Fear and wolving in Minnesota

It’s hard to lament our times because it is so often difficult to determine which times we’re in. For instance, I read today that Minnesota officials are preparing for a wolf hunt and conceding large amounts of money to “Vikings.” Those sound like old school, old world problems, which is why it’s so vexing that I read about things like this on the internet. We’re supposed to have flying cars by now. Instead, we’re hunting wolves because wolves are scary.

And for those scoring at home, large groups of people chanting in the halls of the legislature on behalf of education are socialists. But when they are wearing football jerseys and asking for similar amounts of money to build a Colosseum for a privately-held gladiator farm, it’s about jobs. Oh, and state pride.

I’d trade the Vikings for a competitive world class education system. A good high school can give you a year’s worth of sports entertainment, speech, theater, music and marching band. A citizen can be entertained 365 days of the year by a strong local school. That is, if preparing a whole generation for a better life isn’t enough for you. I understand the delicate partisan political gamesmanship that brought us to this point, but that doesn’t mean we should celebrate what appears to be a massive systemic failure.

Maybe I’m just too shaken up by the fact that there are wolves in my woods. Sometimes they howl. They eat meat, you know. Those wolves. And they don’t even cook it first.

Comments

  1. We don’t hunt wolves because they’re scary, we hunt them because they kill livestock.

    And I’d gladly trade the Vikings for the single greatest education reform possible; abolition of the teacher’s unions (speaking as someone who’s held a MN teacher’s license for over a quarter of a century).

  2. Wow, that was a quick comment!

    Yes, we hunt them because they are scary. Farmers are compensated for the rare instances that wolves kill livestock and I think a provision allowing farmers to protect their livestock from wolves would make more sense than a hunting season, which is an unrelated non-solution.

    And woof, abolish the teacher’s unions. Right into it, eh? I’d entertain the discussion if there were any evidence that state and local governments would treat teachers with respect without unions. I’d argue that teachers are demonized, would enjoy less pay and more political firings without the unions.

  3. I have it on good authority from farmers I know that the compensation for wolf kills is inadequate. But I’d be content with allowing farmers to kill on an easily proven as-need basis rather than having a season.

    I don’t feel a need for a teacher’s union to avoid being demonized. Indeed the unions are the primary reason that teachers are demonized, in so far as that actually happens.

    Wow, quick reply! 🙂

  4. And actually we should go back to FDR’s policy of no public employees unions.

  5. I am a long-retired RN,and I seriously doubt the deserved gains in my profession that were made in salary and otherwise, would have happened without unions.
    I think this is also true of teachers.

  6. The disproportionate gains made by teachers might well be accredited to the single-mindedness of the teachers unions but that is hardly a reason for ordinary citizens to disagree with FDR or embrace the concept.

  7. Even though David claims to have a teacher’s license, he doesn’t seem to think one of the most important jobs in our society should be rewarded. Sad …

  8. We HAD an effective “problem” wolf control program; there was a group of professional federal trappers headquartered in Grand Rapids. Minnesota lost the funding for that program when the wolf was delisted. There is no way that a bunch of amateurs blazing away out in the woods can address livestock depredation in the same way.

  9. So Jackie…Should we “reward” all teachers equally or should we simply base it on age?

  10. >>Even though David claims to have a teacher’s license, he doesn’t seem to think one of the most important jobs in our society should be rewarded. Sad …

    Where did I say they shouldn’t be paid (i.e. rewarded)? But I don’t think their pay should be entirely disconnected from the community that funds them.

  11. Aaron…A stadium costs money (which the “company”, the NFL, should build with their own money, just like any other business). And increasing teacher pay is totally unrelated to building a new plant for the Vikings or 3M or Cargill.

    That said, it’s well documented that improving teacher quality doesn’t require more money. But we’ve had this discussion ad nauseam.

  12. And I’ll say that not only have I held a license for 25+ years but my wife has been a public school teacher as has my father, uncle and aunt.

  13. What does “holding” a license actually mean..in your case?

  14. >>What does “holding” a license actually mean..in your case?

    It means I have an active teacher’s license which authorizes me to teach in any Minnesota public secondary school.

  15. Just wondering if David ever actually used his teacher’s license
    as a teacher in a classroom.

  16. Yes.

  17. I conclude that brief answer may also indicate brief actual experience in the profession.

  18. You are a genius.

  19. Thanks Aaron. You are right, again. I appreciate your points regarding the stadium and wolves. Minnesota should be investing in other projects. The knowledge is there, backed by data, how to create more success for our state.

