I have said many times that those who think wildlife is best left to “natural” management refuse to accept the fact that in one form or another, man is a predator and has to be involved in the equation of balancing wildlife. Of course most of these natural management believers don’t want man preying on wild game. They can want all they want to but man is never going to cease their hunting and fishing.

Idaho for Wildlife is a brand new organization that is flourishing in Idaho. Membership is growing rapidly. One aspect of their efforts is calling loudly for the need to manage gray wolves that are an out of control predator that is wiping out herds of elk, deer and moose. The environmentalists have so far been successful in stalling efforts to remove the wolf from the Endangered Species List and allow the states to manage the animal. Much controversy surrounds this effort at all levels and with all organizations.

Dr. Ernie Brannon, a Professor of Fisheries Resources and Animal Science and Director, Aquaculture Institute at the University of Idaho, sent a letter to members of Idaho for Wildlife concerning his recognition of the troubles facing IFW in trying to save the elk and manage the wolf. Here is some of what he wrote:

The point that the “experts” seem to miss is that man is a critical part of the ecosystem that now exists. ………

The “experts” and most environmental extremists seem to think that man should not be involved in the take, and that “nature” can do best when left by itself. While that may be true in an idealized ecosystem without man, it is not true in the ecosystems that exist and where man plays such a major role. It is important to understand that under such conditions when nature is left to itself, cyclic changes in predator/prey population ratios via natural density responsive phenomena occur over a timeframe of decades. In other words, the so-called balance in nature occurs by alternating major swings in the numbers of prey and predators as the former becomes decimated by overexploitation and the latter reproduces during good times to the point of starvation when their prey becomes nearly extinct. …….

The whole idea that wolves were endangered is an example of the extremes that we have allowed our government to take, because the voice of the people has been usurped by a few dedicated environmental groups that have the finances to dominate the political agenda. ESA is an important law, but it has been taken over and used abusively by groups against resource use and their agency counterparts that believe their role is to maximize diversity rather than prevent extinction of species.

Man is a predator and in essence we are “managed” too. It took us awhile to realize we had to do this otherwise we would have done a pretty good job of eliminating species. Now we are limited to how much we can hunt and fish and are restricted in the species we can take, etc. In theory this is based on management plans to provide sustainable levels of game at a healthy level. Most game management plans include man as a predator. We just can’t remove man from the equation and sit back and watch the natural pendulum swings that involve massive starvation and death by disease of unmanaged game.

Tom Remington