Tuesday, July 10, 2007

The Elk Hunting Sop

On the one hand, Mark Udall is promoting his efforts in Congress to allow hunters to cull National Park elk herds.

The herds need to be culled. According to the AP, Teddy Roosevelt National Park reintroduced elk in 1985. It has room for 400 elk, but has 1100.

The park service is opposed to hunting. It would rather spend millions building fences, rounding up the excess animals, and killing them in the organized way that cattle are sent to slaughter. When questioned about the issue of using hunters as "authorized agents" to cull the herds, one park service official pontificated:

[ Bill ] Whitworth said Monday that the Park Service already was aware it could use authorized agents, but that they cannot be used to circumvent the prohibition on hunting.

"If it looks like a hunt, it is a hunt, and that's the standard we're going to be held to," he said.

It is laudable that Mark Udall is trying to solve this problem in a very public way. Unfortunately, this policy, if implemented, benefits a few, or at most a few dozen hunters.

On the other hand, Mark Udall's Federal land roadless policy will put millions of acres of forests and streams effectively off limits to hunting and fishing. If a hunter or a fisherman cannot get close to the area he would like to hunt and fish in because the roads are off limits to the public, then the area is closed.

Mark Udall's dirty little secret is that he hates hunting, hates guns, and hates gun owners. He is just clever enough as a politician that he has found a public way to conceal that fact.

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