Rocky Barker has a major story in today’s Idaho Statesman. “Wolves and Elk: The overriding issue in delisting.”
The wolves-killing-livestock-thing has never amounted to much despite efforts by some to make 30 to 50 dead cows (mostly calves) a year in a state look like a unparalleled catastrophe.
The real issue is the perception that wolves are reducing elk herds. Ace Idaho Statesman reporter Rocky Barker looks at this and as most, finds it isn’t really true. However, wolves do change elk behavior, and human hunters have to adapt. That is something many don’t like to do because, in my view, they aren’t real hunters — for them the hunt is just the shot, not the planning, the stalking, the position, the waiting.
Barker’s quote of Nate Helm, Executive Director of the misnamed group “Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife, Idaho” is very telling:
“The reality is the wolves are competing with us,” said Nate Helm, executive director of Idaho’s chapter of Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife. “Hunters’ visions are they can return to the same location year after year and have a positive experience with elk. Wolves threaten that.”
I don’t really have to explain the quote. Helm believes, probably correctly, that some (does he think all?) “hunters” don’t want to hunt very hard and don’t want to do anything new.
Helm is further quoted:
“But for hunters, the numbers are misleading,” Helm said. “Wolves have changed elk behavior. They have pushed elk out of traditional haunts and made them harder to find.”
He is right. That’s the main reason wolves were reintroduced, to change things. It wasn’t just to put an extinct animal on the ground. It was too make elk and deer more wild, and to shake-up the whole ecosystem which has been wolfless for about 80-90 years.
Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife did not join with other sportsmen groups to try to shut down the elk shooting farms growing all around Idaho. I think it’s significant. That’s the next step for the lazy shooter, just drive to a farm and shoot as big an elk as you can afford. Mount the rack on your wall, and the bigger the rack the richer you are. Elk antlers are just another symbol for having money.
Hunting is one of many outdoor experiences. A lazy elk hunter doesn’t want a real outdoor experience, and that why he or she doesn’t like wolves, and doesn’t care about other animals, and doesn’t know much about biology. This kind of hunter really doesn’t like the outdoors.