Reprinted from the Elko Daily Free Press -
By: Dr. Gerald A. Lent
As a former chairman of the Nevada Board of Wildlife Commissioners for two years and vice chairman for one year and living in Nevada for 70 years, I read with great dismay and consternation Wildlife Director Ken Mayer’s commentary regarding himself and Nevada’s deer herds. As chairman , I was privy to know how the Department of Wildlife conducts its business and am compelled to set the record straight.
Mayer stated that his move to Nevada was a great move for him, that he was proud to call himself a Nevadan, and that he has made Reno his permanent home in which he intends to dedicate the rest of his career to manage and protect wildlife resources in this great state.
Nothing could be further from the truth. Records show the real truth is Mayer is living in a house in Sparks that he does not own. This house is the primary residence of another person! The truth is he still owns his house in Sacramento, Calif., which was deeded to him by his ex-wife, Karen.
It is quite apparent if he has not committed to buying a home in Nevada since he arrived here over five years ago, then he is not a true Nevadan as he claims and he is not committed to Nevada! This is a very unprofessional approach and behavior for a person of his level in government and further substantiates the fact he is not committed to the resources of Nevada. This is an indication that he just wants to collect his pension from Nevada and then leave the state only to return back to California where he owns his home. This should be an embarrassment to Governor Sandoval and all true Nevadans. Make no mistake about it — Mayer is not a true Nevadan as he claims and his decisions on wildlife in Nevada have proven that!
I was the one who recommended him to Gov. Jim Gibbons and for that I am deeply regretful. I did not know of his deceitfulness and misrepresentations of himself when he applied for the job. I originally supported him based on his promises he made to Nevada sportsmen and the Governor who directed him to bring back our mule deer and his proclaimed belief in the positive results a good predator program could bring for Nevada’s wildlife.
Another area in which Mayer was not truthful was in his belief in Predation Management when he presented a seven-point plan on his views to the Chairman of the Assembly Agriculture, Mining and Natural Resources Committee. His plan stated he would “Establish a mechanism that allows for direct coordination between the Nevada Board of Wildlife Commissioners’ Wildlife Damage Management Committee and Nevada’s landowners and livestock producers. This relationship will facilitate a dialog that would allow the Predator Committee to benefit from the experience and knowledge that Nevada’s ranchers have regarding localized predator issues. This mechanism also will allow ranchers to propose predation management projects that benefit wildlife through their Commission representative on the Predator Committee.”
Mayer also stated his plan would “Ensure that the Predator Committee acknowledges the Nevada Legislature’s desire to see that the recovery of Nevada’s deer herds is a principle focus of the Predator Management Program.”
As usual, these were just words spoken by Mayer with no intention of implementation.
Director Mayer claims in his commentary to have spent $3.9 million dollars on predator control. The truth is he has not spent his money because all sportsmen by law pay a $3 predator fee when they apply for hunting tags. Sportsmen are providing this money, not Mayer because the legislature directed this.
Director Mayer also claims predation control has not produced any significant increases in deer numbers. Once again, he is being disingenuous as NDOW’s own 2010-11 Big Game Status Book indicates that one area in Nevada showed a 65 percent increase in mule deer since a predator control program was implemented in 2004 and surrounding areas with no predator control programs showed remarkable decreases in mule deer populations.
You only have to ask any rancher in Nevada if predator control works to protect their resources!
Another scientific study in Arizona called the 3-Bar Study has been used by wildlife biologists for more than 30 years for mule deer studies. This study explicitly shows that deer in an enclosure that is predator proof will produce 10 times higher fawn ratios than deer outside an enclosure. The study’s findings so far indicate that predators may have a more significant impact on deer populations than biologists previously thought.
Director Mayer and his staff biologists just refuse to acknowledge professional scientific studies in lieu of their own twisted analysis of the data available to them. In fact, his own Wildlife Damage Management Committee to gather data and establish predation projects where needed has not met in two years! This is a reflection on his commitment and dedication to this program.
Gibbons, in December 2009, sent a letter to Director Mayer directing him to end the tension between him and his staff towards the Wildlife Commission as it was counterproductive to the Governor’s goal of increasing the mule deer population in Nevada. The Governor also instructed Director Mayer to follow the requirements in Nevada law which clearly reads the Director shall carry out the policies and regulations of the Commission.
