Last fall a bear came down from the hills and, loving grapes at least as much I do, he gorged himself on many of the grapes I was growing and saving to make wine.
A shame — those grapes and that wine would have warmed many an evening in the coming winter.
The bear, I am told, raided some of my neighbours’ fruit trees as well. And my neighbours thought that was a shame, too.
A few days later, the bear was shot and killed not far from our gardens. And that was the biggest shame of all.
It’s nice to get to keep all the grapes and all the apples and all the pears, of course, but it’s also nice (much nicer, really) to have a large bear like that paying us a visit every now and then — even if for the privilege we have to sacrifice some of the fruits of our labours.
I was reminded of this poor bear as I read that the government is about to
declare open season on the wolves in our region.
The Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations apparently estimates that about 400 wolves live in our region. That’s really not very many if we think that our region encompasses 45,000 square kilometres of territory. That’s about one wolf per roughly 12 square kilometres of largely forested land.
That’s not many at all. In fact, given the vastness of our region, the number of wolves in it appears to be pitifully slim.
And yet we want to go out and slaughter them? That, surely, is what will happen if we allow every hunter a free for all.
Needless to say, I sympathize with the region’s ranchers for the loss of the occasional calf, just as much as I sympathize with my neighbours for the damage done to their fruit trees.
But lifting all restrictions when hunters are already allowed three wolf kills a year seems pretty unreasonable to me.
Maybe we should have a little more appreciation for these animals, bears and wolves alike, that have enriched so much of our culture and continue to visit us on dwindling occasions — despite our best efforts to shoot them dead.