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Thanks Are Needed

Written by Dennis Sun
    A while back we all heard about a study involving sage grouse and how harmful fences were to them. Now any study involving sage grouse these days merits our attention as we all know that come February the judge plans to announce if the sage grouse is to be on the endangered species list or not. It will be a ruling that could bring Wyoming and other western states a big change in resource management and cost us all dollars and more regulation.  
    The study took place over in the Farson area by the Wyoming Game and Fish Department and what is out so far is a summary of the interim results. The study showed that not every fence is a problem, but those that tend to cause problems typically include one or more of the following characteristics: 1) constructed with steel t-posts, 2) are constructed near leks, 3) bisect winter concentration areas, and 4) border riparian areas. I don’t know about you but that describes a lot of my fences and they say I’m in a core area to boot. Fences in rough areas tend to have lower incidence of collisions, so fences are safe in those areas.
    I have to admit I have not noticed many dead sage grouse along my fences, but with all the eagles, hawks, ravens and other predators around, they wouldn’t last long dead along the fence. I do have a sage grouse study ongoing at the ranch, so it will be interesting to see what they come up with on the fencing topic. We did find this summer that of the nests that were found, 80 percent suffered predation. To me that is a huge number. But until the study is final, everything now is just speculation. I do have large numbers of eagles, hawks and ravens and they do have to eat something.
    Our fences are not going to disappear, but the study says there are ways to mark the fence to reduce bird collisions by 70 percent by using small metal tabs to clip on the top wire. The study did say that arrangements are being made to provide these tabs at no cost to the fence owners in sage grouse areas, but it didn’t say who was going to put the tabs on the fence. Sometimes one just has to wonder where all of this is just going to end, but we will live through this just as we have everything else.
    Thanksgiving is coming up this next week, take the time to reflect on all of the good our country provides. There are numerous negatives surrounding us at this time with the economy and such, but when you add them up, the positives will sure beat the negatives.  
    Our thoughts and prayers should be with our Wyoming troops and other military forces around the world and especially in Iraq and Afghanistan where bombs and danger could be anywhere. They and others before them have fought so the people at home could eat their turkey dinner in peace. We owe them so much.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!        
 Dennis