Friday, December 21, 2012

Famous Wolf?

Recently I read an article about a "Famous Wolf" which had been shot just outside of Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming.  This wolf is apparently very well known and almost a celebrity to outdoor photographers and some wildlife enthusiasts.  I do not want to be insensitive to those who make a living photographing Yellowstone's wildlife, yet I do wish to voice my own opinions about this situation.

As the article states, "According to National Park Service estimates, there are more than 1,700 wolves living in the Rocky Mountain region—most in Idaho".  There is no doubt that the wolf number in this area is not suffering tremendously as some may assume.  According to another article I recently read, the state of Idaho is only roughly 100,000 elk.  There is a lot of debate on how many elk are necessary to sustain a pack of wolves every year, and to be honest I do not think that there is one single correct answer to that question.  However, I do know that the reason Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, and other states have began to allow wolves to be hunted is for wildlife management.  The law of nature works by a supply and demand principle and when the the supply is lower than the demand, wolves will be looking for other ways to get their necessities for food. 

In the area I live in Idaho, I am fairly close to the border of Yellowstone National park.  My whole life growing up hunting, I was always aware of the boarder to the park and the hunting restrictions in those areas.  Yellowstone is not a zoo, and the animals are wild, thus they roam freely entering and exiting the park as they wish.  I can't tell you how many times we have been close to the boarder of the park and the elk know where they are safe, and where they have pressure from hunters and/or hikers.  These animals are quite intelligent and know when they are safe.  Since this incident with the "famous wolf" being legally taken just outside of the park, Wyoming has now restricted hunting beyond the park boundaries to include a safe zone just outside of the park ON PUBLIC LAND.  I do not feel that this will protect these animals any more than they already are, nor do I feel that this is right to restrict the hunters more than they already are concerning the size of the park compared to their hunting area.
The Park boundary in the State of Wyoming
If the agencies in charge of managing the number of wild life in these areas feel that it is not only okay but also necessary to allow hunting of the wolves, I do not feel that there needs to be any more restrictions than those imposed by that management agency.  The sad part about this situation is that if the hunter had taken any other wolf in this pack, there would not be as big of a push to restrict the wolf hunting in these areas.  Just because this wolf is viewed as "famous" there is an issue.

I do not expect everyone to see a problem with this like I do, but I do feel that I needed to at least voice my opinion on the matter.  These wolves are multiplying quite rapidly and there are management strategies in place to keep them controlled and healthy.  I don't know many people who would rather see a wolf starve to death over one taken legally by a hunter.  If those outside of these areas wish to see wolves wander freely, I suggest a reintroduction of wolves in Central Park and other areas where wolves once roamed. 

Here is the other article mentioning how Montana has restricted hunting near the boarder of the park.