Joe McQuaid's Publisher's Notebook: The seagulls started it

THE HUNTING SEASON for black bear has begun. I heard on the wireless that officials are asking that hunters not shoot bears that have been banded for tracking purposes.

This got me thinking. How close to a bear do you have to be to notice if he is wearing a band — or even playing in one?

Has our bear-loving governor OK’d this policy?

And how long will it be before some enterprising bruin decides to start making counterfeit bands to sell to the other bears?

Animals have been much in the news of late. The dead squirrel story got a lot of attention. People went nuts over it.

Unless you have been holed up reading your new copy of the Woodward “Fear” book, you may have noticed the large number of recently deceased squirrels on our highways and byways.

This has been attributed to an early and overabundant supply of acorns, with squirrels so eager to squirrel away the bumper crop that they are not watching out for the car bumpers. I have noticed most of the deceased are at highway on-ramps. They are not merging well.

Then there was the story that took the cake, or the cheeseburger, from Hampton Beach. That’s where Fish and Game officials have decided not to prosecute a man who got into a fight with seagulls.

The man and his daughter were eating lunch on the beach when some seagulls joined them and tried to take their food. Have you ever heard of such a thing?

In the ensuing melee, a seagull got stepped on. Officials have determined that this was not deliberate on the man’s part but fined him $124 for “harassing” a bird that is protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

Such a target-rich environment.

First, it’s the seagulls that started it. Second, who signed a treaty with the birds? Who signed for the birds? And does President Trump know of this treaty?

Still, I am on the birds’ side in this one. According to our story, the man accidentally stepped on the bird when he “spun with his foot in the air trying to intercept the stolen burger.”

Anyone who brings out food in seagull territory has got to expect trouble. Anyone who wants to get his burger back from one of those rodents with wings has got to be off his meds, or really, really hungry. If it’s the latter, I know where he can get all the roadkill he wants.

Write to Joe McQuaid at or on Twitter at @deucecrew.