SA 838 and the 51 USA Senators 
who voted yes 
to privatize federal lands




Who’s behind the Movement 
to Sell off Public Lands?

How The Oil Industry’s ‘Dr. Evil’ Is Running A Campaign To Sell Off America’s Public Lands

Reposted from Harper’s Magazine:

From the February 2015 issue
The Great Republican Land Heist
Cliven Bundy and the politicians who are plundering the West
By Christopher Ketcham

Cliven Bundy, the notorious scofflaw cattle rancher from Bunkerville, Nevada, was taking his midday nap when I arrived at his spread. One of his daughters — he has fourteen grown children, and they all seemed to have mustered at the ranch — told me that the nap was “very important” and our two o’clock appointment for an interview would have to wait for “whenever he wakes up.” I passed the time in the shade of the trees in his yard and talked with his militiamen, who looked miserable in the heat. They were awaiting an ambush by agents of the federal government, whose most oppressive arm, they assured me, was the Bureau of Land Management, a branch of the Department of the Interior. From across the country the militia had come to “make war” on the BLM, which manages more public land than any other federal agency.

In April 2014, three weeks before my visit, the BLM had begun to impound Bundy’s herd, which had been illegally grazing on a 578,724-acre parcel of public land in the Mojave Desert known as the Bunkerville Allotment of the Gold Butte range. The BLM planned to sell the herd in order to reimburse the public for an estimated $1.1 million in grazing fees and fines that Bundy owed. Bundy, decrying federal tyranny and vowing to do whatever it took to protect his rights to graze his cattle, called in the press to witness the start of a “range war” on Gold Butte. On April 9, a few days after the roundup began, one of Bundy’s sons was shocked with a taser after he attacked a BLM officer. Video of the conflict was posted on YouTube and became a right-wing cause célèbre. Fox News showed Bundy parading in his white hat, on his white horse, carrying an American flag that billowed in the Nevada wind. At least a hundred men and women converged on Bundy’s ranch, anticipating the next Waco. They brought with them semiautomatic handguns, large-bore revolvers, assault rifles, and don’t tread on me flags.

People began calling the BLM with death threats. Bundy supporters tweeted the home address of a former U.S. Forest Service biologist now working for the Center for Biological Diversity, a nonprofit that monitors conditions on Gold Butte, and threatened his family. The FBI told him to leave his house. BLM managers who had no law-enforcement training — biologists, ecologists, rangeland conservationists — took to carrying pistols as personal protection for the first time in their careers. Employees in the field were warned to pair up and to go nowhere on Gold Butte without alerting their superiors.

On April 12, a crowd numbering in the hundreds shut down Interstate 15 in both directions. Snipers from Bundy’s militia took positions in the thorny scrub along the highway. A group of Bundyites on horseback rode down a hillside to face the BLM rangers. There were fingers on triggers on both sides. “If a car had backfired,” a militiaman told me, “the shooting would have started.”

Reposted from America Blog:

Cliven Bundy is a seditious liar, not a patriot
4/23/14 7:00 am by Becca Morn 
As a resident of the American Southwest — New Mexico to be exact — I’ve become familiar with complicated interplay of federally-owned lands, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), state lands, reservations, and even this interesting notion of ‘land grants’ which sometimes date back to before there were states in this part of the country.

We also have more than our share of radical libertarians and wingnuts. So I’ve been watching the Cliven Bundy situation in Nevada http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/wp/2014/04/15/everything-you-need-to-know-about-the-long-fight-between-cliven-bundy-and-the-federal-government/ with a fair amount of interest because all of these elements are in play.

Long story short: Bundy is not the states-rights patriot he claims to be, but appears to be a law-breaking liar who has — quite literally — said he doesn’t believe in the legitimacy of the United States government. Not just since a black man became President, but EVER.

Pretty much the opposite of ‘patriot’ in every respect.

The Cliven Bundy story in a nutshell
Bundy owns a 160-acre cattle and melon ranch in Clark County, Nevada, near the town of Bunkerville, which is on the Virgin River — close to the Nevada-Arizona-Utah borders. Interstate-15 runs right through the area. This much is not at all in dispute. (BTW, the Virgin River is one of the feeders into Lake Meade, site of Hoover Dam.)

In 1993, in response to reports that a local desert tortoise was dying off and that cattle were doing too much damage, the Feds began restricting access to cattle grazing on federally-owned lands throughout the entire region.

On top of denying access to some areas and more strictly enforcing grazing fees in others, the Feds began limiting which grazing ranges were open in any given year and how many cattle were allowed on the allotments.

Nevada’s Clark County also bought up and retired all of the remaining grazing leases in the nearby Gold Butte area, south of Bunkerville.
Well, Cliven Bundy refused to pay. He’s also defied repeated orders not to graze his cattle on protected federal lands. He claims there is no such thing as federally-owned land and that there is no Constitutional basis for the Interior Department or the BLM. Yes, he’s that far out there.

Time and time again, Bundy went to court, including an appeal to the 9th Circuit in 1998, in which Bundy represented himself. His claims have invariably been nonsensical and at odds with established facts and laws.

In the ’98 case, a federal judge issued a permanent injunction ordering Bundy to remove his cattle from federal lands. By 2014, the unpaid fines and fees are now in excess of $1 million. He’s never paid a dime.

In August 2013, he was given 45 days by the BLM to remove his cattle, or they would be seized and sold off to pay the fines. Bundy refused. (Actually, the BLM has warned him a whole bunch of times over the years to remove the cattle or risk forfeiture.)

Last April, in response to a BLM move to seize Bundy’s cattle which were still grazing illegally on federal land, he rounded up about hundred friends, relatives, and would-be allies and began threatening BLM rangers and federal employees.

The militia types from out-of-state also showed up, heavily armed. They talked openly about firing on BLM rangers and federal law enforcement officers. In one report, one of the militia types — a retired sheriff from Arizona and member of the Oath Keepers (a radical Bircher-related militia movement) http://thinkprogress.org/politics/2011/05/05/163973/gop-debate-oathkeepers-birchers/ — Richard Mack, said they were planning to put the women and children in front. 

“I would have put my own wife or daughters there, and I would have been screaming bloody murder to watch them die,” he said. http://benswann.com/exclusive-sources-inside-the-blm-and-las-vegas-metro-say-feds-are-planning-a-raid-on-bundy-home/ 
“I would’ve gone next, I would have been the next one to be killed. I’m not afraid to die here. I’m willing to die here.”

“But the best ploy would be to have had women at the front,” he continued. http://benswann.com/exclusive-sources-inside-the-blm-and-las-vegas-metro-say-feds-are-planning-a-raid-on-bundy-home/ “Because, one, I don’t think they would have shot them. And, two, if they had, it would have been the worst thing that we could have shown to the rest of the world, that these ruthless cowards hired by the federal government will do anything.”

Right, because there’s nothing cowardly about using unarmed women and children as human shields so the heavily armed menfolk don’t get killed first.

In an effort to defuse the situation and avoid bloodshed, the BLM backed down, for now.

“I don’t recognize the United States government as even existing”
Cliven Bundy and his allies have never won in a court of law, whether it’s Nevada state or a federal court. In a radio interview in April, he said, http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2014/04/the-irony-of-cliven-bundys-unconstitutional-stand/360587/ “I abide by all of Nevada state laws. But I don’t recognize the United States government as even existing.”

Cliven Bundy and his friends say they’re patriots, but they deny the authority of our elected federal government — and apparently Nevada state, too, whenever it suits them.

Sedition: (noun) (1) incitement of discontent or rebellion against a government. (2) any action, especially in speech or writing, promoting such discontent or rebellion.

(Source: Dictionary.com)

Sound familiar?

Cliven Bundy is either a liar…or a serious exaggerator
In many of the early reports, Bundy is quoted as claiming his family had been ranching there since 1877. According to a report by KLAS: http://www.8newsnow.com/story/25301551/bundys-ancestral-rights-come-under-scrutiny

“I’ve lived my lifetime here. My forefathers have been up and down the Virgin Valley here ever since 1877. All these rights that I claim, have been created through pre-emptive rights and beneficial use of the forage and the water and the access and range improvement”

Well, that first sentence is more or less true. The rest is sovereign citizen gobbledygook.

And the claim of his ancestors being there, with legal rights to the land since 1877, is not true. KLAS-TV out of Las Vegas and their investigative reporter, Nathan Baca, has done some terrific research and reporting on that particular claim of inherited rights that would predate the creation of the BLM itself in 1946. http://www.8newsnow.com/story/25301551/bundys-ancestral-rights-come-under-scrutiny

Bundy’s father didn’t start grazing cattle there until 1954
Clark County records show that Cliven Bundy’s parents bought his ‘ancestral’ 160 acre ranch in 1948, and didn’t start grazing cattle on the adjacent federal lands until 1954. Prior to that, they lived in Arizona. Bundy himself was born in 1946.

“All my life” apparently doesn’t include his first two years.
According to court records, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bundy_standoff his father grazed cattle for several years in the Bunkerville Allotment, then stopped. Then presumably Bundy himself resumed in 1973, paying the required fees until 1993 when he stopped paying but kept grazing. After being served with several notices in 1994 to pay up or remove the cattle, he asserted ‘vested grazing rights’ — which have never been upheld in any court, nor has Bundy offered any documented proof of those rights when given numerous chances to do so.

Bundy has further claimed, “My rights are before the BLM even existed, but my rights are created by beneficial use. Beneficial use means we created the forage and the water from the time the very first pioneers come here.”

Again, apparently the rights Bundy claims also predate his ancestor’s presence in the immediate vicinity of his current ranch. And he weirdly claims he’s creating the water and the grass his cattle herds have been using up. Last I checked, Mother Nature took care of that sort of thing.

The term ‘beneficial use’ by the way is a term from the original 1862 Homesteading Act, whereby a family could lay claim to lands in certain designated areas, pay a small fee, and as long as they improved it and lived on it, they could claim title after five years. The Act itself was repealed in 1976, and in any case was limited to claims of just 160 acres total. It has never been recognized as an authority to seize or use federally-owned lands not listed as eligible for homesteading. (BTW, it’s no accident that Bundy’s ranch is 160 acres.)

According to additional reporting from KLAS’s Steve Karnigher, http://www.8newsnow.com/story/25302186/an-abbreviated-look-at-rancher-cliven-bundys-family-history no Bundys lived in Bunkerville NV in 1930 or 1940. Bundy’s mother and her parents lived in the neighboring town of Mesquite, with census records from 1930 indicating John and Christena Jensen (Bundy’s maternal grandparents) were from Utah, which is about another 20-30 miles up the present-day I-15. They did have a farm (usually not considered the same thing as a cattle ranch), but it’s reported to have been near Main Street in Mesquite.

Although Bundy’s assertion is his right to graze and water his cattle on federal lands comes from his mother’s side of the family, he can point to no document, no contract, no license or agreement, and no law establishing this inheritable right in perpetuity. Just his specious assertion that the Federal government cannot legally own land inside any state — an assertion that has been dismissed repeatedly in state and federal courts.

Indeed, the only established legal rights he has under the law are the water rights, including water from the nearby Virgin River, associated with the 160-acre ranch which was purchased from Raoul and Ruth Leavitt in 1948. There are no records of inherited grazing rights, pre-emptive rights, special rights, or grandfathered federal land use rights assigned to Bundy or his ancestors. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bundy_standoff
Basically, Bundy claims grazing rights on the federally-owned lands adjacent to his property because he says so.

Irony abounds
One of the militia types in from Alaska, a man named Justine Giles, who is apparently as history- and irony-challenged as Bundy himself, remarked, http://www.8newsnow.com/story/25301551/bundys-ancestral-rights-come-under-scrutiny “They are literally treating western United States citizens, ranchers, rural folks like this are the modern-day Indians. We’re being driven off of our lands.”

Bundy says his claim dates to 1877. The irony is that in 1875, the local Paiute Indians were forced off those lands into reservations so white men could move in and seize them.

Two years earlier, in 1873, the same land Bundy now owns and uses to grow his melons and raise cattle had been promised to the Paiute. A promise broken, obviously.

Those ‘pioneers’ of the late 19th century stole the land from the indigenous people already living there.

Bundy is a moocher, and he’s stealing from all of us
It costs money for the Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management and National Parks Service to manage the lands they’re in charge of. There are access roads to maintain, firefighters to deal with range fires, reclamation efforts, soil and water conservation — and the need to repair the damage done by overgrazing.

A big chunk of the BLM and NPS budgets comes from the Federal government — funded by us taxpayers — because although they can charge licensing fees for the grazing, farming, and mineral rights they regularly lease out, these fees are just a fraction of fair value and actual cost of management.

For example, for the last 30 years, the BLM has charged a mere $1.34 per animal per month (AUM) of grazing. That’s less than a quarter of what it costs the BLM to manage the lands. In 2004, the GAO estimated that private grazing fees, in today’s 2014 dollars, to be $10-29 AUM.

The public lands livestock grazing program uses approximately 250 million acres of the arid west, with permitted users paying a pittance to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) or the Forest Service for the privilege to do so. And it is truly a pittance. When Bundy stopped paying BLM in 1993, he owed just $1.86 per animal unit month for his mama cows, or $3,348 to use the land year-round. But Bundy refused to pay the fees because he didn’t want to reduce his herd to just 150 animals in order to help save the Mojave desert tortoise, a species given an emergency Endangered Species Act listing, and whose existence is specifically threatened by livestock competition for scarce desert vegetation and direct crushing and trampling of tortoise burrows. Bundy’s non-payment of fees was coupled with non-cooperation about getting his cows off the range. Since 1993, Bundy’s herd has ranged from 550 to more than 900 animals, far more than he was ever legally permitted. His cows have roamed over a much broader area than he was ever legally allowed to use. Without accounting for the legal expenses incurred by BLM and the costs of last week’s failed roundup, Bundy has since racked up a million dollar bill for overdue fees, trespass fees, and fines.

The lands Cliven Bundy claims as his own, to do with as he pleases, belong to all of us. Through our federal government and its laws, we elected to try to preserve a portion of those near-desert range lands, even as ranchers are being treated exceedingly generously with those ridiculously low grazing fees.

But that’s not good enough for a man like Bundy, a man who denies the United States even exists as a legitimate nation.

I’ll give him this much: He’d rather take a stand and cheat the rest of us out of the few thousand bucks a year he’d otherwise owe than to admit the federal government of the United States of America has any authority over him, a citizen not of America but of the sovereign and apparently independent nation-state of Nevada.

However, these are not the beliefs and positions of an American patriot. They’re the acts of a man committing an act of rebellion against lawful authority, a man whose patriotism and allegiance is not to any nation or state, but to himself alone.

The funny thing is he’s not even being a patriot to Nevada either, whose government’s position is he should pay for the damned grazing licenses like everybody else.

A four part series on politicians who do not dispute Cliven Bundy's stance on seizing our federal public lands

Part 1~ Reposted from: Center for American Progress


Ammon Bundy, son of rancher Cliven Bundy, talks to the media. SOURCE: AP/Chris Carlson

By Matt Lee-Ashley and Mari Hernandez 

May 9, 2014

For more than two weeks, conservative elected officials and commentators alike cast Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy as a hero for refusing to pay more than $1 million in grazing fees owed to the federal government. Their comments helped spur armed militia members to rush to southern Nevada to support Bundy, with some training their guns on federal law enforcement officials in a dangerous standoff on April 12.

But the same officials and pundits who quickly backed the rancher began to abandon Bundy when he revealed his racist views in public comments on April 23.

Through a spokesman, Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV) called Bundy’s racist comments

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) said they were “offensive.”

Yet, despite condemning Bundy’s statements on race, the Nevada rancher’s supporters continue to stand by his radical anti-government views. In fact, a growing fringe of right-wing politicians share Bundy’s belief that the U.S. government has no legitimate authority over federal lands and that those lands should be either seized by the states or sold off to the highest bidder.

Members of this right-wing movement, which has been described as a rebirth of the 1970s “Sagebrush Rebellion,” are bound by shared support for at least one of three radical ideas—each of which Bundy propagated during his “range war” against the federal government:

1. U.S. taxpayer-owned land should be sold or seized.

2. The federal government has no valid authority over federal lands in states, and county sheriffs are the only rightful law enforcement authority.

3. Citizens should challenge federal policies by defying the law on federal lands.

Although anti-government activism is not new to the American West, the land seizure movement has recently regained prominence and political strength not seen since the Reagan administration. Utah, for example, enacted new legislation in 2012 demanding that the federal government turn over federal lands to the state or face a lawsuit. While such a law would likely be deemed unconstitutional if tested in court, at least seven other states (Colorado, New Mexico, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Nevada) have explored, considered, or passed similar measures since the beginning of 2013. One purpose of these land seizure efforts—along with similar land sell-off proposals in Congress—appears to be the expansion of mining, drilling, and logging, and the capture of these potential revenues for state coffers.

Though this anti-government movement is not likely to achieve its stated objective of “taking back” federal lands, it is nevertheless claiming a growing number of powerful elected officials among its supporters in the western states and beyond.

Over the coming weeks, the Center for American Progress will track and publish information about elected officials, organizations, and prominent commentators who endorse the anti-government, anti-public land ideas propagated by Mr. Bundy during the armed confrontation he led in southern Nevada.

These analyses will use three measures to evaluate the proximity of individuals’ and organizations’ views on federal lands and federal authority to those of Mr. Bundy:

1. Do they support the sell-off or state seizure of federal lands?

2. Do they dispute the U.S. government’s authority over federal lands?

3. Have they defied or encouraged defiance of federal law on public lands?

Our series begins with a look at five of Bundy’s most prominent supporters.

While each of “Bundy’s Buddies” plays a prominent role in the movement to seize or sell off public lands, they are not acting alone. In fact, they are supported by a broad network of federal, state, and local elected officials, conservative interest groups, and pundits who share their goals. Future pieces of analysis in this series will examine this broader network.

Matt Lee-Ashley is a Senior Fellow and the Director of the Public Lands Project at American Progress. Mari Hernandez is a Research Associate at American Progress.

To speak with our experts on this topic, please contact:

Print: Allison Preiss (economy, education, poverty) 202.478.6331 or apreiss@americanprogressaction.org

Print: Tom Caiazza (foreign policy, health care, energy and environment, LGBT issues, gun-violence prevention) 202.481.7141 or tcaiazza@americanprogressaction.org

Print: Chelsea Kiene (women's issues, Center for American Progress' Legal Progress, Half in Ten) 202.478.5328 or ckiene@americanprogressaction.org

Spanish-language and ethnic media: Tanya Arditi 

202.741.6258 or tarditi@americanprogressaction.org

TV: Rachel Rosen 202.483.2675 or rrosen@americanprogressaction.org

Radio: Chelsea Kiene 202.478.5328 or ckiene@americanprogressaction.org

A four part series on politicians who do not dispute Cliven Bundy's stance on seizing our federal public lands

Part 2  ~ Reposted from :Center for American Progress


Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), speaks at the Conservative Political Action Committee annual conference in National Harbor, MD on March 7, 2014. SOURCE: AP/Susan Walsh

By Matt Lee-Ashley ~ May 22, 2014

See also: “Bundy’s Buddies: The Politicians and Pundits Who Share Cliven Bundy’s Radical Anti-Government Views and Want to Seize Federal Lands”

Since his racist views surfaced on April 23, rancher Cliven Bundy has all but vanished from the talking points of Sean Hannity, 
http://mediamatters.org/blog/2014/04/21/cliven-bundy-praises-hero-sean-hannity-warns-of/198957 Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY)
http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2014/04/15/rand_paul_defends_cliven_bundy_federal_government_shouldnt_violate_the_law.html and the conservative politicians and pundits who—just days earlier—had cheered the Nevada rancher’s defiance of the federal government and his refusal to pay more than $1 million in grazing fees owed to U.S. taxpayers.

Although many of Bundy’s supporters have distanced themselves from the rancher’s racist opinions, a network of right-wing politicians, organizations, and individuals share Bundy’s belief that the U.S. government has no legitimate authority over federal lands and that those lands should either be seized by the states or sold off to the highest bidder.

The opening installment of the “Bundy’s Buddies” series 

http://www.americanprogressaction.org/issues/green/news/2014/05/09/89406/bundys-buddies-the-politicians-and-pundits-who-share-cliven-bundys-radical-anti-government-views-and-want-to-seize-federal-lands/ identified five of the most prominent elected officials and organizations who are part of this right-wing movement, including Koch-funded Americans for Prosperity and Utah State Rep. Ken Ivory (R).

This second installment takes a deeper look at the views of members of Congress. The analysis uses three measures to evaluate the similarity of members’ views on federal lands and federal authority to those of Bundy:

1. Do they support the sell-off or state seizure of federal lands?

2. Do they dispute the U.S. government’s authority over federal lands?

3. Have they defied or encouraged defiance of federal law on public lands?

Based on these criteria, there are 15 members of Congress who have endorsed at least one of these out-of-the-mainstream ideas that Bundy propagated during his “range war” against the federal government.


Most of the federal elected officials surveyed were careful not to endorse lawbreaking either at the roundup of Bundy’s cattle in Nevada or at a recent illegal off-highway vehicle, or OHV, rally http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2014/05/10/3436507/cliven-bundy-atv-ride-burial-sites/ in Recapture Canyon, Utah. Unlike several county elected officials, most federal officials also appear to acknowledge federal authority on federal lands.

Yet all of the members of Congress identified here either endorsed state efforts http://westernpriorities.org/2014/04/29/yes-its-biggerthanbundy-efforts-to-seize-your-public-lands-have-only-just-begun/ to seize federal lands or have themselves led efforts in Congress to sell off more than 3 million acres of federal lands to the highest bidder. http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2011/10/25/352573/gop-rep-chaffetz-pushing-legislation-to-sell-off-public-lands/

The end goal of both the land sell-off and state land-seizure strategies appears to be the expansion of mining, drilling, and logging and the capture of these potential revenues for state coffers. http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/green/report/2013/03/11/56103/state-efforts-to-reclaim-our-public-lands/

In addition to the incumbents analyzed here, some candidates for Congress are also endorsing land-seizure or sell-off proposals as part of their campaign platforms. When asked whether public lands should remain in federal ownership, be transferred to the state, or privatized, Montana State Rep. Champ Edmunds, a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, responded:


The compact of statehood promised, and the Framers of the Constitution envisioned, that federal lands would be granted back to the states for local control. In Montana, the federal government controls over 24 million acres of land … It’s time to return these [federal] lands to Montana so that we can manage our forests, protect private property, implement responsible and sustainable harvest programs, and reap the economic benefits that come from well-managed lands.

When asked the same question, Edmunds’ competitor in the Republican primary, U.S. Rep. Steve Daines (R-MT), did not say whether he thought taxpayer-owned lands should be kept under federal management, sold, or transferred to the state. Daines, who previously voted to sell off public lands as part of a budget proposal to help reduce the deficit, equivocated: “I know that Montanans—not Washington bureaucrats—know best how to manage our land.”

Although the Bundy standoff, the illegal OHV ride through Recapture Canyon, and state land-seizure efforts have drawn the spotlight in recent weeks, it appears that the anti-government, anti-public-land philosophy—which has been described as a rebirth of the 1970s “Sagebrush Rebellion”

http://articles.latimes.com/2014/apr/27/opinion/la-ed-federal-lands-western-states-sagebrush-rebel-20140425 —is well outside the mainstream in the American West.

A February survey commissioned by Colorado College found that 9 out of 10 western voters 

http://www.coloradocollege.edu/dotAsset/0bff72e3-a112-476c-b2d3-72f9dfafd8b2.pdf  view their national forests, monuments, wildlife areas, and public lands as integral to their state’s economy.

The recent attention on Bundy and land-seizure efforts is prompting a strong rebuke from mainstream users of public lands, including sportsmen, 

http://www.nwf.org/~/media/PDFs/Media%20Center%20%20Press%20Releases/2014/Lands-1_final.pdf  responsible OHV groups, 
and conservation organizations. They are calling for respect for the law and the protection of public lands.

The land-seizure movement is a “radical cry,” said a recent alert 

http://www.backcountryhunters.org/index.php/backcountry/current-news/709-our-public-lands-are-not-for-sale that Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, or BHA, sent to its members. “Our federal land system and outdoor heritage is the envy of the world,” BHA went on to say, “and depends on keeping federal public lands out of state ownership.”

Matt Lee-Ashley is a Senior Fellow and the Director of the Public Lands Project at American Progress.

Jessica Goad, Greg Zimmerman, and Erin Moriarty of the Center for Western Priorities contributed to the research for this report.

To speak with our experts on this topic, please contact:

Print: Allison Preiss (economy, education, poverty) 
202.478.6331 or apreiss@americanprogressaction.org

Print: Tom Caiazza (foreign policy, health care, energy and environment, LGBT issues, gun-violence prevention) 

202.481.7141 or tcaiazza@americanprogressaction.org

Print: Chelsea Kiene (women's issues, Center for American Progress' Legal Progress, Half in Ten) 

202.478.5328 or ckiene@americanprogressaction.org

Spanish-language and ethnic media: Tanya Arditi 

202.741.6258 or tarditi@americanprogressaction.org

TV: Rachel Rosen 

202.483.2675 or rrosen@americanprogressaction.org

Radio: Chelsea Kiene 

202.478.5328 or ckiene@americanprogressaction.org

A four part series on politicians who do not dispute Cliven Bundy's stance on seizing our federal public lands

Part 3  ~ Reposted from :Center for American Progress


Then-Saratoga Springs Mayor Mia Love addresses the Utah Republican Party's annual organizing convention, in Sandy, Utah, May 18, 2013. SOURCE: AP/Rick Bowmer

By Claire Moser and Matt Lee-Ashley ~ June 19, 2014

Although media coverage of this primary season has focused on House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s (R-VA) loss to a Tea Party-backed candidate, four candidates who sympathize with outlaw Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy’s fringe views about public lands have surprisingly and quietly won their party’s nominations for competitive races across the American West.

If elected in November, these four candidates would join the 15 incumbent members of Congress 

http://www.americanprogressaction.org/issues/green/news/2014/05/22/90206/bundys-buddies-the-15-members-of-congress-who-share-cliven-bundys-desire-to-seize-or-sell-off-americas-public-lands/ and a collection of state and county elected officials who, http://www.bundysbuddies.com/ similar to Bundy, endorse the expensive and unpopular notion that America’s public lands should be seized by the states or sold off for drilling, mining, or logging.

As highlighted throughout the “Bundy’s Buddies” series 
http://www.americanprogressaction.org/series/bundys-buddies/view/ and on the website BundysBuddies.com, state proposals to seize federal lands are not only extremely expensive http://www.bundysbuddies.com/#sectionthree for U.S. taxpayers—and taxpayers in the states that wish to seize lands—but they also are fundamentally unconstitutional.

