Tom Wharton, a columnist at the Salt Lake Tribune, takes on Utah’s Division of Wildlife Resources as being under the thumb of the state’s Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife, to the detriment of predators and “a better, more holistic approach to wildlife management that recognizes the need for balance and the useful role predators play.”

The article gives the experience of a professor of pathology at the University of Utah School of Medicine who thought he’d do the civic thing by participating in state wildlife management ~ only to have wildlife spited for his effort at bringing some new ideas to their public fiefdom.

Wharton: Wildlife management process is rigged in favor of hunters

It’s the same animal in Idaho. A link to Ralph’s post Predator hunters for the environment, “Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife”

Perhaps its time to bring a bit more balance ?

 
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About The Author

Brian Ertz

49 Responses to Utah: some wildlife more equal than other

  1. avatar Jon Way says:

    That is the truth. 42 of 49 states allow unlimited hunting and argue that they can bounce back by reproducing more and having bigger litters. Those state wildlife dept.s ignore the data that coyotes are social, family-oriented animals and are potentially smarter than dogs. Yet Mike Vick will be going to jail for killing pitbulls, yet just about anywhere in the U.S. people can put bait piles out and shoot unlimited #s of coyotes, often not even reporting their kills.
    It is clear that a growing number of people realize this discrepancy, especially toward predators. That is why I wrote my book “Suburban Howls” to try and open people’s eyes to how wildlife is treated.
    There absolutely needs to be new funding streams to support non-consumptive uses. State fish and game agencies manage for Pittman-Robinson Act funding because the sale from guns/hunting equip. goes directly to them; however, nationally, wildlife watching generates more than twice the amount than hunting does. In Massachusetts (in 2001) $469 million was generated from wildlife watching compared to $58 million for hunting. Yet, there is no sizable area dedicated to non-consumptive wildlife watching in the entire state.
    Taxing binoculars, cameras, spotting scopes, etc., will give the non-consumptive user a voice and maybe predators (often smart and intelligent animals who are managed strictly by their numbers and not by their instrict worth) will get more protection. It really is a shame that wildlife laws are determined by a minority of people. It really is making fish and wildlife agencies nationwide look bad for the way they are treated. For instance, MA just extended their coyote season, not to control coyotes, but to provide more recreational opportunities for hunters, like shooting them is akin to a night out bowling.
    Jon Way
    http://www.easterncoyoteresearch.om

  2. avatar elkhunter says:

    I have a hard time believing those statistcis on wildlife watching vs. hunting. I lived in MA for 2 years, and hunting is not very big business out there. But in the western states its HUGE. I would doubt that hunters in UT, CO, MT, WY, AZ, NV and ID are the small minority when it comes to wildlife. I have spent countless hours scouting and looking for elk and deer. I can count on one hand how many people I have ran into wildlife watching. Same with alot of my friends. YNP I could understand wildlife watching thats why people go there. I just have a hard time believing that statistic, I would like to see your source, also if they are counting all sales from cameras, spotting scopes and binoculars, I personally have spent a couple thousand dollars on optics that I use for hunting. Along with about every other hunter that I know. I am just curious as to how they come up with that number as far as revenue for wildlife watching because there is really no concrete way to come up with those numbers. They could also be twisted to support either side I would believe also.

  3. avatar skyrim says:

    Now wait a minute E.H. You continually come up with the theory that hunters spend “far” more $ than recreational wildlife viewers. I have yet to see any of your hard data to support that theory. Care to clear that one up for us? Of course I guess that the hunting lobby could create whatever they wanted and it would be gospel to you, correct?

  4. avatar elkhunter says:

    Skyrim, the only study I found that was done by the National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife Related Activites. In reading that study here is the link http://library.fws.gov/nat_survey2001_economics.pdf It lumps all wildlife related activites. So I would imagine Hunting would be included in that. Considering that the name of the government organization is fishing and hunting related activites.
    Here is the report from CAFG from 1996 which is 11 years ago and the study estimates 61 billion in economic output. And that was 11 years ago Here is the link http://www.dfg.ca.gov/wildlife/hunting/econ.hunting.html
    In TX just in tag and license sales they generated 81 million. Just from tag fees. Now you factor in guns, bows, ammo, gas, guide fees, hotels, food and other factors and I am sure that number would explode. Here is the link http://www.tylerpaper.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article? AID=/20070802/SPORTS0202/708010315
    And here is AZ report The Economic Importance of Hunting and Fishing
    Fishing and hunting recreation generates spending that has a powerful effect on Arizona’s economy. More than 255,000 anglers spend an estimated $831.5 million on equipment and trip-related expenditures annually. Hunters, more than 135,000 of them, account for an additional $126.5 million in retail sales. This combined $958 million in spending creates an economic impact of $1.34 billion to the state of Arizona. Furthermore, this spending supports more than 17,000 jobs, provides residents with $314 million in salary and wages and generates more than $58 million in state tax revenue. The following report prepared by Arizona State University, School of Management presents a detailed economic analysis on the impacts that fishing and hunting recreation generate at the state and individual county levels.
    And all the studies I pulled that dealt with wildlife watching all had WILDLIFE RELATED ACTIVITIES. Which I would assume includes all the money that hunters are spending, which hunting is a wildlife related activity I would assume.

