Report: Previously deported illegal immigrant attempts to take M-4 rifle from Texas National Guardsman

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WESLACO, TX – According to reports, a previously deported illegal immigrant attempted to wrestle an M-4 rifle out of the hands of a Texas National Guardsman.

(Fox News):#Texas #Illegal immigrant tries taking weapon away from #Texas National Guardsman, authorities say : An illegal immigrant tried taking a rifle from a Texas National Guard soldier at the U.S.-Mexico border Tuesday while .. https://t.co/BBydGQcvVB

— NewsOnePlace.com (@newsoneplace) September 29, 2022

The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) has arrested a man, who is allegedly an illegal immigrant, who attempted to take a weapon away from a Texas National Guard soldier serving as part of Operation Lone Star.

According to reports, on September 26, 2022, just after 4:00 a.m., a Texas National Guard soldier assisted the United States Border Patrol in apprehending a large group of illegal immigrants on South Inspiration Road near Bentsen Palm Community Park in Mission, Texas.

During the operation, the soldier attempted to capture a suspected male illegal immigrant who had fled from law enforcement. The soldier reportedly issued several verbal commands to the suspect, but the man failed to comply with those orders.

In fact, instead of complying the suspect proceeded to grab the soldier’s M-4 rifle with both hands in an attempt to seize the weapon for himself. Luckily, the soldier was able to maintain possession of his weapon.

The suspect was then apprehended with assistance from other National Guard soldiers. As of this writing, the Texas Rangers are still investigating the entire incident.

The suspect has been identified as 45-year-old Ricardo Jaime-Ruiz, of Mexico. He has been arrested for attempting to take a weapon away from a public servant. He is a previously deported felon and was transported to the Hidalgo County Jail.

According to Breitbart News, Texas DPS spokesman Lt. Christopher Olivarez said that Jaime-Ruiz has a previous felony conviction for illegal re-entry after removal. That incident remains under investigation by Texas Rangers.

For more than an entire year, Texas National Guardsmen and DPS troopers have assisted the United States Border Patrol with the massive increase in illegal migration across the Texas-Mexico border.

For the fiscal year that began on October 1, 2021, nearly 1.26 million migrants illegally crossed the border from Mexico into the five Texas-based Border Patrol sectors. As of the end of September, agents apprehended a total of 1,997,769 in all nine southwest border sections for fiscal year 2021.

As a result of the massive migrant surge crossing mostly in Texas, Governor Greg Abbott responded by busing the illegal immigrants to the sanctuary cities of New York, Chicago, and Washington, D.C.

According to a spokesperson for Governor Abbott’s office, since the busing program began in April, the state of Texas has bused approximately 11,375 illegal immigrants out of Texas to the Democrat-run cities.

The Rio-Grande Valley Sector reported the highest number of apprehensions with 440,423 migrants taken into custody. The Del Rio Sector came in second with the apprehension of 428,555 migrants.

The El Paso Sector ranks third in the year-to-date apprehensions with 258,766 taken into custody. Reportedly, if the 1.25 million migrants apprehended during the 2021 fiscal year at the Texas-based Border Patrol sectors were put into a brand new city, it would be the fourth-largest city in state, trailing just behind Dallas.

In August, New York City Mayor Eric Adams, a Democrat, had a negative reaction to Governor Abbott’s busing of illegal immigrants to his sanctuary city, calling the action “horrific.” Calling the move, “unimaginable,” Adams added:

“This is horrific, when you think about what the governor is doing. It is unimaginable what the governor of Texas has done, when you think about this country, a country that has always been open to those who were fleeing persecution.”

He said:

“We’ve always welcomed them and this governor is not doing that in Texas. But we are going to set that right one of being here for these families.”

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National poll: Majority of registered voters think drug cartels have more control over southern border than U.S. government

September 26th, 2022

UNITED STATES – According to reports, a newly released Rasmussen national survey indicates that the majority of registered voters think drug cartels have greater control over the southern border than the American government does.

Majority of Americans Think Cartels Have More Control Over Border than U.S. Government: Poll https://t.co/av1Lub9oDs#Biden #DestroyingAmerica #BidenWorstPresidentInHistory

— The Daily (@zg_daily) September 24, 2022

When sharing the link to the National Review piece about the poll, Republican Rep. Chip Roy of Texas tweeted:

“They are right. So – now we should do something about it. We should commit to provide #NotOneMorePenny to fund open borders & to empower cartels. #StandUpForAmerica.”

The poll found that 54 percent of registered voters do not think that the federal government, which is under President Joe Biden, is truly attempting to secure the border and decrease unlawful immigration.

According to the methodology section, the survey “was conducted online by Scott Rasmussen on September 20-21, 2022. Field work for the survey was conducted by RMG Research, Inc.”

GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida has suggested that the United States should “get tough on the border and even tougher on the Sinaloa Cartel” in order to tackle the problem of the deadly drug fentanyl. He tweeted again, “Bomb Sinaloa. Not kidding.”

