Elk for sale

What a sight! Just west of Mountain Home at the place where I almost always see a herd or two of antelope, more than 100 elk milled around a safe half-mile from I-84. I pulled the truck and duck boat far off of the highway and my friends and I watched with binoculars as calves chased and cows chewed. Down from the snows of the Danskins, the Bennett Hills, or maybe as far as the Trinities 30 miles away, these wild elk had apparently found some nice green shoots popping up in the wake of last year's wildfires. Although this year's (so far) plentiful snow is a relief to us after years of drought, it makes life tenuous for these wild elk. Energy has to be conserved and although these calves had energy enough to play, indicating sufficient food was available, who knows how far this herd would need to range if snow covered up this pasture? And who knows how far and wide the surviving individual animals will roam to drop their calves next spring or to find a mate next fall?

Without the hunter-conservationists who came before us and who saved these animals from extinction a century ago, we would have no elk. And how wonderful it is to live in a place shared with wild, free-ranging elk! How can a hunter like me begin to explain the magic of seeking wild elk in wild country, learning what they eat, where they go and what they do? Of listening, hearing, smelling and sensing them? And, in a lucky year, of sustaining life with the meat of a free animal; free of fences, food supplements, artificial insemination and antibiotics? After taking in the sight for ten minutes, I pulled back onto the freeway and continued home. And I thought about what a mixed message visitors to Idaho must get as they drive this stretch of highway.

Just 22 miles down I-84 to the southeast, near Glenn's Ferry, is a sign I wish I'd never seen but which I can't ignore: "Elk For Sale, Guided Hunts." Here the tourist is treated to corrals of "elk" so close to the interstate that you don't even have to slow down to get a good view. I imagine it is quite a treat for someone from back east to get such a close-up view of an "elk" which is not really an elk at all but a "domestic cervid." In fact, the practice of elk farming is so recent that these critters are not “domestic” either, in the true sense. Domestication takes many, many generations; these are wild animals "socialized" to human presence.

Guided “Hunts”? To shoot one of these domestic cervidae, a person does not need to take hunter education classes and learn about firearm safety or wildlife management. He need not learn to understand how elk live or where. He does not need to bother with scouting the land, or how to sustain himself in the backcountry. He need not care whether the herd has sufficient habitat to perpetuate itself. But for the right amount of money, sometimes $10,000 or more, the game farm "hunter" can bag a truly large “bull.” It may be a genetically manipulated, food-supplement enhanced animal, but mounted on a wall back home it looks just like a real elk.

Most states and provinces around Idaho have dispensed with canned hunts or “shooter bull” operations in one way or another. So the industry has found a home in Idaho. Industry is a good word for it, for in the words of Aldo Leopold, "the recreational value of a head of game is inverse to the artificiality of its origin, and hence in a broad way to the intensiveness of the system of game management which produced it."

Idaho has long laid claim to a heritage of vast open spaces with wild, free-ranging elk owned by no man, held in trust for all, pursued with awe. Are we willing to sell that heritage?

Sen. David Langhorst
Idaho Legislature

Didn't we already argue violently...

over this in Outdoors last week?


you spose the Air Force flew those elk in?

You did...

after you ate greyghost.



Look at

to see what Jeff Siddoway is telling me about S1313.

If you have other ideas that I might discuss with Jeff, please tell me what they are. Jeff seems to be the legal-idea of a reasonable man. I think he sees his job is threateded by S1313. If we can show him that it isn't he might just listen.

Calvin Leman
305 Washington Street
Salmon, ID 83467
208-756-4104 phone or fax

What chu takin bout David?

Different strokes for different folks.

State law should not prevent people from doing what they want to as long as it doesn't affect someone else.

Let supply and demand either run the game farms out of business otherwise there must be sufficient support.

canned hunts for sissys

and should be illegal. I can see allowing the farms at a small level to provide meat for the restaraunt business but not for "hunts".

Cow Hunts

So I can't go to my local farmer and shoot a cow (the bovine kind) for my freezer?
What's the difference?

the difference?

You do have a point. What is the difference between shooting a black angus or a fenced tame elk? Very little. But there is an obvious difference in the motives behind those two choices. I haven't yet seen any demand for "shooter black angus" farms. Nobody tries to pass off pictures of a dead polled hereford as a "great hunt." What I think this points out is that people who hunt tame animals behind fences are striving to capture something that Idahoans have treasured for generations. The traditional way takes some real effort, and the reward is in the doing. The new way - the game farm way - is a short cut, a counterfeit experience where the reward is all about the result. Why else would cannned hunts advertise "100% guaranteed" kills? (Even if the fenced area is 3000 acres, the elk are still tame and the shooter knows with absolute certainty that they are within a finite area.) Why else would some of the game farms actually be closer to 20 acres in size?

My simple contention is that canned hunting is a threat to Idaho's hunting heritage. Almost all other states around us have taken action to protect their fair chase traditions by restricting canned hunting operations, and as a result, they're coming here. Idaho is becoming to canned hunting what Nevada is to prostitution. Udapimp, I get the libertarian point of your first post. The reason I brought the Nevada/prostitution thing in is to underscore the fact that cultures make decisions about where they draw certain lines, regarding individual rights and to what extent others' rights are affected. For example, Texas is a place where canned hunting is the norm. Its a completely different culture and geography; almost zero public land, and no wide-ranging herds to be threatened by diseases or loss of wintering habitat or migration corridors.

Idaho is different, and I hope it stays that way.

You don't NEED bullets...

A simple electric shock between the eyes does the trick and you're almost at McD's.

Imposing Values

This is an example of how some people want to impose their values on others.

I for one, personally would not do a canned hunt. I think they are lame. But that doesn't mean I should impose my value on someone else. I can tell them they are wussies and their royal bull "doesn't count", but if they want to do that, so what?

However, there are those people who think it is perfectly fine to legislate their values upon the rest of society.

