All posts by Rachel Tilseth

Rachel Tilseth is an educator, fine artist, freelance writer and environmentalist. Rachel has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Art Education in 1992 from UW-Stout, graduating with cum laude honors. Rachel has produced a series of live-streamed broadcasts called People & Wolves Talk Show in both the USA & Italy. learn more https://wolvesofdouglascountywisconsin.com/meet-the-filmmaker/

Wisconsin Conservation Congress Online Voting Begins April 11, 2022 Starting at 07:00 PM

The Wisconsin Conservation Congress (WCC) question #44 is about use of dogs to hunt wolves. Would you support banning the use of dogs from hunting wolves in Wisconsin should wolves get delisted again?

Dogs hunting wolves wasn’t anticipated following wolf delisting in January 2012. Dogs are run through wolf territories despite WDNR alerts, resulting in dogs and wolves getting injured and killed. Hound hunting, (six hunting hounds per wolf) will force harassed wolves to alter their behavior to perceive dogs as a threat when their territories are invaded, often deadly to both species. Exhausted wolves, harassed by hounds for six-months can’t hunt, care for young or protect territory. Wisconsin anticruelty laws prohibit canine fighting. The scientific community majority and hunters agree that dogs hunting wolves is not necessary to have a successful hunt. Hound hunting is proven to be disruptive to wolves causing a dramatic increase in wolf conflicts and wolf depredation/compensation payments that could better be spent on other WDNR conservation efforts. Depredation monies should not be paid for hunting hounds being put at risk. Wolves were relisted as endangered (December 2014). Congress may take legislative action to permanently delist the wolf, returning management to Wisconsin which allows hound hunting of wolves, NOT advised by wolf experts.

The Wisconsin spring hearing questions by the Wisconsin Conservation Congress (WCC) includes a question on the use of dogs to hunt wolves. This is your opportunity to comment on whether you approve the use of dogs for hunting wolves in Wisconsin. Click Here to view the questions.

Click Here to go to the Wisconsin Conservation Congress Annual Spring Meeting, April 11, 2022, to find out how to register to vote.

Citizens will be able to provide input on Wisconsin’s natural resource issues through the 2022 Spring Hearings which will again be online beginning April 11, 2022 (starting at 7:00 pm) and remain open through 7:00 pm on April 14, 2022. Information on the questions being asked, how to participate, and how citizens can introduce a resolution will be posted here as it becomes available. Click Here for more information.

With the Spring Hearings online, elections for delegates will not be held this year, but the WCC is taking applications through March 11 to fill current and future vacancies. Visit the local delegate pagefor more information.

Each year the WCC accepts ideas for possible changes to natural resource policy and regulations through citizen resolutions. The resolutions must be submitted through the online submittal tool and must be received by midnight on March 11, 2022. If you have an idea for change, please follow the directions to submit your resolution.Submit a Citizen Resolution

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The state of wolf recovery in Wisconsin update.

Gray wolves in much of the lower 48 have regained federal protection following a ruling from the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

The most recent wolf population is estimated at 1,126 gray wolves in Wisconsin over the winter wolf count July 2021 WDNR.

The Gray wolf was extirpated from Wisconsin’s forests by the 1950s and had been hunted to near extinction in the Lower fort-eight states by the mid-1900s. As a result, the wolf, was one of the first animals to get protection against most killing, harassing, and habitat destruction under the 1973 Endangered Species Act (ESA). Since then, its limited revival has been one of the success stories of the ESA Act.

Gray wolves began entering Wisconsin through Minnesota, and by the late 1970s, Gray wolves were establishing home territories in Wisconsin. The newly created Wisconsin Wolf Recovery Program began monitoring packs, and soon wolves were establishing territories throughout Wisconsin’s northern & central forests. 

The Wisconsin wolf recovery program hit some significant roadblocks starting in 2011. In 2011 just as gray wolves were about to be delisted, the Wisconsin state legislature rushed to create a law. Wisconsin Act 169 is a law that mandates a wolf hunt when they are not Endangered Species. Wisconsin held three wolf hunts and allowed hunters to run dogs on wolves. Wisconsin is the only state to allow the use of dogs; Wisconsin quite literally throws dogs to wolves. But a federal judge ordered the gray wolf be put back n the ESA in December 2014.

But the Trump Administration delisted gray wolves once again on January 4, 2021. Gray wolves were barely off the ESL when the battle to hunt them began. Hunter Nation, a conservative advocacy group, sued to get a wolf hunt. Under a court order, the Department of Natural Resources was forced to launch a one-week wolf hunt. The department reported that hunters and trappers had killed 52 wolves on the second day, falling nearly 44% of the 119-animal statewide quota. Another 81 wolves are allocated to Ojibwe tribes, for a total of 200 this year. Wolf hunters told other hunters not to register animals right away so that the hunt would stay open. In the end, the wolf hunters not only took their allotted quota but took the tribe’s quota. Hunter Nation, a conservation advocacy group, had won the right to kill an endangered species fresh off the ESL.

The hunt was Controversial for several reasons. In February, opening a wolf hunt disrupted the gray wolf’s breeding season, potentially killing pregnant females and using dogs to hunt wolves. More than anything, this forced wolf hunt proved no one was listening to the scientific community. Opposing forces were dominating the conversation. It was a conversation heard all around the world!

In February 2022, wolves were returned to the ESL in Wisconsin. The DNR is attempting to update the wolf management plan. Trying is the right word because recently, the results of the committee findings were released showing how far apart the committee is in regards to wolf management.

Wisconsin’s Wolf Management Plan Explored

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has begun the work to update wolf Management. Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin’s investigative writer, Manish Bhatt, will be updating readers regarding the DNR wolf Management plan process, the latest wolf progress report, and the Public Attitudes Towards Wolves 2014 Survey.

Upcoming Feature Article & Radio Talk schedules for April 2022

WORT Radio Access Hour Presents Mon April 4 @ 7:00 Pm – 8:00 Pm Rachel Tilseth returns with special guests Adrian Wydeven and Peter David for another informative discussion regarding the new WDNR 2022 Wolf Management Plan that will be presented to the public for review. Wort Radio Access Hour listeners are encouraged to call in with concerns or questions.

Photograph credit John E Marriott

According to large carnivores ecologist, Francisco J. Santiago-Ávila, it’s a good thing that there are people out tracking wolves and it might just discourage the revenge killing of wolves by angry fringe hunters. Why? Because having people out there who have positive attitudes towards wolves just might make a fringe hunter think twice about illegally killing one of Wisconsin’s gray wolves. I’m out there along with other citizen volunteer winter wolf trackers. There’s plenty of other citizens out enjoying the the ski & snowshoe trails as well. I’ve written a story about volunteer citizen winter wolf trackers that will be in the April issue of Silent Sports Magazine. Make sure you grab your issue before heading out on the trails! And if you are interested in participating in the program drop us an email at this website to learn how to register for upcoming workshops.

Our Mission

Ally of the Grey Wolf 

Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin’s mission is to educate so you can advocate. We are an ally of the Grey wolf. We create and promote through media communication (broadcasting, publishing, and the internet) in order to educate the public about the ecology of grey wolves. We share our experiences, our expertise, and our passion for wild grey wolves in Wisconsin, the USA and Italy. We don’t tell you, we inspire you to act by giving you the truth (Science) about wild grey wolves that are struggling to survive worldwide.

We envision a world where coexistence between people & wolves is the “norm”.

We value scientific fact. We are professionals from all walks of life and we respect our Mother Earth because of all that we have been given by her/him. We believe by saving the wolf that we will save the planet. Grey wolves are essential sentient-beings and deserve our respect. 

“We educate so you can advocate.”

Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin was founded in 2012 to stop the barbaric hunt of Wisconsin’s wild grey Wolf. 

Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin is not aligned or allied with any other wolf & wildlife groups in Wisconsin. 

“We are a spirit, we are a natural part of the earth, and all of our ancestors, all of our relations who have gone to the spirit world, they are here with us. That’s power. They will help us. They will help us to see if we are willing to look.” —John Trudell

Wisconsin Wolf News: Secretary Deb Haaland Upholds Treaty Rights

“The law requires that states uphold reserved tribal treaty rights. Therefore, in the case of the Ojibwe Tribes in Wisconsin, the Interior Department formally requested that the state consult and coordinate with the tribes when making wolf management decisions and respect the tribes’ right to conserve rather than kill wolves. We will take similar actions on behalf of other tribes where necessary.” by Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, Secretary of the Interior

The statement by Haaland makes it clear that Wisconsin’s tribes have the right to make decisions regarding wolf Management along with other stakeholders in Wisconsin. Read her full statement here.

