When Ravalli County commissioners appointed hunting outfitter Scott Boulanger to fill Bob Lake’s vacated state senate seat last week, they threw their chips in with an outfit that has an established track record of advocating for the privatization of public lands and wildlife.
Boulanger, who has been active in the commissioners’ county-supremacy scheme that their out-of-state handlers (American Stewards of Liberty) euphemistically-dub “coordination” , openly declares his membership in another out-of-state, anti-government front group—Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife (SFW). This group was founded by Don Peay, a Utah outfitter who, like Boulanger, is not comfortable with the rules and regulations of wildlife and public lands management most Americans recognize as essential to the perpetuation of the same. The North American Wildlife Model has been the bulwark of successful wildlife management since Teddy Roosevelt recognized his citizens’ tendency to decimate unprotected herds. But Peay and Boulanger (and our commissioners who appointed him) want none of those dirty ol’ government rules and regs getting in the way of their bottom-line, notwithstanding ecological realities. Peay said as much last winter, when he labeled the North American Wildlife Model “socialism” while making SFW’s standard pitch for the privatization of wildlife herds (Anchorage Daily News, 3/3/12, http://www.adn.com/ ).
But as the Cat in the Hat once said to some innocent kids as he gleefully tore up their house, “That is not all, oh, no, that is not all”. Another SFW operative who wormed his way into a state deemed “vulnerable” by SFW, former Alaska Fish and Game’s Conservation Director, Corey Rossi, actually tried to float a law to partially-privatize herds before he had to resign for the indescretion of being charged with multiple game violations while being in charge of enforcing those same pesky rules and regs that he broke! (Field and Stream, 3/8/12, http://www.fieldandstream.com/ ) It’s ironic, indeed, that Rossi, like Boulanger, was an outfitter, and was also appointed, not elected, to his position of state power, despite a glaring lack of qualifications, by Alaska’s version of our own ideologically-land-locked commissioners, Sarah Palin.
Beware outfitters in "Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife" clothing. One of them has just been enabled by our demonstrably-inept county commissioners with the apparent purpose of causing those of us who love to hunt and fish—and by definition also love fairness, democracy and access to public lands—a lot of potential trouble.