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OBSERVATIONS OF OREGON'S WOLF PLANNING

by Jim Beers 15 NOVEMBER 2004

I recently returned from a trip to Oregon where I obtained a copy of the
Draft Oregon Wolf Conservation and Management Plan, a Minority Report on the
Draft by a member of the Wolf Advisory Committee, and a Letter from an
Alaska Fish and Game Furbearer Biologist (Mark McNay) to the US Fish and
Wildlife Service regarding the proposed reclassification and delisting of
the gray wolf. My reaction to these documents is that exactly what the US
Fish and Wildlife Service and non-government organizations like the
Defenders of Wildlife knew would happen ten years ago is now taking place.
Wolves are spreading at an unpredictably rapid rate both in numbers and in
area.  Lies about minimal impact on big game continue in the face of
collapsing big game herds (elk, moose, bighorn sheep) in Montana, Idaho, and
now Wyoming. Pets and hunting dogs are killed by wolves with no
responsibility or remuneration demanded from the people that introduced the
wolves.  Rural families and children live in both fear and real danger as
they go about their lives.  Livestock depredation increases as promises to
pay ranchers for losses are belied by demands for absolute proof
(unavailable in the majority of cases) and shifting policies by the
non-governmental "partner" Defenders of Wildlife as to which ranchers
"should" be paid based on the anti-hunting and anti-ranching prejudices of
this quasi-governmental participant in the charade.  From New Mexico to
Idaho, ranchers, big game outfitters, state fish and game revenues, and
rural communities are being seriously and permanently harmed by these wolves
that may not be shot unless the shooter can prove that he was "in extremis"
and all evidence clearly supports this assertion.  And now the wolves are
expanding into Oregon.

THE DRAFT OREGON WOLF CONSERVATION AND MANAGEMENT PLAN:

The old saying about how you never really know someone until you have gone
through a stressful situation with them is one of those truisms that
policemen and soldiers know all too well.  I suspect that the people of
Oregon are similarly seeing the true nature of their State Fish and Wildlife
Department as they grapple with the wolves starting to come over their
horizon.

Reading this Plan, tells me that the Oregon State Fish and Wildlife
Department has become an instrument of those who would abandon big game
hunters, ignore ranchers, and generally look the other way as rural
residents and communities are depressed by the coming wolf packs.  As a
Virginian that has observed State fish and wildlife agencies across the
nation for years I am not surprised by this fact.  The Plan exudes the
values that recently drove a vote in Oregon to ban the only two effective
hunting methods used to control cougar populations.  Today, Oregonians, like
their southern (California) cousins that prohibit all management of cougars,
prohibit hunters from using dogs or bait to hunt cougars and again like
Californians cover up the cost, reasons, and numbers of cougars that are
killed annually by Federal government hunters paid in part by all the
taxpayers of the United States.  The Plan clearly is intended to likewise
mask and ignore where possible the depredation of wolves on big game,
livestock, and other animals.  State funds and increasingly Federal funds or
the funds from the quasi-governmental partners are and will in the future be
inadequate to keep pace with the approaching storm of depredations as the
wolves populate Oregon and surrounding states.

The Plan downplays rural residents concerns with safety with the attitude of
the Nazi Propaganda Minister Goebbels who believed that public opinion was
the responsibility of government and that disagreement by citizens was
merely a failure of citizens to behave properly.  The two paragraphs devoted
to this topic on page 71 are a disgrace.

The misinformation about big game impacts is especially bad.  Buried in the
blizzard of "science" in the Plan is the excuse the State and Federal
bureaucrats will use when ranchers and big game hunters are gone and wolves
endanger both rural and urban communities.  To wit (on page 56), "Much has
been written in the scientific literature regarding the interaction and
effects of wolves on prey numbers, but few common conclusions have been
drawn."  Need more be said?  Wolves in Oregon will cause all the harm they
have in Montana and they will learn to behave in ways that NO ONE CAN
PREDICT in different situations.  Wolf behavior in Alberta or Alaska was no
predictor of wolf behavior in the US Rockies and wolf behavior will be
different in Oregon just as it is in Wisconsin or Asia.  We are talking
about large and smart wild dogs, do you think pit bull behavior predicts
golden retriever behavior?  Do you think an urban rottweiller used as a
guard by drug dealers predicts how a dachshund will behave in a
schoolteachers' home in Redmond?  Remember that no wildlife biologist nor
any piece of "scientific literature" predicted that wild turkeys could live
behind Iowa barns or chase mailmen in Boston suburbs.  No one predicted that
Canada geese could live on bluegrass, raise their young in mall parking
lots, and remain resident in the millions across the northern US year
around.  NO, the turkeys needed "virgin forests", the geese "only nested in
the far north", and wolves only behave like such and such.  Those who
believe this stuff should stay away from Brooklyn or they will wind up
"owning" a bridge.

