In the late 1970s wolf Recovery in Wisconsin began. The Gray wolf made a comeback after being eradicated through hunting and trapping in Wisconsin. It wasn’t long before hunting special interests groups began their bid to get Wisconsin’s Gray wolf delisted. Sadly after 40 years of recovery these special interests (Fringe hunters) hunting groups got their way. In the state of Wisconsin the Gray wolf is hunted (2012-2014) for a fireplace rug & mounted as a trophy when he’s not listed on the Endangered Species Act. He was delisted in 2012 and his domestic relative, the dog, was used to track and trail him until a federal judged ordered the Gray wolf back on the ESL in December 2014. Today Wisconsin’s Gray wolf is facing multiple delisting threats in congress backed by special interests; wanting the Gray Wolf’s habitat for oil & gas, lumbering, and the Gray wolf himself for trophy hunting.
We must make it right…get it right…before we lose everything…the wolf is a social animal just like we are…they depend on family for survival…so do we as human-beings…
The idea that only man is equipped for conserving our planet’s natural resources is a dying concept; dying right along with the untold numbers of wild sentient beings killed in the name of conservation. Such problems drive home a critical flaw in the paradigm of conserving wildlife.
It’s going to take a major shift in thinking that will require opening up lines of communication between the general public; specifically with interests in conserving our natural resources for future generations to come. It’s not about numbers. It’s about sentient beings sharing our planet, and how we can coexist for the benefit of all living upon Mother Earth.
Changing the paradigm from killing to compassionate conservation is a major shift in thinking…
Through my mind’s eye memories flow through the years spent within the Gray Wolf’s range in Wisconsin’s northern forests in Douglas county starting in the year 2000. There you’ll find vast wilderness of forests and barrens where the Gray wolf resides.
Do you think there’s room for the Gray wolf? The following video was shot 2 summers ago in 2015. This landscape is found on a 15 mile long remote gravel road in northern Wisconsin. Do you think there’s room for the wolf?
Last summer, 2018, I visited this same area (in the video) with friend Elke Duerr and who’s filming in the photograph.
When I began helping to monitor Wisconsin’s Gray wolf in the year 2000 there were only 66 Gray wolf packs in the state. Today’s over winter wolf population count is around 945 individuals.
In northern Wisconsin beauty can be found where the Gray wolf resides. I’ve walked these trails for over two decades in search of Wisconsin’s wild & elusive gray wolf.
The Gray wolf in Wisconsin trots freely down the wild and remote gravel roads in Douglas county.
Rains of summer create a lush paradise in wolf range.
The Gray wolf in northern Wisconsin. Photograph screen shot from Red Cliff reservation trail cam.
In summer of July 2018 I met a Raven on a remote gravel road in Douglas county. Douglas county is home for Wisconsin’s wild Gray wolf.
The Gray wolf in Wisconsin deserves our protection…
In 2011 WISCONSIN ACT 169 legislation mandated a trophy hunt on the newly delisted Gray wolf. Wisconsin Act 169 allowed reckless management policies such as; 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.” Wolf Hounding Fact Sheet
In 2013 & 2014 Wisconsin sanctioned the use of dogs to hunt wolves.
This reckless management of the Gray wolf was overturned as part of Humane Society of the United States lawsuit of USF&WS’s 2012 delisting. In December 2014 a federal judge put Gray wolves in the Western Great Lakes Region back on the Endangered Species List. USF&WS appealed the 2014 ruling, but the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., ruled Gray wolves in the Great Lakes region should remain on the endangered species list, July 2017.
Besides the horrific wolf management policies by the state of Wisconsin, problems exist within the way USF&WS determines criteria for wolf delisting in the Great Lakes Region in 2011. It’s seems USF&WS got its “hand slapped” by a judges ruling for trying to delist using the following:
“The proposal identifies the Western Great Lakes Distinct Population Segment (DPS) of wolves, which includes a core area of Minnesota, Michigan, and Wisconsin, as well as parts of adjacent states that are within the range of wolves dispersing from the core recovery area.” USF&WS Press Release 2011
But then, on July 2017, the three-judge panel unanimously said the wolves should stay under federal protection. The judges wrote, “The Endangered Species Act’s text requires the Service, when reviewing and redetermining the status of a species, to look at the whole picture of the listed species, not just a segment of it.”
“The service had not adequately considered a number of factors in making its decision, including loss of the wolf’s historical range and how its removal from the endangered list would affect the predator’s recovery in other areas, such as New England, North Dakota and South Dakota.”
