First Benton, now hoof rot


APIL would like to welcome guest blogger Allen Thomas, The Columbian’s outdoors writer.

Ed Barnes can fight more than one battle.
Barnes, 80, a passionate and lifelong hunter, took time last week to attend a three-hour session of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Elk Hoof Disease Public Working Group.
So first Benton, now hoof rot.
The group includes county commissioners, academics, timber company representatives, state and federal land managers, businessmen and representatives of sportsmen’s and conservation organizations. It is trying to figure how out what’s causing hoof disease in Southwest Washington elk, or at least how to slow or contain the ailment.
Barnes used his five minutes of public comment to blast the state, timber companies and local newspapers.
Newspapers were criticized for putting elk harvest statistics in print, thus concentrating hunters in the more productive units. Timber companies were ripped for using herbicides that Barnes likened to Agent Orange on their clearcuts.
But the wildlife agency got the brunt of his blunt comments.
Barnes wants 20 to 30 elk tagged and treated with the medicines used on cattle, sheep or other domestic livestock.
“You’re going to kill them one way or another,” he said. “So if it kills them with the shots you’re giving them that’s good for horses, cows, sheep — what’s the difference.”
Barnes said the pace of state action is way too slow.
“You guys need to try something and not wring your hands and wait until somebody from France or Germany comes up with an antibiotic to give them 10 years from now because there won’t be any more elk left.”
Stephanie Rice

Stephanie Rice

I cover Vancouver city government. Reach me at or 360-735-4508.

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