By Matt Falke

I used to be a member of the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association (MDHA), the largest deer hunting advocacy group in the state. I started deer hunting as an adult as a way to harvest meat for my families' consumption. To be clear, I had gotten into deer hunting because I believed that if I was going to be eating animals then I should also be getting my hands dirty in the process. I was never into trophy hunting, someone had told me once that serial killers are after trophies, hunters are after food. That made sense to me.

After becoming a hunter I went to several training sessions to enhance my skills and knowledge. I also joined the MDHA as a way to meet other hunters and get information so that I would be successful and efficient while hunting.

Not long after joining MDHA they started sending emails promoting wolf killing. I also noticed that on their website there was a lot of talk about supporting the upcoming wolf season. That really bothered me since I thought the group was focused on deer. I had given them membership dues so that I could learn more about deer hunting and here I find out the MDHA is lobbying heavily for a recreational wolf season!

I have always had great pride in the Minnesota's grey wolf population; wolves make the wilderness alive and healthy. I felt like I had betrayed myself by giving money to a group that was anti-science and anti-biodiversity. If any readers are seeing this and don't know what I mean by "anti-biodiversity" you need to watch "Lords of Nature." Wolves and other predators serve a critical role in the health of an ecosystem and without them we can expect to see fewer and fewer animal and plant species. In Yellowstone National Park, after wolves were reintroduced biodiversity increased greatly. Plant life flourished in places where it couldn't before because of overgrazing and biologists reported the necessity of the wolf in making that happen.

While MDHA was pushing for this wolf hunt I went on their Facebook and started replying to the posts promoting wolf killing and said I didn't agree with that stance. There were several people that agreed that MDHA was in the wrong pushing the wolf season. However there were many people angry with me and the others that didn't go along with the groups' position. I ended up trying to convince people on several occasions only to be met with resistance, ignorance and, on one occasion, threats of violence. After an official comment by MDHA supporting their position I decided I would never give this group another dime.

I left MDHA and have serious concerns for wolves in Minnesota. Our hunters need education around ecology and they need to let go of old hatreds for any animal that "competes" for deer with them. Wolves only have one choice, they need to hunt for food. They can't go to a grocery store and pick up food for their families.

Did Minnesota really spend all these decades and money to restore our wolf population only to have a small mob of uneducated hunters and trappers take them back to the brink of extinction? For those of you that feel comfortable because the DNR is managing it, take a look at the moose, it's facing extinction in Minnesota.

This misuse and abuse of the wolf should not be acceptable to the people of Minnesota. If you want to join the conversation and work to end the recreational wolf killing, then contact the group Howling for Wolves, a Minnesota-based wolf advocacy group. Howling for Wolves is working to end the 2013-14 season and has collected 50,000 signatures over the last few months proving that the rest of Minnesota wants to see an end to this embarrassing wolf slaughter.

Matt Falke currently resides in Minneapolis, enjoys hiking in Minnesota's state parks and has been a supporter of Howling for Wolves since before the start of the 2012 wolf hunt.