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Beefs and Beliefs

Wolves Spreading Far and Wide

All livestock producers should join the battle to control wolf populations.

I’ve watched the wolf reintroduction in the West with mixed feelings and a sense of real but perhaps selfish geographic disinterest.

There’s a little piece of me who loves wild places and once had twinges of regret thinking one more ancient species was mostly gone from the lands of our nation.

On the other hand, the vast majority of my being recognizes what a ruthless predator wolves are. I know how livestock producers in the West are suffering now that the wolf is back and I understand well there was a valid reason we exterminated these voracious carnivores.

Nowadays, of course, the wolf is running and eating rampant and the federal government won’t delist the wolf from the “endangered” list and allow the states to manage wolves as they manage all other wildlife. It has become yet another ridiculous boondoggle.

This despite long promises to delist the wolf as soon as a basic number of breeding pairs or packs were established to make for a “sustainable” population.

I’d say no surprise, considering the way the federal government does so many unreasonable things these days.

The problem is spreading fast. The wolves have a population growth rate of 24% and are expanding their territory. In a very few years they could begin to reach into the Dakotas, Iowa, Colorado, Nevada and even western Texas and northern Illinois.

A study from Alberta, Canada, published last year in Science Daily showed beef can make up nearly 50% of some packs’ diets in the summer.

Along with their predation on cattle and other livestock wolves are decimating wildlife populations of deer, elk and moose.

In addition, it’s a waste of taxpayer money and resources to continue carrying this species on the endangered list and it is a lost opportunity for income from hunting licenses.

Considering all these things, there should be something here to offend every reasonable American.

But an old saw says in every tragedy there is opportunity, so here it is. Beef producers can join with sportsmen in this fight and more than double our numbers. A group called Big Game Forever is circulating a petition right now to require the government to delist the wolf.

You can sign that petition and add your name to their numbers. I did.

If you want to learn more about this problem, watch the video below from the organization's website, and read this report in Science Digest.

Don’t hesitate to tell anyone who questions you about these facts:

Wildlife in this nation may belong to the public, but it’s farmers and ranchers who provide the majority of the habitat for the wildlife to live upon. Even in the West, where public lands are extensive, farmers and ranchers provide some of the best habitat. Further, it was sportsmen who brought many, many species back from the brink of extinction and it is sportsmen who pay the money every year in taxes and license fees to manage that wildlife.

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