The views of the four candidates profiled below are surprising in part because these individuals are vying for office in relatively competitive elections but are touting views of public lands that, according to public opinion research, are out of the mainstream. Recent polling by the Colorado College State of the Rockies Project shows that Westerners deeply value public lands and are less likely to vote for a candidate who supports selling public lands to reduce the deficit.

Below are the four Bundy’s Buddies who have recently secured their party’s nomination and will be on the November ballot in competitive elections across the American West.

1. County Commissioner Tootie Smith (R)

Tootie Smith won her primary race 
http://www.oregonlive.com/clackamascounty/index.ssf/2014/05/tootie_smith_wins_republican_c.html on May 20, becoming the Republican candidate for Oregon’s 5th Congressional District. The Clackamas County commissioner is a vocal supporter of removing public lands from federal control, and, as The Oregonian reports, http://www.oregonlive.com/mapes/index.ssf/2014/05/tootie_smith_in_unwanted_gop_p.html “the issue that really gets her going is federal land management.”

Smith has continued to emphasize her position on public lands, urging 

https://www.facebook.com/TootieSmithOregon?hc_location=timeline the federal government to “return all federal lands in Oregon back to the counties where they are located and let the people manage them.” She has also stated 
http://www.oregonlive.com/mapes/index.ssf/2014/05/tootie_smith_in_unwanted_gop_p.html publicly that she thinks “counties and cities know how to take care of their own environmental standards.”

Smith began her career in politics fighting federal restrictions on logging in the 1990s and will likely continue to make 

http://www.oregonlive.com/mapes/index.ssf/2014/05/tootie_smith_in_unwanted_gop_p.html her stance on federal land policy a primary focus of her campaign against incumbent Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-OR) in the November general election.

2. Former Mayor Mia Love (R)

Former Saratoga Springs Mayor Mia Love won http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/politics/57868782-90/votes-percent-district-nominee.html.csp the Republican Party’s nomination for Utah’s 4th Congressional District seat, which was left open by the retirement of Rep. Jim Matheson (D-UT) in April.

At the first debate 

http://youtu.be/DteIZEI3J9E?t=17m29s between Love and Democratic candidate Doug Owens, Love affirmed her stance 
http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/news/57967610-78/act-affordable-appearance-campaign.html.csp on public land seizures: “I completely support the return of Utah lands from the federal government back to the state of Utah,” she said.

This race has already begun to garner national attention. The Washington Post describes Love as a “highly touted Republican recruit,” http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics/wp/2013/12/17/rep-jim-matheson-d-utah-will-retire/ and Reuters notes that she “could become the first conservative black woman elected to U.S. Congress.” 

http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/05/24/us-usa-utah-mialove-idUSBREA4N06F20140524 Love was narrowly defeated in her quest for Rep. Matheson’s seat in 2012.

3. State Sen. Mark Hutchison (R-NV)

Mark Hutchison, a state senator who was “hand-picked” 
http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2014/jun/10/primary-election-2014-your-guide-election-day/ by Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval (R), won his primary race http://www.lasvegassun.com/photos/galleries/2014/jun/10/0610Hutchison/#/0 for lieutenant governor last week, a race that Las Vegas Weekly says “will go down as the most expensive in Nevada’s history.”

In April, Sen. Hutchison reportedly attended a Salt Lake City conference of leaders in the movement to seize federal lands, which was held while the Bundy controversy was unfolding in Nevada. “This really is a call to arms http://www.reviewjournal.com/news/nevada-and-west/western-gop-officials-let-states-run-public-lands for us in Nevada, and I think for all the Western states,” Sen. Hutchison said at the time.

The lieutenant governor of Nevada presides over agencies that are particularly important to land management. As Las Vegas Weekly notes, “Nevada’s lieutenant governor serves as president of the State Senate, chairman of the State Commission on Tourism and vice-chairman of the State Board of Transportation—not exactly small responsibilities.”

4. State Rep. Lawerence Denney (R-ID)

Idaho State Rep. Lawerence Denney recently advanced in his bid for higher office, winning the Republican primary for Idaho secretary of state on May 20.

Rep. Denney is no stranger to promoting efforts to seize public lands as the co-chair http://legislature.idaho.gov/sessioninfo/2013/interim/lands.htm of Idaho’s Federal Lands Interim Committee, which has already paid a private law firm $40,000 

http://idahobusinessreview.com/2014/06/02/idahos-federal-lands-panel-hires-private-attorney/ to study what it would look like for the state to seize public lands.

Rep. Denney has previously claimed, “These lands are currently being managed for purposes other than (timber) production. … In many cases, they’re being managed as wilderness, with no financial return.”


A win for Rep. Denney as secretary of state would give him a seat on the State Board of Land Commissioners, which manages Idaho’s endowment lands and thus any lands that the federal government would turn over to the states should Idaho’s efforts succeed. As the Associated Press reports, “Denney has said he wants to be an advocate for the state to take full control of its federally managed public lands on the Idaho Land Board.”


The figure below shows the Bundy’s Buddies who won their party’s nomination for the November 2014 elections, as well as the upcoming primaries to watch this summer.

Bundy's Buddies
Upcoming primaries to watch

Upcoming primaries to watch

As primary season continues to heat up this summer, more of Bundy’s Buddies will face primary and general elections in competitive races across the West. Former U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-CO) is again running for governor of Colorado. He faces three other candidates in the Republican primary election on June 24. He has publicly supported Bundy 

https://twitter.com/ttancredo/status/455141410803437568 and has previously argued that 
http://www.denverpost.com/quillen/ci_3192494 “the federal government should have long ago transferred its massive holdings to the private sector.”

In Arizona, two of the Republican candidates running in the first congressional district, Gary Kiehne (R) and State Rep. Andy Tobin (R), have both expressed strong support for private and state ownership of federal lands. Kiehne notes on his website 

http://www.kiehneforcongress.com/issues.php that he will “work to transfer control of this land back to the states and to private individuals,” and Rep. Tobin has stated 
http://www.azcentral.com/news/politics/2012questionnaires/results.php?id=tobina that he believes that “Arizona is better capable to manage our lands than a bureaucrat from Washington DC.” The Republican candidate that will face incumbent Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D-AZ) will be decided late this summer in an August 26 primary.

Even as the list of Bundy’s Buddies 

http://www.bundysbuddies.com/ candidates and elected officials continues to grow, they remain a small minority in the U.S. Congress and are well outside the mainstream of public sentiment in the American West. The Salt Lake Tribune calls the land-seizure movement “a public land scam.” 
Backcountry Hunters and Anglers has decried the efforts 
http://missoulian.com/news/opinion/columnists/national-land-grab-alarming-to-anglers-hunters-sportsmen-and-women/article_b1652d34-dd06-11e3-a60b-001a4bcf887a.html as “a radical cry to wrest our national forests and prairies away from public ownership.” 

It can be called many things, but for taxpayers, it boils down to seeing their elected officials spend their money to lock them out of their own lands.

Claire Moser is a Research and Advocacy Associate with the Public Lands Project at American Progress. Matt Lee-Ashley is a Senior Fellow and the Director of the Public Lands Project at American Progress.

To speak with our experts on this topic, please contact:

Print: Allison Preiss (economy, education, poverty) 202.478.6331 or apreiss@americanprogressaction.org

Print: Tom Caiazza (foreign policy, health care, energy and environment, LGBT issues, gun-violence prevention) 202.481.7141 or tcaiazza@americanprogressaction.org

Print: Chelsea Kiene (women's issues, Center for American Progress' Legal Progress, Half in Ten) 202.478.5328 or ckiene@americanprogressaction.org

Spanish-language and ethnic media: Tanya Arditi 

202.741.6258 or tarditi@americanprogressaction.org

TV: Rachel Rosen 202.483.2675 or rrosen@americanprogressaction.org

Radio: Chelsea Kiene 202.478.5328 or ckiene@americanprogressaction.org

A four part series on politicians who do not dispute Cliven Bundy's stance on seizing our federal public lands

Part 4 ~ Reposted from :Center for American Progress


U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) speaks in Ames, Iowa, on August 9, 2014. SOURCE: AP/Charlie Neibergall

By Claire Moser and Matt Lee-Ashley | September 3, 2014

Across the country, a growing fringe of right-wing politicians are voicing their support for the radical idea that states should seize or sell off public lands to the highest bidder for drilling, mining, or logging. These elected officials and candidates echo the beliefs of outlaw rancher Cliven Bundy, who notably incited a dangerous standoff 
with federal officials in April over money owed to taxpayers for grazing cattle on public lands in Nevada. 

Although the majority of voters in the Western United States oppose 

http://www.coloradocollege.edu/dotAsset/d018420b-a728-4dc5-9bd3-157b6ec2beeb.pdf  the sale of public lands, more and more of these “Bundy’s Buddies” are speaking out in favor of these extremely expensive and unconstitutional schemes.

The Center for American Progress Action Fund’s series 

http://www.americanprogressaction.org/series/bundys-buddies/view/ and the website BundysBuddies.com have previously profiled many of these Bundy’s Buddies. The map below identifies all of the Bundy’s Buddies across the country who currently hold or are running for federal elected office. It provides key information about the public lands that Bundy’s Buddies may sell off if they have the opportunity, including the three most visited public lands in each of the elected official’s and candidate’s 10 states. It also includes the amount of consumer spending on outdoor recreation in each state, which totals more than $200 billion across the 10 states.

Source: Outdoor Industry Association, "State and National Reports," https://outdoorindustry.org/advocacy/recreation/resources.php 
(last accessed August 2014); 
U.S. National Park Service, "Recreation Visitation By State and by Park for Year: 2013," https://irma.nps.gov/Stats/SSRSReports/National%20Reports/Recreation%20Visitation%20By%20State%20and%20By%20Park%20(1979%20-%20Last%20Calendar%20Year (last accessed August 2014).; 
Department of Agriculture, U.S. Forest Service, "National Visitor Use Monitoring Results," http://apps.fs.usda.gov/nrm/nvum/results/ (last accessed August 2014).

The second installment of our “Bundy’s Buddies” series featured 15 incumbent members of Congress; 
we have now added Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Rep. Raúl Labrador (R-ID), as well as one new congressional hopeful from Arizona’s 1st district, who will join the previously identified candidates 
http://www.americanprogressaction.org/issues/green/news/2014/06/19/92305/4-candidates-who-just-won-their-partys-nomination-for-competitive-november-elections-and-want-to-sell-or-seize-public-lands/ on the ballot in November 2014.


U.S. Sen. John McCain (R) introduced legislation http://www.americanprogressaction.org/issues/green/news/2014/05/22/90206/bundys-buddies-the-15-members-of-congress-who-share-cliven-bundys-desire-to-seize-or-sell-off-americas-public-lands/ with Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) to sell off more than 3 million acres of public lands, aiming to http://www.mccain.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/press-releases?ID=c5dbc50a-a612-62b1-b9cc-84de5caa8fdd “reduce the federal estate” and seeking to “dispose land that the federal government simply does not want.”

U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake (R) was a champion and co-sponsor 

https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/112/hr1126/text of Rep. Jason Chaffetz’s (R-UT) legislation, the Disposal of Excess Federal Lands Act, which intended to sell off more than 3 million acres of federal land.

U.S. Rep. Trent Franks (R) was also a key champion and co-sponsor http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c111:H.R.5339.IH: of Rep. Chaffetz’s legislation, which would have authorized the sale of more than 450,000 acres of land in Arizona.

State Rep. Andy Tobin (R)* is challenging U.S. Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D) in Arizona’s 1st District and has stated http://www.azcentral.com/news/politics/2012questionnaires/results.php?id=tobina that he believes “Arizona is better capable to manage our lands than a bureaucrat from Washington DC.”


U.S. Rep. Tom McClintock (R) was an original co-sponsor and champion 
of Rep. Chaffetz’s legislation to sell off more than 3 million acres of federal land to private interests.

U.S. Rep. Ken Calvert (R) was an original co-sponsor and champion http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c111:H.R.5339.IH: of Rep. Chaffetz’s legislation to sell off more than 3 million acres of federal land to private interests.

U.S. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R) was an original co-sponsor and champion 

http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c111:H.R.5339.IH: of Rep. Chaffetz’s legislation to sell off more than 3 million acres of federal land to private interests.


U.S. Rep. Raúl Labrador (R)* submitted a letter http://legislature.idaho.gov/sessioninfo/2013/interim/lands1028_taylor.pdf last year to the Idaho Legislature stating that he had “come to the conclusion that the federal management system is broken” and “if Congress is unable or unwilling to fix our broken public land management system, then perhaps the states should be given the opportunity to step into the void and be allowed to manage these precarious resources.” He also authored legislation
https://beta.congress.gov/bill/113th-congress/house-bill/1294 —the Self-Sufficient Community Lands Act—to transfer about 200,000 acres of federal land to the state of Idaho.


U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R) is one of rancher Cliven Bundy’s strongest supporters, arguing that http://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/203677-paul-criticizes-feds-on-bundy#ixzz319KIpoyn “Nevada and local authorities should control the [public] land.”


U.S. Sen. Dean Heller (R) supported
http://www.americanprogressaction.org/issues/green/news/2014/05/22/90206/bundys-buddies-the-15-members-of-congress-who-share-cliven-bundys-desire-to-seize-or-sell-off-americas-public-lands/ Cliven Bundy during his standoff, calling it a “a pretty good example of why we might be better off if the state ran this property not the federal government.”

New Mexico

U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce (R) is committed
http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2012/10/09/964141/steve-pearce-public-lands/ to “[reversing] this trend of public ownership of lands” and has encouraged noncooperation with management rules in New Mexico national forests.


Clackamas County Commissioner Tootie Smith (R), who is challenging Rep. Kurt Schrader (D) in Oregon’s 5th Congressional District, continues to urge 
https://www.facebook.com/TootieSmithOregon/posts/506274056145377  the federal government to “return all federal lands in Oregon back to the counties where they are located and let the people manage them.”


U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R)* recently filed an amendment http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2014/07/10/3458798/ted-cruz-auction-off-public-lands/ to the Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act of 2014 that would prevent the federal government from owning more than 50 percent of any state’s land and would require the immediate sale or transfer of any excess land.


U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R)
http://www.utah.gov/governor/news_media/article.html?article=6847 who is “fighting to turn federal lands in our state over to Utahns,” has also described himself 
http://www.utah.gov/governor/news_media/article.html?article=6847 as a “leader in the Sagebrush Rebellion.”

U.S. Sen. Mike Lee (R) introduced legislation http://www.americanprogressaction.org/issues/green/news/2014/05/22/90206/bundys-buddies-the-15-members-of-congress-who-share-cliven-bundys-desire-to-seize-or-sell-off-americas-public-lands/ to sell off more than 3 million acres of federal lands to private interests. He also has said 

http://www.utah.gov/governor/news_media/article.html?article=6847 that ownership of public lands is “as much about state sovereignty as it is about our state economy” and joined Utah Gov. Gary Herbert and the Utah delegation to “demand [the] transfer of public lands to Utah.”

U.S. Rep. Rob Bishop (R) is one of the strongest congressional proponents

http://www.americanprogressaction.org/issues/green/news/2014/05/22/90206/bundys-buddies-the-15-members-of-congress-who-share-cliven-bundys-desire-to-seize-or-sell-off-americas-public-lands/ of turning federal land over to the states. In May, Rep. Bishop said, http://www.c-span.org/video/?319128-3/washington-journal-management-public-land&save “states have shown themselves to be far more qualified than the federal government has” and that “we should try and transpose as much land to the state control as is humanly possible.”

U.S. Rep. Chris Stewart (R) campaigned for Congress in 2012 

http://www.ontheissues.org/House/Chris_Stewart_Energy_+_Oil.htm on a platform supporting the sell-off of public lands to private entities for energy development.

U.S. Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R) authored 

https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/112/hr1126/text legislation to sell off more than 3 million acres of public lands to private interests.

Former Mayor Mia Love (R), who is leading http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/politics/58233068-90/campaign-candidate-democratic-district.html.csp in the polls for Utah’s open 4th Congressional District seat, has clearly stated 

that she supports the “return of Utah lands from the federal government back to the state of Utah.”


U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R) was an original co-sponsor 
of Rep. Chaffetz’s legislation to sell off more than 3 million acres of public lands to private interests.

Claire Moser is a Research and Advocacy Associate with the Public Lands Project at American Progress. Matt Lee-Ashley is a Senior Fellow and the Director of the Public Lands Project at American Progress.

* New Bundy’s Buddies not previously identified in the Center for American Progress Action Fund’s series or on


To speak with our experts on this topic, please contact:

Print: Allison Preiss (economy, education, poverty) 202.478.6331 or apreiss@americanprogressaction.org

Print: Tom Caiazza (foreign policy, health care, energy and environment, LGBT issues, gun-violence prevention) 202.481.7141 or tcaiazza@americanprogressaction.org

Print: Chelsea Kiene (women's issues, Center for American Progress' Legal Progress, Half in Ten) 202.478.5328 or ckiene@americanprogressaction.org

Spanish-language and ethnic media: Tanya Arditi 

202.741.6258 or tarditi@americanprogressaction.org

TV: Rachel Rosen 202.483.2675 or rrosen@americanprogressaction.org

Radio: Chelsea Kiene 202.478.5328 or ckiene@americanprogressaction.org




Reposted from Elko Daily Free Press:

Jess Jones prepares for the Grass March/Cowboy Express that will carry petitions to Washington, D.C.

August 11, 2014 6:00 am  •  By Rex  Steninger 
Special to the Free Press

ELKO — Battle Mountain BLM District Manager Doug Furtado’s order of July 23 that ranchers remove their cattle from Mount Lewis has spurred the ranchers and their supporters to carry their fight to remove Furtado from office to Washington, D.C., via the Grass March and Cowboy Express.

“I know we can do it,” declared Elko County Commissioner Grant Gerber. “After the experience we had with the Grass March and Cowboy Express going from Elko to Carson City in May, we now know that we could leave next week and make it to Washington in approximately 20 days. That shakedown ride was over 10 percent of the distance to Washington.”

“We will need a lot of volunteer riders and horses, but we know we can get it done,” agreed Jess Jones.

Jones, of Lamoille, is serving as boss of the transcontinental Grass March/Cowboy Express and his wife Katie is serving as coordinator. Those interested in taking part can contact her at 925-640-1102, Eddyann Filippini at 775-635-3654 or Gerber’s law office at 738-9258.

The organizers said they also are seeking donations from individuals and businesses to help defray the substantial costs of the huge undertaking. Expenses will include hay, grain, fuel, food and lodging.

The ambitious continuation of the Grass March/Cowboy Express across the entire continental United States is set to begin Sept. 29 and the organizers hope to have it completed in less than three weeks.

The original Grass March in May carried petitions seeking Furtado’s ouster on horseback from Elko to Battle Mountain and likened the plight of Nevada ranchers under the rule of the Bureau of Land Management to the plight of the people of India in the 1920s under British rule. Gandhi staged his Salt March in 1930 to call attention to the British enforced monopoly on salt. The local Grass March was staged to call attention to the BLM’s monopoly on Nevada’s grass lands.

Control over grass
In Nevada, the federal government claims outright ownership of nearly 90 percent of the state land and, through the checkerboard railroad corridor, exercises effective control over hundreds of thousands of additional acres of privately owned land. As an example, the Argenta Allotment under contention in Lander County is only 46 percent federally owned; the remaining 54 percent is privately owned by the ranchers and others. Gerber calculates that 92 percent of the grass in Nevada is under the absolute control of the federal government.

Additionally, the ranchers own the rights to all the water in the Mount Lewis area. But despite the fact it owns only a minority interest of the total acreage and none of the water, the BLM exercises complete control of the entire 336,000-acre allotment.

The original Grass March handed off the petitions to the Cowboy Express in Battle Mountain and it delivered them, Pony Express-style, to Gov. Brian Sandoval in Carson City. The trip from Elko to Carson City took four days.

Lander County ranching families have been battling the BLM since last February, when Furtado announced that because of the continuing drought he was not going to permit any grazing on the Mount Lewis portion of the Argenta Allotment. The  livelihoods of the several members of the extended Tomera, Filippini and Mariluch families were threatened by the closure, and the Tomeras sought the advice of Gerber, an Elko attorney.

Gerber advised the ranchers they stood absolutely no chance of prevailing in court before this year’s grazing season and only a slightly better chance of prevailing in the long run. He also cautioned them, “You can’t afford to fight the federal government in court. You might win one or two rounds, but it just keeps coming back.” Instead, he suggested the ranchers attempt to battle Furtado in the “Court of Public Opinion,” using the five freedoms guaranteed in the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Those freedoms are of religion (prayer), speech, press, assembly and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

First Grass Tour
In May, the ranchers hosted a Grass Tour to show everyone interested that spring rains had rejuvenated the grasses on the contested range. One stand of grass on the tour was measured at 22 inches tall. Many of the neighboring ranchers on the tour commented that they wished their rangelands were as good as what they were looking at on the tour.

The aggrieved ranchers also hired independent range consultants to conduct scientific evaluations of the contested range and one of the experts, Bob Schweigert of Intermountain Range Consultants in Winnemucca, reported grass heights three to four times as high as the past two drought years.

“I would call it a normal year,” Schweigert said, “certainly not drought conditions by forage standards.”

Still, Furtado refused to rescind his closure and plans were announced for the Grass March and Cowboy Express to deliver petitions with more than 1,000 signatures seeking a redress of grievances. The public pressure earned a visit by BLM officials from Reno and Washington, D.C. The federal agents refused to allow any public participation in their meetings with local and BLM officials, but shortly after their visit, Furtado relented and allowed the ranchers to turn out cattle at the end of May, nearly two and a half months later than normal.

The ranchers estimated the delay and fencing requirements demanded by the BLM cost them approximately $500,000.

Last month, the ranchers and their supporters also erected a Cowboy Grass Camp across the highway from the Battle Mountain BLM office replete with cowboy tents, wagons and other western artifacts. Signage at the camp calls for Furtado’s ouster. Those manning the camp vowed to keep it operating until Furtado is removed from office.

Agreement violated
Schweigert explained that the ranchers had to sign new grazing agreements with the BLM on May 23, before they would be allowed to turn out their cattle. He points out that the BLM has already violated two terms of that agreement.

First, the agreement states that the BLM agree to review key monitoring locations, in coordination with the Argent permitees or their representatives, during the week of June 2-6. When the ranchers arrived at the BLM office on the morning of June 2, they were told the project was cancelled. The next day, however, rancher Dan Filippini came across a BLM employee out conducting range studies without any representation from the ranchers.

Secondly, the May 23 agreement states “BLM agrees to notify and invite any relevant Argenta permittee prior to any scheduled monitoring of the allotment.” No prior notification was given for the June 3 monitoring effort and on July 21 the ranchers were given just a 36-hour notice that the BLM would begin monitoring the range with three teams deployed to three separate locations.

At the time of the July 21 announcement, Schweigert and his staff were in Idaho conducting range studies for another client, and Jack Alexander of Synergy Resource Solutions, who represents Dan and Eddyann Filippini, was at home in his office in Belgrade, Mont. Schweigert immediately dispatched one of his employees on the 500-mile drive to Battle Mountain and Alexander booked a flight to Salt Lake City and rented a car for the remaining 300-mile drive to Lander County.

Eddyann Filippini reported that after Alexander’s frantic trip from Montana, he arrived at the Mill Creek Campground at the BLM-appointed time only to learn the BLM had finished a portion of its work and the agents refused to go over that portion again with the ranchers’ agent.

The ranchers say Furtado has lied to them and their representatives, and they feel it is imperative that they are allowed to have their representatives accompany and verify the BLM range monitoring efforts.

 “They lied to us again,” Eddyann Filippini said. “Furtado can’t be trusted and we don’t trust the data they collect from the range monitoring sites when they don’t allow us to accompany them.”

She added, “Getting information is like pulling teeth. We have made two written requests for all of BLM’s drought monitoring data and still have not received anything. This latest stunt, less than two days’ notice of the monitoring effort, is typical.”

She also cautioned Elko County ranchers that they should be very concerned about what’s happening in Lander County, since the Elko BLM Drought Environmental Assessment is exactly the same as the one being used to curtail grazing by the Battle Mountain district.

Public not welcome
The Battle Mountain BLM office has operated under a veil of secrecy. Furtado has failed to return phone messages left on the direct line to his desk and the BLM has told the ranchers repeatedly not to invite any outside interests to their meetings. Prior to the July 23 effort to evaluate the range, the BLM’s Mike Vermeys stated the BLM would cancel the survey if any members of the general public showed up to participate in the process.

“Notwithstanding this threat to the permittees, the BLM itself conducted a clandestine tour of the Argenta Allotment with Western Watershed Project on July 16, without any notification to the permittees whatsoever,” Schweigert reported. Western Watersheds is a notorious anti-ranching environmental organization.

Gerber charged that it is absolutely intolerable that families that have been ranching and supporting the local economies in this area for well over 100 years have to deal with such treachery from federal bureaucrats.

“Furtado is a deceitful, vindictive man and no law-abiding Nevadan should be forced to live under his authoritative rule,” he said.

Elko County Commissioner Demar Dahl added, “The problems created by the BLM in Battle Mountain are typical of many of the problems created by the federal agencies throughout the West and emphasize the importance of transferring the public lands from the federal government to the states.”

