Midwest, Wyoming lawmakers target wolf protections again

February 26
MINNEAPOLIS — Pressure is building in Congress to take gray wolves in the western Great Lakes region and Wyoming off the endangered list, which would allow farmers to kill the animals if they threaten livestock.

Representatives from Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan and Wyoming have asked House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin for a fast floor vote before the season during which most cows and sheep will give birth begins in earnest. That followed testimony before a Senate committee a week earlier from the president of the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation, who said producers need to be able to defend their livestock and livelihoods.

Meanwhile, both sides in the debate are waiting for a federal appeals court to decide whether to uphold lower court rulings that put wolves in the four states back on the list or to let the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service return management of the species to the states, which it has wanted to do for years.

Here’s a look at some of the issues:


 U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson of Minnesota, the ranking Democrat on the House Agriculture Committee, sent a letter co-signed by seven of his colleagues from the four states to House leaders urging a quick floor vote on a bill to return their wolves to state management. A key component of both is language that would prevent the courts from intervening.

The representatives said it’s urgent because calving season is when cows and calves are most vulnerable.

“As you know, cows and their calves can easily be worth several thousand dollars, so each instance of a wolf attack has devastating economic impacts on ranchers and their families. Currently, ranchers and farmers have no legal actions available to deal with gray wolf attacks because these predators are federally protected,” they wrote.

Peterson said in an interview that they very nearly passed a similar provision in the last Congress and that he thinks they have a decent shot at persuading Ryan to grant an early floor vote. Otherwise they’ll try to attach the language to a bigger appropriations bill later. The legislation is similar to what Congress used to delist wolves in Montana and Idaho in 2011 after courts blocked the federal government’s attempts to lift protections in those states.

“Wolves are not endangered,” Peterson said.


The Senate’s Committee on Environment and Public Works held an informational hearing Feb. 15 billed as “Modernization of the Endangered Species Act.” Jim Holte, president of the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation, complained that it’s been illegal for farmers in the region to kill wolves that prey on their livestock since wolves went back on the list.

“As wolf populations continue to increase, interactions between farmers, their livestock, rural residents and wolves continue to escalate without a remedy in sight,” Holte testified.


The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has long contended that wolves in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan and Wyoming have recovered to the point where they’re no longer threatened, so hunting and trapping can be allowed under state control.

Gray wolves were once hunted to the brink of extinction in the lower 48 states, but they recovered under Endangered Species Act protections and reintroduction programs to the point where they now number around 5,500, according to the service. The combined gray wolf population of the three western Great Lakes states is now about 4,000, while Wyoming has roughly 400. The agency describes wolf numbers in those states as “robust, stable and self-sustaining.”

But federal courts have blocked multiple attempts to take them off the endangered list, most recently in 2014. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit last fall heard oral arguments in challenges to those rulings but hasn’t ruled on them yet.


Groups that support the federal protections say it’s premature to lift them because wolves are still missing from most of their historical range. They’ve been able to persuade the courts that the terms of the Endangered Species Act requires recovery in more than just a few states, even though the Fish and Wildlife Service disagreed.

Brett Hartl, government affairs director of the Center for Biological Diversity, said he’s skeptical that the latest congressional efforts will get much traction. He said Peterson and the other representatives who sent the letter are just sending a message to their constituents that they’re still trying.



by Stephen Capra

Hello, this is emergency operator, what is your emergency?
Um, we have a real emergency, a crisis really.
(Operator) Sir what is the emergency?
It’s our President, well not my President really, but a man… well a boy really….no more like a child, a spoiled one at that… Um, operator, this man is now the most powerful man in the world, yet he seemingly does not read, I have no evidence he can write, but he clearly can tweet. It’s not just me, but our country; well the majority who voted against him are simply terrified.
(Operator) This really is a crisis; we are sending in our special agent, he is an older white guy, balding, sometimes a bird can be found perched near him.
Please hurry!

