Killing Wolves For Fun and The War Against Wolves

December 18, 2009

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 now since wolves are firmly in the cross-hairs, with the ongoing wolf hunts in Montana and Idaho. 

Wolves aren’t being hunted for food.  Hunters make a personal decision to go out and kill a wolf just because it’s there.

Over 25,000 wolf tags have been sold in the two states to kill 295 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 for wolves.

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 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 of a state to make. especially since it was couched as a threat.  Gov Otter of Idaho went one better.  Back in 2007, before wolves were even delisted, he stated, in front of a rally of hunters, many wearing camouflage, 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.”

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. That’s the way business has been conducted and unless and until the politics of the usual are replaced with the politics of change, our predators will continue to suffer.

The states of Montana and Idaho and many others have made the decision which wildlife they consider important and which are disposable.  There is no need to manage predators yet we spend millions of tax payers dollars tracking, collaring and killing  predators and other wildlife by cruel means, IE. poisoning (1080 compound, M44s)denning and trapping.)  All this is for agriculture and hunting interests. The rest of us be damned.

The states aren’t comfortable with predators controlling ungulate populations because they cater to hunting and ranching lobbies, who bring millions of dollars into state coffers.   When predators,  like the wolf,  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 you even defend that kind of senseless slaughter? Yet the states of Montana and Idaho trumpet their wild life management practices are backed by “science”.  I would like to see the science that condones 100 wolves losing their lives for the death of 200 livestock?

In January 2008, before the current wolf delisting took place, FWP issued revised rules concerning the “management” of gray wolves, who had been reintroduced to Central Idaho and Greater Yellowstone in 1995, 1996.  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.

Have you ever visited Yellowstone National Park and watched the Druid Peak Pack?  Every year, people flock to the park to catch a glimpse of the super star wolves, yet Montana FWP decided to open the wolf hunt right outside park boundaries.  This bad decision resulted in the decimation of the famous, Cottonwood pack, specifically alpha female 527f, her mate the alpha male and their daughter.

Enter trophy hunting of wolves into this explosive, negative environment.  I won’t call trophy hunting a sport.  It’s an unfair game where the hunted aren’t acquainted with the rules. although most hunting falls under that category. The only way it could be considered fair is if you put the “hunters” in the woods without their high powered rifles or bows and have them run up against a wolf or bear 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 for the cheap thrill and rush of testosterone (yes most hunters are men).  How skillful and brave do you have to be to kill an animal, hundreds of yards away, that has no fighting chance against your high powered rifle?  Trophy hunting gives all hunting a bad name.

Even though I’m not a hunter and would never want to kill an animal, there are people who hunt for food.  When you examine this a little closer you realize hunting is expensive, so it’s not usually a poverty-stricken person, trying to put meat on the table that’s “hunting for food.”   You have to have money to hunt. There are tags to buy, high cost rifles and ammunition, hunting equipment, etc., it all adds up to big bucks, pun intended.  People who choose to hunt elk, deer or moose, do so at great expense!  The main reason given for sustenance hunting does not really stand up when you examine it closely.  I believe people hunt, not because they want to fill their freezers but because they enjoy the thrill of the chase, enjoy the outdoor experience, getting away from it all and derive some pleasure from the actual kill itself.  But, if hunters at least eat what they kill, then the animal didn’t die in vain.  I will never, ever condone hunting for myself but I won’t malign all hunters.

On the other hand, killing for fun cannot be defended, IE. trophy hunting or sport hunting.  It’s blood-lust, pure and simple.  Wolves should not be subjected to this in the 21st Century.  We’ve already exterminated them in the West once, are we aiming for round two?


Why State Fish and Game Agencies Can’t Manage Predators

By George Wuerthner, 4-17-09

Photo: kewlwallpapersdotcom
Categories posted in: Wolf wars, wolves under fire
Tags: killing wolves for fun, wolves in the crossfire, Wildlife Services, Obama administration de-listing

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17 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Excellent analysis, Nabeki! A “war” on wolves it is, rather than what is commonly understood by the word “sport.” Thank you for disposing of the “subsistence hunter” shibboleth, which is routinely trotted out with reverence and devotion by IDF&G. It was no less a hunting authority than IDF&G Commissioner Tony McDermott of Sagle who acknowledged to another person and me last month that pound for pound, elk hunting was far more expensive than just purchasing meat at a grocery store.

    I think you also opened up for examination the shooters’ darker inner motives for killing. Absent his cover of needing meat, the hunting activity becomes an emotional bloodlust gratification. That the “sportsman” must have all of the rules in his favor, e.g., electronic calling and distress gadgets, scents to mask his own, high powered rifles with high power scopes, hi-tech ammunition, two-way radios, and motorized transportation in and around the killing field, attest to how “unsportsman” like this truly is.

    The hunters’ need for overwhelming advantage is analogous to “war” in another sense, too. Just witness the US forces in Iraq and Af-Pak as well as the Israeli Defense Forces against Gaza, who are most comfortable with bombing third-world brown people from 30,000′ in the air, lobbing cruise missiles from 600 miles away, or sending unmanned drones armed with laser guided missiles to strike “combatants” and civilians indiscriminately.

