IDFG "Wildlife Summit" Manipulates Consensus Of Participants!
Editorial News/Press Release September 4, 2012 IDFG Director Moore Says The Agency Sponsored "Wildlife Summit" Was A Success...Idaho Sportsmen Feel It Is Just Another IDFG Lie!
Idaho Department of Fish and Game Director Virgil Moore summed up his feelings about the agency sponsored "Wildlife Summit", held in Boise on August 24 thru 26, by stating, "It went better than I could have expected, I am encouraged that such a diverse group expressed such a strong consensus on conservation values."
But, was "The Summit" really a success?
A very large number of Idaho sportsmen certainly have an entirely different take on the so-
called summit, claiming that the state's wildlife agency has sold them out - and has crawled into bed with the same radical environmental groups which fought so hard to allow wolves and other predators to destroy the state's once thriving big game herds. Now, those sportsmen and several sportsmen groups are expected to lash out at the agency, and to challenge the legality of IDFG conducting such a meeting with the sole purpose of soliciting funding from non-hunting and non-
fishing state residents, and from groups like the Defenders of Wildlife, the Center for Biological Diversity, and the Sierra Club.
Relying on the same tactics used by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service during the early 1990's to falsely assess that the majority of residents in the Northern Rockies were in favor of returning wolves into a game rich ecosystem, IDFG brought in a skilled facilitator and team to work the "participants" in a manner that the agency would get the general consensus it sought. It's known as the Delphi Technique, and it has proven extremely effective in manipulating public input, and what the public will accept and won't accept. The IDFG "Wildlife Summit" was such an event.
The consensus that IDFG wanted was intended to bring in more funding from sources other than hunters and fishermen - to give all Idaho residents a say in wildlife management. That includes many of the same radical environmental groups and organizations which have fought stringent management of wolves and other apex predators, namely mountain lions and bears. During much of the early correspondence between agency managers and those representing such groups, those in favor of breaking away from the very basis of the North American Model for Wildlife Conservation repeatedly referred to the new direction as a "Social Compact".
One Idaho sportsmen who saw right through the "Wildlife Summit" ruse was Andy White, editor of the Longspring Gazette, the official newsletter of the Idaho Trappers Association. He attended all three days of the summit.
White describes his impression of the summit, "It was a deliberately conducted fraud to produce a predetermined result."
He went on to say, "Many of the questions asked in the polls appeared to have been created backwards. Instead of asking honest questions with numerous legitimate answers that truly gauged public interest, the questions appeared to have been crafted by beginning with the desired answer, then creating multiple-choice answers and a question that could only lead to the desired answer."
Andy White went on to share that he felt the predetermined result mentioned was to make wildlife management a democratic process, and to fund IDFG with non-consumptive use dollars from a disengaged public. He strongly believes that wildlife management is not a democracy, that it is a scientific practice that recognizes man as a predator in the overall picture. A democracy gives everyone a vote - while it has been the sportsmen who have poured out their blood, sweat, tears and cash for more than 100 years so they can vote on wildlife management, when science affords that opportunity. It is his opinion that a disengaged public has no business voting democratically on wildlife management.
LOBO WATCH has also heard from a number of other Idaho sportsmen who attended the summit, and some realized that there were "Wildlife Summit" team plants among them, which repeatedly attempted to influence their opinions - or how they voted.
Scott Rockholm, founder of the Idaho based Save Western Wildlife, had this to say about the IDFG summit, "The negative impacts in the wake of the Idaho Fish and Game 'Wildlife Summit' have already begun to hit Idahoans. The dog and pony show referred to as 'The Summit', is and always will be, the beginning of a hostile takeover by zero liability organizations. IDF&G with the direction of Director Moore, ushered through our door, a cancer which will steer the Department's mission from management of animals, to a management of humans. The anti hunting/fishing organizations have already helped the department destroy our ungulate populations through their rabid predator promotion, and now they have been let through the back door to finish us off for good. Idaho was once one of the greatest big game hunting destinations, and now it is a wasteland, caused already by the decades of hand holding between IDF&G and Gang Green."
Sportsmen and sportsman-based organizations in other states are also having a hard time coming to grips with the manner in which IDFG is attempting to break away from the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation - which is recognized worldwide as the most successful wildlife management model. The abundance of game Idaho had before the release of Canadian wolves in 1995 and 1996 was entirely due to employing that model, which relied on hunters to harvest surplus game and to keep game populations in balance with forage and habitat. Likewise, it has been those hunters, and fishermen, who have provided the funding for state game departments like IDFG. It has been the sportsman who has been the real stakeholder in wildlife management.
