December 20, 2014

Geo-Engineering is a Real Threat Not Ranchers, Farmers, Proven Game Management

Geoengineering science is the real threat against natural resources, wildlife. Not ranchers, farmers nor proven effective hunting management models. Environmentalists trying to put to ruin those ruining the earth in their eyes are seriously off target.

The US and Canada are both actively and passively pressuring scientists and agencies to suppress data they do not want released to the public!

Monitoring And Muzzling Scientists, New Legislation Casts A Chill

“I know a California Fish and Game biologist that is reprimanded if she even tries to bring up the issue of climate engineering or the fact that the streams and waterways in California are flowing with aluminum. I have been in the forest with USDA scientists testing soils and coming up with results that showed horrifically higher PH values than the historical norms. These scientists will not speak out as they know it is a bad career decision or worse.”

WHINE: Wolves Can Be Shot on Private Land Within National Park

“The Wyoming Game & Fish Department will take the lead in responding to wildlife management issues on privately-owned lands within the park, and will coordinate with park staff when necessary and appropriate,”<<<Read More>>>

Getting the Best Constitutional Amendment for Right to Hunt, Fish and Trap

V. Paul Reynolds, in his weekly article in the Sun Journal, indicates efforts are underway to introduce legislative action in the Maine Congress for a constitutional amendment aimed at helping to protect the right of Maine residents to hunt, fish and trap. I’ve been calling for this for many years now, as have several others.

I’ve also had a few brief communications with George Smith, outdoor writer and outdoor sports activist, in which he asked me a few questions about the ideas of an amendment. He also has indicated that an effort is underway to propose a constitutional amendment.

If an amendment can even survive the Maine legislature, it has to be the right amendment. It is pointless to jump through all the hoops and spend the time, effort and money to get an amendment passed, if, in the end, the amendment doesn’t do what I believe it is that sportsmen and citizens expect.

But first let’s look at what an amendment will not do. It will not prohibit the right of the people to petition. Some fear such amendments will do that, when in fact, what the amendment, if written properly, will do, is better define what the people of Maine want and expect as it pertains to hunting, fishing and trapping. It would not, if written properly, unconstitutionally prohibit the right to petition.

The three major positives, in my opinion, that can come from a properly written amendment, are explained below.

1. An amendment clearly defines what the Maine people want and expect.

2. An amendment written that acknowledges that Maine residents want game animals for consumptive use, within the regulations for that purpose by the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, sends a message to radical animal rights and environmental groups that this means enough to the Maine people that they went to the effort of providing that guarantee in their constitution. This would not end lawsuits, but might deter others. It will not prohibit the right to petition.

3. Of most importance in an amendment must be a clear directive that any official Maine fish and wildlife department must manage game species for surplus harvest. Let me explain. I have been involved with and studied constitutional amendments in other states that have them. An amendment of this kind, if it is going to do as residents want, has to do more that simply recognize a “right” to hunt, trap and fish. Some states have such amendments, some of which state that fish and game departments must manage wildlife to provide “opportunities” to fish, hunt and trap. Stop and think for a moment exactly what that means.

An opportunity to hunt fish and trap, does not result in a harvest, for consumptive use. Herein, lies one of the problems with enacting these amendments. As wildlife agencies nationwide morph more and more towards providing opportunities for bird watching, an amendment without a mandate to manage game for surplus harvest, results in going on a wildlife watching tour and carrying a gun, fishing rod or bag of traps merely for the exercise. It is my opinion that an amendment of this kind is to deter lawsuits, protect a heritage and provide sustenance for those wanting and needing to eat game and to ensure that fish and game departments manage for those purposes, not just “opportunities.”

An amendment with real teeth, that will keep sportsmen happy and continuing to pay the bills for the fish and game departments, must guarantee that a fish and game department will do everything in its power to manage game species for surplus harvest. It is my opinion that anything short of that will not accomplish what I believe sportsmen want and in the long run what people who understand how successful the North American Model of Wildlife Management has been, want as well.

The argument has often been used by animal rights and environmental groups that less than 10% of the people hunt. Combined hunting, trapping and fishing, I’m sure provides a percentage higher than 10%, however, the vast majority of citizens understand what’s at stake and support this plan.

In 2012 Idaho passed an amendment. It did not include the “teethy” mandate for surplus harvest management requirements. However, that amendment easily passed with nearly 80% of the voters indicating they favored such an amendment.

A Collection of Moose Parts Doesn’t Necessarily Mean Moose Expert

Found in the Stowe, Vt. Stow Today, we read: “If you want a walking Wikipedia of the moose, not to mention the threats that assail it, then Alexander is your man.

In his jam-packed office in St. Johnsbury, he has vials of moose ovaries and ticks in all life stages, boxes of jawbones and antlers, teeth and other items that he brings on show-and-tells. He has every chart imaginable, from a tally of the just-finished hunt this year — he’s counted 147 so far, about as predicted — to how many moose have been killed by hunters since seasons began in 1999: about 6,150.”

Does collecting parts and pieces make for the “best” expert on moose? Just because a person has the largest automobile junkyard in the state doesn’t make them an expert auto mechanic necessarily.

Here are some issues not being addressed honestly which renders this article without a great deal of credibility. The first claim is that Vermont’s moose is in trouble. Is it? Is the moose in trouble because the state cannot maintain enough moose to satisfy all those interested in having more moose? When fish and game departments became fish and wildlife departments and decided decisions on wildlife management would be based mostly on the social demands of the public, the moose population has shown signs of fluctuation. Because it’s in a downward trend in some places, it is easy to claim the moose is in trouble and find nonsense issues to blame it on.

This article blames the decline of moose in Vermont on three issues: Brainworm, Winter Tick and Climate Change (global warming). Global warming is really a non starter because facts show us that the “climate” hasn’t warmed for at least a decade and yet those who make money from repeating the lies about climate change, beat the drum of unsubstantiated conclusions and predictions about global warming. If we listened to the “experts” we would have all been dead by now. It’s time to move on. Most of the world is very sick and tired of the bovine excrement surrounding the idiocy of man-caused global warming.

On the same token, it’s easy to blame the presence of winter ticks on global warming. This is done, for political reasons only as it appears even the so-called experts don’t even understand the simple life-cycle of the winter tick.

