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Senator John Barrasso

Barrasso Demands Carbon Footprint Records on Biden’s Climate Conference

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By Jimmy Orr, Cowboy State Daily

U.S. Sen. John Barrasso wants to know the environmental impact of President Joe Biden’s trip to a global climate change conference in Scotland expected to be attended by tens of thousands of people.

Barrasso sent a letter to President Biden, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttitieg, and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen asking them how much travel will cost and for details on the carbon “footprint” of the trip to Glasgow, site of this year’s United Nations “conference of the parties” or “COP” to address climate change.

“In addition to the staggering cost of the conference, I am concerned that what appears to be a bloated US delegation will prove counterproductive to the COP’s mission,” Barrasso wrote.”These commitments strike a tone of insincerity as a majority of COP26 delegates will have contributed a significant amount of carbon emissions to attend COP26.”

The senator cited a TIME magazine article calling the two-week conference the most expensive climate change gathering in history and said he was “perplexed” at the decision for so many Biden officials to attend the conference when they could have participated electronically.

“People all over the world made the transition to teleconferencing as a means of maintaining communication with friends and co-workers, and attending conferences,” he wrote.

“It is rather perplexing that in this new age of digital communications and during an ongoing pandemic, executive branch departments and agencies are unnecessarily choosing to contribute directly to carbon emissions and risk exposure to COVID-19,” Barrasso said.

CNN reported that Biden plans to send 13 cabinet members and senior administration officials to the conference.

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Barrasso On Border Disaster: Finish Building Wall & Reinstate Remain-In-Mexico Policy

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President Joe Biden has made a number of missteps on immigration policy in his first few months in office, U.S. Sen. John Barrasso said Wednesday.

Barrasso, who visited the southern border of the U.S. last week, said during an appearance on Fox News that Border Patrol agents told him the Trump administration’s “Remain-In-Mexico” policy – which President Biden canceled on the first day of his presidency – was working to stem the surge of illegal immigrants into the U.S.

Under Biden’s watch, Barrasso said, the president has, in effect, told the world “come to America and if you can get in, you can stay.”

“We saw it on the border, we saw it on the Rio Grande late at night as people were coming across on rafts and inflatable mattresses,” Barrasso said.

Barrasso said the next step for the illegal immigrants who have crossed the border will be to become citizens of the United States.

He said that shouldn’t surprise anyone as the person Biden put in charge of U.S. immigration policy on the southern border – Vice President Kamala Harris – has always “taken the side of illegal immigrants.”

“She’s the wrong person for the job because she’s for amnesty for illegal immigrants,” Barrasso said.  “She is somebody who has fought with the ICE agents and when she ran for president, she said illegal immigrants ought to receive free taxpayer-paid health insurance.”

Barrasso said if the Biden administration was interested in solving the border crisis, they would reinstate the “Remain-In-Mexico” policy and finish building the wall on the U.S. – Mexico border.

“We know what works. We know it from the Border Patrol. The wall works, they want us to finish the wall,” he said.

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Barrasso: Coronavirus Relief Is On The Way

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

U.S. Sen. John Barrasso is welcoming approval of a new coronavirus relief package that will send checks for $600 to most Americans.

After much back and forth between congressional Democrats and Republicans, a new coronavirus relief package was approved by both the Senate and House of Representatives on Monday.

President Donald Trump is expected to sign the bill this week.

Barrasso, chairman of the Senate Republican Conference, issued a statement after voting to send a coronavirus relief bill to the president’s desk.

“Coronavirus relief is on the way for the people of Wyoming and America. I am glad the Democrats put aside their partisan demands and joined us in helping families across the country,” he said. “Congress is delivering help so children can get back to school and workers at small businesses continue to get their paychecks.”

He added that Congress would be sending a second round of stimulus checks to most Americans, totaling $600 per person in the household.

“Congress is sending a second round of direct payment checks, as well as making sure the vaccine is fully distributed,” Barrasso said. “The vaccine, with help for families and small businesses, is how we put the virus behind us for good.”

