July 17, 2018

A question of “Science”?

The following question was sent to a colleague recently”

Question: “Was the Arctic Gray Wolf EVER native to Washington State?”

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The following response to that question comes from another colleague who is coincidentally a retired University professor in Canada for whom I have the greatest respect.

The gray wolves are all one species, and the subspecies game is highly questionable. There are indications that a very few local wolves did exist in the west before the release of wolves from Alberta. I only saw one picture of a wolf in Yellowstone before the release, and it was simply a large, black wolf, no different from what I had seen in Canada. Size is not a taxonomic criterion, because wolves increase in size markedly with good nutrition and shrink in size with poor food availability. The large wolves from Alberta released in Yellowstone merely came from a good wolf habitat.”

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Though in no way dissatisfied with that response, this old bureaucrat (me) added the following government-science perspective: 

The last political-correctness-free treatise on the Wolves of North America is oddly enough the name of the 1944 book by Stanley Young.  He was a Bureau of Biological Survey/USFWS (the modern name) trapper, control agent and finally a bigwig in Washington over the old Predator & Rodent Control Division going back to WWI and he was all over the place doing all manner of things.

In his 650-page tome full of pictures (the one of the red wolf/hound dog cross on a chain in Missouri is priceless) he treats the wolf as a species.  He pictures many coyote/dog/wolf crosses and innocently explains that they interbreed freely and the pups are all viable and completely capable of transferring their genes to either wild or domestic “cousins” for posterity.

That said I always hear echoes of that high school/college/biological historic definition of an animal Species when I am discussing Species, i.e. “animals with similar characteristics capable of interbreeding and producing viable offspring.”.  By that definition, a horse is a separate species from a donkey because the mule is not viable.  Ergo, a dog is a wolf is a coyote is a dingo, in fact all one “species”.  I mention this to provide what they call “full disclosure” of my belief. 

Mr. Young, whom I never met but have always held in high regard treats the wolf “species” Canis Lupus as having 23 “subspecies” on a map on page 414.  Each subspecies name credits some long-gone biologist as their discoverer (i.e. given the privilege of “naming” their “discovery”).  The North America map is covered exception for Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi and Florida(?) from Southern Mexico to Greenland and all the Islands between Greenland and Canada with 23 “subspecies”.  There is no “Arctic” wolf mentioned.  The closest is those wolves Canis lupus tundrarum found in the “tundra region of NW Alaska; south to the Noatak Valley.  Intergrading to the south with pambasileus, and east along the along the arctic coast with mackenzii.”

I mention all this to show how our biological perceptions have changed with scientific advancements driven in this case all too much by political opportunism and the hidden agendas of rich environmental/animal rights extremism.  This is so distorted because the government bureaucrats and radicals came up with the ESA claims and regulations that (insert any animal here) implement the Endangered Species Act.   

So, the erstwhile bureaucrat writing regulations and staging faux court cases for “precedents” finds the “Beers’ Grass Mouse”Peromyscus Beersii to be “endangered”.  As our bureaucrat toils at his computer and while at coffee he decides and shares with fellow bureaucrats that, “We are really “saving habitat” (i.e. people-free zones infinitely expanding) and not just animals, so we “must save not only:

  • The Species Beers’ Grass Mouse Peromyscus Beersii found throughout the Great Plains but more specifically;
  • The Subspecies Beers’ Big-Eyed Grass Mouse Peromyscus Beersii magna luscus found in the Eastern Prairies and more specifically;
  • The Race Black Beers’ Big-Eyed Grass Mouse Peromyscus Beersii magna luscus negris found “only” in the Eastern Woodlands/Prairie interface and more specifically;
  • The Population Indiana Black Beers’ Big-Eyed Grass Mouse Peromyscus Beersii magna luscus negris indianus) AND EVEN – drumroll please;
  • The Distinct Population Southern Indiana Black Beers’ Big-Eyed Grass Mouse Peromyscus Beersii magna luscus negris indianus meridionalis) AND EVEN;
  • (Full band roll here) The Distinct Population Segment Larry Bird County Southern Indiana Black Beers’ Big-Eyed Grass MousePeromyscus Beersii magna luscus negris indianus meridionalis larrybbirduscountyii found “only” in Larry Bird County, Indiana! 

All such nonsense has come to mean access to billions of dollars, millions of acres of private property and unquestioned, unconstitutional and unlimited power for the central government and radicals over a once free Nation.  You see there is probably a dam or pipeline permit application somewhere in Larry Bird County, Indiana that would benefit taxpayers, the economy, rural communities, rural families and could, if anyone cared to try anymore, benefit the human ecosystem and the natural aspects of that system but it will never happen: The Critical Habitat Declaration for the Larry Bird County Southern Indiana Black Beers’ Big-Eared Grass Mouse kills the project and they are cheering in Washington Offices and on the North Shore patios of environmental radicals in Chicago.  Welcome to the world of government “science” “saving” “species”.

