This fall marked the opening of wolf hunting season in five states: Wyoming, Idaho, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Montana. Listening to the controversy between ranchers and conservation groups over the species can leave a person enraged, numb or simply wondering why we can’t all live in harmony on this massive chunk of land.
The gray wolf, which was hunted to near extinction until the 1930s and 1940s, has mostly rebounded, thanks to Federal and state endangered species acts. Its numbers now run around 5,000 in the lower 48 and a little over 11,000 in Alaska (where, as Mother Jone’s reports, they’ve never been protected).
A recent NPR story about wolf hunting discusses how the wolf population in Montana has grown dramatically, even with hunting. This year, wildlife officials there have abandoned the statewide kill limit and almost doubled the length of the season.