August 22, 2019

When Too Much Management is a Problem

A talk by Jim Beers at the Big Game Management SYMPOSIUM

Cranbrook, British Columbia

13 April 2019

Comments and Observations Concerning Predators, Prey & Modernity A Solution

This is a talk I would like to give in the following locations.

–       Scotland (where a proposal to introduce wolves into a massive land enclosure is under consideration);

–       Finland (where Finns are forced to confront and control Russian wolves using EU rules and restrictions);

–       France, Germany, Spain and Italy (where growing wolf densities are causing increasing livestock losses, game and hunting declines, and human safety concerns, all ignored by EU rulers in Brussels);

–       Each of The Lower 48 States of the US (where wolves are or will eventually occur and those similarly enduring federal grizzly bears or excessive and unmanaged cougar populations and their effects):

–       The Provinces of Canada (where wolves, grizzly bears, black bears and/or cougars are always seen as “too few” by urban voters, and “too many” by rural residents living with these large predators and their effects)

There are also other places where I would like to share what I am about to say such as Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Russia, India, and Africa where their problems with the death, carnage and economic losses wrought by uncontrolled large predator populations from Nile crocodiles to wolves in settled landscapes.  There are 2 reasons that explain why I refer to these locations as “other places”.

1.    The remedies I want to suggest are unrealistic where local rural people cannot be authorized year after year to control large predators and their impacts due to autocratic rulers, weapon restrictions, limited hunting and other animal control programs, United Nations’ rules concerning trophy shipping and restrictions on animal parts that make non-resident hunting problematic, and particularly governments that are vulnerable to anti-hunting and anti-wildlife management foreign political money-lobbying such as Kenya..

2.    Disarmed rural residents, although they have other means of control, cannot have serious annual, much less persistent, impacts on large predator densities nor can they long be exposed to these predators unarmed when attempting controls without incurring serious injuries and deaths.

The Problem

Large Predators chase, attack, wound, kill, and eat Big Game animals, cattle, sheep, dogs, humans and any other live meat they encounter and find to be vulnerable.  Most Large Predators range over wide areas.  They eat and probe dead, dying and often infected animals. They are exposed to and spread a litany of diseases and infections that kill and disable humans, Big Game animals, other wildlife, cattle, sheep, dogs, and other animals.

When large predators attack or kill humans, Local Communities (and not far-off politicians, bureaucrats or environmentalists) know what the problem is and take every allowable solution, and some that are not allowed, to solve “The Problem”.  In effect, far-away rulers are both physically and responsibility-wise, as well as unaccountable for the long list of abuses, dangers and costs of both equating and raising the political priority of such Large Predators above the status and needs of the rural people forced to live with and amongst increasingly dense and widespread Large Predators.

When Large Predators kill cows, calves, sheep, lambs, dogs, and other domestic animals; their rural owners are simply victims and depending on the location and mood of officials, there may or may not be an effective but temporary solution offered to the victimized owner.  Otherwise, those harmed are told to suck it up or go elsewhere (something hoped for by radical organizations and government agencies eager to purchase (at reduced prices), ease or otherwise control rural lands and people.

When Large Predators kill Big Game the situation changes dramatically.  First, there is no owner to note the kill, nor is there anyone to demand retribution, compensation or a solution to avoid this in the future. 

Second, there is no running documentation about how many or what kind (calf, pregnant cow, fawn, old male, young male, etc.) was killed: therefore there is no estimate of what percent of the herd or its reproductive capacity was killed last year, the year before or how reproduction is and has been affected. Pro-Predator experts and bureaucrats can blame climate change or claim that there is some sort of new disease (how does the layman dispute this?)  but you can bet it is almost certainly wolf or grizzly/black or cougar predation, or all four if their numbers have been increasing and you increasingly see them pursuing game animals into towns where Big Game seeks safety, or simply encounter them prowling about residences or towns in search of food, or hunters no longer reporting finding game animals.  Like other wildlife, the more often you see large predators as you drive about, the more abundant large predators are becoming and the more Big Game it takes to support the larger predator populations. Wolves are the most likely perpetrators of the majority of Big Game declines in North America and other places like Russia and Europe. Big Game reductions are invariably accompanied by domestic livestock depredation and dog deaths because wolves are usually the most broadly impactful and effective predators due to their pack behavior, large roaming habits, and adaptability that makes them constant evaders of controls and, collectively, they have a larger demand for meat than either cougars or grizzly or black bears due to their size, numbers and their opportunistic habit of killing more than they eat as they do with sheep and cattle when they are unprotected much like the behavior of domestic free-roaming dogs.

Third, there is nothing you can document or resolve about big game predation unlike human or domestic animal predation where you can take some intermittently effective precautions like keeping domestic prey of family members under increased protection and scaring off predators when seen.  Killing many of the large predators and reducing their densities locally to first recover the Big Game populations and then to maintain the animals on which they prey is the only answer to recovering declining or disappearing Big Game populations.  Dense or increasing wolf populations invariably mean more depredation and fewer of the prey animals.  Wolf impacts on Big Game are directly proportional to their numbers and the availability of Big Game animals where they cohabit.  When large predators reach certain densities, especially as in the settled landscapes they are now re-invading under government force and protection, anyone maintaining that Big Game animals are not the #1 source of protein for uncontrolled large predators, especially wolves, is simply lying to you.  Further, in settled landscapes, large predators will, when uncontrolled amongst abundant food sources, increase their densities until the total food supply dwindles as it did on Isle Royale island in Lake Superior where as I speak government bureaucrats are releasing wolves that all but became extinct after they caused the moose population (their only food source on the island) to crash.  The difference on the mainland (of North America and Europe et al) is that when the wolves kill nearly all the moose (or elk or caribou) hunting seasons are reduced and then closed down (forever?) as happened with moose in Minnesota.  This eliminates a major component of rural economies and rural lifestyles without any relief because when, for instance, the moose are made rare or exterminated the wolves and cougars and bears shift to deer, cows, elk, sheep, fawns, caribou, bucks, does, remaining moose, kids (human) and other fallback food sources like garbage cans and dogs (when not in heat) to both maintain and increase their numbers. They then maintain and increase their numbers and their ancillary effects on man, the economy and “the environment” proliferate accordingly.

You should beware of anyone concluding that any of this is the result of too little management of wildlife.  In fact, the opposite is true.  Worldwide, wildlife has been bombarded with “more” management with more hidden agendas and government abuse being steered by private and anonymous organizations and wealthy donors, than at any time in human history.

The last hundred years have seen wildlife management on a Power “Escalator” throughout the world. Beginning in the 1960’s, Local communities saw their ability to control  their “ecosystem” for their own benefit no longer protected by State, Provincial or national (in Europe) governments.  Increasingly central governments, government alliances and international authorities began to assume all authority and jurisdiction over all subsidiary jurisdictions and communities below them. State, Provincial, and other secondary (to national) government political authorities submitted to this takeover with a promise of central government funding and a “holistic” approach to a worldwide “ecosystem” in which all species were treated “equally” in a one-world governmental approach.  Not mentioned was the inarguable opposition these emerging superpowers had toward the use and management of renewable natural resources such as forestry, grazing and hunting that they were simultaneously assuming.  For instance, as forcibly-imposed Large Predators populations were being justified as “necessary” and “harmless”; the accumulation of fire-fuel for catastrophic forest fires and the closure of access to public lands to create a “native ecosystem” of “wilderness” was dismissed as  a “natural” “wilderness”-type habitat so imagined by urban voters, rich radical organizations, wealthy individuals, lobbyists and politicians influenced by votes and contributions.

In the 1960’s, in the US and elsewhere, national governments began seizing the authority and jurisdiction over wildlife held by State, Provincial and secondary national political entities.  They did this not only because they and their new laws said they could but, more importantly, they did this to curry favor with an emerging (in Western Nations) faction of radical organizations that wanted to “save” wildlife, forests and grasslands; to stop the “killing” (i.e. hunting and eating) of animals; to do away with guns and gun usage worldwide; to make rural precincts little more than central-government-controlled nature areas with minimal and strictly dictated human occupancy and activity.  The “mother’s milk” for all this was money-making environmental organizations contributing money and votes to agreeable politicians as the public began to be propagandized through the schools and the media. For instance, “studies” popped up everywhere that “proved” grazing should be eliminated, tree-cutting was immoral; livestock should be banned, meat eating “destroyed the environment”, animal ownership was akin to slavery, former concepts of property and freedom must be replaced; and – of interest to us – predators don’t limit other wildlife and animals, and no matter their offense or impacts predators should not be hurt because, like so many social theories extant today, the offending animal is the “real” victim and the human or property or community that suffered is the “real” perpetrator and must either change or be forced to change what he, she or it did (if still alive) to cause the incident.

By 1970, the radical agendas and (now) wealthy and influential organizations had enlisted many “scientists”, wealthy supporters, and an assortment of fellow travelers in the broad “environmental”/animal “rights” movement. Hidden agendas emerged in an explosion of new wildlife laws that were ultimately anti-gun, anti-tradition, and anti-Lower-Level-government movements identifying themselves with the wildlife concepts of “Native” Species and “Native” Ecosystems as morally imperative and the animals = human philosophy began ascending throughout Western civilization.  The combined monetary and political clout with the many hidden agendas outgrew the ability of national governments to speedily fulfill their dreams so they lobbied and even bribed many national representatives to the United Nations to offer Conventions and Treaties (not in the US sense of a Treaty being Ratified by the Senate and signed by the President but in the sense of a sort of “high-end” International Agreement between any signatory nation and anywhere from a few to over a hundred countries, some that no more intended to or were capable of enforcing them to others like the US that jails, fines, demeans and takes rights away for lifetimes to enforce them.  Some national governments like Kenya were bribed to be used as misleading propaganda of how untouched predator and prey populations would self-regulate satisfactorily in settled landscapes without human intervention. 

