Weird world of “hunting”

My Dad was a hunter.  So was his.  They hunted grouse and were successful. They ate them all.  They hunted deer once.  Got 2. Needed help eating the venison.  They could not find takers to help eat the meat.  Never went deer hunting again.  Shot an old rabbit by accident.  Grandma couldn’t tenderize it enough to eat it, so they stopped hunting.

I get people who hunt to eat and have no problem with that.  I don’t understand hunting just to kill something.  For example, Wisconsin held a wolf hunt.  The goal was 199 wolves.  In two days, over 200 reported.  More were likely unreported.  Wolf pups killed in their dens.  Pregnant wolves shot.  Wolves were baited, and dogs chased them to exhaustion.  How is this hunting?

The Wildlife Service killed 62,000 coyotes in 2019.  Tens of thousands were killed with cyanide bombs (M44s).  Seriously we are bombing wildlife with cyanide?  What could possibly go wrong with that?  I do not believe this was intended when the 1931 Animal Damage Control Act was passed.  We can far better manage wildlife than by bombs. 

The weird view of hunting, along with changes in land use due to agriculture and development create severe risks for wildlife.  The figure shows the circles that indicate the number to threatened wildlife in the US.  Ok, I live in the worst state – Florida (or Floriduh).  But there are risks all over.  Some are trying to help.  The St Vincent National Wildlife Refuge in North Carolina is the last stand for the red wolf.  Colorado voted to introduce wolves to the state (they are already there but in tiny numbers).

Let’s look at a different picture – how much are these wild resources worth (alive). Efforts to remove unneeded dames to restore salmon runs has gained strength out west.  The Glines Canyon dam on Washington’s Elwha River is one that is gone.  No one wants wild salmon to go extinct, and their value appears to be high.  The Nisqualy Refuge in Puget Sound is valued at $3.2 billion per year (just under 800 ac).  In Klamath Reservoir in Klamath Falls, minus the salmon – over $1 billion per year.  The Everglades – billions in visitors, billions more in water supply benefits we cannot calculate.  Four million visitors to Rocky Mountain National Park will be billions in local economic activity as well.  We need to look at wild places as both a great environment to visit, but to protect them for the economic value they provide to local economies.  Maybe that can flip the tide.

BTW – Colorado has wolf pups for the first time in nearly 100 years – and they were not introduced.  Nature has a way if we just let her!!


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