What is wrong with this picture?
It is clear that whoever did this is no real hunter.
It is further clear that those who did this don't give a "hidy ho" about the bad wrap all ethical hunters will take by animal activists who are square against hunting period.
They have now been given a real valid topic to rail about.
These pictures are at Yellowstone Meadows at the Thoroughfare.
They are almost on the border of Yellowstone National Park.
That makes it important for those not guilty of unethical hunting practices to expose and stamp out those who think nothing of destroying an ethical hunting standard followed by most.
What you see above is the wanton waste by trophy hunters.
This is the remains of an elk with the prime parts of the meat (about 45 lbs of it) left to rot.....dragged about 75 yards from a salt pit where this elk was lured and shot. The remains in the photograph are the tenderloin, sirloin, brisket, rib meat and neck meat.
GOING TO WASTE!
ROTTING IN THE SUN!
The head and antlers were removed no doubt to be displayed in someone s den as a topic of conversation for some "want to be" great white hunter type in order to bolster his/her ego to the tune of $3,000 to $4,000 for just the trip alone.
When reported to officials at Wyoming Game and Fish their comment was that this was not enough meat to fit into the wanton waste law already in place in Wyoming NOW.
I ask....since the law does not apparently define EXACTLY (how many lbs) what wanton waste is... how many lbs are we talking about in the law and of what? Would a pile of bones that was say 100 lbs left to rot be wanton waste? Logic would tell us that the cut would define wanton waste not lbs....this appears to again be one of those times when the government defies logic....or worse someone is not doing their job and letting the law that SHOULD BE ENFORCED slide.
Another official said "leaving of neck and rib meat can be viewed as wasteful but is common in the western states (especially in remote areas)"
Are any of these answers and comments acceptable?
Of course not!
So again I ask who is derelict in their duty because this illegal practice has become common?
Officials will try and justify their not taking action by saying there are too few of them to catch the would be perpetrators but on the other hand they do not deal with those caught in the act when they do catch them....perhaps if hefty fines say $10,000 per incident no ifs ands or buts were levied others would take notice....if not at least the government coffers would be full.
I guess no one has noticed....slaps on the wrist don't work anymore.
What you see above is a salt-bait pit not far from the border of Yellowstone National Park.
What is salt-baiting and who is doing it?
The what is it... was the simple part of the question. A salt-bait pit is a place where blocks or piles of salt are dumped in order to attract elk and other creatures. The reason to attract animals to the pit is to shoot them of course. The licks or pits have been placed just outside of Yellowstone National Park boundaries simply because the bull elk there are prime beautiful trophy specimens.
Now where I come from this is not ethical hunting practice.
In fact it is an illegal hunting practice.
I consider it more slaughter than hunt.
When I was young and we hunted it meant getting up at dawn tramping through the woods usually all day until you were dog tired and 9 times out of 10 you did not even get a glimpse of anything remotely resembling prey. Keep in mind in those days which were 40 years ago deer, antelope, elk and moose were far more plentiful in many areas than today.
Because MAN had not yet had the opportunity to encroach upon their territory or hunt them to todays dwindled numbers.
Sitting in a 4 wheel drive with a scope and high power rifle and shooting an animal lured to an illegal salt-pit is NOT A HUNT.
We would all no doubt be dumb struck if we realized how many people think this IS THE WAY to hunt.
Those who engage in this kind of activity are not hunters they are emotionally sick individuals who simply want to shoot and kill something for the momentary rush and then whack off a head to display in a trophy room to boost his/her own sick ego.
So how since this occurs right on the border of Yellowstone National Park only a hop skip and jump from Wyoming Game and Fish officials cabin is this being allowed to go on?
When I was told salt-baiting was to lure elk from the park into the gun sites of would be trophy hunters I was not as surprised as when I heard officials deny there were such pits and if there were such pits it was hard to catch anyone doing anything in or around them. This commentary came from several newspaper articles I read on the subject. Apparently the state officials that are hired to care for this area of the state were schooled in the same "double speak" as that of our esteemed president.
