Manmade problem led wolves to kill elk

http://trib.com/opinion/columns/lloyd-manmade-problem-led-wolves-to-kill-elk/article_163910e6-0a09-5f83-8e3d-e82bce14f0eb.html

By Jared Lloyd

A lot of noise has been made about the 19 elk killed last month by a pack of wolves in Bondurant. What has been lost throughout much of the coverage are the facts about what actually led to this extremely rare occurrence. Behind the headlines is a manmade story. To be able to understand what went down that night in Wyoming, these facts need to be understood.

To begin with, the elk in question were killed on a feedlot. Just like cattle, in Wyoming elk have feedlots as well. Picture anywhere between a few hundred to a few thousand “wild” elk standing around waiting to be fed. Wyoming has elk feedlots all over the place. Come winter, these feeding grounds shovel out bales of hay for the elk like they are livestock. Elk are heavily concentrated in these feedlots, fed all winter long, and have learned to just stand around waiting for their daily handouts.

So why does Wyoming feed elk in the first place? Is it because predators in the ecosystem are killing so many? No. Wyoming actually considers elk to be overpopulated. This practice was started in part to keep elk from competing with cattle back when predators across the Rocky Mountains were at their lowest numbers. In the absence of predators, elk populations exploded. Come winter, these animals would flood onto ranches in search of food, gorging themselves on stocks of hay.

So what has all this done to the elk? Quite simply, elk no longer act like elk. Given that these animals have grown up in a relatively predator-free environment for nearly 100 years, elk are now being forced to come to terms with the reality of predators again. And in order to survive, lesson number one is not to stand around in groups of a several thousand, in one place, for months on end waiting for handouts from humans.

So what did the wolves do? They committed what is known as surplus killing. Occasionally, when prey is so plentiful, predators will kill multiple animals in one go. Scientists state that when faced with a bonanza such as the feedlot provided, wolves may kill with the intention to return as often as that food is available.

More: http://trib.com/opinion/columns/lloyd-manmade-problem-led-wolves-to-kill-elk/article_163910e6-0a09-5f83-8e3d-e82bce14f0eb.html

copyrighted wolf in water

Texas executes suspected poacher who shot, killed game warden

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2016/01/28/texas-executes-suspected-poacher-who-fatally-shot-game-warden.html

This undated photo shows Texas inmate James Freeman.  (Texas Department of Criminal Justice via AP)

This undated photo shows Texas inmate James Freeman. (Texas Department of Criminal Justice via AP)

A Texas man was executed Wednesday evening for fatally shooting a game warden nine years ago during a shootout after a 90-minute chase that began when he was suspected of poaching.

He was pronounced dead at 6:30 p.m., 16 minutes after Texas prison officials began a lethal dose of pentobarbital. As the pentobarbital began taking effect, he snored about five times and coughed slightly once.

The lethal injection was the second in as many weeks in Texas, which carries out capital punishment more than any other state. The U.S. Supreme Court declined to review his case earlier this month, and no new appeals were filed in the courts to try to block the punishment.

The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles on Monday declined a clemency petition from Freeman.

Freeman was suspected of illegally hunting at night in Southeast Texas’ Wharton County when a game warden spotted him. Freeman sped away, leading authorities on a chase that reached 130 mph. It ended near a cemetery near his home in Lissie with Freeman stepping out of his pickup truck and shooting at officers.

When the March 17, 2007, shootout was over, Freeman had been shot four times and Justin Hurst, a Texas Parks and Wildlife game warden who had joined in the pursuit, was fatally wounded. It was Hurst’s 34th birthday. About 100 law enforcement officers, many of them Texas game wardens, stood outside the Huntsville prison, during the execution.

Also outside were several motorcyclists who support law enforcement, the loud revving of their bikes clearly audible as the punishment was being carried out.

The brother of the Texas slain game warden thanked the law enforcement officers for coming to Huntsville.

“Nine years ago — nine long years,” Greg Hurst said after the execution, his voice cracking with emotion as he spoke of his brother’s death.

Texas Game Warden Col. Craig Hunter, head of law enforcement for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and a witness to Freeman’s execution, said the punishment marked “a moment that many of us have been waiting for since we first heard of Justin’s death.”

Hurst was an alligator and waterfowl specialist before moving to law enforcement. A state wildlife management area where he once worked in Brazoria County and about 60 miles south of Houston now carries his name.

Freeman’s trial lawyer, Stanley Schneider, said heavy alcohol use and severe depression led the unemployed welder to try to commit “suicide by cop” in his confrontation with officers.

