To the Editor:
In a letter in the May 29 Eagle, Kay Steele first reacted to my use of the word “hate.” It was the purposeful use of hyperbole — exaggeration to amplify a point.
Second, I would argue that I did not “anthropomorphize” wolves (ascribe to them human qualities); rather, I compared and contrasted their predatory behavior to mankind’s hunting behavior.
She asserts that, based on my arguments, one could list a whole host of predators “that likewise deserve condemnation.” I actually said, “It is legitimate for man the hunter to largely supplant the role of the predators when we multiply and fill a geographic area.” We have not done that in Canada or the state of Alaska where there are approximately 70,000 wolves; we have not done that in Africa where over 100 species of prey animals are doing just fine in the face of the five major African predators that are being well managed. But we have done that in the United States. Even our extensive wilderness areas are fully used by hunting sportsmen in the fall.
Then she asserts that “Without predators, deer and elk, for example, would over-populate the carrying capacity of the land.” The Western states in general and Oregon in particular had very limited predators all through most of the 20th century. Our professional wildlife biologists did a very good job using hunters to effectively keep deer and elk numbers well within the carrying capacity of the land.
Next she suggests that hunting tends to remove the biggest and best bucks and bulls and thereby weakens the gene pool of the herds. Mature bucks and bulls have already passed along their strong genes for all of their reproductive life before being harvested by a hunter.
In conclusion, she asks, “Is it wise to think man knows better than God, himself?” We are given a glimpse of God’s attitude through the prophet Ezekiel (34:25): “I will make with them a covenant of peace and banish wild beasts from the land, so that they may dwell securely in the wilderness and sleep in the woods.”