Letter: Let wolves return for the sake of Utah’s ecology and true hunting

Tom Wharton | The Salt Lake Tribune Mule deer graze close to the eastern road at Antelope Island State Park.

Utah’s “mule deer protection act” is absurd. Of course, mule deer don’t need protection from their natural predators. They coevolved with predators long before humans migrated to North America. Ironically, those who value authentic hunting need to be protected from those who seek to turn wilderness areas into farms that manufacture what Aldo Leopold called “artificialized trophies.”

The first stage in creating docile deer was the eradication of apex predators such as wolves. This enabled the populations of mesopredators, i.e., coyotes, to expand and disrupted the ecological balance. The state government has further artificialized hunting experiences by spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on coyote bounties.

I have had Utah mule deer, who are less than 20 yards away, passively stare while I chamber a round. That’s easy meat, but it’s not hunting. Pursuing Sitka black tailed deer through the dense forests of southeast Alaska was hunting. These deer were alert and wild because they lived among brown bear and wolves.

Allowing wolves to return to Utah would suppress the coyote population, protect deer from evolving into domestic cattle, and protect hunters from evolving into “sportsmen” who behave like kiddies at a stocked fish pond.

Alex Simon, Orem