As a child growing up in the sixties I learned to respect our fellow creatures and to set things right. But…
“The More Things Change, The More They Remain The Same.” ~Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr
Today, where the wild-creatures-live has become a war zone in Wisconsin. And it’s all in the name of sport. Hunter’s dogs run through the woods in pursuit of bear disrupting families; bear cubs are 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. Gray wolves defending their pups kill hunter’s dogs in a never-ending-game.
In 1963 Wisconsin allowed the use of dogs in pursuit of black bears. It’s been an expensive mistake both in the lives of dogs & Wildlife.
There will come a day when the voice of the wilderness is heard no more if we continue down this destructive path. Killing is not conservation, and we cannot ignore the rights of our wild fellow beings any longer. As human populations grow worldwide more & more wilderness is lost.
The Gray wolf is a part of Wisconsin’s wild legacy. Wisconsin’s wolf recovery began in the late 1970s.
In 1963 Wisconsin allowed the use of dogs in pursuit of black bears. It’s been an expensive mistake both in the lives of dogs & Wildlife. Hunter’s are compensated $2,500.00 for each dog killed by wolves during training & hunting with dogs in pursuit of black bear.
Every summer hunters running dogs on Black Bear in the north woods come into conflict with Gray wolves. Gray wolves keep their three month old pups at rendezvous sites while they go hunting. Conflicts arise when bear hunters run their dogs through rendezvous sites because gray wolves are forced to defend vulnerable pups from free ranging packs of hunting dogs.
Bear Hunters and Wolves
In the 1960s Wisconsin started allowing the use of dogs in the pursuit of bear. At that time there were maybe a handfull of wolves in Wisconsin if any. Wolves were not a threat to bear hunters because they were all but wiped out of Wisconsin by the 1960s. It all changed for bear hunters when Wisconsin Wolf recovery began in the late 1970s.
This conflict between bear hunters and wolves isn’t new. Watch the following Wisconsin Public Television piece from 2010.
A Brief History on Wisconsin’s Gray Wolf
In 1967 and 1974 the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service designated the eastern timber wolf a federally endangered species. In 1975, wolves were listed as a state endangered species as they began to recolonize along the Minnesota border. Wolves crossed over into Wisconsin from Minnesota and established territories on their own. Today, Wisconsin’s Gray wolf is listed on the Endangered Species List. Final Rule to Delist – – Due to a Federal court decision, wolves in the western Great Lakes area (including Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin) were relisted under the Endangered Species Act, effective December 19, 2014.
Wisconsin’s Gray Wolf Current Population
The 2017-18 overwinter minimum wolf count is 905-944, a 2.2% decrease from the 2016-17 minimum count of 925-956.
Carrying capacity is an ecological term for the number of a given species that an ecosystem can sustainably support. Socialcarrying capacity, however, refers to the number of a species that people feel is appropriate.
Wisconsin Black Bear Hunters use dogs to track and trail bears. Conflicts arise when a hunter’s dogs run through Gray Wolf’s rendezvous sites where pups are kept. Rendezvous sites are:
Active Season for Rendezvous Sites: mid-May – mid-October
Habitat: Rendezvous sites are generally open areas of grass or sedge adjacent to wetlands. The sites are characterized by extensive matted vegetation, numerous trails, and beds usually at the forest edge. Rendezvous sites are often adjacent to bogs or occur in semi-open stands of mixed conifer-hardwoods adjacent to swamps. Sometimes abandoned beaver ponds are used as rendezvous sites.
Description: Rendezvous sites are the home sites or activity sites used by wolves after the denning period, and prior to the nomadic hunting period of fall and winter. Pups are brought to the rendezvous sites from dens when they are weaned, and remain at rendezvous sites until the pups are old enough to join the pack on their hunting circuits. Rendezvous site may be associated with food sources such as ungulate kills or berry patches. Generally a series of rendezvous sites are used by a specific pack. Rendezvous sites are mostly used from mid-June to late-September, but use may start as early as mid-May and may continue to early or mid-October. Some intermittent use of rendezvous sites may continue into the fall. It appears that the average number of rendezvous sites used by wolf packs is 4-6.
