June 24, 2018

Maine’s New Big Game Management Plan Stained With Environmentalism

*Editor’s Note* – When I ended my work on this article last evening, unfinished and unedited, I didn’t realize that I unintentionally hit the “publish” button instead of the “save draft” button. For some readers, you may have gotten a look at the unfinished work with lots of errors in it. I apologize for this mistake.

Maine wildlife authorities have concluded the Draft copy of a new 15-year big game management plan. The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) likes to call the plan the 10-plan – that’s because it’s about 5 years late in coming.

Regardless, for those willing for some honest examination of the Draft Plan, can see that it is smeared with acts of Environmentalism, Romance Biology, Voodoo Science, and Scientism.

Pharmacies and doctors have seen windfall profits from the fear-mongering over Lyme disease. We’re all gonna die, ya know! And along with this preprogrammed effort to scare the hell out of anyone thinking about going outdoors, we see the call from “society” (social, socialism, communism) to reduce the deer population to save the planet. Never lose sight of the fact WE’RE ALL GONNA DIE from Lyme disease or some other manufactured “weapon of mass mental destruction.” Doing so would really upset the Global Power Structure’s plans.

Because MDIFW has taken up the cross to manage big game for healthy populations, spending less effort on anything that might reveal or expose lack of accountability, we now have to even further reduce the deer population below the dismal levels that already exist. (Note: Once again we see another firm case of the overwhelming need to KNOW deer populations in order to manage them responsibly.)

Must Lyme disease be a new disease? Oh, wait! According to some (wink-wink) Lyme disease was “discovered” (deserves another wink-wink) about 40-years ago. Others (get ready for it) say “new discoveries” (quadruple wink-winks until at least the cows have all come home) indicate that Lyme disease has been around for “15-million years.”

During a period of time of nearly 20-25 years ago, Maine wildlife biologists were estimating the deer population in excess of 300,000 and the deer management plan in place at that time stated the statewide goal was to maintain an “over-wintering” population of about 310,000.

In MDIFW’s wildest dreams, they estimate today deer population of around 200,000 animals. However, it appears that harvest rates of modern times don’t match with those of 15 years ago or longer. In other words, the number of deer harvested of late does not necessarily equate to 200,000 deer. Something less than that.

Regardless, 40 years ago, when Lyme disease was “discovered,” where was Lyme disease? Where was Lyme disease when Maine’s deer population spiked to well over 300,000? I know, I know. You’re all going to say that better diagnoses today detect the disease. Is that really an honest answer?

So why is the deer being blamed? It’s not the source of Lyme disease. It only is a blood host for the Lyme/deer tick. Why aren’t we expending necessary effort to go to the source of the disease and instead, picking on deer and determining to kill off whatever number of deer it takes to reduce Lyme disease (oh, why not! Wink-Wink) (Note: It is the aim of Environmentalism and/or animal rights perverts to end hunting. Going after the source of Lyme disease is not conducive to ending hunting, but if they can successfully reduce the deer populations to levels below the need for surplus harvest, they will have achieved their goal. You should also know that these groups couldn’t care less about your risk of contracting Lyme or any other disease.)

Ironically, or something, those Environmentalists who say we’re all gonna die because deer spread Lyme disease, will be the first in front of the microphones and television cameras demanding that all hunting must stop in order to protect a man-caused fragile deer population…while the cases of Lyme disease continue to flourish…because of better diagnostic techniques? (yes, yes! Wink-Wink)

Environmentalism = Scientism, Romance Biology, Voodoo Science, man sucks, and we’re all gonna die!

Also in this latest charade of big game management mockery (as demanded by the Legislature), once again we hear the woes of the failure of deer management.

A few years ago, a group of “stakeholders” and interested “volunteers” comprised a quasi-vigilante-style onslaught defined as an effort to address deer management issues in Maine. I wonder what they would have done through all those meetings if “Climate Change” didn’t exist or their bred-in instincts at totalitarian authority to steal away landowner rights didn’t give them subject matter?

During those meetings, the discussion eventually came around to suggesting that deer management in northern, western, and eastern Maine be essentially abandoned because the MDIFW cannot find ways to grow deer. That’s called GIVING UP! There are just too many excuses why it can’t be done. However, a great deal of actual deer management has been abandoned due to the utter nonsense being taught to wildlife biologists in factories of higher brainwashing, and increased pressure from Environmentalism to “change the way we talk about wildlife management.” And, let’s not forget the fear of lawsuits.

It is imperative that those who care about deer management in Maine understand that part of this Draft Plan calls for a “reevaluation” of deer management in northern, western, and eastern Maine to determine whether any effort to manage the deer in those regions is worthwhile. DAMN THAT CLIMATE CHANGE!! (Note: We must consider that should MDIFW abandon deer management in these regions, would the deer population then grow?)

