December 4, 2022

It Must Be The “New Way” We Are to Talk About Wildlife Management

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First, let’s dispense with what we are told are the reasons we shouldn’t react to the increase or decrease in the number permits issued for lottery, to harvest deer and/or moose. An article in the Portland Press Herald informs readers that, according to Maine’s expert deer biologist, hunters should look at how the permit increase for deer is dispersed, i.e. that the increase in “Any-Deer Permits” is for only Southern and Central Maine. The same article tells us that Maine’s moose experts decided that the reduction in moose permits is for one Wildlife Management District (WMD) only – and that these reasons somehow actually make everything ducky.

But, okay! I get that. I completely understand the WMD management scheme. I completely understand the “Any-Deer” permitting scheme for deer. I’m at sea over the decisions in manipulations of moose statewide and within WMDs.

But that’s not what is bugging me. In the article, linked-to above, let’s examine what the expert deer biologist told the reporter the reason the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) decided to increase “Any-Deer” Permits in “Southern and Central Maine.” “There are places that are coming off a very mild winter where we want to increase the harvest to decrease the deer population in those areas where the deer population is above the publicly-derived goals.”

I’m no spring chicken. In my many years of living, hunting, following, studying, and researching deer management in Maine, I’m pretty hard pressed to find any year where biologists made any kind of real manipulation of harvest goals after only one, “very mild” winter. In responsible wildlife management, it’s pretty much unheard of.

This same report states that, “The proposed increase comes on the heels of a 23 percent decrease last season following back-to-back harsh winters.” You might think this is also a knee-jerk reaction but I’ll explain why it is not.

The deer harvest in much of Maine has been far below anything that used to be considered normal. Follow this link for a look at the downward spiraling deer harvest. Let’s employ some simple logic here. If, and I’m only repeating what someone else has written and what MDIFW wants Maine citizens to know, Maine is coming off the “heels of a 23 percent decrease [in Any-Deer Permits] last season following back-to-back harsh winters,” (emboldening added) and those two deer harvests were extremely low (in the very low 20,000 range) then sanity might suggest the deer herd is terrible in most places across the state. Here’s a “wink-wink” for you. If the deer herd in Southern and Central Maine, where most deer hunters hunt, was so high it needed reducing, wouldn’t last year’s harvest have shown an increase? It didn’t! But by a miracle, it’s so big now, because of one mild winter, it’s time to issue lots more permits? Am I missing something?

Now we are being told that because last winter was so mild the deer herd has rebounded (in Southern and Central Maine – wink, wink) and thus, there’s a need to jump up Any-Deer Permits in those regions by 59%. It seems that if  “using data gathered from the harvest in previous years, from health data obtained from hunter- and road-killed deer, and from a winter severity index,” last year the deer biologists did a pretty lousy job of guessing what to do with Any-Deer Permit allotment. Somebody missed the train. There is no way one mild winter boosted the deer herd in Central and Southern Maine to justify a 59% permit increase in those years.

But maybe the real problem here is staring us all smack dab in the middle or our faces. Where’s the 800-pound gorilla? Let’s give MDIFW more credit than perhaps they deserve. Let’s say they collected data over the past few years for the purpose of using it to determine Any-Deer Permit allotments and dispersal. After all, it is THE method they use to control and manipulate deer populations throughout the state. Maybe their hands are tied. Maybe it doesn’t matter what data they access and examine. Maybe something or someone else controls the department and nobody wants to address it effectively.

I’m willing to wager few who read the Press Herald article even paid any attention to what the head deer biologist said as to the reason he wanted to reduce the deer population in Southern and Central Maine – “areas where the deer population is above the publicly-derived goals.”

Tell me how it is possible to responsibly manage deer, moose, bear, etc. when one of the most important aspects of wildlife management – population density control – is determined through “publicly-derived goals,” when the public, seldom, if ever, steps foot in the woods or leaves the comfort of their automobiles?

It’s pretty easy to sit here and say that MDFIW only did this for the money, but I seriously doubt that had much to do with it. Actually, with each passing year, I fail to see the reason Maine, and most states, have a fish and wildlife department.

Were the “publicly-derived goals” a determining factor when MDIFW decided last year that the two previous winters were severe and they drastically cut Any-Deer Permits? We know public pressure forced MDIFW to reduce moose hunting permits in one area of Maine to placate the artificial moose gawkers.

The bottom line is most of this makes no sense. Maine is in the middle of a moose and deer study. Why? For what purpose should taxpayers fork over hundreds of thousands of dollars to count deer and moose and collect “valuable” data, if they can’t use that data to responsibly manage our fish and game? Instead they are bound by “publicly-derived goals” to manipulate deer and moose herds.

If the state insists on propping up these two entities, a lot of taxpayer money is being wasted. Both entities cannot rationally exist.

And, speaking of useful data and wasting taxpayer money, as of this writing, the MDIFW has yet to provide the deer and bear harvest data for 2015 on their website. Pathetic really! Representatives are allowed to go out into the public and spew stuff like this, that makes little sense, and still they will not provide the information for the public to scrutinize. Instead, we are expected to to “TRUST” government.

And while I’m also at it, let me just say, “DON’T GO LOOK!”

Addendum: Recently MDIFW appointed the radical animal pervert, Katie Hansberry, of the Humane Society of the United States, to sit on a sub committee that will be effective in establishing those “publicly-derived goals” of wildlife population management. I do not know who is responsible for that appointment, but so long as MDIFW, and the governor, continue to enable the haters of humans and the continued, unscientific, over-protection of wild animals, there is little sense for license holders to continue to finance a fraudulent government agency. No more than a Dr. Kevorkian should be appointed to an assisted living facility board of directors, should a man-hating, animal pervert be appointed to a game management committee.

Heads should roll over this!