Elk Brucellosis Park Co. "Working Group"

6 foot tall fences, elk and private hunting parties? I dont know what they call that here in Montana, but back in Texas, we called it "Game Ranching".

Below are the pages for the 3 meetings of the Park County Elk Brucellosis "Working Group"
Each page gives highlights of the meeting transcribed, audio files so you can hear for yourself the true objectives of these Park County ranchers towards our public trust elk and FWP sportsmens dollars. This Elk Management in Areas With Brucellosis program, out of Helena, is not being managed for wildlife. These rancher "modifications" have been submitted to the FWP Commission for approval at the February 13, 2013 Commission Mtg.
Extended Kill Permits & Elk Management Removal dates, as well as Montana sportsmens dollars paying for miles of tall, wildlife restrictive fencing for ranchers (no public hunter access during the general season required), in an area that has been in a steady decline for nearly a decade. The original program was bad enough, but this has taken a major leap into the Socialized Agriculture pool and Game Ranching direction - using Montana Sportsmen's dollars! In addition, there are elk hunting season proposals for Paradise Valley.

This is a major Public Trust and North American Model of Wildlife Conservation conflict.

Elk Brucellosis Modifications FWP Commission Public Comments

My public comment objection email, Feb. 13, 2014, to the FWP Commission

Please contact the FWP Commissioners (contact at bottom), they approved the adoption,
to submit your public comments before March 21, 2014

Helena FWP is advocating this agenda, as they have each stage of this program to the FWP Commissioners, bypassing the need for the required Environmental Review that scientific wildlife management is based on.

FWP Helena's Proposed Motion - "I move to adopt the proposed 2014 annual work plan modifications for the brucellosis-related elk management tools in the Paradise Valley as presented by FWP."

Special Interest Ranching Group Upper Yellowstone Watershed Basin. This group has never been set up based on the Statewide Elk Brucellosis Working Group recommendations. It has always been referred to as the UYWB basin work group and from the very beginning rancher Druska Kinkie was set up as chair. There was not the multi stakeholder representation or process.
Email from UYWB stating they appointed rancher Druska Kinkie as chair ofn the Elk Brucellosis Local Working Group

Email to FWP Quentin Kujula about "local working group"

January 28, 2014 Meeting with Audio File

Dr. Mark Albrecht, DVM, ...does lethal removal minimize the risk of transmission? You may disperse those elk, and if youre talking about 6-10 elk, youre putting a fetus on the ground between May 1st and May 15th. You just put brucellosis on the ground. Im sure that caution would be used to the best it could, but caution really needs to be used well to make sure that theres not an opportunity for livestock having contact with where that gut pile is. Because that is an abortion. An abortion is how this is transmitted, its not commingling, its the abortion event and that lethal removal is an abortion event."

December 18, 2013 Meeting with Audio File


November 7, 2013 Meeting with Audio File


Background Timeline and Information on FWP Elk Management in Areas with Brucellosis

FWP Elk Management in Areas with Brucellosis 2014 Work Plan

2014 Elk Work Plan Public Comments

Supreme Court of Montana. State V. C. R. Rathbone decision, "Montana is one of the few areas in the nation where wild game abounds. It is regarded as one of the greatest of the state's natural resources, as well as the chief attraction for visitors. Wild game existed here long before the coming of man. One who acquires property in Montana does so with notice and knowledge of the presence of wild game and presumably is cognizant of its natural habits. Wild game does not possess the power to distinguish between fructus naturales and fructus industriales, and cannot like domestic animals be controlled through an owner. Accordingly a property owner in this state must recognize the fact that there may be some injury to property or inconvenience from wild game for which there is no recourse." C.R. Rathbone was convicted for shooting an elk, out of season, for eating the grass at his ranch.)

Montana Livestock Legal Fences Defined 81-4-101 thru 108

Montana Legislative Services Division - Legal Services Office, Legislative Inquiry into the MT Elk Management In Areas With Brucellosis finding - "Based on a review of the foregoing information, it appears that there is no specific reference in the Montana Code Annotated regarding the Departments's authority to manage elk for purposes of reducing or preventing the transmission of brucellosis between elk and livestock." Dec. 6, 2013

Montana Legislative Services Division, Requested Staff Legal Opinion on the Application of MEPA to the Department of Livestock's Designated Surveillance Area for Brucellosis Official Order - "The DOL is not a state agency that is exempted from MEPA. The DOL Order is an action that is defined under MEPA and the DOL's administrative rules and the DOL Order likely is not exempted or excluded from MEPA review...Based on this unfortunately lengthy but necessary legal analysis, the DOL's Order probably should have been subjected to the MEPA review process" Feb. 25, 2010

Wildlife Biologist Objections
1st FWP wildlife biologist comments against draft Proposed Recommendations. This one is a large list of points and very pertinent, "There are some points here that take us down some very dangerous roads. They are playing interests against one another, and I really have to wonder where the sportsmen’s voice is in all this. We could be paying landowners to fence out elk? Paying for vaccination? All the while reducing elk populations and thusly elk opportunities for sportsmen? I really hope that SOMEONE in our agency stands up to some of the points presented in here, or we may face some major problems in the future.", 2nd wildlife biologist comments. "Are livestock producers and other constituents willing to stand by this when other members of the public , MOGA, etc cry foul on us?" Park County and DSA science and stats below.

Please Contact the FWP Director, Deputy Director and FWP Commissioners (below) to protest this APHIS/DOL, political, livestock management out of our Montana Elk Management.

According to Montana Department of Livestock's State Veterinarian, Dr. Marty Zaluski's testimony, based on the responsible science, "The chance that any one Montana animal (context was cattle) is brucellosis positive is 0.00024%." Not all cases of brucellosis in cattle and domestic bison in Montana (or the other 2 GYA states), since 2008 (when genetics advanced to determine), have been due to elk.

Wildlife Management should be based on current, responsible, ethical science; not special interest groups greed, socialized agriculture, politics and the APHIS brucellosis eradication in our wildlife agenda holding the 3 GYA states of Wyoming, Idaho and Montana hostage by forcing them to capitulate to a Brucellosis Management Plan and Memorandum of Understanding, in order to receiven the Brucellosis Class Free Status. This does not have to be an "us against them" situation. We can have a healthy livestock industry and wildlife managed wildlife in Montana, for the benefit of a stronger, prosperous Montana.

WILDLIFE are not livestock,
they are just that, WILD LIFE.


Where's The Wildlife Management Science?

Park County and DSA Science and Stats

Northern park elk population still dropping

Bison EA PG. 49 Elk HD 313 Widlife Biology Information

FWP Region 3 Wildlife Biologist DSA Elk Comments

2013 Elk Winter Count Estimates Chart Highlighted

2013 Elk HD Map with 2013 Elk Winter Counts Highlighted

Changes in Elk Resource Selection and Distributions Associated With a Late-Season Elk Hunt 2010

2013 Winter Elk Counts HD Chart This chart is from the FWP website. I have taken zero as the baseline, anything below the objective number is highlighted yellow and the negative number written beside it in red. If it is less than 100 above, that is noted in black. This information was then plotted on a MT Ek HD map below. That way you can see the massive islands of connected yellow.

Park County Elk Survey 2013 Chart this chart was supplied by FWP wildlife biologist when I requested it. I have taken a screenshot and added the stats in red. HD 313, where kill permits were issued to the Kinkies (spring of 2013, they did not use them, said elk moved on) is under objective -25%. The Yearling Bull count is .56%. In Hunt District 317, where the dispersal kill occured at the ranches, it is -16% under objective, with YRL Bull count .9%. There were no cow/calf counts done in HD's 314, 317, 315.

Park County Game Damage Complaints from 2007-2012 - I contacted our FWP office and requested the last 6 years of game damage for Region 3 and specifically Park County. I have highlighted Park County/elk. The reason I chose these dates is that 2007 was the year they knew genetically the wildlife brucellosis infecting cattle was from the elk genotype, not the bison. The end date is the last year before this bloody working group program got started in 2013. As you can see, in 6 years, Park Co. had 5 elk complaints. 2007 - 1, 2008 - 3, 2010 - 1. The last 2 years there were none. So if elk are such a horrific problem there, why did the ranchers not contact FWP, file complaints under game damage and utilize public hunter access to mediate some of this conflict?

Yet in Nov. 2012, when this elk brucellosis draft Proposed Recommendations was going through, they already had a rancher put in a request under this program, with no public hunter access. Then in Jan. 2013, days before the Proposed Recommendations were voted on the 10th, 4 Paradise Valley ranchers put in dispersal hunt requests for their ranches, again, with no public hunter access and several more stack fencing requests. The Durgans wanted more than the 2000.00 saying they had larger stacks. Then the Kinkies wanted kill permits. All of this is funded by FWP sportsmens dollars, all of this with out public hunter access and all outside of legally mandated game damage. For what? A 0.00024% chance of elk transmission risk? If there really was an elk problem before, why does it not show up in the previous years game damage complaints? Years when they already knew that elk were the transmitters of the brucellosis, not the bison? Whats worse, is not all the cases of brucellosis in cattloe, since 2008 when they have been tracking the gentypes, have been from elk. Papers published on the subject showed cattle vaccine blooms and cattle brucellosis cases, not just elk (they were the same genetic biovar, Biovar 1). I had to FOIA test results. And this is not just limited to MT, it has occurred in the WY and ID outbreaks, as well.

Region 3 Block Management Map Please note that there is only one Block Management participant, not one of the Park County ranchers UYWB working group. Block Management allows public hunter access, which could help move elk, due to hunting pressure, off of the private lands where cattle conflict could occur.

Blow up of Park County Outfitters leasing Private Lands Map This is a blow up of the an outfitter leasing private lands map, with the Park County section, HWY 89 area, clearly having multiple outfitter leasings of private land.



Commissioner Contact

Director Jeff Hagener
(406) 444-3186
Email: JHagener@mt.gov

Deputy Director Mike Volesky
(406) 444-4600
Email: mvolesky@mt.gov

District 1
Gary Wolfe, Commissioner
4722 Aspen Drive
Missoula, MT 59802
Phone: (406) 493-9189

District 2
Dan Vermillion, Chairman
PO Box 668
Livingston, MT 59047
Phone: (406) 222-0624

District 3
Richard Stuker, Vice-Chairman
1155 Boldt Road
Chinook, MT 59523
Phone: (406) 357-3495

District 4
Lawrence “Larry” Wetsit, Commissioner
121 East Indian Street
Wolf Point, MT 59201
Phone: (406) 650-7071

District 5
Matthew Tourtlotte, Commissioner
940 Blonco Circle
Billings, MT 59105
Phone: (406) 698-9696




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