Saturday, 28 February 1998 17:00

SPORTSMEN SPEAK OUT ... AND KEEP ON SPEAKING

Written by Hunters Alert
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NDOW and the wildlife commissioners would like everyone to think that there are only one or two sportsmen who do not approve of the way our game is being managed. Nothing could be further from the truth. Former Wildlife Commission chairman Mahlon Brown used to refer to HUNTER'S ALHRT as the "small but vocal group". NDOW in their publication, Nevada Wildlife Almanac, referred to a "vocal sliver" of Nevada's hunters who opposed giving our sheep to Texas. HUNTER'S ALERT gets literally hundreds of letters, calls, or comments about NDOW's mismanagement. Listed below are but a few

"Keep up the good work", C.C., Las Vegas, "I choose Cecil Fredi to be our next governor!" R & J B., Las Vegas,

"Keep up the good work. You are right on track. Thank you." R.M., Elko "You're doing great." W.S., Las Vegas "Went deer hunting in Area 11 again this year. Deer herd there is the worst I've ever seen. Saw cat tracks, also the remains of two good bucks. Hardly ever see a jackrabbit anymore." J.S., Las Vegas

"Kick.ass." S. & S. G., Las Vegas "I'm 100% in agreement that we need predator control." L.D., Incline Village "Keep up the good work." C.N., Las Vegas "Keep up the good work." J.R., Lovelock "Congratulations on a fine fall 1997 issue. Your openminded analysis of all the key players is invaluable. My copy stays pinned to the refrigerator just waiting for the next vote." A.P., Winnemucca

"Hunters Alert: What a great way to spend a winter day. I went to the Wildlife Commission meeting in Henderson. I met some nice sportsmen and two of my favorite friends although we had never met. I am talking about Dr. Gerald Lent and Cecil "Pain in the you know what" Fredi. Two of the best friends the hunters can have. All of the hunters were concerned about the hunting in the state. Myself I had a tag in Area 23. In 1996 - 100 buck tags. In 1997 - 200 buck tags. What a fraud, 100 buck tags more in only one year. It shows that someone only wants the money. Why pay a biologist if he doesn't do a herd count? Anyway it was hard to get anyone to agree on anything but cheap entertainment none the less. It lasted so long I didn't get to hear all of the praise heaped on poor ole Willie. Maybe they will throw him a party in Fallon. Also I am enclosing a check to help protect my hunting. More hunters should take the time to see the show. More could make a difference." Albert Stewart, Henderson

"Enclosed please find an article I have written regarding Nevada DOW. I'm requesting that you publish it in the next Hunter's Alert paper. Keep up the good work. My husband and I are staunch supporters." Sincerely, Suzanne Gunn

Dear Hunter's Alert:

The game management policies of the State of Nevada frequently come under very eloquent attack in this newsletter, and rightfully so. As a member of Hunter's Alert I wish to add my two cents worth.

This year my husband and I did not apply for deer tags. We prefer to hunt does and there are fewer and fewer areas that offer doe tags. The closest hunting is south of Elko, a full day's drive from Las Vegas and not exactly what we would call convenient.

Until a few years ago we hunted in Spring Valley, east of Ely. There were good, healthy herds of deer living in the Cleve, Taft and McCoy Creek drainages, well fattened on local alfalfa. The meat was always tender and tasty, and the hunting was just right for a husband and wife team. Over the years we made many friends in the area so it was like a homecoming as well as hunting.

There are no longer doe tags offered in Spring Valley, in fact it's a wonder that there are even any buck tags available! In several trips to the area this fall we have seen less than two dozen deer.

Thanksgiving weekend we camped near Taft Creek for a few days and walked the Taft and South Fork drainages looking for Chukkar, Blue Grouse and Bunnies. We didn't find any. What we found left us with a very eerie feeling.

It had snowed in the area on Thanksgiving, leaving a 4" to 6" layer of the white fluffy stuff starting about half-way up the Schellcreeks. On that Saturday, two days after the snow, we found entire park areas that were still pristine in their perfection. That, folks, means NO FOOTPRINTS. No animal had walked through the snow - no deer trails, coyote prints, bunny hop marks, etc. There were, however, 30 or 40 crows circling overhead most of the time adding a surreal effect to an already un-real landscape.

Around the edge of the big open areas we found an occasional mouse track, but very few of them. We saw 2 or 3 ground squirrels, NO jackrabbits, and only 1 rose-hip laded coyote scat. We have hunted this area off and on for over 20 years, and what we didn't see was very disturbing. An area that had been rich in wild game has become desolate.

Because we have never personally seen mountain

lions in the region we would make poor witnesses against a pro-carnivore game policy. However, from talking to other hunters, ranchers and people who frequent the area, there seems to be no doubt what has happened to the big and small game! If the lions are reduced to eating the coyotes, how soon before they venture into the valley to munch on a few tender sheep, yearling calves and children?

Hunters all know that the Department of Wildlife looks at hunters simply as a financial base and a pain in the neck the rest of the time. Did you notice how the hunting seasons seem to get shorter each year? Shorter seasons must cost the department less money, or perhaps they feel that it gives fewer hunters a chance to get out and find out how little game is left!

If outdoor enthusiasts don't want to find more empty game parks then there needs to be found a way to separate Mr. Molini and friends from their well paid state jobs and hire people who are actually supportive of the well being of the wildlife in this state.

We have to keep supporting decent, fair legislation that forces the Department of Wildlife to be accountable. Perhaps it is time to consider the idea of filing charges of malfeasance in office against wildlife officials who are obviously NOT working to maintain the herds and game quality.

We need to start thinking of the wildlife of the State of Nevada as assets to the state, the same as raw land, buildings, highways, etc. If a public official is deleterious in his or her care of state equipment and/or property, that person can be brought up on charges. Well, how about a Director of the Department of Wildlife that does not do his job? Is not the problem of carnivores depleting the hunting resources of the state the same as allowing any entity to steal or destroy public property?

The State of Nevada Department of Wildlife is losing revenue from a lessening number of deer tags sold. They could make up some of that loss in additional lion tags, which in turn would help to increase the deer population, but obviously aren't interested. Therefore it would appear (my OPINION, to which I am entitled) that Mr. Molini and those who make decisions are arbitrarily and willfully allowing the State of Nevada to lose revenue and public property (wildlife).

Probably stupid questions: Why doesn't anyone in state government care? Do they really like carnivores that much? Is this part of a giant conspiracy to ruin hunting so that the gun lobby

can say that no one has ANY reason to own a firearm and lobby to have them all outlawed?

When Governor Miller spat in our faces by vetoing a moral, well thought out bill AFTER it was too late to re-vote, he publicly noticed the hunters of this state of our lack of political worth. We can't hurt him because he isn't running for governor again, and he thinks we can't get at his appointee Molini because Miller is immune and just ignores us all.

I don't have any answers, just ideas and opinions, and I'm certainly not an attorney. However, it seems to me that it is time Department of Wildlife employees to be held responsible for their job performance or exit the office.

Whatever the answer, my largest concern is to never again see 2-day old pristine snow in a Schellcreek Mountain deer park. It's enough to make a grown woman want to cry.

From the files of Nevada Jim Ornellas: Nevada Jim Ornellas has been hunting and pursuing mountain lions in the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range for fifty years. He has a keen interest in the lion's travels, habitats and traits. He is a wealth of information and HUNTER'S ALERT is pleased to print some of his findings. Nevada Jim on Nevada's wildlife management dilemma: As a result of their lack of practical Wildlife knowledge and experience, the politically appointed nine-member Nevada Fish and Game Commission members, like the Department of Wildlife that is responsible for allowing Nevada's mountain lion populations to increase out of control, are also responsible for aiding and allowing the Department of Wildlife to mismanage Nevada's once plentiful deer herds.

There was no such problem as deer shortages or lack of past uncountable deer migrations, or overpopulations of mountain lions during the good old days and years of our past working system of the elected 17 member Commissioners representing their local Sportsmen's Game Control recommendations to affect their local Game and Wildlife.

Before the unscrupulous unwarrranted change of the mountain lion's status via legislation from our largest and worse Carnivorous Predator whose main diet in Nevada is 85% deer meat into a glorified Game Animal, Nevada's mountain lion populations were kept under control by the natural process of elimination that existed without any hunting restrictions as have been implemented and adopted under the pretense of Scientifically

managing this detrimental species (the deer populations worst natural enemy) that requires 80 to 100 deer each-annually for their survival and reproduction purposes, have been scientifically managed from a concerned low population of 370, ten fold to a now admitted population of 3,200 to 5,000 lions! I may add that the past natural elimination process while the lions were still listed as the predator that they are by nature, the natural process was also receiving support by 5 to 6 salaried full-time Government and state subsidized lion hunters. They were paid to kill and eliminate unrestricted respectful numbers to justify the program, receiving 40,000 to 60,000 dollars at that time from the Department of Wildlife every year as an obligation in the interest of the deer herds deer management program. These Department of Wildlife contributions started back in 1948 and today the Department is still contributing $20,000 a year.

