Friday, December 13, 2013

Killing Wolves for Ribbons?

Reuters reports on how the competitive "hunting" of wolves and coyotes in Idaho is sparking an outcry:
The first statewide competition in decades to hunt wolves and coyotes in Idaho has sparked outrage among wildlife conservationists, who condemned it as "an organized killing contest." The so-called coyote and wolf derby is slated for the weekend of December 28-29 in the mountain town of Salmon, Idaho, where ranchers and hunting guides contend wolves and coyotes threaten livestock and game animals prized by sportsmen. The tournament offers cash and trophies to two-person teams for such hunting objectives as killing the largest wolf and the most female coyotes. Children as young as 10 will be welcomed to compete in a youth division.

If wolf and coyotes numbers need to be trimmed down, or problematic individuals need to be pruned out, that's one thing. But why do we need a "competition" with cash prizes and trophies to get it done? Is it because, in fact, the killing of those wolves and coyotes is not actually needed, and that hunting alone is not enough to motivate ribbon-chasers to get out of bed and into the field?

As for the picture at the top of this post, this is how Idaho wolf hunters represent themselves -- as hooded Klansmen. And yes, they and everyone else they posted this picture to on Facebook knew the hoods meant KKK.

Does the world of American hunting need this kind of stain?  Of course not!  The killing of wolves for ribbons by masked men intent on aping Ku Klux Klan imagery is exactly the kind of activity that results in more hunting restrictions and even outright bans. This is ugly, stupid, pointless stuff, and for that reason it's exactly the kind of thing that the rank-and-file American hunting community needs to stand against. But have they? Will they? Silence too is a sign, isn't it?  And don't think America is not listening!

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