We can blame whomever we want, however, according to the outcome-based “surveys” MDIFW conducted, the majority of Maine people think all is well on the homefront and that MDIFW is doing a marvelous job. That’s mostly because not unlike the brainwashed college students, society is just as brainwashed and they don’t even suspect anything.

It’s easy to target the wildlife biologists, but how much they are to blame is difficult to tell. Many are just simply doing what they are told. If we look at wildlife management as what it has become, none of what I write about matters because we will NEVER return an honest science-based system of wildlife biology. Instead, we will see a rise in Scientism, Romance Biology, Voodoo Science, Outcome-based management plans, etc.

There is one more issue in the Draft Deer Management Plan that needs to be looked at. The Plan calls for a reduction in deer populations in most all of southern and central Maine. These reductions, because of pressure from Environmentalists to stem Lyme disease, would put the population densities down to 15 – 20 deer per square mile, which is ample deer. Essentially, areas of central and southern Maine are what is keeping deer hunting in Maine alive. This is because there is a viable deer population there. In the north, west, and east, deer densities run as low as 2 – 5 deer per square mile and hunting activity is dropping like a rock.

If we slash the deer herd in central and southern Maine, what’s left? How will hunters react?

The Draft Plan for all Wildlife Management Districts calls for increased hunting and, “Continue to provide a diversity of opportunities for hunters to pursue deer by allowing multiple hunting techniques over a long season framework.”

This is a great example of wordsmithing. The Plan wants to “provide a diversity of opportunities.” What precisely does that mean? I suppose it means that I could buy a 10,000-acre spread in Central Maine, put nothing on it, manage the nothingness that is there and sell “opportunities” for those interested to go there and pursue rhinoceros. That would be diverse and provides an “opportunity.”

You might recall in my opposition to the wording of any proposed constitutional amendment to protect hunting, fishing, and trapping to Maine’s Constitution, each proposal used the same kind of wording – wording that would guarantee a right to an opportunity not a right to hunt, fish, and trap game. There is a difference.

However, the bottom line is that if hunting in Maine is to be a part of our future, there must be game to hunt, fish, and trap. It’s that simple.

Surveys, for what they are worth, conducted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, have indicated that the biggest deterrent to hunting is finding or taking the time. If hunters and potential hunters now struggle to find the time, or to justify taking the time, to hunt, how much more disinterested will people be when the only parts of the state where there are ample deer to hunt are gone?

For some of us, there is a great challenge to pursue the monster buck in areas where deer densities run around 2 -5 per square mile. Most, however, want meat and don’t have the resources to spend hours and hours to get it.

And all of this discussion about the Management Plan is actually a wasted effort. This legislatively mandated management plan is nothing more than typical government bureaucratic nonsense that, once written, is set aside and little attention paid to it. If it was required that game managers followed this plan and their production was as dismal as it is, compared to the plan, many should lose their jobs.

It is an act to appease the morons in the Capital building and to placate the unsuspecting public. In some ways, perhaps a lot of ways, consider it a good thing that game managers don’t follow their own plans.

Now, if we could just do something about the spread of Environmentalism throughout society and in our school systems.

RIGHT!!

 

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Maine’s Big Game Management Plans

You can view this plan on the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife’s website.

*Note* – This is still the “DRAFT” of the Big Game Management proposal. The public can comment on it and make suggestions and CHANGES can be made (but I have serious doubts that they ever would).

 

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Report to the Joint Standing Committee on Inland Fisheries and Wildlife

