Aerial Gunning of Wolves is not Hunting

Aerial gunning of wolves is predator control. It is only related to hunting because the method is to shoot the animal. Aerial gunning benefits hunters (both subsistence and sport hunters) by reducing the kill of caribou and moose by wolves. This activity makes more game animals available for human consumption.

Hunting pits the outdoor skills of an individual against wild animals accustomed to being pursued from the time they hit the ground. It is normal behavior for game animals to be pursued and they don’t care whether they’re hunted by wolves or humans, they just know they have to stay alert to survive.

bull-caribou-at-finger-mountain-by-dickie-byrd-croppedThis photo was photographed by Dickie Byrd along the Alaska haul road. Thanks Dickie.

It’s also normal for human predators to hunt. It is how we stay in touch with our instincts and our surroundings. Human hunters require habitat for hunting which benefits all wildlife. This is one of the keys to the success of the North American wildlife managment model, which has been successful in providing habitat for and restoring many animals species that dwindled during settlement days when management was not considered.

It takes guts  for Sarah Palin to do the right thing for her constituents regardless of mindless attacks by far left groups who have little first hand experience with wildlife. We’re not talking about the family dog, we’re talking about animals that can overpopulate and subsequently decimate game herds.

Although I haven’t been directly involved in wolf control, predator control generally involves cases where the a predator population has risen to a point where it is out of balance with the management plan for an area.

The areas in Alaska where these activities occur are remote and unreachable during the time of year when wolves are most vulnerable – winter. That makes them more vulnerable and saves the users/taxpayer money.

This is not sport. This is management.

9 thoughts on “Aerial Gunning of Wolves is not Hunting

  1. It is not sport, tell that to the big game hunters that participate in this cruel pastime. Manage the wolf out of existence and you throw the ecosystem off, look into the successful reintroduction of the wolf into Yellowstone and the biodiversity it has brought back into the area. You might also want to look into the opinion of the majority of Alaskan population, most of them are against it!!!

  2. A couple of notes.

    First, Sarah Palin didn’t institute the practice. Aerial wolf depredation has been going on for something in the neighborhood of 30 years, and while the practice comes before the legislature for continuance from time to time, the reason it continues is because wildlife managers know it’s necessary.

    Wildlife managers are the folks who need to be managing any state’s wildlife… NOT THE “PEOPLE”. Biology by the ballot box is a fool’s gambit, and is a sure way to ruin the health of the environment. There is NO science in the anti-wolf shooting argument… only emotion. Emotion has no place in the wild, but only in the comfort of our human homes.

    And, finally, as Rich pointed out, this is depredation… management. It is NOT hunting, and is only being called that by the people who are trying to use emotion and misinformation to motivate voters against a practice that very few actually know anything about.

  3. Predator control in Alaska started in the 1940’s and has been going on/off for more than 60 years. Most Alaskans are proud that they have large and healthy wolf populations, and many recognize that they have a special responsibility to manage wolves to ensure their continued abundance. The controversy centers on whether — or when, how and by who — it is appropriate for man to decrease wolf numbers, which does not include leaving it up to any yahoo with a plane and a gun. The cruelty of the different practices to “manage” the wolf is a big part of the controversy. The subject of wolf control has recently been deemed by Alaska Fish and Game Department that it may be necessary for their personnel to manage the wolf population in small areas to help restore moose or caribou populations, and necessary to have Alaskan citizen participate in a planning process, guided by reliable scientific information.

    Also, there is an abundant amount of science in the anti-wolf shooting argument, do a little research. The most notable being the reintroduction of the wolf in Yellowstone where, until implemented, they had exterminated all wolves from the area. The wolf is essential to the health of the natural American ecosystems. As an apex predator, they are successful in motivating elk and other ungulates to spend less time grazing or browsing in any one area, which have contributed greatly to the recovery of smaller species of fauna, and flora and the reintroduction of the smaller animals they attract.

    And it may have been normal at one time for human predators to hunt, but for survival, when you are hunting outside the need for feeding your family it is just an ugly lust for blood.

  4. Managing wolves is one discussion, not killing, or killing all the wolves is a completely different discussion.
    What does the word “cruel” have to do with anything in the conversation of managing wolves? How is being shot any more of a cruel way to die than being killed by a wolf?
    What most of the people want may win an election, but it is often not the most educated decision
    We know that wolf recovery works, so let’s let Fish and Game have a go at managing wolves.

  5. Swan, the Yellowstone wolf program is nothing more than a hypothesis yet to be proven.

    When the wolves were removed from the habitat in that part of the country, that was not the only change. Putting them back, without addressing the other changes in the habitat is a questionable approach. For better or worse, the hypothesis will only be borne out over a long period of time.

    To call it a “success” or a “failure” now is completely out of line. Yet that is exactly the way wildlife management by public opinion works… and that’s why it’s a bad policy. Knee-jerk reactions and the expectation of immediate results are not scientifically sound rationale for any action.