Left out of the discussion of moose management is whether or not attempting to create a moose population large enough to make money from selling moose hunting licenses and satisfy the social demands of those interested in driving around in climate-controlled cars observing moose, is the best scientific approach to managing a healthy moose herd. I contend it probably is not.

A couple of short years ago Maine bragged that their moose population might exceed 90,000; like that was a good thing. Is Maine really capable of sustaining 90,000 moose? Evidently not, because all indications are that the moose has realized significant die-offs, mostly due to winter ticks. Don’t any of these biologists think that perhaps 90,000 moose are too many and due to that fact alone, contributed to and/or is 100% responsible for the overwhelming presence of winter ticks? This in turn, created that “balance” few in this world understand is how Mother Nature does things. Isn’t this Biology 101? Too many animals breeds disease. Disease causes die-offs. If all things remained the same, except the outbreak of winter ticks continued to kill moose, doesn’t it make sense that once the moose are substantially reduced, we will be witness to a die-off of winter ticks? Is so, moose numbers will return and if allowed to return to the same high numbers, the up and down, unstable cycle of population changes will persist.

What good are we doing our moose populations when we parrot the nonsense of global warming and blame everything on this fake occurrence? In addition, because real science has been tossed out the window, in exchange for Post-Normal, or Romance science, states with moose might be attempting to provide more moose than the complete carrying capacity will allow. After all, carrying capacity is more than just food and forests.

So long as these romance writers, writing about romance scientists, persists, we cannot expect any substantial, effective and long lasting, real knowledge to be gained that creates a positive environment for real wildlife management.

Demanding Regulation and Enforcement

LoggingIt’s easy isn’t it? This American society has become so manipulated and brainwashed that we, without any thought, demand that “there ought to be a law,” also known as regulation and enforcement. It shouldn’t be so easy and isn’t when the demands for regulation and enforcement hit directly home. Odd how selfish people are when it comes to playing with other peoples’ liberties, property and rights while attempting to protect their own. Because we’ve been bred and molded into non thinkers, we fail miserably in finding understanding as to the consequences of demanding regulation and enforcement. We somehow believe demanding of others’ livelihoods is good for ourselves. Have we that right?

Here’s an example. In a recent editorial in a Maine newspaper Online, a writer says that logging is “damaging Maine’s natural resources.” At issue seemed to be the writer’s concern over the state’s deer herd and the threats from loss of wintering habitat for deer because of logging. The writer states: “If the State of Maine is serious enough and has the guts to regulate and enforce effective laws to preserve our natural resources, not ask for volunteers, we can do that.”

Yes, we can do that but what is the right thing to do? The writer suggests that all it takes is “guts” to tell a landowner they can’t have what is rightfully theirs. But people somehow don’t believe it is rightfully theirs. They think they have a right to tell you how to live and how to make your living.

If you were a rancher or farmer, is all it would take would be “guts” to “regulate and enforce” you out of ownership of a barn because perhaps the smell of manure bothered some people? After all, it just takes guts. If you owned a home with a back yard swimming pool, would it be acceptable to “regulate and enforce,” with “guts” no less, for you to be prohibited from having a pool because someone thought it dangerous? What if you had a large tree in your yard that you were afraid would fall and damage your home. All it would take is guts to “regulate and enforce” you into not being able to cut that tree because it might have “historic” value….or something. And so, you have a title to 50 acres of land where your home is built. The government determines that 40 acres of that land is habitat for a rare plant and so, you are prohibited to use or sell that land in order to protect that plant. All it takes is “guts” to “regulate and enforce” you from what is rightfully yours.

Doesn’t this actually define an illegal “takings?” How do we, as a people, a government, have the right to take property from somebody without just compensation? With “guts” we can simply “regulate and enforce” landowners to stop harvesting timber that MIGHT be detrimental to the proliferation of a large enough deer herd so that residents can hunt them.

Isn’t to have the “guts” to “regulate and enforce” nothing more than fascism? If not fascism, certainly totalitarianism. We now live in a totalitarian/socialist state. If we can’t get away with “regulate and enforce” or illegal takings, then, if Maine is so determined that the reduced deer herd, the effect of which is part of a struggling economy, is so important, then landowners should be justly compensated for a “taking.” As such, all residents will endure an increase in taxes to pay for the takings…each according to his ability, each according to his need…and we must also consider the ramifications of price increases due to shortages of resources – supply and demand.

In reality, the landowner isn’t the landowner at all. He holds a piece of paper that allows him to pay taxes on it and to do with that land ONLY what government dictates him to be able to do. We continue to convince ourselves that we own land and can do with it what we want. The short of it is, it doesn’t take “guts” at all. It only takes government to demand and take. Citizens don’t understand that when they demand “there ought to be a law,” they are doing the bidding for the government against the people.

While citizens are making their demands to “regulate and enforce” their own ignorance and selfish greed prohibits them from a deeper understanding of the consequences of such demands. It will be only a matter of time before that demand to “regulate and enforce” comes around and bites them squarely on the backside.

I began this article stating how easy it was to demand laws. Those laws on demand are for somebody else not you, is our attitude. That is our mindset and that is why it is easy. Instead of thinking of what those consequences will be WHEN your turn comes around to be regulated and enforced upon, it’s easier to demand if of other people. And, more than likely, your demands are based upon false information you have been spoon fed that causes you to think “there ought to be a law.”

There ought to be a law that prohibits people from demanding “regulate and enforce.” Ha Ha

Sakha Republic of Russia To Cull 3,000 Wolves

Due to an overwhelming slaughter of over 16,000 reindeer, officials in the Russian Sakha Republic are paying handsome bounties, as much as $33,000 to the top hunters, to remove 3,000 wolves, reducing the estimated population to around 500 animals.

More information on this, with a link to a source article, can be found at the Wolf Education International website.

Outdoorsman History (Cont.) – the Real Reasons State F&G Management Was, and Still Is, Failing

By George Dovel (Republished on this website with permission from the author. All rights reserved.)

In Bulletin No. 55 Part 1 of 3, I described how I provided Bighorn Sheep Biologist Jim Morgan everything he needed to observe and document the ongoing destruction of Idaho’s wild Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep population in central Idaho. For several years, Morgan had been conducting a study of the alleged impact to a small group of bighorns near Challis from domestic sheep and cattle grazing, and from abundant mule deer browsing on the shared winter range of the bighorns.

