One Minnesota bear hunting party, five hounds, at a reimbursement cost of $12,500.00

That’s just a tiny fraction of the cost Wisconsin pays for the sport of running dogs on bear.

Let’s not forget the costs for wildlife; the bear cubs 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.

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).” Source

What could be causing the high deaths of hunting hounds? 

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 licence. Because of that change it’s impossible to know; just how many dogs in pursuit of bear are running through the woods. WODCW’s Blog

Dogs may be trained statewide by pursuing bear from July 1 through Aug. 31. 

Lisa Makarrall, Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin researcher, obtained the 2016 Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Wolf Depredations Payments list. 

The list of wolf depredation payments for 2016, paid out to bear hunters with the same last name, and from Minnesota, read like the following:

On August 12, 2016 $2,500.00 was paid out to a Leon Gall from Pierz, Minnesota for one hound killed by wolves in Bayfield county. (Township 46)

On August 14, 2016, $5,000.00 was paid out to a Marne Gall from Hillmen, Minnesota for two hounds killed by wolves in Bayfield county.  (Township 45)

On August 14, 2016 $2,500.00 was paid out to a Leon Gall from Pierz, Minnestos for one hound killed by wolves in Bayfield county. (Township 46)

On August 21, 2016 $2,500.00 was paid out to a Leon Gall from Pierz, Minnestos for one hound killed by wolves in Bayfield county.  (Township 45)

Are Marne Gall & Leon Gall related?  When you google a Marne Gall she comes up as from a Pierz, Minnesota.  

When the sport of pursing bear with dogs began in 1963 wolves were all but eradicated in the state of Wisconsin. 

How many more lives will be lost in pursuit of bear before Wisconsin residents say enough is enough. 

This conflict between bear hunters and wolves continues in the north woods of Wisconsin, and now has become one of the reasons Wisconsin legislators want to delist wolves. 

Wolves are an imperiled species, that are a part of Wisconsin’s wild legacy, and are being pushed to the brink of extinction; by conservation policies that favor a group of fringe hunters. These special interest, fringe hunters take advantage of the current political environment. They cause harm to wildlife by the “loosening” of regulations; they pushed for the removal of the Class B bear training & hunting licence that allowed for an undetermined number of dogs running through wolf habitat. That could definitely be the cause of the 37 bear hunting dog deaths. 

The 2016 wolf depredations payments list speaks volumes about the growing conflict between bear hunters using dogs to pursue bear. Every year the WDNR reminds the public:

