November 20, 2017

So, Just What Exactly is Maine IFW Trying to Communicate?

First thing this morning I opened a link to a news story about how a major land owner in Maine, J.D. Irving, has been awarded a conservation award from Sustainable Forest Initiative. In gleaning the report, I read this: “JDI is supporting a large study of white-tailed deer through collaboration with six scientists as well as partners in government across New Brunswick and Maine. The deer research is using GPS tracking and extremely accurate forest inventory mapping to look at how deer are using different forest types during summer and winter months. This long-term study will monitor 140 deer and the habitats they choose over the next four years.”

Did I know this? Did you know this? Without knowing what exactly “supporting a large study” means, one might think that activity deserving of recognition might be worthy information to openly and eagerly share with the Maine people. Evidently it’s not.

In my work with this website, part of that includes a pretty close monitoring of the things that the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) does….or doesn’t do. I am signed up to receive press notices, email notifications and Twitter Updates, although I suspect strongly that I don’t receive all that go out…for whatever the reasons.

It wasn’t until long after MDIFW had begun their deer study, that I and the rest of the public learned of it. It wasn’t until today, that I learned that J.D. Irving was “supporting a large study” with Maine and New Brunswick. If I, as someone who spends probably more time and effort than the majority of Maine residents keeping track of such things, don’t know these things, one has to suspect the general population isn’t either.

To date, MDIFW has been very stingy with any information about the study. Other than an occasional “release” to a “safe zone” propaganda outlet, the public would know nothing about the study or that it even existed.

However, this really doesn’t come as a surprise to me, as MDIFW does a very poor job of “communicating” with the public and and even worse job “communicating” with the license-buying sportsmen who pay their salaries. One example of terrible communicating is the department’s relentless tardiness in making available deer, bear, moose and turkey harvest reports and data. Seriously, I wonder why that is?

I also wonder why it is that a better effort can’t be made to share information about the ongoing studies of deer and moose in the state? Is it that the department really hasn’t the time or the money?

Following the revelation that J.D. Irving was awarded for “supporting a large study” of deer, I found out that the MDIFW has decided that the T.V. show, North Woods Law wasn’t embarrassing enough for them and the Governor’s office, so as part of what is being expressed as a campaign to “better communicate their mission with the general public,” they have teamed up with a professional actor to make “funny” videos.

The article I just finished reading says these videos are to share with the public and to “get our message out.” It appears to me that the message MDIFW wants to get out is void of deer and moose studies, or anything to do with hunting, trapping or fishing, even though, as I have repeatedly stated, it is these sportsmen who fund a great part of MDIFW’s budget…a budget that evidently allows them to hire a professional actor and spend their time recording “funny” videos for the “new” website and to publish on YouTube.

I also learned that: “The videos, produced by a professional ad agency [how much did this cost license holders?], are quick hits on three outdoorsy topics: hiking preparedness, birding and invasive species. (emboldening added)

If J.D. Irving’s “supporting a large study” is great enough that it actually made the study possible (and I don’t know what “supporting” means – maybe MDIFW should tell us?) maybe it would make a whole lot of sense to get J.D. Irving into one of those videos, if they are all that important to “getting the message out.” But maybe this is more telling than we realize. Perhaps the “message” is more about hiking, birding and invasive species, than deer, moose, trout or roughed grouse because the department has changed their focus to side dishes while disregarding the meat and potatoes.

But here I am again saying, this shouldn’t come as any surprise. Maine’s fish and game department – even fisheries and wildlife is an inaccurate title for the message it appears they want to send – is no different than all the rest of this country’s environmentalism-driven departments based on Scientism and the relationships of people and animals, far exceeding the relationships between person and person, as is obvious in our violent, angry and hate-filled society.

What I want to know is what plans the State of Maine, and the MDIFW, have in place to fund the future department of natural resources, animal rights and protectionism, when hunting, trapping, and fishing, along with the closing down of access to forests, effectively stopping ATV riding and snowmobiling, are eliminated in about 10 years?

The MDIFW evidently doesn’t have the time or resources to get game harvests reported online until the start of the following hunting seasons, or later, but they have time to make “funny” videos and resources to hire an ad agency, with a professional actor, to send out the message that hiking, birding, and invasive species are far more important than hunting, fishing and trapping.

I think the message is very clear and that MDIFW has been advertising that message loud and clear for several years now. MDIFW is NOT about getting the message out that hunting, trapping and fishing are the very backbone of this entire industry that has brought Maine and the rest of this nation to a point were responsible wildlife management has become the norm. Because we live in a post-normal age, all that has proven to work and has been successful and effective, must be destroyed and replaced with Romance Biology and VooDoo Scientism.

Maine, and the rest of the nation should say goodbye to our traditions of hunting, fishing and trapping and prepare for the “message” MDIFW and others are trying to get out.

From my perspective, it’s a real shame. I also feel bad for J.D. Irving that MDIFW cannot even take the time to acknowledge their support for their ongoing deer study. It is terrible public relations like this that next time MDIFW wants to have a study, they will be left on their own to figure it out.

Good work people!

As I see it, the choice now becomes mine. I can either hope that hunting and fishing are around until I drop dead, or I can become part of the “New Science” Scientism that is driving it all. Answer? I will NOT be signing up for “Keeper of the Maine Outdoors.”

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Buying Into Deer Management by Political Influence

Recently a Maine outdoor writer expressed his newly found knowledge he had acquired from reading a 10-year-old study about how deer can destroy a forest. What is most unfortunate for readers is that lacking in this report was the actual history of what took place during that time that prompted this politically biased report, placing pressure on the Pennsylvania Game Commission, forest management companies and private land owners to side with the Game Commission in carrying out their newly crafted deer management plan to radically butcher the existing deer herds throughout the state by up to 70%.

If for no other reason, one has to look at the very top of the study to see that the study was composed by, essentially, the forest industry. With knowledge and understanding, which so few people have these days, of the realities of “studies,” founded in Scientism and outcome-based, agenda-driven, “science,” one can easily discern that this study is the work of scientists, paid by the forest industry, to show a need to protect the forest, even at the expense of a deer herd.

There is, of course, more than one side to any story. The Unified Sportsmen of Pennsylvania sued the Pennsylvania Game Commission to try to get them to stop the destruction of the deer herd. However, many believed the number of deer in Pennsylvania to be much too large, in some places sporting numbers in excess of 60-70 deer per square mile. Growing up and hunting in Maine, where at times to find 1 deer in 60-70 square miles was a feat, it’s difficult to muster up support for those complaining that reducing deer populations to 15-20 deer per square mile would be a total destruction of the deer herd. There is a balance in there somewhere and it’s not based strictly on numbers but on a wide variety of items, often mostly driven by habitat and available feed on a continuous level.

