Wednesday, May 24, 2006

YOUR FEDERAL TAX DOLLARS AT WORK

Following an emergency, late-night session, Congress finally arrived at its latest plan to waste money. Unable to find any more decommissioned navy ships to sink, our elected representatives decided on the next best option: spend $18M to shoot elk.

Yes, that's right.

Officials explained that Rocky Mountain National Park's "elk numbers have escalated because the animals have few predators and no hunting is allowed in the park." Despite near unanimous agreement among park officials that "hunting or a return of the wolves might make sense and save money," as well as "best meet environmental objectives and do the least damage," Park biologist Therese Johnson nonetheless explained to the press that there are contentious disagreements over the best method: "For and against wolves. For and against hunting. And we have heard from people who prefer fertility control to killing the elk."

A 4 year-old wolf identifying herself only as "Beta Female X," spoke to reporters on the Capitol Hill steps. Claiming that she represents The Predators, a notorious Montana wolfpack, she explained, "We've been isolated from our natural hunting grounds for far too long. And now, with the elk population growing out of control, we ask only that your government permit us to return to Rocky Mountain National Park, so we can once again serenade our pups with the melifluous sounds of crunching elk bone and howling at the moon. This injustice must not continuuuuuuuuuuue. Members of Congress, I implore you: Let my wolves go!"

But her howls of protest fell on deaf congressional ears, and the more expensive alternative seems likely to move forward. Park officials told us that congress would likely approve an alternate plan involving "killing up to 700 elk annually for four years. After that, an additional 25 to 150 elk would be culled annually for 16 years."

"Doing something like this is not going to be cheap, for sure," said park Superintendent Vaughn Baker. "But we're talking 20 years." Among the added costs will be hiring extra staff or a contractor to shoot elk, building fences to protect vegetation, transporting carcasses, testing them for disease and processing the meat. At this time, we are unable to confirm rumors that the $18M program will also mandate educational and cultural seminars including, "The Elk & You: Lives in Balance," "How to Shoot an Elk in the Head From 75 Yards," and "Dr. Phil & Tony Robbins Present 'Touching Your Inner Elk.'" A park official insisting on anonymity assured us that an "Anger Management Program for any wolf caught killing an elk is going to pass."

After the session was adjourned, Beta Female X continued speaking to the rapt reporters, flashing her razor-sharp fangs and punctuating each phrase with a raised paw: "I just want to tell the American people, you are paying for the oppression of my pack, you are paying for rednecks with guns to shoot the elk they'd shoot for nothing, and you are paying for the benefit of a small number of private ranch owners. You've been bamboozled! Now, if you'll excuse me I'm going back to Montana to hunt small game and nurse my brood. To say nothing of poaching sheep, calves, chicken and pigs owned by struggling, small farm owners."

3 Comments:

Blogger DED said...

This bugs me on two fronts:

1) Tax Dollars being wasted on something that someone else will do for free. "The park's preferred plan calls for killing elk at night with silencer-equipped guns in part to minimize disturbances to park visitors." This is just silly. Even here in this state where gun control is on the stricter side and hunting is disparaged, the occasional gunshot in the distance goes by unnoticed.

2) "Some people at Monday's meeting expressed dismay at the thought of killing elk." What these Bambi huggers fail to realize is that Man is part of Nature. Because of all our shopping malls and subdivisions we've cordoned off these pockets of the wild. Because we call them "parks", they think that the natural world is just some other place that they can go visit like the mall, movie theater, or the tanning salon.

They're squeamish. In our supermarket society, we don't have to kill anything anymore. Someone else handles that. Some people can't even make the connection that the meat section contains dead animals. They fail to realize that the animals are concentrating their numbers in the parks because suburbia isn't the best place to be if you're an elk, not enough food you see.

The wolves and other predators have been killed off by ranchers because the livestock makes for easy picking. So, without any predators, and no place to go, the elk just fill up the available space and eat everything they can. And when it's gone, they move on to the surrounding area or starve.

The Bambi huggers think that the numbers will magically maintain themselves or that the elk can call up Domino's for a vegey pizza if they get hungry. Ranches are big for a reason. You have to move the livestock around from one area to another to graze because the plants need time to re-grow. If you don't, then you'd better have plenty of feed available.

My two solution options:

1) Bring the wolves back. Nature had a way of taking care of itself before we showed up. If the number of wolves gets too high, have a wolf hunting weekend.

2) Elk hunting week. Close the park for the week. Sell permits for $50. Limit one or two elk per hunter, depending on the number of tickets you want to sell. You think that some hunter is gonna pass up on the opportunity to bag all natural, organic elk for $50? It'll be enough to eat for weeks/months, depending on how tired his family gets of eating elk burgers and steaks.

The thought of wasting even more tax money on elk birth control is just nuts.

12:29 PM  
Blogger Mike said...

Hear, hear, Ded.

I'm sure you noticed all the special interests in that article, peaking out here and there. Most notably: "Any proposal to release wolves in Colorado would have to be considered by federal and state agencies and likely would meet strong opposition from ranchers and others."

"Others." Hmmmm. Anyone fluent in Lobbyish?

* * *

And by the way, the elk used to order the Domino's veggie pizza fairly regularly. But then there was this weird battle featuring phone carriers, WiFi developers and the Sierra Club. Next thing ya know . . . we got starving elk on our hands.

Regulation, regulation & more regulation. No one can leave well enough alone.

1:01 PM  
Blogger Mr Furious said...

ded sed what I was going to say. Close the park to vistors and open up a brief hunting season for elk. They'd probably get more than $50 a permit too.

Hmm, some minor revenue from holding a hunt, plus the local dollars the hunters'll bring into the area versus spending $18M to have Halliburton build it's elk-slurry machine...

Better yet, lets just close the Capitol to visitors and have a brief hunting season there instead.

1:33 AM  

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