Visitor Counter

hitwebcounter web counter
Visitors Since Blog Created in March 2010

Click Below to:

Add Blog to Favorites

Grizzly bears, black bears, wolves, coyotes, cougars/ mountain lions,bobcats, wolverines, lynx, foxes, fishers and martens are the suite of carnivores that originally inhabited North America after the Pleistocene extinctions. This site invites research, commentary, point/counterpoint on that suite of native animals (predator and prey) that inhabited The Americas circa 1500-at the initial point of European exploration and subsequent colonization. Landscape ecology, journal accounts of explorers and frontiersmen, genetic evaluations of museum animals, peer reviewed 20th and 21st century research on various aspects of our "Wild America" as well as subjective commentary from expert and layman alike. All of the above being revealed and discussed with the underlying goal of one day seeing our Continent rewilded.....Where big enough swaths of open space exist with connective corridors to other large forest, meadow, mountain, valley, prairie, desert and chaparral wildlands.....Thereby enabling all of our historic fauna, including man, to live in a sustainable and healthy environment. - Blogger Rick

Subscribe via email to get updates

Enter your email address:

Receive New Posting Alerts

(A Maximum of One Alert Per Day)

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Both Vermont and adjacent New Hampshire Moose populations are on a Minnesota-like free fall paradigm, currently with 75 to 80% annual calf mortality..........Combine this with the debilitating "one-two-three and your out" storm of warming climate, brain worm and winter tic affliction and the last thing Moose need to deal with is a hunting season..............Vermont biologist Walter Medwid worked for the state's Fish & Wildlife Dept. and argues forcefully about the fact that a 1/3 decline in population since 2009(3000 down to current 2000), should have Governor Shumlin stepping in and taking the hunting of Moose off the table until good science can determine if the carrying capacity of the Moose herd can be restored to decade-ago levels.......


Editor’s note: This commentary is by Walter Medwid, a biologist who lives in Derby.
An Open Letter to Vermont Agency of Natural Resources Secretary Deb Markowitz,
I am writing to request that you take two urgent steps: 1) Use your office and authority over the Department of Fish and Wildlife to request that Gov. Peter Shumlin cancel this year’s moose season, and 2) that you appoint a special investigator to launch an inquiry into the decision-making process for this year’s moose hunt to determine whether state laws and public policy were violated in the process.

I make these requests for the following reasons:
Vermont’s moose population is in crisis; it has been in decline over the last 10 years but most significantly the population has been below the minimum carrying capacity threshold since 2009. That threshold minimum of 3,000 animals has been longstanding public policy. Current population estimates hover around 2,000 animals.
Despite the severe population deficit, the Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (DFW) recommendation to the Fish and Wildlife Board (FWB) of 160 moose permits (some 8 percent of the current population) was accepted by the board this April without a single vote against the proposal despite a host of alarms going off.
Vermont’s moose population is facing serious threats — winter ticks, brain worm, heat-stress due to a warming climate but mostly unrelenting hunting pressure has been the key factor in the population decline. Since 2009, the first year of the population going into the red, 3,854 moose permits were approved by the FWB with nearly 2,000 killed, pushing the population deeper and deeper into deficit.

Vermont Moose hunter with his kill

Most troubling is the fact that calf mortality appears to be off the charts. A recent study of collared moose calves in Maine showed a 75 percent mortality rate. In New Hampshire in the past year a stunning 80 percent of collared study moose calves died.
I implore you to do all you can to halt this year’s kill so that this state’s moose population has some small chance of recovering. Doesn’t that serve all interests long term including hunters?

The stated goal of this year’s decision by DFW/FWB is “… designed to increase moose numbers throughout the state.” In what Orwellian world does an aggressive kill quota of a species in decline coupled with likely very high calf mortality result in a stable and increasing population? The biology doesn’t support it neither does basic arithmetic or simple logic.
And perhaps most troubling of all is that the decision by the FWB was chiefly informed by the categorization of this year’s permit quota by DFW leadership as “… very conservative.” In fact, of the three key moose states in New England, Vermont’s quota is actually the most aggressive. New Hampshire with a moose population twice that of Vermont’s is releasing 71 permits — less than half the number Vermont is releasing. And Vermont’s quota, as compared to Maine’s with some 65,000 animals, is nearly three times as aggressive as Maine’s as a percentage of population.
Did the FWB approve the DFW proposal because it was falsely categorized as “very conservative?” Was the board informed that the department’s proposal was in fact very aggressive as compared to the other two key moose states? If not, why not? Wouldn’t that red flag alone have at least engendered some discussion and debate rather than the complete silence and groupthink in April? And why were there no alternative proposals including one that was conservative in fact, offered to the board by DFW — how could one proposal cover all the diverse perspectives towards management of this iconic species in crisis? Why did your team at DFW convey to the public that this year’s plan was very conservative after it was voted upon in April?
Vermont has been deemed the state with the highest percentage of wildlife watchers. Most Vermonters simply want to see a moose, yet for over a decade the odds get worse each year. Shouldn’t moose be managed to benefit all Vermonters as state statutes require? Isn’t wildlife held in the public trust and not privatized to serve special interests and not public interests? Isn’t this year’s aggressive kill proposal contrary to all reasonable expectations held by the vast majority of Vermonters? And how did our management decision-making process become so thoroughly broken, so reckless?
I implore you to look into this entire fiasco that throws public interests, public policy and public law under the bus. I implore you to do all you can to halt this year’s kill so that this state’s moose population has some small chance of recovering. Doesn’t that serve all interests long term including hunters? There are simply too many red flags to not halt this year’s take and examine how this arm of Vermont’s governance failed so miserably.
Thank you for your hearing me out. I look forward to your reply.

No comments: