December 13, 2018

Black Bears, Mange, Climate Change Nonsense, Emotional Ignorance

In a report filed in the Washington Post and reprinted in the Bangor Daily News, bears in Pennsylvania, along with neighboring states of New York, West Virginia, Virginia, and Maryland, are suffering from mange.

The article states that Pennsylvania, “seems to be the epicenter of an outbreak that scientists don’t fully understand.” Mange has been a problem since the 1990s.

And because biologists “don’t fully understand” the reason for the outbreak, they make sure they insert their favorite “go to” excuse of Climate Change.

When these clowns blame climate change, we know that what they are referring to is a warming of the climate that brings events that scientists “don’t fully understand.” If this was true, then it seems feasible that black bears living in the southern states would be suffering from mange on a regular basis, but that evidently is not the case. But it’s easier to blame Climate Change.

While it might not be explained how the bears contracted this kind of unusual for bears mange, might it be possible that it is spreading from the “epicenter” at quite an alarming rate, or so it appears, because of a large population of bears (20,000) and one that is “a record number for the state.” Mange is spread through contact and with increased populations of bears the chances of contact with other bears increases. Makes sense.

If 20,000 bears is a record number, and Pennsylvania has a bear hunting season, then it certainly appears that despite the hunting the population continues to grow. Either Pennsylvania is deliberately attempting to grow the bear population or bear hunting alone doesn’t seem to be able to keep the population in check or to reduce the population. Many other states are suffering the same dilemma – too many bears and no way of controlling the populations. What waits on the horizon for all these states with black bears?

Most people don’t have knowledge of real wildlife science and depend on their favorite form of Scientism to give them the fabricated talking points that make them feel like good pals with animals such as bears. They don’t want to believe that bears, or any other animal, suffers when populations get too large. Instead, they want to just blame the existence of men and of course all forms of hunting.

In a recent Letter to the Editor of a Maine newspaper, one such person blames the continued growth in Maine’s black bear population on hunters being allowed to hunt over bait. Pennsylvania does NOT allow hunting bears over bait and yet their bear population continues to grow at about the same rate as Maine.

It can be argued forever whether or not artificially feeding bears effects the rate of reproduction. But there are some facts that should be looked at but seldom are when emotional clap-trap Scientism is the driving force behind the obvious hatred toward hunting and hunters.

The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) has stated repeatedly that when natural food is readily available, hunters have a very difficult time to successfully lure a bear to a bait station. Bears much prefer their natural food over man-made bait.

Those opposed to hunting, and more specifically bear baiting, claim that baiting bears causes the increase in reproductivity of black bears. There are far too many influencers on bears that any study can definitively say more food, or baiting bears causes an increase in population.

But even if it was an accepted fact, at what real impact does a bear baiting season have on population growth?

Maine has an estimated 30,000 to 35,000 black bears. According to MDIFW’s bear harvest report for 2016, 2,859 bears were taken during the entire hunting and trapping seasons. Of those 2,859 harvested bears, 1,936 were taken over bait. It can be safely stated that all of Maine’s 35,000 bears don’t live adjacent to the handful of bait stations hunters employ.

The overall success rate of harvesting a bear in Maine runs about 25%. We could play around with some math here but the bottom line appears to be that even with the baiting, bears being affected, if at all, by bait is but a drop in the bucket compared to the overall population of bears in the state of Maine. Consequently, any change in reproductive rates would certainly appear to be insignificant.

For Maine residents, including the ones making claims that baiting is the driving force behind an ever-growing bear population, the question of concern should be, will Maine bears begin suffering from mange? And if so, what is the plan of attack should it strike?

The trend in this country today is disturbing from a wildlife management perspective. More and more people are perversely in love with all animals and want them all protected. To go along with this unnatural love affair with animals and the brainwashing of our children in schools and in the media, there are fewer and fewer hunters every year. This combination spells disaster in wildlife management. With little or no tools available for wildlife population control and management, our forests and fields will become chaotic “natural balance” as the Environmentalists scream for. With that chaotic approach, we can expect continued “unusual” outbreaks of life-destroying diseases which is how Mother Nature deals with it.

It appears the only way we can learn the truth is to let it happen and clean up the mess later.

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More Pennsylvania Elk Country Protected, Open to Public Access

Press Release from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:

MISSOULA, Mont.—Another piece of Pennsylvania elk country is permanently protected and open to public access thanks to a collaborative effort by the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and the Pennsylvania Game Commission (PGC).

The Woodring Farm II project entails 37 acres and is the newest addition to State Game Lands 311. It is located near a project finalized in 2014 and marks the 13th RMEF land protection and access project in Pennsylvania elk country.