“Gray wolves a native species, existing on the landscape have an innate right to exist, and a right to occur within areas of suitable habitat on the landscape. It’s important that we point out the ecological justification for their benefits, but at the same time, they have an innate right to exist. We need to appreciate that and allow them to persist and live on the landscape.” —Adrian Wydeven

Fine art credit Barrettbiggers

“The Return of Wolves: Isle Royal National Park” Predator/Prey Relationship

A Study in How the Predator/Prey Relationship Between Wolves and Moose was Re-Established on Isle Royale National Park

The National Parks of Lake Superior Foundation Link and its collaborative partners have released a new documentary film, “The Return of Wolves: Isle Royale National Park,” a culmination of a four-year, ongoing initiative that studies how the predator/prey relationship between wolves and moose was re-established on Isle Royale National Park. Watch the film.

The corresponding free educational plans in “Lessons from the Wilderness” offer educators in the classroom and homeschool settings the opportunity to teach students about the unique relationship between wolves and moose on Isle Royale National Park and how it alters the ecosystem. This program has lessons for K-12 learners in four age groups, with a curriculum most relevant and appropriate for each grade level. VIEW CURRICULUM

Outdoor Writer Compares: Wisconsin Sporting Freedom Act to a Bag of Stale Air

I’m sharing a post from Patrick Durkin Outdoors because his writing is a breath of fresh air. Durkin proves the written word is mightier than a conservative advocacy group, Hunter Nation, that has been “misguiding” the narrative regarding hunting ethics. He has managed to prey open a door that’s been warped overtime from lack of use. Let’s just name it here; common sense!

Durkin not only brings in fresh air to a “stale air” narrative, but unlocks the door with proven facts. I agree wholeheartedly with him that it’s time to get busy and focus on solutions to CWD, a problem facing Wisconsin’s white-tailed deer population!

I’ve witnessed over the last ten years how groups like Hunter Nation can skew reality to their advantage. This is not just a problem of the opposition, it’s a fast growing concern for all advocates on both sides, because of groups that are controlling the narrative by spreading misinformation to gain followers. We have lost precious ground when it comes to solving problems that affect Wisconsin’s natural resources because of these political tricks. But Durkin has reminded us of how easily we can get off the reality tracks! Read on!

Despite such dismal numbers (CWD), GOP lawmakers are ignoring the mess by distracting everyone with the Wisconsin Sporting Freedom Act. This bag of stale air from the Kansas-based group Hunter Nation doesn’t even mention CWD.” Patrick Durkin Outdoors


Wisconsin Lawmakers: End the Frolic with Hunter Nation, by Patrick Durkin Outdoors

Wisconsin this month fortified its standing as the capital of the world for chronic wasting disease by verifying the plague in wild deer in 38 of the state’s 72 counties.

Yep, Wisconsin now has more counties with CWD in free-ranging deer than it does counties without. We passed the halfway mark Jan. 11 when the Department of Natural Resources reported two adult bucks in Monroe County and one deer in Oconto County tested positive for the always-fatal disease.

We started the 2021 hunting seasons with CWD in 34 counties but made it 35 when the DNR confirmed a sick adult doe Oct. 29 in Fond du Lac County. We then reached the halfway point Dec. 12 when the DNR confirmed a sick yearling (18 months old) buck in Vilas County.

And just think what we’d find if we searched aggressively for CWD. All four newly christened CWD counties found their first cases despite modest sampling efforts. Hunters in Monroe County have provided a respectable 373 samples during the current testing year, but hunters in Oconto provided only 162; Vilas, 161; and Fond du Lac, 105.

The 2021 sampling year ends March 31, but it’s safe to report that 25 Wisconsin counties will end the year with less than 100 samples tested, given the hunt is largely over.

As of Jan.15, Wisconsin has confirmed 9,450 CWD cases since discovering the disease in three deer shot west of Madison in November 2001. The DNR has documented 1,283 cases statewide so far this year after testing 16,165 samples. That’s 8% of all tests, which is similar to 2020’s rate.