Bob Wharff, who heads Wyoming Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife feels IDFG should have approached all of this in a different manner. He says rather than working against the methods which have made the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation successful, IDFG should have made the same effort to educate non-traditional users on how they can fully support wildlife conservation by buying the same licenses that hunters and anglers must purchase. Whether or not they hunt or fish, the money spent goes to support the agency and to support wildlife management.
Wharff says, "The model isn't broken, it is the educational system which is failing to teach the real role hunters...anglers...trappers have played in wildlife conservation."
Gray Thornton, President and C.E.O. of the Wild Sheep Foundation, points out that funding has become an ever increasing challenge for agencies like IDFG - and has been for decades. He also shares that past efforts and programs, through non-consumptive conservation type stamps, to get the non-hunting and non-fishing public to "pay their fair share" of wildlife management have failed.
"I tend to support non-consumptive user fees for non-consumptive user programs, such as bird watching and watchable wildlife, and propose that the consumptive user still pay the lions share for consumptive use...while maintaining policy and directive control over the bodies that manage the resources we pay for," says Thornton.
Montana Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife president Keith Kubista says, "As soon as money flows into something so does power and influence driven by ideology rather than science, facts, or custom and culture. Sportsmen provide funding through license fees and Pittman-Robertson revenue, and ranchers/livestock producers provide attractive habitats for species of big game all at a cost they continue to bear. The non-consumptive use crowd wants to control the policies, and decisions for wildlife management. They would be very happy to spend big bucks they get from us taxpayers using the Equal Access to Justice Act lawsuit awards (such as the wolf and grizzly litigation) to stop us from our rightful family traditions and heritage of harvesting wild fish and game."
Kubista acknowledges that state leadership and wildlife agencies are largely to blame, having already been too influenced by these people to make bad policy decisions, wasteful land acquisitions, and establish non-hunting programs that have created much of the current financial burden. He says that part of the anti-hunting, environmentalism strategy (ruining hunting with wolves, grizzlies, the ESA etc.) all along has been to provide wildlife funding sources with many strings attached that would end much of our hunting, fishing and trapping rights.
He adamantly states, "One solution would be to make certain Pittman-Robertson money goes to only hunting and fishing programs - since the sportsmen are the sources of that funding."
Mac Minard, who spent a 30 year career as a wildlife manager with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, echoes Kubista's sentiments when it comes to allowing non-consumptive users to have a say in wildlife management.
He says, "It concerns me that for a few dollars Johnny-come-lately individuals and organizations, that represent a real threat to our fishing and hunting heritage, can buy their seat at the table on equal footing with over 100 years of financial support provided exclusively by hunters and anglers, from which was built the foundation of a successful management system in North America. Where were they before? I`ll tell you where, they were conducting frontal assaults on our hunting culture. As that tactic failed a new one has emerged in the form of joining (buying) in on the very system of management they have attacked for year in an effort to change priorities and redirect efforts. Sportsmen and wildlife stand to lose more than will be gained by an unholy alliance."
Mac Minard currently serves as the Executive Director of the Montana Outfitters and Guides Association.
Of all the concerned sportsmen next door in Montana, many of whom used to buy Idaho hunting licenses and permits, Gary Marbut, president of the Montana Shooting Sports Association, may have best summed up IDFG's new off-course direction. He states, "At first glance, I don't see anything wrong with non-hunters paying for the management costs associated with non-huntable wildlife. When environmentalists sue to require expensive protection of some bug, I think it would be great if the environmentalists received the bill for the management costs their lawsuits invoke. They should be quite willing to pay, just to show that they really do care and that they're not involved only for money and power. For huntable wildlife, however, having hunters only pay for management costs retains the vested interest hunters have long had in the welfare of huntable species, and it keeps the state agency focused on its proper constituency. 'He who pays the fiddler calls the tune' is not just meaningless blather."
Andy White, of the Idaho Trappers Association warns sportsmen, "The best thing to come from this summit is that it was a wake-up call to every western sportsman and woman. This is the time for hunters, trappers, falconers, anglers and every consumptive use group that has paid into the investment of the North American Model to take a very close look at how an agency (IDFG) is biting the hands that feed it...and to restructure that agency into a better ally for sportsmen and women and the North American Model. In the process of doing that, we should probably begin by purging non-hunting commissioners from all the game commissions in the western states, starting with Idaho."
Millions of hunters and anglers across the country will surely be keeping a very close eye on how the Idaho Department of Fish and Game utilizes the manipulated consensus they spent $132,000 sportsmen dollars to achieve. Or, from wherever they received the funding for their "Wildlife Summit". - Toby Bridges, LOBO WATCH