March 4, 2015

Obama Says Kill Wolves?

The 2016 presidential election, which also combines with elections in Congress, is not that far away… that is if you watch the array of idiots vying for a hand-up on the others for the nomination. For this reason it is probably why the Obama Administration, through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) is saying that they are in agreement with Michigan and Wisconsin that hunters should be able to “sport hunt” wolves. Sport hunt, eh?

A citified and Obama-appointed federal district judge in the District of Columbia, created her own interpretation of the Endangered Species Act(ESA) (nothing new here) and ordered that wolves in the Great Lakes Region (Distinct Population Segment) be returned to protection under the ESA. The USFWS is contemplating whether to appeal that decision, but don’t hold your breath. They won’t appeal it. They don’t WANT to appeal it. Their buddies in the several environmental regimes, which are nothing more a branch of their own corrupt form of totalitarian rule, accomplished what the USFWS and thus, the Obama Administration, really wanted. With those assurances in place, frees up the Obama Administration to make statements that they support the hunters. Absolute BS! BUT DON’T GO LOOK! (This tactic is as old as the hills. It is much like the Vatican stating they oppose abortion and yet behind the scenes they are responsible for the perpetuation of the act.)

While this dog and pony show goes on, Kabuki Theater is being staged somewhere in the halls of Congress to vote on a bill that would force the USFWS to reinstate the Final Rule for wolf delisting, while at the same time prohibiting Howell and others from “judicial review”. (Do you have a definition for that?)

TIME OUT: Judicial Rule – The principle by which courts can declare acts of either the executive branch or the legislative branch unconstitutional. The Supreme Court has exercised this power, for example, to revoke state laws that denied civil rights guaranteed by the Constitution.

Rep. Ribble’s bill, H.R. 884, states that the Final Rule will be reissued and “Such reissuance shall not be subject to judicial review.”

So, does that mean environmental groups cannot file suit to stop the delisting? Or is this meaning to prevent environmental groups from challenging the constitutionality of H.R. 884?

TIME IN:

However, the Obama Administration, according to the article linked to above, thinks that, “The science clearly shows that wolves are recovered in the Great Lakes region.” Technically, this isn’t exactly what Howell said in her ruling. So pay attention.

Howell’s ruling stated that the reason she couldn’t let the Final Rule stand was because it is her belief that wolves must be recovered throughout all the Lower 48 States. That makes it easier for Obama to state that hunters ought to be able to “sport hunt” wolves but does NOTHING to address Howell’s ruling.

And this brings me back to “sport hunting” wolves. Please, Mr. Obama, define sport hunting. Here’s an idea. Why doesn’t his government just get the hell out of the way and let the state governments decide what’s best. Isn’t this allowed in the Corporation and/or the corporation? Obama once made an effort to define “Significant Portion of it’s Range” and that amounted to nothing and never will. The Courts are in command and they will do as they are instructed to do in their rulings, mostly because nobody understands the real laws and powers that govern them.

In short, this is a work of smoke and mirrors and more than likely is driven by deception aimed at swaying public opinion and thus padding the ballot box in 2016. Don’t fall for any of it. NOTHING HAS CHANGED.

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Final Rule ESA Protections Enacted for Great Lakes Wolves and Wyoming

SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), are issuing this final rule to comply with court orders that reinstate the regulatory protections under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as
amended (ESA), for the gray wolf (Canis lupus) in Wyoming and the western Great Lakes. Pursuant to the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia court order dated September 23, 2014, this rule reinstates the April 2, 2009 (74 FR 15123), final rule regulating the gray wolf in the State of Wyoming as a nonessential experimental population. Gray wolves in Montana, Idaho, the eastern third of Washington and Oregon, and north-central Utah retain their delisted status and are not impacted by this final rule. In addition, pursuant to the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia court order dated December 19, 2014, this rule reinstates the March 9, 1978 (43 FR 9607), final rule as it relates to gray wolves in the western Great Lakes including endangered status for gray wolves in all of Wisconsin and Michigan, the eastern half of North Dakota and South Dakota, the northern half of Iowa, the northern portions of Illinois and Indiana, and the northwestern portion of Ohio; threatened status for gray wolves in Minnesota; critical habitat for gray wolves in Minnesota and Michigan; and the rule promulgated under section 4(d) of the ESA for gray wolves in Minnesota.<<>>

H.R. 884 Disqualifies “Judicial Review” in Reinstating Final Rule on Wolves

Here is the text of the bill H.R. 884, sponsored by Rep. Reid Ribble. It is simple and to the point. It calls for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to reissue the Final Rule that delisted gray wolves in the Western Great Lakes and Wyoming (separately) and that in both cases, “Such reissuance shall not be subject to judicial review.”

