ESCANABA - Do feel it in the air?
I'm not talking about the sense that daily temperatures are now trending up, or that daylight is extending. I'm not even concerning myself with the status of whether or not the groundhog Punxsutawn-e Phil saw his shadow on February 2nd. (By the way he did and that is supposed to mean we'll have six more weeks of winter.)
What I'm concerned about now, is the de-listing of the gray wolf.
A gray wolf is seen at the Wildlife Science Center in Forest Lake, Minn. Wolves have been de-listed as an endangered species. Although they remain a protected species, state management will offer options when dealing with wolves preying upon livestock or dogs. The move took affect Jan. 27.
Exactly one week ago, the gray wolf was taken of the USFWS list from being an endangered species. In so doing, the authority to manage falls back onto the hands of the states of Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin. It allows lethal methods of control from depredation. Some controls in our state are already in place thanks to laws previously written for livestock and pet owners.
There has also been legislation written that will convert the wolf to a game species and thus manage populations that continue to exceed recovery levels across the western Great Lakes States.
What is necessary now, is for those of influence to start laying ground work to make sure the public stays informed as to the biological science needs to sustain a healthy population without negatively impacting the base levels.
Tim Kobasic is the outdoors editor for KMB Broadcasting and host/producer for Tails & Trails Outdoor Radio, aired on six radio stations over three networks, Charter Communications cable and the Internet on Saturday mornings.
Why not just let things develop?
Think back a few years ago when a proposal to allow dove hunting came up in the Michigan Legislature.
The Michigan Natural Resources Commission has the authority to set hunting seasons and quotas for game species. The mourning dove is the most sought after upland game bird in North America. It is also the most difficult to take by fair chase methods.
A bill to allow hunting doves statewide did not mean it would be hunted by everyone who owns a shotgun. The reason being in that the huntable populations are in the far southern region of Michigan, close to the Indiana and Ohio borders.
In order to push their anti-hunting campaign, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) launched a campaign to propagandize the issue, making it sound like hunters would be blasting birds off your feeders.
HSUS' goal in life is to make money for those who work for them and use the naivety of the general public to do so. They are animal rights extremists, so warped that they believe humans should be used over animals for medical research. This was made official when, in 1986, HSUS official John McArdle stated,
"It may take people a while to get used to the idea, but once they do the savings in animal lives will be substantial."
HSUS pays no taxes even though they do nothing of any substance to assist animal care. Even though they raise enough money annually to finance animal shelters in every single state, with money to spare, it doesn't operate a single one anywhere! By the way, according to their last report, HSUS has amassed $162 million in assets.
HSUS is so bazaar, they are targeting your Sunday family breakfast.
A watchdog report indicates HSUS wants the public needs to "take aim at the traditional morning meal of bacon and eggs with a tasteless 'Breakfast of Cruelty' campaign. Its newspaper op-eds demand that consumers 'help make this a more humane world (by) reducing our consumption of meat and egg products.' Since its inception, HSUS has tried to limit the choices of American consumers, opposing dog breeding, conventional livestock and poultry farming, rodeos, circuses, horse racing, marine aquariums, and fur trapping.
In recognizing their agenda is conflicting with what most people view as acceptable behavior, HSUS has instructed its members to frame the issue most effectively by. "Avoiding the words 'animal rights' and 'antivivisection."
I believe that HSUS will, like they did over the dove bill, recruit and pay members from out-of-state urban settings, to saturate Michigan, set up petitions and write letters to the media to dice up the issue. In doing so, they'll be able to dissect public concerns over wolf management and then scare the heck out of them with a negative campaign.
Unfortunately, even other entities that used to be totally aligned with HSUS now recognize that keeping the wolf as a protected species will most likely not be in their best interest.
Hunting and trapping are the second best tools that wildlife managers have to keep a healthy and naturally sustained species. Mother Nature handles the broader task. In order to keep pocket over-populating, in-breeding and the spread of disease in check, biologists can maintain population levels by utilizing the skills of hunters and trappers and legal take.
Evidence indicates that the wolf has exceeded expected recovery goals as far back as 1989. The social acceptance of recovered populations of wolves are cause for concern because no one will tolerate the loss of a farm animal or pet without retribution and those who enjoy a walk in the woods do not want to fear what may be around the corner any more than they do already.
The wolf has been de-listed on paper. The true transition will be conducted within the individual states and you can bet that the antis will be on the front line, in full dress, to defeat proper wildlife management.
What I'm feeling in the air today is that now it is the time for those with outdoors heritage to amass and begin to re-inform the general public that we continue as good stewards and should have their trust to do the right thing in converting the wolf to a game species.