Monday, March 26, 2012

Bobcat Plan Stirs Public Ire

In my email this AM. Walt Paul is with the NYSCC~bpb

Good morning:

Thought I would send this out re actions by environmental groups to now influence wildlife management in N.Y.S. Bad enough they now have gained control over much of the the wildlife. More to come!

Walt Paul
Friday, March 23, 2012
Phil Brown: Bobcat Plan Stirs Public Ire
by Phil Brown

From the

The state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has received about 1,200 letters, e-mails, and online comments from people who object to a plan to permit more hunting and trapping of bobcats. Only about 300 people wrote to support the plan.

That works out to 80 percent in opposition, 20 percent in favor.

If this were an election, it would be a landslide. But when it comes to public policy, the majority does not always win. DEC will review the comments and may make some changes, but I doubt it will abandon the plan altogether, despite the pleas of animal-rights advocates. The department is expected to finalize the plan later this spring or in the summer.

DEC solicited public comments in January after releasing the draft of a five-year plan for managing the state’s bobcat population. The biggest change is that hunting and trapping bobcats would be allowed in large portions of central New York and the state’s Southern Tier. In the Adirondacks, the trapping season would be extended two months to coincide with the hunting season (October 15 to February 15).

After the comment period ended in March, the Adirondack Explorer received a digital copy of the comments from DEC (after filing a freedom-of-information request).

DEC received just twenty-two handwritten letters. The rest of the comments arrived via e-mail or online posts. Many of the electronic comments, on both sides, were duplicative and clearly were sent as part of an organized campaign. For example, hundreds of e-mails had the subject line “Stop Bobcat Hunting and Trapping in New York.” Most of these contained identical or similar language. Many of them came from outside the state, including foreign countries.

Wendy Rosenbach, a DEC spokeswoman, said the department gives equal weight to comments regardless of whether they were sent in a letter or an e-mail. But she added that the agency is more interested in substantial criticisms than mere expressions of support or opposition.

“Just because somebody’s against it doesn’t mean we’ll throw the whole plan out,” Rosenbach said.

Many opponents are especially outraged that DEC proposes to allow more trapping. One writer called steel leg-hold traps “an inhumane and vicious way to kill animals. Animals that are caught in these traps will sometimes live for many hours in extreme pain before they die.”

Cruel or not, trapping is permitted under state Environmental Conservation Law. “Trapping is a recreational activity that’s taken place in New York for many years,” Rosenbach said. “My sense is we won’t make a change to say no trapping.”

Bobcats are sought for their fur or as trophies. Many people, even some hunters, object to such "sport killing.” Critics also point out that the reclusive cats are rarely seen in the wild. If more bobcats are killed, they say, people will have even fewer chances to see them.

"I am almost eighty years old and have hunted most of life and have never seen a bobcat in the wild," wrote one man. "A lot of our wildlife have disappeared. Do not let the bobcat become the next victim."

DEC says the bobcat population has been growing and can withstand additional hunting and trapping. Those who favor the agency's proposal contend that the arguments of the animal-rights advocates are largely based on emotion. The following sentence appeared in numerous e-mails: “Please do not let these misguided ‘animal rights’ groups, nor political pressure from those seeking to advance their careers, stand in the way of sound biology and science.”

For more details on the bobcat plan, click here to see my earlier Almanack post.

You can find the full plan on DEC’s website by clicking here.

Bobcat photo by Larry Master.  See orginial article for photos.

Phil Brown is the editor of the Adirondack Explorer news magazine.

Categories: Animal Rights, DEC, hunting, Hunting and Fishing Reports, Natural History, Small Mammals, trapping, wildlife

Dave said...
Why ask for public input if you are just going to ignore it?

It would be one thing if this was a case of the science leading them in a direction that is opposite public opinion... but that isn't the case here.

3/23/2012 9:14 AM

el boti said...
I missed the whole inquiry thing from the state .Public opnion needs to be taken under advisement as is stated in the article but should not be used to write the law. Bioligists hunters and other professionals have a much better idea of whats going in the real world then our armchair activists that sit around pushing the remote to change tv channels looking for the extremist view.If the bobcats were endangered I am sure the season would be shortened,but that is not the case . I spend a lot of time hunting and trapping in the woods . There is much sign of these animals . Perhaps these bleeding heart liberals should be concerned about the next presidential campaign as we see were public opinion took us last time. I wish people would put as much interest/effort into feeding the starving children /people of the world as they did trying to save cats,dogs and wildlife.

3/23/2012 9:36 AM

brsacjab said...
Well said el boti. The Bobcat passes the "cute test" due to similarities to a house cat. So it's easy to get ignorant well meaning people to write. Based on recent years though, the DEC ignores public comments anyway, it's just considered a paperwork exercise.

3/23/2012 11:10 AM

ScottyJack said...
Bobcats eat wild piglets!
trappers should trap wild pigs instead of bobcats!

3/23/2012 11:21 AM

Larry Master said...

