September 23, 2018

Maine: Recommended Record Number of “Any-Deer Permits”, Moose Permits Not So Much

It was announced recently that the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) has decided to issue an all-time record number of doe permits (Any-Deer Permits). The reason they give for this unprecedented increase is: “…that in all but six of the state’s Wildlife Management Districts the projected doe harvest was not reached last fall.”

There could a number of reasons the doe harvest fell short statewide – the number of hunters, weather conditions, available food supply (for the deer, not the hunters), more hunters with doe permits taking bucks instead – to name a few.

So the question becomes, will increasing doe permits to a record number achieve the desired harvest? Another question might be, does MDIFW have a clue as to the reason the harvest wasn’t achieved? Was it simply not enough permits issued? What the rate of does harvested comparable to the rate in other years? Or, is MDIFW just issuing more permits and hoping for the best? We’ll never know.

It appears that the issuance of permits and the bulk of the increase is focused on much of Central and Southern Maine where deer survival has been good. This increase in those areas makes sense.

Key to this decision might be what MDIFW reportedly said about what was behind this increase other than achieving harvest goals: “The proposed increase in permits is a result of the goals and objectives set by the public in the state’s big-game management plan, which was recently revised.” (Note: I find it interesting that at least certain members of the MDIFW seem to be going out of their way to tell us that the “public” has made all these decisions about the ins and outs of game management. It wasn’t until recently when the Draft Management Plans for deer, bear, moose, and turkey were made available to the public for their comments. It is quite dishonest, therefore, to label those members who gave of their time to assist in formulating new management plans, the “Public.” In addition, MDIFW likes to give lots of weight to the fake “surveys” they paid a lot of money to get. I have written on this topic before and it is quite unfortunate that MDIFW decided to, not only conduct this biased, outcome-based survey but to put so much emphasis on it and then call it the “Public” and thus the “Public” devised these game management plans. Isn’t this a convenient scapegoat when and if management goals fail?)

So, from the perspective of deer management, according to MDIFW the public wants a lot fewer deer in Central and Southern Maine. And where’s the science in this decision or is it all society demands? Giving the benefit of any doubt to MDIFW biologists in meeting harvest goals is understandable. What is not is a move to issue a record number of doe permits because the public demands such.

If MDIFW is saying these decisions are based on the new management plans, then are we to assume also that this is being partly justified as part of achieving a “healthy” deer herd rather than a focus on the population?

It will be interesting to see if making this decision to liberally increase doe permits results in MDIFW reaching their harvest goals.

As far as the moose hunt and management goes, issuing a meager 2,500 permits, to be taken by lottery, doesn’t seem to be fitting the explanations we have been given for moose management and the new healthy moose agenda.

When you consider that at a time when the Maine moose population was estimated at anywhere between 70,000 and 90,000, permit issuance reached a high of over 4,000 permits, 2,500 is out of proportion. According to CentralMaine.com, that estimated “healthy?” moose population is estimated at 50,000 – 70,000. Information gathered from an ongoing moose study indicates that the density of moose is directly proportionate to the number of deadly winter ticks, and yet, if MDIFW is gearing toward a healthy moose population, the increase in permits appears a bit meager to me.

And, the majority of the increase in moose permits, from 2,080 to 2,500 are for those areas where MDIFW has been studying moose. Is this increase really about achieving a healthy moose population or a move to manipulate study results? Hmmm.

From this study area, we were told that winter tick presence had dropped around 68% and that moose calf survival rates were at near 100% – for collared moose.

In some ways, I can understand the “conservative” approach to moose permit issuance, but indications are MDIFW doesn’t really want to accept the fact that too many moose results in too many ticks and that it can’t be blamed on global warming.

So, we will have to wait two years to know whether the 2018 deer season will result in the Department’s doe harvest goal, and over one year to find out about the moose. God only knows how long it will take before MDIFW decides exactly what they plan to do with the moose.

It would be nice to have updates on study findings and to get game harvest results in some kind of reasonable fashion. Instead, I expect that with this announcement of paying less attention to game numbers, placing the focus on “health” (wink-wink) MDIFW will eventually stop counting harvested game. With it will disappear even more accountability.

Government as usual.

 

Share

Collaring Wild Animals: Scientific Research or Playing With Technology?

The manufacture, sale and use of radio telemetry collars for animal research is a racket and perhaps a serious waste of dollars. Depending upon the model of telemetry collar selected for each use, the cost of one such collar can run into the thousands of dollars. One must ask then if the cost of the collars is worth the return on investment? Well, that depends.

