“The grizzly bear that killed Claudia Huber on the weekend came into her house through a window, then pursued Huber and her spouse when they ran outside, says ?Yukon’s coroner.”<<<Read More>>>
Dear BLM Reprentatives:
Since the BLM has elected to extend the comment period regarding the Idaho Predator Derby the request of an Oregon Congressman, please let me provide what I suggest is some rational comment in the face of substantial emotional comment you have received in opposition to the Derby. Since wolves cross state lines, I will refrain accusing the Oregon Congressman from “poaching,” even though he stands in opposition to almost all positions on everything taken by the Idaho congressional delegation. Likewise, I would not portend to deny the expression of opposition to the Predator Derby, much of which has a quality of quasi-religious species preference for wolves expressed by wolf advocates.
I do suggest, however, that a more rational comparison of the Predator Derby might be made to fishing derbies, where families gather to have fun and teach the young to fish (see attached). The Forest Service apparently took that view in ruling that no permit was needed for the Predator Derby (see attached). The species preferences for wolves exhibited by some people who live elsewhere should not be given any more weight than a preference, let us say, for the “iconic” rainbow trout. The Idaho Predator Derby is presented as a family event for people whose culture it is to engage in hunting in a place where these people practice this culture live (see attached).
The BLM’s economic analysis found that while the town of Salmon and surrounding areas might receive a $94,000 boost, the state as a whole could miss out on anywhere from $23,800 to $2,380,000 depending on how many people decide to not visit the state due to opposition propaganda. Clearly, it is difficult to quantify exactly how much the state will lose in economic activity. Past experience has shown, however, that the tourist industry has not been particularly affected by activist propaganda. I would suggest that the economic analysis might be more accurate if it took into consideration the positive affect that the predator hunting derby might have on the greater hunting community. Available Idaho Fish and Game statistics show the substantial reduction of non-resident hunting licenses and the related substantial drop in income that the State of Idaho Fish and Game Department has suffered since the introduction of wolves and the consequential devastation of the elk herds in certain of Idaho’s 28 elk hunting zones. The predator hunting derby in conjunction with Idaho’s efforts to control wolves would most certainly serve as a relevant inducement to that specific community of non-resident hunters to return to Idaho. I suggest that it is more likely that the predator Derby will have a positive economic impact overall, primarily because of its effective emphasis on control of predators through hunting and the message it sends to greater hunting community.
The Opposition claims that the Environmental Assessment failed to adequately address an alternative SRP request for a wildlife viewing contest submitted by Western Watersheds Project and Center for Biological Diversity which, if the permit is issued, would take place instead of the derby or at the same time. By all rational analysis, this is a political effort to deny the people of Salmon and the hunters of Idaho their planned hunting derby – an event located in their own community. The nature of this effort by the opposition can be better understood by simply referring to the websites of these organizations to clearly see such effort for what it really is: A money raising campaign based on crass exploitation of anthropomorphic sympathies engendered by such propaganda. It has the quality of the bucket being passed at a revival meeting.
The Derby sponsors have attempted to comply with every procedural step, including early filing to avoid delaying tactics of the opposition. Accordingly, it is respectfully suggested that the BLM grant the application for a permit, if the decision is made that a permit is needed.
John L. Runft
Runft & Steele Law Offices, PLLC
1020 W. Main St., Suite 400
Boise, Idaho 83702
“Officials with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will decide this fall whether a 27-year program aimed at returning the red wolf to the wild in the isolated swampland of eastern North Carolina will go forward.”
“Now they have letters from more than 500 landowners asking them to remove wolves from their property. It is what they promised they would do when all this began. We intend to hold them to it, even if they don’t want to do it.”
“Wildlife officials assured landowners the wolves would not be likely to stray onto their land. If they did, a call to the recovery center would bring a trained officer, who would trap the animal and take it back to the reserve.”
“If the animal was troublesome, a remote-control “capture collar” equipped with a tranquilizer would be detonated, knocking the canine out.”
