George Smith yesterday again wrote in his DownEast.com blog about the decline of white-tailed deer in northern Maine.
It appears unscrupulous landowners may be just as to blame for the drastic decline of deer as are back-to-back harsh winters and predators such as coyotes and bears. (I blogged about a Chamber of Commerce in Maine that had promoted a tournament for killing coyotes. That shows the level of frustration in the region.)
Personally, one of the more stark passages in the blog read:
At some northern Maine game registration stations, more bear than deer or moose were tagged. For example, the Fish River station registered forty-seven bears, twenty-three moose, and just four deer. The Portage station tagged ninety-two deer in 2007, thirty-one deer in 2008, but only nine deer this year.
I’m pretty certain the “Portage station” is Coffin’s General Store, of which I have written before. The Mom occasionally helps out at the store and she told me in the fall that kill numbers had dropped off drastically, but 92 to nine in just two years is terrible on so many levels.
For those who are non-hunters or anti-hunting, annual deer hunting is significant to the life and livelihood of Mainers. It is a rite of passage for youngsters in which responsibility, gun safety, and an appreciation for the outdoors are taught. It also is a significant economic component for rural and remote areas of the state where unemployment historically has been high. Hunting camps and other lodging, restaurants, gas stations, guides, taxidermist and more feel the pain in a poor hunting season.
Smith writes about the loss of wintering habitat for deer and how a land sale and swap ended up costing the state some of that habitiat.
Smith, the blog’s author, lives in Mount Vernon and is described as “a columnist, TV show host, executive director of the state’s largest sportsmen’s organization, political and public policy consultant, hunter, angler, and avid birder and most proud of his three children and grandson.” He knows that of which he writes.
Click this link to go to George’s Outdoor News blog.