Should Wolves Be Hunted to Extinction?

Kill Them All is not Conservation.

“Kill them all.” “Wipe them off the land scape.” Every time I see an article on wolves those are the comments I see.  And every time I cringe. Not because I disagree with the sentiment behind them. They come from well meaning, frustrated hunters. I know elk numbers are down and anti-hunting groups are throwing up road blocks at every turn. And we are not given the management tools we desire. Yes it is frustrating, I get it, but trust me comments like those do not help the situation.

First, let me state one fact. Wolves are not going anywhere.  Like it or not we are going to be sharing the landscape with these predators. That is the reality we live with. You can argue all you want about that they are different breed of wolves, that they are invasive, and that they should not be here. All of that could be 100{5c20afc010e65415aecac9ea1262ea64a0924a29c29fc9ad7cafd2eeb769a435} true, but guess what? It is not going to matter. Pandora’s Box has been opened. There is no way to put the cat back in the bag, so what point is there to advocating wiping them out?

Not only is it an impossibility, but saying such thing undermines hunting. Let’s face it hunters are a minority and in order to preserve our way of life we need to convince the non-hunting public that we are ethical stewards of wildlife. Because if we do not we will eventually reach the place where we will get out voted. Right now the anti-hunters are gaining support of the non-hunters. You see examples of this with that whole Cecile fiasco last summer.

In light of this we as hunter need to be cognoscente of how we represent ourselves to the non-hunting public. Like it or not we are engaged in a publicity war with anti-hunters and they will seize on anything they can get to discredit us. They are already spreading the lie that wolf hunting will decimate the population, and all they have to do to lend credence to it is to point these comments. We are giving them ammunition to use against us.

Conservation has been and always will be our greatest tool in framing the narrative.  Hunters need to support science based management practices, and our conversations should reflect that. We have an awesome history dating back to Teddy Roosevelt. And that history needs to take a prominent seat in how we communicate with the non-hunting public.

So when the wolf debate comes up again, we need to point to the other great success stories of hunter led conservation. Mention the wild turkey, the whitetail deer, and elk that are now thriving east of the Mississippi. Show them that this can be done with wolves. Show them that we desire a balanced ecosystem. And that all of this can be accomplished with a scientifically based management system run through the states.

I know I have been talking about wolves, but everything I have said here can also be applied to the next hot button species, the grizzly bear. I have not seen the calls for their extermination and for that I am grateful. I ask every hunter to help keep our image clean and keep being leaders in conservation.