Letter to the editor: We don’t need wolf hunting seasons to control wolf depredation

Source: madison.com

Dear Editor: 

Sen. Tom Tiffany promotes wolf delisting to restart wolf hunting seasons, else “you’re going to see attacks on pets, cattle and hopefully not people.” He warns hunters to “watch out for wolves.”
Like his wolf consultant, bear hounder Laurie Groskopf, Tiffany exaggerates, misleads, and scaremongers.
Listed or delisted, wolves posing threat to humans can be controlled. Wild healthy wolves attacking a human is practically nonexistent. Wolf attacks on pets are rare. Walking pets on leash or keeping them in human presence prevents such attacks.
Finally, most wolves are not causing problems. Wolf attacks on cattle involve “problem” wolves.
Wolf seasons or no wolf seasons, when wolves are delisted and under state management, policy changes: The state can immediately use United States Fish and Wildlife Services and landowner shooting permits to lethally handle problem wolves — those depredating/harassing domestic animals. After delisting in January 2012, that happened.
In 2013, USFWS stated that killing depredating wolves has made “a huge difference” in reducing harassment. Shooting permits and the “In-the-Act” provision, which allows killing depredating wolves immediately, have also been valuable tools. Wolf complaint responses have been adequate and effective.
Adrian Wydeven, past state wolf manager/biologist, said wolves can be managed without public seasons if USFWS and landowners are provided adequate control and flexibility. In his 2012 governor-ordered report, James Kroll recommended managing wolves “to reduce conflicts” rather than at any specific number.
But Tiffany and Groskopf only speak of wolf seasons, aimlessly cutting wolves down until some harsh low number is reached. They do not even acknowledge post-delisting “conflict management” was key to reducing wolf depredation/harassment.

Shirley Clements

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