As with other graduate students conducting similar research on other species, Morgan had recorded the seasonal movement of his bighorns and measured forage utilization. But because of financial limitations and the inherit difficulty even locating and identifying predator kills, much less measuring the impact of predation, he accepted his professors’ flawed teaching that predation was always self-limiting – and thus beneficial in the long run.

On our trips into the Idaho Primitive Area in a Cessna 180 with retractable skis, I helped him discover for himself and then record the causes of the decline in Idaho’s primary Bighorn population.

General September 3/4-curl Ram Season Allowed Too Many Rams to Be Killed by Hunters on Winter Range

I told Morgan that a 2-3 inch early September snowfall in the high country during most years caused the ram bands to return to winter range prematurely. Although they traveled back to the high country once the storm was over, these rams were extremely vulnerable to hunters when they briefly showed up on the outfitter ranch pastures on lower Big Creek and the lower Middle Fork of the Salmon.

Once the bachelor bands were virtually eliminated on Big Creek and the Middle Fork by hunters, with no mature rams to lead the young rams into the high country in the spring, many remained with the ewe-lamb groups where they were born. During the early pre-rut there was little or no dominance established and the young rams were breeding their mothers and sisters.

They soon produced a population with inbred sheep that were more susceptible to diseases, including pneumonia triggered by stress that involved parasites normally found in their internal organs.

Every winter as lion hunter Rob Donley and I traveled up and down lower Big Creek and the Middle Fork of the Salmon, we observed more bighorn ewes in poor condition being harassed by coyotes and constantly coughing. They were described as having “pneumonia-lungworm complex,” a common term used by biologists, who lacked medical training and chose to ignore the evidence that their harvest of too many mature rams from a limited population had caused the cycle of destruction)

Instead of limiting the number of hunters and allowing them to kill only a trophy ram (8-1/2 year or older) as recommended by Bighorn Sheep Researcher Dwight Smith in 1952, greedy IDFG officials settled on a general open season with any 3/4-curl ram legal to harvest in 1956.

Excessive Kill Stats Increased License, Tag Income

Smith had recorded a healthy late winter average of 75 rams and 40 surviving lambs per 100 ewes in the sheep population where a few hunters had legally harvested a handful of older rams. But 16 years later, when Morgan counted the lower Big Creek and lower Middle Fork bighorns on their winter range, he recorded a ratio of only 19 mostly young rams and 13 lambs per 100 ewes.

From 1968-1971 Morgan tried to convince Game Division Chief Roger Williams to close the general sheep season and allow only 7-1/2 year-old or older rams, or those scoring at least 140 Boone & Crocket points, to be harvested by a limited number of hunters. But the extra money from increases in the number of general season bighorn tags sold, prompted Williams to ignore the advice.

Yet during a 1970 F&G Commission meeting, when I asked Williams why he didn’t follow his Bighorn Biologist’s suggestions, he lied and said he had never heard such suggestions. Then in a taped meeting with Outdoorsman staff and the two top IDFG officials, Director Dick Woodworth said Idaho bighorn sheep were declining anyway, so hunters had just as well hunt and kill them.

We reminded him and Asst. Director Robert Salter that the combination of Idaho Code Secs. 36-103 and 104 require the F&G Commission to shorten or close seasons when populations would be adversely affected by hunting. But Salter responded by insisting their job was to provide “hunting opportunity” – rather than animals to hunt.

IDFG Director Ignores “Perpetuate Wildlife” Law – Sells Increased “Hunting Opportunity” Instead

In 1968 Woodworth had published a report titled, “Progress in Game Management by Expansion of Hunting Opportunity.” The report listed nine ways he accomplished this, including dramatically increasing season lengths; killing more deer, elk, sheep, goats and pheasants; killing more female deer, elk and pheasants; and allowing from 2 to 5 mule deer to be killed in one year by a single hunter.

The report stated his first priority: “1. Expanding Information and Education work at all levels in order to gain public acceptance of this accelerated progressive program of improving the hunting opportunity.” The propaganda was necessary because concerned citizens – not F&G officials – were and still are the people who value healthy wild game and fish populations above the empire building of the people they pay to manage game and fish.

Morgan “Blew the Whistle” on F&G Mismanagement

Morgan resigned from IDFG in March of 1971 and published an article in Boise’s Intermountain Observer, soundly condemning the agency for its failure to properly manage wildlife. He wrote that Department officials had deliberately mismanaged the state’s big game animals and described IDFG as “…an organization that has become so preoccupied with rules, paperwork and its failing public image that it often loses sight of its reason for existing.”

He said the Game Division was in particular trouble and had reached a point where “good researchers resign themselves to permanent paid retirement when they realize research is done for public appearances sake and that the Department is not interested in listening to or acting on research recommendations.”

He charged Game Division Chief Roger Williams with developing an irrational obsession to bust him out of IDFG after refusing to acknowledge the need for ending the general sheep season in Idaho. He added that long after other IDFG biologists had accepted his data, the Game Chief refused any proposal for a limited controlled hunting season with the claim, “We have an obligation to provide ‘hunting opportunity’ to hunters.”

IDFG Admitted Falsifying Known Harvests for 10 yrs.

About the time Morgan resigned, a 1968-1971 Legislative Performance Audit of IDFG by James Defenbach was released. It found that Williams and his Game Division biologists had knowingly published highly exaggerated big game population and harvest statistics for the preceding 10 years in order to hide rapidly declining populations and harvests from the public.

IDFG Director Woodworth was forced to resign almost immediately by newly elected governor Cecil Andrus. He was replaced with Nevada Big Game Manager Joe Greenley, who ordered the 10 years of exaggerated phone survey hunter harvest estimates be removed from the records, and insisted his biologists publish only the actual animals reported killed by hunters.

Morgan’s Plan to Transplant B.C. Bighorns to Restore Healthy “Native” Sheep Was Halted by F&G Officials

While Sheep Biologist Morgan was still with IDFG, he cited a 1961-67 Bighorn study by Dr. Valerius Geist, which documented that mature eight-year-old rams sired the lambs in healthy wild sheep herds. Geist, the undisputed authority on North American wild sheep, emphasized the importance of maintaining bachelor bands numbering from two to several dozen rams each, and led by mature animals experienced at avoiding cougars while utilizing the lush north-slope forage in the high country.

