Poaching on the rise as the economy sinks

This is entirely predictable-

.  .  . and you can bet most state legislatures will do nothing about it.

Black-market meat – Illegal killing of animals on rise as economy sinks. By Tracie Cone. AP in the Missoulian.

Idaho Fish and Game needs more money, although they make me mad and I don’t think they deserve it. They are asking the legislature for a hunting and fish fee increase. I doubt they will get it.

IDFG does require more conservation officers in the field. The same is true in other states.

As folks have said many times in this forum, wildlife conservation and management needs sources of income that don’t depend on hunting and fishing license and tag fees.






  1. Jon Way Avatar

    “As folks have said many times in this forum, wildlife conservation and management needs sources of income that don’t depend on hunting and fishing license and tag fees.”
    I entirely agree Ralph. When will the Neanderthal’s change their ways to make wildlife mgmt more inclusive? This goes on in every state from Mass. to Idaho.

  2. Robert Hoskins Avatar
    Robert Hoskins

    The last time progressive hunters tried to expand sources of income for wildlife conservation and management, Teaming for Wildlife, which would have placed federal excise taxes on outdoor equipment and supplies, it was shot down, primarily by the outdoor recreation manufacturing industry. On this issue, the problem isn’t with the “neanderthals.” Non-hunters and anglers don’t seem much interested in putting money into conservation.


  3. Jimt Avatar

    I disagree, Robert. I think if you polled the citizens across the board in most western states..and a few eastern ones like NH and Vermont, both with a long tradition of hunting, you would find support for a tax increase borne by all folks to support wildlife conservation and habitat protection activities by the wildlife management agencies. For a fact, in the two eastern states I mentioned, it was the hunting and fishing industry that strongly opposed such a wide spread funding source, preferring to choose power over the financial health of the agencies. Their general feelings could summarized as really only caring about having game populations available for their own activities; the rest of it.. habitat protection, wildlife restoration, species enhancement…was regarded as not really their concern.

    I suspect any industry that is targeted like the outdoor equipment folk would resent the focus and the burden. Why not the shoe folks who sell hiking and trail shoes? No one wants to the be only ox who is gored, but if a whole herd is burdened, it seems..and IS..fairer.

    ; I think a cent or two on the general fund tax rate..income is the least regressive..would make the wildlife services more able to do their jobs, but it would lessen the influence of the hunting and fishing folks. Maybe you resent the use of the word “neanderthals”..I would call the views of the hunting and fishing communities who want exclusive input at the expense of the health of the wild places and its inhabitants.. selfish, short-sighted and anachronistic.

  4. Salle Avatar

    Maybe if it was advertised widely and with many manufacturers endorsing it, a campaign to promote a “tax” or some other word “donation” to be made by that company to their state’s (like the one where the store is located or some other criterion) the public would likely accept it and quickly. I’m all for finding funding beyond the hook and bullet enthusiasts’ exclusive domain.

  5. Jimt Avatar

    Personally, I think it is the responsibility of all citizens to support the welfare of their lands and wild inhabitants, period. We get too caught up these days in “what’s in it for me” when we look at the public fund issues as opposed to the general welfare of the inhabitants of the state. Call it a fee or a tax, or an impact assessment, but part of what got us in such deep water in the last several years is the Me First, Screw You mentality on issues of public policy and implementation of that policy regardless of the subject matter area.

  6. brian ertz Avatar

    The public trust holds that wildlife is to be managed for all citizens. When I buy my Idaho hunting & fishing license & any tag or stamp, I pay for the lawful take. IMO, this shouldn’t be misconstrued as payment for disproportionate influence over wildlife & wildland management decision-making. The degree that it is confused as such is the measure of corruption that has taken hold of state wildlife departments. Buying into a corrupt premise seems to me to be a losing proposition for wildlife enthusiasts – if influence is to be measured in dollars and cents then the market will have beat out the law.

  7. Robert Hoskins Avatar
    Robert Hoskins


    I can’t speak for the eastern states but out here hunters and anglers in general supported Teaming For Wildlife. As I said, it was the outdoor products industry that was opposed to it and killed it in Congress. What we ended up with was CARA, using royalties from off-shore drilling to fund conservation and habitat, which really is robbing Peter to pay Paul. You really can’t pin the failure of TFW on the hunting industry. I worked on the project; I know. We spent a tremendous amount of time working the grass roots for support. Additionally, the outfitters–the hunting industry–also supported it. It was the hikers, the mountain bikers, the climbers, etc., who didn’t support it.

    By the way, Teaming for Wildlife was based on the Pittman-Robertson Act of 1937, which with strong hunter support was passed to provide funds from excise taxes on sporting arms and ammunition for habitat restoration. At the time, it was a revolutionary act–people taxing themselves not only out of self-interest but in the public interest.

    By the way, Aldo Leopold was one of those “neanderthals.” You might want to read up on the history of conservation.


  8. JimT Avatar

    Robert Hoskins.

    I have read plenty, and if memory served, Leopold recanted, and took a broader view of the ecosystem and its health than merely focusing on the largest trophy animals being managed for the benefit of hunters and their trophy rooms, that policy including the extinction of the large predators.

    It isn’t 1937, Robert. The dynamic of the ecosystems, the current status of predators and their lack of presence in traditional habitat demands a different mindset to be able to keep the wild lands healthy for all..not just the hunting and fishing community. Habitat restoration and wildlife management for too long in state wildlife agencies has meant only managing for prey animal health, and ensuring minimal competition from the four footed predators. That is hardly a balanced approach, and hardly what I would call “habitat restoration” in the scientist’s meaning of the word.

    I will say it again…it is the responsibility of ALL of a state’s citizens to support the well being of its ecosystems and their inhabitants regardless of their use and enjoyment of those resources. For too long, the hunting and fishing communities have had disproportionate influence on the policies and their implementation by the fish and game departments because of the fees. Now that hunting and fishing numbers are down across the board in most if not all states where hunting used to be a common activity, the budgets are suffering, hence the lands. The fees are no longer enough. You may have supported the effort, but do you really think the hunting and fishing communities would have given an equal stake at the table to the hikers and nature photographers of the world when it came to setting priorities?

  9. JB Avatar

    Although I would support a federal excise tax on outdoor recreation equipment, their are alternatives to funding conservation at the federal level. For example, the state of Missouri has a 1/8% sales tax that funds fish & wildlife management in the state. A similar tax was passed a few years back to fund state parks and soil conservation in Missouri, though (if memory serves) the tax had a sunset clause.