  5. avatar elkhunter says:

    So I kinda have this feeling that wildlife watching is claiming ALOT of revenue from hunters. If you read the first report in detail you will see the breakdown, they are counting all purchases of bird feed, off-road vehicles, tents anything to do with the outdoors, and counting that as wildlife watching, so I have a feeling that the numbers Jon Way is posting are very skewed. But that is just my opinion.

  6. avatar JEFF E says:

    so here is a simple straight forward question elkhunter. Are you a card carrying member of SFW in utah?

  7. avatar elkhunter says:

    Yes, I also participate in their yearly service project.

  8. avatar JEFF E says:

    so as such, are you required to attend an RAC meeting and do you receive any organization special privileges in return for your participation in the service projects

  9. avatar elkhunter says:

    I attend RAC meetings for my dedicated hunter program and do service projects for them also. In my service project for SFW I volunteer my bird dogs for 2 days to help out on a youth hunt to teach kids about hunting and gun safety. And the only thing I get in return is my Dad and I get to go out and hunt the birds that all the kids miss after the youth hunt is over. Its alot of fun with the kids, they are entertaining and they enjoy the experience. I know that alot of people on this blog dont like SPW but they do alot of service projects to repair and preserve habitat in Utah.

  10. avatar JEFF E says:

    so what your saying is that the individual in the article in the Salt Lake Tribune that is linked above is not telling the truth.

  11. avatar elkhunter says:

    I read the article and I am kinda confused, he states in the article that the RAC approved bear baiting. And bear baiting for hunting is illegal in Utah. And has been for a few years.

  12. avatar elkhunter says:

    To answer your question Jeff E, yes he is not telling the truth, alot of half truths, as far as special priveleges he is talking about that hunters in the dedicated hunter program get to hunt all 3 deer seasons. Archery, muzzleloader, and rifle. In exchange for that they can kill 2 deer in 3 years. And they have to do 3 days of service hours over the course of those 3 years. Or 24 hours. That is the only benefit they get over hunters not in the program, but they can only harvest 2 deer in 3 years. AND bear baiting in hunting is very illegal in UT. So I dont know what he is talking about with that.

  13. avatar JEFF E says:

    On the face of it that sounds equitable as far as the deer hunting–except I think an argument might be made that the state is flirting with privatization of a public resource. For example if I did not belong to SFW at all but I got a scout troop together for the same amount of time for volunteer service work on public lands would we get the same deal?
    Also you say you attend the RAC meetings but is that a condition of membership.

  14. avatar kt says:

    Grown men shooting “put and take” pheasants … now that is something. I remember releasing the poor things a while back when I worked for F&G. Many couldn’t even fly – they sort of glided, losing some moldery cage-bent feathers, from the back of the pickup to the weeds by the road edge.

    Backyard chickens can fly better. I imagine the quail Dick Cheney’s little shooting escapade a while back evolved around were in a similar state.

  15. avatar elkhunter says:

    KT, if you read my comment it was a YOUTH HUNT. Which means YOUTH, or LITTLE KIDS introducing them to hunting and gun safety. And I wish in UT we did have a healthy population of wild pheasants. All in all it would be hard to get 700 kids (which is how many showed up over 2 days) to go on a wild pheasant hunt. So we do it this way, and some of the birds are actually pretty good, depends on how big the flight pens are. But I appreciate your sarcastic remark, next time read the comment before posting. Thanks

    Jeff E, UFG is the one who heads up the dedicated hunter program, SPW does not have anything to do with it, as for your question with the boy scouts they would have to actually be a part of the dedicated hunter program to be eligible. As for the service projects the UFG will approve individual projects that count towards your hours. As for the mandatory attendance Weiss is talking about, you have to attend one RAC meeting each year, and you can choose anyone you want to go to. I really dont see what this guys problem is, people in general are pretty excited about the wildlife in UT. As far as predators the only real predator control that SPW really pushes is for coyotes. This article in my opinion is just some guys agenda, like someone offended him so he gives an interview to the SLC Tribune. And for the fact he says that the RAC approved bear baiting for hunting makes me laugh, if he knew anything at all bear baiting has been illegal for years in UT. A guy I knew was caught baiting a bear and they took his hunting rights away for 5 years, fined him, and took the bear. So that alone casts a shadow on this guys authenticity.

