New web site uses Bundy to expose land grab politicians

Web site is called “Bundy’s Buddies”

The name of scofflaw rancher “Cliven Bundy” continues to inspire not only certain Republican politicians who are planning more sagebrush rebellion, but now their opponents, who we might call “sagebrush patriots.”

A new web site, Bundy’s Buddies, has been put up showing the name and photos of the most significant politicians in the Western states who are pushing for the states to be given the public lands of the United States. Bundy’s Buddies also has a link for each politician leading to a news story showing their involvement in the latest incarnation of “taking back” the lands for the states. For example, a photo of Republican U.S. House candidate Matt Rosendale on Montana leads to this story, “U.S. House candidate Rosendale: Transfer USFS, BLM lands to state.”

In fact the politicians on the new web site are not really Bundy’s pals or support his militant defiance of the courts and the BLM. Nevada Senator Dean Heller is an example. He publicly disavowed Bundy after the Bunkerville Nevada rancher decided to give his views on Black folks. Earlier, however, in a now famous joint TV program with Nevada’s other senator Harry Reid, Heller called Bundy “a patriot” while Reid called Bundy’s supporters “domestic terrorists.” So although they might not really support Bundy these politicians do support transferring some or all of the public lands to the states.

The list of politicians on the web site is not complete. For example, Elko County, Nevada, Commissioner Grant Gerber began a 70-mile horse ride  on Memorial Day through part of Northern Nevada to protest livestock grazing reductions on public lands. Gerber was one of the original sagebrush rebels back in the late 1970s, a fact that almost all the news stories are ignoring. This might be due to lack of a web search or to reporters without a sense of history.  Gerber has recently organized other rides by livestock operators to deliver petitions to Nevada’s Governor Brian Sandoval.

The very first “sagebrush rebellion” was not called that. It began in the mid-1940s when a group of powerful ranchers wanted the public lands given not to the states, but in fact given to the  members of their organization after paying just a token fee. This movement gained considerable strength for several years but was almost single handedly shot down by nationally prominent journalist Bernard DeVoto who campaigned against it from his position in Harper’s Magazine, other national publications, and a national tour to alert people to the threat.



, ,




  1. Yvette Avatar

    The ‘sagebrush patriots’ is interesting to watch. It seems to be a political movement gaining momentum. Could this be the the American West version of the tea-party?

    I hope I’m wrong and that these guys’ enthusiasm falters and that they do not gain support on a large scale.

    God, guns and patriotism; add cows and a poisonous pot has been brewed.

    1. Louise Kane Avatar
      Louise Kane

      “God, guns and patriotism; add cows and a poisonous pot has been brewed.”

      Its already a potent and toxic brew

  2. Louise Kane Avatar

    Ralph have you ever considered submitting your wildlife news format and blog for consideration to a public venue for television or media? Its amazing how many people find their way to it, the depth of understanding and history of the subjects that you write about. You’d be doing a great public service to adapt this website to a weekly column or a televised series. I’d have some ideas on that from my prior work!

    1. Ralph Maughan Avatar
      Ralph Maughan

      Thanks Louise. I will check out your web site when I get home. Right now I am in central Idaho with limited Internet access.

  3. Maska Avatar

    “This might be due to lack of a web search or to reporters without a sense of history.”

    The lack of a sense of history is pervasive not only among younger reporters, but also among many public land conservation activists. It’s good that there are people like you, Ralph, and a number of others informing the young and reminding the old of the story of how we got here.

    1. Ralph Maughan Avatar
      Ralph Maughan


      Doing a web search is so easy now. Reporters have no justification for lacking basic facts on most of these stories, though perhaps some can’t even begin a search due to lack of knowledge.

  4. The Wilderness Guy Avatar
    The Wilderness Guy

    Excellent. Gets right to the point, and exposes the Tealiban in our government. A very small, but albeit vocal minority.

    1. Ralph Maughan Avatar
      Ralph Maughan

      I found this highly opinionated but insightful analysis of the noisy milita types still hanging around Bundy.

  5. jburnham Avatar

    Off topic, but I can’t miss this opportunity to wholeheartedly recommend Bernard Devoto’s books. I think readers to this site would really enjoy them. He wrote some of the most important historical accounts on the expansion of the country westward, the fur trappers and the Oregon Trail. He wrote in an accessible, narrative style.

    For a real treat, alternate between Devoto’s historical trilogy: “The Course of Empire”, “The Year of Decision”, and “Across the Wide Missouri”; and A.B. Guthrie’s novels: “The Big Sky”, “The Way West”, and “Fair Land, Fair Land”. I just might have to read them again now that I’m thinking about them.

    1. Elk375 Avatar

      One of my favorite places in the world is the Bernard DeVoto memorial cedar grove between Lolo Pass and Powell,Idaho.

      1. CodyCoyote Avatar

        I’ve always found it a better intellectual meal to accent your helping of Bernard DeVoto with the spice of Vine deLoria.

        Sorry to say I keep AB Guthrie nearer the same shelf of books as Louis l’Amour and Zane Grey

        1. jburnham Avatar

          Thanks for the recommendation CC. I’m aware of “Custer Died for Your Sins”, though I’ve never read it or anything else by deLoria. I’ll add him to the list.

      2. jburnham Avatar

        I’ve never spent much time there, I’ll have to check it out.