The study in question is more of a political influence prompted by a very nasty set of events set in the mid-2000s. No study should be blindly accepted as the gospel without a deep forensic research into the background of the study and the whos and whys it is being done. Few would argue that too many of any animal within a defined area of the landscape can be destructive, in more ways than simply eating too much vegetation. But at the same time, a biased study, bought and paid for by the forest industry, has to be taken with a grain of salt and definitely within the context of the events at that moment in time. That is why the author should have spent a little more time in conducting his own research about the politics behind this study before extolling its “scientific” virtues as high value.

At the time this study was being compiled, those of us who followed the event, saw typical political nonsense loaded with contradictions. As an example, the forest industry, seemingly having convinced the Game Commission, that the only way the forest industry could survive was to have the deer densities slashed to around 15 deer per square mile. The same forest industry and Game Commission said that their new deer management plan would manage and maintain populations at that level, and yet in May of 2008, we read in the news that a member of the Pennsylvania Game Commission said that in one region, where deer densities had been reduced to 15-20 per square mile, the deer where healthy, the forest had “regenerated,” and that now the deer herd could be rebuilt. Rebuilt? Huh?

The author’s piece also revealed, what he called, “troubling,” a statement made by an author of the study in question. “It doesn’t matter what forest values you want to preserve or enhance – whether deer hunting, animal rights, timber, recreation, or ecological integrity – deer are having dramatic, negative effects on all the values that everyone holds dear.”

This is, of course, the root of all things bad when it comes to wildlife and game management. The real scientific method has gone absent. The study in question is a work of Scientism, in which those with authority present their opinions and perspectives as scientific evidence, understanding full well the power derived by such a position. When scientific decisions are disregarded and replaced with caving in to social and socio-political groups because deer, or any other animal, is having “dramatic, negative effects on all the values” that these, sometimes perverse groups “holds dear,” what hope is there for responsible game management? We can always expect to read more fake “studies” bought and paid for by political groups for political purposes.

Interesting that the reality is that none of these social groups would be in any position to be seeking the preservation of their perceived values as they might pertain to wildlife, if, over the past century, the hunters, trappers and fishermen had not been the financiers and willing participants in the execution of the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation. And yet, these social and political groups, who are now dominating the fish and wildlife agencies across the country, have never paid a lick of money or given any time toward real conservation of wildlife, are looking to destroy the one proven existence that has brought us to this point. Go figure.

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Not Knowing What’s Science and What’s Scientism

The Wildlife Alliance of Maine has placed a link to what they call “science” to prove – “this is the science proving” – that baiting bears changes the dynamics of the animals and the surrounding forests, where bears “could” cause damage to plants.

First off, the fake “study” is not science. It is the result of Scientism and a couple of students who set out to discredit in any way they could, hunting and in particular hunting bear using bait as one of the tools to accomplish the task. In other words, this is very typical of outcome based “scientific research.”

Scientism is nothing more than what some of us have come to recognize as “what scientists say and do.” It is also a dangerous and unrestrained credence of the power and authority realized from the manipulated field of science. This study is a fine example of how the scientific process is foregone and replaced with someone’s belief system because there is power in the publication of “studies.”

The scientific process is almost never followed anymore, due to a myriad of reasons, money being one of them along with political idealism and personal agendas.

Secondly, this “study” takes place within a national park in Canada, where black bears are protected. Without having data at my disposal, an intelligent supposition would be that in a park where black bears are protected, depending upon the cycle the bears were going through during the study period, there are probably too many bears in the park. Those dynamics differ greatly from areas where bears a responsibly managed and kept in check to meet management goals and social tolerances.

The study references bear baiting stations adjacent to the park placed there by hunters. Not all hunters are stupid and thus they realize that with too many bears in the park, perhaps a good place to set up a bait station and a tree stand would be adjacent to the park. Does this tactic actually result in increasing the odds of bagging a bear? I dunno. Neither do the researchers.

The short of all this is that the “scientists” chose a location for their study that is far from being typical of the vast forests that make up Canada and parts of the U.S. So, the dynamics of bears and their habitat is not what one might expect to find in the majority of the rest of the world. Observations might prove interesting but for what purpose other than political?

So, what good then is the study? I alluded to that above. And when the study was all said and done, the authors state that with hunters having baiting stations adjacent to the park, bears “could” cause some damage to the trees and vegetation. I wonder if this “could” happen even if the bait stations weren’t there. Did the “scientists” set up a comparative study area outside of the park, in a location more typical of the forests?

The purpose of the study, more than likely, has been exemplified as we see an animal rights, environmental group emotionally grasping at anything, even when it doesn’t even closely resemble the scientific process, to promote their totalitarian agendas aimed at ending a lifestyle they don’t agree with.

The Wildlife Alliance of Maine, in their posting (on Facebook?) states that the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) doesn’t consider this dynamic change possible. Actually, I’ve never heard or read anywhere that MDIFW doesn’t believe that baiting bear changes the dynamics of the forest in places where bear are being baited. It doesn’t take a science degree to understand that any and all “changes” within a forest ecosystem can and will have an effect on the dynamics between animal and ecosystem. It then is left to a person’s, or a group of person’s, perspective on what they want to see or have before them.

I think that it is wrong to make a statement about MDIFW of this kind. MDIFW has made it perfectly clear from the beginning that they would like to continue with baiting bear as a tool to help keep the growth of black bears in check in order to assume responsible management of a healthy bear population. Should numbers of bears drop to management’s desired levels, I’m quite certain that MDIFW would cease bear baiting.

But, within this entire debate, both sides cherry-picking convenient products of Scientism to bolster their arguments, in the grand scheme of things, there is so little baiting going on anywhere that it is akin to somebody dumping a cup of coffee into Sebago Lake (47.68 sq. miles) and declaring that the lake dynamics have changed and thus the lake has gone to hell.

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Comments on ESA Political Posturing – Aug. 2017

By James Beers:

The following proposals in Congress to “fix” the ESA deserve exposure to sunlight and a few comments as to what they are up to beyond posturing for campaign photos: the answer being, not much.  Jim Beers

  1. •H.R. 424(Rep. Collin Peterson), To direct the Secretary of the Interior to reissue final rules relating to listing of the gray wolf in the Western Great Lakes and Wyoming under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, and for other purposes. “Gray Wolf State Management Act of 2017

Numbers of gray wolves are exploding in most areas where they exist or have been introduced. This has had a severe impact on local livestock, as well as large grazing wildlife such as moose, elk, deer, etc. Ranchers and state wildlife managers have found themselves at odds with environmentalist wolf advocates who urge–and often go to court for–continued protections on what are thriving, and ecologically and economically significant predator populations. The hearing memo summarizes the issue this way:

Gray wolves were listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in 1974. Existing wolves present in the Western Great Lakes Region were protected, and the federal government introduced the species canis lupus irremotus to the West by removing wolves from Canada and releasing them in central Idaho and Yellowstone National Park in 1994 and 1995. States, local citizens, livestock groups, and sportsmen opposed the reintroduction effort. The reintroduced wolf population in the West recovered and expanded more quickly than anticipated. As a result, in September 2001, the states and tribes began working with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to formulate plans that would effectively transition management responsibility to the
states upon delisting.