Perhaps they are just blind.
In either case they are derelict in their duty and should all be replaced.
It is indeed interesting to see the change in comments from officials since this story broke several months ago.....at first these were perceived pits and then when the pictures surfaced and it was crystal clear these pits were more than perceived....perceived flew out the window with yesterdays flies....and perceived became common practice.
But worse....common practice that NO ONE DOES ANYTHING ABOUT!
In this picture you can clearly see a cabin in the background.
Well guess what? That cabin belongs to the same Wyoming Game and Fish officials who claim there is no salt pit nor is there any unethical hunting going on there. Now are we expected to believe that no one from the government that frequents that cabin can see these salt-bait pits?
No wonder they can see nothing that goes on IN OR AROUND them if they can not even see the pit itself.
Apparently the government has hired blind people to man these outposts?
What is the deal here?
Who is covering whose ass by looking the other way and why?
One thing in this whole mess is VERY CLEAR...our tax dollar pays for a system that is blind, dumb or both to what is going on right under its nose.
Does this look to you like a Salt Bait Pit dug 20 years Ago?
The who part of the equation was a little more tricky.
A few key words kept cropping up in my research.
The Triangle X Ranch, and the Turners both John and Harold. So how did these pieces fit into this unethical puzzle?
"The Triangle X Ranch has been owned and operated by the Turner family for over 60 years." according to a quote from their website at:
When the salt-bait issue surfaced the Turners were very vocal about their practice of salt baiting and were pushing for legalization of salt-baiting and probably still are........under wide spread public scrutiny (mostly because of the internet) they have become silent on the issue.
Now John Turner is the brother of Harold Turner and The Triangle X Ranch is a family business...to further add color to the story John Turner was the head of the US Fish and Wildlife Service.....the same position held now by Jamie Clark.
That bit of information should raise an eyebrow or two I would think. On one hand you have a dude ranch that touts its success and edge at killing prime bull elk while engaging in the highly unethical salt-bait practice....while the Forest Service and Wyoming Game and Fish look the other direction and say these things are very hard to see or prove when the practice takes place right under their nose.
When I questioned one of the main stream media newspaper owners about not one article mentioning this "teeny weeny fact" I was told " John Turner has nothing to do with the operation of The Triangle X."
Now it may be true that John does not dirty his hands shoveling range manure but........does anyone doubt that blood is thicker than water?
Who is not up to their ears in the "good ole boy" system here?
Need I remind anyone that the good ole boys don't even need family ties to hang together, look the other way...pitch in when necessary is the motto that governs those groups.
Ethics are seldom if ever a part of the mix.
So has all of the main news media dodged this tidbit about the Turners and Triangle X involvement in the salt-bait arena because they are the politically influential and nouveau riche (rhinestone cowboys) of the area?.......what has happened to the ethics and hard hitting truth no matter what reporting of days gone by?
The truly sad thing about our mainstream media NOT REPORTING the cold hard truth is the average Joe on the street tends to think that if CNN is not reporting IT then there is nothing to IT. So we have more than half of our population totally in the dark about much of what goes on in our country.
In all fairness the Turners and the Triangle X Ranch are not the only group involved in this mess....but they are more than likely the most influential and visible.
The issue is ETHICS.
The bottom line is money.
The competition between the outfitters is fierce.
So why not cheat?
The Turners on their own website claim to have an edge.....what they don't mention of course that edge is baiting elk to the pits for an easy kill.
One of the Turners own ranch hands claims to have been instructed to haul tons of salt to the pits within the last year or so.
Of course under pressure (I wonder where that came from?) he now refuses to make comment.
Richard Clark, an outfitter and director of the Professional Guide Institute at Western Montana College, said guides are merely reacting to the demands of hunters. In an article for the Los Angeles Times he said when hunters call up an outfitter they ask two questions: ``What is your kill ratio, and can I get a trophy elk?''
