December 11, 2019

Helping “Bunnies”

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This is Most Precious

How Absurd Journalism and Childish Nature Propaganda Are Being Used by Federal and State Government to Eliminate Hunting and the Funding for Management of Renewable Natural Resources for Human Benefit

The following article was given (the media does not generate these sorts of articles, they are “given” to them, often as already finished or partially drafted articles, by government agencies and academic “researchers” for a wide range of purposes from manufacturing support for budget or license increases to activating outrage and political support for proposed controversial actions) to the Poughkeepsie (NY) Journal recently. When I read it, I was skimming it as yet another Sesame Street-level bit of trivia until I read the last three short paragraphs that, while not really surprising me, floored me in their audacity by identifying how government hunting program money was being diverted into uses intended to eliminate hunting in the belief that the general public was too dumb to recognize it. Shades of that arrogant Obamacare “advisor” from Harvard or MIT

I have arranged my comments (A through G) corresponding to the sections of the news release on “Peter Cottontail” that follows them. The last comment (G), while insulting enough to sportsmen in its’ own right, is even more galling after reading all that precedes it.

*Editor’s Note* Please read the “bunny” article.

A. Note “bunny” and “Peter Cottontail” identifiers to introduce the article. How serious can the article be? Will there be any mention of why the New York Department of Environmental Conservation (i.e. DNR, Wildlife Agency, Conservation Commission, Fish and Game, etc. in other states) just spent $519,000 and five years on a “bunny” study? We are told it is for “helping restore, monitor and manage”; but for what, or for whom? Hunting is nowhere mentioned in what follows.

B. How cute! Rabbits as “the epitome of prolific breeding”, yuk, yuk. Oh, and the federal US Fish and Wildlife Service is evidently considering “protecting” said bunnies “under the Endangered Species Act.” A half-Million spent on “bunnies”, “the epitome of prolific breeding” by a State government on an animal that could skyrocket in numbers next year if timber and pulp cutting or odd strips of weedy-crops were planted on public and private land was undertaken? Federal ESA Listing being considered for “bunnies”? Like the observation in Hamlet about Denmark, there is something rotten going on here in New York.

C. So, let me get this straight: The “Native” habitat was “forest” that was “cut down in Colonial times” and therefore was, similarly devoid of “bunnies”. So, wouldn’t the bunnies be (like brown trout, pheasants, Great Lakes Salmon et al) Non-Native and a similar violation of the sacred pre-1492 America? Wouldn’t the remaining 14% of the 1960 “bunnie” population cited as a reason for alarm really be (according to current government mania about “Native Ecosystems) a target of eradication rather than a reason to suggest the full-Monty of the draconian federal takeover of the ESA? Actually this “bunnie” of concern is no different than any other rabbit in SE Canada or the N Lower 48 States. “New England” bunnies have all the biological significance justifying federal “intervention” as “red” wolves that are simply dog/coyote/wolf hybrids. “Bunnies” in New England are dwindling for the same reason that woodcock are dwindling in the woodlands of New England – the woodlands are no longer cut for either timber management, pulp or fire prevention on public or private lands. Thus there is no shrubby forest succession anymore for woodcock to nest in and feed their young just like there is little sunlight and little shrubbery on the forest floors for “bunnies” to live year around in cover. Agricultural land is not only shrinking due to everything from paving and home construction; agricultural crops no longer exist in weedy fields and disturbed edges so hospitable to “bunnies” and game birds. Add into all of this the government discouragement and resulting absence of consistent furbearer/predator hunting/trapping of any significance and robust populations of predators that eat “bunnies” from hawks and owls to coyotes and foxes; and you have yet another reason for this topic of “bunnies” that seem to be “using a different flyway” as government has been known to explain dearths of migratory birds in the bag in bad years. None of this; unmanaged woodlands, dwindling and sterile (for such wildlife) agricultural areas, or predation are mentioned in this article about a “bunnie” emergency that it is suggesting.

D. “Homeless” rabbits, how cute and how emotionally alarming to a large swath of urban voters anguishing over climate change and finding new worlds as ours is about to implode. Rabbits come and go periodically over time for a host of reasons. Other than dwindling predator food supplies, why is this a problem? Clearly hunting or human consumption of rabbits is never mentioned so here we have a “species” that admittedly must have been as rare as hen’s teeth when those European destroyers invaded the pristine America. Could the State be burning up a half-Million dollars in hunting program -intended money to assemble claptrap about such animal? Could State funding be being used to alarm the public about some critter that is about to be (needlessly in a biological sense) seized and (with all its’ claimed “critical habitat” as well) made into federal government grist for human activity, private property rights and economic restrictions plus further elimination of State and Local Jurisdictions and Authority? Isn’t this the “protected” Progressive Northeast where “empty wolf habitat” ignored by federal wolf Overlords whilst every nook and cranny of the rest of the Lower 48 States in slated to get wolves come “H!!! or high water”? Aren’t these those “love every environmental/animal rights law” States that insist on telling the rest of the Nation how to live their lives? Is it possible that the federal government no longer must rely on these fantasy-loving voters and their financial supporters and that somehow it will advantage federal politicians and federal bureaucrats to begin running rural New England as they are Wisconsin and Washington and Oregon and Arizona et al?