FWS deemed the Idaho and Montana wolf management plans adequate, but did not approve the Wyoming plan. Gray wolves were removed from the Endangered Species List on January 14, 2009. As part of their management plans, Idaho and Montana conducted tightly controlled wolf hunts beginning in the autumn of 2009. Sales of wolf hunt tags fund management activities, and hunts are conducted in a similar fashion to those of large ungulates and other wild animals under state management.

Litigious environmental groups challenged the FWS decision to delist the wolves in Idaho, Montana, and the Western Great Lakes, arguing that the rule had been politically motivated and did not comply with ESA. The U.S. District Court for the District of Montana held that the rule was a “political solution that does not comply with ESA” and that delisting of a species which was still endangered in a portion of its region (Wyoming) was not appropriate. The delisting of the wolves was halted in all states until the Wyoming plan was acceptable. See full hearing memo here.

Comments:

–       It says a great deal about the sad state of national wildlife affairs when, as a positive justification for more federal legislation, we accept as a positive accomplishment thriving, and ecologically and economically significant predator populations”.  Predators are like armies; they kill and disrupt things in accord with their controls. Do we really think “thriving” predator populations are good when they kill and wreak all manner of havoc when uncontrolled?  When, and if, we choose to maintain, introduce and protect large predators; it should be done primarily for the common good of society and not for the “ecology” which is a controversial judgment at best or to have them “thrive” with no qualifier that recognizes where they do not belong and densities and distributions to be tolerated in other areas with the consent of those communities forced to host them.

–       It is specious to say, reintroduced wolf population in the West recovered and expanded more quickly than anticipated”.  The politicians should tell the truth and drop “anticipated” to be replaced with “we were told”.  The very same bureaucrats that downplayed the potential of wolves with full protection and unlimited food sources (like your pet dog wolves are omnivorous) are the same bureaucracy you want to tweak and expect to get a different result when the past 3 decades reveal how they operate and the increasing havoc they are wreaking.

–       It is a scam of enormous proportions to write and speak that, working with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to formulate plans that would effectively transition management responsibility to the states upon delisting” is anything other than the federal government and the wolf NGO’s simply telling the states where and how many wolves they must maintain and then the state pays the bill and only uses federally approved methods based on counts (never accurate and always grist for lawsuits in the “right” court before the “right” judge) that will allow the bureaucrats and their “partners” to takeback “control” whenever politically possible.  This is one case where the piper doesn’t pay the bill: those told how and when to dance, pay the bill!  Ask yourself where does the money come from for lawsuits, counting, investigating, vehicles, fuel, salaries, retirement, insurance, clerks, biologists, wardens, contractors, compensation, “administration”, etc. for all this?  It diverts large portions of the License fees, Excise Taxes and other revenue from state functions for all to dance to a federal piper.  When they tell you that they sold a lot of wolf licenses, keep in mind that wolves are smart and quickly adapt.  Shooting, trapping and other “sporting” methods of take are quickly learned and after a year or two of only a few killed, the initial surge of “hunters” buying a wolf tag (that at best will never begin to cover the cost of “managing” these federally sanctified critters) for only a few wolves will wane and then the surge of happiness will turn into a hangover as everyone realizes that this may go on “forever” and everything else in the state responsibilities toolbox is going to suffer, and suffer bigtime.

  1. •H.R. 717(Rep. Pete Olson), To amend the Endangered Species Act of 1973 to require review of the economic cost of adding a species to the list of endangered species or threatened species, and for other purposes. “Listing Reform Act

One of the starkest examples of devastating economic impact by an ESA listing is that of the spotted owl, which effectively decimated the timber industry of the American North Pacific. The Listing Reform Act is intended to prevent such sweeping economic destruction. It is summarized:

H.R. 717, the “Listing Reform Act” would authorize the Secretary of the Interior to consider economic impacts in listing decisions for threatened species, and allow preclusion of the listing if the likelihood of significant, cumulative economic effects would result from the listing, or from the resulting designation of critical habitat. See full hearing memo here.

Comments:

–       I love the way these politicians can casually say, One of the starkest examples of devastating economic impact by an ESA listing is that of the spotted owl, which effectively decimated the timber industry of the American North Pacific” (the Aleutians are treeless could the staffer mean Northwest?) and then blithely go on talking about the law that caused that devastation to thousands of families and the economy, and expanded the bureaucracy power created by that law as if they were a Mayor explaining why revenue-generation-only speed traps are really good and a tweak or two here and there and everyone will benefit and be happy one day.  What about the pols that passed such a law that did this?  What about the increasingly corrupt bureaucrats that then perpetrated this atrocity with their “rules”, “regulations”, “policies” and collusion with radical groups for a myriad of hidden agendas – all under the color of a LAW every bit as bad as Prohibition?  Who has ever been held responsible for any of this?  Physician, heal thyself!

–       Are you kidding me?  “Consider economic impacts”?  These are the same federal bureaucracies that ignored wolves as vectors disease and infections; that denied any impacts on big game; that turned over federal livestock compensation for wolf predation to the Defenders of Wildlife; that lied about human dangers; that has minimized human attack reports; that stole millions from state Excise taxes to trap wolves in Canada after Congress had denied authorization and funding; that imported the wolves without required paperwork (something seriously punished on select civilians); that released the wolves into the Upper Rockies again without Congressional authorization; and that to this day works with radical environmental groups to further subdue and conquer rural America for their purposes.  None of these awful and illegal oppressions were ever punished. Indeed they (the bureaucrats) rewarded themselves greatly from government funding for their good job.  That said, who really believes that something as “airy-fairy” as “economic impacts” requires anything but lies?  There is no accountability for the aforementioned REAL egregious actions.  How would you ever hold anyone accountable for economic impacts that turned out to have missed XY&Z?  Beam me up Scotty!

  1. •H.R. 1274(Rep. Dan Newhouse), To amend the Endangered Species Act of 1973 to require making available to States affected by determinations that species are endangered species or threatened species all data that is the basis of such determinations, and for other purposes. “State, Tribal, and Local Species Transparency and Recovery Act

Despite the provision within the ESA requiring the federal government to cooperate with states and tribes to the greatest extent possible, history has shown that this does not always happen, and states and localities are often left out of listings and related regulatory processes. The background of this issue is summarized this way:

States have testified that the ESA as currently implemented, does not properly honor their ability to participate to the maximum extent practicable in federal ESA listing decisions. States also have stated that they are not made privy to factors utilized by the federal government in listing decisions that impact lands, communities, and species within their borders.

States are the species managers prior to a listing decision by the federal government and will become the managers of the species after a delisting decision by the federal government. States possess extensive, on-the-ground experience and expertise in science-based wildlife management principles, generation of applicable data, and the application of public policy in managing wildlife as a public asset.