Some key provisions in the relief bill include:

• $284 billion to reopen a second round of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans
• Simplified forgiveness process for PPP loans under $150,000
• Ensures that eligible expenses paid with PPP loans are tax-deductible
• Extends the deadline for state and local governments to use coronavirus relief funds that were allocated in the CARES Act through Dec. 31, 2021
• Provides immediate financial assistance to families in the form of stimulus checks
• $69 billion for vaccines and testing
• $20 billion to buy vaccines and therapies
• $8.75 billion to distribute vaccine
• $3 billion for Strategic National Stockpile
• $82 billion for education and schools

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Barrasso Accepts Biden As President-Elect

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

U.S. Sen. John Barrasso said Sunday during an appearance on Fox News with Chris Wallace that he believes former Vice President Joe Biden is the president-elect and will take over the seat from President Donald Trump in just one month.

“Let me ask you directly: will Joe Biden be the next president of the United States?” Wallace asked the senator.

“Yes, he will,” Barrasso said.

Barrasso had been hesitant to admit to Biden’s victory until the Electoral College certified the results last week. He told Wallace during his appearance on Sunday that he was one of the many Wyoming residents and 70 million people across the country who voted for Trump in the November election.

However, he wasn’t quite as vocal about the possibility of voter fraud, unlike U.S. Sen.-elect Cynthia Lummis, who supported the idea of Gov. Mark Gordon potentially joining a multi-state lawsuit contesting the validity of many presidential votes.

Wallace also questioned Barrasso on whether or not Senate Republicans would delay confirming many of Biden’s cabinet picks, similar to the same way (Barrasso believed) the Democrats did to Trump’s cabinet in 2017.

“It looks like the Biden cabinet would be a third term of the Obama administration, and that didn’t really sit well in Wyoming,” he said. “We’ll have hearings and ask the tough questions, but we are not going to forget what happened with Trump’s administration.”

The senator added that he was taking personal interest in Biden’s Secretary of Energy pick, former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm, as she isn’t a big proponent of using fossil fuels.

“The impact of that on our economy, on jobs, it cuts the throat of my state,” Barrasso said.

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Barrasso Compares Coronavirus Vaccine To Penicillin, Insulin Discoveries

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

U.S. Sen. John Barrasso hailed the new coronavirus vaccine awaiting approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration this week as a game-changer in medicine, comparing it to the discovery of penicillin and insulin as medications.

“We’ve gone from something that was felt to be impossible to something that truly is incredible, a 95% effective vaccine, 100% effective against death or hospitalizations,” he said during an appearance on Fox News this week. “As a doctor, in terms of being able to save lives, this is right up there with the discovery of insulin or penicillin.”

Barrasso added that he has been speaking with the head of the intensive care unit at the Wyoming Medical Center in Casper, who told him the hospital is very excited to receive the vaccine.

The senator praised President Donald Trump’s “Operation Warp Speed,” which helped push through the vaccine at a quicker rate with the hope at least some doses are available to the public by the end of the year.

He added that the “worst was behind us,” when it came to the coronavirus pandemic.

However, Barrasso did still encourage people to wear masks and socially distance until the vaccine is readily available. He, along with colleagues Sen. Mike Enzi and Rep. Liz Cheney, backed Gov. Mark Gordon’s statewide mask mandate, which went into effect on Wednesday.

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Barrasso Spends Thanksgiving In Qatar With Wyoming Soldiers

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

U.S. Sen. John Barrasso spent his Thanksgiving overseas, celebrating with Wyoming soldiers who are helping defend the country.

Barrasso had dinner with Wyoming National Guard troops serving in Qatar on Thanksgiving day. He sat down with members of the 153rd Airlift Wing and 187th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron, both of which are supporting airlift operations and medical evacuations in the Middle East.

The Wyoming senator makes it a tradition to spend time with Wyoming troops overseas every Thanksgiving, even in the pandemic.

“Thanksgiving is a time to reflect on the people and things we’re most thankful for,” Barrasso said. “So much of our gratitude goes to the brave Wyoming men and women serving our country overseas. This year the holidays will look quite a bit different for most Americans. This is especially true for the members of the Wyoming Air National Guard deployed in Qatar.

