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Michigan's wolf hunt
posted Thu, Jan 30 2014, 6:56am
A while back, we discussed the wolf hunt in Michigan. Many were opposed to it, worried that allowing wolves to be hunted would lead to their elimination. Well, the results are in.

There was a quota of 43 wolves to be killed in three areas of Michigan's upper peninsula. The official tally was 22 wolves reported killed. Hardly devastating. Since the killings were legal, I can only assume the tally is accurate. There may have been some more killed by poachers and unethical shooters, but 22 seems to be the official kill. I think the wolves have weathered the hunt well.

If trapping had been allowed, the total may have been much higher, but trapping was not an option. Seems wolves are much harder to hunt than anyone realized. 

I maintain that regulated hunting poses no threat to the over all population. 

Thoughts, opinions?
Re: Michigan's wolf hunt
posted Thu, Jan 30 2014, 3:27pm
Agreed, a lack of threat to the overall health of a species is what would define it as regulated hunting. 

I still say that this isn't a justification for the hunting of a species on its own, neither was some dogs being killed in the wolves' territory, nor if we don't kill some the less ethical will kill or trap more. Those are just arguments used by people who want to go out and shoot something. 

Personally, although I'd never understand it, I'd have a lot more respect for someone who said "look, I want to hunt a wolf because I think I'd enjoy it". 
Re: Michigan's wolf hunt
posted Fri, Jan 31 2014, 6:41am
The arguments you cite as specious are not. People up there do practice the Three S's.
I support the controlled hunting of wolves but have no desire to hunt them myself. I did not buy a license.

May I ask why there needs to be justification to hunt any species which has sustainable numbers? Also, what Reason would you require to label a hunt justifiable.

Re: Michigan's wolf hunt
posted Fri, Jan 31 2014, 8:52am
The arguments are in my opinion totally spurious, I'd be interested to see how you could rationally believe that the following are reasonable arguments;  a) I need to hunt it because when I take my domestic animals into their territory they react and harm them, b) If I don't kill some, other people will kill more, and finally c) because there are x number of these animals killing y amount is justified. 

Further, and obviously I'm only talking about non food animals, may I ask you why you feel that anyone has the right to kill an animal regardless of its numbers just because they find that pleasurable. Why would you think that was a natural urge in someone, before you mention our hunting instincts that's a myth. 

As to what reason I would accept for hunting a species (unless they were an invasive species) the answer is none, I would however accept the need to hunt certain individuals, or control numbers of certain populations for the following reasons; if they posed a significant economic threat, if they posed a danger to the public and lastly, and this isn't a likely one, to try and control the spread of disease or manage numbers which had become unsustainable for their food source. 
Re: Michigan's wolf hunt
posted Sun, Feb 2 2014, 6:56pm
You've already got your mind 100% decided.   There is no possible way to explain it to you.  Human beings are hunters.  Period.  You can try to suppress it all you want, and make believe you have some sort of enlightened outlook on the subject, but in the end, you are wrong.   That's just the way I see it. 

There is NEVER an attitude of hunting a "species" in the mind of a true hunter.   When the moment comes, and the hunter makes the conscious decision to respectfully take the life of another living, breathing creature, it is never a "species" it is always an individual.  

Yes I'm disgusted by the TV personality "hunters" and what the modern media driven world has made of them... many people who are drawn into that lie do consider themselves hunters but are sadly mistaken, and -as in 99% of the rest of their existence- they experience it as trivial and of little consequence.   More fools them. 
Re: Michigan's wolf hunt
posted Tue, Feb 4 2014, 10:56am
Well said. I'll give an example of how a real hunter may think. I love hunting squirrels but my family isn't crazy about the way they taste, so...when I hunt squirrels, I never kill more than three, although the limit is five. Three is enough to provide a meal. It's a self imposed limit. It's a small thing and Lord knows squirrels are not endangered. Not even close. But while I enjoy the hunt, the kill is inconsequential. If it was all about the kill, I'd shoot all the squirrels I can and load up the freezer. 

