September 23, 2019

Battles Lines Have Been Drawn

What then, should we expect in the future?

Yesterday, I wrote about the announcement of the NRA that they were going to put a stop to the animal rights movement. In response, the Wildlife Alliance of Maine, on their Facebook page, responded to the NRA’s announcement by saying: “Be aware that we are going to have to start getting serious about people standing up for wildlife, and soon!”

What’s that mean? Oh, wait! I know! I just read about this.

MarryingAnimals

Who will “stand up” for animals?

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Wildlife Alliance of Maine Files for Summary Judgement in Lynx Incidental Take Permit

According to information I have received, the Wildlife Alliance of Maine has filed for Summary Judgement in its case against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for issuing the state of Maine an Incidental Take Permit for Canada lynx.

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What Question 1 Means for Maine

This article was written by Gerry Lavigne, former Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife deer biologist and is found on the website of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine. Here is a lead-in to his work:

The methods by which Mainers hunt and manage black bears are being put to the referendum test, as Question 1 on the November 4, 2014 statewide ballot. Sound familiar? It should. Only a decade earlier, in 2004, Maine voters rejected a similar referendum.

The money and influence behind both referendums are the same: the Humane Society of the United States
(HSUS), and a local group called Wildlife Alliance of Maine (WAM). The purpose of both referendums is the same: to ban the use of bait, dogs, and traps for recreational bear hunting in Maine.

Referendum proponents want us to believe that these bear hunting methods are unfair, cruel, and unnecessary for bear management in Maine. None of these assertions are true.

This is not merely a case of making choices regarding which of several equivalent bear hunting methods to allow. If Question 1 passes, the ability of Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (DIFW) to manage bear populations will be severely compromised. As a result, there will be negative biological, social, and economic impacts throughout Maine, from Madawaska to Kittery.<<<Read More>>>

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Maine’s Bear Management: 39 Years of Study vs. Rhetoric

From an article found on the MPBN website:

“To be honest, there’s no way we can harvest enough bears without these tools,” Cross says.[Randy Cross, Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife(MDIFW) bear biologist. Cross was referencing the upcoming referendum that, if successful, would strip the MDIFW of any tools needed to properly manage a healthy black bear population.

Darryl DeJoy, who runs the Wildlife Alliance of Maine(WAM), says: “I would argue that we have created an artificial bear feeding season, August and September, where in years of low mast crops and other bear food, the bears are supplemented with this highly unhealthy diet of literally millions of pounds of junk food.”

What we have here is this. For at least 39 years, the MDIFW has conducted scientific bear studies. Most people would agree that Maine’s bear study and management program is the best there is. Some might even argue the best worldwide. We know that Maine is the envy of many states with black bears and I’m sure those states rely on findings from the Maine studies to assist them in their bear management programs.

On the flip side of this, we have the Humane Society of the United States(HSUS), known anti hunting, anti human people, and a clone of which would be Darryl DeJoy. Like an echo chamber they repeat their rhetoric about supplemental feeding programs creating an “unhealthy diet” and “millions of pounds”, all of which is creating a population increase of black bears in the state.

Where is the proof? Where are the scientific studies (real science not “new science scientism) to support this claim? What does HSUS and the WAM have to support their claims? The answer is none and therefore nothing they say or offer can be considered by anyone with a brain as useful information.

IF HSUS and WAM really believe in what they are saying and their claims to be concerned about the health and “inhumane” treatment of black bears is so damned important to them, then why haven’t they produced real science to prove their claim? Put their money where their fat mouths are?

So, Maine people need to decide. Should they listen to those biologists and bear management people at MDIFW with a program of 39 years of bear studies, or a bunch of radical human haters with nothing but rhetoric to support their money-making con game?

FactBear

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Preventing Hunting Through Effective Messaging

A few days ago I was reading Online an article that appeared in The Maine Wire, written by M.D. Harmon, the title of which is, “Anti Gun Liberals Prefer Emotion Over Fact.”

The construct of the article entails the messaging that took place by the gun-hating crowds after the mess in Newtown, Connecticut. The article is good but I’m a bit surprised that the author almost comes across as seeing this messaging scheme as something new, when it is a tactic that has been around for decades and has effectively ruined the lives of many people, including the destruction of personal liberties, among other things.

