Sunday, 16 December 2012 14:15

NDOW: Agency of Deception

Reprinted from the Elko Daily Free Press

By:  Cecil Fredi -

In the article titled “Deer management policies in the crosshairs” which appeared in your newspaper on Nov. 3, Ken Mayer failed to tell your readers the entire story. I will tell you what he omitted.

Ken Mayer stated “It hasn’t gone away,” referring to the ongoing controversy about mule deer. Why should it go away? It’s been over two decades that NDOW has done nothing but distort the truth about deer. Let’s prove it.

The article stated the heavy winter of 2010-11 nourished abundant plants and that biologists used this to justify the increase in tags. NDOW has used heavy winters for the decline of mule deer on numerous occasions. Apparently, NDOW’s biologists can have it both ways whenever this excuse fits in.

Director Mayer says the “mule deer population is stable and increasing.” Nothing could be further from the truth. A three-year study of Nevada’s mule deer by two Ph.D.’s will be released next month. Using the data furnished by NDOW, the study states “To say the least, scientists are deeply concerned about the future prospects of sustainable mule deer populations under current trends and policies.”

Ken Mayer finally stated that predators might be a factor. However, what he failed to say was that his agency is sitting on hundreds of thousands of dollars, possibly a million dollars, that is designated for predator control and he is not using it. The Wildlife Commission has not held a predator committee meeting to approve a predation management plan since Feb. 25, 2011. There was no Predation Management plan for 2011-2012, no such plan exists for 2012-2013, nor is a meeting to even discuss such a plan mentioned on any upcoming Wildlife Commission agenda. Does this sound like a director and Wildlife Commission that is truly concerned about our mule deer?

Director Mayer also stated that “Though predators may be a factor, a far more significant one is continued loss of deer habitat.”

Habitat has been the main excuse used by NDOW for about the last seven or eight years. They used the drought excuse for about 10 years. I feel very confident that the habitat excuse will outlast the drought excuse. They will continue to use habitat as their main excuse for declining deer numbers. They can use this everlasting excuse until all of their 30-year government pensions kick in. During the drought years, NDOW’s favorite excuse for declining deer numbers was, when in doubt, blame the drought. Now when NDOW needs a new excuse to grab at, make it habitat.

Director Mayer stated, “I think we have the best team in the west to figure these things out.” NDOW biologists have been using excuses for over two decades and still haven’t figured it out. It’s quite obvious whatever science they are using isn’t working and it’s time to change the scientists. NDOW has had enough time to fix the problem. Either they can’t or won’t fix it. Neither excuse is acceptable to the people who pay their salaries.

Director Mayer is weary of attacks by “self-proclaimed wildlife experts.” In order to shut these “experts” up, all that would need to be done is to bring back our deer, something that isn’t being done. It’s that simple to shut them up. But Ken Mayer doesn’t think that way. He is more concerned about the 280 people who hunt sheep than the 51,011 who hunted deer in 1988 with a 53 percent success ratio.

Ever since Ken Mayer was hired six years ago, he has proven he is an expert at one thing: the exploitation of wildlife for financial and political advantage. But what will NDOW do when the deer population fails to the point where it is no longer viable to hunt in much of Nevada? The answer is simple: Ken Mayer will go back to California where he came from and laugh every month when his pension check comes in the mail while the citizens and wildlife of Nevada continue to suffer.

Tony Wasley, NDOW’s mule deer expert, stated that today’s numbers (deer) are closer to what should be expected on average. Apparently, Mr. Wasley doesn’t want to believe the old-timers in Elko County like John Carpenter and Cliff Gardner and many others who witnessed deer migrations by the thousands.

This is how Director Mayer has solved the two most important wildlife problems in our state. Problem: Declining deer numbers. Solution: Change Tony Wasley’s title from biologist to “mule deer expert.” Problem: Declining sage grouse numbers. Solution: Appoint Shawn Espinoza, who was hired as a game warden, to be the “sage grouse specialist.”