The Governor explicitly stated he expects director Mayer and his staff to implement the policies established by the Commission. Director Mayer refused to implement many of the Commission policies, especially the ones to bring back the mule deer herds in Nevada, as directed by the Governor. As a result of his disobedience to follow the Governor’s directives, Gov. Jim Gibbons fired Director Mayer. Gov. Sandoval, when he took office, rehired Mayer.
Director Mayer was not truthful when he was interviewed for the job and this pattern has continued during his tenure as director of NDOW. He has failed the sportsmen and ranchers in Nevada miserably.
I hope this clarifies many unfounded statements that Director Mayer presented in his commentary in the Elko Daily Free Press on Nov. 23, 2012.
A rebuttal to Dave Rice’s article which appeared in the Reno Gazette Journal, January 25, 2008
I read with interest your article in the Reno Gazette Journal, January 25, 2008, concerning
I do not know whom the NDOW expert, Biologist Mike Cox is, but he is a long way from knowing or telling the "real story" of what went on during the big deer years in
I ran the operational Predatory Animal Control program throughout the State of
In 1972, a big change occurred in the Animal Damage Control business throughout the west. President Richard Nixon banned the use of toxicants in the government control program by executive order. (He was soliciting the environmental vote that was just starting to emerge.) With the loss of toxicants and nothing to replace it with but a few trappers, coyote numbers began to rise dramatically. Throughout the state of
The federal government began to appropriate large sums of money in order to prove that coyote numbers could be controlled by what they liked to call "non-toxic methods.” This program increased use of aircraft, both fixed -wing and rotor-wing, to shoot coyotes from the air and additional trappers on the ground to replace the controversial use of toxicants. (This was meant to look good to the environmentalist.)
At that time, there was a large, domestic range-sheep industry, operating throughout the state of
In the early1980s, wild-animal longhair fur prices went sky high and private trappers were out in force. There were large numbers of coyotes and bobcats harvested by private trappers since fur prices were at an all time high. Gas was around $1.25 a gallon. Coyote varmint callers were out in force. All of the private trapping and shooting plus the concentrated government effort to control predator numbers began to pay off. By the year 1988, the mule deer population responded to these concentrated predator-control efforts and mule deer numbers statewide were quoted by NDOW at 240,000. NDOW was busy patting themselves on the back for what a masterful deer management program they had in place throughout the state of
Now then we move forward in time, the range sheep industry began to disappear due to labor problems, government regulations, land use changes by public land administrators, imports, etc. Therefore, control efforts in and around range sheep herds decreased. Cattle numbers began to decline. Longhair fur prices fell, gas prices went up, vehicle prices went up, predator hunting declined, and soon predator population numbers began to come back. Today the
So what do you think has happened to our deer population? It has steadily gone down-hill with the decrease in predator control efforts and will continue to do so unless there is a dramatic decrease in predatory animal population numbers. NDOW has blamed the mule deer decline on overgrazing by livestock, poor habitat, too many fires, too cold, too wet, too dry, not enough snow, too much snow, etc. They are in denial when it comes to the overall effect that predators have on our mule deer and upland game bird population numbers in the State of
In 2007, NDOW reported, there were 114,000 mule deer in the State of
I would solicit your printing this in your column
James "Mike" Laughlin
Supervisory Wildlife Biologist (Retired)
Ed. Note: Of course, the
NDOW and the wildlife commissioners would like everyone to think that there are only one or two sportsmen who do not approve of the way our game is being managed. Nothing could be further from the truth. Former Wildlife Commission chairman Mahlon Brown used to refer to HUNTER'S ALHRT as the "small but vocal group". NDOW in their publication, Nevada Wildlife Almanac, referred to a "vocal sliver" of Nevada's hunters who opposed giving our sheep to Texas. HUNTER'S ALERT gets literally hundreds of letters, calls, or comments about NDOW's mismanagement. Listed below are but a few
Action Item #3 would prohibit hunting for a 96 hour period after using aircraft to locate wildlife.
