By Capt. Hunter Whirley
Federally protected wolves killed 19 elk in western Wyoming in what was deemed a “surplus kill.” This sort of behavior is acknowledged by many living in wolf country by another name: “sport kills.”
Nine wolves from the Rim Pack are suspected of the slaughter. Wyoming Fish and Game officials are frustrated by the event as it is just one more reason to de-list wolves as a federally protected species.
Tree-hugging types continue to lobby the blissfully unaware and politically correct in their office buildings in D.C. for the continued protection of wolves. Meanwhile, biologists, farmers, ranchers and hunters in the western states face the dangers of an overabundance of the predators.
Wolves like to kill. They are born to. This is not the first time that sport kills were recorded, and it will not be the last. Some say that wolves can get caught up in the moment and kill indiscriminately, or kill in excess to teach their young to hunt, or that they kill just out of boredom. While it is impossible to know the animal’s motives, there is irrefutable evidence that wolves will deplete their prey at an unsustainable rate.
But the problem faced is that federal statutes stand in the way of local government doing what is best for local wildlife levels. As elk and deer populations plummet, the natural order of prey and predator will not be balanced without the one true super-predator, man, weighing in. Man has always been part of the equation, trapping and hunting wolves.
As wolves deplete their natural prey it not only hurts local outdoorsmen, the packs will fall to sickness and starvation. It is time to allow states to control wolf populations. Western states have a proven record of maintaining wildlife populations with modern practices. Why should the wolf be any different?
I am not against maintaining a healthy wolf population. But it is a population that must be maintained as wolves are predators that demand respect.
The best model for wildlife management has, and always will be, through the allowing sportsmen to cull select animals. The dollars spent on licenses support local biologists. Local biologists can, in turn, recommend sustainable hunting quotas. The process is continually monitored and tweaked for premium results.
See how that works? Local problem. Local solutions.