The Last Rhodesian Politicians

The murder of Cecil in Zimbabwe has revealed to the world the true nature of trophy hunting.

Whatever feeble excuses hunters make about feeding their families or the homeless clearly has never applied to lion hunting. Who seriously thinks that Palmer planned to feed Cecil to his own family, or to poor Africans?

In accordance with the hunter-conservation ethic embodied in the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation, Walter Palmer rationalized his kill as a … Read full post

World’s oldest professions

As the June meeting of the New Mexico Game Commission approaches, the so-called wildlife biologists of Game and Fish have modified their proposal on cougar trapping. Facing widespread opposition from editorials and letters in the Santa Fe New Mexican and Albuquerque Journal, culminating in a rally at the state capitol, they dropped their proposal to set cougar traps on public land. The new proposal would allow unrestricted cougar trapping on private land, while … Read full post

Armed Agriculture

The current issue of New Mexico Stockman, the official publication of the New Mexico Cattle Growers’ Association, shows the close connection between hunting and public lands ranching. In an article titled “Hunting – Another Arm of Agriculture,” the executive director of the New Mexico Council of Outfitters and Guides describes the New Mexico Game and Fish Department’s E-plus and A-plus programs allowing ranchers to profit from elk and pronghorn (“antelope”) hunting, respectively. “While it’s … Read full post

What’s Left for Wildlife

The recent rushed passage of the National Defense Authorization Act with numerous anti-environmental riders exposes the sham of representative democracy. The Public Lands Council correctly describes the overwhelming vote for NDAA as clear case of Congress siding with ranchers. The act overturned grazing regulations which have been in effect over 30 years. Valles Caldera in northern New Mexico became a livestock operation funded by the National Park Service. As Congress would not dare to question, … Read full post

The Myth of Wildlife Overpopulation

At a workshop at last month’s Animal Rights 2014 Conference, In Defense of Animals (IDA) described their efforts to reduce the deer population. Joining in this effort is the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS).

Statistics on wildlife regarded as “game species” generally come from data state game departments collect from hunters. They have a vested interest in pushing up the numbers to increase hunting opportunities. But even if we take their dubious figures … Read full post

Rebellion in Otero County

As the long-term drought continues, there will be more potential for confrontation between public lands ranchers and government officials charged with protecting forests, grasslands and wildlife. The failure of the federal government to enforce the law in Nevada sets a dangerous precedent for New Mexico. Catron County ranchers have long ignored wildlife laws. Now Otero County ranchers seem to be on the verge of actively resisting enforcement of grazing regulations.

The Otero County Cattle Growers … Read full post

Sheep in Wolves’ Clothing

The December 18, 2013, Santa Fe Reporter, featured a profile of James Lane recently fired as director of the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish. While no public reason was given for Lane’s firing, it seems likely that it was due, at least in part, to his public derision of the nonhunters as “tree-huggin’ hippies.” The department, sometimes known as “Maim and Squish,” manages wildlife on behalf of hunters and ranchers. Even after … Read full post

A Wildlife Services "biologist" places an M-44 device.

Remove Wildlife Services from the Mexican Wolf Program

Earlier this year, an agent of USDA Wildlife Services was caught in the act of killing a Mexican wolf. The agent, described by his employer as a “wildlife specialist,” claimed to have misidentified the wolf, presumably confusing it with one of the coyotes routinely slaughtered by the agency.

How is the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) responding to this incident? Buried in their proposed revision to the Mexican wolf program is the following: … Read full post

Harvest time for Bears

On his LinkedIn profile, Frederic “Rick” Winslow describes his position with the New Mexico Game and Fish as follows: “I administer the black bear, cougar and furbearer harvest for the state of New Mexico.” One of Winslow’s official duties at Game and Fish has been compiling bear “depredation statistics.” Not to be confused with the biological term predation, “depredation” is an economic term describing damage to livestock and crops. Harvest, of course, is also an … Read full post

Gunning for Syria

Negotiations over the last several days have apparently postponed, if not altogether eliminated, the threat of a U.S. military attack on Syria. While the U.S. Congress has not had the chance to take a final vote on the issue, New Mexico’s two U.S. Senators were quick to take a public position.

As a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Senator Tom Udall had the opportunity to take a public vote on this issue. We … Read full post