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

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

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

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
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

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
Thursday, 24 April 2008 03:28


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
Tuesday, 31 January 2006 04:57

It Happened That Way - Part 5

1949 to 2006
There are currently three men left from the original group of 1973 axis members who beat the NDOW drums of praise and accomplishment louder than ever before. One of them is the NDOW director, Terry Crawforth. Another is Jim Jeffress, a Wildlife Commissioner. And Dave Rice is their mouthpiece beating the tom toms for a “Land of abundant Wildlife” in unison with Reno Gazette Journal’s sympathetic reporters leaving the sportsman, cattleman, ranchers and woolgrowers woefully without representation and sorely out-maneuvered. Whether this triad today is willful or just convenient is one for conjecture but it most definitely was forged thirty five years ago by men who showed little respect for sportsmen then, anymore than they appear to today. Because of these and other NDOW men, Nevada sportsmen have painfully endured several media campaigns aimed at them from NDOW and lambasted by newspapers, especially the R.G.J. The first anti-sportsman campaign was thoroughly investigated and exposed by Nevada sportsman Ira Hansen in 1993 so there’s no need of rehashing it except to say three things. It revolved around propaganda fallacies by NDOW law enforcement with full knowledge of all three axis players and was designed to disparage the sportsmen of Nevada with outright lies printed on a regular basis in the R.G.J newspaper throughout the years of the 1980’s to the 1990’s.

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