This bill has been sent to the House Committee on Natural Resources and was introduced on the House Floor.

Real or Not: Wolves, Coyotes and Foxes in Downtown Trenton Are Where They Ought to Be

Packs of wild animals including wolves, coyotes and foxes are running around on city streets after dark and residents are raising concerns about their safety, according to a Trenton councilman.

Councilman George Muschal said he received reports from residents about the animals and saw a gray fox cross in front of his truck last Tuesday at the corner of Hudson and Broad Streets.

“If a child is out there or a dog in the yard it might be a problem,” said Muschal, speaking during a council meeting Thursday night.<<<Read More>>>

How Many Deer Die When Snows Are Deep? Or Maybe the Stories Are Deep

deerdeepsnowProbably a day doesn’t pass when weather “phenomenon” creates long discussions about big snowstorms, bad winters, hot summers, etc. And with the telling of each story the snow gets deeper, the winters colder and longer and summers so hot eggs were commonly fried on the sidewalk (who would really eat eggs cooked on the sidewalk?”

First and foremost, let’s not kid ourselves. Long and severe (subjective) winters, combined with other factors can raise hell with a deer herd. Many states have what they call a “Winter Severity Index”(WSI) and this index is not universal, therefore it adds more subjectivity and perspective to the actual events. Mind you, none of this changes the reality on the ground and deer die.

A WSI is determined by depth of snow, degree of cold and its persistence and the length of time such “severe” conditions persist. Generally speaking the longer a winter persist will probably have the most devastation. But there are other factors to consider and some of these circumstances are not calculated into the WSI.

For example, is there a predator factor? Often times deer will not survive a winter due to the onslaught of predators, like coyotes, wolves, bobcats, mountain lions and the mortality increase with the severity of the weather. What are the recorded conditions of the snow that would enable predators and deter prey? Is there a disease calculation? If deer are suffering from disease, surely it contributes to the mortality rate and ability to survive. What is the availability of habitat, including the browse available for deer to survive? We should also factor in human harassment, which I would lump in with domestic dogs chasing deer and, snowmobilers, shed hunters, etc.

As you can see it’s complex and yet doubtful that most people consider these things when they read media accounts that ask, “Will Winter Wipe Out Our Deer Herd?”

Deer are a remarkable animal and personally I don’t think people give this creature enough credit for its adaptability to changing conditions – man-caused and natural.

So, what’s this all leading up to? Thanks to a friend who sent me just about everything that is linked to in this article, we might be witness to a condition that is common where one piece of historic information is written and many after the fact repeat it.

I must repeat here again that I don’t know that my claim to historic repetition is true or not. I’m making an example of something readers might consider. And I certainly do not intend to diminish the reality that the conditions I’ve stated above, when in play, kill a lot of deer.

In Google Books, we find a book written by Sidney Perley and published in 1891. The title is “Historic Storms of New England“, Salem Press Publishing and Printing.

The Outdoor Life article references this year’s winter snow depths and severity for the New England Region. In a subsequent email I received a link to an article discussing The Great Snow of 1717 in which over a prolonged period at the end of February and into March of 1717, 5 feet of snow fell on New York and New England regions, making the claim that, “…95 percent of all the deer in many parts of New England died during or after this storm.” I doubted the claim.

The Mother Nature Network cited Wikipedia as the source of this information. For those of you who have followed my writings, should have by now, figured out I’m not a huge fan of Wikipedia to find sound, accurate and reliable information. That doesn’t mean I don’t use it. I use it for simple references. For issues that require lots of research, I might use it as a starting point. Wikipedia is a good resource providing users understand its reliability and purpose.