Senator, do you want to impose YOUR values on everyone else?

Canned hunts are not a threat to our hunting heritage. That's like saying domestic chickens for sale at Zamzows is a threat to the chicken/egg farmer heritage.

Let's all be big boys and allow everyone to play on the playground.

As for the Nevada prostitution. Isn't America great!
Let's allow it in Idaho and tax it (of course pimp money is exempt).(-;
The Twin Falls girls could make a windfall!

imposing values

Legislators impose their values all the time -- in many cases, it's what the public WANTS them to do because they elected the legislator PRECISELY to represent their values.

"Canned hunts" are bull. They're canned SHOOTS. As Idaho hunters, our collective reputation is sullied by the fact that our state allows this kind of activity. Personally, I can barely stand the idea of shooting preserves for upland birds; though in places like California and Texas I can understand the need. But big game? No.

Put in the time and energy, cast your lot with lady luck, and you MIGHT win a trophy. That's the way it's supposed to work. Anything less is flat-out cheating. And as we all know, cheating is WRONG ... right?

Threat to hunting heritage?

Senator Langhorst you are a threat to the hunting heritage. By teaming up with PETA and by using their same tactics, you are allowing these groups to slowing chip away at all hunting until one day there will be no hunting!


they take issue with it

You reduce milk production quite a few thousands of gallons, eh?


What a waste

There are far more important things for politicians to tackle than how someone runs a business.

If the elk get out then shoot them so they don't contaminate the native population. Otherwise leave people alone.

I agree

that there are more important issues. I disagree with your contention that the canned hunting issue is a waste. We deal with hundreds of issues, big and small, and all of them are important to some subset of our constituents.

My legislative priorities this year are mostly growth-related issues like transportation, air quality, and adequate impact fees so that development helps pay for the infrastructure needs it creates (keeping the burden off of existing homeowners and businesses) and tax-related stuff like repealing the grocery tax and taking a rational look at exemptions.

My blog, on the other hand, is about whatever strikes me on a given day.

Thanks to anyone who reads it.

You can't trust the businesses

from keeping the elk from getting away. Eventually they do get away.

And, it's simplistic to think you can easily shoot these animals if they get loose. Rammel's got away and were out and about for quite a while before it was reported.

your welcome

i read it , now im logging to hit the rack

Wasting Legislatures time

I have to disagree as a 50 year citizen of idaho and sportsman, that efforts by the legislature, at least select individuals, when addressing the elk farming industry is a wate of their time. As a sportsmen I am very concerned about the protection of our wild big game populations. I don't buy the elk farming industrys position that wild big game are the sources of deseases. It's common knowledge thatCWD was first found on a contained animal operation.
Any smart sportsmen knows animals kept in a contained enclosure raises the potential for the spread of desease-it's one of the reason stae fish & game agencies do not winter feed various species unless absolutely necessary.
Idaho sportsmen provide millions of dollars to the state economy through their recreational efforts-many small rural governments depend on our expenditures-what happens if additioanl escapes of animals similar to "the last great escape" in eastern Idaho occur and our wild populations are contaminated. Is it worth the risk?

If the desease issue as well as the "contained" shooting of such a majestic animal isn't an issue why have such operations been banned in surrounding states? Because legislators and sportsmen as well the general public agree there is too much risk involved from allowing someone to to hide behind the "property rights" issue of doing what they want on their own lands. It just hasn't sunk into Idahoans yet that such an industry that allows the shooting elk on a farm, within a state with seventy percent of its land public is wrong. Keep them in Texas and keep Idaho's elk free and wild. More power to Senator Langhorst and folks in the legislature who are addressing this issue. Keep in mind "shooter elk operations" were simply initiated by the elk farming industry without any public input or consideration. They started out with a purpose of making dollars though selling meat and velvet and overnight started shooting operations. How's that for an industry that has any concern for the public's viewpoint?

Inflammatory statement

Come on, David! "My simple contention is that canned hunting is a threat to Idaho's hunting heritage." Oh, please! Poaching is a threat to Idaho's hunting heritage.

Hunting ranches are a non-issue in the state of Idaho. You are merely protecting your Fish and Game buddies' jobs.

If you have a problem with someone posing for a photo with a 300-point ranch bull, ban phototaking. You have just proven what I've always believed; this issue is really about egos. Some folks have hunted 30 years in Idaho and have never shot a large bull elk. They are jealous of the person who pays $10,000 to shoot a big ranch bull. In 30 years of attempts, the traditional hunter has probably spent more than $10,000 for an empty freezer and no head on the wall.

Give it up. Whose private property rights are you going to go after next?

I've heard the Nukem mansion...

would do ;-ppppppppp

We don't need the estate's Chevette much.

Elk farm hunting...my opinion

I am new to this blog...I am a 35 year native to north and central idaho,...
I believe that if someone from back east would like to shoot a farm elk, that is great!!!!!
Reason being, locals would never think of doing such a thing.....and it keeps the out of state vacation hunters out of the woods...
I have been hunting in the same area for over 20 years, I see folks from back east every year in the area I hunt...often they are un educated to the woods and frankly they scare the hell out of me...(to be in the same area as them) I say keep the true hunters in the wild, and the ones that shouldn't be out there on the farm....
I have found two lost hunters in the past 5 years,,,,(out of staters) they also,often wound animals, due to lack of experience. I know they pay allot of money to hunt idaho, but it shouldn't always be about the buck....
Simply said, true hunters wouldn't mind something that reduces the amount of inexperienced hunters that may share the same ridge on any given hunting day.
I just don't see the harm in elk farm hunting, If anything,,,I would only be worried about the domesticated elk spreading desease to the wild elk...That is the only issue....what a bussiness wants to do on his land otherwise should be up to him.....

