All posts by Rachel Tilseth

I take the Name Singing Tree from my 3rd great-grandmother Keziah Singing Tree Tebeau a Canadian First American.
I am a educator, fine artist, writer and environmentalist. I live and work in Menomonie. I'm the mother of three grown children and have five precious grandchildren, I earned my Bachelor of Science Degree in Art Education in 1992 from UW-Stout, graduating with cum laude honors. I'm currently working on series of live-streamed broadcasts called People & Wolves Talk Show in both the USA & Italy. I'm in the process of writing a book about White Eyes a wolf of Douglas county, recounting the individual story of the wolves I got to know. I am a member of Wisconsin's Green Fire, and support the educational works of the non profits Timber Wolf Alliance and Timber Wolf Information Network.

The Grey Wolf

Bouncing from one extreme to another…from listed to delisted with no in-between, and the problem is never resolved. Over the last decade wolves have been delisted, trophy hunted, relisted and trophy hunted yet again.

I ask, “Has anything ever been resolved with this endless cycle of relisting to delisting?”

That’s a definite “no.” It’s only been a fighting-fest between these two opposing extremes.

Art work credit: Fubiz

I find myself definitely not on the side of the trophy hunters, and not necessarily on the other side of the national non profit organization/coalition of pushing the trendy #relistwolves movement. At least not for my Wisconsin.


Here’s why: 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 Wisconsin. Their 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 for this solution.

Look out Wisconsin conservative-extremists and fringe hunters! The tribe’s have had enough and are stepping in and asserting their rights!

Living in the Wild: Grey Wolves know every square inch of their territory.

The following story is a testament to just how much wolves pay attention to human activity in their territory.  

A few years back I received a message in my inbox from a couple living in wolf country. The couple had concerns about grey wolves and were looking for advice.

Photograph of a Wisconsin grey wolf. Credit Al Scherwinski Photography LLC

The couple lived in wolf country on a horse farm, and made it clear that they liked living alongside wolves. In fact, they hardly knew wolves were around, that is until recently.

The couple told me something was different with the resident wolf pack. The couple went on to describe this change; instead of remaining out of sight which was the norm for this pack, the couple began seeing the wolves by the horse corral. They went on to describe that the wolves were not only hanging out by the corral, they didn’t run away when they saw the couple. My response was that I would consult with a wolf expert and get right back to them.

I called up Carter Neimeyer, a biologist with decades of experience in grey wolf ecology and behavior. I told Carter about the couple’s concern and his response was for me to ask them, “what’s changed on the farm?”

I got right back to them with Carter’s question and their answer was that they just got a dog. Carter said the wolves were concerned because there’s a new threat in their territory because of the couple’s new dog. Carter recommended that they keep the dog close to them and leashed. Carter also recommended that the couple make a scarecrow and place it by the horse corral.

A biologist once told me that wolves know every square-inch of their territory. It’s just like a family that knows where everything is in their neighborhood. We know where the grocery store is, and we teach children how to avoid dangerous freeway crossings. So why wouldn’t it be the same for a family of grey wolves? By introducing a pet dog into the wolves territory the couple unknowingly added a new threat.

It all turned out for the couple and the resident wolves because they followed Carter’s advice. They worked to mitigate the problem. The couple learned just how much the resident wolf pack paid attention to their activities on the horse farm. Lesson learned! Conflict avoided!

The Six Ojibwe Tribe’s Hearing is This Friday Oct. 29th in Federal Court…

…As Wisconsin’s proposed wolf hunt violates treaty rights.

The tribes, represented by Earthjustice, the nonprofit environmental legal organization, are slated to argue their case about the hunt tomorrow, Friday, Oct. 29, in federal court in the Western District of Wisconsin.

Earthjustice represents the tribal nations Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians, Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians, Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians, the Sokaogon Chippewa Community, and St. Croix Chippewa Indians of Wisconsin.

Six Ojibwe tribes are heading to federal court Friday morning in hopes of stopping a Wisconsin wolf hunt from taking place this fall.

