Dishonesty in government

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Richard F. Hoyer
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Dishonesty in government

Post by Richard F. Hoyer » July 1st, 2016, 8:53 am

A prior thread identified a case of fraudulent behavior by a governmental agency. I believe such behavior in government is more widespread than most would imagine. On occasion, I have thought about contacting some major media outlet to see if they would undertake an exposé story by documenting the violation of the public trust by state wildlife agencies’ fraudulent practice of placing many, unwarranted non-game species in a 'protected status'.

First, they would discover that a large number of non-game species have been placed in a protect status by wildlife agencies without any valid, science-based evidence in support of listing such species. A classical example is where in 2013, the CDFW placed all Kern County populations of the Rubber Boa in a hands-off, protected status. Not only was there a void of scientific evidence in support of that listing, the CDFW in fact, ignored the published scientific literature.

Secondly, they would find there is very little to zero demand for the majority of non-game species that have been placed in a ‘protected status’. So where there is no demand, telling the public that such species need to be protected against being collected is not just asinine, such a policy represents another dishonest and fraudulent practice. As an example, in 2013, the CDFW placed the Southern Torrent Salamander in a protected status.

Then there is a third fraud perpetuated by wildlife agencies. That is, placing non-game species in a ‘protected status’ has zero conservation value. If one understands the basics of wildlife science / population dynamics, it becomes clear that incidental, random collecting of non-game species cannot possibly produce negative impacts on the overall populations of such species.

It simply is a matter of supply versus demand. For species that wildlife agencies deem to be at risk, it means assessing and comparing the amount of potential take by the public with an assessment of numerical abundance for any given species. Does anyone believe that is asking too much from wildlife agencies that hire individuals with degrees in wildlife science? That process would invariably reveal that the amount of take would be miniscule in comparison to the numerical abundance of non-game species.

And to make matters worse, some wildlife agencies, CDFW included, have actually gone so far as to claim that by placing such species in a no-collecting, 'protected' status, that will prevent such species from declining to the point of having to be listed as 'threatened' or 'endangered'. Such claims represent lying to the public. It is widely understood that the decline in non-game populations invariable is due to the outright loss and / or degradation of habitat.

As a wildlife biologist, it is my view that when the leadership of state wildlife agencies proposes the enactment of such hands off, protected status for non-game species, if they actually believe species are being protected, they are exhibiting gross incompetence. Otherwise, if in fact they know better, then they are purposely deceiving the public. In either case, it is my position that the leadership of wildlife agencies are acting in an unprofessional, unethical, and immoral manner as they are in violation of the public trust.

Richard F. Hoyer (Wildlife Sci., OSU, ‘55’, Corvallis, Oregon)

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Tom Lott
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Re: Dishonesty in government

Post by Tom Lott » July 1st, 2016, 9:20 am

Well stated, Richard. It has long been my belief that most state-level non-game "protections" are enacted to merely give the appearance that the agencies are promoting the conservation of these species without actually having to do anything.

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Re: Dishonesty in government

Post by stlouisdude » July 2nd, 2016, 9:34 am

I wonder if it has something to do with the growing public ignorance of harvesting and effects on wildlife populations? For example, when I was a kid growing up in IL and MO, almost everyone hunted and fished. Almost everyone was aware of the fact that you could take thousands of deer every year and there would still be more deer next year. Everyone understood that what we needed was a sufficient amount of land and some regulation, but in no way a ban on take. I feel like I would be able to explain that we do not need to worry over incidental take of cryptic species of no significant demand.

Now I live in CT and the level of ignorance here is hard to believe. Most of these kids took for gospel what nature center employees told them... if you take even one snake, the entire population will begin to collapse.... The other day an article in the paper featured someone calling hunters "Murderers".

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Kelly Mc
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Re: Dishonesty in government

Post by Kelly Mc » July 2nd, 2016, 5:12 pm

The term harvesting as a synonym for hunting is relatively new, birthed in response to animal rights ideologies gathering political momentum.

Back in the day Hunting was just Hunting - and harvesting by definition is the gathering/processing of crops. Its been appropriated as a palatable rhetoric.

Murder by definition is human on human violence with death as consequence.

If a person hunts, they are killing. Killing is general and can be applied to people, flies, deer, elephants, even germs.

If you feel confident and forthright that hunting is without ethical flaw, no need to powder its ass. Just say "I hunt" which means I kill and Im comfortable with my reasons for it.

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Re: Dishonesty in government

Post by Jacob » July 2nd, 2016, 6:19 pm

Wow. These are big claims with no supporting evidence from you. Just ranting about the inadequacies of a state agency (you only give examples from CDFW).
First, published literature was not ignored. However, the published literature may have not been enough regardless of what YOU think.
Second, demand is only a fraction of the consideration in listing a species. Collecting by definition can never be random. I am still lost at where the CDFW is being fraudulent or dishonest?
Third, stating that placing a non-game species in a 'protected status' having zero conservation value will need supporting published scientific literature links from YOU to back up that claim.

I am not disagreeing with you, but I have good friends in government positions that bust their butt to do good (great) work and your rant really demeans years of strong positive traction. You create a rhetoric that others, less coherent, will not actually question. Please provide more evidence to your claims. I leave reading your rant with the impression that you are mad that you are not allowed to collect rubber boas in Cali. Apologies for the assumption but it fits nicely with this thread.

Jacob
Wildlife Sci., TSU and Tarleton State U, Austin, TX

Richard F. Hoyer
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Re: Dishonesty in government

Post by Richard F. Hoyer » July 2nd, 2016, 7:56 pm

Tom,
The best that might be said for the practice of listing non-game species as ‘protected’ is that possibly it might have some slight symbolic value. But even if that were the case, such symbolic value still represents a form of deceit as listing non-game species in a protected status has absolutely no conservation value for the overall populations of virtually all non-game species. Potentially there can be some exceptions such species of pup-fish and the like if in fact, there is some demand for such species.

It is my view that the biologists that formulate these nonsense regulations have used language purposely designed to persuade the commissioners in their Wildlife Commissions to pass these regulations. So not only are these biologists pulling the wool over the public eyes, at the same time they are doing so to there own Wildlife Commission.

Trust and honesty are important human values. I suggest that Wildlife Commissions tend to trust the agency’s wildlife biologists that appear before the Commissions with respect to matter dealing with wildlife. But in the case of the biologist and their leadership in the non-game sections of wildlife agencies, such leadership and biologists have not only been violating the public trust, but have been violating the trust placed in them by their respective Wildlife Commissions.

Note: In research, the norm is to question (challenge) ones own results and conclusions. And this is what the peer review process is suppose to accomplish to a large degree. So if there are any professional wildlife biologists that can point out where I have erred, please mention such and if your points are valid, I will apologize for any errors found in my original or subsequent posts.

Richard F. Hoyer

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Re: Dishonesty in government

Post by Richard F. Hoyer » July 2nd, 2016, 8:00 pm

stlouisdude,
It is a given the most members of the public do not understand the basic principles that govern wildlife populations. Thus, the general public can be ‘excused’ for not understanding why is it possibly to harvest species of wildlife without depleting such resources.

But for the past 19 years, I have been dumbfounded at discovering that many individuals with degrees in wildlife science, like my own, do not truly grasp why we can harvest species and still have those species continue as sustainable populations. For the life of me, I have no explanation for the biologists in the non-game sections of wildlife agencies that have serious concerns about individuals collecting non-game species yet all along, having the knowledge that thousands upon thousands of game (and commercial) species are routinely harvested year after year after year for decades.

As for the article you mention about identifying hunters as murderers, most individuals that complain about hunting (fishing) eat some form of meat be it mammal, fish, fowl, shellfish, crustacean, etc. They seem not to realize that someone else along the way is doing the killing for them.

Richard F. Hoyer

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Re: Dishonesty in government

Post by Richard F. Hoyer » July 2nd, 2016, 8:03 pm

Kelly Mc.,
As you might note, I use the terms ‘harvest’ and ‘harvesting’ in reference to wildlife resources. During my undergraduate days in Fisheries and Wildlife at Oregon State U. (1951 – 1955), wildlife was mentioned as being a crop of the land. And thus those terms were routinely used here at OSU in reference to the take of wildlife. That may not have been the case at other institutions with majors in wildlife science.

