May 23, 2013
Maine has a lot of forest. Maine has a lot of bears. Too many bears presents too many problems, like killing too many deer and moose fawns in the Spring and bears banging down people’s back doors and yards looking for something to eat, either because of too many bears or not enough to eat or both.
But Maine is, once again, being threatened by a citizens’ referendum against bear hunting and trapping. The Humane Society of the United States, unsuccessfully tried passing legislation in the Pine Tree State, to severely limit bear hunting and to end trapping and hunting bears with dogs. They threatened that if they lost the fight to get the legislation passed, they would come back next year with a referendum and that would include a proposal to end baiting bear for hunting purposes.
Should such a referendum pass, it would, for all intent and purposes, end hunting and trapping of bears and remove the most essential management tool the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife has to control bear populations. If that should happen, well, then Maine can expect some of what I have below for links about bears encountering people. More bears mean more encounters with people, which means……not so good.
In Wisconsin, a man is attacked by a bear and his wife, noticing the attack, grabbed the shotgun. She didn’t know how to load it so she commenced to beat the bear with it.
The above story takes place at a cabin in the woods of Wisconsin. The next story takes place in the suburbs of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
At Incline Village in Nevada, a 325-pound bear enters a condominium on Lake Tahoe and ultimately gets killed because of the threat posed to humans.
And of course the bear/predator lovers and protectors, who live in a different world than the rest of us, will cry that it’s the human’s fault and tell everyone we must learn to live with large predators – meaning we are to become prisoners in our houses.
People should do as much as they reasonably can to reduce the chances of having an encounter with bears. This is no guarantee that it still will not happen. Bears generally mind to themselves but circumstances dictate their behavior. When bears get hungry, whether because of a lack of natural food and/or too much competition, meaning too many bears or other animals competing for the same food source, they go ANYWHERE they can find food. Anywhere!
May 7, 2013
LD 1474, sponsored by Representative Denise Patricia Harlow (D-Portland) and supported by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), would mostly do away with the tactics of bear hunting and trapping in Maine that aid and assist in proper black bear management. LD 1474, if it were to pass, would:
*Ban bear trapping and bear hunting with dogs. Under the bill, government officials would only be allowed to trap or use dogs on “specific offending” bears or for scientific studies
*Ban using a leashed dog to track a wounded bear
*Place a permanent prohibition on hunting bears between January 1st and July 31st
*Reduce the bear bag limit from two to one bear for all hunters.
With a loss of these tools, an already overblown population of black bears, many of which are contributing to a whitetail deer herd going extinct in much of Maine, would balloon out of proportion and further exacerbate the problems, not to mention increased encounters between the bear and humans.
Not included in this bill is a ban on bear baiting. This bill is very unlikely to make it through the legislative process, in which HSUS has already promised they intend another citizens’ referendum in 2014 and in that proposal it will also include a ban on baiting.
George Smith, who was executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine in 2004 when the last bear referendum was defeated, is indicating he may support a move to pass LD 1474 in order to save bear baiting. One has to ask whether Smith has learned anything about these sort of things over the years. Does he really think if HSUS won LD 1474, they would quietly go away and never bother Maine again? Me thinks he’s been hanging out with the environmentalists too much.
The hearing on this bill will be held on Friday, May 10th, with the Joint Committee on Fisheries and Wildlife. The hearing is scheduled for 10 A.M. in Room 206 in the Cross Office Building in Augusta.
Please attend or contact members of the Joint Standing Committee. This bill should never make it out of the hearing alive.
May 3, 2013
For trappers, hunters, outdoor enthusiasts, animal lovers and anyone with any interest in the process of gray wolf introduction in the Yellowstone National Park and Central Idaho, I believe this book is a must read. I enjoyed it immensely and gained a different perspective about the author.
To be completely transparent about this book review, I have never met Mr. Niemeyer, the author, nor have I ever communicated with him, at least that I am aware of. I believe once I received an email from his wife suggesting I read this book. That was some time ago and it has taken me a couple of years to get around to reading it, mostly because of the recommendation of a friend.
When I first began reading the book, which sets the stage of a young boy growing up in rural Iowa, it didn’t take long to see that there were many similarities between Carter Niemeyer’s upbringing and young past in rural Iowa and mine in rural Maine, including the early deaths of our fathers.
Carter falls in love with trapping. It begins at an early age and his love for and knowledge of trapping grows with each turn of the page. His circumstances while growing up caused Carter to use trapping, the killing of animals, to pay his way in life. He never seemed to take much issue with killing most any animal for their resource, with the exception of the wild canines, excluding foxes.
In the book, I read where in his teen years, I believe it was, that Niemeyer shows his first unexplained affection toward coyotes and even displays hesitation in having to kill one; something that never is shown throughout the book, with the exception of the wild wolves.
After losing his father, Carter Niemeyer comes in contact with people who encourage him to go to college and through it all is presented with opportunities to work outdoors and especially take advantage of his trapping abilities, most of which he learned from people he grew up around.
