Wildlife Management – for Wildlife’s Sake

October 9, 2008 by  


The Following is an excerpt from Chapter XL of the book…

At this point, the two couples have been on a National Tour describing their experiences with the Sasquatch Family and in a couple of interviews have been treated quite roughly. Now, they are in Los Angeles and are about to try again…

Prior to the airing of their first appearance, the four had a face-to-face discussion with the host. In that interview, they made it abundantly clear that if he attempted any kind of the antics they had been subjected to in Chicago and New York City, all four of them would immediately depart and that would be the end of that. They were assured that, although he would be covering the areas mentioned in the newspaper reports, they would be allowed ample time for full responses. He further assured them that he had seen tapes of their early appearances and felt comfortable with their ability to answer his questions clearly, concisely and without dragging it out to the point of nauseam. Yes, he said, he would like to avail himself of the opportunity to inject his brand of humor into the interview, both to keep everyone relaxed and because his audience tuned in to be amused as well as amazed and he really felt that tonight would do both. He went on to let them know that, while he was skeptical of everything they claimed, they were here as much so he could learn as for his audience. The simple fact was, he stated, they were interesting and he wanted to know.

The foursome was brought on stage in the second guest slot, behind a lady who had authored her first book. The wife of a very prominent plastic surgeon in the Beverly Hills area, she had used some of the time at her disposal to gather a rather impressive collection of “Hollywood insider” anecdotes and had put them together into an interesting and informative book on the “real” Hollywood life style. When she was offered the opportunity to either stay or leave when her segment was completed, she opted to stay.

The host of this show was a professional in the best possible connotation of that word. He was gracious, urbane and very witty. He kept the interview moving with concise and probing questions. The scope and range of his inquiry showed he had spent time doing his homework as he was well versed, not only in the subject they were covering, but in his guests as well. If he asked good questions, he demanded even better answers. No one was allowed to glide over or slide past any point he wished to elucidate. His humor, while sharp, was not insulting to the people involved nor was it profane or improper. In all, his interview was all anyone could expect and it was a lively, non-adversarial discussion until he asked Rod and Ben about their hunting.

It was at this point that the one area their host had neglected to determine about his first guest rose up to create a stir. From the far seat, Mrs. Dr. Blaine retorted, “All hunters are despicable, horrendous, cruel demons and should be taken out and shot themselves.” It seems no one had known the Doctor’s Lady was a card-carrying, devout member of a most militant and virulent Animal Rights organization. Hers was an organization known to have perpetrated many acts of terror themselves against those who would utilize animals. They had even poisoned turkeys in a supermarket in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

“I beg your pardon,” Rod asked of the woman as he resumed his statement, “but I am none of those things. I have a family I love, a job I hate and I choose to pursue such other interests as I desire. You obviously have some concerns here, but do you think this is the place to air them?

Mrs. Doctor fluffed herself up to full size and began, “anyone who would take the life of a wild creature is vermin. Those darling animals should be allowed to live out their lives naturally. No one should deprive Mommy and Daddy Bear of their precious youngsters. To do so destroys the natural order of things.”

It must be noted that the host did attempt to regain control here, but in fact, he was rather interested to see where this would go. He had donated heavily in the past to several such groups as hers and was somewhat in sympathy with her. Whatever happened, it should make good air.


“Mrs. Blaine,” Ben interjected, “please let me explain something to you about ‘natural order’. Bears do not live in family groups. When a sow comes into heat, she is bred by a boar, usually the dominant boar in her area. That is the last and only thing he has to do with her or her offspring except, if the opportunity presents itself, to kill the cubs and eat them. He does this…” Ben raised his hand to forestall a retort from the woman and continued, “as I was saying, he does this to bring the sow back into heat sooner so he may breed again sooner. As far the sow is concerned, she is a very attentive and protective mother to her cubs for the first two years of their life. About the most dangerous thing you can do in the woods is to get between a sow and her cubs. When they reach adolescence, she sends them up a tree like she has done all their life when she needed them immobile or out of sight. The difference is, this time, she does not call them down, she simply leaves the area. Eventually, the cubs will get hungry and tired and will descend the tree themselves and from that point on, they are on their own. That is the real natural order of things in a bear’s world.”

