Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Wolves in Oregon

By Senator Doug Whitsett (Klamath Falls, District 28), Feb. 18, 2011

Russian news media is reporting the extreme end-game that results from the introduction and failure to control timber wolves. They report that a Siberian town of 1,400 people has been terrorized for the past three weeks by a pack of 400 wolves. Residents are describing the siege as an “animal apocalypse”. In the Verkhoyansk region, “everyone who can hold a rifle is mobilized to fight wolves”.

Starting February 18, 2011, authorities in Slettas, Norway are currently providing free transportation for school children who live more than 800 yards from their bus stop in order to protect them from wolves. Their representative in Parliament said “it has gone too far when we have to drive children to school for fear they will meet a wolf pack on the road”.

An experimental population of Canadian Gray Wolves was introduced into Montana’s Yellowstone Park in 1995. They were subsequently listed as endangered species, functionally preventing their unrestricted reproduction and migration.

During the past 15 years, they have reproduced and migrated to populate Montana, Wyoming, Idaho and parts of Utah with several thousand of these vicious, imported predators. In those states they have decimated the elk, deer and moose populations as well as causing extensive mortality and other related losses to their livestock industry.

Most recently the Canadian Gray Wolves have migrated into northeastern Oregon.

Last Tuesday an Enterprise cattle rancher found two of his cows that had been killed by wolves in the most cruel way imaginable. The wolves had dragged the heavily pregnant cows down by their hamstrings without inflicting a killing bite wound. These sadistic creatures had then proceeded to eat the still living cows from behind, ripping their live calves from their reproductive tract, and partially consuming the still living fetuses. Wildlife Services, U. S. Fish and Wildlife Services and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife have all confirmed that the cows and their calves were killed by wolves.

The interaction with wolves began in Oregon starting back in March of 2010. Agencies have confirmed at least 11 cattle kills in Oregon. Another 23 calves and 9 cows are missing and presumed lost to predation. It is difficult to document livestock killed by wolves on rangeland because these cattle are often not seen by their owners for weeks at a time. If the remains are found the evidence required to confirm a wolf kill is usually long gone.

It is even more difficult to quantify the losses sustained from herds being hazed by wolves. That constant fear of being attacked causes loss of gain, failed reproduction, and selective exclusion from grazing areas.

Both state and federal law prevents livestock owners from using lethal methods to protect their livestock. It is hard to imagine the frustration and rage experienced by a livestock owner when they know that their livestock is being cruelly attacked but they are prevented from protecting those animals by draconian federal and state laws.

Neither state nor federal governments reimburse the livestock owners for their losses. Privately funded reimbursement programs have proven inadequate and unreliable. Some of these private programs appear to purposely mislead both the public and the livestock owners as to their scope and benefits.

After fifteen years of virtual unchecked wolf predation, Democratic Montana governor Brian Schweitzer has finally had enough.

Last week the governor sent a letter to Interior department Secretary Ken Salazar expressing his frustration at the lack of any federal results that recognize Montana’s rights and responsibilities to manage its wildlife and to protect its domestic livestock. The Governor informed the Secretary that livestock producers who harass or kill wolves attacking their livestock will not be prosecuted by Montana, and in fact, will be directed not to investigate or cite anyone protecting livestock. He further informed the Secretary that in the most adversely affected Bitterroot Valley he has instructed his agencies to cull these wolves by whole-pack removal to enable elk herds to survive and recover.

I have introduced two bills in the current Legislature to address the predation problem in Oregon.

SB 583 prohibits Oregon State Fish and Wildlife commission from listing gray wolves on the list of Oregon threatened or endangered species. This will prevent Oregon from having more restrictive regulations concerning control of wolves than the federal regulations in the event that wolves are again removed from the federal endangered species list.

SB 584 requires that a specific percentage of money received from issuance of hunting licenses tags and permits be paid to the counties where the licenses, tags and permits were issued to be used for predator control. Funding for predator control has been systematically reduced at the national, state and county level for at least the past decade. We cannot expect to control predation on our wildlife and domestic animals without funding the effort. This bill would establish a dedicated stream of state funding to address the issue.

Predation by coyotes and cougars has been an escalating problem on our wildlife and domestic animals for at least two decades. The migration of wolves into Oregon is rapidly intensifying that crisis.

I believe that the time to take action is now before we are forced to take up arms to protect our communities and our children.

Both SB 583 and SB 584 were assigned to the Senate committee on the environment and natural resources. Neither bill has yet been scheduled for a hearing.