  10. JimT Avatar

    The least regressive tax is income according to the experts, and all I read when living in Vermont and dealing with almost exclusive reliance on property tax to fund education. It was killing communities, forcing farmers to sell land that had been in the family for generations, and forcing gentrification on towns, forever altering the mix. If memory serves, in a population of only 500000, a one cent increase would have resulted in my income tax going up 54 bucks a year, but my property tax, which was approaching nearly 10 grand on 2.3 acres of land..would have dropped by thousands.

    I think there is sufficient support at the state level to change the way the fish and game departments are funded without having to touch the third rail of Federal intervention for this issue. That would throw it into a whole different conversation, bring in the Sagebrush and state’s rights folks, and generally ratchet up the tension.

    Spread the pain…VBG…

  11. Robert Hoskins Avatar
    Robert Hoskins


    Only someone who doesn’t know me or has not read what I’ve written over the years, including on this blog, would claim I’m stuck in 1937. I’m probably one of the most progressive people on this blog.

    Further, I challenge anyone, including you, to point to anything in the Leopold canon where Leopold “recanted” from hunting and fishing. Leopold made the shift to what I would call “proto-conservation biology” long before conservation biology was “officially” created in the 1980s by Michael Soule and others like Reed Noss, but that didn’t change his commitment to hunting and fishing. Indeed, it was, as he wrote late in life, one of the fundamental human contacts with the soil. Much of the middle section of A Sand County Almanac is devoted to the joys and sorrows of hunting and fishing.

    I’ve published several articles on Leopold, including a long quasi-academic piece on how Leopold’s thinking about conservation economics was one of the major pathways toward the land ethic. You can find that essay online at http://www.newwest.net/main/article/outstretched_palms_aldo_leopold_and_the_failure_of_economic_incentives_to_a/. The essay is based in part on original research, I having found completely forgotten conference presentations on practical problems of wildlife conservation that Leopold gave in the 1930s.

    I have another essay entitled “Leopold the Hunter,” which refutes claims from anti-hunters that Leopold “recanted” from his “evil hunting ways.” I’ll send it to Ralph and ask him to post it so all can read it.

    Most of us in the conservation trenches, especially here in the West, recognize that it isn’t hunters and anglers who control state wildlife agencies, but ranchers and farmers. The former belief is an unfounded prejudice of anti-hunters.

    Regarding the funding issue, not only is income from hunting and fishing licenses declining as the number of hunters and anglers decline (something that may change with the depression), but ranchers and farmers are constantly in state legislatures seeking additional subsidies from limited wildlife funds. I watch it here in Wyoming constantly. Last year in the Wyoming legislature, for example, the Stockgrowers introduced a bill through the Joint Ag Committee that would force the Wyoming Game & Fish Department to hand over BLM grazing leases that came with base property purchased as wildlife habitat with G&F and Pittman-Robertson money over to ranchers–with no compensation to G&F. That habitat was purchased and secured with hunter dollars as winter range for wildlife and had the bill passed, G&F would have lost almost 120,000 acres of BLM grazing leases devoted to winter range.

    Indeed, the Wyoming G&F Department owns or controls almost half a million acres of winter range throughout the state. This land has been purchased over the last 60 years or so as part of a strategic plan to secure winter range for wildlife. The crown jewel of that system, the East Fork Wildlife Habitat Management Area, just up the road from me, is a conservation wonder, benefiting not only game species but non-game species, primarily birds. It is, for example, a bald eagle, kingfisher, and dipper heaven during the summer; in winter, the East Fork completely freezes over.

    Wyoming’s elk feedgrounds and bison mismanagement in Montana are perfect examples of livestock industry control over wildlife management and conservation. If I have any complaint about hunters these days, it’s that they have become whimps and refuse to challenge ranchers as they did of old.

    It’s the control over wildlife management exerted by agriculture that makes efforts like Missouri’s to constitutionally create sales tax funding for wildlife conservation, which really is habitat conservation, so difficult these days. The agriculture lobby would either prevent it out of hand or twist it to require that money from the fund be spent in subsidies and “incentives” to landowners for conservation. That’s what happened with Wyoming’s so-called “wildlife trust fund.” The fund is specifically prohibited from purchasing habitat.

    Teaming for Wildlife, which would have created a Pittman-Robertson like fund on outdoor gear at the federal level for transfer to the states for wildlife conservation, was going to fund primarily non-game programs. I know that for a fact.

    It’s also a fact that state wildlife agencies and their non-profit representatives such as the Wildlife Management Institute, the Western Association of Fish and Wildliffe Agencies, the International Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, and the Wildlife Society (started by Leopold and his colleagues in the 1930s) all supported Teaming for Wildlife. I don’t know of a single wildlife agency in the country that opposed it.

    Yes, it is everone’s responsibility to help pay for conservation. But so far, not everyone has dug into their pockets the way hunters and anglers have done for over 60 years. That’s also a fact.


  12. JimT Avatar


    You quoted the 1937 act as foundational logic for your present assertion. Show me where I said you personally were stuck in 1937. I questioned the relevance of applying thinking over 70 years old to a natural world that no longer resembles that world.

    I didn’t say he recanted from hunting and fishing per se, RH. I said that he recanted what has now famously become the Neanderthal View Of Hunting..~S~ to focus on a broader ecosystem health approach to wild lands. I will go through some books and look for quotes.

    I would welcome the chance to read the essay..with cites, of course…~S~

    I think it is misdirection to say that hunters and fishing folks have not had a significant voice at the FG agencies and say it is all the grazing and agriculture folks who really run those agencies. I think all four groups have had a pretty strong and exclusive place at the table over the years and have pretty much reinforced each other’s opinions about wildlife and habitat management, especially on the issues of big game hunting, predator killing, and bison management and slaughter.

    I am not defending the attacks of the grazing or farming industries on Wyoming funds for wildlife. That is a political battle specific to that state, but it merely serves to illustrate the decreasing fees and the funding crisis, and the need for broader public funding. With that funding, however, should come an increased presence and say in setting FG policies from non traditional groups, and I don’t think that will be welcomed since it would mean less power for the fishing and hunting communities. Sharing is hard when you haven’t had to do it. ~S~

    I can’t speak for all states for the past 60 years, but is it possible the reason the general public wasn’t asked was because (a) the fees were sufficient in a different time and a different way of life, and (2), such an approach was actively lobbied against by the traditional communities since they knew it would diminish access? My frame of reference for exactly that theory is based in the recent efforts in Vermont and New Hampshire to address the funding crisis with a general fund tax. It was loudly and vehemently shouted down..not by the general public who supported it, who thought it was their duty to finally step up, but the hunting and fishing communities who eventually killed it.

