By James Beers:
I receive many requests to “write something” or “support” some federal wolf legislative proposal or some State fish and wildlife Budget Request for a “special” appropriation to “manage” wolves that are killing livestock. I regret to say that, like other requests to get behind a “special” federal regulation modification to “return wolf management” to certain states; I more often than not spend my time on other things that I believe to be more useful.
Why do I not actively support such “important” and “necessary” government actions? Let me count the ways.
- As long as the Endangered Species Act remains on the books, all of these things are like a hologram in one of those Star Wars movies; that is to say merely illusions controlled from some far off location. They can be made dormant when convenient and activated immediately when opportune to bureaucrats and their “partners”.
- As we hum like busy bees over the need for more dollars for the state guys and gals that put the wolves in our midst and that look away as they spread and multiply killing livestock and dogs and big game while lying to us about the wolves and when pinned to the wall whine that their “Plan” (dictated, approved and overseen by federal bureaucrats) is all they can go by.
- Federal bureaucrats, utilizing federal law and the regulations they (the bureaucrats) write and modify with pro-wolf non-government organizations) to constantly “push and probe” the American public like ISIS terrorists as to how to keep the states “in line” with federal goals as the wolves spread and multiply from valley to plain and state to state.
- State and federal wildlife bureaucrats that were once (decades ago) the most highly respected bureaucrats in government have come to be known as liars (the right word) and connivers that, without hesitation or reluctance, ignore legislative review mandates and public input, use groundless figures like puppet-government bureaucrats in an occupied country, and operate and enlarge a lawless shadow government for their own benefit utilizing clandestine NGO “partners” with more lawless hidden agendas than the American Communist Party or the latest Moslem lobbying organization.
- I have come to view all those things I admit to not supporting as simply delay and distraction tactics by bureaucrats, politicians and NGO’s that are destroying rural America and the national rule of law.
As I write this, March 2016, the bureaucrats are all being “so nice” and “listening to our “needs”. Why? Because there is a Presidential election underway and all those wildlife bureaucrats and their political hacks appointed to run them know where this gravy train is buttered. They all want a President, Congress, Supreme Court, State Legislature and Governor of either Party that will “support” “sound conservation biology”. “Sound conservation biology’’ is translated as “bigger budgets”, “more land ownership and control”, “more bureaucrats”, “more government authority and jurisdiction”, and any other things the bureaucrats want that will get and keep votes for the politicians in power. Thus, bureaucrats will “push and probe” (see 1 through 5 above) in ways that get those politicians most in the bureaucrat’s pockets (yes they are just like lobbyists) elected and reelected.
There are two kinds of politicians that bureaucrats do not want to see elected: one they can live with and one they despise. They can live with the “can’t we all just get along” politicians. Those guys will just leave everything (see 1 through 5 above) in place and occasionally throw crumbs like a new Wilderness or Marine Sanctuary to urban voters or suburban women, or support the latest “management return” to a State (under conditions of an “approved” Plan and with the clear bureaucrat understanding that it can all be reclaimed with a lawsuit or regulatory maneuver by federal bureaucrats when opportune in the future). An example of this was President GW Bush keeping a politician (in charge of the +/-$60 Million missing from the Pittman Robertson Excise Taxes for state agencies’ wildlife programs to introduce wolves in the mid 1990’s into the Upper Rocky Mountain States) in a non-job until the his Party came back into power and made him Director of the US Fish and Wildlife Service. Like so many other transformative Progressive actions, they push and push relentlessly until there appears to be a developing pushback (today?) and then we are all supposed to sing Kumbaya around the fire and let it all stay in place until they seize total power again (like 2009-2010) at which time they resume right where they left off with a vengeance.
