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Backpacker Magazine – January 2009

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.

by: Tracy Ross

PAGE 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
10-week-old Toklat pups (Gordon Haber)
10-week-old Toklat pups (Gordon Haber)
The shed at Wallace's compound. (J. Vandenoever)
The shed at Wallace's compound. (J. Vandenoever)
A wolf skull. (Julia Vandenoever)
A wolf skull. (Julia Vandenoever)
Wallace at his hunting camp. (J. Vandenoever)
Wallace at his hunting camp. (J. Vandenoever)
Gordon Haber (Photo by Julia Vandenoever)
Gordon Haber (Photo by Julia Vandenoever)
Wallace tows dead female wolf. (Gordon Haber)
Wallace tows dead female wolf. (Gordon Haber)
A drying rack. (Julia Vandenoever)
A drying rack. (Julia Vandenoever)
Wallace in front of wire snares. (J. Vandenoever)
Wallace in front of wire snares. (J. Vandenoever)
Denali wolf with snare. (Gordon Haber)
Denali wolf with snare. (Gordon Haber)
Barrette working in his tannery. (Vandenoever)
Barrette working in his tannery. (Vandenoever)

The puppies didn't know they were being hunted.

On a hillside above the Teklanika River, they pounced on their mother, nuzzled their father, and wrestled each other, chewing on snouts and tails. Through the heat of the day, they slept in the forest, curled up in the filtered light. When evening came, they edged out of the tree wells, skimming the roots with their bellies, and played on the brown grass.

It was June, and silver-gray clouds hung over the wide green valleys of Denali National Park. Beneath Sable, Polychrome, and Eielson Peaks, waves of tundra fanned out like carpet. Beyond the tundra, no people. Only mountains, anchored in glaciers, tearing into the sky.

Pups born into the world-famous Toklat pack cavort without fear in the safety of the 6-million-acre park. Protected since 1952, they roam Denali boldly, brushing up against tourist buses, stealing backpackers' shoes.

But when food is scarce, they follow the Denali caribou herd past the park's northeastern boundary and across a narrow no-hunting zone into a windswept valley rich with lichen. Waiting there, just 14 miles from their den site, is an army of hunters that targets the trusting Denali wolf.

One of them, a guide named Coke Wallace, makes no apologies for killing Denali's wolves. Not only is it legal, he argues, it's essential to safeguard moose and caribou populations, which hunters kill for sport and food.

The only thing stopping Wallace from decimating the pack is the no-hunting zone, a controversial 90-square-mile buffer fiercely defended by his longtime nemesis, wildlife scientist Gordon Haber. A student of the Toklat for 43 years, Haber has spent thousands of days in Denali recording pack behavior. He insists the safety zone is far too small, and bitterly contests any call to roll it back. But that is exactly what could happen in March 2010, when the buffer comes up for renewal. Already, advocacy groups are gearing up for a battle that will pit hunters against hikers, state biologists against national park officials, and two obdurate, obsessive men against each other.

For Wallace, the next year is a chance to preserve traditional ways. For Haber, it's a fight to save the world's most beloved family of wolves. For the pups I saw frolicking above the Teklanika, it's life or death. The clock is ticking.

Toklat. If you've been to Denali, you know this pack, these wolves. Adolph Murie came here in 1939 to study their impact on Dall sheep, and biologists–and tourists–have been watching them ever since. The subject of Murie's book, The Wolves of Mount McKinley, the Toklat (or East Fork) pack is the longest-studied group of large social vertebrates in the wild, outdating Jane Goodall's chimps by 30 years.

I saw them often when I worked in Denali as a backcountry ranger in the late 1990s. It was a difficult time for wolves across the park; hunters and trappers were targeting them more aggressively, often setting snares and traps just inches from park boundaries, and shooting them on sight.

Wolf hunting itself wasn't new–Eskimos baited wolves with whale blubber 10,000 years ago–but it was getting noticed. Protests poured in about Alaska's bounties and lax regulations. Questions were being raised about the sanctity of Denali's wildlife. Concerned about the wolves–and the tourism dollars they generated–the Denali Citizens Council asked the Alaska Board of Game to establish safety buffers where the Toklat and Savage wolf groups left federal land.

The board initially balked, but in November 2000, with controversial predator-control programs on tap elsewhere in the state, it conceded a 19-square-mile corridor along the park's northeastern boundary. In the years since, the zone has grown and shrunk, depending on which political party held sway. At 90 square miles, the current buffer covers half of the windswept valley where the Toklat and other wolf packs congregate to prey on wintering caribou. Called the Wolf Townships, it is the epicenter of Alaska's wolf wars.


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ALL READERS COMMENTS

Rob
Jun 18, 2012

I would never hurt a human, but anyone who hunts this way is not human at all.

Powerslave
Jun 13, 2012

I would not feel sorry if Coke Wallace were killed in one of his own traps. In fact, if it were a trap I placed that killed him, GREAT!!