The State Run News Media does not care about your dead son! If they did, they would address the thousands of illegal alien gangster/drug cartel members pouring across our southern border smuggling Fentanyl with impunity. They don’t, so they won’t! Climate Change is the Danger! pic.twitter.com/SqvSxSqGhV

— Ray Schneiders (@RaySchneiders) September 23, 2022

According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, “fentanyl available in the United States is primarily supplied by two criminal drug networks, the Sinaloa Cartel and the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG).”

U.S. Customs and Border Protection reports that there have been more than 2 million southwest land border encounter during the 11-month period from October 2021 through August 2022.

Several GOP politicians have called for the Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to resign. In a September 21st letter to Mayorkas, Sen Josh Hawley of Missouri declared:

“Your intentional disregard for our country’s immigration laws makes you unfit to remain in office. You should resign.”

A group of GOP lawmakers have backed a measure to put stop catch and release policies, but the bill has little to no chance of advancing through the Democrat-controlled Congress. In a press release, Republican Rep. Andy Biggs of Arizona said:

“Catch and release is incentivizing historic levels of illegal immigration, stretching Border Patrol resources thin, and making our communities unsafe. My legislation restores integrity in our immigration system by explicitly prohibiting DHS from patrolling or otherwise releasing illegal aliens into the country.”

He added:

“DHS can either detain the illegal alien or require them to remain outside the United States while their claim is pending. We must maintain operational control of the southern border and this legislation gets us closer to that.”

One man, who was interviewed on Fox News, said that he came to the United States illegally and that America’s border is open. He said:

“It’s open, not closed. It’s open because we enter, we come in, free. No problem.”

In September, Vice President Kamala Harris claimed that the border is “secure,” despite a record-breaking 2 million arrests at the southern border this fiscal year.

Sixty percent of voters said the “failure of the federal government to secure the southern border” is a bigger problem than governors like Ron DeSantis sending illegal immigrants to Martha’s Vineyard, and 63 percent said it is “hypocritical” for sanctuary cities, like Martha’s Vineyard, to complain when illegal immigrants are sent there.

Voters thought ending illegal immigration was important, with 83 percent of respondents saying it was important, 55 percent saying it would have a positive effect on the economy, and 44 percent saying it would “significantly reduce crime.”

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Border patrol chief announces the “dangers are real” after sex offenders, gang members, murderers and drugs busted coming across the border

September 10th, 2022

WASHINGTON, DC – The head of the United States Border Patrol has announced that the dangers of illegal aliens coming into the country from the southern border are real.

Not only are there reports almost daily of large drug seizures, violent felons, and others attempting to cross, but now, the chief is reporting they have apprehended ten different illegal aliens who are sex offenders in just three days.

Just this week:
•213 lbs. of Cocaine
•71 lbs. of Meth
•5 lbs. of Fentanyl
•4,563 Migrants, 19 Large Groups
•12 Sex Offenders
•7 Gang Members
•2 Active Warrants
•1 Murderer
•1 Injury to a Child
•103 Rescues
•1 Agent Assault

Busy week! Keep up the great work! pic.twitter.com/EzwbZZ7tB4

— Chief Raul Ortiz (@USBPChief) September 9, 2022

While those who support Democrat Biden’s stance on illegal aliens entering the country point to the number of apprehensions at the southern border being a sign of success and keeping the country safe, they are ignoring or not realizing the bigger threat at hand.

No one is taking away the significant results of federal authorities apprehending criminals illegally crossing the border, but those who oppose Biden are more concerned with how many people were able to make it across the border safely.

That issue could not be more clear after the United States Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz announced on September 6th that his agents had apprehended ten illegal alien sex offenders in three days.

In addition to those criminals being caught, numerous other alleged gang members and one murderer were also apprehended. In Chief Ortiz’s tweet, he wrote:

“The dangers are real. Great work by our agents.”

In three days, Chief Ortiz announced that his agents had encountered 2,690 illegal aliens who were attempting to cross into the country. That number included ten large groups of people who were attempting to come across at the same time.

Of that large number of people who were stopped, ten of those were sex offenders, four of them documented gang members, and one of them reported to be a murderer.

Along with those arrested, Chief Ortiz reported federal agents also seized a large number of illicit narcotics during the same time frame, including 71 pounds of methamphetamine and 100 pills of fentanyl.

During this fiscal year, which begins in October and runs until October of 2023, federal agents apprehended almost 2,000 illegal aliens attempting to cross the southern border.

That of course does not include the unknown number of illegal aliens who have been able to successfully cross into the United States. Although no one really knows how many people that could be, estimates are upwards of 500,000 or more.

How many of those 500,000 or more people who safely made it illegally across the border were terrorists, drug dealers, murderers, or child abusers?

The answer to that is not known which is troubling, considering the apparent belief that the number of those who are attempting passage into the country will only increase.

The recent news comes after Chief Ortiz reported under oath that President Biden’s policies seemingly lead people to believe that there are “no consequences” for illegal aliens coming across the border. According to Fox News Digital, Chief Ortiz made the comments during a recorded deposition on July 28th regarding a lawsuit that had been filed by Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody.

