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Sunday, June 29, 2008

Thoughts on Carrying

By David Smith
From Judy Boyle

I don't carry a gun to kill people.
I carry a gun to keep from being killed.

I don't carry a gun to scare people.
I carry a gun because sometimes this world can be a scary place.

I don't carry a gun because I'm paranoid.
I carry a gun because there are real threats in the world.

I don't carry a gun because I'm evil.
I carry a gun because I have lived long enough to see the evil in the world.

I don't carry a gun because I hate the government.
I carry a gun because I understand the limitations of government.

I don't carry a gun because I'm angry.
I carry a gun so that I don't have to spend the rest of my life hating myself for failing to be prepared.

I don't carry a gun because I want to shoot someone.
I carry a gun because I want to die at a ripe old age in my bed, and not on a sidewalk somewhere tomorrow afternoon.

I don't carry a gun because I'm a cowboy.
I carry a gun because, when I die and go to heaven, I want to be a cowboy.

I don't carry a gun to make me feel like a man.
I carry a gun because men know how to take care of themselves and the ones they love.

I don't carry a gun because I feel inadequate.
I carry a gun because unarmed and facing three armed thugs, I am inadequate.

I don't carry a gun because I love it.
I carry a gun because I love life and the people who make it meaningful to me.

Police Protection is an oxymoron. Free citizens must protect themselves.
Police do not protect you from crime, they usually just investigate the crime after it happens and then call someone in to clean up the mess.

Personally, I carry a gun because I'm too young to die and too old to take an ass kickin'.

"Be who you are and say what you feel....Because those that matter....don't mind...And those that mind....don't matter."

People Missing in the Wilderness

By Bruce Hemming

After Reading Greg Faber’s story, The Wolf Tree, I called him and we talked about the issue. Greg was trapped in a spruce tree for 2 days with a pack of wolves keeping him hostage. On the phone Greg told me of missing boy from a church camp in Custer County, Idaho. Immediate thorough searching turned up nothing, and he was not found until the following year. Where he was found? They believed the boy hiked up a Grand Mogul mountain sight seeing, then climbed down the wrong way and fell to his death.
Authorities determined that he reached the summit, but human and dog search teams found no sign of him on two descents from the top of Grand Mogul.
The family noted the identification was preliminary and based on personal possessions found in the area. The county sheriff's office said a news release on the case was planned for later Thursday.
What the article doesn't mention is that the remains of the body were scattered around. Wolves had eaten on the body. It must be very tragic for the family to have lost such a young man. Did he fall? Was it an accident? Or did a wolf pack take him down? Thanks in part to the politics of the wolf issue we will likely never know for sure.

Greg, knowing the area quite well, said there is no way that anyone would even attempt to climb down that way without ropes and harnesses. He believes that either the wolves chased the young man over the cliff so to speak or caught and dragged the body there. I found it interesting how the officials handled it, and it reminds me of the movie Jaws when the Mayor was all upset at the Police Chief for closing the beach just before the tourist season started. All that tourism money lost. I believe the same thing is happening in wolf territory.

Why do I keep hearing about cases like this and official reports always state that the person died from some unrelated cause and then the wolves ate their remains? “Our woods are safe… wouldn't want to lose any tourist dollars by telling people the truth...”

I heard of another story in Minnesota where a man in his 40's left his cabin and was later found eaten by wolves. The ‘official’ story is that he must have died of heart attack then the wolves ate him. Heaven forbid we cloud the wolf debate with real facts that wolves have actually killed and eaten people in America... who knows what would happen.

It’s funny for me listening to the pro-wolf people. The only place in U.S. building wolf-proof bus stop shelters to protect children from stalking wolves is in New Mexico, yet rumor has it this idea is being explored in Northern Idaho.
Here are a few facts: In New Mexico, if you shoot one of the dog-hybrid wolves you are arrested, tossed in jail like a common criminal, and fined for killing the “Mexican Gray Wolf” for $10,000.00 and/or up to a year in jail. It is a felony- this means the loss of your right to own a gun. The lawyer defending you will charge a minimum of $10,000.00. Shooting one of those wolves essentially adds up to $20,000.00 and 6 months in jail.

Now in some other states a wolf can be shot and the fine is $1500.00 and about 10 days in jail. Yet when children are stalked at rural school bus stops in Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Minnesota, Wisconsin or Michigan- then ‘officials’ ‘teach’ the wolves a lesson about not stalking children via rubber bullets or loud noises, etc. This has boiled down to fathers acting like the Americans they are with the God-given right to protect their children shooting the wolf, which really ends the ‘problem-wolf’ stalking children, if only temporarily. Any parent in America would and should do just that. Every single hunter, fishermen, rancher and rural American needs to tell the wolf ‘advocates’ that when American children are endangered, no law should give that wolf more rights than the children. Any American that shot a wolf protecting children or another human being would never ever be put in jail.
So wolves stalking children only in other states are shot as they should be- that is why they have to build wolf proof bus stop shelters in New Mexico, as it is their only hope for protecting their kids without endangering their family further by being thrown in jail and fined ridiculously for protecting their child from wolves.

Also in New Mexico they are in the heart of a bunch of eco-terrorists running around shooting cows, dogs, windmills and water tanks with Ak-47s. They also have these so-called “forest guardians” that have wolf monitoring devices and track the wolves. Then they are watching you and will turn you in for protecting your children and livelihood.

This is no longer a debate. The wolf has a place in nature but not above American citizens. The back lash on the wolves is rapidly approaching. Each new hiker missing, each new story like “The Wolf Tree,” each time a child is stalked- the American people are going to straighten this mess out when they see the reality that ‘officials’ can no longer hide.

All this can be avoided; but the only way it can be avoided is if the Federal Government starts with turning over the wolf management to the states and leaves it there. If the pro-wolf people win this latest lawsuit and stop the control, look out. People have had enough of 13 years of lies, spin and demonizing for trying to make a living. The anger is building the fuse is set- all it needs is a spark. God help us when that day comes. For, Americans will only put up with so much of this nonsense. It has already started in many states where wolves are being shot. Really when you look at rural America, we’re 90 to 100% that live with wolves and don't want them in such extremely high numbers- then there is the few but very loud that support the wolf program.

This is why I made the documentary Undue Burden - The Real Cost of Living With Wolves. I don't want to see any children hurt by wolves.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

May Newsletter

Feature Story-
-The Wolf Tree
-Collectivism Vs Individualism: The Critical Wolf Issue
-The Dirty Clean Water Restoration Act of 2007
-More Anti-Hunting Lies
-NAIS and Property Rights, A Poll
-Truckin’ Penguins
-Wireless History
Feature Organizations/Sites-
-Americans for Responsible Recreational Access
-The Gardner Files

Welcome to the second edition of the Voices From the Rural American West monthly newsletter. I am pleased to be bringing a new writer to you as well as returning with a few familiar folks with new works I know you will enjoy and gain from as I have. We bring you wolves, politics, environmental issues, recreational access and hunting along with some humor- and in this edition- a feature organization and feature website we feel represent some of what we are about here at VFRAW. A thank you goes out from me to our contributing writers who make this possible and offer great insight and food for thought.
Erin Miller