    Yes, the last thing these people want is a quarry with a “sporting” chance….


    • Hi Rich,
      Yes it’s a war, there is no doubt. It’s round two, since they were exterminated in the West once before. I don’t undestand the reason for spending the money and time to reintroduce wolves after their sixty year absence and then turn around and start slaughtering them again. It seems nothing has changed and we’re living in the past. The same wolf hating dogma has bubbled up once more and now has now been unleashed upon these animals. It’s really heartbreaking.


  2. I agree with both of your sad but true statements. One thing I dont agree with is nothing has changed. Sixty or so years ago the individuals that occupied theses land were only too willing to exterminate wolfs and other predators at all cost. Very few people said or did much to defend their existence. Today is different! People like us are not sitting on our hands and keeping our thoughts to ourselfs. We are organizing and using every tool and means in our arsenal to go on the offensive and make a difference. Currently it sure does not feel like we are making a difference but we are. How do you think the wolf situation would be handled if we were not doing what it is we love doing? I for one appreciate all it it is you, me and others are doing! We have little money but we have the pen and Thank” god, alah, the Great Spirt” for the internet. Sincerely, Marc


    • you peaple a weird you whant to kill wolves


  3. Hi Marc,
    I started this blog in response to the wolf hunts but in reality Wildlife Services is a bigger danger to wolves. They can indiscriminately kill entire wolf packs…in 2008, they took out 21 packs in the three state area of Idaho, Montana and Wyoming. Now there is a two front war against wolves, actually three front if you count the SSS crowd. It’s a grim situation. Just waiting helplessly for word on the Mitchell Mountain Pack who has a kill out order on them for killing a few guards dogs and goats on the Sieben Ranch owned by Senator Baucus and his brother. They may be dead already.

    I agree things aren’t quite as bad when the government was exterminating wolves the first time but the negative attitudes remain in the states where wolves live. The cultural and political climate in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming is what is poisoning the debate and threatening their survival because the ranchers, elk hunters and SSS crowd have the ear of these governments. They are making policy against the wolf to appease those interest groups and the wolf suffers.

    I’m not hopeless yet but if Judge Molloy doesn’t return their protection, just watch how the quota’s for the hunts will go up next year. And of course the ever present threat of Wildlife Services taking out wolves for the livestock industry.

    I’ll never give up speaking out but it hurts to see all the carnage this year.

    I cannot wait for the hearings on the litigation to start after the first of the year.

    Thanks for all you’re doing to help wolves, they really need us now.

    For the wild ones,



  4. Nabeki, Once again these so called wild life[wolf] experts show their true intelligence,shot first then ask questions later.Carolyn Sime with the Montana Fish and Game says in article in the Idaho Statesman,,it’s unusal to have so many live stock attacks at this time of year.No kidding!If you kill off the pack or the mature wolves that teach their young what to hunt,what did you expect? Wild life services seems to be causing more problems for the wolves then anyting else. There is nothing like the philosophy of shoot first then ask questions later or we will sort it out.


    • They all make me sick Rita. This entire season has been one day of bad news after another. Just unbelievable.


  5. Nabeki,Thank you letting me get this out.I am upset. For the wild ones.


    • I feel the same way you do…


  6. I have been so busy stressing about things in my own life this past week I’m just starting to catch up again and oh my God, what the hell are these stupid people thinking? I just have to keep sending love and light to these wolves and pray that their ancestors will step in and start showing them the right path to survival. What is it about family/pack structure that Montana, Idaho and yes, Wyoming, don’t understand? And since I believe in Christmas miracles, I’ll be looking for one big one for the wolves this week. Tears flow.


    • Cindy…so good to hear from you.
      Terrible news piled upon terrible news. The drumbeat has begun to kill wolves, it seems as many a possible. We have lost allmost half our wolves in Montana…Idaho has killed close to 288 counting the hunts, WS and other causes PLUS there are 89 to go in the Idaho hunt and who knows how many will be taken by WS. They stated they have 26 depredating packs in their sights in Idaho. I wonder what Molloy is thinking now? This seems like a bad dream.


  7. There is one line that I am so sick of hearing:
    “Wolves are here to stay”


  8. yea with poor gene pools….


    • Lol g….


  9. Met a guy by the name of Bas, a soldier from The Netherlands. He’s a deer hunter, but is avidly against those that kill for fun.

    During a trip to the Arctic, he found a wolf hanging outside a house, the animal had been recently shot and was still bleeding in plain view of passers-by. Disgusted by this, he cut the animal down from the rack. The person who had killed the wolf came out of the house and started yelling at him. Bas’ commanding officer was with him at the time, equally disgusted, however because of the officer’s obligation to keep those under him in line, managed to resolve the situation peacefully by paying for the body which Bas promptly found an area to bury it.

    Its these little anecdotes (along with the folks on this site) that reassures me that there are some good people in the world.


    • What a sad and yet uplifting story. There are some very good and kind people in the world in face of such evil. The wolf is suffering such persecution…..we are repeating history. I guess the lession that those that don’t learn from their mistakes are doomed to repeat them certainly applies to the way wolves are being treated.

      Thank you for sharing John!


  10. I don’t like.


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