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Your cow's in my pocket again

Letter to the Editor
by Stu Mauney
in Casper Star Tribune
July 22, 2001

Editor:

The July 11 Casper Star Tribune article, "Rancher to get $39,846 for grizzly killed livestock" contained many errors. First, it is not the state that subsidizes welfare public land cattle grazers like Dan Ingalls. He is subsidized for cattle which may die on public land by the hunting and fishing license fees of the sportsmen of Wyoming via the Wyoming Game and Fish Department. Second, he and other welfare recipients are compensated at 168 percent of fair market value for their range maggots which may die due to an act of nature. Whether that act be at the jaws of a bear or simply being falsely attributed to wildlife predation.

Only in Wyoming can a private business owner suffer a loss on public land due to an act of nature and then expect compensation via public funds, sportsman's license fees, for his loss and get 68 percent more than the actual value of his loss. An analogy would be <Rep.Clarene> Law in Jackson suffering glass damage to her motels due to wind damage, an act of nature. For every $100 worth of glass damage she would receive $168 of public money. Would the citizens and sportsmen of Wyoming permit this type of subsidy?

Maybe Dan Ingalls and the rest of his welfare ilk who graze their range maggots on public land should operate like other private business owners and recoup their business losses not from the public trough but from the price of the product they produce. Ingalls statements to the appellate panel reflect the absurdity of the whole situation. He expects the state, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, to expend its time, materials and labor to trap and remove public wildlife, bears, on public land so he can graze his private property on the public land.

If Ingalls and others don't like the inherent risks associated with grazing cattle on public land then they should graze them elsewhere. Don't expect public money, sportsmen's license fees, to compensate you for the risks you knowingly assume when you graze your cattle on public land.

Maybe the sportsmen of Wyoming should ask how much deer and elk habitat could be improved for $39,846 as opposed to compensating a private business owner.

Stu Mauney
Evanston