Does It Really Make Sense for 6,000 People to Kill 600 Wolves?

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In a shortvideo recently released,the Center for Biological Diversity asks if you would pay $19 to kill a wolf. You probably wouldn’t, but 6,000 people in Montana just did.

Montana has an estimated 625 wolves left. Sadly, new changes to the hunting season, which started in September, could prove to be a disaster for those remaining wolves. It was extended to run for six months during which time hunters will now be allowed to take five wolves each, and they’ll be able to use traps, bait and electronic calls. The extra long season could also put pregnant and nursing females in the crosshairs because they’ll be allowed to continue through the spring. As an added bonus for hunters, out of state hunting fees have been reduced from $350 to $50.

Does It Really Make Sense for 6,000 People to Kill 600 Wolves?

In an attempt to get the other side of the story, the Digital Journal’s Justin King interviewed Montana hunter Jason Maxwell, who runs a pro-wolf hunting Facebook page. According to him, no one wants wolves in the state, and they “should be hunted 24/7 just like the coyote.” He also believes they were never actually endangered because there are thousands in Canada and Alaska and that people who don’t live in wolf states shouldn’t get to have an opinion.

While he sounds almost reasonable in the interview, he spews vitriol in the comments section and elsewhere on the Internet, proving that, at least for some, wolf hunting is about nothing more than hate, arrogance, intolerance and sometimes petty revenge. While he cites numbers from the state, trying to get a straight answer from wildlife officials about where the science is and how they came up with them in the first place is apparently as easy as trying to herd cats.

Last year, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks reported that 225 wolves were killed – 128 by hunters, 97 by trappers – during the 2012-2013 season. This was an increase from the previous year, with more than half of the wolves being killed on public lands. Another 104 were killed by the state throughout the year.

Conservationists fear the consequences of such policies if hunting is allowed to continue at this rate under state management. This year, Wyoming wants to reduce numbers by 60 percent, which will leave only abut 100 wolves. Since they lost ESA protection in the Great Lakes and Northern Rockies, more than 1,700 have been brutally killed.

When asked whether the government or environmentalists have hunters’ interests at heart, Maxwell responded that the “pro wolf side is fighting for the preservation of one animal while hunters and sportsmen are fighting for the preservation of all wildlife. The introduction is not just about the wolf it is also about maintaining the wildlife the wolf preys on.”

If that were true, predators would have dibs on prey, and if anything still needed to be “managed” then maybe human interference could be justified. In Montana’s case, indiscriminate killing with the sole intent to reduce the number of wolves to appease special interest groups isn’t management; It’s just a bloodbath.

Also, for conservationists, fighting to protect an apex predator and keystone species has beneficial cascading effects on other species, including plants, in the environments they’re present in. For some areas, they’re also a popular tourist draw which helps support local economies.


When it comes to wolf management, the very agencies charged with keeping track of numbers and deciding their fate have a serious conflict of interest due to the facts that hunting licenses generate revenue and there are no consequences for poor management policies or ignoring science unless the wolf population drops below the number required by the federal government, at which point they would lose management authority.

The Feds Still Want Them Off the Endangered Species List

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) is still defending its proposal to remove Endangered Species Act (ESA) protections for all wolves in the lower 48, with the exception of Mexican gray wolves, despite how terrible state management has proven to be.

As of September, there were 18,000 public comments opposing the delisting. There were also three public hearings scheduled; While one hearing in Washington D.C. took place, the other two in California and New Mexico were canceled thanks to the shutdown. However, organizations are still calling for more public hearings in states where wolves live or may appear so the public can actually have an opportunity to weigh in.

An independent peer review is also required to remove a species from the ESA. However, at the end of the summer the process was put on hold when three scientists were kicked off the peer review because they had added their names to a letter that was sent to the Department of the Interior questioning the science behind the proposal to delist wolves.

According to the Center for Biological Diversity, this is the first time the FWS has put restrictions on scientists who may have an “affiliation with an advocacy position.” In this case the scientists in question didn’t necessarily have a stance as wolf advocates, they just did exactly what they were supposed to do. They looked at the available data and formed an opinion. Their opinions just didn’t match the objectives of the FWS, so they got blacklisted.

The FWS should continue to do its job, which is to ensure wolves are not subjected to out of control hunting policies and intolerance or the special interests of very vocal hunting and ag groups who continue to call for more to die.

Keeping ESA protection for wolves in the lower 48 won’t impact decisions in the northern Rocky Mountains or western Great Lakes, where wolves are present, but it will keep protections for the rest who are venturing into their historic range in other parts of the U.S. where there is suitable habitat in Pacific Northwest, southern Rocky Mountains, Northeast and California. Their continued survival depends on their ability to expand, instead of being confined by arbitrary lines they’ll never understand.

This article was written by Alicia Graef for Care2.com

Supertrooper

Supertrooper

Founder and Executive Editor

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Wendy King

Nobody is MAKING You Live in a Wolf State! MOVE OUT! Let the Wolves live there, they were on Earth before Humans!!