Morgan understood the importance of importing healthy bighorns that had no recent history of pneumonia die-offs, in order to restore genetically healthy herds in the Idaho back country. Yet Morgan’s Observer article stated that IDFG officials had deliberately prevented him from keeping an appointment with British Columbia Game personnel to transplant two truckloads of 25 healthy bighorns into central Idaho.

Transplanting those healthy animals into the Middle Fork of the Salmon Population Management Unit* appeared to be biologically sound. With no roads, no livestock, and limited access by humans, the odds of creating another pneumonia die-off in that PMU appeared remote. (* the PMU that contained nearly half of the native Bighorns found in the six Idaho PMUs that still had sheep)

Biologist Ignored Transmission of Disease

But instead of culling any native Bighorns that were still coughing on the Middle Fork PMU winter range, and replacing them with genetically healthy breeding stock from a herd with no evidence of pneumonia, the biologists pretended “nature” would correct the disaster they caused.

Their obsession with restoring and protecting what they perceive are pre-Columbian plants and predators, while claiming that will achieve so-called “healthy” ecosystems, cannot be defended scientifically or logically. But even before there was any organized group of sheep hunters to advocate for bighorns, state biologists joined USFS and BLM activists to dump several dozen bighorns where they had been extinct for 25-75 years.

The Outdoorsman had emphasized that allowing unlimited killing of males when there are too few animals to allow general season hunting, had resulted in serious inbreeding. And because inbreeding caused deformities in elk transplanted near Pocatello, Idaho, biologists made sure the bighorns they transplanted came from multiple sources. Yet they ignored the increased potential of introducing diseases from the many sources.

According to BLM Technical Bulletin 97-14, state wildlife biologists from Washington, Oregon and Idaho made 35 transplants or transfers of 451 Bighorns to Hells Canyon locations from April 1971 to Feb. 1995. Specific herds in the six states and one Province where the sheep originated were listed, but there were no tests for disease.

The Bulletin lists seven reported disease die-offs in Hells Canyon from 1971-72 to 1995-96. Several of the first transplants simply disappeared without a trace, but the 1983-84 die-offs were so severe in sheep on the Idaho side of the Snake River, it prompted Idaho legislators to enact a new Code Section, 36-106, with a list of requirements to meet before transporting big game into or within the State.

Many surviving adult Idaho sheep from the 1983-84 Hells Canyon die-off were still disease carriers in 1990, and the Salmon River Panther Creek bighorns that were originally the source were also dying from pneumonia. But instead of testing and culling the disease carriers in Hells Canyon, IDFG transplanted 30 sheep from a new source in Wyoming, pretending that would somehow halt the spread of disease.

Of course it did not and most of the 30 soon became infected and died. A series of Amendments to I.C. Sec. 36-106 included the requirement for IDFG to submit a 1990 plan to protect bighorn sheep from disease.

One More Plan That Was Never Achieved

That 10-yr. plan included a proposed 10% increase in Idaho’s Rocky Mountain Bighorns from 3,850 to 4,235, and a 20% increase in Idaho’s California Bighorns from 1,185 to 1,422. But as the IDFG graph by Frances Cassirer shows, instead of the planned 10% increase in Rocky Mtn. Bighorns, there was a 55% population decrease during the next 10 years – with a 43% decline in total harvest.

SheepGraph

From 1990-98, Idaho’s Rocky Mountain Bighorn population declined from 3,850 to 1,710 and the California Bighorns south of the Snake River increased from 1,240 to 1,460. But the 2008-2010 counts revealed only 1,873 Rocky Mtn. Bighorns and 964 California Bighorns for a total loss of 2,253 Idaho Bighorns (-44.3%) in 20 years.

The massive 1995-96 die-off of several hundred bighorns in Hells Canyon occurred in all three states (Idaho, Oregon and Washington). It followed transplanting three loads totaling 50 Bighorns from Cardinal River, Alberta to three separate locations in Oregon.

The die-off happened despite a tremendous increase in funding resulting from Idaho’s Bighorn Auction Tag approved in 1987 and the Bighorn Lottery Tag approved in 1991. Idaho’s Wildlife Health Vet. was approved in 1990, with specific instructions and funding to determine the cause(s) of ongoing Bighorn death losses.

Vet. Said Transplanted Bighorns Caused Death Loss

Former Idaho State Veterinarian Dr. Bob Hillman was the wild game/livestock disease expert who addressed what really caused that major die-off. He advised that the bighorns transplanted from Alberta had experienced a pneumonia die-off and said that one or several of the adults that survived were now immune to the disease but were still carriers of the disease.

He pointed out that these immune carriers could pass the disease to their offspring for several years, as well as to other bighorns that did not have that immunity. The failure of the Hells Canyon biologists to both check the recent history and test the animals for the disease and for antibodies made them responsible for the die-off.

But without any evidence to substantiate their claim, the biologists first insisted the bighorn die-off was caused by exposure to domestic sheep. When Dr. Hillman pointed out they had not documented the presence of bighorns and domestic sheep in the same area, a Forest Service employee said one or more feral goats seen with the bighorns had caused the die-offs.

Researchers were unable to induce pneumonia in two bighorns even when they injected disease pathogens in a goat and confined the bighorns in the same pen until the wild sheep had the same strain of bacteria. Yet the 1997 BLM Bulletin still lists the 1995-96 die-offs as probably caused by feral goats based on circumstantial evidence.

Research Results Caused Tensions

Using the latest techniques in cooperation with other states, the Caine Research facility and a University of Idaho microbiologist studied thousands of samples from wild and domestic sheep, bison, antelope, elk, moose, mountain goats and domestic goats and cattle. They learned that bighorns harbor disease-causing bacteria within their own herds and can easily be infected by bighorns introduced from other herds.

They also learned that bighorns carry many strains of the Pasteurella bacteria and one bighorn may not be affected by the same strain that is lethal to another. These tools allowed F&G biologists to check potential sheep transplants for the threat of disease transmission immediately rather than wait two weeks for cultures to identify the pathogens.

Instead of being thankful for these giant steps in preventing future die-offs, IDFG officials resented the implication that their actions may have caused some of the disease outbreaks in Hells Canyon. Yet the FY 2004 “Hells Canyon Bighorn Sheep Progress Report” by IDFG Biologist Cassirer admitted that from 1997-2003 bighorn numbers increased as high as 125 percent in herds with no transplants and declined as much as 50 percent in herds with transplants during that period.

