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Message Title: Times are tough all over
Author: Autry  Posted: 06\11\2009 23:56
Location: TN
Times are tough all over
by David L. Autry

With the economy like it is, even government wildlife agencies are looking at new ways to increase their revenue. The times of relying heavily on hunting license sales for a major portion of their revenue seems to no longer be good enough.

With more and more hunters opting not to buy a hunting license but instead looking to harvest a trophy or meat animal from a privately owned wildlife management area that is tested and monitored to be disease free, government wildlife agencies seem to have decided that the commercialization of wildlife is not so bad, at least not if they are the ones cashing in on the big bucks.

With the decline of hunters and with hunting license sales no longer generating enough revenue, at least one government wildlife agency, the TN Wildlife Resources Foundation, has decided to auction elk hunts on EBay to the highest bidder.

The highest EBay bidder may be disappointed to learn that the elk he or she may be hunting could be one of the elk that was imported from Elk Island in Alberta Canada. This government run game farm at Elk Island is known to have Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) within 100 miles in free ranging cervids and since the imported elk from Elk Island did not meet the CWD monitoring regulations to prove the herd to be CWD free, who really knows whether or not the elk offered on EBay is diseased?

Just a couple of years ago, the USDA stopped TWRA from importing about 150 or 200 more elk from Elk Island because they did not meet import regulations in regard to disease testing issues. At that time TWRA had a scheme to raffle off hunts that by their own estimates would generate $50,000.00 to $100,000.00 per elk, again commercialization of wildlife.

As disease problems continue to grow in wild free ranging herds like Yellowstone National Park in WY and Rocky Mountain National Park in CO, fewer hunters are willing to risk spending their hard earned income and vacation time hunting a free ranging deer or elk only to find out weeks later that the animal they harvested had a disease and is not safe to eat. When this happens, the best the hunter can hope for is to have his or her hunting license money refunded but this is only a very small amount of what the hunter actually had invested.

These government wildlife agencies are the same way about disease testing and monitoring. They are 100% for testing and monitoring privately owned deer and elk herds but refuse to abide by the same regulations when they want to import and release the same species. This was made very clear recently by the comments sent in to the USDA by government wildlife agencies in regard to the proposed Federal CWD Regulations.

Why does there seem to be different rules for different fools?

Either the commercialization of wildlife is fair for everyone or fair for no one and either the disease testing and monitoring regulations should be fairly applied to everyone or applied no one.