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A new anti-hunting organization has announced its intent to qualify a ballot initiative before voters to ban the most successful

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  • A new anti-hunting organization has announced its intent to qualify a ballot initiative before voters to ban the most successful

    A new anti-hunting organization has announced its intent to qualify a ballot initiative before voters to ban the most successful methods of controlling bear numbers in Maine. This organization is called “Mainers for Fair Bear Hunting” and their backed by the Humane Society. The goal of the organization and their ballot initiative is to ban bear hunting using hounds, bait and trapping. The group must gather nearly 57,277 valid signatures by February 2014 to place the issue before voters in the November 2014 election. My question is what your opinion on any hunting, fishing or trapping issues being decided by the masses on Election Day?

  • #2
    It sure didn't work in Colorado with bears on California with lions. Nuisance bears are a huge problem now in CO and hundreds of them are killed by local police or DOW on the taxpayers dime.
    It just does not make sense to let the people with the least expertise and information make critical decisions like this. Hopefully the good people of Maine will make the right decision if it does get on the ballot.


    • #3
      That is a question that should be decided by professional wildlife biologists with hands-on experience in wildlife management.


      • #4
        I agree, 99. Sometimes democracy deals out some lumps. But we have to keep telling ourselves the benefits are better than alternative. Guess the folks in Syria and Bosnia know all about that. Anyway, hopefully the biologists in the professional wildlife branch can get some brass ones and stand up and be heard. Seldom seems to happen though.


        • #5
          Wildlife management is not something that should be decided by people who don't even know the names of the critters and plants in their own back yards.

          Ontario - Biologists stand up to be heard all the time...the trouble is nobody listens.


          • #6
            Up here the biologists stand behind the moneyed interests who tell them how to think and what to say. Moose hunting is a joke now and the "managers" have only increased the number of people hunting them rather than cutting tags back. It's all about $$$$. And they admit it. No mandatory reporting, for example, because they don't want to know what's being harvested. No more aerial surveys because they don't want to know what few numbers are really out there. Those of us who have been around for a while know how bad it is. But reporting bad news would be bad news for the tourism industry. So they just don't look for any news.


            • #7
              Ontario - With all due respect Ontario, you are not a biologist, and you do not know the challenges biologists face when it comes to budgets and monitoring wildlife. It takes time and personnel and of course $$$$ to process reported tags and conduct aerial surveys, so it's easier to monitor harvest trends in other ways that are more practical and economical...for example, biologists can count the number of animals delivered to meat processors year after year and monitor the trends over time (most people don't even know biologists do that, but they do). They do the best they can with the resources they are given. To put it in perspective, a carpenter who loses a hammer can still drive a nail with a rock and get the job done, but it won't be their best work. Same concept applies to biologists. We are often expected to improvise and use sub-par techniques due to budgetary constraints preventing us from using the best tools in our tool box, but we still get the job done.

              One of the biggest financial challenges biologists face is that hunter numbers are going down, the costs of running wildlife agencies are going up (inflation, fuel, demand, etc.), and hunting license fees are not changing much. Sorry to go on a rant, but I didn't spend 8 years in school studying wildlife management and several years in the field living from paycheck to paycheck to not give a crap.

              I'm not saying there are not bad biologists out there...but I don't know very many.


              • #8
                Most state governments have a press spokesperson who deals with the media. The government doesn't want every Joe Six Pack employee commenting and saying the wrong thing or given out incorrect information.

                In New Jersey the black bear biologist has commented to the press when the Yogi and Boo Boo Lovers were raising hell trying to stop the NJ bear hunt.


                • #9
                  Bioguy: With all due respect, you don't make much sense for a guy who's supposed to have some education in this field. You're telling me it's cheaper and more effective for "biologists" to run around checking at meat processors to see what FRACTION of the game harvested is being handled by them than it is to hire some retiree or college kid at minimum wage to sit on his butt in a check station and WAIT for the hunters to bring in their tagged carcasses (or in this case jawbones) to be registered? C'mon! And what about those meat processor "trends?" A butcher does a crappy job or steals some of the meat (a common occurrence) and clients stop taking their wild meat to him, or maybe anyone else, to be processed. So how does that translate? As less deer being harvested, which is very likely NOT the case at all. There are so many variables involved in meat processor surveys that only an idiot would be convinced they'd have any reliability whatsoever. Mandatory reporting is the most reliable and affordable way to get a handle on harvesting "trends." Anybody with half a brain can see that. And it's also the fairest. It places almost all the cost of the information processing on the consumer. The lucky hunter must use his time and gas to provide the carcass for verification. The unlucky hunter ... he doesn't have to expend anything for reporting.


