Big game hunters in the western one-third of Montana just finished what may have been the absolute worst hunting season of their lives. During the late 1950s and 1960s, some of the better hunting districts in the Bitterroot, Sapphire, Garnet, Cabinet, Mission, Absaroka, Pioneer, Madison and other mountain ranges up and down the Rocky Mountains of Western Montana commonly saw hunter success rates of 30- to 50-percent. Often the percentage of elk, deer, moose and other big game hunters taking home game for the table even exceeded those success rates. Well, things have certainly changed, and not for the better. Depending on the specific geographical area, 2012 hunter success rates were more like 6- to 10-percent.
Why such a nose dive in the wild game harvest? That's the easy question to answer - there's no game to be hunted! The difficult question to answer is, why did Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks allow big game populations to crash by as much as 80-percent - without taking the necessary actions to stop the loss?
It's not because the agency lacks the professional wildlife managers and biologists to tackle and reverse such a downward trend in game numbers. The problem lies with a drastic change in the political agendas of those who direct, steer and literally dictate the direction that wildlife management now takes in this state. Unfortunately, it does not favor the sportsmen who have financially supported FWP since it was founded way back in 1901, originally as the Montana Fish and Game Department.
This wildlife agency is directly controlled by the Governor's office. Limited to two terms in office, current Governor Brian Schweitzer vacates that office next month, to be replaced by fellow Democrat Steve Bullock - who is currently serving as Montana's Attorney General. While an ever growing number of this state's sportsmen are proud to see Schweitzer leave office, they also now fear that they can expect the same agenda driven leadership from Bullock.
(Photo Above Left - Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer...During his watch the state lost more wildlife than during the term of any other governor.)
Under Schweitzer's watch, the wildlife resources of the state took a severe beating from a glut of major predators - primarily wolves, bears and mountain lions. That destruction of big game herds was lead by the federal government - namely the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Justice Department. America's wildlife wonderland, also known as the Northern Rockies, became the test lab for a wildlife conservation experiment that went terribly wrong - the Northern Rockies Wolf Recovery Project. Unfortunately, as it turned out, the "Project" had absolutely nothing to do with conserving the native wolf of the region, and in the end has proved to be little more than the U.S. Government encroaching upon the state rights of Montana, Idaho and Wyoming - and a legal system which bent over backwards to stand behind the wants of radical environmental groups which collectively have one big plan. Their goal is to push the rural residents of the Northern Rockies off the land, and to return the region to one big wilderness area that's pretty much human free, and much of which will be off limits to human use.
Prior to the launch of the wolf recovery project, when the USFWS released a non-native Canadian subspecies of wolf into the Northern Rockies in 1995, elk, deer and moose were thriving in the region - despite healthy numbers of mountain lions and bears - both black and grizzly. Weather related game losses took place from time to time, but through the years hunter harvest in Western Montana tended to vary from around 30- to 50-percent. It was the return of the wolf, a non-indigenous one at that, into the Montana-Idaho-Wyoming ecosystem that quickly proved to be the straw that broke wildlife management's back, and which destroyed hunting opportunities.
Had native wolves been thoroughly extirpated in the northern U.S. Rockies? There were then, and still are today, many resident hunters, hikers, campers, ranchers, and rural dwellers who said and still claim that pockets of the native wolf (Canis lupus irremotus), which the locals called the "timber wolf", still existed - with minimal impact on various big game populations.
(Photo Above Right - Millions of taxpayer dollars had already been expended on wolf research before the kickoff of the Northern Rockies Wolf Recovery Project...just to falsify that there were no native wolves in the Northern Rockies Wolf Recovery Area.)
Working with the wildlife studies at the University of Montana, Missoula, professor Dr. Robert Ream headed the school's Wolf Ecology Project, which was established in 1972. The primary goal of that study was to determine whether or not wolves naturally still existed in the state, and whether or not reproduction had occurred. At the end of more than 15 years of supposedly in-the-field wolf investigation with student researchers, expending taxpayer dollars, Ream's pet project concluded that native wolves did not exist, that the wolves of Northwest Montana were merely moving back and forth across the U.S.-Canada border, and that other than a pair that had mated in Glacier National Park, then moved back into Canada, reproduction had not taken place.
One Montana hunter who doesn't buy that is State Senator Greg Hinkle (R-Thompson Falls).
Earlier this fall, Hinkle commented, "No native wolves in the Northern Rockies? Let me tell you all a little history about the Rocky Mountain Wolf and FWP. Twenty-one years ago this December (Christmas) my wife and I were on a walk near our home. About a foot of snow on the ground. Out of the trees about 80 yards away a wolf stepped out. Beautiful critter. He loped along through an open area giving us a few moments to observe it well. It was the first wolf my wife had seen. I have seen many while working and hunting in Alaska. Definitely a wolf."
