October 23, 2012
Mr. Tom Landwehr, Commissioner
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
Dear Commissioner Landwehr:
I was outraged when the Minnesota DNR announced a hunting season on sandhill cranes. I am now equally outraged at the current wolf hunt. One wonders if the DNR is planning to make a habit of declaring “open season” on delisted, Federally-endangered species.
Over the years I have had conversations with many wildlife managers, who usually say first something like “our first priority is conserving the resource….” but soon shift to pointing out that much of their funding comes from the sale of state and federal hunting and trapping licenses, etc., and therefore they must accommodate hunters and fishers to the exclusion of other concerns. This sort of thinking does not provide a sound basis for public policy. Indeed, I believe that one of the key reasons for the enactment of Federal protections is the consistent failure of state-level programs to act in accordance with the “bigger picture.”
It is impossible to support the (federal) delisting of species present in Minnesota if the Minnesota DNR is unable to react responsibly.
I object to the wolf hunt on both emotional and logical grounds. My partner and I are “dog people;” we have an emotional connection to these animals, canis lupis familiaris. “The domestic dog, is a subspecies of the gray wolf, a member of the Canidae family of the mammalian order Carnivora.” (Wikipedia). The idea of killing and/or trapping wolves for sport is repellent to us and we don’t like public funds used for repellent purposes. Seems to me that our positive emotional connections to these creatures are as valid a basis for public policy as whatever emotions drive those wanting to hunt and trap them.
Apparently many people share our feelings: I understand that almost 80% of DNR survey respondents, including both wildlife enthusiasts and hunters, made it clear they do not want a wolf hunting and trapping season in Minnesota.
Wolves are more valuable to us all alive. Minnesotans value wolves and want to embrace a sustainable wolf management plan that favors the use of effective non-lethal means to manage conflicts, using lethal methods only as a last resort. (I understand that occasional killing of problem individuals may seem necessary.) Wolves play an important role in balancing the populations they prey on. With the largest population of biologically diverse wolves in the lower 48, we have a responsibility to manage our wolves in accordance with the high social and sustainable economic value they represent to all of our residents, not just a selective minority that seeks to exploit a public resource.
A wolf hunt is not in the interest of wolves, nor of Minnesota. The DNR is not under any legal obligation to proceed with a wolf hunt and that you have the authority to stop it. I urge you to use your authority to cancel the wolf hunting and trapping season immediately.
I look forward to your response.
Yours very truly,
1110 West Avenue
Red Wing, MN, 55066
Don Arnosti, Minnesota Audubon
Sen. John Howe
Rep. Tim Kelly
“Howling for Wolves”