January 29, 2023

Maine Fish and Wildlife Sets New Record

A record for losers!

Before the 2018 bear season begins, the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) finally releases the bear harvest report for 2016, setting a new record for being the latest it has ever been reported.

The top five slowest years have all occurred in the past 10 years. At this rate, the report will be done away with completely in a few years leaving interested sportsmen further guessing as to just what is going on.

Lousy business as usual.

Total Bear Kills By Year

For some, I guess they would congratulate the MDIFW for publishing the bear, deer and moose harvest reports for 2016. However, it seems a deliberate attempt to withhold information from the public by waiting until after or just before the start of the next year’s hunting seasons before publishing the data.




One Bear, Two Bears, Three Bears, Four

The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife has yet to publish black bear harvest data on their website. So far, this is the second longest it has taken the Department to count bears. How long does it take to count bears? Oh, yeah! It’s the teeth that slows them down. RIGHT!


“Bear Populations Are Very Hard To Manage”

A former New Hampshire conservation officer recently said:

Bear populations are very hard to manage with just casual take by hunters on foot. In fact it can’t be done. Truth be known, trapping (often with live traps to allow release of females with cubs), allowing hunters to use bait and using hounds to tree the bears are the most efficient and actually more humane ways to keep bear populations within the carrying capacities of their environment.

And here is a typical statement made by those who actually hunt bears in the woods and not fall in love with them from their Washington, D.C. air conditioned offices:

A friend of mine has spent 5 decades hunting in Maine. He bow hunts. He hunts with guns. He hunts before work and after work. He hunts weekends. He takes his vacations during hunting seasons. He gets deer every year. He hunts rabbits with his beagle. He bird hunts. He’s hunted moose many times. He hunts all over the State. Some would say he is obsessed with hunting. He shot 2 turkey just this morning…..He told me in all those years, only 2 times has he a legit chance to shoot a bear. This “fair chase” bear stuff wont cut it.

In Maryland, a four-day bear hunting season just closed with harvest numbers disappointingly lower than was hoped for. 1,061 bear hunters checked 69 bears; about a 7% success rate. (Bear populations are hard to manage.)

One the first day of the bear hunting season, law enforcement handed out 6 hunting violations – all for hunting with bait. I wonder why they needed bait?


New York State Bear Harvest Summary

Follow this link to a short story about the successes of New York bear hunters. Here also you will find what the DEC in New York is calling a bear harvest “summary.” I’ve seen full reports that weren’t as detailed and filled with information. What a fantastic tool for outdoor sportsmen who are interested enough to have data look at to better understand what’s going on.


It Took 251 Days to Count 2,400 Black Bear for the Maine Fish and Game Bear Harvest Report

I think “Johnnie” needs to go see the principal because of his conduct in not getting his homework done in a timely fashion and that the quality of his work is not up to expected standards.

It’s been 251 since the Saturday after Thanksgiving in 2011. That’s how long it took the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) to prepare two pages of the annual black bear hunting season harvest report. In addition, the quality of the blurry post on the MDIFW website appears to be that of a second grader. Is it possible that someone’s dog ate their homework? Maybe MDIFW has spent so much money on non game programs and watching bears sleep in winter dens, they can no longer afford to post quality reports on their website? Should we expect the website to be taken down soon also? Maybe it’s just global warming?

The first thing to point out in this report, other than it took 251 days to prepare, is that the harvest of just 2,400 bears, statewide, is abysmal. Maine may have perhaps the largest black bear population it has ever seen, at least in modern times, and one has to wonder why hunters can only take 2,400 bears. At this rate, we should expect to hear about more bear and human encounters and likely a kill off of the creature by some disease because of too dense a population. I suspect global warming myself.

The second thing that should be pointed out is that the only mention of comparative harvest numbers of previous years is, “The 2011 harvest of 2,400 bears is the lowest harvest since 1997.” By the way, the 2010 harvest was 3,062 and 2009 resulted in the take of 3,486. Is there a pattern here? You can find bear harvest reports on the MDIFW website going back only to the year 2005. Perhaps the website doesn’t have enough disk space to contain more information. Or, now that the use of modern techniques for calculating harvest numbers (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, ……..etc. must not work anymore) it’s extremely complicated to copy and paste the bear harvest report from the previous year and then just plug in the new year (that requires changing one digit or perhaps two every ten years), with the continued development of best available counting methods, Mainers might expect to wait for several years for their reports…….or never. I can hear the excuse now: “Well, nobody seemed interested in these reports so we stopped making them available.”

I wonder how many hunters even know these reports are generated by MDIFW? By the time they come out, everyone has forgotten last year’s bear season. Most are out fishing and getting their firewood together for the coming winter. Or maybe that’s the way it’s intended to be.

With less and less effort and money being spent on managing game for hunting opportunity and hunting harvest surplus, one would logically conclude that with at least 1,000 fewer bears killed, any intelligent man can calculate that it has taken MDIFW, on average, 105 days to count a thousand bears, this report should have been out in May. If it took 105 fewer days to count bears, MDIFW should have saved money. Must be time for a new fleet of trucks. Or maybe they could use the money to better understand why no one appears to be interested in hunting Maine bears.