  16. avatar elkhunter says:

    One last thing the program is done solely through the UFG. Nothing to do at all with SPW, even though he alludes to it.

  17. avatar JEFF E says:

    Thanks for the clarification. do you know if there are other groups or organizations that participate in this dedicated hunter program.

  18. avatar elkhunter says:

    Not that I am aware of, just UFG.

  19. avatar Jon Way says:

    Elkhunter,
    I would have to do some investigating on where all the wildlife watching comes from but there is no doubt, at least in MA (where I am from), that non-consumptive uses dominate here from a finacial perspective.
    You would assume that hunters also use their optics during other times than just hunting (I assume many hunters like to also watch animals, including during the “off-season). Here are some sources. There is no doubt that wildlife watching is big business. That isn’t to say that hunting isn’t, especially in rural areas. But the simple stat. that so many more people wildlife watch than hunt is undeniable. However, a typical hunter does spend more per person than a wildife watcher. Here are some sources:
    Caudill, J. 2001. National and state economic impacts of wildlife watching. Addendum to 2001 national survey of fishing, hunting, and wildlife-associated recreation. United States Fish and Wildlife Service, Division of Economics, Arlington, Virginia.
    U. S. Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service and U. S. Department of Commerce, and U. S. Census Bureau. 2001. 2001 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation. http://www.census.gov/prod/2002pubs/FHW01.pdf.
    Smith, D. W. 2005. Ten years of Yellowstone wolves, 1995-2005. Yellowstone Science 13:7-33.

    In summary, just like hunters, the sheer number of wildlife watchers bring lots of money, not only from optics (etc.) but to local economies in the form of gas, hotels, etc…

  20. avatar steve c says:

    Youth hunts… kind of creepy.

  21. avatar elkhunter says:

    Jon Way, I have no doubt that wildlife watching is very popular and generates revenue, just alot of the sources I looked at seemed to include hunting in all thier figures thats all. But I agree WW is big business.

  22. avatar JEFF E says:

    elk hunter,
    I understand UGF runs the hunter program. What I’m curious about is what other organizations other than SFW participate in those opportunities?

  23. avatar elkhunter says:

    I am not sure.

  24. avatar Moose says:

    In Mich., fees from hunting/fishing licenses make up approx. 33% of the total DNR budget. The number of individuals buying those licenses has been trending downward. The state has been increasing those license fees to make up the budget shortfall – I know Wisc is facing the same dilemma. As those fees increase so does the pressure for a greater voice in wildlife/fisheries management from the various sportsmen groups – increased predator control is at the top of most lists for the hunting groups.

    I believe the Mich DNR has done a good job to date in balancing the economics with science when making wildlife policy decisions (I’m also sure that my opinion of the DNR is not shared by many of my sporting brethern). I’m not as optimistic about the future.

  25. avatar kt says:

    Elkhunter, Here is what you said:

    “and the only thing I get in return is my Dad and I get to go out and hunt the birds that all the kids miss after the youth hunt is over.”

    Sounds to me like grown men hunting put and take chicken delights!

  26. avatar elkhunter says:

    KT, you make me laugh, I train dogs all year long, they LOVE hunting, wether it be “chicken” pheasants like you call them, or wild pheasants, which UT has very few, either way I enjoy spending the time with my dogs and my Dad. We do about 3 hunts a year on pheasant farms, they are good for taking my wife and my Dad, people who physically cannot hike for miles to find wild birds. And once again I enjoy the time with my dogs, who have a hard time telling the difference between a wild pheasant and a “chicken” as you call it. And of course I feel really manly and my self worth and self esteem goes through the roof when I shoot a “chicken” pheasant. So you caught me on that. But of course I dont expect your ignorant mind to understand something like that, I am surprised that you did not work public grazing into your comment. Maybe on your next comment you could work “chicken” hunts, public land grazing and how “chicken” hunts contribute to global warming.

  27. avatar Jay says:

    Oh hell, let’s just pave everything over and be done with it! Wildlife, schmildlife…what we truly need, more than wolves, deer, elk, “chickens”, coyotes, pronghorns, etc., are some Super-Duper-Pooper-sized Walmarts, Costcos, and a freaking Starbucks on every corner. And Fuddruckers–can’t forget them. Only then can we all be happy, when cheap, toxic, dangerous Chinese imports can be available at all hours of the day to everyone, in every town–that which will provide us with what humans truly desire: CONSUMING!!!!!! YAYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!!!!!! I’m gonna go eat a Hot Pocket and watch Bill O’Lie-ly on FUX news now…

  28. avatar JEFF E says:

    elk hunter,
    maybe you can clear something up for me. You stated earlier that using bait for bear hunting was very illegal in Utah but when reading section R657-33-taking bear, which apparently applies only to archery, of the administrative rules, sub-section R657-33-14-using bait, specifically outlines that using bait is legal and in fact paragraph 1b says that a hunter may use two bait stations as alluded to the article in the trib. Can you elaborate.

