Putting the "Public" Back In "Public Trust"

Fool Me Once, Shame on You - Fool Me Twice...

Fool Me Once - Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks lost control of bison as wildlife because of the assumption that bison were the brucellosis diseased vermin that the special interest ag/livestock industries painted them to be, a threat to their livestock industry and responsible for cattle infections. They stated that diseased bison could not be allowed out of the Yellowstone National Park because they would infect the Montana cattle, thereby jeopardizing Montana's Brucellosis Class Free status. So the Department of Livestock got legislative control of the wild bison through 81-2-120. As I said, it was an assumption. They fooled us once.

The science of genetics has proved there has not been a single case of wild bison to cattle transmission - ever. Not just in Montana, but in the entire GYA, even when cattle have been run with bison in Wyoming for about 50 years. Yet the Department of Livestock, knowing this, still retains legislative control over bison entering Montana. Bison are either hazed back to the Park, captured for studies, or killed. As a result, we have no wild bison on public lands in Montana.

Since 2007, the DOL have been targeting elk as the source of the cattle infections, a campaign to go after another of our wildlife exposed to the European livestock disease brucellosis by the early Montana settlers. Again, they have been trying to get legislative control over our elk, as they did the bison, and again, we hear them beat the drums that the elk are diseased vermin their livestock need to be protected from.

So where are the tests showing the elk are the sources of the cattle infections?

Did FWP ever conduct an independent study of the cattle infections in Montana from 2007 to present, to see if it was in fact the elk causing the infections? No.

So once again, we are taking the word of the DOL, which also advocates the APHIS agenda of brucellosis eradication in all wildlife? A state agency which knows the bison have not been the transmission source to cattle and yet has never admitted this to the public and had 81-2-120 repealed? An agency who knew that the 2007 brucellosis infected Corriente cow had aborted in Dec. 2005 and again in 2006, with no fetal testing, was then moved from the Morgan ranch in Bridger, MT, to a sale barn in Baker, MT. This diseased Corriente cow, which had aborted twice, unethically was sold in a mixed lot to TransOva Genetics in Sioux City, Iowa. Ironically this Corriente cow that had aborted at least twice before was purchased to be a recipient for embryo transplants. A Certificate of Veterinary Inspection was signed BEFORE the brucellosis test results came back and the infected cow was shipped out of state. Having purchased livestock in the past, I would sure be furious at having a diseased cow passed off on me. The whole shipped herd had to be depopulated in Iowa. The DOL has known this and yet none of this information was in the papers or presented to the public, but elk were implicated.

Was it elk's fault that a diseased cow was unethically passed off to other buyers jeopardizing other herds? No.
Was it elk's fault that a MT vet signed off on a Certificate of Veterinary Inspection before the brucellosis test results came in jeopardizing other herds? No.
Was it elk's fault that a diseased cow was shipped across state lines jeopardizing other states herds? No.

So here's the money question that FWP, the Public Trust stewards of our wildlife, should have been asking when the target started appearing on the elk: Are elk the source of all the brucellosis cattle infections in Montana?

Fool me twice...
More on the Montana brucellosis cattle infections coming soon.

Elk Brucellosis Lawsuit Update: There have been rumors that the Skyline Sportsmen and Anaconda Sportsmens Associations lawsuit against FWP & the FWP Commission concerning Elk Management in Areas with Brucellosis was dropped or settled. The Skyline lawsuit has not been dropped, nor has it been settled. The FWP has until the 18th of June to answer the lawsuit, negotiate for resolution.

This lawsuit, contrary to the misunderstandings out there, involves not just the Paradise Valley modifications, nor the Montana Elk Management in Areas with Brucellosis program, but the bigger picture of the need for the Environmental Review - a MEPA, required by FWP and the FWP Commission, before managing elk for brucellosis and transmission to Montana's cattle. What is currently the law is "Management of viable elk populations based on habitat acreage". To deviate from this requires a MEPA.

This also brings up the question: Has FWP ever conducted an independent study of whether or not the elk are actually the source of the Montana cattle infections? They have not. They just took the word of the Department of Livestock that elk were responsible, but my research into this matter has been showing that is not the case for the majority of the handful of infections that have occurred since 2007. This is not scientific wildlife management. Hence the need for this lawsuit against FWP and the FWP Commission.

