August 18, 2019

Coyote Behavior: When All You Know is Farley Mowat’s Book of Mythology

Yesterday I was reading an article of utter nonsense published in a small Maine town newspaper about coyote behavior. Of course the article was all about the love of the nasty, diseased animal and the call for its protection “because it is an important necessity for a healthy ecosystem.” Unfortunately the writer appears to have gotten 100% of their education from the proven and admitted make believe of Farley Mowat’s Never Cry Wolf.

Mowat laced his book of fiction with make believe nonsense about how wolves and coyotes only eat mice and other small rodents. The author of the Maine piece tells the same fairy tale about Maine’s coyotes: “To clarify, coyotes primarily feed on mice and other rodents…” The myth if further perpetuated by stating: “While coyotes do occasionally eat fawns and sick deer…”

Coyotes are basically garbage collectors that will eat anything…and by that I mean anything. When hungry enough, they will eat mud in order to stop the hunger in their guts. But this author obviously doesn’t get around much. Coyotes in Maine are a mixed hybrid animal, a cross breeding of an invasive coyote, wolf, and domestic dog. Because of this, the wild canine in the Maine woods is not like a typical coyote. Maine’s coyotes feed on deer, yes, adult deer too, in regular fashion. To state that coyotes feed primarily on mice and other small rodents is patently false.

The purpose of the author making this statement is to claim that because coyotes eat mice, we need to protect them because mice are what carry the ticks that cause and spread Lyme disease.

There’s a problem with that scenario. If anyone does any honest and complete research on the behavior of coyotes and the results of their behavior, they would know that the meal of the Maine coyote hybrid includes such animals as foxes and other canines and felines that truly do feed on the mice that perpetuate Lyme. The more coyotes, the fewer foxes and thus, because honestly coyotes don’t primarily feed on mice and small rodents, having more coyotes results in fewer animals that do kill the mice and thus the possibility exists that the prevalence of Lyme grows.

It should also be noted that while some choose to believe that the coyote makes for a healthier ecosystem, the reality is far from healthy. It has been proven that coyotes carry as many as 50 different diseases and viruses. Maine also has detected the presence of “lung worm” in moose. Lung worm, in this case Echinococcus granulosus (E.g.) is the result of the presence of wild canines. E.g. can be contracted by humans and can be deadly. Wild ungulates, such as deer and moose, pick up the disease by grazing around coyote scat where the tiny infectious spores are found. These spores are highly viable and thus the increase in the spread of the disease. In short, the more coyotes roaming the countryside, the higher the threat of disease. E.g. is not a direct killer of deer and moose (livestock also) but restricts their ability to escape large predators because of cysts that can grow on lungs and other internal organs.

The author points an accusatory finger at the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) for lying about its “responsible and science-based stewardship” when it comes to the management and control of coyotes. I find is amazing that simply because a person does not agree with the “responsible and science-based stewardship” of the MDIFW (in other words the department may not be all in with complete animal protection and natural wildlife management), they are labeled irresponsible and that their practices aren’t science-based. In fact, regardless of the fact that MDIFW spends far too much time trying to appease the social demands of lunatics who think coyotes will stop Lyme disease, the department’s efforts in selective coyote control and the allowing of coyote hunting derbies, while perhaps not a favorite tool for this necessary control, it is something that must be done in order to be “responsible and science-based” in the care and management of other wildlife species.

No matter how much anyone wants to read and believe Farley Mowat’s nonsense, it doesn’t change reality. Nature does not regulate itself in the Nirvanic way the uninformed want to believe. The author states that if we would leave the coyote along it would regulate itself. Obviously, the author has never seen the predator pits of death, destruction, and scarcity that predator protection causes.

If we want to enjoy the wildlife and its abundance, real responsible and science-based management and control is necessary.

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The $136,666 Deer Vasectomies of Staten Island

To refresh the minds of readers, please recall the story about how Cornell University implemented a program on Staten Island, New York, to give vasectomies to as many male deer as possible in order to reduce the deer population on Staten Island.

Now three years into the program, we discover that of the estimated 2,000 deer on the island, the population has been reduced by approximately 300 deer. At a cost of about $4.1 million, the cost per deer reduction runs about $134,000 each.

