October 20, 2019

We Are All Montanans Now

By James Beers:

A stunning maneuver by the federal government was recently brought to my attention. While it is directed at the government of the State of Montana concerning shooting ranges; there is a much broader precedent establishment being attempted that concerns every state official and every rural resident that farms, grazes, hunts, fishes, traps, owns animals and/or owns property or recreates in myriad ways on both public and private rural landscapes.

BACKGROUND:

* Since 1987 Montana Shooting Sports Association and the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks have partnered to make about $25 M in grants available to local shooting ranges. This wildly popular program has made a huge difference in the availability of safe and suitable places for Montanans to shoot and practice gun (and by extension hunter) safety.

* Early in the program, federal funding was sought but insurmountable red tape from several federal sources made such funding impractical. For more than a decade, in-state hunting license fees were used to fund the program

* The Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks has always administered the program and this was confirmed in a State Statute in 1999.

* State funding budgets are confirmed every two years (the Legislature meets every two years).

* In the last two funding cycles, the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks has diverted nearly all of this funding from the State budget for other purposes not budgeted by the Legislature such as employee pay raises.

* This year the State Legislature is considering proposing putting the money they authorize for shooting ranges into a separate account to be used ONLY for shooting ranges.

* The Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks objects to this, claiming it violates the Pittman Robertson (Wildlife Restoration) Act that is the basis for federal collection of Excise Taxes on guns, ammunition, archery paraphernalia and certain imports. Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks notified the US Fish and Wildlife Service Excise Tax administrators who have threatened to deny all Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration funds (over $27M last year) if the State tells their own agency where to spend the money they authorize for shooting ranges. As a result, the State’s own wildlife agency is fixing to oppose the State legislature and Governor’s exercise of their duly elected and sworn duty to exercise oversight and set priorities OVER THEIR OWN EMPLOYEES WORKING IN THE STATE AGENCY THEY ESTABLISHED, AUTHORIZED, FUND AND FOR WHICH THEY (THE LEGISLATURE AND GOVERNOR) ARE THE SOURCE OF THEIR POWER AND CONTINUING OPERATION.

FURTHER FEDERAL BACKGROUND:

* The US Fish and Wildlife Service Office that was notified by the State agency was the Federal Aid Program. This State Excise Tax oversight office is the very office that “saw no evil, heard no evil, and said no evil” twenty years ago when their political bosses stole $45 to 60M of the Excise Taxes from the state agencies (and you and me and our wildlife programs financed by our license dollars and equipment purchases) and then used the money secretly to capture Canadian wolves and release them in Yellowstone plus open a new office in California to all but share space with the environmental extremist and animal rights radical organizations that were replacing the historic wildlife management and wildlife users organizations as federal partners. Both the wolves and the office had been turned down by Congress and were refused authorization before the appointees, bureaucrats and the administration decided to simply steal the money, release the wolves and build the new office anyway.

* This federal office oversees the operation of state wildlife agencies for compliance with Excise Tax uses named as “eligible” in the law and the operation of the state wildlife agency activities and uses of license revenue to remain eligible for their annual share or “Apportionment” of available Excise Taxes based on their area and the sale of hunting licenses in the state. Historic violations included Excise Tax or license dollars used to purchase vehicles for state motor pools; or such funds used to pay state parks’ employees; or hatchery fish or upland birds released on the private property of donors and politicians; or lands purchased with such funds used to build a prison; or revenue from timber sales on such lands put in the General Treasury; or selling wildlife for profit. These are examples of “diversions” and were supposed to be detected by audits by the overseers every five years as required by the law. Despite this requirement, the twenty years preceding the theft of the $45 to 60M were marked by the all-but disappearance of any audits, a hiatus that was welcomed by federal and state bureaucrats as their working “relationship” became closer and closer and more and more “informal”. When the theft of the money was exposed by a Government ACCOUNTING Office Audit, an audit firm was hired to audit every state wildlife agency and then to re-establish a 5-year cycle as required by law, corruption again reared its ugly head. Less than 3 years into the audits, the auditors had had found millions of dollars in “diversions”; the states were screaming (quietly); and federal bureaucrats wanted no more scandals: so the auditors were fired for being “behind schedule” and the Interior Department Inspector General who was simultaneously responsible for overseeing US Fish and Wildlife Service (?) was then “hired” to resume the audits. Needless to say, the “diversions” were evidently “mistakes” and never reported; and that particular Inspector General was introduced later by President Obama at his first State of the Union as the “New Inspector General for the Stimulus Program” that consisted of billions and which, like the state PR audits, was found to be as pure as the driven snow.

* An “Acting Chief” of the above Office responded to the letter from the Director of the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks about shooting ranges and how those mean old Legislators and the Governor were about to tell the all-wise and smarter-than-everybody-else agency what to do! Imagine! Well, the
“Acting” (federal) Chief in what can only be described as an arrogant and laughable (if everyone rolls over for him) way said in his “view” (??) such administration by the State elected officials would “render Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks ineligible for further participation in the benefits (i.e. Excise Tax funding) of the (Wildlife and Sport Fish Program)”.

