By Bob Ferris
“Reasonable, even intelligent people can, and frequently do, disagree on how best to achieve peace in the Middle East, but, peace must be the goal of our foreign policy tools, whether they be by the stick or by the carrot.” Nick Rahall Congressman from West Virginia
I have always liked the above quote because I think it is transferable to a lot of other issues. In this instance, I am thinking about the wolf. Reasonable, intelligent people can and often do disagree on the best pathways for wolf recovery. All things being equal I have found that people’s reasonableness will win the day—when that reasonableness is honest and is allowed to flourish.
The problem when we try to apply this approach to wolves in Eastern Washington and this recently rushed through “emergency rule” is that we are not always dealing with reasonable people. And even if those people started out reasonable, anti-wolf forces are working overtime to make them less so.
Northeast Washington-based hunting guide Dale Denney had similar suggestions on how conservationists could meet hunters halfway: “Learn to accept the fact that wolves need to be managed (especially problem wolves) if you ever want the public to accept them. Pro-wolf groups also need to promote responsible management of problem wolves and agree with wolf numbers that fit into our modern ecosystems without upsetting the balance that has been established over the last 100 years. Many hunters would be more acceptable to a moderate number of wolves established slowly rather than imposing unregulated numbers of wolves and preventing management.” Quoted in Conservation Northwest’s Fall 2012 Newsletter
The above quote seems reasonable and paints Mr. Denney of Bear Paw Outfitters in a reasonable and open light until you realize that Mr. Denney is also the owner of the website Washington Wolves which is packed chock-full of anti-wolf rhetoric, untruths and fear mongering.
“[Wildlife] Commissioner Chuck Perry of Moses Lake said he was a little concerned about the limit of killing one wolf, because they are pack animals.” (see here)
Moreover, this emergency rule—even if people are reasonable and responsible—lacks the appropriate conditions or sideboards to prevent abuse. Where in here are requirements for pro-active preventative measures such as range riders or fladry prior to allowing citizen control of a state endangered species? And where are the prohibitions about attractive nuisances such as carcasses or bone piles?
All we see here in this emergency rule is a wildlife agency continuing to act like an agricultural department and setting of the stage for another Wedge Pack disaster. Only this time everyone will get to participate.