If readers take the time to examine the Wikipedia information, they will discover that some of the information used for this page came from, you guessed it, the book I referenced above by Sidney Perley. So, I think we can say that here we have a case, at least to some degree, of repeating one person’s “historic” account. (Note: The Wikipedia page does include other citations. Please don’t think I’m suggesting it was the only source.)

So let’s look at Sidney Perley’s historic account of what was going on during the Winter of 1716-1717. Perley writes, beginning on Page 33:

Many cattle were buried in the snow, where they were smothered or starved to death. Some were found dead weeks after the snow had melted, yet standing and with all the appearance of life. The eyes of many were so glazed with ice that being near the sea they wandered into the water and were drowned.

The author goes on to tell about wild animals stating that the deep snows caused the animals to be “robbed of their means of subsistence” and they starved. In addition he says the deer seemed to move nearer to the coast hoping to find some food.

But it wasn’t just starvation killing the deer. The author writes:

Bears and wolves were numerous then, and as soon as night fell, in their ravenous state they followed the deer in droves into the clearings, at length pouncing upon them.

Getting back to the domestic animals, the author states:

Bears, wolves and foxes were nightly visitors to the sheep pens of the farmers.

Unless things were different back in 1717, bears probably were not up waiting for night to fall so they could visit the sheep pens, nor were they following deer into the clearings and “at length pouncing on them”. Bear hibernate.

Now, it’s possible that bears can come out of hibernation early if, the spring comes early. We hear of this event quite often. However, upon reading further we discover that the winter began difficult and remained that way culminating in this multi-day snow event that dumped 5 feet of snow in some areas.

I would also like to point out the difficulty I am having with the statement Perley made where he said, “Some were found dead weeks after the snow had melted, yet standing and with all the appearance of life. The eyes of many were so glazed with ice that being near the sea they wandered into the water and were drowned.” This is bordering a bit toward tall tales and damned lies.

I know that my grandfather walked to school 15 miles, uphill (both ways) through all kinds of weather and that today we have all become soft cry babies. However, I was of the ripe old age of 16 and living in Maine, when record snowfall occurred in much of Maine and New England. I think that record snowfall must mean that it surpassed the snows of the Winter of 1716-1717…but then again bears didn’t hibernate in 1717, so it’s difficult to say.

The take away here is that for me, I see this as a teaching moment. I love history and I read it often. In my latest book, “Wolf: What’s to Misunderstand?” I include lots of historic accounts and went out of my way to include some that most readers would find as tall tales and damned lies. There’s some truth in there somewhere.

Through this teaching moment about historic accounts, we shouldn’t lose sight of the fact of what nature can bestow upon us, our domestic animals and wildlife. It can be harsh. But sometimes the embellishing of reality makes for great entertainment. The chore becomes to separate fact from fiction within a document.

I am extremely grateful to my good friend for sending me this information. I read and enjoyed every bit of it and put it all in what I think is a sound perspective for myself.

Bobcat Wrestles With Deer

I was sent a series of photographs of a bobcat attempting to get a meal made out of deer meat. The pictures are remarkable if for no other reason than someone was able to capture on film a bobcat, one that appears to be of some size, attempting to get a grip on a deer and haul it away for safe munching.

It is obvious from the first of just two photos that I will include, that the photos were taken from inside a vehicle. Thus, this event took place roadside.

I’m not an animal forensic expert and don’t want to pretend to be one. I would like however to at least raise a couple of questions, not to somehow discredit the photographer or the little bit of information contained in the email I received, but to help understand exactly what this event is.

When I received the photos, in one of the many “forwarded” emails, it was written that these were pictures of a bobcat taking down a deer. I have some doubts that that is what is going on – not that I don’t think a bobcat is capable of taking down an adult deer.

If this was an attack site, I would expect to find blood – at least some. On snow, and this snow appears rather fresh, red blood would easily show up. In looking at all the pictures, it seems that the deer might have been at this location for awhile as at least some degree of stiffness has set in.

The photos indicate this is beside a road, at least a road that is plowed which leaves me to think maybe this is road kill and the bobcat is being opportunistic.

