April 24, 2017

Collaring Wild Animals: Scientific Research or Playing With Technology?

The manufacture, sale and use of radio telemetry collars for animal research is a racket and perhaps a serious waste of dollars. Depending upon the model of telemetry collar selected for each use, the cost of one such collar can run into the thousands of dollars. One must ask then if the cost of the collars is worth the return on investment? Well, that depends.

What we do know is that using tracking collars for wildlife is big business and a very popular thing to do. The tax payers like it because of their perverse love, adoration and all out worship of any kind of animal…well, until such animals become a real threat to them. The average tax payer doesn’t know how the collar is used and seldom is any “scientific research” information/data shared with the public. When it is, a trained eye recognizes very little scientific process and whole lot of speculation and theory swapping.

When it is a most difficult task to receive information from state fish and wildlife agencies about their “ongoing studies,” some of us are left to only guess what it is they are using collars on animals for and what actual data is being collected. So, let’s take a look at what is, might and could be done with a tracking collar.

What got me thinking about this popular event of tracking animals with radio telemetry, was an exchange of emails among a handful of wildlife scientists about this very subject. The foundation of discussion was centered around an article written about a collared wolf in British Columbia, Canada that was tracked along a route covering over 300 miles (not unusual). The journey for the wolf came to an end when it was legally shot and killed by a hunter. Of course this prompted outrage from the above described group of perverse, adoring wolf worshipers. But that’s not the topic of this immediate discussion.

In the email exchange, questions arose about what, if any, data and information was being collected on this wolf other than to know where the male wolf was at any point in time when a “data point” was sent (telemetry) and recorded on a computer. One scientist commented: “Reading the story makes me suspect that the wolves are collared and then left alone, while “researchers” are watching wiggly lines on the computer screen – and start guessing what is going on.”

Which brings us back to one of my original comments that because of the stinginess of researchers to share information, minus their speculations, the rest of us are left to guess (our own speculation) as to just what it is they are doing or not doing.

It seems about the only place we can get any information about studies is through the “Echo Chambers” of the Press. The vast majority of news media personnel are nothing more than “copy and paste” writers who wouldn’t understand what a true scientific process was if it was spelled out for them. As such, what is reverberated in the echo chambers is the Environmentalist’s nonsense, most often including speculation and theorizing about each collared animal based on placing human values on the animals – i.e. a guess as to what animals might be thinking, doing, etc. based more than likely on human projection of human values.

The State of Maine claims to be in the middle of a moose study. I have written extensively on this project and moose management in general. You can search this website, mostly under the Maine Hunting column.

What has been doled out to the public, which we have no idea if this is an actual reflection of the study, is that biologists placed collars on a hundred or so calf moose and some cows. It has been passed on that the purpose of the “study” is to find out the effects of winter ticks (moose ticks – Dermacentor albipictus) on moose mortality. All that we have been told is that when one of the collars stops moving, the collar sends a signal notifying researchers of the non movement. Somebody will go find the stationary collar (as quickly as possible – wink, wink) and attempt to determine what killed the moose.

This is one function that we are allowed to know about, evidently. But what kind of science is this? Or is it any kind of scientific research that will provide data and observation in order to find out more useful information in order to create better management plans? Who knows. It would seem that if any fish and game department was going to go through the expense and time to trap and collar moose, a full spectrum of scientific observation, collection of data, and analysis would be implemented into the effort. Is it? Who knows.

If the only thing these researchers are doing is sitting in front of a computer screen, in their comfortable offices, “watching wiggly lines” so somebody can go to the site where they think a moose died in hopes of determining cause of death, what is the real value of placing the collars on the moose?

It appears the collars work pretty good for “tracking.” Watching wiggly lines on a computer screen can tell biologists where a moose has gone over any prescribed length of time. They receive a signal when a collar becomes motionless for a period of time. Suggesting the collared animal might be dead, researchers journey into the woods to see what they can find…we are told.

Then what?

How well trained are the biologists in determining cause of death? So, they get to the scene and see a dead moose. It’s covered with winter ticks. The moose looks emaciated and missing hair/fur. No cuts, scratches, etc. are noticed on the moose and is it assumed that the moose died from the effects of the winter ticks? Other than tracking this moose on a computer screen, did researchers enter the woods on a regular basis in order to know, not speculate, what this dead moose had been up to over the weeks and months prior to it’s death? Where was the moose when it died, and in relation to where it normally “hung out?” How is this fact relevant to making a determination of its cause of death? Did the moose actually die of exhaustion, due to a combination of a low blood supply from the ticks, poor nutrition (it is winter you know) and being harassed by predators, including harassment by humans – both scientists and the general public? If it appears the moose was partially eaten, are the biologists adequately trained in making determinations of the kill tactics of predator suspects? How many of such kills has each scientist seen and been a part of? Are they trained to know when the dead animal became a meal for scavengers or when it became a meal by the kill of a predator?

What other data is collected on this moose? Is a full necropsy (animal autopsy) done, along with checking for all diseases and health issues? Moose calves are probably too young to have contracted what Maine biologists like to call “lung worm,” also known as Hydatid cysts caused by the existence of Echinococcus granulosus parasites carried and spread by wild canines (coyotes, foxes, raccoons). It has been shown that this disease exists in moose in the state of Maine. An infected moose, having cysts in the lungs, heart or liver, can seriously hamper a moose’s ability to escape danger from predators. Is this aspect of a moose’s death even considered, or is it just passed off as death by winter ticks? It is important to know the differences if ever there was hope to do anything about the problem.

Tracking a moose, or any other animal, with a radio telemetry collar can tell biologists where a moose is at pretty much any given point in time. One could argue that is science, but if you call that science it isn’t very good science.

Another scientist in our email discussion referred to this action this way: “…just data points that merely define where they [collared animals] are at a given time. What they are doing, which really matters, is left to interpretation, [and] conjecture. Until an effort is made to “follow” as closely as possible the movements of radio-collared animals, we can expect more “Research Lite.”

It is not a simple task to net a moose and snap a collar around it’s neck, wait to see if it’s going to die and then go find it to see if you can tell what killed it. However, is that effort alone worth the time and expense? Before this “study” began, I really don’t think it took a highly educated wildlife biologist to figure out winter ticks were knocking the hell out of the state’s moose herd.