    If there’s solid science behind stopping the aerial depredation of wolves in Alaska, then permit the scientists to develop a valid approach and keep the “People” and the special interests out o it. Throwing this before the court of public opinion does no one any favors.

  6. The Inuit said about the relationship between wolves and deer, “wolf makes the caribou strong”. Wolves kill off all the weak and sick ones leaving the herds strong and healthy. The wolves decimate the game herds? In the words of Farley Mowat “Cry wolf you men of little conscience, ignore the fact that while there have been deer there have always been wolves, and until your coming, wolves men, and deer lived in mutual adjustment with each other for more centuries than we can count.” The Alaskan human population charts show that the human population in Alaska has more than quadrupled since the 1950s. Like Sarah Palin said, the people of Alaska eat caribou and moose meat. Overhunting by humans has decimated the deer population not wolves.

  7. There is NO science involved with aerial wolf gunning at all! Wolves are a self-regulating species and if their numbers grow too large they will actually kill each other. THIS, not our interference but their own, is nature. Humans don’t rule the world and we don’t get to decide what species live and what species die, though some seem to think we do. If the populations of caribou, etc get too high, they don’t kill each other… they starve to death because there is not enough food for them all. Which is better then? Dying quickly in order to feed another hungry animal as nature intended, or die slowly of starvation? If it were me, I would choose option A and I think most people would be with me on the decision. Governor Palin is not a hero, she is a ruthless, ignorant, barbarian and should be seen and treated as such. No animal should be tortured like this and I can tell all of you ignorant people that you would NOT be lining up for this same treatment. When people kill each other the murderer is put in prison and possibly even killed. How is this any different than being a murderer? We kill animals too obviously, and our population runs out of control but you don’t see a department run by animals shooting us down do you? No. That is just one more right we give ourselves, the right to do what we want when we want with all the other living, breathing beings on this planet who have feelings just like us. This poster should be ashamed. I am a 15 year old girl. I have donated hundreds of dollars in my own money to Defenders of Wildlife. I possess a hand-written letter from Roger Schlikheisen himself and I have researched this topic extensively for a persuasive paper. I am far from wrong. I am far from misinformed. I know cruelty when I see it.

  8. I was in a Bass Pro Shop this evening. They build a large here in Ontario, California. While there, I saw video loop running about shooting coyotes. Don’t they folks, self-proclaimed hunters, have any personal integrity? My wife is a big cat lover and we have lost a couple of cats to coyotes over the past two years. It is easy to cast the coyote as a predetor menace, but, it cannot be denied that they, too, must eat and nourish their young. It has been dry for a very long time and they must come down lower out of the hills to find food. The domestic house cat is a great catch because they are so easy to catch. Catch them more than 20 fee from their litter boxes and they are out of their element.

    I grew up and spent many a day out looking for the elusive blacktail, mule deer or Roosevelt Elk. I have many a mile on the Pacific Crest Trails as it travels through the southern and middle parts of Washington State and I have seen country so beautiful that it defies accurate description. I have seen my share of black bears and coyotes but I have never ever considered shooting one for the sake of “sport”. I live by the creed that don’t shoot it unless you intend to eat it. Otherwise you are no longer a sportsman but a gratuituous killer of animals. Given the techonolgy we have available today, the animals do not stand a chance. We can see then day and night and when they least expect it.

    I am trying to teach my son the basics of hunting lately here in southern California. They are opening the San Bernardino National Forst in a few weeks and then the Cleveland National Forest a couple of weeks later. I have always prefered to hike in the vehicle at least 3 miles to set up camp from which to hunt from. I hope that I do not see alot of these all-terrain vehicles that they were selling at the Bass Pro Shops coming up the trails after me. I make it a point to strap a backpack on to get at least 3-4 miles between myself and the road hunter who start out the day with a half-case of bear and by 6:00 p.m. are shooting at anything that appears to move. Jees, please do not let them come near me.

    If you shoot animals that you have no intention of consuming, you really should do some serious soul searching to find out why you have a desire to shoot animals at all. So far, we have them outgunned and very rarely do they ever shoot back.

    Shoot to kill and eat what you kill. It is a tragic waste to let a game animal left to limp away bleeding to death and nos be able to find him and to have to succomb to coyotes and the flying scavengers. Worse yet, you kill your animal and talk away with you only its head and heard ornaments and leave the entire carcass behind.?

    If there really is a God and if he is taking notes, you just screwed up bigtime. If you do not intent to eat it, then let it walk by to enjoy another days with its family.

    Killing animals with the highest technology firepower that man has devised in taking the “sport” out of hunting. Now, with these new-fangled all wheel drive ATV contraptions, you no longer had to place everything in a back pack and haul that back pack up and down slopes for hours on end to arrive at the place you feel is ideal. Then here comes the tub of lard on his ATV with a beer in on hand and his semi-automatic rifle in the other – just dying to let loose on any animals that would make a decent photo op. I truly dislike these people, but I just can’t seem to get away from them.

    Oh well. We just perservere. Good luch and good hunting.


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