Michele Jankelow

Whatever it takes, please keep them protected and stop this savagery on wolves! What is it about man that he can never share this planetand the bloodlust to kill wolves and other wildlife really has to be addressed and educated to ignorant people!

Anna Claire Chaney

Do you know how stupid this is? we as tax payers deserve for animnals to be safe in their habittiat not up for slaughter from hunters enough no more hunting

Tricia Wardlaw

Save the wolves, hunting, trapping, poaching should be banned

Denise Dynan

MONTANA, PLEASE CHANGE YOUR LAWS, THIS IS INSANITY AND THE KILLING OF WOLVES IS UNWARRANTED!!! STOP BEING SO BLOOD THIRSTY

Barbara Baggs

STOP THE KILLING…

Linda Rubino

No hunting the wolf

Larry Scrima

Also sign and share this petition to stop killing wolves in or near public lands in the USA, now with 8003 signers and growing fast:http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/550/700/285/

Reenie Gleason

Yes in Gods name please let the wolves alone. Wolves haven't done anything to you . please stop the killing of wolves. I'm a wolf lover

Michele Hodge

Leave these wolves along, they belong here and humans do not so stay in your own houses and leave the wolves to roam freely and stop shooting them !!

Cynthia Leatherman

No no no no

Anne Grice

No, I would not kill any wolf, use it to shoot the killers who kill wolves. Killing wolves for any reason is a sickness which must be cured by tough anti killing of wolves legislation and listing them as endangered species so humans must keep their evil hands off of them.

Anne Grice
Anne Grice

The bloody mindset of this country regarding its wild life needs to be reset and acquire some human decent into it because you are all about killing and bloody killing every bloody living creature you have in your country! You stoop to the most evil piece of human garbage instead of setting the standards accordion to what is decent with good morals and values instead of being bullied by the powerful and their bags of money! Grow a conscience and spine and lead as leaders should with good moral judgement, integrity, transparency and less bloody corruption! It is beyond disgusting… Read more »

Vickie Glassman
Vickie Glassman

This wanton killing must stop

Darlene Abbott
Darlene Abbott

Never is there a reason to kill a wolf let them live makes better reasoning

Angela Weisman
Angela Weisman

i agree with Joan i would pay to kill the Bastards who shoot wolves….this is an OUTRAGE…..WE NEED TO STOP KILLING OUR WOLVES

Joan Turnbull

NO but I WOULD PAY TO SHOOT THE BASTARDS WHO DO

Mark McCandlish

I already did- months ago.

Alex Brown
Alex Brown

So much for hunters helping conservation. BS! CONservatiion, more like.

terri leyman
terri leyman

I’m wondering if the Facebook page is The Only Good Wolf is a Dead Wolf? I’ve had it out with them. almost lost my account because they reported me even though a few of them threatened to shoot me!! Vile, evil monsters with no respect for life.

MRS. TRISH GEIDEL
MRS. TRISH GEIDEL

THE HUNTERS & SPORTSMEN, OBVIOUSLY, WANT TO MAKE WOLVES EXTINCT, ; # 6,000 FOR JUST OVER # 600 WOLVES ??? CAN I HEAR SOMEONE SAYING *OVERKILL* ??? TAKE AWAY THE WOLVES & NATURE WILL BE OUT OF BALANCE, B/C COYOTES & BEARS, WON’T HAVE ANY PREDATORS & THE HERDS OF PREY, WILL BREED OUT OF CONTROL, SO THEN THE HUNTERS, WILL HAVE TO GO SHOOTING & TRAPPING, TO GET THEIR NUMBERS DOWN !!!
WHERE DOES IT ALL END ???

Delbert Smith
Delbert Smith

Time to thin the pack! Ranchers on their own land have been loosing hundreds of live stock. Hikers have been attacked and people who take their dogs with them hiking have had their dogs killed by the wolves. Wildlife populations have been harmed. So yes it is time to thin the wolf packs. Look at what the wolf has done in Yellowstone!

Tracy Graziano
Tracy Graziano

What I cannot get out of people is: where is the wildlife managment science that justifies killing keystone predators? There is none. And as much as I love coyotes, you cannot compare the two species; wolves and coyotes fit a very different niche.

Ken Billington

Nina, the Facebook page has been renamed to Support of the Montana wolf hunt and can be found on the link https://www.facebook.com/support.MT.wolfhunt?ref=stream – you might want to comment on their FB page.

Nina Stavlund

Petition is closed, I can't sign it.

susan auger
susan auger

The pure hatred that seeps out of these people when wolves are the subject borders on insanity,,to now allow;; hunting on such a scale is sealing the wolves fate and feeding the killing frenzy of frankly ,mentally sick people who need therapy .I believe hunters in general are disturbed people who when young probably pulled wings off flies and stamped on ants for fun,never knowing the childish wonder of nature,the hunter should be hunted to extinction!.

Ken Billington

Mark, good point – regret this disconnect in terms of timelines. You could still sign the petition to "Shut down the Montana wolf hunting and trapping Facebook page".

Mark McCandlish

The comment period was extended to October 28th and you're just now telling us on… November 14th? Where have you been?