“It was totally senseless,” Schneider said of the fatal shooting. “It really is very sad that it happened, that two families are suffering like this.”

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice has at least eight other inmates set to die through July. Last year, 13 convicted killers were put to death in Texas, accounting for nearly half of all the 28 executions carried out nationwide.

Hunters fear fading voice at Fish and Game Commission

http://www.sacbee.com/news/state/california/article58345048.html

Hunting advocate resigns in frustration from pivotal state panel

Appointment of new commissioners by Gov. Brown could signal changes for state’s wildlife policies

Animal rights groups say commission is now more receptive to their concerns

Lifelong hunter and fisherman Jim Kellogg

Big Game Hunter Rebecca Francis Opens Up About ‘Kill’ Photo Backlash

PHOTO: Rebecca Francis, a big game hunter and bow hunting expert from Wyoming, demonstrates how she shoots.

Auto Start: On | Off

Now Playing: Take a Tour of the Park Where Cecil the Lion Lived

<br/><a href=”http://abcnews.go.com/”>ABC Latest News</a> | <a href=”http://abcnews.go.com/Video”>Latest News Videos</a> Copy

When a controversial animal rights activist outed Dr. Walter Palmer as the hunter who killed Cecil the lion last month, the Minnesota dentist became arguably one of the most hated people in the world almost overnight.

Soon after Cecil’s killer was made public, protesters showed up at Palmer’s dental office in Bloomington, Minnesota, waving signs that said things like “lion killer” and “justice for Cecil.” They started building a shrine of stuffed lions at his office front door.

And last week, vigilantes vandalized his Marco Island, Florida, vacation home, covering his driveway with bloodied pigs’ feet.

PHOTO: Protesters gather outside Dr. Walter James Palmers dental office in Bloomington, Minn., July 29, 2015.

Ann Heisenfelt/AP Photo
PHOTO: Protesters gather outside Dr. Walter James Palmer’s dental office in Bloomington, Minn., July 29, 2015.

Palmer was the target of countless hateful and threatening Internet posts.

Since then, the highly skilled bow hunter has remained out of the public eye.

Rebecca Francis, a big-game hunter and bow-hunting expert from Wyoming, knows exactly how Palmer probably feels.

Five years ago, Francis went to Africa and posed for a photo lying next to an adult dead giraffe she had just killed. She posted the photo on her personal website. In April of this year, comedian Ricky Gervais tweeted out her photo with the words, “What must’ve happened to you in your life to make you want to kill a beautiful animal and then lie next to it smiling?”

More: http://abcnews.go.com/US/big-game-hunter-rebecca-francis-opens-kill-photo/story?id=33083741

11828676_1647257555515456_404765920658395105_n

URGENT: Deer Trapped at Flooded Game Ranch in Pineville, Louisiana

http://www.peta.org/action/action-alerts/urgent-deer-trapped-at-flooded-game-ranch-in-pineville-louisiana/

Jodi_Minion2015-06-10T165323_deeroldpicAllegedly, several deer are trapped in floodwaters at a game ranch in Pineville. Several does and fawns have been seen stuck along a fence line for days, unable to rest or lie down. Water levels are expected to rise several more feet, and these animals are in immediate danger of drowning! Officials have responded but apparently just chased away the does, who quickly returned for their young. In the meantime, we’re told that the game ranch owner is refusing to move the deer, even though other farmers in the area moved their animals to higher land days ago.

Please call or write to the game ranch owner and state agriculture officials and politely ask them to intervene and move the deer to higher ground before they drown:

Chet and Willie Cooper
Rigolette Deer Farm
318-640-3627 or 318-715-3980

John Walther
Assistant Commissioner, Animal Health and Food Safety
Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry
225-925-3980
animalhealth@ldaf.state.la.us

Veronica Mosgrove
Press Secretary
Department of Agriculture and Forestry
225-922-1256
vmosgrove@ldaf.la.gov

How Hunting is Driving “Evolution in Reverse.”

—Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson

—Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson

Some of the most iconic photographs of Teddy Roosevelt, one of the first conservationists in American politics, show the president posing companionably with the prizes of his trophy hunts. An elephant felled in Africa in 1909 points its tusks skyward; a Cape buffalo, crowned with horns in the shape of a handlebar mustache, slumps in a Kenyan swamp. In North America, he stalked deer, pronghorn antelope, bighorn sheep and elk, which he called “lordly game” for their majestic antlers. What’s remarkable about these photographs is not that they depict a hunter who was also naturalist John Muir’s staunchest political ally. It’s that just 100 years after his expeditions, many of the kind of magnificent trophies he routinely captured are becoming rare.