(Photo At Left - Montana State Senator Greg Hinkle (R-Thompson Falls))
Hinkle called the regional FWP biologist to report it.
He was told he saw a "large coyote". He insisted he knew what a wolf looked like and told the biologist it was a wolf. He denied they were here. Hinkle wondered at the time what was up with that kind of response. The next year he saw another wolf while hunting in the same area. Up close. It was during a heavy downpour, and a wolf stepped out in front of him not twenty feet away. It had a look of surprise, as Hinkle says he surely did as well. He says the wolf spun around and vanished into the thick cover. He again reported it, and was again told he had seen a "large coyote".
Greg adds, "The next year I saw another one in another drainage and tracks of another in yet another drainage a couple of days later. I did the same, reported it to FWP, with the same response. I no longer call FWP for anything. It became very apparent to me that there was some kind of 'agenda' afoot. A few years later the wolf introduction program began. 'No native wolves here'. Now we know the 'agenda'. That is when I became aware of the lies, deception and false propaganda spewed by environmental groups, the USFWS, and MT FWP concerning the wolf issue. Current FWP management is running part and parcel with the Y2Y agenda of re-wilding the Rockies. It also fits nicely with Agenda 21. The truth is out. The genie will not be stuffed back into the bottle."
Another Montana resident who questions just how thoroughly Bob Ream's project investigated the hundreds of reported wolf sightings is Allen Schallenberger, of Sheridan. He is a former state wildlife biologist and researcher who went to work with Montana Fish and Game - before "Parks" were thrown under that umbrella, stealing sportsman dollars which should be devoted entirely to fish and game management. Schallenberger worked as the Fish and Game biologist for the Eastern Front of the Rocky Mountains, plus conducted a five year study researching grizzly bears in that region. His work was conducted during the same time period as the Wolf Ecology Project. He spent 60+ hours a week working in the field, and says there were many documented reports of wolves in Montana prior to 1980. He feels historic wolf observations prior to 1995 including all pups, packs greater than two, with one exception of three, were covered up and eliminated in order to get the transplant wolves. Without any reservation whatsoever, he accuses the University of Montana, MT FWP, the National Park Service and the USFWS of that cover up - and says that Bob Ream and FWP continue that cover up to this very day.
In a letter written in May 2011, to FWP Commissioner Dan Vermillion, Schallenberger commented, "I listened to the last Commission meeting and heard Ream tell the audience that wolves first moved into Montana from Canada in 1980 and that 60 per cent of our present wolf population is made up of wolves which migrated from Canada. Where he got both items is unknown as I am not aware of any research which says 40 percent of the wolves present have ancestry traceable to the wolves which were airlifted into the state."
Re-elected in 2008, Democratic Governor Brian Schweitzer appointed Bob Ream Chairman the FWP Commission in 2009. Ream had served as the Chairman of the Montana Democratic Party during Schweitzer's first run for that office in 2004, and played an instrumental role in getting him elected. Many residents of this state realize that during his second term in office, Schweitzer used positions within the state's fish and game department as a way of rewarding political allies and friends. One old friend, who had been the Governor's roommate during their college days had been Joe Maurier - who Schweitzer appointed Director of FWP, even though Maurier had no background in fish and game management. Other equally unqualified individuals were also brought in from other states to head FWP divisions or bureaus.
One Montana resident sportsman who disagrees with how the agency has changed is Jack Jones of Butte. He is a retired fish and game biologist who worked with the Bureau of Land Management for nearly 33 years. Incidentally, his career in this field began with his initial employment with Montana Fish and Game, before it became Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks. Today, he is the Vice President of the Montana State Lands Coalition, which is devoted to opening up access to public lands in the state.
He is one of the majority of Montana sportsmen who feel the agency needs an overhaul, proclaiming, "FWP has failed due to poor leadership with unqualified personnel and politics. FWP directors must have a degree in the field of wildlife management, with field experience. That doesn`t exist today. The commission should represent the hunter, not the environmentalists who want nothing more than wolves - and no hunting of bison."
Like many, Jones feels that "Parks" have no business being lumped together with the management of fish and game. He fully realizes that sportsman provided funding is being misused, and has no problem sharing that "Parks" needs to be placed within the Department of Natural Resources and Conservation. Jones says that fish and game management now faces many problems, and that an all out effort needs to be launched to address those problems. He fully blames the decimation of big game herds across much of the state to wolf impact.
Jones commented, "Bringing these larger killing-machine wolves down from Canada was a biological fraud from day one. They have plenty of the same wolves, and classifying them as threatened when they crossed the border was all a lie."
