Saturday, December 9, 2023


Repeal of Fish & Wildlife rule bad for wildlife


Photo from Grizzly & Wolf Discovery Center, West Yellowstone, MT

For many of us RVers, wildlife watching rates at or near the top of the list of why we chose to become RVers, and we also rate our National Parks and National and State Wildlife Refuges at the top of our destination and most-visited lists for the same reason.

At Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks, herds of bison often block roads, paralyzing traffic, while the herd meanders across. (Tip: turn off your engine and enjoy the show.) Elk, wolves and grizzlies can be seen almost daily.

Many of our public lands have established areas for the protection of wildlife, such as the Dean Creek Elk Viewing Area, a wildlife management area managed by the BLM near Reedsport, Ore., where you can watch a herd of 60 to 100 wild Roosevelt elk — huge bulls and cows with calves, grazing along the Umpqua River.

Some state parks also provide excellent wildlife viewing, such as the several elk herds at Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park near Orick in Northern California and at Custer State Park in South Dakota where you can see prairie dog towns, free-ranging bison, and rock-climbing bighorn sheep.

These wonderful destinations all have at least one feature in common. They protect the native wildlife from their most fearsome predator — homo sapiens — the most prolific killer of all creatures ever to inhabit the earth. And these protected animals, because of these protections, have lost enough fear of man that they do not turn and run and hide when we appear, a big bonus for wildlife watchers.

Gray wolf pack, Wikipedia

But now several Alaska politicians have voted (H.J. Res. 69) to overturn a Fish and Wildlife Service rule that will upset the balance of nature in Alaska’s national wildlife refuges. The politicians, Rep. Don Young (who told of entering wolf dens and killing mothers and pups back when he worked as a bounty hunter of predators and whose office walls are hung with animal trophies), along with Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan, want to reduce bear and wolf populations so hunters will have more moose and caribou to kill.

You can bet that Alaska’s wildlife will soon discover that it is better to avoid man than to continue his natural ways when we appear. So much for wildlife viewing — and for wildlife refuges being actual refuges. But that is secondary to the savagery of how the animals will be killed — “Hunters could scout grizzlies from the air and then be deposited on the ground to kill them,” writes Kathleen Parker in the Washington Post. “They could hunt wolves during denning season, either shooting a mother wolf, thus dooming her babies, or entering the den and killing all, frequently with gas. Hunters could also bait, trap or snare, causing an agonizing death usually exacerbated by freezing temperatures. The traps are steel-jawed. A snare is a wire that wraps around an animal’s neck, then tightens as it tries to pull away.” Parker goes on to write, “Without federal protections, what’s to stop Wyoming from authorizing hunting grizzlies in Yellowstone?”

Repealing the rule also doesn’t make economic sense. People go to Alaska to hunt but also to visit the parks and see the animals. Animal watching, in fact, brings Alaska more tourism dollars than hunting does, according to Alaska’s Department of Fish and Game.

“As a humane matter, there’s no defending H.J. Res. 69. As a regulatory issue, it defies logic. As an economic concern, protecting wildlife from cruel hunting practices makes sense,” Parker continues, “Senators should vote to leave the protective rule in place — not only to protect our wildlife from politicians’ predatory practices but also to reassure Americans that the chamber still has a conscience.”




0 0 votes
Article Rating
Subscribe to comments
Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Ed Z. (@guest_5410)
6 years ago

I think the people of Alaska (and all the other states) should be able to decide what is right for the people of Alaska. Not people who live thousands of miles away or visit once in their lifetimes.

Lorin Turner (@guest_5382)
6 years ago

We absolutely planned to donate money to support this newsletter but after seeing that the bashing back and forth of political views and personal beliefs is tolerated, we are completely rethinking it. I think editorials are important but I read for the author’s view, not the self-righteous hate mongrels on both side of the political fence. I may not always support the author’s view but by allowing the, oh so subtle, name calling within the supposedly eloquent comments cheapens the author’s comments.

