January 20, 2022

Elk Breeders Association Lawyer Miffed At Idaho Statesman Outdoor Writer

There’s one thing that will be guaranteed when it comes to passionate debate, a continual bombardment of opinions. Opinions are plentiful and easily found. What is hard to find is good reliable facts. We ask the people to make decisions about many issues yet, seldom can they do this because of too much opinion and not enough truth and facts.

The Idaho Elk Breeders Association is fighting a battle for all Americans. Many people across America aren’t even aware of the threat to their industry by those who want to legislate their ideals on others. There is a small but vocal group in Idaho trying to put a stop to elk ranching and the practice of hunting on elk ranches. This is a property rights and a hunting ethics issue, neither of which should be legislated. All Americans take heed as this is just another step to strip us of our constitutional rights

There are two things that may happen concerning this legislation. The first attempt is to get some bills passed through Congress to ban elk farming, ranch hunting and other restrictive measures from placing a moratorium to requiring double fencing to name a couple. Currently there are six bills up for discussion. If some or none of these bills get passed, it is more than likely that promoters of banning elk ranching will mount a campaign for a public referendum vote to be decided at the polls – a long a costly battle.

Whether this issue is decided in the halls of Congress or at the polls, decisions should be based on facts. As I said before, we can turn any page of a newspaper, click on our favorite television broadcast or log on to our favorite Internet media source and get opinions. What about facts?

The Idaho Elk Breeders Association has mounted what I believe to be a factual campaign to stop the nonsense of those wanting to legislate personal beliefs. They have answered all questions asked of them and have proven time and again through science, facts and statistics, that they run a good business that is clean, disease-free and poses no legitimate threat to public safety, the wild elk populations or damages the reputation of hunters.

What gets presented in the mainstream media all too often is the repeating of the same old story. We are all guilty of taking the easy way out by believing what we read or hear instead of searching for the truth. I have been involved in this kind of media long enough to see that when one source gets a story, it is repeated over and over by other media sources. I am guilty of this probably as much as the next guy as often I provide links for readers to go read other columnists stories. When I have opinions to offer, like this story, I clearly categorize my story as being an opinion piece. With that, I do the best I can to research, study and learn about a subject and base my opinions on facts.

What readers and those on opposing sides should expect is a fair presentation of facts and opinions based on those facts, so that intelligent decisions can be made. That doesn’t very often happen. The media is a very powerful source. For centuries the masses have relied upon media to provide them with information that effects their lives by reporting news – from facts not opinion. None of us are perfect and sometimes information gets skewed but with everyone striving for the truth, facts get sorted out from fiction and the cream rises to the top.

Dennis Charney is a lawyer representing the Idaho Elk Breeders Association. He has taken issue with one outdoor writer from the Idaho Statesman, Pete Zimowsky. His beef is that Zimowsky writes his stories only from his own perspective in an attempt to impose personal beliefs on others. Obviously, Mr. Zimowsky has the right to express his opinions as we all do. I think Mr. Charney is questioning whether using the Idaho Statesman’s podium in his outdoor columns is the right place for it. This is what Mr. Charney has written to Pete Zimowsky.

Subject: Elk Hunting Preserves
Date: Sun, 04 Feb 2007 12:33:25 -0700
I have read your recent articles with interest. You present the issue from your perspective only – that’s why you take shots.
The right to use one’s land as he pleases is guaranteed by the constitution so long as that use does not harm others. You want to impose your view of hunting on others and have elk hunting preserves banned so that nobody can enjoy them.
Some people feel the only fair way to take an elk is with a bow. If they had the power of the pen, as you do, they may try to take away the rights of others who want to use a rifle. Along those lines, some people feel the only fair way to catch a fish is with a hand tied fly. Perhaps we should pass legislation banning the use of worms and salmon eggs to make sure the fly tying purists are not offended because others have a different view of what constitutes “fair” fishing.
Elk hunting preserves do not harm elk hunters who prefer to hunt in the wild. They offer alternatives for those who don’t draw a tag or who don’t have the time necessary for a full ten day hunt. They bring in millions of dollars for the Idaho economy and provide collateral employment for Idaho citizens i.e. taxidermists, vets and butchers.
Perhaps you should analyze your unwarranted attack on this industry. Those who oppose hunting and fishing outright will use this moment as a stepping stone to achieve their ultimate goal – a complete ban on hunting and fishing rights. You are playing right into their hands.