  29. avatar Monte says:

    Enjoy your hotpocket Jay, but know this. Not all conservatives want to pave everything. Some of us are as interested in wildlife and wild places as you are.

  30. avatar elkhunter says:

    I was not aware of the rules for archery, I did not even know they had seperate seasons for bear. I am not a big bear hunter, the individual I was talking about baited bear during the rifle hunt. But I guess they must allow it during the archery hunt. Usually they chase them with dogs.

  31. avatar JEFF E says:

    elk hunter,
    yeah, the devils in the details as they say. I always take newspaper stories with about a pound of salt because not only does the reporter filter the information, but then an editor will edit it so what we read is, to say the least, suspect as far as veracity. That is why I always try to get at least two, and better three, reliable sources when researching a subject.

  32. avatar Mike Post says:

    I think Jon has bamboozzled us a little bit with his slight of hand with those stats. $58 million in direct funding for wildlife from specifically earmarked taxes is a bit different than $469 million in estimated economic impact of wildlife viewing. No credible person on either side of the debate will disagree that the lions share of direct funding for wildlife is coming from hunters and fishers.

    Until all the disconnected non-hunters pony up some cash like the hunters do, they will always have a smaller voice at the table. It is understandable that wildlife agencies recognize that the hunter is the funder of almost all their programs, including endangered species monitoring and anti-poaching enforcement. I’ll even bet the critters drinking from that new guzzler, browsing in that recently restored habitat, or using that new hiway bypass bridge would agree. If the hunter cash disappeared tomorrow, so would a lot of the wildlife. If you don’t like that arrangement, replace it with a bigger better funding source and you can be the voice most heard…

  33. avatar Moose says:

    Mike P.,

    I agree we (states & feds) need to come up with a better funding source. When wildlife management decisions are made according to the highest bidder nobody wins, wildlife included.

  34. avatar elkhunter says:

    Moose, I dont see how you can come up with that conclusion. I think that hunters in general care ALOT more than your average citizen. Thats why we have no problem spending the money we do to hunt. In my state of UT, our wildlife seem to be doing just fine. What state do you live in? And is your wildlife really doing that bad?

  35. avatar Moose says:

    Elkhunter,

    I don’t think the issue here is who cares the most…wildlife management decisions shouldn’t hinge on which special issue group contributes the most money, time, etc..viewing wildlife management only in terms of its potential for revenue generation has its limitations.

    In the Midwest, optimum deer pop.s is a huge issue. There are way too many deer in many areas of the Midwest (many towns have special in-city hunts to reduce deer numbers becuz of the risk to motorists). The DNRs of the various states have to walk a tightrope between what their science may say is the optimum pop., and what hunters, farmers, insurance co.s, animal rights grps., etc. want.

    Yes, I agree many hunters do yeoman’s work in improving habitat for wildlife. Sometimes this work benifits many species, sometimes it mainly benefits the species the hunters are interested in to the detriment of other species. This isn’t a knock on hunters. I know ‘money talks,’ I’m just advocating for science to speak louder.

  36. avatar john weis says:

    Elkhunter, you said:
    “”To answer your question Jeff E, yes he is not telling the truth, alot of half truths, as far as special priveleges he is talking about that hunters in the dedicated hunter program get to hunt all 3 deer seasons. Archery, muzzleloader, and rifle. In exchange for that they can kill 2 deer in 3 years. And they have to do 3 days of service hours over the course of those 3 years. Or 24 hours. That is the only benefit they get over hunters not in the program, but they can only harvest 2 deer in 3 years. AND bear baiting in hunting is very illegal in UT. So I dont know what he is talking about with that.””

    Where exactly did I tell “half truths?”. You now have bothered to read the regs after impugning me to realize, yes, bear baiting is legal for the harvest of bear in Utah. So you are the liar, not me. What else Elkhunter? Got any more specifics? Or do you just like to sling manure around to see what sticks?

