Senator Tom Casperson (R-38) is aspiring to an acting career it seems — he’s recently cast himself as Little Red Riding Hood (or perhaps Chicken Little — it’s hard to tell). The senator claims that the people of Ironwood, Michigan are afraid of wolves attacking them.
Casperson is quoted as saying last month in a legislative debate regarding those critical of wolf hunting that “none of them have gone to Ironwood, Michigan to see how my citizens are living now…when they are living in fear.” Steve Carmody of Michigan Public Radio reports that “Casperson went on to say people in Ironwood won’t even let their children play in the backyard, because they know the wolves are there”.
Although a decent actor, Casperson appears to be both scientifically and mathematically challenged.
For starters, wolves rarely interact with humans. They shy away, and typically will even leave a kill if a human approaches. Stories of wolf attacks on people are mostly the stuff of fairy tales — the types of falsehoods that nearly wiped-out wolf populations in the United States before efforts were made to protect them. Wolves keep other populations, such as deer, in check. (By the way, deer-car collisions kill and injure far more people than wolves.) In this century, only one fatal wolf attack has occurred in the U.S. In 2010, outside an Alaskan village, a woman’s body was found that was mauled by animals with wolf tracks present.
The Michigan Natural Resources Commission is newly empowered to make the decision to allow the hunting of dozens species, including wolves. They gave the go ahead this week for a two month season on wolves in certain areas of the Upper Peninsula — to take 43 wolves, of a recovered population conservatively estimated at just under 700.
If wolves are such an imminent danger to humans, why stop at 43?
Is it possible the true motive is merely sport? (Hint: Answer is “yes”)
Democracy Tree is not making a commentary on Michigan’s long hunting tradition, but wild game hunting should be just that — food on the table, and carnivores don’t generally eat carnivores (omnivores, yes). Perhaps wolf hunters should be made to eat their kill as a remedy to their blood lust.
Maybe Casperson really is afraid of the big bad wolf. Unfortunately, other than a fairy tale, the only “evidence” to be found to support his argument is in a spoof from The Onion — it’s possible Tom didn’t understand it was just satire when he read that one person dies every forty seconds in the U.S. from a wolf attack.
Democracy Tree wouldn’t be surprised.
Amy Kerr Hardin