May 29, 2015

Environmentalism Has No Faults

EnvironmentalismIf you could swallow back hard against the urge to regurgitate whatever is in your stomach at the time by reading an article in the Christian Science Monitor, you would discover that Environmentalism is the creator of the Nirvanic Land of Oz, while hunters are nothing but stupid killers.

Romantic notions of environmental insanity and Gaia worship, placed on a plane that exceeds even that of the Creator, beckons for uncontrolled outbursts of Kumbaya and maybe even a few lines from I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing.

As should be expected from the camp of the environmentalists, they think the republicans in the Congress hate wildlife and are out to destroy the Endangered Species Act, while, in their robotic minds, Obama is removing more animals from the Endangered Species Act list than any human ever thought possible. Now we can better understand why wolves walk on water, change rivers and leap tall buildings in a single bound.

The Land of Oz has been saved….well, almost. Laws, more laws and even more laws, stripping of property rights and loss of jobs, homes, ranches, businesses, have all proven to be the savior of Toto’s happy playground…despite hunters. We did nothing. We do nothing. We kill and that’s all there is to it. We should just be lined up and shot. They shoot horses don’t they?

My favorite IDIOT line from this article says, “There are a lot of people out there, including deer hunters prowling…, who could’ve all taken a shot at one of these black bears, and they didn’t.” My God! It’s a miracle. Had it not been for environmental influences, those “prowling” hunters would have killed everything in sight – probably people too. How are we kept under control? Amazing.

Missing from the entire conversation in this article is discussion about the overall public perception of environmental mentalism, and that environmentalism is what is to blame for actions by Congress to get some semblance of sanity (if that’s at all possible from any government agency) back into Endangered Species Act administering. Environmentalism wants their cake and eat it too. They are cluelessly causing humans to suffer so they can continue their perverted animal worship, programmed into them from birth. It’s sick behavior, but they don’t know it. This behavior has gone on for so long now, unchecked and fully pushed by the Courts, that their greed has caused people like myself, to become so sick and tired of it all, that we are speaking up and demanding something be done to stop the runaway train.

Without the cooperation of the activist Courts, Congress is being forced to write laws exempting species from any control by the Endangered Species Act and the Courts. And yet, these non thinking, mental midgets, not only cannot see what they have done, they still blame hunters for killing everything. They fear Congressional actions will put wildlife management back 10, 20, 30 or more years, but fail miserably to grasp the results of a forced Congress exempting animals from the control of Environmentalism and the Courts, possibly causing the prohibition of helping that species in the future if trouble surfaces again.

Long before Totalitarian rule via Environmentalism, hunters became the conservationist. It was our work and our money that conserved and preserved wildlife. Environmentalism has changed the narrative of how wildlife management is discussed and now they are taking credit for what today they call their Land of Oz, DESPITE the continued allowance of hunting.

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Testimony Given in Constitutional Amendment to Prohibit Wildlife Management via Ballot Referendum

Testimony of James Cote on behalf of the Maine Trappers Association in Support of a Constitutional Amendment to Protect Scientific Wildlife Management in Maine

April 6, 2015

Senator Cyrway, Representative Luchini, members of the Committee, my name is James Cote and I reside in Farmington, Maine. I am here today on behalf of the Maine Trappers Association in strong (and qualified) support of an amendment to the Maine Constitution to protect scientific wildlife management. While the term “strong” is self-explanatory, I will describe my use of the term “qualified” later in this testimony.

Two things are certain to me on this subject. The first is that the process of amending any constitution is not one to be undertaken lightly. I am a strong supporter of the people’s right to petition their government. The second is that the framers of Maine’s Constitution had no way to anticipate how our ballot initiative process would be abused in the modern day in an effort to exploit and politicize our public wildlife resources. It is because of that exploitation and politicization, that we come to you today and ask for your support of a constitutional amendment to protect scientific wildlife management in Maine.

Combine tone-deaf advocacy organizations with hundreds of millions of dollars in resources and sparsely populated rural states (like Maine) with large populations of charismatic fauna and you’ve got a recipe for disaster when it comes to wildlife management. What do I mean when I use the term tone deaf?

After losing a campaign to ban Maine’s three most effective methods of managing our bear population in 2004, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) came back in 2014 to do the very same thing. In context, HSUS spent about a million dollars in 2004, and they contributed over 99% of the roughly $2.8 million dollars of the Yes on 1 campaign in 2014. When they realized that they couldn’t overcome the public’s trust of DIFW, they filed a lawsuit just a few short weeks ahead of the election in an effort to grab a headline and get our Department to back down. Days later, they filed a request for a temporary restraining order to get ads with the Department taken off the air. That request was denied by Justice Joyce Wheeler of the Maine Superior Court. Again, not liking that they didn’t get their way, the Humane Society of the United States filed an appeal that decision. And just a few short weeks ago, an HSUS attorney told Justice Wheeler during the court’s status conference, that HSUS would be seeking another ballot initiative in 2016, despite the fact that Maine voters said no just 4 months prior. If there is one thing we know about HSUS, it is that they don’t care about electoral or legal precedence, and they make good on their threats. That’s scary when you think about the fact that their organization is worth roughly $200 million.

We Mainers have experienced this phenomenon on more than one occasion. Perhaps most notable have been the 1983 campaign to end Maine’s moose hunt, and the 2004 and 2014 campaigns to effectively end Maine’s bear hunt. On all three occasions, our Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (DIFW)—the officials and scientists that we entrust to manage our wildlife– opposed these ballot initiatives.

The 2014 campaign siphoned a tremendous amount of money out of Maine’s economy, and from the bank accounts of thousands of Maine people who sought to protect DIFW’s ability to manage our bear population. It would have undermined 40 years of nationally recognized bear management and research.

Our public opinion surveys, time and time again, showed the public trusted the biologists and game wardens at the DIFW to manage our wildlife far more than any other entity- more than professional guides, more than sportsman organizations, and yes, far more than the Humane Society of the United States.

The enabling legislation of the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife provides Maine people with a constant safeguard should a constitutional amendment pass. Their enabling legislation reads:

The Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife is established to preserve, protect and enhance the inland fisheries and wildlife resources of the State; to encourage the wise use of these resources; to ensure coordinated planning for the future use and preservation of these resources; and to provide for effective management of these resources.

To further subject Maine’s wildlife management to ballot initiative undermines the very purpose for that mission statement, and the existence of the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. But that is exactly what the groups that put these initiatives on the ballot seek to achieve. They don’t want biologists to manage based on science, they want emotions to dictate how we manage. They will chip away, as they are doing in states all across the country, little by little until they get what they want, whether it’s good for the species or not. And all the while they will have drained otherwise productive resources from people who support our Department. In my opinion, that is an easy way to hold our wildlife hostage.

It is because of this statutory charge that we feel comfortable in asking you for this support of a constitutional amendment. An ideal amendment to our constitution would prohibit wildlife management at the ballot box, but would not prohibit public input or petition. You see, Mainers will still have many ways available to them to influence wildlife management:

1) Advocating at the Legislature.

2) Advocating at the Governor’s Office.

3) Working with DIFW officials in working groups.

4) Working with the DIFW Advisory Council on rulemaking changes.

5) Petitioning the DIFW to change a rule (in many cases a threshold of only 25 signatures of residents, sometimes more).

All of these options allow for public participation, but with the benefit of biological sideboards provided by the Department.

What prohibiting wildlife management by ballot initiative does is take the extreme amounts of money, distortion, and 30 second sound bites that we all know occur during campaigns and place the wildlife issue at hand in a more controlled policymaking environment. No less subject to public input and participation, but in a posture to consider more details from people on all sides of the issue. Our wildlife deserves that type of debate, not a war of television ads.