They’re represented by Earthjustice. Senior attorney Christopher Clark said the legal team will argue the proposed hunt is not grounded in sound biological principals and violates the tribes’ treaty rights.

It’s important to note that our claims in federal court are on behalf of tribes who have treaty rights under the United States Constitution. Treaties are the supreme law of the land, and so they trump anything that’s going on with respect to the state law issues that are being litigated in Dane County,” Clark said.

Wisconsin’s fall hunt was slated to kick off Saturday. But it’s already at a standstill after a circuit court judge ruled the DNR must update its management plan, including how it sets harvest quotas.

Clark said the six Ojibwe tribes want to make sure that update happens.

“We are concerned that the injunction that is in place from the Dance County Circuit Court by an appellate court, or during the pendency of an appeal, the state or perhaps or another party could seek and obtain a stay of that injunction, which basically puts the wolf hunt back on,” Clark said.

The attorney said his clients don’t want to see a repeat of the hastily-organized and what critics say was an ill-timed harvest last February. It took place after the wolf was delisted a month earlier by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Sources

This motion is part of the tribes’ lawsuit filed Sept. 21 in the Western District of Wisconsin against the state claiming the proposed hunt violates the tribes’ treaty rights. The Wisconsin Natural Resources Board approved a quota of 300 wolves, ignoring the recommendations of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and willfully acting to nullify the Ojibwe Tribes’ share of wolves which the tribes seek to protect. Even the lower quota of 130 wolves recommended by the Department has no grounding in sound biological principles because, in developing the recommended quota, the Department failed to obtain a population estimate of the Wisconsin wolves that are remaining after a rushed hunt held in February.

During that three-day hunt, non-Indian hunters killed at least 218 wolves, including all of the Ojibwe tribes’ share in violation of the tribes’ treaty rights. Neither the Board nor the Department has made any changes to the management of the hunt to prevent a repeat of February’s disastrous overkill of wolves. Scientists estimate that a third of all wolves in Wisconsin have been killed since federal delisting.

THE FOLLOWING ARE STATEMENTS FROM EARTHJUSTICE AND TRIBAL REPRESENTATIVES FROM THEIR DECLARATIONS FOR THE COURT:

“This case is about Wisconsin’s responsibility to protect and conserve the natural resources we all share,” said Gussie Lord, managing attorney of Earthjustice’s Tribal Partnerships program. “The Ojibwe’s treaty rights guarantee them the ability to coexist with the natural world in the way that they believe is appropriate and necessary to sustain the future generations. Wisconsin does not have exclusive rights here. The state has set the stage for yet another violation of the Ojibwe’s treaty rights and we are asking the Court to step in and prevent that from happening.” Source EarthJustice press release.

“Our treaties represent a way of life for our tribal people. Eroding and disregarding our treaties is unacceptable. We view violations of our treaty rights as hostile actions against our tribal sovereignty and the very lives of tribal people.” – From the declarationof Mike Wiggins, Jr., Chairman, Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa.

“What happens to ma’iingan happens to Anishinaabe. What happens to the wolf happens to humanity. That is universal law. The ecosystem is all connected. That is the message the ma’iingan is giving to humanity.  Look at what we are facing today — the fish are dying, the trees are dying, the climate is changing, the water is drying up.  Look at what is going on with the earth — what is taking place. I believe ma’iingan is saying — pay attention.” – From the declaration of Marvin DeFoe, Tribal Historic Preservation Officer, Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa.

“The wolves are part of the ecosystem. The deer herds in Wisconsin are infected with Chronic Wasting Disease. When the wolves see the herd, they take the weak animals to try to keep the herd strong. We need strong deer herds, we need the body of the waawaashkeshi, to feed our families.” – From the declaration of Robert VanZile, Chairman, Sokaogon Chippewa Community.

“The Ojibwe that hunt, fish and gather, we take and give back. We are supposed to be looking out for the next seven generations. I try to do that by teaching my grandsons to just take what they need to survive. We teach our children this — when we know it is wrong to hunt, we do not hunt. We take a step back and assess the damage. We determine how we can help so we can have the animals, the plants, the fish, for our future.” – From the declaration of John Johnson, Sr., President, Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa.