The article states:

As reported by Paul Bedard of The Washington Examiner, the activists created an 80-page blueprint called “Preventing Gun Violence Through Effective Messaging” that was intended not to advance a rational argument but to “incite a moral panic” by the use of arguments deliberately designed to create an emotional climate hostile to Second Amendment rights.

Throughout the entire article, readers can substitute the subject of guns, gun violence, Second Amendment, etc., with whatever your favorite concern is.

As an example, in Maine, members of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), the Wildlife Alliance of Maine (WAM), and others, have formed the organization “Mainers for Fair Bear Hunting.” They want to ban bear hunting with bait, bear hunting with hounds and bear trapping. I assure you, nothing these people will write or verbalize will have anything to do with facts or advancing a rational argument based on facts or science. It will be an emotional climate hostile to hunting and trapping in general and bear hunting and trapping specifically.

It is important that Maine citizens understand the tactics of those undergoing the process to place a citizen’s referendum on the November 2014 ballot. The garbage they will be subjected to has no semblance of sanity, fact or rational discourse and will be laced with emotions all designed to create a climate hostile to hunting and to demonize anyone who would support it. These tactics are not new. If they appear new to you, perhaps you need to get out a bit more and get involved in the life around you.

In 2004, a similar referendum, put on by the same anti hunting totalitarians, was defeated. It appears initially that the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW), Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine, Maine guides, Maine trappers, Maine hound hunters, and any and all other outdoor sportsmen, are going to struggle to defeat this effort.

It is my opinion that any hope to defeat this referendum should be based on effective messaging in defense of responsible bear management. While it is important to make sure that education, which includes actual facts and the science behind responsible bear management, supported by the long history Maine has in taking care of its bears, this alone will not stir the voters. Emotions will. If those in opposition to this bear referendum are not willing to fight fire with fire, i.e. create an emotional climate hostile to the efforts to ban effective black bear management, I fear a waste of effort and resources.

How strongly convinced are MDIFW and Maine sportsmen, that the present bear management plan and tactics are working that they are willing to do what it takes to defeat this utter nonsense from fringe groups hiding behind animal welfare in order to put a stop to hunting, trapping and eventually fishing. It is coming.

(Perhaps if sportsmen can defeat this new anti hunting effort, enough Maine citizens will better understand the importance of a constitutional amendment to protect hunting, trapping and fishing. If so, then also this time it can be presented to the legislature and citizenry the right way – protecting hunter/trapper/fisherman harvest and get it done.)

I and many other warned often after the 2004 bear referendum, in regards to the non authoritative and fearful approach being taken by MDIFW, guides and sportsmen in general, that being a nice guy wasn’t going to make these environmental zealots go away and leave Maine sportsmen alone. Environmentalists are all about take and nothing about giving. This historic fact must be learned.

Any coalition of Maine sportsmen to fight this initiative, needs a speed course in the tactics used to prevent hunting through effective messaging and then turn it around. The other side began long ago. Take notice of the continuous letters to the editors in many Maine newspapers, all repeating the same emotional talking points. This is being done by design. Many of those letter writers are paid members of these totalitarian groups and they will bombard the media with emotional clap trap for the next 14 or 15 months. And that’s only one small piece of the pie.

What do the Maine sportsmen have planned?

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Report Maine Businesses That Support HSUS’ Anti Bear Campaign

The Humane Society of the United States and the Wildlife Alliance of Maine are asking all Maine businesses that provide free food to be used as bear baiting material to stop the practice. The goal of the Humane Society of the United States is to end all hunting, fishing and trapping and will do and say anything to accomplish this totalitarian agenda.

As administrator of this blog, I am asking all bear hunters who are refused any items that can and are used for baiting bears by a business that is complying with the demands of the fringe animal rights groups, to contact me and I will do all that I can to make public the names of those businesses.

Please understand, any business owner has the right to run their businesses as they see fit. However, if these businesses are caving in to the pressures of HSUS and others, it is only right that customers understand the businesses they often frequent and that these owners are willing to jeopardize their business in order to play politics and participate in a perverse, political scheme that, in the long run, will harm the very businesses they are asking to stop selling bear bait food.

Please spread the word. We cannot allow HSUS and others to dictate to businesses how they can and cannot run their businesses.

