/*PenDragn: More sleaze from Duncan Hunter*/

9.13.2006

More sleaze from Duncan Hunter

The Congressman representing a constiuency that reaches a hundred or more miles away from the land in question (how many state lines could that cross in some sectors of the nation?) wants to allow private enterprise to maintain a business at government cost on a California island.

Washington Post has the story.

Game animals that ranchers introduced to the 54,000-acre island more than a century ago, along with cattle and pigs, have consumed local plants and encroached on native animals. The deer and elk have attracted golden eagles, which in turn prey on the endangered island foxes. Parks officials are now trying to save the foxes, whose population has dwindled from several thousand to a few hundred, along with eight threatened or endangered plant species.

When federal officials bought the islands in 1986 for $29.5 million from the last private landowners, Vail & Vickers Ltd., they banished the cattle and pigs but allowed the former owners to conduct regular hunts in an effort to gradually rid Santa Rosa of the deer and elk.

As a result, Santa Rosa is mostly closed to the public more than four months a year so a few dozen hunters can shoot deer and elk. Hunters pay the Vail family up to $17,000 each.

Hunter's measure would require the interior and defense secretaries to make hunting available to paralyzed and disabled veterans and block the herds' impending extermination. Hunter's spokesman, Joe Kasper, said the congressman hopes to allow veterans "to hunt on Santa Rosa at little or no cost." There are currently about 1,100 deer and elk on Santa Rosa, said Jim Youngson, a spokesman for Vail & Vickers.


Even the Chief Lobbyist for Paralyzed Veterans of America is against the idea. It's just too expensive to get to the island for most vets.