E. High deer densities are identifiable when you can see bare ground and nothing but tree trunks for six feet above the ground for a mile or more as you approach a “forest”. What all the Northeast environmentalists used to bemoan and use as rallying cries to close grazing, timber management, hunting and all other use of renewable natural resources on western public and private lands (“oh look at how they are raping the land”, “ranchers leave no stream bank vegetation”, logging has denuded the slopes and erosion is happening”, “hunting is cruel and it kills the healthy animals, not the old and sick like predators”) is exactly what they have done with their public and private property in the Northeast with deer. How is deer overgrazing impacts any different from hysterical and untrue claims of livestock effects out West? No hunting; no logging; no grazing and lo and behold none other than the august federal “Fish & Wildlife Service describes the current densities of deer in New England as “unprecedented.”

Let’s see, if hunting isn’t controlling deer (Closed-to-Hunting public and private lands abound and bureaucrats that are not strongly anti-hunting are, well, no longer bureaucrats), what will? What will save the “bunnies”? Why more predators of course. Stop all trapping and hunting and release wolves. Coyotes and foxes will supplement the expected deer massacres. But wait, weren’t we told that predators like wolves were good for the environment and big game like elk and moose and DEER? Won’t stream banks become lush once again and won’t all those rich Northeasterners, and the poor ones too, thrill to the sound of howling wolves “out back” while they reduce deer numbers? That is what Westerners and South Westerners and Southerners were told and how is that working out? Are there federal bureaucrats scheming at this moment for such a move to be announced like the Bergdal Terrorist Trade or the Cuban “Reset” in which no one knows and no one has any say because our “betters” are called that because they are simply “better” than you or me?

(F.) “The two rabbits look nearly identical and are only reliably identified by genetic testing of tissue, fecal samples or examining skull characteristics.” What can I add to such foolishness as the basis for government to use as a basis to abuse the populous (from incarceration, fines and loss of voting/gun rights) and to grow federal power at the expense of (supine) State and Local governments? Those that let this sort of thing to happen to State and Local governments, and to our freedom to hunt are those that Ben Franklin would have said “deserve neither!”

(G.) Read these last lines carefully:

“Three-quarters of the money for the project — about $389,000 — comes from federal excise taxes paid by sportsmen and sportswomen when they purchase guns, ammunition and archery items.

(The amount New York is using for this study is only a tiny portion of the many, many millions of dollars it receives each year from the federal government by way of the tax.)

The rest, about $130,000, is coming from the state and other sources.”

1.)$520,000 from “federal excise taxes paid by sportsmen and sportswomen when they purchase guns, ammunition and archery items” are funds intended for hunting programs in each state based on the amount collected each year and the size of the state and the hunting licenses they sell. A clever and unprotested change 15 years ago renamed the funds “Wildlife Restoration Funds” precisely to allow state agencies to spend the money just like this on whatever they wanted to or (remember it was feds that made the change) on what Federal Bureaucrats want them to do. Hunters be damned and ask yourself why you never heard about this or hear about these things such that they (the feds) have come to take for granted your tolerance and ignorance as fostered by your hunting organizations and those State bureaucrats that you have more often than not believed to have had your interests and rights at heart. As an aside, these are the funds that in the mid 1990’s the US Fish and Wildlife Service stole from the funds due to the States in order to capture Canadian wolves and release them in Yellowstone. Not only were the stolen funds never replaced, the state Wildlife Directors never even asked Congres to replace what federal bureaucrats stole from state programs and the American Hunters.