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. WDNR

More to come…

~~~

Wisconsin’s citizens want to resolve the “decades-old” conflict between bear hounders and wolves through the legislative process 

Many animals are harmed (through suffering and killing) to serve human interests and values without due consideration of other animals’ interests and intrinsic value.  ~Compassionate Conservation 

Wisconsin can no longer afford to go back, back to the old way of thinking;  the killing of wildlife in order to conserve them. For example; Wisconsin spent decades on wolf recovery, recovery of an imperiled species that was hunted to near extinction; then in a shocking twist, the state of Wisconsin legislature mandated a trophy hunt of wolves fresh off the Endangered Species List; 

If the wolf is not listed on the federal endangered list and is not listed on the state endangered list, the department shall allow the hunting and trapping of wolves and shall regulate such hunting and trapping as provided in this section and shall implement a wolf management plan. In regulating wolf hunting and trapping, the department may limit the number of wolf hunters and trappers and the number of wolves that may be taken by issuing wolf harvesting licenses. 2011 Wisconsin Act 169, wolf hunt.

Compassion for animals should be fundamental for conservation because poor conservation outcomes are often consistent with the mistreatment of animals. ~Marc Bekoff

During the 2016 Wisconsin bear hunting season 37 hunting dogs were lost in the pursuit of bear. But instead of looking at current conservation policies; wolves, that were defending their pups against free ranging hunting dogs in the pursuit of bear were wrongly being scapegoated. 

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 licence. Because of that change it’s impossible to know; just how many dogs in pursuit of bear are running through the woods. 

Wolf pups are born around mid-April and are approximately two and a half months at the time Wisconsin bear hunters begin training dogs on bear starting on 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. WODCW Blog

However, there is a lack of regulations with bear hunting & training and it has led to a conflict between wolves and bear hunters. Once the training & hunting class B license was removed, that change allowed for an undetermined number of dogs running through wolf habitat. That could definitely be the cause of the 37 bear hunting dog deaths. 


Wolves that were defending their pups against free ranging hunting dogs in the pursuit of bear are targeted by special interests instead of the real problem; that being,  conservation policy favoring the killing of one species to save another, for the benefit of sport hunting. 

For decades there has been a conflict between bear hunters and wolves in the north woods of Wisconsin, and now that conflict has become one of the reasons Wisconsin legislators want to delist wolves. Watch the following Wisconsin Public Television show from the year 2010.

Wolves are an imperiled species, that are a part of Wisconsin’s wild legacy, and are being pushed to the brink of extinction by conservation policies that favor a group of fringe hunters. These special interest, fringe hunters take advantage of the current political environment.  They cause harm to wildlife by the “loosening” of regulations; they pushed for the removal of the Class B bear training & hunting licence that allowed for an undetermined number of dogs running through wolf habitat. That could definitely be the cause of the 37 bear hunting dog deaths. 

Therefore; the legislative process will move forward; to remove the use of dogs to hunt wolves (when wolves are taken off ESL this is one of the methods used to hunt them in Wisconsin), runnng dogs on bear is causing conflict between bear hounders, wolves and northern residents.

The following is a Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin Wolf Hounding Fact Sheet:


 Out of all the states that hunt wolves, only Wisconsin allows hound hunters to use unleashed packs of dogs to hunt wolves. Wisconsin, quite literally, throws “dogs to the wolves.”Hound hunters traditionally train their dogs to focus on specific prey by releasing their dogs to surround, attack and terrorize a prey animal (e.g. a bear cub or fox) for hours on end (up to 16 hours/day) enclosed in a small, open barrel or “roll cage.” At this point it remains disturbingly unclear as to how hound hunters will train their dogs to pursue wolves instead of other animals—will it be by capturing wolves and allowing their dogs to attack them in barrels and pens? How isn’t this worse than illegal dog fighting?
 “There has never been a more important time for the people of Wisconsin to show they are not going to give in to a small group of people that want to torture animals for fun under the guise of “sport.”  WODCW Blog 


Here’s how you can help;

Contact at wolvesdouglasco@gmail.com 

Please contact us if you have filed written complaints with your local law enforcement concerning issues with bear hounders.

With a guiding principle of ‘first do no harm’, compassionate conservation offers a bold, virtuous, inclusive, and forward-looking framework that provides a meeting place for different perspectives and agendas to discuss and solve issues of human-animal conflict when sharing space. Source 

*Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin is made up of concerned citizens who volunteer their time to make changes for the betterment of Wisconsin’s wolves and wildlife. WODCW is all volunteer and is not a non profit. 

Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin does not partner with or align with the ideas or actions of Wolf Patrol, Friends of the Wisconsin Wolf or Wisconsin Wolf Front. 



It’s all carefully crafted propaganda to make the wolf look bad.

As with any cause, a biased or misleading view can be used to promote, to publicize a particular political cause or point of view.  Here we have several anti-wolf politicians making claims to distort the public’ veiw of wolves; wolves are decimating the White-tailed deer herds, attacking livestock and killing hunting dogs.  Let’s set the record straight; wolves do hunt White-tailed deer, have killed some some livestock and did kill 37 bear hunting dogs.  But in reality; is there a big-bad-wolf here? Let’s get the facts before we sanction the killing of an endangered species. 

There are currently two bills in congress that call to delist the wolf in four states, S. 164 (Senate) introduced on 01/17/2017 by Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) and H.R. 424 (House of Representatives) introduced on 01/10/2017 by Representative Collin C. Peterson (D-MN) 

In congress Representative Sean Duffy (R-WI) is proposing legislation to delist the wolf in Wisconsin and three other states. Two Wisconsin state legislators are pushing for delisting in order to return wolf management back to Wisconsin as well. Read on:

“A joint statement from state Sen. Tom Tiffany, R-Hazelhurst, and state Rep. Adam Jarchow, R-Balsam Lake, said, “The overpopulation of gray wolves on Wisconsin’s landscape is harming farmers, hunters and residents of rural Wisconsin.  Last August, the state Department of Natural Resources said a record number of hunting dogs had already been killed by wolves for the year. As of the close of Wisconsin’s bear season in October, at least 40 hunting dogs were confirmed killed by wolves, far exceeding the previous record of 23. Source

Let’s check the facts.

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).” Source

What could be causing the high deaths of hunting hounds? 

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 licence. Because of that change it’s impossible to know; just how many dogs in pursuit of bear are running through the woods. 

Wolves are defending their pups against free ranging hunting dogs in the pursuit of bear. 

Wolf pups are born around mid-April and are approximately two and a half months at the time Wisconsin bear hunters begin training dogs on bear starting on 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. WODCW blog

This conflict between bear hunters and wolves continues in the north woods of Wisconsin, and now has become one of the reasons Wisconsin legislators want to delist wolves.  One such Wisconsin legislator stated:

“We’re seeing depredations have almost doubled this year, and it’s not just hunting dogs, it’s people’s pets,” said State Senator Tom Tiffany. “They’re expanding throughout the state, we’re beginning to see it, it’s really a big problem.” Source 

There is -no-big-bad-wolf here to blame.  However, there is a lack of regulations with bear hunting & training and it has led to a conflict between wolves and bear hunters. Once the training & hunting class B license was removed, that change allowed for an undetermined number of dogs running through wolf habitat. That could definitely be the cause of the 37 bear hunting dog deaths. 

Are wolves decimating the White-Tailed deer herds in Wisconsin?

Wolves are not eating all the deer. All one needs to do is go to: News Release Wisconsin Natural Resources for Wisconsin’s annual nine-day gun deer hunt sees increase in statewide buck harvest posted on November 18, 2016:  The largest change in buck harvest occurred in the Northern Forest Zone (30 percent increase from 2015) after two consecutive mild winters and limited antlerless tags.
Wolves are not decimating the deer herds in Wisconsin. In fact, the Northern Forest Zone is home to Wisconsin’s wild wolf.  So there is no-big-bad-wolf killing all the fringe hunter’s deer. I use the term ‘fringe hunter’ only because real ethical hunters know that deer will hide from predators such as the wolf. 

Are wolves killing more livestock? 

Let’s take some statistics from The Wisconsin Gray Wolf Monitoring Report for the period of 15 APRIL 2015 THROUGH 14 APRIL 2016 and read the graphic for yourself. There were 52 wolf depredations on livestock. 

There were 52 wolf depredations from April 15, 2016 through April 15, 2016. To put it in perspective, that was 52 livestock deaths by wolves out of 3.50 million head of livestock in Wisconsin. Read for yourself:

“The total inventory of cattle and calves on January 1 rose 3 percent from 2014 to 2015, to 3.50 million head. The number of milk cows rose by 5,000 head to 1,275,000 head and the number of beef cows rose 25,000 head to 275,000 head. On the U.S. level, slaughter prices rose to $153.00 per cwt. for cattle and $255.00 per cwt. for calves. As a result, Wisconsin’s value of production rose 33 percent to $1.92 billion.”  Source: USDA Wisconsin statistics

In conclusion, It’s all carefully crafted propaganda to make the wolf look bad. When in reality the facts prove otherwise. Facts such as; a lack of bear hunting regulations caused the increase of wolf depredations on hunting dogs, the largest change in buck harvest occurred in the Northern Forest Zone (30 percent increase from 2015) and 52 livestock depredations out of 3.50 million head, proves; there’s no-big-bad-wolf here.

There’s only politicians with carefully crafted propaganda to make the wolf look bad.