Just how reckless is Wisconsin in its management policies of the Gray wolf?
If the Gray wolf in Wisconsin gets delisted tomorrow; it’s a law that a wolf hunt must take place:
“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.” 2012 Wisconsin Act 169
A brief history on Wisconsin’s reckless management of it’s wolf population, 2012 through 2014.
Wisconsin’s Wolf Advisory Committee is not far and balanced. In other words, there is no transparency in WI DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp’s Wolf management process (WDNR secretary at the time).
WDNR Wolf Advisory Committee met once a month during the legislatively mandated trophy hunt on Wisconsin’s Gray wolf. The WAC recommend how wolf management in Wisconsin should be done. Here is a list of Cathy Stepp’s (WDNR secretary at the time) hand Picked WAC, that she thinks better suited to, “…people who were willing to work with us in partnership…”:United States Fish & Wildlife Service(USFWS), United States Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services(USDA WS), Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission(GLIFWC), Wisconsin County Forest Association(WCFA), Wisconsin Conservation Congress(WCC), Safari Club International(SCI), Timber Wolf Alliance(TWA), Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association(WBHA), Wisconsin Bowhunters Association(WBA), Wisconsin Cattlemans Association(WCA), Wisconsin Trappers Association(WTA), Wisconsin Wildlife Federation(WWF) and 10 WDNR biologists. WODCW blog
Several DNR staff are on the recently created Wolf Advisory Committee, as are representatives of several pro-hunting groups. A smaller number of wolf hunting skeptics also remain on the committee, including a representative of the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission. WPR reporter Chuck Quirmbach June 2014
At a WI DNR meeting secretary Cathy Stepp admitted, “When we’re charged to manage and to implement a hunt, coming in and telling us, ‘Don’t hunt wolves,’ is not a productive way to run a committee, frankly,” said Stepp. “That’s just the candid way to lay it out. We had to have people who were willing to work with us in partnership, and be willing to help us and advise us along the way in implementing state law.” Source WPR June 2014
“I was just appalled that somebody like Cathy Stepp, who’s in charge of this important issue, is saying something like that,” said Tilseth. “It sounds to me like it’s a committee that they want made up of wolf-killers.”
Recap of the last two years in the never-ending political rhetoric designed to stir public sentiment against an endangered species.
Wisconsin’s annual nine-day gun deer hunt sees increase in statewide buck harvest 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. From WI DNR Press Release
The increase in buck harvest is hopeful news, because fringe hunters, along with some politicians are claiming that wolves are killing all the deer. This news puts a damper on republican Senator Tom Tiffany’s efforts to delist the wolf.
“A Great Lakes Summit in September 2016, was organized by two Republican lawmakers from northern Wisconsin, Sen. Tom Tiffany and Rep. Adam Jarchow, who hope control of the wolf population returns to state governments.” MPR News
The 30 percent buck increase in the Northern Forest Zone (where the wolf lives) is good news as DNR’s own scientific data is proving wolves aren’t eating all the white-tailed deer in northern Wisconsin.
Yet, certain politicians in Wisconsin refuse to believe scientific fact.
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.
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, 2015 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
Wisconsin’s wild wolf is the most talked about animal of late. Politicians in Wisconsin have villianized the wolf, and are pushing to delist him. It’s no secret that one cannot trust politicians. Politicians are in competition between competing interest groups or individuals for power and leadership; they’ve created propaganda to make the wolf look bad.
Politicians have removed science from wolf management and replaced it with political rhetoric. They put together a Wisconsin Wolf Advisory Committee with stakeholders primarily from the hunting community.
The WAC is heavily slanted towards recreational trophy hunting of wolves with 9 citizen pro wolf hunting organizations to 1 pro wolf citizen organization. Further, according to Cathy Stepp this committee is more productive than opponents of the wolf hunt. There is evidence to the contrary that shows the WAC productiveness is comparable to reality TV’s Housewives of NYC. From WODCW’s Blog
In conclusion, if USF&WS, the government, gets it right this time in delisting the Gray wolf in the Great Lakes Region Wisconsin citizens must push for greater transparency in wolf management. Because trophy hunts are about power not conservation. We owe the Gray wolf, that was exterminated from our forest, an ethical & compassionate conservation management plan, because we have done enough harm to this iconic predator.
