Problems in TN
We have some problems facing hunting here in TN. Below is my newspaper column for Wed. Feb. 22. I thought it might be of interest.
We have a struggle going on here in TN most of which centers arund one legislator who is behind several bills that would be extremely detrimental to our wildluife agency. Here is my newspaper column for Wed. Feb. 22 that I thought might be of interest. If this is not allowed, please delete.
Outdoors With John L. Sloan reprint permission by contacting author.
Feb. 22, 2012
Meanwhile, Up On The Hill, (not Center Hill).
Guy called me and tipped me off to this. I thought I would share it with you. See, to me it seems like it happens just about every year. Some legislator with an axe to grind sponsors a bill or four that are just plain stupid and are for the soul purpose of self-something. By that, I mean they only serve his sense of self.
Here, let me give you an example. How about a bill that would make it possible for my neighbor or me to pull out of our driveway and hit a deer or an opossum on Palmer road or highway 70 and TWRA gets a bill for having it removed? Said deer lays there a day and the city comes and picks up the carcass. The city could then bill TWRA for that service as if it was TWRAís fault or TWRA owned the animal. That would be stupid, would it not? That would also be House Bill #3169 sponsored by Frank Nicely R-Knoxville, (lives in Strawberry Plains), you might remember him from last year.
It would allow any state government entity to charge TWRA for any animal they remove from a roadway, median, right-of-way or berm of the road. Seems to me it would not take too long for some town in TN to realize they can make some real money charging TWRA $50-$100 for picking up skunks or squirrels or any wildlife. Pretty soon, TWRA is broke. Just plain stupid, I call it.
Unless you look a little deeper.
How about this one? Every deer killed on a TWRA wildlife management area has to be tested for chronic wasting disease-CWD. Not only is that impossible and not needed, it is just plain an attempt to bankrupt TWRA. TWRA has a testing program in place and to date TN is CWD free. However, if it were not, there is nothing that can be done about it anyway. That is house bill #3170, sponsored by Frank Nicely
Mr. Nicely, you might recall, is the fellow who wanted it to be legal to farm deer commercially in TN and that was sorta sidetracked last year. So this year, he brought it back, House Bill 3164 and 1112 and once again, he wants to have commercial deer farming legal in TN. It was supposed to come up on Feb. 14th. I heard due to inundation with calls and emails opposed to the bill, it was postponed again. I also heard a couple of the co-sponsors or whatever they are called took their name off the bill, too.
Of course, deer farming is most likely the reason we have CWD in the U.S. to start with. Just recently, two states, MO and TX both directly and indirectly attributed deer farming to cases of CWD, so I am told. Mr. Nicely is the chairman of the House Agriculture Committee and badly wants to make it legal to farm deer commercially here. I am starting to wonder why? Surely he doesnít really think it will create that many jobs.
Well, while we are talking dumb, let us look at House Bill # 3159, again one of Mr. Nicelyís. The bill would limit wildlife officers to enforcing only wildlife laws. What is wrong with that, you say? They would have no jurisdiction to deal with anything that is not a wildlife or boating law. Keep in mind, wildlife officers are called upon for trespassing issues, work drug cases, crowd control and any manner of duties.
As for myself, I want more law on the streets and in the woods, not less. A wildlife officers stops a suspected poacher and sees a woman tied hand and foot in the back of the truck, Iíd like for him to able to inquire about that. If they see someone setting a house on fire, I would think it would be nice for them to be able to do something besides roast a hotdog. Not Mr. Nicely. Of course those are ridiculous examples but this is not. What about a wildlife officer responding to call from a deputy for backup? The wildlife officer would then be acting outside the scope of his authority.
Well here is a dandy. House Bill #3158 would put and end to hunting and fishing on any land managed as a wildlife management area not owned by TWRA because it would prohibit the designation of safety zones. See, if you canít have a safety zone, you canít protect workers, namely humans in areas of population or work. The following areas would quickly stop all hunting without safety zones AEDC (owned by the Air Force), Oak Ridge (owned by the DOE and UT), Enterprise South (owned by the city of Chattanooga), Mt. Roosevelt and Standing Stone and several others (owned by The Division of Forestry) and many more. Yep. Nicely again. Dang, you reckon he has an axe to grind.
Now you see, House bill 3449/Senate Bill 3450 is an attempt to remove TWRA from the season setting process and make the agency entirely political. I will not go into all the mechanics but we end up with a person appointed by the Governor running the agency and the agencies trained biologists have no voice in the job they are hired to do. Reckon there would be some politics played there? Next thing you know, we have someone who does not know a fox from a fix running the wildlife agency and probably a card-carrying member of PETA to boot.
