January 27, 2023

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when by the time it’s all collected and analyzed so many things have changed on the ground, the data becomes mostly outdated and useless?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.