Powerslave
Jun 13, 2012

I would not feel sorry if Coke Wallace were killed in one of his own traps. In fact, if it were a trap I placed that killed him, GREAT!!

.
Jun 13, 2012

Regarding Coke Wallace, somebody just shoot him.

Seriously. People kill people every day for far lesser reasons. Shoot him between the eyes to show your humanity, but just shoot him.

Its OK to kill him.

Oliver Starr
Jun 12, 2012

Rich, if you think snares are humane let me humbly suggest you snare yourself and report on just how you enjoyed the experience...

clarisselcourcier
Jan 28, 2012

if someone saw a wolf in a snare, why didn't you cut her loose or help her?

clarisselcourcier
Jan 28, 2012

wolves are gentle and intelligent animals,and I would join up to take up arms against the ones that kill for profit..........................

TS
Mar 01, 2011

Dear Jack.

You noted...

"I respect wolves and I have seen a pack of wolves play and I
have shot a wolf. Each time respecting their power and beauty.

You have an interesting way of showing respect. You were so filled with respect for its power and beauty - and you shot it.

Whatever your justification may be for ending its life, at least you can confirm it's NOT hanging on your wall as a "trophy" right?

Jack
Feb 27, 2011

Wow I only read a few of the first comments but the whole concept of hunting and trapping is way over some of you tree huggers heads do a little research of your own before you say your going to go and show these hunting guides and outfitters who happen to be some of the strongest most inshape fearless people I know your martial art skills. I respect wolves and I have seen a pack of wolves play and I have shot a wolf. Each time respecting their power and beauty.

TS
Feb 26, 2011

The old STARVATION card being played once again to justify the hunt. These animals have managed to survive and maintain an ecological, natural balance for decades without intervention from humans. Please don't buy into the "I hunt to prevent STARVATION" story, and be smart enough to see through that spin.

Tradionalist
Feb 24, 2011

I am Christian and an American. Like my father, to his father, and family before us; I hunt for food and for the sake of the legacy that is hunting (tradition). Hunting to me is a challenge, it teaches the necessary skills on how to survive on wild meat, and it is a way to take care of the gift the I believe is being taken away from us. The hunting industry glorifies the "trophy" thing too much. I believe in taking care of our remaining resources, game, and fish. Hunting wolves for the sake of food and tradition is one thing, but hunting them for the fun of it or for that trophy mount is a totally different degree. I would love to hunt wolves someday when the I believe that the population has leveled out and there are better regulations, but not today. I would much rather see in fact all of the game and fish species level out again, not just in Alaska but everywhere else as well. I beg to differ that hunting is a sport. Some people might treat it as so, but I do not. Hunting is a part of life. My grandfather once told me that you use a gun for two things: to survive and to eat. That's the way it is for me. Hunting is not a sport, it is a way of life.

Doubting Thomas
Feb 24, 2011

So, let me get this straight: The snared alpha female ate dirt and rocks for over a week while its mate and pups sat around and watched? Wouldn't they have tried to bring her some food? I doubt a snared animal could swallow anything. "Disney" is a most correct description.

Mik Jones
Feb 24, 2011

I understand hunting for food within conservation limits, but individuals who get off on just killing for killing's sake like Coke are absolutely sorry. I have known them up in Alaska and they are all insecure about their manhood, and contrary to what the writer said have no real survival skills other than revving up their engine to go faster. Coke and his ilk are cowards. I and many others would love to help him learn to be a man by comparing our martial art skills, but then Coke and Al are just all mouth when it comes to taking on anything that has two legs and a backbone.

brett
Feb 24, 2011

i would do the same to coke as he does to the animals

Bob, Tx
Jun 25, 2010

Does Candice Berner get a say in this controversy?


Poor, poor wolves. Just like the poor, poor mountain lions of Kalifornia!



This whole presentation (Dogs of War) was presented in a fashion to tug the heart strings of the ignorant and uninformed. Lotsa "kill the trapper" sentiment too ... shame when an animal of any kind is valued more than a human life. Skewed values for sure.

Andalora
Oct 17, 2009

This is a very sad article to read, after writing an article about the grey wolf last week for my ecology class, and hearing that Haber recently died in a plane crash and now there is no one left to spearhead the campaign for these beautiful animals. I can only imagine the great love and respect he had for the Toklat pack after studying them for almost half a century. I would love to do such extensive research.
While I could never imagine killing an animal, I am not against hunting. I do, however, believe there are limits as to how many animals you should be able to kill during a period of time, etc. I also am against trapping and snaring, because of the creulty of such practices. A kill should be quick - no one should end life in pain. I also think the meat of the animal should not be wasted, nor the pelt or skeleton.
People need to realize the important role wolves play in keeping populations in check. It's not the peoples place to replace wolves in this respect. As well, people simply can not keep caribou/moose/deer populations in check on their own. Wolves are natural hunters, here for a good reason. They should not be hunted. Think of all the car accidents involving cervidae? This is dangerous for humans!
I understand that wolves are not endangered in Alaska, but that does not mean that Wallace and his buddies should lay in wait for these wolves and slaughter them. The thing about wolves is, they're on and off the ESA all the time, being hunted to the brink and put on the list, rebounding, and being taken off - and then the viscious cycle starts again! Why can't we just leave them be?
Studying wolves you realize a pack is like a family. Only a single pair mates and reproduces, all the wolves care for the pups, they cuddle and nuzzle muzzles, and play. They mourn when a family member dies. I swear they are capable of love. We should appreciate the value of their existence as we value our own.