The Wolf Tree
By Greg Farber
Early 2001: My father dropped me off with my pack at the Bear River inlet at the North Fork of the Boise River, and we agree to meet in three weeks at Ten-Mile Creek on the Payette River. My plan was to climb the Bear River drainage and cross Goat Mountain making my way to Johnson creek and slip into an unnamed lake for some rainbows and solitude. As I watched him drive off, the dust settled and all is quiet except for the breeze, singing birds, and the slow bubbling waters where these two rivers collide. I shouldered the 55 pound pack and stepped off the road onto the Bear River trail starting my hike up the canyon. Flies buzzed me, grasshoppers flitted about, and chipmunks zipped and twisted like lunatics in impossible escapes, making like the jaws of death are just behind them snapping at their tails.
I set my pace, using the walking poles to balance and move like a cat, wanting to take advantage of the coolness and make some miles. I should have seen the omen in the chipmunks hurried flights, but everything was so full of life that I looked up canyon eagerly at the curve ahead of me which I could not yet see around. I had no thoughts of the intricate web of the hunter and hunted, being used to the top of the food chain during my stay here. I confidently looked around at the beauty of this place and looked into those openings made by snow slides which were rich with greenery and thickened between the tall yellow pines, long wisps of moss hangs from them, the buck brush grows taller than me. It is the jungle.
The river talked louder as I moved a few miles into the canyon, having just turned south east as I made my way around the first curve of the canyon. The trail is a highway of fresh tracks and I read the story as I walked along following one after another, sometimes stopping to investigate where one went off to water, or to the mountain and their hide out. Another couple miles goes by, I was buzzing with things seen and heard. The air was heavy with spring and the scent of animals. Everywhere I looked, a branch bent or whipped skyward as birds came and went. The forest is incredible and looks like a sea of deep, deep green, I feel like I can dive into it, it is brilliant.
I did not see the Red Tailed Hawk until I was almost to my first camp site, seven miles behind me now I have used the morning to get here, I pull the 10×28 binocs’ off my chest and raise them to my eyes and watch the hawk, a snake is dangling from the talons and I lose sight of him at the tops of the trees across canyon from me. He had seemed excited, as if he had done something of great magnitude, and he cut the air with folded wing as he turned out of my vision. I stood staring at what I imagined was the mark of his flight which seemed no longer visible. I envied this hawk, and would exchange places with him if I could. It was a great day, a prize day.
The river branch dove left and then right, deep green pools amongst the ripples here, cutting an arrowhead of land at its bend. The tree stood a little inland, pushing out buds as if some force inside it demanded release. Four feet thick at its base, massive branches shading a circle around it- a natural skyscraper 140 feet tall- one massive spruce. A log bridge straddled the river where it narrowed to a stream along the north side of the arrowhead. Up the path beyond it are Trapper Flats and some old eighteenth-century Spanish diggings. Later I expected to go up that way for a look and maybe find myself a trinket or such, but first there was camp to set up for night and fish to catch and eat. I was glad to drop that pack and set about making the fire spit ready for evening, and set up my little home here. I was looking forward to enjoying the river and sight seeing before dark, and tomorrow’s getting to Goat Mountain and the waterfall where I would camp the next night.
After finding myself a forked stick to use as a spit for later, and collecting of firewood for the evening fire, I thought I would go and sit on the log and use my 10×28s again to see into the pools to spot a brook trout and watch my meal first before attempting to take him with fly. I wanted to know him before I put my hook in. I wished him to know that what I did I did not do out of malice but to live. I could see several trout in the deep pool below the natural log bridge, and spotted several two pounders darting about and playing below. Already knowing their colors and size, I also knew their taste- one would be my fish soon. I knew my food from the moment I saw them circling under the rushing water, watching the surface for their food of flies. One made a tight turn and then a short, powerful run before his leap out of the water taking his fly then returning to his friends. The slap and silver flash was quick and wonderful, I knew just where to place my fly later. That leap would make him my meal this day.
Things were as they should be, the woods moved in complex rhythm, things mated, ate, and were eaten. The whole thing was sustained by the interlocking network of its parts. I liked this camping spot, I could see much of the canyon below me, and its sheer cliff walls to the southern sides and gentle but steep timbered slopes of the north sides with scattered shoots. It held openings with buck pastures- I thought it strange I had not seen the elk and deer it must hold now, not even a track of hoof had I seen yet, but this area is a big country and I thought not much of it. When I looked up the canyon towards Goat Mountain and could see the switch backs far above which would be my path tomorrow, the sun felt nice, I could feel my body drinking in its warmth. The air smelled of pine and cottonwoods and bitter sage; a chickadee whistled across the camp from branch to branch scolding me and my pack for our intrusion, I watched him flit off down the path I had come in on. I looked up into the blue sky and felt my world spinning around me, with the canyon rims just touching the edges and the snow capped peak of Goat Mountain behind me. The stars turning above the high blue of the sky could almost be felt, and for an instant, we spun together- the stars, the river, the fish and me.
When I next looked up, the wolves were hurrying down the near side of the opening into my clearing and camp. Instantly I sensed this would not be the usual howling session and testing on me, they had made up their minds I was their prey. It was only a short run to the log and across it. Had the first wolf had not bumped into the second and gone splashing into the water, they would have torn me down before I reached the lowest branch of the mighty spruce. I looked around while running and knew I had to make that spruce, it was the only one I could be sure of making, so I sprang towards it. The lead wolf swept around the point of the land yelping and struggling against the current. It occurred to me that he might not make it out, and I wished him into the fastest part of the current where his legs would tire and let him drown.
The other five hesitated on the far side of the log for a second, watching their leader shrieking downstream. His terror and anger seemed to disarm them for a moment and it gave me the time I needed.
The lowest branch was a good nine feet off the ground, I ran right up that massive trunk throwing myself back and up and wrapped my arms around that branch pulling myself up and swinging a leg over the branch then my other. I stopped a moment, caught my breath and my mind, and then pulled myself around to the top of the branch and slid over against the tree. Holding on, I stood up and grabbed another branch then steadied myself. One wolf had just nipped my vest as I rolled around the branch to safety, lucky for me he leaped after me too soon and fell short; otherwise he would have pulled me to the ground.
Whew, I laughed and cursed at the same time, I was cut up a bit on my arms from the bark of the branch, but fine. I was glad to be wearing marmot skins on my legs and a marmot shirt under my Kakadu vest, and then loose fitting camo khakis shorts, thus I was not fighting tight clothing at all in my rush to safety. The other four wolves tumbled into the tree base and they all were jumping and snarling but I was out of their reach and they knew it.
I was shaken a bit and moved up into the tree, my heart pounding. Those are the coldest eyes below I have ever looked into in my life, and I have faced a Wyoming grizz before. I moved to a wide huge branch on this monster spruce, another smaller branch forked out from it and close to the tree so I sat on this with my back to the spruce and tried to relax and focus on this situation. I could see across my fishing hole and camp, I could see my pack and my evening stack of fire wood and lying across my pack is my belt of cartridges and holstered pistol which I wished now was on my hip.
I just laughed out loud at the luck, and looked down and cursed them. Finally looked away from them and started watching the Alpha; he had made it out of the river and was approaching the tree. Tall and black with gold eyes, 150 pounds of sheer muscle and teeth- I shivered as I admired him. He looked up into my eyes and somehow let me know he was angry, as I had bested them for now.
No doubt, they thought of my skull cracking like a nut in the narrowing angle of their mighty jaws, opening the sweet delicacy of my brain to them like the meat of a walnut. I could see their hunger in the joyous frenzy of their leaps. They wanted me with a sadistic exuberance that made them keep leaping long after they had any chance of reaching me. I stood up and teased them, I spit on them. I cussed them; I imitated a chimp and drove them mad. I became mad and screamed out loud, I almost leaped into them to fight this prehistoric and savage battle with them as I felt my warrior savage anger rising. I felt the way I had made a few cougar feel, trapped in the tree, I hissed and spat at them. This was kinda’ fun, I had no idea at that moment just how zero on the fun meter this would become. I roared with laughter at their frustration. They circled the tree and began to howl. I sat back down and tried to ignore them. Maybe they would leave soon. I had things to do.
I decided to climb higher into this mighty spruce which had become my prison; I wanted to go high enough that they could not see me. I disappeared into the tree, and was getting tired. Reaching a spot where three massive branches grew out close together and then tangled a bit, I found I could almost lay on it. I scooted onto it with my back to the tree and took note of the day’s events mentally. I remembered the pouch in my vest full of hemp seeds, got it out and ate some as it appears my trout and wild plant meal was off. I had a knife and saw on my belt, some ten foot of twine in the vest pocket, and my lp-3 light with a bumble bee chocolate bar- but no water, I tried not to think of the water. I unleashed my belt and fastened it to the tree branch looping it thru my belt loop again and buckling it back up. Then attempting my afternoon nap, I remained silent looking around at my view outside the tree, the view alone was worth the climb, and I try to shut out that howling. Finally, sleep found me. I expected the wolves would get bored and leave soon, the best thing is to ignore them. I did.
Mid-afternoon I awoke from this sleep, now quite sore. The cuts on my arms stung and thirst was another physical problem I tried to ignore as I rubbed my head with my hands to push the cobwebs out. It was now silent except for the river and the slightly enhanced breeze. Unhooking from the branch, I moved down to have a look-see. The wolves are moving back and forth along my scent trail at the camp, to the log and across to the tree where I reside at the moment. Thinking I might be able to reach the river unnoticed and drink, I edged down, then I stop and watch them. Timing this thing that must be perfect- get a drink and get back to the tree. I figured I would attempt it, but I have only seen five wolves at my camp… where is that lobo Alpha, I could not see him as I moved around the tree to hide my drop to the ground from view from camp. A low growl… there he was… waiting about twenty feet out from this backside of the tree. He charged the tree growling and snarling, bringing the other five across the log and back under the tree. Then a rage built within me as I climbed up again and sat. Then I decided to cut up a branch and make short chunks which I could throw down at them. Once done, I then moved down a bit getting set. I throw one of my chunks of wood at the Alpha, smacking him a good blow on his rib cage. He sort of shrieked and howled as he lunged at the tree, the other wolves started leaping again and I pelted them with sticks until I ran out.
I moved back up into the tree from their line of sight, to my perch, and re-hooked in to sit and ponder this out in my mind. I decided to ignore my adversaries longer this time, while observing a squirrel sitting out on a branch of a nearby tree watching the spectacle from his own perch. As if to tease me, he jumped across to my tree, through it, then leaped out to another tree before turning to scolds me. I shook my grinning head; everybody was on my case this day. I sat and stared out at the birds as they flew about amongst the tall pines and brush of the north slopes behind me. The howling had stopped again and I decided to visit the top of this tree, nothing else to do right now. Climbing up thru this incredible tree, I never imagined in all the years walking past here that I would spend and entire afternoon in this tree. Perhaps I should have, the view from up there was magnificent. I perched myself upon a very thick group of branches where I could see all the way around me. I found that I could put my arms around the trunk up here. I watched some goats up in the rocks above me, looking after little Billie-unbothered by the events taking place below them.
A ruckus began below me with growling and snarling, so I climbed back down to a safer position in the tree and looked out and below. The wolves were tearing apart my backpack pulling on my belongings and throwing things about. My sack of collard green leaves and onions was trashed- they chomped on the cans of sardines from Portugal, splitting them open and licking out the contents. My sack of apples and oranges was strewn about along with two pounds of hemp seeds, walnuts, and almonds along with clothing, my thermorest and sleeping bag. I just laughed, what else could I do, I had seen chewed open cans before but never got to watch it happen before, I just watched and enjoyed the show; hoping one would slice off his tongue for his efforts. I counted five wolves, then I looked around below me and sure enough just to the north the Alpha had climbed a knoll and was just sitting there, looking right at me, those cold eyes met mine and I knew then his determination. The others might have left me, but not him. This wolf was all business. I longed for my pistol which was lying over in the dirt right now, I would show the Alpha determination, but I was unfanged… de-toothed if you will.
The shadows were getting long, signaling that soon the sun would go down, so I moved back to the spot of my nap in the tree from early in the afternoon, I tied in and leaned back. I realized they weren’t going to leave anytime soon. I was stuck in the tree until they got bored and went away.
The ants were making their highway along the trunk of the spruce, and I put my face up against the tree to see them walking the tiny ravine in the bark, full of dedication and purpose. I wondered if there was one ant in the column going steadily by that would let its curiosity distract it from its job and set it wandering down some curling road in the formic acid, hot on the trail of some mystery. But I never saw one that didn’t stay within the lane laid down by some functionary between the nest and food. One or two got lost and did an erratic circle as big as my hand, like some hunter from the city trying to find the jeep trail he had wandered off. The rest never went far from wrong before they stopped and circled, looking for the trail. They did not seem comfortable until they found it again. The ones I took into my hand explored this new world looking for their old; I doubt that they saw much. When I put them back down on the trunk of the tree, they blended right back into the flow of commuters. When I put some down in a new part of the tree, they searched with ferocious diligence until they found the highway again, the road to home, job, and duty. I decided that they were depressingly like people in the end, but I admired them for the way they tracked, even if I didn’t like their purpose.
I was getting angry again, for my purpose of freedom had been taken from me and my goal of the next days was shattered as I still sat in this huge spruce tree, scratched, bleeding, and thirsty. I wondered if there were ants like me, were they shunned as well, or did they seek others of their kind to share in new mysteries?
The sun went down, and I lost the ants in the changing contour of the tree. The darkness came in like a tide, shade by shade, deepening the water into space and throwing stars back with the unveiling of the dark curtain. The cold came with it. I watched the river dim, darken and then become slowly bright again as my eyes adjusted to the dark. In fits and starts I fell asleep and woke to changes, cursing myself for missing them. Sometimes when I awoke, I got hungry, but that passed, then I got thirsty and that didn’t. So I put it aside until I could do something about it and watched the sun come up. The wolves below me jerked and twitched in their dreams. I wondered if they were dreaming of eating me, tearing my soft human flesh to shreds and ripping my muscles from the bones, or would they just kill and waste me like they do so often to other creatures of the forest- like they did to that kid in Canada, or to those other North Americans whom died from brutal wolf attacks in history. I didn’t figure they thought they had anything more powerful than perhaps a bobcat up this tree, and I grew angry. I decided I was going to fight, I hated to be taken for granted like this. There were those stupid wolves lying down there, and I trapped in this tree like some greenhorn city hunter whining and crying over a little discomfort. Besides, I couldn’t go another day and night with out water, if I did, I would have died and I knew it. I was dehydrating bad and had to stop it.
As if the Alpha new my thoughts, he went to the river and drank, then turned and looked at me and almost grinned. This made me so angry, I started cutting up another branch into chunks and stocking up on ammo, I wanted to beat them back from this tree. I would bean that Alpha if it were the last thing I’d do. I could tell by watching him he was one of those rare wolves with super intelligence and cunning, and he was determined to have me. I got the impression I was not their first human and I wondered about a missing young man over towards home- gone missing from his church camp a while back. I contemplated this must go on yet the actions are either hidden from public view or out right denied.
I furiously cut up all the dead branches I could find in my tree kingdom, and stacked them high on a wedge of branches near the lower part of the tree. I made myself a nice club from a heavy branch and tied it with twine to a living branch so as not to lose it. I stopped and ate some hemp seeds; I noticed clouds moving in to the canyon and hoped for some rain. I had an Idea how to get out of this and started formulating my escape in my mind spending the rest of the second afternoon driving that Alpha crazy and getting to know his reflex movements and such. I could see the absolute anger and determination in his eyes to kill me, I swear those eyes penetrated my inner being like cold steel. I raised my arm again to throw a stick and watched him jump back out of range, I kept the stick in my hand and when he charged forward I threw it hard and nailed him on the head. He leaped up then dropped and ran by the tree to get behind me, and then circled back. I realized then that he was playing me too, trying to tire me and wear me down, hoping I would misstep and fall.
Sitting down again, starting to rain ever so slightly, I caught what I could in my mouth. The wolves sitting below me now with a forlorn, less excited howling. A couple of sparrows had an aerial battle I could see through an opening in the branches which I sat on. I could see the river swirling down through the trees and valley I had hiked the day before. A nice rainbow darted out of the water twisting and turning, then slapped back under after he came out and caught a fly.
I could feel the dehydration headache coming on and knew I was in trouble as I licked rain drops off the pine needles and branches, catching rain drops more in my mouth as they fell from above. I sat silent, watching the wolves and watching it get dark again. I hooked into my spruce camp and sat wet and shivering in the cold darkness, I had to be careful now as the branches were slick. At some point I fell asleep, I woke to pain and cold so got up and flexed and moved, doing some pull ups from a branch, locking my hands together until I was hot and tired again. I slept until the gray dawn woke me, I watched below me for the wolves but they were gone.
Elated and feeling like the fool green horn city hunter, I climbed down to the lower branches of my kingdom- the wolf tree. I looked about and could not see them, and felt sorta’ humiliated that I had not defeated them. I wished they were back so I could even the score on them. I looked around myself, raised my eyes to my camp and, and caught movement on the rise dropping into my camp- five wolves were sitting on the rise where I had first seen them two days ago yet I could not locate the big black Alpha, he was missing. I swung myself around my tree and looked for him hiding in the brush or tall grass but he wasn’t there. I lowered myself some more and studied the tracks on the ground, but in the confusion of all the tracks, I could not figure out which way he had gone. I got down onto the ground, I crept towards the water. Halfway between the water and the tree I spotted the black wolf coming for me, I was caught, fell for his trick. He had been hiding behind the log jam and then jumped onto the log bridge and was running full steam at me. I lunged for the river, my only hope, I knew I could not jump back into the safety of the spruce. I dived into the deep green pool of the Bear River and swam under water with the current.
I could feel the river carrying me down stream in the rapids, the cold of spring run off was shocking and I thought I would drown. I fought to stay under and to get distance between the Alpha and me. I stuck my face up and grabbed some air, went down again floating along, smacking rocks, then finally I looked up from the cold- I knew I was done, I could not even move my limbs, then I saw it- a small sand bar next to the bank. I hit it and somehow pulled myself out and lay on it for some time until the numbing cold left me, and I could crawl off into the brush and hide. I went under a small cotton wood in tall grass and with my back to it watched upstream. I had washed down stream two-hundred yards and could see my wolf tree, yet I could not see the wolves. I got up and headed down the valley, watching all around me and finally made the road after two hours- muddy, bloody, beaten, and alive. I walked to the North Fork of the Boise River Bridge and sat down there until some campers saw me. After hearing this story, they gave me a ride to my father’s home some 40 miles away.
Two days later, I went back to my camp and retrieved what was left of my pack, pistol, walking poles, clothes and bedding. I brought a 12 gage shotgun with me this time, no wolves were around. I looked at the wolf tree and the log jam. I smiled, and knew I had learned another lesson while playing in the great outdoors. I’ve wanted that black since then, I wanted to kill him. He was a demon disguised as a wolf, I think. I will never forget him, and the wolf tree that saved me.
Greg Farber is a lifelong Idaho/Wyoming mountain man, hunter, fisherman, backpacker, and horse packer who grew up 30 miles from the Idaho Sawtooth Wilderness near Lowman. He learned the art of tracking and survival from Native Americans. Preferring to hike across the Sawtooths from the West going East using no trails made by men, Greg has taken three 200 class mule deer bucks all with over 30 inch spreads and is determined to get his 40 inch buck before leaving this place. He was born in 1959, and his mother cooked for his family in a little log cabin on a Monarch stove, he says, “sure do miss those days…”

