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by Stephen Capra, Executive Director, Bold Visions Conservation



This past week as our efforts to create a new 1.6-million-acre National Monument moved forward, emails revealed that some people still need to understand the Monument concept. Monuments protect lands, antiquities, and wildlife. They are designated by the President and avoid a congressional vote. Monuments you may know include the Grand Canyon, Grand Tetons, Bears Ears, etc. Some, like the Grand Canyon and Tetons, are now National Parks.

 

Several people have emailed me because they are upset about not wanting a sculpture or statue. That is not what we are proposing. The lands north and west of Yellowstone are part of the Custer-Gallatin and Caribou-Targhee National Forests, lands and rivers being managed for exploitation. Our goal is simple but not easy to achieve; working with the Tribes of Idaho and Montana to protect 1.6 million acres of Forest Service lands, not private lands. Work to make them trap-free and not allow the killing of predators such as wolves, grizzlies, cougars, etc. In exchange, they would be part of a co-management plan. That is the goal, and none of this would happen without the support of the Tribes in states with Governors and radical legislatures sworn to the slaughter of wildlife. This means giving wildlife room to thrive and setting a marker that we have had enough of wildlife debauchery in the West.

 

You saw the word reform in the title of this piece, so I want to share some thoughts. We all saw the Hogs for Wildlife's success last weekend. The goal of awareness was achieved, but we also saw the faces and savagery of the community of Daniel that appears to worship the killing of wildlife. The coyote was sacrificed to make clear their hate for anyone getting in their way. What we must learn and make clear to the state wildlife agencies staffed with trappers and other wildlife killers is that it is time to put your energy and resources into managing rural communities, not wildlife.




What that means is sending undercover agents to go to areas with wolf populations. Undercover sting operations should be the norm, and fines and loss of hunting and trapping privileges should be the first order of business. You torture any wildlife; you lose your ability to hunt and trap for life. Then you go to jail.

 

But in these states, with the most critical wildlife and threatened or endangered species in the lower 48, the goal seems to be to torture and abuse any predator you want. These actions are, by and large, the product of rural communities that hunt with obsession, that often poach and trap like it is religion. I have many friends who live in rural communities, so this is not everyone. Still, it adds up to a large volume of the species that are being killed and the desire by many outfitters to unleash a hunt of grizzlies.

 

Hunting is a tradition for many, but in recent times, the ethics of hunting has become lost in high-powered guns, traps, and drones. It is no longer a sport but a game with an almost pre-ordained outcome. Those in rural communities are also often friends with ranchers, who they see as role models of enjoying the Government dole and having friends in the legislature and the federal government. Remember, if you graze 1000 cattle on public lands, you will enjoy a $20,000-a-month subsidy. In many cases, ranchers are a vocal voice against wolves, coyotes, and other predator species. One might imagine allowing someone to hunt on their property; they might be happy to see you respond by killing a predator.


Wolves have become a rallying cry for rural Western America. They are blamed for the loss of elk and deer. Yet, the maturing of forests and the endless hunting and shoulder seasons point to the obvious; in certain areas, the forests have engulfed meadows, like parts of Western Montana. But we have more deer and elk than we have had in generations. Killing predators is simply an act of defiance for many and a new way to enjoy killing. It also defiantly ignores the risk of Chronic Wasting Disease, which wolves can reduce.

 

State Wildlife agencies that make a big production about the killing of an elk for its antlers still allow bison and deer to be shot and their carcasses used to lure wolves out of Yellowstone to their demise. That is not management but sickness. In Idaho, the Game Department is pushing to allow wolves to be trapped by outfitters, and a client in Texas can fly up and shoot the wolf after days of suffering. This must end.

 

With honest leadership, something awareness demands, we can create a Wildlife agency that seeks out those who kill without mercy, like those who brag in a bar, and bring them to justice and set an example that will scare others from their perverted ways.