Eric
Aug 04, 2009

I was Artist in Residence in Denali a few years back. I stayed at the Murie cabin hoping to photograph wolves for my art. That was not to happen. That was the summer right after Coke killed one of the young and the alpha female of the pack I was hoping to see. Years I waited for this moment. The pack had moved on because of this. In my annual trips to Denali I have only seen one wolf since. The park is not there for a few pricks to trap, it is for everyone. More moose are killed by highway traffic than wolves. So now we have to kill wolves so people can shoot more moose. This is fixing the balance? Can humans be more stupid or bigger scumbags?

Reece
Mar 23, 2009

Theres another side of the 'coin' here. And I know from experience.
Most of the time when a wolf is caught in a leg hold trap or snared by a leg (which generally does not happen, snares are usually very lethal), they don't expend a lot of effort once they 'know' they are caught,so they lay or sit to avoid any further pain. Now if someone in a airplane starts buzzing and circling for pictures or just getting as close as they can to look at the wolf, this scares and or agitates the wolf, then they will make a very desperate effort to get loose, tearing skin, flesh and or breaking joints. Now visualize the plane flying off, and returning the next day to,, lets say, get better pictures, and lets say before the plane first found the wolf, the wolf was caught, but hadn't 'fought' wildly to get untrapped and it hadn't even torn its skin, and its joints were okay. So when the airplane arrives the next day the wolf is in much worse condition from the previous days 'airplane buzzing', NOW the photographer gets pictures of a wolf with a broken bloody leg highly visible. These are pictures that $ELL, and bring fame to those that show how 'horrible' trapping is. Better yet, buzz the wolf closely for 1/2 hour for 3 or 4 days, then the pictures get 'better and better'. Don't think for a moment some 'people', independent or paid by a organization, have 'morals or ethics' that are far ABOVE those who trap. Its the unspoken calling, the "pot calling the kettle black"!

Jim Smith
Feb 17, 2009

The fact that man does not interfere with the Denali wildlife is what draws millions every year. It is no coincidence that nature has done such a wonderful job. Once man steps in, all will probably be changed forever-for what-- MONEY.. how sad.

Double Cabin
Feb 15, 2009

People on the forums know I am considered "anti" wolf by most but I seriously encourage you to rethink how you introduce Ms. Ross's article here. With all due respect and IMHO you do Ms. Ross's excellent piece great disservice with the "...park under siege" in your byline. I read it in the magazine and its actually one of the better articles I've read on wolf controversy when it comes to balance in recent years; and although her conclusions seem invalidly drawn IMHO I personally appreciated her introspective honesty.

Given that: 1)Wolves and no other large mammals are really under siege by any stretch of any rational imagination IN Denali National Park or any National Park for that matter. 2) Wolves are not even remotely endangered in the State of Alaska. 3) You are a publication purportedly bound to dispense not misrepresentation but veracity in your pages...

B) I humbly suggest you leave your editorializing for somewhere much farther down the line than the byline. I have come to like your magazine more and more every time I read it at the Library in recent years, but when it becomes apparent a publisher or editor's kenning is in traction before any substance is presented reason forces me to doubt that some of you are not held hostage to your own emotional preconceptions.

But alas I am not a subscriber. Thank Ms. Ross for her own restraint, I will get a subscription when I relocate in April.

My apologies for the consternation but I know if you truly want your already fine publication to be better you will find it well founded. Thanks for yur time,

John

Casie & Laura
Feb 12, 2009

This Coke guy is sick.

Nicholas
Feb 07, 2009

Let the wolves be. The system of nature far exceeds any invention by human beings.

rich
Feb 03, 2009

It's funny to the extreme side of anti's and the more balanced view of others. I love the outdoors and nature. I love hunting. There should certainly be laws and penelties against irresponsible trapping. Snares are also more humane than some of the gripping traps. The vast majority of hunters agree with rules and regulations for the sport. Yes, there are idiots in the hunting world just as there are idiot hikers. Balance is the key to everything. We as humans should do our best to keep this balance.

