Shooting & Hunting Industry Ignores The Losses Of Big Game Populations To Predators And Has Not Carried On The Fight To Battle The Aggressive Anti-Hunting Movement Of Radical Environmental Groups!
Editorial News/Press Release
October 7, 2013
Is The Shooting & Hunting Industry In Denial...Or Just Out Of Touch With Reality?
Thanks to President Barack Obama's heavy fisted push for more restrictive gun control, the shooting and hunting industry continues to enjoy one of the most profitable periods ever for that industry. Many firearm models are pre-sold for months before they ever reach a licensed firearm dealer, and ammo likewise rarely makes it to the shelf. Just about every firearm and ammunition retailer has a list of buyers looking to purchase just about anything and everything that is shipped to them. So much so, that the amount of ordnance cached away by the citizens of this country makes the American public the best armed populace in the world.
(Photo at Right - Can the hunting industry pull together to save hunting from the anti-
hunting agendas of radical environmental groups - some of which masquerade as sportsmen groups?)
Those companies that make up the outdoor marketplace have been so busy making so much money in recent years that the industry as a whole has been accused of failing the sportsmen who buy that tremendous selection of hunting and shooting gear - products that are either manufactured in this country or imported. That failure is how the industry has turned a blind eye to the agendas of extremist anti-hunting environmental groups which are now making a very coordinated effort to put an end to hunting in the United States. For that matter, many of these groups are so radical that their true goal is to force rural residents off the land and into the cities - to return as much as half of this country back into wilderness areas and connecting wild corridors, where human use is stringently restricted.
Groups like the Wildlands Network, the Defenders of Wildlife, the Center for Biological Diversity, the Alliance for the Wild Rockies, even the Sierra Club and the Humane Society of the United States are also well funded, milking this country's citizens for hundreds of millions of dollars every year - claiming the money goes to protect wildlife and wildlife habitat. But does it really? Not hardly. The vast majority of that donated money is earmarked for two distinct causes - to pay top organization management salaries well into the hundreds of thousands, and to fund lawsuit after lawsuit aimed at ending hunting in America and to restrict human use of the great outdoors. Another tremendous source of income for these so-called "green groups" has been the Equal Access to Justice Act, which lavishly reimburses these Enemies of the State for their legal efforts. Between 2002 and 2008, these groups walked away with some $4.7-
billion taxpayer dollars.
The upper management of these groups and organizations is largely made up of some very slick attorneys, which make the standard ambulance chaser look like an Angel of Mercy. The only thing green about their efforts is their bank accounts. They've learned to play the game, and who to buy off.
Jim Beers, who worked with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for 32 years, serving in a variety of roles, from wildlife biologist to Chief of Operations for the National Wildlife Refuge System, says that the agency has played an integral part in the plans laid by these anti-
hunting, anti-human "environmental" groups. He says the agency has regularly met with these organizations and groups, behind closed doors. Beers says that many under the table agreements have been made, which have resulted in major Government projects that are largely aimed at destroying hunting in the United States. One such project was the Northern Rockies Wolf Recovery Project.
One of Beers' last roles with USFWS was to coordinate the disbursement of the excise taxes collected on hunting and fishing equipment back to state wildlife agencies, under the Pittman-Robertson Act. Those funds now typically top $700-million annually. While working with the allotments to each state, he realized there was a huge discrepancy between the amount collected and the amount to be disbursed - a $45- to $60-million discrepancy.
(Photo Above Left - Former USFWS Director Jamie Rappaport Clark allowed the agency to illegally help itself to Pittman-Robertson Funds, the money sportsmen paid in the form of excise taxes on hunting and fishing gear that was supposed to be used only for wildlife and fisheries habitat improvement.)
Under the direction of USFWS Director Jamie Rappaport Clark, the agency had simply helped itself to those sportsman provided funds, which by law were to be used only for wildlife and fisheries habitat improvement. So, what did USFWS finance with those stolen funds? Would you believe that top USFWS managers were given some pretty healthy bonuses? Several million went to build a new USFWS office in California, even though "official funding" had not been authorized. Some of the money was put into something of a travel slush fund, to cover the cost of many unauthorized trips. But, for the most part, the brunt of those stolen millions, bilked right out of Pittman-Robertson Funds during the early 1990s remain to this day un-accounted for - and no one was held responsible.
One project which Congress had denied funding for had been the Northern Rockies Wolf Recovery Project. Still, USFWS came up with the millions needed to trap wolves in north-central Alberta...transport them to the Greater Yellowstone Area...where they were confined in costly compounds already constructed using money of an unknown origin...cared for and fed...and then transported to various release sites. Jim Beers accuses USFWS of using a chunk of those stolen excise dollars to fund that project. The true cost of transplanting a non-indigenous wolf, under the disguise of adhering to the Endangered Species Act, will likely never be known - USFWS failed to file the mandatory paperwork for this type of project, which would have accounted for the dollars spent, or for that matter just how many wolves USFWS actually did bring in from Canada.
