“THE ONLY GOOD WOLF IS A DEAD WOLF”
The quote, above, was made by a member of the audience at an “endorsement interview,” hosted by the regional Farm Bureau group in Boyne City, yesterday evening. As a White Earth Tribal Citizen, the remark, while made innocently enough, was deeply disturbing, given its eerie echo of the same quote made about “Indians.” The quote came in response to my answer concerning the recent wolf hunt in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.
Summarizing my remarks, I am opposed to the hunting of wolves in the UP, given that “problem wolves” can be effectively dealt with by farmers suffering “wolf-predation” on a case-by-case basis. You can read an elaboration of my remarks, below.
WOLF HUNTING IN THE 37th DISTRICT
I had earlier filled out the Farm Bureau Questionnaire, so I was ready for some of the questions, but not ready for one dealing with wolf-predation on livestock (the Questionnaire did not address this topic).
The question posed by a member of the audience was based in part on my “I believe in science” statement made in relation to Climate Change. That is, how does “science” affect my decision to oppose the wolf hunt in the UP?
Well, first off, the “science” that the DNR used to conclude that a wolf hunt was needed was based, in large part, on fraud, quite frankly. The one “problem farm” in the western UP, where, it was claimed, wolves had killed 96 head of livestock, was the major source of the DNR’s “science” behind the wolf hunt. It has now been shown that many of these so-called “wolf predations” were nothing of the sort –most of the animals in question died of neglect, and the “problem wolves” were merely eating the carcasses.
“Wolf Management Unit 3” is in the 37th State Senate District (in portions of Luce and Mackinaw Counties). Statistics that I’ve been able to find show that, in 2012, two farms showed a wolf-predation loss; in 2013 –the year of the hunt– only one farm showed a loss. I have been unable to find out how many livestock died from wolf-predation on those three farms in the two years leading up to the hunt.
But I did find some relevant statistics. First, looking at Michigan as a whole, there are approximately 1.7m deer, with about 270,000 of those in the UP (about 16% of the total). Of those approximate 1.7m deer, about 400,000 are killed by hunters each year; “winter-kill” amounts to about 50,000 more deaths; cars kill another 50,000, and wolves may kill about 23,000 more (about 1.5% of the total number of deer, and less than 5% of all of the deer killed in Michigan, but all in the UP).
Of course, the numbers are far different when looking just at the UP, where wolves kill all of those estimated 23,000 deer. This amounts to about a third of the number of deer killed by cars and hunters throughout the UP (about 64,000 in total).
Also, it should be noted that coyotes are the number one predators of deer in the UP, by far, followed by bobcats. Wolves came in fifth, after hunters and “unknown and undetermined causes” tied for third (and fourth) place. It should be noted that very severe winters in the UP can kill up to a third of its entire deer population, and “winter-kill” numbers were not included in these “killed by predation”statistics.
Finally, after all of the controversy and conflict, “scientific studies” and bogus “reports,” only three wolves were killed in the 37th Senate District during the 2013 wolf hunt (a total of 22 wolves were killed in the UP during the 2013 hunting season).
The main thing I’d like to stress is that it appears that “wolf-predation” is an extremely remote occurrence in the 37th District. Consequently, we should be focusing our efforts on issues that have far more relevance to those of us who live here. For example, I believe that our time and effort would be much better spent countering the effects of global warming and the threat to our environment posed by the Enbridge Pipeline under the Straits, the proposed limestone quarry in the Eastern UP, and the cellulosic ethanol refinery proposed for Kinross.
For Farm Bureau members generally, the question I would pose is “what effects will Climate Change, and other environmental threats to Northern Michigan, posed in the paragraph above, have on your crops, your livestock, your vineyards, your orchards, your farms, and your way of life?”