Putting the "Public" Back In "Public Trust"

"We have fallen heirs to the most glorious heritage
a people ever received, and each one must do his part
†if we wish to show that the nation is worthy of its good fortune
- Theodore Roosevelt


MISSING Files Montana BLM Bullwhacker Access Federal Public Comments Record

At the bottom left column of the webpage, I have chronologically detailed my July 29th BLM FOIA request for all the sign in sheets, meeting minutes and all public comments submitted on the Bullwhacker Access process. I received my FOIA on Sept. 4th, the date of the last newsletter, BUT, the 112 page Bullwhacker Access Public Comments PDF is MISSING substantial public comments from a federal public record that were against a Wilks Durfee Hills land exchange, most advocating for an east side road where a two track already exists or no action, including mine and others that I had copies of. I have notified upper BLM and D.C, as well as Sen. Tester's office of the missing comments, asking where they are. If your comments are missing, regardless of position, if you are willing, please forward your comments to me so that we can rebuild the missing records, hold the BLM accountable. My suggestion is please do not forward them to the Lewistown BLM at this time, to force them to come up with ALL the missing records, not just "find" what we provide them. If they dont know what we have, we stand a better chance of getting all the records restored if they still have them. The BLM FOIA PDF and list of 49 commenters that were included are on the Missing Files webpage linked above.

Environmental Quality Council Interim Legislature Meeting, we had a number of hunter conservationists there to comment on the various subjects of concern, especially the FWP Gamed Damage amendment and elk shoulder seasons. I encourage you to watch the highlighted sections to see what is taking place, my short notes here do not do justice. Thank you to all the concerned conservation public that took time out from enjoying the outdoors to be at the EQC. The Elk Shoulder season issue received about 1100 comments. The FWP will be making a decision by the end of Nov. for game damage. There is a FWP Commission work session scheduled for the 18th of September, 11:00 in Helena, no public comments will be allowed, as no actions are being taken. The next Commission meeting is Thursday, Oct. 8th.

September 9 Video link
DNRC Program Evaluation 1:08:55, $2.00 of every conservation license goes to the Trust Lands, whether you use them or not, which generated $1 million, from about 500,000 licenses (hunt, fish or trap) sold last year.† Recreational Use License (hike, camp, chop firewood) $10, $20 for a family, about 7000 sold raised about $163,000. Kathryn QannaYahu 1:23:09, unreasonably low outfitter lease rates, inconsistent lease prices. Ron Moody 1:30:46, DNRC lands poorly signed and identified, needs to work on signage so the recreation community knows where available state land is, especially at access points, would be great service to the public.
Fort Belknap Bison Update 5:17:24 Dr. Layton determined that 19 of the 34 bison died of salt toxicosis, they did not have enough water. These are the bison that belonged to the Montana public, having gone through a 5 year brucellosis quarantine program, which were then just given away to the Sovereign Native American Nation.
Federal Road Management (HJ13) 5:48:20 - Ron Moody for Public Land/Water Access Association 6:35:04; Rob Bullis 6:39:00 other roads than just Forest Service roads involved; Gayle Joslin 6:41:00 habitat security denigration causing social conflicts - wildlife security standards.
Public Access to Federal Land (HJ13) 7:25:38 - Kathryn QannaYahu 8:05:22 private landowners illegally blocking access should be fined, HB 304. Contrary to next speaker HB 304 sought to include among the
willful, intentional neglect or failure to act obstructions, a locked gate as an encroachment. With the fine being increased from $10 a day to $500 dollars a day. Ron Moody, PLWA 8:18:00 only costs $10-$15 for chain and padlock to close a public road, but it costs $50,000-$100,000 in legal fees and 20 years of litigation with 2 or 3 trips to the State Supreme Court.

September 10 Video Link
FWP Program Evaluation: Wildlife Conflict Management - also Game Damage, Elk Shoulder Season - Marc Cooke with Wolves of the Rockies spoke to declining conflicts with wolves, wildlife urban interface conflicts which involves more than just predators; Kathryn QannaYahu EMWH, 56:21 Game Damage Audit failure, outfitter connection to over objective conversation; Jim Posewitz retired FWP 1:05:52 Public Trust, antlerless qualifications; Gayle Joslin retired FWP, Helena Hunters & Anglers 1:11:5, Game Damage, privatization perfect storm, wildlife standards; Tony Schoonen 1:21:21 game damage and elk shoulder seasons will put hunting back decades; Chuck Denowah (UPOM) 1:23:58 spoke for commercialization as a way for landowners to recoup costs; Leroy Mehring Vice President of Skyline Sportsmen's Association 1:26:23 this game damage amendment and elk shoulder seasons will open the door for ranching for wildlife, game was here on the ground before landowners, belong to the people of the state of Montana; Lorry Thomas President of Anaconda Sportsmen Association 1:28:12 against commercialization of our wildlife, afraid we are losing our fish & game department; Ron Moody, former FWP Commissioner, 1:28:53 strength of public access, ownership of public wildlife, public trust management of wildlife; Rob Bullis 1:41:50 we have the brain power to figure out how to make this better, step back and evaluate; Nick Gevock Montana Wildlife Federation 1:45:14 constitutional law that landowners accept wildlife is a condition of the land, landowners have to choose to use game damage, speaks to need for harboring bill; Harold Johns President of Skyline Sportsmen's Association 1:48:19 FWP isnt looking out for sportsmen, but landowners, baiting is occurring in Montana and is against the law; Tom Pozega 1:53:01 remember our heritage for future generations, Montana is Last Best Place. John Gibson, President of PLWA, sent a written comment which I submitted to the EQC, advocating for the Public Trust Doctrine and North American Model, that the wildlife belong to the people, against privatization.
FWP Director's Agency Update - 3:20:? - Kathryn QannaYahu† EMWH 3:48:47 we are not welfare recipients, our sportsmens dollars pay for our agency and we deserve scientific wildlife management from our FWP agency, which is a member of AFWA and WAFWA, subscribing to the Public Trust Doctrine and North American Model of Wildlife Conservation.

