I was planning on taking a break from writing about wolves for awhile lest I be thought narrow minded. However, a video I was watching this morning has compelled me to write of them at least one more time. The video was an interesting story about a guy from Iowa who at age 50 had decided to move to Alaska and live off the land. The story showed how he had built a cabin with only hand tools and his bare hands and how he was providing for his own food mostly by fishing and gathering berries and such.

Coyote & Magpie

One day when he was out exploring he came across a frozen carcass that had not been eaten and surmised that wolves had killed the animal for sport. He commented that the wolves had lost a couple of points in his eyes. Of course it is a myth that wolves kill for sport. It is extremely difficult and dangerous for wolves to kill a large animal and they are not often successful. In actuality, wolves are not very good hunters, so when they are successful they do not waste the opportunity to eat.

But that is not the point of this blog post. Man uses the myth that wolves hunt for sport as an excuse to persecute wolves beyond all measure of rationality. What struck me as interesting is that although man thinks the wolf despicable for allegedly hunting for sport, he does not think of himself in the same way. In fact man thinks of himself as courageous and skillful for sneaking up on an animal minding its own business and killing it with a high powered rifle without warning from a long distance, well out of danger of retaliation from his prey. Man thinks of himself as clever, having photographs made of himself standing near a wolf caught in a vicious leg hold trap, the nearby ground soaked in blood from the animal that has been struggling in terror for up to a week before the so called hunter decides to put down his beer and get up off the couch to go check the trap line. Man is so proud of his sport hunting that he has the animals stuffed and mounted as monuments to his manhood. Of course no discussion of despicable can go without mention of the most despicable of all the so called hunters, the canned hunter. These are the people who pay large sums of money to travel to the big game countries and shoot a defenseless animal trapped in a cage while the killer stands outside the cage, completely out of danger. Man apparently does not consider this activity to be despicable enough to have it banned, yet the wolf is hunted mercilessly for far less than this.

I do believe that sport hunting is every bit as despicable as the wolf killers attribute to the wolves. However I also believe that man should hold himself to the same standard. I wonder if they realize that the majority of us do hold them to that standard and find them to be the despicable ones, not the animals that they pursue.

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