CWD sampling declined this past fall, with 2,749 fewer samples (-14.5%) statewide than in 2020 (18,914). Most samples come from the DNR’s southern farmland zone, where sampling fell 22% from 9,382 a year ago to 7,277.

Despite the decline, 1,234 deer (17%) have tested positive so far in that zone, which is 4 percentage points lower than the 2020 total. For perspective, when the DNR tested similar numbers (7,097 deer) in the Southern farmlands in 2010, it found 219 (3%) CWD cases, or 5.6 times fewer doomed deer.

Elsewhere, CWD cases more than doubled from 19 to 39 in central Wisconsin’s farmlands this year, accounting for 40% of the zone’s historical total of 98 cases. In addition, deer baiting is now banned in 58 Wisconsin counties. The 14 counties where the controversial practice remains are Douglas, Bayfield, Ashland, Iron, Sawyer, Rusk, Price, St. Croix, Pierce, Lincoln, Brown, Manitowoc, Kewaunee and Door.

Iowa County again leads the state with 315 cases this year, or 31% of the 1,026 samples provided. Next was Richland, 270 cases (21% positive); Sauk, 222 (25%); Dane, 151 (17%); Grant, 80 (14%); and Columbia, 72 (15%).

Cooperation from hunters remains poor as indifference reigns. In Sauk County, hunters tested only 15% of the 6,002 deer they registered during the 2021 gun, crossbow and archery seasons. Further, Dane County hunters tested 23.5% of 3,833 registered deer; Richland County, 24% of 5,228; Iowa County, 28% of 3,607; Grant County, 0.09% of 6,176; and Columbia County, 0.08% of 6,007.

A soon-to-be released DNR survey from 2019 also found that 70% of Wisconsin hunters have never submitted a deer for CWD testing. The survey also found that 33% of hunters who get their deer tested don’t wait for results before eating it.

Despite such dismal numbers, GOP lawmakers are ignoring the mess by distracting everyone with the Wisconsin Sporting Freedom Act. This bag of stale air from the Kansas-based group Hunter Nation doesn’t even mention CWD.

We pause here to ask, “Sporting Freedom Act”? What is that? Do politicians think they can just insert “freedom” in a bill’s title, and we’ll snap to attention and salute? As silly as “freedom fries” sounded in February 2003, at least the word choice made sense. You’ll recall folks were mad at France for not supporting the war in Iraq, and urged restaurants to purge “French” from their menus.

Again I ask: Sporting Freedom Act? Freedom from what? Science? Biology? A future for deer hunting in Wisconsin?

If you think that’s harsh, explain how mandating the annual raising and releasing of 200,000 pheasants and 100,000 brook trout is relevant to liberty and freedom, or wise fish and wildlife management?

And how about the act’s “turkey hunting simplification” bill? Luke Hilgemann, CEO/president of Hunter Nation, recently wrote that our current spring turkey season confuses Wisconsin hunters. Really? Name someone who’s puzzled. True, our current season of six weeklong hunting periods might baffle your average lobbyist, state senator, assembly-creature, and Gov. Scott Walker’s four appointees to the Natural Resources Board. But Wisconsin’s spring season wins praise from 70% to 80% of turkey hunters surveyed annually.

Another bill in the “Freedom Act” infuriates many retired conservation wardens and the Wisconsin Hunter Education Instructor Association. The Mentored Hunt Bill (SB-611 and AB-670) would allow beginning hunters to earn their hunter-education certificate by simply taking an online course and then going afield with a licensed adult hunter, not a certified instructor.

Yes, that shortcut was allowed the past year because of COVID-19, and it sounded OK the first time I read it, but I was wrong. It doesn’t deserve our Legislature’s permanent blessing.

Hilgemann also recently wrote: “Hunting … in Wisconsin is a sacred tradition (and the Freedom Act sends) a strong message about our heritage and way of life. Not only does the Wisconsin Sporting Freedom Act reform rules for hunters and anglers, it helps ensure that future generations still have access to the resources that help these sacred traditions thrive through proactive resource management.”

