Page images

rounded the established operator under developments up to that time. Naturally, this helped bring to a fairly quick end the operations of many new settlers. What these factors did not handle, the very same old land policy covering homesteads which got the old settler off the track, did. Say the new settler got a full 160 acres of cultivable land under his homestead grant. With every acre improved, this meant quite generally in our State, a production possibility of a ton of hay for winter feed to the acre. Taking the specific case of the Humboldt National Forest in Nevada, where the forest grazing rule requires for all new grantees purchasers of old outfits included, ownership of land furnishing at least one ton of hay for every permitted cow, this would mean that this new settler's limit in permitted numbers, as limited by his hay production, was about 160 cattle, a ton of hay to the acre, being the basis, and this is about the average for the State.

On that forest, by rule, it was long ago decided that a settler could not maintain his home unit with less than 250 cattle. The fact is we all know that under our conditions the farmer with the crop possible from operation of 250 stock cattle on the ranges has mighty little chance of coming close to supporting a home unit. But there is the settler with a 160 head limit.


Many and many of our settlers never got a full 160 acres. ticularly within our national forests many settlers have been in effect, induced by prevailing land policies to try it on much smaller areas. On this same national forest in the classification of lands carried on some years ago in order to facilitate entry of alleged agricultural lands, a rule was followed that areas as small as 40 acres would be considered and announced to the world as home. units. Such settlers could expand to a permit limit of 40 cattle.

Bear in mind that, at least in theory, they had to have 250 head of cattle to make a living. We know as practical stockmen that with the great number of cattle that must be owned under crop conditions it is not possible to establish a home and maintain it on the return from the operation of 250 head.

The result is obvious. The limitations quite generally have the new settler beaten before he starts. But what lured him on was a gift, a gift of a thing apparently of great value because it was so in demand. The reason for this demand was also obvious.

Without the limitations, on the other hand, the whole thing would have become an out and out socialistic distribution and the results quite clearly would have been those which it seems certain would follow principles involving periodic distribution of all wealth.

As the force of economic and natural circumstances began to pinch, the natural development was that the fellow who in the start had most at stake because he owned the heaviest part of the incomplete operating unit, the old settler, at whose expense the newer settler got into the game, in another spasmodic attempt to get back the key to his operating plant, usually became the purchaser of the bankrupt new settler, provided the restrictions in effect permitted this. If it didn't, then the new settler saw his number of possible customers limited by the very system which had led him into the game. Obviously only those operators with some size could, generally speaking, purchase failing outfits. However, this practice grew less and less, simply because the whole system, as the older settler soon found,

provided that after his buy, as before, he was subject to reduction again and again for the never-ending crop of those willing to experiment as new settlers.

Now, with a bit of added impetus because of the general period of stress, when the newcomer falters and looks for a chance to get at least something for the time and effort he and his family have put in trying to make the grade, he finds mighty few buyers simply because experience under the system has shown to the world that the new settler, just as with the older, has nothing but a permit at sufferance in that thing which gives value to what he owns, and in the final analysis, nothing to sell because protection to the buyer in any right to the values for sale is lacking. Many new settlers who are still surviving this combination of circumstances are doing it at the expense of privation for themselves and families. Their only other choice is to walk off with no returns for their time and energy. In discussions of this problem, those stock-raising settlers who happen to hold national forest grazing preferences have been dubbed. particularly in the Rachford range appraisal report, as "the favored few." The fact is that the whole study seems to make it questionable if, in the whole situation developed, there are any favored few. If so, they must be those who, coming late in the game, saw the impossible situation in which those owning parts to their operating plants were, and succeeded in getting into the game owning no such parts and with none of their investment in anything except the liquid asset of livestock, which, of course, has hardly been possible on the national forests, but has on other areas related to the public domain.

If any group holding national forest grazing preference have been favored, it must be those who, over the years, have been admitted by being given the key values which the prior settlers built upon. The facts of the matter seem to demonstrate, however, that even that group have simply been led into a trap and finally find themselves almost as unfortunate as the prior settlers who are still struggling to find a way out with something.