Chief Ortiz surmised the number of people attempting to illegally cross the border will only increase due to the belief that there are no consequences. Chief Ortiz said:

“In my experience, we have seen increases when there are no consequences.”

An attorney who was part of the deposition asked Chief Ortiz:

“So, if migrant populations believe that they’re going…there are not going to be consequences, more of them will come to the border. Is that what you’re saying?”

Chief Ortiz responded:

“There is an assumption that if migrant populations are told that there is a potential that they may be released, that, yes, you can see increases.”

https://fundourpolice.com/

After over 2 million illegal border crossings last year, Biden team halts most prosecutions

WASHINGTON, DC – With a significant increase in border crossing since taking office, Democrat President Joe Biden’s administration has halted most prosecutions for those people accused of illegally entering the country.

According to the Washington Free Beacon, prosecutions dropped by almost 80 percent.

The Washington Free Beacon obtained an internal memo from the Department of Homeland Security which outlined the drastic reduction in prosecutions for those allegedly illegally crossing the southern border.

According to the memo, during the 2021 fiscal year, only 2,896 illegal aliens were transferred into the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service compared to 13,213 in the fiscal year 2020.

The drop appears indicative of President Biden’s break from presidential administrations year’s past which some believe is actually encouraging illegal immigration.

Opponents believe that this move has only increased the crisis at the border which saw over two million people illegally cross into the country in 2021.

Those who illegally enter the country could face a misdemeanor charge for their first offense.

On subsequent illegal entries, illegal aliens have the misdemeanor charge elevated to a felony which could land them not only civil penalties but also up to two years in federal prison.

One of those people that are frustrated with the lack of consequences for those illegally entering the county is an unnamed Department of Homeland Security official who spoke to the Free Beacon. That person said:

“The lack of accountability from this administration encourages the worst people flooding our borders, criminals, to keep violating our laws until they finally commit a crime so egregious that the Department of Justice is forced to prosecute.”

Proponents of the President claim that the lack of prosecutions is only because of the administration’s use of Title 42, a public health regulation that provides authorities the ability to expel migrants quickly.

Thus, law enforcement, in theory, does not need to process the illegal alien as they normally would and simply expel them from the country.

According to data provided by the administration, roughly 90,000 illegal aliens were expelled back to Mexico or their home country under Title 42.

While the agency notes those that were expelled, they fail to mention how many met the criteria of expulsion under the title versus those who were released with just a notice to appear in court or sent to long-term detention centers.

Biden’s administration has worked tirelessly to undo all of former Republican President Donald Trump’s approach to securing the southern border through the removal and blocking of illegal aliens from entering the country.

The administration has unsuccessfully worked to end Title 42 while they have been successful in ending the Remain in Mexico policy.

These moves come as the U.S. Border Patrol reported they apprehended 191,898 illegal aliens in June and over 222,000 in May of this year. Those numbers point to authorities having processed over 1.7 million illegal aliens during the fiscal year 2022. A number that will exceed the fiscal year 2021 with a few months remaining during this fiscal year.

Customs and Border Patrol Commissioner Chris Magnus said that they are working to reduce the number of illegal aliens crossing the border:

“We are committed to implementing our strategy of reducing irregular migration, dissuading migrants from undertaking the dangerous journey, and increasing enforcement efforts against human smuggling organizations.”

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In Reviewing Wolves’ Endangered Status, Martha Williams Confronts Her Montana Past

theintercept.com

Ryan Devereaux

Martha Williams is at a crossroads. As director of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the agency responsible for enforcing the Endangered Species Act, Williams is arguably the most important official in Washington for saving wildlife amid the ongoing mass extinction crisis. Last year, her agency announced a review to determine whether wolves in the Northern Rockies should regain federal protection under the landmark statute after Montana and Idaho launched the most aggressive wolf hunts in recent history.

The circumstances would be delicate for any director. While the presence of wolves has been a battle in the West’s culture war for generations, the fight has taken on an intensity unlike anything the region has seen since the animals were first reintroduced there in the 1990s. For Williams, the assessment has added significance requiring her to delve into her own past as the head of Montana’s game agency.

Williams’s review is probing the conduct, regulations, and science of a department she once led and shaped, in a state she still calls home. As a top attorney and later as a director, Williams’s career is defined by her years in Montana’s Fish, Wildlife and Parks, better known as FWP. Across a decade and half of service, Williams earned respect on both sides of the wolf wars and helped craft a legal framework for protecting the state’s most political animal. Now a top federal official, Williams’s supporters are pulling her in divergent directions, while critics are questioning her credentials and calling on her to step down entirely.

Last year’s changes in wolf hunting and trapping regulations were felt particularly hard in Yellowstone National Park, which weathered its deadliest season in living memory. With a new Montana wolf hunting season underway and park researchers studying the unprecedented levels of human-caused mortality, the deadline for the federal government’s review has now passed, and environmental groups have filed suit demanding that Williams take action.

