Letter to the editor: Wolf, elk and public lands are prey to special interests
By: From Melanie Weberg, Bloomington, Minn., Lake County News Chronicle
Wolf, elk and public lands are prey to special interests
DNR's release "Elk hunt extended to meet management goals, control depredation" should leave Minnesotans shaking their heads. There appears to be no logic to our DNR's conservation practices other than to satisfy their "clients": cattle industry and trophy hunters.
A recreational wolf hunt has ended which lacked scientific data and a clear plan forward and was rejected by 80% of surveyed public. Elk are the preferred prey animal of the wolf. If we truly want a self-sustaining timber wolf population, then why are we killing elk? Enter cattle industry: The DNR has quietly opened up thousands of acres of public wild lands to cattle-grazing operations at taxpayer expense with no charge to cattle owners. Many of these acres are in elk and wolf territory. Wolves promote healthy wildlands by forcing elk and deer to move often. Conversely, cows grazing on this same land destroy the land as they graze down through roots, which in turn promote soil erosion and destroy water quality. Cows are replacing species critical to our Minnesota ecosystem.
If one connects the dots it is quite clear that a wolf hunting season has nothing to do with conservation. I have lived in the Twin Cities all my life and am an avid outdoors/wildlife enthusiast and treasure Northern Minnesota. The hunting of wolves represents a tipping point in our state. Lake County will be critically impacted by what happens with wolves as the mining concern is lurking in the shadows. Lake County residents must call their legislators and encourage them to support the elimination of wolf hunting and demand a plan forward, based not only on accurate collected data and current science but input from the true "clients" of the DNR: the public at large.