In addition to those two appointments, he hired a person who trained in Africa as his chief of big game. That appointment also didn’t work out for our mule deer. Is it any wonder why Nevada deer hunters are in this predicament? Rest assured, without a doubt, under Ken Mayer’s leadership, it will never get any better.

In closing, Ken Mayer should not be fired. He just should never have been rehired.

———————

Cecil Fredi is president of Hunter’s Alert and has lived in Las Vegas for 70 years.

Published in Online Articles
Friday, 02 November 2012 14:43

Nevada's Deer Herds Doomed?

Are you as tired as I am with the political bureaucrats
and messed up agencies that continue to
squander and mismanage our resources? Take a
look at page 23. Cecil Fredi, like many of us
today, is also sick and tired of the way our state
agencies are becoming more crooked each day.
My rage about all of this has been going for a
while now, but when a good friend sent in a copy
of the Sacramento newspaper with a multiple
page read about predators in Nevada, I was blown
away! The contents of the article claimed that
despite killing predators in Nevada for many years
the mule deer populations are still dwindling. So,
those dumb brainiacs came to the conclusion that
predators are not the reason for the decline. In
fact, the article stated that all those cute little critters
were killed in vain. Oh yes they did! They
said that millions of coyotes should have never
been killed as “coyotes do not eat mule deer.”
What the hell is this world coming to.

Hunters Alert!'s very own Cecil Fredi recently had an article published in the September/October 2012 issue of MuleyCrazy magazine (www.muleycrazy.com).  Here is the publisher's introduction to the article, which is available below:

Are you as tired as I am with the political bureaucrats and messed up agencies that continue to squander and mismanage our resources? Take alook at page 23. Cecil Fredi, like many of us today, is also sick and tired of the way our state agencies are becoming more crooked each day.My rage about all of this has been going for awhile now, but when a good friend sent in a copy of the Sacramento newspaper with a multiple page read about predators in Nevada, I was blown away! The contents of the article claimed that despite killing predators in Nevada for many years the mule deer populations are still dwindling. So,those dumb brainiacs came to the conclusion that predators are not the reason for the decline. In fact, the article stated that all those cute little critters were killed in vain. Oh yes they did! They said that millions of coyotes should have never been killed as “coyotes do not eat mule deer.” What the hell is this world coming to...

- Ryan Hatch, Publisher, MuleyCrazy Magazine

Click here to download the article:  Nevada's Deer Herds Doomed? by Cecil Fredi

Published in Online Articles
Monday, 01 October 2012 19:29

Pissed off about no deer on your hunt?

Let Governor Sandoval know it’s time for some changes in the Nevada Department of Wildlife!

Write, don’t email:

Governor Brian Sandoval

State Capitol Building

101 N. Carson Street

Carson City, Nevada 89701

Published in Online Articles
Friday, 14 September 2012 15:23

Governor Needs to Change NDOW Leadership

Reprinted from the Elko Daily Free Press -

By:  Pat Laughlin -

Editor: I would like to clarify a few points in the Sept. 5 editorial, “Sandoval sage grouse not in danger of extinction.” No disrespect to the editorial board, but, the China Mountain Wind Project was signed off and approved by the BLM. The Nevada Department of Wildlife, led by Director Ken Mayer, was the agency that stopped the project in the last hour. County Commissioner Charlie Myers witnessed the entire process.

The last paragraph might be a little hard to swallow for the fact that the man Governor Sandoval reappointed to run NDOW is not only drinking the kool-aid, but, helping the federal government make the kool-aid. We need new leadership for NDOW that will stand up for Nevada and get off the federal gravy train. Leadership that will quit trying to hold every mining company or wind project hostage by using a bird that isn’t even listed yet.

Remember the Ruby Pipeline project ... El Paso Gas figured out quickly that in order to get a project approved, you must pad the pockets of those involved. El Paso Gas paid Nevada $8.8 million to help out on sage grouse issues, of which $3 million was to go directly to Elko County. NDOW and BLM jointly control the money and can use it as they see fit to assist sage grouse management.

