May 28, 2017

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

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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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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The Binary Logic of Civilized vs. Savage

*Editor’s Comment* – The binary logic discussed in this article attempts to explain the differences between the West’s compulsive desire to change everyone’s way of life to fit their idealism – an idealism formulated on an incorrect principle of “I am civilized (politically correct) and you are barbaric.” In this case, those hiding behind the guise of “animal rights” view what they deem “barbaric behavior” of hunting seals for subsistence and profit, as wrong (uncivilized, cruel, barbaric, inhumane) and their way right and yet hypocritical. This drives them to impose their belief system on others, sometimes at extraordinary consequences.

Hasn’t this been in play, at least to some degree, since the beginning of time? In more modern times, if we take off our blinders, we can see how, not just the “Industrial Complex” but the Military Industrial Complex has used its power and self-righteous authority to destroy many people’s way of life, having deemed such as barbaric or unacceptable in one form or another.

The author describes “complex” in the context of the “Industrial Complex” as the following: ” “Complex” here takes on two meanings, both the psychological and cognitive meaning of a “saviour complex” related to beliefs of one’s role as a saviour, as well as the meaning of an “industrial complex”, denoting intricate relations between the state, ruling class and a given industry (in this case the industry of non-governmental/non-profit organizations).”

Article excerpt:

“Inuk filmmaker Alethea Arnaquq-Baril’s 2016 documentary, Angry Inuk, is a story about the erasure and domination of Indigenous peoples by colonial powers. The film impassionedly defends the seal hunt industry by revealing how Western environmental and animal advocacy NGOs (e.g., Greenpeace, International Fund for Animal Welfare, Humane Society International), have devastated the livelihoods of Inuit communities that rely on the industry for subsistence. The NGOs have destroyed the Inuit seal trade economy by successfully campaigning the European Union to ban products made from seals, despite allowing an exception for the trading of Inuit seal products. This reflection examines how the strategies carried out by Western NGOs to achieve their “victory” are rooted in colonial-capitalism, white supremacy and Eurocentrism, and therefore reinforces colonial domination. Below, I focus on a few strategies employed by the NGOs, as highlighted in the film.”<<<Read More>>>

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Deer Management Dollars: Don’t Question Government. Take Their Word as Fact

*Editor’s Note* – The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources wants to increase hunting license fees from $30.00 to $34.00, and they say the increase is needed for “maintaining the level of deer management Minnesota has. Not increasing it.” In addition, the government says we’ll have to take their word for it when they say that most of the money from hunting license fees goes toward deer management even if a recent audit didn’t show that…or can’t show that. Officials say that employees of DNR don’t closely scrutinize how much work actually benefits deer….or something. Perhaps they consider Facebook time as deer management?

The Minnesota Deer Hunters Association (MDHA) have previously voiced concern the the DNR was doing a poor job at deer management and claim the proof is in the fact that hunting success has dropped off, along with deer populations.

First of all, name me another non governmental organization that gets a greater than 10% increase in their income upon request. I thought so. What’s difficult to understand is, if the MDHA is not happy with the DNR’s deer management, why then are they seemingly negotiating with the government on how much the increase will be for the hunting license and many other fees paid by sportsmen? It appears a simply rejection of this proposal is in order.

This is a classic example of insanity and the redundant belief that throwing money at something makes it better. Over the many years I’ve covered these topics, I often hear sportsmen comment that they think they get a lot for the amount of money they pay for a license. Is that the issue? It shouldn’t be but I assure you it’s part of the problem. The questioning should be as to whether or not YOUR license dollars are being spent in the way you want them spent…without blindly accepting the word of corrupt government that they are looking out for you.

If only $2.00 of a $30.00 hunting license fee goes to deer management, and the overwhelming majority goes toward the “general fund,” in which government bureaucrats say is used to benefit deer and deer management, then Minnesota hunters are being hosed and they should do something about it.

Another issue to consider, but seldom is, is the insanity of something being unacceptable and money is being requested to “maintain” the same level of insanity. Either deer management is good or it’s not. Either way all government fascists should be required to explain precisely where every penny goes. Dumping money into a general fund is the government’s favorite way of using that money for personal pet projects, etc. Perhaps cutting the budget, along with other IMPROVEMENTS, would be a better option. Governments get very comfortable with their lying, cheating and stealing and expect you and I will continue to support their bad habits.