He told the downtrodden State Director that, in “our (federal government?, USFWS?, Solicitor?, a frog in his pocket?) view the (sic Montana) FWP would suffer a loss of control of its hunting and fishing license revenues” if the proposed bill was passed. All the State Director does is to tell the State officials that he will therefore be compelled to oppose the attempt by the Governor and Legislature to tell him (and “his” employees) what to do or how to do it. The fact that the State Director offered no blowback to the federal threat is, take my word, a clue.

Two reasons given for this federal threat to deny any future Excise Tax sharing are taken from the Code of Federal Regulations govern the PR Act in the letter:

1.) “Revenue from hunting and fishing licenses (must) be controlled only by the State Fish and Wildlife Agency.”

Does this mean that the Governor or Legislature cannot set priorities and expenditures for lawful and eligible Wildlife and Fisheries activities? Of course not! Can anyone argue that this Excise Tax program for conservation has contained within it for over 70 years an authority for federal bureaucrats to not merely assure that State governments did not MISUSE Excise Tax and Licenses dollars BUT TO DENY STATE GOVERNMENTS ANY ROLE IN THE ACTIVITIES AND PRIORITIES THEREOF FOR THEIR WILDLIFE AGENCY TO PURSUE JUST, LEGITIMATE AND ELIGIBLE (UNDER THE PR ACT) FISH AND WILDLIFE PROJECTS (that both the Act and the State agency share and agree on? Since when did the responsibility to assure compliance intended to protect “Eligible Uses” of Excise Tax and License dollars morph into a federal bureaucrat power to tell the duly elected officials of a State government to stand down because the federal bureaucrats doesn’t agree with their and the people of the state’s priorities?

2.) “Revenues from hunting and fishing licenses can only be used for administration of the State fish and wildlife agency which includes only the functions required to manage the agency and the fish and wildlife related resources for which the agency has authority under State law” and, “A State becomes ineligible to receive the benefits of the Act if it diverts hunting and fishing license revenue from purposes other than the agency’s administration.” Really?

The Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks was given the administration authority over shooting ranges by the Montana Legislature in 1999.

But, I am sure you are thinking, what about the federal view of shooting ranges especially in these days of gun control hysterics and the most anti-gun administration in my lifetime?

The PR Act and the Regulations promulgated under it define “Eligible Uses” of Excise Tax dollars and license revenues as “Constructing, operating and maintaining recreational firearms shooting and archery ranges” right alongside other eligible uses such as, “Management of wild bird and mammal populations”, “Managing wildlife habitat”, and “Providing public use that benefits from Wildlife Resources”.

So the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks has the authority to manage shooting ranges and shooting ranges in totality are an “eligible use” under the federal Act and under State law, and the Governor and Legislature simply want more emphasis on it and for the agency to stop diverting shooting range money from where the State Legislators direct. How does the federal bureaucrat suggest they do that other than what they are considering? Will the federal bureaucrat pay for it like “the People” want? Will the federal bureaucrat even allow the Governor and State Legislature to even speak with these ostensible crybaby employees or will they just get their priorities from Washington henceforth? Federal priorities for Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, given their way, span everything from wolves and grizzly “management” in accord with federal dictates to fooling a hostile Montana public into allowing federal “free-roaming buffalo” to be loosed like Yellowstone wolves once were and for eventually the State to “assume management” (how sweet that sounds) of the latest federal imposition following federal dictates on rural Montana in cahoots with State employees. All that takes money and Lord knows Montanans may want shooting ranges but federal bureaucrats want gun control and control of these ostensible “State” agencies AND their license revenue And their Excise Tax dollars to do what Montanans are obviously too dense to realize they should be doing if only they could see “the big picture”.

Finally, I had some extraneous, but I believe relevant, thoughts as I wrote this:

* I note that the State agency is “preparing to argue against HB 234”. This plus their request to federal overseers and then the absence of any blowback by the state agency to argue for the State (and evidently NOT the State agency’s) position leads me to believe that this State agency (like many others) is much more of a federal subcontractor agency than a State Agency. As Struther Martin said in the movie Cool Hand Luke, I think that regarding the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks; the Governor and Legislature have “a failure to communicate”.

* State agencies are generally reluctant to identify with “shooting ranges” in these days of national and international environmental and animal rights “awareness”. Shooting Ranges are generally like Trapping and Animal Control in these regards in that they anger those out to eliminate hunting and fishing and do things like loose free-roaming buffalo on rural Americans.

* Wolves and grizzlies and like critters are loosed on a rural populace by federal bureaucrats and then “turned over” to state (is it their governments or one of these “independent” agencies???) management. This federally mandated management of these animals is expensive and the federal bureaucrats and State bureaucrats WANT FULL CONTROL OF ALL STATE FUNDS AND PRIORITIES WITHOUT ANY ACCOUNTABILITY TO STATE GOVERNMENTS OR STATE TAXPAYERS. This is not unrelated to these federal PR bureaucrats and State agency bureaucrats colluding to do just that with STATE LICENSE FUNDING EXPENDITURES AND PRIORITIES.