Collectivism Vs Individualism: The Critical Wolf Issue
By Bruce Hemming
Researching and talking with people about the wolf issue I noticed a trend with the pro-wolf side. "Wolves are needed for a healthy eco-system," or "it can't be that bad, wolves are good and people just have to learn to live with them." Often, people that make these statements are hundreds if not thousands of miles away from those living with wolves. Yet there are those who live near wolves that say the same thing, but again, the majority and often most vocal and powerful are located in big cities. How many people living with wolves 365 days a year support them? Well, the number is a low 25%. Then Ask the ranchers and rural families that have had their dogs horses or livestock attacked if they support the wolves, and you may see 10%. Clearly 90% will tell you there must be sound management. Use the US Constitution guarantees the right to bear arms, the right to private property and the protection thereof, the right to protect themselves and their children, the right to protect their pets and livestock, and also the right to peace and life without undue harassment.
Follow this great web link to better understand what is going on with this vital issue, which is imperative:
“Socialists or Communists or Fascists are collectivist and sees government as the solution. The collectivist believes that the group is more important than the individual and, if necessary, the individual must be sacrificed for the group. Sometimes that is expressed in terms of ‘the greater good for the greater number.’ It’s a very appealing concept.”
This statement applies especially to the wolf issue.
The pro-wolf side essentially says individual rights are unimportant, as is the fact that ranchers and outfitters are being forced out of business. They don't seem to care that people have been stalked, children terrorize, livestock and pets slaughtered- all by wolves. The concept seems to be that the individual must be sacrificed for the cause. Those of us who believe in freedom and human rights say- hey, wait a minute... Many if not most of those who oppose the wolf situation in ‘recovery’ areas don't wish to ‘wipe out’ the wolves, they want is reasonable control and that is the least they could ask for given the reality of the situation.
“Collectivists are often critics of religious and family values, because collectivism demands unquestioning obedience to the state. Since loyalty to family or religious codes often conflict with the concept of group supremacy, they cannot be tolerated in a collectivist system.”
You see, people who believe the wolf –an animal- deserves the same or more rights than people, children no less, being terrorized by them are falling in line with the Socialist, Communist, and/or Fascist way of thinking. Have they forgotten they are Americans?
“The view of individualism was expressed clearly in the United States Declaration of Independence, which said: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among men." Nothing could be clearer than that. "Unalienable Rights" means they are the natural possession of each of us upon birth, not granted by the state. The purpose of government is, not to grant rights, but to secure them and protect them.”
Those who believe in Freedom, our Rights, and The Declaration of Independence have no problem with their fellow Americans protecting themselves and their property from damages from wolves.
Simple concept: our forefathers ensured our 2nd amendment guaranteeing our right to protect ourselves and our property. What happened was the Socialist, Communist, and/or Fascist way of thinking seems to have taken control in this issue and resulted in others being convinced, especially those living in cities or away from wolf country that what has happened with the wolf populations is for the greater good- therefore it is fine for people’s livelihoods and family businesses to be sacrificed for the wolves.
“By contrast, all collectivist political systems embrace the view that rights are granted by the state. That includes the Nazis, Fascists, and Communists. It is also a tenet of the United Nations. Article Four of the UN Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights says: "The States Parties to the present Covenant recognize that, in the enjoyment of those rights provided by the State … the State may subject such rights only to such limitations as are determined by law."
Why do we need so many wolves? Are they really worth stripping peoples of their rights? Are they really worth bringing the full force of the Federal government down on Americans and forcing them to accept wolves at their doors? “…Those rights provided by the State … The State may subject such rights only to such limitations as are determined by law." So people that believe in Socialist, Communists or Fascist ways in regards to the wolf issue say, “of course the collective good is more important than individual rights. Run these people over, toss them in jail, force them out of business, let their animals be slaughtered- who cares about people? The wolf is more important.
“The collectivist says you have to force people. That’s why he has an affinity to government. Government is the embodiment of legalized force. You can always spot a collectivist because, when he confronts a problem, his first reaction is to say, "There ought to be a law." His attitude is that we must force people to do what we think they should do, because they are not as smart as we are - we collectivists.
The collectivist believes in coercion. The individualist believes in freedom.
Last year Defenders of Wildlife collected over 35 million dollars. How was public opinion manipulated? A process called mass media propaganda. To get a greater understanding watch the film, “The Corporation," an outstanding documentary on how we become good consumers, yet the important part of the film is how public opinion and thoughts are manipulated. Physiologists are hired in developing these ads and commercials. How has this manipulation of public opinion in regards to wolf issues been accomplished? The value of presenting a single image or slogan, and repeating it over and over again until it becomes ingrained in the public's consciousness. “Wolves are needed for a healthy eco-system” has almost become a chant as a result of this. Then the thinking is reinforced with the "independent expert" and the "guy on the street" being interviewed in such a way that the only logical conclusion is to support the wolf. Propaganda can be used in very clever ways based entirely on emotional appeals. Emotional appeals are very powerful tools used to manipulate the public. The wolf turns into a heartstring-tugging animal that is almost heroic. A lot of pro-wolf people, when spoken with, seem to think the wolf is a deity of sorts. How could anyone ever wish to harm one, they wonder? What they are saying is a product of buying into the propaganda of the ‘collective good.’ Individual rights and freedoms are forgone, as is American greatness based on individual freedoms.
--The title of my film is “Undue Burden,” the term defined as being when some are forced to pay and sacrifice for what a particular majority wants. Do you believe in freedom? The only way you will truly be able to understand the wolf issue and see what has been missing from showing the issue is to watch this ground-breaking documentary www.prosts.com/Documentary-Undue-Burden.htm then you will finally be able to see what these people are living with. Do you believe in the “collective good” or individual American Rights?

http://www.lewrockwell.com/englund/englund46.html “The Green Recession: Today, thanks to Al Gore, greenies are riding high. For it is they who are the anointed ones who have the answers to prevent hurricanes, tornadoes, typhoons, soil erosion, flooding, osteoporosis, indigestion, migraine headaches, and shark attacks. (Of course, their real objective is to eradicate humanity, but that is an issue I have covered previously). And, true to Stephen Schneider’s "vision," the green movement’s success has been built upon a pack of lies.” -Eric Englund

The Dirty Clean Water Restoration Act of 2007
By C. J. Williams
The Clean Water Act of 1972, officially the Federal Water Pollution Control Act, was designed to govern pollution in the “navigable waters of the United States”. Responsibility for the law was placed under the jurisdiction of the Corps of Engineers. Navigable waters were defined to mean water on which a canoe could float and the legislative mandate was quite broad: “to restore and maintain the chemical, physical and biological integrity of the nation’s waters.”
The legislative bill’s primary designer was Sen. Ed Muskie (D-Maine) who some consider the father of the modern day environmental movement. Muskie was Maine’s governor from 1955-1959 and then a senator from 1959-1980 before serving the Carter administration as Sec. of State from May 1980 to Jan. 1981.
In a glowing tribute on the “founders” page of the Edmund S. Muskie Foundation Website, Leon G. Billings wrote that “before Ed Muskie, there was no national environmental policy. There was no national environmental movement. There was no national environmental consciousness.”
None could say there’s no “national environmental consciousness” anymore, that’s for sure, as environmentalism has become almost rabid in intensity, particularly with more than sufficient nudging by Gang Green’s partnering “tax-exempt” stakeholder groups who pass around a peace pipe with the taxpayers’ resource management agencies one minute and then sue them the next.
The lofty goal of Muskie’s 1972 Clean Water Act was to make the nation’s lakes, rivers, and shoreline clean enough for swimming and fishing by 1983. The immediate task to be undertaken, however, was to stop municipal sewage plants and other government facilities (such as military bases) and industries, including manufacturing, mining, oil and gas extraction entities, and also certain agricultural businesses (i.e. animal feedlots) from dumping untreated or poorly treated wastes into the public’s navigable waters. (Surface water for drinking purposes is governed by separate legislation, the Safe Drinking Water Act of 1974)
The 1972 Clean Water Act was amended in 1977 and is now primarily administered by the Environmental Protection Agency, which helps state and local governments set up their own pollution control plans. The Clean Water Act of 1977 provided for billions of dollars in grants that helped local communities build sewage treatment plants. Unfortunately, now that many of those treatment plants have become obsolete and in need of updating and repairs, the broke and badly bent communities are hard put to foot the bill on their own.
While the federal government could continue to kick in with money for upgrades, as it’s done in the past, it seems there’s no longer enough money in the nation’s coffer. One might wonder how that can be since presidential hopeful Barack Hussein Obama had no qualms about recently introducing legislation that would use $845 billion in taxpayer money to augment what America already doles out to reduce poverty everywhere else but in the USA.
Though the goal of the Clean Water Act of 1972 wasn’t reached by 1983, at least 60% of the nation’s intrastate (within a state) waterways were considered clean enough for recreational purposes by 1998. Chances are much of the 60% was safe long before 1972, but figures regarding that notion aren’t readily available. The good Lord knows I swam and fished in one heck of a lot of Michigan water from 1950 until today and am no worse the wear for it.
Regardless, only a fool would argue that ensuring that water isn’t safe to swim or fish isn’t a good thing.
What isn’t a good thing, however, is that the Act has been and continues to be manipulated by environmentalists who yank lawmakers around by the ring in their nose, just as has happened with the Endangered Species Act, so that, as time passes, people lose more and more of their private property rights without really knowing what hit them, let alone the how and why of it.
The latest manipulation is in the form of the Clean Water Restoration Act of 2007, which eliminates the term “navigable waters of the United Sates” and replaces it with “waters of the United States”. As such, the new term means “all waters subject to the ebb and flow of the tide, the territorial seas, and all interstate and intrastate waters and their tributaries, including lakes, rivers, streams (including intermittent streams), mudflats, sandflats, wetlands, sloughs, prairie potholes, wet meadows, playa lakes, natural ponds, and all impoundments of the foregoing, to the fullest extent that these waters, or activities affecting these waters, are subject to the legislative power of Congress under the Constitution.”
To encapsulate that new definition for “waters of the United States”, it means all water, every last drop of it, even on your very private, do not trespass, land that the government lets you own in name only, provided you pay property taxes to do so.
In essence, if it rains hard enough on your land to cause a run-off into a roadside ditch, or gives rise to wet meadowland on the back forty, or a water filled pothole in your driveway, the feds believe the Constitution empowers them to apply their cockamamie law to your private property.
Technically, according to Article I, Sect. 8, the US Constitution allows the federal government to “regulate commerce…among the several states…”. Being the devious bunch they’ve been long before being “transparent” about globalism and sustainability came into vogue, the ruling majority of our elected who serve in D.C. have interpreted their constitutional empowerment to mean they have the right to regulate the “navigable waters” of the United States because some goods are transported by boat.
Now they’re interpreting their empowerment to include striking the term “navigable waters” in favor of regulating mud puddles on anyone’s private property. And, if you don’t think Gang Green hasn’t helped in this endeavor, think again, as countless lawsuits have been filed against more than a few other than the U.P.’s Richard Delene and downstate Michigan farmer John Rapanos, who fought a long, hard, and very expensive battle regarding dubious wetlands on his private property 20 miles from the nearest navigable waterway.
In fact, the Rapanos v. United States case and another, Carabell v. United States, decided in 2006 by the Supreme Court in favor of the private property owners, may have provided the catalyst for the federal legislature’s decision to revamp the Clean Water Act so as to strike the term “navigable water” and replace it with “waters of the United States”. Not only that, but the feds also had their Constitution tampering legislation questioned in 2001 when a Supreme Court ruling limited the government’s reach to some extent by exempting isolated wetlands that didn’t cross state lines and didn’t have a hydrological connection to navigable waters.
Not having to fight city hall because they are city hall, a contingent of 174 U.S. Representatives, mostly Democrats, have decided to make an end run around the Supreme Court and bellied up to co-sponsor the newly contrived Clean Water Restoration Act of 2007, a.k.a. HR-2412. The bill was proposed by Rep. James Oberstar, a Democrat who, since 1975, has represented several counties in northeastern Minnesota that include the cities of Duluth, Brainerd, Grand Rapids, Hibbing, and International Falls.
Michigan legislators who don’t mind interpreting the Constitution in a very liberal manner so as to regulate the use of any water in any amount by We, the People and who have signed on as co-sponsors of HR-2421 are Republican Rep. Vern Ehlers and Democrat Reps. Conyers, Dingell, Kildee, Kilpatrick, Levin, and Stupak.
Russ Feingold (D-WI) introduced similar companion legislation, S-1870, in the Senate. Michigan Senators who co-sponsored Feingold’s bill are Carl Levin and Deborah Stabenow.
Clearly, our legislators need to get reacquainted with the 10th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America, which is part of We, the People’s Bill of Rights: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”
To quote respected property rights activist Henry Lamb who wrote in his Feb. 4, 2008 article, ‘The Feds Are Trying to Steal Your Water’: “All limitations of freedom should arise from the government that is closest to the people and should be authorized by the consent of the people whose freedom is limited. In the case of water regulations, these regulations should arise from the government that is closest to the water source and water users, and these regulations should be approved by the people whose freedom is limited by them…
“…The regulation of non-navigable waters should remain in the hands of the state and local governments, where the people whose freedom is threatened can express their concerns and approve, or reject, specific regulatory proposals…
“…When Bill Clinton moved into the White House, every resource agency of the federal government was populated with recruits from politically powerful environmental organizations. The agenda that drives these organizations is not the U.S. Constitution, not the rights of the people. Their agenda is to force the people to behave in ways they think is best for society…
“…The people, and their local and state representatives, should rise up in outrage against this congressional effort to steal their water.”
Link 1 Link 2 Link 3 Link 4

“I wouldn't call it fascism exactly, but [an American] political system nominally controlled by an irresponsible, dumbed down electorate who are manipulated by dishonest, cynical, controlled mass media that dispense the propaganda of a corrupt political establishment can hardly be described as democracy either.” -Edward Zehr

More Anti-Hunting Lies
By Tom Remington

The Committee to Abolish Sport Hunting is continuing their campaign of spreading lies to the people. In an editorial in the Adirondack Daily Enterprise by Joe Miele, president of CASH, says that young people are against “killing”.
“The average age of these “sportsmen” is increasing because hunting and fishing no longer appeal to the younger generation, which has shown for the most part to be uninterested in killing animals for recreation.
According to data supplied by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, since 1996 the number of anglers and hunters in New York has decreased by more than 25 percent and 5 percent, respectively. This has been occurring because sportsmen who choose to interact with wildlife in violent ways are dying or otherwise dropping out of the sport faster than new hunters and anglers can be recruited. Despite the waning interest in the blood sports, nonviolent forms of outdoor recreation are becoming more popular every year; hunting and fishing have been declining in popularity as wildlife watching in the state has been showing encouraging growth.”
It is despicable that CASH has taken some data from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that shows the interest in hunting and fishing has declined of late and wrongfully concluded that the reason is because young people aren’t interested in killing animals. Miele offers no data to support his claim because there is none available.
Certainly, the information that USFWS puts out that Miele refers to, does not include any conclusions as to what is affecting any of the trends referred to in this editorial. His assumptions and conclusions are absurd, unfounded and this is nothing more than a cheap trick to influence public opinion.