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Maine Bear Facts

*Editor’s Note* The bear harvest information for 2012 was changed to correct an error. I had posted the harvest figure from the 2012 bear hunting season. I apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.

Emotional and uninformed environmental activists, with an agenda that isn’t about wildlife conservation, responsible management and healthy wildlife populations, want to ban all methods of harvesting black bears, with the exception of “spot and stalk”, a method of attempting to sneak up on a bear (good luck with that).

On May 8, 2013, the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) updated their “Bear Facts.” Please find a complete copy of this updated Bear Facts at this link.

Liars with the Humane Society of the United States and Wildlife Alliance of Maine have stated publicly, while playing on the emotions of Maine citizens, that there is no scientific evidence that shows that the use of baiting, hounding and trapping bears is a necessary part of controlling bear populations and maintaining a healthy crop of bears.

A key point in Bear Facts is the statement about how MDIFW formulated a “public working group” to obtain input as to what the public wants from living with bears. The working group, made up of landowners, forestry officials, sportsmen, and environmentalists, offered input that would achieve the following:

1. Stabilize the bear population with hunting and trapping.
2. Promote traditional hunting and trapping methods.
3. Promote public tolerance of bears in Maine.

The MDIFW states that, “Regulated Hunting is the Primary Tool to Achieve Publics’ Goals and Objectives.” The following is a synopsis of what MDIFW states as being a necessary part of achieving desired bear management goals.

1. A harvest of between 3,500 and 4,500 bears is needed in order to “stabilize” bear populations. Maine’s 2012 black bear harvest information was just posted today at the MDIFW website. The bear harvest for Maine for 2012, including all methods of harvesting bears, i.e. hunting, baiting, trapping, hounding, etc., was 3,207 bears. That’s up to 1,500 bears short of objective just to stabilize the population. What is going to happen to this fact of reality if the environmentalists get their way and take MDIFW’s bear management tools away from them?

2. Bear harvest has been declining since 2005 and MDIFW reports bear numbers have continued to grow, now with an estimated 30,000 bears in Maine.

3. MDIFW states that “hunting bear over bait is the most effective way to hunt bears and meet population objectives” but that trapping and hounding are also needed as no one of these methods can achieve desired goals. Even with baiting being the “most effective” way to hunt bears, success rates are only around 30%. Compare that rate to the following: moose hunting = 79%, turkey hunters = 38%, deer hunters = 14%. (These numbers come from 2012 numbers when deer harvest numbers are at very low rates due to a heavily diminished deer herd.) “Spot and stalk” bear hunting doesn’t seem to achieve any percentage of the bear harvest.

4. MDIFW also states that in other states that have limited or have eliminated bear baiting and hounding, it makes management “unworkable” and further states that it would not work in Maine due to terrain and thick vegetation.

5. The only kind of “self regulation” bears can accomplish if MDIFW is unable to employ the necessary tools to do their jobs, is achieved through starvation and disease and with higher population numbers, conflicts with humans would also increase.

It is clear that at present MDIFW cannot accomplish management goals for black bears with a full complement of hunting methods available to keep numbers in check. If these extreme environmental organizations have their way in 2014 and ban the necessary harvest methods as laid out by the state, in conjunction with a working group comprised of a cross section of the citizenry, Maine may be witness to extremely high levels of bear malnourishment, starvation and disease, along with increased human bear conflicts, increasing the odds that someone is going to be attacked and killed by a bear.

Make no mistake about it. A hungry bear is a dangerous animal.

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If Officials Can’t Find Bears to Count, How Can Hunters “Spot and Stalk”

In Maine, back in 2004, a referendum to end bear baiting, trapping and hunting with hounds was defeated by the voters. The same environMENTALists are planning another attack on, not only Maine’s hunting traditions, but also to rid the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) of the tools necessary to manage a healthy bear population.

According to an archived article that was originally published in the Portland Press Herald on October 10, 2004, that has been made available to me, the MDIFW stated that, “without the current hunting methods, black bear numbers will grow, and bears increasingly will forage in populated areas, creating public safety risks.”

