of the 19 adults, 10 (53%) were killed directly or indirectly by wolves.

Oddly given those results, biologist received a new $750,000 grant to study the effects of “global warming” on declining moose. I suspect it is politically more convenient to blame declining moose on global warming rather than to blame natural boom and busts, rebounding wolf populations, or researcher induced casualties.<<<Read More>>>

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MDIFW Will Resume Capture and Radio-Collaring Moose

Press Release from Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife:

AUGUSTA, Maine — Starting next week, The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife will take to the air in year two of an intensive five-year moose study that will provide a greater understanding of the health of Maine’s moose population, particularly factors that impact their survival and reproductive rates.

A trained crew that specializes in capturing and collaring large animals is utilizing a helicopter and launched nets to capture and collar female moose and calves in an area located in and around Jackman and Greenville (centered in Wildlife Management District 8).

“By radio-collaring moose and actively monitoring their movements, we can further understand the factors that can impact Maine’s moose population,” said IFW moose biologist Lee Kantar.

The radio collar study is just one component of the research that IFW conducts on moose. IFW also utilizes aerial flights to assess population and the composition of the moose herd. During the moose hunting season, biologists also examine teeth to determine a moose’s age, measure antler spread, monitor the number of ticks a moose carries, and examine ovaries to determine reproductive rates.

Depending on the weather, the crew plans to start next week, and they plan to capture and then collar 3 adult female moose (cows) and 35 moose that were born this past spring (calves) with GPS collars that will track and broadcast their movements to IFW biologists.

This is the second year that the crew from Aero Tech, Inc. will work in Maine capturing and collaring moose. Aero Tech specializes in this type of capture and collaring, and is currently performing a similar job in New Hampshire. The crew, based out of New Mexico, consists of a team of four, with each having a specialized role in the process.

Prior to their arrival, Kantar and several other IFW biologists will fly and scout different areas of WMD 8 in order to locate cow-calf groups. This pre-capture scouting worked very well last year by providing GPS coordinates to Aero Tech pilots who were able to fly to these areas, and capture and collar moose with an increased efficiency that decreases their time in the air, and the number of days they fly.

Last year, the department collared 30 adult cows and 30 calves.

Once collared, the GPS-enabled collars transmit twice a day, providing biologists the ability to track moose movements. The GPS collars are expected to transmit movement signals for four years. If there is no movement for a certain period of time, the collar transmits a mortality signal, and biologists will then travel by foot to investigate the cause of death.

“Once we receive a mortality signal, we locate the dead moose within 24 hours,” said Kantar. Biologists conduct an extensive field necropsy on each moose, taking blood, tissue and fecal samples that will later be analyzed by the University of Maine-Animal Health Lab as well as other specialized diagnostic facilities,.

This is the second year of the monitoring study. Additional moose and calves will be captured and collared next year.

“This project is just one component of the Department’s multi-faceted moose management system. It provides us with another important tool to ensure we have the most relevant data needed to manage our moose population,” said Kantar.

Upon locating fresh footprints in the snow along the railroad tracks near Wilson Street, Penobscot County Deputy Ryan Allen deployed his K9, Dozer, on the track. Approximately 1.5 hours and nearly two miles later, Deputy Allen located Webb in a large piece of woods between Wilson Street and Bagaduce Road. Webb was very cold, disoriented and not dressed for the extreme cold weather. Maine Game Wardens responded with an ATV and 4-wheel drive trucks to remove Webb from the woods. Capital Ambulance transported him to St. Joseph’s Hospital to be treated for a substantially decreased core body temperature.

Lt. Dan Scott of the Maine Warden Service attributed the quick thinking and teamwork of the first responding units to saving the man’s life. Lt. Scott commented, “With temperatures hovering around zero and wind-chills near -15 below, the man would likely not have survived a night in the woods.” The Maine Warden Service reminds us that hypothermia can set in very rapidly in the extreme temperatures we have been experiencing. People should monitor themselves and especially young children for the signs of frostbite and hypothermia. Anyone recreating outdoors should dress accordingly, take a friend, and tell someone where they plan to go and when they plan to return.

MooseCollaring

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A Collection of Moose Parts Doesn’t Necessarily Mean Moose Expert

Found in the Stowe, Vt. Stow Today, we read: “If you want a walking Wikipedia of the moose, not to mention the threats that assail it, then Alexander is your man.

In his jam-packed office in St. Johnsbury, he has vials of moose ovaries and ticks in all life stages, boxes of jawbones and antlers, teeth and other items that he brings on show-and-tells. He has every chart imaginable, from a tally of the just-finished hunt this year — he’s counted 147 so far, about as predicted — to how many moose have been killed by hunters since seasons began in 1999: about 6,150.”

Does collecting parts and pieces make for the “best” expert on moose? Just because a person has the largest automobile junkyard in the state doesn’t make them an expert auto mechanic necessarily.

Here are some issues not being addressed honestly which renders this article without a great deal of credibility. The first claim is that Vermont’s moose is in trouble. Is it? Is the moose in trouble because the state cannot maintain enough moose to satisfy all those interested in having more moose? When fish and game departments became fish and wildlife departments and decided decisions on wildlife management would be based mostly on the social demands of the public, the moose population has shown signs of fluctuation. Because it’s in a downward trend in some places, it is easy to claim the moose is in trouble and find nonsense issues to blame it on.

This article blames the decline of moose in Vermont on three issues: Brainworm, Winter Tick and Climate Change (global warming). Global warming is really a non starter because facts show us that the “climate” hasn’t warmed for at least a decade and yet those who make money from repeating the lies about climate change, beat the drum of unsubstantiated conclusions and predictions about global warming. If we listened to the “experts” we would have all been dead by now. It’s time to move on. Most of the world is very sick and tired of the bovine excrement surrounding the idiocy of man-caused global warming.

