October 18, 2019

When Too Much Management is a Problem

A talk by Jim Beers at the Big Game Management SYMPOSIUM

Cranbrook, British Columbia

13 April 2019

Comments and Observations Concerning Predators, Prey & Modernity A Solution

This is a talk I would like to give in the following locations.

–       Scotland (where a proposal to introduce wolves into a massive land enclosure is under consideration);

–       Finland (where Finns are forced to confront and control Russian wolves using EU rules and restrictions);

–       France, Germany, Spain and Italy (where growing wolf densities are causing increasing livestock losses, game and hunting declines, and human safety concerns, all ignored by EU rulers in Brussels);

–       Each of The Lower 48 States of the US (where wolves are or will eventually occur and those similarly enduring federal grizzly bears or excessive and unmanaged cougar populations and their effects):

–       The Provinces of Canada (where wolves, grizzly bears, black bears and/or cougars are always seen as “too few” by urban voters, and “too many” by rural residents living with these large predators and their effects)

There are also other places where I would like to share what I am about to say such as Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Russia, India, and Africa where their problems with the death, carnage and economic losses wrought by uncontrolled large predator populations from Nile crocodiles to wolves in settled landscapes.  There are 2 reasons that explain why I refer to these locations as “other places”.

1.    The remedies I want to suggest are unrealistic where local rural people cannot be authorized year after year to control large predators and their impacts due to autocratic rulers, weapon restrictions, limited hunting and other animal control programs, United Nations’ rules concerning trophy shipping and restrictions on animal parts that make non-resident hunting problematic, and particularly governments that are vulnerable to anti-hunting and anti-wildlife management foreign political money-lobbying such as Kenya..

2.    Disarmed rural residents, although they have other means of control, cannot have serious annual, much less persistent, impacts on large predator densities nor can they long be exposed to these predators unarmed when attempting controls without incurring serious injuries and deaths.

The Problem

Large Predators chase, attack, wound, kill, and eat Big Game animals, cattle, sheep, dogs, humans and any other live meat they encounter and find to be vulnerable.  Most Large Predators range over wide areas.  They eat and probe dead, dying and often infected animals. They are exposed to and spread a litany of diseases and infections that kill and disable humans, Big Game animals, other wildlife, cattle, sheep, dogs, and other animals.

When large predators attack or kill humans, Local Communities (and not far-off politicians, bureaucrats or environmentalists) know what the problem is and take every allowable solution, and some that are not allowed, to solve “The Problem”.  In effect, far-away rulers are both physically and responsibility-wise, as well as unaccountable for the long list of abuses, dangers and costs of both equating and raising the political priority of such Large Predators above the status and needs of the rural people forced to live with and amongst increasingly dense and widespread Large Predators.

When Large Predators kill cows, calves, sheep, lambs, dogs, and other domestic animals; their rural owners are simply victims and depending on the location and mood of officials, there may or may not be an effective but temporary solution offered to the victimized owner.  Otherwise, those harmed are told to suck it up or go elsewhere (something hoped for by radical organizations and government agencies eager to purchase (at reduced prices), ease or otherwise control rural lands and people.

When Large Predators kill Big Game the situation changes dramatically.  First, there is no owner to note the kill, nor is there anyone to demand retribution, compensation or a solution to avoid this in the future. 

Second, there is no running documentation about how many or what kind (calf, pregnant cow, fawn, old male, young male, etc.) was killed: therefore there is no estimate of what percent of the herd or its reproductive capacity was killed last year, the year before or how reproduction is and has been affected. Pro-Predator experts and bureaucrats can blame climate change or claim that there is some sort of new disease (how does the layman dispute this?)  but you can bet it is almost certainly wolf or grizzly/black or cougar predation, or all four if their numbers have been increasing and you increasingly see them pursuing game animals into towns where Big Game seeks safety, or simply encounter them prowling about residences or towns in search of food, or hunters no longer reporting finding game animals.  Like other wildlife, the more often you see large predators as you drive about, the more abundant large predators are becoming and the more Big Game it takes to support the larger predator populations. Wolves are the most likely perpetrators of the majority of Big Game declines in North America and other places like Russia and Europe. Big Game reductions are invariably accompanied by domestic livestock depredation and dog deaths because wolves are usually the most broadly impactful and effective predators due to their pack behavior, large roaming habits, and adaptability that makes them constant evaders of controls and, collectively, they have a larger demand for meat than either cougars or grizzly or black bears due to their size, numbers and their opportunistic habit of killing more than they eat as they do with sheep and cattle when they are unprotected much like the behavior of domestic free-roaming dogs.

Third, there is nothing you can document or resolve about big game predation unlike human or domestic animal predation where you can take some intermittently effective precautions like keeping domestic prey of family members under increased protection and scaring off predators when seen.  Killing many of the large predators and reducing their densities locally to first recover the Big Game populations and then to maintain the animals on which they prey is the only answer to recovering declining or disappearing Big Game populations.  Dense or increasing wolf populations invariably mean more depredation and fewer of the prey animals.  Wolf impacts on Big Game are directly proportional to their numbers and the availability of Big Game animals where they cohabit.  When large predators reach certain densities, especially as in the settled landscapes they are now re-invading under government force and protection, anyone maintaining that Big Game animals are not the #1 source of protein for uncontrolled large predators, especially wolves, is simply lying to you.  Further, in settled landscapes, large predators will, when uncontrolled amongst abundant food sources, increase their densities until the total food supply dwindles as it did on Isle Royale island in Lake Superior where as I speak government bureaucrats are releasing wolves that all but became extinct after they caused the moose population (their only food source on the island) to crash.  The difference on the mainland (of North America and Europe et al) is that when the wolves kill nearly all the moose (or elk or caribou) hunting seasons are reduced and then closed down (forever?) as happened with moose in Minnesota.  This eliminates a major component of rural economies and rural lifestyles without any relief because when, for instance, the moose are made rare or exterminated the wolves and cougars and bears shift to deer, cows, elk, sheep, fawns, caribou, bucks, does, remaining moose, kids (human) and other fallback food sources like garbage cans and dogs (when not in heat) to both maintain and increase their numbers. They then maintain and increase their numbers and their ancillary effects on man, the economy and “the environment” proliferate accordingly.

You should beware of anyone concluding that any of this is the result of too little management of wildlife.  In fact, the opposite is true.  Worldwide, wildlife has been bombarded with “more” management with more hidden agendas and government abuse being steered by private and anonymous organizations and wealthy donors, than at any time in human history.

The last hundred years have seen wildlife management on a Power “Escalator” throughout the world. Beginning in the 1960’s, Local communities saw their ability to control  their “ecosystem” for their own benefit no longer protected by State, Provincial or national (in Europe) governments.  Increasingly central governments, government alliances and international authorities began to assume all authority and jurisdiction over all subsidiary jurisdictions and communities below them. State, Provincial, and other secondary (to national) government political authorities submitted to this takeover with a promise of central government funding and a “holistic” approach to a worldwide “ecosystem” in which all species were treated “equally” in a one-world governmental approach.  Not mentioned was the inarguable opposition these emerging superpowers had toward the use and management of renewable natural resources such as forestry, grazing and hunting that they were simultaneously assuming.  For instance, as forcibly-imposed Large Predators populations were being justified as “necessary” and “harmless”; the accumulation of fire-fuel for catastrophic forest fires and the closure of access to public lands to create a “native ecosystem” of “wilderness” was dismissed as  a “natural” “wilderness”-type habitat so imagined by urban voters, rich radical organizations, wealthy individuals, lobbyists and politicians influenced by votes and contributions.

In the 1960’s, in the US and elsewhere, national governments began seizing the authority and jurisdiction over wildlife held by State, Provincial and secondary national political entities.  They did this not only because they and their new laws said they could but, more importantly, they did this to curry favor with an emerging (in Western Nations) faction of radical organizations that wanted to “save” wildlife, forests and grasslands; to stop the “killing” (i.e. hunting and eating) of animals; to do away with guns and gun usage worldwide; to make rural precincts little more than central-government-controlled nature areas with minimal and strictly dictated human occupancy and activity.  The “mother’s milk” for all this was money-making environmental organizations contributing money and votes to agreeable politicians as the public began to be propagandized through the schools and the media. For instance, “studies” popped up everywhere that “proved” grazing should be eliminated, tree-cutting was immoral; livestock should be banned, meat eating “destroyed the environment”, animal ownership was akin to slavery, former concepts of property and freedom must be replaced; and – of interest to us – predators don’t limit other wildlife and animals, and no matter their offense or impacts predators should not be hurt because, like so many social theories extant today, the offending animal is the “real” victim and the human or property or community that suffered is the “real” perpetrator and must either change or be forced to change what he, she or it did (if still alive) to cause the incident.