The best analogy I can give is this. To take a hike in the wilderness can be spiritually cleansing. We love to commune with nature. But nature is harsh, even brutal. For me, simply hiking in the woods is like watching a football game. Hunting is like suiting up and digging in on the line of scrimmage. I'm not just a spectator, I'm a participant in the true reality of nature.
Re: Michigan's wolf hunt
posted Tue, Feb 4 2014, 10:29am
1) Not spurious because it has happened.

2) This one is talked about all the time on various sites that I follow. If those who actually have to live with wolves don't feel the population is being kept under control, they WILL take matters in to their own hands. A quick internet search gives examples. In Michigan's upper peninsula, we have a lot of land and nowhere near enough COs to adequately patrol it. I've already seen posts, by 'sportsmen' regarding this year's hunt and the overall consensus is that the harvest was not enough. 

There is ongoing debate about African lions and their future in areas where hunting them may be banned. The general consensus, even by some conservationists, is that if lion hunting is banned, they will be relegated from a game animal to vermin and the villagers will indiscriminately kill lions through any means necessary to protect their livestock. As long as they are hunted as game animals, the hunter dollars provide benefits to the region and they have a value. Remove that incentive to protect them, and they suddenly have no value and their is no reason to protect them.

The outlook of many ranchers, farmers and residents living with wolves feel the same way. It's evident in such tag lines as, Save a wolf, Take it to a taxidermist. 

3) you have this one twisted a bit. A population able to sustain regulated hunting is not a reason to hunt them. But it proves population dynamics is not a reason to NOT hunt them.

I'm running out of room. Will do a second post.
Re: Michigan's wolf hunt
posted Thu, Feb 6 2014, 2:23pm
Firstly sorry I missed this reply, as the link disappeared from the front page. 

Anyway; firstly what are COs? Are they some sort of ranger? You say the farmers in the area will take matters into their own hands if the population isn't in some way controlled. 

Firstly and this is the thing that strikes me most about this argument, at no point have you cited any figures to support why these wolves need controlling, i.e X amount of dollars lost each year to predation. I'm assuming these figures are available of course. So due to the fact that you've never quoted them I take it to mean that isn't the reason why you for example (whom I think lives in the South) would support the hunting of animals in Michigan. I believe that may be more to do with the way you view yourself and the culture that you live in, to which I will return, at which time I shan't be criticising either. 

Although I may be wrong so I'll ask you have you ever seen those figures? If so why have you not used them to support your argument. 

As for those who will take matters into their own hands, that doesn't work as argument in support of anything. At one time in my country, Wales, we almost exterminated the Red Kite because our farmers swore it was driving them to ruin by slaughtering all their lambs. We used army patrols to stop them and they stopped. Our Skies are full of kites and our hills are quite literally overrun with sheep, and those who decided to break the law were arrested and punished, problem solved. 

Gerry I can't get use African lions as an example when we're discussing wolf hunting in the US the socio- economic factors are too different. Also whereas I had the impression that the only safe places for lions, or any other big predators these days were in the game reserves, what you seems to suggest that they're a lot more prevalent than I believe, either way I'd have to know more.

Thirdly; you have this one twisted a bit. A population able to sustain regulated hunting is not a reason to hunt them. But it proves population dynamics is not a reason to NOT hunt what I said.
But this statement makes no sense to me I'm afraid; But it proves population dynamics is not a reason to NOT hunt them.

Re: Michigan's wolf hunt
posted Fri, Feb 7 2014, 11:08am
COs are conservation officers, or what you may refer to as rangers. They enforce game laws. They are never enough of them, it seems, to adequately patrol huge territories. Therefore, poachers and violators have lowered chances of being caught. As an example, if I'm in the woods and see a wolf, I can shoot it and walk away with little chance of ever being caught. COs are some of the most dedicated law enforcement officers you'll find. Of course, those who aren't true sportsmen don't like them. I do and respect them because I have a solid ethical ground when it comes to being outdoors, often doing little things like bringing empty garbage bags in which I'll pick up trash and carry it out. 

Here, we aren't allowed by Constitutional law to use our military for regular law enforcement duties, unless drugs are involved. The ease with which poachers can kill game and get away with it does work as an argument for controlled hunting. 

