There was once a time when wolves populated almost every state in our nation before being exterminated by traps, poisoning, and shooting.  The result of this indiscriminate slaughter was so devastating that the gray wolf became an endangered species.

Unfortunately, we have learned very little from this horrible episode.  Since those years, some of the wolf numbers have rebounded, and despite overwhelming resentment from Americans, the wolf  lost its protection under the Endangered Species Act and has become fair game once again in Western states like Idaho, Montana and Wyoming.

The proponents of this hunting campaign are mostly ranchers and people conditioned to hate wolves by generations of ignorance and propaganda, uniquely designed to downplay the role of this animal and its significance in the natural world.  We can also add a large segment of "sport hunters," intent on killing wolves because of its "trophy," status. 

The United States Fish and Wildlife Service is also a major culprit in the battle waged against the wolf because it is the agency that approved the hunts.  In Idaho, there are actually no limits on the amount of wolves killed in the state, as long as at least 150 survive, including those injured or maimed.  Idaho has set an even more deadly precedent for the first time in modern history, by allowing the use of traps and snares.  These two methods are among the cruelest and most barbaric of anything in existence, because many domestic pets encounter them and become fatalities as a result. 

In Wyoming, where wolf hatred is at its peak, no hunting license is required and wolves are shot on sight.  They are also killed during the "Denning season," when the wolves are trying to raise their young.  This compounds the suffering because the wolf pups will not survive once their parents are killed.  In Montana, where the total population of wolves is around 5oo, the goal is to kill over 40% of the animals.    

As a Naturalist, I could never understand how these wildlife agencies can so accurately predict the numbers of animals killed and the number of survivors that stay in their environment.  I have debated hunters and wildlife officials on this particular issue with never a sensible answer to defend their actions or statistics.

Despite all the non sensible propaganda designed to brainwash Americans into believing that hunting is necessary to achieve a general balance in wildlife populations, it is the final act against nature.  It is the ultimate contradiction under the guise of conservation. 

For those of us that treasure our wildlife heritage, it is imperative to continue fighting special interest groups, and demand a more natural balance in our ecosystems, based on sound principles of ecology, rather than those biased forms whose sole purpose is to support the hunting lobby.