Thus was born, to the great enthusiasm of UN advocates, the road from the UN as arbiter of international disputes (to avoid wars), to the UN as the up and coming “World Government” so loved by the organizations and agendas calved by the successful wildlife power take-over.  Treaties and Conventions sprouted like poppies after a rain.  Suddenly the UN (and its biggest supporter, the US government) was protecting (i.e. “saving” as in no use) “Endangered Species”, Marine Mammals, High Seas Fisheries, Polar Bears, Birds “in Danger”, Whales, “Nature Protection, the “Human Environment”, and Heritage Areas et al.  Nations, like the US, followed the lead and passed laws setting aside land areas, proposing wildlife “corridors” (to be expanded later), claims to “all waters”, rules to block pipelines and destroy dams, claims to disgorge the National Treasury of billions to manage the fish and non-game resources in states and to employ scientists and bureaucrats to justify their new rules using draconian measures and punishments. 

This period (1970’s & 80’s) was to the environmental enthusiasts, their lawyers and cooperating bureaucrats and scientists like what the wolves must have felt like when released on Isle Royale island in Lake Superior amidst a dense moose herd that they must have thought (which they are incapable of but humor me) would last forever.  Somewhat, also, like the circumstances the first U-Boat commanders encountered in unprotected US coastal waters at the beginning of WWII that caused them to call them “The Happy Time”. All three such periods made their human perpetrators giddy with what they imagined would last forever.  It wasn’t the wolves’ new home, or the new laws protecting animals, or the shipping destruction of the U-Boats: it was unfettered POWER they expected to grow over more and more things.  One of those things was centralized regulatory Power over rural people and rural communities. There was no better social weapon up to that point to subdue rural people than protecting the predators and making wildlife and livestock and dogs merely governmental items allowed only if the government needed anything from rural people, otherwise the “protection of predators”, the existence of any use of any renewable natural resource, and the very fate of rural people and rural economies was to be a political fantasy plaything for urban voters.

All of which has brought us here, today in Cranbrook, British Columbia.  Like thousands of Europeans living with and struggling with wolves; millions of Americans perplexed about the wolf dilemma foisted on them; and Canadians asking, “why must we endure all these Large Predators”,  “what recourse have we?” and “how can we restore robust Big Game populations and Big Game Hunting?”: we are in search of a workable soulution.

The Problem common to all is too many conflicting agendas controlling too many government (UN, Brussels, Ottawa, Washington, Provincial, State, European capitals) powers, while employing manufactured science, half-truths and all too-willing politicians doing their bidding for money and votes.

The common justification for attaining or preserving a “balanced” or “natural” ecosystem is a chimera in this modern world of massive transportation; comprehensive development; and the worldwide spread of plants, animals and dangerous diseases and infections.  “Balance” lies in the eye of the beholder, and “natural” is a human construct be it uncontrolled wolves in Asia due to government neglect and citizen powerlessness or American, Canadian and European government faux “feelings” for predators and use of jail and fines to enforce intolerable conditions on Local communities with little political power in order to please urban supporters.  In fact “Too Much Management” leads to “No Management” because the underlying agenda(s) are not “scientific” but social constructs and impositions, all on different timetables as a result of diverse political powers.

The question then becomes, “How do you get around or manage all these political constructs to achieve a tolerable Local ecosystem in its broadest sense?”  The immediate subject before us is: 1.) How can we reduce Large Predator densities to levels that allow Big Game numbers to recover to levels desired by those living with them; and 2.) How can we maintain levels of prey and predators into the future for the benefit of Local communities recognizing the innate and laudable human concern to maintain both human and wild communities.  At no time in the history of the world was the challenge greater or the ability of modern society to solve it more available.  It is ironic that simultaneously, world governments and an abundance of hidden agendas have never been more determined and powerful to make wildlife merely a pawn in their struggle to dominate and control all persons, everywhere.

It is with this in mind that I have formulated a rationale and solution for your consideration.

Three States

I would like to tell you about three States in the United States; two have no wolves and one is the only one of the Lower 48 States that had a persistent wolf population when, in the 1970’s, the US federal government declared The Lower 48 States as the object of restoring wolves by the federal government that would release and protect them at all costs.  Why they were so designated when they were and still are ubiquitous throughout the Northern Hemisphere, I leave to your imagination but it is a fair subject for another examination.

South Dakota (Cougars)

When I retired to Minnesota in 2008, there was a controversy in South Dakota about an exploding cougar population.  Between wandering cougars from Montana and Wyoming, plus four large Indian Reservations and a major National Park (where hunting and control were problematic at best), plus a high cougar birthrate in an environment without competition and lots of food; combined with a State Wildlife Agency (like nearly every modern such agency) manned by wildlife “savers” and protectors that despise predator control; the cattle ranchers, residents and hunters.  Ranchers “West of The (i.e. Missouri) River” were being opposed at every turn by the wildlife agency opposed to “control” and “reduction” of the expanding cougar population that was creating a growing depredation problem.

The modern bureaucrats objected because cougars were, they said, only “returning Native species” and they were “Keystone” species that were “necessary” for a “balanced” ecosystem.  In short the ranchers were told to go away and leave it to the “professionals”.

I was invited to speak about this at a Conference sponsored by the ranchers in Rapid City. I told them it wasn’t a biology problem; it was a political problem.  Either they must control their bureaucrats and government or somebody else would and at that point the state bureaucrats were agents of radical agendas disguised as “science” and the good of the current precious species du jour.

The ranchers eventually exercised raw power in the South Dakota legislature and with the Governor who directed a reluctant agency to issue X number of permits annually to take cougars “West of the River”.  A couple of years went by and when it was clear that they were not reducing the cougar population to THE LEVELS AND IMPACTS DEEMED TOLERABLE TO THE “LOCAL” (I.E. WEST OF THE RIVER) COMMUNITIES, they requested an increase in permits and were rebuffed again so they went back to the legislature and both increased the number of permits available and established a system wherein ranchers can request so many permits for their ranch and then cat hunters pay the state for the permit and get it from the ranch they hunt.  The increase was necessary because overcoming the refuge-like-status on Indian Reservations and two Large National Parks, that were reservoirs and breeding locations for the cats, called for innovations, increased take authority and raw political power.

*Today the cougars and the ranchers are maintaining themselves harmoniously, so far as I know.

Minnesota (Wolves)

I am no fan of modern Minnesota wildlife management.  About 6 or 7 years ago on a farm in SW Minnesota in winter when there is nothing but a few farmsteads and a town or two for miles and miles in an endless ocean of fall-plowed (i.e. barren) soil; one of those (young male) South Dakota cougars ran into a culvert on the road into a Minnesota farmer’s home.  He saw it and in addition to his several children, he had some horses and probably the last time anyone had seen a cougar in that part of Minnesota was when William Howard Taft (1909 -1913) was in the White House.  So, not taking any chances with his horses or his kids he shot the cougar and called the State wildlife agency.

He was treated like John Dillinger.  The urban majority screamed and the papers dutifully called for the maximum penalty.  Professors warbled for weeks about the importance of “Native Species” and urban walkers in the Twin Cities began relating their joy at sightings of cougars in urban River Bottoms crisscrossed with asphalt walkways.  It was a disgraceful circus and somehow the farmer got off with a stiff fine, suspended jail time and a warning that if he ever violated these new laws protecting everything again he would be locked up and the key thrown away.

Today, Minnesota’s once-excellent walleye fishing is declining mainly due to uncontrolled Indian netting in all of the top walleye lakes.  The walleyes are sold to dealers in a quasi-legal “traditional” native take/commercial manner after a court refused to prosecute involved natives and then was forced to drop their case against non-native co-perpetrators.

When a young Minnesota camper was sleeping just outside his tent in a federal campground one summer night a wolf grabbed him by the head and then was scared off.  Our erstwhile state wildlife bureaucrats claimed to have then killed that particular wolf and that an autopsy revealed that – are you ready for this – the wolf only attacked him because it had a “deformed brain”.  No other controls or precautions were taken.  Similar nonsense was used when two elderly ladies disappeared in an Idaho National Park and their bodies found far apart and reportedly chewed up by wolves.  On the Upper Peninsula of Michigan an elderly Wisconsin lady disappeared about 5 years ago behind her cabin one night and was found the next morning in pieces: no investigation was conducted, the bodies removed, autopsies were made remotely, results were sealed, and no one involved ever offered any explanation.  Quicker than you can say “Jack Robin”, everyone forgot.

About 4 years ago when a radio-collared wolf was shot on a Minnesota Indian Reservation, the federal and state officers descended to “recover the collar” and find the “killer”.  It turned out the killer was an Indian teenager, HHMMM!  The young man was not prosecuted.  If you or I had “vaccinated” that wolf we would have lost a lot of money and probably be hoping right now to see our family on Visiting Day next month.

That is Minnesota today; but it is revealing to wonder why Minnesota was the only one of The Lower 48 States to have an established resident wolf population when the federal government declared wolves “Endangered” in The Lower 48 States almost 50 years ago.  It is a story worth knowing when an urban relative or some young person home from college begins hyperventilating about how any wolf controls or any discussion of tolerable wolf population levels are as unacceptable as killing wolves “for sport” or with traps or from airplanes, etc. etc.

When Minnesota was first seen by European settlers bent on farming, logging, exploring and mining; wolves occurred statewide but sparsely in the Southern hills with wooded wetlands and stream edges or on the prairies in the western edges of the State.  The majority of wolves were in the Northern 1/3 of the state where thick woods, lakes and abundant Big Game animals supported a robust wolf population.  This area was and remains contiguous with the extensive woodlands bogs, muskeg and lakes of even more sparsely settled Eastern Ontario.  In fact they remain one big wolf habitat up to the waters of Hudson Bay.