Rob is one of the continent’s leading experts on wolf-livestock interactions. His pioneering research on wolves and livestock in eastern Washington found that lethal control of wolves was in fact increasing livestock depredations, and that ranchers who took part in his cooperative program employing nonlethal measures experienced minimal livestock mortality due to wolves.
Due to political pressure placed upon the administration of the Washington State University, the College of Agriculture placed limits on the speech of Dr. Wielgus and his Large Carnivore Research Laboratory concerning wolves, removed grant funding from Dr. Wielgus, and subjected him to a series of wrongful disciplinary actions as a means of forcing silence on lethal control issues, oftentimes at the behest of a local Republican legislator.
Dr. Wielgus contacted PEER, and his First Amendment academic freedom case resulted in a settlement enabling him to retire from the university.
A leading wolf researcher has agreed to leave Washington State University at the end of the spring term in return for $300,000 to settle a suit he brought over infringement of his academic freedom.
Robert Wielgus, director of the Carnivore Conservation Lab at Washington State University, pioneered research of wolf behavior in cattle country as the predators began their return to Washington.
Wielgus tracked the behavior of wolves and cattle and learned that the state’s policy of killing wolves that had preyed on cattle was likely to lead to more cattle predation, not less, because it destabilized the structure of wolf packs.
The research was unpopular with ranchers, who complained to lawmakers in the Washington State Legislature, who, in turn,
Wielgus filed a lawsuit this past year with the assistance of PEER, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, alleging the university had silenced and punished him for his research findings to placate politicians beholden to ranchers.
Emails obtained by The Seattle Times under a public-disclosure request revealed that WSU administrators were worried funding for a new medical school was in jeopardy unless controversy in the Legislature and among ranchers over Wielgus was quelled.
“ … Highly ranked senators have said that the medical school and wolves are linked. If wolves continue to go poorly, there won’t be a new medical school,” Dan Coyne, lobbyist for WSU, wrote his colleague, Jim Jesernig, another WSU lobbyist, two days after the paper’s publication. Read full Seattle Times Story here
…The idea that only man is equipped for conserving our planet’s natural resources is a dying concept; dying right along with the untold numbers of wild sentient beings killed in the name of conservation. Such problems drive home a critical flaw in the paradigm of conserving wildlife. In the state of Wisconsin alone coyotes are hunted year round because they’re considered vermin that need to be exterminated. It’s about time we work towards changing the paradigm of killing to conserve. It’s going to take a major shift in thinking that will require opening up lines of communication between the general public; specifically with interests in conserving our natural resources for future generations to come. It’s not about numbers. It’s about sentient beings sharing our planet, and how we can coexist for the benefit of all living upon Mother Earth.
Changing the paradigm from killing to compassionate conservation is a major shift in thinking…
“Let me first briefly note what compassionate conservation is not. The easiest way to summarize this topic is to say that compassionate conservation isn’t “welfarism gone wrong.”” Marc Bekoff from: Compassionate Conservation Matures and Comes of Age.
PHOTOGRAPH BY SEAN CRANE, MINDEN PICTURES
More from Compassionate Conservation Matures and Comes of Age by Marc Bekoff Traditional conservation science is ethically challenged and conservation has had a very bloody past and continues to do so. Of course, this does not mean that conservation biologists are cold-blooded killers who don’t care about the well-being of animals, but rather that the problems that are faced throughout the world, most brought on by human intervention in the lives of other animals, are challenging to the point of being daunting. Often, it seems as if the only and easiest solution is to kill the “problem animals” and move on to the next situation, in a never-ending series of conflicts. However, killing simply does not work in the long run. And, of course, as numerous people have pointed out, it is ethically indefensible.
Compassionate conservation also doesn’t allow for people to play what I call the “numbers game.” Claims that go something like, “There are so many members of a given species it’s okay to kill other members of the same species” are not acceptable. With its focus on the value of the life of each and every individual, no single animal is disposable because there are many more like them.
“Killing to save: We really don’t want to kill others animals but…Compassionate conservation also is not concerned with finding and using the “most humane” ways of killing other animals, so killing animals “softly” is not an option, because it’s inarguable that killing individuals in the name of conservation remains incredibly inhumane on a global scale.” Marc Bekoff
What is Compassionate Conservation?
Populations of animals are not homogenous, abstract entities, but comprise unique individuals – in the case of sentient animals, each with its own desires and needs and a capacity to suffer.