*Editor’s Note* – This report really sounds terrific…well, with the exception of the continued focus on giving social demands toward wildlife management too much credence. What readers may not understand in this report and the changing of management plans, strategies and techniques, is we may not actually know what is truly taking place within each of our Wildlife Management Districts (WMD). I highlighted below a small example that readers should be aware of.
While it is important and worthy to implement deer management plans, utilizing the best available science, etc., when we read that MDIFW intends to issue their Any-Deer Permits (ADP) according to new-found data, i.e. a newly contrived Winter Severity Index (WSI), among other things, will we be told how this new WSI relates to and has been reconfigured as it compared to the old one? Or will implementing “new strategies” simply become a convenient excuse as to why certain WMDs are far below management goals? If you don’t understand that, it simply means loss of deer hunting opportunities.
I guess we can hope for the best and biologists will gain enough data to honestly understand the dynamics of deer management, to include, health and all associated influences, habitat, changes in the use of habitat, adjustments by deer to compensate for supposed loss of wintering habitat, disease, predators, and overall mortality, etc. If, however, like most modern wildlife management approaches, the focus remains on the unproven “science” of climate change, all of this time and energy will have been wasted…well, except for those garnering money for their studies to perpetuate their employment.
And maybe this new-science approach is but another way to justify poor deer management, and replace it with “best available science.” We have often seen that tactic before. When you compare the previous deer management plans, with all the talk going around about the new deer management plans, including what’s in this report, is MDFIW simply “dumbing-down” the entire deer population and strategies to fit reality on the ground, the result of their own efforts? There was a time, not that long ago, when MDFIW wanted at least 300,000 deer and annual deer harvest was in excess of 30,000 deer. In addition, goals called for deer populations to more closely approach carrying capacity, not 50% – 60% of biological carrying capacity called for today. Evidently, around 200,000 deer and harvests of 18,000 – 20,000 is easier to plan and manage for than the other. Oh, that’s right it’s about social tolerance and climate change. What was I thinking. Isn’t this a bit like making school work easier so more students get higher grades? Or maybe not.
What value then, are these deer studies, if social demands are going to make our deer managers’ decisions for them? Oh, well.
In response to the requirements set forth in Title 12 Section 10107-A the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife submits the following report on the actions taken and proposals for the management of Maine’s white-tailed deer.
Despite the long-term success of the index, biologists previously found that WSI may have underestimated WMR during the mid-to-late-1980s. The Department attributed the discrepancy to altered population dynamics as a result of loss of habitats following the spruce budworm outbreak. With the goal of rectifying the accuracy of the predictive equation, MDIF&W conducted dead-deer surveys between 1993 and 2000 to assess winter mortality rates associated with different WSI values of the time. The implication is that as ecological relationships continue to evolve on Maine’s landscape we should likewise continue to monitor the efficacy of our metrics to maintain our high standards of wildlife management.<<<Read Entire Report>>>
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In Maine, Too Many Game Animals or Not Enough Game Animals? And None of It Matters

And the beat goes on! Drums keep pounding rhythm to my brain!

Ah, yes! The committee in Maine is at work attempting to put onto paper all the management plans for deer, moose, bear and turkey. Members on the committee seem to be saying there are too many of certain kinds of game animals, while others are saying there isn’t enough. Perhaps the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) and the committee should go on Facebook and ask followers what they think…and don’t forget the environmentalists and animal rights perverts. Oh, wait. That’s right. They already have some of them on the committee helping to “steer” efforts in the right way. Perhaps asking for input from Black Lives Matter?

The other day I wrote about how I thought the entire effort was a waste of time – jumping through bureaucratic hoops for the sole purpose of getting money. These plans are seldom followed or even referred to during their 15-year life expectancy…well, except when it’s convenient. I wonder if all the committee members will win a trophy when the task is complete? At least a certificate of participation?

Just as a reminder, some of us have been doing a lot of hollering that something ought to be done about growing a deer herd. The result? Increased doe permits because Maine had one relatively mild winter. I guess this is now the major driving force toward deer management.

Some of us have suggested efforts to reduce the bear populations that have been determined to be a major factor in reduced deer existence. The result? Crickets, except listening to what the guides have to say and doing as they are told. Now I understand that in the proposed bear management plan, MDIFW is going to spend time and money to “educate” people how to “coexist” with bears. No, seriously. I’m not the only person out there over the age of 60. When was the last time, in your life span, that we had to teach people how to “coexist” with bears? I thought so.

I’ve banged my head against cement walls attempting to get somebody to listen to the idea that Maine simply has too many moose and that’s why winter ticks have taken over the job of managing the moose herd. The result? Reduced numbers of moose permits and discussion about stopping any kind of deer management in Northern Maine and focus only on moose. Let’s continue breeding and growing ticks shall we? Hmmm. This must have been the suggestion of the guides and camp owners. It’s probably easier as well. Instead of having to listen to questions about why the deer hunting sucks, MDIFW biologists can just say, “We don’t manage deer there anymore. But the moose hunting is good. You just need to hire a guide, pay a few thousand dollars, and if you’re lucky enough to draw a permit, oh boy!” Maybe the change would make for better reality TV programming. Let’s get drunk and go catch somebody illegally looking at a moose….or something.

I really should stop all this talk!

But, for some reason, and meaning no offense to the members of the committee, members seem to think this time will be different. If we can just get into these game management plans all those things that make us feel good, this time it will be different. This time MDIFW will follow the plan. This time.

Last time the plan didn’t get followed very good and so MDIFW had to stop mid-plan and devise a crock of bologna called Maine’s Game Plan for Deer.  We can expect MDIFW to follow these new game management plans as closely as they did the Maine’s Game Plan for Deer. I wonder what followers of Facebook thought about that. Did MDIFW get any “likes” for that? Did MDIFW go and ask members of the Humane Society of the United States if it was alright to go through the motions so as to get the sportsmen off their backs? Go ask Katie!