(Photo at Right - Millions of Northern Rockies sportsman dollars have been wasted on studying non-native wolves wrongly dumped into the region by USFWS...and hundreds of millions more lost due to wolf impact.)
Was USFWS required to pay back those stolen funds? Beers says they weren't, which makes many sportsmen wonder why the shooting and hunting industry did not raise a furor to demand that the Pittman-Robert Funds be reimbursed. Congress simply gave Jamie Clark a slap on the hand. Today, she's knocking down in the neighborhood of $300,000 annually as the Executive Director of the Defenders of Wildlife.
Who says crime doesn't pay?
So, why did the outdoor industry, major so-called sportsmen groups and organizations, or even state wildlife agencies all also kind of look the other way - and let USFWS get away with embezzling millions of sportsman tax dollars?
Robert Fanning, of Pray, MT, who was the founder of the Friends of the Northern Yellowstone Elk Herd, has long proclaimed, "Follow the money!"
Like many who have had to live with the destruction of Northern Rockies big game herds caused by those illegally transplanted USFWS wolves, Fanning acknowledges that dozens of environmental groups have collectively bought their way into politics, the judicial system, and even into wildlife management. One great example is Montana State Senator Mike Phillips (D-
Bozeman). He was actually one of the USFWS wildlife managers who helped transplant the non-native Alberta wolves into Yellowstone National Park and into the Greater Yellowstone Area back in 1995 and 1996. Due to uncontrolled wolf numbers inside the park, that wildlife wonderland has literally been destroyed. Fanning's followers now have a whole lot fewer elk to be friends with - that once great herd, that was the largest migrating elk herd in the world, has now been reduced to less than 4,000 elk. When USFWS released the first of "their wolves" in 1995, that herd had numbered nearly 20,000.
Being a Montana State Senator is nothing more than Mike Phillip's part-
time second job. His full-time job is serving as Executive Director of the Turner Endangered Species Fund. His full-time job is to insure that, as a member of the Montana legislature, he protects billionaire Ted Turner's environmental pipedream of pushing people from the land and turning much of the state back into wild or wilderness areas - where nature manages itself, not man. Phillips' voting record on environmental legislation, particularly anything that involves greater control of the wolf population or burgeoning numbers of grizzly bears and mountain lions, clearly reveals that Turner is getting his money's worth.
(Photo at Left - Billionaire Ted Turner and pro-wolf author Renee Askins discussing the destruction of the West as we know it.)
While there are growing wolf numbers in the Upper Midwest, and as many as 5,000 to 6,000 wolves in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan are likewise destroying deer and moose populations, the Northern Rockies have become the real battleground for the Wolf War. Considering that a less than honest "wolf recovery project" in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming was funded with stolen money, that mandatory legal forms and paperwork were purposely ignored, that the entire project has been based on manipulated science, and that just about every aspect of the "introduction" of a non-native wolf sub-species wreaks of fraud, it shouldn't come as any surprise that the pro-wolf groups within the region continue to wage a dirty fight. While that side of this war has continually cried that wolf management (a.k.a. control) should be science based, truth and facts are not allowed in their battle plans.
Environmental implants have now invaded the faculties of Montana's and Idaho's universities, particularly the wildlife and ecology curriculum. The wildlife management that's being taught today is not the same that was taught back during the mid 1900's - the wildlife management that rewarded the U.S. with a real bounty of game, and other wildlife that also flourished from the improved habitat protected and enhanced to produce greater numbers of elk, deer, moose, pronghorn, bighorn sheep and other huntable species. These were the days when the Greater Yellowstone Area was often referred to as the "Serengeti" of America. In turn, these new wave wildlife biologists and managers have infiltrated our state wildlife agencies, with one goal in mind - and that is to push the environmental agenda. The anti-hunting environmental agenda.
Part of that new wildlife science curriculum is to allow apex predators to flourish, to keep big game populations so low that there is no opportunity for human hunters to harvest the surplus...because there is no surplus. Western Montana and nearly all of the northern half of Idaho have already reached that point, and the wolves are now moving into Washington and Oregon. In just a couple of years, the wolves have already made a serious negative impact on the elk herds in those two states.
Even some so-called sportsman groups aren't exactly what they claim to be. Take the group known as Montana Hunters and Anglers, which in 2012 spent more than $1-million in attack ads against Senatorial candidate Denny Rehberg, who ran for Senator Jon Tester's seat. Where did the organization get that kind of money to carry on their mudslinging at Rehberg? Was that non-
disclosed funding provided by extremist environmental groups? The majority of real sportsmen of the state definitely feel that the money came from those groups. Land Tawney, who founded Montana Hunters and Anglers, serves as a Regional Manager for the very pro-wolf National Wildlife Federation, and has also sat on Jon Tester's Montana Sportsmen's Advisory Panel.
