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November 30, 2011 at 4:00 PM

Wolves return to Washington wilderness

Posted by Letters editor

Help ranchers by keeping wolf populations small

Editor, The Times:

How nostalgic to think of our increasing state wolf population in terms of them romantically howling for their long-lost ancestral homeland, but Scott McCredie’s guest column seems to ignore reality a bit. [“Restoring the voice of wilderness,” Opinion, Nov. 29.]

Wolves don’t chase deer and elk around when they can simply and safely attack grazing sheep and cattle, and once they figure this out, it is an expensive habit to ranchers that far exceeds “mostly minor” losses.

Efforts to get reimbursed by the state or feds are problematic due to their insistence that the livestock carcasses were merely scavenged by wolves and not taken down by them first. I have friends who are ranchers and they lose many of their livestock annually to wolves, with little or no reimbursement.

Management of wolf populations is critical to both sides of the issue, but every article I read always advocates more packs. When we decided to raise cattle and sheep, we ventured out of the wilderness. Save a rancher . . . keep the wolf population small enough to stay in the wilderness.

— Mike Hughes, Wenatchee

Who’s afraid of the big bad wolf?

It was welcome to learn that wolves are sneaking back into Washington.

Am I afraid? No. The worst killer in the animal kingdom is not the wolf, cougar or poisonous snake, but cute little Bambi. With some 1.6 million deer/vehicle collisions, many deaths, injuries and billions in insurance claims are caused by deer and elk yearly. Cougars and wolves hunt prey such as deer, elk and coyotes, so the next time you get behind the wheel, give them a thumbs-up.

Still afraid while in the wilds? Then just check the yearly obituaries and compare body-bag statistics. The score will be nearly zero humans bagged by cougars and wolves, but many humans killed by deer or even by hunters shooting each other.

Heck, lightning bolts bag nearly a hundred people a year, so if you fear wolves in the wilds, for safety, wear fluorescent clothing, walk, don’t drive there and don a lightning rod.

If you are a driver, a gardener or even a hiker, wolf or cougar song in the wilds should be sweet music to your ears.

— Mike Weatherby, Auburn

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