Or maybe cough up another few hundred thousand dollars to hire a “research” company to come up with what you want to hear – like sportsmen are so much in love with MDIFW.

I’ll repeat it one more time, just for the insanity of it: Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and each time expecting a different result. Isn’t this really bureaucratic insanity at its finest?

And yes, I do understand that by my repeated writing, asking the same questions, pointing out the same nonsense, etc. and expecting that something will change, is complete insanity.

I guess I really do fit in!

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Washington State to Make Wolf Plans – You’re Not Invited

The next meeting of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife’s wolf advisory group will be closed to the public at the recommendation of a private consultant.
Source: Washington state plans closed-door meeting on wolves – Capital Press

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Maine’s Deer Management Lost in Paper Work Fraud

Yesterday I wrote an article and published it on this website about how in Maine’s effort to sell more deer hunting licenses, it appeared the new deer biologist, and I suppose all of the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW), were stretching the facts just a little bit in order to achieve their financial goals. In this article I stated that I would have to look into how reality on the ground was measuring up to Maine’s Deer Management Plan and Maine’s Game Plan for Deer. I did a bit of digging, with a bit of help from my friends, and here’s some of what I have come up with.

Recall, if you will, that Kyle Ravana, Maine’s new deer biologist, was bragging that the deer population in Maine was guesstimated at around 203,000 and that was “almost” back to the deer population levels before those two back to back winters which have certainly been a terrific scape goat for MDIFW……well, at least as it concerns whitetail deer.

In addition to the boasting of 203,000 deer, the same guesstimate of what this year’s projected deer harvest will be – 25,000-26,000 – both of these numbers are being bandied around as if they were some major accomplishment, unachievable by mankind.

So, how does a deer population of 203,000 (statewide) and a harvest of 25,000-26,000 stack up against the long term goals of official deer management plans that MDIFW spent our license fees to accomplish?

The MDIFW has a Deer Management System put in place in 2007. In addition, the Maine Legislature passed LD823 – Resolve, To Create an Effective Deer Habitat Enhancement and Coyote Control Program . From that bill a deer task force was created in order to figure out what was going on with the deer herd. The recommendations/report was sent to the Joint Standing Committee. You can read the report by following this link.

If appears to me that many of the long term goals for deer management found in Maine’s Deer Management System and the recommendations of the Deer Task Force, are in agreement. Take a gander at the table below.(You may need to click on the image to enlarge it for better reading.)

deerpopulationtable

The numbers of notice that pertain to this discussion are the bottom line figures of what the MDIFW/Deer Task Force would like to see by the year 2030 for deer population numbers statewide and harvest quotas statewide. Population = 383,550 and Harvest = 46,650. It kind of makes the current 203,000 number pitiful doesn’t it? Along with 25,000-26,000 harvest. Especially since the overall trend over the past few decades has been a reduction in deer population, not an increase.

Can Maine achieve those numbers? Not unless Maine gets 17 years of back to back mild winters.

I also wanted to know how these numbers would align with the recently crafted Maine’s Game Plan for Deer. Well, there isn’t much to offer here. The Game Plan is comprised of five elements, one of which addresses deer population. The only thing written about Element #2, as far as “strategies” go is this: “refine our current deer population model.” Everything else is mostly propaganda.

In other words, what “refine our current deer population model” means is to take the 383,550 wishful thinking deer population goal and shrink it down into something that fits the actual management strategies currently being used in order to not cause any embarrassment.

Just in the short term here, let’s take a look at the waste of time, energy and resources put toward accomplishing little. MDIFW crafted (required by law) a Deer Management System – 186 pages. A Task Force was formed (volunteer so let’s factor that in and feel real sorry their efforts were in vein) and a report produced to the MDIFW Joint Standing Committee – 174 pages. MDIFW put together a very attractive Maine’s Game Plan for Deer – 34 pages. For the most part, much of it is wasted paper and put together much as all government crap is put together, i.e. to satisfy a legal requirement and then it is filed away someplace and never referred to again unless somebody raises a stink about it and or it fits some political agenda and/or narrative.

That’s our license fee money at work in case you forgot.

So why even bother to do it? No seriously. Wouldn’t it be a better idea to have about six people, excluding any and all environmentalist morons, sit down over coffee and scribble on the back of a couple of business cards what a realistic deer population ought to look like and a harvest goal to match? It would be at least as effective.

If deer hunters go back and read the Maine’s Game Plan for Deer, that gorgeous piece of pictures and feel good stuff, after nearly two years of its existent, it’s beginning to seriously look more like an elegant piece of propaganda than anything with any back bone.