Val (the retired professor quoted in the first answer) hits the nail right on the head about those “large wolves from Alberta”.  Concern about the “red” or “Mexican” et al wolves is disguised in the imaginary aura of somehow involving sacred and unseen biological material and factors hidden in the Sp./Sub. Sp./Race/Pop. /Dist. Pop. /Dist. Pop. Segment. du jour.  We have sold our kids and soccer Moms that a red wolf or “Arctic” Wolf is like the rhinoceros, unique, distinct and in “need” of severe intervention by government saviors; people, property, families, rural communities, expense and Constitution be damned!

I would submit that this environmental/animal rights hysteria of the moment is, hopefully, a passing phenomenon because the subject of scientific inquiry is so distorted now that, like Diogenes with his lantern looking for an honest man; looking for an honest biologist/veterinarian today is on a par with seeking an honest bureaucrat/politician.

Jim Beers

26 June 2018

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

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George Orwell, call your office re: Wolves

The attached news report of a presentation touting the re-introduction of wolves in Colorado is so egregious, we debated even placing it on the Wolf Education International website.  Upon further examination, it was thought to be so misleading and so full of disinformation that it might serve as a useful example of how the public is manipulated and government mislead by radical and extremist views and funding.

What follows are 10 quotes (90%?) from the news report with a short comment about each.  Upon your examination, please consider them in total and you have a composite of what wildlife management as a tool of radical government has come to….  Jim Beers

The news report:

https://www.csindy.com/TheWire/archives/2018/06/18/rocky-mountain-wolf-project-calls-for-animal-reintroduction-amid-pushback

Comments:

1). “Though native, wolves have not roamed Colorado since the 1940s, when unregulated hunting pushed populations to the brink of extinction.” 

  • Comment:  Wolves were not pushed “to the brink of extinction” by “unregulated hunting”.  They were hunted; chased by possees on horseback; trapped; poisoned; snared; and otherwise “controlled” by ranchers, bounty hunters, federal trappers and state trappers with the express goal of exterminating them for a period of almost 100 years.  This is just as they were exterminated in the British Isles, in fact, Irish Wolfhounds were bred expressly to hunt and kill remaining wolves in Ireland. Europeans were engaged in similar programs as recorded in writing since the time of Plato and Cicero.

2). “The animals are still listed as endangered in Colorado.”

  • Comment:  That is a Listing strictly by the state of Colorado.  It implies no responsibility or intention to re-introduce them in Colorado.  Wolves are not present in New York or New Hampshire, yet those states “list” them as “endangered” and only extremists call for their restoration.  This is true of many other states that “list” animals that they have no intention of restoring like cougars and grizzly bears that are especially dangerous to human safety and health as well as destructive of dogs and other pets.

3). “Though seemingly unable to shed the stereotype of the “Big Bad Wolf,” statistically, wolves do not kill people.”

  • Comment: First, this a senseless sentence.  What does “statistically, wolves do not kill people” mean?  Wolves have killed people by the thousands down through the ages.  It is documented in writings and the limited reportage since Roman Times.  It is mentioned in the Middle Ages and in recent times.  It is mentioned circumpolar in Russia, Siberia, Europe and North America.  Read Wolves of North America by Stanley Young.  Read Will Graves’ Wolves in Russia. The fact that the press and governments that introduce wolves for which they recognize no responsibility kill people (recently, like Kenton Carnegie in Saskatchewan, the school teacher on the Alaskan Peninsula, the two ladies in Craters of the Moon in Idaho, the vacationing lady in N Wisconsin and all the annual deaths and disfigurements in Russia, Eastern Europe, Central Europe and Siberia etc.) is the only basis for and belie this specious claim worded like a child’s bad English grammar homework. 

4). “[Historically] wolves don’t pose a threat to human safety,” Phillips told the audience, throwing his hands up emphatically. “That’s just a fact.”

  • Comment:  Repeating a lie (when spoken by an “expert as purported in the Introduction it is a lie); when spoken by someone that does not know better it is either misinformation or propaganda spoken for a host of reasons.

5). “But just three weeks prior to Phillips’ presentation, Mesa County Commissioners unanimously passed a resolution to oppose any efforts to expand or reintroduce wolves in the county, citing threats to moose populations and livestock, and the spread of disease. Phillips says it’s rare for a wolf to kill livestock, and if/when it does the wolf is older, or injured, and it’s not normal pack behavior.”

  • Comment:  I. Ask yourself, “who is Mr. Phillips or for that matter his coterie of national environmental extremists financing his campaigns, to ignore the opposition of the people of Mesa County opposing any wolf reintroduction”?  If the people of a County and their elected representatives oppose such action, the intentions of those in other Counties or states for that matter should respect those legitimate wishes.

II It is as rare for wolves to kill livestock as for foxes to kill mice.  They must eat and livestock has always been a good meal, far more vulnerable to capture than swift wild animals.  They kill as much livestock as they want and can get away with.  They even kill many domestic animals at a time for “fun” as in the hundred + sheep driven off a cliff recently in Idaho.

III. Wolves are no more “normal” than coyotes or the family pet when hungry or excited or just plain “wild” as when Fido runs off with a pack of dogs to harass and kill domestic animals until stopped. “Normal” means “expected”, not “only”.

