As the environmental assault on rural America and rural Americans heated up over the past 20 years, a disquieting change took place. As total federal authority over all “Invasive” Species was proposed it emerged that “Invasive” = “Native”, in other words as we were treated to tales of brown tree snakes in Guam and killer bees moving North, the same proposed no-holds-barred to eradicate these species would apply to all non-native species from brown trout and Great Lakes’ salmon to pheasants, Hungarian partridge and chukars. The really stunning fact to rural Americans however, was that “their” organizations like Trout “Unlimited”, Pheasants “Forever”, and even “their” Outdoors Store (with walls decked with mounted examples of all these soon-to-be-eliminated but highly-sought-after and profitable species) SUPPORTED these vast new federal powers.
I will set aside how at this time the federal government was allowing pythons and Asian carp to be imported into the US (see S. Florida and the Mississippi Watershed today) as examples of federal ability to employ federal environmental responsibilities. Instead I will note that, in addition to a trout-fisherman organization indifferent at best to the fate of American Brown trout or a bird-hunter organization showing no concern for its’ namesake species (pheasants) or associated game birds like partridge or chukars, other hunting organizations like Ducks Unlimited remained silent at best as they “celebrated” the diversity of species on “their” wetlands while they “partnered” with certain state agencies that were changing their “Waterfowl Production” areas into “Waterfowl Protection” areas in anticipation of a hunting-free future ruled by emerging environmental zealots. This blending of hunting and fishing agendas with anti-hunting and fishing agendas was both denied and ignored by the vast majority of hunters and fishermen whose deep trust in “their” state fish and wildlife professionals had been passed on to them by their fathers and grandfathers in all good faith.
Enter the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation (RMEF). In the 1990’s and early 2000’s, as wolves were introduced into America’s premiere elk habitat in the Upper Rocky Mountains, RMEF joined in the chorus of their sister “conservation” organizations and federal bureaucrats chirping about the romance of wolf calls and the benefit to habitat of wolves dispersing elk, etc., etc. Then a funny thing happened: historic elk herds like the Northern Yellowstone Herd and the Lolo Herd all but evaporated; elk hunting success and elk hunting revenue and elk hunters followed the elk declines that followed the establishment of wolves as surely as night follows day. Despite all the distortions and propaganda from the radicals and federal bureaucrats enabled by state bureaucrats that were either radicals themselves or scared about their careers in the face of environmental conquest of their agency in the future, RMEF to their great credit understood that they were on the wrong side in the assault on rural America and elk hunting in particular. RMEF changed leadership and put on their armor and waded into the ever-controversial subject of predator control as necessary for the future of elk hunting. While I could explain the history of predator control and all the environmental/animal rights’ ploys to disparage it, that must be saved for another essay.
For the last few years I have been increasingly impressed with RMEF’s statements and policies to fairly represent elk hunters and elk hunting’s future. Gone are the meaningless platitudes meant only to assuage enemies (the right word and particularly apt in this instance) that are both un-assuagable and like Iranian bomb makers merely dickering for time.
About two weeks ago I read a very nasty and arrogant public letter to RMEF. The writer, some sort of chief of some sort of radical environmental outfit, told the RMEF leadership that he had organized “the family” of a long ago conservationist to object to RMEF making an annual award to persons contributing to the future of elk hunting. The award was titled in the name of the long ago conservationist. This family “representative”-cum-radical’s order to RMEF to desist from defaming this long ago fellow was couched in the most personal and vile attack on the current head of RMEF. He was characterized as an ignorant blue-collar fellow without pedigree and due to former involvement with car racing, reduced by this action to only having the right to make a “Dale Earnhardt” award for contributing to elk hunting in the future. This alternative was akin, in this fellows’ context, to calling the next Presidential Freedom Award, the “Joseph Stalin Award”. To describe this attack as anything other than an ancient aristocrat sneering at a peasant as unwashed would be unfair.
I am not and never have been a RMEF member and the chances of my hunting elk in the future are zero to none. That said, I saw this attack as an overt attack on not just elk hunting or hunting or some political pecking-order; I saw it as one of many such coordinated attacks on rural America, our freedoms and rights, and the very essence of American culture and traditions. This fellow and his “green” outfit are the epitome of those that would destroy all that we hold dear.
So I wrote a public rebuttal to his letter and tried as hard as I could not to use the personal distortions he used so glibly to assassinate the character of a firm leader doing the right thing. Although some may think my conclusion that a “Dale Earnhardt Award” (a winner and tough competitor that gave his all) has a “good ring to it” was over the top, I meant every word of it.
There has developed a two-week back and forth on the Black Bear Blog http://www.skinnymoose.com/bbb/2012/07/20/jim-beers-addresses-action-of-murie-family-for-pulling-award-given-to-rmef-because-of-wolves/ between the author of the attack on RMEF and Black Bear Bloggers not on elk predation by wolves or about RMEF policies regarding management of wolves or management of elk, but of me.
