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Backpacker Magazine – Online Exclusive

Special Report: Alaska's Toklat Wolf Pack in Crisis

When senior editor Tracy Ross investigated Denali's wolf controversy, she expected to see a dead wolf--but not a skinned one. Go behind the scenes with video filmed in the field and an interview with Ross on the experience.

by: The Backpacker Editors

Denali wolves are in danger. (Julia Vandenoever)
Denali wolves are in danger. (Julia Vandenoever)

The wolf. No wild animal is more revered—and reviled—than this icon of American wilderness. And now the most important group of wolves in the country, Denali National Park’s Toklat pack, is caught in the crosshairs of these opposing passions. On one side: a hunter who once gleefully turned his gun on the pack’s alpha female. On the other: a biologist who might just hold the key to the Toklat’s protection. Read the feature story, then go behind the scenes of with a video filmed in the wild, and inside a Fairbanks tannery.

DOGS OF WAR
Another dead Denali wolf. A battle for the soul of wild Alaska. Our reporter visits America's most iconic wilderness for the inside story of a park under siege.

  VIDEO REPORT video icon
Dogs of War Part 1: The Harvest
Master hunting guide Coke Wallace lives to hunt wolves. As part of
BACKPACKER Senior Editor Tracy Ross' investigation into the battle between hunters and conservationists over the fate of Denali National Park's Toklat wolfpack, she follows Wallace into the Alaskan backcountry to learn how wolf hunters find, catch, and kill their prey.

video iconDogs of War Part 2:  Tracking the Toklat Pack
No one knows Denali's wolves better than wildlife scientist Gordon Haber. For over 43 years, he's dedicated his life to learning the behaviors of one single wolfpack. Ross joins Haber on a trip into the park to track down the threatened Toklat pack's den, where they hope to see wolves thriving in
their natural element.

video iconDogs of War Part 3: From Wild to Worn
VIEWER DISCRETION ADVISED Alaska wolves are prized for their pelts, but there's more to it than that. Here, trapper and tanner Al Barrette shows Ross what happens to harvested wolves, and makes the case for continued hunting and trapping as just another form of sensible wildlife management.

photo icon EXCLUSIVE ONLINE AUTHOR INTERVIEW
The Alaska Wolf Debate: Q&A with Tracy Ross
In this online Q&A, BACKPACKER senior editor and Dogs of War author Tracy Ross recounts the challenges of interviewing the hunter and biologist at the heart of the fight.



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anima
Apr 14, 2011

that is not the the answer but is good to know it and thanPr

Nevi
Jun 18, 2010

Do they eat the wolves?

Roy
May 20, 2010

A wolf in the wild is like a cat in a barn how many mice do you see after the cat has been living in the barn for a while

Greg
Apr 29, 2010

Roy Wrote: "The wolves will keep killing and growing in numbers until all the prey is gone for their numbers move from prey type to prey type until we have no good numbers of anything but wolves."

This is just wrong. Everyone who has ever attended an elementary school science class knows that predator and prey populations keep each other in check. If the predator population kills off too many of the prey then the predators starve and die off.

I hardly think that animals in the wrong place and the wrong time accounts for a significant number of prey animals killed by wolves outside of elderly, sick, or wounded animals. Last time I checked it was humans and not wolves that use up all available resources until there is nothing left then move on to the next area.

rich
Apr 20, 2010

pretty pathetic rhetoric.... reads like kids at recess!!!!

Roy
Apr 10, 2010

Greg Wrote - Wolves don't overkill the caribou or elk populations, they thin the herds of the sick and old animals and actually improve the health of the whole herd. There is NO reason to hunt wolves for sport. It is not wildlife management that's a lie. If you actually had a clue about how nature works you'd know that everything has it's place and purpose. So tell me if it's so important we hunt wolves why have both the wolf and the caribou and elk populations been fine for hundreds of years before humans began intervening?

Well Greg and others I think you need to think about it a little more, Wolves most of the time kill and eat what they need at the time then move on when it is easy (to kill prey) if not they will come back and feed again but not always, sometimes they just kill for sport if this is not true why would there be over a 100 of the rancher's sheep killed in a night by wolves. When they kill they are looking for the best odds for a kill, weak, sick, old, lame, one that goes to wrong place at the wrong time of the prey that is what goes down. When there is a over balance of wolves to prey the prime animals are the only ones left, all the weak are gone. The wolves will keep killing and growing in numbers until all the prey is gone for their numbers move from prey type to prey type until we have no good numbers of anything but wolves. Elk have 1 calf a year, wolves have 4-5 young or more per year. They had no idea what the total numbers of each type of elk, deer, wolf, or any thing else back hundreds of years, The fish and game has to est. numbers as of now.

Joe
Mar 12, 2010

I think that the hunting of wolves is perfectly fine. Responsible hunters now a days are aware of the population numbers and I believe americans have the right.