What we do know is that using tracking collars for wildlife is big business and a very popular thing to do. The tax payers like it because of their perverse love, adoration and all out worship of any kind of animal…well, until such animals become a real threat to them. The average tax payer doesn’t know how the collar is used and seldom is any “scientific research” information/data shared with the public. When it is, a trained eye recognizes very little scientific process and whole lot of speculation and theory swapping.

When it is a most difficult task to receive information from state fish and wildlife agencies about their “ongoing studies,” some of us are left to only guess what it is they are using collars on animals for and what actual data is being collected. So, let’s take a look at what is, might and could be done with a tracking collar.

What got me thinking about this popular event of tracking animals with radio telemetry, was an exchange of emails among a handful of wildlife scientists about this very subject. The foundation of discussion was centered around an article written about a collared wolf in British Columbia, Canada that was tracked along a route covering over 300 miles (not unusual). The journey for the wolf came to an end when it was legally shot and killed by a hunter. Of course this prompted outrage from the above described group of perverse, adoring wolf worshipers. But that’s not the topic of this immediate discussion.

In the email exchange, questions arose about what, if any, data and information was being collected on this wolf other than to know where the male wolf was at any point in time when a “data point” was sent (telemetry) and recorded on a computer. One scientist commented: “Reading the story makes me suspect that the wolves are collared and then left alone, while “researchers” are watching wiggly lines on the computer screen – and start guessing what is going on.”

Which brings us back to one of my original comments that because of the stinginess of researchers to share information, minus their speculations, the rest of us are left to guess (our own speculation) as to just what it is they are doing or not doing.

It seems about the only place we can get any information about studies is through the “Echo Chambers” of the Press. The vast majority of news media personnel are nothing more than “copy and paste” writers who wouldn’t understand what a true scientific process was if it was spelled out for them. As such, what is reverberated in the echo chambers is the Environmentalist’s nonsense, most often including speculation and theorizing about each collared animal based on placing human values on the animals – i.e. a guess as to what animals might be thinking, doing, etc. based more than likely on human projection of human values.

The State of Maine claims to be in the middle of a moose study. I have written extensively on this project and moose management in general. You can search this website, mostly under the Maine Hunting column.

What has been doled out to the public, which we have no idea if this is an actual reflection of the study, is that biologists placed collars on a hundred or so calf moose and some cows. It has been passed on that the purpose of the “study” is to find out the effects of winter ticks (moose ticks – Dermacentor albipictus) on moose mortality. All that we have been told is that when one of the collars stops moving, the collar sends a signal notifying researchers of the non movement. Somebody will go find the stationary collar (as quickly as possible – wink, wink) and attempt to determine what killed the moose.

This is one function that we are allowed to know about, evidently. But what kind of science is this? Or is it any kind of scientific research that will provide data and observation in order to find out more useful information in order to create better management plans? Who knows. It would seem that if any fish and game department was going to go through the expense and time to trap and collar moose, a full spectrum of scientific observation, collection of data, and analysis would be implemented into the effort. Is it? Who knows.

If the only thing these researchers are doing is sitting in front of a computer screen, in their comfortable offices, “watching wiggly lines” so somebody can go to the site where they think a moose died in hopes of determining cause of death, what is the real value of placing the collars on the moose?

It appears the collars work pretty good for “tracking.” Watching wiggly lines on a computer screen can tell biologists where a moose has gone over any prescribed length of time. They receive a signal when a collar becomes motionless for a period of time. Suggesting the collared animal might be dead, researchers journey into the woods to see what they can find…we are told.

Then what?

How well trained are the biologists in determining cause of death? So, they get to the scene and see a dead moose. It’s covered with winter ticks. The moose looks emaciated and missing hair/fur. No cuts, scratches, etc. are noticed on the moose and is it assumed that the moose died from the effects of the winter ticks? Other than tracking this moose on a computer screen, did researchers enter the woods on a regular basis in order to know, not speculate, what this dead moose had been up to over the weeks and months prior to it’s death? Where was the moose when it died, and in relation to where it normally “hung out?” How is this fact relevant to making a determination of its cause of death? Did the moose actually die of exhaustion, due to a combination of a low blood supply from the ticks, poor nutrition (it is winter you know) and being harassed by predators, including harassment by humans – both scientists and the general public? If it appears the moose was partially eaten, are the biologists adequately trained in making determinations of the kill tactics of predator suspects? How many of such kills has each scientist seen and been a part of? Are they trained to know when the dead animal became a meal for scavengers or when it became a meal by the kill of a predator?

