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Season of Shame

The hunting season has begun for killing wolves. Given the fact that the state agency involved in allowing this, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, continues to use flawed IPom data for counting wolves in the wild, it is but one of the reasons this hunt should be stopped. It is tiring, in this day and time, that hunters continue to complain that there are no elk and deer anymore when, again and again, the data shows record numbers and endless shoulder seasons that make clear the reality that wolves are not impacting deer and elk numbers. But they have an important role in keeping chronic wasting disease in check by killing the sick and weak animals. Trappers and groups like the Foundation for Wildlife Management continue to push the idea that we are above numbers with wolves while profiting with every kill. These groups need to understand that wolves are valuable to the health of the forest waterways and are not to be used as bad vs. good animals. All wildlife is part of the matrix that makes life possible for all animals and people. The idea that suddenly they are killing on behalf of livestock producers is yet another myth that such groups use to their advantage.

Grazing cattle on public lands is a privilege, not a right. Like any business, there are risks. More cattle die from falling than killed by wolves. More die from disease than wolves. More die from storms than wolves. Less than half of one percent die from wolves, yet these groups act as though they are ranchers’ saviors; they are not. They are exploiters looking to rationalize their actions, which result in the torture, suffering, and destruction of packs that work in a cohesive manner. Hunters that buy into this are allowing themselves to be used and are killing not for food or sport but to destroy a vital part of what makes our lands healthy and our herds thrive. Our Governor and the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Commission bear the brunt of the blame. They continue to ignore the will of the people in this state who do not want wolves killed. They continue to manage wildlife to the brink of extinction while telling the federal government they can now manage grizzlies. This is while they systematically destroy wolves in the wild.

Governor Gianforte continues with an 1880s mentality when it comes to predators, and in the end, such policies deny the citizens of our state a basic right- the ability to see animals in the wild. We cannot allow this non-science-based logic to continue, and several important lawsuits may stop these actions, and they should.

So here we are in 2023, and we are going back in time as the guns of autumn point their weapons at this beautiful and wild animal, with the full support of those who are in theory, changed with managing wildlife. Wolves and other predator species are self-regulating; the reality remains it’s people that need the management.

What hunters should do is boycott the killing of wolves and their voice should lead all of us who are asking for an end to this bloody and senseless slaughter be stopped. That is what Aldo Leopold taught us about the ethics of such a sport.

Only then can we begin to cleanse away the disgrace associated with the senseless killing of wolves in Montana.

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