In spite of the expertise and willingness of State, local, and tribal governments to participate in the ESA process, the Department of the Interior and the Department of Commerce are not required to disclose scientific information or the basis they used in making listing or critical habitat decisions to the states or to utilize scientific data generated by the states, even though states often have actual data that the federal agencies do not. See full hearing memo here.

Comments:

–       All of this nonsense, Despite the provision within the ESA requiring the federal government to cooperate with states and tribes to the greatest extent possible, history has shown that this does not always happen, and states and localities are often left out of listings and related regulatory processes” and  States have testified that the ESA as currently implemented, does not properly honor their ability to participate to the maximum extent practicable in federal ESA listing decisions. States also have stated that they are not made privy to factors utilized by the federal government in listing decisions that impact lands, communities, and species within their border” is merely rich irony.  These same politicians that pass and condone a law that gives a federal bureaucracy (USFWS) total authority over calling wolves whatever works for their hidden agendas and complete jurisdiction over Where and How Many will be placed and maintained and who (ranchers, hunters, dog owners, elderly, children, etc.) will have to put up with what Or Else; these same guys now whine that there is little “participation” and “cooperation” and “transparency” with States?  Am I mistaken, but hasn’t it been made crystal clear that they (USFWS) have been and will continue to be (as long as USFWS staff and managers sympathetic to radical i.e. anti-grazing/private property/animal ownership/hunting/trapping/animal control /animal management/logging/irrigation/dams/roads/gun, etc. agendas and organizations remain in place) in league with and colluding with organizations and agendas that are anathema to States Rights, and a Rural America composed of free men with families and rights?  Mouthing “cooperation” and “transparency” for someone to whom you have given absolute power is like Russia “welcoming” Poland into the USSR after WWII and then years later wondering why there hasn’t been any “cooperation” or “transparency”.

–       Ditto for, In spite of the expertise and willingness of State, local, and tribal governments to participate in the ESA process, the Department of the Interior and the Department of Commerce are not required to disclose scientific information or the basis they used in making listing or critical habitat decisions to the states or to utilize scientific data generated by the states, even though states often have actual data that the federal agencies do not.”  See previous comment.

  1. •H.R. 2603(Rep. Louie Gohmert), To amend the Endangered Species Act of 1973 to provide that nonnative species in the United States shall not be treated as endangered species or threatened species for purposes of that Act. “Saving America’s Endangered Species Act” or “SAVES Act

This bill offers protections to foreign species by easing and clarifying regulatory processes for captive breeding programs. Designed to support restoration programs for international species jeopardized by poaching, or other factors outside the purview of United States law, this bill would offer protections to endangered and threatened species without necessitating an ESA listing. The hearing memo summarizes the issue this way:

The Endangered Species Act of 1973 includes protections for nonnative endangered species in an effort to encourage foreign nations to protect jeopardized species and their habitats abroad. Nonnative endangered species are regulated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) under the Endangered Species Act through the captive bred wildlife (CBW) program.

Legal captive breeding of nonnative endangered species is a conservation measure that can create healthy populations of animals to augment recovery of wild populations, decrease illegal wildlife trafficking, and increase educational opportunities relating to the species. While no federal permit is required to own listed nonnative species, those wishing to sell or buy nonnative endangered species across state lines, including zoos and private breeders, must obtain a CBW permit from FWS.

H.R. 2603 would effectively eliminate the duplicative requirement for CBW permits for nonnative endangered species in the United States and held in captivity. Ease of transfer across state lines would enhance conservation and welfare of the species by allowing owners, breeders, and conservators of the species to ensure robust, and genetically diverse populations continue to exist in the United States. See the full hearing memo here:

Comment:

–       While it is admirable and surprising to see a proposed ESA Amendment to, effectively eliminate the duplicative requirement for CBW permits for nonnative endangered species in the United States and held in captivity. Ease of transfer across state lines would enhance conservation and welfare of the species”; some would say it is a symbolic token adjustment to the federal authority to totally regulate American Exotic Animal Owners.  Zoos and Aquariums would especially benefit from this, and the fact that the former Director of USFWS, who went out the door when President Trump came into office and is now the Executive Director or some such official with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums is an example of the close relationship between lobby groups and USFWS top bureaucrats.  The federal oversight interference with and disruption of Privately-owned Exotic wildlife that is a foreign ESA Listed Species lies not so much with the transfers across state lines but with the totality of the management of privately owned herds that need routine culling and the federal interference with hunts, selling meat or hides or mounts to 1.) Keep herd sizes compatible with available forage, 2.) Contribute to local economies and 3.) Provide owners with the wherewithal to maintain the species.  The standards and treatment of zoos and aquariums are too often but a pale shadow of the treatment by bureaucrats of what private Listed Exotic Animal Owners endure.  It is worth noting that this is a proposal of a Texas Congressman and Texas had more such Exotic Wildlife and Exotic Wildlife Owners than any other State the last time I looked.

  1. •H.R. 3131(Rep. Bill Huizenga), To amend the Endangered Species Act of 1973 to conform citizen suits under that Act with other existing law, and for other purposes. “Endangered Species Litigation Reasonableness Act.

Environmentalist groups, some with radical agendas, have taken advantage of the Equal Access to Justice Act to sue the federal government for ‘failing’ to properly protect species listed under the ESA. In so doing, the American taxpayer has paid out billions of dollars in huge settlements, which more often than not are used by such special interests to hire staff and bring on more lawyers to expand efforts to sue involved federal agencies. Known as ‘Sue & Settle,’ this long-standing practice has not just enriched radical special interests with public monies, but has given environmentalists an edge in using the ESA to halt economic activities, such as ranching, mining, logging, fishing, etc. This is made possible in large part due to the fact that there is no cap on what special interest groups which win settlements can claim for attorney’s costs. The issue is summarized this way.

Special interest attorneys representing environmental groups argue that their expertise is “specialized” to justify substantial, uncapped fees. Some special interest attorneys have collected fees as high as $750 taxpayer dollars per hour. According to records from the Department of Justice, at least two such attorneys have garnered more than $2 million in attorneys’ fees by filing ESA suits.

The taxpayer-funded Judgment Fund serves as the source for ESA-related attorneys’ fees payments. H.R. 3131 would require ESA litigants to abide by the same rules as others bringing suit against the federal government, requiring plaintiffs to prevail in order to collect attorneys’ fees, as well as impose the $125 fee cap set by EAJA. Capable environmental attorneys are no longer rare or specialized to the point where uncapped attorneys’ fees are justified. While this legislation does not restrict aggrieved parties’ ability to seek redress in court, it removes an incentive for litigious plaintiffs to request large fee awards and safeguards taxpayer dollars against abusive litigation tactics.

