Three more hunting dogs killed in the pursuit of bear…

Hunters began running dogs in pursuit of bear for training on July first. Wildlife Services confirmed that the following dogs were klled in pursuit of bear took place over the weekend: A Plott Hound on 07/29/17 in the Town of Gordon, Douglas County.  A Walker Hound on 07/30/17 in the Town of Drummond, Bayfield County.  A Walker Hound on 07/30/17 in the Town of Round Lake, Sawyer County. Six dogs have been killed in pursuit of bear since the opening of July first training season.  DNR Wolf caution areas states: Hunters are reminded to use the caution-area maps on the DNR website (dnr.wi.gov, keyword “wolf depredation”) to help reduce conflicts.

Hunters using dogs in pursuit of bear in the norths woods of Wisconsin run their hounds right through wolf rendezvous sites (where wolf pups are kept). Wolf pups are only about three months old when hunters begin running their dogs on bear. They run hounds through known wolf caution areas; even though WDNR sends out alerts to avoid those areas. In 1982 Wisconsin started a wolf depredation program. Wolf depredation program pays $2,500.00 per hunting dog. In 2016 thirty-seven bear hunting dogs were killed in the pursuit of bear. Several bear hunters received multiple wolf depredation program payments, and even ones with criminal charges; such as poaching a black bear. More information on this on WODCW’s Blog

The needless deaths of three more hunting dogs comes on the heals of good news for wolves in the Great Lakes Region.

Wolves in the Great Lakes region and Wyoming won another reprieve Tuesday when the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia said the animals must remain under federal Endangered Species Act protection.

The appellate court backed a district court decision that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service still hasn’t shown that it properly followed federal laws when it declared wolves partially “recovered” across just a portion of the animal’s historical range. To read more about this appeals court decision click HERE

Second Hunting Hound Killed in Black Bear Pursuit Training

Eighteen days into the 2-month-long period for training hunting dogs to pursue black bear in northern Wisconsin, the WI DNR confirmed that a Plott hound hunting dog had been killed by wolves in Ashland county, Wisconsin as the bloody dog-on-wolf conflict continues.

From July 1st through the end of August, hounders are allowed to train their dogs to pursue free-roaming wild black bear. The WI DNR posts wolf caution areas when there has been a conflict with wolves on public land. There is an interactive map that allows anyone to see the locations of verified wolf conflicts from 2013 to the present day. Bear hounders are urged by the DNR not to run their hounds through these areas. Yet some hounders, abreast of the latest information, continue to run their dogs through these wolf caution areas.

Caution Area is established to warn hunters or others who may be recreating in an area where conflicts between wolves and a dog or group of dogs have been documented. Individuals accessing these areas are urged to exercise greater caution if they plan to train or hunt wild game with dogs or allow pets to run off leash, especially in areas where multiple conflicts have been documented. From the WI DNR website

Wolves often use the same den sites from year to year. Wolf pups are born in April and are only 2-3 months old when bear-hounding training begins. Wolf pups usually spend most of their days near the den site or a rendezvous area. Wolves are protective of their families and see other canids, coyotes and dogs, as threats to their pups. Running hounds through known wolf den or rendezvous areas needlessly endangers the lives of both the hounds and the wolves.

Wisconsin Wolf Depredation program compensates hounders $2500 if one of their hounds is killed by wolves during the bear hounding training and hunting periods, even if hounders run their dogs in the wolf caution areas posted by the WI DNR. Wisconsin is the only state to compensate hound hunters for their dogs. In 2016, compensation was paid out for 37 bear-hounding dog depredations. A few anti-wolf politicians claim this was due to the increase in Wisconsin’s wolf population, but wildlife biologist, Adrian Wydeven, points out that in 2012, when the wolf population was similar in numbers to 2016, there were only 7 hounding dog depredations.