What other information is being gathered and will any of the rest of us get to see it and not be relegated to the end of the line waiting for another copy and paste edition of our favorite echo chamber? I’m guessing the latter.

Who knows!

When Man Wasn’t Around Animals Survived

*Editor’s Note* – A New Hampshire town wants to better manage wildlife on town property – just in excess of 2,500 acres. It is believed too many coyotes are reducing the deer population below numbers desired. As is often the case, animal lovers seem to think managing is more cruel than the savagery of letting “Nature” do it alone. Ignorance driven by emotion.

“Why fool with Mother Nature?” asked Elliot, adding that he’s read that trapping is considered inhumane. “What happened years ago when we weren’t around? They (the animals) all survived.”<<<Read More>>>

Endangered Species Act Petitions for Florida Black Bear and Mojave Desert Tortoise do not Warrant Further Action

Press Release from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service:

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has completed reviews of petitions to list the Florida black bear and uplist the Mojave population of desert tortoise from threatened to endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The Service found that neither petition presented substantial information that the requested action may be warranted and so no further action will be taken.

Due to conservation efforts by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, private landowners, conservation groups and others, Florida black bear numbers have rebounded from approximately 300 individuals in the 1970s to some 4,350 today. Conservation efforts will continue for the Mojave population of desert tortoise, which will remain listed as threatened under the ESA.

The Federal Register docket numbers and links for the two findings are:

Species Range Docket Number and Link
Florida black bear AL, FL, GA, MS FWS­–R4–ES–2017–0015
Mojave population of desert tortoise AZ, CA, NV, UT FWS­–R8–ES–2017–0009

The notice for the above findings is available here: https://www.federalregister.gov/public-inspection.

The Service is actively engaged with conservation partners and the public in the search for improved and innovative ways to conserve and recover imperiled species. For more information on the ESA listing process, including 90-day findings and status reviews, please visit: www.fws.gov/endangered/esa-library/pdf/listing.pdf.

Isle Royale’s Reversal of Global Warming

If we listen to those who assume the high ground and are the only bearers of “Best Available Science” we are told that moose are struggling to survive in several places across the country and it’s all, directly or indirectly, being caused by global warming.

We learn that the wolf population on Isle Royale has, for all intent and purposes, killed itself off for various reasons. Because the wolves are gone, the moose population is “undergoing a population explosion.”

But don’t think for a moment it is exploding because there’s only two wolves left alive. No, no! It must be that somehow, the two remaining wolves have “magically,” as their magic has no bounds, reversed the effects of global warming and thus are growing more moose to kill and eat. According to the same “High-Grounders” because there are now more moose, the result of the wolves’ magic, more magic will take place in that wolves will rebound because there is more food. Seeing all those moose causes their reproductive organs to go bonkers. Let’s hope the wolves aren’t too busy moving rivers to save the birds. And even though disease and inbreeding killed the wolves, we know the moose have no diseases and there are no “weak and sickly” ones left because the moose magically took care of that.

Maybe it’s time that we look very closely at these magical moose such that Al Gore can spread them across the entire planet to spare us all from the devastation of global warming. Maybe they will even magically kill the sickly and weak among the people. Think of the money we could save.

Maine: Deer Baiting, Feeding, Crop Damage

If it is important enough that laws in the State of Maine be made tougher to extend and grow the penalties for hunting deer over “bait,” perhaps it would behoove the lawmakers to take the time first to define “bait.”

A proposed new law, LD 1083, would, “…makes the penalty for hunting over bait during an open season on deer a mandatory fine of $500. It also provides for the one-year suspension of a hunting license of a person convicted of doing so.”

The head of the Maine Warden Service supports this bill because, as he states, “the agency averages over 100 deer baiting cases per year.” 100 case per year, times $500, equals a nice little windfall, perhaps enough to pass out some raises. And, at a guaranteed $500 per case, doubling that to 200 is good profit.

The new proposal also states that, “A hunting license of a person convicted of placing or hunting over bait in violation of section 11452, subsection 1 must be revoked, and that person is ineligible to obtain a hunting license for a period of one year from the date of conviction.”

Taking a look at Title 12, 11452, subsection 1, we read,1. Prohibitions.  A person may not, during an open hunting season on deer: A. Place salt or any other bait or food in a place to entice deer to that place.”(emphasis added)