    One question..why was it that the outdoor recreation folks opposed the tax? Were there any assertions that all the FG folks wanted was the money, but didn’t want these folks to have a significant say in setting policy? Or were the statements all about not wanting to dig in their pockets…I wasn’t there, so I am curious…

  13. Salle Avatar

    Thursday evening I made this very comment to Glen H. at the bison meeting in reference to how the livestock special interests god about trumping anything that they see as a threat to their welfare holdings and political capital:

    “Looks like a desperate attempt to derail good policy for the sake of perhaps flexing some atrophied political muscle.”

    Glen liked it.

    I believe that this is what we are seeing but I don’t think their political muscle is atrophied enough…

  14. lover of ALL wildlife Avatar
    lover of ALL wildlife

    I think part of the budget problem is related to priorities of funding. I think that Fish and Game should spend more money on conservation officers and habitat protection and diminish funds spent on studies – specifically their predator/prey study going on around the state.

    I have just spent a week witnessing taxpayer funded helicopter harrasment of elk. They fushed whole herds, causing them to scatter so they can count them and locate collared elk. I saw them shoot an elk with a tranquilizer while hanging out the side of the helicopter. They dropped off the wildlife “technician” who got out his journal, made some measurements, put on the collar, etc. They buzzed up and down our valley for a week, stunt flying on our dime.

    I think there have been plenty of studies showing the true nature of predator/prey relationships. I am a wildlife biologist by training (MS level) and am completely offended that this is continuing – both from a financial standpoint (helicopter time is not cheap) as well as from the standpoint of the elk.

    How many elk stumble and hurt themselves during these panicked runs and then die later? If they are then eaten later on, are these added the wolf killed count?

    I belive F & W need to return to their roots of wildlife conservation and protection and end any and all agriculture-style actions. This would save them a huge amount of money as well as truly help the wildlife they are supposed to protect.

  15. cobra Avatar

    Robert, I don’t really think it’s because all the hunters became wimps, I think your normal everyday average hunter who still hunts for the freezer has been priced out of hunting on many large ranches. We use to be able to just ask for permission andform a relationship with many of the ranchers and farmers, seems like anymore the only way to get on some ranches and farms is to pay a tresspass fee by the day or the week. Big game hunting has become quite a business for some an many of us hunters cannot affrd to pay the fees or simply won’t.

  16. JimT Avatar

    The reasons why hunting is on the decline in the two Eastern states I mentioned, long traditions of subsistence hunting, then mostly trophy hunting to be honest, are complex. One, frankly, the past few generations seem much less connected to the wild world from the very beginnings of their lives. Much more interested in technology-based stuff, whether it be games or Facebook. Two, less access. People have been moving in from other states, other ways of lives that don’t include a tradition of hunting. The farms that were hundreds and hundreds of acres are now broken up into farmettes of 10 and 20 acres, and permission to hunt is no longer given so freely. Three, this changeover has led to alienation between long time residents and newcomers who don’t care to continue what in many cases are verbal agreements to hunt on someone’s land for generations. Four, the latter has led to marked increase in posting, hostility from the hunting community for this exercise in private property rights (an irony not lost on me). My wife and I experienced threatening behaviors by deer hunters on repeated occasions because the area in which we lived, Hawk Mountain, was now the home of a few dozen homes, and conservation easement lands owned in common, and it was simply too dangerous to hunt in this kind of neighborhood. The lands were posted for public safety reasons, but the hunters didn’t see it that way. Eventually the FG officials tracked down this group of hunters and yanked licenses, but they did the hunting community no favors with their actions. There is still plenty of land to hunt on in New England; you may have to drive to get there now instead of simply walking down the road.

    There was one big game hunting preserve in nearby NH. Specialized in wild boars. Generally, they are regarded as unethical by the local hunting community, and tightly regulated by the state. There was a killing during one hunting party, pretty careless bit of work by the shooter who didn’t really identify his target ahead of time, and eventually got a negligent homicide conviction, but beat it on a procedural matter on appeal.

    So, those two states don’t have the big game fees issue, but they are facing issues nonetheless. Add in the general decline of good fishing streams and populations of native fishes..even in revered places like the Battenkill in Vermont, and you have momentum against the traditional forms of funding for FG agencies. I don’t see these changes reversing themselves, to be honest.

  17. Mike Post Avatar
    Mike Post

    Money talks folks. Hunters and anglers are putting up the money. These grandious ideas of using general funds for wildlife management are as sound as Madoff’s investment schemes. Where do you think some of the first cuts are being made in state agencies as they dive deeper into the recession? Its wildlife agencies, because there is a perception of no immediate impact and certainly no general outcry from the public. Even the restricted user-based funds are being “borrowed” and may never end up back where they belong. General sales, property or income tax based wildlife management is doomed in the real world no matter how eglitarian the collective arguments in this blog make it seem.

  18. JimT Avatar

    Part of the reason FG budgets are regarded as targets for raiding or cutting in tough times is that the political constituency is so narrow…and shrinking. Broaden the base, and you make it more difficult to cut, Mike. Grandiose? Please. Common sense. What person cannot afford a penny rise in the income tax rate, even in these tough times? And if the legislators in your state are raiding dedicated funds and not being held accountable for these actions…whose responsibility is it to hold them accountable?

    So, if you condemn broad based revenue generating approaches, what is YOUR solution? Relying on license fees that are declining? Raising fees so high that only the rich and famous can afford them on “canned hunts?” Let the programs of the FG erode to the detriment of the wild lands and inhabitants?

  19. Tom Page Avatar
    Tom Page

    JimT – It appears from reading your comments that FG responsibilities in VT and NH are quite different from here in the intermountain west. In most western states, FG has little land to manage themselves, particularly in comparison to the big federal agencies, so the impact of FG programs on wild lands is pretty minimal. Also, “canned hunts”, where they are legal, are not under the auspices of FG departments, so tag fee increases don’t promote these abominations. I think also, that if you look at management policies of western FG departments (and eastern states I’m familiar with), big game programs in most states are intended to put the maximum number of targets on the ground for the maximum number of guys. Trophy (a term I despise) management is resisted by most FG agencies because it requires a reduction in hunter numbers and therefore a reduction in department income. It is usually local hunters complaining to FG departments about hunt quality and poor sex ratios that leads to a more rational policy with restricted kill on mature males.

