December 13, 2019

Maine Big Game Harvests: One Excuse is as Good as Another

The opening line in a Portland Press Herald news article says that Maine’s bear, turkey, and deer harvests were all down from last year, “but on par with wildlife biologist’s expectations.” This was followed by all the “usual suspect” excuses, including Climate Change, however, referred to as “extreme weather.”

This prompts me, one more time, to retell the story of the man who wanted to borrow his neighbor’s ax. The neighbor said, “No, you can’t. It’s Tuesday.” The man asked what Tuesday had to do with borrowing his ax and the neighbor answered, “Nothing. But if I don’t want you to borrow my ax, one excuse is as good as another.”

Excuses! Excuses!. And how about a little bit of honesty in reporting? The article states that Maine’s biologists expected deer harvest numbers to be down because, “…the state issued fewer “Any-Deer Permits.” What’s not reported is what the comparative “Any-Deer Permit” harvest was with last year. The reality is that regardless of the number of “Any-Deer Permits” issued it may not have had much influence on the overall deer harvest. One of the last reports we received from MDIFW was that they were not achieving the desired doe harvest rates from the issuance of “Any-Deer Permits.”

While the article mentions that more “bonus deer permits were handed out,” we haven’t a clue as to how this offset the reduction in “Any-Deer Permits” or the resulting harvest. Hocus-pocus – smoke and mirrors.

I have a stinking suspicion that once all data is collected and an honest assessment of that data is examined, we’ll find out what some of us already know – the deer herd, with the exception of a couple of Wildlife Management Districts in the central part of the state, is poor with little effort being taken to do anything about it.

With the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) announcing their intentions to manage deer for “health” rather than spend time counting (somehow the two are not related?), I would suspect the herd population to continue to shrink, along with interest in deer hunting. After all, who wants to spend money and effort beating the forest for deer, when the odds of success at bagging a deer continue to shrink? And we wonder why license sales continue to drop?

Turkey and bear harvest numbers were abysmal and still MDIFW and the Maine Legislature continue to tread water doing nothing about what has become a nuisance flock of wild turkeys and a potentially dangerous swarm of black bears. With all these bears, we should be thankful it was a bountiful mast crop. Tens of thousands of hungry bears can spell disaster.

We are at a point where serious changes need to be made with both turkey and bear hunting bag limits and/or lengths of season. Dithering continues to rule the day, I suppose operating in fear that “social demands” won’t tolerate more bears and turkeys being killed.

Here’s a suggestion. MDIFW should cease with the “social demands” pandering, along with letting the guides and outfitters tell them how to run their hunting seasons and bag limits, and do what is best for game management. But I realize those days are long gone, therefore we should expect more of the same, and “one excuse is as good as another” when it comes to explaining game harvest numbers.

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Climate Change Ruined Maine’s Deer Harvest?

Did the real-time deer tagging counter break down? What happened to the excitement that the media and the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife’s (MDIFW) head deer biologist were spouting about how Maine was on track to harvest 30,000+ deer?

I’m guessing it’s because global warming Climate Change turned things across the state to a state of unfavorable hunting conditions. Parts of Maine saw record low temperatures three different times. There was also snow….Wait, what? Snow? That’s a big plus for deer hunting. Harvest rates always increase when it snows. Doesn’t it?

I don’t know about the rest of the state but the hunting conditions the last week of the season were atrocious…at best. There was snow, but it was always loud, crunchy snow to walk in. It was also so cold, any time spent in a stand or blind were short-lived. Who could take it?

Dang that global warming Climate Change!

I was sent an old newspaper clipping the other day. The headline read: “UN Predicts Disaster if Global Warming Not Checked.” The newspaper was dated June 29, 1989. The opening paragraph said, “…entire nations could be wiped off the face of the Earth by rising sea levels if the global warming trend is not reversed by the year 2000.”

So that’s what happened.

I wasn’t the only one that got cold hunting. My hunting buddies regularly beat feet to warm camps, cars, and houses cutting short what would have normally been all day excursions in the woods looking for that elusive buck.

On Saturday morning past – last day of regular firearms season – I was standing in the middle of a small hardwood ridge hoping some really stupid deer would make a terrible mistake and disregard the overwhelming noise of crunching snow and ice under foot. I was with two other friends who were at least several hundred yards from me, and I could clearly hear their crunch, crunch, crunch echoing over hill and dale.

Certainly, this global warming Climate Change must have contributed to what looks to be another poor year for deer hunting.