On the same token, it’s easy to blame the presence of winter ticks on global warming. This is done, for political reasons only as it appears even the so-called experts don’t even understand the simple life-cycle of the winter tick.

Left out of the discussion of moose management is whether or not attempting to create a moose population large enough to make money from selling moose hunting licenses and satisfy the social demands of those interested in driving around in climate-controlled cars observing moose, is the best scientific approach to managing a healthy moose herd. I contend it probably is not.

A couple of short years ago Maine bragged that their moose population might exceed 90,000; like that was a good thing. Is Maine really capable of sustaining 90,000 moose? Evidently not, because all indications are that the moose has realized significant die-offs, mostly due to winter ticks. Don’t any of these biologists think that perhaps 90,000 moose are too many and due to that fact alone, contributed to and/or is 100% responsible for the overwhelming presence of winter ticks? This in turn, created that “balance” few in this world understand is how Mother Nature does things. Isn’t this Biology 101? Too many animals breeds disease. Disease causes die-offs. If all things remained the same, except the outbreak of winter ticks continued to kill moose, doesn’t it make sense that once the moose are substantially reduced, we will be witness to a die-off of winter ticks? Is so, moose numbers will return and if allowed to return to the same high numbers, the up and down, unstable cycle of population changes will persist.

What good are we doing our moose populations when we parrot the nonsense of global warming and blame everything on this fake occurrence? In addition, because real science has been tossed out the window, in exchange for Post-Normal, or Romance science, states with moose might be attempting to provide more moose than the complete carrying capacity will allow. After all, carrying capacity is more than just food and forests.

So long as these romance writers, writing about romance scientists, persists, we cannot expect any substantial, effective and long lasting, real knowledge to be gained that creates a positive environment for real wildlife management.

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Is the Answer to All Game Issues to Punish the Sportsman?

MooseTicksPity the person who read Deirdre Fleming’s article in the Portland Press Herald on Saturday. Saturday was the annual moose lottery drawing event, this year held in Presque Isle, Maine and I believe the article was a lead-in to this event. However, the article appears to be an attempt at placing the moose in all of the United States in peril due to winter ticks, weather, presence of man, climate change, starvation, climate change, more starvation, climate change; oh and did I mention global warming?

And not one single word about predators having an effect on moose populations. Not one! More proof the predator must be protected at all costs because a protected predator population will result in the demise of hunting.

For anyone reading the article, more than likely they went away confused due to all the contradictions presented from information provided by some state and provincial wildlife representatives and some guides or other non professional wildlife personnel. More importantly the reader probably left with crap in their head about anything of importance as to why it appears the moose is probably going through a cyclical population swing. Isn’t this more proof wildlife managers don’t really know that much about what effects moose populations and all attempts to regulate numbers falls back onto the sportsmen who fund the programs to manage game species like the moose…..even if the management methods are wrong?

It is like a broken record, reading article after article, after article about how global warming is the root cause of all lousy wildlife management, or lack thereof, plans and implementation. When an arrogant and ignorant, politically minded, puppet president, Barack Obama, delivers a commencement address and chooses to destroy the event of many of the graduates, speaking about climate change and how it is “proven” science, lie, lie, lie, lie, how can we ever hope that anyone will actually get it, even to the point of having enough intestinal fortitude to at least ask a question or two?

And what has happened to any sense of logical thinking? All the talk is about those damned winter ticks and how they are killing off all the moose. And what’s doubly frustrating is that very few, if any, people have a clue about winter ticks. What happens with winter ticks and the media is the same as what happens to every news event of any kind worldwide; one person repeats something they heard and it just gets passed on with never a media person or even wildlife manager taking the time to vet the information to discover truth. Truth be damned! Knowledge be damned!

Maybe Maine’s Lee Kantar, head moose biologist, is on the right track and will figure this all out before the moose are actually all gone in Maine and written off as the result of the BIG LIE – global warming.

Several years ago I asked Mr. Kantar about whether or not winter ticks on moose were killing the animals. His response was one that I found no reason to quibble over because at that time I also knew very little about the winter tick. He told me that ticks will not, by themselves, kill a moose, but the effects of the ticks throughout the winter, would leave a moose in a weakened stage and more susceptible to the throes of harsh Maine winters and predation. It wasn’t too long and that position morphed into one of more ticks on moose are causing increased deaths of moose. In addition, Kantar said that Maine was not as susceptible to the winter tick in Northern Maine because of a colder climate than Vermont or New Hampshire. Now he’s saying he’s not sure of that either. At least it appears he is willing to change his position as he gains knowledge.

Maine has decided to reduce the number of moose permits for the upcoming hunting season. The reason given is that wildlife biologists believe that the moose population in Maine has taken a hard hit. Logic would tells us, if it is true that the population of moose has shrunk, that the number of permits issued should be reduced. It’s always the hunter that bears the brunt when it comes to population controls for game animals…..with few complaints I might add. But in this case is this the right thing to do?

The first problem that Maine is facing, as are other states doing the same thing, is that too much emphasis is being placed on managing wildlife, including game species, according to social demands. Nothing could be worse for animal populations than to control them due to the desires of the public to “view” wildlife, mostly from the comfort of climate-controlled vehicles. This is quite absurd, and yet there is never any talk of how this might be affecting our animal health and populations.

The second problem is Maine and some other states may be looking at this issue with moose and ticks the wrong way. We are being told that Maine has monitored, or perhaps better described as, have been aware, of winter ticks on moose as early as the 1930s. I’m sure the ticks have been around since forever. It appears Maine, according to other reports, has been monitoring ticks on moose since 2006. This past year appears to have been a record tick year.