6). “Between 1997 and 2015, Phillips says 117 cattle were killed by wolves in the Northern Rocky Mountains. That’s 0.002 percent of an estimated six million cattle during that time. He also notes that ranchers are compensated for their loss when it does happen. The 2009 Omnibus Public Lands Management Act authorized up to $140,000 per eligible state from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service for wolf loss compensation and preventing future conflicts. The Act replaced Defenders of Wildlife‘s Wolf Compensation Trust, which paid $1.4 million over 23 years to compensate ranchers. Defenders of Wildlife, which works to protect native animals and their habitats, contributes funds to help states initiate wolf compensation programs. In lieu of the Wolf Compensation Trust, Defender’s created the Wolf Coexistence Partnership, which works with ranchers on nonlethal techniques to keep wolves from livestock.”

Comment:  The Defenders of Wildlife illegitimately “administered” this public relations scheme for the US Fish and Wildlife (whose Director at the time went on to be the top person in Defenders of Wildlife after resigning when the Political Party of the President changed.  Less than 10 % of the claims were even recognized due to the lateness of investigation and the anti-livestock orientation of the DoW investigators.  Ask ranchers in Montana and Idaho about this natural resource Ponzi Scheme that was only meant to spread wolves by protecting them.  “Nonlethal techniques to keep wolves from livestock” are another chimera intended to delay wolf management to make ranching less profitable and vulnerable to buyouts like the current American Prairie Restoration land scheme in central Montana.  There is no evidence that nonlethal control techniques (Fladry, range riders, aversion agents, dogs, exploders, sheds, etc.) are not temporary at best and often quite expensive and impractical. Look no further than your pet dog and imagine some deterrent that, while he is unrestrained, he does not figure out when hungry or when he really wants something beyond it.

7). “As for the threat to the moose population and of disease, Phillips says wolves rarely hunt moose because of their size, and disease is also rare.”

  • Comment:  I. This may be the biggest lie in this presentation.  Wolves all but wiped out moose in Yellowstone in 10 years.  Wolves so decimated the Minnesota moose herd that moose hunting was abandoned about six years ago and will likely never be resumed.  Wolves decimated the moose population on Isle Royale, a large island in Lake Superior.  Wolves decimated the moose herd in E Washington.  Wolves kill moose in Finland and will decimate herds in 5 to 10 years if not controlled.  Alaskan periodic wolf control from planes and on the ground is done mostly for moose and the moose rebounds after a significant number of wolves are taken.
  1. As to “wolves rarely hunt moose because of their size”: it is precisely because of their size and vulnerability, especially in timber, that wolves zero in on moose.  All moose from unborn calves torn from the still living mother to cow moose and bulls are preferred prey. Moose give birth in certain habitat covers that wolves learn to frequent.  Moose caught by several wolves in timber are vulnerable to being hamstrung as the wolves feint in and out and the animal can neither flee nor defend itself.
  • Comment:   How misleading is it for an “expert” to say a state-authorized wolf management program forced on a State by the federal government to maintain so many wolves in such and such area is something wherein “wolves are considered predatory and can be killed without consequence”?   It also tells the reader a lot that, “Although Colorado Parks and Wildlife wouldn’t stop a natural repopulation” because this state agency is trying to please their pro-wolf urban constituency they aren’t opposed to wolves while telling their rural constituency that they won’t force wolves on them.  This has become a national phenomenon during the recent rise in federal power and money resulting in many, what are often called, state agencies that try to canoe down a river with each foot in a different canoe.  Mesa County and western Colorado need support, not platitudes.

9). “A recent Outside Podcast questions the theory of how reintroduction of top-down predators can create a trickle effect on an ecosystem, and how much credit wolf reintroduction should get for the health of the Yellowstone ecosystem over the last 20 years. According to Outside, the benefits of wolves are exaggerated, not giving enough credit to increases in other predators like grizzlies, or the effects of drought, which also contribute to the thinning of elk and deer herds. (Thinning herds makes for healthier woodlands, according to Outside.)”

  • Comment:  I. “Trickle effect” like the following “trophic cascade” are simply words that say nothing but are intended to assuage the consciences of those that might be hesitant to importune their rural neighbors with something that harms them and their families.  They are terms denoting “change” as in the weather changes.
    Health of the ecosystem” fits into the same category.  You either have the “up and down” chaos of a “natural” or “untouched” ((meaning NO people) ecosystem or you have the managed ecosystem of a settled and human-inhabited landscape wherein the interface between humans and “the ecosystem” is managed to be beneficial to humans and wildlife or not beneficial to either.  In our Constitutional Republic, the people should have the final say about the ecosystem THEY live in.
  • II.  As to contributing to the thinning of elk and deer herds. (Thinning herds makes for healthier woodlands)”.  If all these “Johnny Come Lately” claims of wolf benefits (willows along the stream, native plants, etc.) were legitimate, why didn’t federal Yellowstone Rangers, for instance, “thin the herds of elk and buffalo” for decades and decades?  Why were hunter’s bag limits not increased by state agencies?  Where were all these “(willows along the stream, native plants, etc.)” advocates for years? Ask yourself, where are they now?

10). “But Phillips and his colleagues counter that wolves, over time, can restore balance to an ecosystem if they exist in large enough numbers. In the Yellowstone example, multiple pack reintroduction thinned deer and elk herds and increased herd movement. That movement not only aerates the soil and creates healthier woodlands, but also increases competition between coyotes and wolves, and decreases predation on smaller mammals. This is all in line with the idea of Trophic Cascade, and the trickle-down affects everything down to waterways and aquatic life.”

