American Attitudes Toward Wolves

American Attitudes Towards Wolves_V Folgerman Redacted

I’ve been looking for research on how the American mindset has come to hate predator animals with such intensity that many support torture by trap, and complete extinction of some species like wolves. There are many species that have been on constant attack from humans, but in America it seems to be the predator species, like wolves, mountain lions, bobcats and coyotes. There are others that aren’t predators, like beavers, that have had their populations decimated in the past. But, since the removal of wolves from the endangered species act in 2011, we’ve opened hunting seasons for wolves in six states. In two years the states of MI, MN, MT, ID, WY, and WI have attacked wolves with a fervor. I’d venture to say that their state fish and wildlife agencies have gone bonkers. It seems to have been a bloodlust and I need to understand how this mindset developed. I need to try and understand how individuals, or certain groups within the American population formed this hatred. If any of us are to change attitudes within these segments of our population we must attempt to understand how that attitude developed.

No one simply wakes up and decides they are going to slaughter as many coyotes as they can, or bait a bear then corner it to be hounded by their dogs. I suspect this is  learned behavior to an element in their environment. They learned to ‘hunt’ from a young age and have become desensitized. Given the pictures and comments on social media, some appear to have developed a joy for torture and a bloodlust to kill.

Additionally, I believe the mythology attached to some species, like wolves is so ingrained into the mindset of this population segment that they are incapable of separating mythology from fact.

Like most things there will probably be multiple reasons that segments of the American population love to kill predator species. Globally, all of our predator species populations are declining. They’ve been hunted and terrorized to dangerously low numbers. As a society, if we cannot find solutions to the constant attacks, and they are often brutally tortured before they are killed, of these species then we will pay not only a social cost, but also an ecological cost.

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3 Comments

Filed under Animals

3 responses to “American Attitudes Toward Wolves

  1. Ray

    Your statement about bear baiting is a crock.As a wildlife biologist our studies have shown that bear baiting offers more humane close distance one shot kills and greatly decreases the chance of an accidental sow with cubs kill.Would much rather wildlife be managed by competent wildlife biologists then PETA spewing radical animal rights nutjobs from urban California.

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    • We need to have our wildlife in the hands of people who read and understand a person’s whole statement, considers it, and puts it into a broad, true perspective.

      In this case, we have two people who have made two statements: 1) “No one simply wakes up and decides they are going to slaughter as many coyotes as they can, or bait a bear then corner it to be hounded by their dogs.” and 2) “studies have shown that bear baiting offers more humane close distance one shot kills and greatly decreases the chance of an accidental sow with cubs kill.” These statements are not contradictory. Both convey valuable information.

      However, in this same case, we also have 1) one person who’s thinking about the meaning of both statements, and 2) another who’s pursuing a violent defense of one thing he knows to be true, followed by a string of curses he’s learned will cement his recognition among his buddies. One deserves the title of a wildlife biologist; the other just throws it around.

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