Before taking M & E to their shooting match last Saturday, David joked about passing in front of Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Parks. Hunters would be there protesting federal wolf management. In jest, he suggested we be cautious and roll up our windows against these supposed angry people.
The protection of wolves has created quite a stir in this community. Wolves have rebounded and as their numbers have grown, packs of wolves are roaming the countryside killing beloved dogs and expensive livestock. Montana is a hunter’s haven and it is claimed that wolves are also taking a toll on the elk population.
As one sign said, “deer and elk feed my family, wolves don’t.”
My goal is simply to see a wolf. I am not passionate about the cause one way or another, although I do believe I am objective enough to see both sides. If I had livestock being ripped to shreds by wolves, I am sure I would have an opinion about their removal from endangered species protection.
Why am I writing this? Because I like that I live in a state where newspaper headlines are about wildlife and protecting the wilderness; that the people are self-sufficient and independent. Many hunt for food, and fill their freezers with deer and elk which feeds their families all year. One mom told me she rarely goes to the grocery, and that all, if not most, of her family’s meat is from deer that had been killed during hunting season. My daughter and her family who live in the “Last Frontier” (Alaska), eat moose from the road kill recovery program. Talk about awesome! These people know how to live off of the land.
At the shooting match, excitement filled the air as the competitors signed in. M & E nervously loaded their rifles and shot their best in the match.
“Would someone win the glamorous golden trophy for overall best shot,” M wondered?
After the girls shot at their time slots, we drove to Lone Pine State park where we experienced a beautiful, brisk day with spectacular views of the snow covered valley before heading back to the fairgrounds for lunch and the shooting sports awards ceremony.
M & E’s shooting skills have improved and perhaps one day they will want to hunt. As for me, I must hone my bow skills and start thinking about the next hunting season if I want to harvest a turkey!
How do you feel about delisting wolves? Do you hunt? Do you have a story about your self-sufficient lifestyle that you would like to share?