  • Comment:  What is “balance”?  There are times and places where plant thinning or reductions are desired for renewal or fire fuel reduction.  What in the Good Lord’s name is the “decreases predation on smaller mammals” all about?  Should we consider reducing fox populations or hawks and owls?  My silliness here pales in comparison to the absurdity of such claims.  Ditto for ”aerates the soil and creates healthier woodlands”.

11) “Western Colorado represents a true mother-load of ecological habitat for the gray wolf,” he says. “All we have to do is put them back.”

  • Comment:  A cute closing quip for a flawed proposal and philosophy.

Jim Beers

24 June 2018

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.

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Repeating False History of Wolves

The other day I was reading an article in which the author quoted a section of Maine’s Game Management Plan for deer. The portion quoted that caught my eye was: “In the 19th century, extirpation of wolves and cougars from Maine allowed deer to further expand and increase in number essentially unencumbered by predation.”

The use of the term “extirpate” is interestingly convenient. According to an Online definition and from Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary, extirpate is defined as “root out and destroy completely” and/or “to destroy completely; wipe out.” Upon further examination of “wipe out” I discovered: “the act or an instance of wiping out: complete or utter destruction; a fall or crash caused usually by losing control”.

It would, therefore, be safe to conclude that to extirpate something – in this case, wolves and cougars in Maine – would involve the deliberate act of men to purposely, or without knowledge, “completely destroy” and wipe out populations of these predators. Is this factual history?

I guess that depends on who you talk to and what you choose to believe according to what most conveniently fits your agenda, ideology, and narrative.

The use of the term extirpate, which points a big fat accusatory finger at evil men, is forever used when any form of wildlife disappears or more accurately within this lopsided and misinformed society when wildlife doesn’t appear in numbers to satisfy the social demands of some.

To environmentalists and to animal rights perverts, Man is evil. They cause about as much chaos as global warming – which is also caused by man in their eyes – and at the same time hunting causes wildlife species to grow. According to the expert EnvironMENTALists, hunting, fishing, and trapping has and is causing the extirpation of wildlife species every day, and yet, when convenient, that same action causes species like predators to magically perform some sort of compensatory increase in sexual activity and a boost in reproductive rates. Scientism on full display, bolstered by Romance Biology and Voodoo Science.

According to the quote by the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW), wolves and cougars in Maine were extirpated (by men) in the 19th Century and this act caused the population of deer to grow “unencumbered by predation.”

I have not spent a lot of time read searching cougars in Maine but I have studied the history of wolves and coyotes in Maine quite extensively. It appears that MDIFW, and all willing and eager True Believers, want to believe that man by deliberate intention “completely destroyed” the wolf population in the state. And yet, there is little history that supports that statement.

History is loaded with accounts of the troubles that Mainers had with wolves dating back into the 1600s and yet little is written about many wolves being killed for those actions, not necessarily due to lack of trying.

Actual historic accounts of wolves in Maine, show their presence but, like the deer population, there was no honest way of knowing what the real population of wolves was other than anecdotal evidence. It is more convenient for us to make up population estimates pertaining to history in order to complete our narratives.

In some cases, there were bounties established in hopes of ridding the residents of depredation attacks on their livestock, but there is no history that shows a systematic approach to “extirpate” the wolf and cougar from the Maine landscape.

Aside from the fur of the wolf during the winter months, neither animal had much value – certainly, it was not a food source. It isn’t to say that the open season on wolves and cougars didn’t contribute to the control of these predators, but history simply doesn’t give a blanket cause and effect of what happened to both of these large predators, especially to be able to continue to state that man extirpated these beasts – directly or indirectly.

Sometimes we get so caught up in our angst and eagerness to blame the existence of the human race on everything, including global warming, we put aside honest historical and scientific research and take the easy way out. Such is the case here I’m afraid.

Maine’s historical accounts of wolves actually show an interesting phenomenon – or at least from my perspective based on my read search. Maine also used to have caribou roaming about the countryside, mostly found in the northern half of the state. It is either unforgotten or never learned that wolves, will eat deer but prefer elk, moose, and/or caribou. But let’s also not forget that when hungry and wolf will eat anything, including dirt to stop the hunger pangs.

Maine history tells us that when wolves and cougars were part of the countryside, deer migrated south, away from the large predators, and often took up residence on the islands off the coast of the Pine Tree State – their learned adaptation for survival.

Environmentalists eagerly want to blame the actions of man for the “extirpation” of the caribou. At the time caribou were present in Maine, there were little management and regulatory guidelines to ensure sustainability. But, like the wolf, did man “extirpate” the caribou from Maine?

Not according to many historical documents. Perhaps more accurately we see an interesting phenomenon that happened in Maine. It is written by some historians that suddenly the caribou, for reasons at the time unexplained, simply migrated out of the state and likely found their way into Canada. Whether directly related or not, along with the departure of the caribou, disappeared the wolf – the common sense explanation given that the wolves simply followed their preferred food source.

