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Walloping Washington Wolves
by Jim Beers 11/16/12
Jim Beers is a retired US Fish & Wildlife Service Wildlife Biologist, Special Agent, Refuge Manager, Wetlands Biologist, and Congressional Fellow.
As wolves spill into state after state, formerly quiescent hunters, ranchers, dog owners, parents, the elderly, and other rural residents are suddenly atwitter as they realize their time has come in state after state. The wolves are arrived in County after County and they are only going to increase and spread, and their mayhem and costs are only going to mount. What was only recently a minor blip (human attacks, dead dogs, disease problems, game animal reductions, rural economic threats, livestock costs, etc.) on busy rural agendas suddenly becomes a desperate cry for help: but who answers?
Whether they mistakenly believed that their community wasn’t “wolf habitat”; or they bought into the lies about how benevolent wolves are, or how much “good” they do for “the ecosystem”, or the biggest lie of all that what they have been hearing from wolf areas was just misinformation and superstition from rural ignoramuses mouthing old myths and fables: their “chickens” (to quote the President’s Chicago spiritual advisor) resulting from their inaction “are coming home to roost”. One such area is NE Washington State where wolf numbers and distribution have exploded as federally-introduced wolves from Idaho have begun “spilling” in as Idaho wolves are expanding their numbers and range dramatically. While the initial Washington wolf “problem” is localized and severe livestock losses; other “problems” from human safety and dog losses to increased ranching costs and rural economic losses due to reduced recreation and renewable natural resource availability are not far behind.
While the Washington state fish and wildlife agency “went through” a large and lengthy “process” with all sorts of faux “input” and “documents” to grease the skids for the federal wolves’ arrival; the real effects and problems (disease, human safety, dog losses, livestock costs, game animal impacts, rural economic losses, control costs, control methods, etc.) were either glossed over or denied. Thus when ranchers began having particularly high stock losses and action was called for, the state was at first reluctant and then in a fit of testosterone “killed a pack” and the following news article was published:
According to the Spokane newspaper, The Spokesman-Review -
“Killing seven members of a wolf pack that repeatedly attacked a Northeast Washington rancher’s cattle cost about $76,500, according to preliminary state figures.”
“During a four-day period in September, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife spent $22,000 to kill six wolves in the pack using a helicopter and a marksman. The aerial hunt was more efficient than an earlier ground-based effort, which consumed 39 days, cost $54,500, and resulted in only one wolf being caught and killed, state officials said.”
“Future department actions to remove an entire pack are likely to be extremely rare if they occur at all, said Madonna Luers, a Fish and Wildlife department spokeswoman in Spokane.”
“Our director (Phil Anderson) has said that he never wants to do this again,” Luers said. “… The social acceptance is just not there.”
Please note Madonna’s conclusion that “social acceptance is just not there.”
What can Washingtonians (Washingtonites?) being harmed by wolves do?
- State government (like Chicago/Illinois, Boston/Massachusetts, Portland/Oregon, etc.) is strongly controlled by Seattle and environs.
- State government is strongly “Progressive” and does not shirk (like its counterparts elsewhere) from cooperating with federal agencies and bureaucrats.
- State fish and wildlife bureaucrats are cooperative with and responsive to federal and private environmental/animal rights’ agendas like the Endangered Species Act and federal mandates like wolf impositions, grizzly bears, and cougar protections that harm ranchers, loggers, hunters, and other rural residents as well as those seeking access to public lands. State residents are second on the list at best.
- State politicians, just like their political counterparts cited above, gain political capital and support by catering to Seattle enviros and national radical organizations like Defenders of Wildlife, Wildlife Federation, HSUS, NRDC, etc.
- Ranching and livestock organizations, just like hunting and fishing organizations, while anxious for donations and memberships are scared “poopless” to confront either the radical organizations or even the more the powerful federal agencies (USFWS, USFS, BLM, EPA, etc.) that have become “Charlie McCarthies” for the radicals.
