My Sweet Lord…talk about making a point to prove a point! I had decided that I was going to steer away from anything to do with wolves or the ecosystem for at least a few posts and get back to why I originally started this blog. I must respond though to some people who apparently took my last blog as a slam on hunters and hunting. This is directed at those folks specifically…I’m only going to state this once so please pay attention. I am NOT anti-hunter or anti-hunting! Go back and read that line again to make sure you have the right interpretation.
I’m not a hunter…never have been and never will be. I don’t understand it and I personally can’t see any need to traipse through the woods shooting things but that’s just me. I don’t condemn responsible hunters out there, those that in fact consume what they “harvest”. My dad was a hunter and a lot of people I know hunt (some in my family) but that doesn’t mean that I have to follow along in the “tradition” does it? My dad is from a traditionally military family. I stuck my toe in and tested the temperature with cadets and militia but I realized it wasn’t the life for me so our tradition of being a military family ended with me. I’m okay with that…and for those that might interpret this as a slam on the military, it isn’t…grow up.
The hunting of deer, elk and the like has been around since the buffalo were over-hunted almost out of existence (yes I admit that was a bit of a slam) and there are still hundreds of thousands, probably millions of deer, elk, etc. on this continent. Reasonable limits, regulation and, again, responsible hunters are doing their part to keep the balance and as much as I’m not fussy about the activity, I can appreciate that although I’d still like to see ol’ Mum Nature do this balancing act with a healthy wolf population on the scales. It is the mindless slaughtering of any species to the brink of extinction that I oppose, including this paranoid-based assault on apex predators, especially the wolf. I’m not going to dwell on all the proven scientific data that clearly outlines the importance to the ecosystem of this, or any of the critters at the top of the chain. If people are interested, it’s easy to find. Just check out the states that have a small or non-existent wolf population for cases of CWD (Chronic Wasting Disease), Brucellosis, and Brain Worm (and there are more such ailments). Apex predators are kind of like natures very own cure in that the ‘goofy’ game is usually what they go after. This benefits the environment and ironically…the hunter. Thinned out herds mean healthier and eventually stronger herds. If we could only get these guys to leave a few of the biggest, healthiest trophies alone to do what comes naturally think of what it could mean to the quality of elk in the future.
As this will be my last ‘wolfie’ post for a while I do have one more comment on the now recurring claim that the wolves are walking away after half-consuming an elk and are therefore “killing for the hell of it”. Gosh…maybe they’re just full? Maybe, like pretty much all apex preds, they’ll return after a burp and a nap? Or, if you understand anything about this food chain notion that some crazy city-dweller scientists have come up with, maybe they’re just doing what nature has intended and leaving something for the scavengers. But I guess that’s open to interpretation…or too logical, I’m not sure which. And don’t play the “maintenance” card again. In order for something to be maintained, first it has to be operational and the wolves haven’t recovered enough to fill this decades old gap in the ecosystem. Realize that without this keystone species pretty much every link in the chain that follows is changed and not for the good. Some states have spent millions depopulating their deer herds due to CWD outbreaks and now people are spending more money to try an experimental CWD vaccine on elk. Aside from the cost of research and development this experiment involves hired people spending days on end in the bush tranquilizing young elk and administering the shots. Seems like an awful lot of hassle and expense when simply killing a few less wolves might just go a long way toward solving the problem for free.