Afterwards, a number of us had a meeting with Dir. Hagener to express our concerns with the agency, a path forward. I would just like to state, though other surrounding western states may be members of AFWA and WAFWA, choosing not follow the Public Trust Doctrine and North American Model of Wildlife Conservation, this is not what many of us want from our FWP agency, we want the Public Trust Doctrine from our agency. As one gentleman stated, "We are the Last Best Place, we dont want Montana to be like those other states."

Also, some FWP employees may not know, concerning supplemental game damage licenses, "A landowner may not charge a fee to a hunter using a license obtained pursuant to this section." MCA 87-2-520

Where is OVER? Montana EMWH lending library project, of a sort. OVERDEVELOPMENT, OVERPOPULATION, OVERSHOOT (OVER) Copies available to view in Bozeman, Missoula, Helena and Lewistown.

Montana hunter explains reasons he hunts with a bow
My reasons for archery hunting have changed over the years. Mostly, I just plain enjoy being outside that time of the year, with a chance to get within close range of elk. My personal rule is anything I shoot must be consumed.

Glacier Country
Where people go, mountain goats follow
In a normal mountain goat environment, they would travel to natural mineral licks ó limestone deposits in the soil. Goats and other ungulates have been known to travel for miles to get to these places, taught the routes by hundreds of years of generations of furry kin. But at Logan Pass, the goats increasingly have been getting their salt from a completely unnatural source ó human sweat, urine and car antifreeze.

FWP kills mountain lion in Rattlesnake neighborhood
" 'Itís the deer,' he said. 'This urban wildlife phenomenon thatís going on throughout the West is sort of amplified here in Missoula. Rattlesnake Creek is a great example. You have lawns being watered dawn to dusk through September. Itís a green oasis. You have wonderful European shrubs that highlight the (deerís) tastebuds and, sadly, you know, people do feed them. And thereís a lot of birdseed. Deer will eat that and theyíll eat stuff in gardens. Itís a wildlife nirvana.' "

Southwest Montana
Lima man pleads not guilty to taking trees from wildlife refuge
"In December 2014, a Bureau of Land Management forester estimated the value of the 52 trees at $17,993.07 using a 'triple stumpage' valuation process. In addition to the stumpage value, the refuge land itself was harmed, documents state. The total amount of restitution is $9,297.69 based on single stumpage. If convicted of the offenses, Young faces one year in prison, up to $100,000 in fines and one year supervised release."
If that is the BLM value and penalty of those 52 trees, what about the hundreds that the Wilks Bulldozed in the Durfee Hills?

Donít Let a Massive Copper Mine Degrade the Smith Riverís Water Quality and Wild Trout Fishery
"A Canadian copper mining company, Tintina Resources, wants to build a massive copper mine at the headwaters of the Smith River. If the proposed Black Butte Copper Mine is built, it has a significant potential to ruin the Smithís water quality. A mining blowout, like what recently happened on Colorado's Animas River, could harm its nationally-renowned wild trout fishery through acid mine drainage, contaminated wastewater, and nutrient pollution."

Yellowstone Country
Wing barrels to help wildlife biologists (Southwest MT and Yellowstone)
"They might look like trash cans, but the blue metal barrels dotting southern Beaverhead County are a depository for hunters to place wings from birds they harvest.

The state wants the wings for research. By looking at a single wing, biologists can determine the age, gender and how well the bird fared in the past year.

Hunters are asked to place one wing from each sage grouse, mountain grouse, or Hungarian partridge they take, according to the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks... The eight barrels can be found on Monida Hill, near Big Sheep Creek and Sage Creek and east of Dillon, in the extreme southwest corner of Region 3."

Age and Sex Identification from Wings of Sage-Grouse by Clait Braun

Central Montana
Opposition to new land trade grows
The land exchange proposal Ė which would restore motorized road access to the Bullwhacker area Ė is not gaining fans everywhere. In Lewistown, a large group of sportsmen, Central Montana Outdoors, are vocal in their disdain for the plan, putting together a petition late Saturday night that already has more than 2,000 signatures.

