Letters for October 3, 2013

A death in the afternoon

Re “Nevada’s killing fields” (Guest Comment, Sept. 19):

I’d like to extend my thanks to Fred Voltz for exploring an important topic often regarded as taboo: the intrinsic rights of wildlife on public lands. I’ve had the honor of becoming familiar with Nevada’s vast public lands through field research and personal recreation. I’m in awe of the huge tracts of land that belong to all of us collectively. However, I believe the management practices with which Nevada’s Department of Wildlife govern herds, habitats and ecosystems are contradictory to wishes of a great proportion of Nevadans.

In some cases, policy is completely biased toward hunting/trapping interests, examples of which are the species which have languished on the endangered species list as “warranted but precluded,” meaning in need of protection but obstructed from it. The sage grouse is in this group, though many resources have been pooled to approve or disprove its endangered status and optimize conservation, it’s still legal to hunt. A season’s hunting license is $33 and the harvesting of grouse “limited” to three per day. That’s $33 for the life of a struggling species.

Even if these species are managed in a way that there’s some surplus in their populations, is our current hunting system ethical? Is it ethical to systematically remove perhaps the most fit individuals from the gene pool, thus weakening the entire group? Is it ethical to kill predators who would be the natural regulators of population size? Is it ethical to kill using snares and traps? I don’t hate hunters or trappers. I do however recognize that a colossal imbalance in representation exists between their interests and those of citizens who would prefer fair treatment for the hunted and their ecosystems. I would like to offer a rebut to Bill Young: I am an eco-tourist. I spend all of my free time in the backcountry. I spend money on food, gear, books, bicycle parts, maps, etc. I go to observe, to be inspired by the wild, to play without killing, to learn about our land.

Name withheld


Call of the wild

You can hear it in their voices, this time of year. They’re no longer strong, or confident, like they were years ago, when they blackened the skies over the Stillwater Wildlife Refuge, east of Fallon. I like to think Canada geese will be among the survivors, and not among the already many victims of our stupidity, greed, and fear. (How many species have we driven to extinction?) Geese are intelligent. Wary. They have great eyesight. But the sound of their honking has changed recently. It’s weaker, confused and hoarse. It is a very disturbing cry to me, and saddening, and should be a deep wake-up call to all of us about what our way of life is doing to this planet. Often, it is only a single bird. I wonder how many have never seen—and heard—the great waves of geese that used to cross over this valley. Now it’s only a few here and there. Do you think if Henry Ford had only known what his inefficient, internal-combustion engine was going to do to this world, he would have put a gun in his mouth? It’s a real canary warning, people. Try to get outside more and see if you can hear it.

Jon Obester


Short but savory

Re “Nevada’s killing fields” (Guest Comment, Sept. 19):

I liked the part where you used the headline to compare Nevada’s hunting policies to the genocide of a million-plus human beings in Cambodia. These things are obviously highly correlated.

Kyle Magin

Incline Village

Where the wild things are

Re “Nevada’s killing fields” (Guest Comment, Sept. 19):

Well said. Excellent read, 100 percent truth! I ask over and over again, why and how does this happen, that the minority of a “special interest group” make the decisions on how to manage our wildlife over the majority? I have read expert reports of how much more revenue “Wildlife Watching” generates in our public wildlife lands, a minimum of seven times what hunting [generates]. The whole Fish & Game/Wildlife Departments need serious and complete overhauling. I realize that most people do not believe hunting is a “sport.” So apathetically inherently cruel and unnecessary—just heartbreaking. Life is really hard for wildlife, humans interfere so much by encroachment, but to go out into what little habitat they have left and murder them is nothing short of insane.

Dominique Landis

Lincoln, Calif.

What amendment?

Why is Downtown Reno no longer a part of America? When did Street Vibrations become a place that American freedoms are not allowed? Why? It is my opinion that Roadshows Inc., as well as many downtown businesses, are discriminating against the very spirit of the freedom they are pretending to celebrate. Street Vibrations and downtown businesses are taking in a lot of money from motorcyclists, but are treating motorcycle club members like second class citizens. By declaring Street Vibes a “no colors” event while holding it on public property, I believe they are violating the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, the Nevada Constitution and Nevada Revised Statute Title 54 Section 651. As Nevadans and Americans, we have had enough of discrimination and being labeled as undesirable. Our rights, your rights, every American’s rights are being trampled on public property! “Bikers” are your neighbors, your co-workers, members of your church. We are business owners and vets. We are advocating for everyone’s rights. We are fighting to make Nevada a better place, a place where everyone has rights. No city, county or business can invalidate the First Amendment.

Mike Marcum


Take a walk on the wild side

Re “Nevada’s killing fields” (Guest Comment, Sept. 19):

Thank you for printing Fred Voltz’s piece about wildlife management in Nevada. The non-hunting, non-trapping public has little exposure to this topic.

Your readers may be interested in a hot topic currently under discussion between the Nevada Board of Wildlife Commissioners, trappers, and those of us who believe that Nevada’s wildlife needs protection against trappers, particularly the trap visitation interval of 96 hours.

As a result of SB 213 passed earlier this year, the Board of Wildlife Commissioners has been forced by the legislature to consider whether the visitation interval should remain where it is (96 hours) or be shortened (our preference) to help alleviate animal suffering in traps.

This examination is timely because of recent information from the Nevada Department of Wildlife regarding animals caught unintentionally by trappers (so-called “trash” animals by trappers). The numbers are remarkable.

Although only 20 percent of trappers have reported such information to the Nevada Department of Wildlife, in the past decade, trappers have accidentally caught 4,200 rabbits, nearly 200 dogs, over 100 cats, 172 mountain lions, 25 livestock animals, 200 pack rats, 9 eagles, 11 hawks, an owl, 97 magpies and more. Many died in the traps, others were released uninjured or with damage.

Since these numbers were reported by a small percentage of all trappers, this carnage represents only the tip of the iceberg. The true number could be 2-3 times higher than that.

For these reasons, it is in the public interest for trappers to be forced to visit their traps more frequently in order to release animals and birds that are not intended targets with less chance of injury or death than is now the case.

Information regarding the Trapping Committee meetings can be obtained from the Nevada Department of Wildlife (775) 688-1500 or ndow.org.

Donald A. Molde