Two policy decisions from Williams’s Montana years are central to the assessments she is making in her Endangered Species Act review. The first has to do with how wolf populations in the region are estimated. The second is the unique category that wolves occupy under Montana law: Originally designed as a protection during Williams’s years as an FWP attorney, the special category paradoxically made wolves more vulnerable to controversial hunting techniques following her tenure as FWP director.

“What Montana has done is they basically turned that regulatory mechanism on its head, and they are now using it effectively as a threat to wolves, not as a protection,” Dan MacNulty, associate professor of wildland resources at Utah State University, told me. “That’s very concerning, and I think it should concern the Fish and Wildlife Service in terms of whether or not Montana is living up to the commitment it made with respect to that delisting rule.”

Fish and Wildlife Service announced the review of a petition to relist wolves in the Northern Rockies in September 2021, eight months after Williams had become the agency’s acting leader. The review followed dramatic regional changes in state hunting and trapping regulations. Under pressure from environmental organizations to appoint a confirmed leader at FWS, President Joe Biden nominated Williams the following month. The nomination was celebrated by both environmental groups and an array of hunting interests. Sen. Jon Tester, a Montana Democrat, and Sen. Steve Daines, a Montana Republican, both urged their colleagues to vote for confirmation.

Dave Parsons, a retired wildlife biologist who led the FWS reintroduction of wolves in the Southwest in the 1990s, was one of the few voices of public dissent. For nearly a year, Parsons, along with Bob Aland, a retired attorney and environmental activist, have been waging a two-man campaign to remove Williams from the position. The reason, they argue, is that she is unqualified under the law. Federal statute requires that the director of FWS have “scientific education and experience” and be knowledgeable in “the principles of fisheries and wildlife management.”

While Williams’s experience is undeniable, her educational background is in philosophy and law, not science. “My primary concern on the surface is not her as an individual,” Parsons told me. “My interest is saving the agency from this now dark path, where the precedent has been set that you can put in a person without biological credentials in violation of the law.”

The issue has come up before. In 2018, Greg Sheehan stepped down as principal deputy director of FWS under President Donald Trump after then-Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke sought to have him take full leadership of the agency. Zinke’s effort failed due to Sheehan’s lack of a science degree. How Williams navigated the requirement is unclear. (FWS declined to make the director available for an interview or to comment on the appointment.)

In December, Parsons wrote an op-ed describing how every FWS director going back to the Nixon administration had met the scientific education requirement. “I’m trying to save my old agency, for crying out loud,” he said. “Try to imagine Trump Act II and that law just thrown under the rug.”

In the weeks leading up to Williams’s confirmation hearing, he and Aland informed aides on Capitol Hill that Williams lacked a scientific background. They contacted the White House, the Department of the Interior, and FWS.

When Williams appeared before lawmakers in November, the issue never came up. She was confirmed in a bipartisan 16-to-4 vote in February.

November 17, 2021 - Washington, DC, United States: Martha Williams, nominee to be Director of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, speaking at a hearing of the Senate Environment and Public Works committee. (Photo by Michael Brochstein/Sipa USA)(Sipa via AP Images)

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Martha Williams speaking at a hearing of the Senate Environment and Public Works committee, in Washington, D.C., in November 2021.

Photo: Michael Brochstein/Sipa via AP Images

Williams’s confirmation

was the culmination of a long career enmeshed in the legal wrangling surrounding wolves and the Endangered Species Act.

Wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone National Park and central Idaho under the law in 1995, after a government extermination campaign led to their near-total extirpation decades before. Williams joined Montana’s game agency three years later and, over the next decade and a half, represented the state in its delisting efforts.

Under the terms laid out by FWS, wolves in the Northern Rockies — Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming — would be considered recovered once there were 30 breeding pairs raising at least two pups each for three consecutive years. In 2002, the agency announced that the criteria had been met. Before the transfer of management authority could happen, however, the states needed to prove that they had a regulatory framework in place to support continued wolf recovery.

The first wolf arrives in Yellowstone at the Crystal Bench Pen (Mike Phillips-YNP Wolf Project Leader, Jim Evanoff-YNP, Molly Beattie- USFWS Director, Mike Finley-YNP Superintendent, Bruce Babbitt-Secretary of Interior) ;Jim Peaco;January 12, 1995;Catalog #15032

The first wolf arrives at Yellowstone National Park in a pen carried by, from left, Mike Phillips, Yellowstone Wolf Project leader; Jim Evanoff, Yellowstone environmental protection specialist; Molly Beattie, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service director; Mike Finley, Yellowstone superintendent; and Bruce Babbitt, secretary of the interior, in January 1995. Photo: Jim Peaco/NPS

In Montana, the solution Williams and her colleagues came up with was to categorize wolves as a “species in need of management.” The special designation had surfaced a year before, in a bill passed by the Montana Senate, which aimed to carve out a space for wolves once they were removed from the state’s endangered species list.