This is the second petition the group has put together to protect the Durfee Hills. In 2014, their petition was heard and contributed to the dismissal of the first exchange plan. "On Sept. 26, 2014, the BLM issued an official press release stating Ďa proposed land exchange to restore access was considered, but was determined to be not in the best interest of the American people who have entrusted the BLM to manage their public lands for them," the petition states.

Public lands are under siege by Jack Jones, retired BLM
"This is the same situation that existed in the notch near Glen. I was very persistent for a year and the federal judge ordered BLM to construct the new road around the private landowner from California blocking access there. This was accomplished with practically no support and can be done in the appeal process with Wilks. The appeal process should be used on the Wilksí issues as well. Donít expect the Wilkses to allow access in the future. They want our valuable big game habitat in Fergus County as a part of the deal. Itís no BLM to both, we have had enough! BLM is subject to the False Statements Act and Federal Data Quality Act - they cannot lie to us under the laws. The same thing was tried on the Notch road, so call it the 'Jones road,' it wouldnít be there without my appeal to the federal judge. Now we are assured of access to the Notch area forever."

Missouri River Country
Veterinarian: Fort Belknap bison killed by salt poisoning (lack of water)
"Salt poisoning is believed to have killed 19 quarantined bison on the Fort Belknap Reservation in July, according to tests performed on tissue from two of the dead animals.

'Weíve ruled everything else out,' Bill Layton, a veterinarian at the Montana Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, told members of the Environmental Quality Council at its Wednesday meeting in Helena."
These were the Montana public's bison, that went through a 5 year quarantine period,† that should have gone on Montana public lands for the benefit of the public, instead, they were given away to a sovereign nation, now 19 of the 35 are dead.

Southeast Montana
At Hearings Across West, Public Demands Federal Coal Leasing Reform
Here are some of the highlights:
In Billings, Montana, people who testified in support of coal leasing reform outnumbered coal company supports by a ratio of 3:1: 'It's time that you crack down on coal companies that have been getting sweetheart deals for too long,' said Renette Kaline, of the Northern Cheyenne Indian Tribe. 'You must take a look at what you're doing and the ripple effect it has on our lives, our land.'

No Legislative consensus on Land and Water Conservation Fund
The debate that occurred during a Legislative hearing is probably a microcosm of the Congressional struggle taking place over the re-authorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

Hunter Who Baited Elk With Salt Loses Appeal
"A big-game outfitter who used salt to bait elk and deer for his clients to hunt from tree stands failed to overturn his convictions in the Tenth Circuit. Dennis Rodebaugh, now 74, was convicted in 2013 on six counts of breaching the Lacey Act, a federal law that prohibits the trade of wildlife and plants that have been obtained unlawfully. Since 1987, the Meeker, Colo., man had used his business, D & S Guide and Outfitters, to lead out-of-state hunting clients on elk and deer hunts in the White River National Forest. Wildlife officials got a tip in 2005 about the very high shot percentages Rodebaugh's clients enjoyed, prompting a massive undercover investigation by state and federal agents. Though Rodebaugh initially denied that he was baiting the animals, the government's hidden cameras caught the man spreading a mineral supplement called 'sheep salt' around his tree stands."

The GOP's Shocking Attack on America's National Forests
Two Republican bills currently making their way through Congress should anger any American who cares about the nation's forests. Introduced this summer, both bills are pro-industry and anti-environment, and seek to eliminate public participation in federal decisions about forest management that could negatively impact local communities, ecological health and wildlife.

Wyoming Elk: To Feed or Not to Feed during the Winter?
" 'To feed, or not to feed?' is the question being debated when it comes to elk in western Wyoming. A decision to renew a feeding permit is pending in the Bridger-Teton National Forest, and there are at least 30 other feeding sites."

Rants from the Hill: Don't fence me in
The negative impact of these kinds of fences on wildlife is very real. Although moose, bighorn sheep, elk, deer, and pronghorn can jump fences, fatal entanglement is disconcertingly common, with studies suggesting that each year one ungulate ensnarement death occurs for every 2.5 miles of fence. And fences present significant barriers to pregnant and young animals. The same study indicated that when ungulates were found dead near (but not entangled in) fences, there was one annual death per 1.2 miles of fence. 90% of these fatalities were fawns that were unable to cross the fence to follow their mothers. Multiply those casualty numbers by 100,000 miles of fence and that's a lot of carnage. Fences are also a serious hazard to low-flying birds such as swans, cranes, and geese, as well as the grouse, hawks, and owls that are native here in the sagebrush steppe. This is why northern Nevadaís 575,000-acre Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge, established primarily to protect pronghorn, has removed almost 300 miles of interior fencing.

I would like to thank the following contributors for helping to support EMWH. Your gift is very much appreciated.
Kevin Feist

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

Thank you,
Kathryn QannaYahu


Wildlife &


Bozeman, MT

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