HOWL Colorado

Hunters aim to get upper hand in Washington state wolf plan debate

Hunters are actively seeking to gain the upper hand in the ongoing debate about the wolf management plan in Washington state, which is currently in the public comment phase.

Disturbingly, hunters are suggesting that wolves returning to the state would expose humans to predation by those animals.  Read Scott Sandsberry’s article here.

The article highlights how the hunting activists are providing the biggest voice at the public meetings thus far through political-style mobilization and seems to seek to encourage fear and ignores the facts. The preferred plan, which many hope Washington will adopt, might be at risk if the hunters get their way.

I do have a problem with Scott Sandsberry’s work on this article. Writing lines such as “before they start hunting the elk, the deer and, perhaps, us.” without dropping in statistical information of any kind is, in my opinion, irresponsible.

Mr. Sandsberry did respond to my direct criticism:

“reporting the opinion of activists at a public hearing is precisely what a news story very often does. I was covering a meeting and quoting the people who were at the meeting, and writing on deadline (the story went to print 55 minutes after the meeting ended) to fill an exact hole. That was the assignment. For me to “challenge the statements with fact” on a story that was going to run 20 inches and not an inch more would have been both a waste of time and a waste of space, not to mention editorializing”

I wish to acknowledge an appreciation for Mr. Sandsberry taking a moment to respond. And leave it up to the readers of this editorial to form their own opinions.

If you need specific data to counter this dangerous myth, you can visit Wolf Facts and learn about the true risks to humans posed by wolves. 

Of the 27 documented wolf attacks in the last century, 21 of them are associated to wolves which had been fed by humans.  This points to a problem which is constantly recurring with many animals in the American wilderness. Don’t feed wild animals, no matter how cute they are.

Feeding a wild animal establishes your home or property as part of their territory. Territorial defense doesn’t allow for the wolves to “remember” you being nice to them. Once it is established that you are in their territory, a wild animal will defend that territory, much like they would against any other competitor, which is how they will see your dog or you. Territorial defense will typically not reach deadly levels as the main goal is to avoid personal injuries and make the competitor leave.

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