Member since Feb 28, 2008

Southwestern Idaho



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Re: “Prodigal Son

Wolf Hunting That title got your attention, huh? As a hunter whose hunted in two parts of the country with wolves (Montana and New Mexico), I figured I weigh in. While Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming have committed to maintaining a minimum of 150 wolves in their respective states (currently there are about 500 in each), it is likely the states will never approach that crisis 150 level. SO WHAT DOES THIS ALL MEAN FOR SPORTSMEN? In a nutshell: * Wolves are good for other wildlife and help promote healthy, balanced landscapes. That's a fact. They do knock down elk and deer populations, but it is a very rare occurrence for wolves to completely eat out their game (think about it, that wouldn't be much of an evolutionary strategy, would it?). * Wolves help hunters by promoting healthy game populations, weeding out the weak, sick, and old (it will be interesting to see if wolves help control Chronic Wasting Disease in the Northern Rockies, an emerging problem). * Wolves help fishermen by protecting riparian areas from over-graze by elk and deer, which help keeps streams and rivers shaded, thus keeping water cooler for fish. If you are the kind of hunter who only cares about hanging horn-porn on his wall, and likes shooting from the back of a pick-up, then maybe you aren't a fan of wolves because you may actually have to get off your ass to hunt to find some elk. (By the way, maybe you aren't a fan of wildlife in general. And you aren't much of a hunter). On the other hand, if part of the hunting and fishing experience for you is participating in the outdoors, appreciating the work of God or evolution (take your pick), then you will love being outdoors in a healthier wolf-influenced landscape. More birds, more fish, more critters, more water, more vegetation, more FUN. The greatest experience hunting I ever had was in the Gravelly Mountains in southwest Montana. It was very cold, fairly remote, and the elk were hard to find. We built a fire in the snow to warm up. We humped over ridges through 4-foot snow drifts. But on that day, alongside the elk prints we were tracking, we found wolf and mountain lion prints. The wolves and mountain lions were doing the same thing we were. Truly wild. I didn't harvest an elk that day; but I did harvest an experience. And I don't need it to hang it on my wall to remember, because I carry it in my heart everywhere I go.

Posted by Jon on 02/28/2008 at 12:15 AM

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