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Montana: Hatred of Predators Reaches Ridiculous Fervor

Animals  (tags: slaughter, killing, law, habitat, crime, animals, wildanimals, wildlife, sadness, protection, humans, environment, ethics, extinction, death, cruelty, abuse, suffering, investigation, endangered, conservation, animalcruelty, animalrights )

- 1606 days ago -
Let's kill every wolf in Montana. While we're at it, let's kill every grizzly bear, every black bear and every mountain lion. Throw in golden eagles, bald eagles, rattlesnakes and coyotes.

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Roxie H (350)
Sunday November 24, 2013, 11:27 am
"Conserva-tion is a state of harmony between men and land. By land is meant all of the things on, over, or in the earth. Harmony with land is like harmony with a friend; you cannot cherish his right hand and chop off his left. That is to say, you cannot love game and hate predators."

- Aldo Leopold

Let's kill every wolf in Montana.

Sounds like a popular idea these days among hunters.

While we're at it, let's kill every grizzly bear, every black bear and every mountain lion. Throw in golden eagles, bald eagles, rattlesnakes and coyotes.

We'd be left with a hunter's paradise - a state teeming with game animals and hunting opportunity, right?

That's the sentiment I heard recently at a meeting on the hunting season setting proposals in Butte, where an oft-angry group of sportsmen called for large-scale killing of predators to increase the number of deer, elk and other game species. The suggestions ranged from having government trappers shoot wolves from helicopters to creating a season on eagles so they don't kill mountain goats.

Of course Butte sportsmen aren't alone. Over the past few years anger has been building blaming predators - and in particular wolves - for lower game herds and for less hunting opportunity. Wolf haters throw around words like "annihilation" and "devastation" when it comes to Montana's deer and elk herds. And even some respected conservation groups have gotten in on the wolf bashing through public statements decrying the effects of predators.

What state are these people living in?

Here are a few facts about Montana's wildlife populations and hunting over the past two decades, covering the period during which the much-maligned western gray wolf has been on the landscape.

In 1992, three years before wolves were reintroduced into Yellowstone National Park and central Idaho, the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks official estimate of the elk herd was 89,000 elk in Montana. Today we have a statewide estimate of 150,000 elk.

In 2003, the state Legislature passed a bill that required FWP biologists bring elk numbers down to the targeted objective populations laid out in the statewide elk plan. They were responding to complaints from ranchers about too many elk on their private land.

Ironically, some of the same lawmakers who supported that bill are among the most vocal wolf bashers. That hypocrisy begs the question: are there too many elk or too many wolves in Montana?

Anyway, the Legislature in recent years has given FWP several tools to kill more elk, including giving hunters the chance to kill two elk per year.

And since then, Montana has on three occasions extended the general elk season to give hunters two additional weeks to kill elk in years when the harvest was slow.

Second elk tags, extended seasons and liberal regulations allowing more cow elk hunting: where's the loss of hunting opportunity?

In truth, elk hunters have had more opportunity than in decades and now we've seen the effects of that.

Over the past couple years we've brought elk back down closer to the target populations or in some cases dropped it below those objective numbers. Accordingly, FWP biologists have gone from liberal to more conservative seasons, allowing fewer cow elk to be killed in many areas and reducing the second tags.

It proves that two-legged predators with high-powered rifles can be extremely effective at killing elk.

Now clearly wolves and other predators have had a hand in bringing down some of Montana's elk herds. People often cite the herd in the northern end of Yellowstone National Park, which topped in the mid-1990s at 19,000 animals and has dropped by more than 60 percent.

What often gets left out of the argument from wolf haters is whether that was a sustainable number of elk that was healthy for the land. It wasn't, and biologists cannot manage wildlife populations for their highest population every year.

And I'd assert that the large turkey shoots on elk just north of the Yellowstone boundary near Gardiner, where hundreds of elk would come out at a time, was a quality elk hunt that was good for the image of hunting.

