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  • June 29, 2011

    Wolf Blowback and Wolf Fatigue

    By Hal Herring

    I wrote about and celebrated the delisting of the gray wolf here on this blog a few weeks ago, and I spent much of the winter working on yet another story about wolves and how the delisting came about after environmental groups filed just one too many cart-tipping, camel’s-back-breaking lawsuits on behalf of their favorite predator.

    Over the years, I’ve written perhaps too much about how the environmental groups made a critical mistake with their single-species (wolf) focus. The angry cynic in me saw all those photos of gamboling wolf pups juxtaposed with those warnings of impending slaughter by us hunters, and saw, not a campaign to protect wolves, but a very shrewd campaign to use emotion to gather new members and money.

    For years I could not understand the blindness- could not understand how highly-respected groups like Defenders of Wildlife, or the Natural Resources Defense Council, could not read the wind, see how very moderate people were turning against them, as wolf numbers grew close to 2,000, while they still claimed loudly (and repeatedly in court) that wolf recovery was incomplete. Working as a reporter and living in wolf country, in a ranching and outfitting town, talking to hunters from all over the West, I watched as the die-hard wolf-advocates managed to convince pretty much anybody who was watching that they were indeed the anti-hunting, anti-ranching, pro-big “gubmint” radicals that their foes have forever claimed they were.

    But while I’m throwing these sharp rocks, I’m very aware that many of us Western big game hunters are now living in a big glass house. The wolf issue has set the environmentalist groups back quite a bit. But the blowback has hit us hard, too. Let me explain.

  • June 13, 2011

    Public Ownership of our Wildlife Resources Confirmed in Vermont

    By Hal Herring

    Vermont’s Governor Peter Shumlin has signed into law a bill, H.91, that codifies the old North American Model of Conservation principle that wildlife belongs to the people, to be managed by the states with the people’s consent. Field and Stream’s own Lawrence Pyne has the best story on the new law and the skullduggery that led to its creation. Hint: game farmers enclosing the public’s wildlife, aided by hasty and misguided politicians, made the new law necessary. In a series of ruses that would have delighted Prince Machiavelli, the photogenic once-wild, now-captive Pete the Moose was used in a campaign to privatize your wildlife. The saga began at a domestic elk-shooting farm near Irasburg.

    From Pyne’s story in the Burlington Free Press:
    Conceding that he and other lawmakers made a mistake last year, Gov. Peter Shumlin signed into law Wednesday legislation that nullifies an amendment a few legislators put into the annual appropriations bill in the final hours of the 2010 session. That amendment stripped the state Fish and Wildlife Department of its authority to regulate a so-called "captive hunting facility" in Irasburg and, worse, it essentially transferred ownership of Pete and scores of other native moose and white-tailed deer trapped in the facility to its owner. He was then free to sell them to the highest rifle-toting bidder, despite a state Fish and Wildlife Board rule crafted with legislative oversight and considerable public input that forbids having native deer in a captive facility for wildlife health reasons.