The politician the bureaucrats despise the most though is the one that comes in saying and actually intending to amend unjust laws, reduce government and reorient federal intrusions into state and local authorities and jurisdictions. I saw this first-hand when Ronald Reagan was elected and while he served two terms. I had been working for the federal government for over a decade by then. I was in Washington when President Reagan was elected and when he left. Those were the days (1970’s-1990’s) when the US Fish and Wildlife Service, US Forest Service, BLM and other federal natural resource/land-owning bureaucracies were beginning to marginalize wildlife-managers/foresters/range managers and hiring, promoting and transferring anti-resource management employees with growing minority and female employees largely under EEO Preferences for which bonuses were paid and accepting political appointees with more and more of those anti-management, pro-environmental-sanctification values and agendas. The result is what we deal with today. The nasty and hateful things commonly said about President Reagan and his appointees (i.e. the “menacing” Manny Lujan, the “dangerous” Jim Watt, et al) in bureaucratic privacy were both stunning and appalling. The bureaucrat’s propaganda machine did everything it could to make him look stupid and his appointees to look like morons. It never let up and it was disgraceful to say the least. Ask yourselves Mr. & Mrs. America, how is any reform even possible without a strong confrontation?
So you ask, what has all this to do with “Wolves”? What do you mean by “How Much?” by “How Long?”
Never forget or doubt that the Defenders of Wildlife, HSUS, Animal Welfare Institute, Wilderness Society, Sierra Club, Wildlife Federation, NRDC, Center for Biological Diversity, PETA, et al agree that the end game is no hunting, no trapping, no animal management, no animal control, no animal ownership, no animal use, no animal commerce and no unregulated activity by any citizen even remotely involved with any wild or domestic animal. These groups have annual get-togethers with state and federal bureaucrats, they lobby federal and state politicians and they serve as an employee-pool for federal and state agencies. They work with and serve as a bookend for federal and state wildlife agencies when paired with the increasingly get-along hunting/fishing/ranching/land owner Non-Government Organizations originally formed to advocate for their namesakes (Ducks Unlimited, Pheasants Forever, American Cattlemen, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, et al). These latter have, like many accuse the Republican “Establishment” in Washington of becoming, evolved into “get-along partners” with the very bureaucracies and Non-Government bureaucracies they were founded to either support or oppose. Add in the big sporting goods businesses (selling smuggled – no Excise Tax – Chinese fishing tackle, supporting federal “Invasive Species Authority while displaying pheasants and brown trout on the walls of their stores, etc.) and you have plenty of blame to go around.
But, the big 800# gorilla in the room described in the foregoing paragraph is which ones (or one), take your time here, would really fight to keep the federal animal control function when (not if) all of the above dandies advocate or go AWOL when Wildlife Services is finally dumped into the bureaucratic junkyard or moved and renamed the Office of Interpretive Human Management or some such concoction? That is going to happen.
Wildlife Services was the first federal foray into federal wildlife authority and jurisdiction way back in the 19th century. Wildlife Services has had many names and up until the environmental Armageddon in the 1970’s many USFWS Managers came from the Wildlife Services workforce. The Avant Garde, Nouveau employees and political appointees of the 1990’s led the charge to abolish Wildlife Services but powerful advocates came to its defense and everyone cheered when the despised Wildlife Services was transferred from USFWS to the USDA under President Clinton. Make no mistake there are increasingly powerful bureaucrat and NGO forces that will cut funding to and move to abolish the Wildlife Services under the next tyrannical reign (like Roman Emperors’ changes often were) and opportunity.
So, the question is, “How Long will Wildlife Services be around to:
– Act as a placebo (i.e. “kill a wolf when 2 / 3 whatever ‘verified’ livestock losses take place) while wolves are continuing to spread?
– Verify, “Yes it was wolves” or “no it was dogs” honestly?
– Be the only state-wide or national data point for dog losses to wolves?
– Be the only state-wide or national data point for what is REALLY happening to big game animals due to predation by wolves?
– Be the only entity capable of actually catching/capturing/trapping/snaring/ etc. offending wolves quickly and efficiently?
– Be the one remaining entity with a few employees willing and able to kill offending dangerous and destructive animals?
– Be the only remaining government entity recognizing the destructiveness of both wild and domestic animals and the need to be equipped to take concrete and effective action.