Similarly in ichthyology, the term harvesting (not killing), was used for the take of commercial species of fish. And I believe those terms are used in reference to the take of shellfish and crustaceans.

I do not know, but suspect that both current and older literature in the field of wildlife science frequently has used the terms ‘harvest’ and ‘harvesting’ in reference to the take of wildlife by hunting or fishing. But I could be mistaken. But I do understand the point I believe you are making as the term ‘harvest’ is simply a more polite way of saying you are killing an organism. The same might be said for fishing but of course, with fishing there can be catch and release so killing is not always at play.

Now I ‘hunt’ snakes, primarily the Rubber Boa to be exact, but I do not kill (nor eat) them. So many way to play on words.

Richard F. Hoyer

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Re: Dishonesty in government

Post by Richard F. Hoyer » July 2nd, 2016, 8:27 pm

Jacob,
Thanks for taking the time to respond to my initial post. I will eventually answer your post later but it is late and I will be busy tomorrow.

In the meantime, would you please tell me what you have been taught as to why it is possible to harvest game species year after year and still have such species remain as sustainable populations? In that way, I will have something upon which to potentially respond to some of your remarks.

Richard F. Hoyer

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Kelly Mc
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Re: Dishonesty in government

Post by Kelly Mc » July 2nd, 2016, 8:54 pm

I can understand how the physics of processing en volume of crustaceans and schooling sea life would strike a intrinsic in work language, ei; to harvest but if you explore the usage in culture to its appropriation with the hunting of game, you will see the timing correlative i remarked on.

The human utilitarian relationship with animals we have enjoyed has come into contention. Interesting too, is how akin some aspects of scientific sentiment are to the biblical archaic of Man as the Steward, Ruler and Owner of Earth.

Go figure!

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Kelly Mc
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Re: Dishonesty in government

Post by Kelly Mc » July 2nd, 2016, 11:02 pm

Richard Hoyer you have and continue to teach me things with your posts. Its difficult to ask certain questions or openly bring up "other perspectives" without subtexts and assumptions being loaded on to them (not by you but its been noted as a kind of creed tendency)

I have no agenda and belong to no groups. Many people have the same questions but are afraid to ask them because of well educated albeit formulaic shut downs. (again not you)

Many people on this forum have the leave as you find value as a core value and that should be considered a valued and respectable ideal. It definitely does no harm.

So if i can make this next statement in the interest of balance and curiousity, about take.. and i guess what is sometimes called The Precautionary Principle.

If take of herps has no impact, what about herps that are taken and released? It is often stated one should never release a herp back into the wild after a period of captivity, because of an uncontrollable host of variables that include the animals contacts, that offer a potentiality of disease introduction into wild populations. This has not been proven to have occured yet. However it is absolutely biologically possible.

I also know it to be true that release into the wild of a captured herp happens. Not speculating - i know as fact it happens I have been privy to it, it was the bane of my summer interactions with the GP - every year for 16 years, and longer than that actually - twice as long - but my attention on it peaked in my last position, i wouldnt say it happened more often, but my dealings with it were more consciously noted.

Without giving the impression of being on the governments side etc just wanting to know what you think.

There are some things that may never be proven in good time. So should we act on what hasn't happened yet (??) in regards to disease introduction - or just wait until it does.

Isnt it thinking of our desires and pastimes being more important than the nature we say we love?

Just some naive questions with a dash of under the radar experience.

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Re: Dishonesty in government

Post by Scotttriv » July 2nd, 2016, 11:04 pm

Government and fraudulent behavior and dishonesty go hand in hand in hand.

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Re: Dishonesty in government

Post by stlouisdude » July 3rd, 2016, 4:38 am

Just my .02

In many places it is illegal to release animals that have been taken into captivity but there are probably exceptions for rehabbers..... although the value of someone rehabbing pest species like raccoons and oppossums is pretty questionable and I have seen nature centers doing that.

In Richard's home, there is pretty much zero chance of introducing an exotic disease whereas in my home it would certainly be possible given I have dozens of species from all over the world. As a result, I would never bring a native species home unless it were staying here for life and I never use hooks, etc, from my snake room in the wilds.

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Re: Dishonesty in government

Post by Richard F. Hoyer » July 3rd, 2016, 8:17 am

Kelly Mc.,
Some of what you write is above my ability to comprehend. But in your latest post, I believe I get the gist of what you are saying.

So when you refer to ‘subtexts’, if I understand correctly, you certainly are correct. As subtexts, you mention the ‘Precautionary Principle’, release of captured wildlife, and disease. I have thoughts on all of those ‘subtexts’ but will need to do so later as I will likely be busy today.

Richard F. Hoyer

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Sam Sweet
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Re: Dishonesty in government

Post by Sam Sweet » July 3rd, 2016, 10:02 am

Each time a thread like this comes up the same issues are raised. Here’s another way to look at it -- there are well-qualified, sensible people who go to work for these wildlife agencies, then something happens to them. Why is that?

Two case histories come to mind, the python fiasco and Juanita the Duck. Recall that Rodda, Jarnevich and Reed (2009) informed us that Burmese pythons could adapt to the U.S. climate and occur across the southern half of the country, from Delaware to Oregon. Rodda and Reed had long histories of solid biological work before authoring this joke paper, but they cemented the destruction of their reputations by doubling down on its self-evident errors. Largely thanks to this pseudoscience you can’t ship your De Schaunsee’s anaconda from Washington to Maine on account of beavers. What in the hell went wrong at USGS, which normally does good science?

Last fall a senior living home in Marin County lost their duck to the idiotic bureaucracy: [url/]http://abc7news.com/pets/beloved-duck-m ... e/1059711/[[/url]. A duckling found in the back yard was raised by employees and made a big difference to the old folks who lived there. One day she went down the sidewalk and ended up in a wildlife care joint. At the requirement of state and feds the duck was impounded. “It shall be an offense to have a tame duck” splurted the red-faced wardens who threatened the old ladies with charges (“… though with a hunting license you can kill a bunch”). What was missing here was common sense. Mallard ducks are both wild and domesticated – you can buy pondfuls of mallard ducklings on the internet. Many of the domestic animals go feral in parks, etc., and breed in suburbia. No wild mallard would nest within a half mile of people, let alone in the back yard of an old folks home.
How did these state and federal idiots overlook the obvious, that this was a domestic duck and should be handed back? Instead the old folks were forced to apply for a federal permit with lebenty rules and restrictions. Monstering old folks and threatening to euthanize their duck and charge them with federal violations was clearly what was called for, right? At least ten people should have lost their jobs over that.

I am willing to bet (and in some cases I know) that these people were not born as clowns. The wildlife agencies at least (so double shame on you, USGS) started out and remain law enforcement shops, where (a) you gotta make rules, and (b) everybody’s a poacher. They inherit nonsensical rules, then take a threateningly defensive stance toward criticism. As long as that dinosaur attitude persists we are going to see bad laws and dumb policies.

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Re: Dishonesty in government

Post by Scotttriv » July 3rd, 2016, 1:44 pm

Some of these govt people were indeed born clowns and others are "born" activists who have an agenda.

Govt isn't like the private sector where if you don't produce something that people actually want to buy, you go out of business.

These clowns and activists create nothing and continue to be paid.

In fact, they actually create work for themselves and coworkers when they create problems because invariably, somebody has to fix the problems that they create. It is like a self perpetuating jobs program.

One govt. group digs a trench that we don't need and another group fills in the trench and then another group comes along and decides that we need a different trench.

If we fired half the people in govt today, society would function just fine.

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Kelly Mc
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Re: Dishonesty in government

Post by Kelly Mc » July 3rd, 2016, 4:25 pm

Note to Richard Hoyer. The gather/ processing of foodstuffs in volume oriented work strategy is traditionally known as 'to harvest'.

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WSTREPS
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Re: Dishonesty in government

Post by WSTREPS » July 3rd, 2016, 5:13 pm

The topic is dishonesty in Government. The names of two scientist (Rodda, Reed). Scientist who have been at the forefront of garbage science involving reptiles has been brought up. They are shinning examples of how a system of corruption not only exist but thrives today.