Wild elk are a disease risk to domestic elk

Although Langhorst and his buddies at ISCAC want you to believe domestic elk are a disease risk to wild herds, the exact opposite is the truth. According to the Idaho Department of Ag, there has NEVER been a positive test for CWD or brucellosis in Idaho domestic elk. NEVER! Idaho's wild elk have tested positive for brucellosis. Where did the disease come from??? Most likely Wyoming or Montana's wild elk.


It Can Happen!

Fish Farms / Elk Farms

Another comparison.

If I have a private farm and raise trophy trout, should the state prevent me from charging a fee to people to fish for my trophy trout? No.

It should not be illegal. Highly regulated yes. Game farm animals and fish need to be tightly controlled to prevent mingling with wild populations and in the event it does happen they need to be easily identified for recovery or elimination.

If the 'naturalists' do not want game farms there are lots of better ways to achieve their goal. Price them out of the market. Make the operation so expensive it becomes price prohibitive, i.e. double fences, immunization shots, extended underground, animal surveys by F&G, & sterilize non breed bulls to limit exposure to wild population. But to say a person can't have one is lame!

This is closely related to the wolf lady in Owhyee County too. Should people be allowed to contain such animals and fish? I think yes. But it needs to be done with the public safety and protecting the public resources in mind.

"Shhhhh, Bubba, I can hear 'em"........MMMMMMOOOOOOO

"Quick, use the call," whispers Tex. (the sound of corn rattling in a metal bucket).

The ground fog of the early November morning is thick, but beginning to burn off as Bubba and Tex, his "guide" ease through the metal gate. The heavy sound of hooves walking at a quick pace continues to get louder from across the meadow. Dark shadowy figures begin to appear through the fog.

Tex stops, crouching to one knee.

"Get ready," whispers Tex. "Here they come."

Bubba, (the nickname his oil executive office buddies gave him back in Houston)kneels and raises his custom made .475 H&H complete with a lazer sited-computerized-digitally-read-bullet-drop compensator scope. "I see him!" Bubba breathes, straining to contain the anticipation, or was it the breakfast burrito?

And there he is, in all his glory! The bull he "ordered" off the internet, just like the picture on the screen in his office. The chosen bull, hand selected by Bubba from the dozens available at this highly recommended "Estate 'Hunting' Ranch" in the Salmon Basin of Idaho. "MMMMMMOOOOOOOO!" the bull bellowed, now less than half a football field away. Yup, it's "THE ONE!"

Bubba chose the "Gotn-Oe-Thics" Estate Ranch cause of its simplicity and Guaranteed one day trophy. "Shoot, snap and hang" the website said, "Fly in, shoot your bull, snap your picture, fly-out the same day and we'll send your trophy mount to you an a few weeks".... all in Idaho! Unlike the bulls from Texas, few of your friends will realize that you really just shot a pen raised, hand fed for five or six years, growth hormone injected, 4-H and FFA blue-ribbon winning, pet bull inside a 50 acre pasture. Heck, hanging on the wall you can make-up whatever tall-tale you wish about "the big bull hunt in Idaho," cause unlike Texas, Idaho has a standing reputation of more than a 100 years of fair chase hunting."

Yes, this appealed to Bubba, a man too busy to be bothered with all that effort and time involved in actually "Hunting" in the traditional sense. He liked the fact that no license was required... not since he got caught poaching for the third time and lost his right to hunt for life in 26 states. No, Bubba is an "important man" who is not to be bothered by seasons, skill, devotion, and especially "ethics". "Ethics is for suckers", Bubba always says.

"Take 'em", Tex whispers.

The shot echos across the valley floor. Another bull. Another satisfied customer.

"Yup, he's a beauty," Tex exclaims, shaking Bubba's hand and looking at the bull on the ground."Definitely the best bull we had here in a long time. Oh, we have had bigger Angus and Herefords, but this is the biggest Longhorn Cross we've had in a long time".

"How about some pictures?" Bubba says to the other "guide" who just pulled up with the backhoe to load the dead bull in the bucket for the trip back to the ranch house for processing.

After removing the bright yellow and orange numbered ear tags, pictures were taken with a group of Aspen trees in the background.... "nobody will ever know," thought Bubba. But the plane was waiting on the runway, he could make up a whopper on the flight home.

NOTE: replace the Longhorn with a "domestic-cervidae elk" and that is exactly what happens at many of the "shooter bull" operations.
Say "It doesn't matter", and you have lost your hunting moral compass.

And DukeNukem, I will blow your disease "NEVER" in Idaho tale out of the water tomorrow. ALL (TB, CWD, Brucellosis) have been found, or tracked to elk ranches in IDAHO!!!!! all on record at the Idaho department of Ag.

Now I know...

who ate my Field and Stream collection and ran out of TP!

Good lordie, I AM smarter than a 5th grader!

Let me call B.S. on your disease story, realitycanbite2

This is what John Chatburn from the Idaho Department of Agriculture told a Senate Ag Affairs Committee during a meeting on Feb. 15, 2007 (refer to page 2 of the minutes):

"We have not had a Cervidae tested positive for CWD, TD, or brucellosis in the last 12 years."

I can back up my assertions with fact. You and your ISCAC buddies can spin the data all you like.

oh mr langhorst

It is truly amazing to me that you will do anything in your power to mislead the public once again in regards to our elk ranches. First and foremost, Mr Martell's sign off the freeway in Glenns Ferry is referring to his thousand acre hunting operation in Salmon, Idaho. He raises his cows and calves on the Glenns Ferry ranch off of the freeway, then has his other operation in Salmon. Next time it would be most beneficial for you to actually get the facts rather than to make assumptions based on your own ignorance. Secondly in response to another blogger the only disease brought into idaho was under the direction of the IDFG when they regulated cervidae ranches, in fact I wouldnt even call that regulating. In addition, more Brucellosis infected WILD Wyoming elk were just shipped into Idaho for slaughter under direction of F&G. The Dept of AG has ALL records of our domestic ranches, and there is no disease, but I understand that without claiming disease you have no valid case against our industry. Good Luck to you. Your infactuation with our industry is almost as twisted as Dan Popkey's with Larry Craig.
Kristy Sternes
IEBA President

Good for you David

Thanks for taking on this highly emotional subject David. Unregulated domestic elk farming is a threat to our wild elk herd heritage because of the very real possiblity of importation of disease and gentic pollution (among other threats). And shooter bull operations are a threat to a hunting heritage that is still vital to this state. Regulated elk farming "may" have a place in Idaho's econommy, but it cannot pose a threat to our heritage and history. Without your voice in the legislature and in the public much of the misinformation passed by the hatchery elk industry would go unchallenged. Thanks for all you do.