According to the Portland Press Herald article linked to above, Mark Latti says that Maine’s moose population spiked up to 76,000 animals in 2012. In the grand scheme of things, it was not that many years ago when moose were protected and feared on the brink of extirpation in Maine. So what changed? Well, the protection helped but due to an outbreak of spruce budworm, enormous amounts of clear-cutting of forests took place, resulting in prime moose habitat.

Isn’t it a logical conclusion, or at least shouldn’t it prompt a question, that along with the increase in moose numbers, we watched the tick population grow as well? There must be a correlation and yet mum seems to be the word. With the exception of a rogue comment here and there that there needs to be fewer moose in order to reduce tick infestation, nobody is talking about or asking about this seemingly logical conclusion.

Instead, all the focus wants to be on fake global warming nonsense. Nonsense because every single dire prediction that has been made since this “inconvenient truth” was dumped on the citizenry by greedy, politically-minded dupes, has NOT come to fruition. And yet we beat Al Gore’s drum for him. We blame everything on global warming and the result becomes that we don’t find the scientific truth in anything, including the correlation between moose and tick.

But there seems to be some hope coming out of Vermont. In Fleming’s article, Vermont’s Director of Wildlife for the Fish and Wildlife Department said his state increased the number of moose permits in order to reduce the effects of winter ticks.

A decade ago, Vermont biologists increased moose hunting permits to reduce the population because they believe that a smaller moose herd – now estimated at 2,300 statewide – is less susceptible to the parasite.

The habit has always been when numbers are down, reduce hunting opportunity to bring the numbers back up. As I have pointed out, one of the problems with this plan is that too much emphasis is being put on social demands rather than scientific reality. All wildlife should be managed at healthy levels. It appears common sense to me that 76,000 or more moose in the State of Maine are too many and thus, the result is a very unhealthy moose herd, suffering from the effects of winter tick infestation. Moose are suffering, inhumanely perhaps, and unnecessarily. Shouldn’t we then be considering increasing the number of moose permits in order to reduce populations which will reduce the presence of ticks? In addition, let’s get away from the notion of building wildlife numbers to artificially high numbers in order to provide lazy people with a chance to spot a wild animal.

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Is Socialized Wildlife Management Killing Maine’s Moose?

MooseTickMap*Editor’s Note*: Below I have republished an article I wrote in February of 2012 called, “Are Winter Ticks Killing Maine’s Moose Population?” I have edited this report to update bad links and to remove some information that is not exactly that relevant to current events.

The point of republishing the article is in response to the recent announcement that the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) is going to reduce available moose permits this late summer and fall by nearly 30% due to a significant die-off of moose during the most recent winter event. The responses to this announcement are mostly based on bad information, especially coming from those who believe the increased number of ticks killing moose is attributed to “global warming”; conveniently that term has been changed to “climate change” in order to fool more people. Persisting in the mantra of climate change is dishonest at best and shows ignorance to an understanding of the life cycle of the winter moose tick and what environmental and biological conditions effect the tick.

Burying our heads in the sand and blindly following climate change as the excuse du jour is partly a product of socialized wildlife management. Socialized wildlife management began when our wildlife managers abandoned sound and scientific animal biology and replaced it with social tolerances and desires of the public in what they wanted for wildlife in their neighborhoods. This, of course, is utter nonsense and is often referred to as “Romance Biology” – that is a form of fantasy or idealistic coexistence with animals based on some mythological notion that nature will balance itself if man would just shrivel up and go away.

In addressing Maine’s moose herd, we know that over the past several years, people have clamored and whined to the state that they wanted more and more moose to “watch”; some even claiming huge money to be made with moose watching tours. But is this social demand for more moose biologically sound?

It is my theory, and I’m not alone in these thoughts, that following the attack of the spruce budworm that resulted in the clear-cutting of hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions of acres of infested forests, the resulting landscape, as the forests regenerated, made for prime moose habitat, as well as habit for the snowshoe hare which helps explain the resurgence of Canada lynx.

Maine’s moose population grew rapidly and without definite tools at the disposal of moose managers, it was only educated guesstimates used to determine what might have been a reasonable number of moose. We should have known things were growing too fast when the state had to offer moose hunting permits in some southern Wildlife Management Districts. With recent aerial counts we now have a better idea.

In the link that will appear below of work done by William Samuel about moose ticks, Samuel provides a map that shows where moose ticks appear. The map also shows the range of the moose and as most of us know the moose in Maine are at the southern end of the range. For that reason alone shouldn’t we be concerned that a moose population that has grown to an official count of 75,000, with some estimations up near 90,000, that this is not normal?

If MDIFW is going to continue to guide their wildlife management by social demands, the future and health of wildlife populations can probably expect more of disease, parasite, worms and other infestations.

As is pointed out in the republished article below, maybe instead of reducing the moose harvest to keep number artificially high, we should considering an overall reduction in population. William Samuel does say that more moose mean more ticks. After all, ticks thrive when there are a lot of hosts to suck blood from.

Are Winter Ticks Killing Maine’s Moose Population?

There seems to be a bit more information about winter ticks that I haven’t found in any Maine publications that deals more in depth with what happens in the fall when the winter tick larvae are gathering on vegetation waiting for a free ride with a host. In addition to that, while these winter ticks effect all wild ungulates, why pick on the moose so much. And, it is said that the winter ticks don’t actually kill the moose, but rarely, are we looking at an honest assessment of all factors that kill a moose weakened by tens of thousands of blood sucking ticks?

Lee Kantar says that the winter tick is a “huge contributor” to the death of some moose, he also points out that, “it’s not the sole cause”. Even on the MDIFW website [Note: the original link is no longer valid after MDIFW redesigned their website. In it’s place MDIFW links to an off-site location for information about winter ticks.], information provided about moose states that, “winter tick and lung worm infestations rarely kill moose”.