Huh? You’ll find more substance in a bag of cheetos. Hunter Nation and its GOP backers insult Wisconsin’s hunting heritage by ignoring all the work of recent decades that made hunting so safe.

The WHEIA notes that conservation wardens annually investigated 174 hunting accidents, including 17 deaths, from 1956 to 1966 in Wisconsin. The state’s hunter education program began in 1967. Since then, over 17,000 volunteer instructors helped reduce those numbers to an annual average of 21 accidents and 1.8 deaths.

Y’know, we don’t need Hunter Nation messing with our programs. It’s time GOP lawmakers stop frolicking with these amateurs and get serious about addressing CWD and other obvious challenges to our natural resources.

That won’t happen, however, if hunters, anglers and trappers don’t hold lawmakers accountable with emails, letters, phone calls and votes.

Hunter Nation exposed this Legislature’s scarcity of thinkers and leaders. They must be told what to do.


Graphic Design “Ally of the Grey Wolf” by Rachel Tilseth

Movie Review: “The Wolf and the Lion”

The Wolf and the Lion” in theaters February 4, 2022.

A wolf pup and a lost lion cub are rescued by a girl in the heart of the Canadian wilderness. Their friendship will change their lives forever.

Film plot: A headstrong music student from New York who attends her grandfather’s funeral on a remote Canadian island and unexpectedly discovers a lost lion cub who had been destined for the Vancouver circus, before also rescuing an endangered, female wolf who is being pursued by researchers. At Alma’s cabin, the wolf gives birth to a single cub, Mozart, who immediately bonds with the rescued lion cub, Dreamer. The wolf mother is soon captured and Alma is left to tend to the babies. But their world soon collapses as Mozart and Dreamer are captured and separated, and must embark on a treacherous journey to be reunited as Alma also searches for them.

Staring Molly Kunz and Graham Greene

Release date: February 4, 2022 (USA), Director: Gilles de Maistre, Producers: Gilles de Maistre, Jacques Perrin, Catherine Camborde, Valentine Perrin, Claude Léger, Jonathan Vanger, Nicolas Elghozi, Sylvain Proulx, Screenplay: Gilles de Maistre, Prune de Maistre, Story by: Gilles de Maistre, Prune de Maistre

Animal Stars trained at Instinct, Animals For Film

An Unlikely Friendship. An Incredible Adventure.

“The Wolf and the Lion is a glimmer of hope! I’m looking forward to seeing this film because it’s been a rough year for America’s wild grey wolf and those allies that fight passionately for them.” Rachel Tilseth, author at Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin

“Everyone in the world needs in these dark times a dream of hope, a fairy tale that brings light back into the hearts of those who care for wild animals and Nature. We hope to see the film soon in Italy too!” Brunella Pernigotti, author at Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin

This film could not come at a better time. Stories like these serve to remind us of our shared existence which is at once a responsibility and a privilege. No doubt, the Wolf and the Lion will bring some much needed hope to us all! —
Manish N. Bhatt, Esq., author at Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin

Talk Show di persone e lupi: Sulle tracce del Canis lupus-Italicus

Live in Italy. Brunella Pernigotti ha condotto un altro incontro che ha potuto fornirci ottime informazioni. Siamo tornati “Sulle tracce del Canis lupus-Italicus” con i nostri amici e graditi ospiti Luca Giunti, guardiaparco dell’Ente di Gestione delle Aree Protette delle Alpi Cozie in Piemonte; Antonio Iannibelli, fotografo, appassionato divulgatore di lupi e Guardia Ecologica Volontaria di Bologna; Silvia Bonomi, allevatrice di pecore Sopravissane, residente ad Ussita nel cuore del territorio dei lupi dei Monti Sibillini. Con loro abbiamo cercato di capire quali soluzioni possono essere adottate dagli uomini, per mantenere una sana e serena convivenza con i lupi, predatori fondamentali per l’equilibrio naturale dell’ambiente. Producer Rachel Tilseth at http://www.wolvesofdouglascounywisconsin.com

Luca Giunti

Laureato in Scienze Naturali con una tesi magistrale sul ritorno del lupo sulle Alpi piemontesi, risiede a Susa dal 1987 dove lavora come Guardaparco per l’Ente di gestione delle Aree protette delle Alpi Cozie.  Collabora con l’Università di Torino, tiene corsi di fotografia naturalistica, lezioni sulla ricerca naturale ed ecologica, e sulle Valutazioni di Impatto Ambientale. Ha pubblicato, assieme ad altri autori, articoli scientifici su riviste nazionali e internazionali, e alcuni libri, soprattutto fotografici. Inoltre nel 2021 ha pubblicato il libro: Le conseguenze del ritorno – Storie, ricerche, pericoli e immaginario del lupo in Italia – Edizioni Alegre.

