This is the most recent development in a lengthy fight between hunters and ranchers in the Northwest and conservation groups over the gray wolf.
Environmental and conservation groups sued the federal government to return the gray wolf to the endangered species list after it was delisted in some states but not in others. The conservation groups said the inconsistency didn’t make sense.
The groups won the suit and the gray wolf was reinstated as endangered, much to the dismay of many in Montana and Idaho, the two states where it was delisted originally.
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Idaho governor “Butch” Otter – who is apparently on a personal crusade to hunt wolves – is in separate negotiations with the federal government to make a wolf hunt happen.
Montana filed a request for a “conservation hunt” of 186 wolves, an oxymoron if I’ve ever heard one. Both Idaho and Montana are trying to exploit what they perceive to be loopholes in the Endangered Species Act.
Ranchers, hunters, and other affiliated groups are arguing that the wolves are a threat to game animals and livestock, which in plain terms means they’re angry wolves are killing and eating elk and cows before humans can kill and eat elk and cows. This line of logic doesn’t do much to convince me.
Gray wolves are still recovering from being nearly hunted to extinction, and if it were up to Montana and Idaho, gray wolves would have been extinct decades ago. These wolves are unfortunately standing between people and their profits. By causing a nuisance to the ranchers, they’ve made themselves a target for eradication.
It now appears that Montana will be negotiating directly with the 13 conservationist groups that brought the suit to reinstate gray wolves as endangered. A settlement between them might be the only way that Montana will get to hunt wolves this winter.
Hunting is a barbaric sport whose advocates place it under the banner of environmentalism and conservation. They seek to hunt wolves ostensibly because the wolves are threatening elk, but they don’t mention that they plan to kill the elk, too.
If we acquiesce to the hunting fanatics in Idaho and Montana, we’ll watch the gray wolf join the the long list of species we’ve hunted out of existence.
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Photo: Public Domain
Author: Tracy Brooks