Much of the author’s story of his trapping life isn’t all that much unlike many diehard trappers. Those around him, in this case his wife and children, have to put up with the long hours, hard work and rancid smells that get embedded into just about everything a trapper comes in contact with.
Eventually Niemeyer takes a job with the Federal Government in Montana and works for animal damage control (now Wildlife Services) through the U.S. Department of Agriculture. There he trapped and mostly killed predators that were killing and harassing privately owned livestock.
Things seem to change and Carter Niemeyer begins to morph into either someone different or into the man he really was inside, when he becomes involved in the Federal Government’s gray wolf introduction program. He teams up with Ed Bangs and the two of them travel into Canada, trap gray wolves, then release them in Yellowstone and central Idaho.
Carter Niemeyer comes across as a ballsy, stubborn and often arrogant man. From the book I gathered he was not afraid to stand up to anyone. A large chip grows and sticks firmly onto his shoulder. At times he doesn’t seem to understand that he is a turncoat; a man who willingly, nay, eagerly killed any animal threatening ranchers’ livestock, including the handful of wolves naturally re-habituating northwestern Montana, to one now bringing the most savage of predators, the gray wolf, into the lands surrounding some of the best ranching lands in the nation.
Niemeyer’s attitude toward these ranchers changes and throughout this book we find little good he has to say about any of them. His attitude becomes that of an elitist, self-taught authority on trapping and wolves. Pity the man who dared to stand up to him. He develops enemies.
The book is mostly well written and interesting enough to keep a reader’s attention. It’s a fascinating revelation of how one man can be transformed into a completely different person because of an animal.
From what I gleaned from the book, Carter Niemeyer, a good man, a great trapper, loses his way and forgets his past. His enthusiasm and learned dedication to whatever he attempts, makes him a prime target for being taken advantage of because of his skills as a trapper. But he prevails, always determined.
Pick up a copy, as I’m sure you will enjoy it. I hesitated because, to be honest, I’m tiring of the same old wolf wars and there’s little new that can be added to the debate. However, information I found in this book helps to show that the actual event of going to Canada to trap wolves and bring them back to the U.S. was extremely poorly planned and wrought with problems. I think, had it not been for Niemeyer’s determination for accomplishment, the wolf introduction may never have taken place. We can either thank him or blame him.
Out of five stars, I would give this book 4 stars.
March 21, 2013
The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife presents its Annual Deer Report. You can find a copy of the 8-page report by clicking on this link (PDF).
There’s not a lot of new information contained in this report, however I would like to point out a couple of things of interest, at least from my perspective.
1. The report places a fair amount of emphasis on the fact that the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) has used appropriated money for predator control to focus on remote areas where the department deems a need for coyote reduction. MDIFW claim in this report that without proper funding it was impossible to get hunters and trappers into remote deer yards. As such, that leaves much of the coyote control in not so remote areas up to volunteers and efforts of coyote contests, along with efforts to increase participation in coyote hunting through marketing and education.
2. It also appears quite clearly that MDIFW needs to act quickly and seriously in dealing with an overblown black bear population. Bear population target goals, it is said in this report, are to be similar to numbers from 1999 (23,000). Current estimates place the population in excess of 30,000. The same report states that deer fawn mortality by black bears can range from 20%-60%. Knowing that the easiest and perhaps fastest way to destroy a deer herd is to eliminate fawn recruitment, it should be a no-brainer that MDIFW needs to figure out ways to cut those numbers down.
One point brought up in the report was the reduction of hunter participation for bears. Does MDIFW have data that might show a reduction in participation coinciding with the increase in bear hunting permit fees?
3. Coyote control, evidently focused on remote areas, over the past three seasons has amounted to the killing of 398 wild dogs, at a cost of $49,765.00 or $125.03 per coyote. We need to assess whether this effort and the cost of killing one coyote is accomplishing what was hoped for. I’m not sure how this can be honestly assessed at this point.
If we take a look at the past three years, we see that for the 2010/2011 season, the cost for killing coyotes ran at $146.27 per animal while harvesting 11. For 2011/2012, that cost dropped to $127.36, while harvesting 119. And for 2012/2013, the cost dropped again slightly to $123.13, while killing 268 coyotes.
What can we conclude from this? Not much. Perhaps it is easy to say that even at $123.00 an animal, that’s a lot of money. But we have no way of knowing if it’s even possible to get that cost any lower. If you examine the information this report gives us, one thing that jumps out should be that in the three years nothing is consistent. It’s pretty difficult to assess effectiveness if there’s no consistency in which to make any kind of comparative assessment.
We can’t control the weather, which determines where both deer and coyotes will be and when and the susceptibility of deer to coyote predation and coyotes to human predation. We can control where we choose to target coyotes and the amount of money to be used to accomplish specific goals.
I guess then the question really becomes two fold. Do we have enough information to form an honest assessment? Has the program been running long enough and if not how many more years before we can make a determination?