Antonio Iannibelli

E’ nato e ha vissuto nel cuore del Parco Nazionale del Pollino fino alla prima adolescenza, maturando un grande amore per la natura e per gli animali e creando le basi di una conoscenza profonda della fauna appenninica, in particolare del lupo (Canis Lupus Italicus), di cui è un divulgatore appassionato. Ha fondato l’Associazione culturale “Provediemozioni.it” che si occupa di fotografia ed educazione ambientale.
Attraverso il network nazionale “Italian Wild Wolf” (italianwildwolf.com) ha dato voce ai tanti volontari, appassionati e studiosi di lupo. Ha ideato nel 2008 l’evento biennale di divulgazione sul ruolo naturale del lupo, la “Festa del lupo”. Nel libro “Un cuore tra i lupi”, autoprodotto, ha descritto come nasce il suo amore per la natura e per i lupi. Dedica buona parte del suo tempo libero ad attività di volontariato a difesa dell’ambiente e della biodiversità come Guardia Ecologica Volontaria, GEV Bologna.

Silvia Bonomi

Allevatrice di pecore di razza Sopravissana, residente ad Ussita (Mc), paesino dell’entroterra Marchigiano, nel cuore del territorio dei lupi dei Monti Sibillini. La sua azienda era nata ufficialmente nel Maggio 2016, dopo anni di allevamento amatoriale che aveva consentito un recupero capillare dei rari e pregiati animali, ma dopo soli cinque mesi di fervente attività, a seguito dei tragici eventi sismici, l’attività dovette subire una pesantissima battuta d’arresto. Silvia e il suo compagno Riccardo, però, non si sono mai arresi e, dopo innumerevoli difficoltà, ora vantano una ben avviata impresa locale di allevamento e vendita di capi ovini di razza Sopravissana, iscritti al Registro Anagrafico, con Programma di Conservazione su un piccolo numero di capi. Sul loro sito leggiamo le attività che portano avanti con coraggio e determinazione: Allevamento di biodiversità locali – Riproduttori Razza Sopravissana – Riproduttori Cani custodi del gregge – Vendita di animali per l’aumento numerico – Vendita della lana Sopravissana. (https://sopravissanadeisibillini.it)

Brunella Pernigotti

Brunella loves wolves, nature in general. Even if She’s not a biologist, Brunella is improving her knowledge of wolves and their problems to survive in Italy, she devotes herself to the protection of the environment and of the endangered species.

Brunella lives in Turin, Italy. She is a teacher, a writer and a photographer. She published a novel and a book of tales and have to to her credit about ten one-man exhibitions of photos. She is a member of the board of a no-profit association of Turin, “Tribù del Badnightcafè”, that organizes cultural and artistic events. She created a group of volunteers to help women who are victim of domestic violence.

Children’s Literature: Strange Beasts Find Common Ground

…Can adults do the same? This is one of my favorite children’s books.  I believe adults could benefit from reading this book.  Many adults have forgotten how to get along with others they disagree with because “they only see it their way.”

A tale of Two Beasts by Fiona Robertson is a book that that teaches children about different perspectives. It is broken into two chapters. The first one tells the story from the perspective of the girl, who when walking home through the “deep dark woods,” spies a strange little beast and “rescues”  him. She takes him him, wraps him in a scarf, gives him a bath, and shows him to her friends but despite all her good care, he runs away. Chapter two tells the same story but this time from the “strange beast’s” perspective. He tells us how he was swinging happily on a branch when all of a sudden he is “ambushed by a terrible beast” who ties him up, carries him to her secret lair, makes him disgustingly clean, and shows him off to a “herd of even wilder beasts. Each of the two stories close with either the girl or the animal realizing that perhaps the other person isn’t such a terrible beast after all and that perhaps they misread each other.

