August 19, 2019

Maine Cuts Moose Hunting Permits by “Just” 3%

Opportunity! That’s the adjunct word that is readily used today in describing hunting, fishing, and trapping. Once everyone is brainwashed into accepting the word “opportunity” as a privilege granted by the state, what else is left?

Why should I, or anyone, get riled up over a measly little 3% reduction in “opportunity” to hunt moose? Maybe I shouldn’t but that’s not the whole and truthful story in the matter.

According to what the Portland Press Herald just reported,  in 2013 the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) issued 4,085 moose hunting permits. Those permits are handed out through a lottery process. Just announced by MDIFW is that this year’s permit allocation will stand at just 2,080. However, let’s make sure that Maine sportsmen understand that there is still “opportunity.” We can’t fault MDIFW’s management plans and execution of those plans because, well, we still have “opportunity.” That’s how many sportsmen see things. As I said, “opportunity” is the word.

If MDIFW keeps cutting permits, the moose numbers may recover to where 4,000 or more permits are allotted. By then the tick problem will resurface and MDIFW can find some Federal funds and/or grant money and conduct another study on the affects of winter ticks on moose, all the while never bothering to study the tick itself. It’s easier just to take what the environmentalists have perpetuated that global warming causes ticks. Science and common sense are no longer a part of the equations. Always be ruled by the demands of the social groups.

There is, however, hope…well, not really. I just like to say that, I suppose in the same fashion that fish and game departments love to promote “opportunity.”

Okay! So, we are supposed to cut the managers some slack because they are still in the middle of a moose study. Probably ten years from now, we will still be saying Maine is in the middle of a moose study. Or maybe the sharing of the results and data of this moose study will happen as efficiently as when we get harvest reports for deer, bear and moose…never? We had to find out through the grapevine that MDIFW was conducting a deer study with the major land owners of northern Maine. Evidently this study is about how protecting deer yards is having no effect on the deer. Let’s go discuss it in the coffee shop. That has always worked.

We know winter ticks are being blamed for fewer moose which results in fewer hunting permits (opportunist). I don’t have a problem with that….well, mostly not. Of course increased winter ticks has always been blamed on global warming, even though Maine’s head moose biologist says, “With moose the hypothesis that is being talked about has to do with climate, but it’s complicated. It seems spring and fall affect the winter ticks, that and high moose densities.”

Notice he did call it a hypothesis. It appears this hypothesis, like all other hypotheses, still provides the escape to blame all things on climate change. Winter ticks have been around the world since the beginning of time. Who did the first moose biologists blame the ticks on?

I refuse to even hint that Kantar is suggesting anything will ever be done about “high moose densities” unless it is done by Nature the way it has in the past 3 years. There are too many moose, causing too many ticks and those ticks are killing off the moose. The reports are that this year’s winter tick mortality has been considerably less than the previous 3. What has happened to the moose population during this time? Who knows. They won’t tell us. Is a reduction in moose population directly proportional to the reduction in ticks. Nah, it’s the drought and the cold winter. Don’t you know?

Aside from all this, the state wouldn’t dream of reducing moose populations to mitigate ticks and other diseases, including public safety and private property issues, because they fear the lobby of the environmentalists and those looking to make a buck gawking at moose. I don’t blame those looking to make a buck…but at what expense.

But, never fear. Maine sportsmen will always have their “opportunities.” Opportunities may not exist for all or even most. If you’ve got the money, you can increase your chances, even while the chances continue to dwindle. If there remain but one lone moose permit, deer permit, bear permit, etc. Mainers couldn’t complain because MDIFW has protected their opportunities.

If LD 11, a constitutional amendment said to protect hunting, fishing and trapping in Maine, were to pass, how easy it will become to protect opportunity.

Fabulous!

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New Hampshire Down to Just 51 Moose Permits

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department proposes issuing 51 moose hunt lottery permits this year, the lowest number since the state started its current system in 1988.

Permits have declined in recent years, partly because of the impact of parasites, both winter tick and brainworm, on the moose population. Last year, 71 lottery permits were issued.<<<Read More>>>

 

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Maine Moose Hunters Have Higher Rate of Success

OR SOMETHING!

I suppose this is intended to be good news? The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) cut moose permits by 22% which caused the hunter success rate to climb about 10 percent above the previous two years, but far behind historic rates of success. This mirrors the deer hunt, where Maine has been mired in dismal deer harvest results for so long, that if we can harvest 20,000 deer, champagne bottles are uncorked and there’s dancing in the street.