Elk still range across parts of North America, but every hunting season brings a greater challenge to find the sought-after bull with a towering spread of antlers. Africa and Asia still have elephants, but Roosevelt would have regarded most of them as freaks, because they don’t have tusks. Researchers describe what’s happening as none other than the selection process that Darwin made famous: the fittest of a species survive to reproduce and pass along their traits to succeeding generations, while the traits of the unfit gradually disappear. Selective hunting—picking out individuals with the best horns or antlers, or the largest piece of hide—works in reverse: the evolutionary loser is not the small and defenseless, but the biggest and best-equipped to win mates or fend off attackers.

When hunting is severe enough to outstrip other threats to survival, the unsought, middling individuals make out better than the alpha animals, and the species changes. “Survival of the fittest” is still the rule, but the “fit” begin to look unlike what you might expect. And looks aren’t the only things changing: behavior adapts too, from how hunted animals act to how they reproduce. There’s nothing wrong with a species getting molded over time by new kinds of risk. But some experts believe problems arise when these changes make no evolutionary sense.

More: http://www.newsweek.com/how-hunting-driving-evolution-reverse-78295

Capital Press: Bird flu strikes game bird farm in Washington

http://www.capitalpress.com/Washington/20150129/bird-flu-strikes-game-bird-farm-in-washington

by Don Jenkins

Capital Press

Published:January 29, 2015

<!–

–>

Highly pathogenic bird flu has broke out game bird farm in Okanogan County in north-central Washington.

A 5,000-bird game flock in Okanogan County has been infected with highly pathogenic bird flu, according to the Washington State Department of Agriculture.

It’s the largest avian influenza outbreak to date in Washington, where three non-commercial flocks in other parts of the state had previously been infected, apparently by migrating birds. Wild birds and a captive falcon that died after eating wild duck also tested positive for bird flu.

“There’s no real way to predict where it might crop up,” WSDA spokesman Hector Casto said.

The owner of the flock in Riverside, near Omak, reported this past weekend to the WSDA that about 40 pheasants and 12 turkeys had died.

The Washington State University laboratory in Puyallup confirmed the birds had been sicked by highly pathogenic bird flu, as opposed to a less contagious and less lethal low pathogenic strain.

Samples have been sent to a U.S. Department of Agriculture in Ames, Iowa, to pinpoint the strain. So far, three different highly pathogenic bird flu strains have been found in Washington since mid-December.

Castro said the flock has been quarantined and will be destroyed. WSDA plans to establish a larger quarantine zone around the game farm to restrict the movement of birds and poultry products. The WSDA has not released the name of the flock’s owners.

Castro said the flock tested negative for bird flu in November, but that was before bird flu first appeared in the region. Bird flu was confirmed Dec. 1 in a British Columbia, Canada, poultry farm near the Washington border. Between Dec. 1-19, 11 B.C. commercial poultry operations and an 85-bird backyard flock fell victim to the virus.

Highly pathogenic bird flu was confirmed last week in a 145,000-bird Foster Farms turkey farm in Stanislaus County, Calif., the first U.S. commercial operation to be infected.

Backyard flocks also have been infected in Oregon and Idaho.

The Oregon Department of Agriculture on Wednesday lifted a quarantine in place since mid-December around the premises where a backyard flock in Winston in Douglas County was infected in mid-December.

WSDA last week lifted a quarantine in Benton and Franklin counties around where two backyard flocks were exposed to the virus in early January.

A quarantine remains in place where a non-commercial flock in Clallam County was infected.

WSDA and USDA officials have take samples from birds at 32 places inside the quarantine zone, and all tested negative for bird flu, Castro said.

Commission selects Unsworth as new director of WDFW

Let’s see, Unsworth is an avid hunter, has 4 kids, holds a bachelor’s degree in wildlife management from the University of Idaho, a master’s degree in fish and wildlife management from Montana State University and a doctorate in forestry, wildlife and range sciences from the University of Idaho, yes, he should make a fine addition Washington’s wolf management team.