Animal welfare as a science and a concern, with its focus on the individual animal, and conservation biology and practice, which has historically focussed on populations and species, have tended to be considered as distinct. However, it is becoming clear that knowledge and techniques from animal welfare science can inform and refine conservation practice, and that consideration of animal welfare in a conservation context can lead to better conservation outcomes, while engendering increased stakeholder support. From Compassionate Conservation website
Changing the paradigm from killing to compassionate conservation is a major shift in thinking. How can we begin to change from killing to compassionate conservation? It begins locally, in local communities, by opening the conversations at public meetings. More to come on this topic…
…The arrival of spring brings a new generation of wolves ready to explore the world. However, these youngsters will require training and socialization within their family unit before assuming their places in the pack hierarchy. Play is an important component for their training and growth.
Alex Krevitz, M.A.
Science Editor for Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin
Play is part of the normal behavior for wolf pups and other canids exploring the world outside their den with its myriad of new scents, sights and sounds. Their rambunctious acrobatics prepares them for life as savvy adults by developing and honing their innate physical and cognitive skills. Furry little bodies rolling and tumbling, snarling and squealing. These interactions enable young minds to become more alert and adept at reading other animals’ body language. Acrobatics prepare the body for control and balance required for stealthy stalking and learning to read which prospective prey are vulnerable. A wise physically strong wolf can act either cooperatively, or independently on behalf of the pack.
Watch pups at play from “Snow Wolf Family and Me” BBC
Ethologist Marc Bekoff describes play behavior as a factor in , “emotional regulation and the evolution of communication which prepares puppies for the unexpected, decreases aggression and is fun. It feels good. ” Who’s confused? From Marc Bekoff
Play is not only important for the young, but benefits all of us. Take time to enjoy nature and the outdoors and learn from a new generation of wolves.
Alex Krevitz received an M.A. in biology from Hofstra University.
She is a student of and advocate for wildlife, especially carnivores. Ms. Krevitz has studied wolves and other canids as a member of the Mammalogy Department at the American Museum of Natural History, at Yellowstone National Park, in Minnesota and overseas. She currently investigates the biology and ecology of mesocarnivores in the central Sierra Nevada foothills. Ms. Krevitz is an active member of the Conservation Committee of the American Society of Mammalogist. As a lifelong animal lover she believes strongly in compassionate conservatism.
Here in Wisconsin north woods springtime, like in Vermont, can bring out the wildlife. The following article has some common sense advise on living around wildlife habitats.
Carol Smith got an unexpected visitor at her home in the Fox Hill Condos off Cottage Club Road in Stowe recently. A black bear prowled around her yard and even climbed up the railing to her porch before sauntering back into the woods. Smith said she had removed her birdfeeder, as advised by state wildlife officials, but it did not prevent the curious bear from snooping around her property.
April is one of the best times of year to see and hear wildlife in Vermont, with the waterfowl returning, spring peepers chirping in the ponds at night and animals coming out of hibernation.
Unfortunately, those animals can spur conflicts with humans, as they are frequently out during the day looking for food.
“So we have a coyote problem,” Mary Collins — an Elmore resident — said on Facebook March 13. “Earlier this week, Don was spreading manure and saw a coyote out by our brush pile — far from the house, by the riding ring. This evening, the coyote was standing just beyond the manure pile, just yards from the barn and him. It was not frightened in the least. Does anyone have any ideas about what we should do? I’m concerned.”
The coyote has since left Collins’ property of its own volition, but the incident incited a litany of responses from her friends and neighbors about what she should do. Shoot it? Leave it alone? Does it pose a threat to the animals, and could it be rabid?
A few weeks later, residents of Waterbury posed similar questions about a wandering skunk that was seen on a number of properties during the day.
Wild animals “live around us all the time; we just don’t see them,” said Eric Nuse, a retired game warden in Johnson. “It’s a hard thing, coming off of winter pretty hungry, and because they are hungry, they are often bolder than normal. It doesn’t necessarily mean that they are sick.”
Foxes and skunks are the biggest rabies threats in Lamoille County, and Nuse recommends that people watch wild animals from a distance to determine whether they may be rabid. If they look suspicious, anyone can call the rabies hotline at 800-472-2437 to report the sighting.
The signs of rabies can differ depending on the animal. However, generally an animal with rabies will be unstable on its feet, may have paralysis in some of its limbs or its throat, and nocturnal animals may be more active during the day.
Some daytime activity is normal in nocturnal animals, though, especially when they are feeding their young this time of year.
