Kristyn Brady

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posted in: General

January 5, 2016

Authorities Should Hold Extremists Accountable for Seizure of Public Land

Eight major hunting, fishing, and conservation groups are condemning the extremist takeover of Oregon’s Malheur National Wildlife Refuge

Image courtesy of Mia Sheppard.

For the last several days, as reported by numerous news outlets, a headquarters facility at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in eastern Oregon has been occupied by an armed group of extremists from outside the state. This ongoing occupation represents a seizure of public land that American hunters and anglers find unacceptable.

The Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership and seven major sportsmen’s groups—the Wildlife Management Institute, Trout Unlimited, Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, Public Lands Foundation, Berkley Conservation Institute, Snook and Gamefish Foundation, and Dallas Safari Club—are united in condemning these unlawful actions and have issued the following statement:

“Many citizens of the West—sportsmen and women included—take issue with some public land management decisions, but there is a legitimate process, well-established by law, to provide significant opportunity for public input and influence on these decisions. When an extreme minority uses lawlessness and threats of violence to occupy public land, it threatens the rights of many for the benefit of very few—a profoundly un-American course of action.

We want to thank refuge employees, public land management employees, and law enforcement personnel for their dedicated service during this incident, and we’d urge authorities to uphold law and order by bringing a peaceful resolution to the occupation and then by bringing these armed extremists to justice.”

Malheur National Wildlife Refuge was established by Theodore Roosevelt in 1908 as a preserve and breeding ground for native birds. The refuge provides essential habitat for more than half of the Pacific flyway’s migratory waterfowl, as well as sandhill cranes, mule deer, pronghorn antelope, and native redband trout. It is typically open to hunting and angling—but not today.

More than 23,000 hunters and anglers have signed a petition opposing the seizure of America’s public lands.

Help protect public lands and Roosevelt’s legacy—learn more at sportsmensaccess.org.

23 Responses to “Authorities Should Hold Extremists Accountable for Seizure of Public Land”

  1. David Tucker

    You all need to read the real facts as to what is at stake with your so called”PUBLIC LAND”. Blm has been flooding and burning ranchers out of their private property so they can buy it up on the cheap. Well the Hammonds for forty years have been raising cattle to feed thousands of people and wont sell their land to BLM. So BLM has tried every shit trick in the book to coheres and manipulate the legal system to steal the land. I commend your organization for keeping public lands public but in this one issue you are all on the wrong side of the fence. READ THE REAL FACTS!!!

    • Dan Lewis

      Mr. Tucker is mistaken here. First, the land is not owned or operated by the BLM. It is a National Wildlife Refuge, owned and operated by the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service in coordination with the State of Oregon wildlife agencies. It was created by my favorite Republican, Theodore Roosevelt, and is operated by hunting license, fishing license, duck stamp, and similar fees, gladly paid by sportsmen, the same folks who lobbied hard for and got a major increase in the federal duck stamp price. Before Mr. Tucker asks people to “read the real facts,” he should ascertain the facts he is referring to as being real. Having read the real facts many time in many venues, I assure the readers Mr. Tucker is ranting without any basis in facts inthis case.

    • David Tucker, while your professionalism, grammar, and spelling could use some refining, I don’t believe you to be so far from the mark. But, these Bundy guys from Nevada need to go home. They have garnered their cause attention, and from this point are providing it with more harm than good.

    • Rick Allen

      David the only truth in your statement is probably your name. The BLM doesn’t flood or burn anyone out. They are land management they do not acquire land. There is no reason for the BLM to try to acquire more land, and even if the head of the department of agriculture (which oversees the BLM) wanted to do a land grab, there are no means in the BLM to do so. So get your facts straight. before you lie to hundreds or thousand of people.

    • Jim Hammett

      I have read the real facts, and you are dead wrong. The Hammonds had been violating both BLM and USFWS laws and permit conditions for years — blatantly. They just went too far with the arson (set to cover up deer poaching), got caught, got prosecuted, refused to settle for lesser charges, went to trial, convicted by a jury, and got the minimum sentence allowable under the law they broke. They even signed a pre-sentencing agreement, agreeing to the 5-year term. It is indeed a complicated history, but that is the distillation. The deeper you read into this case, the more you begin to understand the delusions of rights versus privilege.