And I thought that it would be poor management, a post normal society that’s all mixed up, and resulting lack of interest that would essentially put an end to hunting. Instead, we’ll all be under water because it will be so warm with a planet void of ice. Maine must have been one of those “nations” that was destroyed (while I slept). So where am I exactly???

Gee! I wished global warming would hurry up and happen. I for one would like a bit warmer weather to hunt in and I could save money by not needing to winter in Florida.

MDIFW, bailed out again due to (wink-wink) global warming Climate Change.

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

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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There’s More to Recruiting Hunters Than Sticking Them in a Blind and Parading Deer By Them to Shoot

When Judy Camuso was nominated to serve at the position of the head of the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW), in her testimony before the Joint Standing Committee for fish and wildlife, she pointed out that as part of her plan to grow more hunters and fisherman, she intended to become involved in a nationwide recruitment program, R3. She stated that her plan, “…will include measurable goals for recruiting, retaining and reactivating hunters and anglers but it will build relationships with non-consumptive users as well.” 

In a critique of Commissioner Camuso’s ambitious programs as commissioner, I questioned her intent to bring together consumptive and non consumptive users, while at the same time believing the two can work productively toward the same goals that satisfy both sides AND recruit new hunters and fishermen.

Today I was reading a Press Herald story about the MDIFW’s efforts at “recruiting” new hunters by allowing 9 hunters to be guided (spoon fed) on a deer “hunt” on the state-owned Swan’s Island.

I commend the commissioner and the MDIFW at making a swipe at recruitment. However, I am left with lots of questions about the event, the methods and within the article some comments and information that was given that was perhaps incomplete, leaving readers with a misguided understanding of the whys and wherefores of hunting, retention, and recruitment (R3).

The article in reference referred to Swan Island as “the perfect classroom” stating, “The place has become a haven for deer, which congregate in fields in groups as large as 50.” It may be, by one reporter’s perspective, as the “perfect classroom” but it is representative of what deer hunting in Maine is like? Who gets to do that? What happens when these 9 people (who expressed an interest in trying again) go off on their own and perhaps can’t afford a blind or a swivel seat to go in it? (It used to be a pot and a window…but I digress.) Will they ever see that many deer again?

“IFW set up pop-up camouflage tents to serve as blinds, equipping them with special swivel chairs that let the newbies quietly pivot as they watched the woods.” Even being “coached” by Game Wardens, staff, and biologists about “hunting techniques,” I wonder if it’s being all that honest with any possible recruit to place them in a ground blind where as many as 50 deer in a group might pass by because hunting has not been allowed on Swan Island for 50 years?

The article states that the 9 novice hunter program was a success because, “…seven of the nine bagged a deer,” and, “all the participants expressed an interest in hunting again.” Not knowing the reasons all 9 applicants were interested in this hunt to begin with, one has to wonder if sitting in a cold blind for hours on end and never seeing a deer, for years on end, a “novice” would express interest in trying it again? Maybe that has something to do with fewer licenses being sold?

In an attempt to place blame for loss of hunters and failure to recruit or retain more hunters, the author brings out the “numbers” and the talking point excuses of where the blame lies: “…technology;  overscheduled lives, especially for young families; and the aging of fish and game clubs that once formed the heart of the hunting community.”

HUH?

The last time I examined data from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on why license sales for hunting were on the decline, the number one excuse given for not taking to the woods to hunt, was lack of time.

It’s easy to blame technology. Anyone with two eyes can see what so-called technology and social media is doing to American Society in general. Over-scheduled lives is a poor catchall excuse. Scheduling of our lives is driven by interest not by somebody’s “technology.” If hunting was part of the talk around the kitchen table, where that heritage is discussed before, during, and after the deer hunting season, people would find the time to hunt.

There are other reasons recruitment and interest to hunt are in decline…or in what might appear to be interest in hunting. One issue was discussed in the article in question. It began by discussing Apprentice Hunter Licenses. Bragging that the Apprentice Program has been around over a decade, listen to the hoops that need to be jumped through: “That license, which costs $26 for Mainers (and $115 for non-residents), allows someone 16 years or older who has never had a valid hunting license to hunt in the presence of a “supervisor.” The supervisor must be at least 18 and have had a hunting license for the previous three years.” Money, money, money and more “educational” programs that not just a perspective hunter has to go through in hopes they might become a longtime hunter.