I hope this is not the case in New York, but many state wildlife management agencies in this country have been criticized as operating in ways that largely exclude the public from meaningful participaton, "avoiding consideration of ethics, public attitudes, and values by deeming such concerns as unscientific and contrary to traditional approaches to wildlife management." These traditional approaches lead to divisiveness instead of cooperative problem solving. (Witness what is happening with wolf management in Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming.) These agencies should create processes that encourage inclusion - where people are heard, their values are considered, and they have a meaningful say in policy decisions. This is especially true in regards to carnivore (bobcat, coyote, cougar and wolf in the West) management.
3/24/2012 8:54 AM

Pete Klein said...
The DEC is a lot like the DOT. They don't care what the public wants.
3/24/2012 9:01 AM

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Amercian's confused by Hyperbol definitions.

I always thought if you were born in the United States you were an American.

Oddly true many people label themselves & want to be something else. Kind of an in between the old world and the new, never really accepting the present, nor understanding their past. Many have relied on political mouth pieces to tell them where and who they are.

 The cry for individualism and the right to be one's own man are buried by one's lack of acceptance to the group. Well that is until he takes up the political labels.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Ruger Suspends All New Firearms Orders

Overwhelming Demand: Ruger Suspends All New Firearms Orders: “Incoming Order Rate Exceeds Our Capacity to Rapidly Fulfill These Orders”.

WOW ! Is all I can say. Let the panic buying start.

SOUTHPORT, CT –Sturm, Ruger & Company, Inc. (NYSE-RGR), announced today that for the first quarter 2012, the Company has received orders for more than one million units. Therefore, the Company has temporarily suspended the acceptance of new orders.

Chief Executive Officer Michael O. Fifer made the following comments:

■The Company’s Retailer Programs that were offered from January 1, 2012 through February 29, 2012 were very successful and generated significant orders from retailers to independent wholesale distributors for Ruger firearms.

■Year-to-date, the independent wholesale distributors placed orders with the Company for more than one million Ruger firearms.

■Despite the Company’s continuing successful efforts to increase production rates, the incoming order rate exceeds our capacity to rapidly fulfill these orders. Consequently, the Company has temporarily suspended the acceptance of new orders.

■The Company expects to resume the normal acceptance of orders by the end of May 2012.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Train Wrecks With Wildlife

Train Wrecks With Wildlife
By Tom McDowell
NM Stockman Feb. 2012

The story of North American wildlife management began early in the last
century. It began with hunters, trappers, ranchers and farmers demanding
something be done about the dwindling herds and flocks across our nation.
Folks from these groups, to one degree or another, lived off the land and saw
firsthand the effects that over exploitation was having on our wildlife;
they set out to fix the problem and did so at their own personal expense.
License fees, taxes, sweat equity and numerous volunteer hours were amassed
and expended to give us the tremendous wealth of wildlife that all enjoy

Fast forward to the 70's: the place, the Tennessee Valley; the villain,
the Army Corp of Engineers; the victim, the Snail Darter and the "heroes",
the courts, their officers and the ESA (Endangered Species Act). This event
and others of the time, like Cleveland Amory's production "Guns of Autumn",
ushered in the era of "train wrecks" for our wildlife. Think not? Just
imagine where our wildlife and habitat could be if the millions wasted on
meaningless litigation would have been spent for its intended purposes.

Today, so many jump at the ESA as the source of all evil and the lawyers
as the devil's own, that far too often the true engineers of the "wrecks" go
unacknowledged. The ESA was intended, by its drafters, to be an
educational tool; a beacon on the real value of our wildlife and habitat. It was
not envisioned as a club to be used by the agenda driven animal rightist, who
today cloak themselves as "conservationist" with group names that sound
like they must care about our wildlife and wild places; alas they don't.
These groups have a few things in common: they seek to curtail consumptive
use; want families and individuals off of the landscape; want to be the
controllers of our values in regard to wildlife, wild places and rural life in
America and finally want everyone else to pay for it and for their elitists

It is true that the ESA is in dire need of revision. Some in congress
have seen this truth, have acted and hopefully, with sufficient pressure,
will continue to act. The recent delisting of the Gray Wolf across the
northwest may finally enable these managers to right that "train" and restore
balance among both wildlife and rural-life. There is hope that shortly the
citizens of Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan will once again have the ability
to manage their own.

Closer to home, Arizona has followed the lead of Governor Martinez and our
Game Commission and said no more wolves. After three decades of stalling
and failures it is obvious, to even the most casual observer, that federal
oversight / management of local wildlife is the problem not the solution.
The experiment to reintroduce "pen raised" habituated wolves is a failure.
These creatures, at least in the current environment, won't revert to
their wild ways. So long as there are people living in the area, these
wolves will continue to seek handouts in the form of livestock and family pets
(for food and sexual companionship). The solution is simple, remove the
people and everything will be good; just listen to today's
"conservationist". Folks it is obvious, our customs and cultures are as archaic as the
village blacksmith. We just need to give up and rollover into our new beds in
the concrete jungles of the world; I don't think so!

