More thoughts on the killing of the wolf-hybrid dog

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To the editor:

How does one make sense out of a senseless killing? Just saying “No laws were broken” doesn’t make it right. Maybe sharing more details will diminish my outrage level.

Eighteen years ago, I was lucky to purchase a private inholding bordering Kootenai National Forest. Until now, I considered my position a safe one, as long as I was alert to the wanderings of the local bears and mountain lions. It never occurred to me that the biggest threat might be my own species. Recently, I discovered, by way of human footprints, that the perpetrator(s) of the death of my neighbor’s dog stalked prey so close to my forest border that he/she/they could easily read decals on the recreational vehicle in my front yard.

I am not a huntress, but I am wondering if there is a set of ethics that hunters adhere to. Is it common practice that stalking of prey occurs within sight of residences? If the answer is “yes,” then starting every September, I should consistently wear my orange vest in the front yard, as we routinely have deer in our yard, even when we are close by. (By the way, we do not feed them.)

Further, is it considered ethical to send bullets near “posted/keep out” signs demarcating a public/private interface, such as happened on Feb. 22, 2018?

In my 18-year exposure to Yodkin Creek Road, I have hiked thousands of hours on local trails. Thus, I have crossed paths with a number of wolves and noted their characteristics. I admit that this letter would never have been written had my neighbor’s dog been tethered. Still, as the hunter(s) had him in his/her/their sights, it should have been obvious that the animal lured by the distressed-animal cry was not a wolf. The dog, which I knew well, weighed about 180 pounds, was a solid color, creamy yellow and was heavily furred clear down to his toenails. In the Yodkin Creek area, a typical wolf wears a neutral-toned pelt, has spindly, sparsely-furred legs, and appears lean all over. Among hunters, is it common to apply the watchwords “know your target?”

In the future, I, as a rural property owner, would like to see, on the part of the hunters, more sensitivity, restraint, professionalism, compassion, humility and respect for our private property. Perhaps there are times when the hunter’s good judgment is impaired by his/her passion for the prey.

—Sally Sturgeon

Yaak

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