And now with 4 mild winters in a row, it seems those who have ignored all of these plans are lining up to take credit for a whopping deer population that doesn’t even come close to working it’s way toward that magical 383,550. So let’s dumb down the system, “redefine” population models and set deer population goals at 200,000. Then if MDIFW is fortunate enough to get 17 years in a row of mild winters, they will really look like heroes. WOW!

MDIFW needs to seriously get to work on this issue and stop putting all resources and monies into bear studies, counting loons, butterflies and ruby-throated crooplepoops. Counting deer from a helicopter might help but increasing the number of “Any-Deer” permits, prematurely, in zones that are showing some signs of getting bigger, isn’t going to help.

As much as I or anyone else wants to bitch and complain about MDIFW’s deer management, doing the same old thing, knowing severe winters are coming again – this is Maine after all – is insanity. Do I have to remind you that insanity is defined as doing the same thing over and over hoping for a different result?

Here’s a novel thought. Suppose Maine actually did have 383,550 statewide population of deer…..or more. After all, I believe these numbers are based on ideals (that is conceived through listening to insurance companies and animal rights groups) and certainly, in most WMDs, it is well below carrying capacity. With that healthy a population, what then would happen to the deer WHEN another back to back series of bad winters comes along? Combine that with predator control and it might not hurt so bad.

For those who might not know and haven’t figured it out yet, to get close to 400,000 deer statewide, would mean changing something.

Think, think, THINK!

Hint: Maine doesn’t need another task force or another legislative, bureaucratic, horse pucky, nothingness! We just need to get to work!

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Maine’s Deer Get No Help But How About Turtles and Butterflies?

We are being told by the new deer biologist at the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) that what we, and I guess that must include me, must STOP doing is, “talking about how there are no deer here.” I would be glad to as soon as there are.

It is easy to brag that, “Zones 3 and 6 had their highest buck harvest since 1963.”, but is it my position to remind Mr. Ravana that there are 29 Wildlife Management Districts? Ok, ok! I’ll stop beating up on the new deer biologist……right after I critique an interview he had with the Bangor Daily News.

I think we are off to a rocky start, at least from my perspective. When asked what his goals were for the first year on the job, he says he wants to get familiar with the job, the materials(?) and the deer data. Dare I ask if he has even begun this process? Let’s see. Coffee break is at 10……er, never mind.

However, he appears to be reaching out to other states and Canadian provinces about……climate change?

Places like New York and Vermont as well as Canadian providence’ like New Brunswick all face the same climate challenges that we face here in Maine.

Oh, boy! I guess that helps explain why later on in the interview he said he would rather have a warm winter than a cold one. I suppose that’s job security because as long as the deer don’t all die off due to severe winters and predation. Uh, oh! I added the predation. Not sure if that’s in Mr. Ravana’s vocabulary yet or not or maybe he hasn’t gotten familiar with that yet.

Which brings me to the catastrophic explanation as to why…..oh, do I dare say it? If Mr. Ravana is reading this, he can skip this part. It’s the explanation as to why THERE ARE NO DEER! Please see yesterday’s article for more information.

Anyway, back to the catastrophic explanation.

I want to get a deer study going (like IFW currently has for the bear population in Maine) and look at the survival percentages for does and fawns, as well as get some regional specific information on our deer. It would be the first time in 30 years that this has been done, but it could really help us to see if there some issues that we might not be aware of right now.

30 YEARS?

I could rest my case now! How many millions of dollars have we sportsmen paid MDIFW over the past 30 years, and no studies? This isn’t catastrophic! I’m inclined to think criminal here. In 30 years and the new head biologist wants to know, “if there are some issues that we might not be aware of right now?” Or is that what he/MDIFW are willing to talk about and address scientifically rather than praying for another decade of global warming?

I guess congratulations should go out to Mr. Ravana for even bringing the subject up and wanting a study. If he gets one, I hope it isn’t outcome based and funded by the antis.

30 years without a study! 30 years! And yet Maine is spending money on turtle and monarch butterfly studies. I sound like Red Button! “I never got a dinner!”

Yeah, I know. Who will be the first to send me an email explaining that the money from those studies came from grants? Does anybody have a clue that there are grants available for deer studies. Has anyone at MDIFW ever applied for one in the past 30 years? And while grant monies might pay for some of the work in turtle, butterfly and piping plover studies, none of that grant money pays retirement pensions. Sorry!

Is it wrong to conclude that with all the studies done in Maine on black bears and the state has a bear population about growing out of control, that spending a little time and money on deer might produce similar results? Is it? It’s not like sportsmen are asking for an out of control deer herd. Just enough of a herd so the next time the snow gets deep and the wind blows, the coyotes and other predators won’t kill off all the deer in the deer yards and we’ll have to start all over again.