Once again, we hear the

Once again, we hear the scare tactics because that is all you people have. DISEASE DISEASE DISEASE, what about the 20 head of Brucellosis infected Wyoming elk that were just found at ehir F&G feedgrounds that were sent into Idaho to be processed. You know wait I bet it was one of those Rammell elk that wandered into Wyoming and spread her disease to those "disease free" unchecked wild Idaho and Wyoming elk. Thats got to be it. I mean aside from the point that over 40 of his animals were un necessarily slaughtered only to find that they were genetically pure and disease free. hmmm.

You know if the wild wyoming elk dont kill our idaho elk with their diseases first, Im sure sen. langhorst's canadian wolves will get 'em!

Thats right, david langhorst is the "wolfman" of idaho, yet he pretends to be concerned about our domestic elk (who are thoroughly monitored for disease) killing his precious wild elk when his little wolf friends are beating them to the punch.

pls do your research first, before spouting off any more false claims of disease. If you want to find documented disease, Im sure you can find plenty at the Dept of F&G.

If you do some further research you will find that the f&g also were the ones to import red deer into our wild herds back in the 1990's.....hmmmm

Sorry to say but most idahoans do have the common sense to say well the domestic industry tests for all diseases and has strict import guidelines, yet the wild elk are grossly under-tested.....gee i wonder where the disease will come from??????

Give Idahoans some credit, come on!


"Unregulated domestic elk farming," there goes your credibility, elk farms are regulated. I sure wish people would bother to educate themselves a little before mouthing off on something they make obvious they know little about. The threats to wild herds are next door and have already migrated in in Eastern Idaho, and in fact are being brough here BY F&G!


Not to mention F&G is on record as having imported big horn sheep UNTESTED from endemic areas in additio to turkeys. The threat to the true hunting heritage comes from people who spout inaccuracies, and those who willingly join forces with the largest anti hunting group in the wold, Mr. Langhorst. Where are the attacks on fish farming? Bird Farming? Oh, that's right, money is made off of those.

You guys tried to do a good job last year of scaring hunters- but the truth came out soon after, plus a little research shows it was a political tactic that has no base. Most Idahoans aren't fooled- that's clear now. Slandering this very legitimate industry serves no purpose other than to damage the reputation of REAL sportsmen.

-Will Miller
Lifelong Hunter, Rifleman, Archer, Taxidermist, Outdoorsman, and NRA supporter interested in addressing REAL threats to Idaho's game herds.

There are a few elk roaming at Macy's....

according to what I can gather from the news. Meet them at the cosmetics counter and give one a makeover.

Heard one loiters at Sundance Dodge, asking about the new Ram but never taking a test drive.

There's a criminal elk extorting gerbils at the pet store in the mall but it's low key...the goldfish are doing all the dirty work.

Legislating ethics...

leads to disaster, for one. Also, attacking any form of hunting leads to the destruction of all hunting, there are states already that have lost bear hunting, dove hunting... they're trying to eliminate it all and this will open the door for them a little more: using lies and political games to attack an industry when the resources should be used to address diseases already in Idaho's wild game herds, the disease that's being brought in by the state and through migration, wolves decimating populations of ungulates, etc etc. This just shows that protecting Idaho's wildlife is not the goal here.

Wildlife Education

Here is a factual place to start your argument. Years ago domestic cattle infected wild buffalo and wild elk with brucellosis, and domestic sheep infected wild bighorn sheep with pneumonia. Now what?

Get cows and pigs in rehab.

It's DRUGS, he misopined!

Antibiotics, he corrected himself.

Conversing in the third party, he noted.

Fer sure.

If it works for Amy Winehouse (and we'll have an idea tonight)...

Wildlife Education

Here is a factual place to start your argument. Years ago domestic cattle infected wild buffalo and wild elk with brucellosis, and domestic sheep infected wild bighorn sheep with pneumonia. Now what?



If, as you pointed out, wild elk are already infected with disease from cattle, how is the domestic elk industry a disease threat to wild elk? The quick answer is the domestic elk industry is not a threat.

Langhorst and his buddies know they will lose this argument, so they are focusing on high-fenced hunting being a threat to Idaho's hunting tradition. An initiative to end high-fenced hunting will fail in Idaho. They still bring up the disease threat because they know it may sway those who aren't willing to do the research themselves.

The bottom line is this: both domestic elk ranching and high-fenced hunting are safe as long as there is not a positive detection of chronic-wasting disease from a domestic elk. They need a positive detection to further their political agenda. You, fencepostwilly, should be wondering how far Langhorst and his Pied Piper followers are willing to go to ensure that happens.

Elk farm diseases: True or False?

Although my original post was about fair chase and mentioned nothing about chronic wasting disease, giant liver flukes, meningeal worm, or EHD (bluetongue) we can delve into that realm. Lets do it with a series of true-or-false statements:

The law-abiding, well intended elk ranch operators have a strict CWD testing regime. (true)

All Idaho elk farms are law-abiding and well intended. (the answer is certainly either true or false, but I'll let you fill this one in.)