You’ll always ruffle up the dander on the backs of some necks when you start discussing things like the potential obstacles any hunter or perspective hunter must go through to get their feet wet in hunting, or bringing a long-time hunter from Maine or away back when they have to take valuable time to attend classes for hunter “safety” and show “proficiency” in handling a gun and shooting it. While hunter safety has certainly made the woods during the deer hunt much safer, has anyone honestly assessed as to whether the decline in participation is directly proportional to the time constraints of hunter education, license costs, and…and…and…? Maybe, hunter education has stopped the total abandonment of hunting. Does anybody know? Does anybody care?

So, whenever we allow someone to feed us “data” that shows license sales and all the rigged demographics that go with them, nowhere is it ever discussed as to how hunter recruitment, retention, and re-interest is influenced by lousy hunting. Years spent afield with seldom, if ever, even spotting a deer probably plays as big a deterrent as anything, including technology and over-scheduled lives – time and money for what?

Just a quick glimpse into the past and it doesn’t take a statistics guru to figure out that as the deer harvest is trending down, down, and down (yes, with a couple false spikes upward) deer hunting license sales are also trending down, down, and down. Is it that we are not supposed to talk about such things? Is this why 9 novice hunters (out of 20 applicants) were placed in a blind on a small island that hasn’t been hunted for 50 years and deer sometimes will, literally, run you over? What’s wrong with bringing them to where my blind is? Where I haven’t seen a deer in years? I’m trying to remember when the last time I was able to sit in a blind – with a “special swivel seat” (wink-wink) where as many as 50 deer to a bunch passed by. Forget it. It NEVER happens in the real world. So, is MDIFW hoodwinking perspective hunters? How often will MDIFW continue to offer these free lunches to those who say they might be interested in deer hunting? Until the deer on Swan Island are all gone? Will potential recruits have to buy a license, and buy an “Any-Deer Permit,” like the rest of us do, when deer numbers on the island dwindle, like everywhere else in the state?

I’m not sure I know any real Maine hunters who don’t think it would be a great idea to recruit more hunters. I don’t know of any real Maine hunters who don’t think that if there were more deer perhaps the three “Rs” would take care of themselves. But what do I know?

I’m just a grumpy Ole Maine Hunter.

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Maine’s Bear Hunt Falls Short of Harvest “Hope and Change”

Understanding that the Maine black bear hunting season is not yet over and what is left generally produces very little increase in the the total harvest, it appears that the black bear harvest will fall far short of hoped-for numbers.

According to the live harvest data on the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife’s (MDIFW) web page, the current black bear harvest stands at 2,241, nearly 1,100 short of last years total bear harvest. Compared with the last 5 years, it appears this year’s take will come up well short of that average.

Yes, the blame will be placed on the reality that there was abundant natural food for the bears and history seems to have taught us that because baiting of bears is the most successful way to take them, when there is abundant natural food, bears aren’t so much interested in a bait pile.

Okay, so we get that. Isn’t this another thing that, as game managers, we have no control over? And because we have no control over certain things, isn’t it responsible to take better and different actions that would better guarantee that a bear harvest would meet harvest goals as part of a responsible management program?

One might think.

But, the MDIFW and the Maine Legislature have failed, once again, to take any meaningful and responsible action to make sure that the bear harvest meets goals necessary to keep the population in check so as not to continue to increase public safety issues as well as the impact bears are having on the dwindling deer population (even though managers are telling us there are plenty of deer) in parts of the state where the bear population is very healthy numbers wise. There is a correlation…isn’t there?

The Maine Legislature either would not pass or postponed any action to address the burgeoning bear population. As I asked earlier, is the Maine Legislature liable for damages, injuries, and death caused by an irresponsibly grown population of black bears? Is the MDIFW liable because they refuse to buck the outfitters and guides in the state who refuse to work with the state in reasonable ways and responsibleness to bring the bear population in check?

I walk down the street. I see a hole. I fall in it………..

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The Aging Population of Hunters

Early this morning I was reading V. Paul Reynolds article in the newspaper about the importance of mentoring young people toward an interest in the long-time tradition of hunting. I’m not sure I can any add anything to the cause and effect or offer any great solution to the problem. I can relate my own experience as an example of the changes in hunting heritage over the past 45 years.

It was nearly 45 years ago that I received an invitation to a Maine hunting camp, comprised mostly of extended family members who lived in Western Maine. I accepted the invitation but I was also informed that I might not be able to find room enough anywhere in the camp to spread a bedroll. You might be wondering just how small is this camp? Well, it isn’t “big” but at that time hunters taking up residence for the entire week at Hunting Camp numbered around 12, and I recall at least on one occasion a camper was hauled in to handle the overflow.