Dishonesty in Government and dishonesty in science go hand and hand. Government agencies work closely with and acquire scientific data from major special interest groups, university scientist with biasing ties. And it always comes back to the basics. Money , control , personal career. Agenda. Its a very easy business model to follow along with.

Rodda and Reed knew what they were doing with those Climate matching maps. They knew the reward would be far greater then the risk. The USGS, the media, the major activist groups and plenty of other scientist would have their backs. Even after the Climate matching maps made Rodda and Reed look like a couple of laughing stocks in the eyes of so many. They still got what they wanted. They continued to put out junk science reap the rewards.This with the aid of the other member's of their inclusive group they all benefit from their scientific dishonestly and will never be held accountable.

I don't think anyone goes bad overnight. At least not when it comes to dirty science. They get over with their BS sometimes for decades and sometimes they get never caught. If they do. Its OMG time. The key component's in Rodda and Reeds careers were built on invasive species funding. Guam, brown tree snakes. Everything I've ever read on that topic has been ether directly sourced or filtered thru the USGS. Without any pushback or any questioning or definable scientific achievement they raked in over 100 million dollars in funding for the USGS. Sound familiar. Its easy to get over. Then came the Burmese pythons in Florida and the fantastic opportunities that situation provides, just add dirty science and go. A lot of winners can come out of a situation like that and the truth matters to none of them. We've seen that.

The destruction of their reputations ? Bob Reed is still the man at the USGS. The Invasive Species Branch Chief . Rodda retired but still hangs around as an advisor. Reeds career is going great and the Burmese python that he and his cohorts lie so much about is a big a part both currently and no doubt in the future to that success. No damage done. The time for the Bob Reeds and think a likes to run with it for all its worth has never been better. Nile crocodiles anyone ?
These clowns and activists create nothing and continue to be paid.

In fact, they actually create work for themselves and coworkers when they create problems because invariably, somebody has to fix the problems that they create. It is like a self perpetuating jobs program.
In a nut shell , that's it. Scientist are dependent on other peoples money. They need to come up with reasons in a highly competitive market to convince people to give them that money. This without having a product or in many cases a usable service to offer in return. Many times in biology you need problems to get funding. The bigger you make them sound the better, nobody is going to keep giving you money if you tell them everything is fine. The people that give out the money also need problems. Endangered species are a problem that needs studying and protecting and for someone to have control over. The more endanger species the more studying, control, protecting. Funding. The more lets all work together with a wink and a nod.

Ernie Eison

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Kelly Mc
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Re: Dishonesty in government

Post by Kelly Mc » July 3rd, 2016, 6:00 pm

How disappointing it all is indeed. Humans just go crazy about money, I guess.


There are dirty little secrets in some other trades as well.

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Re: Dishonesty in government

Post by stlouisdude » July 3rd, 2016, 6:31 pm

I really appreciate it when guys like Richard, Ernie, and Sam put their many years of experience out there. I don't really see any replacement coming up in the younger generation but I hope I am wrong on that. Back to the fireworks for now though!

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Kelly Mc
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Re: Dishonesty in government

Post by Kelly Mc » July 3rd, 2016, 7:20 pm

The one great thing about experience is that no one can take it away.

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Re: Dishonesty in government

Post by dthor68 » July 4th, 2016, 2:41 pm

Excuse me for my confusion but I would thank that news like this would make everyone here happy? In fact, the only people that I could imagine being upset with news like this would be the uneducated redneck who thinks that the only good snake is a dead snake. We have people who are willing to save species of snakes, even venomous species. To me this is great news and always will be, even if it is hands off! What exactly is it that you need from the rare species or any species period? Seems like you have your own agenda. I can tell you that no major media outlet would ever side with you. Kudos to the fish and game folks and I hope the Spotted Turtle is next on their list! Now there is your species that has been hunted out by people! Sadly, it will be a while before the east catches up with the west, but I look forward to the day!

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Re: Dishonesty in government

Post by Richard F. Hoyer » July 4th, 2016, 5:25 pm

Jacob,
To give you some perspective, it wasn’t until my junior year in college that I finally understood why hunting and fishing did not deplete wildlife resources. That was when the head of the big game division of the Washington Wildlife agency came to OSU and gave a talk to our junior class or perhaps all student in Fisheries and Wildlife at OSU in late 1953 or early 1954. All of the sudden, the light came on in my head.

So if you do not know why humans (and other predators) can harvest wildlife without producing negative affects on overall populations, it is my view that you have considerable company including individuals already with their degrees in wildlife science and employed by wildlife agencies.

On the PARC webs sites, even two individuals in population biology did not truly grasp the basic of populations as both insisted that recreational or sport take of herps could harm overall populations. In a private exchange of about a dozen emails each with one of those individuals, a PhD no less, I am rather certain he finally came to realize his lack of understanding.

I believe he finally understood reality when I used the following argument: When populations undergo serious declines due to natural catastrophes such as severe droughts, extended sub-freezing events, floods, wildlife fires, etc., we know that species eventually rebound and recover. And it is one of the basic principles that governs populations that allows such recovery. And that very same basic principle allows species to remain as sustainable populations in spite of take by humans (and all other predators).

Richard F. Hoyer

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Kelly Mc
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Re: Dishonesty in government

Post by Kelly Mc » July 4th, 2016, 6:00 pm

so even a constant or steady human take of herps is the same as natural forces because there will never be enough taken to make a dent and if it does in shrinking habitat areas because of it, the population will recover just like they did in in the past with fires and storms and other earth events for millions of years, before anthropogenic impact in its many forms. Am I understanding it correctly?

But what about the potential introduction of disease into wild populations- im curious about that.

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Re: Dishonesty in government

Post by Richard F. Hoyer » July 4th, 2016, 6:30 pm

Jacob,
Concerning your post, I have no real ‘quarrel’ with the rank and fine biologists employed by wildlife agencies. My displeasure is aimed at the current and past leadership of wildlife agencies.

As for not being questioned by others on this forum, you may be right in this instance. But in the past, I have started similar threads and have been challenged frequently. But you did questioned my assertions and such assertions should be challenged. If I cannot support my position with examples, critical thinking, and valid evidence, then I am just blowing smoke.

My rational for sometimes posting my views has been to educate and inform. But in this instance, there is another underlying reason which lies with my value system whereby I embrace truth, honesty, integrity, and similar values. So it bothers me to see those values being trashed by the shoddy practices of wildlife agencies when they list species in any category of concern without any valid evidence. Does that make sense?

You asked for supporting evidence. I can only provide specific examples then tell you there is a complete void of valid evidence that would support those listings. To determine if my assertions are in error, you either need to research the particular examples I mentioned and / or contact the state wildlife agencies and see if they can provide you with any valid, scientific evidence that would support the listing of the species I mention. I cannot cite any such evidence when there is none to cite.

So back to the first example I mentioned, the placing of all populations of the Rubber Boa in Kern County in a protected status. If you inquire with the CDFW, if my experience is any indication, the only document they will cite is entitled “At the Crossroads”. If you understand what does and does not constitute scientific evidence, you automatically would realize there is no science based evidence in that document that would support placing all Kern County populations of the boa in a protected status.

( If you anyone else would like to know, I can tell you the circumstances that resulted in all Kern Co. boa populations being listed as protected. It is a bizarre story of gross incompetence! Also, it is a story of a wildlife agency listing a species based on someone's personal input / opinion.)

Another classical example of the CDFW listing a species without any valid evidence occurred in 1971 when the agency listed the Southern Rubber Boa as ‘RARE’ and thus protected (now listed as ‘Threatened’). Ask the agency to produce the scientific evidence in support of that listing. They won’t be able to do so as there is none! Also ask the agency to provide scientific evidence that would support the continued listing of the SRB state listed ‘Threatened’. Again, there is none!

The agency based that listing on the consensus of personal opinions of a panel of herpetologist (others?), that considered the SRB to be rare. At that time, there were few voucher specimens of the SRB in institutional collections (probably less than 20), and the species was ‘rarely’ encountered. Neither of those points are valid, scientific evidence as there are other plausibly explanations that can account of the paucity of sightings and vouchers.