"The three great rights are so bound together as to be essentially one right. To give a man his life, but deny him his liberty, is to take from him all that makes his life worth living. To give him his liberty, but take from him the property which is the fruit and badge of his liberty, is to still leave him a slave." - George Sutherland, Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court, 1921.

The National Animal Identification chipping program has caused Western Horseman Magazine to hold an online poll on the issue. Beleif in Private Property Rights says support "little guy" farmers, 4-H programs, and anyone who has a horse, cow, pig, sheep, goat, chicken, turkey, etc., on their property and take a moment to visit this poll and vote "no." NAIS requires that these folks register their property where animals are located, as well as every one of their critters, in a national data base so Big Brother can keep its beady eye on them, and it's not just the "barnyard" animals.
The survey is on the bottom left of the Western Horseman page.

There was a blond truck driver who had to deliver 500 penguins to the state zoo. As she was driving through the desert, she broke down. After about 3 hours she waved down a brunette trucker and offered her $500 to take the penguins to the state zoo for her. The next day the blond trucker arrived in town and saw the brunette trucker crossing the road with 500 penguins walking in single file line behind her. She jumped out of her truck and yelled, "WHATS GOIN ON? I GAVE YOU $500 TO TAKE THESE PENGUINS TO THE ZOO!" The brunette driver responded, "I did take them to the zoo. But I had some money left over so now we're going to the movies."

After having dug to a depth of 10 yards last year, New York scientists found traces of copper wire dating back 100 years and came to the conclusion that their ancestors already had a telephone network more than 100 years ago. Not to be outdone by the New Yorkers, in the weeks that followed, California scientists dug to a depth of 20 yards, and shortly after, headlines in the LA Times newspaper read: 'California archaeologists have found traces of 200 year old copper wire and have concluded that their ancestors already had an advanced high-tech communications network a hundred years earlier than the New Yorkers.' One week later, "The Post Dispatch," a local newspaper in Missouri reported the following: 'After digging as deep as 30 yards in corn fields near St Louis , Ole Johnson, a self-taught archaeologist, reported that he found absolutely nothing. Ole has therefore concluded that 300 years ago, Missouri had already gone wireless.

Americans for Responsible Recreational Access (AARA)
Their Statement of Purpose says it all: ARRA was formed to ensure that Americans are not arbitrarily denied the right to responsibly experience and enjoy the public lands that belong to the citizens of the United States. The members of ARRA, which include horseback riders, personal watercraft users, off-highway vehicle and snowmobile riders, and vacationing families, have joined together to provide input on decisions regarding land use designation, recreation opportunities, and preservation. Its members seek responsible consideration of competing activities, which are based on sound environmental principles. No alliance member believes that recreation enthusiasts have the right to exclusive, unregulated use of our national heritage, but all oppose land closure or extreme regulation, which denies responsible citizens access to public lands for multifaceted recreational pursuits.

New Site Loaded With Nevada & the Northwest’s Oral History on hunting, ranching, property rights-
It’s now on line by Cliff Gardner, a lifelong Nevadan who has spent many years of his life documenting game management atrocities throughout Nevada and the western states and its affects on hunters, cattlemen, grazing rights and private property owners.
You'll be amazed at what Mr. Gardner has compiled for our use to benefit each of us in our fields of expertise.
Look it over and appreciate its professionalism and use it in your future research and understanding of our American history.
The Gardner Files-They Drove Us from the Land” www.gardnerfiles.com

Friday, May 9, 2008

"Judge appears to tip his hand in wolf lawsuit"

Idaho Statesman Article
by Rocky Barker on Fri, 05/09/2008 - 7:42am.
U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy appeared to show his hand when he rejected the federal government’s motion Wednesday to delay a hearing on a suit to reverse wolf delisting.
The hearing is set for May 29 in Missoula and Molloy’s main argument for not delaying it was that the federal government knew as far back as February that environmentalists were going to challenge the decision in March to remove wolves from the endangered species list.
But since March 28 at least 39 of the more than 1,500 wolves have been killed, which environmentalists say bolsters their argument that wolves should remain federally protected. Molloy also expressed concern.
"The court is unwilling to risk more deaths by delaying its decision on plaintiffs' motion for preliminary injunction," Molloy wrote in his court order.
Federal officials argue that most of the wolves would have been killed even had they still been under federal control. Wolves have been growing at a rate of 20 percent or more since they were reintroduced in 1995 in the face of 20 percent annual mortalities, supporters of delisting argue.
But Molloy seemed to side with environmentalists when he pointed out the federal lawyers acknowledge that as many as 10 of the wolves killed would not have died if federal protection remained.
I wouldn’t be surprised if Molloy read the story of wolf b253 written by environmentalist Louisa Willcox, who also happens to be the wife of the lead attorney for environmentalists in the lawsuit Doug Honnold. B253 was a former member of the well-known Druid Pack in Yellowstone National Park who was shot the day after delisting by gunners on snowmobilers near an elk feeding ground. It was not hunting’s finest hour.
Just for full disclosure, I’ve known Louisa since 1986, stayed at her home a few times and she has stayed at mine. My wife Tina and I went with her and Doug to Kamchatka in 1992 along with a group of scientists.
No matter what the science or even the law determines, the actions of people who have gone out of their way to kill wolves can’t help but influence the situation. Their impatience could keep they and their hunting buddies from hunting wolves this fall.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Suit Results in May 15 deadline on Polar Bears

A lawsuit by NRDC, the Center for Biological Diversity and Greenpeace resulted in a federal judge's order for the Interior Department and the Bush Administration requiring them to decide by May 15 action on Alaska's polar bears' status. This has become another big step closer to placing the bears under the Endangered Species Act.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Garfield on the oil crisis

A lot of folks can't understand how we came to have an oil shortage here in our country. Well, there's a very simple answer:

Nobody bothered to check the oil. We just didn't know we were getting low.

The reason for that is purely geographical. Our OIL is located in :

Alaska- California- Coast al Florida- Coast al Louisiana- Wyoming- Utah- Kansas- Oklahoma- Pennsylvania and Texas

Our dipsticks are located in DC...

Any Questions? NO?...Didn't think So.

Let The Games...Begin

Idaho Statesman Story on the enviro injunction on wolf delisting.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


Senator Mike Crapo press release LEGISLATION Markup is next for land management bill; Wyden notes efforts on Earth Day Washington, DC - The Owyhee Public Lands Management Act, S. 2833, achieved an important milestone with a hearing today before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee´s Subcommittee on Public Lands and Forests. Subcommittee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) praised Owyhee Initiative Work Group members for their record of collaboration and consensus on land use, noting that was appropriate to hold such a Senate hearing on Earth Day 2008. The Owyhee Initiative legislation is sponsored by Idaho Senator Mike Crapo, who testified at today´s hearing. Wyden and Subcommittee members Larry Craig (R-Idaho) and John Barrasso (R-Wyoming) participated in the questioning of witnesses from Idaho, the U.S. Department of Interior and the Forest Service. The Subcommittee held the hearing to discuss Crapo´s bill and another land management bill, sponsored by Senator Robert Bennett (R-Utah). At the conclusion of the hearing, Wyden directed Senate staff to work with federal agencies, Crapo, Bennett and others to markup the legislation. "The Owyhee Initiative transforms conflict and uncertainty into conflict resolution and assurance of future activity,"Crapo testified. "Ranchers can plan for subsequent generations. Off-road vehicle users have access assured. Wilderness is established. The Shoshone-Paiute Tribes knows their cultural resources will be protected. The Air Force will continue totrain its pilots.Local, state and federal government agencies will have structureto assist their joint management of the region. And this will all happen within the context of the preservation of environmental and ecological health. This is indeed a revolutionary land management structure-that looks ahead to the future. "Now I will speak directly to the folks back home in Idaho, who are rightly concerned about a few provisions in this bill that are of great importance," Crapo added. "I will continue to work with Senators Bingaman, Domenici, and Craig, their staffs and others to make the policies and funding thatwere so carefully negotiated in the Owyhee Initiative Agreement become a reality. As promised eight years ago, I regard the support of the Owyhee Initiative Work Group and diverse interest you represent as mandatory for my continued advocacy for this bill. Our hard work will continue after today´s hearing and I am committed to achieving the objectives that brought us together many years ago and keep us together today." "There are genuine and significant conservation gains achieved through S. 2833," said Craig Gehrke, Regional Director for the Wilderness Society in Idaho and Co-chair of the Owyhee Initiative Work Group. "Wilderness and Wild and Scenic River designation, preparation of travel management plans that will lead to better resource protection from damage resulting fromcross-country motorized recreation in Owyhee County, closure of 200 miles of motorized routes through proposed wilderness, establishment of a conservation research center, increased protections of Shoshone-Paiute cultural sites and resources, and acquisition of private land inholdings in candidate wilderness areas and public rights of way across private land all create a total package that the Wilderness Society supports." Dr. Chad Gibson, a Work Group member representing the Owyhee County Cattlemen, said the plan maintains a local economy and ranching presence and controls development that is important to preserving the Western lifestyle and open spaces of Owyhee County. "The best hope for avoiding fragmentation through special use ownership is to maintain the opportunity for viable ranching use," Gibson said. S. 2833, the Owyhee Public Lands Management Act of 2008, will protect the economic base and wild lands of Owyhee County. It designates 517,000 acres of BLM land as wilderness, while releasing 199,000 acres of wilderness study areas to full multiple use. The legislation keeps ranching operations whole through land trades and purchase agreements and offers federal protection to 316 miles of wild and scenic rivers in the Owyhees.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Sportsmen: Beware the Clean Water Restoration Act