  37. avatar elkhunter says:

    John, You got me on the bear baiting, I was not aware of the seperate seasons, so I apologize for that, as for your half truths regarding SPW and the dedicated hunter program. You made it out to be like SPW are giving special favors to those in the dedicated hunter program. Which you and I know is not true. ANYONE can join the program. In the article it says “For example, a requirement of the dedicated hunter program that gives special privileges in exchange for volunteer work requires members to attend a RAC meeting” What special privileges John Weiss? I am eager to hear your response to that. As for requirements to attend RAC meetings, you feel that is required for the sole purpose to outnumber regualr citizens 100:1? Please be serious. The RAC meeting I attended when I was in the dedicated hunter program was about fishing and sage grouse. Nothing about big-game hunting, and there were over a hundred people in the meeting. Was I asked to attend to intimidate non-hunters? NO, and its ridiculous that you even cast that shadow on hunters. You make the RAC meetings out to be some secret combination to shut down anyone who opposes big-game hunting. And its sad that you would stoop to that. Everyone is entitled to their opinion and you can have yours, and you can get a newspaper interview to put your name out there, but last time I checked we were at or below objectives for elk in almost every unit, buck to doe ratios were on the rise, there are coyotes EVERYWHERE, cougars EVERYWHERE, I have multiple friends who chase cats all winter long, and they have never once complained about the lack of cats to be found. As for bear, I dont know how many there are in UT maybe you can tell me. So I have a hard time following along with you, if someone who has no idea whats going on in UT and they read your article, they would get a very distorted view, that some MOB named SPW runs the UFG, we dont care about predators. But thats my opinion, I could be wrong for your intention, but it look like a public relations play to me. But of course thats my opinion.
    Elkhunter

  38. avatar johnweis says:

    “”You made it out to be like SPW are giving special favors to those in the dedicated hunter program.””

    I did not. All hunters who are in this program have the same rights and obligations and I never said otherwise.

    “”requires members to attend a RAC meeting…””
    The RAC’s voted to require attendance at the RAC meetings to participate in the program.

    “”As for requirements to attend RAC meetings, you feel that is required for the sole purpose to outnumber regualr citizens 100:1?””

    How do you know how or what I feel? The facts speak for themselves. In RAC meetings where Utah citizens have spoken up to curtail or restrict predator hunts they were dramatically outnumbered by the “paid audience”.

    “”The RAC meeting I attended when I was in the dedicated hunter program was about fishing and sage grouse. Nothing about big-game hunting, and there were over a hundred people in the meeting.””

    You went to one meeting and you are now the expert on the process?? Every RAC meeting has a different agenda which addresses different animal species. And did you notice that at the meeting you went to, when they announced you could now sign the role for the dedicated hunter points and leave the meeting, that virtually everyone stood up and left. If the DWR (not Utah Fish and Game as you like to call it) wanted seriously interested citizens to attend the RACs then why not invite all equally instead of biasing the audience to only those citizens that consume wildlife?

    “”Everyone is entitled to their opinion and you can have yours, and you can get a newspaper interview to put your name out there, “””

    They called me, I didn’t call them. If I want to publicize a concern of mine in the paper I write an Op Ed or Letter to the Editor.

    “””cougars EVERYWHERE, I have multiple friends who chase cats all winter long, and they have never once complained about the lack of cats to be found. “”””

    This is not the stance of the Utah Houndsman Association. The average age of cougar killed in Utah for the past three years has been three years of age with a much higher percentage of females to males than appropriate. Three years of age for a cougar, by the way, is before or at the earliest stage of reproduction, thus the average cat killed in Utah is still a kitten.

    “””As for bear, I don’t know how many there are in UT maybe you can tell me”””.

    I can’t tell you and neither can the DWR. The data is very poor in trying to estimate bear or cat numbers.

    “””But thats my opinion, I could be wrong for your intention, but it look like a public relations play to me. But of course thats my opinion.”””

    You can call it anything you want from the comfort of your sofa. I served on that RAC for three years, spending 4 to 8 hours one night a month sitting in a junior high school auditorium getting more and more disgusted with the management of ALL wildlife in the state of Utah. Maybe you should take my place on the committee and educate yourself instead of just drinking the SFW koolaid.

  39. avatar Mike Wolf says:

    In all of this discussion, at least what I read; I never heard mention of the fact that no one owns wildlife; but rather, EVERYONE is entitled to the enjoyment of that wildlife; even if it isn’t directly.

    For example: wolves. That there are wolves in this state, and others; is something I am entitled to enjoy; simply knowing that they are there. I don’t pay money to go watch wolves. Does that entitle someone who pays to hunt wolves more ownership over wolves? Hell no.