Now a valid question is how can I make such statements? From 1993 through 1997, I conducted a field and laboratory study of the SRB. One of the 4 major objectives was to see if I could shed light on the relative abundance of the SRB in the San Bernardino Mts. I didn’t know the answer but I had my doubts about the claim the subspecies was rare as I was unaware of any evidence that would support that notion. By then, I had already established that the widespread perception the Rubber Boa was rare throughout its distribution was flawed. In reality, it is encountering the species that was ‘rare’ and not the species itself being rare.

The results of that study demonstrated that instead of being rare, the SRB likely exists at normal densities similar to the other species of snake in the San Bernardino Mts. As a matter of fact, the evidence suggests (does not prove), that the boa may be the most numerically abundant snake in those mts. from about 5550 ft. on up. (If you wish, I can provide you with the citations of that study.)

One last example is the Common Sharp-tailed Snake in Oregon. The species was first listed by ODFW in their Sensitive Species list in 1971. The species had never been studied in Oregon. Consequently there simply could not be any valid evidence for that listing by ODFW.

In 1997, I read ODFW’s status report on the herp species in their ‘Sensitive Species’ list. In their status account of the Sharp-tailed Snake, the agency stated as if fact, that the Sharp-tailed Snake was “rare” and “declining” here in the Willamette Valley where I live. Since I knew the species had never been studied in this state, such a claim had to have been manufactured out of thin air.

I was so incensed that my state’s wildlife agency would falsify information to justify the listing of the species, I undertook a 4+ year study of the species in Oregon. And once again, there is no data that would support the initial listing nor the continued listing of that species in a protected status in Oregon. On the contrary, I have published data that tends to support just the opposite scenario.

As for your remark about collecting boas in Calif., I use to acquire a two year scientific collecting permit in Calif. but they raised the price to over $400. So as for collecting the Rubber Boa in Calif., I can still do so by purchasing a 10 day non-resident fishing license which I did this past June 22nd. And on June 23rd., I found a small sub-adult male boa on the S. Kern Plateau. After recording information on the specimen, I released it where found as has been my practice with the species for upwards of 50 years.

Richard F. Hoyer

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Re: Dishonesty in government

Post by Kelly Mc » July 4th, 2016, 6:47 pm

I think my queries are general and plainly put, and made in direct response to some of your comments and if one forum member has them, others could as well.

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Re: Dishonesty in government

Post by Richard F. Hoyer » July 4th, 2016, 7:04 pm

Jacob,
So back to your post. #1) I hope you would agree that the reason for having universities with majors in wildlife science it that graduate wildlife biologists use science based methods when assessing and managing species of wildlife. In the time you have been a student in wildlife science, has any of your professors advocated assessing and managing species be based on personal opinions? That never occurred when I was an undergrad at Oregon State. But that is EXACTLY what wildlife agencies have been doing when they have listed some species in some category of concern.

2) If you agree with the above first premise, then one needs to understand what does and does not constitute acceptable science-based standards. I am aware there can be some leeway as to what documentation can be considered as valid evidence. That is, not all evidence needs to be published nor even has to be peer reviewed and appear in the scientific literature. But if you consider assessing and managing species based on speculative information, such as personal opinions as being legitimate, then from here on, I will be wasting my time.

Now you mention my making claims without supporting evidence. That is the point I was making. For many species listed by state wildlife agencies in some category of concern, there is no evidence to cite. That is, the agency have absolutely no valid evidence in support of listing many species. I can’t cite you supporting evidence when there is none to cite.

Now the three examples I produced are those in with which I have personally been involved so have the background to make my assertions with extreme confidence. There are many other species that state agencies have listed as protected that I am rather certain have never been studied and thus there is void of valid evidence in support of those listing as well. For instance, in 2013, the CDFW placed the Ringneck Snake and Calif. Mt. Kingsnake as protected in the San Bernardino Mts. I am pretty certain the agency has no scientific evidence in support of those listings as well.

And finally, I am very confident that the neither the CDFW, ODFW, or other wildlife agency have any evidence that would support the position that recreational, incidental, or sport take of herps by members of he public produces negative impacts to the overall populations of such species.

Years ago, I asked if any member of PARC knew of published research that involved the decline of a herp species due to recreation take by the public. There is one publication which mentioned that a species of turtle somewhere back east, experienced a sever decline in population numbers in two small lakes. Keep in mind that the loss of abundance in two lakes should not be interpreted as a species having declined over its entire distribution.
And turtles are somewhat species in that some species are desired for the pet trade and / or for food.

So if anyone can cite such research where incidental collecting by the public has produced negative impact on the overall population of a species, I am always willing to learn.

So Jacob, I will leave with asking you two questions that I asked the federal and state biologists that were members of PARC. Exactly how are species being protected when placed in a ‘protected status’? And what are those species being protected against? If you can answer those two questions then you will have accomplished something that all of the those biologists were unwilling to answer.

Richard F. Hoyer (Corvallis, Oregon)

P.S. I truly appreciate that you had the gumption to challenge what I posted. RFH

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Re: Dishonesty in government

Post by Kelly Mc » July 4th, 2016, 7:09 pm

As addendum to the natural event depletion scenario, on topic to a comment you made about human take and animal predator take - about human take being the same, has that been scientifically proven? I wonder how that could be scientifically proven. Along with, or at the exclusion of other anthropogenic factor?

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Re: Dishonesty in government

Post by dthor68 » July 4th, 2016, 7:43 pm

"So if anyone can cite such research where incidental collecting by the public has produced negative impact on the overall population of a species, I am always willing to learn."

Just mentioned the Spotted Turtle (Clemmys guttata)

In 1988 I saw 6, 89-4, 90-2, 92-1, I have not seen 1 since 1992. They are being collected and shipped to Asia as food.

Instead of beating around the bush, why not come right out and tell us what your beef is? I assume fish and game is cutting into some extra income? And lets get some proof that fish and game is listing species on personal opinions.

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Re: Dishonesty in government

Post by Richard F. Hoyer » July 4th, 2016, 8:06 pm

Kelly Mc.,
With respect to your latest question, here is where one needs to do some ‘homework’ in order to potentially understand any impact that incidental collecting by the public might have. And it is essential that one examine that issue with respect to the individual species. So here again, you need to specify which species is involved, the area of concern, estimate the possible amount of demand, and the numerical abundance of the species.

If you would undertake such an analysis, you will find that incidental take cannot possibly impact the overall populations of non-game species -- with perhaps some rare exceptions of which I am not aware. I did mention possible exceptions in pup fish and similar remnant species that are hanging on in small, isolate patches of habitat. But I do not know if there is any demand for such species. With no demand, then collecting is not an issue.

At the fringe species’ ranges where habitat and conditions required for survival are marginal, localize populations have the potential of being depleted. I think Dr. Sweet cited a situation in his region where the newt is barely hanging on due to lack of breeding water during the reproductive season.

In contrast, I have had some of my Rubber Boa sites trashed by commercial collectors. In once case it was as if whomever took the snake used a vacuum. He or they took all boas, Gopher Snakes, and both species of garter snakes at my Cardwell Pit site which by the way, was being used at the time by herpetologist Dr. Robert Mason at OSU and his grad student in their study of garter snakes. From mid April to when I returned to that site, all those snakes just vanished!

So the information I was acquiring on recaptures at the site came to a sudden halt. But I have no illusion that the removal of those snakes made any impact on the over all population of those species.

With respect to part of your question, natural disasters occur in specific limited areas whereas sports or recreational take is spread out across a species’ range. Well, that is not quite accurate in that collecting invariably takes place where access to habitat is readily available which means near roads. So the populations of species in remote areas without road access see little if any collecting.

It would be my view that the amount of mortality to the various species of reptiles during the types of intense, hot wild fires that have taken place in Calif. far exceeds the amount of take by humans. But I am quick to add I have no data to support that view. Just an educated guess. So in that regard, I do not believe that the take of any species of herp comes close to the losses that herps incur during some major catastrophes.

That is, where humans remove herps from within the range of a species, no noticeable decline would be noticeable. With catastrophes such as the fires in Calif., I believe a very noticeable decline in numbers would be evident and would take a number of years before each species returned to be in balance with the recovery of vegetation. I suspect there have been a number of studies over the years on those types of situations.

