I opened the paper last Friday and the headline "Wolf hunt coming to Okanagan" jumped out at me.
At first, I thought it was another country rock band bringing a glimmer of revenue to the South Okanagan Events Centre. Then, I thought it might be a new forward of German heritage joining the Vees named "Wolf Hunt."
It turns out it is a literal hunt for wolves, a species almost wiped out years ago, but now apparently rebounding. The provincial wildlife branch doesn't know with any precision how many wolves there are because they can't count them, but they make estimates based on "density of prey," reported sightings and attacks on cattle." Such "evidence" would be a joke in any court of law.
"Are there any other factors involved in prey density?" the defence counsel might ask. "How many sightings have been reported? By whom? Would any of the sightings have been reported by ranchers or hunters or, more pertinently, guides longing for the permission to slaughter a wolf or three? And those attacks on cattle. Can the prosecution be sure that a dead cow has been killed by wolves? Could it have died by other means and been gobbled up by any number of different scavengers?"
The spokesman for the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Resources says there are "75 to 100" wolves in the Okanagan. The bag limit is three. So if 30 hunters go after wolves, and have any success at all, the wolf population will once again will be "almost wiped out."
Some months ago, the City of Penticton was abuzz with deer phobia, much of it reported by this paper. Vampire deer were gnawing the life out of helpless petunias, and frankendeer were terrorizing toy poodles and their doting owners. A torch-bearing crowd descended on City Hall, crying
for a remedy to these undead ungulates.
Thus the cull was born. And promptly withered away, presumably from the fears of the chamber of commerce that an enterprising youth with an iPhone might record the actual killing of Bambi, post it on YouTube, and seriously depress the tourist industry.
Attention Okanagan gardeners and toy poodle fanciers - wolves eat deer!
As a final comment, those in the Okanagan who are in any way dependent on tourism might give some thought to the appearance of news articles, graphically illustrated, touting the Okanagan as a great spot for a bit of wolf killing. Should be a big draw in the big city.