“Despite the unique challenges this year brings, they continue to do a remarkable job keeping America and our allies safe,” he continued. “It was wonderful to share a meal with them and bring a little bit of home to them this holiday season.”

Barrasso was also briefed on military operations in the Middle East during his time in Qatar last week.

Qatar lies to the east of Saudi Arabia and to the west of Iran.

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Barrasso, Enzi Praise Amy Coney Barrett, Agree They Will Confirm Her

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

U.S. Sens. John Barrasso and Mike Enzi are voicing support for U.S. Supreme Court nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett, saying she is the best choice to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg on the court.

The two Republicans joined their colleague U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney in praising Barrett’s judicial efforts, although Cheney, as a member of the U.S. House, can’t vote to confirm the judge.

Barrasso spoke on the U.S. Senate floor this week to say Republicans need to confirm Barrett to the court despite what he described as “false attacks and scare tactics” from Senate Democrats.

“I’ll tell you, she’s terrific, so impressive, so exceptionally well-qualified to take on this new responsibility,” Barrasso said. “The partisanship that she has faced from Democrats, it’s predictably backfired on them, certainly by the American people who say get her confirmed, put her on the Supreme Court.”

Barrasso drove his point home by saying Barrett’s confirmation was an important moment in history, and that she was ready to serve the nation and apply the law instead of using politics to make judicial decisions.

He criticized the questions for Barrett from Democratic members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, saying the hearing on Barrett’s confirmation turned into a “partisan infomercial on Obamacare,” then going on to critique the Affordable Care Act.

“Judge Barrett has been clear. She has no agenda, for any case. As a judge, she considers each case on the merits,” Barrasso said. “The Senate will vote, the Senate will confirm Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the United States Supreme Court.”

Enzi was much more brief in his comments, issuing a statement this week on his thoughts on Barrett and her confirmation. Enzi voted to confirm Barrett to the District of Columbia Circuit Court in 2017.

“After meeting with Judge Barrett, I am confident that she is well qualified to be a member of the Supreme Court,” he said. “We had a great conversation that included issues important to Wyoming. She is a remarkable judge and legal scholar with impressive credentials, and I look forward to supporting her nomination.”

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Enzi, Barrasso Express Disappointment About Stimulus Package Being Voted Down (Again)

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

The two U.S. senators representing Wyoming expressed disappointment in the Senate’s defeat Wednesday of a second coronavirus stimulus package.

U.S. Sens. Mike Enzi and John Barrasso were two of 44 senators who voted to pass the bill through the Senate on Wednesday. A majority of Republicans voted to pass the bill, while a majority of Democrats (51 total senators) who voted it down.

Five senators, including vice presidential nominee U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris, chose not to vote on the bill.

The relief package would have reopened and re-funded the Paycheck Protection Program for certain small businesses, along with providing an additional $300 per week in unemployment benefits, more funding for vaccines and testing, coronavirus liability protection for schools and businesses, assistance for scholarship-granting organizations and funding to help childcare providers reopen and stay open.

It also included a provision intended to reduce America’s reliance on China and other nations for critical minerals, including rare earth minerals.

Barrasso blamed the defeat on U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer and Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi.

“Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi have made it clear that they will continue to block coronavirus relief,” Barrasso said. “They think it gives them a better chance of winning the election. This is a calculated political decision by Democrats in Congress. The American people deserve better from people who claim to represent them.”

Enzi was more reserved in his statement, expressing disappointment but also hope that the two parties could come together and pass a bill to help the American people.

“This package would have provided real relief for folks across the country, like providing more funding for the Paycheck Protection Program and supporting childcare providers,” Enzi said. “The American people are looking to us for help and all we are delivering is stagnation. I hope we can get to work to provide the assistance needed to weather this pandemic before our constituents and the economy suffer even more.” 

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Former Wyoming Governor Dave Freudenthal Portrait Unveiled

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Former Wyoming Governor Dave Freudenthal has joined fellow past governors in being honored with a portrait to be hung on the wall of the Capitol.

The official portrait of Wyoming’s 31st governor was unveiled in front of a crowd of about 200 people during ceremonies in the Capitol on Friday.

Freudenthal, who served two terms as governor, from 2003 through 2010, was alternately praised and roasted by other officials who attended the event, including former Gov. Matt Mead and U.S. Sen. John Barrasso.