About the Author

Fiona Roberton was born in Oxford and studied art and design in London and New York. She has lived and worked all over the world and is currently based in London. Fiona’s debut picture book Cuckoo won the International Reading Association’s Children’s Book Award. She is the creator of the bestselling  “A Tale of Two Beasts”, which has sold over 220,000 copies around the world.

This past year has been quite the whirlwind for Wisconsin’s grey Wolf!

Wolves were delisted in January 2021 and the fight began. Fringe hunters wanted their trophy wolf! And in February 2021 they got their trophy wolf hunt because a conservative advocacy group filed a lawsuit and won. In February the hunters went over there quota causing a firestorm of controversy.

A Douglas County wolf. Credit Snapshot Wisconsin .

February 2021 wolf hunt went over quota taking the tribe’s portion plus more. A total of 218 wolves were harvested by state license holders. Of the 218 wolves harvested, hunting accounted for 208 wolves (95% of total take) while trapping accounted for 10 wolves 3(5% of total take). Of the 208 wolves taken by hunters, 188 (86%) were taken with the aid of trailing hounds, 16 (7%) were taken with the aid of predator calls and 4 (2%) were taken by stand/still hunting. Of the 10 taken by trappers, 7 (3%) were taken with foothold traps and 3 (2%) were taken with cable restraints WDNR Data

Of the 208 wolves taken by hunters, 188 (86%) were taken with the aid of trailing hounds. WDNR February 2021 Wolf Hunting Data. Photograph credit Wisconsin Wolf Hunting’s Facebook page.

Six Chippewa tribes filed a lawsuit on Sept. 21 seeking to block the hunt, saying hunters killed too many wolves during the state’s February season and kill quotas from the fall hunt aren’t grounded in science.

I think the Six Ojibwa Tribe’s Lawsuit has the strongest case yet to settle the never ending argument regarding how wolves are managed in the state of Wisconsin. The tribe’s lawsuit actually has solutions that can work and it is all about the tribe’s partnership with their brother, the “wolf”! They have lived in partnership for centuries with grey wolves, and they understand that the wolf belongs on the land where he is needed; working in harmony with nature, and the creator. And they do not want their brother hunted for a trophy. They want their treaty rights! And I’m definitely for this solution!

The tribes are represented by the California-based environmental group Earthjustice. The Ojibwa’s case took an unusual turn due to a preliminary injunction all ready in place on the wolf season handed out Oct. 22 in a similar case by a Dane County judge. With the season already effectively blocked, judge Peterson said he wasn’t able to issue relief. But he heard arguments and testimony over 7 hours Friday. I have no doubt that the tribe’s injunction would of been granted but for another lawsuit that was granted first.

Traditionally the first week of December is when wolf hunters are allowed to use dogs to track and trail grey wolves. Wisconsin is the only state that allows wolf hunters to use dogs because of a law, 2011 Wisconsin Act 169 that was enacted during the Walker administration. But a Dane County Circuit Court Judge issued a temporary injunction Friday halting the season, which was set to begin Nov. 6.

The following is my opinion editorial that I wrote in August 2021.

NRB POLITICS THREATENS WOLF RECOVERY.

Laid out before me was the skeleton remains of a White-tailed deer: clear signs of a wolf kill site. The ribs were facing up-right, the hide was in a tight bundle beside the remains, and the fur lay on the ground in a circle all around the remains. I felt a great deal of respect for both the deer and the wolf. This was part of nature’s plan, part of the predator and prey dynamics. I came upon the site in the year 2003 while scouting my wolf tracking block, and those memories remind me of my time spent observing wolf signs during Wisconsin’s wolf recovery program. 

When I became a volunteer Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Winter wolf tracker in the year 2000, there were just 66 wolf packs. I was assigned a wolf tracking block in Douglas County, Wisconsin. The gray wolf population flourished while under the protection of the Endangered Species Act. Thirty years after Wisconsin began its wolf recovery program, I witnessed it disappear altogether. Wolf recovery went from zero to sixty, resulting in three consecutive wolf hunts, mandated by the conservative controlled state legislature.

The most unfortunate aspect of this process was the loss of public education & input: the conservative party controlled wolf management. And, to top it off, anti-wolf fringe hunters also came to dominate politics. They pushed misinformation instead of science. They began campaigns full of political rhetoric designed to scare the public. The propaganda by anti-wolf politicians & fringe hunters were claiming wolves are killing all the deer, and the people in the northwoods don’t want them in their backyards. 

Today I’m reminded of these same political dynamics that surrounded gray wolf management in Wisconsin back then. I debated writing about the recent events surrounding wolf management in Wisconsin because I felt drained by the drama of it all. It’s just more of the same, just a different day, different year and different decade with politics that surrounds the wolf. It’s more about people than wolves because people drive the politics. 

Take for instance the recent August 11, 2021 meeting of the Natural Resources Board (NRB). The chair, Dr. Prehn (R), wants a wolf hunt so bad that he refuses to relinquish his seat to Governor Ever’s (D) appointee Sandy Naas and it’s made headlines all over the world.

The Natural Resources Board chair Dr. Prehn (R).

At the NRB meeting, chair Prehn and four other board members went against the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) scientific recommendations of a wolf quota of 130 and voted to up it to 300. They also voted that the DNR must get approval from the NRB if they change the 300 quota number. That move puts conservatives in the majority to control wolf hunting in November 2021. 

For the most part, it’s interesting to add for public information that many are the same players from the past decade.  The same party holds majority power, and refuses to hear any scientific evidence, just as before during the prior three wolf hunts. These same tactics led to the gray wolf being relisted. A Federal Judge ordered that endangered species protection be restored immediately in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan on December 19, 2014. 


I’m witnessing the same political ploys being carried over to today’s NRB.  In the past, the wolf advisory meetings that were run under then DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp (R) were chalked full of dirty politics and it’s no different today. It was as hard to watch then as today. Because the same anti-wolf propaganda is being carried on in today’s wolf management. Just like back then, the anti-wolf crowd would have you believe everyone living in wolf country doesn’t want them there. 

Meanwhile, I don’t believe the anti-wolf’s argument that all the people living in wolf territory want them gone or hunted down to a population of 350.

Based on my experience, not everyone in wolf country hates & fears wolves. I track wolves in Douglas Ccounty, Wisconsin. In 2004 I needed a plot map for tracking and went over to the Douglas County forestry office to purchase one. While I was standing by the counter, in the office waiting for someone to wait on me, I looked up to see several pictures hanging above the counter of wolf puppies.

Douglas County Forest Office in Solon Springs, Wisconsin

In conclusion, in a DNR Public Attitudes Towards Wolves Survey taken in 2014, Douglas County has the highest density of wolves and people, with 56% of the citizens wanting to live with wolves. Interestingly enough, Douglas County has the oldest populations of wolves and the most tolerant people, showing that Wisconsinites can coexist with wolves. 

Therefore, I encourage Wisconsinites to get involved in the wolf management plan that is in the process of being written.

Listen on SoundCloud as Adrian and Peter discuss the following questions. Why did the State Circuit Court pass an injunction on the Wisconsin wolf hunting and trapping season? What decision did the federal court make in the case by Earthjustice on behalf of the Ojibwe Tribes? Do these two court cases eliminate the possibility of any wolf hunting and trapping season occurring this fall or winter? What is the current wolf population and how does this compare to 10, 20, and 30 years ago? Does it appear that the wolf population is still growing rapidly or starting to stabilize? How does the DNR count wolves? What current regulations on use of dogs for hunting wolves exist for Wisconsin, and will this change with a new wolf plan? What efforts are being made to update the state wolf conservation and management plan? Will the wolf plan make any major changes in wolf hunting and trapping regulations in Wisconsin?

Happy “Howlng” Season!

Over here at Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin we are wishing you a season full of love, Peace & Joy!

I met John Trudell back in 1989 while working as an activist to “Protect the Earth ” Pow Wow that was held on the Lac Courte Oreille reservation and his message is even more relevant today!

“We are a spirit, we are a natural part of the earth, and all of our ancestors, all of our relations who have gone to the spirit world, they are here with us. That’s power. They will help us. They will help us to see if we are willing to look.” —John Trudell

Peace, Love & Joy! —Rachel & Brunella