Read more here:
Second Grass Tour slated for Saturday
ELKO — Lander County ranchers have scheduled a second Grass Tour for 9 a.m. Saturday, starting at the Martin Ranch home of Pete and Lynn Tomer… Read more

Commissioner testifies against BLM at subcommittee hearing
ELKO — Testifying before a Congressional subcommittee Thursday in Washington, D.C., a local official accused federal land agencies of bullying… Read more

Northeastern Nevada ranchers hit with grazing closures
BATTLE MOUNTAIN — Once again ranchers who run cattle on the Argenta Allotment in Lander County were told Wednesday that due to drought a numbe… Read more

Ranchers continue to press for BLM manager’s ouster
ELKO — Lander County ranchers say they are still being frustrated by the actions of Bureau of Land Management District Manager Doug Furtado an… Read more

Guest Commentary: American ranching at risk
In the United States, a person is innocent until proven guilty. The burden of proof is on the accuser. This is known as presumption of innocen… Read more

Tomera family thankful for support in grazing dispute
On behalf of the Battle Mountain Tomera family, I want to thank the many people whose support and encouragement have helped us, the Filippini … Read more

Commentary: Ranchers don’t trust BLM following Argenta dispute
The Nevada Grass March Pony Express including ranchers, cowboys, and livestock supporters from across the state of Nevada rode horseback from … Read more

Former Gov. Gibbons helps Tomera family
BATTLE MOUNTAIN — Former Gov. Jim Gibbons showed up Thursday to help Pete Tomera and his family turn their cows out on the contested Bureau of… Read more

'Cowboy Express' delivers petitions to Sandoval
CARSON CITY (AP) — About 40 riders on horseback blocked traffic on the main highway of Nevada's capital city Friday to deliver petitions to Go… Read more

Letter: Permittee not allowed in meeting
Dear Doug Furtado: In regards to the meeting on May 12, 2014 concerning the Argenta Allotment, I was very disappointed of the fact that I was … Read more

BLM comments on grazing resolution
BATTLE MOUNTAIN — The Bureau of Land Management Battle Mountain District Manager Doug Furtado and permittees reached an agreement Friday to al… Read more

Commentary: Public vs. BLM in ‘grand theft of grass’
I’ve read with great interest and increasing alarm what has been going on with the Argenta BLM allotment owned primarily by Pete Tomera. Read more

Ranchers, BLM reach temporary agreement
BATTLE MOUNTAIN — Lander County ranchers reached a temporary agreement Friday with the Bureau of Land Management to graze the Mount Lewis past… Read more

Grass March joins protest parade in Carlin
CARLIN — In the midday heat, dozens of residents met Monday for a protest parade against the Bureau of Land Management. Read more

‘Grass March’ to support ranchers
ELKO — Grant Gerber will head out horseback at daylight Monday on his Grass March and will be greeted with a parade when he reaches Carlin. Th… Read more

Commentary: Families face cattle sell-off while BLM blocks grazing
We have a situation in the Mount Lewis Field Office, Battle Mountain, Nevada that is out of control. District Manager Doug Furtado’s policies … Read more

Letter: Stand for justice in grazing dispute
Editor: Your recent articles on the dispute between the Lander County ranching families and the BLM in the Free Press are what originally brou… Read more

Citizens tour closed grazing allotment
BATTLE MOUNTAIN — Two hundred concerned citizens turned out Saturday for the Grass Tour of the Argenta Allotment south of Battle Mountain that… Read more

Survival on the Range: Fundamental changes for Nevada ranchers
Marsha and I have several leased pastures we take our cattle to during the summer months. This gives the grass on our place a chance to grow, … Read more

Petition circulated to oust Battle Mountain BLM chief
ELKO — Petitions are being circulated throughout northern Nevada seeking the removal from office of Battle Mountain Bureau of Land Management … Read more

County commissioners side with ranchers in BLM dispute
BATTLE MOUNTAIN — Lander County Commission voted unanimously Thursday to back ranchers locked in a battle with Bureau of Land Management Battl… Read more

Commentary: ‘Grass March’ slated to free Nevadans
In 1930 Gandhi began the Salt March that eventually gained freedom for the citizens of India. On May 26, 2014, a Grass March will begin in Elk… Read more

Carpenter invites Furtado to second Grass Tour
Dear Doug: The Committee for Sustainable Grazing is going to conduct a riparian grass tour of the Argenta allotment on August 16, 2014. We wil… Read more

Amodei concerned grazing dispute could lead to widespread closure decisions
ELKO — A dispute that on the surface appeared to have pitted a few Lander County ranchers against a lone BLM district manager could balloon in… Read more

Ranchers conduct second tour of rangeland
BATTLE MOUNTAIN — Lander County ranchers and their range consultant conducted a second Grass Tour of the Argenta Allotment Saturday to show th… Read more

Seven areas on Argenta closed to grazing for duration of drought
ELKO — A judge affirmed the Bureau of Land Management’s decision to close grazing on nine areas in the Argenta Allotment, with seven of the ni… Read more

Rex Steninger is a former editor and publisher of the Elko Daily Free Press.

Copyright 2014 Elko Daily Free Press. 

Land Management, United States Department Of The Interior, Doug Furtado, Nevada, Grant Gerber, Battle Mountain, Federal Government, Agriculture, Lander County, Grazing, Mount Lewis, Bureau Of Land Management, Washington D.c., Brian Sandoval, Bob Schweigert, Dan Filippini, Jess Jones, Gandhi, Salt March, Eddyann Filippini, The Cowboy Express, Demar Dahl


Reposted from:

Operation: Bundy Freedom / Restore Rule of Law / Peace Through Strength
August 12 at 10:17pm · 
In response to "Cowboy Express goes nationwide":
TOTALLY COOL... But really only the States, by way of State Joint Sovereignty Resolutions with Arrest Provisions can restore your INDIVIDUAL and States Rights, State and Popular Sovereignty and freedom though State nullification of ALL unlawful Federal spending, unlawful Federal usurpations, and unlawful Acts of Congress and the Executive branch. And, in conjuction, a corresponding incremental quarterly State nullification of all withholding taxes, all employment taxes, all matching employer taxes and all Income Taxes in compliance and obedience to the findings and rulings of the SCOTUS, in that Income Taxes DO NOT APPLY to Americans.
However, I am convinced that a "Pony Express" and Grasslands March, for the purpose of garnering public support and public edification of our Joint State Sovereignty Resolution with Arrest Provision and its vital companion legislation to prepare all State and Local Law Enforcement agencies and County Sheriff facilitated Constitutional Militia to ENFORCE our Ninth and TENTH Amendment laws made VIABLE by incremental State nullification, against all enemies both elected and their jackbooted alphabet soup minions of coercion, tyranny, treachery, criminal constitutional contempt, oppression and submission would bode VERY well, not only for Nevada, but for the entire Union of free and sovereign States.
Could they build upon this plan of action in this more expansive manner? And, help each of our home Countries, and the American Middle Class people, to save the entire Republic?
- Capt. Karl


Reposted from Let’s Talk Nevada ~ Where Communities Communicate:

Posted on August 19, 2014 by John Williams

The recent reports of the continuing criminal activities of Cliven Lance Bundy (one of the 14 children spawned by Mormon scofflaw Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, Sr.) bring the whole ugly affair back into the spotlight. The question again arises: why haven’t Bundy and the others who blatantly broke the law when they took up arms against the United States Government and it’s law enforcement officers been arrested? There are plenty of videos showing the illegal activity, and there is no doubt about what happened – we can all watch the evidence. The militia members pointing high powered rifles at BLM agents and other blatant flaunting of law breaking activities are everywhere to be seen. So what is the holdup?

The Nevada Attorney General says that all evidence and information is being centralized at the FBI. Likewise the Clark County Sheriff’s office also says that the FBI is in charge. It has now been almost four months since the “standoff” ended … how long should the “investigation” take? And why is this one taking sooo long?

Numerous apparent illegal activities took place. Who among us thinks that they wouldn’t be immediately arrested if they walked into a private business brandishing multiple firearms and threatened the employees with their lives? Employees say this did happen, the police were called, and no one was arrested.

Who among us doesn’t think that they would be quickly charged with a crime and arrested (or shot dead) if we pointed a weapon at a law enforcement officer? And who thinks they would not be arrested if they ignored federal court orders for years? But instead of trying to explain why he broke the law to a judge or jury, Bundy is still cavorting around the West spouting his traitorous anti-government venom … and those who watch this are thus emboldened by seeing that Bundy and the others have thus far faced no penalty for their actions.

Nevada, like much of the West, is experiencing a severe drought. A sensible manager of public land would continually assess the damage being done to such drought-stressed public lands and adjust their management practices accordingly, wouldn’t you think? Last February a BLM office in Nevada proposed closing the severely degraded Argenta grazing allotment in the Battle Mountain area for a year to allow for healing. But then the ranchers who graze the federal land in the Argenta allotment decided to follow Bundy’s example by refusing to rest the land! With an anti-government attitude similar to Bundy these folks, who pay less than 10% of the fair market value for their grazing, organized a “grass march” to Reno. They are rumored to have modeled this event after Ghandi’s “Salt March” in 1930 to protest the British monopoly on salt, but somehow I don’t think Ghandi would agree with their refusal to rest a national resource, especially when their use of that resource is heavily subsidized by the taxpayers year after year. Anyway, after the Grass March in May the BLM surrendered to the pressure and allowed the ranchers to use the grazing allotment to turn out cattle – but both sides agreed that they would be required to be removed when stream-use standards were met. According to the BLM these agreed standards were exceeded last month so the cattle have been moved….right? Wrong!

Now the ranchers are failing to live up to the agreement that they bullied the BLM into accepting and the cattle remain loose on Federal Land, even though property inspections and reports show that streams and springs have been severely damaged by livestock grazing and trampling despite the BLM lawful demand for their removal. Is this starting to sound more and more familiar? And now the scofflaw ranchers, who recently seem to continually refuse to live up to agreements that they have made, are planning on extending their intimidating tactics to D.C. in what they are calling the “Cowboy Express”. I guess we can forget about the cowboy principle from the old Western movies of your word being your bond.

So what has Cliven Bundy spawned – other than 14 children? It seems as if the total lack of accountability (so far) for his unlawful activities, and those of his armed militia supporters has also spawned a whole group of ranchers who refuse to be held accountable for the degradation to public lands caused by their private for-profit businesses who then complain when the taxpayers don’t give them enough of the largess they think they deserve. And in the next breath most of ‘em would vehemently protest the government giving hungry kids food and tell you that they are fiercely independent businessmen who never take any “handouts” from the government. Right.

Let’s hope the representatives in Washington D.C. who meet with them subsequently treat them like the anti-government extremists who refuse to acknowledge the authority of the federal government that they are!

As long as Bundy and the other lawbreakers who joined him keep walking around without so much as a misdemeanor citation, we can expect that more and more will follow his path of lawlessness.




Ok. Please bear with me, there is a bit to wade through here, so there are quite a few links to in~ depth articles. Read them, if you have time. This situation, which does indeed have to do with wolves being forcibly removed from the western U.S.A. public lands is because those public lands are used by ranchers to graze their livestock.
Ranchers who do not utilize methods of non lethal predator control claim that wolves eat a share of their profit margin. Those claims are far more often than not exaggerated.
Livestock Losses ~ Cattle

The rancher in question here, is Cliven Bundy. He's been grazing his cattle on our western public lands for quite a few years, without paying his bill to the B.L.M.
So, as with any creditor ~ debtor scenario, there comes a time when collection is due. 
Mr. Bundy defended his non payment actions by gathering a posse of armed bullies to take on the B.L.M., when the B.L.M. agents arrived to move Bundy's cattle off the grazing land he refused to pay for.
He went further to denounce the existence of the U.S.A. Federal Government. 

He calls himself a "patriot", I see him as treasonous. 

Please see the definition of "treason" here:

Learn more about Mr. Bundy, his pals, and the U.S.A. politicians who did not exactly defend our country, but sort of sided with Mr. Bundy here:

Bundy’s Buddies:
Who Agrees with Outlaw Rancher Cliven Bundy About Public Lands?
A growing fringe of Western politicians believe the U.S. government should not manage public lands for the benefit of the public, and they should instead be seized by the states or sold off to the highest bidder.

Backgrounding Bundy: The Movement

War in the West: The Bundy Ranch Standoff and the American Radical Right

Guns of April: The Bundy Standoff

Timeline: Land Use and the ‘Patriots’

Move Over, Jihadists — Sovereign Citizens Seen as America’s Top Terrorist Threat

Image credit:
FBI Investigating Bundy Supporters Who Pointed Guns At Federal ...
FBI Investigates Cliven Bundy Supporters Who Allegedly Pointed Guns At Federal Officers. 




My two cents.

Cliven Bundy and like minded welfare ranchers do not trespass solely against the U.S.A. Government and the BLM when they refuse to pay their public grazing fees. That land is yours and mine if you are a U.S.A. citizen.

Cliven Bundy and these ranchers are no heroes.

They are selfish people who profit by trespassing on wilderness that our tax dollars subsidize.
Cliven Bundy, and his pals, in my opinion, have no honor in the least, let alone the bearing of respect due the BLM agents he and his bullies threatened at gun point.

They should pay their bill.

This is not patriotism in the least.

This is not America.
This is crazy.

But, in the spirit of equality, since there are always two sides to every story, I have to include the point of view differing from mine.

Please read both, draw your own conclusions. 


Reposted from The Wildlife News:


By Travis Bruner. August 13. 2014

After years of landscape scale drought in Nevada, irrational grazing practices continue. While the Bureau of Land Management is required by federal law to protect wildlife habitat on our public lands, the agency has been woefully lax in addressing the combined impacts of livestock grazing and drought on habitat essential to sage-grouse, antelope, mule deer and countless other species.

This February, one local Nevada office of the Bureau of Land Management finally took a small step to address this issue, and recommended closing an area of priority sage-grouse habitat to grazing in order to protect the remaining habitat. The BLM proposed closing the severely degraded Argenta allotment to grazing for one year to allow the ravaged landscape to begin a healing process.

Then the Cliven Bundy debacle unfolded, and public lands ranchers saw that those who refuse to follow the rule of law face. . . well. . . no consequence. And so the ranchers who graze the Argenta allotment for less than ten percent of fair market value refused to rest the land. Instead, this anti-government faction began a “Grass March” to Reno, supposedly modeled after Gandhi’s 1930 “Salt March” in protest of the British colonial monopoly on salt. However, a protest centered on refusal to rest a resource in the interest of sustainability, when use of that resource is heavily subsidized year after year, seems far from Ghandiesque.

Following the “Grass March” in May, the BLM surrendered to the pressure and drafted a new agreement to allow the ranchers back on the Argenta allotment this year. It allowed cattle to turn out, but required their removal when stream-use standards were met. While spring rains had greened up some invasive weeds on the land, the long-term drought issues impacting wildlife habitat remained unaddressed.

The terms laid out by that new agreement were exceeded last month. Streams and springs were severely damaged by livestock grazing and trampling. But now, the ranchers are failing to live up to the very agreement that their bullying forced BLM to capitulate to in the first place. Consistent with its mandate as managers of federal land, BLM has demanded the removal of cattle from the Argenta allotment, and the subsidized public lands ranchers have refused. Cattle remain loose, wreaking havoc on the landscape. Next, the ranchers plan to take this bullying and intimidation on the road from Nevada to Washington, D.C., with a march across the country branded the “Cowboy Express.”

Like Cliven Bundy and his supporters, these ranchers think they are above the law. They refuse to be held accountable for the condition of public lands after degradation by their livestock. When the “Cowboy Express” arrives in D.C., those who sit in offices in Washington should know that it is not the arrival of heroic stewards of the western land. Instead, it is the descent upon the Capitol of an extremist group of rogue ranchers who refuse to acknowledge the authority of the federal government, while simultaneously demanding that the government continue its hand-outs in perpetuity.

Photo credit:

BLM utilization cage on Slaven Creek. ©Katie Fite

Travis Bruner

Travis Bruner is the Executive Director of Western Watersheds Project, a national conservation group with a mission to restore western watersheds and public lands for wildlife.

Visit Authors Website





Reposted from Elko Daily Free Press


By Shane Krauser ~ July 22, 2014 5:45 am 

I just returned from Bunkerville, Nevada, where I met with Cliven Bundy and his family for two days. I sat at their kitchen table for no less than 12 hours and watched them cry, laugh, and speak with boldness about the cause of liberty.

While there, one person commented that “hell is howling with displeasure” that the Bundys are willing to stand where so many other freedom-loving Americans refuse. After my visit, it is hard to disagree. Their position is founded in an undeniable passion, but, more than that, it is grounded textually in the U.S. Constitution.

In 1788, our Constitution was ratified, and this document contains critical components pertaining to the federal government’s occupation of land. To ignore the language is to ignore the essence of federalism.

Article IV, Section 3 outlines that the federal government has exclusive authority over territories and “other Property belonging to the United States.” Given that the Constitution establishes a government of limited authority that is rooted in positive powers, it is important to ask what land would constitute “other property”? Our Constitution tells us.

Article I, Section 8 outlines the federal government’s authority for occupying land outside of the nation’s capitol, namely forts, magazines, arsenal, dock-yards, military bases, post offices, etc. Outside of this, the federal government has no constitutional authority to exercise any degree of sovereignty over any state land.

More than this, Congress (of the Confederation) passed the Northwest Ordinance of 1787, which solidified the principle of “equal footing” in which newly-admitted states would have the same authority and powers as those which the original 13 states possessed upon admission. This Ordinance was reaffirmed by Congress in 1789 and would further clarify Article IV, Section 3, which also speaks to the admission of new states.

The U.S. Supreme Court reinforced this position in 1845 in the case of Pollard v. Hagar, which included a dispute between the federal government and Alabama, which had been recently admitted into the union. The Court said this:

“[I]f an express stipulation had been inserted into the agreement, granting the municipal right of sovereignty and eminent domain to the United States, such stipulation would have been void and inoperative: because the United States have no constitutional authority to exercise municipal jurisdiction, sovereignty, or eminent domain, within the limits of a state or elsewhere, except in the cases in which it was explicitly granted.” (emphasis added)

In other words, the federal government cannot assume, and the state cannot agree to give, something that is specifically confined by the Constitution. This is where Cliven Bundy stands on solid ground.

When Nevada became a state in 1864, Congress, through the Enabling Act, made clear that Nevada would waive any authority over the land owned by the federal government. And Nevada agreed. However, that is irrelevant because such a provision is in violation of the supreme law of the land.

Regardless of what any judge, legislator, executive head, or bureaucratic gray suit say, Congress has absolutely no constitutional authority to establish such conditions that revolve around land ownership and control if statehood is to be granted.

Cliven Bundy is unwilling to acknowledge that his cattle are grazing on federal land. Instead, he says that the land belongs to the State of Nevada and his family has acquired grazing and water rights from the state, dating as far back at 1877.

We can call Cliven Bundy and his family welfare thugs, leeches, and domestic terrorists, but that doesn’t dispute the notion that he is right in more ways than one. We can get mad, claim he is getting something for nothing, and yell that he needs to pay up, but that anger would be better directed towards the elected representatives who refuse to stand up and enforce the supreme law of the land.

My question is simple: Who’s the real coward here? It’s not Cliven Bundy. Instead, Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval, Clark County Sheriff Douglas Gillespie, 63 Nevada legislators, and the seven Clark County Commissioners seem to be the people who are wearing this name tag, and most of them are “howling with displeasure” that they have a citizen in their state who is asking them to do the unthinkable: Defend the U.S. Constitution.


Shane Krauser is a partner at the law firm Davis Miles McGuire Gardner, a radio talk show host in Arizona, the director of the American Academy for Constitutional Education, and the spokesperson for www.freedomfires.com. Follow him on Twitter: @ShaneKrauser.

Copyright 2014 Elko Daily Free Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Nevada, James Madison, Politics, United States Constitution, Federal Government, Cliven Bundy, Supremacy Clause, Supreme Court, Bunkerville, Bureau Of Land Management, Brian Sandoval, U.s. Supreme Court


Open letter to USFWS Director Daniel Ashe, in response to his comment that conservationists should accept a world with fewer wolves, salmon, and spotted owls.

Don't think so, Mr. Ashe.

I'm a conservationist, and I'm certainly not going to roll over and accept your verdict of species death.

We are in the 6th wave of species extinctions on earth. You can resolve part of this problem for the endangered species in the U.S.A.
Actually, that is what you were hired to do ~ to "over see" the well being of OUR fish and wildlife.
NOT to sell them off to the highest bidder.
The wolves, salmon, and spotted owls are not yours to sell, Mr. Ashe.

USFWS Director Dan Ashe advises conservationists that we should just accept the fact that he feels we are going to have to “accept” a reality of fewer wolves, salmon, and spotted owls.

This is a quote from a really smart guy, H. Ronald Pulliam , who met with Mr. Ashe recently. He wrote about it here on a blog post from Defenders of Wildlife. http://www.defendersblog.org/2014/07/must-accept/

“Director Ashe told the small group that he sees a “giant clash” between those who favor conservation and those who favor economic development and that he believes that conservationists “must accept a world with fewer wolves, salmon, and spotted owls.” The Director of the very agency most responsible for protecting the nation’s biodiversity went on to say that, in the name of compromise, we must accept “a world with less biodiversity.”

So, instead of talking about Dan Ashe, I would like to speak with Dan Ashe.

He doesn’t follow me though, so that could be a problem, but let’s go for it anyway.

I admit that in the past I’ve disagreed with you, Mr. Ashe, regarding your stance on gray wolf recovery in North America, and have been snide when referring to your “state wildlife services” partners. Mr. Ashe, you feel that the folks in Montana, Wyoming, Idaho, Minnesota, Michigan, and Wisconsin who are in charge of setting wolf kill/hunt quotas for the hunting season are competent and trustworthy. Sometimes the news we see proves not to be so.

I see the situation that has been occurring since your department of the USFWS has allowed delisting of gray wolves in these states, as nothing shy of a bloodbath, Director Dan Ashe. 

Mr. Ashe, you see close to 3000 dead adult gray wolves and orphaned wolf pups as “management” or “appropriate harvest”. I view this as an inexcusable race to a wave of a secondary extinction in the U.S.A. What do they say about we who do not learn from history? That we are doomed to repeat it? 
Ok, but why are you and your partners forcing a newly introduced species of gray wolves to pay for this shortcoming with their grisly deaths? 
This strikes me as the ultimate hubris that is not yours to possess and act upon.

The thing is, Mr. Ashe?

There is no need to harvest wolves in order to safeguard the livestock investments in the western U.S.A. We have so many ways to safeguard cattle and sheep from wolf depredation. But you already know all about that. 
That information is for folks who may not have heard about “co-existence” between the gray wolves that were here in the U.S.A. long before the cattle and sheep showed up to graze on the wolf land, which in many instances, also belongs to the American public. That’s the public grazing issue. Cliven Bundy is a good example there.

The population of gray wolves we have here now, are rather recent immigrants, and are simply trying to  exist.

Remember, please, Mr. Ashe, that we in the U.S.A. hunted the prior U.S.A. gray solves into extinction….as in “no more wolves”…to the point where we had to go permanently “borrow” some gray wolves from Canada, to bring them back into the U.S.A. 

We realized that we actually needed our gray wolves here. That wolves are needed for a healthy sustainable future for a balanced ecosystem, that there is a clear, and undeniable necessity for the apex predator to be present in order to balance the environment. But you already know all about that great Yellowstone National Park experiment, Mr. Ashe,  where the environment there was rejuvenated from dying, to thriving, when we returned the original cast of animals to the stage.

Wolves are here again, and they need to be here now, Mr. Ashe.

You will not only doom our gray wolves, if you do not admit that they are still on a slippery slope of existence in their recent recovery, but you will also thwart the recovery of our western U.S.A. landscape, if you take away our wolves, Mr. Ashe.
Do you wish to be responsible for messing up our western environment, at the behest of shortsighted special interest groups that could have found a way to exist without hunting down our gray wolves?

We can not afford to “accept” your decision to witness eco genocide in the name of economic progress, Mr. Ashe.
Keep our gray wolves listed on the Endangered Species List as endangered, do the same for Wolverines, and the Sage Grouse.

Quit selling America's irreplaceable treasures, and our future, Mr. Ashe.

It is not in your right to sell them off.


Upon receipt from Wyoming of a mutually acceptable wolf management plan, the Service will publish a proposed rule to designate and delist a Northern Rocky Mountains Distinct Population Segment DPS) that replaces the 2009 rule.

The Service will base its proposed and final delisting determination on the ESA’s five statutory listing factors and on the basis of the best scientific and commercial data available. The Service may, prior to proposing delisting, consider reclassification of wolves that remain on the list within the Northern Rocky Mountains DPS.

The plaintiffs have agreed not to challenge any final rule designating and delisting any DPS prior to March 31, 2016. Further, they have agreed not to petition to list either the Northern Rocky Mountains DPS or any wolf population within the NRM DPS within the next three years.

The Service will continue to monitor the wolf population and gather population data for at least five years. Within four years of the date on which the court approves this agreement, the Service will seek an independent scientific assessment of whether wolves in the northern Rocky Mountains are being managed in a way that reasonably assures the continued presence of a sustainable, genetically connected population of wolves within the Northern Rocky Mountains DPS for the foreseeable future.







Land transfer to states would mean less land access for typical American - The idea that the states are really the constitutional, legal, rightful owner of the U.S. public lands is without merit.

by Ralph Maughan on May 14, 2014

Origin of U.S. public lands
The United States owns 650-million acres of land. That is about 30 per cent of the land area of the country. At one time the U.S. government owned all — 100% — of the lands west of the original 13 states. This federal land ownership began when the original states ceded their “Western Land claims” in the decade beginning in 1781. Other than these Western lands claims, none of the original public domain was ever owned by states.  These lands cannot be given back to the states because the states never had them.

Constitutional authority
There are those who claim the federal government has no constitutional right to own lands except for a few forts and the District of Columbia as authorized in Article 1, Section 8, Clause 17 of the Constitution. If this was the sum of  federal authority, it makes it hard to explain how at the beginning the federal government owned all but the 13 states. Why were not these new territories’ lands instantly given to the citizens, the states, or put up for sale to the highest bidder?

In fact, land acquisition by the United States in North America took place through treaties and purchases, beginning with the Louisiana Purchase in 1803 and ending with the purchase of Alaska in 1867. Through the years, the federal government acquired 1.8 billion acres in North America. The U.S. Constitution addresses this in what is called the Property Clause, not in Article I, section 8, clause 17. The Property Clause (Article IV, section 3, clause 2) reads, “The Congress shall have power to dispose of and make all needful Rules and Regulations respecting the Territory or other Property belonging to the United States; and nothing in this Constitution shall be so construed as to Prejudice any Claims of the United States, or of any particular State.”

Complete legal federal power over the federal public lands
The Supreme Court has described the power of Congress to make laws regarding the public lands is substantially without limits in the 1976 case Kleppe v. New Mexico, 426 U.S. 529, 542-543 (1976). The United States, thus has full power to manage these lands as it wants, or alternatively to sell some or all of them, give them away, or transfer them.  The federal government originally did not want to keep these lands, but only dispose of them in an orderly, lawful way. Over the years, 1.2 billion acres were privatized. Laws such as the Homestead Act and grants such as the railroad land grants are examples of the methods used. Millions of acres were given to the states in land grants.  Almost all federal lands in the states east of the Missouri River passed into private ownership. The federal government can grant states some management authority, but it can take it back. The best example is wildlife management. The federal government generally allows hunting and fishing managed by the states on public lands, but it can and does, e.g., endangered species, take that back.

The beginning of federal land reservations
In 1872 Congress created Yellowstone National Park in the unorganized territory of the West — the Park was not preceded by the states of Montana, Idaho or Wyoming. Later Yosemite National Park was created, and in 1891 the “Forest Reserve Act” became law permitting the President of the United States to set aside for federal retention forest reserves from the public lands.  Presidents set to reserving lands – President Benjamin Harrison put 13 million acres into what would become the National Forests.  Grover Cleveland reserved 25 million acres.  William McKinley reserved 7 million acres. 

