September 22, 2019

Lolo, Selkirk Elk Study of 2011

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Did Man Extirpate the Caribou from Maine?

I was reading Part II of V. Paul Reynolds’ report about “Wildlife Restoration Projects.” He wrote mostly about Maine’s two attempts to restore caribou to northern Maine and seemed to suggest that with years of gained knowledge, perhaps it was time to try again. I’m not so sure about that, but…..

I did want to add to something that he wrote about the extirpation of caribou in Maine when he wrote: “Historical documents indicate that Maine’s last remaining caribou were killed off by market hunters who sold them to big city restaurants.” I won’t deny that market hunters made serious dents in deer, moose and caribou herds in their day. However, there are other historical documents that equally indicate the vanishing act of caribou and wolves cannot all be blamed on unregulated hunting.

A few years ago I did an extensive research piece on wolves in Maine from the 1600s until the time they were essentially declared missing in action. Readers should understand that this work was nearly 100% taken from the book, “Early Maine Wildlife: Historical accounts of Canada Lynx, Moose, Mountain Lion, White-Tailed Deer, Wolverine, Wolves, and Woodland Caribou, 1603-1930 – by William B. Krohn and Christopher L. Hoving – The University of Maine Press, Orono, Maine 2010.

It seemed that around the mid-1800s there existed, even then, disagreements as to whether deer, moose and caribou “disappeared” due to wolves or hunters. One writer made the claim, “Curiously enough there are old settlers in Maine who retain the theory that wolves follow deer. They claim that there were no deer at the time of the wolves – ‘the wolves killed them all off’ – but that since the extermination of the wolves the deer have gone on increasing.”

A hunter and trapper, in the book described as experienced, claimed: “In 1853 wolves were very plenty, and for the next five years were not scarce, plenty could be found within sixteen miles of Bangor in 1857 and 1858. They seemed to leave quite suddenly, the last I know of positively being taken was killed by Frank Fairbanks in 1860 in Munsengun. I know the wolves were not exterminated, as from the time they were quite plenty till the time they disappeared, very few skins were brought in. They left of their own accord, just as the caribou left us.”

Those that have some knowledge of the habits and behavior of wolves, understand that many things influence their behavior. For example, at times wolves can eat up all their prey. If this happens, the wolf moves on and the possibility exists that if the prey doesn’t return, neither will the wolf. If there exists alternative prey, i.e. there is more than one prey species to feed wolves, the large predator canine may never leave an area. It would probably require quite a number of wolves in Maine to seriously reduce or extirpate moose, deer and caribou.

In the quote above, we read of the first indication that wolves were not “exterminated” and simply up and left “just as the caribou left us.” This should be important information to consider.

According to evidence found in the book of reference, wolves were mostly gone from the state by the mid-1800s. From around 1860 into the early 1900s, there were very few, to almost zero, recorded wolf kills – the last official wolf kill took place in Andover, Maine in 1920.

One account in the Maine Sportsman, in 1900, of the absence of wolves, claims that, “During the whole winter we saw no deer and but few moose, the entire absence of deer being due to the wolves with which the woods were overrun. Caribou we saw everywhere and I plainly remember that one day, coming out upon them trailing along in single file was a herd of 17 caribou.”

It would seem this would indicate that with reports of wolves being missing from Maine by the mid-1800s, that in 1900, some 40 or 50 years later, there were still quite a few caribou, or at least more of them seen than deer or moose. One must honestly consider that if caribou “recovered” after a presumed disappearance of wolves, in 40 or 50 years, wouldn’t the deer and moose have recovered? Because there are so many influencing factors in wildlife management, that question cannot be simply answered. Other accounts from this book also indicate that after what appeared to be the absence of wolves, deer, moose and caribou made recoveries.

We also know that in the late 1800s Maine began it’s work to regulate the hunting and fishing activities throughout the state, with regulations well in force by the early 1900s.

Examination of the information provided in this book help to support the historic behavior of wolves, i.e. that once they had reduced the numbers of the prey to a certain level, the wolves took off for better hunting grounds. However, this event appears to have occurred nearly 50 years before the caribou disappeared.

It cannot be argued that many factors contributed to the disappearance of the caribou in Maine. That disappearance cannot and should not be completely attributed to hunting. We know that after the wolves mostly disappeared from Maine, the deer, moose and caribou recovered. If in 1900 loggers were reporting seeing “herds of 17 caribou” it was not market hunters and uncontrolled hunting that killed them after that.