I will be gone tomorrow but may have time in a day or two to comment on your post that mentions sub-texts which included disease.

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Re: Dishonesty in government

Post by FrogO_Oeyes » July 4th, 2016, 8:43 pm

dthor68 wrote:"So if anyone can cite such research where incidental collecting by the public has produced negative impact on the overall population of a species, I am always willing to learn."

Just mentioned the Spotted Turtle (Clemmys guttata)

In 1988 I saw 6, 89-4, 90-2, 92-1, I have not seen 1 since 1992. They are being collected and shipped to Asia as food.

Instead of beating around the bush, why not come right out and tell us what your beef is? I assume fish and game is cutting into some extra income? And lets get some proof that fish and game is listing species on personal opinions.
This is not evidence. It's an anecdote accompanied by an unsubstantiated supposition.

Evidence has been published for some narrow-range endemics, but anecdotes seem to be more the rule than the exception. It seems common for scientific papers to cite declines due to human predation...but without anything to actually support those views. Here's one paper which examines both the evidence and the problems: http://bioscience.oxfordjournals.org/co ... 3/256.full

For some species, limited range or harvesting practices logically lead to declines. Mantella cowani has limited habitat and a life cycle which rapidly leads to overharvesting. Lygodactylus williamsi [NOT a "cave" gecko] lives in a limited range, dwelling in specific screw pines. Collecting them involves destroying the trees. That's clearly detrimental to the species. Some Goniurosaurus [luii and araneus] were quickly collected and shipped upon discovery. Since geckos lay not more than two eggs at a time, and might take several years to mature, this causes a rapid decline. For some other species, the claims seem totally unsubstantiated. Several species of Tylototriton doubtless have more places to hide than can be harvested, but were claimed to be impacted by harvest following their descriptions. However, T.yangi, T.shanorum, T.anguliceps, T.pulcherimma, and T.podicthys were likely all in trade long before their descriptions. Any decline seems presumptive at best. In any case, this is commercial harvest, NOT casual collecting by the public.

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Re: Dishonesty in government

Post by stlouisdude » July 4th, 2016, 8:49 pm

Kelley, to give you some background from which I have personal experience. There was a gentleman who conducted a study before and after a major flood at a site surrounded by corn fields in MO (likely an island habitat of only 500 acres). Numerical abundance of the fox snake dropped greatly after the flood but quickly perked back up. The flooding events happened in the early to 90s. I was at that site around 2010 and found several fox snakes still alive and well. So despite a significant portion of the population flooding out of the area, they quickly bounded back to carrying capacity and I have sense formed the opinion that they need more habitat not protection for individual snakes. If you wish the read the report, which I found interesting, I believe his name is Owen Sexton.

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Re: Dishonesty in government

Post by Kelly Mc » July 4th, 2016, 9:01 pm

Thank you for answering my simple questions with depth and giving me a better understanding into the topic.

Richard I will respectfully absorb your future thoughts on disease introduction, but when I spoke of subtexts I meant assumptions and conclusions made toward posters that broach subjects in nonpartisan spirit.

As with most things, not enough information is the enemy of accuracy.

My question about disease introduction was straightforward and not subtextual. However it might be better served on its own thread.

I have a substantial number of examples of released herps in professional circumstances that put me in direct contact with the herps involved.

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Re: Dishonesty in government

Post by Richard F. Hoyer » July 4th, 2016, 9:24 pm

dthor6,
I urge you re-read my recent posts in response to Jacob. You should find answers to some of your questions.

I generally try to keep my responses civil. But with you, I will make an exception. You need to learn that there are ways of disagreeing without being disagreeable. That being said, I will still answer your nasty inference.

I am age 82, a retired secondary science teacher, and reasonably comfortable financially with a very modest pension and with Social Security. I do not need, or have a ever sought extra sources of income since I retired the last day of October, 1991. As a matter of fact, the first extra income I have obtained since retirement came just this past May when I was offered $800 to give a presentation on the Rubber Boa at the U. of Montana in Missoula. I split that fee with my youngest son Ryan from Utah who produced a great power point production to accompany my presentation.

As for proof that wildlife agencies have listed species on the basis of person opinion, you have two options. One is to accept I know exactly what I at talking about and am telling the truth. If you believe I am lying or have misstated my case, that is your problem. I know of only one way for you, and everyone else, to verify my assertions, and that is to investigate on your own and see if you can find any scientific evidence that either the CDFW or ODFW used in order to list the species I identified in my posts.

And you can do the very same thing for species that have been listed by your state’s wildlife agency. There likely are situations in which your state wildlife agency does have documentation in support of some listed species. But I venture to say, you also will find that there are other listed species for which there is a total void of science based evidence that would support such listing. It would be a nice surprise if I was wrong!

Although you do not cite a published reference and your account seems to be solely anecdotal (personal observations), I will accept your assessment as to what has transpired to the spotted turtle at wherever the locality you have in mind. But let me point out a flaw you have made. Your account pertains to commercial collecting which is altogether a different ‘can of worms’ than incidental, recreational collecting for personal use.

Considerable published research exists in which both hunting and fishing for game species and harvesting of commercial species have depleted the stocks of various species of fish and wildlife. As a matter of fact, wildlife agencies came in to existence near the turn of the last century in response to the depletion of wildlife resources due to market hunting.

Richard F. Hoyer (Corvallis, Oregon)

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Re: Dishonesty in government

Post by dthor68 » July 5th, 2016, 4:01 am

It really is funny and tiresome to argue about this. For those of us who depend on herps to make a living, or a part time living, this news is bad. For those of us who love conservation and want to see these animals saved, this news is great. Deep down inside you all know they are disappearing. Not one of you would ever tell a stranger where your "special spots" are and for good reason. To think that an animal could not become extinct from over-collecting is just ignorant.

Personal observations aside, there is loads of information on the web concerning the Spotted Turtle. However, it does not matter to you and it definitely will not change your mind until the last one is gone.

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Re: Dishonesty in government

Post by Jimi » July 5th, 2016, 9:57 am

Considerable published research exists in which both hunting and fishing for game species and harvesting of commercial species have depleted the stocks of various species of fish and wildlife. As a matter of fact, wildlife agencies came in to existence near the turn of the last century in response to the depletion of wildlife resources due to market hunting.
This is an important point to make. It ties back into the importance of considering demand in the regulation equation - the 19th-century markets were for dead animals used in food and fashion, and when they were unregulated, wildlife populations were decimated. Anything used for human food is at risk of overdepletion because people really prefer to eat several times a day. Personal harvest for pets is fundamentally different, in that demand is not renewed every few hours or days or weeks. Personal demand for a pet can be filled with one harvest, for years in the case of long-lived, well-kept pets.
I generally try to keep my responses civil. But with you, I will make an exception.
This made coffee shoot outta my nose. Ouch. But worth the pain. Touche!!! Ha ha.
If we fired half the people in govt today, society would function just fine.
There a number of sectors within "government" where we have essentially done exactly this (although it has been happening over the last 10-30 years, depending on the sector), and the results have not been great for "society". So I have a hard time imagining that doing the same thing "today" would yield better results.

Just a few examples - 1) mental health provision, 2) disaster preparedness, 3) public natural resource management. Basic government functions sacrificed on the altar of "government is incapable of doing anything, period". I'm sorry, but the content of your posts (all four of them) does not give you much credibility with me. You come off more opinionated than informed.
Scientist are dependent on other peoples money. They need to come up with reasons in a highly competitive market to convince people to give them that money.
True enough. However - can you name a credible alternative business model? Centralized planning of research agendas? A giant pot of easily-obtained research dollars? Something else? I'm not a huge fan of every aspect of the current system, but to me it's kind of like democracy - it's a terrible system, just not quite as terrible as anything else anyone has ever tried.
Not one of you would ever tell a stranger where your "special spots" are and for good reason.
This reminds me of an extended conversation I've been having locally, with some passionate, experienced, competent field herper/citizen scientists. The "good reason" is, to me, that you don't want the quality of your hunts ruined. Not that you're worried about the actual demographic outcomes of sharing spots. Get it straight, those are DIFFERENT THINGS.