Tony Dalon, Roopville GA
Feb 03, 2009

I under both side's points.Hunters have the right to hunt and yet the wolves at the same time need protection from being hunted to extention. So why not hunt with a bag limit like on other game along with a park boudary instead of just a park boundary they can go outside of and be killed to extention. Also, I was just horrified at the way they are allowed to trap the wolves. The story of the way the alpha female was captured and allowed to lay there in excruciating pain for two weeks until her death was unbelievable to me. Coke wallace and other hunters have no right to use basically "torture traps" dug in and hung into their flesh of these animals untill they die. These traps should be outlawed immediately by the state legislature. Shooting an animal is one thing; torturing them till death is quite another! These very social and smart creatures feel just as much pain as we do. These types of slow torture till death is no different than what Sadam Hussien did to his helpless victims; How is this any different just because they are animals and not human!

Wolf Friend
Jan 30, 2009

One could best say that we, the ignorant humans, fear that which we do not know. And rest assured that most do not even begin to understand of the making of the wolf pack. We so under estimate that of the wolf, their love for one another, the place that they hold in the pack, the bond that holds them and most importantly the roll that was given to the wolf, HUNTER. We could learn a lot from our brother wolf. Every pack member has a place and every member has an importance, a roll to play in the family. The very essence of a wolf pack is family. How many readers out there know that a wolf pack consists of only one mating couple? My guess, only those of us who have taken the time to learn. How many of us know that a wolf holds the key to the ever precious food chain? We have seen time and time again that when we eradicate the top predators, we begin to unravel that which is not our place to control. We throw off the balance of life, the caribou become overpopulated, the native plants fade as the caribou feed on them, and so on down the line. The wolf will not destroy the caribou or the elk! They are there to keep the balance in check, taking out the weak and the sick! It is absolutely ridiculous to even believe that hunting a wolf is okay. There is no need to keep wolf population under control via human intervention, a pack keeps it self in check. If they over hunt the caribou or deer, there is no food, STARVATION occurs. The pack cannot survive. It is high time that we learn more about our environment and our roll in the effects we create when we change anything. Tell Palin to back off and leave the wolves ALONE!

bill
Jan 29, 2009

Just as hunting is a sport, trapping is a profession and done for income rather than sport. Trapping is what helped settle the West here in American. First the French coming down from Canada, then the British, and finally the Americans. It is the prospect of earning money from the pelts of animals that is behind trapping. Not only does it not require waiting for hours for a single shot, it allows the trapper to catch and harvest many pelts, but it also does not leave a bullet hole in the valuable hide. I won't go as far as to say there should be a law saying how often you are to check your traps as this is unconstitutional, but I do not like the animals waiting to long or potentially getting away wounded when no one benefits. Ultimately it is up to the trapper when he checks his traps and you have no business telling him how to run his business when you know next to nothing about it, how would you feel if he was the one telling you how to run your business.

Lenny M.
Jan 28, 2009

Someday, I hope to hear stories about people taking out hunters who hunt wolves, especially the so-called hunters that hunt from helicopters.

bill
Jan 28, 2009

Just as hunting is a sport, trapping is a profession and done for income rather than sport. Trapping is what helped settle the West here in American. First the French coming down from Canada, then the British, and finally the Americans. It is the prospect of earning money from the pelts of animals that is behind trapping. Not only does it not require waiting for hours for a single shot, it allows the trapper to catch and harvest many pelts, but it also does not leave a bullet hole in the valuable hide. I won't go as far as to say there should be a law saying how often you are to check your traps as this is unconstitutional, but I do not like the animals waiting to long or potentially getting away wounded when no one benefits. Ultimately it is up to the trapper when he checks his traps and you have no business telling him how to run his business when you know next to nothing about it, how would you feel if he was the one telling you how to run your business.

bill
Jan 27, 2009

Just as hunting is a sport, trapping is a profession and done for income rather than sport. Trapping is what helped settle the West here in American. First the French coming down from Canada, then the British, and finally the Americans. It is the prospect of earning money from the pelts of animals that is behind trapping. Not only does it not require waiting for hours for a single shot, it allows the trapper to catch and harvest many pelts, but it also does not leave a bullet hole in the valuable hide. I won't go as far as to say there should be a law saying how often you are to check your traps as this is unconstitutional, but I do not like the animals waiting to long or potentially getting away wounded when no one benefits. Ultimately it is up to the trapper when he checks his traps and you have no business telling him how to run his business when you know next to nothing about it, how would you feel if he was the one telling you how to run your business.

Steve
Jan 27, 2009

This is a lively discussion. I do take exception to the broad-brush statement that this "will pit hunters against hikers..." Does this mean that I will battle against myself? I am an avid hiker. I also hunt. Let's not assume that hikers are against hunting. And let's not assume that hunters are anti-environment.

Honora Renwick
Jan 26, 2009

I'm glad you wrote this fair article, presenting multiple viewpoints. I'm disgusted and outraged to read about any animal being trapped for so long as that alpha female was, or animals roaming with embedded snares in their necks.

Here in New Zealand we have no natural mammals (except bats) and massive problems with native species becoming extinct. One of my pals trapped possums here in New Zealand. He would go out on bitterly cold mornings to check his traps he'd laid the day before as he knew it wasn't right to leave the animals suffering.

