Michael A. Cox

How would you feel if the state corrections folks decided to release 50 serial killers into your community?

They would never do that, you say.

However, that is essentially what a group of folks, mostly over in the urban Front Range area, are heart set to do. As was outlined in a story on Page 1 of this paper last week and by this writer in late July, also in this publication, the group called Rocky Mountain World Action Fund is collecting petition signatures to place the wolf introduction initiative on the ballot next year. The end game is a forced reintroduction of wolves in the San Juan Mountains. The initial release would put 50 serial killers on the loose in our mountains.

Normally, I would sign most any petition to put something to a vote, even if I disagreed with the premise. In this case I would not sign. First, this is a decision that belongs to the folks affected, not those of Denver, Boulder, Aurora, and Golden. Secondly, the Colorado Parks and Wildlife folks are thumbs down on the issue. They see it as a potential disaster. Thirdly, there is simply no good reason for it.

There is a reason why wolves have been a metaphor for evil for millennia. The Three Little Pigs may be a childrens’ story, but it perfectly describes what wolves do. They kill and they don’t necessarily do it to eat. Herdsmen in all corners of the world have defended themselves, their children, and their flocks and herds from wolves since livestock husbandry came to be. Fiction writers even created an imaginary, bloodthirsty monster based on the wolf—the werewolf's characteristics were born from the natural instincts of the real life super predator.

The wolf experiment has been a catastrophe everywhere it has been tried. Most recently the Washington State game managers had to kill off the remainder of a pack gone rogue. Idaho ranchers have had huge losses, including 176 sheep killed in a single wolf raid. The elk populations in Idaho, Wyoming, and nearby states have dropped 75 percent since the wolves were loosed there.

When you ask a wolf advocate why they want the wolves back, the answer is usually something like, “They were once there, they should be returned, it’s their land too.”

Here is a response to chew on.

If you are a believer in the evolution concept and the idea that some species are not compatible with the rest of the evolutionary chain, then you must agree that some species should and will disappear. Wolves have proven themselves to be the psychopathic members of the community. There is good reason for them not to be part of the community.

If, on the other hand, you embrace the creationist theories, then the Lord’s commandment in Genesis that man has dominion over all living things is the rule. Thereby, man is free to determine what is in his and the rest of the world’s best interests. Wolves in the San Juan Mountains are not in anyone’s best interest.

The San Juans have gotten along nicely sine canis lupus since the species was rendered extinct in the region in the late 1940s. Predators, basically bears, coyotes, and mountain lions have balanced with the prey (the wildlife and livestock populations). The ecology of the area is pretty much unchanged, save the effect of human immigration.

Relinquere satis bene solus — leave well enough alone, would be an excellent choice.

Back home again in the garlic fields

I spent a recent weekend in my home counties of Santa Cruz and Santa Clara in California. The occasion was the high school reunion of the class of 1959 from Gilroy High School—you do the math. As expected, the turn out was smaller than the last one. Of the 15 attendees, five of us came from the same tiny grade school. Rucker School was (is) situated in the middle of chicken, prune and garlic farms. Many of the farms from Gilroy north have been replaced by housing and high tech. The South end of the Valley as well as the next county South are still heavily agriculture.

Only one of my classmates is still involved in ag. Her grandson runs cows on some of the family property in the coast range foothills. I asked Delores how he was doing. Her answer was short and rather blunt, “Well, we’re still going,” she said. Given the California social and political climate relating to cattle and meat, that, in itself, is an accomplishment.

We took a ride over to Santa Cruz, where my family farm was, and was is the operative word. Although much of the property is still vacant land, our orchard is gone as are the house and outbuildings, replaced by an apartment complex. How insulting.

It’s mooving time

Apologies to our friends at the second hand store in Montrose, mooving is what will be happening over the next month as our cattle growers move their cows from the summer range on the plateau as well as the higher ranges in the San Juans and elsewhere.

The largest number of the animals will be moved by truck or fifth wheel trailer. However, we will see a few outfits moving herds the old fashioned way – the cows walk and the cowboys ride--horses. Cattle drives from range to range and to rail heads or highways hubs have been a part of the cattlemen’s way of life for almost two centuries. The logistics of doing it that way nowadays is very complicated.

Dave Wood Road and CSR 90 will see some action, among other highways and county roads. The harvest and cattle moving season is a time for motorists to be especially mindful of trucks and trailers hauling everything from hemp to corn silage to cows and sheep. They will be coming off side roads from all directions.

Your urban SUV is no match for a Peterbilt hauling a double-decker trailer loaded with a couple hundred animals. Stay vigilant my friends.

Another twist in protein/starch plates

While in California, we stopped at the San Pedro Square Market in downtown San Jose after attending the Italian festival where they served frozen pizza. The market is a massive food court kind of edifice with some very good vendors. One of which was called Game Day. On the menu werePhilly Fries. The item was about three quarters of a pound of crisp fries covered with chopped Philly steak, cheese, bell peppers, mushrooms, and caramelized onions. $14. Don’t try this alone. A snappy IPA is a required accompaniment.

Michael A. Cox is a Montrose-based content provider. He may be reached at michaelc@agwriter.us

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