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     Should We Hunt Predators?

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"When it comes to keeping deer wild -- that is, maintaining the deerness in deer -- I fear I'm among a minority of hunters (and, for that matter, Americans) who would enthusiastically endorse the thoughtful restoration of keystone predators to as many public lands as feasible. Further, I would gladly tithe a portion of my own hunting opportunity and wild meat for the almost unknowable privilege of sharing the woods with wolves and grizzly bears. My payment would be the rare feral joy of hearing wild wolves howl, the inimitable ambiance of a lurking grizzly presence, and the knowledge that wildness -- that is, the natural processes and natural order--is alive and well."

                     — David Petersen, Hunter, Angler and Writer 

"While I support ethical hunting and have left more boot prints in the grouse and woodcock woods than anyone I know, I have a major problem with the hunting of predators. Predators did not evolve to compensate for heavy mortality the way non-predatory game species such as ungulates and birds did. What's more, I was raised to believe that everything ethical hunters killed should be eaten. Predators such as wolves, coyotes, and bobcats are virtually never eaten. I don't consider predator hunting ethical."

              -– Ted Williams, Hunter, Angler and Writer.

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"There is no sound management rationale for hunting grizzlies. In fact, hunting grizzlies can make them more fearful of humans, and fearful grizzlies are more likely to attack people than those who trust us. They have one of the lowest reproductive rates of any North American mammal and regulate their own population numbers, so there is also no biological rationale. The only reason to shoot a grizzly is to feed one's personal fantasies about killing a dangerous animal -- which is ironic because grizzlies are mostly only dangerous to dandelions, buffalo berries, and ground squirrels."

 – Kevin Van Tighem, Hunter, Writer and Wildlife Biologist

 "Predators are rarely managed based on science, they are managed based on politics driven by myths, lies and misconceptions. Here are a few things we understand about predators such as wolves, grizzlies, mountain lions, and coyotes: They didn't evolve with much predation; they are mostly self-regulating in maintaining population sizes; they have intricated social structures, breeding behaviors, and territorial tendencies that can be disrupted and altered  when certain individual predators are killed from a population. This can  result in more breeding and more predators, who don't learn skills and survival tips from older animals now dead –- skills and survival tips such as how to hunt, how to avoid humans, how to avoid livestock. The killing of these predators often exacerbates the challenges managers claim to be solving. We should not be hunting them!"

                       -- Dave Stalling, Hunter, Angler and Writer

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