Monday, 19 June 2006 08:49

Wildlife Damage Control Works

Written by Cecil Fredi
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In the 2001 legislative session, Assembly Bill 291 became law. The bill was sponsored by HUNTER’S ALERT and Nevada Hunters Association. Not another so-called sportsmen’s organization was there to support this bill. A.B. 291 enacted a $3.00 fee on all tag applications. This money was to be dedicated exclusively for wildlife damage control (wdc) formerly called predator control. This money has amounted to over $300,000 a year for wildlife damage control. Wdc is something that neither NDOW nor any of the Wildlife commissioners wanted. However, by law, they were in charge of how the money was to be spent.

Director Terry Crawforth took 24 percent of the money right from the beginning for “administrative costs.” He stated that he needed an additional biologist and other equipment for wdc as justification for some of the 24 percent that he took. The wdc biologist couldn’t stand Terry Crawforth so a couple years later he transferred to Elko. This position has been assigned to another biologist who now has multiple duties. So much for the money going where it was intended! In addition, the computers and other wdc equipment were turned over to the Conservation Education Department, again a blatant act of defiance by Terry Crawforth as he did not want any part of wdc. If it wasn’t something for law enforcement, he didn’t want it.

In addition to Terry Crawforth trashing the program, the Wildlife commissioners also did their dirty deeds. A committee was formed to determine what projects the money should be spent on. This committee was a joke. The commissioners on the committee were Clint Bentley, (you remember him, a falsely named sportsmen’s representative) who on numerous occasions has refused to do something about our mountain lion problem. Conservation representative McNinch and two other falsely named sportsmen’s representatives, Bill Bradley and Tommy Ford. Bill Bradley was a commissioner for ten years and did nothing for wdc. Bentley and Ford decided that spending money on sheep was more important than spending it on deer for which the money was intended.

Assemblyman Jerry Claborn has been a deer hunter in Nevada for over thirty years. He knows firsthand about the loss of our deer and for that reason, he was responsible for getting the wdc money. The intent of obtaining this money was that it was to be spent on wdc to bring back our deer. But Terry Crawforth and the Wildlife commissioners paid no attention to that. They acted like they were the lords and masters and no one was going to tell them what to do. Jerry Claborn told them that he had gotten the money for wdc for them and that he could take it away. Apparently, a lightning bolt must have penetrated the thickheaded commissioners on the committee and they decided to spend some money on wdc for deer.

A few areas were chosen to do wdc to determine if predators were having an effect on mule deer, particularly their fawns. Because NDOW didn’t want any part of wdc, they farmed the job out to someone who knew what the hell they were doing, that being Wildlife Services. WS regularly responds to complaints from the public involving problems with wildlife throughout Nevada. WS does a monthly synopsis of their activities. Below are some excerpts from their bulletins:

• On March 28 and 29, West District supervisor, Jack Spencer, Jr. spent time with WS Zack Bowers on the Lincoln County mule deer project. Recent mule deer fawn counts reported in the Nevada Department of Wildlife’s program overview reported that the fawn to doe ratio in the protection area in 2005 is 87 fawns per 100 does. A Nevada mule deer herd typically needs 32 fawns per 100 does to maintain the herd. With 87 fawns per 100 does, it is expected that this mule deer population within the protection area is on an aggressive population increase. Mule deer survivorship in the protection area is apparently working with W.S. Bowers and the aerial crew actively protecting fawns from “excessive” predation. W.S. Bowers will continue to protect mule deer fawns in this area.

• During the week of March 27 through March 31, WS Ben Miller spent the week placing trail snares and leghold traps in White Pine County on the mule deer protection area. The Nevada Department of Wildlife has reported that this area is experiencing 60 fawns per 100 does, which indicates that fawns are surviving and have a much better chance at eluding predators. WS Miller will continue to protect mule deer fawns in this area.

• In April, Wildlife Specialist Gary Strader continued his good work on the Elko deer and elk enhancement project in hunts units 101, 105 and 107. The total coyotes removed, for the protection of wintering deer herds and fawns, to date is 380 coyotes. This time of year targeting males and removing dens of pups can potentially have the greatest impact on fawn survival. Not only do dominant males do the majority of killing, females with pups have a lot of mouths to feed and this time of hear contributes greatly to rates of predation. Five dens with pups have been removed to date. By removing these elements from known fawning grounds, as has been shown for many other species including big game, survival rates ideally should increase thus adding to the general local population. Three mountain lions have also been targeted and removed from the hunt units in 2006 for the same purpose and for the protection of elk calves in unit 105.

• During the week of April 23 through April 29, WS Ben Miller spent the week protecting mule deer on the Schell Creek Range in Lincoln County. WS Miller removed a total of nine coyotes within the mule deer protection area during his ten day excursion. The Nevada Department of Wildlife’s preliminary Predator Program Overview data indicates this unit’s reproductive level is 60 fawns per 100 does and the overall mule deer population in this unit is increasing. WS Miller will continue to protect mule deer in this area.

Wildlife Services is proving that wdc works. It is too bad that Terry Crawforth and the Wildlife Damage Committee didn’t do the right thing from the beginning. Years were lost on deer recovery because of them. They showed their ignorance and selfishness while selling out all Nevada deer hunters, typical of this bunch.


By Cecil Fredi
Reprinted from U.S. Observer Newspaper

Last modified on Monday, 19 April 2010 14:55
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