Why Hunters should Support Wolves
Today most people have a different view of nature then they did in the past and they most certainly have a different view of Wolves. Due to many studies on Wolves over the past half century and changing attitudes, The Wolf is no longer seen as vermin, a blood thirsty beast or a mindless killer. It's not Politics or some misguilded sense that people have of how the wilderness should be as some claim, It's just the Fact that we now see what a beautiful, marvelous creature the wolf is. People now seem to feel a new special kinship with Wolves, more than almost any other animal. And polls show (all polls, not just from the Defenders of Wildlife) that 70% to 80% of the people favor Wolf reintroduction. These numbers are highest among young children (probably well over 90%).
With that in mind the number of people participating in the sport of hunting is rapidly declining. Today only 5.4% of the people in the USA hunt. There are ~1,000,000 less hunters in the USA today than there were 10 years ago and the New York DEC predicts that ten years from now there will be 60% less hunters then there are today in New York (Similar numbers seen in almost all states). Where as in the past hunting was seen as a something noble and glamorous, today it it seen by many (if not most) people as cruel and barbaric, a necessary evil, something to be tolerated only because it does control game populations and bring in money for environmental programs. Gone are the days of the romantic image of the rugged outdoors man replaced by image of the beer guzzling, shoot at anything that moves redneck.You can blame it on propaganda from Hollywood, Left Wing Animal rights Groups, The Liberal Media or What or Whoever you wish. Whatever the reason, It is a fact that this is happening and I can't see anything in the near future that will reverse this trend.
Hunters always talk about tradition and their heritage. And the future or extinction of Hunting depends on if the children follow in the footsteps of these traditions. And right now both sides of the Hunting debate are waging a Propaganda war for the hearts and minds of these children. The numbers show that hunting is losing. At a time when hunters should be doing everything to promote their sport by coming out against Wolves or even worse shooting a wolf you turn more people and more children against Hunting and it's causes. With polls showing widespread support for Wolves (more support than hunting) your words and actions will give the "Opposing side" more ammunition in that Propaganda War. And the media does and will portray you (and all hunters) as the bad guy. People especially kids will feel sorry for the Wolves and Animosity towards you. You risk a new generation with less tolerance for hunting.
The wilderness is for everyone and by coming out against Wolves using the reasons you use you appear hypocritical, uneducated, selfish and unwilling to share the wilderness which belongs to everybody not just you. The 94.6% of the people who don't hunt share the wilderness with you. You say hunters appreciate Nature, but aren't wolves part of nature? And you appear to be going against everything people feel about their connection with nature today and stand for the old and unpopular "nature is to be plundered and conquered" ways. Again feel free to blame whatever you want for this new attitude, but face it, it just the way it is and it is not going to change anytime soon. It's definitely a generational thing, it is the older generation not the younger generation that opposes wolf reintroduction. As the older generation ages and dies wolves will gain more & more support. The question remains is will hunting and it's traditions lose support and disappear?
By supporting wolves you can make a connection with the next generation. You can give them something to be a part of. You will open up your traditions and your heritage to them. They will see something more than what they see portrayed in the media.
By opposing the wolves now you gain a brief small victory in a war which you have little or nothing to gain by winning. Wolf reintroduction or recovery will happen, whether it is now, next year or 5, 10, 25 years from now IT WILL HAPPEN. But in the bigger picture your traditions and your heritage that you hold dear will lose the future generations. Is your hatred of the wolf really that important that you are willing to risk further damage to the future and credibility of your sport.
Your words & actions now will decide the future of hunting, Choose your battles carefully.