The first documented case of CWD was in a confined deer pen in Ft. Collins, CO. (true; there is speculation that the facility had previously held sheep infected with scrapie, a CWD-like disease)

Some of those deer were let loose, for whatever reason. (true)

The first known area of widespread CWD in wild deer and elk was in the area around Ft. Collins. (true)

CWD continues to spread outward from that area, infecting the Wyoming/Colorado/Nebraska deer and elk herds. (true; this is why some claim that wild elk are more likely to bring disease to Idaho.)

In the 1990s, Colorado game farms shipped elk infected with CWD to other states, where CWD was consequently found in game farms. (true)

As of 2007, all states where CWD had been found in wild animals also had game farms (true)

As of 2007, there were three states where CWD was documented in game farm animals and NOT yet found in wild game (MN, OK, KY) (true)

All of the escaped eastern Idaho elk from the Rex Rammell farm were found to be disease free. (false; they never found them all.)

Tens of thousands of hunting and fishing license dollars from the Idaho Dept. of Fish and Game budget were spent in the effort to gather those escaped game farm elk. (true)

Senator Langhorst wrong again!

As of 2007, there were three states where CWD was documented in game farm animals and NOT yet found in wild game (MN, OK, KY) (true) FALSE!

CWD has never been found in a game farm in KY!
This is an old political trick, print a couple of things known to be true and then mix in whatever lies serve your personal agenda and readers assume that since part of the statement is true all of the statement is true.

Actually KY is most likely the next state to find CWD in the wild since the KY Fish & Wildlife Agency imported hundreds of wild elk, for their restoration project, that originated from states that have a known CWD problem in their wild free roaming elk herds!

For Langhorst and others who want to spin this disease issue to suit their own personal agenda to put hard working American Farmers and Ranchers out of business so that the wildlife agencies can have a monopoly, you really should study the real facts!

1. The biggest disease problem is in wild free roaming herds mismanaged by government wildlife agencies.
a. Yellowstone National Park in WY, where TB and Brucellosis have been prevalent in the wildlife there for many decades.
b. Rocky Mountain National Park in CO, where CWD and other diseases has been a problem for many years.
c. Look at all of the states that have CWD and other wildlife diseases in their wildlife being mismanaged by government wildlife agencies and see how little these wildlife agencies have done to clean up these wild herds, almost nothing has been accomplished by these corrupt wildlife agencies who twist and distort the facts to cover their own incompetence.
d. All cases of CWD in captive cervids, that can be traced back to the original source, trace back to animals from the research facilities managed by the CO Fish & Wildlife Agency.
e. Privately owned captive cervid herds have been cleaned up and proved to be disease free and yet the wild herds mismanaged by government wildlife agencies are still full of diseases and can not meet state or federal import regulations in regard to disease issues and therefore can not be used for elk restoration projects.

Over the past almost 30 years, I have learned 3 things.
1. Most Government Wildlife Agencies will do or say anything to hide their own incompetence and reckless actions. The CO Fish & Wildlife Agency proved this over and over again by trying to blame Farmers and Ranchers for CWD when the fact was the CO Fish & Wildlife Agency was responsible for the spread of CWD by releasing diseased animals back into the wild from their research facility and by transferring diseased animals to zoos and cervid farmers from their research facility. For years, the CO Fish & Wildlife Agency blamed farmers and ranchers until the real truth was finally discovered in their own records, records that they tried to prevent the general public form knowing about. Shame on you CO Fish & Wildlife Agency!
2. Most Politicians will do or say anything to get a vote!
3. Corruption and Incompetence runs amuck in government!

I've learned...

you have a different summary for each post or why bother writing the same rebuttal over and over or people come to assume you have nothing new to say.


If they're less than $2,49 a pound...

tell me where to go.

Langhorst, you just proved what I wrote about CWD

Except you added some spin (as usual):

"All of the escaped eastern Idaho elk from the Rex Rammell farm were found to be disease free. (false; they never found them all.)" -- I think it is safe to say this is inconclusive, not false. However, all of Rammell's elk that were killed by overzealous Fish and Game agents and tested were free of CWD, brucellosis, and TB.

"Tens of thousands of hunting and fishing license dollars from the Idaho Dept. of Fish and Game budget were spent in the effort to gather those escaped game farm elk. (true)" -- Now you have just proven what I've been saying for a long time; certain Fish and Game conservation officers have agendas and think nothing about spending sportsmen's dollars to fulfill those agendas. The media is also a willing accomplice. The domestic elk industry is regulated by the Idaho Department of Agriculture, so what the hell is the Fish and Game doing meddling in their business? It's all politics, baby! David, our Fish and Game spends hundreds of thousands of dollars (if not more) on fluff programs the average hunter would object to (if they chose to investigate this).

Now David, where is the outrage that, under the direction of our own Fish and Game Department, diseased, Wyoming elk were brought into Idaho to be processed?

Langhorst on target

I might remind DukeNukem that at the time of the great eastern idaho Elk Escape" our then acting Gov., Mr Rich directed the state's fish & game department to capture or kill all the escaped elk from Mr. Rammel's ranch. There was a risk for desease and possible red deer geneT spread. Several elk are still out there roaming and breeding from Rammels escape. I would call this solved case yet. If Rex felt they were so pure why didn't he report their escape in the timeframe the regulations required him to do so or gee wasn't he keeping track of his pets?? Too bad he didn't do what the regulations instructed him to do as an operator, maybe they could have been re-corraled and saved us all the expense. Neither sportsmen nor idaho tax payers should be covering the costs of any private indistry operators mistakes.

As one sportsman i don't want one dime of my liscence money going to support F&G agency to hunt down someone's escaped animals.

As far as saying this industry is well managed, if you call the current Ag. departments rules for Cervidae game farms a good program better read the rules-looks to me like the fox has been inside the hen house all along.

At least the fox got fed.


Is Senator Langhorst willing to follow the same path as RMEF?

