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Sticks and stones

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I just want to assure Ron Gillett that even though I'm an enviro, I wasn't born under a rock, nor am I a "wolf-thug terrorist" or "full of 'crap' and 'baloney' " when it comes to wolves having little impact on elk and deer populations (HCN, 5/12/08). Certainly, if wolf populations explode and there aren't some state-regulated hunts, then they can have an impact on livestock losses, and certainly could pose some threats to domestic pets and people.

As much as Gillett blames wolves for elk population numbers declining, he overlooks habitat loss, drought, disease and predation by other animals like cougars and grizzly bears. I tend to trust the wildlife managers of the Western states to provide adequate statistics about the numbers of elk, deer and other wildlife.

People like Gillett polarize the debate over wolves' role in the West in contributing to healthier ecosystems. It's quite evident in Yellowstone, where riparian areas have begun to flourish along with more species diversity. Gillett makes his living off the users of public lands, and he might do work that promotes healthy land-management practices rather then antagonize good folks like me who believe wolves have a role to play in healthy ecosystems in Idaho, Wyoming and Montana.

Grant Wiegert
Benson, Arizona

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