    In general, I agree with you that it’s time to move towards a general appropriation for wildlife management. The initial idea was that a user-generated fund would protect FG departments from politics. Well, that’s sure gone by the wayside in the last 20 years. FG employees are more beaten-down than I’ve ever seen. Just ask Dave Parrish here in the Magic Valley.

    I do think though, that Robert is correct in his assertion that the outdoor rec industry killed Teaming for Wildlife. That is certainly what happened in Colorado. It has been my unfortunate experience that, outside of access issues, recreationists of all stripes don’t give a rat’s butt about conservation, unless they happen to have been interested beforehand.

    And since he’s posting on this thread, I’ll tip my virtual hat and say thanks to Robert Hoskins for the reading suggestion of John Haines The Stars, The Snow and The Fire. Best non-fiction I read this year, and one of the best woods books in the 60 years since Leopold. I can’t believe this book is not more widely read…of course I might say the same about Paul Shepard, too.

  20. JimT Avatar

    I don’t think anything insulates state workers in any department from politics, even a JQP generated revenue system that spreads the pain of supporting wild lands…not just wilderness..and looks out for the welfare of it from an ecosystem health point of view.

    I think, if you ignore the state or federal categories, BLM , FS,USFWS, and NPS employees could speak to Mr. Parrish’s pain. Too many politicians keep you from doing your job at the behest of folks who always want to be first in line for the resources. Any suggestions for improving that dynamic?

    Not sure I agree with the rat’s ass comment. I guess I would have to see a general definition of what you would call a “recreationist”. There are certainly folks who do the two hikes a year with guests that might yell about “their tax dollars” going to support someplace they rarely visit..but you know, in a word, tough. Live with it. Tis one of the prices of living in a society, period..you won’t always like what is being done, but in general, if it is managed for the welfare of the many, most will be benefited. That is a realistic standard for life..’Most of the time…”..~S~

    Believe, I know about the dearth of public lands in the East…so you are correct, there are some fundamental differences. But, there are state wildlife management duties that do impact on federal lands, so I am not sure it is a clean a distinction as it may seem at first blush.

    I will look up the Haines Book..not familiar with it. And I don’t remember it being listed in the HCN issue of “books you must read” in the last few months. Always on the lookout for good nature writers, and good books to add to the bookcases here. Personally, I miss Stegner every day of my life…often non fiction can motivate and inspire even more than non fiction when it comes to the environment.

    The hunt preserves are much more common out there than the East..part of the culture and tradition of hunting there, part the tremendous resentment of “flatlanders” coming in and killing “our animals”. If one ever really wishes to understand the insularity of New England, go rent the original copy of Peyton Place, or read the book…it is amazing how much of that holds true today in the towns and villages.

  21. kt Avatar


    Yes, what happened to Dave Parrish was inexcusable. It was clear message sent by Butch Otter (and the Farm Bureau and ranching industry through Sen.Bert Brackett and one of the Bedkes and Big Industrial “Renewables” Wind at China Mountain) that Fish and Game really couldn’t be honest about anything any more.

    It makes all they do and claim now pretty much a joke. No biologist is going give his best professional opinion on eveything – lest he get demoted and publicly humuliated like Dave Parrish. I recall how the Times News seemed to have an exclusive “scoop” with a headline on the demotion from Day One. What typically happened before this is that someone would be quietly moved on to another job if they really stepped out of line. No headlines screaming demotion. This was different – it’s as if a little internal Press release and press briefing saying “We Got Parrish’s head” went on over there in Twin Falls.

    It was a message to ALL IDFG employees “You do and say what Otter wants, or we will not only demote you, we will publicly shoot you down like Dave Parrish”.

    I wonder what Otter-appointed Commissioner or others may have been involved in feeding the Times-News its “exclusive”? Also we should recall that now-Rep. Steve Hartgen had formerly run that paper, then got hired as a mouthpiece for the China Mountain Industrial Wind Farm (RES UK,or wherever the wind developers are now claiming they are from) that will destroy the only remaining sage-grouse population of any viability in the Jarbidge country. Then he got appointed by Butch Otter to fill Bert Brackett’s House seat … This is a Banana Republic run by a Cowhead Thug, and now Minnick seems to be trying to enable the ID Repubs. by being further “right” than they are on some things …

  22. Tom Page Avatar
    Tom Page


    Funny you should mention the HCN list of books with respect to Haines…After reading it, I suggested it to Paul Larmer…it may turn up there next year!

  23. outsider Avatar

    kt, so what makes this place in the jarbidge country so good for sage chickens? Are the no cows or sheep on it? has the BLM and Fish and Game been doing alot of special managment there? Is there proof that it would destroy this population? I guess what I’m after is I think I would rather have a wind farm on china mt than a coal plant in SD.

  24. Robert Hoskins Avatar
    Robert Hoskins

    This discussion, such as it is, began with problems in funding wildlife conservation and the agencies that are legally responsible for implementing conservation programs. I referred to the Pittman-Robertston Act of 1937, which earmarked existing federal excise taxes on sporting arms and ammunition for restoration of wildlife habitat–in its original form, primarily waterfowl habitat, but historically, it quickly became generalized to all wildlife habitat. For example, the wildlife habitat management areas in Wyoming to which I referred above were all funded primarily with PR money and secondarily with state hunting/fishing license fee money, on a 75%-25% split. The first purchase in Wyoming of private land for conversion to dedicated wildlife winter range was in 1941.

    There seems to be some misunderstanding of why Pittman-Robertson was passed, what it entailed, and whether it’s still relevant, the issue of relevancy arising over the attempt in the Teaming With Wildlife proposal a decade ago to extend the concept to a tax on recreational equipment to fund “non-game” conservation, an attempt which failed primarily due to the opposition of the recreational equipment manufacturers, along with anti-tax and private property rights groups. (I’ll expand on this shortly).

    There also seems to be some misunderstanding of the origins and nature of game management as an institution, as seen in JimT’s snide reference to game management as “neanderthalic” because of trophy hunting, a term I do object to, since it has more basis in perception than fact. Neanderthals would also object to it, as we have learned over the last couple of decades from anthropology that Neanderthals really weren’t “neanderthals.” They were pretty bright people, and lasted on this earth a lot longer than their cousins, Homo sapiens–us– have lasted. It’s something to think about.

