A hunter’s perspective on killing wolf

To the Editor:

I used to be a member of the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association (MDHA), the largest deer hunting advocacy group in the state. I started deer hunting as an adult as a way to harvest meat for my families’ consumption.

Not long after joining MHDA they started sending emails promoting wolf killing. I also noticed that on their website there was a lot of talk about supporting the upcoming wolf season. That really bothered me since I thought the group was group focused on deer. I had given them a membership due so that I could learn more about deer hunting and here I find out the MDHA is lobbying heavily for a recreational wolf season!

I have always had great pride in the Minnesota’s grey wolf population; wolves make the wilderness alive and healthy. I felt like I had betrayed myself by giving money to a group that was anti-science and anti-biodiversity. Wolves and other predators serve a critical role in the health of an ecosystem and without them we can expect to see fewer and fewer animal and plant species. In Yellowstone National Park, after wolves were reintroduced biodiversity increased greatly.

While MDHA was pushing for this wolf hunt I went on their Facebook and started replying to the posts promoting wolf killing and said I didn’t agree with that stance. There were several people that agreed that MHDA was in the wrong pushing the wolf season. However there were many people angry with me and the others that didn’t go along with the groups’ position. I ended up trying to convince people on several occasions only to be met with resistance, ignorance and on one occasion threats of violence.

I left MDHA and have serious concerns for wolves in Minnesota. Our hunters need education around ecology and they need to let go of old hatreds for any animal that “competes” for deer with them. Wolves only have one choice: They need to hunt for food. They can’t go to a grocery store and pick up food for their families.

Did Minnesota really spend all these decades and money to restore our wolf population only to have a small mob of uneducated hunters and trappers take them back to the brink of extinction? For those of you that feel comfortable because the DNR is managing it, take a look at the moose, it’s facing extinction in Minnesota.

This misuse and abuse of the wolf should not be acceptable to the people of Minnesota. If you want to join the conversation and work to end the recreational wolf killing, then contact one of the Minnesota basd groups actively fighting this years’ recreational wolf kill.


Matt Johnson

Minneapolis, MN


  • Red Fred

    Well written, reasonable response to the open season on wolves which we have paid to conserve. I too have been met with a surprising response from other Conservatives. The uneducated, willfully ignorant in the ranks DEMAND their rights. IT”S THE LAW. Having a right to do something doesn’t make it moral or ethical. Some can’t seem to grasp that although I have no problem with hunting for food, I object to all trophy hunting.

  • Mona Milford

    Well said Matt and thank you for giving wolves another voice

  • turtlegirl

    Thank you from one who cares, too. The same thing is going on in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, and it makes me sick to my stomach. All these years, resources, time and money went into re-establishing healthy wolf populations, only to be wiped out again by ignorance and hatred, which is learned behavior. It saddens me to see or know of people shooting wolves and passing that on to their kids. The cycle needs to be broken :/

  • Michael Spiegelberg

    Nice ! I argue with folks all the time about saving our Wolves – It should be obvious that one shouldn’t kill unless they are to be consumed – Like You stated – The Passenger Pigeons – The Moose – Let’s hope The Wolves aren’t next – Thank You for speaking up for them too !!!!!!! 😉

  • rob

    Thank you for your letter! I too am a hunter who does not agree with the killing of wolves, it goes against every ethic that I have as a hunter. I’ve been ridiculed and berated for my stance however I will continue to speak out in favor of wolf protection. I honestly think that much of the fear and hatred towards wolves is generated from people that don’t actually understand the animal; they submit themselves to believe the myths that have been propagated for centuries. I think another reason for the hatred is other hunters who are angry that a true predator such as the wolf is killing “our deer”. I feel honored to share the woods with the wolf; it is everything I love about our wild lands!

    • Terry Clark

      Thank you rob, we all living in a educational world, it would not harm any one before they start shooting a wolf to look for the real reason why, wolves only hunt deer when they need it and they leave nothing behind. before humans walked through their land, none was their to complain, and none complains when the seeing lions killing other animals for their dinner, its just somehow the weird believe in old fairy tales.
      take care and ty

    • Michelle O. Valadez

      Thank you Rob for speaking up on behalf of our wolves!

