Let’s get one thing straight before I begin. I love wolves, I think they are majestic and beautiful creatures that should be respected and cherished in our ecosystem. I am also aware that until very recently the population had declined to a dangerously low level. That being said, I recently saw an article describing how 11 protesters plan to patrol northern Wisconsin’s federal, state and county forest lands in order to find wolf hunters and trappers.

Before we get into the meat of the subject, keep in mind that wolves were a dangerously low populous but now are starting to become a problem in the upper Midwest. Growing populations need food, and livestock are much easier to stalk and kill than deer. Due to the growing population and the outcries of farmers across the Midwest, there have been a limited number of wolf tags opened to hunters.

I am all for conservation and have never been a hunter myself (although I do love fishing). However, this time these protesters are going too far. Wolf hunting is all about regulating population control that will benefit the ecosystem. Sure, I cried during Bambi, who didn’t? But I don’t go out and protest deer hunters. This wolf population control is necessary since we as humans have taken out most natural predators by replacing their homes with shopping malls. Not only that, but the way in which the protesters are protesting is incredibly dangerous.

Whose idea was it to go “shadow” a group of people with loaded guns who don’t want protesters to be there? That sounds about as clever as making toast in the bathtub to ‘em. “Oh, silly kid we are there to monitor them and make sure they feel guilty and don’t do bad things!” Wrong. That is what the Department of Natural Resources is there for, and they are smart enough to not make the people with guns agitated and fidgety.

That being said, I am by no means trying to paint the hunters in question in a violent light. Hunters usually provide enough policing among themselves. I have many good friends who enjoy the sport, and they seem to be the strictest enforcers of rules.

My other concern is for the protesters. Regardless of the intentions of either party, the hunters or the protesters, there is live ammunition being fired in close proximity to a large group of people. It seems counterintuitive to saturate the hunting area with potential accidents. Let’s hope that all the protesters wear something bright. “Shadowing” may have been a poor word choice, because when in a dim wood, trying to be invisible to someone looking for an animal that is also trying to be discrete is not a good idea.

The DNR does a fantastic job of keeping on top of these things. While wolves look like cute dogs, they are actually destroying property and tipping the balance of ecosystems. So go donate money or write a scathing letter if you wish to make a difference. Then snuggle next to a fire with a hot cup of coco, with warm feelings in your heart and safety on your mind. Let the hunters do what they do best. There is a reason it never became a spectator sport.

Elias Radtke (eradtke@wisc.eduis a junior majoring in chemical engineering.