Here’s an excerpt from my book “The Curmudgeon Chronicles”:

“No matter how cynical you become, it’s never enough to keep up.”

— Lily Tomlin

Warning: Reading this column and accepting its premise may alter forever your interpretation of how people in the hot seat present their positions.

Certain it is that when Meg and I came to realize the awful, deep meaning of their deception, we could never again listen to the never-ending, interminable so-called debates, hearings, public inputs, etc., to which an involved citizen can subject him or herself.

This revelation is as follows: When an agency, corporation, designated expert witness or an individual testifies in these familiar terms, “I (we) have no evidence of that ...” you can be certain the utterer of that seemingly straightforward phrase never, no-how, really and truly looked for that particular evidence. Or he looked the other way.

Tobacco companies that declare they have no evidence that cigarettes cause health problems didn’t look for the evidence. Government entities which dutifully, if not willfully, fill in Environmental Impact Statements by saying, “We have no evidence that paving over brown peonies will affect the population of this rare plant ...” may not be knowledgeable. Or truthful. Believe me — I have the evidence.

Highly paid, self-styled experts who testify they have no proof that a 10 to 20 percent rate of population growth has negative by-products such as crime increases, taxation rate ... and on and on and on. Examples are almost without number — but my desire for further cataloging has suddenly vanished. Besides, I want to tell you what started this whole annoyance.

It was this item in the Wyoming Game and Fish Department News, dated July 7, 1994:

CHEYENNE — Included in the comments the Environmental Protection Agency has received on its proposal to ban the manufacture of lead sinkers is a letter of concern from the Wyoming Game and Fish Department.

“As as agency that serves Wyoming’s anglers, we felt compelled to let the EPA know that, at least in Wyoming, there is no biological basis for the proposed ban,” wrote Joe White, G&F deputy director. “We [G&F] have no information, data or any other indication that lead sinkers have resulted in the death of any bird in Wyoming.

Because sinkers are an important component for anglers, White would like to see another metal, with similar properties and cost, developed before a lead ban is considered.

“We’d go along with the ban if a suitable replacement for lead is available,” wrote White. “Until then because there is no scientific information to support it, the ban would constitute an unwarranted burden on the fishermen and women of the state.”

Classic. “We [Wyoming G&F] have no information, data or any other indication that lead sinkers have resulted in the death of any bird in Wyoming.” (Emphasis added.)

Two comments:

• Lead is known, absolutely and with certainty, to be an environmental poison in elementary form or in certain compounds, whether as sinker, shot or automobile batteries. Spreading it widely and casually where wild creatures must go to survive is obviously to be avoided.

• Deleted.

Field notes: Signs of spring. Winter is fine, but people enjoy noting first sightings of returning spring migrants.

The first horned lark on March 5. First mountain bluebird on March 12. First western meadowlark on March 13. First sandhill crane on March 15 (Tracy Blue and Hunter Marrow). First flicker on March 14 (Ron Gessler). First Steller’s jay around Dog Creek. First red-tailed hawk, a pair (Wes and Shirley Timmerman), on March 18. The first ground squirrel spotted above ground on the National Elk Refuge was on March 14 (Eric Cole).

Grizzly and black bears are coming out of their dens. Skunks are out.

Moose are showing up in places like Gros Ventre Junction where rabbitbrush is emerging from the snow.

Waterfowl are returning. On March 19 Ann Harvey spotted a male wood duck accompanying a female mallard on Fish Creek in Wilson.

Don’t miss the signs of spring. Check out the buds on your favorite aspen tree (you do have a favorite aspen tree?) and don’t put your snow shovel away.

Bert Raynes © 2017

Bert Raynes writes weekly on whatever suits his fancy with a dash of news on nature and its many ways. Contact him via

Mark Huffman edits copy and occasionally writes some, too. He's been a journalist since newspapers had typewriters and darkrooms.

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