* Federal bureaucrats these days accrue significant political and career benefits from enacting ways to further restrict gun uses, gun availability and ammunition supplies. Examples are – The secret negotiations by the State Department under Clinton and Kerry to negotiate a UN Small Arms Treaty that will shrink or abolish the 2nd Amendment. The Fast and Furious federal gun-running scheme into Mexico intended to create justification for more gun control that has never been explained. Closure by EPA of the last lead smelter in the US. Continuous statements by the President and Attorney General about the need to register and confiscate guns, etc……. Is it not possible that any federal bureaucrats that can establish a PRECEDENT to abolish any vestige of State control of their state wildlife agency, or their state wildlife license revenue, or such agency’s activities, AND SIMULTANEOUSLY POINT THE WAY ON HOW TO STOP AND REVERSE THE GROWTH OF SHOOTING RANGES might not at least be in line for a bonus and maybe an eventual promotion and all that portends? I do not doubt that this is involved in this whole tug of war between the government of Montana on the one hand and the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks & US Fish and Wildlife Service “partners” on the other.

Consider YOUR State wildlife agency. It gets Excise Taxes and dances to a federal tune that is steadily pushing YOU and YOUR STATE GOVERNMENT out of the picture. If Montana succumbs here; whether because of State employees that serve Washington and not your state government or because of federal bureaucrats that have silenced your organizations and are working so closely with your enemies that you won’t see what is happening until it is too late is immaterial: you will be like that lonesome German noted in the early 1940’s, “when they came for me, no one was there”. Truly we are all Montanans in these regards.

Allow me two analogies: State wildlife agencies are becoming like that famous horse Lincoln once noted was bucking and got his foot caught in the stirrup and his rider (the Governor, Legislature and people of the state) leaned over and told him if he will just calm down, “I will get off so you can get up”.

The federal agencies (US Fish and Wildlife Service with its ESA and easement schemes with radicals; the US Forest Service with its Roadless/Wilderness/Grazing Shutdowns/Logging & Timber Management Elimination; BLM with its Bundy Fiascoes and selective use and management shutdowns; and National Park Service with its Viewsheds/Historic Zones/Total anti-natural resource management and use mission) are like Oscar Wilde’s famous Picture of Dorian Gray. He was an outwardly handsome and wealthy man that made a pact with the devil that his secret life of corruption and vice would only be noted on a painting of himself hidden away in his attic while he stayed forever young and spotless. Just as Dorian met an horrific end, so too will these federal agencies that are operating on a no longer real image that was once true but any longer simply conceals an existence of harm to people and abuse of power that will eventually end in something much worse than anyone imagines.

Jim Beers
17 February 2015

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Jim Beers is a retired US Fish & Wildlife Service Wildlife Biologist, Special Agent, Refuge Manager, Wetlands Biologist, and Congressional Fellow. He was stationed in North Dakota, Minnesota, Nebraska, New York City, and Washington DC. He also served as a US Navy Line Officer in the western Pacific and on Adak, Alaska in the Aleutian Islands. He has worked for the Utah Fish & Game, Minneapolis Police Department, and as a Security Supervisor in Washington, DC. He testified three times before Congress; twice regarding the theft by the US Fish & Wildlife Service of $45 to 60 Million from State fish and wildlife funds and once in opposition to expanding Federal Invasive Species authority. He resides in Eagan, Minnesota with his wife of many decades.
Jim Beers is available to speak or for consulting. You can receive future articles by sending a request with your e-mail address to: jimbeers7@comcast.net

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A Proposed “Tax Holiday” on Hunting Equipment Purchases

In Texas:

“The bill would create two sales tax holiday weekends, one on the last full weekend in August to coincide with the beginning of dove season, and a second on the last full weekend in October to coincide with the beginning of deer season.
Items that would be included in the tax-free weekend are firearms, ammunition, archery equipment, hunting blinds and stands, hunting decoys, gun cases and gun safes, and hunting safety equipment.”<<<Read More>>>

*Note* As one reader emailed me, he said, “…here is one way for the *$(#@&*^ not using money for bunny studies….don’t give them any!”

What do you think? Excise tax money collected from the sale of certain sports equipment is collected by the government and then after the government and special interest groups take their share, some legal and some not, the government redistributes that money back to the states supposedly to be used for programs designed to enhance hunting, fishing, trapping and shooting. Do you support a tax holiday in your state?

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A Made Up Issue About Pittman-Robertson Money and Wolves

wake-up-america

The Idaho Statesmen trumps up a story that isn’t, I suppose to sell copies. According to Rocky Barker there’s a problem with whether or not Idaho is going to utilize Pittman-Robertson and Dingell-Johnson excise tax money to prop up the coffers of a fascist bill, painted as a means of controlling wolves, and making the sportsmen pay for it. The fake “concern” is whether or not using P-R/D-J money to kill wolves is in violation of the excise tax law.

If Mr. Barker believes this to be an “issue” where was he on this issue when P-R/D-J money was stolen by the millions from sportsmen to illegally bring the wolves to Idaho in the first place? Isn’t that an issue? Or how about the fact that the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies convinced Congress to give them some of that excise tax money to fund their anti-hunting programs? Does that make sense? Where’s the uproar? What’s the issue? P-R/D-J monies have been abused for so many years by fish and game departments and now, out of the blue, somebody thinks wasting P-R/D-J money to kill some wolves might be in violation of the law? Oh, I get it. It’s because it’s about wolves. Everything for the G.I. wolves, that’s it.