What other data is collected on this moose? Is a full necropsy (animal autopsy) done, along with checking for all diseases and health issues? Moose calves are probably too young to have contracted what Maine biologists like to call “lung worm,” also known as Hydatid cysts caused by the existence of Echinococcus granulosus parasites carried and spread by wild canines (coyotes, foxes, raccoons). It has been shown that this disease exists in moose in the state of Maine. An infected moose, having cysts in the lungs, heart or liver, can seriously hamper a moose’s ability to escape danger from predators. Is this aspect of a moose’s death even considered, or is it just passed off as death by winter ticks? It is important to know the differences if ever there was hope to do anything about the problem.

Tracking a moose, or any other animal, with a radio telemetry collar can tell biologists where a moose is at pretty much any given point in time. One could argue that is science, but if you call that science it isn’t very good science.

Another scientist in our email discussion referred to this action this way: “…just data points that merely define where they [collared animals] are at a given time. What they are doing, which really matters, is left to interpretation, [and] conjecture. Until an effort is made to “follow” as closely as possible the movements of radio-collared animals, we can expect more “Research Lite.”

It is not a simple task to net a moose and snap a collar around it’s neck, wait to see if it’s going to die and then go find it to see if you can tell what killed it. However, is that effort alone worth the time and expense? Before this “study” began, I really don’t think it took a highly educated wildlife biologist to figure out winter ticks were knocking the hell out of the state’s moose herd.

What other information is being gathered and will any of the rest of us get to see it and not be relegated to the end of the line waiting for another copy and paste edition of our favorite echo chamber? I’m guessing the latter.

Who knows!

Share

Vermont Moose Study: Ah, Say What?

Maybe there is still hope to save the moose. In an article found Online at The Sun, Vermont Fish and Game biologists are quoted as saying, “Winter ticks spread more rapidly when moose are overabundant,” said Cedric Alexander, Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department’s lead moose biologist. “Although we decreased Vermont’s moose herd to reduce the impacts of moose on the landscape, it may have also contributed to the much lower rates of winter ticks on Vermont’s moose than biologists observe on moose in New Hampshire or Maine.”

However, there are a couple of thing also written in this article that makes me pause and exclaim, SAY WHAT?

For those with some knowledge know that the media, most often fed by fish and wildlife departments, lay the blame of reduced moose populations squarely on global warming, even when there is no science to support such a claim. As we have learned, global warming is a very convenient excuse for everything. And of course, we have reached a point in moose studies where scientists seem to agree that much of the loss of moose through the United States is caused by the infestation of moose ticks, or winter ticks – Dermacentor albipictus. The problem is that it appears there is no agreement as to why there appears to be a problem of too many ticks and too many moose dying from those ticks. Many simply want to lay the entire blame on some fabricated idea of a warming climate. Certainly weather, as has been shown, affects tick survival and perpetuation. Weather is NOT global warming.

Now Vermont is whistling a different tune: “Vermont has already taken steps to help reduce the issue of the winter ticks by increasing the number of licenses sold to hunt moose in recent years. This has taken the population of the species from over 5,000 in the state in the early 2000s to around 2,200 moose today. The species is healthiest at medium densities…” This is perhaps the first I’ve heard of this claimed deliberate action to reduce Vermont’s moose population.

In the “Say What?” category we read:

“As seasons in recent years have warmed up, the winter ticks have been more able to survive and reproduce in the winter.” Winter ticks don’t “reproduce” in winter.

“They don’t pose a problem to deer because deer evolved with the species present…” I don’t understand what the embolden statement means. Somebody help me! I’ve fallen and can’t get up!

SAY WHAT?

 

Share

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:

Share

While Biologists Dither, Hunting Opportunities Are Squandered

Maybe there is some hope…or maybe not. An article in the Boston Globe provides a few statements from so-called wildlife biologists that offer a glimmer of hope, even if ever so slightly.

Recently in an article I had written about how scientists are attempting to seek an answer to the affect of winter ticks on moose by only studying the moose and making huge assumptions about the tick – assumptions that have been passed on through half-ass “science” and incessantly repeated by the Media echo-chambers – I referenced a Boston Globe article echoing “Climate Change” as the reason there are too many ticks killing moose.