This information is supported in existing studies about moose and winter ticks. William M. Samuel and Dwight A. Welch, “Winter Ticks on Moose and Other Ungulates: Factors Influencing Their Population Size,”[Once again the original link I had on studies by William Samuel and Dwight Welch is no longer valid. The actual study now is behind a pay wall. I will provide here a link to a preview of a book with the title I’ve shown. It is in this preview where the map of where moose ticks prevail is available.] states that winter ticks (dermacentor albipictus) being the cause of death isn’t certain because, “unequivocal evidence is lacking”.

I think therefore it might be honest to conclude that the cause of death in the majority of dead moose being found in the Maine woods that are inundated with ticks, was not the tick alone. There had to have been other factors. We’ll address those in a moment.

First I think it important to better understand what takes place in the fall of the year. We have read statements from biologists and outdoor sportsmen that seem to indicate that Maine needs little snow and very cold temperatures to kill off the ticks. While that may be true it’s not the entire story in the life cycle of these ticks.

Samuel and Welch state that for there to be significant die-offs of winter ticks, you need 6 consecutive days in which the temperature does not exceed 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit. This is not the only way to kill the ticks and/or lessen the severity of ticks on moose.

During the fall months, in Maine’s climate around September and October, the winter tick larvae find their way onto vegetation. They clump together on the ends of small branches etc. These larvae can be found on vegetation just above the ground to quite high up in trees. The larvae wait until a passing, warm-bodied host, in this case a moose, passes by and then they attach themselves to the moose and the ride begins. You can read all the splendid details by reading the studies, etc.

It is during this time of year, September/October, that certain weather events can have a significant effect on how severe the tick season will become. Early cold temperatures, especially those below freezing, will greatly reduce the activity of the larvae, i.e. limiting their effectiveness of attaching themselves to the moose or even migrating up the stems of vegetation.

Early snows can bury the larvae and stiff fall winds will blow the larvae off the vegetation scattering it around and to the ground preventing the larvae from being able to find a host. The studies of Samuel and Welch, as well as others [original link can no longer be found], seem to agree that the weather events of the fall have a greater effect on tick production than hoping for enough snow and cold in winter to kill the ticks. Without a host, the larvae die.

There are other interesting things to be discovered about moose and winter ticks. For example, these winter ticks bother all wild ungulates, i.e. deer, moose, elk, etc., but most scientists will agree that it seems to be the moose that is the most effected. It is assumed that it all has to do with timing.

The aggregation of the larvae on vegetation seems to more closely fall in line with the timing of the moose mating season. During this time, moose are most active, covering greater amounts of territory than normal and male moose travel more than the females and thus explains the observation by some that it seems bull moose are more effected by the winter ticks than cows. I believe this conclusion about bull moose vs. cow moose is based on assumptive reasoning than anything concluded through scientific study.

In the Samuel/Welch study, experiments were conducted and it was determined that moose have an aversion to larvae/tick infested food. Imagine if they didn’t. If moose have an ability to smell or sense the larvae on the vegetation and in their food, it might also help to explain the claims of some and what is obvious on the ground that predators and scavengers won’t touch the dead carcass of a tick infested moose.

Studies have shown us that there can exist tens of thousands of ticks on any one moose and that this number of ticks can certainly put the moose into a weakened state. Moose are already in a weakened state just trying to survive the winters. Compound that with 50,000 ticks and the problems snowball. However, as we have learned, the ticks alone rarely kill a moose but certainly contribute to it.

When the blood sucking begins, the moose spends much of it’s time “grooming”. Studies tell us that moose that are troubled by the biting ticks do not bed down as often nor as long as non infected moose. This of course tires the animal even more.

While studies seem to be lacking on exactly what happens to the composition of the moose’s blood while all these ticks are feasting, it is honest to assume that the more female, blood sucking ticks there are on a moose, factoring also the moose’s body mass, the greater a weakened state is realized due to loss of blood.

All of these factors and more, make the moose more vulnerable to all the other elements that contribute to normal winter kill. In other words, it becomes more difficult to get enough nourishment; loss of blood and reduced winter hair makes the moose more susceptible to hypothermia; spending so much time “grooming” expends valuable energy needed for survival and with all these losses a moose certainly could not ward off attacks and harassment by predators.

This is perhaps where I’ll get ambushed but please consider the facts and possibilities. There is no denying that coyotes/wolves will harass and kill moose, deer and elk during their weakened winter states. Even though it is seen and believed to be accurate that predators and even scavengers will not touch a tick-infested moose carcass, at what point does a pack of hungry wolves/coyotes know their target is tick infested.

Some of us have been made aware through written and video accounts of how these predators take down and kill, often eating alive, their prey. We have also seen videos and photographs that document coyotes and wolves chasing down their prey. How long could a moose, weakened by normal winter strains and tick infestation, last in trying to run away from a predator attack? Not long I’m afraid. Would the moose have survived if the predator wasn’t there? There’s no way of knowing the answer to that question.

Which brings us once again back to the same point about predators. It seems that when all things within our forests are going well, little concern is given to predators and the effects they have on our game animals. When things get skewed, those populations of predators loom large over the forests and can raise some serious cane even to a point of prohibiting the rebuilding of a herd of deer or moose, in this case a herd that might be suffering some from these blasted ticks.

So, what do we do about the ticks? What can we do? In one report a gentleman suggested some kind of spraying program to kill the ticks but I’m not sure how feasible that is or if that’s something we want to pour onto our landscapes. We can’t control the weather but we can control the predators. But, is that the answer either to this exact equation?

In George Smith’s blog post yesterday, he explained that one Dr. Anthony who attended a recent information session on Maine’s moose, suggested that instead of trying to limit hunting permits for moose to protect them due to increased mortality from ticks, that killing more of the moose might be the better solution.

