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Does activism help?

Well, it has been a busy news cycle this week, with so many issues taking center stage momentarilly, then moving on. Sometimes, the issues are so large, and so many things rise up to divert our attention, and we wonder-did we do any good today? Well, today, dear readers we did do some good:
On January 24th, the Indy community was alerted to a small article (re printed in it's entirety below) from an obscure coastal newspaper, concerning a demented plan to "thin" the elk population in and around Tillamook, to "solve problems caused by a proliferating herd of Roosevelt elk by killing as few of the animals as possible."
Supposedly, the poor animals had been damaging fences and property adjacent to the airport, and the stormwater drainage system.

The story was also carried in some form on some of the t.v. stations.

Being thus alerted to yet another ill conceived bureaucratic scheme to "solve" one problem at the expense of living creatures, many here at Indymedia (I do not suppose that we were alone) chose to commence a telephone and email blitz of all the commercial interests in and about the Tillamook area that might be affected by an intended boycott, should they actually continue this plan.

This morning, at 912 a.m, responding to one of our earlier messages, The Port of Tillamook Bay emailed us, advising that the hunt had been called off. I am just skeptical enough to believe that this was done, not for the right reason (because it was wrong headed), but because of the activism generated by this site, and possibly others. Give yourselves props, indy friends, and if you wish to read the original offending plan, read on:

Published: January 24, 2006


Headlight-Herald Staff

TILLAMOOK Officials of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Port of Tillamook Bay are hoping an emergency hunt set to begin on port property this Saturday will solve problems caused by a proliferating herd of Roosevelt elk by killing as few of the animals as possible.

"If we can haze them off the property without killing any of them, that would be great," Port Commissioner Jerry Dove said Monday.

Dove and Port Manager Jack Crider said the elk, now numbering about 160 head, have been causing damage to fences along the perimeter of the Tillamook Airport and to a stormwater drainage system that clears water from the property's industrial area.

"We were told the fence was elk-proof," Crider said, "but the elk like to just walk right through it."

In addition to damaging the fences, Crider said, the elk pose a hazard to airport operations and could pose a hazard to contractors who will be working on port property in connection with the planned development of a golf course, hotel and convention center and time share units.

"There are also issues of higher turbidity" in streams running through the property caused by the elks' presence, Crider said.

ODF&W official Dave Nuzum, assistant wildlife biologist for the North Coast Watershed District, said port officials asked for the emergency hunt, which will run from Jan. 28 until March 15 or until the herd no longer poses a problem.

Nuzum said 15 individuals on the department's list of emergency hunters have been contacted for the upcoming hunt.

"We're bound by state law to respond to landowner damage complaints," Nuzum said, noting that only those qualified as "master hunters" will be permitted to take part in the hunt. "This is a special intense situation."

Port officials said only three hunters a day will be allowed on the property to conduct the hunt and they will be accompanied by port representatives, who will tell them where they can and can't shoot.

The normal hunting season for bull elk is in November. However, Nusum said that, in this hunt, "anterless elk" including cows, yearlings and bull calves can be shot.

Officials said they had no idea how many elk would have to be taken to get the heard to move off port property.

"If three or four get shot and that moves the herd, that's all we'll do." Nuzum said.

The whole idea of the hunt, however, has some hunters in the area upset.

"Killing the elk is not a solution to the problem," said Mark Hurliman of Netarts. "The elk will keep coming until they fix the fences. I don't feel it's right to slaughter the elk. It's not their fault."

Hurliman, who said he hunts elk and deer, criticized officials who decided to conduct the hunt "on their own with no community involvement."

He questioned whether port officials have made enough of an effort to keep the elk out.

"There are gates left open along Brickyard Road all the time," Hurliman said. "I just wish they'd consider other alternatives."

Dove said elk have been coming on port property for years.

"We've had 15, 20 or 25 head on the property. But now there are too many elk and it's not a good mix."

He said he's "afraid the elk have found a home and they're not going anywhere."

Crider added that farmers in the area have done a good job hazing the animals off their land and onto the port property.

"The sad thing is no one wants these animals," he said.

And we say, why should anyone need to "want" these animals? Is it not enough, that they were here first, that they exist at all, with the testosterone laded, magnum toting fools that are out there in the woods, waiting for them, should they leave the protection of society?
what of thier future? 26.Jan.2006 17:50


Sounds as though this problem with elk on port property was all about displacement of elk habitat. It's encouraging that there were people in the area willing to speak on behalf of the elk for the newspaper reporters.

Displacement is a serious, serious issue, and I wonder if there really is any hope for wildlife that formerly occupied lands that have been converted to human use. Whatever the case is today, I remember many years back, that getting an elk permit and actually bagging an elk was a really big deal because of how elusive they were. Same with deer to some extent. Now elk and deer, aparrently in danger of starving to death due to diminishing options, come right out into the wide open.

Same situation exists where my parents live just a couple miles from Beaverton. Where the area used to be fields with a house on 5 acres or more, now it's a suburban wasteland where the open spaces are increasingly asphalt parking lots after business hours. Deer come right onto my parents hobby field directly across from a slew of burb houses.

I'm glad for the elk in tillamook, but I fear their future isn't the brightest.

links to previous articles 27.Jan.2006 04:45

here they are

roosevelt elk image from dfw.state.or.us
roosevelt elk image from dfw.state.or.us
roosevelt elk image from rachelleb.com
roosevelt elk image from rachelleb.com

Thank You for posting info on the Roosevelt elk herd. 27.Jan.2006 09:49

Lone Wolf

Thanks posting this info about the Roosevelt Elk Herd. Please keep all of us informed of any developements concerning the herd.

You might want to contact the following Tribe too:

Post Office Box 38
9615 Grand Ronde Road
Grand Ronde
OR 97347- 0038
(503) 879-5211 or 800-422-0232

Oregon Fish and Wildlife was not happy about hearing that the Grand Ronde Nation was contacted concerning the elk herd.

It's rather interesting that this herd's name is Roosevelt, as in "teddy roosevelt" and the bullalo herds killed in the plains states by "teddy roosevelt" from a train in 1918 or some time around there.

Lone Wolf, Warrior

Restore Populations of Large Predators 30.Jan.2006 10:40


As we gaze into the "wilderness" and remaining habitat, we can barely detect the inexorable, lurching movement toward captive breeding and management of all wildlife in zoos. At what point do the fences and boundaries become sufficiently chain link and asphalt to no longer be called wilderness and wildlife refuges?