Finally, the Plan reveals the State bureaucrats intention to mimic Federal
bureaucrats regarding wolf protection.  Given the harm wolves will wreak and
the danger they pose, the penalties of up to one year in prison and a $6,250
fine for a first offense and a 5 year, $100,000 fine for a second offense
are disgraceful.  They will do just what the US Fish and Wildlife Service
and the Defenders of Wildlife intended, scare the H--- out of rural families
and ranchers.  Surely someone will be made "an example" and then wives will
tell husbands to look for work in the city and people will stay in town and
there will be fewer rural activities. Then guess who will buy the land?
Guess who will close down more land and more uses, and impose more on
private landowners because there will be fewer and fewer people who know or
care or resist?  If you guessed the same folks dumping the wolves and giving
them the status of mistletoe under the druids or some Pacific volcano on an
island populated by pagans, you get the prize.

COMMENTS FROM THE ALASKA FURBEARER BIOLOGIST:

The biologist, Mr. McNay is a knowledgeable chap regarding the wolf
literature and the provisions of the Endangered Species Act.  His honesty in
stating that, "Maintaining high densities of wolves will require reduced
harvest of prey animals by humans and some tolerance of persistent
livestock/domestic animal loss" is appreciated.

Additionally, his statement that (re: depredation control), after "public
assurance was given so that the public understood that a persistent policy
of depredation control would occur during recovery"; "the Service decided to
abandon their own recommendation" is also a breath of honesty.  Further he
mentions the "Service did not state they would not change the non essential
status" (re: depredation control possibilities) "they simply stated , in
1994, they did not foresee a need."

The level of government duplicity in establishing these wolves is enormous
and reprehensible.  Not only did they imply commitments they had no
intention of fulfilling; the money used to introduce the wolves into
Yellowstone Park (a Federal enclave where there is NO STATE JURISDICTION)
was obtained by the pilferage of Pittman-Robertson excise tax funds by
Federal Washington bureaucrats after Congress refused to appropriate funds
for wolf introduction.  Those excise taxes are intended for state fish and
wildlife agencies.  The States never complained, no Federal bureaucrat was
disciplined, and the funds ($45 to 60 Million) were never repaid to the
state accounts.  Truly, the western states are increasingly thought of and
treated like a Federal enclave rather that a group of United States.  Oregon
state government cooperation in this wolf matter only increases Federal
power and diminishes state jurisdiction over it's own affairs.

THE MINORITY REPORT:

My compliments to the author of this Minority Report. Asking how you measure
conflict is at the heart of the matter.  If, as our US Constitution states,
"We the People of the United States" formed a government to "insure domestic
Tranquility" what in the world are we doing when we tolerate both our
Federal and State governments inserting things (wolves) that cause
 "conflict" into our communities and our daily lives?

The author's observation that the wolf is yet another "threat" to rural
lifestyles that will cause "socio-economic decline in the (sic, rural)
community" is absolutely correct.  Putting this in an equation would look
something like this:

Wilderness Designations + Endangered Species = End of hunting, ranching,
fishing, logging, rural recreation, rurallifestyles, local tax base, etc.

This is not an exaggeration.  Community interests, rural economies,
recreational activities, rural tax bases, and many other things will be
harmed by the spread of wolves in Oregon.  Obviously, State bureaucrats and
the politicians that tolerate them look on this as merely a public opinion
challenge and something that uninformed citizens merely have to be absolved
of.

