In air defense, it’s called chaff. It’s the stuff–originally shredded aluminum foil, now a fiberglass material coated with aluminum–that’s sent aloft to confuse an enemy’s radar by creating a cloud of false target echoes.

In a military context it works by creating so many “pings” that a radar system can’t tell what’s real and what’s fake.

I mention it here because all the frivolous lawsuits, hysterical news releases and hand-wringing fundraising appeals by groups opposed to wolf hunting are so much chaff. But they’re working to confuse those clear-minded Americans who don’t have a problem with hunting wolves so long as it’s done sustainably.

How many of you have tuned out the legal status of wolves just because it’s so confusing and ever-changing? Are they still classified as an endangered species or will we be able to hunt them this fall? Are Great Lakes and Rocky Mountain populations of wolves treated the same? Is it a shoot-on-sight season or do I have to buy a license? Didn’t the Obama Administration make it easier to hunt wolves?

The legal landscape changes so often it can be hard to know what’s real and what’s propaganda, and if you’re confused imagine how baffled most Americans are about the whole wolf issue.

And that’s exactly what the anti-hunters want. It’s the same strategy adopted by radical environmentalists, who have successfully used the legal system to appeal every logging or resource extraction effort of the last decade. As long as they can keep the legal definition of wolves and wolf hunting fuzzy, they will keep hunters and neutral Americans from investing in the notion that wolves should be treated just like every other wildlife species. Legal hunting should be the primary population management tool.

So to be clear, and to keep your eyes on the goal, here’s the status of wolves in America:

– In the Great Lakes, the Humane Society of the United States last month convinced a federal court that state game agencies hadn’t done enough to justify a hunting season. So management of wolves in Wisconsin, Michigan and Minnesota are back under federal control. Hunting is at least five years away.

– In Montana last week the state’s game commission proposed a quota of 75 wolves for a hunting season that could begin this fall. Licenses would be $19 for Montana residents, $350 for nonresidents.

– Idaho is expected to issue tentative quotas and a season structure for a wolf hunt that could begin as early as this fall.

And you can bet that Defenders of Wildlife, the Humane Society and other lunatic fringers will do their best to confuse you by sending aloft more legal chaff. Time, it seems, is on their side, even if reason is on our side.