By on August 27, 2013


82813propsGame & Fish talk a good game   PROP

The Wyoming Department of Game & Fish has a legitimate concern regarding its incredibly shrinking budget. If Wyomingites truly treasure their wildlife, and the revenue stream stemming from hunting, fishing and sightseeing opportunities tied to this state’s natural resources, they should encourage legislators to fund the agency appropriately. And they did on Tuesday morning at a special budget crisis meeting with the Joint Travel, Recreation, Wildlife and Cultural Resources Committee.

Long-term survival of Game & Fish depends on broadening its funding sources. Agency heads have repeatedly been told, and finally recognize, it seems, they cannot continue to fund their operation solely on the money people pay to kill, stuff and mount the critters they are charged with stewarding. The agency’s proposal to jack the price of hunting tags and fishing licenses was rightly rejected by the legislation during last session. During a time when hunters are on the decrease, asking more of sportsmen willing to cull the herd is too much.

What Game & Fish now is pitching to legislators is a desire for a cut of the money generated by ecological tourism. Groups like the Sierra Club have estimated the state’s revenue generated from tourists who travel to specifically to see or photograph wildlife to be in the billions. It’s time for state lawmakers to acknowledge the rising cost of keeping Wyoming’s world-class wildlife in velvet.

 Game & Fish go fish   DISS

If Game & Fish wants to come hat-in-hand to state lawmakers, they should choose a venue other than Teton County. They’ll never get a fair shake here and probably don’t deserve one.

Agency officials should have anticipated how their witch-hunt against Jason Jones of Teton Raptor Center was going to play out in the headlines. They should have at least recognized the blowback from their stubborn, full-court press on behalf of warden Bill Long toward a pointless case against the director of a beloved local institution, whose day job entails inspiring and educating the public (mostly children) about the birds of prey they encounter every day in Wyoming. What has Game & Fish done to promote eagles, hawks and osprey?

Every time I read a news article detailing the “he-said, she-said” between Jones and Long I thought, “Who cares whether Jones had permits for half of his birds or most of his birds or eight of his birds?” Figure it out and move on. Go solve a poaching case, for cryin’ out loud. We often hear about some meth-head roughneck trying out his new AR-18 on a herd of pronghorn, or a self-entitled rancher shotgunning a bald eagle for eating trout out of his stocked pond, or a dumbshit County 4 hunter who can’t tell the difference between park and forest or bull and cow. Find these sonsabitches and prosecute the bejeezus out of them instead of hounding a guy heading a program established for the good of raptors.

 County cop out on cell towers   DISS

The county moratorium on cell towers is the easy way out and only delays a possible solution to Jackson Hole’s pitiful cell coverage. Heavy hitters AT&T and Verizon are looking for potential sites to build their towers after receiving word from Forest Service officials that they are getting the boot from Squaw Creek at the end of the year.

New cell towers are about the least sexiest sell in the world. Everyone wants five bars, but no one is willing to live with the eyesore of the 110-foot tower needed to make that happen. Further logistical hardships in Teton County include the headaches of trying to get blanket coverage in bumpy terrain. Carriers like Union Wireless are opting for shorter (35 to 55 feet) towers, but more of them.

These microtowers will be popping up on school grounds or other public properties, because heaven forbid a tower go up anywhere near someone’s backyard. That prospect freaked out county commissioners, who would be charged with helping residents swallow one or two big sticks.

Slapping a moratorium on cell towers is tabling the issue. Commissioners are elected and get paid to make decisions, so make them. Get educated and vote. “Moratorium” is a scary word to wireless carriers. They just may decide to take their LTE and 4G somewhere else. And commissioner Ben Ellis is failing to see the big picture when he claims cell service is not an economic driver for the county.

“People come here not because of the cell service, but because of the Tetons,” Ellis was quoted as saying. Maybe so, but they expect certain core amenities when they arrive, and decent cell coverage is as common a creature comfort as clean sheets or 110-volt power.

Speaking of the Tetons, who does Verizon need to butter up to get a tower on the top of one of them?

About Jake Nichols

Jake is a work in progress.


  1. Davis

    August 27, 2013 at 6:33 pm

    “the state’s revenue generated from tourists who travel to specifically to see or photograph wildlife to be in the billions.”

    In other words, the State already gets money form tourists – billions – (many of whom are fishing and hunting) but they refuse to pass that income stream to F&G. Instead they want to dig deeper in tourists’, or locals’, pockets.

    If f&G stuck to a more basic core mission, we would have a budget problem to begin with. They have too much venison on their plate.

