November 29, 2022

Why Maine’s Big Bucks Are Bigger

Maybe big bucks from Maine’s “Big Woods” are bigger for some of the reasons everything is bigger in Texas…including the tall tales and damned lies. There are many reasons why whitetail deer might average bigger body mass and/or antlers in one area as opposed to other places…too numerous to cover here. What caught my attention on the broad subject was an article sent to me by a reader, that talks of better nutrients found consistently in one region might explain differences in body mass or antler growth.

“One explanation for this biogeographic size gradient is that plants mature rapidly and more or less at the same time in warm climates. This means that young vegetation, which has the highest levels of nutrients, is actually available for a shorter time in Spain than in Sweden. This may seem paradoxical at first, but the levels particularly of protein and other critical growth nutrients are highest in immature plants. Although there may be several fewer months in which green forage is available at high latitudes, if animals in those regions can find six to eight weeks worth of high-protein young plants, they can grow larger than southern counterparts who may have only three weeks of such high-nutrient foraging. Protein and other critical growth nutrients are key here – not simply caloric intake.”

The author of the linked-to article believes that the deer in northern Maine are bigger because they have to be in order to survive the harsh realities of that region; climate, etc. In a simplistic way his idea is generally true. Most of us don’t have the scientific knowledge to understand all the ins and outs of what makes for bigger deer.

Dr. Valerius Geist, a retired science professor emeritus at the University of Calgary, says that usually when we see accounts of unusually large-bodied whitetail deer it is because they might be “freaks”. Freaks in that they aren’t performing their “natural” duties, many of which cause them to be mean, trim, fighting and mating machines. While for the hunter this might be a good trophy for bragging rights, I’m not sure we need to continue this genetic heritage. It too closely resembles that of Americans. It is, however, an anomaly and not the norm.

I have a very simplistic, and probably “out-behind-the-barn”, humorous theory about why “Big Woods” Maine deer tend to be bigger than say southern Maine deer. In parts of southern Maine deer can number in excess of 20-30 deer per square mile. In the “Big Woods” population densities run a sparse 2-6 creatures per square mile.

So first of all it should be easy to see there is little competition in the “Big Woods” for food, habitat and mating rights. Therefore, unlike those over-stressed southern Maine deer, the Big Woods deer have all the food they want, nobody nagging them to slim down for Fall fun and when it comes mating time, well, what in the South turns out to be a battle for dominance just so a bigger bully can have his way with the women, relentlessly, in the North it’s quite a relaxed scene. Big bucks are getting bigger, very relaxed, munching on some browse and gathering mushrooms, sitting around a campfire and knowing full well that when the rut kicks in he may only have to service a small number of in-heat does, while facing very little opposition from big buck wannabee little bucks. Sounds like the life of Reilly to me.


And this really is not that much unlike the story of Ferdinand the Bull and Little Fernie. You see the two bulls were grazing in the high pasture. Little Fernie was getting to that age where he was beginning to pay attention to the cows down in the lower pasture…if you know what I mean (wink, wink). What? I got to spell it out for you?

One day Little Fernie’s urges were getting to him and he was beginning to drive his father, Ferdinand the Bull, crazy. One day Little Fernie says, “Hey, Dad! What do say that you and I jump this fence, run down over the hill and get us one of them cows!”

Ferdinand the Bull munched away on his grass (getting all those nutrients that made him bigger than the other bulls – get it?), seemingly undeterred from getting a good meal. Little Fernie persisted.

Ferdinand the Bull finally says to Little Fernie, “Son! Suppose you and I go over there to the gate, walk through it, take a leisurely stroll down over the hill and take on ALL them cows!”


Eastern Wolf Declared Full Species

*Editor’s Note* – I sent this email to several on my email list. I thought I would share it with readers.

Some of you might remember that back in March I warned that Maine should prepare itself for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to figure out a way to declare a species or subspecies of wolf that they could list as an endangered species here in Maine and all of the Northeast.

In May I explained, in a response to the Maine Wolf Coalition’s demand for wolf protection, what would happen to hunting and trapping in our state if a species of wolf was declared endangered and offered protection.

Today, we are one step close to seeing this happen. Laugh at me if you wish but it is my opinion, based on historic evidence of how the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, along with their non governmental environmentalist freaks partners, have operated to achieve their agendas. Today, the USFWS has concluded a study in which they claim that the Eastern wolf is a full, stand alone species of wolf.

It’s a mongrel! Nothing more. Never will be anything more unless reintroduction is done, and then it will still interbreed with the nasty dog we already have!

This study, the basis of which is rooted in the controversy that the USFWS have themselves created over species taxonomy, is a fraud and state governments, along with individual sportsmen and their organizations, need to call these criminals out on this. Historically, the USFWS, and just as recently, President Obama and Ken Salazaar, have used species and subspecies manipulation in order to create Distinct Population Segments where it is politically advantageous to do so.

I warned months ago that the USFWS was up to no good. I first saw this when the USFWS announced that it was removing the gray wolf from the Endangered Species Act list in the eastern third of the country. It wasn’t just coincidental that they did this and I brought it to people’s attention. I just wished they would pay attention.

I may be guilty at times of railing against the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. Their jobs can be difficult and with our future at stake, I feel compelled to keep the department on its toes. But when the Federal Government, is abusing science and manipulating species in order to gain control, it is flat out wrong and we all should be angry as hell. How can the MDIFW even think about implementing ways to protect the deer herd, Canada lynx, etc. when the USFWS declares eastern wolves a protected species in Maine?

Many years ago, the USFWS took up the torch for “nature balance” or “self-regulation” and along with it non-consumptive wildlife management. If this is the plan then I ask, what is the point of expending effort to protecting our hunting and fishing territory? Is anyone on our side anymore?