Give me a break!

I have written in the past about this ridiculous bill that forces hunters to pay for damages done by Government Issued wolves and the crooks that pulled it off. That’s like asking a patient to pay for damages done by an incompetent doctor. Where’s the outrage? I hear nothing but crickets! Have we become that communistic in our non thinking ways that we cannot even see the damned government is making us pay for our own rope to hang ourselves with?

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RMEF Celebrates Conservation on National Hunting and Fishing Day

MISSOULA, Mont.–The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation stands tall, shoulder-to-shoulder alongside hunters and anglers nationwide to support National Hunting and Fishing Day, a day set aside to celebrate America’s conservation accomplishments.

Signed into law in 1972, and instituted on the state level that same year in all 50 states, National Hunting and Fishing Day marks its 41st anniversary on Saturday, Sept. 28.

“Our mission is to enhance the future of elk, other wildlife, their habitat and our hunting heritage,” said David Allen, RMEF president and CEO. “We firmly recognize the role outdoorsmen and women have in funding, supporting and embracing land and wildlife conservation. Those efforts further solidify our mantra that ‘Hunting is Conservation.'”

As wildlife numbers dwindled across the country more than 100 years ago, hunters were the force behind a movement to encourage and support conservation and science-based wildlife management. President Theodore Roosevelt, among other hunter-conservationists, called for an end of the commercial taking of species. They also lobbied for the creation of hunting licenses leading to a funding mechanism to assist with growing sustainable wildlife populations.

“The actions taken by Teddy Roosevelt and the fellow sportsmen of his time led to the foundation of the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation which spells out that wildlife belong to us and need to be managed in a way that populations will thrive forever. That model is the only one of its kind and remains the most successful in the world,” added Allen.

In 1937, hunters requested an 11 percent tax on guns, ammunitions, bows and arrows, with the proceeds directed solely toward funding conservation. To date, that tax raised more than $7.2 billion for wildlife conservation, including a record $522.5 million in 2012 alone. Through state licenses and fees, hunters pay $796 million a year for conservation programs. They also add $440 million a year to the effort through donations to conservation organizations like the RMEF.

“We are proud of the more than 6.3 million acres of habitat RMEF protected and enhanced across the country and the hand we had in reintroducing elk back on their native range in six states, but we know there is still much to do. We salute our dedicated volunteers for their efforts in raising funds to ensure the future of elk and elk country nationwide,” added Allen.

Allen urged sportsmen and women to show their support of National Hunting and Fishing Day by honoring actions of the past and by taking our children and grandchildren into the outdoors this weekend and in the future.

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Police Ask Citizens to Help Supply Ammo

It first began when we started hearing that police departments around the country were having shortages of ammunition. Now we are reading stories, like this one at CNS News, stating that one police department in Proctor, Minnesota, pleaded with citizens to “loan” them their ammunition.

So, seriously. Where’s all the ammunition?

According to Jim Shepherd at Outdoor Wire, it’s the gun and ammunition manufacturing industry with the problem, even going so far as to claim there is no conspiracy or plot to disarm people.

What I’ve heard loud and clear in my conversations with retailers and range owners is that they’re certainly talking to each other – and listening to disgruntled customers. And their talk isn’t pleasant when the subject is manufacturers or industry groups. Historically, it seems there’s always been a divide between manufacturers and retailers, but this divide looks wide enough to have some of them looking at joining forces and taking their message to consumers.

If that happens, I’ve been told, they’re going to look -skeptically- at every industry group to see who’s stepping up to explain the facts of product shortages to consumers. And they want companies to go to their distributors and tell them there are smaller businesses- who makeup a large portion of the industry- suffering because they insist on supplying big box retailers first, and that’s not acceptable.

They want manufacturers to actually tell their distributors a portion of their product inventories must be allocated to smaller retailers. And they don’t want to hear excuses why that’s not practical. “It’s not right,” said one Oklahoma dealer, “for me to have empty shelves and loyal customers when big box stores have product and don’t care about customers or fellow retailers.”

Hmmmmm! Is this true? If it is then there must be some kind of conspiracy here. From my own personal experience, prior to late in 2007, I could go just about anywhere in the United States – big city or small town, big box retailer or small gun shop owner – and buy just about any amount of ammunition that I wanted. So what’s changed?

If Shepherd’s information is accurate, then Obama’s anti gun identification tag had nothing to do with this shortage, or Big Sis’s hoarding of certain caliber ammo. Instead, a conspiracy (it must. What else would you call it?) exists with the manufacturers of ammunition to run the little gun shops out of business and refuse to supply police departments, or something along those lines.

Is this to drive the price of ammunition through the roof in order to gouge the consumer for big profits? Are manufacturers taking advantage of the anti gun rhetoric coming out of Washington and through some anti rights groups, and deliberately creating shortages.