So, what is “bait?”
Part B of Subsection 1 describes the limits of hunting from a tree stand or an observation deck: It is prohibited to B. Hunt from an observation stand or blind overlooking salt, grain, fruit, nuts or other foods known to be attractive to deer.” (This is inconsistent with the above prohibition.)
What’s inconsistent in this regulation is that Part A prohibits anyone during deer season, to put out things that will “entice deer to that place.” In Part B, there are limitations as to what a hunter can observe from a tree stand, i.e. he can’t hunt over “salt, grain, fruit, nuts or other foods known to be attractive to deer.” This does not specify “bait.”
So, what is bait?
Can I climb my tree stand and hunt over “bait?”
So, what is “bait?”
It appears that the issue here, aside from the threat of the spread of disease, is that authorities don’t want hunters placing “bait” some place in the woods, which happens to be in front of their tree stand….or maybe not.
I know I sound like a fool, but, what is “bait?”
If the concern is over “baiting” a deer to the location in which a hunter awaits in ambush, then isn’t anything a hunter puts out, in, around his tree stand to “attract” deer, “bait?” The existing law states that you can’t use items that are known to be attractants for deer and lure them to a specific location. If so, then what is putting out scent attractants to draw deer to your stand?
Maine has to do a better job of making the work of law enforcement better but more importantly so that hunters fully understand what is legal and illegal and why. When we see exceptions to “baiting” it often times is a matter of a certain lobby fighting for their preferred methods of hunting at the expense of others. In case you aren’t keeping up, I might suggest that the manufacture of deer lures, scents, attractants and covers, is a giant money-making industry. Serious argument can be made as to whether those are “baits.”
It’s also very stupid that you can’t “bait” deer to a specific location, like a tree stand, but you can plant a “crop” and place your tree stand overlooking your “crop” – the result of a “standing crop” or “foods left as a result of normal agricultural operations…” (emphasis added)
So, what is “bait?” Your guess is as good as mine.
The other issue being discussed presently is what to do about deer and crop damage. I am a bit confused. Much of this debate takes place in Washington County, the eastern portion of the State of Maine, due to blueberry crops being destroyed by deer.
As anybody who has read much of my writings will know, I am as big a property rights supporter as there are. However, a scant few years ago, Washington County, along with many other parts of the state, had pretty much a non existent deer herd, much the result of too many coyotes and some tough winters. Efforts were put forth in the area to construct a systematic approach at reducing the coyote population in order to save the deer herd.
Killing coyotes helped the deer herd and now the blueberry farmers are complaining about crop damage. That’s understandable.
However, if one examines Maine’s history with blueberries and deer, both have existed since settlers first came here. I am willing to believe that at certain periods of time, deer were far more plentiful in blueberry country, and other areas of farmland where crops grow. What was done about that damage then?
I’m not opposed to doing what is reasonable to limit crop damage. I’m sure that same feeling has existed for decades. But, now the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) is suggesting a bill that would give the Commissioner authority to establish deer killing zones around crop lands, even the blueberry patches in Washington County, where deer numbers are only beginning to recover. Something tells me that either some people want too many deer, or some want crops that are never harmed and they don’t want the responsibility to deal with it. Or something. Is it just the tolerance level of people has dwindled so low that nothing is to be put up with? It seems we only bitch and complain and propose another law to stop somebody else from doing something somebody doesn’t like.
From testimony before the Committee, we are told that the Food Safety Modernization Act prohibits the harvesting of crops where animals have eaten or defecated. Obviously the Act is a Leftist nightmare creation, never intending to implement public health and safety but to destroy our food crops. But, that’s another book. How can we harvest any crops anywhere if any animal has excreted their waste there? What have we become?
Some want to kill deer to mitigate crop damage, complaining that deer defecate in the crops, while others want to protect the coyotes, to kill the deer, with no concern about the coyotes defecating in the fields. I’ll guarantee you that coyote scat is far more dangerous to our health than deer scat. This is a sure sign of animal perversion over human well being, including the protection of private property.
This morning I was listening to rubbish on television, when a news anchor asked a senator why they took so much time off. His answer was that some people would like it that Congress didn’t meet. I concur. We are so brainwashed to think that all legislation, at every level, must make laws and keep making laws. Why? The existing laws are incomprehensible, designed by lawyers for lawyers, and are either unenforceable or lacking the manpower to enforce them. And yet, we keep piling them on, as is the case here in Maine.
I believe that with increased levels of anger, hatred and intolerance, we can only expect that the number of totalitarian-type legislative proposals will inundate our politicians, who scramble to take care of only those that feed them money for reelection.

Living In Lock-Down Because You’re An Idiot

In San Mateo, California, during the wee hours of the morning, a mountain lion entered a residence and made a meal out of a small dog. Authorities have stated, “… to secure their doors and windows before sleeping.”

Jim Beers comments on this event: “The human parallels between mountain lions, grizzly bears and wolves are many and large.  From the human excuses to justify their actions i.e. “unusual” and “young animal” to “they belong in settled landscapes like this because”…(?) to the media, professors and bureaucrats that sell this abomination as the “new normal”.  While the dog is valued property, the undeniable fact that the next time it could be an American child or adult in what was once termed the families “castle” is evident to the most blind supporter of California’s evil policies and laws regarding these animals.  What are the “tolerable” consequences; a child per year, two joggers a year, three attacks and serious injuries per year, ten horse per year, 20 dogs per year ???  The fact that hundreds of millions of tax dollars have already been spent on establishing these deadly predators in the settled landscapes of The Lower 48 States and that millions of our tax dollars are being spent annually to establish, mythologize, excuse and babysit these predators only points out the cultural decline and moral vacuum that is hollowing out America today.

“Cougars, wolves and grizzly bears do not belong in settled landscapes and it will, hopefully, one day again be seen and understood  as a travesty of justice and the value of human lives in totality that we allowed one group of people (be they voting blocs, pandering politicians, self-serving bureaucrats, radical organizations with anti-human values or world government enemies of our Constitution) to impose on rural, suburban and other persons and their families these deadly dangerous animals.  There is no acceptable legal or moral excuse or justification for this situation of encouraging and tolerating such animals where many of those being forced to live amongst them DO NOT WANT THEM.”

Jim Beers

To read some comments about this event, some have great entertainment value, follow this link to Instapundit.

Why Would Anyone Protect and Perpetuate Mixed-Breed Wild Dogs in Our Forests?

Now that Roxanne Quimby got her land designated as a national monument, the push is now on to turn the rest of northwestern Maine into useless, inaccessible wasteland some like to call “wilderness.”

As part of this push for locking up land, comes the ignorant belief that wolves are a magic formula needed to carry out the false theory that “Nature” balances itself. Unfortunately we will never get rid of that lie because it became a very powerful tool when it was criminally used to introduce wolves into the Greater Yellowstone area, for personal and monetary gain. Even since the man who invented the false claim has rescinded his theory, the echo chambers of the media, along with environmental useful idiots, continue to perpetuate the fantasy because they want to and need to. It’s that simple.

However, aside from all of this banter about whether or not wolves walk on water and whether or not land should be locked up and called wilderness, there can be serious argument made that in the Lower 48 States, there does not exist a “pure” wolf or a coyote for that matter.

In an article found in the Bangor Daily News, it begins, “WSCH 6’s Bill Green reported this week that a new wolf-coyote hybrid “thrives” in Maine.”

If this is true, and there exists studies that tell us that the wild dogs found in most of the northeast section of country are of a mixed breed of wolf, coyote and domestic dog and any and all canine breeds and mixtures. One would imagine that that mixture is all over the place as, by now, cross-bred wild dogs have mated with other cross-bred wild dogs, and so it goes.

Do these wild dogs “thrive” in Maine, as Bill Green states? Reports vary, some stating that Maine has a “coyote” (hybrid) population in excess of 20,000. Thriving? It would seem that way to me, especially when you consider that it was only in my childhood days – 1960s – that rumors were spreading about “coyotes” showing up in places in the Pine Tree State. Maine never had a viable population of “coyotes” until it began to grow in the 1960s, due to expansion of populations – probably already some kind of add-mixture of wild dog.

Some claim this cross-breeding (media and others like to call the offspring a hybrid) is a natural phenomenon but is it?

