Saturday, 30 March 2013 16:25

Nevada Wildlife Director Resigns

Reprinted from the Las Vegas Sun -

By:  Sandra Chereb

The director of the Nevada Department of Wildlife resigned abruptly Wednesday at the request of Gov. Brian Sandoval following months of pressure from representatives in rural Nevada over deer management and agency efforts to stave off federal protection for sage grouse.

In an email letter to staff obtained by the Associated Press, Ken Mayer said the decision to take the agency in another direction is the governor's prerogative.

His resignation is effective Feb. 12.

"We all reach times in our careers where change in inevitable," Mayer wrote. "That time came for me this week when Gov. Sandoval's office asked me to resign as the director of the Nevada Department of Wildlife."

Mary-Sarah Kinner, in a statement to the AP, said, "The governor thanks Ken Mayer for his service to Nevada and wishes him well."

She said Sandoval anticipates "naming a successor in the near future."

Former Nevada Assemblyman John Carpenter, an Elko Republican, said he and others lobbied the governor for Mayer's ouster.

"I've had problems with Ken Mayer for a long time," Carpenter told the AP in a telephone interview. "I've been talking and corresponding with the governor for a long time about this."

Mayer's departure comes two years after his reinstatement to job after he was fired by former Gov. Jim Gibbons in November 2010 as Gibbons was leaving office.

Mayer, a wildlife biologist with more than 20 years' experience in Nevada and California, then went to work briefly for the Legislative Counsel Bureau and was rehired by Sandoval after he moved into the governor's office in 2011.

Mayer's battles with Gibbons involved Mayer's disputes with the Nevada Wildlife Commission, a nine-member policy-making board of governor appointees. The commission under Gibbons was often at odds with Mayer, and emphasized predator control and the killing of coyotes and mountain lions as key to restoring Nevada's deer herds.

Carpenter said those same conflicts persist. He also accused Mayer of being "in cahoots" with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management over protecting sage grouse. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is under court mandate to determine by 2015 if the chicken-sized bird deserves protection under the Endangered Species Act. Western states fear a listing would devastate rural lifestyles and put the brakes on ranching and energy development.

In a letter sent to Sandoval on Wednesday, Carpenter complained the wildlife agency was spending too much money on "questionable studies" rather than for "ground predator management."

"It is the position of Ken Mayer to turn Nevada into another California," Carpenter wrote in the letter obtained by the AP.

"The only way to get into a positive mode in regard to increasing the deer herd and keeping sage grouse off the endangered list is for the governor to relieve Ken Mayer of his position and choose someone who can work with all parties on a cooperative and positive note."

Biologists have said loss of habitat, much of it due to wildfire, is the main reason deer herds have been declining in the state and around the West.

The wildlife director is appointed by and serves at the pleasure of the governor. A law passed by the 2011 Legislature removed a requirement that such appointments must come from recommendations put forth by the commission.

Mayer was first hired as head of the Nevada wildlife agency in 2007.

In his exit letter to staff, Mayer wrote, "Before I came here, the reputation of this department and its workforce was widely known throughout the wildlife world as a top notch organization. Over the six years I have been director we have added to that great reputation.

"As I leave here, I have every faith and confidence that you will maintain that same level of commitment and integrity toward the management of wildlife in Nevada."

Mayer could not be reached for comment.



Read more: http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2013/jan/30/sandovals-behest-nevada-wildlife-director-resigns/#ixzz2P4YXl3iq
Published in Syndicated Articles
Wednesday, 01 March 2006 00:00

Editorial 2006 Spring

If there is any hope at all for Nevada sportsmen, it is the November election and the 2007 legislative session. The mess sportsmen have been handed by the last two governors and their appointments to the Wildlife Commission can be overcome. To achieve this, it will take sportsmen to get involved. This will not require any of your money, only a few minutes of your time.

 

In order to make the necessary changes, we need to elect a governor who is a hunter. The last year sportsmen in Nevada had a governor who hunted was in 1979. In reality, hunters have been neglected for over 25 years! Unlike our current governor, Jim Gibbons will not lie to the sportsmen. He wants our deer brought back, again unlike our current governor, Kenny Guinn who has done nothing about this for eight years.