Paying to kill mountain lions as predators and turn around and charge the public and sportsmen a license and tag fee for the privilege to hunt and kill a lion as a Game Animal as state, that kills and eats a minimum of 80 deer (legitimate game animal) per year, and that also breeds and reproduces year around without a breeding season as the deer have, to reproduce one fawn, while a female lion will give birth to a litter of from 1 to 5 more protected managed lions to mature and kill as many more deer.

In the past before the reclassification and restrictions imposed on the Game Hunting of today's lions, the only lions that were considered and counted were the lion— numbers that were being harvested for a matter of record by the state hunters only! There was no other concern, controls by the full time salaried state lion hunters, resident experienced houndmen, a handful of Licensed Hunting Guides, and independent out of state houndmen from our surrounding states attracted by the high numbers and population of Nevada's stable lion densities due to Nevada's large deer herds and annual migrations from our surrounding states during their heavy winters and snow seasons.

There were so many deer during these lion controlled years mentioned that the department allowed the slaughter of our deer herds consisting of bucks, does, antlerless (bucks and yearlings). Hunters could apply for any of the special hunts or all of them statewide. There were years any resident could apply for and kill anywhere from 8 to 13 deer in any one of those given years.

Nevada Jim on our deer shortages: In my files I possess a minimum of 20 press releases stating over and over of the deer herds dwindling in population, dating back into the 1960's, some of

the articles stating "the past 10 and 20 years", etc., followed by 2 articles 10 years apart, 1978 and 1988 placing the blame on 2 droughts and the '92-'93 winter.

The deer shortages are everyone and everything else's fault but their own inequities, failures and mismanagement. This past decade as usual, it was the good old life saving 8 year drought, followed by the 1993 Winter, Encroachment by Civilization (construction of housing tracts, malls, roads and freeways) referred to as loss of habitat and winter range, and the Poachers that kill as many and more deer every year than the legal lie/tag holding deer hunters do every year! Yet anyone that knows better can tell you that the Mountain Lion, Coyote and Bobcat Populations can and do kill more deer than the deer hunters do per year!

1 and many of my peers are most curious as to what other extremes our biologists may have resorted to had not the 8 year Drought, the 1993 Winter and the Poachers come to their rescue to absorb the blame for the deer shortages.

Nevada Jim on Willie Molini: (Jim discovered the following about Willie Molini.) In 1976 when Willie was a biologist he stated in the Mountain Lion Workshop's publication, "I would hate to see us get in the position where we have to control lions for the benefit of deer...It looks like the lions are taking considerably more deer per year than our hunters have harvested, at least in the last year or two." This statement by Molini was made at the time the Department's 1976 Annual Report gave the state Mountain Lion population to be 375 to 400 lions. And this year the same man in a press release March 26, 1996 stated there are 3,000 Mountain Lions in Nevada, while one of his staff on Nov.28, 1995 at a County Game Advisory Board meeting stated that there had to be a minimum of 3,200 in the state and maybe even 5,000! This is a disgrace!

Nevada Jim on Molini's retirement: It is no coincidence that Nevada's 3 leading well-organized Sportsmen's Groups are in accordance in concluding that the best thing that has happened is Molini's announcement to retire this coming fall. I just hope he and his supporters and friends realize that he is not fooling any of us. He has been allowed, and chosen his last option to retire to avoid being asked or made to step down to save face for the commissioners that have all sat by unconcerned about his conduct that is responsible for Nevada's critical deer shortage, past deer migrations and managed increase of Nevada's Mountain lion population from 370 stated by former director Glenn Griffith as a serious concern stated in the 1976 Annual Report to a now admitted increased lion population of from 3,000 to 5,000. Nevada Jim's Predictions: I predict the officials will not accept or listen to reason, to reconsider and place the mountain lion back to its original biological status as Nevada's largest carnivorous predator. When there were no problems with the animal there were surplus deer to migrate, manage and harvest because of no restrictions or limits of lion harvests that obviously kept their numbers controlled.

As a game animal, they developed into a new and much needed source of revenue that qualifies for the Robertson/Pittman Federal 3 to 1 matching fund added to the original dollars generated by any license, tag or permit sale.

Last modified on Thursday, 06 May 2010 15:45
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