By 1970, the radical agendas and (now) wealthy and influential organizations had enlisted many “scientists”, wealthy supporters, and an assortment of fellow travelers in the broad “environmental”/animal “rights” movement. Hidden agendas emerged in an explosion of new wildlife laws that were ultimately anti-gun, anti-tradition, and anti-Lower-Level-government movements identifying themselves with the wildlife concepts of “Native” Species and “Native” Ecosystems as morally imperative and the animals = human philosophy began ascending throughout Western civilization.  The combined monetary and political clout with the many hidden agendas outgrew the ability of national governments to speedily fulfill their dreams so they lobbied and even bribed many national representatives to the United Nations to offer Conventions and Treaties (not in the US sense of a Treaty being Ratified by the Senate and signed by the President but in the sense of a sort of “high-end” International Agreement between any signatory nation and anywhere from a few to over a hundred countries, some that no more intended to or were capable of enforcing them to others like the US that jails, fines, demeans and takes rights away for lifetimes to enforce them.  Some national governments like Kenya were bribed to be used as misleading propaganda of how untouched predator and prey populations would self-regulate satisfactorily in settled landscapes without human intervention. 

Thus was born, to the great enthusiasm of UN advocates, the road from the UN as arbiter of international disputes (to avoid wars), to the UN as the up and coming “World Government” so loved by the organizations and agendas calved by the successful wildlife power take-over.  Treaties and Conventions sprouted like poppies after a rain.  Suddenly the UN (and its biggest supporter, the US government) was protecting (i.e. “saving” as in no use) “Endangered Species”, Marine Mammals, High Seas Fisheries, Polar Bears, Birds “in Danger”, Whales, “Nature Protection, the “Human Environment”, and Heritage Areas et al.  Nations, like the US, followed the lead and passed laws setting aside land areas, proposing wildlife “corridors” (to be expanded later), claims to “all waters”, rules to block pipelines and destroy dams, claims to disgorge the National Treasury of billions to manage the fish and non-game resources in states and to employ scientists and bureaucrats to justify their new rules using draconian measures and punishments. 

This period (1970’s & 80’s) was to the environmental enthusiasts, their lawyers and cooperating bureaucrats and scientists like what the wolves must have felt like when released on Isle Royale island in Lake Superior amidst a dense moose herd that they must have thought (which they are incapable of but humor me) would last forever.  Somewhat, also, like the circumstances the first U-Boat commanders encountered in unprotected US coastal waters at the beginning of WWII that caused them to call them “The Happy Time”. All three such periods made their human perpetrators giddy with what they imagined would last forever.  It wasn’t the wolves’ new home, or the new laws protecting animals, or the shipping destruction of the U-Boats: it was unfettered POWER they expected to grow over more and more things.  One of those things was centralized regulatory Power over rural people and rural communities. There was no better social weapon up to that point to subdue rural people than protecting the predators and making wildlife and livestock and dogs merely governmental items allowed only if the government needed anything from rural people, otherwise the “protection of predators”, the existence of any use of any renewable natural resource, and the very fate of rural people and rural economies was to be a political fantasy plaything for urban voters.

All of which has brought us here, today in Cranbrook, British Columbia.  Like thousands of Europeans living with and struggling with wolves; millions of Americans perplexed about the wolf dilemma foisted on them; and Canadians asking, “why must we endure all these Large Predators”,  “what recourse have we?” and “how can we restore robust Big Game populations and Big Game Hunting?”: we are in search of a workable soulution.

The Problem common to all is too many conflicting agendas controlling too many government (UN, Brussels, Ottawa, Washington, Provincial, State, European capitals) powers, while employing manufactured science, half-truths and all too-willing politicians doing their bidding for money and votes.

The common justification for attaining or preserving a “balanced” or “natural” ecosystem is a chimera in this modern world of massive transportation; comprehensive development; and the worldwide spread of plants, animals and dangerous diseases and infections.  “Balance” lies in the eye of the beholder, and “natural” is a human construct be it uncontrolled wolves in Asia due to government neglect and citizen powerlessness or American, Canadian and European government faux “feelings” for predators and use of jail and fines to enforce intolerable conditions on Local communities with little political power in order to please urban supporters.  In fact “Too Much Management” leads to “No Management” because the underlying agenda(s) are not “scientific” but social constructs and impositions, all on different timetables as a result of diverse political powers.

The question then becomes, “How do you get around or manage all these political constructs to achieve a tolerable Local ecosystem in its broadest sense?”  The immediate subject before us is: 1.) How can we reduce Large Predator densities to levels that allow Big Game numbers to recover to levels desired by those living with them; and 2.) How can we maintain levels of prey and predators into the future for the benefit of Local communities recognizing the innate and laudable human concern to maintain both human and wild communities.  At no time in the history of the world was the challenge greater or the ability of modern society to solve it more available.  It is ironic that simultaneously, world governments and an abundance of hidden agendas have never been more determined and powerful to make wildlife merely a pawn in their struggle to dominate and control all persons, everywhere.

It is with this in mind that I have formulated a rationale and solution for your consideration.

Three States

I would like to tell you about three States in the United States; two have no wolves and one is the only one of the Lower 48 States that had a persistent wolf population when, in the 1970’s, the US federal government declared The Lower 48 States as the object of restoring wolves by the federal government that would release and protect them at all costs.  Why they were so designated when they were and still are ubiquitous throughout the Northern Hemisphere, I leave to your imagination but it is a fair subject for another examination.

South Dakota (Cougars)

When I retired to Minnesota in 2008, there was a controversy in South Dakota about an exploding cougar population.  Between wandering cougars from Montana and Wyoming, plus four large Indian Reservations and a major National Park (where hunting and control were problematic at best), plus a high cougar birthrate in an environment without competition and lots of food; combined with a State Wildlife Agency (like nearly every modern such agency) manned by wildlife “savers” and protectors that despise predator control; the cattle ranchers, residents and hunters.  Ranchers “West of The (i.e. Missouri) River” were being opposed at every turn by the wildlife agency opposed to “control” and “reduction” of the expanding cougar population that was creating a growing depredation problem.

The modern bureaucrats objected because cougars were, they said, only “returning Native species” and they were “Keystone” species that were “necessary” for a “balanced” ecosystem.  In short the ranchers were told to go away and leave it to the “professionals”.

I was invited to speak about this at a Conference sponsored by the ranchers in Rapid City. I told them it wasn’t a biology problem; it was a political problem.  Either they must control their bureaucrats and government or somebody else would and at that point the state bureaucrats were agents of radical agendas disguised as “science” and the good of the current precious species du jour.

The ranchers eventually exercised raw power in the South Dakota legislature and with the Governor who directed a reluctant agency to issue X number of permits annually to take cougars “West of the River”.  A couple of years went by and when it was clear that they were not reducing the cougar population to THE LEVELS AND IMPACTS DEEMED TOLERABLE TO THE “LOCAL” (I.E. WEST OF THE RIVER) COMMUNITIES, they requested an increase in permits and were rebuffed again so they went back to the legislature and both increased the number of permits available and established a system wherein ranchers can request so many permits for their ranch and then cat hunters pay the state for the permit and get it from the ranch they hunt.  The increase was necessary because overcoming the refuge-like-status on Indian Reservations and two Large National Parks, that were reservoirs and breeding locations for the cats, called for innovations, increased take authority and raw political power.

*Today the cougars and the ranchers are maintaining themselves harmoniously, so far as I know.

Minnesota (Wolves)

I am no fan of modern Minnesota wildlife management.  About 6 or 7 years ago on a farm in SW Minnesota in winter when there is nothing but a few farmsteads and a town or two for miles and miles in an endless ocean of fall-plowed (i.e. barren) soil; one of those (young male) South Dakota cougars ran into a culvert on the road into a Minnesota farmer’s home.  He saw it and in addition to his several children, he had some horses and probably the last time anyone had seen a cougar in that part of Minnesota was when William Howard Taft (1909 -1913) was in the White House.  So, not taking any chances with his horses or his kids he shot the cougar and called the State wildlife agency.

He was treated like John Dillinger.  The urban majority screamed and the papers dutifully called for the maximum penalty.  Professors warbled for weeks about the importance of “Native Species” and urban walkers in the Twin Cities began relating their joy at sightings of cougars in urban River Bottoms crisscrossed with asphalt walkways.  It was a disgraceful circus and somehow the farmer got off with a stiff fine, suspended jail time and a warning that if he ever violated these new laws protecting everything again he would be locked up and the key thrown away.

