Fall into winter………….
(c) 2013 Brent Reece
It has been a strange year for me here. My writing has suffered greatly for which I do apologize and hope you will bear me out. I have been mending from knee issues and other health related issues as well. My hunting time has been just about nill and I feel bad that I have not ben able to write as much as I usually do. These issues have forced me in a new career path for a securer check. That decision had also curtailed my time to be in the woods and I hope to get back to normal here in a few weeks.
Coyote season ahead!!!!
I am looking forward to this winters hunt and also hope to get out and do some serious rabbit tracking.
Glad you are here reading this and I will do my best to repopulate the site with great new stuff from here in!
Random thoughts and stories about hunting and living in Maine.
Thursday, September 26, 2013
A letter to my non-hunting friends about bear hunting
Hello to all of my non-hunting friends!
I am writing this letter to you because I want to encourage you to become educated on one very important topic that you will be seeing and hearing more about. It is the issue of bear hunting in Maine. In the upcoming months, there will be a lot of political spin on the bear issue in Maine. I want you to feel as though you are getting a real picture of what the issue is before you cast that ballot next November.
Am I biased? Yes. I do not bear hunt but I know enough about it to have a very strong opinion about this issue. I am hoping that as my friend, you will grant me a few minutes to hear me out on the issue.
First, when you are hunting, there is no guarantee that you will shoot the animal that you are after. No matter what you do. When it comes to bear hunting, Maine is the only state that allows three different types of hunting; hounds (you must train dogs to find and then tree a bear), trapping (imagine a circle that you step into and it tightens around you. It only tightens if you pull on it but will not cut into you. It also loosens up if you don’t pull at it or if you pick at it like you would a knot in your shoe lace. Legally, you must check on these types of traps daily and each hunter is only allowed one of these traps) and baiting (you leave a barrel of sweets in the woods and hope the bear finds it and keeps coming back). All of these methods only work if there are bears around and you are in the right place at the right time and choose to shoot the animal. You are not going to find a bear hunter who will shoot a cub or a sow with cubs. You won’t. And if you do, they should not be allowed to hunt. Period.
Second, Maine has some of the BEST state biologist around. Randy Cross is the bear biologist in Maine. I went with Randy one spring to tag bear cubs and I can assure you that he lives and breathes bears. He has been working with the bear population in Maine for almost 30 years! He has been studying and learning about the bears here for as long as I have been alive. Think about that for a minute – that is A LOT of first-hand knowledge on a single population. When the state biologist tells you that you need to harvest (aka kill) ‘x’ number of bear to keep the population healthy and in check, I believe him. I trust him. I encourage you to learn more about what Inland Fisheries & Wildlife and the biologists have to say about this issue.
Third, bear hunting is a population management issue that the Humane Society of the United States wants to turn into something different. In some states, it’s legal to shoot deer over bait (like a pile of apples) because they need to keep the population numbers in check. It’s the same thing here for bears. No one (especially hunters) wants to see an animal be wounded or injured instead of killed quickly when we are out hunting. It may sound odd but it is true. A person who wants to see an animal suffer is a not a hunter, they are a sociopath.
Lastly, trust us! Trust the hunters, outdoors-women and men, Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, the biologists and owners of the hunting camps that all rely on a healthy animal population to keep the Maine outdoors as we know and love it. We are the people who walk the Maine woods and see and love these animals. We are not an outside interest group who is trying to bully people into voting for their agenda. Talk to us! Ask us questions so you can learn more about the topic. I am more than happy to share with you some great blogs from bear hunters, like my friend Robin, who have first hand knowledge of what is it like to bear hunt. If you run into someone who is working on the campaign to ban these hunting practices, ask them if they have first-hand knowledge of using these tools. Ask them to explain their side of the issue to you so that you can be an educated voter when this issue hits the ballot next year.
Thank you for reading my letter and I hope in some ways, it has helped.
Maine, United States
I started hunting in 2002 with my Dad and decided I liked it enough to blog about it. I write about my hunting adventures, issues involving the Maine outdoors and outdoor women. So, grab a cup of strong coffee and enjoy!
IFW Hunting Report for October 12, 2013
Southern Lakes Region
Hunters are enjoying the pheasant season in southern Maine.
“We have had two pheasant releases so far, and we have one final release for the season on Sunday, October 20,” said IFW Wildlife Biologist Scott Lindsay. “We have received some very positive comments about our two dozen release sites.” You can find a list of the pheasant release sites on the department website at www.mefishwildlife.com.
Lindsay said there has been a lot of outreach with area landowners about the release sites and very good cooperation with the area rod and gun clubs.
“One member even set a new standard for landowner relations by baking and delivering apple pies to about a dozen landowners,” said Lindsay. “That type of outreach goes a long way towards keeping land open, and allows us to keep stocking pheasants.”
It is also the middle of the archery season for deer, and Lindsay said that during the first week, “some very impressive animals were brought to registration stations,” but as is typical, it slowed down after the first week.
Lindsay noted that there are also a lot of turkey hunters out taking advantage of the expanded opportunities for turkey this fall.
