Been awhile since I've had something to good to rant about, something to sink my teeth into. "Brace yourself", as the doc told me on my last prostrate exam.
4 of us were there at the Inland Empire chapter NWTF meeting last Wednesday night at Bass Pro. You can really see how important the turkey transplant issue is to the local turkey hunters by their overwhelming support. /sarcasm.
Not to be a Debbie Downer but the turkey transplants starting back up are not going to happen here in San Bernardino National Forest. NWTF has come out and said they are more worried about banquets and the money generated from them. NWTF regional director Dave Halbrook said they are happy with their local chapters even without any huntable turkeys in SBNF. Tom Dockter, a member on the CA state NWTF board, told Yucaipa Mike and me that the NWTF regional directors biggest and only concern is banquets and generating money. NWTF corporate couldn't care less, they dismissed Yucaipa Mikes plea for help.
Worrying more about lifting as much money as they can out of my pocket and not about local issues was the biggest reason I left the NWTF years back. I'm headed that way again.
Bottom line, we're being told habitat improvement is the only thing we can do now since the turkey transplant EIS (Environmental Impact Statement) was poorly written by DFG and just invites being sued by the Native Plant Society. The same Native Plant Society that stopped the transplants of turkeys into San Bernardino and San Diego back in the late 1990s by filing a lawsuit.
As far as a hunter or a hunting group suing DFG, that's not possible I'm told. Wishful thinking but not something that can be done. I'm being told to just keep the heat on DFG to do the right thing.
I am a bit ticked also in that I was lead to believe the transplants were coming the past couple years. Every year there was a new hurdle for us to get over like prove there were still turkeys in the local forest only to find out there never was any real push to get the transplants going. We only just recently got the California DFG and NWTF to admit it publicly. Well, actually, it's the same line from years back, we just had them restate it to be sure.
Dave Halbrook said they would try and get money to fund another biologist position to help the local DFG biologist (Jeff Villepique) study turkeys and the habitat here but as local outdoor writer Jim Matthews told me, that's BS. Have the local DFG biologist just do his job, that's what he's paid for. Ryan Mathis, the California NWTF biologist, was down here in San Bernardino 2 months ago to meet with Jeff Villepique for a mind meld on what to start doing to help the local turkeys and Jeff Villepique was a no show for some reason. Same ole same ole, nothing getting down and nothing but more excuses.
I'm going to post this on the national NWTF forum, WON (Western Outdoor News) and OldGobbler.com so it's gets even more publicity in the last ditch hope someone will light a fire under the DFG or NWTF to do something. If they refuse to help us out, I'm done with the NWTF. They can bleed other fools for their banquet money to send Regional Directors on grand turkey hunts around the country while we scrap for turkeys on the crowded public land here in San Diego or travel hours north.
In fact, that's how it was put to us by Dave Halbrook. Hey, others are having fun right driving half a day one way to hunt right?
Not me, I'd rather stay local a few weekends to save money and hunt less crowded land, but that's me.
You folks make up your own minds.
Here is the thread on our CA turkey forum with more info. It's a sad tale of betrayal, complete with antis, money grubbers and skunk belly gubmint workers.
Turkey forum post