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

HUNTER’S ALERT is going to lay out what has been happening to all fish and game agencies for many years. Let’s start out with the Golden Rule, as everyone knows he who has the gold, makes the rules. This is exactly what is going on with the funding of all fish and game departments.

 

Where does the gold (money) come from to fund these agencies? There are two federal acts that are responsible for providing the funds. The Pittman-Robertson Act provides state fish and game agencies money for the management and restoration of wildlife. This funding is provided through an excise tax on sporting arms, ammunition and other equipment.

 

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

Clint Bentley…Gone At Last!

Sold out the sportsmen right to the end

 

For the last six years, HUNTER’S ALERT has told you how bad Clint Bentley has been as a Wildlife commissioner. He should never have been appointed to the Commission. HUNTER’S ALERT isn’t going to waste any more ink and paper on his many past failures to represent sportsmen.

 

It should be noted on his way out that he needs credit for the following: as chairman of the Heritage Committee, he approved of giving a student funds to do a study in another state! Heritage Fund money is supposed to be used for Nevada projects. The state of California will now ‘benefit’ from the $30,000 Mr. Bentley pushed to be approved as part of the total $171,122 funding for a 10 year project to find out why there are almost no deer left in the California Mohave Desert. Our government removed the cattle ranchers from this area. They had previously been maintaining water sources, which of course dried up because ranchers weren’t around to maintain them. One might think that instead of spending the $30,000, Mr. Bentley might have realized that your average 4 year old could tell you that if cows can drink, so can deer. No ranchers = no water = no deer.

 

The next giveaway was even worse. He pushed the approval of giving $40,000 to start a 4 year mountain lion study. This was just the tip of the iceberg.  The proposed project is to pay a graduate student to get a doctorate by giving the student a total budget of $472,040 to complete the study, including paying a salary and “fringe benefits” of $87,600 to the student. This project will include genetic analysis of 700 lions in Nevada (these 700 lions alone will kill at least 36,000 deer in the state each year). Nice study, Mr. Bentley, unfortunately your subjects have just consumed most of our deer population. Your study may be a success, but the deer will be dead.  What (or who) will your lions eat then?

 

And finally, in his last meeting on June 28th, he voted to make the wolf a big game animal in Nevada. Great! That’s just what Nevada hunters need, more predators! The mountain lions have decimated our deer.  All we need is for wolves to start killing elk, livestock and the small number of deer we have left. Clint must be really popular with the Nevada ranchers.

 

It is quite apparent that Clint Bentley had not done any due diligence on any of these issues. Just on the wolf issue, he would have realized that the wolves have pounded the elk herds in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming. It’s so bad in Wyoming that in 88 percent of the state, wolves are classified as predators like coyotes and can be killed without regard for fair chase rules, seasons or bag limits. Nevada should have followed Wyoming’s lead on this issue. But Clint’s answer to predator control was to build another water hole for the sheep. With that way of thinking, no one will miss Clint as a Wildlife commissioner. If it hadn’t been for former Commissioners Tommy Ford and John Moran who were responsible for getting Bentley on the Wildlife Commission, Clint wouldn’t have had the chance to sell out the sportsmen for the last 6 years.

Published in HA Newsletter 33

A rebuttal to Dave Rice’s article which appeared in the Reno Gazette Journal, January 25, 2008

 

I read with interest your article in the Reno Gazette Journal, January 25, 2008, concerning Nevada's declining deer population.

I do not know whom the NDOW expert, Biologist Mike Cox is, but he is a long way from knowing or telling the "real story" of what went on during the big deer years in Nevada. If he thinks that the main reason for the decline of Nevada deer herds is the overall condition of habitat, he either does not know what he is talking about or he is creating "smoke and mirrors” for NDOW.

