The concerns over wolf hunting date back to the 1600’s according to the information that we have records of. There are also records that wolves were almost completely wiped out of their natural habitats in England. Men with horses set out to hunt them in any way they could. They often set traps, dug pits that they would fall into as they ran through the wilderness, and used dogs to track them down.
The same types of stories unfolded throughout Europe as well. They were almost all killed by the 1700’s. As newer weapons and better traps were developed, it became easier for man to hunt wolves. The biggest reason why they were destroyed is that man felt they were a huge threat to them. Stories of wolves eating men and other horrific visions meant that the mentality was to kill them or to be killed.
The Indians believed the wolf was a sacred animal. They only hunted them when necessary for food. They believed the gods had placed the wolves there for their survival. They consumed the meat and used other body parts for tools. They tried not to waste any of what they too, from nature.
The hides from the wolves were used by Indians to keep them warm and even to make hats from. As the fur trade went into full swing, many hunters were killing wolves for the sole purpose of removing their hides. The rest of the animal was left there to rot. This was about the same time that people weren’t just hunting for food anymore. Instead they were also growing fruits and vegetables.
Where did they put all of it? They continued to move into territories where wolves had roamed for a very long time. This meant a smaller amount of area for them to be able to survive out there. It also meant that humans started to come into contact with them. The fears that people have of wolves are unfounded, but that didn’t stop them from being hunted. When a wolf was spotted they already knew others were close by. They decided to hunt them rather than to wait for an attack from the pack.
Due to the drastically low numbers of wolves, it is illegal in most areas to hunt them. Some populations such as those in Montana are now high enough again that limited hunting of them is allowed. There is still a great deal of illegal hunting that goes on behind the scenes though.
For many hunters the thrill of finding a wolf in Alaska or Canada is something that they are very interested in doing. They can spend days or weeks in the wilderness trying to track them down. With limited numbers it has become increasingly hard to find them to hunt. Yet for many that is part of the fun of trying to make it happen. Some of them also hire guides in these areas that know where to find the wolves.
A great deal of it is conducted by ranchers who have purchased land very close to the natural habitat of the wolves. They are upset that the wolves are killing their livestock and other animals. They feel that they are justified to kill them in order to protect the animals they have invested their money in.
With some protection programs, the ranchers are compensated from various funding sources should they lose any animals to the wolves. That way they don’t end up with financial woes and they don’t have to kill the wolves. Yet some feel this is only going to make the problem worse as the wolves will continue to return to the source of food that they have found at such locations.