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. From the WI DNR website

Why the drastic increase in hound depredation payouts in 2016? Perhaps the loosening of regulations regarding bear baiting and hunting. In 2015, Wisconsin eliminated the class B bear license, allowing an unlimited number of residents and non-residents to participate in bear baiting, running hounds on bear, and pursuing bears. Also, hunters can bait bears 6 months out of the year – April 15th through the end of bear-hunting season in the middle of October. No one knows how many hounds are running through the forests or how many bait stations are set out in the north woods.

img_7912

Wisconsin residents, wildlife, and hunting dogs deserve better. It’s time to demand that our politicians practice humane treatment of wildlife using best available science in policy.  It’s even better to remove politicians from making natural resources decisions.

For more information on new research about baiting of Wisconsin’s Black bear go to: Human food subsidies make up more than 40% of the diet of bears in northern Wisconsin

First confirmed hound dog killed in Wisconsin black bear training & hunting season 

Hunters began running dogs in pursuit of bear for training on July first. On Saturday July 15, 2017 Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) confirmed one bear hunting dog killed, and one injured (Plott, male, 5 years; Plott, female, 4 years). WDNR has put out a wolf caution alert in Langlade county Wisconsin.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources creates “wolf caution areas” to warn hunters of a wolf attack on hunting dogs. The purpose of these caution areas is to let hunters know that a specific pack has attacked a dog or group of dogs. It is the department’s experience that once a pack has attacked a dog in a hunting or training situation, there is a high probability another attack will occur again during the same year or within the following year. These attacks will generally be on trailing hounds used to hunt bear, bobcat and coyote, but such attacks rarely occur on dogs in bird-hunting situations. Caution areas are not intended to close areas to hunting or training, but rather to advise hunters to exercise greater caution when hunting within these areas. Greater caution can include, staying closer to dogs, avoid releasing at bait sites recently visited by wolves and avoid releasing dogs at or near the site of an attack.

Hunters using dogs in pursuit of bear in the norths woods of Wisconsin run their hounds right through wolf rendezvous sites (where wolf pups are kept). Wolf pups are only about three months old when hunters begin running their dogs on bear. They run hounds through known wolf caution areas; even though WDNR sends out alerts to avoid those areas. In 1982 Wisconsin started a wolf depredation program. Wolf depredation program pays $2,500.00 per hunting dog. In 2016 thirty-seven bear hunting dogs were killed in the pursuit of bear. Several bear hunters received multiple wolf depredation program payments, and even ones with criminal charges; such as poaching a black bear. Harassment of an endangered species began on July first.

On December 19, 2014 a federal judge returned wolves back on to the Endangered Species Act: U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell in Washington, D.C., ruled that the removal was “arbitrary and capricious” and violated the federal Endangered Species Act.

In her ruling, Howell wrote: “Wolves are the subject of heated disputes, with those on every side of the issue offering heartfelt arguments as to how best to manage this unique species. The last decade of litigation is a testament to those passions.”

Howell said that while the Fish and Wildlife Service and others may have “practical policy reasons” for removing protections for wolves, federal regulations protecting endangered species trump those concerns.

