Today’s post is about something that is becoming quite controversial in the state of Colorado, and in the western United States for that matter. That is the introduction of wolves into areas that don’t currently have them.
I follow several hunting groups, people, and even politicians that are currently having discussions about the possibility of introducing wolves into Colorado. There are many reasons this makes me nervous, I will discuss them shortly, but with the election of our new governor, it makes me very nervous. In his short time as governor, he has already signed the “red flag bill“, and I’m afraid of what things he may sign in next. With his mentality and many pro-wolf support groups, I worry that wolves may be introduced into Colorado in the near future.
Why Are Wolves Bad?
Living in Colorado, I’m finding that a lot of people look at a coyote or a wolf in the same light as a domestic dog. They watch movies like “Dances with Wolves” or “Living with Wolves”, and they get this idea that wolves are these friendly little house pets. By the way, I have never seen that second movie, I’ve just heard about it. But in reality, coyotes and wolves are nothing more the predators. The main difference between the two is that wolves are much stronger, faster, and are built to kill large animals. It’s how they survive.
Let’s dig a little deeper as to why it’s not a good idea to introduce wolves into Colorado:
When I was younger, I remember my dad telling me a story about a time when he was sitting in a ground blind, archery hunting, and he watched a mountain lion take down and kill a mule deer. What a sight that must have been. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing in any way. That lion was hungry, and it needed to eat. I get that. But what happens when that killing gets out of control.
When it comes to wolves, the killing of large animals does get out of control. I’ve never witnessed it myself, but I’ve heard many stories of wolves taking down and killing deer, elk, and even moose. Wolves will travel in a pack, and a pack of wolves can be unstoppable when it comes to wildlife. Each year, a single wolf kills anywhere from 15 to 22 elk. As a hunter, that is huge! I have been putting in for an elk tag in Utah for 18 years, and I’ve been putting in for a tag in Colorado for 4 years. Due to the low number of quality elk in both states, I am still yet to draw the tag I want. The thought of Wolves coming in, and lowering that number, even more, infuriates me beyond belief!
The introduction of wolves into Colorado would truly destroy the big game hunting as we know it. Through that destruction, the funding for wildlife and conservation would dissipate, and the beautiful Colorado that we know now would disappear with it.
Colorado is well known for its beautiful hikes. We’re blessed to have the Rocky Mountains out our front porch, and most everyone in Colorado likes to take advantage of that benefit. Recently, near Fort Collins Colorado, a man was attacked by a mountain lion. This guy is one of the baddest dudes around, and I’d love to shake his hand someday, but he actually ended up choking the lion out and killing it. Now that’s a video that would go viral if someone had it! However, I don’t think that was normal for a mountain lion attack. I’m afraid that most people that get attacked by a mountain lion don’t fair too well afterward.
As I mentioned above, wolves tend to travel in packs. It’s their strength, and it’s how they survive. In fact, it’s impressive to watch them as they hunt. The intellect that is bread into them in those situations is quite amazing. The problem, as it relates to human safety, is that when a wolf attacks a human, it’s probably not going to be by itself. And even if you’re the Chuck Norris type of man that choked out the mountain lion, I don’t think you can take on a pack of wolves. You’ll lose every time.
Another worry that most people should have, and especially parents, is that of small children. I live in a wooded area of Colorado. We have deer that pass through our back yard, bears that hang out in the town, and all sorts of other wildlife. Is it fun to see? Absolutely! However, the thought of letting my baby girl go outside and play in the yard, knowing that wolves were introduced into the area, scares me to death. Honestly, you wouldn’t be able to let your kids play outside. With the speed and strength of a wolf, they could pack a child off in seconds.
Pets and Livestock
My wife and I always joke that people in Colorado love their dogs more than they love their children. Never in my life have I seen more dogs in sweaters, shoes, bows in their hair, or being carried around in women’s purses. It is unreal. In fact, I was talking with a coworker recently that was telling me about the insurance premiums she was paying for her dog. It was literally more than the premiums she paid for herself. Now, before you go and think I don’t like dogs, I do! I love dogs, and I’m actually hoping to get one in the near future. But with that thought in mind, imagine what a pack of wolves could do to the pets in Colorado.
Pets and livestock are easy prey for a wolf. Domestic animals don’t have the skills or the strength to fend off a wolf. Similar to a small child, a wolf could come into your yard and take your pet before you could blink. Livestock is also an easy meal for a wolf because they can’t run away. They’re big enough to push off one or two wolves, but when the pack ambushes a single cow, the cow has no chance. I know many people that rely on cattle for their livelihood, and the introduction of wolves into Colorado would put a lot of stress on those men and women trying to provide for their families.
Coyotes and wolves are known for carrying diseases. Here in Colorado, we’ve had a problem over the past several years with Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD), and it has affected the big game population that we hunt. In fact, if you harvest an animal in some of game management units, you are required to take the animal in for testing. If you’d like to read more about the disease, click here.
Coyotes have been a culprit in the spread of this disease because it is able to survive the passing through of their digestive system. Once they have ingested an animal that has the disease, they can indirectly pass that disease onto another animal in their environment. The benefit of just having coyotes spreading this disease is that they do not inhabit a large territory. Wolves, on the other hand, can and will travel long distances. There have been studies conducted that show wolf packs traveling upwards of 1,000 square miles. Especially if food is limited. With the introduction of wolves into Colorado and other new states, diseases like CWD will only become worse.
CWD by county in the U.S.:
I absolutely love hunting in Colorado, especially hunting big game. The thought of introducing predators, which are hard to manage, into this state makes me very nervous. I encourage everyone to educate yourselves on the damage wolves can cause in Colorado, and when the time comes to vote on such controversial topics as this, I hope you vote against it. Pro-wolf groups are quietly trying to gain ground on the introduction of wolves and we need to stop to it. To learn about wolf advocacy groups quietly introducing wolves into Colorado, check out this article by the RMEF. (Colorado Elk Herd in the Crosshairs)
Happy Huntin! For more of my articles check out http://xtremehuntin.com