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Study: Beetle Kill Progression Impacts Elk, Hunters

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The epidemic of mountain beetle kill within the forests of the West is well documented with more than 1.5 million acres of forest affected in northern Colorado and southern Wyoming alone. Such changes have a dramatic impact on the landscape. A continuing study aims to provide information on how hunters and elk change their use of the forest as trees die, as dead trees begin to fall and beetle kill management is implemented. Researchers place …

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Federal Judges Positively View Collaborative Forest Projects

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“A sea of change” may be taking place as federal judges take more of a positive view on collaborative forest restoration projects. A recent report highlighted two case studies that showed judges ruling against an environmental group that challenged citizen-stakeholder groups partnering with the U.S. Forest Service. According to the author, there are three significant changes: The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation maintains that active forest management, including prescribed burning, thinning, noxious weed projects and managed …

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Logging: Could It Save Our Forests?

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When it comes to logging America’s forests, can environmentalists and the logging community actually see eye-to-eye? They do in the Colville National Forest located in northeast Washington. The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation maintains that actively managed forests not only enhance habitat wildlife and mitigate catastrophic wildfire but improve overall forest health. “We really need a more cohesive strategy to deal with this so we can protect the communities. But at the same time, we need …

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‘There is No Downside to a Healthy Forest’

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Editor note: The U.S. House passed the Resilient Federal Forests Act on Nov. 1 by a vote of 232-188. The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation hosted Congressman Bruce Westerman (R-Arkansas), Greg Gianforte (R-Montana) and representatives of the U.S. Forest Service, timber industry, conservation groups and media members for a roundtable discussion about the need for active forest management. Specifically, Rep. Westerman introduced the Resilient Federal Forests Act of 2017. It is designed to increase proactive forest …

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Montana Ready to Manage Grizzly Bears

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If the state of Montana gets the green light to manage grizzly bear populations in the northwest part of the state, biologists say they’re ready to do so. Grizzlies in the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem number more than a thousand but remain designated as a threatened species. Biologists with Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP) maintain the population is recovered and ready for them to be removed from the Endangered Species List. “This core area …

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Enviro Groups Seek to Frustrate Predator Management in Washington

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Two out-of-state environmental groups will receive 48 hours notice before wildlife officials in Washington remove problem wolves from the landscape. The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) already provides public notice before taking such action but came to the agreement as part of a lawsuit filed by Cascadia Wildlands (Oregon) and the Center for Biological Diversity (Arizona). The groups want notice so, if determined, they can file injunctions to stop the action. “We are …

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Research Determines Controversial Wolf-Livestock Depredation Findings at Fault

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New research by the Washington Policy Center disputes previous findings by a Washington State University professor, Rob Wielgus, who claimed removing wolves that kill livestock increases the probability of depredations in the following year. The researchers looked at the Wielgus data and determined the reason depredations increased was because wolf population numbers increased as well. Below is a portion of the Center’s findings: Careful reviews of this study, however, demonstrate serious methodological flaws and critical …

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House Natural Resources Committee Passes Gray Wolf State Management Act

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The House Natural Resources Committee approved the Gray Wolf State Management Act (H.R. 424) today on a bipartisan 25-15 vote. The bill is sponsored by Rep. Collin Peterson (D-MN) and includes 17 bipartisan cosponsors.

This bill requires the Secretary of the Interior to reissue final rules removing gray wolves in the Great Lakes states (Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin) and Wyoming from protection under the Endangered Species Act and restores their management to these states. The bill also prevents further judicial review on the issue.

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Environmental Group Seeks to Stop Arizona Hunts

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An environmental group wants to place a measure on the Arizona ballot that would ban the hunting of mountain lions and bobcats. Arizonans for Wildlife is backed by several anti-hunting organizations including the Humane Society of the United States, Center for Biological Diversity and the Sierra Club. Together, they label predator management as “trophy hunting.” “They’re trying to find a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist,” he said. “We are going to mobilize and …

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Arizona Court Rules in Favor of Hunters in Game Retrieval Case

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The Arizona U.S. District Court ruled against environmentalists challenging a U.S. Forest Service (USFS) decision to allow limited off-road big game retrieval by elk and bison hunters on the Kaibab National Forest in Arizona. The State of Arizona intervened in the case on behalf of hunters, and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation filed an amicus brief, supporting the USFS and Arizona Game and Fish Department (AGFD). “It’s interesting to note that the plaintiffs’ lawsuit targets …

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Minnesota Wolf Population Grows by 25 Percent

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A 2016-2017 winter survey by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) indicates there are an estimated 500 packs and 2,856 wolves in Minnesota, or a 25 percent increase since the 2015-16 survey. The survey’s margin of error is about plus or minus 500 wolves meaning the population could top 3,300. “From approximately 2005 to 2014, a decline in prey appears to have translated into larger wolf pack territories, fewer or smaller packs and a …

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Sportsmen and National Monuments: It’s Complicated and That’s OK

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The following is a piece written by By David Allen, Miles Moretti, and Jeff Crane If you have a passion for spending time in the outdoors, you’re probably aware that the Department of the Interior is currently in the process of reviewing the status of some national monuments created under the Antiquities Act since the mid-1990s. The review, prompted by an Executive Order, is restricted to relatively large monuments of more than 100,000 acres and …

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Support Continues for Grizzly Bear Management

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Despite the filing of multiple lawsuits by environmental groups to return grizzly bears near Yellowstone Park to the endangered species list, sportsmen and conservationists continue to call for the state-based management. Wyoming resident Paul Miller and some friends recently went on a 12-day hunt in search of mountain goats and bighorn sheep. What they saw were a whole lot of grizzly bears. “When you can go into one drainage and you don’t travel more than …

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ICYMI: Zinke Signs Order To Expand Hunting, Fishing & Conservation

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U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke signed a new order to support and expand hunting and fishing, enhance conservation stewardship, improve wildlife management and increase outdoor recreation opportunities for all Americans. “Hunting and fishing is a cornerstone of the American tradition and hunters and fishers of America are the backbone of land and wildlife conservation,” said Secretary Zinke. “The more people we can get outdoors, the better things will be for our public lands.” …