By the early 1900’s Big Game (moose, caribou and deer) were getting harder to find in Minnesota.  One must assume that wolves (that were pretty much shot on sight or for their fur in those days of no regulation) were also not finding as much unprotected food or Big Game anymore and were similarly in decline.  State Game Laws were enacted through the early years of the 20th century to protect animals that were hunted or trapped in order to ensure their survival in perpetuity. Minnesota wolves were gradually protected and for many decades there was a season that was longer than Big Game Seasons but always overlapped Big Game hunting so that Big Game hunters killed wolves when they saw them in that thick Northern forest.  Additionally, wolves were known to cause problems like livestock depredation, reduce moose and other Big Game, and hang around homes and towns in the winter where human safety and dog safety were problems. Thus killing a wolf in a pasture or attacking your dog outside the “season” was either ignored or legitimized by broadly-written regulations and understanding Local law enforcement officers.  Up until the 1970’s and going back thousands of years, rural people understood that the more wolves in any neighborhood, meant more killed and eaten (by wolves) game animals, cows, calves, sheep, and lambs.  This, in turn meant less meat available for human consumption.  So the Minnesota wolf take seemed to be OK locally since they could kill dangerous or offending animals annually and when hunting.  What local communities in wolf country wanted and what “their” State provided in those days was a tolerable wolf presence and available moose hunting (that was closed recently due to too few moose coincidental with total wolf protection). Today the State ignores the local communities needs, caters to the federal government who caters to and supports UN meddling in wildlife, guns and other things while promising, dishonestly, what was already here in Minnesota.  The result roday is too many wolves, no more moose hunting, dead dogs, large cattle and sheep depredations, increased rural stress and rural economic stagnation.

Between Ontario wolves historically expanding into Minnesota and thick, wet forests that made Minnesota wolves less vulnerable to mounted hunters and technology like scopes, more accurate ammunition, and binoculars that enabled residents of other Lower 48 wolf states to exterminate wolves over the past century; wolves and men co-existed.  For over half a century a hit-or-miss control of Minnesota wolf harvests and depredation minimization kept wolves at levels tolerable to Local people and maintained a modest wolf population, something all the government programs claim to want but never seem to define oraccomplish.  It is a paradox of modern society that all these “save” this and that critter, when successful, transform the object of government might (like resident Canada geese and “Free-Roaming” buffalo) from “icons” into dangerous and infectious pests wherever they live.  Today wolves are very numerous pests that have eliminated moose hunting, kill high numbers of livestock, hybridize dogs and are hybridized by dogs, and make hunting with a dog (grouse, ducks) a dangerous affair for dogs and hunter.

Yet, the lesson from the first 2/3 of the last century wherein Local and loosely controlled harvests maintained a wolf population tolerable to Locals and a source of pride and awe to urban dwellers; is forgotten, ignored and dismissed as “cruel” and not “scientific”.

* In truth it (pre-ESA wolf management in Minnesota) was good for the Local communities, good for Big Game and Big Game hunting, good for livestock, and good for the rural Minnesota economy.

Virginia (Deer)

I was a Virginian for over 30 years of my long life.  When I first went deer hunting there I was stunned and perplexed by the apparent blizzard of deer hunting regulations.  The last thing I wanted as a wildlife worker was to get caught shooting or transporting an illegal deer.

I have copies of the current regulations here for anyone wanting to see them after the talk.  The length of seasons, the numbers and kinds of deer allowed, the guns allowed or prohibited, the use of dogs, the ammunition allowed were apparently set by the Counties and enforced by the State.  Once I caught on, I was amazed at how efficiently for both hunters and deer, the system worked.

Western Virginia (mostly wooded hills, valleys and less dense deer populations had more similar seasons, harvest periods, rifle areas, bag limits, and no deer hunting with dogs.  N to S Central Virginia had more differences between Counties in guns (rifles, black powder, balls, shot, slugs; seasons, bag limits on certain days, and make-up of the bag (young bucks, does, and on certain days) and hunting with dogs was more common..  Eastern Virginia with its thick forests, wetlands and farms had the most variety and changed the most regarding dogs, guns, ammunition, season lengths, and bag limits. Regulations could be adjusted annually as  more homes were built or crop damage increased or the majority of hunters in the County wanted to shift from all the venison they could get to bigger bucks or shorter seasons or only certain days of the week. NOTE to readers – it worked.  Deer numbers persisted, farm damage was minimized, Local deer herds were managed for big bucks or lots of deer or were reduced or grown in ac cord with the wishes of the Local Counties (i.e. communities).  Counties where wealthy government retirees were building retirement homes shifted to buckshot or eliminated dog packs for hunting. Other Counties that were growing more soybeans were pressured (by residents) to reduce the deer herd.  

One morning at O400 I stopped at a Burger King on the Eastern Shore of Virginia with two friends for breakfast.  We were hunting snow geese and ducks in picked cornfields and had to set out several hundred decoys by a half hour before sunrise. Three pickups with North Carolina plates pulled in with six guys in camouflage and dog kennels in the back of their trucks.  When I asked them what they were doing, they smiled and said a Local farmer was paying them to run their dogs in his woodlands and reduce the number of deer there to reduce the damage to his crops from too many deer that even the Local hunters were unable to reduce.  The farmer had gotten a handful of permits for them to cover just about any deer they could kill.  This was truly wildlife management by Local residents for the good of both wildlife and people. Had this option not been available, how soon would it be before Local residents would have taken action to kill all the deer; or have stopped agriculture and agriculture business had disappeared?  How soon before another section of the US would have been a dark shadow on a nighttime satellite photo like Venezuela or North Korea?

*The last I heard the rural folks of Virginia and their deer were doing just fine!

The Solution

If these three examples tell us anything; it is that wildlife management has become a human political constructregulating wildlife primarily on behalf of political and conflicting agendas.  This is done by governments that “manage” wildlife 1) on behalf of Local communities (i.e. Virginia & deer); 2) in response to political pressure (i.e. South Dakota and Cougars); or 3) whichever way the political winds are blowing (i.e. Minnesota’ successful historic approach to wolves before the federal seizure of States Rights over wolves and then its Quisling-like cooperation with federal overseers excusing the wolf debacle that has evolved from that fateful moment.  Conclusion; he that controls the government authority over wildlife, controls rural people.

I suggest an approach that leads to returning control of certain resident wildlife (not migratory birds covered by Treaties or fish or marine mammals covered by international agreements et al) to Local governments under the umbrella of Provincial, State or National governments. “Control” and management, meaning the setting of hunting and trapping seasons; the setting of annual bag or season limits; the methods of taking wildlife; and the conditions under which depredations and human safety are to be avoided and how handled when they occur.  For instance, reducing the numbers and densities of certain Large Predators for a certain period to encourage population increases in prey species like ungulates that provide meat and sport plus sightings for tourist appeal; and then maintaining sustainable populations of both for the foreseeable future by providing regulations that maintain a reasonable balance between predators and prey AS DESIRED AND DETERMINED BY LOCAL RESIDENTS.

This means that States, Provinces and National governments make available the authority over harvest and control of certain wildlife to Local jurisdictions that choose to exercise it.  This would be the Counties (in the US and certain Canadian Provinces) and Districts, Counties, or Regional governments in parts of Canada and the National Sub-units like “States” within the Nations of the European Union. The degree to which First People or Native Americans and their land in North America might be included or otherwise treated in such an approach would vary by area and by Treaty provisions.  Other anomalies such as “Endangered” Declarations and UN “Mandates” would involve Local governments, hopefully, as full partners in deliberations with the State, Provincial and National governments as Local governments request to be heard.  In other words, State, Provincial and National governments in Europe would allow and implement the will of Local communities to live with, enjoy and utilize wildlife in harmony with all members and activities of those communities.  There is no better guarantor of the value and sustainability of wildlife than that those living with it value and enjoy it.  Wildlife is neither a religious requirement nor a toy to be tinkered with from afar by people and entities that neither respect nor show concern for the rural people their mandates affect.

When State, Provincial, Federal or International experts like bureaucrats, “scientists” and environmental ideologues protest that the Local people, i.e. you that are “uneducated” in the subtle nuances of “ecosystems” remember the words of one of my favorite philosophers G. K. Chesterton.  He once wrote in the New Witness, “Without education, we are in grave danger of taking the educated seriously.”  Taking too much nonsense seriously has helped get us into this mess we are in today.

How It Would Work

In the US, Counties are the Local governments that oversee all of the land and represents the Local communities within the State. There are only a few exceptions like a handful of federal enclaves such as defense installations and one or two National Parks that were set aside before statehood and therefore are outside State and County government wildlife authority.  All the rest of the land area’s resident wildlife that are hunted, trapped or that cause certain kinds of depredations and trouble for humans comes under State wildlife management authority.  County or District management of certain wildlife programs in their County, like deer in Virginia works like certain necessary weed control under County authority, works.  County or Local governments can and should notify landowners when weeds must be controlled and if they refuse to act, the County simply hires a contractor to control the weeds and then bills the landowner and if they do not pay the County, a lien is placed on the property and the owner goes into court to pay the bill, plus court costs and a fine.  Similarly Counties could direct predator control on private properties where owners intend to make predator “refuges” while respecting Native Treaty Land and central government enclaves like South Dakota ranchers and hunters did.  Local insights and the protection of their desires by the State or Provincial governments can and has preserved Predators (like the wolves of Minnesota pre-Endangered Species Act) and Prey (like Minnesota moose hunting, until protected and more numerous wolves decimated the moose herd while the State and federal government wildlife agencies looked away, “scientists” and radicals told Mother Goose stories about what was happening, and the anti-hunting crowd cheered).

Rural people of any State could band together politically and enlist suburban and urban support where possible to pass State legislation that regarding all resident and non-resident hunting and trapping seasons, limits, annual limits, methods of take, justified circumstances for preventing depredations, protecting property or avoiding human danger within the Local jurisdiction shall be established by the lead elected official in each County wishing to exercise that option.  This is done by having the top elected official submit to the Wildlife Agency Director, the new regulations by a certain date like 3 months before state regulations are published and distributed in writing for the upcoming year.  If the proposed wildlife management regime is not received by the State Wildlife Director by say, March 1, it shall be established that the State agency will set and promulgate the wildlife management regime for that County for the upcoming year. The State government shall enforce and promulgate the wildlife regime of each County equally.

Bargaining this approach into reality might only call for Counties to have such power over say; wolves, cougars, coyotes, moose, elk, caribou and deer.  Leaving the birds like grouse, the management-sensitive trophy animals like mountain sheep, and the rabbits to State authority.

