The Wolves are Under Fire Once Again
A new ad being put out by the Wisconsin Cattlemen’s Association, Wisconsin’s six Safari Club International Chapters and houndsmen from the Wisconsin Bear Hunters’ is trying to portray the wolf as a vicious killer, but not just of animals, but also people.
"Little Red Riding Hood warned us about wolf,” the ad states, “and Little Red Riding Hood was right.” The ad goes on to cite DNR statistics showing that wolf attacks on livestock have tripled over the last three years. The ad concludes with a view of kids at a playground being closely watched by a wolf. Ahh propaganda at its finest.
What I find absurd is the Wisconsin Bear Hunters' contribution to the ad. I have no respect for them. They helped Wisconsin become one of the few states that allows both the usage of dogs and baiting to hunt bear. Former Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura perhaps commented on this nature of hunting best when he said "Going out there and putting jelly doughnuts down, and Yogi comes up and sits there and thinks he's found the mother lode for five days in a row and then you back-shoot him from a tree?...That ain't sport that's an assassination." To make matters worse, if one of the hunters dogs are killed by a wolf, the hunters are reimbursed by the state. The extra fee on my endangered resources license plates help pay for that.
Still the ad trying to show the wolf as a serious threat to children is disturbing. The truth is, there have been no wolf attacks on people in Wisconsin, and there have been very few anywhere, unless the wolves were rabid or being fed. Ranchers and farmers lose much more livestock to weather, disease, and other predators than they do to the wolves. So why is the wolf being used as a scapegoat? Perhaps it's in our folklore.
Most of the European based stories and folklore seem to portray the wolf as the evil killer. We hear the stories of Little Red Ridinghood, the Three Little Pigs, Peter and the Wolf, and even in Norse mythology with Fenrir, the wolf offspring of Loki, who bit Odin's head off. Even the bible had Jesus protecting the sheep from the wolves implying the wolves as sinful or evil. Perhaps the worst was using wolves to signify the Nazis.
However, I have also found some cultures to view the wolf differently. The historic cultures that had more of a kinship between humans and animals seemed to respect the wolf. In Japanese folklore the wolf was often viewed as a messenger or even protector of the forest and mountains, guarding against fires and excessive cutting of trees. Native Americans had stories of the wolf as a great hunter. The eskimos admired the wolf for its survival skills. Even Romulus and Remus were kept alive by suckling on a she-wolf. Today it's the ecologists who cite the importance of the wolf for diversity and game animal control (we have too large of a deer population here in Northern Wisconsin).
For me, the wolf is a beautiful animal that has it's place in the environment. They were here before the ranchers or the hunters and cause less environmental destruction than cattle or sheep (or the hunters with their ATV's tearing through the woods). The wolf should be here to stay. I'll end my rant now.
Here are a couple links:
The Timber Wolf Alliance has a lot of info one the Wisconsin wolf packs.
Wolf Country has some interesting wolf stories and folklore. As does Wolf Song Alaska