- Thu Mar 04, 2010 4:50 pm
I think that any drop in deer and elk harvests has to do a lot more with deer and elk being harder to locate than large numbers of animals being decimated by packs of murderous wolves. I have seen how most people hunt, and it doesn't lend itself to a wary, mobile prey population. When wolves are around, that herd of elk you saw in that meadow yesterday is likely to be somewhere else by tomorrow, as hanging out in the same spot day after day is a good way to get eaten. This is already the case in Yellowstone, where overgrazing was a serious problem before the wolves were reintroduced. During the period when wolves were absent, the elk would keep grazing in the same meadow until the forage was depleted. Now, they stay on the move in an attempt to stay one step ahead of the wolves, something they have been doing for as long as there have been wolves and elk, really for as long as there have been carnivores and herbivores. That's a lot longer than we have been around to "manage" them. People will have to adapt if they want to be successful.
Besides, as others have mentioned, habitat has a much greater effect on wild game populations that predation. If you want to look at something that needs more "management," how about those two introduced species, cattle and sheep? A general hunting season on those beasts would help the deer, elk, and moose a lot more than a wolf hunt, but I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for anything like that to happen. After all, this isn't about preserving nature or protecting the innocent, it's really about making the backcountry safe for agriculture, same as it was last time.
The virtues are lost in self-interest as rivers are lost in the sea.
-- Franklin D. Roosevelt