This could also explain reports from various states where bighorns share the same range with domestic sheep for 30 or more years without disease – yet suddenly have a die-off when other bighorns are moved into the area.

Repeated Die-offs Keep Happening in the West

The annual cost of transplanting and monitoring 50 bighorns per year in the Hells Canyon area from 1997 to 2002, was estimated at $241,000-$266,000 – an average of $5,070 per sheep per year. Yet how are the cost-to-benefits calculated when more sheep are dying each year than are being saved?

With ongoing transplants, the 1990-1997 increase from 1,240 to 1,460 California Bighorns in Southern Idaho looked promising until a couple of cougars found they were an easy meal. But the current decline to ~964 reflects what is really happening throughout the Western States.

From the Pacific Coast to the Dakotas, bighorn biologists are seeing the results of their ignoring science and causing countless die-offs in bighorn populations that once appeared healthy. In 2005 I briefly complimented the Bighorn Lottery because it provided money for legitimate research to reduce the die-offs.

But instead of first culling the bighorns that were still coughing and those that were tested and found to be disease carriers, the money was used for penned quasi-studies that blamed domestic sheep or goats for every one of the pneumonia die-offs. That was like blaming inadequate winter forage for mule deer die-offs caused by excessive stress or extreme deep-snow winters – it simply provided a handy excuse rather than a solution.

Aggressive Culling – The Tool for Recovery

Earlier this month (i.e. October 2014) Idaho and Washington biologists used helicopter net gunners to capture eight infected bighorn ewes, a second generation remnant of the Black Butte herd that numbered ~215 when the 1995-96 die-off in Hells Canyon occurred. These eight Washington ewes had almost no surviving lambs for years so why were they not culled sooner?

In 2010, bighorn sheep in the Yakima River Canyon were dying of pneumonia and Wash. Biologists aggressively culled them to prevent the disease from perpetuating itself. They were successful and the herd is rebuilding itself with good lamb survival.

Regardless of whether the disease was triggered by domestic sheep, transplanted wild sheep or any of multiple stress factors, aggressive culling appears to be the only logical tool to achieve recovery.

A New Definition of a “Trophy”?

In 2007 IDFG convinced the legislature to throw out the 3/4-curl minimum horn size requirement and allow bighorn permit holders to kill “any ram”. They claimed they did this to simplify enforcement and to be uniform with Washington and Oregon regulations in Hells Canyon.

MaleSheep

Male lambs are classified as yearlings once they are older than one month (IDFG Photo)

A 2012 photograph of the Lincoln Cliffs bachelor band in NE Washington shows 24 rams with more than half of them mature adults, yet only one permit was issued for that band through 2013. That was increased to two permits in 2014 only after the band reached an all time high and with additional human development scheduled in the area.

By comparison Idaho issued 12 permits for Middle Fork of the Salmon Unit 27-1 after counting only 14 mature rams among the bighorns in this Unit. There are four public airstrips and two private outfitter airstrips for access in this wilderness unit and outfitter/guide services are available throughout the unit.

Hunter odds of harvesting a mature ram are excellent in the Lincoln Cliffs and other NE Washington units while the odds of harvesting even a young ram average only 24% in the Idaho Wilderness unit. Idaho’s emphasis on selling maximum hunting opportunity in all but Trophy Unit 11 is designed to increase revenue rather than restore healthy Rocky Mountain Bighorn populations.

The millions of dollars that have been dumped into Hells Canyon and dozens of other Bighorn restoration projects for the past 43 years have resulted in declining diseased populations that erupt with increasing frequency. Rational people suggest it is long past time to stop subsidizing a few trophy rams for a handful of millionaires at the expense of the citizens who share ownership of the resource and are entitled to intelligent management.

The Origin of Our Game Management Failures

In 1940 the Department of Interior combined two separate bureaus into one Fish and Wildlife Service and hired Ira Gabrielson to run it. Shortly after World War II ended, Gabrielson resigned from government service and was hired as President of the nonprofit Wildlife Management Institute for the next 24 years, and served as Chairman of its Board after that.

The manufacturers of the arms, ammunition and equipment necessary to fight wars on two sides of the world suddenly found themselves without a customer. They became major contributors supporting the WMI and Gabrielson returned the favor by helping create a massive market for their merchandise and services.

He quickly conducted surveys in 31 states and two Canadian provinces and provided game commissioners with written directions on how to restructure their operation as well as insisting they must invite thousands of non-resident hunters and fishermen to harvest the trophy big game and fish that were “destroying the habitat in remote areas.”

Writers in Outdoor magazines were suddenly invited to free trophy hunting and fishing trips in return for their writing stories about “the big one that didn’t get away”. Idaho State Game Wardens who had spent 40 years carefully restoring our game species, expressed grave concerns about the pressure this massive ad campaign was going to put on the game in the road-less Primitive and Wilderness Areas.

In Idaho’s 21st Biennial Report published on June 30, 1946, the State Game Warden warned that the number of non-resident big game hunters had doubled in one year, and questioned how long the limited back country game and fish populations could meet this obviously increasing demand. But the F&G Commissioners and Biologists made no effort to limit the increases that soon exceeded 1,000%, with Gabrielson pointing out how the extra non-resident dollars would benefit the agency’s budget.

When the agency was re-organized by Idaho citizens in 1938 to meet criteria established by the Pittman-Robertson Act of 1937, there were 73 employees; 11 headquarters personnel, 38 game wardens, 20 fish hatchery personnel and four technicians – the first with biological training that were hired to design projects that qualified for matching Pittman-Robertson funds.

The sole function of these four technicians, soon referred to as “biologists”, was to design programs that would enable IDFG to receive the maximum amount of matching federal excise tax dollars. Over the years the agency has used the code word “viability” to reflect the maximum revenues it can receive from each alternative that is proposed for any project.

For example, when they selected the A/B Tag System and Limited Controlled Hunts instead of the two most desirable options chosen by hunters, they deliberately ignored their direction from the Commission.