Greg
Dec 23, 2009

Whoops did not mean to post that three times even though it is really important.

Greg
Dec 23, 2009

Wolves don't overkill the caribou or elk populations, they thin the herds of the sick and old animals and actually improve the health of the whole herd. There is NO reason to hunt wolves for sport. It is not wildlife management that's a lie. If you actually had a clue about how nature works you'd know that everything has it's place and purpose. So tell me if it's so important we hunt wolves why have both the wolf and the caribou and elk populations been fine for hundreds of years before humans began intervening?

Greg
Dec 23, 2009

Wolves don't overkill the caribou or elk populations, they thin the herds of the sick and old animals and actually improve the health of the whole herd. There is NO reason to hunt wolves for sport. It is not wildlife management that's a lie. If you actually had a clue about how nature works you'd know that everything has it's place and purpose. So tell me if it's so important we hunt wolves why have both the wolf and the caribou and elk populations been fine for hundreds of years before humans began intervening?

Greg
Dec 23, 2009

Wolves don't overkill the caribou or elk populations, they thin the herds of the sick and old animals and actually improve the health of the whole herd. There is NO reason to hunt wolves for sport. It is not wildlife management that's a lie. If you actually had a clue about how nature works you'd know that everything has it's place and purpose. So tell me if it's so important we hunt wolves why have both the wolf and the caribou and elk populations been fine for hundreds of years before humans began intervening?

John
Oct 19, 2009

Left-wing nutjob George wrote:

"Hard to believe that the country that elected Obama also contains backward cowards such as these.
Posted: Jan 02, 2009 George "

Well, George, I personally can't believe the country was stupid enough to elect Obama. I guess if it's socialism you want, you'll be happy.

Now, on to the facts about the wolf situation: The reason that Alaska's conservation people authorized the return of the hunting of the wolves is because they were wiping out the baby elk population.

The hunting is being used to keep things in balance.

Okay, you can now ignore what you just read and return to being the moron that you are.

Sincerely,

John
Biomedical Engineer

sh
Jul 03, 2009

i just love the " we;re smarter than you " attitude by some of you morons. you live in california and think you know everything. most of you would get lost if you wandered 20 feet from the interstate highway. stay out of alaska's business, get a hobby.

Brian
Jan 26, 2009

Isolation is a terrible thing. Alaskans believe that they are 19th century pioneers, trapping and hunting for a living, facing down the elements. Somebody please tell them that the other 49 states of this country have moved on - we have plentiful food, modern technology and clothing that doesn't need to be stolen from a wolf's back. Please airdrop some flyers letting them know that it is the 21st century now. If they run when they see the plane coming, let them know it is harmless - in fact, they can even get on one of these giant birds and come and join us if they wish!

Chad
Jan 26, 2009

Apparently, Alaskans do have running water and electricity, and one day the other benefits of modern civilization - such as education - will reach them. Until then they, and people from other poor parts of the world (Pakistan, Mexico and so on), will continue to engage in killing for fun, not food. They simply don't know any better, and have no other ways in which to amuse themselves. Eventually, as history has shown, civilization will get the better of them!

pete
Jan 20, 2009

save 100 elk, kill a wolf

Cindy Kreiman
Jan 19, 2009

We live in a time where people are overpopulating the earth. We condemn other living beings for being in our way, for living. We have no right to judge, condemn dominate or control and overpower any other life forms. Without us there is a balance in nature. We are the ones who cause the destruction that will one day come back to us. Our problem is, that we believe we are better than other living beings. How can you look at another being, with his eyes mirroring your soul and destroy that precious life that is here to teach and heal us? Mankinds humanity is inhumane....

ulogoni
Jan 16, 2009

NightFire speaks: "Anti-Hunters are so pathetic. Why don't you do real research on what happens when wildlife is not maintained by hunters. The ecosystem gets destroyed. The animals decimate their food supplies, the predators start attacking and killing your children, and they eventually starve to death or die a very slow and painful death because of some disease that came about from their over population."

I am not against subsistence hunting. I am against sports hunting. Now with that out of the way: You do realize that there were an estimated 2 million wolves roaming the lower 48 states before any eradication program took place? Before "management program" was even a whisper. Before any person wielding a firearm stepped foot on this land? Before any person entrenched in a domination minded culture ("It says so right here in this book!" Because it's so difficult to stretch a metaphor) let his or her voice loose on these winds? There was abundant, diverse life here. The bounty of which we can no longer see for ourselves. Lewis and Clark documented some of it on their travels west, you should check it out. You know, do a little research.

