The Seattle Times is finally catching up on its wolf war coverage, but public reaction to Friday’s wolf update about plans to kill at least four of the predators is as interesting, if not moreso – and telling – than the story.
What becomes quickly obvious from reading many of those comments is that some wolf advocates rank among the worst social bigots on the landscape.
The report comes just as the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation has released information about surpassing $400,000 in grants to advance wolf science, and two days after Northwest Sportsman published its latest update on wolves. That Seattle-based hook-and-bullet publication has been tracking Washington’s wolf invasion since the first issue hit magazine stands about four years ago, according to editor Andy Walgamott.
This column has also followed the wolf controversy, which shows no signs of simmering down.
Washington is not alone in its wolf battle. In Wisconsin, according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, a hunt is going forward. In Minnesota, money is running out for compensating ranchers and farmers for livestock losses to the predators.
In Wyoming, according to Safari Club International, people are preparing for the Sept. 30 de-listing of wolves as endangered species by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. The Los Angeles Times editorialized that the Wyoming wolf management plan is a looming disaster, underscoring what appears to be central to the controversy.
Like most wolf advocates, the Times’ editorial writers do not live or make their livings in wolf habitat. They enjoy the insulation of distance, and that is at least somewhat reflected in the public comments appearing in the Seattle Times.
There is no shortage of social bigotry aimed at ranchers in the Seattle Times, including comments about “white trash ranchers” and “welfare ranchers” in The Wedge area of Northeast Washington, discussed previously by this column.
Over on the Northwest Hikers forum, hunters are portrayed by one wolf advocate as wanton killers. On the Hunting-Washington forum, hunters are unanimously in support of removing wolves that attack cattle in The Wedge.
Big game hunting seasons are now open again in Washington for archers, and soon black powder hunters will also be afield. The early high country buck hunt runs Sept. 15-25. In mid-October, general rifle buck seasons will open, with general bull elk hunting to follow.
Hunters are concerned that expanding wolf populations could decimate the game herds. Wolf advocates will contend that these are selfish concerns because hunters would have less game to kill, but that demonstrates the ignorance of anti-hunters.
For generations, hunters have invested millions of dollars and man-hours to benefit wildlife. The aforementioned Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and Safari Club International are but two hunting organizations that have raised and spent small fortunes to enhance wildlife populations and secure habitat. Those efforts benefit non-game species as well, even wolves.
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