"Fly fishing is my passion, hunting is my weakness, and mules are a perplexing addiction."

Sunday, January 1, 2012


Into each person's life, at one time or another, tragedy befalls us all as it finds its way into our lives. As 2011 fades away like a politician's promise, bringing with it a renewed hope and outlook for the coming year, a pair of tragic events has had a dramatic and devastating effect on all of us here at the Firth camp. By the way things have wound down in 2011, the 2012 year looks as bleak as the euro.

Earlier this year came the devastating news about my oldest grand-daughter, Courtney. "Squeek" fell under the spell of a boyfriend's whim and became, of all things, a vegetarian. Since she lives up in Northern Kalefornia, I suspected something out of the normal would eventually happen, but this sort of thing was out of my realm of comprehension.

I could have imagined had she simply decided to become a hippy, and run off into the redwoods somewhere donning tye-dye and beads to get lost in hallucinogens, free love, and grown an Afro while tripping around in the forest quoting Neil Young. Or she could have joined a religious cult and simply barricaded herself in a compound somewhere awaiting the arrival of the mother ship to whisk her off to Neptaradice. She could have even joined the communist party and set up shop in a far-a-way jungle somewhere, plotting the overthrow of some banana dictatorship, toting an AK-47, wearing crossed bandoliers, and a camo headband around her forehead like most normal kids do these days, but no, my sweet baby grand-daughter decided to become a vegetarian.

Coming from generations of family with a rich, ranching history in the cattle industry you can imagine our dismay at this alarming event. Cowboys don't understand vegetarians. I've even gone so far as to explain to my grand-daughter that cows eat grass and hay, chickens eat grain, and pigs consume pig food, which is all of the above. You fry them in canola oil; canola is a vegetable, so what's the problem?

I fear next, Courtney may go the way of Sheryl Crowe and start using only one toilet tissue for her morning constitutional. What can you do, I ask? This, from a college graduate. You buy them books, send them to school, and what do they do? They eat the teacher. Maybe it's a good thing families can no longer afford to send their children to college? At least she hasn't become a democrat…yet!

At any rate, yesterday, a crushing blow was delivered yet again upon learning that a young man Cathy and I accepted into our family many years ago has also been taken from us, and not only could one make the assumption he simply fell off the deep end, I submit that he dove off head-first!

Christopher is step-son Jason's best friend. We've known Chris since grammar school and for reasons I won't go into, he has become our illegitimately adopted, other son. He is also, I have come to discover, the reason why some species eat their young. Still, I should have seen the signs.

First, Chris became involved in the Save-the-Wolf cause some years ago. While his intentions were well-meaning, he was terribly misled, and arguably, his enthusiasm and participation in the movement along with countless other mindless eco-zombies in the feel-good world of enviro-meddlerism, has contributed to the devastation and rapid decline of America's western big game animals. Elk, moose, big horn sheep, and mule deer populations are plummeting rapidly in the west where wolves have been re-introduced, and in some areas have disappeared completely, having been depleted by wolf populations allowed to go unchecked.

Unaware of the reason for this decline, or even that there is one, Chris hasn't done the math and figured out that wolves eat big game, and uncontrolled growth of a dominant predator will inevitably result in disaster. It was our fervent hope, upon learning of Chris's affiliation to shrub-cuddling, tree- hugging, and do-goodedness and this particular cause, that shock therapy to his groin area might snap him out of it, but alas, one blind following has simply led to another.

