Okay, he's right about SFW having way too much say in what should be a public process, but you've got to give them credit for going to bat for us -- like them or not. Am I wrong?
A fraud is a fraud. Even if you like the outcome of a fraud, it doesn't make it right. When SFW started out, their main recruitment hook was that the anti-hunters were going to take our hunts away. But it wasn't anti-hunters that did that. And it still isn't anti-hunters that are working to keep most of us off the mountain so that a select few can have big trophies.
I believe that the end should always justify the means. In the case of SFW and the RAC process, it doesn't even come close. And what really concerns me is that we haven't come to the end, yet. But it's easy enough to realize which way the wind is blowing.
Jim Karpowitz says, "It is those who pay for...trophies who should get to hunt for them." That's a major shift in the DWR's policy and one that I think is alarming.
The "best friend Utah hunters have" has told us that if we don't like the elk age management objectives, (and according to the RACs, we don't) we can just go hunt in Colorado. Let's all give a big "Yes, Sir!" to that one, eh?
Several of Utah's elk units have a near one to one bull cow ratio, yet still there is no intention to issue adequate LE tags on those units, despite the best wisdom of the DWR's big game director and the regional biologists. Quoting Anise Aoude, "We could issue a lot more LE tags on those units for several years and not hurt the quality." So if the DWR knows this, why aren't they doing it? So a handful of hunters want to negotiate by ending the spike hunt in hopes of getting a few "controlled" tags instead. What's wrong with this picture?
Utah's public lands are disappearing fast. That's not relevant here. But what is relevant is that SFW and the DWR actively recruit CWMUs even when the private lands involved have been formerly open to public hunting and are receiving money (can you guess the source) for improvements such as ATV trails, fences and habitat enhancements designed specifically to draw wildlife from adjacent public lands. Meantime, there's some serious questions being avoided by the DWR when it comes to the boundaries of some of those CWMUs or their qualifications for the program.
The DWR recently conducted a public poll of the RAC process. Where are the results of that poll? Nobody curious about why the results are being withheld? When it comes to the point that the public has to take legal measures in order to obtain public information from a government agency like the DWR, something's not right.
Utah gives more big game tags to private organizations than any other state in the U.S. and no public accounting is made for the money generated from the auction of those tags. But as the creator of that little give away says, "Trust us." And what's really bizarre is that we do! No wonder Utah has a reputation for being a con man's paradise.
In the comments to the cited article, there's a couple great points that warrant concern. Among them is a reference to SFW and the DWR as being farmers. I think the comment is right on and since I don't want to hunt livestock, I don't see a lot of good being done right now and certainly no enough to overlook the bigger picture.