As I write this, the full weight and gravity of this election is sinking (and I use that term literally) into my bones. We have chosen a fool, a reckless child to be our country’s President. There will be many areas by which this man and his new found friends, the Republican Party, will begin to hash out their form of torture.

Like kids that were bullied in school, these adults will seek to “make us pay” for their misguided vision of America. Nowhere is this clearer than in the realm of the environment.

Dark Vision

Republicans like Bob Bishop and our own Steve Pearce are already buzzing about the idea of eliminating National Monuments. Pearce sees this as a means of payback for our successful campaigns to protect close to one million acres in this state, with the crown jewel being the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks. But the reality is their dark vision for conservation has no bounds: from the possibility of trying to tamper with restrictions on ivory imports, to easing restrictions on trophy hunting imports (a Trump family favorite), to the Republican agenda of selling off public lands, destroying wolf recovery, eliminating the Antiquities Act, making sure the EPA is gutted, putting gun ranges on public lands,  eliminating critical Climate Change research, opening up federal lands for oil, gas, uranium, coal and cows at an unprecedented rate, to destroying America’s Serengeti: the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

We have heard the threats in the past and when I mention this to people most tell me, “It’s not going to happen. Presidents do not change our country.” Yet, statistics do not lie. Recent studies have shown going back the past hundred years or so that Presidents generally get 70% of what they run on accomplished, and that stat held true for President Obama.

What’s different here is that Trump likely has no strong positions on the environment. We have heard dismiss climate change, but how much would Trump know or care about the BLM or Wildlife Services? But he will need Republicans to push through the most controversial aspects of his Administration: the Wall, Muslim registrations, whatever War he is likely to create; the list is long and his appointments to date make clear he is vetting some extreme (some say unqualified) people, to make up his cabinet.

The picks for Interior, Energy and Agriculture will likely be damning and disastrous for the environment. In this case the President elect has been clear: “drill baby drill,” “remove regulation,” and “I love coal.” But even without his ill-informed comments, the Republican Party that spurned him will control these moves, with a zeal we have not seen since their heady Jim Watt days.

That is, if we and the Democratic Party yield to such insanity by saying ridiculous things like: “Let’s give him a chance” or “The election is over and it’s his chance to govern.” The correct answer to any of that is, BULLSHIT!

The environment is not a personal punching bag for Republicans to do with as their money lined pockets wish. Nor is the right of Democrats to simply allow such destruction. If your representative is a democrat and is saying “I am going to give the President a chance” go to his or her office and remind them the environment is no longer in a position for second chances. Demand they filibuster any appointments for these vital environmental cabinet positions.

This man lost the majority in this nation, by more than 2 million votes. He has an old school, oligarchic mentality about nature. He sees in through the lens, not of wildness, but as a means of self-enrichment. Oil, coal, steel, minerals like gold, which festoon his apartment and properties are the gilded mantra of his 19th century mentality of conquest and entitlement.

He must be stopped: our planet depends on him being defeated, wildlife depends on him being defeated, and our place in the world and the respect our nation has garnered depends on him being defeated. But from the ashes of this battle, what must be clear is that the Republican Party and its positions on the environment must not just be defeated, but forever destroyed. They and their leaders Paul Ryan, Bob Bishop and the Steve Pearces of the world must lose their power to destroy beauty, to kill the heartbeat of wildness and to do so with the smug arrogance of a serial killer.

The weeks and months ahead are crucial; battle lines have already formed on the cold plains of North Dakota with our Standing Rock Sioux brethren holding ground against all odds. But the battlegrounds and the fight will need to go town to town, city to city and must assault the halls of Congress with the message that we will never go back, as we have said with slavery, as we have said with women’s rights and gay rights; we will not go backwards, but instead we will only move forward.  So too is it with our environment, so too is it with wolves and bears and sea life.

The path is only forward, we are already in triage, we must tell this newly elected President NO: NO to Coal, NO to your appointments, NO to your Presidency!

In so doing we can make clear, despite their likely angry rhetoric, that we will never surrender. That our love for Mother Earth is far stronger than their greed and ignorance and that love for all species is far stronger than their hate of all that is wild.

