As a former chairman of the Nevada Board of Wildlife Commissioners for two years and vice chairman for one year and living in Nevada for 70 years, I read with great dismay and consternation Wildlife Director Ken Mayer’s commentary regarding himself and Nevada’s deer herds. As chairman , I was privy to know how the Department of Wildlife conducts its business and am compelled to set the record straight.
Mayer stated that his move to Nevada was a great move for him, that he was proud to call himself a Nevadan, and that he has made Reno his permanent home in which he intends to dedicate the rest of his career to manage and protect wildlife resources in this great state.
Nothing could be further from the truth. Records show the real truth is Mayer is living in a house in Sparks that he does not own. This house is the primary residence of another person! The truth is he still owns his house in Sacramento, Calif., which was deeded to him by his ex-wife, Karen.
It is quite apparent if he has not committed to buying a home in Nevada since he arrived here over five years ago, then he is not a true Nevadan as he claims and he is not committed to Nevada! This is a very unprofessional approach and behavior for a person of his level in government and further substantiates the fact he is not committed to the resources of Nevada. This is an indication that he just wants to collect his pension from Nevada and then leave the state only to return back to California where he owns his home. This should be an embarrassment to Governor Sandoval and all true Nevadans. Make no mistake about it — Mayer is not a true Nevadan as he claims and his decisions on wildlife in Nevada have proven that!
I was the one who recommended him to Gov. Jim Gibbons and for that I am deeply regretful. I did not know of his deceitfulness and misrepresentations of himself when he applied for the job. I originally supported him based on his promises he made to Nevada sportsmen and the Governor who directed him to bring back our mule deer and his proclaimed belief in the positive results a good predator program could bring for Nevada’s wildlife.
Another area in which Mayer was not truthful was in his belief in Predation Management when he presented a seven-point plan on his views to the Chairman of the Assembly Agriculture, Mining and Natural Resources Committee. His plan stated he would “Establish a mechanism that allows for direct coordination between the Nevada Board of Wildlife Commissioners’ Wildlife Damage Management Committee and Nevada’s landowners and livestock producers. This relationship will facilitate a dialog that would allow the Predator Committee to benefit from the experience and knowledge that Nevada’s ranchers have regarding localized predator issues. This mechanism also will allow ranchers to propose predation management projects that benefit wildlife through their Commission representative on the Predator Committee.”
Mayer also stated his plan would “Ensure that the Predator Committee acknowledges the Nevada Legislature’s desire to see that the recovery of Nevada’s deer herds is a principle focus of the Predator Management Program.”
As usual, these were just words spoken by Mayer with no intention of implementation.
Director Mayer claims in his commentary to have spent $3.9 million dollars on predator control. The truth is he has not spent his money because all sportsmen by law pay a $3 predator fee when they apply for hunting tags. Sportsmen are providing this money, not Mayer because the legislature directed this.
Director Mayer also claims predation control has not produced any significant increases in deer numbers. Once again, he is being disingenuous as NDOW’s own 2010-11 Big Game Status Book indicates that one area in Nevada showed a 65 percent increase in mule deer since a predator control program was implemented in 2004 and surrounding areas with no predator control programs showed remarkable decreases in mule deer populations.
You only have to ask any rancher in Nevada if predator control works to protect their resources!
Another scientific study in Arizona called the 3-Bar Study has been used by wildlife biologists for more than 30 years for mule deer studies. This study explicitly shows that deer in an enclosure that is predator proof will produce 10 times higher fawn ratios than deer outside an enclosure. The study’s findings so far indicate that predators may have a more significant impact on deer populations than biologists previously thought.
Director Mayer and his staff biologists just refuse to acknowledge professional scientific studies in lieu of their own twisted analysis of the data available to them. In fact, his own Wildlife Damage Management Committee to gather data and establish predation projects where needed has not met in two years! This is a reflection on his commitment and dedication to this program.
Gibbons, in December 2009, sent a letter to Director Mayer directing him to end the tension between him and his staff towards the Wildlife Commission as it was counterproductive to the Governor’s goal of increasing the mule deer population in Nevada. The Governor also instructed Director Mayer to follow the requirements in Nevada law which clearly reads the Director shall carry out the policies and regulations of the Commission.
The Governor explicitly stated he expects director Mayer and his staff to implement the policies established by the Commission. Director Mayer refused to implement many of the Commission policies, especially the ones to bring back the mule deer herds in Nevada, as directed by the Governor. As a result of his disobedience to follow the Governor’s directives, Gov. Jim Gibbons fired Director Mayer. Gov. Sandoval, when he took office, rehired Mayer.
Director Mayer was not truthful when he was interviewed for the job and this pattern has continued during his tenure as director of NDOW. He has failed the sportsmen and ranchers in Nevada miserably.
I hope this clarifies many unfounded statements that Director Mayer presented in his commentary in the Elko Daily Free Press on Nov. 23, 2012.