Brilliant!!!!

Read more!

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Maine Bears and Wildlife Managers: Dither, Dither, Dither

It seems that when Rome burned, all the people managed to do was stand and watch. Wildlife managers and Maine legislators seem content to stand and watch, dithering away as the black bear population continues to grow and no real action taken to do much of anything about it.

One has to wonder if the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) is incapable of doing their job due to fear of lawsuits and the pressures they receive from environmentalists, animal rights groups, animal protectionists, hunting haters, and haters in general.

We know that MDIFW is pretty much controlled by the outfitters and guides who tell the department how, when, and where the bear will be hunted. That needs to end.

For many years managers have spoken publicly of the need to do something about a rapidly growing bear population and since the beginning of those discussions, nothing has been done to limit the growth.

MDIFW claims that the only way they can get enough bears killed to somewhat limit the growth is by allowing baiting of bears. The act of baiting and hunters sitting over that bait to shoot and kill bears is not a very popular activity, especially among non hunters. According to the last two referendum votes to end bear baiting, the majority of voters indicated that they believe the MDIFW when they said it was a necessary tool to help control the bear population.

The Maine Legislature is also dithering on any actions suggested to battle the growing bear population and so the non action continues. Until when or what happens?

We now read that Maine has decided to put off another useless study in attempts to discover what affects baiting bears with human food has on the bears and in particular the rate of growth in population. I don’t really think some scientismist’s fake study, rooted in romance biology, and outcome-based is necessary. A simple examination of mathematical numbers would do the trick.

Most bears taken during the hunting season are taken over bait. Last season 3,486 bears were harvested. 2,484 were taken over bait. Officially, Maine claims there are 35,000 bears roaming about the woods. As those estimates go, there is no doubt that number is a low estimate. Guesses in excess of 40,000 would probably not be that far off. So, with approximately .6% of bears being fed human food, kick me if I’m wrong, I have serious doubts that feeding .6% of bears human food for one month out of the year is having any serious impact on the bears. Certainly we shouldn’t be wasting money on something so stupid just to appease the animal rights people.

With each passing season and more dithering taking place, combined with the reality that the bear harvest continues to fall below target goals and the number of hunters decreasing, one has to wonder what kinds of diseases will take over the bear population and do the job of reducing numbers the managers and legislators of this state can’t seem to get around to doing. In the meantime we up the risk of bear/human conflict pushing the envelope of public safety and health.

Is it so difficult to simply up the bag limit to two bears, excluding having to take one by trapping? Come on man!

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FINALLY Conclusive Evidence Backing Environmentalism

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Skin and Process a Deer in 10 Minutes

I don’t agree with everything he claims will happen to the meat by field dressing an animal. I hunted in terrain where moving an undressed out deer and elk would be impossible. I field dressed and boned out my elk and deer and did not have dirt urine feces and hair on the meat. Although this is an interesting lesson. I’ve seen this done before many times over the years..

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False Historical Claims About Deer and Predators

Just the other day, I wrote a rebuttal piece attempting to correct terrible information that was published in a Maine newspaper about how, according to the author, “coyote control doesn’t work.”

In the mythical nonsense written about why coyote control doesn’t work, the author quotes work from someone she believes to be a “carnivore conservation biologist” (therefore an expert on predator prey relationships?). This “expert,” in regards to historical deer populations in Northern Maine, was quoted as saying, “They were never there historically. It’s not a place for deer to thrive because the winters are too cold and the snow is too deep for them to move easily. Deer like edge habitat, not forests. They only moved north after the forests were cut down.”

This substantiates the point that “experts” lose any credibility as an authority on predator/prey relationships because they expose their true agenda by making biased and completely false statements to promote their agendas. We see in this statement that this “expert” claims that deer never existed in Northern Maine because deer can’t survive there because “winters are too cold and the snow is too deep for them.” In addition, this same “expert” gets her hateful digs in by making a false claim that deer migrated north into Maine “after the forests were cut down.”