This request by NDOW has to be the most overkill idea they have come up with in a long time. The hierarchy of NDOW must have a lot of time on their hands. In Alaska you cannot hunt on the same day that you fly. It is probably safe to say that 95% of the hunters in Alaska must utilize aircraft. What percentage of Nevada hunters utilize aircraft'1 Probably a tenth of one percent. Alaska, which has a hell of a lot more game to protect says no same-day hunting. So Nevada wants no hunting for four days. This is a pure and simple law enforcement mentality. NDOW does not know how or refuses to bring back our big game numbers. All they know is more law enforcement. We already have 140 ways to cite sportsmen and apparently it is not enough law 1enforcement for NDOW. This is like gun Control. We have thousands of gun laws and they want more.
Predators do have a serious impact on game numbers. It seems as though the whole world knows it except those who are running the show within Nevada Division of Wildlife. HUNTER'S ALERT has just received a final report dated June, 1998, "Factors Affecting Survival of Neonatal Pronghorn in the Northern Great feasin" from U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey. The final report was 25 pages long but we have quoted the highlights. For years NDOW has stated that it does no good to do predator control. After reading these findings, you be the judge.
Just when you thought NDOW had used up all their Mother Nature excuses for the decline of our deer, they have come up with another pitiful excuse. In the January 1998 "Mining and Wildlife", a quarterly publication of the Nevada Division of Wildlife, an article states the following: "For the past several decades, NDOW has recognized the long term loss in productivity of major deer winter ranges associated with the Ruby deer herd. The maintenance and /or enhancement of winter range is the key factor in maintaining the long term productivity of this deer herd which remains one of the largest in the state. Two factors have been responsible for this loss of productivity on winter ranges, fires and long term increase of the pinion-juniper woodlands."
The most obvious questions here are: Do forest fires kill pinion-juniper trees? Apparently not, or the trees would not be part of the problem. The second question would be, are there any mountain lions or coyotes associated with the
Ruby deer herd? The answer again is apparently not because they were not mentioned in the factors explaining the loss of productivity in the Ruby deer herd. This goes right along with Administrator Molini's often stated remark that we don't have a predator problem.
The timing of this announcement enables Governor Miller and Pete Morros to appoint a new administrator before the new governor takes office next January. Let's see, Molini retires in September, the gubernatorial election takes place in November, and the new governor is seated in January. I guess they figured the sportsmen in the state of Nevada aren't smart enough to figure this out. The 3M Destroyers (Miller, Morros. and Molini) were smart enough to realize one thing, that no other governor would put up with Willie Molini's antics. Rest assured. Miller and Morros will appoint a Willie Molini clone to the vacated position.
After having spent considerable time in the woods watching wildlife, I am convinced that the only time four-legged predators such as coyotes, bobcats and mountain lions take the sick and infirm is after they have already eaten all the healthy animals! Maybe that sounds like a strong statement to some; I hope it does. Death by predation is not a pretty picture. Seldom do predators kill their prey before they start devouring it.
There is no doubt among dedicated mule deer hunters that the Jicarilla Apache Reservation in New Mexico has made a comeback in recent years. There was a time in the 1970's when the once famous deer hunting on this reservation faded badly. Then in 1980, the Jicarilla Apache Tribe assumed management authority for their own fish and wildlife program. To their credit, they started a rigorous predator control program (emphasis added) and also put a clamp on poachers. As a result, by 1990 they were able to reopen hunting and start a new era of mule deer history. According to Tom Watts, the tribe's wildlife and fisheries specialist, the most recent surveys show a very healthy buck to doe ratio of 38:100 and a mature buck (4 x 4 or larger)-lo-doe ratio of 20:100. Furthermore, there are between 8 and 10,000 deer wintering on the reservation now. The upshot is there are enough deer here now that a hunter can expect to see more than 20 bucks in a day's hard hunt.
Deer hunting in Nevada is an immensely popular activity, with, in a normal year, 50,000 - 75,000 people applying for deer tags. Of course, it goes without saying that you need deer, in quantity, to fill even a portion of the demand.
Must Read! Wildlife Damage Management Committee Meeting
Mountain Lion Diet Study
Conflict Over NDOW Chief Aired in Op-Ed Exchanges
Nevada Wildlife Director Resigns
More Misinformation by NDOW Chief
The Conservative Corner: Open Letter to Nevada Wildlife Director
Predator Control Provides Quick Results
This is exactly what NDOW is doing in our state with mountain lions.
NDOW: Agency of Deception
Nevada's Deer Herds Doomed?
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