Here’s the truth about wolves:
They need to be controlled just like every other animal on the landscape. You can’t turn an apex predator loose in a limited ecosystem and give them free rein – END of discussion.
For every anti-hunter or granola eater (or fly fisherman, trad bowhunter or other holier-than-thou hunter) who says wolves are a necessary “keystone species” that balance the ecosystem …
Wolves were eliminated from the landscape for a reason. That reason is: they eat things. They eat deer and elk. They eat cattle and sheep. They eat people. They’ve been a threat to man throughout history. They’re predators; archetype bad guys. Nobody in history has written spooky fables or fairy tales about koala bears or pandas blowing your house down, eating your grandmother, and trying to disembowel–you know why? Because those animals aren’t a threat. Wolves are, always have been, and always will be. Period.
They’re not essential to “balance the ecosystem” or some other trophic-cascade BS idea floated by viral videos or NatGeo. They were essentially eliminated from the landscape nearly 100 years ago. And guess what? Wildlife and ecosystems did just fine. If you’re going to argue against that, you clearly know nothing about the history of wildlife over the last century.
Man took the place of major populations of predators. We instituted regulated hunting and managed the various species according to the carrying capacity of an area. And everyone got along just fine. Ranchers ranched. Hikers hiked. Hunters hunted. Wildlife watchers watched. And deer and elk could turn their attention to avoiding man, mountain lions, coyotes, and bears. One less predator in the woods didn’t throw anything into imbalance.
However, with the return of wolves–nature’s most perfect predator–that century-old balance that was working for everyone was upended. Game numbers have dropped in prime wolf habitat—those herds that survive (or even grow) usually adapt by moving closer to man. Decreasing herds leaves state fish and game agencies only one option: Reduce the number of tags available to hunters.
This is just one of the goals of the anti-hunters and so-called nature lovers (who usually live in the city); to remove hunters from the woods so “nature can balance itself.”
Nature doesn’t balance itself moderately as humans can. Big population booms of prey species beget big population booms of predators. Eventually, after one dry spring or one hard winter, it all comes crashing down like a Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme or up in flames like a Yellowstone coniferous forest that hasn’t been properly trimmed. In the process prey and predator populations suffer inordinately and unnecessarily.
The wolf wasn’t missed on the landscape. You’re not going to eliminate man from the landscape. Can we coexist? Likely. But that requires management–logical management that acknowledges the needs of man and society. Keeping that in mind and keeping wolves realistically in check is the only way forward.
And now for all those ranchers and outfitters who think ALL predators should be eliminated: I have a forthcoming message for you, too.
TO BE CONTINUED …