And now I’ll speak to the part about “qualified support”. I believe strongly, as do many others in this room, that this issue deserves lots of input. The two bills before you today are not perfect. Whether a constitutional amendment eventually gains your support or not, should be based on a thorough discussion with stakeholders and comprehensive legal analysis. As we enter the middle of April, I think it would be both reasonable and responsible, for all parties, to consider that the timeframe to consider such a significant policy is closing rapidly before the first session of the 127th Legislature adjourns sometime later this spring. Instead of rushing to a conclusion, we would request that this committee carry over either LD 754 or LD 1054 to the second session of the 127th Legislature. This process would allow more time for committee members and the Legislature to hear from constituents on the matter, to review policies and procedures at DIFW, to study the history of wildlife issues at the ballot box, to compare models from other states, and to have a more comprehensive discussion next year.

This decision is very important for the future of Maine’s wildlife. We can choose to subject Maine’s wildlife to be managed by whims at the ballot box, or we can safeguard our wildlife by making sure that the voice of the people and agency that we entrust with a statutory obligation to manage our wildlife for future generations are not buried under 30 second sound bites, laminated postcards, and special interest groups from away that have a determination to put more money in their political coffers and put an end to our storied outdoor heritage.

Wolf Population in Denali Low, Blamed on Hunting and Trapping

*Scroll for Updates*

The Alaska Dispatch carried an article about a petition generated to shut down hunting and trapping in boundary areas of Denali Park because wolves in the park have dropped from a population of 143 to 50 in about 8 years. But hunting and trapping isn’t the problem.

It was great that the author pointed out how well the fish and game department managed wildlife in a Game Management Unit adjacent to the park but never would come out with an explanation of why there was no prey left for the wolves inside Denali. The author states that, “When prey is abundant, wolves flourish. When prey populations are low, wolf populations become low.” A true statement but what allows or what is responsible for prey populations becoming low? That’s the most important question that should be answered.

Anyone who knows wolves understands that the savage predator can destroy a prey base and then move on. Once the prey base is gone, basically one, or any combination of events, can occur – 1. Wolves move to other areas where prey exist and do the same thing. 2. Wolves die from starvation and disease. 3. Wolves resort to cannibalism.

Chances are pretty good that what is going on in Denali is that the wolves, and they are protected in the park, are effectively destroying their own prey base and thus themselves. If wolf populations have been cut by nearly two-thirds, it might allow for a short period for prey to respond positively, provided it isn’t below sustainable levels, which will bring wolves back for a time to bring the prey species back down very low again. This could be labeled a predator pit depending upon other factors.

The author also points out that the adjacent Game Management Unit, a mass of acreage considerably smaller than Denali, is being perpetuated by wildlife officials for 10,000 moose, 300 wolves and still humans can harvest moose meat. Denali is a protected park and we see the results.

Also of note: This article shows the author’s discovery to two things – people’s complete ignorance of wolves, wolf management and ecosystems and the obvious bias toward anti hunting and trapping and NOT pro wolf. Some of the comments he reveals are pretty funny.

*Update* (4/2/2015 10:01 am) – I was sent another article from Alaska that quotes the Alaska Board of Game director as saying, “[L]ow numbers of moose and caribou were to blame for low wolf population levels.”

The Mess Current Idaho F&G Commissioners Inherited is NOT Wildlife Conservation

*Editor’s Note* – The below is perhaps the most comprehensive, historic, and accurate account of events surrounding the introduction of wolves and Idaho wildlife management, ever presented. Readers should bookmark this page as a resource to reference facts in this regard. Thank you George Dovel.

By George Dovel – The Outdoorsman: Republished with permission, all rights reserved.

In October of 2007, Biology Letters published a research report by UCLA Professor Robert Wayne and his former PhD candidate Jennifer Leonard titled, “Native Great Lakes wolves were not restored.” It described two years of nuclear genetic testing of 68 Great Lakes area wolves, and finding that most were crossbreeds of coyotes and a Canadian subspecies of wolf.

The report said 69% of them did not have any of the same genes found in 17 wolves collected from the Great Lakes area between 1905 and 1912. Unlike the 17 100-year-old wolf samples, none of the 68 more recent wolves tested were all wolf.

The realization that protected wolf subspecies have been replaced with a Duke’s mixture of mongrel canids shocked many who read it for the first time, including the media. But when the media contacted Eastern Gray Wolf Recovery Team Leader Rolph Peterson for his comments concerning the “startling news”, he said they had known all along that the wolves were cross breeding with coyotes.

In fact both Peterson and wolf expert David Mech were members of Professor Wayne’s research team 17 years earlier when they published their conclusion that wolves in the wild often bred dogs or coyotes that produced fertile offspring. A 1970 study report by Mech was cited to help support that 1990 conclusion.

Mech Provided 24 Alleged North American Wolf Sub-species to American Society of Mammalogists in 1974

On May 2, 1974, the ASM published a list of 24 North American wolf subspecies provided by Mech, which was originally produced by Goldman from 1929-1941. Although many taxonomists argue there is only one gray wolf species, or at best a handful of gray wolf subspecies, having such a long list would have allowed more wolves to be listed as threatened or endangered in more locations.

Dr. Val Geist has often explained to hostile judges and lawyers that a different subspecies, regardless of changes in body size and/or appearance, can only exist if there is a genetic adaptation to a different environment. Temporary changes in appearance, body size, etc. occurring because of a change in environment, but not involving changes in genes, are simply adjustments that will be reversed after a few generations if the species returns to its original environment.

In a 1992 article in Great Britain’s prestigious Nature magazine, Geist warned that taxonomists’ failure to correctly identify species and subspecies would allow lawyers and judges to determine what species or subspecies are legal, and allow them to decide which listings will be protected. During the next 22 years, Geist and other senior scientists continued to publish the criteria for listing subspecies, but their expert advice has been largely ignored.

In Response to criticisms that some of the wolves on Mech’s 1974 ASM list did not qualify as separate subspecies, he agreed yet nothing changed. During the two decades before Canadian wolves were transplanted into Idaho and Yellowstone Park, Department of Interior solicitors (lawyers) changed the number of listed Gray Wolf subspecies to from five to only a single species.

Citizens often asked, “If there is only one or even a handful of grey wolf subspecies and biologists say there are up to 65,000 in North America, why are they endangered?” The vague answer was, “They create healthy ecosystems.”

Wolf/Dog Hybrids Officially Not Protected

In 1996 FWS began promoting a proposed rule to protect wolf hybrids if the hybrid’s actions and appearance resemble the parent that is being protected. But the proposal was never finalized so FWS withdrew it in February of 2001, and issued an official statement that wolf/dog hybrids would never be protected.

Throughout the West, that official position on wolf hybrids has been more or less adhered to. For example in Montana in 2006, two sheep ranchers in the Jordan, area experienced heavy adult ewe losses plus about a 60% reduction in their lamb crop.

When the predator was verified to be a wolf, they each filed claims exceeding $20,000 in losses. But a DNA test reported it was a hybrid and neither claim was paid.

Further proof of biologists’ objection to the existence of hybrid wolves in the wild was seen in the NE corner of Washington State in March of 2014.

After learning that a large sheep guard dog had climbed a seven-foot “non-climbable” orchard fence twice to be with two female wolves in heat, Washington Dept. of Fish and Wildlife biologists used a helicopter and a dart gun to capture the two radio-collared wolves to see if either wolf was pregnant. One pregnancy was confirmed, and WDFW Large Carnivore Manager Donny Martorello explained to the media that spaying her immediately was a better choice than trying to catch and kill all of the pups later after they were born.

