Call of the wild

To the Journal editor:

The Aug. 28 Mining Journal article (about) wolves’ killing nine beagle hounds raises an important question for citizens of the Upper Peninsula.

What sort of Upper Peninsula do we want to have?

Do we want one of the last, best wild places in the world, where true hunting enthusiasts may find wild game in a natural habitat?

Or do we want a micro-managed “theme park” in which people and dogs unsuited to wilderness may wander at will, certain that no natural predators are left to interrupt their enjoyment?

Beagles are wonderful little dogs, developed in England, a land which had no large predators left. Hunting in England is a very controlled, very “civilized” sport. In America, beagles are well-suited for hunts in farmland in states which have no wilderness to speak of. They make fine companion dogs, loyal, and loving. But they do need to be cared for.

Here, I would think someone should check on the local wolf and coyote populations before letting small dogs like beagles run loose-and I would be cautious even if none of those were known.

I distinctly remember a letter to the editor of this paper, sent about 40 years ago, by a woman who was sure a wolf had mauled her beagle. We had no wolves then, but her description of the dog’s injuries sounded much as if it had been lucky enough to escape from a bobcat.

That dog should not have been running loose in the woods.

Given the state of the economy, our U.P., northern Wisconsin and northern Minnesota have a great deal to offer real outdoor enthusiasts, both those who hunt and those who don’t, in a location much closer to home than the Rocky Mountain States.

But we won’t have that unique wilderness appeal if we insist on killing off our apex predators before they have a chance to make a full recovery and become part of a vital, healthy ecosystem living in balance here on our peerless shores.