– Be the only repository of government employees that (while in the field and away from political-hack handlers) can advise and describe wolf problems and solutions to American citizens.
The point being, when Wildlife Services is gone or converted into some sort of environmental seminary for new employees, HOW WILL OR WHO WILL CONTROL WOLVES AND THEIR DESTRUCTION? The federal and most state governments are committed to not let the “management by the state”, or faux concern for predation, or eased control for rural residents go on long. That may be when the wolves are irreversible (perhaps in another 4 or 5 states) or when numbers in the settled landscapes of The Lower 48 states are in the tens of thousands and the next arrogant President and “his” or “her” Congress takes control and Wildlife Services is teaching macramé; will any of us look back and say (or will out kids and grandkids say?), “how stupid were we (they) to think that there would be:
– Eternal wolf-counting to monitor adherence to “plans”?
– Never-ending selective wolf control based on actual damages?
– Obligatory government protection of rural property and rural lives from government wolves?
– Ever any management of wolf damage and destruction levels or wolf densities by the bureaucrats and politicians that put the wolves there.
– Government wolf control in a world of no rural rights to control any animals that was always a lie that once realized it is too late to ever put the wolves back in the bottle or punish the liars that profited and are long gone to some gated-golf community in a sunny climate.
The second question is, “How Much State and Federal Tax Dollars is all this, and Future, Wolf Bay-Sitting Going to Take?”
Take Washington State’s latest maneuver to hire a “conflict specialist” or Oregon’s request for more money to control wolves depredating on livestock: where does such money come from?
– When fewer folks buy hunting licenses because of lack of game and human safety concerns, wildlife program funding declines.
– When government gun control and ammunition bans make purchases more difficult, more expensive and (except for self-protection) gun sales decrease; Excise Tax Revenue from the sale of Arms and Ammunition for state wildlife programs decreases.
– Hunting License Revenue and Excise Tax Revenue are the two major sources of funding for state wildlife programs.
– Baby-sitting wolves (counting, researching, enforcing, public relations, hearings, investigating depredations, etc.) not only comes (from the federal government) with NO FUNDING OF ANY PERMANENCE, IT ACTUALLY CONTRIBUTES TO THE DECLINE OF ALL WILDLIFE PROGRAM FUNDING! Why it’s enough to make you a “black helicopter conspiracy” guy. Who could let this happen? Why doesn’t someone say something?
– So with a federal government +/-$20 Trillion in debt and state governments wondering where their next year’s tax revenue will come from, does anyone in rural America really believe that there will be money from either the state or federal politicians to do all this predation “verification”/compensation-payment/control of offending animals/public relations/censussing/federal compliance/etc. wolf babysitting ad infinitum?
Yeah, the New England environmental voters will support keeping ranching and big game hunting safe from wolves Out West with federal dollars. Federal and State bureaucrats will request budget increases to “study” alternatives like contracting it out to Defenders of Wildlife like wolf compensation was farmed out when wolves were first dumped and forced into states that were too “nice” to object. The Seattle/Portland/San Francisco/Los Angeles voters will enthusiastically vote eternal big ticket state funding to minimize cattle depredation, big game losses and rural dog deaths from wolves in rural parts of their states. Just like I am sure Minneapolis and Milwaukee voters will gladly spring for more and more millions every year to bring back Minnesota moose or Wisconsin elk being eliminated by wolves. Especially when the ONLY REAL ANSWER is killing 70% of the wolves every year for a decade and then killing the amount required annually to keep them at about 25% of current numbers or (in a just world) exterminating them from Counties that do not want wolves and then KEEPING them extinct in such environs. Heck, I’d bet that Chicago voters and Philadelphia/New York voters would be the first ones to step up to the plate to save the state wildlife agencies of other states if they were asked to do so with federal funds. Who can believe any of this?
We are just like those passengers on the Titanic, so secure in our belief that we and our vessel are indestructible that we ignore the iceberg before us while rearranging the deck chairs.
30 March 2016
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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.
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