Snare Traps Indiscriminate Killers, Land Mines Concealed in the Wilderness

…Snare Trap is a device concealed underground and baited with tantalizing attractive scents capable of causing great suffering for its victims. A male Timber wolf in northern Minnesota became the latest victim of a snare trap. He became caught in a snare trap meant to catch and ensnare small game. The snare meant for small game, became wrapped tightly around the muzzle of the male wolf. Can we even begin to imagine the pain and suffering that occurred as a result of this man-made killing device. How could the male wolf have known the tantalizing scents concealed a land mine known as a snare trap and set in his home range. The more an unsuspecting woodland creature tries to pull out of the device, the more the noose tightens around the body part caught in the trap. Certain death from starvation became the fate of the male wolf as the noose became tightly wrapped around his mouth. Several people saw the male wolf north of Duluth Minnesota, and tried to help.

I spoke with a volunteer at Wildwoods Wildlife Rehabilitation out of Duluth, Minnesota. They said, “several people saw the wolf and tried to help him.” The Wildwood’s volunteer told me Kelly Looby was able to get within a few feet of the wolf, a photographer, even making eye contact with him. She kept following the wolf, but he seemed very wary of humans, and disappeared and reappeared several times.

Photo courtesy of Kelly Looby

Wildwoods reported the wire snare was wrapped tight around the wolf’s nose, and embedded into the nose. He clearly could not open his mouth at all. The male wolf was very thin, as was told to them by volunteer and eyewitness Kelly Looby.

“He might have been able to lick up some snow and sniff roadkill, but he had not been able to eat,” a volunteer from Wildwoods said. “He had been starving, and was a skeleton of fur and bones.”

Photo courtesy of Kelly Looby

No one knows how long the male wolf suffered. He was first sighted near Tettegouche State Park on Lake Superior’s North Shore earlier in the week, then north of the city in Duluth Saturday February 10th. Wildwoods reported they just didn’t have the equipment needed to catch him. Many people tried to catch him but he was too fast.

In the end the Duluth police made the heart wrenching decision to put him down at 2 pm Saturday afternoon. Wildwoods was able to examine the wolf. They reported that underneath his thick winter coat he was skin and bones.

“Humans caused the initial pain and suffering of this beautiful wolf by creating the snare, and in the end taking his life to end his suffering.” said Kelly Looby.

Photo courtesy of Wildwoods

Wildwoods told me they were able to gain the equipment, a net gun, through donations after this tragedy. With this net gun they will be able to capture and treat victims of snare traps in the future.

“Snares are cruel trapping devices, causing pain, injury and death. Animals caught in snares can suffer from grotesque swelling and hemorrhaging of the head, can be hanged to death by jumping over a nearby fence or branch in a desperate attempt to escape, and can suffer from exposure, dehydration, and starvation. Snares are grossly indiscriminate, capturing any animal of the right height or size unlucky enough to pass through the snare – including pets, imperiled wildlife species, deer and raptors.” ~Melissa Tedrowe HSUS Wisconsin State Representative

Minnesota DNR Hunting and Trapping Regulations Handbook states the following: Snares may be used by licensed trappers for taking all species of protected wild mammals that may be taken by the use of traps. In the forest zone, snares are allowed on public land and on private land with permission of the landowner.

Take action to ban snare traps in Minnesota

Howling For Wolves Wolf Day at the Capital 2018 in 2018. Join us as we work to #StandAgainstSnaring, require permission to trap on private lands, and have a wolf hunt removed from the books once and for all.

When: Wednesday, April 11

Where: Minnesota State Capitol, Saint Paul, MN

In 2017, Howling For Wolves successfully passed legislation which approved funding for, and the establishment of, Wolf-Livestock Conflict Prevention grants administered by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture. This program allows applicants to receive reimbursement for the cost of using nonlethal methods which protect the lives of both livestock and wolves.

In 2018, with your active prescence and actions, a ban on all wildlife snaring can become law in 2018. Join us as we work to #StandAgainstSnaring, require permission to trap on private lands, and have a wolf hunt removed from the books once and for all.

We are talking to Minnesota politicians and rallying for the wolf at the State Capitol. Our goal is to protect the wolf for future generations. This is a FREE event.

Volunteers are needed before and on Wolf Day. Write us at to join the pack!

RSVP here that you will attend the Wolf day. This is important for us to know you will come, so we can plan in advance.

Howling For Wolves supports current state legislation that would eliminate recreational snaring of all wildlife: House File 2160, authored by Representatives Fischer, Loon, Kunesh-Podein, Rosenthal, Ward, Slocum, Allen, Dehn, R., and Hornstein and its companion bill, Senate File 1447, authored by Senators Hoffman, Wiger, and Dibble.

“To look into the eyes of a wolf is to see your own soul – hope you like what you see.” ~Aldo Leopold

Photos used in this story courtesy of Kelly Looby and photo of dead wolf credited to Wildwoods.