Mead noted that Freudenthal, a Democrat, was hesitant to have his portrait painted by artist Michele Rushworth.

Mead recalled that at one point, Freudenthal said no portrait should be painted of him until after his death.

“I know you’ve said in the past ‘Wait ’til I’m dead,’” Mead said. “And when he said that to me, I said, without thinking, ‘What’s the difference?’”

Freudenthal’s wife, U.S. District Judge Nancy Freudenthal, said she finally convinced her husband to sit for the painting.

“I told him that it would happen one way or another and that he wasn’t getting any better looking,” she said.

Freudenthal thanked members of the crowd, who also included former Gov. Mike Sullivan, for attending the unveiling and urged them to recognize the good that they do.

“We thank the Lord for having given us the opportunity and for having given us you for friends and for having given us this family,” he said. “We would ask that you appreciate what you do. It’s kind of you to come and appreciate what we do. But take stock of yourself. You do wonderful things. Be proud of it.”

Conflict Prevention Takes A Genius

in Cat Urbigkit/Column/Range Writing/wildlife
Be bear aware

By Cat Urbigkit, Range Writing columnist for Cowboy State Daily

Cory Booker, a New Jersey Democrat and presidential hopeful known for his animal advocacy and veganism.

John Barrasso, a conservative Republican from Wyoming who serves in a top leadership position for Senate Republicans, is known for his support of animal agriculture and our nation’s energy industry.

What do they have in common? Both have an interest in reducing human-predator conflicts. Barrasso is the primary sponsor of the bill, but Booker joined together with Tom Carper (D-Delaware), and Kevin Cramer (R-ND), to cosponsor Senate Bill 2194, Promoting Resourceful and Effective Deterrents Against Threats Or Risks involving Species (PREDATORS) Act. If enacted, the bill will amend the John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act to establish the Theodore Roosevelt Genius Prize for reducing human-predator conflict.

Last week the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee heard testimony about the possibility of providing a financial incentive for the development of non-lethal, innovative technologies that reduce conflict between human and wildlife predators.

While human fatalities caused by grizzly bears are a concern to Barrasso’s constituents, the committee also heard testimony about shark attacks, as well as conflicts involving mountain lions and alligators. Brad Hovinga of the Wyoming Game & Fish Department provided testimony, as did Animal Planet’s Extinct or Alive host Forrest Galante, and Dr. Nick Whitney of the New England Aquarium.

Hovinga told the committee: “Wildlife agencies use a variety of innovative, non-lethal technologies to aid in reducing conflicts. These technologies include the use of chalk and pepper balls, weapon-fired beanbags, a variety of pyrotechnics and unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAVs. Wyoming recently trained personnel in the use of conducted electrical weapons, commonly known as tasers, for use as an aversion tool for wildlife.”

Hovinga talked about the both the importance and limitations of pepper spray, and the need for innovation in improving conducting electrical devices for use as both an aversive conditioning tool and a temporary immobilization tool.

“Improvements in unmanned aerial vehicles, or drone technology, that allow for the deployment of aversive conditioning tools would greatly improve our ability to keep people safe and influence the behavior of habituated or aggressive wildlife. Developments in FLIR and thermal camera technology for the use with UAVs would significantly increase human safety when assessing dangerous situations.” Hovinga said. “Lastly, long-range acoustic sound devices, or sound cannons, are devices that directionally deliver sound over long distances. The potential for development of long-range acoustic deterrents for wildlife management exists. Work to develop an appropriate aversive conditioning tool for addressing wildlife conflicts would be greatly beneficial.”

One difference I noted between both the senators speaking during the hearing, and the witnesses giving testimony, was perspectives on encroachment – whether humans are encroaching on animals, or animals are encroaching on humans. While some conflicts occur when predators in Wyoming come into urban areas seeking prey (such as mountain lions pursuing deer in urban developments), Delaware Senator Carper noted that human-predator interactions are increasingly common as more people recreate “in wildlife habitat.” Carper said “as humans continue to encroach upon wildlife habitat and compete with predators for the same space and the same natural resources, our relationships with these animals can become, in some cases, adversarial.”

