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

Reprinted from The Nevada Rancher, June 2009

How free of politics is science? During a legislative hearing, the idea of not allowing laymen—in this case the nine members of the Nevada State Wildlife Commission—to have mandatory authority over a “professional biologist” was debated.

Published in HA Newsletter 34

Out with the old, in with the new was in order for the Wildlife Commission appointments.  The last of former Governor Kenny Guinn’s appointments to the Wildlife Commission have finally run their course. For Nevada deer hunters, that’s a good thing. Former commissioners David McNinch, Dan Swanson and Ron  Lurie did nothing to bring back our deer.  Quite the contrary. Most predator control projects to benefit deer were opposed by them.

Published in HA Newsletter 34

NDOW director Ken Mayer has held the post for almost three years. During these two plus years, he has done nothing to bring back our deer. Quite the contrary, in the last two legislative sessions, there were bills proposed to enhance our mule deer. He opposed both of them.

 

Recently, a bolt of lightning must have struck the director. On July 8, chief of big game, Mark Atkinson announced that Tony Wasley had accepted the new position of Mule Deer Wildlife Staff Specialist. This is the same Tony Wasley, Elko based biologist, who recommended killing 987 does this year. But it gets better with this mule deer specialist. A 2004 press release by Kelly Clark on NDOW’s website quotes some of Wasley’s mule deer studies and comes up with this conclusion: “Most hunters ask what we can do to achieve higher numbers of deer. Pray for good summer rain. Nevada is the driest state in the Union and water is key in wildlife management. Without rain and snow to keep creeks running, springs fresh, grasses, forbs and brush tender and green for food and cover, deer numbers dwindle.”

Published in HA Newsletter 34
Monday, 01 June 2009 00:00

NDOW’s New Favorite Excuse

When NDOW needs an excuse to grab at, make it habitat!

 

For twenty years, HUNTER’S ALERT has listened to the twenty excuses from NDOW about the loss of our deer. The excuse that NDOW used most often was drought. For many years, the favorite motto for NDOW was “When in doubt, use drought” for the loss of our deer. Either NDOW wore out the drought excuse or the drought has subsided as NDOW has now changed their main excuse to the “loss of habitat”.  NDOW’s new motto is “If you need an excuse to grab at, make It habitat”.

Published in HA Newsletter 34

Reprinted from Reno Gazette Journal,

June 24, 2009

At the May meeting to set tag quotas, the Nevada Board of Wildlife Commissioners voted 7-1 to support the recommendations of Elko-based Nevada Department of Wildlife biologist, Tony Wasley to issue 987 doe mule deer tags in areas 101, 102 and 104A, which encompass all of the Ruby Mountains north of Harrison Pass.

Published in HA Newsletter 34
Monday, 01 June 2009 00:00

More Predator News

Steve Smith, a rancher and lion hunter in Arizona, wrote an article that originally appeared in Western Hunting Magazine and was reprinted in Deer Times-Fall, 2007 magazine. The title was Out of Balance: One Expert’s Commentary on Mountain Lions, Mule Deer and Wildlife Mismanagement.

 

The author made many valid points and HUNTER’ S ALERT would like to compare his views with those of HUNTER’S ALERT.

Published in HA Newsletter 34

An article written in the Deer Times, Fall 2007  by Floyd Green proves predator control works. The article entitled, “Managing Mountain Lions in a Desert Sheep Unit” shows when people open their minds and listen, they will realize the damage that lions are doing to our game . Following is a brief synopsis of the article along with HUNTER’S ALERT comments that will be emphasized in bold print.

 

In 1981, the Arizona Game & Fish Department (AGFD) supplemented Desert Sheep in Unit 22. Within a few years, the sheep population had grown and sport hunting was authorized in the area. The area turned out to be a premier area producing big rams. The area was so productive they were transplanting sheep from this unit to other units within the state.

Published in HA Newsletter 34

This Wildlife Commission has proven itself sportsman friendly and has accomplished many new things for sportsmen in Nevada that no other Wildlife Commission has done. Here are some examples:

  1. Despite opposition from the agency and director Ken Mayer, and some county Wildlife Advisory Boards, the tag drawing results will be available online for all sportsmen within 48 hours after the drawing has occurred. This enables all sportsmen the ability to see if they were successful in drawing a tag and for planning their hunts much sooner. The Commission felt this was a much needed and long over-due regulation.
  2. Now sportsmen are getting a definition of edible portions of big game mammals, game birds, and game fish. This regulation was badly needed to avoid wanton waste citations and to clarify what portions of game must be kept.  The definition of ‘edible’ had previously been left up to the interpretation of law enforcement.
  3. The Commission passed hunter friendly regulation for 2009 that allows for the return of big game tags without having to give a reason.  Hunters can now return deer, antelope, and elk tags as long as they are received by NDOW at least one day before the start of the applicable season.  Hunters will have bonus points reinstated and receive an additional bonus point as if a tag had not been issued and as if the applicant had been unsuccessful in the draw.   Bighorn sheep and Mountain Goat tags have an earlier deadline for return so that they can be re-issued to other hunters.
  4. A regulation is in the process to allow Online Hunt Application changes/amendments after an application has been submitted. Currently, once you submit your application, you cannot change or withdraw it. Last year, there were dozens of emails in Nevada by hunters who had made a mistake in the application process and wanted to make a change. This new regulation will be a win-win solution and will be very popular.

These accomplishments demonstrate this Commission’s attempts to make NDOW a more user- friendly agency and are well received by most sportsmen.

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
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