That’s just a tiny fraction of the cost Wisconsin pays for the sport of running dogs on bear.
Let’s not forget the costs for wildlife; the bear cubs separated from their mothers, foraging black bears are kept on the move, and how about the White-tailed deer forced to protect her fawn from packs of free roaming hunting dogs in pursuit of bear.
During the 2016 Wisconsin bear hunting season 37 hunting dogs were lost in the pursuit of bear. A few Wisconsin legislators claim these deaths were due to the high wolf population of 866 in 2016, but there’s a whole lot more to this story than meets the eye. Adrian Wydeven, former Wisconsin DNR Head Wolf biologist, wrote in a opinion editorial, “Numbers don’t add up in wolf-hound debate” written on November 12, 2016 and suggested that:
“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).” Source
What could be causing the high deaths of hunting hounds?
It’s a mystery as to just how many dogs in pursuit of bear are running through the woods during training & hunting. Why is this a mystery? Because a change in regulations took place that removed the Class B bear training & hunting licence. Because of that change it’s impossible to know; just how many dogs in pursuit of bear are running through the woods. WODCW’s Blog
Dogs may be trained statewide by pursuing bear from July 1 through Aug. 31.
Lisa Makarrall, Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin researcher, obtained the 2016 Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Wolf Depredations Payments list.
The list of wolf depredation payments for 2016, paid out to bear hunters with the same last name, and from Minnesota, read like the following:
On August 12, 2016 $2,500.00 was paid out to a Leon Gall from Pierz, Minnesota for one hound killed by wolves in Bayfield county. (Township 46)
On August 14, 2016, $5,000.00 was paid out to a Marne Gall from Hillmen, Minnesota for two hounds killed by wolves in Bayfield county. (Township 45)
On August 14, 2016 $2,500.00 was paid out to a Leon Gall from Pierz, Minnestos for one hound killed by wolves in Bayfield county. (Township 46)
On August 21, 2016 $2,500.00 was paid out to a Leon Gall from Pierz, Minnestos for one hound killed by wolves in Bayfield county. (Township 45)
Are Marne Gall & Leon Gall related? When you google a Marne Gall she comes up as from a Pierz, Minnesota.
When the sport of pursing bear with dogs began in 1963 wolves were all but eradicated in the state of Wisconsin.
How many more lives will be lost in pursuit of bear before Wisconsin residents say enough is enough.
This conflict between bear hunters and wolves continues in the north woods of Wisconsin, and now has become one of the reasons Wisconsin legislators want to delist wolves.
Wolves are an imperiled species, that are a part of Wisconsin’s wild legacy, and are being pushed to the brink of extinction; by conservation policies that favor a group of fringe hunters. These special interest, fringe hunters take advantage of the current political environment. They cause harm to wildlife by the “loosening” of regulations; they pushed for the removal of the Class B bear training & hunting licence that allowed for an undetermined number of dogs running through wolf habitat. That could definitely be the cause of the 37 bear hunting dog deaths.
The 2016 wolf depredations payments list speaks volumes about the growing conflict between bear hunters using dogs to pursue bear. Every year the WDNR reminds the public:
Dog owners are reminded to exercise caution in wolf occupied areas, especially those using their dogs to hunt. Conflicts between hunting dogs and wolves are most common during the bear training and hunting season. WDNR
More to come…