Although den and rendezvous sites each serve separate functions for wolves, they are sometimes used interchangeably. Excavations sometimes occur at rendezvous sites and these may be used as den sites in the future. Sometimes rendezvous sites may represent old den site areas. Therefore, a site used as a rendezvous site one year, could be used as a den site the next year or vice versa. Due to the transient use of rendezvous sites, special protections are not necessary. If recent excavations are observed indicating possible use as a den site, protocols in place for den site protection should be followed. Source
“Most Wisconsin citizens want at least some wolf presence in the state, but those who feel strongly, at either end of the spectrum, drive the argument.” Lisa Naughton, UW-Madison geography professor.
Wisconsin DNR puts out the following when there is a wolf depredation on hunting dogs:
When wolves attack dogs in hunting or training situations on public land, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources will create wolf caution areas to warn hunters that a specific pack has attacked a dog or group of dogs. Bear hunters are urged to exercise greater caution if they plan to train hounds or hunt bear with hounds near any caution area, especially if near an actual kill site. Table 1 contains a summary of the 2018 dog depredations by wolves.
When a wolf depredation takes place on a Bear hunter’s dog he is compensated $2,500.00 per dog. Wisconsin’s wolf depredation program began in 1982, and soon afterwards bear hunters running dogs in pursuit of bear began receiving payouts. The payouts for wolf depredations were paid in the effort to help compensate hunters, livestock owners and residents living in wolf recovery areas.
We must mitigate the decades old conflict between bear hunters and wolves…
In 2015 Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association (WBA) worked at loosening regulations for bear hunters using dogs in pursuit of bear. 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 license. Because of that change it’s impossible to know; just how many dogs in pursuit of bear are running through the woods. It’s all carefully crafted propaganda to make the wolf look bad.
I started working on the Wisconsin wolf recovery program as a volunteer Winter Wolf Tracker in the year 2000. I lost track of how many “no-wolf” bumper stickers were encountered in a day of tracking in the the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest. This conflict between bear Hunters and wolves is decades-old.
It’s time we begin to address the conflict!
There are a few of us beginning to work towards addressing the conflict between bear hunters and Wisconsin’s Gray wolf.
You can help by emailing me at email@example.com for more information.
Then, I can add you to our email updates.
The conflict between bear hunters and wolves has become polarized into opposing factions that polarize any campaign to remedy it. I propose we break through and start to mitigate the conflict.
Contact your Wisconsin State Representative. Wisconsin’s Gray wolf needs your help.
Anti-wolf Politicians in Congress are working to delist wolves in the 48 contiguous States of the United States even going as far as preventing any judicial review of this process. These politicians are undermining the Endangered Species Act itself!
The bill contains language for delisting of Gray wolves in the lower 48 states:
…the Secretary of the Interior shall issue a rule to remove the gray wolf (Canis lupus) in each of the 48 contiguous States of the United States and the District of Columbia from the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife…
The Bill calls for delisting Gray Wolves throughput the 48 contiguous States…
Reissuence of final Rules
SEC. 116. (a) The final rule published on September 10, 2012 (77 Fed. Reg. 55530) that was reinstated on March 3, 2017, by the decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia (No. 14-5300) and fur-
(b) Such issuance (including this section)—
(1) shall not be subject to judicial review; and 63 ther republished on May 1, 2017 (82 Fed. Reg. 20284) that reinstates the removal of Federal protections for the gray wolf in Wyoming under the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.), and this subsection, shall not be subject to judicial review. (b) Before the end of the 60-day period beginning on the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary of the Interior shall reissue the final rule published on December 9 28, 2011 (76 Fed. Reg. 81666), without regard to any other provision of statute or regulation that applies to issuance of such rule. Such reissuance (including this sub-section) shall not be subject to judicial review.
Gray Wolves Range–Wide
SEC. 117. (a) Not later than the end of fiscal year 2019, and except as provided in subsection (b), the Secretary of the Interior shall issue a rule to remove the gray wolf (Canis lupus) in each of the 48 contiguous States of the United States and the District of Columbia from the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife in section 17.11 of title 50, Code of Federal Regulations, without regard to any other provision of statute or regulation that applies to issuance of such rule. 2) shall not affect the inclusion of the subspecies classified as the Mexican gray wolf (Canis lupus baileyi) of the species gray wolf (Canis lupus) in such list.
