Editorial: Wolf hunt needs more vetting

  • Article by: EDITORIAL , Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 23, 2012 - 7:34 PM

This year, gray wolves went from being federally protected to hunted in Minnesota.

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sooozeNov. 23, 1211:17 PM

Thank you to the Star Tribune for this thoughtful editorial. I so appreciate your clear outline of the issues surrounding the timing of this season's hunt. I believe it is time that the Minnesota legislature and the DNR recognize that their constituents include large numbers of citizens who consider sport hunting and trapping of wolves highly unethical, and stop pandering to the minority who wish to pursue these activities. The must also consider the fact that tourism is big business in northern Minnesota. People from outside the sate visit Minnesota seeking to enjoy our wilderness. Anyone who's ever spent a night in the BWCAW listening to its song knows how important the wolf is to the wilderness experience. These folks spend money in our state. The same holds true for Minnesota tourists. The difference is that we spend money AND we vote. The Star Tribune is correct. All voices need to be heard. Susan Oswood

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puckster55picsNov. 23, 1211:17 PM

Trusting the DNR to do a population survey is foolhardy when they have stated that they care Only to listening to their Stakeholders (hunters/ranchers) that Demanded the hunt to begin with. It was the DNR that did a 30 day online survey instead of the Listening sessions they were Supposed to do & when the numbers showed a Majority against the hunt they cut the survey time short & said it really didn't matter. These are the people we are Supposed to Trust to do a Accurate & Thorough Wolf count? The one done 5 years ago was based on counting wolf scat & a aerial count then Estimating How many wolves in each area of the state based on the two factors-in other words Guesswork! So when you factor in just Whose Interests the DNR serves and then to expect the wolves of Minnesota to get a Fair shake is laughable! To see the wolf's future in the Great Lakes area just look west to Wyoming where within two years the wolf went from Protected to Varmint-Shoot on Sight status. This is what their Stakeholders Want so why should we expect otherwise? One last thing, I can only figure that the only reason the Editorial board wrote this to begin with was to cover their backsides. They have published EVER Pro Wolf Hunting/Trapping story Dennis Anderson has given them,many with the same Old words used in Tall Tales with Savage Wolves at your door ready to gobble up your children & pets & Killing all OUR deer! None of it true but in the realm of blood thirsty white hunters this is Their Only Reality & will Not let Facts/Truth get in the way of their Slaughter!

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larasopinionNov. 23, 1211:20 PM

Nicely put article. I think the wolf hunt came as a surprise to many people. I have lost confidence in the dnr to protect our natural resources. They have buckled to private interests " trophy hunters." Minnesota is a hunting state. I am pro hunting also. But wolf hunting, come on, why. Wolves only have survived because they were protected. Its necessary.

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karen5416Nov. 24, 1212:09 AM

I was surprised to see this editorial and I welcome it. But I wonder whether the Star Tribune editors have read their paper's Sports section in the past several months. Columnist Dennis Anderson has written pro-hunt piece after piece, each more biased and outrageous than the last. Among the most recent by Anderson: "To catch a wolf, by snare or trap" (Nov 17, 2012; http://www.startribune.com/sports/outdoors/179820591.html?refer=y). This is an insulting and cold-blooded how-to guide for torturing these noble animals for nothing more than "sport." Accompanying this article is a seemingly innocent glove and a wire loop. Taken out of context, they could be any outdoor gear. Yet readers deserve to know that a snare is used to slowly strangle an animal, tightening each time it struggles. I call on the Star Tribune editors, if they continue to condone pro-hunt coverage from Anderson, to move it to the front section or Metro, and to use full-color images of the wolves as they suffer and die. Do not white-wash these cruel and inhumane practices. Show what you are truly advocating in your community newspaper. If the images are too gruesome to meet your paper's code of ethics, and/or if they provoke an outcry from your readership and sponsors, well then, you probably should not be promoting these practices. I hope that the paper takes a hard look at its wolf hunt coverage to date. To me, a daily reader and a clear wolf hunt opponent (though I do not oppose all hunting, just trophy hunting such as this), they have read like a careful string of PR pieces designed to make this first state-sanctioned hunt appear "normal." I assure you, it most certainly is not normal. Wolf hunters and trappers and cattlemen might pay a handsome sum in lobbying to attempt to buy our DNR and legislature and our Governor. But the DNR and our legislature and our Governor work for *all* of us. And the vast majority of every-day Minnesotans understand the killing these very recently protected, intelligent, beautiful, social creatures, a key symbol of our wild north, is revolting. Recreational killing is not a Minnesota value.