However, the latest bit of propaganda from the Boston Globe, might cause some of us to pause in hope that perhaps…just perhaps, there are some things that might be changing. (Note: Readers may or may not understand the extreme difficulty I find is uttering such statements.)

Let’s take a look at some of the comments found in this article.

The author of the piece begins by saying, “Researchers say that over the last few years, ticks have killed about 70 percent of the calves they have tagged in certain regions, an indication that the tick is taking a significant toll.”

Perhaps this statement needs further clarification and some more answers to important questions. The author says that “researchers” claim 70% of moose calves tagged “in certain regions” have been killed and that this indicates a “significant toll” on the moose. Does it?

Maybe it’s a significant toll in that one region but is this indicative throughout the greater region or the state being referenced? Most of these studies are centered around gaining a better understanding of how the tick effects the survival of the moose. In order to better understand this, it only seems plausible that scientists will pick areas they believe have high infestations of ticks and moose.

What isn’t being said here is that, if assuming the reference to “tagged” means collared and tracked, then 30% of collared moose calves are surviving. What also isn’t said is that we don’t know from the information given, whether the moose calves collared and data collected for this study, is representative of the entire state or perhaps just in areas believed to be the most heavily infested with winter ticks?

Under “normal” conditions, what is the “recruitment” or survival rates of moose calves? And what is the benchmark moose calve survival rate believed to be necessary to “sustain” a moose population? Sensational media reports might play to the emotionalism of ignorant readers but does little in revealing scientific honesty – or perhaps that’s an oxymoron.

“The study expanded last year to northern Maine — which Kantar said had a lower mortality rate of 48 percent — and to Vermont this month. There are about 250 moose collared for the study.” Lee Kantar is the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife’s (MDIFW) head moose biologist. The differences in calf survival rates between 30% and 52% are significant. And yet again, we must ask whether these numbers can, in any way, be attributable to moose and tick interaction statewide?

“Kantar said the study was about moose survival — not climate …..

Every single day when temperatures are above the norm in the fall is another day that the ticks are out there and able to get on a moose.”

At first glance we are told that the moose study is about moose survival and not climate. This is immediately followed by a statement supporting global warming as a culprit of moose tick infestations. So, which is it?

And, let’s examine this statement that temperatures in the Fall making it easier for ticks to find a moose. Where did such a claim come from? And is this statement about fact or is it about what we are not being told? From all the studies and even the echo chambers repeating non-scientific mumbo-jumbo, is there data showing that warmer Falls leads to more ticks on moose? Or is it more repeated emotional, climate-change clap-trap?

In the late Summer and early Fall (September and October) when ticks are making their climb up vegetation to hitch a ride on a passing moose (or other ungulate – cattle, deer, pigs, elk, horses, etc.) temperatures at, or below, freezing will “slow down” activity. It is readily stated that in order for “weather” to significantly kill off ticks, an area needs temperatures to be below 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit for six consecutive days. Not only is this an unrealistic expectation in September and October, it is unrealistic in Maine throughout the winter.

Kantar’s statement that extended warm Fall days “is another day” that ticks can get on a moose, isn’t false. It’s just not very accurate and is misleading. In one breath we read how the studies being conducted aren’t about climate and yet climate appears to be the excuse.

If you want to believe what is written about ticks, the consensus is that “WEATHER” not climate is the biggest limiting or perpetuating factor for moose ticks. Some of the original tick studies that I have read clearly show that the moose tick, at every stage of its life cycle is extremely viable and is virtually unaffected by temperatures. Humidity can limit the productivity of the ticks, but wind is the biggest deterrent to keep ticks off the vegetation they climb where they can attach to a moose when it passes by. Other than any of this, it only makes sense that if you limit the free rides on ungulates, necessary to complete the life cycle, you will limit the presence of ticks.

“More moose, researchers say, mean more hosts for ticks.” Bingo! Give the man a cigar. Finally, I have found somewhere within the hollow, echo-chambers of the mass media that the increase in ticks might actually be directly proportionate to the moose population. In addition to this statement, we also read: “The biologists say that one possible way to control the problem, though counterintuitive, is increased hunting.”

Which brings me to the point of this post – dithering at the expense of hunting opportunities!

We further read: ““It’s just going to be a long and brutal situation for them, until the habitat either changes or humans decide we just need to take more of these animals.” (emboldening added)

Isn’t this part of the problem? Isn’t the extremely high moose population in Maine the result of both ignorance and the caving to the demands of the public for more moose for gawking? What in hell should a scientist expect when decisions are being made based on social demands rather than responsible wildlife management and science?