I leave this one to the lawyers in the crowd.  Such legislation, written by lawyers, proposed by lawyers, lobbied for by lawyers and described by lawyers are truthfully above my pay grade.  This complexity and long-standing possession of this arena of governance is one of the big reasons no one stands up to things anymore since we are all such purposely – uneducated ignoramuses about these matters.  I suppose this is why Will Rogers once observed that, “The minute you read something you can’t understand, you can almost be sure it was drawn up by a lawyer.”

Jim Beers

4 August 2017

If you found this worthwhile, please share it with others. Thanks.

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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Tough Answer to a Tough Question

by James Beers

As I continue boring through a stack of requests after a recent week in Montana, four questions from four readers are essentially the same question.  I have given much thought to an answer but I am afraid that there is no truthful answer other than the one that will disappoint the fine folks that ask the question and probably tick off many that read the answer.  Doing this to colleagues that have done and do so much is hard to do because it may either discourage them or cause them to simply give up and take up crossword puzzles in some 17th floor, urban condominium.  Nonetheless, here is the question and my answer.

Question: “What can we do to make USFWS ‘return wolf management’ to our state as happened recently in Wyoming?”

My Answer:

Dear Reader,

“Returning wolf management” to your state is the sort of thing that the saying, “Be careful what you wish for because it may come true” was referring to when first spoken.

I recently spoke with two Wyoming ranchers attending the Western Governor’s Conference in Whitefish, Montana about this very point and each was adamant that unless and until the federal authority to “List” wolves (and grizzly bears as well) under the ESA is repealed, just like Prohibition or the Dred Scott Decision by the Supreme Court, nothing will change in the long run.  Each rancher was fully aware that this “return of management” was simply a band aid on a serious wound to American liberties.  They fully expected that if “we” (i.e. the Trump Administration and a yet-to-emerge Congressional coalition of vertebrate politicians) don’t get rid of that federal authority, the next age class of progressive/get-along politicians will simply whisk aside all this “management” (i.e. say-so by State governments and the residents of that state about federal wildlife mandates) by state governments and take right off again from where they were on 7 November 2016, the eve of the recent Presidential election.

Allow me to take a stab about why I agree this is so.

  1. The majority of USFWS, NPS, BLM and USFS employees from the newest to the oldest will fight any attempt to repeal superior federal wildlife authority nationwide for any “species” (or “sub sp.”, or “race” or “population” or “segment???”) they believe they have and should have total authority over all wildlife in every way.  This attitude has been fostered by federal laws of the past 45 years that reinforced their belief that they are on a quasi-religious (taxpayer funded) mission to dictate the presence of wildlife, the abundance of wildlife and ALL aspects of the human/wildlife interface nationally and internationally.  They believe that the ESA, EPA, and an alphabet-soup hodgepodge of federal laws and precedents not only grant them this responsibility but also that the opinions of the elites (much like climate change/warming/cooling) and “experts” confirms their legitimacy to rule others through absolute wildlife authority and jurisdiction.

 

  1. The radical Non-Government Organizations from the NWF and DU to the extremists like DoW, NRDC, CBD, PETA, AWI, etc. are, and will remain, supported by rich elites as these NGO’s maintain all their young volunteers, their lawyers and their “connections” (i.e. money) with the federal agencies, federal politicians, Native American governments, key state politicians, certain judges in certain courts, University staffs, and foreign connections with their mirror images in the UN and EU bureaucracies.  They are lying low as I write to fight Trump clandestinely but they will rise quickly like the Phoenix when conditions are again favorable.

 

  1. Congress, no matter how many drain tiles (to “Drain the Swamp”) President Trump and his allies lay in Washington will steadily be “re-watered” by new and drainage-surviving politicians and bureaucrats.  Many cities like Chicago, San Francisco, Boston, Philadelphia, Miami et al, and many states like California, Oregon, Washington, New Jersey, Illinois and Minnesota will still send an army of progressive, urban-oriented federal politicians into Washington, DC to eradicate any rural accommodations that Trump achieves while reaffirming all of the environmental/animal rights extremism of the past four decades since they only affect those bumpkins “out there” and not (they think) the smart and rich elites living in the cities that believe they should run the country and the world.

 

  1. State wildlife agencies, with but very few exceptions, have proven in the past 20 years (from their failure to request or demand the replacement of the $45 to 60 Million documented as stolen by USFWS bureaucrats from State PR funds to release Canadian wolves into Yellowstone under President Clinton, to their shameful acquiescence in cooperating with all those mentioned in 1 through 3 above in covering up wolf incidents and damages, lying about the numbers and declines of big game due to wolves, failing to pay compensation for the majority of wolf complaints, and lying about diseases spread by wolves and the documented history of living with wolves since the time of Plato to the settlement of North America and in Asia/Europe today) that they cannot stand up to federal demands or represent their residents.  As a consequence of decades under their desks hoping for eventual federal employment, they have become wolf and grizzly lap dogs to federal bureaucrats, from taking orders from progressive  politicians and activists that they believe (naively) will supplant hunting and fishing  financing and spark a Brave New World of federal tax funding in a make-believe world run by the folks mentioned in 1 through 3 above.

I hear you wondering what all this has to do with “returning management” to the States?  Isn’t “returning management to the States the answer in the “real” political world of the “possible”?

“Actually” (to quote my 11 year-old grandson) the folks in 1 through 4 are prepared to and will do whatever it takes to keep and restore all federal power and the status quo.  As long as the ESA is the source of that power, they have all the advantages (law, regulation, court precedents, media, University “experts” and schoolteachers) on their side.

Consider, what “returning” Management – not Authority or Jurisdiction – means.  It means the federal bureaucrats and the courts will allow the states to maintain X number of wolves throughout each state.  “Management” is simply the steps necessary to accomplish pre-determined ends.  “Authority” and “Jurisdiction” are the final word in determining the ends that are a federal mandate in this case.  State “management” is simply the privilege to pay for what the folks in 1 through 4 say is the way things will be.  Think of Poland conquered by the Soviets in 1945 and then told that henceforth they are the Soviet Republic of Poland and henceforth they will do and pay for what the Politburo dictates.  Who would consider that a victory worth pursuing?

Poland didn’t celebrate until June of 1989 when Soviet tyranny was voted out in a free election and the Polish Republic was founded.  To this date, Poland has had to constantly fend off both Russian bullying and EU immigration policies that threaten Poland’s very identity.  If there was a lingering key to Soviet or Russian reclamation of  authority or jurisdiction over Poland; who doubts that the Polish Republic  would exist today?  It is exactly the same thing with this “out-of-sight-out-of-mind” ESA AUTHORITY to “save the world’s wildlife” and rural America.  As long as this ESA authority exists, wolf or grizzly to name but two, future federal politicians, judges and bureaucrats can reactivate it like Dr. Frankenstein in his lab on a stormy night.

