The Gross National Debt

Friday, January 3, 2014

Where's the line?

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As expected, and hoped for, this post on FB generated some discussion. All those who posted were opposed to the wholesale slaughter of the wolves.

As best I know on my thread, I'm also the only person in the thread whose livelihood at one time depended on keep a herd of cattle living and well. I'm not the only person in the thread who grew up farming though.

I've never shot a wolf. Have shot at yotes and plan to continue to do so. I've also killed plenty of other pests like pigeons, crows, raccoons, squirrels, mice, rats, wild dogs, feral cats, rabbits, otters, beavers and the like.

As Rebel pointed out, removing predators from the environment does have consequences: "I am reminded of a time not long ago when one state in the midwest (Forget which one) felt like Coyotes were slaughtering cattle at an alarming rate (They weren't the numbers just like the actual numbers of cattle killed every year, were severely inflated to justify the killings) so they put a bounty for every coyote killed. It worked! Really well! Within a short time, the majority of Coyotes in the state had been wiped out. Everyone was happy till they realized that the coyotes had been keeping the rabbits and other destructive small animals in check. Suddenly the bunnies were multiplying like...well bunnies and farmers were screaming bloody murder."

At the same time, introducing predators into a prey-heavy environment means their populations will also explode. And when their prey has been reduced, they too turn to other food sources.
 

 But on Rebel's point about rabbits, we had problems with rabbits too. We took care of them at night with a spotlight, .22 and a shotgun.

Also, the State of Georgia this year reduced the number of doe days because of yote predation on deer. Yotes, BTW, are not actually native to Georgia. They were brought here by hunters, yes by hunters. The hunters wanted to run the yotes with yote-chasing dogs. As with too many introduced species (wild hogs), they bred and are now a problem.

Out west, the jury is still out on the effect of reintro'd wolves on wildlife.


As to my rabbit control, Rebel said, "Sorry Bro, your small scale actions don't work on a macro scale which was proven with the instance I mentioned above. When we upset the balance of nature as in the indiscriminate hunting and killing, things go wrong. Bro I am not talking about you killing a Coyote or Wolf when it wanders onto your farm and defending your property. I am talking about the slaughter of hundreds of wolves from the air or truck bed because they MIGHT one day wander onto someone's farm/ranch to kill a cow."

No argument.
But part of the decision to kill animals is a me v. them equation. Whose life is more important? Mine is a lot more important.

Mary Anderson, who's appeared in past blogs, offered this: "I totally agree that your life is worth more than a wolf or coyote's life. But you're not going to die if they kill some cattle. They will die if you shoot them. We are not in a kill or be killed situation these days."

That's the point. I shoot them. They die. I protect what's mine. I use the amount of force I see as necessary to do this. I also see her point. This made me think and I came up with this question.


At what point do you stop using lethal methods of pest management to protect your livelihood?

Another way of looking at this.

What level of depredation on your livelihood is acceptable before you resort to lethal controls?


Some less than lethal methods may work, depending on the pest. However, they are not as effective as lethal methods. After all, a dead pest cannot continue to attack.

Less than lethal is often far more expensive than lethal methods. Fences can be effective in some cases but require constant maintenance and repair. Relocation works, for a while. Florida has tried relocation with bears, but has now run out of places to put nuisance bears according to a game warden I know down there. Florida does not have a bear hunting season.

Less than lethal methods on four-legged pests and birds all too often involve spending taxpayer dollars. That's money which could be spent on education, road repair, social services and the like. Those who support relocation, contraceptive efforts and the like rarely put their own money where their mouth is.

On the other hand, hunters do pony up cash. Lethal control methods generate money for tax collecting authorities. Hunters buy licenses. Guns and ammo are subject to pretty hefty taxes. Hunters spend money on food and lodging in a community. When the hunters leave, they take the pests with them. Sometimes meat is donated to groups that feed people in need. Hunters also lease land to hunt on.

MA, again, "I don't know what the right answer is, Ben. I do know that wiping a species out is not it. And humans are just as natural as wolves and have a right to be here, too, but there has to be a balance."

I'm all about for, with, on the side of, in favor of, etc balance. But I'm also in favor protecting what's mine. If things have to be out of balance, I'm gonna work to make sure it is imbalanced in my favor.

As for hunting wolves, I'm in favor of it. Wolf populations in some places are now self-sustaining and can support hunting. I'd hunt wolf if given the chance under these circumstances. If a rancher has wolves killing his livestock, I'd support killing those wolves.

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