Nature is self regulating. It tends to run into trouble when people don't realize just what they're unravelling, however. Habitat degradation and loss, mountains living in mortal fear of their deer because many people don't understand the dynamics of the trophic cascade, the intricacies of predator-prey relationships. Wolves are cursorial predators. They keep the ungulates on their toes. Human hunters may bag numbers, but this isn't a numbers game. Humans who kill from a distance and don't keep their prey on the move can never replace wolves. Habitat degrades further in their absence as a result. Do some research. Look into the Yellowstone wolf reintroduction and their effect on elk behavior. How this saw a revival of the aspen and willow, which healed the eroded edges of a river, and in turn heralded the return of beavers and songbirds and a host of others. They enrich the habitat just by doing what they do, being what they are. This isn't romanticism. This is scientific fact.

Wolves eat what they can catch. They have their feet to get them there and their jaws to do the shearing, tearing, crushing. That's it. So they catch what they can catch. They don't want to wear themselves out. This is survival we are talking about, and to hunt in this way you must be fit. There is a lot of risk in hunting in this way. So wolves, just by being wolves, just by catching what is easiest to catch - the young, the old, the ill, the wounded - keep both predator and prey strong as a population.

Unlike, say, human hunters who "harvest" the mature, prime specimens of a herd. "The result is that the visible traits of some species are changing at three times their natural speed and they are becoming much smaller" The scrawny are left to breed.

NightFire speaks: "If you don't like hunting, don't do it, but don't be naive.

We are all involved in spilling blood. When we buy meat or any animal product, including leather shoes, we in effect pay others to do our bloodletting. Just contemplate the dismal lot of cows, calves and lambs that we breed and fatten only to herd to their deaths."

I am aware. It is contemplated. Are you using this to justify wolf killing? Because that doesn't make any sense. Yes, let's all jump up and go "bag" us some wolves so we can wear "garments" or line our pocket books! My boots are made out of a cow, after all!

NightFire speaks: "Vegetarians do not escape responsibility, either. To raise the crops they eat, we have to clear land. The clearing of land destroys the various species habitats. Deprived of a source of food, wild animals crowd out other animals, or suffer slow death by starvation. Then to harvest the vegetarians food, we poison, trap, shoot or drive off creatures that also need to feed on them.

Anyone who loves nature beyond the level of “Bambi” must recognize and accept its brutality along with its beauty."

And I assure you, more of them recognize this than you would give them credit for. Some of them are actively working to reduce their impact and even go to court to effect the legal system, so that the unnecessary slaughter and poisoning of wildlife, the degradation and fragmentation of habitat is recognized on a legal level and adjusted where possible.

NightFire speaks: "We do not promote such understanding – essential to saving our environment and its wildlife – by pretending that violent death is not part of nature, or that we human beings, in order to survive, do not play a part in that violence."

I think you've pegged the wrong people if you think they don't see humanity for the violent animal that it is. You can't save the environment and it's wildlife by killing wolves.

NightFire
Jan 14, 2009

It would be interesting to know how hypocritical some of these statements are. How many of you anti-hunters eat meat, wear leather or have down jackets or sleeping bags?

Don't be so blind as to think that you, personally, are not just as responsible as the person that processed or harvested an animal.

We, the U.S. people, have become so used to go to the supermarket and picking up the nice, prepackaged meat, that we don't even think of where it comes from.

Those of you who don't have any animal based product at all are still responsible for the untold suffering of wildlife. Your synthetic products (polyfill, nylon, etc) produce toxins that poison, torture and kill off wildlife by the millions.

Don't point the finger at hunters without acknowledging the more severe damage you are doing by being blind to reality.

NightFire
Jan 14, 2009

Anti-Hunters are so pathetic. Why don't you do real research on what happens when wildlife is not maintained by hunters. The ecosystem gets destroyed. The animals decimate their food supplies, the predators start attacking and killing your children, and they eventually starve to death or die a very slow and painful death because of some disease that came about from their over population.

If you don't like hunting, don't do it, but don't be naive.

We are all involved in spilling blood. When we buy meat or any animal product, including leather shoes, we in effect pay others to do our bloodletting. Just contemplate the dismal lot of cows, calves and lambs that we breed and fatten only to herd to their deaths.

Vegetarians do not escape responsibility, either. To raise the crops they eat, we have to clear land. The clearing of land destroys the various species habitats. Deprived of a source of food, wild animals crowd out other animals, or suffer slow death by starvation. Then to harvest the vegetarians food, we poison, trap, shoot or drive off creatures that also need to feed on them.

Anyone who loves nature beyond the level of “Bambi” must recognize and accept its brutality along with its beauty.

We do not promote such understanding – essential to saving our environment and its wildlife – by pretending that violent death is not part of nature, or that we human beings, in order to survive, do not play a part in that violence.

pete
Jan 14, 2009

backpacker should focus on more important issues than wolves in ak(which are not in any danger of exstinction). Maybe you guys should look at important issues like where the hell did the west slope cut throat go? and can they be saved. oh yeah fish aren't cute and cuddly like a furry dog. that wouldn't play on peoples emotions.

pete
Jan 14, 2009

i can't get over how stupid all you none hunters really are. hunters generate more money for conservation than any all other organizations combined. where do you morons think all the money goes from hunters buying permits and licenses. hey you idiot who thinks that yellowstone has never been so healthy, where the hell you from? elk herds are on the decline in yellowstone. responsible management is key to the success of the whole ecosystem.

