It's a new year. Yesterday, I finally took down the Christmas tree. I asked Bow if he knew it was not Christmas anymore. He spelled: כן שמעתי "Yes, I heard," I asked him if he knew what it was now. He spelled סתם, which has no direct English translation, but in this context means "Nothing special." It's not any particular holiday. It's nothing. It's just an ordinary day.
On New Year's Eve day, I saw a whole herd of deer on my land, more of them together than I have ever seen.
I used Home on the Range as the background music for the video above. I think it's beautiful. This song, written in the 1870s, is the unofficial anthem of the American West. You can hear in the words of the song that ranchers have always enjoyed the beauty of nature and the pleasure of watching the wildlife. In the fight to develop the land, it was farmers against ranchers. The ranchers were the conservationists, relatively speaking. Of course, the Native Americans were even better at conservation. But today, it is no longer ranchers against farmers or ranchers against Native Americans. Today, it is the United States government against ranchers.
Have you heard of the standoff at the Malheur Wildlife Preserve in Oregon? Here is some background information:
Many people who are interested in wildlife conservation are on the side of the government, mistakenly believing that he ranchers want to develop the Federal land or to sell it off and harm the wildlife. But continuing to allow the ranchers to graze there is better for the wildlife than what Federal agents are doing.
Prescribed fires are a common method that Native Americans and ranchers have used in the area to increase the health & productivity of the land for many centuries.Conservationists and conservatives should have common interests, as the etymology of the two words implies. Both want to conserve resources and the old fashioned way of life that allows humans and other animals to live side by side.
Fish & Wildlife are the same arm of the Federal government that sends American money to Africa while outlawing chimpanzee travel inside the US. They are not the good guys. And if we are going to conserve our way of life, we need to stand together, even when the issue might be ranching, and we are not ranchers.
The best chance for wildlife conservation is in keeping the ranchers there. They are better for the wildlife than any alternative.
By the 1990’s the Hammonds were one of the very few ranchers that still owned private property adjacent to the refuge. Susie Hammond in an effort to make sense of what was going on began compiling fact about the refuge. In a hidden public record she found a study that was done by the FWS in 1975. The study showed that the “no use” policies of the FWS on the refuge were causing the wildlife to leave the refuge and move to private property. The study showed that the private property adjacent to the Malheur Wildlife Refuge produced 4 times more ducks and geese than the refuge did. It also showed that the migrating birds were 13 times more likely to land on private property than on the refuge. When Susie brought this to the attention of the FWS and refuge personnel, her and her family became the subjects of a long train of abuses and corruptions.I hope that we can find a way to open people's eyes to the wildlife-related issues that are involved in this conflict. Too many people are angry at the ranchers because they own more land than the average citizen. That makes them sound rich, and people have been conditioned to despise those who have more. But it's people who own more land who tend to conserve more resources. It's those of us who live all crowded together who pose more of a threat to the wildlife.