It might involve explaining to urban cousins how now they can finally establish their own wildlife ecosystem where bears, wolves and cougars can live with and “control” the moose, elk and deer in their urban or suburban areas as one big ecosystem.

A Referendum may be a more appropriate path to establishing such a system.  Simply demonstrating how an overwhelming majority of committed rural voting precincts vote for it may itself be worth trying and as on official display of the confidence and satisfaction among rural people with the status quo.  Lobbying suburban, urban and certain distinct groups could make a victory surprisingly likely.

State or Provincial wildlife agencies would remain at current levels but would recognize their new responsibility and role to nurture, protect and cooperate with their new partners (rural jurisdictions) within their purview by enforcing, attaining and protecting the wildlife presence and mix desired by the Local communities.

Local governments should not see an increased workload or the need for money.  If the way things are going is satisfactory to any rural County (or other appropriate Sun-Unit) simply let the State or Province continue to do as they are doing.  Whether you call it a “delegation” of authority or a “transfer” of certain powers or some other term appropriate to your situation, the result should be the same. If Local constituents are clamoring for change as to predators or prey presence, or the level of livestock and dog losses to predators, or there has been an attack or fear of an attack in the community and therefore wishes to reduce certain population levels of certain species:

1.    Let the concerned citizens meet and recommend what they want the wildlife regulations to look like.

2.    Listen to and encourage innovation (thinking “outside the box” about remedies) that might even spur business, the economy of the County, or even concoct methods of management heretofore untried or unknown.

3.    If there are concerns in your County, you will not have any trouble finding volunteers eager to write up suggestions, draft regulations and submissions or serve as contacts with State or Provincial wildlife employees.

4.    It is important that the lead County official is an Elected official, because if he won’t stand up when needed, you can replace him at the next election, as opposed some appointed and therefore unelected bureaucrat answerable to others but not some wildlife “expert” that believes he knows what’s best for the voters in the subject Local jurisdiction,

5.    If Districts (or Counties) are small, consider an informal arrangement with or amongst them where concerned rural residents agree on a common regulatory approach to shared issues that is simply copied and signed and submitted by the elected official in each unit of the compact.

6.    Considering the “buggered up” current state of wildlife “management”, recognizing things to be avoided and things that will likely work have been amply demonstrated.  Bold strokes like reducing predator densities for a period of years to encourage an ungulate increase and then maintaining the desired balance between the two in accord with Local wishes is possible.  The days of far-off “experts” and urban organizations telling you what you cannot do or what you must do would be minimized.  Only you know what wildlife costs and benefits fit your communities.

Wildlife management for desired human ends is not rocket science, especially after watching and comparing the swirl of agendas and catastrophes of the past century.  Unless you can regain authority over these matters you will continue to see rural precincts continue to decline in many ways as far-off politicians, bureaucrats, faux “scientists” and wealthy radical organizations impose all manner of agendas and requirements on you from afar through their hold on the oversight and management of the wild animals in YOUR midst.

Substitute “Province” for “State” (in Canada); and “National Government” for “State” in Europe.  Where Counties do not exist; substitute “District” or “Regional” or newly contrived units where appropriate or needed.  Where neither appropriate County, District, or Regional elected entities exist; consider establishing several to a dozen wildlife and habitat sections of the total area and having an appropriate elected Local official in one fulfill a collateral duty as the person named in the authorizing or establishing legislation devolving all or certain wildlife management to the lowest level where the decisions and the impacts serve the desires and need of those directly affected.

It should be clear to everyone by now that wildlife management and sustainable use is basically people management.  If rural people desire to take back control of the wildlife they live with, they must first retrieve the authority over setting the parameters governing the interface between the rural people and wildlife.  What I am suggesting is the only way I can see a possibility of doing that.

Thank you for listening and giving me the opportunity to make a suggestion that took me over twenty years to understand.  I am available for any questions either here or online.  I invite you to see the regulations for Virginia deer management I have with me and I have left a copy of this talk for copies and I have business cards with my email address for those that might like to receive a copy of this talk.

Jim Beers

Given @ the Cranbrook, British Columbia Big Game Symposium

13 April 2019

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

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

Jim Beers is available to speak or for consulting.

You can receive future articles by sending a request with your e-mail address to:   jimbeers7@comcast.net

If you no longer wish to receive these articles notify:  jimbeers7@comcast.net

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Wake Up Colorado Wake Up! The Wolf Be Coming If’n Ya All Don’t Wake Up!

Colorado’s population is 5.76 million.
Approximately 575,000{of which 86,000 are non residents} hunters hunt large and small game in Colorado..
Colorado in 2017 totaled 33,800 ranches and farms..
The Population of Denver, roughly 700,000
So if the state does a pole or vote on wolf introduction….
Democrats control the three vital centers of state political power—the office of the governor, the state House, and the state Senate, a political trifecta…
Oh you better wake up there in Colorado..
Wolves be coming to Colorado..
But go ahead and keep pissing in the wind…

Idaho has been a political trifecta since Idaho got slammed with wolves..

Wake up Colorado Wake Up….

Excuse me while I go giggle at the hysteria of the willfully ignorant playing their parts in a politically controlled charade…

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Too Many Bears, Too Little Effort, Too Much Fear

Rome may be burning to the ground and those charged with the authority to stop it dither and doddle. Maine is swimming in bears and even though the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) expresses their “concerns” over a bear population that needs to be reduced, one effort that would have given the commission of the MDIFW authority to make adjustments to bear hunting, trapping seasons, and bag limits, was set aside until next year’s legislative session. I wonder if these clowns on the left and clowns on the right will feel any guilt when someone gets killed by a hungry bear?

Not likely, you might say. And last evening I glimpsed a video someone took while riding up the chair lift at Sunday River Ski Resort in Newry, Maine. On the ski trail that ran under their lift, a mother bear and her two cubs meandered about the packed trail, I suppose fresh out of hibernation and looking for a quick meal. Anyone interested in testing that hypothesis? I didn’t think so.

Perhaps it’s time for education courses on how to “Look Big” in case you are attacked by a hungry bear. And now we must add to that instruction now to “Look Big” while schussing down the ski trails. What next?

According to George Smith, Maine outdoor writer, discussion on the proposed bill that would have given the commissioner authority to manipulate seasons and bag limits, was lengthy but ended in tabling any decisions until next year.

MDIFW’s new commissioner said, “…the agency is concerned about the growing population of bears, and their goal would be to stabilize that population.” We can only assume that means it’s time to do something besides talk about it…or maybe not. If there is “concern” does that mean the bear population hasn’t risen to levels that threaten public safety…like bears running around the middle of a ski resort?

And here’s the chicken, environmentalist answer to the problem when Maine Rep. John Martin said, “…if the committee gave the department this authority, including the possibility that bear trapping would be expanded, it would provoke another ballot measure to ban bear trapping.”

With comments such as this one, I have to ask myself a few questions and I hope you do too. I want to know if members of the Committee on Inland Fisheries and Wildlife are there to do the bidding for the environmentalists and their cohort animal rights activists? I also want to know if there is more value put on the threatening of lawsuits than on the welfare of a human life? There is no intelligent thought that remains anymore.

By now any politician, voter, or commissioner of the MDIFW should know and understand that because they exist is reason enough for radical animal rights groups and environmentalists to bring a lawsuit in order to force the rest of us to cave in and follow their perverse lifestyle. Here we see members of the Committee giving them what they want and it’s cheaper than a lawsuit or another referendum vote. It is for reasons of comments such as this one that the MDIFW has resorted to making wildlife management decisions based on social demands…which include the threat of lawsuits.

In the meantime, what are we to tell the families of those who get injured or killed from marauding bears, driven by hunger and emboldened by loss of fear of humans? Sorry, but we were afraid of a lawsuit from environmentalists. It’s not my fault.

Now the Maine Legislature must concern themselves with lawsuits from families of injured and dead members due to malpractice and negligence. I suppose that’s better than pissing off an environmentalist who wants to stop the world from doing most things the rest of us enjoy doing. It’s no wonder interest in hunting, fishing, and trapping is dwindling away to nothing.

Maybe it’s time that these mostly useless politicians made decisions based on science (not scientism), or social demands and threats of lawsuits, and did what was RIGHT for a change. And while they are at it, how about making those RIGHT decisions based upon something other than the demands of guides and outfitters.

There is little hope.

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Night, Night Hunters

I have just read an article on one of my favorite outdoor sites, Sporting Classics Daily.  The article was titled, “Conservation Funding and Firearms” by Craig Springer, External Affairs, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service – Southwest Region.

I first read this article when I was in high school (over 60 years ago) when I was memorizing articles by Robert Ruark, and every item and its cost in the Herter’s Catalog.  Today, it has been perverted into propaganda meant to seduce any awareness in hunters, state wildlife agencies and hunter’s organizations about what is happening to hunting and this once-proud program, the Pittman-Robertson Excise Tax on Arms and Ammunition.  Whether you think this article to be a simple oversight, ignorance, a bid for a bonus or a bona fide deception: I leave to you.

While the article was true those many years ago and properly whetted a young man’s imagination and energy toward hunting, shooting and possibly a job one day: today the article is a stale clip of a bygone era and a glimpse of how it is being used by that herd called “The Swamp” with their Hidden Agendas running amok.  It details all the money collected and disbursed to State wildlife programs (the only beneficiaries, supposedly, of the funds) by law.  It chirps about putting “gas in a biologist’s truck” and “bobwhite quail traps in Oklahoma” giving the impression that the increased funding does as much or more than it did for Dad or Grandpa – nothing could be farther from the truth.  The funding source itself, the use of the funds and the goals of the modern wildlife bureaucrats, both state and federal, being paid by the Excise Tax dollars are such today that a good case could be made that hunters and Rural America would be better off without the program entirely.  Other than serving as one more good reason (of many) why the 2ndAmendment must be protected and preserved; the wildlife benefits to hunters and Rural America are, to quote Ross Perot describing the loss of jobs to NAFTA, “a giant sucking sound” off in the distance.