Categories are key to wildlife governance. Generally, “game” animals, like elk or deer, can be hunted but not trapped, while “furbearers,” like otters or bobcats, can be trapped but not hunted. In many states, “predators,” like coyotes, can be killed anytime, anywhere without a license or a defined season. In a 2003 environmental impact statement that Williams consulted on, Montana made the case that wolves would stand apart as a “species in need of management,” receiving “full protection” as a non-game animal. Once wolves were recovered, the state’s game commissioners would decide which of Montana’s more conventional categories fit the animals best.

In 2009, the Obama administration announced the delisting of wolves in Montana and Idaho, but not Wyoming, which continually failed to come up with a plan that didn’t involve treating the animals as predators that could be shot on sight. “Montana did an outstanding job of describing, in detail, its regulatory framework and its commitment to wolf management,” FWS noted in its rule.

The delisting was immediately challenged and in 2010 struck down by a federal judge.

Williams was recruited to her first Interior Department stint the following year. She had once again joined a government agency facing a historic moment for wolves. That same year, Tester, the Democratic senator from Montana, attached a rider to a federal budget bill that reversed the court’s decision to reject delisting and prohibited any other judge from undoing the reversal. The move was unprecedented and political: Tester was up for reelection in one of the most important races of 2012, facing an opponent who claimed that he was out of touch with rural voters on the wolf issue.

Senator Jon Tester, a Democrat from Montana, walks through the US Capitol building in Washington, D.C., US, On Saturday, Aug. 6, 2022. The Senate is in for a rare weekend session as Democrats look to pass their tax, climate, and drug-pricing bill through the budget reconciliation process. Photographer: Ting Shen/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., walks through the Capitol building in Washington, D.C., on Aug. 6, 2022.

Photo: Ting Shen/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Tester won the race, and wolves have been off the Endangered Species List in Montana ever since. Williams returned to her home state as a law professor at the University of Montana soon after. In 2017, she was nominated by then-Montana Gov. Steve Bullock to serve as director of Montana’s FWP, the first woman in the position.

Williams created a review committee in 2018 to study whether the array of hunting and trapping regulations that FWP produced each year were in line with state law. She also presided over the implementation of a new model for estimating wolf populations in the state. Both efforts would play key roles in the wolf review she is now overseeing as director of the nation’s most important wildlife agency.

Aimee Hawkaluk was a staff attorney at FWP from 2012 until January of this year. She served on the committee that Williams convened to review regulations. Speaking in a personal capacity and not as a representative of her former or current employer, Hawkaluk said the committee ultimately determined that years of wolf hunting and trapping regulations in Montana misrepresented the law, and that the problem related to the “species in need of management” categorization developed in the early 2000s.

The original idea was that wolves would have a higher degree of protection until they were recovered, at which point they would be reclassified as a furbearer or game animal. “That’s never happened,” Hawkaluk told me, “so they’re just kind of stuck in limbo as a species in need of management.”

The upshot was significant. Following the 2009 delisting, FWP issued regulations each year explaining to hunters and trappers what they could and could not do in pursuit of wolves. Among the prohibitions were the use of aircraft and radio telemetry equipment — the kind of gear biologists use to find and monitor wildlife. Those prohibitions, however, were effectively copied from the state’s game animal regulations. As a non-game species in need of management, wolves did not have those protections, Williams’s committee determined. In the department’s view, the warnings amounted to an ongoing, decadelong mistake.

The review committee conducted its work over two years, reaching some of the critical conclusions on the technology that could be used to hunt wolves after Williams packed up for her return to Washington in 2021. The timing was critical. Despite the many opportunities already offered under the law, Republican lawmakers and a subset of hunters and trappers had long argued that Montana’s regulations did not go far enough. They agitated for wolves to be treated as predators that could be killed with little restriction.

“I had a bill that was going to place wolves on the predator list — make them a predator, just treat them as predator,” Bob Brown, a Montana state senator, said at an FWP Committee hearing last year. But after speaking with the governor’s office, FWP, and others, he concluded it was not the right approach “because it could lead to relisting.” Instead, the senator introduced legislation to slash Montana’s wolf population by giving hunters and trappers the authority to kill an unlimited number of wolves using bait, snares, and, on private land, authority to hunt at night with bright lights and night-vision goggles.

“I think a lot of folks of whatever view on wolves are probably a bit concerned about opening the can of worms. And so here we stand.”

It was the kind of extreme proposal that normally died on the governor’s desk in Montana, but things had changed the previous fall. Voters elected Greg Gianforte as Montana’s first Republican governor in a decade and half. Gianforte stacked the most important posts in Montana’s wildlife decision-making apparatus — from Williams’s old job atop FWP to the commissioners who create policy for the department — with campaign contributors, a former running mate, and representatives of aggressively pro-wolf hunting interests. He then went on to sign Brown’s bill and a half dozen other measures targeting the state’s most iconic predator.

In response, nearly three dozen veteran Montana wildlife managers, many of them Williams’s former FWP colleagues, published an essay decrying Montana’s “anti-predator hysteria” and the “partisan political intervention that overturned decades of sound wildlife policy.”

