May 13, 2010
I was reading the sermon, I mean article, in High Country News, on why wolf hunters are doing wolves a favor by killing them. It’s called “One Way to Save the Wolf? Hunt It. Montana wildlife managers deem the first wolf season a success, for both hunters and hunted”
I can tell you without hesitation that the wolves slaughtered in Montana’s hunts would much rather be alive then dead. I’m positive that being blasted in the guts, dying an agonizing death is not preferable to running through the woods, alive and breathing with your pack mates. Seriously, was this written for anyone but trophy hunters, who derive pleasure from killing beauty?
The article suggests that somehow the hunts have shifted people’s perceptions of wolf hunting and the only way to build a constituency for wolves is to hunt them. Oh the hypocrisy! Here’s our wolf manager in chief, Carolyn Sime, warning that if we don’t kill wolves to save wolves we’re playing a dangerous game.
Sime believes that those who oppose the wolf season are playing a dangerous game. “You can have wolves as game animals, and hunters who pay to hunt them, or you go with Wildlife Services, and have the taxpayers pay for the control,” she says. Wildlife Services is the federal agency tasked with killing “nuisance” animals, including everything from feral dogs that attack people, to coyotes that threaten livestock, to birds that hang out around airports. Federal shooters killed about 145 wolves in Montana last year, out of an estimated population of 524.
So Wildlife Services is going to stop killing wolves if the state allows continued wolf hunts? Yeah right, that will happen. The truth is wolves now have to dodge bullets from wolf hunters AND Wildlife Services, who act as the ranchers private wolf extermination service.
Between the “wonderful, helpful wolf hunts” and Wildlife Services slaughtering them for agribusiness, 220 wolves lost their lives in Montana in 2009 and that’s not including poaching or SSS. Now the state wants to almost triple the hunt quota from 75 to 216 wolves for the 2010 hunt. That means if Wildlife Services kills as many or more wolves in 2010 and the hunts take 216 wolves, plus poaching and general wolf mortality, that could reduce the wolf population to between 100-150 wolves from the current population of 524 by the end of this year. Isn’t that great? Wolf Extermination Part Two but I digress.
Just to set the record straight, I’m outraged about what is happening to wolves and I know I speak for other wolf advocates. We haven’t given up or thrown in the towel. We’re waiting to see if Judge Molloy relists wolves and puts a stop to the hunts. I do not and will never condone killing wolves for sport. I think it’s disgusting, brutal, unnecessary blood lust. Anyone that kills animals for sport has my utter contempt. The only thing in the entire “Love a wolf/Kill a wolf” article I agree with is the second paragraph.
“Montana’s first-ever wolf season was viewed with horror by many environmental groups, and by many people who have celebrated the charismatic predator’s return to the Northern Rockies. The hunt was simply too much, too soon, they said; it would kill off the alpha males and females that are the primary breeders and break the slowly building matrix of genetic diversity that is key to the long-term health of the returning populations. They predicted that leaderless wolf packs would go after even more livestock, leading to more wolf-killing by the federal Wildlife Services. The wolves’ positive effects on the ecosystem — keeping coyote numbers in check, scattering elk that were overgrazing their winter ranges — could be reversed.”
Hunting a species mere months off the endangered species list? That’s responsible “management”? The state of Montana rushed to sell wolf tags and make a buck off wolves lives, they sold 15,603 tags which generated $325,916 for state coffers. All this to kill 75 wolves.
Is there any doubt wolves need ESA protection in this hostile environment? This is why states should NOT be “managing” wolves. It’s an obvious conflict of interest because the state game agencies, that are in charge of wolves, receive money from hunter’s licensing fees. Get it?
Oh but wait, I forgot, we’re killing wolves to save wolves. Yeah right. Tell that to the wolves.
The most disturbing part of this piece was the Montana FWP wolf manager and wildlife biologist, Mike Ross’s account of killing a six year old male wolf. That couldn’t be construed as exploiting his position as a wolf manager? I mean he doesn’t study Montana’s wolves for a living and know where every single wolf pack resides in the state or anything. He’s just a hunter having a hell of a good time killing a wolf. Nobody should be outraged by this? Right? Uh-huh.
Here’s the breathless account of shooting a wolf to death:
“I’m 48 years old, and I’ve been hunting since I was 9, and I’ve never had a more exciting day of hunting in my life,” Ross says. Ross had a coveted permit, one of only five issued, drawn by lottery to hunt bull elk in what may be the world’s best elk country. “My girlfriend, Colleen, and I saw some pretty good bulls, but I was looking for at least a 340 (Boone and Crockett). We heard wolves howling in the morning, and after lunch … 10 wolves came out on an open ridge, flopped down in the sun, kind of belly-up. Colleen said, ‘Let’s go after them.’ “
The two hunters crossed the river and climbed up to where they could see across to the ridge. “But they were gone,” Ross says. The wolf pack was hidden in a patch of timber above them when Ross “howled them up.” “The woods just opened up,” Ross says, “howls everywhere, coming down on us, just wild, and I thought for a second, ‘How many bullets do we have?’ Then there were wolves below us, too.” Ross howled again, and a big male wolf stepped from the timber above them. “He moved around us, and when he came out in the open, I shot him.” The 6-year-old male wolf was black and weighed 117 pounds. Ross remains awed by the experience. “If you went out there a hundred times and tried to do something like this, you couldn’t do it. It was hunting, you know, where everything comes together all of a sudden. I think those wolves were in a competitive situation with another pack, and they came in like coming into a gang fight. I’ll never forget it.” Ross says that he “got quite a bit of flak for shooting a wolf, people saying I exploited my job. I don’t want anybody to think that. I was out hunting, I had a wolf tag, and we got into them. That’s all.”
Wow that was thrilling. I was on the edge of my seat reading that. That wolf should be so grateful that Ross killed him and had such a great and awesome time doing it.
Excuse me but should one of Montana’s wolf mangers be bragging about his special moment killing a wolf? Does anyone else find this concerning? After all isn’t his job “managing”, studying and tracking wolves, supposedly looking out for them? Yet he describes killing a wolf as if he’d just had an out-of-body experience. Is this who we want managing wolves in Montana? I feel so much better knowing one of Montana’s wolf managers enjoys killing wolves. That’s just swell.
“If you went out there a hundred times and tried to do something like this, you couldn’t do it. It was hunting, you know, where everything comes together all of a sudden. I think those wolves were in a competitive situation with another pack, and they came in like coming into a gang fight. I’ll never forget it.” Ross says.”
Photo: wolf wallpaper
Posted in: Montana wolves, Howling for Justice, Wolf Wars
Tags: cavemen, chest thumping, trophy hunting, wolves in the cross fire, wolf persecution, Montana wolf hunts