My Mad Christmas Story - Rabble Rousing Handful

Putting the "Public" Back in "Public Trust"

"An activist is someone who cannot help but fight for something. That person is not usually motivated by a need for power, or money, or fame, but in fact driven slightly mad by some injustice, some cruelty, some unfairness - so much so that he or she is compelled by some internal moral engine to act to make it better." - Eve Ensler 

Recently there have been a number of curious people who have inquired about my last name, its origin and meaning, some even apologizing for asking, but curious nonetheless. So I thought I would share a Christmas story - tis the season and all.

I was 5, and we were stationed in Orlando, FL at the time. Months before I had suspected that the tooth fairy was not real (realize this was in the late 60's when parents were still trying to hang on to the Leave it to Beaver era), so when the next tooth was getting loose, I promptly tied a string around a door handle and pulled it out, notified my parents and of course put the tooth under my pillow to await the "tooth fairy" and her silver dollar. Only I set some traps in the room to confirm my suspicions that it was actually my parents. I caught the tooth fairy all right, when he tripped over my trip wire (it was my jump rope) and the jingle bells went off. Dad was none too happy with my path of toy caltrops I had laid out across the floor as well, in case he missed the rope.

Now it is Christmas,  already guessing what my gifts were, to the point that my parents were wrapping gifts in odd containers or putting something inside to make deceptive noises like beads or pebbles,  I notice the labels on the packages from Santa had the same handwriting as the packages from my parents (and Santa was doing the misleading wrapping as well). I was no longer buying their explanations of how Santa got into our house when we didnt have a chimney and other such inconsistencies. As they say, the devil is in the details. Indignantly, hands on my hips, I confronted them with yet another deception they were perpetuating on me. My Daddy put his hand to his forehead, exhaled deeply, told me I was a handful and could clearly see I was going to be a problem child. Both parents admitted there was no Santa. I knew it!

These incidents clearly showed that I could not blindly trust people, no matter how well intentioned they were. But getting personal deceptions cleared up was not good enough, I proceeded to share this liberating truth with all my friends, some of which were not quite so pleased, neither were their parents who called or came over to complain to my parents that I had destroyed their child's fantasy.

That is the oldest memory I have of my lifelong hunt for truth, so to speak. As a result, my more passive Daddy developed a long litany of names and phrases for his problem child - boat rocker, rabble rouser, zealot, troublemaker, rabid, radical, pain in the ass child, etc.

Fast forward to my late 30's when I was dealing with ancient languages and archaeological texts. I came across an inscription with an unusual name - QannaYahu, which means the Zeal of Yahu (more anciently written Iahu). It made me smile, reminding me of all my Daddy's nicknames and my decades of passionate research. So at the time of my divorce, changing back to my maiden name, I decided to get rid of my girly middle name I never cared for and adopted QannaYahu as my middle name in honor of my ever exasperated father (I am a daddy's girl, but not the little princess kind). Though a Celtic/Germanic mutt, I later took the ancient Semitic name for my last name, it seemed very apropos. I didnt realize at the time that it would cause so much consternation and many would have difficulty with the pronunciation, as well as the non Indo-European spelling of a "u" following the "q".

This, in a nutshell, is symbolic of what drives me to do what I do, only now it is focused on wildlife and habitat conservation. This newsletter, which began with my personal emails in 2013, sharing my concerns with a couple handfuls of conservation guys, is exactly the same, but more evolved, just like my warning my wee friends in Florida that our parents have been deceiving us and Santa does not exist. My adopted last name of QannaYahu is a daily reminder that I am "compelled by some internal moral engine to act to make it better". My Daddy would probably snort and say that I am simply embracing and encouraging my general pain in the assness! Truth be told, I cannot help but fight for conservation, ask a multitude of questions, this is simply who I am, how my brain is wired. There you have it.

On a layout note, I had two guys last week, mention they did not know that the underlined news titles were hypertext links that took you to the full articles. So I decided to add a  button that links to the full article. Hopefully this will help readers navigate for more information.

Don Thomas/DU Update
While I am finishing some DU access research, here is the  PLWA Montana Supreme Court case video link with Kennedy's attorney attacking our Stream Access law as being unconstitutional. Also, I was sent a forward of Montana Sportsmen Alliance's letter to DU on this issue. I asked for permission to share.

I'm a retired Montana FWP wildlife biologist who spent the better part of my career engaged in migratory game bird management and habitat conservation at the state, flyway and national level. I have worked closely with Ducks Unlimited staff on a variety of initiatives, including some of the very first private lands projects to be delivered in the country. I have worked on a local DU committee, spoken at statewide DU events and ironically, am wearing a DU fleece zip-T as I write this letter. 
I'm an avid hunter and angler and an ardent conservationist who strongly endorses the public trust doctrine as it applies to our valuable fish and wildlife resources. This doctrine is foundational to the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation that DU has both contributed to and benefited from. Furthermore, I recognize and applaud the contributions by private landowners to these conservation efforts and the rights associated with their private property.