This season MDIFW decided to use the majority of the money to focus on killing coyotes in remote deer yards. This is different from last year. Obviously the costs of traveling farther and into more remote areas is higher than it would be targeting nearby areas. If any kind of conclusion could be made, then perhaps with the higher costs and the result being 268 dead coyotes to show for it at a price tag of $123.13 per dog, success rates are going up causing cost per animal to come down. Therefore, perhaps as the program runs long enough to get the bugs out, numbers might look differently.
Will Maine run out of money for this program before it has had time to run long enough to know and understand any effectiveness?
I’d also like to know if MDIFW is considering killing coyotes in targeted deer fawning areas? We know that deer are targets in deep snow years in their deer wintering areas. We also know that fawns are targets in fawning areas. Shouldn’t we be targeting those areas as well?
I’ll leave readers with one more question. At and average so far of $125.03 per dead coyote could an attractive bounty system work the same or better if that money was paid to Maine hunters and trappers? Perhaps the bounty program could be set up in a lottery/permit allocation system in which higher bounties are paid for coyotes taken in high need or difficult to access areas.
March 1, 2013
*Editor’s Note* – Edited for correction and clarification 3/3/13
During our ordeals with the past bear referendum and the two times the Maine Trappers Association went to federal court on behalf of all trappers over the Lynx issues, we received a tremendous amount of financial and letter writing support from trappers from away.
Now the USFWS is going after Wolverine trapping out west in the lower 48 states. They want the wolverine to be classified a Threatened Species. Only one state currently has a trapping season (Montana), but they want to put trapping restrictions on California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Washington & Wyoming.
The reason the USFWS is doing this is because GLOBAL WARMING may cause the population to decrease based on “climate modeling indicates” the wolverine’s snowpack habitat will become greatly reduced & fragmented in the coming years due to global warming, thereby threatening the species with extinction according to a USFWS news release.
The USFWS has opened a 90 day comment period that started 4 Feb. to allow public comment regarding the proposal. To find out how to submit comments go to [ http://www.fws.gov/mountain/prairie/species/mammals/wolverine ]
Lets give the trappers out west a helping hand, they sure did us when we needed it.
It is my opinion that Global Warming is one part of the U.N. Agenda 21 (their documents support this) scam to gain control of the peoples & governments of the world and reduce world populations in the future and restore wild areas to support what they call a sustainable population.
Submitted by Dave Miller
February 20, 2013
For several years the state of Maine has been having discussions about coyotes and their effect on the deer herd and other wild animal and plant species. Some people love wild dogs and go to great extremes to protect them. In the process, propaganda gets passed from dog lover to dog lover and soon is readily acceptable as fact, even though it may lack any real common sense.
In an article appearing on the Maine Public Broadcasting Network website, an apple grower in that state, who opposes efforts to reduce the coyote population in order to save other species, says that he couldn’t grow apples without his beloved “songdogs.”
“My name is Steve Meyerhans. I live in Fairfield and I’ve been growing apples in Somerset County and Kennebec County for 39 years.” Myerhans says coyotes play a key role in maintaining the health of his orchard. “The coyotes come to my orchard. They feed mostly on apples and mice and they will control the mouse population.”
Mice, you see, do serious damage to Meyerhans apples. And if the coyotes go away, Meyerhans worries he will be forced spread Zincphosphide, a toxic mouse poison, on his orchard.
I care not to dispute whether coyotes eat apples and mice but apple growers have been growing apples for a very long time. I seem to even recall a story that goes back quite a few years of a certain apple, growing in a certain garden, that wasn’t supposed to be eaten. But, what I would like to dispute is the fact that it was but 40-50 years ago that coyotes began showing up in Maine. Certainly people were growing apples before that. How did they do it?
January 31, 2013
Akin to a controlled burn getting out of control, Idaho Department of Fish and Game is now debating the need to hire professional wolf trappers to kill wolves because of the destruction of the elk, deer and moose.<<<Read More>>>
Oh, geez! I can’t help myself. Let me be the first to say this! Pretty Please!
WE TOLD YOU SO!
January 24, 2013
Two weeks ago I reported that the Humane Society of the United States, was looking for someone in the Maine Legislature willing to sponsor their ridiculous anti bear hunting and trapping bill. It appears they have found their marionette in Maine Senator Edward Mazurek, D-Rockland.
The Sun Journal report is mostly a copy and paste effort from the Humane Society of the United States’ (HSUS) website, so it fails to present any other opinion, position, or facts from people who have them. HSUS does not!
This bill should NEVER make it out of committee. We will see just where the Legislature, Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife and the governor stand on this. Ironic in a way that MDIFW and the Legislature tend to tip-toe around scared to death of offending someone or causing some insane animal rights con artists, like HSUS, to file a lawsuit like the one in 2004. And what do we have? Not a lawsuit but what good did tip-toeing do except send out a red flag that Maine is weak on game management.
January 14, 2013
Below is a photo of some coyotes taken during the winter months in New Brunswick Canada. More can be seen here.
January 2, 2013