Some committee members emphasized the need to address habitat loss and protect predators, while others expressed the need for more scientific research to understand changes in animal behavior due to climate change, and pressed for public education about wildlife species.

Near the close of the hearing, Barrasso pointedly asked Hovinga: “since the goal of the Genius Prize we are considering is to protect both predators and humans, regarding predators, the key to protecting their lives involves preventing conflicts with humans in the first place. Can you explain why, from your years and history and knowledge, after a conflict with humans occurs, it may be necessary to euthanize some of these predators?”

Hovinga’s reply reflected the reality involved when large predators come into conflict with humans. He said: “That is an unfortunate reality sometimes with wildlife management and wildlife behavior, that we have to realize. With a lot of wildlife, bears specifically and other large carnivores, those behaviors that end up becoming a part of an animal’s everyday behavior, that becomes dangerous toward humans, those are learned behaviors. Those are typically learned through successes over time. It usually revolves around those successes in obtaining food.”

Hovinga gave an example of a black bear that learned when it approached people, the people would drop their backpacks and run away, allowing the bear to receive a food reward from the backpacks. Over time, the bear repeated the action, and the more aggressive the bear became, the higher the probability the person would drop the backpack and run away. He added, “Fortunately, we were able to intervene in that situation, prior to that becoming dangerous and actually somebody becoming injured.”

He continued: “Those learned behaviors are very, very difficult for animals to unlearn. They typically don’t unlearn them. It is irresponsible for us as a wildlife management agency to allow animals to remain on the landscape that engage in behavior that is dangerous toward people. Unfortunately, sometimes those animals need to be removed from the population. The populations are nearly always doing well enough that those removals are not significant in the scheme of the population management, but certainly, a requirement to keep people safe.”

This is an issue all state wildlife managers have to deal with and must justify to the public when wild predators are killed to protect human safety. Listening to the testimony before the committee, it became evident that to some, living with wild predators is more of an idea than a reality. It’s a reality for wildlife manager Hovinga, and to a majority of Barrasso’s constituents. 

As it should, the committee hearing provided a forum for a variety of views on a diversity of predator-human interaction issues. That Democrats from densely populated areas would have differing views than Republicans from sparsely populated areas is to be expected. That they are talking and sharing their experiences for a wider audience is important.

Both Barrasso and Hovinga represented Wyoming well.

Cat Urbigkit is an author and rancher who lives on the range in Sublette County, Wyoming. Her column, Range Writing, appears weekly in Cowboy State Daily.

New approval poll shows high approval of Gordon, Barrasso and Enzi

in News/politics
Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon

By Laura Hancock, Cowboy State Daily

Gov. Mark Gordon has the fifth-highest approval rating of U.S. governors, according to new polling by Morning Consult, a Washington, D.C.-based media and technology company. 

Furthermore, U.S. Sens. John Barrasso, Wyoming’s junior senator, has the fifth-highest approval rating and Sen. Mike Enzi, the senior senator, enjoys the 7th highest, according to Morning Consult’s approval ratings of all 100 U.S. senators

The Morning Consult poll surveyed nearly 500,000 registered U.S. voters. A total of 649 Wyomingites were surveyed: 323 Republicans, 236 independents and 90 Democrats. 

The margin of error was plus or minus 4 percent.

Among approval of Gordon, a Republican: 

  • 59 percent approved of his job performance; 9 percent disapproved.
  • In the first quarter of 2019, when he had just begun as Wyoming’s governor, 53 percent approved and 10 percent disapproved. 
  • 33 percent of Wyoming registered voters were undecided in the second quarter, the highest among the 50 governors.

Gordon is still a new governor, noted Jim King, a University of Wyoming political science professor.

“The Legislature’s budget session next year will be more telling,” King said. “Mr. Gordon will lay out his priorities in his budget proposal and will reveal more about his vision for the state. For now, a Republican governor in a Republican state who has had no notable missteps yields a strong poll rating.”