  • Shelly Leit

    Thank you Matt — it’s not acceptable to me! But what can we do about it? I sign every petition I see and all Gov. Dayton can say about it is, elect different representatives. He should do more than that!

  • LaurelMA

    Wolves being a pack animal have a complex social system that can be disrupted and devastated by the killing of key members. It is unconscionable to allow the hunting and trapping of this animal after it has finally made a comeback thanks to protection. The old ignorance, hatred, blood lust and greed should not be allowed to have a resurgence. Not every animal on this earth is here only for the purpose of being exploited and destroyed by humans.

  • Randy Harris

    A tip of my hat to you Mr. Matt Johnson!

  • Sherry Visser Stang

    I feel so helpless, just like the wolves! The ignorance of some man is not believable, how can this go on?? I can only PRAY that all of the people who truly care are heard and this will STOP once and for all before it’s too late. The wolf is our family our NATURE.

    • Sherry Visser Stang

      I thank you also Matt for posting this article….. it seems no one is listening to any of the groups I have joined against this ignorant crime!! We HAVE to find a way some way to STOP THIS!

  • LouAnn

    Wolves are not the problems they kill the weak and sick they eat what they kill and the kill to survive now hunters of wolves torture they s hoot a pet six time first in the leg don’t shoot to kill but torture


  • Wendy Knight

    There is absolutely no reason to hunt and kill wolves!!!!! Tell me one good reason!!!! There is none!!!!

  • jen pedrazzetti

    thank-you for standing up for the wolves,i’m a wolf lover and we need them in our lives.they were put here for a reason and so was the humans we need to live together and share .

  • Melanie Neer

    Bravo to this great article. When I first read the title, I thought to myself, oh no, another person who wants to kill off wolves, but was so happy about how you state that even as a hunter you don’t condone the massive wolf kills that are going nationwide, NOT only in your state. How ironic that the government actually was behind repopulating the wolves to ensure their existence, then because they did successfully populate now is a frenzy to kill them off again.
    Don’t ask how many times I’ve had heated discussions in general as I’m an animal advocate/activist, but in particular with the wolf. “Predator” type animals do not bother with humans, nor attack them. I’ve yet to hear of any such incident; a person might be more likely to be bitten/attacked by a pet dog, than a wolf. In one heated discussion I was involved with a person mentioned and boasted how he kills off at least three wolves a week where he is, why? Just because they were “there”…they weren’t aggressive at all.

  • ange weiss

    Great article!! Wish more hunters had this perspective!! Gives me faith that not all hunters are turning into a@#holes!! Nice knowing there are good sportsman still running around in the woods . Happy ethical hunting 🙂

  • rj_williams

    Thank you for this. It is those uneducated “sportsmen” and trappers that gives people like you a bad rep. I don’t understand the blood thirst and thrill they get for torturing animals. I understand the need to hunt for you and your family’s nourishment. What is the the worst is that, they do not want to be educated and do not want to accept any logic or science behind our planet’s ecosystem

  • Michelle O. Valadez

    Thank you Matt! Great opinion piece. I am so thankful for hunters like yourself that have step forward to speak on behalf of our wolves.

  • eisenberg

    Very well said. I hope more hunters, biologists and non-hunters speak out against the wolf hunt in Minnesota and my home state, Wisconsin. There is no science behind it, just a lot of misinformation. I heard one hunter at a meeting say that the deer herd in northern Wisconsin has been “decimated,” implying that the wolves were the cause. How then did hunters in Wisconsin find and kill 226,582 deer this season? On the roads about 20,00-40,000 deer are killed annually. By comparison, the Wisconsin DNR estimates that only 13,000 deer are taken by wolves every year. So who really affects the deer herd the most? Certainly not wolves.

  • Ebony Wolf

    Thanks for caring more about the environment than most hunters, I am a hunter but never associate with any hunting club so I don’t have to listen to there babbling