In an email exchange, of which I have been made privy to, it shows that even among the ranks of those with a common interest, opinions vary and disagreements persist.
A concerned Montana citizen, Tom Madden, sends an email to Gary Marbut, President of the Montana Shooting Sports Association (MSSA). Madden takes Marbut to task in what he sees as the position of the MSSA to “gut” the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (MFWP).
The thought of a group like yours wanting to gut the FWP is very unsettling to many of us and we see it as yet another attempt or reason to institute Ranching for wildlife which would kill the sport of fair chase hunting and the reason most Montanan’s live here and work for shit wages.
From this email, it appears that Mr. Madden believes what problems exist in wildlife management in Montana can be rectified through government legislation. Ironic as it appears, Madden blames the problems of wildlife management on the Legislature and suggests using the Legislature to correct those problems. His solution is a bill that “increases the elk objectives” so there are enough elk to feed both hunters and large predators; a task easy to express and difficult to accomplish.
Increasing the the elk objectives across the board by 35% would do wonders to bring the elk heards[sic] back. also[sic] create and pass a bill that has a wolf objective number that would only allow X number of breeding wolves thus reducing the unregulated wolf population.
Madden further goes on to reveal that his perceptions are that “sportsmen” must all comprise a population of wealthy people of whom the majority spend $50 – $100 a day at the shooting range, are members of country clubs and can drop $50 – $100 anytime they have a mind for a tank of gas, and as such should be able to pay whatever the price is that MFWP asks for a license fee.
Madden promises Marbut that his group of “sportsmen” are going to bring “MANY bills” to the Montana Congress, that will be “PRO sportsman”, full of “common sence”[sic], and “good bills, well thought out that include resident sportsmen.” Madden suggests MSSA “take a proactive approach to fixing the problems created by the Legislature”.
Gary Marbut responded directly to Mr. Madden by first explaining who specifically MSSA advocates for.
MSSA does not advocate for “sportsmen.” MSSA advocates for hunters, primarily the typical Montana hunter who needs to fill his freezer to feed his family for the following year. Frankly, we don’t care much about cockfighting, fox hunting with hounds and horses, collecting trophy mounts, or many of the other things covered by the term “sportsman.” MSSA does not advocate for landowners or ranchers. They have their own lobby. Ditto outfitters.
Marbut explains that those MSSA advocates for “certainly not any more wealthy, on average, than the average Montana citizen”, and shares the reason these Montana citizens aren’t buying is because, “there is nothing left to hunt, because FWP has gone so readily along with the plan to feed Montana’s game herds to large predators (especially wolves, but including bears and lions) rather than Montana families.”.
After an explanation of the positions of MSSA, Mr. Marbut then takes the MFWP to task for their failures citing:
1. “FWP has clearly failed in its duty under law to properly manage and protect Montana’s herds of huntable game – to preserve those herds for those who have always paid the bills, hunters. The agency has long maintained a culture of arrogance and disdain for what anyone but the FWP elite wish to do or accomplish with Montana’s hunting heritage.”
2. “FWP even vigorously opposed MSSA’s decade-long but ultimately successful effort to put the Right to Hunt into the Montana Constitution.”
3. “FWP has been begged, asked, persuaded and even commanded by the Legislature to change its ways and listen to common sense. The agency has made endless excuses why it does something different than is requested, or even mandated by the Legislature. The agency will NOT listen.”
From this point, Marbut explains why his position is to “gut” MFWP.
FWP has demonstrated for far too long that it simply doesn’t care what anyone but the agency thinks or wants and will use any disingenuous tactic to defend its turf. The only recourse it has left Montana is to jerk the rug out from under it. I wish things had not come to this impasse, but it is only FWP that is responsible. At this point, no amount of promises to “do better” will satisfy the thousands of Montanans who have watched in frustration as FWP sold out our heritage.
Robert Fanning, Jr. is a candidate for the office of governor in the state of Montana. He is also founder of Friends of the Northern Yellowstone Elk Herd. As a recipient of the above referenced email, Fanning took the opportunity to show his position on wildlife management in his home state. In August of 2011, the early stages of Fanning’s campaign, he shared with supporters his proposals for MFWP if he were governor. In the email he urges us to read what he wrote last August and to reference a bill, HB343, proposed in 2007 that was to seek the removal of gray wolves in Montana from the Endangered Species List and just as importantly seek damages caused by the reintroduction of wolves and the poor management since reintroduction.
While I have provided above a link to Fanning’s August proposals, I have decided it would be appropriate to republish his piece here.
Robert Fanning, Candidate Mt. Governor Reveals His Proposals for Fish, Wildlife and Parks Department
In a recent email sent out to subscribers, Robert T. Fanning, founder of Friends of the Northern Yellowstone Elk Herd, outdoorsman, economist, political activist and now candidate for Montana governor, offered some of his notions of what a revamped Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Department would look like under his watch.
1) Mt. FW&P primary mission will be about access to wild game meat for Montanans’ poor, voiceless and common man (especially-particularly veterans) rather than feeding federal wolves valuable protein which is the property of our citizens. See 2005 HJR 29 which I helped author below, these are the values of a super majority of our citizens.
2) Non game species will be defunded except for the location, collaring and control of wolves in strict adherence with Montana law.
3) Montana FW&P will get a regular, true and accurate peer reviewed census of the location and number of every ungulate within her 147,042 sq mi borders. The F&G commission will see to it that Montanans are given access to huntable game populations all over the state. Conservation easements, etc. don’t transfer title of Montana’s game herds to private land owners.
4) All wolf packs will be located and collared in strict adherence with Montana law. The federal “Wolf Implimentation Rules of Nov. 18 1994? will be overriding policy for all problem wolves.
5) Once Mt FW&P has been completely restructured and streamlined; administration, oversight, all funding and policy direction, will be completely turned over to the legislature. The Executive branch will never again be able to use our wildlife policy to raise money for an Executive branch political campaign war chest.
6) Mt FW&P will not be allowed to lobby the legislature. They will answer the Legislatures’ direct questions as informational witnesses, then leave the Capitol building.
7) SENATE BILL NO. 163….2001 Montana Legislature will be reversed IF the federal government does not pay for their unfunded “experimental non-essential” wolf mandate and install a federal 5th amendment restitution mechanism for those “harmed” in the past and all those forced to pay “the wolf tax” in the future. Natural rights, civil rights and Constitutional rights will trump the ESA in Montana, so help me God.
Echinococcus granulosus hydatid disease, neospora caninum and 28 other wolf born diseases & parasites will be objectively studied with highly competent peer reviewed science and quantified as public health threats, threats to our ungulates and their capacity to reproduce/recruit and Montanans’ livestock industry.