During the presidency of Theodore Roosevelt (TR) in 1905 the U.S. Forest Service was created and the forest reserves were renamed “national forests.” TR strongly believed in the conservation of natural resources by a strong federal government, and he reserved 150 more national forests, continuing until stopped by an act of Congress. During his term in office, Congress also created five more national parks; and TR, using the new Federal Antiquities Act of 1906, created 18 national monuments.

Later some of the states, especially Eastern states, began push for the re-creation of federal public lands within their borders. These lands came from abandoned private lands that were in derelict condition and from purchase and gifts from private persons.

FLIP MA and federal land retention
Over the years, public interest in retaining the federal lands grew and interest in disposal declined. This culminated with the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 (FLPMA).  FLPMA repealed all the land disposal lands and made it national policy that from now on the general intent was to keep all the public lands. This is the current situation.

In 1976 the so-called “sagebrush rebellion” emerged in some Western States. It was from the rural parts of these states. Many attributed it to the passage of FLPMA, but it could be equally due to backlash from the pressure from conservationists for better grazing and forestry practices on the federal lands, and the desire and move to establish more wilderness areas and national parks. The rebellion calmed down about 1984 and/or was quashed, but it keeps returning in various guises, generally as a demand for land transfer to the states. It has usually been led by ranch interests, but today it is pushed primarily by ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council), the Koch Brothers political vehicle for establishing their ideology and policy preferences into law. Typically, mining, fossil fuels, and real estate developers desire the federal lands for development without the environmental regulations, fees and royalties required by federal land management agencies.

Sagebrush Rebellions
If the Western states get hold of the U.S. public lands, a big loser will be those who want to travel, to roam the American landscape freely. Every year there are about a billion visits to the federal public lands. Many Western cities and towns recruit employers and employees with the promise of access to the nearby national forests, parks, and BLM lands. Westerners have a freedom that is cherished, yet not usually formally recognized, in free or low cost and nearly unlimited access to these vast public lands.

State owned and managed lands
All states currently have various state lands. Most open to the public are the various state parks. These are, with a few exceptions, smaller than national parks. Many states also have state wildlife management areas, state forests and other state lands. Most Western states largest holdings are the state school endowment lands or “trust” lands. Idaho, for example, retains 2.5 million acres of school endowment land. It had 3.4 million originally. Utah has 3.4 million acres, Wyoming 3.5 million, Nevada, however, sold theirs and has none. Arizona and New Mexico retain a  whopping 9-million acres each. These trust were granted to the states from the federal government at statehood for support (mostly) of the public schools, then a democratic and forward thinking concept, though according to the right maybe a bad idea now to be abolished — public education.

Public access to state trust lands
The state trust lands are not managed for public access or recreation like the federal lands are in part. Parts of the trust lands in many states are open to the public for a fee.  In some cases, such as Montana, the public had to fight to be allowed on the trust lands.  Only the grazing permittee had been allowed on them. Even today, the trust lands in Wyoming are only open to the grazing permittee. In Idaho there is no right of public access, though many are open in fact because they are unmanaged by the state, being interspersed with federal lands and effectively managed by the federal agency land mangers.

State trust lands and maximum revenue
Few state trust lands are managed at all for wildlife or recreation. Their mandate is for maximum revenue for the public schools. This often means selling the land — privatization. This is the biggest threat to public access. In all the states, most of the revenue from the retained state lands comes from mineral leasing or sale, or forestry (logging). The largest use in acres is usually grazing, but that often barely breaks even. Some think the state grazing programs are a scandal even though most states charge from three to ten times the amount grazers pay to use federal lands. Of course, many think that federal grazing management is scandal too.

Proponents of state management confidently say they will do a better job than the federal government though they rarely give any facts.  For example, the Speaker of the Idaho House of Representatives, Scott Bedke, a big public lands grazer, said “Our critics will say that what we’re seeking to do amounts to a big state land grab, or that we are trying to privatizing these public lands,” Bedke said. “Neither of these claims are true. We want to keep these lands under public ownership, but we want to manage them through a different paradigm. Idaho has a very good track record of managing its own public lands and we do it better than the federal government.” However, Bedke gave no facts or figures why Idaho’s 2.2-million acres are managed better than Idaho’s 54-million acres of federal public lands. See: Idaho Speaker Bedke given credit for Western states federal lands’ meeting. Idaho Reporter. The bark beetles he mentioned respect no boundaries, neither state nor federal nor private. They have decimated the forests from the Yukon to Arizona.

Visitors do have to pay to use the national parks and monuments and an increasing number of federal sites on the national forests and wildlife refuges. This growth in fees is controversial, but fee or free, public lands give far more room to roam than private property.

Ralph Maughan
Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University with specialties in natural resource politics, public opinion, interest groups, political parties, voting and elections. Aside from academic publications, he is author or co-author of three hiking/backpacking guides.

Visit Authors Website →

10 Responses to federal public land equals freedom to roam
Wolfy says:
May 14, 2014 at 6:09 pm
The feds and the State of Oregon are looking to cede off huge chunks of timber land to either the counties and/or private industry. This is all being orchestrated by our congressional and state delegations. Seems that they would rather split the baby to appease the timber lobby than enforce the environmental protections. What a sad state of affairs. The public as a whole are the biggest losers and the timber beasts win, big time!

avatarRalph Maughan says:
May 14, 2014 at 6:57 pm

A quick search brought up this right near the top.

avatarJEFF E says:
May 14, 2014 at 7:09 pm
“land acquisition by the United States in North America took place through treaties and purchases, beginning with the Louisiana Purchase in 1803 and ending with the purchase of Alaska in 1867.”

Beg to differ.
land acquisition took place thru war, genocide, slavery, deceit and lies. much like it has throughout history in all lands.

Ralph Maughan says:
May 14, 2014 at 7:26 pm
Yes Jeff E, but I was giving t h e legal analysis ;-)

JEFF E says:
May 14, 2014 at 7:42 pm

avatarIda Lupines says:
May 14, 2014 at 8:51 pm
The only exception I can see is in the UP. Thanks to the foresight of those who put aside private land, (and also not turn it into a National Park), it may someday be one of the last wild places left on the planet. What dismays me is that we regard highly our own right to the public lands, but trash them. Federal land doesn’t mean it won’t fall into the wrong hands, especially today.

avatarIda Lupines says:
May 14, 2014 at 9:04 pm
Rare exception, I should say. It’s not a realistic ideal to say that our right to roam trumps care for these disappearing wild areas. I’m sick of hearing about human goals, and these places should be protected simply because they exist, not what value they provide. I honestly don’t think everyone deserves them.

It seems today kids can’t even tell the difference between a concrete wall and a living tree (much less where their food comes from), with tagging tree trunks and saguaro cacti with graffiti, and tipping over rock formations that are millions of years old. Our Interior Secretary has her work cut out for her, and not much time to do it in.

avatarIda Lupines says:
May 14, 2014 at 10:08 pm

avatarRalph Maughan says:
May 14, 2014 at 10:40 pm
Because ranchers have been behind past sagebrush rebellions, it might appear that the Cliven Bundys or the Scott Bedkes of the West are behind recent moves to transfer the public land to the states and then to private hands, but this time there is real money, a broader base, and big energy behind it. An article in Outside Magazine takes a look.

May 8. Public-Land Protests and Their Big-Energy Puppet Masters: A showdown at a Utah canyon pits ATV users against the BLM. But the real operators in public-land disputes are out of view—and out to use sportsmen to advance their cause.

avatarIda Lupines says:
May 15, 2014 at 5:13 am
Scary! And then they’ll get the boot too.



Aug. 11, 2009 photo shows a restored cliff dwelling south of Blanding, Utah.

Credit: AP Photo/ Ed Andrieski

By Matt Lee-Ashley May 10, 2014 at 1:30 PM
Updated May 10, 2014 at 2:47 PM

An illegal all-terrain vehicle (ATV) ride planned this weekend through Recapture Canyon in Utah is the latest flashpoint between anti-government activists and federal land managers. The illegal ride is already drawing criticism from the Navajo Nation, putting American Indian burial sites and cultural resources at risk, and has even forced the cancellation of a traditional Navajo Warrior welcome home ceremony for veterans.
Yet San Juan County Commissioner Phil Lyman (R-UT) and his supporters appear determined to defy federal law by riding their ATVs through Recapture Canyon, an area of southeast Utah known as a “mini-Mesa Verde” because it contains one of the highest densities of archaeological sites in the country.
Cliven Bundy, the Nevada rancher who has refused to pay more than $1 million in grazing fees he owes U.S. taxpayers, has reportedly urged his supporters -– who include armed militia members –- to join Lyman in Utah this weekend.
“We need to help the people of Blanding re-establish who is in control of the land,” said Bundy and his wife, Carol, in an email that was reported by E&E News. “This is your next stand. Will you be there to help them like you helped us?”

Utah County Commissioner Phil Lyman shares Cliven Bundy’s anti-government views. In his showdown with federal law enforcement officials last month, Bundy made clear he does not recognize the authority of the federal government. “I abide by all of Nevada state laws,” said Bundy, “But I don’t recognize the United States government as even existing.”
Like the Bundy confrontation in Nevada, the illegal ATV ride through Recapture Canyon is intended to challenge federal authority over public lands. Lyman, reports the Salt Lake Tribune, “says the planned ride aims to assert county jurisdiction in the face of federal ‘overreach.’”

The anti-government views of Cliven Bundy and Phil Lyman are also shared by a growing fringe of elected officials who want to sell-off or seize America’s public lands.
According to a new analysis from the Center for American Progress Action Fund, a network of right-wing elected officials, organizations, and prominent commentators share Mr. Bundy’s anti-government views and are advancing proposals to seize or sell-off federal public lands in eight Western states.

This network of so-called ‘Bundy’s Buddies’ includes the Koch-funded organization Americans for Prosperity, U.S. Senator and presidential hopeful Rand Paul (R-KY), Utah Congressman Rob Bishop (R-UT), and Utah State Representative Ken Ivory. Ivory leads the American Lands Council — a group dedicated to advocating for the seizure of federal lands.
A new website from the Center for Western Priorities, BundysBuddies.org, identifies additional elected officials who share the anti-government views of Bundy and Lyman.
Most Westerners reject the anti-government land seizure agenda of the so-called “Bundy’s Buddies.”

Lyman and the other “Bundy’s Buddies” who are working to sell-off or seize America’s public lands are far outside the mainstream of views in the American West.

Public opinion research commissioned by Colorado College in February, 2014, found that nearly three in four Westerners –- and 63 percent of voters in Utah — are less likely to vote for a candidate who wants to sell public lands to reduce the deficit. And more than nine out of ten Western voters view their national forests, monuments, wildlife areas, and public lands as integral to their state’s economy.
In an alert to its members titled “Our Public Lands Are Not for Sale,” Backcountry Hunters and Anglers this week called the land seizure movement a “radical cry” that “should alarm all Americans who cherish their freedom to hunt and fish…. Our federal land system and outdoor heritage is the envy of the world and depends on keeping federal public lands out of state ownership.”

Matt Lee-Ashley is a Senior Fellow with the Public Lands Project at the Center for American Progress.
Tags: Guns Militias Native Americans Public Lands Utah



Phil Lyman, a San Juan County commissioner, drives his all-terrain vehicle in Recapture Canyon outside Blanding, Utah, May 10, 2014. 
Credit: REUTERS/Jim Urquhart

 ATV riders ride past a trail sign in Recapture Canyon outside Blanding, Utah, May 10, 2014. 

An all-terrain vehicle (ATV) rider in Recapture Canyon outside Blanding, Utah, May 10, 2014. 

Ryan Bundy, the son of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, speaks to a group of all-terrain vehicle (ATV) riders and militia members in Blanding, Utah, May 10, 2014. 

By Jennifer Dobner
Blanding, Utah Sat May 10, 2014 7:49pm EDT

(Reuters) - Hundreds of activists seeking to directly challenge federal control of swathes of territory in the U.S. West on Saturday drove dozens of all-terrain vehicles into protected land in Utah that is home to Native American artifacts and where such journeys are banned.

The ride into Recapture Canyon, which comes amid heightened political tensions, is a protest against indecision by federal land managers on whether to reopen canyon trails to recreational vehicle use after more than seven years of study.

About 300 people rallied at a nearby park before dozens of people, some of them armed with guns, set off in about 60 ATVs down a closed-off trail, which winds through red rock desert. The local sheriff had armed officers on horseback monitoring the protest.

The dispute is the latest squabble between conservative states' rights advocates in Utah and across the West, who want to take back millions of acres of public land over which federal agencies have authority. More than 60 percent of Utah's land is under federal control.

The canyon in the Four Corners region of Utah is home to the ruins of ancient dwellings and other cultural resources of Ancestral Puebloans. The Bureau of Land Management closed the area in 2007 after an illegally constructed trail was found and some artifact sites were damaged.

"After seven years, it's become apparent that they are not earnest in doing what they said they were going to do," San Juan County Commissioner Phil Lyman, who organized the ride, said, adding he was aware he could be arrested or cited for encroaching closed areas in violation of federal rules.

The ride comes in the wake of last month's armed standoff between supporters of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy and federal land managers who unsuccessfully sought to seize his cattle by force over his longstanding refusal to pay grazing fees.

Bundy has called for his army of supporters, nearly 1,000 of whom rallied at his ranch last month, to participate in the Recapture Canyon ride as a show of solidarity.

Robert Bowring, a retired school principal, said he had enjoyed off-road driving on the trail for years, and that Saturday would be the first time he had been on since it was closed.

"We feel like we have the country's best interest at heart," he said, adding that the BLM had exaggerated the damage done.

The BLM said in a statement that it had recorded people who entered the closed trail and that they had broken the law.

"The BLM was in Recapture Canyon today collecting evidence and will continue to investigate," the statement said. "The BLM will pursue all available redress through the legal system to hold the lawbreakers accountable."

Sheriff Rick Eldredge said the protest ride had been peaceful and no arrests had been necessary. "Everybody was very peaceful, very respectful and we're grateful for that," he said.

County officials sought a right of way through the canyon more than seven years ago and proposed giving up a claim to the southern end in hopes of gaining BLM approval. The agency has not yet decided the issue.

Utah Governor Gary Herbert, a Republican, said his office was working closely with the BLM to resolve the dispute.

State Senator Jim Dabakis, a Democrat, called on Herbert to defend the "rule of law" and protect artifacts in the area. "We do not live by mob rule," he said in a statement.

(Additional reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis, Editing by Cynthia Johnston, Jonathan Allen and Marguerita Choy)



Posted: 04/22/2014 3:49 am EDT Updated: 04/22/2014 5:59 am EDT 

Fox News host Sean Hannity has been defending Cliven Bundy, the Nevada rancher who allegedly refuses to pay grazing fees because he doesn't recognize the U.S. government.

"Apparently Sean Hannity thinks laws are served buffet-style in that you can pick and choose the ones that you like best. The ones that you don't like, you don't have to abide," Jon Stewart said on "The Daily Show" Monday night. "Well that's not going to sit well with Fox's immigration/healthcare law expert pundit, a Mr... Sean Hannity!"

Stewart then launched a rapid-fire assortment of clips of Hannity demanding that people follow the rule of law.

Watch the video above for Stewart's report on the standoff at the Bundy ranch, and then view the one below to see his takedown of Hannity. 



Reposted from Cascadia Wildlands


By Bob Ferris

Rancher Bundy is escorted in Bunkerville

“In a meeting Saturday, Bundy urged Clark County Sheriff Doug Gillespie to seize the federal officials’ weapons and bring them back to the rancher.”   
Seattle Times April 12, 2014 

Many people in American and the world watched in horror this past week as the events unfolded in Nevada.  We learned graphically through this incidence how legal illogic applied strategically and misleadingly by politically driven media machines 
including some connected with the Koch Brothers 
can twist people’s minds into thinking that the thievery and belligerence perpetrated by Bunkerville’s own personal Archie—Cliven Bundy—is heroism and patriotism (Mr. Bundy in white at right above escorted by his armed body guards).  

In truth, the cowardly cowboy of Clark County 
is nothing more than an outlaw and bully.  
He is using emotional connivance and media chicanery as well as the soft-headedness and chip-laden shoulders of the country’s militia movement (see above video and reference to "his land") to continue to break the laws of our nation and avoid paying well-deserved penalties for his defiance of multiple federal court orders and his longstanding, growing and aggressive trespass on Bureau of Land Management and National Park lands.  

"In a statement, the [Nevada Cattlemen's] association noted that Bundy's case had been reviewed by a federal judge, and that a legal decision had been rendered to remove the cattle. The statement said that NCA "does not feel it is in our best interest to interfere in the process of adjudication in this matter, and in addition NCA believes the matter is between Mr. Bundy and the federal courts."  
ABC News April 7, 2014

Questions arise in this confrontation and everyone should go through their own process of discovery on this issue just as the Nevada Cattlemen's Association did before deciding not to support his actions (see above).  Are these lands in question Mr. Bundy’s as has been so frequently claimed?  Are these even state lands as Mr. Bundy asserts?   Could Mr. Bundy’s family have gained rights to these lands from the State or Clark County?  The simple answer to all these questions can be derived from knowing that the federal government gained title to these lands in 1848, the State of Nevada in their constitution reinforced this claim denying all claims to federal lands within their borders in 1864 (see second part of the Ordinance section),
and that the Bundy family did not arrive in Nevada until the 1870s or 1880s depending upon which family story you hear.  (Hint the answer here and memorialized in several legal actions is: No)

"During a Moapa Valley town hall meeting last night, Bundy said he went to visit Sheriff Gillespie a few days ago but “found him hiding under the table”.

“He is the man that has constitutional jurisdiction and authority, he has policing power here in Clark County Nevada, and he has arresting power, so we elected him and we pay him, what do we pay him to do?” asked Bundy, adding, “Don’t we pay him to protect our life, liberty and property?” Alex Jones InfoWars April 10, 2014 

"I want to stress to all of you that as the sheriff of Clark County I cannot interfere with the Federal government when it is operating on Federal land," [Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department Sheriff Douglas C.] Gillespie said. "And because this is BLM property, it is in their jurisdiction. But when a group of protesters threaten civil unrest or violence in this county — it is my job to step in and ensure the safety of citizens." 
CNN April 14, 2014

Now if you read Mr. Bundy’s voluminous legal arguments contained in documents submitted to the courts 
you will see that much thought has gone into developing the case that these lands—in his mind—should not still be owned by the federal government.  While it is fine to hold these beliefs, if you are so inclined, laws and regulations are based on current conditions and not the desires of a spoiled welfare rancher who has thrown a 21-year tantrum because he was overgrazing his property and was told by his landlord—the federal government—to lower the number of cattle grazing on his allotment.

Glenn said, “I have people that graze on my land. And there is national land behind my ranch as well. And I know if anybody runs cattle on that, they also have to pay for grazing fees. Grazing fees are normal. And you stopped paying them. Your daughter said you did pay them for a while and then you stopped paying them. There are some people that would say that you are, if I may quote, a ‘welfare rancher’ because you’re not paying the fees that other ranchers do have to pay.” Glenn Beck in an interview with Cliven Bundy

Mr. Bundy had an opportunity to keep his lease, but his response was to stop paying his lease fees, continue grazing his cattle at a level that pleased him and expand his range use into other areas of BLM holdings that were closed to grazing and undergoing restoration projects financed by tax-payers like you and me.  He modified these additional lands—the so-called New Trespass Lands—in manners that caused damage.  And in the mode of all spoiled children given an inch without consequence, Mr. Bundy took the "mile" and now managers of the adjacent Lake Mead Recreational Area are subjected to visitations by Bundy’s errant and trespassing cattle that are causing safety issues as well as destroying habitat.  

And when the BLM finally—after being pushed—started to take material action against Mr. Bundy who had be instructed not to interfere by a federal court order arrived at after two decades of trying to solve this situation administratively, Mr. Bundy declared a “range war,” whined and misled the media, catalyzed a dangerous situation by mobilizing the militia, and cost the American tax-payers even more money.  I would also argue that he has hurt the reputations of law abiding ranchers as well as his fellow Mormons in the process as they witnessed the foul-language, threat-laden pugnaciousness exhibited by Bundy’s 14 children and their abettors in blocking this lawful action by the BLM.

Now how does this tie in with Cascadia and Cascadia Wildlands?  Like all Americans and those who support our democracy worldwide, we are supremely offended by Mr. Bundy’s actions.  We are a nation of laws arrived at through a long-standing and admittedly messy process, but it is the fabric that holds this nation together.  And Cascadia Wildlands more often than not fights to make sure those laws protect the future well-being of all life and that they are adhered to and enforced.  Mr. Bundy’s actions as well as those of unethical media outlets and militias spoiling for a fight—any fight—have purposely and with forethought torn that essential fabric to shreds in service of their own personal agenda and profit.  And just like brain and legs fear the cancerous liver, we know that all our interests are in jeopardy if this stands unanswered and untreated.  

To remain a civilized nation we cannot let the actions of one selfish man and his misguided minions dismantle our nation’s rule of law and stomp on the very flag they so vehemently claim to respect.  To be clear, we frequently disagree with the BLM, but do not believe that their employees should be threatened with physical violence for simply carrying out their lawful duties.  Moreover, we find it ironic that individuals protesting fossil fuel use and developments in a non-violent fashion are arrested and charged while these individuals who armed themselves and subverted a lawful, federal action are allowed to go home without apparent consequence.  

Please join us ~ click here : 
in asking Cascadia's federal lawmakers to launch an immediate and comprehensive investigation into this matter including an examination of the role of potential media misstatements and the conspiring of the various out-of-state militias to interfere with the lawful actions of federal officers, putting them at physical risk.

Illegal Grazing
Uncategorized Tags: Bureau of Land Management cattle Cliven Bundy militias Nevada public land grazing ranching 
Posted on April 14, 2014 at 1:58 pm.

5 Responses to Cliven Bundy: The Cowardly Cowboy of Clark County Throws a Tantrum
APRIL 15, 2014 AT 12:08 AM
That cowboy has more morals then you asshole. America is comming unravelled and you call a patriot a cowardly cowboy ? No wonder you have zero replies beside me. Your a liberal idiot !

APRIL 15, 2014 AT 5:19 AM

Even Glenn Beck has problems with this yahoo (see here) And I think that you need to look up the word “patriot” because it appears that you think it means denying that one’s country exists while at the same time tearing it apart for your own selfish interests.  Mr. Bundy has completed no acts of patriotism, he’s fooled a lot of people like you and put them at risk but this is really all about him not being told what to do and him not fulfilling his obligations.  Absolutely none of this has to do with patriotism, 

Bob Ferris

APRIL 15, 2014 AT 6:31 AM
Well said.
I’m just starting to read about this and I’m almost glad I’m late to the party as now at least some of the dust has settled and you can actually see the real story start to take shape.

APRIL 15, 2014 AT 6:37 AM
Sorry David, but I have to agree with Bob. This is just a classic case of welfare and even more so, slob ranching. He is not a patriot and if you consider him a 'cowboy' well then, my impression of that profession has hit rock bottom.

You called him a 'liberal idiot!' but you failed to recognize the fact that it was a conservative – Ronald Reagan who penned Executive Order 12548 that created the laws and grazing fees that the Bundy's have been violating for over two decades.

Personally, I don't care for nor want anyone like Cliven Bundy poaching the lands that I also own as a tax payer and citizen. My parents taught me that if you borrow something you should always return it in better shape. Obviously, whoever raised Cliven Bundy never taught him that common courtesy.

BTW, it's 'you're', not 'your' when calling someone an idiot, liberal or otherwise.

APRIL 15, 2014 AT 6:49 AM
this cowardboy is not a patriot you ignorant moron. He's a CRIMINAL BREAKING THE LAW and he's a WELFARE rancher.

- See more at: 

Please take action concerning this issue of illegal grazing.

In March and April of this year, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) initiated the process of implementing a federal court order to remove 700-900 head of cattle owned by Clark County Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy that have been grazing illegally on a combination of BLM and National Park Service lands for more than 20 years.  

Mr. Bundy was instructed by the federal court not to interfere with this lawful order.  Instead he mounted a campaign publically questioning the federal government’s claim on the lands he was using without paying fees, casting himself as a victim in a situation where the agency took every step to solve the conflict administratively, and creating an unsafe situation for federal officers by reaching out and encouraging armed public opposition to this lawful order.  
Dear Federally Elected Officials in the States of California, Oregon and Washington: 

We, the undersigned, are disturbed by the events leading up to and during the week of April 7th near Bunkerville, Nevada. These events involving the Bureau of Land Management, Mr. Cliven Bundy and his supporters are troubling to all Americans who care about the “rule of law” and responsible and lawful management of the federal lands held in trust for all Americans. 

Our concerns revolve around three core issues. We are first concerned that the Bureau of Land Management has taken roughly 21 years to take decisive action on these openly illegal activities. 

Second, we are extremely dismayed that armed militia members and individuals were allowed to cross state lines to illegally interfere with a lawful action with no apparent consequences. This is particularly disturbing given the large amount of federal land across Cascadia, and the often violent rhetoric surrounding certain wildlife species on these lands and public lands ranching. The outcome in Nevada is also incredibly frustrating given that participants in peaceful protests over the exploitation of public lands are frequently restrained, arrested, taken to jail, and labeled terrorists. 

Finally, we are distressed that elements of the media and conservative commentators grossly misled impressionable members of the public—potentially using misstatements, falsehoods and incendiary language—to encourage armed dissidence that ultimately put federal law enforcement officials at risk and interfered with a federal court ordered action. 

We, therefore, call on you, our elected federal officials in California, Oregon and Washington (Cascadia) to launch an immediate investigation into this incident. We feel that this is critical because of the vast amount of public land throughout Cascadia that is implicated by these events. Action needs to be taken by Congress and the Department of Justice to ensure that federal laws and lawful court orders that govern these lands are respected. We believe that this attention is necessary to restore the American public’s faith in the power of Congress and the federal courts. Finally, we believe that the actors in this incident need to receive a clear message that efforts to enable law breaking and inciting illegal behaviors cannot and should not be tolerated in a free society. 

Requested respectfully, 

Thank you for standing up for public lands, our nation's laws and democracy driven by ideas not thwarted by guns.


Please read this intensive background about public grazing, ranching, BLM, and how it affects our Gray Wolves, wild Horses, and our western ecosystem. Thank you to Howling for Justice.



By Michael Martinez, CNN
updated 12:45 PM EDT, Sat April 12, 2014

(CNN) -- A 20-year dispute between a Nevada rancher and federal rangers over illegal cattle grazing erupted into an Old West-style showdown on the open range this week, even prompting self-proclaimed members of militia groups from across the country to join the rancher in fighting what they say is U.S. "tyranny."

What began as a legal fight between longtime rancher Cliven Bundy and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management has escalated as Bundy kept his cattle on the federal land, and the government has responded by beginning roundups of the livestock.