I’ll leave you with some questions. Feel free to chime in below in the comments section with some answers.

1. According to George Smith’s blog post I referenced above, in 2007 the estimated moose population of Maine was 45,000. Now Lee Kantar, Maine’s head deer and moose biologist claims there are 75,000 or more. Are there now too many moose in Maine which is exacerbating the tick problem?

2. If so, do we kill more moose during the moose hunt? Or do we protect more moose?

3. George Smith states that the new moose counts are, “more credible than any previous estimates”. He offers no substantive proof of his claim. Do you think the new counts are more “credible” or accurate than previous and why?

Who would have thought 35 years ago Maine would be asking if the state had too many moose?

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Maine IFW Reduces Moose Permits

*Editor’s Note* – The below press release states that the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) has opted to reduce the number of “female moose permits available” due to “the impact of winter tick.” It should be noted that hunters and other outdoor sportsmen have been saying for a few years now that ticks were one of the things killing off moose and yet what we were hearing was that Maine’s moose population had grown to where some estimated it to be approaching 100,000.

MDIFW should be commended for taking action to mitigate the moose losses. However, at the same time I cannot help but question some of the information that we are being given in this press release and other previous media reports. The release says there was a loss of 30% of female moose where normally it would be 10%. We are not told the mortality rate of male moose (assuming this includes calves). If those numbers are accurate, along with estimates of total moose populations at 75,000, combined with an estimated 1:1 ratio of males to females, 11,250 female moose died this winter (again, assuming this is total mortality). If we make the assumption that if 30% of female moose died from all effects of winter, then can we also conclude that male moose died at a rate of 30%, or higher? That would mean total winter mortality on moose stands at around 22,500 creatures. That’s serious!

Hopefully, the ongoing moose study will also provide biologists with more accurate information (that will be shared) on where the calf recruitment stands. If that number is below sustainable levels, Maine has a very serious moose issue, which helps to explain why Lee Kantar and company recommended a reduction in cow moose permits by 1,015.

Let’s not lose track of the fact of the mixed messages that have been coming out of MDIFW during this long, difficult winter. First of note is that Kyle Ravana, MDIFW’s new head deer biologist, said in late March that he estimated the winter mortality on deer to be 12%. Can we even take that estimate seriously considering Kantar’s estimate of 30% moose loss? Granted ticks don’t bother deer like moose but if those numbers are accurate then perhaps Maine’s tick problem is more of a problem than we are being told….or it’s something else.

Second mixed message deals with a claim that was made by Lee Kantar and reported on the WCSHTV website back on May 2, that the Maine population “was holding steady.” That was qualified with a “however” however. The however being that Kantar “suspects” the new and ongoing moose study will reveal a lower than expected calf recruitment. Why and how does this, if at all, contribute to a 30% winter mortality on moose? MDIFW appears to be doing a lousy job of getting information out to the public in any kind of accurate and consistent fashion. Get it? On May 2 we are told the moose population is holding steady but calf recruitment may be a concern. on May 9, we are told the moose population was cut by 30% and a substantial reduction in moose permits is forthcoming. In seven days all this was discovered? It makes little sense.

Who are we then to believe and why?

And on a related note, it appears that this past winter was one of those winters that all the wildlife managers have been asking for to reduce the population of winter ticks. It will be of great interest to me to learn just how much effect it will have. The excuse has always been global warming and with that excuse the lamentation that “what we need are some old fashioned winters with cold temperatures and heavy snow to kill off the ticks,” has bounced around in the echo chamber for years. WE SHALL SEE!

AUGUSTA, Maine — Due to a peak year for winter ticks and their impact on the moose population this winter, the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife is reducing the number of moose permits available to hunters this fall.

Earlier today, The IFW’s advisory council accepted the department’s recommendation to reduce the number of moose permits available for the 2014 season. This fall, the department will issue 3,095 permits statewide, down from the 4,110 that were available last year.

“Based upon the research of our biologists, I feel it is prudent to decrease the number of female moose permits available,” said IFW Commissioner Chandler Woodcock. “Decreasing the amount of permits will help lessen the impact of winter tick on the state’s moose population.”

In particular, the department decreased the number of antlerless only permits that are available to hunters. Antlerless only permits were decreased in wildlife management Districts 1-5, 7-9 and 12-13. This is the northern and northwestern part of Maine, including the northern portions of Oxford, Franklin, Somerset, Piscataquis, Penobscot and Aroostook Counties.

Winter ticks have been documented in Maine since the 1930s. Periodically, there are peak years when the number of ticks increase substantially.

Each year, IFW biologists sample moose for winter tick densities at moose registration stations during the moose hunt. This past fall, biologists noted one of the highest tick counts in the past 10 years.

In making the recommendation to reduce permits, IFW biologists also used data from the radio collar moose study that is ongoing. Early data from the study shows that there was about a 30 percent mortality rate for adult females, which is above the average 10 percent winter mortality rate for female moose.

IFW wildlife biologists have also documented a number of moose winter kills throughout the state. Many of the moose carcasses are engorged with winter ticks, and some are practically bare of hair as they have tried to rub the ticks off.

“Maine has had winter tick for decades, and Maine’s moose population has encountered peak tick years before, as they happen periodically,” said IFW moose biologist Lee Kantar. “Even with the increase in ticks this year, by decreasing the number of antlerless permits available, we can continue to meet our population objectives for moose.”

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New Hampshire Tracks Moose

Warning! This video contains BS, unproven theories and oddly enough a bit of hope that New Hampshire moose biologists are approaching their jobs with the right attitude. I know. Sorry. I lost my mind for a minute.