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.


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

Who’s really to blame for the conflict between bear hunters and wolves in Wisconsin’s north woods? 

Why the name “Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin?”During Wisconsin’s wolf recovery years I helped monitor wolves as a volunteer winter wolf carnivore tracker in Douglas County Wisconsin. I’ve been helping with wolf recovery since 1998. I’ve witnessed the conflict between bear hunters and wolves while radio trapping wolves in the Chequamegon national forest. They’ve hated wolves for decades, and I’ve seen how this sport wears on the people & wildlife living in the north woods. Common sense dictates that; if bear training & hunting license requirements are removed conflicts occur between dogs and wolves. That’s a fact as plain as the nose on your face. If you run dogs on bear through wolf rendezvous sites; conflict will happen. Wolf pups are three months old when bear hunters start running their dogs on bear starting July first. 

On July first, the unregulated training of dogs running on bear begins. It’s a battle between bear dogs and wolves in the north woods of Wisconsin. 

But politicians spin the bloody-dog-on-wolf-fights as a wolf problem. 

Common sense dictates otherwise; bear hunters backed by political & special interests are the main cause. For decades I’ve witnessed how bear hunters, running dogs, take more and more advantage; it’s time to take a thorough accounting of this cruel sport and demand accountability. Who’s really to blame for the conflict between bear hunters and wolves? 

Help Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin legislatively remove this problem before more bear hunting dogs lose their lives. 

Photo by John E Marriott 

Graphic by WODCW 


Winter wolf monitoring 2016-17 meeting scheduled for June 8th

WDNR public wolf count meeting for reporting the results of the winter monitoring period has been scheduled. Information is below.
Date – June 8th, 1:00-3:30pm
Location – 4700 Rib Mountain Dr, Wausau, WI
Content – The Wildlife Management Program will provide information collected during the 2016-17 wolf monitoring period

Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin will be in attendance at this important meeting. 

WDNR Wolf Advisory Committee is not fair and balanced 

In other words, there is no transparency in WI DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp’s Wolf management process. 

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 was interviewed on June 2014 regarding DNR secretary kicking off wolf hunt opponents Rachel Tilseth of Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin was a volunteer DNR tracker of wolves for about a dozen winters, and attended a few meetings of what used to be called the Wisconsin Wolf Stakeholders Group. Tilseth testified about the wolf hunt proposal during Wednesday’s meeting. She later said she didn’t care for Stepp’s remarks.

“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.”

WDNR Wolf Advisory Committee meets once a month to recommend how wolf management in Wisconsin should be done. Here is a list of Cathy Stepp’s 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

One of Secretary Stepp’s hand picked WDNR Wolf Advisory Committee Members is Wisconsin Cattlemans Association(WCA) Earl Stahl. Stahl is for delisting wolves and holding a wolf hunt. 

On 12/26/16 Stahl made his stand clear in a Opinion Editorial for the Wisconsin State Farmer “Wisconsin agreed to the original delisting of wolves with the understanding that the population would be capped at 100. The delisting allowed wolves to migrate from Minnesota and the U.P. in spite of the fact that the Wisconsin DNR documented wolf packs in the state in the 1960s and late 1970s.” Earl Stahl 

Seems clear to me that this DNR Wisconsin Wolf Advisory Committee member, Earl Stahl, thinks wolves are a problem and they only way to manage them is with a wolf hunt.  This is how DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp manages an endangered species. There is no transparency in Secretary Stepp’s DNR Wolf management process. 

Please write to or make a phone call to WI DNR secretary Stepp: 

Email Address: 

Primary Phone:

(608) 266-2121

Secondary Phone:

Work Address:

101 S Webster Street 

Madison, WI 53703

Work Mailing Address:

PO Box 7921 

Madison, WI 53707-7921

Ask secretary Stepp to include the public in Wisconsin’s Wolf Management. Wolves are a part of Wisconsin’s wild legacy. Wolf recovery began in Wisconsin during the late 1970s. Wolves do not need to be hunted to manage them.  Bring back transparency in wolf management. 


Featured image by John E Marriott photography

Opinion Editorial: Wisconsin is the only state in the nation that compensates hunters when wolves kill their animals…

A hunter gets up to $2,500 per dog — even when a hunter violates state rules or releases hounds in areas the state Department of Natural Resources has mapped as dangerous because of wolf activity...According to an Opinion Editorial in the Wisconsin State Journal Read on:

