More than meets the eye
To the editor:
Despite Michiganders twice voting against the hunting of wolves, here we are again facing threat of a rushed wolf hunt through the adoption of Sen. Resolution 15. Why the need for this hunt you ask? Well, the resolution states it will limit potential wolf and human contact. Such occurrences are extremely rare, despite the fact we have an array of humans in our forests year-round. My goodness, we Yoopers live in the woods. This hardly seems like a valid reason to suddenly override the DNR’s existing management plan–though it does make for good copy.
Sen. McBroom, one of two cosponsors of the resolution, offered that a hunt was the “humane” way of dealing with the (non-troublesome) wolf community. Additionally, wolves have been made the scapegoat for the U.P.’s declining deer-hunting economy. There is no evidence that wolves are decimating the deer population nor impacting the hunting economy. If anything, wolves are culling those with chronic wasting disease. Wolves are beneficial that way–that’s why they’re integral to our ecosystem.
There is yet another stated reason for urging a wolf hunt–one that may explain why Sen. McBroom, a fourth-generation dairyman, has taken up its cause. It is true that wolves will target livestock on occasion–they are predators after all. But in Michigan’s U.P., there are approximately five reports annually of livestock loss, five out of thousands of head. Now, no one wishes loss of livestock upon our struggling farmers. But a broadly scoped hunt is not the answer. In the U.P., wildlife experts encourage nonlethal deterrents focused on a specific pack affecting a specific herd.
I’ve touched on the more vocal reasons for S. Res. 15, but there’s one powerful, unspoken reason: the sport. This aspect appears to shed light on Sen. Bumstead’s cosponsorship of the resolution. A trophy hunter himself, the senator boasts of travel to the far reaches of the Arctic, northern Australia, and even Africa. Surely, he empathizes with the hunters’ desire. But he knows a threat to such a hunt looms on the horizon: the movement to relist wolves as endangered species. Sport/trophy hunters are scrambling to force a hunt before the door closes. It happened recently in Wisconsin, and it’s happening here now.
In summary, the real reason for S. Res. 15 may remain unspoken, but we hear it loud and clear: There’s enough wolves already. Let’s hunt them while we can!