« Return to this article

Know the West

An exterminator in land manager's clothing


As an outdoorsman, environmentalist and hunter I personally find Neil LaRubbio's notion that Ryan Counts deserves to hunt apex predators because he's an experienced hunter a stretch ("When predator is prey," HCN, 5/13/13). I sport fish, but I don't feel I "deserve" to hunt and kill sharks, and I don't fish for them. If folks like Counts think they have a "right" to hunt apex predators, they're being myopic. It's one thing to protect your home and livestock in a moment of predation; it's quite another to assume the right to hunt on public lands because predators pose an existential threat to your livelihood. His "right" to graze and hunt on public lands is really a privilege.

It is romantic to think that hunters will want wolves around enough to not hunt them to extinction. A majority of professional guides fought wolf reintroduction because wolves competed with ungulate hunters. Wolf tags are ridiculously cheap and easily obtainable. Permit prices and availability should be commensurate with the rarity of animals. Issuing 60,000 wolf tags over three states is ludicrous. It is eradication by "management."

William Petersen
New Orleans, Louisiana