What absolute nonsense! Actual historic documents, not idealistic coyote worship doctrine, show that when wolves and mountain lions were part of the Maine landscape in Northern Maine (that’s where the moose and caribou were found, thus a good meal selection for the wolves and pumas) the deer all lived on the coast of Maine and even crammed onto the islands to escape predator harassment. When the caribou vacated the state, moving into the Canadian Provinces (for whatever reason) the wolves went with them. All of this had nothing to do with the forests being cut down.

To continue the historic timeline of predator/prey relationships, after the wolves left, the deer began moving back north and the population grew significantly.

Beginning the the late 1960’s and early 1970s, the coyote moved into the state and began to flourish. With it, especially in Northern Maine, the deer numbers came crashing down and have never recovered to historic highs and never will so long as predators are protected.

In information I was sent yesterday that originated with Deer Friendly website, provides us with data that makes it extremely difficult to honestly claim that deer in Northern Maine historically were never there. (Refer to the chart below.)

This data shows that in the 1950s and 1960s, before the coyote arrived and flourished, the deer harvests in Aroostook, Washington, Piscataquis, and Somerset Counties, all of which comprise the majority of what we would consider to be Northern Maine, attributed to nearly 40% of the total deer harvest. This might be considered a pretty good indicator that in just 4 counties (of 16), 40% of the deer harvest meant Northern Maine historically DID have more deer than they do today.

Let’s compare. In the 2010s, at a time when the coyote population in the state as well as the bear population, are at historic highs, those same four countries struggle to comprise 20%, or about half, of what used to be the Maine deer harvest.

Claiming that deer were never in Northern Maine is a false statement intended only to justify the allowance of the wanton waste and destruction of coyotes and other large predators. The way these predator protectors present their myths, I wonder if they have ever asked why, if Northern Maine never had any deer, why our neighbors to the north, in Canada, have deer enough to offer their residents an opportunity to stock up venison for the winter?

There are very few, if any, legitimate reasons to not control large predators and manage deer numbers to levels conducive to protect and promote a useful, renewable resource. Presenting false information is intended only to place hunting in a negative light in hopes of ending it, while promoting the status of predators above that of people.

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Predator Prey Relationships For the Making

To go along with the age old saying that statistics prove that statistics can prove anything, the same is evident when it comes to predator/prey relationships. Simply pick the “expert” advice and opinions from those who have theories and “suggestions” that, when cherry-picked appropriately, will neatly fit into an agenda-driven narrative, and you have an instant predator/prey relationship that works for you.

Recently I was reading what is really a very ignorantly compiled bit of broad-brushed nonsense about how coyote control doesn’t work (for the purpose of providing enough deer for hunting). Void of any specific information of just how any sort of coyote control was, is, or might be implemented (it is crucial in attempting to make determinations that result in such claims as “don’t work”) to make the statement that coyote control doesn’t work is dishonest at best.

Not to belabor the issue of whether or not coyote control works or doesn’t work, perhaps missing from the writer’s obvious hatred for those who choose to hunt and eat natural food, is the simple fact that no example of whether coyote control works, or is even needed, is ever considered before, during, or after ranting on about a call for protection of large predators as though it is something that should never be done and by not doing it everything lives in perfect harmony. What nonsense. And it’s so tiring to be subjected to the same nonsense repeatedly.

This morning I was reading a Ph.D. college thesis where a person chose to study the predator/prey relationship between coyotes and whitetail deer in the Chicago area. The Abstract tells us a few very important things. First, that coyotes were the cause of 77.8% of whitetail deer fawn mortality. Second, that there are so many coyotes and deer in this study area that habitats unavoidably overlap, and three, coyote seem to prefer to prey mostly on fawn deer and not adult deer.

It would be ridiculous to make any kind of suggestion about whether coyote control would work or not work in this situation or for the reason anyone might suggest coyote control. As far as hunting goes, if there are this many deer, what coyotes do to only the deer herd is probably immaterial. There may be other collateral damage that is not being considered.

Another example of why broad-brushed accusations and conclusions are ignorant is the fact that an agenda-driven person might use this thesis to prove that coyotes only prey on fawn deer. In this case, because of an overblown deer population and the fact that coyotes, like all large predators, are opportunistic hunters, i.e. that they simply kill and eat the most easily attained prey. In this case, it is generally easier to take down a fawn deer than an adult deer.

