The Minnesota Grey Wolf HuntThe grey wolf was recently removed from the endangered species list, and now, Minnesotans will be able to hunt it. So now, is the fierce predator becoming prey?
By: Sammie Villella, Sibley Scribe
Hunting is something we’ve been doing since the dawn of humanity. Thousands and thousands of years ago we hunted. We have hunted for food, and later for money and sport. Wolves have been hunted for at least 12,000 years. In recent times, some species of wolf had been protected, but last January, the grey wolf came off the endangered species list. This list included areas of Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan. You would think that being taken off the endangered species list would be a good thing for the grey wolves. But in this case, it is the opposite.
Minnesota passed legislation giving hunters permission to shoot wolves. With Minnesota having the highest population of grey wolves (3,000) next to Alaska, the state is allowing the killings of 400 wolves. Starting October 14, permits will be issued by a lottery. A permit costs $30 for a resident of Minnesota but for nonresidents it costs $250. Over 23,000 people applied for one of the 6,000 permits. People from 33 other states also applied for this permit. It gives the chance for hunters to kill something new for a change. A chance to kill a wolf.
The first wolf hunting season starts November 3rd, the same as deer hunting season. The second is said to be later in the winter in order for hunters to kill wolves with thicker pelts. All in all, these animals that humans used to cherish and bow down to in prayer are being killed for sport. Protesting has been going since the law passed and many of these protesters are Native Americans. Wolves are very spiritual to some of them and never would they think of killing them in such a way. Yet here we are taking lives of the species that we have tried so hard in the past to protect. But do we stop to think about whether hunting wolves is right or wrong? Both sides have pros and cons. It would be good to hunt them because with past attempts at protecting them, they have duplicated their numbers from hundreds to thousands. Livestock has been killed or reportedly killed by wolves and the state has had to pay for it. Also, to hunters it is a chance to kill something that they have never been allowed to hunt before. It could be wrong to kill wolves, however, because they are sacred to many people. We have worked hard on getting their numbers up and killing them again would have meant all that work was for nothing. For some, this just looks like a trophy hunt for hunters to stuff one or put a pelt on their walls to show off to friends and family.
Another factor to take into account is the natural phenomenon of predator and prey. Wolves are top carnivores or also known as top predators. If we have too many in one area, will there be enough prey to balance the ecological community? And by letting one species survive will we be endangering another one? But in turn is the wolf hunt just another way for the government to collect more money? After all, the cost of permits for non-residents is much higher than the cost of permits for residents of Minnesota.
Wolves have always been seen as the predators, the ones to be afraid of, and we have been the ones afraid of them. But now it seems the tables have turned. I’m not necessarily picking sides, but it is an issue worth thinking about.