A view from a wolf tracker:chasing wolves with dogs will end badly for both species.

In my dozen or so years as a volunteer WI DNR Winter Wolf Tracker, I learned a great deal about wolves. Wolves are territorial predators, social animals living within family packs, that depend on each other for survival. Wolves have a beneficial effect on ecosystems as a keystone predator. Wolves have been off the endangered species list now for over two years, and are being managed by the state of Wisconsin.

Wisconsin is only managing wild wolves as a trophy game animal. Managing the wolf only as a trophy, especially using dogs to hunt them, is an outright waste of natural resources, money, and time previously spent on recovery.

I cite the loss of 23 hound hunting dogs during 2013 bear-hunting training season with reimbursement up to $2,500 per dog.

On July 10, 2014, a Judge ruled that dogs could be trained on wolves and this is concerning. Here is why. Based on what I’ve learned about wolves during tracking:

Training dogs to chase wolves during breeding season in January and February will result in a blood bath. While tracking wolves during the winter breeding season I found wolf scent marking every tenth of a mile, for about a mile. There were multiple wolf tracks on the edge of the packs range. I found obvious signs of a female wolf in estrous near these scent markings. I’m certain if a wolf hound handler sends dogs to chase wolves during breeding season it will end in a blood bath because wolves are very protective of their mates at that time.

These fringe hunters put both wild wolves and hunting dogs in known situations that cause conflict. Should citizens be paying money for this reckless behavior?

Over the next several months the Wolf Advisory Committee, which Wisconsin DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp admitted is stacked with pro-hunter interests) will be writing training rules for dogs to chase wolves.

Stepp has limited citizen input by selecting a committee stacked with pro hunting lobbyists that cater to a minority of extremist fringe hunters.

All citizens have the right to weigh in on this issue, including ethical hunters, hikers, eco-tourists, cyclists, photographers and bird watchers. I ask that Wisconsinites speak out against this practice of chasing wolves with dogs and stop this before it ends in a north woods blood bath.

Rachel Tilseth
Photograph WI Senator Fred Risser and Rachel Tilseth
Another source on this article:
http://thepoliticalenvironment.blogspot.com/2014/07/wi-wolf-hunt-advisory-committee-to-meet.html

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WDNR Wolf Advisory Committee Recommends Training for Wolf Hounding

Wisconsin DNR Wolf Advisory Committee recommended dog training times of the year. I offer this editorial on the WAC.

The majority voted to recommend training dogs to hunt wolves beginning after deer gun hunt season closes through February. One biologist advised against chasing wolves with dogs during breeding season because wolves are very territorial and protective at that time. It’s certain that conflicts between dogs and wolves will occur.

But 3 pro wolf hunt committee members insisted this will not happen. I wonder what fairy tale these 3 “extremist fringe wolf killing” committee members believe in? Because since 1985 almost HALF MiLLION DOLLARS has been paid out for hounds lost to wolves.

The other recommendation was to start the dog training after deer gun hunt season closes sometime in November through January 15 but only three committee members voted for this one and they are pro wolf.

These two recommendations will now go to the Natural Resources Board for final decisions.

WODCW will be working to ban this barbaric practice.

I attended this meeting as a spectator. I saw first hand how Cathy Stepp’s admittedly pro hunter stacked wolf advisory meeting was over run by 3 pro hunt committee members. I cannot decide which of these two examples to compare their behavior to: the housewives of NYC or a class of 6th graders out of control?

I will give a round of applause to whomever had the idea to bring in a meeting facilities moderator with a background as a teacher. This new moderator had her hands full making sure that everyone had a chance to speak up. As in the past this meeting has been dominated by these three pro wolf hunt members.

I am of the opinion that we need to call for Cathy Stepp’s resignation for not effectively carrying out her duties as head of the WDNR. Whether working for the WDNR or not, because no one should ever be treated with such disrespect witnessed at last Tuesdays Wolf Advisory Committee meeting. To Cathy Stepp I ask this question: where are your leadership skills?

Hats off to those Wolf Advisory Committee Members who acted with professional standards through-out this whole process: doing their best to fight for science!
Rachel
#wolfhunt #banwolfhounding
http://www.facebook.com/WolvesOfDouglasCountyWisconsin

Photo credit belongs to WI state Rep Brett Hulsey making an appearance at the meeting and is concerned about this state-sponsored sanctioned dog fighting.

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Featured Writer: Steve Meurett

Steve was one of the outdoor writers in attendance at the Wisconsin Outdoor Communications Convention held at Trees For Tomorrow in Eagle River, WI. I was one of six panelists on the topic of the wolf hunt.

Here’s a little about Steve in his own words. Photography and art has always been a part of my life. I loved to draw and paint as a kid and cameras became one of the new tools for creativity as I grew older. I love this artist statement: “I take pictures of things I think are cool. I think these pictures are cool, I hope the viewer thinks they are cool too. Cool?” Comments are welcome! All rights reserved. Photographer, Skinny skier, Fat tire rider, Teacher, dirt digger and coach. – See more at: http://on-theedge.blogspot.com/2012/06/cunkcunk-wolf.html#sthash.enkZ6w97.dpuf

Here is one of Steve’s pieces on wolves. He had the privilege of going on a wolf monitoring study. Read more..
http://on-theedge.blogspot.com/2012/06/cunkcunk-wolf.html

As always my mission is wolves and to bring WODCW readers more on this topic. Education and awareness are key tools for changing public perceptions about wolves.
http://www.facebook.com/WolvesOfDouglasCountyWisconsin
Rachel
#SpeakForWolves WIWolfHunt #BanWolfHounding

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“Ally of the Grey Wolf”

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