There could be reasonable explanations for the questions I have provided and would like to hear them if readers would like to share. Things I don’t know about is what the temperature was outside at this time, whether there are drag marks through the snow to indicate if this deer was dragged to this point by the bobcat, or something else, before he was caught on camera.

Regardless, these are quite remarkable pictures and I am grateful for being the recipient of the sharing.

Perhaps the take away from this is another example of why bobcats should be classified as viable, large predators.

Bobcat1

Bobcat2

The Effect of Coyotes on Deer Populations

“It appears coyotes negatively influence deer populations. The elimination of coyotes have been known to double the survival of fawns. The removal of predators, especially coyotes can significantly increase the deer population. Do your part to put these fawn slayers in check by trapping and hunting and to bring back a thriving deer herd, but be sure to check your states laws before you go out!”<<<Read More>>>

Do We Really Need More Collaring To Know Predators Kill?

CollaredDeerWhile I understand interviews with media outlets and the perpetual screwing up of a story, sometimes readers must be left wondering all sorts of things. And yes, during those interviews, sometimes we are asked really stupid and/or questions that the answer is so obvious it doesn’t deserve an answer.

Depending on what region of the country you are from, would depend upon whether or not and how many and different species of large predators exist that are ripping into the whitetail deer populations. In a report filed in North American Whitetail, Kyle Rivana, Maine’s head deer biologist, says that Maine doesn’t have enough information to know whether coyotes are causing damage to the deer herd.

“We really don’t have a good handle on the relationship between predator and prey in Maine,” he notes. “And partly because of that, we’re getting ready to begin a survival study in which we’ll collar 40 whitetails. One of [the] things we’ll try to measure is cause-specific mortality. Are the coyotes really having the impact we think they’re having?”

Here’s a suggestion. Depending upon who you might talk with, coyotes have been filling up the forests of Maine since the 1950s, give or take a decade. I can remember back to the late 1960s and early 1970s listening to outdoor sportsmen complain about the negative impact of coyotes then. It’s been 40, 50, 60 years and Maine “don’t have a good handle on the relationship between predator and prey”?

It should be embarrassing the state has wiled away its time and resources, poorly managing the whitetail deer, and claiming they don’t have any idea if coyotes are having an impact, when much of everybody and everywhere else understands the problem.

So what’s the solution? Rivana says, “…we’re ready to begin a survival study…” Save your money. You don’t need to put collars on deer in hopes you might find out what’s killing them. Predators are killing the deer. Not all of them but predators kill deer. That’s why they are called predators. And besides, if Maine collars 40 deer and finds out that coyotes, or bears, or bobcats, or lynx or mountain lions or wolves, or Big Foot, or all of them combined, are killing off the deer herd, what is the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) going to do about it? NOTHING! Oh they might toss some money in the air and for a year or two pay $200-$300 a varmint to have them killed until such time as those making complaints are placated and forgotten. Then it’s back to business as usual.

Does the new deer biologist understand anything about the relationship of predators and deer in Maine? Here’s what he said:

“In some areas of the United States, bears can have more of an impact (on whitetails) than coyotes or wolves,” says Kyle Ravana, who heads up Maine’s deer management program. “In other areas, it could be coyotes or bobcats that are having the biggest impact. It kind of depends on where you are.

“When you’re in a state like Maine, that has a full suite of predators — coyotes and bears and bobcats and wolves — you can’t point your finger at any one predator. It could be all of them combined, including hunters.”

And notice that he had to, just had to, because that’s how he was indoctrinated in his educational institution, that it could be HUNTERS that are causing the reduction of deer in Maine. Really? So Rivana, and anyone else at MDIFW or across the country that wants to say that it is hunters that are destroying game herds, then what that REALLY means is that the fish and game departments of each state aren’t doing the job that their state mandated them to do. If Maine has a problem with too many deer being killed by hunters, that is the responsibility of deer managers to reduce that impact. So, let’s quit with the blaming the hunter BS. But I understand it’s impossible to lose that brainwashing, and it might be just as likely that some environmental groups are funding the collared deer study, which means….well, you figure it out.