Stop payouts to bear hunters for dead dogs

Wisconsin State Journal editorial

Here’s an easy assignment for state lawmakers who oppose wasteful spending and who favor personal responsibility: Stop paying tens of thousands of dollars a year to irresponsible bear hunters whose hounds are killed by wolves.
Wisconsin is the only state in the nation that compensates hunters when wolves kill their animals. A hunter gets up to $2,500 per dog — even when a hunter violates state rules or releases hounds in areas the state Department of Natural Resources has mapped as dangerous because of wolf activity.
So far this year, a record 28 hunting dogs have been killed by wolves, the State Journal just reported. That could cost the public some $70,000 in unjustified payments. And bear season is just beginning.
Most of the dogs that have been killed were being trained for hunting on public land. Owners release their dogs to track and chase bears up trees, where the bears can be easily shot.
That’s not much of a challenge, which is why most hunters don’t use dogs to tree bears. Bear hunting with dogs is expensive and cruel to the animals that are hurt.
Wisconsin has more than doubled the number of bear hunting licenses it issues over the last decade. But only 10 percent to 15 percent of the bears taken from the woods were killed by hunters using dogs to tree them, according to the DNR.
That begs the question: Why does Wisconsin even allow bear hounding. Many states don’t.

State wildlife experts aren’t sure why more dogs are being killed this year. Wisconsin’s wolf population has grown, but not significantly in the areas where the dogs are being attacked.
Wisconsin has relaxed its hunting regulations. A license is no longer needed to train dogs in the summer, which is when wolves are raising their pups. That may cause wolf packs to be more aggressive about protecting their territory and young when they spot a hunting dog nearby.
Another factor is Wisconsin’s liberal law on baiting bears. While some states limit baiting to 30 days a year, Wisconsin permits the practice for about 145 days.
Besides killing hunting dogs, some wolves have attacked livestock. In total, about 58 domesticated animals (including the dogs) have been killed or injured by wolves this year, mostly in northern Wisconsin.
The state compensates farmers for lost livestock at market value. That seems fair, since farmers aren’t creating the conflict, and the cost is less than for dogs. The DNR, for example, reimbursed a farmer $800 for a calf last year.
Despite some difficulties, the return of the wolf to Wisconsin after near-extinction is welcome. The DNR counted nearly 900 wolves last winter. The wolves help control deer and other animals that damage crops, and they restore ecological balance to our forests.
The state shouldn’t pay hunters who lose hounds to wolves after disregarding rules and the DNR’s advice. The Legislature should stop the offensive payouts to a minority of bear hunters who don’t deserve compensation for risky behavior.


Featured image John E Marriott Photography

Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin is working to legislatively ban bear hounding in Wisconsin for more information and how you can help click HERE 

Wild Animals Belong In Our Hearts & Minds

Lack of ethical science in our government wildlife agencies is prevalent today more than ever. Or is it? Is there science in wildlife management?  Is this science lacking empathy for the creatures they manage? Let’s look at the leading expert of chimpanzee behavior, Dr. Jane Goodall, who refused to call her subjects by a number. Dr. Goodall gave every single chimpanzee she observed a name and refused to call them an it. Please take a minute and view the video on this topic called, “Being With Jane Goodall”

Our government agencies that are in charge of wildlife lack empathy. This is true, because how else can they justify the millions of wild animals they have removed or harvested in the name of management. Government wildlife technicians have some sort of wildlife degree that quality them to do the work. But are they expected to act with a lack of empathy in order to manage these wild animals? They view these wild animals as non-beings and refer to them as it’s for the purpose of management.

It’s a cold reality and never more apparent than in today’s conservation ethic. This is obvious with our WDNR allowing wolves to be chased down by large packs of free ranging dogs with out any rules, regulations and little or non existent enforcement. Wolf hounding is not only barbaric, it takes us back to a centuries old method of killing wolves; that has no place in a civilized society. In Wisconsin they quite literally throw dogs to wolves.

Wolves, a once endangered species is now relegated as an it, and harvested as a game animal without any thought of them as a sentient-being with a family. Where did this cruel attitude towards wild animals start? This has been considered the norm for far too many decades and even for centuries.

The following is one widely accepted definition of wildlife conservation.”Wildlife conservation is an activity in which people make conscious efforts to protect earth’s biological diversity. Does managing for biodiversity mean that human beings have the right to manage other beings as things to “harvest?”

“Conservation is getting nowhere because it is incompatible with our Abrahamic concept of land. We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect.” Aldo Leopold, “A Sand County Almanac.”

The land ethic is a community, that we all care about and live in. Wild animals are sentient-beings, that live within communities just like human beings do. Using the word  harvest is a way to psychologically remove the emotional responsibility; for killing a living breathing being.

Ethical Hunting has been used as a method to feed our families for centuries, but that has changed in today’s society. Hunting in today’s world has become recreational, for fun and entertainment. Hunting is now just something to; do out of doors, and  in nature to recreate. This is all managed by our government agencies such as the Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Managements Division that; have become hardened & cold towards the lives of the creatures they are suppose to be conserving.

Our government agencies go through the motions of acquiring scienctic knowledge but they lack the emotional integrity to fully apply the science. And this becomes “the heartless” anti-wildlife management we see today.

The photo is a postcard from Dr. Jane Goodall sent to me in 1998 in response to a letter I Sent to her regarding Wisconsin’s Wolf Recovery Program. 

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