We will overcome this moment in time, but we all, every one of us be prepared to fight like never before.  We must stop their dark vision for our lands, water and wildlife, to do so will require more than a call to 911: it will require all of us, working together.

Paul Ryan, a Mirage Candidate, Wages a Parallel Campaign


WASHINGTON — As the Republican candidates for the White House battled in Wisconsin last week, Speaker Paul D. Ryan was conspicuously absent from his home state — but he was very much on the political stage.

He visited Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Israel, where he also met with local reporters and made several statements affirming the United States’ commitment there, before heading to other Middle Eastern nations and Germany to discuss security and intelligence issues.

Back in Washington, his staff churned out its latest flattering video of Mr. Ryan, deploring identity politics and promoting a battle of ideas — set to campaign-style music. And his office continued to beat back the not-exactly-library-voice whisper campaign favoring a coup at the Republican convention in July that would elevate Mr. Ryan to the top of the ticket.6-4Hansens-trophy-goat(Pictured here, Paul Ryan’s fellow bowhunter, Alaskan serial killer Robert Hansen.


When Ryan supports hunting, he turns his back on American values

When Ryan supports hunting, he turns his back on American values

 by Ingrid Newkirk

Gun violence is a divisive issue in America, but one gun-related trend has become clear over the last 30 years: Fewer Americans hunt.

Corporations that make guns and hunting accessories are busy trying to fight this trend and get members of Congress to promote hunting by arming them with specious arguments about the right to bear arms. But Americans outside the Beltway get the absurdity—the 2nd Amendment was drafted to defend citizens against a government gone haywire, not against ducks and deer.

Consider what new Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) says of a pathetic little group in Congress called the “Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus”: “It’s about protecting our rights, our habitat, and our access.” For him to imply that hunters are victims is absurd, and he is far too clever to believe it himself.Perhaps we might learn something about members’ motivation from revelations like this: In April 2013, Ryan cosponsored HR 322, a pro-hunting bill that the Safari Club International (SCI) wanted passed. Just 5 legislative days after doing what SCI wanted, Ryan accepted a $1,000 check from SCI. The House Ethics Committee is being asked to investigate this seeming transaction and others like it in which gun and hunting industry corporations give cash to members’ re-election campaigns in order to get what they want.

SCI couldn’t be further from American public opinion. SCI promotes the killing of the “Big Five” species (elephants, rhinos, leopards, Cape buffalo, and lions), which requires no skill, just deep pockets and the ability to squeeze a trigger. Walter Palmer, the dentist who murdered the beloved lion Cecil, was a member, as was German entrepreneur Rainer Schorr, who shot the biggest elephant seen in Zimbabwe in decades. It’s less of a sport than a pathology: “Big Five” hunting, like sex tourism, enables men to fulfill dark empowerment fantasies that hurt victims on foreign soil.

But the above-mentioned “Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus” is not much better. Do most Americans even want this caucus to exist? Do we want our national leaders supporting a hobby that teaches children to kill others? It is this lack of empathy that PETA works to counter: Whenever hunters accidentally get shot, PETA contacts them and asks them to realize that the animals they hunt experience the same thing or worse and encourages them to rediscover the empathy that got buried within them when someone taught them to hunt.

The panicky last gasps of the hunting industry can also be seen in the “right to hunt” amendments that it has been sending to state legislatures in hopes of protecting hunting despite public opinion against it.

Does Ryan’s support for hunting represent his home state of Wisconsin? Not really, 2014 Wisconsin hunting license sales were the lowest since 1976. It’s not even accurate to say that he’s representing most members of Congress. Many members in both chambers and both parties work hard on behalf of their constituents to protect animals by getting the federal government to hold animal abusers accountable and ensure that the Animal Welfare Act is enforced.

A practicing Catholic, Ryan’s bloodlust is also contrary to many Americans’ religious beliefs, including his own. His church clearly dictates that we should respect creation, not destroy it, and Pope Francis has condemned violence on numerous occasions. Yet Ryan frequently cites his faith during political discourse.

