Wolf at the door -- here?

By JOHN L. SLOAN


Feller asked me if I had ever seen a wolf in Tennessee. Nope, I have not.
 
My Friend, Toby Bridges, lives up in Montana now, near Missoula. He has gotten big time involved in the wolf imbroglio. He is even helping with the politicking to get them all shot out. All of my friends in Wyoming and other western states are right there with him. They do not want to peacefully, co-exist with wolves.
 
This wolf stocking, re-stocking, protecting, shooting- eradicating, whatever has become a real deal where wolves have been re-introduced without giving much thought to the impact. If wolves would just eat wild game like elk and deer and antelope maybe, it would be okay. I mean, it is not that big a deal when an entire elk or deer herd is reduced to nearly nothing.
 
Well, maybe it is a big deal.
 
However, the real problem is that wolves do not just eat wild game. They kill cattle, sheep, goats and other livestock and sometimes just for fun. No, that is not just my thinking. They really do.   
In early August in Victor, Idaho, wolves killed 176 sheep. Just two wolves did it in front of several witnesses and that is not so much of an isolated case. Not long ago, in Minnesota, where wolves have been around for along time, a boy was attacked by wolves. It happens.
 
See, it doesn’t make much difference to me. I am not going to have a wolf problem. If I see one in Wilson County, I will simply do the right thing. I will shoot it. Wolves have no business in Wilson County. Fact is the US Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed removing gray wolves from the list of endangered species. If that happens, the states that have them can manage them however they see fit. That is how I see fit to manage them. Choot dem Elizabeth.
 
I could easily be wrong but I seem to recall a stocking  of, was it red wolves, in East Tennessee? Am I just dreaming that or did they not stock some wolves that were at one time, indigenous to the area around the Smokies? Seems I recall that not working out so well.

When they started all this wolf stocking in Yellowstone, the ranchers around the park adopted a very effective method of control. It was called S-S-S. Shoot-Shovel and Shut up. They shot them, buried them and never said a word. But word got out and there is a big fine for killing wolves up there. That is up there and what do I care that the wolves could not read and did not know they were supposed to stay inside the park. I reckon that is why the states bordering Yellowstone -- Wyoming, Idaho and Montana -- now have a season for wolf hunting and still the wolf population is growing.

I have seen very few wolves. A few on caribou hunts up on the Taiga where they trail the herds and take down the slow or sick ones. I took a picture of two of them but they are so far away, you can’t tell what they are. I have no problem with the wolves up there. I have seen a few in Northern Canada while on bear or deer hunts. They permit trapping and hunting them up there so they stay in somewhat of a balance. They have never bothered me nor I them. I have no problem with them. Those are places where wolves should be.
 
Lot of effort underway to restore wolf populations. Most of the time, they want to restore them in places they have no business being. Lot of girlie type words written about co-existing with them. Of course, all of that is coming from folks who have not and do not have to co-exist with them. Dr. Valerius Geist has a slightly different outlook. He has published 17-books on wildlife and large mammals. He was a professor of wildlife at the University of Calgary before he retired to Vancouver Island. I have the highest respect for Dr. Geist’s views on wildlife. Here is how he views wolves.
 
“The meadows and forests near our home contained about 120 blacktail deer and half a dozen large male black bears. In winter came some 60 to 80 trumpeter swans, large flocks of Canada geese, widgeons, mallards, and green-winged teal. Pheasants and ruffed grouse were not uncommon.

In the fall of 1995, I saw one track of a lone wolf. Then in January 1999, my son and I tracked a pair of wolves in the snow. A pack arrived that summer. Within three months, not a deer was to be seen, or tracked, in these meadows–even during the rut. We saw deer at night huddling against barns and houses, where deer had not been seen previously. For the first time deer moved into our garden and around our house. The damage to our fruit trees and roses skyrocketed. The trumpeter swans left. The tame geese and ducks avoided the outer meadows and lived only close to the barns. Pheasants and ruffed grouse vanished. The landscape looked empty, as if vacuumed of wildlife.”
 
See, that is the way you co-exist with wolves. You just give them whatever they feel like taking. Therefore, if I see a wolf here in Wilson County, I will shoot it. I hope that is what they allow in the states that now have a problem with them.

I think there has to be a good reason they shot them nearly to extinction in the first place. It was not for fur or meat like the buffalo.
 
But I don’t reckon I’ll be seeing one anytime soon. Just thought I’d mention it.

Contact John L. Sloan at bowriter1944john@aol.com