  6. Sue carter Avatar
    Sue carter

    The fodder of this range war, will be the Wild Horses. BLM caved in to Bundy and Commissioner Dave Miller and is in the process of a scam Public Hearing to begin rounding them up. The Nevada Association Of Counties has filed suit to have the wild horses removed from Herd Management areas. They are calling for them to be slaughtered. Boycott Beef.

  7. Rosemary Lowe Avatar


    For those who still think that “compromise” can somehow save native wildlife and their habitat, think again: The movement to turn public lands into private enterprises is growing, and unlike us, they know exactly what they plan to do, and they will Not Compromise. The American Land Council has been formed, and just met yesterday in southern N.M. The Sagebrush Rebellion never really died. It has now morphed into a well-organized, well-funded (even the Energy Industry is involved) reactionary, violent-prone entity, fueled by fanatics like Nevada rancher, Bundy & other public lands moochers. This movement distorts the 2nd amendment and really the entire Constitution, advocating a return to a “pre-civil war” constitution. The federal government should have used the “well-ordered Militia” (the real meaning of the 2nd amendment) to get these squatters off the public lands. But they caved in.

    As the long-term drought continues, there will be more potential for confrontation between public lands ranchers and government officials charged with protecting forests, grasslands and wildlife. The failure of the federal government to enforce the law in Nevada sets a dangerous precedent for New Mexico. Catron County ranchers have long ignored wildlife laws. Now Otero County ranchers seem to be on the verge of actively resisting enforcement of grazing regulations.
    The Otero County Cattle Growers Association and their parent organization New Mexico Cattle Growers Association are organizing a rally May 31 in the name of Like Cliven Bundy in Nevada, they claim a right to use public land without the need to follow government regulations.
    As a member of the American Lands Council, Otero County claims to speak for “ranchers, loggers, miners, hunters, trappers, fishermen, and energy producers across the West.” Their new sagebrush rebellion aims to return to the states rights guaranteed by the Constitution as it existed before the Civil War, when, according to their hero Cliven Bundy, slaves lived a good life.

    Welcome to the real world! Those of us who care about wild places and native animals have a hard question to ask ourselves: Will we continue to “compromise” to these fanatics, which means compromising the wildlife? Until we realize that there really is an Enemy, and that they currently perceive us as “weak-kneed tree huggers,” we will lose the battle, and ultimately the war to save The Wild. We must decide if we are on the side of the Grizzly, the Wolf, & other animals and as Ed Abbey said “draw the line in the sand,” with no more “collaboration” with those on Dark Side.

    1. Nancy Avatar

      “We must decide if we are on the side of the Grizzly, the Wolf, & other animals and as Ed Abbey said “draw the line in the sand,” with no more “collaboration” with those on Dark Side”

      Rosemary – I’m with ya sister BUT a century or more of “doing business as usual” isn’t gonna change overnight, when it comes to how the land and wildlife has been treated and how it should now be treated.

      Another good read by Edward Abbey:

      Hayduke Lives!

      “Pardon me, thou bleeding piece of earth, that I am meek and gentle with these butchers”

      1. Ida Lupines Avatar
        Ida Lupines

        If you think of ‘overnight’ in biblical terms, it ain’t gonna happen for a very long time. It’s been hundreds if not thousands of years, not just a century.

        I’ve been waiting for ‘overnight’ to change for decades – there was a bright light of change in the 60s and 70s, when a Republican of all people put into place a good many of our environmental and wildlife protection laws, but then Greed became Good in the 80s and now we’re turning back the clock. Not going to happen overnight is almost an insulting understatement. That might work to placate millenials, but not us old wolves. 🙂

  8. snaildarter Avatar

    There is no compromise with the likes of Bundy. It is important that they we seen as the Greedy Land Barons they are, not as conservative Press and media portray them as poor ranchers being trampled by the Federal Government. Their mis-guided values brought us things like the dust bowl.

  9. Kevin Schmidt Avatar
    Kevin Schmidt

    It’s called the ‘tragedy of the commons.’ Without proper management, people make decisions that benefit themselves the most to the detriment of everyone else and to the detriment of the natural resource.

    However, when the people are organized, they make decisions that benefit the group, even though they know they will get less benefits individually.

  10. rabula Avatar

    Is there somewhere a compilation of the federal public-land reservation clauses in the acts creating these seditionists’ states? I believe their are wording differences.

    While deniers of all stripes seem to make loose with facts and laws, it would be useful to focus attention on what really has to change.

    Do they really plan somehow to amend their statehood acts? What cans o’ worms that could open!

    1. Marc Avatar

      Rabula, you raise some interesting points about the hypocrisy of the Sagebrush Rebels. I don’t know if there’s a single compilation of all the western states, but I was able to search out a brief description of how Lincoln’s Republican Party granted statehood to Nevada, now the home of Cliven Bundy:

      A second convention to write a state constitution therefore met from July 4–27, 1864. The defeated 1863 constitution was used as the basis for the new document. The requirements of the congressional enabling act were duly incorporated at the beginning of the constitution in a section called “The Ordinance.” This included the outlawing of slavery, and the statement that all undistributed public lands would be retained by the federal government and could never be taxed by the state. These provisions would be “irrevocable” without the consent of Congress and of the people of Nevada. The new constitution also included a “paramount allegiance” clause, proclaiming the supremacy of the United States government over the states and that no state had the right to secede, both very much Republican party doctrine, and voluntarily inserted into the document by its makers.

Latest Posts