In a different scenario, one that could very easily be found on the Maine landscape, where in much of the state there is a definite scarcity of deer and an abundance of coyotes, a hungry coyote or pack of coyotes can and do take down the biggest and healthiest of adult deer.

To claim predator control doesn’t work, based on some hyped up theory about reproductive behavior response, reveals a person’s desire to promote their own ideology at the expense of denying others the opportunity to promote surplus game management for consumptive use, a use that has been around since the beginning of time and this uncalled for totalitarian action coming at a time when people are in quest of natural, more healthy, food.

The writer who claims that predator control doesn’t work, was pointing a finger at how Maine manages its deer herd which includes a degree of coyote control. Again, void of specificity and an understanding of how, when, and where predator control would be effective, the author chooses to wrongfully claim that control doesn’t work.

In Maine’s case, much of the coyote control takes place during winter, in deer wintering areas, where coyotes often make those areas blood baths. Whether there’s any so-called reproductive behavioral response in coyotes to run out and have more pups to replace those taken during control actions, matters little. It is known and understood that any effective control must be ongoing and targeted, thus the reason the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) implements the coyote control.

The foundation of the call for coyote control in Maine is based upon the fact that, unlike the Chicago region, much of Maine has a very scarce deer population. Common sense, often lacking these days, should tell us that deer venison on the table is of a higher value to the consumer than a nasty, disease carrying wild dog. I, like many others, would like to improve our odds of filling our freezers for the winter, and thus we call for targeted coyote control in deer wintering areas in order to assist in the management of a few more deer. I would like to take the opportunity to say that for many in Maine, deer meat is an essential to providing sustenance. In addition, I would like to be able to choose to hunt deer, bear, and moose as a healthy alternative to store-bought meat.

If Maine had, statewide, the same deer density as is found in portions of Central Maine, coyote mortality on deer would mostly go unnoticed. Such is not the case.

Because we live in a post normal existence, where science is about predetermined outcomes that fit agendas and drive narratives, anyone can pick and choose theories, perspectives, and suggestions to support any claim they wish. In this case: Coyote control doesn’t work.

In the same vein, I can claim that coyote control does work when it is applied scientifically in those regions where it becomes necessary to sustain a deer population.

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Maine: MDIFW Moose Biologist Honored With International Award

Press Release from the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife:

AUGUSTA, Maine — Lee Kantar, Maine’s moose biologist with the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, was honored with the Distinguished Moose Biologist Award by his peers at the 53rd North American Moose Conference last week in Carrabassett Valley, Maine.

“Maine has the most progressive and scientific moose management program in the United States, and Lee is the engine that drives that – he is most deserving of the award,” said Peter Pekins, Professor of Wildlife Ecology at the University of New Hampshire Professor and past recipient of the award.

The award was established in 1981, to honor and publicize the outstanding contribution of an individual, individuals, and/or organizations to moose management. It is not given out every year, and since its inception, recipients include those from the United States, Canada, Sweden, Finland and Norway.

“Lees work and dedication to Maines moose is exceptional. Maines moose survival study is pioneering in both its scope and numbers and has been a model for other states and provinces,” said MDIFW Commissioner Judy Camuso.

Lee was recognized for his field work which includes designing, conducting, and overseeing Maines Moose survival study, Moose aerial surveys, moose necropsies and moose captures; his research which includes nearly a dozen published manuscripts, multiple agency reports, and scores of public presentations; and his administrative work regarding Maines moose management program and moose hunt.

Lee joined the department in 2005 as the MDIFW deer biologist, and in 2007, he volunteered to include moose management as part of his role with the department. Lee oversaw the management of Maines most popular mammals, moose and deer, for five years before devoting all his focus on moose management in 2012.