    • Steven G.

      Funny it wasn’t the BLM that started the fires, it was the ranchers. Also, the group claims to want the land turned back over to the people, which is exactly where it already is. In reality they want it turned over to the private individual.

    • Glenn Reynolds

      This about private lands being seized by the BLM in the name of wildlife refuge, Stick to the facts that the BLM has coerced the sale of private land so they could add it to the refuge. They have wrongfully accused the land owner of Terrorism and then when they did not like the out come went back into the courts with a new judge to get the results they wanted. This stand off is to bring this abuse to light and the american public needs to know what a government bureaucrat will do to advance their control over the land and increase their stature for promotion.

  2. Paul Baicich

    Good for you TRCP and others!

    Not only was Malheur National Wildlife Refuge established by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1908, setting aside unclaimed government lands “as a preserve and breeding ground for native birds,” but Duck Stamp dollars have gone to acquire large parts of the NWR. About 48,000 of the current 187,000+ acres of the refuge have been acquired through MBCF/Stamp dollars, through willing sellers. That’s a quarter (25.6%) of the refuge.

    These land-grabbing insurrectionists need to be brought to justice.

  3. Henry Carlile

    David, It is not “so called” public land; it is OUR public land. I’d like to see you provide some real concrete evidence that the BLM has been “flooding and burning ranchers out of their private property so they can buy it on the cheap.” You can’t. It’s anecdotal evidence, at best, and more conspiracy theory than substantive proof. Bundy and his compatriots need to get the hell out of Oregon and go back where they came from. We don’t need their help.

  4. Perhaps, David, you could direct us to the sites that would give us the “real” facts regarding this matter. As of now, every account I have personally read has been remarkably similar in terms of what supposedly happened to get us to where we are now.
    Regardless, the armed occupation of a federal property on public land,…mostly by individuals that have no direct association with this specific case, and many of whom have “shady” histories to put it mildly,…is foolish and counterproductive, at best.
    As one who has dealt with public lands access problems for decades, it has been my experience that the BLM bends over backwards to appease and accommodate landowners and public-land lessees, often at the expense of the public interest in those same public lands.
    Perhaps the situation in Oregon is different, but based on my personal experience, I think I will continue to believe that I and others here, are squarely on the right side of the fence on this issue.

  5. David Allan Cole

    Fourteen Defining
    Characteristics Of Fascism

    1. Powerful and Continuing Nationalism – Fascist regimes tend to make constant use of patriotic mottos, slogans, symbols, songs, and other paraphernalia. Flags are seen everywhere, as are flag symbols on clothing and in public displays.

    2. Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights – Because of fear of enemies and the need for security, the people in fascist regimes are persuaded that human rights can be ignored in certain cases because of “need.” The people tend to look the other way or even approve of torture, summary executions, assassinations, long incarcerations of prisoners, etc.

    3. Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause – The people are rallied into a unifying patriotic frenzy over the need to eliminate a perceived common threat or foe: racial , ethnic or religious minorities; liberals; communists; socialists, terrorists, etc.

    4. Supremacy of the Military – Even when there are widespread

    domestic problems, the military is given a disproportionate amount of government funding, and the domestic agenda is neglected. Soldiers and military service are glamorized.

    5. Rampant Sexism – The governments of fascist nations tend to be almost exclusively male-dominated. Under fascist regimes, traditional gender roles are made more rigid. Divorce, abortion and homosexuality are suppressed and the state is represented as the ultimate guardian of the family institution.

    6. Controlled Mass Media – Sometimes to media is directly controlled by the government, but in other cases, the media is indirectly controlled by government regulation, or sympathetic media spokespeople and executives. Censorship, especially in war time, is very common.

    7. Obsession with National Security – Fear is used as a motivational tool by the government over the masses.

    8. Religion and Government are Intertwined – Governments in fascist nations tend to use the most common religion in the nation as a tool to manipulate public opinion. Religious rhetoric and terminology is common from government leaders, even when the major tenets of the religion are diametrically opposed to the government’s policies or actions.