I’ll go back to my original comment and question. In late 2007 (you figure out the significance of the date.) I could buy ammo anywhere, anytime. What’s changed since then? There has to be either a real shortage of ammunition, brought on mostly by hoarding and panic buying or there’s a shortage brought on by the ammunition manufacturing industry because of whatever their financial and/or political goals are.

If the problem lies with the ammo industry, then police departments should be able to buy their ammunition through big box retailers…..shouldn’t they? Have they tried? Or is there a shortage AND the industry is only supplying big retailers? Is there a conspiracy to disarm the police departments? Is this disarming of police departments in instill more fear and panic in Americans?

What’s changed? Are there so many new gun owners since 2007 that it would cause an ammo shortage and a gun shortage? Have more people bought more ammunition than at any other time in history? Have manufacturing plants stopped producing as much ammo as they used to? If ammo is only being sold to big box outfits, then I should be able to get all the ammo I want through them. Is that possible?

Here’s one thing that seems to be a certainty. I happen to know of at least two states that have seen a windfall of over $1 million each in Pittman-Robertson excise tax money from the Federal Government. This excise tax is collected on the sale of certain outdoor sporting goods. A $1 million windfall tax for one small state, like Maine, tells us somebody has been buying up an awful lot of sporting goods. Has that increase been in everything except guns and ammunition? Has the increase been universally distributed throughout all the outdoor sporting equipment sales? Or has the increase come as a result of the increased sales of guns and ammunition. What I’ve been hearing is that it has all come from the sale of guns and ammunition and all since 2007.

So, what’s changed and where does the problem exist? You tell me.

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Wolves, Buffalo and Coming Corruption

A Guest Post by Jim Beers:

From 1994 to 1996 the US Fish and Wildlife Service stole (took, diverted, whatever makes you feel good) Millions of dollars from the federal excise taxes (mostly from those collected on arms and ammunition) collected exclusively for state fish and wildlife agencies’ use on state fish and wildlife programs. Those excise taxes are a major portion (supplementing hunting and fishing license fees) of the funding available each year for state fish and wildlife agencies’ operations.

At the time of the theft, Congress had refused to fund “endangered” wolf introductions by USFWS into Yellowstone Park, a federal enclave that would “seed” wolves into Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Washington, Oregon, California, and Utah as has happened. Resulting losses of cattle business viability, losses of big game herds (and the license money et al they generated annually), losses of dogs, human safety concerns, and general demise of rural economies were all foreseeable but denied by bureaucrats and “nature” advocates that lived largely in far-away cities. What was hidden from the public by state and federal bureaucrats and the “scientists” they employed were the disease and parasite effects of wolves on humans, domestic animals and wild animals; that danger is only now becoming undeniable as the awful consequences emerge.

The introduction of wolves captured in Canada into Yellowstone had other important effects. “Red” wolves introduced into the SE states were being perceived as the coyote/dog/wolf hybrids that they are. The romantic allure of wolf howls and the myth of “only killing the lame and the halt” were drying up. In New Mexico and Arizona, introduced “Mexican” wolves were more and more seen to be small wolves living in a harsh and largely foodless (except for cattle and sheep) desert environment, resulting in scary habituation by wolves to school bus stops, farm and ranch yards, and places frequented by kids or where garbage was sometimes available. In Minnesota and Wisconsin public questions about just how many wolves were going to be tolerated before a limit was achieved were causing difficulties for state and federal bureaucrats. Like the SE states, romance and myth were being overtaken by reality and experience. The Yellowstone wolf hoopla provided a publicity bonanza as the voters in those blue areas on the red/blue voting map enthused about vacations to Yellowstone and all the wonderful benefits that wolves were alleged to be bringing to an otherwise “unbalanced ecosystem”.

There are a few other factors however, that we should be aware of. The unpunished theft by federal bureaucrats of millions of dollars from our (yours and mine) state fish and wildlife agencies was a green light for federal bureaucrats to perpetrate future crimes and for the state fish and wildlife agencies to see that going along with crime (like Chicago Mayor Big jim Thompson and Al Capone in the 1920’s) was more profitable than reporting and prosecuting crime. Federal bureaucrats could hurt you and your agency (more all the time as their power and authority increased); making enemies of them was not for the faint-hearted or career-minded.

Additionally, twenty years of precedence have been set that destroys nearly all states rights’ over any plant and wildlife. In addition to sage grouse, wolverines, delta smelt, barred owls, and west coast suckers as “endangered” drone missiles to make growing areas and more human activities federal responsibilities; more folks began to see these as facades to continue the demise of State authority and jurisdiction over growing areas of American life. “Endangered” wolves and grizzly bears are two of the most effective of these rural destroyers to date.