Here’s what you can do to keep Gray wolves protected under the Endangered Species Act
Contact your members of Congress and make it known that you want Gray wolves in the United States to remain protected under the Endangered Species Act.
Members of the U.S. Congress
◦U.S. Senators—Get contact information for your Senators in the U.S. Senate.
◦U.S. Representatives—Find the website and contact information for your Representative in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Take action today to save Gray wolves!
Featured image: Offspring of Mollie’s pack in Yellowstone Park show respect to their mother and father. DAN STAHLER/Yellowstone National Park
The Farm Bill (H.R. 2, the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018), scheduled to be brought to the House floor next week that has amendments to delist wolves in the Great Lakes region. Amendment number 85:
Representative Dan Newhouse (R-WA) submitted an amendment to remove ESA protections for gray wolves across the continental United States. This would not only place gray wolves in peril, but also undermine the ESA by taking away the decision-making power from scientists, as the law mandates, giving it instead to partisan members of Congress. This amendment also blocks judicial review, meaning that citizens can’t challenge the delisting in court. Shielding agency actions from review by independent federal courts violates citizens’ rights under the ESA and is simply undemocratic. Animal Welfare Institute
The War On Wolves Continues. Wolf advocates we must make our voices heard. By Alex Krevitz, M.A. Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin Science Editor
In recent years state and federal natural resource agencies have targeted grey wolves Canis lupus, for elimination. Scientific organizations and reputable non governmental wildlife organizations have had their peer reviewed scientific research eschewed by policy makers. Individual scientists have had aspersions cast upon their professional legitimacy for questioning wolf management policies.
The purveyors of the anti wolf misinformation have been affiliated with groups associated with extractive industries, agricultural interests and trophy hunting. Their goal has been a mission to depict wolves as wanton killers of deer and livestock. Their interests have been served by legislators whose campaigns they have funded. Cases before the Supreme Court of the U.S. such as Citizens United and Montana Copper Kings have infused those who seek to exploit public land for private gain often at the expense of wildlife with a source of revenue with which to influence policy makers. Fortunately, the judiciary on several occasions have restored protections to wolves. Justices have characterized the fervent and scientifically unfounded war on wolves as “arbitrary” and “irresponsible.”
Historically, over decades, Americans, in polls and on ballot initiatives, have expressed strong support for banning wolf hunting and protecting public lands. Surreptitious attempts by extractive industries and ranchers to devastate these lands for personal gain have met with massive and vocal public opposition and some plans have been stopped or delayed.
Miraculously, persistent communications to legislators by wolf advocates resulted in the species continued protection. Numerous NGOs and grass roots activists update each other and the public on legislative maneuvers and upcoming votes. Countering large well funded and experienced entities determined to remove wolves from Endangered Species protections is an ongoing task. Certain members of Congress with hitherto positive environmental records have capitulated to their well funded cohorts with opposing agendas.
The current Interior Secretary has elevated the trophy hunting and mineral extraction as top priorities of his department. He has faced skepticism and criticism from scientists, the conservation community and the public. Naturalists at all levels have been appalled by this single minded focus on transforming the Interior Department into a safe haven for those intent upon killing trophy animals and exploiting natural resources on public lands as primary objectives.
Once a species had been extirpated there is no return. The cumulative effects of killing, border walls and habitat destruction is terminal.
So the fight goes on to advocate for our wildlife who cannot protest in their own right. To protect our sacrosanct and irreplaceable natural resources; It is imperative that severe exploitation actions be publicized, and that those who advocate for these destruction be held accountable.
We must make our voices heard as individuals through the media, petitions, at public meetings, using our informed communications networks to rally support. We must all vote. America’s natural resources, including wolves, were protected in the past due to public support. It is incumbent upon all of us to provide that same support for wildlife and wildlands now.
Congress’s Fiscal Year 18 spending bill has provisions that will remove ESA protections for gray wolves in the Great Lakes.
In Congress both the House and Senate versions include language that will remove federal Endangered Species Act protections for gray wolves in Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. Further, the provision would bar judicial review of the action. This language overrides a federal appeals court ruling last year that maintained protections for wolves in the western Great Lakes region.
Urgent: action is needed to keep Gray wolves protected.
Urge them to reject these harmful provisions being added in the spending bill, and to keep Gray wolves protected under the ESA.