Dr. Walter Jakubas, head of MDIFWs mammal group, nominated Lee for the award and stated: “Since his hire, he has transformed and built a moose management program that is arguably one of the most modern and comprehensive programs in the States…He is conducting the largest research effort with radio-collared moose in the States (over 500 collared animals in 5 years) while working cooperatively with New Hampshire and Vermont as part of a larger regional effort….He has become a pillar of moose management in the northeastern US and North America, and without question, is deserving of this honor and recognition.” Maine has over 60,000 moose, the most in the lower 48 states. Moose were plentiful in Maine during the 1600s but by the early 1900’s, moose populations in Maine had declined to an estimated 2,000 due to unregulated hunting, clearing forestland for farming and increased incidence of brainworm attributed rising deer populations. Since that time, increased protections, management and improved habitat have allowed the moose population in Maine to thrive.

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Combined “Brilliance” at North American Moose Conference

It is most difficult to get reliable and accurate information from just about ANY media source. Here is but one example.

I did not attend this conference on moose. All that I have had a chance to read about it I found in this Bangor Daily News article. As readers, we must understand that information contained in this article is from the perspective of the author…period. If the author is a Climate Change zealot, naturally the article will only provide support for their religious beliefs, perhaps overlooking contrary data or information provided. It matters not the complete outcome of the conference and all thoughts and determinations, the readers are subjected to personal perspectives of the author regardless of the writer’s intentions.

Having said this, this remains an attempt at sharing some thoughts and my own perspective on what I know about the North American Moose Conference, combined with years of knowledge and research about moose and in particular moose ticks and large predator mortality.

According to the article in question, Maine appears to be the only state (region) where the winter tick is killing off the moose herd. (Makes one wonder if that is true and Climate Change is the cause, aren’t these other areas being subjected to the same Climate Change?) I will make a note right now that compared to the other regions where biologists in attendance at the conference said ticks aren’t the problem, Maine has gobs more moose than any of the other regions. Is there a correlation? And why does Maine have gobs more moose? Does the spruce budworm after effects have anything to do with it? Does growing an artificially high number of moose related?

Keeping in line with the unreliability of good and accurate news information, we also read that in Minnesota, one attendee said, “We had a very high neo-nate mortality. And two-thirds of that was wolf predation.”

I will most certainly guarantee that if you were to contact the Minnesota authorities about wolf predation and moose survival, the “official” line would state nothing about wolves killing off the moose herd. Regardless of long-time historical accounts from Minnesota that wolves have always had devastating effects on moose herds, officials there will tell you the problem is…you guessed it – Climate Change. Who let this person out?

The article in question states that the problems with moose herd management throughout North America varies from ticks, to predation by wolves, to disease, to unregulated hunting, etc. but it just seems an irresistible result of brainwashing that Climate Change is the problem. I can’t help but wonder how much good scientific study has been destroyed or wasted due to catechized indoctrination of the false impacts of a man-created religion (politics) of global warming – now generically referred to as Climate Change?

Perhaps there is some hope. It has taken many years for Maine, with a few years of moose study under their belt, to admit that winter ticks might be destroying the moose herd. There has also been some hints that perhaps an artificially inflated herd is responsible for an intensification of the the winter tick.

I have stated in the past that if scientists want to blame the problems of moose management on the winter tick, maybe it’s time to do some studying of the winter tick. There is danger in that these days, as there is danger in any, so-called, scientific research. Scientism rules and most “scientific” research is nothing but useless garbage that mostly better represents a good dose of propaganda – outcome based research – it’s where the money is.

However, there are signs that there needs to be better studies (not influenced by the false demons of Climate Change) about the tick.

In a separate article, also found in the Bangor Daily News, about how this winter tick “quests” and finds a winter home on board a warm, blood-filled moose, we read some comments from attendees at this conference about that winter tick that remains mostly misunderstood and wrongly said to thrive on “Climate Change.” (Whatever conveniently fits the narrative of the day.)

They got it right about how ticks climb vegetation in the Fall and lie in wait for a moose to walk by at such time they jump on the moose for a long winter’s ride participating in the blood letting…if you will.

They also get it partly right when they state that “early snow” will “…knocks that vegetation down and knocks the ticks down on the ground.”

This is a bit misleading though. At the time that the winter tick is questing (late Summer or early Fall – around the same time that the moose is rutting which adds to the enhanced possibility of getting ticks due to increased travel) what are the chances of “early snow?” And what are the chances that this “early snow” is substantial enough to “knocks that vegetation down and knocks the ticks down on the ground?”