    9. Corporate Power is Protected – The industrial and business aristocracy of a fascist nation often are the ones who put the government leaders into power, creating a mutually beneficial business/government relationship and power elite.

    10. Labor Power is Suppressed – Because the organizing power of labor is the only real threat to a fascist government, labor unions are either eliminated entirely, or are severely suppressed.

    11. Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts – Fascist nations tend to promote and tolerate open hostility to higher education, and academia. It is not uncommon for professors and other academics to be censored or even arrested. Free expression in the arts and letters is openly attacked.

    12. Obsession with Crime and Punishment – Under fascist regimes, the police are given almost limitless power to enforce laws. The people are often willing to overlook police abuses and even forego civil liberties in the name of patriotism. There is often a national police force with virtually unlimited power in fascist nations.

    13. Rampant Cronyism and Corruption – Fascist regimes almost always are governed by groups of friends and associates who appoint each other to government positions and use governmental power and authority to protect their friends from accountability. It is not uncommon in fascist regimes for national resources and even treasures to be appropriated or even outright stolen by government leaders.

    14. Fraudulent Elections – Sometimes elections in fascist nations are a complete sham. Other times elections are manipulated by smear campaigns against or even assassination of opposition candidates, use of legislation to control voting numbers or political district boundaries, and manipulation of the media. Fascist nations also typically use their judiciaries to manipulate or control elections.

  6. dale lockwood

    They are criminal who willingly broke into a federal building while armed. To allow this to go unpunished opens the door to the end of democracy. Where do you draw the line ? A federal court house,congress or a elementary school?
    Bundy’s had a record of being on a bully pulpit and thinking he is a separate country. Talk to people who personally know him and many agree it is time to end his actions.
    He is acting no different than the Black Panther movement in the 60’s and 70’s.

  7. phil holmes

    “raising cattle to feed people” What BS ! He raises cattle to make money. Nothing wrong with that, but spare us the obfuscation. Regarding restrictions on BLM land use, if , e.g., grazing isn’t controlled/managed by some objective, best practice based agency how many ranchers would follow proper grazing management practices ?, The whole western ” we are not subject to Federal laws/rules ” mentality is ego centric and certainly not interested in the greater good.

  8. Joey Tart

    I really dislike how some Groups like the TRCP are politicizing the Bundy Standoff. Yes, I support the TRCP in it’s conservation efforts, but for heaven’s sake,……..leave the Political Agendas and Politics out of it.

    Support the Animals and Birds and quit supporting the Political Agendas!!!!!

  9. Jonathan Stumpf
    Jonathan Stumpf

    Thanks for reading, everyone and engaging in the conversation around this important issue–it should be treated seriously. It’s also important that comments here are respectful. Malicious language will be taken down.

  10. David Tucker

    I’m here now to apologize for my earlier ignorance. I spoke with my girlfriends brother in Burns who grew up with the Hammonds in their community. He has seen and heard first hand all the events that have transpired over the years. Yes the poaching is true and I assume that means a fire was started to cover it up . The truth of the backburn incident is that there were firefighters on the hillside above the Hammonds and Steve Hammond was told twice not to start a back burn by one of the firefighters as it may endanger them. Steve did so anyways and that is why authorities were called in for help. I do not have evidence of this nor is it relevant to my decision to continue to plead for the Hammonds release from prison. They paid half of a $400,000 fine to BLM and had fulfilled their original sentence of prison. I believe it is unjust to punish them further.

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posted in: General

January 4, 2016

Glassing The Hill: January 4 – 8

The TRCP’s scouting report on sportsmen’s issues in Congress

The House returns to work on Tuesday. The Senate is not in session this week.

Photo courtesy of Library of Congress.

Let’s hold Congress to these New Year’s resolutions. As we reported before the holidays, Congress concluded its business for 2015 with a widely-applauded omnibus funding bill that increased investments in many conservation priorities. Lawmakers did leave some important issues for the second session of the 114th Congress, kicking off this week.