Of that $3 million for Elko County, $250,000 was given to the BLM for fire suppression, $221,000 has been spent on habitat restoration, $90,000 on noxious weed treatment, $68,000 on sage grouse study and $8,000 on holistic training. So far, not one dollar is being spent on protecting sage grouse nest survival by eliminating predators.

Why is this money being spent to fight fires when the BLM has an open checkbook when it comes to fighting fires? $250,000 would have gone a long way in thinning out the raven population to help the sage grouse nest survival.

It is obvious that if we want to do what is in the best interest of Elko County, then Governor Sandoval needs to make a change in NDOW, starting at the top.

Pat Laughlin

NA4W President

Published in Online Articles
Thursday, 23 August 2012 07:19

Commentary: Ravens, road kill and reality.

Reprinted from the Elko Daily Free Press

By:  Pat Laughlin - 

I recently attended the Elko County Commission meeting and sat in on the discussion concerning predator control to protect sage grouse. I was also interviewed by the Elko Free Press concerning raven control for sage grouse. I need to set the record straight on a couple of issues.

First, it’s important to understand the players in this game being acted out here in Nevada. The raven is a migratory bird protected by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS). Second, the same FWS is also responsible for enforcing the Endangered Species Act. The very same people protecting the raven are going to decide our fate here in Elko County on whether the sage grouse is listed as an endangered species. The same people …

So, you’re not convinced the FWS is protecting ravens? Putting ravens above the well-being of our economy, your family and mine? Just read the “6 point raven plan” put forth by the FWS. Number 2 states, and I quote, “control access by ravens to road kill and ranch carcasses.” Number 5 states, “ensure adequate herbaceous ground cover in nesting habitat.” I will spare you all six points of the raven plan but all six will need to be implemented before the FWS will support killing more ravens to protect our way of life here in Elko County. When I read this at the Commission meeting I nearly fell out of my chair.

My first thought was how will we ever accomplish this? Drive every road in Nevada … every morning picking up every dead rabbit.

Here’s an example of how NDOW showed me last weekend that they support this road kill program. I noticed a dead doe at the corner of Silver Street and Errecart Boulevard last Friday. Saturday when it was still there, I called the sheriff’s office as well as NDOW’s hotline number to report it. NDOW put the blame on NDOT and said that they would contact them to have it removed. Two days later, I witnessed a City of Elko crew picking up the doe, not NDOW or NDOT. You can’t tell me that numerous NDOW and NDOT employees didn’t drive by that doe in a three-day period of time on one of the busiest streets in Elko.

Then it hit me. This 6 point raven plan is nonsense … complete and utter nonsense written in a way to make sure it can never be accomplished and to make sure the FWS will never need to support killing more ravens in Nevada. The FWS does not want to kill predators … for any reason … no matter what … period.

And I have to add, where is NDOW Director Ken Mayer in all of this? I’ve heard the listing of the sage grouse would be like the spotted owl times 100. The listing could devastate mining, ranching and everything we like to do outdoors. Director Mayer represents Nevada. He should be looking out for us. Our economy, our families, our wildlife. Instead our California transplant director supports the FWS, the BLM and the FS at every turn and serves up the “6 point raven plan” as gospel to the Elko County Commission.

When was the last time you ever heard Ken Mayer take a stand for Nevada? For Elko County? He scheduled a meeting with the Elko County Commissioners several weeks in advance and cancelled the night before without offering to reschedule. Do you think he cares about Elko County?

Governor Sandoval should be embarrassed that he re-appointed Ken Mayer after Governor Gibbons fired the man over these same issues. Maybe Governor Sandoval doesn’t care about our economy, our families or our wildlife either. He had better rethink his position and his appointees if he expects Elko County to help re-elect him.

Published in Online Articles
Sunday, 19 August 2012 17:49

NDOW - It's About the Money

Reprinted from the Elko Daily Free Press -

By Dr. Gerald Lent - 

Editor: I have been involved with Nevada wildlife issues for over forty years. I understand what is really going on with Director Mayer and NDOW and the people of Nevada need to understand this also.

This is what I think NDOW is trying to do: Director Mayer is supporting the listing (BEHIND CLOSED DOORS) of the sage grouse issue. It’s all about money! If listed, the Feds will say what can we do to make it better and will then dump lots of dollars at NDOW (that’s what the government does) for Mayer to waste on his administration, not wildlife!

His tactic has been to kill more mule deer to decline the deer herds. This holds true for the sage grouse decline so he can get more federal dollars and can blame habitat to get more funds. NDOW’s intent is to accelerate the decline of the numbers of mule deer by giving out many more tags!

It is not habitat if only ONE species declines and Mayer needs a deer decline to have another species going down to prove the habitat excuse. Mule deer become an additional support for him to blame habitat, as Mayer has been doing for years.

NDOW believes they are serving the best interest of wildlife by getting sage grouse listed as this is the only way they will get money and get cattle and mining off the ranges so sheep can be planted.

Ken Mayer has rolled over to a non-government sheep organization (NGO). For years they have made huge donations to NDOW so basically they own Nevada Department of Wildlife. Director Mayer is saying they don’t want sage grouse listed only to get mining and agriculture off his back.

NDOW doesn’t want to believe predators are responsible for the decline of deer and sage grouse so they can say ONLY habitat is the problem!

I hope everybody really can see this because it is a pattern that Ken Mayer and NDOW have been following for years and is in Director Mayer’s best interest to get the bird listed.

Dr. Gerald Lent

Former Wildlife Commission chairman

Published in Online Articles
Sunday, 19 August 2012 17:44

Elko County Wildlife Board Got it Right

Reprinted from the Elko Daily Free Press

By Charlie Myers - 

I attended several hours of the Nevada Commission on Wildlife’s board meeting held in Elko recently. Two items of concern to me were the sage grouse hunting season and predator control.

The hunting season for sage grouse came up on the agenda; each County Advisory Board (CAB) made their recommendation to the Wildlife Commission. The Elko CAB recommended a one-week reduction in sage grouse hunting. Several other rural CABs made the same recommendation.

There was a brief discussion by the board and an NDOW biologist, Mr. Espinoza. His comments to the board did not agree with the CABs as he felt the “wing” program had too many advantages to reduce the week the CABs were requesting.

The board vote 6 to 3 to not reduce the sage grouse hunting season. So, I want to get this all straight. Not all hunters put their “wings” in the barrels, which makes the data skewed to start with, interesting. Then take into account that our Wildlife Commission wouldn’t reduce by one week the hunting season on a bird that very well could get listed under the Endangered Species Act. The bird that is being managed under the BLM Interim Management Policy — a policy which is probably stricter than being listed as an Endangered Species. The bird that has already caused the loss of the China Wind Project and several million dollars in tax revenue to Elko County.

But we are going to continue to hunt this bird. The bird that caused the loss of 60,000 acres in oil and gas leases and the loss of that revenue to Elko County. A bird because of its habitat caused another 100,000 acres in possible leases to not even be considered, worth another $2.7 million. Yet we continue to hunt a bird that could negatively impact 11 states, Elko County and every resident and rancher in our area.

Our CAB got it right, reduce the hunting season. The sage grouse is already negatively impacting our county; where’s the logic in not supporting our CABs recommendation?

It was mentioned that less than 10 percent get taken during hunting season. To me, if we took our CAB’s recommendation that could be up to 10 percent more sage grouse we wouldn’t have to worry about impacting the numbers for listing. The numbers may be small but we need to do everything possible to keep this bird from listing.

Predator control of ravens needs to be a priority as we deal with sage grouse. I came to the realization during the Wildlife Commission meeting that NDOW would get exactly what they wanted, as there were several 6 to 3 votes that day, regardless of the negative impacts to our state and county. In my opinion many on that board that day did not support their counties or hunters.

If the sage grouse gets listed the impact to Elko County will be like nothing we’ve ever experienced before. Many outdoor activities that many people enjoy will be limited or gone, family ranches will be impacted and economic development will most certainly take a huge hit as well. But, let’s keep hunting them just because ...

———————

Charlie Myers is an Elko County Commissioner.