Interview on PBS of Peter David Regarding Wisconsin’s Upcoming Wolf Hunt set to begin on November 6, 2021

From PBS Wisconsin’s Here & Now Show

Here & Now’ Recap: Peter David…

Here’s what guests on the Oct. 15, 2021 episode had to say about the wolf hunt, …


With Wisconsin’s controversial wolf hunt set to begin in a little more than three weeks, six Chippewa tribes want a federal judge to halt the hunt, explains a wildlife biologist with the Great Lakes Indian Fish & Wildlife Commission. Here & Now reporter Will Kenneally explains.

Peter David
Biologist, Great Lakes Indian Fish & Wildlife Commission

  • Wisconsin’s controversial wolf hunt is scheduled for Nov. 6. Days before the start, though, a federal judge in Madison will consider a lawsuit brought by six Chippewa tribes calling to halt the hunt following an early spring harvest that blew through harvest quotas.
  • Wolves, or ma’iingan, as Ojibwe tribes know them, are sacred, culturally important animals.
  • Hunter Nation, which successfully sued to get the state to conduct the February 2021 wolf hunt, and is threatening new litigation over harvest quota numbers for the November hunt, was invited to join the program, but declined.
  • David: “The February hunt was certainly an unprecedented event compared to wolf hunting in human history. You know, that impact was entirely nested into the heart of the wolf’s breeding season, and so we were far from even understanding the biological impact from what happened in February. And yet we’re proceeding here with another hunt that’s really unconscionable.”
  • David: “It’s understood that the wolf is an animal that the tribe’s fate is intertwined with, and the relationship is really one of a brotherhood. This is literally like coming into your family and killing family members to traditional Ojibwe people. So it’s that raw and it’s that close to home, and you can imagine how this feels to tribal people, especially when the justifications given for this event really don’t hold up to any scientific scrutiny.”
Wisconsin Wild Gray Wolf. Credit Steve Meurett.

Federal judge sets October 29 hearing in Ojibwe tribes’ effort to halt Wisconsin wolf hunt

Wisconsin Tribes Seek Court Order to Stop November Wolf Hunt

October 1, 2021 Six Ojibwe tribes file motion for preliminary injunction against the state

Madison, WI—EarthJustice is back in court today on behalf of six Ojibwe tribes seeking a preliminary injunction to stop Wisconsin from holding a wolf hunt in November. The motion asks the judge to hold a hearing before the planned hunt slated to begin on Nov. 6.

This motion is part of the tribes’ lawsuit filed Sept. 21 in the Western District of Wisconsin against the state claiming the proposed hunt violates the tribes’ treaty rights. The Wisconsin Natural Resources Board approved a quota of 300 wolves, ignoring the recommendations of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and willfully acting to nullify the Ojibwe Tribes’ share of wolves which the tribes seek to protect. Even the lower quota of 130 wolves recommended by the Department has no grounding in sound biological principles because, in developing the recommended quota, the Department failed to obtain a population estimate of the Wisconsin wolves that are remaining after a rushed hunt held in February.

During that three-day hunt, non-Indian hunters killed at least 218 wolves, including all of the Ojibwe tribes’ share in violation of the tribes’ treaty rights. Neither the Board nor the Department has made any changes to the management of the hunt to prevent a repeat of February’s disastrous overkill of wolves. Scientists estimate that a third of all wolves in Wisconsin have been killed since federal delisting.

THE FOLLOWING ARE STATEMENTS FROM EARTHJUSTICE AND TRIBAL REPRESENTATIVES FROM THEIR DECLARATIONS FOR THE COURT:

“This case is about Wisconsin’s responsibility to protect and conserve the natural resources we all share,” said Gussie Lord, managing attorney of Earthjustice’s Tribal Partnerships program. “The Ojibwe’s treaty rights guarantee them the ability to coexist with the natural world in the way that they believe is appropriate and necessary to sustain the future generations. Wisconsin does not have exclusive rights here. The state has set the stage for yet another violation of the Ojibwe’s treaty rights and we are asking the Court to step in and prevent that from happening.”