Published in HA Newsletter 30
Tuesday, 01 July 2008 00:00

Governor Jim Gibbons Keeps His Word

Unlike former Governor Kenny Guinn, Governor Jim Gibbons kept his word to Nevada’s deer hunters. Governor Gibbons’ appointments to the Wildlife Commission have been instructed to bring back our deer. A small group wanted to have their people reappointed to the Wildlife Commission. The governor must have realized that if they hadn’t done anything for our deer while they were serving  three years on the Wildlife Commission, then there was a strong indication that they had no intention to move forward on this very important task.  Leading is not about popularity.  Leading is doing what is best and that is what Governor Jim Gibbons did with his appointments to the Wildlife Commission. Here is a brief history of the people Gibbons has appointed to the Wildlife Commission.

 

Gerald Lent was appointed as a sportsmen’s representative from Washoe County. He has also served on the Washoe County Advisory Board. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in biology. No one has spent more of their own time and money for sportsmen in our state than Gerald Lent. He has been responsible for the passage of many bills that have benefitted every sportsman in the state.

 

Tom Cavin will represent the sportsmen from rural counties. He has Bachelor of Science degree in Wildlife Management and is a charter member of the Nevada Wildlife Record Book Committee.

 

Grant Wallace represents farming and lives in Esmeralda County. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural Systems Management from Cal. Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo and is a member of the Esmeralda County Wildlife Advisory Board, as well as an avid hunter.

 

Mike McBeath was appointed as a sportsman representative from Clark County. He is currently a member of the Clark County Advisory Board to Manage Wildlife.

 

These new commissioners will bring with them fresh ideas which are long overdue. Jim Gibbons is to be commended for his new appointments.

Published in HA Newsletter 33
Tuesday, 01 July 2008 00:00

Editorial-2008

Good times are coming for the people who are concerned about the loss of our deer. The newly appointed Wildlife Commissioners have been told by Governor Jim Gibbons to bring back our deer. It won’t be easy nor will it be quick. Let’s review who was responsible for the loss of these deer and why it happened.

 

Published in HA Newsletter 33

Reprinted from: Opinion column, The Nevada Rancher, June, 2008, Winnemucca, Nevada

 

The question is:

“Should Governor Jim Gibbons reappoint the current Wildlife Commissioners, who were selected by fomer Goveror Guinn, or should he appoint his own people?”

My answer is:

Governor Gibbons can appoint anyone he wishes to the Game Commission. This is his call, and his alone. Who should he appoint? Whomever he finds to be the best candidate for the job. If he needs help finding names, I am sure he will ask for it.

Our governor does not need to take into account everything everyone in the world tells him before selecting his appointees. That is not the way it works here in America. Our governor is a highly intelligent, experienced and competent man who knows the issues and knows how to get things done. We have lost our Mule Deer herd under the current Game Commission and NDOW leadership. It is time for change if we are ever going to bring back our Mule Deer and Governor Jim Gibbons is the man who can make this happen. What we should do to assist our Governor in making his decision on appointees is to support his appointments and not second-guess him.

Sincerely,

Mike Laughlin

(Retired) Professional Wildlife Biologist, Bachelor of Science, Wildlife Management Degree, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ. Longtime Nevada resident, rancher and sportsman

Published in HA Newsletter 33
Thursday, 27 March 2008 00:00

Gibbons Should Choose As He Sees Fit

Reprinted from The Sparks Tribune

Some sportsmen’s groups are attacking Gov. Jim Gibbons, claiming “unease” for him being a “conservative western Republican” while serving in the U.S. Congress.

 

Not surprisingly, some of these same, who, by the way, DO NOT poll their membership before making such outlandish comments, were big fans of liberals such as Kenny Guinn and Harry Reid.

 

I know that for a fact, since I am a lifetime member of one of the most prominent critics, Nevada Bighorns Unlimited (NBU). Much to my embarrassment, one so-called spokesman for NBU, Larry Johnson, even went so far as to claim “Harry Reid saved hunting in Nevada,” a statement Reid quite wisely used in a campaign mailer targeted to fishing and hunting license holders throughout the state.

 

Reid saved hunting? What a joke. Without belaboring the point, a handful of anti-Gibbons types are being quoted as supposedly representing the views of certain organizations but in fact are simply expressing their own distorted views.

 

So  the current attack, well documented in a large article by Associated Press writer Sandra Chereb in last Sunday’s Sparks Tribune, is an attempt to keep Gibbons from properly exercising his prerogative and replace members of the Nevada State Wildlife Commission with his own choices. They want Gibbons’ enemy and former Gov. Kenny Guinn’s appointed commissioners reappointed.