by Peyton Knight
Introduction and Summary
Congress is currently considering legislation that would substantially broaden the federal government's authority under the Clean Water Act. However, like many misnamed bills before it, the Clean Water Restoration Act is a lesson in false advertising. The Act would do more to threaten the cherished pastimes of hunters, fishermen and other outdoor enthusiasts than it would to ensure the cleanliness of our nation's water.
Background: For over three decades, the Clean Water Act of 1972 (CWA) has been mired in conflict and ambiguity. The Act makes it a crime to discharge pollutants into the "navigable waters of the United States" without first acquiring a federal permit. However, what began as a reasonable attempt to control water pollution in our nation's interstate rivers, lakes and streams spiraled into unreasonable federal regulation of isolated wetlands, ponds, dry lakebeds, intermittent streams and drainage ditches.
This overly expansive interpretation has resulted in much confusion, not only for landowners, but also for federal regulators. For example, in 2004 the General Accountability Office (GAO) reported that staff from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the federal agency charged with enforcing the CWA, could not agree on what was considered a protected wetland under the Act.1 One Corps official told the GAO "if he asked three different district staff to make a jurisdictional determination, he would probably get three different assessments."
The U.S. Supreme Court finally attempted to clarify CWA enforcement by ruling that the federal government had overstepped its bounds when regulating isolated wetlands in two cases: Solid Waste Agency of Northern Cook County (SWANCC) v. United States Army Corps of Engineers in 2001 and Rapanos v. United States in 2006.
These rulings elicited outcry from environmental activists and prompted U.S. Representative James Oberstar (D-MN) to introduce the Clean Water Restoration Act (H.R. 2421), which he claims would "restore the authority of the Clean Water Act." Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI) introduced a companion bill (S. 1870) in the Senate.
In reality, the Clean Water Restoration Act (CWRA) does not "restore" the CWA. Instead, it greatly expands its scope and jurisdiction. The bill would bring federal oversight to activities that affect all "waters of the United States" as opposed to merely "navigable waters" as called for in the original CWA. "Waters of the United States" is broadly defined in the legislation to include "all interstate and intrastate waters and their tributaries, including lakes, rivers, streams (including intermittent streams), mudflats, sandflats, wetlands, sloughs, prairie potholes, wet meadows, playa lakes, natural ponds, and all impoundments."6
As Pacific Legal Foundation attorney and Clean Water Act expert M. Reed Hopper told Congress in 2007:
This definition of federal authority [in the Clean Water Restoration Act] is not a "restoration" of congressional intent. It far exceeds the jurisdictional scope of the current Clean Water Act as it appears in the text of the statute. It even exceeds the extravagant scope of the existing federal regulations on which the definition is, in part, based. Indeed, with its claim of authority over "all interstate and intrastate waters," this bill pushes the limits of federal power to an extreme not matched by any other law, probably in the history of this country. Neither an ornamental pond nor the proverbial kitchen sink are excluded.7
The CWRA would also invite environmental litigators to flood the courts with lawsuits that challenge all activities affecting any "waters of the United States." According to Hopper:
[The Clean Water Restoration Act] authorizes Congress to defer to the courts to determine "the fullest extent that these waters, or activities affecting these waters, are subject to the legislative power of Congress under the Constitution."...the proposed Clean Water Restoration Act will just provide another round of intense litigation.
At first glance, the CWRA appears to advance the interests of American hunters, fishermen and other outdoor enthusiasts, given the connection between wildlife and water quality. In reality, the CWRA would threaten these interests.
Hunters: Beware the CWRA
Prairie potholes and sloughs, particularly those found in the prairie pothole region in the upper Midwest, constitute perhaps the best duck breeding and hunting grounds in the United States. As such, in 2006 nearly 1.3 million hunters flocked to North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, Minnesota and Montana, the five states that comprise the prairie pothole region.
Under the Clean Water Restoration Act, however, something as simple as constructing a duck blind on private land on or near these prime hunting waters could require hunters to submit to a costly and time-consuming permitting process.
Both "prairie potholes" (depressed areas that temporarily hold rainwater and snowmelt) and "sloughs" (swampy depressions typically comprised of stagnant water or mud) are specifically named in the CWRA as "waters" that would be subject to regulation - a departure from the original Clean Water Act. As a consequence, driving posts into water and mud near a prairie pothole for construction of a duck blind could constitute discharging dredged or fill material into the "waters of the United States," which is illegal under the CRA without a permit.
In addition, hunters who fire shot over and near prairie potholes, lakes, rivers, ponds and wetlands could be considered polluters under the CWRA. In 1996, a U.S. District Court in New York ruled against a shooting range when it found that expended shot, even non-toxic steel shot, is considered a pollutant under the current CWA.
Limiting or barring access to the prairie pothole region and other popular hunting areas throughout the nation would not only spoil a rich tradition, but threaten regional economies. In 2006, hunters spent nearly $1.4 billion on hunting purchases in prairie pothole region states alone. In the same year, hunting expenditures nationwide totaled $22.9 billion.
Off-road use of all-terrain vehicles or trucks, which is sometimes necessary to transport gear to hunting spots, might be forbidden or require a special permit under the CWRA. Traversing a wet meadow or intermittent stream in a four-wheeler could be deemed a threat to the "waters of the United States."
In addition to limiting access to hunting lands, the CWRA poses a threat to the activities of hunters and wildlife enthusiasts who wish to construct food plots on their land to attract deer, ducks and other wildlife. Clearing scrub or tilling soil to plant such plots could be barred, or require landowners to embark on a lengthy permitting process under the CWRA if the proposed plots are in the vicinity of any wetlands, drainage ditches, wet meadows, intermittent streams, ephemeral lakes or ponds. Indeed, there is precedent for such heavy-handed regulation under the original CWA.
In 2002, in a rare 4-4 tie, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed a lower court's ruling that a property owner had violated the CWA when he plowed his dry land in order to convert it from cattle grazing land into vineyards.
Robin Rivett, an attorney with the Pacific Legal Foundation who worked on the case, found the court's broad interpretation of the CWA troubling. "Congress never intended the Clean Water Act to regulate customary farming practices or the planting of new crops," he said.
Under the CWRA, an even wider array of basic farming practices, including habitat creation and conservation, could be heavily regulated or restricted. According to the Texas Wildlife Association:
If the government expands its jurisdiction [under the Clean Water Act], not only will federal agencies lose their administrative direction, but will likely create regulations that actually limit private conservation...
In addition to expanding the federal government's jurisdiction, [the Clean Water Restoration Act] eliminates permitting exemptions for agriculture, ranching, wildlife management and forestry. The cost of permitting can be prohibitive in terms of money and time.
When Congress fails to clearly define regulatory parameters in the legislation it passes, and instead defers to the courts to divine congressional intent, everything from the practical to the absurd becomes fair game for lawsuits. Any land use activity that could possibly impact the "waters of the United States," as broadly defined in the CWRA, could be subject to environmental lawsuits and regulatory scrutiny. This should be of utmost concern to hunters, who could find themselves, and their pastime, in the crosshairs should the CWRA become law.
Fishermen and Boaters: Beware the CWRA
Like hunters, fishermen and recreational boaters would also find it more difficult to engage in their sports under the CWRA.
For example, the construction of fishing piers and boat docks, which can already require a permit under the CWA, would likely see enhanced scrutiny under the CWRA. Such construction could be regulated in nearly every instance, as nearly every body of water would qualify for federal oversight.
Though certain activities that affect navigable waters are already regulated under the current CWA, the CWRA would place even more activities under the regulatory microscope. This is because the CWRA not only broadens the jurisdiction of land and water to be regulated, but leaves it to the courts and federal regulators to determine "the fullest extent that these waters, or activities affecting these waters, are subject to the legislative power of Congress, under the Constitution." (Emphasis added.) Because specific activities are not defined in the bill, all activities could be examined and potentially banned or regulated.
This means trout and small-mouth bass fishermen could lose access to their favorite rivers and streams, as wading in these waters necessarily disturbs rocks and sediment, and therefore could be considered harmful to fish and other wildlife. Lead lures, sinkers or split-shot could be deemed pollutants.
Recreational boating could be restricted or banned in certain waters due to the incidental discharge of engine cooling water, bilge water, deck runoff or ballast water. In fact, environmental litigators have already struck a blow against recreational boating under the current CWA.
In 2003, several environmental organizations filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for the agency's refusal to repeal its three-decade-long exemption for certain discharges, specifically, those that are incidental to the normal operation of boats, from requiring a permit under the CWA. According to the EPA, such exempt discharges include "any discharge of sewage from vessels, effluent from properly functioning marine engines, laundry, shower, and galley sink wastes, or any other discharge incidental to the normal operation of a vessel."
In September 2006, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California ruled in favor of the environmentalists, forcing the EPA to begin regulating incidental discharges from boats by September 30, 2008. Though the EPA is currently appealing the court's decision, it is also preparing to implement a new CWA permitting process for all U.S. boat owners.
"Because the Court's decision is not limited to vessels with ballast water tanks," the EPA reports, "it appears to implicate an extremely large number of vessels and a range of discharges." The agency includes all "State-registered recreational boats" in its tally of vessels that could now require a CWA permit for operation.
The pending regulations prompted U.S. Senator Mel Martinez (R-FL) to introduce legislation that would exempt recreational boaters from having to acquire a CWA permit simply to operate their boats.
"Requiring family boaters to secure a Clean Water Act permit so that they can wash their boat, fish, or go waterskiing is ridiculous," said Martinez. "This permit requirement is unnecessary and onerous. If allowed to take effect, it will be costly and essentially unenforceable."
Considering the CWRA would encourage a courtroom examination of all activities that affect all waters of the United States, fishing, pier and dock construction and recreational boating could all come under increased fire from litigious environmental groups.
Shooting Sports Enthusiasts: Beware the CWRA
Already a target of the environmental movement, skeet and trap shooting ranges will likely see increased scrutiny should the CWRA become law. In fact, environmental activists have already successfully sued outdoor shooting ranges under the current CWA.

The CWA makes it illegal for anyone to discharge pollutants from any "point source" into "waters of the United States" without first obtaining a permit. A "point source" is typically a discernable source of pollution such as a factory discharge pipe. However, much like the definition of "waters of the United States," what constitutes a "point source" has been subject to broader interpretation. The EPA and courts have determined that outdoor shooting ranges loosely qualify as a "point source" of pollution into our nation's navigable waterways, and, therefore, are subject to permitting requirements under the CWA.
EPA notes that lawsuits "have been the driving force behind most legal actions against outdoor ranges." For example, in 1994, the Long Island Soundkeeper Fund, an environmental organization, successfully sued the New York Athletic Club under the CWA because the club had been operating a trap shooting range on its property. In this case, the court found that debris from clay targets and expended shot, including non-toxic steel shot, are pollutants under the CWA. According to EPA, "Based on the court's decision... any range whose shot, bullets or target debris enter the 'waters of the United States' could be subject to permitting requirements as well as governmental or citizen suits."
More recently, Blue Eco Legal Council, an environmental organization, filed a lawsuit under the CWA against the United States Department of Justice, Coast Guard, Navy, Marines and Department of Defense, alleging that an FBI shooting range in North Chicago is endangering Lake Michigan with stray bullets.
The CWRA would create more opportunities for environmental activist groups to sue shooting ranges for Clean Water Act violations. No longer would a range's activities need to pose a threat to mere lakes and other navigable waters. An intermittent stream or nondescript drainage ditch in the vicinity of a shooting range could be sufficient ground for a crippling lawsuit.
Though Representative Oberstar claims the Clean Water Restoration Act would simply restore the original intent of the Clean Water Act, the reality is much different. By expanding the federal government's regulatory reach beyond "navigable" waters to all "waters of the United States" - including every prairie pothole, isolated pond, wetland and intermittent stream under congressional authority - Oberstar's bill would truly enter uncharted territory. Moreover, by inviting judicial review of all "activities affecting these waters," the bill would open the door to a dizzying array of lawsuits that could challenge virtually any activity, no matter how benign, that takes place in or near any so-called "waters of the United States."
The results could be disastrous for sportsmen, our nation's frontline conservationists, who since the inception of the Sport Fish and Wildlife Restoration Programs over 75 years ago have contributed more than $10 billion for wildlife conservation efforts through excise taxes on firearms, ammunition, archery and fishing equipment. Hunters and fishermen annually provide more than 80 percent of the funding for most state fish and wildlife agencies, and in 2006 contributed over $76 billion to the economy through expenditures related to their sports.
Congress should not reward sportsmen with a measure that threatens to limit access to fishing holes and hunting grounds, and to heavily regulate or ban the use of boats, bullets, shot and tackle.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

April Newsletter

A Voice for Rural American families

• Who gives a voice to rural families?
• Who gives a voice to concerned ranchers?
• Who gives a voice to people who live & play in Rural areas?

Voices From the Rural American West!

Voices from the Rural American West is for Americans that care about people, families & the rich cultural history of rural America. You too can be part of this important issue. Protect rural area children, small business owners - the back bone of the American economy- & address other vital issues. VFRAW will pull rural America together to show the world what we are facing, & give a voice to those affected by critical issues. Our blog will feature important articles & events. Once a month, there will be a preview of the upcoming newsletter that will be sent to subscribers who have signed up at: RuralAmericanWest.Blogspot.com

As editor of VFRAW, I am dedicated to this venture, as once it became clear to me that America is under attack from within, I decided that those whose rights and freedoms are being threatened, especially in rural areas, needed a voice. Many of the problems I’ve seen are in the west; I live with my husband David and two children on our farm in south-central Idaho. We hunt, camp, and ride all over central and southern Idaho. Here as well as all over we face threats to our heritage. From wolves, roadless plans, and logging to water issues, hunting & private property rights, and ranching- I plan to address many concerns facing the rural American west and beyond.

