Since Chris wrote about “wildlife services” being one of those oxymoronic names for a department dedicated to exterminating wildlife, I am compelled to mention Minnesota’s shame.
Minnesota has the largest population of wolves in the lower 48 states: a whole 3000, most in the North (none live near me). That’s something that should make us proud, that we can actually bring populations in balance naturally. Deer are experiencing a population explosion right now, and are also expanding their ranges farther north, where they’re also causing problems for moose.
The response of our legislature, though, has been to gleefully pass a law allowing thuggish motherfuckers to slaughter them. The first wolf hunt is scheduled for this weekend.
It’s always dismaying to hear “hunters” talk openly and proudly about their tactics.
Deer come for the food, and Smith said wolves come for the deer. He said where the tracks are, and which cameras the wolves show up on, help him determine where to hunt for the night.
Smith said he’s been a deer hunter for decades, and does it for the challenge. But he said he is hunting wolves because they’re killing the deer on his land. “Seventy-five percent of our does are without fawns this year,” he said.
The day before we spoke with Smith, we met Rep. Dave Dill, DFL-Crane Lake, on his hunting property just south of International Falls. Smith’s still hoping to take a wolf, but Dill told us he’s done it three times.
“Theres a thrill that you were able to conquer this,” Dill said.
Dill said he shot all three of his wolves in Canada over the course of many, many years. He authored the bill creating a wolf hunt in Minnesota, for recreation, and population management. He called them the most elusive animal in the state. “It’s a survivor because it’s the top of the food chain, and it knows exactly what to do when to do it.”
So this guy has hunting property where he maintains a population of deer that he kills “for the challenge”. He’s angry that wolves are killing his deer for food and survival. And he’s killing wolves (under a law he authored!) for recreation and “population management”, that universal euphemism for killing. He’s tracking them with hi-tech camera gear and shooting them with high-powered rifles, and calling it a “thrill”.
What an asshole. What a great big flaming asshole.
There are rational people opposing this hunt, but bigwigs of both parties (DFL, you win no brownie points with me on this one) are endorsing it, so it’s going to go on, and probably expand in later years as more happy sadists report their joy. But right now, the Humane Society, the Fund for Animals, the Center for Biodiversity, and Howling for Wolves all oppose the hunt. Unsurprisingly, the Department of Natural Resources and the US Fish and Wildlife Service all support it…but of course they would, because they might as well retitle themselves the Department of Blowing Miners and Cattlemen.
Some good news: the White Earth Nation has declared their entire reservation a wolf sanctuary, with no hunting allowed. The Red Lake tribe has done likewise.
I have a suggestion: let’s give the whole state back to the Indians. They seem to be the only ones with a sensible appreciation of what “wildlife” actually means.