    No one, no single person, no single entity is entitled to more say in any decisions on wildlife management just because they pay to watch, or pay to hunt. Period. And just because a few hunters pay for the right to kill wildlife under skewed state management programs, they don’t deserve any kind of right to have more say so, or have any more entitlement than any other citizen of this country. And yes, I do mean ANY other citizen of this COUNTRY, not the states. States do NOT own their wildlife. Period. They are held responsible for PROPERLY managing that wildlife. And when they fail to do so properly; we have the ESA to allow the federal government to come in and correct errors in management made by states. So, to all you hunters and others who oppose federal management of wolves; had the mistakes not been made and wolves not extirpated in the first place, you wouldn’t have to deal with federal management. That wolves are on the endangered species act is federal recognition that mistakes were made, that wolves were mismanaged. And this law was created by national consensus. Think on that one. Especially on the anniversary of 9/11. To believe that wolves don’t belong when the people of this nation believe otherwise is not very patriotic. And if you ask me, illegally killing a wolf is a seditious act, an act of gross disregard for the laws of the land, of the will of the people.

    As for the main point of this article, I wholly agree that hunting unfairly and improperly targets predators. Hunting should be used to manage game that are affected by the displacement of predators. It should not allow for the reduction of predators to increase revenue. Game management should also not be entirely supported by hunting licenses. We all hold responsibility, and that includes financial responsibility. And no, just because states are too ignorant to tax the general population for management and instead tax hunters, does NOT give hunters sole rights to management decisions. It is purely unethical.

  40. avatar elkhunter says:

    Mike, you have some points I agree with and some that I dont, I feel that your generalization that the majority of people in the country wanted wolves back, and that it is the voice of the people, I dont wholly agree with you on that.
    You also talk about entitlement to enjoy wolves. With that entitlement comes responsibility. In all my service projects that I have done with the UFG, I have not met ONE non-hunter who was there doing it with us. From installing guzzlers, to improving winter habitat. Because hunting is something that we are passionate about, and because of that passion we will donate time and money to make sure it is preserved. Now you are someone who obviously has an interest in wildlife, I dont know if you hunt or not, but personally I dont feel there are alot of people like you out there, that are willing to donate time and money to something that they dont have a passion for, or for the opportunity to see a wolf on the one family outing in the summer.

  41. avatar elkhunter says:

    John, I could say the same with deer. Whats the average age of a buck killed in UT. 1-2 years old I would imagine. So could we use the same argument?
    You obviously know that cats are territorial, and big cats stay higher than young cats. Its alot easier to catch a young cat also, big toms and females have been chased or treed many times, which might explain why young cats are getting killed. I dont see how the age of the cat would determine the species health. And if populations are hard to define, then how are you coming up with the opinion that those cats are being mismanaged? Its the same with coyotes, I hunt coyotes every year. And each year it seems there are more than the year before. I have yet gone out to hunt coyotes and not at least hear multiple howls.
    As for the gross mis-management of Utah’s wildlife, we are at or just below objective for all elk units, average age of bull harvested 6-9 years old. Utahs deer herds are approaching objective, I wish they would change the management of the deer in UT, they need to divide it up into more units to decrease pressure on units and to have more mature deer. Bighorn sheep populations are steady, I wish there were more, easier to draw a tag, we have lots of cougars, lots of coyotes, antelope everywhere in the west desert, quail all over Southern Utah, chukars populations doing well in the west desert despite the drought, the only real negative thing is pheasants. So with what the state of UT is doing with the amount of habitat they have to work with I think they are doing a great job. I see Moose every time I go hunting in American Fork Canyon and Big and Little Cottonwood canyon, and the hikers LOVE seeing the elk and moose. So when you say Utah wildlife are struggling what species and area are you talking about?
    Elkhunter

  42. avatar john weis says:

    OK, this is going to be my last effort with you EH: life is too short for this stuff.

    “”I could say the same with deer. Whats the average age of a buck killed in UT. 1-2 years old I would imagine. So could we use the same argument?””

    No you can’t. The elk/deer are bred by the state to be harvested with specific age and gender objectives. Cats are not: a dead cat is a dead cat, and for most hunters learning the sex and age of the animal is only after the thing is dead and at your feet.

    “”You obviously know that cats are territorial, and big cats stay higher than young cats. Its alot easier to catch a young cat also, big toms and females have been chased or treed many times, which might explain why young cats are getting killed. “”

    Hunters would rather target larger animals which is what houndsman do. Surveying the age and sex of animals killed in a hunt is a very objective and accurate way of determining the population at large. Maybe you should do some reading about such issues before just pronouncing your opinion(s) as common sense facts: they aren’t.

    “”I dont see how the age of the cat would determine the species health. And if populations are hard to define, then how are you coming up with the opinion that those cats are being mismanaged?””

    You must be a hard core Bush fan: you really think in circles don’t you: see above.

    “”Its the same with coyotes, I hunt coyotes every year. And each year it seems there are more than the year before. I have yet gone out to hunt coyotes and not at least hear multiple howls.””

