Sunday, 16 November 2008 22:41

Ranchers Speak Out

Written by Cecil Fredi, President HUNTER'S ALERT
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Reprinted in The Nevada Rancher, October 2008

At the Nevada Wildlife Commission meeting in Eureka held on August 15 and 16, there were two very important issues. Fortunately, one of them never made the agenda as it was one of the slimiest back door moves ever attempted.

Clint Bentley was chairman of the Wildlife Commission and he stated that he would not seek re-appointment to the Commission. Translated, it meant he stood no chance of being re-appointed. As Chairman of the Wildlife Commission, he appointed himself to six committees and chairman of five of these committees. (dictator?)

At his last meeting on June 28, he set some of the agenda for the Eureka meeting. Two committees were scheduled to meet at the Eureka meeting. They were the Tag Committee and the Wildlife Damage Committee, also referred to as the Predator Committee which Clint Bentley chairs. Because four of the nine Wildlife Commissioners were newly appointed, Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW) Director Ken Mayer chose to cancel the Tag Committee but not the Predator Committee. Now here is where it gets dirty.

The Wildlife Commission meeting was set to start at 10:30 AM on Friday, August 15. The first item on the agenda was to elect a new chair and vice-chair of the Commission. Clint Bentley had set the Predator meeting for 8:00 AM as an action item to approve the Predator budget of $493,948.00 for the 2009 expenditures. They intentionally set this meeting up so that the full Wildlife Commission with its new members would not be able to vote on the matter. This was done deliberately to circumvent the system.  Can it get any lower than this? Late on Monday, August 11, mysteriously and out of the blue the Predator meeting was cancelled. Is it any wonder why so many people do not trust NDOW?

The hot topic of the meeting was discussed on Saturday when the ranchers turned out in force. They were upset about desert bighorn sheep being planted in the Cortez Mountain range. A prior meeting had already approved this introduction. However, many ranchers were extremely vocal because they had not been notified of the first meeting. Ranchers were very concerned about disease issues, loss of AUM's and trespassing on private land.

The Slagowski Ranches were opposed to the introduction and Tom Tomera who has 27,000 deeded acres also spoke against the issue. A letter from Martin Etcheverry was read into the record opposing the introduction of sheep.  Wildlife commissioner Pete Mori read a letter from Nevada Cattlemen's Association president Dan Graylian in opposition to the introduction of sheep. Jim and Billie Fillipini whose family leases 10,000 AUM's in the Cortez Mountain range as well as other ranchers were in attendance but did not testify. It appeared that they were somewhat incredulous at the events.

I consider myself a sportsman and want as much huntable game as possible. With that said, let's stand back and take an objective look at this proposed sheep introduction. The proposal is to plant sheep where no desert bighorn sheep had ever existed. What is to be gained by this? Five or ten more people will be able to hunt sheep? Let's accept the high number of ten, although five would be more realistic. A sheep tag costs $120 so NDOW will realize $1200 and with matching funds the most money generated would be $3600 a year. Is this miniscule amount of money worth it for the following: invasion onto private property, more government intervention, disturbing the livelihoods of sheep and cattlemen and the mining industry, all for $3600? A few questions should be asked. Does this really make sense? Who the hell is pushing so hard for this and why? Believe me, there is more to this than you will ever read.

At the beginning of the meeting, Gerald Lent was elected chairman. He is extremely knowledgeable about wildlife issues and has been instrumental  in getting many bills passed for sportsmen. This is not only good news for sportsmen but for ranchers as well, because Gerald Lent has worked very closely with Assemblyman John Carpenter for many years.  Gerald Lent will be working with Assemblymen Carpenter and Claborn on predator issues which affect ranchers, hunters and sheep growers in the next legislative session.

It seems that at every government meeting there is always a standout. By that I mean a person referred to as a leftfielder, oddball, curmudgeon, etc.  And this meeting certainly had one! Within seconds of Lent being elected chairman, Elko County Advisory Board to Manage Wildlife member Ken Wellington leaped up demanding that charges be brought against Lent. He was so out of order that the representative from the Attorney General's office had to sit him down and explain that this was not the proper forum for his demand. Within minutes of this outburst, he requested an item from a previous meeting be placed on the agenda again. In other words, within a matter of a few minutes, he berates the new chairman and then requests a favor from him.  But it didn't stop there. He had an outburst against Commissioner Scott Raine on Friday and yet another on Saturday. This was done without the requisite green card which he was required to fill out in order to address the Commission. You could probably understand this from someone who does not know parliamentary procedure or protocol. In short, Mr. Wellington was an embarrassment to himself and to Elko County which he represents.

Cecil Fredi is president of HUNTER'S ALERT and has been a resident of Las Vegas for 65 years. For more information about Nevada wildlife issues, log on to

Last modified on Monday, 08 December 2008 23:48
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