November 30, 2022

I Hope, Want, Encourage, and Prefer More Bear Hunters Will Take More Bears

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I couldn’t help myself and keep from laughing as a read an Online article about bear hunting in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont for this fall bear hunting season. The person sending me the link to the article pointed out the use of such terms as “hoping, encourage, prefer, want” when discussing game manager’s goals for harvest to bring it in line with population targets.

According to the article linked-to, the Maine bear biologist said she “was hoping” for more bear hunters this year, “prefer[ring]” to reach bear harvest numbers at around 4,000 instead of 3,000. She also said, “We’re trying to encourage deer hunters that when they are scouting for deer, they have the opportunity to take a bear.”(emboldening added)

Reading all this, and hearing it all before, one must ask what it is that the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) is doing besides hoping, preferring, and encouraging to bring bear harvest numbers in line with goals. This is especially true since the article starts out by stating that this year’s bear hunt is “especially critical” in controlling the bears. Especially critical? Then biologists and game managers must have made some serious changes to get bear numbers under control.

Over the past few years, it appears to me that what the MDIFW has done to “encourage” more bear hunters is to find a way to charge them more money to bear hunt. Where once a hunter could buy a “Big Game Hunting License” and hunt deer and bear, now, if you want to hunt bear outside of deer hunting season, you have to buy another license. That move is sure to “encourage” more hunters and cause managers to wish, want and hope even more.

In the meantime, the Maine camp owners and guides, control all aspects of the bear hunt because they believe that it belongs to them because they make money from it. I wouldn’t think to prevent any guide from making a buck (no pun intended) or two, but when it is described as “especially critical” in controlling bear populations, needed for public safety and reducing depredations of livestock, one has to wonder if the MDIFW is being responsible stewards to the game populations or to the Maine guides?

A Spring hunt, one would think, would help in reducing bear populations…combined with getting rid of the extra bear hunting license and fee. But, we are told, that the Maine Guides do not want a Spring hunt. I guess then, that the Guides get what they want.

Reducing bear numbers certainly would help in trying to boost some deer numbers. Question: Is it that Maine guides don’t make as much money from deer hunting as bear hunting? Even though managers mouth that bears may be more critical toward deer fawn survival than coyotes/wolves, they have strange way of showing it. I don’t even know if MDIFW has even considered that an “especially critical” bear population might be having a negative effect on the dwindling moose supply. And yes, I get it! It’s the damned global warming causing too many ticks. What else could it possibly be?

I’m sorry but I’m not jumping on the band wagon that flies the banners for wishing, hoping, preferring and encouraging, when nothing constructive is being done to alleviate that “especially critical” bear population problem. Maybe the terms wishing, hoping, preferring and encouraging are acceptable, non threatening terms the environmentalists can plug into the social tolerance algorithms, and then feed the results back to MDIFW so they will know how to manage bears.

Bear managers at MDIFW are quite adept at studying bears and collecting data. Perhaps their “understanding” of bears is greater than any place on earth. But that does not translate into being excellent bear managers. They know what needs to be done, scientifically, but they don’t know how to accomplish it – from what I can gather, due to social demands and tolerances.

I’m sure hoping that bear managers will be encouraged to prefer that something other than global warming and magic, will be suggested to reduce bear populations.