By:  Pat Laughlin

I attended the Wildlife Damage Management Committee meeting and the Nevada Board of Wildlife Commissioners meeting in Reno this past weekend and would like to share with the sportsmen and citizens of Elko County the insanity that continues to take place at the expense of wildlife and our way of life in Nevada.

The Wildlife Damage Management Committee was chaired by Mike McBeath, an attorney from Las Vegas.  This was the first Wildlife Damage Management Committee meeting Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW) has had for almost two years under McBeath's chairmanship  This committee leads the way as to how sportsmen's 3-dollar predator fee on big game tags is spent.  Mr. McBeath began the meeting by going into a 15-minute dissertation about how he was against any predator control.  In his "expert" opinion, predator control for the protection of wildlife doesn't work, costs too much, is too controversial, and he also saw a TV program that was against predator control. Now, I am sure Mr. McBeath is an educated man and I'm sure he can spell predator, but I am also sure this would be the extent of his knowledge on the subject...TV show aside, of course.

Next, the committee at the suggestion of Mike McBeath spent almost an hour discussing the subject of changing the committee's name.  After considerable discussion, the name remained unchanged.  Finally the fourth revised predator management plan from NDOW was presented and lengthy discussion took place including opposition of parts of the plan by several parties including current legislators, Assemblymen John Ellison and Ira Hansen and past Assemblyman John Carpenter.

Chairman McBeath did not give a report to the Nevada Board of Wildlife Commissioners on the Wildlife Damage Management Committee proceedings and their decisions to approve the three sage grouse projects and no decisions on the other projects. Instead he went into his same rhetoric as in the committee on how predator control will not help wildlife populations. All the projects then had to be explained to the Commission but the legislators and other interested parties were not in attendance thinking they had fulfilled their objective of stopping the study by Pat Jackson.  Why do we even have a committee meeting and take up the time of legislators and other interested parties and then ignore everything that took place?  This game was rigged from the start.

The full Nevada Board of Wildlife Commissioners, who, I might add, is stacked with Nevada Bighorns Unlimited (NBU) members and controlled by NBU, approved an ongoing study of coyote ecology in the Monitor, Toiyabe, and Toquima ranges in central Nevada by Pat Jackson, a graduate student from Utah State University (USU) to the tune of $100,000 a year for five more years.  In the previous three years of this ongoing study, this out-of-state student has successfully caught and radio-collared FIVE coyotes.  Two have been shot.  Three remain active.  This is at a cost of $193,463 for the past three years or $38,692.60 per coyote.  Now NDOW is planning on using a helicopter and net gun to collar coyotes for the researcher to help him reach his goal of 30-40 coyotes which would be a representative study group. Think of the costs.  I for one do not think this is what the sportsmen's 3$ predator fee money was meant for.

Another item on the Nevada Board of Wildlife Commissioners agenda was to award the prestigious Wayne Kirch award.  This is a Wildlife Commission pick and once again it was presented to another NBU member.  If you look at past winners of this award, the list is like the who's who of NBU.  NBU official Larry Johnson even recommended it for himself two years in a row a few years ago.

But it gets better...Shawn Espinosa is a former game warden, who was promoted from law enforcement to sage grouse expert for NDOW and is the main biologist that stopped the China Mountain Wind Project and closed over a million acres of gas and oil exploration leases.  Working hand in hand with the BLM, he supported numerous cuts in AUMs on grazing allotments throughout Nevada on the assumption that grazing could hurt a bird that isn't even listed on the endangered species list yet.  One particular grazing allotment south of Eureka on the Snowball Ranch was cut in half without evidence of a single sage grouse being present.  NDOW's defense of this action is that the area is good sage grouse habitat and someday sage grouse might move into the area.  Well, Mr. Espinoza was awarded the NDOW agency's Employee of the Year Award.

In closing, it is important to point out the US Forest Service and BLM have long been thought of as major threats to our way of life in Elko County but, in our eyes, NDOW, our own state agency, working behind the scenes with USFS and BLM is a bigger threat to the sage grouse than fires or the raven, not to mention the war on mining and ranching. NDOW and the current commission are the enemies!! It was simply unbelievable what I witnessed during these two days of meeting!!

Thank you for your time.

Pat Laughlin

President N4W

Published in Syndicated Articles
Tuesday, 01 July 2008 00:00

No More Wilderness!!!

Reprinted from The Nevada Rancher, May 2008

 

Currently, there are many states that are getting proposed federal land cancer, also known as wilderness. I fought against wilderness in our state (Nevada) to no avail twenty years ago. Basically, wilderness is a cancer afflicting people who want to use federal lands for multiple use.

