Howling About Wolves

With so many of you sending in comments on yesterday's wolf hunting story, we thought it would be a good idea to publish some of them, and to allow Tom to respond. So here they are ...

Field & Stream Online Editors

To some of the less charitable¿¿respondents below, I can only say, "My, what big teeth you have."¿¿ I hope my article was clear on the point that I was¿¿not calling for the eradication of wolves, or even¿¿for the immediate opening of a¿¿season on them where they are found in the Lower 48.¿¿ I was merely reporting the facts surrounding the terrible death of young Kenton Carnegie.¿¿

Facts are stubborn things, and the continuing growth of the wolf population in this country, along with the plans for further reintroductions, only means that more incidents such as the Carnegie one are inevitable. I am not someone who believes that hunting wolves would guarantee that no one would ever be attacked by one again (wolves are, I believe, hunted in Saskatchewan where the¿¿killing occurred); but the lack of a hunting season, as is the case with cougars in California, only leads to more rapid habituation to humans by large predators, which in turn¿¿increases the possibility of attacks.¿¿

The impact of wolves on game populations is also a legitimate concern.¿¿ It must be understood that a regulated hunting season¿¿for wolves would¿¿not equate to an extermination order.¿¿ On the contrary, a well-balanced hunting program is a vital tool in insuring the continuing survival of big carnivorves, and has always been¿¿acknowleged to be a potential component of wolf recovery programs.¿¿ The¿¿undoubtedly irreversible spread of humans into wolf habitat, and vice versa, insures future conflicts.¿¿ For our sake, and the sake of wolves, a rational approach¿¿to co-existing with them needs to be found.¿¿¿¿¿¿

A Selection of Comments

"2 questions, 1: are they sure it was wolves and not feral dogs, and 2, were the people attacked eaten?¿¿ This highly "informational" article is just an excuse for humans to be allowed to shoot something else...real sport would be for a man to take on the animal with no weapons other than the ones he was born with?¿¿ Whats that? Not Fair?¿¿ Well sorry, thats life...and death.¿¿ Wolflingsdad, Calif."

"That is such garbage; it was proven that a wolf did NOT kill this man and your magazine's assertion that one did, is slander. I have news for you, even if a wolf did kill a human, that wouldn't automatically give us the right to go and hunt them down like mass murderers; we don't do this to humans who INTENTIONALLY AND WILLFULLY kill other humans do we? no we don't." ¿¿

"Wolves are not to blame.¿¿ They do not wish to be close to man.¿¿ We should not habituate them to depending on man for food.¿¿ When they get used to us that is when they become dangerous.¿¿ If we could leave them alone, they will leave us along.¿¿ Don't kill wolves for our mistakes." ¿¿

"The lies you tell about wolves have earned my utter disrespect. I will no longer read this magazine and if I see it in waiting rooms I will remove it and burn it so your crap doesn't spread!"

"If they're killing us, it's time to return the favor."

"humans need to learn to co-exhist with wolves, this world does NOT belong to people. People are not high and righteous over any animal. Hey if you have a gun with you, how about shooting in the air - that will scare a wolf off, instead of shooting it. Lets start hunting humans that look at you funny, lets start killing people that have aggression (god knows that's every single person living, excluding Buddhists). How about you get some morals & see that people aren't supperior, but people are the proble. Stop procreating you redneck hicks!!!!!!!"

"Not yet as log as they are not killing off the Elk and Deer Populations, then we are not at risk, but as soon as the Deer and Elk Numbers start going down then we should start hunting the Wolves."

"At this point I think more investigation into the "why" of the attack is needed. There are many possible explanations for a wolf pack to attack a human being who isn't provokinghat pack. Naturally, one reason may very well be rbies; anther may easily be that with all of the falling snow in that area the wolves are extremely hungry and desparate to find anything to eat, including a person."

"How many Canadians were killed by dogs between 1990 and 2000 ? - time to hunt dogs?"

"Absolutely not should wolves be hunted by humans.¿¿ Surely, as intelligent beings, we can come up with a better solution than to hunt them."

"open a season! I watched a large wolf¿¿ surprise deer at my michigan U.P. bait pile. The deer wanted some lunch....so did the wolf! I saw a fraction of the deer I normally do...I blame the wolves."

"It was time to start hunting wolves even before the attack."

"It is important to put into perspective that out of the millions of humans that have lived and died in North America over the last two centuries, this is the first, documented fatal wolf attack.¿¿ The lesson to be learned from this tragedy is that humans have the ability to significantly affect animal behavior and that precautions should be taken with any wild animal whether they are a wolf or a whitetail; not whether or not we should hunt them.¿¿ Implementing hunting or trapping seasons on animals should be based on sound science and management policy not unfounded hysteria."