A confrontation teetered on violence Wednesday when Bundy family members and dozens of supporters angrily confronted a group of rangers holding Tasers and barking dogs on leashes near Bunkerville, about 80 miles northeast of Las Vegas.
Federal officials say a police dog was kicked and officers were assaulted.


Bundy family members say they were thrown to the ground or jolted with a Taser.
In the end, the rangers got into their white SUVs and drove away, a YouTube video of the incident showed.

"Get out of our state!" the cheering protesters yelled at the rangers as they departed in several vehicles. "BLM go away! BLM go away!" they added, referring to the Bureau of Land Management.

The entire incident is now under investigation, Amy Lueders, the bureau's director in Nevada, said Thursday.
To some, the 67-year-old Bundy is a hero who hails from a long family of ranchers stretching back to the Wild West.
To environmentalists and the feds, however, he's an outlaw of sorts who owes U.S. taxpayers more than $1 million in unpaid grazing fees.

The U.S. government is rounding up Bundy's cattle that it says have been grazing illegally on public lands in Clark County for more than 20 years, according to the land-management bureau and the National Park Service.

Between Saturday and Wednesday, contracted wranglers impounded a total of 352 cattle, federal officials said. Bundy says he owns 500 of the more than 900 cattle that federal officials are planning to confiscate for illegal grazing, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported. Bundy told the newspaper that each head of his livestock is worth about $1,000.

Since the roundups began, protesters have been confined to two areas to publicly declare their grievances, but the peaceful protests in recent days "have crossed into illegal activity, including blocking vehicles associated with the (roundup), impeding cattle movement, and making direct and overt threats to government employees," the two federal agencies said in a statement.

On Wednesday, a bureau truck driven by a civilian employee assisting in the roundup "was struck by a protester on an ATV and the truck's exit from the area was blocked by a group of individuals who gathered around the vehicle," the agencies' statement said.
In the scuffle with protesters, a police dog was kicked, and officers protecting the civilian driver were threatened and assaulted, the two agencies' statement said. "After multiple requests and ample verbal warnings, law enforcement officers deployed Tasers on a protestor," the statement said.

The profanity-laced tussle was captured on a video posted on YouTube. A group that said it posted the video didn't respond to requests for comment.

In the video, protesters demanded to know why a backhoe and a dump truck were being used in the roundup -- and whether any livestock were killed. On Thursday, Lueders said the heavy equipment was used for field restoration.

"No BLM! No BLM!" the protesters chanted to rangers in the middle of a two-lane rural highway. What sounds likes zapping Tasers can be heard in the video.

In the wake of the publicized protests, members of various militia groups have been traveling from Virginia, Texas, Montana, Idaho and Wisconsin and arriving at the protest site and Bundy's ranch to support the family, said Stephen L. Dean, 45, of Utah, a member of one such group called the Peoples United Mobile Armed Services.

"It's tyranny in government," Dean said when asked what brought him to Nevada. And, he added, "stealing people's cattle."

One banner at the protest side stated: "Has the West been won? Or has the fight just begun!"

In removing Bundy's livestock from public lands, the park service and land bureau are carrying out two U.S. District Court orders from two different judges.

"Cattle have been grazing in trespass on public lands in Southern Nevada for more than two decades," the National Park Service said. "The BLM and NPS have made repeated attempts to resolve this matter administratively and judicially.Impoundment of cattle illegally grazing on public lands is an option of last resort."

Added the BLM: "Mr. Bundy has also failed to comply with multiple court orders to remove his cattle from the federal lands and to end the illegal trespass."

The bureau does allow grazing on federal lands -- it administers 18,000 grazing permits and leases on 157 million acres across the country, the agency said.

Bundy's dispute with the government began about 1993 when the bureau changed grazing rules for the 600,000-acre Gold Butte area to protect an endangered desert tortoise, KLAS reported.

Bundy refused to abide by the changes and stopped paying his grazing fees to the federal bureau, which he contends is infringing on state rights. His family has been ranching since the 1800s, before the U.S. Department of Interior was created and endangered species became a federal issue, he said in an interview with KLAS.

"My forefathers have been up and down the Virgin Valley ever since 1877. All these rights I claim have been created through pre-emptive rights and beneficial use of the forage and the water. I have been here longer. My rights are before the BLM even existed," Bundy told the station.

"With all these rangers and all this force that is out here, they are only after one man right now. They are after Cliven Bundy. Whether they want to incarcerate me or whether they want to shoot me in the back, they are after me. But that is not all that is at stake here. Your liberty and freedom is at stake," he continued.

And Bundy sees it as a state issue.

"The federal government has seized Nevada's sovereignty ... they have seized Nevada's laws and our public land. We have no access to our public land and that is only a little bit of it," he said.

This week, Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval told the bureau of residents' criticism of the roundup. What Sandoval said he found "most disturbing" was the BLM's use of a "First Amendment area" that confined protesters to a designated area.
Such an area "tramples upon Nevadans' fundamental rights under the U.S. Constitution," Sandoval said. "No cow justifies the atmosphere of intimidation which currently exists nor the limitation of constitutional rights that are sacred to all Nevadans." 

In response, federal officials are allowing the protesters to gather on public lands as long as they don't impede the roundup, said Lueders, the BLM's director in Nevada.

Bundy is digging in for a long fight.
"I've been fighting this for a number of years. It's not about my cows, I'll tell you that much," he said at a town meeting on Wednesday night. "It's about freedom and liberty and our Constitution ... and above all it's about our policing power. Who has policing power today?"

With the growing controversy, it was uncertain Thursday how long the cattle roundup will now last. At Wednesday night's meeting, residents gave Bundy a standing ovation when he publicly spoke.
"I love you people. And I love this land, and I love freedom and liberty," Bundy told the crowd. "I know without doubt that our Constitution didn't provide for anything like the federal government owning this land, and so when I pay my grazing fees -- if I owe any grazing fees -- I will sure pay it to the right landlord, and that will be to Clark County, Nevada."

CNN's Dottie Evans and Carma Hassan contributed to this report. Dan Simon and Chuck Conder contributed from Nevada. Michael Martinez wrote from Los Angeles.




Protesters gather at the Bureau of Land Management's base camp, where the cattle that were seized from rancher Cliven Bundy are being held, near Bunkerville, Nevada April 12, 2014.

 Rancher Cliven Bundy (2nd L) greets Clark County Sheriff Douglas Gillespie in Bunkerville, Nevada, April 12, 2014. Gillespie announced the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) was ceasing its cattle roundup operation

A protester reacts in Bunkerville, Nevada, April 12, 2014. Clark County Sheriff Douglas Gillespie announced the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) was ceasing its cattle roundup operation. Armed U.S. More...


By Jennifer Dobner
Bunkerville, Nevada Sat Apr 12, 2014 7:39pm EDT

(Reuters) - U.S. officials ended a stand-off with hundreds of armed protesters in the Nevada desert on Saturday, calling off the government's roundup of cattle it said were illegally grazing on federal land and giving about 300 animals back to the rancher who owned them.

The dispute less than 80 miles northeast of Las Vegas between rancher Cliven Bundy and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management had simmered for days. Bundy had stopped paying fees for grazing his cattle on the government land and officials said he had ignored court orders.

Anti-government groups, right-wing politicians and gun-rights activists camped around Bundy's ranch to support him.

The bureau had called in a team of armed rangers to Nevada to seize the 1,000 head of cattle on Saturday but backed down in the interests of safety.

"Based on information about conditions on the ground and in consultation with law enforcement, we have made a decision to conclude the cattle gather because of our serious concern about the safety of employees and members of the public," the bureau's director, Neil Kornze, said in a statement.

The protesters, who at the height of the standoff numbered about 1,000, met the news with applause. Then they quickly advanced on the metal pens where the cattle confiscated earlier in the week were being held.

After consultations with the rancher and his family, the bureau ultimately decided to release the cattle it had rounded up, and the crowd began to disperse.

A number of Bundy's supporters, who included militia members from California, Idaho and other states, dressed in camouflage and carried rifles and sidearms. During the stand-off, some chanted "open that gate" and "free the people."

A man who identified himself as Scott, 43, said he had traveled from Idaho along with two fellow militia members to support Bundy.

"If we don't show up everywhere, there is no reason to show up anywhere," said the man, dressed in camouflage pants and a black flak jacket crouched behind a concrete highway barrier, holding an AR-15 rifle.

"I'm ready to pull the trigger if fired upon," Scott said.

Members of the Bundy family could be seen talking with bureau officials before the cattle were released.

"This is what I prayed for," said Margaret Houston, one of Bundy's sisters. "We are so proud of the American people for being here with us and standing with us."

Close to 300 cattle that had been seized were led through a wash under Interstate-15 and back onto land where Bundy's herds have grazed for decades.


"We won the battle," said Ammon Bundy, one of the rancher's sons.

The dispute has tapped into long-simmering anger in Nevada and other big Western states, where vast tracts of land are owned and governed by federal agencies.

The dispute between Bundy and federal land managers began in 1993 when he stopped paying fees of about $1.35 per cow-calf pair to graze public lands that are also home to imperiled animals such as the Mojave Desert tortoise. The government also claims Bundy has ignored cancellation of his grazing leases and defied federal court orders to remove his cattle.

Hundreds of Bundy supporters, some heavily armed, had camped on the road leading to his ranch in a high desert spotted with sagebrush and mesquite trees. Some held signs reading "Americans united against government thugs," while others were calling the rally the "Battle of Bunkerville," a reference to a American Revolutionary War battle of Bunker Hill in Boston.

The large crowd at one point blocked all traffic on Interstate-15. Later, as lanes opened up, motorists honked to support the demonstrators and gave them a thumbs up sign.

Mike Adams, an Iraq War veteran from Salt Lake City, at one point stood below the freeway on sandy ground where government agents and armed demonstrators faced off across a gate.

Adams, who said he served as a tank machine gunner, said the tension reminded him of Iraq. "I started to think I might not walk away from this," he said.

In an interview prior the bureau's announcement, Bundy said he was impressed by the level of support he had received.

"I'm excited that we are really fighting for our freedom. We've been losing it for a long time," Bundy said.

(Writing by Scott Malone and Alex Dobuzinskis; Editing by David Gregorio and Lisa Shumaker)


On June 28-29 2014, Americans of all-walks-of-life will meet in Arch Park in Gardiner, Montana to tell our elected leaders that we need to reform wildlife management, at both, the state and federal level. Approximately 3000 grey wolves have been killed in the northern Rockies and Great Lakes region since they were delisted from the Endangered Species Act. 

Speak for Wolves: Yellowstone 2014 is about taking an important step towards stopping the wolf slaughter that is currently taking place across the United States. We must take bold measures, however, and address the root-cause(s) of the wolf slaughter, the killing of other predators, as well as bison, wild horses and other members of the animal kingdom. The status quo for wildlife management in America is broken and it must be fixed.


United States Department of Agriculture.
Wildlife Services.

Wildlife Services (formerly Animal Damage Control) is a program of the United States Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. 

Every year, Wildlife Services spends millions of dollars to kill thousands of predators—coyotes, wolves, bears, mountain lions, and many others—as a subsidy for the livestock industry. 

The animals are shot, poisoned, gassed, snared, and caught in leghold traps. Wildlife Services programs operate on both private and public lands. 
See Wildlife Services program directives:

Wildlife Services policies and procedures have been questioned almost since the inception of the program. Although livestock damage is a valid concern, Wildlife Services also kills animals for eating flowers and pet food, digging in gardens, frightening people, and other concerns that could easily be addressed by nonviolent methods. And Wildlife Services runs programs to control bird damage, primarily in the eastern U.S. and at airports, as well as programs to remove damaging non-predatory wildlife.

In addition, Wildlife Services wastes millions of taxpayer dollars by spending far more to kill predators than the actual damage those predators cause. Scientific proof that Wildlife Services practices control livestock damage is markedly lacking.

Despite the opposition of environmentalists and a series of scathing advisory reports over the years, Wildlife Services has survived and prospered, primarily as a pet program of the powerful livestock industry. In recent years, Wildlife Services has been branching out to increase its programs to remove wildlife from urban areas and to promote itself to the public and to schools and other organizations.

Thank you Predator Defense


Among the victims: wolves, coyotes, beavers, bobcats, great blue herons, and sandhill cranes. Their lethal methods are varied and indiscriminate. They include aerial gunning, cyanide gas, leg hold traps, poison, and neck snares.

Please learn what you can in the articles, and blog posts below.
Follow Predator Defense @PredatorDefense

Watch their video :
"EXPOSED: USDA's Secret War on Wildlife". 

Then please sign and share the petitions below.
Let's put an end to this horrific and shameful era in U.S.A. wildlife management.






RePosted from:

Natural Resources Defense CouncilSwitchboard: Natural Resource Defense Council Blog
Elly Pepper
Posted March 11, 2014
Tags: biogems, budget, budget2015, coyotes, predators, USDA, wildlife, wildlifeservices, wolves

Accountability is typically critical to getting more money.  When you ask for allowance as a kid, your parents want to know what chores you'll do. When you ask for a raise, your boss wants to know what you've done. When you make a donation, you want to know the charitable organization's accomplishments.

Unfortunately, this doesn't seem to apply to Wildlife Services – the rogue branch of USDA that kills hundreds of thousands of animals each year on behest of the livestock industry.

(C) Fish and Wildlife Service

Indeed, despite the fact that Wildlife Services, for years, has been ignoring requests from NRDC and other groups, congressional representatives, and others for information on how it spends our taxpayer dollars, the Obama Administration keeps on requesting more money for the agency!

For 2014, as you might recall, the Administration requested an ADDITIONAL $13 million for “wildlife damage management”—the program within Wildlife Services that is responsible for killing animals, including endangered species and even pets. Not only did Congress grant this request, it gave them even more than they asked for, increasing their budget by a whopping $15 million  – $13 million of which went to species eradication.

For 2015, the Administration is asking Congress to make that massive raise permanent!

Not only should the Administration refuse to increase Wildlife Service’s budget—it should be reducing it! It’s hard to imagine any reason for funding an agency that won’t even tell us how our tax dollars are being used—and the information we do have shows they’re not using the money wisely!  For example, a recent leaked audit shows that Wildlife Services has some big accounting problems, including $12 million missing from its coffers that cannot be found. And, as both the audit and NRDC’s 2012 report show, its economic analyses are inconsistent with those done by other federal agencies and often contain fundamental accounting errors.

Especially at a time when agency budgets are being slashed across the board, we shouldn’t be funding an agency that wants our money – but not the accountability and responsibility that comes with it. If Wildlife Services wants funding, it should tell us how it’s using it and start cleaning up its act.

UPDATE: Details as to exactly what animals Wildlife Services will use its funding increase to control are sketchy at this time. If like last time, most of the request is to support feral swine control that’s one thing, but any increase in their budget for predator management is a bad idea.  If anything, the money Wildlife Services spends to kill native carnivores should be redirected to nonlethal coexistence practices.



By Tom Knudson
Published: Sunday, Apr. 29, 2012 - 12:00 am | Page 1A
Last Modified: Sunday, May. 20, 2012 - 1:11 pm
First of three parts

The day began with a drive across the desert, checking the snares he had placed in the sagebrush to catch coyotes.

Gary Strader, an employee of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, stepped out of his truck near a ravine in Nevada and found something he hadn't intended to kill.

There, strangled in a neck snare, was one of the most majestic birds in America, a federally protected golden eagle.

"I called my supervisor and said, 'I just caught a golden eagle and it's dead,' " said Strader. "He said, 'Did anybody see it?' I said, 'Geez, I don't think so.'

"He said, 'If you think nobody saw it, go get a shovel and bury it and don't say nothing to anybody.' "

"That bothered me," said Strader, whose job was terminated in 2009. "It wasn't right."

Strader's employer, a branch of the federal Department of Agriculture called Wildlife Services, has long specialized in killing animals that are deemed a threat to agriculture, the public and – more recently – the environment.

Since 2000, its employees have killed nearly a million coyotes, mostly in the West. They have destroyed millions of birds, from nonnative starlings to migratory shorebirds, along with a colorful menagerie of more than 300 other species, including black bears, beavers, porcupines, river otters, mountain lions and wolves.

And in most cases, they have officially revealed little or no detail about where the creatures were killed, or why. But a Bee investigation has found the agency's practices to be indiscriminate, at odds with science, inhumane and sometimes illegal.

The Bee's findings include:

• With steel traps, wire snares and poison, agency employees have accidentally killed more than 50,000 animals since 2000 that were not problems, including federally protected golden and bald eagles; more than 1,100 dogs, including family pets; and several species considered rare or imperiled by wildlife biologists.
• Since 1987, at least 18 employees and several members of the public have been exposed to cyanide when they triggered spring-loaded cartridges laced with poison meant to kill coyotes. They survived – but 10 people have died and many others have been injured in crashes during agency aerial gunning operations since 1979.

• A growing body of science has found the agency's war against predators, waged to protect livestock and big game, is altering ecosystems in ways that diminish biodiversity, degrade habitat and invite disease.

Sometimes wild animals must be destroyed – from bears that ransack mountain cabins to geese swirling over an airport runway. But because lethal control stirs strong emotions, Wildlife Services prefers to operate in the shadows.

"We pride ourselves on our ability to go in and get the job done quietly without many people knowing about it," said Dennis Orthmeyer, acting state director of Wildlife Services in California.

Basic facts are tightly guarded. "This information is Not intended for indiscriminate distribution!!!" wrote one Wildlife Services manager in an email to a municipal worker in Elk Grove about the number of beavers killed there.

And while even the military allows the media into the field, Wildlife Services does not. "If we accommodated your request, we would have to accommodate all requests," wrote Mark Jensen, director of Wildlife Services in Nevada, turning down a request by The Bee to observe its hunters and trappers in action.

"The public has every right to scrutinize what's going on," said Carter Niemeyer, a former Wildlife Services district manager who worked for the agency for 26 years and now believes much of the bloodletting is excessive, scientifically unsound and a waste of tax dollars.
"If you read the brochures, go on their website, they play down the lethal control, which they are heavily involved in, and show you this benign side," Niemeyer said. "It's smoke and mirrors. It's a killing business. And it ain't pretty.

"If the public knows this and they don't care, I'm not going to lose any sleep over it," Niemeyer said. "But they are entitled to know."

Agency officials say the criticism is misleading. "If we can use nonlethal control first, we usually do it," said William Clay, deputy administrator of Wildlife Services. "The problem is, generally when we get a call, it's because farmers and ranchers are having livestock killed immediately. They are being killed daily. Our first response is to try to stop the killing and then implement nonlethal methods."

In March, two congressmen – Reps. John Campbell, R-Irvine, and Peter DeFazio, D-Ore. – introduced a bill that would ban one of Wildlife Services' most controversial killing tools: spring-loaded sodium cyanide cartridges that have killed tens of thousands of animals in recent years, along with Compound 1080 (sodium fluoroacetate), a less-commonly used poison.

"This is an ineffective, wasteful program that is largely unaccountable, lacks transparency and continues to rely on cruel and indiscriminate methods," said Camilla Fox, executive director of Project Coyote, a Bay Area nonprofit.

"If people knew how many animals are being killed at taxpayer expense – often on public lands – they would be shocked and horrified," Fox said.

The program's origins

Wildlife Services' roots reach back to 1915, when Congress – hoping to increase beef production for World War I – allocated $125,000 to exterminate wolves, starting in Nevada.
Popular among ranchers, the effort was expanded in 1931 when President Herbert Hoover signed a law authorizing the creation of a government agency – later named the Branch of Predator and Rodent Control – "to promulgate the best methods of eradication, suppression or bringing under control" a wide range of wildlife from mountain lions to prairie dogs.

Federal trappers pursued that mission with zeal. They dropped strychnine out of airplanes, shot eagles from helicopters, laced carcasses of dead animals with Compound 1080 – notorious for killing non-target species – and slaughtered coyotes, wolves, mountain lions and grizzly bears across the West.

Their efforts drew protest and calls for reform.

"The program of animal control … has become an end in itself and no longer is a balanced component of an overall scheme of wildlife husbandry and management," a panel of scientists wrote in a 1964 report to the U.S. secretary of Interior.

The report was followed by hearings, another critical federal review in 1971, unflattering press and an executive order by President Richard Nixon banning poison for federal predator control. "The time has come for man to make his peace with nature," Nixon said in a statement at the time.

President Gerald Ford later amended the order to allow the continued use of sodium cyanide.

The killing has continued on a broad scale. In 1999, the American Society of Mammalogists passed a resolution calling on the agency, renamed Wildlife Services in 1997, "to cease indiscriminate, pre-emptive lethal control programs on federal, state and private lands." Today, the society is considering drafting a new resolution.

"It makes no sense to spend tens of millions of dollars to kill predators, especially in the way that it's done, to the extent that it's done, when it can have cascading effects through the ecosystem, unintended consequences and nontarget consequences," said Bradley Bergstrom, a professor of wildlife biology at Valdosta State University in Valdosta, Ga., and chairman of the society's conservation committee.

Clay, though, said his agency is more science-based and environmentally sensitive than ever. "We've increased the professionalism 100 percent," he said. "We've also emphasized research to more specifically take target animals. And we work very closely with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and state wildlife agencies."

Elizabeth Copper, a Southern California biologist who has worked with Wildlife Services, agreed. She applauded the agency's work to protect the endangered California least tern from predators in the San Diego area.

"I know the reputation Wildlife Services has and it is particularly inappropriate for the people involved with this program," said Copper. "They work really hard with a focus for something that is in big trouble. And they've made a huge difference."

Unreported killings

But elsewhere, the agency's actions have stirred anger and concern from private citizens, scientists and state and federal fish and game officials.
In 2003, the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources received a tip that a golden eagle – one of the largest birds of prey in North America and a species protected by three federal laws, including the Migratory Bird Treaty Act – was struggling to free itself from a leg-hold trap in the remote Henry Mountains.

Roger Kerstetter – an investigator with the state wildlife division – found the trap, but no eagle. Nearby, though, he spotted feathers poking out of the sand.

"They turn out to be the neck feathers of a golden eagle. And one of them comes out with a .22 bullet attached to it," Kerstetter recalled.

On the trap was another clue. It was stamped: Property of the U.S. Government.

"At that point, we started doing our homework," he said.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service also joined the investigation. In federal court two years later, a Wildlife Services trapper pleaded guilty to killing the eagle and paid a $2,000 fine.

"We never did find the bird," Kerstetter said. "He claimed he just buried it."

Nor did a record of the incident turn up in the agency's files.

"They are required to report the animals they take accidentally," Kerstetter said. "This eagle was never reported."

Strader, the former agency trapper who said he snared and buried an eagle in Nevada, is not surprised.

"That was not the only eagle I snared while working for Wildlife Services," he said. "I will not say how many. But the one (my supervisor) told me to bury was the first one, and I figured that was what was supposed to be done all the time, so that is what I did."

Overall, agency records show that 12 golden and bald eagles have been killed by mistake by agency traps, snares and cyanide poison since 2000 – a figure Strader believes is low.

"I would bet my house against a year-old doughnut there were more than 12 eagles taken, way more," said Strader. "You cannot set a trap, snare or (cyanide poison bait) in habitat occupied by eagles and not catch them on occasion."

Agency policy instructs trappers "to accurately and completely report all control activities." But Niemeyer, the retired Wildlife Services manager, said the policy is often ignored.

"Trappers felt that catching non-targets was a quick way to lose the tools of the trade and put Wildlife Services in a bad light," Niemeyer said.

Asked about the allegations, Deputy Administrator Clay said: "I certainly hope that is not the case. … We track those things so we know what kind of impact we are having on populations and the environment."

In all, more than 150 species have been killed by mistake by Wildlife Services traps, snares and cyanide poison since 2000, records show. A list could fill a field guide. Here are some examples:

Armadillos, badgers, great-horned owls, hog-nosed skunks, javelina, pronghorn antelope, porcupines, great blue herons, ruddy ducks, snapping turtles, turkey vultures, long-tailed weasels, marmots, mourning doves, red-tailed hawks, sandhill cranes and ringtails.

Many are off-limits to hunters and trappers. And some species, including swift foxes, kit foxes and river otter, are the focus of conservation and restoration efforts.

"The irony is state governments and the federal government are spending millions of dollars to preserve species and then … (you have) Wildlife Services out there killing the same animals," said Michael Mares, president of the American Society of Mammalogists. "It boggles the mind."

One critical loss occurred two years ago when a wolverine, one of the rarest mammals in America, stepped into a Wildlife Services leg-hold trap in Payette National Forest in Idaho. It was the third wolverine captured in agency traps since 2004 (the other two were released alive.)

"Shot wolverine due to bad foot," the trapper wrote in his field diary, which The Bee obtained through the Freedom of Information Act.
"Oh my God, that is unbelievable," said Wendy Keefover, a carnivore specialist with WildEarth Guardians, an environmental group in Colorado. "Wolverines are a highly endangered mammal. There are very few left. Each individual is important."

Wildlife Services spokesperson Lyndsay Cole said: "We were surprised at this unfortunate incident. As soon as it occurred, we again worked directly with Forest Service officials to take steps that would prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future."

And Clay, the deputy administrator, said traps, snares and cyanide are key tools that nearly always get the right species. "Overall, these methods are at least 95 percent effective," he said.

But environmentalists don't trust the data.

"There is an enormous amount of pressure not to report non-targets because it makes them look bad," said Stephanie Boyles Griffin, a wildlife scientist with the Humane Society of the United States.

Many scientists want the collateral damage to stop. "In times when fiscal constraint is demanded, we believe programs that carelessly kill rare species and indiscriminately kill a great diversity of non-target species should be defunded and discontinued," Mares wrote in a letter to Wildlife Services in March.

The family dog

Raccoons are most often killed by mistake, followed by river otters, porcupines, snapping turtles, javelina, striped skunks and muskrats. But there are other accidental victims that are often more keenly missed: dogs.
One was Maggie, a tail-wagging, toy-fetching border collie-Irish setter mix beloved by Denise and Doug McCurtain and their four children.

Last August, Maggie's spine was crushed when she stepped into a vise-like "body-grip" trap set by Wildlife Services near the family's suburban Oregon home to catch a nonnative rodent called a nutria.

"How in the heck can a government agent put a dangerous trap out in a residential neighborhood?" Denise McCurtain said. "It's absolutely disgusting."

The family has filed a claim for damages.

"Never once did anyone come to us and apologize," she said. "It was like they pretended it didn't happen."

On average, eight dogs a month have been killed by mistake by Wildlife Services since 2000, records show. Some believe that figure is low, including Rex Shaddox, a former agency trapper in Texas.

"We were actually told not to report dogs we killed because it would have a detrimental effect on us getting funded," said Shaddox, who worked for the agency in 1979-80 when it was called Animal Damage Control.

"If we were working on a ranch and killing dogs coming in from town, we didn't report those," said Shaddox, 56. "We buried them and got the collars and threw them away. That's how we were taught to do it."

