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Letter: Another side of anthropomorphism

Another side of anthropomorphism

To: The good people of Pitkin County

From: Mr. Bull Elk — also a Pitkin County resident



This past week, an article regarding Burnt Mountain trail closures was brought to my attention. As an ostensible beneficiary of this policy, I thought I might share my own thoughts on the matter.

First, let me state generally that humans are not a major concern of mine or my fellow elk, either in calving season or out of it. Compared to me, you are relatively small, weak and slow. You do not frighten me or my harem of cows, and your presence does not disturb the birth of our young, who are born on their feet and can walk and feed almost immediately. You only think you do. And believing yourselves to be the only force for good in the environmental world, you seek restrictions on your fellow humans in their hiking, biking and camping activities. I appreciate your efforts on our behalf, but frankly most of my elk tribe does not care about you various do-gooders and tree-huggers. Humans do not threaten us. We are not afraid of you. I have horns as sharp as pikes. I weigh about 700 pounds, and my wives average two-thirds as much. I will not discuss the specific weight of any of my elk cows.



In any event, if you come into my wilderness and I stand my ground, the intelligent choice is to back away, turn around and go in the other direction. We as a species have survived in this area since the last glaciation, when ice covered most of what you see. We thrived when the mastodons did not. We have survived our calving seasons when carnivores were much more numerous and deadly. I speak particularly of wolves and Native Americans, who were especially proficient predators. And at that time, it was always open season. Our major worries today are the bears, coyotes and mountain lions. You, not so much, unless you have a gun. I think we do remarkably well here in the Snowmass area, especially since many of you have not sought to reintroduce the wolf, which would truly decimate our population. I believe, as my good friend who helped me put pen to paper (or email or whatever) believes, that the only good wolf is a dead wolf.

To summarize, please know that I feel content in my own bull elk way and believe I will be for several years to come, but not because of you. I feel in no way in your debt. The things you do to “benefit” us remain unappreciated. We sleep in your yards and under your trees, we walk on your roads, and we graze in your meadows. Your anthropomorphic attitudes are fine if they make you feel better, but they are not reality. Just keep some distance between us, and we’ll get along fine.

John W. Pate

Snowmass Village


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