                  • #10
                    Here's how the wildlife managers up here have upped the $$$$ brought in by fifteen fold. But they have also devastated the resource in the process. The party hunting changes introduced several years back allowed up to fifteen people to hunt for each other's tags. But the number of tags in the lottery was NOT decreased. And they just can't figure out where all the moose went. "Well, we're still allotting the same number of tags." Yeah, but you just INCREASED THE PROBABILITY THAT EACH TAG IS GOING TO GET FILLED BY FIFTEEN TIMES over the former situation where every man had to hunt for his own tag. Fifteen guys hunting for the same tag means that tag is almost certainly going to get filled. This translates into a huge increase in moose harvested even though the number of tags has stayed the same. There's a huge decrease in the number of tags that aren't filled. Well, that's what it would translate into if the "managers" had any idea AT ALL of the numbers of moose being taken. But they don't have a clue ... on purpose. They refuse to consider mandatory reporting. Because they DON'T want any good solid numbers to work with. It is more economically useful to deal with the unknown rather than reality. So, they continue to run from the truth. And the resource base continues to go further and further into the toilet year after year.

                    Ah, I think I'm now seeing the real utility of your butcher shop "trends" analysis. It's much easier to stretch and twist those numbers into something useful for particular goals. Much easier than bona fide reported kill statistics.


                    • #11
                      OHH - 1. Yes, we can make very accurate estimates of population size based on fractions...that's why we spend 8-10 years in college earning MS degrees and we can do that kind of stuff.

                      We are ALWAYS dealing with fractions because there is not one single reporting technique in existence that gets 100% compliance. For example, in PA mandatory reporting is required by can mail in a report, report online, report over the phone, and I think they're even developing a smartphone app where you can report your harvest (you don't even need to visit a check station)...and still only 35-40% of the hunters report their harvest. How do we know that fraction? Biologists go to meat cutters, scan the tags of harvested animals into a computer, and the computer cross references reported tags vs. non-reported tags (and we get our fraction). I don't expect you to know the process, or know the first thing about the math we use to derive our population estimates, but we don't just used 1 technique for estimating populations...we use several and cross reference them to ensure our estimates are accurate within a reasonable degree of error.

                      2. No, mandatory check stations are NOT better than checking meat processors. You still end up with a fraction because not everybody who kills an animal is going to go to a check station with their harvest, especially if the check station isn't conveniently located within a 15-20 minute drive from where the animal was harvested or it's final destination (the meat processor). Second, you can pay 10 college students minimum wage to run 10 check stations all day for however long the season is open, or you can pay 1 college student to count harvested animals, their heads, or their hides at 10 meat processors in one or two days + travel. Now tell me which method is more practical and economically feasible. There's a reason states are doing away with check stations...they're too expensive to run, and we can get better "compliance" by checking meat processors.

                      3. Most hunters don't have the equipment, the "know how," or the patience to deal with processing their own game. If one processor loses some business, it will generally pick up at a different processor nearby...very few people will actually be annoyed enough with processors to buy their own equipment and process their own meat.

                      4. I'm sorry your disappointed with how things are being run in your area with regard to moose population management, but complaining about it, and arguing with me on an internet chat forum isn't being progressive. I highly encourage you to spend some time talking with a moose biologist to find out the techniques they use, why they use them, and other management issues related to moose.


                      • #12
                        Biogy: With all due respect, you don't have a clue! I have NEVER taken a deer to a meat processor in my life and I'm pretty sure I have already shot more than you will in your entire lifetime. What is more I don't know of anyone who has (except for sausage making and that's just a pile of scraps in a bucket with no tag). And I know a LOT of people who shoot their deer every year. Only an idiot can't cut up his own deer. From what I have observed hardly anyone on here has their wild meat processed.

                        Mandatory reporting is done this way: You shoot the animal. You punch out the date and then tag it. As indicated on the tag, you have x amount of days after the punched date to get the animal or the jaw with tag to a check station. Don't do it and you lose animal plus hefty fine. Usually a check station in the field is the most convenient place to check in the animal but there are typically other locations as well. The onus is on the successful hunter to comply no matter what the inconvenience. And they do or else. Voluntary reporting is a blinking joke. That's what they do here. Almost everyone DOES NOT report their moose kills because they too don't want anyone to know how many are being taken. Might cause the ministry to drop the number of tags in the lottery thereby decreasing the hunter's chances of drawing. Or they just don't bother with it. If it's the law, you make an effort to bother with it! Sure, there are guys who don't tag their deer, jacklight, etc. But most hunters will follow the mandatory reporting law if there is a law in place. If hunters don't have to check their animals in, maybe they won't. Maybe most won't. That's not an unfair assumption. Similarly, maybe a hunter will take his meat to be processed and maybe he won't. Maybe someone will come by and check it at the processor and maybe they won't. "Maybes" are no good for statistical analysis purposes.