How is this so?  Consider:

–       Two months ago I asked a lady USFWS employee on the phone if the recent “return of wolf management to the State of Wyoming” meant that “they could kill all the wolves in Wyoming?”  Since I had identified myself as a Minnesotan, I guess she was thinking of me as some sort of fellow traveler and/or lover of “the ecosystem”.  Her lowered voice told me to talk to my friends and write letters to USFWS about our “concerns” and they will try to do something when they can.

–       All of the “Return” agreements mention a base number of wolves, BUT you can’t count wolves so how does that work?  The State agency may have counts or trends or estimates or WAG’s but what happens when Dr. Love the predator “expert” for Wolf/Grizzly International appears before Senator Snodgrass’ Committee on the Environment and refutes that above “data” and pontificates on “alpha males”, pup and cub mortality, climate change, ticks, disease, poaching and a certain questionable attitude by certain state employees about the value of predators?  Who could leave “management” in the hands of such barbarians?

–       State agencies will have to begin (due to lawsuit fears) picking up the tab (from where?) for more:

  1. Babysitting, trapping and transplanting of wolves.
  2. Compensation for damages by wolves.
  3. Investigations of wolf carcasses, poaching, etc.
  4. Explaining wolf impacts on game animals.
  5. Investigating and follow-up on human attacks.
  6. Resolving and preventing dog deaths.
  7. Researching Disease, Infections and Parasite threats from wolves.
  8. Answering lawsuits and other challenges to any “management”.
  9. More diversion of license money and Excise Taxes for training, meetings, lawyers, administrative support, vehicles, fuel, office space, storage, retirement costs, health insurance, planning, etc. for wolves.

–       Speaking of license money, there is a certain euphoria in the air from all the Montana, Idaho and Wyoming residents buying a wolf tag, just as there is a similar whispering about “Delisting” (another MacGuffin intended to divert your attention with no real consequence) Grizzly Bears resulting in a few high cost licenses eventually – the implication being to fleece the rich, another socialist/communist policy favorite.  Wolves are not only hard to hunt, they learn quicker than a Jack Russel Terrier in Obedience School.  As all those license buyers are learning  this and understanding how few can be shot.  This will result in wolf license money becoming a minor factor, just as a few rich cats killing a few of those “sacred” grizzly bears will provide better media fodder to kill such hunts and hunting than that Minnesota Dentist that shot that Lion with a name in Zimbabwe recently.

–       Methods of taking wolves, much less grizzlies, will have to be non-lethal and cause them to put on weight to avoid lawsuits.  Trapping?  Definitely not.  Poisons?  Are you kidding?  Denning (i.e. killing pups)?  Yeah right.  Aerial shooting as Alaska and Russians know is the only effective and affordable means with a chance of real results?  Nope.  Gun calibers, bullet materials, etc. will be set so high that new guns and non-available ammunition will be the norm.  Federal land (USFS, BLM, USFWS, et al) requirements (they are landowners don’t you know) will further restrict all of these things and probably many we haven’t even thought about yet.

–       Speaking of aerial shooting to “manage” wolf numbers and distributions; 100 years ago men formed posses and rode down and killed the last wolves in Counties much like Irish and English landowners came up with wolfhounds – not for sport but to kill the last wolves in Ireland and thereby end the scourge, death and destruction wrought by wolves.  None of these are conceivable today in the Lower 48 states.  Private property and federal ownerships require Permission to fly over and shoot into, or to ride posses through or to run killer dogs in.  The federal estate behemoth and the private property owners with wolves will, for a multitude of reasons make any of that all but impossible.  I have written for years that County Wolf Boards in Counties desiring wolf control are the answer like County Weed Boards authorized to control wolves in various ways and any property owner (including federal properties In The County either allow access for wolf control, accomplish County-directed wolf control, or the County bills the landowner and places a lien or sues to pay for County-financed wolf control.  But, this requires delegated State Authority and a state with merely “management” delegation from federal authority cannot delegate that which it does not first possess.

If you still think “management return” is worth pursuing I will mention one last factor.  If you live in rural Minnesota you will always have the Twin Cities/Duluth political dominance (like Illinois has with Chicago) to contend with about wolves.  Rural Wisconsin has the same issue with Madison and Milwaukee.  Similarly rural Oregon has the same issue with Portland/Eugene that rural Washington has with Seattle.  Why allow them and all their compatriots in 1 through 4 above to utilize lawsuits and blackmail revolving around  withdrawing wolf management they so magnanimously granted.  You have to fight them anyway so level the field as best you can, for you will have no federal backers when push comes to shove.  Eliminate the federal tool just like Poland eliminated Soviet hegemony and tyranny  when the chance presented itself.

Now folks smarter than me might recommend achievable incremental change over time but I say that if Poland had followed that advice Pope John Paul, Reagan, and Thatcher would have died and the Bushes, Clinton, Obama and the current Pope would come and go and Poland would still evoke our pity and “tsk, tsks” as they were brought up at Brie parties on the Chicago North Shore (or maybe we would be speaking and reading Russian today?)

We need to push for real reform in federal law while this period of real change is underway.  Say and think what you will about President Trump, his voters have created a tumultuous atmosphere in Washington where momentum might favor achieving what everyone says is impossible.  If the folks in 1 through 4 above ever get back in power, we must make it so that they have to try and reauthorize this travesty in a law passed by the Congress and signed by the President that does what millions of rural Americans KNOW should never be re-instituted.  We could defeat that after what we now know is afoot.

When we ask for and get “management” returned to states we only quiet things down while real change is possible, thereby make a quick return to the status quo and where it has been leading us inevitable when Washington is again a problem.  Additionally, if we get “management” returns; how many rural Americans will believe that is the best we can do and then go into hibernation and let this reform of the law opportunity pass us by only to waken us with a bang when those in 1 through 4 re-seize federal power.

Those folks in 1 through 4 represent ideologies and a future that should be repugnant to all Americans but it is mainly rural Americans up until now that they are harming openly (the diversion of tax dollars and foregone work diverted to their peccadilloes are topics for future articles).  Their habits and notions cannot be “reformed”; we must defeat their programs by repealing them.

“Returning Management to the State” is merely a placebo we take to fool ourselves into believing we have taken something real.  Anything short of eliminating this Constitutional insult at this time is a real defeat and anyone telling you different should be listened to at your (and our) own peril.

Jim Beers

11 July2017

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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Maybe The Proposed “Comprehensive Hunting License” is Not a Good Idea

George Smith, political activist and outdoor writer, probably perceived by many as a bad dose of pine pollen, is at it again. It seems that if he’s not hounding somebody about forcing Mainers to take up Sunday hunting, he’s beating their brow over creating what he calls a Comprehensive Hunting License. I’m not so sure that I can agree with a lot of Smith’s reasons why he thinks this is a good idea and I also wonder if he really understands why the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) is fighting him on this proposed bill. And to those with little gray matter, I’m not suggesting in any way that Smith, or anybody else, stop exercising their right to petition the state. Good for him.