Let me describe some of the ways this once great program has been savaged and distorted:

1.    In the early 1990’s, Congress refused a Request from US Fish and Wildlife Service to authorize and fund the capture of Canadian wolves to release in the Rocky Mountains.  When Congress refused, USFWS clandestinely “took” (stole is a better word) $45 to 60 Million from the funds and released wolves into Yellowstone National Park (from which they spread in every direction).  Leftover funds were used to open a USFWS Office in California that Congress had also refused to fund; and to give bonuses to USFWS managers involved in the illicit funding uses.  When a GAO Audit revealed the misuse of the funds to a US House of Representatives Committee, after a flurry of activity ala Lois Lerner et al, the responsible USFWS managers went on to be Directors and high-paid Executives of environmental lobby groups.  The state wildlife agency Directors that along with you, me and the state wildlife programs never asked for the money to be replaced.  I suggest that not only was this a visible flame 20 years ago of the advanced degree of corruption corroding the state/federal/radical groups “Complex” to use Ike’s term: it was a clear signal to others like ATF in Fast and Furious, Lois Lerner in IRS, and the FBI/Federal Intelligence network in the past three years to, “do what you want, nobody gets in trouble anymore”.

2.    The program has been diverted into a quasi-preservation effort of government force on behalf of animal communities that while not in any trouble should get as much attention as game animals according to New Age wildlife “professionals”.  Think of it as a sort of socialism for critters wherein Excise tax (and license revenue) is forcibly taken from the management of those animals that “have” and given to those animals that “have not”, somewhat like a progressive tax scheme that will ostensibly make everyone “equal”.  To say that game animals and hunting have not suffered greatly in this “Robin Hood-like redirection of the Excise taxes generated by Arms and Ammunition Sales” is simply an ideological rejection of truth and facts. This was made possible by some federal/state wordsmithing of regulations almost 30 years ago that no one, not even the NRA saw fit to oppose.  Words like “game” were simply transformed to “wildlife” which in a legal sense covers a multitude of sins.  When I read Mr. Springer’s piece I looked to see how he would handle or avoid this fact.  At the end of his long list (first written 60 years ago) about mule deer, bobwhite, et al; the last phrase was, and “habitats restored benefiting multitudes of organisms”.  Yo, anyone awake out there?

3.    The Excise Tax funding and the License Revenue have been increasingly diverted in almost half the states and growing in recent years into Lawsuits, depredation Complaints, propagandizing incidences, denying the reason moose and elk (and their hunting) are disappearing, teaching kids prevarications about predators and generally concocting nonsense for public consumption like, “the wolf that attacked the young man had a ‘deformed brain’” and “the moose season is closed forever because of climate change” (as though moose failed to adapt to eating coconuts and mangoes) because of forcibly imposed federal wolves laughingly called “Endangered” or “Threatened”.  This all costs millions of Excise Tax and License Revenue dollars that are purposely under-reported by unaudited state and federal agencies.  My estimate of the under-reporting (as a former National Wildlife Refuge Operations Chief, Program Coordinator, Program Analysts and wildlife biologist) is that the state and federal agencies only report 25-30% of the costs and thereby minimize any signs of hunters and Rural Americans waking up to what is going on like Rip Van Winkle.

4.    The current scam to further drain Excise Tax funding and dwindling hunting License Revenue is for the federal government to “Return Wolf Management” to the States.  This is a comedy skit in more ways than one.  Forcing wolves back into states where they were purposely and at great expense exterminated over a century ago and calling it “Returning Management” is reminiscent of the man that killed his mother and father and then threw himself on the mercy of the court as an orphan.  In other words it takes a certain amount of chutzpah.  States will now be expected to “Maintain Wolves”; answer depredation calls; pay (?) compensation; explain why game is disappearing without using the words “predator” or “wolf”; tell dog owners to keep their dogs in or on a leash or expect a wolf to kill or (in certain cases) to mate with them; fight lawsuits; and pay for pre-determined research to explain why neither they nor the wolves are responsible for the ensuing chaos and safety concerns of Rural Americans from hunters to hikers, campers, birdwatchers, kids at school bus stops and older ladies walking to rural mailboxes or outbuildings.  This means MORE Excise Tax Revenue and MORE of the dwindling (for reasons of human safety and disappearing game) Hunting License Revenue diverted not only away from game but to expand an agenda meant to do away with game, guns, hunting, ranching and a vibrant Rural America.

5.    How many of these USFWS do-gooders are explaining that more gun controls and ammunition quotas will seriously defund state wildlife programs?  Where are the state wildlife agencies and their political overlords spreading the same truths?  Where have you seen any explanation of what all this diversion of funds is doing?  Or what wolf management or non-game handouts are taking from hunting and game?  What is the alternative after most game hunting Revenue is gone?  When gun and ammunition purchase, importation and use is all but obliterated.  Will we just close down the state agencies and simply have a federal wildlife authority funded from General revenue?  For what purpose?  Will states just start paying for the “biologist” and His/Her “truck and gas”?  Why would anyone spend anything on deer or ducks or grouse? Why would anyone spend money on frogs or snakes?  Where would any money come from year after year after year?  When the wolf kills the dog or the grizzly bear kills the camper who does what in an unarmed Rural America?  How?  Who is responsible?  Who has the answer?

This could be longer but my fingers are getting tired.  I just opened my window onto a fine spring day to hear the reporters working on the Excise Tax/Hunting License Revenue issue; the future of state and federal wildlife programs; and the role of predators in our brave new world. I listened for the Hunting, Dog and Livestock organizations fighting gun and ammunition controls, wolves and federal grizzlies.  I cupped my hands over my ears to hear the bureaucrats speaking out for the 2nd Amendment and what needs to be done about dwindling game animal populations.  I leaned out to hear the state and federal politicians fighting for hunters, ranchers, dog owners and Rural America (what’s that, they sound like their cheering for the environmental extremists and animal rights radicals?)  I tried to hear the honest scientists advocating sensible predator management, game animal use and management, and the establishment of compatible wildlife communities that enhance human rural communities rather than discouraging and diminishing them.

But, all I heard were crickets and besides, I am tired of reading 60 year-old articles about how good things are going out there so I might as well take a nap too.

Jim Beers

26 March 2019

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

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

Jim Beers is available to speak or for consulting.

You can receive future articles by sending a request with your e-mail address to:   jimbeers7@comcast.net

If you no longer wish to receive these articles notify:  jimbeers7@comcast.net

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Prescribing an Opioid for a Fatal National Law

By James Beers:

My Inbox overflows with every variety of the following notice from those Congressmen and Senators that have been hiding under their desks (or having dinners with their favorite lobbyist) for the past several decades.  One even seemed to be an invitation.

RSVP –

Dear Sir:

Thank you for your Western Caucus Applauds Recovery of the Gray Wolf and Proposed Rule to Delist the Species notice.

If this were a movie, it would be appropriate at this point for the orchestra to burst forth with the 1812 Overture conclusion complete with the horns, drums, cymbals and cannons celebrating Napoleon’s defeat in Russia.

Substitute, in place of “Western Caucus” above, your favorite “conservation” organization; or your natural resource-dependent business lobbyist; or the names of your neighbors or relatives that have been harmed by wolves (dogs killed, cattle/sheep killed, hunting ruined, etc.); or “your” state wildlife agency that has been “helpless” before federal bureaucrats; or all those folks that think this is making “America Great Again” – but do not substitute my name.

Every one of the similar “news releases” are stuffed with every Tom, Dick and Harriet that was (and remains) AWOL in the tragedy of the federal government’s forcible imposition and ruthless protection of wolves (and grizzly bears for that matter) in the settled landscapes of The Lower 48 States.  These enthusiasts go on and on and on about how, “I look forward to the implementation of this rule so that the states can properly manage their own gray wolf population and alleviate the impacts this species has on our local farmers, their livestock, numerous family pets, and big game herds” and about how they and their colleagues tried and tried but their “proposals were challenged with frivolous lawsuits from extremist organizations who don’t rely on science or facts and seek to fundraise by keeping species on the Endangered Species Act in perpetuity”.  Like the bachelor relative that spent the War in Fort Dix, their tales of battles fought are but sad imaginings. If they were actually aware of and concerned about “the impacts this species (i.e. wolves) has on our local farmers, their livestock, numerous family pets, and big game herds” why did they not do anything about it for years?

The wolf is no more “delisted”, “recovered” or its “management returned to the state” than Eastern European countries were “liberated” after WWII when Russia renamed them “Democratic People’s Republic of (fill-in-the-blank).  I say this is because:

1.    The Endangered Species Act with all its unconstitutional bureaucratic powers remains intact.  This means that when the current occupant of the White House leaves, the reassertion of the “need” to declare the (fill-in-the-blank) wolves of SE Colorado or the “remnant” blue/gray wolves of the Distinct Population Segment Pack in Northern Kentucky East of Hwy 65 will once more be on the table.  The new areas filling with wolves will “need” federal protection to guarantee “diversity” and “Alpha males”. The areas first forced to accept wolves and where states are now or soon will be “managing” “their” wolves will, according to some federal “expert”, be “overharvesting”, or failing to prevent hybridization with coyotes and dogs, or anyone of dozens of concocted and imaginary reasons be in “need” of federal authority.

2.    Wolves (and grizzly bears) are the federal and radical’s weapons of choice to disable Rural American economies and communities in order to control and vacate them.  If the last 40 years have taught Rural Americans anything; it is that politicians have profited mightily from passing laws that enable radical environmental organizations to utilize self-serving bureaucrats in order to destroy ranching, hunting, trapping, animal ownership and use, dams, forest management, range management, rural economies and rural “domestic Tranquility”.  This while the politicians are AWOL and blameless once again as they struggle to no avail to enact “proposals challenged with frivolous lawsuits from extremist organizations who don’t rely on science or facts and seek to fundraise by keeping species on the Endangered Species Act in perpetuity”.  Poor babies!