Jules
Jan 04, 2009

Wallace is "harvesting" wolves? That tells me so much about the man right there. He considers them nothing more than a crop to be harvested like corn or peas. The man is sick and feels no remorse for killing another living creature. Take away the big gun and see how he would fare against a pack of wolves. The fact that he is luring them out of the national park just to "harvest" them for money is so pitiful and I believe it might be illegal but no one will push the issue when they are staring down the wrong end of a gun. What do you say we go hunt Wallaces?

George
Jan 02, 2009

Sarah Palin recently showed the world that Alaskans aren't the smartest creatures on Earth, and this article truly proves that these people live in a different century and display the kind of behavior more commonly seen in Third World countries by people who don't know any better. Hard to believe that the country that elected Obama also contains backward cowards such as these.

Eric
Jan 01, 2009

I've done my fair share of both backpacking and hunting in the southern 48s. The Denali wolves are NOT in danger of becoming extinct due to hunting. In fact, hunters are the real conservationists. Sorry if hunting offends some, but it's been going on since the beginning of mankind. I think its funny that most of the same people who decry hunting (wolves or otherwise) don't think twice about eating that nice juicy McDonalds burger. At least the wolves have a fighting chance. Hmmm...Remember, in four days they didn't harvest a single wolf.

cattwmn
Jan 01, 2009

I am confused as to what the goal is for the series. 'Dogs of War'? I read the title and was so ready to CANCEL my receiving of this newsletter. Is the goal to 'glorify' the wolf hunter? Advertising the market value of the wolf pelt? Draw other people with such low self-esteem who measure their position on the food chain by the number of kills? How much did Sarah Palin get for each wolf SHE has killed - last count I believe it was 22 or 23 wolves shot from a plane.

Coke Wallace should be arrested, jailed, and fined steeply for luring the wolves outside the park boarders. I can not think of words harsh enough to label him. But - there is a special place in Hell for those who knowingly and deliberately harm animals. May he reside there for eternity.

T Patterson
Dec 31, 2008

Where would do I begin to start with this point I want to say. Im right you're right fight? Not everyone who reads this Im sure dont believe in God. I do however, and he made all living creatures on this earth for a reason. It's not for mankind to decide who gets to live and who or what does not. But it happens. It's sad that a human being can be so cruel to animals. Heck, humans are cruel to other humans! Why am I so surprised! To be in the higher of the food chain we sure are very stupid and ignorant! Men just can't seem to learn from past mistakes. Of course they can justify whatever they believe in! becaue "they" the hunters are always right, right? Man isnt going to be "happy" until there is nothing else here on earth they can kill and brag about. Americans wanted or should I say man wanted "cattle". That's all I seem to read about when it comes to the "why" native wildlife doesnt have a right to be anywhere on earth much less here in the US. It's always my ranch,my cattle,my garden, my livestock, my my my! It's all about me, right? How much "money" am I losing!
These hunters, ranchers, farmers. They always seem to have the "right" to their wants! I call it greed to some point. Because when you get down to it its really about how much money are they losing! Well they want cattle so, go "hunt" cattle! They want to eat it or use the hide for leather so much! Oh, I see, there's no "thrill" in hunting cattle, right? It's funny to me that man is always wanting to "kill" something because they call it a "sport"? I dont see the sport in it at all. Id like to see man hunted for a "sport" it wouldnt be something to prize or brag about then. I think it should be that a person could go hunt a spanish, irish, english, white or whatever color human and have its head "stuffed" or full body "stuffed" to hang over the fireplace! (not really just making a point)It seems to me anything that is "Native" to America, man wants to "hunt" it or "kill" it! Because their justification is, it's killing their "money bank". The wildlife was here 1st there buddy! Not your cows! I guess they(man) are not going to be happy until they "hunt" everything that walks and its dead! Then what are they going to hunt? Tell me that one! Oh, they'll come back and say how its extinct and what a mistake! Back to my comment about God creating all creatures. He did create wolves for a reason. The comment about balance is so correct! You take away a predator you start to lose your balance. It's the same for anything in life. What is wrong with you people? If youd leave nature alone it will work itself out to balance out the earth. We wouldnt have all the problems with the environment. Haven't you learned anything in the 21st century? To be so smart, man, you sure are stupid!
If only animals could carry a gun,knife,bow, drive a car ride a horse fly in a plane I wonder what they would hunt? I'd like to see man hunt with his bare essentials, his body only, just like the animal they are hunting and then go face to face in a fight. I dont think man would be so tough and bad as..... then!
To be so "prideful" this person the article is about, is not a good thing! What goes around in life "does" come back around! I feel sorry for anyone that has this mentality. All living things are an amazement to me of how they are designed!
I think this person lakes something in his life and is a very unhappy person inside. He seems he has to think he's all "Big" & "Bad" to be worth anything. I feel sorry for him anyone else that thinks like him.

