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The Necessity Of Legalizing Wolf Hunting In Wisconsin

1393 words - 6 pages

Over the past several years, the gray wolf, native to the Wisconsin area, has been listed federally as an endangered species due to the graphic and horrific treatment they had received during the industrialization periods of America, when they were frowned upon and hated because they are predatory creatures and did, on occasion, attack livestock and pets. Because the government was encouraging the hunting, including bounties for the animals, the wolves were hunted to near extinction. However, now Wisconsin faces a new problem. With the reintroduction of the wolves to the state, and their continued endangered status federally, the population has increased well beyond expectations, reaching what could be considered a problematic state. A regulated hunt and a population control procedure has become necessary in Wisconsin to protect state's economic endeavors of game, wildlife, and agriculture, and also the wolves themselves, to keep them from overpopulating and facing starvation and lack of land.
When the reintroduction of wolves began in the state of Wisconsin, a goal of 350 wolves was set, and this number was reached successfully in a short amount of time. Once this was reached, however, the population continued to rise dramatically and exponentially, and is now in the upper 600s (Allen). The problems now come down to a few simple questions that have complex answers. Will a regulated hunt get out of control, and a repeat of the past begins? Are the wolves posing any sort of threat in the present? Who or what would a hunt benefit? First, the issue of the past must be addressed. Back in the earlier years of the United States, wolves roamed free, and when farmers moved their livestock into what was then the wolves' territory, the wolves thought it was a free and easy to catch dinner. This led the farmers to begin killing the wolves. Also, the government wanted to step in and help the economy, so bounties were set in order to encourage the hunting of the creatures. Communities began to see the "bounty hunters" as heroes, and these men felt as such. The attitude towards wolves spiraled out of control, causing hunts based on vengeance and hatred, and inhumane practices of poisoning, trapping, and torturing began. Even a former governor of Alaska, Jay Hammond, felt that flying in a plane and shooting down hundreds of wolves was necessary to protect the citizens of the state. Wolf furs were coveted, the animals were loathed, and the image of the wolf as a cowardly murderer stuck based on old-fashioned beliefs and legend-based fears. Nothing was done to stop the practices, and the hunts continued to be encouraged, until there were basically no wolves left to hunt (Lopez 139-145). It was nearly too late once the problem was noticed, but the government finally stepped in to address the problem. The wolves were going extinct, and it became clear that the animals were an important part of the ecosystem. The timber (gray) wolf was placed...

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