Also found in this article is the following statement: “When Europeans began to colonize the United States, wolves were abundant throughout the country.” What does that mean precisely? What is the term “abundant” one’s weighted perception? It appears Bill Green and I “perceive” that a mixed-breed of wild dog “thrives” in Maine. Those who see any dog, wild or domestic, in vast quantities, as something that should be perpetuated, wouldn’t see 20,000 coyotes/cross-breeds as thriving or abundant. But, what about science….real science?

Most certain, the settlers who came before us, learned quickly that large predators in the woods were dangerous and competed with them for, not only their livestock, but for other wild game that was necessary for survival. And thus they killed these wild predators whenever they could. Shouldn’t they have?

But were these wolves “abundant” when the settlers arrived? Bearing in mind the term “abundant,” perhaps the best way to learn about this is to recall the historic accounts, often found in hunters’ and trappers’ journals, including such recordings as those of Lewis and Clark, and names such as Smith, Ogden, Sublette, Work, Meek, Freemont, Preuss, Simpson and Egan. After all, they were the ones on the land even before the settlers.

Most of their journals tell a quite different story of “abundance.” With the exception of some localized areas, west of the Mississippi, both game and wolves were scarce. Explorers, through what is now the Yellowstone Basin, comment that they never heard wolves or coyotes howl. There was little game to be found, and often these explorers, unable to find game to sustain themselves, resorted to killing and eating horse meat. Lewis and Clark experienced the same thing finding themselves trading with the Indians for their domestic dogs to eat in order to survive. From my perspective, that does not describe what I would call an abundance of anything, except perhaps hunger.

Science shows us that natural segregation, often achieved through natural landscape barriers, and population limits found in widespread outbreaks of disease, kept species like wild canines apart in order that cross-breeding was not a common thing. We have learned that the Native Americans knew about wolves and the trouble they caused. Not all Indians worshiped the wolf or found some kind of spiritual guidance or direction from them. The natives deliberately cross-bred certain domesticated dogs with wild dogs in hopes of creating a better hunting animal.

Teddy Roosevelt wrote extensively of his travels, often describing the different looks and sizes of wild dogs he encountered. Roosevelt was one of the first to write about the big “timber wolves” that seemed to exist only beyond the high mountains of what is now known as the Sasquatch Range. What coyotes there were, existed down on the plains.

Common sense should tell us that if we are interested in protecting a wolf or a coyote, we should be doing our best to insure that the two species are not forced into the same habitats where cross-breeding would become even more common, thus mixing the species and destroying the wolf or coyote genes. People, often in their greed and animal perversions, insist on seeing these animals from their cars and out the back windows of their houses. This is a great formula for the destruction of, not only wolves and coyotes, but many other species due to predation and disease.

Granted this effort of segregation becomes a more difficult task with a growing population of man, but protecting the populations of wild wolves and coyotes to numbers that are historically higher than when the settlers first arrived, thinking we are doing great things for the animals, is all wrong.

Even many who would concur that there are “hybrid” wild dogs living throughout Maine and other areas of the country, seem to only care about protecting whatever the cross-bred creature is that exists for the moment. Our own U.S. Government seems to share that same belief.

In attempts to perpetuate wild dogs in the Desert Southwest and in the Southeast, government agents knowingly and illegally introduced real hybrid semi-wild dogs. This is not only illegal but a violation of the Endangered Species Act. What are we doing?

If Maine and other regions are now dealing with “thriving” populations of hybrid wild dogs, there’s a reason for that. The worst thing we can do is perpetuate this cross-breed. If we want to protect the wolf and the coyote, we should be doing all we can to rid the landscape of these hybrid, invasive species. Not only do the genes of wild canines become mixed up, but what also changes with the cross-mixture is behavior – behavior that is most often unpredictable. This adds to the issue of public safety.

To argue that Maine should have wolves is one thing. To make the claim that what the Government and others who are suggesting introduction is actually a pure wolf is foolishness. Perhaps the only wolf that resembles a pure wolf exists in the wilderness regions far to our north, where they belong. These are not indigenous to Maine. Introduction of such a beast, or any kind of add-mixture, semi-wild dogs, calling them wolves, is a violation of the law and should not be tolerated…that is if we actually care about protecting real wolves.

*Note* – I provided few links in this writing. I have written extensively on this subject, including a book. You can use the search function of this website to find more information about most everything I have written in this article.

Two Wolves and a Coyote Walk Into a Bar…..

One wolf says to the others, “Hey, howl you doing these days? Did you read that piece the other day about how farmers clearing land extirpated us wolves and paved the way for you coyotes to go to Maine and live?”

I wonder who makes this stuff up? Perhaps it’s just people like me who like to fabricate stories. Of course, not that many years ago readers would be smart enough to know that animals can’t talk, nor do they frequent bars. But things have changed. And so, I suspect some might read this and think it’s true.

It’s a bit like the guy who took his extremely intelligent dog with him duck hunting. He picked up his friend early in the morning and they went into their blind just before daylight. He wanted to surprise his friend and show him how smart his dog was.

The first opportunity, one man shoots a duck and it lands in the water. The dog owner ordered his dog to retrieve the duck. The dog got to the water’s edge and carefully tip-toed on top of the water and retrieved the duck. The other hunter observed but didn’t say one word.

This same event took place several times until finally the dog’s owner, frustrated, speaks up, “Dang it all Fred! Don’t you notice anything peculiar about my dog?”

Fred says, “Yeah, but I didn’t want to say anything and hurt your feelings, but that dog can’t swim!”

It is highly likely that the wild canine animal that Mainers see in the woods, is not a wolf, nor is it a coyote. Supposedly, scientific experiments have shown that this wild canine is some sort of a mixed breed of various offspring of canines, both wild and domestic. People like to call them hybrids, as though doing so somehow places these nasty mutts in an elevated status among animal perverts. The truth is, it’s a canine that is roaming in the woods of Maine and it is a vehement spreader of disease – at least 30 different viruses, parasites and diseases.

To my knowledge, there is no real historic data that supports the claim that settlers clearing forests extirpated the “wolf” that was found once in the Maine woods. After all, we know for a fact that the creation of farmland, contributed to the growth of the deer herd, which was a great food source for the wolf.

Others want to blame hunting, trapping and the general dislike of the wolf, that caused people to kill them every chance they had. This is only partly true. Much of Maine remained as European settlers found it long after the wolf was thought to be extirpated.

