Blaming the victim

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Posted by Ballpark Frank ( on 09:19:38 03/27/16

In Reply to: Not alleged... posted by 46er

In the over 20 years that wolves have been back in Yellowstone, I have not witnessed or heard of surplus killing in the park. That does not mean it has not happened, but if it has, I'm betting it is very rare.

Why? Anyone that has spent much time observing wolves hunting elk knows that it is a risky endeavor for the predators. One good kick from even a cow elk's hooves to the jaw or ribs, and it can be game over. A lucky wolf will be killed immediately. An unlucky wolf will merely be partially crippled, so it can't keep up with the pack, or its jaw will be sufficiently destroyed so it can't eat, thus sentenced to a long, lingering death.

In the case of the Hoback herd, it has been a long time since they have had to worry about significant predators (beyond coyotes). They are conditioned to expect food handouts from their human benefactors. Much like the ground squirrels, marmots, and bevy of freeloading birds that converge on major pullouts or other visitor gathering spots in many of our national parks, these elk suffer from atrophied survival behavior. I would not be surprised if the Hoback elk simply panicked and exercised minimal self defense.

At the risk of someone telling me I am going way out of bounds, I will even draw a parallel to what we see when terrorists attack a large assemblage of unarmed humans in an airport, shopping center, theater, or train station. The victims are not expecting predation, and don't live with the constant threat. When it suddenly materializes, they are easy prey for very bad guys armed with automatic weapons. Just once, I'd like to see a group of jihadis attack a group, only to find they blundered into a gathering of armed combat pistol competitors or even simply, armed police sharpshooters.


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