Of the better than one dozen hunters claiming a sleeping spot, just as many hunters came and hunted a day here and there and maybe hung around for the evening meal.

Those were the days.

Back in the hay day, those of us out of school and working for a living, always, somehow, found a way to take time off to go to Hunting Camp. It was tradition. It was fun, exciting, and it was an extremely important part of life in Maine. The meat and potatoes of Hunting Camp residents for the week was comprised of those of us in the late teens and early twenties. The “fathers” were the aging mentors of the group and when any school-age hunter could convince Mom to “play hooky” they came to camp, as well as on any holiday and Saturday.

Today, at this same family hunting camp, we struggle to find 6 hunters there to hunt the week. And of those six hunters, the youngest is now over 60. Nobody shows up to check the “Meat Pole” and never any hunters just for the day. I don’t remember the last time any school-aged children came to Hunting Camp to hunt. So what has happened?

Many, many things. A progressive society has been very successful in brainwashing our children with negative ideas about the “violence” of hunting and the “rights of animals.” This goes a very long way in making it difficult to get young people interested in hunting…even when Dad or Mom hunted growing up and still do.

I could make a grocery list of all the reasons hunting is a dying event and another list of things I think might help, but the bottom line is that it is a nearly insurmountable task until such time as society as a whole finds value in the hunting tradition.

I wouldn’t look for any big changes.

As a matter of fact, the way things are changing, I would begin looking for a real good place to hide my hunting rifle(s) because “THEY” are going to be coming to get those pretty soon.

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A “Naturally Occurring” Fungi To Kill Moose Ticks? What Possibly Could Go Wrong?

Oh my! I was reading this article about how entomologists have discovered what they call a “naturally occurring fungi” that, in lab conditions, attacks and kills the dreaded winter tick, or moose tick, that is being blamed for killing moose in numbers not satisfactory to the wildlife managers…or so it keeps being repeated.

The idea, evidently, is to figure out what dosages and how to apply it to the forests so that it finds its way to the ticks/larvae in order to have any affect. We should be asking, what could possibly go wrong?

Reading the article, it is difficult to make actual sense from much of it because it is laced with repeated mythology about the winter tick – such things as how global warming contributes to the increased number of ticks on the landscape. Mixed in with the mythology, we can extract a few comments, etc. from the scientists who are working on this project – enough to at least say, what to ???????

This is the part that causes normal thinking people to scratch their heads in confusion wondering about the hypocrisy in thinking, or the lack thereof.

Yesterday I wrote a short piece about the criminal U.S. Senate, who in one breath say we are all gonna die because there are too many cars and too much carbon dioxide, which is warming the planet, and…and…and…yes, we are all gonna die if they don’t do something about taking our cars away from us so members of Congress can fly bigger, faster planes. In the next breath, the Senate unanimously approves a bill to better promote America’s Scenic Byways, to encourage more people to drive more cars, longer distances…and what the hell happened to we’re all gonna die?

When it comes to ticks, cast aside are any thoughts from the post-normal society of automatons who claim they want Mother Nature to rule everything. They believe hunting, trapping, and fishing should be stopped because of animal’s “rights” and that actions such as these are destroying game animals and in return just the thought of hunting is having negative effects on the entire ecosystem – that man should just butt out of any sort of wildlife management and let things take a “natural” course.

But then, along comes somebody with a potentially dangerous suggestion of how to kill winter ticks (a naturally occurring entity) in order that we can artificially grow more moose. Forget any notions that the real reason there are so many ticks is because there are too many moose and “Mother Nature” is doing what it does to kill off much of the moose population as a means of attempting to mitigate the tick problem, which is, must be anyway, upsetting the ecosystem. Oh, my! Are we all gonna die?

So, another question is, what is the purpose of thinking that a “naturally occurring” fungus might kill off the winter tick? Is it because this effort has monetary profit? Is it because we are all gonna die from too many ticks? Is it because some people want to have more moose to play with?

And here’s a brilliant question. If the fungi that can kill winter ticks is “naturally occurring” then why isn’t it, in the grand scheme of Natural Regulation, already mitigating the winter tick problem and any other problem that might be solved by its existence?

In the entire article I can’t find anywhere any kind of discussion of protection and growth of the moose as a food source. In a normal existence, moose as a food source would be the number one consideration of any need to protect and/or grow a crop. No more. Post normal existence is about cherry picking ideas and actions that fit the narratives of the moment – and to hell with food sources…well, until I they get hungry.