“In addition, large parts of the protected land were flooded for waterfowl habitation. That forced the wolves to seek different hunting land.”
“Wildlife officials contend that the wolf population has a minimal impact on private land and that they rely on the cooperation of private landowners for the repopulation effort to succeed.”
“We would not leave them behind,” Miranda said. “Whatever the case, we still have our captive population to populate a new area.”<<<Read More>>>
“You are not going to hunt them like deer. If you think you are going to walk in the woods and follow them you are wrong,” Woodcock said, as additional measures mentioned in the referendum question are needed to have a chance at getting a bear. “Hunting over bait is probably one of the best and most ethical ways to hunt. You have a choice of what you want to do.”<<<Read More>>>
Source: Save Maine’s Bear Hunt
Posted on October 13, 2014
Opposition to Maine Referendum Question #1
“Do you want to ban the use of bait, dogs or traps in bear hunting except to protect property, public safety, or for research?
WHEREAS, Maine has one of the highest black bear populations at over 30,000, without effective hunting methods, the population will continue to dramatically increase; and,
WHEREAS, hunters spend an average of 15 days harvesting their quarry, and only one in four hunters are successful in their endeavors; and,
WHEREAS, monies spend during the hunting season directly and indirectly impact both the local and statewide economies, providing jobs and business opportunities for many rural residents; and,
WHEREAS, the Washington County Board of Commissioners agree that Referendum Question #1 would cripple Maine’s ability to manage its bear population as evidenced by statistical data showing that the use of bait, hounds, and traps are the most effective hunting methods that best control the population. The Board of Commissioners believes that the passage of Referendum Question #1 would compromise the safety of citizens with a potential increase of human-bear interactions; and,
WHEREAS, the Board of Commissioners strongly support the Maine Wildlife Conservation Council, Maine Inland Fisheries and Wildlife biologists, and Maine Game Wardens IN THEIR EFFORTS TO DEFEAT QUESTION #1; and,
WHEREAS, the Board of Commissioners views Referendum Question #1 as just the beginning of a more expansive effort to erode Maine’s rich hunting traditions;
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Washington County Board of Commissioners, at its October 8, 2014 Regular Meeting, officially opposes Maine Referendum Question #1 that will ban the use of bait, dogs, or traps in bear hunting.
Christopher Gardner, Chairman
John Crowley, Sr. Commissioner
Vinton Cassidy, Commissioner
“Here in Maine, wildlife management through science and broad-based public participation is not just a goal; it’s part of the social contract. However, approval of Ballot Question 1 — which would outlaw traditional methods of bear hunting and take away the best tools we have for bear management — would be a wholesale breach of our social contract.”<<<Read More>>>
Press Release from the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife:
October 9, 2014
AUGUSTA, Maine – With Maine’s bear management program the subject of a statewide referendum, Mainers are hearing a lot about Colorado, Oregon, Washington and Massachusetts, four states that have passed similar measures.
After similar referendums passed in these states, generally these states have has seen an increase in the bear population, an increase in the number of nuisance complaints, an increase in the number of nuisance bears killed and an increased cost to the public as a result of expanding bear populations. Voters in Massachusetts, Colorado, Washington and Oregon banned bear hunting with bait and hounds from 1992 to 1996.
In Massachusetts, the bear population has increased seven-fold and bear conflicts have increased by 500 percent. Wayne MacCallum, director of the state’s Department of Fish and Game’s Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, described the situation in an August 24 article in the Portland Press Herald: “(The bear population) is expanding eastward,” he said. “Every year now there are an increasing number of juvenile bears in metropolitan Boston. I suspect if we can’t harvest significantly more, the population will continue to increase.”
He went on to state that “there are constant complaints about bear encounters. We are constantly moving bears. It’s kind of like shoveling sand against the tide. This is the largest bear population in the state for at least 200 years. The fact of the matter is, at some point you will just have so many bears that people won’t tolerate them.”