Despite the pushback, Gianforte’s commissioners approved the most aggressive regulations in recent Montana history for last winter’s wolf hunt. At the same time, the results of Williams’s review committee came to fruition in the form of the state’s 2021 wolf regulations.

Advocacy organizations soon noticed the prohibition on aerial hunting had disappeared and called on a Montana judge to issue an injunction to stop the practice. At a court hearing in February, Hawkaluk described how Williams’s review committee concluded that wolves were not in fact protected from aerial hunting under state law. (The practice remained illegal under a federal statute, though FWP’s regulations omitted that fact.)

The original idea of a “species in need of management” had been twisted beyond recognition. Instead of bestowing protections, the designation made the animals vulnerable to a tactic used for the culling of feral hogs. “It doesn’t seem to fit what that law was created to do,” Hawkaluk told me, reiterating that she was speaking for herself.

For Hawkaluk, the trajectory of wolves within Montana’s bureaucracy reflects the contentious politics that surrounds the animals. “I think it’s just so convoluted now that it would take an overhaul to crack that, and I think a lot of folks of whatever view on wolves are probably a bit concerned about opening the can of worms,” she said. “And so here we stand.”

Aerial hunting wasn’t the only tactic to disappear from Montana’s regulations last year. Without public notice, the prohibition against using radio telemetry equipment was also gone. There is at least some evidence that hunters may have attempted to take advantage of the new opportunity.

Early one morning last February, a group of ecotourism guides gathered with their clients north of Yellowstone National Park’s boundary line. They were hoping to spot a mountain lion when a flash of unusual human activity caught their attention instead.

A man had pulled up in a pickup truck. He parked, stepped out of the vehicle, and raised above his head what looked like a radio antenna. He had neither the uniform nor the vehicle of a government official. As the truck pulled away, a third guide recognized the driver as one of the area’s most well-known proponents of aggressive wolf hunting north of Yellowstone.

The guides were concerned. By that point, hunters and trappers had killed an unprecedented 19 of the park’s wolves, many in and around the area where they now stood. The guides sent witness statements to an FWP game warden. When I visited Yellowstone in late May, word of the incident had spread among the park’s research and touring community. I interviewed the guides and reviewed their statements to FWP, then asked the department about the claims and whether hunting wolves with telemetry equipment was now legal.

“FWP game wardens looked into the report and found no functional telemetry equipment or evidence of violation,” Morgan E. Jacobsen, a spokesperson for FWP’s southwest region, said in an email in July. As for using telemetry in wolf hunts, Jacobsen added: “This would not be lawful while in the act of hunting under Montana’s statute on two-way communication.”

In the portion of Montana that abuts Yellowstone Park, the death toll of 19 wolves marked a 342 percent increase from the previous decade’s annual average of four.

The following week, The Intercept published an investigation revealing that the final Yellowstone wolf to die in last winter’s hunt was a radio-collared animal, killed by a veteran backcountry park ranger in the same gulch where the guides had seen the hunter with the antenna. The ranger told me that, following his kill, he became the subject of a National Park Service investigation in which he and other Yellowstone law enforcement officials were accused — falsely, he said — of sharing location information on collared wolves with hunters outside the park. NPS declined to comment on the claims, citing an ongoing investigation. FWP, meanwhile, said its Helena-based special investigations unit was conducting a separate investigation into the wolf’s killing.

The day before the story broke, Brian Wakeling, FWP’s game management bureau chief, wrote to the guide who had recognized the hunter and explained that hunting wolves with telemetry gear was legal in Montana — contradicting the statement his colleague gave to The Intercept just six days earlier. “The department cannot enforce laws that are not applicable and did not wish to imply that the regulation applied to wolves,” Wakeling wrote.

Ecotourism guides weren’t the only ones concerned about the issue. On July 20, the day The Intercept’s wolf investigation went live, Cam Sholly, the superintendent of Yellowstone National Park, sent a letter to Montana’s game commissioners arguing that using telemetry to hunt wolves violated the fair chase principle, which holds that human hunters do not take unfair advantage of nonhuman prey, and requested that “this prohibition be re-inserted into your regulations.”

Montana’s wolf season was over by that point. In the portion of the state that abuts Yellowstone Park — where longstanding quotas on wolf kills were eliminated entirely — the death toll of 19 wolves marked a 342 percent increase from the previous decade’s annual average of four.

Wolves at Blacktail Pond at Yellowstone National Park, in 2019.

Wolves at Blacktail Pond at Yellowstone National Park, in 2019.

Photo: Jim Peaco/NPS

At a Montana

House hearing last spring, Republican state Rep. Paul Fielder voiced support for Brown’s legislation to slash the state’s wolf population, pointing to a “new and improved model” for estimating those numbers, which he claimed showed an increase of approximately 300 animals.

Montana had “about” 1,164 wolves — a problem, Fielder argued, since the state’s wolf management plan referred to just 15 breeding pairs and 150 individual animals. “Basically, we have four times as many wolves in Montana as the wolf management plan calls for,” he said. “So what this bill does is it gives us some more tools to manage wolves, and we’re not talking about necessarily ethical management of them. We want to reduce wolf numbers.”