It is not entirely accurate to claim that when man extirpated the wolf, and farmers cleared the land, it ushered in the existence of “coyotes.” I doubt that Maine ever had a “coyote” but has always had some kind of mixed breed of wild canine. The coyote that most Mainers talk about in the Pine Tree State, are hybrid dogs that expanded its range from the Great Lakes region into eastern Canada and northern New England. Now there are so many of them that cross breeding of canines, wild and domestic is happening in rapid fashion. So what’s left? Some think it’s a dog species that deserves to be protected.

Ignorant people, thinking they are protecting wolves and coyotes by allowing them to proliferate unharnessed, don’t realize they are contributing to the animals’ demise. What roams Maine’s woods as a wild, or semi-wild canine, is a great example of that fact. Allowing and promoting the forced existence of wolves with other canines, wild and domestic, is destroying the wolf gene. Not only is the gene of the wolf being destroyed but with that genetic add-mixture, behavior of the offspring changes as well. That can open a can of worms in trying to predict the animal’s behavior.

It is important for people to understand the truth about any region’s history of wild animals, including wild canines. Filling people full of misleading information, often perpetuated by organizations with an agenda, is actually putting the existence and perpetuation of a real canine species in jeopardy.

But, animal perverts don’t care. All they are interested in doing is to save the life of any animal….er, uh, that is unless it’s a rat, tick or some other disease-carrying life form that is infecting or affecting them directly.

Stupid!

Maine’s Wintering Deer Have a “New Normal”

When I read V. Paul Reynolds article the other day, I about fell out my chair. I couldn’t believe what I was reading. But, I’m glad I read it. I wonder if it has any real value?

Ryan Robicheau, a state wildlife biologist who oversees and monitors Maine’s deer yard situation, according to Reynolds, said “…that there is “a new normal” in Maine’s deer wintering areas. He believes that coyote predation pressure and more and more voluntary winter feeding programs by citizens is having an impact on deer wintering habits. (They are staying closer to town near the feed and away from coyotes).”

Maybe there is hope. I have been asking for years if someone would please explain to me how blaming the lack of so-called deer yards (Deer Wintering Areas) for poor deer numbers could be a legitimate excuse when many of the existing yards are vacant, or nearly vacant, during the winter. I have contended for some time that deer have a lot more adaptability than people, including our deer biologists, give them credit.

Prey species, like deer, are not stupid. Why go hang out where they know they will become dinner for coyotes, bobcats, lynx, etc. when they can move into more heavily human-populated areas where it is safer?

If the population of your Maine hometown is half what it was when you were growing up, does that mean all those people died? Or perhaps that they moved someplace else.

It’s time to figure this stuff out. How can Maine devise a viable 15-year deer management plan if they are still looking for deer where they ain’t?

 

A TALK ON WOLVES, DISEASE AND THE NEED FOR REFORMING THE ESA

Given at the Sugar Camp Town Hall, Sugar Camp, Wisconsin on 8 April 2017, by Jim Beers

Thank you for this opportunity to discuss an aspect of modern wildlife management that is of great importance but that, in my opinion, has been given scandalously short shrift over the past 30 years.

I will speak for about 20 minutes on the topic of wolves and disease; and then for an equal time on what I see as the problems and solutions associated with wolves and the ESA in the United States in 2017 while reserving a similar period for questions.  If this seems like a daunting task to you, it seems to me like being asked to read War and Peace in a similar timeframe!

First, to wolves and disease – More than one of you is probably wondering, who is this guy about to speak about wolves and disease when he probably has never even taken a class in veterinary science?  That is true.  I am no more than an ex-Utah Fish and Game employee; a USFWS Wetland Biologist/Special Agent/Program Analyst/ Chief of National Wildlife Refuge Operations/Congressional Fellow/ Wildlife Biologist and US Trade Representative Delegation Member to the EU on Fur Trade Regulations.  I have a Bachelor’s degree from Utah State in Wildlife Resources and a Master’s degree from the U of Northern Colorado in Public Administration.  I am also a whistleblower to Congress about the theft by USFWS of +/- $60M in State Wildlife Funds from Arms and Ammunition Excise Taxes.  I also testified before a Senate Committee opposing the creation of federal Invasive Species authority.  I have been speaking and writing about wildlife and government programs all across the Nation for the 17 years since I was sent home and forced to retire from USFWS after a 32-year career.

This is the third time I have been asked to speak about wolves and the disease dimensions of their presence in the past 17 years.  Why is that?

Well, I first became aware of why when I was a speaker at a western cattlemen’s affair and I sat in on a talk by the state Wildlife Veterinarian and the Agriculture Livestock Veterinarian.  I innocently asked a question about wolves and they huddled and refused to answer and then said they had to get back to the Capital and left.  A few years later I was asked to explain about wolves and disease to a Natural Resource Committee of a State Legislature.  When I asked why me, they said they couldn’t find anyone else.

Looking back over these 17 years, most veterinarians, like many government wildlife folks, give me a wide berth.  With the exception of an old horse veterinarian who lost two sons to the defense of our Nation, and who squired me around one day through remote wolf, cattle and former elk hunting country, I confess that I have encountered only three kinds of veterinarians in my travels.

First, there are the pet doctors whose customers understandably “love” their pets and who are generally repulsed by trapping or lethal animal control or, for that matter, anyone that would denigrate the wolf or the “native ecosystem”.  They, understandably, wouldn’t touch this topic with a 10” pole.

Second, there are the government veterinarians.  They are like Urban Police Chiefs.  That is to say they are hired (and fired or marginalized) by Mayors and Agency Directors.  When Police “Chiefs” (not elected Sheriffs) chirp about gun control, they are little more than “Charlie McCarthies” for their boss, the Mayor.  Similarly, what state or federal Veterinarian, most of whose Agencies and Directors embrace unconditionally the federal protection and spread of wolves in defiance of many of those forced to live with the wolves, would risk controversial statements jeopardizing the agency’s proclamations and policies regarding wolves as benign additions to a communities’ wildlife?