And lastly, we read, “We hope that the tick numbers are thus going to be reduced and at some point you get a new equilibrium of moose density.”

We hope?

Yes, at some point Maine will reach a “new equilibrium” of moose density. Unfortunately, I have serious doubts that the “equilibrium” will be at all stable if scientists continue to dither and cave to social demands. I really don’t think it requires tens of thousands of dollars to be spent on moose studies (and no money spent on tick studies) to figure out that too much of anything, in wildlife, isn’t very good. No, we don’t have the necessary data to make just about all the conclusions that are being drawn. We don’t know if the number of ticks in Maine now is normal, above or below normal. Maine should have figured out a long time ago that the state had too many moose and done something about it. Instead, they wanted to keep the moose gawkers happy and give them all the moose they demanded that could be seen from their living room picture windows.

Mother Nature is only doing what wildlife managers should have been doing. The old girl is killing off moose in droves in order to mitigate the tick infestation. What is extremely unfortunate in this dithering is, that, while the North American Model of Wildlife Management utilizes hunting as a means of managing and perpetuating wildlife, our new, post-normal, environmentally brainwashed “scientists,” too worried about social whining, would rather the hunting opportunities by thrown in the garbage in exchange for letting the ticks kill and waste the meat.

Maybe the idea is to grow tens of thousands of moose, thinking they can, and really making the moose hunting a bigger and better cash cow. There is a reason that moose don’t grow on trees and fill every corner of the forest. I guess we’ll have to spend a few hundred thousand more dollars and time, letting moose be managed by Mother Nature, in her cruel and wasteful way, stealing away hunting opportunities – which incidentally are funded by the hunters – perpetuating a situation in which the only winners are the companies that make the collars and fly the helicopters.

Does any of this make sense?

Share

Delaware Discovers High Mortality From Collars, Maine Adds More Collars

In Delaware, researchers discover that collars placed around the necks of deer, for an ongoing study, resulted in neck injures and death.

Researchers expected a percentage of study animals would be killed or injured by hunters, vehicles and disease, but Hopkins, about a dozen other landowners participating in the study, state and University of Delaware researchers and the manufacturer were shocked to find that a small sample were being hurt by the equipment used to passively study their life cycle.

“There are hunters and landowners that have been made aware of the injuries and are upset or disappointed, and justifiably so,” said Joe Rogerson, program manager for species conservation and research with the Delaware Division of Fish & Wildlife. “We’re as frustrated, if not more so, than they are.” <<<Read More>>>

In Maine, 70 more moose are collared to expand ongoing moose study area.

IFW Captures and Collars 70 Moose , Expands Maine’s Moose Survival Study Into Second Area

AUGUSTA, Maine – Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife biologists in northern Aroostook County just finished capturing and radio-collaring moose in a new “northern” study area as part of Maine’s five-year moose study that will provide a greater understanding of the health of Maine’s moose population, particularly factors that affect their survival and reproductive rates, including the impact of winter ticks on moose.

“Maine’s moose occupy a variety of habitat across their range in the state. By adding a second study area to the north we can bolster our study and get a better understanding of moose survival and reproductive rates, and the factors that impact them,” said Lee Kantar, Maine’s moose biologist.

Biologists and a helicopter-based aerial capture team will capture and collar 106 adult female and calf moose. They just completed capturing and collaring 70 moose in the Aroostook study area, and now will capture and collar an additional 36 calf moose in the existing study area located between Jackman and Greenville. There already are over 40 collared moose in the Jackman/Greenville study area. When finished, IFW biologists will be able to monitor 150 total moose in the two study areas.

IFW has contracted with Native Range Capture Services out of Elko, Nevada to capture 106 moose. The crew specializes in capturing and collaring large animals and is using a helicopter and launched nets to capture and collar female moose and calves. Funding for the study comes from a federal Pittman-Robertson grant (funded by the sale of hunting equipment) and the state’s dedicated moose fund (funded through sale of moose permit applications and permits).

“Once the moose is captured, the crew attaches a GPS collar and ear tags, collects a blood, hair and fecal sample, takes a tick count and weighs the animal,” said Lee Kantar, “The entire process takes between 10 and 12 minutes and then the moose is released unharmed.”