Federal bureaucrats forcible impose (by claiming total jurisdiction over) wolves and grizzly bears that kill people but neither the federal government nor the bureaucrat is responsible. The wolves and grizzlies kill livestock and force either penury or bankruptcy on a wide range of rural businesses and economies but neither the federal government nor the bureaucrat is responsible. The wolves and grizzlies kill and seriously reduce elk, moose, deer, and other highly prized (and formerly lucrative license money and rural economy supplements) but neither the federal government nor the bureaucrat is responsible. Adding insult to injury in this regard, as wolves overrun more and more areas, federal benevolence trumpets “returning wolf management to the states”. Ironically this has created wolf “seasons” (for wolves declared “Game” animals) that are little more than spurs to wolf reproduction and health as low harvest allowances merely take a small amount of the population annually, thereby reducing winter food competition and encouraging larger litters by healthier wolves much like big game harvest management protocols. The final blow is that all this has allowed the states (and their federal mentors) to begin using the federal excise taxes generated by the sales of arms and ammunition! This means less availability of excise taxes for the hunting programs they were adopted for over 80 years ago. Now growing portions of the excise taxes and license money intended for hunting programs can be spent on wolf complaints, wolf collaring, satellite tracking, wolf transplanting of “problem” wolves, wolf meetings, wolf media propaganda, wolf “counting” (of a notoriously hard-to-count animal) and a whole range of wolf expenses as the wolves decimate game animals and make hunting more dangerous for fewer participants. Think of it as a win/win all around!

Understanding what I have just described, consider the growing movement to establish “Free-Ranging Buffalo” herds. Buffalo spread disease one of which that can destroy state cattle sales outside the state, destroy fences, destroy crops, destroy water holes, harass livestock, are a danger to rural home sites and even small town residents in winter as they seek foods, and are considerably dangerous to vehicles after dark on rural roads. Buffalo are titled “domestic” animals in certain states and come under a range of agricultural and veterinary laws that would preclude federal intrusion. UUHHH, so what?

“Free-roaming buffalo”, just like wolves and grizzly bears are simply environmental drone missiles employed in concert with government land purchases, government/NGO land easement purchases, government historic/scenic declarations, federal land closures, federal fire non-management, restrictions on grazing and timber management, and other ploys to further importune rural America and those that live and work there. Consider the drama and unsuccessful to date legal machinations in Montana to stealthily release Yellowstone buffalo in N Central Montana. Ask yourself why the 100 year-old National Elk Refuge by Jackson (that feeds 15,000 elk each winter) that was specifically founded in the Congressional Authorization FOR ELK, has been renamed the National Elk and Buffalo Refuge with a flick of a bureaucrat’s pen and the elk numbers to be wintered drastically reduced while a quota for “wintering buffalo” created by bureaucrat rule makers.

Now those that have been paying attention might be wondering where the federal government could get the money in these days of insurmountable debt? Well there is one factor I have not mentioned about wolves and the money stolen to push them “over the top”. The excise tax money stolen to put the wolves in Yellowstone was taken during the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th year of the Clinton Administration. For the history buffs out there, the 1st and 2nd years of the Clinton reign were marked by a widespread national fear that the Clintons were going to register (and confiscate?) guns. Hence there was a surge almost as big as what we have seen in the past 3 months of sales of arms and ammunition and a concomitant surge in excise tax collection.

The first inkling of something major amiss in Washington, DC regarding the excise taxes apportioned to the states was the mysterious disappearance of any large increase in excise taxes to state fish and wildlife agencies in the following years. In other words, the gun-confiscators actions (I have long suspected Mrs. Clinton’s role in “Fast and Furious”) caused a surge in sales that created a large surge in excise tax receipts that caught the eye of federal bureaucrats in Washington, frustrated by Congressional intransigence regarding wolves, intent on environmental jihadism and confident (as proved to be the case) that they would never be brought to account since they were serving such high purposes with only the best of intentions.

Ladies and gentlemen, the recent sellout of guns from stores everywhere and the continuing scarcity (due to unbelievable purchases for hoarding by citizens and an unexplained purchase of millions of rounds by federal domestic agencies) is creating once again that surge in excise taxes that when stolen before by federal bureaucrats went unnoticed and unreported by state bureaucrats.

If we do not put this federal genie back in the bottle (asserting Local Authority and Jurisdiction seems to be our best hope), our children will live in a much poorer world that none of us would recognize nor want.

The current administration, more than even the Clinton administration, abjures any oversight or questions. They are committed to a supreme central government more than any in my lifetime or the history of the nation so far as I understand it. Will they register and ban guns, and therefore decimate state fish and wildlife agencies access to excise taxes while inept state agencies are complicit in the demise of fishing and hunting? Will they steal or divert the current surge in excise taxes for buffalo introduction and protection or private property takeovers or other further decimations of rural America for urban votes? Are they now scheming for even more claims of environmental catastrophe unless they get more money from us or seize the remaining vestiges of state authorities?

I do not know the answers to those questions but I have my personal suspicions. I do know however, that a similar “run” on the gun stores 20 years ago resulted in enormous harm to rural America and American governance. With all that is facing us now, more than ever we need to be alert to lying bureaucrats and hidden agendas. We are in a carnival and have the mortgage money on a table bet about under which shell is the pea as the con “artist” smiles and switches them around. A lot is riding on how well we watch and challenge the play.

James Beers

1 March 2013

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

Jim Beers is available to speak or for consulting. You can receive future articles by sending a request with your e-mail address to: jimbeers7@comcast.net

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$750,000 For Maine Shooting Ranges

It’s not that I am against shooting ranges….no really. It’s just that I’m more of a priority-driven kind of person. Just about everything I do in life is weighed against priorities.

