Thursday, 24 April 2008 03:28


Written by Jim Beers
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The current argument in Nevada about whether a Governor should appoint an advocate of "managing" wildlife or an advocate of "saving" wildlife to a State Wildlife Commission is a scenario being replayed all over the nation.  The gross stereotypes and character assassinations are part and parcel of the scenario, and the hidden agendas and distortions of facts present in one article would take pages to decipher.  The following brief explanation is based on 30 plus years with the US Fish & Wildlife Service; nearly ten years of writing and speaking about such matters, and two appearances before the US House of Representatives' Natural Resources Committee concerning the theft of $45 to $60 Million by the US Fish & Wildlife Service from the hunting and fishing excise taxes that, by law, could only be used for state fish and wildlife programs.


There are national and international campaigns to eliminate hunting, fishing, and trapping.  All so-called animal "rights" organizations and most environmental organizations "partner" with select bureaucrats and politicians to attain this goal.  Intimately interwoven with this movement are anti-gun, anti-animal ownership, and anti-private property organizations that are intermingled with US and UN government land and animal ownership schemes intended to force their views on the rest of us by using the coercive power of government.


These state Wildlife Commissions (New Jersey and Maryland are current examples) are objectives to be controlled by the anti-"management" (i.e. anti-hunt/fish/trap) cabals.  There are either the outright anti- animal ownership/use zealots as appointees or there is the supposedly benign Veterinarian or "hunter" who simply advocates "all animals" as objects of government benevolence.  These are always opposed by hunters and fishermen and trappers that are characterized as unsophisticated "bumpkins" (clinging to guns and religion?).  Politicians are either "progressive" (if supportive of the "new" visions) or are "conservative" with voting records distinguished as "Crimes Against Nature".


State agencies, like their federal cousins are under the authority of elected politicians, namely the Governors and the President.  The state agencies are funded by the state legislatures but the state agencies are increasingly dependent on and recipients of federal grants to perform specific tasks for federal managers.  In fact, these state agencies are increasingly responsible to federal overseers and less answerable to state legislators or the voters that elected them.


For about 80 years state fish and wildlife agencies have been funded largely by hunting and fishing license money AND millions of dollars in federal excise taxes collected on arms, ammunition, and fishing tackle and made available to each state for "wildlife conservation" and "sport fish restoration".  While federal overseers can "steer" the funds somewhat, the valuable laws and politicians establishing these programs had the foresight to forbid the use of the funds for anything other than active wildlife management or the management of SPORT fisheries for fishing.  The control of these all-important funds at the state level; combined with political and employee-control of federal conduits (agencies and Committees) for funding are two very important objectives of the anti-hunting/fishing/trapping and anti-animal ownership and use organizations.


In the mid 1990's the US Congress had refused to give the US Fish and Wildlife Service federal funding to introduce wolves in the Rocky Mountains or to open a new Endangered Species-oriented office in the California hotbed of environmental and animal rights programs.  The US Fish and Wildlife Service appointees under President Clinton then proceeded to steal at least $45 to $60 Million of the excise taxes collected for state hunting and fishing programs to introduce the wolves and open the office (and give top managers increased bonuses) anyway.  This was confirmed by a Congressional audit.  I mention this because the funds were never replaced, no one was ever disciplined, AND the state fish an wildlife agencies never even requested that the funding be replaced.  This last is important to note because even ten years ago, state fish and wildlife agencies were becoming enablers of federal agency and radical organizations' agendas and quietly abandoning hunters, fishermen, and trappers and by precedent animal owners and users across this great nation.  It is more important today to "please" federal fund-givers and assure "every federal penny possible as soon as possible" than it is to defend the rights and traditions of the state residents that employ them.  Thus are hunting, fishing, trapping, predator control, etc. being replaced by "Native Ecosystems", "Endangered Flocks and Schools", "Invasive" Game Species Control, and Predator Overpopulations and Protection to name but a few.  I say this as a veteran Fish and Wildlife Biologist, Wetlands Biologist, US Game Management Agent, US Special Agent, Refuge Manager, Chief of National Wildlife Refuge Management Operations, and Congressional Fellow.


Today, issues from abandoning predator control, declaring all manner of "Critical" this and "Native" that combined with state acquiescence to more and more federal land ownership and land use closures are symptoms of the disease affecting us all.  The biological fact (as opposed to all the government-financed "best science") that the predators from foxes on pheasants and the hawks on quail and the coyotes on rabbits, like the wolves on deer and elk, and the cougars and bears on people and stock and outdoor folks of all stripes are decimating huntable surpluses, is either ignored or denied by the federal folks catering to the national environmental and animal rights groups and this is quietly supported by state agencies that are becoming little more than federal subcontractors.


Predator control, like deer or elk control or simply hunting or fishing or trapping for fun are sensible and sustainable uses of fish and wildlife as well as economic engines for state fish and wildlife conservation programs.  State fish and wildlife areas, paid for with the excise tax funds and license money, are available not only for hunters and fishermen and trappers but for school groups, camping, hikers, wildlife watchers, and many others as well.  If and when the "hunters" and "veterinarians" and all their fellow travelers advocating "broadening" the agencies are successful in "controlling" the excise taxes through a federal legislative change and taking over the state agencies as has occurred with the federal agencies: hunting and fishing and trapping will be forbidden.


The choice here is really simple.  It is NOT are you "for" or "against" anything.  The question before us is will the sustainable, self-sufficient, profitable, and enjoyable use of fish and wildlife be sustained in this free Republic or will we adopt the Zimbabwe or Chinese example of government wherein whoever holds "the power" dictates what everyone else will have or what is forbidden.


Such appointments are worth fighting for: not only by hunters, fishermen, trappers, animal owners, and rural outdoors' people but also by every freedom-loving American.  When I say, "fight" I am reminded of GK Chesterton's observation about why soldiers fight.  They fight not because they hate what lies before them but because "they love what lies behind them".  I love my rights and America and I hope you do too.  Please join me in this battle to save our rights for our children.


Jim Beers

15436 Eagle Tavern Lane

Centreville, VA 20120


Last modified on Thursday, 15 April 2010 00:10
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