I ran the operational Predatory Animal Control program throughout the State of Nevada for the U. S Fish & Wildlife Program, during the 1970s and 80s, as the Assistant State Supervisor.  I believe I have on-the-ground and in-the-air understanding of what went on during the big deer years in Nevada.  There were three full-time Government Mountain Lion Hunters employed year-around hunting lions.  Coyote and mountain lion numbers were kept under control.  Deer tags, for Nevada hunters, were unlimited in number and were available for over-the-counter purchase at hunting-license dealers statewide.

In 1972, a big change occurred in the Animal Damage Control business throughout the west.  President Richard Nixon banned the use of toxicants in the government control program by executive order.  (He was soliciting the environmental vote that was just starting to emerge.)   With the loss of toxicants and nothing to replace it with but a few trappers, coyote numbers began to rise dramatically. Throughout the state of Nevada, deer numbers fell to 96,000 by 1976. Predation upon livestock by predators was a serious problem. In the late 70s, political pressure by the livestock industry and their representatives in Washington, D.C. brought about a dramatic increase in the Federal budget for Animal Damage Control.

The federal government began to appropriate large sums of money in order to prove that coyote numbers could be controlled by what they liked to call "non-toxic methods.”  This program increased use of aircraft, both fixed -wing and rotor-wing, to shoot coyotes from the air and additional trappers on the ground to replace the controversial use of toxicants.  (This was meant to look good to the environmentalist.)

At that time, there was a large, domestic range-sheep industry, operating throughout the state of Nevada.  Domestic sheep acted as a "buffer species" to deer for predatory animals.  Predators, largely, lived on domestic sheep, which were much easier to kill than mule deer.  The Ruby Mountains, in Elko County for example, had over 50,000 domestic sheep that summered on this mountain range in the 1970s.

In the early1980s, wild-animal longhair fur prices went sky high and private trappers were out in force. There were large numbers of coyotes and bobcats harvested by private trappers since fur prices were at an all time high.  Gas was around $1.25 a gallon. Coyote varmint callers were out in force.  All of the private trapping and shooting plus the concentrated government effort to control predator numbers began to pay off.  By the year 1988, the mule deer population responded to these concentrated predator-control efforts and mule deer numbers statewide were quoted by NDOW at 240,000.  NDOW was busy patting themselves on the back for what a masterful deer management program they had in place throughout the state of Nevada.  They credited the quota system for deer tags, which was put in place in 1976, and favorable weather conditions, relatively mild winters during that period, for the large increase in deer numbers, but never once did they mention the dramatic decrease in predator population numbers brought about by private hunters and trappers and the federal government program.

Now then we move forward in time, the range sheep industry began to disappear due to labor problems, government regulations, land use changes by public land administrators, imports, etc. Therefore, control efforts in and around range sheep herds decreased.  Cattle numbers began to decline.  Longhair fur prices fell, gas prices went up, vehicle prices went up, predator hunting declined, and soon predator population numbers began to come back.  Today the Nevada landscape is filled up with coyotes, bobcats, and mountain lions with some prowling the alleys of towns and cities.  Predators have a "free-roll" statewide.

So what do you think has happened to our deer population?  It has steadily gone down-hill with the decrease in predator control efforts and will continue to do so unless there is a dramatic decrease in predatory animal population numbers. NDOW has blamed the mule deer decline on overgrazing by livestock, poor habitat, too many fires, too cold, too wet, too dry, not enough snow, too much snow, etc. They are in denial when it comes to the overall effect that predators have on our mule deer and upland game bird population numbers in the State of Nevada.

In 2007, NDOW reported, there were 114,000 mule deer in the State of Nevada. Looks to me like we are almost out of deer. I wonder, what are the coyote, bobcat, and mountain lion numbers statewide in 2008???

I would solicit your printing this in your column

Thank you,

James "Mike" Laughlin

Supervisory Wildlife Biologist (Retired)

Bachelor of Science Degree- Wildlife Biology- Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona

 

Ed. Note: Of course, the Reno Gazette-Journal did not print the rebuttal.