 

This is the type of specific request we must push forward. It is part of how we must never allow Cody Roberts and others like him to be free to continue their atrocities; his actions must set in motion the change in rural America that only law enforcement, undercover stings, and new laws can make a reality.

 

Bold Visions Conservation is working with Montana legislators on a slew of new bills for this January. Some will incorporate what we are working towards.

 

In the meantime, let's work together as like-minded individuals for an additional 1.6 million acres to protect predators and all wildlife in this essential land and allow Yellowstone to breathe. This work is never easy, but without a goal, good people, and an intelligent strategy, we can never dream big. Let's fight for a new Monument and reform the very agencies that are, in theory, there to help wildlife but, in reality, are working to slaughter it.



by Stephen Capra, Executive Director, Bold Visions Conservation

We are in the heady days as the beginning of summer unofficially begins with this long and fun weekend. Wildlife gets a small break with summer unless you are a wolf in Idaho. Green begins to fill the forest, and the snows of a mild winter fill our streams for now to give life and recreation.

 

It is the respite before the upcoming fall of political consequence, one that will impact our wildlife and public lands, perhaps for generations to come. While the grill may be getting hot, let’s keep our focus on wildlife. We all know that Deb Haaland and Martha Williams must come to their senses on wolves, but that timeline is not close. But many believe they will.

 

One suggestion for them is the following. Be Bold! It is not enough to relist wolves; you should consider an emergency move to take control of all wildlife in Idaho, Wyoming, and Montana. The current Commissioners in each state should be removed for their lack of moral clarity and their need to appease trappers, trophy hunters, and slobs that run over predators. They must go. Step two: All Pittman-Robertson funding should be blocked until they are given a plan directly from Haaland and Martha Williams agency- US Fish and Wildlife Service that forces change and makes clear the reality that these are lands and wildlife that must be managed by their owner, the US Government, because the vast majority of Americans, the true owners, want it that way; we do not want minority-radical control of these lands. These states can begin rehabilitation by understanding that based on their actions, they will no longer be allowed to control, nor will they be able to manage, wolves, grizzlies, or predator species, period. 


From the Department of Agriculture: They should send this message: Ranchers who graze on public lands can no longer kill predator species, or they lose their permits. Their subsidies cover any loss of cows or sheep. It will not happen tomorrow, but if we never start, we cannot finish the job.

 

We need to push forward with a plan to protect more public lands from the killing of these vital species. Thus, Bold Visions Conservation’s push for protecting perhaps some of the most important 1.6 million acres in the lower 48 for wildlife, northwest of Yellowstone, the Madison-Gallatin Range, and west into the Caribou-Targhee National Forests. The Forest Service continues to manage these lands for off-road vehicles, trappers, and loggers. Not allowing trapping or killing of these species is the progress we need and must demand. It is a Monument FOR Wildlife!

 

Now, the trails will begin to fill, and the parks will be overrun, but still, on certain days and times, you have the chance to see wildlife, to thrill in their presence, not to run and take a picture beside them, but to respect their space and not show off the secret place you found them, for a world in which influencers demand attention 24 hours a day.


Summer is the time to let your soul feel free, connect to the land, howl from a mountain, and put your bare feet in the cool waters, which play and flow with a symphony of life. Sleep under the stars and get interrupted by the occasional howl. Watch the night skies and your expanse of dreams while drinking in the lands and skies that define our western wildness and the morning sky, which will wake you with love and spirit.

 

It is the Summer of Love; we have earned it! After a long winter consumed by the loss of so much innocence on our public lands. 

 

So please keep in mind our Monument proposal; it is not a statute but rather 1.6 million acres for wolves, bears, and all wildlife to thrive. It is a way to expand Yellowstone and stop the return of the Western plunder of wildlife, which is expanding far too easily.

We can make a difference and create a critical protected zone for wildlife, but first, take some time to let yourself feel the life that warmth and sun can do to the soul. 

 

Perhaps we will meet along the trail.



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