 

Apparently, they believe Gibbons is too stupid to make wise choices. Not surprisingly, both of those they want reappointed are former board members of NBU. I am not sying the two commissioners in question are not good men; in fact, I respect both of them and have high regard especially for Jim Jeffress, whose opinions I deeply value. I am saying that Gibbons is fully capable of selecting others equally qualified without needing to pander to the elitist NBU mentality.

 

Another group criticizing Gibbons and supposedly representing sportsmen is the Coalition for Nevada’s Wildlife. As a founding member of this coalition, I know a great deal about its makeup.

 

Originally, many sportsmen’s groups started with this coalition, formed at a meeting in Winnemucca in 1993. I was at that original meeting and was an active participant on the board for about three years thereafter. However, since NBU was and remains today the primary source of its funds, it gradually eroded away from representing many divergent views to instead being simply a front for NBU. In fact, when we held the original elections for officers, that point was made very clear, and NBU board member Larry Johnson was selected as president. Now, about 14 years later, surprise, surprise – that same Larry Johnson remains president. The idea of a “coalition” is a joke. Divergent views are, in fact, not welcomed.

 

The current complaints about Gibbons really boil down to an elitist view of how wildlife in Nevada should be managed. The Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW) has the management responsibility, and frankly, has been for years spending disproportionate time and efforts on programs catering to groups like NBU at the cost of the rank-and-file sportsman.

 

For example, Nevada has less than 200 bighorn sheep tags available yearly so only a tiny share of Nevada sportsmen has a chance at getting such a tag. By comparison, up to 30,000 to 50,000 deer tags are available in a good year. Despite these huge differences, NDOW focuses a grossly disproportionate amount of time, dollars and effort on the bighorn sheep, and the influence of groups like NBU is one of the reasons why.

 

Gibbons was elected with the support of smaller sportsmen’s groups on the promise to bring balance back to the wildlife equation. For the good of all sportsmen, not a handful of the rich and powerful, he should honor his campaign pledges and restructure the commission as he sees fit.

 

Ira Hansen is a lifelong resident of Sparks, owner of Ira Hansen and Sons Plumbing and his radio talk show can be heard Monday through Friday from 3 to 6 p.m. on 99.1 FM.
Published in HA Newsletter 33

Reprinted from the Sparks Tribune

For 15 years in a row, here in the Tribune, I have written an annual column on the status of Nevada’s deer herd and, remarkably, the numbers have barely moved, with the herd remaining at rock-bottom levels: a little more than 100,000 animals. By comparison, we reached a peak in 1988, when 250,000 deer roamed the state.

 

That’s the bad news. But hope is on the horizon – at least the Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW) is making major strides to, within its rather limited constraints, do something about it.

Published in HA Newsletter 33

We have lost the majority of our deer and the millions of dollars in revenue that go with that loss. In the 5 year period from 2001 to 2005, Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW) has lost over $11 million in sales of deer licenses and tags. For over 25 years, NDOW and the Wildlife commissioners have closed their eyes to this problem.

 

Published in HA Newsletter 32
Monday, 01 October 2007 04:48

Governor Jim Gibbons keeps his word!

Unlike the former governor, Governor Jim Gibbons is concerned about sportsmen’s issues, particularly the loss of our deer. The former governor appointed people to the Wildlife Commission who could donate large sums of money to him. Governor Jim Gibbons has made two appointments to the Wildlife Commission and based his appointments on individuals who have a solid knowledge of wildlife issues.  It is apparent that Governor Gibbons’ style of appointing wildlife commissioners is not the same as the former governor’s . This is good news for the sportsmen.  Governor Jim Gibbons has proved again that he is a friend of all sportsmen in Nevada.

  

Published in HA Newsletter 32
Friday, 30 September 1994 17:00

State hunting: Past, present,—future!

Sept. 1 is coming up quickly. This date has always been greatly anticipated by area hunters. It's the opening day of dove season, the start of fall hunting. Times change; my hunter instinct has mellowed with age, but my son's are just budding. My oldest boy will experience his first Nevada deer hunt this season. He will be the fifth generation of his family to hunt here; his great-great grandfather lived and hunted in Lincoln County in the 1870's.

Published in HA Newsletter 08
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