A call to writers: Submit letters and stories; tell your family’s story, share your experiences. Hunters, ranchers, loggers, ATV enthusiasts, rural families: here’s your chance to tell your story! Please write to me at VFRAW@Yahoo.com
Very Sincerely, Erin Miller, Editor

In this issue:
Wolves & our nation, A look back to now, &
an Enviro & Federal Jurist team up, Global
Cooling and Property Rights, Where Have
All the Elk Gone…

• What Does Wolf Recovery
Mean for us as a Nation
• Priorities Then & Now
• The Great Oz & The Judge
• The ESA
• UN Biospheres vs Private
• Property Rights
• Where Have All The Elk Gone?
Long Time Passing…
• The Public Grazing Conundrum

What Does Wolf Recovery Really Mean for us as a Nation?
By Bruce Hemming

Through long, difficult researching I found record of 104 people who have been killed by wolves in North America. This doesn't include all the non-lethal wolf attacks on humans that I came across. Nor does it likely include all lethal attacks, either, as years ago not all news made it into a paper or any record that could possibly have been archived. After all that research, I clearly saw a pattern. Up until about 1930, when wolves were driven far into the wilderness & in some areas exterminated altogether, the accounts of lethal wolf attacks became far & few between. Obviously, government & private landowners decided enough was enough & did what needed to be done to keep children safe. It's simply not true that a healthy wolf in the lower 48 hasn’t killed anyone. Several of the accounts I read indicate that many children were killed by wolves that were robust & appeared to be in good health. Wolf biologists & environmentalists may scoff at the children's story about Red Riding Hood & the Big Bad Wolf, but those doing the scoffing are fabricating a fairy tale of their own. Wolves have attacked people of all ages. Wolves have killed people of all ages. & wolves will once again attack & kill people as the number of wolves in numerous states multiply & eat their way through their natural prey base. One account I came across in a November 1891 Janesville Gazette told of "large vicious gray wolves from Minnesota" killing & eating three children. Some men were taking a short cut through the woods & found the wolves fighting over the bodies. The gentlemen retreated & came back with a group of armed men, but the wolves didn’t leave the partially eaten bodies of the children until two were shot. The newspaper account indicated the children had wandered into the woods to play. No one knows the final terror these poor children felt as the savage beasts ripped the life out of them. So where did this myth come from that wolves pose no threat to humans? In the book titled "Wolves in Russia" written by Will Graves, on page 176, the tendency to diminish the threat was supported by the results of research work on wolf-human interactions in America by D. Mech, D. Pimloff & R. Peterson. Apparently the men unanimously decided that in North America wolves never show aggression toward humans & do not pose a threat at all. They reported only one wolf attack on a human & according to Pimloff the animal was probably rabid. Also, according to Dr. Valerious Geist, Professor Emeritus of Environmental Science, the University of Calgary, there was an instance where it was thought that wolves had killed a Canadian trapper. The newspaper printed the story. When he turned up alive & well, the notion that wolves will kill humans was pooh-poohed & historical records of wolves killing people was dismissed as merely hearsay. Dr. Valerious Geist was merely explaining why the historical record was dismissed by the 3 scientist. However, after countless hours of reading through reams of newspaper accounts & with already over one hundred reports of people being eaten alive by wolves, it's pretty hard to dismiss all those accounts as merely hearsay. By 1930 wolves were pretty much eliminated across the lower 48 states, although in some areas they were still prevalent until as much as two decades later. In fact, over the years people have reported seeing wolves in the more isolated wilderness areas, so it's more than likely a myth, too, that bona-fide Timber Wolves were totally eradicated below the Canadian border. Wolves have never been in danger of extinction. Even though they were driven from woods near people's homes, there were still thousands of wolves in Canada & Alaska & there have always been wolf packs in Minnesota. What's kept them at bay? It was around the 1930s that aerial hunting started & wolves, no matter where they lived, were taught to fear man. Archived accounts of people being killed by wolves are not prevalent after the early 1930s. However, among others, I found an account of a 5-year old boy killed by wolves in Quebec in 1963. The boy's case read like 22-year old Kenton Carnegie's case. Kenton, readers may recall, was a college student who was stalked & partially eaten by a pack of wolves in November 2005 while he was engaged in a university work-study program in a remote area of Canada. Unfortunately, once wolves were "out of sight, out of mind" among Americans, they began to be deified by authors & moviemakers. In fact, "Never Cry Wolf", a book written by Canadian author Farley Mowat & first published in 1963, has been credited for dramatically changing the public's perception of wolves to a more positive one. Regardless of the fact that wolf biologist L. David Mech denounced the author as being "no scientist", which he truly wasn't, & found fault with the way wolves were depicted in the book, Hollywood made a movie out of it in 1983, further glorifying wolves as something they're not. With the advent of the 1972 Endangered Species Act, wolves were listed as an endangered species throughout much of the lower 48 states. In a sense, the Act was manipulated in that wolves most definitely are not in any danger of becoming extinct Government resource agencies knew this, but they knuckled into environmentalist’s demands anyway so as to accommodate various UN treaties regarding environmental issues. A drive has been underway since then to "educate" the masses, particularly school children, as to wolves to being a necessary part of "healthy ecosystems". What nonsense. If anything, wolves carry disease & engage in what's known as "sport killing", which leads to the decline of their prey species, most notably elk, deer, moose, beaver, rabbit, but also calves, cows, horses, dogs, cats, chickens, turkeys, ducks, geese, & whatever else is killable. The "sport killing" is a bit hard for people to deal with seeing as how wolves will sometimes kill just to kill & then move off without consuming their victims. They just leave them there bleeding to death & suffering in agony.
Something else that's getting hard for victims of the wolf reintroduction & recovery program to deal with is bureaucrats & so-called wolf "experts" who won't admit they're wrong or capable of making a mistake. To do so would mean their fountain of federal dollars would dry up for their research grants & program funding. No, they just perpetuate the myth. Worse, state governments are bribed into promoting the myth. It's just a matter of dangling the money carrot & demanding that any negative findings about wolves get swept under the rug or else the money will disappear just like magic. Of course, most states are grubbing for money, thanks to the federal government's poor policies, so the state "powers that be" become real shortsighted when it comes to distinguishing between dollar signs & truth. You can't get any truth out of university researchers either. When it comes to applying for a university research study grant, who do you think will be awarded any money? If you think it's someone who wants to research the negative value of wolves, think again. Even those few researchers who come up with their own research funding find it hard to get their study results published where the general public might see it. So, again, we have more perpetuation of the myth that wolves are absolutely wonderful & will do no harm, & Joe Public, especially the metropolitan area Joes, go to bed at night counting frolicking wolves, not sheep.
The problem is that Joe Public must understand that the critical danger point is rapidly approaching. Wolves wipe out prey species & they are. When they do, they turn to small towns, rural residences, farms, ranches, camps, & summer cottages. Starving wolves don't care what they eat. They're not fussy and, they most definitely will eat humans.
Wolf behavior science & myths are based on a small wolf population that was hunted. The wolves feared man & didn’t bother the scientist studying them. This has led to the false belief that people are safe around wolves. But, dear reader, you must remember this was based on hunted wolves, a low wolf population, & plentiful game.
Wolves live for about 10 years. It takes three generations or roughly 25-30 years, before wolves’ attitude toward humans change. We are at the critical point in history where wolves don't fear man in several states, prey species population are running low, & their next step will be taking over human areas, as they’re now doing in several states.
What do I base this claim on? I base it on the following out take from Antoine Blua’s 3-15-05 article titled "Central Asia: cohabitation of Wolves, Humans Proves Difficult”.

Antoine wrote: "On the arid steppes of western Uzbekistan, some 20 villagers have been reported injured by wolves in five months. Two of them - in the Muinak district - died in early February as a result of their wounds... At night, the wolves own the village. First, they ate all the dogs. Now they have begun to eat sheep, cows [and other animals]. In the past two months, they have eaten 150 of them. Wolves dig through mud walls, break into sheds, & attack [animals]," Qozibekov said."
The Federal Government has decided that American citizens no longer have the right to protect themselves against vicious, bloodthirsty, killer wolves. We have lost our way as a nation when wolves have more rights & protection than the children & adults they’re terrorizing.
There is only one thing to do; stand tall & protect the rights of the children to grow up free of the wolves killing their beloved pets & chasing the little ones into their houses. Stand up & say, “No more wolf protection at the expense of our nation's children”. Allow people the God given right to protect their property, their livestock, their pets, & the mental health of their children by killing the misbehaving wolves.
That's a simple solution & it doesn't necessarily mean wiping wolves out of the picture altogether. Wolf populations & game populations can be managed so we’ll have wolves forever. However, stealing people's rights & placing any man eating predators above American children is nothing less then reducing Americans to the medieval times of feudal peasants who had no rights.
Bruce Hemming is a film maker & a wilderness survival instructor.
His film Undue Burden the real cost of living with wolves is sweeping across the nation.

Priorities Then & Now
Edited by Erin Miller

A man who was young boy back in the 60's remembers visiting state parks, & how Park Rangers back then were “a great bunch of people” who took the time to answer questions & genuinely care about visitor’s experiences. They told of the best fishing spots, where to get firewood and if the season was right for finding wild berries. They had this attitude: “enjoy the land, you are an American Citizen, & so this land is yours.”
Logging back then was allowed & rangers would take the time to teach about the benefits of logging, how at first the land may look bare & torn up but that in a few years there would be new under brush which gave cover for small game & food for deer. It was Mother Nature’s master plan: use what I provide & be rewarded. The land was looked at with this in mind: how many deer, rabbits & grouse can this piece of land hold in balance- and so how many can be harvested each year while maintaining that balance- how much benefit is this to the local economy?
Then along came the Animal rights agenda & the green movement. By the early 70's these groups were everywhere and doing their best to ban hunting, trapping, commercial fishing, logging, etc. Even though these back-to-the-landers wanted to live this socialist pipe dream of living off the land in small communes, at best many of them lasted no more than 3-5 years before realizing one had to work for a living and families need health care, clothes, a home, & food on the table. The pipe dream is still with them today, yet although they know their system has failed & their own experience was disaster- they still believe in socialism and forcing others to live their beliefs.
What Americans have lost is Freedom and the understanding of it. Today when visiting state or national parks you run into some of the Park Ranger elitists who believe you are “invading.” No longer helpful so much as concerned about enforcing rules, policies, and laws. For instance, a program on
television told of a park ranger setting up to patrol a mushroom patch… armed with an assault rifle- stuff this crazy can’t be imagined up. He was “protecting” the mushrooms from illegal pickers. You see, no longer are you allowed to pick mushrooms without a special permit. He didn't catch anyone, but imagine a family on an outing, who happen upon such a patch of mushrooms in this National Park, when suddenly appears gung-ho Park Ranger with his assault rifle? We have lost our way as a nation when mushroom patches are being patrolled with armed Park Rangers.
On this same note, during a Clinton visit to the area in the spring of 1993, suggestions were made as to how to achieve sustained employment in the region while making sensible use of forest products. One of the forest products named was the mushroom. Roughly 750 commercial permits were issued in 1993 at the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest in northeast Oregon. Finally, some have recommended that the Internal Revenue Service, Immigration and Naturalization Service and even the Commerce Department become involved in regulating commercial harvesting of wild mushrooms. Of course there are also “magic” mushrooms and the law. Then you have the Forest Service, the IRS, INS, and Commerce Department… more Government bureaucrats sticking their nose in where ever they can?
Educated Park Rangers of the 60's would have said there is a simple solution to the spotted owl debacle. Select harvest. Leave enough matures trees for the spotted owl to nest in and do a study proving that logging creates more ideal habitat for the owls.
In other words beneficial use of the area not only helps man but is better for the owl and other wildlife. But instead we have college educated greens now saying, “No, no… man can't log.” But what do they really mean? In there own words:
"We must make this an insecure and inhospitable place for capitalists and their projects . . . We must reclaim the roads and plowed land, halt dam construction, tear down existing dams, free shackled rivers and return to wilderness millions of tens of millions of acres of presently settled land." -David Foreman, Earth First!
Interesting when you start reading what these far left wing extremists want. When you hear or read the term “keystone” one should automatically think the KEY to removing the Foundation STONE of civilization. That is what these people want- go backwards in time, destroying &d ripping out American Progress while turning lands “wild” again in the name of saving animals and the ecosystem. They have put plant and animal above man.
When you fall into this mindset you must remember: this is America not communist Russia. We must organize, put egos aside and understand one fact: when anyone’s rights or freedoms are being trampled in the name of endangered species or “keystone” predators, rural families’ freedoms are at stake and we rally on that word FREEDOM. When you help to protect other people’s freedoms, you are in turn protecting your own.