My sister also trapped possums and she used to reverse the sharp points on the trap so the possum was only held, not pierced. Again, she would check her traps the next day and kill the possum with a single blow to the head.

Surely leaving animals trapped so long is illegal? By all means, hunt an animal and then quickly dispatch it with a bullet if you must but why are trapping and snaring game animals socially sanctioned? Don't you have organisations in the United States to assess and minimise cruelty to animals?

It's obvious that these animals are like family to Gordon Haber and if you had any respect or liking for wolves then you wouldn't do anything other than killing them mercifully i.e. not trapping or snaring.

My partner was on a hike once and he and others came upon a trapline with caught possums. They had been there so long that some were dead. One of the guys released all the still live animals and threw the traps in the bushes as he went and no one disagreed with his action ans they know the trapper was reprehensible.

Keep up your good work doing what is right with "jumping on the environmental bandwagon" etc. You will be more assured of a subscription from some of us.

Vern T
Jan 25, 2009

I have to agree with those who believe you should stay away from promoting the radical environazi agenda.I come from a long line of people who have hunted and eaten what we take,the majority of hunters I believe are there for the meat,the guys who hunt only the biggest and healthiest animals are by far the minority in the field.All one has to do is checkout the success ratio of hunters who connected with game to amount of hunters with tags,rarely will you find success ratios of,or higher than 30%.Man even with all the technology is still not a devastating factor on herds because of the seasons and regulations.If i wanted to read a bunch of eco scare,doom and gloom crapola I would read the Sierra Club rag instead of using it as toilet paper!Stick to what you know and are good at,Iam outside because I love the outdoors and hunting is a bonus and the eats are great!

J.R.
Jan 25, 2009

I do have a problem with an animal suffering for hours until someone checks their trapline or the traps that "malfunction" and the animal escapes to endure a slow death from the injury caused by the trap or snare. Comments?

Bob Florida
Jan 24, 2009

I would like to see the Toklat pack saved. I was in Denali this summer and saw part of the pack. It was a great trip. If we have to expand the buffer zone to protect the pack, so be it. As for hunting, I dont have a problem with it. I do have a problem with trapping. That is not right. However, when it comes to hunting, dont call it a sport unless the outcome is uncertain. For example, when the cardnials and the steelers play in the supper bowl next week, we dont know the winner; it is uncertain. The same should go for hunting. Go hunt a wolf or a bear or a deer using only a knife. That would be a true sport becuase we dont know the outcome. When you use rifle with a scope, the outcome is know and is very predictable.

Greg
Jan 24, 2009

I like my meat local, sustainable, and organic; that's why I hunt. My guns, a phallic substitute, I think not; a family tradition dating back over 200 years, yep. How about you keep the conversation on point without turning it into yet another debate of the second admendment. My guns are off limits to "you people", as safe if not safer than every other right we have.

J. Corcoran
Jan 24, 2009

No predator has ever been able to control/wipeout their population of prey. The only animal on this planet that has achieved that are humans. Wolves live in balance with their main prey, it is more likely the prey are controlling the wolf population. When the population of caribou goes down then the wolf population goes down, its a natural cycle. Example read about the wolves on Ilse Royale. The only time wolves can have an additive effect on their prey is when the prey population is already decreasing due to disease, over hunting by man, etc. So, to say the wolves are killing too many caribou is not really factual. Its more likely that the human population is causing additive mortality on the caribou/ moose herds not the wolves. Humans assume the caribou and moose are for them to hunt. Also hunters are causing a sort of reverse evolution, they go after the bigger more healthy animals wolves go for the sick, small, weaker animals before going after the more healthy animals. So, by killing off the healthy members of a population it leaves only the smaller weaker ones to breed.
I have nothing against hunting, just don't tell me me the wolves that have lived and evolved with their prey for millions of years are all of a sudden killing too many, no it is the additive mortality by humans that is the problem.
Yes deer kill more humans than any other animal in the U.S. that is an over population problem where the only predators are humans and not enough are hunting. This is mainly a problem in the eastern U. S. where there are not many hunters.
Anyway as a wildlife biologist that's my 2 cents worth

bill wells
Jan 24, 2009

i live in raleigh, north carolina and last year there were 952 deer related accidents in wake county alone. with in creased deer populations also comes the spread of disease and over population. there must be balance between human population and animal population, and that means one of two things, hunters continue hunting or you convince thousands of people to kill themselves and ban hunting. now tell me, is hunting bad.
as to this instance, there must also be a balance between predator and prey. and the wolves in alaska are no where near endangered, nor have you taken into account all the wolves in canada. in alaska alone there are 6,000-8,000 grey wolves in alaska accoring to the US fish and wildlife service.
to all those saying hunters have no morals or respect for the animals. you obviously either don't know any hunters and therefore you have just given an unqualified and offensive statement, or you just know one or two wackos who hunt for the wrong reason and judge several million hunters based on a few idiots. hunting is about respecting the land, we do have morals (more morals than those who kill human babies before they are even born!). as a hunter you respect your quarry.