Some people say that Politicians are like diapers and they should be changed regularly but I don't always agree with that as occasionally you do get one worth keeping. That does not seem to be the case here though as it seems it is time for a change. It's my personal opinion that the people in Idaho would be better served with a Senator who spent his time on important issues instead of trying to put hard working American farmers and ranchers out of business. Senator Langhorst seems to be trying to help his state wildlife agency buddies to create a monopoly.

Disease in captive cervid herds is not the issue here and Senator Langhorst knows that! It is just a deceptive way to try to fool the general public and gain support for state wildlife agencies to have a monopoly.

Senator Langhorst's remarks about the hunters behind fence being uneducated is not true but it does apply to many Politicians. Politicians can get elected without having to prove their intelligence or the lack thereof. Almost any slick talking person willing to play dirty politics can get elected.

Senator Langhorst does not have a clear understanding of this cervid industry issue! The elk OWNED by farmers and ranchers are personal property, bought and paid for with personal money that was originally paid to Government Agencies. Farmers and ranchers placed no restrictions on what the government could or could not do with the money that was used to purchase these elk and for any government agency to come back now and try to dictate what these farmers and ranchers can and can not do with their private property is just plain wrong! As long as these captive elk are properly cared for and humanely harvested, government agencies have no real reason to interfere except to help their wildlife agencies buddies create a monopoly.

Deer and elk are not some sacred animal that has more privileges and rights than all other animals but because wildlife agencies generate more money from the sale of hunting license for deer and elk than other animals, wildlife agencies would like for everyone to believe they are sacred animals and must be protected at any cost. What wildlife agencies are really trying to protect is their own revenue. These wildlife agencies do not want to be in competition with farmers and ranchers, they want a monopoly.

Captive raised cervids are healthier and have better genetics than their wild free roaming counterparts and when given a choice, many hunters prefer to take a captive raised cervid.

Is Senator Langhorst willing to risk his career by putting these hard working American farmers and ranchers out of business just to help his wildlife agency buddies create a monopoly? The RMEF joined forces with PETA and attacked the captive elk industry and you can see where that got them. Today RMEF is on the endangered species list and they haven't moved any elk interstate in many years. The truth is RMEF have no elk to relocate that meets state and federal import regulations in regard to disease issues. This fact along with the fact that RMEF & PETA put some hard working American farmers and ranchers out of business in Montana has led to the current situation that RMEF finds itself in today. The more facts the general public learned about RMEF, the more support they lost. It's seems as though the donating public did not care for the way RMEF was spending that donated money, 14 million dollars on their RMEF headquarters in MT. How many elk could have been restock with that 14 million dollars? Because of RMEF attacks against the captive elk industry, their reckless spending of donated money and because there are no wild free roaming elk that have proved to be healthy enough to be imported, RMEF has had to lay off most of their employees and these professional fund raisers now do little more that plant food plots. RMEF lost most of the support they once had and they will never again be the organization they once were! Is Senator Langhorst truly willing to follow the same path that RMEF followed?

David L. Autry
Executive Director, TN Elk Breeders Association
Director, North American Elk Breeders Association
Director, Non Traditional Farmers and Ranchers Coalition
Lifetime Member, TN Elk Breeders Association, North American Elk Breeders Association and Southern Game Ranchers Association

What is an RMEF?

If it's endangered then I can't eat it, can I?

OK. Mr. BMWA, what's an RMEF?

I know what an ELO is and also REM but your letters fall DOA.

I see you are a foreigntennesseean!

W'up Y'all?

What's RMEF?

Rocky Mountain Elk Fondation

It's edible then.


Senator Langhorst will fit right in with PETA and RMEF

For at least the past five years, the RMEF has been working together with PETA. They have compromised their principals out of greed for power and money.

Since the RMEF no longer supports the relocation of elk and since the RMEF has joined forces with PETA, the RMEF will never again be the organization that they once were!



The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and the end of freedom in America

By Scott Carpenter
web posted March 4, 2002

Free association can create powerful private interests but it shouldn't - at least not in a just society - create powerful public interests. Indeed, an organization that moves from voluntary cooperation and education to reliance on the legislature to achieve its ends has overstepped its boundaries and become an enemy of what little liberty we have left on this continent.

I can name a dozen or more organizations of this nature right off the top of my head. Some of them are religious in nature, some political and some - like PeTA - are just simply over the edge. But I never - not in a million years - thought any organization I belonged to would walk this path. At least not until I got my latest copy of 'Bugle' magazine in the mail.

Bugle is - for those of you who are not familiar with it - the masthead of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. The RMEF is an organization whose primary goal is to secure critical habitat for wild free ranging elk and other animals. They do this - as such things should be accomplished - through the purchase of critical lands via voluntary contributions and through selling memberships to the organization itself. In short - it is a charitable association of people who see value in the existence of wild places and wild critters. It is - or at least was - a noncoercive entity that purchased private lands and made them (at least in a sense) public and accessible to all creatures - both two legged and four.

But when I opened my latest issue of Bugle to the back page - to take in as I always do Dan Crockett's eloquent 'Good hunting' column - I was left to face the fact that as an individual concerned with freedom first I may be forced to cancel my membership with the RMEF.

Montana, Canned Hunts and I-143

For those of you 'not in the know' there has been a lot of debate amongst the hunting community in past years - particularly in Bugle magazine and other mainstream hunting and fishing rags - over the issue of canned hunts.

Canned hunts are a simple concept for simple people. They amount to little more than shooting fish in a barrel and, in my opinion, are strictly for those 'hunters' lacking a degree of moral fiber.

Indeed, sportsman who are concerned with public perception see the practice of hunting animals in enclosures - regardless of size - as a black eye to the honest pursuit of wild game. In fact, the issue has been so hot that in some states and provinces various special interests have risen to 'put and end' to the practice of shooting penned in animals.

A recent news release from the Montana Wildlife Federation tells the tale of how an issue of ethics has quickly been blown into an issue of law:

"On November 7 sportsmen and sportswomen won a key victory when Montanans voted to control the reckless game farm industry and put an end to unethical "canned hunts" on game farms. The initiative passed by a 52-48 margin."