But if the second female wolf was bred by the guard dog near the end of her estrous cycle, not enough time had passed for either ultrasound or blood tests to determine possible pregnancy. And what about other female wolves in heat where there are no high fences to keep them from mingling with other tame dogs?

Genetic Identification Required to Prove It’s a Wolf

X-Rays of a 97-pound wolf-like carcass found on private property and reported by a rancher in Oregon’s Grande Ronde Valley in March of 2012 did not establish the cause of death. An Oregon newspaper article later claimed that if DNA tests showed it was a wolf-dog hybrid, it was perfectly legal for an Oregon landowner or his/her agent to kill it. But if it contained only wolf genes, killing it was a “Class A” misdemeanor punishable by a maximum sentence of one year in Jail and a maximum fine of $6,250.

Six weeks later, on May 3, 2012, newspapers from Maine to Oregon carried versions of the same story. A reported necropsy (autopsy) of the carcass by IDFG at Idaho’s Wildlife Health Lab in Caldwell, Idaho determined the death was caused by a “person” committing “a criminal act.”

On July 12, 2012 the Oregon State Police issued a bulletin that University of Idaho DNA testing proved it was a gray wolf that originated from the Imnaha, Oregon Pack, and solicited information about the killing from the public.

We see other “news” stories describing incidents in the West that match one of the three examples cited above. Yet with all of the opportunities wolf biologists have to collect samples for molecular DNA analysis, none appear willing to provide that information to the citizens who pay for management.

“Distinct Population” Wolf Designation by FWS – An Attempt to Cover up Extinction and Wolf Hybrids

By 2003, it was obvious to FWS that the New England wolf subspecies it had listed as endangered no longer existed. And once the word got out concerning the listed Great Lakes wolf subspecies that was now a crossbred mixture of Canadian and U.S. wolves and western coyotes including some dog genes, the mess it had created needed a quick solution.

Although FWS had proposed to list the Great Lakes and Northeastern wolves as separate small “Distinct Population Segments” in 2000, in 2003 it decided to try to “solve” the mushrooming mess it had created by down-listing all gray wolves in most of the lower 48 states. To do this, it proposed changing “Subspecies” gray wolf designations to the following three “DPSs” in the April 1, 2003 Federal Register:

1. Eastern Gray Wolf DPS – included all states in the East and Midwest, except for all or parts of 16 southern and eastern states that gray wolves reportedly did not occupy historically.

2. Western Gray Wolf DPS – included the remaining states in the West.

3. Southwestern Gray Wolf DPS – included the endangered Wolves in Mexico and small portions of Arizona, New Mexico and Texas.

Wolf Activists’ Proposal Rejected by FWS

In that same Federal Register, FWS proposed that all of the gray wolves in the Eastern and Western DPSs that were still listed as “Endangered” would be downgraded to “Threatened”, with the intention to de-list them next. Wolf activists, who had been pretty much “calling the shots” in return for their support, told FWS they would not sue if it agreed to restore the separate 2000 DPS proposal to recover the Northeastern Timber Wolf.

FWS responded that the few “wolf-like” animals that were occasionally seen in the Northeast were either: dogs, coyotes, or wolf hybrids. It refused to return to its 2000 proposal so the activists sued.

Federal Courts in Oregon and Vermont Voided the FWS Scheme with Its Large DPSs

In 2005, two Federal District Court Judges, first in Oregon and eight months later in Vermont, sided with the Plaintiffs (wolf activists). They found that in 1978 FWS had used its authority to declare that gray wolves were endangered throughout their former range in at least 21 Eastern states and all or portions of 19 states in the West.

They also found that the FWS had not used sound science in creating the two large DPSs, but was using them as an excuse to illegally downlist and then delist gray wolves in most of the “Lower 48” states.
Both courts found that by claiming that gray wolf recovery in three Great Lakes states and three Northern Rocky Mountain states satisfied the FWS requirement for restoring the gray wolves in all 40 or so states where it had listed them as “Endangered,” was a willful action to ignore the ESA.

FWS argued the ESA did not require it to restore wolves where they no longer existed. Yet it had claimed just the opposite in the 1978 Federal Register when it suddenly listed nonexistent gray wolves as “Endangered” in more than two million square miles of the Lower 48.

At the risk of losing the readers I am trying to reach with an article that is too long for many to read in one sitting, it has been suggested that I cite examples of nearly 50 years of wolf research reports, Federal Registers and news releases to provide undisputed facts needed in order to understand and correct “the mess” that exists.

The Mess FWS Created – and Congress Approved

References to “The mess FWS created” began when Congress passed the Endangered Species Protection Act of 1966. In 1967 FWS decided to restore two subspecies of grey wolves that it said already existed in the Northern Rockies and the Great Lakes area.

In 1974, following passage of the new Endangered Species Act, FWS listed two wolf subspecies as endangered in five states, and as threatened in Minnesota. In 1976 it added two more subspecies, the so-called “red wolf” in the Southeast, and a gray wolf that reportedly had existed in Texas.

But in 1978 it suddenly ignored subspecies and listed the Gray Wolf as endangered in all but Minnesota in the lower 48 States. Declaring that extinct wolves have been “endangered” in the Lower 48 States for the past 37 years, yet with no chance to recover the non-hybrid wolf species that became extinct, is the mess with no solution that FWS created and Congress tacitly approved.

McClure, No Wolf Protection Outside of Core Areas

Idaho’s late U.S. Senator Jim McClure voted yes on all of the FWS wolf proposals and in 1988 he told the media, “Wolves are a natural part of an ecosystem that will function better with their presence.” But despite reports indicating there were already wolf packs and reproduction in both Idaho and Montana, FWS still had not submitted its revised plan to transplant Canadian wolves just into Yellowstone National Park.

In April 1990 McClure authored a bill to introduce a nonessential experimental population of wolves into YNP, and into core areas in Glacier National Park and the Idaho wilderness areas. It would have imported three breeding pairs in each location and removed all wolves from listing (protection) outside of those three core areas.

His legislation was strongly supported by wolf supporters in the media, and by most of the wolf activist groups, including Defenders of Wildlife. Although a few objected to the initial introduction of only three breeding pairs in each core area, they boldly publicized the fact that this could easily be increased later if it became necessary.

Ranchers, hunters and legislators in Idaho and Wyoming did not trust the McClure bill despite the fact it only protected wolves inside the boundaries of three small core wolf areas. McClure’s Wolf Bill failed to pass but it provided FWS with the incentive to introduce wolves, but without McClure’s citizen protection outside of core areas.

A New Committee with a New Federal Wolf Plan

In Nov. of 1990, Congress directed appointment of a federal Wolf Management Committee, composed of three Federal and three State members plus four members representing special interests, to develop a new FWS plan for wolf introduction in Yellowstone Park and the Central Idaho wilderness areas. Most of those Committee members, including Idaho Fish and Game Director Jerry Conley, strongly supported severe FWS penalties for anyone who even threw a rock in the direction of wolves attacking their livestock!

As with all such committees representing diverse interests, the few members who disagreed with the extreme penalties and could not be convinced to support them were simply outvoted by the carefully chosen majority. Once the FWS plan was approved, Conley hired fledgling Montana wolf biologist Jon Rachael to help him convince Idaho’s 7-member Wolf Oversight Committee to copy the new FWS wolf plan in an Idaho Wolf Plan.

Conley also hired Montana biologist Jerome Hansen, a co-author of the 1984 Kaminski-Hansen Idaho wolf-prey study, and assigned him to help Rachael provide its 10-year-old deer and elk population statistics to the FWS Wolf Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).

Wolf Oversight Committee and FWS Wolf Leader Ed Bangs Refused to Correct Exaggerated Prey Claims
Massive Central Idaho mule deer and elk losses resulted from sustained over-harvesting during the 10 years following the 1984 Kaminski-Hansen research, and from IDFG refusal to use its dedicated emergency feeding fund properly during the extreme 1992-93 winter. But instead of using current 1993 and 1994 helicopter counts in the Wolf EIS, Idaho biologists used the 10-year-old information that was now grossly inaccurate.

As chairman of the Boise County Wildlife and Endangered Species Committee, I presented IDFG, FWS and the Idaho Wolf Oversight Committee (WOC) with IDFG records showing the radical decline in the average total deer and elk density by 1993. But instead of complying with our request to halt the excessive harvest, IDFG added another 2,150 bonus deer permits and 3,955 bonus elk permits to 1993 Idaho hunting seasons.
And instead of correcting the Wolf EIS, as we requested in both 1993 and 1994, FWS and the IDFG biologists continued to publish the much larger figures from the 1984 study – claiming they were from 1994.

WOC Member Clower Told Us Lying was Justified

On Feb. 17, 1994, WOC member Don Clower arranged a meeting with Vice-Chairman Sandy Donley and me an hour before we were scheduled to testify before Rep. Golden Linford’s House Resources Committee. He told us Linford had suggested he come and talk to us (not verified) and Clower asked us not to air F&G’s “dirty linen” at the hearing.

In response to our questions, he said the WOC was aware that the deer and elk populations in the EIS were highly exaggerated. But he claimed that was necessary to “support” the rapid build-up of wolves that would occur in the FWS Nonessential Experimental Recovery option.

Both Clower and retired Boise Forest Supervisor Jack Lavin were appointed to the WOC by Conley. On March 19, 1994, WOC Co-Chairman Lavin sent a letter to FWS Wolf Team Leader Ed Bangs stating, “We would prefer wolf introduction with experimental status to no wolf introduction…”

In the August 16, 1994 Federal Register Bangs wrote: “Millions of acres of public lands contain hundreds of thousands of wild ungulates (Service 1994) and currently provide more than enough habitat to support a recovered wolf population in central Idaho.”

On Sept. 27, 1994 during the final FWS hearing on its plan to transplant Canadian wolves into Idaho, I spent an intermission with Bangs asking him to explain why he wrote “…contain hundreds of thousands of wild ungulates (Service 1994)” when he had proof it had not been true for 10 years – if ever. He responded that Congress had not yet approved funding for transplanting Canadian wolves, and said if it learned there were not enough elk and deer to maintain 100+ wolves, it would not fund the transplant.

Conley’s Written Support of the Strict FWS Wolf Plan and Permit Approving Five Years of Wolf Transplants Gave FWS Permission to Release Wolves in Idaho

At the same Sept. 27, 1994 FWS hearing by Bangs, IDFG Director Conley brazenly violated I. C. Sec. 36-107 by secretly providing Bangs with a signed and dated letter stating:

“For the record I would like to take this time to acknowledge our support for the Experimental Rules on proposed establishment of nonessential, experimental populations of gray wolves in central Idaho and Yellowstone National Park. Specifically, a nonessential, experimental population area would be established in Idaho through regulation by the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) under section 10(j) of the Endangered Species Act. In accordance with the Experimental Rule, we will work with the FWS, to the extent allowed by Idaho law, to reintroduce wolves from British Columbia and/or Alberta into the Idaho experimental population area.

“If you have any questions regarding this matter, please don’t hesitate to call me or one of my staff working on the wolf recovery program.”

A permit addressed to Bangs on that same day, authorized the release of a maximum of 15 wolves per year for up to five years from B.C. or Alberta, Canada at jointly agreeable Idaho release sites. It was signed and dated under Conley’s typewritten name and title by F&G Wildlife Bureau Chief Tom Reinecker.

Conley Approved the Strict Plan He Helped Write

In other words, Conley signed unconditional Idaho approval of a federal wolf plan that allowed penalties of up to a $50,000 fine and/or one year in the penitentiary for ranchers who committed any one of multiple “offenses” they were not allowed to use to protect their livestock from “nonessential experimental” wolves in the act of killing them – even on their private property.

The Plan’s refusal to compensate ranchers for livestock killed by wolves, or for reduced calf production and decline in weight gains from stress caused by wolves, was an obvious “taking” without compensation. And the candid admission by FWS biologists that there were more than 60,000 gray wolves in Canada and Alaska indicate they were neither endangered nor threatened.

The FWS Wolf Plan that Conley helped draft in 1990 also ignored the rural citizen protections that were part of the previous proposal. This became obvious when official requests from Ada, Owyhee and Boise Counties for inclusion of protections in the Idaho Wolf Plan were rejected by Jon Rachael, and publicly ridiculed by Don Clower.

Boise County Got Protection for Other Animals

But our County Endangered Species Committee continued to insist that other domestic animals (e.g. fowl, swine, goats, etc.) and pets (i.e. dogs or cats) on private land receive the same degree of protection as other livestock (i.e. cattle, sheep, horses and mules).

The FWS Final Rule published in the Federal Register on Nov. 22, 1994 included statements that a wolf attack on domestic animals taking place on private property twice within a one year period, after five or six breeding pairs of wolves had been documented, would result in declaring it as a problem wolf and it would be removed from the area. Another attack by the same wolf would result in removal from the wild or killing.

Today, with wolves delisted, owners or agents of domestic animals including pets have authority to kill wolves that present a threat to their animals on private property without obtaining permission from any agency.

Idaho Citizens and Their Elected Representatives Knew That F&G Officials Strongly Supported Recovery

It was no secret to anyone involved in the wolf issue, including Idaho legislators, that every IDFG official at the state or regional level strongly supported wolf recovery. That is why the Idaho Legislature included the following language in Idaho Code Sec. 36-715 in 1988, “Duties of the department of fish and game regarding the endangered species act:

“(1) Since wolf-dog hybridizations are known to exist in Idaho—and are not protected by the U.S. endangered species act, a biological evaluation shall be required of the animal to determine priority before IDFG may take action in accordance with the United States ESA.

(2) The department of fish and game shall not be authorized to expend funds, transfer assets, or enter into a cooperative agreement with any agency, department or entity of the U.S. government concerning wolves unless expressly authorized by state statute.

“(3) If a wolf is sighted, the burden of proof concerning the reported presence of a wolf within Idaho shall rest with the observer and the IDFG shall take no action to enforce the U.S. ESA regarding wolves in the absence of that proof.” concerning the reported presence of a wolf within Idaho shall rest with the observer and the IDFG shall take no action to enforce the U.S. ESA regarding wolves in the absence of that proof.”

Although the language restricting IDFG from participating in wolf management was eventually removed to support the legislature’s 2002 Idaho Wolf Plan, creation of the Governor’s “Office of Species Conservation” in 2000 gave the authority to negotiate ESA agreements with federal agencies to OSC – not to IDFG. It also required IDFG to work with the OSC Administrator – the primary voice in endangered species management decisions.

In other words, IDFG officials have not had legal authority to do what Conley and Reinecker did without legislative or OSC approval since early 1988 – nearly seven years before they committed the illegal acts.

Bombshell by Three of Seven WOC Voting Members Was Too Late to Undo Conley Letters to FWS

Copies of Conley’s letter to Bangs were sent to the members of the Wolf Oversight Committee. After a majority of four voting members declined to challenge his illegal actions, the minority of three voting and one non-voting member sent a strongly-worded four-page letter to the Gray Wolf Reintroduction HQ in Helena, Montana.

It was signed by WOC Co-Chairman George Bennett and by members Ted Hoffman, DVM, Stan Boyd, Idaho Woolgrowers, and non-voting member Lois VanHoover from the Independent Miners Association.

The letter stated that many hunters and hunter organizations had contacted them and expressed bitter opposition to the proposed plan because it allowed a wildlife experiment with the potential to plunder Idaho ungulate herds with no certain controls on the results. No provision was made for reversal in the event of excessive wolf numbers, and the assumption was made that wolf recovery is desirable contrary to historical outcomes.

The letter also stated the four signers’ belief that the proposed rule was illegal, failing to fulfill the requirements of Sec. 6 of the ESA which required cooperation with the states to the maximum extent practicable, and Sec. 17 50 CFR which required agreement to the maximum extent practicable.

It charged that the consultation and cooperation by FWS has been inadequate or nonexistent. It listed two pages of deficiencies that must be corrected to prevent the four WOC members from recommending to Idaho legislators that they reject the FWS proposal and retain the existing language in I.C. Sec. 36-715 that prohibited the IDFG from participating in any wolf recovery activities without approval of the legislature.

Their letter said they would urge the legislature to further prohibit any state agency from any activity supporting the federal wolf recovery effort and that also happened when FWS ignored their request. At that point, FWS NRM Wolf Recovery Official Ed Bangs had the consent he needed from Idaho to introduce Canadian wolves, but the opportunity to get Congressional funding was apparently lost.

FWS whistle-blower Jim Beers, whose past duties included apportioning the Pittman-Robertson funding to the states, later testified twice to Congress that FWS stole $45-$60 million of P-R excise taxes from the states and used part of the stolen money to fund the trapping and transplanting of Canadian wolves into Idaho and YNP.

Reader Seeks Proof and Takes It to Post Falls Commission Meeting to Get Answers

When one of my Outdoorsman articles reported the restriction in Idaho Code Sec. 36-715(2) prohibiting IDFG from entering into any cooperative agreement with any federal agency concerning wolves, and discussed the illegal letter and permit written by Conley, a reader from North Idaho sent me a letter asking if I had proof of this.

I mailed him photocopies of the documents and he brought them to the next F&G Commission hearing in Post Falls, demanding an explanation of why Conley was allowed to disobey the law. When former Director Steve Mealey was hired to replace Conley who was forced to resign, he explained why Idaho would not have wolves if Conley had not authorized FWS to bring them here.

But Mealey was no longer living in Idaho so F&G Commissioner Randy Budge, a lawyer, claimed that Idaho was going to get wolves anyway “because they were forced on us by the federal government.” He had already tried that excuse in testimony before the House Resources Committee but Rep. JoAn Wood firmly corrected him.

Yet during the January 2010 Commission meeting, Budge insisted the information provided by citizens at two previous hearings was not accurate and encouraged his fellow Commissioners to have a fact sheet to distribute before each hearing “proving” the charges were inaccurate.

Commissioner Wheeler Sets the Record Straight

At that point Commissioner Cameron Wheeler said, “I’d like to shed a little light on it. There was a document signed by Conley at that time and I’ve read it and I know a couple of Commissioners that were on the Commission at that time – they did not give him the authority to do that, but it was signed and I’ve seen it – several legislators got it. So that’s where this comes from.

“You can like it or not like it, but that’s the truth. The feds had to have some agency that was willing to put their ‘John Henry’ on it, that’s what he did. It’ll never die.”

Commissioner Wheeler was asked, “Cameron, was the agreement that he signed they were going to introduce them whether we like it or not and so this was an agreement we will participate in management?” Wheeler responded: “No. The agreement that he signed was an agreement to cooperate in the introduction.”

None of the other Commissioners had any personal knowledge of the history of wolf recovery but despite Wheeler’s explanation of the facts to them, three insisted on handing out a “fact” sheet with limited information before each public meeting to stop the public from lambasting the Commission – rather than admitting what actually happened.

Another Commissioner asked Wheeler, “So you agree that perhaps more disclosure might be best – and state all the facts – put as much sunshine on it as we can – and present that and live with it as a principle rather than, as Randy said, try to not necessarily hide it but to disclose less than the whole story?”
Groen interrupted Wheeler before he could answer and proceeded to verbally attack the individuals and groups who brought the issue up and said they weren’t interested in hearing facts. Trying to prevent full disclosure which could also have incriminated him, Groen said:

“And regarding that letter that came up at Post Falls – what that letter was, it states that we did not want to get ‘em (i.e. wolves) and we stood strong there for when they were ready to be put in no matter what. It was a letter that would keep our authority and the Director at that time signed that letter – I guess you’d call it, Jim, a ‘Transport Permit’ or whatever – and it was ‘kinda’ just to try to keep our hands in it.”

A small part of Groen’s claim was partly true concerning the desire to keep “their authority” – but they had absolutely no authority for years – only responsibility to assist in preparation of an Idaho Wolf Plan. The claim that Conley’s letter stated that F&G did not want to get wolves was simply a lie.

I’m Not Real Sure We Want to Get in the Way of Truth

During the years that I attended Commission meetings, I often watched a similar scenario unfold. With the exception of Directors Greenley and Mealey, every Director or Acting Director manipulated the Commission to pass only those rules supported by IDFG, and quickly did whatever was necessary, including lying, to change the discussion if it appeared to be headed the wrong way.

Groen was brought to Idaho by Conley to organize and operate the Idaho chapter of The Nature Conservancy’s “NatureServe” international data base of Endangered and Threatened species. More than half of the total cost was paid for with license fees or excise tax dollars from hunters and the name was changed from “Natural Heritage Program” to “Natural Resource Policy Division” to make it sound more like a legitimate bureau hunters would support.

Wheeler stated, “The decision (by IDFG to help introduce wolves) really runs deep into the fiber of both the sportsmen and policy makers of this state.” He questioned use of a document on sportsmen who come to Commission meetings and said, “I’m not real sure that we want to get in the way of the truth.”

But, without bringing it up as a motion to be voted on, Commissioners Tony McDermott and Budge insisted the handout was a good idea and Chairman Wayne Wright directed Groen to prepare the handout advising they would use it with discretion.

Yet the minutes concerning consideration of the wolf testimony the following morning contained only two sentences:

1. “Comments about wolves and elk and the frustration people are feeling.”

2. “There is concern on inaccurate information from the public regarding wolves; suggestions of a fact statement regarding the history of wolves to be read at the beginning of a Commission meeting.”

In the next issue of The Outdoorsman – No. 38 – I published photocopies of Conley’s letter and permit, the appropriate Code Section prohibiting what he did, and part of the 4-page letter from the minority of Wolf Oversight Committee members citing the numerous requirements for protection of citizens that were ignored by FWS and IDFG.

F&G responded in its “Wolf Management/Status Timeline online by listing abbreviated comments regarding Idaho Code changes that confuse – rather than enlighten. Then it provided links to Conley’s Sept. 27, 1994 letter to Bangs emphasizing that IDFG will work with FWS “only” to the extent allowed by Idaho Law, to reintroduce wolves into Idaho under the experimental population rules.

Do people not realize that the entire letter violated Idaho law?

And the link to the Special Permit signed by Tom Reinecker says it was a courtesy by IDFG issued in accordance with state law and with the Idaho Wolf Plan currently being drafted by IDFG and the WOC.

In my opinion that is similar to a banker who is charged by law with protecting his depositors’ money, giving a permit to a gang of thieves to come in once a year and rob the bank.

There was no mention in the Permit of a plan “being drafted.” In fact a state wolf plan was not approved by the Idaho Legislature until 7-1/2 years later. Yet instead of admitting it violated Idaho law in its Timeline, IDFG blames the legislature and, by inference, the minority members of the Wolf Oversight Committee for the fact that it did not get to “manage” wolves sooner.

Even after Conley was forced to resign, given six months severance pay and hired as Director of the Missouri Conservation Dept., his co-conspirators in IDFG continued to sacrifice elk and deer to protect wolves and promote non-consumptive wildlife recreation. During the past nine years 11 IDFG Department heads, including Ex-Deputy Director Jim Unsworth and Sharon Kiefer, have taken a special nine-month course including two weeks at the FWS MAT training center in Shepherdstown W. Va.

They are now part of an “elite” national team of “NCLI Fellows” you will read about in The Outdoorsman.

“Egregious” Letter to the Editor

A recent Letter to the Editor in a Portland, Maine newspaper, called hunting practices “egregious.” Egregious is defined as, “outstandingly bad; shocking.” The same can be said for letters to the editor of newspapers that are outstandingly bad at relating facts, exemplifying truth and presenting non emotional realities of real life in the forests and our backyards.

This particular letter states: “the use of dogs and snares, are cruel and unnecessary methods in hunting bear.”

Snares are as humane as it can get. The wildlife managers all across America use snares for capturing bears, and other wildlife, for wildlife research. The reason this is done is because the work and collection of data can be done without harming the animal. Non thinking people project human emotions and human feelings onto animals believing there is no difference between the two species. They have effectively been brainwashed.

I am wondering if this letter writer ever considered how bears, elk, deer, moose and many, many other species “feel” when wild dogs (wolves and coyotes) run these animals to death? Have they ever considered this reality? By their way of not thinking, shouldn’t we then propose a bill to prohibit the chasing of wild animals by wild dogs? After all, it must be inhumane. Animals are just like human beings aren’t they? And if that is so, then why isn’t their a law against inhumane killing of one animal upon another?

It must also be inhumane to allow wildlife, like bears to go untouched; allow nature, the cruel bitch that she can be, provide her “balance” by utilizing disease, starvation and cannibalism to place population densities in severe ups and downs.

The letter also states: “Time and again, any effort to improve the humane treatment of our wildlife has been thwarted by members of the Inland Wildlife and Fisheries Committee…” The author’s perverted ideas of what is “humane treatment of our wildlife” is simply balderdash of emotional nonsense never substantiated by fact.

The insanity that has gripped this nation is actually what is egregious. The very thought that humans are now programmed to go about destroying my right to self determination because of perverted religious quackery of placing human elements on animals is beyond egregious. It can only be described as hatred toward a fellow human being. And we know from whence comes hatred.

And the hatred is so intense that the blindness prohibits the reality that their insane practices results in the destruction of other wildlife as I’ve described above. It also breeds scarcity. Scarcity breeds more hate and greed, sickness, oppression and destitution. The insanity is that the truth cannot be seen and thus their destruction becomes self.

USFWS Plans to Kill Thousands of Birds to Save Fish

“The plan, in the form of a final Environmental Impact Statement, is under review. If it gets final approval, state agriculture workers could be shooting birds and oiling nests, a process used to keep chicks from hatching, by spring.

The plan is preferred over another alternative that calls for the killing of 18,000 birds by 2018, U.S. Army Corps spokeswoman Diana Fredlund said.

“This is a difficult situation,” she said. “We are trying to balance the salmon and steelhead vs. the birds. It’s very difficult to find the right answer and so it’s taken us a long time. We’ve had a lot of experts working on it.””<<<Read More>>>

Scrap the Endangered Species Act? What Took So Long?

Owls

WHO?

It was October 1, 2007 when this writer, sometimes alone on a remote island, exclaimed that it was time to abolish the Endangered Species Act. I began that piece by saying:

The Endangered Species Act is unconstitutional. It is nothing more than a strong arm tool used by out of control animal rights groups and power hungry administrators. It strips Americans of their constitutional rights and is probably doing our wildlife more harm than good in many ways.

And yet, here we are over 7 years later and absolutely nothing has been done about the Endangered Species Act. I have written about the ESA many times, often describing it as the most powerful and destructive law ever devised. This is mostly true because of the unreasonable restrictions, regulations and seizures of rights and property ever levied upon American individuals, while at the same time possessing a success rate that is abysmal.

In a free E-book I wrote, “The Crippling and Destructive Power of the Endangered Species Act,” I described the law as:

The Endangered Species Act of 1973 is a draconian law that offers no flexibility, ruling out any semblance of common sense; strips states of their sovereign right to manage and care for their own flora and fauna; denies property owners of the right to use their land for the pursuit of life, liberty and happiness; allows for the destruction of the country’s economic well being; and abdicates this nation’s sovereignty to International powers, to name a few.

Today, in a Townhall.com article, written by Taylor Smith of the Heartland Institute, many of the very exact same things I wrote about in 2007 are brought to the forefront for discussion as to why she believes it is Time to Endanger the Endangered Species Act.

Smith claims that, as we saw when Congress passed Obamacare, when Congress passed the Endangered Species Act and President Nixon signed it into law, nobody in Congress had a clue as to what was in the bill. With my ever growing disdain for all politicians and the growing proof that few do their jobs, tell the truth or even have a clue as to what truth might be, I think that probably Congress did pass a bill in which most had no clue. But just as important, I believe there were enough of the “connected insiders” that knew exactly what was in that bill and perhaps a handful of others that did know were threatened in order to keep their mouths shut. That is the power of the Environmental Movement.

We see evidence each and everyday of a growing number of disgruntled Americans of Endangered Species Act fallout. This becomes very important to people when the effects of environmentalism hit at home. While some of us worked diligently with lawmakers to see about getting effective amendments to the ESA, and while progress was being made, those with less patience derailed our efforts and instead opted to take the route once taken in Tennessee with the Telico Dam, and got Congress to pass a budget bill with a “rider” attached that would effectively exempt gray wolves in Idaho and Montana from ESA protection along with preventing any further lawsuits against the action. Is this how we want to do business? That legal door swings in at least two directions.

What I find troubling in the Townhall article is the suggested remedy for some of the ESA problems. There is a call for a governmental program where money will be used to pay private landowners for their losses when government steals their lands and rights on that land in order to protect species and species habitat. What could possibly go wrong? It is wrong for government to practice “illegal takings” without compensation. This effort might help in reducing public ill feelings toward the Endangered Species Act, but like with most issues these days, does nothing to take a bite out of the real problems of the ESA.

Just the other day I was watching an interview with Thomas Sowell. In that interview, Sowell points out that after the Stock Market crash of 1929, it wasn’t until after President Roosevelt forced his socialistic welfare programs onto the American people that unemployment skyrocketed and the economy went to hell. This is the problem with government.

When you take a law like the ESA and have it administered by government, a government that is corrupt in addition to using non governmental organizations, many of which are environmental puppets of government, the effort becomes tyrannical in nature.

Government never solves government’s problems!

Scrap the ESA, seriously amend the Equal Access to Justice Act, and place ALL management of wildlife in the hands of the states. Reasonable protection of species, as described in the ESA, does not place that effort above the needs of human existence. What is wrong with us?

WHINE: Wolves Can Be Shot on Private Land Within National Park

“The Wyoming Game & Fish Department will take the lead in responding to wildlife management issues on privately-owned lands within the park, and will coordinate with park staff when necessary and appropriate,”<<<Read More>>>

Insanity and Diversions

Insanity is running rampant in our world, filling the airwaves and media platforms with tons of diversions, i.e. meaningless, nonsense. Here’s some examples:

1. Logging leads to long-term release of carbon from soils in Northeastern hardwood forests

This report is loaded with “maybes” and “mights,” all classical examples of “creating new knowledge” and “shifting paradigms.” Utter useless nonsense.

2. New Jersey bear hunt fueled by emotion over mauling death

Blow-back from the bear mauling death of a Rutgers University Student, delusional people, more interested in romantic notions of bears, blame everyone and everything for why bears attack people. In this case, let’s blame it on hunting and sound proven wildlife management. Remember, these clowns have been brainwashed into believing that “we must change the way in which we discuss wildlife management.”

3. California bans coyote hunts that offer prizes

From the article linked to above, we read: “Awarding prizes for wildlife killing contests is both unethical and inconsistent with our modern understand[ing] of natural systems.” By some totalitarian socialist it is perceived as unethical and because of intense training since birth, believe it is their appointed duty to force their ethics down the throats of other people. However, note the part of the comment that says that coyote derbies WITH PRIZES, is, “inconsistent with our modern understanding of natural systems.” (emphasis added)

This is another classic example of the ongoing effort to “create new understanding,” and “create new knowledge,” and “changing the way we discuss wildlife management.” Modern understanding is absolute post-normal, new-science, scientism at its finest. Also, utter nonsense.

4. More lynx being trapped in Maine, but reasons in dispute

Blinded by hatred of American heritage, all things normal and humans in general, in Maine, totalitarian, animal rights booger men say that because Maine was issued an Incidental Take Permit (ITP) for trapping by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, more Canada lynx are being caught in traps. The idiocy here is that the only thing, as it pertains to trapping, that has changed is that Maine designated 22,000 acres of public lands to protect the Canada lynx. None of the already strict trapping guidelines have changed from the Consent Decree that was signed and in affect until such time as an ITP could be obtained.

So, what has changed that might be causing a few more Canada lynx to be “incidentally” caught and released unharmed? How about the fact that when lynx were declared a “threatened” species in Maine, the lie was there were fewer than 500 of the animals. Today, Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife guesstimate there are closer to 1,000 – 1,500. One with a brain might conclude that having 2 to 3 times the number of Canada lynx might play a role in a few more lynx being “incidentally” trapped and released unharmed. But let’s not let sensibility stand in the way of human hatred and animal perversion.

Idaho Fish and Game Commission Directs Agency to Return to Citizen Mandated Consumptive Wildlife Management

IDFGLogo2*Editor’s Note* – George Dovel, editor of The Outdoorsman, is the master of truthful, accurate reporting/journalism of Idaho’s outdoors. With his life-long pride of accuracy and substantiation of information made available to the public, his reputation cannot be outdone by anyone. It is for this reason, “someone” sought out Mr. Dovel in order to allow him to break to the public this news, that, quite frankly, still has me baffled.

I am deeply humbled that Mr. Dovel has provided to me his story with a request to publish it beyond The Outdoorsman and offer my own comments. He writes: “I’m emailing this to [you] now and I hope you publish it with whatever comments you may choose.”

I had not seriously thought such an action as is described below was possible. In addition to remaining the perpetual skeptic that I was born to be, this action to return Idaho’s fish and game management to what it was voted to be in 1938 by the citizens of Idaho and reinforced in 2012 with a constitutional amendment to protect hunting, trapping and fishing, I cannot believe that this effort will not go unmolested by those, I am sure, who must be boiling with anger inside.

While not a cure all, and is sure to have little effect on the mass movement to “create new knowledge” and “change the way we discuss wildlife management,” which is the foundation of the destruction of real, scientific wildlife management, what an incredible bright spot, in consideration of the bravery of those Idaho commissioners, and seemingly IDFG’s Director Virgil Moore, that the windfall of brainwashed paradigm-shifted, nonsense being perpetuated by agenda-driven environmentalists, hasn’t completely taken over everyone’s minds.

What has, at least since wolf (re)introduction, been the co-option of normal fish and game management by post normal science management into Idaho’s Fish and Game Department, we can certainly expect real opposition to this effort and creative ways to destroy what has now been started.

George Dovel has written for years that IDFG did not have the right to rewrite or make up how they wanted to operate as a government wildlife management agency. I have read so many times his words, they are burned into my brain – “IDFG has to get approval from the Legislature” to alter management of wildlife.

It is not mere coincidence that we are now seeing Dovel’s efforts pay off.

If for no other reason, please, please, please, subscribe to The Outdoorsman and/or make a donation so that this valuable resource will never be lost. It costs lots of money to create and publish this work and it can’t be done by one man and his meager resources. Please click on the link to the right of this page, print out a subscription form and help support this valuable cause. Thank you!

The NEW Idaho Fish and Game Agenda
Please Read This Carefully and Save It
By George Dovel

(NOTE: In March of 2004, I quit working within the system as Gov. Phil Batt had recommended nine years earlier, and began publishing this new version of The Outdoorsman. Thirty years earlier when we halted the original paid publication, it had accomplished its goal and a new Fish and Game Director, with help from thousands of hunters and their legislators, demanded a return to honesty and scientifically managed game populations.

The following emails forwarded from Commission Chairman Fred Trevey to former F&G Commissioner Tony McDermott last month, prove what can happen when Fish and Game Commissioners with courage and integrity are provided the facts they need to do their job: – ED)

From: fred.trevey@idfg.idaho.gov
To: mcmule@msn.com
Subject: FW: The Contact-September 2014
Date: Sun, 14 Sep 2014 16:30:17 +0000

Tony–FOR YOUR INFORMATION. Below are my comments to our sportsman’s coffee last week and the communication to all employees we asked Virgil to send out. The message is clear—we are in the fishing, hunting and trapping business. I’ll send you some more info stuff later as we dial in direction that reflects the commission’s expectations.

SPORTSMAN’S COFFEE —– SEPTEMBER 9, 2014
–LAP will remain unchanged (brief background) –Focus on Mission–75th anniversary
75 years ago, the Fish & Game Mission was set by citizen initiative in 1938. It is set forth in Idaho Code 36-103 (a) “Wildlife Policy. All wildlife, including all wild animals, wild birds, and fish, within the state of Idaho, is hereby declared to be the property of the state of Idaho. It shall be preserved, protected, perpetuated, and managed. It shall be only captured or taken at such times or places, under such conditions, or by such means, or in such manner, as will preserve, protect, and perpetuate such wildlife, and provide for the citizens of this state and, as by law permitted to others, continued supplies of such wildlife for hunting, fishing and trapping.”

This mission statement provides a clear and definitive statement directing the conservation of all of Idaho’s wildlife and also equally clear direction to manage wildlife for “continued supplies of such wildlife for hunting, fishing and trapping”.

The majority of Idahoan’s values relative to wildlife have remained essentially unchanged over the past 75 years.
The initiative creating the mission was approved by 76% of voters in 1938 and the Constitutional amendment guaranteeing the right to hunt, fish and trap passed by 75% in 2012. Further, the amendment highlights the preferred method of managing Idaho’s wildlife populations is regulated hunting, fishing and trapping.

However, today there is a small group of folks that do not believe in consumptive use of wildlife and would prefer management that permits a “let nature to take its course” philosophy. They especially disagree with predator management.

The Commission firmly disagrees with this philosophy.

Our current economic model of funding based predominantly on hunter and angler user fees has long served us well and it is the main reason wildlife populations recovered after market hunting nearly wiped out big game early in the 20th century.

From time to time in the life of any organization it is important to step back and take stock of how well the organization is holding true to its mission.

Given the pressures the Commission experiences that seek to change or at least adopt modifications to the basic mission, (which by the way we have no authority to do—only the legislature can and I very much doubt that will happen any time soon) we decided to ask the Director to help us reconfirm the Department’s dedication to the basic mission and focus Department personnel on managing our fish and wildlife resources, using scientific principles, for PEOPLE as job number one. It has been proven through the years that if this job is done well, then all wildlife benefits, thereby satisfying both consumptive and non-consumptive desires. Sportsmen need to be proud of their support and accomplishment through the years.

This week the Director will provide direction to all Department personnel concerning the expectations outlined in the 1938 Mission statement. And, that the Department’s primary role and responsibility is to manage fish and wildlife for people to have the opportunity to continue to enjoy hunting, fishing and trapping.

From: Moore,Virgil Sent: Tuesday, September 09, 2014 1:20 PM Subject: The Contact-September 2014
Idaho Fish and Game Director’s Newsletter September 2014 From the Director’s Office [Director Virgil Moore]

Director Responds to Confluence Café Report

I have reviewed the Confluence Café report http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/internal/email/contact/confluence/2014_0521_IDFG_ConfluenceCafeSummary.pdf from the 2014 ISTS and I promised to share my perspectives about the input provided, and how I intend to put it to use. The theme of ISTS this year was to focus on Fish and Game’s financial state (“Are we in business?”) and an evaluation of our budgeted activities (“What business are we in?”). I focused on the results that are related to the Idaho Fish and Game mission from Round 4 of the Café that asked the questions: What most needs our collective focused attention and what will this require? and Suggested Actions of the Café as information for IFG leadership to use as it rolls up the collective thinking of IFG staff to strategically position programs and revenue. Information about our financial state and internal communication actions from this Café exercise will be a separate communication coming out soon.

We structured the ISTS to provide you with an overview of, and refresher about the Idaho Fish and Game mission, our public trust responsibilities, including hearing from trustees (Commissioners and legislators) and beneficiaries (hunters, anglers and various publics) so we as managers would better understand our legal responsibilities to this public trust. I believe the speaker panels illustrated the challenges we face in meeting those responsibilities. While I am committed to using many of the suggestions you collectively identified in the Café document to help all of us be a more effective management team, there are several key themes in the Café report that I will not take any action on. These are specifically related to our mission, agency name and use of general tax funds. Some examples from the Café summary are:

· The role of the Department is to provide wildlife opportunities (e.g. harvest, viewing) to the public. This broader view is inconsistent with the current funding model. · The scope of Fish & Game services goes beyond sport activities. The Department’s name and brand should reflect the breadth of its services.

· Change the name of the Department to better reflect its mission (the mission is beyond “fish and game”).

· Modify the mission statement to explicitly include management of wildlife habitat (not just wildlife), and recognition of the intrinsic values and non-consumptive uses of fish and wildlife.

· Get general funding or sales tax for non-game and plant habitat work.

My message to all of you about our name and Mission is simple and hopefully crystal clear – I do not support any actions that recommend a change in the Fish and Game name, Mission, components of our logo or moving away from the user pay/user benefit funding model as our dominant revenue stream to the Fish and Game budgets.

The Fish and Game Mission and name were set by citizen initiative in 1938, gaining approval of 76% of the voters. The Mission Statement therefore belongs to the public and it is not within agency or commission purview to change. The Mission not only includes a clear and definitive statement directing the conservation (preserve, protect, perpetuate) of all of Idaho’s wildlife, but provides clear direction to manage wildlife for “continued supplies of such wildlife for hunting, fishing and trapping”. The Mission was further reinforced by the overwhelming support (75% of voters) for the 2012 constitutional amendment that preserves the public’s right to hunt, fish and trap and states this is the preferred method of managing Idaho’s wildlife populations via regulated hunting, fishing and trapping.

In this day and age of polarization on many issues with narrow margins, the overwhelming support for hunting, fishing and trapping gives the conservation and management message of the Idaho Fish and Game mission strong contemporary support. This continues to help us as an agency in meeting the vast majority of our public’s expectations. We are a public trust management agency providing benefits to Idahoans with a specific direction to preserve, protect and perpetuate (i.e. conserve) and once that is done, our paramount role is to provide for continued supplies for hunting, fishing, and trapping; harvest of wildlife is implicit in the Mission statement.

Idaho Fish and Game, both the agency and Commission, continues to garner one of the highest levels of positive public opinion relative to other entities dealing with the conservation of Idaho’s natural resources, well over 70% in a 2013 poll. I believe this is due to the work all of us have done, and collectively do, for the beneficiaries of that public trust – Idaho citizens. Our current economic model of funding based predominantly on hunter and angler user fees for Fish and Game’s management activities has long been a key and successful aspect of the North American Model of Wildlife Management in Idaho – the most successful approach to wildlife conservation ever taken on a large scale in the world.

So, coming from this perspective, quite frankly I was troubled by a number of outcomes from Confluence Café exercise focused on these issues. The café was intended to provide a venue for folks to give input to our agency leadership about the important conservation and management work we do for Idahoans as the managers of this public trust. By and large I believe we missed that mark by failing to consider our role is as the manager of Idaho’s wildlife public trust. Clearly we are in business and our “business” is the effective conservation (preserve, protect, perpetuate) and stewardship (management) of Idaho’s wildlife, providing benefits for hunting, fishing, and trapping that come with healthy and secure wildlife populations.

The Commission (via Governor appointment) and the legislature are the trustees of the public’s wildlife. The Commission’s role is to provide the public, as the trust beneficiaries, with sustainable use of that trust. As fish and wildlife (trust) managers, we have to be responsible to our legal role to advise the trustees, ascertain what constitutes sustainability, and determine to the best of our ability what kind of trust output the public (beneficiaries) desires (see ISTS Public Trust Doctrine presentation http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/internal/email/contact/confluence/IDaho_ISTS_PTD.pptx). While we all care deeply about the agency and have invested some or most of our professional lives to it, it does not make it ours. It’s the people’s agency. In my view, our highest priority role is to effectively communicate with both beneficiaries and trustees on what constitutes stewardship, and to do so with a strong scientific foundation. Once the Commission or legislature makes a decision, our role is to implement it effectively. We have an exceptionally talented and highly trained work force, and that is what we are hired to do.

To sum this up, the Department’s primary role and responsibility is to manage wildlife for people. We all know our mission is broad, and it includes all wildlife – but managing fish and wildlife for people is what we are charged to do and we need to make sure that continues to be done, and done well. As an agency, we have been exceptionally successful under the guidance of our Mission statement that all wildlife of Idaho “…shall be preserved, protected and perpetuated and managed”. Indeed, Idaho’s wildlife resources are world class, both in terms of diversity and representation of species, and in terms of the opportunities and experiences it affords Idahoans and our guests. That’s testimony to the work you do, and the work of our predecessors, adapting to changing times and societal demands as we implement the North American Model of Wildlife Management. Our success is a large part of what makes Idaho such a special place to hunt, fish and generally enjoy wildlife. A success predominately supported by the people who are hunters and anglers and carried out by you, as Fish and Game staff, who are the best and most dedicated professionals anywhere.

For my 37 years with Idaho Fish and Game, our Mission statement has been the single most important guide to me in all aspects of my activities as a fishery and wildlife management professional. It is the rock I come back to relative to who we are and what we do for the public we serve, and I refer to it regularly. Please take a few minutes to do the same, and use it to guide your daily activities as we strive to make Idaho a better place for fish and wildlife, hunters and anglers, and all of the citizens who benefit from this incredible resource.

Virgil Moore, Director

(NOTE: Director Moore enclosed a copy of the 1938 mission statement declared to be Idaho Wildlife Policy as I.C. Sec. 36-103. That mission statement is strongly reinforced in its last sentence which states, “The commission is not authorized to change such policy but only to administer it.”

My wife and I wish to express our heartfelt thanks to the Idaho Fish and Game Commissioners and to all who have made this first important step possible. We still need and sincerely appreciate your donations to help support the vital information we provide and distribute. – ED)