As a society, we tend to hate men and their actions, while at the same time near worshiping animals and extolling their intelligence. Some animals are quite crafty and to ensure survival, these animals learn to adapt.

Man, on the other hand, was given a brain, and while at times I might question whether we know how to use it, generally speaking, we have used our brains to figure out there must be limits and plans devised and carried out in order to maintain wildlife populations. For the most part, these actions have done remarkable things where most negative consequences seem to be the result of actions by environmentalism and animal rights groups, i.e. perpetuating and protecting large predators at the expense of other more valuable species such as game animals as a useful resource.

I might suggest that it would do a world of good if men would learn to use that brain a bit more to discover the full truth of historical wildlife accounts and stop repeating what somebody else said simply because you like it or it sounds good. That does no good for anybody.

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Strange Dog/Wolf-like Creature Shot in Montana Turns Out to Be Politician

A strange dog-like creature was shot and killed on a ranch in Montana. As is usually the case with such “crypto” creatures, there is much speculation along with complete idiotic nonsense about what the creature might be.

A report from the Great Falls Tribune describes the creature as: “Several things grabbed my attention when I saw the pictures,” said Ty Smucker, wolf management specialist for Montana FWP. “The ears are too big. The legs look a little short. The feet look a little small, and the coat looks weird. There’s just something off about it.”

The only descriptive features that were left out that can be seen in the below photo are the sloped forehead, the blank look in the creature’s eyes as though there was nothing but emptiness behind them, and a big fat ass. It doesn’t take a crypto-creature specialist to determine that this is nothing but a stray politician from out of the Halls of Congress. They all look alike and act alike. It was a good thing somebody saw fit to shoot it.

 

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We’re All Gonna Die! Interior Proposes End to Obama Era Ban on Hunting on Alaska Preserves

*Editor’s Note* – If you were to read and/or listen to the Press about this proposal, you’d think the end of the world has come. The Associated Press released a piece of lying, sensational, emotional drivel that is probably far from to the truth of what is really taking place.

In brief, the proposal repeals most of the bans Obama placed on hunting and methods of hunting on Alaska public lands. This proposal puts much more control of how wildlife is managed in Alaska back in the hands of state wildlife managers and out of the hands of bureaucratic morons in Washington and their Environmentalist buddies.

Generally speaking, state wildlife managers have a better idea of how their wildlife should be managed and they need tools available to them to do that. It doesn’t necessarily mean all those hunting and trapping methods become free range. To state otherwise is irresponsible, emotional, and borders on criminal.

However, below is the actual proposal as can be found in the Federal Register. Unlike the Press, who NEVER provide links to the actual resource out of fear you might read it and discover their lies, I am posting it below for you to read and decide for yourself if we are all gonna die.

Action

Proposed rule.

Summary

The National Park Service proposes to amend its regulations for sport hunting and trapping in national preserves in Alaska. This proposed rule would remove a regulatory provision issued by the National Park Service in 2015 that prohibited certain sport hunting practices that are otherwise permitted by the State of Alaska. These proposed changes are consistent with Secretary of the Interior Orders 3347 and 3356.

Dates

Comments on the proposed rule must be received by 11:59 p.m. EST on July 23, 2018.

Addresses

You may submit comments, identified by Regulation Identifier Number (RIN) 1024-AE38, by either of the following methods:

  • Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments.
  • Mail or hand deliver to: National Park Service, Regional Director, Alaska Regional Office, 240 West 5th Ave., Anchorage, AK 99501.
  • Instructions: Comments will not be accepted by fax, email, or in any way other than those specified above. All submissions received must include the words “National Park Service” or “NPS” and must include the docket number or RIN (1024-AE38) for this rulemaking. Comments received will be posted without change to http://www.regulations.gov,including any personal information provided.
  • Docket: For access to the docket to read background documents or comments received, go to http://www.regulations.gov.

For Further Information Contact

Herbert C. Frost, Regional Director, Alaska Regional Office, 240 West 5th Ave., Anchorage, AK 99501. Phone (907) 644-3510. Email: AKR_Regulations@nps.gov.

Supplementary Information

Background

On October 23, 2015, the National Park Service (NPS) published a final rule (Final Rule) to amend its regulations for sport hunting and trapping in national preserves in Alaska (80 FR 64325). The Final Rule codified prohibitions on certain types of harvest practices that are otherwise permitted by the State of Alaska. The practices are: Taking any black bear, including cubs and sows with cubs, with artificial light at den sites; harvesting brown bears over bait; taking wolves and coyotes (including pups) during the denning season (between May 1 and August 9); taking swimming caribou; taking caribou from motorboats under power; taking black bears over bait; and using dogs to hunt black bears. This rule is inconsistent with State of Alaska’s hunting regulations found at 5 AAC Part 85.

Since the publication of the Final Rule, the Secretary of the Interior issued two Secretarial Orders regarding how the Department of the Interior should manage recreational hunting and trapping in the lands and waters it administers, and directing greater collaboration with state, tribe, and territorial partners in doing so.

