October 21, 2019

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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MOUNT KATAHDIN: When Nobody Knows Or Cares About Grammatical Correctness

In this Post Normal existence of a misguided society, where not only is it a struggle for people to write (or speak for that matter) in complete sentences, at a time when life is in the palm of everyone’s hand, and the language consists of coded abbreviations, and nobody cares about whether anything written or spoken is grammatically correct (the same can’t be said about political correctness), we can read where one lost soul believes it’s important to rename a famous Maine mountain in order to make the name grammatically correct.

The director of Baxter State Park in Maine wants to change the name of Mount Katahdin to just Katahdin, claiming that “mount” is built into the name Katahdin. To a loser, who seems only capable of focusing on typos and grammar, life’s importance must be a struggle. Who cares? The English Language is full of such things and nobody cares. Why would anyone think it important to rewrite forever to make a point…or a statement? Have we reached the climax of idiotic sensitivity that any person would find offense in being told that the name Katahdin means it’s a big mountain? What is offensive or important that to some nerd with obviously too much time on his hands (maybe he isn’t doing the job he’s paid to do) would find a need to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars, taking up hours and hours of time people could be spending doing important things, to change the name, dropping Mount?

Nobody cares…nor should they. It’s not important! Nobody cares when somebody calls Islamic Terrorists THE Al Qaida, when “Al” means THE. Are we to be upset because when somebody speaks or writes that way it is grammatically incorrect? Where has any sense of a true compass reading gone?

When the real purpose of life is to correct our forgetfulness of where we came from, in order that we can know where it is we need to go, some poor lost soul is wasting his life obsessing on grammar in an old Indian name.

You can’t make this stuff up.

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Maine Fish and Game One Step Further Out of the Dark Ages

In several years in Maine, the fish and game department (MDIFW) has gone from taking several months (sometimes over a year) to tabulate deer, bear, moose, and turkey harvest information, to now where anyone can visit the MDIFW website and receive instant harvest data in total or broken down by Wildlife Management District.

THANK YOU!!! It’s about time.

Even when MDIFW announced it was tagging digitally and the department (and select others) could get the harvest information, it seemed MDIFW was in the dark that the public was interested in having access to that same information. I wondered if the department ever planned to do that or keep good control over some of us by making us beg for data.

And so, here we are! Click on this link – https://maine.maps.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/199555de2ee14d94a6186d9e07453e05 – and to the left you will see up-to-date harvest data for the entire state, for deer, bear, moose, and turkey. Click on the WMD shown in the Maine map to get a breakdown of each WMD.

I am very grateful that MDIFW has chosen to do this…although I am a bit puzzled by a comment from the MDIFW Wildlife Director, printed in the Bangor Daily News. The director said: “We just realized that there was a lot of interest in having that information (harvest data from their digital tagging system). Seriously? “We just realized…?”

MDIFW was so terrible at providing hunters with any current harvest data, they were the laughing stock around many coffee tables in coffee shops statewide. And NOW, they just realized?

Okay, so I guess for some it just takes a long time to wake up. So, good morning!! And, thank you for allowing the tax payers to have access to information we have paid for.

So, now what am I going to bitch about?

Oh, OKAY! How about this? Being that this event is one of the biggest deals to come out of MDIFW in a very long time, why is there no Press Release posted on their website? Back in July, there was a PR announcing an appointment to the position of Information and Education Director. Has that position not been filled and is not active yet?

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An Ethical Shot?

I was reading V. Paul Reynolds very good article the other day about how important it is when hunting moose, to do your best in placing a killing shot. What I got thinking about though was the idea that so many writers/hunters/trappers these days put emphasis on the term of an “ethical” shot or “ethical” kill.

Let’s first examine the definition of the term “ethical.” By definition, ethical means: “relating to moral principles or the branch of knowledge dealing with these. Morally good or correct. Avoiding activities or organizations that do harm to people or the environment.”

Hmmm! It seems we need to examine what “moral” means. “Concerned with the principles of right and wrong behavior and the goodness or badness of human character.” Er, ah… or maybe: “Examining the nature of ethics and the foundations of good and bad character and conduct.”

Getting closer: “Holding or manifesting high principles for proper conduct.”

I think this one pretty much covers what drives comments about “taking an ethical shot” when hunting. “Concerned with or derived from the code of interpersonal behavior that is considered right or acceptable in a particular society.”

So, essentially an “ethical” shot means one that accomplishes the “morally good” conduct that meets the standing acceptable behavior in this particular society at this particular moment.

Perfect! Not really. It’s hogwash!

Geez! If we are going to get all “moral” about this issue of shooting and killing, then perhaps those opposed to hunting have some valid ground to stand on. I mean, seriously. Is killing anything “morally ethical” in this “particular society?”

We hunt for various reasons. To be successful hunters must kill. We hope the kill is quick, for more reasons than just “ethical.” Some practice their skill of hitting a target. Some are better equipped to make “ethical” kills than others. They have better eyes and coordination to make a quick “ethical” kill.

But let’s face it. When we pull the trigger are we really thinking about ethics? Or are we thinking much of anything except we hope we make the shot and not have to chase our prey all day?

I understand the desire of many to not allow any animal that is a resource to suffer when being taken. I think it is dishonest to lay the term “ethical” onto any taking. I think it is more ethical to be honest about the truth than to place some conjured term to the act of shooting to kill.

Perhaps we can find a better more honest word or term to describe simply a quick kill. Oh, hey! Why not “quick kill?”

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Biggest Bucks of Maine Per Year of Deer Harvest

Most people in Maine and other parts of deer hunter havens across the country, know that the biggest buck, by weight, ever taken in Maine was in 1955. Horace Hinkley’s record buck weighed in at 355 pounds.

There were two hunters who tied for second largest bucks recorded at 310 pounds, 42 years apart. Do you know who they were and where the deer were taken? Visit Troy Frye’s Facebook page and you can get a list of the biggest bucks taken in Maine, the year they were taken, the hunter’s name, and where the deer was shot.

Thanks Troy!!

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2018 Maine Deer Harvest By County

Kennebec County in Maine, had the greatest 2018 deer harvest. If you would like to see what each Maine country had for a deer harvest in 2018, please visit Troy Frye’s Facebook Page.

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