A fundamental breakdown in understanding “Kill or be killed”


There’s an excellent article over at the Colorado Sun titled “North Park is ground zero in Colorado’s wolf controversy. Ranchers want to know if anyone hears them.”  Here’s an excerpt to set the scene.

North Park is ground zero in Colorado’s wolf controversy. Almost no one here supported the 2020 ballot measure to reintroduce wolves to the state. And now that the wolves have arrived on their own, wandering across the Wyoming state line and helping themselves to cattle, residents here are wondering whether the city dwellers who voted to bring back wolves will finally understand what they’ve been saying. 

“I don’t think they care, no matter what we say to them,” said Kim Gittleson, sitting at her kitchen table with tired eyes after another night on wolf watch. “These cows are our living. We don’t want to see that happen to our cows, not just because it’s our livelihood. It’s just sad to see any animal tortured that way that you cared for.” 

It would be easier, many locals say, to “shoot, shovel and shut up” when wolves prey on their livestock, although getting caught shooting a protected species could mean a $100,000 fine and a year in jail. The Gittlesons, though, said they are reporting every wolf sighting and attack to their local Colorado Parks and Wildlife agents, seeking government compensation for their dead cows, and asking for help to scare the pack away from the ranch. 

The Gittleson ranch has become the case-in-point for what can happen when wolves learn they can take down a cow and keep coming back for more. Some unlucky rancher has to talk about it in the hopes of swaying public opinion, even a little, Don Gittleson said. Ranchers get that wolves are coming — through natural migration and next year, government reintroduction — but they want the right to use lethal force to defend their livestock and livelihood. Otherwise, North Parkers will quietly shoot wolves.

There’s more at the link.  I recommend reading the whole thing to get the bigger picture of how government edicts, farming and ranching priorities, and the natural world are colliding in Colorado.

The dilemma of whether or not to reintroduce previously exterminated predators to a region is a problem precisely because most of those who favor it have lost sight of the realities of life.  A predator will, repeat, will prey on anything slower, smaller or weaker than itself in order to survive.  That’s its nature.  There’s no escaping it.  If you reintroduce a predator, the less predatory animals in that area are going to be prey, whether you like it or not.  That applies to fluffy bunny wabbits, or yearling deer . . . or cows and calves.

Those who live close to the land understand this.  It’s a competition between themselves and everything and everyone else who shares the land.  It’s been that way since time immemorial, and it’s not going to change, no matter how much the tofu-waving, salad-spinning, vegan-proselytizing hordes of environmentalists would prefer to ignore it.  Even their beloved Disney-fied symbols like “Bambi” turn out to be carnivores when they get the chance, killing and eating other animals.  Don’t believe me?  Watch this – but be warned, it’ll turn sensitive stomachs.  It’s not an isolated incident, either.  YouTube has more videos like it, as do other sources.  Critters are going to get their nourishment, if necessary at the expense of the lives of other critters.  That’s just the way it is.

I’m an African boy.  I grew up in an environment where Nature really wasred in tooth and claw“.  Ranchers and farmers there routinely lost (and still lose) animals to predators, and regarded it as a natural cost of doing business.  If the losses were too great to bear, they’d hunt down and kill the predators – but they knew others would be back in due course.  They hadn’t solved the problem, merely reduced it.  They were, in fact, establishing themselves as the top predators on their land, and natural predators learned (if necessary the hard way) to avoid it and seek out areas where they could prey on lesser animals without provoking their own demise.  Human beings themselves are relatively slow, weak and defenseless compared to many wild animals;  which is why older, slower predators often turn to man-eating, because homo sapiens is easier prey than things with horns, hooves and speed.  The average American would blench at the thought that something might deliberately hunt him or her for breakfast . . . but in large parts of Africa and some areas of the Asian sub-continent, that’s a daily occurrence.  Welcome to reality.

Environmentalists, particularly the bunny-hugging urban variety, have largely lost sight of that.  They simply can’t visualize a reality in which some animals have to die in order that others may live.  Nevertheless, that’s how the circle of life works in the big, bad world out there.  It’s a universal precept that cannot be violated.  Predators eat prey.  Try making a lion into a vegetarian and he’ll die, because he’s become a meat-eater through natural selection and adaptation.  Try making a cow into a carnivore and ditto, for the opposite reason.

If you reintroduce wolves into Colorado, the cattle ranchers who now regard the land as “theirs”, and their cows as “their property”, are going to run headlong into competition from the wolves over who’s going to eat what for supper.  There’s simply no avoiding that.  If the state of Colorado, and the environmentalists who succeeded in passing laws like that, want to have wolves around, they’re going to have to compensate ranchers for losses among their herds.  If they don’t, the ranchers – themselves the descendants of the “super-predators” who exterminated wolves in Colorado to begin with – are going to do what their ancestors did, and eliminate the threat to their livelihood.  No law in the world is going to prevent that.  It’s the nature of things, and you can’t change nature, no matter how much you may want to do that.

It matters not whether laws protect the wolves.  I could pass a law tomorrow saying that the sky is not blue, but red.  I could make it illegal to refer to the sky as anything but red.  That would merely mean that I’d codified a lie into law – not that the sky really was anything but blue.  I’d have made the law into an ass.  That’s precisely what such environmental laws do when they try to protect predators against those who are suffering losses to them.  No edicts protecting the predators will stop ranchers from defending their livelihood, as they have every natural right to do.  If you expect ranchers to effectively subsidize predators by allowing the latter to “steal” their cattle, you’re robbing them as surely as if you stuck a gun in their face and demanded their money – and the ranchers, quite rightly, won’t stand for it.  You’re either going to compensate them, fairly and equitably, for the losses they suffer, or they’re going to stop those losses by killing the predators, just as their grandfathers and great-grandfathers did.  If I were in their shoes, I’d do exactly the same thing, and I wouldn’t lose a moment’s sleep over it.