When you read the startling mandate from both the F&G Commission and the biologists’ direct boss, Virgil Moore, on the following pages, you will understand why it is so important to assist the F&G Commission by monitoring every action from these biologists to determine whether they are still violating Idaho law, or whether they are obeying the directives they received from the Commission and from Director Moore in September.

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Blind Ignorance and Eating Bear Meat

National Public Radio presents and article written by David Sommerstein about eating bear meat. The article, as a whole, is interesting and probably many people would enjoy reading it. I did. I would, however, like to take issue with a comment that was written in the article that made me shake my head in exasperation over why writers sometimes write things that can spoil their entire piece by exposing lack of depth in thinking, and exposing their ignorance of a subject. This writer might know something about cooking and eating bear meat, but he should leave issues about bears living in the woods and how they survive to others.

Here’s my beef. The author writes: “”There’s more sprawl. There’s more people living in bear habitat,” says big game biologist Steve Heerkens with New York state’s department of environmental conservation. Yet fewer, if any, natural predators are still around to keep the bears in check.”

Obviously, the first part of this quote from the article, is a quote from a “big game biologist” who says, “There’s more sprawl. There’s more people living in bear habitat.” This comes right after a statement that says bear populations are growing. Therefore, isn’t a more logical and accurate description to say that there a more bears now living in human habitat? But this really isn’t my point.

The author follows this up with, “Yet fewer, if any, natural predators are still around to keep the bears in check.” Maybe the author should have taken a little bit of time to educate his readers and tell us what “natural predators” aren’t around anymore to keep bear numbers in check. I’ll wait.

On second thought, I can’t wait for ever. Isn’t it obvious that this article is telling us that man is not consider either natural or a predator? There really are no “natural predators” of bears, except man. First let me make a possible exception to this. Perhaps if New York, or any other state, imported wolves, maybe 4 or 5 cubs would be yanked out of their dens in mid winter and gobbled up by a pack of hungry wolves. Other than that, man is about the only “natural predator” of the bear.’

Consider, if you will, that New York is the third most populous state with about 20 million people. Now there is 20,000,000 NATURAL PREDATORS of the bear and yet any thoughts of man being a natural predator to “keep the bears in check” are often poo-pooed as unnatural and inhumane.

It just kind of makes me angry when the tone of a statement leads people to think that when it comes to wildlife, man somehow is always the bad guy in the room.

West’s Idaho Code Annotated. Title 67. State Government and State Affairs. Chapter 58. Protection of Natural Resources

Source:

Summary:

The purpose of Chapter 58 is to provide an orderly, comprehensive plan for the protection of the natural resources of the state and for the suppression of dangers or threats. Section 5806 the Idaho legislature finds and declares that the state’s citizens, businesses, hunting, tourism and agricultural industries, private property and wildlife, are immediately and continuously threatened and harmed by the sustained presence and growing population of Canadian gray wolves in the state of Idaho. The legislature states that “a disaster emergency is in existence as a result of the introduction of Canadian gray wolves, which have caused and continue to threaten vast devastation of Idaho’s social culture, economy and natural resources.”

Statute Text§ 67-5801 . Scope and purpose

§ 67-5802 . Protection plan–Procedure–Responsibilities of state agencies–Annual revision–Approval

§ 67-5803 . Training institutes for suppression of natural resources disasters

§ 67-5804 . Proclamation of natural resources disaster–Aid by agency–Claim for reimbursement

§ 67-5805 . Legislative findings and intent

§ 67-5806 . Declaration of emergency

§ 67-5807 . Governor–Executive orders

§ 67-5801. Scope and purpose

The purpose of this act is to provide an orderly, comprehensive plan for the protection of the natural resources of the state and for the suppression of dangers or threats thereto; to provide training for state employees in prevention and suppression of natural resources disasters; and, to authorize the governor to marshall the manpower and resources of state agencies in the event of such a disaster.

CREDIT(S)

S.L. 1968, 2nd Ex. Sess., ch. 8, § 1.

§ 67-5802. Protection plan–Procedure–Responsibilities of state agencies–Annual revision–Approval

The governor shall prepare a plan providing for the protection of the state’s natural resources. The plan shall set forth procedure for the protection of the state’s natural resources in the event of any natural resources disaster that may be proclaimed by the governor. Specifically, the plan shall set forth the functions and responsibilities of designated state agencies within the executive branch of state government in the event of such a disaster. The governor shall cause the plan to be reviewed and revised at least annually. Before becoming effective, such plan, or revision thereof, shall be approved by the board of land commissioners.

CREDIT(S)

S.L. 1968, 2nd Ex. Sess., ch. 8, § 2.

§ 67-5803. Training institutes for suppression of natural resources disasters

The governor shall cause periodic training institutes to be conducted throughout the state, the purpose of which shall be the training of state employees in the protection of natural resources and suppression of natural resources disasters. The governor shall designate the employees of the executive branch of state government who shall be required to attend such training institutes.

CREDIT(S)

S.L. 1968, 2nd Ex. Sess., ch. 8, § 3.

§ 67-5804. Proclamation of natural resources disaster–Aid by agency–Claim for reimbursement

After proclaiming the existence of a natural resources disaster by executive proclamation, the governor may require any agency of the executive branch of state government to aid in the suppression of such disaste r. As used herein, the term “aid” includes the furnishing of all necessary manpower, materials, equipment, and facilities. If aid is furnished by any agency, the agency shall submit to the board of examiners a claim for expenses incurred in the suppression of such disaster. Following approval of the claim by the board of examiners, the agency shall be reimbursed from moneys appropriated for such purposes.

CREDIT(S)

S.L. 1968, 2nd Ex. Sess., ch. 8, § 4; S.L. 1976, ch. 51, § 19.

§ 67-5805. Legislative findings and intent

(1) Section 1, article I, of the constitution of the state of Idaho provides: “All men are by nature free and equal, and have certain inalienable rights, among which are enjoying and defending life and liberty; acquiring, possessing and protecting property; pursuing happiness and securing safety.” It is the duty and right of the legislature and the governor to protect the state, its citizens and property. Section 36-103(a), Idaho Code, provides: “All wildlife, including all wild animals, wild birds, and fish, within the state of Idaho, is hereby declared to be the property of the state of Idah o.” The state of Idaho therefore has the responsibility to manage the big game animals of the state.