Fielder failed to note that the figures cited in the state’s management plan reflect a minimum threshold for the state’s wolf population. An official liaison between the Montana Trappers Association and FWP, the state lawmaker was in the middle of passing his own legislation expanding the “tools” — like indiscriminate neck snares — that could be employed in Montana’s not “necessarily ethical” campaign to kill hundreds of wolves.

How many wolves roam the Northern Rockies and whether state policies promote recovery are the central questions Williams’s endangered species review must consider. Few people have had as close a relationship to those questions as David Ausband.

As part of the U.S. Geological Survey’s Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program, which partners graduate students and state fish and wildlife agencies for research and technical assistance purposes, Ausband is both a federal employee and a faculty member at the University of Idaho. Prior to taking the job in 2018, he was a senior wildlife research biologist for the Idaho Department of Fish and Game. Before that, he worked in Montana in a USGS unit focused on wolf recovery post-delisting.

In the early days, Ausband explained, monitoring wolves in the Northern Rockies was straightforward. There were fewer packs and the ones that were on the landscape usually had collared members, which made them easier to find. As time went on, things got complicated. Wolves learned to avoid the traps researchers used and, with the legalized hunting, the breakup of packs became increasingly common. “It just got harder to keep collars out,” Ausband said.

With delisting, Montana and Idaho entered a five-year period of federal supervision to ensure the states were complying with the Endangered Species Act. Ausband was among a group of officials from Idaho, Montana, and Yellowstone National Park who gathered each year to sort out which packs belonged to which jurisdictions. Though the work was tedious, it was also critical. In annual reports required under the act, the experts highlighted the existence of “border packs” — as opposed to “resident packs” — whose potential for double-counting could throw off the accuracy of population estimates. There was a lot of wrangling to figure out whose packs were whose, Ausband said, but “they were explicitly accounted for.”

During the transition to state wolf management, Montana and Idaho relied on millions of dollars from the U.S. FWS for the resource-intensive work of monitoring radio collars in the field. As the supervisory period wore on, however, the money ran dry. “It was like a slow decay,” Ausband said. He added, “The states were trying to come up with new, cheaper ways to keep monitoring their population but that wouldn’t break the bank.”

The supervised delisting period and the resources that came with it ended in 2016. Williams returned to FWP as director the following year. With end of federal supervision, the efforts to sort out border packs ended too. “Each state estimates their own population and there’s really none of those debates about border packs anymore,” Ausband said. The question is not whether wolves migrating across state and international borders are being double-counted by the states, it’s to what degree and whether the double-counting has meaningfully impacted the statistics being trotted out by lawmakers to justify extraordinarily aggressive wolf hunts.

“It’s a great question, and I honestly can’t answer it,” Ausband said. “It’s a source of bias. How big it is, I don’t know.”

In 2020, during Williams’s final year as FWP’s director, Montana began using a new system to estimate its wolf population: the “integrated patch occupancy model” — iPOM, for short. Used only in Montana and only for wolves, iPOM was the state’s answer to the problem of diminished resources, supplementing reduced radio-collar tracking with an increased reliance on hunters reporting wolf sightings in the wild.

“The problem is that they don’t know if the hunters are sighting resident packs or nonresident packs,” said MacNulty, the Utah State University researcher. For the past year, MacNulty has delved deep into the modeling system that served as the basis for politicians’ calls to make deep cuts to the wolf population. If you don’t know how many wolves there are on the land, he asked, “then how are you going to evaluate the threats to that population?”

“We can’t take wolf recovery for granted. Because the people who want to see a reduction in the wolf numbers are very serious about it.”

MacNulty is not the only one concerned. In his letter over the summer, Sholly, the Yellowstone superintendent, described a “lack of scientific data and low confidence” in Montana’s wolf-counting methodologies. Scott Creel, a large carnivore population ecologist with Montana State University, has also found problems in the state’s model, describing “considerable doubt about the accuracy of population estimates from the iPOM” in a critique published last year.

In March, Daines, the Republican senator and proud backer of last winter’s wolf hunt, urged Williams to take bold action on the Endangered Species Act — not to relist wolves but to delist grizzly bears. In August, the Center for Biological Diversity filed a lawsuit against the director for failing to meet the deadline in the wolf status review. Both Daines and the center supported Williams’s nomination, and both have vastly divergent expectations of the director now that she’s in power. Together their demands reflect the contentious state of predator politics in the Northern Rockies. At the center of that fight is the highly anticipated conclusion of Williams’s review.

For years, MacNulty believed that the region’s wolf population was secure. Right-wing politicians could push for predator-style management, but they were likely to fail. That’s no longer the case. Montana and Idaho now under legal obligation to reduce their wolf populations, and lawmakers have made clear their intent to cut those numbers to the bone.

“We can’t take wolf recovery for granted,” MacNulty said. “Because the people who want to see a reduction in the wolf numbers are very serious about it, and they’re using these flawed outputs to support their positions.”