Crews started capturing and collaring moose last week and finished in the northern study area yesterday. They started flying in the western study area today.  Once Native Range finishes in Maine, they will travel to a similar job in New Hampshire. New Hampshire is conducting a study similar to Maine, in an area further south than the two Maine study areas. The two states are sharing information gathered during the study.

Once collared, the GPS-enabled collars transmit twice per day, providing biologists the ability to track moose movements. The GPS collars are expected to transmit location 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 overland 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 third year of the monitoring study. Additional moose and calves will be captured and collared next year.

The radio collar study is just one component of the research that IFW conducts on moose.

IFW also utilizes aerial flights to assess population abundance 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 cow ovaries in November to determine reproductive rates.

Share

Ticks Killing Maine Moose

More discussion existed with the Joint Standing Committee and Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife moose biologist Lee Kantar. According to what George Smith wrote in his column on his website, ticks are responsible for the death of 70% of collared calves.

Representative Steve Wood asked if all those moose were killed by ticks. Kantar said that, with the collared calves, he is “pretty confident that ticks killed them,” but with the cows, “I am still in the process of working with folks in New Hampshire and the University of Maine to find out if there was anything else that might have killed them. It’s a long process to run this through.”

How moose are managed and the tactics used to manipulate and/or control the population growth is building up to be a bit on the controversial side I am thinking. Smith writes:

I’ve been questioning, for years, why we harvest more than 10% of deer and bear but just 3.3 percent of moose. And Representative Wood asked that question. Kantar responded, “We are talking about very different critters, different reproductive rates of growth, different guidelines (bulls to moose) – we don’t do that bucks to does ratio in deer. “It doesn’t take much to change the population structure of moose. You seldom have negative growth with deer like you do with moose.”

I understand some of that but not all of it. This implies, and I agree with Smith, that the management strategy is to protect big bull moose but it is unclear why? Most wildlife population manipulation is achieved in a few ways, including harvest, but mostly through manipulating the number of breeding females to control the birth rate. This, of course, is dependent upon many other factors. It’s not just black and white.

I’m curious if there are biological reasons that younger bulls can’t get the mating job done. Could it be that younger bull moose, even though they are of mating age, fail at impregnating the cow moose? Seems odd to me. Dr. Valerius Geist, a professor emeritus at the University of Calgary in Canada, and someone that I from time to time consult with on wildlife issues, provided information about protecting the gene pool. Essentially he stated that genes are genes. They get passed on down through each successive generation. Some think that if they are not seeing the bigger male animals, that something has screwed up the gene pool. It might be something else.

Lee Kantar told me one time about gene pools and he mostly reiterated what Dr. Geist said.

What does concern me a little bit is what Kantar said, according to Smith’s article, about keeping moose watchers happy:

“We are all told how important seeing moose is, it’s a tough balance, but I think the department does a good job of balancing all interests.”

As most readers know, I see little future in managing any wildlife according to social demands and moose are no different. If I cannot find a biological reason to protect larger bull moose in manipulating the age structure then I would assume that there can really be only two reasons to do that – one is to provide larger, trophy bull moose for hunters and the other would be to have more big bulls for moose watchers to see. Both of those are not necessarily in the best interest of the health and scientific management of moose.

As Maine’s moose study continues, I look forward to hearing more what is being concluded by the biologists. It should prove interesting.

Share

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>>>

Share

New Hampshire Will Waste $695,000 Studying Climate Change and Effects on Moose

I’ve written about this quite often. When ignorant, uninformed, brainwashed, propaganda-fed, non thinkers, blindly swallow the whole “climate change” lie and combine that with the convenient lie that moose ticks are prevalent because warm weather allows the ticks to grow unchecked, and you have a scenario where federal money can be used to conduct useless studies that are all outcome-based.

The Concord Monitor has an article all about how New Hampshire is going to spend $695,000 to study how climate change (of course it’s the man-caused climate change), which in their minds is causing tick problems, is affecting moose. Ticks are affecting moose in New Hampshire and Maine as well, although the seemingly ignorant moose project leader in New Hampshire says that Maine is not being affected. So much for any real credibility.

Instead of beating a dead horse with the tons of misinformation contained in the above linked-to article, here’s a list of some of the articles I’ve written about moose ticks.

1. Moose Populations Shrinking – No Talk of Predators
2. Problems With Ticks or At Least Those Who Study Them
3. Easier To Blame Global Warming for Moose Tick Infestation Than Seeking Truth
4. Are Winter Ticks Killing Maine’s Moose Population?

Share