However, MDFIW does NOT have the actual total YET of moose harvest data: “Six tagging stations still need to report numbers from the 2016 hunt, according to the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.”<<<Read More>>>

The final day of moose hunting, in some southern zones, ended on November 26, 2016. We don’t know the location of the six holdouts (the earliest closure date was October 1), but if they come from the southern region, it’s been 2 months since the season ended and these slackers have not reported their data. Why does MDIFW allow this and why would they solicit, again, any entity that can’t manage to file a handful of reports? Obviously this is not important to MDIFW.

Now, MDIFW is going to have to figure out how many moose permits to issue for 2017, when they don’t have a clue as to the moose population and the health of the herd statewide. But, evidently that doesn’t matter anymore…or did it ever? “The permits are not determined by the harvest,” Camuso said. “They are determined by the data gathered by biologists from the study, from an aerial survey and from deer-hunter sightings. That’s put into a population model to determine permit allocations.”<<<Read More>>>

How was this determination made previously? The “study” is but 2 or 3 years old. We don’t even know if the study results will be, or are indicative of, the statewide moose population. Aerial surveys have been taking place about as long as the moose study. And, of the decades that I have hunted deer in Maine I’ve never been asked about any moose sightings. I don’t get it.

Modeling is, at best, a rigged system that is only as good as the model parameters and the garbage injected into the model to achieve a result. Historically, models have proven to be a worthless instrument – unless there’s politicking that needs taking care of. The results are interesting to look at and can be easily manipulated simply by tweaking the algorithm or the inputted data.

Ah, technological progress! Once everyone is convinced that computers know more about reality…..oh, wait! They already are convinced. That is why the entire planet has succumbed to the disease and morphed into Techo-Zombies. Excuse me. I am lost and wrong and the Techo-Zombies and their toys are right. Perhaps I should employ some of this technology and get beamed to hell out of here.

None of this really matters, now does it? After all, if the modeling don’t tell managers what they want it to, there will always be Climate Change to fall back on – and I’ll wager climate change is somehow factored into that “population model.” What do you think?

Old Hunter says:

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Moose Hunt Hearing in Greenville

On Friday, April 24, 2015, the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) will be holding a public hearing in Greenville, Maine at 6 p.m. at the Greenville Consolidated School. The purpose of the meeting is to receive public comment on MDIFW’s proposal to issue moose hunting permits for the harvest of 100 bull moose and 50 cow (antlerless) moose. Some people in the area think that the moose population is too low to support that number of harvested moose as well as provide for successful guiding for moose watchers.

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Maine Might Reduce Moose Permits…Again

Some newspaper outlets are reporting that the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) is suggesting that perhaps they will be reducing the number of Moose Permits allocated in certain Wildlife Management Districts (WMD) because of reduced populations of the moose. This is, of course, the benefit of managing game within districts rather than as a lump throughout the state.

In the midst of an ongoing 5-year moose study, at least in the districts in question, the winter tick seems to be the culprit for reduced numbers. We certainly hope that MDIFW is on top of things.

Several years ago when outdoor sportsmen began talking about what effect these winter ticks were having on moose, I’m not so sure that the professionals at MDIFW really had a handle on whether ticks were a problem as it pertained to moose mortality. During that time, I asked MDIFW biologist Lee Kantar if ticks were killing moose. While he didn’t say no and he didn’t say yes, he did say that there was a possibility that the effects of ticks could contribute to the winter time mortality.

I think early study results and the years of boots-on-the-ground anecdotal evidence has shown that a serious tick infestation results in a serious threat to moose winter survival. In understanding what causes the increase in ticks, the scapegoat, as is just too typical, is global warming. I say phooey! A lack of understanding leads some to say a good old fashioned snowy and cold winter will take care of the ticks; that’s not necessarily true. Maine typically does not sustain cold enough temperatures long enough to begin killing ticks during winter. The only effect that might come into play would be in the spring after ticks fall from the moose. Moose in Maine remain near the southern end of their range and maybe Maine is trying to manage for too many moose.

Maine is guilty of allowing the social demands for moose watching to influence their management decisions. They openly admit that it is not just science that determines management procedures. Perhaps the next round of creating the required moose management plan (I think in 2017), can scientifically more than socially, make adjustments that would provide for a smaller and yet healthier herd of moose. If MDIFW does not want to do that then they should make determinations as to when the ticks are running high and adjust the moose permits upward in order to force the moose population downward and mitigate the effects of winter tick mortality.

It would be irresponsible to do nothing except let the moose suffer through the winter.

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2014 Maine Moose Permit Lottery Results

Please follow this link to find the results of the June 14, 2014 Maine Moose Lottery drawing held in Presque Isle.

2014 Maine Moose Permit Lottery

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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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