As advocates and educators, we must recognize that we will not change the mindset of those who hunt wolves for sport/recreation. We must continue the fight and advocate for a change in the laws.
We recently asked hunters to tell us why they oppose wolf hunting. The response was overwhelming - we heard from hunters across the country. So many responses were received that we cannot possibly list them all in one newsletter. As space permits, we will share their comments of others in future issues. If you are a hunter and would like to share your story, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Here is just a small sample of the comments we received:
"I'm a deer hunter, with both bow and rifle, and have been hunting for about 8 years. My husband has hunted deer and game birds for over 40 years. Several
|Bobbi Rongstad, Wisconsin |
years ago, we spent a week hiking in early spring on the land where my husband and some friends have hunted for 30 years. We counted the remains of 15 deer that had died of apparent starvation. There was no evidence of carnivore attacks; the deer had succumbed to the long winter. That's when I decided to join my husband in hunting deer. Better that they fill our freezer than suffer and die for lack of food.
We enjoy eating lean, organic venison, and we typically harvest and consume 2 deer per year. We don't kill things for sport.
Our hunting land has been home to a named wolf pack since the late 90s. We take note when we see their tracks, scat and on rare occasions, we see one. We've watched deer in close proximity when the wolves have howled within 40 acres. The deer pick up their heads and perhaps twitch an ear, but they don't run away.
Killing a wolf or any animal just for the sake of killing something is disturbing to me and many hunters. Wolves and deer can co-exist, as we've observed first hand."
Photo submitted by Stefanie Levina of Pennsylvania who said, "My family hunts deer provide food throughout the winter. They do not trophy hunts, nor do they support such things. Hunting wolves is very wrong and immoral in so many ways. My family was brought up to respect life."
Jeffery Loman hunts Deer, Caribou, Rabbit, various game birds in Michigan and Alaska "I have been hunting for more than 50 years. By the time I was born - the wolf was nearly gone from the UP. My grandfather was clear about the fact that the decision to exterminate the wolf was a monumental natural resource management mistake. The primary reason I oppose wolf hunting is that it defies efficient and effective natural resource management practice. This is especially the case at present when the carrying capacity of wolves has not been reached. Large predators like wolves play an extremely important role in maintaining the health of natural ecosystems."
In New York Bob has hunted deer, woodcock, grouse, ground hog; and in Michigan, deer, pheasant, woodcock and grouse. He writes, "I have been within two feet of wild wolves, on the ground and face to face... Once you experience the wolf you also would be against taking this individual. Man is the only critter where wolf lives that walks upright on two legs; the wolf encounter provides a connection. Such reverence both ways is impossible to experience in a predatory relationship."
Don Clark, of Georgia said, from "one hunter to another..." "I am writing this as a hunter, one who is on the behalf of another Hunter, the Wolf. I have been hunting since before I could walk good, at 2 years old. My grandfather would carry me...I hunt Whitetail deer, Wild Turkey, Rabbits and Wild Pigs, and elk. I oppose Wolf hunting because I was taught and feel that as a hunter, I am also a conservationist. Conservation is the reason that we have the abundant wildlife we have today. The Wolf was brought back from near extinction as part of Conservation efforts. He Is, the Apex predator, which is a valuable part of the Eco-systems he inhabits...Hunters alone cannot fill in the gaps in the wildest areas we have left..."
Barry W. Babcock of Minnesota has hunted Whitetail deer, Ruffed Grouse, Woodcock, Snowshoe hares and cottontails for forty-nine years. "I do not want to live and hunt in a state that is just another predator hating, turkey/deer state. I want to be in wild country and what gives our lives in the outdoors more meaning and value than being amongst timber wolves? A landscape without these "spires on an edifice building since the morning stars first sang together" is an unhealthy ecosystem. Hunters need to be reminded that the wolf, deer, eagle, and raven have lived together for eons. The gifts and qualities of elusitivity, wariness, and keen senses that the deer possesses are a product of the wolf chasing and testing them for untold centuries. The deer is a product of the wolf. A forest without wolves is an unhealthy forest. Be a good hunter - learn from the wolf."
Kevin Gene Burbank of South Carolina wrote, "I have been hunting for about 20 years, and I hunt for one reason, meat. I hunt mainly deer, but have hunted turkey and squirrel on occasion. I do not view hunting as a sport, and never have or will. To take a life that has given by the Creator to a fellow creature is not a game, and should only be done out of need. The ecology of this land has been ruined by the interference of man and over hunting for sport and blood lust and out of fear of misunderstood animals, instead of living in harmony with them."