One of the hazards of sending a letter to the editor of a newspaper is that the paper generally gets to choose a title for it…, and the title often reflects their attitude on a given issue rather than the writer’s. For example, in this letter, recently published in the Methow Valley News, the paper chose to use game department jargon, rather than quoting what I personally believe about who wolves belong to “…no one but themselves.” Here’s what they came up with for a title:
Wolves belong to everyone
I recently attended a Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) wolf management hearing to find out how far they ultimately plan to go with wolf hunting, once wolves are inevitably removed from the state’s endangered species list. It turns out the department was only there to talk about a few cases of sheep predation, and the WDFW’s subsequent collusion with aerial snipers from the federal Wildlife “Services” for some good old fashioned lethal removal.
For over 20 years I lived in a cabin well upriver from Twisp, but moved away before the whole poachers’ bloody-wolf-hide-bound-for-Canada fiasco. Since then, I’ve had numerous positive experiences with the wolves themselves. I photographed them in Alaska and Canada as well as in Montana, where I lived a mile from Yellowstone National Park, and got to know the real nature and behavior of wolves.
I’d like to think that if ranchers knew the wolves the way I do, they wouldn’t be so quick to want to kill them off again. Folks shouldn’t have to be reminded that wolves were exterminated once already in all of the lower 48 states, before the species was finally protected as endangered.
Although I personally believe that wolves belong to no one but themselves, to use game department jargon, wolves and other wildlife “belong” to everyone in the state equally — not just the squeakiest-wheel ranchers and hunters. Most of Washington’s residents want to see wolves allowed to live here and don’t agree with the department’s wolf “removal” measures, that no doubt include plans for future hunting seasons on them.
What’s to stop Washington from becoming just like Idaho, Montana and Wyoming in implementing reckless wolf-kill programs that eventually lead to the likes of contest hunts (as in Idaho), or year-round predator seasons that ultimately result in federal re-listing (as in Wyoming)? What guarantee do we have that Washington’s wolves will be treated any differently?
Food for thought: If we don’t speak out now, the next disgusting dump you find deposited along a hiking trail well might belong to a legal wolf hunter.