“Even though these three parcels amount to just 37 acres, every piece of the puzzle counts in expanding the total amount of elk habitat acreage protected in Pennsylvania,” said Blake Henning, RMEF chief conservation officer. “We appreciate our partners at the Pennsylvania Game Commission as well as RMEF members and volunteers for their continual support.”

The property lies within the heart of the Pennsylvania elk range in Elk County’s Benezette Township which boasts the highest elk population density in the state.

“This acquisition is critical as it protects a very popular public corridor for elk viewing.  Public visitation to these viewing areas increases every year,” said Bryan Burhans, PGC executive director. “However, high-quality elk range is finite. This area is now protected perpetually thanks to our partners at RMEF and an anonymous donor.”

Funds generated from Pennsylvania elk tags and the anonymous donation to RMEF provided funding for the project.

Since 1991, RMEF and its partners completed 425 conservation and hunting heritage outreach projects in Pennsylvania with a combined value of more than $25 million. These projects protected or enhanced 26,907 acres of habitat and opened or improved public access to 10,152 acres.

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Maine Counts Piping Plovers and Brown-Nosed Bats – To Hell With the Hunters

Pennsylvania had a bear hunting season. It was a four-day rifle/gun season that began on November 18, 2017. One week later, the fish and game department sent out press releases with information about the bear hunt. Not only in one week’s time did the government provide the number of bears harvested, they also provided in which counties/towns/wildlife management units the bears were taken, the weights of the biggest bears taken, and the names of the hunters who harvested the bears.

In Maine, a state that brags upon itself as having the greatest black bear population in the country, along with the greatest black bear management team in the country, once took over a year to release any bear hunting harvest information. They no longer have that problem. They simply removed all game animal harvest information from their website and apparently have no plans to provide taxpayers and license holders with any information about deer, bear, moose, and turkey harvests.

With today’s technology, some states have taken advantage of the access to instant information while others, like Maine, seem to be headed in the opposite direction. Perhaps the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) has something to hide.

All hands at MDIFW seem eager to count piping plovers and brown-nosed bats, but when it comes to stroking those who pay their salaries (license buyers) it seems they are pissing on our boots and telling us it’s raining out.

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Buying Into Deer Management by Political Influence

Recently a Maine outdoor writer expressed his newly found knowledge he had acquired from reading a 10-year-old study about how deer can destroy a forest. What is most unfortunate for readers is that lacking in this report was the actual history of what took place during that time that prompted this politically biased report, placing pressure on the Pennsylvania Game Commission, forest management companies and private land owners to side with the Game Commission in carrying out their newly crafted deer management plan to radically butcher the existing deer herds throughout the state by up to 70%.

If for no other reason, one has to look at the very top of the study to see that the study was composed by, essentially, the forest industry. With knowledge and understanding, which so few people have these days, of the realities of “studies,” founded in Scientism and outcome-based, agenda-driven, “science,” one can easily discern that this study is the work of scientists, paid by the forest industry, to show a need to protect the forest, even at the expense of a deer herd.

There is, of course, more than one side to any story. The Unified Sportsmen of Pennsylvania sued the Pennsylvania Game Commission to try to get them to stop the destruction of the deer herd. However, many believed the number of deer in Pennsylvania to be much too large, in some places sporting numbers in excess of 60-70 deer per square mile. Growing up and hunting in Maine, where at times to find 1 deer in 60-70 square miles was a feat, it’s difficult to muster up support for those complaining that reducing deer populations to 15-20 deer per square mile would be a total destruction of the deer herd. There is a balance in there somewhere and it’s not based strictly on numbers but on a wide variety of items, often mostly driven by habitat and available feed on a continuous level.

The study in question is more of a political influence prompted by a very nasty set of events set in the mid-2000s. No study should be blindly accepted as the gospel without a deep forensic research into the background of the study and the whos and whys it is being done. Few would argue that too many of any animal within a defined area of the landscape can be destructive, in more ways than simply eating too much vegetation. But at the same time, a biased study, bought and paid for by the forest industry, has to be taken with a grain of salt and definitely within the context of the events at that moment in time. That is why the author should have spent a little more time in conducting his own research about the politics behind this study before extolling its “scientific” virtues as high value.

At the time this study was being compiled, those of us who followed the event, saw typical political nonsense loaded with contradictions. As an example, the forest industry, seemingly having convinced the Game Commission, that the only way the forest industry could survive was to have the deer densities slashed to around 15 deer per square mile. The same forest industry and Game Commission said that their new deer management plan would manage and maintain populations at that level, and yet in May of 2008, we read in the news that a member of the Pennsylvania Game Commission said that in one region, where deer densities had been reduced to 15-20 per square mile, the deer where healthy, the forest had “regenerated,” and that now the deer herd could be rebuilt. Rebuilt? Huh?

