This article highlights the hypocrisy of blaming wolves for elk population fluctuations. Elk and wolves have co-existed together for millenia. The elk owes its fleetness of foot to the wolves’ tooth. For selfish humans to deny wolves their right to eat, is the ultimate in self centeredness.
Many human hunters kill elk and then blame wolves if elk numbers dip. They expect fish and game agencies to keep elk numbers elevated, making it easier to hunt them. Competing with the wolf is something they won’t tolerate. In turn wolves are persecuted and killed to accommodate a small group of people, decreasing wildlife advocates ability to view wild wolves. We need a major change in wildlife “management”. It makes no sense that a minority of hunters should be catered to over the rest of the population.
Wolves cull the weak, sick and old ungulates, that’s how they keep elk and deer herds healthy. It’s why we have predators. Wolves are opportunists and occasionally kill healthy animals but the norm is to go after the least difficult prey. What would you rather do, battle a bull elk in its prime or chase an old cow elk?
On the other hand, human hunters stalk trophy animals, the big bulls, the best of the herd. They can do this because of superior technology as in high-powered rifles with scopes. Hardly fair chase. Not even close. Wolves don’t possess guns or high-tech bows, they use their natural hunting skills they were born with. An uncanny sense of smell, legendary endurance, ground-eating speed, close cooperation with their packmates, all combined with their remarkable intelligence. Quite the package.
Wolves hunt to live. Most humans hunt for sport, the meat is secondary IMO. Hunting is an expensive exercise. You have to buy special clothing, expensive guns and ammo, tags and licenses, own a sound rig with four-wheel drive, you may have to take some time off from work, etc. It’s not a poor man’s sport.
Who does more damage to ungulate herd health, wolf or man? I think we know the answer.
“Last year, Idaho Fish and Game wanted to kill 40-50 wolves in their Lolo zone because of their perceived effects on the elk population, yet they offered 1,492 elk hunting permits for that same zone.”
Don’t Blame Wolves for Elk Deaths
By Doris Lin, About.com Guide June 1, 2011
A new study confirms what animal advocates have been saying all along: Don’t blame the wolves for killing elk. The Idaho Department of Fish and Game conducted studies on collared elk in 11 study areas, and examined the causes of death. According to the Times-News, “Though statewide numbers have dropped some, claims that wolves are wholly responsible for declining elk populations aren’t holding up . . . Biologists found that wolves killed significant numbers of collared elk in only one area.” What were the other causes of death? Severe weather, bears, cougars, and hunters. In two of the 11 study areas, hunters were the number one elk killers.
Photo: Courtesy Caninest Flickr Commons
Posted in: Wolf Wars