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Letter: ‘Dances on Wolves’ disagrees with Jan. 20 letter

By Staff | Jan 28, 2022

STK- letter to the editor

In his January 20, 2022, Letter to the Editor, Monte Pilling encouraged us to write to the Department of the Interior to re-list gray wolves as an endangered species. I take an opposite view:  We should write to Secretary Haaland and congratulate her department for finally taking steps to control the top predator in the food chain in North America.

During the Obama Administration, the State of Utah sent letters to the government requesting more state control over its wildlife and specifying that Utah did not support establishment of a wolf pack; no answer came until the Trump Administration delisted the gray wolf under the Endangered Species Act. I am a former Wyoming resident and a big game hunter.

I was given the nickname, “Dances on Wolves,” while attending the Army Management Staff College in 1995, the year of the reintroduction of wolves into Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho. I gave a presentation pointing out the difference between the “Walt Disney wolf” dancing in the flowers, and the real apex killer.

I pointed out examples of sleighs being attacked by famished wolves on the Steppes of Russia, miners tracked and killed in Northern Canada, and, of course, the ranchers’ livestock slaughter in the Western U.S. which prompted intervention by the government in the early 1900s. My dad was in fact a government Predator Control Officer.

A few years after the wolf reintroduction, hunters and outfitters — who were losing their livelihood because of the stark diminution of elk, moose and deer populations — scoffed at the popular term, “charismatic wolves.”

In my hometown of Jackson, Wyoming, tourists enjoy riding sleds in the winter to watch the feeding of the elk herd on the National Refuge north of town. A few years ago, the tourists were aghast to see a wolf pack come onto the Refuge and begin disemboweling the elk in front of them!

A final word about conservation and wildlife management: “Both hunters and non-hunters care about the protection of lands for future generations… regulated hunting does not cause species to become endangered or extinct… hunters continue to contribute to the long-term sustainability of all wildlife [because] hunting pays for much of the funding for conservation throughout North America through their license fees and excise taxes on hunting and shooting equipment… [and] the overall health of the ecosystem will be better.” (American Hunter Magazine, December 2021, p.35)

Craig Cheney, Provo

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