The Christmas before this, 2010, Chris lovingly wrapped, all by himself, a present he'd chosen to give to me. It was a heartfelt gift he'd given in earnest and chosen with considerable thought. As it was my turn to open a present that morning, you can imagine my surprise, not to mention suffering a mild cardio-infarction when I unwrapped Chris's gift and discovered a Sierra Club calendar staring me in the face. Chris had spent hard-earned cash for this calendar; cash that no doubt went to the Sierra Club's legal fund to support the Wildlands Project. If you are unaware of just what the Wildlands Project is, I beg you to take some time, look it up for yourself, and make up your own mind. Then, if you haven't lost all of your marbles trying to figure out how this could really be allowed to happen in this country, you can at least shake your head in disbelief; but in a nutshell the Wildlands Project opens up huge expanses of land for wildlife to travel unimpeded from Canada to Mexico, east to west, all across America through major corridors. A nice, fuzzy idea, except it does this by funneling people who currently live in less populated areas within these corridors into major cities and eliminates rural populations entirely. I guess if you currently reside in the Rocky Mountains, the Appalachians', or the western coastal chain of mountains that include the Cascades, Sierra Nevada, and San Bernardino's, and you are inclined to live in a sardine can alongside millions of others, you won't mind having your property taken from you at whatever fair-market-value the government decides is fair and shipped off to the city. As for me, like Gene Autry once crooned, "Give me land, lots of land under starry skies above; Don't fence me in."

Upon awakening from the floor following Cathy's removal of the defibrillator to get my heart started again, and explaining to the impressionable, young Christopher that the Sierra Club was no longer that once fine organization John Muir envisioned it to be when he founded it back in 1902, I actually believed Chris might at last stand a chance and come around, and that a lobotomy might not be necessary. Then, last night, I learned Chris must have once again stood mesmerized in front of his Lava lamp for too long a period and has now aligned himself with the Center for Biological Diversity, or as I refer to them, The Center for Diabolical Absurdity, and Christopher is now asking folks to donate money to support this organization.

There are four phrases in this universe that instantly bring my blood to a boil and escalate my blood pressure higher than the price of cows in an up market when I hear them.  "Bruce Babbitt said today...", "Harry and Nancy will fix it," "Honey, I forgot to pack the coffee." and "Today, in federal court, the Center for Biological Diversity filed..."

For the uninitiated, the CBD sounds innocent enough, as do the quaint names of most environmental organizations, but upon closer examination, one discovers the truth about these hypocritical pinheads and it's really quite ugly.

The Center's beginnings were founded in New Mexico's Gila Wilderness back in the seventies where Kieran Suckling, Peter Galvin, and Todd Schulke met while surveying owls for the Forest Service. Apparently, while camped out one evening, the trio smoked some really good stuff and after having an out-of-body experience they decided that what they really wanted to do in life was to change the world. How, you ask, could they pull this off? How could they change the world, I mean? Through the Endangered Species Act.

While time doesn't permit a detailed and complicated explanation in such a short essay, simply put, they would use a clause called The Equal Access To Justice Act as it pertained to the ESA. What this act allows them to do is to sue the Federal Government (you) with taxpayer money, (your money) and then receive a settlement from the government, (you). In other words; you, the taxpayer, pay all legal costs incurred by the CBD (or any other environmental group) so they can sue you, and then you, the taxpayer, pay out a huge monetary settlement to the CBD. Pretty clever, huh? It really has nothing to do with fuzzy creatures, cute lizards, pretty butterflies, insects, or plants; it's all about control of public lands, agencies, and money, mostly the money.

The truth is, young Christopher is just one of the legions duped yearly by the radical environmental community and their slick-talking ads, and while young Chris has the attention span of a monkey with a fly swatter, and we will no doubt find him in the near future raising money for such worthy causes as the Save the Elk, Save the Mule Deer, and Save the Moose Foundations, while in his spare time he'll walk door to door calling awareness to the plight of the three Big Horn Sheep remaining in the Rockies that the wolves missed, not to mention his call for attention to the demise of family pets in rural areas where wolf populations have no more big game to eat, so they've now started on Fido and Rover. The fact is, nobody really wins; nobody but the Center for Biological Diversity, that is.

At any rate, upon hours of soul searching I have come to the realization that for Christopher, and others like him, who have fallen under the feel-good spell of radical environmental groups such as the CBD, The Wilderness Society, The Nature Conservancy, PETA, Greenpeace, and dozens upon dozens of others like them, that no amount of electro-shock therapy is going to help. All the lobotomies in the world will simply make these wannabe do-gooders more zombie-like than they already are. There is only one solution I see that has a real chance to work; sterilization! That way, unable to procreate, the race of eco-Zombies will soon fade out of existence, much like the Yellowstone elk herds, and common sense will eventually return!