Today, Minnesota’s once-excellent walleye fishing is declining mainly due to uncontrolled Indian netting in all of the top walleye lakes.  The walleyes are sold to dealers in a quasi-legal “traditional” native take/commercial manner after a court refused to prosecute involved natives and then was forced to drop their case against non-native co-perpetrators.

When a young Minnesota camper was sleeping just outside his tent in a federal campground one summer night a wolf grabbed him by the head and then was scared off.  Our erstwhile state wildlife bureaucrats claimed to have then killed that particular wolf and that an autopsy revealed that – are you ready for this – the wolf only attacked him because it had a “deformed brain”.  No other controls or precautions were taken.  Similar nonsense was used when two elderly ladies disappeared in an Idaho National Park and their bodies found far apart and reportedly chewed up by wolves.  On the Upper Peninsula of Michigan an elderly Wisconsin lady disappeared about 5 years ago behind her cabin one night and was found the next morning in pieces: no investigation was conducted, the bodies removed, autopsies were made remotely, results were sealed, and no one involved ever offered any explanation.  Quicker than you can say “Jack Robin”, everyone forgot.

About 4 years ago when a radio-collared wolf was shot on a Minnesota Indian Reservation, the federal and state officers descended to “recover the collar” and find the “killer”.  It turned out the killer was an Indian teenager, HHMMM!  The young man was not prosecuted.  If you or I had “vaccinated” that wolf we would have lost a lot of money and probably be hoping right now to see our family on Visiting Day next month.

That is Minnesota today; but it is revealing to wonder why Minnesota was the only one of The Lower 48 States to have an established resident wolf population when the federal government declared wolves “Endangered” in The Lower 48 States almost 50 years ago.  It is a story worth knowing when an urban relative or some young person home from college begins hyperventilating about how any wolf controls or any discussion of tolerable wolf population levels are as unacceptable as killing wolves “for sport” or with traps or from airplanes, etc. etc.

When Minnesota was first seen by European settlers bent on farming, logging, exploring and mining; wolves occurred statewide but sparsely in the Southern hills with wooded wetlands and stream edges or on the prairies in the western edges of the State.  The majority of wolves were in the Northern 1/3 of the state where thick woods, lakes and abundant Big Game animals supported a robust wolf population.  This area was and remains contiguous with the extensive woodlands bogs, muskeg and lakes of even more sparsely settled Eastern Ontario.  In fact they remain one big wolf habitat up to the waters of Hudson Bay.

By the early 1900’s Big Game (moose, caribou and deer) were getting harder to find in Minnesota.  One must assume that wolves (that were pretty much shot on sight or for their fur in those days of no regulation) were also not finding as much unprotected food or Big Game anymore and were similarly in decline.  State Game Laws were enacted through the early years of the 20th century to protect animals that were hunted or trapped in order to ensure their survival in perpetuity. Minnesota wolves were gradually protected and for many decades there was a season that was longer than Big Game Seasons but always overlapped Big Game hunting so that Big Game hunters killed wolves when they saw them in that thick Northern forest.  Additionally, wolves were known to cause problems like livestock depredation, reduce moose and other Big Game, and hang around homes and towns in the winter where human safety and dog safety were problems. Thus killing a wolf in a pasture or attacking your dog outside the “season” was either ignored or legitimized by broadly-written regulations and understanding Local law enforcement officers.  Up until the 1970’s and going back thousands of years, rural people understood that the more wolves in any neighborhood, meant more killed and eaten (by wolves) game animals, cows, calves, sheep, and lambs.  This, in turn meant less meat available for human consumption.  So the Minnesota wolf take seemed to be OK locally since they could kill dangerous or offending animals annually and when hunting.  What local communities in wolf country wanted and what “their” State provided in those days was a tolerable wolf presence and available moose hunting (that was closed recently due to too few moose coincidental with total wolf protection). Today the State ignores the local communities needs, caters to the federal government who caters to and supports UN meddling in wildlife, guns and other things while promising, dishonestly, what was already here in Minnesota.  The result roday is too many wolves, no more moose hunting, dead dogs, large cattle and sheep depredations, increased rural stress and rural economic stagnation.

Between Ontario wolves historically expanding into Minnesota and thick, wet forests that made Minnesota wolves less vulnerable to mounted hunters and technology like scopes, more accurate ammunition, and binoculars that enabled residents of other Lower 48 wolf states to exterminate wolves over the past century; wolves and men co-existed.  For over half a century a hit-or-miss control of Minnesota wolf harvests and depredation minimization kept wolves at levels tolerable to Local people and maintained a modest wolf population, something all the government programs claim to want but never seem to define oraccomplish.  It is a paradox of modern society that all these “save” this and that critter, when successful, transform the object of government might (like resident Canada geese and “Free-Roaming” buffalo) from “icons” into dangerous and infectious pests wherever they live.  Today wolves are very numerous pests that have eliminated moose hunting, kill high numbers of livestock, hybridize dogs and are hybridized by dogs, and make hunting with a dog (grouse, ducks) a dangerous affair for dogs and hunter.

Yet, the lesson from the first 2/3 of the last century wherein Local and loosely controlled harvests maintained a wolf population tolerable to Locals and a source of pride and awe to urban dwellers; is forgotten, ignored and dismissed as “cruel” and not “scientific”.

* In truth it (pre-ESA wolf management in Minnesota) was good for the Local communities, good for Big Game and Big Game hunting, good for livestock, and good for the rural Minnesota economy.

Virginia (Deer)

I was a Virginian for over 30 years of my long life.  When I first went deer hunting there I was stunned and perplexed by the apparent blizzard of deer hunting regulations.  The last thing I wanted as a wildlife worker was to get caught shooting or transporting an illegal deer.

I have copies of the current regulations here for anyone wanting to see them after the talk.  The length of seasons, the numbers and kinds of deer allowed, the guns allowed or prohibited, the use of dogs, the ammunition allowed were apparently set by the Counties and enforced by the State.  Once I caught on, I was amazed at how efficiently for both hunters and deer, the system worked.

Western Virginia (mostly wooded hills, valleys and less dense deer populations had more similar seasons, harvest periods, rifle areas, bag limits, and no deer hunting with dogs.  N to S Central Virginia had more differences between Counties in guns (rifles, black powder, balls, shot, slugs; seasons, bag limits on certain days, and make-up of the bag (young bucks, does, and on certain days) and hunting with dogs was more common..  Eastern Virginia with its thick forests, wetlands and farms had the most variety and changed the most regarding dogs, guns, ammunition, season lengths, and bag limits. Regulations could be adjusted annually as  more homes were built or crop damage increased or the majority of hunters in the County wanted to shift from all the venison they could get to bigger bucks or shorter seasons or only certain days of the week. NOTE to readers – it worked.  Deer numbers persisted, farm damage was minimized, Local deer herds were managed for big bucks or lots of deer or were reduced or grown in ac cord with the wishes of the Local Counties (i.e. communities).  Counties where wealthy government retirees were building retirement homes shifted to buckshot or eliminated dog packs for hunting. Other Counties that were growing more soybeans were pressured (by residents) to reduce the deer herd.  

One morning at O400 I stopped at a Burger King on the Eastern Shore of Virginia with two friends for breakfast.  We were hunting snow geese and ducks in picked cornfields and had to set out several hundred decoys by a half hour before sunrise. Three pickups with North Carolina plates pulled in with six guys in camouflage and dog kennels in the back of their trucks.  When I asked them what they were doing, they smiled and said a Local farmer was paying them to run their dogs in his woodlands and reduce the number of deer there to reduce the damage to his crops from too many deer that even the Local hunters were unable to reduce.  The farmer had gotten a handful of permits for them to cover just about any deer they could kill.  This was truly wildlife management by Local residents for the good of both wildlife and people. Had this option not been available, how soon would it be before Local residents would have taken action to kill all the deer; or have stopped agriculture and agriculture business had disappeared?  How soon before another section of the US would have been a dark shadow on a nighttime satellite photo like Venezuela or North Korea?

*The last I heard the rural folks of Virginia and their deer were doing just fine!

