Sportsmen Unite To Save Wyoming Range

The Wyoming Range is a beautiful and wildlife-rich mountain range in SW Wyoming. Some folks might think this storyline might be a reference to rangeland in the state of Wyoming. No it is the name of a mountain range 70 miles long and about 25 miles wide.

At the headwaters of Lunch Creek and the Roaring Fork near the top to the
Wyoming Range, looking east. Although they are hard to see, there are about
a hundred elk in the big meadow. Copyright Ralph Maughan

“Sportsmen” groups have formed a coalition to fend off the natural gas industry, trying now to move its rigs up off the floor of the Green River Basin into the scenic and landslide prone mountains to the West.

Brodie Farquhar has an article about the coalition in New West. Sportsmen Unite To Save Wyoming Range.

Notice that the group “Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife-Wyoming” is not inside the coalition. These are the guys who want to feed elk, shoot wolves, and don’t seem to care much for public lands. They have counterpart organizations in Idaho, Utah, and now New Mexico. They saddle up with the extractive industries.

That brings us to the wolf controversy. I think I am beginning to understand the furious push to suddenly demonize the wolf and so, stir the pot — this is a way for the extractive industries from petroleum to mining, and public land grazing to split the sudden formation of coalition between hunters, anglers, conservationists, labor unions, etc. They can remain in the background and let groups with Orwellian names, like “Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife,” divert attention and coalition building with an emotional issue that is actually of small consequence compared to the wholesale rape of the land that is taking place.

This tactic used to be called a “red herring,” although to younger and more urban folks it may be a lost referent.

Gray wolves to leave endangered list

Gray wolves to leave endangered list. By Matthew Brown. AP

The Department of Interior is announcing the delisting of the gray wolf in the Northern Rockies and will do so soon in the Great Lakes.

Normally the recovery of an endangered species is a cause for celebration, and that’s because normally the states don’t then quickly announce a “hunting season” to greatly reduce the numbers of the the species that was listed because its numbers were too low. The Bald Eagle is being removed from the list, and no one is proposing a hunting season on it.

Unfortunately, with the wolf, all those old ideas dragged out of Europe in the 15th century, and hanging over in parts of the West from the 1890s, are still present. These are the very same ideas that put the wolf close the extermination in the first place.

Probably the best think people can do around the country right now, is to contact their member of Congress and complain. It really is a new Congress, and people with a different attitude are in charge. They should also call, email or write to their state governors and letters to the newspapers. I think ballot initiatives may be in order. It is hard to get enough names, but if there is money behind an initiative in many states getting it on the ballot is almost guaranteed. I would not be surprised if some wealthy people step forward and offer to help.

New article on the delisting to be formally announced on Monday. Wolf Delisting Plan Due Next Week. By Bill Schneider. New West.

Idea for a Montana wolf compensation board praised.

Montana legislature is thinking of setting up a Montana wolf compensation board. All verified losses so far have been covered by Defenders of Wildlife privately.

They suggest allocating $200,000. That’s probably about twice what they will need a year (unless that includes administration).

Meanwhile, Defenders continues to compensate. My view is that they should stop in Idaho, given the attitude of Fish and Game Comission and the governor’s office. It buys no goodwill, and wolf opponents almost always neglect to mention Defenders’ compensation. . . . . Just my opinion, I am not even a member.

Story in the Billings Gazette. AP