For those of you who’ve been following the drama unfolding in Kentucky regarding a sandhill crane hunt, there’s bad news. An eight-member commission unanimously approved the hunt proposal in early June. Which wasn’t a surprise, since everyone on the commission is a hunter. Thousands of letters and emails of protest apparently fell on deaf ears. Not surprising, but certainly disappointing. Shooting could start as early as mid-December 2011.
Kentucky’s wildlife offices have been flooded with protests, whether written, telephoned or emailed. It’s probably of little use to further bombard Commissioner Jon Gassett with your good letters. Go ahead and check out his company, Southern Wildlife Resources LLC . Now, I don’t know much about conflict of interest or what taxpayer-paid state employees should or shouldn’t be doing on their own time, but it looks to me as if he’s offering the same services his Department of Fish and Wildlife does, only for personal profit. Brokering land to hunters, hooking them up with guide services…all for a fee. It isn’t hard even for a simple bird painter to divine that Commissioner Gassett stands to gain financially from a crane hunt in Kentucky. No wonder his state office answering machine has a message on it expounding on the delicious meat of the sandhill crane. No, let’s not write any more letters to Dr. Gassett. That dog don’t hunt. Or rather, he does.
How about writing the Governor? And how about taking a few minutes to do it now? Here’s an easy, quick link to a comment form on Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear’s web site. He’ll be deciding on the proposal TODAY, June 15. Let’s give him a respectful little burst of opposition, huh?
I don’t know how the crane permits will be distributed, but in Nebraska the first year they allowed hunting of Greater Prairie-Chicken, birders bought up a good portion of the permits with no intention of shooting anything. That might be something to think about for Kentucky residents.
My girlfriend’s family is from Kentucky so believe me it pains me (and her) that these majestic birds might be subject to a hunt in her state. Needless to say I’ve sent the Governor my two cents. Koyomi, that’s not a bad plan (how much do these permits go for? I imagine there’s gotta be a hunting license to back it up). I’m flabbergasted that Nebraska has a Greater Prairie-Chicken hunt in the first place! Why not open season on California Condors and Whooping Cranes while they’re at it! Jeeze!
Indeed, Koyomi. It’s a good suggestion, and may come into play. Thank you.
I cannot understand this type of hunting, except as a form of target practice. The information about conflict of interest is very telling.
I wrote the GOV….and received a reply from the “others”.. i will write again and again….. that picture is so disturbing, even dead, it is still treated without dignity, hanging upside down by the feet, to have a picture taken………… lets boycott that freakin’ Derby of theirs… and screw burgoo too……….. how can a state as “grand” as KY, allow such a hunt… oh, right, the @#$%^&* money…. KENTUCKY… you have Cranes blood on your hands, hell, invite the likes of Ted Nugent to hunt as well…. KY. the state of lower consciousness…. is there anyway not to drive thru KY on the way back to Vermont??? I am LIVID. but not beyond words and action. KY should invite Obamas kids to the festive hunt this year… someone needs to write his animal loving kids….maybe a kid can help stop this madness….
Uh, it’s over. This process was dishonest from day one when the KY F&W declared war on the wildlife viewing community with a preemptive strike when it leaked the plan to hunters and hunting clubs, couching any opposition as an attack on their hunting heritage. This occurred well before it was released to the general public. Whenever Commissioner Jon Gassett was cornered on the facts, he just lied, as he did during the Joint Legislative Subcommittee hearing. The kicker is that they didn’t need to be deceptive since the process is heavily stacked in their favor by design. Sandhill Cranes will be falling from the sky over Western Kentucky this December…
Ask yourself, “Where does the department receive their funding dollars?”
The answer of course is from hunting and fishing licenses as well as Pittman-Robertson funds and other various tags and user fees bought, in the majority, by hunters and fisherman of this state. Why would they pander to groups outside of our state or to groups not funding their existence. It makes no sense to do so. Not underhanded or dishonest. If it creates more revenue for them kudos.
I’ll bet that you are very surprised at the lack of birds killed this season. Very few KY hunters live in areas that they frequent in high enough densities to pattern and of those very few have ever hunted cranes before. If it is more than 50 I will be very surprised.
I would like to have Ted over to hunt. I bet he would be very unimpressed however. Most here in KY are not very fond of Mr. Obama either. I predict his kids would be meet a scene much like the welcoming Mrs. Obama recieved at the NASCAR race she attended.
Please pay us rednecks no further mind and carry on about your business. I highly doubt you will ever personally be impacted by this hunt. I am invested for $3, how about you?
Yesterday was the first time that sandhill cranes were being shot out of the sky over KY in 100 years. The area where the vast majority of hunters were had been carefully scouted using in part, non-game funds. There are high densities of cranes in these areas, prompting one long time resident and avid hunter to claim that “It will be like hunting cranes in a barrel.”
Smash DN sez: “Ask yourself, “Where does the department receive their funding dollars?””
According to the KFWR agency’s “Operating Budget for Fiscal Biennium 2010-2012”, out of the $49,988,800 total funds, the agency funds (comprised of hunting licenses and fees) were $32,918,500, the federal funds (comprised of non-game programs) were $17,070,300. So, out of the total operating funds, roughly 35% (a number that is on the rise) comes from non-hunting sources that rightly contend that they should be represented at the table when these decisions are made. From what I could tell from attending the public hearings at KDFWR, the non-hunting groups that pay for over a third of conservation programs in the state had no representation at the table when the Commissioners voted unanimously to approve the hunt.
In fact, a recurring part of those non-hunting related operating funds comes from The Kentucky Heritage Land Conservation Fund that since mid-1990’s, KDFWR has bought 11,590 acres with $5,587,841 in KHLCF funds. KDFWR routinely gets 10% of this fund annually. To say that hunting and fishing licenses are footing all of the bills, as KDFWR contends in its “case” for the hunt, is dishonest.
As a hunter, I am also disappointed with the dishonest way that Fish & Wildlife ginned up this issue in the hunting community as an attack on all hunting (also using in part, non-game funds). The KDFWR conned KY’s birdwatching community to go out and count as many sandhill cranes as they could during the run-up to the hunting proposal and submit the numbers so that they could use them to pad their counts. The wildlife watching community is is NOT stupid, and after this fiasco, will hardly put it out of their minds and go about their business. The Chairman of the Kentucky Administrative Regulation and Review Subcommittee said that they received more mail on this issue than EVER before on ANY issue. They were told by a member of the bird watching community, “That should tell you something!”.
I know that I am not giving KDFWR another dime of my money until Jon Gassett is no longer Commissioner.