"Everybody knows that "No wild animals are safe."¿¿ Therefore, a person in the wild is not safe, so if you long for security, you're free to stay home.¿¿ I agree that wolves are doing well, perhaps well enough to be managed via hunting, but trying to demonize them is not the way to politically battle for a hunting season.¿¿ I find it very disrespectful and offensive to speak of any wild animal as a mere monstrous beast.¿¿ It is sad should anyone cease to be amazed at the adept predatory abilities of a wolf, whether dangerous or not.¿¿ Is personal safety in the woods that which is truly desired?¿¿ If personal safety¿¿ was assured by the laws of the government, I would not enjoy the outdoors.¿¿ But if we're arguing for convenience, then I'd say more roads, more garbage cans, more fire rings, more trails, and less threatening wildlife, less wilderness. (I dare you to make that the new motto of Field and Stream.)¿¿ A hunter, Field and Stream reader, and fellow outdoorsman, Jesse Kolar" ¿¿

"I hope that my 12 ga coach gun will help me stay on top of the food chain"

"These incidents appear to be few and far between.¿¿ Anytime sportsman set out into the wild there is some likelihood of danger, that's what keeps it interesting.¿¿ If we start hunting wolves now, the fledging packs will be killed off relatively quickly.¿¿ They need several more years without any hunting pressure."

"Should We Hunt Them?¿¿ YES!!"

"Are wolves dangerous to humans? They certainly can be. However, that does not justify prematurely opening a hunting season on them. If we eliminated everything in the wild that posed any danger to humans, not only would nature be a much more artificially sterile place, but we would continue to disrupt the cycle of life that we hunter's constantly claim to respect. Every outdoorsperson should enter nature, particularily wolf country, with the caution it deserves."

"As the population in our country continues to grown and as the line between rural and urban continues to collide I believe we are going hear more reports of predator attacks on humans.¿¿ In areas where there seems to be more contact between wolves and humans then I believe that a well thought out hunting seaon and management plan for dealing with the problem could help.¿¿ I believe that creating a hunting season and allowing man/woman to become the predator rather than the prey could go a long way towards curbing a wolf's desire to prey on humans.¿¿ There have been several past examples where wild animals who have felt no hunting pressure for years began feeling "comfortable" around humans.¿¿ They simply did not fear humans.¿¿ Upon implementing a hunting season for said species their "comfort" with human interaction decreased almost¿¿ immediately and they began to keep there distance from humans.¿¿ I am not a wildlife managment specialist but it seems to me that implenting a hunting season for wolves in areas where it is needed would have the same affect on wolves as hunting seasons have had on other species that became "comfortable" with human interaction.¿¿ I believe the goal of any plan that is implemented should be to not only try and protect humans but to properly manage a precious natural resource." ¿¿

"Shoot em all" ¿¿

"This is a misleading article.¿¿ The wolves had been fed by human beings and had lost some fear of people.¿¿ Most wolves are fearful of humans, unless taught otherwise.¿¿ Use this opportunity to educate your readers, not frighten people with misleading information.¿¿ Please present the facts and not sensationalize a young man's death." ¿¿

"Yes, you need to start hunting wolves, but there should still be a limit on them, so that the number of wild wolves does not, again, be threatened of extiction. We all have to eat to live, but in some cases, that is not nessesary."

"We should be able to hunt wolves once a clear number and quota rate is established.¿¿ Just hunting wolves, which are very intelligent, will instill a fear of humans in the pack.¿¿ Without hunting wolves, or any wild creature for that matter, have no reason to be afraid of the slow, clumsy, fatty, weak, clawless, furless, creatures we humans are."

"The leasons of aggression toward humans by unhunted large predators have been tragicly taught by cougers in California for several years now.¿¿ Its time we learn them, begin hunting, and reestablish ourselves at the top of the food chain.¿¿ "Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it." ¿¿

"Wolves should be reintroduced when ever there is suitable habitat, but also when ever a population can support it, a hunting season envoked." ¿¿

"We should definitely be hunting wolves. States like Minnesota, Wisconsin, and UP Michigan have pockets of huntable populations. Also, Yellowstone and the Western Parks could use hunting as a management tool." ¿¿ implementing a hunting season for said species their "comfort" with human interaction decreased almost¿¿ immediately and they began to keep there distance from humans.¿¿ I am not a wildlife managment specialist but it seems to me that implenting a hunting season for wolves in areas where it is needed would have the same affect on wolves as hunting seasons have had on other species that became "comfortable" with human interaction.¿¿ I believe the goal of any plan that is implemented should be to not only try and protect humans but to properly manage a precious natural resource." ¿¿

"Shoot em all" ¿¿

"This is a misleading article.¿¿ The wolves had been fed by human beings and had lost some fear of people.¿¿ Most wolves are fearful of humans, unless taught otherwise.¿¿ Use this opportunity to educate your readers, not frighten people with misleading information.¿¿ Please present the facts and not sensationalize a young man's death." ¿¿

"Yes, you need to start hunting wolves, but there should still be a limit on them, so that the number of wild wolves does not, again, be threatened of extiction. We all have to eat to live, but in some cases, that is not nessesary."

"We should be able to hunt wolves once a clear number and quota rate is established.¿¿ Just hunting wolves, which are very intelligent, will instill a fear of humans in the pack.¿¿ Without hunting wolves, or any wild creature for that matter, have no reason to be afraid of the slow, clumsy, fatty, weak, clawless, furless, creatures we humans are."

"The leasons of aggression toward humans by unhunted large predators have been tragicly taught by cougers in California for several years now.¿¿ Its time we learn them, begin hunting, and reestablish ourselves at the top of the food chain.¿¿ "Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it." ¿¿

"Wolves should be reintroduced when ever there is suitable habitat, but also when ever a population can support it, a hunting season envoked." ¿¿

"We should definitely be hunting wolves. States like Minnesota, Wisconsin, and UP Michigan have pockets of huntable populations. Also, Yellowstone and the Western Parks could use hunting as a management tool." ¿¿