For instance, Maine has a dire problem with whitetail deer management, the complaint most always being no money to do anything about the problem. Some think Maine has a shortage of game wardens; the excuse being there isn’t enough money to do the job right. Some say Maine’s hatcheries aren’t adequate to get the job done, or that the overall fisheries in the state are lacking, all because there’s not enough money to get the job done.

I’m also not a person who believes in throwing money at problems. I believe one of the problems at the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife(MDIFW) is there is too much waste of the money they get and that the money being expended goes to non game programs that do not contribute to the revenue source.

A lot of people shoot; there are far more gun owners and guns than there are hunters. People who purchase guns and ammunition and related accessories pay an excise tax that becomes earmarked to be spent on specified projects that improve hunting, trapping, fishing and other opportunities. Taxes collected from the sale of these guns and such has amounted to a considerable amount of money since Barack Obama has managed to scare the hell out of millions of people, forcing them to stock up on guns and ammo. That rush to buy has resulted in a windfall from Pittman-Robertson excise tax money and now the MDIFW is trying to figure out what to do with the money. (It’s a windfall and not a guaranteed added revenue stream)

They’ve opted to spend $750,000, of an estimated $1 million, to improve shooting ranges. People who buy and shoot guns should be able to see the rewards of their tax money spent but is this the best use of that money right now?

Some will argue that perhaps there will never be a good time and perhaps they are right. I don’t want to short-change the person who has contributed tax dollars to Pittman-Robertson, no more than I want to see my tax dollars being spent on non game programs at MDIFW. But priorities!

I wish MDIFW would rethink this decision but if they insist the money be spent for this purpose, I certainly hope the money doesn’t go to private-owned shooting ranges.

More can be found here.

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Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies Turns Against America’s Sportsmen

In the fight we face to hang on to the right to hunt and fish we now have new enemies. Unfortunately, among them are many of the state wildlife agencies which the sportsmen of this country worked so hard to found 75 to 100 years ago, and which those same sportsmen have financially supported through the years.

Following is an open letter/e-mail sent to Bass Pro Shops C.E.O. Johnny Morris, warning him of the dangers that lie ahead when members of the shooting-hunting-fishing industry openly support those agencies and organizations with a new non-consumptive agenda.

Has the time come to withhold Pittman-Robertson Funds from those state agencies which have strayed from the intent of the Pittman-Robertson Act…and the intent of the sportsmen who founded and supported those agencies?

Toby Bridges
LOBO WATCH
www.lobowatch.com

Johnny,

Have you ever taken the time to sit down and read the legislation which established the Pittman-Robertson Act?

One line reads… “laws for the conservation of wildlife which shall include a prohibition against the diversion of license fees paid by hunters for any other purpose than the administration of said State fish and game department…”

The Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies is one of the “conservation organizations” which you are now strongly involved with – and an organization which no longer follows the intent of Pittman-Robertson, or for that matter the intent of sportsmen when state game and fish agencies were being established 75 to 100 years ago. The new agenda of AFWA is to heavily promote the non-consumptive use of non-hunted and non-fished wildlife, technically illegally using monies provided by sportsmen – such as monies provided through the sales of hunting and fishing licenses, and the excise taxes collected on hunting and fishing equipment for the sole purpose of improving GAME and FISH habitat, and building healthy populations of GAME and FISH for consumptive harvest.

http://www.theoutdoorwire.com/story/13488190983tyzsqb7rvx

The AFWA news release published at this link may appear to stick another “Feather for Conservation” in the Bass Pro Shops hat, but does it really? The sportsmen of this country are now feeling extremely used by organizations and agencies with a whole new agenda – to eliminate hunting and fishing. The Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies is one organization/association/band of thieves now in the crosshairs. Following is a link to another release of an entirely different color…

http://www.skinnymoose.com/bbb/2010/09/18/hunters%E2%80%99-dollars-misused-to-promote-nongame-outdoor-recreation-agenda/

Is this the direction our “game departments” will continue to take? Following is a link to an article that emphatically says that it is…

http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/10/03/14200590-californias-department-of-fish-and-game-gets-a-name-change-and-controversy?lite

This summer the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, against the wishes of the vast majority of those who hunt and fish in that state (and who are your customers), held a train wreck known as the “Wildlife Summit”. The intent of that three-days of manipulation (using the Delphi Technique) by professional moderators and carefully selected speakers, plus a number of plants in the audience, was to make the sportsmen of the state feel good about that agency seeking funding from non-hunting and non-fishing groups, and even the same anti-hunting organizations which have allowed a glut of predators to destroy the past 50 to 75 years of big game conservation in Idaho.

The very same Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies which you support, and which recently awarded you their “Citizen Conservationist of the Year” award, is very much behind this movement. Every time you look at the award handed you, I hope you take a minute to reflect on what it has and will continue to cost Bass Pro Shops – and what your support of using the money provided by hunters and fishermen to fund non-consumptive wildlife management will cost the sportsmen and sportswomen of this country.