Of course, hard-core environmentalists would prefer to see the ranchers stop ranching, and have everyone eat tofu instead of T-bone steaks.  If there were no ranchers, they reckon they could have wolves everywhere, and nobody would care.  (I daresay they didn’t ask Bambi for her opinion about that.)  Sadly, they’re living in cloud cuckoo land.  Ranchers do exist, and so do their cattle;  and the irresistible force of predators and their environmentalist sponsors is now running headlong into the immovable object of the cattle industry and the people they feed.  My money’s on the ranchers and their customers for the win in the long term.



  1. Too many City Folk. Too far removed from reality. Let's bring the wolves to New York City.
    (Oops, they already have "Coy-wolves" a Hybrid Species that seems to be evolving into an Urban Predator)
    I am tired of poorly educated City Dwellers dictating policy to the other 90% of the Country they "Don't" live in.

  2. Living in ranch country this has been a hot topic for the past year plus as out of state big money came in to push this BS through, fully failing to see that these huge Canada Gray Wolves are already here, having migrated from the moronic do-gooders "reintroduction" efforts up north. Look at Shoshoni, WY…ranchers watch as packs take down cattle and elk…for sport. Shooting one going after your livelihood is a $100K fine. This wolf idiocy is purposeful to destroy cattle ranching.

  3. "Of course, hard-core environmentalists would prefer to see the ranchers stop ranching, and have everyone eat tofu instead of T-bone steaks."

            The hard-core environmentalists would prefer you to die.  You really need to understand that they are your enemies, that there is no compromise possible, and react accordingly.

  4. if ya gut shoot em with a .22 or .17 cal, they will run off and die some where else, saving you the "shovel" part. we do that here in the east with problem bear, and even garden wrecking deer

  5. Stephen is correct as far as I'm concerned. And yes, shoot to wound and the go somewhere 'else' to die. I'm glad the ranchers are going after the state for reimbursement! When they have to dole out $$$ that gets their attention!

  6. Reimbursement is never the total loss, State gives current market value of a cow but refuses to give feed costs as well as future repro losses from a killed heifer.

  7. /We are having the same problem here in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. The people in the lower peninsula think we need more wolves and the DNR [aka Department of NAZI Regulators} are all for it. The wolves are killing our livestock, pets and terrorizing kids waiting for the school bus. And my 76 year old wife. A friend told me that the best way to deal with them is to shoot them with your 22 or 22 mag high in the back rib so you get them through the back of the lungs or the liver and they will run quite a way before they die and not leave a heavy blood trail. We have lived here on our farm for 36 years now and I have never seen so few deer and so many wolves. —ken

  8. Don't forget that these wolves are NOT the same ones that were exterminated; the Canadian wolf is 40+ lbs LARGER on average than the Great Lakes wolf that used to be in the area, so it is a bigger problem.
    It is NOT reintroducing the same animal, a lie that has been repeated many times.

  9. It sure seems like the newest predator on the block is a government agent.

    If I had to guess, ranchers will be closed-mouth about how they deal with the wolves, and the environmentalists will probably need not trod on posted land.

  10. "The average American would blench at the thought that something might deliberately hunt him or her for breakfast . . ."
    Having worked and lived in the high arctic for years, you would be surprised (maybe not) at those who are absolutely astonished that those cuddly white bears that hang around with penguins (there are actually no penguins in the arctic but thats another story for another time) and drink coke, actively hunt humans. Yep, if you are on the land above the tree line, you are food. Too a lessor degree if you are within the tree line to their cousin the grizzly. There is a food chain. And humans are on it. Thanks for the read.

  11. On the easteern front during WWI, wolves were decimating the troops at night. They started eating the dead. When those were gone, they began on the wounded. Then they started attacking those who were not in a group of sleepers or went out to relieve themselves.
    Both sides called a truce to deal with the problem. After they had virtually eliminated the wolf threat, they went back to killing each other.

  12. Most of these so called environmentalists know absolutely nothing about real life nature. They have NO understanding of the food chain, nor how violent actual predator attacks are. If you try to tell them about reality, they are in complete denial as they can't handle the cognitive dissonance. The majority of the "environmental movement" are a bunch of useful idiots being manipulated to do the bidding of those who wish to control us.

    They have never watched a coyote catch and eat a rabbit, or an owl or hawk catch and eat a squirrel or mouse, much less any of the larger predators having dinner. They are extremely naive.

  13. Do those people, for the reintroduction of wolf packs, not understand that if a wolf pack can take down a cow, the average person would be less effort for them to kill.

  14. Pennsylvania had the program that you could be compensated for bear damage or you could shoot the bear. Take your pick

    Wolves being smarter than many animals, including city dwellers, would probably learn to avoid humans and their livestock after a few of their pack got shot.

    I have seen grizzly bears that have been hunted run like scalded hogs when they scent a human. Compare that to how park bears act.

  15. Most people will not gut shoot the wolf. You should as that saves the problem of the body. Plus denialability.

    As far as city folk go, just equate the wolf to a mugger and they will understand. It is not the noble creature portrayed by Disney. It is a crave and cowardly killer that will eat fluffy if given half a chance.

  16. I grew up and lived in Central Africa on a farm. When we first planted maize we had predation from baboons. Two years of shooting each and every baboon we saw reduced the maize predation to almost zero. We actually witnessed the old grey-back males chastising the younger baboons for coming back up the hill with maize cobs!
    They learned the boundary between what could be done and what could not be done, on pain of death.

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