~~~

Please take action for wolves; click HERE

~~~

Photographs used to make the graphics are by John E Marriott Wilderness Prints
~~~

Opinion editorial: Numbers don’t add up in wolf-hound debate

By Adrian Wydeven 

As often is the case with ecological issues, simple answers or solutions are often inadequate or incorrect. 
Everyone likes a good mystery, especially one where an unlikely candidate is revealed as the culprit. This “Ah ha!” moment is a staple of the genre and most of us can remember the satisfaction of discovering the one responsible. Sherlock Holmes, Colombo and Nancy Drew were the masters of the reveal.
Such a mystery may be playing out in Wisconsin right now with record high numbers of wolf depredations on hunting hounds. The initial suspect: record high wolf numbers. The initial conclusion: Increased advocacy for a hunting season on wolves believing that fewer wolves would mean fewer hounds being attacked by wolves.
However, just like the classic mysteries, there is more to this story.
No one disputes that the summer and early fall of 2016 saw record depredations by wolves on hounds in Wisconsin. A total of 37 hounds have been killed since July 1 — the beginning of the bear training period and hunting season. Plus, three other hounds were killed earlier in the year, for a total of 40 hounds killed in 2016.
Some people attribute the high number of hounds killed to the current record high population of wolves (866 wolves in late winter 2016) and the lack of wolf hunting season over the last two years. Seems like a logical conclusion, but things are often not as simple as they first appear.
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).
In other words, the wolf populations in 2012 and 2016 were similar, yet these two years represent the highest and the lowest numbers of hounds killed by wolves in the last 13 years. Obviously, there is more to this story than just more wolves killing more hounds.
What else influences the interactions between wolves and hound dogs? Bear hunting culture and policy are two other important factors that could influence the number of hounds killed by wolves.
Could a change in bear hunting policy be a factor? Wisconsin is a major destination for bear hunting and training — with some of the highest bear densities and bear harvest success rates in the nation.

