Ed. Note: this article was recently rediscovered by readers although it is a year old (2007 – not 2008 as I write this)
Here is an opinion from a Montana state senator, just dripping with hostility.
Although he says that in Montana, elk rule, and folks there are not going to allow wolves to reduce them, it doesn’t take much analysis to add this as further confirmation of my hypothesis that the wolf issue really isn’t about wolves at all. It is a way to express social hostility toward other people (those considered to be “outsiders”) whether they have lived in Montana, Wyoming, Idaho, etc., for generations or whether they live in New York City where some folks like him seem to think all those who want a full complement of native wildlife restored, live.
Here is his piece in the Helena Independent Record
“Know this: In Montana, elk rule
By Sen. Dave Lewis – 02/13/07
SB 372, which I cosponsored with Senator Balyeat and others, was approved by the Senate this week. This bill establishes a wolf hunting season, a wolf license auction and a grizzly bear license auction.
If the bill passes through the House and is signed, the first wolf hunt will take place in the fall of 2008. Fish Wildlife and Parks will establish a quota. The license will cost $19. Nonresidents will be able to purchase a license for $350.
Why establish a wolf hunting season in Montana? Just a few years ago the return of the wolf was hailed as a great victory for wildlife management. What happened is that the numbers have grown so rapidly that the impact on elk numbers is starting to be noticeable.
We will stand for almost any injustice or diabolical plot perpetrated on the citizens of the state but cut in to elk numbers and the game is over. I have argued for years that the most powerful constituency in the state are elk and their friends. People who do not hunt elk love the fact that we can see them often and enjoy the fact that Montana is one of the few places where elk are part of the landscape.
Once it became apparent that there is an impact on elk numbers when wolves increase, the wolves days were numbered. Ranchers lose cows and sheep and the body politic will accept it, but go after our elk and we will see a wolf hunting season established almost immediately.
I suspect that once the national press picks up on the fact that we are setting up a wolf hunting season we will be blasted for not caring for small furry animals and being a bunch of ignorant rednecks who don’t appreciate the call of the wild. They will never get the point until they come out and catch the fever of the first day of elk season or just watch and glory in the sight of a herd of elk eating my neighbors alfalfa. Elk rule and anybody who misses that point runs the danger of having an open season approved on them.
DAVE LEWIS, R-Helena, represents Senate District 42.