Letter to the Editor:

Based on Kurt Krueger’s April 24 column, it’s clear wolves need a better public relations department. I don’t feel I have the divine authority to point out the differences between wolves and eagles, and their respective survival that Krueger enjoys (“Thank God, I’m here.”), but instead, I wish to offer another perspective and at least one way to eliminate negativity toward wolves.

It is remarkable how much energy Krueger dedicates to inciting hatred toward wolves — seems like a column a month these days. I do agree with his basic premise that we can’t equate wolves and eagles on the recovery front, at least in terms of numbers. We humans simply take up too much space to support historical wolf populations. However, this problem should be more a sad commentary on how less wild our environment is rather than the wolf being an evil life form.

What I need Krueger to do is produce some real statistics related to the purported reign of terror that wolves are inflicting on us here in Wisconsin. Anyone can find the number of pets and livestock that have been killed by wolves in a given year. Instead, look at those numbers as a percentage of the bear and bobcat hunting dogs, and their time in the woods compared to the number of wolves. It’s nothing.

And compare the number of livestock kills to the total number of livestock in wolf country. Rightfully, owners are reimbursed. But here, too, the number doesn’t register.

Here’s a way to make dog kills zero and save $150,000-plus of tax dollars. Let’s ban hunting with dogs for bears and bobcats in Wisconsin. It’s unsportsmanlike, unnecessary, illegal in other states and causes inevitable issues for wolves. Every pet owner has their heartstrings pulled when they read about a dog killed by a wolf. 

What they don’t read about is how that hound was shoved in a pop can-sized cage in the back of a pickup truck with five of his best friends, only to have his life put at risk every time he is let out, all to gain a great-looking bearskin rug.

When Krueger does get his reign of terror stats, he should compare the number of wolf pet kills to all the pets killed due to human neglect, abuse and abandonment throughout Wisconsin wolf country. Wolves don’t look so bad when you consider human kills; no contest there.

Deer hunters are always going to think their success is worse due to wolves. I am not against deer hunting whatsoever, but facts indicate that the Wisconsin deer harvest continues to increase every year (336,464 in 2018). Plus cars take out more deer than wolves do. There are plenty of deer to go around for humans and wolves alike.

This conservative needs one additional statistic from Krueger. How did he determine that the majority of citizens want wolves eradicated? The last public survey I am aware of in Wisconsin said nothing of the sort.

In the meantime, there are some valid similarities with eagles and other considerations for wolves we all need to think about. Both are intelligent and majestic creatures, iconic symbols of wild America and have remarkable comeback stories thanks to Americans’ attention to the matter. 

Wolves cull unhealthy deer and keep coyote numbers down; something eagles cannot do. State management and eventual hunting may make sense at some point, but instead of devoting so much time to bashing wolves based on irrational fear and outdated sensibilities, let’s engage in a respectful, factual and interactive discussion on wolves.

David S. Francis

Land O’ Lakes