Clay, the agency deputy administrator, said:

"We've got policies that instruct employees that they need to accurately report everything they take. Anybody that's in violation is dealt with immediately."

Two years ago, a dog wearing a collar with a rabies tag disappeared in West Virginia. Its worried owners, James and Carol Gardner, contacted the state police. Only then did they learn that Charm, their 11-year-old husky, had been killed and buried by a Wildlife Services trapper trying to poison predators with a spring-loaded "M-44" cyanide cartridge.

"We were not notified," said Carol Gardner. "We were very, very, very upset."

"It's terrible," said James, 71. "I think it's a sin. Our tax dollars are paying for this. It should be mandatory that people are notified."

Charm, he added, was not just a pet – she was "a member of the family."

A few days later, he received a letter from Christopher Croson, the agency's state director.

"I must apologize for my employee's failure to recognize that a pet owner could be identified using a rabies tag number," Croson wrote. "This was a most disturbing lack of judgment."

Today, the Gardners watch for missing-dog notices and call the owners when they see one.

"We notify them that, hey, maybe you'd better call the USDA and see if they buried a dog with your description," Carol Gardner said. And she added: "Some day it's going to be a human being, instead of a dog."

Injuries to people

There have already been close calls. Over the past 25 years, at least 18 employees and several private citizens have been injured by M-44 cyanide cartridges. Here are a few examples from agency records.
From 1987: "We will never know but it is very likely the fact that (the employee) was carrying his antidote kit … may have saved his life.

From 1999: "The cyanide hit the left forearm of the employee, causing (it) to scatter, with some cyanide hitting his face. He started to cough and felt muscle tightness in the back of his neck. The employee used two amyl nitrate antidote capsules. … He used two more amyl nitrate capsules on the way to the clinic. The clinic doctor administered oxygen and two more amyl nitrate capsules. The employee was air-flighted."

From 2007: "The individual kicked or stepped on the M-44 devices and cyanide was ejected into his eyes. Individual reported that his eyes were irritated and burning."

Agency officials downplay the risk. "Although use of M-44 devices has resulted in some human exposure reports, most involved program staff and minor or short-term symptoms," said Carol Bannerman, a Wildlife Services spokeswoman.

"A majority of exposures to members of the public resulted from the involved individual's disregard of warning and trespass signs or intentional tampering with the devices," she added.

In 2003, Dennis Slaugh, 69, was hunting for rocks and fossils in Utah when he spotted what he thought was a surveyor's stake. Curious, he bent down to have a look.

"I just kind of brushed it and it blew up in my face and put cyanide all over me," said Slaugh, a retired county heavy equipment operator. "I was instantly sick. I was so sick I was throwing up."

Later, he recovered the M-44, which is engraved with the words, U.S. Government. Slaugh believes it was set by Wildlife Services. The agency denies responsibility.

"If it is stamped 'U.S. Government,' it is probably the property of Wildlife Services," Bannerman said. But she added, "Wildlife Services did not have any M-44 devices set out in the area. … No information or review suggests the validity of the claim. No device had been set there for more than 10 days. An investigation conducted by EPA in 2008 did not find any wrongdoing by Wildlife Services."

Slaugh said he has not been the same since. "The cyanide hooks to your red blood cells and starves you of oxygen. I can feel that more and more all the time," he said. "I'm getting real short of breath. I went to the hospital the other day, and they are thinking about putting me on oxygen."

"It's awful to put poison out there where people can get it," he added. "Lots of people's pets have got (killed). One woman lost her dog a half-mile from where I was at."

M-44s were banned in California by Proposition 4 in 1998, but Wildlife Services still uses them on American Indian land in Mendocino County.
"Over the past five years, there has been no unintentional take," said Larry Hawkins, the agency's California spokesman.

"I'm deeply shocked," said Fox, who pushed for the M-44 ban as a coordinator with the Animal Protection Institute. "They are a rogue agency that believes they are above the law and can employ their lethal wares wherever they want – regardless of state law."

Poisoning predators with cyanide is not the agency's only risky practice. Killing coyotes from low-flying planes and helicopters is, too.

Since 1989, several employees have been injured in crashes and 10 people have died, including two in Utah in 2007, one of them a good friend of Strader, the former agency trapper.

"I went to the funeral," Strader said. "He was just a real nice guy, funny, joking around all the time. And he got killed for what? To kill a stinking coyote. It don't make sense.

"We ain't threatened by coyotes so much that we've got to lose peoples' lives over it," Strader said.

Concern across California

Other agency records obtained through the Freedom of Information Act reveal for the first time just where the agency kills wildlife, intentionally and accidentally, across California. And in many of those locations, there is conflict and concern.
Inyo County, in the eastern Sierra, is where two Wildlife Services hunters – working under contract with the California Department of Fish and Game – have been tracking and shooting mountain lions to protect an endangered species: the Sierra Nevada bighorn sheep.

Becky Pierce, a mountain lion biologist with the state, said the effort has been marred by unnecessary killing, including, in 2009, when a Wildlife Services hunter shot a female mountain lion with kittens.

"They got left to starve, waiting for mom to come back," she said. "I'm not saying we don't sometimes have to remove lions if they are (preying) on sheep. But everything should be done in a humane manner. And that isn't humane."

Tom Stephenson, who directs the sheep recovery effort for Fish and Game, declined to comment. But Andrew Hughan, a department spokesman, said the kittens may have survived.

"To say that a female lion was taken and her cubs left to die is completely subjective. They are resourceful creatures," Hughan said.

Pierce, who has studied lions for two decades, disagreed. "They were relying on the mother for milk. It would be a miracle if any of them survived," she said.

In March 2011, two more mountain lion kittens, just days old, were mauled to death in the Sierra when a Wildlife Services hunter's dogs raced out of control and pounced on them. Their mother was then shot, too.

"We all want to see bighorn sheep protected," said Karen Schambach, California field director for Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility. "What gives me the greatest angst is how inhumane some of this stuff is. For Wildlife Services to allow dogs to go tear newborn kittens apart is outrageous."

Hawkins, the agency's California spokesman, called the incident "a regrettable outcome over which our specialist had no control."

No mammal draws more agency lethal force in California and the West than the coyote. Records show that most are killed in rural regions, such as Lassen, Modoc and Kern counties, where they are considered a threat to livestock.

"It's a very valuable program," said Joe Moreo, agricultural commissioner in Modoc County. "We have very good trappers up here, and we're fortunate we have them."

But coyotes are also killed where people like to hear their howls and yips, including Alpine County, south of Lake Tahoe.
Since 2007, Wildlife Services has killed more than 120 coyotes in Alpine County.

"Coyotes are part of our magical landscape," said John Brissenden, a former county supervisor who manages Sorensen's Resort along the west fork of the Carson River. "Our primary motivator for people coming here is the wildlife and the outdoors. That's what our business is built on. It's what Alpine County's commerce is built on. To take that away makes no sense."

Many coyotes were killed in the middle of winter, when they are easier to spot and shoot, including 15 in February 2010. Hawkins, the agency spokesman, said the animals were killed "in the protection of livestock." Asked where – public land or private? – Hawkins said he didn't know.

Brissenden would like some answers.

"We are 97 percent state- and federal-owned," he said. "There is very little grazing here. To have a federal agency eliminate these animals without public review is astonishing and appalling."

• Slideshow: Gallery: Wildlife agency misfires
• Data Center: See California kills by Wildlife Services
• Interactive graphic: Animals killed by Wildlife Services nationwide
• Long struggles in leg-hold device make for gruesome deaths
• Federal agency kills 7,800 animals by mistake in steel body-grip traps
• Documents: Wildlife mysteries revealed
• Videos: Target and non-target animals often suffer
• Chat live replay with reporter Tom Knudson

Editor's note: This story has been updated to clarify the chemical makeup of Compound 1080, and to more accurately indicate the time period of casualties incurred in aerial gunning crashes.

© Copyright The Sacramento Bee. All rights reserved.

• Read more articles by Tom Knudson

Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/2012/04/28/4450678/the-killing-agency-wildlife-services.html#storylink=cpy


RePosted from The Wildlife News


Via: Michael W. Fox of Project Coyote 



by George Wuerthner on MARCH 5, 2014   

Many hunter organizations like to promote the idea that hunters were the first and most important conservation advocates. They rest on their laurels of early hunter/wildlife activist like Teddy Roosevelt, and George Bird Grinnell who, among other things, were founding members of the Boone and Crocket Club. But in addition to being hunter advocates, these men were also staunch proponents of national parks and other areas off limits to hunting. Teddy Roosevelt help to establish the first wildlife refuges to protect birds from feather hunters, and he was instrumental in the creation of numerous national parks including the Grand Canyon.  Grinnell was equally active in promoting the creation of national parks like Glacier as well as a staunch advocate for protection of wildlife in places like Yellowstone. Other later hunter/wildlands advocates like Aldo Leopold and Olaus Murie helped to promote wilderness designation and a land ethic as well as a more enlightened attitude about predators.

Unfortunately, though there are definitely still hunters and anglers who put conservation and wildlands protection ahead of their own recreational pursuits, far more of the hunter/angler community is increasingly hostile to wildlife protection and wildlands advocacy.  Perhaps the majority of hunters were always this way, but at least the philosophical leaders in the past were well known advocates of wildlands and wildlife.

Nowhere is this change in attitude among hunter organizations and leadership more evident than the deafening silence of hunters when it comes to predator management.  Throughout the West, state wildlife agencies are increasing their war on predators with the apparent blessings of hunters, without a discouraging word from any identified hunter organization. Rather the charge for killing predators is being led by groups like the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation,  and others who are not only lobbying for more predator killing, but providing funding for such activities to state wildlife agencies.

For instance, in Nebraska which has a fledging population of cougars (an estimated 20) the state wildlife agency has already embarked on a hunting season to “control” cougar numbers.  Similarly in South Dakota, where there are no more than 170 cougars, the state has adopted very aggressive and liberal hunting regulations to reduce the state’s cougar population.

But the worst examples of an almost maniacal persecution of predators are related to wolf policies throughout the country. In Alaska, always known for its Neanderthal predator policies, the state continues to promote killing of wolves adjacent to national parks. Just this week the state wiped out a pack of eleven wolves that were part of a long term research project in the Yukon Charley National Preserve. Alaska also regularly shoots wolves from the air, and also sometimes includes grizzly and black bears in its predator slaughter programs.

In the lower 48 states since wolves were delisted from the federal Endangered Species Act and management was turned over to the state wildlife agencies more than 2700 wolves have been killed.

This does not include the 3435 additional wolves killed in the past ten years by Wildlife Services, a federal predator control agency, in both the Rockies and Midwest.  Most of this killing was done while wolves were listed as endangered.

As an example of the persecutory mentality of state wildlife agencies, one need not look any further than Idaho, where hunters/trappers, along with federal and state agencies killed 67 wolves this past year  in the Lolo Pass area on the Montana/Idaho border, including some 23 from a Wildlife Service’s helicopter gun ship. The goal of the predator persecution program is to reduce predation on elk. However, even the agency’s own analysis shows that the major factor in elk number decline has been habitat quality declines due to forest recovery after major wildfires which has reduced the availability of shrubs and grasses central to elk diet. In other word, with or without predators the Lolo Pass area would not be supporting the number of elk that the area once supported after the fires. Idaho also hired a trapper to kill wolves in the Frank Church/River of No Return Wilderness to increase elk numbers there.

Idaho hunters are permitted to obtain five hunting and five trapping tags a year, and few parts of the state have any quota or limits. Idaho Governor Butch Otter recently outlined a new state budget allotting $2 million dollars for the killing of wolves—even though the same budget cuts funding for state schools.

Other states are no better than Idaho. Montana has a generous wolf six month long season. Recent legislation in the Montana legislature increased the number of wolves a hunter can kill to five and allows for the use of electronic predator calls and removes any requirement to wear hunter orange outside of the regular elk and deer seasons. And lest you think that only right wing Republican politicians’ support more killing, this legislation was not opposed by one Democratic Montana legislator, and it was signed into law by Democratic Governor Steve Bullock because he said Montana Dept of Fish, Wildlife and Parks supported the bill.

Wyoming has wolves listed as a predator with no closed season or limit nor even a requirement for a license outside of a “trophy” wolf zone in Northwest Wyoming.

The Rocky Mountain West is known for its backward politics and lack of ethics when it comes to hunting, but even more “progressive” states like Minnesota and Wisconsin have cow-towed to the hunter anti predator hostility. Minnesota allows the use of snares, traps, and other barbaric methods to capture and kill wolves. At the end of the first trapping/hunting season in 2012/2013, the state’s hunters had killed more than 400 wolves.

Though wolves are the target species that gets the most attention, nearly all states have rabid attitudes towards predators in general. So in the eastern United States where wolves are still absent, state wildlife agencies aggressively allow the killing of coyotes, bears and other predators. For instance, Vermont, a state that in my view has undeserved reputation for progressive policies, coyotes can be killed throughout the year without any limits.

These policies are promoted for a very small segment of society. About six percent of Americans hunt, yet state wildlife agencies routinely ignore the desires of the non-hunting public. Hunting is permitted on a majority of US Public lands including 50% of wildlife “refuges as well as nearly all national forests, all Bureau of Land Management lands, and even a few national parks. In other words, the hunting minority dominates public lands wildlife policies.

Most state agencies have a mandate to manage wildlife as a public trust for all citizens, yet they clearly serve only a small minority. Part of this is tradition, hunters and anglers have controlled state wildlife management for decades. Part of it is that most funding for these state agencies comes from the sale of licenses and tags. And part is the worldview that dominates these agencies which sees their role as “managers” of wildlife, and in their view, improving upon nature.

None of these states manage predators for their ecological role in ecosystem health. Despite a growing evidence that top predators are critical to maintaining ecosystem function due to their influence upon prey behavior, distribution and numbers, I know of no state that even recognizes this ecological role, much less expends much effort to educate hunters and the public about it. (I hasten to add that many of the biologists working for these state agencies, particularly those with an expertise about predators, do not necessarily support the predator killing policies and are equally appalled and dismayed as I am by their agency practices.)

Worse yet for predators, there is new research that suggests that killing predators actually can increase conflicts between humans and these species. One cougar study in Washington has documented that as predator populations were declining, complaints rose. There are good reasons for this observation. Hunting and trapping is indiscriminate. These activities remove many animals from the population which are adjusted to the human presence and avoid, for instance, preying on livestock. But hunting and trapping not only opens up productive territories to animals who may not be familiar with the local prey distribution thus more likely to attack livestock, but hunting/trapping tends to skew predator populations to younger age classes. Younger animals are less skillful at capturing prey, and again more likely to attack livestock. A population of young animals can also result in larger litter size and survival requiring more food to feed hungry growing youngsters—and may even lead to an increase in predation on wild prey—having the exact opposite effect that hunters desire.

Yet these findings are routinely ignored by state wildlife agencies. For instance, despite the fact that elk numbers in Montana have risen from 89,000 animals in 1992 several years before wolf reintroductions to an estimated 140,000-150,000 animals today, Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks does almost nothing to counter the impression and regular misinformation put forth by hunter advocacy groups like the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation or the Montana Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife that wolves are “destroying” Montana’s elk herds.

I have attended public hearings on wolves and other predator issues, and I have yet to see a single hunter group support less carnivore killing.  So where are the conservation hunters? Why are they so silent in the face of outrage? Where is the courage to stand up and say current state wildlife agencies policies are a throw-back to the last century and do not represent anything approaching a modern understanding of the important role of predators in our ecosystems?

As I watch state after state adopting archaic policies, I am convinced that state agencies are incapable of managing predators as a legitimate and valued member of the ecological community. Their persecutory policies reflect an unethical and out of date attitude that is not in keeping with modern scientific understanding of the important role that predators play in our world.

It is apparent from evidence across the country that state wildlife agencies are incapable of managing predators for ecosystem health or even with apparent ethical considerations.  Bowing to the pressure from many hunter organizations and individual hunters, state wildlife agencies have become killing machines and predator killing advocates.

Most people at least tolerant the killing of animals that eaten for food, though almost everyone believes that unnecessary suffering should be avoided. But few people actually eat the predators they kill, and often the animals are merely killed and left on the killing fields. Yet though many state agencies and some hunter organizations promote the idea that wanton waste of wildlife and unnecessary killing and suffering of animals is ethically wrong, they conveniently ignore such ideas when it comes to predators, allowing them to be wounded and left to die in the field, as well as permitted to suffer in traps.  Is this ethical treatment of wildlife? I think not.

Unfortunately unless conservation minded hunters speak up, these state agencies as well as federal agencies like Wildlife Services will continue their killing agenda uninhibited. I’m waiting for the next generation of Teddy Roosevelts, Aldo Leopolds and Olaus Muries to come out of the wood work. Unless they do, I’m afraid that ignorance and intolerant attitudes will prevail and our lands and the predators that are an important part of the evolutionary processes that created our wildlife heritage will continue to be eroded.

George Wuerthner
George Wuerthner is an ecologist and former hunting guide with a degree in wildlife biology

Visit Authors Website 





Michael W. Fox of Project Coyote 

From: Michael W. Fox of Project Coyote 
Published October 10, 2013 12:03 PM

State wildlife management practices directed to maximize deer numbers for recreational hunters, rural America’s virtual extermination of the wolf over the past two centuries, coupled with forest management practices and agricultural expansion indirectly providing feed for deer and the encroachment of real estate housing developments with deer-attracting gardens and vegetation in municipal parks, have had unforeseen consequences associated with high White tail deer numbers; and elk in western states. Two of these unforeseen consequences concern public health and potential harm to the livestock industry, which a higher population of wolves across the U.S. would do much to rectify.

According to the Minnesota Dept. of Natural Resources, "After the young (fawns) are born each spring, there are between 900,000 and 1,000,000  (White tail) deer in Minnesota. The hunting season is important to keep the deer population from getting too large. Each year, Minnesota hunters harvest between 150,000 and 200,000 deer".

Hunters seek out the healthiest deer and trophy antler-bearers in particular. A seasonal hunt eliminating almost one quarter of the deer population means starvation for wolf in deer-hunted zones at the start of winter. This probably increases their predation on livestock. Increasing deer hunting quotas to better regulate deer numbers is not a biologically appropriate response even though it is a multibillion-dollar source of revenue for states and equipment suppliers.

Wolves prey on deer year-round, taking the slower ones weakened by injury and disease, and therefore play a significant role in controlling diseases carried by deer, notably prion-causing Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD). This disease also affects mule deer, elk and moose and is now spreading across the U.S. and Canada. Wolves are probably immune. But if these prions mutate and cross the species barrier and affect livestock, especially since prions have now been found in plants consumed by deer and also in agricultural crops consumed by livestock and humans, the consequences could have devastating economic consequences for the livestock industry.

Read more at San Diego Loves Green and Project Coyote.




By Associated Press, Published: March 4

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Federal wildlife officials Tuesday set aside nearly 1,200 square miles along the U.S.-Mexico border as habitat essential for the conservation of the jaguar, a species that hasn’t been spotted in New Mexico in eight years and one that has made only fleeting appearances on wildlife cameras in Arizona’s Santa Rita Mountains.

Jaguars have been on the federal endangered species list for nearly two decades, but it took a series of lawsuits filed by environmentalists to prompt the critical habitat designation. Despite only a handful of male jaguars being spotted in the Southwest over the years, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said the region’s desert scrub, mesquite grasslands and oak woodlands make for important habitat.

“Critical habitat in the United States contributes to the jaguar’s persistence and recovery across the species’ entire range by providing areas to support individuals that disperse into the United States from the nearest core population in Mexico,” the agency said in a statement.

The Arizona Game and Fish Department and other critics wanted the habitat proposal withdrawn when it was first introduced in 2012. They argued the Southwest isn’t essential to the jaguar’s survival because nearly all of the cat’s historic range is in Central and South America.

“The proposal’s assertion that habitat in Arizona and New Mexico is essential to jaguar recovery ignores basic biological principles of conservation,” the Arizona agency said in a five-page letter to federal officials. “To be effective, jaguar conservation must occur in areas of their range where consistent breeding occurs,” the agency stated.

The Fish and Wildlife Service acknowledges that no female jaguars or breeding have been documented in the U.S. in more than 50 years. Jaguars were placed on the federal endangered species list in 1997.

Environmentalists praised Tuesday decision, saying partial measures over the years have not gone far enough to protect those jaguars that are returning to the U.S.

“This was a widespread animal and the fact that it has been reduced to very rare sightings in the U.S. today is a testament to how much ground it has lost and has to recover, including in Mexico, where it’s still losing ground,” said Michael Robinson of the Center for Biological Diversity.

Biologists rely on an extensive network of remote cameras across southern Arizona and southwestern New Mexico for gauging how often the big cats roam between Mexico and the U.S. The images captured so far reveal a lone male has been hanging out in the Santa Rita Mountains southeast of Tucson. Always under the cover of darkness, the cat — with its massive jaw, spotted coat and long black-tipped tail — can been seen walking through tall grass or darting across the camera’s field of view, leaving behind only a blur.

Marit Alanen, a biologist with the Fish and Wildlife Service in Tucson, acknowledged that many people don’t realize the exotic cats are returning. “When you think about typical jaguar habitat being in the jungle and being tropical, it is pretty exciting that we actually have them in Arizona right now,” she said.

The habitat designation includes parts of Pima, Santa Cruz and Cochise counties in Arizona and Hidalgo County in New Mexico. Federal officials say they considered the availability of native prey, water sources, vegetation, topography and other factors in determining the boundaries.

The Fish and Wildlife Service also said the designation will not affect border security, including routine patrols by law enforcement.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press.


November 23, 2011 |  4:34 pm

This adult male is first jaguar seen in the U.S. in two years. An Arizona hunting guide encountered it Nov. 19

More than two years after the demise of the country's only known wild jaguar, wildlife enthusiasts got some good news when a southern Arizona hunting guide saw another one -- an adult male. 

It was the first confirmed sighting of the endangered cat in the U.S. since the other jaguar, known as "Macho B," died, according to the Arizona Daily Star.

Donnie Fenn was mountain lion hunting in Cochise County last weekend with his 10-year-old daughter and a friend when Fenn’s hound dogs sped out of the canyon they were searching, he told the paper.

“Then, I was about 200 yards from a tree they were barking under, but I couldn't yet see what was there,” Fenn said. “I pulled my camera out, zoomed in, and I could tell right away it was a jaguar. It was big and spotted.”

Fenn, 32, immediately called state officials to report the sighting. Then the jaguar leaped out of the tree and Fenn’s dogs gave chase.

“I've seen a lot of lions treed up and stuff, and I've been in a lot of pretty hairy situations, but I've never experienced something like this,” Fenn told the Daily Star. “The roaring and growling. It was quite unreal.”

Fenn pulled his wounded dogs away from the snarling jaguar, which clambered into another tree. Fenn took several dozen pictures of the spotted cat, then scurried to safety with his friend and daughter.

Later, state biologists combed the scene for claw marks and hair, which they removed for testing. 

As for Macho B, he had been trapped, fitted with a radio collar and released in February 2009. A month later, he was captured again and euthanized due to health problems, enraging wildlife advocates.

An Arizona biologist named Emil McCain pleaded guilty to intentionally trapping the jaguar when he was authorized only to ensnare cougars and bears for research, a misdemeanor. At the time, McCain’s attorney told the Associated Press: “If the cat hadn’t died, there would have been a much different view of what took place here.




Guest Columns Opinion
By Jan Hayes / Sandia Mountain BearWatch 
Published: Monday, February 24, 2014 at 12:05 am

Last week Scott Bidegain, chairman of the New Mexico Game Commission, stepped down when it was reported that he participated in an illegal cougar hunt on his ranch. Prior to that, Bidegain and New Mexico Game and Fish Commissioner Paul Espinoza Sr. were roundly criticized for participating in coyote-killing contests in other states.

Several months ago, Jim Lane, director of Game and Fish, was forced to resign with a day’s notice. The reason for the resignation has never been announced. Under Lane’s direction, the elimination of New Mexico’s wildlife, particularly black bears, increased dramatically. Lane was also a proponent for coyote-killing contests and for New Mexico’s children participating in trapping wildlife.

In 2008, Game and Fish Director Bruce Thompson resigned over allegations of an illegal deer hunt.

In the late 1990s, Game and Fish Acting Director R.J. Kirkpatrick and the department were successfully sued by a citizen hunter for harassment and intimidation. Kirkpatrick was found personally liable for compensatory and punitive damages. In spite of this, Kirkpatrick has steadily risen in the department to now occupy the top job.

But the above shenanigans are but a symptom of a much larger problem, namely, the mismanagement of New Mexico’s wildlife.

For example, for the first time in modern history, the bear population in the Sandia Mountains has been virtually eliminated with approximately 140-plus bears being either killed or trapped/relocated in the past three years. Nothing was done to stop this ecological disaster.

Last year alone, 80-plus bears were removed from the Sandias, a number exceeding Game and Fish’s entire bear population estimate. In 2010, under Lane, the statewide bear hunt limit was increased by 103 percent.

Hunter and depredation deaths total a whopping 2,200-plus bears in the past three years out of an uncounted, unknown population variously guesstimated to be 5,000 to 7,000. The slow reproduction of this species cannot keep pace with the reckless elimination that has been occurring.

The yearly cougar hunt has also been drastically increased by 51 percent from 490 to 742 from an uncounted, unknown population. Like the bears, it appears that the goal is to eliminate this species.

Present regulations place no limits on the number of animals that a trapper can kill per year on New Mexico’s state and federal land, lands that belong to all New Mexicans. In 2012 and 2013, 23,628 small beneficial carnivores like bobcats, fox, coyotes, ringtails, raccoons, etc., were reported to be killed, with 70 percent from trapping. Most surrounding states do not allow trapping on their public lands, so their trappers come to New Mexico.

The list of Game and Fish’s inferior stewardship of the state’s wildlife goes on, but I have limited space. Suffice it to say those interested in conservation of New Mexico’s wildlife are thoroughly disgusted and many of the conservation-oriented professionals at the department have either left, are completely demoralized or waiting for retirement.

This buck stops at Gov. Susana Martinez’s desk. She has complete control over what happens at Game and Fish and to this state’s wildlife. Unfortunately, she has been complacent and unwilling to set things right in this mess of a department.

The only solution is for the Legislature to take Martinez and future governors out of the picture in overseeing this state’s wildlife.

It’s time for a complete reorganization of New Mexico’s game and fish management structure, starting with the dissolution of the governor’s hand-picked Game Commission. The Legislature should configure a committee that balances the interests of not only ranchers, hunters and outfitters which is presently the case, but would also include wildlife conservation groups who represent the much larger majority of this state’s residents who value wildlife and seek to preserve it.