    The Pittman-Robertson Act grew out of a complex ecological, political, and social situation that actually is still with us, unfortunately; only the situation is a lot worse than it was 70 years ago. At the time, the land community was in tatters from unbridled agricultural and industrial development, itself driven by population growth and the ideology of Manifest Destiny. (It still is). The conservation movement originated in the late 19th century to deal with this problem, in which the two best known proponents, Theodore Roosevelt and John Muir, represented two different approaches–wise use and preservation. The conflict between these two approaches, which might be described as pragmatic and idealistic, is still with us.

    Game management grew out of the pragmatic approach (parks and refuges grew out of the idealistic approach); it was based upon the recognition by people like Aldo Leopold that game laws themselves (i.e., protection) would not restore either wildlife or their habitat. It would take deliberate management to restore wildlife and habitat. The analogy was agricultural; it was called “game cropping.”

    Leopold, a trained forester, turned game cropping into a holistic system, and did it primarily in two documents: the American Game Policy of 1930, of which he was the principle author, and his textbook Game Management, published in 1933. The American Game Policy came out of an assignment to Leopold from the American Game Association to head up a committee to design a wildlife conservation system for the United States. The system we have today in the United States and Canada is the descendant of that committee’s work; it is sometimes called the North American Model of Wildlife Management. Historically, however, Leopold was the driving force of the committee and did most of the thinking and writing by himself. Of course, the ideas expressed in the Policy had been floating around the wildlife conservation community for around a decade. But Leopold was the most important thinker and it was he who put it all together. His book Game Management added considerable detail to the Policy, and, 75 years later, much of the book is still relevant today to the theory and practice of conservation. If no one believes that, I suggest you read the book. It has been reprinted by the University of Wisconsin Press.

    To implement a system of game management, essentially a system of game production, as the heart of wildlife conservation would take money to fund the organizational structure recommended–the commission/department structure we have today. At the time, there was no professional game management, which Leopold’s game policy recommended. Game departments, such as they were, generally consisted of a commissioner, a chief game warden, and deputy game wardens (many of whom were unpaid and required to supply their own horses, weapons, and equipment) to enforce game laws. License fees were collected, but they went into the general fund of state governments and were frequently hijacked by state legislatures to fund projects other than conservation. This purloining of license fees for non-conservation purposes was a major sore point for conservationists. For obvious reasons.

    Consequently, the driving idea for the new system of game management and wildlife conservation was that it, and especially its funds, had to be independent of state legislatures. Funds had to be kept separate from general funds to keep legislators and others’ greedy fingers out of the wildlife conservation till. Amazingly, this revolutionary concept was implemented, primarily because the chaos of the Depression and the obvious need to do something about the sorry state of the land community, as exemplified by the Dust Bowl of the 1930s, forced state legislatures to implement the Policy virtually as Leopold recommended.

    Pittman-Robertson grew out of this desperate need to both fund conservation measures and to keep nimble fingers of would be legislative thieves out of the till. It wasn’t the earmarking of federal excise taxes on sporting arms and ammunition to be dispersed to the states for conservation that was radical about PR; it was the clear prohibition against using wildlife funds for anything other than wildlife conservation. Any state that tried to raid the till would lose its share of the federal PR money. It was a powerful disincentive against raiding and it was also a powerful support for the (admittedly relative) independence of state wildlife agencies.

    In other words, newly created state wildlife agencies achieved independence from the vagaries and excessively political general fund appropriation by state legislatures. That desire for independence from greedy and ignorant meddling in conservation is still with us today, and still colors the politics of wildlife conservation that JimT objects to.

    In short, the “neanderthalic” system we have today was created to create political and economic space in which conservation could proceed in relative freedom from political and economic interference from development interests such as ranching, farming, minerals, timber, and oil & gas, all of which had and still have the ears and pockets of state legislatures well in hand. That was certainly Leopold’s intent–to achieve some degree of independence from political and social dynamics that did not give conservation much thought. Was it and is it perfect? Of course not, as I discuss in my essay Outstretched Palms, to which I provided a link above. The system, as is the fate of all systems, is now moribund. But neanderthalic? Hardly. And, importantly, until someone comes up with a better system, it’s the system we have to work with.

    Fast forward to Teaming With Wildlife, which first came before Congress in 1996. The goal was to create a mechanism to broaden the funding constituency for wildlife conservation and to bring additional funds into state wildlife agencies to fund non-game (primarily endangered and threatened species) programs. The model was Pittman-Robertson and its fisheries equivalent, Dingell-Johnson. The original proposal was to impose federal excise taxes on recreational equipment and route the funds through the Fish & Wildlife Service to state wildlife agencies.

    While Teaming With Wildlife had the support of the various wildlife agencies and their non-profit organizations and traditional conservation groups, including “hook ‘n bullet” groups, opposition came from the recreational equipment manufacturers, represented primarily by the Outdoor Recreation Coalition of America, which represented recreational equipment manufacturers and retailers of various stripes, non-hunting recreation organizations such as the American Canoeing Association, and anti-tax/private property rights groups. The primary argument against Teaming With Wildlife was that there was no nexus between the tax and the direct benefits provided by the tax. In other words, opponents argued that unless purchasers of recreational equipment were directly benefited by the tax by some good or service, then it was unfair. There was no understanding that conservation is a public good and has to be funded by the general public. Other objections had to do with the precise mechanism of collecting the tax and the general ideological objection to taxes in general. Property rights activists argued that the funds woud be used to buy land and thus diminish rights of private property ownership.

    Upon failure of the original proposal, it was proposed, I believe by Alaska Representative Don Young, that royalties from off shore drilling be earmarked to fund Teaming With Wildlife. The overall program was called The Wildlife Conservation and Restoration Program, to be funded specifically by The Conservation and Reinvestment Act, or CARA. CARA was approved but as yet no funds have been appropriated for it. Instead, we have annual funding for various wildlife grants to the various states, with varying degrees of success. This record of checkered success indicates the general uncertainty and instability of the program.

    (For more information on various “Teaming” progams see http://www.teaming.com. In my view, the modified approach is flawed because it depends upon off and now onshore drilling to fund the program. Talk about dealing with the Devil. The Teaming With Wildlife program is also seeking funding from various climate change legislation, which would be better).