With that said, I find your recent action to terminate the contract of E. Donnall Thomas Jr. incredibly disappointing on several levels. I will not delve into the specifics of this conflict other than to say that Montana sportsmen and women hold dear the culture of our hunting and fishing heritage and the constitutional and statutory elements like the Stream Access Law that sustain the waters of Montana and access to those waters as a public trust resource. These same men and women serve as the backbone of local DU Chapters, the heart and soul of the organization.

As I consider terminating my long-term association with DU, I would like to pose several questions to you from an organization standpoint. How do you explain the dichotomy of your actions - on one hand strongly endorsing the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation (November/December 2015 issue of Ducks Unlimited) and on the other, tacitly supporting an individual seeking not only to undermine public access to a public resource but in fact, to privatize it? By your actions it appears that DU places far greater value on the contributions of a wealthy donor and trustee than it does to the average angler/hunter from Montana who largely agrees with the premise of the article. What picture does that paint of a conservation organization built on the passion of its members? Will future actions/management decisions reflect a strong, publically engaged conservation ethic or one built around big money and exclusivity?      
Jeff Herbert
Montana Sportsmen Alliance

Republicans must return to their conservation roots
"Republican President Teddy Roosevelt was so inspired by the beauty of our nation that he preserved more than 230 million acres of public lands, much of which would become part of our National Forest and National Parks systems. While I received a lot of support for reauthorizing LWCF from Democrats, only a few from my own party are fighting alongside me for the future of the program. It's time for Republicans to return to our conservationist roots."

Montana makes record payments for livestock killed by wolves
"The Montana Livestock Loss Board has made record payments this year for depredations caused by wolves and grizzly bears... Board Executive Director George Edwards said the payments this year are larger because the price of stock in 2009 was half of what it is now. There have been significantly fewer livestock deaths."

For more information on preventative methods on EMWH,

How do you keep a wolf away from your sheep? The right dog
"The study began with Turkish kangals on a pilot basis in Montana including at the Rockport and New Miami Hutterite colonies. It's since been expanded to Washington, Wyoming, Idaho and Oregon. The project was expanded to get a better sample size, Young said. And two additional breeds, transmontanos from Portugal and Bulgarian karkachans, have been added to the study, with 41 kangals, transmontanos and Karakachans now in place with 19 sheep producers with 21 sheep bands in the five states. All of the breeds have shown effectiveness against wolves and bears in their home countries, Kinka said   ."

Glacier Country

2,352,699 and counting: Glacier Park sets visitation record again
"Glacier National Park went 31 years between visitation records the last time it broke the mark for the number of people who enter the park in a calendar year. This time it took less than 11 months.
For the second straight year, the park has passed the 2.3 million mark. With 31 days still left in 2015, the number stood at 2,352,699...

Germann said a draft environmental impact statement, which was initially due to have been already released, will be finalized by summer. Glacier authorities have already given the public the opportunity to weigh in on five potential management plans, and are now tweaking them based on that input. More public comment will be taken after that preliminary draft environmental impact statement is reworked to reflect the first round of public involvement. Potential changes demonstrate the severity of the congestion in Glacier. Possibilities include requiring reservations to drive over Going-to-the-Sun during July and August, or limiting traffic to a certain number of vehicles at peak times."

Snowmobile groups sue for access to national forest in Montana
"John Todd, Montana Wilderness Association conservation director, said he's dismayed by the motorized users' lawsuit. The recommendations were made after 13 years of effort and more than 100 meetings convened during the forest planning process.
'We, too, are not satisfied with the wilderness recommendations because they don't go far enough,' he said. 'But we hope the decisions on how we manage our public lands are driven by folks who don't take such a hard line. The plan needs to balance uses.
'There are a lot more special places across the Kootenai that should be protected for quiet use and wilderness characteristics. We wouldn't still have the longest big-game hunting season in the lower 48 states if motorized travel was allowed to spread into protected areas.' "

Southwest Montana

Wardens seeking information on elk poaching at Three Mile Game Range
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks officials are hoping the public will help them track  down people who killed two elk on a game range and left one to rot Wednesday. FWP Warden Capt. Joe Jaquith said someone killed two elk on the Three Mile Game Range northeast of Stevensville either late Tuesday night or early Wednesday morning. The poachers drove behind a closed sign to retrieve one of the elk and left the other cow elk behind...