In Colorado, more than 350 bears are killed each year in response to conflicts. Many towns have passed ordinances that regulate how residents can store their garbage and when it can be placed for curbside pickup, with fines ranging up to $1,000. One Colorado county even banned levered door handles on new houses because home entries by bears are so common.
In some Colorado towns, bear complaints are the number-one call received by police departments. When asked what impact a similar ban would have on Maine’s bear management program, Colorado bear biologist Jerry Apker recently said, “I think it would tremendously complicate how the State has to approach managing bears in Maine.”
In Oregon and Washington, biologists have struggled to prevent property damage by bears since the referendum passed, and those states now allow private landowners and deputized agents to kill bears using bait, hounds and traps in unlimited numbers.
Despite this, bears cause an estimated $16 million in damage to the timber industry each year by stripping the bark from young trees. Donny Martorello, the Carnivore Section Manager with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, recently told 92.9 Radio Host Bob Duchesne that before the referendum, “we were able to use recreational hunters at a very low cost and through time (that) was working well.” While he respects the rights of voters to pass a citizen initiative, he went on to say that “having that full toolbox of ways to manage the resource is something we’d like to see.”
In Maine, bait, hounds, and traps account for 93 percent of our annual bear harvest. Maine is the most forested state in the country, and our woods have a thick understory, which makes still-hunting extremely difficult. The loss of bait, hounds and traps for bear hunting will have a much larger impact on Maine’s bear management program than it has in other states.
In addition, Maine has very few options to increase participation by bear hunters if the referendum passes. The state already has a 14-week hunting season that starts in late August and ends after bears have entered their dens. Bear hunting licenses are already available in unlimited numbers, and a spring hunting season is prohibited by legislation.
During the firearms season on deer, all Maine residents are already allowed to hunt bears without having to purchase a separate bear license. Since Maine won’t be able to offset a reduction in the bear harvest by increasing hunter numbers or season length, if the referendum passes we expect the bear harvest to decline dramatically. This will result in a rapidly increasing bear population that expands into the more populated areas of Maine, causing more conflicts with people.
Even though each of these states is very different from Maine in several ways, it is informative to understand how their bear management programs have evolved over time. Maine’s bear biologists discussed each state’s bear management programs and hunting methods with the biologists in these states. As a result, Maine’s biologists are more convinced than ever that a ban on bear hunting with bait, hounds and traps will be bad for Maine.
In all of these states that passed similar referendums, bait and hounds were responsible for a relatively small portion of the annual bear harvest because the open habitats make other hunting methods, like spot and stalk, more effective. Therefore, it was possible for the fish and wildlife agencies to partially offset the decline in the bear harvest that occurred after the referendums passed.
This was accomplished by lengthening fall hunting seasons, reducing the cost of bear hunting licenses, expanding spring hunting seasons, increasing annual bag limits or issuing more bear hunting permits.
In some states, bear tags were included in a package with other big game licenses, so that virtually all hunters could shoot a bear if they saw it. The rise in bear hunter numbers was due to changes in how hunting licenses were administered, rather than an actual increase in interest in bear hunting (e.g. all big game hunters receive a bear tag and then are counted as bear hunters whether they actually pursue bears or not). Even with these changes, each of the harvests in these states is less than half the number of bears that need to be taken in Maine each year to control the population.
Maine is fortunate to have one of the largest bear populations in the country. We have very few conflicts between people and bears, and those that do occur are generally not severe. Fewer than a dozen bears are killed each year to protect property or public safety. Our bear management program is based on 40 years of research and is highly regarded by biologists across the country.
Leaving bear management in the capable hands of Maine’s biologists and game wardens will ensure that bears retain their stature as one of our state’s most treasured resources.
“This is absolutely a government taking and theft of our private property,” McIrvin said. “My civil rights are definitely being violated. My rights are just as important right here as the whole voting bloc of Seattle and their rights.”<<<Read More>>>