If we compare the situation of the older settlers whose key summer ranges were so situated that forest withdrawals did not surround them, with those whose key summer ranges were so surrounded, we find that mighty few, even as bad as their situation is, want to see their ranges included within forest withdrawals under existing grazing administration principles; while, with no law protecting them in the continued occupancy on their summer ranges, much of which is public domain, there is also no law permitting some agency to take those ranges from them to hand over to others and at least nothing to prevent that group from doing their utmost-in open battle to prevent encroachment on their key ranges.

Naturally, there will always be a goodly number of people looking for and anxious to get that rather chimerical thing, something for nothing. The forest grazing principles have led many and are still leading many to think they provide for this elusive gift. It is but natural, under such a situation, that a large group will come inte being, anxious to get at the key to the values in the established settlers' holdings, if for no other reason, to make him pay to get them back, and that this group will continually complain at anything which stops or delays the game. This situation is just exactly what

is usually behind new legislation along homestead lines. It is just how the 640-acre stock-raising homestead is working out in our own territory, and we constantly hear the rising voices of those who find themselves even temporarily denied full access to their "raw meat."

Before going further I would like to read into the record a copy of a petition addressed to the United States Biological Survey at Reno, Nev., received about August 25. This petition is signed by 79 of what we might call the small settlers, the newer settlers, who are trying to get along at least a goodly share of them are situated in the very vicinity of the Humboldt National Forest in northern Elko County. I submit this as something to show what happened to the fellow who got his nose in the trap of the theory that he could get something for nothing. It reads:


450 Gazette Building, Reno, Nev.:

We are advised that it is your intention to place poison baits for coyotes through the northern part of Elko County.

The depression of the last few years has made trappers out of many of us who depend upon the sale of coyote furs for a part of our livelihood, and we feel that at this time it would be as unjust to destroy this part of our income with poison as it would be to destroy our timber with fire.

Therefore, we, the undersigned, do respectfully request that no poison be placed for coyotes in our section of Elko County by Government or State employees.

Those fellows, as I picture them, gentlemen, can not appreciate that there is any humor in that situation at all. They have been led into a situation where they can not make a living on their homesteads just as the Madeline settlers told us up here at Susanville at a stockmen's meeting not long ago, when they were considering the raising of funds to poison the coyotes-that "any time you eliminate the coyote from that section you take our winter groceries, because they have given us the only source from which we can get them."

Senator ODDIE. At this point, Mr. Metcalf, I will ask you to tell the committee your experience with a disease, rabies, which has been prevalent among the coyotes in this and other States for some years, and the effect of that disease.

Mr. METCALF. Briefly, I can simply say that it has caused a heavy property loss in all classes of livestock, and that it has caused several deaths of human beings. I think the record shows that over 200 persons that were bitten by rabid coyotes in Nevada during the period of the outbreak took the Pasteur treatment here at Reno. Do you want me to go into greater detail than that?

Senator ODDIE. Has livestock suffered any as a result of this disease among the coyotes?

Mr. METCALF. I can say, from the information that has come to me in reports from the stockmen, that they have suffered materially. Senator ODDIE. Will livestock that have been bitten by rabid coyotes in turn attack other livestock?

Mr. METCALF. That is said to be true by those who are, I think, competent authorities.

Senator ODDIE. Has any property damage to livestock resulted from rabies?

Mr. METCALF. Certainly; there has been a heavy death loss.
Senator ODDIE. Among cattle, sheep, and horses?

43213-25-PT 15- -15

Mr. METCALF. I think the heavy loss has been principally among the cattle.

Senator ODDIE. Has there been a larger loss of cattle and sheep because of the rabies than would ordinarily have occurred from the healthy coyotes?

Mr. METCALF. I think undoubtedly there has been.

Senator ODDIE. Is this campaign against the coyotes in this State caused by the natural and normal damage done by them, or by the damage done as a result of the rabies and of the fear of the result of that disease?

Mr. METCALF. I think it is a combination of the two, Senator. The State appropriates out of its general fund large sums of money every year to assist the Federal Government in the control of the coyotes, clearly on the principle that it is such a heavy damage to property and such a danger to human life when the rabies breaks out; it is clearly to the public advantage to spend the money for that


Senator ODDIE. Do you know whether the Federal Government has expended any money in this State in the last few years to exterminate the coyotes because of the existence of rabies?