                        I have a PhD in history, but my first post-graduate work was in BIOLOGY. I have ample statistics courses in both fields. Maybe more than you. So don't try to BS me with your assumed superior education. Any math prof will tell you that statistical analysis can never be better than the database being analyzed. Guesstimates obtained willy-nilly at meat processing facilities could NEVER be as extensive OR as accurate as numbers obtained from mandatory reporting. A much narrower-based and questionably accurate meat processor database could NEVER produce as accurate an analysis as a database that by law is supposed to include all animals shot. Go to any statistics teacher and they will confirm.

                        I have been to the meetings here and I have engaged the "biologists." They talk in circles during the meetings and then at intermission they'll come up and whisper, "You're undoubtedly right about the party hunting increasing the number of moose killed ... but we need the money the party hunting generates so we can't cut the number of tags. We don't do mandatory reporting because we wouldn't have anything to compare the numbers to." What kind of excuses are those? The money is useless if we lose the resource! Okay, so they don't have a good harvesting database and that somehow justifies never establishing one? And these clowns call themselves scientists! Pffft!


                        • #13
                          "I'm pretty sure I have already shot more than you will in your entire lifetime."

                          I catch deer for a living. I have probably live captured more deer in the past 6 years than you have killed in your entire life (600+...assuming you've been hunting for 50 years, you will have needed to kill 12 deer a year) and wrestled more deer to the ground with my bare hands than you have killed within bow range. But this isn't a's a discussion.

                          "From what I have observed hardly anyone on here has their wild meat processed."

                          From what I've observed, the hunters on here are not "the norm." The folks on here are serious hunters trying to learn from each other how to become better hunters.

                          "Mandatory reporting is done this way:"

                          I don't need a lecture on mandatory reporting...I know how it works. What I tried to explain to you is that even when you make reporting mandatory, you don't get 100% compliance. Therefore, harvest estimates are ALWAYS guesstimates. Sorry, weather you like it or not, that's just the reality of the's ALWAYS an educated guess. Some techniques are better than others, but the best techniques are either not realistic or too expensive.

                          "Voluntary reporting is a blinking joke. That's what they do here."

                          Mandatory reporting is what they do in PA, and they still only get 35-40% compliance even when they have made reporting as simple as possible. There's not enough law enforcement to ensure a high compliance rate. Not reporting an animal is viewed about as seriously as driving over the speed limit...when people think they can get away with it, they do it...some get caught, but not enough get caught to prevent everyone from doing it.

                          "So don't try to BS me with your assumed superior education."

                          Did I ever say I had more education than you, or was smarter than you? No...I said you're not a wildlife biologist and you don't know the challenges biologists face when it comes to budgets and monitoring wildlife. It doesn't mean you are not an intelligent person, it just means you are not the most qualified person to make wildlife management decisions. You are no more a wildlife biologist than I am a history teacher. If a few statistics classes and some experience in biology made someone qualified to make wildlife management decisions, then I would be the lead biologist at a wildlife agency somewhere in the US...instead, I'm competing with people that have PhDs and post-docs in wildlife management for entry level jobs. This field is VERY competitive, and the people who make it to the top have earned their place.

                          "Guesstimates obtained willy-nilly at meat processing facilities could NEVER be as extensive OR as accurate as numbers obtained from mandatory reporting."

                          First, they are not obtained "willy-nilly"...they are obtained with purpose. Second, I'm not saying they are more accurate, but I am saying they are sometimes the best technique to use given an agency's budget and other resources. It's a valid, peer-reviewed technique and it will likely continue to be used and improved upon in the years to come. We're always being asked to do more with less resources and retain a high level of quality. Third, if your wildlife agency is not doing anything to monitor harvests...this is sure as hell better than nothing. Last, if your agency does nothing, then why the hell are we arguing about something your agency doesn't even do?

                          If you're done with about this, then so am I...and if you're not done, I'm done anyway. You spoken your peace, and so have I...time to move on.


                          • #14
                            It makes sense to me to have our wildlife conservation decisions made by well educated professionals rather than by well meaning citizens. I do however understand that these professionals typically report to politicians who want to make the decision based on their ability to get re-elected rather on the future of wildlife. Additionally, these professionals must always live within the constraints placed on them by the budget approved by non-professionals.

                            It's not a perfect system but I marvel at its success across the U.S. Generally, wildlife populations are up, animals are healthy and sportsmen/women get ample opportunity to hunt and fish. I'm most happy to see people like our BioGuy still making the effort to make things even better. I know full well that it is not easy to work that long hard to learn while paying for the opportunity. I applaud that effort and pray that he and others like him don't get de-motivated by the frustration of politics. Our biologists HAVE made a big difference in my lifetime and we need them even more going forward. If this learning and continuous improvement occurs for another 100 years, things should be pretty darned good.

                            Interesting discussion between BioGuy and OH... brought out interesting perspectives. Being a computer guy myself, I'm quite sold on the sampling techniques now available to us for predictive analysis. They work remarkably well and can be done at a very low cost.




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