    So you think counting coyote howls is now a reliable way to estimate populations? Regardless, coyotes are not, yet, considered a game animal in Utah: maybe you should work to get a defined hunting season for them instead of just 24/7, 365 days a year?

    “”As for the gross mis-management of Utah’s wildlife, we are at or just below objective for all elk units, average age of bull harvested 6-9 years old. “”

    Yes, that is what limiting hunting permits, increasing habitat, getting out of a drought (if only for a year or two) and removing predation will do for you. But why does Utah need to be administered as simply a wildlife park for the maturation of deer and elk?

    “”Utahs deer herds are approaching objective, I wish they would change the management of the deer in UT, they need to divide it up into more units to decrease pressure on units and to have more mature deer. “””

    So, get off your sofa and go to a RAC meeting and bitch about it. But make sure SFW thinks it is a good idea first ’cause if they don’t your plea won’t have a chance. I also would predict that Utah elk and deer herds are now at a peak that won’t be sustained with the decrease in rain, increase in temperature, and increase in wild fires that will be seen in the coming decades as the grip of global warming gets tights. Of course, if you think global warming is a crock (just a guess about you EH on my part) then everything will stay just fine.

    “”Bighorn sheep populations are steady, I wish there were more, easier to draw a tag””,

    Sure, because they eradicate the local cougar population before planting and maintaining the sheep.

    “we have lots of cougars”

    Not true. You have noi facts to base this on, and the DWR stats indicate the opposite.

    “Lots of coyotes”

    One of the miracle animals that profits from close encounters with man kind.

    “”So when you say Utah wildlife are struggling what species and area are you talking about?””

    Specifically when did I say that the Utah wildlife species (short of cats) that you are describing are struggling?

    The problem with you EH is that you write/speak before you think, and then, when confronted with facts that refute your opinions, you find another baseless direction to attack people.

    You opened this confrontation with me claiming I was lying and telling half truths and you have demonstrated not a single case where your attack on me was justified. But I’m sure that won’t stop you from continuing to sling manure.

    Adios.

  43. avatar elkhunter says:

    John, How are your opinions facts, and mine are just opinions? It would be safe to say that you assume your opinions are fact. Knowing that I will answer your questions, I did not change direction, I just want answers, and you give me your opinion. Which you feel is factual information.
    First, you state that I have no facts showing that the population of cougars is healthy. You also say that data is hard to come by, yet you have “factual” information that states that cats are being mismanaged? So your opinion outwieghs mine, which makes it truth?

    “Specifically when did I say that the Utah wildlife species (short of cats) that you are describing are struggling?”

    Here is the article

    “Weis started thinking the RACs had a negative impact on wildlife and decided to join to make a difference. At first, he was positive, but has gone back to strictly negative feelings after seeing Utah’s wildlife management process in action.”

    If you think that Utahs wildlife management is doing well, why would you have “strictly negative” feelings towards the way its being managed? So you are contradicting yourself.

    And I was not attacking you, I feel your article is misleading and does contain half-truths, wildlife in UT are doing good, and some are at all time highs, cougar populations might be down, but of course we cant prove that, so based on those FACTS that populations are at objective or very near objective, which is a FACT and not my opinion, I would say were doin pretty good. Which is why I said your article is misleading and contains half-truths. I feel some changes should be made in the RAC’s, but you cant keep everyone happy.
    Elkhunter

  44. avatar Mike Wolf says:

    Elkhunter.

    Your generalizations and assumptions may serve your own purposes on local forums and with your friends, but they don’t work here. First of all, I did a study; and in my research, I found previous research that shows that a majority of AMERICANS wanted wolves. Hunters and rural were among the groups NOT in favor. Regardless, that isn’t the point. The point is, the American people spoke, and they supported the ESA (which, by the way, Nixon signed into law) which authorized the FWS to list qualified species. So, there can be no doubt whatsoever that Americans want wolves, period.

    Second; you aren’t passionate about wildlife; you’re passionate about hunting. Improving winter habitat? Does that mean undoing the damage other hunters do, or off-road recreationists? Oh, and let’s not forget that you are ONLY improving habitat for species you hunt. No, that’s not kind of you, that’s not involved of you; that’s self-serving. But don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying its bad that you do it. It’s a good thing; you’re unlike most hunters – they are too lazy and willing to let too few do what needs to be done. But please, don’t claim you volunteer for the benefit of wildlife.

