Wolves have been accused of it but the predator with the reputation for killing for sport isn’t the wolf, it’s man.
I’ve often asked myself why people trophy hunt, this is especially relevant since wolves are firmly in the cross fire, with the ongoing wolf hunts in Montanaand Idaho.
Wolves aren’t being hunted for food. Hunters are making a personal decision to go out and kill a wolf just because it’s there.
Over 26,000 wolf tags were sold in Idaho alone to kill 220 wolves and Montana sold thousands to kill 75 wolves. A little over kill, don’t ya think? Add to that the hatred some people feel for wolves, it makes for an even scarier and mean spirited climate.
Alaskan wolf shot by aerial gunner
Even before the wolf hunts began the air was charged with anti-wolf bias. The governors of Montana and Idaho inserted themselves into the negative wolf rhetoric. Governor Brian Schweitzer of Montana made a questionable statement about federal Judge Molloy, who is presiding over a lawsuit brought by environmental groups to reverse the recent wolf delisting. The plaintiffs were asking for an injunction, to stop the wolf hunts, while the merits of the case were being decided. Governor Schweitzer stated: ”If some old judge says we can’t (hunt wolves), we’ll take it back to another judge.” That was a totally indefensible remark for the Gov to make. Gov “Butch” Otter of Idaho went one better. Back in 2007, before wolves were even delisted, he stated in front of a rally of camouflage wearing hunters, he was prepared to manage the wolf population down to just 100 animals. He went even further stating “. “I’m prepared to bid for that first ticket to shoot a wolf myself.”
Should the executive officers of Montana and Idaho, use the wolf as a political football by posturing to ranching and hunting interests? What chance does the wolf have to be treated fairly when even the governors make those kinds of statements?
The “management” or killing of wolves is sanctioned by the states of Montana and Idaho but exactly who is this benefiting? Certainly not the ninety percent of the non-hunting public. Wolves and other predators are being “managed” for the benefit of a few interest groups, mainly elk hunters, ranchers and outfitters. The rest of us, who want to view wildlife in their natural state, which means “not dead”, don’t seem to count. Our wildlife is being slaughtered for the benefit of a few. That is inherently wrong but it continues because hunting and ranching interests have powerful lobbies that seek to influence policy and it works! Unless and until the politics of the usual are replaced with the policies of change, America’s predators will suffer.
Montana and Idaho and others have decided which wildlife they consider important and which are disposable. Predator management is just a euphemism for killing them. Millions of taxpayer dollars are spent on tracking, collaring and lethally controlling predators and other wildlife by cruel means, IE, poisoning with 1080 compound, M44s, denning and trapping. Most of the killing is done by Wildlife Services, which is an arm of the USDA. The lethal control of wolves is not supported by the majority of Americans but we have little input in the decision making process. Why does the non-hunting consumer have so little input into how our wildlife is managed?
Although predators can control ungulate populations, the states aren’t comfortable with that because they cater to hunting and ranching lobbies, who bring millions into state coffers. creating a conflict of interest for state game agencies who manage predators like the wolf. Wolves compete with hunters for the same prey. The budget of state game agencies depend on hunter licensing fees. Is it any wonder we are having wolf hunts and wolf “management”?
As soon as predators, like the wolf, start to increase in number, the call rings out for them to be managed. “In 2008, wolves are known to have killed fewer than 200 cattle and sheep in Montana, and 100 wolves were hunted down in response.”
How can anyone defend that kind ”managment”? Yet Montana and Idaho contend their wildlife management practices are grounded in science. I would like to see the science that backs wiping out 100 wolves for the death of 200 livestock?
In January 2008, before the current delisting took place, FWP issued new revised rules concerning the “management” of gray wolves, who had been reintroduced to Central Idaho and Greater Yellowstone. The new rules state the feds and tribes can kill more wolves if they become a “threat” to game animals and private property. So once again FWP is “managing” for the benefit of the few ignoring the wants of the many. How shocking.
Have you ever visited Yellowstone National Park and watched the Druid Peak Pack? They were literally the super stars of Yellowstone, sadly the pack is plagued by mange, their numbers dcclining, yet we are caught up in wolf hunts, which threatens them and other wild wolves in the park. Already the famed Alpha female, 527F, of the park’s Cottonwood Pack, was gunned down a mile outside of Yellowstone, along with the Alpha male and her daughter, when the Montana hunt began. This basically decimated the Cottonwood Pack and halted important research into some of Yellowstone’s famous, studied, collared wolves.
Trophy hunting of wolves only inflames passions and hatred of wolves in some quarters. I won’t call trophy hunting a sport. It’s an unfair game where the hunted aren’t acquainted with the rules. The only way it could be considered fair is if you placed the “hunter” in the woods without their high powered rifle or bow and have them run up against a wolf with their bare hands, you know, Mano y Mano. How many “brave” hunters would be out there killing wolves for fun in that scenario? I say the number would be ZERO. Killing for sport is a cowardly exercise that features an uneven playing field between hunters and the hunted, just to get a cheap thrill and rush of testosterone (yes most hunters are men). How skillful and brave is it to kill an animal, hundreds of yards away, that has no fighting chance against you, with a scope and high powered rifle? Trophy hunting gives all hunting a bad name!! It’s blood lust pure and simple. Wolves shouldn’t be subjected to this in the 21st Century. We’ve already exterminated them in the West once, are we aiming for round two?
Lobo wolf wars