3.    If the current President is unable to replace and reduce the army of bureaucrat ideologues (the odds of that sadly being longer than Old Nellie winning the Kentucky Derby), the bureaucrats that established these unethical government activities and wrote the regulations underpinning them, plus the environmental/animal rights/anti-American extremist organizations they work for intermittently, remain ready to make the wolf and associated issues like Wilderness and grizzly bears once more front and center.

4.    In the meantime, state Treasuries and State Wildlife Agencies will pick up all the costs of maintaining what the federal government created and imposed and the future costs of all the places wolves spread to from livestock and dog compensation to resolution of human safety and wildlife disease problems.  Increased lawsuits by radicals based on spurious precedents of the past 30 years will be coupled with abundant “research papers” pointing out “new data” about wolves and their travails from unproven and undisputable claims about numbers, reproduction and presence to submergence in domestic dog and coyote DNA.  Add in the lawsuits about “inhumane” violations of wolf management (snares, dogs, poisons, lengthy seasons, etc.) and the amount of authority and money leftover in any state to “manage” other wildlife will be severely depleted.

Consider the sordid record of the ESA to date:

–       Wolves were “listed” despite numbers in the millions worldwide.

–       Wolves have thousands of years of written and reported history of killing humans, devastating rural peoples’ families, economies and their communities. Like so many disagreeable historical facts of late, these facts are denied and ignored.

–       Wolves were exterminated at great time and expense throughout the settled landscapes of Europe and the Lower 48 States in the past 200 years when time, manpower and technology made it possible.  This is treated today as a genocide of greater concern to urban society than abortion or “mercy” killing.

–       When US Fish & Wildlife Service requested money and authority to re-introduce wolves into the West in the late 1980’s, Congress refused to grant either. Despite Congressional refusal, in the mid 1990’s, USFWS secretly took $45 to 60 Million out of state wildlife agency funding from Excise Taxes and trapped wolves somewhere in Canada, imported them clandestinely, and released them in Yellowstone Park – a federal enclave with “Exclusive Jurisdiction” meaning a place where NO State Jurisdiction or Authority exists.  Once released, the wolves spread to surrounding states and then to the states that surrounded them and as they continue to do. 

–       When, four years later Congress was made aware of the theft of the State Funds by Government Accounting Office Auditors to conduct an unauthorized act, no one was even admonished much less punished and those mainly responsible were promoted and went on to very high-paying jobs with the extremist organizations they enabled as bureaucrats.

–       No Governors were ever asked if they would allow, much less wanted federal wolves, nor told who would pay for the wolves’ maintenance and damage.  Therefore no Local communities or Counties had any say in their role of hosting any and all wolves.

–       State wildlife agencies’ corruption and collusion in the entire affair from start to finish was exposed since they never even requested that Congress replace the stolen state wildlife program funds.

–       Unbeknownst to those passing Acts like the ESA and Wilderness Act, the concept of “Native Species” and “Native Ecosystem” have become recurring words in the federal regulatory lexicon.  That is a smokescreen for all manner of mischief and it will be all over bureaucrat and court demands of “State” wolf management.  Why do wolves or grizzly bears or bison “belong somewhere they were centuries ago?  Think about that.  Do bison “belong” once again in the fall-plowed fields of western Minnesota?  Do grizzly bears “belong” in Spokane suburbs?  Do wolves “belong” in the settled landscapes of The Lower 48 States, or on Isle Royale National Park for that matter?  What is a “Wilderness” or a Marine “Sanctuary” other than an expanding acreage of unused and unmanaged land that is not even a model of what it can increase dramatically like fires or a control-site for applied research to resolve management and use of similar natural resources?  That these terms and concepts have seeped into federal environmental operations is worrisome.  The terms and concepts should be eliminated from the governmental while being put back into applied biology and history books for serious references as to where we have been and where we are headed.

–       Because traditional funding sources from hunting licenses and permits have declined due to wolf predation on game species; and because wolf issues diverted more and more funding to lawsuits, surveys, political justification research, public media campaigns and indoctrination of children – state wildlife agency employment became more precarious and dependent on blind instructions and obfuscated explanations of the effect of wolves. Agency goals shifted 180 degrees from the management and use of renewable natural resources for human benefit to the suppression and elimination of human welfare for imaginary benefit of an imaginary environment and animals given the status of human citizens that had become a blight on the land.

Would you trust these bureaucrats to babysit your kids with a record like this?

Some facts about the “Recovery of the Gray Wolf and Proposed Rule to Delist the Species” in the three states indicate what lies ahead.  It took about 5 years for all three states to wade through radical lawsuits and recalcitrant federal bureaucrats to obtain what federal lawmakers in Congress “gave” them – not because of any “Recovery” or concern about rural America – due only to simple political pressure that the more conservative residents of those three states were insisting on.  Minnesota, a more liberal and ideological “environmental” state was supposed to get the gift with those three states but due to their political reluctance to offend the urban centers that run the state (like Chicago runs Illinois), Minnesota was dropped from the list when the backlash became too hot.  Since the three states have had wolf “management authority” “returned” (considering they had claimed no resident wolves for 50 years and then federal control was imposed with forcibly inserted wolves; “returned” is a strange word about something you never wanted and had exterminated at great expense over a long period) their experience is worth noting.

–       Initial sale of wolf licenses and the increase in wolf revenue is wearing off.  Wolves are hard to find and “sport kill” are less than hoped for (to say the least).  The novelty of purchasing a wolf license is best shown by a powerful federal legislator that when I was introduced to him he smiled, dug out his wallet to show me his wolf hunting license.  I wonder if he still has one and if he ever got a wolf?

–       Federal estimates of 5,000 wolves in the Lower 48 States is a low ball number; the numbers are closer to 8,000.  Think about how many wolves you would have to kill annually to just keep the populations steady (it doesn’t really work this accurately in good old Mother Nature but humor me).  At a minimum it would take in the neighborhood of 2,000 wolves throughout the range of the wolves.  One of the states got 43 wolves, another got about 35 last year.  In other words, “managing” wolves is a farce.  Between federal bureaucrats hiding until a change of Administration and state bureaucrats using the wildlife new math of lowballing some estimates and highballing other “estimates” there will be no numbers resolutions when radical lawsuits hit state managers.

–       In the meantime, livestock depredations will increase or at best stay steady with compensation being something no state can long support.  Big Game numbers will also continue to decline as the same number of wolves will need to eat and if ranchers and dog owners can shoot (or at) threatening wolves it does not take a rocket scientist to expect ever heavier predation on elk, moose and deer.

–       To foresee a recovery of big game or a reduction in livestock depredation, the number of wolves in the neighborhood would have to be reduced 40 to 70% and kept there, ad infinitum!  Anyone telling you that ANY state can or would even envision such a scheme, given the continued existence of the ESA and the now accepted precedent that any wolf anywhere has been “recovered” so a drastic reduction in wolves would be perceived as extermination and it would provoke a federal National Emergency (under the next President to be sure) and possibly the use of federal troops like Ike sent into Alabama.

–       Dense wolf populations where they currently exist are and will continue to cause expansion into outlying areas and states, as well as suburban and in some cases urban environments.  Since wolves are so difficult to control, the increasing costs of wolf control will quickly exceed the revenue pittance they will soon bring in.  Hello, state tax increases.

–       Increasing the annual take of wolves by revenue-producing (i.e. affordable) means and private citizens in every state desiring to do so involves innovation and constant change as the ability of wolves to avoid danger goes on display.  Pack animals learn quickly as a trap goes off or a bullet hits one as they come to some sort of bait.  States and the federal government will not allow this innovation: states because of fear of federal bureaucrats and the federal bureaucrats because they work essentially for radical causes and their career success depends on radical favor. Aerial hunting (periodically necessary in Alaska and Siberia) will be found “Unfair” and a violation of the Airborne Hunting Act.  Fur sale and import/export will be attacked and its use or display will be discouraged by socialists and the politicians seeking votes in the next election.  M-44’s and deadfalls will be prohibited.  Upland, bear and cougar hunting (especially rabbit hounds, bird dogs, bear hounds, etc.) will continue to emit their last screams as their owners struggle to get to the site where wolves have bush-wacked them.  Placement regulation of baits, traps or other devices will be designed to make them ineffective. Breeding and use of wolfhounds that were bred and used in Ireland to eliminate the last wolves on that island centuries ago will be forbidden.  As will the sale of expensive guided chases made available to wealthy sportsmen interested in a unique and effective chase.  Private property, especially owned by non-resident urban wealthy folks, parks and other non-hunting public lands will be closed to “management” controls of predators, especially wolves.  Unless the State is willing to impose forcible access (as some Counties do for thistle control) to known wolf denning or other such wolf habitats for controls like denning and aerial hunting, the limited access to control operations will be very discouraging when outlined on a map. Wolves will learn these areas before the “experts will even admit their role in protecting wolves. This is only a short rundown of the problems facing anyone thinking they will reduce depredations, predation and dangers from wolves once “management is returned” to their state.

–       The only possible beneficiaries of states financing this expanding federal debacle will be the occasional (too frequent instances will require those harmed to change their lifestyle) rancher or dog owner or parent that will be able to kill a wolf in the pasture or yard where family members are present.  State enforcers and prosecutors will be more lenient in most states than their federal counterparts and the penalties will, or should be, lessened after federal control is abandoned.

–       Any thoughts of large reductions in wolf densities to protect property like cattle, sheep or dogs; or to allow large ungulates to recover and maintain hunt-able populations are pipedreams.

In conclusion, this “Recovery”, “Delisting” and “Returning Wolf Management to the States” are like prescribing an opioid to kill pain while the underlying malady increases the inevitable likelihood of a very bad outcome.  The phony “Recovery” levels are now established and the States must pay to keep them there.

Lest you think I am only whining here: chew on this.

The only path I see to be a valid solution to this growing problem is:

1.    Amend or Repeal the Endangered Species Act.

2.    If amended, it MUST REQUIRE any Federal Action in any State of the United States to:

A.   Be described in a 10 Year Proposal that specifically describes the reason for the proposal, the proposed federal expenditures and actions required, and any expected ancillary effects of the proposed action to save and or protect a Species (and no lesser biological entity) determined to be Endangered.