Please remember, if we do not stand up for rural Oregon no one will.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Cut Funding For Wolf Project - Save Taxpayer Dollars!

Now, here's an opportunity to let Congress know how they can save millions of dollars annually...cut all funding for the wolf recovery projects in the Northern Rockies and Upper Midwest.

Just go to the following link...and scroll down to where you can make your own budget cut suggestions. If they get enough saying to cut funding for USFWS wolf enforcement...management...damage control...and for all wolf management to be turned over to state wildlife agencies, who knows...it may sink in.

Made me feel good to get it off my chest. Don't forget to mention CUTTING OUT the hundreds of millions annually doled out to the environmental organizations through the Equal Access to Justice Act.


Be sure to get this out to your club members, associates, family, friends and fellow sportsmen...and encourage them to do the same.

Toby Bridges,

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Montana Governor Schweitzer Says "Shoot Wolves!"

For those of you who have not seen the letter Governor Brian Schweitzer sent to Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar yesterday, I've included it here.
In essence, what Montana's governor has told the federal government is...we've had enough, and now we're going to take care of the wolf problem. His comments on yesterday's evening news (Missoula television stations) were that the "endangered" status of wolves north in Interstate 90 no longer holds water, and that livestock producers can shoot and kill wolves that are threatening or harassing livestock...and that Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks game enforcement officers will not arrest them, nor investigate them for killing wolves.

Schweitzer also commented that entire packs of wolves will now be removed from where they are causing excessive losses to elk and other big game herds - namely the Bitterroot Valley.

Sportsmen and ranchers have already voiced strong support of Schweitzer's defiance of federal protection for the wolves of the Northern Rockies. That protection under the Endangered Species Act, has prevented much needed wolf population control, resulting in a far greater wolf population in this region than originally outlined as a "recovered population" in both the Northern Rockies Wolf Recovery Plan and the Environmental Impact Statement filed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 1994, the year before the first Canadian gray wolves were released into the Greater Yellowstone Area ecosystem. Those "official" documents established the goal as 100 wolves with 10 breeding pairs in each state (Montana, Idaho, Wyoming). The USFWS acknowledges at least 1,700 wolves in the recovery area today. However, all science based on typical wolf reproduction indicates that there are more like 4,000+ in the region - likewise, the high degree of big game losses and escalating livestock depredation also support that the wolf population is far greater than acknowledged by the U.S. Department of the Interior.

Pro-wolf advocates are already screaming that Schweitzer's actions are illegal. And they certainly do go against the rulings of U.S. District Court judge Donald Molloy, who has repeatedly decided in favor of environmental groups that have kept the wolf issue tied up in court. And it has been that legal foot dragging that has resulted in serious wildlife and livestock losses. Montana residents have been letting their Governor know exactly how displeased they are about how little has been done to resolve this problem. Those ever growing complaints have pressured Governor Brian Schweitzer to take a stand and claim the state's rights to protect its people, its resources and its economy.

Where this all goes from here is sure to get very interesting. Back in Washington D.C., much is being done at the Congressional level to have the gray wolf removed from the protection of the Endangered Species Act. Don Peay, founder of Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife, and Ryan Benson, national director of Big Game Forever, reported to LOBO WATCH this morning (2-17-11) that tremendous progress has been made. The passage of a House Resolution (H.R. 509) and a Senate Bill (S. 249), which would remove federal protection of wolves and return that management back to the individual states, would certainly support Governor Schweitzer's "new wolf management plan" to eliminate a large number of wolves in Montana. But, what if that Congressional legislation doesn't pass...will his new plan still be carried out?

Those who are being negatively impacted by wolves, which they claim are neither native or endangered, are more than ready for that plan to go into action, before another spring calving and fawning season is lost to the wolves.

Toby Bridges

(406) 542-9751

Follow all of this on LOBO WATCH at http://www.lobowatch.org

February 16, 2011

The Honorable Ken Salazar
U.S. Department of the Interior
1849 C Street NW
Washington, D.C. 20240

Dear Secretary Salazar:

I write to you today regarding wolf management in Montana.

While almost everyone acknowledges that the Northern Rocky Mountain gray wolf population is fully recovered, as the Governor of Montana I am profoundly frustrated by the lack of any actual results that recognize Montana’s rights and responsibilities to manage its wildlife. Montana has for years done everything that has been asked: adopting a model wolf management plan; enacting enabling legislation; and adopting the necessary implementing rules. Our exemplary efforts have been ignored. I cannot continue to ignore the crying need for workable wolf management while Montana waits, and waits, and waits. Therefore, I am now going to take additional necessary steps to protect the interests of Montana’s livestock producers and hunters to the extent that I can within my authorities as governor.