They always say where I come from, "You can tell what kind of kind of a person by how you treat animals". It's so true! All animals.

Ive read and studied wolves for a long time and they are magnificent animals! And I do live in the lower 48. So what! They live here too!
Wolf Supporter

Michael
Dec 25, 2008

There are and will always be people like Wallace. Madoff does what Wallace does to people and their money, convicts do harm to people. They are all made the same and they will always be here and they will teach their young to do the same harm and it is always for the money, trophy, ego, or power. Haber believes in good, which is not within these people. Legal or not now or later it is always good vs evil.

D. Rodriguez
Dec 20, 2008

The article spurred me to make a donation to the Friends of Animals organization. It did strike me as being wasteful to trap (inhumanely for days) or to shoot protected animals. If it is a national park, then national tax funds are wasted when someone kills the protected animal.

The article sickened me but perhaps that was the wake-up call needed.

Jerry Fojtik
Dec 19, 2008

"Responsible" control of any animal population DOES NOT include trapping and leaving animals to starve to death! If wolves need population control then hunt them and kill them, use their furs for something necessary, eat the meat or whatever, but don't torture them.

Priscilla Feral
Dec 16, 2008

It's Friends of Animals that sponsors Gordon Haber's remarkable field research in Alaska. Contributions to these efforts on behalf of wolves can be made at www.friendsofanimals.org
Many thanks,
Priscilla Feral, President
Friends of Animals

Johnathan
Dec 12, 2008

I live in Alaska and my family always has. Both sides of my family are part native, and i get so tired of the shit we have to put up with!
Ever read "Into the Wild" by Jon Krakauer?? It glorifies the death of a man who was stupid enough to think he could live off the land ON HIS OWN with no training. Know of the famous grizzly man Timothy Treadwell? He spent his time hanging out with wild bears and people are shocked that he was killed by one. He was risking his life,
DONT MAKE HIM INTO A HERO!!!
We are not trying to exterminate the natural predators of bears and wolves, just managing their population properly, there are too many as it is. And AK has always done so, and look, we still have to many and we are not trying to exterminate them.
Leave us alone and take care of your own states instead of saying what we should or shouldn't do.
We are doing just fine on our own without the excessive animal worship it seems the lower 48 is into!

aknative
Dec 11, 2008

You Gusuks have no Idea what really goes on in Alaska.You need to repair the Damage you have done in the lower 48 by taking land away from the Indians there and building mini malls every where and hiways.YOU FIX THEN WE TALK

jean young
Dec 11, 2008

i do not live in alaska and have never seen a live'wolf..except in a zoo....i do live in florida; and the wildlife here is subjected to the same mentality as of'wolf' hunters...'if its 'wild' then kill it'...i can understand hunting animals for the meat,been there done that........but to kill wild animals simply for the thrill of the 'kill'is rather sick...why don't these noble hunters track and shoot at each other,,,,,that would be the ultimate thrill!killing wolves from helicopters; as bragged about by your erstwhile governor, has to be the most cowardly act...

gaye hall
Dec 10, 2008

We have much personel experience and study on the
wolf. The Toklat pack in a national park in
Alaska should not be slaughtered..nor skinned.
The wolf by it s natural nature is sky of man..
they hunt for food as we also go to grocery stores...They consume far less flesh meat than
the average adult. Do not interfere with the
natural balance of nature..in any way or manner..
tipping the balance..manmade..wheter to build
more homes or hotels on a beach area or in the
animal kingdom..will put the human species in
big trouble..it always does..you simply do not
win with the balance of nature. only foolish
think they can.

Jeff in Alaska
Dec 10, 2008

Those of you that think wolves are going to go extinct need to take a long look at the extensive hunting and trapping regulations in Alaska. All wolf harvests in Alaska require licenses and/or permits, and they have harvest quotas that close the seasons if it appears that too many wolves will be taken. Alaska's wildlife managers don't want to see wolves erradicated they were in the lower 48. They just want to see them responsibly managed. Wolf populations left unchecked create low density dynamic equilibriums (predator pits) where prey animal numbers remain well below carrying capacity because they can't reproduce as quickly as wolves. Regulated hunting and trapping of wolves is actually helpful to Alaskan ecosystems as it keeps ungulate populations closer to their carrying capacity which actually benefits the predators. I ask all of you that are against predator control to just take an objective look at the big picture and the complex biological relationships that are at play before you let emotion overtake common sense.