Maine had perhaps as many as 100,000 moose. Greed and selfishness cause people to begin making demands for more moose for profit. Instead of obtaining understanding of why there were so many moose on the landscape all of a sudden and that one day when that reason for a population explosion went away, something was going to have to change, the intention of the moose biologists was to figure out how to keep growing moose so that everyone had one as a pet in their back yard (not for food).

The notion here is to figure out what kind of a dosage is needed to apply to the “naturally occurring” “earth and leaves” where the “naturally occurring” winter tick lands in Spring to lay “naturally occurring” eggs that begin the cycle all over again. Might I also mention here that whether there is ice and snow or not on top of those “naturally occurring” “earth and leaves” whatever it is at that time is “naturally occurring?” How dare I!!!!!

The article presents stunning photographs of a cluster of winter tick larvae at the end of a stick of vegetation “questing” for a host. When that host (moose, elk, deer) walks by, they climb aboard. Gee! What if there just weren’t so many darn hosts?

Instead of managing moose in numbers that are healthy…(Note: It was only a short while ago that the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife announced they were going to abandon wildlife counts and concentrate on causing wildlife to be healthy.) the interest seems to be in protecting and growing them in numbers to satisfy the selfish desires of a post-normal society that is obsessed with securing animals as friends and not as a food source.

With a focus on how to kill the winter ticks to protect the moose, and other ungulates (that really are not bothered so much by the ticks -moose are poor groomers) has any consideration been given to the collateral damage that might take place if and when scientists begin sprinkling a “naturally occurring” fungi in unnatural quantities?

Isn’t this entire effort really being based on the supposition that man-caused Climate Change is the culprit for everything? Combine that with misguided notions about wildlife and the purposes for its existence and, like promoting more driving while at the same time demanding people stop driving, ignorance in the causes and effects of “natural occurring” and man-caused events can potentially destroy much, if not all, of what people think they are trying to protect.

It would appear that we have continued ideas, much like our ready acceptance of a piece of paper that allows someone to “practice” medicine, so too are pieces of paper licenses for someone else to “practice” wildlife management and “practice” growing fungi. Like medicine and the demands for drugs by patients, wildlife practitioners are under pressure from a post-normal society that demands animals to play with, even at the expense of all other things…for that moment.

What can possibly go wrong?

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Maine Moose History and Shucking Bears

A couple of issues jumped out at me that I found reading two articles published in Maine newspapers recently. The first had to do with an article in the Bangor Daily News about the history of Maine’s moose and their moose hunt.

The article presents a timeline of events that began with how unregulated moose killing led to the end of all moose hunting, ending with the present day limited moose hunt lottery. The article, as written, states: 1980: Changes in forest practices, including clear-cutting, have provided moose with more habitat and food sources, and the herd shows signs of consistent growth.”

This is actually a partially inaccurate statement. Yes, there were changes in forest practices that have been ongoing, but everyone knows that it was the event of the outbreak of the spruce budworm and the resulting clear-cutting in efforts to salvage as much timber as possible that provided millions of acres of prime moose habitat. There was so much habitat as a result that Maine grew an artificially high population of moose. (Note: This same event and resulting clear-cuts, also provided false growths in rabbits, the prime food source for Canada lynx. And yes, the clear-cuts caused a false growth in Canada lynx and as these clear-cuts change, we are still attempting to artificially grow the number of Canada lynx.)

Two things have been happening since. First, because of man’s greed and ignorance, we attempted, and still are, to sustain a moose population approaching 100,000 animals. Mother Nature responded by knocking that population down with winter ticks providing an unnecessary and tormenting way to die for moose – wasted meat that would have provided some Maine families with nutritious food. Second, it’s been nearly 50 years since the spruce budworm and much of that prime habitat has changed.

In short, Maine’s generous uptick in moose numbers was an accident and not simply due to man’s efforts at management.

The second issue I found was in George Smith’s article about not needing to be scared of bears. George tells stories of some of his and his families’ dealings with black bears, and in one case of how he gathered up the family to run down to the shore of the lake to be there when a mother bear and two of her cubs came swimming across the lake.

George’s stories are presented as cute, fun, exciting, and never a serious word of caution. All the stories and accounts the author tells are probably true, but, what of that one time when a person, or family, due to “cute, fun, and exciting,” find themselves in a position where the mother bear will do whatever it feels is necessary to protect her cubs? Then what? Oh, yeah, yell.

