June 3, 2023

Hold On To Your Wallet

Letter to the St. Paul Pioneer Press – by James Beers

Hold On To Your Wallet

The Headline says it all; “DNR wants increased fees”.

Our “perpetual tax and spend” Governor and his DNR Commissioner “need” hunting and fishing license fee increases of 10 to 15% “to keep up with inflation”. Haven’t our federal politicians claimed there is no inflation, or is that just to keep us retirees from asking questions?

So, “without the hike, the DNR will be forced to make several cuts”, the first of which will be “reducing the workforce”. Then without “additional funding”, roads will not be maintained, there will be fewer wildlife surveys, and walleye stocking will decrease.

Before we swallow this bait, please answer two questions:

  1. What is the trend of license sales for non-resident deer hunting, non-resident fishing and resident hunting and fishing?  Considering the devastation of walleye lakes due to indiscriminate netting, the loss of moose hunting license fees due to wolves, and the complaints of deer hunters about wolf decimation of northern deer herds; paying you to “maintain wildlife programs at current levels” seems foolish.
  2. How much of our license dollars, federal Excise Taxes and other funds including all the “incidental” law enforcement, trapping, public relations, etc. are you spending on wolves and how much more will you be spending on wolves if and when your federal counterparts “Return Wolf Management to the State” except, of course for our right to set numbers, distributions, methods of take, sale of parts, etc.?

Note to the St. Paul paper.  Since you so blithely refer to folks like me as members of the “hook and bullet” groups; how about referring to those “supporters” of the increases as “wolf-lover” groups and “indiscriminate fish-netter-lover” groups?

Jim Beers

16 April 2017

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

Jim Beers is available to speak or for consulting.

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Future of Idaho’s Wildlife

Letter to the Editor;

I have recently read articles about the Fish and Game wanting a fee increase and yet another idea about how to get some Idahoans pitted against each other so only some foot the bill. I would like to make it very clear I love the outdoors and everything it has to offer, especially for our youth. I believe every sportsman wants to pay every cent that is truly needed, and will sacrifice time, effort, and money to keep the thing they love above all else as a heritage for their children. Time after time I’ve witnessed our Fish and Game pit one group against another. To the point some of our best sportsmen no longer go to any meetings concerning matters at hand. Basically because decisions have already been made and frankly their time and personal integrity have been wasted.

The science behind what should dictate direction for wildlife has long disappeared. Money overrides science every time there is a new shortfall in the status Quo. When most Idahoans go to work and their productivity weans we have to work harder for a better or more productive product, or we suffer. We don’t just try new ways to make more profit on the same poor product! For our kids sake they have to change direction, but I fear they will never be held accountable because they are such masters at pitting the sportsman against each other. Or at least groups of people against one another. To the point I mentioned earlier, until it’s to hard for the average man to dedicate anymore time and effort going to their meetings. Because they never make any real difference for the average man to justify his sacrifice from his family and his own struggle in life.

They ( F&G) will patronize you but your opinions mean little if anything. They ( F&G) will spend all kinds of money on more studies but the results never really go anywhere or make any real change that have improved their product. Look at a 30 year window of my life during the 60’s 70’s 80’s I would without question say almost everything they managed has diminished in quality and quantity since then especially. I know some quality will change with growth by human expansion that they have no control. That said I also know if they cared there are many things they could get going at no cost at all except their time and effort. They have very poor relationships with almost every landowner I know and landowners own a big part of the playing field.

If you question my opinion I understand but I would ask two questions . 1.) If it was good science during the 60’s- 80’s (probably longer, when the Snake River had a lot more water all winter) to close fishing season during the winter why would it now be open all winter with very low water flows (like fishing in a bucket). What science decision do you believe had merit, then or now? 2.) If deer populations are historically low, as well as deer harvested by sportsmen , and deer tag sales since the 80’s, (especially low compared to that same 30 year period) what science would dictate our Fish and game to adopt 2 deer tags sales to a resident as long as he or she pays non-resident prices on the 2nd tag? I believe these decisions revolve around Money and influential people rather than Science and our children’s Heritage.

I know many believe Hunting and fishing is cruel and unneeded, that for wildlife to survive they need to get rid of the sportsmen! I beg to differ, real sportsmen would go to great lengths and sacrifice to keep all wildlife in abundance but with balance. Those who don’t see that are blinded and are probably building their new home in the middle of the last Mule deer winter range, killing more wildlife than any sportsman could in his lifetime. They may not mean to, but their destruction is far greater when they don’t take the time to find out that proper understanding, use, and management is crucial for wildlife’s future existence.

I mean it with all my heart that I would back the Idaho Fish and Game for a fee increase if only they really needed it. I Don’t believe they do! I believe they have become a huge Bureaucracy out of control for the average sportsmen of Idaho and have no real belief that accountability by the sportsmen is on its way. I beg all sportsmen to stand up and be heard, call all F&G Commissioners and Politicians, for your kids’ sake changes need to be made. If only 10% of Idaho sportsmen stood together we could move mountains with our Politicians and Commissioners. Pull together and make it happen lets hold someone accountable.

Bryan Sprague