Any rational thinking person would have to conclude that 9 years later and better data that shows that the bear population is growing in Maine to perhaps record numbers, that not only are the current hunting methods necessary to keep populations in check, officials need to come up with creative ways to harvest more bears. (Note: It has been months and months and still MDIFW has yet to release the bear harvest numbers for 2012.)

Maine Citizens for Fair Bear Hunting, a conglomeration of radical fringe animal rights groups like the Humane Society of the United States and Wildlife Alliance of Maine, says that the only necessary means of hunting bears is through what they like to call “spot and stalk.” Spot and stalk is a method of hunting any game by sneaking through the woods until a hunter “spots” game and then “stalks” it until given a chance to kill it. For some, this is the choice of hunting because of the challenge. That option should not be taken away from those hunters who choose to do that.

However, “spot and stalk” provides such a tiny success rate, that with only that method of hunting bears, it would do nothing to keep the bear population in check. Officials at MDIFW need to have at their disposal proven methods of hunting in order to manage a healthy bear population and provide for public safety.

In a recent article I published here on this blog, I provided data to show the elusiveness of the black bear, partly due to its tremendous sense of smell; seven times that of the bloodhound.

In the same archived Portland Press Herald article referred to above, there was lengthy debate and information provided by the author about the difficulties that exist with fish and game experts all across the country in being able to accurately count bears for population estimates. In Georgia in 2004, for example, then Georgia bear biologist David Gregory said, “Black bears are difficult animals to count. Unlike moose or antelope, which can be spotted from the sky, bears are reclusive, lurking among bushes and brush.”How can you count them when you can’t see them? You have to use all these indirect methods.”

Certainly if trained professionals can’t find bears in order to count them, why would anyone of knowledge in black bear management, think that “spot and stalk” bear hunting would be a successful means of controlling black bear populations?

As a warning to readers, groups are circulating petitions and asking Maine citizens to sign them in order to destroy Maine’s bear hunting traditions and strap the MDIFW to hamper their means of proper and proven bear management. Do NOT sign any of these petitions until you have the facts. The information these groups are using is incorrect. It is designed to play on your emotions and have no basis in sound wildlife science.

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Teddy Roosevelt: Black Bears Difficult to Hunt by Stalking

HuntingthegrizzlyTeddy Roosevelt wrote in his book, “Hunting the Grisly and Other Sketches” (free download for your Kindle) that hunting black bears offered, “much excitement, and occasionally a slight spice of danger….” In addition he stated that it was very difficult to hunt black bears by implementing only the “stalking” method of hunting. (I’ve written about the “spot and stalk” methods, here, here, here, here, here.)

The Humane Society of the United States and the Wildlife Alliance of Maine are attempting a citizen’s initiate in the fall of 2014 to ban all forms of hunting and trapping black bears in Maine with the exception of the so-called “spot and stalk” method. The ignorant masses proposing such a ban claim there is no need nor scientific substantiation to continue the current hunting and trapping methods. They fail miserably to understand responsible wildlife management while immersed in their emotional nonsense of animal and predator worship, all the while at the expense of other wildlife due to forced abandonment of proven scientific wildlife management.

Black bear populations in Maine cannot be responsibly controlled by removing all ability of the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) to employ the tools necessary to manage for healthy bear numbers and provide a reasonable amount of public safety.

Current Maine bear populations are at record numbers. Maine voters need to make sure that MDIFW has the tools needed to do the job they are given to do. Please oppose any attempt by environmentalists and animal rights groups to ban proven methods as can be found in the long history of the North American Model of Wildlife Management.

teddyrooseveltblackbears

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Black Bear Sense of Smell Tips the Odds in Hide and Seek Hunting Games

Ignorant environmentalists and animal rights supporters are trying to convince voters in Maine that there is no need for any harvest tactics for hunting black bears other than hide and seek…..well, the sissies call it “spot and stalk.” A coalition of misguided fringe groups and individuals, i.e. the Humane Society of the United States and the Wildlife Alliance of Maine, are spreading lies about black bears and black bear management faster than Barack Obama can create division and strife among Americans and the rest of the world. So, do any of these uninformed groups have any idea about wildlife in general and black bears specifically? I don’t think so.

“Spot and stalk” hunting, or more accurately should be called hide and seek (and never find), is generally referred to by real hunters as still hunting. Still hunting is a tactic used by some hunters in which they move at excruciatingly slow speed, employing as much stealth as possible, utilizing scent covers, wind and terrain to their advantage, all the while hoping to sneak up on their prey. The odds are extremely slim regardless of the prey being sought.