Dennis M. Charney

While Mr. Zimowsky has written several articles about the elk ranching issues, his latest presents his perspective about what he chooses to call “high-fence” hunting or “shooter bull” operations. The interesting thing that I find in his article is that it is well written and clearly spells out his feelings about how he views hunting on a ranch and I take few issues with what he writes. For whatever the reasons, he doesn’t make any attempt to differentiate between hunting ranches. Clearly they are not all alike.

I respect his opinion and how he perceives what hunting should be. Unfortunately, there are another 20 million-plus other hunters who may not see things quite the same way. This is what makes us unique and this is why we cannot make laws that force hunters to follow one man’s ideals.

If we begin legislating how hunting will go down, where will that stop. What is fair chase? Who decides? Do we draw the line at hunting within enclosures? All enclosures? If not then how big is big enough? Do we outlaw baiting, food plots, tree stands, blinds, scopes, auto-loading weapons, scent-lok clothing, lures, calling, ATVs, pick-ups and anything else you want to add to the list? As you can see it can get pretty ridiculous.

Laws are made so chaos doesn’t run amok. Our fish and game departments are directed through legislation to manage wildlife and with that to provide opportunities for hunters, fishermen and trappers. These written laws are to keep in check those things like poaching, illegal weapons and things that without them their job of managing game would be difficult to say the least. Beyond that, what we as hunters decide to do within the laws, is our choice.

I hunt. I chose to use a high powered rifle with a scope. That fits me. Most all of my friends hunt with black powder guns – some very primitive, other’s modern. Others choose to use a bow or a crossbow, some in blinds or a tree stand, others just want to stalk. Are any or all of them wrong? Is one hunter “more ethical” than another?

Many will argue that “high-fence” hunting is damaging the reputation of hunters. I have to disagree with that. In all my travels and discussions with hunters and the general public, I would have to say that by far the number one issue is trespassing – this comes from both hunter and landowner. I could list out many issues that one could perceive as being bad for the hunter’s reputation long before ranch hunting shows up on the list.

Access to land is the biggest deterrent to hunting today. This lack of land access has nothing to do with “high-fence” hunting and everything to do with negative ad campaigns by animal rights groups and the media presenting their lies as fact. Combine that with trespassing issues that anger landowners and soon there’s little land left to hunt on.

We as hunters need to be spending more time and energy waging a public and landowner relations campaign and focus on the important issues. Legislating hunting ethics and stealing one’s property rights is the beginning of a treacherous and slippery slope and something that I believe will come back and haunt the hunter who opposes these things.

Tom Remington


Trapping Lawsuit Dismissed In Minnesota

A lawsuit filed against the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources by the Humane Society of the United States that would ban trapping has been dismissed by a federal judge. According to the United States Sportsmen’s Alliance, trapping will continue.

U.S. District Judge Patrick Schiltz dismissed the suit brought by the Humane Society of the United States against the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to ban trapping for abundant game wherever endangered or threatened species exist. The anti’s had argued that since the state holds a population of Canada lynx, a species protected under the Endangered Species Act, all trapping of any species should be stopped to prevent incidental catch of lynx. There is no data proving this to be a problem.

The dismissal was in accordance with a settlement in which the DNR agreed to apply for a federal incidental take permit. The permits are distributed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for activities that could possibly result in “take” of threatened or endangered species. Trapping will continue while the permit process moves forward.

This should come as good news to trappers in Maine as a similar lawsuit has been filed there by the Animal Protection Institute to ban trapping because of the Canada lynx.

Tom Remington


U.S. Hunting Today Decals

For those of you who are not aware, the Black Bear Blog is part of Skinny Moose Media which is a hunting and fishing blog network. Skinny Moose Media is owned and managed by U.S. Hunting Today. Well, we finally were able to get some decals made up but they won’t be ready until later this week.

Here is an image of what they will look like, 4 inches in diameter.

Please let us know what you think of them. It is too late to change them but we still would like some input on what you think of them.

