Wolves Belong to no one but Themselves

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

Dear Editor:

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.

Jim Robertson

Text and Wildlife Photography©Jim Robertson

Text and Wildlife Photography©Jim Robertson

3 thoughts on “Wolves Belong to no one but Themselves

  1. Yes, wolves and all wildlife “belong” to all the people in Washington. Here in Idaho the land is over 60% federally owned, so every single person in this country has an ownership stake in the land and its inhabitants. It infuriates me that we allow a teensy percentage of perverts to dominate the conversation, dictate the policy, and make public lands safe for neither its wild inhabitants nor those humans who wish to enjoy it. As far as I’m concerned, hunters and trappers are thieves and perverts. The whole system is corrupt, however. In Idaho the monstrous wolf-hating governor appoints the Fish & Game Commissioners, who are themselves avid “sportsmen,” and then the commissioners direct the activities of the Fish & Game Department (which is populated by avid “sportsmen/women”) They are SUPPOSED to serve the perverts in the hunting and trapping community. They do not exist to serve the rest of us, and believe me, in that respect they are very good at their pathetic jobs.

  2. Pingback: Wolf puppies to be legally arrowed to death in Montana: How arrows slowly kill | Wolf Is My Soul

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