    You, like other hunters, like ranchers; have learned to hunt, live, ranch without wolves. You haven’t a clue, generally speaking, what its like with wolves as part of the environment. You are ignorant to their behavior. And let me clear one thing up with you and with the ranchers I met this past weekend, and anyone else ignorant of this truth: wolves weren’t extirpated because they were a threat…they were extirpated simply because they were the ONLY species, besides buffalo, that our predecessors were SUCCESSFULLY able to extirpate. Period. Coyotes, bear, cougar, elk, deer, and antelope were not successfully removed from the wild because they weren’t able to be removed. Wolves are social animals. Buffalo travelled in big herds. Species who have been killed off and reduced to extreme numbers were because they were easy to kill in large numbers. That wolves are being recovered is a testament to our previous ignorance and willingness to correct that. Anyone who cannot accept wolves holds on to that same ignorance. That ignorance, by the way, is recognized in the NRMWRP on the first page.

  45. avatar elkhunter says:

    So when we installed over 15 guzzlers in different areas, that only served the elk and deer in the area? Not to mention the cougars, chukars, coyotes, rabbits, mice, rodents, birds that used the guzzlers as well? So would it be safe to assume that my work benefitted all wildlife? When the RMEF purchases crucial winter range, does that benefit just elk? Do we ban all other wildlife from entering the range that was purchased? When the Mule Deer Foundation protects winter range, do we only allow mule deer to use it? Do we not allow elk, moose, bear, cougar , coyotes and any other animal from using it? No. So I guess it could be compared to your ripple effect you pro-wolf always point out in YNP, that wolves benefit everything. The same can be applied here.
    And rural people you say did not want them? Oh yeah, because the rural people are the ones who knew the circus that would follow (see ID). And all the urban wolf lovers wanted wolves for sure! Thats how DOW and Sierra Club make thier money, wolves are their cash cow! Of course a New Yorker could care less if their were wolves, they probably like the idea, wild wolves howling in the night, of course they dont deal with them, we in rural areas do.

  46. avatar matt bullard says:

    Well, as soon as we start devaluing *ideas*, then we are all, as the cop famously said on Larry Craig’s arrest tape, going down the tubes. The idea IS just as important, but I know you disagree.

  47. avatar johnweis says:

    It must be the teacher in me that thinks I can somehow larn you to understand logic, EH, but I’m not sure….

    “”How are your opinions facts, and mine are just opinions? It would be safe to say that you assume your opinions are fact. Knowing that I will answer your questions, I did not change direction, I just want answers, and you give me your opinion. Which you feel is factual information.””

    I am NOT supplying you with opinions I am supplying you with FACTS. Call Kevin Bunnell at Utah DWR and he will be happy to review these facts with you so that you may actually learn something.

    “”First, you state that I have no facts showing that the population of cougars is healthy. You also say that data is hard to come by, yet you have “factual” information that states that cats are being mismanaged? So your opinion outwieghs mine, which makes it truth?””

    No, the data obtained by DWR in the past decades outweighs your opinions. Your opinions (and mine as well) don’t count compared to real data. Is that clear enough for you?

    “Weis started thinking the RACs had a negative impact on wildlife and decided to join to make a difference. At first, he was positive, but has gone back to strictly negative feelings after seeing Utah’s wildlife management process in action.”

    If you think that Utahs wildlife management is doing well, why would you have “strictly negative” feelings towards the way its being managed? So you are contradicting yourself.””

    EH, do you understand how journalism even works? The author of the piece interviews the subject (which was me) and then, in places, puts in his or her summary of what the subject has said. If you have a beef about what Tom Wharton wrote, write to Tom Wharton. He wrote that section (the tell tale is the lack of quotation marks around the words). Oh, yeah, quotation marks look like this “” “”.

    “”And I was not attacking you””,

    Bullshit! Go read your earlier posts.

    This time I am really, really gone…..

  48. avatar elkhunter says:

    John,
    Of course its not your fault what was written in the interview, so if you did not even allude to the fact that you feel wildlife in Utah is not being managed well, which seems to be what the ENTIRE article is about, why would he put in? Just curious. As for the attacking you, you can feel that way if you want, you attacked something I feel strongly about, thats why I commented on the article. When you did the interview you obviously knew there would be some people that would not agree, and I am one of those people. So dont act so surprised.
    Elkhunter

  49. avatar elkhunter says:

    Mike Wolf, Google (dedicated hunter service projects) you will see a link to the Forest Service site about projects for 2006. All in conjunction with the Forest Service to do projects to benefit wildlife and habitat. I cannot post the link, it wont let me. But it is very easy to find. Once again the projects are in conjunction with the forest service, ranging anywhere from building fences to stop unwanted trail use to removing noxious weeds along the Diamond Fork River. If you cant find I can email it to you.
    Elkhunter

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‎"At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, “thus far and no further.” If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, “If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour."

~ Edward Abbey

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