Just about never. In regions throughout Maine, rutting and questing happen most often long before “early snow.”

While it may be fun to talk about and wish for “early snow,” none of us have any control over that weather and leaving it to chance (Mother Nature) wishing and wanting will do absolutely nothing to responsibly manage a moose herd.

Also mentioned as a deterrent to the tick population is drought. Once again, this may be an accurate claim, but perhaps the chances of a drought in the Fall being an effective killer of ticks are about as good as “early snow.”

Most often discussed in tick gabbing circles is the need for a lot of snow and cold to “kill the ticks.” This is really what I’ve come to call Romance Biology or Voodoo Science (coined by former USFWS biologist Jim Beers). For winters to be cold enough, long enough you have to approach the Arctic Circle. That’s why ticks aren’t a problem on Alaska moose.

As a side note, a biologist from Alaska made this statement: “Winter ticks aren’t a problem there. They don’t exist.”

Not to lose the point of his perspective of winter ticks in Alaska, but it is not totally accurate to say winter ticks “don’t exist” there. They may exist but negligibly. And the reason they might exist is because irresponsible researchers took winter ticks into that region just to see if they would survive. They did and that’s how you have “some” ticks in that region.

If one spends all their time focusing on how “early snow” and “drought” can have an effect on moose, sensible things are overlooked in exchange for blaming the lack of “early snow” or lack of a drought on Climate Change – a hopeless and irresponsible excuse for doing nothing. You can’t get rid of the winter tick. They are a viable species that can survive in extreme heat and drought as well as moisture and extreme cold temperatures. And we have no control over that. We do have control over the number of moose (food supply) we manage.

What studies that do exist on the winter tick, can tell us that a better deterrent in tick questing is wind. Ticks can’t hang on to vegetation forever and strong winds, which odds are probably better to have than early snow or drought, knock the ticks off vegetation forcing them to begin their quest back up the plants. Persistent winds could be quite effective. Maybe someone needs to make a claim that winds, or lack thereof, is a product of Climate Change.

Completely missing from this one news article is any discussion about reducing the moose population in order to reduce the tick population. Among sensible biologists (mostly those not overwhelmed by Climate Change) the ONLY way to mitigate winter ticks is to mitigate the number of moose….period.

Most of us don’t really know all that was discussed at this moose conference. All we have here is a little bit of information about Maine’s problem in dealing with winter ticks and the toll it is taking on the state’s moose herd.

Perhaps someday, if the Scientismists don’t completely win out, somebody will figure this all out. We could do as some suggest and let Nature do the job of management but I assure all readers, that’s not the ugly, rotten mess we really want to be subjected too.

Seriously, it’s time to can the false claims associated with the politics and religion of global warming and get down to some real, honest scientific research of value.

In case you might not have figured it out yet, I’m not holding my breath waiting.

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Deer Baiting Should Be Used Like Bear Baiting

George Smith in the Bangor Daily News, posted testimony from Rep. Paul Stearns arguing in favor of a bill that would allow for deer baiting. It appears not many people are in favor of such.

Stearns gives several reasons baiting of deer should be allowed, the most of which I disagree with. I have voiced opinion in the past that it seems ridiculous that it is legal to grow a crop specifically for deer to eat and then, while you can’t directly hunt “over” that crop you can hunt “near” it.

Maine allows for baiting of bear. The reason is that it is believed that baiting bear increases the success rate of harvesting a bear. This, at the current bear management strategy, is a desirable thing as the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) has too many bears and management wants numbers reduced. This should be understandable but that is not always the case.

Does Maine have too many deer? Not by a long shot. However, there are some places in Maine that do have far too many deer. Many of these places do not get hunted and in some cases won’t get hunted for various reasons. It would seem that in such cases, allowing baiting of deer, to draw them to a shooting zone, would be an appropriate use of the tactic. Isn’t this what so-called “sharp shooters” do when hired to cull deer?

It makes sense that if the MDIFW retains as a management tool the authority to allow bear baiting, then shouldn’t they also retain the authority to allow deer baiting, or any other species, when the demands of responsible control and management of a species is necessary?

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