narvick
Dec 10, 2008

Ask yourselves... What do you think all other species think of us???? I will tell you... that we are the most destructive of all species and we are poisonning this planet with our vices and insane actions !! Now, imagine being a wolf... How would you like it if a plane came above you and started shooting at you?? think about the suffering when a bullet hit you in the back.. Imagine the pain and the despare of not having a chance to get away...

narvick
Dec 10, 2008

Did'nt idiots like these hunters already exterminated the wolves in the lower states??? if this persecution of wolves in Alaska does not stop, it will happen there too ! I am appalled at the cruelty and sick pleasure of hunting animals for the sick pleasure of a so called sport. This is not sport, this is insanity !! Any one killing for pleasure is a sick individual ! Wolves are so important to our ecosystem. The park of yellowstone has never been soo healthy since the reintroduction of the wolf. This animal like all animals should be respected and protected. Prosecute the killers of our precious wildlife!

narvick
Dec 10, 2008

These hunters are the abomination of mankind !! they won't stop killing our beautiful wolves until the last ! They have done it before and are now doing it in Alaska. I feel for these animals who have been persecuted by the white man since it sat foot on this land. These people should be arrested and prosecuted. They and others will be the cause of the 6th extinction who has now started all around the world. I am appalled and it makes me sick to see so much cruelty and stupidity.

Patrick
Dec 09, 2008

Thanks, I was wondering how to skin a wolf... If you don't like wolf trapping go inside the park... Its that easy.

All I can say is: Wear Fur 5 million years of human civilization can't be wrong...

Tim - Fairbanks, Alaska
Dec 09, 2008

Funny how the whole country wants to stick its nose in the management of Alaska on every level. This summer on vacation, I sat in a friend's living room down in Minnesota and was preached to about everything from oil extraction to aerial wolf hunting. Among other things, I was told we shouldn't drill in ANWR because once they start developing it, they'd want to drill every part of it - it's a `slippery slope!' Meanwhile, more forests and farm land in Anoka County, MN have succumbed to housing subdivisions and industry in the last decade than will ever be developed in the entirety of Alaska in the next century. I guess that `slippery slope' theory doesn't apply to Minnesota - or any other part of the lower 48 for that matter!

Whiskeylou
Dec 09, 2008

Alaska - The Last Frontier for Cowards. The only excuse for slaughtering wolves they have is to call themselves Alaskans when they are really bastard kids of Texans and Oklahomans who never
went home after the pipeline was built. No wonder the Alaskan guy shot the 4 people in Colorado. There was no wildlife to kill there to prove his 'manhood'.

Jim Green
Dec 09, 2008

It's the same old arguments from the hunter slobs in Alaska..."You live in the big city right? You don't know anything about Alaska right?" Wrong, on both accounts, I have never been to war, but have educated opinions about it. I've never been a pregnant teenager, yet I have strong opinions about it. I've never been president, been homeless or killed anyone, but I have strong, educated opinions about it. Please. Wildlife belong to everyone, not just those who like to put bullets into them for fun. Anyone who REALLY knows anything about the ecosystem knows that hunters and the rest of the fish and game folks artifically manage ungulates by "predator control", just another way of saying "more hoofstock for us to shoot at" in their way of justifying it. If people are truly living off the land and ONLY surviving by hunting, fine, but I'll be willing to bet they are the few and far between minority of Alaskans. As for those "lower 48" people you keep screaming about, they just soundly rejected your most vocal hunter nutjob, Sarah Palin, because only 1% of the actual US population hunts. The rest abhor it as does most of the civilized world. Come on over to the 21st century how about it?

akwolfhugger
Dec 09, 2008

TO Greg W in Fairbanks who asks if anyone has ever seen a wolf kill and consume its prey, and states that is not majestic. I have seen it -- very quick and not at all gruesome to those of us who spend a lot of time in the wild.

In defense of the wolves, I'd like to see Greg W. chase down and catch his food with his teeth -- betcha that wouldn't look too "majestic".

akwolfhugger
Dec 09, 2008

This story truly fails to mention another very important component of the importance of the Park wolves, aside from the biological and economic values. Most hunters that I know would never target National Park animals -- these creatures are habituated to the presence of humans. It is ethically unfair to hunt or trap them, and more like catching fish out of a fish bowl if you ask me. Coke Wallace is an ignorant idiot -- most people in Denali know that. What's worse is that he makes money every summer off the tourists who come to the Park to see the wolves. He runs Saddle Safaris, a horseback riding outfit where the horses stand in knee deep mud.

Mike
Dec 08, 2008

There's a reason we live in Alaska and there's a reason you don't. If you don't like it here then you're sure encouraged to find your fun at home. As for "Backpacker" magazine, I assumed they, of all, would stir an anti sentiment and send all of you activists into an uproar. You are so easily upset. Rest assured, I won't be going to your state for my recreation and you are welcome to assume whatever you want about me.