But never fear. Be at ease. We are assured that work will begin soon in the crafting of a new deer management plan for Maine that will begin in 2015. Ravana says:

Now, it is time to look at where we are and where we want to be in another 15 years. The public is a critical part of the plan and I want to learn about the goals and issues that people have when it comes to hunting, viewing and the overall total of deer in their area. When the plan is done, it will lay out how we want to shape the deer herd in terms of health, harvest numbers, and goals for each wildlife management district. I want to make sure that I have as much knowledge and partnerships in place as possible so that we can design a successful new system to meet the needs of the herd over the next 15 years.

I realize that Mr. Ravana is and will take a bunch of crap, perhaps the bulk of it he has little or no say over. He does not set policy, etc. I’ve voiced my opinions often and I will continue to do so. So long as MDIFW and all other fish and game departments nationwide insist of attempting to “manage” fish and game and wildlife as to what will be tolerated by the public, there is little hope that any game species will be managed scientifically and in accordance with what is most healthy for the animals.

I realize as well that exact conclusions cannot be drawn from one online interview but wouldn’t it have been a bit more effective to have stated that at the end of the current 15-year deer management plan and before the beginning of a new one, it is determined if the current plan is worth anything? Did the goals in that plan ever get accomplished? Or are we just going to copy and paste the next plan together, fudge a few numbers here and there, submit the plan for approval and then head out to do some more turtle and butterfly gawking?

In all seriousness, the failures, and they are huge, of deer management in Maine comes from the fact that no studies have been done on Maine deer in 30 years…..among other things of course. Is it any wonder that in the past 30 years the deer harvests and opportunities to hunt deer have spiraled downward?

You don’t have to be a brain surgeon to understand that MDIFW makes its decisions based on who has the most financial and political clout. That’s why they cave to the environmentalists and have decided to run their department in a manner that is socially tolerable, i.e. to keep the big money and big power off their backs.

I hope I live long enough for perhaps that one day when the sportsmen finally realize they hold the most clout and power. For without their support and dollars, MDIFW would be nothing more than another branch of the Department of Environmental Protection. Oh, wait! It already is.

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Maine’s Coyote Management Plan: Poorly Planned or Planned in Fear? Designed to Fail?

It was nearly 2 weeks ago that I shared with readers some facts about what was taking place on the ground regarding Maine’s Predation Management effort. In that report, it was determined that the cost of dispensing one coyote/wolf had risen to $146.00 from $106.00 last year. This is absolutely no good.

Last year the entire blame of the failure of the program was laid at the feet of a mild winter in which deer didn’t “yard up” and no coyotes in the yard. While an acceptable excuse at the time, what did the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) do to counter this natural phenomenon should it happen again? After all, while mild winters is helpful to the deer, is does nothing about reducing coyote depredation.

Also in the previous report, I included a snowfall map of Maine. It showed some portions of Maine with waist deep snow and others with under a foot. If you look at the latest NOAA snow depth map, one can see that the amount of snow has actually diminished since January 10. This seems to mostly go along with the most recent Predation Management Report and what was said in an email that was sent to me that originated at MDIFW, from John Pratt, Wildlife Management Section Supervisor.

Please find attached an update on this year’s Predation Management effort. Regional biologists maintain weekly contact with program participants to make adjustments as needed and every two weeks we evaluate the effort statewide considering; coyote activity, deer mobility, snow conditions, hunter success, hunter effort and our budget. Based on these factors we have added two more priority areas and a few more program participants.

In general, deer are highly mobile state wide as are coyotes which are observed to be favoring easier prey. Because of good mobility, food abundance and low coyote densities, coyotes are not responding well to bait sites. Per our protocol we continue to monitor these priority areas and remove coyotes as presence and conditions allow. In addition, we closely watch our budget for opportunities to activate additional pre-identified priority areas to maximize our effort.

Conditions can change rapidly and our biologists and participants adjust accordingly. –John

Sounds good doesn’t it? But obviously it is not working. Enough coyotes/wolves are not being killed and the cost per animal keeps rising.

And I do question one particular comment in the above email. Pratt said, “low coyote densities” was one of the things hampering predator control. Should that be better defined to say low coyote densities in deer yards? Or is he trying to convince somebody there aren’t enough coyotes to kill?

So what should be done to control coyotes? Is there a better plan? Of course there is but it is doubtful Mainers will ever see any parts of a better plan due to a number of things; mostly fear combined with indoctrinated beliefs that coyotes, i.e. large predators are “good” for the ecosystem. But let’s not get off track.