Unprovoked aggression is usually seen in skunks, foxes, raccoons and dogs that have contracted rabies, while rabid bats usually exhibit unusual friendliness, and may be unable to fly. That can be dangerous for children, who are more apt to touch a wild animal than adults.
If an animal is trapped for suspicion of rabies, the animal has to be killed, because the only way to diagnose rabies is to test the brain tissue in a lab.
“Before picking up the phone to call a trapper, think of ways to cohabitate with wildlife or convince them to move on on their own,” said Brenna Galdenzi, executive director of Protect our Wildlife, a Stowe nonprofit. “There haven’t been many cases of rabies in Lamoille County in the last few years, and there weren’t any reported in 2014 or 2015.”
Over the last five years, Lamoille County has had 14 cases of confirmed rabies, nine of them in 2012. There were no cases reported in either 2014 or 2015, but two cases have been reported in the area so far this year.
A rabid big brown bat was trapped in Stowe just last week, April 14, and a rabid raccoon was picked up in Waterbury back in February. The majority of the rabid animals in Lamoille County have been raccoons and skunks.
“If we get a call that an animal is acting strange,” said Bob Johnson, state public health veterinarian, “the decision is usually made to test the animal if it has been in contact with other animals or humans.”
The Vermont rabies hotline is 1-800-4-RABIES, and information about positive rabies tests can be found at bit.ly/Rabiesdata.
Tips for living with wildlife
Coyotes are one of the most maligned animals in Vermont, according to Galdenzi. There is an open season on coyotes in the state, and it’s not curtailed during breeding season.
Pups are generally born in late April or early May, remain in the den for two months, and follow their parents throughout the fall and winter to learn from them.
Coyotes have adapted to live close to humans, and they sometimes do have conflicts, but people can do things to discourage coyote behavior.
Some people opt for livestock guardian dogs — pastoral dogs bred for the purpose of protecting livestock from predators — or even guard llamas. Llamas are instinctively alert and will walk or run toward an intruder, and chase or kick it. Some llamas may also herd the animals they are guarding into a tight group or lead them away from danger.
Electric fencing can also be a deterrent.
Skunks don’t generally bother livestock, unless they get scared and spray, but there are also ways to curb their behavior.
“Skunks come out in the spring, and they have their babies in April or May,” Galdenzi said. “So, you have to be careful when calling a trapper, because if trapped, the babies will not survive without the mother.”
One way to deal with skunks on your property is to make their den unlivable. If people shine a bright light into the den during the night or play loud music, the skunks will likely move out on their own and find a new place to live.
Galdenzi had a skunk living under her deck, and her husband used those tactics to coax it to leave. After three to four days of lights aimed at the den, and a stereo playing on the deck, it was gone.
“Protect our Wildlife will help people with those types of things,” she said. “A lot of animals are out at dawn or dusk right now — don’t be alarmed; they are foraging for food. People fear what they don’t understand, and a lot of it is embedded in not being knowledgeable.”
Bears and bird feeders
Because animals are foraging for food more right now than any other time of year, Vermont law states that residents must take reasonable measures to protect their property from animals, especially bears, before lethal force can be taken.
Just recently, two bears got into the Dumpsters at Brewster River Pub in Jeffersonville, and strewed garbage everywhere.
“Bears can pose a threat,” Nuse said. “So, people should get food sources under cover, especially bird feeders. If you used to feed the birds, bears have a great memory, and will remember where feeders were in the past. Bears also love chicken food — they are not necessarily after the chickens.”
Bird feeders and Dumpsters are just two of the things that can attract hungry bears. Others are pet food, campsites with food left outside and barbecue grills.
People can protect themselves against bears by keeping chickens and honeybees secured inside electric fencing, storing trash in a secure place, and feeding pets indoors.
“Animals are the least wary of people this time of year, because they are hungry,” Nuse said. “It’s a good time of year to see wildlife; people just need to use common sense.”