Summary:

State jurisdiction over wolves that has existed since the ratification of
our Constitution right after the Revolutionary War was seized by Federal
bureaucrats when the wolf was listed as either Threatened or Endangered.
This was done when  healthy and robust wolf populations existed (and still
exist) in Canada, Alaska, Asia, and even Europe.  The first State to
acquiesce to this move was Minnesota.  Today the Federal government spends
hundreds of thousands of dollars to "control" wolves in that State.
Wisconsin and Michigan now have wolves that are underestimated
(population-wise) each year to calm rural complainants and where
depredations are increasing at a stunning rate.  Stragglers enter Illinois,
Iowa, and Indiana.  Like Oregon, the urban majorities in those States resist
any management of wolves that are perceived as benevolent by city-dwellers
at this time.  The State fish and wildlife agencies, again like Oregon, do
not advocate management but merely provide a mirror for the nave
assumptions of the radical NGO's and the urban enthusiasts that are
unaffected by their wants for wilderness and things like wolves.

Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, and New Mexico have less influential urban
populations removed from the realities of Endangered Species, predator, and
wolf non-management.  Those States have seen lawsuits by outfitters and
ranchers and cooperation on the part of County Commissioners, sheriffs, and
other rural entities.  In the case of Wyoming, the State government per se
has chosen to stand up to the Federal government over the wolf issue.

The Federal government response has been to hold out the possibility (like
the carrot dangled on a string before a donkey in the old silent movies) of
"delisting."  This is challenged in court by the good old "quasi-government"
radicals like the Defenders of Wildlife and an entire coterie of extremist
environmental and animal rights organizations they work with.  While it
would be "better" if the wolf were "delisted", that is ultimately only an
illusion.  The Federal government has stolen the jurisdiction of State
government over wolves and it will not give it up.  By this I do not mean
they won't "delist"; I mean that wolf management has become a grant from the
Federal government as opposed a Constitutional jurisdiction under our
Constitution.  The delisting "agreement" will specify how many wolves, where
they must be, how they can be "managed", what constitutes "taking" or
"punishment", etc., etc.  No matter who signs, it will be challenged
tomorrow and five years from now when the radicals see an opening or a
"Green" President gets elected.  It will be used to put another nail in
cougar management or grazing allotment closures or to wipe out the last hunt
able elk herd.  It can be reversed by a court or changed by the next
Secretary of the Interior.  It will be like gun rights in England where it
is not a right but rather a "gift" granted by government to only "the right
kind of people."

I do not say these things to disparage what Oregonians are doing and must do
to protect their liberties and their way of life.  As I said at the
beginning, you only get to know someone under stress.  You are seeing your
politicians and your state fish and wildlife bureaucrats under stress.  You
are seeing your urban centers and the national radical organizations
encouraging the Federal bureaucrats to cause harm to your rural residents
and their communities with a larger hidden agenda of harm to follow.  You
have to ask yourself:

Is Oregon like New Jersey where black bears cannot be managed in urban areas
and regulations stifle rural lifestyles?

Is Oregon like Wyoming where rural animal populations are managed and
Federal programs furthering hidden agendas are resisted?

Can Oregon overcome the debilitation that has afflicted other such States
with large urban majorities (NY-New York City, MA-Boston, IL-Chicago, etc.)
wherein the rural countryside is sacrificed to urban myths and legends that
profit radical organizations?

The Oregon Cattlemen's Association has joined the Safari Club and Idaho,
Wyoming, and Montana in fighting a court complaint by Defenders of Wildlife
to stop the US Fish and Wildlife Service from delisting the wolves.  That is
a good start.  Forging an alliance with urban constituencies is another step
and reasserting control over the State Fish and Wildlife and the State
Universities to affirm their role in guarding State authorities and the
"domestic Tranquility" of all Oregonians is another step.  Finally, the
Federal Endangered Species Act must be seriously amended (see my 14 November
2004 article on that topic) before any real and lasting progress can be
made.  This latter is a project for all of us and the time was never better
to tell Congress, the President, and all of the political appointees in
Washington that we demand such change or the Act should be simply repealed.

Jim Beers

15 November 2004
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