Do wolves, bears, mountain lions and other predators kill game? Of course they do, and they should be managed to sustain and yet control their populations using sound science, not hysteria.

In the early 20th century, we tried predator control as a cure-all to boost game numbers. It failed, because it didn't take into account the myriad of factors that go into sustaining healthy wildlife numbers.

We only need to look to the father of modern wildlife science - Aldo Leopold - to remember that conservation is much more complicated than killing predators en masse.

He said:

I have lived to see state after state extirpate its wolves. I have watched the face of many a newly wolfless mountain, and seen the south-facing slopes wrinkle with a maze of new deer trails. I have seen every edible bush and seedling browsed, first to anaemic desuetude, and then to death. I have seen every edible tree defoliated to the height of a saddlehorn. Such a mountain looks as if someone had given God a new pruning shears, and forbidden Him all other exercise. In the end the starved bones of the hoped-for deer herd, dead of its own too-much, bleach with the bones of the dead sage, or molder under the high-lined junipers.

- Reporter Nick Gevock may be reached at

Hatred of predators reaches ridiculous fervor

Mike H (252)
Sunday November 24, 2013, 11:40 am
Humans are the cancer of this earth

Arielle S (313)
Sunday November 24, 2013, 1:52 pm
Yes, indeed, Humans are the most dangerous of all animals - and disgustlngly stupid, too. The predators are here for a reason ~ the only one that should be eliminated is the two legged variety for they cause most of the problems of the world.

Joanna W (71)
Monday November 25, 2013, 12:26 pm
thank you

Mandy A (86)
Monday November 25, 2013, 12:30 pm
Thanks! good article

Shelli S (374)
Monday November 25, 2013, 12:36 pm
I couldn't agree more, with Michael

Aileen P (40)
Monday November 25, 2013, 1:02 pm
I agree with Michael H.

Jaime A (52)
Monday November 25, 2013, 1:08 pm

Kathleen R (192)
Monday November 25, 2013, 1:20 pm
Thank you for the article Roxy. Did any of you read the comments posted on the paper's article. That's what we are up against. And yes Michael you are right. So that must make us anti-bodies going up against the cancer. We can overcome, we must overcome.

Franshisca Dearmas (89)
Monday November 25, 2013, 1:23 pm
Noted. TY Roxy

Mike M (43)
Monday November 25, 2013, 2:00 pm
What kind of psychosis are these people suffering from? Humans are the only haters on the planet but this is stupid!

Birgit W (160)
Monday November 25, 2013, 2:10 pm

Aurea Aurea Walker (226)
Monday November 25, 2013, 2:25 pm
Roxy your post is brilliant, factual and thorough! If I could I would send you a 1,000 stars. Pesky rules only allow one a day, darn it. I cannot add anything more so I will ditto your post. My only addendum would be that it is us who have invaded the wolves natural habitat! Along with all fauna, flora and sentient beings.

Manuela Gewert (88)
Monday November 25, 2013, 3:06 pm
Irgendwann kommt ein Raubtier gegen das wir keine Chance haben!

Glenville J Owen (0)
Monday November 25, 2013, 3:08 pm
Thank you for the article Roxy. It's little wonder animals living in the wild are wary of us humans.

Joanne D (38)
Monday November 25, 2013, 3:13 pm
Actually, Aurea, we are down to one green star an hour now. I wonder if the problem with these Montana "sportsman" isn't that they are jealous - they want tp be the only alpha predators and these wolves and such are better than they are.

Manuela Gewert (88)
Monday November 25, 2013, 3:24 pm
Die Guten müssen für die Gier der Schlechten bluten :( Das war schon immer so

Patsy Olive (0)
Monday November 25, 2013, 4:07 pm
I think these people need to be fined or go to jail if one of these animals are killed.

Madhu Pillai (22)
Monday November 25, 2013, 4:09 pm

Christine S (134)
Monday November 25, 2013, 4:16 pm
Sad stuff.