Now....Wyoming Department of Game and Fish officials, are saying salting the ground is a harmless vice -- despite its being illegal under federal law -- and not a bad way to cull the large Yellowstone elk herd.
WHAT A CROCK!
Trophy hunters CULL NOTHING.
The definition of cull is:..........To remove rejected members, especially something rejected because of inferior quality.
NO TROPHY HUNTER SETS OUT TO SHOOT AN INFERIOR ELK.
They are all looking for the PRIME BULL........not some feeble weak animal.
Apparently AGAIN public officials think "we the public" fell off of yesterdays turnip truck and don't have a cognitive brain that functions.
I say get rid of those officials. Replace them with people who have backbone, who understand the law and ethics of hunting. Replace them with people who don't have the propensity to con the public.
Gee...what a concept.... huh?
One of the good guys in this battle is Tory Taylor. Taylor is a hunting guide and secretary of the Wyoming Wildlife Federation who visited the Thorofare in late September. In a letter to federal wildlife officials Tory said ``Purely for the sake of lazy hunters, these salt-baiting stations have been set up, some less than 50 yards from Yellowstone Park. This is wild country. It doesn't get any wilder, but it's being operated as a game farm for rich `bubbas.' ''
Let me explain who Bubba actually is:
Bubba is the doctor next door, perhaps your lawyer, maybe even your boyfriend/girlfriend/wife or husband.....now that SHOULD BE a chilling thought.
What ever happened to the true sport of hunting animals....you know like tracking, sitting, waiting, fair chase?
No doubt "Bubba" gets faint at the thought of wheezing his way along a forest trail looking for prey.
Is what these outfitters call sportsmanship tieing an animal to a post for the kill?
The truly sad thing is there are those individuals so itching for the kill they actually pay for such.
And the practice of salt-bait is not far behind such behavior on the ethical standard scale.
There are 23 of these known salt-bait pits along the Yellowstone National Park south border. This IS PUBLIC LAND it is the TETON WILDERNESS OF THE BRIDGER-TETON NATIONAL FOREST.
There is so much salt in each pit... it is impossible to estimate how much because it is mixed into the soil. Outfitters and Guides replenish the supply at the beginning and end of hunting season and designated times in between. They come clandestinely into the areas dump sacks of salt and sneak off.
Ethical hunters are outraged and want this practice stopped.
Pressure is being brought to bear on the forest service about the illegal salt-baiting and the Wyoming Game and Fish about the wanton waste.
As usual the officials are dragging their rears on this matter.
|There is a rather simple solution to this.
Call for a total hunting ban reaching from the edge of Yellowstone 3 miles into the Teton Wilderness of the Bridger-Teton National Forest.
The strip of land..."which is public" and houses the pits that will last for eternity if no one ever salted them again...would no longer be an issue.
Elk from Yellowstone would not be likely to wander past the now existing pits into the fire range of the 'would be trophy hunters'.
Park rangers would then be able to give their attention to tracking down illegal poachers.
Of course we would hear a loud wail from the outfitters and hunters who perpetuate this practice..........but gee what a shame!
You can send your comments and thoughts to:
Bridger-Teton Forest Supervisor
PO Box 1888,
Jackson, WY 82190
& Fish Director
5400 Bishop Blvd.
Cheyenne, WY 82003
email@example.com Dominic Domenici
US Fish and Wildlife Service
Casper, WY 82602
Below is an article by Meredith Taylor.
She and her husband Tory have been doing their best to put a stop to the behavior that casts bad light on all ethical hunters and outfitters. It is a long tough struggle. What s needed now is support from the public. Let your voices be heard.
There are people to contact below.
Take the time to do just that.
By Meredith Taylor
On the southern boundary of Yellowstone, outfitters eager to please their clients lure trophy bull elk from the sanctuary of the national park into the Bridger-Teton National Forest-then kill the animals. Encouraged by the lack of enforcement by Forest Service and Wyoming Game and Fish officials, the outfitters routinely ignore prohibitions against the waste of edible meat and the use of salt baiting. This fall I took two horsepack trips to this spectacular area inside the Teton Wilderness to witness for myself the industrial-scale salt baiting that has become a national disgrace.