    In other words, the attempt by Teaming With Wildlife supporters, primarily hunters and anglers, to broaden the funding constituency for conservation beyond hunters and anglers failed. I think it’s important to note, in response to JimT, that the attempt to broaden the constituency to the broader public actually did from hunters and anglers. This does not strike me as an example of hunters and anglers trying to hang on to their power.

    To sum up, the existing “neanderthalic” wildlife conservation system we now have had its origins in the goal to exempt, as much as was and is humanly possible, wildlife conservation from the relentless depredations of the private economic sector. It dusted off a little understood legal concept, the public trust, and made it the centerpiece of the North American Model of Wildlife Management.

    The public trust, a common law doctrine that has evolved, and continues to evolve, requires the state to conserve and manage wildlife in the public interest, not for private interests. In order to implement public trust wildlife management, the funding mechanism Aldo Leopold and others devised, license fees and excise taxes on sporting arms and ammunition, required independence from state legislatures and even state governors. That independence was, to a considerable degree, achieved in the 1930s.

    Much good has come of it.

    JimT asserts that the system operates to serve private interests–hunters, particularly trophy hunters. As a bald statement, his assertion is untrue. If anything, the dominant interest to which wildlife agencies respond to these days are agricultural.

    To begin with, we have to remember that in the 1930s, a lot of people hunted and fished, and the system was based upon that reality, particularly the funding system. Game management truly was pursued in the public interest, against considerable opposition from development interests, particularly agriculture, and hunters and anglers believed that by supporting the system, they were acting in the public interest as well as in their own interests as hunters and anglers.

    Nor is it generally true that wildlife agencies ignored or ignore non-game species conservation. It was believed, and to a certain degree it’s true, that spending money to protect big game habitat also benefited non-game species. I know for a fact this is true; as I said above, I see proof of it on the Wyoming Game & Fish owned wildlife habitat management areas.

    Further, the science of ecology was in its infancy; English ecologist Charles Elton, who had enormous influence on Aldo Leopold’s thinking about conservation, did not publish his book Animal Ecology until 1927. The famous annual meeting of the American Society of Mammologists, which raised for the first time the ecological dangers of predator control, was in 1930. By 1935, Leopold himself changed his mind about the value of predator control. It has taken wildlife bureaucracies a while to catch up.

    (Actually, using the commonly understood meaning of the term, the only thing Leopold “recanted” in his life was his support for predator control. The evolution of his thinking to the ecological level, a proto conservation biology, did not involve a recantation of his support for game management or hunting and fishing or even trophy hunting, contrary to JimT’s assertion).

    Most people who know me know that I am no fan of wildlife agencies, especially state wildlife agencies. I have hit the WGFD particularly hard over elk feedgrounds and wolf management. However, the current situation with bad decisions doesn’t negate the great good they have done in the past, especially the purchase of private ranches to turn them into winter range. The latter is the greatest legacy of the game management system in this state.

    As I have seen it here in Wyoming and elsewhere in the West, state agencies have been overwhelmed politically by development interests, which still see state wildlife agencies as enemies (in 1994, at a minerals conference in Cheyenne, the minerals industry named the Wyoming Game & Fish Department “the agency most difficult to work with”), and by the decline of their primary sources of funding, hunting and fishing, a decline that derives from a host of social and cultural changes we all are familiar with. If ever there is an institution that is between the proverbial rock and a hard place, it is the North American Model of Wildlife Management.

    And as Ted Williams has pointed out in an article he wrote for Sierra magazine some time ago, wildlife agencies are somewhat punchdrunk from the pumelling they’ve received not just from various commercial industries and their supporting politicians, but from the animal rights movement, which, regardless of what you think about its ideology and its rhetoric and its so-called “foundational logic,” brings considerable political power to bear as it works to eliminate hunting and fishing. Aside from the ideology, hunters and anglers know that if hunting and fishing were eliminated, the system of conservation we now have, as imperfect as it is, would collapse, and there’s nothing so far to replace it. Without some system of conservation, to include funding, we can kiss conservation, and thus the land community, goodbye.

    This being a conflict of values as well as practicality, it stands to reason that wildlife agencies and hunters and anglers don’t think they have much to gain from bringing animal rights people (or other opponents for that matter) into the tent. This is a human reaction in all kinds of conflicts, one not limited to hunters and anglers. Given the history of the system, it also seems likely that the demands of animal rights activists and others to break into the system are a threat to the independence of the system. Since the independence of the system has already been destroyed by powerful development interests, perhaps the response to animal rights activists and others is merely symbolic. However, it certainly isn’t a neanderthalic position even if you don’t like it. It’s simply wrong.

    I myself have argued against this position, primarily for democratic reasons, but also reasoning that animal rights activists and others have no alternatives to the current system and when you put them on the spot to recommend alternatives, you quickly find out they haven’t a clue. The main reason they haven’t a clue is that they lack biological and ecological awareness; they’re operating off a “categorical imperative” that has scant foundation in the dynamics of life.

    It seems that what we end up with in this discussion is dissatisfaction with the existing power structure of wildlife conservation. People like JimT feel left out. Fine. Breaking into a status quo power structure is everyone’s right. But the subsequent responsibility upon success, if it comes, is to make things work. Conservation has become one of the great challenges of our time, and one of the biggest challenges within conservation is funding. The current system is largely based upon hunter and angler user fees and excise taxes on selected equipment, with various and generally unreliable levels of infusions of cash from annually or bi-annually appropriated general funds. The current system began when users, hunters and anglers, were numerous and hunting and angling had widespread cultural legitimacy. The system served the public interest. That system is crumbling for a variety of political, economic, social, and cultural reasons, and funds are declining. The conservation need has not.

    So, JimT, what are your integrated, rational, practical, and moral solutions to this mess?


  25. Alan Gregory Avatar

    I wrote a newspaper column some years ago about the funding issue. Pennsylvania is do different than most states. But Missouri snd its Department of Conservation have done things the right way, as this indicates:

  26. Robert Hoskins Avatar
    Robert Hoskins

    Tom Page

    I came across John Haines’ work when I was in the Yukon studying wolves in the mid-90s. I was living in an isolated cabin on the Yukon River about 20 miles east of Whitehorse in wintertime. I learned a lot of things about the poetry of the North from reading Haines, primarily, that the best life is the life we evolved to live. I’ve not come across any other writer who could slip across the ages as easily as John Haines did day by day.


  27. JimT Avatar


    My, you do go on…LOL…

    First, I wasn’t the one who used the term neanderthal, it was Jon Way. Check your facts. I thought it was interesting, and a wee bit funny. You, evidently, take great offense.. Lighten up a bit, will you?

