There has been some disagreement and protest about the wolf hunt in Minnesota this year. The grass is certainly not greener on the other side of the pond. On January 15, the Russian Siberian Republic of Yakutia began a war on wolves. Of the estimated 3,500 wolves in the area, the Republic plans to kill 3,000 of the animals. Monetary rewards will be paid to the top hunters and trappers. This effort is in dramatic contrast to Minnesota DNR wolf management program. In a controversial, but tightly controlled fee-based public hunt, which has just concluded, approximately 400 of the state’s estimated population of 3,500 wolves were killed. Although I have not seen many wolves in Minnesota, I have had frequent encounters with arctic wolves in the Northwest Territories and Nunavut. I have been within a few feet of wolves several times and they have never acted aggressively. I have mixed feelings on the hunt. Wolves are intelligent and the hunt will make them even more wary. Hunters next year are going to find filling tags a lot more challenging, and I think canoeists and winter trekkers are going to find hunted wolves more reclusive than ever. Maybe the hunt will minimize wolves hanging around farms and rural homesteads and killing stock or threatening kids at bus stops. So maybe this is an ounce of prevention to prevent a pound of cure. But that seems a stretch. The Russian killing spree makes me sad and reminds me of American plans to build more coal fired energy plants.
Like the summer song of the loon the winter chorus of wolves reminds me I am alive and part of the circle of life. I do not believe culling 10% of their population does in any way endanger their continued recovery, and they do make nice parka trim, but I have no interest in killing one.