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C.A.S.H. Letters to the Editor > 2004

C.A.S.H. Letters

DOW CATCHES BIGHORN POACHER

3/11/04

Dear Post Independent:

Re: "DOW catches bighorn poacher" (3/10/04), there is no difference between poachers and legal hunters, to the victimized animals.

The article states that the victim of poacher, Joshua Lloyd, was a "trophy-size bighorn sheep." That utilitarian description reinforces what animals are to DOW - "trophies."

Why was Lloyd charged with a felony, while the killers of millions of other wild animals in Colorado were never arrested? Because Lloyd's poaching was not considered a crime against an animal, but a crime against other hunters.

DOW's stated mission is to "protect, preserve, enhance, and manage wildlife for THE USE, BENEFIT AND ENJOYMENT OF THE PEOPLE" [my emphasis]. The reason regulated hunting was instituted was that, by the beginning of the 20th Century, many species were extinct or threatened with extinction because of hunting. Regulated hunting would ensure the future availability of live targets for hunters.

Wildlife species, let alone individual animals, had no inherent value in this selfish scheme. The fate of all wild animals would, henceforth, be in the bloody hands of wildlife agencies, hunters, and the weapons industry.

Though it was hunters who wiped out and endangered wildlife populations, and it is hunters who manage wildlife for recreational exploitation, DOW incredibly states that "Without wildlife management, Colorado's abundant and diverse wildlife populations would not exist."

What is the focus of wildlife management in Colorado? There are 850+ license agents across the state, whose job is to sell hunting and fishing licenses.

Without their help, DOW states it "would be unable to serve its millions of customers a year." DOW, in its own words, is a business that serves its hunter customers. According to its 2002-2007 Strategic Plan, DOW's "top priority is maintaining healthy and viable game populations" for its customers.

DOW has 237 employees. Its Law Enforcement Unit (LEU) has only 10 (who deal not only with Colorado, but provide assistance on a national and international basis), though DOW admits that a 1999 survey "found that 78 percent of Colorado residents believe that enforcing existing wildlife laws is the top priority for the agency."

LEU's few employees are devoted to "the fair and equitable distribution of opportunity" (i.e., recreational killing opportunities). LEU sees no conflict of interest in serving as "a contact and liaison with various private outdoor and commercial wildlife industries including the Colorado Bowhunters Association, Colorado Outfitters Association, Colorado Wildlife Federation, Trout Unlimited, United Sportsmen Council, Colorado Sportsman Wildlife Fund."

LEU is also a liaison between DOW and the Operation Game Thief (OGT) program. Hunter Lloyd was charged with violating Colorado's Samson Law.

Samson was a bull elk killed illegally in 1995. DOW says that "his illegal killing angered many people" - NOT his killing, but his "illegal" killing.

OGT shamelessly uses Samson as a logo on their advertising and merchandise.

Where are the logos for the tens of thousands of elk killed legally, in Colorado, annually? The two "partners" who fund OGT and, in exchange, get their own logos on the OGT trailer and brochures are - no big surprise here - the Western Chapter of Safari Club International and a sportsmen's store. Your article notes that, "Under the state's Samson Law, illegal killing of trophy-size wildlife carries a $25,000 surcharge." Again, "trophy" and "illegal," not suffering and death, are the key words.

How did DOW react to the killing of Samson? By ensuring that more elk would be killed. DOW and the Wildlife Commission, for the 2002 season, lowered the cost of a nonresident cow elk license substantially, and made more limited licenses available, resulting in a 10 % increase in big game hunting licenses, from the previous year..

What kind of people hunt? The number of citations for illegal hunting in Colorado averages 5,500 per year. Natural resource officers have nine times the chance of getting killed or injured in the line of duty than other law enforcement officers. This nadir of the human gene pool controls all decisions made about wildlife on the federal and state levels. It is time for the 94% of Americans who do not hunt to wrest control from these scoundrels.

To learn more about wildlife mismanagement, go to www.all-creatures.org/cash .

Susan Gordon, Representative
Committee to Abolish Sport Hunting
PO Box 562
New Paltz, NY 12561


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