Your confusion on my statement is probably due to poor explanation on my part. I don't know if I can do any better, but I'll try. We have a huge mourning dove population here and are one of very few states that does not allow a dove season. So the population dynamics is not a reason to allow hunting them. A referendum was voted on and hunting them was prohibited. But the population is such that if sentiment were to change (which it will not) population dynamics would not be enough to prevent a hunting season. There are plenty and the population can sustain a harvest. It's the same with the wolf population. It is viable enough to sustain a harvest. I'm still muddled, I'm afraid, lol.
Re: Michigan's wolf hunt
posted Tue, Feb 4 2014, 10:47am
If we take your second paragraph to the next step, why bother making a distinction between food and non-food animals? Are you saying non-food animals are entitled to rights food animals don't have?

But to answer your question, I don't believe in animal rights. Rights are a human construct and part of that construct is that rights come with responsibilities, the greatest of which is an obligation to respect the rights of others. Animals aren't capable of that. For that reason alone, I can comfortably dismiss the idea that animals have rights.

The rest of the question, why I would think anyone has a right to kill a non-food animal simply because they find it pleasurable, you've already answered in your final sentence in this paragraph. It's obvious that you believe humans do not have predatory instincts. Because instincts are sort of a shadowy subject (some scientists don't believe in instincts), I admit I can't supply an argument that would satisfy you. You also prove the adage that to those who understand, no explanation is necessary, to those who don't understand, no explanation is possible.

The only argument I would offer in response to your final paragraph is that, while you have articulated the exact reasons I support the hunting of not only wolves but any predator, you also reject the possibility of those reasons even existing. You're basically saying, yes, Bacon, you're right but those conditions don't exist. I think they do.
Re: Michigan's wolf hunt
posted Wed, Feb 5 2014, 11:56pm

As an animal lover it's hard for me to read stuff like, animals have no rights. Humanity....
Re: Michigan's wolf hunt
posted Thu, Feb 6 2014, 1:14pm
Humanity, or compassion for animals is different than animals having rights.while I don't believe in animal rights, I firmly believe we have a moral obligation to treat them humanely. Even rats should be killed humanely.
Re: Michigan's wolf hunt
posted Thu, Feb 6 2014, 2:52pm
The reason I'd make a distinction between food and non-food animals is that you can eat one and not the other. I'm not saying non-food animals are entitled to rights the others aren't so much as asking if it's not threatening you and you aren't going to eat it why would you want to kill it? 

Animals have responsibilities, wolves especially. They raise they're young they support their pack and they play their role within it, they even ensure the wounded survive if they can. We have evidence for this sort of behaviour in animals right back into the cretaceous period. Personally although the pack I'm responsible for is a lot larger and is defined by certain more abstract boundaries that's about all I do too. Do you do any more? 

I think that the reason you can comfortably dismiss the idea of animal rights is to define them so arbitrarily in human terms. 

Probably the most important aspect here is what you believe is instinct, and I believe is socialisation. I've very little doubt Gerry that if I lived where you lived and you here, we'd have this argument in reverse. And while I can't offer any hard evidence for that either, I'd say that it seems very strange that instincts of whatever kind seem to pop up with greater or lesser strength among various socially  constructed sample groups. Again I have to use the UK as a reference point; fox hunting would have more support for example in the countryside than it would in the city. And given that biologically there's no difference between the two groups it'd suggest that this tends to pint toward nurture not nature. 

Ultimately I think this is not tied to specific arguments or instances, and I certainly don't see you as a blood thirsty maniac, or as someone with some kind of primal 'man the hunter' instinct, just as someone living in a specific culture at a specific time where guns and hunting are a fairly strong part of your identity.

Re: Michigan's wolf hunt
posted Fri, Feb 7 2014, 10:45am
Okay, I get, and accept, your differentiation between food and non-food animals. It's a great point.

i also can't debate your point about instinct versus nurture. As I said, even scientists disagree on whether there is such a thing as instinct. You may have a point, since I was raised in a hunting family. Even several of the women in the family hunted.

I like your fox hunting analogy. It's extremely relevant in that most of those opposed to the wolf hunt here are down staters who don't live anywhere near wolves. The problem is that many of these same people have little or no understanding of what nature is about. Many are wrapped up in a Disney version and not the reality. 