On March 2, 2017, Secretary Zinke signed Secretarial Order 3347, Conservation Stewardship and Outdoor Recreation. Part of the stated purpose of Secretarial Order 3347 is to increase outdoor recreation and improve the management of game species and their habitat. Secretarial Order 3347 directs the Department of the Interior to identify specific actions to (1) expand access significantly for recreational hunting and fishing on public lands; and (2) improve recreational hunting and fishing cooperation, consultation, and communication with state wildlife managers.

On September 15, 2017, Secretary Zinke signed Secretarial Order 3356, Hunting, Fishing, Recreational Shooting, and Wildlife Conservation Opportunities and Coordination with State, Tribes, and Territories. Part of the stated purpose of Secretarial Order 3356 is to increase outdoor recreation opportunities for all Americans in greater collaboration with state partners, including opportunities to hunt. Secretarial Order 3356 directs the NPS to (1) identify whether hunting opportunities on Department lands could be expanded; (2) work cooperatively with state wildlife agencies to enhance their access to Department lands for wildlife management actions; (3) work cooperatively with state wildlife agencies to ensure that hunting regulations for Department lands and waters complement the regulations on the surrounding lands and waters; and (4) work in close coordination and cooperation with the appropriate state wildlife agency to begin the necessary process to modify regulations in order to advance shared wildlife conservation goals/objectives that align predator management programs, seasons, and methods of take permitted on all Department-managed lands and waters with corresponding programs, seasons, and methods established by state wildlife management agencies.

The purpose of this proposed rule is to align sport hunting regulations in national preserves in Alaska with State of Alaska regulations and to enhance consistency with harvest regulations on surrounding non-federal lands and waters in furtherance of Secretarial Orders 3347 and 3356. The proposed rule would apply the State of Alaska’s hunting regulations to national preserve lands, with limited exceptions found elsewhere in NPS regulations. See, e.g., 36 CFR 13.42(d).

The 2015 Final Rule prohibits the hunting practices otherwise permitted by the State of Alaska because NPS found those practices: (1) To have intent or potential to alter or manipulate natural predator-prey dynamics, and associated natural ecological processes for the purpose of increasing harvest of ungulates by man; (2) to adversely impact public safety; or (3) to be inconsistent with federal law authorizing sport hunting in national preserves in Alaska. However, states have primary jurisdiction to manage wildlife throughout their state. In addition, NPS has broad discretion in managing wildlife on national preserves under applicable laws, policies, and regulations.

Taking into account the Secretarial Orders described above, NPS has re-considered its earlier conclusions and determined that these previously prohibited practices can be allowed consistent with the goal of aligning its rules with those of the State. Allowing these practices is consistent with NPS Management Policy 4.4.3 which provides that NPS does not allow activities to reduce the numbers of native species for the purpose of increasing the numbers of harvested species. The discussion in the 2015 rule of an action’s “intent or potential” to manipulate predator dynamics goes beyond the plain language of section 4.4.3 of Management Policies. Additionally, the State of Alaska disputes that the hunting methods and seasons (allowed by the state but prohibited by current NPS regulations) are intended to function as a predator control program. Rather, the State asserts the hunting regulations are intended to provide opportunity for harvests of wolves, coyotes, bears, and other species as requested by the public. The State also maintains that any effects to the natural abundances, diversities, distributions, densities, age-class distributions, populations, habitats, genetics, and behaviors of wildlife from implementing its regulations are likely negligible. As noted below, NPS will prepare an environmental assessment for this regulation to determine whether it will have any significant impacts on wildlife or other resources.

With respect to the practices that NPS previously determined to be inconsistent with federal law authorizing harvest for sport purposes in national preserves in Alaska, no applicable federal law or regulation defines “sport hunting.” With regard to NPS’s statement in the 2015 rule that baiting poses an increased public safety risk, the State of Alaska’s position is that baiting does not cause bears to become food-conditioned, and therefore a greater safety concern.

Proposed Rule

For the above stated reasons, the NPS proposes to remove paragraphs (f) and (g) of 36 CFR 13.42. Paragraph (f) states that State of Alaska management actions or laws or regulations that authorize taking of wildlife are not adopted in park areas if they are related to predator reduction efforts, which is defined as efforts with the intent or potential to alter or manipulate natural predator-prey dynamics and associated natural ecological processes, in order to increase harvest of ungulates by humans. Paragraph (g) sets forth a table of prohibited methods of taking wildlife for sport purposes in national preserves in Alaska. Most of these prohibited methods are also prohibited by the State of Alaska. Some of them, however, conflict with authorizations by the State of Alaska as explained above. The NPS believes that removing paragraphs (f) and (g) would implement the directive announced in Secretarial Orders 3347 and 3356 by increasing hunting opportunities in national preserves and promoting consistency between federal regulations and state wildlife harvest regulations. In addition, the proposed rule would remove the definitions of “Big game”, “Cub bear”, “Fur animal”, and “Furbearer” from section 13.1 because those terms are only used in paragraphs (f) and (g).

Compliance With Other Laws, Executive Orders and Department Policy

Regulatory Planning and Review (Executive Orders 12866 and 13563)

Executive Order 12866 provides that the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs in the Office of Management and Budget will review all significant rules. The Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs has determined that this rule is not significant.

