Monday, 01 October 2007 04:36

Presented to the Assembly Natural Resource Committee March 28, 2007

Written by Cecil Fredi
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My name is Cecil Fredi and I have lived in Las Vegas for 64 years. For many of those years, I deer hunted and everyone in the hunting group took home a nice big buck. Those days have been gone for years. Nineteen years ago, I helped form a group called HUNTER’S ALERT. Our primary purpose was to inform sportsmen that we have a predator problem and that something needed to be done about it. We have mailed 31 newsletters resulting in over a quarter of a million copies distributed throughout the state as well as other states. Every issue stated we had a predator problem and what other states were doing about their problem. It wasn’t like NDOW and the Wildlife Commission were not made aware of the fact that we had a serious predator problem for many years. 


Well, here it is, 19 years later and nothing has been done except that we have lost our deer and the millions in lost revenue that goes with it. This occurred because NDOW and the Wildlife commissioners failed to act. I testified many times at the Wildlife Commission and the Clark County Advisory Board to Manage Wildlife about the decimation of our deer and sheep because of the lions. The chairman of that Advisory Board was Wilford Allen and month after month, he begged the Wildlife Commission to do something about predators.The end result was that no one listened.

If you will please look at Exhibit #1, you will see a page from the HUNTER’S ALERT newsletter, Winter 1999. On September 17. 1998, I met with newly appointed director Terry Crawforth and Wildlife commissioners Bill Bradley and Jack Coons. I explained to them that NDOW needed to gather the data to show how bad an effect the lions were having on our game. Again, it fell on deaf ears. I asked Terry Crawforth point blank, ‘Can you bring back our deer without doing any predator control?’ His answer was ‘No.’ It’s obvious that Terry Crawforth didn’t care about our deer because during his 8 year tenure, he did absolutely nothing about the predator problem.

On the same exhibit, you will see that another group, Nevada Hunters Association asked the question, “Are you pleased with the status of our game situation?” If you answered that we do have problems with our game situation, what do you intend to do to correct them?”  There was never an answer to any of my questions nor any of the Nevada Hunters Association’s questions. Once again, sportsmen’s concerns continued falling on deaf ears and today the Wildlife Commissioners wonder why sportsmen bypass them.

The Wildlife commissioners are just as much to blame as NDOW. They spent sportsmen’s money to do two surveys. Overwhelmingly, sportsmen agreed that something needed to be done about predators. Exhibits #2 and #3 will show this. (read) In both cases, they took sportsmen’s money to do the surveys but once again the results of both surveys fell on deaf ears. Knowing NDOW has been less than truthful on many occasions, we requested a copy of all of the responses to their survey. Exhibit #4 will show the factual results of their survey.
 
 By now, I have shown you that the people who had the authority to do something, neglected their duties. The person who has addressed this problem is your chairman, Jerry Claborn. In the 2001 legislative session, he was responsible for passing AB291. This gave NDOW over $300,000 a year to do predator control to bring back our deer. In essence, NDOW and the Wildlife Commission thumbed their noses at Mr. Claborn. The first thing NDOW Director Terry Crawforth did was to take 24% of the money for “support”. The Wildlife Commission bypassed your chairman’s intent by spending the money on sheep projects and not on deer until Jerry Claborn straightened them out. Once again, NDOW and the Wildlife Commission did what they wanted to without regard to a legislator who provided them with the money. This is a Commission and a state agency that have shown no accountability to anyone. With that said, I want to make it perfectly clear that I am not throwing stones at the new director of NDOW. He has inherited a mess created by over thirty years of mismanagement by the Wildlife commissioners and the past two directors.

Now let me back up my statements with facts. Exhibit #5 is information that was taken from NDOW’s 2005-2006 Big Game Status Book. This information will show you how lions have affected our deer and the millions in lost revenue to the state. On page 1, from 1981 to 2000, a 20 year average of deer harvested was 13,709. From 2001 to 2005, the average was 7,268. That’s a 40% loss on harvest.

On page 2, during the same time frame, the 20 year deer tag average was 27, 942. The 5 year period was 17, 824. That’s 10,118 fewer deer  tags allotted. To hunt deer, an individual must have a $33.00 hunting license, a $30 tag and a $10 application fee for a total of $73.00. The loss of 10,118 tags at $73.00 is $738,614.00 in lost revenue. If you multiply that by three times federal matching funds, the amount lost is $2,215,842.00 per year. That means the loss for the last five years would be $11,079,210.00. Now do you see why AB259 needs to be passed.

On page 3, it shows that in 1988, mule deer estimates were 240,000. Last year, that figure was 110,000 which is a loss of more than half of our deer. The facts that I have presented to you are very simple. With the loss of this many deer, it has amounted to millions of dollars of lost revenue which is one of the the main reasons why NDOW is in financial trouble. Because of their failure to listen, it has cost not only the agency but sportsmen who fund 97% of NDOW.

You will hear many falsehoods about reclassifying the mountain lion. Now let’s put those to rest. Reclassification is a states’ right. Texas has never had a season, quota or protection for mountain lions. Last fiscal year, Texas killed 23 lions and 53 the year before. This without having to report a lion kill.

You will hear that we are going to make the lion extinct. Nothing could be further from the truth. You could not wipe out the mountain lion in our state if you tried. There are millions of acres where hunting is not permitted. These include military installations, national parks and private lands just to mention a few. These areas become sanctuaries for mountain lions. On page one of Exhibit #6, you will see a page from the Nevada Department of Wildlife website which says it all. They are not threatened or endangered. And finally, just 11 days ago, on page 2 of Exhibit #6, there is an article reprinted from 100 years ago in the Elko Daily Free Press which said it all. (read) If they were willing to pay $20 per lion100 years ago to correct this problem, then we need to pass AB259 to correct this problem today. AB259 is good for the deer, it’s good for the bighorn sheep, it’s good for the sportsmen, it’s good for the cattle and sheep industries, it’s good for NDOW’s funding and in the end it will be good for the taxpayer.
Last modified on Sunday, 18 April 2010 12:00
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