by Kurt Repanshek National Parks Traveler
A new study likely to be controversial in some quarters suggests that hunters are not especially good wildlife stewards when the wildlife in question are wolves. While hunters long have been seen as conservation advocates for a wide range of species, when it comes to wolves the study by two University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers would seem to indicate that the only good wolf is a dead wolf in the hunter's mind. “Hunters were some of the least tolerant of wolves among our respondents, and the closer you got to wolf range the less tolerant they were,” said Adrian Treves, a professor in the UW-Madison Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies. Professor Treves and a colleague, Kerry Martin, took up a research project beginning in 2001 to survey hunters and non-hunters on attitudes toward wolves. Over the course of six years they interviewed 2,320 residents of Wisconsin, Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming and were able to draw a picture of perceptions when it came to wolves. (Their findings appear in the August issue of the peer-reviewed journal Society and Natural Resources.