George, it’s all about the money, isn’t it? You say it’s a shame that something this good might not happen because of money. I don’t know that your proposal is that good, but it is a shame that decisions are made on whether or not it will add or subtract revenue to pay the salaries and retirement pensions of the growing number of retirees.

I understand your point of view about how simple it is to pay the extra cost for your comprehensive license because it’s no more than 10 or 12 gallons of gasoline, but I don’t agree with you. I also understand what you are saying about how it cost more to get to and come home from a hunt in North Dakota, but the reality is, how many of all the hunters in Maine can afford to do that? In short, they can’t relate to your reasoning.

You speak of how great and beneficial the Superpack License was to you UNTIL the state charged $200 for it. I didn’t think you grew up with a silver spoon but then again I know very little about you or your past. I grew up dirt poor. In the world I live in, facing that increase for a Superpack to $200 might loom as large as someone considering an increase of $13.00. In short, they can’t relate to your reasoning.

You say the increased cost would not only not deter anyone from hunting but that it would increase those who decide to take up hunting species they never tried before. Really? Does all the world think as you do – not that there is anything wrong with how you see things. It’s just I don’t think everyone sees things the same as you. I don’t…and that’s one.

Since giving up my Maine residency 20-some years ago, I have to purchase a nonresident hunting license to hunt deer in Maine. I don’t CHOOSE to hunt other species, accept maybe the few I can collect during deer season. The past 3 years I have really labored in my mind to justify spending $114.00 for a hunting license to walk in the woods and listen to coyotes howl at night. You have addressed that issue, however, seeing this as a future problem is not seeing the problem that stands before us now. The future is here.

From the MDIFW’s perspective, I believe they are, at least to some degree, protecting their income. I would do the same if I were in their positions. I may just choose to do it in different ways. If MDIFW understands they are between a rock and hard place because in many places in Maine the deer hunting sucks and the moose hunting, along with “opportunities,” is shrinking at a rate in which soon hunting of the lanky critter will be another item to read about in Maine’s historical documents, then perhaps they don’t want more people hunting. Instead, they want to advertise what a great place Maine is to hunt and dupe the public as long as they can by selling their “opportunities.” It’s called (stealthily) stroking the Golden Goose.

What I am confused about is that it appears you are coming down on both sides of this issue – or at least straddling the fence. If, as you seem to want to base a good part of your argument on, the increased cost of a “comprehensive license” is no big deal – meaning $13.00 or $30.00 is of no concern – and it would gain hunters rather than drive them away, then by the same reasoning, it’s no big deal to select and pay for only the species you want to hunt, even if it might cost you more money.

The consumer is an odd duck in some ways. My wife recently bought a brand new sewing machine as part of her retirement strategy. We both discussed the issue at length and we both agreed that she should purchase what she WANTED in a sewing machine, but not to buy one loaded with extras because it seemed a better deal. Maybe hunters in Maine don’t want a comprehensive hunting license. In the long run, to the smart shopper, maybe it’s not really a better deal. I’m not convinced it is and if I’m forced to try it, I might not even try it.

I understand how you like to throw out statistics from surveys, the most of which are designed to achieve desired results (I’ve written extensively about that), and report that 68% of those hunters who chose to return a survey (6% return) favored a comprehensive hunting license. That number means little unless we know all the details about the survey, including the wording of the questions and what the respondents believed to be an “all-inclusive” license and it’s cost. Surveys are easy to answer. Reality is always considerably different.

So, if you want to toss out survey results, here’s one that is often avoided because it doesn’t comfortably fit the narrative of those seeking to make changes in laws to satisfy their own ideals. In most of the latest surveys taken for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the number one reason people do not hunt is lack of time/time away from work.

If this is true, then perhaps MDIFW is on top of the ball and they understand this (am I really saying this?). If I had but two days to hunt deer in November, because that’s all the time off I could get, why would I want to spend another $13.00 to do what I can do for $25.00. After all, the sneaky-snake can say it’s only $13.00 but the thinking man sees it’s a better that 50% increase. Not everybody looks at things from the perspective of “gee, it’s only the price of half a tank of gas.” Many people look at this as wasting money. What then are my options? If I feel $13.00 is $13.00 I don’t want to needlessly spend, then my only two options are spend the money or don’t bother to try to get time off work to hunt. How is this increasing the number of hunters?

Maybe it’s also time that Maine got on the bandwagon and modernized it’s fishing license structure to allow fishermen to pay for only what they choose to fish and/or how they would like to fish for their desired species. I have fished in many states that provide a general fishing license and then you purchase a stamp (real or figurative) for each of the species you want to fish. If you never fish any other species but bass, why should I be forced to pay a higher fee to fish what I don’t want.

I guess it might depend on whether the glass is half full or half empty.

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Florida: Bear Hunting Is Essential to Management….Er, Except When Politics Rule

During the deliberation portion of their June 2016 meeting that resulted in the postponement of a bear hunt that year, dissenting FWC Commissioners claimed their wish was to polish the scientific data supporting a hunt which was to be presented this year. They had no desire to “kick the can down the road” or “study the issue to death.”

What did they do at the meeting last Wednesday? They decided to revise the bear management plan to incorporate the new data and hunting as a management tool. This updated plan will be presented to the Commission in two years. To the best of my understanding, 2019 will be the earliest bear hunting is considered again.

Can kicked. Issue studied and dead. For now.<<<Read More>>>

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A Case of the Pot Calling the Kettle Black

Void of sensible argument, let’s just say for the purposes of this discussion, that the corporate “citizens” of this corporation, the United States of America, live in a democracy. Might as well say it because most think we do and vehemently support it. A democracy sucks…especially when you are the sheep in a three-way discussion with two wolves deciding what’s for lunch. When you combine the ills of the so-called democratic process, with the ignorance of taking the high ground on all things democratic, scientific and wildlife management, spelled out for us in bold letters is HYPOCRISY.

To make my point, gander at the article written in the Kennebec Journal extolling the virtues of Maine’s Constitution and the democratic process in deciding who’s going to make the menu for lunch….er, well, kind of – until the promoter of the democratic process discovers she might be headlining the menu.

The article itself is garbage and so I will not waste my time with a step by step process refuting the endless claims of nonsense strewn through the blather of nonsensical words and hypocritical proclamations shouted from the position of the only one holding the high ground on all matters of what this person calls “rights,” science and the management of wildlife.

It would appear the letter writer assumes the position that rights are granted by governments and that those granted rights are how things should be, as in the rule of law, so long as they are the totalitarian rules of law she chooses to subscribe to that promote her ideology and choice of lifestyle.

The day we are born, our Creator gives us all our rights. It is only man in his sin that takes those rights away and/or doles them out as a means of controlling the population and presenting themselves as an “exceptional” government creating an “exceptional” nation. Sound familiar? Perhaps you don’t recognize it.

