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Hunting wolves. Warning: My opinion.

Wolves on a carcass in the Lamar

Wolves on a carcass in the Lamar

Three wolves on a carcass

Four wolves on a carcass

Wolf eating fish it caught in the Lamar

Wolf eating fish it caught in the Lamar

I live in Wyoming and as of 2009, wolves are still on the endangered species list here and are not being hunted.  At least by people who paid for the ‘privilege’.  Yes, they are still being hunted by the Feds here under Wildlife Services.

Today I took a hike in an area where the Beartooth Pack is sometimes spotted.  There is hunting allowed right around Cooke City, Montana.  I suppose wolves from that pack might be wandering in those parts as well right now and get shot, legally.  But for now I was glad that wolf hunting is not allowed where I live.

I’ve already written about some of my feelings regarding hunting.  I have no problem with hunting game for meat, as long as the fight is fair.  But hunting a predator just for the sport of it, or rather the ‘spite’ of it, makes me cringe.  It has the same ring as the extermination of the Bison resounding in its hollows.

Killing a wolf that’s killing one’s lifestock has a purpose.  Killing randomly to ‘manage’ wolves smells of bowing to the sector that vehemently hates wolves.  Wolves are social animals.  We don’t eat them.  Do we eat dogs?

Wolves, you might say, are wild, not domesticated, and therefore we must limit them. But random killing of wolves does not necessarily have any relation to which wolf or wolves will go after livestock.  Its just random killing without our knowledge of pack hierarchy or age.

Basically, dogs are really only a few generations away from being wild and running in packs.  They are the wolves we allow ourselves to love.  They are our companions because, like the wolves they came from, they respond to a family unit, are loyal, and have feelings for each other and for us.  They actually have human-like qualities.

My dog is so human-like!

My dog is so human-like! He's the coolest.

My own dog will happily and readily chew on elk and deer bones he finds.  But he shies away from dead coyotes.  He knows the difference.

Killing wolves violates my basic objection to hunting today:  we do not hunt in a sacred manner.  We do not acknowledge the life we are taking to feed our lives.  The prey is only object and its’ very aliveness that we are taking away, is never felt nor honored.

Many people put their animals down humanely.  Most people can acknowledge the suffering and feelings of their cat, dog, or horse.  Somehow this doesn’t translate to the hunt. To actually acknowledge the sentience of living creatures would change a hunter at the core of his or her being.  He would be saying a prayer for that animal while they died.  Hunting would be a sacred ritual, right up there with going to church.

Hunting wolves is purely sport at best, and at its worst it reeks of revenge and hatred.  I cannot emotionally support that kind of a hunt.  It brings out the worst in our humanity.  We can do better.

3 Responses

  1. Leslie,
    Celebrate our differences. Seek first to understand, then to be understood. It is enlightening.
    The third rape of the west by the “rich” folks who move here, and people who come to this wonderful country and put their avocations into print and vocal terms sometimes sets wrong to those of us who also treasure and seek to protect the vision we HAD of this place we grew up in. I love the fact that you cherish your neighbor old timers. We local spur wear wilderness wanderers tend to piss up high on the tallest plant around to call it our territory and native range, we think we have the short route to truth. We aren’t always wrong. Nor are you.
    Wolves are a starting point in this new west discussion. You are messing with our paradigms, our culture.
    What the hell is the definition of culture, anyway? What is the truth? Is science the truth? If so, the the grizzly and the wolf are in good hands. I’d like to read a more in depth treatise on the subject from you on the above topics.
    I’m going to leave you a music CD hanging on your front gate post sometime in the next couple weeks. Be watching for it. Crank it up.


  2. Spurs . . .
    I’ve been celebrating the difference in Wyoming all my life. Grew up here too cowboy and found the older cowboys get the more they apprecaite the resources they spent their youth destroying. But the point is, homo wyomo (state’s official name for native wyomingite) has been in the employ of first, English cattle barons, then Union Pacific barons, then coal barons, then oil barons, then back to coal barons. . . and often reflect the opinions of those who pay them. Always been a vociferous crew. Making sure their voice is heard. That’s good. That’s Wyoming. It’s also Wyoming to stand by those you call friend. Leslie is my friend and I STAND WITH HER ON EVERY ISSUE PARD. Might be good for you, since you crave understanding to step out of the dark into the light and indentify yourself. Oh, yes, don’t be hanging anything on the fence line . . .that’s my fence line too and it’s posted. Keep in mind we stand on opposite sides of the fence and let it go. One last thing, The Shoshone National Forest belongs to everyone in the United States. Piss high on any tree you want but don’t make the mistake of calling it your country.
    Take it slow pard,


  3. “What the hell is the definition of culture, anyway?”

    Biker culture, cowboy culture, high culture, drug culture, even beanie baby culture. Good question.

    True culture as I define it, began to erode in the New World when Ponce de Leon arrived in Florida and returned with cows, pigs, and his diseases. Millions of people died before the Pilgrims ever set foot on this land, and the existing cultures and tribes here were forever disrupted. The ‘rape’ of the West was over long long ago. The rest of the story is shear exploitation, even up to and including today.

    Throughout time, men and women have looked up at the stars, lived under them close with Mother Earth, communicated with the non-human world, sang the odes and praises along with all creatures big, small, and non-moving. They understood their place in the Universe, and lived in the Center, including their own personal Center. Those who lived there most of the time, in all they did, were consider truly Wise and became the elders. People respected their wise men and their shamans.They went to them for advice and held consul with them.

    Over time, these people who lived in the Center created a Wisdom culture–a culture where every person could attempt to live connected with his or her Center. Their customs, rituals, and laws served to bring each person of the community into the fold of their own true center, the place of wisdom, the sacred space.

    I am not saying all cultures that were in the New World were based on this principal. Certainly many weren’t. We have no way of knowing how many were anymore. But many were, and there were many others all over the world long ago such as in Australia or Tibet.

    In my short lifetime, I have never witnessed a culture like that. I have never lived in one, and I honestly wonder if they still exist fully. There are still remnants of them here and there. That I am certain. But it saddens me and pains my heart that I do not expect to participate in or see a true Wisdom culture during my lifetime.

    That is my answer to your question you asked me to comment on: What is culture anyway? It is ‘Wisdom Culture’.


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