Sheri Schongold (7)
Monday November 25, 2013, 4:20 pm
This is a shame because, THE BIGGEST PREDATORS IN MONTANA ARE THE HUMANS!!! Nuf said!!!

Ondine J (134)
Monday November 25, 2013, 6:21 pm
Noted with sadness. These individuals should be incarcerated, they are the predators.

. (0)
Monday November 25, 2013, 7:22 pm
𝖍𝖔𝖕𝖊𝖋𝖚𝖑𝖑𝖞 𝖙𝖍𝖊 𝖍𝖚𝖓𝖙𝖊𝖗𝖘 𝖇𝖊𝖈𝖔𝖒𝖊 𝖙𝖍𝖊 𝖍𝖚𝖓𝖙𝖊𝖉...... 𝖙𝖍𝖆𝖓𝖐𝖘 𝖗𝖔𝖝𝖞!

Janet R (38)
Monday November 25, 2013, 7:38 pm
It's stinks to let the 5% of the American population that hunts control the wildlife that other 95% might like to enjoy. Hunters are the scum of the earth because most of them don't eat what they kill. It's a difficult battle when the state wildlife boards are filled with hunters and not biologists; they make up nonsense to justify the killing.

. (0)
Monday November 25, 2013, 8:13 pm
I know a great many hunters, and they are certainly not the scum of the earth. They do eat the game they kill. It's true that most don't eat predators, but as the article points out, predators do need to be managed. Human predators are managed using laws that determine what, when, and how much game/predators are taken, which should be determined by applying sound science. The illegal wildlife trade is what people really need to be concerned about, people who profit from killing and trading in animals/animal products. Not hunters who just want to put a meal on the table.

Dianne D (490)
Monday November 25, 2013, 9:01 pm
The psychological profile of serial killers is consistent with the characteristic traits of hunters . . . . why would we promote this type of behavior. Ban hunting. These people have no regard for live.

Leslene Dunn (84)
Monday November 25, 2013, 10:58 pm
Noted, and yes, my hatred for the likes of these barbaric sobs has gone way beyond a ridiculous fervor. Only God knows how much I want to take each and every one of them and beat the living daylights out of them. And yes, this will probably put me in the same category as them, but at least I know justice will be done for innocent, voiceless and defenceless animals.

Margaret K (11)
Tuesday November 26, 2013, 12:42 am
thank you

Ruth C (87)
Tuesday November 26, 2013, 7:21 am
You said it Michael!

Aurea Aurea Walker (226)
Tuesday November 26, 2013, 8:56 am
Joanne Dixon, yay thank you for the info. Truly thought it was only one star per day.

carol k (17)
Tuesday November 26, 2013, 6:57 pm
they are soulless heartless savage monsters! the elk, deer, mountain goats population is not less because of wild life predators. these people are just " kill happy predators" themselves. plus there must be an over population & surplus of hunters and humans in Montana, then add the humans who do wild life poaching. road kills, disease and old age on deer and such, then add animals do get themselves in dangerous and life threatening situations, like falling in frozen lakes through thin ice. hunters are gluttons of greed and blood. one day your life will end and that will be a good day!

Maria Kenyon (2)
Wednesday November 27, 2013, 7:20 am
Get rid of the greatest predator of all---MAN

Yvonne F (181)
Wednesday November 27, 2013, 7:42 am
Tragic!!! Think if people could learn to live with mother nature and her habitants, instead of against her and her habitants!
Thanks Roxy

Linda P (0)
Thursday November 28, 2013, 8:15 pm
The killing needs to stop, it is getting out of control. We SHARE this earth with the animals and they are not disposable and their lives matter, it isn't all about the humans. This is getting worse, it can't continue.

Sergio P (65)
Wednesday December 4, 2013, 12:22 pm

Susan Ho (0)
Tuesday December 10, 2013, 7:21 pm
What can we do? These people want to kill them all fast!
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