Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Told you so: SDGFP responsible for bighorn/biker collision

Thirty years ago Sheryl Hicks was a knockout: tall, thin, sparkling blue eyes. Today, not so much.

When this writer was in the food service industry Sheryl and her husband Larry operated Madre's Pizza in Wall; but, after the Husteads began offering pizza at Wall Drug the Hickses relocated to LawCo then became involved in the gambling industry.
The 60-year-old Hicks, who lives in Deadwood and has been riding motorcycles nearly all her life, wrestled her bike to a stop. She and her 16-year-old niece, who was on the seat behind her, were safe. There are about 35 bighorn sheep in the Deadwood-area herd, according to John Kanta, Rapid City-based supervisor for the state Department of Game, Fish & Parks. Bighorn sheep are native to the Black Hills, but because of uncontrolled hunting, they were gone from the Hills by the early 1900s. Reintroduction efforts intended to provide public hunting and viewing opportunities have since rebuilt Black Hills bighorn sheep numbers to around 400, split among various herds in the region. [Bad cycle crash highlights concerns about bighorn sheep in Deadwood area]
Back in May of 2015 I said:
During the Sturgis Rally riders loop through Aladdin to Hulett and Devils Tower then back through Sundance. Highways are often crowded to capacity and drunken bikers can be seen weaving over every roadway in the Black Hills. Deer are unpredictable and now join bighorn sheep, recently released by the South Dakota's GOP wildlife 'management' arm, as obstacles to avoid. [The Dakota Progressive]
The Grizzly Gulch Fire opened nearly 13,000 acres of overgrown and beetle-killed ponderosa pine but invasive weeds and cheatgrass moved in because cars and hunters have killed off the elk, white-tailed and mule deer. Now, the US Forest Service has allowed a state agency known for ecocide to introduce a species prone to disease.
GF&P released 26 head of bighorns trapped and transferred from the Hinton, Alberta, Canada area, somewhere east of Jasper National Park, then hauled them down for release at a high-country place near Deadwood left open by the burn in 2002. Sheep like open country more than dense forest. The project was helped along by the $82,000 raised last year by the auction of one of three bighorn hunting tags authorized by the state Game, Fish & Parks Commission. To say nothing of mountain lions, which of course they would have known up in Canada. They’ll know them here, too. And depending on who you talk to, lions could be a major or relatively minor threat to the well being and growth of the new herd. [Kevin Woster, KELO]
So, Game, Fish and Plunder has learned nothing from Arizona?
In 2013, Arizona Game and Fish began its on-going program to reintroduce bighorn sheep to the Santa Catalina Mountains. At the time, 31 of them were relocated to the area from Yuma. More than half of that herd were killed by mountain lions a few months later - causing the department to eliminate three of them for preying on the sheep. They've been largely criticized for that move, and for the reintroduction as a whole by groups like Friends of Wild Animals. The release gives some background, saying lion killings in the Catalinas were up to a couple of dozen by 2012, then when the bighorns were introduced, this leveled off, and last year the deaths dropped to 12 by hunters, 1 by bighorn program and 1 by a rancher as of December 2014. [Tucson Weekly]
Hunting cougars with dogs has been blessed by South Dakota but not within the Black Hills district.
In 2005 the harvest quota was 25 lions or five breeding-age females. The sub quota was reached in 24 days, faster than anyone anticipated. Today there is a 75-lion quota and a sub quota of 50 female lions. So far this season, 17 lions have been killed including nine female lions. [Black Hills Pioneer]
Stupid state. Red state failure on parade.

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