Among approval for the senators, who are also Republicans: 

  • 57 percent approved of Barrasso’s job performance; 26 percent disapproved in the second quarter of 2019.
  • In the first quarter, Barrasso’s approval rating was 56 percent; 26 percent disapproved. In the second quarter of 2018, his approval rating was 52 percent and his disapproval rating was 33 percent. 
  • 54 percent approved of Enzi’s job performance in the second quarter of this year; 25 percent disapproved.
  • In the first quarter, Enzi’s approval rating was 52 percent; 23 percent disapproved. In the first second quarter of 2018, 52 percent approved and 31 percent disapproved. 

“On the senators, there is no real difference in the ratings of Mr. Barrasso and Mr. Enzi once the poll’s margin of error is taken into consideration,” King said. “These numbers on Mr. Barrasso and Mr. Enzi are quite similar to those in other polls (by) this firm and by others.”

Wyoming’s low population may also play into the likability ratings, said Kristin Walker, a GOP strategist.

Chances are high that Cowboy State voters have personally interacted with elected officials. That doesn’t happen everywhere, said Walker, who is working on the U.S. Senate campaign of Cynthia Lummis, who is seeking Enzi’s seat when he retires.

(Lummis’ daughter, Annaliese Wiederspahn, is the publisher of Cowboy State Daily.)

“This means Wyoming’s politicians are forced to keep a close ear to the ground, and when they aren’t meeting voters’ expectations — they are going to hear about it quick,” Walker said. 

Indeed, the Wyoming Democratic Party criticized Barrasso on Twitter last week for not coming criticizing a President Donald Trump rally in which people chanted, “send her back,” in reference to U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar, a Minnesota Democrat. 

Levi Shinkle, chairman of the Young Democrats of Wyoming, noted that Barrasso, the third-ranking Republican in the U.S. Senate, toes the party line. 

“We’re in an overwhelmingly pro-Trump state,” he said. 

Golden Problems, Working Solutions

in Uncategorized
Golden eagle talons.

By Cat Urbigkit, Range Writing columnist for Cowboy State Daily

Imagine being a commercial sheep producer in Wyoming and losing 15 percent of your annual lamb crop to a federally protected predator. Then as each year passes, your livestock losses increase as more of those federally protected predators concentrate depredations on your flocks. The losses climb so that fully half of your lamb crop is lost to these predators. 

That’s the reality for Johnson County’s Tommy Moore of Moore Ranch Livestock, which lost half of its lambs to golden eagles last year. The Moore outfit had about 200 lambs born earlier this year, but 27 lambs are left alive at this point, with 80 percent of that death loss due to golden eagles.

It’s not a sustainable situation and everyone knowledgeable about this case understands that.

That’s why Moore has teamed up with the Wyoming Wool Growers Association, and Mike Barker of the International Eagle Austringers Association (a group of eagle falconers) to organize a coordinated effort to get some of the depredating golden eagles off his ranch. That work has drawn in several federal agencies, the Wyoming Game & Fish Department, the North American Falconers Association, numerous volunteer falconers and scientists from across the country, and U.S. Senator John Barrasso. 

Barrasso – quietly and successfully – amended the federal eagle protection act last fall to require the director of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) to “use the most expeditious procedure practicable to process and administer permits” for the take of depredating eagles.[

“That really helped to push this through,” Barker said. 

A golden eagle in flight in western Wyoming.
A golden eagle feeds on a dead pronghorn antelope in Wyoming. (Photo: Cat Urbigkit)

Prior to a mid-1970s study documenting severe eagle depredation on Montana lambing grounds, the public (and some wildlife agencies) were skeptical at rancher claims of eagle depredations.

Bart O’Gara of the Montana Cooperative Wildlife Research Unit documented a similar kill scenario to the Moore’s Johnson County ranch on two Dillon, Montana-area ranches in the 1970s. In one six-hour period, O’Gara found 15 fresh eagle kills on one ranch, and that year, federal officials removed 145 golden eagles from the two ranches, which suffered losses totaling 76% of their lamb crop. Over a period covering three springs, nearly 250 golden eagles were removed from the ranches and depredations began to decline.[

With USDA Wildlife Services confirming the eagle depredations on his Wyoming ranch, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service issued Moore a depredation permit allowing the removal of two eagles. Moore agreed to work with the International Eagle Austringers Association so that the two eagles removed pursuant to his permit would be used for falconry, while other eagles that are captured are to be relocated away from the area.

