February 9, 2023

With Eyes Wide Shut – WE BELIEVE!

Most choose to believe that what their state’s fish and game department tells them is the truth. I think there’s a difference between belief and faith. A belief is a choice to accept something and like it, regardless of any measure of actual existence. Faith is having trust. I suppose therefore, many trust the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) in the decisions they make as they pertain to game management. I don’t believe nor do I have faith. That doesn’t mean I think they necessarily do a terrible job. There is a difference and few can see it. I will not, however, blindly accept statements and decisions without having the data to understand those decisions. And that’s part of what bugs me in dealing with the latest topic of cutting moose hunting permits. Where’s the data? Are we to blindly just accept MDIFW’s word about management goals? Why should we, especially when we are constantly getting contrary statements of fact?

I’ve pointed out before that one prominent newspaper in Maine printed an article stating that MDIFW had decided to reduce moose permits in portions of Northern Maine in order to grow more moose for moose watchers. That was followed up by one blogger who said that wasn’t true and went to work convincing readers that MDIFW was not growing moose for watching but were following their management plans. Now we have another outdoor writer faithfully standing by MDIFW swearing that any decisions to cut moose permits is based on science and adherence to the moose management plan. Where’s the data?

Does any of this matter? To me it does and it should to more sportsmen. Specifically there are two issues that frequently rear their ugly heads in media accounts that originate from MDIFW. The first is that the media provide “statements” from members of MDIFW. Those statement make a lot of claims and are never supported with data and from whence that data came. It’s easy to state that moose numbers in a particular Wildlife Management District (WMD) have met management goals, but exactly what does that mean? As I said, I refuse to blindly and ignorantly accept that statement. What is that statement based on and how was the data collected to make that decision? What is the moose population in that WMD? What is the bull to cow ratio? What is the carrying capacity? What is the management goal for that WMD and how was it arrived at? These are all important questions and few comments should be offered without having that information. When wildlife managers are allowed to get away with making statements without backing it up with scientific data, we are giving them free rein to do as they wish, which makes me wonder if that isn’t what was behind the statement that MDIFW was going to reduce moose permits in order to grow more moose for watching – certainly not a scientifically supported decision.

The second issue has to do with attitudes. I’ve written of this before. For a long time, wildlife managers seem to be caught dumping on sportsmen and other outdoor sportsmen when they provide anecdotal evidence. Odd isn’t it that if a wildlife biologist walks in the woods and sees 3 moose, it’s “scientific evidence,” and when a sportsman walks in the woods and sees 3 moose it’s “anecdotal evidence” and those statements are open season to be scoffed at, ridiculed and tossed aside.

The MDIFW has done this for so long that the media, their complicit mouthpieces, are doing their bidding for them. This is evidenced in the Bangor News article linked to above.

It’s terrible public relations to ridicule the sportsmen who pay these clowns salaries. In addition, without the hunting, fishing and trapping community, about the only thing newspaper outdoor writers would have to write about are piping plovers and counting bats. Exciting! And where would the wildlife managers be?

But, think about if for a moment. When sportsmen, many of whom spend more time in the field than most all MDIFW biologists or any other group of recreationists, comment about the numbers and health of the moose herd (or any other game species), essentially they are told to shut up because they don’t know what they are talking about. Then, when a microcosmic group, fortunate to have been able to create a spin-off business of moose watching due to the efforts and money of the sportsmen, speaks up and want more moose to boost their profits, MDIFW and the media are quick to bow down and grant them their wish. Why does this make any sense and why do we tolerate such behavior? On one hand we are told there’s no shortage of moose and then the actions tell us MDIFW would rather cater to the gawkers and Environmentalist. Why not tell them the same thing that is told to the moose hunters who are working harder to find the moose – get off your fat ass and out of the comfort of air-conditioned vans and find the moose the same way hunters do?

It’s easier to believe in men and have faith in what they do, than to discover the truth.




Maine’s Moose Being Regulated Naturally?