Unless drastic changes are made, New Mexico’s wildlife populations will continue to decline.



Uncollared wolf to be removed from the Gila National Forest. Silver City Sun News, 2/26/14

By Susan Dunlap

SILVER CITY - The Department of Fish and Wildlife Services put out an order on Feb. 12 to capture an uncollared Mexican gray wolf in the area where the Fox Mountain Pack roams, south of Quemodo near Fox Mountain in the Gila National Forest. The reason for the live capture of this endangered species is because of five reported livestock deaths within the past year.

"They're not likely to catch the animal that did the killing," said Michael Robinson, conservation advocate for the Center for Biological Diversity. "This is an imprecise way of addressing livestock [depredation]."

The U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife Services disagree.

"Because wolves feed and kill as a pack, it is often difficult to distinguish which individual wolves are involved in the depredation," Maggie Dwire, assistant Mexican wolf recovery coordinator for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said through an email. "Given the background of the Fox Mountain Pack, we assume that all wolves within the pack may have been involved in depredations in the past."

Dwire insisted that though it is difficult to determine the individual wolf involved, the Fish and Wildlife Service is committed to protecting the Mexican gray wolf species.

"The removal effort combined with continued use of non-removal tools is designed to prevent or limit additional depredations," Dwire said. "We conduct a stepwise approach and first attempt to reduce depredations by non-removal tools, followed by removal of individuals most likely to be involved in the depredations. Following the removal of an individual, we monitor the pack and continue non-removal tools in an effort to prevent additional depredations. If additional depredations occur, we will reassess our strategies, not because we removed the wrong animal, but rather because we have not solved the depredation problem and have not yet achieved the right combination of actions to limit additional depredations by the pack."

The Mexican gray wolf is a sensitive issue involving tradition, economics and the fate of a species. Ranchers are allowed to let their cattle roam in forested areas owned by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the state of New Mexico, according to Cliff resident Brandi McCauley, whose family has been ranching in the Cliff area for 104 years. According to BLM's website, ranchers must pay a fee to allow their livestock to roam BLM land, though the fee fluctuates depending on market conditions for beef and other factors.

Any livestock deprivation has an economic impact on ranchers, first because they pay to let their cattle graze public land and then they experience a financial loss if they lose their livestock. But Robinson pointed out, ranchers are compensated for livestock deprivation if a wolf is the cause. …

"Cattle have been roaming this country for a long time," McCauley said.

This makes livestock vulnerable to attacks by wildlife predators.

The Mexican gray wolf's population has been brought to record lows. They were successfully poisoned, trapped, clubbed and shot until they were almost completely annihilated by the mid-1900s according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services' website. Their natural habitat encompasses southern New Mexico, among other areas of the western United States.

The Mexican gray wolf was listed under the endangered species list in 1976, according to the Fish and Wildlife Services Department. But recovery of this particular animal has been slow.

The only other wildlife to have hit such low numbers and recovered in the wild with at least a moderate level of success are the black-footed ferret and the California condor, according to Robinson. There are only 83 reported Mexican gray wolves in the wild, according to a recent survey conducted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. That means that every single wolf in the wild is important for breeding purposes if the animal is to recover, according to Robinson.

"There is a genetic crisis in the Mexican gray wolf," Robinson said. "Because there are so few of them, their breeding has been slowed down and is near cessation."

Dwire said the Fish and Wildlife Service won't know how genetically important the uncollared Mexican gray wolf will be until the wolf is captured and tested, but she said that if the captured wolf contains lineage of one of the three founding lineages, that lineage is represented by the captured wolf's siblings, sires, and other members of the wolf population.

Dwire also said the department will evaluate the potential for whether the animal will be re-released in the U.S. or Mexico some time in the future or if the animal will become part of what she described as a captive breeding program.

"It's a tough balancing point," Dwire admitted.

Susan Dunlap can be reached at 575-538-5893 ext. 5803.

To read the full article, published in the Silver City Sun-News, click here. 

Please act today to keep the young Mexican wolf the government is targeting for removal in the wild where he belongs! 

Calls and emails to decision-makers are needed. Talking points and contact information are here. 

You can also help by writing a letter to the editor thanking the Silver City Sun-News for the article and supporting Mexican wolf recovery. 

Tips and talking points for writing your letter are below, but please write in your own words, from your own experience.

Letter Writing Tips & Talking Points
Mexican gray wolves are beautiful, intelligent, native animals. We have a responsibility to them and to future generations to ensure their recovery.
At last count, just 83 wolves including 5 breeding pairs survived in the wild.
The government should not be targeting critically endangered wolves, who may be very valuable genetically, for permanent removal.
Removing a wolf at random may break up a potential breeding pair and will place him/her and all of the wolves nearby at risk, since capture carries a high risk of accidental death or injury.
This perpetuates a failed policy of scapegoating wolves who occasionally prey on livestock -- even when the stock-owner is reimbursed.
If the US Fish and Wildlife Service is concerned about the growth of the population and its genetic health, the answer is more releases of captive wolves, not subjecting more wild wolves to risky trapping operations and permanent captivity.
Moving Mexican gray wolves closer to extinction is not the solution to livestock conflicts.
Livestock businesses on public lands are reimbursed for losses and can receive government and non-profit assistance for non-lethal proactive measures to avoid depredation. They have a responsibility to implement such measures.
Make sure you:
Thank the paper for publishing the article.
Do not repeat any negative messages from the article, such as “cows may have been killed by wolves, but…”  Remember that those reading your letter will not be looking at the article it responds to, so this is an opportunity to get out positive messages about wolf recovery rather than to argue with the original article.
Keep your letter brief, between 150-300 words.
Include something about who you are and why you care: E.g. “I am a mother, outdoors person, teacher, business owner, scientific, religious, etc.”
Provide your name, address, phone number and address.  The paper won’t publish these, but they want to know you are who you say you are.
Submit your letter here: editor@scsun-news.com

Click here to join our email list for Mexican gray wolf updates and action alerts.

Visit us on Facebook here. 




 Yes, Uncle Sam Is Really Planning to Kill 16,000 Prairie Dogs
Eagles and owls will also likely die in the pointless poisoning, biologists say.



Thank you @AnimalsHaveValu 


Reposted from :
 Wolf Conservation Center
Posted on February 20, 2014 
by Maggie ~ 


Guest Commentary by John W. Laundré, Cougar Biologist State University of New York at Oswego. Originally published for the Mountain Lion Foundation

A cougar biologist takes a strong stand on the real value of wildlife. In this important opinion piece, John Laundré considers the public cost of wildlife mismanagement, and the consequences of bureaucratic decisions that fail to consider the public good and the intrinsic value of wild predators.

More and more we as a society are facing problems with how wildlife of all types are managed in the United States. We see increasing conflicts and polarization between hunting and anti-hunting groups. On the one side, invoking the pioneer tradition of our ancestors, hunting groups contend that the right to hunt is undeniable and is essential to the sound management of our wildlife resources. On the other hand, anti-hunting groups contend that the need to kill wildlife animals is no longer justified and hunting represents a next to barbaric act against living, feeling animals.

Long line of hunters walk a mountain trail. Hunters contend that they are the only ones who should have a say in how wildlife are managed.

On one side, hunters contend that because they pay the bills for the management of wildlife resources through their licenses and a federal excise tax on their hunting equipment, they are the only ones who should have a say in how wildlife are managed. On the other side, anti-hunters argue that moral objections to the slaying of innocent animals overrides any priority as to who has a say in these matters.

And the arguments go on and on. Both sides have their army of lawyers and donating members to support the lawyers. Each spends millions of dollars for their causes and sometimes hunters win and other times anti-hunters win battles but the war goes on, seemingly without end. Should it be that way? Should we manage or mismanage our wildlife resources though the press, through the courts? Who should have the say over wildlife management and what should that say be?

Given that hunters only comprise 5% of Americans of hunting age and approximately 16% of Americans disapprove of hunting, anti-hunters outnumber hunters by three to one. In the land of majority rule, should not the majority hold sway over the minority? But 16% is far from a majority of the American people. What about the other 79% of America? Should they also have a say? And if they do, what would it be? Of that 79%, 74% approve of hunting but do not hunt. Thus, the majority would seem to fall squarely on the side of hunters.

But do non-hunters (the 79% who don’t hunt but are not anti-hunting) approve of how hunting is used in wildlife management and if they do or do not, is their voice heard? Are they allowed to express an opinion? Who then has the say over how wildlife are managed in America, the hunters, the anti-hunters, or the rest of the American people? Again, in all this, majority or not, hunters fall back on their base preposition, they pay for wildlife and so they should have the say, the only say. In doing so, they are denying this right to even the 73% of Americans who favor hunting and 95% of the American people are left out of these decisions.

One has to ask how such a system differs from the European one our Founding Fathers tried to avoid: wildlife being owned and managed by a small fraction of landowners verses a small fraction of the population who feel they own the “right” to wildlife and how they are managed. In both cases, the majority of the public is left out of the decision process.

Central to the answers to all these questions are two more fundamental questions of first, who owns the wildlife in America and second who is paying for their management/conservation? If we can answer these questions, then we at least define the “rights” of the different sides in the overall argument.

So, first, who owns the wildlife in America? As mentioned above, our founding fathers abhorred the European system where large landowners also owned the wildlife on those lands. To avoid these problems in the new more egalitarian society they were forming, the formers of our government declared that each state claimed ownership of wildlife on behalf of its people. This state ownership was reinforced by the Greer v Connecticut Supreme Court decision that forbid interstate transport of wildlife killed within a state and “to confine the use of such game to those who own it, the people of the state”. So clearly, from the beginning to today, we the people, ALL of us own the wildlife within our respective states.

And not only do we own the wildlife, imbedded in that ownership is the right to regulate it by all of us. Further, IF that wildlife is migratory or lives on Federal lands in a state, not only do state residents have the right to regulate it but so does the rest of the nation. As stated in the Constitution, “Congress (all of us) shall have the power to dispose of and make all needful rules and regulations respecting the territory or other property belonging to the United States” (Article IV). This puts most wildlife in the National public trust and this right has been repeatedly upheld by the Supreme Court. So clearly stated, all wildlife belongs to all the people and all the people should have a say in how it is managed.

What about the argument that those who pay should have the most, if not all, the say in how wildlife is managed? This brings us to the more fundamental question of who actually does pay for wildlife management in the U.S.? Is it just the hunters? And what wildlife are they paying to manage?

There is no doubt that hunters pay a large amount of money to manage wildlife. For many states, game agencies are strictly funded by hunting license fees, to the tune of millions of dollars. Figures range around 600-700 million dollars nationwide. In addition to the hunting license and fees, the Pittman-Robertson act in 1937 dedicated a 10% excise tax on firearms and ammunition to be spent on wildlife restoration. This fund generates around 150 million dollars a year to be distributed to the states. If we add to this figure an estimated 10 BILLON dollars hunters spend when they go hunting, it all comes up to an impressive amount of money they spend on wildlife. So, maybe they should get the say?

But wait a minute, let’s look at the possible contributions from non-hunters. Regretfully, non-hunters who use and enjoy the outdoors do not pay an excise tax on sporting equipment. They had a chance to do so but did not follow through, but that is another story. Though they do not contribute to wildlife by an excise tax, do they contribute in other ways?

Let me count the ways. First fees. It is true we don’t have a wildlife watching fee or license, though that might be a good idea! But non-hunter, when they use the great outdoors do pay fees, camping fees, entrance fees. How much? On the state level, it varies from state to state with a state like California generating 81 million dollars in park fees and more modest 3-10 million dollars in other states.

If we use a modest 10 million dollars a year average by state, nationwide, park users pay 500 million dollars a year toward the maintenance of the lands AND by default wildlife on those lands. Add to that, the fact that general tax revenues are also used to make up any difference in expenditures probably in an equal amount. This means general taxpayers, 95% of which do not hunt, pay several hundred million dollars in state taxes to support parks AND the wildlife on these lands. Add to that the average 1 million dollars per state taxpayers check off on their tax forms for nongame species and the total state contributions come up to around 1.5 billion dollars a year.

What about the Federal level? For National Parks, entrance fees generate around 25 million dollars a year. But the National Park budget, is around 3 billion dollars a year, again, paid for in grand part by the 95% non-hunters. We have to add to that the annual budget of the U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife of 2.5 billion dollars. Also, the U.S. BLM (960 million dollars) and the Forest Service (5.1 billion dollars), which maintain large tracts of land for wildlife, add another 6 billion taxpayer dollars to the pot. I am sure I missed some other state and federal agencies whose goal it is to maintain lands and thus the wildlife on them but this should do for now.

Adding up the state revenues and the various Federal sources, we see that recreation users and general taxpayers support wildlife to the tune of around 12 BILLON dollars annually. This compares to the annual 800-900 MILLION dollars generated by sportsmen. But how about that 10 billion dollars generated by sportsmen spending? If we compare the number of people participating in hunting versus other outdoor activities, the latest figures are: 24 million hunters vs. 317 million outdoor enthusiasts. Of those, more people go birdwatching (67 million) than hunting. If we assume a similar per person spending as hunters, then these non-hunters are spending over 130 billion dollars! So, I leave it up to you to decide, are hunters the only ones paying for wildlife?

One last important note. Although hunters do pay hundreds of millions of dollars for wildlife management, that money is normally earmarked for specific wildlife, the ones they hunt. Though some money is spent on nongame species, it is done grudgingly or is listed as a side benefit. Most game agencies are not paid to nor really care to manage non-game species. They know where the money comes from and cater to hunters to “put more game in the bag”.

State game commissions are the same in that they know who they are paid by and as the name indicates only deal with game species. What this does is produce single species management where wildlife in general, the supposed great benefactor of the hunters largess, are ignored or worse yet, like predators, treated as vermin to be hunted without control because they interfere with game species. This also leaves the other 95% of the population, who is really paying the lion’s share for wildlife habitat, with little or no say on how the other 99% of the wildlife are managed. This is wrong and needs to be changed.

If game agencies cannot, will not, manage the rest of the wildlife resources in a proper manner, then they should only be allowed to manage the ones they are being paid for, game species. This excludes predators which they only “manage” (kill) in response to hunters’ cries for more game. All nongame species should be wrenched from game agencies’ grasps and given to new standalone state wildlife agencies who cater to the 95% of the people who REALLY pay the bill for wildlife habitat.

We need a dramatic change in how wildlife are managed in this country and the separation of “game” management and wildlife management is the first critical step. Let the game agencies with their millions of hunter dollars manage the deer and the ducks but let the new wildlife agencies manage the rest of the wildlife the way they should be managed, based on sound ecological science, not hunter demands. It is time we stop sacrificing the many for the few in the wildlife world and start managing our wildlife as the integral part of the ecosystems they are.

John W. Laundré is a cougar biologist who has studied cougars for over 20 years both in the U.S. and Mexico. He has published extensively on their ecology and behavior and is the author of the upcoming book: Prairie Phantoms the Return of Cougars to the Midwest to be published by the University of Wisconsin Press. He currently is an adjunct professor at the State University of New York at Oswego where he teaches and as Vice President of the Cougar Rewilding Foundation advocates the return of cougars to their former range.

This entry was posted in Guest Blog and tagged Cougar Rewilding Foundation, John W. Laundré. 


Pretty nasty stuff.

Please join NRDC and sign this petition letter. Tell the USDA we need to end the mass killing of wildlife.

A little-known government agency called Wildlife Services spends tens of millions of taxpayer dollars each year to kill more than 100,000 native carnivores, including wolves, bobcats, foxes and black bears. Call on the U.S. Department of Agriculture to follow through on its plan to investigate this rogue operation — and then end its deadly assault on wildlife.

Your message will be sent to:
Tom Vilsack, Secretary, U.S. Dept. of Agriculture

Support a thorough investigation of Wildlife Services

Dear Secretary Vilsack:
I was pleased to learn that your Inspector General has initiated a long overdue audit of your department's Wildlife Services division, particularly its controversial "predator control program," which spends tens of millions of taxpayer dollars each year to kill more than 100,000 native carnivores with poisons, traps and aerial gunning, among other methods.

I urge you to support this investigation of Wildlife Services in every way you can. Please assure that Inspector General Phyllis Fong and her staff have all the resources they need to conduct a thorough and unflinching review of Wildlife Services' disturbing practices. 

Wildlife Services has consistently wasted the tax dollars of hardworking Americans, refused to resolve predator-livestock conflicts with non-lethal methods, killed tens of thousands of non-target animals (including pets and endangered species) and failed to provide taxpayers with any information about its outrageous actions. This inhumane program must be held accountable.

When this audit is concluded and its results made public, I urge you to exercise your authority by transforming Wildlife Services into a more humane, responsible and transparent agency. Thank you.



USDA-Wildlife Services 
Improperly withholds Public Records 

Friday, September 20, 2013 
Contact: Wendy Keefover 303 819-5229

Albuquerque, NM. 
WildEarth Guardians this week sued Wildlife Services, a branch of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) that kills millions of animals annually, after it failed to produce records in response to three separate Guardians’ requests under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).  Guardians seeks records that deal with criminal activity by agency employees as well as records that address the program’s non-compliance with environmental laws.

“The singular purpose of FOIA is to give citizens the ability to watch dog our government and hold it accountable,” stated Wendy Keefover, Director of Carnivore Protection for WildEarth Guardians.

Guardians sought Wildlife Services’ records concerning:

The program’s compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), after documents posted by Tom Knudson of the Sacramento Bee indicated that Wildlife Services was concerned it was “vulnerable” to NEPA suits that Guardians might bring against it.
Documents relative to criminal investigations of its employees, including investigations conducted under the Endangered Species Act, after Guardians learned that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service had investigated at least four employees.
Records involving a government agent who shot an endangered Mexican gray wolf in January 2013 and claimed he thought it was a coyote.
Guardians’ record request could reveal information that Wildlife Services particularly wants to keep secret as records may show that the USDA’s Wildlife Services program, and some of its employees may be out of step with environmental and criminal statutes. If true, agents who commit crimes against animals, for instance, still enjoy paychecks that largely come from tax dollars.

“Wildlife Services withholds documents it decides are sensitive or embarrassing, and groups like ours are forced to litigate in order to shine the light of day on governmental problems and to get the feds to obey the law.”


Article source:


September 23.2013

"We are writing to request a thorough audit of Wildlife Services ( WS ), especially 
its lethal predator control program, 
by the USDA Office of the Inspector General ( OIG ) "


Dear Guardian,

The feds tried to cover up wildlife abuse and torture. Now it’s time to demand change. 

Tell Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack that you expect the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to implement clear guidelines that prohibit mistreatment of wildlife by federal employees, and to implement a new system that prevents future scandals. 

The USDA oversees the activities of Wildlife Services, including trapper Jamie P. Olson, who likely posted photos on Facebook of his dogs killing trapped coyotes. The USDA conducted an investigation, but disclosed its findings to no one, not even to the members of Congress who requested it.  

Newly-leaked documents show that the USDA’s investigation into these horrific acts resulted in no action against Olson, not even a reprimand. A Tweet from Congressman Campbell and the leaked documents seem to indicate that the agency attempted to cover up the matter.

Ironically, the USDA is the federal agency charged with enforcing the nation’s animal welfare laws. Without its own clear guidelines prohibiting its own employees from torturing and abusing wildlife, USDA holds no credibility. 

To prevent future scandals, demand that the USDA create an easy way for the public to register complaints that involve USDA activities. Investigations into conduct like Olson’s must be conducted efficiently and transparently. Also, the results of those investigations should be made public.

Join WildEarth Guardians to ask Secretary Vilsack to immediately implement clear codes of conduct for USDA employees that prohibit abuse and torture of wild animals, a system for registering complaints against USDA , and a policy of transparency for timely investigation and publication of results of such investigations.

For the Wild.....

Wildlife Services trapper Jamie P. Olson posing with a dead coyote.




Congressman Campbell’s  June 20th Tweet:
“Appears we can add lying to Congress & cover-up to animal abuse & torture as the list of misdeeds by #WildlifeServices & @USDA_APHIS grows.”



Photo by Brooks Fahy/Predator Defense

A male coyote is caught in a leg-hold trap in Oregon. Although this is not one of the photos by trapper Jamie Olson that sparked the new furor, the trap is typical of those used.


The Sacramento Bee
By Tom Knudson
Published: Saturday, Jun. 15, 2013 - 11:38 am

We want to advise you of two news stories that came out recently covering the status of the investigation of federal trapper Jamie Olson and his continued employment by USDA Wildlife Services (WS). Incredibly, according to documents obtained from two-time Pulitzer Prize winning Sacramento Bee reporter, Tom Knudson, the initial determination of the federal investigation into charges of animal cruelty by Olson cleared him of any wrongdoing. As you know, the pictures of Olson’s dogs ripping apart coyotes and other wildlife speak for themselves and such a conclusion is utterly shameful and unacceptable. Despite this initial conclusion, however, FoxNews.com is reporting that the investigation of Olson is ongoing. Please be assured that we will not give up pressing for the termination of Jamie Olson and exposing the culture of cruelty that exists within the Wildlife Services program. 

Article from The Sacramento Bee – Documents Show Questions about Wildlife Services Probe in Animal Cruelty 
Article from FoxNews.com – Federal Agency Gives Few Answers on Months-Long Probe of Alleged Animal Cruelty 
Read also:
Project Coyote and AWI's letter to the Office of Inspector General supporting an investigation and audit of the Wildlife Services program: 

Project Coyote and AWI’s follow-up letter to Wildlife Services regarding the status of the investigation: 

Many thanks to all of you for signing our petition and being a voice against this kind of egregious abuse of wildlife. Please help us continue to expose the culture of cruelty at the USDA and its misuse of taxpayer dollars through its wildlife killing programs by sharing our petition far and wide through email, Facebook, Twitter and other social networks to help us reach our goal of 100,000 signatures. Our public officials must be made aware now more than ever that we will not be silent until current policies are changed and justice is served.
We encourage you to please also share our Wildlife Services Fact Sheet that contains more information on the horrific misdeeds of this federal killing program: 


Federal agency gives few answers on months-long probe of alleged animal cruelty

By Cristina Corbin
Published June 12, 2013

Eight months after an employee of the federal Wildlife Services agency allegedly posted photos online depicting animal cruelty, the little-known government agency said the worker is still on the job but did not say whether he or any others 
have been disciplined.
The photos were allegedly posted by Jamie Olson, an employee of Wyoming Wildlife Services, a branch of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. The photo album was discovered in October on Olson's personal Facebook account, which has since been deactivated. The graphic photos include images of dogs ripping into live coyotes trapped in steel foot-holds, as well as pictures of coyote carcasses.
At the time, Wildlife Services spokeswoman Carol Bannerman told FoxNews.com that an internal investigation was being launched and that if it concluded animal abuse took place, that "would not be accepted."
As of this week, that investigation is sill "ongoing," said Bannerman, who added that Olson is still employed by the agency.
"With regard to allegations that a WS employee engaged in animal cruelty and misconduct, the investigation of the situation is currently ongoing," Bannerman said in an email sent to FoxNews.com. "The length of the investigations underscores the seriousness that WS places on the importance of ethical and appropriate treatment of wildlife it is asked to control."
Bannerman noted that the agency has since reaffirmed to its employees "their obligations to uphold professional standards as well as their responsibilities to the public." She also said that Wildlife Services updated its protocol in March regarding the use of trained dogs in carrying out the agency's duties.
"Among other things, the updated guidance re-emphasizes the need to maintain control over trained dogs and prevent attacks on restrained animals," she said.
Click here to view the updated guidelines
The Wildlife Services program is responsible for humanely killing wildlife seen as a threat to the environment and livestock, as well as protecting the public from wildlife hazards to commercial planes at airports.
But U.S. Reps. Peter Defazio, D-Ore., and Rep. John Campbell, R-Calif., claim the program has allowed workers to abuse animals for no reason.
The photos that appeared on Olson's Facebook account showed a culture of animal cruelty that has long persisted within the agency, according to the lawmakers. They have both appealed to Agriculture Secretary Thomas Vilsack for a complete audit of the "culture" within Wildlife Services – in particular its lethal Predator Control program – by the USDA Office of Inspector General.
In the case of Olsen, Campbell said, "It is imperative that this investigation be completed and the findings presented to Congress and the American public with no further delay."
"Eight months is more than enough time for a federal agency to investigate the actions of just one employee," Campbell told FoxNews.com. "Any further obfuscation or attempt to delay this report will justifiably raise even more serious concerns about this agency's integrity." 
Gary Strader, a former trapper with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, told FoxNews.com last March that it is "regular practice" for dogs to attack live coyotes caught in traps.
Strader, who left the agency in 2009, recalled a particular day during which he caught nine coyotes in government-set leg hold snares at a remote site in northeast Nevada. Strader said his supervisor, who had accompanied him that day, watched and laughed as the agency's dogs circled the coyotes and ripped into them. 
"It is outrageous that eight months after these horrific pictures appeared on Facebook that Wildlife Services appears to be doing nothing but dragging their feet," Brooks Fahy, executive director of Predator Defense, told FoxNews.com. "It appears to be business as usual at Wildlife Services."
"The agency has operated this way, without consequences, since its inception in 1931," Fahy said. "It is literally out of control and needs to be investigated."
Read more: 



Photo credit: Brooks Fahy/Predator Defense
A male coyote is caught in a leg-hold trap in Oregon. Although this is not one of the photos by trapper Jamie Olson that sparked the new furor, the trap is typical of those used.

By Tom Knudson
Published: Saturday, Jun. 15, 2013 - 11:38 am

A federal investigation cleared a Wildlife Services trapper of animal cruelty last December but the agency's top official later raised questions about the case, documents obtained by The Bee show.

The probe found that Wyoming trapper Jamie Olson, whose Internet photos showing his hunting dogs attacking at a trapped coyote stirred outrage among wildlife advocates, did nothing wrong.

Read other stories in The Bee's wildlife investigation series.

Congressmen John Campbell (R-Irvine) and Peter DeFazio (D-Ore) asked to see a copy of the investigation but have not received one, their staffers said.

USDA investigators wrote that Olson was training his dog "how to `posture' when confronting a trapped coyote. By Olson's definition, posturing is when a dog keeps a coyote stationary."

But William Clay, deputy administrator of Wildlife Services, wasn't satisfied. "The more information that comes in on this, the more issues there seems to be," he wrote in an email. In a later email, Clay wrote: "If we want to truly prevent a dog from biting/mauling a restrained animal, the only way to do it is with a muzzle or a leash."

Clay asked investigators to re-examine the case but it is not known what they found. Agency spokesperson Carol Bannerman told Fox News this week the investigation is on-going.

Call The Bee's Tom Knudson, (530) 582-5336.
© Copyright The Sacramento Bee. All rights reserved.

