September 30, 2020

V. Paul Reynolds: Lynx ITP “Doesn’t Pass Straight Face Test”

“If you applied the Florida panther math to the Maine lynx, trappers would be permitted to accidentally take 50 to 100 lynx a year and not impact the population appreciably. And yet, USFWS, in collaboration with Maine’s state wildlife managers, is restricting Maine’s incidental take to .006 percent of the lynx population – not over a year – but over 15 years! Really now, does this pass the straight face test?”<<<Read More>>>

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Maine Bear Biologist: Bears Kill As Many Deer Fawns as Coyotes; Not Opposed to Spring Hunt

V. Paul Reynolds interviewed Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MIDFW) biologist Randy Cross on his radio program on the Voice of Maine radio which airs Sunday nights at 7 p.m. (101.3 and 103.9 FM). Reynolds shares some of that interview in his weekly column.

There are two things in that interview that I would like to discuss just a bit. The first is Cross’ comment about whether black bears kill as many deer fawns as coyotes.

We are really not sure how much bear predation there is on deer. A Pennsylvania study suggested that there is a lot, but that state is not a valid comparison to Maine for a number of reasons. A New Brunswick study suggests that bear kill quite a few fawns, and it’s hard to deny that bears kill young deer. They are good at finding the most calories for the least effort. I’d say it is possible that bears in Maine take as many fawns as coyotes.

Cross seems willing to admit that it is “possible” that bears take as many fawns as coyotes. Perhaps they would actually know this if they used their management dollars for this purpose. This all may sound good to those of us hunters screaming for something serious to be done about predator protection that is resulting in the destruction of the deer herd in many places. However, it is difficult to understand the actual meaning of this comment as MDIFW has been reluctant to admit that coyotes have any substantial effect on the deer herd. If biologist Cross maintains the common notion, as MDIFW as a whole, that coyotes don’t really present a problem for the deer herd then one can just as easily assume his thoughts are that bears or any other predator doesn’t either.

The second issue concerns a spring bear hunting season.

I would not oppose a spring bear hunt. For a bear manager, a spring hunt can be a precise and powerful tool. Success rates are high ( in a spring hunt) and very predictable, unlike the fall bear harvest.

Anyone who is somebody knows there are way too many bears in Maine. Hunters have been asking nicely for a spring bear hunt for some time and seemingly falling on deaf ears. The numbers are there, Cross doesn’t oppose a hunt, therefore we should be able to conclude that it would be justified scientifically, or wouldn’t he have said so? Then the only stumbling block would be sociopolitical reasons. We know a certain amount of fear of being sued exists and the power that Maine guides have over MDIFW when it comes to seasons and bag limits is overwhelming.

It is time for Commissioner Woodcock to now take the lead and get Maine a spring bear hunt. It is scientifically necessary, particularly at a time when these large predators are preventing the rebuilding of a seriously diminished deer herd.

And while he’s at it, let’s increase the number of moose permits and get those numbers down to a better manageable number…..at least until the deer herd has recovered.

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Report Claims P-R Money in Maine Going to Pay Salaries, Operating Costs

V. Paul Reynolds, editor of the Northwoods Sporting Journal, has been reporting on a three-part series, written by outdoor reporter Steve Carpenteri. This series examines how Maine’s Wildlife Management Areas (WMA) are, or perhaps more accurately, are NOT being managed. Capenteri says hunters are being short changed.

So once again hunters are getting the short end of the stick. Money they spend on licenses and taxes is going everywhere else EXCEPT to manage wild game and wild game habitat.

Another head-shaking irony is that, while MDIF&W holds private forestland owners accountable for not protecting deer habitat, the Department itself apparently does not steward game habitat on the large parcels of forest that it directly controls.

In addition, Carpenteri reports that Maine received in 2010, $4.5 million from Pittman-Robertson excise tax funding and according to John Borland, a supervising biologist with the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW), that money was spent on “salaries and operating costs”.

The Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration Act was formulated for the purpose of specifically dedicating an excise tax, paid by the users, for the distinct purpose of protecting and restoring wildlife and habit for that wildlife for the hunters, trappers and fisherman who paid the fees. It was our money. Money that we agreed was to be used to ensure perpetuity of a hunting, trapping and fishing resource.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, ø16 U.S.C. 669¿ That the Secretary of Agriculture 1 is authorized to cooperate with
the States, through their respective State fish and game departments, in wildlife-restoration projects as hereinafter set forth; but no money apportioned under this Act to any State shall be expended therein until its legislature, or other State agency authorized by the State constitution to make laws governing the conservation of wildlife, shall have assented to the provision of this Act and shall have passed laws for the conservation of wildlife which shall include a prohibition against the diversion of license fees paid by hunters for any other purpose than the administration of said State fish and game department, except that, until the final adjournment of the first regular session of the legislature held after the passage of this Act, the assent of the Governor of the State shall be sufficient. The Secretary of Agriculture 1 and the State fish and game department of each State accepting the benefits of this Act shall agree upon the wildlife-restoration projects to be aided in such State under the terms of this Act and all projects shall conform to the standards fixed by the Secretary of Agriculture.

But, like all government “acts” and “laws”, they get hijacked, abused, rewritten, manipulated, and misinterpreted, until each special interest gets what they want, and as Carpenteri pointed out, the sportsmen, who pay the tax, get short changed.

We now know that environmental, anti-hunting, animal rights groups, neatly disguised as “conservation” organizations, have successfully lobbied Congress in order to steal away from the sportsmen their money for projects that have nothing whatsoever to do with providing game protection and restoration of habitat for that game.

And because sportsmen, as a whole, are notorious for not being vigilant and participating in keeping their fish and game departments accountable for their actions, have allowed this to happen. Because the Department of Interior and each state’s government fails the Act by not conducting proper auditing, there is little if any accountability in how this money is spent.

Yes, the sportsmen are getting screwed but much because of their own indifference. Governments, at all levels, are by nature, corrupt. Great sums of money are involved and so long as there are men who feel compelled, without any moral conviction, to knowingly steal monies intended for a specific program for their own special interests, nothing will change. What is left is to expose the corruption and hope enough people care enough to want to do something about it.

Tom Remington

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