Let’s start at the beginning and the first tell tale sign that this so-called plan is doomed to failure. When the reports are sent out, notice if you will in the below report (the latest one I have received) that in the upper right hand corner it is titled, “2012/2013 Predation Management, Interim Update.” Predators should not be “managed.” They need to be controlled. The term management intimates that a species is being taken care of to provide surplus populations for harvest opportunities, i.e. trapping and hunting. Maine, at the present time does not need to be “managing” coyotes for surplus harvest. The goal here, or at least Maine sportsmen were told as such and it’s written in Maine’s Plan for Deer, was to implement a program to reduce the number of coyotes in those areas where deer are struggling to survive. So the question might be asked, is it called management because the MDIFW is actually trying to manage instead of control coyotes or is MDIFW attempting to be politically correct and not offend the animal rights perverts who don’t want their precious dogs killed that are killing deer and other animals, while spreading disease?

coyotereport3

I spent some time communicating with trappers and hunters about this program. Some of those I emailed with are participants in the “management” program. What I wanted to find out from these people, because they are representative of those with continuous boots on the ground and have an excellent perspective on what is actually taking place. Having collected those ideas, along with some of my own, I thought I would offer up some suggestions on how to improve this coyote program and turn it into a control program.

But before I get into suggestions, I might point out that suggestions can be damned if the state of Maine is not actually serious about saving the whitetail deer. Talk is cheap but doing what needs to be done, regardless of who it might offend, is what is absolutely necessary to save deer in those regions of Maine severely affected. Anything short of that will not work and it appears MDIFW has that proof right in front of them.

Here are the ideas in no particular order or priority:

* – Establish a set of criteria to use to determine what constitutes a “priority area.” Perhaps MDIFW already has this but it is unknown to me and all those that I communicated with. This leads me to suspect that either there is not established criteria and/or the boots on the ground stakeholders were not sought out in establishing priority areas.

One trapper indicated that he was led to believe MDIFW was using historical deer wintering areas as “priority areas”. It has been over a decade now that I have been writing to explain that deer are a much more adaptive animal than biologists sometimes give them credit for. Going wherever the coyotes are is a must for successful trapping and hunting. In other areas of the country, ungulates are changing their habits because of the threat from large predators. The question arises as to whether or not MDIFW understands this and is adapting their game management and predator control programs to meet the changes.

* – If MDIFW insists they will continue to attempt predator control by hiring trappers and hunters, these hunters and trappers must be permitted to go where the coyotes are. I’ve read, researched and followed nationwide programs designed for deer, elk and moose management and predator control, and any plan design to target specific areas only is not about predator control but about being politically correct and appeasing the environmentalists. One trapper reported to me that trappers involved in this program knowingly drive by areas loaded with coyotes, just to get to their designated “priority” sight. There appears to be some flexibility in this as one trapper did indicate the biologist he was working with agreed to let him expand his coverage area.

* – If MDIFW insists on hiring predator trappers, then let them keep the incidentals they trap.

* – The current program needs serious revamping. Start with allowing trapping by everyone, year round until predators are brought under control and the deer have responded. This trapping will be allowed in and during fawning season as well and along migration routes. Coyotes and bears target fawns. They know where the fawning areas are and go there for their easy meals.

* – Do away with the current hired trappers and hunters and open the opportunity up for all. As I said, just targeting special areas, while a part of the program, should not be the only part. The failure that exists for two years running is the ridiculous costs associated with killing a coyote. $25,000 took out 115 coyotes by paid trappers and hunters at over $200 an animal.

* – Implement an incentive program, perhaps similar to New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, Canada. We learned that when the price of coyotes pelts went up, so did the kill numbers. Maine can create a flexible pelt incentive program designed to insure each trapper and hunter will receive a minimum amount for each coyote taken. As the price of pelts goes up or down, the incentive bonus goes up and down. I was told by one trapper that $40 per coyote would be about a break even proposition. Let’s pump that up a little and see the harvest go up while at the same time putting a little extra cash in these people’s pockets.

* – I am told that the Passamaquoddy Indians are seeing some good success with their predator control programs and the deer are responding. Have we gone and talked with them about the rest of the state’s problem? Again, how serious are we about this?

* – A mapping program was suggested. If mapping of large areas of land were conducted in order to pinpoint known deer wintering areas, drainage, forests, fields, fawning areas and deer migration routes, it would not only aid in how to approach predator control and deer management but working with land owners in such a fashion might go a long ways in cutting down on the deer habitat destruction everybody rants about. I realize there is a cost associated with this but there must be grant monies, etc. available. Get our U.S. Senators and Congressmen busy.