When a radical environmental group and a federal judge team up against ranchers, everyone’s rights are threatened
By Judy Boyle

Once upon a time, long long ago, there was a unique concept in America called Equal Justice. Justice was blind with balanced scales to equally weigh facts and make unbiased decisions. Constitutional law and property rights were actually taught in America’s law schools, educating the attorneys who became federal judges. Back then, Americans believed in the Justice system and thought it a legitimate way to redress grievances. They considered it their right to an unbiased court and that Due Process was genuinely recognized, understood, and applied by all federal judges.
Today, in certain federal courtrooms, those original American Jurisprudence concepts no longer apply---especially in cases dealing with environmental laws. Some judges have become rulers over their specific kingdom, retaining jurisdiction for years in cases unlucky enough to be before them. Their rulings have become quite predictable, based on past actions. They are the judges sought by radical environmental groups in a process known as “Judge Shopping.” Filing an environmental case within a certain federal Judge’s district has shown, time and again, to increase the odds for a successful outcome. Becoming friends with the Judge’s clerk adds even more to the odds of that Judge using specific portions of your legal brief in his decision.
Finding a friendly Judge not only allows the “non-profit” environmental groups to win their arguments and advance their agenda, but showers their organizations with taxpayer dollars. Whenever environmentalists win against a federal agency, the federal treasury is forced to shell out hundreds of millions each year to these green organizations in “attorney fees.” When a private citizen loses a lawsuit, they must pay the preservationist group’s attorney fees. On the rare occasion that the “non-profit” organization loses, they are usually exempted from paying any attorney fees. No fairness involved here.
In Idaho, the livestock-hating Western Watersheds Project (WWP) has hit the jackpot repeatedly in Federal District Judge Lynn Winmill’s courtroom. Judge Winmill is WWP’s sugar daddy who very seldom rules against them, often incorporating pieces of WWP’s briefs to justify his decisions. WWP files so many cases with Judge Winmill that his court calendar stays quite full. Sometimes, he has to give a case to another federal judge and that is when the comparison of a green bias glares brightly. To show an attempt at a balanced decision, Judge Winmill once ruled against WWP. BLM wanted to control a dense stand of juniper to improve sage grouse habitat. WWP sued to prevent this common sense action. The entire case became a moot issue as Judge Winmill’s ruling to allow juniper control came after the area had already burned in a wildfire.
WWP’s Jon Marvel is the self-appointed “ruler” of federal lands where ranchers have grazed their livestock for generations---long before the existence of federal land management agencies, or even state governments. The partnership between the feds and Western ranchers was approved and encouraged by Congress through the Taylor Grazing Act, the Homestead Act, and numerous other laws. Marvel’s single-minded vision of a livestock-free western landscape supposedly comes from an argument with a ranching neighbor. Marvel shows no regard for property rights, rural custom and culture, generations of ranching, fairness, or existing vested rights and certainly has no concept of Cowboy Principles. He appears to be a bitter, angry individual who lashes out at anyone who “interferes” with his concept that he alone knows what is best for the West. Marvel seems to relish the role of harming families with mental anguish, destroying lifelong dreams of passing on the family ranch to the next generation, forcing individuals to lose their income and future. He simply enjoys making life as miserable as possible for hardworking, honest people whose very business depends on their positive stewardship in caring for and protecting the environment and the wildlife.
Assisting in this viciously cruel and reprehensible method of forcing families from their chosen way of life, is a federal judge who grew up on a dairy farm. Perhaps it was a philosophy developed at Harvard University where Judge Winmill received his law degree, or the mentoring from a liberal law professor after returning to Idaho, or influence from Idaho Governor Andrus upon appointment as a state court district judge, or his clerk’s friendship with a preservationist bragged about by a WWP staffer that has allowed this unholy alliance to be cemented.
During President Bill Clinton’s first term, the sole Democrat in the Idaho Congressional delegation, Larry LaRocco, was tasked to find a judicial candidate to fill the vacant federal judgeship in Idaho’s Federal District Court. After several names were rejected by the Republican members of the delegation because of the candidates’ known environmental leanings, LaRocco offered Lynn Winmill’s name. Winmill had no prior history with crucial environmental cases so, with reservations, the rest of the delegation agreed to support his nomination. Easily confirmed, Judge Winmill immediately showed his bias, deciding in the first important case before him to restrict grazing in Owyhee County. WWP had secured their chosen judge.
WWP began searching for a “test case” in Idaho to use the federal endangered species act (ESA) against private property in a backdoor attempt to remove grazing from federal lands. They decided to attack a rancher’s water right to cripple his ability to raise hay for his cattle. They reasoned the lack of sufficient feed would force the sale of the livestock. Therefore, those cattle would not be grazing the next summer on federal lands. WWP needed a victim with no political connections, few assets or funds, who had not dealt with ESA issues or attorneys, someone who could be used and abused to further WWP’s agenda of eliminating ranching. They settled on taking out the Verl Jones ranch located close to the Montana border, a few miles from Challis, Idaho.
Verl was born on the family homestead in 1916. His formal education was limited but his on-the-ground experience with the natural world surpassed any Ph.D. level. The two most important things in Verl’s life were his family and his ranch. In 2001, WWP sued Verl. He was 85 years old and had no idea what a Notice of Intent to Sue under ESA meant. In 1961, Verl hand-dug several miles of ditch around a rocky mountainside in order to use his state recognized water right from Otter Creek. This backbreaking work allowed him to develop additional hay fields, increase his cattle herd, and support his growing family of seven children. Wildlife also enjoyed the improved habitat during the late fall, winter, and early spring seasons.
WWP claimed Verl’s water diversion created harm to the endangered bull trout, although none existed in Otter Creek. While WWP did not present evidence that the use of Verl’s water right actually resulted in injury to the listed fish, Judge Winmill ordered Verl to stop irrigating his hay fields and to pay WWP’s attorney fees of over $36,000. Without water, the family lost 100 tons of hay production yearly and was forced to reduce their cattle herd, and created enormous stress as the family tried to deal with reduced income and huge legal fees from the court battles. The final blow for Verl came when Judge Winmill ordered him to give WWP a list of all assets which were to be sold to pay WWP’s attorney fees. It was simply too much and Verl died. The Jones’ case was brought to the attention of Pacific Legal Foundation and their Seattle attorney, the late Russell Brooks, agreed to take their case on appeal to the 9th circuit court. Mr. Brooks successfully convinced the panel of judges to overturn Judge Winmill. The 9th circuit judges ruled that actual evidence of a species being harmed must be presented, not just alleged, before a judge can legally order an injunction.
Judge Winmill’s decisions seldom reach the 9th circuit court. Usually, WWP sues a federal agency and the agency settles. The harm done to the grazing permittees is by reductions of time and numbers. Grazing was reduced in the Curlew National Grasslands of SE Idaho after WWP sued, with Judge Winmill agreeing, that livestock created a “threat” to sage grouse, a species not listed under ESA. In Southern Idaho, WWP again used sage grouse with Judge Winmill slashing grazing in an area with lush grass production. The area burned during the 1,000 square mile wildfire of 2007, effectively eliminating sage grouse and their habitat for many years. (See RANGE Fall 2007 “All Creatures Lost—Large and Small.”)
A little farther to the west in Owhyee County, Judge Winmill decided to blame cattle for eating the forage to less than six inches along the creeks of rugged South Mountain, despite the fact that large herds of deer and elk roam there. He ordered immediate reduction of the BLM grazing allotments of Tim Lowry and Mike Stafford from their accustomed four months to just six weeks. The Judge told the ranchers they could easily buy hay to feed their cattle during the summer and fall months.
Using wolves to damage ranchers grazing in the Sawtooth National Recreation Area (SNRA), Judge Winmill ordered US Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) to stop harming, harassing, or killing the predators when they attacked livestock. Wolves were reintroduced in Idaho in 1995 as an “experimental, non-essential” population. Under the special ESA rule, ranchers are given the right to kill wolves attacking livestock. USFWS has authority to remove livestock-killing wolves. Although grazing was recognized as an authorized and legitimate use in the Congressional act creating the SNRA, Judge Winmill reasoned that wolves are more valuable and must be protected over livestock, regardless of administrative rules or federal laws.
November 2007, Judge Winmill again agreed with WWP and denied sheep rancher, Mick Carlson of Riggins, Idaho, the use of his US Forest Service winter grazing allotment. This time the issue is non-listed bighorn sheep. Judge Winmill admitted that there is no documented scientific proof that domestic sheep pass disease to the wild sheep but he still sided with WWP to cripple another long-time rancher. The future of domestic sheep grazing on federal land is now in serious jeopardy if there are any bighorns within miles.
Today, the fate of Western users of federal lands twists in the wind with Judge Winmill’s December 2007 decision ordering USFWS to re-consider listing sage grouse. Once again, Judge Winmill appears to have cut and pasted WWP’s briefs into his ruling. Over the years, USFWS have denied WWP’s many listing petitions by repeatedly finding the species do not warrant listing. Not only ranchers but recreationists, miners, energy companies, future transmission lines and transmitter sites will face serious restrictions with a listing. Private property owners will be prey to individual lawsuits, such as the one faced by Verl Jones, if a sage grouse is harmed or killed on their lands. Instead of welcoming and sheltering the bird, landowners will live in fear of having them on their property.
These are only a handful of the cases in which WWP and Judge Winmill have teamed up to harm the real caretakers of the land---Western ranchers. No attorney, who may someday have a client before Judge Winmill, dared to be quoted for this article. No rancher could afford such a risk either. Federal Judges are appointed for life but the Founding Fathers never envisioned biased federal judges making law. The Founders carefully crafted provisions to separate executive, legislative, and judicial powers, expecting each branch to respect the Constitution. Unfortunately, the Judicial Branch too often stretches their power to become as overbearing as King George. Congress does have oversight on federal judges but rarely acts. When Constitutional restraints are ignored, all rights are endangered. Will Congress continue to fiddle as the rule of law and the Constitution is eroded by imperial federal judges?
Judy Boyle is a freelance writer with 20 years experience in the Idaho Legislature. She is a rancher from west-central Idaho running for District 9 Idaho House Seat. www.JudyBoyle.org

The "Endangered Species Act"
By Julie Kay Smithson

Ah….. people. Some learn faster than others. Like the song, some "don't know what you've got 'til it's gone" -- but they've been tricked into thinking what's gone is a species of fish or predator and not their own property rights.
LD does not always stand for "learning disability," although that meaning, in conjunction with "language deception," does fit and is being used to make property rights, i.e., freedom, go extinct in America.
Some knew, when the de facto real estate agent, better known as the "endangered" spotted owl, was used to shut down Pacific Northwest timber and logging -- that it was the harbinger of things to come.
They and a few more, realized that the "endangered" "Preble's Meadow jumping mouse" would be used to stop ranching.
They and others "got it," that the "endangered" "Canadian" gray wolf would be used to stop hunting in Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, and beyond.
They and others figured right, that when "Along came the "endangered" whatever, another resource providing industry and its property rights would be shut down and stolen.
How much commercial fishing is being shut down off the coast of China or Scandinavia, the straits of Gibraltar or the Mediterranean? None. How much ranching is being shut down in Argentina and Brazil? None.
How much logging is being shut down in other countries (where no one but government owns the resource and labor is cheap)? None.
Why then is America's resource providing being shut down? Please, thoughtful reader, ask yourself why!
How many folks think it's a good thing for flora, fauna and "mother earth" to all be controlled by federal government and its partners? I don't see many hands being raised, but there are several more hands up than there were ten years ago. There's hope, but success hinges on learning what is being done under the guise of clever professional language deception. Learn and learn how to protect your property rights and stop the bleeding of America's property rights under such false issues! We are the world's greatest, most caring and careful stewards of resources, yet we are being shut down -- even access to federal areas that our taxpayer dollars bought are being phased out incrementally, one "wilderness area," "watershed," or "eco-region" after another, and almost without a whimper of protest -- although more of us are learning that it's not really about "saving" anything, but rather about "restoring" control of everything to the rulers.
Julie Kay Smithson is a property rights researcher in rural Ohio's Amish and Mennonite farm country, where U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service once tried to remove her and her neighbors, using its "discovery" that this prime farmland was ostensibly "possible habitat" for the "endangered" Indiana bat. Please visit her extensive property rights research website today.

UN Biospheres vs. Property Rights
By C. J. Williams

In order to understand why we, the American People, are losing our private property rights, as well as our ability to access public lands, it’s necessary to wrap one’s mind around the concept of United Nations’ Biospheres.
In 1968, just prior to President Nixon’s election, there was a United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) “Biosphere Conference” in Paris and the Biosphere Reserve concept, which is extremely conducive to “sustainable development”, was laid out. Two years later the U.N.’s Man and the Biosphere (MAB) program surfaced to set the Biosphere Reserve scheme in motion.
The U.S. joined the MAB Program in 1974 when the Department of State, headed by Henry Kissinger, signed a “Memorandum of Understanding” (not a treaty) and pledged that the U.S. would adhere to Biosphere conditions and limitations laid down by UNESCO.
At a subsequent 1986 International Biosphere Conference, UNESCO was given liberty to establish a program to manage the world’s natural resources on a “biosphere” basis. That UNESCO program became known as MAB.
As a result of another International Biosphere Conference in 1995, “The Seville Strategy” was initiated to integrate The Wildlands Project into UNESCO’s MAB program, linking it to the 1992 Earth Summit’s Agenda 21 and the UN Convention on Biological Diversity.
The U.S. Congress hasn’t ratified the U.N.’s Convention on Biological Diversity since being presented with it in 1994, but, nevertheless, the Clinton administration, of which global warming alarmist Al Gore was a member, developed its ecosystem management polices to comply with the unratified treaty, and government resource management agencies have been “voluntarily” complying with those policies ever since.
The Wildlands Project (TWP) was envisioned by radical eco-terrorist David Foreman who, along with Reed Noss, co-founded an organization by the same name. TWP’s scheme entails returning (restoring) a minimum of 50% of America’s land mass to pre-Columbus wilderness condition, as Foreman and his collaborators envision it to have been prior to settlement by European immigrants.
In order to do this, the non-governmental rewilding organizations and compliant government resource management agencies are adhering to TWP’s mission to use buffered migration corridors to link bioreserves, which, in turn, serve as buffers for core U.N. Biospheres.
These Biospheres are listed only at the request of the country in which they’re located and they can be removed from the biosphere reserve list at any time by a request from that country. To date, forty-seven U.N. Biospheres have been established in the United States, although others may have been recently nominated without the general public’s knowledge.
A U.N. Biosphere is a designated core area, usually federal public land managed by a government agency, generally the National Park Service. Biospheres can encompass a National Park, National Forest, Heritage Site, Historical Park, Scenic Highway, Wilderness Area, Designated Wetland, Wildlife Preserve, or a combination of these and/or several other things. The trend now is also to include state land and local municipality land as part of a Biosphere Reserve to buffer the “core” area.
Through the acquisition of more and more public federal, state and municipal land and subsequent control of how it’s used, Biosphere perimeters expand; they’re never stagnant. Biospheres can overlap into great swaths of controlled land, thousands of miles in all directions. The object is to gain international jurisdiction over the Earth’s entire surface and subsequently to get control of resources, such as air, water, land, minerals, and all forms of life, including human beings.
Biospheres act like “living laboratories” for the “scientific” testing of targeted bio-geographical ecosystems, guaranteeing the conservation of biodiversity through research, monitoring, and “training” activities, or so it’s claimed. In truth, the conglomeration of international MAB land-grabbing thieves’ end goal is to hold the Earth’s entire land and air surface hostage while, one way or another, people are manipulated into cooperating with the schemers and coerced into giving up their inherent freedoms and constitutional rights.
To control bioreserve integrity, land use must be severely restricted or halted altogether in some areas because the scheming rewilders claim human activity is the greatest stress factor that destroys the essential wholeness of various eco-systems within the UN Biospheres and protective bioreserves. The denial that humans will not be adversely affected by activity abatement, as more land control is exerted, will ultimately prove to be a lie should this be allowed to continue.
UNESCO’s MAB Program is a world network of Biospheres that now number 531 in 105 countries. They’re controlled through partnering international governmental agencies and non-governmental organizations (NGO’s) that collaborate to keep the manipulative scheme rolling at the national, state, or local level. Some cooperating NGOs are the Nature Conservancy, Defenders of Wildlife, and the National Wildlife Federation (NWF), which consists of affiliated conservation clubs, one per state. In Michigan, NWF’s affiliate is the Michigan United Conservation Clubs, comprised of more good old boy, dues-paying sportsmen’s clubs than conservation clubs.
The World Bank supports the grandiose MAB scheme, as does the UN Environment Program, the UN Development Program, the UN Food and Agriculture Org., the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), Conservation International, and the World Conservation Union, also known as the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), among other entities.
The U.S. government agencies and NGO partnering organizations that make up the IUCN’s USA membership list is extensive. Several can be identified as threads of a tangled web that generally involves the Nature Conservancy (TNC), which partners with government agencies though Memorandums of Understanding and is often referred to by property rights activists as the UN’s real estate agent.