Finally, there are the University Veterinary Science professors.  Their students flock to this over-manned profession because they “love animals”, a laudable and understandable motive.  The bureaucracies that generate grants and support for much, if not most, of their research (i.e. the ticket for more grad students, bigger budgets, tenure, and retirement security) do so for a wide variety of topics. Today, such “research” fills Veterinary Journals with ever more unintelligible (to the general public) data than modern economic research “papers”.  Additionally, the Universities understand that both state and federal governments are “all in” for wolves and that controversial reports or fodder for complaints that enable public protests would jeopardize far more than funding and other support for wildlife veterinary issues in the future.

So, here you are stuck with me.

  1. Wolves are very wide-ranging Canids that unlike our dogs get no Parvo/Distemper/Rabies/etc. shots and treatments.  They are not only fearless, they frequent human habitations routinely and with growing impunity as they increase in densities or experience no challenging behavior from humans or human settlements.  They are periodically concentrating on pastures or homesteads or big game wintering areas or calving areas as with moose in their wanderings so that when they pick up an infection or disease, they will likely go to similar surroundings where similar animals or humans can be infected.  They are constantly sticking their snout in and eating organs from a variety of animals both dying and deceased for a period of time thus exposing themselves to a very wide variety of bacteria, viruses, prions and other pathogens. It is not that they all carry all these diseases, it is that when they do get a really bad one like anthrax or rabies or foot-and-mouth or Mad Cow or chronic wasting disease – stopping the spread is almost impossible as when dogs and other wildlife disease vectors, that don’t roam far and wide, are killed to stop outbreaks of things like anthrax or smallpox.

Wolves travel in packs; romp; fight; and, like bats, sleep and groom together.  They are very often silent (and therefore unidentifiable) vectors spreading diseases, pathogens and infections among themselves and over a wide area to humans, domestic animals and other wildlife in a multitude of ways.  They are all but impossible to eliminate quickly or efficiently as when there is a rabies, foot-and-mouth, smallpox, anthrax or Mad Cow (BSE) outbreak.  Consider the havoc, often documented in early America of rabid wolves that went for miles biting everything they encounter, or the Russian sawyer (along with many others at the time, several of whom died) bitten by a rabid wolf while running a chain saw a few years ago.  Indian villages, trappers, homesteaders, and even forts with soldiers all are mentioned in historical records and reports of the terror and death rabid wolves were and are capable of imposing.

Certainly bites are an obvious danger for infection.  Less obvious (and ignored or denied) are:

–          Saliva left in yards and along (increasingly urban) paths on objects that are of interest to dogs that mouth them and nose them before returning home.

–          Mucous from a sneeze or runny nose left in areas frequented by people like yards and camping areas where dogs, children and others are exposed and can become carriers.

–          Feces laden with various tapeworm eggs (some of which develop deadly cysts years later; some of which last more than a year on the ground around where deposited and are capable of being transported by dog’s feet or shoes into homes, tents or campers onto rugs and elsewhere where small kids are especially vulnerable to ingesting them unknowingly) and also Parvo viruses that also have long infection periods where deposited.  Feces are a particular problem when undigested meat is passed and dogs do what they often do with

feces containing partially digested meat.

–          Blood transfer or deposit from accidents, fights with dogs or other wolves or incidents with other animals creates a potential infectious transfer to others and even a temporarily infected site that can infect others that touch or mouth anything coming in contact with the area, especially in places like campgrounds and rural residence surroundings.

–          Oozing sores or unhealed infections are an area of concern, in my opinion, but I could not find any information on such matter or what threat it may or may not pose.

–          Fur between toes and on the body coming in contact with the ground or infected animals can capture, transport and spread Mad Cow (BSE) prions; anthrax bacterium (capable of being absorbed through the skin, ingested or inhaled); and foot-and-mouth, and smallpox viruses among other pathogens.

For the record, I no longer let dogs lick me. I helped my Dad raise Dobermans as a kid and as a young man I had several retrievers, one of which I am about to tell you about.

The following is a list of diseases carried and transmitted by wolves.  While not totally comprehensive, it represents over 30+ infections and diseases that have been attributed to wolves.  Those that can infect humans are followed by an (H), those that affect other animals are followed by an (OA).

  1. Rabies (H) (OA)
  2. Brucellosis (H) (OA) ** i.e. Undulant Fever

Hydatid Disease (2):

  1. Echinococcus granulosis (H) (OA)
  2. Echinococcus multilocularis  (H) (OA) ** i.e. Deadly Cysts
  1. Anthrax (H) (OA) ** Cleanup Requirements
  2. Encephalitis (H) (OA)
  3. (Granulomatous meningoencephalitis) (OA)
  4. (Necrotizing encephalitis) (OA)
  5. Great Lakes Fish Tapeworm (H) (OA)
  6. Smallpox (H) (OA) ** i.e. Aral Sea Is.
  7. Mad Cow Disease(BSE) (OA) (H) ** i.e.UK
  8. Chronic Wasting Disease (OA)

From Ticks (13) ** Carried by wolves: Natural History?

  1. Anemia (H)
  2. Dermatosis (H)
  3. Tick paralysis (H)
  4. Babesiosis (H)
  5. Anaplasmosis (H)
  6. Erlichia (H)
  7. E. Coast Fever (H)
  8. Relapsing Fever (H)
  9. Rocky Mtn. Spotted Fever (H)
  10. (A new type of Spotted Fever is being investigated) (H)
  11. Powassan Fever (H)
  12. Heartland Fever (H)
  13. Lyme Disease (H)

From Fleas (4) Carried by wolves:

  1. Plague (H) ** i.e.MT (OA)
  2. Bubonic Plague (H)
  3. Pneumonic Plague (H)
  4. Flea-Borne (Endemic) Typhus (H)
  1. Distemper (OA)
  2. Neospora caninum (OA)
  3. 2 Types of Mange (H) (OA)
  4. GID (a disease of wild and domestic sheep) (OA)
  5. Foot-and-Mouth (OA)
  6. Parvo (OA)

Of the 30+ diseases and pathogens listed, 27 affect humans and many of these are deadly.  Whether it is a child ingesting tapeworm eggs from a ranch house floor rug, or a dog walker or jogging soccer Mom encountering wolves as a schoolteacher did recently in Alaska that resulted in a horrible death, the fact that these human health hazards have been given short-shrift and even covered up by government agencies and their allies as they forcibly introduce, protect and spread wolves is nothing short of scandalous.