Yet another fight is brewing in our backyard; ban the "cruel and barbaric
steel jawed leg-hold" (foot-hold) traps from public land. Having failed
at pulling the proverbial wool over the eyes of our Game Commission and game
managers, the animal rights coalition is focusing its campaign of
sophistry and name calling toward the general public, with a clear focus on our
legislature. If they are successful, another train wreck for our wildlife and
rural-life will follow. In the face of ever expanding human populations
balanced management is the only hope for protecting our wildlife; trapping
is the most effective, and in many cases, only tool available for the
management of many species.

The allegations that foot-hold traps are cruel and that trappers are
barbaric may be a useful ploy in the attempt to derail effective wildlife
management, however, these allegations are completely false. The groups
spreading these myths have never let the truth stand in their way, nevertheless
the truth is out there for all to see. It is not possible for a trap to be
cruel; traps are inanimate objects and as such have no capacity for
behavior towards another. Furthermore, humane traps and trapping are governed
at the international, national and state levels. Not one but two
international standards exist through the ISO process; one relates to humane
restraining devices (foot-hold traps, cages and some snares) and the other for
traps that kill humanely. At the national level, new era “conservationists"
would have you believe that the data collected to bring the United States in
compliance with an European Union "Agreed Minute", which bans fur
importation from countries that permit inhumane trapping practices, has been
falsified by the Game Departments and Game Commissions of 38 state.

 The US Department of Agriculture, The Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies and the
trappers of New Mexico and the rest of the country; this data must be bogus
for it supports modern trapping as a humane and ethical practice. The
truth be known, never in history has such scrutiny, testing and actual field
study been conducted on traps, trappers and trapping.

Coalitions of animal rightist conveniently ignore the facts that thousands
of animals have been captured for experimental tracking purposes,
relocations, reintroductions, protection of endangered species and population
control using the foot-hold trap. The widely successful reintroduction of the
River Otter across America (including NM) was accomplished by trappers
using foot-hold traps. Their beloved Gray Wolves, reintroduced into
Yellowstone, were caught by trappers using foot-hold traps, as are the problem Lobos
in the Gila. These traps are one in the same as those being used
annually across New Mexico to harvest fur and control predators.

Surrounding states which have misguidedly banned traps are frequently
lauded as role models for New Mexico. When have these states revived an
endangered species to sustainable levels compatible with hunting? New Mexico
has just done this with the Desert Bighorn Sheep. Desert sheep and trapping
you ask; the success of the sheep is directly tied to the trapping of
lions by New Mexico trappers who used foot traps. It was New Mexico game
managers and our Game Commission that demonstrated the leadership and foresight
necessary for this grand accomplishment while true conservation groups
raised monies to help fund the recovery. I wonder if becoming more like
California is really such a good idea.

There are numerous other examples of wildlife "train wrecks" including
disease transmission, crippling economic losses to predation and depredation
and destruction of our marshes and roadways to name a few. For example, a
few years ago we had an incident of rabies in our Gila fox populations.
The viral strain originated in Arizona (which has banned trapping) and
spread into the healthy population of fox in New Mexico. An outbreak of rabies
in one species can lead to ancillary cases of the disease in many mammals,
domestic and wild. Luckily, the rabies outbreak was short lived and
relatively isolated. Regulated trapping clearly has a role in a variety of
management strategies.

September of 2011 The Wildlife Society, a professional group with over
10,000 wildlife biologist and managers as members, released a statement
relative to the animal rights position. A portion of the summary follows: The
TWS "Support an animal welfare philosophy, which holds that animals can be
studied and managed through science-based methods and that human use of
wildlife—including regulated, sustainable hunting, trapping, and lethal
control for the benefit of populations, threatened or endangered species,
habitats, and human society—is acceptable, provided that individual animals are
treated ethically and humanely.

“There is a profound conflict between many
tenets of animal rights philosophy and the animal welfare philosophy
required for effective management and conservation,” says TWS President Tom
Ryder. “Established principles and techniques of wildlife population management
are deemed unacceptable by the animal rights viewpoint, but are absolutely
essential for the management and conservation of healthy wildlife
populations and ecosystems in a world dominated by human influences.” I suppose
that this group of professionals is also wrong.

With proper balanced management, our wildlife will flourish for all to
enjoy and our wild places and rural life styles will remain intact for future
generations. It is imperative for the "true" conservationist to join arms
in support of our wildlife, managers and Game Commission. To this end the
New Mexico Trappers Association has established an annual scholarship
to cover the tuition, room and board for a Game Department biologist or
officer to attend the Trappers College accredited by Purdue University. New
Mexico's hunter, ranchers, trappers, farmers and outdoorsmen must be vigilant,
with a unified goal of keeping the "North American Wildlife Express" on
her tracks.

Tom McDowell
Legislative Liaison
New Mexico Trappers Association

Supporting photos:
Female Bobcat released from a foothold trap. Contrary to the hyperbole of
the animal rights campaign, modern traps and trapping practices do not cut
the feet of captured critters.

Modern traps restrain catches and the trapper decides to harvest or
release. In some cases released critters just hang out; some seek odd vantages
from which to watch.