Let’s get back to the practices and management which rewarded us with the bounty of wildlife we enjoyed through the 1980s and 1990s. It is time for a real division between “Game & Fish” and “Wildlife”. If the non-consumptive watchable wildlife crowd, bird watchers, nature photographers, hikers, etc. feel a need to support that area of outdoor recreation, then it is also time for every state to establish an entirely separate Department of Wildlife, which should be funded entirely with monies OTHER than what sportsmen spend on hunting and fishing licenses, or by the excise taxes collected on firearms, ammunition, archery gear or fishing tackle. Sportsman dollars should be used entirely and exclusively for improving habitat for harvestable fish and game, and to promote those consumptive outdoor sports.

The sportsmen of this country have tired of being used, and there will be an ever growing call for the elimination of Pittman-Robertson funds being distributed to any state agency that takes on a non-consumptive agenda.

Toby Bridges
LOBO WATCH
www.lobowatch.com

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MDIFW: Maine’s Moose Population Estimated at 76,000 After Aerial Survey

The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife now has its most accurate estimation of the state’s moose population thanks to a new aerial survey.

The Department currently estimates a population of 76,000 moose after using a double count technique the last two winters where two observers independently reported the number of moose observed while flying in a helicopter over northern and eastern Maine.

During the winter of 2010-2011, the Department used the technique, adapted from Quebec and New Brunswick where it was utilized to count deer, to survey Wild Management Districts (WMDs) 2, 3 and 6 with the help of the Maine Forest Service and funds from the Maine Outdoor Heritage Fund.

It was then decided that the aerial survey was far more accurate and efficient than the previously used methods, including transect counts from fixed wing, line-track intercept techniques, a modified Gasaway survey and Forward Looking Infrared (FLIR).

“This new technique turned out to be a good and accurate way to look at moose across a big part of Maine, which we’ve never had the opportunity to do before,” said IFW Wildlife Biologist Lee Kantar. “It’s exciting to finally have the techniques to get so much information on moose in the state because the more we know about moose, the better able the department is to manage this magnificent resource for the people of Maine.”

Due to the right resources, equipment, help from the Maine Forest Service and funding from the federal Pittman-Robertson Fund, the Department was able to use the technique again this past winter and surveyed WMDs 1, 2, 4, 5, 8, 11, and 19, all of which are in the core moose range of the state.

The Department did not survey southern Maine because the low moose population numbers in that area would likely add little to the total statewide population.

During the aerial survey, one observer sits in the front of the helicopter while the other sits in the back on the same side.

The area being surveyed is broken down into a grid and transects are flown through the grid with both observers reporting numbers of moose seen on a transect line to a data recorder. The data recorder tells the observers when the transect starts and stops so they are counting the same area at the same time. Density estimates are calculated for each area based on mark-resight techniques.

To view a video of another aerial survey technique in use to count the number of bulls, cows, and calves in a management unit, go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WVqyRu6i16M.

For more information, visit www.mefishwildlife.com.

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RMEF Celebrates 75th Anniversary of Pittman-Robertson Act

*Editor’s Note* From this press release, it is clear that the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation supports the wrong direction and abuse that has transpired against the Pittman-Robertson Act. Never was this excise tax intended to be spent on “other wild game and non-game species across the board”. Nor was it intended strictly to preserve lands and habitat.

Perhaps if the RMEF backed off on the amount of money they spend buying up lands and conservation easements and taking private land from the tax rolls and putting that money and energy into returning Pittman-Robertson to what it was intended, they wouldn’t need to be asking for so much money so much of the time. If you don’t see that environmentalists have hijacked the Pittman-Robertson excise tax then you are part of the problem.

MISSOULA, Mont.? – In light of the 75th anniversary of the Pittman-Robertson Act, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation honors hunters and the vital role they play in funding wildlife management and conservation.

?”Hunting is conservation! There is no greater proof of that than hunters who successfully lobbied government so many years ago to tax themselves? all for the benefit of wildlife,?” said David Allen, RMEF president and CEO. “?That continuing and ever-increasing funding remains the lion?s share for today?s conservation efforts, too.”?

Nevada Senator Key Pittman and Virginia Congressman Absalom Willis Robertson sponsored the legislation. President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed it into law on Sept. 2, 1937.

The Act imposed an 11 percent tax on guns and ammunition to restore and protect wildlife habitat. Prior to the law, hunting pressure and habitat degradation pushed bison, deer, elk, pronghorn, wild turkey, wood ducks and other species to the brink of extinction.

?Philosopher George Santayana famously stated, ?”Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”? “Hunters learned and they acted,”? added Allen. ?”The great thing is growing numbers of dedicated hunters today mean even more funding for elk, other wild game and non-game species across the board.?”

The Act raises more than $280 million a year for wildlife conservation, and raised more than $2 billion since its inception. The excise tax goes to the Secretary of the Interior to distribute to the states based on a formula that takes into account the area of the state and its number of licensed hunters.

Revenue from state licenses and fees adds up to about $275 million a year, which goes exclusively to state fish and game departments for conservation purposes.

Hunters are the fuel behind RMEF and its 6 million-plus acres of habitat conservation. More than 95 percent of RMEF 180,000 members are passionate hunters.

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