(2) The Idaho legislature finds and declares that the state’s citizens, businesses, hunting, tourism and agricultural industries, private property and wildlife, are immediately and continuously threatened and harmed by the sustained presence and growing population of Canadian gray wolves in the state of Idaho. The Idaho legislature, therefore, finds the population of gray wolves in Idaho, having been introduced into the state in 1995, over the united objection of the Idaho congressional delegation, Idaho legislature, Idaho governor, Idaho counties and numerous Idaho agricultural groups who were gravely concerned with the negative effects this action would impose on Idaho and Idahoans, is now many times exceeding the target number originally set by the federal government and the number set in Idaho’s federally approved 2002 wolf management plan. The U.S. fish and wildlife service (USFWS) has delisted the gray wolf in Idaho in 2008 and 2009 returning management to the state, only to be sued both times by environmental groups forcing the wolf to be relisted as endangered. As a result of all the above, the legislature finds that public safety has been compromised, economic activity has been disrupted and private and public property continue to be imperiled. The uncontrolled proliferation of imported wolves on private land has produced a clear and present danger to humans, their pets and livestock, and has altered and hindered historical uses of private and public land, dramatically inhibiting previously safe activities such as walking, picnicking, biking, berry picking, hunting and fishing. The continued uncontrolled presence of gray wolves represents a n unfunded mandate, a federal commandeering of both state and private citizen resources and a government taking that makes private property unusable for the quiet enjoyment of property owners. An emergency existing therefore, it is the intent of the legislature to regulate the presence of Canadian gray wolves in Idaho in order to safeguard the public, wildlife, economy and private property against additional devastation to Idaho’s social culture, economy and natural resources, and to preserve the ability to benefit from private and public property within the state and experience the quiet enjoyment of such property.

CREDIT(S)

Added by S.L. 2011, ch. 334, § 1, eff. April 19, 2011.

§ 67-5806. Declaration of emergency

A disaster emergency, as defined in section 46-1002(3) and (4), Idaho Code, is in existence as a result of the introduction of Canadian gray wolves, which have caused and continue to threaten vast devastation of Idaho’s social culture, economy and natural resources. The geographical extent of this emergency shall include any part of the state of Idaho where gray wolves have been sighted and whose sighting ha s been documented or otherwise confirmed by the office of species conservation or the department of fish and game.

CREDIT(S)

Added by S.L. 2011, ch. 334, § 2, eff. April 19, 2011.

§ 67-5807. Governor–Executive orders

(1) Pursuant to this act, the governor may issue executive orders and proclamations and amend or rescind such orders and proclamations. Executive orders and proclamations have the force and effect of law. A disaster emergency may be declared by executive order or proclamation of the governor if the governor finds any of the following:

(a) Any Canadian gray wolf within the state is a carrier of a disease harmful to humans, livestock, pets and wild game and that there is a risk of transmission of such disease to humans, livestock, pets or wild game;

(b) The potential of human-wolf conflict exists and that the Canadian gray wolf is frequenting areas inhabited by humans or showing habituated behavior toward humans;

(c) That the potential for livestock-wolf conflict exists and that the Canadian gray wolf is frequenting areas that are largely ranchland with livestock or showing evidence of habituated behavior toward livestock;

(d) The numbers of Canadian gray wolves are such that there is an impact to Idaho big game herds as identified in the wolf m anagement plan of 2002, and that there is evidence that increasing the number of wolves beyond one hundred (100) has had detrimental impacts on big game populations, the economic viability of the Idaho department of fish and game, outfitters and guides, and others who depend on a viable population of big game animals;

(e) The numbers of big game animals have been significantly impacted below that of recent historical numbers and that there has been a measurable diminution in the value of businesses tied to outfitting and other game or hunting based businesses.

(2 ) The executive order or proclamation shall direct the office of species conservation to initiate emergency proceedings in accordance with section 67-5247, Idaho Code. Any person may challenge an action or proposed action of the office of species conservation by following the appeals process prescribed by the Idaho administrative procedure act, chapter 52, title 67, Idaho Code.

(3) The state of disaster emergency shall continue until the governor finds that either gray wolves are delisted in Idaho with full state management restored or the threat has been dealt with to the extent that emergency conditions no longer exist. When either or both of these events occur, the governor shall terminate the state of disaster emergency by executive order or proclamation. Provided howe ver, that no state of disaster emergency pursuant to the provisions of this act may continue for longer than one (1) year. The legislature by concurrent resolution may terminate a state of disaster emergency at any time. Thereupon, the governor shall issue an executive order or proclamation ending the state of disaster emergency. All executive orders or proclamations issued pursuant to this section shall indicate which of the conditions in this section exist, the area or areas threatened and the actions planned to resolve the issue, including contracting with USDA-APHIS wildlife services. An executive order or proclamation shall be disseminated promptly by means calculated to bring its contents to the attention of the general public and, unless the circumstances attendant upon the disaster prevent or impede, be promptly filed with the office of species conservation, the department of fish and game, the office of the secretary of state and the office of the sheriff of each county whe re the state of disaster emergency applies.

CREDIT(S)

Added by S.L. 2011, ch. 334, § 3, eff. April 19, 2011.

TITLE 36
FISH AND GAME
CHAPTER 1
FISH AND GAME COMMISSION
36-103. WILDLIFE PROPERTY OF STATE — PRESERVATION. (a) Wildlife Policy. All wildlife, including all wild animals, wild birds, and fish, within the state of Idaho, is hereby declared to be the property of the state of Idaho. It shall be preserved, protected, perpetuated, and managed. It shall be only captured or taken at such times or places, under such conditions, or by such means, or in such manner, as will preserve, protect, and perpetuate such wildlife, and provide for the citizens of this state and, as by law permitted to others, continued supplies of such wildlife for hunting, fishing and trapping.
(b) Commission to Administer Policy. Because conditions are changing and in changing affec t the preservation, protection, and perpetuation of Idaho wildlife, the methods and means of administering and carrying out the state’s policy must be flexible and dependent on the ascertainment of facts which from time to time exist and fix the needs for regulation and control of fishing, hunting, trapping, and other activity relating to wildlife, and because it is inconvenient and impractical for the legislature of the state of Idaho to administer such policy, it shall be the authority, power and duty of the fish and game commission to administer and carry out the policy of the state in accordance with the provisions of the Idaho fish and game code. The commission is not authorized to change such policy but only to administer it.