• There already is plenty of “trophy hunter opportunity” for wolves nearby in Gardiner Basin, Paradise Valley and throughout Montana.
• Wolves in Gardiner basin (and throughout Montana) take very few livestock.
3. We support FWPs review of the ways that they count wolves in Gardiner basin to better reflect the actual resident packs and the numbers of wolves that regularly use this area. If the count inaccurately comes out to 30 resident wolves, as it did in 2016, quotas may be set too high and too many wolves removed.
Current FWP surveys show 12-15 resident wolves in this area, and as territorial animals, they mostlykeep other wolves out. At the proposed total quota of 4, we will kill 25% to 33% of the wolves in Gardiner basin. (FWP claims people may kill up to 29% without harm to the population, but we want to see a far lower percentage–see our point #2.)
Wisconsin’s wild wolf faces delisting threats from politicians & big monied special interests; oil & gas, logging, Big Ag and Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association. They want to hold a trophy wolf hunt. Please contact your members of congress & tell them to say NO to wolf delisting. Use this easy form democracy.io to contact your members of Congress.
Politicians seek to undo 40 years of wolf recovery in Wisconsin. Once these politicians get their way wolves in Wisconsin become a game animal for trophy hunters. Wisconsin is the only state that allows the barbaric practice of wolf hounding.
Watch the following video of Wisconsin’s wild wolf after you write your members of congress #KeepWolvesProtected
This is what it’s all about. They do not have a voice in the human world, so we must be their voice.
If the wolf is to survive, the wolf haters must be outnumbered. They must be outshouted, out financed, and out voted. Their narrow and biased attitude must be outweighed by an attitude based on an understanding of natural processes. ~L. David Mech
We are currently being outshouted, out financed, and out voted. Our politicians care neither; for the wolf advocates nor for the wolf haters, but only for catering to the moneyed-special-interest groups that are financing their elections. They are currently whipping up a frenzy of anti-wolf rhetoric; the wolf-hating crowd is enraged and engaged.
The Gray wolf needs you to fight for him now!
We all have to step up our game, and be more active & more engaged; more compelling. We should make it a habit, that for every time we log onto Facebook, we also make a call, send an email, or write a letter to our politicians. If we have time to “Like” photos, posts, blogs, we also have time to make a phone call to our politicians.
Please be the voice for the Gray wolf…
The wolves need us now more than ever. The anti-wolf sentiment that our politicians are spewing; is at an all-time high. If we don’t act now, there may be no chance for the Wisconsin wolf.
Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI): 202-224-5653
Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI): 202-224-5323
Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI): (202) 225-3365
Rep. Tom Tiffany (R-WI) : (608) 266-2509
Rep. Adam Jarchow (R-WI): (202) 225-3365
Sen. Al Franken (D-MN): 202-224-5641
Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN): 202-224-3244
Sen. Gary Peters (D-MI): 202-224-6221
Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI): 202-224-4822
Photo credit: Jim Brandenburg, “Watching for Deer” available at Siverston Gallery in Minnesota http://bit.ly/2xfCxji
Make the call today! Be the voice for the Gray wolf!
Our politicians are once again using wolves as political pawns and resuming their seemingly relentless assault against them. On Wednesday a House Panel approved a bill funding the Department of Interior and the EPA. This bill contains 2 highly toxic riders which would undermine 40 years of recovery and jeopardize the future of wolves.
The first rider would strip all federal protections of wolves in the Great Lakes region (Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Michigan) and allow trapping and hunting to resume after it was put on hold in 2014 by a federal judge. The rider would also preclude any further judicial review of this overturned court order.
“Our task must be to free ourselves by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty.” -Albert Einstein
The second rider would prevent any money from being spent on federal recovery efforts of wolves in other parts of the country – the Mexican gray wolf in the southwest, the red wolf in North Carolina, and the 2 wolf packs that just resettled in California, to name a few.
We need to make our voices heard and let our politicians know that this bill, along with these anti-wolf riders, is not acceptable. Coexistence, not killing, should be the goal of wolf recovery. Our wolves deserve a better fate than the death sentences our legislators are proposing.
“Animals should not require our permission to live on earth. Animals were given the right to be here long before we arrived.” -Anthony Douglas Williams
Please take a few minutes to call or email your Congressional Representative and US Senators. Links to contact your legislators are here: