Once, while watching the news with my dad, I heard a reporter talking about open season for hunting. Now this didn't seem very strange to me, considering I have many friends who hunt deer and elk and different kinds of birds, but it shocked me when the reporter mentioned wolves and bears.
Though I knew my friends hunted for food, it never occurred to me people would hunt for sport. Because really, who's going to eat a bear other than people in Alaska? The reporter went on to talk about the season taking place in Wyoming, but I couldn't watch or listen to the reporter anymore.
I thought, "What do you need a bear or a wolf for?" You don't eat bears and wolves. And then it occurred to me -- fur.
I'm sure bear and wolf fur makes for a nice rug, but seriously? I couldn't help but wonder why you'd want to kill such animals, unless it was in self-defense.
I began to think about my time on the National Academic League speech team when I was in junior high. We once gave a speech about the reintroduction of wolves into the Yellowstone National Park area. We analyzed and discussed that many ranchers were worried about their livestock being stalked and eaten by the wolves, so they were defending their right to kill the wolves.
Environmentalists argued that wolves were necessary for the ecosystem of the national park and surrounding areas, and they ultimately won the debate. But when environmentalists worked so hard to get the endangered wolves back in the area, why are we now allowing people to hunt them for sport? It just doesn't make sense to me.
I may be slightly biased, seeing as how I have never gone hunting nor have I ever shot a gun. But I feel very upset that there is such a thing as open season for bears and wolves. In all honesty, what has a wolf or bear ever done to you? What has any animal done to a hunter?
You may be thinking, "Well, she's a real tree-hugger. She must be a vegetarian." While I will admit I am a tree-hugger, I completely disagree with the vegetarian bit. I love meat as much as the next person, but I believe there is a huge difference between hunting for food and survival, and hunting for the pure fun of it.
OK, maybe that sounded a little rude. Not all hunters are cold-blooded murderers. But in my opinion, deer, bears, wolves and any other animal that roams this earth has the right to roam free without feeling like they have a target on their back. Because that is what our society has done to animals; we put a target on their back justifying it with a solid amount of money. But no amount of money is worth the life of a living, breathing animal.
Animals have voices, but how are we supposed to do what's best for them when we refuse to listen because the shot of a gun sounds better? I think we all need to listen and look.
Think of Yellowstone National Park. Listen to the sounds of the rivers and the calling of birds. And think of the first time you saw a bear rising over the ridge of a hill, or saw a pack of wolves running across an open area.
Now, imagine all of that gone.
In biology, we learn that each animal and organism in an ecosystem is dependent on each other. Is a rug or thousands of dollars really worth ruining the very earth we live on? If we keep allowing hunters to kill these animals, we will lose them. Think about it.
Krystal Ruiz is a junior at Weber High School. Contact her at email@example.com.