How do you control wolves as vectors of these diseases when there is an outbreak?  Who pays for control?  Whatmethods are permissible? Who is responsible?  These sorts of questions need to be answered before we can determine where wolves are to be tolerated; in what numbers; and how these things are to be achieved ad infinitum.  I am a strong believer that State Governments, recognizing the primary interests and desires of the Local communities expected to bear the costs of hosting wolves in their midst, are the proper government authority for such decisions if the first and foremost purpose of all government as defined in the Preamble o0f our Constitution,i.e. – “domestic Tranquility” and “the general Welfare” of the all the citizenry – is to be achieved and maintained.

  1. What are we to make of all this?  How did it happen?  Most importantly, what can or should be done?

Wolves are like mosquitoes: both are numerous, found worldwide, and both create serious and increasing problems for humans closely correlated in magnitude to the human densities found in modern settled landscapes where each is found.  Each has benefits that are marginal as when mosquitoes and their larva provide food for fish and especially young birds with brief time windows in which to grow, fly and migrate.  Similarly wolves existing in relatively uninhabited (by humans) habitats create an insular plant and animal community that, while described by some appreciatively as “native” or “balanced”, provides a biological comparison for plant and animal management in more densely inhabited and settled landscapes as found in the Lower 48 States.  Even in these less inhabited landscapes like Alaska and Siberia, human interventions are required.  Examples of the latter being:

–          When humans are killed, attacked or injured

–          When disease outbreaks occur

–          When moose and elk et al needed for human food are being decimated

–          When wildlife licensing revenues and matching funds dwindle due to scarcity of game

–          When cattle, reindeer or sheep et al husbandry is being decimated.

–          When always fragile rural economies and communities worldwide are diminished in any of the many myriad ways that wolves can affect them from dog killings to threatening or attacking especially children and the elderly.

To say that a world with a Canada full of thousands of wolves; an Alaska bursting with wolves; a vast Siberia **Magadan/Kazakhstan/India (indeed much of Asia) with high wolf densities; a Europe currently dealing unsuccessfully with wolves continent wide; and a world full of dogs & coyotes (that are currently cross breeding with wolves in the settled landscapes of the Lower 48 States) dingoes and jackals (all 4 of which breeds can breed with wolves and produce viable or fertile offspring) ** current crossbreeding – to say in such a world that WOLVES ARE (currently) ENDANGERED in the settled landscapes of the Lower 48 States and :

–          Require federal pre-emption of traditional and Constitutional State Wildlife Authorities and Jurisdictions.

–          Require the expenditure of millions of scarce federal and state general taxes and wildlife funds.

–          Require preposterous federal bureaucratic authority to take private property without compensation in defiance of the Constitution.

–          That rural communities forced to host the wolves are to have NO say regarding their presence, numbers, distribution, control or impacts.

Is (*?) to say the least.

* What? – “Absurd”? “Crazy”?  “Misguided”? “Ignorant”? “Unjust”? “Illegal”? “Not what it appears to be”? “A direct threat to rural ‘domestic Tranquility’ and the ‘general Welfare’ of the Nation”?  NOTE: I confess to wrestling continuously with the right term to use both for the policies and instigators of this misbegotten fiasco. Too harsh or too truthful words turn off many readers and listeners.

The federal bureaucratic placement of wolves is an arbitrary nightmare for groups out of political favor **New England? and almost always not in any direct way affecting those lobbyists, ideologues and politicians enabling the wolf programs.  Wolf types in the Lower 48 (i.e. red, Mexican, timber, etc.) are simply names for varieties similar to other widespread mammals like the large whitetails in Saskatchewan descending in size and varying in coloration to the tinier and lighter whitetails found in the Southwest to the tiniest whitetails found in the hot and food-poor FL Keys.  Was the ESA really passed to preserve such morphologies?

There is an abundance of hidden agendas behind wolf programs from human population and gun control to eliminating hunting and trapping and surgically parsing rural America into expanding federal ownerships and easements with decreasing land costs.

As with grizzly bear expansions in the Lower 48 States, no one is responsible for the calamities brought about by wolves.

Only last week the morning the paper reported the first Zika-infected childbirth in the US.  The child was born in San Diego.  Imagine if you will, if mosquitos had been eliminated from the San Diego area one hundred years ago and if only ten or twenty years ago the federal government had announced the “scientific” finding that the lack of mosquitoes in the San Diego environs was unacceptable.  Suppose further that the federal government then initiated and the government of California enthusiastically embraced (no surprise there) the reintroduction, protection, and spread of the “native San Diego Yellow Mosquito”. This was done with the enthusiastic support of:

–          Midwest, East Coast and Northwest environmental organizations that collected millions to “save the San Diego Yellow Mosquito”.

–          Federal politicians that accepted “contributions” from these groups and then were subsequently featured in the news as a “friend of the Mosquito”.

–          Professors and entomologists that shared in a bonanza of grants, graduate student increases, tenure and public adulation as they justified the banning of spraying and other controls of mosquitoes and their kin; the need to further regulate and restrict chemical production and use; and the need for a myriad of new laws forbidding the removal of any standing water suitable for the mosquito’s many needs to reproduce and live.

–          Federal and State bureaucrats that outlined the need for more employees, bigger budgets, more regulations, new amendments to existing laws, “key” land acquisition and easement, and promotions and bonuses as their “workload increased”.

Could that be a “just” law authorizing such actions?  Would the Constitution in any conceivable way allow such a travesty?  Would San Diego parents and parents-to-be tolerate such a law?  Would the parents of an infected child be able to sue federal politicians, federal bureaucrats or “scientists” that denied or hid the dangers they knew to exist? Of course this could never happen, but not because:

–          Mosquitoes (and wolves) are ubiquitous

–          There is no San Diego Yellow Mosquito

–          The environmental organizations and government would look silly.

This would not happen because it would be the urban voting majority being imposed upon.  The suburban (with a few exceptions like NJ) and rural voters neither demand nor contribute to such impositions on their city cousins so the National Organizations do not reap millions; politicians do not reap votes; professors do not reap emoluments; and bureaucrats do not reap dollars and fame.

It is a fact that no one is responsible for any of the many wolf, or grizzly bears’ deadly effects or the economic and cultural sectors that they diminish and that what happened here with the Mosquito is and has happened with the wolf and grizzly bear to name just two such “Listings”.

