GOP on GOP violence: welfare rancher takes on SDGFP


Kill off apex predators like cougars then wonder why bighorn sheep contract diseases and raid hay piles.

Okay, this is funny.

As South Dakota's wildlife management bureaupublicans Game, Fish and Plunder release disease-prone bighorn sheep onto federal lands, ostensibly to knock down a cheatgrass infestation created by the failure of Black Hills forest policy, welfare ranchers are in revolt.
In 2001, the state Department of Game, Fish & Parks released 20 bighorn sheep on public land among the reddish sandstone outcrops of the Hell Canyon region, in the rural southwestern Black Hills. But the re-introduction has been a nuisance for Dan Stearns, who lives on his privately owned ranch alongside the mountain’s eastern base. GF&P officials have offered $25,000 worth of assistance to Stearns (he says it amounts to $29,000), including payments for the alfalfa eaten by wildlife, so-called “stack yards” — fenced-in areas to store hay — and specialized fencing to resist damage from wildlife or keep wildlife out entirely. They’ve also offered to haze wildlife away from Stearns’ ranch with aircraft. [Rapid City Journal]
According to the Environmental Working Group Stearns received payments totaling $63,429 from 1995 through 2014 including $34,023 in livestock subsidies.

The reasoning is hardly mysterious: it's all about the money hunting funnels into a region smothering under single-party rule. It's $280 just for the tag, not refundable.

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.

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 as obstacles to avoid.

Ag and livestock producers in red Trump states are suffering from sagging profits, flaccid numbers, and limp resolve while earth hater welfare ranchers like Stearns and Betty Olson pay next to nothing to graze on public lands and are now out of hay after they shipped it to other welfare ranchers.

Domestic livestock have contributed to catastrophic wildfire conditions and Republican welfare ranchers are the real ecoterrorists who hate subsidies unless they benefit from them.

ip photo: cattle grazing on the Black Hills National Forest and shitting in a sensitive watershed on Boles Canyon Road.

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