* – We must also, if serious about saving the deer, reduce the state’s bear population. New studies are suggesting that black bears contribute as much to deer mortality as coyotes. We might start by including a fee-free bear tag on a resident big game hunting license the way it used to be. In addition, it sounds as though MDIFW is in favor of a spring bear hunt, so why don’t we have one? If MIDFW opts not to implement a spring hunt, at least up the bag limit to 2 bears.

* – Increase number of moose permits. Maine’s moose population has now grown to an official estimate of 75,000 animals and some have estimated that number to be closer to 90,000. Moose compete with deer to some degree with food and habitat and it doesn’t require a degree in wildlife biology to understand that moose are plentiful in regions where deer are not. If only temporary, up the number of moose permits being issued in order to not hinder the deer herd regrowth. While not a huge determining factor, at this point any little bit might help.

These are mostly the ideas of trappers and hunters I have talked with, along with a few of my own. I tried to include mostly those that seemed in agreement with all that I communicated with. The current plan simply is not working and it’s time to rethink it. If Maine and the Governor are serious about the value in saving the deer herd, we can’t wait on the weather. Maine must act seriously and decisively. Hunters and trappers must figure out a way to make this work.

On a further note, none of this is about coyote or predator eradication. It’s about reasonable and responsible wildlife management. This nation has implemented the North American Wildlife Conservation Model for decades with overwhelming success; the envy of the free world. And now environmentalists are attempting to destroy that for their own mislead programs and agendas. Allowing predators to grow uncontrolled is irresponsible. Maine sportsmen will not tolerate thoughtless wildlife management.

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Maine IFW Chief: A Century From Now People Will Say…………

I suppose I could call it some form of job security, but why people at the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife continue to provide fodder that prompts repeated demands for accountability on my part, puzzles me. Evidently the Sportsman’s Congress, sponsored by the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine, was the breeding ground for yet another jewel of spoken words.

In Deirdre Fleming’s article in Saturday’s Press Herald, she begins her piece this way:

A century from now, Mainers will look back and say the state’s fish and game department did what it promised, vowed Chandler Woodcock on Friday.

This remark, as written in Fleming’s piece, came as Mr. Woodcock addressed the Sportsman’s Congress. Part of that debate included discussions on Maine’s efforts, or lack thereof, in rebuilding a whitetail deer herd that is far from adequate.

While some attempts at regulating Maine’s game began in the early to mid 1800s, it was around a century or so ago that Maine and most states in the Union were devising fish and game laws that became the backbone for the North American wildlife management model.

One would have to wonder if the head of Maine’s fish and game around the turn of the century had said, “A century from now, Maine will be at a crossroads not willing to do what is right to protect and perpetuate the game species for the people of this state”, people would have thought him crazy.

But here we are and the current commissioner is talking about the hope that between now and a hundred years from now the deer problem will be saved. I’m sure I will be told that Mr. Woodcock didn’t mean that it would take 100 years to replenish the deer herd. I’m also sure that the same supporters of his comments will claim that Mr. Woodcock feels so strongly about his “Plan for Maine’s Deer” that it will be the greatest thing since the Ginsu Kitchen Knife…….or something.

Perhaps so, and I would suppose a quick pat on the back would be in store for attempting to raise sportsman’s hopes for the future but why would he choose to pick 100 years? I mean, how many fish and game commissioners that have come before Mr. Woodcock have left behind some kind of lasting legacy? How many can you name that we should all remember from 100 years ago? Or twenty years ago? That’s what I thought.

I honestly don’t think Mr. Woodcock is thinking about his legacy, so I have to think that little thought went into his choice of making reference to a century from now.

The current Maine sportsmen are looking for action NOW. They want actions NOW that will create results NOW. And then they want assurances that what we do NOW will pay off NOW and TOMORROW and the NEXT DAY, and that other plans taking place NOW will work at building and maintaining a deer herd 5 years from now and 10 years from now. And the commissioner speaks of what Maine people will be commenting on in 100 years? Are we supposed to lock up our hunting rifles now and make sure our wills are up-to-date so we pass on our hunting rifles to the proper inheritor?

The Commissioner has a plan to rebuild the deer herd. I think he thinks it is a good plan and that it will work. I have serious reservations about it and even if I thought it was a good plan, how can it be implemented with little support for it statewide that is being shown now?

Mr. Woodcock does need to continue to sell his plan. I’m afraid telling the sportsmen that things will be just ducky in 100 years really isn’t going to fire up the troops too much.

I can hear the faint echos now: “Five score and 7 years ago, our founding fathers brought forth in this state, Maine’s Game Plan for Deer , conceived in good thinking and dedicated to the proposition that in one hundred years men would look back and say, ‘What the hell were they thinking’?”

Tom Remington

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