Mr. METCALF. Oh, yes; since 1915, if my memory serves me right, steadily every year.

Senator ODDIE. And the Federal Government does recognize the unusual danger to human life and livestock because of this disease? Mr. METCALF. Yes. May I volunteer a statement in that connection?

Senator ODDIE. Yes.

Mr. METCALF. The reason underlying the use of poison in the control of the coyote is because all of those who have studied the question closely have determined that over all the years they have sought to control the coyote traps have been too slow; the coyote could breed faster than the trappers could trap them, taking them one at a time. That has led to a situation where it has become necessary to adopt a system of control that is causing large expense to the Government. Poison is being used, by very careful methods developed by experts of the Government, and the result simply is that the coyotes are being destroyed in sufficiently wholesale numbers as to cause this fear that we see on the part of those who have been put into the position where they have to live off of them the fear that if the use of poison is continued that source of revenue to them is going to be lost.

Senator ODDIE. Do you think the signers of this petition fully realize the danger that exists because of this disease of rabies?

Mr. METCALF. I would like to answer that by saying that, trying to put myself in the place of some of those fellows, I would not even stop to think about it when my winter groceries were concerned.

Senator ODDIE. Do you think, then, that conditions brought about by the Government through these forest-reserve regulations has forced the signers of this petition to take that position?

Mr. METCALF. I would not lay this all at the door of the Forest Service. This started with the first application of the first publicland policy in this State, when it began to place settlers in a position where they only gave them one of three things and kept the other two in a situation where they have had them at their mercy. The only part of the Forest Service that we object to is that it has perpetuated

that system-we do not even charge that they started it--which away back 50 or 60 or 75 years ago caused a homestead section to be treated as a section without ever coming to find out what resource it was that made the land valuable, and, instead of giving a man the resource upon which the settlement was made, it give him the winter quarters of that resource and has ever since been giving to everybody else the other two parts of that resource.

As to No. 3: What the principles did to the resource from the angle of business and revenue production and from the angles of its relation to other sources, the watersheds, timber, etc.

From the picture already drawn, it is obvious that the principles mentioned resulted in surrounding the use of the key forest reserve summer ranges with such a state of uncertainty that no settler using them for grazing could look forward to continued occupancy of the range concerned with any reasonable degree of confidence. Under the announced regulations, continuation of that occupancy was absolutely at sufference of the Secretary of Agriculture. The operator could be moved to another range, or moved off his own range in whole or part, for other stockraisers or for other purposes. He never knew with any degree of certainty when he finished one summer season what his lot would be for the next. He didn't know just how the officials who might happen to examine his range would rule as to its condition. If the official who happened to do the job felt it was grazed too heavily, the operator stood to have his permit number reduced for range-protection purposes. On the other hand, if that official who made the inspection happened to feel that, possibly in comparison with other ranges, this particular allotment was in very good shape, then there was a chance that some of it would be handed over to some other settler whose allotment did not appear to be sufficient.

This situation resulted just as would all similar situations to put the user in a quandary as to how he should conduct his operation. Certainly there could be little incentive, under such conditions, for him to exert himself toward that handling of the range that would result in its decided improvement. If he was in that minor class of users entitled under the various rules to increases in permitted numbers, an improvement in the range-carrying capacity meant only the advantage that, together with all others in that class, he might possibly share in the benefits from that improvement. To all the major class, who, under the limit rules could be given no increase in permitted numbers, it merely meant creating something in which he could not share the benefits, but which would be given to other settlers or to other purposes.

This whole condition brought about a situation under which the person making use of the resource had so little certainty of continued use or of benefit from improvement in the forage crop, the ground and watershed cover, that instead of an incentive toward its improvement there is no secret to the fact that the exact opposite was the


It operated, therefore, directly to surround the operator with circumstances under which he was practically estopped from applying to the use of the resource those principles which he knew should be applied both for the benefit of the resource itself and for its future

« PreviousContinue »