New Hampshire is complaining about as much as a 40% drop in moose numbers “in some places” as it says in this PBS video, but doesn’t tell us the truth of what that means. As difficult as it was for the makers of this film to have to hear the New Hampshire biologist say their primary focus right now on moose mortality is the tick, it inevitably had to come back to global warming, even to the point of one man seeding signatures for a petition to urge the President to do something about carbon dioxide.

It appears obvious those in this video no little about the winter moose tick. While researchers can determine that ticks led to the death of moose, I believe they are just going on the assumption from what they have been fed for information that global warming is causing an increase in ticks. Warmer temperatures and snow, it says in this video plays into the hands of the ticks. But does it?

However, N.H. bios, it is said in the video, are going to allow science to determine what’s going on. Really? I hope so because it would be a first.

In the meantime, Maine is also collaring moose and tracking them in hopes of learning more about their moose, however, biologists there say the moose herd is doing well. In Minnesota, researchers are still saying they don’t know why moose are disappearing there and from last reports I have had they still refuse to consider a very large wolf population as a seriously contributing factor.

Oh, well. So long as these agencies keep getting money to research and never find solutions that would end the need for research, what else are we expecting for an outcome?

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Minnesota Found E.G. in Moose in 1971 Knew Then Recruitment Non Sustainable

Image3290I must commend our good friend and ever vigilante researcher, Will Graves, for digging up a report containing data and other information from a report filed after the conclusion of a Minnesota moose hunt in 1971. It was reported that this moose hunt was the first allowed in 49 years in that state. The full report can be found at this link.

I suppose the first thing to note is the simple fact Echinococcus granulosus was found in the lungs of moose. As is a terrific way for biologists to collect data, mandatory check-ins by hunters provided opportunity for biologists to retrieve samples for testing. In addition to the taking of samples at the check stations, hunters were required to reveal the location of their moose kills in order that scientists could visit the site and retrieve more information from gut piles.

Over the past 6 or 8 years, there has been much discussion, at least in certain corners of the country, about the fact that wild canines, specifically being discussed are wolves, are the host species of the tapeworm Echinococcus granulosus. Tiny eggs embedded in and deposited all over the landscape through wolf scat, presents a situation in which wild ungulates, such as deer, elk and moose, while grazing, ingest these eggs. As part of the cycle, hydatid cysts can form in organs throughout the body. Perhaps the most common being the lungs, but also found in the liver, heart and brain. This is what was found in Minnesota.

Humans can also ingest these eggs, the result of which could be fatal. Hydatid cysts in humans is difficult, at best to detect, and perhaps even more so to treat. The greatest threat of humans contracting this disease is probably through contact with the domestic dogs, particularly those that live indoor and outdoor. While outdoors, family dogs can eat infected carrion and/or get the eggs onto their fur and in and around the mouths. Family dogs can be part of the cycle and if not properly de-wormed, can pose a very serious threat to members of the family who live with the dog. Imagine what is happening to you or your child, in the home, when the dog licks your hand or your child’s face.

The point of all this is to state that when some of us, being led by Will Graves, researcher and author of Wolves in Russia: Anxiety Through the Ages and co-author of The Real Wolf, along with George Dovel, editor of the Outdoorsman, Dr. Valerius Geist, professor emeritus University of Calgary, Dr. Delane Kritsky, noted parasitologist at Idaho State University, et. al., took to cyberspace and beyond to get the message out about Echinococcus granulosus, we were all told it didn’t exist and any talk of threats to humans was exaggerated and nothing to be concern with.

And now we discover that biologists in Minnesota over 40 years ago had discovered the presence of E.g. in moose in Minnesota. However, there is much more to this report that Will Graves has unearthed for us.

The moose hunt in Minnesota in 1971 took place in two regions of the state. (Please see map in linked-to report.) The two zones were separated by perhaps 100 miles. One zone located in and identified in the report as the Northeast and one zone in the Northwest. It is here stated that Echinocossus granulosus was “common in the northeast” and not so much in the northwest.

Fascioloides magna was the parasite in the northwest, while Taenia spp. and Echinococcus granulosus were common in the northeast.

I also find it interesting that with today’s prevalence of denial of the presence or risk of threat from Echinococcus granulosus, that biologists in 1971 were, along with other parasites, looking for Echinococcus granulosus. If it was something not of interest, why were they looking for it? Do you suppose over 40 years ago, scientists suspected, with the presence of wolves, moose might be infected?

Field crews investigated as many kill sites as possible. Lungs were examined for the presence of Hydatid cysts (Echinococcus granulosus) and lungworms (Dictyocaulus app.).

The biologists at the time where making the same examinations and taking the same samples from moose harvested in both the Northwest and Northeast hunting zones. What they found when comparing data between the two zones is tell-tale.

The Northeast zone, “carried larger loads of Echinococcus granulosus.” As a matter of fact, a considerably larger load. In the Northeast zone it was found that 60% of the moose carried Echinococcus granulosus. In the Northwest zone, only 10%. There must be an explanation.

The incidence of E. granulosus and Taenia spp. in the northeast is evidence of a higher timber wolf (Canis lupus) population in this part of the state.

43 years ago, wildlife biologists in Minnesota were willing to acknowledge that the higher the concentrations of wolves produced a higher incidence of Echinococcus granulosus in moose. It’s remarkable in a way, when we consider the deliberate roadblocks being constructed by some to prohibit any serious discussions and the educating of the public about this issue of Echinococcus granulosus and the potential threat it can have on humans.

But this isn’t all.

Most of us know that Minnesota is claiming that they don’t have understanding as to why the moose herd in that state is on a serious decline. Some want to blame it all on climate change, the collect-all excuse for everything these days, and a convenient means of covering up incompetence and political agendas. While the distractions and excuses continue to mount, it is my belief that officials in Minnesota pretty much have a distinct reasons and the proof of the beginnings of what has become, or soon will be, a predator pit and an unsustainable moose herd.