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bookagentNov. 24, 1212:29 AM

I concur with larasopinion first. I no longer take the DNR seriously. First, predators, especially those with advanced social organization and proven impact on their home ecosystems, are not white-tailed deer. Second, politics must be expunged from any discussion of the gray's future in this country, period; and, we'll have to do whatever it takes to get there. Third, this has nothing whatsoever to do with hunting practiced legally, responsibly, and led by science, ethics, civics and economics. Fourth, there are too many males who base their gender identity on their ability to kill -- and kill a predator. Last, by God, there ARE many common behaviors, capabilities and instincts which dogs and wolves share. Considering the role role dogs have come to play -- for many good reasons in human life -- let's stop denying the crossover. It is no sin to admit that certain wild species share attributes with companion animals which enhance our lives and help us survive this crazy world. Many scientists will cry foul --but so many more who DON'T seek the limelight will say "yes." Wake up, DNR. You reneged on a five-year study moratorium to hunt the wolf. You "published" a dismissive survey to the public about the proposed hunt, which you then dismissed. You ignored public comment after legislative mandates. Your judicial partners ignored pleas from the public when asked why they denied injunctive action. No judge should ever be that powerful in a democratic society. Ever. Most of all, DNR, you used eminent scientists, to justify a plan in which you had invested years of study, but not much common sense. Science, lie statistics, like the Bible itself, can melt facts into new forms and forge new beliefs which, previously, might have been rejected for their selfishness. I support the right of hunters to hunt under law. I do not support the process by which a pivotal large predator in this nation has been reduced and expanded like a rubber band to suit the needs of a specific population. Depredation happens, and it's not good when it does; but the depredation of coyotes, snakes, cougars and microorganisms has been awarded the wolf because we were all raised to believe she was a symbol of evil. That sits in the collective unconscious for a long, long time. Finally, the relationship between a balance of predators and prey in a territory is nature's business. If we've intruded into territories, we owe the species the right to survive, because WE took the territory and WE overstepped out boundaries. And for those Bible-readers, yes: we hold "dominion" over the beast, but , properly translated and understood, that "dominion means "stewardship." Grow up, DNR. You can still be men, hold your jobs, and learn - the same as the rest of us.

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xyzlatNov. 24, 12 5:06 AM

I would like to see a thorough article about exactly how this wolf hunting came about and who were the players involved it it. I am deeply disappointed that apparently the governor went along with this decision. I thought he had more of a conscience. It is especially appaling that trapping is part of this. What cruelty and torture these animals must suffer. It is a sad thing that the politicians have allowed this to happen. So how about the StarTribune telling us who is behing this decision? These people need to be exposed so we know who is responsible for this awful decision.

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reality8070Nov. 24, 12 5:29 AM

Most people don't know that Minnesota DNR has already killed over 275 of these trouble making vermin on the governments dime THIS YEAR. This hunt was needed PERIOD! Science says this animal is moving into new areas where the adult of the species has over a 100% chance ON AVERAGE of depredating on someones livestock or pet over its lifespan! Quit thinking it is OK for this animal to live on the outskirts of the Twin Cities without having issues and quit spending my tax dollars for Law Suits and depredation of this miserable animal!

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Willy53Nov. 24, 12 6:13 AM

Thank you Strib! The only problem is that the DNR bias is so strong toward wolf hunting and trapping that waiting for their data will only satisfy the emotional appeal from hunters. Unfortunately, "reality8070" and peole like him are driving the direction of the wolf hunt at the DNR. Meanwhile 75% of Minnesotans are opposed to the hunt. The trapping of wolves,outside of removing identified nuisance wolves, is a barbaric practice that should be banned from DNR policy. It is simply killing inhumanely for killings sake. It's time for Dayton to give balance to the DNR and remove the Commissioner for his absolute imncompetance and failure to handle the delisting and consequent hunt properly. His isensitivity toward any concern but "avid, hysterical" hunters is disappointing as is his disregard for the rights of Native Americans on their own land. The commissioner should step down and Dayton needs to find more a leader who respects science and values all stakeholders.

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poeravenNov. 24, 12 7:14 AM

Thank you for writing this article. I have been concerned that the Star Tribune is condoning trapping and killing wolves through previous articles. The DNR has lost a lot of credibility. They seem driven by politics.

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wthorpeNov. 24, 12 8:10 AM

I come from a hunting family, my father and husband are both hunters. But we are all appalled by wolf hunting. It is just sickening to see this beautiful animal that has just been removed from the ESA put on the chopping block for hunting and trapping. I went to the U of MN to be a wildlife manager and am now very thankful I do not work for DNR, they have lost my faith and that of many Minnesotans over this reckless decision, I have no doubt that Comm. Tom Landweihr, was behind this and needs to be removed from his position. As Minnesotans we are appalled by WY, ID, and MT handling of their wolf population and Are NOT going to let them be treated in the same manner. Thank you for this article, we need more of them. It is time our news media starts representing it people too. Minnesotans are not for wolf hunting.

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