“Our treaties represent a way of life for our tribal people. Eroding and disregarding our treaties is unacceptable. We view violations of our treaty rights as hostile actions against our tribal sovereignty and the very lives of tribal people.” – From the declarationof Mike Wiggins, Jr., Chairman, Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa.

“What happens to ma’iingan happens to Anishinaabe. What happens to the wolf happens to humanity. That is universal law. The ecosystem is all connected. That is the message the ma’iingan is giving to humanity.  Look at what we are facing today — the fish are dying, the trees are dying, the climate is changing, the water is drying up.  Look at what is going on with the earth — what is taking place. I believe ma’iingan is saying — pay attention.” – From the declaration of Marvin DeFoe, Tribal Historic Preservation Officer, Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa.

“The wolves are part of the ecosystem. The deer herds in Wisconsin are infected with Chronic Wasting Disease. When the wolves see the herd, they take the weak animals to try to keep the herd strong. We need strong deer herds, we need the body of the waawaashkeshi, to feed our families.” – From the declaration of Robert VanZile, Chairman, Sokaogon Chippewa Community.

“The Ojibwe that hunt, fish and gather, we take and give back. We are supposed to be looking out for the next seven generations. I try to do that by teaching my grandsons to just take what they need to survive. We teach our children this — when we know it is wrong to hunt, we do not hunt. We take a step back and assess the damage. We determine how we can help so we can have the animals, the plants, the fish, for our future.” – From the declaration of John Johnson, Sr., President, Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa.

Earthjustice represents the tribal nations Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians, Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians, Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians, the Sokaogon Chippewa Community, and St. Croix Chippewa Indians of Wisconsin.

The Ojibwe word for “wolf” is ma’iingan, for “white-tailed deer” is “waawaashkeshi,” and the word to describe the people of the Great Lakes region connected to this culture is Anishinaabe

Continue reading Federal judge sets October 29 hearing in Ojibwe tribes’ effort to halt Wisconsin wolf hunt

Listen to the recording of Monday Night’s Show: WORT Radio’ Access Hour of Wisconsin’s Thirty-First Wolf Awareness Week Show

Rachel Tilseth, the author of Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin, hosted this week’s Access Hour. She was joined by Alexander Vaeth this past Monday, October 11th at 07:00 PM on WORT Radio’ Access Hour, where they hosted an in-depth conversation about Wisconsin’s Thirty-First Wolf Awareness Week (WAW) with special guests Adrian Wydeven; who led the Wisconsin DNR Wolf Recovery Program from 1990 through 2013, and Peter David; a wildlife biologist with the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission.

In 1990, Wisconsin Governor Tommy Thompson signed the proclamation of Wisconsin Wolf Awareness Week (WAW), a time to celebrate these important animals, by highlighting the threats to their survival, spread the word about what you can do to help wolves stay protected, and help humans learn to live alongside them.

U.S. District Judge scheduled hearing on tribes’ request for a preliminary injunction blocking the fall hunt for Oct. 29.

Photograph credit John E Marriott

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.

U.S. District Judge James Peterson on Friday scheduled a hearing on the tribes’ request for a preliminary injunction blocking the fall hunt for Oct. 29.

The hearing is set just one week before the season is set to begin on Nov. 6.


WORT Radio’ Access Hour Presents: Wisconsin’s Thirty-First Wolf Awareness Week, Monday October 11th, at 7:00 PM

I’m Rachel Tilseth, author of Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin inviting you to join Alexander Vaeth and myself, Monday, October 11th at 07:00 PM on WORT Radio’ Access Hour , where we will be hosting an in-depth conversation about Wisconsin’s Thirty-First Wolf Awareness Week (WAW) with special guests Adrian Wydeven; who led the Wisconsin DNR Wolf Recovery Program from 1990 through 2013, and Peter David; a wildlife biologist with the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission. www.wortfm.org

To commemorate Wolf Awareness Week, the Timber Wolf Alliance creates an annual poster featuring an award-winning artist’s rendering of a wolf or wolves in their natural habitat.

