Freeloading Pro-Wolf Groups Want To Dictate Today's Wildlife Management & Conservation - Without Investing Anything!
Wildlife Conservation Impact
Editorial News/Press Release
January 1, 2013
Should "Non-Consumptive" Wildlife Watchers And Outdoor "Recreationists" Begin Paying Their Way?
Unless required by law, how many sportsmen do you think would continue to buy hunting and fishing licenses, to actually pay for the opportunity to apply for and pay for special big game hunting permits, or for that matter actually fork out access fees to use publicly owned lands for hunting and fishing? If they could choose to either pay for the privilege to hunt and fish, or do it for free, how many do you feel would opt to pay?
Likely not very many. Anyway, not enough to continue funding the state wildlife agencies of each and every U.S. state. Yet, it has been the hunting and fishing sportsmen of this country which have been the very backbone of wildlife conservation in America, and who have footed the bill since the very idea of conserving wildlife for the future was conceived.
We now have a myriad of new wave wildlife conservation groups and organizations which want to step in and change conservation practices in this country. For the most part, these "Johnny Come Lately" wannabe wildlife conservationists haven't funded much of anything - other than the legal actions they have taken against true wildlife conservation practices. They like to call themselves "environmentalists".
(Photo Above Right - How many of these young ladies do you think really know what they're protesting, or better yet, how many do you think have ever really invested a single dollar in America's wildlife conservation?)
America's sportsmen have a lot of other names for them, but the one that likely best describes these wildlife exploiters is "freeloaders". While very few of them have ever truly invested money in the conservation practices which brought America's wildlife populations back from the brink of extinction at the turn of the 1900's, these days they like to claim that they are "Stakeholders" in the future of this country's wildlife, and now they want to dictate the future conservation of our wildlife resources. However, other than donating to agenda driven and self-serving anti-
hunting and anti-rural America animal rights groups like the Defenders of Wildlife or the Humane Society of the United States, today's "environmentalists" are simply looking for a free ride.
The average U.S. sportsman and sportswoman likely buys a resident general hunting license, at a cost of about $20. On top of that, most also buy a fishing license, adding another $20. If they hunt waterfowl, they must purchase a Federal Duck Stamp, at $15, and likely a State Duck Stamp for about $10. Likewise, to fish for certain species of fish requires a stamp of some sort, averaging about $10. The number one hunted big game species in America is the whitetail deer, and a resident permit in most states will average about $25. In many states, hunters will buy an additional big game permit for another species or to harvest a second deer, adding another $25. In many states, the sportsman is now typically required to purchase a "Habitat Stamp", or a "Conservation Stamp", or a "Public Lands Access Stamp", which will be another $15 or so dollars.
(Photo At Left - Women who do hunt, whether big game, upland game or waterfowl contribute to the funding it takes to conduct wildlife conservation in this country. If this hunter purchased the muzzleloading rifle in this photo - roughly 11-percent of the purchase price went to state wildlife agencies through the Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration Program.)
Across this country, some 60-million plus sportsmen will annually spend on the average approximately $125 to $150 to enjoy the hunting and fishing their state offers. These days, a very large percentage now also travel to another state, where many of them are faced with paying $300 to $600 for a non-resident big game permit or a fishing license that could cost $50 to $100. It seems that for every little different thing hunters and fishermen look to participate in, there's another license, another permit or another stamp to purchase - and that is where the majority of most all of the funding comes from to operate state wildlife agencies, which conduct the wildlife conservation in this country.
One other major source of sportsman provided funding for wildlife conservation in every state comes from the sportsman self-imposed excise taxes paid on hunting firearms, ammo, archery gear, fishing tackle and the other hunting and fishing gear purchased. This is all administered by the Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration Program and the Dingell-
Johnson Sport Fish Restoration Program, which require the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to disburse these funds to each and every individual state wildlife agency. Altogether, in 2013 these sportsman provided excise taxes returned more than $1-billion in operating funds for state wildlife agencies.
So, what have the "non-consumptive" wildlife watchers and outdoor "recreationists" contributed to honest wildlife conservation in America? Not enough to keep one state wildlife agency funded for a single year. Without the several billions of dollars provided annually through license and permit sales and the excise taxes collected on hunting and fishing equipment, wildlife conservation in this country would come to an abrupt halt.
(Photo At Right - All sportsmen enjoy seeing and watching wildlife - however, should the cost of constructing a wildlife viewing tower such as this, which could see more use by non-
hunting and non-fishing wildlife viewers, come out of the funds that sportsmen have provided for wildlife management and conservation? Or, should it come out of other funds?)