Prior to July 2015, people putting out bait and handling hounds used to train on bears were required to buy a Class B Bear Permit. The permit cost residents $14 and nonresidents $110. The permit and fees were eliminated in 2015 and now anyone can freely bait for bears, and train their dogs on bears. This may have increased baiting and training of dogs on bears in Wisconsin, putting more bear hunters and hounds in the hunt, especially from out-of-state residents with the license fee no longer a barrier.
Sometimes changes in regulations cause unintended consequences. The elimination of the Class B Bear Permit, which has led to more hunters baiting and training hounds on the landscape, plus the extensive baiting period in Wisconsin — about 145 days in Wisconsin vs. a maximum of 31 days in other states — may explain the recent spike in wolf kill on hounds.
I cannot state that the removal of Class B licenses is the only reason wolves are killing more hounds. More sleuthing may be required. Yet as often is the case with ecological issues, simple answers or solutions are often inadequate or incorrect.
The “Ah-ha!” moment may be more elusive in cases involving complex interactions between social and ecological factors. In the case of hounds and wolves, the initial culprit — the record high wolf population or lack of wolf hunting season — do not adequately explain the record numbers of wolf attacks on hounds. Like any good detective, it is important to look closely at all of the potential culprits before drawing conclusions.
Adrian Wydeven is a former wolf biologist at the Department of Natural Resources and the coordinator of the Timber Wolf Alliance at Northland College.

Source

~~~

Featured image: John E Marriott

Spike in wolf depredation is a result of the class B bear license being eliminated…

Former DNR biologists Adrian Wydeven says the wolf population wasn’t all that different in 2012 when only 7 were reportedly killed by wolves.  He believes the spike in wolf depredation is a result of the class B bear license being eliminated. Wydeven there are likely a larger number of dogs out hunting and tracking bears this year since the permit is no longer required. Source

News articles foooding Wisconsin papers this week continue to scapegoat the wolf instead of addressing the real problem. 

Read the following article: 

Hunters worry over safety after record number of hunting dogs killed by wolves By Jorge Rodas

OCONTO FALLS, Wis. (WBAY) — A record number of hunting dogs have been killed in Wisconsin by wolves during this year’s bear hunt and hunters are not happy about it.
Hunters are once again pushing for wolf population management.
Manny Elbe is an experienced bear hunter and says there are too many wolves roaming free.
“It’s a terrible thing when your dog’s eaten alive, you know, and it hasn’t happened to me yet but a lot of guys that i know, they’ve lost a lot of good dogs,” said Eble.
During this year’s bear hunt, a record 40 hunting dogs were killed by wolves.
Eble says it’s a simple equation — more wolf attacks, means more wolves.
But former DNR biologists Adrian Wydeven says the wolf population wasn’t all that different in 2012 when only 7 were reportedly killed by wolves.
He believes the spike in wolf depredation is a result of the class B bear license being eliminated. Wydeven there are likely a larger number of dogs out hunting and tracking bears this year since the permit is no longer required.
Eble says wolf population is larger than the state acknowledges – the Wis. DNR says the number is about 900.
“It’s an estimate — and that’s the world that we work in – but when you can put years of data trends in terms of whether the population is increasing or decreasing and certainly over the past three years that population has grown,” says Jeff Pritzl, Wis. DNR regional program manager.
“When you’re looking for tracks in the winter coyote hunting you’ll find 25 wolf tracks to 2 coyote tracks,” Eble says, convinced wolf population is the main reason for the dog killings.
 
Wolves are federally protected because they’re on the endangered species list meaning they can’t be hunted in Wisconsin. Right now the courts are determining if they should continue to be on that list.
Eble says until that’s settled, more dogs will be killed.
“20 seconds is all it takes and your dog’s literally ripped in half,” Eble said. “Blackberry pickers, a lot of people you talk to, they’re all carrying guns. They’re not worried about bears, they’re worried about wolves.”  Source

