Montana FWP wants local anti-bison judge replaced on Gardiner Basin bison case

Judge who singlehandedly stopped years-in-making decision to let bison roam, not acceptable, says FWP-

Finally, after years, state and federal government agencies agreed to let bison begin to roam the Gardiner Basin just north of Yellowstone Park, but Park County district judge Nels Swandal sided with the Park County Stockgrowers Association to put the landmark agreement aside.

The stockgrowers were effective with their tired, but still effective arguments about spread of brucellosis and danger to people (the classic children at the bus stop argument). “Large numbers of bison now regularly congregate at school bus stops and other locations, interacting with children, elderly, and other individuals that live in the area to a degree not previously encountered,” Park County’s lawsuit stated.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks and other agencies are asking for a new judge, but the existing judge (Swandal) gets to pick any replacement.

State wants new judge in bison case. By Carly Flandro. Bozeman Chronicle.

Meanwhile, we haven’t heard anything more about Park County prosecuting the man cited for shooting numerous .22 rounds among the houses to kill a bison.

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Regarding the views and actions of the Park County Commissioners, here is an interesting guest editorial. Guest column: We must rein in fears, attitudes over roaming bison. By Karrie Taggart (co-founder/coordinator of Horse Butte Neighbors of Buffalo in West Yellowstone — HOBNOB)

A chance to finally get rid of tumbleweed?

Russian thistle is not a native of the West and importing fungus blights from its homeland can kill it-

While there are several plants called “tumbleweed,” the one most commonly called that is prickly Russian Thistle.  It has been around for almost 150 years and Hollywood probably convinced people it is an essential element of the “Old West.”

A couple of fungal blights from Asia Minor now show great promise in reducing its prevalence. Introduction of plant diseases, however, can be very dangerous and controversial. So far these look to be very host specific. I hope these work out if they are approved. To me the prickly tumbleweed of the West has no redeeming value.

High Noon for Tumbleweed? By Emiline Ostlind. WyoFile

Russian Thistle in detail. Copyright Salle Engelhardt

Coyotes nail dog during Colorado hike

Puppy runs up to coyotes and gets killed-

Dog killed by coyotes in Aspen while on hiking trip. AP

Posted in Coyotes. Tags: . 100 Comments »

Attempt to restore hound hunting of cougar in Oregon fails

Oregon legislature fails to resurrect hunting practice banned by Oregon voters in 1994-

Cougar hunting bill dies in Senate committee. Ashland Daily Tidings.

Cougar hunting interests say they will try again in 2012.

Scientists debate ‘magic number’ of wolves needed for species’ survival

Story fails to note the debate has become merely academic-

Story debates “magic number of wolves needed. By Rob Cheney. Missoulian.

Ok, so some scientists say 5000 wolves are needed to ensure the species’ survival in the Northern Rockies with good genetic diversity. Other say the delisting population of about 1700 was enough.

This article and far too many discussions ignore the plain fact that there are no longer 1700 wolves in the area and it is very unlikely the states will ever allow that number again. 1000 might be tops. It could be as low as 450.  To me, the debate has become academic; and writers and decision makers should acknowledge the fact.

Winter Visitor in Leadore

Okay, no carcasses this time. Just an old mule deer doe with the maze-running skills of a champion lab rat. We looked out the kitchen window one afternoon and she had worked her way past Bob’s gauntlet of fence panels toward the prize: the bird feeder. Once at the center of the puzzle, she has to avoid the guy wires that prevent the post from falling over. But the reward comes as she inhales the fallen millet and sunflower seeds. Problem is, it doesn’t stop there. She has been known to knock the bird feeder clear off and stomp on it.

We were careful not to go outside the house or let the dogs out while she was inside, lest she panic and hurt herself. Bob actually thought he had her outfoxed with this assembly, but no. Next day he had to improve it, which has finally done the trick. No soup for you, Muley! Bird food is for birds, chipmunks, Ratatosk the squirrel, voles and deer mice. I know, I know: we are already working on a better design so this doesn’t happen next winter. We need a taller, sturdier post that will put the feeder out of reach of a deer on its hind legs. Or something.

Next day: Outside and pissed off about it! 

Teff Tiff

Earlier this month, a judge in Malheur County, Oregon, ordered a year’s probation for a grain farmer from Caldwell, Idaho. Wayne Carlson was convicted of harassing a rival tef grower. Tesfa Drar, the other farmer, is general manager of Teff Farms in Minnesota, and he says that “Carlson approached him and told him to go back to Ethiopia, where he came from.”

Teff is a grain, native to Ethiopia, which is acclimatized to high elevations and low precipitation. Sort of explains why it’s being tried out in Idaho and eastern Oregon, but I’m sure the short news stories aren’t telling us the whole story. Is the teff market really that cutthroat? Is teff cultivation just a niche market, or will it eventually take over some serious acreage? Any chance it will displace the water-sucking alfalfa that dewaters so many of the West’s streams? (Not holding my breath.)

It appears that Carlson, who founded The Teff Co. and has worked with many growers in the region, saw the Ethiopian from Minnesota as a rival poaching on “his” territory.

Carlson had worked in Ethiopia in the 1970s, and “was fascinated by the geological and climatic similarities of the Snake River region and the East African Rift.”

Tesfa Drar was in the area to talk to local farmers about partnerships. The altercation occurred in a restaurant in Vale.

The Teff Co.’s website tells us that “The Teff Company has been supplying the Ethiopian and Eritrean communities for nearly twenty years with American-grown Maskal Teff. With the fertile fields and ecologically sensitive farming methods some of the best quality teff in the world is produced in Idaho.”

I guess to Mr. Carlson, immigrants from east Africa are a good thing, as long as they buy their grain from a Swede from Caldwell, but not such a good thing if they threaten to actually compete with him. Ain’t free enterprise great?

Read more: http://www.idahostatesman.com/2011/04/28/1627713/caldwell-man-sentenced-for-harassing.html#ixzz1L3E3bnBK

Read more: http://www.idahostatesman.com/2010/11/09/1410632/caldwell-exotic-grain-producer.html#storylink=misearch#ixzz1L3EfxJBV

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