The Solution

If these three examples tell us anything; it is that wildlife management has become a human political constructregulating wildlife primarily on behalf of political and conflicting agendas.  This is done by governments that “manage” wildlife 1) on behalf of Local communities (i.e. Virginia & deer); 2) in response to political pressure (i.e. South Dakota and Cougars); or 3) whichever way the political winds are blowing (i.e. Minnesota’ successful historic approach to wolves before the federal seizure of States Rights over wolves and then its Quisling-like cooperation with federal overseers excusing the wolf debacle that has evolved from that fateful moment.  Conclusion; he that controls the government authority over wildlife, controls rural people.

I suggest an approach that leads to returning control of certain resident wildlife (not migratory birds covered by Treaties or fish or marine mammals covered by international agreements et al) to Local governments under the umbrella of Provincial, State or National governments. “Control” and management, meaning the setting of hunting and trapping seasons; the setting of annual bag or season limits; the methods of taking wildlife; and the conditions under which depredations and human safety are to be avoided and how handled when they occur.  For instance, reducing the numbers and densities of certain Large Predators for a certain period to encourage population increases in prey species like ungulates that provide meat and sport plus sightings for tourist appeal; and then maintaining sustainable populations of both for the foreseeable future by providing regulations that maintain a reasonable balance between predators and prey AS DESIRED AND DETERMINED BY LOCAL RESIDENTS.

This means that States, Provinces and National governments make available the authority over harvest and control of certain wildlife to Local jurisdictions that choose to exercise it.  This would be the Counties (in the US and certain Canadian Provinces) and Districts, Counties, or Regional governments in parts of Canada and the National Sub-units like “States” within the Nations of the European Union. The degree to which First People or Native Americans and their land in North America might be included or otherwise treated in such an approach would vary by area and by Treaty provisions.  Other anomalies such as “Endangered” Declarations and UN “Mandates” would involve Local governments, hopefully, as full partners in deliberations with the State, Provincial and National governments as Local governments request to be heard.  In other words, State, Provincial and National governments in Europe would allow and implement the will of Local communities to live with, enjoy and utilize wildlife in harmony with all members and activities of those communities.  There is no better guarantor of the value and sustainability of wildlife than that those living with it value and enjoy it.  Wildlife is neither a religious requirement nor a toy to be tinkered with from afar by people and entities that neither respect nor show concern for the rural people their mandates affect.

When State, Provincial, Federal or International experts like bureaucrats, “scientists” and environmental ideologues protest that the Local people, i.e. you that are “uneducated” in the subtle nuances of “ecosystems” remember the words of one of my favorite philosophers G. K. Chesterton.  He once wrote in the New Witness, “Without education, we are in grave danger of taking the educated seriously.”  Taking too much nonsense seriously has helped get us into this mess we are in today.

How It Would Work

In the US, Counties are the Local governments that oversee all of the land and represents the Local communities within the State. There are only a few exceptions like a handful of federal enclaves such as defense installations and one or two National Parks that were set aside before statehood and therefore are outside State and County government wildlife authority.  All the rest of the land area’s resident wildlife that are hunted, trapped or that cause certain kinds of depredations and trouble for humans comes under State wildlife management authority.  County or District management of certain wildlife programs in their County, like deer in Virginia works like certain necessary weed control under County authority, works.  County or Local governments can and should notify landowners when weeds must be controlled and if they refuse to act, the County simply hires a contractor to control the weeds and then bills the landowner and if they do not pay the County, a lien is placed on the property and the owner goes into court to pay the bill, plus court costs and a fine.  Similarly Counties could direct predator control on private properties where owners intend to make predator “refuges” while respecting Native Treaty Land and central government enclaves like South Dakota ranchers and hunters did.  Local insights and the protection of their desires by the State or Provincial governments can and has preserved Predators (like the wolves of Minnesota pre-Endangered Species Act) and Prey (like Minnesota moose hunting, until protected and more numerous wolves decimated the moose herd while the State and federal government wildlife agencies looked away, “scientists” and radicals told Mother Goose stories about what was happening, and the anti-hunting crowd cheered).

Rural people of any State could band together politically and enlist suburban and urban support where possible to pass State legislation that regarding all resident and non-resident hunting and trapping seasons, limits, annual limits, methods of take, justified circumstances for preventing depredations, protecting property or avoiding human danger within the Local jurisdiction shall be established by the lead elected official in each County wishing to exercise that option.  This is done by having the top elected official submit to the Wildlife Agency Director, the new regulations by a certain date like 3 months before state regulations are published and distributed in writing for the upcoming year.  If the proposed wildlife management regime is not received by the State Wildlife Director by say, March 1, it shall be established that the State agency will set and promulgate the wildlife management regime for that County for the upcoming year. The State government shall enforce and promulgate the wildlife regime of each County equally.

Bargaining this approach into reality might only call for Counties to have such power over say; wolves, cougars, coyotes, moose, elk, caribou and deer.  Leaving the birds like grouse, the management-sensitive trophy animals like mountain sheep, and the rabbits to State authority.

It might involve explaining to urban cousins how now they can finally establish their own wildlife ecosystem where bears, wolves and cougars can live with and “control” the moose, elk and deer in their urban or suburban areas as one big ecosystem.

A Referendum may be a more appropriate path to establishing such a system.  Simply demonstrating how an overwhelming majority of committed rural voting precincts vote for it may itself be worth trying and as on official display of the confidence and satisfaction among rural people with the status quo.  Lobbying suburban, urban and certain distinct groups could make a victory surprisingly likely.

State or Provincial wildlife agencies would remain at current levels but would recognize their new responsibility and role to nurture, protect and cooperate with their new partners (rural jurisdictions) within their purview by enforcing, attaining and protecting the wildlife presence and mix desired by the Local communities.

Local governments should not see an increased workload or the need for money.  If the way things are going is satisfactory to any rural County (or other appropriate Sun-Unit) simply let the State or Province continue to do as they are doing.  Whether you call it a “delegation” of authority or a “transfer” of certain powers or some other term appropriate to your situation, the result should be the same. If Local constituents are clamoring for change as to predators or prey presence, or the level of livestock and dog losses to predators, or there has been an attack or fear of an attack in the community and therefore wishes to reduce certain population levels of certain species:

1.    Let the concerned citizens meet and recommend what they want the wildlife regulations to look like.

2.    Listen to and encourage innovation (thinking “outside the box” about remedies) that might even spur business, the economy of the County, or even concoct methods of management heretofore untried or unknown.

3.    If there are concerns in your County, you will not have any trouble finding volunteers eager to write up suggestions, draft regulations and submissions or serve as contacts with State or Provincial wildlife employees.

4.    It is important that the lead County official is an Elected official, because if he won’t stand up when needed, you can replace him at the next election, as opposed some appointed and therefore unelected bureaucrat answerable to others but not some wildlife “expert” that believes he knows what’s best for the voters in the subject Local jurisdiction,

5.    If Districts (or Counties) are small, consider an informal arrangement with or amongst them where concerned rural residents agree on a common regulatory approach to shared issues that is simply copied and signed and submitted by the elected official in each unit of the compact.

6.    Considering the “buggered up” current state of wildlife “management”, recognizing things to be avoided and things that will likely work have been amply demonstrated.  Bold strokes like reducing predator densities for a period of years to encourage an ungulate increase and then maintaining the desired balance between the two in accord with Local wishes is possible.  The days of far-off “experts” and urban organizations telling you what you cannot do or what you must do would be minimized.  Only you know what wildlife costs and benefits fit your communities.

Wildlife management for desired human ends is not rocket science, especially after watching and comparing the swirl of agendas and catastrophes of the past century.  Unless you can regain authority over these matters you will continue to see rural precincts continue to decline in many ways as far-off politicians, bureaucrats, faux “scientists” and wealthy radical organizations impose all manner of agendas and requirements on you from afar through their hold on the oversight and management of the wild animals in YOUR midst.

Substitute “Province” for “State” (in Canada); and “National Government” for “State” in Europe.  Where Counties do not exist; substitute “District” or “Regional” or newly contrived units where appropriate or needed.  Where neither appropriate County, District, or Regional elected entities exist; consider establishing several to a dozen wildlife and habitat sections of the total area and having an appropriate elected Local official in one fulfill a collateral duty as the person named in the authorizing or establishing legislation devolving all or certain wildlife management to the lowest level where the decisions and the impacts serve the desires and need of those directly affected.

It should be clear to everyone by now that wildlife management and sustainable use is basically people management.  If rural people desire to take back control of the wildlife they live with, they must first retrieve the authority over setting the parameters governing the interface between the rural people and wildlife.  What I am suggesting is the only way I can see a possibility of doing that.