2.) “(The amount New York is using for this study is only a tiny portion of the many, many millions of dollars it receives each year from the federal government by way of the tax.)” Really? In 2013 the State of New York received $14.2 Million of these funds; in 2014 the State of New York received 20.5 Million of these funds. Anyone thinking that spending a half million of those precious hunting funds on silly science about an animal that is evidently not being hunted much and is not intended to once again be hunted as the federal government is tooling up (like some tin-pot dictator preparing for a surprise invasion) to take it over – well such a person probably neither hunts nor supports hunting. By the way, do you know the reason for the big jump? As President Obama’s final years approach, gun owners like a lot of other Americans are in great fear of losing their rights as well as many other things. Gun Rights are but one of those rights dangerously threatened as the federal government buys up billions of rounds of ammunition for untold purposes, closes the last lead smelter in the US, and has clearly embarked on an illegal and un-Constitutional campaign to rid the Nation of both guns and gun owners. Just like Obama’s first two years and Clinton’s first two years when gun control was also being pursued, 2013 and 2014 have seen an explosion of gun and ammunition purchases and an upsurge in Excise Taxes from those sales for State Wildlife Programs. How ironic is it that the more the federal officials buy up ammunition (thereby running up the price); close down domestic lead production (also raising the price and increasing our dependence of foreign sources; and threaten to confiscate guns – the more money goes to State Wildlife Programs to be squandered and thereby be denied to hunting programs and hunters. This makes federal bureaucrats and all the environmental extremist and animal rights radical groups happy as they progress toward their goals. Ask yourself why DU, Pheasants Forever, the NRA, Shooting Sports, Rocky Mtn. Elk, and your favorite State wildlife bunch never howled when this change was made or how this money is being spent today? I personally wonder why I am such a Pariah after years of trying to explain these things both verbally and in writing? I’ll give you a hint hunters, killing the messenger doesn’t change the truth in the message one “tiny” bit as this Poughkeepsie writer is wont to write.

3.) “The rest, about $130,000, is coming from the state and other sources.” The “State”? While technically true, it doesn’t come from the state employees union or the gas tax or the sales tax or the income tax – it comes from Hunting License Sales dollars and “other sources” like revenue from state hunting lands and state hunting program charges like entrance fees or consulting fees or other dollars generated by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. It is seriously illegal for any of those funds to be spent outside the state wildlife agency in order to continue getting future Excise Tax shares. So, it has finally come to this that the hunting dollars go to preparation to surrender another state hunting species to federal never-to-be-hunted-again Control and no auditor or no federal “wildlife person” or no hunting organization even notices.

If all the foregoing isn’t enough to jar hunters to see what’s up, consider this. By Law, State wildlife agencies must be audited every five years. In the 1980’s and 1990’s this went undone by federal bureaucracies as anti-hunting forces took over and saw easy access to those funds as in their best interest. When Congress found out in 1999 that the USFWS was stealing millions, audits were hastily re-instituted. Within three years millions of dollars of “diversions” and disappearance of funds were discovered but the theft was resolved politically behind closed doors, the auditors were fired, the audit reports redone with no findings of note, politically sensitive auditors were appointed, new audits or any negative findings have been invisible ever since.

Oh and one more thing, many states renamed and reorganized their wildlife agencies in order to allow the Excise Tax/License Revenue money to go into state motor pools, or to pay other state bureaucrats when their funding was low, or to take revenue from state land timber sales and put it in the General Treasury, or to allow a prison to be built on lands purchased with Excise Tax dollars, or even to allow illegal crossing access to favored land developers like Whitewater in Arkansas. One of the worst reorganizational setups for such skullduggery was the ones called “Environmental Conservation Departments”. This made all the sacred and blessed state programs like Pollution, Climate Change”, Environmental Education”,” Water and Air Management”, “Parks”, “Land Management”, etc. bedfellows with “Wildlife” and those Excise Taxes and License Revenues. The opportunity for chicanery and mischief is unlimited. But of course this was only a factor in a state where corruption was possible. Of course States like New York, Illinois, Massachusetts, California, and New Jersey would be above suspicion so disregard anything I have written here that might seem suspicious of or negative toward about the State of New York, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, or those bureaucrats at both those levels that labor away day in and day out trying to unravel the mysteries of things like disappearing “bunnies”.

Jim Beers
2 Feb. 2015

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Jim Beers is a retired US Fish & Wildlife Service Wildlife Biologist, Special Agent, Refuge Manager, Wetlands Biologist, and Congressional Fellow. He was stationed in North Dakota, Minnesota, Nebraska, New York City, and Washington DC. He also served as a US Navy Line Officer in the western Pacific and on Adak, Alaska in the Aleutian Islands. He has worked for the Utah Fish & Game, Minneapolis Police Department, and as a Security Supervisor in Washington, DC. He testified three times before Congress; twice regarding the theft by the US Fish & Wildlife Service of $45 to 60 Million from State fish and wildlife funds and once in opposition to expanding Federal Invasive Species authority. He resides in Eagan, Minnesota with his wife of many decades.
Jim Beers is available to speak or for consulting. You can receive future articles by sending a request with your e-mail address to: jimbeers7@comcast.net

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