Senator Jon Tester is today one of the leading proponents of expanding wilderness areas in a state that already has 15 National Wilderness Areas, closing even more public land from use by the majority of people who either live in the state or visit Montana.
(Photo Above Right - The sportsmen and rural residents of the Northern Rockies have had their fill of the idiocy of the wolf project...bought and paid for politicians...green agenda wildlife biologists and managers...loud-mouthed billionaire environmentalists...and a shooting & hunting industry that sits on its ass and does nothing to fight radical anti-hunting, anti-human pro-predator groups and organizations.)
Another spurious sportsman group also reared its ugly head during this last National election year - a group that called itself the Montana Sportsmen Alliance, which proved to be nothing more than another political and environmental activist group, hiding behind the facade of protecting sportsman interests. Mac Minard, who heads the Montana Outfitters and Guides Association, attended one of the early meetings of this group. Also in attendance were two MT Fish, Wildlife and Parks commissioners, and current FWP Director Jeff Hagener, along with Land Tawney of the National Wildlife Federation.
Following that meeting, Minard received a call from the group's self-appointed leader -
and was told that he was not welcome to attend any future meetings. Montana Hunters and Anglers and Montana Sportsmen Alliance are basically one and the same - and due to their influence with the MT FWP Commission, these two political fronts for the Montana chapter of the National Wildlife Federation have worked hard to make Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks pretty much a gutless, do-
nothing wildlife agency when it comes to controlling predator impact. One has to keep in mind that one of the agendas of the National Wildlife Federation has been to see expanded predator populations, which means expanded predator impact on big game numbers - and fewer hunting opportunities for resident and non-resident hunters.
So, what does all of this have to do with the shooting and hunting industry failing to make a stand in the fight to save hunting from the wolves - both the two- and four-legged variety?
Land Tawney is now the Executive Director of a somewhat new "sportsman" group, known as Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, of Missoula, MT - and their focus is to see ever expanding wild and wilderness areas, and the acceptance of predator impact on big game populations. As with every other "sportsman" group Tawney has been involved with, it's expected that this group will also delve into politics, and if its leader's past track record holds true, there's sure to be some mudslinging ...and plenty of subterfuge.
The group is now even a primary sponsor for a show on the Sportsman Channel - Randy Newberg's "Fresh Tracks", presented by Federal Cartridge. Due to Land Tawney's involvement with Backcountry Hunters and Anglers being a primary sponsor of the show, it's very likely that the show, in reality, is just as much presented by the National Wildlife Federation and a few other anti-hunting environmental groups.
The episode of "Fresh Tracks" that aired the last week of September sure carried their message, as Newberg hunted the wilderness of the Rocky Mountain Front in Montana. More than once, he praised the difficulty of getting into such an area, to enjoy a wilderness experience - and that very few hunters could devote the time, effort and cost of hunting such an area for more than 30 days. During the entire show, no more than 8 or 9 does were shown, yet Newberg claimed to spot several good bucks - one which he exclaimed to be the largest backcountry buck he had ever seen. No one else saw either of those bucks.
Still, the host of that show harped on how great it was to hunt such a pristine wild area, and that the huge buck he had spotted was due to the fact that so few hunters could hike into that country to hunt. Not once did he acknowledge the real reason for such low game numbers. That being excessive predator impact from wolves, bears and lions. Right on the show, Newberg endorsed the closing of access to even more public land, where predators can continue to destroy the sportsman funded wildlife conservation efforts of the past 75 or so years.
LOBO WATCH has heard from many sportsmen who are outraged that the Sportsman Channel would air such a show, and who are even more upset with Federal Cartridge for providing funding and support of a show that is being produced by the very same environmental movement that is out to destroy hunting in America. Perhaps the real problem is that the shooting and hunting industry is just too darn busy making money to truly keep up with the issues that are already making some seriously negative impacts on the wildlife resources that industry relies on in order to remain an industry. - Toby Bridges, LOBO WATCH
Fighting The Fight!
LOBO WATCH will be sharing more on this issue, much more. Currently, as a whole, the shooting & hunting industry is way behind the curve when it comes to tackling this loss of hunting opportunities and the never ending attack from anti-hunting environmental groups.
If you've ever attended the Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade (SHOT) show, it may be difficult for you to believe that those 1,600+ exhibitors filling that 630,000 square feet of floor space can't work together to throw up a wall that the radical green groups can't scale. Little to nothing is being done by the National Shooting Sports Foundation or the National Rifle Association to go head to head with these groups - either on the outdoor battlefield...or in the court room. Currently, just one sportsman serving organization is carrying on the fight to truly save hunting from those who claim to be environmentalists - Big Game Forever (www.biggameforever.org).
Recently, one of the major bullet manufacturers committed $500,000 to help fund the Big Game Forever legal costs of confronting our enemies on their favorite battlefield - in court. The January 2014 LOBO WATCH Editorial Release will take a look at how little is really being done by the industry to save hunting...and spotlight those who are investing in their future and the future of hunting.