The answer lies with electing and backing a STRONG LOCAL GOVERNMENT. Consider:
1. In the state of Virginia, Counties determine how long their deer season will be to increase, decrease, or manage for big bucks. Counties determine whether or not dogs can be used to hunt deer. Counties determine whether rifles or shotguns may be used and whether slugs, buckshot or both may be used. Imagine, the state government’s role is to respect and nurture the County’s desire for more or less deer, longer or shorter seasons, and what ammunition will be used.
2. If wolves popped up in Spokane or Seattle neighborhoods would the police or state fish and wildlife bureaucrats hesitate for a New York second to kill, trap, or otherwise get rid of them? Would public outcry to do something immediately be any different than when some soccer Moms spot a Rottweiler, Staffordshire Terrier, Doberman, two Rat Terriers and a Chow running as a pack down the street? Would the state bureaucrats assuage them by noting “social acceptance is just not there”? I submit we would be safe to say that “the state” would not condone wolves in residential areas or, so I have been told, on islands where powerful Washington State politicians live or assumedly where constituents of such powerful politicians reside as well.
If we add 1 + 2 above we have a suggestion.
Why not have County officials pass County ordinances or rules (like Midwestern Counties do to control thistles or Virginia Counties do to make deer herds consistent with local desires) governing the presence and management (the nice word for “control”) of wolves?
Sure the state politicians will resist and the state fish and wildlife agency will howl like banshees but do it right and stick to your guns and…?
Why not pass, declare, give to your sheriff, or whatever rules like:
- Wolves are subject to lethal control at any time on any private property in this County where livestock are raised, grazed, pastured, or otherwise husbanded.
- Wolves are subject to lethal control at any time on any private residential property in any incorporated area or within 300’ of any actively used residence elsewhere in the County. Incorporated areas may restrict rifle use but may not prohibit either handguns or shotguns for said purpose.
- Wolves may be killed by shooting on any private property in the County at any time as described above by the owner of such property, or a family member residing with the owner on such property, or by any agent duly authorized in writing by the owner to kill any wolf on the owners’ private property.
- The County (Commissioner, Commission, whatever?) may direct the owner of any private property in the County to control or eliminate any wolves residing on said property at any time. If the owner refuses to do so within 60 days, the County may hire a control agent to enter the property and effect the control of said wolves and to then bill the owner for the costs of said control. Refusal to pay the bill in 90 days will result in a lien on the property until the bill plus accrued interest is paid.
I could go on but you get the point. Let the state and the feds and the Native Americans enjoy the “benefits” of wolves on “their” own lands that they want treated as “separate” and “not subject to” or “compatible with” Local Communities or Local economies or the rural families that support the Local government. Let local communities set their own standards for human safety, livestock production, dog safety, disease presence, hunting availability, domestic Tranquility, and General Welfare, economic viability, recreation availability, etc., etc.
Sure it is tough, especially in these states where the urban majorities and state bureaucracies are more and more used to imposing harmful conditions on rural minorities. There aren’t any quick and easy answers here because everyone (like Germans in the 1930’s) has been hiding in the hope that things would soon get better, only they have only gotten worse. Nobody else is coming to Washington State’s aid. The ones with the wolves have their own hopeless appeals going on and the ones yet to get the wolves (and sooner than you think they will ALL get them despite all the “scientific crapola” about how where they were 200 years ago has any bearing on where and how they can and will live in the Lower 48 States today) are either blissfully ignorant or naively hoping that somehow the wolves won’t find their area or their kids one day.
Bulk up your local government and elect Sheriffs with strength and commitment. Work with, lobby, or take on, sue or whatever your state government and restore the Constitutional environment wherein the state protects the County as the federal government was formed to protect the state. We have slipped away from this concept due to everything from the 16th and 17th Amendments to the passage of a bevy of environmental/animal rights laws and regulations that have spawned the tyranny we face today.
