Thursday, February 2, 2012

Marbut’s off target

Posted on Thu, Feb 2, 2012 at 4:00 AM

I was not surprised by Gary Marbut’s long discourse regarding predators (wolves) and Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (see Letters, Jan. 26). Marbut’s ideology has always been extremely far to the right, and he is vehemently opposed to wolves in the northern Rockies. He has long promoted hysteria about wolves attacking humans and turning Montana into a “biological desert.” Sadly, Marbut also supports political causes and candidates that work their hardest to destroy and degrade Montana’s wildlands, thus ruining the prime elk habitat so desperately needed. Sort of “shooting oneself in the foot,” in my opinion.

Since the late 1970s, the elk population of Montana has nearly tripled. But, of course, Marbut accuses FWP of lying (“fudging”) to come up with such optimistic numbers. He goes on to ridicule the “professionals” in FWP and their “green” ideas such as “biological diversity.” Apparently, in Marbut’s view, FWP’s job is to manage for a monoculture of elk, to the detriment of other species, making our forests an elk farm. That way, he can have an easier time getting “his elk” for the tiny fee FWP charges for a license. He prefers hearsay to scientific studies and disregards evidence that conflicts with his beliefs—a dangerous trait.

Now, funding is down and Marbut claims FWP will want to raise revenue from “the general public to pay the bills.” That’s actually a good concept, as all Montana residents enjoy wildlife, not just hunters, and we should all be willing to pay the bill. Perhaps it’s time FWP gets their funding from the state’s general fund, and doesn’t have to rely on one group. That way, we’d all have a say in how Montana’s wildlife is managed.

Wolves and other predators are here to stay. Close-minded attitudes and ideological straightjackets won’t help solve the complex wildlife management issues we have today. They only cause divisiveness.

Mike Koeppen


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