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Bighorn sheep and thick-headed bureaucrats

The Arizona Daily Star today said (Jan. 18) that Arizona Game and Fish officials refused to comment on the report that yet another bighorn sheep is dead. A spokesperson said G&F will wait until its press conference on Jan. 24 to confirm or deny whether a sixth bighorn sheep has died and how. One suspects a mountain lion as the culprit.

The G&F procrastination is like the cops telling you to wait a week or so and we’ll tell you about the burglary in the neighborhood, or the shooting down the street or the rape around the block. News apparently is a matter of convenience insofar as the G&F is concerned. This is an agency that should expect the wrath of the gods for this hubris. Alas, there are too few gods in state government to unleash their wrath.

So far the G&F bighorn experiment isn’t going well. After releasing 31 sheep into the Catalinas a couple months back, the score is discouraging: five are dead, one of which may not have been supper for mountain lions. If there is a sixth dead sheep as an online group has reported, the future looks dim. The sheep will all be eaten by November, and G&F will have no licenses to issue for hunters to kill bighorn. What’s more, the agency won’t get much in license money for chubby mountain lions either. The time is fast approaching for G&F to gather up the remaining bighorn and take them back home.

You have to hope G&F doesn’t start shooting more mountain lions. It’s already killed a couple. But who knows how many more this thick-headed bureaucracy could kill before it has to speak up at two press conferences a month.

Hiding from the press and the taxpayers of Arizona won’t do much for G&F. You can run, but you can’t hide. Sooner or later G&F will have to account. Sooner is always better. The longer the wait, the shorter the tempers.

I used to think this relocation experiment was a good idea. I was thinking it would answer the question of what happened to the previous herd. Now I have the answer — mountain lions are a greater threat to the bighorn sheep than two-legged developers.

PS A note to Bunny Fontana: Feel free to say you told me so.