    Turns out construction workers can also build infrastructure, schools, and nursing homes. The values of a particular group of people can be determined by how they choose to allocate scarce resources. An investment in things such as light rail, schools, and technology has a far better return on investment compared to NFL stadiums.

    I could explain details for hours. No point in rambling here. I just want to add one more thing:

    The whole argument regarding killing wolves to save livestock is ridiculous. Farmer’s are not suffering due to wolves. They can recoup costs. More importantly, they are Timber Wolves. They are not Prairie Wolves. They are Prairie Farmers. They are not Timber Farmers.

  20. I love these chuckleberries who assume that nobody farms in proximity to woods. Wolves are a real issue for farmers in Aitkin County. See if you can find a tree there. Farmers are suffering because of wolves and compensation is not adequate.

  21. I believe that. I don’t farm, but I do live in the woods. I see the wolves out here as part of a large ecosystem that includes vast amounts of deer, which I hit with my car every other year or so and make it hard to grow vegetables.

    I don’t have a strong opinion about wolves, except that they’ve got to be hard to hunt or trap. They’re pretty smart and they don’t mess around. I see the guys who hunt deer out here and, God love ’em, they ain’t exactly The Predator. And shooting wolves out here won’t stop wolves from getting livestock in Aitkin. You can try to control it by zone, but wolves — I presume — don’t give a crap about zones. They go to populated areas for livestock when the opportunity is ripe.

    I just don’t see why we don’t better compensate farmers for wolf kills or hire professionals to control the wolf population in a strategic way.

    I see dead dogs and not much change in our future.

    Wow, I sure cooked up a lot of parallel unrelated debates here. 🙂

  22. Clearly the handiwork of a skilled blogger…

  23. I admit my comment regarding wolves and prairies was facetious. That does place me in the category of chuckleberry. Wolves are able to live on prairies as well as forested land.

    However, I’m still opposed to a wolf hunt. I believe the intent is to allow sport hunting for wolves. I am unashamed of being anti-wolf hunting for sport.

  24. I’ll jump in a little late here.

    What’s wrong with sport hunting of wolves? Set sustainable harvest limits and let people start shooting (or trapping). They really shouldn’t be any different then deer, bear, fish, beaver, etc.

    I agree that the NFL is a big profitable business and they should build their own stadium.

    Unions or no unions, you get what you pay for. In most places I think teachers are under paid for the important job that they do.

    C.O.

  25. Love your blog! And I agree with everything you say. Shooting wolves is like shooting dogs, as far as I’m concerned. And anything connected with sports “rules” in this world, it seems. I lived in Minnesota for a lot of years, and I shake my head at some of this stuff.

  26. Thanks LL47! And C.O., I still don’t know why we need to hunt wolves. Even if we did, I don’t know what it does to combat the problems that occur when the natural world butts up against civilization (ie: wolves taking advantage of livestock). There are freaking deer everywhere up here. Let the wolves have some. Until Uncle Eddie figures out how to sober up long enough to shoot some deer, he can’t hit wolves anyway. (Uncle Eddie being fictitious, of course).

    I like the NFL and the Vikings, I really do. Maybe I could be convinced the stadium is a good idea, but not when the schools are in such rough shape, relative to where they were 10-15 years ago. Not for $300-$400 million.

    And I agree, C.O., union or not (though I’m a union man) the real issue is respecting the profession of teaching and recognizing the importance of education in society. Used to be, you had Republicans and Democrats that had very different ideas about the role over government, but generally agreed that you had to respect teachers in a public school classroom. Things are more expensive now for a variety of reasons, but the reaction to the expense has been a sort of haphazard “starvation” of education, hoping that top-down cuts would produce some sort of magical reform. I’m not against reforms, but they need to be centered around the relationship between teachers, students and families, not around the pet projects of conservative or liberal think tanks full of PhD.s (my opinion).

    I have a lot of Republican colleagues in my union and they are very much free market conservatives. They’re very lost in this whole “public school teachers are on the dole” debate going on. There is important work done in classrooms. I’d need to see that work was held in high esteem before I’d ever accept getting rid of the unions, all due respect to the other distinguished members of this comments thread.

  27. We do not “need” to hunt wolves, but if people want to and there are enough of them why not? Why should wolves be any different than any other animal?

    C.O.

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