First, for Montana’s northwest endangered wolves (north of Interstate 90), any livestock producers who kill or harass a wolf attacking their livestock will not be prosecuted by Montana game wardens. Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Parks (FWP) wardens will be directed to exercise their prosecutorial discretion by not investigating or citing anyone protecting their livestock.

Further, I am directing FWP to respond to any livestock depredation by removing whole packs that kill livestock, wherever this may occur.

Still further, to protect the elk herds in Montana’s Bitterroot Valley that have been most adversely affected by wolf predation, I am directing FWP, to the extent allowed by the Endangered Species Act, to cull these wolves by whole-pack removal to enable elk herds to recover.

At this point, I can do nothing less and still maintain my commitment as Governor to uphold the rights of our citizens to protect their property and to continue to enjoy Montana’s cherished wildlife heritage and traditions.


Brian Schweitzer

Sunday, February 13, 2011

What Is The Incentive?

The manner in which wolf issues (and hundreds of other "environmental" concerns) have repeatedly been taken to court kind of reminds me of an old ethical joke (which I won't repeat here). It goes something like this..."How many environmental groups does it take to file a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of the Interior in order to stop wolf control hunts in this country?"

Well, the punch line to that one isn't really very funny at all..."13!"

Anyway, every time the wolf issue heads back to U.S. District Court here in Missoula, MT, where I live, it is always the same ol' "Baker's Dozen" of such groups that line up to get their names listed as "Plaintiffs". Among them are groups like the Defenders of Wildlife...the Sierra Club...the Center for Biological Diversity...and the Humane Society of the United States. And rest assured, they don't do it for the love of wolves...or any other wildlife. These folks have done such a great job of learning how to scam our justice system, that from this time forward the number "13" is very likely to become known as the "Environmentalist's Dozen".

How do they scam the system?

Being "Not For Profit" organizations, they are allowed to file for the reimbursement of all legal fees and expenses whenever they do take an issue to court - through an antiquated Act known as the Equal Access to Justice Act. Originally, this Act was not intended for reimbursing not-for- profit organizations, but rather for the small business owner who simply could not afford to finance expensive litigation. However, since most of today's scam-minded so-called "environmental" organizations are headed by a management team of lawyers (who have found an easier way to make millions) the door was open, and they jumped through it. And on top of the millions each tends to collect annually through these efforts, every one of these organizations continue to beg the American public for still more millions...hundreds of millions...every year. And their pleas make it sound as if they could not continue their drive to "save wildlife" unless each and every one of their followers sends them $50...$100...$1,000 or more.

It is probably one of the greatest rackets of all time...and our federal government is using your tax dollars to perpetuate the crime.

So, how much money are we talking about? The sad thing is...no one really knows. There is absolutely no way that anyone can find the actual amount of money paid to environmental organizations. But, rest assured, over just the past decade the amount has topped $5,000,000,000 - that's $5-BILLION! During one 6-year period, from 2002 through 2007, environmental groups filed more than 1,500 cases (mostly against the Department of the Interior/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service) and carted away some $4.7-BILLION in "reimbursements".

Now you should understand why so many of these groups want their name listed as a "plaintiff" any and every time the wolf issue heads to court. And more often than not that means into "Donald Molloy's Court" here in Missoula. FOR $OME REA$ON HE HA$ ALWAY$ MANAGED TO $IDE WITH WHATEVER THEY ARE A$KING OR $EEKING.

These groups have certainly found themselves one very sympathetic U.S. District Court judge who tends to totally ignore all of the real criminal activities involved with the Northern Rockies Wolf Recovery Project to dig out some tiny technicality to prevent managing a burgeoning wolf population, as he leans very much in favor of the environmentalists' agenda of seeing wolves roam this country from coast to coast by the tens of thousands. And his decisions in their favor means one very lucrative payday for those folks.

More and more, residents of the Northern Rockies are suspiciously asking why Molloy swings in favor of all the lies surrounding the Wolf Recovery Project, while refusing to address things like...Where did the funding for the project really come from?...Or, why can't the "required" USFWS forms (Form 3-177) be found to document the sub-species, the origin and the true number of wolves wrangled across the Canada-U.S. border?...Or, documentation of the real cost of bringing those wolves illegally into this country?

Keep in mind, we are talking about a lot of money. So much money that it just might scare the hell out of us to learn who has financially benefited from those ill-gotten gains. - Toby Bridges, LOBO WATCH