bill wells
Jan 23, 2009

i live in raleigh, north carolina and last year there were 952 deer related accidents in wake county alone. with in creased deer populations also comes the spread of disease and over population. there must be balance between human population and animal population, and that means one of two things, hunters continue hunting or you convince thousands of people to kill themselves and ban hunting. now tell me, is hunting bad.
as to this instance, there must also be a balance between predator and prey. and the wolves in alaska are no where near endangered, nor have you taken into account all the wolves in canada. in alaska alone there are 6,000-8,000 grey wolves in alaska accoring to the US fish and wildlife service.
to all those saying hunters have no morals or respect for the animals. you obviously either don't know any hunters and therefore you have just given an unqualified and offensive statement, or you just know one or two wackos who hunt for the wrong reason and judge several million hunters based on a few idiots. hunting is about respecting the land, we do have morals (more morals than those who kill human babies before they are even born!). as a hunter you respect your quarry.

Dave Haywire
Jan 23, 2009

in response to Lennie B-being able to hike, climb, hunt, fish, camp, etc., is pretty related to the "green" agenda-if we don't conserve, if we don't take responsibility for our resource utilization, we may be affecting the ability of our children and grandchildren to be able to enjoy these same pursuits. Have you ever been in a beautiful mountain meadow and come across non-decaying material-that would be trash- left by others?Have you seen the smog clouds aroung parts of the Rockie Mountains? Do you drive? Recycle? I think it is great that a magazine devoted to getting into the outdoors risks offending folks who evidently want to enjoy nature without being burdened by thoughts of conservation and preservation.

Thomas
Jan 23, 2009

In this day and age hunting should only be for sustenance and only for those that can prove they need to. There is absolutely no moral, ethical or scientific reason for hunting. The herds and packs were in a balance for centuries without our interference, and yes man has hunted them for as long as anyone can know about. However with our population levels the amount of hunters is far more now then then and the methods used far more advanced. How about leaving wild lands wild. Go out and enjoy them but leave no trace. I know far too many hunters to have any respect for them anymore. Your actions speak louder than your words.

Lenny B
Jan 23, 2009

I used to buy your magazine, until I saw stories about a "green" agenda. I enjoy hiking and reading about it. How come you stopped writting about that and started on this "greenie" stuff.

Jason Doxey
Jan 23, 2009

Gordon Haber is an activist, not a scientist. This article, like Haber's work, is a joke. From the very opening lines of this article, it is clear that the author has no clue. The only difference between the the Toklat pack and the hundreds of other wolf packs throughout Alaska is that some human beings, such as Gordon Haber, have chosen to manipulate the media to create an artificial distinction that does not exist on the ground. It is a man-made distinction.

Jermiah Johnson
Jan 23, 2009

I think wolves are just like any other game animals and tags should be issued the same way. The numbers can't explode and wipe out the deer and elk herds. But there must be a balance in the numbers if it can ever be reached. I agree that the Backpacker should stay out of the business of protecting the wolves. I wont read any of their magazines any more now . I don't like what the wolves are doing to our game in the north west. I have never seen such low numbers of elk and deer. Every one of my hunting buddys and just people I talk to have never seen such an impact as this. God help us fix this mess Please.

Mickey
Jan 22, 2009

I would like to see all you animal lovers, who think animals have rights, plans for tomorrow, decide with their mates to have families and do not just exist and run on instinct come face to face with a nice, pretty, harmless little wolf in the backcountry. You would certainly serve a better purpose as a meal than the whinny wimps who think only your opinion could possibly be correct.

Frank Gearhart
Jan 22, 2009

I don't hunt - in fact, I'm a vegetarian. I do love wolves, and have spent wonderful times with rescued wolves at a local sanctuary. I would love to hear wild wolves again in Colorado.

Having said that, I have no problems with hunters that either hunt for food, or at least eat what they kill.

Where wolves have been restored to the wild, prey populations tend to improve. Epidemics don't ravage them the way they have - witness "wasting disease" in the elk population here in Colorado.

I DO have a problem with hunting wolves from the air, with killing pups, and with the ridiculous arguments about how hunting controls populations. Hunting usually take the best and strongest of the herd, leaving the weakest to mate. Wolves and other natural predators tend to take the weak, strengthening the prey.

Hunt if you have to or need to. But Rob, remember that the boundaries were made by man, not the wolves, and they don't know these boundaries exist. Perhaps if you trespassed onto someone else's unmarked land, they would be justified in killing you because you were inside their zone.

JS, please show me ANY studies that show that hunters control rampant populations better than natural predators. In fact, please show me ANY objective evidence that hunting prevents "attacks on humans". I live with black bear and see them on a regular basis, sometimes within feet of me. We go our separate ways. I see elk and deer often in the wild, and have yet to be attacked by any of them. When was the last time you were attacked by any of the species you hunt?