This report of 1971 clearly tells anybody interested in truth and facts that in the Northeast zone, where wolves were highly prevalent, the moose recruitment rate stood at such low levels, it would be only a matter of time before the moose would be gone.

Data from the aerial census and classification counts indicate a net productivity of 30-35% in the northwest and 9-15% in the northeast. This indicates a difference is occurring in the survival rate of calves in their first six months of life between the two areas. Area differences in nutrition, predation and parasitism may be responsible for these observed differences in net productivity.

If memory serves me correctly, in 1971 the United States was at the beginning stages of the fake “global cooling” flim-flam, but there was no talk and presentation of excuses as to how a planet, that was going to crumble and crack into millions of pieces due to cold, was responsible for a moose calf recruitment rate in Northeast Minnesota that anyone knew to be unsustainable.

With the environmentalists, which include the ignorant predator protectors and animal rights totalitarians, who want to create what they are attempting to coin as a “new understanding and a paradigm shift” about wolves and other predators, no longer to them are facts, history, real science or common sense anything worth considering. And that is the bottom line truth of what we are dealing with.

Tried and proven wildlife management, even the very basics, tells us that if there is not a high enough survival rate among the new born of any creature, to replace all other mortality, the species will not survive, at least in any sense of healthfulness. Instead, hidden behind other agendas, people want to replace this with “new understandings” and “shifting paradigms.”

Searching for “new understandings and paradigms” Minnesota is looking everywhere for the answer that stares them in the face. Wolves spread disease and devastate games herds and all wildlife and yet the “new understanding” is trying to tell us about trophic cascades and how the wolf creates nirvana.

Oh my God! We’ve actually come to this?

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Are Maine’s Biologists Ignoring Declining Moose Population?

Cecil Gray, among other colorful adjectives, is a mouthy sort, most of the time out of step with reality, forcing most outdoor sportsmen to basically take on the Maine black fly avoidance method of ignoring hoping they will go away. As I muster up a big gulp (swallowing a bit of pride and realizing I might face some peer ridicule), I wonder if THE Cecil Gray has a legitimate gripe that moose in Maine are on decline?

Based on my personal experiences, the mid-state area and the southern tier of the North Woods have suffered losses for a decade, and that loss has been — and still is — ignored by our state wildlife agency.

Gray further goes on to make the following statement, of which I do concur and have cried foul for many years that most all state fish and game departments ignore boots-on-the-ground feedback from outdoor people.

Before people cry “armchair biologist,” let me say that there is no greater experiment than long-term witness. From Calais to Jackman, woodcutters, truckers, fishermen on remote ponds, hunters, guides, tourists, camp owners, people who fly on a daily basis and professional photographers will tell you that they do not see nearly as many moose as they used to.

And for me to be honest, I would have to also state that most outdoors people that I talk with tell me pretty much the same thing – that is that the moose population has shrunk or is shrinking. Most everything that Gray presents for reasons and other rogue “facts” is mostly dishonest moose drool, but he just might have a solid argument when it comes to what the actual population of the moose herd is.

In discussions about moose numbers that I have been a part of, hunters will tell me also that there aren’t as many moose as they used to see. That claim may be very factual. But consider this if you can. To make such a claim, one has to base the difference on something. It’s simple to claim I don’t see as many moose as I used to. But can that same person claim the population guesstimate of 70,000 moose is too high or too low?

If nobody ever knew and will never know exactly how many moose there actually are, then all we can do is presume that what I saw for moose when the population was 50,000, isn’t the same as what it is at 70,000. This conjures up a few questions. If, at the conclusion of the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife’s (MDIFW) moose study and further years of aerial moose surveys, the head moose biologist states the moose population at 100,000 or 20,000, or anything in between, who is going to accept that and what will it do to each one of us in our thinking about our own moose observation? Can we then honestly conclude that management practices to date, including the allotment of moose permits, is wrong or right?

Is the moose population in Maine dropping as Gray and other outdoor enthusiasts are claiming? Gray calls for a reduction in the number of moose permits allotted. That would be a good call IF his assertion that moose numbers are shrinking is scientifically substantiated. And therein, might lie the rub.

There are two things (at least) to consider. One is the bastardization of science. It’s gotten so bad in places little trust can be placed with scientists. This has reared its ugly head in Minnesota and other states, particularly those near to the Yellowstone National Park ecosystem where moose numbers present a problem.

The other issue, while I don’t know that it has an official name, I call it the delayed wildlife management conundrum. As I have discovered over the years in this field of work, there is a 3-5 year lapse, where what is happening on the ground, is not substantiated by the scientific management effort for at least a 3-5 years period. I say “at least” because I have seen it last far longer.

Maine is just now undertaking their own moose study in hopes of determining if there is a population decline and if so, what is causing it. Honest and good science will give us that answer. Agenda-driven, greedy and fake science will only give us the same dishonest and unproven drool we’ve heard for years.

Pretending it will be a legitimate study, one has to wonder if there really is a shortage of moose and moose tags aren’t reduced and other things implemented to mitigate losses, what will the condition of the herd be at the end of the moose study? And who will believe it?

Gray claims that aerial counts of moose are, “not the most scientific way possible to determine what’s actually happening on the ground.” That may be true, but for the money it certainly gives us a better idea as to whether game numbers match the numbers achieved from algorithmic formulas used for years. The only gripe I’ve had about aerial flyover counting is the lack of experience in conducting the counts. But with each successive year counting is done, I hope somebody is learning something.