This tyranny was imposed from the top down. The way to fight it is from the bottom up. If enough of us get this first step accomplished, state and federal reforms could be next as good County Executives move into state offices and the proven ones there move into Washington.
16 November 2012
THE NEVER-ENDING FAIRY TALE
Twin Cities newspapers are running their annual deer hunting articles as deer season slides to a close. The two topics of interest are the low deer harvest this year compared to last year’s low harvest, and the mysterious Chronic Wasting Disease that keeps killing deer in isolated locales.
Topic #1. The low deer harvest is described as expected and as planned for by state fish and wildlife employees. There is, was, and never will be any admission of any negative impact on deer numbers by wolves, bears or the silently growing cougar populations in the state.
Topic #2. Chronic Wasting Disease is a transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE) of mule deer, whitetailed deer, elk (or "wapiti"), and moose ("elk" in Europe). TSEs are caused by unusual infectious agents known as prions. To date, CWD has been found mainly in cervids (members of the deer family). First recognized as a clinical "wasting" syndrome in 1967 in mule deer in a wildlife research facility in northern Colorado, USA, it was identified as a TSE in 1978 and has spread to a dozen states and two Canadian provinces. CWD is typified by chronic weight loss leading to death.
Note that CWD is caused by the infectious agents known as prions. These very tiny proteins are also the agents the cause Mad Cow Disease.
Prions are hardy and can exist in soil or on rubber boots or clothing for months. They exist in the secretions (blood, mucous, etc.) of infected animals. During the infamous Mad Cow Outbreak in England, farmers could not step off their property in any work clothes and all wild and domestic animals in infected areas were killed. CWD is more common in Wisconsin lately but one isolated instance of CWD was found in Southern Minnesota fairly close to Wisconsin. The Minnesota and Wisconsin DNR are still “baffled” about how CWD is spread. Wisconsin has tried killing off the deer over large areas but that flopped and quarantine of deer is impossible so everyone holds their breath while it is studied.
Two other very dangerous diseases can be spread just like CWD and Mad Cow are spread.
Anthrax is spread by bacterial spores found in the soil, in the meat of infected animals (especially in the brain and spinal cords). Anthrax infected cattle (there are several US areas where anthrax outbreaks are somewhat routine) MUST be killed and buried at least 4’ deep. Clothing of workers must be burned and buried and equipment used must be sterilized before leaving the property.
Hoof-and-Mouth has severe economic implications for the livestock. The disease is enzootic in many areas of the world, including most of Asia, Africa, and South America. North and Central America, Australia, New Zealand, and Japan are free of infection. Hoof and Mouth disease is widespread throughout the world, and modern rapid transportation of people and animals poses a real threat for its introduction into the United States. People can visit infected premises and be back on a US farm on the same day, perhaps bringing the virus with them. It is spread by a virus that can remain active for long periods on equipment, vehicles, clothing and other neutral transporters. Let’s see, someone visiting a farm in an infected area can infect an uninfected area far away days later but that could never happen here in the USA and if it did, well wolf experts have snickered about all this so, well never mind.
During an Anthrax outbreak or a Hoof-and-Mouth outbreak or a Mad Cow outbreak it is widely recognized and accepted that both wild and domestic animals can carry, transmit and spread the prions, bacterial spores, and viruses that cause these diseases. The prions, spores and viruses can be carried on fur, between toes, in secretions, droppings, and in blood. Simply walking through the infected area, much less feeding on some meat or mouthing a bone, is all it takes. That is why dogs and all manner of wild animals are killed and buried, quickly and thoroughly.
Russian anthrax infections near a former island (drought and water use created a land bridge) where weaponized anthrax was buried after the collapse of the USSR have become endemic since wolves reached the island and began denning in the contaminated soil. Wolves are spreading anthrax that periodically shows up in isolated locations all around where the wolves roam.