WolfDreamer
Jan 22, 2009

I have come from a family of hunters,and they have always hunted for the meat not the trophy. As with most hunters, they will chose the largest and healthiest to kill. But the wolf will mosty prey upon the old and sick(which are the easiest for them to take down.) which inturn keeps the elk and moose herds healthy and strong.This also prevents over grazing and the stuggle to find food in the winter months as they try to support such a huge herd.
This can be verified by the wolf packs that are now roaming in Yellowstone National Park.
Now, I am not familar with the laws of trapping, but isnt there a law that states that traps need to be checks every 2-3 days( or within a resonable time table) so that the animal will not suffer? If this is so, then he has broken a law and should be accountable for such actions.



JoeS
Jan 22, 2009

When we protect wolves and cougars, we devastate the sheep and deer/elk population. Every cougar eats a sheep/deer every week.

In California, the Yosemite Fund relocated half of a herd of big horn sheep from Lone Pine to Tuolomne. It cost some $500,000. Both herds quickly grew to the limit of the ecosystem. Sierra Big Horn are endangered... Everyone thought it was a great success.

Then, the Sierra Club won a CA ballot proposition ending the hunting of cougars.

Congratulations!! the Sierra Big Horn, which are endangered, have been decimated by cougars, who are not endangered.

You envirowackos act so self-righteous because your are too stupid to see what the truth is.

Let them hunt the wolves outside the park, same with Yellowstone. We ought to allow bear hunting in Yosemite to reduce the hundreds of thousands of dollars of damage every year.

I will backpack and camp while I hunt.

Erik
Jan 22, 2009

I echo the comments posted on here by both fellow hunters and by those who live the wilderness.I have grown up in a family of hunters and hunted for 30 years myself. I agree that hunting in its purest form is for meat not for a trophy. I think what is happening here is pitiful and that trapping a wolf in a snare or allowing it to suffer for weeks is nothing even close to the essence of hunting. These men who call themselves "survivalists" and "trappers" are utilizing modern technology and unfair advantages to go snare wolves. If they want to be hunters at least "hunt" rather than trap! This is for egomaniacs who have too much money and want the trophy or are so bloodthirsty that they get a kick out of killing. Watch out for karma!

Trent
Jan 22, 2009

Hunting wolves is completely legal and one of the oldest professions in existence. Do you suddenly think that only modern man have hunted wolves. The hunter is a noble and historic figure and deserves respect. I am bothered by the self-righteousness of many judging the activities of others; especially since they are the ones who want their perverse views respected. I am also bothered by a backpacking and camping magazine jumping onto the radical environmental bandwagon. Stick to survival and hiking tips and leave the planet saving to the Sierra Club. Leave the hunters alone.

Trent
Jan 22, 2009

Hunting wolves is completely legal and one of the oldest professions in existence. Do you suddenly think that only modern man have hunted wolves. The hunter is a noble and historic figure and deserves respect. I am bothered by the self-righteousness of many judging the activities of others; especially since they are the ones who want their perverse views respected. I am also bothered by a backpacking and camping magazine jumping onto the radical environmental bandwagon. Stick to survival and hiking tips and leave the planet saving to the Sierra Club. Leave the hunters alone.

Trent
Jan 22, 2009

Hunting wolves is completely legal and one of the oldest professions in existence. Do you suddenly think that only modern man have hunted wolves. The hunter is a noble and historic figure and deserves respect. I am bothered by the self-righteousness of many judging the activities of others; especially since they are the ones who want their perverse views respected. I am also bothered by a backpacking and camping magazine jumping onto the radical environmental bandwagon. Stick to survival and hiking tips and leave the planet saving to the Sierra Club. Leave the hunters alone.

Trent
Jan 22, 2009

Hunting wolves is completely legal and one of the oldest professions in existence. Do you suddenly think that only modern man have hunted wolves. The hunter is a noble and historic figure and deserves respect. I am bothered by the self-righteousness of many judging the activities of others; especially since they are the ones who want their perverse views respected. I am also bothered by a backpacking and camping magazine jumping onto the radical environmental bandwagon. Stick to survival and hiking tips and leave the planet saving to the Sierra Club. Leave the hunters alone.

Hunter
Jan 22, 2009

PETA- People Eating Tasty Animals!

Wolfmaan
Jan 22, 2009

There is a difference between hunting because it's your livelihood and having no moral fibre. Just because sadly it's legal to kill wolves doesn't mean you should make them suffer and torture them because you can. Just remember - Karma...

Tom
Jan 22, 2009

Im a hunter, I hunt Elk, Deer and Antelope for food. I have been a hunter fot 30 years, Hunting has a purpose, the problem is hunting has become a big business for the rich. I have never shot a animal to just shot an animal, I love to be out in the wilderness the way it was back before man just about elimanated everthing. The Ranchers and Outfitters that say the wolf's are hard on deer and elk herds, I would to remind them the deer and elk populations are triple the size then 100 years ago. If you looked into the people that want to kill the wolf, its about rich A holes that hunt for the trophy of an animal not the meat. Im a hunter that says the wolf should not be hunted for sport, its wrong!!!!!

nikto
Jan 22, 2009

Hunting for pure sport is cowardly and pitiful.

