Grey Wolves have been Endangered/Protected my entire lifetime. Today wolf tags went on sale. While in some respects this may seem a little morbid (almost like jumping at the chance to club a baby seal), I kinda wanted to own a piece of controversial history … so i got a Wolf tag.
I was bit by a wolf once. I was visiting a coven of vampires (seriously), and in addition to the creepiness of their keeping blood in the refrigerator and wearing little vials of each other’s around their necks, they had a wolf pup. I don’t know for sure, but my guess is that they had it illegally. They let it run around like a regular puppy, and it took a liking to my arm and my motorcycle jacket. I was surprised at how razor-sharp its teeth were! They went through the leather as easy (or easier) than a sewing needle. I left that night with small cuts and a little bit of blood (and no, i didn’t share) …
There’s a myth that goes around that “no wild, healthy wolf has ever killed a human being.” Unfortunately for white-folk-gone-native, their cuddly friend “The Mystical Wolf” has a long history of attacking humans. While they don’t attack us as frequently as they attack domesticated dogs, wild game or livestock, wolves have been documented attacking, killing and eating people. Emily Travaglini-Wright was attacked by a wolf and was lucky enough to survive. The wolf that attacked her had attacked several other people previously, and was found in good health, except for a broken tooth.
Out here in the west, wolves are famous for killing livestock. Contrary to the stories spread by urban naturalists and other broken spawn of hippie culture, not all animals only kill for food or to defend their young. Wolves will regularly participate in “Joy Killing” – severely injuring a lamb or cow and leaving them for waste. Graphic photos of what wolves are doing can be found online with a quick google search.
Most of the news on this subject i’ve found has been from the point of view of ignorant city-dwelling fantasty-prone wolf-huggers who either think that reducing the population is against the laws of nature or who are against animal “murder” regardless. To the former, I point out something a hunter said: “These wolves were introduced from another area, so i have no problem killing something that has come to my land unnaturally”. To the latter, I have to ask: Whose life is more important, the baby lamb, the domesticated dog, or the grazing cow, or the vicious, wasteful wolf who will kill and kill again?
The handful of other articles on the subject simply attempted to show that all hunters in line for a wolf tag were gun-crazed inbreds. These stories failed to reach that goal.
Stepping back and looking at the arguments, I see that all sides have the same thing in common: Their arguments, in swaying far to the left or far to the right are inherently flawed. What is needed is balance. Yes, wolves used to be there … but now domestic animals, new houses and live stock are there. Should we burn down those way-too-big-for-a-single-guy’s-summer-home houses and restore the land back to its natural condition, or should we force the farmer who is raising sheep so the wool can be knit into some hippie-gone-mallrat winter parka to kill his sheep and give up his land? Most wolf attacks on humans have been on humans who were hiking or camping in public forest. If these bands of wolves hadn’t been killed to near extinction, do you think you would have ever had the opportunity to go out into “nature”? Would REI have risen to it’s loft position among yuppies and poseurs if “the wild” really was still wild?
On the flip side, wolves and other predators ARE an essential part of the food chain. They thin out over-populated herds of wild game and smaller predators, which helps protect these wild animal populations from becoming infested with disease or starving to death. Still, you have to understand that one reason wild predators are attacking livestock and domestic animals is because their natural prey are lower in number or have relocated, thanks to the suburban growth of resort towns and ‘isolated’ luxury homes.
I seriously doubt i will kill a wolf. The nearest pack is still a hundred miles away, and since the average pack’s territory is only 77 square miles, I’t would still be a pretty long walk for me to go out and shoot one. Besides, I have no use for anything we can’t eat, and I don’t know of any good wolf recipes. I bought my tag as a piece of history. What a lot of anti-hunters don’t realise is that money brought in by licenses and tags goes toward wildlife conservation, and that money funds a larger portion of wildlife conservation in most states than any number of non-profit groups and Leonardo DiCaprio-sponsored junk-mail ever could. Hunters are also one of the largest, most knowlegable and most effective wild-animal protection groups … because they – not your fat, pot-smoking Portland cousin – are out in the wilderness and can report animal sightings. Hunters also have more to gain in the well-being of animal populations than those who simply ‘appreciate’ what they see in their NG magazines or on Animal Planet … because if the animal populations are in trouble, the hunter can’t hunt.
Somewhat Neutral (The Way news Oughtta Be!):
Wolf Attacks on Humans:
http://www.amongwolves.com/ (see story on Emily Travaglini-Wright)
Wolf Attacks on Livesock and Pets:
http://www.montanacattlemen.org/Wolf_Reportings (WARNING: Graphic Photographic Evidence!)
But Wolves Are Cuddly Totem Animals (For White Man In Prius):