Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Wolf hunt brings sadness

The article "Wolf season anticipated for fall" (Feb. 27) was read with dismay and sadness. Once again, the powers in Idaho look out only for the interests of a chosen few and not for the best interests of the state. For a few cattle and sheep ranchers, they overlook the economics and other benefits of having wolves roam freely in our many wild areas.

I have watched in amazement, in the greater Yellowstone area, the great economic benefits because of the introduction of wolves. People come from all over the world and stand for hours in freezing cold just for a hopeful glimpse of a wild wolf. In doing so, they fill motels, restaurants and gift shops in places like Gardiner, West Yellowstone, Cody and Jackson. They buy large quantities of scopes, binoculars, shirts, etc. How many tourists come to these wild places to view a herd of cattle or sheep?

On occasion wolf packs do kill livestock and when no other alternative action is available, minimal preventative action should be taken. It should be noted that when wolves do kill livestock, a national organization reimburses the ranchers fully for their losses.

At least when wolves kill livestock, they do it honestly and only to satisfy their hunger.

I prefer not to eat meat for health reasons and due to the objection of eating dead things, but have no problem with those who do. I find it ironic, however, that people let others do the horrendous killing and dressing of livestock, then buy the product in fancy displays in the stores, thus eliminating the sickening killings themselves.

For what reason would anyone ever want to hunt a wolf other than hatred? Unlike most other game, wolves provide no food source (I hope). Also, they are difficult, if not impossible, to have (mounted) as a great, manly trophy.

I have spent several years "hunting" wolves with a camera, binoculars and a scope. On several occasions I have been within a few yards of a wolf pack and once a charging grizzly, with no bad consequences. Wolves are not the evil or dangerous animals the wolf haters want you to believe.

Unlike other wildlife, wolves, once they realize their acceptable boundaries, will limit their own numbers. Once they dispersed to the boundaries of the Yellowstone ecosystem, their numbers have actually decreased dramatically.

Now, almost comically, Idaho wildlife managers actually want to charge hunters to do the dirty work they say must be done. Slowly the demographics of Idaho are changing and the views of Idaho citizens are changing. Before this change takes place, I fear that much of our wild places and opportunities will be destroyed forever.

Don Lauer

Sun Valley

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