Thank you for listening and giving me the opportunity to make a suggestion that took me over twenty years to understand.  I am available for any questions either here or online.  I invite you to see the regulations for Virginia deer management I have with me and I have left a copy of this talk for copies and I have business cards with my email address for those that might like to receive a copy of this talk.

Jim Beers

Given @ the Cranbrook, British Columbia Big Game Symposium

13 April 2019

If you found this worthwhile, please share it with others.  Thanks.

Jim Beers is a retired US Fish & Wildlife Service Wildlife Biologist, Special Agent, Refuge Manager, Wetlands Biologist, and Congressional Fellow. He was stationed in North Dakota, Minnesota, Nebraska, New York City, and Washington DC.  He also served as a US Navy Line Officer in the western Pacific and on Adak, Alaska in the Aleutian Islands.  He has worked for the Utah Fish & Game, Minneapolis Police Department, and as a Security Supervisor in Washington, DC.  He testified three times before Congress; twice regarding the theft by the US Fish & Wildlife Service of $45 to 60 Million from State fish and wildlife funds and once in opposition to expanding Federal Invasive Species authority.  He resides in Eagan, Minnesota with his wife of many decades.

Jim Beers is available to speak or for consulting.

You can receive future articles by sending a request with your e-mail address to:   jimbeers7@comcast.net

If you no longer wish to receive these articles notify:  jimbeers7@comcast.net

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Advice and Suggestions to the Maine Department of Fish and Wildlife

A reader sent me a copy of the Maine Sportsman, specifically George Smith’s article about his “advise” to the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW). After reading it, I thought perhaps I would offer something similar. Sometimes I am accused of being only critical of the MDIFW seldom offering constructive criticism or even suggestions on better or different ways in which to do things.

Smith writes of the need to “unlock that door” that prohibits visitors access to the commissioner of the MDFIW. I understand the concept and how convenient it would be to just “drop in” someday and chat with the commissioner. I would like to think that the real situation playing at the offices of the MDIFW has more to do with security than a want to lock themselves up and separate them from the public. I might be wrong. We do live in a strange time in which most people are always aware and subjected to enhanced security measures.

TURKEYS

George writes about what he would do about turkey management and the role that hunting plays in that management. For the most part I think he brings up some good points, i.e. too many turkeys, too few hunters, and the barrier of license fees that prohibit more people from trying or getting involved in turkey hunting and harvesting a turkey that would aide the MDIFW with their management goals.

Originally, I had thought that Smith’s idea of including turkey hunting as part of a Big Game Hunting License wouldn’t fly because the MDIFW would not be willing to give up that revenue from turkey license fees. Is there a trade-off here? Will somehow opening up the turkey season to reduced cost (and loss of fees to MDIFW) be made up in other ways? Perhaps.

I think that consensus must be reached as to whether there are too many turkeys and how critical it is that turkey populations be reduced. If, more people gained interest in turkey hunting, perhaps down the road, as populations came more in line with management goals, turkey license fees could be levied again. If a reduction in the number of turkeys is urgently needed, and I think if we haven’t gotten there yet we soon will, then the MDIFW must do what is expedient to make the reductions in numbers necessary to be responsible for the healthy management of these game birds.

FISHERIES

Fisheries is far from my strong point and knowledge base. I am not at all that qualified to offer the MDIFW advice on how to specifically manage the fisheries in the State of Maine. How fortunate for some.

MOOSE

Odd isn’t it, in many ways, that some are opposed to the reduction of moose populations to mitigate the winter ticks’ destruction of the moose herd but think nothing about advocating the complete destruction of a herd of deer to get rid of Lyme disease. Perhaps if more evidence pointed a finger at the health risk to humans from the winter tick, mindsets might change.

I have written extensively on Maine’s moose and what I believe to be the need to bring the moose population in Maine to levels that seriously reduce the presence and perpetuation of winter ticks that are inhumanely and unnecessarily causing moose to suffer and die during long and cold winters.

Smith laments about the loss of businesses associated with moose watching now that Mother Nature took over where wildlife management failed. During the heyday of the overgrown moose populations, some scrambled and took advantage, as any good entrepreneur might do, looking for ways to exploit the abundant moose for profit. It might have been fun while it lasted but the lesson that should be learned here might be at what price do we exploit any wildlife animal for lucre? As grown adults we should see that having enough moose around that many got into the business of moose watching tours was but a flash in that pan. Time to move on. We have learned that attempting to grow moose in numbers for capitalistic enterprises is a terrible thing to do to the animal – part of the downside of attempting to manage any species while being driven by social demands.

More recent studies are suggesting what some of us knew a long time ago – that too many moose was the cause of the aggressive expanse of winter ticks resulting in high mortality rates on the large beast.

The MDIFW should move quickly to determine at what population Maine’s moose will be most healthy while still providing opportunities for Maine residents to harvest a moose and fill their freezers.

I suggest that the MDIFW, once establishing moose populations, based on sound science and not social demands, issue enough permits or a long enough season to bring the population under a control that reduces the tick infestation. Once that is accomplished, permit for the future can be issued accordingly. Letting Mother Nature do the job is not only irresponsible but is a waste of a terrific natural resource.

DEER

Smith tells readers that the MDIFW stopped managing deer in northern Maine and only “manages” moose. I don’t know if this is actually an official position taken by the MDIFW, but it appears there is at least quite a bit of evidence to support that statement.

Smith claims that because Maine failed to protect winter habitat in Northern and Western Maine, the deer herd “was lost.” I concur the deer herd was lost but I think it had other influences than just a loss of habitat. A lot of things have changed over the years, one thing being the behavior of the deer. While deer are learning how to adapt to that loss of winter habitat, we humans remain locked in our unadaptable behavior of insisting on things being the way they were when our fathers hunted the whitetails.

Each time I have listened to the worn out excuse that deer have disappeared because of loss of winter habitat, I have always asked why, if that is true, thousands of acres of old winter habitat, still in winter habitat condition, is void of deer? Never an answer.

Loss of winter habitat in the classical sense, can and does have an effect on the deer population. Attempting to somehow “manage” deer to return to unwanted winter habitat, is an example of managers failing to learn and adjust to changes of the deer population and their habits. When we see this failure, one can’t help but wonder how much we can rely on the deer managers “estimate” of deer populations and other management shortcomings.

We failed to learn quickly enough that attempting to manage moose populations at high enough levels that tourism benefitted, the moose herd suffered terribly due to exposure and anemia from blood sucking winter ticks. Deer populations are suffering but perhaps in different ways because the ecosystem in which they have traditionally comfortably inhabited have and are changing. The deer are adapting as best they can but our management tactics are not. Evidently the preference is to give up.

Too many moose compete with deer. Too many large predators kill deer and fawns and this is challenging the stability of the deer population and in some places we are witnessing the unsustainability of a deer herd. Are we to just blame it on loss of winter habitat and Climate Change or should we be responsible stewards of our wild game animals?

If we are to mitigate the cause for the lack of deer in portions of Northern and Western Maine, isn’t the responsible thing to do is to reduce the bear and coyote populations to give the deer a chance? If we simply stop deer management because loss of habitat and Climate Change is the excuse, what then can we expect of all of our game and wildlife species going forward?

Managers have a responsibility to care for all of these game species. Giving up on one species in certain areas, tells me that there is lack of knowledge and poor management skills involved. The epitome of wildlife management failures is giving in to some man’s fictitious notion that the globe is warming and the northern border of the whitetail deer’s habitat is moving south, while our neighbors to the north continue to work at managing their deer. If Climate Change is causing such chaos that is forcing the destruction of habitat for deer, then it makes sense that other more northern species are migrating south according to the changes. Is this happening? No. A warming climate, as claimed, should be reducing the affects of severe winters. Is that happening? No.

There’s little more that managers can do to stop the perceived reduction of winter habit and deer habitat in general short of demanding more totalitarian tactics to take property and property rights away from people and corporations. It’s easy, from afar, to stand in judgement over landowners, demanding they relinquish their rights as property owners in order to enhance the habitat of any wild animal. The tough part to deer management is maximizing what is left and working in earnest to make the best of what we have. Even if deer densities in Northern and Western Maine aren’t at ideal levels, is that reason enough to simply walk away and say, we tried?

There is no need to kill off all the coyotes/wolves in Maine or reduce bear populations to levels that give us more deer than are needed to balance a very valuable resource. All that is stopping this effort is the MDIFW’s insistence on caving to social demands. I suppose to them in the short term it is easier to cave in than to stand up to those demands supported by strong scientific evidence. And that may be the actual problem. Does the MDIFW have or want the strong scientific evidence?

