Wisconsin politicians are pushing for state management of wolves… 

If the people want the state to manage wolves then there must be full transparency of that process. Until then we must work to keep wolves listed on the Endangered Species Act. 

The state has a law on the books that calls for a mandatory wolf hunt if they are delisted.  Wisconsin is the only state that allows the barbaric use of dogs to hunt wolves with no regulations in place; The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, charged with overseeing the wolf hunt, has no rules in place that require hound handlers to report dogs injured or killed in the pursuit of wolves during a hunt. In fact, there is no monitoring or certification program whatsoever in place for the use of dogs in the wolf hunt; thus the state has little ability to hold hound hunters accountable for training or hunting violations or to prevent deadly and inhumane wolf-dog confrontations (e.g., hunters allowing dogs to overtake and kill rifle-shot wolves). These circumstances explain why Wisconsin stands alone: using dogs to hunt wolves is no better than state-sponsored dog fighting. Source

Several politicians want state control of wolves.  Two Wisconsin state republican legislators are in favor of state management of wolves; Rep Adam Jarchow and senator Tom Tiffany along with US republican Senators Reid Ribble and Ron Johnson are pushing to delist wolves. Senator Tiffany stated in a recent news strory: 

“A state Senator is renewing his focus on delisting the wolf from the endangered species classification. State Senator Tom Tiffany wants U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin to advocate for the change, and end what he calls “ping ponging” litigation over the issue.” Source

 State senator Tom Tiffany stated in a news story: 

“Tiffany and state Representative Representative Adam Jarchow – both Republicans – think Baldwin, a Democrat, could make a difference. “If some of her colleagues saw a Democrat like she is taking the lead on this issue, they would probably follow along,” Tiffany said.” Source

US senator Tammy Baldwin a democrat is in agreement of delisting wolves and in a recent statement said: 

“I have heard the voices of Wisconsinites who have real concerns about the increasing threat of our state’s growing wolf population. Farmers have found livestock injured and killed by wolves that are straying closer to their herds than in previous years. Families have lost pets. Parents have decided it’s no longer safe to let their kids play where they normally do.  These concerns, and the expertise of wildlife science, tell us we should take on the gray wolf problem in our state by acting again to delist the wolf from the Endangered Species List and pass management of the wolf back to the State of Wisconsin.”  Source

If the people want the state to manage wolves then there must be full transparency of that process. 

The push for state management comes after 37 hunting dogs were killed by wolves while in pursuit of bear. These politicians believe that Wisconsins growing wolf population is the cause of these conflicts. Yet there are some that question if wolves are the cause of bear hunting dog deaths. 
Adrian Wydeven, retired WI DNR wolf biologist, wrote in an opinion editorial:

“Do wolf numbers correlate with wolves killing hounds? The evidence suggests this might not necessarily be the case. In 2012, only seven dogs were killed and yet there were nearly as many wolves in 2012 as there were in 2016 (815 wolves in late winter 2012).  In other words, the wolf populations in 2012 and 2016 were similar, yet these two years represent the highest and the lowest numbers of hounds killed by wolves in the last 13 years. Obviously, there is more to this story than just more wolves killing more hounds.” Source

What could be the cause behind all the wolf depredations of hound hunting dogs if it is not due to an increases in wolf population?

Every summer hound hunting dogs lose there lives in pursuit of bear. This decades old conflict between  bear hunters and wolves continues today with no end in sight. Watch the following Wisconsin Public Television show that aired in 2010:

Wolves are a part of Wisconsin’s wild legacy. Recovery of wolves in the state began in the late 1970s. 

In 2015 there was a change made in bear hunting regulations and could this be the cause of the increase in wolf depredations of dogs in pursuit of bear?  In his recent opinion editorial Wydeven states:

“Could a change in bear hunting policy be a factor? Wisconsin is a major destination for bear hunting and training — with some of the highest bear densities and bear harvest success rates in the nation.  Prior to July 2015, people putting out bait and handling hounds used to train on bears were required to buy a Class B Bear Permit. The permit cost residents $14 and nonresidents $110. The permit and fees were eliminated in 2015 and now anyone can freely bait for bears, and train their dogs on bears. This may have increased baiting and training of dogs on bears in Wisconsin, putting more bear hunters and hounds in the hunt, especially from out-of-state residents with the license fee no longer a barrier. ” Source

 It’s no secret that there has been a few instances of wolf depredations on livestock, pets and bear hunting dogs. Wisconsin has a wolf depredation compensation program in place to compensate for these loses. For instance; there is a $2500.00 compensation payment to bear hunters that lose dogs to wolves while pursuing bears.  There are programs in place to aide livestock owners as well.  Watch the following video from the WI DNR wildlife depredations specialist:

In the west wolf advocates and ranchers have been coming together to work for non lethal ways to manage wolf depredation. 