Anyway, instead of complaining about the outcomes of not engaging effectively with state wildlife agencies on the matter of herp management (e.g., regs that really, truly, seem to make no sense whatsoever), why don't you guys learn how to engage effectively with the agencies, and then just do that? I know it isn't quick, I know it isn't easy, but you're not going to get anywhere just bitching on the internet. Get organized, show up, be consistent, be persistent. You have a seat at the table, just come claim it. Jesus.

Peace, people.

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Re: Dishonesty in government

Post by WSTREPS » July 5th, 2016, 2:40 pm

In 1988 I saw 6, 89-4, 90-2, 92-1, I have not seen 1 since 1992. They are being collected and shipped to Asia as food.

This is how skewed opinion's are formed. This person has NEVER seen many spotted turtles. His best listed year a whopping total of 6. Based off this small sample. This person has concluded that the spotted turtles have disappeared due to being collected and shipped to Asia as food. This is no doubt something they have read and are now making the answer fit the question. Its how propaganda and preexisting bias work together resulting in compromised fact .

A very interesting and informative piece written by Dean Ripa is certainly recommended. Its six parts and provides the most in-depth written work on the topic of dishonesty in government and reptiles. Written by a man who certainly has the background and knowledge. If you want to really learn something. Take the time and read it . The link below

http://www.lachesismuta.com/Degenerated%20Science.htm

It is my view that the biologists that formulate these nonsense regulations have used language purposely designed to persuade the commissioners in their Wildlife Commissions to pass these regulations. So not only are these biologists pulling the wool over the public eyes, at the same time they are doing so to there own Wildlife Commission.

Trust and honesty are important human values. I suggest that Wildlife Commissions tend to trust the agency’s wildlife biologists that appear before the Commissions with respect to matter dealing with wildlife. But in the case of the biologist and their leadership in the non-game sections of wildlife agencies, such leadership and biologists have not only been violating the public trust, but have been violating the trust placed in them by their respective Wildlife Commissions.
Absolutely. Perfectly stated.

Commercial collection verses personal collection. What is commercial collection? Is it a turtle trapper that catch's 1500 soft shell turtles a week for the international food trade. Is a guy who catch's a dozen gopher snakes and tries to sell them for beer money? Its both but not really. Fact. The number of people who make even a mentionable portion of their income from the collection of North American reptiles is virtually zero. Very few people actively collect reptiles from the wild in any manor. Not many people look for reptiles period. To add to this point very few species have or ever had any monetary value.

I have never made money from the collection of North American reptiles beyond what I have made from selling the offspring of wild caught animals. And I would add none of the species involved was or is imperiled in anyway. The few people that at one time could get by with the few bucks made by commercial collection can no longer do so. The market will not support it. There is no money in the collection of common pet trade species. The North American species that were at one time the most heavy collected. Were also the most common and today they still are. I have plenty of experience. We can go right down the list.

True enough. However - can you name a credible alternative business model? Centralized planning of research agendas? A giant pot of easily-obtained research dollars? Something else? I'm not a huge fan of every aspect of the current system, but to me it's kind of like democracy - it's a terrible system, just not quite as terrible as anything else anyone has ever tried.


Id say its more like, just as terrible as most things tried. In any case, semantics aside.

Where there's money, control , perceived expertise,career objective's. There's corruption while remaining topical, the world of biological science is rife with all the above.
Anyway, instead of complaining about the outcomes of not engaging effectively with state wildlife agencies on the matter of herp management (e.g., regs that really, truly, seem to make no sense whatsoever), why don't you guys learn how to engage effectively with the agencies, and then just do that? I know it isn't quick, I know it isn't easy, but you're not going to get anywhere just bitching on the internet. Get organized, show up, be consistent, be persistent. You have a seat at the table, just come claim it. Jesus.
It all comes back to money. In the states no matter what the problem. You have to be able to bankroll your fight. Reptile enthusiasts cant put the financial resource's together to fight against an army of special interest groups, fraudulent science and a flood of propaganda. Essentially the herp crowd has to rely on factual scientific evidence, good judgement and public support. Three commodity's that are rarer then any North American reptile.

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Re: Dishonesty in government

Post by stlouisdude » July 5th, 2016, 2:56 pm

Dthor,

I am not saying this to pick on you but you make a perfect illustration of how poorly educated the general public is to how populations of wildlife can and should be managed. You believe that there are poachers hiding behind every tree in the woods and if that we could just put the millions of poachers in prison, all would be well. I suspect the truth is a little more complicated and I also suspect more spotted turtles are run over coming and going from their spring ponds than collection but I'll admit neither you nor I have any real proof. So if you have two hypothesis (and likely more) wouldn't you expect your wildlife managers to try to find some kind of evidence what causes the decline, verify if there is a decline, and then address the root causes? What if collection causes no declines? Now, they've washed their hands of it having addressed the first guess without any verification. If collection was the problem, do the populations start going back up after it is banned? If not, why?

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Re: Dishonesty in government

Post by lateralis » July 5th, 2016, 4:47 pm

Pick up a copy of "Cloak and Jaguar" and one can see just how far agencies will run their game. How about to the tune of killing the last known jaguar (at the time) in the US. Then read how just about everyone responsible walked away without a trouble in the world and two of them ended up working on the very same project when the $ started raining from the sky. 771,000$ spent on very little except salaries and toys.
The whistleblower (bless her heart) was the only one who really suffered, which is baffling when you read the book and transcripts from LE interviews - it really made me question the honesty and worth of several wildlife agencies. Truly disgusting and a blight on their record in my opine. Buy the book people and read it, you will be changed.

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Re: Dishonesty in government

Post by Jeroen Speybroeck » July 6th, 2016, 12:51 pm

Jimi wrote:Anyway, instead of complaining about the outcomes of not engaging effectively with state wildlife agencies on the matter of herp management (e.g., regs that really, truly, seem to make no sense whatsoever), why don't you guys learn how to engage effectively with the agencies, and then just do that? I know it isn't quick, I know it isn't easy, but you're not going to get anywhere just bitching on the internet. Get organized, show up, be consistent, be persistent. You have a seat at the table, just come claim it. Jesus.
I really don't want to judge anyone's view and have learned more than a bit from what Richard, Sam and others have written on this forum, but I'm particularly happy to read that someone promotes some (positive) action.

Sharing frustration surely can have its merits, but if it's the same thing over and over again, what's the point? I'd say, at least try to change things for the better, or I guess you can only bow your head down and accept. I don't really see the point of this type of thread, other than the same people voicing their same opinions. What Ernie wrote in response of Jimi's statement, was even already acknowledged in Jimi's statement imho - yes, it's tough, but it's our only option that might actually produce something, how little it may be. The "complain about it to an audience of peers" alternative is starting to become as repetitive as Hubbs' rants against molecular phylogeny. :twisted:

Jeroen, European individual and PhD biologist who hates claiming authority by mentioning his occupation or title.

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Re: Dishonesty in government

Post by WSTREPS » July 6th, 2016, 2:57 pm



Anyway, instead of complaining about the outcomes of not engaging effectively with state wildlife agencies on the matter of herp management (e.g., regs that really, truly, seem to make no sense whatsoever), why don't you guys learn how to engage effectively with the agencies, and then just do that? I know it isn't quick, I know it isn't easy, but you're not going to get anywhere just bitching on the internet. Get organized, show up, be consistent, be persistent. You have a seat at the table, just come claim it. Jesus.

What Ernie wrote in response of Jimi's statement, was even already acknowledged in Jimi's statement imho - yes, it's tough, but it's our only option that might actually produce something, how little it may be. The "complain about it to an audience of peers" alternative is starting to become as repetitive as Hubbs' rants against molecular phylogeny.

When it comes to engaging effectively with state wildlife agencies on the matter of herp management.
Herpers have done an excellent job. Most people, Jimi included and certainly Jeroen are completely unaware of the huge effort put out by many members of the herp community. The people who have broken their ass's spending their own time and money to fight against the hypocrisy found in wildlife management. To say otherwise is completely clueless as to how much has been done and for how long.

If not for that fantastic effort things would have gotten a whole lot worse, a whole lot sooner. The herp community has claimed their place at the table buts its not enough for the reasons I've outlined in previous post. Its not complaining to point out the truth about the dynamics of what is taking place and why. That the current situation can be likened to a man holding a large bolder on the side of a steep hill. The rock never tires, the man does. The herp community has never then or now bowed their head down and accepted the BS. They have fought back as hard as everyday people can for decades. Going back to 73 for me.