Jadis
Dec 08, 2008

Maria - GOOD! Don't visit. We don't want self-righteous snobs here anyway.

marie montana
Dec 08, 2008

You know you Alaskans are all kill happy ,Every article I go on in their paper,theres someone saying something about killing.Are you telling me that the only meat there is moose and caribou?Wolves are part of the ecosystem,of course you wouldn't know that because half the state never went to school or quit before graduating ,We have wolves here and they are not decimating animals.you out fish the damn ocean to,up there.A bunch of crusty backwoods deliverance people,are what you sound like.I understand that people like to hunt.But almost all do so for food and eat it,not to make money from it.How do you hunt? do you wait for moose to come in your yards,then take it down? Slaughter is what is done to these wolves.maybe if you read a book you would know more about life,besides killing.From everything I read about up there the natives are more worthy of that land than you halfwits,at least they respect things in the wilderness.

Barb
Dec 08, 2008

This is the dumbest comment I've read:

"Have any of you ever watched a wolf pack track and kill an animal then tear it apart alive? It's not so beautiful and majestic..."
Greg W.
Fairbanks Alaska
Posted: Dec 08, 2008

Duh! That's NATURE'S WAY. Are you disagreeing with how God designed nature then?

It's much uglier in a MANMADE SLAUGHTER HOUSE where animals are herded in like products, not like living, feeling, intelligent, thinking animals!


Barb
Dec 08, 2008

Wolves should be PERMANENTLY federally protected from hunting -- period!

Jadis
Dec 08, 2008

Gordon Haber is a biostitute, plain and simple. Ask a QUALIFIED biologist, please.

cal larson
Dec 08, 2008

Haber is NOT the most qualified as a matter of fact he is the most vocal anti hunting advocate in the Denali area. Perhaps you should check with REAL biologists not some nut case with a cause. What the hell does any of this have to do with backpacking anyhow? Are you just trying to stick the country's nose in AK buisness?
Wolves do what they do and if there are no moose I've seen them take sled dogs and other pets. It is neat to see them kil and eat unless it is your pet or food source they are eating (but in NY or whereever you wouldn't understand this...all your food comes in neat little packages).

Jeff, Fairbanks, Alaska
Dec 08, 2008

I find it very unfortunate that this article claims there's a battle between hunters and conservationists. Hunters were the original conservationists and they continue to provide more for the conservation of wildlife than any other user group. I don't know a single Alaskan wolf hunter that wants to see wolves erradicated, instead they just want to see them sensibly controlled. There's unfortunately too much emotion that's played into this debate largely because the anti-wolf hunting crowd tend to be distantly removed and ill informed on the big picture. Too many wolves are just as ecologically harmful as too many ungulates are. Wolf control in Alaska has never done any long term harm to the viability of the state's wolf population and there's no reason to stop it beyond the fact that some people just don't have the stomach for it. If Backpacker wants to help the world's wildlife then they should focus on articles about the illegal wildlife trade, which is rampant in parts of the world and truly harmful to certain wildlife populations.

AJAS
Dec 08, 2008

BETTER SUITED TO THE NATIONAL ENQUIRER. MAN MUST ALWAYS PROTECT HIS FAMILY, INTERESTS & TERRITORY FROM ALL PREDATORS, INCLUDING HUMAN THREATS AND BY DEFINITION: "One that victimizes, plunders, or destroys, especially for one's own gains."
AJAS

Rob Payton
Dec 08, 2008

Wolves are not majestic, honorable hunters. They are slob hunters just as bad or worse than any poacher. Moose calfs have just their bellies ripped out while the rest of the meat rots.

They are have some worth in keeping sick/injured animals out of the mainstream ecosystem, however there is nothing "noble" or honorable about wasting a kill or food source which wolves do often.

Wolves are absolutely not endangered and due to the habitat they have high survival rates for their young. Their populations in Alaska and the West are growing at an accelerated rate. They do track humans and are most opportunistic in acquiring new food sources as they are highly adaptable. Not quite like the coyote, but they are adaptable.

The harvesting of wolves is extremely difficult in lands 5 times the size of Pennsylvania (with no population). Aircraft has not increased the harvest to the levels required to sustain moose and caribou populations so more trapping and hunters need to help manage this population.

Alaskans have managed their wildlife for 100 years and unlike the Lower 48, most Alaskans are constantly out in the wilderness enjoying nature in it's most basic form. Consider then that Alaskans overwhelmingly support wolf hunting and population control. Even against so many from Outside try to manage Alaska from afar with millions of dollars from "wildlife" organizations.

It would be locking up the entire state of Pennsylvania, kicking out all the people and giving it to a few park narks to manage for "wildlife" and the only time anyone outside these elite (the Park Service) could come into the land was via bus on tours.