For each and every law that it enacted, one more aspect of our God-given rights is being chiseled away. We have reached a point in our uncivilized, greedy, nasty, hate-filled nation, where democracy, manipulated by money and power, is used to force the wills of only the most powerful and affluent among our society. There is a different name for this other than democracy…but, don’t go look.

In our own blind ignorance, created by the same powerful and affluent through essentially brainwashing (controlling all forms of education and media) once anyone assumes the high ground on any issue, of course the other side is wrong and need to be stopped, even to the point of wanting the oppositions rights removed. This IS but one of the nasty elements of democracy that you must like.

Aside from the blather of the letter writer, can anyone see the idiocy in the defense of what this person considers her choice in how democracy and the rule of law are applied? I see this most often but I wonder how many others do, especially those bent on forcing their idealism and totalitarian ways onto all others.

With but limited “rights” left, as most all “rights” are either taken away or have been limited to some degree, one can only employ the “democratic” process available in hopes of changing those laws.

In Maine there is but one more attempt at amending the constitution in order to establish what the promoters are calling a constitutional protection to hunt, fish and trap. Incidentally and most relevant to an honest discussion, since Maine became a state, there have been 172 approved amendments to its Constitution. Should it come as a shock to people that the process taken to adopt these amendments was the “democratic” process established within the original Constitution as defined in Article X, Section 4.? If you love this democracy so much, I hope you at least understand how it works.

How, then, is seeking approval from the Maine Legislature, to present to the voters of that state, a chance to consider, debate and vote on this or any other amendment, wrong as it applies to things a person doesn’t approve of?

The letter writer claims that a constitutional amendment to protect the right to hunt, fish and trap will destroy the rights of others and prohibit them from having any legal recourse in affairs concerning wildlife management. What nonsense. No constitutional amendment, unless so written, will supersede any and all other articles and amendments within a constitution.

Not that long ago, some in Maine were promoting a law that would remove a person’s right to petition the state in wildlife management issues of which I opposed. The proposed amendment, as written, would not do that.

It appears that in the letter writer’s enthusiasm and hatred toward all things hunting, trapping and fishing, she is skewing the lines between offering substantiated reasons to oppose an amendment for its content, and the actual democratic process established within the constitution.

I assure everyone that of the 172 amendments to Maine’s Constitution, not everyone liked and voted for them. However, as I have stated, democracy sucks, especially when you are on the short end of the stick.

The process is established and as much as some would like even to change that process, which can be done by implementation of the democratic and legal processes established within the Constitution, it is a process that shouldn’t be used to somehow demonize anyone’s or group of anyone’s right to petition the state and/or use the legal process to, in fact, let the voters decide. That is after all, what most American’s think is the best way to do things. It’s a classic Jeffersonian process.

The person who wrote this letter obviously does not understand the state’s legal processes, as well as the not so legal processes, that are presented as a right to assure a citizen the process to legally change the laws. It is not only ironic, buy of a double standard, that anyone would, while attempting to bless the Maine Constitution, out of the corner of their mouths, wish to limit those rights to anyone she does not agree with or that doesn’t agree with her.

The process is there, whether we like it or not. If you support this process and believe in it, then put your money where your mouth is and let the process work. In the meantime, if you oppose or support the proposed constitutional amendment then provide valid reasons for or against. Don’t pretend to understand the process while doing everything in your power to destroy the process.

Then again, all of this could be just a charade.

 

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Hold On To Your Wallet

Letter to the St. Paul Pioneer Press – by James Beers

Hold On To Your Wallet

The Headline says it all; “DNR wants increased fees”.

Our “perpetual tax and spend” Governor and his DNR Commissioner “need” hunting and fishing license fee increases of 10 to 15% “to keep up with inflation”. Haven’t our federal politicians claimed there is no inflation, or is that just to keep us retirees from asking questions?

So, “without the hike, the DNR will be forced to make several cuts”, the first of which will be “reducing the workforce”. Then without “additional funding”, roads will not be maintained, there will be fewer wildlife surveys, and walleye stocking will decrease.

Before we swallow this bait, please answer two questions:

  1. What is the trend of license sales for non-resident deer hunting, non-resident fishing and resident hunting and fishing?  Considering the devastation of walleye lakes due to indiscriminate netting, the loss of moose hunting license fees due to wolves, and the complaints of deer hunters about wolf decimation of northern deer herds; paying you to “maintain wildlife programs at current levels” seems foolish.
  2. How much of our license dollars, federal Excise Taxes and other funds including all the “incidental” law enforcement, trapping, public relations, etc. are you spending on wolves and how much more will you be spending on wolves if and when your federal counterparts “Return Wolf Management to the State” except, of course for our right to set numbers, distributions, methods of take, sale of parts, etc.?

Note to the St. Paul paper.  Since you so blithely refer to folks like me as members of the “hook and bullet” groups; how about referring to those “supporters” of the increases as “wolf-lover” groups and “indiscriminate fish-netter-lover” groups?

Jim Beers

16 April 2017

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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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Florida Representative Proposes Ten Year Ban on Bear Hunting

*Editor’s Note* – As we continue to see such legislation that strips wildlife managers of necessary tools to do the jobs they are commissioned to do, is there any wonder that other states, sick and tired of ignorant animal rights perverts and environmentalists crafting legislation to rule out science over emotional clap-trap, crafting some of their own bills that would prohibit any legislation of this kind pertaining to wildlife management. Where will this nonsense end? 

Press Release from the Sportsmen’s Alliance:

Take Action! Currently House Bill 491 is in House Natural Resources & Public Lands Subcommittee. Florida sportsmen should contact their state representatives and ask them to vote NO on House Bill 491. Members can use the Sportsmen’s Alliance Legislative Action Center to contact their state representative.

In Florida, Rep. Amy Mercado (D-Orlando) has proposed legislation that would place a ten-year ban on black bear hunting in Florida. House Bill 491 also requires bear-proof garbage cans, and restricts burning in habitats that could impact bears. The bill also would commission a study on the effectiveness of non-lethal means for the management of bears.

In 2016, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission paused plans to have a hunting season for bears after anti-hunting groups pressured both commissioners and legislators.

“HB 491 would set a terrible precedent by removing the management authority from the commission altogether and instead establishing an arbitrary timeline,” said Luke Houghton, the Sportsmen’s Alliance associate director of state services. “The Commission was created to make scientific decisions regarding wildlife, and House Bill 491 undermines that process and politicizes wildlife decision making.”

Taxpayers would also be on the hook for at least $1 million to pay for bear-proof trash cans, which local governments would then apply for funding from. HB 491 also mandates an end to any timbering of palmetto and oak trees in state forests. Rep. Mercado claims that bears will avoid garbage if there are more food sources available naturally.

“HB 491 substitute’s politics for science, ignoring the advice of Florida’s wildlife experts,” continued Houghton. “It sets a precedent that politicians can step on sound scientific wildlife management decisions when opponents of hunting become upset. HB 491 also poses a serious public safety risk, as Florida’s growing bear population expands unchecked.”

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