In 2016, we’re anxious to finally see a fix for fire borrowing, forest management reform, and final passage of the Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act, a mark-up for which may occur in the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee as early as Wednesday, January 13.

Gun control and the latest incendiary push from public lands transfer advocates will also be top-of-mind in Washington and across the country this week.

Joel Webster

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posted in: General

December 17, 2015

Your Must-Do List for the Off-Season

A big-game hunter should do more than just dream of next fall

Image courtesy of Joel Webster.

If you’re like me, you live for the fall. But now that the meat is cut up, packaged, and stacked high in my freezer, I’ve entered the post-big-game-season lull. My bow, rifle, and other gear have all been cleaned and put away. I’ll likely get out this winter to call in a few ducks and pull some fish through the ice, but my heart is in the mountains, and I’m still daydreaming about high-elevation basins full of bucks and bulls.

But a true big-game hunter should never stop preparing for the hunt. Here’s what I consider to be the key elements of the off-season:

Staying in shape. Climbing ridges and mountainsides is hard work, and it will wear you down if you keep skipping your workout. I like to stay on top of my fitness regimen throughout the year. If I need a break from the gym during the winter and summer months, I get outside and glass for deer and elk. It’s actually a great way to stay motivated—you literally keep your eyes on the prize.

Researching and applying for tags. One of my favorite things to do during the winter and spring is research hunting units and apply for special hunts. I don’t have the best luck when it comes to drawing special tags, but my bonus points are adding up, and I know that I’m bound to draw a coveted bighorn sheep or trophy mule deer tag at some point. This is also time I use to investigate new public hunting areas that have peaked my interest throughout the year. Opening day is no time to make fresh tracks in an area I’ve never researched.

Attending to equipment. From broken bootlaces to torn pants, it seems like something wears out every season. Now is the time to take care of this stuff, and make a few gear upgrades I’ve been dreaming about, so I’m not scrambling the night before a big trip. Many manufacturers and retailers mark down their gear this time of year, too.

Being an advocate. The wildlife we pursue depend on functional habitat, and sportsmen depend on access and opportunity. If we don’t get involved and advocate for these resources, other interest groups might soon be writing the rules. I like to encourage hunters and anglers to get involved at three levels: national, state, and local. At the national level, the TRCP is the best group to keep you posted on major opportunities to get involved and actions that could impact the entire country. We try and make it as easy as possible for sportsmen to engage, and when you do, it is meaningful—lawmakers do listen.

It’s also a good idea to join an organization that focuses its attention on the proceedings in your state’s legislature and fish and game commission. And, especially if you’re a public lands hunter, it is important that you keep an eye on how public lands are managed in your area. You can do this by taking a look at the local BLM field office or national forest website every month or two. Usually that’s where proposed actions are listed under the National Environmental Policy Act, or NEPA, log—this could be anything from proposed changes impacting access to discussion of industrial development, and the agencies are required to allow you an opportunity to provide comments. At this level, it is easy for proposed management actions to fly under the radar, and sportsmen wake up to what is happening after all of the decisions have been made.

Don’t hesitate to reach out to the TRCP staff if something requires our attention, or if you have any questions about getting involved. Want to do something today? Visit sportsmensaccess.org and support our public lands. You won’t regret that you did when you down that big buck or bull on public land next fall.

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Wildlife Habitat is About to Get a $3.5-Billion Boost

No matter how you like to spend your time outdoors, Congress just stuffed your stocking

Congress will likely pass a budget bill this week that will make significant investments in conservation and begin to reverse a decades-long decline for funding that impacts fish and wildlife habitat. Whether you hunt public or private lands, and whether you fish freshwater or saltwater, this is good news for hunters and anglers. ‘Tis the season of giving, and there’s something for everybody.

Image courtesy of Eric Petlock.

For Public Land Hunters

Our national public lands, like the Missouri Breaks and Arizona Strip, have been underfunded for decades. In fact, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has lost 12 percent of its workforce in the last four years alone. The Forest Service has had to cut 39 percent of its personnel working on land management, timber production, and recreation since 1998.