Most sportsmen get quite angry when they find out that any fish and game department is using game license fees to support non game activities. It’s doubly angering when how such funds are being spent is unclear because there is no accounting for it, and triply angering when government says, “TRUST ME.”

“Here’s how the $30 from a deer license is currently set up,” Engwall said. “One dollar goes into a special deer-bear management account. Fifty cents goes into an emergency deer feeding/deer health [think CWD] account. Fifty cents goes into a wolf management account. Twenty-six dollars goes into the Game and Fish Fund. And only $2 goes into the dedicated deer management account.”<<<Read More>>>

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Murkowski Welcomes New Interior Orders

Press Release from the Office of Senator Lisa Murkowski, Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources:

New Secretarial Orders Expand Access to Federal Lands, Lift Ban on Lead Tackle and Ammunition

U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, today expressed her support for two secretarial orders announced by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke during his first full day on the job.

Secretarial Order 3347 overturns the last-minute Director’s Order 219, which would have banned lead-based products in ammunition and fishing tackle used on Fish and Wildlife Service lands and waters. Director’s Order 219 was of particular concern in the State of Alaska, as many who engage in traditional subsistence activities often rely on equipment that would have been impacted by the ban.

Secretary Zinke also signed Secretarial Order 3346, which reinstated the Wildlife and Hunting Heritage Conservation Council. This order responds to the needs of the sportsmen’s community and will expand and enhance hunting, fishing, and recreational opportunities on public lands.

“Secretary Zinke has wasted no time in taking common sense steps that are widely supported by Alaskans—particularly those who engage in traditional subsistence hunting and fishing on federal lands, and whose ability to gather food for their families was directly threatened by the order he overturned today,” Murkowski said. “I look forward to working with Secretary Zinke on a whole host of issues that are important to Alaskans and sportsmen all across the United States.”

Murkowski is a longtime advocate for sportsmen and women. In the last Congress, she introduced and led the Senate’s bipartisan package of sportsmen’s and public lands related measures. The legislation included provisions that would have protected, expanded, and enhanced hunting, fishing, and recreational shooting opportunities on federal lands.

Murkowski is the chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. More information about the new Secretarial Orders is available here.

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Evidently A Few Approve of Confirmation of Ryan Zinke to Head Interior

Boone and Crockett Club: Ryan Zinke the Right Choice as Interior Secretary

The Boone and Crockett Club, the oldest wildlife conservation group in the U.S., yesterday praised the bipartisan confirmation of U.S. Representative Ryan Zinke (R-Mont.) as the new Secretary of the Department of the Interior. | For More…

NRA Applauds Secretary Zinke’s Protection of Traditional Ammunition

The National Rifle Association applauds Secretary Zinke’s decision to withdraw Director’s Order No. 219, a decree imposed on the final day of the Obama presidency to ban the use of lead ammunition and fishing tackle on national wildlife refuges. | For More…

Sportfishing Industry Applauds Interior’s Efforts to Expand Public Access

The first order advances conservation stewardship by directing Interior agencies such as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Park Service to identify areas where recreation and fishing can be expanded. Zinke will request input from the Sport Fishing and Boating Partnership Council, of which the American Sportfishing Association (ASA) is a key member, in this process. | For More…

AFWA Applauds Secretary Zinke’s Day One Secretarial Orders

The Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies applauds announcement of Secretarial Order 3346and Secretarial Order 3347 by Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke. | For More…

SCI Applauds Zinke’s Reversal of Obama Administration Ammunition Order

A statement from Safari Club International praises Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s reversal of former FWS Director Dan Ashe’s Director’s Order 219 which imposed severe ammunition restrictions without input from the states, the public and ammunition and tackle manufacturers. | For More…

THEN THERE’S THE HAT. THE HAT ALONE IS A BIG WIN. Trump’s Newly Confirmed Interior Secretary Rode A Horse To His First Day Of Work. “Zinke, a pro-gun former Navy SEAL, will lead a federal department which oversees around a fifth of the nation’s land.”

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A Most Excellent Quote of How Statistics Prove Statistics Can Prove Anything

In a rapidly growing email exchange about effects of ungulates, particularly deer, on forests, I read the following most excellent statement contained within a larger E-mail response:

“…if folks want to play with words or numbers, as I’ve often seen done in the name of “science”, one could produce almost any number desired.  For example, why stop at a group of deer in a deer yard?  How about a doe and fawn standing on 10 sq. ft. of ground?  That compounds out to 5,575,680 deer per sq. mile.”

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