Ryan’s zeal for hunting isn’t even representative of conservative values. Hunting celebrates death, exposes children to gun violence and wastes millions of taxpayer dollars every year through the bloated U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and its state agencies. And the U.S. taxpayer foots the bill.

Americans hate oppressors, and hunting epitomizes oppression: the powerful ganging up on the weak. A wise elected official would recognize that it’s not just human beings who have a right to fair treatment and protection from cruelty.

Americans across the political spectrum have a right of their own: the right to be disappointed that Speaker Ryan would ignore public sentiment, take SCI’s money and do SCI’s bidding. I join the millions of Americans who hope he will stop doing the hunting industry’s bidding and shift his support away from the cruel blood sport.

Newkirk is the president of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), 501 Front St., Norfolk, VA 23510; www.PETA.org.

How Much Bad News Can We Take?

Yesterday was a bad day—news wise. It’s not like World War III broke out—yet—but with Russian jets flying over our ships off Syria, and with headlines like, “China naval chief says minor incident could spark war in South China Sea,” it sounds like we’re getting a couple of steps closer.

Meanwhile, unless you were tucked away safely under a rock somewhere, you probably ryanwaxheard that bowhunter Paul Ryan is the new Speaker of the House (just two heartbeats away from the White House). Funny, I didn’t get a chance to vote for him, not that I would have. What’s this we hear about democracy? Is this how Nazi Germany got its start? (Hopefully this means he’ll be too busy to wait in his tree stand for a passing deer to recreationally-impale.)

And the last piece of bad news announced yesterday was that China coincidentally is ending its one-child policy. The media cited numerous reasons but stopped short of telling us that their population has decreased since the 1970s when they implemented the policy.

Having their population increase from 818 million in 1970 to 1.36 billion and counting (even under the one-child policy), it seems a strange time to decide to double their allowable birth rate. Of course, you need a lot of replacement babies if you want to be a major player in the world market—or declare World War III.


Will Gilligan and Other Distractions Save Us From the Reality of Climate Change?

Regrettably, I recently “upgraded” to Windows 10. Since then, I’ve been subjected toAAfEOTv MSN’s homepage newsfeed- brainwashing. This morning I followed their link to try to learn a little more about global warming’s connection to monster hurricane Patricia coming off the Pacific to treat Mexico to 20” of rain and 200+ mph winds.

Although there was nothing in their article about climate change or its role in making weather events like hurricanes harder for life on Earth these days, there was some heady, potentially depressing news to be had.

But not to worry, the right-hand column of the article (as is growing more commonplace with today’s befuddling hyperbolic media) was rife with links to divert your concern away from anything too upsetting or significant.

Before reaching the end of the short article, the reader could be led astray by diversionary, unrelated stories about comical-yet-evil politicians like Donald Trump or ryanwaxPaul Ryan, or imaginary millionaires Lovie and Mr. Howell.

Readers wanting to know just how many millions Mr. Howell is said to have amassed may find the answer by clicking on the deflecting link educating them on “15 Fateful Facts about Gilligan’s Island.”

Hopefully as people in Puerto Vallarta start dying in droves, readers will lose interest in the plight of the famous TV sitcom castaways.

Make no mistake; hurricanes like this are not just the result of naturally-occurring, cyclic “El Nino” events. The oceans have been warming ominously for several years now. The climate is changing fast, folks—we’re treading uncharted waters here.

Now, if I can just get that damn Gilligan’s Island theme song outta my head…

Text and Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson, 2015

Text and Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson, 2015

Meet Thy Enemy

Paul Ryan with 8 Point Buck

Safari Club International Recognizes Congressman Paul  Ryan as 2013 Federal Legislator of the Year

Safari Club International

Safari Club International

Washington, DC – -(Ammoland.com)- Safari Club International (SCI) is pleased to  recognize Representative Paul Ryan (Wisc.) as the 2013 SCI Federal Legislator of  the Year.

