December 6, 2019

Maine: Abundant Deer is a Relative Term…Isn’t It?

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In Maine, we are being falsely told on a regular basis that the deer herd is healthy and growing. Is it? Isn’t that perception simply a relative term based upon recent history and not long-term history?

Today, I was grumbling as soon as I arose this morning, long before daylight, about the snow and the cold. And then after a cool start of 8 degrees, and a “feel like” well below zero with stiff, northwest winds, it warmed up to a balmy 17 degrees with winds backing off a bit. Gee, I thought. It’s not really that cold.

But then it dawned on me that simply observing today’s temps and winds, any warming seems relatively good compared to sub-zero temperatures and winds.

We are subjected to the same reality when it comes to our deer herd, the harvest, and the propaganda handed out by those seemingly interested mostly in protecting their retirement pensions.

Where once a deer harvest of 40,000 was the past normal, anything these days over 20,000 is presented as a big management success and if the harvest approaches 30,000 cigars are handed out, big slaps on the back and thank god for Global Warming…or something. Didn’t I do good?

With a couple of recent deer harvests below 20,000, like below zero temps, when the harvest ticks up, we simply convince ourselves (along with some prodding from propagandists) that it ain’t that bad.

I also got to thinking and shared some thoughts I had about how technology has influenced the modern deer harvest. My friend sent me some information showing that I’m not the only one with evil thoughts about such things.

In response to an Internet posting about a 40,000-deer harvest in 1956, I saw where one reader posted a response about how many technological gadgets are used today to hunt with or assist us in our hunting. I was prompted, before even reading this, to ask what would the deer harvest be like if we hunted the “old fashioned” way by going into the woods and “hunting” for deer rather that baiting the deer to come to us and all the other gadgetry that makes killing a deer that much easier.

Is there any real statistics on this phenomenon? Speak up please!

Consider a list of help aides: cell phones, radios, gps, scents, scent blockers, game cameras, ATVs, hi-tech clothing (stay dry and warm longer), food plots, quick-up tree stands, swivel seats, heated tree stands, pop-up ground blinds (also heated), game calls…can you add to this list? Speak up please!

Oh, wait! Here’s one I saw just the other day. A new gadget that you put on like earphone headsets. Technology lets you drown out unwanted noises and enhance things like deer walking in the leaves, etc. What next?

With the onset of every technological gadget, the fish and game department has to figure out whether to allow this advantage and to adjust seasons and sex of deer takes, to compensate for this advantage. All Maine has as tools to compensate is to adjust the length of season and the issuance of “Any-Deer Permits,” both of which appear to become more political with each passing season.

Has or does anybody consider that all these hi-tech gadgetries might leave the not so financially fortunate at a great disadvantage? I didn’t think so.

If you can afford an ATV, think of the places you can access to find deer. Game cameras can tell you where and when to sit in ambush. I can’t afford either. With a heated ground blind, you could sit and wait all day…and night.

What was once a “primitive” hunting season for deer, has turned into “inline” muzzle loaders, complete with speed loaders and all the stuff to make a primitive hunt not so primitive. Some of us still hunt with a single-shot rifle. What’s the difference? If we choose NOT to buy the extra muzzleloader license, is my rifle season being cut short to attend to the needs (political) of the not-so-primitive muzzleloader hunters? Or maybe I can’t afford all that is needed to be a modern, primitive hunter. Money rules…as always.

Everything becomes relative. Those who are prone to forget (the majority) are ignorantly willing to accept that a 20,000-deer harvest is good/normal, any number higher than that prompts kudos throughout the politically motivated, environmentally-trained, biologists and managers offices.

Media is compliant to echo the propaganda that originates in the department that must look good to keep their jobs. All will use any excuse to make things look better than they are…like issuing a record number of Any-Deer Permits to bump up the harvest…wink-wink.

Speaking of the media, recently I read a report that one deer processing facility in Sabbattus was overrun with deer to process such that they had to tell people to call before bringing in their deer for processing. Of course there was no honest explanation leaving readers to believe there are tons of deer and EVERYONE is taking one…or more…legally of course.

WOW! Modern, marvelous deer management. Look what their global warming has accomplished.

However, you don’t have to be a statistics guru to understand that there just aren’t very many places to go get your deer processed.

While I was at hunting camp last week, our discussion concluded that of the 6 of us at camp, nobody knew where the nearest place was.

I wonder if anyone ever thought that these places are going out of business because a 20,000 harvest isn’t as sustainable to a deer processing business as 40,000 used to be? My old math tells me that’s some where around twice…or half, depending on how you see it.

NAW!!! I didn’t think you’d think that way.

After all, it’s all relative. I’m happy. It’s not that cold out either.

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