By Cecil Fredi
There was a time a family could enjoy the wide expanses of our western United States being free to hike, explore and camp at will with little or no fear. We can thank our prudent ancestors for this relaxing outdoor freedom we have enjoyed in the past.
Today it’s a different story, a different outdoors and a different experience. Today our lands have become dangerous, hostile and unsafe all because of primarily one animal—the mountain lion. For this we can thank the heads of the game departments, the biologists, the brainless Wildlife commissioners and their large following of protectionist preservationists.
What you will see written here are facts—not to scare you but to educate you and your loved ones.
Reno Gazette Journal, April 6, 2006. “Hunter shoots lion that charged his, son.” This man and his son were lucky…he had a gun and had a split second to fire and kill it. In most cases like this the outcome will usually be too gruesome and bloody to write about. But here is what the RGJ printed at the close of the article given to them by the California D.F.G. website. Mind you, these are just the bold print topics. “What to do: Do not hike alone! Keep children close to you! Do not approach a lion! Do not run from a lion! Do not crouch down or bend over! Appear larger! Fight back if attacked!” There is one caveat missing here that begs to be added to the list. “Don’t leave the safety of your home!” Only this last warning is guaranteed to keep you safe. The other seven are nothing more than false security and lame ideas to keep the public from ever knowing what is really going on out there.
Mountain lion populations not only exploded out of control in recent years, these carnivores are reaching body weights that exceed anything in recorded history. Shown here are three lions killed in the last few months in Arizona and Oregon with body weights of approximately 220 pounds. Hey people! They don’t get this big eating Alpo and the largest ever known was 250 pounds, killed in recent years. No wonder there are no deer, elk and sheep left. What do you want, lots of wildlife or lots of lions? What do you want, a safe enjoyable outdoor experience or confinement inside your home where your children are being denied the privilege of the outdoor experience? With more lions, this is what we have to look forward to.
In eastern Oregon, lions kill bighorn sheep faster than Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife can fly the new transplants into the mountains. It’s such a terrifying experience for these sheep that after several have been killed by lions the rest “flee” the mountain range within days with no trace of where they went. Over and over again, ODFW keeps repeating this same carnage—feeding sheep to already out of control lions using sportsmen’s dollars to do it. This is called game management?
Bud Sonnentag wrote in the last Observer newspaper that a tagged lion traveled 700 miles. Huh! That’s nothing. The current issue of “Western Houndsman” magazine demonstrates how far lions will travel. A female lion was G.P.S. collared and tracked over a nine month period beginning in southwestern Utah, through Wyoming, over a 10,000 foot mountain range, then back to Utah and was killed in Colorado, an astounding distance of 830 miles which is unheard of for females. Take notice that this information came to you in a magazine and not a scientific biological wildlife journal or a national TV news bulletin or from a game department, which it should have to keep you informed. There are only two things discernible in a lion’s mind—sex and food with no room in there for much else; except to travel in search of both.
Being familiar with the lawsuit against Oregon’s Department of Fish and Wildlife, my Nevada associates and I know that repealing measure 18 will not even begin to solve Oregon’s wildlife problems. The mountain lion must be put in a predator unprotected class in Oregon as well as every western state or this problem will never go away. It has always been legal to use dogs to hunt lions in Nevada, yet Nevada still has a severe mountain lion problem, decimating its once famous mule deer herd. Nevada has a quota of 340 lions a year and only about half of that quota is filled. Texas offers no protection to lions and they still have a serious mountain lion problem.
From researching human encounters with mountain lions, HUNTER’S ALERT seriously recommends avoiding these areas when choosing places in the western states for any outdoor camping or recreation, especially with children. Cuyamaca Rancho State Park, California, any of the lands of California along the coastal mountains, Vancouver Island to include all of lower British Columbia, Big Bend National Park, Texas and last but not least, all federal and state lands where mountain lions receive any protection whatsoever, particularly in national parks. Beware!
Like me, you’re not an expert but you can surely see what the hell is going on. A renowned houndsman who hunted lions throughout the west, documented that he killed about 1,500 of them in his career…1,100 in the Kaibab area of northwestern Arizona alone. Currently, in this very same area, Arizona wants to kill ten, yes 10 mountain lions to stop the slaughter of desert bighorn sheep. The lions have brought the sheep herd down 60 percent from approximately 2,000 to fewer than 1,000. Hoorah for the readership’s good old common sense which has never been a consideration in wise management by wildlife biologists.
Comparing statements by two Arizona biologists illuminates the underlying motives of our state and federal fish and game agencies to deliberately deceive the public today. In the Las Vegas Sun newspaper, an article appeared on April 7, 2006 entitled, “Mountain lions in Arizona’s line of fire.” Arizona Game and Fish Department biologist Jim deVos makes this statement. “Not every lion is killing sheep. We’re trying to focus on known kills and trying to remove that lion that is killing sheep.” Wake up, Mr. de Vos. All lions kill sheep if there are sheep in the area. You cannot guarantee that other lions will not replace the ten you intend to remove. Once again, this is a band-aid approach to a serious problem by biologists. Compare this statement to the following statement and you be the judge. At the Mountain lion Workshop, January 13 and 14, 1976, page 118, John Phelps said, “The data we have indicates there’s no such thing as a stock killer. All lions kill stock when the opportunity comes.” Step up in front of the public, Jim deVos, and drink your cup of swill, you earned it.
The cure for the lion problem is not being implemented by the people who have the power to do so. Let’s start with the department heads of the fish and game agencies. If this person truly wanted something done about lions, he would say to the biologists, you formulate a program to bring back our deer or you are history! If the biologists wanted to do something about lions, their reports and studies would offer recommendations to solve the problem. And finally, the brainless Wildlife commissioners would say to the department heads, if you don’t bring back our deer, I’m going to the governor with a vote of “no confidence” in your ability and you will be history.
Of course, in Nevada, wildlife commissioners are not appointed for their wildlife knowledge. It is the big fat political donation that gets them appointed. So being brainless about wildlife issues is the standard in Nevada. To prove this, in the 2001 legislative session there was a bill which would have removed the mountain lion from the (false) big game status. Who testified against the bill? A person who is now on the Wildlife Commission. That person is none other than Clint Bentley, a so called sportsmen’s representative. There was a petition which would have increased harvest numbers (not quota) on mountain lions. Clint Bentley cast the deciding vote against this. His reasoning was that he thought the Nevada Department of Wildlife might lose a few dollars from the sale of mountain lion tags. Because of lions we are losing millions of dollars on the loss of our deer but Clint Bentley is more concerned about the miniscule loss of revenue on lion tags. Now do you see why I called them brainless wildlife commissioners? By now you should realize that nothing good is going to happen from the people in charge. It is going to take a concentrated effort from many sportsmen and concerned citizens to make the necessary change.
Cecil Fredi can be reached at email@example.com.