B.   Such Proposal shall be submitted to the Governor of the affected State for his review and written concurrence or rejection.  The federal agency should fund a public meeting in the Capital of the State, if so desired by the Governor, before he decides on the Proposal.

C.   Such Proposal, if approved by the Governor should be opened to the public in two Public meetings in the affected state and the findings of those meetings shall be attached to the Proposal and submitted in the Annual Federal Budget for Congressional Review, Approval and Authorization.

D.   Any work needed beyond 10-years would require a New Proposal and a repeat of the above process.

Rural communities should have a strong say in what sort of environment they live in.  Ultimately, in a just system of governance the basic framework and what constitutes a just environment should be decided by Local government.  Local governments should be protected and honored by State governments.  State governments should be protected and nourished by the federal government.  In other words, if the Local community wants NO WOLVES, that should be it, no matter what state or far-off federal politicians say or do on behalf of urban voters or those that covet control of rural landscapes.  This will never be renewed (yes it once existed to the great “domestic Tranquility” joy of rural people) as long as states are bound and threatened by federal overseers beholden to unaffected voters with no dog in the fight. “Returning Wolf Management” should be treated like Clint Eastwood’s infamous observation to his political boss who screamed in his face asking, what do you think?” to which Harry (Eastwood) simply snarled, “Your breath mints ain’t cutting it”.  It is only designed to give everyone dreams while things fall apart.

For these reasons and more I do not regret I will not be able to attend the celebration of the “Return of Wolf Management to the States”.  My wife and I play cribbage on that evening of the week.

Jim Beers

16 March 2019

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

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

Jim Beers is available to speak or for consulting.

You can receive future articles by sending a request with your e-mail address to:   jimbeers7@comcast.netIf you no longer wish to receive these articles notify:  jimbeers7@comcast.net

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The Rotten, Cheating Government and Their GI Wolves

Because the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) is a division of the Department of Interior (DOI) and is a government entity, there’s no need to mince word but to cut straight to the chase. They are a bunch of crooked, lying, cheating, stealing, evil, rotten bastards that don’t deserve the time of day. But we give it to them anyway. Go figure.

The lying, evil bastards stole money, cheated, lied, gamed the system, broke their own laws they will enforce against citizens, and dumped diseased wolves throughout the United States – Northern Rockies, Southwest, Southeast (many of these wolves hybrid semi-wild mutts paraded as pure wolves) and even Isle Royale (all done illegally), and now, after contaminating the land with disease and inflicting millions of dollars in losses to private property, these worthless bastards want to walk away from responsibility and force the states and tribes to pay for their Valentine’s Day Massacre-like escapade, while at the same time tolerating wolves and “learning to coexist” with them.

I say, take your wolves and shove em!! In case you can’t tell (politicians are incapable of any sort of perception toward their CONstituancy. They are not even human.) I’m a little bit mad and very disgusted with government and those who enable the cheating bastards by going along with their house of cards con games, i.e. turning “management” over to the states.

We know these criminal sons-a-bitches play games like this in order to pave the way for their PALS at selected Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) to pad their coffers by filing lawsuits. It’s a no brainer if you have one at all. The USFWS/DOI go public with their proposals and within hours the environmental NGOs lick their chops and move in for the money kill. Then the case is tied up in court while hand-selected fascist judges rule to stop the delisting process. The rigged system, complete with crooked, brainwashed judges, provides millions of dollars for the NGOs to continue their criminal enterprises and in the meantime the business of wolf destruction remains intact.

It’s bad enough that the USFWS/DOI is either so damned crooked they are emboldened so deeply they don’t give a hoot anymore or they know exactly what they are doing. Regardless, it’s a direct kick, right between the legs, when ignorant “anti-wolf” groups think they’ve won a battle because the Feds have placed the cost and responsibility for their terrorist act in the laps of the very people whose backside they had the wolf shoved up in the first place. Can’t you see this?

This is typical government BS and you keep voting for these criminal bastards who never change.

WHY DO YOU INSIST ON REMAINING INSANE?

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Removing the Gray Wolf From the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife

Proposed Ruling:

SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service or USFWS),  have evaluated the classification status of gray wolves (Canis lupus)  currently listed in the contiguous United States and Mexico under the  Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). Based on our  evaluation, we propose to remove the gray wolf from the List of  Endangered and Threatened Wildlife. We propose this action because the  best available scientific and commercial information indicates that the  currently listed entities do not meet the definitions of a threatened  species or endangered species under the Act due to recovery. The effect  of this rulemaking action would be to remove the gray wolf from the  Act's protections. This proposed rule does not have any effect on the  separate listing of the Mexican wolf (Canis lupus baileyi) as  endangered under the Act.<<<Read More>>>
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Isn’t Man a “Natural” Predator?

I was reading a very interesting article yesterday about how authorities undertook a deer cull on Mount Desert Island (Acadia National Park, Maine) back in the 1960s. It seems that once hunting was halted in the 1930s, deer grew unchecked and became a real nuisance to where something had to be done.

A couple of things caught my eye while reading that somebody needs to point out because it contributes to the problems associated with wildlife management that has become more of an act of Scientism as well as Romance Biology.

In the very first paragraph, we find: “Lately the most frequent “predators” of deer on Mount Desert Island have been motorized vehicles. But for several years in the 1960s, before coyotes migrated to the island, Acadia National Park rangers used rifles and live traps to fill the role of natural predators and cull the herd.” (emboldening added)

Lost in this quest to “save the planet” of which environmentalism is centered around, is the fact that man is a predator and a natural one. The CREATOR did not put plants and animals on this planet for the sole pleasure of environmentalists. As a matter of fact, it was the CREATOR’S intention that Man should have “dominion” over the plants and animals and to use them as a resource including sustenance.

This active Romance Biology believes that man should be removed from any equation about balance within an ecosystem and that the task can be accomplished with just letting things run their course…excluding man. Just how do you do that?

The NATURAL PREDATOR, Man, assumed their role as an “apex” predator and did what was perceived by Man, that natural predator, as a necessity; even though how the culling was done was not the intended way and best use of a natural resource.

It was around 1957 when a park “naturalist” estimated the deer population on Mount Desert Island (MDI) was between 1,000 and 1,500 animals. (The author of the piece chose to incorrectly call the deer “individuals.”)

It was thought that something had to be done to reduce that overgrown population of deer. It was decided to “live trap” and “shoot” the deer (no hunting) in order “to bring the starving herd into proper balance with nature.”

Even when misguided groups and individuals choose to assume the belief that Man is not a part of anything to do with Nature, it is impossible to get away from the very foundation of the need to manage and control certain aspects of our ecosystem in order to bring things into a socially determined “proper balance.”

Because there is no such thing as a “balance of nature” as is presented in propaganda and scientismic Romance Biology, man, who according to the environmentalists cannot be a part of the equation, always steps up to manipulate the existence to bring it in line with perspective ideals of whoever is in charge at the moment. And therefore we have the current definition of “proper balance.”

The hypocrisy here is that even those espousing to a “natural balance” cannot really believe it possible because they are always at work to bring that balance in line with their ideals. It makes little sense.

It is also inexplicable how, to some, it is acceptable to torture an animal, to capture it, or pay men to slaughter them, and yet see hunting, fishing, and trapping as inhumane, unfair, cruel, and something that needs to be stopped.

I think when push comes to shove it really isn’t about whether there is a natural balance, or whether man should be a part of the nature of things, but that a perverted sense that animals should share in the same existence as man, and thus hunting them for sport, food, or trophies, is wrong; but slaughtering them to fulfill ideals is acceptable.

Strange.

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Advice and Suggestions to the Maine Department of Fish and Wildlife

A reader sent me a copy of the Maine Sportsman, specifically George Smith’s article about his “advise” to the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW). After reading it, I thought perhaps I would offer something similar. Sometimes I am accused of being only critical of the MDIFW seldom offering constructive criticism or even suggestions on better or different ways in which to do things.

Smith writes of the need to “unlock that door” that prohibits visitors access to the commissioner of the MDFIW. I understand the concept and how convenient it would be to just “drop in” someday and chat with the commissioner. I would like to think that the real situation playing at the offices of the MDIFW has more to do with security than a want to lock themselves up and separate them from the public. I might be wrong. We do live in a strange time in which most people are always aware and subjected to enhanced security measures.

TURKEYS

George writes about what he would do about turkey management and the role that hunting plays in that management. For the most part I think he brings up some good points, i.e. too many turkeys, too few hunters, and the barrier of license fees that prohibit more people from trying or getting involved in turkey hunting and harvesting a turkey that would aide the MDIFW with their management goals.

Originally, I had thought that Smith’s idea of including turkey hunting as part of a Big Game Hunting License wouldn’t fly because the MDIFW would not be willing to give up that revenue from turkey license fees. Is there a trade-off here? Will somehow opening up the turkey season to reduced cost (and loss of fees to MDIFW) be made up in other ways? Perhaps.

I think that consensus must be reached as to whether there are too many turkeys and how critical it is that turkey populations be reduced. If, more people gained interest in turkey hunting, perhaps down the road, as populations came more in line with management goals, turkey license fees could be levied again. If a reduction in the number of turkeys is urgently needed, and I think if we haven’t gotten there yet we soon will, then the MDIFW must do what is expedient to make the reductions in numbers necessary to be responsible for the healthy management of these game birds.

FISHERIES

Fisheries is far from my strong point and knowledge base. I am not at all that qualified to offer the MDIFW advice on how to specifically manage the fisheries in the State of Maine. How fortunate for some.

MOOSE

Odd isn’t it, in many ways, that some are opposed to the reduction of moose populations to mitigate the winter ticks’ destruction of the moose herd but think nothing about advocating the complete destruction of a herd of deer to get rid of Lyme disease. Perhaps if more evidence pointed a finger at the health risk to humans from the winter tick, mindsets might change.

I have written extensively on Maine’s moose and what I believe to be the need to bring the moose population in Maine to levels that seriously reduce the presence and perpetuation of winter ticks that are inhumanely and unnecessarily causing moose to suffer and die during long and cold winters.