Hunting for survival or food is another matter.

But only weakling-wimps shoot animals and feel big for doing it.

Their guns are a phallic substitute for what they haven't got.

JG
Jan 22, 2009

I read the story and was struck by the selfishness of the hunters. They clearly do not want to acknowledge that the wolves have a strong social structure and want them to be something they are not; simple creatures not worthy of our respect.
Sport hunting is, in my opinion, not an acceptable activity for any modern human being that wants to claim a shred of morality. The simple fact is that the wolves have just as much right to life as we do yet here are a group of people that feel free to kill them with impunity. Moral transactions are based upon the ability of the situation to be reversed and I think it becomes obvious that this is not morally reversible.
We have an ever dwindling reserve of wilderness and the animals that inhabit these wildernesses. If we want to be able to claim a moral righteousness then we must respect these animals. Sport hunting is the very antithesis of this kind of respect.
Furthermore it is becoming more and more obvious that we are a part of Nature, not above it. To damage these habitats in the way we are often doing is no different than soiling our own beds. We will pay the price one way or another.
The only thing I can offer on the other side of the coin is that if those that wish to protect the environment are not brutally honest and scrupulous then they damage the very effort they are making and devalue their claims. As long as environmentalists respect the truth no matter where it may fall they will make progress, the moment they bend the truth to suit their agenda they lose all credibility and become no different than many of those they oppose.
For the record I am a selfish environmentalist; most of my motivation for being environmentally responsible is rooted in the desire to go out and enjoy Nature and thus I want something Natural to be there for me to enjoy. The net effect of this is that I feel compelled to be as environmentally responsible as I am able regardless of my motivations...

nikto
Jan 22, 2009

Hunting for pure sport is cowardly and pitiful.

Hunting for survival or food is another matter.

But only weakling-wimps shoot animals and feel big for doing it.

Their guns are a phallic substitute for what they haven't got.

Dan Strehlow
Jan 22, 2009

Coke is a sick individual. Wolves and dogs are highly social animals much like us. I say we go hunt Coke, not with guns but with the human spirit and teach him some morals. I might just go uo there and go toe to toe with him and see what kind of a man he really is. Drop the gun Coke and lets go toe to toe and see ho you really are. Better yet Coke, go toe to toe, no weapons, with a full grown wolf, and we'll see who you really are. A coward to be sure.

John Vanek
Jan 22, 2009

As an undergraduate student in Wildlife biology, I have mixed feelings. Hunters play an important part of conservation. However, I belief hunting should be conducted in an ethical manor. Leaving a trap for 2 weeks without checking it is unethical to me.

The real issue comes down to Haber not publishing. If he really cares for the wolves, and believes that his theories hold up, he should be publishing. By not publishing, he loses his credibility.

jason
Jan 22, 2009

this agenda has created a false dichotomy between "hikers" and "hunters". i actually am both, and see no problem with both following the law of the land in either respect. our role as humans is to care for the land, yes, but not to the extreme that some take it. and, yes, i am disappointed to see backpacker magazine attempt to portray hunting in this light. i used to subscribe and no longer do

kayla
Jan 22, 2009

killing wolves is just wrong. killing a deer for food is one thing for hunting a wolf for an ego-boost is another. I hope the new president does something about the horrific acts going on in Alaska, as well as parts of Wyoming.

JS
Jan 22, 2009

MAJ,

I hope you are a vegitarian? Do you own wool? I hope your shoes and sneakers are fake leather.

Oh, wait if it is fake leather, I hope it is green.

Your commets are very ignorant. Hunter's serve a purpose they control the animal population from running rampant, starving of animals, and attacks on humans. Send me your email at PITA!

Anonymous
Jan 22, 2009

If people want to hunt wolves there is the possibility that in the next year or so there will be a wolf hunting season in the state of Idaho. The transplanted wolf population has exploded and has decimated the deer and elk herds. I dont agree with hunting wolves myself, i think they are just awesome animals, but maybe, just maybe a wolf hunting season outside of alaska would stop some poeple from hunting them in alaska.

MAJ
Jan 22, 2009

Hunting for sport should be a crime. I'm not an eco-warrior, I just think it is morally wrong to killing a living being for the fun of it is wrong.

Rob
Jan 22, 2009

So what's the problem? When the wolves are within boundaries, they're protected. When they're outside the zone, they're game.

Jess
Jan 20, 2009

I used to subscribe to Backpacker and I'm surprised at how inflammatory it has become. It is not surprising why so many eco-minded outdoors people have a skewed view of this topic.

t dean
Jan 19, 2009

Dogs could and should be used to control this population isitlegalto

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