While the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) dithers and collects data from moose and aerial surveys – why I’m not sure yet – I believe what Maine people, at least those that pay attention, are seeing is a form of what will happen when wildlife management is left to the whims of Mother Nature promoted by Environmentalism.

It makes sense that at the peak of the moose herd growth, Maine had too many moose and in some areas it may still be the case. Too many moose, aside from creating too many vehicle collisions, brought us a bumper crop of winter ticks (Dermacentor albipictus), so much so that the abundance of ticks began killing off the moose. That’s what Mother Nature does, the result of which benefits no one and this makes little sense.

Because, generally speaking, wildlife management actions lag reality by about 3 years or more, it’s those interim years that get many of us worked up. Then we are often told that managers must collect data and form scientific opinions before making and/or changing moose management plans. We then begin to see the fluctuations of what letting Nature regulate itself will bring.

During the interim, we see guess work and politics rule the moose management plan. Presently, it appears MDIFW is guessing about the numbers and condition of the moose herd and trying to move the number of moose permits up or down hoping it will meet their whims. At the same time we learn that MDIFW is recommending certain permit changes because moose gawkers are demanding it. Odd that moose gawkers get stroked but when moose hunters, who pay all the bills, suggest more permits to reduce and stabilize the herd, we are ignored. Think about it. If moose watchers are granted their demands for more moose to look at, why then, aren’t hunters granted their demands for more moose to hunt? If the scientific evidence reveals there’s room for more moose to watch, then there’s room for more moose to hunt.

And speaking of moose permit changes, I recently wrote about Maine’s plan to reduce moose permits so that moose gawkers could see more moose. This article was in response to a piece I found in the Portland Press Herald in which the author of that piece said, “A proposal to reduce Maine’s moose permits by 24 percent has struck a discord between hunters and those who simply want to view the state animal.

“State wildlife biologists made the proposal Wednesday to meet public demand for greater opportunities to see moose, particularly in northern Maine.”

In a recent posting on George Smith’s personal website he wrote: “Moose permits are not being decreased this year so there will be more moose for viewing.” Both George Smith and Deirdre Fleming can’t be right. So what gives?

It wouldn’t be the first time MDIFW has decided to reduce the moose hunting opportunities to placate the moose gawkers. Just last year the Department cut moose permits in the Greenville, Maine region to “balance social demands” for the moose gawkers.

MIDFW has mentioned that in at least one Wildlife Management District moose production has dropped below management goals and are using that as part reason to reduce permits. Without questioning the management plans, that would be a reasonable decisions based upon MDIFW’s best available science and not the latest clamoring and demanding more moose for the moose looking businesses.

Through all of this, I was recently asked if I thought what we are seeing, i.e. tons of winter ticks, reduced reproduction of moose, is the result of poor or incorrect management of the state’s largest game animal. I had to agree. When we consider that one of the events that set the stage for a rapid growth in the moose herd was the onset of the spruce budworm – resulting clear-cuts – we have to now understand that with many of those clear-cuts in which moose thrive, along with other animals such as snowshoe hares that feed the Canada lynx and other predators, have grown up and are on the verge of maturation. Doesn’t this tell us that the prime habitat to support a lot of moose is disappearing? This in and of itself will reduced moose reproduction.

Then we see the onset of winter ticks. MDIFW and other researchers, because they have been misled with false science, continue to blame global warming for the growth in winter ticks. I strongly believe that regardless of what the current moose study could reveal, any issues will be promptly blamed to global warming.

I have often asked if MDIFW biologists, who claim to be the front-runners in moose management, have considered what is taught in Biology 101, that too many animals in too small an area promotes disease? MDIFW moose managers admit that right now, the number one cause of moose mortality is the result of the presence of winter ticks. Perhaps they forgot to also mention that within that observable mortality exists the unseen mortality – aborted fetuses and a reduction in moose production.

There’s probably only one thing worse than managing wildlife according to social demands; that is managing it unscientifically, based on unproven, non-scientific, garbage about a man-caused warming planet.