Executive Order 13563 reaffirms the principles of Executive Order 12866 while calling for improvements in the nation’s regulatory system to promote predictability, to reduce uncertainty, and to use the best, most innovative, and least burdensome tools for achieving regulatory ends. The executive order directs agencies to consider regulatory approaches that reduce burdens and maintain flexibility and freedom of choice for the public where these approaches are relevant, feasible, and consistent with regulatory objectives. Executive Order 13563 emphasizes further that regulations must be based on the best available science and that the rulemaking process must allow for public participation and an open exchange of ideas. The NPS has developed this rule in a manner consistent with these requirements.

Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs (Executive Order 13771)

This rule is not an E.O. 13771 regulatory action because this rule is not significant under Executive Order 12866.

Regulatory Flexibility Act

This rule will not have a significant economic effect on a substantial number of small entities under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.). This certification is based on the cost-benefit and regulatory flexibility analyses found in the report entitled “Cost-Benefit and Regulatory Flexibility Analyses: Proposed Revisions to Sport Hunting and Trapping Regulations in National Preserves in Alaska” which can be viewed online at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/akro.

Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act

This rule is not a major rule under 5 U.S.C. 804(2), the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act. This rule:

(a) Does not have an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more.

(b) Will not cause a major increase in costs or prices for consumers, individual industries, federal, state, or local government agencies, or geographic regions.

(c) Does not have significant adverse effects on competition, employment, investment, productivity, innovation, or the ability of U.S.-based enterprises to compete with foreign-based enterprises.

Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (2 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.)

This rule does not impose an unfunded mandate on state, local, or tribal governments or the private sector of more than $100 million per year. The rule does not have a significant or unique effect on state, local or tribal governments or the private sector. It addresses public use of national park lands, and imposes no requirements on other agencies or governments. A statement containing the information required by the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act is not required.

Takings (Executive Order 12630)

This rule does not effect a taking of private property or otherwise have takings implications under Executive Order 12630. A takings implication assessment is not required.

Federalism (Executive Order 13132)

Under the criteria in section 1 of Executive Order 13132, the rule does not have sufficient federalism implications to warrant the preparation of a Federalism summary impact statement. This proposed rule only affects use of federally-administered lands and waters. It has no outside effects on other areas. A Federalism summary impact statement is not required.

Civil Justice Reform (Executive Order 12988)

This rule complies with the requirements of Executive Order 12988. This rule:

(a) Meets the criteria of section 3(a) requiring that all regulations be reviewed to eliminate errors and ambiguity and be written to minimize litigation; and

(b) Meets the criteria of section 3(b)(2) requiring that all regulations be written in clear language and contain clear legal standards.

Consultation With Indian Tribes (Executive Order 13175 and Department Policy)

The Department of the Interior strives to strengthen its government-to government relationship with Indian Tribes through a commitment to consultation with Indian Tribes and recognition of their right to self-governance and tribal sovereignty. We have evaluated this rule under the criteria in Executive Order 13175 and under the Department’s tribal consultation and Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) Native Corporation policies and have determined that the rule may have substantial direct effect on federally recognized Indian tribes. The NPS has invited Alaska native tribes and corporations to consult on the proposed rule and has consulted with those tribes and corporations that have requested consultation.

Paperwork Reduction Act

This rule does not contain information collection requirements, and a submission to the Office of Management and Budget under the Paperwork Reduction Act is not required. The NPS may not conduct or sponsor and you are not required to respond to a collection of information unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number.

National Environmental Policy Act

NPS will prepare an environmental assessment to determine whether this rule will have a significant impact on the quality of the human environment under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA).

Effects on the Energy Supply (Executive Order 13211)

This rule is not a significant energy action under the definition in Executive Order 13211. A Statement of Energy Effects in not required.

Clarity of This Rule

The NPS is required by Executive Orders 12866 (section 1(b)(12)) and 12988 (section 3(b)(1)(B)), and 13563 (section 1(a)), and by the Presidential Memorandum of June 1, 1998, to write all rules in plain language. This means that each rule the NPS publishes must:

(a) Be logically organized;

(b) Use the active voice to address readers directly;

(c) Use common, everyday words and clear language rather than jargon;

(d) Be divided into short sections and sentences; and

(e) Use lists and tables wherever possible.

If you feel that the NPS has not met these requirements, send the NPS comments by one of the methods listed in the ADDRESSES section. To better help the NPS revise the rule, your comments should be as specific as possible. For example, you should identify the numbers of the sections or paragraphs that you find unclear, which sections or sentences are too long, the sections where you feel lists or tables would be useful, etc.

Public Participation

It is the policy of the Department of the Interior, whenever practicable, to afford the public an opportunity to participate in the rulemaking process. Accordingly, interested persons may submit written comments regarding this proposed rule by one of the methods listed in the ADDRESSES section of this document.

Public Availability of Comments

Before including your address, phone number, email address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment—including your personal identifying information—may be made publicly available at any time. While you can ask the NPS in your comment to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, the NPS cannot guarantee that it will be able to do so.

List of Subjects in 36 CFR Part 13

Alaska, National Parks, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

In consideration of the foregoing, the National Park Service proposes to amend 36 CFR part 13 as set forth below:

Part 13 National Park System Units in Alaska

1. The authority citation for part 13 continues to read as follows:

Authority

16 U.S.C. 3124; 54 U.S.C. 100101, 100751, 320102; Sec. 13.1204 also issued under Sec. 1035, Pub. L. 104-333, 110 Stat. 4240.