Smith laments about the loss of businesses associated with moose watching now that Mother Nature took over where wildlife management failed. During the heyday of the overgrown moose populations, some scrambled and took advantage, as any good entrepreneur might do, looking for ways to exploit the abundant moose for profit. It might have been fun while it lasted but the lesson that should be learned here might be at what price do we exploit any wildlife animal for lucre? As grown adults we should see that having enough moose around that many got into the business of moose watching tours was but a flash in that pan. Time to move on. We have learned that attempting to grow moose in numbers for capitalistic enterprises is a terrible thing to do to the animal – part of the downside of attempting to manage any species while being driven by social demands.

More recent studies are suggesting what some of us knew a long time ago – that too many moose was the cause of the aggressive expanse of winter ticks resulting in high mortality rates on the large beast.

The MDIFW should move quickly to determine at what population Maine’s moose will be most healthy while still providing opportunities for Maine residents to harvest a moose and fill their freezers.

I suggest that the MDIFW, once establishing moose populations, based on sound science and not social demands, issue enough permits or a long enough season to bring the population under a control that reduces the tick infestation. Once that is accomplished, permit for the future can be issued accordingly. Letting Mother Nature do the job is not only irresponsible but is a waste of a terrific natural resource.

DEER

Smith tells readers that the MDIFW stopped managing deer in northern Maine and only “manages” moose. I don’t know if this is actually an official position taken by the MDIFW, but it appears there is at least quite a bit of evidence to support that statement.

Smith claims that because Maine failed to protect winter habitat in Northern and Western Maine, the deer herd “was lost.” I concur the deer herd was lost but I think it had other influences than just a loss of habitat. A lot of things have changed over the years, one thing being the behavior of the deer. While deer are learning how to adapt to that loss of winter habitat, we humans remain locked in our unadaptable behavior of insisting on things being the way they were when our fathers hunted the whitetails.

Each time I have listened to the worn out excuse that deer have disappeared because of loss of winter habitat, I have always asked why, if that is true, thousands of acres of old winter habitat, still in winter habitat condition, is void of deer? Never an answer.

Loss of winter habitat in the classical sense, can and does have an effect on the deer population. Attempting to somehow “manage” deer to return to unwanted winter habitat, is an example of managers failing to learn and adjust to changes of the deer population and their habits. When we see this failure, one can’t help but wonder how much we can rely on the deer managers “estimate” of deer populations and other management shortcomings.

We failed to learn quickly enough that attempting to manage moose populations at high enough levels that tourism benefitted, the moose herd suffered terribly due to exposure and anemia from blood sucking winter ticks. Deer populations are suffering but perhaps in different ways because the ecosystem in which they have traditionally comfortably inhabited have and are changing. The deer are adapting as best they can but our management tactics are not. Evidently the preference is to give up.

Too many moose compete with deer. Too many large predators kill deer and fawns and this is challenging the stability of the deer population and in some places we are witnessing the unsustainability of a deer herd. Are we to just blame it on loss of winter habitat and Climate Change or should we be responsible stewards of our wild game animals?

If we are to mitigate the cause for the lack of deer in portions of Northern and Western Maine, isn’t the responsible thing to do is to reduce the bear and coyote populations to give the deer a chance? If we simply stop deer management because loss of habitat and Climate Change is the excuse, what then can we expect of all of our game and wildlife species going forward?

Managers have a responsibility to care for all of these game species. Giving up on one species in certain areas, tells me that there is lack of knowledge and poor management skills involved. The epitome of wildlife management failures is giving in to some man’s fictitious notion that the globe is warming and the northern border of the whitetail deer’s habitat is moving south, while our neighbors to the north continue to work at managing their deer. If Climate Change is causing such chaos that is forcing the destruction of habitat for deer, then it makes sense that other more northern species are migrating south according to the changes. Is this happening? No. A warming climate, as claimed, should be reducing the affects of severe winters. Is that happening? No.

There’s little more that managers can do to stop the perceived reduction of winter habit and deer habitat in general short of demanding more totalitarian tactics to take property and property rights away from people and corporations. It’s easy, from afar, to stand in judgement over landowners, demanding they relinquish their rights as property owners in order to enhance the habitat of any wild animal. The tough part to deer management is maximizing what is left and working in earnest to make the best of what we have. Even if deer densities in Northern and Western Maine aren’t at ideal levels, is that reason enough to simply walk away and say, we tried?

There is no need to kill off all the coyotes/wolves in Maine or reduce bear populations to levels that give us more deer than are needed to balance a very valuable resource. All that is stopping this effort is the MDIFW’s insistence on caving to social demands. I suppose to them in the short term it is easier to cave in than to stand up to those demands supported by strong scientific evidence. And that may be the actual problem. Does the MDIFW have or want the strong scientific evidence?

BEAR

The MDIFW has a very good bear study program. Some claim that program is the envy of all other fish and wildlife departments. Only radical animal rights groups or individuals would argue that there are too many bear. The MDIFW publicly admits they need to reduce the bear population, but so far, have done little to solve that problem. Perhaps they are moving at a speed that only politics and social demands allow them. Time for change.

Having too many bears presents several problems – public safety and a disruption of population goals of other species such as deer and moose. Fortunately, bear hibernate, otherwise God only knows what kind of destruction they would wreak on weakened deer in deer wintering areas.

Some studies suggest that the presence of bear has more negative impact on deer than do coyotes/wolves. Maybe the current studies that the MDIFW are conducting on moose and deer will help us gain better understanding on this concept.

Regardless, it appears Maine must reduce bear populations. But how? One problem that jumps out immediately is the power of the guides and outfitters placing demands on the MDIFW to manage bears according to their wishes that would best maximize their business profits. While it is understandable that this is important to the private enterprises, should the MDIFW continue to allow increased public safety concerns and actual reductions in deer populations, and perhaps even moose, simply to appease these groups? Of course not, but when will the MDIFW move to do anything about it? Perhaps the time is now.

Like with turkey hunting, Maine needs to find easier and less expensive ways to encourage more hunters to take up the challenge. Hunters that have little interest in bear hunting might change their mind if hunting bear were part of a Big Game License all the time during open season on bear.

Bag limits should be raised. The late summer bear hunt should have a minimum of a two-bear limit – perhaps three in some areas. If that doesn’t do the trick, then a Spring bear hunt may be necessary. Regulations can be employed to mitigate the killing of cubs as has been proven in other places that have Spring bear hunts.

The MIDFW has done a respectable job of working to ward off the radical animal rights groups bent on closing down bear hunting. They should increase and improve this effort to include everything they do with wildlife management. Two bear referendums have proven that maintaining a passive posture and making management decisions based on social demands is not only irresponsible, but ridiculous, almost childish. If wildlife managers and their administration don’t have or believe the science necessary to responsibly managed their wildlife, they should be out of a job. There should be little room given to social demands when it comes to scientifically managing game.

OPERATIONS

There are certain aspects of running a fish and game department that should be within the control of the commissioner, who, of course, answers to the governor. Open and closed seasons should be within the control of the commissioner. That person, along with the managers and biologists in the department, are the ones who should know what is going on and what is needed, not the Humane Society of the United States, other animal rights groups, or even the Legislature. Such social and political powers spoil any scientific approach at wildlife management. It may take an act of the Legislature to effect such changes.

We live in a time where these powerful animal rights and environmentalists have gained control over our factories of higher indoctrination. The result of this is now showing up in our fish and game departments where the concerns are more about the “rights” of animals and away from a consumptive, use of a natural resources approach to wildlife management.

Scientifically, it has been proven that the North American Model of Wildlife Management works. Those opposed to this form of wildlife management know this and have been working tireless to “change the way wildlife management is discussed.” Along with this has come the social demands to place equal rights and protections on animals as are given to humans.

Outdoor advocates, hunters, trappers, fishermen, as well as all those who understand and believe in the necessity of consumptive use to best manage and control wildlife, should demand that the commissioner be more selective and demanding of those that are hired as biologists and wildlife managers. Candidates should be screened as to their idealism and positions on animal rights and hunting, fishing, and trapping. To responsibly utilize hunting and fishing as part of the overall plans for wildlife management, cannot have room for animal rights advocates or those opposed to this system.

Some have called for money from general taxation to support the MDIFW. It is my opinion this would be a very big mistake. First of all, before any MORE money is dumped in the lap of this department, a complete audit should be undertaken so that all will know exactly what every penny is spent on and where every penny comes from to run the department. If more money is needed, then that has to come from fee increases and not from general taxation. Here’s why.

With money sent to the MDIFW from general taxation, along with it will be demands from the general taxpayer for bigger representation. This opens the door even further for more infiltration by environmentalists who want to “change the way we discuss wildlife management.”

We have seen this already. Where once the MDIFW used to be the department of fish and game, other states have gotten rid of their fish and game names completely, replaced with departments of natural resources.

With a weakening of the managerial understanding and knowledge of how wildlife management should run, further expedites the dreaded end to responsible wildlife management, replaced by VooDoo Science and Romance Biology.

The only way the MDIFW can survive as a bonafide fish and game department is if it remains out of the control of Environmentalism.

The MDIFW does many things well. Some things they have little control over. Certainly there is room for improvement and if others, like me, realize that if we don’t do something to change those things that are sending us in the wrong direction and away from the North American Model of Wildlife Management, the good that we enjoy now will soon be lost. Let’s not let that happen.

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Wolves: Those “Spiritual Brothers” Killed By Native Americans

A brief sharing of emails among friends and colleagues show us historical depictions of how Native Americans killed and used the remains of wolves as a tool for hunting as well as headdress and other useful things.

In a Catlin painting, native Americans hide under wolf pelts to hunt buffalo
This photo cracks me up! Boiled wolf pup? Yum!

And if you Google “native american wolf headdress” you’ll see countless historical examples of how native americans so revered the wolf as their “spiritual brothers” they killed them for pelts, disguises and elaborate headdresses and other functional clothing and costumes.

So just how “spiritual” was that nasty, diseased, canine, killing machine?

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