« Return to this article

Know the West

Bargains with wolves

  A common logical error is the "either-or" fallacy. We must either kill wolves or put up with dead and horribly maimed cows. And men so quickly turn to guns. I'm sure there are many solutions in between, one of which is "negotiating" with the wolves.

Ann Daum writes about a rancher successfully negotiating with coyotes in South Dakota (in Intimate Nature). In return for the coyotes leaving his livestock alone, the rancher provided the coyotes with stillbirths and placentas, and grew more bushes along edges where coyotes could hunt smaller animals. Derek Jensen describes a long "discussion" with coyotes, the end result of which was that he provided them with bagels and the occasional remains of a chicken; in return, the coyotes did not eat his free-range chickens.

While these stories focus on coyotes, wolves are surely as smart. The world is big enough for all of us.

Kathleen Ochs
Saguache, Colorado