Just as as an aside, I support fox hunting, as I believe the numbers need to be controlled. I abhor the idea of chasing them down with packs of hounds and then having them ripped to shreds. If we are going to hunt them, the kill should be as swift and humane as possible.

This has been a pretty good debate and I thank you for being a true gentleman throughout. I have a great deal of respect for you and your views.
Re: Michigan's wolf hunt
posted Fri, Feb 7 2014, 8:31pm
As do I for yours. Thanks that's a compliment you pay me there. 

Gerry I entered into this debate fully aware that I was doing so with someone that I both respect and regard as a gent. 

Just as an aside, as it's a point I find interesting largely because it wouldn't occur to us, you wouldn't be able to use the military to police these sorts of things?

Re: Michigan's wolf hunt
posted Sun, Feb 9 2014, 8:29am
No. According to the Posse Comitatus act, our Federal military forces are strictly restricted from enforcing state laws. In certain cases involving drug interdiction, Federal military aid is allowed, though limited. Since nearly all game laws are enacted and enforced on a state level, the Feds aren't, and shouldn't, be used to enforce those laws. 

Now, this does not apply to the various state militias, or National Guard, which are basically non-federal military units, assigned to the various states and usually under control of the Governer of the state. They have been used as law enforcement in times of natural disasters and riots. The National Guard has also served in most, if not all our wars. Some may be serving still in Afghanistan. 

So, the short answer is you will not see Federal troops enforcing game laws and I seriously doubt you will ever see the National Guard enforcing those laws.

Our Founding Fathers were very suspicious of standing armies, hence the decision to place our Federal military forces under command of a civilian, the President of the United States. At one point, if I'm not mistaken, our nation did not have a standing army. Even funding for armies in time of war was capped at a two year maximum.

I hope this helps to answer your very good question. If you have any more questions, ask and I will do my best to answer them. This has been a wonderful experience, my friend!
Re: Michigan's wolf hunt
posted Mon, Feb 17 2014, 5:42pm
Cheers Gerry. 

I never realised that the National Guard were State controlled, although if I refer to my history of 'B' films watched it's normally the state governor that calls them out. 

Here we have the Territorial Army or TAs, they're still in Afghanistan in fact two of my colleagues have just returned from there.  

These days though the army isn't used to police anything, although a hundred years ago it was a different matter, the situation with the Kites was unusual. The Gurkha regiment are based nearby as are the SAS and it was these they used, probably as it would have doubled up as a training exercise.

As I said though something struck me the other day, which doesn't necessarily agree with my early point. A few years ago I took my mother up into the Cambrian Mountains in an attempt to show her a Kite we had to travel about half way up the country (it isn't big) to see one. Now they're here on the south coast. And whereas I used to see Buzzards galore, Kesterls sparrow hawks etc, all we see these days is kites. 

biodiversity damaged by too much protection? 
Re: Michigan's wolf hunt
posted Mon, Feb 17 2014, 6:11pm
Could be. We have an explosion of whitetail deer here in the states. The various state governments realized what a cash cow the deer were, no pun intended. They are the most sought after big game animal here and the monies generated just from them is possibly in the billions of dollars. So while they were never considered endangered and protected, they were managed by the states for the greatest number of animals to satisfy the greatest number of hunters.

Unintended consequences? Increased car/deer accidents, herds too large for carrying capacity of the land, increased diseases. Even the suburbs had deer problems, with many home owners spending larger amounts of money to keep their yards deer free, or as much as possible. There was even some talk of bringing moose back to the upper peninsula but it was tabled because of a disease deer carry, some sort of brain worm, I believe. It is deadly to moose.

So under managed or over managed, I'm not sure we can ever get it right. But we must manage somehow. After all, as members of nature, no one has managed humans. Many claim we are over populating and destroying the planet. So I suppose all we really need do is look in a mirror to see what happens when a species runs amok, lol.
Re: Michigan's wolf hunt
posted Tue, Feb 18 2014, 4:08pm

I know that it's widely agreed that the UK that our deer population is at problem levels I heard statistics from the RSPCA the other day that really surprised me about road accidents involving deer. 

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