Steve Remington


Six Bills Await Discussion In Idaho About Elk Farming/Hunting

Right now there are six proposed legislative bills being presented to the Idaho Congress for consideration. Here is a brief overview of each of the bills.

SB1004 – Sponsor Senator Gary Schroeder – Purpose – The purpose of this legislation is to place a moratorium on the establishment of new domestic Cervidae farms in the State of Idaho from the date of passage of this legislation until 2 July, 2012.

SB1005 – Sponsor Senator Gary Schroeder – Purpose – The purpose of this legislation is to provide that Cervidae farms in the State of Idaho shall be licensed by the Idaho Department of Agriculture, to provide that the Director of the Department of Agriculture is authorized to establish a fee structure for the licensure, and to authorize the Director of the Department of Agriculture to revoke the license of Cervidae farms for noncompliance with state rules and laws.

SB1039 – Sponsor Senator Gary Schroeder – Purpose – The purpose of this legislation is to prohibit the lease, exchange, or sale of State Lands for Cervidae ranching.

SB1072 – Sponsor Sen. David Langhorst – Purpose – This legislation amends Title 25 of Idaho Code to specify that all domestic ervidae shall be held in a secure enclosure with dual perimeter fencing.

SB1073 – Sponsors – Sen. David Langhorst, Sen. John Andreason – Purpose – This legislation amends Title 25 of Idaho Code to place a moratorium on the establishment of domestic cervidae farms, to prohibit the further importation of domestic cervidae, and to ban the shooting of domestic cervidae.

SB1074 – Sponsor Senator Corder – Purpose – The purpose of this proposed legislation is to provide a licensing procedure for domestic cervidae farms or ranches. The proposed legislation also allows for rules to be promulgated to address site specific fence adjustments pertaining to ingress and egress on domestic cervidae farms and ranches. The proposed legislation also implements
a one time fee of $200 to license a domestic cervidae farm or ranch and requires any domestic cervidae imported into the state of Idaho during the year to be subject to the annual per head assessment.

*Update* Testimony on these bills will commence on February 13th before the legislature and will continue on the 15th if needed. Representatives of the Idaho Elk Breeders Association will be on hand as well as those who oppose elk ranching and ranch hunting.

Tom Remington


Winter Supplemental Feeding Of Whitetail Deer

Some states prohibit winter supplemental feeding while others have no real objections to it. Some states do it but strictly on an emergency basis. This discussion can lead to other discussions about supplemental feeding year round, food plots for deer and forest management for the purpose of creating better habitat.

So who’s right? Even biologist will disagree as to whether supplemental feeding should or shouldn’t be allowed. There are some things biologists will agree on. One of them being that the wrong kinds of food being doled out to deer, can kill them.

Are we helping deer when we feed them? A visit to the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife website will get you a full page of disadvantages to feeding and suggested alternatives. Here are some of the highlights.

Feeding deer in late fall may disrupt deer migration to natural wintering areas

Supplemental feeding may not reduce deer losses during winter.

Supplemental feeding may actually increase predation.

Deer feeding sites near homes also place deer at greater risk of death from free-roaming dogs.

Deer feeding sites may increase deer/vehicle collisions.

Deer may starve when fed supplemental foods during winter.

Deer require one or two weeks to adjust to new foods.

Some foods are not easily digested by deer during winter.

Deer compete aggressively for scarce, high-quality foods.

Deer reject grains or pelleted foods that have become spoiled or moldy

Supplementally-fed deer may die from eating too much feed at one time.

Supplemental feeding is expensive.

Attracting deer to feeding sites, while failing to provide adequate amounts of supplemental foods can actually cause malnutrition in normally healthy deer populations.

Deer concentrations at feeding sites may increase the vulnerability of deer to diseases.

Supplemental feeding may have long-term impacts on the behavior of both deer and the people who feed them.

Deer tend to lose their wariness after prolonged contact with people at feeders.

People’s attitudes toward deer change after initiation of supplemental feeding projects.

Supplemental feeding may increase browsing of landscape plants and gardens.

Supplemental feeding within a deer wintering area can reduce the forest’s ability to shelter deer.

