In addendum to my earlier post, “Contest Hunts Are a New Moral Low Point”: the truth is, contest hunts on wolves—like the one scheduled to take place in northeastern British Columbia, Canada—are the lowest of low points.
Not because coyotes (the species typically targeting by modern day contest hunts) are any more deserving of being killed en masse for the sake of some sick sporting event reminiscent of Buffalo Bill’s reckless era or something out of the bloody Roman Games. And granted, coyotes are no less sentient than wolves—or the family dog for that matter. All canines are highly evolved and capable of suffering intense stress and fear when pursued, and pain when hit by bullets or arrows. These physical and emotional capacities are even shared by such “lowly” creatures as fish, snakes or salamanders. But in addition, birds and mammals—notably canines—experience profound sadness (perhaps more than most human beings) when their mates or another of their kind are killed.
No, the reason a contest hunt on wolves is one step lower of a low point is because wolves, as a species, have been completely annihilated from so much of their former range. It’s like those calling for a wolf contest hunt are thumbing their noses at the extinction of wolves across so much of North America (not to mention Eurasia), while giving the thumbs up to those who massacred them. Many Canadians practically put on airs about not being as backwards and barbaric as we “Yanks” here in the States, but obviously some of their countrymen are every bit as philistine and morally vacant as any American redneck.
As with the coyote contests held in the U.S., the B.C. wolf contest hunt does not violate any wildlife regulations, according to an article in the Vancouver Sun—a point that does not address the morality of the action, but speaks volumes about the psychopathic behaviors that are still perfectly legal, even in presumably progressive Canada. There is no closed hunting season on wolves below 1,100 meters elevation in that region of the province, which is also considering a no “bag-limit” on wolves in the area.
The contest event claims to support “fair hunt” methods, which include, in addition to high-powered weapons, pickup trucks and snowmobiles to access wolves. It is set to run through March 31 and allows each hunter to submit three wolves. It costs $50 to enter, with winners receiving prizes (for the largest animal killed) of $150 to $1,000. Sponsors of the wolf-kill contest include Raven Oilfield Rentals; “Backcountry” (a fishing and hunting store) and T & C Taxidermy.
“It’s just kind of a social thing…” said Rich Petersen, a hunter and realtor in Fort St. John who is co-sponsoring the event. Well, you won’t find a more social species than wolves. Wolves may not spend their leisure time drinking excessively, listening to Celine Dion or watching hockey on the boob tube, but as far as showing concern for their extended family, I’ll lay down odds they’ve got the hunters beat.