~~~

Featured image John E Marriott

Letter to the Editor: Job interview questions for Tom Tiffany 

By Lisa MaKarral

September 27, 2016

To the editor:
1. Mr. Tiffany, you received $75,000 from Gogebic Taconite to push their mining bill through, gutting Wisconsin’s long- held environmental laws and regulations. Have you ever met a pristine wilderness or ecosystem that you didn’t want to strip mine or frack, a tree you didn’t want cut down, or a wetland you didn’t want to fill in, if the price is right?
2. You’ve received thousands of dollars from hunting lobbies. In exchange, you’ve pushed for Wisconsin to become the only state that allows hunting wolves with hounds, one of a very few states allowing harassment of bears and other wildlife with hounds (in training) and the only state that pays hounders for their dogs killed by wolves during the harassment of said wildlife. Wisconsin taxpayers pay hounders $2500.00 for each dog attacked and killed by wolves, regardless if that hounder runs his dogs through DNR-designated wolf areas. We also pay for the cost of veterinarian care if the dog manages to survive the attack. Heck, you don’t care if a hounder gets a dog from an animal shelter and deliberately arranges to get it killed for a check. We’ve had 40 dogs killed so far this year, or $100,000.00 in tax payer dollars, not including the vet bills of dogs injured. Mr. Tiffany, can you please tell me the difference between Michael Vick fighting and killing dogs and what you champion, besides Vick serving 18 months in prison for it and not sending you a check? 
3. Do you require hounders to take a drug test before receiving their blood payments?
4. You led the layoff of scientists at the DNR, since you don’t believe in climate change or much of anything in the way of science. CWD in deer has increased from 1.46 percent in 2008 to a record level of 9.4 percent today. How’s that anti-science thing working out for you and Wisconsin deer hunters?
5. How is it that a “small government” Republican like you has done everything possible to take local control away from our elected town and county boards in an attempt to fit the Northwoods into a one-size-fits-all puzzle, that includes Milwaukee and Madison?
6. Since 2010, you have voted to cut $24 million from public schools in the 12th district while supporting sending millions to private schools in Milwaukee, expanding voucher programs and giving a tax break to millionaires who already send their children to private schools. Is it a coincidence that an organization promoting voucher and religious schools has purchased $230,000 in ad time for you in this election year?
7. You stated you wear The League of Conservation Voters grade of an F as a badge of honor. How does your “badge of honor” fit into what we, living in our beautiful Northwoods, hold dear?
8. Besides questions 1 through 7, why else did you vote to gut Wisconsin open records laws?
I’m sorry Mr. Tiffany, you’re not a good fit for this position and we’ll have to go with the other candidate.
Source
~~~

Featured image John E Marriott

WODCW Op Ed: Bear hunting with hounds is “risky behavior’ 

In a Wisconsin State Journal, Guest Column, Carl Schoettel, of Neosho, president of the Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association, stated his opinion entitled;  Bear hunting with hounds isn’t risky behavior

Schoettel was responding to a Wisconsin State Journal Editorial written on September 9, 2016; Stop payouts to bear hunters for dead dogs, Schoettel stating that it: “was clearly written by someone who has never hunted in the north woods or perhaps even met a bear hunter. The commentary was misleading and wrong about interactions between hunters, dogs and wolves.”

Mr. Schoettel is naive to think that Wisconsin residents and taxpayers will sit idly by while bear hunters throw dogs to wolves.

Further, Schoettel states; “First and foremost, the editorial continually called bear hunters “irresponsible” and gave the impression hunters are violating state rules when they choose to hunt in wolf country. They are not. And hound hunters do avoid areas where recent wolf activity has taken place. In fact, the Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association (WBHA) puts out alerts to its members within hours of any confirmed dog depredations so hunters can avoid that area.”

I’ll address the first part of Mr. Schoettel statement about bear hunters being “irresponsible” and discuss the rules of training dogs to pursue bear.  First of all, state law was changed in 2015 to end a license requirement for the summer dog training season, and so it is difficult to know how many dogs are running through the woods in pursuit of bear. 

WI Bear Hunters Association was successful in getting training license requirements removed; no permit to train dogs in pursuit of bear leads to the simple fact; that, WI DNR has no idea how many bear hunter’s rigs are running through the north woods. Increase of dogs running in wolf range during pup rearing times is bound to cause conflicts between bear hunters and wolves. 

Starting in July bear hunters run dogs through wolf rendezvous sites in pursuit of bear causing conflicts between dogs and wolves. Wolf pups are barely three months old and need protection from packs of free ranging dogs in pursuit of bear. The conflicts between bear hunters and wolves continues with record numbers of hunting dogs killed in July and August of 2016.  Bear hunting dogs are equipped with radio telemetry or GPS devices that have a range of up to 10 miles and handlers are often miles away from their dogs. 

 Thus, the direct action of (WHBA) in ending the license requirement for the summer dog training season is seen as  “irresponsible” because it allowed for an undetermined number of hunting dogs in pursuit of bear. Therefore, what would you call a sport that refuses to be accountable; that doesn’t have any training license requirement for its members? WI DNR has no idea of how many dogs are running through the woods during training in pursuit of bear. Is this the cause of the record hunting dog deaths?

 Mr. Schoettel take responsibility for training your hounds in wolf country by bringing back the training license requirements that hold bear hunters accountable.

Mr. Schoettel states: “the DNR’s map of wolf packs shows that virtually the entire northern third of the state is “occupied” by the packs. The editorial would be calling for the end of all bear hunting if we had to avoid any area with a wolf threat. Ask any deer hunter and they will tell you that now they see more wolves than deer in the North Country.”

Mr. Schoettel is right that the northern third of the state has wolves living there, but fails to take responsibility for conflicts between bear hunters and wolves.  Next, Schoettel brings deer hunters into the debate by using unsubstantiated facts. The very idea that Mr. Schoettel scapegoats the wolf for the lack of deer is preposterous.  Every ethical Hunter that practices the rules and especially, rules of fair chase, knows that; a couple of winters back it was heavy snowfalls that killed off the deer herd NOT the wolf. The deer herds are now rebounding in Wisconsin.

Why wouldn’t any reasonable, hunter or resident of the state call for an end of bear hunting with the use of dogs?  At this rate of payouts, at $2,500.00 per dead dog, is astonishing.  Since July First, a total of 28 bear hunting dogs have been killed by wolves defending their pups from large packs of free ranging dogs in pursuit of bear; with a total price tag of $70,000.00.

 Mr. Schoettel states: “Wisconsin allows bear hounding because it has a long and proud tradition of supporting our hunting heritage. Wisconsin’s citizens were hunting bears with dogs long before wolves were reintroduced into Wisconsin. And in Wisconsin, hunters are protected by our constitutional right to hunt.”

Mr. Schoettel, wolves “reintroduced themselves” to their historic range by crossing over the border between Wisconsin and Minnesota. People never physically “reintroduced wolves” into Wisconsin. They are not illegal (alien) wolves.

I’ll argue full heartedly against Mr. Schoettel’s defective reasoning that bear hounding has a long tradition of supporting hunting heritage, because it wasn’t until 1963 that this practice of hunting black bear with the aide of dogs began in the state.  Furthermore, there are those who do not agree with bear hounding as “fair chase” part of Wisconsin’s ethical hunting heritage. This practice of bear hounding is losing support by the state’s residents due to its relaxed hunting regulations, not to mention the conflicts between bear hunters and wolves.  I’ve seen an increase of letters to the editor over the past several months complaining about bear hounding in papers across the state.

 Mr. Schoettel states: “The editorial and a previous State Journal article reported that wildlife experts aren’t sure why more dogs are being killed this year. Well, I think a lot of wildlife experts will agree with our members that the answer is very simple: Wisconsin has a lot more wolves this year than just two years ago. Since an East Coast federal judge ended Wisconsin’s management of wolves in 2014, the wolf population has exploded.’

Although Mr. Schoettel is correct in stating the wolf population is up, he doesn’t have the correct reason for why bear hounding dogs are being killed.  To reiterate, the WI DNR has stated they do not know why there has been record hunting dog deaths this training season, because they do not know how many dogs are running through the woods.  WBHA was responsible for ending the license requirement for the summer dog training season. Therefore WI DNR has no records on how many dogs are running in the woods.

Mr. Schoettel states: “Bear hunting with hounds is not “risky behavior.” It is a constitutionally protected outdoor sport with centuries of history and generations of heritage behind it, and Wisconsin policymakers rightly recognize that.”

Mr. Schoettel is right in saying that Wisconsin policy makers rightly recognize the sport of bear hounding; or at least the current party in power with their very own appointed WI DNR Secretary, that backs them.  

I disagree with Mr. Schoettel’s fairy tale view of running hounds through the woods “isn’t risky business” as history is proving conflicts between bear hunters and wolves is very risky for dogs, wolves and taxpayers’ pocket books. 

I will end here with a quote by one of their own bear hounding advocates that make a point about abusing power;

The government is so out of control.  It is so bloated and infested with fraud and deceit and corruption and abuse of power. Ted Nugent

 ~~~