“We have a pretty good number of turkeys coming through the registration stations,” said Lindsay, who said a lot are poults but there are some pretty good adults as well. “We have noticed a lot of people out turkey hunting, particularly compared to past falls.”
Central and Midcoast Maine
“Reports out of Merrymeeting Bay is that birds are moving around, but location is the key” for waterfowl hunters, said IFW Wildlife Biologist Kendall Marden. “Some areas are hot, others are not. Warm weather is holding up the migrating birds coming through, as well as the woodcock flight.”
Marden said that there are small groups of partridge here and there, and you can find them if you are willing to look for them. Several groups have had days with multiple flushes. Those with dogs are getting more flushes than others.
“Turkey hunting has been somewhat slow, but people are picking up birds here and there,” said Marden, who noted there are lot of small broods, and late broods as well with younger birds.
If you are looking to go duck hunting, Marden suggest the Merrymeeting Bay WMA. There are over 5,000 acres in the WMA, spread out in multiple locations in the bay. Check out your DeLorme Atlas Map 6 for where these parcels are located. Green Point in Dresden is also a good location for launching and setting up.
“We’ve had some goose hunters who have done well with the early goose season. Some are even getting them in the blueberry barrens, where the geese are picking up what has been left behind,” said IFW Wildlife Biologist Tom Schaeffer, who noted that most successful hunters were in the green, grassy areas and pastures.
Upland birds haven’t been showing in great numbers, and moose hunters haven’t been reporting many grouse sightings either. Hunters shouldn’t be overly worried, however.
“For the last three or four years it seems that a lot of our birds don’t appear until later in the season,” said Schaeffer, who added that waterfowl hunting will pick up as well once it cools down and birds start moving.
Rangeley Lakes and Western Mountains Region
“Grouse numbers seem to be down in the region, but the woodcock numbers seem to be good,” said IFW Wildlife Biologist Chuck Hulsey.
Hulsey also noted that he is seeing lots of turkeys in his region, but contrary to southern Maine, he is not seeing a lot of hunters. “
“If someone is wants to hunt turkeys, they should have great hunting,” says Hulsey.
Hulsey added that if someone wanted to go archery hunting for deer, they should try the Chesterville WMA and take a canoe ride down the river. It is quite an effective way to take a deer. Be aware the first one hundred yards of the river is a little low right now, but it is pleasant paddling for the remainder.
In the Moosehead region, moose season is Monday, and even though this season is a little later with the way the calendar falls, there is plenty of opportunity for hunters.
“Some bulls will definitely be able to be called because they will be without cows, but they are probably going to be in the young vegetation where the food and visibility is good,” said IFW Wildlife Biologist Doug Kane. “Hunters may even see groups of moose, because post rut, that is what you often see.”
Kane also noted that this year, there are a lot of bears around.
“The beechnuts are here this year, so the bears are probably going to be out late this season, so they will probably even be available to deer hunters,” said Kane.
Kane added that the grouse are just starting to show in the region, and that he is seeing a variety of sizes of turkeys in the region, indicative of the females renesting.
In the Penobscot region, birds are spotty as well, indicative of a poor nesting season.
“I was out hunting last week myself, and didn’t see much for birds,” said Mark Caron, IFW Wildlife Biologist.
Caron notes that hunters should take heart, as it will get better as the season goes along.
“It will get better as the season moves along. Once it starts to cool off and the leaves come off the trees, hunters will be seeing more birds,” said Caron.
Caron also noted that while he has seen a lot of turkeys, he hasn’t seen many turkey hunters in his region. He notes that part of the reason is the unfamiliarity with the fall season.
“It is a whole different ball game,” said Caron, “Right now, many of the birds are taken incidental to the grouse hunting and even bowhunting season for deer.”
It’s moose season Monday in Enfield, and the regional headquarters is one of the moose tagging stations.
“The birds are spread out up here,” said IFW Wildlife Biologist Rich Hoppe, “The grouse hunting is fair, nothing great, but fair. The birds aren’t bunched up a lot, which is typical of failed nesting.”
Woodcock are spotty, but there are some fair to good numbers this year compared to last year, added Hoppe. “We haven’t seen many flight birds yet, but we feel they will be coming through soon.”
Moose hunting resumes next week, and bird hunters in the North Maine Woods are saying that they are still seeing a lot of moose, which bodes well for the upcoming moose hunt.
Waterfowl hunters have been having a difficult time, not due to a lack of ducks, more because of an abundance of water in the region. Ducks are spread out, many making temporary homes in puddles and shallow ponds that used to be farmer’s fields.
Hoppe did say there is still plenty of natural food in the woods, and it looks like bears will be out late this year, which will offer some lucky deer hunters an opportunity to take a bear during deer season. In lean years, bears will den up early, but this year, the rains and warm weather means plenty of natural food.
In an unusual task, department biologists are busy with the remnants of a tornado that touched down in the area several weeks ago. Hoppe is working with several large landowners concerning salvage operations for timber that was downed during the storm. The storm hit some deer yards where there are cooperative management agreements, and work is being done to remove the timber while protecting the deer yards.