This realization is what now has an ever growing number of conservation supporting sportsmen questioning what seems to be a new direction for so many state wildlife agencies - and that is to strongly side with those non-paying wildlife groups and organizations which generally oppose the very conservation practices which brought once dangerously low wildlife populations back to record numbers. One organization that just could prove to be the greatest threat to the North American Model for Wildlife Management, the program under which all state wildlife agencies worked to recover wildlife numbers through the 1900's, goes by the name of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. This one organization has done more than any other to promote a switch of wildlife management priority from hunting and fishing to wildlife watching and general outdoor recreation. One of their continual priorities seems to be ongoing research to establish how non-
hunting and non-fishing groups can fund wildlife conservation in this country.
The efforts of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies come off as extremely anti-sportsman - and it is very likely that your state wildlife agency is a member of this group, which spends way too much time promoting alternatives to traditional hunting and fishing. Unfortunately, some of the most unlikely state wildlife agencies have fallen for their still very unsupported theories - which now threaten wildlife management and conservation in the United States.
One such agency has been Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks. The agency and the commission which controls it have both been way too lax in standing up to outside influences which have nearly destroyed hunting in the western third of the state - where a glut of predators have taken elk herds down by as much as 80-percent, moose numbers down by an even more dangerous decline, and deer populations by as much as 50-percent. Still, MT FWP continues to manage for more wolves, more mountain lions, and more bears, both black and grizzly, far more than it devotes to reversing the decline in the major game species that sportsmen, who fund this agency, hunt most.
While mountain lions and bears have made a serious impact on elk, moose and deer numbers, wolves can be credited with the greatest percentage of the loss. Large packs of wolves have left a path of destruction that has destroyed big game hunting all along the famed Bitterroot Mountains and along the western slopes of the Rocky Mountains - from the Wyoming and Idaho borders all the way to Canada. Gone also are the sales of all those big game permits - and now MT FWP is experiencing a serious budget crisis.
(Map Above Left - Each one of those dots represents a "known wolf pack"...the number of "unknown wolf packs" has proven to be much greater...and this map is a couple of years old. MT FWP now wants to "conserve wolves", seeking non-sportsmen provided funding. The sportsmen of the Northern Rockies want wolves controlled...not managed.)
Ironically, MT FWP is now proposing a "Wolf Conservation Stamp" - to insure the continued conservation of wolves in Montana. One of the proposed uses of the money raised would be to establish areas specifically for wolves, where they would be "studied" - not be hunted. This stamp would not be mandatory in order to purchase a wolf hunting license. The goal of MT FWP is to offer this stamp to all wolf conservationists across the country - in order to allow them to help fund MT FWP's wolf conservation efforts.
"How idiotic can a wildlife agency and game commission be? Allowing the same staunch pro-wolf supporters who have worked so hard to force this destructive predator on the State of Montana to fund wolf management, and giving them more say in that management.... would be like allowing the U.S. Marine Corps to seek combat operation funding from Al-Qaeda...and giving that terrorist group a role in drawing up battle plans!" states LOBO WATCH founder Toby Bridges.
(Photo At Right - While a cow moose tries to fend off members of a wolf pack, two jump in for a killing attack on a young calf - and another generation of moose is lost. These are the detroyers of wildlife that MT Fish, Wildlife and Parks want to "conserve"...making the state's sportsmen wonder just who they now work for.)
Back in 2012, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game went so far as to fund, wrongly using sportsmen provided operation dollars, it's disastrous "Wildlife Summit". The one and only goal of that wildlife fiasco was to try selling sportsmen and the general public on allowing "non-
consumptive" wildlife watchers and outdoor "recreationists" to fund IDFG.
These efforts by both MT FWP and IDFG are in violation of their state constitutions - which mandate that these agencies manage for abundant wildlife populations for sportsman harvests.
Hunting, fishing and successful wildlife conservation are right now at a crossroad. The sportsmen of this country, those who truly enjoy seeing and watching an abundance of wildlife, including rural residents who enjoy sharing life and the land with wildlife, are now under attack by so-called "environmentalists" who now want to call all the shots. More than anything else, they want us out of the woods and mountains, off of the streams and lakes, and gone from the land.
If you truly enjoy an outdoor lifestyle, find satisfaction in knowing that you can provide wild table fare for your family, and want to preserve that heritage for your children and grand children, it's time to roll up your sleeves and fight. We must let our legislators know that we've had enough, that we want anti-everything organizations out of state politics, and that we want our state game departments to live up to the missions they were charged to fulfill. Americans can no longer sit back and remain complacent, it's time to start swinging and fighting those who want to take over what they have not had a hand in building. - LOBO WATCH
A couple of questions - Do you believe that it is fair for a state to lump "Parks" together with fish and game (a.k.a. wildlife), and siphon sportsman provided dollars away from wildlife and fisheries management so the general public can, at no cost to them, enjoy a state's parks? Or, should "Parks" be administered and funded as a separate agency by the Department of Natural Resources or similar state administrative division, and the operation of those parks funded by those who use them?