At this point, the host chimed in, “there are times I wish I could do that with my Teenagers.” bringing a healthy laugh from his audience, but Ben continued…. “Mrs. Blaine, I don’t mean to shock you, but life out there is vicious, unfeeling and even cruel. There are no Disneyesque Bambi, Thumper and Flower groups. Most species simply ignore others, except for the predator and prey relationships. Do you realize, Madam, that wild animals have only four avenues of death open to them? Number one is predation with man being the most efficient if not the most prolific predator. Number two is accident, usually in the form of collisions with automobiles on some roadway. Roadkill has become a standard word in our language. Number three is disease. Such diseases as Bovine Tuberculosis, Chronic Wasting Disease and Blue Tongue have absolutely devastated game herds from time to time. The last is starvation. Remember, Madam, when food is in short supply, it is not in short supply for just one animal and not merely one animal suffers for it, but every animal in the area is weakened and is made susceptible to death.”

“That’s not true,” she blurted out, “if animals were left alone, they would just die naturally, of old age, like we do.”

“Unfortunately, not true,” Ben said quietly, “when an animal gets old or infirm and slows down a step, he is soon a victim of predation. While, with most predators, any animal that happens to fall to them is fair game, it is the oldest, youngest and those with any impairment that fall the quickest, simply because they are easier to catch. Did you know that a single adult cougar will kill a deer per week every week of the year to sustain himself?”

“But that’s natural,” she uttered, “you hunters are so cruel with your guns and bows. The animal has no chance.”

“Mrs. Blaine,” Rod began, “it’s natural, but it is by no means humane. In every scenario Ben presented, except the hands of man, cruelty is the norm. In all of those cases, the animal suffers considerably. Disease and starvation are obvious, but less so are the others. The predator begins consuming his victim as soon as it is on the ground. Those predators that hunt in community will often eviscerate and begin devouring the prey while it is still struggling for its life.

The animal hit by a car will often escape the roadway to lie broken and bleeding until merciful death arrives to end the suffering. Only man dispatches his prey cleanly and humanely and, oddly enough to some, the arrow is most humane of all methods in most cases.”

“I don’t think I believe that,” their host stated. “I mean, a sharp blade slicing through you…” and he shuddered at the thought.

“Tell me,” Rod addressed their host, “have you ever happened to slice your hand with a knife and had not realized it until you looked down and saw the blood?” Upon receiving an affirmative reply, from both the host and Mrs. Dr. Blaine, he continued, “your hand has more nerve receptors than virtually any other place on your body. Our abdomen has many fewer, with the back having the least. Animals have far fewer receptors than we do and none on most internal organs. When an arrow strikes the side of an animal, the first thing that penetrates is a point with blades sharper than any you have ever used. They are far sharper than even surgical scalpels, and you know how sharp those are, Mrs. Blaine? This blade slices swiftly and cleanly through the animal, penetrating both lungs in the process. At that point, the animal has from six to ten seconds to live before he hemorrhages completely.

“Before you can wonder about whether there is suffering during this time frame, let me explain,” Ben said, returning to the discussion. “One time about twenty five years ago, I was having some severe medical trials and, in the midst of it, my heart stopped working for a time. Fortunately, as you can see, they got it restarted, but not before I was clinically dead for a time. My point here is, as my heart was slowing and stopping, my blood flow did exactly as it did in that animal, it ceased. There was no pain. There was no distress. My mind remained perfectly lucid and I could hear the doctors issuing orders to the attending nurses as clearly as I can hear you here tonight until my blood pressure was too low to sustain me. I believe that last of the continuous readings the nurse was giving the cardiologist was like 50/30. At that point, I must have lost consciousness as I remember nothing further until I awoke the next day.”

“Yes, there are the occasional bad hits, though we practice hours and hours to prevent that,” Rod said with some feeling, “but with an arrow, the probability of recovery of the animal is much greater because the wound is a clean incision with no trauma to the surrounding tissue. A rifle bullet, on the other hand creates a ton of bruised and abused flesh around the wound.

Believe me when I say I have spent a lot more time tracking game after the shot when using a rifle than I ever have using my bow. Yes, there are the unskilled, the uneducated and the unethical in our sport as there are in all endeavors. It takes constant vigilance to weed these undesirables out. Lastly, if you think the animal has no chance, you have never tried to creep within thirty yards of a truly wild creature. Sure, it’s no great feat to accomplish that in Yellowstone or some other of our parks, but those are not the real world… Certainly not as animals are concerned.

“But certainly, these animals would find their own level on their range,” Mrs. Blaine insisted,

though obviously now on the defensive somewhat. “I mean they did so without our help for

millennia before we came here.”

