September 28, 2022

Rex Rammell's Letter To The Editor

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From a source in Idaho, I received a copy of a Letter to the Editor published in a local newspaper from Rex Rammell, owner of the Chief Joseph ranch in eastern Idaho. The letter is in regards to the killing of his elk that escaped his ranch back in mid-August.

Here’s a copy of his letter.

Rex Rammell: Government-ordered elk hunt threatened American liberty

Imagine an America where anything unpopular is against the law. Not necessarily because it is causing harm, but because a group is offended. Someone could start the criticism with lies, wave the rally flag and ride a wave of emotion to get the majority against the activity until the law was changed to prohibit it. Imagine all the things which could become unpopular, and consequently unlawful, if the majority ruled.

Fortunately, America has a Constitution with a Bill of Rights. The founders realized that majority rule must be limited to preserve individual liberty. “A Bill of Rights,” wrote James Winthrop, “serves to secure the minority against the usurpations and tyranny of the majority.”
I am a veterinarian who specializes in raising elk for my livelihood. All my elk are tested yearly for both TB and brucellosis. Any elk that dies on my property, whether naturally or by hunting, has its brain tested for CWD. I have faithfully followed those state-issued requirements. The last thing I want is a disease harming my animals and destroying my livelihood.

Ranch elk genetics all originate from Yellowstone National Park elk. In order to reduce populations, the park gave elk to individuals and state fish and game departments beginning in the 1930s. Unlike wild elk, where inbreeding of fathers to daughters and brothers to sisters occurs, elk ranchers carefully breed their animals for desirable traits and prevent inbreeding. I breed for trophy antlers. Others breed for meat. Like any business, we follow the capitalist system of supply and demand, using what fits our individual operations.

Elk ranching is unpopular with a certain group of people. These animal rights activists believe elk ranches are as reprehensible as raising mink in cages for fur. To rally the majority, these activists create imaginary horribles of disease and genetic pollution. The misinformed believe their lies. The real truth is these people will stop at nothing, including violating private property rights, to gain their cause.
Gov. Jim Risch believed the lies. Through an unconstitutional delegation of executive authority, and illegitimate reasons, he violated my private property rights. There was no public health emergency granting him authority to order my elk killed. Fortunately, with the help of my family and friends, 50 elk have been recaptured. If not for the actions of the government, we would have caught them all. To date, 32 head have been slaughtered, four with grain in their mouths at the opening of my capture pen. I was arrested trying to stop Fish and Game from killing my elk as they returned to my private land. I find it a paradox that I was arrested trying to protect my property from government theft.

Idaho code, 25-3705A(3) reads, “Any domestic cervidae, that have escaped the control of the owner … for more then seven (7) days, taken by a licensed hunter … shall be considered a legal taking … .” This statute was actually sought in good faith by the elk ranchers should a hunter accidentally kill an escaped ranch elk. We never agreed that open season should be instituted on escaped elk. By statute, ranch elk are deemed livestock with absolute property rights, whether inside or outside the fence. We have the same rights as cattlemen or horsemen when their animals escape. Risch’s cattle recently escaped their pasture but none were shot. Yet, the governor ordered both IDFG and private hunters to kill my elk and excused them from liability.
This isn’t just about elk ranches but American liberty. Government will take our rights if we allow it. Today, it is Rex Rammell’s fight. Tomorrow, it will be yours.

Rex Rammell is the owner of Chief Joseph Elk Ranch in eastern Idaho.

*Previous Posts*

Has Government Gone Too Far? More Escaped Elk Shot
What Do Malnurished Elk Look Like?
Idaho Elk Breeders Association Opens New Website
Bull Elk Shot Inside Rex Rammell’s Ranch
Wyoming Governor Asks Idaho Governor To Ban Game Farms
Escaped Idaho Elk Shot In Wyoming
Rex Rammell Arrested
Governor Jim Risch Defends His Decision To Shoot Escaped Elk
Idaho Gubernatorial Candidates Have A Say About Elk Farming
Rammell For Governor, Ranch Sold, Elk Still Being Hunted
Wyoming Governor Freudenthal Says Interior Department Not Doing Enough About Escaped ElkIdaho’s Escaped Elk Now Getting National Attention
Idaho Elk Farmer Says All His Elk Accounted For
Idaho Governor Expands Hunt For Escaped Elk
More Elk Killed In Idaho – Some By Hunters
Idaho Elk Farmer Plans To Sue The State
Scientists Will Test Killed Idaho Elk For Disease And Genetic Make-up
A Helicopter, A Plane And 25 Agents Can’t Find 160 Domestic Elk
Escaped Idaho Elk Being Slaughtered. Wyoming Ordered To Kill Elk Also
Domestic Elk Crash The Gate – Escape!

Tom Remington