By Amy Kathleen Miller

EDITOR’S NOTE:  Amy entered the painting shown in this article, “Autumn Wolf,” in this year’s Utah State Fair.  It ended up winning an “Award of Excellence” from the Intermountain Society of Artists.  The following article was originally published in February 2009.

How many of you like the family dog but hate the wolf?  Here is an example: people love the way dogs are with their families.  They love the loyalty of their dogs, the way they protect and love their owners.  Dogs will even die for their families.  Wolves also protect their packs and will die for them.  When wolves defend their territory from other wolves, the alpha pair will run into danger first.  Just imagine our President being first into battle, we would go to wars less often than we do now.

Dogs are very friendly with their owner, the same way a wolf is friendly with its pack.  Wolves love to play and romp and howl with other pack members, their “family.”  Everything that humans like about “man’s best friend” is part of the wolf family.  All dogs are descendants of the wolf and the things that people admire and love about their dogs were inherited from their wolf ancestors.

People fear the wolf because of what they believe; not of facts, but of myths and folklore.  Wolves are not bloodthirsty savages out to kill people.  In fact, people are more in danger of being injured or killed by dogs than a wolf.  Wolves are very shy and elusive, that is why they have not been able to study or film wolves very effectively.

Jim and Jamie Dutcher had to hand-raise wolves to earn the wolves’ trust in order for them to film them successfully at close range.  All the wolves you see on the film “Living With Wolves” or read about in his book “Wolves At Our Door” are wolves that were hand-raised and then released into their own pack.  Then Jim let the wolves behave like wolves and come to him on their own terms.  He never trained them to obey his commands at all.  Everything was on their terms.  There is no doubt that wolves are among of the most intelligent animals on Earth.

Wolves do not kill for fun, they don’t have time to.  Despite their image as ferocious killers, wolves are not always successful hunters.  A strong, healthy moose can survive a wolf attack just by standing its ground.  While following a wolf pack for a full hunting season in Isle Royale, David Mech, a wolf biologist, recorded 77 moose kill attempts and only six successes.  It is the same with the deer and elk in Yellowstone and the surrounding areas.

Wolves don’t kill as much as people are accusing them of.  Douglas Smith, wolf biologist at Yellowstone, says that the wolves in those areas only kill about every 15 days, and 85-90% of the time the game animals win.  If there is speculation that the wolves did a lot of surplus killing in an area, you can probably bet it wasn’t the wolves.  For example, there is speculation that the wolves were killing lots of deer and elk in the central Idaho area during the winter of 2007.  However, the truth was that the deer were coming out of the mountains because they were dying from lack of food.  The snow was so deep that the deer couldn’t get to the grass.

In fact, the animal that posed a real threat to the deer and elk population was dogs being loose.  The Idaho Department of Fish and Game had to feed over 2,000 head of deer a day.  But wolves were blamed for deaths of many deer and elk.

Finally, the link below is to Hoppy’s or Limpy’s story; people know him by both names.  He is known as a celebrity wolf.  He is a wolf of the Druid pack that was loved by many.  His life story gives wolves a different picture, the image of what wolves are, not only to me but to many individuals who love and admire the wolf.  He was a good wolf who was killed while doing nothing wrong, by people who hated and didn’t understand wolves.  Please read it, because it is what wolves are all about.  Here is a little proof that wolves really are not the monsters that hunters think they are.

“Autumn Wolf” By Amy K. Miller (All artwork Copyright 2012, Amy K. Miller’s Studio — ANY UNAUTHORIZED DUPLICATION OR REPRODUCTION IS PROHIBITED)

Editor’s Note:  “Amy’s Angle” is a weekly Wednesday feature in this blog.

Copyright 2012, Daddysangbassdude Media


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