• Read more articles by Tom Knudson

Read more here: 


So, how are the “tyranny protestors” going to ride “coast-to-coast” and NOT trespass on federally owned lands in order to protest so called “Federal tyranny”? 
Just wondering…

Reposted from E&E Publishing LLC


Phil Taylor, E&E reporter
When a Nevada county commissioner in May led a horseback ride more than 300 miles across northern Nevada to protest the Bureau of Land Management's grazing closures on public lands, it got the agency's attention.

The "Grass March" from Elko to Carson City -- modeled after Gandhi's Salt March to protest British colonialism -- garnered national headlines and spurred BLM to cut a deal allowing ranchers to turn their cattle back out onto the land, said Elko County Commissioner Grant Gerber, who led the ride.

But the grazing deal imploded last month after BLM found cows had eaten too much grass and the agency ordered the closure of about 50,000 acres of the Argenta allotment, a move that affected six extended ranching families (Greenwire, Aug. 25). Drought, BLM argues, threatens the long-term health of the range, as well as the greater sage grouse, which uses the lands to mate, raise young and hide from predators.

The ranchers disagreed and have challenged the decision in an Interior Department administrative court (Greenwire, Aug. 27).

They're also seeking a win in the court of public opinion.

Gerber, 72, is planning a coast-to-coast horseback ride next month, dubbed the "Cowboy Express," to protest land-use restrictions imposed by BLM's Battle Mountain, Nev., District Manager Doug Furtado.

"The theme of it is 'regulation without representation is tyranny,'" said Gerber, an attorney and fourth-generation Nevadan whose family ranched the area beginning in the 1800s. "We have no local control on any federal land issue. It's tyranny for one man to be able to dominate a whole region."

The ride will begin Sept. 26 at Point Reyes National Seashore and will continue roughly 20 days to Washington, D.C., and eventually to the Atlantic Ocean, Gerber said. Organizers say they already have about 10 riders. They'll take turns riding, with a motor home and pickups with horse trailers following behind.

Gerber and local ranchers say Furtado, at the behest of environmentalists, is bent on removing livestock from the Battle Mountain District, a claim BLM emphatically denies. The ride will stop in Carson City on Sept. 29 to pick up petitions calling for Furtado's removal and carry them to Washington.

"We value the important contributions made by the ranching community to the management of our public lands and enjoy positive working relationships with ranchers throughout the West," said BLM spokeswoman Celia Boddington. "We will continue to work collaboratively to address issues related to the Argenta allotment."

While ranching disputes are not uncommon in Nevada, a state with a heavy anti-federal sentiment, BLM is watching the Argenta situation closely, as it comes months after the agency's nearly violent run-in with rancher Cliven Bundy.

Katie Fite, a biologist for the Western Watersheds Project, an anti-grazing group that frequently sues BLM to eliminate cows from public lands, criticized Gerber as an "agitator" who bullies federal agencies into appeasing local livestock interests.

In 2000, Gerber represented about 300 people in what was known as the Jarbidge Shovel Brigade, which cleared a Volkswagen-sized boulder from a road the Forest Service had closed to protect bull trout. The road clearing, which came five years after a pipe bomb was detonated at a Forest Service campground toilet, gained Elko the reputation as the "most lawless county in the West," according to a 2001 article in Mother Jones.

"It's all about showmanship," Fite said of Gerber's Cowboy Express. "The purpose is the same: to paralyze BLM. If they know they're going to face this severe degree of resistance ... are they going to issue decisions telling cows to get off sage grouse habitat?"

But organizers say the ride represents more than the plight of Nevada ranchers. Its beginning location at Point Reyes is symbolic. That's where the National Park Service recently declined to renew a permit for the Drakes Bay Oyster Co., in favor of promoting wilderness. Riders will carry petitions raising grievances over endangered species, water, wildfire, wetlands, wilderness and "other mismanagement failures" of the federal government, according to the ride’s website.

Kevin Lunny, who owns the oyster farm, said he's aware of the ride and wants to do more research before offering an opinion. But he said he sympathizes with the ranchers' experience, saying he was the victim of a Park Service decision driven by politics.

"They recognized the Interior Department had a desire to remove the oyster farm" and used questionable science, said Lunny, who also grazes cattle for a living. "Those tactics are very objectionable to most Americans."

Eddyann Filippini, who is one of the three permittees asked to remove livestock from the Argenta allotment, said she was previously ordered to remove 900 cows from two separate allotments due to drought. "Everyone's getting a ding," she said.

Filippini said she plans to ride the entire route beginning from Carson City.

Gerber said he scheduled the ride in late September so it would be cool for the horses but not too late in the year that riders would encounter snow. It's also timed to coincide with a new moon phase, he said, which will allow some overnight rides.

Gerber said Nevada residents are frustrated that they cannot elect or fire BLM officials and hope to raise awareness of broader abuses occurring on federal lands.

In Nevada, the federal government owns 87 percent of the land, but Gerber said it has de facto ownership of about 92 percent of the grass given that much of the land is in a checkerboard ownership.

"I'll have to fight to do my share of the riding," he said.

It's unclear what they'll do when, and if, they reach Washington. Gerber said he plans to ride "up the steps and into the halls," but he did not elucidate.

BLM last week acknowledged the hardships drought and grazing reductions have caused ranchers but said the sacrifices have been shared.

Across Nevada, ranchers already have voluntarily agreed to forgo roughly 440,000 animal unit months (AUMs) in 2014, which is a more than 20 percent reduction from total AUMs, BLM said. Steps include livestock adjustments, grazing rotations, water hauling or rest of pastures. An AUM is the amount of forage needed to feed a cow and her calf for one month.

Twitter: @philipataylor | Email: ptaylor@eenews.net



Reposted from The Human Footprint:


Posted on August 13, 2014 by Leslie

In a quick trip to Dubois area to see friends visiting from California, I took one friend to the National Bighorn Sheep Interpretive Center. http://www.bighorn.org/ Dubois is the nearby town next to the Whiskey Mountain Sheep Preserve. Whiskey Mountain holds the most Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep in North America, over 1000.  The Preserve is a seed population for sheep transplants all over the Rockies.

My friend is an outdoors person, avid hiker, and has been to the Rockies to backpack many times.  And although she has seen bighorn sheep, like most people she knew little of their plight.  The Center tells the story well, in pictures, of the dire situation bighorn sheep are in. http://thehumanfootprint.wordpress.com/2011/10/11/what-do-americans-find-sacred-bighorn-sheep-the-winds-and-selenium/  As I’ve talked about before, bighorn sheep are susceptible to domestic sheep diseases when they co-mingle.  
Although it’s been over 150 years since domestic sheep grazing on the West, our native sheep just don’t have the immune systems to fight off these disease.
Consider this quote from Journal of a Trapper by Osborne Russell in 1835. Russell was in the Dunoir area, northwest of Dubois, in the Absarokas.

Jade Lake near Bonneville pass in the Dunoir

I saw no sheep in the Dunoir when I was there dayhiking.
After my friend left the Center, she had a poignant remark that got me thinking.
“It’s take so much effort and money just to maintain the wildlife we have today.”

Take the Sierra Nevada bighorn sheep for example.  A wonderful documentary that won awards, available on the link here, http://www.cultureunplugged.com/documentary/watch-online/festival/play/7281/Counting-Sheep is Counting Sheep: Restoring the Sierra Nevada Bighorn.  
The doc chronicles over twelve years the immense efforts to restore this tiny population (less than 300 at the time) of iconic bighorns.  
Successive transplants and removal of grazing domestic sheep worked for a while, but then cougars, who have always preyed on bighorns, moved in and the population began to dwindle.  So the researchers approached the Cougar Network to enlist their help and support, as cougars are not allowed to be legally hunted in California. At first they resisted any cougar kills, but then they saw the situation and SURGICAL cougar kills, killing of cougars that were VERIFIED had killed sheep, was supported.  Slowly the population is growing again.


This extreme disruption was initially caused by human predation and domestic sheep diseases–not by cougars kills. But now a lot of attention and management is needed just to begin to restore what once was. 
When I was in southern CA in the desert a few years ago, the bighorn sheep habitat was extremely endangered, not due to cougars, but to new housing developments.

Rocky Mountain Bighorn sheep
“It’s take so much effort and money just to maintain the wildlife we have today.”

My friend’s statement applies to all of our wildlife today–predators especially, but in many areas, elk and deer as well.
When multiple use increases, so does conflict and disruption to wildlife.  I wanted to visit the Dunoir because although it is considered a Special Management Area, http://wyofile.com/kelsey-dayton/forest-backpedals-bike-ban-dunoir/ snowmobiling and mountain biking still continue.  
This year the Shoshone National Forest will break out it’s 20 year plan.  No new wilderness is being proposed.  If the Dunoir were proposed for Wilderness (even though Congress still has to pass a new Wilderness Area), stricter rules would apply.  This is prime grizzly bear habitat and elk calving grounds.  Bears are highly disturbed by motorized and unmotorized use i.e. bicycles.

And my friend is correct; unfortunately it takes a lot of effort to just maintain what we have.  Let’s put in that effort.

Brooks Lake Western Dunoir area

One last note:  You may have noticed my new book cover in the upper section of the blog pages.  The book The Wild Excellence:  Notes from Untamed America (Wordsworth Publishing) will be out this month in August and available directly from Amazon.  It chronicles my move and wildlife adventures in this wild area, one of the last intact ecosystems in the temperate world.  I’ll have more on this in later blog posts.

Reposted from The Wildlife News:


In many past episodes where domestic sheep interacted with bighorn sheep there have been very large scale die-offs 
of bighorn sheep.

By Ken Cole on December 3. 2013

It may already be too late.

Throughout the west, bighorn sheep are seeking out mates and the rams are giving an incredible display by butting heads in competition for ewes.  
This is a very visible spectacle in the Gardiner Basin of Montana that lies just north of Yellowstone National Park which is filled with many kinds of wildlife including bighorn sheep and bison.Both of these species are especially susceptible to pathogens carried by domestic sheep.  

Bighorn sheep are extremely   susceptible to several different pathogens that result in pneumonia and cause large scale die-offs of the sheep.  Bison are susceptible to a disease called malignant catarrhal fever (MCF) which is caused by the ovine herpes virus-2 (OHV -2). All sheep should be presumed to be carriers of the OHV-2 virus as well as the pathogens that cause pneumonia in bighorn sheep.

Unfortunately, Bill Hoppe, a resident of Gardiner, Montana, has not moved his sheep out of the Gardiner Basin where several were attacked and killed by wolves earlier this spring. 

And, last week, Kevin Hurley, a former wildlife biologist for Wyoming Game and Fish and now conservation director for the Wild Sheep Foundation, observed a bighorn sheep ram enter the field where Hoppe’s domestic sheep are grazing just across the Yellowstone River from Yellowstone National Park. 

There are now reports of sick lambs in the vicinity of Gardiner where there is a population of bighorn sheep that uses areas inside and outside of Yellowstone National Park.

In many past episodes where domestic sheep interacted with bighorn sheep there have been very large scale die-offs of bighorn sheep. In some cases up to 95% of the herd is lost to pneumonia and lamb recruitment to the population suffers for many years after an outbreak. If there has been contact that results in an outbreak it could be disastrous to the population in and around Yellowstone National Park.

Bison will begin to move into the basin sometime this spring and they may also come into direct contact with these domestic sheep unless the sheep are moved. Last spring I witnessed both bison and bighorn sheep within a quarter mile of these sheep while on a short visit to the area.

It seems selfish for Hoppe to be putting so much wildlife at risk. And for what? To make a point about private property rights? I don’t know, but private property rights do not trump everyone else’s right to enjoy wildlife in the world’s premier national park. There are solutions and this is not over. People should be agitating for the state, county or municipalities to use their authority to regulate this clear risk to public wildlife. They have the authority to zone uses such as this just like cities regulate whether your dog has to be on a leash or whether you can have roosters in your back yard. It is an obvious nuisance that can, and should be regulated.

Photo credit: Bighorn Sheep © Ken Cole


Reposted from Bozeman Daily Chronicle:


A bighorn ram is seen within yards of a domestic sheep herd on Bill Hoppe's property near Gardiner on Nov. 28, 2013.  

Posted: Tuesday, December 3, 2013 12:15 am 
by Laura Lundquist, Chronicle Staff Writer 

Weatherly talked to Hoppe in April to propose some alternatives such as helping Hoppe find a different pasture or installing a double fence around the pasture. Weatherly said Hoppe wasn't receptive to any alternatives. “I even talked to him about the danger of predators and it wasn't two days later that the wolves killed his lambs,” Weatherly said. 

On Thursday, Kevin Hurley was thankful for many things, but the sight of a bighorn ram within 6 feet of a flock of domestic sheep was not one of them. On Thanksgiving Day, Hurley, conservation director for the Wild Sheep Foundation, was driving to Gardiner from Livingston on his way to visit friends. North of Yankee Jim Canyon, he detoured to the west side of the Yellowstone River where he saw a gaggle of photographers snapping pictures of 60 to 70 bighorn sheep. After returning to the highway and entering the Gardiner Basin, he glanced over at a field with a herd of domestic sheep and slowed. “I caught a motion out of the corner of my eye and saw a ram coming off the hill,” Hurley said. “He crossed over to the fence and hopped over at a low spot like he knew right where to go.” 

The ram had jumped into a pasture where Jardine resident Bill Hoppe has moved his sheep. Wildlife advocates voiced concern last spring when Hoppe bought sheep for the first time and put them on the pasture that borders the Yellowstone River about eight miles north of Yellowstone National Park. 

Wolf advocates protested after Hoppe shot one of two Yellowstone wolves that killed eight of his lambs. Others worry because domestic sheep carry disease that can affect bison and wild sheep. Domestic sheep can carry a few different strains of respiratory bacteria that can be deadly to bighorn sheep if they touch noses with domestics. Entire herds can die from pneumonia such as they have in Nevada and California. Montana had an outbreak in 2009 when 20 percent of bighorn sheep were wiped out. 

Gardiner wildlife photographer Deby Dixon said photographers have noticed bighorn sheep lambs coughing and choking in past weeks. She has reported it to Fish, Wildlife & Parks. 
“It's analogous to when the Europeans spread smallpox to the Native Americans — Europeans had immunity just like Old-World sheep have immunity after living among other livestock for centuries,” Hurley said. “But the bacteria are still novel in the western U.S.” 

Hurley, a Wyoming Game and Fish bighorn biologist for 30 years, said the ram was initially startled by the sound of the bells on Hoppe's sheep. But the urges of the breeding season caused the ram to get within about 6 feet of the sheep. 
Hurley yelled at the ram, which eventually jumped out of the pasture. Hurley then chased the ram back up the hill. Hurley drove on to his holiday dinner but returned a few hours later to see if the ram stayed away. He counted 27 bighorn sheep standing outside the pasture. 

“This is the single biggest wildlife issue in much of the West,” Hurley said. “It's a difficult situation because it's private land. But everyone is really concerned.” Montana chapter executive director Jim Weatherly said he tried to call Hoppe, but his calls weren't returned. 

Weatherly talked to Hoppe in April to propose some alternatives such as helping Hoppe find a different pasture or installing a double fence around the pasture. Weatherly said Hoppe wasn't receptive to any alternatives. “I even talked to him about the danger of predators and it wasn't two days later that the wolves killed his lambs,” Weatherly said. 

FWP warden Sam Sheppard said no FWP employees have seen any bighorn sheep in Hoppe's pasture and that Hoppe also hadn't seen any. Sheppard said FWP would continue to monitor the situation. He said nothing could be done after the fact but asked people to report any similar incidents so wardens can respond. Hurley said he tried to report it but no one was around on the holiday. 
Photo courtesy Kevin Hurley.


We are posting this information, after becoming aware of the Western Energy Alliance through a series of advertisements. The first ad prefaced a comedy video on youTube, the second ad was on mainstream FM radio.
These ads struck us as extremely slanted and misleading, so we hope to provide you with information about this group and their affiliations, so that you can can become informed. Please read and draw your own conclusions about their claims that western wildlife advocates are blocking the potential for economic prosperity in the western U.S.A. by demanding that western public wildlands continue to be protected by current environmental safeguards.

Clean water, clean air, and a healthy environment are not the sole possessions of environmentalists. 
Earth is shared by all.

Reposted from Checks and Balances Project:

A recent poll of westerners by Hart Research Associates http://www.equalground.org/files/MEMO%20%20Hart%20Research%20Equal%20Ground%2006%202013.pdf found that nearly two-thirds of voters (65 percent) believe that “permanently protecting and conserving public lands for future generations is very important to them personally” while less than a third (30 percent) feel that “making sure oil and gas resources on public lands are available for development” is important.

Reposted from Huffington Post

Reposted from: 
Independent Petroleum Association of America ~ IPAA



Reposted from DeSmogBlog:
Western Energy Alliance

About the climate cover-up

Democracy is utterly dependent upon an electorate that is accurately informed. In promoting climate change denial (and often denying their responsibility for doing so) industry has done more than endanger the environment. It has undermined democracy. There is a vast difference between putting forth a point of view, honestly held, and intentionally sowing the seeds of confusion. Free speech does not include the right to deceive. Deception is not a point of view. And the right to disagree does not include a right to intentionally subvert the public awareness.

Although all public relations professionals are bound by a duty to not knowingly mislead the public, some have executed comprehensive campaigns of misinformation on behalf of industry clients on issues ranging from tobacco and asbestos to seat belts. Lately, these fringe players have turned their efforts to creating confusion about climate change. This PR campaign could not be accomplished without the compliance of media as well as the assent and participation of leaders in government and business.

The world’s best-qualified scientists agree that climate is changing and that the burning of fossil fuels is mostly to blame. Although there is no debate in peer reviewed science journals, the well-funded and highly organized public relations campaign has left the impression – in mainstream media – of a lively and continuing scientific controversy.

Scientists from within the fossil fuel industries’ own organizations raised red flags about climate change as early as 30 years ago – and they specifically dismissed the credibility of deniers by 1995. Yet the fossil fuel industry has continued to support efforts to subvert the science, attacking real scientists and promoting a cast of “skeptics” in their place. DeSmogBlog looks behind these deniers to test their credentials and to search out their source of funding.

People have a right to know who is paying the deniers. It is difficult to deceive or confuse a well-informed person. DeSmogBlog exists to clear up the PR pollution around fossil fuels and climate change.



Taylor Haynes, Cindy Hill and Matt Mead


July 13, 2014 12:00 pm • By Laura Hancock Star-Tribune staff writer 5 

If elected Wyoming governor, Republican Taylor Haynes intends to take back federal lands and could open Yellowstone National Park to drilling, grazing and mining, he said.

Haynes, who describes himself as a conservative and a scholar of the Constitution, said the U.S. government can own only 10 square miles of land, Washington, D.C., for the seat of government, as described in the U.S. Constitution under Article 1, Section 8, Clause 17.

In addition to constitutional reasons, the state should own federal lands to better manage the resources — Haynes specifically criticized the federal government’s management of U.S. forests — and generate more revenue for the state, he said.
Advertisement: Story Continues Below
“There are thousands of drilling permits in the federal system” awaiting approval, he said.

Among federal lands, Haynes includes the portion of Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming, Grand Teton National Park and Devils Tower National Monument. He also wants the state to own U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management lands.
“We will manage every square inch of Wyoming,” he said.

Lost tradition
Phil Roberts, a history professor at the University of Wyoming and author of “Cody’s Cave: National Monuments and Public Lands in the 20th Century West,” said Haynes’ plans could be unsuccessful.
Roberts’ book describes a 210-acre national monument turned over to the state government.

“The results were disastrous,” he said in an email. “To make a long story short, who has ever heard of Shoshone Cavern National Monument? Anyone advocating that federal land be ‘returned’ to the state wants to ignore (or make us forget) the case and make believe that such a failure never happened.

"Even though the site was quietly handed back to the federal government in fairly recent times (1977), the lesson apparently hadn't been learned that turning federal land over to states and local entities has potentially disastrous results.”

The Wyoming Constitution, in Article 21, Section 26, states that Wyomingites gave up federal lands in exchange for statehood, Roberts said.
The state was established after the Civil War, lost by people who advocated states’ rights, and it wasn’t created in the states’ rights tradition, Roberts said.
“In short, such attention-seeking assertions clearly aren't well-thought-out or grounded in any successful historical precedent,” he said. “Besides, I'm sure Mr. Haynes, like the other gubernatorial candidates, has more important real-life issues to address.”

Other candidates
Haynes’ plan is likely implausible, said Jerimiah Rieman, Gov. Matt Mead’s natural resources policy director. Mead is seeking re-election as a Republican. The primary is Aug. 19.

Superintendent of Public Instruction Cindy Hill, who is also running for the GOP nomination, did not respond to messages from the Star-Tribune.

“The governor has led an achievable and rational approach in dealing with these federal land issues, and he has led state agencies in asserting in state primacy,” or regulatory control over specific aspects of land management, Rieman said.
Rieman noted that Mead had crafted an energy policy, which he described as balancing development with the environment.

The general election is Nov. 4. The Republican winner will face Pete Gosar, a Democrat, who called Haynes' plan a distraction.
"I think that talking about things that can’t happen or aren’t going to happen doesn’t help us solve what needs to happen in our state," he said. "That doesn’t help us with Medicaid expansion. That approach doesn’t help us with gender-based wage inequality or worker safety or the cuts to the hunting and fishing that have gone on in Wyoming over the last few years.”

'Personality of Wyoming'
If elected, Haynes would send federal government agencies a certified letter and invite them to attend a meeting in which he will explain his plan. He said they must be gone by January 2015, when he would take office.
“Then in whichever county they attempt to have any official activity, they will be arrested for impersonating a law enforcement officer in Wyoming,” he said.
Haynes doesn’t expect Wyoming jails to be crowded with federal employees. Most will accept job offers that he intends to extend to federal employees, he said.
“They live here. They have families here. They have lives,” he said. “They’ll have the opportunity to use their expertise for the state.”

All the lands would be up for lease for mining, drilling and grazing, but the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality would set priorities to protect what Haynes described as the “personality of Wyoming,” such as beautiful forests.
The state would first consider permits that had been awaiting federal approval on lands with current energy development, he said.
Down the road, the state may put the national parks and monuments up for lease, Haynes said.
“It depends on the need and the national defense situation,” he said. “Those would be last on the list.”

Haynes wants to change how mineral royalties are distributed. Companies pay royalties for production on federal land.
Currently, mining companies send payments to the federal government, and the feds distribute the state portion. Haynes wants companies to send payments to Wyoming directly, and the state would not share with the federal government, he said.

“And if (companies) refuse, we will shut them down, so they won’t refuse,” he said.
Haynes said he successfully decreased federal intervention in Wyoming in a fight in the late 1990s that kept Preble’s meadow jumping mouse from federal protections by arguing that the federal government lacked trespass rights on ranch property.

Haynes, a physician and rancher, also argued with the government research. In 2008, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service removed Endangered Species Act protection for Preble’s populations in Wyoming but reinstated those protections in 2011.
Haynes believes that his work caused the federal government to back off from Wyoming for years, he said.
James Goossen

Copyright 2014 The Billings Gazette. All rights reserved. 



Reposted from Jackson Hole News and Guide:



The New West / By Todd Wilkinson Todd Wilkinson writes his column for the News & Guide every week. He is author of “Last Stand: Ted Turner’s Quest to Save a Troubled Planet.” | Posted 2 days ago

Neo-sagebrush rebels have convinced themselves the West would be much better off if states took control of federal public lands.

The coal industry, oil and gas, hard-rock mining, logging companies and public land ranchers all dream of what would happen if the federal government and its corresponding regulations just went away.

Legislators in various state capitals — some of whom identify with the tea party and subscribe to such farcical conspiracy theories as Agenda 21 — have been busy at work.

Whether in Cheyenne, Helena, Boise, Salt Lake City or Carson City, they’ve concocted fantasies — one of them not long ago proclaimed by Cliven Bundy — that federal public lands do not legally exist.
They’ve also attempted to rekindle a grassroots movement, supported by some members of Congress, to have ownership of national forests, Bureau of Land Management acreage and national parks turned over to state governments.

The most radical of all would result in federal public lands being sold to private entities in order to balance the federal budget.

Never has the legacy of American public lands been under greater threat.
In his brilliant 1993 book, “Beyond the Next Meridian: Land, Water and the Future of the West,” legal scholar Charles F. Wilkinson coined a term for those who seek to exploit public resources while foisting the burdensome costs of production onto society. He called them “the lords of yesterday.”
Four years ago, just after the start of the Great Recession, High Country News publisher Paul Larmer said the lords of yesterday had returned with a vengeance. He presciently predicted that radical antifederal-government ideologues would seize upon the economic downturn.

“Does this mean that the West’s environment is doomed to be pummeled again as the region returns to its longtime role as a resource colony for distant markets?” he said. “Probably, especially with the anti-regulatory, jobs-at-all-cost mentality currently pervading the country.”

Wyoming’s current ploy to export massive amounts of coal to China and threaten to sue any entities that stand in the way is an example of that.

Those advocating divestment of federal public lands and nullification of federal environmental laws have gained influence in state legislatures.
The greatest fear, expressed by several policy experts I’ve interviewed, is that the push to have federal public lands turned over to state control is really a ruse to privatize public resources.
Perhaps there’s no better reference point than the 1,400 acres (two square miles) of state school land in Grand Teton National Park.
For generations Wyoming didn’t give a whit about how much revenue the rental of those lands was returning to the state education fund. Ranchers were allowed to graze their livestock on them for just $3,000 a year. Then, at the end of his tenure as Wyoming governor, Dave Freudenthal inexplicably gave the National Park Service an ultimatum: Either come up with the money to purchase the inholdings or the state would consider selling them to the highest bidder at auction, even, potentially, to a developer who might not have the best interests of the park at heart.
The profound paradox is that the school tract’s worth, appraised at $107 million, wasn’t owed to anything Wyoming had done. Rather, what made the property valuable was Grand Teton’s protected environment, spectacular scenery and incredible assemblage of wildlife — i.e., conservation, which, ironically, Wyoming fought.

If Wyoming is willing to crassly play hardball and profit by holding the welfare of a crown jewel like Grand Teton hostage, who is to say that it or other states wouldn’t take possession of federal lands and then sell them out literally or figuratively to the highest bidders?
“You can’t put a price on how valuable our federal public lands are to us as Americans and Westerners,” said Jackson Hole resident Joan Anzelmo, a member of the Coalition of National Park Service Retirees. “National parks, forests and other lands are part of our birthright and heritage.
“Yes, a fairly narrow group of small-minded individuals are attempting to chip away at that heritage by privatizing these lands or turning them over to states,” she said. “Public lands guarantee us all a place, all a voice, and citizens need to speak up. What the sagebrush rebels are doing runs counter to the very heart of our democracy.”

Photo credit:

No comments:

Post a Comment