The award will be presented during the evening banquet on Jan. 25, 2013 at  the world’s greatest convention dedicated to North American and international  hunting, the 41st Annual Safari Club International Hunters’ Convention.

“No other legislator is more deserving of this award after the 2012 election  cycle than Congressman Paul Ryan,” said SCI President John Whipple.

“Being an avid hunter, Congressman Ryan was a champion to our cause, and put  the preservation of hunting heritage in the national spotlight during his 2012  vice-presidential campaign. Be it in a business suit or full field attire,  voters across the country saw the indelible image of him, with his bow at full  draw; showing indisputable evidence of his commitment to being the voice for  sportsmen and women both on the campaign trail and in the 112th Congress. SCI is  proud to honor Representative Ryan as the 2013 SCI Federal Legislator of the  Year.”

“It is an honor to be recognized by Safari Club International and its members  as the 2013 Federal Legislator of the Year. I’m grateful to win this award and  even more excited to be able to pass on to my children the hunting traditions  and values that SCI stands for,” Ryan said. “The values of sportsmen and women  have been a focus throughout my career and I will continue to support the  hunting traditions and rights we cherish.”

Aside from his legislative work in Congress and with Safari Club  International, Ryan is a member of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus (CSC),  having previously served as co-chairman for CSC in the U.S. House of  Representatives from 2007 to 2011.

Becoming an SCI Member: Joining Safari Club International  is the best way to be an advocate for continuing our hunting heritage and  supporting worldwide sustainable use conservation, wildlife education and  humanitarian services. JOIN NOW: http://www.safariclub.org/Join.

Safari Club International First For Hunters is the leader  in protecting the freedom to hunt and in promoting wildlife conservation  worldwide. SCI’s approximately 200 Chapters represent all 50 of the United  States as well as 106 other countries. SCI’s proactive leadership in a host of  cooperative wildlife conservation, outdoor education and humanitarian programs,  with the SCI Foundation and other conservation groups, research institutions and  government agencies, empowers sportsmen to be contributing community members and  participants in sound wildlife management and conservation. Visit the home page  http://www.safariclub.org

Read more at Ammoland.com: http://www.ammoland.com/2013/01/paul-ryan-as-2013-federal-legislator-of-the-year/#ixzz2ISLTVbhV

Well, Ted, We’re Waiting…

Over the Thanksgiving weekend, Paul Ryan proved he was true to his word (unfortunately) and made good on his promise to see that his 10 year old daughter kills her first deer this year.

Now it’s time for his fellow die-hard bowhunting fanatic, Ted Nugent, to live up to (so to speak) a promise he made back in April. According to the website Right Wing Watch, Nugent swore that: “If Barack Obama becomes the President in November again, I will either be dead or in jail by this time next year.”

It seems to me, if Nugent’s a man of his word, he has only five months to either die or go to jail. Well, Ted, we’re waiting…

Right Wing Watch reports that at the NRA’s national convention, Nugent called Obama a criminal and denounced his “vile, evil, America-hating administration” which is “wiping its ass with the Constitution.” And he concluded a video stumping for Mitt Romney with, “We need to ride into that battlefield and chop their heads off in November. Any questions?” Meanwhile, Romney stated on a radio show, “It’s been fun getting to know Ted Nugent.”

With friends like Ted, who needs enemies?


Unfortunately, This Time Paul Ryan Was True to His Word

It seems the only time you can count on a politician to make good on a campaign promise is when it’s something detrimental, like approving the Keystone Pipeline. I fully believe Mitt Romney would have done that, as promised, if he had been elected. And I had no doubt Paul Ryan was serious when he announced his plan to have his 10 year old daughter kill her first deer this year.

While I’m thankful he didn’t make Vice President, unfortunately it freed him up to spend more time at his hobby of murdering animals. And sure enough, he saw to it that his pre-teen little girl joined the ranks of deer assassins as well. On Thanksgiving (of all times), he sent her up a tree outfitted with a .237 caliber rifle to wait for one of the practically tame deer they feed to wander within range of her tree stand and blammo, that’s all she wrote. Physically, the “hunt” could not have been easier. Psychologically and emotionally, it may have been more of a challenge for her had the promise of being showered with daddy’s praise weren’t so alluring.

