Never cry wolf

Paul once told a story about the complex problems surrounding wolves, ranchers and "the anti's," as he referred to them. He claimed that their arguments were often driven by emotion instead of science and that critical wildland issues should be decided by experts with their boots on the ground rather than by activists with their butts on a chair.

The faults of such processes became most evident at a Congressional hearing hosted at a high school auditorium in Lander back in the late 1970's. Any parallels to controversial issues currently being bandied about in New York state are purely coincidental.

After hearing numerous ranchers and wildlife experts explain the various methods used to control the burgeoning Rocky Mountain wolf population from preying on livestock, one particularly well dressed lady stood up to addressed the Assembly.

In a posh, Manhattan accent, she explained, "We shouldn't attempt to control these poor creatures by shooting, trapping or poisoning them." She implored the crowd, "The most humane method would be to live trap the male wolves and give them all a vasectomy. When released back into the wild, they will still attempt to mate, but nothing will happen. Eventually, the wolf population will stabilize itself and there will no longer be a need for such cruel methods of control."

Paul explained that a buzz went through the audience as many pondered the idea. Cheers rang out from the activists. Finally it seemed, a humane solution for controlling the wolf population was at hand. Even the Congressmen were impressed with her logic.

Finally, in the back of the room, a grizzled, old sheep rancher stood up and cleared his throat. "Well now," he said to the panel of politicos, "That lady right there has a mighty fine idea. And I know, if you release them 'snipped off' wolves back onto the range they may not produce any young-uns."

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