Reading these ad hominem personal attacks reminded me of Chicago Mayor Emmanuel castigating the owner of Chick Filet over his personal beliefs regarding same-sex “marriage” while Chicago’s murder rate goes through the ceiling. It seemed like the Presidential Campaign where ad hominem personal mud-slinging avoids any mention of the economy and what would improve it. The author of such attacks were using the techniques used by German radio propagandists in 1939 broadcasting throughout Germany that Polish “untermenschen” had savagely invaded German Territory and now would have to pay the price. In all these instances, attention to an evil or inept government is diverted by inventing a bogeyman to whom all should pay their entire attention. In short, I became the bogeyman du jour.
I was described as:
1.“I’ll bite, so what are Jim Beers impeccable life achievements? Can you cite some national awards or honors? Books or peer reviewed articles? Honorary degrees? Perhaps and (sp?) adjunct professorship or two?”
A. Evolution of the Acid Rain Act of 1979
B. US Fish and Wildlife Service
1. Federal Enforcement Needs on Alaskan National Parks and Refuges
2. Federal Enforcement Options on All Federal Lands
3. Environmental Education Options for the Fish and Wildlife Service
4. Program Management Document for a Major Wildlife Program
C. Articles published in the following magazines (known as of 2006):
The American Trapper, Carolina Adventure, Nevada Outdoorsman, Oregon Outdoor
And on web sites such as: National Animal Interest Alliance, American Fur Council, International Wildlife Management Coalition, Paragon Foundation, and Sierra Times.
D. The Effects of Four Federally Supported Projects on Selected Flora and Fauna in the Washington, DC Area. Co-Authored with Richard Mitchell and James Tate. Published in Technology, Volume 7, Number 6, 2000, pages 609 – 632. ISSN 1072-9240.
E. Since retirement in 1999 over 1400 articles on wildlife, domestic animals, private property, hunting, trapping, forestry, range management, government, bureaucracy, radical groups, environmental agendas and associated topics for a list of readers that re-distribute worthwhile essays and which are freely available for numerous publications from newspapers and newsletters to magazines and other authors. I have spoken to numerous audiences nationwide representing hunters, ranchers, dog owners, irrigators, farmers and others concerned with natural resources and government since my retirement.
A. M.A. Public Administration – 1977
University of Northern Colorado
B. Minneapolis Police Academy – 1969
C. US Navy Officer Candidate School – 1964
D. B.S. Wildlife Resources – Utah State University 1963
A. Wrote an unpublished novel concerning environmental changes in the Federal Government. Published 98-page scientific paper used as a basis for a multi-million dollar lawsuit regarding Federal projects on the Potomac River.
B. Active member of US Negotiating Team concerning the maintenance of a US/European Union fur ban and international trapping standards that would have damaged the US Fur Industry and State Furbearer and Predator Control Programs.
C. Facilitated and helped to integrate State Fish and Wildlife Agency participation on the US/EU Fur Trade Negotiations.
D. Facilitated and helped State Fish and Wildlife agencies to begin a trap testing program to develop humane trapping standards and to establish Best Management Practices for trapping throughout the US.
E. Advised and assisted State Fish and Wildlife Agencies to apply for and obtain two essential grants to breed and distribute (nationally) five species of insects that are now decreasing large stands of Purple Loosestrife plants throughout US wetlands.
F. Helped to develop State Fish and Wildlife Agencies transition to the latest technology in licensing systems known as Automated Sportsman’s Database Systems. These systems not only facilitate improved administration but also are causing an explosion in data collection about purchasers and fish and wildlife populations.
G. As the sole Special Agent in New York, NY, unearthed, investigated, and helped US Attorneys conclude two large environmental cases; 1) the Vesely-Forte fur smuggling case involving South American and African cats and giant otters, and 2) Hawksbill Turtle product smuggling to New York’s largest jewelry stores. 1972
H. Designed and conducted the first waterfowl production survey of an arbitrary, large segment of a vast habitat — the STARKWEATHER/EDMORE WATERFOWL PRODUCTION SURVEY in North Dakota. 1969
1998 National Trappers Association
Trapper Conservationist of the Year Award
2000 Foundation for North American Wild Sheep Federal Statesman Award
Federal Statesman Award
2004 Coalition of Arizona & New Mexico Counties
Integrity in Government Award
2005 American Agri-Women
2.”A mediocre mid-level employee”
Answer: We are all entitled to our opinions.
3. Regarding my writings and statements about the theft of $45 to 60 Million from federal excise taxes (earmarked for state fish and wildlife programs) by USFWS managers that used much of it to introduce wolves into the Upper Rocky Mountains – “Just for grins I took some time this afternoon to look through Jim Beers claims and reconcile them with the Congressional Record of events in the aftermath of the GAO audits. It is a slog but it is interesting when you see what Mr. Beers attributes to Director Clark was actually a long-standing issue that was first identified and not dealt with during the Bush I administration. You will also find in the testimony the fact that the GAO never said what was going on was “illegal” per se as Mr. Beers claims. And when you look at the numbers, you find they simply do not agree with Mr. Beers claims. Moreover, it is important to note the comments by groups for (?) NWF to the NRA.” And then, “The 60 year history of abuses was dealt with not by Jim, but by Jamie and he ought to give her a little credit for that.”