If you want to do good in your state, start getting your fat slow and lazy children away from the XBOX into the outdoors. Then start tearing down all your infrastructure and let it go back to nature, then give your lands to the Gov't who will say you are no longer welcome on your lands. You will then have a sense of reality in Alaska.







Jadis
Dec 08, 2008

Keith and everyone else against hunting:

Am I correct in assuming you live in a large city? Tell you what. I won't presume to understand anything about NJ if you quit trying to shove your ideology on Alaskans.

We hunt. Deal with it. Truth be told, no one is more concerned with proper wildlife management than a real outdoorsman. Do you honestly think that someone with 10 grocery stores within driving distance is more concerned with maintaining healthy moose and caribou populations than someone who relies on said moose and caribou to survive the winter?

Negative impact?!? Please tell me that you haven't bred - NOTHING makes a larger, more "negative impact" on the environment than more people.

The Lower 48 can't - and never will - understand Alaska. We live in a completely different world than you do. How many of you in the states have full communities without running water? Or how about communities that are not on the road system, and thus must have any and all groceries flown or barged in?

Alaska is a unique place with a strong tradition of hunting and trapping. Don't be so hasty to make judgments on issues you know NOTHING about.

Jon
Dec 08, 2008

Denali wolves as a whole are NOT endangered as the author here makes you believe. They are healthy. It's a sad day when backpacking magazine and people who like to backpack become "anti hunting trapping" people. Hunting and trapping utilize the best natural resources available. Just as PLANTS vegetarians eat re-grow, so do wildlife populations. We have highly trained biologists on staff with the Alaska Dept of Natural Resources. They know what they are doing and how to manage a resource for what's best for ALASKA.

There is already a buffer around the park, what is next a buffer around a buffer? then in 3 more years another buffer around the two buffers? COME ON!!!!!!!!!

Greg
Dec 08, 2008

Have any of you ever watched a wolf pack track and kill an animal then tear it apart alive? It's not so beautiful and majestic...
Greg W.
Fairbanks Alaska

Erin , Grand Canyon AZ
Dec 08, 2008

You are a douche Alfred.

Hillbillie, Fairbanks, AK
Dec 06, 2008

Hunting and trapping in Alaska is a way of life. Moose bring food to the table, and wolf pelts bring warmth. If you allow moose to be hunted, then the predators must be controlled as well. If it were illegal to harvest wolves, they would desimate the moose populations. Because humans are now the 'wildlife managers' (its no longer up to nature in the 21st century) they must do their best to respect both the prey and predator populations.

To all of those who think wolf hunting is a horrible act, you need to zoom out and see the 300 million acre picture we call game management in Alaska.

lisa lorr
Dec 03, 2008

i found the article and photos way to uncomfortable for backpacker magazine. i like the magazine for the eyeful beauty that i find in the photos. i was shocked at the terrible act of hunting wolves and the proud hunter. leave these articles to another magazine please.

Paul
Nov 30, 2008

Thank you Tracy, I appreciate the effort you made on this controversial issue and I appreciate the fact that Back Packer magazine found the issue worthy enough to cover. I think one of the biggest problems is that their is a high percentage of people like Mr. Hagen who think that back packing is just about "the gear". Its about what we find when we put our gear on and go out there,its about having respect for what we find out there and it is about responsibility. The responsibility that we have to our earth and everything on it. I would like to encourage Back Packer Magazine to continue these articles and I would like to encourage Tracy Ross to re think her position on the wolf issues not just in Alaska but in the lower 48 as well. The overwhelming majority of preditor control programs do not work and in many cases cause irreperable damage to entire species. This is because they are rarely based on any scientific fact or research as is the case in Alaska. This is strictly political and economics and that is really and truly a shame!!!

Keith, NJ
Nov 27, 2008

I found the article very disturbing. Futhermore, I hope "Backpacker" takes a stance on the matter to protect the wolves and increase the non-hunting zone. Personally I am against hunting and believe it would be very effective if someone, perhaps Tracy Ross, was able to start a wide-spread petition given the fact that the saftey zone is up for renewal in March 2010. Not only are the wolves extremely beautiful but I do not believe it is justified to kill them to protect the cariboou. After all it is the natural food chain that hunters are negatively impacting...

Alfred Hagen, Gooding, ID
Nov 25, 2008

I subscribe to Backpacker to read about...you guessed it, backpacking! Enough with the ten page articles on stuff that I would expect to see on, gee, I dunno', Oprah? I could give a crap about, get this, "LEGAL" hunting of wolves in Alaska. If it were "ill-legal" then it might be worthy of National Geographic. You want to report on something of a gray area from around the world that could really use some attention from us "global minded treehuggin' chiclets"...how about where most of the gear that we use like our shoes and sleeping bags were made, or worse yet, who made them and at what cost. For more information go to ijm.org.

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