This budget deal starts to reverse the trend. With funding increases across the board—12 percent for the Forest Service, 10 percent for the BLM, and 5 percent for the Fish and Wildlife Service—our public lands managers finally have the resources they need to protect and improve habitat.

For Private Land Hunters

As part of the omnibus deal, Congress permanently authorized a tax incentive that helps farmers and ranchers place conservation easements on their land. This provision will drive over $3 billion worth of easements to be created in the next ten years, which will translate into at least three million acres of conserved habitat that benefits big game, birds, and water quality.

For Freshwater Anglers

This week’s spending deal is also notable for what it didn’t include. Certain members of Congress, at the behest of developers, were pushing hard for a policy rider to block the Obama Administration’s clean water rule. This rule clarifies that the Clean Water Act does indeed—and always has—apply to 200,000 miles of headwater streams that provide irreplaceable habitat for trout and salmon. And this rule is also meant to combat wetlands loss, so it’s good for ducks, too.

For Saltwater Anglers

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which is home to the National Marine Fisheries Service, will receive $325 million for in 2016. That’s a 6 percent boost to improve fisheries data collection and management.

For Everyone Who Loves to Be Outdoors

The spending bill also includes a three-year reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund, a hugely successful tool for improving everyone’s access to national, state, and local lands, and boosts its funding next year by $100 million. These are dollars that forest rangers and state fish and game agencies can use to purchase inholdings and easements to create better access for sportsmen, but you’ve probably also seen LWCF dollars put to work in your local parks and state forests.

Sportsmen have always believed that we have a moral responsibility to pass on America’s great outdoors to our kids and grandkids a little better than we found it. Thanks to this bill, we are giving our kids better days afield in the New Year and beyond. 

Kristyn Brady

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The Top Conservation Stories and #WildlifeWins of 2015

These are the stories that had sportsmen talking and tweeting—some even made us fighting mad—this year

Image courtesy of Mia Sheppard.

Endangered Species Act protection is not warranted for sage grouse

The greater sage grouse was not listed as an endangered species back in September, thanks to epic collaboration among federal agencies, state land managers, Western businesses, and local volunteers.

Image courtesy of Marty Sheppard.

Sportsmen flood lawmaker offices with letters opposing the transfer of public lands

After Senators went on record as supportive of public land transfer by passing a non-binding budget resolution in March, it took us all a minute to understand what that would mean—that the sale of our public lands was more possible than ever. Thanks to hunters and anglers across the country, lawmakers are starting to understand that we won’t sit idly by and watch this happen. As of July, sportsmen like you had sent 174,000 letters to their local, state, and federal decision-makers opposing this bad idea—that number is now up to 218,000 letters.

Image courtesy of Louisiana GOHSEP.

Habitat restoration is top priority for $18.7B oil spill settlement

A little more than five years after the devastating Deepwater Horizon oil disaster, BP agreed to an $18.7-billion settlement with the five Gulf states and the U.S. government for environmental damages and lost revenues. And anglers know just what to do with all that money.

Image courtesy of Dusan Smetana.

Congress is seriously out of touch with sportsmen on clean water

In July, the National Wildlife Federation released a poll showing that 83 percent of hunters and anglers surveyed thought the Clean Water Act should apply to smaller, headwater streams and wetlands that are crucial to fish and wildlife. Congress wanted to ignore public opinion and get in the way of clean water protections.

image courtesy of Dusan Smetana.

Ducks, quail, pheasants, and turkeys get a big boost from new Farm Bill initiatives

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced in May that an additional 800,000 acres would be eligible for enrollment in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), with a special focus on duck nesting habitat and wetlands. And in September, the USDA started accepting applications for a new, nationwide CRP Grasslands initiative meant to keep hooves on the ground and grassland habitat intact.

Image courtesy of Dusan Smetana.

The Land and Water Conservation Fund expired—then finally had its day in Congress

The conservation fund that has effectively opened up public access to hunting, fishing, and other outdoor recreation on national, state, and local lands for the past 50 years was not reauthorized by Congress before the September 30 deadline. We knew it wasn’t the end, but were relieved to see the LWCF could be re-upped for three years in the end-of-year spending bill being considered by Congress this week.

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