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A hunter’s perspective on wolf killing

By Matt Johnson, Minneapolis, MN I used to be a member of the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association (MDHA), the largest deer hunting advocacy group in the state. I started deer hunting as an adult as a way to harvest meat for my family’s consumption.

Not long after joining MHDA, they started sending e-mails promoting wolf killing. I also noticed that on their website there was a lot of talk about supporting the upcoming wolf season. That really bothered me since I thought the group was focused on deer. I had given them a membership dues so that I could learn more about deer hunting and here I find out the MDHA is lobbying heavily for a recreational wolf season!

I have always had great pride in the Minnesota’s grey wolf population. Wolves make the wilderness alive and healthy. I felt like I had betrayed myself by giving money to a group that was anti-science and anti-biodiversity. Wolves and other predators serve a critical role in the health of an ecosystem and without them we can expect to see fewer and fewer animal and plant species. In Yellowstone National Park after wolves were reintroduced, biodiversity increased greatly.

While MDHA was pushing for this wolf hunt, I went on their Facebook and started replying to the posts promoting wolf killing and said I didn’t agree with that stance. There were several people that agreed that MHDA was in the wrong pushing the wolf season. However, there were many people angry with me and the others that didn’t go along with the group’s position. I ended up trying to convince people on several occasions only to be met with resistance, ignorance and on one occasion, threats of violence.

I left MDHA and have serious concerns for wolves in Minnesota. Our hunters need education around ecology and they need to let go of old hatreds for any animal that “competes” for deer with them. Wolves only have one choice: They need to hunt for food. They can’t go to a grocery store and pick up food for their families.

Did Minnesota really spend all these decades and money to restore our wolf population only to have a small mob of uneducated hunters and trappers take them back to the brink of extinction? For those of you that feel comfortable because the DNR is managing it, take a look at the moose, it’s facing extinction in Minnesota.

This misuse and abuse of the wolf should not be acceptable to the people of Minnesota. If you want to join the conversation and work to end the recreational wolf killing, then contact one of the Minnesota-based groups actively fighting this year’s recreational wolf kill.