The author’s piece also revealed, what he called, “troubling,” a statement made by an author of the study in question. “It doesn’t matter what forest values you want to preserve or enhance – whether deer hunting, animal rights, timber, recreation, or ecological integrity – deer are having dramatic, negative effects on all the values that everyone holds dear.”

This is, of course, the root of all things bad when it comes to wildlife and game management. The real scientific method has gone absent. The study in question is a work of Scientism, in which those with authority present their opinions and perspectives as scientific evidence, understanding full well the power derived by such a position. When scientific decisions are disregarded and replaced with caving in to social and socio-political groups because deer, or any other animal, is having “dramatic, negative effects on all the values” that these, sometimes perverse groups “holds dear,” what hope is there for responsible game management? We can always expect to read more fake “studies” bought and paid for by political groups for political purposes.

Interesting that the reality is that none of these social groups would be in any position to be seeking the preservation of their perceived values as they might pertain to wildlife, if, over the past century, the hunters, trappers and fishermen had not been the financiers and willing participants in the execution of the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation. And yet, these social and political groups, who are now dominating the fish and wildlife agencies across the country, have never paid a lick of money or given any time toward real conservation of wildlife, are looking to destroy the one proven existence that has brought us to this point. Go figure.

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More Elk Country Conserved, Opened to Public Access in Pennsylvania

Press Release from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:

MISSOULA, Mont.—An additional 766 acres of Pennsylvania elk habitat is now permanently protected and opened to public access thanks to efforts by the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Pennsylvania Game Commission (PGC) and a generous donor.

“This would not have happened without landowners who care about Pennsylvania and both understand and appreciate the crucial wildlife values of this area,” said Blake Henning, RMEF chief conservation officer.

Located in Centre County, the project extends the western unit of State Game Lands 100 to the north along the West Branch of the Susquehanna River. By doing so, it expands that unit to 5,272 acres in size and improves access to it while expanding the overall size of the two State Game Lands 100 units to a combined 21,069 acres.

“This critical acquisition to the Pennsylvania Game Commission’s State Game Land system will not only enhance the agency’s ability to better manage the southern dispersal of its elk herd, but it will benefit all Pennsylvanians by adding an additional 766 acres,” said Bryan Burhans, PGC executive director. “We are grateful for the outstanding partnership between RMEF and the Game Commission.”

The property’s habitat includes oak and pine woodlands, meadows, grassland and key riparian habitat along 1.24 miles of the river. It is home to elk, whitetail deer, black bears, turkey, grouse and other bird and animal life.

“We are especially grateful for our long-standing partners at the Pennsylvania Game Commission. Their dedication and determination made this project possible,” added Henning.

Since 1991, RMEF and its partners completed 424 conservation and hunting heritage outreach projects in Pennsylvania with a combined value of more than $24.9 million. These projects conserved or enhanced 26,874 acres of habitat and opened or secured public access to 9,312 acres.

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PA Releases 2016 Bear Harvest Data. Maine Asleep At The Wheel

This year, 2016, Pennsylvania bear hunters took 3,529 bears – 5th highest harvest on record. Officials are telling the world about the great bear hunting Pennsylvania has to offer. This report is calling it “The Golden Age of Bear Hunting.”

Two years ago, Maine harvested, 3,016 bears. It took officials over a year to release any of the harvest data and when they did, it was not announced to anyone. For days on end, I would check in at the website and for days on end, nothing appeared. Hmmmm!

The 2016 bear hunt has long concluded, and hunters can expect the data from that hunt to be available on the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) website by sometime in September of 2017 – hopefully not long after another new bear hunting season has started.

Some have asked me why I get all “wee-weed up,” as a former president once said, over the release of deer, moose, turkey and bear harvest data. “What difference does it make?”

I wouldn’t expect everyone to understand, or care enough to understand, so let me present it in a way I have not presented it in the past.

Suppose, as we have been told (if you look hard enough), that Maine actually was interested in finding more bear and turkey hunters. There are some reports that make that claim. It is my understanding that this dilemma has become a regular topic of discussion at the planning meetings for bear and turkeys.

It’s a bit odd, to me anyway, that in many parts of Maine the deer hunting sucks, but I have seen MDIFW attempt to convince people through the media that the deer hunting is great. Maine has too many bears and too many turkeys, but I don’t hear any bragging about how good it is. I don’t get it.

