Post-Christmas Wolf Derby Dampens Holiday Spirit

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Post-Christmas Wolf Derby Dampens Holiday Spirit
wolf

Photo: flickr

The anti-predator group Idaho for Wildlife is organizing a two-day coyote and wolf shooting derby that will award participants who bring the biggest  kills. Children as young as 10 are invited to join in.

Hunter Shane McAfee hopes the contest will raise awareness about a parasite in wolf feces he believes could be transmitted to domestic dogs, though veterinarians believe the risk of that happening is slim.

This event is the latest excuse to demonize and kill wolves, which were removed from endangered species lists in the Northern Rockies in April 2011. Since then, over 1,100 wolves have been killed in the region. Hobbyist websites such as Trapperman encourage hunters to revel in their kills, and some have posted graphic photos of wolves suffering in traps.

Less than 20 years ago, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) took great pains to restore wolf populations in Yellowstone National Park and Idaho, tranquilizing young wolves from Canada and releasing them to recovery zones. These wolves have boosted tourism in the Northern Rockies and returned to a healthy population, only to have their numbers decimated again by hunting and trapping.

The current aggression toward wolves disrespects the great efforts taken to replenish their numbers. It’s true that wolf predators have cost some farmers their livestock, but wolves are only acting on instincts. If the FWS was able to relocate wolves in the ’90s, they could reverse the process to remove them from agricultural areas and curb problems caused by depredation. This would be a more humane solution than enabling hunters and trappers to kill them for whatever sadistic or intellectually dubious reasons they choose.

It’s strange that a wolf-killing derby would aim to raise awareness of a parasite that could harm dogs. If these hunters truly care for their dogs, their desire to kill wolves seems unnatural. Wolves are so similar to dogs in their appearance and behaviors, it seems that a love for dogs would command respect for their ancestors. Unfortunately, a disconnect happened sometime in the last 20 years, and anything goes now when it comes to destroying these beautiful and iconic native creatures.

The wolf derby is scheduled in Salmon, Idaho for December 28 and 29. A petition on the topic has garnered over 9,000 signatures so far.


Chrissy Spallone is a writer, illustrator and trading card artist from the South Jersey Pine Barrens. Her art and comics have appeared in The Black Warrior Review, The Salt Hill Journal and various underground collections, and she regularly contributes science fiction and horror-themed trading cards to Monsterwax. In her spare time, Chrissy enjoys volunteering at the Collingswood Bike Share, making meals from farmers' market findings, coffee shop culture, nature walks and playing with her beloved pets.

  • ericmills

    At the very least, this organization needs to change its name. “Idaho for Wildlife”? Hardly. Wolves and coyotes are “wildlife,” too, are they not? And they were here first, long before the ranchers and homesteaders set foot on that part of the planet. For starters, cattle and sheep do NOT belong on public lands. And to call the bloodbath a “derby” is borderline pathological. Ditto “harvest,” “control,” “manage,” “take,” etc. Let’s at least be honest, and call it what it is: Killing for the hell of it.

    And it ain’t just Idaho, folks. These obscene “killing contests” take place in California, Wisconsin, New Mexico, New York and elsewhere. Other common targets include bobcats, foxes, prairie dogs, ground squirrels, woodchucks, and crows, inter al.

    We need legislation in every state to outlaw these massacres. And now’s the time. Most state legislatures reconvene in early January. A concerned public should contact their state reps and demand that the needed bills be introduced. (If in doubt who your reps are, see the “Government” pages in the front of your local phone book.)

    And while you’re at it, write President Obama, the Secretary of the Interior, and your members of Congress. National legislation is in order.

  • Christine Poppolardo Marcyk

    enough is enough.why are they singleing out wolves.because most people don’t approve.they are like murderous chidren who just want somethimng because you said no

  • Colleen Hunt

    The hunters want the wolves and coyotes so that they can profit on these beautiful animals’ pelts.