History:
[36-103, added 1976, ch. 95 , sec. 2, p. 317.]

Nothing has changed;

LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF IDAHO Sixty-first Legislature First Regular Session – 2011 IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES HOUSE BILL NO. 343
BY WAYS AND MEANS COMMITTEE<<<Source>>>

Many “laws” have been amended or repealed and many new laws have been enacted. And many “laws” contradict other “laws.” And of course the hunting trapping and fishing amendment along with all of this code clearly defines the State as the owner of Idaho’s resources. Not the citizens. How many citizens do we meet in our every day lives that collect these code books? I’ve collected them since the 1980s. I’ve been researching a 500 page code section for the last month and will not be completed with it until the 21st. The changes in that code section between 1988 and 2012 are roughly two hundred pages. I’m writing a proposed amendment to that code section and presenting it to the governor and the administrative board of that particular code. You want to fight back against their ant i human anti citizen statutes this is what you do. Anything else is irrelevant. They hate people like me and they love people that just sit back and bitch..

TITLE 36

FISH AND GAME

Chapter Sections

1. Fish and Game Commission §§ 36-101 — 36-124

2. Classifications and Definitions §§ 36-201, 36-202

3. Issuance and Sale of Licenses §§ 36-301 — 36-310

4. Licenses to Hunt, Fish and Trap §§ 36-401 — 36-417

5. Restrictions on Possession, Transportation, Sale and Use of

Wildlife §§ 36-501 — 36-505

6. Commercial Traffic in Skins, Hides, and Pelts of Wildlife §§ 36-601 — 36-606

7. Captive Wildlife §§ 36-701 — 36-71 6

8. Commercial Fishing §§ 36-801 — 36-805

9. Protection of Fish §§ 36-901 — 36-909

10. State Boundary Waters — Reciprocal Agreements §§ 36-1001 — 36-1006

11. Protection of Animals and Birds §§ 36-1101 — 36-1120

12. Check Stations — Waste of Wildlife §§ 36-1201,36-1202

13. Enforcement and Application of Fish and Game Law §§ 36-1301 — 36-1305

14. General Penal Provisions §§ 36-1401 — 36-1407

15. Public Safety §§ 36-1501 — 36-1511

16. Recreational Trespass — Landholder Liability Limited §§ 36-1601 — 36-1604

17. County Fish Hatcheries §§ 36-1701,36-1702

18. Federal Aid for Fish and Wildlife Restoration Projects §§ 36-1801 — 36-1807

19. Wildlife Preserves §§ 36-1901 — 36-1914

20. Pacific Marine Fisheries Compact §§ 36-2001 — 36-2003

21. Outfitters and Guides §§ 36-2101 — 36-2120

22. Shooting Preserves §§ 36-2201 — 36-2216

23. Wildlife Violator Compact §§ 36-2301 — 36-2303

24. Species Conservation §§ 36-2401 — 36-2405

The Dust Settles Over Maine’s Bear Hunting Referendum

Three strikes and you’re out! Maine has now endured two onslaughts by radical animal rights groups and I don’t need a crystal ball to predict for me that “it ain’t over ’til it’s over.” There will be a third….at least of some sort.

Already we are beginning to hear the threats and promises of making another stab at ending the so-called “cruelty” to bears. Was the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) too greedy in going after a virtual end to bear hunting? Will they return, only this time attacking trapping and hounding? Incrementally destroying American Heritage is a popular thing. For whatever the reasons, HSUS thought they could win this time. They were wrong…..this time.

It will not end here. No more than it did the last time, 10 years ago. Outdoor sportsmen, writers, wildlife managers and politicians ran scared AND sat on their hands. This cannot happen again. We must show the radicals that we mean business and that referendums aimed at destroying normal and real scientific game management is a waste of time in Maine. How can we do this?

Let’s first look at what we did or didn’t do after the first round of radical, anti-hunting citizen’s initiative. We did nothing to discourage another referendum. We did everything we could to look scared of them. Those are the two biggest issues, and there are more.

When I say we did nothing, I mean there was no real attempts to write or rewrite laws to better protect the ability of the state to manage wildlife for the good of all and not the whims of radical minorities. I’m again suggesting a constitutional amendment to guarantee the right to hunt, trap and fish.

Many of you might recall that just over one year ago, Rep. Kenneth Fredette sponsored an amendment posed as a “right to hunt” bill. I wrote about this back then explaining the amendment was incomplete. A right to hunt, trap and fish has no validity when it is not mandated by the same law that fish and game managers are required to manage game populations for surplus harvest. I’ve seen this in other states. With no legislative mandate to provide surplus harvest, wildlife agencies simply are managing their wildlife in numbers too low that any kind of harvest would be detrimental to the species. Because fish and game departments are often operating under “Post-Normal” management practices, they don’t want to see hunting, trapping and fishing.

Maine needs an amendment with teeth aimed at guaranteeing the PEOPLE not the special interest groups.

An amendment is not a sure way to stop referendums and lawsuits but it certainly does a lot to limit and discourage those who hate the rest of us.

Maine cannot afford to continue the same approach as before by always running scared fearing another lawsuit or another referendum. We have seen there has been no end to the lawsuits and no end to referendums. The approach has to be positive and with strength, presenting a management plan that sends the message that Maine will manage wildlife for all and that surplus harvest is the proven and desired method of population control, i.e. the North American Model. We have to let everyone know we are proud of our history in wildlife management and that we will do what we know is right. Lawsuits and referendums will continue but if Maine can show strength and strength in numbers perhaps outsiders will be a bit more discouraged to waste money trying to stop us.

This show of strength must begin in the governor’s office, as it did when Governor LePage got out front on the latest referendum opposing it. This must be done by the Inland Fisheries and Wildlife commissioner following the lead of the governor.

To continue on with business as usual will not get the job done. Yes, Maine won another round, but when you consider the costs and resources to fight this effort, doesn’t it make sense to thwart it with strength and a strong message before any more lawsuits and referendums appear?

Congratulations to everyone who fought the fight against the radicals at HSUS, et. al. Let’s not get comfortable in our victory just yet. There is more work to be done; work that will make life in Maine the way it should be and provide all of us with more and better time to spend in the outdoors and not debating the rights and wrongs of outdoor sports. Now is the time while all this is fresh in our minds.