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Wolves and their ways continue to challenge understanding

The carcass of a wolf-killed moose is picked clean before the pack went on to hunt again in  northwestern Montana backcountry. (Two Bear Air)
The carcass of a wolf-killed moose is picked clean before the pack went on to hunt again in northwestern Montana backcountry. (Two Bear Air)

PREDATORS -- Oregon plans to kill four wolves from the Wallowa Pack associated with repeated attacks on livestock. That sort of management action is legitimate and necessary for maintaining any rural tolerance for wolf reintroduction.

The recent story of wolves killing 19 elk in a "surplus killing" incident in Wyoming also is circulating widely. The carcasses were found in a feed ground, which points to humans being as culpable as the wolves -- but I'm sure some people would want to debate that point.

Meanwhile, aerial video compiled from four days of flying west of Glacier National Park shows another side of the wolf.  The slow death of a moose mortally wounded from a wolf attack is heartbreaking for the prey, but then, so is a misplaced arrow or bullet during a legitimate hunting season.  We have to be fair in our comparisons. 

But notice that the wolves patiently hang around this wilderness meal-in-the-making for days. 

When the time comes, they spend considerable time, wasting little energy, to consume virtually every morsel of nutrition from the carcass.

The video compiled by Jim Bob Pierce of Two Bear Air/Rescue out of Whitefish gives us more to ponder.  How much of the "surplus killing" associated with wolves would occur if the packs weren't influenced by human interaction or disturbance?

It's just one angle. Nevertheless, the bottom line is unchanged.

Wolves will require some form of management wherever they interface with human activity -- and that's almost everywhere.

 




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Rich Landers
Rich Landers joined The Spokesman-Review in 1977. He is the Outdoors editor for the Sports Department writing and photographing stories about hiking, hunting, fishing, boating, conservation, nature and wildlife and related topics.

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