Time will tell if Williams, another veteran of the West’s wolf wars, agrees.

https://theintercept.com/2022/09/29/wolves-endangered-species-martha-williams/

“Biden slammed for Puerto Rico gaffe”

Dog at Ohio Middle School gets her own yearbook picture for 2nd year in a row

www.foxnews.com

Cortney Moore

A facility dog is making waves at an Ohio middle school with her second annual yearbook photo.

Meg, a two-and-half-year-old golden retriever, has warmed the hearts of students, staff and parents at Goshen Middle School – a public school in The Buckeye State’s Clermont County.

She had a yearbook-style photo taken with a red bandana bearing her name, which pops next to her golden fur and blue-gray background. 

DOG THAT KNOWS 40 COMMANDS GETS JOB AT FLORIDA CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL

The photo was shared on Monday, Sept. 26, by the official Goshen Local Schools’ official social media accounts.

The young, smiling pooch was trained for service from birth by Circle Tail, an accredited assistance dog training organization in Cincinnati, Goshen Middle School Principal Wendy Flynn told Fox News Digital.

“This is her second school year at Goshen Middle School,” Flynn said. “Meg lives with Mrs. Kelly DeNu, a seventh-grade math teacher, and her family.”

DOG CALLED ‘CUTEST CANINE’ BY TSA RETIRES IN MINNESOTA AFTER 10 YEARS OF SERVICE: ‘BEST DEFENSE’

DeNu is a paraprofessional in addition to being one of Meg’s trained handlers, according to Flynn.

“During her time with us, she has provided hundreds of students and staff with love, comfort and affection,” Flynn said.

Students schedule one-on-one appointments and class visits with Meg through a QR code that’s posted in every hallway of Goshen Middle School, Flynn said.

OKLAHOMA POLICE REUNITE WOLFDOG WITH OWNER: ‘LIKE A CUDDLY PUPPY’

“We are so fortunate that our district and the Goshen Education Foundation financially supported bringing Meg in as a facility dog,” Flynn said. “She brings happiness and smiles to all of us and we consider her a member of our Goshen Middle School family.”

Meg has become a local celebrity and has her adventures documented on Instagram under the account @MEGstagram_gms.

Meg’s first yearbook-style photo was taken and shared in 2021. In that photo, she donned a navy-blue bandana with a tropical print. 

Fans of Meg can also keep up with her on Goshen Local Schools’ Facebook and Twitter pages.

Cortney Moore is an associate lifestyle writer/producer for Fox News Digital. Story tips can be sent on Twitter at @CortneyMoore716.

https://www.foxnews.com/lifestyle/dog-ohio-middle-school-gets-yearbook-picture-2nd-year-row?intcmp=tw_fnc

Petition: End Legalized Slaughter of Wolves That Reportedly Led to Death of Husky Pup – ForceChange

forcechange.com

Victoria Paige

Target: Deb Haaland, United States Secretary of the Interior

Goal: Demand all wolf hunting be banned to protect this important species.

A Montana woman, Amber Rose Barnes, reportedly bragged about killing what she “thought” to be a baby wolf. In a Facebook post, she apparently wrote how excited she was about the opportunity to “take another predator wolf pup,” seemingly expecting to be celebrated by the online community. However, in the extremely disturbing photos posted to accompany the text, one thing is made blatantly apparent—Barnes did not slaughter a wolf puppy, but instead, had seemingly hunted and skinned a domestic husky puppy.

Barnes is a part of a subculture of people who seemingly do not understand the ecological significance of these species—who apparently take pride in killing beautiful animals and are enabled to do so without any regard for the animals’ welfare by the law. While on February 10, 2022 several federal protections were reinstated for wolves in much of the contiguous United States, these protections were not restored in the Northern Rocky Mountain Region. This region, however, is the site where over 80% of wolf hunting occurs, with over 1,000 wolves being slaughtered here on a yearly basis.

Sign this petition to demand legislators restore vital protections for wolves in the Northern Rockies and prevent despicable people from partaking in their ruthless slaughter.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Secretary Haaland,

A Montana woman by the name of Amber Rose Barnes reportedly killed and skinned a husky puppy by mistake when hunting for wolves. This incident comes after the decision earlier this year to restore federal protections for wolves in some—but not all—of the United States. These protections were not reinstated in the Northern Rocky Mountain Region, where over 80% of wolf hunting occurs and over 1,000 wolves are slaughtered each year. We should not be encouraging people to commit unnecessary acts of violence against wolves. Not only are they beautiful, highly social creatures, but they are extremely important to the ecosystems of which they are a part and have formidable impacts on entire geographical regions.

We are asking you, Ms. Haaland, to protect wolves in all regions throughout the U.S. and stop allowing this bloodshed.

Sincerely,

Photo Credit: Kolyma wolves

https://forcechange.com/609720/end-legalized-slaughter-of-wolves-that-reportedly-led-to-death-of-husky-pup/

It’s Your Chance To Be There Angel