(Photo Above Left - USFWS illegally flies totally non-endangered Canadian wolves across the U.S.- Canada border - and once across the border those apex predators are given full federal protection as "endangered" or "threatened".)
He says he won't hold his breath waiting for a politically motivated agency to turn things around on their own, and adds, "We need better representation within the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks for providing big game animals available to hunters. FWP has lost their mission over the past eight years, and has become an environmentally-oriented agency — not a game management agency. The commission is purely political and follows the wind."
Robert Fanning, of Pray, Montana, who earlier this year threw his hat into the gubernatorial race, points out that the Northern Rockies Wolf Recovery Project has had absolutely nothing to do with conserving wolves. Using the rationale modern day wildlife managers and biologists have used, lumping all subspecies of gray wolves into just one, Canis lupus, he states that wolves are far from being endangered or threatened, with a minimum worldwide count of at least 250,000, and maybe as many as 1,000,000. He feels that the forced introduction of Canadian wolves into the Northern Rockies of the U.S. is simply a piece of another agenda jig saw puzzle - the United Nation's driven Agenda 21.
(Photo Above Right - USFWS biologists, out of convenience, classified all grey wolf subspecies as simply Canis lupus, to facilitate dumping a non-native wolf into the U.S. Northern Rockies.)
Here in North America, the Agenda 21 effort is better known as the "Wildllands Network". The goal is to return nearly 50-percent of the U.S. back to wilderness cores and corridors, where human use is severely limited or restricted - establishing a travel network for apex predators to move freely without human contact. To achieve this will require moving millions of people off the land, and into cities that have been established as "safe zones". Another goal is to dramatically reduce human populations. It all fits in far too nicely with the U.N.'s Agenda 21, which looks to establish itself as the single world government - and to reduce the human population of Earth by 80-percent. Does this scream "conspiracy theory" to you? If so, you need to spend some time researching Agenda 21.
Bob Fanning says, "Wolves in the United States are receiving special protections not because they are endangered, but because they are the 'keystone' species driving the rewilding agenda."
He points out that before major predators can achieve a major impact on the rural lifestyle of Montanans, the populations of wolves, grizzly bears and even black bears and mountain lions are being artificially protected in order to permit wild ungulate numbers to hit rock bottom, to be thrown into a "Predator Pit". With no game left for sustenance, these predators will then turn to livestock, making it impossible for ranchers and farmers to derive a living off the land. Fanning lives near the northern entrance to Yellowstone National Park, and has witnessed the destruction of big game herds first hand. He is the founder and c.e.o. of the group known as the Friends of the Northern Yellowstone Elk Herd, and since the introduction of the Canadian Canis lupus occidentalis subspecies of wolf in 1995 and 1996, plus a rapidly growing number of grizzly bears, he has watched the northern Yellowstone elk herd, which winters near his small Montana ranch, dwindle from about 20,000 to fewer than 4,000 today. It's the same story all along the western side of the state.
A major proponent of this "rewilding" of America has been the FWP Commission's Dr. Robert Ream. During his 28 years of teaching new wave wildlife management to tomorrow's game managers, he also was one of the founders of the Wilderness Institute at the University of Montana, which fully supports the closure of access to public lands so major predators such as grizzlies and wolves can enjoy interconnected wilderness areas and travel corridors.
Next month, Montanans have a new governor taking office, and among the state's sportsmen there is now a great deal of uneasiness and a real lack of trust that Steve Bullock will choose a qualified director for FWP, and an FWP Commission that is chaired by someone with far less environmental and anti-sportsman baggage as Robert Ream.
(Photo Above Left - Montana Governor Elect Steve Bullock - Will he allow MT Fish, Wildlife and Parks to operate as an honest state wildlife agency...or will he continue to hold them hostage the same as the governor he replaces?)
One rumor currently circulating among hunters and anglers is that Bullock is considering appointing State Senator Kendall Van Dyk (D-Billings) as Director of Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks. That would mean another administration with a totally unqualified individual heading the agency. Van Dyk's closest claim to being "professionally" associated with fish and game issues would be his role in helping to found the group known as Montana Hunters and Anglers Action, which has been nothing more than a political activist group for Senator Jon Tester.
During the 2012 political campaign, this phony sportsman organization spent more than a million dollars to attack Congressman Denny Rehberg, who was running against Tester for his seat in the U.S. Senate. Many Montana residents now feel that some of those non-disclosed funds were also spent to throw the governor's race as well, and for Governor-Elect Bullock to reward Van Dyk by appointing him Director of FWP could become an extremely explosive powder keg. - Toby Bridges, LOBO WATCH
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