It would seem to me, that one way to go about bragging, would be to put some honest effort into getting the harvest information out as quickly as possible and then brag about it. Let the world know that Maine, last year (if they got their data out in a timely fashion), harvested 3,016 bears and 7,570 turkeys.

A message can be sent that Maine cares about, not only the social tolerances of its brainwashed citizenry, but that it cares about the importance of harvest data to keep the hunters happy and to be able to use such information as a marketing tool, instead of some kind of political leverage of power over others – which is what it all too often feels like.

Isn’t it time to put some effort and money where mouths are found? Talk is cheap. If MDIFW wants more hunters – which spells revenue – to assist in better control over turkey and bear populations, they have a terrible way of showing it. One has to assume they don’t care.

Perhaps it’s the Climate Change.

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PA residents have tried to buy 97 guns every hour

In the past three months, Pennsylvania residents have tried to buy 97 firearms every hour. Additionally, the number of requests this quarter through the Pennsylvania Instant Check System (PICS) is up 26 percent from last year. Since PICS was established in 1998, the number of background checks has incrementally increased from 200,000 at it inception to over a million by 2013. That was mostly due to the post-Sandy Hook talk about gun control

Source: PA residents have tried to buy 97 guns every hour « Hot Air

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Whether it’s Weather – Deer Movement and Temperatures

A former student, who is now a deer biologist for a northeastern state, asked if our data might provide some insights into the 2015 hunting season.

Harvest data are still being tallied and summarized for most states, but anecdotal observations suggested the harvest may have dipped across multiple northeastern states this year. There are potentially many reasons, but one possibility is that the unusually warm autumn affected deer (and hunter?) behavior.

Or maybe it’s a bunch of hogwash.

Anyway, it got me thinking. We now have 3 years of deer movements during October-December. Would comparing deer movements over 3 years reveal any secrets?

There’s one way to find out.

Source: Whether it’s Weather — Deer-Forest Study — Penn State University

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Traditional Hunting Practices Replaced With “Everyone’s a Participant” Mentality

I never thought the day would come when I would become a cantankerous old bastard, but here it is I guess. What’s the world coming to…except a rapid end?

Growing up in Maine and being a part of a deer hunting family, the goal was to bag the big buck. Second to that was to hear about someone who did and, yes, see if your buck was bigger than there buck. It was a healthy competition as most competitions are. But that has all changed, it seems. (Note: Without counting and measuring the big one, there will never be any stories to embellish and pass down. What’s the point in living?)

Yesterday, I discovered a news article where the writer, evidently on “assignment” from his boss, seeks to find out, “Why are people so interested in big deer?” If you are of the generation that I grew up with, you might ask, “Are you kidding me?” If you’re of the younger generation, probably you will ask, “Yeah, what the heck does anybody care about big deer or big bear or HOW MANY DEER OR BEAR WERE TAKEN THIS SEASON? I “participated.” Isn’t that enough?

I guess living in an age where everyone gets a “trophy” the idea of being in any kind of competition for biggest deer, biggest bear, biggest moose, seems, well, unfair to some. Everybody is a winner, right?

To continue my harp on the subject of why the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) fails miserably in making available game animal’s harvest data, without discovering a better explanation, perhaps the reason is rooted in the same new age nonsense of “everybody’s a wiener.” (not a typo) Maybe MDIFW is afraid of offending someone if they published in newspapers, on a timely and regular basis, harvest information. Maybe they fear promoting competition among sportsmen and sportswomen. GASP!

BigDeer

Here is an example of the State of Michigan reporting deer harvest numbers as the days progress throughout the deer hunting season. It seems they are not afraid of offending somebody and perhaps they might even understand that deer hunters want to know how many and how big.

Pennsylvania is telling their people how many bears were taken on the first day of bear hunting season. But wait! What does Pennsylvania think it’s doing also letting people know how big the biggest bear tagged, so far, is? That might offend somebody.

MaineDeerBiologist

Yup, things they are a changing. When it is normal that a news editor would assign someone to discover what the fascination is about big dear, or any large-game animal, what future is there for the sport? And as is pointed out in the above photograph, “Do ya think the anti-hunting, anti-trophy folks got a hand in this?”

YOU BET!

BigBears

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PA Preliminary First-Day Bear Harvest Results

The top 10 bears processed at check stations by Monday were either estimated or confirmed to have live weights of 592 pounds or more.
The largest of those bears – a male estimated at 713 pounds – was taken in Blair Township, Blair County, by Richard A. Watt, of Gallitizen, Pa. He took it a 7:10 a.m. on Nov. 21, the season’s opening day.

Source: PA Preliminary First-Day Bear Harvest Results : The Outdoor Wire

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