Ten is an extremely young age to have your heartstrings and pre-pubescence conscience toyed with. It is three years away from being considered teenaged—far too young to drive, vote, partake in alcohol or even to go to war.

I’m glad my father didn’t get his kicks killing animals. As any reformed hunter will tell you, obedience to peer pressure or a father’s expectations can take half a lifetime to outgrow. Hopefully it won’t take that long for young Miss Ryan to develop her conscience and decide to do what’s right.

Text and Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson

Call Today! The “Sportsmen’s” Act of 2012 Must Fail

URGENT!  Before you read another line, pick up your phone, call your Senators and tell them to OPPOSE S 3525 (the so-called, “Sportsmen’s” Act of 2012)! You can find the contact numbers for your senators at the following web page: http://www.senate.gov/

Though the threat of having to watch bowhunter Paul Ryan by crowned Vice President has passed, the specter of sport hunting still haunts the halls of Congress. Under the cunning guise of “conservation,” the Sportsmen’s Act of 2012, S 3525, is a Senate version of the House’s ridiculous “Sportsmen’s Heritage Act” (what will they think of next, a Serial Murderer’s Heritage Act?).

No animal should be reduced to the level of mere object only to be “harvested” at the casual whim of jaded trophy seekers out for a diversion from their meaningless lives.

For the sake of wildlife, public lands and unspoiled wilderness nationwide, we must stop this absurd act from becoming law.

Of course, the animal’s enemies are lining up behind it. According to a new post in Outdoor Life (a popular “sportsmen’s” magazine that actually promotes outdoor death) entitled, “Must-Pass Legislation: Sportsmen’s Act of 2012,”

“The fight for the Sportsmen’s Act isn’t over. The NRA, National Shooting Sports Foundation, Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, Boone and Crocket Club, Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, and a host of other national, regional and local groups are calling all hands to lobby their Senators for passage.”

Make no mistake, those of us who truly care about wildlife wouldn’t want to see this pass even if it were a painfully annoying kidney stone. The Sportsmen’s Act of 2012 is a must-fail piece of legislation.


Thanks to the Animal Welfare Institute for the following action alert:

On November 13, their first day back in session following the recent election, the U.S. Senate will resume consideration of The Sportsmen’s Act of 2012 (S. 3525). Please call and urge your Senators to oppose S. 3525.

If enacted, S. 3525 will have substantial and direct adverse impacts on wildlife, public health and existing conservation efforts. This bill would weaken protections offered by laws such as the Marine Mammal Protection Act, Toxic Substances Control Act and Endangered Species Act. Included in the bill’s language are provisions that would:

•Eliminate the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority under the Toxic Substances Control Act to regulate hazardous substances—including lead, a dangerous neurotoxin—released by ammunition and sport fishing waste.

•Encourage federally-funded construction and expansion of public shooting ranges on state and federal land, including land managed by the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management.

•Amend the Marine Mammal Protection Act to permit importation of polar bear carcasses taken before the species was listed as “threatened” under the Endangered Species Act in 2008—including those taken despite multiple warnings of an imminent ban on imports.

This legislation, if enacted, will interfere with important statutory protections affecting animal welfare, human health, and the environment.

The Senate is moving quickly on this bill, so your help is urgently needed TODAY.  Please contact your Senators by phone, email, or fax and tell them to oppose S. 3525!

You can identify your Senators and their contact information here.

Sample Message:

As one of your constituents, I urge you to help protect human health, wildlife and public lands by voting against S. 3525. This legislation, if passed, will undermine provisions of existing conservation statutes including the Marine Mammal Protection Act and the Toxic Substances Control Act. It will also interfere with the exercise of authority by federal agencies responsible for managing federal lands and protecting public health. Please oppose S. 3525, and help to protect wildlife, habitat and the public.

Thank you,