BEAR

The MDIFW has a very good bear study program. Some claim that program is the envy of all other fish and wildlife departments. Only radical animal rights groups or individuals would argue that there are too many bear. The MDIFW publicly admits they need to reduce the bear population, but so far, have done little to solve that problem. Perhaps they are moving at a speed that only politics and social demands allow them. Time for change.

Having too many bears presents several problems – public safety and a disruption of population goals of other species such as deer and moose. Fortunately, bear hibernate, otherwise God only knows what kind of destruction they would wreak on weakened deer in deer wintering areas.

Some studies suggest that the presence of bear has more negative impact on deer than do coyotes/wolves. Maybe the current studies that the MDIFW are conducting on moose and deer will help us gain better understanding on this concept.

Regardless, it appears Maine must reduce bear populations. But how? One problem that jumps out immediately is the power of the guides and outfitters placing demands on the MDIFW to manage bears according to their wishes that would best maximize their business profits. While it is understandable that this is important to the private enterprises, should the MDIFW continue to allow increased public safety concerns and actual reductions in deer populations, and perhaps even moose, simply to appease these groups? Of course not, but when will the MDIFW move to do anything about it? Perhaps the time is now.

Like with turkey hunting, Maine needs to find easier and less expensive ways to encourage more hunters to take up the challenge. Hunters that have little interest in bear hunting might change their mind if hunting bear were part of a Big Game License all the time during open season on bear.

Bag limits should be raised. The late summer bear hunt should have a minimum of a two-bear limit – perhaps three in some areas. If that doesn’t do the trick, then a Spring bear hunt may be necessary. Regulations can be employed to mitigate the killing of cubs as has been proven in other places that have Spring bear hunts.

The MIDFW has done a respectable job of working to ward off the radical animal rights groups bent on closing down bear hunting. They should increase and improve this effort to include everything they do with wildlife management. Two bear referendums have proven that maintaining a passive posture and making management decisions based on social demands is not only irresponsible, but ridiculous, almost childish. If wildlife managers and their administration don’t have or believe the science necessary to responsibly managed their wildlife, they should be out of a job. There should be little room given to social demands when it comes to scientifically managing game.

OPERATIONS

There are certain aspects of running a fish and game department that should be within the control of the commissioner, who, of course, answers to the governor. Open and closed seasons should be within the control of the commissioner. That person, along with the managers and biologists in the department, are the ones who should know what is going on and what is needed, not the Humane Society of the United States, other animal rights groups, or even the Legislature. Such social and political powers spoil any scientific approach at wildlife management. It may take an act of the Legislature to effect such changes.

We live in a time where these powerful animal rights and environmentalists have gained control over our factories of higher indoctrination. The result of this is now showing up in our fish and game departments where the concerns are more about the “rights” of animals and away from a consumptive, use of a natural resources approach to wildlife management.

Scientifically, it has been proven that the North American Model of Wildlife Management works. Those opposed to this form of wildlife management know this and have been working tireless to “change the way wildlife management is discussed.” Along with this has come the social demands to place equal rights and protections on animals as are given to humans.

Outdoor advocates, hunters, trappers, fishermen, as well as all those who understand and believe in the necessity of consumptive use to best manage and control wildlife, should demand that the commissioner be more selective and demanding of those that are hired as biologists and wildlife managers. Candidates should be screened as to their idealism and positions on animal rights and hunting, fishing, and trapping. To responsibly utilize hunting and fishing as part of the overall plans for wildlife management, cannot have room for animal rights advocates or those opposed to this system.

Some have called for money from general taxation to support the MDIFW. It is my opinion this would be a very big mistake. First of all, before any MORE money is dumped in the lap of this department, a complete audit should be undertaken so that all will know exactly what every penny is spent on and where every penny comes from to run the department. If more money is needed, then that has to come from fee increases and not from general taxation. Here’s why.

With money sent to the MDIFW from general taxation, along with it will be demands from the general taxpayer for bigger representation. This opens the door even further for more infiltration by environmentalists who want to “change the way we discuss wildlife management.”

We have seen this already. Where once the MDIFW used to be the department of fish and game, other states have gotten rid of their fish and game names completely, replaced with departments of natural resources.

With a weakening of the managerial understanding and knowledge of how wildlife management should run, further expedites the dreaded end to responsible wildlife management, replaced by VooDoo Science and Romance Biology.

The only way the MDIFW can survive as a bonafide fish and game department is if it remains out of the control of Environmentalism.

The MDIFW does many things well. Some things they have little control over. Certainly there is room for improvement and if others, like me, realize that if we don’t do something to change those things that are sending us in the wrong direction and away from the North American Model of Wildlife Management, the good that we enjoy now will soon be lost. Let’s not let that happen.

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My Recommendations for the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife

George Smith, an outdoor writer, and environmentalist, provides his readers with a list of his recommendations for the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW). I can’t say I agree with everything he is suggesting. I’ll explain why.

Smith wants a better open door policy at the MDIFW main office. I agree although I don’t use it and probably never will. You can’t fix a rigged system by using the rigged system.

George says it’s time for MDIFW to do something about turkeys. He says there are too many, that the fees and permitting system needs to be changed, bag limits raised, in order to motivate more hunters to take up turkey hunting.

I’m not a turkey hunter. I’ve never tried it and doubt that I will for a number of reasons. I will, however, concur that there are too many turkeys. I’ve never seen as many wild turkeys as I have this late summer and fall.

It is a known fact that management and acceptance of any wild animal on the landscape are heavily influenced by acceptance and satisfaction from the general public. When such animals become a nuisance and a public health and safety issue, acceptance by the public disappears in a hurry. Maine is reaching that point where they are considering the turkey to be a nuisance. I agree something should be done to get those numbers under better control.

It is my strong opinion that Maine has too many moose. This has caused the overwhelming growth in winter ticks that are destroying the moose herd. Maine should have been keeping the moose population at lower, healthier levels than growing them to numbers great enough to appease the selfish desires of tourists and hunters.

Smith suggests a program of capturing and “spraying” moose to kill the ticks. This is about as feasible as trapping deer and planting birth control devices in them. It certainly appears to me that the biggest motivational factor in finding ways to kill the ticks other than reducing the population is completely selfish. Whining and carrying on because moose gawking businesses can’t make enough money unless they can see moose anytime and everywhere they want to is not only selfish but it’s irresponsible. MDIFW is irresponsible in their management goals of the moose to attempt to grow moose to numbers that satisfy the tourist industry.

Smith says that Lee Kantar, MDIFW’s moose biologist, said he, “…believes that eventually the population will be reduced to a level where ticks will not be such a problem.” Eventually? Is this going to happen when the ticks (Natural Regulation) have successfully brought the number of moose to levels it should be through years of suffering moose, or is MDIFW actively manipulating the moose hunt to bring numbers to tick-free desired levels?

Hypocrisy exists when Smith in one breath suggests that moose numbers should be protected by finding ways to “spray” moose to kill ticks, while in the next talks about how proud he was to help facilitate the slaughter of deer on one of Maine’s coastal islands. That doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. While killing the deer was in the name of putting a stop to Lyme disease, evidently, such a suggestion informs us that ignorance is abundant when it comes to winter ticks, moose, and disease.

Marketing Maine by the Maine government to draw in tourists, hunters, anglers, hikers, etc. is a waste of time and money. Many Maine residents, who aren’t the business owners trying to make a go of it, while calling upon the government to promote their businesses, don’t want more of these people coming to the state, all for the sake of collecting more money. Any business should be geared to do their own marketing and provide a product or service good enough that “if you build it they will come.” Why should I subsidize another’s business? Who is subsidizing me? This is nothing more than an exemplification of the socialist/totalitarian society we have become.

Once again, Smith extolls the need to fund MDIFW with general taxation dollars. He even says that MDIFW should be run by “groups representing hunters, anglers, conservationists, and environmentalists.” It doesn’t take much effort to see that in other states that have done this, their fish and game departments have gone to hell in a handbasket.

I don’t understand how anyone of sound mind can encourage the operation of the fish and game department by those “conservationists and environmentalists” who have cost us millions of dollars over the years attempting to put a stop to hunting and trapping. Isn’t this a form of insanity?

The MDIFW has become overrun with “conservationists and environmentalists” and that’s one of the biggest reasons large predators have grown out of control and deer populations are shrinking to a point they’ve decided not to even bother attempting to manage deer in those areas that have lost all their deer.