I’m done buying vowels and so, I’d like to solve the puzzle: Predators exist in Maine and many, many other places. They have for many, many years and those predators are growing in numbers for a variety of reasons. Predators kill prey. Deer are prey. When there are more than one prey species for predators to kill, when they’ve depleted one, they will switch to another. Predators, like coyotes and wolves, keep growing in numbers partly because there is ample food – they just switch from one prey species to another. If nothing is done about controlling the predators, there’s a possibility that the predators, in combination with other things, such as severe winters, disease, etc., will reduce their prey base so low and keep it there, they will either move on, starve or resort to cannibalism. It isn’t the responsible way of managing wildlife.

Therefore, because it’s been 50, 60, 70 years that coyotes have been around in Maine and bears have always been here and now in historic high populations, bobcats as well and Canada lynx, my solution to the puzzle would be to implement predator control into the deer management program. It has to be part of any game plan – that is game that is a food source for large predators. What’s to get a handle on. DO SOMETHING!

But no. The answer is always one of two things; form a study group or put a collar on an animal. The results? NOTHING! (global warming) Another year goes by and then another and another and the only thing that has been taken care of is someone’s pension fund.

Save your damned money. You don’t need collars to find out if coyotes are having an impact on deer. All of Maine’s large predators are having an impact on deer. It’s what they do. It’s time to do something about it other than forming another study group and putting on collars.

Settled Landscapes

By James Beers:

“Settled Landscapes” is a term both mellifluous and of primary importance as I write this in early 2015. It is especially important to the rural residents of the Lower 48 States of the United States and the rural inhabitants of the European continent.

I first became actually aware of the term and its’ importance about ten years ago while learning all I could and writing about wolves and grizzly bears, two large and impactful predators that had been declared “Endangered” for a wide range of hidden agendas and that therefore were being forcibly imposed by federal fiat and power on a growing area of rural America in the Lower 48 States.

I was reading some comments by Dr. Val Geist, a retired Canadian University Professor, Ecologist and Wildlife Biologist par excellence. He was making the simple, yet undeniable, statement that given a long list of very negative effects on humans, human communities, human economies and the wolves themselves; his words, “wolves do not belong in ‘Settled Landscapes’” not only caught my attention but have rung ever more true over the years. Although I have never met Dr. Geist, I have learned more from him over the years through frequent communications and collaborations.

So, what is a “Settled Landscape”?

To the environmental extremist, it might be the buildings on Manhattan Island, but not Central Park itself. It might be New York City’s 5 Boroughs (Manhattan, Brooklyn, The Bronx, Queens and Staten Island) but not Long Island or Westchester County. It might be the Eastern Seaboard but not everything West of the Appalachians and East of California, Oregon and Washington State.

To an old Alaskan bachelor trapper, it might be everything South of the 60th Parallel that roars out of the Bering Sea by Nunivak Island heading East just North of the Alaskan Peninsula and Skagway to make the Northern Border of British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Many older Alaskans still see those lands South of that Parallel as what they once called a century ago, the place of the Cheechakoes or those that were new to or recent arrivals in the “real” Alaska.

To many urban Americans, it might be all of the Lower 48 States outside the current edges of suburban sprawl form the metropolitan center they tell others from far away they are “from”.

To politicians, it is where (like Willie Sutton the notorious bank robber once answered the question in prison about why he kept robbing banks and answered matter-of-factly “because that is where the money is”) the “votes are”.

To the government bureaucrats it is anything they want to make of it or even ignore it in the regulations they write under the burgeoning authorities they reap as present-day politicians pass law after law to garner the votes and financial support of the urban worthies who see the results as affecting only those places and bumpkins outside the urban sprawl surrounding where they live.

What, you might be asking, did I see of such importance in Dr. Geist’s observation? What I saw was the simple and undeniable truth that as humans advance, order and improve their living conditions and communities certain animals that once occurred in those now “settled landscapes” must of necessity be either controlled at certain levels (i.e. big game, furbearers, upland game) or eliminated in those “settled landscapes”. Some examples of animals that can become incompatible with growing or advancing human societies and therefore call for management controls on their numbers and distributions, or for their elimination would be:

* Elephants in areas of agriculture where their wanderings destroy crops and endanger children and elderly persons as they pass through inhabited sites as free-roaming buffalo once did and would do again if imposed on rural residents of the Lower 48 States.