“A valid point,” Annie replied, “before man, animals did, indeed, attain a level of stability with their range, albeit a highly volatile, widely fluctuating stability as conditions of the range varied and food became more or less plentiful which caused the predator populations to fluctuate as well… it was a stability of sorts, but not perfect order as we would like to think of it. The early peoples that we call Indians today, were here for many thousands of years in one form or another. There is even evidence that has been interpreted to suggest that he hunted some species to extinction. Most notably the Mastodon and the Wooly Mammoth are counted in this. Personally, I don’t believe man caused their demise. I think that was ordained when the great northern glaciers began to recede and melt back to the far arctic climes. Man may have hastened his departure some by diligent hunting, but I really doubt he caused it.”

Today, she continued, the great predators are gone from most of their range. They have been eliminated because we need that land to raise our food and the wolf does not distinguish between and elk and a cow when he is looking for a meal he can catch. Now, man is the primary predator and is charged with keeping the great herds in a healthy condition and at a healthy level.”

“But,” the Doctor’s wife argued, “you are killing off those herds to the point where, soon, there will be none left. My grandchildren will grow up in a wilderness wasteland devoid of wild things.”

“Again, Mrs. Blaine,” you are a bit short of facts here. It is true that in the late Nineteenth Century many species were perilously low. Market hunting had reduced their numbers to the point that some would never recover. Some went extinct like the Carolina Parakeet and the Passenger Pigeon. At that time it was the sportsman who stepped up and demanded action. Hunting was restricted, curtailed, and in some cases, banned. The results are that there are more deer in America today than were here to greet the Pilgrims. The same is true of the wild turkey. Elk that were numbered in the low thousands and those in the most inaccessible places now roam our country in numbers that count to well over a million animals. He is found now in states he has been absent from for more than one hundred and fifty years. Tennessee, Kentucky, Pennsylvania and Arkansas all have viable, huntable populations of the Rocky Mountain Elk. The American Bison was down, by some reports to less than fifty animals and he now roams wild in many places from here to Alaska. He will never know the numbers he once knew, again, because we need his range to grow our food, but he is safe from extinction and is thriving in his range. If it were not for the hunter, Mrs. Blaine, the animals in this country would disappear as surely and quickly as are the great elephant and rhinoceros from most of Africa.”

Interrupting with an apology, their host asked Annie to clarify what she meant there. “How would this happen if they were not hunted,” he asked her directly.

“Sir,” she continued, “hunters pay for the research, the control and the enforcement of the game laws they cause to be enacted. If there were no hunters there would be no money. There would be no research; there would be no stocking programs; there would be no predator control programs; there would be no game law enforcement because all of these things are paid for by the sportsmen’s contributions, through his license fees and through taxes he levied on himself on the purchase of his sporting equipment.”

“Let me compare for a moment the works of just one sportsman’s group, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, with, and my apologies in advance to you, personally, Mrs. Blaine, the group that she is a part of. Mrs. Blaine, to your knowledge, has your group ever done anything to restore habitat of any kind for any wild animals?” At the negative shake of her head, Annie continued, “no, they have not. All these groups do is to destroy, delay and obfuscate. They build nothing, but the tear down a lot. They attack innocent people who do nothing more than enjoy a good piece of meat. They have poisoned meat in the market, they attack research facilities that need to use animals to find cures for the deadly diseases that plague us today, but they build nothing.”

“Recently,” she continued, the president of one such group was en route home to the New York Metro area and while crossing New Jersey, they hit a deer on the highway. Their reaction was to sue the state of New Jersey “for keeping the deer herd numbers artificially high to appease the hunters.” Compare this to the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, who when they heard of a stretch of mountain highway in eastern Washington where the elk were being killed in attempting to cross from the arid hills above to the river below for their necessary water, determined to do something about it. Approximately twenty elk per year were dying this way on this stretch of road. The RMEF did not sue the state, they raised the money, brought the volunteer workers, sportsmen all, and built waterers, called guzzlers on the dry uphill side of the highway making it possible for the elk to get their drink without nearing the deadly highway. Now, not only elk but many other species use the guzzlers, including Bighorn Sheep and many, many species of birds and small animals as well as the deer so prevalent in this area. I could list a hundred such projects across the west done by each of a hundred such groups of which the Mule Deer Foundation, The National Wild Turkey Foundation, Ducks Unlimited, Trout Unlimited and National Whitetail Deer Foundation are just a few. The only thing they get out of it is the satisfaction of seeing free elk roaming freely in wild places.”