-The theft and disappearance of $45 to 60 Million in two years has now become “a long-standing issue that was first identified and not dealt with during the Bush I administration”? Really?
-GAO (General ACCOUNTING Office) is not a law enforcement or law prosecution or court agent that pronounces legality or “illegality”; they audit entities and report findings.
-What numbers am I alleged to have claimed? The GAO reported numbers in their audit that speak for themselves.
-Now the USFWS Director Clark who oversaw the disappearance of the funds should get credit for dealing with an unidentified “long standing issue” (whatever that is reputed to mean)? What’s next, the Wicked Witch of the North was really trying to save Dorothy and Toto?
– While we are at this revision of history let us not forget that this sainted Director’s man-in-charge of those stolen excise taxes at the time is now Director of USFWS.
-Also not mentioned is the state fish and wildlife agencies’ WASHINGTON LOBBY GROUP that smoothed the troubled waters after the theft with state directors, conservation groups and politicians. The fact that they (A LOBBY ORGANIZATION) henceforth got millions of subsequent excise tax dollars annually for “interstate projects” (i.e. expansion of their staff to LOBBY CONGRESS with FEDERALLY-collected excise taxes) should be mentioned as an example of “legal” and exemplary government in Civics classes nationwide. Don’t you agree?
-As to the reference to that impeccable defender of natural resource management and use, the NWF(National Wildlife Federation); weren’t they the outfit that employed Director Clark for 2 years after her resignation (during which time she was forbidden to work for any organization she had favored as Director as when she appointed Defenders of Wildlife to administer federal livestock depredation compensation for alleged wolf depredations) while she waited to get the big job at Defenders of Wildlife? Surely only a paranoid would question the veracity and agenda of such an outfit in a sordid affair they were into up to their necks.
I mention all of this, not to seek vindication or to publicize either this radical; his organization; descendants of a respected conservationist; or RMEF for that matter. I am writing this to direct you to that Blog that I think you will find chronicles a fascinating dialogue that reveals much more than the personality traits of individuals. It is a much-needed public discourse that exposes a fair description of the broader confrontation and values today between:
-The Common Man and the Elites
-Free Men & the Government
-Rural Americans and Urban Americans
Put another way, the dialogue on that Blog brings into focus the questions of:
-An all-powerful government v. a central government “checked and balanced” that serves and does not dictate to state governments.
-A Federal government diminishing and absorbing state governments.
-A Federal government either with help of or in spite of state governments making Local governments insolvent and irrelevant.
-Public land ownership and Publicly-financed land use easements v. Private Property as Constitutionally understood.
-Sustainable management and use of renewable natural resources (Forests, Forage, Animals) for the benefit of human society v. no management/no use of both public and privately-owned renewable natural resources.
-Will grazing, logging, hunting, fishing, trapping, fishing, and animal ownership with all their ancillary economic, social, cultural,, and traditional benefits be maintained or eliminated?
-Will we have a Rural America peopled by prosperous rural families and communities; or a vacant rural America that provides no benefit to either American citizens or this great Nation?
Predators like wolves, grizzly bears, black bears, and cougars, plus those that federal bureaucracies ALLOWED to be imported like pythons are major parts of the radical agenda portrayed in these Blog Dialogues. These predators, when unmanaged and uncontrolled, discourage livestock entrepreneurs; make grazing dangerous and unproductive; decrease game populations; make outdoor recreation and rural living more stressful and precarious; endanger kids and the elderly as well as pets and working dogs; decrease rural land and home values; decrease Local government revenues; and the increase cries and arguments for federal money, federal intervention, and increased federal authority. When combined with other factors like uncontrollable government fires and UN Treaties intended to usurp Constitutional powers; not only elk and elk hunting in wolf country are adversely affected.
We are all being asked to side with either the America we grew up with or the America being imposed by those that clearly dislike the America we grew up with. I know which side I have chosen and I am determined to do all I can to pass on to future generations the rich and vibrant America that I was given and that I treasure greatly.
Which side you support is your choice to make. I trust that you will make the right choice.
28 July 2012
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Jim Beers is a retired US Fish & Wildlife Service Wildlife Biologist, Special Agent, Refuge Manager, Wetlands Biologist, and Congressional Fellow. He was stationed in North Dakota, Minnesota, Nebraska, New York City, and Washington DC. He also served as a US Navy Line Officer in the western Pacific and on Adak, Alaska in the Aleutian Islands. He has worked for the Utah Fish & Game, Minneapolis Police Department, and as a Security Supervisor in Washington, DC. He testified three times before Congress; twice regarding the theft by the US Fish & Wildlife Service of $45 to 60 Million from State fish and wildlife funds and once in opposition to expanding Federal Invasive Species authority. He resides in Eagan, Minnesota with his wife of many decades.
Jim Beers is available to speak or for consulting. You can receive future articles by sending a request with your e-mail address to: firstname.lastname@example.org