Published in Online Articles
Sunday, 19 August 2012 17:38

Songbirds, Sage Hen and Shame

Reprinted from the Elko Daily Free Press
In times past I awoke to songbirds and doves. Now it is to the cawing of ravens.

At their June 22 and 23 meeting, Nevada Board of Wildlife Commissioners voted to eliminate funding predator control programs intended to protect sage grouse. They did fund research into Pine Nut Mountains vegetation and sage grouse. Apparently helpful, and conveniently near agency central offices.

Over the last four decades, the Nevada Department of Wildlife has de-emphasized predator control. Raven takings have ranged between zero and 1,500 while the population has increased 600 percent.

The statewide raven population may exceed 952,000 at an average density of 8.7 per square mile. Thus, at its most intense effort, the agency takes less than two tenths of a percent of the predators which may outnumber the sage grouse nearly eleven to one. Meanwhile, agency personnel threaten county officials that they would list sage grouse as endangered because it needs agency protection.

Studies of sage grouse nest failure indicate that in areas of greater than 2.4 ravens per square mile only 50 percent of nests will survive. At 5.8, virtually all nests fail.

The agencies insist that removing territorial ravens simply provides the opportunity for transitory ravens to move in at twice the density. But territorials hunt at triple the efficiency of transitories, so the net depredation efficiency becomes two thirds. A 50 percent depredation may drop to 33, meaning the survival rate rises from 50 to 67 percent.

The scientific method, common sense, and common decency all cry for aggressive predator control on behalf of sage grouse. But these three concepts apparently are not in the lexicon of the Board, NDOW, nor other agencies and groups presuming to act on behalf of the bird. This despite historical records indicating the highest confirmed sage grouse populations were during the decades of extensive sheep and cattle grazing and aggressive predator control. Also, much lower wildfire incidence and intensity occurred during those years. Tellingly, agencies are reticent to discuss wildlife loss from firestorms on undergrazed range.

The bureau-scientific complex has substituted political science for the natural sciences. That does provide a certain efficiency in that all conclusions become uniform and rote. It has instituted a troika system whereby stakeholders outside the complex have no recourse beyond the agency troika which juries, judges, and executes all verdicts.

Agency officials declare sage grouse population counts don’t matter, only habitat control matters. What they really are saying is they do not care that private sector grazing practices and private sector predator control may increase the bird’s population by one-third or more. The agencies want the budgets which will come with increased control; they do not want ranchers and farmers doing well without bureaucrats.

Ravens prey on much more than sage grouse. Among the songbirds formerly serenading the neighborhood were Mountain Bluebirds. Since they sanction the raven’s status by accepting its predation, will the Wildlife Board now move to adopt the raven as the state bird?

Practicing political science does not require shame … .

———————

Ralph R. Sacrison is a senior mining engineer based in Elko.

Published in Online Articles
Reprinted from the Elko Daily Free Press

By Cecil Fredi - 

From July 1989 to June 1991, Nevada Department of Wildlife conducted a survey of sage grouse production and mortality. Fourteen hundred eggs were placed in 200 simulated sage grouse nests with seven eggs per nest. This was during the 15-day period when sage hens lay their eggs.

The results of this survey are unbelievable. At the completion of the 15-day period, all 1,400 eggs were destroyed on both study areas. Ravens were believed to be the chief nest predator.

During the 1989 legislative session, a bill was introduced to do some raven control. NDOW did not show up to testify. Even after Sen. Jacobsen requested that NDOW come to the legislature to testify on its own survey, NDOW chose not to testify in favor of raven control.

NDOW took sportsmen’s money to identify the problem and when it was time to implement a solution, they were missing in action. Former Wildlife Commissioner Bill Bradley phoned me to inform me that the study had been declared invalid. The reason? NDOW had marked all of the nests with a white flag. The ravens spotted the flags and realized the eggs were there. My answer to Mr. Bradley was, “NDOW must believe in the tooth fairy and Santa Claus.”

A recent study by United States Department of Agriculture in Wyoming found that predation was the leading cause of grouse mortality. A USDA official stated that coyotes, eagles, badgers and ravens all contribute to sage grouse mortality. Predation accounted for 81 percent of chick mortalities. Grouse were seven times more likely to survive in areas where predator control efforts are under way, the USDA official reported.

When Gov. Brian Sandoval reappointed director Ken Mayer, NDOW’s leadership has only gotten worse. Combine this with current Wildlife Commission Chairman Mike McBeath and many others on the commission who don’t believe in predator control, nothing will be done for sage grouse or mule deer. Now let’s prove it.

Pat Laughlin’s group, Nevada Alliance 4 Wildlife, had a project approved by the former Wildlife Commission. This project was for the protection of sage grouse nests and chicks from raven predation. NDOW Director Ken Mayer, was the major reason this project was held hostage for 21⁄2 years. In addition to the Wildlife Commission, Elko County Commissioners and Elko County Advisory Board to Manage Wildlife approved this project.

Director Mayer would not say the word “request,” so Wildlife Services could not start the federally approved DRC-1339 toxic egg program without this request from Mayer. It is obvious that Ken Mayer is against predator control. Does this sound like someone who is truly concerned about the seriousness of the sage grouse problem? He would rather feed the sage grouse eggs to the ravens than kill a raven. One reason former Governor Jim Gibbons fired Mayer was for his refusal to help our diminishing mule deer herd by doing predator control.

Now enters Governor Sandoval and guess what? Nevada Bighorns Unlimited puts on a big fundraiser for Sandoval to help him get elected and back comes Ken Mayer for a second round as NDOW director. Sandoval appointed him in direct opposition to other recommendations by the Nevada Board of Wildlife Commissioners. The newly elected governor then also placed NBU members on the Wildlife Commission as former Governor Gibbons’ appointed commissioners’ terms expired. To date, their only interest has been in Nevada bighorn sheep. Good old Nevada politics!

Now enters Pete Mori, Elko County rancher. Sandoval reappointed him as a Wildlife Commissioner to represent livestock interests throughout the state. Like Ken Mayer, this is his second round. This was all done by NBU’s writing a letter to Sandoval and urging him to reappoint Mori. So, why would NBU wish to endorse a livestock person to the Wildlife Commission? Because Pete Mori votes the party line with NDOW and NBU every time. They are assured a secure vote from Pete for all their programs! Again, this is called Nevada politics!

At the Wildlife Commission meeting held in Elko on June 22-23, Director Mayer stacked commission members, and with assistance from NBU messiah Larry Johnson lurking in the shadows directing traffic, had the commission vote to repeal any money for the protection of sage grouse nests from raven predation. This shows none of these people truly care about the seriousness of the sage grouse issue.

Of course, Commissioner Pete Mori, livestock representative, voted right along with NDOW by supporting this motion. He also voted with NDOW for a two-week sage grouse season, which makes no sense because we are trying to save sage grouse, not kill them. So you may ask, why is a Nevada-born, lifetime rancher from Elko County voting with these wildlife extremists?

To my knowledge, Mr. Mori has not attended any Elko County CAB meetings since being reappointed. Additionally, he has not attended several sage grouse symposiums hosted by the Elko County Commission. He only appears at Nevada Wildlife Commission meetings to vote the party line with NDOW and NBU. It is very obvious that Mr. Mori has “sold out” to these wildlife organizations. He is not representing the livestock interests of Nevada. He is representing NDOW, NBU, and Mori ranches. Pete Mori may well be in contention for the Nevada Bighorns Unlimited Volunteer of the Year!

Someone needs to put Commissioner Mori’s feet to the fire and ask him who does he really represent?

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. NDOW has taken this cliché to an entirely new level. They do nothing for decades and expect different results. Sage grouse and mule deer have no chance of recovery with the reappointment of Ken Mayer and Governor Sandoval’s appointments to the Wildlife Commission. If ever there were a state agency that needs an oversight committee, it is the Nevada Department of Wildlife.

———————

Cecil Fredi is president of HUNTER’S ALERT and has lived in Las Vegas for 70 years.

 

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