Too bad compassionate Washingtonians didn’t have a vote or voice in this decision…

NEWS RELEASE
Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission
600 Capitol Way North, Olympia, WA 98501-1091

http://wdfw.wa.gov/commission/

January 10, 2015
Contact: Commission Office, (360) 902-2267

Commission selects Unsworth as new director of WDFW
TUMWATER – Dr. Jim Unsworth), deputy director of the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, was chosen today as the new head of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).
The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission voted to select Unsworth after interviewing eight candidates for the director’s position in December and narrowing the field to four finalists. The commission, a citizen panel appointed by the governor to set policy for WDFW, announced its decision at a public meeting Jan. 9-10 in Tumwater.
Unsworth, who will replace Phil Anderson, formally accepted the job today.
Commissioners said they sought a visionary leader with a strong conservation ethic, sound fiscal-management skills and the expertise to work collaboratively with the commission and the department’s constituents.
“After a thorough nationwide search, we’re confident Jim is the right person to guide the department through the many challenges that lie ahead,” said Miranda Wecker, chair of the commission. “His solid understanding of natural resource issues and strong leadership skills will be invaluable in the department’s effort to manage and protect the fish and wildlife resources that are so important to the people of this state.”
As director, Unsworth will report to the commission and manage a department with more than 1,600 employees, and a biennial operating budget of $376 million. His annual salary will be $146,500.
Unsworth, age 57, has spent more than 30 years in wildlife management with the Idaho Department of Fish and Game and has served as deputy director for the agency since 2008. He previously held several management positions for the department, including wildlife bureau chief and state big game manager.
Unsworth holds a bachelor’s degree in wildlife management from the University of Idaho, a master’s degree in fish and wildlife management from Montana State University and a doctorate in forestry, wildlife and range sciences from the University of Idaho.
“I’m thrilled at this opportunity,” Unsworth said. “I look forward to taking on the many exciting challenges that come with managing fish and wildlife in the state of Washington.”
Unsworth and his wife Michele have four adult children. He is an avid hunter and fisher.
Unsworth will replace Anderson, who announced in August he was resigning from his position at the end of 2014. At the commission’s request, he has since agreed to stay on as the head of the agency until a new director is in place.
“Phil’s enormous dedication to managing Washington’s fish and wildlife will truly be missed,” Wecker said. “As director, he was a tireless worker who successfully guided the department through one of the most difficult times in the history of this state. Under his leadership and with his support, the department made important progress in meeting some very challenging issues. We are extremely grateful for his service and all the contributions he made during his career at WDFW.”
Wecker said a statement of appreciation for Anderson will be posted in the next week on the commission’s webpage at http://wdfw.wa.gov/commission/

Every Hunter and Trapper Will Die Someday

10342876_644838815599443_2466424090983508710_n

This photo (allegedly taken in late November, 1947, near Roswell, New Mexico) recalls some of the most common feeble rationalizations humans use to justify the killing and consumption of the other beings with whom we share this planet.

Another equally feeble rationalization just cropped up in a letter to the editor of the Las Vegas Sun, using the twisted logic that since all animals are going to die someday, we might as well kill and eat them.

The letter, entitled, “Hunting, trapping to manage wildlife,” by the president of the Southern Nevada Coalition “for Wildlife,” starts out attacking animal rights activists and defending trappers and hunters:

“The litany of attacks on trappers and hunters by animal rights activists lately are usually based on the claim that trapping and hunting are inhumane. One needs to ask the question: compared to what? Compared to the standards of Walt Disney productions where Bambi and his deer family think and talk things over and where Lion Kings rule? Perhaps so, but in the real world of nature and wildlife, it is a different story.

“Every wild animal will die someday. If animal rights activists think wild animals die comfortably in their beds surrounded by loving family members, they are sadly mistaken. Disease, starvation, dehydration and predation are the most probable causes, and in the absence of management tools like hunting and trapping, entire wildlife populations suffer horribly.

“That is the reason the entire wildlife management profession and every conservation association support regulated hunting and trapping.

“Professionals know that regulated hunting and trapping are far more humane than letting nature run its course unimpeded. The animal rights activists beg to differ, but how is it more humane to allow (or mandate) that wild animals must die by disease, starvation or predation, or, much worse, allow (or mandate) entire populations to suffer this way when there is a much better way?”

A better way? That’s assuming a lot, such as that an unaware animal is killed outright with one clean shot (which almost never happens). And how is trapping an animal and letting it struggle until a human returns to finish it off ever humane?!

Yes all animals are going to eventually die someday, but usually when that day happens, nature steps in and prepares the individual for it through a process that includes shock, withdrawal and the gradual shutting down of the senses. Hospice professionals know the process well; it’s outlined in handouts they share with anyone who is caregiving for the dying.

Ending a healthy life (human or otherwise), before he or she have had the chance to fulfill their life’s journey, is murder, no matter how you rationalize it.

The pro-human predation letter ends with the line: “Since 1937, it’s been proved that regulated hunting and trapping programs are the essential tools of modern wildlife management.” Humans can just thank their lucky stars that no bigger brained beings have rationalized away their existence…yet.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 681 other followers