§ 13.1
[Amended]

2. In § 13.1 remove the definitions of “Big game”, “Cub bear”, “Fur animal”, and “Furbearer”.

§ 13.42
[Amended]

3. In § 13.42, remove and reserve paragraphs (f) and (g).

David L. Bernhardt,
Deputy Secretary.
[FR Doc. 2018-10735 Filed 5-21-18; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4310-EJ-P
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What’s This? Wolves to be Removed From Protection Nationwide?

*Editor’s Note and Update* (5/21/18) The below link to the Appropriation Committee’s Draft Bill does not work at this time. I was able to track down a copy of that Draft at this link. Once reaching the PDF of the Draft Bill, scroll down to “Gray Wolves Range-Wide” 

Appropriations Committee Releases the Draft Fiscal Year 2019 Interior and Environment Bill

GRAY WOLVES RANGE-WIDE – SEC. 117

(a) Not later than the end of fiscal year 2019, and except as provided in subsection (b), the Secretary of the Interior shall issue a rule to remove the gray wolf (Canis lupus) in each of the 48 contiguous States of the United States and the District of Columbia from the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife in section 17.11 of title 50, Code of Federal Regulations, without regard to any other provision of statute or regulation that applies to issuance of such rule.

(b) Such issuance (including this shall not be subject to judicial review; and shall not affect the inclusion of the subspecies classified as the Mexican gray wolf (Canis lupus baileyi) of the species gray wolf (Canis lupus) in such list.

 

Draft bill:

https://docs.house.gov/meetings/AP/AP06/20180515/108314/BILLS-115HR-SC-AP-FY2019-Interior-SubcommitteeDraft.pdf

 

Press release:

https://appropriations.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=395297

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Wolves Impacting Humans

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Wolf Perverts Don’t Understand the Ranching Culture?

Here’s another pro-wolf, anti-wolf story. Nothing in this report is new information. It’s the same old, same old story. For the wolf pervert, there are never enough and will never be enough wolves to satisfy their mentally deranged, animal sick minds. For the rancher, they struggle to understand why they can’t be left alone to run their businesses, to make a living, and to provide a valuable product.

But, there is one statement in this report I would like to draw your attention to. It states: “Howling for Wolves members don’t understand the ranching culture or how hard ranchers work, adding the advocacy group is suggesting ranchers put cattle into feedlots all year long and allow wolves to “have the land” a rancher pays taxes on.”

This is partly an inaccurate statement. Wolf degenerates understand everything. They just don’t give a rat’s behind for anyone but themselves. They hate people, unless they are mentally deranged kinsmen, and want only what they want regardless of the cost to anyone else….all restated at the local diner as they gorge their fat guts on another Big Mac.

The accurate part of the statement is that these deviants of normal behavior (whatever that is these days) emphatically want and expect that the land is shut down and given over to wolves…or whatever the animal is these twisted people are in love with today.

I’ve often repeated myself in saying we live in a completely insane world. The danger of that existence is that insane people can’t recognize their own insanity and see sane people, what few are left, as the insane ones.

Just call me insane!

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Widespread, long-term admixture between grey wolves and domestic dogs across Eurasia and its implications for the conservation status of hybrids

Abstract

Hybridisation between a domesticated species and its wild ancestor is an important conservation problem, especially if it results in the introgression of domestic gene variants into wild species. Nevertheless, the legal status of hybrids remains unregulated, partially because of the limited understanding of the hybridisation process and its consequences. The occurrence of hybridisation between grey wolves and domestic dogs is well documented from different parts of the wolf geographic range, but little is known about the frequency of hybridisation events, their causes and the genetic impact on wolf populations. We analysed 61K SNPs spanning the canid genome in wolves from across Eurasia and North America and compared that data to similar data from dogs to identify signatures of admixture. The haplotype block analysis, which included 38 autosomes and the X chromosome, indicated the presence of individuals of mixed wolf–dog ancestry in most Eurasian wolf populations, but less admixture was present in North American populations. We found evidence for male?biased introgression of dog alleles into wolf populations, but also identified a first?generation hybrid resulting from mating between a female dog and a male wolf. We found small blocks of dog ancestry in the genomes of 62% Eurasian wolves studied and melanistic individuals with no signs of recent admixed ancestry, but with a dog?derived allele at a locus linked to melanism. Consequently, these results suggest that hybridisation has been occurring in different parts of Eurasia on multiple timescales and is not solely a recent phenomenon. Nevertheless, wolf populations have maintained genetic differentiation from dogs, suggesting that hybridisation at a low frequency does not diminish distinctiveness of the wolf gene pool. However, increased hybridisation frequency may be detrimental for wolf populations, stressing the need for genetic monitoring to assess the frequency and distribution of individuals resulting from recent admixture.<<<Read More>>>

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List of World-Wide Wolf Attacks

For those always in need of explaining to those who trust their Media sources for “truth, justice, and the American Way, that there really are recorded wolf attacks, you can provide the following link for their perusal.

 

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