The system in place is far from perfect and I will side with Mr. Gray to say that I wish the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW), would open up their lines of communication and put more stock in what boots-on-the-ground are telling them. At the same time, sportsmen can take an extra minute to help answer question MDIFW might be asking to better help them do their job.

To support the idea of taking more seriously what those with years of experience observe in the forest and fields, here is a pictorial essay of what is and has taken place in and around the Bingham, Maine area. This is part of the region of Maine Cecil Gray spoke of in his article; “the mid-state area and the southern tier of the North Woods have suffered losses for a decade.”

The author and photographer of the following photos, had this to say:

I have hunted the Bingham area (Cecil makes a living there) for quite awhile. I think that the Moose population thereabouts peaked a decade, or more, ago. Moose sign has declined by a great deal and we see few Moose on the hoof. We have found lots of Moose dead or Moose parts strewed about as left by poachers. The elevated Moose count may be a lot of bull (as in Moose).

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Maine and New Hampshire Moose Populations Uncertain?

For many years now I have wondered what good wild ungulate management does when it appears to be at least 3 years, and probably closer to 5 years, behind boots on the ground reality. I think much of this blame can be put on “modern technology” and computer modeling, as well as a driving impulse to gather mass amounts of data and then take up to a year or more to analyze it and come up with conclusions. In the meantime, real life is passing by.

Computer modeling has proven itself to be useless, that is, unless one is searching for outcome-based results that fits a narrative and more importantly can be used to prostitute money for “the cause.” And what good, really, is all the time and money spent collecting data when by the time it’s all collected and analyzed so many things have changed on the ground, the data becomes mostly outdated and useless?

But none of this matters much at all if we are dealing with fish and game agencies who refuse to consider all factors that effect the task of managing game populations at “healthy” levels.

If we were to listen to the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW), Maine moose population is robust and growing, with an estimated population of at least 75,000 critters. Really? Some Maine writers and sportsmen are screaming for the state to give out more moose permits. Perhaps that demand is coming a bit too late.

I contend that perhaps 3-5 years ago, Maine had as many as 75,000 moose but a combination of winter ticks and calf predation by too large populations of black bears and wolf/coyote hybrids, has knocked those numbers down considerably. Boots on the ground consensus everywhere in Maine tells us this to be so. The problem is MDIFW hasn’t caught up with that fact and/or they refuse to consider it because it doesn’t agree with their deathly slow methods of data collecting and plugging that data into fancy algorithms to achieve results. It’s not that the data isn’t necessary or valuable, it’s just things happen faster than collection and calculation and that fact isn’t necessarily being considered.

In New Hampshire, authorities there are “setting the record straight” on the status of their moose. New Hampshire says their moose population is dwindling. Is their’s dwindling while Maine’s is growing?

New Hampshire says that moose ticks and brainworm are having effects on the moose. Authorities say in some regions, New Hamshire is “being hit with the double whammy of both winter tick and brainworm.” They at least admit its a problem but not the only problem. But what’s difficult in the debate about winter moose ticks is the lack of scientific understanding of the tick. It seems just about every so-called, wildlife biologist, simply links increased winter ticks with climate change and that’s not true. But why let scientific research on ticks get in the way of a perfectly good agenda?

It is my opinion that one problem N.H. has is how they determine at what population to target as a manageable moose herd.

The public set the goals for the moose population through a public participation process.

You might need to go back and read that again. While public safety should be a part of the equation in determining how many moose is healthy for the state of New Hampshire, has all science of wildlife management been cast aside in favor of social demands? This may be detrimentally so.

I read today an article about the demise of federal fish hatcheries. One such hatchery in South Dakota, the D.C. Booth National Fish Hatchery, is going to be closed. A group fighting that closure was quoted as saying:

The agency’s [U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service] mission has evolved from one that oversees wildlife and fish restoration to one that protects the growing number of endangered species and now oversees the expansion of the nation’s “clean energy” revolution.

While perhaps not a direct management effort by public demands, the trend does exist at all agencies nationwide away from scientific management of wildlife in favor of social acceptance, i.e. the pressures by environmental, non governmental agencies well-funded and full of power.

It appears that New Hampshire is at least willing to admit their moose population may not be as healthy as some may have thought, that is those who like to hop in a car and go spot a moose in a swail hole. However, like Minnesota and other states nationwide, never once is the topic of predation by large predators even mentioned. New Hampshire willingly speaks of ticks and brainworm, even the needed reduction of moose to prevent automobile collisions, along with the dreaded topic of climate change, a topic always sure to generate study grants to keep biologists employed. But they will not speak of predators. Why is that? I point toward the above revelation that fish and game agencies aren’t interested in scientific management of wildlife as much as they are appeasing the environmentalists, which include the animal rights and anti-hunting groups.

New Hampshire, like Minnesota, claims they need more studies to determine what’s killing the moose. Really? I think they want to do more studies so they can ask for more money to keep biologists, with an agenda, employed. Minnesota has been “studying” their moose dilemma for about a decade or more and still they refuse, simply refuse, to consider that predators are having any effect.

What is the point of wasting money on studies that are outcome-based? Good, legitimate, scientific research examines all aspects of a problem and is open and willing to consider all influences. When faux scientists put on blinders, because part of their agenda is predator control, or promoting man-caused climate change, causing real science to suffer, it’s not only a tragedy for science but is criminal in its application and administration of monies obtained for research.

All of these so-called studies would be beneficial if the scientists acted like scientists and halted their determination to prove their biased theories accurate, while at the same time stop shutting out the rest of the world and paid attention to what was happening on the ground now, not what you see after collecting data for months, perhaps years and then trying to draw conclusions while reality slipped them by.

Yes, the Maine and New Hampshire moose populations are uncertain and the reason is just as much because of poor management as it is ticks, brainworm, climate change or auto collisions. Scientific research is so agenda driven it is no earthly good.

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