While some would call this “fair chase” hunting, by one’s perspective it can be but it does very little to help in reducing a game specie population where needed. For this reason, wildlife managers adjust rules for hunting according to what is necessary to control populations with serious consideration given to public and hunter safety.

This misguided coalition, called the Mainers for Fair Bear Hunting (MFBH), intend to strip the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) of all the tools that are needed to try to keep black bear numbers at desired levels. Baiting bears is the only tactic that even comes close providing MDIFW the means to keep bear populations at healthy levels and MFBH wants a referendum to ask voters to outlaw all forms of bear hunting, with the only exception being still hunting, or in this case it more accurately would resemble hide, seek and never find, which of course is the intent of the environmental extremists in the first place.

So, if these whackos are successful in shutting down bear management as we know it today, what are the odds that, first, a sufficient number of hunters will “spot and stalk” black bears? And, secondly, what are the odds of being successful at bagging a black bear?

Bear hunting is not nearly as popular a hunt as say deer or elk. Even in Maine, where black bear populations are at perhaps their highest ever, it is difficult to get hunters to take up bear hunting. It doesn’t take too many brains to understand that if you take away hunters’ tactics and reduce their odds to basically zero, nobody is going to want to spend the money for a license and bear tag. The result would be no bear hunters and no bear hunting. And as I’ve already said, this is the real agenda of these perverted groups like the Humane Society of the United States and the Wildlife Alliance of Maine.

What happens to the odds of a successful hunt if all that is left is still hunting? With still hunting, a hunter has to get close enough to a bear to get off a killing shot. Even though an experienced still hunter is very quiet, by human standards, they still make noise and are creating movement, both easily detected by a bear. In addition there is the sense of smell of a black bear. I doubt very seriously that any of these brain dead liars of the MFBH have any clue as to the sense of smell possessed by a black bear.

According to The American Bear Association, a black bear has a sense of smell 7 times greater than a bloodhound.

There is perhaps no other animal with a keener sense of smell. Bears rely on their sense of smell to locate mates, detect and avoid danger in the form of other bears and humans, identify cubs, and FIND FOOD. Although the region of the brain devoted to the sense of smell is average in size, the area of nasal mucous membrane in a bear’s head is one hundred times larger than in a human’s. This gives a bear a sense of smell that is 7 times greater than a bloodhound’s. In addition, they have an organ called a Jacobson’s organ, in the roof of the mouth, that further enhances their sense of smell.

To help put that in an enhanced perspective to better understand what that means, let’s look at what Wikipedia (yeah I know) has to say about a bloodhound’s sense of smell.

The Bloodhound’s physical characteristics account for its ability to follow a scent trail left several days in the past. Under optimal conditions, a Bloodhound can detect as few as one or two cells. The Bloodhound’s nasal chambers (where scents are identified) are larger than those of most other breeds. The number of olfactory receptor cells are 4 billion in a bloodhound, compared to just 5 million in a human and 100 million in a rabbit[42] The surface area of bloodhound olfactory epithelium is 59 sq.in. compared to human’s 1.55 sq.in. (10 sq.cm.)

Hunting conditions would have to be perfectly in favor of the “spot and stalk” bear hunter in order that that hunter would have even a remote opportunity to get close enough to even see a bear, let alone have a chance at a killing shot. (And again isn’t this the intent of the whackos?)

Maine’s black bear population is too big, by some people’s estimates. While the carrying capacity for bears may not be met or exceeded in many places, the fact that bears are seriously contributing to the demise of the whitetail deer herd, is problematic. I have been calling for an increase in bear harvest in order to reduce deer fawn mortality while the state tries to figure out how it is going to rebuild a dismal herd. If idiots take away MDIFW’s ability to do this, then the MFBH and all those who would vote in favor of this outright bear hunting ban, would be responsible for the further depletion of the whitetail deer and in some places in the state, threatening extirpation.

It should be understood that this proposed citizens’ initiative, due to come up for a vote in 2014, would seriously hamper the MDIFW’s ability to responsibly manage black bear populations. That, in and of itself, would be a real crime.

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