We Canis Hoopers are usually quite confident that we can manage this team as well as the FO. Are we as confident that we can manage the REAL Timberwolves? Professional athletes can be difficult to to understand and their motivations and skill sets can be as varied and hard to interpret as any coach's game plan. So then, how does the CH community feel about trying to understand and manage the apex predator that our team is named after? Does any of us think that our ability to understand statistical data or our eyeball sense of what is normal or natural will benefit this species?
Some links and a poll after the jump.
I am asking the question about the REAL Timberwolves and how to manage them because Minnesota will, baring court challenges, hold it's first timberwolf hunting season this fall to coincide with the deer hunting season. This will occur because the timber, or grey, wolf has been delisted from the endangered species act protections this year. It now falls on the Minnesota DNR to determine the management of the species. From several conversations I've had with folks associated with the DNR, this is a task that they do not relish. Here is a DNR link to give you an overview of the timberwolf. According to the latest field surveys, the current Minnesota timberwolf population is about 3000 wolves and this number has been pretty stable for the last decade. The population is unlikely to rise much due to lack of suitable habitat for such a growth in numbers. This stable population is what lead to the delisting of the wolf as endangered.
So the question is now, does a hunting and trapping season improve or jeopardize the survival of the wolves? I know this might seem to be a ridiculous question to ask; after all, how can killing wolves do anything to save them? It turns out that a case can be made that a well managed hunt may be beneficial for reasons that aren't apparent at first glance. Among these reasons are the current economics of the DNR trying to manage the wolves. Once the Feds stopped managing the wolves, it fell to the DNR to assume the financial liabilities of compensating owners of livestock and pets for their losses. This compensation from the government was among the reasons that the wolves weren't poisoned by ranchers or shot on sight by sheep and cattle owners at anywhere near the rate that had been common prior to the program's inception. The old "shoot and shovel" still occurs, but not often enough to endanger the continuation of the wolfpacks. This Star Tribune link explains the thinking behind the wolf season. It doesn't however give the real reason such a season is necessary; the DNR funds to compensate for wolf kills are spent out and the fear is that without compensation livestock owners will once again put the future of their herds above the future of a healthy wolf population.
Another reason that a wolf season might be at least somewhat beneficial, is that the numbers of moose and deer have been declining for the past few years. The moose, in particular, have had steeply declining numbers for reasons that are still unclear. Moose and deer are the staples of the wolf's diet, and without that food source wolves will have to find more hares, rodents, and likely livestock or other animals to consume in order to survive. This further depletes the fund for compensation which leads to "shoot and shovel". The issuing of licenses for a hunting season will help greatly to replenish the compensation fund.
There are likely other reasons that might explain a wolf hunting season, including tourism dollars and the sale of prime wolf pelts, but my money is on the compensation funding source.
What does the Canis Hoopis community think about a wolf hunting season?
Okay by me, as long as Unicorns are still protected.
No way, there's too many Rambo types in the woods already!
Former governors of Alaska are not allowed in helicopters during the season.
When has a Wolf done anything harmful to humans (other than Pek, that is)?
Luddite failure on the poll I'm afraid, if someone has a method that isn't in the site hints that will allow me to edit one in, I'd be very grateful.