* Poisonous snakes, constrictors, poisonous spiders and frogs, etc. that reside in or near and wander into human living sites.

* Animals that carry and transmit diseases and infections like tapeworms, hoof-and-mouth, plague, rabies, anthrax, etc. like wolves and coyotes that endanger human lives or property such as livestock, valued wildlife or dogs.

* Animals that compete for forage with livestock or game animals; or that destroy haystacks, orchards or food-producing plants like elk and deer.

* Animals that denude property of plants and are responsible for deadly disease outbreaks or that make holes that cause livestock and humans to injure themselves like prairie dogs.

* Animals that are unpredictable and present threats to humans from rural children and the elderly to hikers, campers, joggers, dog walkers, hunters and other rural recreationists and workers like grizzly bears, cougars and wolves.

Uncontrolled large predators like grizzly bears, wolves, cougars or panthers, jaguars, coyotes, or black bears that kill and attack people, destroy livestock operations, kill dogs and other pets, carry diseases and infections dangerous to humans and other animals, generally make rural life regress toward what Thomas Hobbes described in his 1588 book, Leviathan, as “the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.”

It is entirely sensible to recognize and address these conflicts with wild animals as matters to be reckoned with as “landscapes” are “settled”. Tolerance for large predators was the only option for Native American communities before European settlers arrived; just like tolerance for large predators in and around “landscapes” being settled by Europeans with primitive guns and almost no other means of reducing the growing conflicts they experienced as “settlement” began and continued to grow was the only option. As settlement grew and intensified; awareness of human dangers, livestock losses and rudimentary recognition of the health dangers to humans and desirable animals escalated with the sophistication and intensity of control of certain species that could be tolerated like black bears and cougars, and the elimination of those that could NOT be tolerated due to their inherent and uncontrollable danger to humans and the extent of their destruction to human communities and their economies like wolves and grizzly bears.

The tolerance for some species like black bears, cougars and coyotes was composed of many aspects from the difficulties inherent in trying to rid any area of coyotes to the behavior of low-density black bear and cougar populations to generally avoid humans and human communities WHEN THEY ARE HUNTED, TRAPPED AND OCCSIONALLY SHOT AT thereby making them what we call “shy” and “furtive”. Wolves and grizzly bears exhibit no such tendencies. Wolves and grizzly bears persist as dangers to humans and as behaving in exceedingly destructive ways to all manner of human interests no matter their density or the densities of humans IN SETTLED LANDSCAPES.

But, what is a settled landscape? A “Settled Landscape” is all of the Lower 48 States with three exceptions.

The first exception to “settled landscapes” is the POLITICAL exception. This exception is often mentioned regarding the Yellowstone’s (i.e. National Parks); the “National” Forests/Refuges/ BLM et al lands; the “Declarations” and Executive Orders decreeing “Wildernesses”, “Sanctuaries”, and “Preservation”/”Scenic”/”Historic” et al Areas: and the two clearly and exclusively federal land holdings that elude any State jurisdiction, i.e. the District of Columbia and all “Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock yards, and other needful Buildings” as mentioned in Article I, Section 8 of the US Constitution. These are, with only three exceptions, NOT exceptions in any legal or Constitutional sense to definition as “Settled Landscapes” as those landscapes “settled” under the authority, jurisdiction, protection and government authority of that State in which they occur.

A “Settled Landscape” is legally and Constitutionally ANY and all land in the Lower 48 States (Alaska is an exception due to the Alaskan Native Claims Settlement Act and I am unfamiliar with the State/Federal relationship in Hawaii) under the authority and jurisdiction of the people and government of THAT STATE. Unless a State relinquishes its’ sovereignty and authority over any land within the state to the federal government, the federal government’s ownership of National Parks, National Forests, National Wildlife Refuges, BLM lands, and all other “Declarations” and “Orders” are subject to State laws. In other words, although federal agencies that “own” parcels of lands within a State are not required to pay State and Local Taxes to the State and Local governments they are subject to State authority like other landowners, with only three exceptions:
1. Yellowstone National Park was placed under the jurisdiction of the US Army and withdrawn from the Territory of Wyoming in 1872, 4 years after becoming a Territory in 1868 and 18 years before it became a State in 1890. It therefore remained independent of the State of Wyoming and was transferred to the National Park Service in 1917. Other National Parks outside The District of Columbia are. Like their counterpart National Forests, National Wildlife Refuges, et al, merely landowners of property subject to state jurisdiction. The federal government exercises what is called “Exclusive Jurisdiction” over Yellowstone similar to:

2. The District of Columbia as defined in the US Constitution, and:

3. The “Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-yards, and other needful Buildings” (i.e. Department of Defense lands when taken and maintained as properties “needful” for national defense but not when sold off or given to political patrons like environmental groups or transferred to federal agencies.

The foregoing is an explanation of POLITICAL claims of exemption from the commonly understood concept of “settled landscapes”. In other words, “Settled Landscape” not only includes (politically) land with a certain density of “settlers”; it covers all the lands that were, are or could be “settled” under the auspices, protection and laws of the state within which they lie. Federal agencies (with the 3 exceptions above), while landowners within the State, can close certain areas or roads or uses in accordance with the laws of the state governing all land owners in the state, they are not free to introduce animals prohibited within the state or to kill or trap animals within the state outside state authority unless they have specific permits to do so. Now read that again and ask yourself, – “HOW did the federal Congress and President and Supreme Court contrive and invent the ‘power’ to simply say ‘wolves will be here and grizzly bears will be there’? If I own a ranch with deer on it, I can’t just shoot deer in my crops or haystacks the year-around without a state permit any more than the federal government can just decide to kill or poison certain birds or fish or mammals on federal lands (with the aforementioned 3 exceptions). I can no more decide to introduce and release lions or jaguars on my ranch without state authority than can federal bureaucrats decide to release wolves or grizzly bears on their lands. If my dogs get loose and bite your kid or kill your foal or kill grandma out by the mailbox or chase down your son on his bike or kill your dog on your porch or run your sheep over a cliff, etc.: why am I held responsible for compensation and subject to incarceration AND FEDERAL BUREAUCRATS LOOSING WOLVES AND GRIZZLY BEARS ON OUR “SETTLED LANDSCAPES” THAT DO THE SAME THINGS ARE NOT??

The second exception to “settled landscapes” is the BIOLOGICAL exception. There is biologically no exception to the concept of “settled landscapes” be it the Chicago Loop Area or the Big Hole Valley of Western Montana. Each has a human community engaged in whatever supports healthy families, children, elderly members and the community services they need and can afford. Each has dogs and wild birds and furbearers (raccoons, skunks, etc.): each has predators like coyotes: each has available fishing and netting (smelt): and each prohibits those animals that are dangerous like poisonous snakes, constrictors, and alligators; each controls those animals that are destructive (rats, coyotes, foxes, skunks, pigeons, etc.); and each encourages desirable species like songbirds, waterfowl, and rabbits.

Notice that residents of the Big Hole Valley in Western Montana (a vast area of large ranches and few people) has trouble with species like wolves that kill cows and calves and sheep and lambs and dogs but they can neither control the wolves nor eliminate the wolves as was the case for many happy and productive decades before federal laws and federal interlopers put wolves back in The Big Hole and cowed the State bureaucracy into not only acquiescing but also in singing a duet about how wolves only kill the old and sick; wolves don’t kill livestock or reduce big game numbers; and wolves will restore stream banks and make the lame walk, the blind see and generally clean up the air and the water. We must ask ourselves, if the Chicago Loop and the State of Illinois can manage the wildlife under their authority, why can’t Montana and The Big Hole do the same? Under what authority in a just and Constitutional Republic with a Constitution can the federal government simply decide to put deadly and destructive animals into one “settled landscape” and not another? Finally, why does the federal government choose to exercise this questionable and unjust authority in The Big Hole of Montana and not, Stowe, Vermont or Napa Valley, California?