Environmentalism is a planned mental illness that operates on the false pretense that “Natural Regulation” (which is an oxymoron) works better than a hands-on approach. Turning the reins of MDIFW over to the environmentalists and animal rights radicals, which is what you’ll get once the leverage of how the MDIFW is funded, is the nail in the proverbial coffin.

It might be of great interest if some who promote general taxation monies to fund the MDIFW would expend a little effort and look into what has become of other state’s fish and game departments when they lost control, turned their work over to Environmentalism and renamed their departments, departments of conservation and environment.

Granted the MDIFW needs some changes, but not in the wrong direction. Moving it more toward the demands of Environmentalism isn’t a cure unless death is what you are seeking.

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And Speaking of Animal Crackers…

In a recent column of tripe and gobble-de-goop published in the Kennebec Journal, the whining and perpetual bitching of the author about the need to protect and grow all wildlife at the demise of the hunting and fishing industry which is a time-proven tool to more easily manage and control animal growth and public safety, the author makes the following complaint:

“The vast majority of us who are not consumptive users, but who still pay taxes, are at best disregarded and ignored.”

Evidently, the author hasn’t figured out after all these years that the biggest reason he and others of his breed are “disregarded and ignored” is because they are totally nuts – animal crackers!

 

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Maine’s New Big Game Management Plan Stained With Environmentalism

*Editor’s Note* – When I ended my work on this article last evening, unfinished and unedited, I didn’t realize that I unintentionally hit the “publish” button instead of the “save draft” button. For some readers, you may have gotten a look at the unfinished work with lots of errors in it. I apologize for this mistake.

Maine wildlife authorities have concluded the Draft copy of a new 15-year big game management plan. The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) likes to call the plan the 10-plan – that’s because it’s about 5 years late in coming.

Regardless, for those willing for some honest examination of the Draft Plan, can see that it is smeared with acts of Environmentalism, Romance Biology, Voodoo Science, and Scientism.

Pharmacies and doctors have seen windfall profits from the fear-mongering over Lyme disease. We’re all gonna die, ya know! And along with this preprogrammed effort to scare the hell out of anyone thinking about going outdoors, we see the call from “society” (social, socialism, communism) to reduce the deer population to save the planet. Never lose sight of the fact WE’RE ALL GONNA DIE from Lyme disease or some other manufactured “weapon of mass mental destruction.” Doing so would really upset the Global Power Structure’s plans.

Because MDIFW has taken up the cross to manage big game for healthy populations, spending less effort on anything that might reveal or expose lack of accountability, we now have to even further reduce the deer population below the dismal levels that already exist. (Note: Once again we see another firm case of the overwhelming need to KNOW deer populations in order to manage them responsibly.)

Must Lyme disease be a new disease? Oh, wait! According to some (wink-wink) Lyme disease was “discovered” (deserves another wink-wink) about 40-years ago. Others (get ready for it) say “new discoveries” (quadruple wink-winks until at least the cows have all come home) indicate that Lyme disease has been around for “15-million years.”

During a period of time of nearly 20-25 years ago, Maine wildlife biologists were estimating the deer population in excess of 300,000 and the deer management plan in place at that time stated the statewide goal was to maintain an “over-wintering” population of about 310,000.

In MDIFW’s wildest dreams, they estimate today deer population of around 200,000 animals. However, it appears that harvest rates of modern times don’t match with those of 15 years ago or longer. In other words, the number of deer harvested of late does not necessarily equate to 200,000 deer. Something less than that.

Regardless, 40 years ago, when Lyme disease was “discovered,” where was Lyme disease? Where was Lyme disease when Maine’s deer population spiked to well over 300,000? I know, I know. You’re all going to say that better diagnoses today detect the disease. Is that really an honest answer?

So why is the deer being blamed? It’s not the source of Lyme disease. It only is a blood host for the Lyme/deer tick. Why aren’t we expending necessary effort to go to the source of the disease and instead, picking on deer and determining to kill off whatever number of deer it takes to reduce Lyme disease (oh, why not! Wink-Wink) (Note: It is the aim of Environmentalism and/or animal rights perverts to end hunting. Going after the source of Lyme disease is not conducive to ending hunting, but if they can successfully reduce the deer populations to levels below the need for surplus harvest, they will have achieved their goal. You should also know that these groups couldn’t care less about your risk of contracting Lyme or any other disease.)

Ironically, or something, those Environmentalists who say we’re all gonna die because deer spread Lyme disease, will be the first in front of the microphones and television cameras demanding that all hunting must stop in order to protect a man-caused fragile deer population…while the cases of Lyme disease continue to flourish…because of better diagnostic techniques? (yes, yes! Wink-Wink)

Environmentalism = Scientism, Romance Biology, Voodoo Science, man sucks, and we’re all gonna die!

Also in this latest charade of big game management mockery (as demanded by the Legislature), once again we hear the woes of the failure of deer management.

A few years ago, a group of “stakeholders” and interested “volunteers” comprised a quasi-vigilante-style onslaught defined as an effort to address deer management issues in Maine. I wonder what they would have done through all those meetings if “Climate Change” didn’t exist or their bred-in instincts at totalitarian authority to steal away landowner rights didn’t give them subject matter?

During those meetings, the discussion eventually came around to suggesting that deer management in northern, western, and eastern Maine be essentially abandoned because the MDIFW cannot find ways to grow deer. That’s called GIVING UP! There are just too many excuses why it can’t be done. However, a great deal of actual deer management has been abandoned due to the utter nonsense being taught to wildlife biologists in factories of higher brainwashing, and increased pressure from Environmentalism to “change the way we talk about wildlife management.” And, let’s not forget the fear of lawsuits.

It is imperative that those who care about deer management in Maine understand that part of this Draft Plan calls for a “reevaluation” of deer management in northern, western, and eastern Maine to determine whether any effort to manage the deer in those regions is worthwhile. DAMN THAT CLIMATE CHANGE!! (Note: We must consider that should MDIFW abandon deer management in these regions, would the deer population then grow?)

We can blame whomever we want, however, according to the outcome-based “surveys” MDIFW conducted, the majority of Maine people think all is well on the homefront and that MDIFW is doing a marvelous job. That’s mostly because not unlike the brainwashed college students, society is just as brainwashed and they don’t even suspect anything.

It’s easy to target the wildlife biologists, but how much they are to blame is difficult to tell. Many are just simply doing what they are told. If we look at wildlife management as what it has become, none of what I write about matters because we will NEVER return an honest science-based system of wildlife biology. Instead, we will see a rise in Scientism, Romance Biology, Voodoo Science, Outcome-based management plans, etc.

There is one more issue in the Draft Deer Management Plan that needs to be looked at. The Plan calls for a reduction in deer populations in most all of southern and central Maine. These reductions, because of pressure from Environmentalists to stem Lyme disease, would put the population densities down to 15 – 20 deer per square mile, which is ample deer. Essentially, areas of central and southern Maine are what is keeping deer hunting in Maine alive. This is because there is a viable deer population there. In the north, west, and east, deer densities run as low as 2 – 5 deer per square mile and hunting activity is dropping like a rock.

If we slash the deer herd in central and southern Maine, what’s left? How will hunters react?

The Draft Plan for all Wildlife Management Districts calls for increased hunting and, “Continue to provide a diversity of opportunities for hunters to pursue deer by allowing multiple hunting techniques over a long season framework.”

This is a great example of wordsmithing. The Plan wants to “provide a diversity of opportunities.” What precisely does that mean? I suppose it means that I could buy a 10,000-acre spread in Central Maine, put nothing on it, manage the nothingness that is there and sell “opportunities” for those interested to go there and pursue rhinoceros. That would be diverse and provides an “opportunity.”

You might recall in my opposition to the wording of any proposed constitutional amendment to protect hunting, fishing, and trapping to Maine’s Constitution, each proposal used the same kind of wording – wording that would guarantee a right to an opportunity not a right to hunt, fish, and trap game. There is a difference.

However, the bottom line is that if hunting in Maine is to be a part of our future, there must be game to hunt, fish, and trap. It’s that simple.

Surveys, for what they are worth, conducted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, have indicated that the biggest deterrent to hunting is finding or taking the time. If hunters and potential hunters now struggle to find the time, or to justify taking the time, to hunt, how much more disinterested will people be when the only parts of the state where there are ample deer to hunt are gone?

For some of us, there is a great challenge to pursue the monster buck in areas where deer densities run around 2 -5 per square mile. Most, however, want meat and don’t have the resources to spend hours and hours to get it.