“At times, a court must lean forward from the bench to let an agency know, in no uncertain terms, that enough is enough,” Howell wrote in the decision. “This case is one of those times.”

~~~

Harassment of an endangered species in the north woods of Wisconsin began July first

Hunters using dogs in pursuit of bear in the norths woods of Wisconsin run their hounds right through wolf rendezvous sites (where wolf pups are kept).  Wolf pups are only about three months old when hunters begin running their dogs on bear. They run hounds through known wolf caution areas; even though WDNR sends out alerts to avoid those areas. In 1982 Wisconsin started a wolf depredation program.  Wolf depredation program pays $2,500.00 per hunting dog. In 2016 thirty-seven bear hunting dogs were killed in the pursuit of bear. Several bear hunters received multiple wolf depredation program payments, and even ones with criminal charges; such as poaching a black bear. 

That’s not even the worst of it. 

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. 

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).”  

There’s a decades-old conflict between bear hunters and wolves taking place every year in Wisconsin’s north woods. 

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. 

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.  

Watch the following video by Wisconsin Public Television 2010

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.

In 2017 $99, 400.00 was paid for hounds killed in pursuit of bear, 2016 training & Hunting season, according to the Wisconsin annual wolf damage payment summary. Did the Wisconsin wolf depredation program reimburse bear hunters who knowingly ran their hunting dogs through WDNR wolf caution areas?  

WDNR puts out wolf caution areas:

“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.” 

The following is a spreadsheet of wolf depredation program payouts to bear hunters using dogs in pursuit of bear in 2016:


Harassment is the act or an instance of harassing, or disturbing, pestering, or troubling repeatedly; persecution according to Webster’ dictionary. Let’s add the topic of the harassment being an endangered species, such as; Wisconsin’s wild wolf. 

Considering the decades of conflict between bear hunters and wolves; is this becoming harassment of an endangered species. Isn’t this illegal? 


~~~

Featured image by John E Marriott

~~~

About The Author

Rachel Tilseth is the author and founder of Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin founded 2012 to get the dogs out of the wolf hunt. Tilseth has been involved in Wisconsin’s wolf recovery since the year 1998. Tilseth is an artist, art educator & grandmother living in the north woods of Wisconsin. 

Another hunting dog fatality in the pursuit of bear took place on Saturday July 16, 2016 in Washburn county

This is the fourth fatality since the start of training  dogs on bear.  This latest fatality, was a five year old female Bluetick hound hunting dog killed on Saturday July 16 in Washburn county. 

The first hound hunting dog fatality took place on July fifth in Sawyer county.  Then, on July 9th two more dogs were killed. One dog was killed in Sawyer county, and the other was killed in Douglas county.   These hound hunting dogs are the fourth fatalities as the result of wolves protecting pups at rendezvous sites. Dogs may be trained statewide by pursuing bear in Wisconsin starting on July first resulting in bloody wolf-on-dog-fights

WI DNR wolf caution area is created for hunters that are training dogs on bear to alert them about wolves that are actively protecting a rendezvous site. There is one new wolf caution areas in Washburn county as of today’s date. View Dog depredations by wolves for 2016 (listed by date) on WI DNR website by clicking HERE. 


Wolf pups are born around mid-April and are approximately two and a half months at the time WI bear hunters begin training dogs on bear starting July first. Typically wolves leave their pups at a rendezvous site for safe keeping to be watched over by a babysitter. The pup’s family members keep a close eye on the rendezvous site while off hunting.
Adult wolves are very defensive of pups at rendezvous sites and end up killing dogs that come into contact with pups near rendezvous sites. Dogs run in large free roaming packs up to 6 at a time in pursuit of bear.  

During training on bear hunting dogs wear collars equipped with radio telemetry devices. The dog’s handlers are often miles away from the scene in bear trucks monitoring the hounds with radio telemetry or even satellite GPS training and tracking systems. GPS training and tracking systems may have a range of up to ten miles. 
In 1963 when dogs were first used in the pursuit of bear wolves had been extirpated in the state of Wisconsin. Today there are 222 wolf packs in Wisconsin. 

Handlers that lose dogs to wolves defending their pups can be reimbursed up to $2,500.00 per dead dog. It’s a win win situation for hound hunters that send their dogs in pursuit of bear during training and hunting. *please note: WODCW is not implying that hunters leave thier dogs out for wolves to kill on purpose to collect money. 

Running total thus far to be paid out equalling $10,00 for four dead hound hunting dogs

For more history on this controversy between WI hound hunters and wolves click the following blue highlighted words: Dogs may be trained statewide by pursuing bear in Wisconsin starting on July first resulting in bloody wolf-on-dog-fights
~~~

Featured image: John E Marriott Photography