 

Let’s look at wilderness with a completely wide open mind. Just what the hell is it and just what good or bad does it do? Before we get into breaking it down, let’s define wilderness. The Federal Wilderness Act defines wilderness as an area of 5,000 acres or more of uninterrupted and non-manipulated environment. There are four federal agencies that can restrict land use. They are The Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service and the United States Fish & Wildlife Service.

 

Published in HA Newsletter 33

In 1867, D.C. Wheeler trailed a band of domestic sheep from Oregon to western Nevada. Since that time, there has been some type of predator control conducted in and around sheep herds in Nevada. In 1927, there were reported to be 1,200,000 sheep and 400,000 beef cattle in the state. Each stockman or groups of stockmen fought their own predator problems. After World War One, the federal government took over the predator program. Under the Biological Survey, professional hunters were hired to pursue coyotes, bobcats, and mountain lion. In 1939, 93,000 coyotes were reported killed throughout the state of Nevada. Counties also paid bounties on coyotes and lions. The longhair fur industry became important and private fur trappers harvested many coyotes and bobcats.

Published in HA Newsletter 27
Wednesday, 30 September 1998 17:00

CRISIS FOR HUNTERS!

It is just about as simple as it can be. Take away your land and you lose the opportunity to go hunting. This is exactly what is going to happen if Harry Reid is re-elected to the U.S. Senate. You see. Harry Reid is a wilderness freak. In 1989. Harry Reid was instrumental in assuring that Nevada had 733. 400 acres of Forest Service wilderness crammed down then throats He is not going to stop there

Published in HA Newsletter 17

July 1, 1998 will mark the first year of my term as wildlife commissioner. This has been an exciting and frustrating year Trying to balance the needs of the commission, department, sportsmen, family and career has been a challenge Hopefully. 1 have not left anyone out and have answered your concerns quickly and honestly I am not even going to try to agree with everyone, but then you probably didn't expect that anyway

The Commission has met nine times in the year, dealing with numerous petitions from sportsmen and the county advisory boards and sportsman's groups. The following are highlighted from memory:

Published in HA Newsletter 16
Friday, 30 September 1994 17:00

FEAR OF REPRISAL

Many guides have come forth acknowledging what a serious predator problem we have in our state but they were reluctant to put it in writing because of fear of reprisal from NDOW. Doesn't that bring to mind visions of World War II Nazi SS troops who persecuted people for speaking out against their government? We have secured statements from some of these guides with the promise that we will not use their names for fear of reprisal. We will call them Guides A, B and C. Below are their stories.

Published in HA Newsletter 08

All sportsmen and users of public lands in Clark County need to be aware that the attempt to close substantial areas in both the northern and southern parts of the county are continu­ing. Environmental activists and animal rights groups are persisting in the attempt to persuade the U.S. Forest Service and BLM that the tortoise should be given priority over people when it comes to access to public lands. (Sadly, these agencies seem to need very little convincing in that restricting access to land has been a primary goal for years.)

Published in HA Newsletter 03
Thursday, 31 December 1992 17:00

BILBRAY SPONSORS ANTI-TRAPPING BILL

In keeping with his usual style of more government restrictions, Jim Bilbray co-sponsored HR1354 which will make it a felony to trap animals in the United States. This should not come as a surprise to anyone because Mr. Bilbray has stated he is a strong supporter of animal rights issues. Perhaps if Mr. Bilbray would talk to the ranchers in his own state, he would learn something about the outdoors. He would learn there are more predators than ever and they must kill to survive. Mr. Bilbray needs to see with his own eyes a fawn deer or antelope being killed by a pack of coyotes. Where are the rights of that baby animal being eaten alive by a bunch of varmints, Mr. Bilbray? A trapper's bullet is certainly more humane than being eaten alive, wouldn't you say, Mr. Bilbray?

Published in HA Newsletter 02

Just when you thought it was over, removing 733,400 acres for multiple use, here they come again. There are four federal agencies that can restrict your land use. They are the Forest Service (FS), Bureau of Land Management (BLM), National Park Service (NFS), and United States Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS).

Published in HA Newsletter 02

THE OUTDOORSMEN

For the last three years, there have been many newspapers, sportsmen's groups, agricultural, and mining groups calling for the dismissal of Nevada Department of Wildlife Director, Will Molini. This resentment continues to grow and never was it so overwhelming than at the Wildlife Commission meeting in Elko on July 25, 1992. Mr. Molini was quietly going to shut down Elko County. He sent two letters to the Forest Service which recommended that 4900 acres be set aside for each pair of nesting goshawks. If there were one nesting pair every 4900 acres, in essence, the county would be closed down. In addition to the goshawk, he wanted acreage closed down for the Coopers and Sharp-shinned hawks.

Published in HA Newsletter 02
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