There is one thing that we can count on. If man doesn’t, can’t and won’t manage its wildlife based upon the real scientific principle, that was once driven by providing a resource for the people and food to eat, the often demanded “self regulation” will take hold and I guarantee the majority of people will not like the result, nor is there much sense in managing for scarcity.

Because Maine’s moose population grew to numbers too large to support in the long haul, a small niche business resulted in moose watching. Instead of thanking the hunters for financing moose management, those businesses now want to take away moose hunting opportunities. It may have been a mistake to try to grow too many moose. Now, MDIFW, instead of adding to the problems, need to step up and own the responsibility even if it means some lost revenue for the moose watching business. After all, hunters are always asked to give in and give up if it means a better management plan.

What we see in Maine right now with moose might be just a glimpse into the future.


Cut hunting permits 24 percent so public sees more Maine moose, plan urges

*Editor’s Note* – I can hear the nonsensical comments from the environmentalist-trained game managers that they must manage wildlife according to social demands. I think in the circles I grew up in and the research that I conduct on a daily basis, the effect is called communism. It was the Roman writer Marcus Tullius Cicero who wrote after the fall of the Roman Republic, which was replaced by the Roman Empire, that: “The evil was not in bread and circuses, per se, but in the willingness of the people to sell their rights as free men for full bellies and the excitement of the games which would serve to distract them from the other human hungers which bread and circuses can never appease.”

I guess we are supposed to ignore the schizophrenic actions and reactions of moose managers from the past 4 or 5 years who one day tell Maine citizens there’s at least 90,000 moose, to they’ve all died from winter ticks, and now a population of 60,000 to 70,000 and the head moose biologist is, “so giddy about” the number of moose he is seeing in his aerial surveys.

Some thought that the head moose biologist’s decision to cut moose permits over concern of a dwindling moose population was a hasty move. I’m not sure I would describe it as much hasty as I would wrong. I would have gone in the opposite direction in order to reduce the numbers of moose to mitigate the infestation of winter ticks – evidently the number one killer of Maine moose. The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) insists on grasping desperately to global warming as the answer and perhaps they shouldn’t be.

If MDIFW believe in global warming, which that seems to be their number one excuse for everything, then why react in the way they are because they believe last winter the weather was harsh enough to kill off a few ticks and suddenly the herd is healthy again? Surely, global warming will return (in their minds?) and along with it will be more winter ticks – according to their own conclusions as to why there are so many ticks.

Evidently, we are to ignore any scientific evidence as it might pertain to decisions made on how moose should be managed. We read in the article linked to below, that MDIFW is proposing a reduction of moose permits for the upcoming moose hunting season in order to provide more moose for viewing opportunities so that, “We can meet our objectives.” And MDIFW admits, as they always have, that this decision is based solely on “management” reasons [social demands] and is not scientific.

If wildlife viewing is becoming such an important central government decision to feed and entertain the servitude with “bread and circuses” then perhaps it is time to give the Motherland what she wants. Maine sportsmen spend millions of dollars each year that is meant to go toward wildlife/game management. As the pot boils and slowly kills the frog, few recognize that soon those valuable “hunting opportunities” will be replaced with the “bread and circuses” of “wildlife viewing.” Those demanding the entertainment don’t understand that managing game at numbers high enough to see from their cushy SUV’s and tour buses is seldom healthy and responsible for neither man nor beast. Evidently MDIFW doesn’t understand that either and/or are driven by totalitarian influences and out of fear of losing their handsome pensions they must appease the environmentalist gODs.

Maine is in the middle of a moose study – the reasons given because they don’t know enough about moose to understand what causes the changes in moose populations etc. If that’s true, then the study is a waste of time and money. What’s the point of collecting scientific evidence if it is to be trumped by pacifying the environmental-socialists by giving them their bread and circuses?

So why the reduction in permits?

“We want to meet our objective (for what the public wants as far as viewing). So it’s for management reasons rather than biological,” she said.

Source: Cut hunting permits 24 percent so public sees more Maine moose, plan urges – The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram