Elk Management in Areas With Brucellosis
Elk "Working Group" Park County
November 7, 2013

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

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

FWP Elk Management in Areas with Brucellosis 2014 Work Plan

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

MP3 Audio Nov. 7th Elk Brucellosis local "work group" meeting that met at the Livingston MSU Extension office.

I turned on the recorder and my folder accidentally turned it off. Good thing I checked on it, or I would have missed more. What is missing is the opening introduction by MSU Extension explaining the clickers that they used to poll the demographics. The stakeholder groups they listed to chose from were Livestock Producer, Sportsmen/Wildlife, Agency, Landowner that is not a producer and Other. There were 9 sportsmen (Bill O'Connell, Glenn Hockett, Jimmy Wisman, Paul Griffin, myself, Lou Goosey, Hayes Goosey and some other guy that came in and sat with them ( I am assuming this is the 9th sportsman). There were 4 agency representatives: Quentin Kujala, Howard Burt, Karen Loveless and I am not sure of the 4th. 14 livestock (not all of them had clickers at that point and some ranchers came in late). Sportsmen and wildlife were not supposed to be lumped together as a stakeholder, so basically no wildlife, non consumptive advocates and no private landowners that were not producers were in attendence. Working Group member Rick Gibson's name was on the list, and Dick Raths was there, though his name was not on the sign in the 2 times I saw it. FWP Commissioner Dan Vermillion (Regional Commissioner that authorizes these actions) was there for the first 3/4's of the meeting. Park County commissioners Marty Malone and Jim Durgan, Rep. Alan Redfield (Paradise Valley rancher) was also there. This local "working group" is basically the local watershed group, which Druska Kinkie chairs. Sign In Sheet I acquired below.

I missed taping Quentin's opening, which is the same as it has been on several of these presentations about the program, but explaining that the goal, which was written on a large sheet of paper taped to the wall was: "Implementation of the identified tools from the 2014 proposed work plan in the Paradise Valley Designated Surveillance Area." Immediately after his opening Jerry O'Hair, one of the cattle ranchers and the one that was at the Park County Commission Meeting that spoke about eradicating brucellosis and the elk population, said that he was upset because they were only allowed to speak about what FWP presented, began attacking FWP, stated what he felt the real problems were - all these other things like brucellosis needing to be eradicated and the size of the herds, etc. That is the point that I caught that the recorder was off and you hear Quentins reply to Jerry when it begins.

During the meeting you hear Druska Kinkie bringing up the EMR's (elk managment removals, previously referred to as Dispersal Hunts in the 2013 Work Plan); Durgan complains about wolves and elk numbers never seen before, at which point Rep. Alan Redfield brings up grizzlies and mountain lions; Ryan Malone (Park Co. Commissioner Marty Malone's son) was concerned with the 250 quota the Work Plan stated; Hayes Goosey asked if research/science could be brought into this discussion; Marty Malone brought up the Forests and fires versus logging, reseeding of grasses; Dick Raths mentioned the Statewide Elk Brucellosis Working Group , Proposed Recommendations; Hayes Goosey tries to get them back to the goal; Druska again brings up the lethal aspects, priority that needs implementing; Rep. Alan Redfield speaks about elk problems; towards the end of the meeting, an agenda for the next meeting was brought up to ID herds where commingling is occurring, map to mark it on; Druska Kinkie brought up email and phone conversation trees and the need to get the commissioners to make changes.

The majority of the people attending had not even read the 2014 Work Plan and yet they objected to it and are already seeking how they can get it changed from the Statewide Brucellosis Working Groups Proposed Recommendations that were approved by the commission, not like it was actually followed anyway, but clearly it is not lethal enough for them in Park County and they want depopulation, as well as other tools added back in, which a number of these Park Co. ranchers have adamantly vocalized at other meetings, in the press, as well as Rep. Alan Redfields HB 312 Elk Brucellosis Test and Slaughter Bill. He also started to put through a LC2040 which would have removed the landowners requirement of allowing public hunter access during the general season for FWP actions involving Game Damage, which they can now do under this Elk Work Plan in the DSA without any requirement of public hunter access, while sportsmens dollars pay for all these actions. This placeholder bill would have also allowed for disease threat to be added as a game damage definition. http://leg.mt.gov/bills/2013/billpdf/LC2040.pdf

This is what is going to be driving the Elk Brucellosis management in Park County.

On the 14th of Nov., I emailed Quentin Kujala to request a copy of the sign in sheet of those attending the meeting. He replied back that he did not have it, assumed someone from the watershed group did.
Email exchange on request for Sign In Sheet

Sign In Sheet for Nov. 7, 2013 FWP Elk Brucellosis Management Meeting

   

 

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