HHHMMM, periodic outbreaks, wolves, prions, spores, human deaths, economic losses: what are we to think? I am not a veterinarian or a professor or a government expert, so what do I know? Yet….
None of the wolf introduction paperwork touches this subject. No University researcher mentions it. No government grant is given to examine it. Federal bureaucrats deny it. State bureaucrats snicker about it. Outdoor writers avoid it. Newspapers won’t touch it. Hunting and livestock organizations want “proof”. No vet dares mention it for fear of being labeled a wolf-“hater”.
- No wild animal in the Lower 48 moves as far routinely as wolves.
- Wolves move in and feed in packs, ergo what one gets they all get.
- Wolves frequenting pastures where livestock are kept will frequent other similar pastures in their wanderings and thereby carry infections to others..
- Wolves frequenting deer yards or other concentrations of deer will similarly frequent other deer locales and thereby carry infections to others.
- Wolves eat brains, spinal cords, and other parts highly susceptible to carrying viruses, prions, and spores.
- Wolves have furry feet with deep toes that can carry infectious picked up from soil material long ways.
- Wolves (like dogs) sniff, pick up, eat and poop all manner of things in their wandering and are thus likely carriers of all manner of infections.
- Wolves get no “shots”.
- Western state wildlife biologists won’t even let hunters bring home trophy heads on an animal due to the fear of CWD transmission.
- Wolf protection and spread in Wisconsin and Minnesota resulted in a wolf population explosion that coincided with the CWD outbreak and the decline in moose.
- Wolves spreading disease and predation effects (killing and eating young cows, bulls abd bucks on prey like deer and moose is always and ultimately devastating.
- Wolves carry, transmit, and infect animals, people, plants, objects, and soil with THE PRIONS THAT CAUSE CWD AND MAD COW DISEASE; THE VIRUS THAT CAUSES FOOT-AND-MOUTH; AND THE BACTERIAL SPORES THAT CAUSE ANTHRAX AND THAT LAST FOR EXTENDED PERIODS.
- In disease outbreak locations, quick elimination of wolves is all but impossible. Local wild animals and domestic animals are vulnerable but the wolf pack that passes through at 2AM or the wandering loner that watches everyone leave at 6PM and then investigates what the commotion was about… they go to other locations and sleep with and fight with other wolves that then carry the PRIONS, VIRUSES AND SPORES as they wander on.
And so boys and girls, the deer harvest decreases in Minnesota, just like the moose population decrease in Minnesota is due to State DNR planning and global warming. The CWD outbreaks are due to a mystery of Mother Nature that we may well never understand. And never forget that when government implemented the return of wolves to your rural areas and communities it was for your own good as desired by your urban cousins and a central government that knows what is best for you. Compare today with 50 years ago when states managed wolves in line with human needs and instead of managing humans in line with the needs of wolves. Remember all the experts and scientists agree on this.
If anyone tells you any different, report them to your teachers or other officials. People that spread lies about wolves are really attacking science and government, the two bastions of our brave new society. Such wolf-haters, like global warming deniers, are not to be trusted unless they can produce a government certification like the one given the Scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz.
Now go to sleep and sleep tight. Government is taking care of everything.
18 November 2012
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Jim Beers is a retired US Fish & Wildlife Service Wildlife Biologist, Special Agent, Refuge Manager, Wetlands Biologist, and Congressional Fellow. He was stationed in North Dakota, Minnesota, Nebraska, New York City, and Washington DC. He also served as a US Navy Line Officer in the western Pacific and on Adak, Alaska in the Aleutian Islands. He has worked for the Utah Fish & Game, Minneapolis Police Department, and as a Security Supervisor in Washington, DC. He testified three times before Congress; twice regarding the theft by the US Fish & Wildlife Service of $45 to 60 Million from State fish and wildlife funds and once in opposition to expanding Federal Invasive Species authority. He resides in Eagan, Minnesota with his wife of many decades.
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