Old Frank has been working hard. He had to have been to come up with all these ideas. I reckon he is still smarting after getting his hand spanked last year. Iím going to work hard, too. Iím going to make sure the people I vote for are aware of all this foolishness. Maybe you might, too. You can look all these bills up online and read the whole thing.
Donít forget the NWTF banquet at the Country Club tomorrow night. Doors open about sundown, groceries at 6:30 followed by the auctions. Good place to some networking regarding the above. There are several more bills introduced by Frank that are equally stupid. In case you are interested here are the bills affecting outdoor usage that Mr. Nicely is involved with. HB 3170,3169,3168,3167,3166,3165,3164,3163,3159,3158, 1112 and 3449 and I think there are probably some I missed.
Are you sure that Mr. Frank Whatshisname isn't a card carrying Democrat??? It certainly sounds like he has some sort of agenda that doesn't include having the best interests of his constituents at heart. (Now doesn't that sound like someone else from Washington in just a little higher office?)
What are your thoughts on this???
Here in PA we have deer farming.Just over our northern border in New York state, a deer farm brought CWD to the area.About 15 miles from our southern border there is CWD in West Virginia.I saw a deer farm not far from my hunting area that had plastic sheeting over the fences to prevent wild deer from nuzzling the tame deer inside.Apparently, this is the method of transmission of CWD from deer farms to wild deer.
I won't answer your post point-for-point but as it stand now, the deer farming bill will come back up again today or tomorrow. I have been told, two of the orignal signees now have dropped off. The major bump against deer farming is two-fold, one is high fence hunting which in turn promotes the importation of deer from other states, usually illegally and therefore promotes the spread of CWD.
I was at UW when Dr. E. discovered CWD. As it is with all disease, it started spontaneously, wild or otherwise. The problem being, with penned deer, it is more quickly spread and at UW, it is believed the disease came in with some elk transplanted from the pens at CO. State. Those elk were trapped in a small mountain area in CO. Whether they had it at that time is not known. All research traces it back to those elk. Obviously, any thoughts about how it started other than that are pure conjecture.
Tell me, once we have CWD in TN, just exactly what can be done to eradicate it? I know of nothing that has worked in any other state.
Certainly, the infected animals can be killed. That, however, is just a placebo as the symptoms of CWD can lay dormant for up to five years or more.
I agree, testing should be increased but not at the cost of bankrupting TWRA. The burden of payment, I believe, should rest with the hunter.
As for polotics, most things have political roots or ties. I strongly suggest if you have proof other than word of mouth of any wrong doing regarding TWRA or state agency, you promptly blow the whistle. It is the right thing to do. To allude to it on forums such as this one can get the bejeesus sued out of you unless you can back it up with hard fact. "A game warden told me this etc." is not hard fact or even slightly reliable.
Nicely has a long history of problems with TWRA. I suggest you research that history and his other ties. You might also read Sam Venable's recent article in the Knoxville newspaper.
The importation of other animals for breeding stock is probably the scariest thing to me. This will be the number 1 reason we get CWD. A few underhand/backdoor deals and we will have the it in several areas with the state.
There isn't much known at the moment on how to destroy the prions that lead to CWD. Extreme heat is about the only way that is really known. I just hate that "if we got it, we got it".
If TWRA is the agency responsible for our wildlife, I believe the testing does fall on them. I mean if you are a police officer (sworn to protect and serve) and crime rates are rising, it is your duty to try harder and do more to protect the people. It isn't the fault of the people. However, like in the example (because tax payers do contribute to the money for police forces) the hunters should be responsible for some of it. However, the agency that regulates our wildlife here should take the most of it.
Like I said, I will continue to fight bills like this by this man and his helpers. This is a great threat to our wildlife. We do have a very dedicated wildlife department here at UT and they, with help from others, are leading a heck of charge to keep this from getting passed.
Nicely has once again rolled the bill back due to a lack of votes. I have suggested to my rep. they she introduce a bill making it illegal to have any wildlife behind a fence for any commerical purpose.
I can see this just hanging on until the session is over.
Members of the Wildlife Dept at UT have been tossing that idea around as well.
Glad that the bill got pulled especially after this...
Bob Hodge: Missouri provides more evidence against deer farming Ľ Knoxville News Sentinel Mobile
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