The blame for the travesty's taking place does not fall on the herpers or their lack of effort. It falls squally on the shoulders of corrupted scientist, uneducated wildlife official's and giant self serving activist groups that gain their financial clout from the well meaning but grossly misinformed public.

The things said in this thread are not repetitive to everyone. New people join and read forums such as this one. They might be unaware and interested in of some of the topical information previously discussed. For them its a chance to learn something or maybe (hopefully)be inspired to do some topical research of their own. If its redundant for someone. The answer is simple. Ignore the topic and engage in other threads that you find more interesting.

Ernie Eison

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Re: Dishonesty in government

Post by Richard F. Hoyer » July 6th, 2016, 4:00 pm

Kelly Mc,
With my understanding of biological realities, back in the late 1960’s, I analyzed the issue of releasing snakes. I came to the conclusion that snakes captured then released were found should not pose any problem. I then put that analysis to practice. Over the years, I have released a number of species of snakes after initial capture. I have recorded data on such events in the Rubber Boa, Gopher Snake, and the two species of Sharp-tailed Snakes.

One inherent variable is the time between capture and release. My experience with the Rubber Boa indicates that seems to have little if any effect. For instance, I use to retain gravid female in order to gather data on neonates and other facets of reproduction. Such females were retained from a few days up to 6 - 7 months A few have been retained for a year or slightly more before being returned to where captured. In just about all cases, those females have been recaptured thereafter.

Keep in mind, this pertains only to where snakes are returned to where they were captured or very close to where captured. There are a number of variables and possible outcomes to consider if a snake is to be released where it was not captured. That is a different issue so I won’t go there unless asked as there are a number of considerations involved such as age of snake, habitat suitability, composition of species in new habitat, etc.

Below I have copied information on three recent recaptured female boas. I first sent this information to herpetologist Dr. Robert T. Mason at OSU and recently to Robert Hess. The three females were found June 27th at two of my Hyatt Lake area study sites in SW Oregon. The information supports the position that capturing and releasing specimens where found likely has no impact on such specimens nor any impact on the overall populations of the species.

As the data below shows for Hyatt NE female #24, the gap in years between initial and recapture was 13 years. I believe this to be the greatest span of years I have experienced with the species. I have some recollection of having two specimens recaptured after a 10 year gap since their last capture. Just this year, I recapture a female boa that was first captured in 1991, has been recaptured a number of times, was then found again this spring, 25 years after her initial capture.

So as to gain further perspective, one last point. During my presentation on the Rubber Boa on May 19th, I conveyed the number of Rubber Boas on which I had recorded data over time. As of the end of 1973, the total was 338. By the end of 1990, it was 1187 or 1178. Then for the presentation, in mid April I went through my files and found that as of the end of 2015, my total was 3549. About 3000 captures are from Oregon and the rest from other states.

I can only guess as to how many recapture events I have made. And I do not always record all recaptures. There are a number of boas I have captured once and then never see again. Just as a guess, that may be 20% of the sample. For the remaining 80% that I have recaptured at least once, if the number of recapture events per snake were 15, then the total number of ‘recorded’ recapture events would be 36,000. If the average number of recaptures / boa was 10 or only 5 per snake, then the total number of recaptures would be either 24,000 or 12,000. Again just guessing I believe the average number of ‘recorded’ recaptures / boa is likely between 5 and 10.

The reason I say ‘recorded’ is that when I recapture a boa a second, third, forth time during the spring, I do not bring it home to weigh and measure again as growth is slow in this species. I have a card with me with a shorthand method for identifying the boas I have already captured earlier in the spring at any particular site. So there is no reason to pick them up a 2 weeks or even 2 – 3 months later in the spring as they wouldn’t show any real change in growth. So in fact, the number of recaptures I have recorded actually understates the true number of recapture events.

Richard F. Hoyer
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Hyatt SE female #34 initially captured 6/15/11 at 70.4 g and 22 3/8 “ (568 mm). Released 6/16/11. On 7/17/11 when checking through the neonate boas that had been released at the SE Hyatt site, I discovered this female was produced by SE female #10 on 9/19/00. I have not encountered this female again until this past Monday. She will be 16 years of age this coming Sept. 19th. She is now 22 1/2 “.

Hyatt SE female #17 initially captured 5/19/06 at 73.9 g and 21 1/4 “ (540 mm). This female was recaptured on 5/20/09 at 23” and PG. She was released then recaptured on 5/30/10 at 22 3/4” having produce her litter the year before. Monday (6/27/16) she was again recaptured and is now 23 7/8 inches but with her tail slightly shortened by injury (caudals were 36 and now 35).

Hyatt NE female #24 initially captured 9/11/03 at 9 1/8 “ (232 mm). At the time I noted on her data sheet she had been born that year and found with two of her sibs. I have not encountered this snake again until this past Monday. Now almost 13 years of age, she is 21 5/8 “ and appears to be gravid.

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Kelly Mc
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Re: Dishonesty in government

Post by Kelly Mc » July 6th, 2016, 4:10 pm

Yes, I agree.

Your methods and activities are vastly different than the cal king with the necrotic tail that was kept for a few weeks in the same tank with a terribly kept ball python.

Or the assorted herps captured in the Sierras that were released in the Bay Area at the end of the school year.

By a teacher.

Jimi
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Re: Dishonesty in government

Post by Jimi » July 6th, 2016, 4:25 pm

When it comes to engaging effectively with state wildlife agencies on the matter of herp management. Herpers have done an excellent job. ... If not for that fantastic effort things would have gotten a whole lot worse, a whole lot sooner.
When I worked in Florida (only 4 years) I saw an engaged, pretty organized herp community, largely comprised of importers and dealers and commercial collectors, and hardly at all of of "everyday field herpers", who were pretty effective at seeing that their interests were not completely run over by FWC (the state wildlife management agency for folks unlike Ernie who do not live in FL). In fact, the relationship had been going on for so long that FWC seemed to accept them as "normal stakeholders" they wouldn't dream of trying to just run over. I mean those commercial herp guys were a force to be reckoned with, just like the turkey hunters and the commercial crabbers and the tarpon guides and everyone else who could get it together and show up.

From what I saw, those commercial guys were more interested in sensible regulation (at the state level...) of things like venomous reptiles and large constrictors. They didn't seem to get very interested or involved in matters like native "sensitive species" designation. Which is the general topic of the original post.

When I came to Utah, a while ago now, I saw the results of an extended period of engagement by a small cadre of "everyday field herpers" - the former extreme hands-off regs had been rolled back to a large extent. Fewer species had zero bag limits than in earlier years, there was some new policy & procedure put in place to allow legal harvest (and also short-term handling for photography & data collection) of quite a few formerly no-touch species. And I saw a small cadre of herpers who had been chewed up and spit out by their experience. Right now I don't see much appetite (either in the old guard, or the new guys) for taking up the regs again, but I do hear a bit of bitching. And honestly I'm pretty sick of it, if nobody is going to come do the work. Stakeholders need to come make their case.

So these are a couple of examples of "herpers" (I'm using the term broadly) figuring out how the system works and then taking the steps required to operate within it. When I see what's going on in various other states (OR, WA, TN, CT, etc) - the extreme hands-off posture adopted by the agencies - and then pair that with the FHF writings of residents of those states, I am left to conclude that those folks don't know what to do, and they haven't done it.
Its not complaining to point out the truth about the dynamics of what is taking place and why.
I've been following the Hoyer model with you, Ernie. But you're pretty damn disrespectful and my patience has its limits. I see a lot of complaining coming out of you. And some truth, some deep uncomfortable truth. And unfortunately, I see a whole lot of crazy paranoid conspiracy stuff all woven in. Not the truth, just deranged ravings, and a stubborn inability to accept the reality that there are MANY legitimate stakeholders out there - they just don't all want what you want, and some of them actively want you to not get what you want. Just like you don't want them to get all that they want. Living together, being social primates, it's a hassle isn't it?

