Recent rains benefit area wildlife

Published: Oct. 23, 2020 at 7:20 PM EDT
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The summer’s drought affected wildlife, leaving many searching for food and viable habitat. Kathy McCarty speaks with wildlife specialists and has more.

Unusually dry summer conditions have given way to rain this month, putting wildlife like beaver in better shape for winter. Wildlife Biologist Shawn Haskell says a lack of water could have left the aquatic carpenters vulnerable to predators. Meanwhile, during the drought, other species became more of a nuisance to humans.

“Our biggest problem area is from like Mars Hill, up to Limestone, over to Washburn. That’s where we get a lot of bear conflicts, particularly in dry years like this when there’s no berries, there’s no apples. They’re looking for human waste,” Says Shawn Haskell, Wildlife Biologist with the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

Haskell says because of this, hunters using bait did well this year, statewide.

“Harvest of 3,000 bears in a year is a good year. 3,000 is a good year. We’re gonna be over 3,500 this year. This is gonna be a phenomenal year,” says Haskell.

Various fish species suffered, due to exceptionally low water levels in rivers and streams.

“The drought had a significant impact on flowing waters. Rivers, brooks and streams really got hit hard. You know, the water was so low that survival was likely very, very low in the summer. So we had significant losses,” says Frank Frost, a Fisheries Biologist with the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

"However, all of the October rain we’ve seen has led to a major waterway recovery.

“That’s helping the spawning right now. The brook trout are at peak spawning time right now, late October. So, yeah, I think - I think we’re gonna be - I think we’re gonna be fine in the long run,” says Frost.

While fish in rivers, streams and brooks were affected this summer, Frost says ice fishing season shouldn’t be impacted. He expects trout to bounce back in time for spring anglers. Kathy McCarty, NewsSource 8

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