“The group’s nonlethal experiment, known as the Wood River Wolf Project, is a collaboration with Blaine County officials in central Idaho, the United States Forest Service, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game and some local partners who support alternative ways of protecting wolves in historic sheep-grazing country. The project covers 1,200 square miles, or around half of Blaine County, up from 120 at the program’s inception in 2008.” Source

I believe we must help Wisconsin livestock producers learn how to live with wolves and so I am working with Ian Whalan, inventor and Fauna Tomlinson, distributer of Foxlights a nighttime predator deterrent that is making news all over the world, “Saving Lives with Lights.” Foxlights donated Five solar lights to the Red Cliff Reservation in northern Wisconsin, and I delivered the lights to the Red Cliff Biologist Jeremy St.Arnold. To learn more about Foxlights click HERE.

The recent national and state elections have tipped the scales of power towards one party control. What’s next for Wisconsin’s wild wolves?

US Senator Ron Johnson is preparing to introduce a wolf delisting bill in congress with democratic Senator Tammy Baldwin on board; could mean that other senate democrats will follow her lead, and sign onto Senator Johnson’s wolf delisting bill.  Please keep calling your senate representatives and ask them not sign onto any wolf delisting bills or riders. 

And, everyone is awaiting the decision on The USFW had a hearing to challenge a Judge putting wolves back on ESL on U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell in Washington, D.C. Who ruled in 2014 that the removal “was arbitrary and capricious and violated the federal Endangered Species Act.”  That was held on October 18, 2016.  

“Led by the Humane Society of the United States, environmentalists challenged the rule, arguing that FWS couldn’t designate a population segment under the Endangered Species Act just to turn around and remove protections. They also charged that FWS couldn’t show that wolves would be adequately protected from disease and human harm across a “significant portion” of their range without federal protections.” Source: HSUS 

If management of wolves is returned back into the state’s hands things must change about how they manage them. 

Senator Tammy Baldwin said in her statement:

“Delisting the wolf should not mean removing it from the landscape, but restoring a greater balance in rural communities. Many Wisconsinites have deeply felt beliefs about how the wolf population should be managed, and the health of the wolf population is of unique significance to Native American Tribes. I believe those debates deserve thoughtful and careful consideration by state and tribal wildlife experts, following a federal delisting.” Source

Please keep up the “positive” calls to Senator Tammy Baldwin’s office. It’s not to late to change the Senator’s mind about delisting the wolf. 

If the people want the state to manage wolves then there must be full transparency of that process. Wisconsinites must work together in the wolf management process. First things first; The state has a law on the books that calls for a mandatory wolf hunt if they are delisted and this law must be removed. 

2011 Wisconsin Act 169 states: If the wolf is not listed on the federal endangered list and is not listed on the state endangered list, the department shall allow the hunting and trapping of wolves and shall regulate such hunting and trapping as provided in this section and shall implement a wolf management plan. In regulating wolf hunting and trapping, the department may limit the number of wolf hunters and trappers and the number of wolves that may be taken by issuing wolf harvesting licenses.

The Wisconsin public must be fully vested in the process of wolf management.  When wolves were delisted in 2011 the Wisconsin legislature rushed in to create a wolf hunt. It’s no secret that the Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association’s hands were all over the wolf hunt legislation. 

After removing the wolf hunt bill, act 169, Wisconsinites can begin the discussion or debates as to how best to manage wolves. This means listening to scientific evidence and leaving political rhetoric out of the debate on wolf management. We must find ways to live with wolves. A wolf hunt is not a way to manage an endangered species such as the iconic wolf. 

First of all, stay positive & work to keep wolves listed on the Endangered Species Act. Stay in contact with your state and federal representatives. 

Wolves have a positive impact on Wisconsin’s landscape. During the Wisconsin premiere of the award winning documentary “Medicine of the Wolf” Q&A panel discussion panel member Randy Jurewicz answered an audience question about wolf’s impact on CWD, watch the following video:

For how to purchase a copy of the film Medicine of the Wolf click HERE 

 Stay positive & please continue taking action for wolves:

Keep writing letters to the editor, keep calling your state and federal legislators, and call President Obama and ask him to veto extinction and to stop the attacks on the Endangered Species Act. Click here for ways to contact the White House


Featured image by John E Marriott

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