Lorin Turner (@guest_5389)
6 years ago
Reply to  Bob Difley

I am not talking about the article, I appreciate the article and value your opinion. I am talking about the comments to the article. It is like every discussion on any topic these days. Someone disagrees with someone else and the mud starts slinging.

Rusty Austin (@guest_5312)
6 years ago

It’s not some generic “politicians” that are doing this, it’s REPUBLICAN politicians. We’ll never solve the problem if we can’t accurately name it for fear of offending Republicans and their voters.

Patrick Granahan (@guest_5303)
6 years ago

Well meaning politicians and animal rights groups just don’t get it.
We have problems with overpopulation of many species of geese.
Greater Canada geese are a public health concern along the Alantic Flyway. Their droppings polite parks and golf courses as their numbers expand out of control. Hunting bag limits have been increased
year after year…hunting seasons extended.
Snow geese in the mid-west have exceeded the carrying capacity of the lands the inhabit. Year round hunting seasons with no bag limits seem unable to control their numbers.
Deer populations are on the rise and out of control in many areas of the country.
Man’s overpopulation, anti-hunting attitudes and animal rights organizations have not helped.
Wildlife management must be left to the professionals. Politicians representing special interest groups should be excluded from the process.

kamwick (@guest_5307)
6 years ago

You’re right about human overpopulation, but it’s not the animal rights groups that are the problem or “anti-hunting attitudes”. It’s the lack of natural predators (they’ve been hunted to near extinction) and environmental reduction. All man made:

Susan Callihan (@guest_5291)
6 years ago

Reducing the wolf population has an immediate detrimental effect on the entire ecosystem, fauna and flora alike. Wolves control overpopulation of elk and deer. This overpopulation leads to habitat loss for other species through overheating. Wolves also prey on smaller canine species that control mice, rats, and rabbits. As the residents proliferate, along with elk and deer, grasses and saplings are grazed down leading to increased erosion along streamlines. Flora differs, leading to reduction in birds and bees.

In areas devastated by erosion where wolves have been reintroduced, the entire ecosystem starts regenerating and working as nature intended.

Hunting with cameras is, the best way to hunt. You have to be cunning and close, and you take home a trophy to hang on the wall, leaving the animal alive.

John D Farr (@guest_5264)
6 years ago

Your story about protecting wildlife is good but every state has fish & wildlife agencies to manage game and non-game wildlife. Virtually every land grant college in America teaches about wildlife. Most federal management is duplication.
You also told about problems with Geese and using dogs to run the geese off. In most states, it is against the law for dogs to harass wildlife. Most issues are best managed close to home by people that live locally in a community and care for it.

kamwick (@guest_5304)
6 years ago
Reply to  John D Farr

Nice, blanket statement about the “virtues” of local “rights”, but the evidence doesn’t support the idea that the local moneyed interests (politicians and the people who buy them) actually “care ” for the community. All too often the local agencies (ESPECIALLY Fish and Wildlife) are influenced by politicians (especially in Alaska, Montana and Wyoming) who don’t follow science. Instead, they cater to the ideologically constipated local interests who live in a fact-challenged world. The federal govt. is not simply here to provide military protection. It also exists to override the selfish and harmful interests of local mobs. That protection has prevented our national parks from being decimated by private logging interests, etc. Unfortunately, the current powers that be are moving towards blanket privatization and moving to sell off public lands to the highest bidder in addition to removing protections for species. Ironically, the GOP actually used to be big supporters of conservation. What in the heck happened to their sense of decency? There are some who still have it, but they’re being drowned out. Hopefully too much damage won’t accrue before the pendulum swings back.

DeeAnne Antolik (@guest_5336)
6 years ago
Reply to  Bob Difley

Bob, is this bill just being introduced to repeal or is it a done deal? If not, what action can we take to ensure it isn’t repealed?

Sign up for the

RVtravel Newsletter

Sign up and receive 3 FREE RV Checklists: Set-Up, Take-Down and Packing List.