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Thread: Hunting Wolves in Northern United States: Is this right, or should their numbers be allowed to increase to more sustainable levels?

  1. #1 Hunting Wolves in Northern United States: Is this right, or should their numbers be allowed to increase to more sustainable levels? 
    Forum Junior Double Helix's Avatar
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    The Smithsonian Magazine has recently published an article about the hunting of wolves in Wisconsin (1). This hunt began for the first time in many years after "the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service removed gray wolves’ endangered species status at the beginning of January". There was an 82% excess in kills due to a variety of reasons. Wisconsin had an estimated wolf population of ca. 1,200 a year ago, so taking 216 was almost 20% of the state's population.

    The hunt was supposed to be limited to 119 wolves for the issued permits (final take was 216), with an additional 81 permits going to indigenous people in Wisconsin, who usually accept the quota but do not hunt the wolves as they are sacred to their beliefs. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources apparently issued too many licenses as the hunting was optimal for wolves with lots of snow for spotting their trails, and many hunters used dogs to track them down.

    Most states have taken advantage of this down-grade of endangered species status and initiated their own hunts. "As of 2017, the United States as a whole has up to 18,000 wolves, about two thirds of which are in Alaska." (2)

    Clearly there seems to be some question about the viability of existing populations. Prior to the state sanctioned hunts, populations were "occasionally culled for depredation control" by the Federal Government.

    Should the endangered species status have been revoked? And is there a real threat of wolves causing major problems in the U.S.?



    "Hunters Killed 82% More Wolves Than Quota Allowed in Wisconsin "

    1. https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/hunters-kill-82-more-wolves-quota-allowed-wisconsin-180977132/


    "List of gray wolf populations by country"

    2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_o...ons_by_country


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    Forum Sophomore pineapple007's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Double Helix View Post
    And is there a real threat of wolves causing major problems in the U.S.?"
    Yes, wolves are a problem because they kill livestock and are dangerous to all mammals including humans when rabid. Wolves are probably the most dangerous of rabid animals because of their size and strength. Wolves go through a very aggressive furious stage when rabid. More so than other infected animals. I doubt that any ecosystem in todays world would missed them.


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    Forum Junior Double Helix's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pineapple007 View Post
    Yes, wolves are a problem because they kill livestock and are dangerous to all mammals including humans when rabid. Wolves are probably the most dangerous of rabid animals because of their size and strength. Wolves go through a very aggressive furious stage when rabid. More so than other infected animals. I doubt that any ecosystem in todays world would missed them.
    You are quite correct. There is a risk of rabies from wolves and other wild "dogs" (1).

    But the risk from wolves is much less than from other wild mammals, probably because they do not live around many humans, and currently there are not many of them (2).

    From (2) : "Contrary to popular belief, very few wolves contract rabies. Most incidents of rabies occur in raccoons, skunks, foxes or bats."

    However, that would surely change if wolf numbers ramp up, based on the documented number of rabid attacks from wolves (1). Thanks for the heads up.

    And you are also right about how nasty a rabid wolf can be (3). In India back in the 1970s, a rabid wolf attacked 12 people and killed three, with the others requiring serious medical intervention. A very ghastly episode that no one would want to go through.



    1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_o..._North_America


    2. http://www.wolfmatters.org/myths-and...s-about-wolves


    3. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/939920/
    Last edited by Double Helix; March 9th, 2021 at 03:24 PM.
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    Samurai of Logic Falconer360's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pineapple007 View Post
    I doubt that any ecosystem in todays world would missed them.
    Actually it was the reintroduction of wolves into the ecosystem at Yellowstone that made it healthier. Without the predatory pressure of wolves on the elk at Yellowstone, which meant their populations surged, and it also meant that they could be more sedentary with their eating habits. So they would overgraze an area at a time, eating the plants down too far to recover fully. Which had a cascading effect on other species like beavers, and on the health and diversity of the overall flora as well. The positive influence of the reintroduction of wolves into Yellowstone has been well documented, you can look it up yourself. This is why wolves there are considered a keystone species.

    Now obviously wolves aren't a great thing for suburban areas, but like pretty much animal they do have an ecological role to play that is important in natural systems.
    "For every moment of triumph, for every instance of beauty, many souls must be trampled." Hunter S Thompson

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    Forum Junior Double Helix's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Falconer360 View Post
    Now obviously wolves aren't a great thing for suburban areas, but like pretty much animal they do have an ecological role to play that is important in natural systems.
    Now that you mention Yellowstone, we have the same problem with deer in our suburban area. There are no predators, hunting is not allowed as there are too many people around, and they breed like rats. The state government has been culling the deer as they are destroying the smaller trees and shrubs in many parks.

    And of course there is a large number of kills on the road as well. No one wants a deer crashing through their windshield. Culling seems to be the only way to deal with them, yet many people are opposed to it. Maybe a deer crashing into their car will change some minds.

    Perhaps the wolves can be used for this purpose in wild areas without endangering too many people. After all, we have protections for white sharks, and they clearly are not a minor threat for those in the water!!

    But it does appear that people should avoid wolves as best as possible. It seems pretty clear that a rabid wolf is about 10 times worse than a "healthy" one.

    A rabid wolf is like something out of a freakin' horror movie!
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    The Smithsonian Magazine has reported the appearance of a wild female wolf in California, almost 100 years after they were eradicated (1).

    One can only wonder how it will be received by the locals. Perhaps some of them have been reading this thread.

    And of course one might wonder how the wolf perceives California. It might just turn around and go back where it came from.....possibly Wyoming!

    1. https://www.smithsonianmag.com/scien...hsonian.com%29
    Last edited by Double Helix; March 16th, 2021 at 06:58 PM.
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