A Howling Response

Letters from our readers.

A Howling Response
Regarding the article “A Howling in the West,” by Jim Zumbo [BRACKET “December/January”], I do not agree with eliminating one species in favor of leaving larger numbers of other species for our consumption. I believe that wolves are a part of the natural order of things in wilderness areas. When I enter a National Forest or Wilderness Area, I prefer that it be as close to a naturally wild place as possible. If that means there are fewer animals for me to hunt, then so be it. Sharing deer and elk with wolves is not a problem for me.

I agree with Jim that when wolf numbers are healthy in an area, hunting them should be allowed; not as a means to produce more game for us hunters but rather to sustain wolf numbers at a healthy level for available habitat.

Finally, I am quite willing for my tax dollars to be used to compensate ranchers for stock losses from wolf kills. It’s only fair.

-Name Withheld
Via e-mail

[pagebreak] I am an avid hunter and fisherman. I also hold a Master’s degree in Fisheries and Wildlife Biology. While there is no doubt that wolves will have an effect on the size of their prey base, the impact is not what hunters imagine it to be. Research shows that a wolf pack kills on average one large ungulate on a three-to-five-day basis. These predation numbers hardly have the impact that Mr. Zumbo alleges. Studies of moose/wolf relationships on Isle Royale show that only 1 in 3 encounters result in a chase; about 1 in 10 result in a kill.

Common sense needs to be used in the management of an animal that is absolutely essential to the overall health of the ecosystem. I have no problem with hunting or trapping wolves once their population is established and viable. Ranchers, farmers and homeowners should be allowed to protect their investments.

Michael W. Whaley
Pawleys Island, SC

Jim Zumbo Replies: Regarding the letter whose author asked that his name be withheld, you and I are pretty much on the same page, though I’ll repeat that I never wanted wolves in the first place. As for who compensates ranchers for stock losses, I think it’s fine if your tax dollars pay for it, but not mine. To Michael Whaley I would say that comparing wolves in the northern Rockies to the wolf/moose situation on Isle Royale is comparing apples to oranges. If you don’t believe the losses to our Western wildlife, come here yourself and count the number of elk calves, or try to find the moose that used to appear regularly. It’s easy to spout statistics from old studies, but we’re talking reality here.

[pagebreak] Gun-Toting Liberals
As a liberal hunter and gun-owning Democrat, I was happy to see the recent Snap Shots article acknowledging that I am not such an anomaly [BRACKET “”The Democratic Party Wants You,” February/March”].

Most Democrats I know aren’t interested in banning guns, only in “reasonable” regulation. And the fact remains that most proposed gun regulation has virtually no impact on hunters.

Frankly, I’m more worried about the government selling off the places where I camp, fish and hunt (or allowing industry to pollute those places with impunity) than I am about the government coming to get my guns.

Please continue to show that liberals and Democrats are not automatically enemies of gun owners and hunters.

Tim Howe
Wauconda, IL
[pagebreak]

Reading McManus
I would like personally to thank Pat McManus for the stories he has written over the years. On more than one occasion his stories helped my son to recover, first from meningitis in 2000 and then from an accident he sustained in the fall of 2002.

My son passed away in August 2003 at the age of 18. I read Pat’s stories to him daily until the day he died. I now read those stories when I’m feeling bblue (which is every single day), because I can still see my son’s face with a huge smile on it. My boy always told me that no one could read a McManus story like his mother, and I will cherish that every day of my life.

Laura J. Alanis
Via e-mail

Swamp Boars up North?
I live near the area where Michigan, Indiana and Ohio meet. I have never heard that we have any wild boars in our neck of the woods, but the map says we do. Is this map correct? I hunted boars years ago in Tennessee and really enjoyed it.

Gary Geeting
Battle Creek, MI

Editor’s note: According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which provided the map (as credited), you definitely have boars in your area. The problem is, feral hog populations are considered to be a “nuisance species” in most states, and as such, are in constant flux as landowners try to keep them in check. Hog populations are also extremely localized-even in their strongholds in the Deep South.