Even domestic animals can be unpredictable but this is seldom, if ever, taught to our children. The family dog or the neighbor’s cat are always seen by people, children in particular because of how they are taught, as always approachable, never looking for signs that might indicate to stay away or having been taught that because they are animals they are unpredictable.

This incorrect teaching and attitude that animals are nothing but cute, fun, and exciting, it what causes those “rare” occasions when animal attacks person.

Perhaps instead of saying that there is no need to be scared of bears, we should be a bit more honest with ourselves and those around us and say that we don’t need to be scared but because it is an animal, and a potentially vicious predator, we need to be respectfully cautious, assuming that we might be treading where the bear, or other animal, may not want us to be.

Maybe then, those “rare” instances will become even rarer.

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Hunter Safety Not Banning Land Access

The editorial staff of the Central Maine Newspapers offers a rare opinion piece about the quasi debate about whether Maine should consider blocking access to private land in hopes of making things safer during hunting season.

The staff believes, and rightly so, that education, focused on safety, has done more to make things safer than any idea of blocking access to land will do. In the last three cases of people being accidentally shot on their own land, the hunter miss-identified the target for a deer and wrongly pulled the trigger.

To err is human, however, in the effort to achieve better hunter/people safety, perhaps it is time to reassess the importance and penalties for pulling the trigger when not 100% positive of the target at hand.

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Maine Moose and Ticks: Continued Spread of Bad Information

I once thought perhaps there was some hope that Maine wildlife officials were starting to get it when it comes to what is causing the moose population to shrink. But evidently Climate Change remains the excuse for everything incompetent.

Yes, few will argue that winter ticks are killing Maine’s moose. However, none can rid their brainwashing that the cause of the vast number of blood sucking ticks is due to Climate Change – proof of professional ignorance. When you combine this kind of blind ignorance with the need for the media to perpetuate nonsense about Climate Change, there still remains absolutely no hope that one day man will get it and then make plans to combat the problem from a real scientific approach rather than an emotional wandering about hoping on all hope that Climate Change will somehow make things right again.

Once again we read in the mainstream media how we are all gonna die because of Climate Change. Maine’s moose biologist is quoted as saying, “Every day that is mild in October and November and we don’t get any snow, every day ticks are out getting on moose. Climate is a factor in the level of ticks we have out there.”

It wasn’t all that long ago that Kantar (Maine’s moose biologist) was caught telling some people that the reason for so many ticks was due to too many moose, and not so much because of Climate Change.

Maybe there’s more funding available if you are willing to perpetuate the Climate Change nonsense.

Ignorance and brainwashing about Climate Change causes one to never use their brain and implement any sort of common sense. It’s more fun, evidently, to plow along with the myth, living in fear that WE’RE ALL GONNA DIE! Thirty years ago it was predicted that whole nations would disappear from the earth if we didn’t do something about global warming. And yet, we still insist that global warming (now Climate Change) is what is causing winter ticks to grow out of control. Smart…real smart.

If Maine would increase their moose hunting permits and lower the moose population to responsible levels, the winter tick problem would go away. I thought Maine’s moose biologists had begun to figure this out. But now they are back to blaming Climate Change on the number of ticks.

In Alaska, were moose have lived for far longer than in Maine, biologists/scientists there have said that there is only one way to mitigate the winter tick problem: reduce the moose population.

It’s easier to spout nonsense and say Alaska doesn’t have a tick problem because it is so cold up there. Ignorance also causes people to think all of Alaska is much colder than Maine. It’s not, and these are areas where the moose thrive. Let’s take a closer look.

The winter tick is not just a common occurring thing in Maine. This tick, Dermacentor albipictus, if found in warm, dry climates like Texas, and cold climates like Alaska and the Yukon. We know that the ticks are found in the Yukon because researchers deliberately took these winter ticks there just to experiment with them to see if they could survive. The ticks survived and the irresponsible, perhaps criminal scientists were allowed to continue practicing their witchcraft.

Perhaps this is just too complicated for some to understand. Try this simple math problem. Alaska has an estimated 200,000 moose. Maine has 70,000. (Note: I use these numbers because the biologists use these numbers. There’s little reason to believe that these numbers are all that accurate.)

Alaska has 663,300 square miles of land. Maine has 35,385. Alaska has nearly 3 times the number of moose than Maine living on 20 times the amount of forests. Alaska doesn’t have a tick problem. Maine does. From this information, people conclude that the problem with ticks is Climate Change. Does this make any sense?

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