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Letter to the Editor: Use our apex brain in managing wolves, elk

Published on August 8, 2017 2:41PM

In response to the letter from Garik Asplund on the elk problem, I am quite sure that most people in this county thought your letter was much more laughable than Dallas McCrae’s. Dallas was just more humble in his suggestion.

In case you are not aware, there is already an elk fence in the county, built many moons ago, that does a pretty good job of keeping the elk out of the Prairie Creek area. The elk were brought in here more than 50 years ago by train and were not native to this area. They have done well, and in the past, we had hunters come in every year who kept those numbers to a reasonable total.

In recent years, as the elk have become more of an issue for ranchers who are raising food for livestock in addition to food for people like you, the powers that be in ODFW have reduced tags, raised the prices and limited hunts to the point that most people think it’s pointless to spend the money to come here and try to take an elk.

They have also raised the objectives of elk numbers in areas, which has made it harder for ranchers to keep sufficient grass for cattle as the elk come in and eat down the new spring grass. Now, you might ask yourself, why would they want fewer elk harvested when the elk are becoming a major issue for ranchers who are having these huge animals, who eat more than a horse, raiding haystacks, tearing down fences, permanently migrating into planted fields and losing their fear of humans?

I’ll save you the trouble of thinking up excuses. They need large game animals to feed the growing wolf population, and if the wolves don’t have game meat, they will prey more on livestock, which means more chaos for ODFW as the wolf-lovers condemn the need to control wolf numbers. Make sense?

You also need to be educated to the fact that the Canadian Gray Wolf is also not a native of Wallowa County. There were a few native timber wolves here in the past who were never an issue with livestock. Those wolves were a different subspecies just like the Mexican wolf is a different sub pecies. (That is another misunderstood issue.)

And by the way, as proven in Yellowstone, wolves do not move game around. They did not keep the elk away from streams so little trees could grow. Elk go where they have to so they can find food and survive.

So to your comment about the ”oxymoronic pretense of managing elk.” You’re right. There is no management of elk and no management of wolves at this point. People need to learn that as the apex brain on the planet, we must control animal numbers and sometimes, including this case, that means lethal control for both species.

Connie Dunham



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