After a short break, their host asked her to expound on how enforcement is necessary to the survival of the game animals. “I mean,” he said, “it’s obvious that keeping people honest as to what they take keeps from over killing a herd, but I have a feeling what you mean goes a little deeper than that, would you share that thought with us?”

“Yes,” Mrs. Blaine joined in, “please explain yourself in that context.”

“Enforcement is essential and this part really gets under my skin, so please bear with me a moment,” Annie stated somewhat vehemently. “In Kenya and the surrounding area of Africa, those wonderful, beautiful and magnificent elephants are being driven to extinction by people who kill them only for their tusks. Hunting is not allowed in these areas, consequently, there is no source of money to hire, train and equip an effective law enforcement group. The local populace does not care if the elephant disappears completely. His entire being is consumed in making a living for himself and his family from the poor laterite soils of this equatorial region and the elephant destroys his crops often, his home sometimes and his life occasionally. The elephant has no value to him except as a cause of despair and heartache, so why would he want to protect the elephant? Why not poach him and sell his ivory for enough to buy grain to live the winter on?”

“Compare this to Southeast Africa around Zimbabwe and Botswana where the elephant is hunted under tightly controlled circumstances. The average elephant hunt will cost the hunter around twenty thousand dollars. Much of this money goes to equip and train the finest force of game wardens in all of Africa for sure and maybe the entire world. Another huge chunk goes to the tribes who live in the area where the animals will be hunted to compensate them for their loss. In fact, virtually all elephant hunters are from outside of Africa, so will not have need of the meat, so that is returned to the people in the area. Consequently, this area does not have a declining herd, but actually has too many elephants. Even the rhinos here have returned to sustainable, huntable numbers, ensuring their survival.”

“If you think it is any different here in our own country, listen closely. In 2002, the state of Washington was, like many states, in a budget crunch. Even the revenues that supported their game department were way down. They were so low that they proposed eliminating the enforcement arm of the Department of Fish and Wildlife, a proposal loudly decried by the sportsmen in the state. In the end, while it was not eliminated, it was curtailed to the point there were substantially fewer officers in the field. That winter at least eighteen mature bull elk were slaughtered in the Blue Mountains for nothing more than their antlers. So, people, yes, it can and will happen here.”

Just as Annie finished this report, the band started up with the show’s theme song, signaling the end of time, but this evening, after the final sign-off, the host, much of the staff, most of the audience and even Mrs. Elaine Blaine stayed around and questioned the four in great detail on everything they had heard this night. The impromptu session went on for more than two hours after the cameras were off.

Elaine Blaine finally rose and, walking to each of the four, shook their hands and said, “I’m not sure I totally believe everything you have said tonight, but I intend to find out. At any rate, I’d like to thank each of you for your most profound insight and your straightforward, non-confrontational presentation of the facts as you see them.”

Their host silently made a mental note to tear up that check he had written earlier in donation to that animal rights group. Somehow the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation just made more sense.

Comments

2 Responses to “Wildlife Management – for Wildlife’s Sake”

  1. Mike Brogan on December 5th, 2010 6:01 am

    Hi , having just found your site, I read with great interest your encounter Storie,s, I live in the UK and my interest in Sasquatch has of necessity to be one of remote viewing as there aren,t many tramping about in our neck of the woods, I like you am a believer in Sasquatch and see no reason to keep trying to convince the Sceptics and Naysayers of his existence, we,ve all seen one in the Patterson Gimlin Film, that coupled with all the evidence collected by Researchers such as yourself and Academics such as Dr Jeff Meldrum “whose book Sasquatch -Legend meets Science” should be proof enough of the existence of a large Hominid tramping about the Pacific Norhtwest and other parts of North America. You live in a beautiful part of the World , and I envy your opportunity to get in amongst them so to speak, keep up the good work . Mike Brogan

  2. twangg on December 5th, 2010 11:55 am

    Mike.. thank you for your kind words, they are greatly appreciated. I agree with you totally that there is no reason to convince skeptics or naysayers… if they cannot understand what they see in the Patterson Gimlin Film they are truly without hope… I have the honor to know Bob Gimlin personally and he is a fine gentleman… in his late 70′s and still breaking and training horses.

    If you ever get the opportunity to be in my part of the world, please let me know and we’ll get together and I can show you what I’ve seen. The area I am working now is the same area where Paul Freeman did his work… His video was shot within a couple of miles of where my habituation is not going on when I am able to get there!
    Thom

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