December 3, 2023

More Twists And Turns Than An F-5 Tornado

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The debate in Idaho over elk farming and hunting on game ranches contains many topics. These topics need to be addressed and dealt with based on facts and science. There are also issues in the this debate that strike at the very heart of personal rights and ethical standards. Thank God we weren’t all born with the same mindset as well as ethical standards. Wouldn’t we all be just boring. It is no secret that each and every one of us has our own standards we have learned from our backgrounds, including personal experiences, family traditions and heritage.

Through much of this debate, at least from my perspective, most people have addressed the issues with very little if any name calling, inflammatory statements and the use of lies and misinformation to embellish and incite parties interested…….and then I read an article in a publication called Wild Idaho News.

I know very little about Wild Idaho News but I did visit their website. I did not find this same article on the website anywhere so for you electronic news junkies like me, you’ll have to accept that what I put into quotes here actually came from this written article by the Wild Idaho News Publisher, Douglas J. Schleis.

I have said all along that all are entitled to their opinions about elk farming as well as those involving hunting ethics. I fall somewhere in middle I guess in my own hunting ethics, meaning I’m far from a purist and far from a game hog. While law enforcement agencies create laws that protect our game species in ways that allow them to most effectively manage and preserve the animals for all, ethics is a driving force affecting all of us. But whose ethics are right? Yours AND mine are of course but not everyone sees it that way.

Schleis doesn’t see it that way either and in his rant he chooses to name-call and use as many inflammatory adjectives, adverbs and nouns as he can muster in an attempt to get his point across. Schleis calls to battle Idaho sportsmen to defeat

“the rich man’s so-called sporting world – the slaughtering tame deer and elk in a prostitution pens.”

(I have a reputation that I value so I would like to point out that within the quotations, I am writing just as it was written in the printed publication.)

You can call the killing of game anything you’d like. Schleis opts for “slaughtering” but he calls the deer and elk “tame” located in “prostitution” pens. There’s a lot of fact rolled up in that attack on the elk industry and hunters, wouldn’t you agree?

He then describes the Idaho elk industry as “powerful” and accuses them of using tactics and lies and deceit. Then he reveals to his readers the basis of his anger. He’s a Bush hater and he’s taking his frustrations with President George W. Bush out on the Idaho Elk Breeder Association. He says,

“They have taken a page out of the George W. Bush play book and are attempting to kill the messenger because they cannot kill the truth.”

He further resorts to more name calling and attempts to defend the Idaho Sportsmen’s Caucus Advisory Council.

“The operators of these snuff farms and their supporters have been to trying to paint the largest sportsmen’s organization in Idaho, (ISCAC and it’s affiliates) with the stain of PETA and HSUS. The accusation is as unfounded as it is ludicrous.”

I wasn’t aware of PETA being brought into this debate but perhaps it has. We now have George W. Bush involved. He gets blamed for everything else, so we might as well tarnish him with all the troubles with elk farming and game ranches. Schleis’ statement that the association of HSUS with ISCAC as being unfounded is not true. In a previous article I told you about the Idaho Humane Society and the Humane Society of the United States had included on their websites information stating they had teamed up with ISCAC and Idaho sportsmen in the fight against elk farming and game ranch hunting.

On Saturday, Bill Schneider’s article in New West quoted Mark Compton, a representative and registered lobbyist for ISCAC and Mark Bell, president of ISCAC as denying any affiliation with HSUS.

In an email to me, Compton confirmed that HSUS attended a Camo Day planning session and offered to collaborate with ISCAC, but the offer was rejected. “At no point did ISCAC offer, solicit, or accept financial help or otherwise from HSUS.”

Compton said that Mark Bell, who is a representative of the National Wild Turkey Federation and current president of ISCAC, is “working on getting a retraction from HSUS for the language used on its website insinuating a ‘team up’ of HSUS and ISCAC.”

Not that I expected to get a response because this would be a good tool for HSUS but I have contacted them and am hoping to get a statement from them.

Blinded by reality, Schleis lumps members of the elk industry, the Idaho Legislature, Governor Otter and anyone who supports the rights of elk farmers to earn a living operating a clean and safe business raising elk as the “antis”.

“The game farm industry says that we must stand beside them least the “anti’s” divide and conquer us all. Nothing could be further off the mark. Game farms, and the shooting pens thay are supported by, are just what the PETA and HSUS have hoped for all along. The pratice of shooting tame livestock in the name of sport, even when viewed by the most seasoned of ethical hunters, is enough to make you hurl. It lays right into the hands of the anti-hunters and animal rights activists.”

I hate to be the one to burst his bubble but it’s not those who choose for whatever personal reasons to hunt on a game ranch that plays into the hands of the antis. It’s people like Schleis who repeat the statements he has in this article as being fact. He name calls and convinces his readers the absolute worst takes place on every hunting ranch in America.

Schleis is entitled to believe as he wishes about the ethics of hunting behind somebody’s game ranch fences. He has every right to use facts, science and personal experiences to convince as many people as he so chooses that hunting in game ranches is not right. What he shouldn’t be doing, is advocating for laws that prohibit people from doing something that is harming no one.

Elk farming in Idaho has proven for the several years they have been in existence that their industry is clean, safe and disease-free. They have proven their animals are genetically pure, as pure as the tests available can prove them to be. On the rare occasions that elk might escape, the biggest fear is that the Governor may order a farmers elk killed and/or his elk may become diseased by coming in contact with wild elk.

The hunting issue concerning game ranches is not giving hunting a bad name. The only ones who would think so have already formed their anti-hunting opinions. Fighting about the personal and property rights of elk farmers is a great tool for the antis to exploit. Spending time and energy to educate and stop the media from spreading false information about these two practices would do more to protect the image of hunting than dictating to others what their hunting ethics should look like.

Tom Remington