According to a recent news article, Yellowstone National Park is undergoing a conundrum of sorts. It seems the government’s pet wolves, brought in a couple of decades ago to help keep the bison herd’s population in check, along with the elk herds, haven’t been doing their job.
Granted, they’ve trimmed the size of the elk herds down to virtually nothing in relation to what they previously were throughout northwestern Wyoming, Yellowstone Park and north central Montana, but the present size of the two main herds of bison in the park, a combined total of perhaps 5,000 animals, are rapidly eating themselves out of a home. Bison, being a lot tougher to kill than elk, have been largely left alone by the wolves. After all, why fight heavyweights when you can take on the middleweights with less risk to yourself?
Which all comes down to the fact that, according to park management, the bison herds are fast approaching the point where their population will exceed the carrying capacity of the land. Carrying capacity is a concept where the available food in an area can only sustain a certain numbers of critters. Then those animals must either move or starve. That’s unlike wolves who, when they run out of prey species, can change their diet to livestock, pets and others.
Suffice it to say that understanding carrying capacity is a key difference between hunters and Disneyites, who believe that nature should be left alone to propagate and prosper. Which it doesn’t do if left alone. There’s only a dedicated amount of land and food for prey species which means we need predators to keep those numbers in check. Unfortunately, too many of any predator species, including hunters, also means problems for the herds of prey species.
Most readers know how I and 95% of residents in the Northern Rockies feel about the number of introduced Canadian grey wolves extant in our biosphere. Unfortunately, we are starting to have the same problem now with hunters, particularly non-residents, despite those numbers being theoretically held in check by state law.
At present we have enough critters to provide harvest opportunities for most legal hunting, but what we’re in danger of losing is the quality of the experience. Which, if you’d just as soon bust a buck from the window of your 4x4, is probably a moot point as your concept of hunting lacks the traditional finesse of most responsible hunters.
Let’s be honest. In too many states, and Wyoming especially, there are far too many hunters afield at any one time than will give the majority an honest, quality experience. We’re bumping elbows in the forests, the BLM and even on many private lands. And still the Game and Fish suits in Cheyenne howl for more nonresident tags, simply because with an obvious increase in volume of tags sold comes an increase in revenue for the department to fritter away. Like the impending construction of a multi-million dollar headquarters for the department in Cody that’s on the books.
Initially, this prostitution of Wyoming wildlife resources was discreetly practiced as the Cheyenne gang was concerned they might alienate some resident sportsmen groups and, as a result, have to testify to some fact-finding legislative inquiry. However the last few decades have proven this to be a moot point, as most of those so-called sportsman’s groups are self-serving and the few that aren’t seemingly have a different focus.
So presently, as compared to previous years, the department is more “in your face” about its aims and gains, its tactics becoming much more aggressive, to include the production of hunting films for the video media designed to induce even more sportsmen to come to Wyoming for hunting and fishing. Apparently with the blessings of municipal chambers of commerce who obviously have a singular focus themselves.
All of which is pathetic when we don’t even have enough big game like elk and mule deer and quality fish to satisfy the resident demand for realistic harvest opportunities, let alone enough places for a quality DIY hunt. As for trophy quality, not even in the same sentence.
Apparently the impetus behind the big game marketing is similar to the “Cutthroat Slam” nonsense the Cheyenne gang conjured up to attract more anglers to Wyoming and pull in more money. They’re making more money to buy more toys and use to add to their power base at the state level. The revenue should be used to enhance wardens, biologists and staff members’ salaries.
What irritates me is using the Endangered Species Act is only one strategy they deployed to back their play to eliminate many of the fishing opportunities that working class residents and their families have depended on for years for food and recreation.
The state commissioners and the G&F administration needed the help of high-dollar angling organizations to back their play while they poisoned out entire drainages, eliminating brookies and other species that have been available since before the turn of the previous century.
All of this was done under the auspices of the ESA, but the paradox is that the native cutthroats the G&F is restocking these drainages with aren’t the true natives in all instances. Over a century ago, the brookies and others were introduced to niches where they could populate and provide quality angling the native fish, or lack of same, weren’t providing. Now, under the onus of the ESA, which has been hijacked by extreme environmental liberals, all of the progress we made in the last century and a half is being wiped from the books as these environmental hacks destroy, substitute and lie.
In effect, it’s like wrecking your buddie’s Porsche sports car and buying him a Volkswagen for a replacement.