Once again Michigan voters are faced with an issue that affects perhaps only a few but which could be decided by the many, the proposal regarding wolf hunts in the state.
First let me say that I am not in favor of hunting wolves. These wonderfully intelligent animals only recently were removed from the endangered list in the state and in my opinion should have the opportunity to reestablish their population. My opinion is based only on emoitons, not on facts.
I understand that some animals have decided it is easier to prey on cattle or other live stock and these problem wolves need to be “removed” from the population, but hunt a wolf, I don’t think so. I do not say this because I am a non hunter, I too hunt and I fish and enjoy doing it.
This being said, I also see the reason some may want a wolf hunt and it is clearly a difficult issue to decide.
But regardless of how I feel in a purely emotional sense, it is my decision is to vote to allow the hunt so experts can decide what is the best course to follow. Because I am not an expert and neither are most of the people in the state and the information we have all been receiving make it in my opinion, impossible to make an educated choice to ban the hunt.
First off the problem I am seeing in both the pro and anti wolf hunting sides is the fact that much of what is being said is driven by misinformation and emotion.
The anti side is spouting that hunters only want a wolf season out of hate for the animal and they imply that they support “ethical hunters”. Statements have also been made that hunters will be allowed to wipe out wolves or hunt them in unethical ways, all of which is untrue. What is true is that the drive against the wolf hunt is a bit more complex and it is intentionally kept that way.
The driving force behind the organization “Keep Michigan Wolves Safe” is the Humane Society of the United States, a group well known for opposing all hunting and fishing, all animal production for food, circuses, zoos, labs and just about anything else you can think of when it comes to animals. Some of their stances, in regards to commercial feed lots for cattle, I may agree with, but the group should be honest and say who they are when it comes to opposing or supporting an issue.
Many of the claims being made by the group, like the hunt would wipe out wolves or it would not be controlled is totally false. Any hunt would be strictly regulated by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources based on information of trained biologists, naturalists and other experts. In other words, any and all decisions would be based on science, not emotion.
And then we have the pro wolf hunting side. From this group you will hear rhetoric that also borders on ridiculous.
First up is the claim that wolves attack humans. This has been said in many of the interviews that have taken place. I heard this on a radio interview with a gentleman just recently on WWJ radio. Well it is false, plain and simple. There have been no reports of wolves anywhere in Michigan attacking people in modern times I and would be very surprised if you found any in the nation.
Add to this claims that wolves were in front of a day care center in the Upper Peninsula that had to be destroyed, again this never took place, there is no record of this ever happening.
One truth is that wolves have done a good amount of damage to livestock in the U.P. and to pets that have been allowed to run free in the woods. Well the same pets that became lunch would no doubt dine on smaller prey if they had the chance, because after all, dogs are just long lost cousins of wolves. And honestly I am a lot more worried about semi-feral dogs than any of the truly wild animals in the Upper Peninsula.
But for me what it comes down to is a very simple fact. I am not a wolf expert and I personally know of only one person that I look to as an expert. She is passionate about protecting wolves, about making sure this wonderful animal gets all it needs to survive and she said I was off base for not looking at the possible need for a wolf hunt. As I said, this is an individual who is educated and experienced in environmental issues and a lover of the wolf.
It is pretty hard for me to say “no you are wrong”, when like the vast majority of people who will be voting Tuesday, I truly do not have the expertise to make a decision based on facts. I trust the trained biologists and naturalists in the state more than my emotional reaction to the wolf.
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