    I will skip the history lesson, but I do thank you and your fingers for taking the time. ~S~

    Given the overall themes of this blog, and the theme of this thread, in part, about old style hunting vs. new, Leopold recanting the notion that the old good predator is a dead predator, to me, marks a significant change in one’s relationship with nature and the act of hunting. That was my main point about Leopold; that he did change a fundamental view. Given the current attitudes in several western states about wolves and grizzlies, I think Leopold’s change in heart significant.

    The rest of your post is a lecture. I don’t respond well to lecturing, RH. So, let’s just save our energy and agree to disagree.

    You asked for my solution for the revenue funding problems for FG. I have given it twice now, and have nothing substantive to add. As far as moral changes, I believe that is up to individuals to make or not make on their own volition; nothing I can say or do will dictate a change. I will agree with you on one thing. The current system of funding is in crisis, and it is clear to most of us that additional sources of funding beyond boating fees, or hunting and fishing licenses are shrinking. I think we also agree that you can’t make people go out and hunt. So, if you want to increase funding, seek an expanded constituency who feel..and this is key…empowered and invested when you ask them for money. I proposed a very modest increase in the income tax since it is the least regressive of all taxes. For all of your text, I didn’t see any proposals coming from you, merely criticism of views that run contrary to your own. That may be interesting to you, but it is hardly problem solving.

    And I am still waiting for someone to tell me the stated and behind the scenes reasons WHY the outdoor folks didn’t like the Teaming proposal. Was it THEIR perception that they were being told to contribute money and then go away when it came to having a say at the FG table? Was it just plain selfishness on their part? If the former, I don’t blame them. If the latter, they should be scolded for being shortsighted.

    Now, I am done with this thread.

  28. JimT Avatar

    Actually, it was JonWay who FIRST used it and you reacted it to negatively. I did refer to the term in later posts…but I didn’t coin it. But, as I said, I do find it amusing..~S~

  29. cobra Avatar

    It will be interesting to see how hunting and fishing will be affected by todays economy. It might make more people who used to hunt and fish get back into it to help with the grocery bills. And maybe by being out there they’ll remember why they used to do it in the first place. No place in the world that’s better for stress and anxiety than the outdoors.

  30. JB Avatar

    “It might make more people who used to hunt and fish get back into it to help with the grocery bills. And maybe by being out there they’ll remember why they used to do it in the first place.”

    That would be nice, but I’m skeptical. By the time you figure in gas, license, ammunition and time, it would be cheaper just to go to the grocery store.

  31. Salle Avatar

    Perhaps it will help folks who don’t hunt, start realizing where their food comes from and start looking at it in a more realistic fashion. Some folks think that their beef comes from a styro-foam tray covered with clear plastic wrap… That’s how connected to nature we are in our daily worlds. Hunting is costly, especially if it isn’t a common practice.

    “And maybe by being out there they’ll remember why they used to do it in the first place.”

    I just can’t see how going out to the woods, or wherever, with the intent to kill something can be relaxing, it doesn’t register with me. Even if it is for survival.

  32. Save bears Avatar
    Save bears


    You can’t see because you think hunting is only the act of killing, which I can tell you after being a hunter for about 40 years now, there is a whole bunch more to hunting than killing. Much of it encompasses friendship, hiking, nights around a campfire, sitting on a stump hours for end, and listing to what nature has to say…

    The stereotype of the bubba on the back of an ATV, blasting around guzzling beer is not what hunting is for many people..

  33. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    The degree and kind of enjoyment gained hunted depends in part on the reason you are hunting.

  34. Robert Hoskins Avatar
    Robert Hoskins

    JB and Salle, I find I have to agree with Cobra. First off, many of us are living half-way off the land anyway, since going to the grocery store is too expensive, and, given the Depression, there may be additional problems in procuring what my hillbilly grandmother used to call “storebought” food.

    One also has to consider costs in a holistic way; beef, unless you know exactly where it came from and who grew it and that it was grown organically, is not healthy. Same with most storebought meats. Game is much better for one’s health. Eating correctly is probably 9/10 of one’s health, and the more healthy you are, the less medical bills you have.

    Also, JB, much hunting can be done with a .22, and the ammunition isn’t all that expensive. For centerfire ammunition, which is expensive, reloading is the way to go.

    There’s also a cost-benefits analysis one can do: is one better off to buy ammunition to fill the pot or to buy something else that might not be related to vital needs? One thing about depressions is that suddenly economics is about what is necessary, not what we want. I think we all realize that an economy based upon wants and not needs is grossly distorted, and subject to disaster for lots of reasons. An economy based largely on wants is certainly what we babyboomers have lived with all our lives, and see how most of our lives are a mess.

    Finally, Salle, anyone who hunts rightly will tell you that it can be the most relaxing of pursuits, paradoxically because one knows that one’s senses must all be actively alert as well as passively aware at all times. Hunting and fishing are re-enactments of what we evolved to do biologically and ecologically and culturally. I’d point out that Paul Shepard has argued persuasively in Nature and Madness that it is our “fall” away from living natural lives that has made our civilization fundamentally insane. Ismael author Daniel Quinn puts it more bluntly: civilization began when we started putting food under lock and key. Denying food to others was the beginning of true despotism, and that’s the nature of civilization.

    Tom Page above referred to John Haines’ The Stars, The Snow, the Fire, a book I have argued ought to be on everyone’s read list. Surely, as you read the essays, you see a man who is fundamentally happy doing what he’s doing–hunting, trapping, fishing, growing potatoes, engaging the mystery. John Haines learned things and knows things that most of us can’t imagine exist. It’s something to think about.


  35. Ralph Maughan Avatar


    Living in Wyoming as you do, I have to ask, aren’t you worried about eating venison that might be tainted by chronic wasting disease?

  36. Save bears Avatar
    Save bears


    Not Robert, but CW affects the central nervous system(spinal cord and brain tissue) of the animal and many research doctors have stated that as long as properly handled and your not eating the affect organs, that even an infected animal poses little or no threat to humans..

    Here is a link at the Chronic Wasting Disease Alliance


  37. jerry b Avatar
    jerry b

    Robert….There is a lady here in Montana (Judy Hoy), that has done extensive research on pesticides and how they affect ungulates. Her conclusions are a bit worrisome to those that rely on wild game, specifically game that spend time grazing on forage crops that are sprayed with poisons. Many of the deer and elk feed in the valleys at night where these crops are sprayed, then retreat to the uplands during the day. Don’t know if that’s a problem where you live. She collects “road kill” and analyzes it for pesticide residue which she has found to affect sex organs, jaw formation etc.
    I’m not saying that hormone and anti-biotic injected beef is better….fact, I eat no beef…just wondering if you were aware of this problem and if it exists where you live.

