And please don’t pet the buffalo, er, bison

by Maury JonesMauryJones3

When my daughter, Gina, was just a toddler and learning to talk, she had this thing about wanting to pet everything; chickens, horses, cows, even a coyote that ran across the road. “I wanna pet it,” she would say with a plaintive pleading voice. Her little tongue couldn’t say the “w” so it came out as “I ’anna pet it.” One night we were admiring the rising of a huge full moon. Gina said, “I ’nna pet it.” It’s been a family joke ever since.

When we visited Yellowstone recently and saw tourists too close to a buffalo lying by the pathway at Old Faithful, the words went through my mind, “I ’nna pet it.” A recent video online shows some Chinese tourists literally petting a buffalo next to their car. Luckily this seemingly tame animal was in a good mood or their vacation would have had a tragic ending. read more

Wyoming Should Manage Public Lands

by Maury JonesMauryJones3

My previous column gave examples of federal mismanagement fueling the sagebrush rebellion. Here is another egregious example.

In August 2015 the EPA’s attempt to clean up an old abandoned mine in Colorado resulted in a devastating spill of millions of gallons of toxic orange waste into the Animas River contaminating it for many miles and years.

Today I will examine objections to transferring public lands to Wyoming and the legalities of so doing. The proposed transfer will only apply to National Forests and BLM land, not to National Parks or Monuments. Objections, such as the following, should currently be leveled at federal land management agencies. read more

Government Has No Common Sense

by Maury JonesMauryJones2

A few days ago I was driving from Jackson toward the Airport. I had to be very careful as I came up behind two people on bicycles. Oncoming traffic made it necessary for me to slow down and wait to pass. The highway shoulder was narrow in that spot.

After going around them, I observed the Jackson to Teton National Park bicycle pathway, which cost millions. It was vacant with seasonal closure signs. The weather was beautiful, perfect for an afternoon bicycle ride. Without snow, no elk were in sight. So why close the pathway? Allegedly it is because of elk migration and the possible conflict. Joggers and bicycle enthusiasts quit riding at this time, not because of the weather, but because the pathway is closed making it dangerous to cycle or jog on the shoulder of the highway. Bureaucrats decided on an arbitrary closure date, regardless of the presence of animals, putting a multimillion dollar pathway in mothballs for six months. Cowboy Common Sense would say leave that pathway open all year, with signs at regular intervals saying, “Wildlife has right-of-way. When wildlife present, move to highway.” read more

Fed Mismanagement Fuels Sagebrush Rebellion

by Maury JonesMauryJones3

One morning I found that a bird had built its nest in the parted mane of Jumbo, our gentle draft horse. I called our veterinarian to tell him of the novelty. He claimed he had a sure-fire way of solving the problem. I said, “That’s easy; just destroy the nest and shoo the bird away.” He said that would rile the bird lovers. Too risky. He advised me to sprinkle brewer’s yeast over the nest and the mane. Screwy “solution” but I tried it. Sure enough, within hours the bird and its nest were gone and Jum was back to normal. I asked him why that worked. He replied, “Yeast is yeast and nest is nest and never the mane shall tweet.” read more

Predation by Wolves is Grief for Ranchers

by Maury JonesMauryJones3

On May 23 Jackson Hole rancher Russ Lucas went to his pasture to investigate his bellowing cows. As he approached the herd he could see they were riled and agitated. They were gathered around the bloody carcass of one of their calves and were vocally upset.

A pack of wolves had killed and eaten the week-old calf during the night. The ground around the carcass was all torn up where the cows had milled about, trying to get courage enough to drive the wolves away. All they could do was watch. The mama cow had been bitten on the hind end, undoubtedly during heroic efforts to save her calf. read more

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