HOWL Colorado

Wisconsin hunters killing wolves at a record rate

The hunting season is only 19 days old and already, Wisconsin hunters have claimed the lives of almost 200 wolves – setting an alarming and unprecedented pace in what can only be called a slaughter.

At a rate of nearly 10 wolves a day, the kill rate is scarily high. The current death toll is 188 (as of November 04).

The decisions being made behind this hunt are primarily handled by the Wolf Advisory Committee, and it’s clear that the impact of embedded special interests is being heavily felt by Wisconsin’s wolf population.

The committee has reportedly weeded out the inconvenient scientific types and inserted special interests such as hunting, livestock and trapping. According to the Defenders of Wildlife no outside scientists are on the committee and only one pro-wolf advocate. Seven representatives from the special interests listed above are on the committee, however.

This specific, determined and intentional move away from science-based management doesn’t just limited to Wisconsin, but it might be at it’s most blatant in the state and wolves are paying the price.

If left to these special interests, wolves will number in the dozens in the state and the impact on their survival and the surrounding ecology will be damaging to an unpredictable and devastating degree. There is no way to truly predict the fallout but we do know a few things.

1) Livestock owners lose a tiny percentage of their animals to predation of any kind, and the percentage which wolves contribute to that is a fraction (almost the lowest contributor) of even that low number

2) Only 6% of Americans hunt. Only a small fraction of them hunt for subsistence. This means that the selfish desires of a small number of blood sportsmen is controlling the fate of hundreds if not thousands of wolves.

3) Science is at its best, truly objective. Humans, and therefore scientists, are perhaps not, but science should be the core, and largest contributor to all decisions related to wildlife management. This doesn’t mean that the special interests aren’t considered, it means that those with a scientific mindset will consider the special interests at the correct weight, and that of course scares special interests since as you have seen in the previous 2 points, that they represent a tiny percentage of puzzle.

HOWLColorado isn’t naive. We understand that no matter our personal preferences, wolves will be managed by local government. We also understand the importance of ensuring that objective goals are established accounting for all the interests involved, including the wolves!

Science can offer entire models based on observed evidence that can realistically, objectively and accurately predict the impacts of decisions on any given system, and this decision making tool has been abandoned by many states – and this has to change!

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