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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Paying Not to Kill Wolves

May 29th, 2012

Soon, a lottery for 6,000 wolf hunting licenses will begin in Minnesota.

Barely off of the endangered species list, that state is in a mad rush to grant the privilege of slaughtering the some 3,000 wolves that now populate their northern and eastern territories.

The arguments in favor of legalized hunting are not grounded in conservation science; they are a combination of questionable anthropological theory and childish optimism. There is no current projected "overpopulation" crisis. Wolf attacks on commercial livestock are incredibly rare. What's more, livestock losses are covered through a government program which costs little because of the aforementioned rarity. Throwback notions that resumption of the killings will teach wolves to be more "wary of man" and further away from populated areas are commonly being put forward as justification when it's human expansion that endangers them and not the opposite.

There is simply no legitimate reason to do this. The last refuge argument from proponents is that there are now enough wolves again that they can "afford regulated harvesting."

Harvesting? For what? There's no market for wolf meat and there's no apparent demand in 2012 for wolf pelts.

If you think there's nothing Minnesotans of good conscience can do, The Minnesota Post's Karl Bremer, a hunter himself, has an interesting proposal:
"If you’re willing to invest $34, you can buy a chance on saving one wolf’s life. Simply enter the lottery for one of the 6,000 licenses—a $30 wolf license must be purchased to enter the lottery, which costs another $4—and if you win the right to kill a wolf, don’t exercise it.
There’s nothing that requires you to use a wolf license just because you buy one. Since there’s a cap on the number of licenses sold, every license that is won in the lottery but not used reduces the chances that the wolf kill quota set by the DNR will be reached.
Ordinarily, this might be seen as unwise meddling in a scientifically-based hunting season. But there is nothing scientific about this wolf hunting season. It’s a purely political response to satisfy the bloodlust of a vocal minority of wolf haters. A season on wolves is not necessary to maintain a desirable wolf population. In fact, the DNR hasn’t even determined what Minnesota’s maximum wolf population should be, only that it shouldn’t fall below a winter population of 1,600.
So if you think a season on wolves is one of the most idiotic things to come down the pike since a mourning dove season, step right up and invest $34 on a chance to buy a wolf a reprieve from the executioner. It may not stop the jackpine savages from shooting wolves altogether, but at least you’ll get the satisfaction of making them work a little harder to "get their wolf."
As a deer hunter who knows the value that wolves provide in culling deer herds of their unhealthy numbers, among other benefits for the soul, I plan to do just that."
Sounds like a great idea to me.

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