Where Have All The Elk Gone? Long Time Passing
By Tom Remington

How many elk are there in the Northern Rockies area in and around Yellowstone National Park where wolves now control the landscape? How many were freely roaming the forests and the plains in their peak? How many are there now?
I’m not so naive that I don’t understand at least to some degree about counting wildlife. There are two things I know for sure; wild game are difficult to count and is mostly done based on gathering data rather than counting one by one, and when asked, fish and game officials are supposed to give out “official” numbers - I would suppose those put together from the last round of calculations even if their anecdotal evidence reveals something different.
What is oftentimes overlooked or just not brought up in discussions involving game populations is a break down of numbers. An example of this might be if officials state there are 100,000 elk in Idaho (this is a random figure). They may also claim that compared to previous years’ the population of elk is holding steady, etc. What would happen though if it was broken down by wildlife management areas? Would we see something different? Would we see a pattern that would show that in areas of large concentrations of predators, those numbers are substantially reduced and where there are fewer predators, elk and deer numbers continue to grow?
Of late, I am hearing from several people that the elk and deer in Idaho have or are disappearing faster than officials can count them. Is this true? Who does the counting? When is the counting done? If the elk are disappearing and vanishing that quickly, then we have to ask why?
I have stated in the past that I have a healthy respect for wildlife biologists and most fish and game departments. That respect dwindles in a hurry once these individuals and organizations become corrupt, mostly due to politics and hidden agendas. With that said, I also have a larger respect for the person that is in the field every day - the one who witnesses on a regular basis changes to the landscape, can compare those changes to evidence from years gone by, etc. These are the hunters, the trappers, the fishermen, the guides, the outfitters, the ones on the front lines nearly everyday. Any intelligently run fish and game department would be relying on these people’s eyes and ears for important information as to what is going on out there.
So, where have all the elk gone? Are they someplace where nobody can find them or do they just not exist anymore? Is the official elk count in Idaho only “official” because they haven’t official data that can render a change is official status? Are those claiming the elk are gone exaggerating their stories to embellish the truth? Are the wolves to blame? Are the bears to blame? Is it drought conditions or deep snow pack and extreme weather conditions? Is it a combination of all these factors or none of these? Some are claiming it is time to place the mule deer and elk on the threatened or endangered list because it is near extinction in some areas.
The other day I posted a brief comment from Robert Fanning of the Friends of the Northern Yellowstone Elk Herd. In Pray, Montana, which is just outside the northern fringes of Yellowstonewhere Fanning lives, the elk that usually winter there just aren’t there, according to Mr. Fanning. He writes, “There used to see page 10…
…continued from page 9 be 19,700 elk in the Mt FWP (Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks) winter range next to my home, now we are down to 400. No bulls. No calves.”
That’s a whole lot of meat on hooves that have gone somewhere!
I also received a copy of a letter that was written by an outfitter in Idaho, Shane McAfee. You can find a complete copy of his letter at the Western Institute for the Study of the Environment’s website.
McAfee says his business is suffering badly because there are no elk and deer left for his clients so they no long want to come to Idaho to hunt.
In 1996 our Unit 28 opening week saw ten hunters harvest nine bull elk (1-7×7, 6-6×6’s and 2- 5×5’s). All mature bulls, all happy hunters! Eleven years later, after the wolves multiplied here, this season (2007) we harvested only one spike bull and four deer out of twenty total hunters. On my first three hunts last year I went 15 days horseback guiding and never saw an elk! Almost all of the hunters never wanted to see Idaho again; and yes, they were very upset!
McAfee blames it on the wolves that are exploding in population and are being allowed to grow unchecked.
After I posted the short article mentioned above about Bob Fanning’s claims that nearly 20,000 elk have been reduced to 400, readers began leaving comments. I got a comment from Greg Farber who lives in Idaho. Here is part of what Greg said.
“I also have this information myself in my Master wolf file I’ve been building. Not only that the Largest Elk herd of the North West from the Selway is GONE guys. 26,000 elk in 1996 and four head have been seen at the Winter Ranges along the Clear Water in Idaho. As well the Middle Fork of the Boise River used to have 10,000+ elk wintering along this River from Atlanta to Lucky Peak, I’ve driven this road three times this winter and I have glassed 160 head. The South Fork of the Boise River should have 8,000 head along that drainage and I’ve seen 57 elk in there. The Payette River between Grandjean and Lowman Idaho where I grew up and still spend time at should have 4500 head of elk in those wintering spots, I located 54 cows, no bulls, no calves. I found 300 elk in the King Hill Area South of Bennett Mountain, there should be 5000 head there.”
I emailed Greg because I found this information staggering. I wanted to communicate with him outside of a public forum so that I could ask him if he thought there were explanations to the disappearance of all these elk other than wolves, bears and mountain lions.
“Tom-I don’t honestly know where the elk are, all I can tell you is for 35 years I have gone to these places with my uncle and myself to watch the elk and to gather horns which were shed at those sites. I have not located any elk sheds, I used to fill the truck bed with elk-deer sheds. Now I just try to find elk. I live in unit 48, which was a fantastic trophy bull unit, And I used to watch those monster bulls in winter here, they are not here. I would not take this tag for free, there is nothing to hunt. The voice of the people such as myself is not heard or listened too. IFG, and FWS, are covering up this ….I dont know what too call it…a crime I guess. I’m a packer Tom, with horses and mules, I will be out there in the saddle as soon as the snow is off for three months, Im not going to work, Im going to stay on the ground and do what I can for truth. The question in my mind is there is no place else these elk can be, there is no other alternative winter range in these places, if they are not there at the ranges, their under the snow and predation has gotten them as well. In all my years we were told too not chase or bother elk in winter due to heavy snows killing them, especially exhausting them by making them run in it, yet the wolf can do it? The bottom line here is elk in deep snow and hungry wolves is a recipe for disaster, this is what we have in Idaho. I guess if these public servants continue too lie, then perhaps we need to physically remove them and replace them with people whom have integrity and want too be fair. I just do not know what we can do too right this thing. The authority’s are being controlled by the wrong people, and it is not us. I tell everyone too stop buying tags, there is no sense in taking a gun out there and killing a cow elk, if you can find it. I thought since 1999 my skills as a hunter were fading, Ive taken 23 elk in the same darn place consistently, my last one was 1999. Same thing on mule deer, I hunted those big boys in the back country and have four 30”+toads on the wall and these guys are 200 classs bucks. I can not find any in the usual winter spots to gather their sheds and comfort myself basically that those big bucks are ok. There not ok. I wish I could describe too you the feeling I have inside me when I see what I see, and know in my heart what has happened and yet the agencies come out and lie to us about herd counts. Maybe the feeling right now is helplessness.”
Tom Remington is a published author who co-owns all of his Internet businesses with his son Steve. He is the managing editor for U.S. Hunting Today and is the author of several blogs, including the Black Bear Blog, the Daily Bag Limit, Blogging the Maine Outdoors and the Black Fly Blog. Tom is vice president of Skinny Moose Media, the umbrella company of all Internet websites and businesses co-owned by he and his son. Skinny Moose Media provides audio, video and text media for readers in addition to an outdoor sports and recreation blog network.

The Public Grazing Conundrum
By Daryl Hunter

The face of the west is changing, what was once a frontier populated with hard scrabble farmers, loggers, miners, cowboys and ranchers has been infiltrated and is getting gentrified by interlopers from the cities that have a new plan for their adopted home, part of this plan is to end the grazing of our public multipurpose lands.
Cattle grazing on our public lands has not always been an issue. Until recently cattle grazing was a natural part of the culture of the West. Cowboys, Indians, tumbleweeds and cows were the first thing to come to mind when thinking of the west. For the last couple of decades this perception has been muddied, a battle has been raging between cattle ranchers and environmentalists. The battle is rife with mistrust and misunderstanding by all.
Jon MarvelÕs Western Watersheds Project (WWP) is the driving force to form the National Public Lands Grazing Campaign (NPLGC). The NPLGC is pushing Congress to authorize the voluntary buy-out and permanent retirement of federal grazing permits. The WWP and the NPLGC believe a payment of $175 per animal unit month (AUM); will reduce the contentious and adversarial conflicts concerning grazing interests and environmentalists on federal land.
The buy-outs are voluntary, but the buy-out amount being almost triple the average value per AUM of federal grazing permits in today's market provides a powerful bribe for ranchers to succumb to the temptation. A rancher with 300 cows that graze on public lands for five months of the year, will net the rancher a $262,500 settlement. Some say that this expenditure is sound because WWPÕs asserts $500 million annually is spent to administer public grazing will have a payback period of about six years after retirement of all grazing permits. The land area involved in 11 western states is about 270 million acres.
The General Accounting Office of the US government report concludes that federal agencies spent at least $144.3 million in direct and indirect expenditures to support grazing activities on federal lands in fiscal year 2004. A far cry from the WWP and NPLGCÕs asserted figure. According the GAO grazing fees generated about $21 million in fiscal year 2004 less than one-sixth of the expenditures to manage grazing.
The WWP and NPLGC theorize permanent elimination of federal administrative costs of public grazing land will produce savings after the initial six-year payback. While the financial benefits of such a program are easily asserted, the environmental value of the plan seems to them even greater. By ending the negative impacts of livestock grazing will result in a rapid recovery of degraded riparian areas and all wildlife species dependent on them.
The WWP and NPLGC plan will change the face of public lands in the West. It will also greatly change the face of the private lands as well. Where there is great change there is also great opportunities for the law of unforeseen consequences
One unforeseen opportunity/ consequences that will result is millions of acres of previously useful hay production land of our western valleys that produced hay for the cattle that were grazed in the nearby public lands will have to find another use. These farms and ranches freshly freed from the bovine production industry will naturally evolve into something else, it isnÕt to hard to guess that the highest and most profitable use of land is to subdivide it for profit creating millions of buying possibilities for AmericaÕs new insatiable appetite for rural living, and technologyÕs facilitation for them to be able to do so. Public land ranching maintains open space. 107 million acres of private ranchland are tied into public land grazing. Without access to public land forage, these ranches would be forced to sell out.
According to Rangelands Journal, 11,300 acres of farm and ranchland are lost to development each day. The greatest threat to biodiversity of plants and wildlife is fragmentation of habitat and public land ranching protects millions of acres of open habitat for rangeland species.
The influx of millions of gentleman farmers/ranchers will decimate wildlife much more than the evil cattleman did, every farmette will have a dog to see to it that no pesky grouse or other varmint is trespassing on the property. What the dog misses will be picked off by a 14 year-old with a 22. The exponential population growth will be matched with equal increased visitation to all the beautiful public places. And the NPLGC and the WWP thought that a cow was destructive force of nature.
Daryl Hunter wrote this article in June of 2006. Daryl has a blog and Publishes the Upper Valley Free Press, a recreation and news resource for the Yellowstone, Grand Teton and Jackson Hole region. Citizens For A Freer America is a place he floats ideas, and his graphic design and photography can be seen at The Hole Picture.

"A government big enough to give you everything you want is big enough to take everything you have." - Attributed to Barry Goldwater.

A BIG thank you to VFRAW's April Newsletter writers for submitting and/or allowing recopies of their fabulous articles. Please take a moment and visit each link within this newsletter, as you stand to benefit as I have greatly from their work.

I need writers for May's VFRAW newsletter, so send me the story of your family's ranch, an experience of yours in the great outdoors or somewhere in rural America. Be sure to send me your photos as well and introduce us to Grandpa the grumpy old ranch-hand with down-to-earth common sense... Join me on this exciting ride to save our environment, rural America!