September 2003 Poll:
The modern hunter is by definition a conservationist. The last century has seen the rise of North American species that were near the brink of collapse or locally extinct in the late 1800's, the victims of habitat lose or over hunting. The hunters willingness to accept license fees and bag limits, for what had been previously considered a free commodity, setup an economic engine that produced hard cash for species rehabilitation. Some of the notable benefactors have been:
- Canadian Geese
- Southern and Eastern Whitetail
- Rocky Mountain Elk (reintroduction into several Midwestern and eastern states)
- Eastern Black Bear
North American big game are on the rise and the future looks bright, but with more game comes more predators and no predator draws more attention than the wolf.
When talk turns to wolves the otherwise conservationist hunter stumbles a bit and for good reason. Wolves compete with humans directly for the same game we covet, plus, like other big predators, wolves can be a threat to people living in proximity to packs. Furthermore in some circles, like the National Park System, wolves are usually considered a superior deer and elk population control method than people.
However, as fiendish as wolves may be, a true conservationist strives to obtain some balance in nature and there is no more critical balance than that of predator and prey. In other words, it is impossible to call oneself a conservationist without accepting that more prey requires more predators.
Do you, as a hunter, accept growing wolf populations in North American? If so, what are the limits to which you will accept wolves? Are there any (or all) situations where wolves are unacceptable? Or is the wolf debate just a lot of fuss over nothing?
[ This Message was edited by: moderator on 2003-09-05 14:41 ]