"I-143 was a simple and straightforward effort to reform an industry which has, for too long, abused its relationships with traditional ranching and ethical hunting and in the process has put our wild free-ranging elk at risk. I-143 will amend state law to: 1) prohibit all new game farms in the state of Montana. 2) Existing game farms in Montana will continue to operate, but will be prohibited from charging fees for captive big game shooting operations. 3) Existing game farms will be prohibited from transferring their licenses to any other party. 4) I-143 also repeals provisions of the law concerning expansion of existing game farms."

The news release from the MWF continues by stating that: "Contrary to assertions made by game farmers in the weeks before the election, I-143 will not constitute a violation, or takings, of private property rights.

Historical precedent and recent case law is clear: "No one has an absolute right to use his land in a way that may harm the public health or welfare, or that damages the quality of life of neighboring landowners, or of the community as a whole."

Indeed, this is true. In a society of laws based on the right of individuals to hold and enjoy property no one has the right to use that property to violate the equal rights of others. But the assertion that this law does not violate property rights - at least as a matter of reason - does not hold water.

While penned hunts are certainly unethical from a 'fair chase' point of view the fact remains that not everyone adheres to the same set of ethics - nor should they. And since owning, farming and killing elk in pens for pleasure does not directly infringe on the equal rights of others banning its practice is indeed a violation of the property rights of those ranchers it serves precedence over. Only in rare cases where penned elk spread disease to neighboring livestock or wildlife is there room for grievance. But this in and of itself is not sufficient reason to outlaw - regardless of how unethical it may seem - the practice of catering canned hunts.

The Elk Foundation and Crockett's Confusion...

I-143 passed into law almost undetected by my 'bad law' radar and would have remained so if it weren't for Dan Crockett's most recent column in Bugle magazine. In it Crockett writes of the dying breaths of one of Montana's last elk hunting farms:

"The buy/sell on the biggest elk farm in Montana is down to the last niggling details. Len Wallace, owner of the 6,000 acre Big Velvet Ranch, has had enough of Big Sky Country."

"'I want to move back to America,' says Wallace. America," snipes Crockett, "presumably, is some place where the people have not decreed - by statewide ballot initiative - that they don't want elk farms or any hunts that target domestically raised native big game animals held in captivity."

Hmm. Actually Dan, rumor has it that America used to be a place where there was room enough for everyone. From Christians and atheists, hunters and vegetarians to potato farmers and even those despicable game ranchers. We used to tolerate one another out of respect for each individual's right to choose his or her own path in this world - regardless of how unethical we deemed that path to be.

Yet somehow, either through sheer stupidity or downright sloth we have arrived at the conclusion that since we can reach a 50.1 to 49.9 victory via the vote we may have the moral authority to do whatever to whomever we please. In short, America has gone from a democracy tempered by the rule of law and the rights of men to a majority rules dictatorship. But as history teaches us: having the majority on your side does not automatically make you right no matter how noble your cause may seem.

So, in adopting this position Bugle and the RMEF have moved from what once made America great to what rots her from the inside out. Indeed, the idea that men should be ruled by the tyranny of the majority flies in the face of the very concept of freedom itself. And if the RMEF and their friends at the Montana Wildlife Federation had simply let the debate roar or ponied up the cash to buy those hunt farms out without getting the state involved then they'd still have my time and my cash. But instead they took the lazy way out and sought reconciliation through the use of the blunt and all too often wielded sword of government. In the end they've lowered themselves to the same level as PETA and their ilk. How unfortunate. How terribly tragic.

Crockett and the Red Horde....

"The good news is,"continues Crockett, "that the future owner of the Big Velvet Ranch (Who already owns 11,000 adjoining acres) plans to tear down the game proof fences and restore the area to its natural state.... Who knows, maybe the new owner will let a horde of happy volunteers help lay those fences low... we could heap up a fine pyre of fence poles, light a raucous bonfire. Some of us might even use our unfilled elk tags as tinder. We might raise a toast to America - the land of the free."

It's ironic or perhaps appropriate that Mr. Crockett uses the term 'horde' to describe his gang of 'defencers'. Perhaps he doesn't realize that as long as America the 'horde' rules, America the 'land of the free' will always be a distant republican myth. At any rate, I won't be renewing my membership to the RMEF this year. Indeed, I'd rather be an unethical 'canned hunter' than a member of Crockett's red defencing 'horde' any day.

And I suspect this will be a hard pill for the hunting community and my local RMEF chapter to swallow. We've been so concerned with public perception and fuzzy wuzzy metaphors for so long that we've ultimately forgotten our roots. The truth is: public perception is far less important than remembering those few simple but profound words: that We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. I'm curious - I wonder what ever lead Mr. Crockett and crew to believe their vision of happiness was the right one?

Ultimately, it is this simple recipe for living that should not only protect people like Mr. Wallace but our treasured hunting heritage as well. Respecting our differences and agreeing to disagree is the American way - beating our ethical opponents into submission with the battered blade of the state is not. In the end if we cannot understand this - if we cannot embrace the simple principle of liberty - then our beloved heritage is already lost.

As for Mr. Wallace, may you and your comrades forgive me and the others who did not know and I hope some day - for your sake and for mine - that you do find your America.

Scott Carpenter is a freelance writer and firearms dealer living in Dawson Creek, British Columbia. His articles and columns have appeared in BC Outdoors, Western Sportsman, Big Buck Magazine, Laissez Faire City Times, Le Quebecois Libre, Ether Zone, Enter Stage Right and the Sierra Times. He can be reached for comment at nanook@pris.bc.ca.

Layoffs made at Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation

MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) -- The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation has laid off 15 employees and says it will not fill eight other vacant positions.

It's the third time since 2001 that the conservation organization has laid off part of its Missoula work force. The first time, 33 jobs were affected; the second time, four.