  2. Davis

    August 27, 2013 at 6:38 pm

    If f&G stuck to a more basic core mission, we WOULDN’T have a budget problem to begin with.

  3. 22

    August 28, 2013 at 10:41 am

    The director of fish and game once told me that if cyclists/pedestrians were injured or killed as a result of their seasonal path ban, it wouldn’t matter because the cyclists/pedestrians chose to use the highway. My guess is that his feelings are hurt because activities like walking and cycling are vastly more popular then his first love, hunting. I would love to legally ride the refuges backroads to Kelly, if defunding the fish and game is a step in that direction hen I am all for it.

  4. Jordan Rivers

    August 28, 2013 at 11:08 am

    Once again, Jake-Off Nichols stoops to condescending insults and sensational innuendo with no basis in fact in a lame and intellectually bankrupt attempt to be clever. “Meth head roughneck” Jake-Off???, “dumb shit County 4 hunter”. This is real rich coming from a shit for brains eastern liberal journalist. It’s these type of self righteous rants in the JH Media outlets that make the rest of the state despise Teton County, and justifiable so. If you think you are so much better a person than these hard working folks who support the state of Wyoming(and are the reason you don’t have to pay income tax) I challenge you to go south and try to survive one day doing the kind of hard, demanding work these good folks do. Your soft candy ass wouldn’t survive 5 minutes. You’d either be on your knees begging for mercy or get your sorry ass kicked all the way back east across the Mississippi river where Jake-Offs like you belong.

  5. mg

    August 28, 2013 at 2:09 pm

    Jake-Off … haha nice.

  6. jake

    August 28, 2013 at 2:49 pm

    Don’t encourage him, boss. Something like that can easily catch on and get around. Viral-like. ‘Specially the part about me having an ass made out of candy. I mean, how would someone know that?

  7. Divon

    August 29, 2013 at 9:11 pm

    RE: Bill Long’s case against the Raptor Center.

    I have never visited the Raptor Center. I figured it was like Bear World in Idaho, why bother:

    Additionally, I haven’t been paying too much attention to the case so please excuse my ignorance (ever since the N&G raised their prices, I haven’t purchased the weekly). I did, however, get a copy of the investigator’s report.

    I figured that the raptor center was holding the birds for occasional educational purposes – and for personal pleasure & to generate income.

    1) Were these birds able to live in the wild?

    2) Does the Raptor Center really need 17 birds for educational purposes?

    3) Does anyone know how many birds (state wide) were permitted in Wyoming at the time the permit was issued?

    4) If you travel with your birds, do you need additional permits for each state? Do federal permits superseded state ones?

    5) Did Bill Long / G&F / DA’s office try to work with the Center to come to a mutual solution before seeking legal action?

    According to the investigation, Jason Jones got his 17 birds before clearing up a known discrepancy with the application / permit. That appears to be true to me. Additionally, his Federal permits were expired as was one of his Utah permits (Jones is a resident of Utah and travels with his birds). Utah also had a failed attempt at prosecuting Mr. Jones in regards to the way he acquired his raptors.

    This was in the Investigation Report and is the most damning if I read it correctly:

    “…under the current regulations (as opposed to the 2010 regulations applicable to the prosecution of this case) Jason Jones would not even have to have a permit for the birds in question. ”

    And this … “Mr. Allan, Mr. Weichman and Mr. Long agree that there was – and still is – merit to the nine criminal charges brought against Mr. Jones in May 2011. This investigator agrees”

    WOW. “merit” to the charges. Perhaps he did break the law in the confusion of the permitting process but he’s within the law as it now stands. I find no ‘merit’ to any charges under that situation.

    Some of the more interesting comments in the report include Mr. Weichman’s comments about Mr. Long and Jackson’s “highly-charged political environment”, and the “hornet’s nest” that Bill stepped into.

    It comes across as though Mr. Weichmans makes legal decisions based upon how highly charged the political environment is.

    With only the benefit of the report to go by, Mr. Jones doesn’t come off as a very sympathetic figure given his past run-ins with the law and how he handled the original discrepancy – known to him.

    Certainly one thing stands out. The case was a waste of time and money. With all the problems we have in this World, we waste resources on this? Amazing.

  8. Harris

    September 2, 2013 at 8:29 pm

    “Long-term survival of Game & Fish depends on broadening its funding sources.”

    You’re spending too much time checking out Allie and not enough time thinking if you’re suggesting F&G needs NEW revenue that the State doesn’t already have.

    F&G needs to stick to a basic core function and stop trying to expand its reach into every nice idea that crosses its path. We don’t need a Gold-Plated F&G.

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