My wife stepped out of the front door of our central Montana mountain home, and something moving to her right caught her eye. She froze in her tracks.
It was a large Canadian gray wolf, ambling across our driveway, on its way to its next meal – probably one of the many whitetail deer that bedded down on our property every night. Or maybe one of the neighbor’s new calves.
“That is one scary animal,” she said. “I couldn’t believe how big he was.” We had been worried about letting our small and admittedly wimpy dachshund, Stretch, out of the house without watching him. With so many eagles and mountain lions in the area he could easily end up as somebody’s evening snack. Now we had wolves to worry about, too.
In 1995 the Clinton administration, under cover of the Endangered Species Act, set out to “reintroduce” wolves to the Yellowstone Basin of Montana. It was not a true reintroduction, because the wolves that were relocated to the Yellowstone were Mackenzie Valley wolves, also known as the Canadian gray wolf. These wolves had never populated the Yellowstone. The only wolves indigenous to the area were Northern Rocky Mountain wolves, a smaller and less aggressive species. Northerns were eradicated from this part of Montana back in the 1920s by cattle ranchers protecting their herds, but are thriving in other areas.
Neither species is endangered. Far from it, in fact. They exist in great abundance throughout the northern US and Canada. Wolves are prolific hunters and reproduce rapidly, causing many to question why this expensive and destructive program was ever even considered.
Government planners claim to have originally intended a population of 300 wolves in the Yellowstone area. Within a few years the population exploded by the thousands and their hunting ranges had expanded to include the entire Rocky Mountain front, with migration as far as the Black Hills of South Dakota and the Wasatch range in Utah. Southwestern Montana’s world-class elk herd was decimated, along with a significant portion of the moose population. Hunting in southern Montana died, taking many hunting-dependent towns and small businesses with it.
Meanwhile, environmentalists embraced and encouraged the pro-wolf agenda. After all, the wolves were not on their property, dining on their livestock and hamstringing defenseless newborn elk and moose calves in their back yards. Taxpayer-funded programs were implemented to compensate ranchers for the loss of livestock to wolves, but in most cases it was totally insufficient.
Wolves don’t kill for food only. Mass killings of animals, especially during birthing season, have been observed, as reported by LewistownLivestock.com:
“We raise both cattle and sheep. During the past year we have witnessed more “joy” killing by wolves – animals that were alive with their guts hanging out or torn up so badly in the hind quarters they had to be euthanized. We’ve lost two yearling steers weighing over 600 pounds. We’ve lost several ewes and over 25 lambs. These brutal attacks have brought lots of tears. I had to look at my ewes that had their guts torn out and lying on the ground still alive and tell them there was nothing I could do. We live only 100 yards off Highway 1. These attacks occurred within 1/4 mile of our house. We have elk on our property, and the wolves passed right through them to come down and kill our livestock; so NO, wolves don’t just prey on wild game.” – Leslie Boomer, Boomer Ranch, Drummond
In the absence of any justifiable reason for the reintroduction of wolves to the Yellowstone Basin, critics of the program suspect ulterior motives, ranging from gun control and the elimination of the hunting pastime and industry to the unambiguous Agenda 21 objective of returning the Mountain West to its aboriginal state, unscathed by human influence.
The Endangered Species Act is one of many government initiatives that started with pure motives, but was co-opted for unrelated purposes and resulted in horrific unintended consequences. Is it right to sacrifice thousands of elk, moose, and other wild game – not to mention privately owned livestock, the very livelihood of ranchers – in exchange for packs of predators that are not endangered in any way?
This article is available in its entirety at Watchdog Arena.
Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side
In touch with the ground,
I’m on the hunt down I’m after you,
Smell like I sound, I’m lost in a crowd.
And I’m hungry like the wolf.
Straddle the line, in discord and rhyme
I’m on the hunt down I’m after you.
Mouth is alive with juices like wine,
And I’m hungry like the wolf!