Jaquith urged anyone with information to call the TIP-MONT hotline at 800-847-6668.
Anyone providing information that leads to an arrest in the case will be eligible for a reward. Those providing information can remain anonymous.

Yellowstone Country

Packed house in Livingston worried about elk hunting in Gardiner
"LIVINGSTON - It was standing room only at the Pioneer Lodge here Thursday night, the room full of people with stern faces and crossed arms, waiting to hear about the plans state wildlife officials have for a herd of elk they say are in decline at the southern end of Paradise Valley. 'What we're seeing is a decline in the number of mature bulls,' said Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks biologist Karen Loveless  ."
Here is the YNP's Northern Range Elk Count Report of 2014-2015. I had talked with them about this in early February as a result of a news article quoting FWP wildlife biologist Karen Loveless talking about an increase in the Northern Yellowstone Elk herd, which had been in a decline for the last 10 years.

Here is  FWP's 2015 Late Winter Classification of Northern Yellowstone Elk by Karen Loveless, the FWP Livingston wildlife biologist

This situation with the elk tags has been a longtime coming, it is not a sudden thing, they had already planned on it from the papers produced in Jan. 2015. Also, on the Hell's A-Roarin Outfitter website, they state, "We live and hunt just North of Yellowstone National Park. Many outfitters come here to fill their personal tags! We have been in business 28 years ... My hunters have taken close to 2,000 bull elk..."
2000 bull elk divided by 28 years equals 71.4 bull elk a year from that area! Could this be contributing to the much lower bull count in that area?

Pg. 2 of the FWP report states Bull ratios ranged from a low of 12.1 bulls per 100 cows within Montana, and the observed ratio of 15.2 total bulls per 100 cows is very similar to results of 15.8 bulls per 100 cows observed in 2013, and lower than the 21 - year average of 29.1 bulls per 100 cows. The observed ratio of 6.5 brow - tined bulls per 100 cows is the lowest observed since surveys began, however the observed ratio of 8.7 yearling bulls per 100 cows is above recent and longterm averages (Table 2, Figure 4).

"The 2015 results of 8.7 yearling bulls per 100 cows indicate increased yearling survival as compared to surveys conducted during 2008 - 2013 which resulted in ratios ranging between 2 - 5 yearling bulls per 100 cows. In spite of this observed increase in yearling bull ratios, mature bull ratios for the entire herd declined this year to an all time low of 6.5 brow-tined bulls per 100 cows. Mature bull ratios within the Montana portion have remained stable at 2.7 - 3.1 brow-tined bulls per 100 cows for 3 years, having increased slightly from the low of 0.8 brow-tined bull per 100 cows observed in 2012. Harvest of brow-tined bulls has increased in recent years in spite of the long-term decline in elk numbers; the most recent 10-year average is higher than the long term average, and the 2014 harvest of 315 brow-tined bulls is the highest harvest since 2006 and the second highest harvest since 1994. The increased bull harvest corresponding with reduced overall elk numbers results in an increasingly greater proportion of the bull population being harvested annually (Figures 5 & 6)."

In the YNP report, page 2, "Predation by wolves and other large carnivores (i.e. grizzly bears, black bears, cougars), past human harvests of antler-less elk during the Gardiner Late Hunt, and drought effects on maternal condition and recruitment were indicated as the primary factors contributing to the decreasing trend during 1995-2005. To reduce hunter mortality on female elk, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks reduced the number of antler-less permits for the Gardiner Late Elk Hunt from 1,102 in 2005 to 100 per season during 2006-2010, and eliminated this hunt beginning in 2011. Although lag effects from harvests may continue for some time, these reductions should increase the survival of prime-aged females with their high reproductive value and recruitment of calves into the breeding population into the future. Also, a substantial decrease from 94 to 42 (~47% decrease) wolves occurred on the portion of the winter range for northern Yellowstone elk inside the park during 2007-2014 due to intra-specific strife, food stress, and disease. This decrease suggests the wolf population may be beginning to respond numerically to decreased elk availability...

The winter distribution of northern Yellowstone elk has changed since 2008, with more than one-half of the counted elk being observed north of Yellowstone National Park. Possible reasons for a high proportion of elk migrating to this lower elevation winter range include milder environmental conditions (e.g., less snow) and better forage availability. Wolf densities and the cessation of the late hunt may also be factors influencing the winter distribution of elk."

Wilderness, Wildlife, and Ecological Values of the
Hyalite-Porcupine-Buffalo Horn Wilderness Study Area
Lance sent the following research page, which includes their presentation that was presented at the Bozeman Public Library on Sept. 28th. "This report is a review of existing data and literature that were available in 2015 pertaining to the Hyalite Porcupine Buffalo Horn Wilderness Study Area which is located in the Gallatin National Forest in the Gallatin Mountains of southcentral Montana."

