Wolf Border Wars - Colorado vs. Wyoming
By Brandon Mason
I recently read a horribly written article on www.wyofile.com relating to the challenges with managing wolves across state lines.
Why was it horribly written? The animal-rights spin in this article is disgusting AND equally disgusting is the representation of hunters by the hunters quoted in the article after they were federally investigated for shooting wolves on the Colorado-Wyoming state line.
It’s no secret that many in Colorado are making a push for growing the presence of wolves in their state. It’s no secret that Wyoming has a fairly aggressive wolf-management strategy (which I applaud). It’s also no secret that wolves are a hot button topic in the United States from east to west. Check out the interview from 1989 with Gordon Eastman regarding releasing wolves in Yellowstone National Park. He warned of the problems that would result from it.
Animal-Rights Spin and Misinformation
The author of the aforementioned article makes many erroneous statements such as:
- “a member of the first wolf pack documented in the state of Colorado since the 1940s.”
- CORRECT INFORMATION FROM THE COLORADO PARKS & WILDLIFE (CPW) WEBSITE FROM FEB. 13, 2020: “Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) biologists have received notification back from a genetics lab confirming that four scat samples collected near a scavenged elk carcass in Moffat County in early January came from wolves. This is the first official documentation of a pack of wolves in the state since the 1940s.”
- Notice this statement from the CPW doesn’t say what these wolves are from an original wolf pack in CO from the 1940s!
Wolves don’t just magically appear in a state that borders a state with a robust wolf population. They expand their range and move into the state next door just like any wildlife population will do when their numbers are expanding.
Next erroneous statement:
- “and it’s been blamed for Colorado’s lack of a functional wolf population nearly three decades after the native canines were reintroduced to Yellowstone National Park.”
- The wolves released in Yellowstone National Park were NOT native to the region. These released wolves, that came from Canada, are a larger species of wolves than the native wolves that existed in the region, and have been more devastating to other wildlife in the Greater Yellowstone Ecoregion than the wolves that originally lived in the area.
Another statement with “spin”:
- “They hang in the corner of one of his sons’ old bedrooms, used now only for storage.”
- The author wants to paint hunters as “killers” and as people that don’t appreciate the wildlife they are pursuing.
The entire article from Wyofile is giving wolves almost humanistic characteristics, referring to the “killings” of the wolves by the hunters and slamming the hunters for legally hunting wolves in Wyoming.
A Disgusting Representation of Hunters
Nothing galls me more than hunters acting in a way that paints all of us hunters in a bad light. The hunters in the article are quoted in the federal investigation as saying things like:
- “The one (f-word removed) wolf was behind us, wondering what we were, walking up the road, so [I] turned around and dumped him,” one of the hunters told Fish and Wildlife Service special agents in a telephone interview.
- As the interview concluded, one of the men told an agent: “All I can say is, expect more wolves to die over there because [name redacted] hasn’t shot one and we are going back over there this winter…”
- During the investigative interviews, a special agent asked one of the men, “How far on the north side of the gate (Wyoming side) were you?” According to an interview summary, the man hesitated for “eight seconds.” Then he replied: “Umm … shit, I wish I could remember how far down that road.”
Way to go guys. You are now on federal record acting like ignoramuses. This article does damage to hunters two-fold: 1) the animal-rights spin the author uses, and 2) the unsportsmanlike behavior of the hunters in question.
I have zero problem with them pursuing wolves in Wyoming but I have a major problem with some of their statements and antics.
READERS, Pay Attention
We all owe it to our ancestors and our children/grandchildren to do better and be better in the field. When we behave in the fashion the above-mentioned hunters behaved, we give so much ammunition to anti-hunters, and they are relentless in their pursuit of banning hunting and firearms.
When you are headed into the field, put your best behavior out there to be an example to everyone around you including those in your hunting party, other hunters and non-hunters. The future of what we all love is in jeopardy if we don’t!
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