Editor: I was a Wildlife Commissioner for three years appointed by Gov. Gibbons with the express direction to explore our declining deer herds and try to rectify the situation. What I found was other states had similar declines and did major studies to try and reverse the problem.
The present NDOW management has been obsessed with the word “environment” so as to be held blameless. Well, guess what! Predators are part of the “environment” and the only part that we can control directly with immediate results.
The most compelling study as stated by one of NDOW’s own biologists is the 3-Bar study in Arizona where they built a predator-proof enclosure of over 600 acres and spent decades studying the results. After many years their biologists concluded the only significant difference outside the enclosure was predators and the fawn survival inside the enclosure was many times higher than outside. Why it took them so long to admit the obvious is probably because they went to the same schools as the biologists at NDOW.
While on the Commission we also benefited from testimony of many longtime residents and ranchers of the county’s most affected and their observations also fell on deaf ears at NDOW. I personally hunted deer for the first time in Elko county in 1960 and can attest to the large numbers in those years.
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It’s to bad Ken Mayer didn’t move back to California when Gov. Gibbons fired him.