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Wolves & Yahoos
Tuesday, February 17, 2009 • Posted February 17, 2009

My favorite Ace Reid cartoon shows a man in the background, obviously trying to get rid of a snake that’s tangled around his head and arms, which is probably a lot harder to do than it sounds. In the foreground are two cowboys, and one says something like, “That EPA fellow said we shouldn’t kill rattlesnakes, because they’re good for the country. So I gave him one.”

I suspect Ashley Judd would act like that EPA fellow, if someone were to hand her an Alaskan wolf. Judd is your basic Hollywood Yahoo type, who doesn’t seem to have much of a grip on reality. That doesn’t stop her from expressing her opinion, which is only fair. Everyone has an opinion. It just happens that Ashley Judd’s is wrong.

Judd has gotten hooked up with a group called Defenders of Wildlife. Now, just to be clear here, this group has no concept of what it means to defend wildlife. They just call themselves that to separate witless citizens from their money. The DoW never actually does anything for wildlife. All it does is attack sound, ethical hunting practices, practices that pay for conservation programs that actually help wildlife.

Judd has made a video for DoW blasting Alaska governor Sarah Palin for promoting aerial wolf hunting. She is quoted on the DoW website as saying, “I’m outraged by Palin’s promotion of aerial wolf hunting and I will fight to stop her.” The video describes how brutal and inhumane aerial hunting is, and to be fair, I imagine it’s not easy to make a clean, one-shot kill on a running animal from a helicopter or airplane. But then, something has to be done about the wolves.

See, Alaska has more wolves than it can say grace over. The situation has gotten entirely out of hand, and the wolves are wreaking havoc on the Alaskan populations of caribou, moose, deer, and other wildlife. Judd doesn’t mention any of that in her video, but then, why would she?

Well, this brings us to a dilemma, assuming we’re dumb enough to believe the drivel offered by the bunny huggers. They want the wolves left alone, but they want the other wildlife to flourish, also. Basically, they want it both ways.

It’s the old question of what an ‘environmentalist’ does when he sees one endangered species trying to kill another endangered species. There’s no way to win that one. Take the rabbit away from the coyote to save it, and the coyote dies of starvation. The problem is that these animals won’t cooperate. They seem to want to act like, well, animals. Bummer.

So the koala kissers rationalize by saying, “Well, coyotes are naturally meat eaters. They’re designed that way, and can’t help it. So it’s OK for them to eat rabbits.” The coyotes, to date, have been unavailable for comment.

But contradiction has always been a problem with the ‘save the whales’ crowd. Their very premise defeats their argument. They claim we’re just animals ourselves, and therefore we should respect the other animals’ right to life, because they’re our equals. But then, if we’re animals ourselves, and it’s OK for a coyote to kill a rabbit, it has to be OK for us to kill a coyote. You can’t have your fox and your hare, too. You have to choose.

But they don’t want to choose, so they try to claim we humans have to behave differently, because we’ve, I don’t know, evolved into a higher life form and have greater responsibilities than the other animals, or something. Except that won’t work either. Because if we’ve ‘evolved’ up, then we aren’t equal with the other animals anymore, and therefore we have different rules. I know, it’s hazy. Tell you what – you go argue with one of these space cadets for a while and let me know how it goes.

The truth is, according to the Alaska Department of Fish & Game, predators (wolves and bears) kill 80% of the moose and caribou that die during an average year. Humans kill 10%. You can look these stats up. Of course, so could Ashley Judd, except she’s too busy complaining about Sarah Palin.

But the Alaskan wildlife authorities don’t want to wipe out the wolves, anyway. They’re using a closely controlled permit program that allows limited aerial hunting in certain areas. Currently there are five wolf control programs in effect in 9.4% of Alaska’s land area, and they’re designed to keep the wolf population to a manageable level. This not only helps the other wildlife, but it also makes the wolves healthier by cutting down on disease and ensuring the habitat can support their numbers.

Unless the wolves are controlled, Alaska won’t have enough caribou and moose to allow hunting. Hunting brings in revenue, which is used to fund programs that help all the animals, including the wolves. It’s a win-win situation.

Now if we can just institute a program that will keep the Hollywood Yahoo population from getting out of hand, we’ll have our problems licked . . .

Kendal Hemphill is an outdoor humor columnist and public speaker who appreciates the Yahoos, for making his job easier. Write to him at PO Box 1600, Mason, Tx 76856 or jeep@verizon.net

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