This area, known as the Thorofare Region, is as far as you can get from a road in the Lower-48 states. On anyone's yardstick of beauty, it is breathtaking-wide, willow-covered meadows flank the Yellowstone River and are home to elk, moose, deer, grizzlies, bison, ermine, wolves, coyotes, geese, bald and golden eagles, blue-wing teal, great-horned owls and assorted migratory song birds. I saw or heard all of these creatures during my recent visits.
Mountain man Jim Bridger roamed this landscape in the early 1800's. President Theodore Roosevelt also left his boot tracks on its soils. Wilderness advocate Bob Marshall climbed its trails and breathed its crisp air. Today, Bridger, Roosevelt, and Marshall would presumably be shocked to find the area scarred by dozens of salt bait craters up to four feet deep and fifty feet across. Game trails radiate from the salt baits like spokes of a wagon wheel. Some salt baits are placed just steps from Forest Service trails, within 100 yards of the national park boundary, and less than a quarter of a mile from major campsites where metal boxes have been installed for keeping human food away from bears.
What does it say about the land ethic in the Thorofare that campers are strongly encouraged to keep clean sites, but only a short distance away hunters lure elk to their deaths using salt, then leave literally tons of perfectly good elk meat to rot on the ground? At one site that National Park Service Ranger Bob Jackson said had been salted this fall, we found the carcass of a bull elk killed just hours before our arrival. At least 45 pounds of edible meat remained on the animal including the sirloin, tenderloin, brisket, rib and neck meat-clearly a violation of Wyoming Game and Fish laws prohibiting wanton waste of edible meat.
One outfitter's guide claimed to have packed a ton of salt into the Teton Wilderness in a single year. The scale of salt baiting is already huge and will only increase if it is not stopped now by enforcement of existing regulations and laws. But the Bridger-Teton National Forest, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are simply looking the other way. If these agencies would take their own regulations seriously and enforce them, the salt baiting problem could be eliminated quickly.
Polls, and votes in some states, have shown that most of the American public, including a large percentage of sportsmen, finds hunting over baits a despicable hunting practice. But some outfitters, focusing instead on their clients' wishes for an easy trophy, insist on salting. What challenge is there in luring an animal to bait? Where is the fair chase in this practice?
Are threatened grizzly bears attracted to salt baits? We don't know. One agency spokesperson recently told a newspaper in the Northern Rockies, "There is not a shred of evidence that bear mortalities are linked to salting." That's a true statement, but a major reason is the lack of investigation by the Forest Service and the Wyoming Game and Fish Department.
Government agencies and conservation groups have spent considerable time and money trying to reduce human/bear conflicts during hunting season. Yet the illegal salt baiting of elk creates an artificially high concentration of hunters and bears amidst the elk carcasses. It follows logically that baiting is increasing the chances of bear/hunter conflicts and mortalities.
From the shadows of lackluster enforcement, this sad breach of hunting ethics is finally coming into the light of day. Media, public and agency attention is growing. If citizens follow through with letters and phone calls, we are hopeful that a solution may be near.
Meredith Taylor works for the Greater Yellowstone Coalition in Wyoming. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (307) 455-2161. Thanks for your interest in this salt baiting issue. I'd appreciate you sending off a message to the following agencies.
Bridger-Teton Forest Supervisor
PO Box 1888,
Jackson, WY 82190
Director Wyoming Game and Fish Department
5400 Bishop Boulevard
Cheyenne, Wyoming 82006
US Fish and Wildlife Service
Senior Resident Agent
P.O. Box 113
100 E.B. Street, Rm 4116
Casper, WY 82602
Thank you to Tom Beno, Karen Chapman and of course Meredith Taylor for all of their hard work and research in this matter. The pictures were provided by Meredith and were taken last fall (2000) at Yellowstone Meadows at the Thoroughfare.
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