  38. Robert Hoskins Avatar
    Robert Hoskins


    Save Bears got to the answer before I did, but he’s correct; I think the risks are pretty small of me contracting vCWD from elk and deer. I’m more worried about CWD taking out most of the elk and deer.

    Also, I’m more at risk driving into Dubois and getting run down by some idiot from Minnesota in a diesel F350 pulling a trailer full of snowmobiles at 80 miles an hour. The Depression has cut the number of snowmobilers coming through by quite a bit, but all it takes is one.


  39. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    Save bears,

    I know that. I have a link to CWD/mad cow on my blog roll. Perhaps I’ll add this new one you have given. Thanks!

    You can certainly reduce your exposure to CWD prions by careful removal of organs associated by the nervous system, but I suspect some remain.

    In addition, the prions that cause CWD seem to be transmitted differently (to a degree) than those of mad cow.

    I am not confident that humans are immune to CWD prions, although I think the odds are that we are immune.

  40. kt Avatar


    I agree. It doesn’t register with me either.

    It’s almost as if people need some excuse to be outdoors, get away to go camping, etc. The land and their “recreational” activities have to be “productive” in some tangible/material way. I see much hunting these days as a way of affirming continued domination over animals — nature— something. Of feeling some kind of enhanced personal power.

    Unfortunately we BLM and the Forest proposing landscape-level habitat manipulations egged on by Game Departments – to “produce” more deer and elk for hunters to “bag”. Farming public lands for some “weedy” wildllfe. Killing out the “competition” — wolves. Having bigger ATVs so you can further back in than the human “competition”.

  41. Tom Page Avatar
    Tom Page


    I enter into any discussion about hunting on this blog with great reluctance, but I will say that your suggestion that it engenders a feeling of enhanced personal power is about as far off the mark as it can be, for me at least. I realize I’m never going to change your mind or Salle’s or all the others that don’t see the value in it, but at least I hope non-hunters or anti-hunters will eventually recognize that’s it’s not about walking around with a gun or bow feeling like some commando in camo. Read Robert’s suggestions, or Ted Kerasote’s Bloodties or Richard Nelson’s books, or Ortega y Gasset. They do a better job than most in trying to explain the inexplicable.

    I do agree with your second paragraph though, and it’s these kinds of things that make me worry about the long-term viability of hunting in the eyes of the public.

  42. Robert Hoskins Avatar
    Robert Hoskins


    Yes, I’m aware of the pesticide residue problem in game meat. The pollution of game meat is a huge problem in a lot of places. When I was doing my wolf research up north, the determination of First Nations to get their people off white man’s food and return to country food was hindered by the discovery of heavy metals in the livers of caribou and other game animals, including fish (primarily the bottom feeder turbot). The primary heavy metal found was cesium, residue from atomic testing in the 1950s in the Pacific.

    Here in the Upper Wind River Valley, we are blessed with extensive winter range that’s dedicated to wildlife and I doubt it’s as much of a problem with elk and deer as it can be elsewhere. I know the local elk herd pretty well and I know where the animals tend to graze in each season. With deer, it would be more of a problem here on the Rez, which has extensive irrigated hayfields, than upcountry. We have deer hanging around all year long. I try not to hunt deer on the Rez (that is, on deeded land on the Rez; I can’t on tribal land).

    CWD at present, as far as we know, does transmit differently than BSE (mad cow disease). It is possible that CWD morphed from scrapies, the sheep TSE, and I do not know of any cases where sheep scrapie has been passed to sheepherders, woolgrowers, or mutton eaters.

    Certainly I’m aware of the risk, but once again, much of what I do is risky, and at 54 I’m on the downhill slope anyway, so I doubt it matters.

    I hope people like KT and Salle know me well enough by now from my comments on this blog that I’m not an ATV riding, beer-guzzling, road-hunting, firing-line hunter. I personally don’t care whether those guys and gals (there are some) hunt or not. I do all my hunting in the backcountry, and get there on horseback. I ride and pack mustangs.

    If anything, one who hunts rightly is not exerting domination over animals by hunting; instead, you know that when you’re on the land, the one thing you’re most aware of is that you’re not in charge. I think this feeling of humility before the natural world is encouraged more by hunting than by backpacking, rock climbing, horseback riding, etc. It has to do with the level of awareness that hunting entails. You do get the same thing by being in bear country however.

    I’m not exactly sure I’d call deer and elk “weedy” wildlife. It seems disrespectful to me.


  43. JB Avatar


    Yet another example of how generalizations fail with respect to hunting; I suppose I should’ve learned my lesson by now. Thick skull, I guess. 😉

    Recall that I live back “East”–Ohio to be specific. The vast majority of us live in urban areas and have little or no access to public land. For most of us, this means a long drive from the city to some place you can hunt–assuming you know someone who will allow you to hunt on their property. (My colleague bow hunts on property about an hour from here; he’s made the drive at least 10 times this year.)

    For someone in your situation, I can see where hunting could be cost effective, but for the vast majority of us–at least those of us living in urban areas–it is not. Too much time, too much gasoline, too little opportunity.

  44. Save bears Avatar
    Save bears


    An there in lyes the problem, the Urbanization of America!

  45. cobra Avatar

    I’ve been lucky enoughprettymuch my entire life to live and be able to hunt no farther than 30 minutes from the back door, that’s a long trip when we can’t seemto find the ame closer or just want to see some different country. I’ll take my chances with wild game over store beef any day. We butcher and grind all our own meat and wuldn’t have it any other way. As far as being the bully of the woods goes, every animal I harvest I feel a bit of remorse as I’m sure the other hunters on this blog do. I think it boils down to. having respect for the animals and the lands and yes the other people you see out there. I think something gets lost on the t.v. shows that show some of the people going overboard with excitement when theymake a kill. I can’t say I’m not excited, but more releived tht the shot was true and the kill was quick and clean, something I think that needs to be stressed more often.


Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan’s Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of “Hiking Idaho.” He also wrote “Beyond the Tetons” and “Backpacking Wyoming’s Teton and Washakie Wilderness.” He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

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Ralph Maughan