Many areas of Alaska and Canada manage wildlife populations for subsistence hunting. This means that predator populations must be kept in check so there is a healthy population of game animals to hunt and feed local populations.
Subsistence hunting is one of the reasons local governments offer bounties on wolves. Other reasons have to do with protecting livestock, but either way these bounty systems are not designed to drive the species to extinction but to encourage hunters and trappers to keep the animals at an expectable level to minimize negative human animal conflict.
It was under these conditions that a deer hunter in Alberta, Canada found himself in that led to him turning the table on a pack of wolves and into a big pay day.
In a Facebook post by Hinterland Outdoors, they describe the series of events that quickly turned the hunter into the hunted and then right back to the hunter.
5 years ago today I was hunting whitetail and I found myself being hunted. My target buck was in the corner of an open field, and because of the wind, I was stalking up a low brushline in the wide open. The morning light was still dim as the sun was rising behind the thick bush. As I tried to close the gap on the buck, in my peripheral vision I saw a “coyote” flanking me. My only concern was it didn’t bust me and spook the deer so I paid it minimal attention. Then a saw another. And another. But the third was more silver in color and I finally clued in that these were wolves. 5 more appeared out of the morning mist as they quickly moved into position to cut me off from the bush I was headed towards. It’s very likely they thought I was a deer with the poor lighting and way that I was moving, but either way, our municipality had recently instituted a $300 wolf bounty to help ease the strain of livestock predation on our local ranchers. So being surrounded by 8 wolves, it was an easy decision to transition from deer hunting. I shot the large coyote-colored Alpha male first, which bought me the extra second I needed for wolf #2. The third was a long shot on the run, but my .300 mag did the job well. Only time I’ve ever made $900 in less than 9 seconds so I took my wife to Maui that winter. I tanned the hide from the big boy and every time I see it I remember that morning.
Wolf hunting and bounty programs are always going to be controversial, but they are essential aspects of conservation that helps maintain a wild food stock as well as economic opportunities in rural areas. No reasonable hunter wants to wipe wolves off the face of the earth, but they seek to manage their populations so we can coexist.
I discuss this concept of managing preditors in-depth in my book, Why We Hunt: The Five Motivations of the Modern Hunter, which is available on Amazon