Tuesday, October 12, 2010

On Wolves and the ESA

The following is from a message sent out to Montana Wildlife Federation folks:


I stumbled on this posting today from mainehuntingtoday.com. In this link, Don Peay, of Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife outlines why he’s upset with Senator’s Baucus and Tester for their insistence that a moderate, reasonable wolf bill be considered over the Texas bill which would permanently preclude wolves from ever being listed under the Endangered Species Act. That means if we were down to one wolf in Alaska, wolves would never be listed and/or protected. That’s a damned shame. We would never agree to that for elk, otters, bighorn sheep or any other animal, and we should never agree to that for wolves, as troublesome as they are.

Regardless of how we individually feel about wolves, and the impacts wolves are having to hunting and ungulate populations, it is imperative for Hunters to maintain their conservation roots. To permanently exclude one animal based on inconvenience and political punditry is an affront to our conservation heritage. States can manage wolves effectively and sustainably, while mitigating impacts. Our state and Idaho have developed plans that would reasonably manage wolves. That’s all we’re asking for from Congress.

To permanently preclude a critter based on hatred or convenience is a horrible precedent to set, and it paints hunters and slathering fools who only care about species that we hunt and fish for. I don’t know one hunter or angler who cannot identify the warble of meadowlark, or who doesn’t spend some time watching mink, martens and otters. Our outdoor experience is heightened by these non-game species, and we must constantly strive to protect them as much as we protect elk, mule deer and bighorn sheep. To do otherwise betrays the heritage that our fathers, and their fathers have passed down to us.

Please take a moment and read the link. The position that people who are pushing for a Texas solution to a Montana issue do not have your best interest at heart. They are more interested in wielding power and influence. These same advocates have turned Utah into a “once in a lifetime” state for nonresident elk hunters, and in many areas, for resident hunters. They have, through their advocacy, kept Wyoming’s flawed plan in place, and have kept the Rocky Mountain Wolf listed for more years than any environmental group. Their policy has nothing to do with the North American Model of Fish and Wildlife Conservation, and everything to do with transferable tags, set-asides, and blocking off public lands for the well heeled.

We have seen the enemy, and he is us, as the old saying goes. Senators Tester and Baucus have genuinely worked with MWF and other local stakeholders to develop a solution that has a chance at passage in the lame duck, but it will require hunters to stand up and support reason, civility, and most importantly, a Montana solution.

Representative Rehberg will be holding three panel discussions regarding Wolves next week in Hamilton, Kalispell and Dillon. Don Peay, founder of Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife will be at the Dillon meeting and possibly the Hamilton meeting as well. Luckily, due to MWF’s and our club leaders’ hard work on this issue, we will be included in these panels as well. It is critical for clubs to turn out and let Representative Rehberg know that while we demand that the wolf be delisted, we also firmly believe that any attempts to weaken the ESA under the guise of wolf delisting is a dead end street for us.

Whether or not the Endangered Species Act needs reform is not the issue. That can be taken up in the next Congress. Now, under the stresses and complications inherent in a Lame Duck Session, we have the opportunity to delist wolves in Montana and Idaho. We should take that opportunity and move forward.

These meetings will take place as follows:

October 5:  Dillon
9:00-11:00 AM
University of Montana Western, Lewis and Clark Room at Matthews Hall
October 5:  Hamilton
3:00-5:00 PM
Hamilton Performing Arts Center
October 6: Kalispell
10:00-12:00 PM
Flathead Valley Community College, Arts and Technology Large Meeting Room.

Please plan on attending these meetings and give support to the North American Model, and to sensible management of wolves.

For all wildlife,

Ben Lamb
Conservation Director for State and National Issues
Montana Wildlife Federation
P.O. Box 1175
Helena, MT 59624
(406) 458-0227 xtn 108

Examine each question in terms of what is ethically and aesthetically right, as well as what is economically expedient. 
Aldo Leopold

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