Here is what I have learned in 17 years of dealing with the ESA and wolves et al:

  1. It is unjust and unconstitutional to empower federal bureaucrats (and their enablers from politicians and “scientists” to wealthy environmental lobby groups) to seize State wildlife and wild plant authorities and jurisdictions and violate with impunity such Constitutional Rights as are found in the I, IV, V, VI, VII, or X Amendments as defined in The Bill of Rights, and as is being done under the color of the Endangered Species Act.
  2. Large predators like wolves and grizzly bears are not endangered or threatened.  (Grizzlies are abundant in W Canada, Alaska and N. Asia). Both are very dangerous and destructive animals; and their presence, abundance, and distribution should be under State authority with primary attention given to those local communities expected to live with either of these animals.  To say that either, especially grizzles, belongs anywhere in the settled landscapes of the Lower 48 in a protected status is a position that anyone valuing human life and American freedoms should think long and hard about. Current magnanimous “return of management” to State governments by federal bureaucracies with attendant “minimum” wolf levels is a chimera or mirage, like promises of “compensation” to ranchers and others, simply short-term public relations ploys intended to continue drainage of wildlife conservation funding and programs until a future push to invigorate greater federal control is judged politically possible.
  3. State wildlife agencies, state governments and Universities have each been corrupted by the current system ** PR theft w/o repayment and have become little more than subcontractors to federal bureaucrats, powerful Non-Government Organizations and their agendas.  Governments no longer serve constituents, and Universities and science no longer seek nor publicize the truth regarding these issues.  A companion issue with wolves that draws only snickers today is the downplayed but very real concerns that present wolf immersions in the dense Canid populations on the Lower 48 States spell disaster for future wolves as crossbreeding with coyotes and dogs point to a future similar to that of Russian Caucasian immigrants to Formosa over a hundred years ago that today only linger in a rare Caucasian facial feature in that otherwise dense Mongolian populous.
  4. If urban/environmental organizations and voters want wolves or grizzly bears in XYZ let them first convince those folks living in XYZ to appeal to the State government with a plan to do so and how to finance it.  Counties could allow these animals if the residents and their neighbors agree under a system like Virginia has for deer hunting wherein the Counties decide what guns, methods, seasons, bags, and goals are permissible for deer hunting in THEIR County recognizing the County  resident’s desires.  Adjoining Counties could oppose the proposal and/or authorize the dispatch of any such animal in their County under certain or any circumstances. In other words if Wyoming and Idaho and Montana do not want any wolves, when a wolf  steps out of Yellowstone, State laws and regulations could authorize shooting or trapping 365 24/7.  Other federal Parks, Forests, BLM and USFWS lands would and should need State permission as with other property owners in the State to introduce or maintain such wildlife just as if they wanted to introduce and maintain pythons or Asian carp in or on their ownership. Yellowstone has a very singular and unique legal status regarding such matters.
  5. Non-large-predator Endangered Species Act programs and policies have also become corrupt political activities.  Too often they are thinly-disguised environmental and animal rights agendas and ploys to destroy dams, irrigation, farms, ranches, private property, hunting, trapping, fishing, public land access, Local governments, sustainable and renewable natural resource use and management, national sovereignty, corporations, human development nationally and internationally, and a long list of human cultural and traditional pursuits considered politically incorrect at the moment.

For instance, while I was in Washington recently, the paper described a pending Endangered Listing of a Bee that is declining nationally.  The Bee occupies burrows in intermittently plowed fields and are “thought to be” affected by pesticides sold by “Dow” Chemical.  The Listing article (like snail darters intended to stop a dam; or smelt and suckers intended to close down farms and irrigation; or spotted owls intended to eliminate forest – i.e. timber – management) painted objecting farmers and the Dow Chemical Corporation as villains.  The Listing will and is intended to importune widespread farm production and practices in the Midwest thereby adversely affecting the national economy, the food supply and food availability for the poor.  It will also disrupt a giant Chemical “Corporation” bottom line, facilities and processes for an unknown time and with likely significant financial and job losses.  Now while all this may please some elements in the country it is counterproductive to American prosperity and our modern way of life.

What if the process for conserving true species in extremis was harmonized between Federal and State lawmakers and authorized and mandated that federal and state scientists first jointly determine what is causing the decline and not just hammer “all the usual suspects”?  Then work with USDA and farmers to identify and evaluate alternatives and their costs to modify practices or equipment.  Then have federal and state scientists work with and through the National Institute of Science and Technology (that routinely works with American Corporations on such matters) to cooperate with Dow Chemical on research for specific adjustments and tolerable costs to their products and existing infrastructure to reduce bee declines.  All of this should be accomplished with specifically requested Congressional funding which, if not authorized, means it is not of sufficient importance in line with other national priorities at the moment.

This is the opposite of the bureaucratic hammer in use today and returns to recognition of the Constitutional role of elected officials authorizing, funding and administering things currently left to bureaucrats with a bag of money to do all sorts of mischief and harm without accountability or responsibility except for their own careers.

  1. I am constantly told the ESA will NEVER be repealed (even though a similar travesty, Prohibition, authorized by a Constitutional Amendment, was repealed when its pernicious and corrupting effects were no longer deniable).
  2. I am constantly told that the ESA will Never be amended because any politician supporting such a thing would be deported or jailed by environmentalists, animal rightists, professors, teachers, bureaucrats, and a hodgepodge of urban residents that could be mobilized to “save” the environment.
  3. Could elected rural Sheriffs resist these federal impositions like some Mayors, Governors and County officials are resisting federal illegal immigrant enforcement activities?
  4. Could ESA reforms be enacted in laws, regulations and policies amid the turbulence of reform and confrontation now taking place in Washington, DC?

Questions:  Is rural America slated to continue falling behind the advancements and opportunities of the rest of the Nation to become like many rural African and Asian societies; places where “life is” as Thomas Hobbes once said, “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short?  Where residents sell trinkets along the road or move to cities to perform menial tasks?  Are rural Americans, rural communities and urban America to be treated equally or are rural Americans and their communities and economies to be permanently inferior American sectors at the mercy of urban dreamers and pandering politicians?

How we recognize and resolve these self-imposed problems, involves and affects far more than wolves, bees and imaginary mosquitoes.

Jim Beers

8 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.