PORT ARTHUR —
Even captive animals have moments where you look them in the eyes and see something that embodies wildness in a unique way.
Mills related the story of wolf researcher David Mech who stayed for an extended period on an island with wolves and never saw the first one. He found tracks and scat and heard them on a routine basis but never made eye contact.
Wolves also keep things wild.
In Yellowstone National Park where gray wolves were reintroduced in the 1990s, elk had become so accustomed to no predation they ended their annual migration and were eating the aspen in the park to shreds.
When wolves were added to the equation that ended as they trimmed the elk herd, restored some balance and made things wild again. Wolves have a tendency to do that.
Critics slam the wolf reintroduction saying the animals are causing too much harm to elk and livestock in the region.
Something they do not mention is that pronghorn numbers have gone up there.
The Yellowstone region had sparse coyote populations when wolves were in great numbers there but once they were wiped out by government predator control programs their numbers skyrocketed and pronghorns plummeted. Coyotes fed on the young and vulnerable.
Gray wolves have pushed out many of the coyotes (and probably killed a few as well) and now pronghorns are on the rise.
A balanced ecosystem is always a healthy one, which is why deer hunting for example is so important to a state with as many deer as we have in Texas. There must be balance for optimal health.
I greatly appreciate the support of this paper and most importantly all of you over the years. Your thousands of letters, emails, phone calls and now texts and Facebook messages keep me in tune with what is going on and push me to do my absolute best to bring you a unique look at the outdoors.
The first 20 years in this business were great but the next will be even better. Always look to the future and remember things are better in the wild.
(To contact Chester Moore, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can hear him on “Moore Outdoors” Fridays from 6-7 p.m. on Newstalk AM 560 KLVI and watch his new series “Gods Outdoors with Chester Moore” online at www.godsoutdoors.com.)