Inserted in the back pages of the newspaper recently was a small six-paragraph mention about the 17 million dollars Wyoming’s Game and Fish department is receiving as it’s share of the last year’s Pittman-Robertson excise taxes on firearms, ammunition, archery equipment, fishing tackle and some boating related items. It is a tax this country’s sportsmen and women voted to levy on themselves to help their state wildlife agencies manage the wildlife resource, fund hunter education programs and other select conservation oriented programs.
Why is that important? Because, to my knowledge, that’s where the money to build a lot of the infrastructure we, as hunters and anglers, enjoy. Yes, we built it ourselves, funded by a self-imposed tax that is paid by sportsmen and women, yet benefits everybody that enjoys or recreates in the outdoors. It totals millions of dollars a year. You don’t get that kind of financial support from the “Greenies” and the anti-hunting groups, despite their pious claims to the contrary.
However, there’s a fox in the hen house, or actually more than one. It’s similar to what happened to our social security trust fund when Democrats under Lyndon B. Johnson hijacked our money accumulated from contributions paid by all citizen’s paying a mandatory payroll tax, and set aside solely to aid the retirement of our senior citizens. By now, most of us have paid into the fund for most of our lives. It was stolen in plain view of everyone under the pretense of paying for the Vietnam war. Yep, we were snookered by a bunch of greedy politicians, but that’s not news anymore.
In a similar fashion, much of those designated sportsmen’s funds garnered from the Pittman-Robinson Act have been stolen via misappropriation by those same caliber of greedy politicians and their bureaucratic cohorts.
As per an article by one Patrick O’Malley in a copy of the SCI Washington Report, the 1995 grey wolf introduction of Canadian wolves to our Yellowstone habitat was funded by the theft of those sportsman’s dollars by the same federal agencies entrusted with safeguarding those funds. It happened under the auspices of the Democratic Clinton administration.
To quote Yogi Berra, “it’s Deja Vu all over again.”
According to that same article, recently brought to my attention by reader Ron Dube of Wilderness Adventures based in Wapiti, apparently at the time this occurred, news of the theft was leaked by whistleblowers inside the agency. Then the chair of the House Natural Resource Committee, Rep. Don Young of Alaska, opened an investigation that confirmed the theft (or as lawyer types would say the misappropriation) of those hunter’s tax receipts. One of the thieving scoundrels, an unnamed FWS executive involved in the wolf project even referred to the stolen funds in an email as “my slush fund.”
Anyway, without congressional approval those funds, by law obligated to benefit state fish and wildlife agencies, were diverted to fund the wolf introduction and to pay for pet projects of Bill Clinton and Al Gore. Looking at just the fiscal years of 1996-98, the GAO and committee staff concluded more than $45 million dollars was hijacked from the fund. Unfortunately for us, the records were deliberately mismanaged and, like Hilary Clinton’s emails, not all available, so the actual total may have been several times higher. Do you see a pattern here?
This is not the only instance of mis-use of the P&R funds. I’ve read several articles relating to past Democratic administrations and their bureaucratic pals diverting these funds to pay for everything from Caribbean junkets to parties in Las Vegas, but I don’t have the research materials at hand right now, so I can’t quote chapter and verse.
Regardless of how you color it, the 1995 transplant of grey wolves to Yellowstone was a debacle, funded by thievery and hijinks of the lowest caliber by highly placed authorities in the federal wildlife agencies and their commercial and political partners in the Endangered Species Act business. I realize that it’s a bit late by now, but wouldn’t one think that those hijinks would make the entire project illegal and subject to cancelation? How, given the situation, can the ESA legally apply to those transplanted wolves and their descendants? And yet, by federal court edict, it does.
Talk about playing against a stacked deck. Not only were American sportsmen and women duped, stolen from and yes, in a sense, violated by the politicians and other members of the Democratic party in conjunction with the FWS, the assault continues. Our once populous elk herds diminish yearly, decimated by mismanagement and wolf depredation. As do all of our game herds including mule deer, bighorn sheep, moose, mountain goats and other critters like domestic livestock, working dogs and other animal companions that get in the way of the wolves.
Yet, the core reason for introducing wolves back into the Yellowstone ecosystem, or so we were told, was the control of a burgeoning population of bison who had outgrown their range. Bison, I would add, which continue to prosper and reproduce virtually untouched by the wolves, even these 25 years later. P.T. Barnum was right when he said “There’s a sucker born every minute” and our politicians understand we are them.