In 1990, Wisconsin Governor Tommy Thompson signed the proclamation of Wisconsin Wolf Awareness Week (WAW), a time to celebrate these important animals, by highlighting the threats to their survival, spread the word about what you can do to help wolves stay protected, and help humans learn to live alongside them.

SPECIAL GUESTS

Adrian grew up in northeast Wisconsin, and has a BS in biology and wildlife management from University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point (1976), and an MS in wildlife ecology from Iowa State University (1979). Photograph courtesy of Adrian Wydeven.

Special Guest Adrian Wydeven grew up in northeast Wisconsin, and has a BS in biology and wildlife management from University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point (1976), and an MS in wildlife ecology from Iowa State University (1979). His master’s research was on the ecology and food habitat of elk in the Wind Cave National Park, SD. He worked as a wildlife manager in Missouri and Wisconsin from 1980-1990. Adrian headed up the state gray wolf recovery and conservation program for Wisconsin from 1990 through 2013, while also working with other rare mammals and wildlife. He retired from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) in 2015 after nearly 33 years. Adrian continues to be actively involved in wolf surveys and conservation through the Timber Wolf Alliance and Wisconsin Green Fire.

Peter David assists GLIFWC’s member tribes in the implementation of their off-reservation, treaty-reserved rights.

WAW is an opportunity to celebrate all we have learned about wolves and their place in the world, especially here in the Midwest. It is also a reminder of how far we have yet to go to educate those who resist an understanding of wolves that science and the traditional ecological knowledge provides.

Peter David

Special guest Peter David is a wildlife biologist with the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission, where he assists GLIFWC’s member tribes in the implementation of their off-reservation, treaty-reserved rights. He received his education (bachelors and masters in Wildlife Ecology) from UW-Madison, and from the tribal elders and members for whom he has worked for the last 35 years. At the Commission, he has had the opportunity to steward resources as varied as wild rice and wolves.

HOSTS

Alexander Vaeth, photograph courtesy of Alexander Vaeth.

Special guest host Alexander Vaeth of People & Wolves Talk Show. Alex is a volunteer wolf tracker with the Wisconsin DNR, and a Spanish teacher by training. He completed his graduate studies in Spanish at Middlebury’s language schools in Vermont, USA, Madrid, Spain, and Buenos Aires, Argentina. He teaches at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, and volunteers as a medical interpreter in the city’s community clinic. Alex spends nearly all his free time in the woods tracking and monitoring wildlife with remote cameras and is also keenly interested in wolf advocacy and research.

Producer & Host Rachel Tilseth is a freelance writer, fine artist, educator, and environmentalist. Tilseth has been a Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Volunteer Winter Wolf Tracker since the year 2000. Tilseth worked with the Wisconsin Wolf Recovery Program as a volunteer since 1998, and as a result learned about the lives of wild gray wolves. Tilseth worked to draw attention to the plight of Gray wolves during the three years Wisconsin held wolf hunts. Rachel is founder and owner of Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin. Tilseth received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Art Education in 1992 from UW-Stout, graduating with cum laude honors.

Timber Wolf Alliance Wisconsin’s Wolf Awareness Week Events

October 19

Drawing Wolves with Artist Sarah Nelson

7:00 pm–8:30 pmOctober 20

The Art and Science of Tracking

9:00 am–10:00 amOctober 20

Drawing Wolves with Artist Sarah Nelson

7:00 pm–8:30 pmOctober 21

Citizen Science, Wolf Conservation, and Coexistence

6:15 pm–8:15 pmOctober 23

Virtual Wolf Ecology Workshop

9:00 am–4:30 pm

Tune in on Monday, October 11th at 07:00 PM on WORT Radio’ Access Hour, where we will be hosting an in-depth conversation about Wisconsin’s Thirty-First Wolf Awareness Week (WAW) with special guests Adrian Wydeven; who led the Wisconsin DNR Wolf Recovery Program from 1990 through 2013, and Peter David; a wildlife biologist with the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission. www.wortfm.org