Rep. Cletus Slugs The Bear!



Can’t see the audio player? Click here.

“A bear woke me up by his bad breath, and I slugged him, and then I shot him.”

–Rep. J. Paul Brown, testifying in favor of HB11-1294

We talked yesterday about a bill from Rep. J. Paul Brown, which would overturn part of a 1992 voter-approved statute that bans hunting of bears in the state between March 1st and September 1st. Brown’s bill is opposed by environmentalists and animal rights groups, and although intended to increase the Department of Wildlife’s authority to set the dates for legal hunting of bears, the DOW didn’t request the bill and is officially neutral.

Rep. Brown himself, though, of course isn’t “neutral” on the subject of bears–from a Durango Herald editorial in January, written in anticipation of a Brown bill on the hunting of bears:

State Rep.-elect J. Paul Brown mistepped in saying recently that he wants to introduce legislation to let the Division of Wildlife allow bear hunting earlier in the year. Colorado voters outlawed bear hunting between March 1 and Sept. 1 in 1992, and there is no reason to think they have changed their minds.

Earlier bear hunting risks killing sows with cubs and is widely thought cruel. Plus, wildlife officials dispute the idea that the ban increased bear problems.

Moreover, as a sheep rancher, Brown left himself open to charges that he put his own interests before the wishes of the voters. That is not a perception to encourage…

Like we said yesterday, Rep. Brown’s bill runs counter to Republican talking points on a host of issues, where opposition to an otherwise popular bill is justified on the basis of prior election results–think TABOR and fee hikes, civil unions and Amendment 43, do not think Amendment 63 and “Obamacare,” etc. This would theoretically make the bill tough for fellow Republicans to support, but that didn’t prove to be the case in committee yesterday.

And, as both the Herald and the audio clip above point to, sheep rancher Brown’s interest in bears is definitely on the “business end.” Going back a long time: Brown is on record protesting state constitutional Amendment 14 way back in 1996, which banned “instant kill” body gripping traps, leghold traps, and poisons for predator control (long since law). In terms of Brown’s concern for animals beyond market value, you can read this Pagosa News op-ed alleging Brown repeatedly transported horses across state lines to Texas and sold them for slaughter.

We said before that Rep. Brown doesn’t strike us as representative of the many good rural Colorado residents we know, and after reading that stuff, we really think not.

And like Janak “Dr. Nick” Joshi on health care, we’re just not sure Brown is the best legislative mouthpiece on animal management. Especially when the DOW hasn’t asked for the “help.”

17 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. ProgressiveCowgirlProgressiveCowgirl says:

    Without using any phrases that rhyme with “Tuck Ray Maul Frown,” please allow me to iterate my opinions of people who want wholesome rural down-on-the-farm cred while managing their own herds so outstandingly poorly that they must repeatedly send horses to slaughter (which nowadays involves sending them to Mexico; every Republican’s favorite place) and also somehow accomplish the feat of losing sheep to a predator that prefers a vegetarian diet supplemented with grubs and insects.

    Quite simply: You are not a rancher if you can’t manage your stock with even a modicum of skill. You are a lazy, factory farming good for nothing who inherited some land, got himself a fancy city job and a suit, and let his former ranch go to Heck in a handbasket. After that point, it’s not a ranch–it’s some city boy’s mismanaged agriculture deduction.

    You know what ranchers do when they have so many horses that they can’t sell them above meat prices? Breed fewer of them. It’s really pretty easy. You pick the ones that are male, and you have the vet cut their testicles off. It can be done standing or on clean grass by any farm vet. Presto changeo, no more extra horses by next season.

    In fact, at that point, you might even find yourself sophisticated enough to purchase a few weanlings at your local sale instead of breeding any, seeing as anyone with eyes can figure out that there are more foals than homes for them these days, and if you need to replenish your stock, getting a few colts and fillies for $50 each is cheaper even than the grain you’d feed a pregnant mare to make your own.

    Imagine that: A smart financial decision based on the realities of a contracting industry. Isn’t that what Republicans are supposed to be known for?

    More to the point, where does the (ahem) fine representative from House District 59 get off using his rural, agricultural background to bolster his dubious “credentials” in the area of wildlife management (credentials which are, presumably, in coon skin and hanging from his hat rack) when he can’t even manage livestock well enough not to have to perform his herd reductions with the equi-business equivalent of a machete?

  2. Leonard Smalls says:

    Too far has the Bear menace roamed our fair countryside unchecked, raiding picnics and awakening slumbering campers with their bad breath (which has been befouled by said picnics).

    J. Paul Brown should be next in line for the Presidential Medal of Freedom, or at least he would if we didn’t have a pro-bear socialist in the Oval Office.

  3. Now belongs to this guy… Such a shame.

  4. Ed Rollins says:

    I don’t even know why Pols tries to argue against the bill. Stephen Colbert has warned us all of the evil dangers of bears.

    Colbert would support this bill. Case closed.  

  5. WitnessProtectionForGeeks says:

    Former national public lands director for Trout Unlimited.  A real steward of the land,with an understanding of the mixed uses of Colorado’s wild places.

    Instead we get a semi birther militiaman who sounds increasingly ridiculous with every moment.

  6. Diogenesdemar says:

    do you think you can get away with comparing J. Paul to some slacked-jaw yokel without suffering the wrath of nearly every offended slacked-jaw yokel in this state?

    It’s not like these yokels aren’t without some pretty heavy political power these days, you know . . . . ever hear of the “tea party”?

  7. Sage Sam says:

    Sorry, I had to use that…In all seriousness, there is no doubt that Rep. Brown’s elevator stops at the sub-basement, but there actually is an important point to be considered within this legislation.

    At what point is it scientifically valid for wildlife to be managed via the ballot box?  Why is god’s name should we ignore years of research in order to pacify the emotional needs of people?  The DOW should have all authority to set the dates for black bear hunting seasons and should have a full suite of management options available to them that follow the established ethics of fair chase hunting.  Should the CDOW allow baiting of bears and chase dogs?  not in my or other ethical hunters’ opinions.  Does a spring bear hunt have a detrimental effect upon overall bear populations?  I personally don’t know, but that is what I would like to see the Wildlife Commission’s decision based upon.

    While this obviously isn’t the intent of Mr. Brown, I personally am completely opposed to all forms of wildlife management via the ballot box (and not just because most of the initiatives are led by anti-hunting zealots).  I simply believe that science should be the basis of our decisions and we should entrust our wildlife professionals in the public sector to analyze and implement management according to what that science tells them.

    • ProgressiveCowgirlProgressiveCowgirl says:

      And if wildlife shouldn’t be managed via ballot box, do you also oppose managing it via amendments to the budget bill (e.g. forced delisting of the Gray Wolf) and other legislative measures? In a perfect world I’d agree on the science front–I’m related to a lot of damn good biologists, for one thing–but in the real world, I feel like the ballot box option is a necessity to counter the politically motivated wildlife management decisions made by elected legislators. And of course if we took both away and just gave the scientists full power, no politicians involved, the politicians would probably react by defunding the DoW or something along those lines… it’s not a simple issue.

      (Not an anti-hunting zealot, by the way. I can’t even kill mosquitoes myself, but I love hunters and so does my raw-fed dog, on whose behalf I beg for elk scraps or freezer burned old venison from my hunter friends every year. :) )

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