Bill Pickell’s letter in reply to my little precis on Washington wolves is really “fraught with misunderstanding.” Pickell gives kudos to the state game manager’s method of killing wildlife from the air, as they do in Alaska. I, and others, feel that is poor. Apparently, Pickell is unable to grasp the fact that wildlife, including wolves, have a right to exist on wild lands as much as some rancher’s cattle.
Mr. Pickell states that it is hard for hunters to kill wolves in the wild. The old boys from the 1800’s and early 20th century would laugh at that belief. The wolves of the lower 48 states were exterminated. If a few packs are trying to make a comeback, “kudos” to them.
Nowhere do I profess to be an advocate of predator reintroduction, but for game managers and ranchers and Bill Pickell to react as if wolves were enemies here in the 21st Century smacks of shortsightedness. I believe it’s obvious as a supposed enviro and a longtime big game hunter, along with my son and grandson, that of course I am concerned about the future of all wildlife in our fair land. Pickell states there was a good reason our predecessors eliminated wolves in the past. He doesn’t mention the near extinction of our big game herds, elk, deer, buffalo, etc. by human hunters.
My father raised beef on our farm on the Upper East Hoquiam in the 1950s until the powers that be ended free range. This was about the time the large timber companies were paying trappers to snare and kill black bears that were a dire threat to the conifers. Both species are still here. Dad lost calves to bears, coyotes and cougars, but he didn’t trap or snare. We took them by the gun. Sometimes with the help from hound men and their wonderful hunting dogs. Hound hunting for cougars and bear has ended.
In Washington State there are fewer hunters and a lot more people and still quite a few cows. Apparently, there is enough game department personnel to keep those wolf numbers down to manageable levels with, as Pickell states, the “dirt cheap” method of killing these animals by helicopter sharpshooters.
Sure seems “cheap” to me.