January 27, 2015

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.

Moosota Pick-up Truck

Moosota

Photo by Al Remington

Alaska Kills Bears to Protect Moose Maintain Supply for Subsistence

“FAIRBANKS — For the second year in a row, state wildlife biologists have killed dozens of bears in part of the western Interior as part of a plan to increase the number of moose available for subsistence hunters in the area.

Biologists from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game in Fairbanks shot and killed 64 bears — 54 blacks and 10 grizzlies — from a helicopter along the Kuskokwim River near the village of Sleetmute, which is located about 400 miles southwest of Fairbanks.”<<<Read More>>>

The Shameful Saga of the Minnesota Moose

The following is an Abstract of a scientific research paper “Re-evaluating the northeastern Minnesota moose decline and the role of wolves”.

This research Paper was just published and can be found in The Journal of Wildlife Management 78(7) 1143-1150.

It was conducted and published by none other than Dr. Mech, the retired US Fish and Wildlife Service Wolf authority (still associated with the federal Wildlife research Center in Jamestown, ND and a major player with the August U of Minnesota Raptor Center). His co-author, Mr. Fieberg, is a biologist with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

The mind boggles at the “gravitas” here. Mr. Mech, a long-time and current resident of Minnesota is highly revered in Minnesota and known internationally for his lifelong efforts to “bring back” wolves in The Lower 48 States. Dr. Mech resides in Minnesota and is held in as high regard in Minnesota as the latest running back of the Vikings football team. When he authors a paper on Minnesota wolves and Minnesota moose in cooperation with a DNR biologist under the auspices of the University of Minnesota; there can be no greater authorities nor can there be any greater acceptance about the results than had ex-Vikings Coach Bud Grant commented on Vikings football or Hubert Humphrey, rest his soul, commented on the upcoming election.

To the newspaper editors and outdoor writers that have treated me like an idiot for asking them to publicize or at least acknowledge that wolf predation on Minnesota moose was both significant and very likely the #1 reason for the recent decline of moose from a highly sought and profitable Game Animal to a Non-Game Species curiosity; and to the silent DNR and U of Minnesota “scientists” that publicly pooh-poohed the role of wolves in the moose decline and thereby gave encouragement to the general public and said newspaper folks and writers to be amused at my writing and to accuse me of not knowing what I was talking about both verbally to others and in e-mails – Please go to the Abstract at the bottom of this e-mail and read the 2nd sentence (my bold/underlining) of the 4 sentence Abstract.
Others are invited to do the same.

This is not about me: it is about the dithering and politically correctness about fear of offending powerful Minnesota and national environmental extremists and animal rights radicals that will truck NO negative comments about wolves. While this disgraceful diversion about ticks and global warming killing moose was taking place and common sense folks like me and many of those forced to live day in and day out with intolerable wolf densities were marginalized; one more magnificent and highly-prized game animal and hunting tradition disappeared.

Now that what has really been undeniable for years can no longer be denied, I say (without a hint of sarcasm or irony) we will now probably be treated to years of “science” and “the need for more research and money” to find ways to:
1. Control wolf predation without killing wolves.
2. Identify offending wolves and live trap them to train them not to hurt moose.
3. Keep seeing hints of ticks and global warming as being the problem with massive needs for more money for more research that can never be resolved or concluded.
4. Admit finally that the DNR has exhausted all the money generated by hunting license sales and there is no longer any Excise Taxes from the sales of Arms and Ammunition since President Hillary and a Democrat Congress and State government banned lead and then guns.

The loss of moose was as simple to understand as why high free-range cat densities in a suburban enclave might be the cause of the increased paucity of songbirds at suburban birdfeeders. The solution to both the loss of songbirds and the loss of moose is to reduce and keep reduced the densities – and perhaps even the presence of said cats and wolves’ if we prize moose hunts and what they mean or if we and our families enjoy seeing birds at our birdfeeders. Any North Country resident could have told us this years ago but what do they know? They have no initials after their name nor do they have any government sponsors or urban Romance Biology experts at an auspicious University to confirm their views.

ABSTRACT:

We re-evaluated findings from Lenarz et al. (2009) that adult moose (Alces alces) survival in northeastern Minnesota was related to high January temperatures and that predation by wolves (Canis lupus) played a minor role. We found significant inverse relationships between annual wolf numbers in part of the moose range and various moose demographics from 2003 to 2013 that suggested a stronger role of wolves than heretofore believed. To re-evaluate the temperature findings, we conducted a simulation study, mimicking the approach taken by Lenarz et al. (2009), to explore the potential for concluding a significant relationship exists between temperature and survival, when no association exists. We found that the high R2s and low probabilities associated with the regression models in Lenarz et al. (2009) should be viewed cautiously in light of the large number of fitted models (m?=?45) and few observations (n?=?6 for each of 5 response variables).

Published 2014. This article is a U.S. Government work and is in the public domain in the USA.

Jim Beers
22 October 2014

If you found this worthwhile, please share it with others. Thanks.

Jim Beers is a retired US Fish & Wildlife Service Wildlife Biologist, Special Agent, Refuge Manager, Wetlands Biologist, and Congressional Fellow. He was stationed in North Dakota, Minnesota, Nebraska, New York City, and Washington DC. He also served as a US Navy Line Officer in the western Pacific and on Adak, Alaska in the Aleutian Islands. He has worked for the Utah Fish & Game, Minneapolis Police Department, and as a Security Supervisor in Washington, DC. He testified three times before Congress; twice regarding the theft by the US Fish & Wildlife Service of $45 to 60 Million from State fish and wildlife funds and once in opposition to expanding Federal Invasive Species authority. He resides in Eagan, Minnesota with his wife of many decades.

Jim Beers is available to speak or for consulting. You can receive future articles by sending a request with your e-mail address to: jimbeers7@comcast.net

Lookin’ For Love in All the Wrong Places

MooseThreesome

Oh, Bull!

OhBull

Photo by Al Remington

Berryin’ in the “Hood”

MooseInHood

Photo by Al Remington

Loner: All By Hiz “SEF”

LonerMoose

Photo by Al Remington

Tres Hombres

The third amigo didn’t make it into the lens. It’s behind the camera on the other side of the road. Because you can’t see the third hombre, you can’t see that she is blonde. The blonde hombre asks, “How do I get to the other side?” The other, blonde hombre answers, “You are on the other side.”

Enjoy the photo at least.

TresHombres

Photo by Al Remington