And all of this discussion about the Management Plan is actually a wasted effort. This legislatively mandated management plan is nothing more than typical government bureaucratic nonsense that, once written, is set aside and little attention paid to it. If it was required that game managers followed this plan and their production was as dismal as it is, compared to the plan, many should lose their jobs.

It is an act to appease the morons in the Capital building and to placate the unsuspecting public. In some ways, perhaps a lot of ways, consider it a good thing that game managers don’t follow their own plans.

Now, if we could just do something about the spread of Environmentalism throughout society and in our school systems.

RIGHT!!

 

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Maine: Recommended Record Number of “Any-Deer Permits”, Moose Permits Not So Much

It was announced recently that the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) has decided to issue an all-time record number of doe permits (Any-Deer Permits). The reason they give for this unprecedented increase is: “…that in all but six of the state’s Wildlife Management Districts the projected doe harvest was not reached last fall.”

There could a number of reasons the doe harvest fell short statewide – the number of hunters, weather conditions, available food supply (for the deer, not the hunters), more hunters with doe permits taking bucks instead – to name a few.

So the question becomes, will increasing doe permits to a record number achieve the desired harvest? Another question might be, does MDIFW have a clue as to the reason the harvest wasn’t achieved? Was it simply not enough permits issued? What the rate of does harvested comparable to the rate in other years? Or, is MDIFW just issuing more permits and hoping for the best? We’ll never know.

It appears that the issuance of permits and the bulk of the increase is focused on much of Central and Southern Maine where deer survival has been good. This increase in those areas makes sense.

Key to this decision might be what MDIFW reportedly said about what was behind this increase other than achieving harvest goals: “The proposed increase in permits is a result of the goals and objectives set by the public in the state’s big-game management plan, which was recently revised.” (Note: I find it interesting that at least certain members of the MDIFW seem to be going out of their way to tell us that the “public” has made all these decisions about the ins and outs of game management. It wasn’t until recently when the Draft Management Plans for deer, bear, moose, and turkey were made available to the public for their comments. It is quite dishonest, therefore, to label those members who gave of their time to assist in formulating new management plans, the “Public.” In addition, MDIFW likes to give lots of weight to the fake “surveys” they paid a lot of money to get. I have written on this topic before and it is quite unfortunate that MDIFW decided to, not only conduct this biased, outcome-based survey but to put so much emphasis on it and then call it the “Public” and thus the “Public” devised these game management plans. Isn’t this a convenient scapegoat when and if management goals fail?)

So, from the perspective of deer management, according to MDIFW the public wants a lot fewer deer in Central and Southern Maine. And where’s the science in this decision or is it all society demands? Giving the benefit of any doubt to MDIFW biologists in meeting harvest goals is understandable. What is not is a move to issue a record number of doe permits because the public demands such.

If MDIFW is saying these decisions are based on the new management plans, then are we to assume also that this is being partly justified as part of achieving a “healthy” deer herd rather than a focus on the population?

It will be interesting to see if making this decision to liberally increase doe permits results in MDIFW reaching their harvest goals.

As far as the moose hunt and management goes, issuing a meager 2,500 permits, to be taken by lottery, doesn’t seem to be fitting the explanations we have been given for moose management and the new healthy moose agenda.

When you consider that at a time when the Maine moose population was estimated at anywhere between 70,000 and 90,000, permit issuance reached a high of over 4,000 permits, 2,500 is out of proportion. According to CentralMaine.com, that estimated “healthy?” moose population is estimated at 50,000 – 70,000. Information gathered from an ongoing moose study indicates that the density of moose is directly proportionate to the number of deadly winter ticks, and yet, if MDIFW is gearing toward a healthy moose population, the increase in permits appears a bit meager to me.

And, the majority of the increase in moose permits, from 2,080 to 2,500 are for those areas where MDIFW has been studying moose. Is this increase really about achieving a healthy moose population or a move to manipulate study results? Hmmm.

From this study area, we were told that winter tick presence had dropped around 68% and that moose calf survival rates were at near 100% – for collared moose.

In some ways, I can understand the “conservative” approach to moose permit issuance, but indications are MDIFW doesn’t really want to accept the fact that too many moose results in too many ticks and that it can’t be blamed on global warming.

So, we will have to wait two years to know whether the 2018 deer season will result in the Department’s doe harvest goal, and over one year to find out about the moose. God only knows how long it will take before MDIFW decides exactly what they plan to do with the moose.

It would be nice to have updates on study findings and to get game harvest results in some kind of reasonable fashion. Instead, I expect that with this announcement of paying less attention to game numbers, placing the focus on “health” (wink-wink) MDIFW will eventually stop counting harvested game. With it will disappear even more accountability.

Government as usual.

 

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Maine’s Big Game Management Plans

You can view this plan on the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife’s website.

*Note* – This is still the “DRAFT” of the Big Game Management proposal. The public can comment on it and make suggestions and CHANGES can be made (but I have serious doubts that they ever would).

 

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Piping Plovers Need Counting But Not Deer, Bear, Moose, and Turkeys

Maine says it wants to hire some scientists to monitor and manage piping plovers and least terns along the coast. Maine Public reports that: “The scientists will also conduct surveys of migratory shorebirds and map feeding and roosting areas.”

The only way that any scientists can “monitor and manage” these birds is to know how many there are. It is reported that “surveys” will be taken and maps will be drawn up to keep track of these birds. Why? Can’t we just have more “flexibility” in management if we know whether or not the flocks of piping plovers and least terns, regardless of their numbers, are “healthy?”

I say what is good enough for the deer, bear, moose, and turkeys is good enough for the piping plovers and least terns.

Maybe the object here is to focus the attention on the health of deer, bear, moose, and turkeys until they are extinct, like plovers and terns, and then hire “scientists” to “monitor and manage” them.

Job security!

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Intensive Management in Alaska

From the Alaska Department of Fish and Game:

Harvesting wild game is extremely important to many Alaskan families. Participating in the hunt and sharing the bounty of economical, wild-grown meat are long-standing traditions.

The Alaska Legislature recognized the importance of wild game meat to Alaskans when it passed the Intensive Management Law in 1994. This law requires the Alaska Board of Game to identify moose, caribou, and deer populations that are especially important food sources for Alaskans and to insure that these populations remain large enough to allow for adequate and sustained harvest.

If the selected moose, caribou, or deer populations drop below what the Board of Game (Board) determines is needed to meet people’s needs, the Board directs the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) to undertake intensive management of that population. Intensive management is a process that starts with investigating the causes of low moose, caribou, or deer numbers, and then involves steps to increase their numbers. This can include restricting hunting seasons and bag limits, improving habitat, and predation control.

ADF&G is committed to maintaining healthy populations of all our resources, including moose, caribou, deer, wolves, and bears. The department will continue to manage Alaska’s wildlife populations with the health of all wildlife, sustainable harvests, and conservation as our guiding principles.

Understanding Predator Management

Wolves and bears are very effective and efficient predators on caribou, moose, deer, and other wildlife. In most of Alaska, humans also rely on the same species for food. Predators often kill more than 80 percent of the moose and caribou that die during an average year, while humans take less than 10 percent. In much of the state, predation holds prey populations at levels far below what could be supported by the habitat in the area. Predation is an important part of the ecosystem, and all ADF&G management programs, including control programs, are designed to sustain predator populations in the future.

General Information

Press Releases

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To Grow Moose Burn Down the Forest

In a small corner of northeast Minnesota is where you’ll find what is left of a moose herd. A Minnesota newspaper is saying that the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) blames the reduction in moose on deer and as an aside note that “some” attribute some of the loss to wolf densities. But there’s an answer to the problem. Burn down the forest!

According to some researchers and biologists, brainworm and ticks are killing moose. (Note – this is of course due to global warming, wink-wink.) If you burn down the forest, the fire kills off the ticks and snails that host the brainworm parasite.

You don’t have to be a Ph.D. to know that moose thrive in forests that are regenerating. Maine has seen the moose population explode where millions of acres of forest were cleared because of an infestation of spruce budworm. Coincidentally, this same act created prime habitat for the snowshoe hare which is the Canada lynx’s favorite food and thus the lynx has made a remarkable resurgence…for now. What happens when the hare habitat is gone? Along with the explosion of the population of the moose, so too did the moose tick or winter tick which is now killing off the too large moose population.

So now there’s an answer for those of you interested in exploiting further the moose population. Think of the money outfitters can make with moose gawking tours. WOW! All we have to do is simply burn down the forests according to how many moose people want to see or hunt.

But at what expense to the rest of the ecosystem?

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