Most of us can agree that conservation is not regulation. If you find yourself in a slight state of confusion over the two, here is the fundamental difference. Conservation resides in the world of “yes” and regulation mostly orbits the dark side of “no.” The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and Wild Sheep Foundation work in conservation. The effort put forth to improve a resource for future generations with actions that work and create results. They honestly believe they can make a difference in the overall outcome they work so hard to create and measure as improvement. The Federal Fish and Wildlife, Friends of Animals, Humane Society and about 50% of the populations in California and Oregon think they can create the same results with regulation, legislation and litigation. All three of these words do nothing for wildlife in the end and only generate divisive political outcomes that inevitably end up in our corrupt, broken and dysfunctional court system. This is the realm of, no you can’t fix it, only we (government) can.
The ESA (Endangered Species Act) was created within these very boundaries. Politicians who knew nothing about wildlife management, passing a bill written by lobbyists who knew nothing about wildlife management, consulted by “experts” who might know a little bit about wildlife management because they read a few books on the subject once upon a time dealt to them by a professor who only saw the outside of a classroom when he traveled to Woodstock one hot August weekend in 1969. Although the intentions of the ESA at the time may have been well and good, the outcomes of the ESA have been a disaster for wildlife management and conservation in America.
Wolves, grizzly bears and possibly the sage grouse and wolverine all fall into this category. At this point, it looks like Wyoming will not get its right to hunt and control wolf populations back for the 2015 hunting season. The outcome of our precious wildlife resource resides beneath the finger of an activist judge in Washington D.C. I’m sure we can all be rest assured that the matter is in good hands with the experts on the subject who have the best interest of our state and its wildlife resource at the forefront. Yeah, right. This is not conservation ladies and gents, this is politics.
Our wildlife is much better off in the hands of people who actually care, people like responsible state game and fish managers, with the help of true conservation organizations like RMEF, WSF, SCI and the Boone and Crockett club giving valuable external funding for projects and oversight in management decisions that improve the resource. Not put it on ice in a courtroom somewhere while lawyers and lobbyists get rich and build their personal resumes off the destruction of the resource. The people in Washington know that if they control the top layer of the food chain, nothing else matters. Like the bull ring in a cow’s nose, they can easily lead and sway the entire process to their favor.
Every time I hear the word “conservation” I always measure the context and source of its use. Sometimes, it’s improperly used and referenced by some very unlikely sources.