If Maine was ever going to seriously consider a third try at caribou restoration, many, many factors must be considered other than introducing more of them this time. Perhaps the habitat of northern Maine simply cannot support caribou any longer. If caribou, in the very early 1900s, one day just walked out of the state – some believe they moved into New Brunswick and never returned – there had to be reasons. Do we know what those reasons were? Are we interested in finding out? Perhaps knowing what took place in the early 1900s would answer a lot of questions as to whether another attempt at caribou restoration would work.

Some things to consider:

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What Kind Do You Smoke?

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Bobcat Hunting in Maine

According to the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife website, bobcat hunting season runs until February 21, 2017. In places the snow is deep. Dust off those snowshoes and have at it. If you are one of those who believes that bobcats can raise hell with the deer herd, help out the deer and take a few bobcats.

Here’s looking at a comparison in size of a mountain lion and a bobcat.

Think a bobcat is too small to bring down an adult deer?

This photo has been around for awhile but I recall when it happened the report claimed that the deer was brought down and killed smack in the middle of the road.

Hunting bobcats with hounds is lots of fun and rewarding.

He’s ready to go again!

A terrific prize.

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Alaska Sues U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Over Refuge Predator Program

“The state of Alaska has filed a lawsuit challenging the legality of a federal agency’s restrictions on predator harvests on wildlife refuges and national parks there.

State attorneys filed the lawsuit Jan. 13 in the U.S. District Court of Alaska, claiming new rules adopted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) violate a 1980s law authorizing the state to manage wildlife, impairs indigenous peoples’ ability to harvest food for sustenance, and sets a precedence to restrict future fish and game harvests, intended to be under state control.

The new rules prohibit taking black or brown bear cubs or sows with cubs, taking brown bears over bait, taking bears using traps or snares, taking wolves and coyotes from May 1 to Aug. 9, and taking bears from an aircraft or on the same day as air travel has occurred.

In 2015 the National Park Service (NPS), also under the Department of the Interior, placed similar restrictions on national park lands there.”<<<Read More>>>

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Hot Dog!!!!

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Biggest Coyote/Deer Study Ongoing

*Editor’s Note* – In the teaser I placed just below, the author of the article about the relationship between coyotes in the East and deer, says, “Shooting the occasional coyote really makes no difference in what happens to the deer herd.” In the context of the article the “occasional” coyote is described as a “transient” coyote, i.e. one looking to establish a new territory. I have to somewhat disagree with this statement. I understand the dynamics of “resident” coyotes versus “transient” coyotes, but to state that shooting a transient coyote makes no difference in what happens to the deer herd is not completely an accurate or honest statement. It would make sense if all that was being targeted were transient coyotes, but such is not the case. While targeting the resident crop of coyotes is probably more effective at protecting a local deer herd, stopping a transient from continuing its search for another territory to take over certainly has its benefits. Perhaps not a direct effect but nonetheless it could slow down or stop the progression of more coyotes in more places.

Regardless, all this reminds me of what Dr. Val Geist, in 1994, told the annual Southeast Deer Study Group meeting in Charlottesville, Virginia, as they were facing perceived problems of what to do about too many deer. Geist told them, “Enjoy your problem while it lasts, because the coyote is coming. Once he’s here, you’ll miss your deer problems.”

“Resident coyotes, Chamberlain observed, have relatively small home ranges of 2 to 25 miles. Transients, on the other hand, may roam 150 miles, presumably looking for a home range to open up. Once a resident coyote dies, a transient will settle in and claim the territory within a matter of weeks. This helps explain why trapping efforts weren’t working. “For every 10 coyotes you remove, three were just passing through,” Chamberlain says. “And if you’re removing transients, you’re not really having any effect.” Shooting the occasional coyote really makes no difference in what happens to the deer herd.”<<<Read More>>>

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Life, Liberty and Happiness is Holding Hands with an Animal

It has always amazed me the amount of, not only ignorance (a case of failure to learn), but stupidity (it just cannot be corrected) that exists in the world today. One of the most revealing events in the revelation of ignorance and stupidity, all too often comes to us in the form of blind hypocrisy. Blind hypocrisy is the act of saying one thing, when it conveniently fits the present narrative, only moments later saying the opposite or disproving the original statement, and not having a clue as to what you have done. This clueless behavior is, most often, driven by willful ignorance and/or incurable stupidity.

When convenient, environmentalists and their associated animal perverts, in an attempt to extol their own self-proclaimed righteousness in everything to do with predators, heartily, and often from a position of mental instability, point a finger of blame at the hunter/trapper for what they believe to have been the “extirpation” of the gray wolf, grizzly bear, coyote, mountain lion, and any other animal that stands to pad their corrupt bank accounts all in the name of saving the world (wink, wink).

A brief lesson in history shows us that as settlers moved West, what existed for large predators at the time (not nearly so large as environmentalists want us to believe), often stood in the way of the settlers’ God-given right to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. And so, with the help of governments, the value of meat and furs, trappers and hunters set out to, at least, limit the extensive terror these large predators wielded. I cannot say, nor is there historic evidence, that the intent was to extirpate or cause extinction of any of the large and small prey that existed in many places.

This need to control and limit the damages of animals, and in particular, large prey, was not relegated to the West. Historic documents show us of the constant conflict between man’s desire for Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness and the existence of these animals in every part of the United States.

The need for all of this history and human behavior lecture is to make a point. I have said repeatedly, and did the same above, that when convenient, the environmentalists will point a finger of blame at the hunter/trapper for the serious reduction in large predators that took place nearly 200 years ago. When there appears to be – or probably more accurately stated – when pseudo-science, that is the science of convenience, is used to convince the American people of a wild animal “shortage,” that shortage is caused, in their small minds, by man and in particular, by hunters/trappers.

Let’s turn the table just for a moment. It is very common to read about serious problems that are presented due to too many of one or more wild animal species. Just recently, one tiny town in Downeast Maine, that is overrun with deer, had to create some sort of a means to rid the town of a reasonable number of deer in order to alleviate public safety concerns and property damage. The event is odd because overall Maine is void of an overabundant deer herd.

We are all subject to hearing about problems with coyotes. Coyotes present all kinds of problems from spreading disease, to killing pets and destroying game herds like deer, and livestock. We now witness abundant coyote populations living in our major cities. Presently, I live in a city of near 100,000 and within a metropolis of between 1 and 2 million people, depending on the time of year. People who live in my neighborhood, have been repeatedly warned that for several years a pack of coyotes has lived in the park next door and that those coyotes come into our area preying on dogs, cats and rabbits. The coyotes recently killed a dog when the owner broke the neighborhood rules and let their dog outside, without the restraint and control of a leash. This is but one example.

When the discussion comes up in all the “Fake News” media platforms about such problems, the image becomes one of emotional, ignorant and stupid people with head tossed back, back of hand on forehead, exclaiming, “What are we going to do?”

Brainwashing, propaganda, mind control and purposely-programmed education institution instruction,  results in severe ignorance and the inability to think and/or reason. In other words, people have become insane.

Today I am reading about the State of South Carolina that has a coyote problem. The article I have linked to states that deer hunters alone kill 30,000 coyotes a year and still there is a problem. So the state implemented a contest in which they tagged 16 coyotes and released them throughout the state. Anyone killing one of these coyotes can bring the animal to an official station and win a prize of a life-time hunting license.

An official with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is quoted as saying, “The legislators are trying to respond to the question of, ‘What are you going to do about these coyotes?’ ” said S.C. DNR’s Jay Butfiloski. “But there are no quick fixes. You could say you want less coyotes but how are you going to get there? The only real viable way is to convince people who are doing outdoor activities to take more coyotes.”

SHUCKS! What are they going to do? Either they(?) want less coyotes or they don’t want less coyotes. If they really want less coyotes, the answer to the problem already exists. The state seems to think the solution to the problem is to convince hunters and trappers to kill more coyotes. Hint: tagging 16 coyotes and offering a free license, isn’t going to do the trick.

If it is true that South Carolina deer hunters alone kill 30,000 coyotes a year, then the question should be asked, why do they kill that many coyotes. Surely it’s not for the value of the fur because coyotes’ pelts have very little value – at least most consistently the pelts are worthless. There are spikes when furs will jump up some but overall…worthless and very little incentive to expend the effort to kill them for profit.

I’m going to guess that hunters kill coyotes to help protect other game species, such as deer and turkey. I’m also going to guess that if deer hunters alone kill 30,000 coyotes a year and there is still a problem, there must be in excess of 250,000 in the State of South Carolina. Hint: tagging 16 coyotes and offering prizes of free licenses isn’t going to do the trick.

It appears the State is looking to find out what kind of additional interest this tagged coyote contest will generate. I might suggest the DNR not hold their breath in great expectation.

If the State of South Carolina is serious about getting rid of coyotes, the state needs to make the effort to kill coyotes worth hunters’ while. Nearly 200 years ago, hunters and trappers were killing wolves and coyotes and the government paid them more for the effort then than is done today.

The short of all of this is that these environmentalist-trained officials like to blame hunters and trappers when species go extinct, but when there are so many of a species it presents problems that even environmentalists are willing to acknowledge, suddenly they become ignorant and stupid – “What are we going to do?”

But the problems of dealing with predators go deeper than willful ignorance and the actions that cause it. Even hunters, trappers and outdoor people are often clueless.

Frank Miniter, writing in the American Hunter for the NRA, says, “Coyotes, after all, are an awesome part of the ecosystem.” With all of the lop-sided troubles that coyotes cause, with disease, destruction of species, public safety, attacks on pets and children, how can anyone with a straight face, who knows anything about this animal, call it “an awesome part of the ecosystem?”

I understand the perceived need of the National Rifle Association (NRA) to be as politically correct as possible, but how does such ridiculous political correctness benefit anyone? It doesn’t if and when you understand the true dynamics of predator behavior and the need for control to mitigate human conflict. People remain ignorant because they are taught that Nature balances itself. Even though that false claim has been disproved for several decades now, the convenience of perpetuating the lie remains alive in order to help fulfill the need to promote agendas and for environmental groups to make money.

Unfortunately for all of us, Frank Miniter’s article is nearly completely void of any links to the outdated claims he has made about coyotes. Calling coyotes awesome and making incomplete claims that coyotes, for the most part, have no impact on deer herds, and that it takes at least a 75% reduction in coyotes each year to have any impact, only provides disinformation to the animal rights perverts and environmentalists who want YOU, not them, to be just slightly inconvenienced by over-protected coyotes, killing your game animals, attacking your children and killing your livestock and pets.

What an AWESOME part of our ecosystems!

Blind ignorance refuses to allow anyone to see that after wolves and coyotes were seriously reduced in this country, for good reason, we got along just fine without this “awesome part of our ecosystem” for at least one century. Now, all of a sudden, we can’t live without them. We will all die without nasty, wild dogs.

Miniter’s information is outdated and useless.

A friend of mine, when commenting about South Carolina’s minuscule effort to reduce coyote populations and the American Hunter article about coyotes affecting deer herds, says, “Sometimes when you care you at least attempt to do something instead of spout outdated and useless stats and reasons why you do nothing.”

For a brief time a while ago, Maine attempted to limit coyote populations and targeted them in and around winter yarding areas. The effort showed signs of improvement, but that program soon died. At least they tried.

 

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Cash for Coyotes?

Well, almost. In South Carolina, 16 coyotes have been specifically tagged to identify them as part of a lottery hunt. Successful hunters can win prizes, including a lifetime hunting license. <<<More Information Here>>>

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Last Time I Checked Canada Lynx Also Eat During Summers in Maine

In a recent article I just read about Canada lynx in Maine, the author said:

“The environment in Maine is perfect to support Canada lynx populations. Harsh winters, deep snow, dense evergreen forests and sub-zero temperatures are exactly what the lynx likes.

“…Some believe both lynx and coyotes would compete for the same food, but during a recent 12-year study, it was found that is not the case. Lynx roam the deep snow without problems, while coyotes travel more in packs along trails and road systems, and are more likely to attack larger prey, such as deer.”

I have not read, nor do I know, what 12-year study on lynx the author refers to. However, I grew up in Maine and lived there year round for nearly 50 years. I’ve experienced some of those “harsh” Maine winters, with snow depths reaching in excess of 100 inches. I can also tell you with certainty that those conditions, even in northern Maine, do not persist throughout the year. Snow melts in Spring, Summers are warm and Fall can extend well into December.

The question should become, what do Canada lynx eat during the majority of the year when it doesn’t have the advantage over coyotes to stay on top of the snow? If the deep, soft snow persists in northern Maine for 4 months, does the lynx fast for the remaining 8 months? Perhaps the coyote and lynx have some kind of mutual convention in which they discuss which days of the week they will eat?

The Canada lynx is NOT an endangered or threatened species. Environmentalism has caused the brainwashing of non-thinkers to believe that even an animal that periodically inhabits fringes of its normal habitat, must be protected at all costs, and there is little understanding of the realities that exist. Putting out nonsense that coyotes and lynx don’t compete with each other for food, is dishonest at best. The author’s description of what happens in the depth of winter in Maine is, for the most part, accurate. However, the coyotes and lynx must eat to survive the remainder of the year, which happens to be the majority of the year. Why is not that aspect of lynx survival discussed?

 

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