Yesterday, on the same day that The HSUS and The Fund for Animals announced their intention to sue the federal government to reverse its decision to prematurely remove wolves from the list of protected species, trophy hunters killed at least four wolves on the opening day of the first wolf season in Wisconsin in decades. Minnesota’s hunting and trapping season is set to launch on Nov. 3. Wisconsin awarded 1,160 permits through a lottery, and Minnesota awarded 6,000 permits. Both states issued more hunting permits than there are wolves within their boundaries
If there was any doubt about the intentions of the hunters involved, an Associated Press story written by Steve Karnowski and Todd Richmond made them plain. The reporters talked to hunters about why they bought wolf hunting permits.
Joe Caputo of Spring Green, Wis., plans to pay more than $3,000 for two dozen new wolf traps, and he said killing a wolf “is the ultimate challenge…You’re talking the largest-scale predator on the landscape.”
Beverly Kiger, a trophy hunter from Grand Rapids, Minn., wants to add a full-size wolf mount to her collection. She told the Associated Press reporter, “To get a (wolf) as a trophy would be awesome.”
Mark Dahms of Waukesha, Wis., said he plans on using an electronic calling device with 400 sounds mimicking wolves and distressed animals. “First time in modern-day history is why I entered,” he said. “The big thing is (getting) the hide.”
The HSUS’s legal claims rest on the notion that state authorities have developed reckless plans, enabled by state lawmakers who rushed to approve hunting and trapping seasons. But on the moral case, it’s plain that this hunt is wrong, and there’s nothing to justify it on practical grounds either. It’s not about killing for food, since nobody eats wolves. It’s not about management, since state and federal law already allows the targeting of individual wolves who threaten livestock or public safety. And it’s not about protecting ecological systems, since a robust presence of wolves has a beneficial cascade effect through the ecosystem.
It’s really about killing for fun, and killing individuals of a species whose ancient ancestors warily took the first steps of friendship toward humans 15,000 years ago, ultimately leading to the domestication of dogs and changing the entire human experience for the better.