I will just ease toward an exit with a painful observation of my own - from what I have seen, firsthand, state wildlife agencies are NOWHERE NEAR as coherently led and organized as they'd need to be, to actually pull off the crap some folks here are accusing them of. Wait a minute, and read that again.

From what I've seen, it's more like very small groups, or just isolated individuals, mostly in nongame and occasionally in law enforcement positions, who either 1) happen to have something of a PETA-type outlook, or who 2) think all herpers are dirtbags, who are basically operating without supervision, due to the - let's face it - conflict-of-interest-laden revenue model the agencies operate under. I mean, herpers have a lot to be unhappy about, but the diagnosis and therefore the prescription some of you guys have rolled out is just crazy. I mean that, no kidding. It's just crazy.

The truth - as I see it, with my experiences and windows - is a lot simpler but unfortunately a lot less sexy - you can get some of what you want if you just get together, figure out what you want, and then doggedly fight for it just like all other wildlife users have always had to, and still have to. I'm sorry, but you're not special. You too have to work for what you want in life. Distractions - false diagnoses and flawed prescriptions - just sap energy and time.

To close, I'm going to repeat what I have said before here - if you don't jump into the game and play like you mean it, it doesn't mean the game ends. It just means you have zero chance of winning it.

cheers

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Re: Dishonesty in government

Post by stlouisdude » July 6th, 2016, 4:48 pm

Two points here I'd like to quickly make.

1. I don't think it is redundant because new people do come all the time. I had taken some courses but did not have any coherent thoughts on managing wildlife populations before Ernie, Sam, Richard, Gerri, etc., postings I happened to stumble across and try to make sense of the theories and studies I had read and my own observations. Not saying I am suddenly a genius, I do believe I've come to a more reasonable understanding as a result, and I have seen the same in others posting here.

2. Jimmi, I do understand why it would be frustrating to encourage people to take action but not see any results. I do know that Richard wrote many letters and provided expert testimony at the Oregon hearing.... but if only 2-3 other people bothered to show then I suppose you have a valid point. Where was everyone else who herps and keeps in OR? As for taking some accountability myself, I will be forming a group here in CT and I have re-started counting common herps again (sadly, that's about all there is here to count lol but it's a start). It's a small start but I really hope you don't believe that your not making any difference at all. The conversations had here can and do inspire people to take action and change opinions but it's never an easy road!

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WSTREPS
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Re: Dishonesty in government

Post by WSTREPS » July 6th, 2016, 7:26 pm

When I worked in Florida (only 4 years) I saw an engaged, pretty organized herp community, largely comprised of importers and dealers and commercial collectors, and hardly at all of of "everyday field herpers", who were pretty effective at seeing that their interests were not (the state wildlife management agency for folks unlike Ernie who do not live in FL). In fact, the relationship had been going on for so long that FWC seemed to accept them as "normal stakeholders" they wouldn't dream of trying to just run over. I mean those commercial herp guys were a force to be reckoned with, just like the turkey hunters and the commercial crabbers and the tarpon guides and everyone else who could get it together and show up.

From what I saw, those commercial guys were more interested in sensible regulation (at the state level...) of things like venomous reptiles and large constrictors. They didn't seem to get very interested or involved in matters like native "sensitive species" designation. Which is the general topic of the original post.
Right that's what you saw. Herpers in Florida were not going to completely run over by FWC,.... not all at once. Sensible regulation. Yep, that's what we wanted, that's what was worked and bargained for and agreed on. Maybe Jimi has fallen behind the times. The agreement made in good faith that left everyone on the herp side feeling good was violated in short order. Sensible regulation became a virtual ban for the everyday guy, with more regulation on the way and no one could fight the changes or were given a fair chance to. Right now things are getting worse.

Stakeholders need to come make their case. This is true to a point but in the long (and sometimes short) run it takes more. I'm all for organizing but I am firmly based in reality. It takes more. Quick and obvious example.

The law known as the 'Constrictor Rule.' This rule listed species of constrictor snakes as injurious under the Lacey Act. That makes interstate transportation/commerce and importation illegal.

How did this come about without any legitmatate reason, well it was the result of some of that good old crazy paranoid conspiracy stuff,

Bob Reed USGS Invasive Species Branch Chief, along with Gordon Rodda and friends used their brand of manipulative and fraudulent science , worked hand in hand with the Humane Society of the United States to get this law passed thru the backdoor (no vote, executive order). This in spite of the massive amount of objection from Stakeholders (over 50,000 letters to DC ) one of the largest letter writing campaigns ever seen.The proposal to list these snakes under the federal Lacey Act was opposed by a wide group of stakeholders, including the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (AFWA), the pet industry, and the Small Business Administration Office of Advocacy, to name a few. Before dismissing something as crazy, paranoid, conspiracy etc. You should educate yourself to the point of knowing what is and what isn't possible. I've done a bit more then just bitch on the internet. You might say I have a pretty good feel for some things.

Ernie. But you're pretty damn disrespectful and my patience has its limits. I see a lot of complaining coming out of you. And some truth, some deep uncomfortable truth. And unfortunately, I see a whole lot of crazy paranoid conspiracy stuff all woven in. Not the truth, just deranged ravings, and a stubborn inability to accept the reality that there are MANY legitimate stakeholders out there - they just don't all want what you want, and some of them actively want you to not get what you want. Just like you don't want them to get all that they want. Living together, being social primates, it's a hassle isn't it?
Disrespectful. To who? People that believe that the world of science and wildlife management and law enforcement are bastions of truth and integrity. If my direct approach is a bit harsh for todays world of PC dishrags . I'm glad. As for Jimi's patience . Nobody's making him or anyone else read anything I post. If its to trying for you. Go play with the sheep. That being said. It should be abundantly clear to anyone who has actually read my post that they are comprised of far more then crazy paranoid conspiracy stuff and deranged ravings. Its kind of silly and low brow for someone to say that.

Out of curiosity, I have to ask Jimi, since you have insinuated that you know what I want, Jimi why don't you tell everyone what it is I want and what quote of mine would you (wrongly) classify as complaining.

Ernie Eison

stlouisdude
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Re: Dishonesty in government

Post by stlouisdude » July 6th, 2016, 8:06 pm

The right question, IMO, is what can we do to change the current results? We are being slaughtered at the national, state, and local level and that bodes poorly for keepers, breeders, and herpers of all levels and the future, both captive and wild, of the many species we are dedicated to keeping around for future generations.

We have some smart, educated, and experienced people who see the insanity of it all, but we are all so divided that we are having very little effect. How do we change this starting with the very people on this thread?

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Jeroen Speybroeck
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Re: Dishonesty in government

Post by Jeroen Speybroeck » July 6th, 2016, 11:45 pm

WSTREPS wrote:Herpers have done an excellent job.
Great. Tell me more about that. Or you can keep writing how bad everything is and how clueless I am.

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Jeroen Speybroeck
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Re: Dishonesty in government

Post by Jeroen Speybroeck » July 6th, 2016, 11:55 pm

And another thing: if collecting has no impact and habitat destruction is the main evil, why is there so much talk about the former and so little about the latter around here? Every discussion has its right to be held, but I for one would be more interested in learning about US herp conservation efforts that matter rather than the collecting discussion, which (I'm sorry) to me sounds selfish and not about herp conservation.

(But please don't push this to ridicule that I would have suggested that any of those involved here would not be able to care about both issues)

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Re: Dishonesty in government

Post by stlouisdude » July 7th, 2016, 1:36 am

Jeroen Speybroeck: Pretty much every herper I have ever spoken with understands that we need to preserve habitat. Even as a small child, I could understand that going to places with good habitat in tact would result in finding more species than say a small city park. I think it is less discussed because there is less confusion about it. Collecting on the other hand, is less intuitive. I have no idea what is taught in Europe but in the US there is a persistent campaign to paint collecting as a primary conservation concern. People, including those tasked with making wildlife laws, are not able to make a distinction between big game hunting and a tiny, obscure snake as silly as it sounds which is why it keeps coming up. Also there is pretty much zero chance of banning habitat destruction while there is significant risk of banning collection or even capturing snakes to take a photo.. Oregon nearly did the latter for a few abundant species this year and these types of regulations won't stop coming anytime soon. Very few states can ban habitat destruction even for truly endangered species as far as I know.

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