The Skyline/Anaconda sportsmen are standing up for the Public Trust Doctrine, for scientific wildlife management, one of the principles of the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation. They are personally putting their money where there values are. If you would like to contribute to the Skyline/Anaconda Elk Litigation Fund, which they have already been paying for, we would greatly appreciate it.
Skyline/Anaconda Elk Litigation Fund
PO Box 173, Butte, MT 59701

FWP Hunt Roster - ELK
On a connecting issue, MT FWP is advertising that the Hunt Roster is open. While the Hunt Roster has been used for Game Damage and Management Seasons, which are legal, they have included it for elk brucellosis lethal removals. In the 2013 season, though the Hunt Roster was supposed to be used for the lethal removals that took place that season, none has been provided from requests. Then I found out the whole program was operating outside of the law and needed a MEPA anyway. So this year they are advertising, "Hunters from the roster may also be used to disperse elk in some areas of southwestern Montana where there is risk of brucellosis transmission between elk and livestock. An elk management removal is a management response to the risk of brucellosis transmission between elk and livestock. These small scale removals reduce commingling events between elk and livestock using a very limited number of hunters and harvest to adjust elk distribution in a localized area. These removals may take place throughout the winter and early spring and are applied only in those areas near Yellowstone National Park with brucellosis prevalence. Elk management removals are not used to control elk population size. Before the management removal option can be used, it needs to be adopted by the Fish & Wildlife Commission in a 2015 annual work plan."

MT's Brucellosis Designated Surveillance Area, which gives MT DOL and APHIS increased jurisdiction. DOL never did a MEPA before the creation of the DSA. DSA map.

MT DOL Comment Period on DSA (Designated Surveillance Area) Boundary Adjustment Opens, The public comment period closes July 12. Public comment will be accepted at the meeting, or can be submitted via email at MDOLcomments@mt.gov or via US postal mail at Christian Mackay, 301 N. Roberts St., Room 308, P.O. Box 202001, Helena, MT 59620-2001.

Public Meeting set for July 2. The department will host a public meeting at 10 a.m. on July 2 at Headwaters Livestock Auction in Three Forks to discuss the proposal.

Wyoming isn’t afraid of its roaming bison by Todd Wilkinson
"For the next many weeks until early autumn, 300 steers will fatten up while sharing nearby grasslands with hundreds of public bison and elk known to carry brucellosis.
No personnel from either the Wyoming departments of Livestock or Game and Fish are aggressively hazing bison and elk away from Pinto cattle, preemptively killing buffalo and wapiti or making outspoken declarations about disease risk, suggesting that Wyoming might lose its coveted brucellosis-free status."

MT Sportsmen's Dollars Thrown Away - 5 entities in the running to get Yellowstone bison
How much of our FWP sportsmens dollars have been used for wild bison that will be turned over to Tribal Nations, other states, private entities or zoo's? Yet we have no wild bison on public lands in Montana for the public and the hunting of wild bison in Montana is under the jurisdiction of the DOL MT St. Vet.

Public Lands
What the president can do for conservation by former DOI Secretary Bruce Babbit
"When a racist rancher in Nevada and his armed supporters can command headlines by claiming to own and control publicly owned lands, perhaps it's time to remind Westerners about the history of the nation's public-land heritage.

Recall that it is we, the American people, who own the public lands that make up so much of our Western states. These great open spaces are the birthright of all of us, not just the residents of Nevada or Arizona or other Western states. The question of ownership of the public lands was settled by the founding fathers, in favor of you and me, by the Maryland compromise reached in 1781, and carried forward in the property clause of Article IV in the United States Constitution."

National Monuments: Conservation of America's Extraordinary Landscapes by Rick Reese
"If the 'local support' that Sec. Jewell and Sen. Tester want for any new National Monuments had been required for the creation of National Monuments in the past, Americans visiting the valley of Jackson Hole today would likely see wall to wall condos, honkytonks and worse . Likewise, four of the five now-cherished National Parks in Rep. Bishop's home state may never have happened.

Some local support is helpful, but what's really needed for the conservation of America's extraordinary landscapes today is foresight and political leadership. Babbitt has it right. Does Barack Obama?"

EMWH would like to thank Don Bachman and Tim Crawford of the C3 Ranches for their contributions. They are very much appreciated.

Thank you,
Kathryn QannaYahu


Wildlife &


Bozeman, MT

For More EMWH

War On Montana's
Wildlife & Environment























































































If you would like to be subscribed to the EMWH newsletter, please click EMAIL and type "subscribe" in the subject line. Likewise, if you would prefer not to receive email updates, simply reply with "unsubscribe" in the subject line and we will promptly remove you from the list. Thank you.