The remaining biological aspect of exceptions to the “settled landscapes” concept is the one being used by every charlatan politician for the past 40 years; that is excluding places that (reputedly) “need” protection. This may be a desert area (like the California deserts long milked incrementally for political support and votes by the two ancient US Senators from that State) or it may be an expanse of ocean recently made into a “Sanctuary” by a Presidential Executive Order or an Alaskan oil-rich area or a Utah low-sulfur coal deposit set aside from any future exploitation by Presidents looking for adulation or to divert public attention from other matters: all of them have in common that 99% of the population neither knows nor care what is happening, they only “feel good” that such vacant space or unsettled landscape is being “saved”.

Be it vast tundra, desert lands, mountaintops or an arbitrary expanse of ocean; the concept of it being “unsettled” or never being “settled” is unsupportable biologically. Even the mountain tops and ocean visited infrequently by hunters, geologists or fishermen are connected to the “settlements” from whence these men come. Like the desert and tundra are connected to and utilized by men for transportation and sparsely-settled communities, who is to say they are independent of adjoining settlements human activities biologically?

To conclude, all this is very relevant to the USA and the European Continent where the same things (forcible wolf presence and gradual elimination of animal control for human benefit) are being perpetrated by the EU in Brussels with the same enablers and incentives that we see being imposed by the federal government in Washington, DC. As in the USA, real political or biological exceptions to the “settled landscape” concept are rare to non-existent though frequently mentioned and inferred.

The presence or absence of various wildlife species; the abundance and distribution of wildlife; the costs and revenue sources for management and control of wildlife; the uses of wildlife; and the authority over wildlife in “Settled Landscapes” should always rest with and remain with the LOWEST level of government THAT REPRESENTS THOSE HUMANS AND HUMAN COMMUNITIES LIVING IN THE SETTLED LANDSCAPES AFFECTED BY SUCH ACTIONS AND WHO ARE ULTIMATELY RESPONSIBLE FOR DETERMINING AND ENDURING THE ANSWERS TO THESE QUESTIONS. The only practicable exceptions to this rule of law in the Lower 48 States are Yellowstone National Park and large Department of Defense landholdings.

Dr. Geist, in discussing alternative sites for wolves (and by my extension grizzly bears) often mentions large, FENCED government reservation like nuclear power plants, military lands, etc., as practicable sites: though such contained wildlife communities would require intense and expensive perpetual management to sustain. When considering “reservations” or “refuges” for animals like wolves and grizzly bears in “settled landscapes” it must be recognized that visitors to Yellowstone, or defense sites made available to the public, and resident workers are in danger and the questions of liability for injuries ON SITE and the disposition of animals OFF SITE ought to be established before any release on the excepted area adjoining any settled landscape. Impacts on defense operations and facilities in such locations would have to be carefully measured and evaluated as well as protected from likely future behavioral adjustments by such animals There cannot be any arguable business about wolf control outside Yellowstone affecting Yellowstone wolves or their pack structure if that is what the residents of the settled landscapes adjoining the Park deem is in their best interest when such animals stray back under State and Local authority and jurisdiction.

“Wolves”, like far-off powerful government dictates about plants and animals like grizzly bears, “do not belong in ‘Settled Landscapes’.” It is a testimony to American and Canadian ethics that wolves and grizzly bears have been maintained in Alaska and much of Canada to date. Likewise it is a testament to European concern that supporting a similar “rewilding” of the European continent is occurring. That said, the presence or absence of either dangerous or destructive animals must, in the final analysis, be the responsibility of those living in the “Settled Landscapes” affected by these species be they Chicago Loop picnickers or French shepherds.

If there is to be any hope for such animals in the future; only the continuing acquiescence of those living with these animals in their “Settled Landscape” and the continued financial support of those from elsewhere desiring the presence of these animals in the “Settled Landscapes” where others live, gives any hope of anything but a repeat of the historic accounts of the inevitable human reaction to these animals since the time of the Ancient Greeks and The Thirteen Original Colonies of what is now the USA. That is to say intolerable incident after incident until; despite Washington, despite Brussels, despite the King, despite the Lord of the Manor; the residents of the “Settled Landscapes” decide they have had enough and take things into their own hands and using a wide range of methods and even some new ones not even seen before once again make the “Settled Landscapes” safe and productive for human settlements.

Jim Beers
14 February 2015

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

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