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

Willie Molini Arrested

The RGJ.com report of July 21, DUI related cases stated former NDOW director Willie Molini was sentenced to 30 days in jail, suspended, 48 hours community service, $503.00 and DUI school. Maybe Larry Johnson could contribute some of NBU’s money to help his old buddy Willie.

Published in HA Newsletter 33

In the 2001 Legislative session, HUNTER’S ALERT, working with Nevada Hunters Association and Assemblyman Jerry Claborn were successful in passing Assembly Bill 291. This bill enacted a $3.00 predator fee for every big game tag that hunters applied for. It should be noted that no other so-called sportsmen’s organization helped in the passage of this bill which was desperately needed to restore our deer.

 

This bill provides over $300,000 a year for predator control. The original intent of the bill was to do predator control to bring back our deer. However, former governor Kenny Guinn’s appointments to the Wildlife Commission, Tommy Ford, John Moran, Clint Bentley, Jack Robb and Jim Jeffress decided to do more sheep projects than deer projects. The reason for this is that the Wildlife Commission was stacked with sheep club members. It shows that they could care less about people who want to hunt deer.

 

To them, it was more important for 150 people to hunt sheep than the 35,000 hunters who want to hunt deer. I guess nobody in the sheep club hunts deer. Nothing like being a selfish bunch! NDOW has refused to do any predator control on its own. So with the money provided by sportsmen, they farm it out to Wildlife Services.

Published in HA Newsletter 33

The Outdoorsman is a newsletter published by a group of Idaho sportsmen. Like HUNTER’S ALERT, the newsletter prints the truth about how their fish and game department is and has been mismanaged for years. The Outdoorsman makes sportsmen aware of who is responsible for the mismanagement and why sportsmen are losing the battle in Idaho and other states. You will not read the information they produce in any other publication. The similarities between Idaho and Nevada are striking. Idaho has predator problems, sportsmen’s money being spent on non-game projects, and no faith in their director or Wildlife Commission. The only difference in Nevada is that some, not all, of the new Wildlife Commissioners appointed by Governor Jim Gibbons want to correct the serious problems which have been placed on Nevada hunters by inept former directors and commissioners.

Published in HA Newsletter 34

Someone has to start telling the truth about predator control in Nevada. I guess that someone will have to be HUNTER’S ALERT. NDOW does not want to do any predator control. Let me repeat, unequivocally, without a doubt, NDOW refuses to do predator control without being forced into it.

 

In the 2001 legislative session, HUNTER’S ALERT and Nevada Hunters Association with the help of Assemblyman Jerry Claborn were responsible for the passage of A.B. 291 which gives NDOW $341,000 to $400,000 per year for predator control. By the way, no one from NDOW was there to support the predator bill. This alone should let you know how NDOW felt from the very beginning about predator control.

Published in HA Newsletter 34
Thursday, 24 April 2008 03:28

SCURRILOUS POLITICS OR ?

The current argument in Nevada about whether a Governor should appoint an advocate of "managing" wildlife or an advocate of "saving" wildlife to a State Wildlife Commission is a scenario being replayed all over the nation.  The gross stereotypes and character assassinations are part and parcel of the scenario, and the hidden agendas and distortions of facts present in one article would take pages to decipher.  The following brief explanation is based on 30 plus years with the US Fish & Wildlife Service; nearly ten years of writing and speaking about such matters, and two appearances before the US House of Representatives' Natural Resources Committee concerning the theft of $45 to $60 Million by the US Fish & Wildlife Service from the hunting and fishing excise taxes that, by law, could only be used for state fish and wildlife programs.

Published in 2008 Online News
Monday, 01 October 2007 04:53

Wildlife commissioners still don’t get it!

To paraphrase the old cliché, you can lead a jackass to water, but you can’t make him drink is clearly appropriate for most of the Wildlife commissioners. When the commissioners don’t know what to do, which is on a regular basis, they form a committee. One of the 12 committees is the Legislative Committee.

 

Published in HA Newsletter 32
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