The Pursuit of Peace & Powder 
 Despite pulling application to explore Emigrant Gulch, mining company "not going away"
"PARADISE VALLEY - The Canadian Company hoping to look for gold and other minerals in the Paradise Valley has withdrawn one of its permit applications.  Lucky Minerals applied for permits to drill on public and private lands in the Emigrant Gulch area north of Chico Hot Springs.  The Forest Service received more than 6,200 letters comments, almost all raising concerns about the possibility of a drilling and mine in the area.   'We determined that an environmental assessment was the appropriate level of analysis and we were working with Lucky minerals to determine how to move forward with that and at that junction they decided to withdraw their proposal on national forest system lands and only continue looking at exploratory drilling on private property,' said Custer-Gallatin National Forest Service Public Information Officer Marna Daley."

Central Montana

Double Gobble: The tale of Montana's two types of turkeys
"Montana was void of wild turkeys until 1954, when then-Montana Department of Fish and Game released 13 Merriam's turkeys from Colorado into the Judith Mountains of central Montana. The transplant was followed by 1955 releases of 18 Merriam's from Wyoming into the Long Pines and 26 birds in 1956 and 1957 into the Ashland area of southeastern Montana, according to Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks.

It was also during that time period that turkeys of the Eastern subspecies were illegally released in the Flathead Valley, said FWP game management Bureau Chief John Vore. Eastern turkeys are native to the hardwood forests of the eastern U.S. -- habitats much different than those of the Rocky Mountain West, he said."

Missouri River Country

Montana Conservation Corps crew helps with Hi-Line fencing work
"To complete several large 2015 field season projects in the Little Rocky Mountains, the Bureau of Land Management Malta Field Office hired a six-person Montana Conservation Corps crew.
The MCC crew pried about 1½ miles of barbed wire from the landscape west of Landusky. 'The fence was not authorized or built to BLM standards,' said Kathy Tribby, a BLM wildlife biologist. 'Much of the wire had been cut or broken over the years and posed a safety hazard to wildlife and the public. This portion of the Little Rockies is important winter habitat for elk and mule deer. "

Southeast Montana

The Montana Conservation Ethic - Jim Posewitz
"Flash forward fifty years: the Yellowstone River is still intact, and Colstrip has but four of those coal fired plants. We can thank the conservation ethic held by the people that had the foresight to know that our natural landscapes are worth preserving.

Once again, Montana is poised to lead the nation as The Clean Power Plan is debated and designed. We are a state known for our tenacity and ability to come together to solve problems. It is now more important than ever to support Governor Bullock's plan to make the Clean Power Plan work for Montana by coming up with a solution that is both respectful of the communities impacted and welcoming to new wind and solar technologies.

The Clean Power Plan is the perfect opportunity to embrace, expand and apply the traditional Montana conservation ethic - this time, not only to preserve Montana's landscape, but also to address the health of an entire planet."

West & US

The elephant in the water-quality room
"It's also noteworthy that Dayton announced the summit before the state's largest agricultural groups - the Farm Bureau and the Farmers Union - where he boldly spoke the truth: "Modern farming practices, especially the use of nitrogen fertilizer," contribute to farm-country lakes being mostly lost.

There's more than farming to blame, of course, like those who overdose lawn fertilizers or root out shoreland vegetation or fail to correct a faulty septic system. There also are local governments that bulldoze and pave and otherwise destroy natural vegetation in near-lake watersheds."

Wyoming loves their unnaturally congregated elk disease breeding grounds
"The Jackson Ranger District of the Bridger-Teton National Forest announces that Forest Supervisor Tricia O'Connor signed a Record of Decision approving the authorization of continued use of Alkali Creek Elk Feedground by the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission (the Commission)."

Initiative Announced to Reclassify Federal Lands in Wyoming
"County officials from across Wyoming are launching a push to get Congress to re-evaluate the state's federal wilderness study areas and possibly swap some of them for state lands, which could lead to more development."   

Ranchers denied the drought while collecting drought subsidies
"By denying the severity of the drought - and by claiming that 'rogue' federal bureaucrats threatened them with economic ruin - the ranchers won the day. But even as the conflict played out, some of these same ranchers were collecting drought subsidies from the federal government.

On one hand, they denied the drought. On the other hand, they embraced it."

I would like to thank the following contributors for supporting EMWH. Your gift is very much appreciated.
J L Ashmore
, Tony Schoonen, Harold Johns, Jim Griffin

If you would like to further this work and research,   please click to contribute to EMWH.
Thank you,
Kathryn QannaYahu


Wildlife  &



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