Those were a list of the things MDIFW calls disadvantages to supplemental feeding. Please take note that many of the statements are not clearly definitive. They use words like may or can.

Below is a list of suggestions people can do as an alternative to winter supplemental feeding.

Taking an active role in managing their lands to improve deer habitat naturally.

Supporting MDIFW programs that protect and enhance deer wintering habitat.

Working cooperatively with MDIFW to control deer populations in residential areas.

Allowing deer hunters access to their huntable lands.

This shows the highlights of the disadvantages of feeding per the MDIFW and suggestions for alternative ways to enhance and protect whitetail deer. Visit the website and more in depth discussion is there explaining more of their reasoning.

Tom Remington


Don't Feed The Wild Animals

Rep. Scott Lansley, (R) Sabbattus, Maine, has sponsored a bill, LD197, in Maine that would make it illegal to intentionally feed deer and wild turkeys. Not very many people are finding that a good bill.

The Lewiston Sun Journal has a story about how some people feel about the new proposed law. While the article speaks to some opposed the the new law and those who believe it necessary, there is very little if any science behind anyone’s claims that feeding wild animals during the winter is or is not harmful.

Although there has never been a law prohibiting the practice, the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife discourages it.

Comments that follow the LSJ article, at least at the time of this writing, all were against the new proposed legislation.

It will be interesting to see where MDIFW lines up with this proposal. Even though they discourage people from supplemental feeding, they’ve never really pushed a law to stop it.

Tom Remington


New Hampshire Locked Moose Antler Project, Inc.

Thanks to Milt Inman for the heads up on the URL of this website. For those of you not familiar with this project, two moose with locked antlers were found dead in the woods in Springfield, N.H. by Ray Deragon of New London, NH in October of 2003. The photos and captions much better tell the story but it was decided to attempt to recreate the two moose, locked together by using the skills of a taxidermy.

The link below takes you to the website with all the photos from start to finish. It is extremely fascinating. I will warn you, if you are using dial-up Internet service, you need to show some patience as there are a lot of photos to load.

Here’s the link.

Tom Remington


Super Bowl XLI

The forty-first Super Bowl is over and once again it will go down in history as very forgettable. Here are a few of my observations for the game.

Highlights – Probably two coaches with the most class the game has ever seen. Congratulations to both of them for not feeling a need to yell, scream and talk trash to or about others, while keeping in perspective the fact that it is just another game.

Lowlights – Half-time entertainment by Prince or is it the Artist Formerly Known as Prince? No I guess it’s just Prince. The show wouldn’t have been too bad until it was decided to add perversion to it. For those who didn’t get it, it was when they used the blowers to shoot up an off-white sheet to show a silhouette of “The Artist” with his oddly designed guitar. The silhouette of him and the guitar created quite the phallic symbol. This rendering came at a time that was totally out of sequence with anything else in his act and was an obvious display of the perverse and demented society in which we live. Can’t entertainment be a statement of one’s ability to sing or dance or act or whatever without adding such obscenities? Completely unnecessary. What’s worse is I will probably be the only one complaining about it.

Disappointments – The biggest disappointment was the commercials. What has over time become one of the more entertaining parts of any Super Bowl have now morphed into distasteful, not very funny attempts at making an impression on viewers. I saw no ads that emitted any humor, several that made no sense, most that used violence and a handful that were distasteful and bordered on racist. I guess I am showing my age.

Prince - Super Bowl Half Time

Tom Remington


New Hampshire House To Hold Public Hearing On Fish And Game Funding Proposal

Wednesday, February 7, 2007, 10:30 a.m.
Ways and Means Committee, Room 202, Legislative Office Building, Concord, N.H.

Regarding HB 376-FN-A, distributing certain meals and rooms tax revenues to the fish and game fund.

The N.H. Fish and Game Commission is in favor of this bill.

For more information, visit http://www.WildNH.com and click on “Fish and Game Funding and Legislation

Tom Remington


Doctor Meets Deer

Some deer hunting seasons I have covered many miles through Maine’s woods in search of a deer, any deer. Some of those seasons I can report having never seen one, not even a tail. A Maine doctor goes skiing at Maine’s Sugarloaf Resort and collides with one while traversing down a ski trail. Check out that story here.

Tom Remington