The latest cutbacks were part of a realignment and will help the foundation "balance our mission with the reality of the marketplace," interim President and CEO Walker S. "Buddy" Smith Jr. told the Missoulian newspaper in a story Friday.

The foundation seeks to ensure the future of elk, other wildlife and their habitat, its Web site says.

Smith said that much of the federal funding for foundation projects has dried up in the past three to four years.

"The money just hasn't been coming in," he said. "This is an effort to get ahead of the curve, and make sure we can fulfill our mission. Our obligation to our members and volunteers is to invest every nickel we can on the ground."

Between the layoffs late last week and vacancies that weren't filled, Smith said, virtually every department at the foundation was affected. One of the 15 people laid off was rehired in a different job, in field operations, he added.

After the layoffs, Smith said, the elk foundation will have 121 full-time-equivalent positions nationwide. The bulk of them work at the $14 million international headquarters in Missoula into which the foundation moved in November 2005.

"The cuts are painful, granted," Smith said. "It hurts when it affects the lives of families. But it brings us to a point where we can live within our means, and put money on the ground for our mission."

Smith said two employees were laid off last Thursday, and the rest of the cuts were announced last Friday.

"As a whole, everyone took the high road," Smith said. "These are dedicated, professional people who understand we need to do the best we can with the money we have."

Those laid off were given a severance package, Smith said, the value of which was determined by their position and length of service.

What does the future hold for the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation?
by David L. Autry

As a young boy, born and raised in the hills of west TN, I can remember daydreaming about what my future might be like. Having a love of animals and the outdoors and also having a healthy imagination, I spent countless hours doing just that. I think that the high paid officials with the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation (RMEF) are now doing some daydreaming of their own about their future or maybe, in their case, it's more like a nightmare.

The RMEF was once a thriving organization that seemed to have no difficulty in raising hundreds of thousands of dollars through donations and fund raisers for their cause but nowadays it appears that the tide has shifted and they have now lost their momentum.

Has the RMEF fallen on hard times? It seems as though they have. Many of the wild elk herds like Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming and Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado have for decades harbored several different diseases such as Tuberculosis, Brucellosis and even Chronic Wasting Disease. Government Wildlife Agencies have done very little to solve these disease problems and therefore the diseases continue to spread to other areas affecting both wildlife and livestock.

Due to many of the wild herds of elk being diseased and unsafe for restoration projects, the RMEF has suffered a major set-back. Even the captive herds managed by Government Agencies in the U.S. and Canada do not meet disease testing and monitoring regulations for safe importation. These government run game farms like Elk Island National Park (EINP) in Alberta Canada and Land Between the Lakes (LBL) in Kentucky have failed to properly test and monitor their animals for disease and therefore cannot meet the state and federal regulations for interstate movement.

The RMEF, according to RMEF spokesman David Ledford in KY, has placed itself on a self imposed moratorium due to the fear of spreading disease. Since the RMEF has supposedly stopped financing the relocation and transportation of elk, it appears that most people are very reluctant now to make those sizeable donations that the RMEF had grown accustom to. Rather than help finance the high salaries of the top management personnel of the RMEF, many donators have decided that their money would be better spent elsewhere. After all, why would anyone want to donate to an organization that no longer accomplishes the objective that was the driving force of the RMEF and that was to restore elk to areas that they once had inhabited. By RMEF's own admission, they no longer support the relocation or transportation of elk for fear of spreading disease.

During the RMEF's more productive years, when donations exceeded all expectations and their growth seem to be unlimited, this conservation group seem to have lost sight of what was right and wrong and became so powerful that they were able to influenced legislation that robbed land owners of their property rights. The RMEF took a stand against farmers and ranchers and literally put some of these hard working Americans out of business with no regard for the hardships that they placed on these families.

The RMEF took a stand against farmers and ranchers who raise elk in captivity but yet they have no problem accepting elk that have been raised in captivity by government agencies even when those elk do not meet state or federal disease testing and monitoring regulations for safe importation. As you can see, this makes no sense at all.

The RMEF's existence has been dependant on donations but now that there are no elk that meets the state and federal disease testing and monitoring regulations for importation, none that is except the ones raised by farmers and ranchers, the RMEF may have a difficult time trying to survive.


When the RMEF attacked farmers and ranchers that raised elk, they burned a bridge.......a bridge that they would need later.

At that time, they felt that they held all of the cards and could just run over hard working American families with no repercussions. At that time, they had access to an unlimited elk supply for their elk restoration projects and yes, they thought that they were untouchable. The RMEF and Government Wildlife Agencies used their influence with the general public, the media and the legislators to pass regulations that put many elk producers out of business and almost put the whole industry down. The RMEF played a major role in the closing of Montana and has tried to close other states.

Now the elk producers, that managed to hang on and meet all of the regulations, can buy, sell and move elk interstate and yet the wild herds, that the RMEF once had access to, do not qualify for movement because they can not meet the regulations that were forced on us for no other reason but to eliminate the competition. Even the Government run game farms in Canada and the U.S. have not brought their captive animals into compliance and yet they expect special treatment. They want to be able to ignore the very laws that they helped to pass with their influence.

The RMEF will probably never admit to their mistakes but it is obvious that they wished that they had not burned that bridge because the very farmers and ranchers that they attack are the same farmers and ranchers who could have guaranteed the future of the RMEF with an unlimited supply of healthy elk that do meet all of the state and federal regulations for safe interstate movement.


Local supporters are disgusted with the RMEF when they learn how they have manipulated the system for their own personal greed and now that the RMEF has admitted that they have no healthy elk to relocate, that meets state and federal regulations in regard to disease issues, very few people are willing to continue to donate.

The RMEF is a big organization with high paid employees and now this organization seems to have no real objective except to just generate enough revenue so as to be able to continue to pay the exorbitant salaries of their top management people.