July 11, 2020

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.

Share

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.

Share

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?

Share

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.

Share

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?

Share

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?”

Share

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!!

Share

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.

Share

Land Access: “There Ought to be a Law!”

A few years back, while speaking to a group of elk breeders in Iowa at their national convention, I began my talk by asking for a show of hands from any and all who ever made the exclamation, there ought to be a law. Most raised their hands. The rest were lying…LOL.

In our post-normal existence we have eagerly created, without supporting evidence we reactively rush toward the creation of more limits, bans, and regulations falsely believing such actions will actually alter human behavior and make for a better, safer life. Does it? Do the majority of Americans heed such laws intended to make our world a better place to live?

Not exactly! Have you been out on the highways lately? This is but one example of how laws, intended to make things safer, are failing at breakneck speed. Everyone is speeding. Everyone is running stop signs and traffic lights. Everyone is tailgating. Everyone is passing on the wrong side. Everyone is texting. These are examples of laws intended to make the highways safer to be on and yet the proof is in what you see…total disregard of the laws. So, why do we insist more laws will work?

Does this same thumbing of the nose happen with all other laws? Of course it does and yet, we, in our programmed reactionary behavior insist on making more laws, limits, and bans anytime something happens that we think could have been avoided…especially if we had more laws.

A tragedy occurred in Maine two years ago when a young woman was on her own land during deer hunting season and was shot an killed. The shooter admitted he failed to follow the “rule of law” that demands a hunter identify his/her target before pulling the trigger. While this law is more of an educational reminder of the ultimate responsibility of the one with the gun in their hand, it does not prevent mistakes nor will it stop anyone intent on killing for whatever the reasons.

The editorial board of the Bangor Daily News suggests that Maine needs to review its hunter land access laws and consider a requirement that all hunters seek written permission from a landowner before hunting on that person’s land.

A land owner should be able to control who and how anyone accesses their land. They presently have that control at their fingertips by utilizing an existing law of posting signs of no or limited access. Yes, the onus is placed on the landowner to spend the money for signs and put the signs out. Perhaps there are better ways to assist a landowner in accomplishing this task.

The bottom line is this, will posting the land keep people off the property and will it prevent a tragedy like the one that happened two years ago? It will not stop the person who is intent on entering someone’s land whether it’s posted or not. Unless land is posted all the way around, what is to stop anyone from accessing partially posted land?

The question here is whether or not making or changing the law that would require written permission to access land would have prevented a killing like the one in Maine two years ago? We might be creating ourselves a false sense of security, causing the landowner, who may falsely believe their land is 100% safe to be on during hunting season. In actuality, a new law may be making things worse.

One could argue that it is the hunters’ responsibility to know where boundary lines are regardless of what the access laws and restrictions may be. Sometimes it is extremely difficult to know where every boundary is and if you cross, even a well-marked property line, whose it is. If I unknowingly cross a poorly marked property line, would I be in violation of the law?

Hunting is a very safe activity. It is not fool proof. To err is human as the old expression goes. We will never correct that regardless of how many laws are made.

So, let’s consider the problems that will mount if Maine decided to enact a law that would require written permission before access…for any reason. Which brings us to another question about such a proposed law. Would such a law discriminate against hunters and be in effect only during hunting seasons? Assuming a new law requiring written permission would be permanent and year-round, what kind of mess is this going to create for the outdoorsman, the landowner, businesses geared toward outdoor recreation, and law enforcement? Will this new law be such that it places the landowner in a situation where they are constantly being asked for written permission? Will this form of harassment cause the landowner to avoid such and simply post their land, which they might not have done anyway – an added expense for the landowner.

Consider the large landowners of Maine – Irving, Pingree, Liberty Media Corp. (John Malone, who is based in Colorado). How are they going to handle a law where they have to hand out written permission for anyone to access their land? Or are they just going to shut it all down to avoid having to have another paid position to handle just dishing out land access permission slips?

How is law enforcement supposed to handle this new law? Is it even enforceable? Is what exists now really broken?

I own land. It’s not posted. If I go on my land during hunting season, I dress the same way as if I was hunting – with hunter orange. I never assume because I’m on my own land I am safe. Mistakes happen.

I don’t believe anyone is capable of grasping the extent of how Maine would change if the laws were changed that would require written permission to access private land. What economic impact will such a move have on Maine’s economy? One can argue that it might make it safer but such laws will not stop human error. Most all accidents happen due to human error. In that case, more and better education might limit and reduce those errors.

Before we make more laws to restrict land access, let’s first consider other ways to educate and remind hunters of their responsibility and to remind the people of Maine when hunting seasons are underway. Perhaps Maine could invest in public service announcements that would remind people about hunting seasons.

Let’s be practicably responsible and not create a bigger mess that may do little to make things safer.

Share

2019 Maine “Any-Deer” Lottery Results

The results of the Maine 2019 “Any-Deer Permit” Lottery results can be found at this link – https://deer.informe.org/2019/

Just select the letter that matches the last name of the applicant and scroll through the results.

Share