Seven billion human beings are living on planet Earth’s thin crust. Learning to live side by side with other species is now one of man’s most vital tasks. It’s basic-survival-101 for planet Earth. Nitish Madan photograph
Is it too late for wild tigers? Over the last century wild tiger numbers have plummeted by over 95%. Poaching and habitat destruction are persistent threats, and as few as 3,200 tigers remain in the wild today. Sadly, there are more tigers in captivity in the US than are left in the wild. The tiger is officially classed as endangered by the IUCN. (Source)
As of 2016, there are still more African elephants being killed for ivory than are being born. . . elephant populations continue to decline.” (Source)
Image from-Being Jane Goodall- NG
“We’re schizophrenic: we’ve got this amazing intelligence, but we seem to have lost the power of working in harmony with nature.” ~ Dr. Jane Goodall (Source)
In the past half century, chimpanzee numbers have slumped from two million to just 300,000, spread over 21 countries, said Goodall, a British scientist who spent more than five decades studying chimpanzees in Tanzania’s Gombe National Park. (Source)
“Now found only in a handful of states, gray wolves once roamed across the United States in the hundreds of thousands.” (source)
Source of Rhino photograph
Rhinoceroses, like elephants, suffer the misfortune of having an external protrusion that humans arbitrarily place a high value upon. Rhino horn was reported to be selling for $65,000 per 2.2 pounds in 2012, making it more expensive by weight than gold, diamonds or cocaine. (Source)
Habitat for wildlife is continually shrinking – I can at least provide a way station. ~Peter Coyote
This blog isn’t finished yet…you need to add your favorite endangered animal and one fact in the comment section…keep going….
Living in the north woods near wild animals can be a wonderful experience. There is nothing that can match sighting a
Life in the Northwoods photography by Michael Crowley
bobcat with kits, a doe with a new fawn, snowy owls, bear, swans, and porcupines. If you have chosen to live in a north woods rural area, here are a few tips for living along side wildlife or better yet, methods for coexisting with your wild neighbors. After all, these wild creatures you have chosen to live among were here first. Living along side wildlife requires respecting their habitat and teaching them how to respect yours as well.
There are non lethal methods that north wood’s residents can use to deter wild animals..
Keeping your pets safe.
First of all, do not leave pets or their food outside. Leaving pets and their food outside will attract wild animals. Keep your pets leashed or in a fenced area while out-of-doors, Do not leave pets unattended out-of-doors for long periods of time.
Don’t feed wildlife.
Industrious wild bear (photographer unknown)
Wildlife can fend for themselves and know where to find their own food. Do you need to feed wild birds? Why do you feed wild birds? Bird feeders are for humans more than wild birds. Humans feed wild birds for the pleasure of viewing them. But these viewing backyard bird feeders attract more than wild birds. Wild bears enjoy an easy meal off of a backyard bird feeder. Deer, raccoon, and squirrel will also find the backyard bird feeder tempting. Feeding wild birds can result in wild animals becoming habituated to humans. When wild animals become habituated to humans it can have disastrous effects. Imagine stepping outside to feed the birds and you encounter a sow with cubs. Everyone knows how this encounter could turn out.
Wild animals are attracted to garbage and gardens.
it is recommended to keep your garbage out of sight and smell of wild animals.. keep your garbage cans in a locked bear proof shed. If you have a garden just fence it in or even use an electrical fence. Even garden compost will attract wild animals.
What to do when you encounter wild animals in your backyard.
Assuming you have done all of the above methods to keep wild animals away from your home and family. The next step is to teach wild animals, bear, coyote, bobcat, cougar, and wolves to fear you, Wild animals have a natural fear of humans. If you live where these wild animals do, then teach them to fear you. This is the best way to keep them out of your backyard.
Photograph of a wild coyote by Ron Niebrugge
Always keep a safe distance between you and any wild animal that has wondered onto your property. Use a loud device as a deterrent, such as a blow-horn, or fire crackers to scare these unwanted intruders away. Never throw these devices at or on the animal. The idea is to deter not to harm them.
Another wild animal deterrent called hazing which will teach them to fear you. Again, it is recommended to keep a safe distance away from any wild animal you encounter. Hazing method involves making yourself larger than the wild animal by waving your arms and shouting at the wild animal saying, “go away coyote!”
Other methods of hazing you can use are pepper sprays and a blow-horn is a very good deterrent to keep on hand. You may need to use these deterrents several times to make the unwanted wild animal get the message. Wild animals have a natural fear of humans and you may need to remind them of this natural fear.
There may be times when a wild animal could be dangerous. If the wild animals appears skinny and unhealthy or stumbles this could be a sign of Rabies. In this case stay away from the wild animal. Call local law enforcement. While you wait for them to arrive keep tabs on the whereabouts of the infected animals from a safe distance.
In summary, wild animals have a natural fear of humans. Living along side of wildlife requires keeping space between their habitat and yours. In other words, educate yourself on how to safely live with your wild neighbors.
Feature photograph is by Michael Crowley of Life in the Northwoods