By Rachel Tilseth
One of the many concerns regarding using dogs in the wolf hunt is the registration process. This was one of the agenda items discussed at the August 26, WI Wolf Advisory Committee meeting. First let’s re-cap last years wolf hunt. The registration took place once a month and that left wide gaps between the time of death and registration for wolves killed by the use of dogs.
One doesn’t need a biology degree to figure out that any evidence of dogs killing a wolf would be lost in rotting carcasses awaiting registration. Sorry to be blunt but why sugar coat it when the public’s call for justice has been ignored by DNR administration and legislators. As one pro-wolf WAC committee member put it(to paraphrase)this is an important issue because public perceptions are that dogs are harassing or killing wolves.
Even the Natural Resources Board wants to ease the publics mind about this controversial method with one of the members asking for the WI Wolf Advisory Committee to come up with: a proposal of voluntary wolf registration guidelines to allow for a more thorough evaluation of wolves “harvested” with the aid of dogs.
This proposal was not discussed at length and not a surprise: considering how “unimportant” the life of, an iconic endangered species such as the wolf, has become to a state agency in charge of natural resources. The wolf is now relegated as a game animal to be be hunted, trapped and chased through the woods by packs of dogs. There is no enforcement or regulations in place to hold the wolf hound handlers accountable.
To make it even worse this is only a “voluntary” program. WDNR wants hound handlers to voluntarily appear within five days of killing a wolf with their dogs at a registration point for inspection by a WDNR warden. Well here is the kicker: the WDNR Warden’s are over worked. They have a large work load especially at that time of year and cannot evaluate every wolf killed by the use of dogs.
Our WDNR wardens are critical for any enforcement of regulations because they are an important link for public’s trust regarding our resources. WI legislators and WDNR administration has little or no regard for the public’s right to protect and care for its natural resources. This is evident in the lack of care and concern for the health of WI wild wolf population.
This is all still in discussion with no final decisions being made yet to this date. One suggestion is to ask USDA wildlife services to help because they do the investigations for depredations on livestock. And are they any better considering their record on managing wolves?
All in all, the lack of regulations and enforcement concerning wolf hound hunting does not ‘swim right” with the people of WI. This is why rules and regulations need to be in place and enforced by WDNR. The public perception is that wolves are being harassed and killed by dogs. Shouldn’t the WI Wolf Advisory Committee be concerned about the health of Wild wolves? WI citizens have made it clear they want wild wolves.