A total of 27 eagle falconers applied to trap a golden eagle, and two names were drawn, including lucky man Barker and another falconer from New Mexico. Within six days, the trapping team captured a male eagle for the New Mexico falconer, and three days later, caught a female eagle for Barker. Both are immature golden eagles, so they were not part of the breeding population.

Now that two eagles have been removed from the population under the depredation permit, all other eagles captured on the ranch during the 90-day term of the permit will be relocated away from the ranch. Two other eagles have already been relocated, and live trapping efforts continue.

A golden eagle feeds on a dead pronghorn antelope in Wyoming.
A golden eagle in flight in western Wyoming. (Photo: Cat Urbigkit)

Similar efforts to stop eagle depredations on sheep have been successful in South Dakota. Other tactics, such as using scare devices, are generally viewed as ineffective at deterring eagle depredation on range sheep operations.

Eagle depredation on domestic sheep isn’t limited to newborn lambs, as Moore points out. They also attack and kill adult sheep and antelope. Golden eagles also killed a number of Moore’s replacement ewe lambs (weighing about 100 pounds) last fall. For the benefit of those not involved in the domestic sheep business, I’ll add that in my view, replacement ewe lambs are the future of any family sheep outfit.

While the eagle problem on the Moore ranch varies with the weather and with the season, the ranch experienced heavy damage in February (before his depredation permit was issued), and Moore expects problems to increase again this fall, if last year’s pattern is any indication.

The FWS has been hesitant to allow the removal of golden eagles, only allowing up to six goldens to be taken for falconry nationwide, so nearly all the golden eagles used for falconry in the United States were captured in the wilds of Wyoming. But FWS has not allowed any eagles to be taken from the wild since 2011 – until Barrasso pushed through the amendment to the eagle act last fall, and wool growers teamed up with falconers to push for action in Johnson County.

The wool growers/falconry partnership will continue, with numerous volunteer citizen scientists and falconers arriving on lambing grounds in other regions of the state in the coming days to monitor eagle depredations on lambs through the month of June. They will assist USDA Wildlife Services in confirming eagle depredations where problems are reported, which will set the stage for more ranchers to follow Moore’s lead in applying for depredation permits and requesting that falconers be allowed to trap and remove eagles from depredation areas.

The end result is that rather than pushing another domestic sheep producer out of business, the Moore family can continue their ranching heritage, and problem eagles will be removed from the wild, to hunt with their falconry advocates for decades to come.

Cat Urbigkit is an author and rancher who lives on the range in Sublette County, Wyoming. Her column, Range Writing, appears weekly in Cowboy State Daily.[

Wyoming congressional delegation welcomes end of Mueller probe

in News

By Cowboy State Daily

The end of the special investigation into President Donald Trump’s campaign by Special Counsel Robert Mueller should free members of Congress to focus on important issues, according to members of Wyoming’s congressional delegation.

U.S. Sen. John Barrasso and Rep. Liz Cheney both said that in the wake of the finding that the president did not work with Russians to sway the outcome of the 2016 election, it is time to move past the issue.

“Now, it’s time to move on,” Barrasso said in a prepared statement. “My focus will continue to be on growing the economy, expanding opportunities and improving the lives of people in Wyoming.”

Cheney singled out members of the Democratic Party for raising the allegations that were ultimately dismissed by Mueller’s investigation.

“They have peddled falsehoods about the president, making one scurrilous claim after another,” she said. “As we go forward, it’s time for Democrats to put aside their partisan agenda of attacking this president and instead focus on addressing the real issues facing the American people.”

U.S. Sen. Mike Enzi joined Cheney and Barrasso in welcoming the outcome of the investigation, but he pointed out that the report did conclude that Russia did attempt to interfere with an American election.

“It is important we do not get distracted from what has always been the true issue at hand,” Enzi said. “Russia’s egregious efforts to interfere with our electoral process … are a serious threat to our country, and I am committed to continuing to work with my colleagues to address this.”

Barrasso and Enzi also both indicated they would welcome the release of as much of the report as is possible.

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